42nd Parliament, 1st Session

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L117 - Thu 6 Jun 2019 / Jeu 6 jun 2019

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO

Thursday 6 June 2019 Jeudi 6 juin 2019

Members’ expenditures

Orders of the Day

Order of business

Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc. Act, 2019

Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc. Act, 2019

665395 Ontario Limited Act, 2019

665395 Ontario Limited Act, 2019

Good Fortune Corporation Act, 2019

Good Fortune Corporation Act, 2019

All Trade Quantities Inc. Act, 2019

All Trade Quantities Inc. Act, 2019

The United Church of Canada Act, 2019

The United Church of Canada Act, 2019

Introduction of Visitors

Anniversary of D-Day / Anniversaire du jour J

Oral Questions

Public sector compensation

Public sector compensation

House sittings

Government’s record

Government contract

Ring of Fire

Health care

Education funding

Affordable housing

Water quality

Education funding

Opioid abuse

Police services

Automobile insurance

Job creation

Legislative staff

World Sickle Cell Day

Legislative staff

Visitors

Legislative pages

Deferred Votes

Bringing Choice and Fairness to the People Act (Beverage Alcohol Retail Sales), 2019 / Loi de 2019 visant à offrir à la population plus de choix et un accès équitable en matière de vente au détail de boissons alcooliques

More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 pour plus de logements et plus de choix

Royal assent / Sanction royale

Order of business

Notice of reasoned amendment

Introduction of Visitors

Members’ Statements

Portugal Day

Lakeside Process Controls

Student literacy

Renewable energy

Government services

Health care

Global Coptic Day

Mental health and addiction services

Chinese Canadian Head Tax Redress Day

Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club

Visitors

Introduction of Bills

Tibetan Heritage Month Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 sur le Mois du patrimoine tibétain

Motions

House sittings

Statements by the Ministry and Responses

Seniors’ Month

Visitors

Private Members’ Public Business

Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 modifiant la Loi sur la responsabilité des occupants

Egyptian Heritage Month Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 sur le Mois du patrimoine égyptien

Lyme disease

Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 modifiant la Loi sur la responsabilité des occupants

Egyptian Heritage Month Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 sur le Mois du patrimoine égyptien

Lyme disease

The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Let us pray.

Prayers/Prières.

Members’ expenditures

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I beg to inform the House that I have today laid upon the table the individual members’ expenditures for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Orders of the Day

Order of business

Hon. Rod Phillips: I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding private bills.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Phillips is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion about private bills, without notice. Agreed? Agreed.

Again, I recognize the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Hon. Rod Phillips: I move that the orders for second and third reading of the following private bills shall be called consecutively and the questions on the motions for second and third reading of the bills be put immediately without debate: Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc.; Bill Pr7, An Act to revive 665395 Ontario Limited; Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Good Fortune Corporation; Bill Pr9, An Act to revive All Trade Quantities Inc.; Bill Pr10, An Act respecting The United Church of Canada; and that Ms. Shaw may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr5 on behalf of Ms. Shaw; that Ms. Hogarth may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr7 on behalf of Ms. Hogarth; that Mr. Babikian may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr8 on behalf of Mr. Babikian; that Mrs. Wai may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr9 on behalf of Mrs. Wai; and that Ms. Wynne may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr10 on behalf of Ms. Wynne.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Phillips has moved that the orders for second and third reading of the following private bills shall be called consecutively and the questions on the motions for second and third reading of the bills be put immediately without debate: Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc.; Bill Pr7, An Act to revive 665395 Ontario Limited; Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Good Fortune Corporation; Bill Pr9, An Act to revive All Trade Quantities Inc.; Bill Pr10, An Act respecting The United Church of Canada; and that Ms. Shaw may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr5 on behalf of Ms. Shaw; that Ms. Hogarth may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr7 on behalf of Ms. Hogarth; that Mr. Babikian may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr8 on behalf of Mr. Babikian; that Mrs. Wai may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr9 on behalf of Mrs. Wai; and that Ms. Wynne may move the motions for second and third reading of Bill Pr10 on behalf of Ms. Wynne.

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

Motion agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Orders of the day.

Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc. Act, 2019

Ms. Shaw moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc.

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

Second reading agreed to.

Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc. Act, 2019

Ms. Shaw moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc.

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

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

Third reading agreed to.

665395 Ontario Limited Act, 2019

Ms. Hogarth moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive 665395 Ontario Limited.

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

Second reading agreed to.

665395 Ontario Limited Act, 2019

Ms. Hogarth moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive 665395 Ontario Limited.

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

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

Third reading agreed to.

Good Fortune Corporation Act, 2019

Mr. Babikian moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Good Fortune Corporation.

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

Second reading agreed to.

Good Fortune Corporation Act, 2019

Mr. Babikian moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Good Fortune Corporation.

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

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

Third reading agreed to.

All Trade Quantities Inc. Act, 2019

Mrs. Wai moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act to revive All Trade Quantities Inc.

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

Second reading agreed to.

All Trade Quantities Inc. Act, 2019

Mrs. Wai moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act to revive All Trade Quantities Inc.

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

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

Third reading agreed to.

The United Church of Canada Act, 2019

Ms. Wynne moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr10, An Act respecting The United Church of Canada.

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

Second reading agreed to.

The United Church of Canada Act, 2019

Ms. Wynne moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr10, An Act respecting The United Church of Canada.

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

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

Third reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Orders of the day. Again, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Hon. Rod Phillips: No further business, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There being no further business, this House stands in recess until 10:30 a.m.

The House recessed from 0911 to 1030.

Introduction of Visitors

Mr. Joel Harden: It’s a great pleasure for me to introduce to the House Samiha Rayeda from our constituency office, one of our fantastic organizers. Samiha, thank you for being here today, and thank you for all the work you do for us.

I would be remiss, Speaker, if I didn’t mention my good friends from CUPE sitting right up there: Fred Hahn and Wynne Hartviksen. Thank you for all the work you do for CUPE members across this province.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We welcome you to Queen’s Park.

We have a limited time for introductions today. I would ask members to make them brief and make sure that they’re devoid of political comment or statement.

Mr. Jeremy Roberts: I’m honoured today to have my summer student, Braeden De Bakker, with us here in the gallery. Welcome back to Queen’s Park, Braeden.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to now take a moment to recognize the contributions of staff sergeant Kathy Seymour of the Legislative Protective Service. Kathy will be retiring this July following a distinguished 25-year career serving the people of Ontario.

During her career, Kathy has made a significant contribution to public safety, especially within our legislative precinct.

Kathy, I thank you for your dedication and service.

Kathy is the first female in the LPS, I believe, to attain the level of staff sergeant. Please join me in thanking Kathy Seymour for her public service.

Applause.

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: Today is my last day, and I just wanted to thank Hudson Manning, the OLIP intern in my office, for the great work he has been doing.

Finalement, to my assistant Mary-Liz Power, who has done tremendous work for the last nine months: I wouldn’t be here without you. Merci, Mary-Liz.

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I’d like to welcome my sister-in-law Vanessa Mulroney and her friend Yvonne Schwarzhaurt to Queen’s Park for the first time. I hope you have a good day at Queen’s Park.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I want to introduce Monique Hachey from Windsor. She is one heck of a strong Lyme warrior.

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I would like to take a moment to welcome my son Christopher Sabawy—his first time in Parliament. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: I’d like to welcome my constituents Amy Then and her son Edward Wilson to Queen’s Park. Amy and Eddie are here today for an experience at Queen’s Park with their MPP. Eddie is a grade 1 student at Indian Road Crescent Junior Public School. He brought along with him today letters from his class about various issues that they care about. Thank you very much and welcome.

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton: I would like to introduce my dear friend and physician colleague Dr. Beverly Johnson. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Jamie West: I’d like to echo my colleague’s introduction for the members of CUPE. I want to include Mike McGuire, Jackie Parker, Wynne Hartviksen, Laura Walton and of course, Fred Hahn, no doubt here to learn how to bargain for five months off.

Hon. John Yakabuski: I’d like to welcome to the gallery my chief of staff, Luca Bucci, who will be leaving us to take an opportunity in the private sector. I want to thank Luca for the tremendous service he’s given us and the people of Ontario over the past year.

Mr. Percy Hatfield: I have a special guest this morning, Jigme Lhamo Tsering. She’s been working in my office as an intern under the Ontario Parliamentary Friends of Tibet program. This is her last day at Queen’s Park. She’s done an amazing job, and I wish her well in her future endeavours.

Hon. Ernie Hardeman: I’d like to introduce an intern from my office many years ago to whom I taught all I knew and who then moved on to become director of policy for the PC Party. In turn, he taught us all he knows and now he’s going to move on elsewhere. We want to say thank you very much for the great job that you did, not only in my office but for the PC Party, and also wish him well in any future endeavours.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: It’s my pleasure to welcome Jenna Skogberg, who is an intern in my office. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Stephen Crawford: It’s an honour for me, I have some special guests here today. I have my parents, William and Diane Crawford, my wife, Najia Crawford, and my twin girls, Farah and Sophia Crawford. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Kevin Yarde: I would like to introduce our page from Brampton North, Richelle. Her parents and sister are here: Ashton, Lynette and Lieselle Furtado.

Hon. Ernie Hardeman: It was brought to my attention that I may, in my exuberance to explain how great a person he was, have forgotten to mention his name—Mitch Davidson—assuming everyone else would know it.

Ms. Catherine Fife: It’s my pleasure to publicly thank my OLIP intern, Jad El Tal, for his work over the last few months.

Also, I have the record for winning the most OLIP interns, so it’s a throw-down challenge for the rest of the MPPs for next year.

Ms. Jane McKenna: I just want to say today that—they’re late coming in; they must be on the 8:40 train—I had a little contest about the honorary member of provincial Parliament for the day for Burlington, and we have four youngsters who are coming here today: Sophie Sowery, Rachel Bresnahan, Emma Hill and Samuel Alfano. I’m looking forward to them being the honorary MPP for today for Burlington.

Miss Monique Taylor: Pretty much every day of this session of this Legislature I have introduced these folks. For the last day of this session I would like to introduce Faith Munoz, Amanda Mooyer, Amy Moledzki, Tangerine Stanley, Crystal Burningham, Esther Tang, Leah Maureen Kocmarek, Bruce McIntosh and Patrick Chung. Thank you very much for your dedication and service to our province. We look forward to seeing you during these next five months.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: I’d like to bring everyone’s attention to the members’ east gallery and welcome Joey Cyples. Joey works for Enbridge in the great riding of Chatham-Kent–Leamington.

Ms. Suze Morrison: I know that the delegation from CUPE has already been introduced but I want to give a very, very warm welcome to one of my constituents from Toronto Centre, Fred Hahn. Welcome. It’s always lovely to see your face up in the gallery.

Mrs. Belinda C. Karahalios: I’d like to say thank you to my OLIP intern, Linda Bui, who is in the members’ gallery. Thank you. It’s been a fabulous six months working with you.

Also, I’d like to welcome my constituent and the president of CLC, Jeff Gunnarson, and staff and interns Greg Tomchyshyn, Shania Nigli, Shania Fernandes and Emily Price. Welcome.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Niagara Falls.

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Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. I know it’s been done before, but I want to welcome Freddie Hahn, my brother, president of CUPE Ontario. But I want to say this, because I think it’s important: Freddie is a strong voice for all workers in the province of Ontario. Thank you for coming to Queen’s Park again.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Once again, I’ll remind members we’re not making political statements during introductions.

Mr. Michael Parsa: I’d like to welcome to the House Tenzin Norzin and James Prowse, who are students and were interns in my office for a few weeks. They’re both returning back to school, so they won’t be with us when we return. I want to thank them both for the great work that we did—and also the recommendation from my friend and colleague across. Thank you so much. All the best.

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: I also would like to take the opportunity to thank Jamyang Choetso, a student in my office as part of the Ontario Parliamentary Friends of Tibet summer program. Today is her last day and I would like to thank her for her work. Thank you.

Ms. Christine Hogarth: I just want to introduce and thank my summer intern, Libby Duke, who is spending her time here at Queen’s Park and helping us out. She will be spending the rest of the time at our constituency office. Welcome, Libby.

Mr. Paul Miller: Speaker, as sports critic, I’d like to congratulate the Toronto Raptors for their victory.

Applause.

Interjection: Let’s go, Raptors.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): At least we can agree on something.

Miss Christina Maria Mitas: I’d like to welcome Kenney, one of the vice-presidents of our Scarborough Centre riding association, who was also an amazing volunteer on my campaign, out there every day putting up signs, as well as Robert Scott and the students of Bendale, a school in my riding that I actually was fortunate enough to supply in a number of times when I was a teacher. Robert Scott is an EA there and was also a really great campaign volunteer. Thank you for being here. I look forward to meeting with you later.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I understand the Attorney General might have a point of order.

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: De la part du caucus progressiste-conservateur, j’aimerais souhaiter bonne chance à la députée d’Ottawa–Vanier, qui va quitter la Chambre aujourd’hui—ça va être sa dernière journée—pour se joindre à Massey College. On behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus, I would like to wish the member from Ottawa–Vanier all the best in her new role as the head of Massey College.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I understand the Minister of Finance has an introduction.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Yes, I’d like to welcome Josée Hébert and her grade 8 class from Chippewa Secondary School in North Bay.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader on a point of order.

Hon. Todd Smith: Yes, point of order, Mr. Speaker. One of our legislative staff is going to be retiring after literally I think decades working here at Queen’s Park. She cleans on the second floor. She has cleaned the House leader’s office for years; she cleans the Premier’s office and all the offices on the second floor. Her name is Blanca. I don’t know her last name. She’s kind of like Beyoncé and Madonna: She doesn’t need one. Everybody knows who Blanca is. We wish her well. Our only wish is that she doesn’t write a book after she retires.

Anniversary of D-Day / Anniversaire du jour J

Hon. John Yakabuski: Speaker, I believe you will find that we have unanimous consent that tributes be delivered to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, with five minutes allotted to the independent members, five minutes to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, followed by five minutes to Her Majesty’s government, followed by a moment of silence.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Natural Resources is seeking unanimous consent of the House to have recognition of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Agreed? Agreed.

I recognize the member for Ottawa–Vanier.

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: It is a real privilege to rise to recognize and remember the 75th anniversary of D-Day. We are here with you to acknowledge what we say in French as “le devoir de mémoire,” the duty to remember. Le mardi 6 juin 1944, 14 000 Canadiens ont débarqué sur les plages de Normandie. Leur courage et leur sacrifice ont mené à la libération de l’Europe.

In the process, 359 Canadians lost their lives and another 574 were wounded or captured on that first day of the campaign.

It’s important to remember the political landscape of the world on June 6, 1944. With totalitarian governments stretching across Europe, the very future of our democratic tradition was at stake. The freedoms and civil liberties that we enjoy today were protected on D-Day. Therefore, as parliamentarians, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the sacrifices that were made 75 years ago.

Our democratic system of government, which empowers all of us to participate in the process of creating and shaping our laws, cannot be taken for granted. It has been earned and protected through the sacrifices of those who came before us, and we must continue to nurture it. It should never be undermined; it should never be cheapened in any way.

At ceremonies and celebrations across Canada, we also remember the human face of tragedies: the veterans who remember what they lived through; the soldier who never came home; the children who lost a parent; the young man who came home but never was quite the same after; une tante qui ne voulait jamais parler de ce qu’elle avait vu ou vécu.

Monsieur le Président, puisque c’est la dernière fois que je parle à cette Assemblée, je veux vous remercier tous de votre grande gentillesse. To all my colleagues, thank you very much for all your kindness. Aux gens d’Ottawa–Vanier, quel privilège de vous avoir servis.

I am honoured today to speak to the legacy of D-Day because it’s an honour to sustain our rich parliamentary tradition. It’s for all of us to cherish and protect. Merci.

Applause.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the member for Guelph.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: It’s a privilege and a real honour to rise today to commemorate D-Day and to honour the soldiers who, 75 years ago today, landed on the beaches of Normandy. Their bravery and sacrifice on that day laid the foundations for the end of the Second World War.

Today we pay tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed in the fight for the freedom and democracy that we enjoy today. We honour and remember the 14,000 Canadians who stormed Juno Beach as members of the Allied forces, and we are forever indebted to these men and women, especially the 1,074 casualties, including the 359 killed. Mr. Speaker, I can hardly imagine what it must have been like to be on one of those ships, to walk through that water and onto that beach, knowing what was in front of you; just the literal fear, but then to have the courage to overcome that fear and to fight for us.

We know that the costs of war are great, and we pay tribute to those who have sacrificed and served. To the loved ones they’ve left behind, their sacrifice cannot be underestimated. As we remember, we must commit to providing all veterans with the support and care they need. It’s the least we can do. And as we remember, I believe that we as legislators must commit to strive to uphold their legacy, their fight for freedom and democracy, and to condemn hate and violence that can lead to war.

So today, we remember; today, we honour; and today, we thank them and come together as one—all Canadians, all Ontarians—to honour and remember their sacrifice.

Applause.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the leader of the official opposition.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’m honoured to rise in this House and speak on behalf of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition as Canadians mark the 75th anniversary of a truly pivotal moment in our history and in the history of humanity.

On June 6, 1944, which we all know as D-Day, 14,000 Canadians went ashore on Juno Beach. They joined with over 130,000 troops from other allied nations in the invasion of Normandy, one of the largest seaborne invasions in human history and a critical turning point in the Second World War.

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This day was also a critical turning point in Canada’s history. A small country of only 11 million, Canada had already made an outsized impact on the war effort, contributing over one million soldiers—1.1 million men and women in uniform. Canadians also suffered great loss. Seventy-five years ago today, we lost 359 Canadians, with over 700 more being grievously wounded. By the end of the Battle of Normandy, more than 5,000 Canadians had died.

These brave Canadians were not fighting to expand territory. They weren’t fighting for conquest or glory or wealth. They fought and gave their lives in defence of freedom against hate, against fascism and tyranny. They fought because they believed in justice and because they knew that justice is a universal value. They believed that if hatred and domination were taking root somewhere in the world, even if it wasn’t happening directly to them, that it was their duty to push back, to share the burden of making the world a better place, no matter the cost.

Today, all of us who are fortunate enough to stand as members of this democratic Legislature or speak our minds about governments or the powerful without fear of reprisal—we are all standing on the shoulders of these giants. We must always be thankful for this great gift. We must remember the incredible bravery, the powerful dedication and commitment, and the tremendous sacrifices that were made by these Canadians. We have a duty not just to remember them, but to share their stories, to keep their memories and the values that they fought so hard to uphold, alive.

The anniversary of this great feat and these selfless sacrifices in defence of freedom should also remind us of another duty. We have a solemn duty to honour these courageous Canadians by living out the values that they fought for, by cherishing the freedoms they gave their lives for and being vigilant in their protection. We have a solemn duty to follow the example of those brave Canadians in our communities, as members of this House, as Ontarians and as Canadians, by standing up against bullying, hate and injustice.

We can’t be afraid to push back against those who seek to impose their wills on others, to strip away other people’s rights or to treat them as less than. Because for freedom to belong to any of us, it must belong to all of us. That is what 14,000 Canadians showed us on Juno Beach 75 years ago today. That is what they showed the world. And that is the example that we all must follow.

To those veterans who are joining us today at Queen’s Park, thank you for the time that you took to travel to our legislative building and to be with us today. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your service. You’ve made Ontario and our world a better place. May your example continue to push all of us in our own small ways to try to do likewise. We shall not forget.

On se souvient.

Applause.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m pleased to recognize the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Hon. John Yakabuski: I am deeply honoured to speak on behalf of our government and the PC caucus as we pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day. It’s difficult to comprehend the sheer number of troops and the amount of planning required to undertake such an incredible challenge. D-Day was an event that changed the course of global history to secure the freedoms we continue to enjoy to this day. Of course, we now know the scale of that planning required to put over 150,000 troops into the water to storm the beaches of Normandy on the morning of June 6, 1944. These efforts involved tactics of misdirection and deception so that the enemy would be unable to determine where the liberation of Europe from fascism would begin. Falsified radio transmissions were made about troops stationed in Dover, and decoy raids against other locations in France gave the Nazi high command the impression that the operation would take place at Calais. An actor was even hired to impersonate General Bernard Montgomery, commander of the 21st army group, who was responsible for the land forces involved in the operation.

Even with careful planning, Canada and their allies only gave the operation a 50-50 chance of succeeding. Many of our troops would not make it home. At the outset of the operation, they risked having their landing craft strike an enemy mine or drowning while trying to make it to shore. Canadians suffered over 1,000 casualties, with 359 paying the ultimate sacrifice. The toll on those who took part in the initial assault in the early morning of June 6 was the most severe, as they had a one-in-two chance of being counted amongst the casualties. These figures are important to remember as first-hand accounts of the heroism demonstrated by the Canadians and our allies fade from our collective consciousness.

Every year, Canadians from coast to coast to coast gather to pay their respects to our veterans, but it is critically important that all of us take this opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices required for victory. Like many of us, I can recall, as a young boy, Remembrance Day parades in my hometown of Barry’s Bay. When I was much younger than I am today, the parade was full of veterans. Some were from the First World War; many more, including my father, who was part of the second wave at Normandy, were from the Second World War, and others from the Korean War.

Today, a small number of those veterans still march in Remembrance Day parades, but their numbers are dwindling. Of course, there are no longer any veterans of the First World War since the passing of John Babcock nearly a decade ago. Ceremonies are held in France every five years to mark the events of D-Day, but as with local Remembrance Day ceremonies in our communities, fewer and fewer of our veterans from the Second World War are able to participate.

Like many of you, I was able to tune into the ceremonies broadcast this morning from Juno Beach. It was a poignant ceremony that should make us all proud to be Canadian. As the average age of Canadian Second World War vets reaches 94, it becomes a very real possibility that this will be the final ceremony that those who answered the call and fought as a nation against tyranny will be able to take part in. It’s quite possibly the end of an era.

We must view the 75th anniversary of D-Day as an opportunity to thank, in any way we can, those who are left and assure them that long after they are gone, we will still remember. We must remember men like Private George Baker of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, who will be featured this year on the Royal Canadian Mint’s commemorative silver dollar.

We must remember that they were more than soldiers. Boys who survived became men, returned home, raised families and got to work building our nation. Many of them, like my father, became members of this assembly, having experienced a much more acute sense of public service.

