LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO
Tuesday 30 November 2021 Mardi 30 novembre 2021
Report continued from volume A.
Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021 / Loi de 2021 visant à soutenir la population et les entreprises
Continuation of debate on the motion for third reading of the following bill:
Bill 13, An Act to amend various Acts / Projet de loi 13, Loi modifiant diverses lois.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Ms. Sara Singh: It’s always an honour to rise and contribute to the debate. It’s been a quite entertaining debate this afternoon. I want to thank the member from Waterloo for summarizing a lot of the concerns that not only the opposition but people in our communities have raised about Bill 13, Supporting People and Businesses Act. I know that’s the title of the bill, Supporting People and Businesses Act, Speaker, but it’s hard to believe that this bill will actually achieve that and help support people in the province of Ontario or our businesses—for example, our small businesses, which are still struggling and reeling from the impacts of the pandemic over the last year and a half.
We know that for people in Ontario, life has been getting harder and harder. The cost of living has been increasing steadily, the cost of food, housing, insurance—and nothing in this bill really helps support people. I know that for our businesses, they have really struggled over the last year and a half to keep their doors open, to keep the lights on, to keep employees paid and to ensure that their business can sustain the recovery as well, as we are maybe traversing out of the pandemic. But what Ontarians wanted to see from this government in a bill entitled Supporting People and Businesses were real supports for people and businesses. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in this bill that actually does that.
What this bill shows us is that the government continues to listen to their friends and insiders and not to what everyday Ontarians need. I’m thinking of small business owners in my community, in the riding of Brampton Centre and the community of Brampton in particular—business owners like Bruce Playfoot, who is a creative and owns a creative agency. He was not able to get any assistance from this government. My office has reached out several times to the Associate Minister of Small Business, but, unfortunately, people like Bruce are not getting the responses that they need, and they haven’t been able to get the supports that they need through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.
Bruce has been struggling, and he’s not sure what he’s going to be able to do to keep his business afloat. He has taken a considerable amount of his life savings to keep the operations afloat, but that’s not sustainable. There’s nothing in this bill that will help a business owner like Bruce not only recover the lost revenues that he incurred, but also move forward and start to plan for the future either.
I think of people like Yadwinder Dhillon, who is a local taxi driver with A-1 Taxi. He and several of their members have been in contact with our office on numerous occasions, because our taxi and limo industry in Brampton and across the province was hit really hard by the pandemic. These were drivers who, because they were still deemed a service that could operate in the pandemic, were not eligible for the Ontario small business grant. Even though there were reduced trips and their business was interrupted, they could not qualify for the assistance they needed and, frankly, that they deserved from this government.
Yadwinder and his colleagues have highlighted several different concerns for us in our meetings. One of the concerns that comes up, and something I think this government could have put into this bill but chose not to for whatever reason, was to amend regulation 664, which deals with commercial insurance. It’s a regulation under the Ontario Insurance Act. Speaker, this would help regulate commercial insurance for people like our taxi drivers who have been struggling and have been crushed because of the rising costs of insurance like the commercial insurance they are forced to pay, but this government has done absolutely nothing to help people in the taxi and limo industry reduce their commercial insurance premiums.
We also know that in the trucking and logistics industry—for the trucking industry, fleet insurance is, frankly, killing the industry as well. Many truck drivers have seen their premiums increase to a rate that is unsustainable, forcing them to take vehicles off the roads, which means that there are fewer trucks and that means that we’re going to have some problems if we don’t start to address this shortfall in the trucking industry. They need to be able to afford to have their trucks on the road, and something like reducing those commercial insurance premiums, fleet insurance or other types of insurance was something that could have been included in this bill, Speaker, that would have helped support people and businesses. But unfortunately the government doesn’t feel that that’s a priority.
It’s not a priority to reduce auto insurance premiums, commercial insurance premiums, property insurance. These are things that the government has the purview to do, and could have, through an omnibus bill like this—included amendments to the Ontario Insurance Act. It could have been done with all of the other things that are included here, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government.
Speaker, what we heard from our member from Waterloo were also concerns around people on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, our seniors who have been struggling to make ends meet. Their cost of living is increasing, and has steadily for decades, but ODSP rates, for example, or other supports for seniors have stayed stagnant, which has meant that for many people life has been getting harder, not easier.
The cost of rental accommodation has increased, the cost of food has increased, the cost of insurance—the list goes on, Speaker, but the rates have stayed the same. And so it is important that the government also consider raising ODSP rates and other social assistance rates to help vulnerable community members withstand the impacts of the pandemic, but also live a life with dignity and respect so that they can be able to afford the good things in life. But this clearly wasn’t a priority of this government.
We know, for example, that there are elements of this bill that seek to modernize our justice system. In our local community of Brampton, we have some of the longest wait times in our courtrooms. They say that justice delayed is justice denied.
I think of a family that I have known for many years. Their ongoing court case has yet to be heard. It has been over seven years that Mr. Tiwari has been waiting for justice for his family and for his son, and there are no courtrooms available to hear his case, Speaker. That time that Mr. Tiwari has been waiting has been extremely traumatic and painful, but because of backlogs in our court system and no courtrooms being available, Mr. Tiwari, unfortunately, is not able to have his day in court and seek justice for his son, Prashant, who unfortunately died by suicide at Brampton Civic Hospital. Can you imagine the trauma of not only losing your child but then not getting the justice you need and the answers you need to understand what went wrong, who should be held accountable and what can be done to improve the system? I think it’s important that cases like this—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I’m sorry to interrupt, but there’s a 10-minute conversation that has been going on on the government side, and it’s not getting more quiet. It’s getting a little louder and it’s causing me to have trouble hearing the member from Brampton Centre, so please either take it outside, lower your voices or separate and keep a good distance. Thank you.
Back to the member from Brampton Centre.
Ms. Sara Singh: It’s really hard for me to think about what Mr. Tiwari may be going through, knowing that he has waited upwards of nine years now, because it was seven years pre-pandemic, and we were advocating for improvements to the justice system then to ensure that he would have timely access to justice, and that other families like his would too see their day in court.
