43rd Parliament, 1st Session

L030 - Mon 21 Nov 2022 / Lun 21 nov 2022


The House met at 1015.

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


Members’ Statements

Health care funding

Mr. Lorne Coe: Ontario is providing $175 million to hospitals through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund and over $7.6 million to community health service providers through the Community Infrastructure Renewal Fund. Within the region of Durham, the Lakeridge Health network will be receiving approximately $1.32 million and the Carea Community Health Centre, $87,000.

This funding allows health care system partners like Lakeridge Health to address urgent infrastructure renewal needs, such as upgrades or replacements of roofs, windows and security systems. These are essential improvements that will, in return, deliver excellent care to patients on the front line in a safe and comfortable environment. Through the 2022 Ontario budget, Ontario’s Plan to Build, and as part of its plan to build a stronger, more convenient and connected health care system, the government is implementing the most ambitious plan for hospital expansion in Ontario’s history. This includes supporting more than 50 major hospital projects that would add 3,000 new beds over 10 years.

Children’s health care

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: As I happen to rise on November 21, which is the day to commemorate St. Michael the Archangel in the old calendar, I want to wish all those celebrating a happy saint day. Srećna slava.

The months-long shortage of basic children’s pain and fever medication has impacted families across the province. For too long, most parents and caregivers have been unable to find any on shelves with or without a prescription. The little supply that can be found for sale online has been reported for sale as high as $300 by price gougers.


This shortage has left many parents feeling desperate and panicked as we head into the height of cold and flu season. Matters have gotten so bad that the Ontario Poison Centre has been receiving calls about children who have been given incorrect doses of adult pain medication.

The shortage has put additional stress on our hospitals as many parents have rushed their children to emergency departments because they were unable to manage fevers at home. Hospitals have had to postpone long-awaited surgeries and have also considered transferring patients to Buffalo for treatment because they’re so overwhelmed.

A shipment of this children’s medication is finally on the way, but if you ask parents and guardians, it isn’t coming fast enough. Plans have to be made now so that when the shipments arrive, medications are distributed fairly, and the government must do everything in its power to prevent hoarding and price gouging.

And, finally, these shortages show why we must bring back manufacturing to Ontario so we are not so reliant on the whims of international suppliers, whether it’s for medication or so many other things.

Canada men’s national soccer team

Mr. Hardeep Singh Grewal: For the first time since 1986, the Canadian men’s soccer team will be playing in the FIFA World Cup hosted in Qatar. Not only is this a proud moment for Canadians as we enter the cup after 36 years, it’s a proud moment for Bramptonians as well.

Speaker, Brampton is a city with an immense amount of talent, and a week ago Canada’s roster for the FIFA World Cup was announced. I’m so proud to hear that over a quarter—seven out of 26 players—on the Canadian men’s national team will be from the great city of Brampton. All seven of these players started their youth career in the city of Brampton. The dedication these men have displayed throughout their careers is not only impressive but is motivating for our youth and for our community.

I would like to acknowledge the seven Bramptonians representing team Canada in the FIFA World Cup: Cyle Larin, Liam Millar, Jonathan Osorio, Iké Ugbo, Tajon Buchanan, Junior Hoilett and Atiba Hutchinson. These players are homegrown heroes and, as we prepare for the games to begin, we as a community are extremely excited to cheer them on, as well as all of team Canada, as they head to their first game with Belgium on November 23.

Government accountability

Ms. Jessica Bell: Democracy is important. Humanity struggled for hundreds and hundreds of years to secure democracy. People went to war to uphold democracy. People have lost their lives to secure the right to vote.

Bill 39 is an affront to representative democracy. It is not democratic to have eight out of 25 councillors decide matters that affect 2.9 million people. It is not democratic to have the Premier do away with an election and hand-pick regional chairs.

This has nothing to do with solving the housing affordability crisis, and this has everything to do with taking power away from citizens and concentrating power in the hands of the Premier and the mayor of Toronto.

True leadership means governing for everyone, not just the few. True leadership means listening and collaborating with all Ontarians, not just the ones that donated to your election campaign.

This government has political power—it’s true—but Ontarians have people power. We have people power. And people power always wins, provided that we exercise it. Thank you to the many of you who have written letters, made phone calls, attended protests, joined advocacy groups, spoke out in the media, are going to court and who are persuading and encouraging your friends and neighbours to speak up and get active.

In the face of a government that does not respect democratic norms, our involvement has never been more important.

Chambers of commerce awards of excellence

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Woodstock chambers of commerce have recently handed out their annual awards of excellence. These awards honour local businesses and entrepreneurs for their success and recognize their contributions to our community.

I’d like to congratulate each of this year’s winners. From the Ingersoll chamber: E&E McLaughlin Ltd, Red Dragon Dairy, Kayla Han for Youth Citizen of the Year award, Ian Robertson for the Mark Warnick Citizen of the Year award and Ella Shelton for the President’s Award.

From Tillsonburg chamber of commerce: Tillsonburg Garden Gate, Tillson Pizza, Fleetwood Metal Industries, Legend Fleet Solutions, Execulink Telecom, Martinrea International, Rob Bilger for Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Amy Rohrer for the Esseltine positive change award.

From the Woodstock chamber of commerce: VON Sakura House, Noods Pasta, Oxford Energy Solutions, Paws Up Obedience Training, the WOMB, Jarful Local Refillery, Willow Grove Animal Wellness Centre and Jack Streef for the President’s Award.

Mr. Speaker, these winners demonstrate that Oxford spirit, hard work, innovation and community giving is going strong in Ontario.

Gender-based violence

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: I rise today to honour that, at the end of this week, on Friday, November 25, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign will begin.

In this chamber, we have an obligation to reach across the aisle and across communities to do everything in our power to end violence against women and girls. In this province, we have the road map to reduce, prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

Over the summer, the coroner’s office reported that the province’s inquest into the triple homicide in rural Renfrew county resulted in 86 recommendations; 68 were directed at this provincial government. It has been six months, and this provincial government has not publicly responded to the inquest recommendations in any way—ranging from formally declaring intimate partner violence as an epidemic to the creation of a survivor-advocate role to looking into interpersonal disclosure laws, like my PMB, Clare’s Law.

If we only use our voices to memorialize and honour those we lost, while being silent when asked to meet the moment with action, then we need to reflect deeply on our own values.

These recommendations are responsible and reasonable, and it’s our obligation as leaders in the province to make sure they see action. We all know that the vast majority of domestic homicides are both predictable and preventable. I hope all my colleagues will challenge gender-based violence with action.

Seniors Community Grant Program / Health care funding

Ms. Christine Hogarth: Good morning, everyone. I’m delighted to report that last week the riding of Etobicoke was packed with great news for my constituents.

First, let me express thanks to my colleague the honourable Minister for Seniors and Accessibility for the pending announcement of the recipients in my riding of funding for this year’s Seniors Community Grant Program, totalling nearly $130,000. Thank you, Minister. These grants are awarded to organizations that help seniors stay fit, active and healthy, and they recognize the debt of service we owe our elders, those who built this province and served as the mainstays for our families.

Second, I am thrilled to report that the fabled Dorothy Ley Hospice will receive two additional beds as part of the Ontario government’s Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery strategy. The hospice commemorates Dr. Dorothy Ley, who pioneered hospice care in Ontario. During her career, Dorothy Ley became an internationally respected oncologist before herself succumbing to cancer in 1994. This funding stands as an additional tribute to her memory.

Third, and finally, I’m pleased to share news of significant funding for upgrades, repairs, and maintenance for hospitals and community health centres serving my region’s residents. Trillium Health Partners will receive more than $4.2 million from the province’s Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund, and Unity Health Toronto will benefit from $10 million over the same period for the same purpose.

These investments will ensure patients can continue to access the care they need while providing our area’s health system with the tools to improve health care for all Ontarians. Taken together, these all share a common goal for helping to make Etobicoke–Lakeshore one of the best places to live, work and raise a family.

Municipal planning

Ms. Stephanie Bowman: I would like to address the pressing matter of the flawed Bill 23 and the Conservative government’s broken promise to protect our greenbelt. Paving over farmland reduces local food production, which contributes to higher prices and makes it harder for Ontarians to put food on the table. Thousands of people are reaching out to this government through their MPPs, through petitions and rallies, asking them to reconsider. Is this government listening?


Their own housing task force says, “A shortage of land isn’t the cause of the problem. Land is available, both inside the existing built-up areas and on undeveloped land outside greenbelts.”

The land in the greenbelt, meant to be permanently protected, provides our food, clean drinking water and clean air. Proposing to replace it with different land, protected only until this government breaks that promise too, would be laughable if it were not so sad.

Bill 23 threatens existing affordable rental housing. My constituents in Don Valley West and Thorncliffe Park, many of whom are new Canadians, are worried that the 50-year-old apartment buildings they live in are being worn down and can be torn down under this bill and not replaced, forcing them out of their community. They need affordable housing in their community, not houses in the greenbelt that line the pockets of Conservative donors and greenbelt land speculators.

With petitions of thousands opposing Bill 23, it’s clear that Ontarians do not support this bill and want major amendments made. Is this government listening?

Downtown Chatham Centre project

Mr. Trevor Jones: Speaker, there’s a special energy and optimism in Chatham-Kent right now. Recently, a small group of local business leaders purchased the Downtown Chatham Centre—a large, outdated, underoccupied mall. In earnest and at their own expense, these community partners developed a visionary concept for the future of the downtown entitled Imagine CK. This bold plan proposes entertainment, education, culture, accessible resources, business and a wide range of modern housing to the downtown core, all while preserving charm and historic features and facades. Most importantly, this was accomplished in collaboration with residents and officials.

A modern, inclusive community hub will serve as the new library, art gallery, museum and civic centre. This new design replaces and centralizes several aging, inefficient municipal offices requiring millions of dollars in repairs. Once complete, this hub will also showcase Chatham-Kent’s rich agricultural roots and celebrate the area’s important Black and Indigenous history.

Anchored by a new state-of-the-art family-focused entertainment complex, the second phase includes a modern 4,000-seat multi-use arena as well as space for farmers’ markets, festivals and concerts. With a focus on sustainable growth that embraces multi-generational residents and youth retention, Imagine CK offers people of all ages a reason to make Chatham-Kent their home and brings meaningful, well-paying employment and a multitude of lifestyle opportunities back to the area.

Canada men’s national soccer team

Mr. Graham McGregor: November 23, 2022, Speaker: That’s the date when 26 players on Team Canada’s men’s rosters will make history, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast will stand witness. For the first time since 1986, and only for the second time ever, Canada’s men’s team has qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

Speaker, this World Cup could not be more special to the great people of Brampton. As a certified Brampton boy, it fills me with tremendous pride to say seven of the 26 players on Canada’s World Cup roster are from Brampton. Speaker, they would have had an eighth player from Brampton, but I told them that I was busy in this House, fighting for taxpayers.

