30e législature, 3e session

L043 - Tue 27 Apr 1976 / Mar 27 avr 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to rise on a matter of privilege. There was quoted in the newspaper today, a statement alleged to have been made by the Premier of the province (Mr. Davis) in which he said the Liberal Party and the NDP each believes it has ethnic groups in the province in its pocket.

I consider that particular statement to be very offensive both to the citizens involved and, most certainly, to the hon. gentlemen and ladies on this side of the House in both parties. I would suggest that a privilege of this House and these members has been infringed upon in a very unfortunate way by the Premier if, in fact, those quotations are accurate. I would simply bring that to the attention of the Speaker in the hope that the Premier may wish to make some comment.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege dealing with another matter, a statement made by the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson) last Thursday, April 22, 1976. In response to a question dealing with the Montfort Hospital the minister said:

“There was no provision for funding because the ministry had not been notified that the hospital was about to open the 15 beds as they were supposed to do. When the occasion arose that they asked for funds to fund the 15-bed unit, which they had opened unilaterally, they were informed that there were no funds at that point.”

Through inadvertence or otherwise, the minister has misinformed the House and in the process, of course, cast certain aspersions on the administration of that hospital. I would like to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, and to all members here, a letter dated Oct. 25, 1974, from the Ministry of Health, which was signed by the present Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Alan Backley, which stated:

“The Minister of Health, the Hon. Frank S. Miller, has asked me to inform you that your request for 30 psychiatric beds to be located in the vacant paediatric space at your institution has now been reviewed and strongly supported by appropriate consultants in the Ministry of Health. I am pleased to inform you that approval has been granted for provision of these beds. Funding commitments of the ministry for this project are as follows: Capital funds for 1975-1976, $180,000; 1976-1977, $20,000; for a total of $200,000; operating costs for 1975-1976, $760,000. If there are any questions regarding this approval, please feel free to contact Mr. C. B. Halpin.

“Signed, Alan Backley.”

I just wanted to bring to the attention of the members and of the House that, unfortunately, the acting Minister of Health’s comments in relation to the hospital opening up unilaterally were misleading. I hope it was done unintentionally. I would like to correct the record for that purpose.

Mr. Breithaupt: Well said.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it appears to be the afternoon for matters of privilege. I regret the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) is not here, because I think at the conclusion of the question period yesterday he asked me whether or not I had referred to the order in council in terms of the statement I made here. I have read Hansard, and while I am more than prepared to take the advice of those who know far more about the English language than I do, just so there will be no misunderstanding, I will beg the indulgence of the House and set the record straight so that there can be no misunderstanding.

With respect to the order in council relative to the closing of Durham Hospital and the announcement that was made on April 12 of the closing, my remarks read, as recorded yesterday in Hansard, and I quote: “The fact is that Durham Hospital knew and there was no hiding of the order in council. I announced it myself here in the Legislature.”

My impression of what I said was that I had announced the closing here in the Legislature. The way it is recorded in Hansard, the English scholars would say that it could refer to the order in council also being referred to, and I did not intend that, Mr. Speaker, because I recall very carefully and very correctly what I said and I have made no reference to an order in council.

Mr. Deans: You did make reference. You didn’t intend to.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I may have made reference to it but I did not make it in the context of the statement.

Mr. Deans: I am not sure what you did but whatever you did, you didn’t.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton West did not, of course, have a point of personal privilege, because none of the privileges of his membership here in the House was infringed upon in any respect.

That is my ruling. I might just clarify it: a point of privilege is where the member’s personal privileges are hampered or in some way abrogated here in the House. What is said outside the House, of course, I have no control over and neither does the House. If he stands and corrects the record, which I think the hon. member did --

Mr. Bullbrook: What is published about him is also a matter of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: That’s right.

Mr. Bullbrook: That was published.

Mr. S. Smith: It says here, with respect, Mr. Speaker, that I, as the leader of this party -- well, it says: “The Liberals say they have the ethnic groups in their pocket” That is certainly a comment which seems to me --

Mr. Moffatt: Yes, it is not true.

Mr. S. Smith: I have never said anything like this.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: No member of this House has said anything like this, and to imply the same is, in many ways, I think, to interfere with our ability to conduct ourselves in a proper manner in this House.

Mr. Speaker: No. Order, please. I think the hon. members will agree that the hon. member for Hamilton West rose to correct what he feels is a misstatement outside of the House. That does not affect his privileges in the House.

The member for Ottawa East and the Premier’s statements are a matter of information on which there seems to be some doubt. It’s not --

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, if I may rise on a point of order --

Mr. Speaker: May I suggest that the --

Mr. Bullbrook: If I may rise on a point of order, and in no way take issue with your ruling, the point that my leader makes is quite a valid one. It’s the publication of the falsehood that affects his privilege as a member.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I suggest to the hon. member that the Speaker was still attempting to make a few remarks in the House. I’m sorry I have to be sitting down because the stand-up mike is not working here. The member’s privileges in the House have not been affected; that’s my ruling.

Mr. Renwick: We will wait for the election to find out.

Mr. Martel: You are willing to wait a long time.

Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, since we are dealing with points of privilege, let me have one. I had intended to raise it before --


Mr. Deans: Well, this is a real point of privilege. Mr. Speaker, as you no doubt --


Mr. Deans: Oh, I expect you to elaborate and embroider your statements.

Mr. Speaker: Would you get on with the point of privilege?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I hope you will modify your speech in the future.

Mr. Deans: I’m more worried about Eddie Goodman than I am about you.

The point of privilege that I raise is this, Mr. Speaker: Tomorrow, as you are no doubt aware, there is a demonstration going to take place outside the Legislature; some many hundreds, perhaps many thousands, of trade unionists intend to appear here to raise objections with the government.

In the past, there has been some difficulty in obtaining access to the building for people who have come to demonstrate. We would like you to make it clear to those people who have the responsibility for the maintenance of order in the building that it would be the wish of the members that any person wanting to enter the building to see them personally should be able to do so, and that nothing should be done to inhibit their free access to the building if their purpose for coming is legitimate, and that it be made clear to all of us to whom they should refer in order to gain this access.

I don’t want people locked out. We in this caucus don’t want people locked out. We want anyone who wants to see any member of this caucus to have free access to the building in order to do so, and I suspect that the government and the Liberal Party might feel likewise. I’d appreciate if you would make it clear today, in advance of the difficulty, rather than wait until it has happened.

Mr. Speaker: Actually there is no question about the procedure.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would just like to reiterate what the House leader for the official opposition has said. It is a matter that concerns all of us from time to time, but I think all of us are very anxious that those who wish to come into the building to meet with the members, ministers of cabinet, myself or anyone else, have every right to do so. It complicates the way of those who have responsibility to deal with it, but it would be most unfortunate if those who wish to seek access for the purpose of meeting were denied access, and I’m really quite hopeful that there will be nothing untoward tomorrow. We are meeting with the federation itself earlier in the day and I really don’t anticipate any difficulties. Certainly I and the government would be very disappointed if anyone who wished to come to visit with us, was not able to do so.

Mr. Deans: Regardless of who?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Actually, the regulations are very clear. The demonstration itself must be outside, I think we all agree with that. But then if anyone wishes, either during or after the demonstration, to see a member or a group of members in their caucus, all he or she has to do is make his or her wishes known; there’ll be no problem there whatsoever.

Mr. Makarchuk: No, that’s not what happens.

Mr. Deans: An additional point, on my point of privilege: Could you make it clear to the Legislature exactly who has the authority to determine whether the individual seeking entrance to the building is entitled to enter or otherwise?

Mr. Speaker: We have a security staff here and they have their instructions, and they are very clear. In fact, they’ll facilitate it, if members, in groups or individually, from outside wish to meet with the caucus. They’ll see that that’s facilitated, and with an individual member they’ll do likewise.

The last time -- I know what you were referring to -- there was a very heavy demand and it took maybe 15 or 20 minutes. One of the members in your caucus assisted in sorting the thing out and getting the people down to the appropriate place. Unfortunately there was another matter which was brought to my attention afterwards, but that was unintentional. I think those particular people had a meeting arranged with that particular member before the demonstration took place; they did not make themselves or their presence known.


Mr. Deans: I don’t want to prolong this unnecessarily, but would it be possible for you, Mr. Speaker, to give us the name of the individual to whom reference should be made in the event that someone is denied access who believes that he should have access? Whom should they ask for?

Mr. Speaker: Actually any of the staff at the door or inside the door. I’m sure there’ll be a number around there and they all have the same instructions. But I would suggest if you’re having difficulty, and if I’m not around -- I expect to be in my office part of tomorrow -- Mr. Fleming, the director of administration, will certainly facilitate matters with the security.

Mr. Deans: Thank you very much.

Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Down in this section of the chamber we really cannot hear the voices; they’re distorted and they’re inaudible. I know a great deal of time and money has been spent on the PA system but what is being produced, insofar as this group of members is concerned, is absolutely a waste of time, money and effort.

Mr. Speaker: May I say the technicians are still working on this system of ours.

Mr. Roy: We’d like to hear you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. I seem to be drowning myself out here.

Mr. Roy: We can hear the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).

Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.

Oral questions.


Mr. Deans: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications.

No doubt he is aware of the problem that has arisen with regard to an Ontario Highway Transport Board order dealing with bus routes and the subsidizing thereof. Is he prepared now to make a statement? Has he had an opportunity to review the circumstances surrounding the decision that was made by the Highway Transport Board not to accept the lowest tender?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I do not as yet have a copy of the written decision of the Highway Transport Board; in fact, I don’t believe the written decision has been prepared. My first knowledge of this matter was when I read in the press a few days ago that the CNR were to implement a bus service between Ottawa and Kingston to tie in with an improved train service they were operating. This, of course, was of interest to me but I didn’t do anything more, other than to read the article in the press.

I find out this morning, on request to the chairman of the Highway Transport Board, that an application came in to the board last Wednesday, April 21, requesting a temporary operating authority for a bus service between Ottawa and Kingston and Belleville and Kingston. The chairman arranged for a hearing to be held on Friday morning, April 23, two days later. The request was urgent because they wished to implement the service, I believe, the following day, last Saturday.

I believe the CNR had called for bids from different bus companies to operate this service and it was only on Wednesday, as I say, that they applied to the board for temporary operating authority. The chairman held a hearing on Friday morning. It was a hearing for a temporary authority, so it was impossible to gazette the hearing, giving public notice, which would normally take place if it were for a permanent authority. But the interested parties, I understand, were all notified and were all in attendance.

In order that the service could start operating the following day, the chairman gave a verbal decision last Friday afternoon by telephone to all concerned. It was his decision that the licence for this service should go to Voyageur-Colonial Bus Lines.

I’ve asked the chairman for a copy of his written decision. As soon as it is available, he has assured me he will send it to me. Apparently, the decision was to run this service for a six-month trial period. If there is an application for a permanent licence for that service then, of course, it will go through the normal process. The notice of the hearing will be gazetted and a vote hearing will take place at that time.

Mr. Deans: A supplementary question in two parts: Are there other examples of occasions when hearings have been proceeded with with the haste of this one? Can the minister indicate what it is about this application that required such haste to be in evidence, rather than simply going through the normal procedures? Didn’t they know some months ago they wanted to have this done?

Hon. Mr. Snow: If can’t answer for the CNR, which was the initiator of this service. As I say, the first I heard of it was -- and I must say I don’t normally hear of applications to the board; they do not come through my office. Applications to the board for licences or for hearings go directly to the board. As the hon. member knows, I am sure, there are many of them because every week in the Gazette there are literally dozens.

