41st Parliament, 1st Session

L185 - Thu 9 Jun 2016 / Jeu 9 jun 2016



Thursday 9 June 2016 Jeudi 9 juin 2016

Orders of the Day

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

Introduction of Visitors

Arthur McDonald

Oral Questions

Energy policies

Health care funding

Mercury poisoning

Hospital funding

Pan Am Games

Pan Am Games

Climate change

Access to justice

Autism treatment

Mining safety

Energy policies

Ontario Energy Board

Research and innovation

Member’s anniversary

Legislative pages

Disclosure of information

Deferred Votes

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

Members’ Statements

Skills training

Automotive industry

Consumer protection

Human trafficking

New Liskeard Bikers Reunion

Ajax Home Week

Jenna’s Lemonade Stand

Media technologies facility

Beaches International Jazz Festival

Wearing of pins

Introduction of Bills

Delegated Administrative Authorities Accountability and Transparency Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 sur la responsabilisation et la transparence des organismes d’application délégataires


Highway ramps

Hospital funding

Water fluoridation

School closures

Special-needs students

Grade separation

Natural gas

Hospital funding

Blood donation

Health care funding

Post-secondary sector employees

Sexual violence and harassment

Driver licenses

Health care funding

Privatization of public assets

Health care funding

Gasoline prices

Lung health

Private Members’ Public Business

Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Careless Driving), 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant le Code de la route (conduite imprudente)

Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte

Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant la Loi sur le Mois de la sensibilisation aux tumeurs cérébrales

Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Careless Driving), 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant le Code de la route (conduite imprudente)

Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte

Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant la Loi sur le Mois de la sensibilisation aux tumeurs cérébrales

Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte

Royal assent / Sanction royale

The House met at 0900.

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


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 June 8, 2016, on the motion for third 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 Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): When we last debated this bill, the member for Nickel Belt had the floor.

Mme France Gélinas: It will be a pleasure to talk about Bill 178. I had a little bit of time yesterday to basically explain that we are talking about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act at the same time that a mega change is coming in our country. This mega change, we all know what that is. It is that using cannabis will become legal in our country, and that means it will become legal in our province. There is a huge, pent-up demand from people who want this to happen. That’s fine. It will be happening. It’s a promise that was made.

But, Speaker, everybody understands that the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy are to help people quit smoking. It’s to make sure that new people do not pick up the habit and become the next generation of smokers. We all get this. I dream of the day when we have an end strategy—and believe me, Speaker, this is coming. Soon we will have an end strategy in our province so that nobody picks up smoking anymore and nobody smokes anymore. I think I will see this in my lifetime.

But here we are, expecting a change in law that will legalize cannabis for recreational use, and we are debating this bill called the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Why are we debating this bill? Because the Liberal government refused to listen. We just debated that bill about a year ago. We debated it at length, but throughout all of this, the Liberal government had already made up their minds as to what they wanted to see in this bill. They did not listen to the thousands of people who sent emails. They did not listen to the hundreds of people who came and made deputations. They did not listen to the members of the opposition. They did not take any of our amendments.

And now, a couple months after we did all this work on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, they realized, “Look at this. We didn’t get it right. We need to change four words.” But in order to change four words in the bill, you have to go through first reading, second reading, public consultation, third reading—which we’re doing now—and royal assent, which will come as soon as our Lieutenant Governor comes back.

This is all time wasted because we have this huge change coming to our province where a lot of people who are non-smokers right now—they’re not cigarette smokers, but they are marijuana smokers. And now, we will make that legal. That’s good and that’s fine. The people of Ontario have been asking for that change for a very long time. But how about, as government, we take our responsibility seriously and look at this through a public health lens? How about, as the Liberal government, showing they take this responsibility seriously? At least have their eyes open to see the tsunami coming toward us of increasing smoking.

There are lots of drugs where I come from. Lots of people smoke cannabis right now illegally, and they’re all very much looking forward to doing this legally. But what will that mean, Speaker? Most of them, when they roll, roll with tobacco. As you make it legal, as you make it more accessible, as you make it more available, what are you doing? You are not only allowing people to smoke cannabis more freely—all good with that—you’re also putting a lot of people at risk of becoming tobacco smokers once again because it is a whole lot easier to roll a joint when you mix it with tobacco. It holds better. It rolls better. This is what everybody does.

The public health effect of this is well known and well documented. You read the Toronto Public Health report that was just released on May 13, or any other public health report, and you will see it there. The crossover from marijuana to tobacco is there; it’s real. Rather than seeing smoking rates go down, we will see them go up. All of this is preventable if the Liberals will only listen.

We have this bill. It will be voted on at noon today. It will pass. But even after all of this, the regulations are still not ready. So now we will have a bill that says “and other prescribed substances”—four words. Although we’ve known for a long time that those four words needed to be added so that we can deal with cannabis, the regulations are not ready. They’ve had two years to get the regulations ready.

They will blame us for slowing down the bill. To what avail? The bill will pass this afternoon. The Lieutenant Governor is not here to proclaim royal assent. But it makes no difference because the regulations that will describe what those other prescribed substances are—because the bill doesn’t say “marijuana”; it says “and other prescribed substances.” The other prescribed substances—we all know it means marijuana—will be defined in regulations that are not ready.

Meanwhile, you have smoking businesses and marijuana businesses opening everywhere. I think on the last count, we’re at 83 just in downtown Toronto. You can go to any little city, including my own, and the people are way ahead of the government, although the government knows full well that this is a very big threat to public health. Why are they not acting?


Whenever I ask, they say, “We’re waiting for the federal government’s change in legislation.” Really, Speaker? You cannot do an education campaign to show children, youth and their families that marijuana is not without risk? Really? You need to have the federal government pass a law? Do you really think that, no matter what is in that law, the health effects on young, developing minds will change? None of this will change.

Rather than using millions of dollars to tell us that the health care system is fine, our hospitals are doing well, our home care system is perfect and our long-term-care system is no-fail, use that money to educate people. Use that money to educate our youth so they know: Marijuana, absolutely, is way safer than tobacco—we know that—but it is not without risk. It is not without risk for the developing mind, for the developing brain. The body of evidence is pretty good on that. It has an effect. It has an effect on lowering IQ. It lowers the ability of the brain to develop language skills and many others. It has an effect on mental health for youth. We’ll see more depression, more suicide and more severe mental health illnesses, like bipolar disorder, if youth start to use legalized marijuana.

Don’t go out with the usual, “Drugs are bad,” because we all know that doesn’t work. There are evidence-based ways to make sure that youth understand the risks and youth understand a moderate way to take advantage of this new product. Educate youth and educate their parents. Do a strong and robust health promotion campaign.

I was in Estimates yesterday, so I took the opportunity to ask how much money has been put aside for the campaign. You’ll be happy to know, Speaker, that it is zero. Not one dollar has been put aside to do this education. Why? The answer I got is that they’re waiting for the federal government to change the law.

What do changing a law and educating people about the health effects of recreational cannabis have in common? Apparently, for the Liberals, those two are linked. For the rest of the people in this province, they are not. The health effects of cannabis do not change whether it is legal or illegal. They stay exactly the same, and a good health promotion campaign needs to happen so that people know that, and so that parents know so they can guide their children. To say that we’re going to wait before we do anything—there are responsibilities that fall upon us. We have a bill in front of us. Why aren’t we doing that?

The federal government is not going to say what the age of sale is. For example, there are people who say that it should be 25 because of the health effects on the young mind. Others say, “Other jurisdictions put it at 21. It should be 21.” Others say it should be 19, the same as alcohol. Why aren’t we having those conversations? Why are we allowing this huge vacuum where nobody talks?

When the government doesn’t show leadership and doesn’t show they have a plan for this tsunami coming at us, then other people take the lead, and unfortunately, most of the other people who have taken the lead have taken the lead in a way in which they could cash in on that, that they could get rich, that they could make money, that they could make a living, that they could make a business. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is okay to make a living, and it’s okay to have a business, but it is not okay for the government to sit back and be silent when there are hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who want their government to speak up, when there are hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who want to know how the system is going to work so they can be part of it, so they can develop an economy, so they can make a living out of it, and so they can be farmers and distributors. But none of this is known, because we’re waiting for the federal government.

I’m sorry, but the federal government is not going to tell us what the age for people to have access is going to be. Because the age for alcohol varies from one province to the next, they’re going to stay out of this. The federal government is not going to tell us what the distribution system is going to look like in our province, because this is our responsibility to take, but the Liberals are quite happy to sit and let this happen.

Then they say, “Oh, but we care about public health, and we care about people stopping smoking, and we’re very proud of our Smoke-Free Ontario Act,” when really, when they have an opportunity to be proactive, to show leadership, it is radio silence on this side. This is not acceptable, Speaker. This is not acceptable at all.

I want a clear communication plan. I want to know what the availability and accessibility of this new substance will be like. We talk a lot about the cannabis control board of Ontario, basically aligned with the liquor board of Ontario. Lots of people talk about that, except for government. What is the end goal going to be? Right now, if you look at alcohol or tobacco—because we’re talking about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act—the main goal at the end of the day for the government is to cash in. If you look at the LCBO, it generates over a billion dollars in revenues for the government. If you look at the taxes on tobacco in Ontario, they also generate billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues for the government. Is this the path that we’re going to take with this new drug, this drug that’s going to be legalized? Is this the path that we want, the path that is driven by commercialization? Maybe. But why is it that we don’t know?

Why is it that when I ask the Ministry of Health, they tell us, “Oh, no, we’re going to take a path of health first. We understand the effect that legalization will have on public health, and we’re taking our responsibility seriously by doing nothing,” by bringing the Smoke-Free Ontario Act back to this Legislature year after year to add four words. I want more than four words when the Smoke-Free Ontario Act comes in front of this House. I want this bill to make sure that we look forward, that we show leadership, that we know that there is a huge potential of increased smokers in Ontario and that we will show that we want to help people quit smoking and we don’t want people to smoke more.

A lot of people are saying that there are other ways right now. Most of the people who use cannabis smoke it. But there are other ways to use those substances. One way is through edibles. Why don’t we have a clear policy that says, “If you’re going to smoke recreational cannabis, it’s going to be more expensive than if you consume it in a way that doesn’t promote smoking,” to make it clear that this substance is going to be legal. If you want to use it, go right at it, but the edibles, the drinkables, the chewies, the vapour, all of the other forms of consuming cannabis will be cheaper for the same effect than if you smoke it. This is a way to clearly show to people that it is a legal product. You are allowed to use it. You use it within guidelines, which I hope will be coming out soon—but it’s not soon enough. People want to know now. It is not like it’s a brand new substance; it has been there forever, and hundreds of thousands of Ontarians use it. Why is it that it is radio silence on this side? Why is it that I have a bill in front of me that doesn’t talk about this, as if it does not exist? I can’t stand that, Speaker. I can’t stand that.

I was not always a politician. I worked in health promotion for a long time. We know that changing people’s behaviour requires a tonne of work, and to do that tonne of work, you need time. It’s not after the bill from the federal government is presented and tabled and debated that will be the time to start doing education. Now is the time. But there is no work plan. There is no direction. There is nothing. We have a bill that changes four words. That’s what we have.


Canada is about to become the second country in the world to legalize non-medical cannabis. We are the biggest province in this country, and we are doing nothing: no strong regulatory framework in sight, nothing in this bill we are putting forward.

People will know that whether you talk about marijuana, hashish or hash oil, it all comes from the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has more than 61 chemicals called cannabinoids, all within the plant. The main psychoactive ingredient is THC. If anybody is interested, THC is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol—THC is a lot easier. But it also contains what is called CBD. This is the cannabidiol. This product does not have any psychoactive effect, but it does help with pain management and has been approved in a pill form to help people with MS.

The medical use of marijuana and cannabis will also have to be looked at, because right now, there are a lot of people who seem to qualify for a prescription for medical marijuana. I would tell you by experience that some of those people got prescriptions for medical marijuana in circumstances that are hard to justify from a health point of view. I can tell of an example of somebody who has gingivitis. That qualifies for a medical marijuana prescription. There is no best practice that shows that marijuana is effective, there is no link between this disease and treatment with marijuana, but you can go into this doctor’s office and get a prescription.

I’m telling you that because medical marijuana is there and will continue to be there. As we roll out those new regulations for the legalization of cannabis throughout Ontario, all of those have to be taken into account: the fact that there is a pent-up demand, the fact that it does have an effect on the developing brain, the fact that it is not without harm.

You realize, Speaker, that when people smoke marijuana, although they may not smoke it as often as people smoke cigarettes, they will take a breath and they hold their breath so that they can maximize the effect of the THC. If there is tobacco in that joint—and most of the time there is—what does that mean? That means that the tobacco is also held in your lungs for longer. I hope that I don’t have to explain to anybody that tobacco smoke has a harmful effect on human lungs. Tobacco is the only product that will kill half of its users if it’s used as directed. Tobacco is the only product that kills half of its users.

So here you have a new form of smoking that will become more and more prevalent once recreational marijuana becomes legalized, where the way you smoke changes for the worse, if you look at lung health. I see that one of my colleagues who is very passionate about lung health is here.

What are we doing? Absolutely nothing. We’re changing four words in a bill to say “and other prescribed substances.” Those prescribed substances have to be defined in regulation. We’ve known this for two years, and yet the regulations are not ready. Meanwhile, a lot of good, hard-working people who are starting to open up smoking lounges, dispensaries and all of this are being dragged through the courts and have police coming down on them because we have this vacuum of direction coming from Queen’s Park. This has to change.

The NDP is on record forever on end saying that we should decriminalize recreational marijuana. Nothing good comes from making criminals out of recreational marijuana users. Once a person goes through the courts and, God forbid, ends up in jail, you will bring hardship onto those people for the rest of their lives. The punishment far outweighs what we were ever trying to do. I will make a parenthesis on that. Although the NDP has always been for decriminalizing marijuana forever on end, there will still be a criminal offence if you drive under the influence of cannabis and under the influence of marijuana.

How proactive are we on educating people on that? How ready are we, as a province, to deal with that? Not whatsoever, Speaker, not whatsoever. Yet it is quite clear that people who drive under the influence of marijuana have twice the chance of getting into an accident while driving. We know there will be an increased risk. We know we should be doing something about that, but we are doing nothing.

We have a bill in front of us that could lead the way for leadership, that could send a clear message to the people of Ontario that your government is on it, that we are ready, that we are prepared, that as soon as the federal government passes their law, we will be ready. We will have a health promotion approach to this. Our youth will know about it. We will know how the distribution will be done. We will know how the taxation will be done. We will have a clear plan that everybody understands, that everybody had a chance to participate in, but I’m dealing with a Liberal government who is going to wait until the train leaves the station.

I want to bring you back, Speaker. You remember when cellphones became the norm. Everybody has a cellphone—pretty much everyone. People started texting while they were driving—lots of accidents, lots of hardship, lots of really severe damage done to humans and vehicles. Years down the road, we passed a law that says texting and driving is illegal. It was too late. For human beings, once they get a habit, it is really, really hard to change this habit. So for all of us who, while they’re driving or sitting at a red light, have a quick peek at their cellphone just to see if the little light went from green to red—once you start doing this, to get a human being to change this behaviour is really hard.


The law that says you can’t text and drive at the same time will be effective for the new generation because, right now, if you’re a kid taking driver’s ed, the first thing they do when you start—the first time at the wheel—is ask for your cellphone. They give you this nifty little pouch. They open up the trunk of the car and they put your cellphone in the trunk of the car. This is the first thing you learn before you go on and learn to drive. And that’s great. The new generation of drivers won’t be texting and driving because you taught them from the beginning. But for the rest of us who started to use their cellphones in the car before the law was there, very few will change.

I’m telling you this story because the link is the same. If you look at the use of recreational cannabis—if we don’t get the regulations right before it becomes legal, it will be too late. You will not be able to go back. If you want to look at things like changing the age rather than having it line up with the age of alcohol, putting it at a different age; if you want to make some of the regulations as to where you can and cannot consume recreational marijuana—all of those have to be done ahead of time, communicated ahead of time and bought in by the people of Ontario ahead of time.

Whenever I ask about what is coming, the only answer I get back is, “We’re waiting for the federal government to act.” In my mind and in the minds of everybody who cares about public health and in the minds of everybody who cares about making sure that people don’t go on to be smokers, we’re hearing that they’re going to miss the boat. It’s going to be too late for those hundreds of thousands of people who presently use recreational marijuana in an illegal way, who are biting at the bit to do this in a legal way. We have to talk to those people. The longer we have radio silence, the less of a chance we will have to put a healthy public policy forward.

Why is it that I have this bill in front of me and there is nothing in this bill that will do that? It disappoints me. I expect more than this. I was really proud when Ontario was the first Legislature to have a Minister of Health Promotion. It looked like we cared about health promotion. It looked like we finally understood that if we invest in health promotion and disease prevention, not only are people healthier and better, but you also have a pretty significant impact on the health care costs down the road because people stay healthier longer and use the health care system less, because we use the health care system when we’re sick.

We don’t have a Ministry of Health Promotion anymore. It has been amalgamated. Frankly, when we had a Ministry of Health Promotion, it was less than stellar. Here again, we have the same opportunity in front of us right now, and we’re about to miss the boat.

There’s a slew of research as to who uses cannabis for recreational purposes. It starts in about grade 7. We have stats for students in grade 7. Those are young people between the ages of 11 and 12. We know most of them smoke because right now, to get your hands on drinkable or edible or chewable or vaporizing is not easy, so most of them only have access to the smoking form. It’s pretty high. Those are young people who, in theory, don’t have access to tobacco, don’t have access to alcohol, but they do have access.

We have this other mega problem of all of the illegal trade coming in. Do you really think that organized crime, which brings a huge part of our drugs into this province right now, is simply going to sit back and say, “Oh, it is legal now. We will go and make money someplace else”? No, absolutely not. This has to be taken into the equation, and it doesn’t seem to be.

I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the proactive work that a legal framework for cannabis could look like. There are benefits to legalization. You can make sure that the product that will be sold is actually what you’re buying. Right now, everybody buys their recreational marijuana on the black market. They don’t really know what they’re buying. I can guarantee you that there are no labels on it and there are no quality controls on it or anything of the sort.

The legalization will allow us to do this. It would be good for the government of Ontario to start to ask people: What kind of labelling would you want? What kind of information would you want to see? Basically, What kind of regulatory models would you like?

The criminalization that we have right now—we can put a big X on that. That did not work. We could have government control or what we call a government monopoly, or we could have commercialization. Of course, we have prescriptions also. Why isn’t the government forthcoming as to what exactly that will look like? You cannot have a public health approach to regulation in silos without talking to anybody. I know that there are really some good people within the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Attorney General. There are some good people who are working on this, but they’re talking to themselves when they should be taking a public health approach and talking to all of us.

What will accessibility and availability look like? Where will it be sold? What kind of density of access are we talking about? Will we have any regulation in Ontario?

The federal government is not going to look at this. This is our responsibility. Put it out there so that people can tell you what they want and so that we strike the right balance that respects our goal to have a public health approach.

What will be the minimum age? Why aren’t we having those conversations, Speaker? There is more and more data and evidence being built all over us that says that people want this. This should be in this bill. This should be part of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act because we know that most people consume marijuana in a smoking form. We know that when we add the four words to the bill “and other prescribed substances,” what we really mean is the regulation of marijuana. But none of that is done.

Density of sales of outlets: How many of those will we have? What will the marketing and promotion of recreational marijuana look like? Why aren’t we talking about this? Why aren’t we, as legislators, setting out the regulations that will tell you what you will and will not be allowed to do?

There are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas about this. You can walk not far from Queen’s Park and see that marijuana is being advertised on the front of many businesses right now. Is this what we want? Is this what we should move forward? Are we going to watch Hockey Night in Canada and see who is having a sale on recreational marijuana? Some people think it’s a good idea; others, not so much.

When you put a public health approach lens to this, you realize that it is the government’s responsibility to say what will and what won’t be, because if you don’t regulate, then people are allowed to expect and to bring forward business ventures where they will be able to take advantage of this new trade, of this new product, of this new commerce opportunity.

But if we do not want, when we watch Hockey Night in Canada, to have the latest flavour of marijuana advertised over and over and over, then the government has to speak up. And how do we speak up? We speak up by making modifications to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which is in front of us right now. And what are we doing? Nothing.


How about pricing and taxation? We all know that, especially for young people, price is a huge decision-maker for them. We all know that taxation allows you to regulate the price. It’s not going to be the federal government who tells us how much the province is going to tax this product, is it, Mr. Speaker? Why is it that we’re waiting till the federal government has finished its work before we start ours?

Nobody is going to tell the provincial government how to tax recreational marijuana. The people in this House, the people in this chamber, are the ones who are going to decide. Hopefully, it will be done through a public health approach. Hopefully, it will be done through the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Why aren’t we talking about that? Why do I have this bill with only four words? I want more.

We also have to have driving measures. How are we going to do this? Are we going to follow alcohol, where it’s 0.05, and once you pass this, you have a penalty, and the penalty increases exponentially if a whole bunch of other factors come in? Are we going to follow this? Are we going to say zero tolerance right off the bat and not move from there? I can tell you that there are a lot of people who are pushing in that direction. But here again, we have an entire Liberal government that is happy with radio silence.

One of the areas that is near and dear to my heart is health promotion and education. The health promotion and education—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): It’s pretty noisy over there. We’re talking to me now. It’s pretty noisy over there—a little respect for the speaker. Thank you.

Mme France Gélinas: Thank you, Speaker.

The last part that is very important to me is health promotion and education. We cannot wait to start educating young people. We cannot wait to start educating their parents. We cannot wait to start educating all Ontarians as to what this will look like, what the health effects are, and do it in a way that is not this patronizing, “Drugs are bad. Don’t do it.” We already know that doesn’t work. There are evidence-based education campaigns and health promotion campaigns that exist that are effective and that make sure people use cannabis in a way that is respectful to their health and the health of everybody around.

There are also additional considerations. We talk an awful lot about climate change and we talk an awful lot about zero carbon, but right now I can tell you that most of the production of cannabis in Ontario is done indoors. The indoor production of cannabis has an incredible carbon footprint. We’re talking through the roof here because they use intensive lighting and climate control. When it’s minus 40 outside, it has to be warm in there. I can give you an example. One joint represents 1.5 kilograms of carbon—for one joint. It’s the equivalent of driving a hybrid car for 35 kilometres.

So how about right off the bat we ask that whoever will cultivate cannabis does it with carbon-free electricity generation, so that you’re bringing in a brand new product and you make it carbon free, or you force them to have 100% offset of their electricity consumption with renewable energy. This would be leadership and this would be getting ready for the tsunami that is coming. But what are we hearing from the other side? I think you’re starting to see, that it’s radio silence.

Am I supposed to sit down now?


Mme France Gélinas: I think I have three minutes left, and then that’s it.

Je ne m’étais pas rendu compte que la matinée avait passé si rapidement. Je veux m’assurer que les autres aient l’opportunité de parler un peu de ce projet de loi.

On sait tous qu’il y a des centaines de milliers d’Ontariens et d’Ontariennes qui ont très hâte que la marijuana devienne légale et disponible en Ontario, et ça, c’est bien correct. Le parti néo-démocrate est en faveur de ça depuis longtemps. Cela étant dit, on sait également qu’il y a un risque pour la santé. Comment fait-on pour mitiger le risque sur la santé, pour s’assurer qu’on donne aux Ontariens et Ontariennes ce qu’ils veulent, mais en même temps, qu’on fait ça d’une façon qui s’assure que les risques sur la santé sont compris, surtout les risques sur la santé des jeunes?

L’utilisation du cannabis—oui, c’est absolument vrai que de fumer du cannabis est moins dommageable pour la santé que de fumer du tabac. On le sait tous. Mais ce n’est pas sans dangers, surtout pour les jeunes. On sait maintenant que la consommation du cannabis chez les jeunes qui grandissent a un effet sur le cerveau. Il y a un effet sur le développement du cerveau. Il y a un effet sur la santé mentale des jeunes également. On a besoin d’éduquer les jeunes et leurs parents pour leur laisser savoir ça.

On a également besoin de règlements pour entourer tout ça. Malheureusement, il n’y a rien de ça qui est prêt en ce moment. Le projet de loi qu’on a devant nous change quatre mots, et pour moi, c’est une opportunité perdue.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Seeing none, further debate? Second call for further debate.

Mr. Fraser has moved third reading of Bill 178, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour, please say “aye.”

All those against, say “nay.”

I believe the nays have it.

Call in the members. This will be—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Deferred until after question period. Sorry, you don’t have to call the members in. It will be deferred.

Third reading vote deferred.

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

Hon. Steven Del Duca: No further business, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): No further business. This House stands recessed until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 0947 to 1030.

Introduction of Visitors

Mrs. Gila Martow: I want to welcome Heena Kapoor and Caroline Kotler to Queen’s Park for question period. Welcome, girls.

Mme France Gélinas: It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Art McDonald to Queen’s Park. It’s nice to see you. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: As most of you will know, I’ve got the best legislative assistant in the world, Brooke Auld. The best father in the world, apparently, is here today, according to Brooke: Bryan Auld is in the members’ gallery.

Mr. Percy Hatfield: I have a friend, Julie Dale, in the audience today. She’s the mother of page Emily Dale. She only lives in Toronto but she grew up in Windsor. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Reza Moridi: It is my distinct pleasure to introduce distinguished guests from Queen’s University and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory: Dr. Arthur McDonald, Nobel laureate; Dr. Nigel Smith, director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory; Ms. Anne Martineau, executive assistant to Dr. McDonald; Mr. Michael Fraser, vice-principal, university relations, at Queen’s University; Mrs. Yvonne Cooper, director of communications at Queen’s University; Dr. Jacques Farine; Dr. Rushdy Ahmad; Dr. Hugh Evans; Dr. Christine Kraus; Dr. Henry Lee; Dr. Rizwan Haq; Dr. Robert Heaton; Dr. Pillalamarri Jagam; Dr. Peter Skensved; and Dr. Gordon McGregor.

I invite all of my colleagues in the Parliament to join Dr. McDonald in room 228 for a viewing of his Nobel medal after question period.

Mr. Randy Hillier: It is my pleasure to welcome many medical marijuana patients and their advocates to the House today. They are here, of course, to witness the vote on Bill 178.

Hon. Charles Sousa: I would like to take a moment to recognize and thank my legislative assistant, Liz McLellan, as this will be her last question period at Queen’s Park.

She has served me, this assembly and the people of Ontario with distinction. I know my colleagues and the members on the other side of the House who have had dealings with her will agree.

Liz is leaving this Legislature to study, where, bringing her skills, work ethic and intelligence to bear, she will join another assembly: the bar. We have every expectation she will continue to serve the public good with the charisma and character that we’ve all come to know and admire.

Thank you, Liz, and congratulations.

Mr. Michael Harris: I would like to welcome Metka and Tadej Dubrovnik from Slovenia. Welcome to Queen’s Park and Ontario today.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: I would like to welcome, on behalf of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and myself, from the OPP Association, Chris Hoffman, vice-president; Bruce Chapman, president of the Police Association of Ontario; Constable Hugh Smith from the Toronto Police Service; Jamie Stuckless, executive director of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition; and Stephen Reid, executive director, Police Association of Ontario. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Chris Ballard: I’m delighted to introduce a special guest, my daughter Michelle Ballard, who is here from Ottawa together with her friend Emily Compton and friends Kate Newson and Ian Forrest. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’m delighted to welcome Vince Borg and his son Julian in the west gallery. They should be in the east gallery. This is the president of the Liberal Party of Ontario, Speaker.