I’ve had the privilege to rise in this House on multiple occasions and speak on behalf of my constituents and the residents of Brampton. I know how hard they work for what they have. Brampton is home to people from all walks of life, who chose to build their home here and make a life that they are proud of. The hard work, the sacrifice, the resilience—I see it every day in Brampton North. It makes me proud to be their voice here at Queen’s Park.

I want to wish Tajon Buchanan, Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio, Junior Hoilett, Liam Millar, Atiba Hutchinson, Iké Ugbo and the rest of the team the best of luck. This is a historical moment. I encourage every member of this House to cheer on our Canadian boys as they take on the world in Qatar.

Introduction of Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m pleased to say that we have with us in the Speaker’s gallery today a very special guest, Ms. Susan Crystal, who is the consul general of the United States of America, based here in Toronto. She is accompanied by Michael Benton, Claudia Valladolid, Paul Hur and Katherine Zhang from the US Consulate General.

Please join me in warmly welcoming our guests.

Miss Monique Taylor: I’d like to welcome the Ontario Medical Association, who is with us today. We have Marla DiCandia and Lou Vedovat, and doctors from my riding: Dr. Luay Ali Al-Kazely, Dr. Karen Trollope-Kumar, Dr. Teresa Chan, Dr. Ross Male and Dr. Raymond Harb. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Monte McNaughton: I’d like to introduce the following members from the Ontario General Contractors Association: Lewis Cowan, president, BDA, and chair of the OGCA executive committee; Sheila Thompson, president, Rosenberg and Parker of Canada; Francis Pomerleau, chief executive, national strategies, Pomerleau; and David Morley, VP, national strategy and government relations. Welcome to Queen’s Park, and thanks for building Ontario.

MPP Jill Andrew: I’d like to thank the Ontario Medical Association for a wonderful meeting today, and especially Dr. Naomi Macrae, Dr. Victoria Young, Dr. Hava Starkman, Dr. Kunal Kolhatkar, Dr. Ali Kajdehi, Dr. Inna Ushcatz, Dr. Raghu Venugopal, and Dr. Lorne Sokol. Thank you for your outstanding work and for meeting with me today. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mme Lucille Collard: I would also like to welcome members of the Ontario Medical Association from the Ottawa region: Dr. Aly Abdulla, Dr. Tarun Rahman, Dr. Alan Drummond, Dr. Bev Johnson, Dr. Reed Morrison, Dr. Sephora Tang and Dr. Karen Breeck. I’m looking forward to meeting you later. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: As with others, I would like to welcome the Ontario Medical Association. I am pleased to recognize the doctors in the public gallery who have come from across Ontario to meet with MPPs to share their solutions for increasing patient access to care.

As part of today, the OMA is hosting a panel discussion with doctors who will be sharing solutions for reducing wait times, addressing the doctor shortage and expanding palliative care. The event starts at noon in room 230.

I would also like to recognize and introduce the leaders of the Ontario Medical Association, who are in the members’ gallery: CEO, Allan O’Dette; board chair, Dr. Cathy Faulds; and president, Dr. Rose Zacharias. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mme France Gélinas: I want to wish everybody from the Ontario Medical Association a warm welcome to Queen’s Park; I’m trying to take names off my list, as some of you have already been introduced, but certainly: Dr. Rose Zacharias, president of the OMA; Stephen Singh, president of the palliative care group; Cathy Mastrogiacomo, family medicine group; David Urbach from Women’s College; and, of course, Dr. Vera Etches from Ottawa Public Health. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton: I’d like to introduce guests who are here today for Doctors’ Day, which I remember participating in, myself, a number of years ago: from the Ontario Medical Association, from the Ottawa region, Dr. Aly Abdulla, who I have known for a very long time, and his colleagues. Welcome. I look forward to our meeting today.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Like everyone else, I’d like to welcome members of the Ontario Medical Association here, but particularly my friend and constituent Dr. Audrey Karlinsky.

Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria: I just want to introduce a good friend and a past president of the OMA who is here with us today—a great golfer as well, as I just found out: Adam Kassam, welcome. Thank you.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Like other MPPs, I’d like to welcome the OMA to Queen’s Park, in particular: Dr. Ganesh Ram, Dr. Andrew Park, Dr. Sunit Nanda; Dr. Sean Peterson, from the London area; and Dr. Cathy Faulds and Dr. Sharad Rai, who I know are London West constituents.


Ms. Goldie Ghamari: I’d like to welcome from the Ontario Medical Association, Dr. Aly Abdulla, and, my own Ottawa medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, as well as several other doctors from the Ottawa area who have joined us here today.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I want to introduce one of the doctors from my area of Algoma–Manitoulin, from the place so nice they named it twice, in Wawa. Welcome to Queen’s Park, Dr. Switzer.

Mr. Ted Hsu: I’d like to welcome several physicians from Kingston and the Islands. I have Dr. Joy Hataley, Dr. Premkumar, Dr. Veronica Legnini, Dr. Salim, Dr. Rao, Dr. Burley and Dr. Rijal. Thank you very much. I’m looking forward to seeing you later today, and welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Todd Smith: I’d like to welcome a good friend of mine visiting from eastern Ontario today. He’s not a doctor—he’s actually a lousy golfer. His name is Brian Erwin and he’s from McDougall Insurance, part of the IBAO delegation here today. Welcome, Brian.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes our introduction of visitors.

The government House leader has informed me that he has a point of order he wishes to raise.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent that, notwithstanding standing order 74(b), the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy be authorized to meet to consider Bill 23, An Act to amend various statutes, to revoke various regulations and to enact the Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022, this afternoon.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Calandra is seeking the unanimous consent of the House that, notwithstanding standing order 74(b), the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy be authorized to meet to consider Bill 23, An Act to amend various statutes, to revoke various regulations and to enact the Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022, this afternoon.

Agreed? I heard a no.

Independent members

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa–Vanier has a point of order.

Mme Lucille Collard: I am seeking unanimous consent that, notwithstanding standing order 45(b)(iv), the time for debate on opposition day motion number 3 be allocated as follows: 54 minutes to each of the recognized parties and 12 minutes to the independent members as a group.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Madame Collard is seeking the unanimous consent of the House that, notwithstanding standing order 45(b)(iv), the time for debate on opposition day motion 3 be allocated as follows: 54 minutes to each of the recognized parties and 12 minutes to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to withdraw his unparliamentary remark.

Hon. Steve Clark: Withdraw, Speaker.

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

Question Period

Health care

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. For months, there have been worrying signals from this government about their plans to privatize parts of our public health care system. In August, the Minister of Health received speaking notes that included the phrase, “No, we are not privatizing health care. Full stop.” But this phrase was scribbled out and never used by the minister. Why did the minister or her staff cross out this phrase in her speaking notes?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I will answer that question the same way I answered that question in August: No, no, no. We will continue to fund health care in the province of Ontario so that people get the health care they deserve in the communities they need to have that access to care. We have incredible doctors, nurses, physician assistants—I can go on and on—who are doing that work in hospitals, in community, in our long-term-care homes, and that work will continue.

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

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Going back to the Minister of Health: Ontarians are rightly concerned that this government is shifting our public system to US-style health care, and that’s the increasing delivery of our health care system by private interests.

The Minister’s notes also had this phrase crossed out: “I want to be clear, there has been no expansion to the number of private hospitals who offer publicly funded procedures in Ontario.”

Did the minister or her staff cross out that phrase because there are plans to expand the number of private hospitals and private facilities in Ontario?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I’m happy to point to the actions of our government: two new medical schools being built in the province of Ontario—unprecedented, in decades.

We have expanded the number of nurses who are training in the province of Ontario. We actually have programs that they can learn and stay, where we pay for their tuition and their books. We have expanded the number of physicians who can train in the province of Ontario. We have worked with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Nurses of Ontario to make sure that individuals who have applied and asked for licences in the province of Ontario get those assessments done quickly.

We are acting; you are fearmongering.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ll remind the members to make their comments through the Chair.

The final supplementary.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Well, there was certainly a big lack of denial in that answer.

Speaker, the minister’s answers today have been very concerning. I’ll give the minister one more chance to reassure Ontarians about our publicly funded, publicly delivered health care system.

Can the minister tell this House today that this government is not privatizing delivery or operation of our health care system?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ll ask the members to refer to each other by their riding names and, of course, interjections are always out of order.

The Minister of Health, to reply.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Speaker, I must ask: This member, this party—where were they in 2012 when the Auditor General highlighted the fact that we needed more family physicians in northern Ontario? Where were they, working with the Liberal government at the time? Were they actually calling for and advocating for more spots? Were they ensuring that individuals who wanted to practise in the province of Ontario had that opportunity? No, no, no.


Ms. Jessica Bell: My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

I was shocked to learn, Minister, that nine of the developers that own land being removed from the greenbelt donated more than $572,000 to the Conservative Party. These developers bought the protected land at a very cheap price, and now, with a stroke of your pen, they can develop that land for incredible profit.

Minister, how did you decide which land owned by which donor should be removed from the greenbelt?

Hon. Steve Clark: Our province, we’re in a housing crisis. We made a promise to Ontarians during the election that we would put a plan in place to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.

Ontario is expected to grow by more than two million people in the next 10 years—or in the next 15 years. As well, we know that the federal government will be expanding the number of new Canadians coming to our province. We need to ensure that we have a plan that not only builds the volume of homes that we need, but we also need the right types of homes.

So we’re going to continue to put forward amendments, legislation, regulation that gets us closer to that 1.5-million target.

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

Ms. Jessica Bell: Minister, the government’s own Housing Affordability Task Force made it very clear that access to land is not constraining supply and is not contributing to the housing affordability crisis.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is not happy with Bill 23. Since this government refused to extend the hearings and let them speak, I’ll read from their written submission: “The bill transfers up to $1 billion a year in costs from private sector developers to property taxpayers without any likelihood of improving affordability.” In other words, “Developers stand to gain. We all stand to lose. Housing will remain unaffordable.”

Minister, why proceed with the developer fee cuts if experts are telling you it won’t make housing affordable?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The members should make their comments through the Chair.

Minister of Municipal Affairs.


Hon. Steve Clark: The NDP has laid out their housing policy pretty clearly. They stand with higher fees that add up to $116,900 on the cost of a home in the greater Golden Horseshoe. That’s what—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Official opposition, come to order.

Hon. Steve Clark: Wait a minute, Speaker. If you listen really closely, you can hear the sound of NIMBYism coming from New Democrats.

They will always stand up for higher fees. They will always stand up for delay which adds cost at the end of the day. We’re going to stand with young families, with new Canadians and with seniors who want to realize the dream of home ownership. That’s who we stand up for.