This application was made. I understand the chairman of the board does have legislative authority to grant temporary licences for an operation pending a full hearing. This, I believe, is done rather regularly. Whether it is done this quickly or not -- I think the chairman of the board did everything possible to accommodate the applicants and the CNR by setting up a hearing on such short notice.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Can the minister inform the House of other instances in which the low bid has been rejected and if he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of this, would he please make inquiries and table such information?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I will certainly ask for this information; I certainly don’t have it today. Actually, the duties of the Highway Transport Board are to grant operating licences for public vehicles based on public convenience and necessity. Of course, the board takes into consideration, I am sure, many matters when granting a licence. The matter of the low bid is a matter between those applicants and the purchaser of the service -- in this case, the CNR. What consideration the chairman gave to the actual bids received as against the service to be provided, I can’t say.

Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister table other examples in which such low bids were refused so that we can decide for ourselves what is going on here? Is it true, as the president of the Carleton bus line says, that Power Corp. has the government sewn up? We have to judge these matters. Would the minister table other examples in which low bids have been refused?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge, other than what I read in the Globe and Mail, as to who owns Voyageur-Colonial Bus Lines. This company has operated, to my knowledge, an excellent bus service in eastern Ontario for many sears. As long as I can remember, Colonial Coach Lines has been operating in eastern Ontario.

Mr. Roy: That’s how Power got going.

Hon. Mr. Snow: As to who the owners are, I as quite interested, as a matter of fact to read that Power Corp. is the owner. I have no idea how long it has been the owner.

Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister table the examples?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I must say that in most cases I think it is unusual for a tender price for a bus service to have anything to do with an application. Normally, the application is for a passenger service over a specific route. The board considers the necessity and all the other matters relating to that route and grants the licence, if deemed advisable in its opinion.

Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister table it?

Hon. Mr. Snow: It is normally the procedure for the operator to file with the board its rates for passenger service.

I will inquire if there are any other cases in which tenders such as this were involved. If there are, I will certainly table the information.

Mr. S. Smith: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Carleton East have a supplementary?

Ms. Gigantes: Considering the unusual circumstances the minister has mentioned in this ease, wouldn’t it be appropriate to table the report in this case, particularly since CN is expressing some surprise at the decision?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I said that as soon as I receive a copy of the chairman’s written decision I will certainly be prepared to table it in the House. I don’t know what the hon. member is referring to when she mentions the unusual circumstances.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Niagara Falls with a final supplementary on this question then.

Mr. Kerrio: Is the minister aware that CNR was ready to accept the equipment provided or bid; and that in fact it was prepared to accept the bid on equipment and price?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I am not aware of that. I presume they were prepared. I am very surprised CNR would leave a matter like this to the last day in the afternoon to apply for a licence. CNR is a transportation company that is used to regulation. It comes under the regulation of the Canadian Transport Commission. They are also involved in other bus services, I believe, in other areas similar to this. I am very surprised they would proceed to the stage that they did, wanting to implement a service on a Saturday afternoon and making application to the board on the Wednesday morning. As I say, I think the board did everything possible to accommodate them.


Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is the minister satisfied that the 9.6 per cent increase that was applied for by the Royal Insurance Co. on home insurance premiums is justified? Has it been reviewed by his ministry, by the superintendent of insurance; and what was the justification given for the increase?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I think the hon. member knows the insurance companies have been brought under the umbrella of the AIB. The filing was made to the AIB and, as far as I know, the AIB has not voiced any objection to the increase. The guidelines of the AIB are based on cost factors, and that would normally be our position as well. Those rates presumably have been filed with our superintendent of insurance, but I am not aware as to whether or not they have in fact been so filed.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Am I to assume from the minister’s answer that, because the AIB has now decreed that it will deal with such things as insurance, the superintendent of insurance in the Province of Ontario and the Minister of Commercial and Consumer Relations no longer feel any sense of responsibility?

Mr. Singer: They never did.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It is simply because the AIB is depending very heavily on the superintendent of insurance for the Province of Ontario in dealing with these matters.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Wilson Heights with a supplementary.

Mr. Singer: Wouldn’t the minister agree that neither he nor the superintendent of insurance have any power to control those rates because of the unproclaimed sections in the Insurance Act?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I suppose it depends on how you define power. We have a certain amount of influence with these companies.

An hon. member: They have the influence with you.

Mr. Roy: Morty Shulman this morning said you had no power at all.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary question, if I may: Given that the minister has repeatedly told the Legislature that he uses his influence in an attempt to hold the rates down wherever it appears they are unjustified, has he reviewed the rate increase application of Royal and has he made any recommendations to them, as the minister in charge of insurance in the Province of Ontario, with regard to the appropriateness or the substantiation they attach to their application for a rate increase?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: No, I have not reviewed the rate application and I am not even sure whether the rate application has been filed with our ministry. I will certainly check into it and advise the hon. member.

Mr. Deans: What good are you if you don’t do it?


Mr. Renwick: That’s the best question you’ve put. Why don’t you wait for an answer?

Mr. Deans: Do you want to answer that?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Have you got half an hour?

Mr. Deans: Listen, it could be answered in 10 seconds.

Mr. Speaker: Further questions? Thank you.



Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Since the basic thrust in the milk industry policy today is to reduce production and the whole purpose of the IMPIP loan was to increase production, would the government consider removing the conflict in these policies by relieving the milk producers holding IMPIP loans of the obligation to meet greater production levels at this time, and do so without penalizing them on the 20 per cent forgiveness attached to the loans?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, if the member had been in the House on April 14, I made a statement doing just that.


Mr. Deans: No, you didn’t.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. MacDonald: On a point of order, neither on April 14 nor now, has the minister replied to the question. The question is: As the province’s share in resolving the complex problems in the milk industry at the present time, will the minister relieve IMPIP loan holders --

Mr. Deans: Of the 20 per cent.

Mr. MacDonald: -- of the necessity of producing more milk when we don’t need it; and at the same time, not penalize them on the 20 per cent forgiveness on the loans?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I made a statement in the House on April 14 and I hope the member has read it --

Mr. MacDonald: I have.

Hon. W. Newman: -- because I hope he didn’t mislead those farmers out there this morning by what he told them. If he had read this statement he’d know exactly what was in it. That’s exactly what I said. I’ll repeat it for him; I’ll even read the statement again if he wants.

Mr. MacDonald: Just give us the substance.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: The IMPIP loans created by the Province of Ontario in 1973 ran out at the end of December, 1975. Okay? Does the member understand that?

Mr. Reid: Slow down.

Mr. S. Smith: That is not Stephen Lewis there; slow it down.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. W. Newman: These IMPIP loans were to help build up our market share quota in the Province of Ontario so we would get our fair share of the market share quota which we were losing to other provinces. By agreement with the other provinces and federal government we did just that; we brought production up. As a result, this year our producers have not been cut so severely as the other provinces at this moment in time.

I have said in the House more than once -- if members read Hansard -- that any person having a problem with the IMPIP loan should see the ag. rep. Keep in mind that many of our fluid shippers who helped bring up production to market share quota do not need an extension of time to pay back their loans, some of them have already paid them back. I have said in this House before and I will say it again that if anybody has a problem with the IMPIP loan, any individual, they should contact their ag. rep. We have a special committee set up within the ministry to deal with that particular problem, to help body who’s got a problem as far as the IMPIP loan is concerned.

As far as the forgivable part is concerned -- this is what the member is concerned about -- I have said right here it would be based on the same reduction as was in the notice which sent out from the Ontario Milk Marketing Board yesterday. They said they must meet a 1.5 per cent reduction and we’ll reduce the market share quota accordingly so they do not miss out on the forgivable part of their loan.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Huron-Bruce.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Huron-Bruce wishes to ask a supplementary.

Mr. Gaunt: In view of the fact that this appears to be a short-term situation, would the minister consider putting dairy producers under the farm income protection plan even though the minister has previously stated that any commodity which has a supply management programme would not qualify under that plan?

Hon. N. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the member can’t have it both ways. We’ve got a formula pricing change now in the milk industry, both for fluid and industrial milk. You can’t have formula pricing -- probably, I say probably, it could be better than a stabilization programme because it’s based on 1142. The member can’t have it both ways. Which does he want?

Mr. S. Smith: In the short term you can.

An hon. member: Better still, raise more bulls.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary on this question from the member for Huron-Middlesex.

Mr. Riddell: Having met with the group this morning, is the minister prepared to recommend to the federal government that they accept a six per cent decrease this year which would mean, in effect, about a five per cent decrease in MSQ, in place of the 15 per cent which is being expected of them this year?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Milk Marketing Board warned Ottawa last April, and again in August, what they should do. They told them the problem was coming and to do something about it; but nothing was done about it and now we have this situation Believe me, I feel scary for those farmers who were out there this morning and for many other farmers in this province.

Mr. Laughren: They don’t want sympathy.

Hon. W. Newman: I wrote to the federal Minister of Agriculture on March 4, before the national dairy policy was even announced, pointing out my concerns and the gravity of the situation. It really upsets me that they apparently didn’t head the letter from the Province of Ontario, but I am still prepared to go back. I have talked to the federal minister, and I think he sincerely would like to help these farmers, but I don’t think his cabinet will give him any money. I say sincerely that, as far as Ottawa is concerned, I will go back to them again and try to do what I can to help the dairy farmers of this province.

Mr. S. Smith: Will your cabinet give you any money?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. member for Wentworth have further questions? Twenty minutes have gone already on the leadoff questions -- plus the supplementaries.

Mr. Deans: I am sorry we took so long.

Some hon. members: Shame, shame.

Mr. Speaker: Let’s get on with the order of business.

Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Education. I would ask --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have difficulty hearing.


Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Education. Can the Minister of Education indicate what further steps he plans to take as a result of his meetings with the Windsor Board of Education today?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I might inform my friend that I not only met with the Windsor Board of Education this morning but also with the teachers’ negotiating team from Windsor, who are also in town today. I hope to meet them again this afternoon.

While I realize the hon. member has received the message I have received from the board, the teachers of course still feel that a negotiated settlement is possible. I would like to assure myself that is an absolute impossibility, so I intend to meet them later today and explore whether there isn’t some way that both parties can effect a negotiated settlement in this matter. I really cease to believe that isn’t possible, although I must say the board presents a rather gloomy picture of that possibility.

I should also tell my friend that the Education Relations Commission, as he knows, had a hearing in Windsor last night, but we have not received their report at this time; their report may not be available to myself and the cabinet until tomorrow morning.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that both sides are at an impasse at the present time and have been at an impasse for 19 days?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, I am very aware there is an impasse, and of course what we are trying to do today is to find some way to solve the impasse. I must say that I place as first priority, and I am sure my friend would agree with me, the opening of the schools in Windsor. I think there may be a way this can be affected, short of this Legislature being asked to take on that particular job at this point in time.

Mr. Bain: Try a reasoned amendment.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would hope that’s possible. If it isn’t, I will be back and tell the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary. The member for Windsor-Sandwich.

Mr. Bounsall: Since it has been some three weeks now since the minister mentioned that he would consider some sort of innovative action with respect to this dispute, can he tell us now what that innovative action might be and when it might swing into action?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think my friend will realize that to disclose that at this particular time might expose our hand and cause that action to be ineffective.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Can he confirm there are blueprints in existence for the construction of four core residences for the retarded on the grounds of Rideau Regional Centre? Does this not run contrary to his policy of integrating these residences within the community?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I had difficulty hearing, but is the member saying I had announced there were blueprints for four core residences?

Mr. S. Smith: No, will the minister confirm there are such blueprints?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No, I won’t confirm that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Singer: Will you deny it?