The impacts that this bill will have in this type of a scenario are very negligible, Speaker. It’s not going to help people like Mr. Tiwari have their day in court. It’s not going to ensure that he gets the justice that not only he deserves, but that his family deserves and that his young son, Prashant, deserves.
It’s unfortunate that in our community it’s neglect in our hospital, it’s neglect in our court system, it’s neglect when it comes to people’s auto insurance premiums. We seem to just continue to be left behind by the government. We in Brampton just don’t seem to be a priority for Conservative governments—or Liberals, frankly—and that is deeply troubling and concerning to many in our communities.
What we wanted to see in this bill was commitments towards helping people in our communities recover from the pandemic, ensure that they have the supports that they need. Frankly, that’s what people deserve. But what we see this government’s priorities are is building a highway that isn’t going to save people any time but cost us billions of dollars, while allowing entities like the 407 to get off the hook on over $1 billion worth of penalties. These are clearly the government’s priorities, not investing in our community in terms of addressing our health care crisis.
As I’ve said before in debate, what we should be investing in in the community of Brampton is expanding our health care services. We have hallway medicine and gridlock in our hospitals on a routine basis. It’s disappointing that those investments that could have been made to help build another hospital for our community aren’t a priority. They weren’t a priority in the fall economic statement, and what we see is a lot of empty promises to the people of Brampton, who were promised a hospital but are only getting an expanded urgent care centre. When they asked for 850 beds, all the government is delivering is 250 beds over seven years. This is woefully inadequate, and does not meet the growing demand in our community and the critical need for health care services in the city of Brampton.
We need the government to understand that the gridlock in our hallways in our hospitals is contributing to people leaving our cities and going to other communities like Georgetown, Orangeville, Toronto—some as far as Milton, Oakville—in order to get health care services. Why are we forcing people out of our community and into other cities and jurisdictions in order to get the health care that they deserve? If we could invest that money into our community, ensure that we have the health care services that we need and keep up with the demand in our community, perhaps people would be able to stay in their cities in order to get the health care that they need and that they deserve.
This not only has an impact on our local community but communities surrounding us. As we visit their hospitals, we are also taking services from those communities because we simply don’t have them in our city. So that means that someone in one of those hospitals in those local communities may be waiting a little bit longer because someone from another city is coming to access the health care services in their community.
It’s not anyone’s fault, Speaker. This is a system that was created under the Liberals, exacerbated by the Conservatives and their lack of investment, and now we see that the community is really the one that is suffering and just trying to do their best in a pretty terrible situation. It’s not fair to anyone that they should have to think twice whether they should go to our local hospital if there is an emergency in their family. That is what people in our community are faced with: People think twice about whether they should go to the hospital, or which hospital they should go to. I routinely hear from people in our community: “We just drive the other way. We just go to Oakville. We go to Mississauga, because they have hospitals there.” Why should people in a city as large as Brampton, an economic hub in this province, be forced to go to other communities because the government failed to invest in their city?
Speaker, I think of the people in my community who have been struggling with mental health and addictions, and just the complete lack of support in Peel region for those individuals, as well. I think it’s important to highlight that it’s not just about the hospital; it’s about all of the other health care services that our community needs and frankly deserves, which have never been fully realized or fully invested in for our city.
As the member from Brampton Centre, but also coming from a small business family, it has been really hard, the impacts of the pandemic on small businesses in our community. I hear that and I can feel it personally, because I understand how hard it is for small business owners to keep their lights on and make sure there is also food on the table for their families. Some of these small business owners are working 18-plus hours a day, are putting their entire life savings on the line in order to provide a service to the community. I think it was really disappointing for many of those businesses throughout the pandemic, especially our small businesses, to see the government time and time again favour big box stores, but neglect our small businesses in providing them the supports that they need. Many of them have permanently closed their doors, Speaker.
It really takes a special kind of person to be an entrepreneur and to start a small business, and those people should be applauded and supported for their work and their efforts. They shouldn’t have been forced to watch their life savings dwindle; the biggest investment that they may have made in their lives is gone forever for many of them.
When we have a bill here that could provide support to those businesses and those people in our communities, unfortunately the government didn’t do that. They didn’t introduce a third round, for example, of small business funding. There’s no real clarity on how bars and restaurants, for example, are going to receive supports and address capacity concerns.
Also, I know that our personal care services sector has been very negatively impacted, as many of them were forced—for, I believe, almost nine months—to keep their doors closed, with no other sources of revenue coming in. Many did not get the support they needed from this government.
While the government is describing this bill as a way for them to do things better in a safer and more effective way, and to help build a brighter future for everyone, many people have been left out of this conversation, Speaker. I think that while the government may have good intentions here, intentions are not going to help those individuals who actually need supports at this point in time.
I want to take a few moments in the last few moments that I have here just to talk a little bit about priorities, or the lack thereof. You know, Speaker, what this government could have done was help people and businesses in our communities, but what we see that the government is still doing is cutting 10,000 teachers and education workers from our education system, taking $800 million away from our kids. They are still slashing 35 public health units to just 10—despite all of the hard work and efforts of our public health units to get us through this pandemic, they are still on the chopping block.
The government still is not making enough investments in our long-term-care system, helping us transition to a system that is not-for-profit and municipally operated. They continue to reward for-profit providers with lucrative contracts. Over half of the contracts that will be awarded in our long-term-care sector will be going to the for-profit sector, so again we see the government helping their friends and insiders rather than helping vulnerable seniors get the supports that they need.
The other thing that I think the government needs to focus its efforts on is actually ensuring that we are adequately training and retaining the health care workers we need here in the province of Ontario. So in my last few moments I want to encourage the government to repeal Bill 124, Speaker, because this piece of legislation is having a detrimental impact on our health care capacity, as nurses are leaving the province of Ontario and working in sectors other than health care because Bill 124 will cap their wages and will not allow them to bargain for an increase. They deserve so much better than that.