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

Ms. Jessica Bell: Minister, this government has been in power for four years, and during that time, rent prices have gone up and housing prices have gone up, and nothing has become more affordable. That is your record.

The city of Toronto is very alarmed about Bill 23. In their submission, they say the city is on track to lose $230 million in fees at a time when they’re facing an $815-million budget shortfall. They will have no choice to postpone or cancel capital projects.

Minister, can you at least press pause on Bill 23 so the true consequences of this bill can be known?

Hon. Steve Clark: We know from our Housing Affordability Task Force that delays in the system cost the end user, whether it be a renter or a new homeowner—


Hon. Steve Clark: Again, I’m not going to take any lessons from the delay party, the party who says no to our housing supply action plan, More Homes, More Choice. They’ve said no when we provided protections under the community housing and protecting tenants act. They voted no to our More Homes for Everyone plan. They’re set again to vote no on our housing affordability plan, More Homes Built Faster Act—each and every time.

We’re going to continue to stand up for those taxpayers who want to realize the dream of home ownership. The NDP—it’s really Ontari-no that they stand up for.

Government accountability

Mr. Jeff Burch: Speaker, through you to the Premier: On the heels of controversial legislation that would axe conservation authorities, open up the greenbelt for development and download hefty costs from private developer friends of the Premier onto the backs of municipal taxpayers, this Premier is now forcing his unwanted and undemocratic strong-mayor scheme onto regional councils so he can wield even more power, giving himself the authority to hand-pick regional chairs whenever he chooses and institute minority rule.

This affront to democracy has left AMO, conservation authorities and newly elected municipal councils struggling to understand the Premier’s motives. Everyone knows it has nothing to do with building affordable homes.

Will the Premier admit he’s playing “let’s make a deal” politics, setting up a system where he can serve up our greenbelt and farmland to his rich friends in exchange for political support and donations to the Ontario PC Party?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): You cannot impute motive in the way that you just did. I’m going to ask you to rephrase the question.

Mr. Jeff Burch: Thank you, Speaker.

Is the Premier playing “let’s make a deal” politics, setting up a system where he can serve up our greenbelt and farmland to his rich friends for donations to the Ontario PC Party?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): No. It crosses the line to imputing motive. I ask you to withdraw. You must withdraw the statement.

Mr. Jeff Burch: Withdraw, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ll allow the Minister of Municipal Affairs a chance to respond to what was said.

Hon. Steve Clark: The Premier was honest, open and transparent when he indicated that he was going to extend the strong-mayor powers past the city of Toronto and Ottawa. We communicated that; people knew that. The Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act moves that forward. We want our mayors in those largest communities—if you look at the six regions that we focused on, there are going to be significant housing opportunities in those six regions. If you look at the housing targets that the government of Ontario gave those communities, 20 out of 29 municipalities that are listed will be in tune to build a minimum of 627,000 homes as part of our 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. We need to ensure that they’re set up for success. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question? The member for Toronto Centre.

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: My question is to the Premier. When Torontonians went to the voting station 29 days ago, they had no idea that Bill 39 was going to be tabled or that John Tory personally requested the steroid-injected, supersized mayor powers from you, enabling him to create new bylaws with only one third of city council votes. Many, including the mayor’s own supporters, are now having serious buyer’s remorse. Among others, local constituent Samantha wrote to my office stating, “Although I voted for Mayor Tory, I would not have if I was aware of his position on Bill 39.

“Democracy may be difficult at times to work within”—but it is possible—“majority plus one ... that is democracy and we all love it in Canada.”

Will this Premier respect Toronto’s local democracy and withdraw the undemocratic Bill 39?

Hon. Steve Clark: We put in place, earlier in this session, a bill that would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa the tools they need to get shovels in the ground faster on priority housing projects. We were responsive to Mayor Tory’s request, and it’s reflected in Bill 39.

The member can disagree with her former colleague at Toronto city council, but we are going to ensure that those mayors in Toronto and Ottawa and the work we’ll do in those six regions—that we’ll be able to get shovels in the ground.

We’ve got an ambitious plan, Speaker, one that will put a plan in place to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. A third of the growth in the next decade will take place in Toronto and Ottawa. We need to ensure that those mayors have the tools. This bill does just that.

Cost of living

Mr. Andrew Dowie: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Many constituents in my riding of Windsor–Tecumseh, including families, seniors and newcomers, continue to express concerns about the rising costs of living. Ontario is not an island, and we are not exempt from worldwide economic challenges driven by geopolitical instability. Ongoing supply chain disruptions and inflation levels that we have not seen in over four decades continue to negatively impact individuals and families.

Speaker, with our government’s recent release of the fall economic statement, could the minister explain what we are doing to provide financial relief for all Ontarians?

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Thank you to the member from Windsor–Tecumseh for that very important question. This government understands the people of Ontario are under pressure. Costs are going up, and we are facing an uncertain global economic environment.

That is why we have a plan to keep costs down and put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Ontarians. In the spring, we cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months. Our 2022 fall economic statement, if passed, would extend this real relief for millions of Ontarians until December 31, 2023.

We have a plan to keep costs down, and this is just one part of how we are getting the job done for the people of Ontario.

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

Mr. Andrew Dowie: Thank you to the minister for his response. Unfortunately, with inflation rising, the most vulnerable in Windsor–Tecumseh and across Ontario are affected the most. We’re seeing how rising costs are impacting people’s food budgets with prices significantly higher compared to just a year ago. For example, basic food items, such as margarine, pasta, coffee and tea, have all dramatically increased in cost. Food banks continue to report a significant increase in their usage compared to previous years.

Once again to the Minister of Finance: How is our government providing support that addresses the rising cost of living?

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Thank you again to the member for that question. The member is right. A measure like the gas and fuel tax cut provides relief to millions of Ontario drivers who need to drive to work or take their kids to school. At this time, with record-high inflation and many Ontarians uncertain about their finances, this government is focused on targeted supports for those who need it most. That is why we expanded the Low-Income Workers Tax Credit in our budget. That is why, in our fall economic statement, we’re proposing doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for all 12 months for recipients. We’re also adjusting ODSP to inflation and increasing the ODSP monthly earnings exemption from $200 to $1,000.

Whatever economic uncertainty may bring, our government has a plan.


Long-term care

Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour le premier ministre. This morning, the Ontario Health Coalition, the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and Goldblatt Partners law firm announced that they are launching a charter challenge against Bill 7. As you know, Speaker, Bill 7 takes away the right of frail elderly people to give consent and to keep their personal health information private.

All weekend, health care workers reached out to me—social workers, nurses, physicians. They do not want to have to tell their patients that they will be charged $400 a day if they refuse to be moved to a long-term-care home hundreds of kilometres away. Many of them will quit rather than do something that goes completely against their ethical and moral values.

You see, Speaker, contrary to this government, health care workers do not discriminate against frail elderly people. They care for them. Will the government do the right thing and repeal Bill 7?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the government House leader and Minister of Long-Term Care.

Hon. Paul Calandra: The short answer is, no. Obviously, Bill 7 is about the right care in the right place at the right time. We’ve said that right from the beginning. I don’t think anybody would suggest that the right place for somebody who wants to be in a long-term-care home is in a hospital bed. That is obviously not the right place for them. What Bill 7 allows us to do is continue those conversations to ensure that somebody who is waiting for a long-term-care bed can get access to that long-term-care bed.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, last week alone, over 330 ALC patients have chosen to go to long-term-care beds in the province of Ontario. It is a better quality of care; it is where they want to be. Very plainly to the member opposite: No, we will not repeal Bill 7 because it is in the best interest of people who are sitting in acute-care beds, keeping beds away from people who need them, and from people who want to be in long-term care. We’ll continue to work with patients to ensure that they can transition from being a patient to being a resident in a home.

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

Mr. Wayne Gates: My question is to the Premier. Some 5,000 seniors have died in long-term care under this government’s watch. Now, with Bill 7, the Conservatives will rip seniors and people with disabilities away from their families and force them into dangerous, understaffed, mostly private, for-profit long-term-care homes. If a senior refuses to go to one of those homes, the Premier has threatened to financially ruin them.

Our parents, our grandparents, our brothers and sisters will be forced into mostly private, for-profit homes with horrible records of neglect. I’m sure the owners of these homes are excited about even bigger profits, but the people of Ontario deserve better.

Bill 7 is cruel, will tear families apart and put more seniors’ lives at risk. When will the Premier admit that, do the right thing and please repeal Bill 7?

Hon. Paul Calandra: The member knows full well that we have no intention of repealing Bill 7, because it is in the best interests of those individuals who want to be in long-term care to get them into long-term care sooner—as soon as possible, Mr. Speaker, and that is what Bill 7 does. For far too long, people have been waiting in acute-care hospitals wanting to go into long-term care. Bill 7 allows us to do that because a long-term-care home is the right place for somebody who wants to transition into long-term care. These are people who are on the long-term-care home waiting list.

Now, we’ve gone even further than that. It wasn’t just about Bill 7. It’s also about the staffing, Mr. Speaker. That’s why we’ve increased staffing to four hours of care. We’ve made that commitment, and each and every year, we’re adding onto that commitment. In fact, in the member’s own riding—now, get this, Mr. Speaker—he voted against it. He voted against an increase in staffing of $4 million in 2021. He voted against $10 million the year after. He’s voted against $18 million for 2021-22 and he’s also voted against $26 million in extra nursing care in his own riding to support the over 400 new and redeveloped beds in his own community.

Rural and northern infrastructure / Infrastructures dans les régions rurales et nordiques

Mr. Kevin Holland: Whether it’s a local cultural centre or the municipal pool, residents, especially those in rural, remote and northern communities, rely on these types of facilities to stay connected to one another. We know that people’s lives are enhanced through community connection and interaction with others.

Unfortunately, under the previous Liberal government, the infrastructure needs of the people in these communities were often overlooked and neglected. That is why our government must take action by providing critical funding support.

Speaker, can my neighbour in the north, the Minister of Northern Development, please share with the House what support we are providing to communities in northern Ontario?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the Minister of Northern Development.

Hon. Greg Rickford: I’ll try, Mr. Speaker. It was great to be in beautiful Smooth Rock Falls last Friday to announce more than $750,000 in investments through the Community Enhancement Program of the modernized, new-look Northern Ontario Heritage Fund: upgrades and repairs to the municipal pools, revamping the community hall, renovating the Reg Lamy Cultural Centre and refurbishing the historic Mattagami Railroad Company steam locomotive.

The member opposite was there. He was all smiles, his Chiclets in full display. I had to remind his constituents that he voted against them, but I was going to give them an opportunity next spring, when we table our budget—with lots of support for northern Ontario—to stand with us and vote for those investments to northern Ontario.

How about that, Mr. Speaker?