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There is nothing we can do to repay those who did not return. They gave their lives so that we might have ours. All we can do is ensure that their sacrifice will be remembered in the right and proper way each and every year. They fought. They died. They saw man at his worst. They saw man at his best. They fought in war, but their goal was peace. They recognized that peace would not come without a price.

The greatest gift we can give them is a continuing commitment to find that peace so that some day, if that elusive goal is reached, we can finally say unequivocally that their sacrifice was not in vain.

Lest we forget.

Applause.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask all members now to rise for a moment of silence in recognition and memory of those who lost their lives on D-Day.

The House observed a moment’s silence.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We will remember them.

Members can take their seats.

Oral Questions

Public sector compensation

Ms. Andrea Horwath: On behalf of the official opposition, I also want to thank Kathy Seymour for the great work that she has done over so many years with her career here at Queen’s Park, as well as Blanca, the wonderful woman who is leaving us as well in her retirement, who cleans these offices and environs; and also the member for Ottawa–Vanier, Marie-France Lalonde, as well as Madame Des Rosiers. I think Ontarians would agree that service here is something we value from all members regardless of which political stripe they’re from. I want to thank them for their service.

Applause.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, my first question is to the Premier. Yesterday, the Ford government announced yet another measure from the Premier’s cut-first, plan-later policy playbook: unilaterally legislating a salary cap on the women and men who teach our children, provide front-line health care and make our province work every day.

Can the Premier tell us why he didn’t even try negotiating a collective agreement like virtually every other government in Canada does?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: When we took government and we looked at the books, we found out, surprise, surprise, there was a $15-billion deficit and a $347-billion debt. That’s on the backs of everyone in this room, on the backs of the young people up in the stands there. We had to make a decision. I promised not one single front-line person would lose their job. We’re keeping that promise.

We had a choice; we had a choice. Unlike the NDP government under Bob Rae that took Bob Rae days, we made sure—we made sure—that no one’s going to lose their job. So we had a choice. We had a choice of giving everyone a 2%, 3%, 4% increase and laying off thousands of people, or everyone take an increase. Everyone is going to keep their job. They’re going to get a pay increase. We decided to make sure that we went that route instead of the other route of laying people off that previous governments had to do.

We kept our promise. No one’s losing their—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Start the clock. Supplementary question.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, Speaker, now back to reality. Once again what the Premier is really doing is deliberately picking fights and creating chaos, and Ontario families are the ones that are going to pay the price in their hospitals, in their communities, in their kids’ classrooms. So the question is, can the Premier explain why he’s opting for confrontation and court challenges when he could simply sit down and bargain, like virtually every other government across Canada does all the time?

Hon. Doug Ford: President of the Treasury Board.

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Through you to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker: We’re not picking a fight. We’re supporting the front-line workers of all Ontarians.

Mr. Speaker, I think it’s a good day when we protect the front-line jobs in this province. I think it’s a good day when we allow for increases in wages. It is a good day when we keep our commitment to protect what matters most: making investments in health care, making investments in education and putting this province on a sustainable path. I would say that is a reasonable and fair and sustainable way to deal with our front-line workers in Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, we don’t think it’s fair that the richest Ontarians got $300 million in tax cuts while everyday workers are being told they can’t even negotiate a collective agreement.

Families want a government that’s helping them with their everyday lives, improving schools for their kids, cutting wait times for their health care. Instead, they have a Premier who deliberately creates conflict and chaos: conflict with high school students, conflict with seniors’ book clubs, conflict with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Now the Premier is picking a fight with the women and men that teach our kids and care for us when we’re ill, and it’s families that will absolutely pay the price. Why is the Premier so desperate to attack the women and men who make Ontario work every day?

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Let’s set the record straight there: We did not do tax cuts for the richest in this country. You know who we did do tax cuts for, Mr. Speaker? You know who we are fighting for? We cut taxes for low-income individuals and families in this province. We’re cutting expenses for those with young families who are low-income through the child care tax credit. We’re fighting for them. We’re fighting for seniors, low-income seniors, so they can afford dental plans. The only fight that we want is for the people of Ontario, and we won’t rest until the job is done, Mr. Speaker.

Public sector compensation

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier, but I have to say, it’s pretty shocking that the President of the Treasury Board doesn’t know the hundreds of millions of dollars they gave away in tax breaks to the rich. That’s pretty serious stuff, Speaker.

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The Premier has gone from ripping up contracts, however, now to dictating contracts. Can the Premier explain to the woman driving a school bus in Etobicoke for $30,000 a year why she has to forgo salary increases that keep up with the cost of living, while someone like Ian Todd, the Premier’s former campaign tour director, gets a 25% pay hike and is making $350,000 a year to work for the Ford government?

Hon. Doug Ford: Maybe the Leader of the Opposition should explain to the bus driver in Etobicoke the 15 years that the NDP supported the Liberals spending $15 billion, putting us in debt to $347 billion.

But I can tell you one thing, Mr. Speaker: Every single person is going to have a job, every single person is going to have a pay increase, every single person is going to have a great benefit plan, insurance plan.

We’re going to make sure that we take care of the people who need it most. We put in the LIFT Tax Credit for 1.3 million people, the lowest-income people in the entire province. They’re going to pay 0% tax.

We’re going to make sure that seniors get dental care who couldn’t afford it before. We put $90 million into that.

We made sure that we take care of families who want to send their kids to daycare. They’re going to have tax credits ranging anywhere from $3,250 to as high as over $10,000.

We’re taking care of the people—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

The supplementary question.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, Ian Todd is just one example. When it comes to the Premier’s friends and Conservative connections, a seat on the Ford gravy train with six-figure salaries and hefty pay packages are par for the course.

But a working woman who spends her day travelling from neighbourhood to neighbourhood to provide home care is being told that the $32,000 a year she earns is too much.

Why is the Premier asking that personal support worker to tighten her belt while he is handing former PC Party president Rueben Devlin a $375,000-a-year consulting job?

Hon. Doug Ford: President of the Treasury Board.

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Let me remind the Leader of the Opposition, and all the people watching around the province, that when we campaigned, we campaigned on providing relief, tax relief, to the hard-working individuals and families of this province. We ticked that box.

We campaigned on a commitment to preserve front-line workers so that they can deliver the front-line programs and services that the people of Ontario expect. We said we would do it in a way that’s sustainable because, as the Premier said, we inherited the largest subnational debt in the world. We inherited a $15-billion deficit.

But we also committed to the people that we would protect what matters most, so we’re putting more money, $1.3 billion, into the health care portfolio. We’re putting $700 million into education.

We are going to do what’s right for the people of Ontario, and we won’t rest until the job is done.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: We all know what the Financial Accountability Officer says about that, Speaker: $2.7 billion removed from health care.

Nonetheless, the Premier is asking families to expect less from government—less teachers in schools, less funding for hospitals, and regular conflict with municipalities—and telling the women and men who make our province work that they also have to accept less.

Yet the Premier is more than willing to spend on his pet priorities, whether it’s jobs for his friends, tax cuts for his political donors, or hundreds of millions of dollars in his Beer Store boondoggle.

Why is the Premier telling the women and men who teach our kids, care for our seniors and help keep us all safe that he can’t afford to deal with them fairly?

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Mr. Speaker, again, through you to the Leader of the Opposition, I’d put this to the Leader of the Opposition: Does she think it’s unreasonable to protect a front-line worker’s job? Does she think it’s unreasonable to give that person a 3% increase over three years? Does she think it’s unreasonable to support those families who rely on our health care system?

By the way, our health care system: Does she think it’s unreasonable to put $1.7 billion into 15,000 long-term-care beds? Does she think it’s unreasonable to put $1.9 billion into mental health and addictions? Does she think it’s unreasonable to put $27 billion in capital and repairs for hospitals, Mr. Speaker? I put it to the leader: Is that being unreasonable for the people of Ontario?

House sittings

Mr. Taras Natyshak: My question is to the Premier.

Speaker, in an almost unprecedented move, yesterday the Premier announced that this Legislature, the people’s House, won’t sit again until after the federal election, almost five months from today.

We know that the Premier is desperate to help his Conservative buddies in Ottawa. He has even been spending millions of taxpayer dollars on ads to help them. He’s even fining gas stations $10,000 a day if they fail to display his partisan campaign stickers.

Can the Premier tell us whether he’s taking this five-month vacation because he plans to campaign for the Conservatives, or is it because the one thing that Andrew Scheer desperately needs to shore up falling poll numbers is for the people to see much, much less of this Premier?

Hon. Doug Ford: The Minister of Economic Development.

Hon. Todd Smith: I’ll take this question any day of the week as the government House leader, because it has been an unbelievable year in Ontario. We have accomplished so many things. I’m hoping that after question period this morning we will work together to pass two more bills in this Legislature, which would bring the grand total to 20 bills passed by this Ontario government over the last year since we’ve been in government.

We worked throughout the summer last year. We got a lot accomplished: removing the red tape that the Liberals brought in, starting to unwind some of the damaging, job-killing policies that that Liberal government, with the help of the NDP, had implemented over the last 15 years, and getting our economy back on track. We brought the Legislature back before Christmas to look after some business. We’ve been hard at it, with 11 bills passed during this winter and spring session.

We will not apologize for the work that this government—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Restart the clock. Supplementary question.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: The Premier refusing to answer my question actually unequivocally answers my question. And I don’t blame them for not wanting him to speak any longer.

Speaker, over the past year, the Premier has lit an unprecedented number of political dumpster fires, most of which are still burning today. From ripping up the Charter of Rights, to attacking decorated police veterans, to getting chewed out by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—any reasonable person would say, “I should really try to clean up some of the mess that I made.” Instead, this Premier is taking a five-month vacation.

Does the Premier feel he has earned a five-month break? Or is Andrew Scheer begging him to hide under a rock until the federal election is over? Which one is it?

Hon. Todd Smith: I don’t know; maybe the member opposite is going to be sitting back on his boat in Lake St. Clair, but we will be hard at it throughout the summer, continuing to bring in pro-jobs and pro-growth policies in Ontario that we will introduce in the fall—policies like the ones that have created 170,000 jobs since we became the government of Ontario. We will not apologize for that.

We’ve passed 20 pieces of legislation, putting money back into the pockets of the people of Ontario, something that we promised we would do.

The Minister of Health has made tremendous strides in eliminating hallway health care in Ontario, investing in long-term-care beds.

The Minister of Energy has done tremendous work in starting to chip away at the Liberal hydro mess.

We’re continuing to fulfill our promises. As of this week, we will have either fulfilled or are on the way to fulfilling 50 of the 59 election promises that we made. We’re not done yet. There’s a lot more—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The next question.

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Government’s record

Mr. Stephen Crawford: My question is for the Premier. It has been quite a year since last year’s election, and our government’s accomplishments to date underscore our steadfast commitment to the people of Ontario. After 15 years of lacklustre leadership under the Liberals, Ontarians had enough. We ran on a platform that resonated with the people across the province. We committed to fighting Justin Trudeau’s job-killing carbon tax with every tool at our disposal. We committed to supporting our front-line health care workers. We committed to reducing the regulatory burden for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Above all, Mr. Speaker, we committed to making life easier and more affordable for the people of Ontario.

Can the Premier highlight some of the key achievements our caucus has proudly accomplished in terms of protecting what matters most.

Hon. Doug Ford: I want to thank our incredible member from Oakville for the incredible work he does and the commitment he has to his constituents.

Speaker, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: We have an incredible team of all-stars here. We’ve taken action to create and protect jobs right across Ontario—170,000 new private-sector jobs. We passed the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act to make life a little easier for small businesses that have been gouged for 15 years by the NDP and the Liberals. We invested $5.5 million over five years in a Killaloe sawmill to protect local jobs. We’ve created jobs through our investment in Highway 401 in Scarborough and in Pickering. We invested in Dryden’s community improvement program to bolster the economy right across the region.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on about the great things we’ve done. Over 255—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Order.

We’ll start the clock. Supplementary question.

Mr. Stephen Crawford: Thank you to the Premier for the answer. What’s absolutely true is the former Ontario Liberal government left Ontarians in the dark. Their lack of transparency eroded Ontarians’ trust and confidence in Liberal leadership. The past decade has brought the highest taxes and the highest hydro rates this province has ever seen.

But we’ve turned this around, Mr. Speaker. Our government has listened to the hard-working families of Ontario, and we’ve taken swift action to reverse the ineffective and burdensome policies of recent years. Budget 2019 reaffirms our priorities and commitments to protect what matters most: education, health care and jobs.

Could the Premier expand on our government’s accomplishments to date?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the great question. I’d also like to thank the incredible Minister of Health and Deputy Premier—I couldn’t ask for a better Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and Deputy Premier—for her outstanding work on her file.

We inherited a health care system on life support, Mr. Speaker, life support that people were waiting up to six hours in the hallways. We’re going to fix hallway health care. The investments we’ve made will make a real difference for our province. Last month, our government expanded cancer care treatment in Hamilton and invested in Brockville General Hospital’s expansion to end hallway health care. We’ve made historical investments in mental health and addiction: $3.8 billion. That’s $3.8 billion—more than any other government in the history of Ontario. We passed The People’s Health Care Act—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. I’m going to remind the House that when the Speaker stands up, you have to sit down and your microphone is turned off. In this case, I had to stop the clock because I couldn’t hear what was being said either.

Start the clock. The next question.

Government contract

Ms. Sandy Shaw: My question is to the Attorney General. The rule of law means that governments, even—I must remind the members across—this one, should follow the law, just like every Ontarian is required to do on a daily basis. It’s a basic principle of justice and how we function as a civil society. Speaker, it’s a principle that this Attorney General is sworn to uphold. That’s why it’s so concerning that this government is ripping up contracts and ignoring the rule of law—all for beer. In fact, the Canadian American Bar Association wrote the Attorney General an urgent letter and said that this government will “undermine the rule of law.”

The Attorney General’s job is to uphold the rule of law. Has she spoken to the Premier about these serious concerns?

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: To the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Speaker, we continue—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’d ask the Minister of Finance to sit down. I apologize.

The rules of the House allow any minister to refer any question to another minister. What they’re doing is completely within the standing orders.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.

The Minister of Finance to reply.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Speaker, I’ll begin like I begin this answer all the time. Most people in the province of Ontario are not aware that the government does not own the Beer Store. It is not like the LCBO, which we do own, and that great brand.

The Beer Store is owned by three global multinationals. They were given a sweetheart deal by the Liberal government. The Liberal government put profits ahead of people, a deal that’s terrible for the consumers, a deal that’s killing competition, a deal that’s keeping prices high and a deal that’s stifling the craft brewers.

International companies understand our parliamentary system. They know that a new government isn’t bound by bad legislation—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The supplementary question?

Ms. Sandy Shaw: Back to the Attorney General: Clearly the Attorney General will not take responsibility for the severity of what she’s doing—again, all for beer.

Our international reputation as a place to do business is going down in flames. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say that this legislation hurts Ontario’s investment climate. The Canadian American Bar Association says that this is an attempt to override the law of contracts. They don’t mince words at all, Mr. Speaker. They warn that this legislation will create uncertainty and risk upsetting a functioning legal system, and say that there isn’t a precedent for ridiculous legislation like this in Canadian legal history. This plan is so reckless, it’s now an international embarrassment.

Why is the Attorney General willing to put Ontario down in the history books as ignoring the rule of law?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: For the member, international companies completely understand that in our parliamentary system, a government isn’t bound by legislation from a previous government. If that were the case, this afternoon we could pass a brand new piece of legislation that would disallow tax increases in Ontario for the rest of time. But we know that our governments don’t work that way. Things simply don’t work like that.

On the international front, we heard from Fitch bond rating agency just last week, after they heard about our new legislation, and they gave our province an upgrade—their first upgrade in eight years. That tells us that our plan is working, that our legislation is respected. We will take no lessons on legislative procedure from that government.

Ring of Fire

Mr. Michael Gravelle: My question is to the Premier. The Ring of Fire continues to be a project with enormous economic and social potential for all of northern Ontario, yet we have heard very little from the government over the past year about this project. We do know that two First Nations communities—Webequie and Marten Falls—are engaged in environmental assessments related to community access roads in their communities.

In that the building up of infrastructure is so crucial to opening up the Ring of Fire, I’d like to ask the Premier where those environmental assessments are at, whether these roads will lead to the Ring of Fire and, finally, when will we see shovels in the ground?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of the Environment.

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Hon. Rod Phillips: Thank you to the member from Thunder Bay–Superior North for his question.

Mr. Speaker, the Ring of Fire, as we all know, presents enormous economic potential. As the member mentioned, my colleague the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs is working with both the Webequie First Nation and the Marten Falls First Nation in terms of the road that’s required to make sure that we open up this fabulous resource.

It was just the other day that the Minister of Finance, who we also know is the member from Nipissing, was speaking to us about the critical importance of this resource, not just in the north, but in the rest of the province—thousands of jobs, tens of billions of dollars of economic activity. Just one engineering firm working on this project—$4 million a month of work being done, not just in the north, but for all of Ontario.

So to the member: It is a high priority, and we are proceeding as you would to open up that opportunity.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Mr. Michael Gravelle: I think we do all understand how important infrastructure is to the key parts of opening up the Ring of Fire. It’s crucial. But of equal importance is that partnership that you referenced between the government, business and the affected First Nations. The Matawa First Nations are the communities most directly impacted by this major project.

What I would like to know is: Have the Premier or the ministers had the opportunity to sit down with all of the Matawa First Nations chiefs to discuss issues such as governance and ownership of the road infrastructure that will be needed to move the Ring of Fire forward?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Minister of Finance.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Unlike the previous government, this government actually is sitting down with the First Nations and making great moves with respect to the Ring of Fire.

I find it such a surprise from that former Minister of Northern Development and Mines—we sat for 10 years. I recall the first time I flew to the Ring of Fire. There were 240 men and women working there delineating the ore body—tents everywhere, drill rods. One company had spent $700 million. On my fifth trip to the Ring of Fire—nothing; five, six people left just to keep it alive. They lost faith in the Liberal government, who made nothing but promises and never had any intention of ever developing one inch in that Ring of Fire.

We will deliver the $60 billion worth of ore that’s trapped in the ground, and we will deliver those jobs to the people of Ontario.

Health care

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Mr. Speaker, what an incredible year it has been. Our government has been hard at work this session to protect what matters most to the people of Ontario. We were elected on a promise to put Ontario’s patients and health care workers first, end hallway health care and fix our public health care system. That is why I am so proud that this Legislature passed Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act. This bill puts patients at the centre of care while addressing the pressures and challenges facing our health care system.

Could the minister please explain to the members of this Legislature how Bill 74 is transforming and modernizing our public health care system so that Ontario patients and their families can finally receive the high-quality and timely care they rely on and deserve?

Hon. Christine Elliott: I’d like to thank the member from Mississauga Centre for the great question and for the wonderful work you’re doing in your community on behalf of your constituents.

We do take our promise to fix our health care system very seriously. This really started with the passage of The People’s Health Care Act earlier this year. This legislation is a key component of our government’s plan to finally build a modern, sustainable and integrated public health care system.

We envision a public health care system that will allow health care providers to work as one coordinated team focused on patients and specific local needs. With the creation of Ontario health teams, patients will experience easy transitions from one health care provider to another.

We are building a public health care system centred around the patient and redirecting money to front-line services where it belongs.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: I thank the minister for her response and her steadfast leadership on this file. Patients and health care professionals across Ontario will certainly benefit from an integrated and connected public health care system.

Bill 74 is a key component of our government’s plan to finally build a modern, sustainable and integrated public health care system, all of which the previous Liberal government failed to do. The creation of Ontario health teams is an integral part of our plan to centre our health care system around the local needs of our patients.

Could the minister please update the members of this Legislature on the status of Ontario health teams, and how these teams will help to transform and improve patients’ experience and outcomes in Ontario?

Hon. Christine Elliott: Thank you again to the member for the question. I’m very pleased to advise that we have received 150 self-assessments in the first wave of applications to become a local Ontario health team. These self-assessments were submitted by teams across the province, from Kenora to Niagara, from Lanark county to Chatham-Kent. The response, needless to say, has been extremely positive.

These applications represent a real commitment from health care service providers to work together with the province to deliver on the vision of an integrated health care system, a system where providers are encouraged and enabled to communicate directly with each other rather than working in silos directly communicating only with the government.

Together we will finally build a coordinated health care system here in Ontario centred around patients, families and caregivers.

Education funding

Ms. Marit Stiles: This is a question for the Minister of Education. The government’s plan to jam kids into overcrowded classrooms will result in thousands of lost teaching positions. It will also mean the loss of thousands of actual classes.

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail reported that at the York Region District School Board, 124 courses are being cancelled for next year and another 35 course sections are being cut. The cancellations include everything from media studies and financial accounting to manufacturing technology and calculus.

On our last day together in this House for what seems like quite a few months, is the minister finally willing to accept that her cuts are ripping away opportunities from our kids?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: I have to say, right back at you, are you finally willing to accept the fact that we’re putting student achievement first?

The fact of the matter is, no matter how much they flail around on the opposite side of the House, student achievement will remain our number one priority.

I thank all the school boards across the province that are choosing to work with us. Again, when it comes to finding efficiencies, instead of turning a blind eye, like this party is doing, to the interest that we’re paying on a daily basis, we all have to do our bit in terms of making sure the students that we’re putting first actually have a future that they can have confidence in because the government of today has taken care of the fiscal business that we inherited from that Liberal government.

Long story short, we’re putting student achievement first. We are working with school boards—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.

I’ll remind members to please make your comments through the Chair.

Supplementary question.

Ms. Marit Stiles: I just want to say, this minister—I understand adjourning the House for five months so you don’t have to answer any more questions about tough issues like this one. Students can’t achieve if their courses are cut.

Minister, you’re cutting courses that students need to graduate. How are they supposed to achieve anything?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.

Ms. Marit Stiles: This morning, I joined students, concerned parents and education workers in my riding for a school walk-in against this government’s cuts, one of over 260 schools holding rallies in the GTA alone this morning.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.

