LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO
Wednesday 23 March 2022 Mercredi 23 mars 2022
Ministry of Community and Social Services Amendment Act (Social Assistance Research Commission), 2022 / Loi de 2022 modifiant la Loi sur le ministère des Services sociaux et communautaires (Commission de recherche sur l’aide sociale)
Report continued from volume A.
Private Members’ Public Business
Ministry of Community and Social Services Amendment Act (Social Assistance Research Commission), 2022 / Loi de 2022 modifiant la Loi sur le ministère des Services sociaux et communautaires (Commission de recherche sur l’aide sociale)
Mr. Paul Miller moved second reading of the following bill:
Bill 92, An Act to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act to establish the Social Assistance Research Commission / Projet de loi 92, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le ministère des Services sociaux et communautaires afin de créer la Commission de recherche sur l’aide sociale.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): I recognize the member for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek.
Mr. Paul Miller: I rise today to speak on a bill that I and many in this House are very familiar with. I have nearly lost track of the many times I have proposed this exact legislation: Bill 6, Bill 124, Bill 60—the list of names goes on, but the need for these proposed changes to our social assistance programs will never change.
Bill 92, as it is now called, is officially entitled An Act to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act to establish the Social Assistance Research Commission. Social justice advocates from around the province all know it as the Paul Miller anti-poverty bill.
For those in the House who are unfamiliar, the bill, if passed, will establish a committee of experts who can work together to help determine what social assistance rates in the province should truly be. The committee panel will consist of financial and economic experts, housing and social welfare specialists, and the panel must include at least two members who have actual lived experience on either Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program. The panel must also meet the goals set out to ensure that proper equity is achieved that reflects the diverse makeup of our province.
While I have been pursuing this legislation since 2015, I have never seen the need for social assistance reform as intense as I have over the last two years. The effects of the pandemic have ravaged the working class of the province. Many people who were once lower- or middle-wage workers in industries such as tourism, culture and sports have seen their jobs evaporate. They have turned to friends and family in many cases, but in many more instances they have relied on government assistance.
Initially, when the panic began, the form of assistance people received came from the federal government. New sources of assistance, called CERB, CRB or the new EI system quickly came into place, offering up to $2,000 a month to keep people afloat. Unsurprisingly, OW and ODSP recipients looked at this new support system with envy and anger: If the federal government believed $2,000 a month was the bare minimum to keep the lights on, then how can the province of Ontario justify the pathetic rates offered to its own citizens, and assume everything was working just fine?
Once the federal money ran dry, many of these now fully out of work folks turned to whatever the province was willing to offer them. The people who come through the front door of my office in Hamilton East are testimony enough to the sharp increase in people looking to apply for Ontario Works or ODSP. People are desperate and they need something to fill the gap, and that something still does not come close to meeting the real needs of those who need the help in this province. Many of these people in my community and beyond are seeing rents go up, food prices skyrocket, and don’t even get me started on the price of utilities and gas.
Based on the information from Feed Ontario’s Hunger Report, roughly 600,000 adults and children accessed a food bank in Ontario between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, an increase of 10% over the past last year and the largest single increase since 2009. Fifty-nine per cent of food bank visitors cited social assistance as the primary source of their income. There has been a 44% increase in the number of people employed accessing food banks for support in the four years leading up to the pandemic.
Eighty-six per cent of food bank visitors are rental or social housing tenants, with over 50% of food bank visitors citing the inability to adequately pay for housing and utility costs as the primary reason for food bank usage. Turning 65 drops the risk of food insecurity in half for low-income adults in Canada. This dramatically highlights the inadequacy of income support programs for people under 65.
As they go on to say at Feed Ontario, an essential component of poverty reduction strategies that have successfully reduced food insecurity is that benefits are set at levels sufficient to cover basic needs. That is where my bill comes in. Bill 92 establishes an advisory group, the Social Assistance Research Commission, to make annual recommendations of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates for each region of Ontario based on economic geography and the cost of living. New rates would be determined by the cost of necessities in a particular region, and additional expenses incurred by individuals living with disabilities in order for them to fully participate in society, and additional expenses incurred by people who face long-term barriers to employment.