Mr. S. Smith: Is the minister prepared to say outright that such blueprints do not exist? And if he is not prepared to deny that, can he tell us whether such plans as may exist have been discussed with the district working group? Has there been some change in the minister’s relationship with these working groups since we last spoke of the matter?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the district working groups have been put in action. They are functioning throughout the 19 districts and we do consult with them and receive their recommendations before any action is taken by my ministry involving matters with which they are concerned; so that prior to any change being made in that facility or in that complex, I will presumably receive recommendations from that district working group and will only act after they are received.

Mr. S. Smith: Are there any such prints? The minister didn’t answer the question. Are there plans or not? Are there blueprints or not?

Mr. Makarchuk: If he didn’t answer, there should be no supplementary.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t seen any blueprints for additional buildings on that.

Mr. Singer: He didn’t ask if he had seen them.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Nipissing with a supplementary.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that last week letters went out to relatives of people who are in the retarded residence at the psychiatric hospital in North Bay, that they would be moved into one of these units at Smiths Falls -- of which the minister is obviously not aware -- within the next two weeks? And would he comment on the fact that Feb. 12 in North Bay, the minister said that the retarded unit at the psychiatric hospital in North Bay would not be closed; and in fact it will be closed within that two weeks?

Mr. S. Smith: Do you know what you are doing at all?

Mr. Singer: He is playing games.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: The psychiatric unit, I believe everyone appreciates, now will be closed. That decision has been made.

Mr. S. Smith: It is not a psychiatric institution.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Our residents in that particular facility will be replaced --

Mr. Roy: Replaced?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’m sorry -- they shall be placed in other accommodation. As a matter of fact, some of them we are trying to place in the community and others will be placed in other institutional settings, whatever is required for their needs. I may say in reference to the district working group process, that for the first time the district working group is being consulted in regard to placements. That is taking place as a matter of fact, in the Goderich area.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Further supplementary Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary on this.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Does the minister not understand that retarded adults are being removed from a setting in which they have been for 20 some years, close to their families, and are being moved 270 miles away; and that after he had indicated this in fact would not happen? There are 70 in that one institution who are being moved and there are a great number across the province who are also going through the same traumatic experience.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to make it clear I did not categorically state that the --

Mr. Singer: Not categorically; no, you didn’t state it categorically.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’ve never stated so in this House. The member is referring to a meeting in North Bay. I would add, I never categorically stated what the final disposition of that facility would be. It so happens that the residents will be placed. The member should know it is the philosophy of our ministry to integrate the residents with the community.

What we’re trying for, as the member knows, is normalization. Where we can place those residents in the community, they will be placed in the community. That is the concept and the intention, insofar as they can be accommodated there. Others will be accommodated as closely as possible to their friends and relatives.

Mr. S. Smith: It is just a large community.

Mr. Singer: Categorically or not categorically.

Mr. S. Smith: A 270-mile community.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker: With his interest, which I know he has, in crime prevention, and his awareness in how the brutalization of young people in correctional facilities can breed more crime than it prevents, can he say anything about the deputy superintendent, Mr. Lazanik’s, statement that in 1975 juveniles in the Bowmanville training school were put into isolation 101 times. Why is this brutal and mentally disruptive form of punishment still in effect when we know that isolation has no real beneficial effect on these people?


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I do have personal views with respect to this matter, but I think the question should really be more properly directed to the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. J. R. Smith).

Mr. S. Smith: I would like to redirect the question to the Premier. The minister is not here and I assumed the Attorney General was interested in such matters as well. Perhaps the Premier would care to comment; and maybe he would also comment on the claim that there are isolation cells in the regional diagnostic and assessment centre in Oakville and in each of the 10 Ontario training schools? Do we really need these kinds of horror programmes in this day and age?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will not comment at great length except to make the general observation, not being an expert in the field, that the whole programme of correctional services in this province is probably regarded as highly as any in Canada or anywhere else.


Hon. Mr. Davis: It is, and I think the member for Hamilton West knows this even, with his great experience. Mr. Speaker, I would say with respect that that question should be properly directed to the Minister of Correctional Services, who is not here today -- which is perhaps unusual for him and not that unusual for the member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith: Don’t get personal.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You raised it.

Mr. S. Smith: I’ll compare my attendance with a good many on that side of the House, including your own.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith: Let’s not make personal slurs when you have no reason to.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Oh, he’s a little touchy.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton West with further questions.

Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Attorney General.


Mr. Lewis: The Premier’s days are numbered.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please the hon. member for Hamilton West is asking a question.


Mr. S. Smith: Is the Attorney General aware that only one of 13 childcare workers is left in the Peterborough Browndale Home -- 10 having quit and two having been fired this year -- and that four workers have been fired at Haliburton? Is he aware of that, and would he take this information as further evidence that there is something seriously wrong in the Browndale operation that requires public scrutiny?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m not aware of the information related by the leader of the Liberal Party. Again, any information that the leader of the Liberal Party feels is relevant will be delivered to those who are conducting the investigation of which we have spoken before in this Legislature.

Mr. Reid: What does your staff do?

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Is the Attorney General proposing that I take a part-time job as a member of his staff?

Mr. Moffatt: That’s a good idea.

Mr. S. Smith: Do the people working for you do anything?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: A few part-time jobs -- part-time with him and part-time here.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will place the question if he has a question. If not the member for Lakeshore.


Mr. Lawlor: I have a question of the Attorney General. How come that in the assault charge cases laid against the Flyers hockey players and also in the Sky Shops case in Ottawa, the accused are able to go into court and obtain two-month remands, or breathers, before the date for trial is set?

Mr. Breithaupt: They have to finish the season.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In answer to both questions, I’m sure the member for Lakeshore, being somewhat experienced in these matters, would appreciate that there is a reasonable time required, and sometimes a good deal of time required, for both the preparation of the prosecution and for the preparation of the defence.

Mr. Lawlor: A supplementary: Would the Attorney General, therefore, send a note to all his Crown attorneys in the province instructing them to extend the same boon to all members of the citizenry who so desire?

Mr. Singer: In keeping with the speeding up of the process of justice.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the member for Lakeshore knows full well that no citizen has been deprived --

Mr. Lawlor: Nobody? Nobody?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- of a reasonable opportunity to prepare defence of a serious committal charge. He knows that. Don’t talk nonsense.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have difficulty hearing today. Could there be less noise in the chamber?

Mr. Bullbrook: Supplementary: Could the Attorney General assure all accused coming before the courts of the Province of Ontario that they will be met by the police who will open their door and advise them that the way is clear now, sir?


Mr. Bullbrook: And would the Attorney General please rationalize for the public of Ontario in some sensible and positive fashion that there is not a law for the rich and a law for the poor other ones?

Mr. Lawlor: Or for doctors, or for hockey players?

Mr. Bullbrook: I want an answer.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Attorney General.

Mr. Bullbrook: I want an answer to that.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, I didn’t hear any question. I heard a couple of brief speeches from the member for Sarnia, but no questions.

Mr. Lewis: The Attorney General should not have said that.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Bullbrook: If the hon. Attorney General wants to have some debate or dialogue on this, we will have it any time he wishes. I am asking: Does the Attorney General entertain that it is a manifest example of justice in this province that a police officer comes anal opens the door for a senator and the president of the National Hockey League and says: “The way is clear now, sir”? Is that going to be the treatment he gives all accused in this province coming before the courts? That’s what I want to know.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I believe you guys really did split.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, as the member for Sarnia knows, the police do not come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Mr. Bullbrook: So you support that.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As to whether or not an individual police officer wants to extend the courtesy about which the member speaks to an individual member of the public, I do not know of the facts he is relating to the House. If he has any specific complaints to make with respect to the conduct of any police officer, I think he should make them or refer them to the appropriate authorities, namely the Ottawa police department.

Mrs. Campbell: The Attorney General doesn’t know anything about anything but hockey.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We don’t try to control the conduct of every police officer every hour of the day. The member knows that.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: I have just one further supplementary.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There is so much noise it is very difficult to know what is going on, and it is coming from all sections of the House. So if we didn’t hear a member, it is not my fault up here, I want to point that out.

The hon. member for Sarnia may ask a brief supplementary.

Mr. Bullbrook: Recognizing that the operation of the police is the responsibility of the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth), who happens to be absent at this time, since the responsibility of the public view of justice is that of the Attorney General, will he look into the matter of the treatment given externally to these people in the Sky Shops matter?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Riverdale with a final supplementary on this.

Mr. Renwick: Supplementary question: As an alternative to the suggestion made by my colleague, the member for Lakeshore, about instructions to the Crown attorneys, will the Attorney General accompany me next time I appear in provincial court No. 21 at the Old City Hall, and stand up and ask for an eight-week remand in order to set a date for trial?

Mr. Lewis: Fat chance!

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I invite the member for Riverdale, and indeed any other member of the Legislature who is appearing in court on behalf of a client, to indicate to me at any time they feel any of my agents have not accorded them reasonable courtesies, and in particular sufficient time to prepare their care. I would be delighted to be advised of any such information.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As members know, the ultimate decision with respect to the setting of a trial date is that of the provincial court judge; as the member for Riverdale fully appreciates, we do not control the trial dates, they make the ultimate decision in that regard. We can make recommendations, but the decision is still that of the trial judge.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Rainy River.

Mr. Lewis: I was in court once and the officer didn’t even remember my name, let alone open the door.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Is my information correct, that correspondence has gone out from the ministry to people telling them that it will not be hiring lifeguards across the province for the provincial parks and those waterways under its jurisdiction, because of the restraint programme?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, we have never in the past supplied that kind of protection for the waterways. We have provided a beach patrol protection within our provincial park system. In our restraint programme, the districts were advised of a number of ways they could cut back the financial burden and meet the budgetary requirements of my ministry.

Mr. Reid: What ways? Name them.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: One of them was, in certain areas, to cut back on the beach patrol programme. There’s been no finalization as to where this cutback would occur, nor in what parts it would occur.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that this is a rather vital area; and would he not think that in the long run this is certainly foolhardy and that he should ensure that these beach patrols do, in fact, take place?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It may well be, Mr. Speaker, that in certain areas beach patrols will be maintained, I would have to say to the hon. member that the parents of children going to our provincial parks may be asked to take just a little more responsibility in the care and control of their children when they take them to enjoy the pleasantries we have in our provincial park system.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: How does the minister measure these priorities for restraints, when he recalls, as I do, the little six-year-old who died in July of last year at Outlet Beach near Picton as a result of a drowning, and the feeling in the community that had we adequate beach controls on a continuing basis some of these incidents would not occur?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I just pointed out that it may well be in certain areas we will have beach patrols still in effect. But we have budget restraints, we have to comply with those restrictions and we think we can provide the necessary protection where the dangers are extreme.

Mr. Reid: Not when the health and safety of people are concerned.

Mr. Lewis: You are really overdoing it. Have you seen a letter from a member of the Faculty of Law about this?


Mr. Lupusella: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment, with regard to Kelson Spring Products Ltd., a bedspring manufacturing company located on Brandon Ave. in Dovercourt riding. The Minister of the Environment told me on Dec. 16, 1975, that the ministry in conjunction with the municipality, was considering an appeal to make sure the company was going to follow the minister’s control order.

In view of the fact that the Environmental Appeal Board dismissed the appeal of Kelson Spring Products on March 10, 1976, how does the minister intend to enforce the control order, now that the appeal has been dismissed?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I understand that matter is still before the courts and there is a hearing. I believe next week, the first week of May, where the appeal will be considered further. There is some question as to jurisdiction and the hearing was adjourned from March. So the control order is still in effect until that hearing is disposed of.