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

Mr. Kevin Holland: Thank you, Minister, for that answer. It’s great to see how the minister and our government continue to support our rural, remote and northern communities. After many years of neglect, our northern community partners have gratefully acknowledged our government’s leadership.

The community infrastructure needs of northern Ontario are just as vital as anywhere else in this province. Local community infrastructure is a critical point of connection for recreation and cultural engagement opportunities.

Speaker, can the minister elaborate further on how local infrastructure support is essential for northern Ontario?

L’hon. Greg Rickford: Bien sûr, c’est vrai que nous sommes fiers du Programme pour l’amélioration communautaire. Dans les villes comme Smooth Rock Falls, un minimum de 90 % de ces projets sont couverts par le programme. C’est à propos de la qualité de vie, monsieur le Président, dans nos petites villes dans le nord de l’Ontario.

C’est pourquoi nous investissons dans les quatre projets suivants : moderniser la piscine municipale de Smooth Rock Falls, réorganiser la salle communautaire, la rénovation du Centre culturel Reg Lamy, et la remise à neuf de la locomotive à vapeur historique de la compagnie ferroviaire Mattagami.

Les électeurs de Smooth Rock Falls apprécient les contributions de notre gouvernement et ont été surpris que leur membre de la législature ait voté contre ces investissements. J’étais ravi de voir le député de Mushkegowuk–Baie James tout sourires à l’annonce et j’espère qu’il va supporter et voter—

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


Ms. Peggy Sattler: My question is to the Premier. Speaker, Kate recently moved to London and wants to get flu shots for her two kids. She can’t get the shots in a doctor’s office because she can’t find a family doctor. She can’t get the shots in the pharmacy because her youngest is under two. Since our local health unit doesn’t offer flu clinics, she must either wait hours in a crowded walk-in filled with sick people or drive outside the city.

She ended up booking in Guelph and says, “Sad and ironic that it is the pediatric hospitals that are overrun, and this was the only way to get a scheduled appointment for the age group that is filling up the hospitals.”

Speaker, why is this government not pulling out all the stops to help kids get their flu shots?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Health.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: In fact, Speaker, we are. We have the OMA here today. We have family physicians who are offering flu shots to their patients. We have public health units that are putting on clinics. We have local pharmacies that have historically offered flu shots in the province of Ontario and continue to do so. There are many different pathways for individuals who wish to get their flu shot, and I would strongly encourage they do so, to get it depending on what is convenient for them in their community.

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

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Speaker, another parent told me that she has been trying to get flu shots and COVID vaccines for her children since early October. She has a family doctor and was finally able to book an appointment but had to cancel because her daughter was sick. When she went to rebook, she was told vaccines were not available and she should keep calling back to see when another shipment arrives. She says it’s no wonder that children’s vaccination rates are low and calls this “an unacceptable rolling of the dice with the lives of small children and their families.”


Speaker, where is this government’s plan to make it easy for parents who want to get flu shots and COVID vaccines for their kids?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Speaker, in fact, earlier today, I was at a pharmaceutical distribution centre that has been tasked with distributing flu vaccines in the province of Ontario and was assured that almost all of them are out in pharmacies, in family physicians’ offices, in public health units.

We have invested and ensured that in the province of Ontario we have sufficient supplies of flu vaccines. It is now out in community, and I would encourage everyone who has the opportunity to go and get their flu shot as soon as possible.

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


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. The member for Brampton North will come to order.

Start the clock. The member for Beaches–East York.

Land use planning

Ms. Mary-Margaret McMahon: Today, I will speak about the greenbelt, with a question to the Premier. Yes, we’re in a housing crisis. We all know we’re in a housing crisis, and we wish to do something about it. But why step foot into the greenbelt when there are plenty of other options? We’re talking about building up existing communities. There are plenty of ideas—innovative, creative ideas—to do that.

Building up along the corridors in Toronto: Danforth corridor is in my area and it is on a subway line, so why not add up the two storeys and go up further? You’re talking to the biggest YIMBY you will ever meet. And why not encourage people to put in laneway suites, garden suites and secondary suites? Why not look at vacant properties, which you’re not doing? Why not look at all the great home-share organizations? There are over 2.2 million empty bedrooms in the city of Toronto. There are great programs partnering up students—

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

To reply on behalf of the government, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Steve Clark: Speaker, through you to the member—

Hon. Todd Smith: I think she just outlined all your bills.

Hon. Steve Clark: Exactly. Many of the things this member spoke about, the government has done. We’ve created an innovative guide for cohabitant homes, inspired by the Golden Girls of Port Perry. We’ve added a guide to create a second suite in your home: a laneway suite, a basement apartment. We’ve included in this Bill 23 that’s in front of us as-of-right to have those three units in homes across the province. Many of the initiatives the member talked about around intensification are really part of our transit-oriented communities program. So the only difference is, every time we put an amendment like what the member is proposing on the floor in a bill, her party votes against it.

We’re being very responsive to the Housing Affordability Task Force report. We are taking many of the suggestions and putting them in force against—

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

The supplementary question?

Ms. Mary-Margaret McMahon: Well, in some of those innovative initiatives that the minister was quoting—I actually started laneway suites in Toronto. It happened under my watch, as I spearheaded it, so you’re welcome for that. Also—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. Stop the clock. Once again, I’ll ask the House not to interrupt the member in that way.

Start the clock. The member for Beaches–East York has the floor.

Ms. Mary-Margaret McMahon: I would encourage the government to get gutsier and propose four units instead of three, look at home-share and look at vacant properties, which you have not done, and continue to be robust in building up the avenues for transit-oriented development.

My question primarily is: Why bulldoze the greenbelt, destroying precious farmlands and wetlands, when there are plenty of other options available to solve this housing crisis? Why exactly does the government think the greenbelt exists to begin with?

Hon. Steve Clark: Speaker, through you, to the member: She talks about vacant property. The government is looking at surplus provincial property with a view of working collaboratively with my ministry and the Minister of Infrastructure to create an attainable-housing program. We have many of our own government properties that are underutilized that local mayors have identified would be great opportunities to build a combination of homes. The minister and I are going to investigate that.

At the end of the day, the consultation on the greenbelt deals with an addition; we’re going to be adding a net gain of about 2,000 acres to the greenbelt. We’ll continue to look at other options around the Housing Affordability Task Force.

We made a commitment. Under the leadership of Premier Ford, we said to Ontarians we would table a housing supply action plan each and every year of a re-elected government. That’s a commitment, Speaker, that we’re going to act on.

Community safety / Sécurité communautaire

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: Speaker, the people of my riding are concerned that crime rates are on the rise. Everywhere, from newspapers to social media, we continue to see stories of crime and violence fuelled by smuggled drugs and guns.

Ontarians rely on our local police officers to protect them and their neighbourhoods, and our officers are working hard to ensure that drugs are kept off our streets and out of our communities.

Speaker, can the Solicitor General please detail the progress of Ontario’s police services as they work to keep our communities safe?

Hon. Michael S. Kerzner: I want to thank the member for the question. As I’ve said in this House many times, everyone has a right to feel safe in their own homes and their own communities.

Let me give you a few examples as to how Ontario’s police services are stepping up and making a real difference. A joint force investigation by OPP and LaSalle police seized more than two kilograms of cocaine near Windsor, and just a month ago in Fort Frances, four were charged with drug trafficking following the seizure of $100,000 worth of cocaine and a cache of firearms. Earlier this year, Ottawa Police Service was able to take 46 firearms destined for criminals and criminal organizations off the street.

I want to thank the brave men and women of the OPP, LaSalle Police Service and the Ottawa Police Service for taking actions to keep us safe. We will always have your backs.

Monsieur le Président, nous continuerons de faire ce qui est difficile, et nous continuerons de réaliser ce qui est difficile, pour assurer la sécurité de l’Ontario.

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

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: Thank you to the Solicitor General for the response. It is reassuring to hear about the actions taken by police services across our province helping to keep our communities safe.

Families and individuals in my riding of Scarborough–Rouge Park want our government to make the needed investments to ensure they are protected. Our government has a strong track record on providing millions of dollars in funding to support our police services as they continue to combat gun and gang violence. Speaker, can the Solicitor General elaborate further about the good work that Toronto Police Service is doing to keep communities like mine safe?

Hon. Michael S. Kerzner: Again, I want to thank my friend the member for the question. Community safety is a top priority not just for those who work and support our justice system but for all Ontario families.

We just heard this past Thursday about the great work of the Toronto Police Service, and we’re proud that this investigation was partially funded by the government of Ontario. Toronto Police Service seized an amazing 671 kilograms of illicit drugs with an estimated street value of over $58 million. This is the largest single-day drug bust in the service’s history. I would like to thank and congratulate Chief James Ramer and all the front-line officers who were involved in this historic bust.


Monsieur le Président, grâce au travail de la police, les Ontariens se sentent en sécurité dans leurs communautés, aujourd’hui et tous les jours.

Land use planning

Miss Monique Taylor: My question is for the Premier. The Premier and his government recently went against the city of Hamilton’s decision to expand the urban boundary. He did this despite overwhelming public support to hold the boundary, and he made 2,200 acres of farmland available for use to his developer friends and donors. This action will lead to unnecessary sprawl, environmental problems, unaffordable neighbourhoods and further commutes to work.

Why does the Premier think it is okay to ignore the decisions of Hamilton city council and our community?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Steve Clark: Speaker, I made my intention crystal clear to the city of Hamilton. I actually wrote an op-ed cautioning the city against the frozen boundary because, at the same time, their own planning staff made recommendations on properties that should be developed, and they ignored them. Over and over again, Hamilton city hall wanted to have it both ways. They didn’t want to intensify within the city, and they didn’t want to extend the boundary.

We’re facing an incredible rising cost of housing because of these delays. Hamilton has some big challenges with housing affordability. We needed to ensure that this official plan set up the community for success so they were able to meet the growth targets we were projecting. Putting your head in the sand and not recognizing that things needed to change is not an option, and we adjusted the official plan accordingly.

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

Miss Monique Taylor: Speaker, the Premier is always saying one thing and doing another. He says he’s committed to housing, but he’s ignoring our city council’s decision and the voices of our communities. He promised to leave the greenbelt alone, but now he’s backing out on that, too, by taking valuable greenbelt land out of our Hamilton community and claiming it’s for housing. This is not a housing solution. We cannot get this farmland back once it is gone—paving over paradise, Speaker.

Will the Premier commit to leaving the greenbelt alone in Hamilton and actually listen to the Hamilton residents and stop Bill 23?

Hon. Steve Clark: Speaker, her own former leader, now the mayor of Hamilton, acknowledges that we needed to build in the city. She took—


Hon. Steve Clark: —development campaign, moving forward.