Additionally, at least once every five years the commission would recommend policy with respect to how social assistance programs interact with precarious employment and with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and with respect to the treatment of child support payments received by families who also receive social assistance. Bill 92 also requires that the minister make any commission reports public and prepare a written response to the recommendations, also to be made public.
In short, we need to stop with the cookie-cutter style of social assistance and start coming to grips with the reality that poverty is different based on how you live and where you are. What may be a helping hand to some is an eviction notice to others. What may be a tight budget in Windsor could be malnutrition in Toronto.
We all know the cost of living is rising for everyone in this province, but there is a segment of our population that do not seem to get the spotlight they should. I’m proud to represent Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, but there is a sad truth in the fact that it is the second-poorest riding in Ontario.
In Hamilton, the cost of rent has gone up substantially. According to the CMHC, rental prices were up 13% to $1,996 per month, compared to $1,773 in 2020. Over just a few short years, people who are on the hunt for a new apartment or rental home are looking at paying thousands of dollars more for the same space that was considered affordable in the past. There are many reasons for these increasing rental costs, but the effect on the people of Hamilton is the same. Smaller units, poorly maintained living conditions and more dangerous neighbourhoods are becoming the only options available to people who could formerly afford something more to their needs.
While the working classes and the working poor are struggling, those who find themselves on social assistance are beyond hope at this point. What I’m trying to implore to you today is that this legislation was needed yesterday and that we cannot allow this bill to simply languish in committee again. During its many iterations, Bill 92 has received unanimous support from all parties. The last time I brought this legislation forward, it was even co-sponsored by a member of the provincial government who was, and still is, a sitting member. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and this bill in the past, but I implore everyone today to not only commit to passing Bill 92 through second reading, but also to do everything in their power to pass the bill through committee and see it through to actual third reading and final vote.
Introducing this bill today does feel a little strange. While everything seems to have changed over the past two years, I can still remember looking over to the visitors’ gallery to see supporters from the likes of Hamilton Food Share, Feed Ontario, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction and many other people who are now a coalition against poverty in my community and across this province. I remember the busloads full of Bill 6 supporters. I remember signing dozens of gallery slips for Bill 185. I remember taking photos in my office and at press conferences in the media studio with people proud to stand with Bill 60. For a piece of legislation so widely loved and supported by all parties in this House, I am surprised at how many times I have said to myself and my staff, “Close, but no cigar,” as this House rises at the end of another session with a popularly supported bill sitting once again in limbo.
I picture Bill 92 similar to the old animated character of the educational cartoon series Schoolhouse Rock! To quote the American classic in his own words:
It’s a long, long wait
While I’m sitting in committee,
But I know I’ll be a law some day
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bill.
I am aware that particular bill was waiting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, but I can’t help but imagine my bill sitting alone on the staircase of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario still waiting for a representative to come out and walk it the final mile to royal assent.
Bill 92, like all private members’ bills, is not asking for a financial commitment from the government. It is simply seeking to provide real guidance to establish evidence-based social assistance rates in our province that reflect the actual needs of Ontarians living in receipt of social assistance.
Based on poverty rights group Maytree’s statistics, on average there were about 619,000 cases—families and single adults—in Ontario’s social assistance programs during 2019-20. Around 39%—240,545—received Ontario Works, and 61%—378,441—received ODSP. The sum total of beneficiaries of OW and ODSP is estimated to be 963,489 for the year 2019-20. I can only imagine what these numbers are today in 2022.
That’s nearly 620,000 families whose lives would be changed forever if this legislation was passed. Think of the number of parents who would no longer need to go hungry so that their children have something to eat. This is an opportunity for all members of this great Legislature to make their mark on history and truly do something that will improve the lives of nearly one in 16 people in our province.
I’m proud to use my time today to speak to these very important matters. I have no shame in bringing forward the legislation for what seems like the 10th time. It’s a good bill that always received unanimous support. I hope that Bill 92 receives the same level of support this evening, and I am more optimistic than ever that this House will carry this legislation past the finish line. Thank you.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): I recognize the member from Eglinton–Lawrence.
Mrs. Robin Martin: I’d like to thank the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek for the opportunity to speak to his bill and for bringing this bill forward for debate. I would really like to thank him for mentioning Schoolhouse Rock! and taking me back to some great videos which I enjoyed when I was a child and certainly enjoyed with my children. We still have them. I watch them regularly to get my multiplication going again and the Conjunction Junction and all that stuff. I love Schoolhouse Rock!, so thank you for bringing that memory back.