Ms. Marit Stiles: These students are saying no to a plan that will leave them stacked in classrooms, with fewer course options and fewer pathways to post-secondary. They are saying no to a plan that takes away their teachers and replaces them with untested, mandatory, online-only classes.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Will the minister finally listen to them and stop these cuts?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I have repeatedly called to order, and some of the members are ignoring the Chair when I called them to order. I’m going to have to start naming you individually and calling you to order individually if this persists.

Minister of Education to reply.

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Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: I rise today very proud of the vision we have for education in this province. I’m proud of the people who are working with us to make sure we get education back on track.

Just yesterday, I met with two amazing students—they’re grade 7 students—Meredith and Emma. They came directly to meet with me because they’re tired of the rhetoric. They’re tired of the fearmongering, and they wanted to speak directly to me. I applaud them for taking that initiative.

Do you know what else we’re doing? We’re working with our school boards. The member from Markham–Stouffville is working closely with the York board. He knows the intent that they have. They’re working diligently to make sure, just like we do on this side of the House, that they’re putting student achievement first.

Again, I thank the school boards across this province that are choosing to find one, two, three or four cents on the dollar from within so that it doesn’t affect front-line teachers and—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Order.

The next question.

Affordable housing

Mrs. Daisy Wai: My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Speaker, we have all read stories about very low vacancy rates or bidding wars on single-family houses. In my riding of Richmond Hill, I hear stories every day about the need for more housing of all kinds.

The government cannot address the housing crisis on its own, but we can make it easier to municipalities, non-profits and private firms to build new homes. This is exactly what we’re doing. Can the minister please explain how his plan will increase housing supply across Ontario?

Hon. Steve Clark: I want to thank the member for Richmond Hill for that great question. I want to thank her for all of her work both in the Legislature and in her constituency. I understand that yesterday, the member and her husband, Albert, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to you.

Speaker, as I said in this House many times, Ontario needs more housing. That’s a fact. We had extensive consultations as part of our Housing Supply Action Plan. We had over 2,000 submissions, 85% of them coming from the general public. It was through those consultations that we were able to take the best ideas and put them in legislation to get our housing back on track.

In May, I was proud to release More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan and the subsequent legislation. Our proposed changes will make costs more predictable for homebuyers. They will make tremendous strides in terms of providing more supply. I look forward to providing more details in the supplementary.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mrs. Daisy Wai: Thank you, Minister. Actually, everything that our government has done has really made the day for every home in my riding in Richmond Hill and across Ontario. I thank the minister for the answer that he just gave us.

Speaker, I’m proud to be part of a government that takes the issue of housing and housing supply very seriously. This plan not only increases supply on market housing, but we’re also reducing barriers for non-profits to build affordable housing, and leveraging inclusionary zoning where it’s most needed.

Can the minister please expand on how this legislation, if passed, will increase housing supply and choice for the people of Ontario, no matter what their budget or needs are?

Hon. Steve Clark: Again, thanks to the member for that excellent question.

Through our consultations, we heard time and time again that we need to build more housing, especially affordable housing near major transit station areas, and that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing.

We’re also leveraging the major assets and major investments that our government is building to build transit, making it easier for people to get to work every day.

We also extended the development charge deferral for not-for-profits from five years to 20 years to help encourage more affordable housing developments. This was a suggestion that came to us as part of our consultations. I want to thank Habitat for Humanity and other non-profits for that suggestion.

But, finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank my two parliamentary assistants, Christine Hogarth and Jim McDonell, for all of their work. This was a tremendous team effort. We’re so pleased to have this vote after question period, and I want to thank them for all their hard work.

Water quality

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Meegwetch. My question is to the Premier. Neskantaga First Nation has been under a boil-water advisory since February 1, 1995. That’s over 20 years. There are 13 First Nations communities with boil-water advisories in my riding as of today.

On Monday, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs said my Twitter statement on the issue of the beer bill versus access to the clean water issue was an “unfortunate comment.” It’s these kinds of comments that are very unfortunate. I vow to continue to advocate for the people in Kiiwetinoong.

Will the Premier direct his minister to apologize for his unfortunate comment to the people of Kiiwetinoong who do not have safe drinking water?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I look to the Deputy Premier.

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, the Honourable Minister of Indigenous Affairs, mining, energy and northern resources has a deep and abiding understanding of the issues both of the north and of Indigenous peoples. His background, as the member opposite knows, includes spending seven years as a nurse, spending time in remote communities and remote Indigenous communities.

The issue of clean drinking water is a priority for this government, not just on reserves, but elsewhere. It is critical that we face it. But in reality, we face it with our federal partners. That’s why we have focused on working with the federal government, in addition to our government, in terms of meeting their responsibilities.

The minister will continue to fight to make sure that we have clean drinking water, that we have safe conditions from a health and safety point of view on those reserves, and that the federal government meets their obligations.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: It’s not the same when you work there versus living there.

In February 2019, I visited Neskantaga. I was told that 16-year-old Cora Atlookan had died by suicide days before. It is unfortunate that she lived her whole life with no access to clean drinking water other than bottled water. Young people in Neskantaga do not trust safe drinking water when they go to places with clean running water. They continue to buy bottled water.

We live in one of the wealthiest regions in the world and, unfortunately, 13 communities in Kiiwetinoong cannot drink the water. Access to clean water is a human right. Currently my private member’s bill on UNDRIP is before the committee, but being stalled from third reading by this government.

Given the minister’s comments, is he saying the government is not interested in upholding the human rights of Indigenous people—yes or no?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Let me assure the member that this government and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs deeply share the concerns that the member has raised, and we appreciate the compassion with which he approaches this issue. This government is committed to ensuring clean and safe drinking water. But, again, this is something we must work with our federal partners, work with the communities affected. We will continue to report to this House our progress on that issue.

Education funding

Mr. Aris Babikian: My question is for the Minister of Education. Over the past few weeks, I have seen a disturbing pattern emerge in this House. I have noticed that certain members of the opposition have been spreading inaccuracies about teachers losing their jobs. I know the minister is committed to investing in education and—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the member to withdraw his unparliamentary comment.

Mr. Aris Babikian: Withdraw.

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The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And conclude your question.

Mr. Aris Babikian: I know that the minister is committed to investing in education and has been clear about our government’s commitment to keeping our front-line teachers employed. Can the minister clarify the situation and tell us how we are improving our education system?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you to the member from Scarborough–Agincourt for the wonderful job he has done over the past year. Your riding is so lucky to have you. Congratulations on your first anniversary.

Speaker, in terms of the question, I understand where the member is coming from. Time and time again, opposition members would stand up in this House, employ dramatic tactics and yell across the House and spread rhetoric and wrong information that has caused a lot of anxiety and confusion around this province.

Again, I really applaud Meredith and Emma coming to me directly yesterday to say that they’re tired of hearing the rhetoric. What is really happening? That is what our job is all about. It’s about ensuring students—that we’re getting education back on track.

Student achievement is our number one priority. Let me be clear: From London to Ottawa to Toronto—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Supplementary question.

Mr. Aris Babikian: I want to thank the minister for the great answer. I am so glad that she is working with our boards to protect our teachers and continue to ensure our students’ successes.

With focused investments, I know that our government can get education back on track in the province. However, I know that parents in my riding remain concerned about funding for our school boards and our education system. Could the minister please tell me more about her commitment to student success and about the manner in which our government is investing in our education system?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much to the member from Scarborough–Agincourt. I appreciate his commitment to education, just like the rest of our government.

I can tell you, from London to Toronto to Ottawa, we’re hearing school boards recall 100% of their teachers, which the party opposite tried to fearmonger about. Just a few days ago, we heard from the Toronto Catholic District School Board. They’re recalling 100% of their teachers. That is what I was saying earlier and all along: that all the pieces of the puzzle will come together and everyone in this province will see that we are committed to getting education back on track.

We’re investing $700 million more than the previous government. Overall, my budget for education this year is $24 billion. We’re investing in student transportation. We’re increasing our investment in special education. We’re increasing our investment in school repairs.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Response?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Honestly, Speaker, I think that across this province, people know that we are committed to making sure student achievement is our number one—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The next question.

Opioid abuse

Mr. Percy Hatfield: My question this morning is for the Minister of Health. Good morning, Minister.

Speaker, they held a funeral on Monday in Windsor for 17 year-old Josh Chouinard. He died last week from a drug overdose. With the permission of Josh’s family, those who attended the funeral were given a naloxone kit.

In Peterborough this week, they had 13 overdoses in 72 hours. There’s an opioid crisis in Hamilton, in Brantford, in Toronto, in the north and, for that matter, right across this entire province.

Speaker, when will this government declare an opioid crisis, and when will they partner with more volunteer agencies so fewer lives are lost from drug overdoses in Ontario?

Hon. Christine Elliott: Thank you very much to the member for the question. I agree with you: We do have an opioid crisis in Ontario right now. We are taking it very, very seriously. It’s one of the reasons why we undertook a study of the overdose treatment sites late last fall, and we came up with a project of creating 21 sites that would prevent overdoses, to help people with naloxone or oxygen or whatever else people need, if they come into the sites, are taking drugs and have an overdose. That’s one thing. Saving lives is very important because you can’t do anything else if you don’t save the life, first of all.

Secondly, we need to help people get into treatment. That’s very important to me. It’s important to the Premier. It’s important to all of us in government, as I know it is to you. We want to make sure that we’re going to be able to get people into the treatment they need. That is why we’ve retrained the sites into consumption and treatment services sites. There are 15 that have already been appointed. We are reviewing another six applications, which we hope to have up and running very soon, once we’ve run them through the same criteria that each and every site has to apply for.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Mr. Percy Hatfield: Minister, 21 sites is far from enough.

Statistics from our regional health unit in Windsor show we had 150 overdose trips to the ER last year; this year, in January alone, we had 22. That’s more than three times the number from last year. The health unit predicts these numbers will increase dramatically in the warmer summer months.

Speaker, everyone knows we have an opioid crisis on our hands. Through you to the minister: How many more overdoses? How many more lives lost—lives like young Josh—before this government does the right thing and finally tackles this opioid crisis head-on?

Hon. Christine Elliott: Again, we take the opioid crisis very seriously and we are tackling it head-on. We have created the 15 sites. Six more are ready to come forward.

Of course, that’s only part of the answer. We know that there are many people who are overdosing not in overdose and consumption treatment sites, but in their own homes. We know we need to do more. That is one of the reasons, among many others, that we’ve come forward with, first of all, the $3.8 billion over 10 years to deal with our mental health and addictions system, to create a comprehensive, organized, connected system—$1.9 billion provincially to match the $1.9 billion that’s being advanced federally. We’ve also come forward with $174 million in new money this year to connect our mental health and addictions system.

We know there’s more we need to do on the addictions side. We have the rapid-action organizations in hospitals to deal with addictions. We also need to have more detox beds. We need to have more housing. There are many approaches that need to be taken in order to deal with—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. The next question.

Police services

Mr. Will Bouma: My question is for the Attorney General. As this sitting draws to a close, we can look back on this first year of Ontario’s first government for the people. The people of Brantford–Brant expected our government to follow through on our commitment to respect and support our front-line police officers in their daily duties to ensure the safety of our streets and neighbourhoods, and that’s exactly what we did. Communities are safer because we fixed the Liberals’ flawed Bill 175.

Would the Attorney General please highlight the changes in the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act that will keep hard-working and law-abiding citizens safe?

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I want to thank the member from Brantford–Brant for his question.

When we were elected by the people, our government was facing many urgent problems caused by Liberal mismanagement and recklessness. But we set our priorities, and one of the first actions we took was to pause the deeply flawed Bill 175 and take on the necessary work to fix it.

To provide transparency and clarity to the people and the police, our legislation now clarifies the mandate of the special investigations unit for the people and for the police. It focuses investigative resources where they are needed—on criminal activity—within a police oversight system that is transparent, fair and effective. To provide accountability and restore trust in a system that had left the people and the police in the dark for far too long, our legislation now requires SIU investigations to conclude within 120 days.

Mr. Speaker, this is a government that will continue to respect the important work of the police and that will stand up for public safety.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Mr. Will Bouma: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Attorney General for her response.

Ontario’s government for the people was elected with a mandate to improve public safety across this province and to provide the brave and dedicated men and women of our police services with the tools and resources they need to perform their duties safely and effectively.

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Mr. Speaker, could the Attorney General tell us how this government is standing up for the safety of families and our women and men who serve and protect our province?

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I am proud to say that this legislation is central to our commitment to making Ontario safer, and to standing up for the victims and holding criminals accountable for their actions.

Police deserve our gratitude and our respect, not our suspicion and scorn. That’s why our government is providing police with the tools, resources and support they need to do their jobs, often quietly and heroically. Our legislation is based on fairness and on respect for the profession of policing.

Notably, we’re giving the public the confidence that when they phone 911, a trained, accountable police officer will show up, something that was not guaranteed under the previous Liberal government’s legislation.

Automobile insurance

Mr. Gurratan Singh: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Every single day, I hear stories from folks in Brampton about how life is getting more unaffordable. For Bramptonians, one of the major expenses is car insurance, which, for some families, can cost more than their home mortgage. This puts families in a tough position, because in our city, driving is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. But this Conservative government is allowing car insurance premiums to get even more expensive, with some companies getting approvals for rate increases as high as 11.4%.

Ontario already pays the highest car insurance premiums in this country, despite being among the safest drivers. Why is this Conservative government approving increases to car insurance rates that will make life more unaffordable for millions of Ontarians?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Certainly, we’re putting drivers first by lowering costs, increasing consumer choice and increasing competition in the auto insurance market. But I cannot stand here and talk about insurance without once again, for the last time this session, thanking the member from Milton for his absolutely great work on the driver insurance file.

There are 10 million drivers in Ontario, who expect us to do absolutely everything we can to ensure that the auto insurance system is working for them. Our plan, that we introduced in the budget, puts drivers first and makes Ontario’s auto insurance system more accessible and more affordable. Our Driver Care Plan streamlines care.

This is what we presented in our budget. Unfortunately, the NDP did not join us in helping lower insurance rates.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.

Mr. Gurratan Singh: Back to the minister: Let’s look at the facts. This Conservative government has the power to fix our car insurance problems. But instead, this government has approved massive increases to insurance rates. In the first four months of 2019 alone, the government has increased insurance premiums as high as 11.4%. The Conservative government had the opportunity to finally end postal code discrimination in car insurance, but they refused. They had the opportunity to cap profits of car insurance companies, but they refused. And, on top of it all, we have not seen any details of this government’s car insurance scheme.

Why is lowering car insurance rates not a priority for this Conservative government?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: We certainly did have a priority on April 11, when we presented the budget, which included Putting Drivers First—the very act, Speaker. I will share a copy of the budget with the member.

But we’re proposing immediate solutions to make the auto insurance system easier and more convenient. There’s going to be electronic proof of insurance. You no longer need the pink slip inside your glove compartment. We’ve got options that will meet the driver’s needs, options that are no longer available. We’ll have the ability for insurance companies to offer more options from their side as well.

Let’s hear about Putting Drivers First from the Canadian Automobile Association. They are “pleased to see that the 2019 provincial budget provides Ontario motorists greater choice around auto insurance, so that coverage better suits” their needs.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada followed up by saying that the “multi-year plan to fix auto insurance is a win for consumers.”

I urge the member to read the budget.

Job creation

Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: My question is for the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Job creators across our province are in need of talent. Whether it be trucking companies or tech companies, there are job openings that need to be filled.

I know that companies in Brampton are constantly in search of skilled workers to contribute to their business, and I know that is why the minister wrote to the federal immigration minister requesting additional nominations through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, yet instead of allocating the 1,000 additional nominees that Ontario requested, the federal government only provided 50.

Could the minister outline for the House the importance of skilled immigrants to our economy and why we need the federal government to urgently approve these additional nominations?

Hon. Todd Smith: Thanks to my good friend, the member from Brampton, for that question this morning. The Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and I wrote to the federal minister to request additional nominations in the OINP program.

The federal government talks a big game about creating jobs, so I have to say we were pretty surprised when our request was rejected. We need to bring talented people to Ontario, to grow our economy and create new opportunities for people already living in our communities, and we need additional spaces in the nominee program to do that.

That’s why we’ve sent another letter to Minister Hussen in Ottawa to let him know that because of his decision, we actually have to turn away applicants who have job offers. These people want to come to Ontario. They want to contribute to our economy and build a better life. It’s just a shame that Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals won’t let them.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes question period for today. A couple of members have informed me that they wish to raise a point of order. The Minister of Government and Consumer Services, first of all.

Legislative staff

Hon. Bill Walker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of all MPPs who are given the privilege to serve in this esteemed House, I’d like to thank you and your team, the Clerks’ table, protocol, the committee Clerks, the Sergeant-at-Arms and all of our legislative security, maintenance, cleaners, dining room staff, cafeteria, Hansard, the pages, all of the ministries and the broader public service as we celebrate our first year—and a full year that was: a summer sitting, an additional winter sitting and a once-in-a-lifetime midnight sitting, and all of that transition to make the machinery of government serve the people of Ontario. Thank you to you all.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you.

Point of order, the member for Sudbury.

Mr. Jamie West: Thank you for the indulgence, Speaker. I rise on a point of order. I meant to do this earlier, but Braelyn Guppy was working in my office during the introductions. I want to thank Braelyn, one of the OLIP interns, for working in my office and the amazing work she’s done. I’ve had many conversations with the member from Parry Sound–Muskoka about what a fantastic intern she is and what a good reflection of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme she is. Thank you.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa South.

Mr. John Fraser: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. Point of order: I would simply like to echo the minister’s comments and thank you and all the staff in the assembly for keeping us all together as a family. As dysfunctional as it may be sometimes, you keep us functional.

I also want to say goodbye to my colleagues from Ottawa–Vanier and Ottawa–Orléans. In the case of the member for Ottawa–Vanier, I simply want to say that she’s raised the level of debate in this Legislature. Her passion for justice and fairness and truth are evident, and I think she’s elevated the debate.

Applause.

World Sickle Cell Day

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Toronto–St. Paul’s.

Ms. Jill Andrew: Thank you, Speaker. I just want to wish everyone in the assembly a safe and productive summer.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to remind folks, since we won’t be here, that June 19 is World Sickle Cell Day, and we should all connect with sicklers in our communities across Ontario.

Legislative staff

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Guelph.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Mr. Speaker, I want to echo the thanks to all the assembly staff, but a special shout-out and tribute to my seatmate, the member from Ottawa–Vanier, who has proven that two members from two different parties can sit next to each other in this House and have a collegial relationship and a friendship, and I will miss her.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The leader of the official opposition.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, on a point of order: I also want to the rise to say that it has been quite an interesting year. We’ve had to rely on the great work of many, many people across all of the buildings that encompass the Ontario Legislature: your staff, the Clerks’ table, the Hansard folks and, of course, all of the people who work throughout this building and all of the other buildings, some of whom are not going to get the pay raise they expected with bargaining, but certainly we all respect their work.

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I’m very pleased to rise and to congratulate my OLIP intern, Nish Chankar, who was just recently selected as the top OLIP intern across the country for her presentation. Congratulations to Nish.

Mme France Gélinas: Just a huge thank you to my OLIP intern, Clara Pasieka, who taught me an awful lot during her weeks that she was with me. Merci beaucoup.

Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for St. Catharines. This is the last one.

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’ve noticed some honourable guests up in the gallery. Are you going to welcome them? Thank you.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): If I get a chance. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I want to ask members for their full attention as I introduce a very special group of guests in the chamber today. It’s my most sincere honour to welcome a Canadian Armed Forces delegation led by Brigadier-General Paul, commander of the CAF 4th Division.

I also want to recognize the presence of members of the Royal Canadian Navy.

In particular, I wish to acknowledge Colonel R.G. Elms, retired, a decorated veteran with a distinguished military career.

They are joined by the consuls general of France and the UK, symbolic of the Allied forces that led the D-Day landings 75 years ago today, in 1944, which we are commemorating today. Please join me in warmly welcoming these special guests.

Applause.

Legislative pages

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Next I’m going to ask our pages to assemble. It is now time for us to acknowledge this great group of legislative pages.

Our pages are hard-working, trustworthy and smart. They are indispensable to all that goes on in this chamber, and we are indeed fortunate to have all of them here.

Our pages will now go home having made new friends, with a better understanding of parliamentary democracy and with memories that will last them a lifetime.

In the coming years, we know that each of them will continue their studies and, in time, contribute greatly to their communities, their province and their country in important ways. And who knows? Maybe some of them will take their seats in this House as members or work as staff. We wish all of you well.

I would like to ask all members now to join me in showing our appreciation for this outstanding group of legislative pages.

Applause.

Deferred Votes

Bringing Choice and Fairness to the People Act (Beverage Alcohol Retail Sales), 2019 / Loi de 2019 visant à offrir à la population plus de choix et un accès équitable en matière de vente au détail de boissons alcooliques

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

Bill 115, An Act to amend the Liquor Control Act with respect to the termination of a specified agreement / Projet de loi 115, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les alcools en ce qui concerne la résiliation d’un accord particulier.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Call in the members. This is a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1214 to 1219.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Will the members please take their seats.

On June 5, 2019, Mr. Fedeli moved third reading of Bill 115, An Act to amend the Liquor Control Act with respect to the termination of a specified agreement.

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

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda C.
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Triantafilopoulos, Effie J.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Coteau, Michael
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Karpoche, Bhutila
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Miller, Paul
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 68; the nays are 46.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): 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.

More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 pour plus de logements et plus de choix

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

Bill 108, An Act to amend various statutes with respect to housing, other development and various other matters / Projet de loi 108, Loi modifiant diverses lois en ce qui concerne le logement, les autres aménagements et d’autres questions.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Call in the members. This is another five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1223 to 1224.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): On June 4, 2019, Mr. Clark moved third reading of Bill 108, An Act to amend various statutes with respect to housing, other development and various other matters.

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

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda C.
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Triantafilopoulos, Effie J.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Coteau, Michael
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Karpoche, Bhutila
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Miller, Paul
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 68; the nays are 46.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): 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. Ted Arnott): I recognize the government House leader.

Hon. Todd Smith: Mr. Speaker, Her Honour awaits.

Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.

Royal assent / Sanction royale

Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present meetings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Trevor Day): The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:

An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and various other statutes in respect of transportation-related matters / Loi modifiant le Code de la route et diverses autres lois à l’égard de questions relatives au transport.

An Act to amend various statutes with respect to housing, other development and various other matters / Loi modifiant diverses lois en ce qui concerne le logement, les autres aménagements et d’autres questions.