It’s expected that the city of Hamilton’s population is going to grow by more than 800,000 people by 2051. Again, according to the city of Hamilton’s own planners, the existing urban boundaries could not keep pace with that projected growth. We cannot deal with the status quo. That is the biggest problem in municipal politics right now when it comes to housing. The status quo doesn’t work. We need to do more. We need to build more, and we need to ensure that we work with the new mayors, like Andrea Horwath in Hamilton, to ensure that she has the tools to be successful.

Social assistance

Mrs. Daisy Wai: My question is to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. The Ontario Disability Support Program has required modernization for many years. As parliamentary assistant for the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, I heard it from many impacted groups as well as from my constituents in Richmond Hill.

After 15 years of inaction and neglect under the previous Liberal government, our most vulnerable were significantly disadvantaged. It was wrong for the previous government to have ignored those in need for all those years, forcing them to work in a system that was outdated and unresponsive.

With the release of the fall economic statement, our government has shown leadership in addressing these long-standing concerns. Can the minister elaborate further on what progress we have made in implementing the most significant overhaul of ODSP?

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton: I thank the member from Richmond Hill for that important question. Aligning ODSP rates to inflation is a key priority for government so that vulnerable people get more support to pay for life’s essentials, especially during periods of high inflation. This is a historic transformation for the delivery of ODSP in this province, and I’m proud of the work that’s being done across government, including with my colleagues the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

In the fall economic statement, Ontario’s Plan to Build, our government outlined that the first-ever adjustment of rates to inflation will occur in July 2023. This change will put more money in the pockets of the people who need it most, to spend on the essentials of life.

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

Mrs. Daisy Wai: Thank you to the minister for her response. It is clear that our government is on the right track with the modernization of ODSP.

I would like to take the opportunity to share what the Daily Bread Food Bank had to say in response to our recent actions: “The provincial decision to index ODSP will ensure that future hikes do not deteriorate into a debate over the worthiness of government expenditures. The depoliticization through annual inflationary adjustment of future hikes is laudable.”

While our government appreciates this recognition, we also know that we have had long-standing challenges with ODSP for over a decade. What else is our government doing to support those Ontarians who depend on ODSP?

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton: Again, thank you to the member from Richmond Hill for the question. She’s right when she says ODSP is facing challenges, and that’s why we’re proposing another key change to the ODSP program.

The fall economic statement also includes a 400% increase to the threshold of the earnings exemption. That change will empower people with disabilities who can and want to work. It will give them a real opportunity to tap into their skills and talents, to contribute to their local economy and support their family without fear of losing their health benefits. That fivefold increase will allow 25,000 people receiving ODSP who are also working to keep more of their earnings and could encourage as many as another 25,000 to enter the workforce.

Our government is continuing to do this important work, helping our most vulnerable people, continuing to create solutions that respond to the needs of individuals to ensure they have the support that they need.

Tenant protection

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: My question is to the Premier. Tenants in two buildings in my riding, 55 Quebec Avenue and 50 High Park Avenue, are facing rent increases of more than 11%. That’s almost five times more than the provincial rent increase guideline for 2023. Speaker, this impacts over 1,000 tenants in High Park alone, including seniors and young families. Many are worried they will be forced to move out.

The Premier made these increases legal when he ended rent control on new buildings in 2018. Will he fix his mistake and extend rent control protections to all units?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Steve Clark: Speaker, through you to the member opposite, the government made the decision in the 2018 fall economic statement to spur on more rental construction. The result of that was: Last year, we received the highest amount of rental construction since the early 1990s.

In addition, the government, in the middle of the pandemic, placed a number of rental protections forward. The Attorney General did a great job in ensuring that evictions were paused during the pandemic. We interceded this year on those properties that were rent-controlled to invoke the cap to provide further protection.


As well, since the pandemic began, we’ve provided municipalities over $1.2 billion to support our most vulnerable, including encouraging them to create robust rent banks to ensure that our most vulnerable are protected.

We’ll continue to work towards it. I just wish that, when we place these measures forward, the member opposite—

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

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: Rent banks are not the answer; rent control is.

My constituent Ben lives at 55 Quebec Avenue and is facing an increase of 11.6%. He’s a single dad who already spends 60% of his take-home pay on rent. Now he will be paying an extra $300 per month on top of that.

Ben lives in a new building that doesn’t need any major repairs or upgrades. He doesn’t understand why this kind of predatory increase is legal. Can the minister explain to Ben why he’s allowing these kinds of predatory rent increases instead of helping Ontarians keep a roof over their head?

Hon. Steve Clark: Having a roof over your head is exactly why the government, in 2018, dealt with this exemption, so that we could have the type of climate that we experienced in 2021.

The fact of the matter is, Speaker, we had the most rental construction in over 30 years, and that’s something that helps all tenants in the province. We’re going to continue to work with our partners to increase the supply of housing. That’s why, in Bill 23, the deepest development charge discounts for purpose-built rental are family and affordable rentals. We want to encourage—we want to keep building upon the success of the rent control exemption by providing further incentive to build that type of rental housing that I think we can all agree we need again right across this province.


Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: Many families in the Niagara region rely on tourism directly and indirectly for their jobs and their livelihoods. From tourist attractions on Lundy’s Lane to the numerous wineries stretching from Grimsby to Niagara-on-the-Lake to the northern shore of Lake Erie, there are world-class destinations that showcase Niagara’s beauty and diversity.

However, while we see that the tourism sector is recovering from the pandemic, some businesses are still struggling, and we know that that’s because they were hit first and hardest. So I’m wondering if the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport could tell the House a little bit more about what the government is doing to ensure the tourism sector is recovering from COVID, now and going forward?

Hon. Neil Lumsden: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from Niagara West, who is acutely aware of how vital tourism is for businesses and families. Tourism supports almost 400,000 jobs across our province. Tourism activity has recently reached its highest level since the onset of the pandemic, and our government support is helping Ontario’s tourism and the industry re-emerge as an economic powerhouse. We provided $200 million in targeted funding to address the challenges that affected every segment of tourism.

This year, we’re encouraging everyone to explore Ontario and support local tourism with the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit. All signs point to great growth. Domestic and foreign visitors are travelling to Ontario again, thankfully. Attractions, sporting events, festivals and concerts have welcomed back in-person fans and audiences. Hotels and restaurants are filling up again.

I know the industry continues to face challenges, but I’m very confident they will continue to get better—

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

Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: My thanks to the minister for that response. I know that we all recognize the vital importance of the tourism sector to our local economy in Niagara and, of course, across the rest of the province.

Restaurants, hotels and small businesses all benefit from tourism dollars, and when those tourism dollars drop, we all feel the impact. Not only is it essential to sustain Niagara’s tourism sector, but it’s equally important to build upon its historic strength and its reputation moving forward. Could the minister commit to an aggressive strategy to support Niagara’s tourism sector today and going forward?

Hon. Neil Lumsden: Our government is on the same page as the member from Niagara West. The Niagara region’s $2-billion tourism industry is a gateway to Ontario’s broader dynamic tourism industry, attracting more than 13 million tourists annually.


Hon. Neil Lumsden: Yes, I think it’s a good thing.

We’re investing in Niagara: for example, more than $1.5 million this year to our Reconnect Ontario fund for festivals and events ranging from the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival to Niagara Falls Music Live.

One of the ministry’s strategic priorities in 2022-23 is supporting tourism in the Niagara Falls region by working with the impacted sectors and the region to recover to pre-pandemic tourism levels and beyond. It’s important to get past where we were. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a number of stakeholders: the Niagara Parks Commission, tourist attraction operators and hoteliers. They are ready to grow and ready to go.

Social assistance

Ms. Chandra Pasma: By the government’s own admission, the change to the employment clawback for ODSP helps only the 6.5% of ODSP recipients who are working, and it does nothing for the vast majority of people on ODSP who are unable to work—which is why they are on ODSP in the first place. The other 356,700 recipients are left on their own to try to make ends meet on a benefit that is lower than the average cost of rent across the province.

Why is the Premier continuing to legislate poverty for hundreds of thousands of Ontarians instead of doubling social assistance rates?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton: Thank you to the member opposite for the question.

Our government has consistently been committed to adapting to the realities that vulnerable people are facing with issues such as high inflation. We are looking at making sure they have the supports they need. That’s why we’ve given the ODSP rates the increase of decades—never been done before by previous governments. The 5% is a historic increase. We’ve aligned it with inflation, understanding that inflation increases create a real hardship for people. And we’ve made the earnings exemption—we’ve quintupled; a 400% increase to that earnings exemption, lifting people up, making sure they’re getting connected to the workforce as needed. And we’re supporting those who can’t work. But we know to have meaningful work, to create an environment in their communities, in their families, working with the Ministry of Labour and also working with the Minister of Health, working with the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, to understand all the other supports we’ve put in there—

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

Ms. Chandra Pasma: More than 350,000 people with disabilities living in poverty is not really a record to brag about.

This government has also left people on Ontario Works living in deep poverty with no help. In fact, this government has left these Ontarians triply behind—no rate increase, no indexation, no change to the employment threshold despite the fact that it has remained unchanged for nine years.

Speaker, $733 a month doesn’t even go halfway to paying the rent, let alone food and other essentials.

How does the Premier expect people to get off of Ontario Works when his policies are driving people into crushing levels of poverty and ill health?

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton: The Liberals had the chance to raise rates, and they waited until before an election. The NDP had a chance to make it a priority when they propped up the Liberals for three years. While they talked, it was our government that acted. We’re the only ones who said yes to supporting individuals on social assistance. We’re indexing the rates to inflation. We said yes to that; the opposition said no. We’re increasing the earnings exemption. We said yes to that; the opposition said no.

The announcement in the fall economic statement is a game-changer. That’s what our colleagues in the community said—that was Mark Wafer.

The advocacy of many over the past few years has resulted in an exciting new future for Ontarians with disabilities, who will now have more money in their pockets while contributing for themselves, their families and the economy at large.

We will continue to do this important work because we know how important it is for people who can work and those who cannot.


Mr. Aris Babikian: Recent reports have shown that housing starts in Canada have decreased by 11% compared to the previous month.

The ongoing housing supply shortage concerns many hard-working Ontarians in my riding. Individuals and families are worried about their economic futures and the ability to achieve their dream of home ownership.


Mr. Speaker, the other day, my niece, who is a civil engineer, posed a question to me. She said, “Uncle, you and Mom are lucky because you and your generation can buy a house. Our generation cannot buy a house. We are unfortunate.” Imagine, two professionals, my niece and her husband, with good-paying jobs—they cannot afford to buy a house in Ontario.

Our government must take bold and decisive action now to help those who have felt left behind in the housing market. Can the Associate Minister of Housing please share with us what our government is doing to deliver on our mandate of building 1.5 million homes in Ontario?

Hon. Michael Parsa: I want to thank my honourable colleague for the question and certainly for the advocacy he does in his community when it comes to housing.