I am, as ever, grateful to my constituents, friends and neighbours for trusting me to be here today to represent them and to have been here for the last few years to represent them in this Legislature. It is a great honour, of course, to be here. I’m pleased to stand here and talk about this bill and debate Bill 92, An Act to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act to establish the Social Assistance Research Commission. Members on all sides of this chamber know that social assistance, Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program are critical to those who have lost their jobs or who are unable to work for other reasons. We all know that the system itself is facing challenges that limit our ability to help people get back on their feet and that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated those challenges.
The government of Ontario has been hard at work ensuring that we are supporting social assistance recipients and providing them with meaningful opportunities to find jobs and to get their lives back on track. Our plan is about finding a more effective, sustainable approach to support people and help people prepare to return to work and achieve better outcomes so that they can build better lives for themselves and for their families.
The proposal in Bill 92 is aligned with our plan, and I’m very happy to see that that plan has bipartisan support in this Legislature.
One aspect of this bill that I’m particularly supportive of is its emphasis on the importance of data in policy-making. The importance of data in policy-making in this area has been critical to our government ever since we were elected in 2018, when we started to develop and implement a modernized vision for social assistance. Based on a 2018 study, caseworkers spent approximately a quarter of their day, about 400 hours a year, filing and organizing paperwork, and ODSP offices alone were generating over 35,000 pieces of paper a day.
The government knows that Ontario’s caseworkers want to focus on results for people rather than paperwork, and our government has acted to ensure they can do that. We are making it easier to access support with new digital tools and modern service options, including an online application form, an expansion of the MyBenefits platform and new communication channels to allow two-way digital messaging between clients and caseworkers.
The steps our government has taken have modernized the system, and we are transforming the system to provide better support for our most vulnerable citizens while also allowing front-line staff to focus on results for people rather than on filing paperwork. These changes are helping people to return to work and to enjoy the fruits of greater participation in their communities. We all want to participate more in our communities, and we know that social assistance recipients want that as well. We want to make sure that happens for them.
The same spirit motivated consultations in advance of the poverty reduction strategy. We received nearly 2,600 responses to the online consultation and close to 300 written submissions. This included responses from over 700 service providers and employers, and that has led to a government-wide approach which includes broad measures, such as the investment of $1.2 billion last year in the Ontario Child Benefit, or the CARE tax credit, which has been providing about 300,000 families with up to 75% of their eligible child care expenses. The low-income individuals and families tax credit has Ontario personal income tax being reduced or eliminated for about 1.1 million people. It also includes more targeted investments like the investment of $90 million to provide dental care to 100,000 low-income seniors; as well, through our Roadmap to Wellness, which is supporting investments of $3.8 billion over 10 years to create a coordinated mental health system that supports people to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.
The Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development is improving access to employment and training services and helping connect those who can work with meaningful employment in the community. The government of Ontario launched three pilots as we moved forward with our work to strengthen employment services for those on social assistance in Peel, Muskoka-Kawarthas and Hamilton-Niagara.
In addition, our government passed the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, which will help turn our vision for Ontario’s social assistance system into reality. As a result of this, Ontario Works and ODSP clients will benefit from a new system that will be easier to use, more localized and will be provided with the training necessary to help individuals find meaningful employment. And I know the member opposite mentioned that his riding is one of the most impoverished in Ontario, and so I’m delighted to see that some of these programs are actually in the Hamilton-Niagara area and hopefully helping some of his constituents as well.
As we get the economy moving again, we need to be ready to assist those are able to work so that they can start moving into the workforce. There is dignity and hope for the future in a job. The government of Ontario is not taking a cookie-cutter or a one-size-fits-all approach. We recognize that this is about real people in need of assistance, and we want to be there to help them. We’re doing what we can to make sure that happens. As a result of these things, I’m very happy to say our government will be supporting Bill 92.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): I recognize the member from Oakville North–Burlington.
Ms. Effie J. Triantafilopoulos: I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill 92 today as well as my colleague from Eglinton–Lawrence. I want to thank the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek for bringing this bill back before the House. The social assistance system in Ontario today, which we inherited from the previous government, is facing challenges that limit our ability to help people get back on their feet, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated those challenges.