In the time that I had, I know I shared a lot of different concerns, but what I think is important to highlight is that when this government had an opportunity to actually support people and businesses in our communities across the province, they have chosen not to. This bill simply doesn’t help get us through the pandemic and make sure the businesses and people in Ontario are receiving the supports that they need and that they deserve.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): We have time for questions.
Mr. Lorne Coe: It has been an interesting debate, and I thank the member opposite for her presentation today. You’ll know, Speaker, that there’s a massive infrastructure deficit here in the province of Ontario that has been left to us by years of neglect by the previous government. Overall, it falls within two categories, transit and housing, but particularly affordable housing.
The upper-tier government in Peel region, not unlike mine in the region of Durham, has an affordable housing strategy. But part of the challenge, whether it’s upper-tier or lower-tier—and this is a systemic issue you would appreciate as a former councillor—is the planning and development process. There have been systemic issues with that process for years, and this legislation addresses it—absolutely addresses it—for the first time in years.
Can the member opposite stand in her place tonight and say that you’re going to approve this particular legislation because of the effect it’s going to have in the region of Peel on affordable housing for the people you represent?
Ms. Sara Singh: Thank you to the member from Whitby for the question. Affordable housing is a major issue here in the province of Ontario. I know that the region of Peel has been pushing forward with a plan to invest in housing, and I know that they’ve asked the provincial government to provide its share of funding, to ensure that they can actually build the affordable housing that is needed.
What the government is doing with its MZOs is just ramming through projects without consulting community members and stakeholders effectively. That’s not something New Democrats can support. We understand that it’s important to build housing, but it needs to be done in a way that is respectful of the local community’s needs and what the community wants. That’s not something that the government wants to do, and they don’t like to listen to the community, so ramming through MZOs is not something that we’re going to be able to support.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek has a question.
Mr. Paul Miller: I’d like to thank the member from Brampton Centre for a fine presentation. Since we’re touching on housing—that’s a good subject—in my particular city we have renovictions. We have numbered companies that are taking over, pushing up the values, sinking very little into the building to fix it up and then jacking the prices by four times the amount. Housing has become out of reach for normal people in all cities. I’m sure in your city of Brampton you’re seeing the same things, where it’s making it unaffordable. People cannot afford to even look at a house, and apartments are few and far between. Housing is a big crisis in Brampton. Do you feel that the government is doing enough to support your city that way?
Ms. Sara Singh: Thank you to the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek for the question. I think it’s a really important one, because, as we have discussed, housing is in a critical state here in the province of Ontario. Actually, the affordability issue in Brampton is top of mind for our constituents, as people cannot afford to live in the city of Brampton. Our average home prices are over $950,000. And that’s the list price; we’re not talking about the bidding wars that happen and price young buyers out of the market.
We have a shortage of affordable housing options. We have a shortage of supply and stock available to people in our community, and the government’s plan to hand the keys over to developers is not one that’s going to ensure that we are creating the housing stock that we need here in the province of Ontario. It’s actually just rewarding their friends and insiders and leaving people out in the cold.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has a question.
Hon. David Piccini: I really appreciate the remarks from the member opposite. I’m going to try something, Speaker, without hope or agenda, just because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth.
Speaker, my question to the member opposite is: You spoke about a variety of things, so let’s step outside just this legislation and look at the massive investment into broadband; a massive investment into social services relief funding that has helped the most vulnerable weather the COVID storm and give them a leg up through programs like the Next Step program in my riding and similar programs in the region of Peel; massive investments into health care, including a new hospital and a historic investment in long-term-care beds; and an unprecedented investment in transit. Would that member not agree that that is indeed a step in the right direction?
Ms. Sara Singh: Thank you to the member from Peterborough-Northumberland for the question. I think, in the spirit of collaboration, it’s always a good step. But does it do what we need it to do? Does it achieve the outcomes we need right now at this point in time? Unfortunately not. I think that we can do so much more for the people in this province to ensure that they feel supported, that they feel valued and that these investments are actually having an impact.
If we throw some crumbs at a starving person, of course they’re going to eat, but are they full or are they still going to be hungry? Absolutely. So I appreciate that, and in the spirit of Christmas, I want to encourage us to be as giving as possible, so get on out there and find ways to support your community as best you can.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for London–Fanshawe has a question.
Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: Thank you to the member from Brampton Centre for her comments on Bill 13. One thing she had mentioned is about people being left behind in this legislation, and she used an example earlier of a senior citizen trying to get a package through the post office.
I also want to raise what has recently been found: If you have an Ontario ID card and you’re trying to get a health card, they’re not accepting that, because it isn’t an actual driver’s licence, which again is leaving people behind, like seniors, people with disabilities and people with health concerns. I’m just wondering how the member feels about why these kinds of things aren’t something that the government is addressing, because without health care—which, as you talked about, is not in this bill—it’s going to actually further disadvantage people who are left behind.
Ms. Sara Singh: Thank you to the member from London–Fanshawe for a very important question. I know those purple photo ID cards all too well. My younger sister has one, and many people who I’ve supported over the years rely on that purple photo ID card in order to access all sorts of things.
It’s concerning that an individual who doesn’t have a driver’s licence and is using the photo identification card may not be able to apply for their health card. It’s already troubling that they won’t have access to the digital services, but this means that someone with a disability, potentially an intellectual disability, or a senior may go to ServiceOntario, wait there for hours and then find out that they won’t be able to apply for the health card that they need. So I would encourage the government to think about all of the different users and end-users of the services that they are creating, and ensure that no one is being left out and that we are modernizing our systems, but doing it in a way that is inclusive and supporting those who need those systems.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The next question? The member for Peterborough–Kawartha.
Mr. Dave Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was inspired by your poetry this morning, and then the question from my colleague from Northumberland–Peterborough South, so I thought I’d start off with:
Fingers and toes, fingers and toes
Forty things we share
Forty-one if we include
The Critical Minerals Strategy.