Mr. Lupusella: By way of supplementary, in the light of the fact that on March 17, 1976, I was informed by the lawyer representing the residents living in the vicinity of this factory that the company has launched two actions in the divisional court to quash the control order, and further, that the ruling of the Environmental Appeal Board be reversed. I would like to ask the minister, what kind of a control order is this? Is the government going to do anything about this situation, or is it going to follow its usual path of favouring the interests of business over the interests of people?


Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, Mr. Speaker, there is no intention of favouring anybody. The appeal was launched by my ministry. I think that indicates some sincerity on the part of the ministry as the result of the decision of the division court. Before the appeal can be heard -- this is the information I have -- there is the question of whether or not the control order in fact was valid in the first place. So that matter has to be disposed of at a hearing that I believe will take place next week; I think it’s May 4.

In the meantime, we are attempting to deal with the owner of that plant, to make sure that he does maintain the controls we’ve imposed on him, because he is a source of pollution in that neighbourhood, and to work out a programme. However, if we have to continue going to court every two or three months in order to get some co-operation, I suppose we’ll have to do that. As I say, the matter is to be heard, I believe next week, on a motion by the plant’s solicitor as to the question of the validity of the control order. Once that is disposed of, then the appeal itself will be heard.


Mr. Riddell: I have a question of the Attorney-General in connection with the leasing of Essex Packers to the DeJonge Group. In view of the fact the province has a clause in its lease with Essex Packers enabling it to cancel the lease, yet it chose not to exercise that option; in view of the fact that the province chose not to call public tenders; and in view of the fact there have been many allegations made about the mishandling of this whole affair, would the Attorney General conduct a judicial inquiry to establish why the fate of Essex Packers was linked to the Guelph Centre lease?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know that any of the inferences that might be drawn from my friend’s question would in any way suggest that any formal judicial inquiry is warranted in the circumstances. If he has a specific question in relation to any aspect of that transaction, I’ll attempt to obtain the information for him in the absence of the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. J. R. Smith), whose ministry is responsible for entering into the lease.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Presenting reports.


Introduction of bills. The hon. Minister of Housing.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Planning Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: This bill contains mainly housekeeping provisions, with the exception of section 3 which sets out new provisions relating to the locating of mobile homes in the province. Section 2 extends the exemptions from part lot controls to include an exemption for utility lines as defined in the Ontario Energy Board Act. Under section 4 of the bill the provisions for delegation of planning approvals to the local level have been broadened to include certain approvals given by the Ministry of Housing under the Condominium Act, the Municipal Act and the Registry Act.


Mr. MacDonald moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to provide for Individualized Price Marking on Products.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. MacDonald: The purpose of this bill is to assure the continuance of individual price marking on products, in view of the imminent elimination of such individual price marking by supermarkets as part of their computerized checkout installations, thereby eliminating comparison shopping which is the major weapon today for shoppers, or consumers, to protect the family budget.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Housing Development Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the amendments proposed here are primarily of a housekeeping nature. Two of them are necessary in order to extend the very successful Ontario home renewal programme to include rental accommodation and to make provision for loans for converting existing buildings to residential accommodation. Also, under this programme, the bill proposes to permit a municipality to take a promissory note as security for one of these loans rather than a mortgage.


Mr. Reid moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to provide for the Appointment of a Labour Ombudsman.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to establish a labour ombudsman to hear and investigate employee complaints with respect to employers and trade unions. It will give the ordinary worker some protection in his rights, vis-à-vis both the union and his employer, particularly those who are not served by organizations.


Mr. Leluk moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to prevent discrimination because of marital status with respect to the occupancy of any commercial unit or any housing accommodation.


Mr. Roy moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to establish the Ontario Bill of Rights.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, this must be the third or fourth time I have introduced this bill. The purpose of it, of course, is to submit all legislation emanating from this Legislature, along with all regulations, to the fundamental freedoms enacted in the bill. Presently we have a bill applying only to federal legislation and not to provincial legislation. It is most important that we have some control, especially in the area of regulation, and that the fundamental freedoms be protected.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Before the orders of the day, I wish to table answers to questions 32 and 34 standing on the order paper.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.


Mr. Davidson moved second reading of Bill Pr5, An Act respecting the City of Cambridge.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr5, An Act respecting the City of Cambridge.


Mr. Mancini moved second reading of Bill Pr11, An Act respecting Napco Poultry Ltd.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr11, An Act respecting Napco Poultry Ltd.


Mr. Breithaupt, on behalf of Mr. Haggerty, moved second reading of Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the Town of Fort Erie.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the Town of Fort Erie.


Mr. Breithaupt, on behalf of Mr. Haggerty, moved second reading of Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the Town of Fort Erie.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the Town of Fort Erie.


Mr. Breithaupt, on behalf of Mrs. Campbell, moved second reading of Bill Pr17, An Act respecting the Institute of Professional Librarians of Ontario.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr17, An Act respecting the Institute of Professional Librarians of Ontario.


Mr. Kerrio moved second reading of Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Niagara Falls.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Niagara Falls.


Mr. Villeneuve, on behalf of Mr. Morrow, moved second reading of Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.



Hon. Mr. Meen moved second reading of Bill 45, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, Bill 45, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act of Ontario, is replete with a number of technical changes to the taxing statute. Some of them incorporate the various amendments proposed by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) when he made his budget address some weeks ago.

Subject, of course, to whatever specific or general comments others may wish to make, so far as I am concerned I would ask that the bill go to committee of the whole House and that we deal with it, with adequate explanation, section by section.

Mr. Speaker: Any further comments on this bill? The hon. member for Perth.

Mr. Edighoffer: Mr. Speaker, I would say, first of all, that our party will support the amendments to the Corporations Tax Act. It certainly seems very clear that it includes items which were outlined in the budget and, of course, I think it adds to and clarifies a number of sections which reflect on sections in the federal Income Tax Act.

As I recall, in the budget statement the provincial Treasurer did say that he was going to relieve the situation for small businessmen. However, it appears now that basically he is only shifting some of the taxation and certainly it will not be of as much benefit as explained in the budget. But we, as a party, will support the Corporations Tax Amendment Act.

Ms. Bryden: As my colleague from Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) mentioned, this is mainly tidying up and bringing a number of matters into line with the federal Act. There are a couple of points in it that I would like to deal with specifically.

The main clause in this bill of interest to us, I think, is the reduced rate for small business. As the member for Perth mentioned, it’s not a very great monetary benefit to small business because the $30 million it’s going to cost is being recovered by the withdrawal of another tax, the tax on capital, which also costs $30 million. There’s no net gain to small business from that particular switch.

It appears, though, that the government is replacing what turned out to be an unworkable tax with one which we hope will be workable and will give small business a benefit. It’s true that according to the budget small business is getting $11 million in aid this year; $9 million in transitional aid for moving from the one form of taxation to the other. That will be a one-shot deal. And $2 million is revenue lost by excusing them from making instalment payments if their income is $2,000 or under which, again, will be a one-shot loss.

I hope the government doesn’t consider that this is an adequate small business programme to compensate them for the disadvantages which they suffer in obtaining credit, in the marketplace in competing for special prices and that sort of thing. This government really is working against small business by supporting and favouring big business in a great many of its laws, particularly in its corporation tax laws which tend to support the concentration of business and offer special favours of which mainly big business can take advantage.

Really, one might say that small business needs more competition and that in supporting that we are the only free enterprise party. The kind of free enterprise the members across the floor recommend is the freedom to rip off consumers, to concentrate, to get government aid and favours for promoting business.


Ms. Bryden: So we would like to make sure that they don’t consider that this is an adequate answer to the needs of small business, or to the need for ensuring that we get real competition in our economy.

There is another point that I would like to raise, Mr. Speaker, and that is that while we have this amendment before us to give a reduced rate of corporation tax to small business, I am disappointed that there is no general increase in the rate of corporation tax for other business. There are three provinces ahead of us in the rate of corporation tax. We have been at 12 per cent for a good many years, and are still there. British Columbia is at 15 per cent; Newfoundland at 14 per cent; Manitoba at 13 per cent.

One point of the corporation tax would raise $80 million, and this amount could have been used to avoid the very damaging cutbacks in health and social services, which are estimated to save about $65 million. It seems to me that would have been an eminently more reasonable way of raising the money the Treasurer needed at the time in order to reduce his overblown deficit, instead of taking it out of the sick, the aged, the poor and children. However, that is not in this particular Act.

Thirdly, I would like to speak for a minute about the increase in the insurance premium tax. A 50 per cent increase in the rate has been proposed, but since the budget was brought down the provincial Treasurer has announced a pullback in this proposal, which we had looked on as the only business tax increase in the budget, and the only recognition by the government that perhaps it should be getting more money from the business sector. The pullback looks like a bowing to the insurance lobby.

I would like to know the reasons why it was decided that the tax could be applied only to business written after April 6 instead of to all the premium income of the insurance companies. I think the provincial Treasurer mentioned something about competition in the US market as being the reason. I would like to know if there is any evidence that business will actually be lost in the US, or perhaps it could just be a slight trimming of profit. It depends on whether there is a profit sufficient that the extra tax would not really reduce their viability as a company to make a profit.

We have decided to support this bill, because we want to see the small business rates go into effect and because we agree that a lot of the tidying up amendments are necessary, but I would have hoped that the bill could have included an increase in the corporate rate.

Mr. Speaker: Do any other hon. members wish to speak to this bill? The hon. minister.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, I must say that I appreciate the expression of support from both opposition parties. I think we might leave our detailed discussion of the various sections, some of which are extremely complex, until the bill is in committee.

The hon. members have noted that some of the provisions in the bill are pursuant to the Treasurer’s budget statement on budget night, and that others are of a housekeeping nature.

Mr. Renwick: We can hear you.

Hon. Mr. Meen: The mike appears to be working, but the light isn’t on, so I was in some doubt if it was.

Mr. Stokes: You are coming through loud and clear.

Mr. Edighoffer: Speak on the right side of your mouth.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Yes, it would be the right side of my mouth in that case, you will notice. I don’t have the full details at the moment on the background to the alteration in the insurance premiums tax. I would expect to have further particulars on that. Ad hon. members know, the Treasurer announced this revision to his budget and consequently asked me to adjust the bill in committee. He announced the revision just last Thursday, and I haven’t yet had a chance to apprise myself of the net effects; nor, for that matter, of all the arguments advanced.

The hon. member has indicated that the increase was intended from the beginning, to be only on new business. My understanding of that is that the Treasurer simply did not want to tamper with the profit-and-loss picture that is already written into existing contracts, and that only where the contracts of insurance are renewable would any such new rate apply. I think that is what one might call fair ball. But the significance of its impact on sales in other countries is something for which I don’t have particulars at this time; I may be able to get them between now and when we discuss this in committee.

The small business tax credit -- that is, the amendment in this bill -- is indeed a considerable simplification of a system that I suggest was not entirely unworkable; it was certainly far more complex than the proposal in this bill which I think is welcomed on all sides. Of course, the effective reduction from 12 per cent to nine per cent is a real plus for small businesses too.

With those few comments, Mr. Speaker, I will wind up my observations, except to observe that I would like to put this bill into committee, as has already been announced, for the purpose of this amendment and the amendment with respect to insurance premiums tax as well as a number of other minor refinements on the sections presently in the bill before the House. I had been contemplating whether I would ask that the bill go to the standing committee on administration of justice, rather than to the committee of the whole House, and I invited the member for Riverdale to express his view on this. He indicated to me that he would be quite satisfied with the bill going into the committee of the whole House, which is perfectly satisfactory to me, except that it does have the minor disadvantage that if we get into something of an extremely technical nature, I may have to advise the hon. members that I would have to get the answers for them at another time. But I shall do my best to answer the questions and deal with the matters in the committee of the whole House.