An Act to amend the Liquor Control Act with respect to the termination of a specified agreement / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les alcools en ce qui concerne la résiliation d’un accord particulier.

An Act to amend the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Société de protection des animaux de l’Ontario.

An Act to revive Dundas Valley Masonic Hall Inc.

An Act to revive 665395 Ontario Limited.

An Act to revive Good Fortune Corporation.

An Act to revive All Trade Quantities Inc.

An Act respecting The United Church of Canada.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): In the name of Her Majesty the Queen, Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor assents to these bills.

Au nom de Sa Majesté, Son Honneur la lieutenante-gouverneure sanctionne ces projets de loi.

Her Honour was then pleased to retire.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): This House is recessed until 1 p.m.

The House recessed from 1233 to 1300.

Order of business

Mr. Michael Coteau: Point of order.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I recognize the member from Don Valley East on a point of order.

Mr. Michael Coteau: I move unanimous consent to split the time on ministerial responses between the member from Ottawa South and the Green member, the member from Guelph.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): The member is seeking unanimous consent to split the response time. Do we agree? Agreed.

Mr. Michael Coteau: Point of order.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I recognize the member again on a point of order.

Mr. Michael Coteau: Thank you, again, Mr. Speaker. I move unanimous consent to split time on the private member’s bills, PMBs, between the member from Ottawa South and, again, the member from Guelph.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): The member is seeking unanimous consent to split the member’s time on private member’s bills. Agreed? Agreed.

Notice of reasoned amendment

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I beg to inform the House that, pursuant to standing order 71(c), the member for Timmins has filed with the Clerk a notice of intent to file a reasoned amendment on Bill 124, An Act to implement moderation measures in respect of compensation in Ontario’s public sector. The order for second reading of Bill 124 may therefore not be called today.

Introduction of Visitors

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I’m delighted to welcome Mr. Hossam Muharram, the consul general of Egypt to Montreal, today with us in Queen’s Park for the first time. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: It is my honour to welcome three of the incredible individuals from my riding of Mississauga East–Cooksville: Phoebe, Marilyn and Del, from Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club. Welcome to the people’s House.

Members’ Statements

Portugal Day

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: It’s always an honour to rise in the Legislature and speak on behalf of my constituents of London–Fanshawe. Today, I stand as a proud Portuguese Canadian. I am honoured to rise today to speak about Portugal Day, also known as Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas. Each year, June is heralded as Portuguese Heritage Month, culminating on June 10 with Portugal Day.

The Portuguese Canadian community is a vibrant community in Ontario and continues to make significant contributions to our society and enrich it with its history, language and culture. It’s an opportunity for the Portuguese immigrants and their families to celebrate their culture, their solidarity and identity, but also to introduce their heritage to their Canadian friends and neighbours.

The idea of Portugal Day was to celebrate the nation. The day was picked to coincide with the death of Luís de Camões, a poet in the 16th century who shaped much of the Portuguese language and literature. One of de Camões’s most famous works is The Lusiads, which was an epic poem about Vasco da Gama’s trip to India and the feats of Portuguese maritime explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries.

I want to make a special mention that tomorrow I will be at London’s Portugal Day celebration. I encourage and hope everyone in this Legislature and Ontario will partake in local events to celebrate Ontario’s Portuguese community.

Lakeside Process Controls

Mrs. Nina Tangri: I stand today in the Legislature to highlight the work of an extraordinary company, Lakeside Process Controls, from my riding of Mississauga–Streetsville.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an event recognizing Lakeside Process Controls as one of Canada’s most admired workplace cultures. For over 70 years, Lakeside has provided innovative solutions, local accessibility and consistent engineering practices to support its customers and to solve process automation challenges, whilst simultaneously demonstrating a profound commitment to its employees, helping them achieve this award.

Through creativity, teamwork and dedication, they are helping to keep one of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects, the Bruce Power Life-Extension Program, on time and on budget. Once complete, this project will ensure that Ontarians have affordable, reliable and GHG-emissions-free electricity for decades to come. The Bruce Power Life-Extension Program will also stimulate Ontario’s economy, having an economic impact of greater than $4 billion per year and sustaining 22,000 good jobs across Ontario.

Lakeside sets a wonderful example of an innovative company that has flourished in Ontario by attracting top talent that supports the high performance of Ontario’s nuclear fleet whilst contributing to the high-tech economy in Mississauga. The dedicated team and effort at Lakeside is helping to ensure Ontario’s nuclear fleet can continue to provide Ontario with the power we need every day.

Thank you to Lakeside Process Controls for the great work that they do.

Student literacy

Ms. Catherine Fife: Strong Start began as a community project in 2001 in Kitchener-Waterloo. Today, it is a charitable organization that trains thousands of volunteers across southwestern Ontario to work one-on-one with young children to help them learn to read. The Waterloo Catholic and Waterloo Region District School Boards were early adopters of Strong Start, and I am proud of their leadership.

Speaker, did you know that a child’s vocabulary at age five is a predictor of vocabulary at age 17, and that by the end of grade 3, 74% of struggling readers rarely catch up? Ontarians with low levels of literacy are more than twice as likely to be in poor health, and nearly half are living in low-income households with slim chances of employment. It’s clear that increasing the literacy rate would not only benefit people’s well-being, but it would also boost Ontario’s economy.

We take literacy for granted, but just like public education, if we get literacy right, almost everything else falls into place. This is why early intervention programs like Strong Start are essential. It will take our collective energy to ensure that every child in Ontario can access the additional support that they might need to improve their literacy skills. It’s so encouraging that members from all parties have come together to form the Strong Start education caucus.

I’d like to thank Machelle and Colette from Strong Start, former Speaker Levac for forming the Strong Start education caucus, as well as Speaker Arnott for his continued commitment to the program.

We must support programs like Strong Start so that every child can succeed. This is our shared responsibility as legislators.

Renewable energy

Ms. Jill Dunlop: Yesterday, I rose in the House to introduce my private member’s bill to cut redundant regulation in Ontario’s water power sector.

Interjections.

Ms. Jill Dunlop: Thank you.

For decades, dam owners and water power producers have been regulated by two separate pieces of legislation, which have added unnecessary costs to their operations. My bill will align these two regulations so that our hydro power partners don’t have to wade through endless red tape to reach the same high safety and environmental standards.

I tabled the Ontario Water Resources Amendment Act—facetiously named “a bill to cut that dam red tape”—in the lead-up to Waterpower Day on June 20. This date honours the birthday of hydroelectricity advocate and former MPP Sir Adam Beck. It is a time to celebrate the role that water power plays in ensuring an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system in Ontario. On that day, Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues for a tour of the Sir Adam Beck generating stations in Niagara Falls, hosted by the Ontario Waterpower Association.

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As we chart our province forward on a cleaner and more sustainable path to growth, water power and its dedicated generators will be our close allies. We need them to expand, innovate and update. We need them to dedicate their energies to powering the homes and businesses of our province. By removing redundant obstacles to growth, we can allow water power generators to invest in the future of Ontario and its energy.

I want to thank the Ontario Water Power Association for organizing Waterpower Day and for their leadership in this sector. I look forward to joining them on June 20 to wish Sir Adam Beck a happy 162nd birthday.

Government services

Ms. Rima Berns-McGown: Every day in Beaches–East York, I hear stories of schools that have lost teachers and courses. Secord Elementary School is losing its music project program, which provided music lessons to 100 kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.

At Victoria Park school, the parents of kids with special needs are distraught because the TDSB is cutting one of three special-needs classes, which means that there will be too many kids with too few adults, and the kids will no longer thrive in the same way.

I hear stories of people facing homelessness because there’s no affordable housing, legal aid clinics that don’t know how they’ll continue to help their vulnerable clients, and a growing opioid crisis with no overdose prevention site in the east end.

Meanwhile, the beaches are flooded. There are sandbags in front of the Balmy Beach Club and a railing along part of the boardwalk so people won’t fall into the lake. We are watching the climate crisis play out before our very eyes.

My constituents are angry and frightened. They don’t want to live in a dog-eat-dog province where the richest corporations get tax breaks but kids living in poverty can’t get music lessons. They want their government to act on the climate crisis that is threatening the very existence of the planet and their kids’ futures. They want the Ford government to do a reset over the summer and walk back its harmful cuts, especially to education and health care and legal aid and mental health, and they certainly don’t want a government that obsesses over beer instead of bread and butter, education and health care. Enough is enough.

Health care

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: Last weekend, my riding of Scarborough–Guildwood joined together for the annual Guildwood Day. Organized by the Guildwood Village Community Association, I was lucky to spend time with folks from the community, many of whom are new to the neighbourhood and many of whom have called Scarborough home for generations.

I want to share what I’ve heard from my constituents again and again, loud and clear. They want to protect, improve and expand the hospitals in their neighbourhood. They want and need good, strong, timely public health care institutions that they can rely on to take care of their families, friends and loved ones.

One of my constituents says, “Closing hospitals and downsizing is not the answer. We need more new hospitals as Scarborough’s population is increasing exponentially.”

In 2015, a provincial expert panel highlighted that the residents of Scarborough don’t just need more staff at hospitals; we need more hospitals in general to support the population and its growth. The community is clearly in need of more accessible and more available health care, and I’m asking this government to recognize that and to support the Scarborough Health Network.

Right now, our health care system is allowing people to fall through the cracks. This government might say that they’re open for business, but only one thing is for sure: They’re closed for health care. With their attack on public health units, the resources at hospitals are going to be even more vital in preventing and treating illness.

Now more than ever, we need to support the longevity of our local hospitals so that they can expand to serve our growing communities. Scarborough–Guildwood deserves better.

Global Coptic Day

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: As the first Canadian parliamentarian of Coptic Egyptian origins and as a member of the Christian Coptic community, it gives me great pride to rise today to shed more light on the inauguration of Global Coptic Day, which was celebrated worldwide for the first time on June 1, 2019.

Global Coptic Day was chosen to be June 1, which also commemorates the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, as well as thousands of martyrs, across hundreds of years, who lost their lives defending their faith.

It is a day to celebrate the Coptic Orthodox Church’s rich heritage and its indelible history of martyrdom and persecution, theological education and monasticism.

Mr. Speaker, the Coptic Church has endured a lot of persecution over the centuries and offered great sacrifices to protect its faith, its beliefs and to deliver its message of love, peace and joy for the whole world. Establishing the Coptic theological school in Alexandria in the second century produced a great number of philosophers and leaders for the Coptic community.

The Coptic community has hundreds of thousands of members all across Canada and in Ontario. They are proudly contributing to the Canada and Ontario that we cherish and love.

Mental health and addiction services

Mr. Guy Bourgouin: On May 28, the chief and counsel of Fort Albany First Nation declared a state of emergency as a result of a ravaging opioid and alcohol epidemic in their community. This fly-in and isolated community of the James Bay coast is suffering from what Chief Leo Metatawabin has rightly called intergenerational trauma. Speaker, colonialism, racism and utter alienation are taking a toll on the children, the elders and families of Fort Albany.

Let me say it again: This drug and alcohol crisis is but a consequence of emotional and physical intergenerational trauma that the people of Fort Albany have historically encountered, and continue to face today.

I have spoken to chief and council members who indicate they are seeking to open a detox and mental health centre in the community. They have reached out to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and they are hoping to do the same with the Ontario Ministries of Health and Indigenous Affairs. More importantly, they want the ministers to travel to Fort Albany to see with their own eyes how this pandemic is particularly affecting the physical and mental health of the community’s next generation.

Speaker, Fort Albany is weeping for help. It is this government’s turn to listen, before it’s too late.

Chinese Canadian Head Tax Redress Day

Mr. Vincent Ke: June 22 marks the 13th anniversary of the federal government’s full apology to Chinese Canadians for their implementation of the head tax and subsequent exclusion of Chinese immigrants to our country from 1923 to 1947.

Speaker, Chinese labourers were brought to Canada in the mid-19th century to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. After the last spike was laid, the government made a concerted effort to stop the flow of Chinese immigrants, starting with passage of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, which imposed a head tax of $50 on every Chinese newcomer. This rate doubled in 1900, and was raised to $500 three years later. Then, 20 years later, the federal government replaced the head tax with the Chinese Immigration Act, ultimately excluding anyone from China to legally enter Canada.

Speaker, the apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper was an important step towards reconciliation with Chinese Canadians. Chinese Canadians have played a vital role in building our country, and with the apology can move forward with future contributions to our multicultural society.

Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: Today I have the honour to highlight the accomplishments of the Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club, from my riding of Mississauga East–Cooksville.

The Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club is a diverse, non-political group of residents and a chapter of the international Lions Club, and has a vision to be global leaders in community and humanitarian services. They are working since November 15, 1983, to improve the quality of life in our community. They have an open-door policy where anyone is free to join them for making a positive contribution to their community.

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The Mississauga Cooksville Lions chapter, chartered in 1983, is now comprised of 22 members. The majority of the club members enjoy carrying out service-oriented projects, and continue to volunteer their time, raising funds for community causes dear to them.

The Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club has participated in a number of community-based projects in the past, including the protecting our environment project, the supporting our youth project, the fighting hunger project, and the legacy project, to name a few.

The Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club has been supporting Trillium Health Partners’ Mississauga hospitals for three decades. On Monday, May 13, 2019, the Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club presented a cheque for $231,000 as a donation to the Trillium Health Partners Foundation for the purchase of equipment. They believe this is one way that they can contribute to improving the quality of life for our community: reducing wait times at hospitals, faster diagnostics of illnesses, and not having to travel far to access medical services.

I am proud of the work that the Mississauga Cooksville Lions Club does for the community. Thank you very much for all the great work.

Visitors

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I recognize the Minister for Seniors.

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I recognize the member on a point of order. Minister.

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: I’m very happy and honoured to welcome and introduce these visitors: Sangwoo Bae and Sea Yung Kim from the Korean Canadian Cultural Association; Seung Nam Choi, Young Ja Choi and Yong J. Park from the Korean Senior Citizens Society of Toronto; Marta Hajek from Elder Abuse Ontario; Lilian Wells from the Ontario Association of Councils on Aging; and Kyle Fitzgerald from the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. Welcome to the Legislature of Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Thank you very much for that point of order, Minister.

We have another point of order. I recognize the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills.

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I would like to take a second to welcome Mr. Albert Fahmy, on behalf of the Canadian Egyptian Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Hamy Shenouda, on behalf of the Canadian Coptic Activists Federation; Dr. Magdy Nashat, on behalf of the Canadian Egyptian Heritage Association; and Dr. Nabil Bechai, on behalf of the Egyptian Canadian Club. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Introduction of Bills

Tibetan Heritage Month Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 sur le Mois du patrimoine tibétain

Ms. Karpoche moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 131, An Act to proclaim the month of July as Tibetan Heritage Month / Projet de loi 131, Loi proclamant le mois de juillet Mois du patrimoine tibétain.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

First reading agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Would the member care to give a brief introduction of your bill?

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: This bill proclaims the month of July in each year as Tibetan Heritage Month. By proclaiming the month of July as Tibetan Heritage Month, the province of Ontario recognizes the contributions of Tibetans in all aspects of Ontario society.

Tibetan Heritage Month is also an opportunity to educate future generations about the significant role that Tibetan Canadians have played and continue to play across Ontario. I’d like to thank Jamyang Choetso, who is with the Ontario Parliamentary Friends of Tibet and a student in my office, for her hard work on this bill.

Motions

House sittings

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I move that when the House adjourns today, it stands adjourned until October 28, 2019.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Mr. Lecce has moved that when the House adjourns today, it stands adjourned until October 28, 2019. Is it the pleasure of the House?

I recognize the member from Timmins.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’ve got to say this is somehow not surprising, what the government is doing here, because clearly there is a lot of angst in the province of Ontario, and I would say a lot of anger, when it comes to what this government has been doing in its first year in office. Everything from kids in our classrooms to children with autism to seniors to hospitals—you name it; this government has found a way to pick a fight with absolutely everybody at the same time. That is a rather remarkable feat when you think about it.

The government is in this dilemma. They are campaigning on the Ontario taxpayers’ dime in order to be able to help their federal counterparts in the upcoming federal election by doing some of the things that they’ve done to date—some of them legislatively—where they’ve used the Legislature in order to put in place part of their plan on how they’re going to help run a campaign federally for their federal cousins.

When you think about that—you just think about that—it’s a pretty chilling thought, that a government utilizes the resources that it has through this Legislature and it has through the power of cabinet to be able to go out and campaign for the federal party of their choice. Now, we all are going to go out and canvass in the next election for the party of our choice. That’s what we do. That’s not the argument. But you have passed legislation where you are saying that if a person owns a gas station and they don’t put your little stickers on the gas pumps about your fight with the federal government, you’re going to penalize the owner of that establishment $10,000 a day. That means to say that the government of Ontario is using its legislative powers, as well as its administrative powers, in order to put that in place. The government is utilizing that as a way to try to prop up their federal cousins, and I think it’s pretty sad.

So the government has got a problem. The government says to itself, “Well, you know, we really want to do all these things because we think they’re right.”

There’s a guy up in Ottawa—I forget his name. I think his name is Mr. Scheer. I think I may have that name right. He is going, “Doug, Premier, slow down. Slow down. Be quiet. You’re not helping things much. Our polling numbers in Ontario are not doing as well as they could be doing, and every time you do something, oh, my God, it gets worse. So can you please help us by shutting up for a little while, not saying anything?”

The Premier of Ontario says, “I’m a really popular guy, I thought. I thought I could go out and help you in the campaign.”

I think what’s going on is that the federal cousin in Ottawa says, “No, no. It’s quite all right, Doug. We’ll be okay on our own, Premier. We’ll be quite all right on our own.”

Here it is that the return of the Legislature is normally right after Labour Day. We’ve all been around here for a while, so we understand how this works. We have a parliamentary calendar that is established every January or around Christmastime every year so that we determine what the parliamentary calendar is, and year over year the House comes back after Labour Day. What’s going on around Labour Day, everyone? I think it’s a question of a federal election. Just after Labour Day, some time, we are going to be into a federal election.

The Premier is trying to help his friend by not reminding Ontario voters that voting Conservative is a bad idea. Because every day that they’re in this House and having to answer questions, and every day that they’re in this House introducing the measures that they’ve been putting in place, the people out there in Ontario are going, “Whoa. We didn’t buy that. They said they were going to do other things.” I didn’t buy that either.

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Did the parents of children with autism, when they voted in the last election, ever believe for one second that they were going to be in a situation where they were going to have to go to the front lawn of Queen’s Park in order to demonstrate to get what Mr. Ford and the Conservatives had promised them in the last election? Never in a million years did they believe that, because they were promised. They were told by the then leader of the Conservative Party, now Premier of Ontario, “If you vote for me, you’ll never have to come out on the front lawn at the Legislature.”

And what’s one of the first things that they do? They attack the most vulnerable kids in our society, those kids who need the most support from their parents, their families and the government. Here are these kids, who need the support of the government to provide just basic things, like IBI and ABA therapy, so that those kids can deal with the issues that they have at hand and have half a battle at being able to succeed in life.

Most of us here are parents—we’re not all parents, but most of us are—and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our children, absolutely nothing. But these parents were believing that the Conservatives in the last election were going to do what they said they were going to do and undo the damage that the Liberals had created while they were in power. Because it was the Liberals who, quite frankly, created this mess by not responding to the crisis—not the crisis, but to the situation—when it comes to lack of services when it comes to IBI and ABA therapy. It was a fight that we all had in this Legislature, along with the Conservatives in opposition, in order to try to force the then Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne to stop doing what she was doing—or not doing—when it came to support for children with a need for IBA or ABA.

This government is vastly unpopular, so the government’s got a problem.

Ms. Catherine Fife: And they know it.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Of course they know it; they read the polling numbers. They’re probably spending more money on polling than you can shake a stick at it.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Even more than on stickers.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: More than on stickers, for sure. They’re looking at the numbers and they’re realizing that both the Premier and the government’s policies are hugely unpopular. It is really unusual for a government in the first year of its mandate to find itself as unpopular as this government and this Premier are. So what are they doing? They’re saying, “Well, I guess the best way we can help our federal cousins in Ottawa is for us to hide during the period of the election.”

That’s essentially what this is all about. You’ve got a government that is, quite frankly, completely undemocratic when it comes to its approach to parliamentary democracy and to the democracy that people in this province expect. I’ve got to say, Mr. Speaker, that is a sad, sad day for Ontario when Ontarians find themselves in a position where they’ve got to fight with their government to get what’s justly theirs.

We’ve had the doors of this Legislature locked at times to not let people in. We’ve had more people thrown out of the galleries in this Legislature in this first year than I’ve seen in any government’s mandate, and I’ve been here for 30 years. Even in the dark days of Mike Harris there were protests here, but somehow or other, the Ford government—Mr. Ford and his members—have managed to outstrip the unpopularity of that government in a period of less than a year. The negative numbers on the Premier are shocking. It took Kathleen Wynne six years to get there. He did it in less than six months.

Ms. Catherine Fife: He’s overachieving.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: It’s like he’s overachieving his goal.

I, quite frankly, am not surprised, but I’ve got to say that I’m vastly disappointed. You’ve got a government that says, “You know what? We’re not going to use committee in the way that we should be using committee when it comes to allowing the public to have their say on provincial legislation.” My God, we’ve had more people thrown out of the galleries than we’ve had people appear before our committees. It’s pretty astonishing—it’s shameful—that we find ourselves in that position, and I just say, shame on this government when it comes to what’s going on.

This summer, we were in a situation where the government was prepared to run gunshot over the rights of the individuals in the city of Toronto by using the “notwithstanding” clause on something that it was never designed to do. The “notwithstanding” clause, as we all know—those of us who lived or suffered through the whole negotiation on our Constitution on a couple of occasions—was given for quite a different reason. This government, in its zeal to do the wrong thing, in its zeal to anger the people of Toronto, because the Premier of Ontario has a vendetta and he is trying to fight with the city of Toronto from the Premier’s chair, ended up saying that they were prepared to use the “notwithstanding” clause in order to trample on the rights of the people of this city. I say shame to this government. That is totally undemocratic, and it’s not something that any government worth its salt would ever think of doing.