My question to the member opposite is, do you not think that the change that we’ve made to the Mining Act to allow the waste product to be recycled and used is something that is good, especially when we’re talking about the green economy?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Well, we’ll go back to the member from Brampton Centre to decipher that one.
Ms. Sara Singh: Thank you to—oh, I forgot the riding.
Mr. Dave Smith: God’s country.
Ms. Sara Singh: Okay. I did not hear what you said, but anyway, thank you to the member for the question.
In terms of mining and the government’s mining strategy, what we’ve heard in several instances from local stakeholders is that they haven’t been consulted and they haven’t been included in the plans that are moving forward and being rammed through by this government. So it’s hard for us to support that as New Democrats who believe in public consultation, who believe in working with First Nations people to ensure that they are included in any economic benefits that the province is able to derive from our natural resources. This is what we should be doing, Speaker; unfortunately, that’s not the direction that the government is pursuing, and therefore we can’t support it.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): There’s not enough time to pose a question in 30 seconds and get an answer, so we’ll just move on to further debate. We have three or four minutes in further debate before we go to private members’ public business.
I turn to the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound.
Mr. Bill Walker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It’s a pleasure. To borrow some thoughts from my colleague from Brampton Centre, this is just going to be a crumb of my speech, the very starch of that, but the full meal will at some point be delivered, and I’m sure you will consume every word while I stand here and talk.
Mr. Speaker, I want to start off by saying that this is an exciting day to be able to speak to this bill, because it was Minister Tangri’s first piece of legislation in this House, both as a minister and as a member of provincial Parliament, so I commend her for all the work and the time that she has devoted. This is a pretty significant bill that is going to improve lives in a lot of different areas.
I’m going to quote the member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, who I believe said earlier today in one of his remarks that he has been here for 18 years. What he hears continually in his riding—and it echoes across all of our ridings—is that the red tape that has built up over the years is becoming very challenging, particularly for business and people in our lives. This bill, the Supporting People and Businesses Act, is intended to be able to break some of that, to give people relief and to break some of this away, so that we actually have a more effective system: that time is kept, more forward-thinking, more responsible.
We’ve had to confront many challenges through COVID, and I think one of the good things—if we can ever say that there’s a good thing with something like COVID in our lives—is that it has caused us to be innovative. It has caused us to be creative. It has caused us to look at old ways. I think the member from Peterborough–Kawartha was talking earlier today about fax machines and how outdated they are; I might have even mentioned that to the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek. He still wants to be able to use that fax machine, and that’s okay, because it’s digital-first, not digital-only, Mr. Speaker.
But there are a number of things that we’re doing to be able to enhance safety, health and environmental protections; things like outdoor patios that we’re starting to be able to do through there, to give our small businesses an ability to survive while we had the pandemic and some of the challenges. So we’re trying to take a look at that. Many have said, “That was a great thing. Can we extend it?” So this legislation will let us do that.
We’re going to reduce red tape, because one of the things, whether you’re a small business, a mom-and-pop, medium-sized or one of the large, large corporations that we enjoy—there’s not a bad thing with large corporations, because they employ a lot of people and actually put money in people’s pockets, Mr. Speaker—is that at the end of the day the productivity of the worker is absolutely critical. One of the things we’ve allowed over time is more and more red tape and bureaucracy, filling out forms that aren’t truly impacting the health and well-being of people.
So we’re taking steps to change a lot of this, through this large piece of legislation. We’re trying to shine a spotlight on needless regulatory requirements impeding our social and economic progress. It’s hard, people tell us in all of our ridings, to start a business, to simply get through the day when you must first complete huge loads of paperwork. Again, what’s the real value of it? Is there not an easier, better way? I think that with technology we can speed that up, we can make it more efficient and we can ensure that people have more time to do the things they want to do, particularly with their family, with their friends and, of course, in their businesses.
Far too many regulatory requirements in Ontario are inefficient, inflexible, out of date or duplicated at the federal and municipal levels—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Thank you so much. As you said, you were just offering crumbs at this point.
Third reading debate deemed adjourned.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The clock being at 6:30, it is now time for private members’ public business.
Private Members’ Public Business
Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act, 2021 / Loi de 2021 sur la Journée de la liberté de religion en Ontario
Mr. Sabawy moved second reading of the following bill:
Bill 42, An Act to proclaim Ontario Religious Freedom Day / Projet de loi 42, Loi proclamant la Journée de la liberté de religion en Ontario.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Pursuant to standing order 101, the member has 12 minutes to make his presentation.
Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I am honoured rise in the House today to move Bill 42, the Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act, as it is a topic that is close to my heart. Mr. Speaker, freedom of religion is a cornerstone value of our Canadian society and a universal human right that is dearly upheld. Ontario has one of the most multicultural, multi-faith and multi-ethnic societies in Canada—and perhaps even the world—and we will continue to stand up for human rights, including the promotion and protection of freedom of religion.
We as Canadians are proud be in a country that stands for these universal human rights. Whenever the enemies of religious freedoms do their best to divide us and to terrorize us and agonize us, we have proven as a society to stand by each other, strengthen each other and spread peace and love to those who have been hurt. I have personally witnessed this several times, and I am sure everyone in this House has witnessed this as well. This bill in front of us today represents just that, Mr. Speaker.
The Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act has three pillars. I call them the R3. R3 stands for remembering, reflecting and respecting. The first pillar is remembering: remembering the victims who lost their lives through religious persecution; remembering the atrocities of the enemies of religious freedom on religious minorities; remembering the persecutions and discriminations.
The second pillar is reflecting: reflecting on our duty to stand together for religious freedoms; reflecting on our personal duty to stand together against religious persecution and discrimination; reflecting on lessons learned from history here and around the world and how to stand together, raising awareness of what has happened in the past, on what is currently happening in the world and how we can prevent it from happening in the future.
The third pillar is respecting: respecting one another; respecting our differences; and respecting those who lost their lives in this battle.