Our government has worked with our municipal partners and developed a shared vision for social assistance. Our vision is focused on the people we serve and how we can connect them to supports that respond to their unique needs and the barriers they face. This vision will ensure front-line workers have more time to focus on connecting clients with supports like job readiness programs, housing, child care, skills training and mental health services, and we’ve backed up our vision with action.
Our government passed the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, which will help turn our vision for Ontario’s social assistance system into reality, where Ontario Works and ODSP clients will benefit from a new system that will be easier to use, more localized, and will provide the training necessary to help individuals find meaningful employment.
We raised social assistance rates when we formed government. Knowing the challenges posed by the pandemic, we invested more than $1 billion in the social services relief fund and in expanding access to temporary emergency assistance for those in financial crisis. We’ve stressed the importance of the federal government’s immediate delivery of their campaign promise to support individuals with a disability through the establishment of a Canadian disability benefit, and we’re going to continue to do so.
This bill proposes to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act to establish a commission called the Social Assistance Research Commission. That commission would consist of people with expertise relevant to the commission’s work, providing recommendations on social assistance rates as well as other recommendations related to social assistance policy in this province.
Listening to those with lived experience is what our government did in developing the poverty reduction strategy. The new strategy was formed by province-wide consultation that took place in 2020. There were nearly 2,600 responses received through the government’s online consultations, including from over 700 service providers and employers, and close to 300 written submissions. Respondents to our survey included municipal stakeholders, charities, not-for-profits and Indigenous organizations, and we heard from organizations that provide services targeted towards women, francophones, racialized groups, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and single parents.
We listened to this broad-based input carefully and developed a plan that will help the Ontarians who need it most. And we’ve made investments to support those who need it most. Our government invested a total of more than $1 billion in social services relief funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes direct funding for individuals in financial crisis and funding for municipalities and social service providers.
On top of these immediate supports, we are taking a whole-of-government approach that builds on the government’s COVID-19 response and leverages initiatives already under way across government, including the micro-credential strategy which will help people with in-demand skills that prepare them for the jobs of the future and includes $75 million over two years to simplify the system and remove obstacles for apprentices to begin their careers, and improving mental health and addictions services through the Roadmap to Wellness, supported by $3.9 billion over 10 years.
Our government has committed $1 billion to build thousands of new child care spaces in schools over the coming years, on top of the 19,563 new spaces already added in 2020. In order to continue to bring children out of poverty, our government invested roughly $1.2 billion last year in the Ontario Child Benefit.
We’re investing $90 million to provide dental care to 100,000 low-income seniors. We introduced the CARE tax credit, which will provide about 300,000 families with up to 75% of their eligible child care expenses. This work builds on our government’s new low-income individuals and families tax credit, which will result in Ontario personal income tax being reduced or eliminated for about 1.1 million people.
Too many people live in poverty in this province, and around 850,000 Ontarians benefit from some form of social assistance. We are committed to continuing to challenge the status quo when we find programs that reinforce silos and present obstacles, so that we can connect people to employment.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): Thank you.
I apologize to the official opposition for missing your rotation. I now recognize the member from Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Joel Harden: That’s okay, Speaker. This government has a lot more to apologize for. Your transgression is minor.
Let me begin. I love the member for Eglinton–Lawrence talking about everything they’re doing for caseworkers in the Ontario Disability Support Program. I wonder if, through you, Speaker, I could ask the member, how many ODSP caseworkers has the member talked to? Can you throw me out a number? How many have you actually spoken to, I’ll ask the member through you. I’m not hearing a number. It’s really too bad, because in Ottawa, I’ve had the chance to talk to many. Guess what caseload amount folks who are working with people on ODSP are dealing with? Over 400 clients—common.
As I said earlier today in debate, this government cynically asked people with disabilities on ODSP during the pandemic to chase their ODSP worker if they wanted a $100-a-month benefit during COVID. That lasted for four months and then they took it away because, as the Premier said himself, the solution is to get a job.