Anybody who disagrees with this government, Mr. Speaker, they call fearmongers and they have a fight with. They say, “It’s all their fault. It’s not us. We didn’t do anything wrong. Oh, no, we didn’t slash spending when it comes to health care. Oh, no. We’ve increased health care.” And then the Financial Accountability Officer goes out and checks the government’s books and says, “No, in fact, you are cutting $2.7 billion over two years.” And so they say, “No, no, no, it’s not true; it’s not true. No, no, no.” Come on. You’re arguing with the people who are here, independent officers of the Legislature, who have staff in order to keep us accountable. The government picks a fight with them.

They pick a fight with teachers. They pick a fight with students. Do you remember what students organized in this province? They had a one-day protest, an hour in the afternoon some time. Well, they called them “professional protesters” and they blamed it all on the teachers’ unions for organizing it, and called the—what did they call the students?

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: Pawns.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: They called the students “pawns.” What government in its right mind that is democratic would decide that you’re going to have a fight with teenagers when it comes to their right to get access to education at a high school? Who is lowering themselves here?

So this is a very undemocratic government that, quite frankly, doesn’t want to be here this fall because they are trying to do everything they can to help their federal cousins in the federal election. They’ve tried by way of legislation. They thought it would be great to do the initiatives that they’ve done up to now, and all that it’s done is put an anchor around Andrew Scheer’s neck, to the point that his polling numbers are dropping along with the Premier’s numbers in the province of Ontario, and Jason Kenney will not be too far behind when it comes to the effect that he’s going to have on the election nationally. Alberta is a whole other issue. But when it comes to nationally, the whole Conservative agenda is quite, quite something.

The other thing is that this morning, as we were going through question period and there was a question that was asked by one of our members, Mr. Singh, when it comes to the price of insurance for automobile insurance and he pointed out that automobile insurance went up by, what, 9%, I think he said, over the last year since this government went in, I started thinking: This government is prepared to use legislation to limit the bus driver, to limit the PSW worker in our communities, to limit the wages of those who work in our society, who do the hard work that is needed to care for our children and to care for our parents and to care for the people of this province. They’re going to use legislation to limit them to 1%, and they’re going to allow insurance companies, that I think are doing okay, to be able to get some more money.

It’s a question of misplaced priorities. When it comes to somebody who has money, there is no largesse that this government is not prepared to give. They are prepared to do what they can in order to help their friends. The top 1% and the richest corporations and the richest people in this province are well served by this government, because they are prepared to move heaven and earth when it comes to helping them. Well, I’ve got to tell you, Mr. Speaker, Andrea Horwath and New Democrats will stand with those people in our society who need government to make things work.

I’ve got to say, Mr. Speaker, to the point of this particular motion, moving us back to October 28, there are a couple of intended consequences. I won’t say they’re unintended.

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The estimates process, by which we hold the government to account when it comes to the committee process so that we’re able to ask the questions of the ministers and the bureaucracy as to the spending of the government—as the standing order says, by the third Thursday in November, all of the estimates, if they’re not dealt with in committee, are going to be reported as read and as dealt with.

We’ve had a chance to have two days of estimates at committee when it comes to the Ministry of Health. We’re not even finished.

The House is not going to come back until October 28, which is going to leave us a mere three weeks to try to get some of the estimates done in the most important ministries that touch the services that people rely on: health, education and social services.

You’ve got a government who says they’re increasing money when it comes to mental health and social services, but when you look at the estimates, the spending is down $900 million.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: That’s false.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: False? Read your own estimates. If the government wants to defend the numbers and they want to refute it, allow the estimates committee to sit so that we can go through the numbers. But this government doesn’t want that.

In the next election, they’re not interested in having New Democrats here holding the government to account when it comes to their spending decisions, where they help those in society who least need our help and are prepared to do everything they can to do something for them, but when it comes to a child with autism, when it comes to a senior trying to live at home, when it comes to providing services by home care and when it comes to emergency services and the rest, this government says, “You’re not going to hold us to account in the middle of an election because we know what the story is.” When we go to estimates committee, we get to ask the questions and they have to answer truthfully because otherwise they’d be in contempt of the committee.

This government does not want estimates to sit at the time that the federal election is going on. Why? Because they don’t want to be held to account on their own numbers, and I say that that is completely undemocratic.

Another intended consequence is the question of public appointments—

Ms. Sandy Shaw: The gravy train.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: The gravy train, as it’s called. It’s quite all right to limit everybody: the PSW; the bus driver; the people who take care of your children, who are vastly underpaid as early childhood educators—my God, what we pay those people. They are heroes, and we should be applauding them to do the work that they do for as little as they’re paid. We’re going to limit those people to 1%. And yet the government of Ontario, under Mr. Ford, is doing everything they can to appoint their failed candidates and their Tory friends to all kinds of public commissions, at rates that are even more outlandish and higher than what the Liberals were doing. So I say to the government across the way: My God, what priorities do you have?

Here is the unintended consequence: When the House is not in session, it’s harder for the committee to be able to sit to do its business—so there are two points here. One is, the government is refusing, by not—and I think they’re actually telling them not to come to committee, to be able to ask questions to those people who are being appointed by the Conservatives. When the official opposition or an independent member wants to have a person come before committee, to say, “Why did they pick you? Let me ask some questions,” there’s a process where we’re able to call them before the committee. Two things: One is, the government now is not allowing those people to get to committee.

Look at what happened in Thunder Bay. The government appointed a person to the police services board of Thunder Bay. It was a person that New Democrats had called to the committee because we suspected there might be some issues. And what ended up happening? They had to fire him for comments that he made when he got to the police services commission in Thunder Bay. I’ve got to say, that is pretty troubling. The government wouldn’t allow that person to be called.

Now the House will not be in session, so we’re not going to be in a position to have regular sittings of that committee to try to deal with these issues.

What is this all about? This is about a Conservative government, under Premier Ford, who has finally figured out that he is not too popular with the public—that he is running a very undemocratic system—and is deciding that he is going to, essentially, hide over the period of the federal election because that’s the best thing that he can do to help his friend Mr. Scheer, because when the voters of Ontario are reminded that what Conservatives do and what they say in an election is very different than what they actually do when they get to government, Mr. Scheer’s opportunity for election becomes much more diminished.

I say to this government, shame on this government. Shame on members who will vote in favour of this motion, because in the end all you’re doing, quite frankly, is you’re short-circuiting the democratic process and you’re saying to the people of this province exactly—well, I can’t actually say it, because it would be unparliamentary, Mr. Speaker, and I will leave it at that. You will rue the day that you’ve done this. Governments are marked by their actions, and if you look at the history of all governments, once you do these kinds of things, you end up—

Mr. Mike Harris: That’s why you only had one shot at government.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: The member says we will not get a shot in government. That is interesting from Michael Harris, Jr. If he thinks for one second that New Democrats aren’t coming back—

Interjections.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Excuse me.

Interjections.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Excuse me. All right. Order, please, on both sides.

Had you been maintaining eye contact with the Speaker, you would have noticed I’ve been standing for a while. You couldn’t hear me because of other background noise—

Interjections.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): From both sides, so don’t be pointing. You have a bunch of fingers pointing back, okay?

All right. Further debate. I recognize the member from Ottawa South.

Mr. John Fraser: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. That’s evidence that sometimes you should just keep your head down—but I digress.

To the member from Timmins: I agree with almost everything he said—almost—and I’m not going to go back over it, because I’d say many of the same things. Speaker, we are recessing for 144 days. That’s the longest recess in 25 years. Check the date on that, guys—25 years.

In short, we’re here to protect those things that Ontarians depend on—their hospitals, their schools, to protect the environment, to work hard on the economy so that we can pay for those things that people depend on, to take care of the people who are most vulnerable—and this government is taking a hiatus. What they’re saying is, “This isn’t really that important. What we do here is not important.”

It’s not just members of the opposition who have to do this; it’s members of the government, and all you backbenchers should know that, because you represent your communities. Not being here for 144 days makes you less accountable. It gets fewer things done for the people who you serve—

Interjection.

Mr. John Fraser: Look, I’ve been around long enough to know what this means, and 144 days is a long time. It’s a very long time to put the Premier in a taxpayer-funded witness protection program.

Thank you very much.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Order. The House will—

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Order. The opposition will come to order. The House will come to order.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The members of the opposition have been asked twice now to come to order. The House will come to order.

Further debate?

Mr. Michael Parsa: I just want to point out a few facts here. When my colleague pointed out the time of sitting—from 1994 to 1995, when the NDP was in power, they sat a total of 34 days when they were in government—34 days. I know that my colleague takes great pride in having been here for 29 years, and he was a member of that government. He was here. So you should have mentioned that as well, the 34 days when you were in.

Madam Speaker, when we ran an election, they were part of this election as well. That party was in the election, and so was the independent party sitting in the corner. We all took our message to the people, and the people spoke. We know the people are never wrong, Madam Speaker. They gave us a resounding mandate to come here to represent them, firstly to clean up the mess that they left behind and that they helped along the way, all along the way.

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I just want to talk about some of our accomplishments. As you heard the minister allude to earlier, we have passed more bills—an unprecedented amount—than any other government, including the government—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The member from Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas will come to order.

Mr. Michael Parsa: Let me just mention a few of them. This is just since Christmas, Madam Speaker. We passed Bill 48, the education reform. We passed—

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I apologize to the member. Stop the clock. I have asked the members to come to order. I expect that those guidelines will be adhered to. And I will ask the member from Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas to withdraw.

Ms. Sandy Shaw: Withdraw.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Thank you.

I apologize to the member. Please continue.

Mr. Michael Parsa: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I’m listing off some of our accomplishments just since December: Bill 48, education reform, which if you looked at the bill, raises it by more than $700 million for Ontarians.

Bill 66, the red tape reduction bill: That is something every small business owner—of which I was one, and many of my colleagues across got up here with pride to say that they were one as well. They told us to come here to clean up the mess that was left behind by the previous government: red tape all over; businesses couldn’t employ; businesses couldn’t hire; businesses couldn’t succeed and couldn’t grow because of all the red tape. Madam Speaker, 380,000 across—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Windsor West will come to order.

Mr. Michael Parsa: Madam Speaker, 380,000: more than double the next province in the country. We came in and we started cleaning that up through Bill 66.

Bill 68, policing reform; Bill 74, health care reform; Bill 100, the budget, which I’m so proud, with all of my colleagues, that the Minister of Finance tabled here.

Bill 87, energy reform: Everybody knows the mess that was left behind by the previous government. All the electricity prices—families, seniors, small businesses, all paying inflated prices, which were brought in by that government and, in all cases, supported by the party across 98%—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Windsor West will come to order.

Mr. Michael Parsa: I know that number sometimes bothers some of my colleagues, but 98% is something to be proud of for you guys. That’s something—a great accomplishment.

We’re on track, Madam Speaker, and as you saw earlier, Bill 107, which is the transit reform—the PA sitting right beside me and her amazing minister—the transportation bill that will build more subways all across the GTA, something that our government will be proud of. In fact, Premier Ford will be the Premier who will be remembered as the Premier that built more subways than any other government in this province.

Bill 108, the housing plan: We talked about this. People were asking us—they need more affordable housing. They needed all kinds of housing, other than the only style available to them, and that minister listened. Through consultations, we listened to the people, and as we have done throughout our entire administration, after consulting and listening to the people, we delivered for the people. We did that through Bill 108.

I also want to mention one other fact. We have sat more in this sitting, with this government, in this administration, than any other government in the last 30 years. I was proud to be a member of the team to have come in early last summer to pass important bills—

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I’m sorry to interrupt the member. Stop the clock. The member for Timmins and member from King–Vaughan will cease and desist, please, and not have conversations across the floor.

I apologize to the member. Please continue—uninterrupted, hopefully.

Mr. Michael Parsa: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I know that my colleagues are quite excited. In fact, the two of them are close friends and they like to share stories back and forth.

Madam Speaker, we came back last summer to pass important legislation for the people of Ontario. We have continuously done that, and we’ll continuously to do that every single time. We care about our constituents. They sent us here to do the fine work that we do every single day, and we will always go back and listen to them, consult with them, hear them out over the summer and see exactly what else we need to do to improve, to continue moving Ontario forward. Under the leadership of Doug Ford, we will continue doing that. I’m a proud member of that, and I look forward to coming back in the fall and joining my colleagues to continue moving the province forward and balancing the budget in five years.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate?

Seeing none, Mr. Lecce has moved that when the House adjourns today, it stand adjourned until October 28, 2019. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1355 to 1425.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): All members will please take their seats.

Mr. Lecce has moved that when the House adjourns today, it stands adjourned until October 28, 2019. All those in favour of the motion, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda C.
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Triantafilopoulos, Effie J.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Yakabuski, John

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Karpoche, Bhutila
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 64; the nays are 35.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

Statements by the Ministry and Responses

Seniors’ Month

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: June is the time to celebrate our seniors and to recognize the contributions they have made in communities across Ontario and the lives they have impacted across generations.

As the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, and being a senior myself, seniors are my top priority. Our government has the highest regard for seniors and is committed to protecting what matters most to them and their families.

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We want seniors to live active, healthy, safe and socially connected lives. When seniors are active and socially connected to their communities, it helps them to prevent social isolation and elder abuse. This is why “Aging Strong: Respect and Protect” is very fitting for this year’s Seniors’ Month theme.

Aging is about living and supporting our seniors. It’s about investing in our own futures, because seniors should be able to age strong, in an Ontario that is open to all. “Aging Strong” is about embracing our wisdom, our life experiences and our contributions to families, communities and this province.

It’s also about aging positively in all areas of our lives: physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Our government will be using Seniors’ Month as a platform to talk about the importance of seniors and to also promote all of the programs and services our government provides to seniors. This is especially important, as in four years there will be three million seniors in Ontario.

Many seniors face challenges accessing programs and services to support their safety and overall well-being. That is why we are providing services and programs to help protect what matters most to seniors.

For example, I launched the $3-million Seniors Community Grant Program. This program helps seniors stay active, connected and healthy by providing grants to non-profit community organizations to deliver local programs.

We also provide services to seniors through more than 300 Seniors Active Living Centres across the province. These centres help seniors remain active and engaged in age-friendly communities.

We also know that untreated oral health issues can lead to chronic disease and a reduced quality of life. This is why, as part of our government’s commitment to put seniors at the centre of our health care system, we recently announced the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. This $90-million investment will help provide dental services to low-income seniors age 65 and over who currently do not have benefits.

We’re also investing approximately $1.75 billion to create 15,000 new long-term-care beds and to redevelop 15,000—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I apologize to the minister. Pursuant to standing order 30(c), the time allotted for routine proceedings has expired.

Visitors

Mme France Gélinas: Point of order.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I recognize the member from Nickel Belt on a point of order.

Mme France Gélinas: I wanted to introduce four people in the gallery: Katha Fortier, Nancy Bissonette, Melissa Holden and Tricia Brown. They have collected over 3,600 signatures on a petition, “Care Takes Time,” from Unifor. Thank you, ladies.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I remind the members that that is not a point of order.

Private Members’ Public Business

Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 modifiant la Loi sur la responsabilité des occupants

Mr. Norman Miller moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 118, An Act to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act / Projet de loi 118, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la responsabilité des occupants.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Mr. Norman Miller: It’s a pleasure to rise today to speak to my private member’s bill, the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2019.

Before I begin, I want to thank Braelyn Guppy, who was my OLIP intern back in the fall. She did a lot of work on this private member’s bill. I’d also like to thank Sam Routley, who started a month or so ago in my office. He did more of the follow-up work on this bill. I want to recognize both of them for the work that they’ve done on this private member’s bill.

The main purpose of this bill, if passed, would be to change the statute of limitations on slip-and-fall lawsuits on private property from two years to 10 days, the same as the time allotted for municipally managed property. This would entail that for both municipally managed and private property, no lawsuit can be issued after this 10-day period, with the exceptions of extreme cases specified.

As this bill states, “No action shall be brought for the recovery of damages for personal injury caused by snow or ice against an occupier, an independent contractor employed by the occupier or, in the case of a tenancy described in subsection 8(1) of the act, a landlord, unless, within 10 days after the occurrence of the injury, written notice of the claim and of the injury are served.”

This proposed legislation comes primarily as the result of conversations I’ve had with business owners and other residents in my riding of Parry Sound–Muskoka. They have approached me with concerns about frivolous lawsuits and also excessive insurance premiums. I’d specifically like to mention Dave Finch from Wes Finch & Sons, a business located in Bracebridge. They have the job of looking after the hospital in Bracebridge. He was the one who initially called me to tell me that, if you’re doing commercial snow plowing, it has become extremely expensive to get insurance, especially if you’re plowing a hospital, and that if you’re a small operator with just one truck doing half a dozen neighbours’ driveways, it’s virtually impossible to buy insurance. In many cases, those operators think they’re covered with their normal truck insurance, but they aren’t, in fact, when they’re doing commercial operations. So that was one of the issues that came up.

Under the current law, businesses can face lawsuits after slip-and-fall incidents due to snow and ice have occurred without even having been informed that someone slipped and fell on their property. For instance, this includes one lawsuit that was initiated one year and 11 months after an incident, when it was too late to ask staff to remember what happened or to look for witnesses. In other cases, the business may not have any idea that something had happened until they get served a notice. This puts an undue burden on businesses to have to defend themselves against events for which witnesses may not recall the event clearly.

I’ve also heard from snow removal contractors, one of whom had difficulty getting insurance when he told his insurance company he did commercial snow removal and had a contract for snow removal at the local hospital. In many cases, as soon as there is compensation involved for clearing snow, a company’s premiums increase significantly. This comes from the insurance company’s fear of having to cover potential lawsuits as far as one or even two years into the future.

This puts an unjustified expense on snow removal and other contractors, making it more difficult and expensive to operate their businesses. Instead, providers will often try to compensate by implementing rigorous and constricting standards. They also often overdo whatever task has been required of them to limit any potential threat of lawsuits from slip-and-fall incidents. For snow removal contractors, this leads to an excessive use of salt on properties, which, in addition to staying long after it is needed—I walk to Queen’s Park every day, about a half an hour walk, and I see that on a daily basis. Certainly, when you walk around this Legislature you’re often crunching around on salt quite thick.

Road salt can be toxic to soil and life. It is also damaging to shoes, infrastructure and the paws of our pets. Salt also stays, washing into Ontario’s creeks, lakes and rivers—I know that’s a separate issue. Certainly, if you drive up Highway 11 or Highway 400 at this time of year, you’ll see that all the white pine trees are quite brown and in distress. And we’ve had incidents on Highways 11 and 400 where water wells have been negatively affected and villages have not been able to use their water wells anymore.

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At worst, a high concentration of salt can be fatal to some aquatic animals. It can change the way the water mixes, leading to the formation of salty pockets near the bottom of lakes, creating biological dead zones.

Salt’s adverse effects have prompted many municipalities across Ontario to implement salt management plans to ensure safe and proper use. However, out of the threat of frivolous lawsuits, private contractors are unable to make equivalent proactive plans. Instead, they are incentivized to cover up any potential spots of injury for worry of being sued, regardless of the environmental impacts.

The Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act would change this often inconvenient set of circumstances. It would make it easier for businesses in Ontario to defend themselves in cases of slip-and-fall incidents, would reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits and decrease the insurance costs for snow removal companies, and would help relieve the backlog in the courts.

This bill not only addresses the concerns of local small business people in Parry Sound–Muskoka, but businesses of all types and sizes across Ontario. The government has been working hard to make sure that Ontario is open for business; that is, ensuring that businesses across the province can avoid unnecessary burdens and are enabled to succeed. Since coming to office, we have reduced red tape and enacted several new measures to see this come into effect.

As Rocco Rossi, the president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has said, “New research shows that businesses are gaining confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook as well as gaining confidence in themselves. At the same time, challenges relating to access to talent, embracing technological innovations, and the cost of doing business—including regulation, taxation, and input prices—remain major sources of concern.”

The Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act will address some of the concerns that continue to face businesses in Ontario. This proposed legislation has support from many stakeholders in my riding of Parry Sound–Muskoka and across Ontario.

Landscape Ontario, which represents many of Ontario’s snow removal contractors, is in support. Tony DiGiovanni, the executive director, wrote that, “The quantity of lawsuits (many frivolous) faced by the snow and ice management industry has resulted in many insurance companies pulling out of providing winter service coverage. With no coverage there will be no service. This is an extremely serious issue that will affect every member of the public.”

He adds, “The services of Landscape Ontario members and other professional winter maintenance firms are essential. They keep the economy going and the public safe. The ‘Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2019’ is necessary in order to protect the long-term interests and safety of the public.”

I have also received support from some legal professionals. Todd McCarthy of Flaherty McCarthy Litigation Counsel wrote that the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act will ensure “fairness and equality for all occupiers of land—individuals, families and businesses—in that it provides the same 10-day notice requirement as that which is contained in the Municipal Act for Occupiers’ Liability Act claims against municipalities.”

He adds, “There is no reason to distinguish between municipal occupiers and any other occupier in terms of a 10-day notice period and the relief available to claimants for failing to provide the 10-day notice, subject to the exceptions set out in the bill.”

Furthermore, this bill is consistent with the goals of many environmental groups interested in decreasing the overuse of road salt. In restricting the statute of limitations to 10 days, there will still be sufficient time for legitimate claims to be issued. While most businesses effectively maintain their pathways, there are nonetheless examples of negligence that should be accounted for. However, it is difficult to justify why these need two full years to be issued. Instead, they are more often frivolous.

In this regard, Tim West, another constituent of mine, the president of Windswept Investments, wrote to me with the concern that while “the intent of a business to have liability insurance is to deal with negligence on our part....

“The nature and number of frivolous claims is increasing, and we may not be able to attract businesses to supply winter snow removal and salting and sanding of our parking and sidewalk areas.”

Clearly, the full two years is an excessive and unnecessary time. Rather than help to ensure that legitimate cases are brought forward, it is more likely to lead to frivolous claims that hurt business.

As an additional protection for legitimate claims, the bill provides two exceptions to the proposed limit. First, as specified in section 3, “Failure to give notice is not a bar to the action in the case of the death of the injured person as a result of the injury.” Second, as specified in section 4, “Failure to give notice or insufficiency of the notice is not a bar to the action if a judge finds that there is reasonable excuse for the want or the insufficiency of the notice and that the defendant is not prejudiced in its defence.”