Mr. Speaker, part of this bill is asking the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to consider a memorial. This memorial is to be erected to commemorate victims of religious persecution and be a symbol for generations to come on our commitment to stand for this human right. This is how we all stand together in solidarity: remembering, reflecting and respecting by being united. These values are what we have the honour to represent here in this chamber. This legislation represents all spectrums of our Ontario society with respect to all races, colours, genders and, as importantly, all religions.
In Canada everyone is protected not only by the Canadian laws and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms but also with Canadian values in freely practising their religion. This bill in front of the House today, if passed, will declare October 27 a day for all Canadians to celebrate this important value across many generations to come. Ontario Religious Freedom Day will serve as a reminder—a reminder that Ontario continues to protect and advocate for religious freedoms, and will be a day for Ontarians to remember and reflect on religious persecution and show respect to the victims of religious persecution around the world.
As mentioned prior, with the consent of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the proposed monument will stand for generations to come as a symbol for Ontario’s commitment for the freedom of religion.
Canada has been a safe haven for many decades for people who have fled their countries and left their homes, leaving behind families to come to Canada to enjoy and protect their freedom of religion and have a prosperous life for themselves and for their families.
I am proud to be Canadian and to be here today as an elected representative to be a voice for those who suffer in silence. Today, as our society stands against any sort of discrimination or persecution on any basis, I believe that this day will serve as a reminder of the importance of standing against any discrimination based on religion, and I wholeheartedly and strongly condemn any and all acts of discrimination or violence against anyone based on their religion.
We, in Ontario, are a beacon of integration and inclusion, and R3 will serve as a relief for thousands of Ontarians who feel that I’m speaking on their behalf—and that we all, as a society, stand in solidarity and compassion, and we feel for you. To those Ontarians, we feel your pain, we hear you and we stand in solidarity with you.
It is our duty to teach our children and the next generations to accept our differences and accept each other and to live in harmony and peace.
We were overwhelmed with many letters of support from religious groups, organizations and human rights activists, who are visible and non-visible minorities—largely known and unknown, mentioned and unmentioned—vocal groups and groups who live in fear of speaking up who supported this bill. They feel that this bill speaks about their cause, and I am proud to stand here today to let their voices, their pain and their journey be heard. This is a message for all of them: We are here for you and we stand for you.
I have met many people who still wake up in the middle of the night because of their fears, the sheer horror of remembering what they went through before they came to Canada. There are many people who live among us who are still carrying those fears and memories within themselves, and we need such a bill to send them a message of peace, hope and solidarity.
Mr. Speaker, history has documented many genocides, massacres and terrorism based on religious differences. Many Canadian immigrants who lost family members and friends will find peace and healing when they stand in front of the proposed memorial and remember those lost innocent lives, lay flowers or wreaths to commemorate these sad memories and look forward and hope that this never happens again.
As someone who was born and raised as a minority, I understand those challenges. I understand that from being a kid bullied by his peers to a grown-up adult who was denied and challenged in his professional career due to his faith to 2010, when I was listed on an al Qaeda hit list and there was a threat to my life and my family’s life. I understand the fears and being on guard all the time. And, in my opinion, the only thing that can relieve and ease those fears is by being united in supporting and protecting freedom of religions together.
I have been working with different communities for the past 18 years: Coptic; Jewish; Iraqi Syriac; Iraqi Assyrian; Iraqi Chaldean; Lebanese Maronites; Lebanese Antiochians and Melchites; Druze; Syrian Catholics and Orthodox Christians; Armenians; Sufis; Ahmadiyya; Shia; Ismailis; Goan, Indonesian, South Asian and Chinese Christians; Chinese Muslims; Tibetans; and Buddhists. I hope that this bill and those of the same nature are a hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for many dark moments of history, which we remember, reflect and respect so that it would never happen again.
I am proud to be part of a government that inspires and celebrates our differences. As our society progresses, our standards for human rights are improving, and we need to protect fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion and freedom of faith. We, as a Legislative Assembly, must collectively protect this part of our freedom.
Mr. Speaker, the greatest point of this bill is that it unites us and encourages us to love others. The only enforcement in this bill is love: love for our great country Canada, love of each other as human beings and respecting each other’s beliefs. At the end of the day, all religions worship God in their own way, and God is love.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. Tom Rakocevic: It’s always an honour to rise as the representative of my lifelong home of Humber River–Black Creek, and now to speak to the Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act. I thank the member for introducing it.
Speaker, I love my community. It is a place where over 100 different languages are spoken at home, a place of diverse cultures and different faiths. And, in our community, you will find many places of worship, where people go to find togetherness, spirituality, purpose, joy and so much more.
But, Speaker, people throughout the world continue to be persecuted for their religious beliefs. Many have fled religious persecution to come here, hoping to safely practise their culture and faith. In my community, they are Ahmadiyya Muslims, Assyrian Christians and many, many more. Faith is a central part in the lives of so many, and all they ask for is a safe place to gather and worship, a place to reflect, to find peace and tranquility. But, sadly, far too many who have fled persecution and hate also found it here.
On January 29, 2017, six worshippers were shot dead inside the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City in a vile act of Islamophobic hate. This is the single worst mass murder in a place of worship in Canada’s history. Shortly after, members of the Holy Blossom Temple, a synagogue just outside of my riding, gathered in a ring of peace outside the Imdadul Islamic Centre, where many residents in my community worship, to stand in solidarity against hate in all of its forms.
On October 27, 2018, 11 worshippers were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in a vile act of anti-Semitic hate. Members of Imdadul Islamic Centre formed a ring of peace around Holy Blossom Temple to stand in solidarity and to join in grief with the Jewish community and to take a stand against hate.
The members of Holy Blossom Temple once again formed a ring of peace around Imdadul Islamic Centre in March 2019 after 51 worshippers were murdered in an act of Islamophobic terrorism at two different churches and mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
How many times must these unspeakable horrors happen? Everyone deserves to feel safe. But, again, in September 2020, an elderly man who was helping worshippers to follow COVID-19 guidelines was murdered outside of the IMO mosque in Rexdale—here. Last June, four members of an entire family in London, Ontario, were murdered in a targeted attack while they went out for a walk, simply because of their faith. And, earlier this month, in my community, an individual threw a huge rock through the window of the Taric mosque while people were praying inside. Throughout, there continue to be incidences of anti-Semitic graffiti and more. Here in Ontario, we have seen a disturbing rise in Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate, and we must all join together to stop it.