Mr. Renwick: The member for Sudbury (Mr. Germa) says he will stay around and help the minister.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Shall this be sent to the committee of the whole House?



Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 54, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, Bill 54, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, is a collection of miscellaneous amendments which, in the view of our caucus, can best be dealt with in committee of the whole House and we therefore will not oppose the passage of the bill for second reading.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to speak to this bill at this time?

Mr. Cassidy: Not yet. But the competition isn’t that great.

Mr. Speaker: Does the parliamentary assistant wish to reply?

Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I have no further comments to add to the statement of the minister unless there are any specific matters that the other members wish to raise.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Is it agreed that this bill shall be considered by the committee of the whole House?


Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the next order of business, as arranged between the parties, was the ninth order. The minister has been out of the House in committee and a messenger has just been sent for him; with the indulgence of the House, perhaps we might hold on for a minute or so.

Mr. Renwick: He’s not in committee.

Mr. Cassidy: He is not in committee. What committee?

Hon. Mr. Meen: He has been in a committee meeting -- not a committee meeting of the House necessarily. I think he should be here in a minute or so.


Mr. Speaker: Thank you. We will just wait for a moment then.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, I understand, with the concurrence of the other other parties, that if the seventh order is in order for debate -- the Regional Municipalities Amendment Act -- we could follow the seventh order while we’re waiting.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, we had a specific commitment among the House leaders that Bill 55 would not be called until next week.

Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, we are ready for Bill 55 if the House wishes to proceed.

Mr. Speaker: If there was a commitment made to hear --

Mr. Good: Next week there will be no legislation, I understand.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Without agreement from both of the opposition parties, I don’t think it would be appropriate to call that bill, Mr. Speaker. I understand that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) is on his way and should be here imminently.

Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you adjourn the House for half an hour?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Why don’t you continue the Throne Speech debate?


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved second reading of Bill 60, An Act to amend the Residential Premises Rent Review Act.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, before we begin the debate, perhaps the minister would like to make a statement explaining why the government chose to bring the bill in at this time.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I did make an introductory statement the day I introduced the bill on first reading and perhaps I could repeat the philosophy behind the amendments Most of them are housekeeping in nature. I am sure the hon. members will recognise that there have been a number of uncertainties about certain sections of the bill.

One of them deals with periodic tenancies. Our own legal people felt that while there is no doubt in their minds as to the intent of the Act to cover periodic tenancies, there should be an amendment making this absolutely clear. That, of course, is what we have done.

The question of holding back overpayments of rent has arisen. lit is limited to one month but in many cases, because of delays in decisions being brought down, it has been found that if it is reclaimed in one month, the rebate totals more than one month’s rent. Therefore, the tenant is barred from withholding that on future payments of rent. That is being clarified now. The withholding of rent can take place until the total rebate has been withheld.

There is the question of mobile homes. We wanted to make sure that mobile homes on a mobile home site were also included in the process and that is being done by an additional housekeeping amendment.

Also we are trying to close what many people have conceived to be a loophole. Quite frankly, I think it was probably well known to most of the members at the time the Act went through that this loophole did exist. That was the possibility of there being an eight per cent increase in July, 1976, and a consequent increase starting in August, 1976, which would total slightly over 16 per cent over a period of 13 months.

I must say, though, in fairness to many of the large landlords, that most of them have been using a pro-rated type of formula which does result in something like two-thirds of one per cent per month over the total period of the extended lease. They have had something like 11 per cent over 16 months and things of that nature. It is quite true, also, that some other landlords have very definitely used the loophole in order to obtain the maximum rent increase without rent review.

I have been saying, during this period when this has been legal, that a tenant can defeat any move of that nature by a landlord simply by asking for a rent review. Of course, the rent review officer can avoid the possibility of a second increase simply by issuing an order confirming the first one which ties that increase to a period of 12 months. However, most tenants do not wish to initiate rent review proceedings on an eight per cent increase and, therefore, we felt the amendment should be brought in limiting a total increase of eight per cent to any 12-month period.

The basic amendment, of course, and the reason we’re bringing it in at this time, is to take out of the rent review process all those units which are publicly owned, which are already subject to some form or other of rent review either by the government or an agent of the government or by an institution which is, by definition, a non-profit institution. It seems to us, and it was said in the debates on the original Act, that there can be overkill in the form of government intervention in the rental market. Certainly, this is a prime example of it.

We have unlimited numbers of cases which would indicate the absolute idiocy, in my view, of imposing a cross-pass-through system of rent calculation on top of a rent-geared-to-income system of rent calculation. In many cases, the anomalies are so striking that I really do think the House should hear at least a couple of them. These are not the most extreme ones; we have some that are really almost out of this world.

I have one here of Mr. A, in Toronto, who has now an annual income of $15,300 and is currently paying $124 a month rent on his rent-geared-to-income unit because of rent control. Under the proper formula of rent-geared-to-income he would be paying $291, which is still below market value. In this case, what we’re really doing is depriving a low income person of that rental unit because it’s not available to him. The person obviously cannot be evicted -- nor should he be -- but we feel he should be paying the proper rent under the rent-geared-to-income plan and that the rent review process is another artificial factor in the determination of his rent.

We have a Mr. B, of Scarborough, who has an annual income of just over $13,000 and who is renting his unit now for $105 monthly. Under the normal rent-geared-to-income he would be paying $245. It’s still highly subsidized and still below market value. I don’t think there would be much purpose in bringing in a long list of these cases. Horror stories are easy to list and we can spend a long time on them. I simply want you to know, sir, that these are representative of what is happening in the public housing system.

We’ve had letters from universities, from hospitals, from regional governments, from the association of housing authorities, all requesting this amendment. As far as the ministry is concerned, we feel we should bring it in so that we can concentrate our resources in those areas where we think there is the greatest need, which is the commercial rental market. We would like to be able to catch up with the backlog which has resulted somewhat from the fact that these have been included in the programme. We would hope that the House would provide speedy passage to these amendments.

Mr. Speaker: Does any member wish to get involved in the debate? The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I think it is interesting that the way the government respects the House is for it to bring forward a matter which had already been rejected by the House three or four months ago. As far as the Ontario Housing Corp. coverage is concerned this war a matter which was fully debated at that time and fully debated in the committee. However, I gather what has happened is that some kind of deal has been made between the government and the leader of the Liberal Party, who has just come into the House, in order to leave the OHC tenants high and dry. That’s literally what is happening.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I simply want to say there have been no deals. I have not even spoken to the leader of the Liberal Party on this subject and I really think that remark should be withdrawn.

Mr. Cassidy: The day after the bill was presented, the leader of the Liberal Party was on the radio saying, “Yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full. We’d be happy to go along with the government.”

Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, this is ridiculous. If the member wishes to address himself to the bill that’s fine, but to make insulting remarks, to paraphrase my comments on television in a particularly juvenile manner which is in bad taste, is really not using the time of the House in an effective manner and impinges on my privilege.

Mr. Makarchuk: That’s not called insulting remarks; that’s called reality therapy.

Mr. Cassidy: Now that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the leader of the Liberal Party have both felt moved to get to their feet, the point is that they are both in the same bed together and it’s the OHC tenants of this province who are going to be the victims because of this union they have forged.

Mr. S. Smith: You are mudslinging.

Mr. Cassidy: I don’t know how they did. Maybe they did it through serendipity or psychic communication.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think it is inappropriate to suggest that there have been deals made.

Mr. Cassidy: Well, all right. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, then some form of psychic communications, to which we are not ken, has taken place.

Mr. S. Smith: Now you are making a bigger fool of yourself than you usually do.

Mr. Cassidy: Let me talk about strange bedfellows.


Mr. Cassidy: The Liberal Party went through the last election saying they were the friends of tenants.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Sweeney: That has nothing to do with the legislation.

Mr. Cassidy: Well, it has, as a matter of fact.

Mr. Speaker: We are dealing with second reading of Bill 60, which is the principle of this bill.

An hon. member: Deal with the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: Fine, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has been going up and down the province for some time saying he wishes he could get out of rent control. And now he is starting with the OHC tenants, with limited-dividend tenants, with people who happen to live in religious institutions and with people who are in mobile homes. Who knows what other amendments he is going to have in another month or two? This is a process of creeping decontrol, beginning with those people who are least able to cope for themselves.

I would like to suggest that it is also a procedure which ignores not only the wishes of this Legislature but also ignores the representations that were made in a very open and forthright kind of way by the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations to the select committee of the Legislature that studied the rent control bill last fall. They proposed -- and I will quote:

“That since the present rent scale is currently under review by the Ontario government that the rent controls be in effect until the rent review is completed and a new rent scale based on a rent scale proposed by FOTA is in effect.”

We have had some discussions around the province, as perhaps the minister has as well. I want to tell him that it is the policy of the New Democratic Party to listen to tenants as well as to landlords, to listen to public housing tenants as well as housing authorities, and there is a pile of frustration there like you wouldn’t believe.

There is frustration because of the way in which those tenants have been dealt with by the government. They feel, and rightly, I think, that they have been dealt with unfairly. They feel that their legitimate presentations to the government have simply been swept aside. They feel they are being made victims, if not scapegoats, by the government in its efforts to cover up for the administrative problems which are now becoming apparent in the rent review scheme. We had some misgivings in the combination, I can admit this, Mr. Speaker, of a rent-geared-to-income system and rent control.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Well, you should have.

Mr. Cassidy: What persuaded us last December to move the amendment to bring OHC tenants into this particular bill was the fact that nothing else was getting through the skulls of the government. There was no give. There was no effort on the part of the government at all to look to legitimate grievances and suggestions being made by public housing tenants.

They said to our committee, “If we can get an equitable rent scale, then we’ll be quite happy to get out of rent review.” They said in March at a press conference that was held in Ottawa and then repeated, I believe in Windsor and Toronto: “If we can get the government to negotiate an equitable rent scale, then we will be quite happy to be removed from rent review.”

I want to say to the minister that our caucus has thought about this carefully and we have decided that it is not good enough simply to reverse the position that was taken in full knowledge of the situation that was being created last December. We believe that it is about time the government began to treat tenants as people and not as a bunch of pawns to be moved around in a paternalistic fashion. That’s the way in which it has dealt with public housing tenants in the past.

There have been proposals put forward by the tenant associations. We welcome the kind of initiative that they have taken. We dislike intensely the way in which the government has sought to frustrate that group, sought to put them down, sought to ignore them, and sought at times even to break up their particular organization. We feel that the tenants’ legitimate desire to negotiate an equitable rent scale should be respected. If that is done, we feel that then is the time to talk about removing OHC tenants from rent review.


I also want to say that over the last year or so I’ve had a number of discussions with public housing tenants about some of the things that frustrate them. It perhaps is not completely germane to this particular debate, which is a debate about rent review, but there is no question that the management of the Ontario Housing Corp. is simply a model of the private sector. There is no difference at all. If anything, it’s worse -- more paternalistic. There was a certain respect in the private sector for tenants, which doesn’t exist in the OHC.

We believe that it should be possible for public housing in this province to be a model to the private sector. We believe that if the government is trying to encourage people, trying to respect their dignity, if it is -- among other things -- frying to save administrative costs, then it involves people in the management, both at the management board and project management level, and also on the boards of housing authorities and on the board of the Ontario Housing Corp. itself.

This lunchtime I had a brief chat with Twyla Hendry. She is, I think, the one woman on the board of the Ontario Housing Corp. I didn’t get around to asking her, but perhaps the minister will explain to me: How is it that, with 70,000 tenants in Ontario Housing across the province, not one tenant is considered good enough by this government to be appointed to the administrative board of the Ontario Housing Corp.?