Ms. Soo Wong: I would like to welcome Abby Leung, who is a resident of my riding of Scarborough–Agincourt and also a student at U of T Scarborough campus. Welcome, Abby.

Hon. Ted McMeekin: The page captain today is Jacob Rudolph. He has his mother, Jan Whitelaw, and his father, Mark Rudolph, who was a former page in 1968-69. His grandmother, Carole Whitelaw, is here; his aunt, Julie Whitelaw. The host family for young Jacob is Vince and Julian Borg. Isn’t that interesting? I’d like to welcome them to the gallery and make a fearless prediction, Mr. Chairman: One day young Jacob is going to sit in this seat, and I look forward to helping him on his campaign.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: I too have a page captain here today, from Pickering–Scarborough East, so congratulations to him. I want to welcome his parents, Cindy and Malcolm Zung, who I’m sure are very, very proud. We’ll see you at lunch.

Hon. Michael Gravelle: I’m very pleased to welcome our ministry’s summer intern to the Legislature today, Daniel Scarpitti. Daniel, welcome.

Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I would like to acknowledge today my OLIP intern, Justyna Zegarmistrz. I would also like to say thank you and acknowledge all of the interns who have been assisting us in our work in the Legislature.

Mr. Lou Rinaldi: On behalf of my good friend MPP Jeff Leal, I’d like to welcome page Claire Williams’s dad, Tim Williams. Welcome, Tim.

Mr. Michael Harris: I would also like to acknowledge Sydney Oakes, the OLIP intern in my office for the second half. I definitely appreciate all of the work that she has done in our office and on behalf of our caucus.

Ms. Catherine Fife: It’s my pleasure to thank Julia Redmond, the best OLIP intern here at Queen’s Park.

Mr. Chris Ballard: On behalf of my seatmate, MPP Yvan Baker from Etobicoke Centre, I welcome the father of page captain Daniel Smart-Reed, James Reed, to the public gallery today.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I would also like to thank my Ontario legislative intern. Her name is Alison Brown, from Ottawa. John Fraser, the member from Ottawa South, and I had the pleasure of benefiting from her experience and her passion, and I just want to sincerely thank her.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: I just can’t let this opportunity go by. As the former president of the Ontario Liberal Party, I want to welcome the current president of the Ontario Liberal Party, Vince Borg, to Queen’s Park.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Not to be left out, I would want to thank my legislative intern, Eric Zinn, who served so ably and capably in my office this past legislative term.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): In the Speaker’s gallery today, I would like to introduce a stellar young man who has been my student assistant for the past year. Today is his last day. He is going to law school, and I’ve put him on retainer already: Mr. Stevelle Steer. Thank you, Stevelle, for the work that you’ve done.

We also have with us in the Speaker’s gallery a delegation from the Federal Council of Austria, the upper House of the Austrian Parliament. They’re led here by council president Josef Saller and accompanied by His Excellency Arno Riedel, Austria’s ambassador to Canada. Welcome, and thank you for joining us today.

Arthur McDonald

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The government House leader on a point of order.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Speaker, I believe you will find that we have unanimous consent to recognize Nobel Laureate in Physics Dr. Arthur McDonald and his team, with a representative from each caucus speaking for up to five minutes.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent to speak for up to five minutes on a tribute. Do we agree? Agreed.

The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and Minister of Innovation and Research.

Hon. Reza Moridi: Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct pleasure to rise in this House and speak on behalf of the Liberal caucus as we celebrate the incredible achievements of Dr. Arthur McDonald, professor emeritus at Queen’s University.

As Canadians, our hearts swell with pride and we stand a little taller when one of our own receives well-deserved recognition. “That person is Canadian,” we say to those around us or think to ourselves when we hear the good news.


Dr. McDonald is one such Canadian who has made the entire province and our wonderful country of Canada proud. Dr. McDonald and a team of incredible collaborators conducted their groundbreaking research in 2000 at the world-class Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, 2,000 metres below the surface in the city of Sudbury. I had the privilege of visiting the lab a few years ago, and I can confirm that it is indeed a spectacular research centre.

Through his discovery that the tiny particles known as neutrinos have mass, Dr. McDonald created new knowledge that has challenged what was long thought to be a fundamental truth in quantum physics. In doing so, he has joined the ranks of the titans of physics such as J.J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr, James Chadwick, Enrico Fermi, Abdus Salam, and Wolfgang Pauli, who created the concept of the neutrino.

Dr. McDonald made the discovery that the Nobel committee themselves indicated “has changed the understanding of the innermost workings of matter,” the discovery of which could “prove crucial to our view of the universe.”

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge since imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Our willingness to imagine, to accept that we don’t know everything, and our tireless pursuit to obtain new knowledge is fundamental to every advancement and every major discovery that modern society has known. It is through groundbreaking work like Dr. McDonald’s that we have the opportunity to so clearly see the limitless possibilities of modern science.

We rightly focus our mind on Dr. McDonald earning the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics, the world’s premier award for major achievement in the field. But I also want to recognize that shortly after that, Dr. McDonald was honoured with his second major international award of the year, the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

At that time, his mother told a story about when Dr. McDonald was a very young man growing up in Cape Breton. Even as a two-year-old, Valerie McDonald said, “He would sit and stare at the ticking clock resting on the window ledge of his childhood home.” And even then, Mrs. McDonald said, she knew that his young and inquisitive mind was trying to figure out exactly how that clock worked. And with determination, collaboration and, yes, imagination, that mind has made a major contribution to global knowledge and inspired all of us in the process.

Dr. McDonald, on behalf of the Liberal caucus, I want to not only congratulate you but thank you. Thank you for reaffirming to the world that life-altering discoveries can and do take place in the province of Ontario, a province that prides itself on the talent and the skills of our people and on our strength in research and innovation. And thank you for showing our young people that knowledge can only be created by asking questions, by testing what is assumed to be true and by working closely with others in a truly collaborative way. Your work and the work of others like Dr. Takaaki Kajita, co-winner of the Nobel Prize for 2015 in physics, has made our understanding of the world richer. As a scientist, I know that you share these awards with the many others you have worked with over the years. To that end, I would like to thank all of you here joining Dr. McDonald in the gallery of this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, my fellow parliamentarians: These faces, led by Dr. McDonald, are what innovation, imagination and knowledge creation are all about. So please join me once more in congratulating Dr. McDonald and his partners for their incredible contribution to physics, to human knowledge, to Ontario and to our wonderful country, Canada.

Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Meegwetch.

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

Mr. Michael Harris: Today I am honoured to have the opportunity to recognize the historic legacy of a prominent Canadian academic and visionary, a recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Nobel Prize in physics, Dr. Arthur B. McDonald.

Thank you, Dr. McDonald, for being here today with us. I would also like to welcome some of your guests: Michael Fraser, Dr. Nigel Smith, Yvonne Cooper and Anne Martineau. Welcome also to Queen’s Park.

Dr. McDonald’s accomplishments follow a lifetime of dedicated work in physics, leading to breakthrough discoveries that have helped us and will help future generations better understand our universe.

That dedicated work began in the classrooms and science labs of his native Sydney, Nova Scotia, where Dr. McDonald’s brilliance was evident early on. In fact, in the years after he left his mark at a North Sydney high school, students were wary of even taking a seat at his former desk due to the legacy it already held. If a student brave enough to take that seat answered a teacher’s question incorrectly, the teacher would often shake their head and say, “Do you realize ‘the’ Arthur McDonald used to sit at that desk?”

Dr. McDonald grew that legacy through his post-secondary years in Nova Scotia, obtaining both his bachelor’s and master of science from Dalhousie University in Halifax before attending the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, to obtain a PhD in physics.

If Pasadena seems familiar to those who believe they have a grasp of science because they’ve caught themselves watching a marathon of Big Bang Theory a time or two, you should know that the connection is not that far-fetched. In fact, there’s a very real connection that traces back to roots from Dr. McDonald’s years as a professor at Princeton University. While he is now positioned as a professor emeritus and former university research chair at Queen’s University in Kingston, it was during his time at Princeton in the 1980s that he taught a young David Saltzberg, who went on to become the Big Bang Theory’s science consultant. Fast forward a couple of decades. When David heard about the Nobel Prize win, he invited Dr. McDonald to a taping of the show. Apparently, David occasionally gets to bring a real scientist, known as “geek of the week,” to the set to meet the producers, writers and actors of the show.

From geek of the week to Nobel Prize winner of the year in physics: both significant accomplishments to be sure, Speaker, but it’s the latter and the breakthrough discovery it speaks to that is really the “big bang” that has literally changed scientific theory forever.

Dr. McDonald’s big bang actually came from ongoing research at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, or SNOLAB, looking at neutrinos that come from the sun. Dr. McDonald, the director of the observatory since 1989, discovered in 2001 that those neutrinos from the sun changed their identities and were not disappearing on their way to earth. Interestingly enough, this discovery led to the far-reaching conclusion that neutrinos must have mass, dispelling the long-held notion that they were massless. I know that’s what I always thought, Speaker.

So it was Dr. McDonald’s work in the underground science laboratory, located two kilometres below the earth’s surface in the Vale Creighton Mine near Sudbury, that forever changed how we think about the solar star some millions of kilometres above the earth. As Dr. McDonald noted himself, “It’s ironic that in order to observe the sun you have to go ... kilometres underground.”


In awarding Dr. McDonald and his co-winner, Dr. Kajita of the University of Tokyo, the Nobel Prize academy indicated, “The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter.”

His discoveries have helped to inform and inspire. As Dr. McDonald’s legacy grows, he speaks about his hope for more young people and women to get into science. The example he has set should help to inspire young and aspiring scientists to know that they can accomplish great things right here in their backyard. His legacy will inspire for generations to come, just as he has inspired this generation: his students, research associates and those who know him personally.

Dr. McDonald, on behalf of Patrick Brown and the PC caucus, we are so proud of your work here in Ontario that has transcended boundaries and shaped the way we understand our universe. We look towards the future with great pride, knowing that amazing things lie ahead for you and your dedicated team at SNOLAB, based on the discoveries you have already made.

I personally, as one dedicated Leafs fan to another, trust your foresight in moving forward. You are clearly a brilliant decision-maker. On behalf of the Ontario Legislature, thank you for the contributions you have made to this province and to the rest of Canada. We of course look forward to seeing what comes next.

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

Mme France Gélinas: I rise today on behalf of my leader, Andrea Horwath, and the entire NDP caucus to pay tribute to a great Canadian—a great mind—who has spent many, many years in my riding of Nickel Belt at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, better known as the SNOLAB, located in one of Vale’s deepest mines, which happens to be very close to where I live.

Arthur Bruce McDonald, better known as Art McDonald, was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Since receiving his doctorate degree in physics, he has been using numerous techniques to study the fundamental laws of physics. As we’ve heard this morning, this has led him to study neutrinos.

Neutrinos are elemental particles in physics that have one of the smallest masses of known subatomic particles. They are created either by radioactive decay, by the sun, by nuclear reactors, supernova etc., but they are really hard to detect. In 1989, Dr. McDonald became the overall director of a project trying to detect neutrinos from the sun.

The neutrinos are extremely difficult to observe due in part to background radiation. What he decided to do was to study those tiny particles—and when I say tiny, Speaker, look at the top of my thumb. Right here, right now, there are a million neutrinos going through that little bit of space. They’re tiny.

So Dr. McDonald built a detector. The detector is the size of a 10-storey building. It has detectors within it all over, and it is filled with millions of dollars’ worth of heavy water. But he had to do this two kilometres under the ground in Creighton Mine, in an environment that is about a thousand times cleaner than the cleanest operating room in one of our hospitals—not an easy feat for him, for his team or, I would say, for a few cage operators and hoist men who had to bring all of this equipment down two kilometres to the site.

It took almost a decade to build it—that was in the 1990s—and then in the year 2000, the experiment started.

By the time of its opening, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory was the lowest-radioactivity location that had been created on Earth. The SNOLAB continues to be a world-class facility and continues to focus on subatomic physics, largely neutrino and dark matter physics. It is a source of pride for all of us.

I had the opportunity to visit the SNOLAB and—get this, Speaker—I had my picture taken with a supernova detector and a dark matter camera. Let me tell you, at the time, the theme song for The Big Bang Theory was playing in the back of my mind. I thought I was pretty cool.

While the study was taking place, there were many postgraduate PhD students with Dr. McDonald, as well as his second-in-command, Dr. Doug Hallman, professor emeritus in physics at Laurentian University. All those smart people would gather at Eddie’s. Eddie’s is a sports bar that had this online trivia. So all of those great minds would go online and play this science trivia with the world. You will be happy to know that they were the champions every single time. We now have a plaque in Eddie’s Sports Bar that shows that they are the winners, and I’m happy to report that scientists from 63 different countries speaking 40 different languages have come to Eddie’s Sports Bar to see the feat that was done by those good people.

Dr. McDonald is also a very humble man. After winning his physics Nobel Prize, he came back to Sudbury and went to Science North, our science centre in Sudbury. At the time, there was a group of high school students visiting. He gave them, I would say, a one-hour lecture as to what neutrinos are, and what changing-flavour neutrinos are all about. All of those kids understood, because he has a way to make things clear and understandable, even for people like me.

He was also wearing his Nobel Prize medal at the time. I’m putting it out there that he agrees to take selfies—just so that people know. This is a pretty incredible medal. If you ever see one of those, it will impress you. I can guarantee it.

Science North has also created an amazing exhibit that focuses on the work he has done and what it’s all about. The exhibit will open at Canada House in London, England, on Canada Day at the end of this month, and then it will come back to Canada and tour all the museums and universities so that, young and old, we can all learn about the incredible accomplishment of this man, his work and the work of the SNOLAB.

I will leave you with an anecdote from Art. After waking up one morning, he asked his wife, “Did I really win the Nobel Prize for physics?” Yes, Dr. McDonald, you did. You are our hero and you will always be welcomed back to Nickel Belt. Thank you.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I want to thank all of the members for their thoughtful and inspiring words on behalf of this Legislature to Dr. McDonald.

My own two cents’ worth: I’d just like to say thank you for being here and thank you for arranging this with the House. I want to say to our children who are in the gallery that you too can be a Nobel winner. There is nothing stopping you from doing what Dr. McDonald did. Thank you all for the inspiration.

I want to thank the doctor for allowing me to understand that I just got a grasp of what H20 means, and now you’ve conflicted me. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

It is now time for question period.

Oral Questions

Energy policies

Mr. Patrick Brown: My question is for the Premier. Despite the vague wording in the climate change action plan and despite all the government’s denials, we know the truth. The government has a hidden agenda to ban natural—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. My expectation won’t change. Thank you.


Mr. Patrick Brown: Adrian Morrow of the Globe and Mail received leaked cabinet documents that prove the government’s hidden agenda to ban natural gas. The documents say that the government is still pursuing a harder line on natural gas heating behind the scenes. The minutes direct the energy minister to find a way to phase out reliance on natural gas.

The Liberals say one thing and they’re privately doing something very different. The Premier is standing up in this House and saying she’s not phasing out natural gas, and behind closed doors, in cabinet, she’s telling her minister to get it done.

Mr. Speaker, will the Premier come clean on her cabinet documents and their intention to phase out natural gas?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Once again, let me say to the member opposite that our plan is in full public view. We are tackling climate change because we know that it is the greatest threat faced by humanity. If we don’t, as humankind, tackle climate change and find a way across the globe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then we will not be fulfilling our responsibility to the young people who are sitting in the gallery today and to all of the children and grandchildren who will come after us.


It is incredibly important that we all do our part. That’s what we are doing in Ontario. We’re going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with or without the opposition working with us.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Patrick Brown: Back to the Premier: Yes, the climate change action plan is in plain view. It’s in the Globe and Mail, in the article exposed by Adrian Morrow highlighting your cabinet documents. But let’s move on from the hidden agenda on natural gas.

We already know about cap-and-trade and what the cost will be for Ontario. We know this reckless plan means that we will see businesses send—hear this—$300 million to California by 2020 and $3 billion to California by 2030. It is taking money out of the pockets of people in Oakville and sending it to Orange county. The hard-earned money of the people of Mississauga will be going to Malibu. Businesses in Scarborough will be subsidizing businesses in San Diego.

Why does the Premier insist on this reckless and ideological plan that benefits the people of Beverly Hills and doesn’t benefit the people of Ontario?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The Leader of the Opposition could not be more wrong. The fact is, we are joining a market. You know, in the old days, the Conservatives actually believed in markets. They actually believed that market philosophy worked, and worked to the benefit of society.

We are joining a market with Quebec and with California. The revenue, the money that comes in from that market through the cap-and-trade system, is going to be reinvested in individuals and families in this province, in businesses to drive innovation, to help people retrofit their homes, to help people buy emissions-free automobiles—

Mr. John Yakabuski: Do you think if you shout louder, people will actually believe you, Premier?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’d like to remind the member from Renfrew that that’s not a bad point. There’s a reason for that, and you’re part of it.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Those dollars are going to be reinvested to reduce pollution, to invest in transit, to do the work that needs to be done to reduce our emissions so that we can join the rest of the world in fighting climate change.

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

Mr. Patrick Brown: Again to the Premier: The Premier may aspire to be the minister of economic development for California, but that’s not in the best interest of Ontario. In BC, in their carbon pricing model, every cent stays in British Columbia.

I’m going to repeat my question: How can the Premier adopt and sign on in a legal manner to a scheme that is going to send $300 million to California by 2020 and $3 billion to California by 2030? In what world do you think it’s appropriate to be taking precious resources from Ontario and subsidizing economic development in California?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: We live in this world, where the science has demonstrated clearly that if we do not tackle climate change right now—in fact, we should have been changing our practices 30 years ago, but we didn’t, as a race, and now we have to do that. We’re actually playing catch-up as the human race.

The member opposite references other jurisdictions—other jurisdictions where greenhouse gas emissions are not going down—and in fact is putting forward a scheme that would not work, that would cost people more in Ontario and would not reduce pollution. That’s not a plan to tackle climate change. Ours is. We are going to reinvest the money from cap-and-trade into the people of this province, into the businesses of this province to help them to join the battle and reduce pollution.

Health care funding

Mr. Patrick Brown: My question is for the Premier. Since I can’t get an answer on why the government wants to send $3 billion to California, let’s talk about health care.

I met with some very concerned doctors last week in Simcoe county. We talked about the 800,000 people in Ontario who don’t have a family doctor. I learned that since the Liberals have come to power, non-urgent visits to our local emergency room have increased by 30%. Wait times in the ER have steadily increased because this government is failing to offer real solutions and alternative care options. When doctors try to offer to find a solution, to find an alternative, this government responds by slashing $815 million in physician services for patient care.

Mr. Speaker, it is never too late to do the right thing. Will the Premier commit to stopping these cuts to physician services for patient care?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Let’s just look at the facts: Since 2003, the number of physicians in Ontario has increased by over 5,600; 94% of Ontarians have access to a family doctor, a family health care provider.

The fact is that the investments we have made and the investments that we continue to make are improving service to families, to people across the province. That’s why there’s $1 billion in this year’s budget—a billion new dollars—to invest in the health care system.

We will continue to make those investments, including $345 million to hospitals, because we know that there is an increasing need for health care across the province. That is an investment that is critical to us. It’s critical to society. We will continue to make those investments and increase funding year over year to the health care system.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Patrick Brown: Back to the Premier: One of the doctors that I met and spoke to was Dr. Monica Wolnik. She runs the urgent care clinic in Barrie. They see 150 to 200 patients a day. The clinic saves the health care system $12 million a year by keeping patients out of the emergency room and the hospital. The thank you they get from this government is cut after cut after cut.

Dr. Wolnik estimates that the government’s funding cuts mean $5,000 less a month. That isn’t sustainable for the long-term future of the clinic. She worries that they’re going to have to shut down the clinic, sending all those people, at a more costly rate, to emerg in the hospital.

Mr. Speaker, this wouldn’t be the first clinic to close in Ontario because of the government’s cuts. So my question is, are you prepared to continue with these cuts if it means all these clinics across Ontario are going to close?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: We value the work that all our front-line health care professionals do, including the 30,000-plus doctors across this province.

I was recently in Barrie with the local member from Barrie—

Interjections: She’s over there.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: Yes, over there; thank you.

We were at the Royal Victoria hospital, a new hospital, by the way, greatly and largely expanded. But we were there for one specific reason. We were there with many of those physicians who practise in Barrie at the hospital, as well. We were there to announce the expansion of their cardiac program, a multi-million dollar capital and operating expansion which will deliver a service that, quite frankly, is overdue for that growing part of the province. It will allow people to get that urgent, responsive care when they have a cardiac event, and they’re going to be able to get it close to home.

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

Mr. Patrick Brown: I’m not sure how that related to the question—rehashing and recycling old health care announcements, rather than answering the question about an urgent care clinic that is about to close.

I’ll be more specific. These doctors are operating these clinics solely on physician fees, the same fees the government is slashing. This particular clinic has four doctors working 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They see 150 to 200 patients a day and nearly 40,000 to 50,000 people a year. Their per-patient cost, before fees, is between $16 and $17. The same base cost to the hospital is $165, and you want to force them to close. You want to send those 40,000 patients back to the hospital at a higher cost. They’re saving the system $12 million and you’re going to ruin that.

As Dr. Wolnik said, “There are similar clinics all over the province” struggling to stay afloat. It’s time the Premier listened. Can I get a commitment, Mr. Speaker, that they’ll keep these clinics afloat and they’ll stop the cuts?


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

Hon. Eric Hoskins: If they’re seeing 150 patients plus a day, I think they’re probably managing okay in keeping that clinic afloat. The reality is that we are making sure that Ontarians have continuity of care. They have a comprehensive approach to health care through a primary care provider that’s there, that they can rely on—


Mr. Jim McDonell: They’re in the hallways in the hospitals.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Stormont.

Hon. Eric Hoskins:—that they can get access to, whether that’s same day or next day. Over three million Ontarians have access to our family health teams where they have that holistic wraparound care that’s provided not just by a family doctor, but often by a nurse practitioner or a dietitian or an occupational therapist—a whole suite of providers of care that ensure that they’re able to maintain that highest quality. We’ve done that in the context of increasing the physician services budget every single year, last year by 1.25%, about $150 million. We’re doing that this year. More than a $100 million more—

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

New question.

Mercury poisoning

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is for the Premier. It’s simply unacceptable that in 2016, there are people in Ontario who cannot get access to clean water. For more than 50 years, the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation have been dealing with mercury poisoning—50 years.

Last week, some of the young people suffering from the devastating effects of mercury poisoning came here to Queen’s Park to fight for their community. Yesterday, the government agreed to more meetings. People in Grassy Narrows don’t need another meeting. They need clean water. When will the Premier begin to clean up the mercury from the Wabigoon River in Grassy Narrows?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Well, let me just clarify for the leader of the third party that in all of those years, we have been working as a government with Health Canada. We have been working with the community. There has been ongoing monitoring of the mercury in the water in Grassy Narrows, but also in the fish in the food supply.

We are very aware that this is a challenging problem. We are very aware that this is something that needs to be dealt with, but there has not been science that has indicated how we can clearly deal with the mercury that is in the sediment in the lake and in the river without disturbing it. We didn’t commit to more meetings. We committed to bringing scientists up to Grassy Narrows to act on the recommendations of the report and to see if we can find a way through field studies to take further action, building on the action that has already been taken.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Yesterday, the Minister of the Environment claimed that there is “ongoing monitoring that the scientists in the Ministry of the Environment have been doing both on fish and water.” But the scientist report says, “We have no recent measurements of mercury concentrations or water quality in the water of the Wabigoon River or in any of its lakes.” So either the ministry is keeping its reports under wraps or they’re not actually testing the level of mercury in the water. Is the government monitoring the levels of mercury in the water or not?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: My understanding is that the provincial government and the federal government, over many years, have been working on this and have been monitoring the mercury. I’ll let the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change speak to the specifics of that. When I visited Grassy Narrows, when I was the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and I met with the folks in the community, there was information that was available in terms of the level of mercury in the fish and in the water.

The reality is that even if you look at the report that has recently come out, there is not a specific or easy solution to this. Now, the leader of the third party can do her utmost to oversimplify it, to make it a political issue and to try to use it to wedge between the people of the community and the government. We are going to continue to work with the community to find a solution that won’t make the problem worse, but will actually fix the problem.

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, when I visited Grassy Narrows, the chief and leadership there told me that they want their water cleaned up. That’s what they told me. Based on the best information, scientists warn that there could actually be new sources of mercury contamination currently happening in the Wabigoon River.

The Liberals have been in government for over a decade in this province—in fact, for over a dozen years. And for over a dozen years, more people have gotten sick from mercury poisoning, and the situation may actually be getting worse.

Earlier this year, the Premier said that governments should be ashamed—“ashamed” is her word—if people in First Nations can’t get clean drinking water. The Liberals have had more than a dozen years to do something and they haven’t. That is shameful.

When will the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation and First Nation peoples across this province have access to water that is safe to drink and fish that is safe to eat?


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


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: I think we need to break this down a bit. Mercury is multiply sourced, including atmospherically, widely across Ontario. As many of the members opposite will know, in many parts of Ontario you cannot eat walleye because of the mercury levels. Mercury today comes from methyl hydrate—atmospheric. When you flood a field for a dam, you get methyl hydrate, which is metabolized by fish into mercury.

Those leaks could be from any of those sources, so we have agreed to an advanced field study. It will cost about $600,000 to figure it out. The Leader of the Opposition seems to think you can take a Hoover and just clean this up. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Hospital funding

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is for the Premier as well, but I have to say that I have never been so disgusted by a response. Why hasn’t that monitoring been happening over the last 13 years? There are industrial sources of mercury as well, and that’s the problem in the Wabigoon River.

All across Ontario, nurses are being fired and people are being treated in hospital hallways. Critical care beds and mental health beds are all overcrowded, and our hospitals need more than $3 billion just in critical maintenance. That’s a health care system in crisis.

My question to the Premier is: When will she stop denying the facts and start making sure that hospitals have the funding that they need to properly care for the patients of this province?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As I have said, we are committed to a health care system that puts patients first and that can change in the ways that we know patients need and we know people want. That’s why, in our budget, we have put in an additional $270 million for home and community care.

When I talk about the health care system in transition, that’s the kind of change that needs to happen because people are looking for care not just in hospitals but outside of hospitals, in the community, as well. That’s why there’s $75 million in community-based hospice and palliative care. Those are changes that people are looking for.

We continue to invest in the more traditional services: $345 million more for hospitals because we recognized that that was necessary, and $85 million for community health centres. The money for health care continues to go up because the need continues to increase.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, it’s the government’s own records that show that acute care everywhere, from SickKids Hospital in Toronto to London Health Sciences, from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay, is dangerously overcrowded. While the Premier talks about the importance of mental health, mental health beds across Ontario are consistently overcrowded.

Government records show that our hospitals are falling into disrepair and need more than $3 billion just for urgent repairs. Hospital base funding has been frozen for four straight years and, this year, saw an increase of less than inflation and population growth.