I want to thank the member for bringing forward this legislation to recognize Ontario Religious Freedom Day and I will be proudly supporting it. I also hope that every member of this House will also support Our London Family Act when it is debated in this House so that we can all continue to do the work to create an Ontario where everyone can feel safe to practise their religion.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. John Fraser: I’m pleased to rise today in support of the Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act, and I want to thank the member for bringing it forward.
For almost centuries, people have been coming to Canada to escape religious persecution. We need to recognize that and we need to recognize that it’s still happening in the world, and to reflect, remember and honour the dead.
I agree that we should build a monument. I don’t want to say that the place that we’re in is a monument, but it’s actually a testament to religious freedom. This is a place where we make laws and where we can speak out. In this Legislature, we have spoken out against many acts—anti-Semitism, Islamophobia—and we have to continue to do that. So my suggestion is that we should have something here to remind us. We’re pretty good at remembering, but there are risks there. As the member from Humber River–Black Creek just said, it’s not just state organizations that do that; it’s people. It starts with people.
We’ll have a chance to debate the Our London Family Act. I hope we can have the same kind of debate with that because people are being persecuted here. It’s just not something that is state sponsored. It’s something that people are doing that is sometimes—I don’t want to say “permitted”—but overlooked, the day-to-day things that happen to people.
I don’t have that experience. I don’t have that experience because of what I look like. But so often in this province, it is not just matters of faith, sometimes it’s the assumption of faith on how somebody looks, right? And people are being persecuted.
I fully support what the member is trying to do here. I just wanted to take the opportunity to remind us that we still have a lot of work to do here in this place to make right some things that are happening in this province, and I look forward to supporting this bill and to the opportunity to support things like the Our London Family Act. I want to thank you for your time, Speaker.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Hon. Stephen Lecce: It is an honour for me to rise today in the chamber to strongly support this private member’s bill introduced by my friend and our colleague the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills. He has proposed legislation that would proclaim October 27 as Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act. October 27 has long been recognized as International Religious Freedom Day by democratic societies around the world. It is an opportunity to come together to honour the victims of religious persecution and advocate for their freedom.
I believe the bill is incredibly worthwhile legislation and it does deserve the full support of our House because the essence of a free society is the acceptance of conscience and religious freedom. In fact, they are not incompatible. They must be complementary. It’s why I was proud in my first remarks in this Legislature, upon my election three years ago, to speak about the principle of religious freedom within the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
Ontario Religious Freedom Day will remind us that, while Ontario is a leader in protecting religious freedom—as a country, we have a heritage of doing so through generations—we must speak out strongly against the persecution of innocent people simply because of their adherence to faith. It still exists around the world. We continue to see and watch in horror as churches, mosques, synagogues and temples are destroyed, their believers are attacked and their futures are in peril.
I am proud of the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills, who has stood up in the defence of Iraqi Christians and other minority communities throughout his life, and who has faced personal violence as a consequence.
Speaker, violence based on religion or faith has only increased in recent years. The Pew institute in 2018 had a research report that suggested the use of force against religious or belief communities is now in effect in 95 countries, and that state-perpetuated violence resulting in death occurred in 20 of those countries, an increase of 25% since 2007.
Jews in every corner of the world have faced the evil of anti-Semitism, but many other religious communities have also experienced persecution for their beliefs, and I will name only a few, including the Ahmadiyya Muslims, the Baha’is, the Yazidis, the ancient Christian population in the Middle East. And there are so many others who face persecution as we speak right now.
It would be, I think, most necessary for all of us to reflect on the wisdom of Nadia Murad in her book The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, where this young Yazidi was taken from her home at 14 years old and sold into sex slavery. Her story is harrowing, it’s deeply disturbing to our ears, but it needs to be told to reflect on the horrors that are perpetuated by states and by extremism in the name of religion.
Speaker, religious freedom is a personal issue for me, because I am proud, as was noted by my colleague from Humber River–Black Creek, that there is a large Ahmadiyya Muslim community in this country. We’re proud of that. It was a place of refuge, facing persecution state-sponsored by the Pakistan government and the introduction of blasphemy laws that targeted them simply because they were different from the majority population in their home country.
In those remarks, we spoke about the necessity to defend them at home and abroad. One of the great achievements of a government that many of us were involved with at the federal level under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the founding of the Office of Religious Freedom, which was announced in King–Vaughan at the Ahmadiyya mosque in my riding. I was proud to be there and proud to be very much involved in the introduction of this office that promoted freedom in every region of the world.
To the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills: This initiative really is something that we must, I think, speak with one voice on in the interest of defending innocent people. It was a quote, if I may, from Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who said we should always remember this: “Canada is free, and freedom is its nationality.” We have an obligation to promote it, to defend it and to insist that other countries adhere to the international norms that I think Canadians have done through generations.
Our government will always stand up for religious freedom. We will stand up for human dignity and stand in the defence of human rights. There is a critical historical link between respect for religious freedoms and the development of democracy itself. If I can invoke the wisdom of the Ahmadiyya community, their motto, their life mission is, “Love for all, hatred for none.” If we can embrace that principle more in our hearts and around the world, I think our country and the world would be a safer place for all citizens to live.
Thank you so much to the member for his leadership on this introduction, and thank you all for your support for this bill.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. Paul Miller: I appreciate the opportunity to speak to my colleague’s Bill 42 this afternoon. The diversity of faiths in Ontario is one of the many reasons people choose to settle in our province, and while we as Ontarians take pride in our multiculturalism, with that pride comes a responsibility to address the experiences faced by communities that have escaped persecution just because they are religious minorities.