Claims issued against municipal property have 10 days, a time period significantly less than private property. By establishing the same time frame for private property, this bill will ensure fairness and equality for all occupiers of land.

It is for these reasons and many more that I’ve introduced this bill. I believe it effectively addresses a problem faced by many businesses in Parry Sound–Muskoka by removing an unnecessary burden and implementing fairness for all occupiers of land. This is done with a careful consideration of legitimate claims.

I hope that my fellow members of this Legislature will support the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, and I look forward to hearing the debate this afternoon.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: It’s always an honour to rise in the House. I rise to speak today on Bill 118, An Act to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

It is our responsibility as MPPs to improve the lives of Ontarians through legislation. We do that through enhancing quality of life, promoting prosperity for all and setting ground rules for fairness. But with all due respect to the member who tabled it, does this bill improve fairness?

When we create legislation, we must listen to the voices of expert stakeholders. When it comes to the legislation before us today, we must consider the concerns raised by Ontario Trial Lawyers Association president Allen Wynperle when he said that this legislation will hurt victims and create unduly cumbersome red tape for people who, through no fault of their own, were possibly injured by someone else’s negligence. In other words, it exposes regular people to more risk—not protect them.

How does it do that? It shortens the time allowed for sending a notice of a pending lawsuit to a business or property from two years down to 10 days. Many injuries don’t even manifest within that time frame. Certainly, many injured may not even know where to turn when lying in a hospital bed, if they can turn at all. As they lie there, a week and a half flies by and, with it, any chance for rightful compensation.

As MPPs, we can often draw on our own personal experiences when considering tabled bills, so let me tell you the story of Matt, who suffered a back injury due to someone else’s negligence in 2010.

Matt walked the injury off until someone urged him to get a doctor’s examination. He did see a doctor, and sure enough, he had suffered a back injury, one that would, over time, erode his physical abilities.

While he didn’t feel it at the time of the injury, he pursued litigation, and since he was an athlete and his work depended on his mobility and activity, he was awarded a small settlement. It was a good thing too, because a year later, he was crippled for a period of time due to the injury being aggravated through stress—exactly how the doctor said it would occur.

People should have reasonable time to assess their injury and go over their options, and such protections should be strengthened through legislation. Imagine if this legislation was in place when my friend Matt was injured. Even though he was fastidious in getting his unapparent injury diagnosed and filing suit for it, it was still outside a 10-day time frame.

What, then, is the point of this legislation? My Conservative colleagues on the other side will claim it’s about standardizing the liability on private property to that which currently exists on municipal government property—except for one issue: That 10-day limit on municipal property exists only within a narrow and limited scope. To be more specific, the 10-day liability on municipal government property applies to city-maintained roadways and adjacent sidewalks within its purview.

But when you compare apples to apples, such as slipping and falling at or around city hall, or any of the civic centres, for that matter, the 10-day rule to file suit doesn’t apply. Such properties are the proper comparison to the private properties discussed in this bill.

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So, in fact, this bill gives private property owners more protection against victims’ claims than even our own city governments have in certain circumstances. This bill thus protects large, negligent private property and business owners from individuals who have been injured on their properties. Yet again, this government side puts forth legislation that gives more power to our society’s most powerful members, always at the expense of the little guy.

We have seen that with the tabling of Bill 108, which will allow developers to build whatever they want without community input and give little to nothing back to the neighbourhoods they are building in. What a gift to the rich—but it appears the gifts to the rich never end with this government. I’m sure such gifts are repaid over spaghetti.

This isn’t a bill to protect the family who had someone slip on their driveway; this is a bill to protect giant landlords from exposure to rightful lawsuits over not clearing the snow or ice or properly salting. The landlord need not care, because most people will probably not realize that the window to file suit will be closed before it’s too late.

Within my own constituency, where many rent in tall buildings, I have often heard complaints over the years about landlords neglecting to keep walkways free of ice. Many tenants are facing several financial and other barriers, including access to justice, which is also getting worse under this government; language barriers; and little time to navigate the system, as they are often working multiple jobs and raising families. If one such tenant gets injured, it will probably be too late before they can attempt to get just compensation.

And it’s not just them. How is the customer who slips and falls in the parking lot of a strip mall supposed to find out the landlord’s name and address within the time frame? That information is not readily, and certainly not publicly, available, as in the case of municipalities, except to a small segment of industry insiders who work in real estate. They will have time to file for that information; in most cases, it does not come in a timely fashion, if at all.

All this is going to do is to create a regime where big landlords and snow removal companies can sleep a little easier if they are not doing their best to ensure the safety of their property and workplaces. Slip and fall on icy stairs at your building? Better call Saul, or you’re SOL. Break an ankle tripping on uncleared snow at Loblaws? Better check the Bob Loblaw law blog for advice before going to emergency.

So what’s the real purpose of this? It’s also being put forward so landlords and snow-clearing companies will be able to acquire lower liability insurance rates. Why? Because it will be harder for injured individuals to get compensation when they deserve it. Now, that’s rather ironic, because when I tabled my private member’s bill in this House to lower insurance for car drivers in Ontario, the government voted against it, siding with auto insurance companies.

Does this bill improve life in Ontario? Does it make Ontario safer? Does it improve justice in Ontario? I don’t believe it does. It appears to be yet another gift to the wealthy friends of the government, and again at the cost of everyday people. It puts future victims, like my friend Matt with the back injury, at greater risk. It doesn’t enhance protections, or provide better quality of life or fairness for regular people. We should be empowering the little guy, not leaving him struggling to breathe in a hospital bed while the powerful, negligent landlord sighs a breath of relief.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? I recognize the member from Cambridge.

Mrs. Belinda C. Karahalios: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good afternoon to you.

I’m very pleased today to rise in support of my colleague the member from Parry Sound–Muskoka on his bill, and I want to thank him for bringing this bill forward. Bill 118, An Act to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act, if passed, would change the statute of limitations on lawsuits for slip-and-fall incidents on snow or ice from two years to 10 days, with the exception of extreme cases, as outlined in the bill.

Ten days, Madam Speaker, is the current time frame for lawsuits to be brought for municipal property, and I think that it makes sense that the same rules should apply elsewhere. Bill 118 would amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act as it currently is to allow for just that.

I know that the member for Parry Sound–Muskoka brought this bill forward out of concern that he had for small business owners in his riding; specifically, those who had talked to him about nonsense lawsuits that they had been forced to deal with, which were filed long after an alleged incident had taken place.

That’s not just the people in Parry Sound–Muskoka, the business owners and the property owners who are experiencing this; it’s people in my riding as well, in the riding of Cambridge, and across Waterloo region. It’s the same in other communities across Ontario.

I would like to clarify that when I say “long after,” I mean months and even years after—and I question if that’s fair to the owners or their employees when they’re asked to recall details about something that may have happened so far in the past, to try and find witnesses and information that have understandably sometimes been forgotten. Many property owners in my riding of Cambridge feel the same way. This, in my view, is a problem, and Bill 118 attempts to address this problem.

Bill 118 makes it easier for businesses in Ontario to defend themselves in cases of slip-and-fall incidents and will reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits, thereby decreasing insurance costs for snow removal companies. It will also help relieve the backlog in the courts. With a limit of 10 days, there is sufficient time to give notice for legitimate claims against genuine cases of negligence. People who suffer significant injuries are also protected by the exceptions outlined in this bill.

Thank you once again to my colleague from Parry Sound–Muskoka. I do encourage all members to support this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate.

Ms. Sara Singh: I’d like to thank my colleague from Humber River–Black Creek for some of the interesting points he raised, as well as the member who brought forward this amendment.

While I do agree with some of the issues that have been raised and that are trying to be addressed through this amendment and bill, I think that when someone is hurt, the last thing that should be on their mind is, “How fast can I get to a lawyer?” Essentially what this amendment does is make people think, “The first thing I do when I get injured is call a lawyer because I’ve only got 10 days on the clock.” They should actually be focused on getting the medical care they need and taking that time to recover.

Instead, what this bill does is the exact opposite of that. Amending the Occupiers’ Liability Act means that “no action shall be brought for the recovery of damages for personal injury caused by snow or ice on private property” unless served within a 10-day period. That just doesn’t make sense, Speaker. Currently, injury lawyers note that the 10-day written notice requirement window for injuries sustained on public property is already an impediment for compensation needed for recovery for people who experience those injuries.

This bill simply does not protect consumers as the government members would like us to believe. With slip-and-fall cases that happen on public property, injury lawyers are typically well versed on the process and who to contact. With private property, the case can be more layered and it can prove to be very difficult to serve notice to the landlord or owner within that 10-day period, and that’s probably why we have an extension on that.

This bill hasn’t been through the process of really understanding those slip-and-fall cases. In fact, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, who handle the majority of personal injury claims, have very clearly, as our other member indicated, said that this bill would hurt victims. It’s not actually going to help them get access to justice as they again are claiming, but it’s going to make it unduly cumbersome for them to be able to seek out those processes to ensure their claim is filed in a timely manner. A 10-day notice to serve is simply not an adequate time frame, Speaker, especially for those who have been injured and may be dealing with doctors’ appointments and medical treatments.

If a long-term injury occurs, individuals deserve compensation to recover from their injuries. Services like physiotherapy are often costly, with a minimal amount of coverage by private insurance, if the injured actually even has private insurance in place to begin with.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, unintentional falls were the most common form of injury across the country in 2017, resulting in nearly 1,800 emergency room visits each and every single day. In all, falling was responsible for 32% of all reported ER visits that year, and the agency says that that cost the health care system more than $2 billion.

Seniors are the most vulnerable in this situation as well. In addition to being at a higher risk of falling, they also take a longer time to recover from their injuries. We all know that for many, a slip and fall can be the beginning of a very long decline into subsequent health issues.

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Speaker, that’s why I’m going to be opposing this bill. Again, as I said, there are parts of it that we can agree with, but overall, this bill really doesn’t address the issue, and it doesn’t really make it fair for people in this province to access the justice that they need. It would actually be making it harder for those who are injured to recover, not easier.

Landlord and private property owners need to have the due diligence in place when maintaining their properties. A 10-day written notice period is too minimal for victims of slip-and-fall cases to recover and take the necessary actions they need to towards potential compensation or ultimately their recovery.

Speaker, as I said earlier, I’m happy to be voting against this bill. I think that it really doesn’t go far enough. When we consider the overall cuts and erosion that are happening to our justice system here in the province, I think it’s important for us to consider that this bill is just another one of those pieces to deny people access to justice here in the province of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m very pleased to rise to speak on the private member’s bill, An Act to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act, put forward by my colleague from Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte—who is a lawyer, I would like to add.

I am not a lawyer; I’m an optometrist, Madam Speaker. The one time that I got served by a bailiff as an optometrist was because somebody fell in the parking lot and they broke their hip. It was a woman. She was older than I was at that time but probably around my age now. It was on a day when the police had said, “Don’t go out because it’s an emergency.” Freezing rain was in the forecast and did occur. My office wasn’t even open. My office used to open later and stay open later, and so it was early enough in the morning that we weren’t even open at the time. She didn’t have an appointment. She was coming in to pick up her glasses, and it was a very unfortunate incident. We felt terrible.

I remember speaking to the woman on the phone when she was in the hospital. I know my staff visited her. We did the best we could to help her out with whatever she needed. But the reality is that she was very well served by our publicly funded health care system. She had surgery. She recovered fully. There was nothing in the doctor’s letters attesting to that she had any problems going forward in her life. She wasn’t working at the time, so there were no lost wages.

But the fact is that the insurance company insisted on trying to settle with her, against what I seemed to think was fair at the time, and offered her something like $10,000 to settle. She refused. She took us to court. I had to give a deposition—I remember being very nervous—and the judge said, “Nothing, absolutely nothing is this woman owed—zero.” So she refused the $10,000 and ended up getting nothing.

Sometimes people think that the court system is going to be there in their favour, but our court system and our judges and our litigators have to weigh everything. That’s all this bill does: It brings back a little bit of balance, or a little discussion to the balance, of the fact that somebody can wait two years minus a day to serve notice that they’re going to be suing somebody and possibly even purposely waiting. That’s what concerns me when I read this bill—that perhaps there are people who are being advised by their lawyers to wait, hopeful that whoever the defendant is is not going to have the records two years minus a day later that they would have had if they would have served notice two weeks after the accident.

We have to balance the needs of anybody who’s injured. Yes, I think there are amendments being proposed by this piece of legislation to indicate that if somebody is in catastrophic circumstances and cannot serve notice for medical reasons, or whatever, that leave be given for them to have more time and more leeway.

I’m very interested to hear what people in our communities think of this proposal, once they hear about it. I think that we want to bring that proper balance between people who feel that they deserve compensation from landlords and professionals and small business owners and large business owners. I think that municipalities have a different set of rules than the public. We have to balance the needs of everybody and ensure that there is fairness in our court system.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Doug Downey: I would love to take credit for this bill, but it’s actually the member north, in Parry Sound–Muskoka.

Mrs. Gila Martow: Oh, sorry.

Mr. Doug Downey: It was his idea entirely.

The member has really touched on something that deals with things that I’ve run into as a lawyer. I can tell you, it isn’t to tip the balance in anybody’s favour. It’s to preserve the best evidence as early as possible, so that if something does happen—and this has worked in the municipal world for a long time, the 10-day notice. This isn’t to actually file a statement of claim within 10 days; it’s simply to put the party on notice that you need to preserve your records and preserve the best evidence possible so that justice can be served for everybody.

I endorse this 100%. I think it’s a prudent thing to do. It actually is a benefit to people who are plaintiffs and it’s a benefit to people who will be defendants—and let the courts sort it out. But let’s preserve the best evidence as we go forward.

I commend my friend from Parry Sound–Muskoka on this great initiative. I’ll stand beside you all the way through on this.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate? Further debate?

The member for Parry Sound–Muskoka has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Norman Miller: I want to thank the members who commented: the members from Humber River–Black Creek, Cambridge, Brampton Centre, Thornhill, and—Simcoe North?

Mr. Doug Downey: Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte.

Mr. Norman Miller: Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte. Sorry. Thank you for that.

I just want to talk about a few points. First of all, in this bill, we changed the notice so it could go to one or more persons to make it as easy as possible to give notice—that’s to either the occupier or an independent contractor, or, in the case of a tenancy described in subsection 8(1), a landlord. So we’re trying to make it as easy as possible to provide notice.

In terms of who it benefits, well, it benefits the local hospital, who will pay less for the costs of plowing their driveway. That’s in the case of South Muskoka Memorial Hospital, which is struggling to make ends meet over the past number of years. Hopefully they have reduced costs of their snow removal, and hopefully they won’t have quite the excessive salt that’s hurting our environment put down, as well.

It certainly benefits businesses, small businesses like Wes Finch & Sons in Bracebridge—Dave Finch, who talked about just how expensive and hard it is to get insurance. It benefits even smaller businesses, and that would be the individual who has a truck who keeps occupied in the wintertime by doing their neighbour’s and maybe half a dozen other driveways, who at this point either can’t buy insurance, or thinks they have insurance and don’t actually have it. So it would certainly benefit them, and lots of other businesses as well.

I mentioned Tim West in Parry Sound–Muskoka, and the area that he looks after and the concerns he had, that the two years—it’s certainly the experience he has had, that they would receive it at one year and 11 months; that’s when they would get notice of someone slipping and falling. That makes it way harder for the business to try to go back in their records and see what salt and sand was put down that day. By then, usually the coverage—if they have TV coverage and cameras around the property—they don’t typically keep it that long. So with the shorter time frame, I think it will go a long way to having fresher evidence for the cases—the legitimate cases—that come forward to the courts.

I would once again like to mention that there are exceptions in the bill: if a judge finds that there is a reasonable excuse for the want or insufficiency of notice; and also, for more serious cases, there’s also another exception. That is also built into it.

I would once again like to thank my intern from the fall, Braelyn Guppy, who did a fantastic job helping me out through the fall and working on this private member’s bill, and also Sam Routley, who’s fairly new to my office, for the work he did on that.

I ask for support from the members later on when voting happens this afternoon.

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Egyptian Heritage Month Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 sur le Mois du patrimoine égyptien

Mr. Sabawy moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 106, An Act to proclaim the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month / Projet de loi 106, Loi proclamant le mois de juillet Mois du patrimoine égyptien.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Interruption.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Just a reminder to all joining us today that we don’t allow participation from the galleries.

I return to the member.

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: Thank you, Madam Speaker. As the first parliamentarian of Egyptian origin in Canadian history, I am so proud to bring Bill 106 forward, An Act to proclaim the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month. If passed, it would recognize the contributions of thousands of Egyptian Canadians to the growth of Ontario and of Canada.

Egyptians came here to integrate and work hard for a better life for them and their families, and they have done so. Ontario is a great province that provides its citizens the chance and the opportunity to achieve their goals. Currently, more than 300,000 Canadian Egyptians who call Canada home choose to live in this great country to lead a prosperous life for generations to come.

Egyptians come from a background that is known for its resilience. Egyptian Canadians cherish the values of social and fiscal responsibilities. This is aligned with our core values as Canadians—and our government. In fact, Egyptians here in Canada are one of the highest-educated immigrant communities per capita. The eagerness to learn is a trait embedded within many Egyptians. As many learned during their childhood, we were taught the value of diligence. Many in the Egyptian community are doctors, pharmacists and engineers. The community has a great level of academia and has achieved great strides towards professionalism and business development.

Any professional international graduate immigrant to Canada spends his or her first three to four years, on average, to certify his or her credentials and get licences to be able to get back to his original profession. When I first came to Canada, I started working at Tim Hortons coffee shop—night shifts for months, until I acquired my first information technology job. I continued working hard until I became an IT professor. Now I am proud to serve as a member of Ontario’s Parliament. This is a similar story to many immigrants.

In addition, the majority of Egyptians came to Canada as skilled immigrants, contributing to our diverse economy. The Egyptian community has followed the great example this country and this province have put forth: that of diversity, but, more importantly, opportunity and hard work.

If we look around Ontario, specifically at Mississauga, we may see how the Coptic Egyptian community built many community centres. These buildings were built for the sole purpose of prospering our community. The Coptic centres serve as community hubs to offer various services like kids’ daycare, senior care, schools like Philopateer Christian College, that celebrated its 20-year anniversary just two weeks ago, networking groups of professionals, family counselling, financial and legal aid, libraries, newcomer settlement services, the Egyptian Museum in Mississauga that has authentic pharaonic monument replicas, and the Coptic Museum of Canada in Scarborough. There are more than 30 Coptic Egyptian centres around Ontario. They not only help Egyptian Canadians, but the community as a whole. They provide the necessities they need to be able to move forward, both socially as well as economically. A great example of this is an organization called the Mississauga Training Centre, which provides its recipients with the requirements they need in order to gain their credentials, as well as teaching them skills that are needed in order for a newcomer to enter the labour force.

All that was built by community donations, run and managed by volunteers.

Madam Speaker, 24 years ago, I was welcomed in the airport by a volunteer. He introduced me to another from the Coptic Egyptian centre’s newcomers office, who helped me settle in by finding me an apartment to rent, while another volunteer helped me to rewrite my resumé when applying for jobs. The same office still exists today, just with different volunteers.

Egypt is well known for its pyramids and the Nile river. Throughout history, Egypt has played a central role as the birthplace of some of the world’s greatest civilizations, and a mix of complex and unique cultures such as Pharaonic, Coptic, Hellenic, Roman, Batlamic, Byzantine and Islamic, and the French and British empires. It has served as a beacon and a hub for knowledge and education to many cultures and civilizations, from the Great Library of Alexandria and Alexandria University to Al-Azhar University.

It was a land of refugees, from Abraham to Moses to Joseph to Jesus. The Holy Bible states: “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” It has also played a vital role towards the flourishing and the growth of three of the Semitic religions in the area: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The bill references the month of July because it is in line with the Egyptian National Day celebration, which happens on the 23rd of July, specifically as a dedication to its rebirth as an independent republic.

Many people seek to immigrate to Canada, and especially to Ontario, because it is known for its diversity. The majority of immigrants are looking to immigrate to find a new home away from home.

I myself grew up in Alexandria, a city with great diversity. When I was in school, I was introduced to so many different cultures of the people that surrounded me on a daily basis. I had friends who were Jewish, Armenian, German, Italian and Greek. That’s why, when I moved to Ontario, the sense of multi-diversity, the sense of belonging, that I felt back home—I found it here in our Ontario.

I was once an immigrant myself, looking for an opportunity that would present itself to help me move forward with my life in every aspect. I have to admit, getting to where I am today was not easy.

Yet I am also glad to say that because of the growing numbers of Egyptians moving to Ontario, many opportunities and services have been implemented to further the lives and careers of many.

Madam Speaker, did you know that as I stand before you today, and as of this very moment, there is no legislation that has been passed that notes the contributions of Egyptian Canadians, in all of Canada? Yet my riding, Mississauga–Erin Mills, is the home of more than 6,000 Canadian Egyptian residents. In fact, there is an even bigger population of first- and second-generation Canadians with Egyptian roots. It is important to note that the largest Egyptian population in the country is present in Mississauga.

The Egyptian community has come a long way since I first arrived in Ontario more than 24 years ago. All the changes that have taken place, all the milestones that the Egyptian community has achieved, are thanks to the chances this great province provides. Together, we can embrace diversity, as we have done countless times and want to show again today.

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this moment to address all of the Egyptian Canadians we have here in the Legislature today with us.

My friends, as Canada continues to grow, so does our community. There is a reason why there are so many of us present here in Canada and not in any other country. When many of us were looking to relocate our entire lives, we were looking for security, fairness, prosperity, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and for a country that will not only give us opportunities but a community that would actually encourage us to take those opportunities.

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I encourage you to continue to thrive, build and grow. It is through our diverse communities of the Canadian fabric that we show our strength. These communities are building bridges and strengthening our economic and cultural ties with the entire world. Canadian Egyptians are a powerful engine that helps push our Ontario and Canada towards prosperity.

The Egyptian government is in recognition of the importance of the expertise and contributions of Egyptian-origin worldwide citizens. Under the new president, it introduced the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs after 20 years of its being cancelled.

Today the Egyptian government has communicated on the highest level through a call I received today from the Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs, the Honourable Nabila Makram, to thank me and the government of Ontario for recognizing the Egyptian contribution to Ontario and to Canada.