This is a system in crisis. The Premier needs to stop denying the facts and make sure that when people go to hospital, they can get the care that they need. So my question is: Why doesn’t she recognize that?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As I said, we continue to put money into health care in the areas where we know that there is increased need, including $12 billion over the next 10 years to expand and rebuild hospitals. There are 35 major hospital projects that are under way or being planned right now. We continue to increase the number of nurses and doctors, and we continue to work with the system, with the hospitals and with the community care facilities to go through the transition that is necessary to meet the demands and to meet the needs of people in communities.


That means families who need support for their loved ones at home; that means families who are looking for palliative or hospice care. We’re responding to those needs and, at the same time, increasing funding to hospitals and increasing the number of practitioners because we know that that’s necessary for the system to be sustainable.

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Hospitals need an appropriate level of operational funding, and for years they have not been getting that level of funding from this government.

Look, I believe in health care. I believe in universal access to health care. As a New Democrat, that’s part of my DNA. It shouldn’t matter where you live; it shouldn’t matter how much money you make; it shouldn’t matter where you come from. All Ontarians deserve access to the health care that they need.

But that’s not what is happening under this Liberal government. Beds are being closed, nurses and other front-line health care workers are being laid off. Hospitals are overcrowded and they are crumbling. That is a system in crisis. That is the legacy of this Liberal government after so many years in office.

When will this Premier stop ignoring this crisis and start fixing our health care system—the health care system that Ontarians treasure and rely on?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I’m fully prepared to say and to admit that more work needs to be done. This is a process that is never-ending, to make sure that we continue to provide the highest-quality health care.

But if I’m prepared to do that, I wish the leader of the third party would be prepared to admit that she’s incorrect when she states, repeatedly, that 1,400 nurses in hospitals lost their jobs last year, because that’s simply not true. The figure from the College of Nurses of Ontario is 3,000 net new jobs being added last year alone. I said it yesterday—


Hon. Eric Hoskins: Yes, I’m going to quote the Fraser Institute—I love quoting them—because, in their 2015 report, Waiting Your Turn, they revealed that Ontario has the second-shortest overall wait times in Canada. They also said we have the second-highest value-for-money ranking. They also say that we provide the quickest access to services in the country.

There are many, many independent examples—the leader of the third party doesn’t need to listen to me. There are so many independent reports that demonstrate unequivocally that we rank at the top or among the best in all of this country and, in many cases—as I said yesterday, from the Conference Board of Canada, last year, we were evaluated as the seventh-best in the entire world, ahead of Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Pan Am Games

Mr. Steve Clark: My question is for the Premier. This government’s shameful history of using the shredder and the delete key to destroy public documents is well known. Two former Liberal staffers face criminal charges related to wiping data connected to the gas plant scandal. Last month, we learned that the OPP are investigating the destruction of key documents related to a cancelled electricity contract. Each time the police come calling, the Premier claims she’s changed her ways. Yet when the Auditor General asked to examine hard drives at TO2015, they had vanished.

Will the Premier finally show us that she believes in open and transparent government by joining me in asking the Information and Privacy Commissioner to investigate what happened at TO2015?


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


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Hon. Michael Coteau: I want to start by saying thank you to the member opposite for the question. I also want to say that I appreciate the Auditor General’s time and effort that was dedicated to this report.

On the very first page of the report, the Auditor General states, “Ontarians can take pride in the fact that the 2015 games went off without a major hitch, left a legacy of infrastructure for athletes and the general public to use, and led Canada to its biggest-ever haul of medals from a Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.”

In her press statement yesterday, the AG stated that value, as described here in the report, was obtained. The AG continues to say that these games were “praised for their smooth operations by the Pan American Sports Organization and the Americas Paralympic Committee.”

We successfully delivered the largest, most transparent Pan Am/Parapan Am Games ever, and we did it under budget.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Steve Clark: Another weak answer from the minister.

Back to the Premier: Here’s what we know. The Pan Am’s $342-million cost overruns again prove this government is incapable of managing public funds. Paying millions in bonuses despite missing budget targets shows that Liberals will always reward their friends. Destroying hard drives before the Auditor General sees what’s on them is evidence again of their outright contempt for transparency: can’t manage, not in it for you, can’t be trusted.

Saäd Rafi, the man who went $342 million over budget and destroyed evidence, is now in charge of Ontario’s retirement security. I won’t get an answer from this government on Pan Am budget or destruction of public documents, so I ask you, Premier: Will you fire Saäd Rafi before more documents are deleted and the ORPP becomes this province’s next scandal?


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


Hon. Michael Coteau: Again I want to thank the member opposite for the question. These were the most transparent games ever. We held five technical briefings. TO2015 has assured us that they followed all record retention requirements by Archives Ontario. The Auditor General confirmed that by saying that TO2015 followed the procedures that were provided by the archives. In fact, yesterday the Auditor General reassured us that she doesn’t have any indication that there was anything improper done. The Auditor General was granted full access to the shared computers that were—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Leeds–Grenville is warned.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I don’t need that either.

You have a sentence wrap-up, please.

Hon. Michael Coteau: The Auditor General was granted full access to the shared computer system where all the information files, including emails, were uploaded and stored.

Pan Am Games

Mr. Paul Miller: To the Premier: If the overspending on the Pan Am Games wasn’t bad enough, the Auditor General requested 12 hard drives from TO2015 but only three were turned over. The rest were wiped and disposed of, including the CEO’s. She could not obtain all the documents she requested, but yesterday the minister said that all the information on these drives had been saved to a server. So why did it remain inaccessible to the auditor and her staff?

The Liberal government does not get the benefit of the doubt on the wiping of hard drives. After the gas plant scandal, after the damning report by the Information and Privacy Commissioner, after an OPP criminal investigation for wiping information, our Premier said that the Liberals had learned their lesson. Apparently, they’re back at their old bad habits.

To the Premier: Which is it? Were these government records destroyed, or did the Pan Am staff save the documents but obstruct the Auditor General’s access to them?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Hon. Michael Coteau: I’d like to thank the member for the question. I’m just going to restate what the Auditor General said yesterday. She doesn’t have any indication that there was anything improperly done in this process. The Auditor General was granted full access to the system. The Auditor General was provided with 300 boxes of hard-copy information. The information that TO2015—it has been uploaded to the cloud, which the Auditor General has full access to.


You know, the funny thing about this is, if we had 1,000 computers sitting in a room today, a year later we’d be criticized for not managing that properly either.

The information the computers released was uploaded to the cloud, and the Auditor General—

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

Mr. John Yakabuski: If, if, if. Just tell us what happened to the hard drives.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew, come to order.

New question. The member from Cambridge—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Whoa, whoa. Supplementary.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): My apologies. The member for a supplementary.

Mr. Paul Miller: Thank you, Speaker.

I guess that cloud has got a little grey area in it.

Some of the missing documents concerned executive bonuses—53 Pan Am executives shared several million dollars in special completion bonuses worth up to twice their annual salary. Some 25% of these bonuses were dependent on TO2015 meeting its operating budget, but in September 2014, the province had to bail it out by $74 million because it was unable to stay within its operating budget.

The TO2015 board chairman, former Liberal Premier David Peterson, knew that, and failed to meet his budget restraints. The board then changed the targets and rules around bonuses so that the executives would still receive them in full. The government could have put a clause in the bailout that would have stopped this, but did nothing.

Speaker, this is a scandal—another one. How can the Premier possibly excuse the negligence with this public money?

Hon. Michael Coteau: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the auditor referenced additional investments that were made to the games since the budget bid back in 2009. We have always been open and transparent about these additional investments we made, through our technical briefings.

The Auditor General mentioned the security budget went up since 2009. We told you that in the technical briefings; we told both opposition members. The Auditor General mentioned $74 million that was allocated to TO2015, which is a decision I made that was mentioned through the technical briefings. These are not new numbers. We said the games would cost $2.4 billion in 2009 in the bid book, and we came in under that budget of $2.4 billion.

The members opposite know fully that these games were the most transparent games. They went through five technical briefings. Any changes to the budget since 2009 were brought forward to our technical briefings.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.

Again, I apologize to the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek for missing him.

New question.

Climate change

Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, whose ministry, along with many others, plays a key role in our fight against climate change.

With the release of the province’s climate change action plan, we have described how Ontario will accelerate the adoption of low-carbon technology over the next five years by providing more choices to families and businesses on ways to become energy efficient and lower energy bills. Through the plan, Ontario will invest in projects that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution, create good jobs in clean tech and construction, generate opportunities and investment in Ontario, and help people and businesses transition to a low-carbon economy.

The building sector represents an opportunity for us to make important changes to the energy efficiency of our homes. Will the minister please tell this House why we must target buildings in our fight against climate change?

Hon. Ted McMeekin: Mr. Speaker, it’s conceivable that this may be the last question I ever get to answer in this place, so before I answer that question, I have something important to say.

Over the years, question period has served, I believe, as an effective camouflage of the native civility and decency of this place. If you want any evidence of civility and decency in this place, you need only to look at my critic from Windsor–Tecumseh and the honourable member from Oxford.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Speaker, for one final time, I know that our colleagues thank the minister for his answer and also for the tremendous leadership that he has shown as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. With his work with AMO and all of the other ministries that he has led so capably, thank you once again from all of us, Minister.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Minister?

Hon. Ted McMeekin: Well, Speaker, it’s been a slice, I’ve got to tell you. It’s been great. I want to thank the Premier for her confidence and all of the members of the House for their caring and their daring and their sharing together. I respect each and every one of you.

Now, on the question: Greenhouse gas for business is about 19% and it’s rising fast. We need to do something about it. We have a wonderful plan and we’re going to equip Ontarians with more of the tools they need to combat it, including some incentives to solve this problem. We all need to do that together.

Access to justice

Mr. Randy Hillier: My question is to the Attorney General. The Ottawa Citizen has reported that Ontario has “freakishly high” rates of stayed and withdrawn criminal cases. In fact, over 90,000 criminal cases last year were thrown out—a whopping 44% of all cases—before trial.

The minister talks about access to justice, but in fact, her actions are hindering and making a mockery of justice. We know it takes an average of 125 days and upwards of 10 court appearances before these charges are finally stayed or withdrawn. Their liberty is denied. Their freedoms are extinguished.

Speaker, can the minister explain why the crown is dropping close to 50% of all criminal cases after Ontario residents have already spent upwards of 125 days behind bars?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: In Ontario, we have and we want a fair, effective and efficient bail and remand system. It’s a key priority for our government. We recognize that there are issues, and that’s why we’re working with the ministry of community safety and corrections; we’re working with the judicial; we’re working with the crown. We have everybody at the table to review the situation and to improve the situation, because the last thing we want is people being in jail who should not be there. We know that we have capacity challenges and we want to resolve that.

That’s why everybody is at the table. We have already provided and started some pilot projects and we will—

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


Mr. Randy Hillier: Again, to the Attorney General: Let’s just be clear. Nearly half of all criminal cases are stayed or withdrawn before trial—half. It’s a clear sign that things are broken. This overloads our already taxed courtrooms. It leads to and amplifies overcrowding in our detention centres. It adds cost and anguish to those charged, and it is an abuse of process, which erodes the public’s confidence.

There is an appalling lack of coordination between the Attorney General, our courts and this government. They are wasting needed resources and depriving people of their civil liberties. I want to know: Who is at fault? Is it the Attorney General? Is it the ministry of community safety and corrections? Or is it both of them, and who’s going to fix it?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I will say that it’s all of us who are going to work together to fix it, and the work has already begun. Like I said, we have pilot projects.


We also have to work with the judiciary, and on this side of the House, we don’t tell the judiciary what to do. We work together. That’s why at my justice round table, all of these people are at the table and we’re working very hard. We have different groups working together.

We have different pilot projects. For instance, in Ottawa, we have now a crown advising the police and—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): If you speak through the Chair, you’ll know when I’m standing.

I would ask the member from Kitchener–Waterloo to come to order and the member from Lanark to come to order—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): —and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Wrap up, please.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: In Ottawa, we have two pilot projects. One of them is that the crown is working with the police to make sure that only cases that should go to jail go to jail, and only cases that go to trial go to trial. It’s been successful, as well—

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

Autism treatment

Miss Monique Taylor: My question is to the Premier. Opposition members have risen day after day, begging the Premier not to leave children with autism behind. Experts didn’t recommend an age cap for therapy. They didn’t say that children on the wait-list should be just kicked off.

Liberal MPPs know they’re wrong. They have been avoiding speaking to parents by calling the police. They have manufactured reasons to avoid them, such as telling parents who have called the Human Rights Tribunal—even though they haven’t opened a case—that they can’t meet them to discuss government policy. It’s disrespectful, Speaker, and they should apologize.

It’s time to do the right thing, Premier. Will the Premier admit that she’s hurting families and children with autism by imposing an age cap on autism therapy?

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

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: I want to thank the member for the question. She knows what our plan is, Speaker. Our plan is to invest $333 million new dollars to reduce those wait-lists in half by two years, and adding 16,000 new spaces, and to make sure that children with autism have individually tailored therapy to support the unique needs of every child.

Right now, our commitment—my support—is making sure every family is getting the information they need, that we are looking at every family on a case-by-case basis. I’m very pleased to highlight that for those children who are coming off the IBI wait lists, there have been 545 family meetings and we’ve had 995 families participate in the Autism Ontario website. And we’ve quadrupled the amount of support for summer camps this year for children with autism.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Miss Monique Taylor: I’m going to go back to the Premier, but first I need to let this minister know that these meetings are happening in tears. They’re happening by being forced into signing documents that they don’t want to sign. This is awful—awful, Speaker.

The House is about to rise for the summer. The government keeps saying that something is coming soon, but parents and families are devastated and deeply confused by the mixed signals and the lack of information. Implementation of this rush job PR announcement has gone off the rails and it’s putting children with autism at risk.

Again, autism doesn’t end at five, and neither should IBI. Please, Premier, do the right thing. Do something for these families. Make sure that vulnerable children are a priority. Will the Premier immediately remove the age cap imposed on children needing IBI therapy?

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: This member is just wrong that families are being forced to sign contracts. I know that’s not true because I’ve checked it out—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Hamilton Mountain will come to order.


Hon. Tracy MacCharles: I know for a fact that of the 317 families who have signed contracts for direct services of $8,000, many of them have taken that away, are thinking about it, looking at their options, and they can come back. Many of them have had multiple meetings. Of the 545 families who have had meetings, many of them have returned for secondary meetings.

The member knows that we are looking at the new program and potential enhancements to that, but we have to remember that the new program will have one point of entry—

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

New question.

Mining safety

Mr. Glenn Thibeault: My question is for the Minister of Labour. On this day, June 8, in 2011, two miners were tragically killed while on the job in Sudbury. Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram were killed in a horrible incident and were buried in a run of muck. My heart goes out to Jason’s and Jordan’s families and their colleagues.

This tragedy was felt by all of those in my riding, across the province and right across the country. It is essential that we continue to make Ontario’s mines the safest they can be and to prevent incidents like this from ever happening again.

Can the minister please update the House on what our government is doing to protect people who work in mines in places like my riding of Sudbury and across the province from workplace incidents?

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Thank you to the member from Sudbury for his question and for all of the excellent work that he’s done in this regard over the years.

It was five years ago, but our hearts still go out to the families of Jason and Jordan and the colleagues who still carry the pain of losing these two young men in the prime of their lives to such a terrible workplace incident. I’m pleased to inform the House that as a result of the investigation that we did and the work that a number of people did, we’re bringing in amendments that are making mines safer. You’re seeing increased water management and ground control—something the families specifically asked for—risk assessments, formal traffic management programs, guarding, emergency stopping devices and pull cords.

It’s in the memory of these two young men and the many other miners who were either killed or injured over the years that we have taken very strong steps to improve mining safety so that no one has to relive this catastrophe again and Ontario has the safest mines in the world.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Glenn Thibeault: I’d like to thank the minister for his answer.

I know that our government continues to work with my community and communities across the north to ensure that our mines are safe and that those who work there return home safe. It is encouraging to hear that we are taking even stronger steps to improve mining safety so that no one is killed on the job. Everyone who leaves their home to go to work deserves to come home at the end of their shift.

I know that the Ontario competition is under way in Sudbury right now, and that we’re also holding the world mining rescue competition in August of this year, something that my community is extremely proud of. I then look to the Minister of Labour: Can he please explain and expand on some of the changes mentioned in his previous answer?

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Again, thanks to the member from Sudbury for his continued involvement and his interest in this area.

As he mentioned to the House, the Ontario Mine Rescue Competition is currently under way in the city of Sudbury. Our chief prevention officer is up there as we speak.

For the changes, some of the changes we made are quite simple. For example, one of the top priority recommendations that came from the mining review was simply that we wear high visibility apparel so that people could see you in a mine. Sometimes, it’s things that are that simple that make such a big difference.

We’re taking mining workplace safety very, very seriously at the Ministry of Labour. Working together with the workers, the employers, the unions and the victims’ families, we’re going to continue to raise the bar so that these incidents simply don’t happen again.

If I can close with a quote from Wendy Fram, who is Jordan’s mom: “It does give some comfort, thinking we are fighting for changes that have to be made right.” That speaks volumes.

Energy policies

Mr. John Yakabuski: My question is to the Premier. The Premier said yesterday that “we won’t see electricity prices rise” because of her reckless cap-and-trade plan. Yet the Independent Electricity System Operator, the energy experts that the Premier refused to consult, say otherwise. Recent IESO documents reveal that plugging in as few as four electric vehicles in a single neighbourhood could cause an overload. Our electricity system simply cannot handle the extra demand without billions of dollars in new transmission and distribution lines, as well as new power plants. The climate change plan does not include a single dollar for electricity system upgrades—not a single dollar.

How much will hydro rates have to rise to cover the Premier’s irresponsible plan?


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know the Minister of Energy is going to want to weigh in on the supplementary. But Mr. Speaker, this is a perfect example of this party once again saying, “Don’t do anything. Don’t tackle climate change. Don’t make any advances. Don’t invest in electric vehicles. Don’t invest in the charging stations” that we’re investing in so that electric vehicles will have a longer range, “Don’t do anything. Put your head in the sand. Pretend that climate change isn’t happening,” and hope—hope—that somehow our children and grandchildren will solve the problem. We’re not going to do that. We are tackling this. We’re going to work with industry. We’ll work with the electricity system.

Remember, Mr. Speaker, we’ve been getting flak from the other side for the upgrading of the system that we’ve done. The 10,000 kilometres of line that we’ve put in—they’ve been giving us a hassle for the last five years. We’re not taking lessons from them. We’re tackling climate change. That’s what we’re doing.


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


Mr. John Yakabuski: The Premier loves to shout at me, but it’s the IESO that’s saying it, not me.

It’s not just electric vehicles that will cause bills to rise; it’s also the phase-out of natural gas. The Globe and Mail broke the news this morning that despite the Premier’s repeated claims, cabinet approved the policy of phasing out reliance on natural gas. That means $3,000 more every year for three quarters of Ontario businesses and families just to heat their homes and businesses.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, come to order.

Mr. John Yakabuski: But it also means more stress on the electricity grid. Private sector estimates peg the upgrades at $200 billion. Since not one more dollar from the cap-and-trade plan is going to improve the electricity grid, will the Premier tell Ontarians that their hydro bills are going to go up by another $200 billion?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Energy.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I’m sure the critic for the opposition is disappointed that our 2016 budget announced that cap-and-trade will take $24 a year off residential bills and that commercial rates will, on average, not increase at all.

I’m sure the member understands that we do have a surplus of electricity at the present time—plenty of time to transition. We have a surplus that will take us through into 2022-23. He doesn’t have the word “conservation” in his energy plan.

Mr. John Yakabuski: You’ve got to be able to deliver the electricity.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Renfrew, second time.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: We have been saving dollars in the system from conservation. If you take Campbell’s food, their combined heat and power in Etobicoke, they’re taking 400 megawatts off the grid with that program. That will continue to happen with all of our cap-and-trade programs.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): New question, the member from—


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

Mr. John Yakabuski: Roger Whittaker is going to come down and sing The Last Farewell in a moment.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): He’ll take your place if you keep going.

New question. The member from Toronto–Danforth.

Ontario Energy Board

Mr. Peter Tabuns: My question is to the Minister of Energy. The city of Toronto is thinking about selling off Toronto Hydro, just like the Premier is selling off Hydro One. The minister defends the Hydro One sale by claiming that the Ontario Energy Board will protect the public from arbitrary rate increases. But the Auditor General found that the OEB had approved rate increases for Hydro One that were supposed to pay for replacing aging transformers that were in fact never replaced—never.

Hydro One made misrepresentations to the OEB, but instead of taking action, the minister named a Hydro One vice-president to the Ontario Energy Board. Why should we trust the OEB to protect the public from high rates when the minister stacks the board with insiders who are hostile to consumers?

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: It’s an old question that has been asked by that critic a number of times, Mr. Speaker. He knows that the Ontario Energy Board, first of all, is an independent body. He also knows that in application after application after application the Ontario Energy Board has reduced the amount that has been asked for. They now have new legislation, which we’ve passed in this session, that increases the ability of the Ontario Energy Board to provide daily fines of up to $1 million for those utilities, those people who apply to the board, on an ongoing basis. They are responsible, they have done their job and they will continue to do so.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Before the government stripped the Auditor General of her oversight of Hydro One, she found that Hydro One had failed to make the equipment upgrades that previous rate increases were supposed to pay for. The chair of the OEB says that they’re not auditors and so when a utility asks ratepayers for more money, the OEB will not bother to determine if that money was actually used properly for what it was claimed to be used for. Similarly, when Torontonians called on the OEB to investigate whether Anthony Haines, the CEO of Toronto Hydro, had lied under oath about his credentials, the OEB dismissed them and apparently no investigation took place.

How can we believe that this sleepy watchdog will defend Torontonians from soaring rates based on any misrepresentation from Toronto Hydro?

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I respect the commitment that the member has to the environment and to the energy sector, but I think that it is not appropriate that he try to smear the Ontario Energy Board to the extent that he is doing right now. The members are independent. There is a very, very strong diligence that’s done when people come on the board. They have a cross-section of board members who act very, very responsibly. What he’s doing now is doing nothing but smearing the Ontario Energy Board members who are responsible regulators in our system and are known to be so across North America.

Research and innovation

Ms. Sophie Kiwala: My question is for the Minister of Research and Innovation.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, second time.

Ms. Sophie Kiwala: This morning, Minister Moridi and I were honoured to welcome Professor Arthur McDonald to Queen’s Park. As this chamber heard and rejoiced last year, Dr. McDonald, professor emeritus at Queen’s University, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. He and his team discovered that the tiny particles known as neutrinos have mass.

Dr. McDonald’s scientific contributions have advanced our understanding of the universe and set the path for new directions in the study of quantum physics and astronomy. His innovative vision has made Ontario and, indeed, Canada a global leader in the field of particle astrophysics, paving the way for a deeper, richer understanding of the world that we live in.

Can the minister please tell us more about how the government of Ontario continues to support breakthrough research allowing for scientific contributions such as Dr. McDonald’s to become a reality?

Hon. Reza Moridi: I want to thank the member from Kingston and the Islands for that very timely question.

We are truly honoured to host Dr. McDonald and his team here today. The government of Ontario has committed and delivered $627 million towards 164 research projects through the Ontario Research Fund. Projects funded by the Ontario Research Fund have delivered $3.3 billion in funding and have helped create more than 100,000 highly paid jobs and training opportunities in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Speaker, our government’s continued commitment to funding research and innovation in the province of Ontario allows researchers such as Nobel laureate Dr. McDonald to reach unprecedented breakthroughs and achievements.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Sophie Kiwala: It is wonderful to hear that the government has committed to supporting scientific research in this province. As we heard last year, Dr. McDonald’s research was conducted at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, or SNOLAB, in partnership with Queen’s University. And, as we’ve heard, the SNOLAB is a cutting-edge research facility located two kilometres underground, specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. The ultra-clean environment of the observatory allows for measurements that cannot be made anywhere else in the world as well as observation of rare scientific phenomena which occur only a few times a year.

The existence of the SNOLAB allowed for Dr. McDonald and his team to conduct his experiment, which resulted in a discovery that changed our very understanding of the innermost workings of matter and our view of the universe. Could the minister please tell me how the government continues to support laboratories such as Dr. McDonald’s?

Hon. Reza Moridi: I want to thank the member again for that very timely question. The SNO laboratory, in partnership with Queen’s University, allows all universities across the province of Ontario to collaborate on significant scientific breakthroughs.

The historical contribution of SNOLAB to the Ontario economy is estimated to be as much as $227 million. Since its inception, SNOLAB has received approximately $38 million in provincial funding.

SNOLAB enhances the province’s profile in the global scientific community as it is a global leader in fundamental physics. Additionally, the lab trains and develops highly qualified personnel in Ontario and inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers in our wonderful country, Canada.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): A point of order, the member from Leeds–Grenville.

Mr. Steve Clark: Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent for this House to direct the Standing Committee on Justice Policy to investigate the alleged deletion of documents at TO2015 in relation to the Pan/Parapan American Games; that the committee be—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Leeds–Grenville is seeking unanimous consent. Do we agree? I heard a no.

Member’s anniversary

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Point of order, the Premier.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Speaker, I’d ask that we all take a moment to recognize that today is the 39th anniversary of the member for St. Catharines being elected to this House and congratulate him on his many years of dedicated service to the people of Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs on a point of order.

Hon. David Zimmer: I seek unanimous consent that the member can speak for up to two minutes only.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I have to hear a no. He’s seeking unanimous consent to speak for up to two minutes.

Hon. James J. Bradley: No.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Oh, I heard a no.

For the record, he’s got socks older than I am. That’s an inside joke. It won’t play well in Hansard, but it’s an inside joke.

Legislative pages

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): We have two pieces of serious information.

The first one is to announce to you that this is the last day for our pages. I want to take a moment to say to these pages, thank you very much for your service to Ontario.


Disclosure of information

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Now, on a serious note, I do have a response.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, the member from Simcoe–Grey, Mr. Wilson, raised a question of privilege with respect to the government’s proposed climate change action plan. According to the member, the release of this plan to the media before its announcement or tabling in the House amounted to contempt of the House. The member from Timmins–James Bay, Monsieur Bisson, and the government House leader, Mr. Naqvi, also spoke to this matter. Having reviewed the relevant media references, the precedents, the authorities, the Hansard for June 7 and the written submissions of the member from Simcoe–Grey and the government House leader, I am now prepared to rule on the matter.

The member from Simcoe–Grey referenced section 7(6) of the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, which provides as follows: “The minister shall, before January 1, 2017, lay the action plan before the assembly and make it available to the public on a website of the government or in such other manner as may be prescribed by the regulations.” According to the member, this provision required the plan to be tabled in the House before the media received it. The government House leader had a different interpretation of that provision. In response, I have to say that I cannot rule on the interpretation of that provision because, as members well know, Speakers traditionally avoid interpreting laws.

The member from Simcoe–Grey also cited rulings by Speakers of the Canadian House of Commons. The rulings relate to the premature disclosure of the contents of bills prior to their introduction in the House. In the rulings, the Speaker ruled that the premature disclosure of the contents of “bills on notice” amounted to a prima facie case. The reference to the words “on notice” is important because the standing orders of the House of Commons require 48 hours’ notice before bills can be introduced in the House. Such bills are House business. Under our standing orders, however, neither bills nor policy announcements are placed on notice. Therefore, the cited rules are not applicable to the case at hand and as a result I am unable to find that a prima facie case of contempt has been established.