Indeed, in my riding of Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, we have thriving Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish communities, and I spend a great time of my time working with these religious communities to hear their concerns about their need to feel safe and welcome, and listen to their suggestions on how to stop religious persecution in our province. I’ve heard over and over that concrete action is needed, not token gestures. Actions like establishing hate crime laws with real teeth, changes to our educational curriculum to raise awareness of Ontario’s religious diversity, and broader education-focused outreach to learn about and celebrate the history of different faiths are just a couple of those suggestions. No resident of our province should fear attending their place of worship. No resident should ever fear walking down the street while wearing a symbol of their faith, regardless if it’s a yarmulke, a kirpan or a crucifix.
Unfortunately, there have been too many hate crimes against people for their faith in my city of Hamilton and across Ontario. In 2017 alone, hate crimes against Muslims had spiked by an astounding 151%.
While I am happy to support Bill 42 to proclaim October 27 as Ontario Religious Freedom Day, I want to note that much more needs to be done to prevent any type of persecution against any type of religion. Together we can send a message to every resident of Ontario that you are welcome here, your faith is welcome here and you have a right to be safe and to feel safe here.
A place to start is another bill that we’ve got forward by the NDP, Our London Family Act, a bill that offers concrete steps to address religious persecution and racism; a bill that would create a provincial hate crimes accountability unit; a bill that would restore and fully fund a provincial Anti-Racism Directorate; a bill that would make changes to Ontario’s education system to make sure young people are growing up with the educational resources that help them understand religious minorities; a bill that would increase the limitation period for those seeking to file human rights claims in Ontario; and a bill that would dismantle white supremacist groups in Ontario by preventing them from registering as societies and preventing intimidation tactics targeting people of faith and their places of worship.
I look forward to the honourable member’s bill moving forward as soon as possible.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. Mike Schreiner: It’s an honour to rise today and speak in support of Bill 42 to declare October 27 Ontario Religious Freedom Day. I want to thank the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills for bringing this bill forward and for taking the time to come and talk to me about it. He has done a great job pushing for all-party support for this important bill, and I think it is critically important that we have all-party support to send a clear message that this Legislature, and all members of the Legislature, respect everyone’s religion. No one should be afraid to attend a place of worship. No one should be afraid to wear a religious symbol in this province.
Over the last few days, I’ve had the honour of participating in a number of events that have just reminded us how important religious diversity is in this province and how vital it is to who we are as Ontarians. Many of us had the opportunity to participate in the National Council of Canadian Muslims’ lobby day to talk about the Our London Family Act. It was so heartening to have leaders of all four parties get up and speak of the importance of that act and the importance of ensuring that we work together to support the Muslim community. I will be supporting the Our London Family Act.
Just Sunday evening, I had the honour of participating in the lighting of the Hanukkah candles, the first on the menorah, with the Jewish community in Guelph in front of city hall. At a time when we see anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and other hate crimes on the rise, it is so important that we stand together to support religious freedom.
Two weeks ago, Saturday evening, I had the time to get together and celebrate Diwali with the Hindu community in Guelph and to talk about the importance of shining light over darkness. October 27 is a day where we can come together as Ontarians and shine light on religious freedoms as we stand in solidarity with each other.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: It’s great to rise this evening and speak in support of Bill 42, Ontario Religious Freedom Day, an important bill brought forward by my friend the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills. This bill would proclaim October 27 of each year as Ontario Religious Freedom Day, and it includes a provision that the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries shall consider creating a monument to honour the victims of religious persecutions around the world.
Religious freedom, like the freedoms of thought, belief, opinion, expression, conscience and peaceful assembly are important pillars of Canadian society and our democracy. Throughout our history, the many people around the world have sought refuge in Canada in order to safely practise their faith. Ontario Religious Freedom Day would serve as a reminder of the fundamental principles to conscience and religion we enjoy as Canadians and also to honour the victims of religious persecution.
Even with the efforts of Canada, our organizations and our global allies, many people to this day continue to experience religious persecution and violence for trying to practise their faith, so it is important to remind others of these ongoing injustices and reaffirm our commitment to these freedoms. By proclaiming this day, Ontario will join the United Nations and the United States, who have established these days to honour the victims of religious persecution and reaffirm their protection of religious freedom.
I thank the member for bringing this forward and encourage all members to support it.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Ms. Sara Singh: It’s always an honour to rise in the House and contribute to debate. This is a very important piece of legislation, and I just want to start off by thanking the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills for bringing this forward.
Speaker, Ontario is home to people of many different religions and ethnic backgrounds, many of whom have escaped religious persecution and see Ontario and our community here as a safe haven where they can practise their faith freely. I know that that’s something that we as Ontarians take great pride in. I represent a community, Brampton, where we have a very diverse population of folks who call Brampton home. I’m proud of that, and I know we’re proud of our multiculturalism here in Ontario.
But it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone feels safe to practise their religion. We see growing instances of Islamophobia in our communities, most recently at the Toronto and Region Islamic Congregation. I spoke with Imam Imran Ally there, who says that members of the congregation currently are fearful to come and pray because of the attacks that have taken place.
We know that unfortunately in London, Ontario, an entire family was targeted for practising their faith. I’m very proud of the work that we are doing here with Our London Family Act bill to help address Islamophobia in our communities and ensure that there are tangible steps being taken.
Speaker, I come from a family and a background—my father is a Sikh, and many are aware of the 1984 genocide that took place in India, where Sikhs were targeted and faced persecution for practising their faith. The intergenerational trauma of genocide is something that I can understand.
When we speak of the Ahmadiyya community, we speak of the Muslim community, we speak of our Jewish community who have endured such persecution over the years and for generations, that trauma is something that is in our DNA and is in every experience that we have as well. It’s important to acknowledge that and also provide the supports for people in our communities, not only to remember but to heal and to come together to move forward as well. That is extremely important.
I understand that a monument is important, but we need real investments in our communities to ensure that those supports are there for community members when they are experiencing trauma or mental health concerns, Speaker.