Through you, Madam Speaker, and to all of the members of this Legislature, let us show the world what we are made of and how we seize the moment when a bill like this one that I am presenting today presents itself.

The Egyptian community has come a long way from when it first initiated its growth within our diverse province and within this great country.

I’m encouraging all members of the Legislature to support and help me pass this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: It is with such great pleasure that I stand today and speak in support of this very important bill. As the member has already pointed out, Egyptian Canadian community members have come to Ontario and built a life for themselves that also gives back.

For those who don’t know, I am the official opposition critic for anti-racism as well as citizenship and immigration. When this bill came to us and I had an opportunity to speak to it, I was quite excited because it’s really important for us to celebrate the contributions of Egyptian Canadians and to take a moment to recognize all that they have done to further our medicine, what they’ve done to further our academic lives, what they’ve done to further the realities in our communities—all of that wonderful stuff.

What I’m hopeful for is that a bill like this isn’t the end; that we’re not going to end this discussion simply with celebrating, but that we’ll recognize that we actually have power in this House to make less some of the challenges that many Egyptian Canadians have experienced in Ontario.

I’d like to give an example. When I graduated from high school, I was quite excited to get my first full-time job. It was in an intermediary company between insurance companies and doctors’ offices. It was called Hooper Holmes Portamedic and it was out in Scarborough. My very first boss was an Egyptian Canadian. She was a doctor. She and her husband had their own practice in Egypt, and she had come to Ontario looking to further her medical career here, to bring some of the art and the different ways that they were doing medicine in Egypt to right here in Ontario. However, she ran into some issues with her credentials being recognized.

By the time I met her, she had applied to med school five times. The first time, she was denied access to medical school because she had studied in Egypt. The next time, they said, “Okay, we’ll take into consideration that the studies in Egypt are something that are beneficial, but now we think you’re overqualified.” So she then had to reapply and reapply and reapply. By the time I left—I was there for about a year and a half—she had finally just gotten accepted into medical school.

That story, that experience and watching her have to go through that, is something that has lived with me in the work that I do. She was practising in Egypt, and she was recognized for how well she was practising medicine in Egypt, but here encountered an obstacle that we think we’re doing something about by speaking about it, but in actual terms in this House, we aren’t necessarily putting forward legislation that would ensure that the next Egyptian who arrives, the next person from Egypt who arrives who is a doctor, who wants to practise here, is not having to be confronted by the same kinds of systemic barriers.

I think that it’s really important for us to recognize that, because we can do better. If we truly believe in the contributions of Egyptian Canadians and if we truly believe that they deserve all that Ontario can provide, and that we grow because of that, then we should be passing legislation the next time around that says, “And now, let’s address the barriers that new immigrants face when they come here.” Let’s no longer attack settlement organizations, which is something that has happened in this House. Let’s not put forward legislation that’s going to make life harder. Let’s recognize the beauty of Egyptian Canadian contributions and let’s do better.

I’m truly blessed and honoured to be here to support this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. John Fraser: It’s a pleasure to speak to Bill 106, proclaiming the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month. I want to congratulate the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills for moving forward, and say hello to everybody who’s here in the galleries around us. I’m sure he has got a few guests here today, and there should be. I’ll say hi, and thank you for coming here.

I was fortunate to be able to have sponsored a bill called Lebanese Heritage Month. I didn’t realize how important that bill was until the community came forward and said to me, “We’d like you to do this bill.” I’m glad that it passed, and I think it was Bill 106, too, which is a bit unusual.

It’s really important that we celebrate each other. I represent a community, as many of my colleagues do, that’s exceptionally diverse. Families identify as coming from 125 different countries; there are First Nations, Métis, Inuit; 90 languages are spoken in Ottawa South. We live together, we work together, our kids play together and we celebrate together. So these heritage months are really important opportunities for communities to come together, to celebrate their heritage, to pass that on to your children—your heritage and sometimes your faith, or the faith in nations. They’re very, very important things because they’re often a big part of celebrations, right? Churches and mosques and synagogues and places of worship are often at the centre of where we celebrate our heritage.

I’m really proud to support this bill. I would like to say a few more things, but I’m splitting my time with the member from Guelph, so I have 14 seconds left, now 13.

Interjection.

Mr. John Fraser: No, he’s coming for another bill.

I just wanted to say, I want to congratulate you. I support this bill. Thank you very much for bringing it forward.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: It’s truly a great pleasure to join the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills to support this bill to formally designate July as Egyptian Heritage Month here in the province of Ontario, and for it to be recognized as such annually henceforward.

I want to join MPP Sabawy in welcoming our esteemed guests to Queen’s Park today as we debate this legislation. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

When the daughters and sons of Egypt first arrived here in Canada, they brought with them the heritage and culture of one of the world’s most ancient and revered civilizations.

Madame la Présidente, dès leur arrivée ici au Canada, les filles et les fils de l’Égypte apportaient le patrimoine et la culture de l’une des civilisations les plus anciennes et admirées de par le monde.

Many Ontario residents and visitors to our great province learn the history of Egypt, and more specifically about the Age of the Pharaohs, by touring the extensive archaeological collection right here, up the street from the Legislature, at one of the province’s true gems, the Royal Ontario Museum. There, they can begin to understand the immense role played by Egypt and its people in the story of the human race and in the development of the civilization we know today.

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On that note, I would like to invite everyone to an important special exhibition at the ROM coming up in 2020: the “Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives” exhibition, which will present unique insights into the artifacts and the lives of this fascinating culture.

But, of course, the designation of July as Egyptian Heritage Month recognizes more than just the archaeological treasures and the cultural heritage of the land of the Nile. My colleague has already acknowledged the significant contributions made by Egyptian Canadians throughout Ontario’s history. Over many decades, Ontario’s Egyptian community has produced leaders in every field imaginable—from medicine, to business and commerce, to sports, to education, to politics and the arts and entertainment.

Au fil des décennies, la communauté égyptienne de l’Ontario nous a donné des chefs de file dans tous les domaines imaginables—de la médicine, aux affaires et au commerce, en passant par le sport, l’éducation, la politique, les arts et le divertissement.

I’m sure my fellow members of this House are aware of a new hit movie in the theatres right now, a live-action remake of Aladdin. When Disney was looking for a young actor to play the lead role, they selected Mena Massoud, born in Cairo, raised in Markham and a natural movie star. Quite the achievement for an Ontarian.

Ontario’s Egyptian community is as rich and varied in its culture as the province of Ontario is. Last month, I was honoured to be present at Markham’s St. Maurice and St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church and cultural centre—the first multicultural, all-English Coptic Orthodox church in North America—as it was officially recognized as a significant tourist attraction in Ontario. We recognize the valuable contributions of both Ontario’s Egyptian Coptic Christian and Muslim communities to our province’s cultural wealth, vitality and economic success.

As Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, I invite all Ontarians to learn more about the rich heritage of our neighbours of Egyptian origin and the contributions they have made and continue to make to our province.

En tant que ministre du Tourisme, de la Culture et du Sport, j’aimerais inviter tous les Ontariens et Ontariennes à en apprendre davantage sur le riche patrimoine de leurs voisins d’origine égyptienne et sur les contributions qu’ils ont faites et continuent de faire à notre province.

I hope that the members of this House will take the opportunity to support this bill and to celebrate Ontario’s Egyptian community.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: I am proud to be given the opportunity to speak to this bill to honour Egypt’s long and proud present and history. For who among us is not captivated by ancient Egypt? I want to thank my friend the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills for tabling a piece of legislation which will further enhance the beautiful and diverse ethnic tapestry of Ontario.

Many words have already been said today about Egypt, its wonderful people and its renowned and important history. My contribution to this debate is an ode to ancient Egypt, for it filled my childhood with such lifelong wonder. I would also like to share a few words about my Coptic Egyptian brothers and sisters in faith.

Flowing northward from the heart of Africa, the Nile, our world’s longest river, separates into a lush and fertile delta before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. It is indeed the unique geography of the Nile, with its predictable flood cycles and lush farmland, that gave birth to one of the world’s first great civilizations. The ancient Egyptians saw the Nile as the source of all life. It was where, in their mythology, the god Osiris was betrayed and murdered by his brother, Set, who was jealous of Osiris’s power and popularity. It was said that Set tricked Osiris into lying inside an exquisite sarcophagus, and threw the lid on top and cast it into the Nile. When Osiris’s wife, Isis, was preparing the herbs for his revival, Set hacked his body into pieces and cast them all across Egypt. There are so many beautiful stories and myths from ancient Egypt. This simple myth is but a twinkle in Ra’s great eye.

We all know the story of the pharaohs, and the pyramids, which are still standing more than 4,000 years after they were built and are rightfully considered one of the great wonders of this world, architecture so advanced that some went so far as to contemplate the extraterrestrial as the source of its creation.

Countless excited visitors were mesmerized by the 1979 King Tutankhamen exhibit in Toronto. I remember my mother taking me to see it. It was one of the first truly great moments of wonder in my young life.

The ROM’s Egypt collection contains nearly 2,000 artifacts and is a constant draw to this day.

Today, Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and Cairo the largest city in Africa. More than 90% of Egypt’s nearly 100 million citizens still to this day live along the banks of the Nile or in the Nile delta.

Egypt is also one of the world’s great tourist destinations. Each year, millions of tourists from every corner of the earth flock to Egypt to bask in the splendor of its awe-inspiring historical sights, artifacts and wonderful culture and hospitality.

Today, the vast majority of Egypt’s citizens are Sunni Muslims, but Egypt also has a large Coptic Christian minority. Copts also form the largest single group of Egyptian Canadians. Unfortunately, some who arrived were fleeing past persecution. The Canadian Coptic Association estimates that there are 35,000 Coptic Christians living in Canada who worship at one of the many Coptic parishes here in Canada and throughout Ontario.

Coptic Christians were amongst the earliest adoptees of Christianity. According to tradition, St. Mark the Evangelist, who travelled to Alexandria in 49 AD to form the church of Alexandria, which would become the first Coptic Orthodox church, would serve as its first pope. By 300 AD, Alexandria was one of the world’s major centres of Christianity. The Egyptian Coptic church became autonomous in 451 AD at the Council of Chalcedon. Today, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox church is still based in Alexandria and is headed by spiritual leader Pope Tawadros II.

There are many amazing people of Egyptian heritage who have made incredible contributions to Canadian society, and Egyptian heritage is known and respected throughout the world. In a way, it is informally celebrated always, but this legislation will provide us the opportunity to take the time to formally celebrate Egyptian heritage and culture together.

Thanks again to my friend from Mississauga–Erin Mills. I am very, very proud to support this.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: It is such a pleasure to rise today in support of my esteemed colleague the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills and speak to Bill 106, An Act to proclaim the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month.

I would like to welcome all esteemed guests and clergy, and especially Mr. Milad Mikael, the CPC candidate for my home riding, Mississauga Centre, who is also of Egyptian heritage. Welcome.

Madam Speaker, I support this bill wholeheartedly, because I have personal and first-hand experience with how much the Egyptian community has contributed not only to my riding of Mississauga Centre but also to the vast cultural landscape of Ontario and Canada. As an emergency room nurse, I have come to realize that many of the medical staff I work with, such as doctors and pharmacists, are of Egyptian origin. In my years working alongside so many of these skilled and dedicated individuals, I have found Egyptian Canadians to be tremendously hard-working contributors to our community.

Many of us think of Egypt from what Hollywood has showcased—you know, pyramids, treasure hunts, mummies and ancient mysteries—but the truth is that Egypt and Egyptians represent a unique and diverse culture. Egyptian Canadians are our colleagues, neighbours and friends. Egyptian Canadians are actively contributing to the fields of medicine, arts, education, community service and, most recently, politics. Madam Speaker, our very own member from Mississauga–Erin Mills, MPP Sabawy, is the very first representative of the Egyptian community to be elected to a government seat in this esteemed assembly. Congratulations.

The 50,000-strong Egyptian community has existed and thrived in Mississauga for a very long time. The Coptic Egyptian community centre has been serving Mississauga for 35 years, providing a welcoming meeting and gathering place for everyone to enjoy, use and benefit from.

Speaker, I still remember the very first time I stepped into the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox church and met with Father—or Abuna—Angelos. It was the Feast of the Nativity several years ago. The church was packed with over 1,500 worshipers and families. The sheer joy and religious celebration coupled with the beautiful singing of the worshippers was so heartfelt, it stuck in my memory. I was welcomed so warmly, and this moment was the start of my lifelong friendship with the Egyptian Coptic community.

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Recently I attended the 20th anniversary of the Philopateer Christian College, a non-denominational Christian institution dedicated to providing all of its 360 diverse students the best in academic and athletic achievement. I would like to congratulate their principal, Phoebe A. Wasfy, on her leadership in education and faith.

Diversity is at the heart of what makes Ontario such a unique and special place. We all bring something distinctive to the table, such as our skills, world views and experiences. What we learn from our fellow hyphenated Canadians informs our daily lives and makes us better citizens and public servants. I believe that in the spirit of diversity, we should acknowledge and celebrate the unique and distinct presence and contributions of the Egyptian community in Ontario.

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my fellow MPP from Mississauga–Erin Mills. I am proud to call him my colleague, and I fully support Bill 106, An Act to proclaim the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Rima Berns-McGown: It’s an honour to contribute to this really important debate, and I want to start by thanking the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills for bringing this bill forward.

When I used to teach diaspora studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga, I taught a great many young people who were members of the Mississauga Egyptian community—or, I should say, communities, because they came from all the very many diverse communities that make up the Egyptian community. Later, when I did a study for the Mosaic Institute on the perception versus reality of imported conflict, again I spoke to many members of the Egyptian communities, including a great many Coptic Christians and Muslims who are now here in Canada.

I think it’s really important to note that, along with all members of other communities of people who come to Canada from conflict, people from Egypt expressed the same kinds of things, about the mechanisms that are here in Canadian society that allowed them to begin the journey towards healing from the trauma of what had occurred to them back home, and beginning to feel whole and complete.

At the same time, that same study demonstrated a lot of the issues that my colleague the member for Kitchener Centre was talking about. It’s so important, as we go to pass this bill, that we think about going way beyond celebration. Yes, it’s important that we acknowledge, celebrate and respect everybody who makes up what we refer to as the Canadian mosaic—all of us who live here, who come to Canada from different parts of the world—but it’s important that we go beyond that, and it’s important that we go beyond the framework of thinking about whiteness, if you will, as the default normal. It’s important that we change the perspective, that we put ourselves in the minds of the folks who are here in Canada whose backgrounds are not Western Europe or not Europe at all, because it’s the only way that we are actually going to attack those systemic barriers that my colleague was talking about.

It’s really significant. It has to change our perspective. It has to change our systems, it has to change our frameworks and it has to change our very language.

We know that 46% of children who are of Arab descent live in poverty in the GTA. That is largely not because of the abilities of their parents, but it comes specifically because of these barriers that are there that make it difficult for people to achieve their full potential.

We really need to think seriously—yes, passing a bill like this is a good step, but it is only the very beginning. It is changing that framework. We need to change the language we use. We cannot talk about people who come to Canada as refugees as “illegal border-crossers,” no matter how they come here. It is perfectly legal for people to come to Canada and claim refugee status, and we need to give them the honour and the respect of acknowledging that. When we call them illegal, we serve to delegitimize them, and that actually helps to enable the hate that we know is growing out there in the world.

I think it’s wonderful that we’re passing this bill. Thank you again to the member for bringing it forward. Let us now really take this seriously, and take the very many next steps that we need to truly respect and honour everybody who lives in this society.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Order. A reminder to all members that the side conversations are very distracting while I’m trying to hear those who do indeed have the floor.

Further debate? I recognize the member for King–Vaughan.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate that.

In my greatest attempt to speak the language of this brilliant civilization, tahia Misr—viva Egypt—and all 300,000 people—

Interjection.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: You can applaud; no one else can applaud, Sheref.

I want to thank every single one of the Egyptian Canadians, 300,000 people who proudly hail from Egypt. I see—I’ve not spoken to—Father Angelos, who is here, a leader in the Coptic community. It’s great to see you, Father—a leader of many, many people of faith.

Let us not forget the history made in this Parliament when the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills was elected a short year ago. This man, in addition to being a leader in small business in his community, is the first member of provincial Parliament—the first in any Parliament in this country, in any province or the federal government—to have been elected as a man of Egyptian Canadian heritage. That is, in itself, something that all parties should celebrate, because we have many firsts in this House—

Applause.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I see members opposite, firsts themselves, applauding. I think that unity of spirit is relevant and compelling today as we celebrate the contributions, in every field of human endeavour, that Egyptian Canadians are making to the development of this country.

Madam Speaker, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport spoke about the rich civilization. The member opposite from Humber River spoke as well about the history of this civilization and what it meant to him as a young boy growing up—the inspiration of Egypt, iconic in the minds of so many young people. I think it is telling that this member was able to bring a Roman to celebrate an Egyptian. That takes leadership, and I have to applaud you for what you’ve done.

But, Madam Speaker, all jokes aside, it is people like the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills; it is people like Dr. Hoda ElMaraghy, an Order of Canada recipient and the first female in Canadian history to earn a degree in industrial engineering, the first female dean of engineering at a Canadian university, the first female employed as chancellor for the Canadian ministry of defence—this is the product of Egypt’s community in this country. It is women and men like that who make a proud difference.

I conclude, Madam Speaker, with a notation of gratitude for your leadership, and an expression of thanks to every single Egyptian who made this country their home, for helping to build the most pluralistic, free, democratic nation that is Canada. Every one of your children and every one of the members of this Legislature say thank you. So thank you, all, and thank you, Sheref.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mrs. Belinda C. Karahalios: I don’t have a lot of time to speak to this bill, so I will try to use my time wisely. First, I’d like to thank the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills for putting this forward. I was born and lived many years of my life in Mississauga and got to experience first-hand the beauty of the Egyptian community.

I would like to welcome Abuna Angelos here today. It is an honour to have you.

I’m happy to see everyone come together today to talk about how much great work the Egyptian community has come together to bring to our great province. I know the Coptic centre in Mississauga does so much great work. Just recently, over the Christmas season, they donated a huge cheque to the Mississauga Food Bank. It’s the great work of this community that we should recognize today.

So thank you, MPP Sabawy, for bringing this forward.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The member for Mississauga–Erin Mills has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Listening to what the members during this debate had to say, it’s clear that this bill is supported by all the parties and members of this Legislature.

I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport for his great support and for speaking to and endorsing the passing of the Egyptian Heritage Month Act, as well as my PC colleagues from Mississauga Centre, King–Vaughan, Barrie–Innisfil and Cambridge for speaking to and supporting the bill. I also want to thank the members opposite for their support and their remarks: the member from Humber River–Black Creek, as well as the member for Ottawa South.

Madam Speaker, this bill is not just endorsed in the Legislature, but I have received letters of support from multiple organizations and associations from across the province: the Canadian Coptic Centre, the Canadian Egyptian Heritage Association, the Canadian Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Coptic Activists Federation, the Philopateer Christian College, the Mississauga Christian French School, the Little Angels daycare, the Nile Club, the Egyptian Canadian Club, the Egyptian Coptic Museum, the Coptic Museum of Canada, and the Egyptian Canadian Association. These associations and organizations are all very successful examples of the integration of Egyptian Canadians, who contribute to the prosperity and the development of our Canadian fabric. We have them all here in the House today. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

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Also, I want to thank all the members of the community who are attending with us here, especially our seniors. Thank you very much. We have over 100 people attending with us here now in the gallery, as well as in the members’ gallery. Thank you, all of you, for coming.

Lyme disease

Mr. Michael Mantha: I move that, in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario should immediately start the implementation of the 10 recommendations from the Report of the Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses Task Force, as posted on the government website in April 2018.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Thank you, Speaker. Here we are, June 6. Once again, I’ve got the last slot as far as debate, so we kept the best for last. Hopefully we can get a great result for Ontarians and people across this country.

We’re in June now. May has come and gone by. May was Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Many of you may have stood in front of your cameras along with friends and taken the Lyme Disease Challenge, and that’s taking a small piece of lime and biting into it, putting it up on your Instagram or on your website or on Facebook and putting a little bit of a fact with regard to how people are affected by Lyme disease in this country.

After you were done, you felt a good sense of accomplishment. I encouraged—I actually asked—members to do it. I know I did it along with my colleagues and I looked around the House, from the independents along with the government. We all did it together.

May has gone. We’re into June now. And guess what? People with Lyme disease are still suffering. They’re hurting. We’ve got to make sure that we’re not forgetting them.

I’m glad that today we’re joined by individuals from a variety of organizations like Lyme Ontario, CanLyme, Ontario Lyme Alliance and LymeHope. This morning I was joined by a beautiful woman, Monique Hachey; she’s from Windsor. Her story is one that is very powerful and that I will share with you in a little bit.

In the gallery, we have Linda Kelso, David Kelso, Kim Kerr, Dr. Beverley Bateman, Jake Albers, Bev Albers, Justin Wood, Trista Wood, Alexandra Foley-Eby, Samantha Simon, Cory Barger-Young and Heidi Mueller. Thank you for joining us today, and welcome.

These individuals know first-hand what it is to not only live with but see others suffer each and every day with Lyme disease. These are the individuals who have been helping them, providing them with options, giving them direction as to where they can go in order to get treatment.

It’s frustrating to be in a province like Ontario, where we pride ourselves on being rich in resources, being rich in generosity, being rich with compassion and care, when we see individuals like Monique—a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter—who one day contracted this disease by a bite from a tick.

She walked in to her doctor and asked her doctor, “What’s wrong? I don’t feel right,” and went through a vast amount of testing and all kinds of blood work and a whole bunch of treatment and was not able to be told what’s wrong. But we knew there was something wrong. Losing the ability to walk and to care for their children, to love them, to hold them because she was so ill, she was hurting—her body was just in complete anguish. Her household is in financial hardship because of everything that she is going through.

But she was one of those lucky ones where she had the support of her family and the support of her community. She was one of those lucky ones who did have some financial support in order to get treatment. But here’s the frustrating part: That support was not available to her in Ontario. That support was not available to her in Canada. She had to go to the US in order to get that treatment.