In so ruling, however, I want to remind members that from time to time previous Speakers have expressed misgivings about new government initiatives being announced outside the House before being announced inside the House. As I indicated in this House on April 14, 2014:

“Whether it be the government’s financial plan, or any other measure or announcement, Speakers have repeatedly looked unfavourably upon it when the House has not been the first to receive such information. There are rulings almost too numerous to compile in which Speakers have admonished governments for doing this, and defending the Legislature’s claim to be the first recipient of major announcements.”

And in a November 2, 2009 ruling, the Speaker ruled as follows:

“I and my predecessors have repeatedly conveyed our deep concern about how these types of extra-parliamentary announcements erode the stature of Parliament. Speakers have repeatedly implored governments to consider the impact of this erosion and how it damages the reputation of the foundation institution of this province.... In an ideal world where the legitimate and historic role of the Legislative Assembly, and specifically of the loyal opposition, were given first consideration, I expect that what a previous Speaker referred to as these types of ‘administrative discourtesies’ would not arise.”

The incident raised by the member from Simcoe–Grey is different in that it deals with the media—not the government—announcing a government initiative, but the reality is that the media somehow acquired the information. In the case at hand, I have no personal knowledge that the government released details of the initiative to the media, but I would have more than misgivings if such releases were motivated by a patently obvious desire to undermine parliamentary processes.

In closing, I thank the member from Simcoe–Grey, the member from Timmins–James Bay and the government House leader for their submissions.

Deferred Votes

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

Deferred vote on the motion for third 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 Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1209 to 1214.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, Mr. Fraser moved third reading of Bill 178, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

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


  • Albanese, Laura
  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Baker, Yvan
  • Ballard, Chris
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bradley, James J.
  • Brown, Patrick
  • Chan, Michael
  • Chiarelli, Bob
  • 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
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Flynn, Kevin Daniel
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • 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
  • Malhi, Harinder
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Martins, Cristina
  • Martow, Gila
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McGarry, Kathryn
  • McMahon, Eleanor
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Milczyn, Peter Z.
  • Miller, Paul
  • Moridi, Reza
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naidoo-Harris, Indira
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Orazietti, David
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Potts, Arthur
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Sergio, Mario
  • Singh, Jagmeet
  • Smith, Todd
  • Sousa, Charles
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Takhar, Harinder S.
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Thibeault, Glenn
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Vanthof, John
  • Vernile, Daiene
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wong, Soo
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff
  • Zimmer, David

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


  • Hillier, Randy

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 87; the nays are 1.

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

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

Third reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Before we recess, I just wanted to offer the House my wishes for you to have a safe, healthy break from this House, but knowing that you work tirelessly year-round. I wish you all the best for the summer break.

There are no deferred votes. This House stands recessed until 1 p.m.

The House recessed from 1217 to 1300.

Members’ Statements

Skills training

Mr. Lorne Coe: I’d like to take this opportunity as the official opposition critic for training, colleges and universities to speak about the skills mismatch and its effects in my riding of Whitby–Oshawa.

A great young man from my riding graduated from teachers’ college last year. He’s always wanted to teach, but for the past year he has not been able to find employment. After an interview with the Durham District School Board, he did not get the position and was told that he could not reapply for a full year. Thousands from teachers’ college will be graduating this year and diluting this young man’s opportunities.

The skills mismatch continues to grow and all the government can say is that they’re conducting another review. This government has had 13 years to conduct their reviews. Parents in my riding to want know that their sons and daughters can leave university, college or an apprenticeship with a real opportunity to start a career. It’s time for the government to take real action and stop graduating people for yesterday’s jobs.

Automotive industry

Ms. Jennifer K. French: The manufacturing industry isn’t what it used to be, nor should it be. As a province, we should be moving forward. We should be an example for the world to follow, but what we shouldn’t be doing is leaving people behind. Tomorrow, General Motors will announce its plan to hire 1,000 new engineers to boost its research and development in Canada. Make no mistake—this is a good-news announcement. It is an important step forward for the auto industry in Ontario and in Oshawa.

I’m encouraged by General Motors’s continued commitment to Oshawa, but the fact is that families in our community continue to remain uncertain about their future. Without a new product mandate from General Motors and without a promise to keep the existing 2,500 jobs at the assembly plants, our community is left with more questions than answers.

Oshawa has been a leader in the automotive industry for decades and as we continue to grow as an innovation hub, we must also ensure that the thousands of families that built GM are not left behind. These families have been left in the lurch for more than a decade and they deserve to know what the future will hold. Oshawa is and always will be “motor city,” and that is thanks to the efforts of generations of GM employees in our community. Hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed, and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

I ask that the government work with GM and fight for our community. Tomorrow’s announcement will ensure that the cars of the future will be developed in Oshawa. Now let’s make sure they are built in Oshawa too.

Consumer protection

Mr. Yvan Baker: I hold a monthly seniors’ advisory group meeting in my riding of Etobicoke Centre. When I started having those meetings, I began to hear from seniors who told me that they had received unwanted sales offers at their door, where salespeople use coercive, aggressive, misleading sales tactics to entice them into contracts, to take advantage of them, right at their own doorsteps.

Under the guise of saving consumers money, many dishonest salespeople dupe consumers into contracts that are more expensive than industry standards, that have harsh cancellation fees, and that provide inferior products and services that don’t work or that don’t perform as advertised.

While this is an issue that cuts across all ages and backgrounds, it’s alarming to see how often they target those who can be vulnerable. It is beyond reprehensible to me that some organizations have a business model that’s based on taking advantage of vulnerable people.

That is why I introduced Bill 193, the Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, which would ban the sale, lease or rent at a consumer’s home of products that have been the subject of these reprehensible tactics. I am pleased to note that consumer groups, CARP and a number of municipalities have passed motions supporting my bill and urging a provincial ban on door-to-door sales of these products. They include the city of Brampton, Hamilton, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Pickering, the township of North Dundas, the township of Wellington North and the city of Toronto, amongst others.

Consumers have spoken, advocacy groups have spoken, and now the municipalities are speaking up as well. We must take action to protect Ontarians from these predatory practices. When my bill is presented for second reading this afternoon, I hope that all members will join me in supporting this legislation. The seniors in my riding and consumers across Ontario deserve no less.

Human trafficking

Ms. Laurie Scott: We hear there may be a government announcement on human trafficking later this month, even though we gather here, on the last day of the House for this session, still not having a public, comprehensive strategy or adequate dedicated funding. The government has had many opportunities to take action and has chosen not to.

My motion for a human trafficking task force was unanimously supported back in 2015—no task force yet. As well, my private member’s bill, Saving The Girl Next Door Act, passed second reading unanimously in February, yet it is still languishing in committee. And this year’s budget, again back in February, was the most direct place for this government to show it cared to prioritize this battle, yet the result was no immediate monies dedicated to fight human trafficking.

There are reports of human trafficking incidents week after week. In April, the OPP, RCMP and Canada Border Services laid charges against 80 people for sexual assault, and making, distributing and accessing child pornography. Investigators also found minors, including girls 14 to 16 years old, working in the sex trade against their will. What does it take for this government to understand that every single passing day without action leaves a victim without rescue?

Municipalities get it. Toronto, the GTA, Hamilton, Peterborough, over to Grey county and all the way up to Hearst and Moosonee understand. In fact,135 municipalities to date have passed resolutions in support of my legislation against human trafficking. It is a province-wide crisis.

Moreover, appropriate funding needs to reach all arms, from police forces to victim services, to have real effect. This has to be a co-ordinated effort. A multijurisdictional task force is needed now.

New Liskeard Bikers Reunion

Mr. John Vanthof: I rise today to invite motorcyclists from across the province to the New Liskeard Bikers Reunion. It’s on the long weekend of July, the July 1 long weekend.

Over 15 years, this has gone from 20 bikers and a barbecue to an event where over 6,000 motorcyclists come to New Liskeard and Temiskaming Shores every year. It’s a family-friendly event. One of the highlights of this event is the Freedom Ride. It’s about 10 miles of motorcycles on a route. It’s closed off. The police and everybody participates. We go in front of the hospital and give gifts to cancer patients. Seeing the kids out there with the yellow T-shirts, the cancer survivors, is truly a moving experience.

I invite you specifically this year because this, sadly, is going to be the last year of the Bikers Reunion. The driving force behind the Bikers Reunion, Barry Phippen, the originator and still the driving force, has decided, along with his committee—they’ve got a lot of volunteers—that they’re going to end this on a high note. This is going to be the biggest and best Bikers Reunion people have ever seen.

If you want to get there, you just have to go up Highway 11. You’ll start seeing big, yellow signs in memory of cancer patients. They raise a lot of money for cancer. There are more signs for the Bikers Reunion than any election campaign in history.

It’s a great event. I’d like to thank Barry. Over the years, they have raised over $1 million, which is held in trust by the Temiskaming Foundation, and the proceeds of that will help cancer patients for many, many years to come.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. It sounds like hog heaven.

Mr. John Vanthof: Triumph, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I just slipped it in there.

Ajax Home Week

Mr. Joe Dickson: It’s a joy to be back here this afternoon. I was scared we might have to leave at the noon hour.

I’d like to bring forth information on the 46th annual Ajax Home Week, which commences in two days’ time, Sunday, June 12 through June 19, ending on Father’s Day. It is a series of community groups—the Kinsmen, Lions, Optimists, Rotary, Legion and a number of other church and community groups—who assist in producing this week. Generally, it’s to say thank you to all of the people of Ajax and area for all of the fundraising that people help them with so that they can contribute continually to service and charitable groups.

The week-long celebration, of course, is absolutely for everyone, something we put in the very first day 46 years ago, regardless of gender, religion, race, age or personal means, and over 60% of the events are no charge.

I’m looking—I won’t have time to finish, Mr. Speaker, but you’re very generous with me.

The first one is on Sunday, June 12, at Ajax Downs, everything under the sun: free horse racing, free petting zoo, exotic animals, a mini-zoo, children’s entertainment professional groups, adult entertainment professional groups, and it goes on.


Monday night is the Lions’ pasta night. Tuesday and Thursday night are Joe and Donna Dickson free swim nights at the McLean centre—first there, first served. On Thursday, it’s the St. Timothy’s church barbecue—that’s a great time as well. Fionn MacCool’s will hold a giant party in the Durham centre. There’s a free classic antique car show at Canadian Tire in the Durham centre—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Ahem.

Mr. Joe Dickson: I’m getting down to the last day, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for your generosity.

There is a peace and harmony multicultural concert at Forest Brook church, and the big day—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Oh, the big day?

Mr. Joe Dickson: The big day, if I could, Mr. Speaker, is the last day, Father’s Day. It’s what emergency services and first responders do. They do a day. We bring in the police helicopter—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I thank the member from Ajax–Pickering.

Mr. Joe Dickson: —and it goes on and on and on. It ends with the largest fireworks in all of Durham region. That’s in Ajax–Pickering. We’ll see you. I thank you for your—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. It’s called a word count.

Jenna’s Lemonade Stand

Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m so excited to see here in the members’ gallery Jenna and her sister, Jordyn, and their mom—I’m sorry, her name escaped me for a second, but it will come to me in a minute—Elise. They are the Zaracoff family, and they’re doing Jenna’s Lemonade Stand again this year in memory of their father and late husband, Stewart, who died of lymphoma. It’s a fantastic fundraiser, and this Saturday, rain or shine, at 11 a.m. it’s going to be at 45 Loma Vista Drive in Thornhill.

You can go online to donate, if you can’t make it, at www.lymphoma.ca. There are going to be lemonade treats, bracelets—all kinds of stuff for sale. It’s a lot of fun. It’s just a short walk from my house. I hope to see lots of people there. This is the sixth year they’re doing this fundraiser.

I just want to mention to people—I’ve said it a few times in this House—that in Thornhill people don’t just talk; they do. They don’t say, “Oh, you know what? We need to raise money for a cause,” or “We care about something in the community.” They write letters to the editor. They set up a charity. They join the charity. They go to support the charities.

That’s why it’s such an honour for me to represent Thornhill and to see people like Jenna and her sister. I’m sorry that the security guard made you turn your t-shirts inside out. They had wonderful t-shirts that said, “Jenna’s Lemonade Stand.” The colour to support lymphoma is purple.

I urge everybody to go online to donate, to stop by Jenna’s Lemonade Stand, which Jordyn helps so much with, to wear purple and to support. Keep a smile on your face, because we’re such a great community.

Media technologies facility

Mr. Peter Z. Milczyn: A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to attend an exciting celebration at Cinespace Film Studios in my riding of Etobicoke–Lakeshore. York University announced the opening of a new satellite campus location of York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design in Etobicoke–Lakeshore. Alongside Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor of York University; Jeff O’Hagan, York University’s vice-president for advancement; and Shawn Brixey, dean of the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design, the Mirkopoulos family announced that they have provided a generous donation of $2.5 million to create a new York University AMPD motion media studio at Cinespace Film Studios.

This state-of-the-art facility for teaching, learning and producing content is embedded at Cinespace’s Kipling Avenue studio complex in my riding. This will allow students to explore the creation, convergence and application of next-generation arts and entertainment media technologies. These students will be able to do so in a real movie studio environment, thereby enhancing the value of their academic pursuits.

This generous gift will also have a lasting impact on Etobicoke–Lakeshore as it continues to establish itself as a world-recognized film and creative industries hub.

With this addition of a second post-secondary learning institution in my riding, the first being Humber College, my community is welcoming both students and industry to thrive in Ontario.

Beaches International Jazz Festival

Mr. Arthur Potts: It gives me great pleasure to rise to inform the House today that tomorrow my private member’s bill looking after the tips of precarious employees comes into effect.

Not only are we out there protecting precarious workers in Ontario—and I’m very excited about that—but I’m really excited to tell you about the 28th Beaches International Jazz Festival, which starts July 2. It has now extended to a third week, three weekends, starting on July 2. The first week is dedicated to salsa. I’m going to try to encourage the minister of fun and fitness, Minister Coteau, to come and join us there and get his salsa groove on.

They continue this year to have the very popular Queen StreetFest. For every couple of blocks, they have a different band, all local bands from across Ontario and the GTA, who play on the street corners, and you can walk up and down Queen Street. But this year, they’ve extended it way out into Riverdale and into Leslieville as well. That day coming up will be an incredible day. I encourage everyone to get around.

We are also returning this year to Kew Gardens stage, which is where Lido Chilelli founded the Beaches jazz fest 28 years ago. It has been on at Woodbine Park because the crowds got so big, but we’re going back to Kew Gardens for a mini-series. And A Cappella is making a second year, A Cappella was so successful last year.

Finally, we’re now moving the Beaches jazz into what we call the Farmers’ Market Series. All the farmers’ markets in the east end of Toronto are going to have the opportunity to have a local band playing music during the festival while people are buying fresh goods in Ontario, because, Speaker, good things do grow in Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. I think you meant the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. I think that’s what you meant.

Wearing of pins

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): On a point of order, the member from Newmarket–Aurora.

Mr. Chris Ballard: Yes, point of order, Mr. Speaker. I believe that you’ll find we have unanimous consent that members be permitted to wear pins for brain tumour awareness.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Newmarket–Aurora is seeking unanimous consent to wear the pins for brain tumour awareness. Do we agree? Agreed. Thank you.

Introduction of Bills

Delegated Administrative Authorities Accountability and Transparency Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 sur la responsabilisation et la transparence des organismes d’application délégataires

Mr. McDonell moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 219, An Act to amend various Acts with respect to delegated administrative authorities / Projet de loi 219, Loi modifiant diverses lois en ce qui concerne les organismes d’application délégataires.

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): The member for a short statement.

Mr. Jim McDonell: Currently, under the Condominium Act, 1998, the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015, the Delegated Administrative Authorities Act, 2012, and the safety and consumer statutes, the Lieutenant Governor in Council can delegate the administration of the act or certain specified acts to the administrative authority.

In addition, under each of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, the Technical Standards and Safety Act and the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, there’s an administrative authority responsible for administering the act.

The bill deals with all of those administrative authorities. Currently, the minister responsible for administering each act can appoint one or more members to the board of directors or the administrative authority. The bill transfers that power to the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

The bill also requires the Auditor General to do annual audits of the accounts and financial transactions of each of the administrative authorities. The bill amends the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to make administrative authorities institutions that are subject to the act, and the bill makes the investment act and the disclosure requirements of the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act applicable to administrative authorities.


Highway ramps

Mrs. Julia Munro: My petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury will continue to have robust growth of population and commercial activity in proximity to the Holland Marsh, Ontario’s salad bowl, which consists of 7,000 acres of specialty crop area lands designated in the provincial Greenbelt Plan and is situated along the municipal boundary between King township and the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury...;


“Whereas the Canal Road ramps at Highway 400 provide critical access for farm operations within the Holland Marsh...;

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

“That the council of the corporation of the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury hereby advises the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, that the town does not support the elimination of the Canal Road ramps at Highway 400, and further, that the town requests that the duration of the temporary closure of Canal Road between Wist Road and Davis Road be minimized to the greatest extent possible during the Highway 400/North Canal bridge replacement project.”

As I am in complete agreement, I will affix my signature and give it to page Waleed.

Hospital funding

Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that comes from all over Ontario, but mainly from northern Ontario. It reads as follows:

“Nurses Know—Petition for Better Care.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas providing high-quality, universal, public health care is crucial for a fair and thriving Ontario; and

“Whereas years of underfunding have resulted in cuts to registered nurses (RNs) and hurt patient care; and

“Whereas, in 2015 alone, Ontario lost more than 1.5 million hours of RN care due to cuts; and

“Whereas procedures are being off-loaded into private clinics not subject to hospital legislation; and

“Whereas funded services are being cut from hospitals and are not being provided in the community; and

“Whereas cutting skilled care means patients suffer more complications, readmissions and death;

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

“Implement a moratorium on RN cuts;

“Commit to restoring hospital base operating funding to at least cover the costs of inflation and population growth;

“Create a fully-funded multi-year health human resources plan to bring Ontario’s ratio of registered nurses to population up to the national average;

“Ensure hospitals have enough resources to continue providing safe, quality and integrated care for clinical procedures and stop plans for moving such procedures into private, unaccountable clinics.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask page Colleen to bring it to the Clerk.

Water fluoridation

Mr. Chris Ballard: I have a petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly entitled “Update Ontario Fluoridation Legislation.” It reads like this:

“Whereas scientific studies conducted during the past 70 years have consistently shown that community water fluoridation is a safe and effective means of preventing dental decay and is a public health measure endorsed by more than 90 national and international health organizations, including the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Ontario Dental Association; and

“Whereas recent experience in Canadian cities that have removed fluoride from drinking water has led directly to a dramatic increase in tooth decay; and

“Whereas the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care urges support for amending the Fluoridation Act to ensure community water fluoridation is mandatory; and

“Whereas the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing urges support for the removal of provisions allowing Ontario municipalities to cease drinking water fluoridation, or fail to start drinking water fluoridation, from the Ontario Municipal Act;

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

“That the Premier of Ontario direct the Ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Health and Long-Term Care to amend all applicable legislation and regulations to make the fluoridation of municipal drinking water mandatory in all municipal water systems across the province of Ontario before the end of the first session of the current Ontario Parliament.”

School closures

Mr. Bill Walker: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“The Owen Sound community connects students from a 30-kilometre radius into a well-established network of neighbourhood schools. For over 160 years, the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute (OSCVI) has provided opportunities for our young people to excel. Graduates include: Agnes Macphail, Norman Bethune, Retta Kilborn, Billy Bishop and thousands of others. When the original OSCVI building was demolished our community was told the new facility would outlast us all (or at least for another 150 years). It was designed with the needs of secondary students in mind and continues to be a centre of excellence for our student population, and a source of community pride;

“Whereas the recent public ARC discussion in the community was over a very different proposal (which was supported in the community);

“Whereas the plan announced by the Bluewater District School Board on March 1st was a complete change and the public was not adequately consulted;

“Whereas students, parents and the community had less than 50 days to adjust to the sudden closure of their school—as students are preparing for final exams; and

“Whereas the city of Owen Sound has requested a delay of one year to prepare for a major change;

“We request that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario ask the Bluewater board of education to delay the implementation of any school closures and amalgamation by one year, to allow for students and the community to adjust, and to permit stakeholder groups to consult on the proposal to close OSCVI.”

I fully support it, will affix my name and send it with my buddy page Sahil.

Special-needs students

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: I have a petition called “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 to.”

I fully support the petition and will send it to the table with page Waleed.

Grade separation

Mrs. Cristina Martins: It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to present just over 2,000 signatures on this petition, which is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the Davenport community is a strong, vibrant, diverse and engaged community committed to improving the well-being of all community members;

“Whereas Metrolinx has proposed a 1.5-kilometre elevated rail bridge through the Davenport community to bypass the current Davenport Diamond crossing, where the Barrie GO line intersects with the CP main line;

“Whereas our community recognizes and supports the expansion of public transit across Toronto and the GTA to create a stronger region;

“Whereas we feel that the Davenport community was not given the opportunity to consider the risks, benefits, and opportunities between a bridge, tunnel, or trench when this project was announced;

“Whereas the signing of this petition is not an endorsement of Metrolinx’s plan to build an overpass, but rather an understanding of the issues and concerns that need to be addressed before proceeding;

“Whereas our community has been clear in calling for the Davenport Diamond grade separation project to be a city-building exercise that truly benefits all communities along the corridor;

“Whereas numerous community organizations have been working to advocate on the issues and concerns that many area residents have with this project; and

“Whereas we share many of the same issues and concerns as the city and community organizations with this project which have been previously outlined in an open letter to Metrolinx;

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

“To ensure that the government of Ontario and Metrolinx meet the requirements of the Davenport community as outlined in the open letter dated April 26, 2016 including but not limited to developing a comprehensive vision with a separate budget for public realm improvements and a design competition; addressing noise, vibration, and safety issues and concerns to the community’s satisfaction; creating a multi-modal station at Bloor; establishing cycling and walking connections throughout including connections to the West Toronto Railpath, the green line and an elevated connection to Earlscourt Park; devising a long-term maintenance plan and endowment fund for community programming in conjunction with the community and city; resolving concerns relating to Dupont St.; and additionally to provide the community with a date commitment to electrify the corridor and a guarantee that no more than the proposed 36 trains per day will be in use until electric trains are operational on the corridor.”

I agree with this petition and will affix my name and send it to the table with page Julia.

Natural gas

Mr. Robert Bailey: This is a very short petition. It’s addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for natural gas lines to be installed in our community, known as Enniskillen township—Shiloh Line from Mandaumin in the east to Oil Heritage Road in the east.”

Madam Speaker, I agree with this petition, affix my signature to it and send it down with Alexandra.

Hospital funding

Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that comes from all over Ontario. I’d like to thank Madame Sharon Simpson from Val Caron in my riding. It goes as follows:

“Whereas Health Sciences North is facing major budget shortfalls leading to a decrease of 87,000 hours of nursing care in psychiatry, day surgery, the surgical unit, obstetrics, mental health services, oncology, critical care, and the emergency department....;

“Whereas Ontario’s provincial government has cut hospital funding in real dollar terms for the last eight years in a row; and

“Whereas these cuts will risk higher medical accident rates as nursing and direct patient care hours are reduced all across the hospital;

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

“Stop the proposed cuts to Health Sciences North and protect beds and services....”

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask Daniel to bring it to the Clerk.


Blood donation

Mr. Glenn Thibeault: I rise today to introduce a petition by folks from my great riding of Sudbury and from the riding of Barrie. Mostly these signatories are from the Laurentian Students’ Union and from the Georgian College Pride association. Their petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas current legislation prevents” gay men “from donating blood, we request action to allow blood to be donated ... in the same manner that heterosexuals are allowed to donate.

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

“—to make changes which will allow all people to donate blood equally...;

“—to have mandatory screening decide if blood donation should be permitted in the blood bank;

“—to stop the current ... stereotyping of donors.”

I agree with this petition. I’ll sign it and ask page Julia to take it to the Clerk.

Health care funding

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

“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.”

As I am in favour of this, I have affixed my name to give it to page Ariane.

Post-secondary sector employees

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: I have a petition entitled “Supporting Fair Pay and Fair Wages in the Post-Secondary Sector.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the government is obligated to spend public funds in a manner which delivers quality services and supports the sustainability of the province; and

“Whereas post-secondary institutions in Ontario receive over $5 billion in public funds, and act as a critical pillar of Ontario’s economy; and

“Whereas post-secondary institutions rely on the livability of the local communities as a contributing factor in attracting both student applications and qualified staff, as well as maintaining their global competitiveness; and

“Whereas studies show that living wages improve productivity, significantly reduce training costs, reduce worker absenteeism, provide for healthier communities with broader economic growth, and significantly increase the livability of a community; and

“Whereas there is an emerging trend in post-secondary institutions to substitute good-paying jobs with contracted-out services which rarely offer any benefits or pensions and do not provide fair pay and hours of work;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to end the practice of contracting out front-line jobs, and provide fair, stable hours of work as well as equitable remuneration.”

I’d like to thank Chris O’Keefe from my riding for sending this in. I support it, will sign it and send it to the desk with the page.

Sexual violence and harassment

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I recognize the member for—


The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Oh, so sorry. I recognize the member from Kitchener Centre.

Ms. Daiene Vernile: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I know over here we’re in your peripheral and sometimes we don’t get noticed, but thank you for noticing us.

This is a petition 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.

“Less than 10% of sexual violence cases are reported to police. For every 33 that are reported, only three result in a conviction....

“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 I will give it to page Nadine to bring down to you.

Driver licenses

Mr. Jim McDonell: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas many residents and businesses in Ontario rely on the ability to drive a vehicle in order to work, buy food and otherwise function;

“Whereas licence suspension upon receipt of a medical notice to that effect is immediate; and

“Whereas constituents are forced to wait 30 business days following a positive medical review by their physician prior to being reinstated; and

“Whereas this wait time is not prescribed in any legislation or regulation, but is solely due to Ministry of Transportation policies that ignore the reality of living and operating a business, especially in rural and northern Ontario; and

“Whereas a needlessly long licence suspension threatens the livelihoods of many families in Ontario;

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

“To direct the Ministry of Transportation to institute a five-business-day service guarantee for drivers’ licence reinstatements following the submission of a positive physician’s review.”

I agree with this and will pass it off to page Jacob.

Mr. Ted Arnott: A point of order, Madam Speaker?

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): A point of order from the member from Wellington–Halton Hills.

Mr. Ted Arnott: Since this is the last day of the spring sitting of the Legislature, I’m seeking the unanimous consent of the House to add an additional five minutes to petitions, for this afternoon only, so that members can get their petitions on, since the time has expired.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): The member from Wellington–Halton Hills has asked for unanimous consent for extension of the time for petitions. Is it the order of the House that it carries? Agreed.

All right. The member from Wellington–Halton Hills.

Health care funding

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

“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 and I’ve affixed my signature to it. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

Privatization of public assets

Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that’s called “Privatizing Hydro One: Another Wrong Choice.”

I’d like to thank Mr. Blaine Gautier from Val Therese for sending this. It goes as follows:

“Whereas once you privatize Hydro One, there’s no return; and

“Whereas we’ll lose billions in reliable annual revenues for schools and hospitals; and

“Whereas we’ll lose our biggest economic asset and control over our energy future; and

“Whereas we’ll pay higher and higher hydro bills just like what’s happened elsewhere;

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

“To stop the sale of Hydro One and make sure Ontario families benefit from owning Hydro One now and for generations to come.”