In Brampton, we have a vibrant and very active Ahmadiyya Muslim community. We have the Brampton mosque in our community, in the riding of Brampton North. I know that the Minister of Education shared the motto of the Ahmadiyya community. It’s “Love for all, hatred for none.” What a powerful statement that is. Speaker, if we could all just adopt it and actually live out those principles every single day.
As a Sikh, we believe that we are all one. In our faith, we have Ik Onkar, which means that we are all one and there is one God. With that understanding, it’s important that we treat each other with respect, with dignity, and we acknowledge that everyone has the right to practise their faith and their religion.
But we know that in many parts of this province and in this country, people continue to face persecution for wearing their articles of faith, and that is something that needs to be addressed as well, because people need to be able to wear a turban, a kirpan or a cross if they choose to and practise their faith freely. But we know that there are provinces in Canada where those religious freedoms are currently limited for people in the public service.
Speaker, this bill is important and it is a first step to acknowledge religious freedom day, something that is recognized internationally by the United Nations, and we need to do that. I want to just take a moment to thank all of the amazing organizations across the province and country that have been doing important work to ensure that their communities are represented and that they do have the ability to practise their religion freely. I’d like to thank the National Council of Canadian Muslims for their leadership and work that they have been doing; the World Sikh Organization; the Ahmadiyya Muslim community as well. These are just some local organizations as well that have been doing fantastic work to help raise awareness around discrimination and hate in our communities, but have been taking tangible steps to ensure that community members are feeling safer and included through policy, but also through some of their advocacy here with our local government.
I think that this is an important bill, and I know that our opposition members will be supporting it. It’s a non-partisan issue, and it’s always nice when we can come together on issues like this and work together to ensure that everyone in Ontario has the right to practise their faith freely and be proud of who they are and how they believe. That’s a right that everyone should have realized, and I want to thank the member again for bringing this important piece of legislation forward. We are proud to support this.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. Billy Pang: I’m pleased to rise to speak to Bill 42, Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act, 2021, and I want to thank the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills for bringing forward this bill.
Speaker, when people think of Ontario or Canada, many common words come to mind, as the member from Mississauga–Erin Mills mentioned earlier: multicultural, multi-faith and multi-ethnic, just to name a few. These words are true and these are words that, as Canadians, we are proud to stand behind. We are fortunate to live in a nation that recognizes the significance of religious freedom as a universal human right. It is also this recognition that makes Canada a world leader in the resettlement of refugees and immigrants.
Proclaiming October 27 as Ontario Religious Freedom Day will bring a lot of significance to the people of this great province. For victims who have experienced religious persecution and are now in Ontario, this day will allow them to reflect on their difficult journey and process their trauma. As a community, this annual celebration will allow us to honour the victims and be grateful for the society that we have built here.
Bill 42 is legislation that will serve as a reminder that Ontario continues to protect and advocate for religious freedom. Therefore, I’m proud to support this bill.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?
Mr. Michael Parsa: It’s a real pleasure to rise today and speak alongside my colleague representing Mississauga–Erin Mills on Bill 42, which seeks to make October 27 Ontario Religious Freedom Day.
As most of you here in this Legislature and those watching already at home are aware, we live in one of the most diverse countries on the planet. Families have immigrated to Canada from every corner of the world, searching for a better life, a fresh start and a safe place to live. This is what makes our country and certainly our province so special. We will always welcome those who wish to join Canada’s fight against religious violence or those who simply want a better life. We recognize that governments should be impartial when it comes to personal beliefs and religious freedoms—and this bill does exactly that. It seeks to respect those who want freedom to be able to practise their faith. Mr. Speaker, this bill pays tribute to those who fled, continue to flee and perished as a result of religious persecution.
Sadly, we continue to witness a rise in religious-based violence around the world. But we will not stop, and we will continue to stand up for those who are unable to. It’s part of our moral duty as Canadians to give a voice to those who are silent. Everyone should have the right to express their religious freedoms without repercussions.
Bill 42 designates October 27 as a day of reflection and for us to honour these rights and beliefs which we continue to fight for and defend. This bill is so important, as it recognizes those who have sacrificed so much defending what they believe in. We’ll continue to do whatever it takes to support them. Ontario will always serve as a beacon of hope and freedom for those.
Speaker, I proudly support this bill. I thank my colleagues in this Legislature and certainly those who have come to Canada for a better future. I thank you for putting this bill forward, and I join all my colleagues in supporting it.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for Mississauga–Erin Mills will have two minutes to reply.
Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I want to thank the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and the member for Nepean and her team for supporting this bill since day one.
I also want to thank the Minister of Education and the member for King–Vaughan, the member for Scarborough–Rouge Park, the member for Markham–Unionville and the member for Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill from the government side for speaking in support of this bill.
I want to also thank the members across who supported this bill tonight: the MPPs for Humber River–Black Creek, Ottawa South, Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, Guelph, Brampton Centre.
I also would like to thank the several communities who have shown support for this bill, such as the Canadian Coptic Activists Federation, the Coptic community in Mississauga, Coptic communities across Ontario, the Chaldean Catholic Church, Eparchy of Mar Addai in Canada, the Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple, Karma Sonam Dargye Ling, the Muslim Shia community, International Christian Voice, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, United Assyrian Youth of Canada, the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, and Yezidi Human Rights Organization–International.
I would like to thank all the hard work of those who contributed to this bill—my staff, the legislative library and the assembly.
Let’s all work together. Let’s make Bill 42 the jewel of the 42nd Parliament.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The time provided for private members’ public business has expired.
Mr. Sabawy has moved second reading of Bill 42, An Act to proclaim Ontario Religious Freedom Day. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
Second reading agreed to.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Pursuant to standing order 101(b), the bill is referred to the Committee of the Whole House unless the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills has another committee he’d like to refer it to.
I recognize the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills.
Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I would like to refer the bill to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Is the majority in favour of this bill being referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy? Agreed? Agreed.
Therefore, the bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
All matters pertaining to private members’ public business having been completed, the House stands adjourned until Wednesday, December 1, at 9 a.m.
The House adjourned at 1915.