I could go on and chronicle these items in the Housing estimates -- and I won’t do them here. The tenants in public housing across the province are frustrated beyond belief by the fact that there are records of themselves, records in particular, financial records of the projects where they live, or the communities where they live. These are distributed freely to the municipalities, to the housing authorities, to Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. and, of course, to the Ministry of Housing. But can the tenants find out what the situation is? Can the opposition find out what the situation is? Can the clerks find out what the situation is? Not on your nelly I It is a model of the private sector. Those accounts are guarded as though they were on tablets of stone and there is no way in which tenants in particular can have a reasonable, informed discussion about the financial status of the houses or apartments in which they live, because the information is simply not accessible to them.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the minister as well, that if we had commitments from the government that it is prepared to bring tenants into management, at the project level, at the housing authority level and at the OHC level, and in order to give them --

Mr. Speaker: I must remind the hon. member that is not a part of the principle of this bill.

Mr. Cassidy: No, I am being fairly brief for me, Mr. Speaker. If we had those commitments, if we had an acceptance by the government that the hooks of OHC would be open to tenants, so that where they had a need to know they would gain that access -- access which they can only gain now through rent review -- and if there was now in being an equitable rent scale, then we would be prepared to see OHC tenants come out from under rent review. But none of those conditions have been fulfilled.

Nothing has changed since last Dec. 18, when this particular bill had passed. Nothing has changed at all. There has been no indication that the government even understands what it is that’s moving the tenants at all. There is no indication that the government understands the motivations that led the tenants to ask for inclusion under rent review when they, too, knew there was a conflict between the rent review principle and some of the principles that would apply on rent geared to income -- nothing at all. The government has learned nothing and forgotten nothing, I would suggest, Mr. Speaker -- not to you but to the minister. It is for that reason that we intend to oppose the government on the principle of this bill.

The bill has half a dozen sections, but as the minister said in his introduction, the other five sections are basically routine. There cannot be that great urgency even about the amendment concerning short leases, because the government in its wisdom moved last January or February to reject that specific amendment when it was suggested to the then minister responsible for rent review. It was rejected at that time. It was not in accord with the philosophy of the government. I’m glad that this minister has accepted it, but those other five sections can survive and wait for a while if the bill happens to be defeated on second reading.

The major principle contained in the bill is that the government is trying to ask the Legislature to do something that we refused to do back in December, and that’s why we’re going to oppose it, for the reasons that I’ve given.


Mr. Cassidy: I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that there is another principle which has crept into the bill which, if anything, we find even more objectionable than the matter of taking OHC tenants out of rent review. To be perfectly frank, the reason that the tenants want to stay in rent review right now is because they don’t anticipate getting anything else from the government in terms of renegotiation and an equitable rent scale. If those things happened they would cheerfully see themselves go out of rent review.

The amendment put forward, though, by the government also includes limited-dividend tenants, and for the life of me I don’t know what it is that the government is about in suggesting that government-owned housing and limited-dividend tenants should also be excluded from rent review.

I’ve had some long chats with people in the limited-dividend situation, Mr. Speaker, and I have to tell you that the situation there is deplorable. There is absolutely no protection given to tenants in a limited-dividend situation by the fact that their rent is subject to approval by the government of Canada. The minister sort of falls back in his chair, shrugging his shoulders, sighing and saying, “Oh my God, there are those New Democrats off again.” He is liable to get up later in the debate and say that there is duplication between the rent review process and the rent approval process which is carried out by the federal government through CMHC.

The answer is, though, that it ain’t so. Under rent review, limited-dividend tenants -- and there are about 12,000 of them here in Metro alone -- have had their first opportunity ever to be involved in the rent-setting process. CMHC’s process of rent review simply does not involve tenants. It’s so bad that tenants are not informed when the landlord, the developer, goes up to Ottawa to CMHC to apply for a rent increase. It’s so bad that the tenants are not even informed when CMHC grants the rent increase. It’s so bad that the tenants are not even informed what is the amount of rent increase that CMHC has granted on that particular building. It is so bad that landlords in this city have been known to be charging illegal rents, rents that have not been approved by CMHC, and when they were caught the response has been simply a shrug of the shoulders, a “Ho-hum” and a pat on the shoulder, and tenants being told to go and get lost.

I understand that Mr. Danson, the Minister of Urban Affairs, has agreed that tenants will be informed in future of what rent increases are legal. That’s a tremendous step forward. They do not have access to the books, they do not have a say in management, they will not be informed ahead of time when the rent increase is applied for, they will not be able to see the justification put forward to CMHC, they won’t have any part in the process at all, but at least they will be told what the legal rent increase is after it’s all over.

The minister comes from the Ottawa area. He probably shares with me some pretty grave misgivings about the way in which the federal government works in a whole number of areas, and I have to say that the CMHC business with developers on limited dividends ought to be one of those areas. There is no reason -- no reason, no rationale -- that can be put forward for excluding limited-dividend tenants from rent review. In the case of OHC, it’s different from the case of limited dividends. They need the protection. They have to have the protection, there is no alternative for protection. There is absolutely no sign that CMHC is prepared to come in with parallel measures that will allow the limited-dividend tenants to come under rent review.

Only by accident did tenants at places like 800 Richmond St., here in Toronto, or Academy Heights, which I think is in Thunder Bay, even learn that they were paying an illegal rent. At 800 Richmond, where the rent was $105 for a bachelor, the landlord was illegally charging $125, and he did it for a year. When he was found out, what CMHC did was to approve a rent increase even greater than what he had been charging, a total of 29 per cent, raising the rent to $138. They did it retroactively to March 1, despite the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act that were adopted by this Legislature three or four months ago. In a letter to the tenants, both the CMHC and the landlord didn’t bother to mention that tenants had the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act, or that the decision that they were taking was subject to rent review.

Not only that, but under the rent review Act, for all of its failings, there are serious penalties. A landlord in a 100-suite apartment who charges an illegal rent for a month is theoretically subject to fines that could go up to $200,000. Now, the courts aren’t likely to levy that kind of a fine, but all the same the potential penalties are substantial. When you compare that with limited dividend, on the other hand, the situation is completely different.

CMHC appears to have no power at all to enforce a rent that the landlord must charge, because its only sanction is in the mortgage. If the landlord breaches the mortgage -- the minister is nodding --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It is more than the fine if he has to remortgage.

Mr. Cassidy: He has to remortgage?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: At a higher rate.

Mr. Cassidy: But if the landlord breaches the covenant, CMHC can call the mortgage and the landlord is then forced to go out into the private market to find a mortgage, but --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: He is back into rent review.

Mr. Cassidy: But he goes out into the private market on a building that by that time may be three or four or five or 10 years old and, therefore, where the mortgage that he has to raise is considerably less than the mortgage on a new property of comparable size, and he is free from the obligation to rent to tenants in a certain income bracket.

That means, in other words, that if CMHC tries to get tough with limited-dividend landlords, they can simply thumb their nose at it in today’s housing environment and say: “If you don’t want us to put up with these tenants on modest incomes, we will evict them all and we will take in people who can pay rents that we will have to charge when we refinance -- and here is what our profit picture is going to be.”

In a tight housing market there is actually a big incentive, in many cases, for the landlord to thumb his nose at CMHC. The only sanction that CMHC has is to call the mortgage, despite the fact that CMHC -- the public -- will have put up 95 per cent of the costs on limited-dividend projects. In fact, CMHC will have put up 100 per cent of the disbursements, because the landlord’s equity is represented by the time that he spends -- his management time -- of putting the project together.

To put it mildly, the protection given to limited-dividend tenants is totally unreliable. This is not an adequate substitute for the protection of rent control. The limited-dividend tenants have asked and asked and asked that they stay under rent review because they do not have protection effectively from the federal government. But they have indicated as well, as have the OHC tenants, that if CMHC comes up with a reasonable alternative, then they will be prepared to go out of rent review.

I want to say that the administrative problems that the minister tried to make such a thing about, in the case of limited dividend in particular, are really pretty picayune. There were 65 limited-dividend buildings across the city. In the case of at least 25 or 30 there are applications outstanding, because the rents are assessed in unison. They are buildings that clearly lend themselves to group hearing.


You are talking, in effect, about an expenditure of time, money and energy -- maybe 65 days of a rent review officer’s time -- to make those hearings if all the buildings went in for rent review. If it costs $500 a case, we are talking about $85,000, or $5 per limited-dividend tenant. Given the failure of the federal government to come up with any effective protection or even knowledge about the situation under which they live, it seems to me that that is a small price indeed and a small burden on the rent review process.

If the minister is telling us that, when he has a quarter of a million applications, his people can’t cope with 65 appeals to protect limited-dividend tenants, then I suggest that there’s something grossly wrong with the administration of this Act.

I want to say as well that, in the case of the OHC, we are going to have some proposals to make. We think it’s possible to allow group hearings in the case of OHC projects and OHC communities. If group hearings are held in the case of OHC -- and we are going to propose an amendment to that effect -- then even if there is no duplication in the applications submitted on behalf of Ontario Housing, we are talking of a need of perhaps a couple of hundred group hearings across the province to clean up the vast bulk of the applications that are now standing under the OHC.

Once again, because OHC units tend to be in communities of 50, 100 or 200 at a time, it makes sense to deal with them as a group and they can be dealt with relatively easily on an administrative basis. We would far prefer that the ministry sat down and came to a reasonable negotiation of the rent scale but, if they are not going to do it, then administratively there is 100 particular problem in keeping them under rent review for the time being, giving them that protection and allowing them that access to the books, which they haven’t had before because the government wouldn’t give it, and maybe the minister will get around to the rent scales at some future time.

In fact, if the experience of our rent review office in Ottawa is an example, I understand that the ministry has decided that, rather than have group hearings, the hearings on OHC will be held one at a time, which is enormously time-consuming. But, in fact, the tenants in private projects are being told that they cannot have access to the rental information on units other than the one they occupy. If that’s the case in private projects, an application of the same rule in OHC would protect the confidentiality of the income and rental information for each unit; therefore, the minister wouldn’t even need an amendment from us in order to dispose of the OHC units expeditiously through the rent review process -- but, no, that’s not his way.

The Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) has been trotting up and down the province, trying to maintain that there’s enormous cost connected with keeping rent-geared-to-income housing in the rent review programme. He has been trying to make a scare tactic of this by obscuring the real issues as far as the OHC and his own administration of rent review are concerned.

Mr. Philip: He’s scaring the Liberals.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to come finally to a few remarks on the way in which the rent review programme is being administered. This is the first opportunity I have had to raise these problems, and it seems to me that they are sufficiently important that they should be raised now that we have reopened most sections of the bill.

We would have welcomed, incidentally, some amendments that might have permitted an acceleration of some of the administrative problems of rent review. For example, in the case of group hearings, are there ways by which it would be possible to cut down on some of the paperwork in order to make it easier to communicate with the tenants, without all of the secretarial time that is involved? I suspect that those methods are feasible. The minister has got time-and-motion experts and that kind of thing. That kind of amendment to this bill would have been just as welcome as the other five amendments, which we have already raid that we basically support. What’s happening instead -- maybe it’s because this minister is so anxious to get out of rent review -- is that the basic provisions of the bill are not being respected.

I want to remind the minister that section 7(1) of the bill says:

“The rent review officer may give directions for the conduct and carrying on of proceedings before him. In so doing, he shall adopt the most expeditions method of determining the questions arising before him [He’s sure as heck doing that; the section was very carefully drafted to go on to say:] that afford to all parties to the proceedings an adequate opportunity of knowing the issues in the proceedings and of presenting material and making representations on their behalf.”