There are many other Lyme advocates—I call them “Lyme warriors”—who have left this province to go to European countries, Belgium, Germany, in order to get the treatment that they so desperately need to get their lives back. As I said earlier, Monique is one of those individuals who fought and won her fight with Lyme. She is now once again a mom to her children, a wife to her husband and a family member to her loved ones.

What we’re here for today is to implement the 10 recommendations that were identified by the Lyme task force group. This was developed in a non-partisan way. We had individuals who were patients, we had health care professionals and we had resource individuals who were there. Our goal was to identify pillars so that we could get, ultimately, to really our biggest goal, which is centres of excellence, so that people can get the care they need.

I want to start walking you through those 10 recommendations. I’ll start from the bottom up.

“(10) Establish a task force with tick-borne illness expertise and engagement with all stakeholders to provide ongoing advice and to review an annual report on progress of implementing Ontario’s 10-step education and awareness plan and the recommended actions from this report.”

“(9) Conduct a review of current tick surveillance activities in Ontario.”

“(8) Review current testing methodologies for diagnosing Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.” I want to stop on that one. Why? It is so important to look at how diseases are being treated because there are many co-infections in Lyme disease. The testing that we have available to us here in Canada and in Ontario is misleading because if you test within a certain period, you may test negative. Therefore, you are put on a vast journey of getting all kinds of other tests, but in that time, the acute stages of your Lyme grow into what we call and what we know is chronic Lyme disease, which people are suffering with.

“(7) Establish a community-based research blueprint for tick-borne illnesses with principles of inquiry and an implementation process.”

“(6) Continue engagement with school boards, community groups, associations, and other provincial ministries to highlight importance of tick-borne illness prevention.” Just stopping on that, we’ve got a lot of kids who are going to Tim Hortons summer camps this summer. We’ve got a lot of people who are going hiking. We got a lot of people who are going on golf courses. We’ve got a lot of hunters and anglers who are out there. Are we doing our homework, making sure that they’re informed?

“(5) Improve education and awareness of tick-borne illnesses among the general public.”

“(4) Provide professional education opportunities for regulated health professionals and establish a coordinated care model for patients with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses at all stages of these diseases.” The falsehood out there is that if you go in to your doctor and the doctor doesn’t see the bull’s-eye rash, then you don’t have Lyme disease. That’s false. It’s a myth. We have to provide that information and we have to get best practices together so that our health care professionals can start doing a proper clinical diagnosis of the individual’s illness to recognize all the signs that are there. That’s what we need to do.

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“(3) Improve communications to regulated health professionals regarding standards of practice for diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.”

“(2) Conduct a review of current clinical practice guidelines focused on the assessment, treatment, and prevention of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.”

When a patient goes in to their doctor: that they are not shunned, that they are not ignored, and that they are not treated like they’re individuals that have an illness that is just in their heads; that there is an acknowledgement of an illness so that they are not turned away from the doctors, so that they do get the care they need and can get to a path of wellness.

“(1) Establish centres of excellence for tick-borne illnesses with all stakeholders, including patients and patient advocates and caregivers, involved in the development processes.”

These are 10 recommendations. Are they the answer to everything? No. I think, from here, we need to develop other task forces—task forces where doctors can start having a discussion about the best practices that are being used worldwide. Because the infections and the co-infections that are here in Ontario are different than the ones that are in the States, that are in Australia, that are in Germany, that are all over the place. However, there are certain common co-infections that are there, so we can bring proper care for those individuals, so that we can get people to wellness, get people to feel somewhat more comfortable in regard to their illness and start treating them better.

I’ve brought this to the floor of this Legislature many times. When I do come to this floor, I come on behalf—I’ve brought you the name of Paige Spencer in the past, a beautiful young lady who has been basically wheelchair-ridden. Sarah Bass is another Lyme warrior that I’ve brought to the floor of this Legislature.

Just this weekend, I was at a fish fry in Thessalon in my riding, and I met up with Sheila Chillman and her grandson, who I met about six years ago when he was about eight years old—he’s now 16—Austin Chillman. He’s struck with Lyme disease. I need to tell you, this young man used to skate and be one of the top scorers for the hockey league that he used to play in. He can’t go to school anymore. He’s not playing with his friends anymore. And people are looking at him a little bit different because nobody seems to know what’s wrong.

There’s a lot of support out there for Lyme disease. There are naturopaths that are out there that can help treat Lyme disease. The RNAO, 42,000 members strong, passed a resolution unanimously supporting research and development in regard to Lyme disease.

I’m pleading with this government—as soon as we were elected, the first thing I did was grab a copy of the Lyme report and I walked it over to the minister and I told her, “You’re a newly elected government. Get familiar with this report. Settle into your role as minister”—but I gave her and the Premier a copy of this report. I provided them with a second copy as well.

I’m pleading, I’m asking—people with Lyme disease in this province deserve better. They deserve care. I’m asking you: Let’s move on this.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Parsa: Thank you to my colleague from Algoma–Manitoulin for bringing this important motion forward. Lyme disease is an incredibly important issue, and I am grateful to take part in motion 67.

In 2016, 992 cases of Lyme disease were confirmed. That number rose to 2,025 cases in 2017—that’s confirmed across Canada—of which 88% of these cases originated in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. With 80% of Canada being located in prime tick territory, we must raise awareness about this debilitating disease. Speaker, conservation areas like the Rouge Valley are ideal habitats for Lyme-disease-carrying species.

I want to tell the House a little bit about one of my amazing campaign volunteers, Christian. At 11, Christian was no ordinary volunteer. He was my canvass partner every single weekend, Speaker. In December 2017, after having volunteered all weekend and helping out at the Santa Claus parade with me that Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he asked if he could go home early because he wasn’t feeling well. Speaker, right then I knew there was something wrong. Christian fell ill with Lyme disease and was out of commission for a substantial period of time. I cannot tell you how much we missed him when he was gone. Christian’s illness led him to being pulled out of school and to prolonged periods of hospitalization.

People like Christian across Ontario are suffering from this terrible disease. Speaker, our government is committed to fighting Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses. I’m thrilled that our government will be implementing recommendations from the Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses Task Force. Some of the recommendations include collaborating with Public Health Ontario to continue tick surveillance, public education and treatment for those who are affected; working alongside ministerial partners and provincial, territorial and federal partners in maintaining our conservation areas where tick bites might occur; and dialogue with Lyme disease patients is also crucial. These patients will help guide our government’s response.

Speaker, once again, I want to thank my colleague from Algoma–Manitoulin, and I want to urge all our members on this side of the House and all sides of the House to get forward and support this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I appreciate this opportunity. I want to thank the member from Algoma–Manitoulin, who for many years now has done exactly as he has said. He has come before this Legislature, he has spoken about this disease and he has spoken about its impact and the necessity for governments to act on this. We cannot be aware of what is happening to people and simply abandon them to their fate. We have to address this in a systematic way, and to date that has not been the case, and that is tragic.

Speaker, I’ve been very fortunate. No one in my family or in my immediate circle of friends has ever had to deal with this disease. But certainly as an MPP, and I’m sure others will be able to share comparable stories, I’ve heard from constituents who have contracted Lyme disease. One of the most difficult stories was from a constituent who I never got to meet. He never answers his door. He’s bedridden. He communicates with me, has communicated with me, through email. Over the years, his life, although solitary in his room, has been a testament to the power of this disease and the power of his spirit. He lost his daughter to Lyme disease. We know that this is a disease that has huge impact on people’s well-being, their families, their lives.

I had an opportunity a number of years ago—I think it was chairing the social policy committee—when we were hearing about how people felt we needed to approach Lyme disease. I think, again, the member from Algoma–Manitoulin has done a pretty good review, but the testimony was very stark, very moving, very dramatic in terms of what people felt needed to be done. What has been outlined here in the 10 steps that are needed to actually get a handle on this disease and move things forward is pretty clear.

Our focus today is going to be on Lyme, but I just want to talk briefly about the context within which we are dealing with this disease. The world is getting hotter. We actually do have a crisis: It’s a climate crisis, and as it gets hotter, diseases that in the past were confined to southern areas are moving up. Lyme, I think, is the most visible of those diseases, but if you talk to people in public health, their expectation is that we will in the future be dealing more and more with mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, like malaria, like dengue. Dengue is also known as break-bone fever because of the pain that people endure when they get it.

We should take Lyme as an indicator of the public health risks, the personal health risks that we face as the world gets hotter. I think it’s really imperative for us to take this one on, to deal with it in the systematic way that the member has pressed for us to take it on, as the—what can I say?—members of the Lyme community have pressed us to take it on.

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We should recognize that we live in an extraordinarily beautiful place, but increasingly as we go into that beautiful forest and into those beautiful fields, we are at risk of contracting a disease. We need to have people educated so they will protect themselves, in the first instance, and secondly, we need to put in place the infrastructure so that if something goes wrong, their lives and their well-being are protected.

I don’t think what’s being asked is extraordinary. It’s reasonable. It’s a very thoughtful plan for actually dealing with this disease in a systematic way, to protect as many people’s lives as possible. And with that, I ask everyone in this House today to support the member and his initiative.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: It’s a real honour to rise today and speak on motion 67. I just want to give a deep thanks to the member for Algoma–Manitoulin, not only for this motion but for his years of advocacy on Lyme disease. It’s making a difference, and the ball is moving forward. I think we should applaud him for his good work.

Applause.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I also wanted to just take a moment to recognize the work that Elizabeth May has done in the federal Parliament in passing a private member’s bill supporting a national Lyme strategy. But most of all, I want to thank the advocates like Monique and others who have worked so hard on this issue.

I just want to tell a brief story—there are so many stories I could tell—but in my riding, my constituent Cecile Gough was a nurse—a successful nurse—and she became sick. She didn’t know what it was. She tried various diagnoses. People thought it was chronic fatigue or MS or a host of other ailments before she finally realized she had Lyme disease.

And then getting treatment became the next issue. Unfortunately, in Cecile’s case, she had to go to the United States to receive treatment. She lost her job. She lost her home. She lost her marriage. But she kept fighting and has now become one of those Lyme warriors.

Speaker, those stories can be replicated over and over again in this province. I would say that people with Lyme have suffered too long in silence. As a matter of fact, they have suffered too long with almost active hostility against them. It is time for this Legislature and for this province to step forward and recognize that Lyme disease is a real disease and that we have an obligation of making sure that we treat it. Nobody in this province should have to go bankrupt or lose their home or lose their family to be able to afford to get health care treatment, and that is what is happening to far too many people with Lyme disease.

I hope today that we all vote in favour of this motion, but more importantly I hope that we can work across party lines to move this agenda forward so that people with Lyme (1) get the diagnosis they deserve and then (2) receive the treatment they deserve. Thank you for your advocacy, thank you for your courage, and keep fighting.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Toby Barrett: I certainly thank the member from Algoma–Manitoulin for bringing this forward yet again, his motion on Lyme. I recall MPP Mantha’s motion—I think it was 2015; it was one week after debate on PMB 27, which was titled Provincial Framework and Action Plan concerning Emerging Vector-Borne Diseases Act. On June 2, that bill, my private member’s bill, did receive royal assent, so I do wish to point out a lot of what we’re discussing is actually the law of the land; this is required of Ontario’s Minister of Health.

My goal, shared by MPP Mantha, is to better enable the province to deal with these emerging infectious diseases, whether it be Lyme, West Nile or Ebola, so many diseases that seem to catch us flat-footed. And when these new or relatively unknown diseases advance, public health disease treatment systems are often unprepared, public health scrambles to respond, as do our treatment systems, with in many cases less-than-satisfactory success: We’ve got to have these systems in place. As I’m suggesting, there will be other threats, there will be other diseases.

Many doctors in Ontario are not trained in tropical medicine, and they aren’t necessarily trained in public health. For a number of years, there have been allegations of shortcomings in the diagnosis and the treatment of Lyme. Criticism from Lyme victims and their families is directed at both mainstream medicine and government, of course; as well, social media is accused of communicating inaccurate medical information and pitches for dubious treatment in the United States. That’s one reason I introduced the private member’s legislation, which passed.

We took a neutral, objective, evidence-based, science-based, research-based approach. The legislation that is the law now calls for a provincial framework and action plan through our Minister of Health to encompass surveillance, education, materials and guidelines—guidelines for prevention, identification, diagnosis, treatment and management, including emergency preparedness—and calls for the sharing of best practices, both provincially and across the country.

In addition and perhaps, I feel, importantly, the legislation empowers or bolsters research collaboration. I do put a shout-out to the non-profit G. Magnotta Foundation with respect to work that’s being done with respect to both management and research at the University of Guelph. It’s very important for this government to continue to work with organizations like Lyme Ontario and the Ontario Lyme Alliance.

I’m going to wrap up here, and I just want to stress the several points that are made in this particular motion. In my view, the Minister of Health is empowered, is mandated, to fulfill those recommendations.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Ms. Marit Stiles: I want to start by thanking the member from Algoma–Manitoulin for his really tireless advocacy around Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses, and certainly for the research, education and ongoing action that’s required. Also, I want to thank the member for bringing forward some of the stories of the Lyme warriors, as he described them, and their fight for justice and their fight for, frankly, survival. I appreciate that we’ve talked a little bit about all of the various elements of the task force recommendations, but I also want to thank him for his role in the task force and bringing forward those important recommendations.

I do know some people who have actually contracted Lyme disease, and it’s funny that we should all have that experience, as so many of us actually do now, that it is becoming so common. My own parents, actually—both of them—contracted tick bite fever, which is not the same thing. It’s slightly different; it’s an African tick-borne disease. Very, very serious, it presents slightly differently.

I was actually talking to them—because this happened some years ago when they were living in Africa—about their experience of identification, because even in a place where it was quite common, identification of these particular illnesses can be very, very difficult. Partly because they present often as flu-like symptoms, so oftentimes—and the other members have spoken about this—we end up having the wrong diagnosis, an incorrect diagnosis.

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As others have already mentioned, what’s really, really important is that you have that early treatment and intervention. Having a systemic approach to diagnosis, identification and treatment, as well as research around these diseases, is extraordinarily important. We’ve heard from others, including the member from Toronto–Danforth, about how very debilitating the disease can be—in fact, deadly.

The other thing I just wanted to mention before I wrap up is, we know that the diseases carried by ticks are on the increase in Canada and we know that that is because of climate change. As people are heading out now into the great outdoors, or maybe working outdoors, the risk is very immediate, very present, and increasingly so. I really do appreciate the government member’s words about moving forward and taking action on the task force recommendations. I have great hope, and I know the member from Algoma–Manitoulin appreciates it very much as well. But really, we have no time to waste. We have no time to waste. Now is when this has to happen. Every moment that goes by is a moment wasted.

I would really urge everyone to understand, both to educate themselves and their families, but also for the members opposite and all the members here today to support this really important legislation.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mr. Stephen Crawford: It’s a pleasure to be able to speak today. I want to thank the member for Algoma–Manitoulin for bringing the issue of Lyme disease here to the chamber and the Legislature.

For myself, growing up in southern Ontario and Mississauga, ticks were something we were aware of, but rarely in contact with. They were associated more with areas like northern Ontario or Muskoka and more remote places where you’d go camping. Today, that situation is quite different. In areas across southern Ontario and the GTA, ticks and the Lyme disease they can transmit to humans have become much more of a pervasive issue.

In my riding of Oakville, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of ticks in our public trails and parks. In March of this year, the Halton region department of health reported that the majority of Halton region is under the advisory of risk for the species of tick that carries Lyme disease bacteria, after an investigative tick-dragging in 2018. Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton region’s medical officer of health, said, “Like many municipalities throughout Ontario, most of Halton is considered a risk area for ticks and Lyme disease. While the risk remains low, residents should be aware of areas where ticks may be present and how to protect themselves and their families from tick bites.”

Because of the concern to residents, not only in Oakville but across Ontario, I am pleased to hear that Minister Elliott and the government are taking this matter seriously. The scope of concern is broader than for Oakville or Ontario, and indeed is a Canadian issue and a continental issue. That is why I am pleased to hear, via the direction of the minister, that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is engaging and working with groups from across the spectrum to work on a strategy to combat the spread of Lyme disease.

The government is working on a framework to set out recommendations from the Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses Task Force to address the prevalence of ticks and to protect the public. The government is meeting with groups like Public Health Ontario and our federal, provincial and territorial partners to find a comprehensive solution and plan.

The task force has a number of recommendations, which the government has already begun to work on. They include:

—engaging with Lyme disease patients and advocacy groups to improve the Ministry of Health’s activities towards awareness, education, prevention and control of Lyme disease;

—hosting a continuing medical education seminar focused on Lyme disease for Ontario health care practitioners to highlight the ministry’s clinical guidance document for the management of tick bites and investigation of early localized Lyme disease to ensure consistent understanding and use by health care practitioners in Ontario;

—collaborating with Public Health Ontario to modernize and enhance provincial surveillance for vector-borne diseases, including monitoring the spread of Lyme disease in Ontario; and

—supporting a media campaign, Let’s Target Lyme, focusing on prevention of tick bites as well as recognizing the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

By working with our partners we can have a greater effect than when we work alone.

Again, I wish to thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for their work and recommendations highlighted in the Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses Task Force report. Lyme disease is a serious issue, and I am proud to support the member opposite’s motion.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Further debate?

Mme France Gélinas: I’m really pleased to support the motion that was put forward by my colleague from Algoma–Manitoulin regarding the Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses Task Force.

In the few minutes that I have, we’ve known about Lyme disease for a long time. It was a disease that existed south of Canada and very few people here ever got Lyme disease, unless they went for a jog or a walk south of the border, but now, due to changes in the weather patterns and the warming up of northern Ontario, I can tell you that on May 27, the environmental health department of Public Health Sudbury and Districts told us that they found the first black-legged tick, about the size of a pinhead, that tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. This is in Nickel Belt, which is in northern Ontario. It is happening everywhere.

My colleague and people from outside of the House have shared how devastating a disease it is when it is left untreated. Right now in Ontario, we have some good education going on so that people now know that Lyme disease exists, that you get it from a tick that bites you, that stays on you for a while. We know about the bull’s-eye; that part is doing pretty good. Primary prevention is doing pretty good. But when it comes to treatment, I would tell you that, for many people—and the member calls them the “warriors”—this is where it fell flat.

We know that there is effective treatment that exists for Lyme disease. We have seen it in the States. They dealt with that disease way before we did simply because they are further south, and yet those treatments are very slow to become available to people in Ontario. We are the province where we have the most ticks that carry the disease, where we have the most people who have been diagnosed with the disease, and yet we are very slow at moving forward. I would go even further to say that some of the physicians who know about the treatment and tried to help people got into trouble themselves, because the treatments are not recognized in Ontario.

All of this could change, Speaker. All of this needs to change. How do we do this? Well, it’s quite simple. We move forward on the report that was done right here in Ontario. We know that Health Quality Ontario has worked on this. We know that the Ministry of Health has put this task force and has a report that tells us what to do. Recommendation number one is to establish centres of excellence for tick-borne illnesses, and this has to happen. It has to happen now.

The recommendations have been in the hands of the Ministry of Health since the government got elected. It has to change. Treatment options have to be available for people who have chronic Lyme. The disease can be devastating. It affects your neurological system. It affects your cardio. It affects the entire body. It is a life-changing disease for which we know that treatment exists, and those treatments are not available to people in Ontario.

This has to change. We have it right here, right now within this House, to change things for the better, to make those treatments available. And how do we do this? Well, we speak loudly by voting in favour of this motion that will put the report into motion and that will make sure that the best practices that exist elsewhere become available to all of the Lyme warriors.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Michael Mantha: Thank you, Speaker. I want to thank the members from Nickel Belt, Oakville, Davenport, Haldimand–Norfolk, Guelph and Toronto–Danforth, and particularly the member from Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill, because as soon as he came into the House and found out that I was working on this, he crossed and asked me, “Give me the report. Let me know how I can help you.” So I thank you for extending that olive branch.

I also want to thank people like Lori Dennis, Lyme Ontario, Ontario Lyme Alliance, Sue Faber from LymeHope, John and Catherine Scott, who are naturopathic physicians, and a whole vast of other people who have provided me with the knowledge and information that I need. I’m not group going to pretend to be the expert on this—and please, forgive me, I don’t have all the terms—but I will have the passion and I will carry the issue forward to make sure that people across this province are getting the proper care that they deserve.

I want to try to finish on a more positive note, on the G. Magnotta Foundation. The founder and president is Rossana Magnotta. Rossana Magnotta lost her husband and her child to Lyme disease. She has developed a foundation where she is raising as much funds as possible for research and development. Now, I know we’re all wine drinkers in this room, or most of us are. I would encourage you to go to Rossana Magnotta or to the Magnotta wineries. For every bottle of wine that you buy, a portion of those dollars, a portion of those funds will go towards research and development of Lyme disease. We all have it in us to help out in that way.

I also want to remind people that Dr. Melanie Wills is doing some great work over at the University of Guelph in regard to research and development, so there are steps that are happening. But I’m imploring this government, I’m imploring all of us in this room: Ontarians deserve better. We can do a lot better. People with Lyme disease, chronic Lyme disease, deserve the care and the acknowledgement from each and every one in this House. I implore you, please support the motion.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): The time provided for private members’ public businesses has expired.

Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 modifiant la Loi sur la responsabilité des occupants

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): We will deal first with ballot number 76, standing in the name of Mr. Miller, Parry Sound–Muskoka.

Mr. Miller, Parry Sound–Muskoka has moved second reading of Bill 118, An Act to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

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

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Mme France Gélinas: On division.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): I declare the motion carried on division.

Second reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Which committee?

Mr. Norman Miller: Regulations and private bills, please.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Is the majority in favour of the bill being referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills? Agreed.

Egyptian Heritage Month Act, 2019 / Loi de 2019 sur le Mois du patrimoine égyptien

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Mr. Sabawy has moved second reading of Bill 106, An Act to proclaim the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I declare the motion carried.

Second reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Which committee?

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: The Standing Committee on Social Policy.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Is the majority in favour of the bill being referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy? Agreed.

Lyme disease

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Mr. Mantha has moved private member’s notice of motion number 67.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Orders of the day? I recognize the member for King–Vaughan.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Jennifer K. French): Mr. Lecce has moved the adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I declare the motion carried.

I hope that everyone will have a safe and productive summer recess. This House stands adjourned until Monday, October 28, 2019, at 10:30.

The House adjourned at 1634.