I fully agree with this petition, affix my name to it and give it to Thomas.

Health care funding

Mr. Robert Bailey: This petition is addressed 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....

“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.”

This is signed by hundreds of people. I’ll send it down with Jacob to the table.

Gasoline prices

Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that comes mainly from the north. I would like to recognize—I forgot the name now—Madame Carmen Kingsley from Hanmer. It reads as follows:

“Whereas northern Ontario motorists continue to be subject to wild fluctuations in the price of gasoline; and

“Whereas the province could eliminate opportunistic price gouging and deliver fair, stable and predictable fuel prices; and

“Whereas five provinces and many US states already have some sort of gas price regulation; and

“Whereas jurisdictions with gas price regulation have seen an end to wild price fluctuations, a shrinking of price discrepancies between urban and rural communities and lower annualized gas prices;

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

“Mandate the Ontario Energy Board to monitor the price of gasoline across Ontario in order to reduce price volatility and unfair regional price differences while encouraging competition.”

I fully support this petition, affix my name to it and give it to Emily.

Lung health

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario regarding lung disease.

“Whereas lung disease affects more than 2.4 million people in the province of Ontario, more than 570,000 of whom are children and youth living with asthma;


“Of the four chronic diseases responsible for 79% of deaths (cancers, cardiovascular diseases, lung disease and diabetes) lung disease is the only one without a dedicated province-wide strategy;

“In the Ontario Lung Association report, Your Lungs, Your Life, it is estimated that lung disease currently costs the Ontario taxpayers more than $4 billion a year in direct and indirect health care costs, and that this figure is estimated to rise to more than $80 billion seven short years from now;

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

“To allow for deputations on MPP Kathryn McGarry’s private member’s bill, Bill 41, Lung Health Act, 2014, which establishes a Lung Health Advisory Council to make recommendations to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on lung health issues and requires the minister to develop and implement an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan with respect to research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease; and

“Once debated at committee, to expedite Bill 41, Lung Health Act, 2014, through the committee stage and back to the Legislature for third and final reading; and to immediately call for a vote on Bill 41 and to seek royal assent immediately upon its passage.”

I support this, sign it and send it to you via page Colleen.

Private Members’ Public Business

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I just want to draw to the attention of all members that we are dealing with M213, second reading of Bill 213.

Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Careless Driving), 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant le Code de la route (conduite imprudente)

Ms. McMahon moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 213, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to careless driving causing death or bodily harm / Projet de loi 213, Loi modifiant le Code de la route en ce qui concerne la conduite imprudente causant la mort ou des blessures corporelles.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for her presentation.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I’m pleased to begin debate on Bill 213. In doing so, I want to recognize a number of colleagues, friends and family who have come to Queen’s Park today in support of today’s debate. They are my brother, Ed McMahon; Constable Hugh Smith from the Toronto Police Service; from the Ontario Provincial Police Association, Chris Hoffman; from the Police Association of Ontario, Stephen Reid and Bruce Chapman; Jamie Stuckless, executive director of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, and Share the Road board member Ian Brisbin, a lawyer from Hamilton. Thank you all for being here.

Ten years ago this week, my life and the lives of many people dear to me changed forever when a careless driver struck and killed my husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, a veteran police officer in his 25th year of service. Greg was killed while on a training ride in Milton. He was 44 years old and in the prime of his life.

As many of my honourable colleagues in this House know, Greg’s death and his life’s work as an OPP officer have been the impetus for the direction I’ve taken in my life over the past decade. It has shaped my approach to and my decisions regarding advocacy, and my decision to fight for changes to legislative constructs, enhanced infrastructure funding, and education and awareness for motorists and cyclists when it comes to sharing the road, all in the interest of road safety.

Our response to this tragic loss was, in 2008, making the case for legislative changes that would enhance road safety by providing front-line law enforcement with the tools they needed to reduce the number of motorists who continue to drive under suspension. This was in response to Greg’s case but also to the estimated half-million suspended drivers in Ontario, with an estimated three quarters of these people continuing to drive despite their suspension. Greg’s Law provided for enhanced penalties for motorists who drive under suspension, in the hopes of reducing repeat offenders and in the hopes of reducing the number of uninsured drivers and getting them off the road. It passed in 2009 and came into force in 2010.

In 2008, we started the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a provincial cycling advocacy organization with a mandate to bring about legislative change in Ontario that would enhance road safety, empower municipalities to make their communities more bicycle-friendly, change the conversation, and enhance education and awareness of the importance of sharing the road, reminding people that whether you’re a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian, we all have responsibilities when we’re on the road.

During my time at the coalition, I’m proud to say that, working together with many members of this House, we made tremendous progress for cyclists, and indeed all vulnerable road users. This progress included the first provincial infrastructure program for cycling, with $25 million in dedicated funding for projects that are now being built in communities across Ontario. We drove major changes to the Highway Traffic Act, including a one-metre safe passing law, the second in Canada, as part of the most significant update to the Highway Traffic Act for cycling in our province’s history, Bill 31, in 2015. A provincial investment in cycling education programs was another major and very recent step forward. All of these were recommendations of the 2012 Ontario coroner’s review into cycling deaths—and I was honoured to sit as a member of that review. All of this is Greg’s legacy.

While I’m tremendously proud of what has been accomplished, at the end of the day, like all of the 129 cyclists who were part of the coroner’s death review, like the hundreds of Ontarians who die on our roads each year, Greg’s death was preventable.

The driver who killed Greg had five previous convictions of driving with a suspended licence, two convictions of driving with no insurance, and had collected $15,000 in traffic-related fines. His sentence: His licence was suspended again, and he received 100 hours of community service. And just 62 days after this man hit Greg, he hit someone else. One of the conclusions to be drawn from this is that, despite his actions, despite the fact that he killed someone as a result of his carelessness, he continued to drive without the kind of due care and attention which is the minimum standard expected of all of us and which the careless driving statute, section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, which I hope to amend today, demands.

Tragically, Greg’s story is not unique. Every year in Ontario, lives are taken because another individual made a bad choice. In 2015, in the city of Toronto alone, 64 people died in traffic fatalities—this is up from 35 in 2011 and 51 in 2014, so in six years the number of lives lost, all of them preventable, has nearly doubled—and of those, 38 were pedestrians and four were cyclists, meaning that 67% of those were vulnerable road users. I’m willing to bet, although statistics are not kept in this regard, that a good chunk of those led to charges of careless driving and to outcomes for all concerned—the victims, their families, the police officers laying the charge—that were less than satisfactory from the perspective of some kind of assurance that the penalties associated with the outcomes were sufficient.

Of course, when you lose someone you love, like I did, nothing is going to bring them back and nothing will feel sufficient. But of this I am sure: The current statute, which lacks specificity both in terms of the charge and the sentence provisions, is calling out for reform.

Carelessness is the cause of most deaths that result from vehicle-related accidents. By the year 2020, it is estimated that road traffic injuries will become the third-greatest contributor to the global burden of disease and injury. These kinds of injuries and fatalities are preventable. In fact, according to the 2012 coroner’s report that I mentioned earlier, of the 129 deaths reviewed, 100% of them were preventable, because all drivers make choices, whether it’s choosing to text and drive, choosing to get behind the wheel after a few beers or, instead, choosing to concentrate on the task at hand, focusing on the road and arriving at their destination safely.

A police officer friend of mine once said, “Sometimes they’re just accidents, Eleanor.” Fair enough. But if your poor choice results in injury or the death of another human being, if you are inattentive behind the wheel even for a moment, if your carelessness and disregard for others leads to these results, if Bill 213 passes, the penalties you will pay are significant. By contrast, the person who is the victim of your carelessness, who may be seriously injured, will face a life of difficult challenges, and so will their family. And if you kill them, then the sentence that you will have imposed is a life sentence, as I know only too well.

As police officers know, it’s unlikely that these types of collisions, including those causing death, will result in criminal charges and the stiffer penalties that come with federal statutes. Indeed, most will result in a traffic violation under the Highway Traffic Act. It’s far too common for drivers who have caused the death of another human being to see penalties as simple as a fine of a few hundred dollars, demerit points or a suspended driver’s licence. Worse still, as happens so often with traffic offences, a plea bargaining process ensues, with a lesser sentence often applied. If we provide officers with the tools they need to lay a charge that speaks to the behaviour of the motorist as well as the outcome, and if we provide the courts with greater specificity when it comes to sentencing options, with the full force of the highest penalties allowed under provincial statute, then we are sending a clear signal to all Ontarians that driving is a privilege and not a right, that driving carelessly is serious, and that lives matter, especially when the family of the victim serves a life sentence of grief.

For repeat offenders, the current penalties run the risk of continuing to have little deterrent effect. I’ve seen that first-hand.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, careless driving is one of the most serious offences. It is defined as driving without due care and attention. In order to charge a driver under the Criminal Code, there would need to be established an intent to kill or cause bodily harm, or the driver in question would have had to be so outrageously dangerous that the driver would have known that killing someone was a likely outcome.


Our legal system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone of a criminal charge, and for good reason. It’s an important pillar of our justice system. But in cases of careless driving that cause death, unfortunately that means that most of these drivers are charged under the Highway Traffic Act, where the driver’s actions are under scrutiny, not the fact that an innocent person was seriously injured or killed.

Personal injury lawyer Patrick Brown, a colleague with whom I called for a review of cycling deaths by the Ontario coroner and with whom I served on that review, recently noted that of the cases studied in the review, charges were laid in only 30% of the cases, with 19% of them under the Highway Traffic Act and 11% under the Criminal Code. I’m not advocating that all motorists should be charged and penalized as criminals, but I do believe that we need to encourage safe driving and deter careless driving so that preventable deaths are just that—prevented.

There’s clearly a gap between careless driving and the criminal offence of dangerous driving or criminal negligence. Bill 213 seeks to close that gap. Currently, under the Highway Traffic Act, the minimum fine for careless driving is $400 and the maximum is $2,000. Drivers could face up to six demerit points, a licence suspension of up to two years, and up to six months in prison, although this is rarely, if ever, delivered as a sentence.

Indeed, a friend of mine, a member of the Toronto Police Service with 29 years of service, told me recently that in all his years on the job, most of them in traffic, with all of the careless driving charges he has laid, none of them has resulted in a jail sentence, despite the fact that people have died as a result of the carelessness of a motorist.

To him and to all the officers across Ontario who serve our province, who work so diligently to keep our roads safe every day, I say this: In Greg’s memory and in memory of all those whose lives have been lost, for all the accident and collision reconstructionists, the guys and gals patrolling our roads and provincial highways, today’s bill is for you.

Greg’s frustration with the lack of specificity inherent in section 130 and his frustration at his inability to lay a charge which fit the offence was something I heard about very often.

Today, we are changing the conversation about what careless driving should mean. This bill aims to fill the gap between less and more severe offences, providing additional charging options to both law enforcement and our courts. It aims to recognize and provide a tool for collisions that result in serious injury or death by creating a separate offence of careless driving causing death or bodily harm. Bill 213, if passed, would increase penalties under this new category, making a clear distinction between careless driving and careless driving causing death or bodily harm. It will also give police officers more time to conduct an investigation, and collision reconstructionists the time they need to do these often painstaking investigations.

Under the proposed new category, fines would be a minimum of $2,000 to a maximum of $50,000. The driver could face a maximum of two years in prison, the maximum allowed under provincial statute, as opposed to the current maximum for careless driving, which is six months. Their driver’s licence could be suspended for up to five years. Their sentencing options will include the requirement to complete a road safety or driver training course, as well.

Ultimately, the goal is to have penalties in place that discourage careless driving and encourage good choices behind the wheel. But we will also use this opportunity to help promote public awareness of the threat posed by motor vehicles in the hands of the wrong person. And finally, we will draw attention to the fact that when a motorist is careless and hits a cyclist or a pedestrian, the outcomes are much more significant.

With Bill 213, both our officers and our courts will have the opportunity to send that very clear signal that driving with due care and attention matters, arguably more so when it comes to our most vulnerable road users.

In closing, I want to thank all of my colleagues on all sides of the House for their support for road safety, for community safety, and, most of all, for their support for cycling and all of our combined efforts to make sharing the road easier and safer for all Ontarians.

To my family, to my policing family, it is my privilege to table this law on your behalf.

And to Greg, wherever you are, I hope the skies are blue, the road ahead is clear, and that you are pedalling with all of the joy, the enthusiasm and the love of life that was so emblematic to everything that you were and that you meant to all of us. Ride on in the knowledge that we are working hard to make the roads safer in your name.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Harris: Thank you, Speaker, for the opportunity to address the member from Burlington’s amendment to the Highway Traffic Act in regard to careless driving.

I know it is very emotional for her, and we’re happy here that we have an opportunity to speak. It’s not too often that we have an opportunity in this House to work through continued distractions, share common ground and bring all sides together for a common goal.

I think we can all agree there is no doubt that we, as legislators, need to address new and emerging safety concerns on our roadways, as this bill proposes, much as we need to address those who cause safety concerns for those around them due to carelessness. The truth is that there are shared goals among all of us here for the protection of public safety for Ontarians using our roads, whether they are on two wheels, four or more. As such, I feel that the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Careless Driving) offers one of these rare opportunities to encapsulate the work of government, opposition and our diligent safety partners in the effort to protect motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike as we address carelessness on our roads.

We’ve heard the government member’s proposal to amend the Highway Traffic Act to increase the penalties for careless driving causing death or bodily harm. An offender, once convicted, would be liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000. There are also imprisonment increases to a term of not more than two years. If those do not work as enough of a deterrent to reckless behaviour on our roads, the bill also proposes that the offender may have their licence suspended for not more than five years, may be ordered to complete a road safety or driver training course, and the limitation period in respect of careless driving causing death or bodily harm will be increased to two years.

Although I mentioned this bill acting as a deterrent to reckless behaviour—which I’m sure we all hope it will, if passed—it will also allow those in law enforcement to be able to see justice handed out for crimes, instead of seeing offenders simply walking away unscathed, oftentimes with their licence in tow, because the penalties, as they currently stand, do not include imprisonment or the loss of a licence. Under the Highway Traffic Act, this sort of infraction, even if it causes a loss of life, carries a maximum penalty of just $500.

Unfortunately, the member opposite knows this tragedy far too intimately, as she has shared so passionately with us today. MPP McMahon lost her husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, as the result of the recklessness of a man who had five convictions for driving while under licence suspension, four convictions for driving with no insurance and $15,000 in unpaid fines; two months later, he was involved in another at-fault collision—all of this while driving commercially. This man only received 100 hours of community service as a penalty, whereas the MPP from Burlington is facing a life sentence without her partner. This, quite frankly, is a shortfall of our own justice system.

This type of story is something we hear far too often. In my region, a young woman was convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm for suddenly veering across several lanes of the Conestoga Parkway in a doomed bid to make her exit. She had been speeding and aggressively passing other vehicles as she approached the off-ramp. The reckless manoeuvre by the young woman on the afternoon of August 31, 2012, caused a devastating three-car crash that sent seven people to hospital, including Robert Jacques, 46, who spent six weeks in a coma and suffered life-changing injuries after her car landed on his roof, off the flyover ramp on southbound Highway 8.

The judge sentenced her to six months for causing the car crash and imposed a 10-year driving prohibition, the maximum allowed, based upon her driving history and her behaviour on the road that day.

Although we hear these stories far too often, we do not often hear of convictions for dangerous driving. As those in law enforcement know, it is quite difficult to convict, as you have to prove either intent or recklessness.

Because of this, I commend the member from Burlington for being creative within the legislative tools we are afforded in this province to create stricter penalties for those who far too often slip through the cracks and loopholes in the justice system, and for sharing her heartbreaking story with us today in the hope that history does not repeat itself and we can continue to protect the lives of those on our roads.

Thank you for your time today, Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Wayne Gates: I certainly am honoured to rise today on Bill 213, careless driving. As always, it’s a pleasure to speak in this House and represent the constituents of Niagara Falls. I’m speaking today as the New Democratic Party critic for transportation, but also as someone who continues to do everything in their power to fight for safety on our roads and to ensure that our families are safe. I’m committed to ensuring that the roads in this province are safe and the regulations are fair across the board.


The bill we have before us today, Bill 213, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to careless driving causing death or bodily harm, is an important one. It’s important because it helps to protect the most vulnerable members of our society who use our roads and because it helps ensure that in cases of careless driving that cause death or serious injury, the punishment will fit the crime. Those are two courses of action that are important for us to take.

Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, users of mobility devices and even motorcyclists face the highest risk of death or serious injury on our roads. A collision between a car and a cyclist or a pedestrian is vastly more likely to result in serious injury or death to the cyclist or pedestrian than a collision between cars.

Far too often when collisions occur between a car and a vulnerable road user, the punishment for the driver of that car does not fit the crime. This has led to groups such as Cycle Toronto, the Bikers Rights Organization and the United Senior Citizens of Ontario to call for stricter penalties when a collision occurs between a car and a road user leading to death or serious injury, and I stand with them in this call.

The Ontario NDP understands the need to protect vulnerable road users, and we support efforts to do that. Unfortunately, the bill we have before us today falls short of the standards set in the calls by the organizations I have mentioned.

One of the main changes that these organizations call for is that motorists who cause injury or death should be required to attend court at the time of sentencing and hear victim statements. The simple fact that someone who causes injury or death doesn’t even have to go to court when they have their sentencing to hear from those whom they impacted is, quite frankly, I believe, ridiculous. This needs to change.

The other area where this bill falls short is one that left me very confused. This bill would only mandate harsher punishment for those who cause death or serious injury as a result of careless driving. That means that in the 2011 case of a driver who made an illegal left turn and killed a pedestrian in Brampton, they would still only face the $500 fine that was levied against him at the time. That means that in the 2002 case that I spoke of before, Wanda and David Harrison, who were killed while out riding their motorcycle by a driver making an illegal left turn, the driver again would only face the $500 fine that was levied against him at that time. That simply is not right. Again, I’ve raised this. The families and friends of the Harrisons and of the Brampton pedestrian will tell you it wasn’t right then, and if we’re going to change the law, we need to get it right now.

Here is where my confusion came in. Back in December of last year, I introduced a private member’s bill to this House called Bill 154, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to create an offence of contravention causing death or serious bodily harm. The bill passed second reading unanimously and it has sat waiting to be heard at committee ever since.

Bill 154 would have added a new section to the Highway Traffic Act that created an offence related to collisions causing death or serious injury. It would have ensured that any driver who causes death or serious injury, whether careless driving was involved or not, would face a punishment more consistent with the crime.

There are some differences between my bill and the one we see before us today. The truth is, those differences are small. Clearly, the member from Burlington—my colleague—and I have the same goals in mind. I would have been happy to work with her and with her government to amend the bill. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I feel absolutely terrible about what happened to her husband, who was killed.

I’m going to tell a story, because I think it’s important to tell stories like this—the one about the one that survives and what that does to their family and what that does to their kids.

One day, a woman was coming down Lundy’s Lane. A vice-principal, early forties. A car pulls out and crosses the line and hits that woman head-on. It didn’t kill her, but her injuries were to her shoulder, her ribs, her femur—her foot was a club foot.

That was 12 years ago. That woman used to play volleyball, used to go on walks, she used to ride her bike. She used to go for a walk with her daughter or her husband. The drunk driver who hit her had a minor knee injury, although he cried like a little baby when it happened. He’s up and about, got on with his life.

The woman I’m talking about can no longer play volleyball, can no longer play slo-pitch, can no longer go for long walks with her daughter or her husband, and every step she takes today hurts. But even from that accident, that strong woman that she was, she made sure she got back up on her feet, even though she was in pain every day, and was able to go from being a vice-principal to a principal, even though every step she took in that school hurt.

When we talk about these types of bills, I think collectively we want the same thing. I believe my friends and my colleagues the Conservatives want the same thing: We want to get the bill right. We don’t want to have it where somebody can drive without a licence for four or five times, or be charged with impaired driving two or three times, and get off with a three-month sentence, in most cases a suspended sentence. We don’t want that. I don’t think anybody here wants that. We want to make sure we get the bill right and, just like you—you want to get it for your husband—to make sure that no husband or wife gets killed on our highways by somebody driving carelessly or somebody driving drunk.

I’m going to tell you, my colleague from Burlington—because I can’t say her name—I want the same thing, because that woman that got up off that car that afternoon at 5 o’clock, where her teachers and her colleagues at the other school had to take care of her daughter, and they had to call her husband, who was in bargaining, that woman was my wife, the strongest and the smartest woman I know.


But if we’re going to make bills like this to make changes, we have to make those changes so that person knows that if they do this, there’s going to be a crime—they’re going to pay the punishment—and to send a message to other people that it isn’t right to drive carelessly, it isn’t right to drive drunk, and it certainly isn’t right to drive drunk at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

I know I took a little bit of my colleague’s time, but I support your bill. I think we can do a little better. I think we should talk about it and find out how we get this bill right for your husband, for my wife and for all the other residents of the province of Ontario. So thanks for giving me a few minutes of your time.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mrs. Cristina Martins: I rise today to address the private member’s bill proposed by the member from Burlington to amend the Highway Traffic Act to further address careless driving.

The proposed bill will amend the Highway Traffic Act to increase the penalties for careless driving causing death or bodily harm. The act will also increase the limitation period for those charged with careless driving causing death or bodily harm to make prosecutors better equipped to charge careless drivers.

It is 2016, and our roads are more multi-modal than ever before. People commute to work and travel around their communities using a multitude of vehicles and transportation methods. Year after year in my riding of Davenport, more people are walking or riding bicycles, rather than cars, to move around the community and travel from place to place. In my Davenport constituency office, people consistently have questions about what our government has been doing to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians in Davenport. Constituents in my riding truly embrace cycling as an essential part of Toronto’s sustainable transportation network and are proud that the needs of people who cycle are now taken into account in infrastructure. Although cyclists are involved in planning infrastructure, there is still more to do to ensure that those who share the roads with cars and trucks are protected. As more bicycles share the road, the potential likelihood for fatalities and serious injury related to collisions between cyclists and automobiles may also rise.

Many municipalities across Ontario recognize that multiple modes of transportation are accepted on roads, but through the proposed amendments, all drivers in Ontario will have to be aware of all those using the road.

In 2013, there were a total of 63 traffic fatalities resulting from collisions between cyclists and automobiles. This was an increase of 43% over 2012. Pedestrians and cyclists have continued to be killed or seriously injured on the roads in Ontario and, sadly, in my own riding of Davenport.

Carelessness is the primary cause of most collisions between cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles. Studies show that, by the year 2020, it is estimated that road traffic injuries will become the third-largest contributor to the global burden of disease and injury. But unlike any disease, these kinds of injuries and fatalities are preventable. We all know that if you choose to drive drunk or to text and drive, it is very dangerous, and that injuries and fatalities caused by careless driving or bad choices are preventable.

As you know, Speaker, our government is committed to making multi-modal transportation safer in Ontario, and it is our duty as a government to ensure that all Ontarians who travel on our roads are safe. These amendments will address this by using the law to help promote the need for public awareness.

While we all have a responsibility to share the road, these amendments are important as they will implicitly give motorists more responsibility in collisions, as they can cause much more harm and damage if colliding with a cyclist or other means of transportation. Specifically, the proposed amendments will fill the penalty gap between careless driving and criminal negligence to provide more options for prosecutors to charge those who get into collisions that result in serious injury or death as a result of careless driving. This will mean that drivers will be held to a higher standard of care when operating a vehicle in a multi-modal environment. Most importantly for my community in Davenport, the amendments will provide an opportunity to table further legislation and draw attention to cyclist and pedestrian fatalities. It is time to further emphasize the responsibility of motorists to drive with due care and attention, because careless driving can have a more significant result in these cases, as cyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable road users.

As I’ve already stated, strengthening protections for cyclists while enhancing the ability for prosecutors to charge careless drivers who cause serious injury or death are part of this government’s plan to make Ontario’s roads safer.

Once passed, I will be pleased to bring this legislation, aimed at protecting vulnerable road users, to Davenport, as my constituents and all Ontarians deserve to be better protected when using the road.

We can all look towards a year when bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles share the road. This legislation is a true step towards this goal, and one that I fully support.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Lorne Coe: I rise to speak in support of the Highway Traffic Amendment Act, and thank the member from Burlington for bringing forward this legislation and for her passionate comments earlier.

I’ve often felt that penalties for vehicle offences should be more than simply a cost of driving. Motor vehicles are effectively deadly weapons, and unless we can find the means to truly relate the penalties for driving offences to the crimes themselves, then we’re not doing an effective job.

We now have taken a better approach in penalizing drivers for distracted driving offences and driving while under suspension. I think we should also do a better job of bringing the penalties for careless driving to the point where they truly do act as a deterrent. The penalty has to match the crime.

All of us have to understand that if, as a result of carelessness, an accident results and a life is lost, then there will be serious consequences. If we choose to eat while driving, drink hot coffee, use mobile devices or are tuning the radio while not looking at the roadway, the penalty may be vastly more than simply those that result from distracted driving.

Distraction that leads to an accident attributable to the careless operation of a vehicle may now, under the proposed legislation, bring with it a much larger hammer. Under the proposed legislation, a person convicted of careless driving causing death would be liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000 and he or she could be imprisoned for a term of not more than two years and have their licence suspended for up to five years. Currently, the penalties do not include imprisonment or the loss of a licence.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, this type of infraction, even if it causes the loss of a life, carries a current maximum penalty of $500.

Madam Speaker, driving is a privilege, not a right. Hopefully, this legislation will be a powerful deterrent to ensure safety for everyone on the road. I look forward to supporting it.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s always an honour to be able to rise in this House, and today speak on Bill 213.

Is that the right time?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: No, it’s the wrong time. We’re burning his time.

Mr. John Vanthof: I believe I’m using someone else’s time, Speaker.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: He’s using the Conservative time.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): The Clerk will reset the clock.

Mr. John Vanthof: Okay. Anyway, it’s always an honour to rise in this House. I’d like to commend the member from Burlington and also the member from Niagara Falls. One of the greatest things about this House is people who use their own life stories for the betterment of others. Often, life stories are tragic, but that is the way that we make this province better. No matter which bill it is or how, on issues like this, we need to work together for the betterment of all, so that cases like what happened to the member’s husband—and to the member’s wife—and to many other family members of people across this province—we need to work together to make sure that where we identify issues like this, we can all work together and fix them.

I fully support this bill. It’s a step in the right direction. It’s a step that we’ve all got to take. Thank you for bringing it forward.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Chris Ballard: I’m very honoured to be able to stand today and spend a few minutes talking in support of Bill 213.

It’s a very emotional bill, as the member for Burlington demonstrated earlier on, talking about the loss of her husband and the careless driving that ensued before he was struck.

I will make an observation that I don’t know what’s happening with the world. Maybe I’m just getting older, Madam Speaker, but there seems to be less and less courtesy being shown on Ontario’s roads, more and more careless driving, and in fact, in spite of all of the work that governments, police forces and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have done, we continue to see a sharp increase in the number of impaired drivers and drivers who are climbing behind the wheel when they’re drunk. I know we’re not addressing that here, but what we are addressing through this bill—and it’s a great bill—once again is reminding drivers that carelessness is the root that kills most people in vehicle-related accidents.