At the moment when that happened, when they took that measly $100 away, where they asked people to chase their ODSP worker, who have on average over 400 clients per person, as they try to digitize their work, I said to the Premier—and I’ll say it again through you, Speaker, and I’ll say to that member over there fluffing us with ridiculous statistics, what exactly was the government asking people on ODSP to do during a pandemic? Were they asking them, many of whom are immunocompromised, to just go out into the workforce and apply for jobs? “Go to the grocery store. Why not? Do you have any immunocompromised conditions? Just go get a job if you can’t find your ODSP worker to apply for that measly $100 a month.”
Do you know how many of the 500,000 folks actually got that $100 a month? Less than 38% of the caseload. They put people in that [inaudible] place. Right over here, Speaker, these are the people who legislated poverty, humiliated people with disabilities living in poverty, making them chase after caseworkers, and they have the gall this afternoon to talk about the wonderful things they’re doing with the Ontario Disability Support Program to make people’s lives better. It’s an insult to every single person in this province the member has named who actually gives a darn about people who suffer and live in poverty.
Speaker, as I’ve said before in this place, I speak from experience. When my mom’s first marriage fell apart, we were on social assistance for five years in the late 1970s. And I can tell you, we would not have made it through were it not for the benefit we got through our church and through our small town of Vankleek Hill, Ontario. We would not have made it through. And we didn’t live on the benefits that this government legislates, that Premier Harris introduced in the mid-1990s, where he, in a single day, cut benefits by 21.6%. His social services minister at the time, Mr. Tsubouchi, told people to go find dented cans of tuna if they had a hard time. What a disgusting excuse for a politician.
What did this government do? What did this government do to reverse that legacy? Absolutely nothing. They made it worse. They made it worse in a pandemic, and that’s why none of them can make eye contact with me right now—none of them. If I was government, my first order of business would be to help people who are most marginalized get out of poverty, not to make it worse, not to cynically make them chase around their ODSP caseworker. But that’s what all of you did. So don’t stand before us as the members talking about researching chronic poverty and tell us you’ve done anything to help people out.
Let’s hear some of the excuses: the LIFT tax credit that they say is going to help 1.1 million people climb out of poverty. Do you know the assumption behind that, Speaker? That every single person—
Mr. Joel Harden: What’s the chirping over there, House leader? Sorry?
Hon. Paul Calandra: On a point of order—
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): Point of order.
Hon. Paul Calandra: If the gentleman wants to know what the chirping is, he has maligned the character of somebody who he knows and his party knows to be a good individual, and he should maybe apologize. What we don’t do here is—
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): It’s not a point of order.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): It’s not a point of order.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): I’ll return to the member from Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Joel Harden: I’ll say, through you, Speaker, to that member who just spoke, anybody who has the temerity to tell people in poverty to go hunt for dented cans of tuna after you cut their incomes by a fifth, every letter of the word I used deserves every word—and worse, because that government of the day didn’t care, and this government of the day apparently doesn’t care either.
You actually make people live in poverty. You preside over the poverty of 500,000 people on ODSP and the other balance of the folks—the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek said—are on Ontario Works. That is your job. You are their jailer. You are the person who could make a difference in their lives right now, but you do nothing. You do gimmicks and baubles. That’s on them. It’s not at all a matter of debate, and when this member’s research commission reveals yet again the truth that we’ve known for a long time, there will be yet more evidence to the fact.
We’ve just been through a basic income pilot, Speaker. It’s called the Canada emergency recovery benefit. In the pandemic, we said that nine million Canadians who were thrown out of work by this pandemic could count on $2,000 a month. But when have we ever had that level of urgency for people with disabilities and people living in poverty, as my family did once upon a time? Not once. There’s the discrimination right there.
I’ll end on this note, Speaker. I’m very proud that the federal NDP, the former disabilities critic, Daniel Blaikie, got up in the House of Commons and said, after great consultation—and I know the member wants to do it through his work—that there should be a disability benefit nationally of $2,000 a month. Why would we say it’s okay for some people who are absolutely hurt structurally by their living conditions to have a different level of life than people who have been hurt by this pandemic?
Think about the veterans who were disabled from the war, whom we honour every Remembrance Day every year—the first mass disability rights movement. They came back from that war, having fought intolerance for us, and they came home and said disability rights are among the most important things this country should challenge. We should champion them, but generation after generation of politicians in this place have only made it worse. We will shovel money out the door for the rich and famous. We will let them write off stock options. We will subsidize their lavish lifestyles with public dollars, but we will continue to watch people in poverty on OW or on ODSP suffer.