My colleague is right. Nationwide housing starts did fall, and our province wasn’t immune to this. There are global factors at play here that go beyond what our government can control, like high interest rates and the rising cost of building materials. And while we would like to see more from our federal counterparts, we never said the road ahead will be easy for Ontarians, and we never said that there won’t be bumps along the way.

But if we continue to work together and make changes for the things that we can control, like approval delays and unnecessary fees, and by introducing legislation every year for the next four years, I am confident that, under the leadership of Premier Ford, we will get the job done and we will deliver on our promise to build 1.5 million homes for Ontarians in the next decade.

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

Mr. Aris Babikian: Thank you to the associate minister for that answer. Ontario’s population is steadily increasing, but housing construction is not keeping pace. With Ontario families feeling disadvantaged due to the housing supply shortage, it is clear that we must take action now to work with all levels of government to respond to this issue. We must take the initiative to empower our municipalities, as they play a crucial role in supporting Ontario’s housing needs.

Speaker, can the Associate Minister of Housing please share how our government works with our municipal leaders to prioritize housing supply?

Hon. Michael Parsa: Again, I want to thank my honourable colleague for the follow-up question.

Our municipal partners play a huge role when it comes to the number of housing starts. In fact, not only have we sent 29 of the largest and fastest-growing municipalities housing targets, we also have allocated more than $45 million under the Streamline Development Approval Fund to help Ontario’s 39 largest municipalities modernize their approval processes. And we have also introduced strong-mayor legislation to give local municipalities the tools they need to get more shovels in the ground and do them faster. We are serious about solving the housing crisis in our province and we are willing to work with all levels of government to once again give back the dream of home ownership to all Ontarians.

Mr. Speaker, my message to the member’s niece is: We will not give up on you. You will realize the dream of home ownership under this government.

Highway safety

M. Guy Bourgouin: Ma question est pour la ministre des Transports.

As you know, winter road maintenance is an issue for northern Ontario. However, there are many other factors that come into play for road safety. As storms make their way and highways shut down, many of the accidents are caused involving transport trucks.

I know that the minister receives daily reports from the MTO regarding our roads. Drivers are assigned long hauls on our northern highways with little to no experience driving in winter conditions. We have seen how many lives have been lost over the years. Their inexperience is putting our residents’ lives at risk. What will your ministry do to address the lack of training and experience on winter road conditions of these drivers and the training providers?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Associate Minister of Transportation.

Hon. Stan Cho: I appreciate the question from the member opposite this morning. There is no question that road safety is a priority for this government. And that, of course, includes the great people of northern Ontario, who, frankly, face many different driving conditions than we may here in the south.

That’s why, Speaker, we have introduced a series of measures to keep our roads safe. Training is one of them, but also a firm commitment to clear snow as quickly as possible. In fact, we just introduced on Highways 11 and 17, after a detailed technical review, a change in the standard of clearing snow from 16 hours after a heavy winter snowstorm to 12 hours, Speaker. This is going to make sure that our roads remain safe. We’re widening Highway 69, which was a priority of this government since 2018.

We’re always listening. There is always more work that could be done, Speaker, but this government is committed to keeping our roads safe. That includes the great people of the north. This government is going to get the job done.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes our question period for this morning.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin has a point of order.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I forgot to mention earlier that today’s page captain, Havana—her father has joined us for today’s legislative question period: Mr. Richard Thibodeau, from a place so nice we named it twice, Wawa.

Toronto Argonauts

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport has informed me that he has a point of order.

Hon. Neil Lumsden: I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate the winners of the 109th Grey Cup game that was played in Saskatchewan, these Toronto Argonauts. Congratulations, boys.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And the member from Niagara Falls has a point of order.

Mr. Wayne Gates: I was going to do the same point of order. But I want to say to the tourist minister, I’m glad you did do it, because I know you’re a Hamilton Ti-Cat fan. I’m an Argo fan, so congratulations to the Argos. It was one of the best Grey Cups I’ve watched in a long time, 24-23.

Let’s have a great parade for them. They deserve it.

Member’s birthday

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Richmond Hill, on a point of order.

Mrs. Daisy Wai: I stand up to wish my seatmate a happy birthday today.

Deferred Votes

No Time to Waste Act (Plan for Climate Action and Jobs), 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la nécessité de ne pas gaspiller de temps (plan en matière d’action pour le climat et l’emploi)

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

Bill 14, An Act to enact the Climate Crisis Health Action Plan Act, 2022, the Ontario Climate Crisis Strategy for the Public Sector Act, 2022 and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Act, 2022 / Projet de loi 14, Loi édictant la Loi de 2022 sur le Plan d’action sur la crise climatique et la santé, la Loi de 2022 sur la Stratégie du secteur public de l’Ontario relative à la crise climatique et la Loi de 2022 sur le Comité spécial de l’action relative à la crise climatique.

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

The division bells rang from 1147 to 1152.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.

On November 17, 2022, Mr. Tabuns moved second reading of Bill 14, An Act to enact the Climate Crisis Health Action Plan Act, 2022, the Ontario Climate Crisis Strategy for the Public Sector Act, 2022 and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Act, 2022.

All those in favour of the motion will please rise and remain standing until recognized by the Clerk.


  • Andrew, Jill
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Bowman, Stephanie
  • Burch, Jeff
  • Collard, Lucille
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hsu, Ted
  • Karpoche, Bhutila
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • McMahon, Mary-Margaret
  • Pasma, Chandra
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shamji, Adil
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vaugeois, Lise
  • West, Jamie
  • Wong-Tam, Kristyn

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed will please rise and remain standing until recognized by the Clerk.


  • Anand, Deepak
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barnes, Patrice
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Byers, Rick
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Dixon, Jess
  • Dowie, Andrew
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Grewal, Hardeep Singh
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Holland, Kevin
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Jones, Trevor
  • Jordan, John
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Kerzner, Michael S.
  • Kusendova-Bashta, Natalia
  • Leardi, Anthony
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • Lumsden, Neil
  • Martin, Robin
  • McCarthy, Todd J.
  • McGregor, Graham
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Piccini, David
  • Pierre, Natalie
  • Pirie, George
  • Quinn, Nolan
  • Rae, Matthew
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Rickford, Greg
  • Riddell, Brian
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Sarrazin, Stéphane
  • Saunderson, Brian
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, David
  • Smith, Graydon
  • Smith, Laura
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Triantafilopoulos, Effie J.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Williams, Charmaine A.
  • Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 30; the nays are 72.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion lost.

Second reading negatived.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There being no further business this morning, this House stands in recess until 1 p.m.

The House recessed from 1157 to 1300.

Reports by Committees


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Standing order 66(a) provides that each standing committee shall present one report with respect to all of the estimates and supplementary estimates considered no later than the third Thursday in November of each calendar year.

The House did not receive a report on Thursday, November 17, 2022, from the following committees:

—the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, for the Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development; Office of the Premier; Cabinet Office; and Treasury Board Secretariat;

—the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy, for the Ministry of Transportation; Ministry of Infrastructure; Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries;

—the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ministry of Francophone Affairs, and Ministry of the Solicitor General.

—the Standing Committee on Social Policy, for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Pursuant to standing order 66(b), the 2022-23 estimates of these ministries and offices are deemed to be passed by the respective committees and are deemed to be reported to and received by the House.

Pursuant to standing order 66(d), an order for concurrence for each of the ministries and offices will be placed on the Orders and Notices paper.

Report deemed received.

House sittings

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Motions, government House leader?

Hon. Paul Calandra: Sorry, I actually had a point of order, Speaker.

In accordance with standing order 7(e), I just wish to inform the House that tonight’s evening meeting is cancelled.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you for that information.


Employment standards

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I have a petition in support of the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act. It reads:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas there is overwhelming evidence to show that paid sick days significantly reduce the spread of infectious disease, promote preventative health care and reduce health care system costs; and

“Whereas 60% of Ontario workers do not have access to paid sick days, and cannot afford to lose their pay if they are sick; and

“Whereas low-wage and precarious workers are the most likely to be denied paid sick days; and

“Whereas enabling workers to stay home when they are sick without losing pay helps limit the spread of illness in the workplace and allows workers to recover faster; and

“Whereas during an infectious disease emergency, it is unreasonable and dangerous to public health to make workers choose between protecting their communities and providing for their families; and

“Whereas legislating paid sick days through the Employment Standards Act, with transitional financial support for struggling small businesses, will ensure that workers have seamless, uninterrupted access to their pay;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately pass Bill 4, the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, to provide Ontario workers with 10 annual employer-paid days of personal emergency leave and 14 days of paid leave in the case of an infectious disease emergency.”

I couldn’t agree more with this petition, will affix my signature and will send it to the table with page Oriana.

Injured workers

MPP Jamie West: I want to acknowledge the Minister of Labour for ongoing conversations about having a date for this apology.

“For an Official Statement of Apology on Behalf of the” Legislative Assembly “of Ontario to the McIntyre Powder Project Miners.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas over 25,000 Ontario mine workers were subjected by their employers to mandatory, non-consensual inhalation of finely ground aluminum dust known as ‘McIntyre Powder’ between 1943 and 1979, as a scientifically unproven industrial medical treatment for the lung disease silicosis; and

“Whereas the government of Ontario” of the day “supported and sanctioned the McIntyre Powder aluminum prophylaxis program despite the availability of safe and proven alternatives to effective silicosis prevention measures such as improved dust control and ventilation, and also despite expert evidence from the international scientific and medical community as early as 1946 that recommended against the use of McIntyre Powder treatments; and

“Whereas the miners who were forced to inhale McIntyre Powder experienced distress, immediate and long-term health effects from their experiences and exposures associated with aluminum inhalation treatments, as documented through their participation in the McIntyre Powder Project;

“We, the undersigned, petition the” Legislative Assembly “of Ontario to provide an official statement of apology to the McIntyre Powder Project miners.”

I agree with this petition; I believe that my colleagues across the aisle do, as well. I will sign it and give it to page Camilla.

Soins de santé

M. Guy Bourgouin: J’ai une pétition intitulée « Soins de santé : pas à vendre.

« À l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario :

« Alors que les Ontariennes et les Ontariens devraient obtenir des soins de santé en fonction de leurs besoins—et non de la taille de leur portefeuille;

« Alors que le premier ministre, Doug Ford, et la ministre de la Santé, Sylvia Jones, ont déclaré qu’ils prévoyaient privatiser certaines parties des soins de santé;

« Alors que la privatisation poussera les infirmières, les médecins et les PSSP hors de nos hôpitaux publics, aggravant ainsi la crise des soins de santé;

« Alors que la privatisation se termine toujours avec une facture pour les patients;

« Par conséquent, nous, soussignés, demandons à l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario d’arrêter immédiatement tous les plans visant à privatiser davantage le système de soins de santé de l’Ontario et de résoudre la crise des soins de santé en :

« —abrogeant la loi 124 et recrutant, retenant et respectant les médecins, les infirmières et les PSSP avec de meilleurs salaires et conditions de travail;

« —certifiant les titres de compétences de dizaines de milliers d’infirmières et d’autres professionnels de la santé formés à l’étranger déjà en Ontario, qui attendent des années et paient des milliers de dollars pour être autorisés à travailler;

« —rendant l’éducation et la formation gratuites ou peu coûteuses pour les infirmières, les médecins et les autres professionnels de la santé;

« —incitant les médecins et les infirmières à choisir de vivre et travailler dans le nord de l’Ontario;

« —finançant les hôpitaux pour qu’ils aient suffisamment d’infirmières à chaque quart de travail, dans chaque département. »

Je supporte cette motion. Je vais la signer et demander à Mabel d’aller porter la pétition en avant au « Clerk ».