I applaud and hope that this bill brings about some change, that it defines the difference between less and more severe offences, because careless driving seems to be, in my mind, in my layperson’s mind, such a catch-all for so many things. I am pleased to see that it would set careless driving causing death at a maximum of $50,000, up from $2,000; that imprisonment could be as long as two years; that a licence suspension would be as long as five years. I think this just might get people’s attention.

That brings me to the point that, yes, it is important to increase fines and make the differentiation between less and more severe, but I think what this bill will really do is get people talking and get our attention as drivers. All of us need that every now and then, to be reminded of the privilege that it is to drive. For that reason alone, the conversation that this will spark, the reminder that it will make, I wholeheartedly look forward to voting in favour of this bill.

I’ll leave it there, Madam Speaker. I really appreciate the member from Burlington for introducing this bill and thank her.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m very pleased to rise today and of course speak in support with the rest of my colleagues on the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Careless Driving), 2016.

I just want to recap a little bit that this is to make sure that the fines are a fitting punishment for distracted driving and careless driving. They want to ensure that the fine—what they’re asking with this bill—is a minimum of $2,000 and a $50,000 maximum fine.

We want to have this come to committee, to have the real discussion with the stakeholders in how to really get the message out. I think it has to be more than fines. We really need to educate people. Cars are getting more and more toys, more apps. They’re getting cars now with WiFi. These are all adding to distracted driving.

We’re also seeing more electric cars. I don’t believe anybody has brought this up, but electric cars are very quiet and sneak up on people, including not just pedestrians but other drivers, and, as we heard previously, motorcycles and cyclists. That’s something that concerns me. I like the fact that electric cars are quiet, and I have to say that many of us have had times where we’ve had a motorcycle weaving in and out, and the only reason we knew it was there was because of the noise it made.

I’m also concerned that when we have collisions on our roads, there are secondary and tertiary accidents as a result because people are rubbernecking, looking at accidents in the other direction. It’s very important to me that we find a way to address the lack of productivity, yes, but also the danger of our highways being blocked.

I want to remind everybody that my bill had overwhelming support at committee, Bill 181, Reducing Gridlock and Improving Traffic Flow Act, and it hasn’t been brought forward for third reading in the House. I would ask my colleagues on all sides of the floor to please work with me to get a better response to clearing our roads, our highways, of accidents. I think that’s one of the issues.

I want to also mention that June 6 is a sad anniversary for my colleague from Burlington. That was just a few days ago this week, and I’m sure that’s a hard day for her. I know she was working that day. That was the day her husband, former OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, lost his life by a careless driver, and the this wasn’t just any careless driver. This was somebody who was driving commercially yet had five convictions for driving under suspension, four for driving with no insurance and $15,000 in unpaid fines, and even after this horrific fatal accident, he was on the roads again driving. I think that technology is wonderful, but it does add to careless driving. Maybe there is technology that can be used so we can ensure that people who just don’t care—they have no thought, no regard for anybody but themselves—somehow we can track where they’re working and whether or not they are driving. That’s going to be a very tough one to address, because of privacy rules.

I just want to mention that my dad is a really avid cyclist. His name is Alex. When I visit him in Florida—he refuses to have a car down there—we do everything by bike. Until you’re actually trying to run errands on a bike and not just sticking to bike paths, it’s a very different experience. I’m more of a “put the bike on the back of the car”—our colleague from Parry Sound–Muskoka had a recent bill about allowing bike racks to block licence plates. I’m more of a recreational bike rider, but until you have to go to the grocery store and deal with those parking lots and carts and very distracted people—

Mr. Tim Hudak: What does he do with his beer?

Mrs. Gila Martow: What does he do? He manages just fine. We’ve got baskets, and we’ve got the knapsacks. We do it all.

He’s 87 years old and, yes, he’s in great shape. But I do worry about him out on the roads with careless drivers and high-speed cars.

I hope we can all work together to add even more amendments to make this bill even more far-reaching and address many more issues on our roads, because that’s the problem here.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: It’s always a privilege to stand in this House on behalf of my constituents in Cambridge to speak to legislation. But it’s indeed an honour today to stand in support of Bill 213, MPP McMahon’s private member’s bill—and, I’m going to say, my very dear friend.

I know that we’re hearing a lot of positive comments around the chamber this afternoon in support of this bill, and it’s music to my ears, not only because the MPP from Burlington is my good friend, but also because of my role in the government. I’m the parliamentary assistant for the Ministry of Transportation, and the #CycleON strategy for cycling in Ontario is my file. These amendments to the Highway Traffic Act that are being looked at certainly speak to my role and what I have been doing for the last couple of years. I know that Ontario has among the safest roads in North America. As a matter of fact, we’re number one or number two in North America, year over year, and that’s quite significant.

But there is certainly much more that needs to be done. Not until there are no cyclists and pedestrians hit on our roads, and no injuries and accidents caused, will our work be done. But we’ve always got more work to do. We also very much welcome any proposals to ensure that all road users are safer in our province.

Amending the Highway Traffic Act around careless drivers will help to cast that wider net and make roads safer for all road users. We often talk about vehicles, truck drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, but also those individuals who use mobility devices on our sidewalks and need to cross the roads in wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. This legislation would certainly assist in bringing more awareness to ensure that all road users—susceptible road users—are going to be safer on our roads.

I know that driving on Ontario roads without the appropriate level of care and attention is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. In order to ensure that Ontarians are getting that message, I was very proud to support Bill 31, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, go through the Legislature and pass on June 2, 2015. In it, we started to tackle distracted driving, an area where more and more accidents are being caused. It is indeed starting to cause more deaths and destruction on our highways than alcohol or impaired driving offences. This is one thing that I am very proud we have passed. We’ve also passed a law to ensure that there is a one-metre safe passing rule for cyclists. We have ensured that dooring carries bigger fines for hitting cyclists.


I also wanted to point out that in the Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act, 2007, we had passed a law against stunt driving and street racing. Driving too closely to pedestrians is included in the definition of stunt.

I know that everything else has been said about why we need to pass this forward, and that the increased penalties for careless driving are supported by all. I was present at the press conference, and I know our road safety partners who were on hand and in the gallery today certainly support those broader penalties so that we can do that.

I can’t say enough about the burden of disease and injury. As a long-time nurse, I know that some injuries never heal. There are many stories of people who have never been able to get beyond their injuries.

I want to just give a shout-out to MPP McMahon, to her family who are here with her today and to her former partner Greg Stobbart’s family, many of whom I met on Greg’s Ride. I feel very strongly that we owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you very much for sharing this story and ensuring that you can support this legislation to make sure all road users are protected.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I will return back to the member from Burlington to wrap up.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Thank you, Madam Speaker. By the way, that has a lovely tone to it, I have to say: “Madam Speaker.”

I want to give special thanks to all members of the House today for their support and their encouragement, in particular the MPP for Kitchener–Conestoga; the MPP for Niagara Falls; the MPP for Davenport; for Whitby–Oshawa, thank you—Greg was a police officer in Whitby and he served at the Whitby detachment, so I have a special place in my heart for Whitby; the MPP for Timiskaming–Cochrane for his kind remarks and his very appropriate statements, I thought, about what makes this private members’ hour great and what makes our commitment to service great; and right back to the member for Niagara Falls for sharing his very personal and poignant story. I did not know that story, and I commend you and thank you for sharing it with the House today. It’s very, very brave of you to do so and it’s very, very sad. I’m sorry.

To the MPP for Newmarket–Aurora talking about the privilege that it is to drive and reminding us of that important fact; to the MPP for Thornhill for talking about her 87-year-old dad who rides his bicycle—at 87 years young, I think that’s why cycling is a good thing to do. It keeps us young and it’s a good, life-long way to exercise—good on the joints, good for him, good for the environment. Give your dad a shout-out for me. That’s terrific.

To my friend the member from Cambridge for her work on the #CycleON strategy and for the work that we’ve done together around road safety: It continues to be a pleasure. I thank you for your comments.

To everyone, and in particular to the member from Niagara Falls for your comments about what we need to do to make the bill better—I heartily agree. I look forward to that conversation. If it reassures you at all, I do look forward to talking to you about the Provincial Offences Act in particular and how we can amend it, because that’s what we need to do, to sort out that piece around compelling people to appear. I looked at that in drawing this bill together, and it was made clear to me that that’s what we need to do, so I look forward to that.

Finally, to my family and to my policing family, I want to thank you again. This is for you. You’ve been there for me right from the beginning. I appreciate all of your kind support and I thank you for everything you do every day to keep our roads safe.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): We will deal with the vote on this particular bill at the end of private members’ public business.

Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte

Mr. Baker moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 193, An Act to prohibit door-to-door sales of certain products / Projet de loi 193, Loi interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte de certains produits.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Mr. Yvan Baker: I’m honoured to rise in the Legislature today to speak about my private member’s bill, Bill 193, An Act to prohibit door-to-door sales of certain products.

Before I begin, I’d just like to take a moment to recognize a few of the people who are here today in support of the bill. I’m proud to have a number of constituents of mine from Etobicoke Centre with me here today. They’re members of my seniors’ advisory group. They’re actually the ones who brought this issue forward and inspired me to work on this issue. I’m thrilled to have them. We have with us a few folks: Harvey Pellegrini and Marion Feltus as well. Thank you for joining us today.

The bill is also the culmination of months of consultation and work with a range of organizations, particularly those advocating for consumers and seniors. We have several representatives I wanted to introduce: Ken Whitehurst, who is the executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada; Dolly Gerrior, who is a member of the council’s board of directors—thank you, Dolly, for coming; and Adina Lebo, who is the chair of CARP Toronto. Thank you for coming, and thank you for all your support as well.

This bill got a lot of media coverage, I think in part because it concerns so many Ontarians across the province. There are a number of members of the media whom I could thank, but one of them is here today. I just want to acknowledge Becky Coles, a producer with Newstalk 1010. Thank you, Becky.

I also want to acknowledge a couple of members of my family who are here at important moments like this. Both my mom and dad are here: Myroslava Oleksiuk and Donald Baker. Thank you both for being here.

Madam Speaker, as you know, to put together a bill like this, you need a fantastic team. I have a fantastic group of staff that have worked on this bill: Sinéad Anderson, who is my EA; Olivia Labonté, my OLIP intern; and Aashish Oberoi, my former LA. They did fantastic work on this. I’d also like to thank members of all caucuses who advised me and who have given me their support. Thank you very much.

Every month, I hold a seniors’ advisory group meeting to hear from seniors in my community about their concerns. At the initial meetings after I got elected, I heard what you would expect to hear about. I heard about health care issues and I heard about transportation issues. But one of the issues I heard the most about was consumer protection. Specifically, I heard a lot about door-to-door sales.

One constituent in particular once said to me, “All the issues you’ve discussed are important, but you need to do something for the people who don’t feel secure answering the doors to their own homes, who are being duped out of their limited savings.” I started to hear story after story from seniors and other constituents who had been taken advantage of by coercive and misleading salespeople right on their own doorsteps, right in their own homes.

There’s one story in particular that really rang out, and I want to share this with the members of the Legislature today. One day, a woman—she is a member of my seniors’ advisory group—had a knock at the door. She opened the door, and there was a man in an orange jacket. She looked out beyond him onto the street, and she could see other people in orange jackets knocking at the doors of some of her neighbours.

The gentleman said that he was with the energy company and that data showed that energy use was too high in the neighbourhood, and he needed to inspect her furnace because the furnace could be out of compliance. He asked to inspect her furnace; she of course complied. He inspected the furnace and said it was out of compliance, but he had a solution for her. He said that if she paid $129 a month right away and signed on the dotted line right there, he could get the furnace replaced very, very quickly and that, as it so happened, the government of Ontario was offering a rebate of $1,300 for anyone who signed right away to get a new furnace. She agreed to this.

Afterwards, she realized that her previous furnace actually worked just fine and that she shouldn’t have signed this contract. So the day after, she called the company, as she’s allowed to do under law, under the cooling-off period, and asked to cancel the contract. As she was on the phone trying to cancel, they wouldn’t allow her to cancel, and the installers came to install the new furnace. They took her perfectly fine furnace away and they replaced it with a new one, and she started getting billed $129 a month. She never got the rebate, of course. Even though she was told that she would be able to save on her energy bill so much to make up for the $129, that of course never happened.

When she complained and complained and complained, the company eventually said to her, “Well, we could give you a deal. You could buy the furnace we just installed for $9,000.” The furnace that replaced a furnace that was perfectly fine and worked fine, she could pay $9,000 for to keep. That was the deal the company offered her.

This is all too common. This is just one example of the stories I’ve heard and I know other members have heard.

I decided that I had to do something to end this predatory practice, so in March I started to consult with constituents and with organizations like those represented here. I started to look at the root causes of the problem, and what I learned is that Ontarians continue to receive unwanted marketers at their door who use misleading, aggressive and high-pressure sales tactics to entice people into bad contracts that take advantage of consumers. Under the guise of saving consumers money, many dishonest marketers dupe consumers into contracts that are more expensive than they should be, have harsh cancellation fees or provide inferior products and services that don’t work at all, or certainly don’t work as advertised.

The problem is particularly concentrated in the sale and lease of air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces and water treatment devices. These four products alone cost consumers who reported their experiences to the government of Ontario $3.2 million in 2015. Those are only the people who raised their concerns with the government; the vast majority of people don’t. So we can imagine that people are being duped out of millions and millions of dollars every single year across our province.


A good portion of those talked about misrepresentation. Others brought up issues such as partial or incomplete delivery of goods and services, billing disputes, difficulty in cancelling contracts—like the story I just told you. These are just examples of the challenges people have faced across Ontario.

While this is an issue that touches people of all ages and all backgrounds, it’s alarming to me to see how often door-to-door salespeople who use these tactics target people who are the most vulnerable. Seniors are misled. Those with serious health issues are taken advantage of. I had somebody at the press conference, when I introduced this bill, talk about her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, who was duped into a contract, and the company refused to cancel and continued to charge her. Many others are locked into contracts with no way out.

To me, it is beyond reprehensible that there are people, organizations and businesses out there who make a living and who have a business model based on taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in our society. It has to stop, and that is why I introduced Bill 193. If passed, the bill would ban the sale, lease or rental of air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces and water treatment devices at a person’s home. It would also allow the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to add products to this list if necessary.

I selected these products very carefully and very deliberately because these are the ones that have been prone to those aggressive, misleading and coercive tactics that I was talking about and the ones we’ve received the most complaints about.

If a contract is signed, under this bill what would happen is that it would be immediately void. But it was important to me that there be real consequences for those who don’t comply, for companies that continue to try to sell people these products. I believe that we need to send a strong message that this practice is unacceptable and needs to stop. Stiff penalties would be put in place for offenders who violate this ban, who violate the bill. Individual salespeople who violate the ban could be fined up to $2,000, for instance, and organizations caught breaking the ban would be subject to harsh penalties of up to $25,000. Again, we need to dissuade companies from pursuing these misleading and coercive practices.

In addition to the contract being voided, the consumer would be entitled to any money paid under the contract as well as the return or replacement of any product taken under the contract, so the consumer would not be out of pocket.

Finally, if the company refused to abide by all of these requirements—did not pay the consumer back their money and did not replace the product that was working—the consumer would have the option to take the company to court and, if successful—if the judge ruled in the consumer’s favour—they would be entitled to receive double the amount owed plus legal fees. Too many companies are too eager to allow the consumer to go to court with them because they have the means to take them to court, and consumers are reluctant to do so. The goal here is to dissuade offending companies from doing just that.

I also think it’s important to strike the right balance. I come from a business background. We want to protect Ontarians from coercive sales tactics, but we also want to ensure consumers have choice, that small businesses are still able to thrive and that we, of course, do not limit the activities of charities or not-for-profit organizations.

Let me be very clear: This does not impede charities; it does not impede community groups; it doesn’t impede people like the Girl Guides, who come and sell cookies at your door, or the local boy or girl who wants to deliver the paper to your door. We’re talking about only four product categories where we know there are consistently coercive practices being used. This bill, to me, strikes the right balance.

I’m pleased to note that I’ve received support from all corners of the province. First of all, I have to tell you that when we introduced the bill, my constituency office got hundreds of calls from ridings across this province. I bet I got a call from every riding across Ontario in my constituency office.

I’m also pleased that I had the support of a number of key groups, including the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, known as CARP, who is represented here today; the Public Interest Advocacy Centre; and the Consumers Council of Canada, who is also represented here today. I thank you for your advocacy, I thank you for your input and I thank you for your support.

I’m also pleased to note that a number of municipalities have passed motions supporting the bill and urging a provincial of ban on door-to-door sales of products in the home services sector. They include—and this is not an exhaustive list—the cities of Brampton, Hamilton, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa and Pickering, the townships of North Dundas and Wellington North and the city of Toronto, amongst others. To me, this reflects the fact this is a concern to people north to south and east to west across Ontario. It’s not just an urban problem; it’s not just a suburban problem; it’s not just a rural problem; it’s a problem across Ontario.

This issue has been covered widely by the media. I alluded to that earlier. I think this highlights again that it’s an issue that concerns people across the province. It’s not just media in Toronto that covered this. It’s not just NewsTalk 1010 or CBC radio that I talked about earlier. It’s Global News. It’s CP24. It’s the Etobicoke Guardian. It’s Metro News. It’s the Caledon Enterprise. It’s the Newmarket Era. It’s the Mississauga News. It’s the Oshawa Express. And I could go on and on.

Mr. Chris Ballard: The Aurora Banner.

Mr. Yvan Baker: The Aurora Banner. Thank you very much, the member from Newmarket–Aurora.

This is a reflection of the fact that this is a concern to many.

Madam Speaker, I had wonderful support from an MPP who you know well—Soo Wong—who provided me with this: “Finally, we have a bill that will provide further protection of Ontarians, especially the vulnerable seniors who are regularly harassed and pressured into signing a contract that they don’t comprehend. The elimination of this type of sale will provide some security and protection of all Ontarians. In my riding of Scarborough–Agincourt, I received at least one complaint a week on this type of unethical sale. The salesperson targets Chinese residents, especially the frail seniors, into signing a contract they don’t understand. Current law prevents companies from activating the contract prior to the cooling-off period. I heard cases in my riding where the overzealous employee removed both furnace and air conditioner prior to the cooling-off period.” This is just one example of many MPPs who have spoken up on this issue in support.

Consumers have spoken, advocacy groups have spoken, municipalities have spoken and MPPs have spoken. It’s time to take action.

I started my remarks by sharing that I was inspired by my seniors’ advisory group, by seniors in my community who raised this issue with me. I have heard from too many seniors, too many constituents of all ages who have been taken advantage of by coercive and misleading salespeople right at their own doorstep, right in their own home. I know we’ve all heard those stories.

It is beyond reprehensible to me that some organizations make a living, have a business model that’s based on taking advantage of vulnerable people. We have to take action to protect Ontarians and end these predatory practices. I ask all members of this House for their support. The seniors in my community and the constituents and consumers across Ontario deserve no less.


The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate? The member for Niagara West–Glanbrook.

Mr. Tim Hudak: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and for all that applause from my colleagues.

Recently, a 26-year-old autistic man purchased $1,100 worth of cosmetics in the Pen Centre in Niagara, where I am from, from a retail store. The autistic man was informed that he had bad bags under his eyes and had sensitive skin. The store clerks, who I’m sure got commission from this, asked the man to sign a piece of paper stating that he had bought the product of his own accord and understood the sale to be final.

I bring this case up because it’s one example of how pressure tactics across the retail environment, whether brick and glass buildings or door-to-door, can at times attract unscrupulous salespeople who follow bad business practices. But the member’s bill doesn’t cover this area, nor does it cover Internet sales. I’d say, Speaker, if we were to ban every type of sale or business transaction that had an unscrupulous salesperson, not a single product or service could be bought or sold in the province.

I commend the member for his ambition. It’s certainly a very ambitious bill, but in my view, it goes too far. We have to be careful in the use of legislative power to eliminate somebody’s livelihood or business altogether. Government is a sledgehammer. It is a blunt-force weapon, and I think you have to be careful when you wield it.

Look, I’m spoiled. I live out in the country. My drive is 500 metres long. I’ve had two door-to-door visits in my time there. One was a councillor running for mayor, Joanne Hamilton, and because she made that one-kilometre trip, I voted for her. The other was Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I joined the faith. I’ll deliver literature to all your desks a bit later on. I’m kidding about that one, Madam Speaker. I didn’t join the faith, but I was impressed by their tenacity.

I am concerned that this bill and the member’s rhetoric portrays seniors as entirely vulnerable individuals who are unable to do the research etc. for themselves, to say a simple “No, thank you.” I see seniors in a much more empowered, positive and stronger light than the member’s comments portray.

Let’s not forget that direct selling is a massive business. It’s $2 billion every year. Ontario accounts for 38% of that $2 billion here in our province. An outright, across-the-board ban on these services—the member would allow that through regulation, including night sales or, to the point of ridiculousness, Girl Guide cookies—maybe the mint ones, not the chocolate and vanilla.

You do give the power of regulation to the minister to ban any kind of door-to-door sales. Don’t shake your head. It’s in the bill, and you said that during your speech. Your regulatory authority gives to—any good or service to be banned by the minister without coming back to the Legislature for debate. I think that is far too aggressive and unwise.


Let me give you an example. Kinetico is a Canadian company that sells home water treatment systems. It requires a professional to go into a consumer’s home, usually invited to an agreed-to meeting. The home’s plumbing must be inspected, the home owner is educated on how the product will function and then a deal is forged, or not. The member’s bill would ban that type of service—a legitimate, successful company that’s quite popular in our province.

I’m a proud Costco member. If you walk into Costco and you walk out, on both sides of the aisle as you leave—picture this in your mind—there’s a whole range of Costco services, which then come to your house and fix your deck, change your plumbing or some of the things mentioned in this bill, like heat-our-water systems. The member would ban those in their entirety as well, through regulation or in total.

Your bill’s language, I’ll tell you, is very wide open and, I think, quite dangerous—anything that is part of “sell, lease, rent or offer to sell, lease or rent a product listed in subsection (2) to a consumer in person at the consumer’s home.” Home Depot, Walmart, Costco, Kinetico: Do you really want to ban those services that are increasingly popular and highly legitimate, or do you want to take more of a scalpel to the truly unscrupulous individuals?

I had the pleasure of serving as consumer services minister. Back in 2002, we brought forward a 10-day cooling-off period. If you want to extend that, I’m happy to debate that, but that gave you a chance to get out of contracts after 10 days. We had significant sentences and fines, up to $500,000 for a corporation or $50,000 for a business. I think that’s a much better way to approach this issue than the sledgehammer of banning all these businesses, potentially, and treating seniors as unable to advocate for themselves or make wise decisions.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s always an honour to be able to stand in this House and, today, to speak on Bill 193, the Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act.

I’d like to start off by saying I am in full support of this bill. This isn’t the first type of this bill that’s been brought to the House, because our member from Kenora–Rainy River also brought a bill forward trying to ban door-to-door sales of electricity contracts. In our part of the world, they prey upon seniors—they prey upon the people who aren’t equipped to know what’s really what.

I know that for a fact because recently, I had to help move my mom. She was living on her own, and she moved into a retirement home. We helped clean up her affairs for her home and, lo and behold, my mom was paying twice as much for electricity as she should have been because my mom had signed a door-to-door electricity contract without my knowledge.

That happens all the time. We should have moved on this before. I often quote my dad in this House; he would turn over in his grave if he knew that. He once told me, “If you don’t have to go to the store to buy it, you don’t need it”—and sometimes people would say politicians as well. No one is going to show up to your door with a great idea. If you hadn’t thought this morning to buy it, and all of a sudden at 10 o’clock, you have to buy it because it’s the best thing that has ever happened to you, that’s just not true. That’s an issue.

I have another personal story. I’m not going to mention the company. I have three daughters, and all three of them worked for the same high-pressure door-to-door sales type company. Two of my daughters made a lot of money doing it and one was no good at it at all, but they trained specifically on how to do this. They trained specifically on where to pick and who to pick. There are certain markers where they say, “Oh, this one is kind of a waste of time.” It’s very, very specific. They put time into this.


Interjection: Very sophisticated.

Mr. John Vanthof: It is. It’s very sophisticated.

It’s not the same as going into a store or even looking on—if you’re going to look on the Internet to buy something, you are still taking the initiative to go look yourself. That’s the difference to me.

That’s why I think this bill is a step in the right direction. As the member for Kenora–Rainy River with the electricity retailers showed, there’s all kinds of these scams, for lack of a better word, going on all across the province.

I know when I first got elected five years ago, our constituency offices in my riding were busier breaking electricity contracts than anything else. And then it morphed into trying to figure out Hydro One billing, but that’s another story. But electricity contracts—a lot of times, you yourself would have to call and then they would back off. But they were very, very aggressive—unbelievably aggressive.

There’s a scam right now going on where people call you up, saying they’re with Revenue Canada and that you haven’t paid enough tax and that you need to give them your credit card number. That’s going on as we speak. Again, when you say, “Well, that’s crazy, and I’m not going to do it,” but my mom would. I shouldn’t have said that, because maybe now they’re going to phone her.

That is the issue we’re dealing with. I think that’s what this bill is trying to attack. That’s what the bill from the member from Kenora–Rainy River is trying to attack.

But I’ve got to bring one thing at the end of my remarks here.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Carry on; carry on.

Mr. John Vanthof: No, I’m about done.

This is a private member’s bill, and I commend the member for bringing it. But the other side isn’t the private member’s government. They are the government and they can move on that. They can move on that much quicker than a private member can. I urge the government to take this initiative, and whether it’s got Mr. Baker’s name on it or anyone—it doesn’t matter to me, and I don’t think it matters to the member. But it matters to us all that people in this province are treated fairly and with respect and that they aren’t purposely gouged.

We all know that this is going on. I see members on the other side of the House nodding. I see some members on this side of the House nodding. We all know that this is going on. The government has within their grasp the power to do it. They could have done it a year ago; they could have done it two years ago; they could have done it five years ago. I believe they’ve been in power—correct me if I’m wrong—for a dozen years.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Way too long.

Mr. John Vanthof: My colour commentator here.

I urge the government that this is one thing that we have to move on, because they prey on seniors and they prey on low-income people. A lot of times, you have single moms, and they’re really busy just trying to hold on to their life, taking care of their kids. Someone shows up: “Oh, have we got a great deal on this. This is going to save you all of this money.” You know what? They don’t have time to read the fine print. It looks good, they sign and, all of a sudden, they’re trapped.

We all know this is going on. I commend that member. I hope that he can push his government to finally act on this important issue.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mrs. Cristina Martins: I’m pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill 193, the Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016. I want to start off by congratulating and thanking the member from Etobicoke Centre for introducing this bill—a bill that I fully support. If passed, this bill would introduce legislation that would ban the sale, lease or rent of specific products at a consumer’s home. Under the proposed legislation, air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces and water treatment devices would be prohibited, and a provision would also be included allowing the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to add more products to this list if necessary.

If a contract were to violate the proposed ban, the contract would be found to be void and the offender could be fined substantive amounts, ranging from $500 to $2,000 for individual offenders and from $5,000 to $25,000 for companies that were found to violate the law. The fines would increase with the increase in the number of offences.

There has been quite a bit of attention given to this bill since it was introduced by the member from Etobicoke Centre, and, as he so rightfully said, it has received quite a bit of media attention, as well.