I want to suggest the landlords are basically getting an adequate opportunity to know the issues in the proceedings and to present material and make representations on their behalf. I want to suggest, however, that this ministry and minister are being grossly unfair to tenants in denying them adequate opportunities of knowing the issues in the proceedings and of presenting material and making representations on their behalf.

It is possible for the minister to argue that the rent review officers are not subject to his control. However, I have here a series of information bulletins which come from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and they are instructions to the rent review officers as to how to carry out the rent review process. I also have such things as the quote from the minister, in which he said the proceedings had to be streamlined and he intended to see a tightening-up of the hearings, limiting most of them to 15 minutes -- a more formal kind of instruction to rent review officers.

I have tried in vain to get hold of the rent review officer’s manual and have been told that I can’t have access to it. That’s been told also to tenants, tenant representatives and other interested --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: And the landlords, too.

Mr. Cassidy: And landlords, too, that’s fine. It’s significant that the landlords have a 15- or 16-page guide to the cost-revenue form which basically tells them the procedures they must carry out in order to carry an application though the rent review process. Not only that hurt when the landlord goes in with this, an applications control officer sits down with the landlord, looks through the form, asks for documentation which may be absent and generally lends a helping hand.

Moreover, if the landlord wishes to talk with the rent review officer, chances are the landlord will be able to get some advice from the rent review officer as well. Almost the only thing he can’t do is find out which rent review officer is going to handle his cam and cosy up to that particular rent review officer before the hearing is actually heard.

On the other hand, the tenant has nothing. He gets a form 5; he gets a notice of the hearing -- the time and date of the hearing -- he gets a proxy form and that is all. There is no comparable manual of procedure which is mailed out to tenants in order to tell them what their rights arc and what they have the right to do. Many tenants are probably not aware that under the Act they have certain rights of access to the material, certain rights to be represented, certain rights to take somebody with them, and so on and so forth.

Mr. Renwick: There is no guidance to the tenants at all.

Mr. Cassidy: The feeling the tenants are developing -- checking around since this bill came down, I’m astonished by the force with which this feeling is held and, I think, legitimately -- is that the whole process is increasingly becoming tilted in favour of the landlord.

Let’s go back to that section in the bill which says that the rent review officer shall afford to all parties to the proceedings an adequate opportunity of knowing the issues in the proceedings and of presenting material and making representations on their behalf. The landlord submits the cost-revenue form. Clearly he’s got a pretty good ability to know what that’s all about. He can take it to his accountant. He can seek out an accountant who has developed an expertise in handling rent review cases, and who has seen a number of hearings through and, therefore, can give some pretty professional advice about what to put in the cost-revenue form, and how to do it in a most acceptable way to the rent review process and in the most advantageous way to the landlord. That’s what happens on the landlord side.

On the tenant’s side, however, he walks into a typical rent review office and says, “I would like to look at the file,” The guideline is that that material should be in the hands of the rent review office two weeks before. Sometimes it isn’t available until the Friday before a Monday hearing. That’s strike one against the tenant.

Strike two, he looks for a place to sit down and finds himself parked at some secretary’s desk with a girl waiting to get back her desk and moving him around and making him feel acutely embarrassed and uncomfortable about getting the information.

Strike three, it may well be that there is -- and this has happened on a number of occasions -- an officer of these hard-pressed rent review administrations, who is sitting at the side of the tenant looking over his or her shoulder, in order to see what they are taking down, and doing nothing else but surveying, as in an examination, what the tenant is doing.

Strike four, information bulletin 1-6 says: “If parties have written authorization in advance of a hearing, the material will be accessible in the presence of a designated staff member.” That simply means that he couldn’t take it away, as in a reference library. That’s fine. The original material that’s filed probably has to stay in the rent review office.

However, it goes on to say: “The material will not be sent out nor will any photocopying be allowed by rent review personnel for other than their own use.” So, while the landlord has got a full copy of the material, the tenant has had to sit down and laboriously copy it all out by hand. I think the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) might have some comments on the natural justice involved when one party to a hearing can take the material in its original form to his accountant or somebody who is expert in these matters and the other party to the hearing, that is, the tenant, has to copy it out by hand.

He may make mistakes or, being unfamiliar with the matter, may not know what it is he should look for. He is subject to continual harassment from rent review personnel and has to take time off work, which may be costing him or her money in terms of lost wages, in order to get that information down. Is that really an adequate opportunity of knowing the issues and the proceedings and of presenting material and making representations?

Then we come to the hearing. In certain cases, it has taken tenants’ representatives up to 2½ days to copy out by hand this material, because the ministry will not make photocopying facilities available at reasonable cost or for free, when tenants have a legitimate need to get the information in the file in which they have an interest.

Mr. S. Smith: Has this any relation to the bill?

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, it does.

Mr. S. Smith: It is out of order.

Mr. Cassidy: The anti-tenant leader of the Liberal Party is butting in again.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the Speaker was just checking the bill and cannot find that your comments apply to the principle. I would be guided by what you find in the bill, but certainly I think you should return to the principle as it’s printed.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, we are now talking about the hearings that are heard under this. If you want me to spend a couple of minutes and refer specifically to hearings which are under the proposed subsection 2(a) of section 5, I will be happy to. But I am sure that you would agree that if I didn’t go on for too much longer, these comments would be considered to be relevant to the bill.

When it gets to the hearing itself, the rent review officer may have had a chance to review the material beforehand and has a copy in front of him -- the copy that’s been filed. The landlord who submitted the material has a copy of his cost-revenue statement in front of him. Unless the tenant was able to spend time beforehand copying the material out by hand, he doesn’t have the material to follow the case.

The rent review officer says to the landlord: “It says here that your heating bill went up to $650. Isn’t that a bit high?” But he doesn’t tell the tenant whether it’s up from $500 to $650 or from $850 to $650. The tenant literally, does not have any kind of access to the material unless he went in and copied it out by hand. I think that there are important legal questions that are involved here.

Mr. S. Smith: It is a pity they are not referred to in the bill. It has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Cassidy: The rent review officer process is not reviewed at the appeal level.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The comments that the hon. member is raising are not referred to in this particular bill, and I would ask him to return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if you wish me to relate it to the bill, I thought that I was doing that quite adequately. I think it’s an important enough matter; I thought it ought to be raised.


Mr. S. Smith: Self-praise is very weak indeed.

Mr. Cassidy: Section 5 is referred to in the bill and in committee stage I intend to propose a couple of amendments which would have the effect of trying to right some of these really serious administrative weaknesses which have cropped up in the bill. They are not just administrative weaknesses but are also a flouting of the will of the Legislature in the way in which the government is administering rent review.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Those points can be dealt with in committee. Let’s return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: I’m talking about principle at this point, Mr. Speaker, and I think maybe some other members of my caucus will want to do that as well. I think, if you wish, we can go on at some length about these matters. Since the leader of the Liberal Party is here I think it is important to talk to him about these matters as well because, clearly, he does not have an understanding of tenant issues. He does not have an understanding of the importance of making changes.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. S. Smith: Don’t threaten us, Cassidy. We have heard enough of it.

Mr. Good: Use your head instead of your mouth.

Mr. S. Smith: God, what a juvenile!

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make some comments -- I actually do want to talk about one or two other things related to the bill. I wanted to make a couple of other comments, though, if I can just find my notes here, in relation to the bill itself. I admit I was straying but, as I say, I think they were serious matters and if the leader of the Liberal Party doesn’t think they are serious, he had better go out and tell the tenants in the next election that he doesn’t --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will debate the principle of the bill.

Mr. S. Smith: Carry on as an adult. Address yourself to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you address yourself to the principle of the bill?

Mr. S. Smith: If you sit down, I will.

Mr. Cassidy: The principle of the bill is protecting tenants, for Christ’s sake.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. S. Smith: For whose sake? Would you kindly withdraw that remark?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: All right; whatever deity you wish to invoke. There are a couple of other points I want to raise here.

We welcome the fact that the short-lease situation will now be definitely cured. We’re sorry the ministry couldn’t have done that last January when this matter came up before. We will be proposing an amendment in relation to splitting up the limited-dividend question and the OHC question so they can be dealt with separately. If the Liberal Party is not prepared to go along with keeping OHC tenants in the bill, I do hope its members are prepared to continue with the question of rent review for limited-dividend tenants.

I intend to propose amendments in order to ensure that the decisions of the rent review officers are public, whether or not the hearings are public and in order to ensure that tenants do have adequate access to the material along the lines I was just talking about, that is, the right to photocopy at no cost or at a reasonable cost. There is a real problem with natural justice there. At committee stage we will have some more comments to make about the administration of the bill.

Mr. S. Smith: If I might, as a matter of novelty, address myself to the principle of the bill presently before us --

Mr. Makarchuk: It’s a novelty for him to be in the House.

Mr. S. Smith: -- that has to be quite a shock, I’m sure, to the members sitting here to my right, with their various labels. I will try to keep the remarks relatively brief.

We have a few comments to make with regard to the aspects of the bill under section 5. Under section 5 are the only elements in this bill which we consider to be particularly contentious. We can certainly accept the rest of the bill but we have several reservations about many of the matters introduced and touched on in section 5.

We feel it best to consider two problems brought up in the bill, namely, those rental accommodations where rent is geared to income on the one hand and those where rent is not geared to income. We feel there are two separate principles involved here.

In the first place, we would like to address ourselves to those in the rent-geared-to-income situation. Under these circumstances, when there is already a provision for rent-geared-to-income, we had a number of misgivings about including that under rent control in the first place but we included it there for the following reasons. We felt, on the one hand, that if something of a misfortune befell those individuals who are on pensions and receiving pension supplement, as soon as they got an increase in their supplement a substantial portion of that were to be taken up for the rent and given to another level of government. There seems to be something inherently unjust in that.

We still have that feeling, but we recognize that, as well, there has been -- because of this government’s ineptitude and because it has put the burden of taxation on the local residents -- a number of elderly citizens, probably even an equal number to those who are presently on pension and in rent-geared-to-income housing, who are trying to struggle along to keep their own homes going and to pay the vastly increased burden of taxation which this government has forced upon them. Under these circumstances, it really becomes a question of whether or not it’s fair to protect one group of persons who’ve been getting a slight increase in their pensions and, in fact, put a tax burden on another group of pensioners who are attempting to keep things going in their own small home, however modest it might be.

Under these circumstances, we fell that a certain element of fairness would indicate that it’s not unreasonable to have rent-geared-to-income people have their rentals go up as their income goes up. There is also an element of fairness in as much as there are people who are not in these homes right now who might, I think, be well served to obtain access to these, and yet one wonders whether it’s fair to the people who are not in these homes that people whose incomes have gone up substantially should be able to receive the protection of rent control in addition to the already great subsidy that they are receiving.

We are willing to think that one over, and what’s really tipping our particular point of view here has been the way in which it has been put into practice. We note that in the rent-geared-to-income homes the OHC has embarked upon a practice whereby when someone’s income goes up it takes that case to the rent review officer. When they go to the rent review officer they point out the increased costs to the heating and so on which have occurred, and use the rent review process as a way of increasing the rent.

Basically what this means is that they’re getting around the whole idea of the rent control provision anyhow, with regard to rent-geared-to-income housing. It’s easy to show the increase in costs, because naturally costs have gone up -- we all know that -- and so it’s simply an extremely expensive way and an extremely bureaucratic way of getting around the rent review provisions anyhow. Since that is happening and since that seems to be very easy for them to do --

Mr. Cassidy: You are going to abandon the OHC tenants.