Social assistance

Mr. Chris Glover: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario’s social assistance rates are well below Canada’s official Market Basket Measure poverty line and far from adequate to cover the rising costs of food and rent: $733 for individuals on OW and soon $1,227 for ODSP;

“Whereas an open letter to the Premier and two cabinet ministers, signed by over 230 organizations, recommends that social assistance rates be doubled for both Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP);

“Whereas the recent small budget increase of 5% for ODSP still leaves these citizens well below the poverty line, both they and those receiving the frozen OW rates are struggling to live in this time of alarming inflation;

“Whereas the government of Canada recognized in its CERB program that a basic income of $2,000 per month was the standard support required by individuals who lost their employment during the pandemic;

“We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, petition the Legislative Assembly to double social assistance rates for OW and ODSP.”

I fully support this petition. I will be affixing my signature and passing it to page Aiden to take to the table.

Alzheimer’s disease

Ms. Catherine Fife: This petition is entitled “Develop an Ontario Dementia Strategy.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas it currently takes on average 18 months for people in Ontario to get an official dementia diagnosis, with some patients often waiting years to complete diagnostic testing;

“Whereas more than half of patients suspected of having dementia in Ontario never get a full diagnosis; research confirms that early diagnosis saves lives and reduces care-partner stress;


“Whereas a PET scan test approved in Ontario in 2017 which can be key to detecting Alzheimer’s early, is still not covered under OHIP in 2022;

“Whereas the Ontario government must work together with the federal government to prepare for the approval and rollout of future disease-modifying therapies and research;

“Whereas the Alzheimer Society projects that one million Canadians will be caregivers for people with dementia, with families providing approximately 1.4 billion hours of care per year by 2050;

“Whereas research findings show that Ontario will spend $27.8 billion between 2023 and 2043 on alternate-level-of-care (ALC) and long-term-care (LTC) costs associated with people living with dementia;

“Whereas the government must follow through with its commitment to ensure Ontario’s health care system has the capacity to meet the current and future needs of people living with dementia and their care partners;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to develop, commit and fund a comprehensive Ontario dementia strategy.”

It’s my pleasure to affix my signature to the petition and give it to page Oriana.

Access to health care

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Support Gender-Affirming Health Care.

“Whereas two-spirit, transgender, non-binary, gender-diverse, and intersex communities face significant challenges to accessing health care services that are friendly, competent, and affirming in Ontario;

“Whereas everyone deserves access to health care, and they shouldn’t have to fight for it, shouldn’t have to wait for it, and should never receive less care or support because of who they are;

“Whereas gender-affirming care is life-saving care;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support the reintroduction of a private member’s bill to create an inclusive and representative committee to advise the Ministry of Health on how to realize accessible and equitable access to and coverage for gender-affirming health care in Ontario.”

I would like to bring the petition forward to the table, and I would provide this to our page Camilla.

Optometry services

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: The petition I have is titled “Petition to Save Eye Care in Ontario.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the Ontario government has underfunded optometric eye care for 30 years; and

“Whereas the government only pays on average $44.65 for an OHIP-insured visit—the lowest rate in Canada; and

“Whereas optometrists are being forced to pay substantially out of their own pocket to provide over four million services each year to Ontarians under OHIP; and

“Whereas optometrists have never been given a formal negotiation process with the government; and

“Whereas the government’s continued neglect resulted in 96% of Ontario optometrists voting to withdraw OHIP services beginning September 1, 2021;

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

“To instruct the Ontario government to immediately commit to legally binding, formal negotiations to ensure any future OHIP-insured optometry services are, at a minimum, funded at the cost of delivery.”

It’s my pleasure to present this on behalf of Mary-Louise Hitchon from Wharncliffe Optometry, FYidoctors.


Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m happy to present this petition from Ontarians who are being served by Hamilton Health Sciences, and it reads as follows:

“Petition to Protect Patient Care in Operating Rooms at Hamilton Health Sciences....

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas patients requiring surgery have complex care needs, some of which are urgent or life-threatening diseases and under anesthetic can become unstable, unpredictable, quickly change or deteriorate; and

“Whereas a scrub nurse is a member of the surgical team who provides a surgeon with instruments while maintaining a sterile environment, acts on and anticipates their requests, prepares medications, assists with retraction of tissue, communicates to circulating registered nurses (RNs) patient care needs, and responds in emergencies; and

“Whereas more health care providers are needed to address the surgical backlog, but surgical patients need a regulated nurse in a scrub nurse role who has the education, training and qualifications of a diploma or degree and a specialized credential in surgical nursing that makes them knowledgeable, expertly skilled and experienced, and anything less puts patient safety at risk; and

“Whereas Hamilton Health Sciences’s new surgical model of care is to replace nurses who perform the scrub nurse role in operating rooms, with unregulated operating room assistants (ORAs); and

“Whereas Hamilton Health Sciences’s actions to replace nurses with unregulated health care providers erodes the standard of care that patients will receive because ORAs cannot respond to patient care needs and they are not accountable to the public for the care they provide; and

“Whereas the Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada (ORNAC) recommends that the scrub nurse role be performed only by nurses; and

“Whereas cutting nursing care in operating rooms means patients can suffer from unnecessary complications or death because of unrecognized care needs, delayed care, miscommunication, or errors;

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

“Immediately stop operating room assistants from performing the scrub nurse role at Hamilton Health Sciences;

“Stop any further plans to cut and replace registered nurses within the operation rooms at Hamilton Health Sciences;

“Cease the new surgical model of care that replaces scrub nurses with operating room assistants because it does not adhere to Hamilton Health Sciences’s mission to provide excellent health care to the community it serves.”

I am very happy to present this petition. There are 802 signatures on it, with 90% of them residents from Hamilton and the surrounding communities. I want to thank the registered nurses for advocating for patient safety. I’m proud to affix my name to this petition, and I’m going to send it to the table with page Mabel.

Land use planning

Ms. Jennifer K. French: I have a whack of petitions here. I was pleased to join people at the #HandsOffTheGreenbelt rally in Pickering this past weekend—people like Mike Borie, Jeff O’Donnell and Wayne Ellis—who said the following:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Bills 23 and 39 are the Ford government’s latest attempt to remove protected lands from the greenbelt, allowing developers to bulldoze and pave over 7,000 acres of farmland in the greenbelt;

“Whereas Ontario is already losing 319.6 acres of farmland and green space daily to development;

“Whereas the government’s Housing Affordability Task Force found there are plenty of places to build homes without destroying the greenbelt;

“Whereas Ford’s repeated moves to tear up farmland and bulldoze wetlands have never been about housing, but are about rewarding PC donors and making the rich richer;

“Whereas green spaces and farmland are what we rely on to grow our food, support natural habitats and prevent flooding;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately stop all plans to remove what has long been protected land from the greenbelt, pass the NDP’s Protecting Agricultural Land Act, and protect irreplaceable farmland in the province of Ontario.”

Access to health care

MPP Jill Andrew: This is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Support Gender-Affirming Health Care.

“Whereas two-spirit, transgender, non-binary, gender-diverse, and intersex communities face significant challenges to accessing health care services that are friendly, competent, and affirming in Ontario;

“Whereas everyone deserves access to health care, and they shouldn’t have to fight for it, shouldn’t have to wait for it, and should never receive less care or support because of who they are;

“Whereas gender-affirming care is life-saving care;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support the reintroduction of a private member’s bill to create an inclusive and representative committee to advise the Ministry of Health on how to realize accessible and equitable access to and coverage for gender-affirming health care in Ontario.”

I absolutely support this. I affix my signature and I’ll hand it to Alex to bring to the Clerks’ table.

Opposition Day


Ms. Jessica Bell: I move that, whereas all Ontarians have the right to adequate housing; and

Whereas to ensure an adequate supply of housing, Ontario must build 1.5 million new market and non-market homes over the next decade; and

Whereas the for-profit private market by itself will not, and cannot, deliver enough homes that are affordable and meet the needs of Ontarians of all incomes, ages, family sizes, abilities and cultures; and

Whereas the housing policies of successive PC and Liberal provincial governments have relied almost entirely on the for-profit private market to deliver new housing; and

Whereas these housing policies have focused on delivering profits for investors, rather than homes for people, and thus have failed to ensure that newly built homes are actually affordable and meet the needs of all Ontarians; and

Whereas these housing policies have failed to end exclusionary zoning, and have blocked access to affordable and adequate housing options in the neighbourhoods where people want to live; and

Whereas these policies have encouraged more speculative and market bubbles, and have driven up the costs of housing beyond the reach of ordinary Ontarians; and


Whereas these failed housing policies have put tenants at increased risk of rent gouging, eviction and displacement, and have threatened the inclusivity and vibrancy of growing neighbourhoods; and

Whereas these failed housing policies will sacrifice more irreplaceable farmland, natural heritage and greenbelt lands to costly and unsustainable urban sprawl, putting Ontario’s food security at risk;

Therefore, the Legislative Assembly calls on the Ontario government to implement a comprehensive housing plan that ensures the right of all Ontarians to adequate housing, including ending exclusionary zoning and enabling access to affordable and adequate housing options in all neighbourhoods; stabilizing housing markets and stopping harmful speculation; establishing a strong public role in the funding, delivery, acquisition and protection of an adequate supply of affordable and non-market homes; protecting tenants from rent gouging and displacement, and ensuring the inclusivity of growing neighbourhoods; and focusing growth efficiently and sustainably within existing urban boundaries, while protecting irreplaceable farmland, wetlands, the greenbelt and other natural heritage from costly and unsustainable urban sprawl.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Ms. Bell has moved opposition day number 3.

The member for University–Rosedale.

Ms. Jessica Bell: I’m proud to rise today to speak to our opposition day motion to ensure that every Ontarian has a safe and affordable home that they can afford, that is their own.

In Ontario today, we have a housing affordability crisis. In Toronto, we have over 10,000 people who are homeless; they’ve got no homes. They’re sleeping on couches. They are living in parks, in encampments. They are trying to access overcrowded shelters that are full most nights, and they have nowhere else to go.