But, Speaker, this is not a new issue or a recent issue. I recall knocking on doors in my riding of Davenport in 2011 and hearing about the frustration and embarrassment of constituents who felt as though they had been taken for a ride by door-to-door salespeople. I heard about the same frustration and embarrassment again when I knocked on doors in 2014. Since being elected, I continue to receive calls, emails and constituents in my office urging that something be done to address door-to-door sales. So I’m pleased with the introduction of this bill by my colleague MPP Baker, the member for Etobicoke Centre, which, if passed, would help tackle the issue by banning door-to-door sales of products.


While this is an issue that goes across all ages, it’s alarming to see how often door-to-door salespeople target those who may be more vulnerable, take advantage of them, force them to buy products or services at skyrocketing rates, and lock them into contracts with monthly payments and no way out.

As you know, Speaker, I represent the riding of Davenport, which is home to a large senior population and home to many immigrants and newcomers. It is home to many who speak English as a second language and home to many new homeowners, all of whom are particularly vulnerable. It is many of these people who fall prey to unwanted salespeople or marketers at their door, marketers who use misleading, aggressive and high-pressure sales tactics to entice innocent Ontarians into bad contracts that take advantage of consumers.

Speaker, if this bill is to pass, there would be no room for bad contracts or log contracts.

The bill would include additional penalties as well:

—If a consumer has already paid for the product, a refund for the total cost would need to be issued.

—If the product purchased needed to be replaced, the seller would have to reimburse any costs incurred in replacing the product.

—If a refund is not issued, the consumer may take legal action and would be entitled to receive double the amount paid under the contract.

—If legal costs are awarded by the court, the legislation would also ensure that it covers the incurred legal costs.

If Bill 193 is passed, the consumer will be protected from any cancellation charges or any other penalties if the contract is found to be void, and no further legal action can be taken against the consumer as a result of cancelling the void contract.

The proposed bill has been welcomed by many non-profit and charity organizations or groups, some of which are here today. I will name them: the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the Consumers Council of Canada and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, better known as CARP.

Wade Poziomka, director of policy and litigation at CARP, is quoted as saying, “The measures proposed are stringent but ultimately necessary to protect our members, some of whom have been taken advantage of time and time again by putting their trust in those who are undeserving.”

Since the introduction of this bill, I have had a petition in my office that has been signed by many of my constituents in Davenport requesting that this bill pass. My constituents feel passionate about this bill and urge me to support it.

I fully support this bill and encourage all members of this House to do the same so that we can pass the bill through committee and protect those who are vulnerable to the predatory practices of door-to-door salespeople and marketers.

Once again I thank the member from Etobicoke Centre for bringing this bill forward.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate? I recognize the member from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry.

Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you, Speaker; you got it right again.

I’m proud to rise to speak today to Bill 193, An Act to prohibit door-to-door sales of certain products. I’m glad that my colleague on this side of the House talked about some of the issues. We’re talking about legislation about major items, and the definition of “major items” comes under some scrutiny. The passage of this bill opens things up for much more than we’re actually talking about today, and that’s dangerous.

Door-to-door sales is a very large industry in this province. It’s used for lots of different roles. You look at businesses that are starting out. They may not be ready just yet to open up a retail outlet. The cost of operating a business and an office in this province has become very expensive under this government. We look at the payroll taxes—maybe they’re not ready to hire somebody yet. When you start out, you don’t have a lot of capital. The cost of heating in this province is about to skyrocket as the government is either going to abolish formally the use of natural gas or just tax it out of existence. They like the tax idea because they do get that money back.

There are different ways of doing things, and we really have to look at business in this province. It is very challenging today. If you’re in a building, your property taxes are the second-highest in North America. Electricity, of course—that’s the highest in North America. It makes it very hard to make a profit.

I know that my dad, back in the early 1960s, sold seed door to door to his local farmers for the supply management community. Will that be outlawed? That could be a major investment for farmers these days. Corn is generally sold by distributors who go door to door, and contracts for the seed are easily up around $100,000 or more for product each year.

Those are things we should be looking at to try to help people. There is no question that there need to be restrictions. I know that they brought in Bill 55. I think that went quite far, especially with hot water heaters; we were looking at the ability to put a cooling-off period of 20 days for hot water heaters. I guess the member doesn’t feel that that legislation was effective. But outright bans that take away people’s employment are very dangerous. We see that bankruptcies are going up every year, and the last thing we want is to see them legislated in place. That’s what this bill will do.

There are lots of things: As I say, we can work on educating the customer and giving them more rights, but outright bans are dangerous. I think we need to move forward, work on education, work on different roles in protecting the consumer, not just on major appliances but on many things. A protected consumer and an informed consumer is always the best route. It allows for flexibility. It allows the industry to grow and hopefully get large enough that they have their own retail outlets. Especially in the trades, it’s very hard to go out and purchase a large business. People like to start small and build big. That’s kind of the history of this province.

Thanks very much for the opportunity to speak today, Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Well, Mr. Speaker—or Madam Speaker. My God, I’d better look over there next time.

I just want to put a couple of things on the record. Generally, of course, we’re in support of this bill. As mentioned by my good friend and colleague the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane, Sarah Campbell, the member from Kenora–Rainy River, has actually passed such a bill at second reading. It has actually been in committee, where we’ve had some hearings dates. Certainly, a bill in the spirit of what Mr. Baker is doing is one that I think we can all support in this House, although I do think there is a good Conservative friend and colleague of mine who is going to vote against it. I kind of understand his argument, but I can’t say I entirely agree. We do live in a democracy, and people have the right to exercise their rights if their business is going door to door. I understand the sort of charter approach to it, but the problem is that there is the theoretical and then there is the practical.

I think that the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane and others have raised, as well, that it is a bit of an art to get out there and target certain groups of people to take advantage of because they’re less able to say no. We saw, as the member pointed out, that when it came to electricity marketing there was a huge amount of outcry on the part of the seniors’ community for people who signed themselves in and locked themselves in to some pretty expensive electricity contracts that they were stuck with having to pay. It actually took members of the assembly coming into this House and raising it day after day in question period and at every opportunity that finally the Conservative government, I believe, or it might have been the Liberal government—I don’t remember; it was one of the two—actually brought in a bill to somewhat regulate those people, because it was really getting to be a problem.

I remember, as other members in this House and, I’m sure, the member from Niagara—

Mr. Wayne Gates: Falls.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Just Niagara Falls? Okay.


Mr. Gilles Bisson: I’m sorry: Niagara, and then there’s Falls—I just want to warn you guys that if I ever decide to run for Speaker, you’d better make sure to test me for names of ridings and people, because I won’t do too well.

My point is that we all get the same thing where people have really been put in a hard spot. I always remember one particular case that I had. She was an elderly person whose husband had died. She didn’t have much of an income other than a survivor’s CPP and old age. The difference that did on her gas bill, and her hydro bill as well, ate into the amount of money she had for her co-pay for medication. When she went to get her co-pay to start her drug coverage for the year, she needed to pay, I think, $100 or something at the time, and she didn’t have the money and was quite hard-pressed and worried about what that was going to do to her health.

We worked something out with the pharmacist. I’ve got to thank a particular pharmacy, and I’m not going to name them because it would be unfair—he may not like that. He actually waived it and allowed her to get her prescription done. I think he probably paid it; it’s more than likely what he did. Thank God for that. But the point is, it was all because of this type of action.


In the last couple of minutes I have, I want to put on the record that people should understand the process for private members’ bills. I would imagine this bill will get passed at second reading—we’ll find out when we vote later. I don’t see why we wouldn’t. But the process by which to pass a bill is one that’s very dependent on your own caucus, because the way it works is, normally we try to negotiate at the end of session, spring and fall, a package of one, two or three private members’ bills from each caucus. The process is, your caucus has to put it forward. So I would suggest to Mr. Baker—I don’t know the riding so I have to use the name.

Interjections: Etobicoke Centre.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Anyway, I did it now, so I beg forgiveness.

What he should really do is start working on his own House leader and his own House team to make sure that his bill is one that’s picked, because if it’s not picked—and we don’t have a say. We have nothing to do with it. Often, what happens is that members say, “Well, it’s the opposition that’s holding up my bill. That’s the only reason,” or, “It’s the government that’s holding up my bill, and that’s the only reason it’s not going forward.” No. Your own caucus has to put your bill forward, and then the other two caucuses have to support it. You have two thresholds that you’ve got to get by: The first one is, your own caucus has to pick the bill as one that it’s willing to go forward with; and number two, you need to make sure that you have the support of the other two caucuses. I don’t see us as having a problem with your bill, so I’m almost prepared at this point to say this: I don’t think it will be an issue for New Democrats.

But I also want to end on the point that the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane made: that at any time the government could stand and introduce its own bill. Maybe that’s what the member is trying to do here, because often, members will introduce private members’ bills as a way of raising the issue so that hopefully the government will bring a bill. I can tell you that the member from Nickel Belt, France Gélinas, has been very effective at bringing private member’s bills in the House where the government actually moves forward and moves on the initiative themselves, and that’s a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with it. A good idea—it doesn’t matter where it comes from and who acts on it; it’s still a good idea, and if it’s passed at the end of the day, that’s a good thing.

I look forward to this bill passing and hopefully moving on this particular initiative.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I have to say that I’m very, very pleased to rise today and offer my support to second reading of Bill 193, the Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act.

The first thing I would like to do, though, is acknowledge my colleague MPP Baker for his advocacy for seniors. We talk a lot in this Legislature about gender parity, and this young man spends one meeting every single month with his seniors’ advocacy group. I just really would like to acknowledge him for that and for everyone to give him a round of applause.


Ms. Sophie Kiwala: As the member for Etobicoke Centre has stated in his remarks, predatory door-to-door sales are an issue all across this province, including my riding of Kingston and the Islands. I have also heard about these challenges that seniors have faced in my community when I was working in a federal constituency office. We would have seniors who would come into the office in utter despair about having signed on to a contract that they couldn’t get out of.

Most recently, there have been instances of door-to-door salespeople coming to people’s homes and falsely representing themselves as being associated as employees of Utilities Kingston. These salespeople come into their homes and try to sell them water filtration systems that are not necessary. In order to pressure them into buying into these systems, they employ scare tactics, such as suggesting that the equipment doesn’t meet safety regulations or that municipally treated water doesn’t meet quality standards. We know that this is simply not the case. By presenting false information, they are, as MPP Baker has stated, able to prey on the most vulnerable in our communities and force them to buy expensive and unnecessary equipment.

In 2013, in fact, Angus Reid conducted a survey of Ontarians across the province on door-to-door sales. Their results found that 57% felt pressured into making a purchase or signing a contract when approached at their door. Furthermore, 35% of those Ontarians who made a purchase regret doing so.

As the member from Etobicoke Centre outlined, it is often the most vulnerable who are susceptible to these unsavoury sales strategies. Seniors on fixed incomes, newcomers to Canada who do not yet speak English, or those who are simply unaware of their consumers’ rights are pressured into expensive and lengthy contracts.

The bill is very comprehensive. It focuses on the four most commonly problematic sales: furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters and water treatment systems. It also encompasses other problematic items that may become apparent down the road.

And no, it is not going to encompass Girl Guide cookies or charities, so don’t be mistaken about that or misled.

I lend my full support to this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I thank the honourable member from Kingston and the Islands, and now return the floor to the member from Thornhill.

Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m very pleased to rise today and to speak on Bill 193, the Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act.

We’ve heard a lot of very interesting arguments up until now. The premise of this bill is that, too often, there are people who have buyer’s regret when door-to-door salespeople come to their door with high-pressure tactics: “Sign now, or you’re not going to get this deal,” and that sort of thing.

I think we’ve all been in the position where somebody has come to our door with a clipboard, looking very official, and we have felt kind of uncomfortable. Even experienced people like us, who should know better, can sometimes be taken in by sales tactics.

But I don’t know that the answer is to ban door-to-door sales, because the same high-pressure tactics could be used in malls, in restaurants or on the street. It’s very easy to figure out where people are hanging out and to go after them if you’re stopped from going to their doors. Of course, it’s more convenient, and it will make things more difficult, but it doesn’t mean you’re banning door-to-door sales just because you stop people from going to the door. We’re all quite aware of that.

I think the issue is that very often, we have people who are able to answer a door but may be suffering from—maybe they’re a bit special-needs, if I can say that. Maybe they’re getting a little bit older and their faculties aren’t what they once were. We can’t always be watching everybody, and we can’t always be protecting everybody.

I think that maybe we need to look at something else. Maybe we have to look at stickers on the doors that say, “No solicitation if you come to this door, and if somebody signs a contract, we will be absolved from that.” Maybe there’s something we can work on that sends a message to people coming to the door that it won’t be tolerated. I don’t know how that could really work.

I think that public education is the best answer for these kinds of things. We’re not really teaching our kids the dangers of having debt. We’re not really teaching our kids the dangers of signing a contract, what it means and to read the fine print. I’ve had my kids sign contracts for summer employment, and I said, “Did you read the contract?” and they’re embarrassed, because no. All they were doing was working at a summer camp. But in that contract, it says things that they might not be responsible for. That made me uncomfortable, that you raise your kids to think before they sign, and they go ahead and sign a contract.

We need more than Band-Aid fixes, and I have a feeling that this is a Band-Aid fix: You’ll still be able to find seniors—you’ll still be able to find vulnerable people—and sell to them, just at other places.

We just saw legislation pass for payday loans. Instead of working it so that banks could somehow supply low-cost bank accounts for people who don’t have normal bank accounts, we’re just seeing that people can get a loan from one payday loan place and then go down the street and go to another payday loan place.

So it doesn’t really solve the problem. I’d really like to focus more on public education.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I thank the honourable member from Thornhill and, for the purposes of further debate, invite the member from York South–Weston.


Mrs. Laura Albanese: I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak in favour of the member for Etobicoke Centre’s private member’s bill that seeks to ban door-to-door sales. This is an important piece of legislation, in my opinion, because, as we heard, if passed, it would ban the sale, lease or rental of specific products at a consumer’s home.

Mr. Speaker, I do join the group of concerned residents and advocacy groups in support of this bill. This legislation takes important steps to protect those who have been subjected to aggressive and coercive sales tactics.

The riding of York South–Weston, which I have the privilege of representing, has a high number of seniors and also new immigrants and people who speak English as a second language, who are vulnerable to these kinds of devious sales tactics.

When I say “devious,” anybody could fall prey to these tactics. I had someone who knocked on my door and said that they worked for the government of Ontario. I knew better, but there are people who are new to Canada, and that could be very intimidating to them. They will let that person in.

Time and time again, my constituency office has had to come to the rescue of a number of constituents who have fallen prey to fraudulent sales representatives. Mr. Speaker, it is time for this practice to end.

I would like to demonstrate the significance of this legislation by providing just a few examples of how my constituents have been affected by these unfair schemes. For example, one of my constituents was targeted by a company that promised to install a new furnace and AC. The sales representative urged the constituent to sign the contract right there in front of him and threatened that, if he didn’t sign immediately, he would lose the opportunity to receive the government’s heating-and-cooling incentive. The constituent signed the contract and was told that someone would install the unit the next day.

Fortunately, the next day, he decided to call my constituency office. We promptly contacted the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, who advised us that this contractor was not on the list of participating contractors in the heating-and-cooling incentive. As a result, the constituent immediately cancelled the contract and, luckily, there was no financial loss in this specific case.

However, not all of my constituents and people across Ontario have been so fortunate, Mr. Speaker, to survive without being robbed of hundreds of dollars. In another instance, for example, I was contacted by the son of an elderly couple who were approached in their home by a sales representative of an HVAC company who inspected their eight-and-a-half-year-old furnace, which was supposedly installed by the same company in the past. The couple were told that the pressure switch and the flame sensor were not working and to pay $600 right on the spot in order to fix it.

The next day, the furnace was not working. The same representative came back, could not get the furnace to work and advised the elderly couple that they needed a new furnace and took the old one with them. So this couple was left without a furnace and robbed of hundreds of dollars, and we had to contact, again, the ministry to fix the issue.

Mr. Speaker, I feel that this bill is really important for all of us and all the consumers in Ontario, and therefore, I support it wholeheartedly.

The Acting Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I thank the honourable member from York South–Weston and now return for final response to the member from Etobicoke Centre.

Mr. Yvan Baker: I’d like to thank the members who spoke: the members for Niagara West–Glanbrook, Timiskaming–Cochrane, Davenport, Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, Timmins–James Bay, Kingston and the Islands, Thornhill, and York South–Weston. I’d like to thank the government caucus and the NDP caucus for their support.

I do want to take the remaining time to address some of the points that were raised by the PC caucus members who are in opposition to the bill.

First of all, there was a point about seniors being empowered and that education is a tool that can be used to address this problem. Education is part of the solution; there’s no question. Education on its own has demonstrated itself not to be effective enough, and that’s really why I’ve brought this bill forward.

There are many measures that have taken place to educate people, and even the most educated and knowledgeable and people whom we wouldn’t consider vulnerable have fallen prey to these tactics. I had a professional salesperson tell me that he got duped once by a salesperson who came to his door. So the idea we can educate people to prevent this, I think, is not accurate. It can help, but we need to take stronger measures, and that’s why I have done this.

There’s a comment about it going too far and that the door-to-door sales industry is large and creates a lot of jobs. I don’t think that this is going to impact a lot of businesses. I think that businesses will have to adapt and they’ll have to change—those who require the door-to-door method to sell. But there are other mechanisms to sell that won’t materially impact their business. I used to be in business. I’ve run that assessment from my own perspective. I think that this is something that most businesses could accommodate. I think that it’s a balanced approach.

There was a talk about a risk to Girl Guide cookies and anything like that. First of all, there are only four product categories named here. They’re the ones where we’ve had millions of dollars of complaints to the government, and fraud and misleading and predatory practices. The government would have the power under this bill to add additional product categories. But as with anything, they would have to be very careful. I can only imagine the outrage if any government of any political stripe tried to outlaw the sale of Girl Guide cookies. I’m not particularly concerned about that.

There was talk about the fact that we can sell in other places. The home is where people are most vulnerable, and that’s why they fall—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I thank the honourable member from Etobicoke Centre and, indeed, all members, for their submissions on Bill 193. As I mentioned, we will be dealing with that, as per protocol, at the end of private members’ public business.

Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant la Loi sur le Mois de la sensibilisation aux tumeurs cérébrales

Mr. Ballard moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 211, An Act to amend the Brain Tumour Awareness Month Act, 2001 / Projet de loi 211, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2001 sur le Mois de la sensibilisation aux tumeurs cérébrales.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Mr. Chris Ballard: I’m honoured to be able to rise and speak to my private member’s bill, Bill 211, the Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act. If passed, this bill will proclaim the month of May as Brain Tumour Awareness Month. This is not new ground. Currently October is designated by the province as Brain Tumour Awareness Month. But by designating May, we will align Ontario with both British Columbia and the United States to create a North American Brain Tumour Awareness Month. I encourage all provinces to adopt a similar designation.

This joint co-operative coalition will create greater awareness of and support for this cause. It’s important to remember and to recognize this awareness month is just the beginning of what needs to be done to address this terrible disease, a disease that impacts the lives of thousands of individuals and families each and every day in Ontario and across the country.

I’d like to thank a few key people for their support and guidance during the identification and creation of this bill: Amy Mathias, the digital community engagement coordinator from the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada; Maureen Daniels, a board member also from the foundation; Charles Mott, a brain tumour survivor from my riding of Newmarket–Aurora; and Ben Diplock, a clinical researcher coordinator at Sunnybrook Research Institute, who is also a brain tumour survivor.

I can say, as an aside, Madam Speaker, that I’ve known Ben since he was just a young boy. He grew up on the same street that I grew up on in King City. My parents knew him, his sister and his parents quite well. They kept me updated as Ben moved through his struggle with a brain tumour and, ultimately, a fantastic victory.

I was honoured to have these advocates and survivors at Queen’s Park to speak at my press conference last Thursday to launch the first reading of this bill. I was able to hear first-hand the struggles these survivors have overcome to be where they are today.

I would also like to welcome two representatives from the Brain Tumour Foundation here with us today: Tracey Jones, the national director of programs and services; and also Susan Ruypers, who is a research specialist at the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Brain tumours are not an issue that typically receive a great deal of attention from the public. The goal of this bill is to start that conversation about brain tumour awareness and to do that all year long, but specifically to kick it off each May. We know that this is an illness that can affect anyone. The brain is the most important organ in the body. It controls our five senses, as well as the ability to speak and move. Brain tumours are surprisingly common, and symptoms can be subtle. Every day, 27 Canadians hear the words, “You have a brain tumour.” An estimated 55,000 people across Canada live with brain tumours.

One of these individuals was Evan Leversage. Evan was from the small Ontario community of St. George, near Brantford. Evan was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. In December 2015, doctors told Evan’s family that they were unsure if Evan would live to see Christmas, and perhaps they should celebrate early. You’ll probably remember the community’s reaction. It came together in an outpouring of love and support for Evan and his family to ensure that Evan’s celebrated that Christmas. An estimated 7,000 people joined the celebration, more than double the population of St. George. Supporters lined Evan’s street, cheering as he passed by homes lit by Christmas lights, decorations and even fake snow. The photos of Evan sitting next to Santa in his sleigh with a smile on his face were magical. Sadly, Evan died December 6 of last year.


Brain tumours also impact the strongest in our community. Newmarket Hurricanes hockey player Kevin Lord died in 2006 of brain cancer. Kevin was young, strong and fit. He was a dedicated athlete, teammate and friend to many in both the hockey and ball hockey communities. Each year, the Newmarket Hurricanes, an Ontario Junior Hockey League team, holds the Battle of York, a benefit hockey game that pits the Aurora Tigers against the Newmarket Hurricanes in memory of Kevin. A portion of the proceeds of the game go to Southlake regional hospital’s cancer centre. To date, this event has raised $50,000.

Top of mind when we think about brain tumours, perhaps, is the announcement recently that the frontman for the Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, has an incurable form of brain cancer. We were all stunned. Gord’s family, friends and fans have rallied around him as he vows one final tour with the band. It will be a remarkable tour.

Madam Speaker, this is personal. My family has been touched by brain tumours. My wonderful, wonderful father-in-law, Marvin Green, died of a brain tumour 11 years ago. It seems like just yesterday. Another family member who’s rather shy and didn’t want her name used was diagnosed at age nine with a brain tumour. Her outcome was much brighter. She was successfully treated at SickKids. Now, as a vibrant young woman, she is expecting her first child soon.

When you look at the stories of Evan, Kevin and every other person who has lost the fight against brain tumours, and those who have survived, there are a few similarities. Brain tumours do not seem to target a specific type of person. They don’t discriminate between young and old, women or men. It appears that there is simply no reasoning behind it.

This private member’s bill is a product of conversations between myself and organizations such as the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. This terrific organization was founded in London, Ontario in 1982 by Stephen Northey, who lost his eight-year-old daughter Kelly to a brain tumour. Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, a neurosurgeon, and Pamela Del Maestro, a neuroscience nurse, are also founders. Since its founding over 34 years ago, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has been dedicated to helping to find the cause and cure for brain tumours.

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is also an active participant in the International Brain Tumour Alliance, which works with organizations in over 100 countries around the world. These organizations focus on raising awareness of brain tumours, advocating for positive change and supporting brain tumour research.

Through conversations with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, I have learned that one of the biggest hurdles in finding a cure for brain tumours is the lack of data. To date, Canada has relied on data from a number of American and Canadian data resources to guide Canadian research, raise awareness, secure government funding and provide support programs. This data is not necessarily a true reflection of Canada’s brain tumour community.

In moving towards a cure, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada established the Canadian brain tumour registry in November 2012. This project will count every person with a brain tumour in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, which accounts for approximately 90% of the brain tumour cases in Canada. Having this information will accelerate advocacy efforts to ensure equal access to drugs, treatments and services for all brain tumour patients. Collecting this data will bring us one step closer to finding a cure.

Our government understands there are many steps that we need to take to fight brain tumours, including investing and learning more about the brain’s function. That’s why, in 2013, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Research and Innovation partnered to provide the Ontario Brain Institute with up to $100 million—$20 million a year—over five years. This funding is helping to sustain and expand the Ontario Brain Institute’s coordination and commercialization support for neuroscience research.

However, there is always more work that can be done to further this conversation, which is why I’m presenting this bill. As I mentioned at the opening, for several years the month of October has been recognized as Brain Tumour Awareness Month. In an effort to raise the profile of this disease, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has chosen to highlight May as Brain Tumour Awareness Month, aligning itself with the United States and the province of British Columbia. If passed, this bill will see Ontario declare May as Brain Tumour Awareness Month to build awareness.

Personally, I’m putting forward this bill for Evan Leversage, Gord Downie, Kevin Lord, Charles Mott, Ben Diplock, Marvin Green, and every other person who has been touched by this terrible disease.

I want to make one final comment. Ben and Charles have proven that brain tumours are not always fatal. When an Ontario resident is told, “You have a brain tumour,” it need not be a sentence of death.

I’d like to read this quote from brain tumour survivor Ben Diplock, the young fellow who grew up on the street where I was raised. At the press conference I held last week, Ben said this: “After the operation to remove my tumour, my parents were told that I would never ride a bike, drive a car, or learn at the same pace as my classmates. Yet, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by health care providers, loved ones and mentors who instilled in me the belief that I was capable of anything to which I put my mind. And with this positivity, I learned to ride a bike, drive a car, and graduated from university with honours.”

I might add that young Ben has dedicated his life to finding a cure for brain tumours. As I mentioned earlier, he’s currently a clinical research coordinator at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

It’s my hope that this bill, in some small way, will help in brain tumour prevention and cure and help raise support for those living with a brain tumour. I look forward to the support of those opposite and everyone in this House as we move this bill forward.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to rise today and discuss this important topic.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Tim Hudak: I’m pleased to rise in debate on the bill to change Brain Tumour Awareness Month from October to May, standing in the name of the member for Newmarket. Of course, I’ll be supporting this bill. The member told some very touching stories about how brain tumours have impacted his own family. We’ve certainly all been deeply saddened by the news about Gord Downie, who has terminal brain cancer. The member also mentioned a nine-year-old—a happier story—who had a nice recovery, which is great to hear.

You may know, Speaker, that brain tumours are the leading cause of solid cancer death among children. For those under 20 years old, it has now passed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. They’re the third leading cause of solid cancer death in young adults aged 20 to 39.

So I’ll certainly be supporting the bill, and it’s good to have the debate about the importance of recognizing brain tumours and support.

I’m going to add something to this, because it’s a bit of a Malcolm Gladwell moment for me, a bit of a tipping point. I’ll support this bill, but I do want to say—and I’ve been around here a long time—that I think the months are getting pretty tired. The month is in October, currently, which it shares with:

—International Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day;

—International Day of the Girl Child;

—National Coming Out Day;

—International Day of No Prostitution, which, by the way, contests with International Sex Worker Rights Day, which takes place in March;

—International Stuttering Awareness Day;

—Intersex Awareness Day;

—World Vasectomy Day, which is not a day that I look forward to celebrating;

—World Food Day;

—World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, when I guess you watch black-and-white televisions;

—Cyber Security Awareness Month;

—dental hygiene month;

—Health Care Food Service Month;

—outdoor lighting month—my wife would say it takes me 10 months to get the Christmas lights down, as opposed to a single one;

—Vegetarian Awareness Month, and I can’t help but say, Madam Speaker, that in my experience, vegetarians have a way of making you aware of them all year round.


If we change months to May, it would accompany:

—Star Wars Day—

Mr. Han Dong: May the fourth be with you.