Today, as the disabilities critic for the province, Speaker, I’ve had enough with pomp and circumstance. This government should do more than rhetoric. I know they get the calls that we get. I know they know people are hurting out there. I know the member cares about this with this legislation, and I hope that this legislation passes. But what I want to see is action from this government, not pomp and circumstance, not gimmicks and baubles—real help for people with disabilities.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): Before I continue with further remarks, I’ll just remind everyone in the House to please channel your remarks through the Chair and not across the aisle towards each other.
The member from Timiskaming–Cochrane.
Mr. John Vanthof: It’s always an honour to speak in this House, and today on Bill 92, the social assistance research commission, brought forward by the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek. This bill has been brought forward many times by the member on the issue of people living in poverty and how to help them out of poverty. I would say that before I got here, like many Ontarians, I didn’t understand the issue and still don’t fully, but there is a level of—I’m looking for the word—discrimination against people who, for no fault of their own, can’t work.
Hon. Paul Calandra: Like a Japanese Canadian member of Parliament whose family was interned?
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): Order.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): Order. I would ask you to channel your comments through the Chair.
Mr. John Vanthof: And because of that, a lack of understanding, and the one thing someone like me who has been very fortunate my whole career to have not experienced—my parents were immigrants, and we experienced a lack of funds but never true poverty, especially on a farm, and never a lack of a way forward. I think one of the things that this commission, if and when it’s brought to fruition, will look at is the differences in areas of the province: the differences in costs, the differences in opportunity or lack thereof.
I’m sure all the members deal with cases in our offices that just—they break your heart. It’s unbelievable. And it’s through no fault—and that’s the discrimination I’m talking about, Speaker. There is this underlying, “Well, if they could only have done this,” or “If they would only do this, or that.” The people I see in my office, the people who we work with—the ODSP caseworkers, with the workload they are under, are unable to fully do their job because they just have too much job to do. As a result, it’s more like an assembly line than a system to deal with fellow Ontarians.
So I commend the member for once again bringing this forward. I understand that the government is going to support this on second reading. It’s really important that this place—that we—speak for those who have the least voice. Often people with very little financial capability, through no fault of their own, have the hardest time being a voice. I commend the member for once again bringing this bill forward and that we can have this discussion.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): I return to the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek for a two-minute reply.
Mr. Paul Miller: I’d like to thank the member from Eglinton–Lawrence, the member from Oakville North–Burlington, the member from Ottawa Centre for his passionate lived experience that he shared with us, and the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane.
Speaker, I’ve brought this bill forward many times in the last few years, and it always does what it’s doing today. It passes second reading, unanimous. Everybody likes it. Then, of course, it goes to committee, and it’s either that the House gets prorogued or it stays there too long or it’s not dealt with, not brought back by the government to be on the order paper. This has gone on many times. But while all that has been going on all those years, people are suffering out there, and it’s gotten worse, especially during the pandemic.
In my riding, you need a box of Kleenex on my front desk for the people who come in there who are in such rough shape, which maybe a lot of us have never been exposed to. But we can keep doing what we’re doing, and the people are frustrated, hurt, and we keep—you know, I appreciate the government’s support. I appreciate the official opposition’s support. But the bottom line is, as the member from Ottawa stated, nothing ever goes to the end. It doesn’t get to third reading. It doesn’t get to royal assent.
I have to keep telling the people in my riding and across Ontario who are suffering—they really don’t believe the government cares. They’ve come to a point now where it’s “those politicians.” I really don’t like being branded with that type of situation with my constituents and many others. We have to do something to help the people in this province. They’re hurting big time now, worse than ever, and if we don’t do anything, I personally think all of us should have trouble looking in the mirror.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): The time provided for private members’ public business has expired.
Mr. Miller, Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, has moved second reading of Bill 92, An Act to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act to establish the Social Assistance Research Commission. 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.”
I believe the nays have it.
A recorded division being required, the vote on this item of private members’ public business will be deferred until the next proceeding of deferred votes.
Second reading vote deferred.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bill Walker): All matters related to private members’ public business having been completed, this House stands adjourned until 10:15 tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 1736.