When it comes to the rental market, we are seeing rents that are at record levels. That might be very good for investors, but it is horrible for Ontarians who cannot afford to pay the rent and pay for their bills and pay for food, especially at a time when we have an inflationary crisis that is, in particular, affecting our housing sector and our food sector. It is scary.

We also have a situation where the dream of home ownership has gone up in smoke.

This government has been in power for four years and a bit now. They’ve had four and a half years to address the housing affordability crisis. Have home prices gone up or down? They’ve gone up. Have rental prices gone up or down? They’ve gone up.

There is the classic saying—the Canadian dream—that if you work hard, you will be able to afford a home that you will one day own. In Ontario today, if you work hard, you will be lucky to find an apartment that you can afford to rent. That is how bad it has gotten.

We now have Alberta putting advertisements in the Toronto subway system, encouraging Ontarians to move to a cheaper province and to take their skill set with them. These are teachers, nurses, paramedics, librarians, tradespeople, baggage handlers. They’re leaving. We now have a net exodus of people moving away from Ontario to other provinces, and it is mostly because this province has become too unaffordable. The reason why it has become so unaffordable is because it is too expensive to find a home to rent and it is too expensive to find a home to own. Why would you stay in a city where you can no longer afford or ever afford a down payment? Why would you stay in a city where you now pay more in rent than someone pays in a mortgage if they bought a home 10 or more years ago; today, people who are renting pay more. Why would you stay in a city where you spend 50% of your paycheque paying off an investor’s mortgage and the chance of you having your own mortgage to pay off has gone up in smoke?

That is this government’s legacy and the Liberal government’s legacy. It is not just the federal government’s responsibility. It is the provincial government’s responsibility as well.

What I find so challenging is that this government says, “Yes, we have a housing crisis”—they have a hard time saying the word “affordable,” but they acknowledge that there is a housing crisis, and then they introduce a bill like Bill 23, which outlines their myth of a road map to get us out of this housing affordability crisis. When I look at Bill 23, I am honestly shocked at its impact on renters, on municipal budgets, on affordable housing, on the greenbelt, on the farmland, and I want to go through this with the time that I have.

This government, with Bill 23, is cutting funding to affordable housing. You’re going to make it so that developers do not have to pay their housing services fee of $1,000 per unit, which goes to affordable housing programs and shelters. That’s what Bill 23 does.

This government, with Bill 23, is cutting the definition of affordable housing. So if a developer builds a home that is quasi-affordable, at 80% of market rent or 80% of the sale price, then they get to have their development fees eliminated. But when we look at the definition of affordable, we see that a one-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto for $440,000 is affordable, according to this government. That is not affordable. You need to earn over $130,000 a year for that to be affordable. That is a shame.

This government is doing nothing in Bill 23 to lower rent—nothing. This government is doing nothing to bring in real rent control so renters are protected from eviction and can build their lives because they’re protected from eviction in a community. They’re doing nothing about it. In fact, what they’re doing is making it worse.

With Bill 23, this government is going to make it easier for developers to set their sights on purpose-built rentals and say, “Well, that area is already zoned for height, so we are going to demolish that purpose-built rental and build a luxury condo.” Those renters who used to have the right to return to that building once construction is complete will no longer be able to do that, which means that all these affordable private market rentals that exist in the city of Toronto, in my riding—health care workers live in these buildings; seniors live in these buildings—are gone. And luxury condos that retail for $3,000 a month in rent, if the owner chooses to rent them out, won’t even be protected with rent control.

That’s your idea of achieving housing affordability in Ontario today. Well, it’s not going to achieve its goal. It’s that simple.

We are calling for a better vision, and I’m going to summarize it now.

Yes, we have a housing supply crisis. We need to build 1.5 million homes to meet demand for current Ontarians who are living in their parents’ basements or are living two families to a purpose-built rental because they can’t afford to branch out on their own. Yes, we need to build homes for future Ontarians as well—no question. But we shouldn’t be building 600-square-foot condos and 3,000-square-foot McMansion monster homes, because they’re not affordable or too small. We need to build homes that meet the needs of Ontarians. We need to build homes for the people who intend to buy them and then live in them, so that they can raise children in them, have pets in them, retire in them, but we’re not doing that. This government is more interested in helping developers and speculators than it is in helping everyday Ontarians find the home that they need. That is a shame.

We are calling for measures to bring forward zoning reform.

We are calling for measures to increase the number of people who are working in the trades, through increased immigration and recruiting people from high schools, so we can ramp up construction.

We are calling for government investment in the housing sector by establishing an entity called “Housing Ontario” to build housing at cost—250,000 homes over 10 years. This isn’t pie in the sky. The city of Toronto is already doing it. They have the Housing Now program where they’re building non-market and for-profit homes on public land at cost in order to provide homes for people. Some of them are affordable. Some of them are rentals. Some of them are condos. They’re doing it. Why aren’t we? We have over 6,000 properties available to access where we can build housing. Why aren’t we doing that? We’re not, but we should be.

We need to augment that—because it’s not just about supply; it’s also about affordability—with real rent control on all units, new and old. We need to bring in vacancy control so there’s a cap on how much the rent can be raised once a tenant leaves, because that will provide protection and stability for renters.

We need to build supportive housing and affordable housing, because there are so many people in Ontario who will never be served by the private market. They need the helping hand of government to provide them with a supportive home and an affordable home so they can rebuild their lives and live good lives.

That’s what we are calling for.


I urge you to support this motion, because this is the true path towards addressing our housing affordability crisis so everyone in Ontario can have a safe and affordable home.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Further debate?

Hon. Paul Calandra: I appreciate the opportunity to give some brief words on this motion.

Madam Speaker, as you know, of course, housing affordability has been something that the government has been seized with since day one of its mandate. In fact, it was one of the principal things that the Premier and this government brought forward back in 2018. It didn’t just start with this piece of legislation. It started with a number of pieces of legislation. It started with the Transit-Oriented Communities Act, which was to build upon the amazing work that is being done with respect to transit and transportation across Ontario.

I know we like to focus, a lot of the time, on the GTA and the great work that is happening in Toronto with the subways that could never be built that are now being built. But building up along those transit corridors—it’s also GO trains, which are being extended across the province of Ontario, and the Ontario Northland, which is being brought back. So we’re rebuilding those transit corridors and ensuring that there is proper housing in those corridors so that people have more options to find affordable accommodation. That has been one of the driving forces of what this government has been doing.

The member talks about affordability, but the reality is, of course, that we have also been seized with affordability, because we knew that when we took office back in 2018 there was no such thing as affordability. We all remember the high cost of energy in the province of Ontario. It was scheduled to go up, colleagues, about 18%. We put a stop to that. We said that was inappropriate. We remember the high cost of doing business in the province of Ontario. We removed some $7 billion in fees and taxes on our small, medium and large job creators so that they could bring business back to the province of Ontario. Do you what that means? That means more people working in the province of Ontario—thousands of jobs coming back, manufacturers coming back—and that means more people wanting to have the dream of their first home.

When you put it together, colleagues, with the bills that we have before the House, when you put it together with the work that the Minister of Finance has been doing to make sure that people can grow businesses in the province of Ontario, can afford to live in the province of Ontario; the work that the Minister of Education has been doing to ensure that our students succeed like never before; the work that the Minister of Labour has been doing to ensure that we have the jobs and the skills so that we can fill those jobs—when you put it all together, you have a province that is on the move, a province that is optimistic, people who feel good about the opportunities to succeed in the province of Ontario like they have never done before. When they look at everywhere else, when they look at other provinces, when they look at other jurisdictions, it is Ontario that they emulate, and it is Ontario that they want to be like.

When I look at the work that the Minister of Mines is doing to ensure that the vast resources of the north, which were stalled, which you could not get at because of the policies of the NDP and the Liberals—that is now something that is happening in the province of Ontario. And it’s not just for the people of Ontario; it is for the entire world. That means jobs and opportunity, again, like we have never seen before in the province of Ontario.

Just last week, we had a bill, an opportunity, and there was some dissatisfaction that two bills were being debated at the same time and we couldn’t do committee work. So we did bring the motion to this House—put forth, of course, in good faith, because the opposition asked us to—to allow those committee hearings to continue. We wanted to do that again today, but the opposition, as they so often do, changed their mind. One day they’re for it; one day they’re against further debate. They talked about this bill: “Wow, people didn’t get a chance to talk to the bill.” Well, we did what they asked, didn’t we? They wanted us to travel the bill. We hear this all the time: “The House no longer travels bills.” Well, we did; we went to the communities that would be impacted. We went to Markham. We went to Brampton. The odd thing is, we couldn’t fill those days—there were not enough people who were against the bill that we could fill those two days. In fact—

Ms. Catherine Fife: You gave so little time.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Oh, they’re saying, “It’s so little time.” I guess that would be why the NDP couldn’t fill their complement of spots to actually debate the bill in Markham on that day. They couldn’t even find their own members to spend the time to get there and do the work. “So little time”—give me a break. We brought committees into the communities that were impacted, and they couldn’t even get the amount of people—they keep saying that people are so against, but we couldn’t even fill the days, colleagues, because that’s how important this is to the people of the province of Ontario, that we get it right and that we move forward.

That is why we have a bill before the Legislature right now—we have a bill that is in committee that deals with the exact thing that is in the motion. The exact issues that the member has raised are actually being debated at committee right now—well, they’re supposed to be, but they don’t want to do their job.

We have put down real policies that will positively impact people across this province, and we have said from the beginning that we will not delay. We have to do this work. We have to continue to keep the province moving. We have to build these homes. We have to provide opportunity in all parts of the province of Ontario, but especially for the people in the ridings where NDP members are. It is up to us on the Conservative side to do the work that the NDP won’t do in their own ridings. So it is for those people, it is for the people who are so disappointed—now, fortunately, there are fewer ridings that actually have this problem, because so many more Conservatives have been elected.

For those people who want housing; for those people who want to continue the prosperity that we’ve seen in the province of Ontario; for those people who think that Ontario can continue to grow and prosper; for those who are thinking to themselves, “I want a new home, I want a rental property, I want the opportunity that my families have had”; and for all of those people sitting and wondering why a bill that is before the House right now can’t get back to the House, Madam Speaker, I move the adjournment of this debate.

The Acting Chair (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Mr. Calandra has moved the adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

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

All those opposed to the motion, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This is a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1338 to 1408.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Mr. Calandra has moved the adjournment of the debate.

All those in favour of the motion, please rise and remain standing to be counted by the Clerk.

All those opposed to the motion, please rise and remain standing to be counted by the Clerk.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 70; the nays are 24.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): I declare the motion carried.

Debate adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Orders of the day?

Hon. Paul Calandra: No further business.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): There being no further business, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, at 9 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1410.