Mr. Tim Hudak: —May 4, of course, is Star Wars Day;

—World Password Day, which I think would be tremendously helpful;

—World Turtle Day, May 23—although I’m surprised they only need a month. Given their pace, I would think it would take them much longer;

—Towel Day, May 25;

—World No Tobacco Day, May 31, and I think if people could abstain for one day, we probably wouldn’t need that day at all, Madam Speaker—but I’m no doctor.

May also has Car Care Month; Better Sleep Month; World Hunger Day; Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Awareness Day; International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia; and Blue Cone Monochromacy International Awareness Day.

However, for politicians, we voted ourselves an entire week: Public Service Recognition Week, May 1 to 7.

All that having been said, I know the member has brought forward an important issue. I do hope that in the future, we will see more bills that would maybe start a new program. The member for Eglinton–Lawrence, for example, did so for women who have lost pregnancies before birth. He brought forward a very important program. I think that would be helpful.

A new program in this area would probably be helpful, or a new service, for example. I’d like to see a bit more strength in the bills as opposed to just naming months. I know the member is sincere about that, but I am going to propose, as my next bill, the “months are exhausted and need a break” bill.

In this assembly, honest to goodness, in this sitting, we have fully 24 awareness day or month bills. In the interest of time, I will not read them all, except to say that my favourite is Bill 179, Tomato Act, An Act to proclaim Tomato Day and to make tomatoes the official vegetable of Ontario, which I look forward to debating, because I think tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable. So I look forward to that debate.

Otherwise, congratulations to the member. Let’s give the months a bit of a rest. There’s a lot on their backs.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I appreciate the opportunity to rise and speak to this bill put forward by the member from Newmarket–Aurora. He is amending an existing Brain Tumour Awareness Month Act dating from 2001, moving the month to May rather than October.

First of all, I have to say I appreciate the fact that he’s bringing this forward. I know that he’s recognizing all those volunteers, all those activists and all those foundations that have done the work that they need to do—and I know they want to do much more—to move this issue forward, to increase research, to invest in treatment and to ensure that we have a sense of what causes this disease and how to approach it.

The member is quite correct: Many people survive brain tumours. There’s a sense amongst many of us when we hear the word “cancer” that it’s a final word, a word speaking to the end. In many cases it is, but it is not always the case. In fact, I want to say I have two of my constituents who have gone through very great difficulties with brain cancer, went on, and continued to go on and lead very decent, very joyful lives.

One constituent who, a few years ago, was diagnosed with a tumour on her brain stem—very difficult to treat, very difficult to access—actually went to California for, I wouldn’t say “experimental,” but innovative keyhole surgery that allowed her to avoid far more substantial cutting of or destruction of brain tissue. She was able to come through that treatment with full restoration of her abilities, and a full life. It was a tough time for her, a tough time for her husband, and certainly, for them, months—actually, when you think about it, years—of trepidation.

Another constituent was working with me on an issue in my riding about two years ago, and suddenly, one evening, just said, “I can’t make it to the meeting. I’ve got this brain tumour diagnosis. I’ve got to drop all this stuff. I’ve got to focus on my health. I’m going to have an operation within a week or two.”

I hadn’t heard from her for a while. I was canvassing through my riding about a month ago, going door to door, knocked on the door, and there she was, looking great. She had gone through a very difficult time, but was fully restored to all her faculties, the diagnosis behind her, her life ahead of her. The simple reality is that even with our limited knowledge now—and it is limited—the potential is there for effective treatment that allows people to take hold of and live their full lives.

We shouldn’t be surprised that people are working on this issue. People have worked on and continue to work on a variety of cancer issues. A number of years ago, Speaker—you and I were representing the same area at the time—I brought forward a bylaw in the city of Toronto to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. It was quite an experience because on the one hand, we had everyone who was pro-smoking or who, if they weren’t in favour of smoking, felt that having smoking was critical to the success of their restaurant or bar; and on the other hand, we had oncologists, surgeons and people who had spent far more than their fair share of time in cancer wards.

It was a profound battle because what I heard from the pro-smoking side was that if you stopped smoking in bars and restaurants in Toronto, the city would be hollowed out. Tourists would never come here again. It would be the end of economic life as we know it and the beginning of the dark ages. As you are well aware, Speaker, that in fact didn’t happen. Tourists still come to Toronto, birds still sing in the sky, the sun still shines, and people can make advances in dealing with environmental factors that cause cancer.

I don’t know enough about brain tumours; I don’t know enough about the environmental factors, the genetic factors, or others that play into the origin of the disease in any one individual, but it’s pretty clear that there are cancers, like lung cancer, that could be traced very commonly to environmental causes, tobacco smoke being one of them.

A number of years ago, I had the opportunity in this Legislature to bring forward a private member’s bill, the Community Right to Know Act, something that’s in place in California. We got through second reading here; we got through committee here. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it passed into law. But in California, if you have a product the use of which will expose people to carcinogens, you have to reveal that on the label of your product. What they found in California was that a number of companies reformulated their products to eliminate elements like benzene or other common carcinogenic substances that were in everyday products that people were using.

I think that enough people in this chamber and enough people in this community—and community writ large, Ontario—have had to deal with cancer that there is momentum and will to take the issue on, notwithstanding the fact that, from time to time, when you take on these big issues, you come up against those who have an economic interest in life and death continuing as they have for a long time.

I want to commend the member for doing this. I think every step that’s taken to enhance awareness of these threats to our lives and to enhance knowledge that will allow us to deal with this threat in the future is a positive step. Again, I thank the member.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Han Dong: I’m very pleased to speak to this bill.

I just want to say to the member from Niagara West–Glanbrook, thank you for bringing forward your interesting perspective on this particular bill. Yes, the months may get tiring; maybe we just need more months in a year. Maybe that’s a solution. And the way I see it, a tomato is a vegetable.

But I’m very, very happy to get a chance to speak to this bill. I want to thank the member from Newmarket–Aurora and the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for working together and putting together this private member’s bill. It makes a lot of sense. If we align the awareness month with the other jurisdictions, such as British Columbia and the United States, to create a North American Brain Tumour Awareness Month, it makes a lot of sense to me. One chopstick is always easier to break than 10. We all know philosophy has been brought up many, many times here.


I was surprised when I learned that there are 27 people a day in Canada being told that they have a brain tumour. That works out to be just a little less than 10,000 Canadians a year. That’s a lot of families, a lot of people, who this is impacting.

Similar to other forms of cancer, I can only imagine, when you’re told that you have a brain tumour, the chill down your back—and when your family is told this news. It definitely brings a great, great impact to Canadian life.

But at the same time, I know that institutions such as Princess Margaret, SickKids and the University of Toronto—these great institutions in my riding are working very, very hard to find a cure for cancer. I’m very optimistic that in my lifetime, I will see that happen.

Someone close to me, my mother-in-law, and a good friend, works in the Mayo Clinic and tells me that their work is ongoing on oncology, and they think that although it’s very complex, they are hopeful, through the research work they do.

I want to commend the governments, both at the provincial level and the federal level, for putting resources behind research to find a cure for tumours.

I just want to recognize some of the good work that is being done by the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. They created something called the brain tumour handbook, focusing on adult patients and pediatric patients, and those diagnosed with non-malignant or low-grade brain tumours. This is very interesting.

I recently toured SickKids hospital. When I saw the good work done by the nursing team there, I was very pleased, but I can’t help but be a little bit depressed, because I see little kids, and a lot of them are battling a life-threatening disease, and some are battling cancer.

I said to them that it must be very tough work. They told me that they’re rather optimistic with it, and they said that kids are much easier to deal with than adults. Adults know what they’ve got and that it’s life-threatening. They know that they are different than the rest of people. But the kids—not too much. They move on; they’re happy. But although those were comforting words to me, it was heart-wrenching. It was very touching to hear that.

I absolutely believe that more resources should be put behind cancer research, to find a cure as early as possible.

I also want to take this opportunity to give credit to Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. They do good work, not just in my riding but across the city. Every year for the last three years, I have participated in their charity run—actually a walk, a 5K walk—to raise money and raise awareness for the good work they do. It’s very similar to other not-for-profit organizations. They’re out there to support cancer survivors. I just want to take this opportunity to give them a shout-out.

So, that’s it. Thank you very much, Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mr. Jim McDonell: It’s a privilege to rise today to talk about Bill 211, on a Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

Again, I’m of the same mind. Making a month, changing a month—I know that it creates an awareness for brain tumours, but I wonder sometimes what that will do. It’s not something you can avoid. I think it would be much better to see money actually being put in some type of research. We see a lot of work left to be done.

The stats show that every day, 27 Canadians get diagnosed with a brain tumour, and 55,000 have them today. But I think it’s more important when it’s people you know who have it. I have a long-time friend who passed away just a couple of years ago, Donald George McRae. We called him “Tiny.”

Tiny had three tumours removed, starting when he was about 24 years old. He passed way when he was almost 60. But it was always a threat that he was living with. It just shows how long—in some ways, you might say, he was one of the lucky ones, because he was able to live with it for a long time. Other people, I know, aren’t so lucky. They find out with very short time frames.

Brain tumours—there could be other things such as Alzheimer’s. There are lots of brain diseases and we aren’t getting very far. I think it speaks to the fact that we need more than awareness. It’s not something that you can stop. It’s something that people generally find out about because of the symptoms that come along with it, the headaches or other issues they have, but there needs to be more research and more action done on it.

Generally, they are very healthy people. A friend of my wife from school just found out that her husband—very active, loved to play golf, loved to travel—has brain cancer, had a tumour removed but, of course, the diagnoses are never great. I say that not because I think of him as any different than anybody else. I think that everybody in this House would probably have more than a handful of people they know who are either living with it or have suffered from it. It is a major disease and, unfortunately, usually fatal.

So it’s something that I think we have to do more with than awareness. In this case here, there’s nothing you can do yourself, so what we can do is take action and look at putting a stop to it and bringing research along so at least there’s better treatment and so that it’s not the death sentence that we see today.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Miss Monique Taylor: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to speak today on behalf of the residents of Hamilton Mountain as we consider Bill 211, the Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act.

Currently, Brain Tumour Awareness Month is recognized in October in the province of Ontario and the purpose of this bill before us is to change that to May. I think it’s for a good reason. May is Brain Tumour Awareness Month in both British Columbia and the US, and has been declared as such in Yellowknife, Calgary, Welland and Niagara Falls. By aligning Ontario with other northern jurisdictions, we increase the impact of brain tumour awareness, pooling our resources and working for a common good by recognizing it in the same month across the continent.

There are approximately 55,000 Canadians living with brain tumours and another 27 are added each and every day. The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada was founded 34 years ago in London, Ontario. They raise funds to lead research into the cause of and cure for the disease. They also run support groups and conferences to share information. They distribute the BrainStorm newsletter as well as provide handbooks and an online peer support centre. The foundation is a wonderful resource for the brain tumour community and I thank them for their excellent work. Just last week, on May 29, the Hamilton-Niagara branch held their Brain Tumour Walk at Dofasco park and raised an amazing $42,000 to help pay for all of the work that they do.

Speaker, as I was doing a bit of reading and research about brain tumours, I was surprised to find that there are 120 different types of brain tumours. We also know that there are a number of ways in which they can affect those they harm.

I want to recount the experience of one person I know who has been affected by a brain tumour. At the age of 10 months, his parents started to notice that sometimes he would go into sort of a trance, just gaze into space with a vacant look on his face. It didn’t happen often, it didn’t happen regularly. There was no rhyme or reason; it just happened from time to time. When it did happen, they would pick him up and they would hold him close and a few minutes later he would come around and go back and play just as any other young child would do.

They took him to the doctor and after a short consultation they were told that what they were seeing was a learned behaviour. Their son, in just the few short months of his life, had worked out that if he wanted a cuddle all he had to do was gaze into space. They left the doctor’s office hopeful that their son’s actions had been explained, but they were not entirely convinced.

When an episode happened again a few weeks down the road, they held back. Difficult as it was to do, they left him alone. They watched him stand there with a blank gaze on his face and swaying a little. Slowly he came around and, as before, he carried on to play. It happened again and they made another appointment with their doctor. Again, the learned behaviour explanation was put forward. It takes a while to unlearn behaviour, they were told. More episodes followed, and more visits to the doctor. The symptoms remained the same.

Eventually, not long after his second birthday, they managed to get a referral to a pediatric neurologist. The neurologist couldn’t see anything that might be causing these episodes, but they got him admitted to the McMaster Children’s Hospital for closer examination and observation. After a couple of days, no explanation had been found and he was about to the discharged.

As you know, Speaker, McMaster is a highly respected teaching hospital and, just as luck would have it, a young student doctor noticed that there was a very slight limp in the young boy as he walked through the ward—not much, but enough to make people take another look.


A CT scan was ordered and, as a result, it came back as a shock to the family. After trying to understand the medical terminology being used to explain the situation, the parents had to ask the doctor, “Do you mean he has a brain tumour?” “Yes,” came the reply. It was about the size of a large orange.

Just as this was all being explained to the parents, suddenly the space behind them erupted in activity as doctors and nurses rushed to the child’s bedside, as he had a serious convulsion. After the seizure had ended, the doctors had a chance to discuss the next steps and the parents were told that surgery was needed immediately. He spent the next five months in the hospital, during which he had three surgeries, lasting a total of 25 hours. The first was the longest and most traumatic. As the highly skilled team tried to remove the tumour, one of the major blood vessels began to erupt in his brain.

When the exhausted neurosurgeon, an exceptionally compassionate, honest man, came out, he told the parents that he didn’t know if he had done their son any favours. He didn’t know what the future held. The good news was that the tumour wasn’t malignant. It had grown throughout the pregnancy. It would be the same size no matter what time they had found it. He had a large tumour in his brain the size of an orange when he was born. The pressure within his small head must have been immense.

It was highly traumatic, and the effects remain. He is paralyzed on one side of his body—one quick second, Speaker; I’m almost there—and he has no peripheral vision on his left side. At the age of five or six, he started to have seizures. Medication was able to control it. Now he is able to live a pleasant, fulfilling life.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Thank you. Further debate?

Mr. Yvan Baker: It’s a privilege to rise today to speak to the bill from my colleague and seatmate from Newmarket–Aurora. I have the privilege of working with Chris Ballard on a day-to-day basis and to speak with him regularly. I know how passionate he is about this topic. I know how hard he works on behalf of his constituents in Newmarket–Aurora. I think this is just another example of his good work, not just on behalf of his constituents but on behalf of folks across Ontario, on an issue that’s important to so many people.

So many of the members who have risen have talked about brain tumours and the impact they can have on people. What I want to do is just focus my few minutes on how important it is that we do what Chris Ballard is asking us to do, which is to raise awareness about an issue that touches so many in such a profound way.

The first thing I wanted to note is that changing the Brain Tumour Awareness Month from October to May would align Ontario with both British Columbia and the United States to create a North American Brain Tumour Awareness Month. I really applaud MPP Ballard for this, to create this alignment, because with improved organization across North America, more people will get the opportunity to learn about brain tumours and recognize their devastating impact. I think that coordination is important.

We can all think of causes that we’ve raised awareness of across Canada or across North America and, as a result, we’ve seen positive results. In Canada, an estimated 55,000 people live with brain tumours, which is about 27 people diagnosed a day. That’s a really incredible number. I was shocked to hear that. Of course, in the US, the number is about 10 times that amount.

Brain tumours don’t discriminate. They affect people of all ages, but it is one of the most common forms of cancer in children.

Furthermore, coming from my background of business, I understand not only the communication reach that could be achieved by aligning these efforts but also the potential for sharing resources across jurisdictions. Rather than duplicating efforts across the year in different jurisdictions by having different brain tumour awareness months, aligning with the US, British Columbia and others will vastly improve the capability of our local volunteer organizations as well, such as the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, to utilize their resources to the best of their capability.

Our brain performs, of course, some of the most basic and important functions in our body. It gives us the ability to move, sense and feel emotions. It is its highly developed nature that sets us apart from millions of other living things on earth. That is one of the reasons why a brain tumour can have such a profound impact, not only on a person’s health but on their quality of life. By aligning these efforts, I think we’re doing an excellent thing.

I can just say that, in my community, one issue that has been of great concern is Alzheimer’s and dementia. I recently had a consultation on our dementia strategy as a government. One of the things that came out of it was that someone who is an expert in the field got up and talked about the value of raising awareness in an aligned way. He spoke about the fact—in the context of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but I think it applies to this as well—that through awareness, through communication, we not only educate, but we create impetus for actions to be taken that will resolve this problem. If we were to resolve this problem, we know that we would have a meaningful impact on tens of thousands of people across Ontario and a profound impact on the quality of life for the people of Ontario.

For that reason, I support this bill. I hope we can all support the bill that has been put forward by the member for Newmarket–Aurora.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mrs. Gila Martow: I am very pleased to rise to speak on Bill 211, the Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act, 2016. This bill isn’t to create a month of awareness; it is to change that month from October to May so it can be aligned with other jurisdictions so that we can have a North American awareness month.

I want to mention very quickly that there are probably other, more important bills that we could be debating, including my two private member’s bills, which seem to be locked in never-never land.

We need to see time and money being spent on research, but this bill does support that, because what an awareness month does is help facilitate the charities that are fundraising to support the research we need. It helps them by having this month, because they also focus their resources and work together, and usually run their galas and fundraising programs during this month.

Just yesterday, I toured the University Health Network’s new facility for research, which is very close to here—just walking distance. It’s the Krembil research facility. They’re struggling to get grants to do research. I specifically spoke to people about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. These are all very important, Madam Speaker, as we know. There should be less effort made by these researchers just trying to get government funding; they should be focusing on the research itself.

As a former optometrist, I just want to mention that one of things optometrists do is diagnose brain tumours. I’m going to give just a little bit of a description of what is called the optic chiasm. “Chiasm” is from the Greek letter that’s like an X. We have the optic nerve from each eye crossing in the back of the brain into an X. Depending on people’s visual fields, if they’re losing part of their vision, we’re able to test it now—we’ve got very fancy computerized equipment to do visual field testing.

I’m just going to say that one of the symptoms of a brain tumour is missing part of your peripheral vision. For example, if you’re missing both the right and left from the centre out—everybody is going to go home, close one eye, point to something and do the little wiggle test to make sure they can see way out there. But if you’re missing the right and left temporal quadrants, that is bitemporal hemianopsia, as we call it, and that means that the tumour is right in the middle of that X. Then, depending where you’ve lost vision—if it’s a quarter quadrant, if it’s both or a quarter here and a quarter there—that will tell us where along the nerve the tumour is. Then, people go for a CAT scan or an MRI and, sure enough, the tumour often ends up being exactly where we were able to predict.

So it’s very important that people who are having headaches or loss of peripheral vision take it very seriously, and when they make those appointments, that they explain their symptoms carefully and don’t just call and say, “I’m getting headaches.” They have to say, “I don’t normally get migraine headaches, and suddenly I’m having migraine headaches,” and ensure that they’re being seen quickly enough; to keep the pressure going until they’re seen, because time is of the essence, as we know.

As we’ve heard, 27 people a day in Canada are diagnosed with brain cancers. This means that 55,000 are living with brain tumours. I think that, while there are many awareness months, as we heard, and some of them might sound a little peculiar, raising awareness of the symptoms of brain tumours—not just having a month to recognize that people have brain tumours, but using that awareness to warn people of what the symptoms are so they seek the medical attention, which is so readily available in our wonderful province, to ensure they get the earliest diagnosis and earliest treatment with the best outcome. That’s what it’s about, and I’m very happy to support this bill to move the awareness month.


The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Further debate?

Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: It’s a pleasure to rise to add a few comments, on behalf of my constituents in Cambridge, to this very important debate this afternoon. I’m delighted to hear a lot of support around the chamber for changing Brain Tumour Awareness Month to May to align with other Canadian provinces. That’s no small feat, and it really does help to add to this debate why we need to do it.

When I look down at the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada information sheet—it’s very, very important to have this information out there. It’s been said before in this debate that every day 27 Canadians hear the words “You have a brain tumour.” Now, think about that for a moment. Madam Speaker, I’ve been on the scene with families when they received that news from their physician, and it’s devastating. It’s devastating for children. I recall the first time that I had a little two-year-old at SickKids, and her parents were in the room with us when they had the devastating news from the physician. The father promptly fainted. This was a sign of how devastating it is to families.

As a nurse, I was only able to offer so much comfort there, and it was very helpful, then, to be able to give some of the resources to the families from organizations such as the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, to be able to go to them for information.

The second time I heard that was from one of my friends who had just reached her 40th birthday. She complained a bit about having her 40th birthday and feeling over the hill. About two months after her birthday, she had been having some symptoms back and forth and she got the news that she, indeed, had a brain tumour. She said to me, “You know, here I was complaining about my 40th birthday, but the alternative is far worse.”

In looking at ways we can try and relieve some of the issues around this, in terms of emotions and in terms of awareness, one of the benefits that we have of being able to have a Brain Tumour Awareness Month is really getting the information out there. You may have noted that some of your neighbours, your friends and your family have been having some indescribable symptoms and you might think that maybe that’s something happening in their brain, that maybe they need a bigger checkup. Maybe you need to go to a physician and say, “I noticed my family member is having a bit of a limp and their speech is off just a little bit or their vision is off a little bit. Can we please check for things?” It gives families a place to go to be able to look into some of the symptoms they might have, because as we know, early diagnosis means that we’re certainly able to treat the disease far more.

In closing, I wanted to just give a shout-out to the member for bringing this forward. I certainly support this bill 100% and hope that all the rest of the members do in the House, too.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I will return back to the member from Newmarket–Aurora to wrap up.

Mr. Chris Ballard: It certainly was my honour to introduce this bill for second reading today. I just wanted to take a minute and thank all of the members who took time to focus on this bill: the members for Niagara West–Glanbrook, Toronto–Danforth, Trinity–Spadina, Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, Hamilton Mountain, Etobicoke Centre, Thornhill and Cambridge. I certainly was taking note of what you were saying.

I know that there was, in good fun and a bit of jest, some discussion about every month and the number of things that are devoted to it, but I wanted to say that it’s so important that this House recognizes these causes, if not for us, for the organizations that are represented, because it gives them something to rally around. Let’s keep that in mind as we move this forward.

I wanted just to state again, as we heard earlier, that a brain tumour diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Thanks to modern medicine and the human spirit, we are tackling this disease and making great progress.

With second reading of the bill today, Madam Speaker, it gives me hope for a brighter future with the potential for bolstered research, knowledge dissemination and eventual changes in health care practices for a cure to extend and improve the quality of life.

I’d just like to say thank you to all past, present and future advocates who have made and will continue to make immense improvements in the lives of others. Frankly, I can’t wait to see what the month of May will bring in the coming years.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): The time for private members’ public business has expired.

Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Careless Driving), 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant le Code de la route (conduite imprudente)

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): We’ll deal first with ballot number 48, standing in the name of Ms. McMahon.

Ms. McMahon has moved second reading of Bill 213.

Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carry? I hear “Carried.”

Second reading agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I need to turn to the member to ask which standing committee it should go to.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The bill will go to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): The bill goes to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. Is it carried? Carried. Thank you.

Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Mr. Baker has moved second reading of Bill 193, An Act to prohibit door-to-door sales of certain products.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I hear “Carried.”

All those in favour of the motion, please say “aye.”

All those opposed, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): We will deal with the vote at the end of this portion of the business.

Brain Tumour Awareness Month Amendment Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant la Loi sur le Mois de la sensibilisation aux tumeurs cérébrales

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Mr. Ballard has moved second reading of Bill 211, An Act to amend the Brain Tumour Awareness Month Act, 2001.

Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carries? I hear “Carried.”

Second reading agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Congratulations, Mr. Ballard. Can you please refer to which committee?

Mr. Chris Ballard: I’d like to have the bill referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Is it the will of the House? Agreed? I hear “Agreed.” Congratulations.

Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 interdisant la vente de porte-à-porte

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): This will be a five-minute bell. Call in all the members.

The division bells rang from 1618 to 1623.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Members, please take your seats.

Mr. Baker has moved second reading of Bill 193, An Act to prohibit door-to-door sales of certain products.

All those in favour, please rise and remain standing until recognized by the Clerk.


  • Albanese, Laura
  • Baker, Yvan
  • Ballard, Chris
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dhillon, Vic
  • Dong, Han
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Hoggarth, Ann
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Leal, Jeff
  • MacCharles, Tracy
  • Malhi, Harinder
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Martins, Cristina
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • McGarry, Kathryn
  • McMahon, Eleanor
  • Milczyn, Peter Z.
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naidoo-Harris, Indira
  • Potts, Arthur
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): All those opposed, please rise and remain standing until recognized by the Clerk.


  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Harris, Michael
  • Hudak, Tim
  • McDonell, Jim

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 30; the nays are 7.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I declare the motion carried.

Second reading agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Pursuant to standing order 98(j), I will look to the member to ask which standing committee.

Mr. Yvan Baker: To the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Is it the pleasure of the House that—agree? Agreed.

Royal assent / Sanction royale

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario has been pleased to assent to certain bills in her office.

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Mr. Trevor Day): The following are the titles of the bills to which Her Honour did assent:

An Act to enact the Ontario Trails Act, 2016 and to amend various Acts / Loi édictant la Loi de 2016 sur les sentiers de l’Ontario et modifiant diverses lois.

An Act to proclaim Correctional Services Staff Recognition Week / Loi proclamant la Semaine de la reconnaissance du personnel des services correctionnels.

An Act to amend several statutes and revoke several regulations in relation to energy conservation and long-term energy planning / Loi modifiant plusieurs lois et abrogeant plusieurs règlements en ce qui concerne la conservation de l’énergie et la planification énergétique à long terme.

An Act to establish an advisory committee to make recommendations on the jury recommendations made in the inquest into the death of Rowan Stringer / Loi créant un comité consultatif chargé d’examiner les recommandations formulées par le jury à la suite de l’enquête sur le décès de Rowan Stringer.

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 / 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.

An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act / Loi modifiant la Loi favorisant un Ontario sans fumée.

An Act to proclaim a Workers Day of Mourning / Loi proclamant un Jour de deuil pour les travailleurs.

An Act to amend the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and to make complementary amendments to other Acts / Loi modifiant la Loi de 1996 sur les élections municipales et apportant des modifications complémentaires à d’autres lois.

An Act to proclaim Ontario Down Syndrome Day / Loi proclamant la Journée ontarienne de la trisomie 21.

An Act to establish the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan / Loi établissant le Régime de retraite de la province de l’Ontario.

An Act to proclaim Treaties Recognition Week / Loi proclamant la Semaine de reconnaissance des traités.

An Act respecting the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.

An Act to revive Stephanie Holdings Ltd.

An Act to revive Bill Bedford Professional Corporation.

An Act to revive 1709542 Ontario Corporation.

An Act to revive 839255 Ontario Inc.

An Act to revive Base2 eBusiness Solutions Inc.

An Act respecting The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.

An Act to revive 828117 Ontario Limited.

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

An Act to revive 790186 Ontario Inc.

An Act respecting the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park.

An Act to revive 1733387 Ontario Corp.

An Act respecting the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara.

An Act to revive Harold Coles Inc.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): Orders of the day. I recognize the Deputy Premier.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Soo Wong): The Deputy Premier has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carry?

I hear “Carried.” Have a great summer.

The House is adjourned until Monday, September 12, 2016, at 10:30 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1629.