Mr. S. Smith: -- it seems to me that what we have to do is recognize that rent geared to income is a situation where one can legitimately say it is possible for one to make a fair and reasonable statement that when your income goes up, if you are already being subsidized, rather than expecting the public to subsidize you even more, given the difficulties, everyone has nowadays, it’s not unreasonable that the rent should go up a certain fraction. We, however, have a concern which we expressed at the time, which I take it from the rambling remarks of the member for Ottawa Centre, is also shared by the other party, and that is, we have a concern that the actual rate should be renegotiated in these homes.

It is not our practice in general to stand up as blackmailers and to say that we’re going to use this bill as a lever to get something else. We’re willing to take each piece of legislation on its merits and we’re quite prepared, in fact, to leave this matter to the people of Ontario, who will soon have an opportunity to decide --

Mr. Cassidy: We’ll tell the OHC tenants where you stand.

Mr. Speaker: Order please. The hon. member for Hamilton West has the floor.

Mr. S. Smith: -- whether or not they wish to keep this particular government in power.

If, in fact, the people of Ontario feel that people who are already being subsidized in their homes while others are struggling to keep body and soul together in a small house in north Toronto deserve even greater subsidies and protection despite the bureaucratic costs, despite the thousands of dollars per week in bureaucratic costs, they can make that particular decision.

Mr. Cassidy: That makes two parties which are indulging in welfare. Boy, oh boy. They will read this with great interest.

Mr. S. Smith: The fact is, given the fact that the Anti-Inflation Board exists anyhow -- and unlike the radicals to the right here we, in fact, support the idea of an Anti-Inflation Board -- given that fact, we know that people’s incomes are limited basically to eight per cent increases anyhow, by and large, and so we’re really not talking about any fantastic gouging that’s likely to take place, because incomes are simply not going up that much. In the odd case where incomes have gone up exceptionally and are going up much more than this, then it’s only reasonable that, since the law isn’t being effective anyway and is being circumvented by expensive bureaucracy, it’s only reasonable that it be changed.


Mr. S. Smith: We’ve had some presentations from the representatives of the people, the elected representatives of the people in Toronto and area, who have pointed out to us that they now undergo bureaucratic costs of something like $7,000 a week in frying to go to the rent review officers over and over again about these matters. So we have the feeling that to have this kind of bureaucracy, where OHC is hiring lawyers and going to rent review officers and where Metro is doing the same, we’re willing to accept the proposal with regard to geared-to-income housing. However, we have very grave reservations when it comes to non-geared-to-income housing. Here we do not understand why the minister has decided to include such a contentious provision in this particular bill. We certainly intend to bring in an amendment, or a series of amendments, to try to remove the non-geared-to-income housing from this particular bill. I hope you would give serious consideration to this.

The fact is there are a number of instances, directly or indirectly referred to in the bill, which are non-geared-to-income housing. In the first place you have limited-dividend housing run by municipalities, particularly in Toronto and area,

It is an interesting situation, mind you, because frequently we hear complaints and we receive many delegations of tenants complaining that the people who are on limited-dividend, municipally-run housing are actually getting lower rents and a better deal than the ones in rent-geared-to-income units. That’s one of the contentious issues that arises and is hard to deal with. Of course the limited-dividend housing frequently goes way back to a very early mortgage with a very low rate, and consequently the rents have stayed very low.

We feel that people who are in limited-dividend housing ought to have the protection of rent control. It’s all very well for the minister to imply that since they are already under some form of regulation that’s tantamount to protection. But frankly, I must say I don’t have the same faith, either in the federal government or the provincial government, about these matters. I feel limited-dividend housing should continue to receive the protection that’s given by the rent review legislation.

Mr. Cassidy: Despite the protection of CMHC, eh?

Mr. S. Smith: I also feel that with regard to the next category of housing, the limited-dividend housing in which CMHC and the private sector are both involved --

Mr. Cassidy: This is a vote of non-confidence in CMHC.

Mr. S. Smith: -- here we feel the situation is even worse. We feel there are examples, and we’ve certainly had representations in this regard, we feel there are examples galore in which the tenants have not been given sufficient protection. We’re very concerned about the fact that the minister tends to rely entirely on CMHC and its good offices in this regard.

Frankly, I don’t rely on CMHC and its good offices. I believe the tenant deserves protection and that if the people who operate limited-dividend housing, in concert with the private sector, wish to have rent increases greater than eight per cent, greater than those described by the Anti-Inflation Board and so forth, they should have to justify this. I just don’t think it’s fair to exempt them, particularly, from the protection of the larger bill.

We also have some feeling about certain other peculiar circumstances in which the government finds itself owner of homes which are really neither limited-dividend nor geared-to-income situations. An interesting example of this occurred when an air base or an army base or something of this kind was taken over by the government, by the ODC. Immediately the rents were threatened with being increased, rather drastically. There are other individual instances in which the government is homeowner or landlord without being under one of the aforementioned plans.

Under these circumstances, again we feel that if anybody is to have the benefit of rent review legislation, and if the citizens of Ontario generally are to be given that benefit, we don’t see why the government should not be a landlord like every other landlord and basically have to justify what it’s doing. In this instance, we don’t have the same confidence that the minister seems to have.


There are two other circumstances, both of which are mentioned specifically under section 5(1)(aa); they are educational and religious institutions. We are little concerned with regard to the educational institutions, because we have a feeling that to some extent this may just be used by the government as a way of introducing drastic increases in the cost of housing for the students of this province; therefore, we are a little reluctant to see this come out of rent review. We might go along with it if we could have some sort of personal assurance from the government that this isn’t going to lead to an overwhelming drastic increase in the cost to the students, so that more and more students will be forced upon the government for 1mm --

Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you just say no?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you just say no, instead of looking for feeble personal assurances?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Ruston: You’ve got your home on the island, Mike.

Mr. S. Smith: Really, Mr. Speaker, I wish you would let him continue, because he is a good example of the reason why that party will always be in opposition and will never be the government.

Mr. Ruston: You’ve got a subsidized home on the island, Mike.

Mr. S. Smith: The other matter has to do with religious institutions. Certainly I don’t wish to raise any particularly contentious issue here or be taken in the wrong way, but I hope that our reading of this particular clause corresponds with the intention of the government, that if a religious institution should happen to make investments in residential property from the point of view of commercial gain, and even if that particular gain were then to be used for religious purposes, that nonetheless the tenants in a building that happens to be owned by some given religious institution should receive the same protection that other tenants in Ontario receive.

Mr. Cassidy: That is a theological assumption, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. S. Smith: It is particularly important that we also guard against the possibility that a group of unscrupulous businessmen may incorporate themselves into a church of some kind just for the purpose of getting this particular exemption.

Ms. Gigantes: Only a Liberal.

Mr. Cassidy: Only a Liberal.

Mr. S. Smith: John Brown actually had some good ideas that you might look at, and he is not a Liberal.

Mr. Ruston: What about Lewis and the Browndale group?

Mr. Singer: Non-profit!

Mr. Ruston: Non-profit!

Mr. Cassidy: That is called being a Liberal with a grudge.

Mr. S. Smith: Knowing very well from examples of previous NDP members, knowing very well what can happen with non-profit and so-called public service institutions, I think we have some reason to be a little concerned. So if the minister and his staff are satisfied that that loophole or that potential for commercial exploitation by a given religious group is really not part of that, then of course we will have no objection to passing that particular section.

In summary then, what I wish to say Is this: We have lived with this bill for some time. The amendments with regard to rent geared to income, even though basically it is something we voted against in the first place --

Mr. Cassidy: Another Liberal flip-flop. Reverse again.

Mr. S. Smith: we feel that with the passage of time we are seeing the enormous bureaucratic costs that have been involved in applying the law as it stands --

Mr. Cassidy: Three steps forward and three steps back.

Mr. Ruston: How’s the subsidized house, Mike?

Mr. S. Smith: -- knowing, in fact, that the law has been circumvented in principle by OHC anyway, and knowing that, because of the AIB, it means there are very few people we are really talking about here, it seems reasonable to me that although we express our concerns, we can accept a change in the rent-geared-to-income situation.

Mr. Cassidy: You can accept a change in anything, you know.

Mr. Bullbrook: That is right. We can.

Mr. S. Smith: We do not, however, wish to accept the situation where rent is not geared to income.


Mr. Cassidy: Your principles are very elastic.

Mr. S. Smith: We will be proposing an amendment that will change the nature of section 5(1)(ab) to create a situation where only the rent-geared-to-income people will be exempted from rent control and, with the exception of educational and religious institutions, given the proviso I mentioned, any other governmentally owned or operated housing, will have to continue to justify their increases before rent review boards.


Mr. S. Smith: When this goes into committee, I hope we will have some time to give proper consideration to it. We in our party have scheduled a number of groups that wish to bring representations before us and we hope that we will be given some opportunity to listen to some of these people before having to consider the matter in committee, but it is up to the government to bring it forward.

Mr. Cassidy: Will you agree to put it in a standing committee?

Mr. S. Smith: That concludes my comments, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that the minister will see fit to accept our amendments, if he possibly can, so that the matter can proceed and the substance of the Act can be incorporated into law.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I want to give just a few brief comments on the principle of the bill. I want to raise the question of what problem it is that the rent review legislation addresses. I think there’s a profound difference between ourselves and the other two parties with respect to the question that we’re addressing. For us, we’re not just addressing some temporary failure of the market to provide housing at equitable rates. If I can recall the phrase of one of the Liberal speakers in the debate last session, he referred to the bill as a temporary aberration. That characterizes, I think, the attitude of the other two parties toward the bill.

But for us, the issue is somewhat different. It involves the social relationship between landlords and tenants. It is seen by us as a way of redressing a social imbalance between landlords and tenants, through the introduction of a neutral third party who is then able to intervene and strengthen the right of tenants in relation to landlords. That is why the measure has such importance to us -- not in isolation, but together with the Landlord and Tenant Act amendments of last fall. They did serve together to redress the balance of power, in a sense, between landlords and tenants in this province, particularly in the private sector.

But now the amendments in this bill remove from public sector housing those benefits conferred last fall. They will deny that protection. It should be understood very clearly that despite the fact Ontario Housing is public housing, the tenants are in the same invidious relationship with their public corporate landlord as is any private tenant in relation to his private corporate landlord. The power relationship in some respects is worse. Our concern is that that relationship be redressed.

Rent review is not the only way; there are other ways. The previous speaker has suggested that a renegotiated rent scale is one way of dealing with the same issue. Tenant participation in housing authorities, and indeed in the management of their own housing accommodation, is one way of addressing this problem. An open-book policy on the part of the Ontario Housing Corp. is another way of redressing the imbalance. But until those other changes are made we are not prepared to withdraw the only protection that public housing tenants have -- the protection of the Residential Premises Rent Review Act.

The other matter I want to address very briefly is the question of limited dividends. It is beyond comprehension how the minister can propose the removal of, particularly, CMHC limited dividends from the Act.

I want to give the House a little bit of detail about a CMHC project in my own riding, which the members may have read about in the Toronto Star -- 800 Richmond. It is a relatively new building; it is about four years at most since the first tenants moved into this building. The landlord began charging an illegal rent about a year ago -- an illegal rent in terms of the CMHC contract. His increase over the CMHC authorized scale was at least nine per cent. The tenants did not discover that the landlord was charging them an illegal rent until, incredible as it may seem, until this year.

Finally spurred by the publicity about rent review, they approached CMHC, obtained a copy of the authorized scale and discovered that the landlord had been charging them illegal rents for over a year. They then asserted their rights under the Residential Premises Rent Review Act and under the CMHC contract as they interpreted it, and began to pay the landlord what was his due under the CMHC contract. They were prepared to pay an increase, if and when the provisions of the residential rent review legislation were complied with by the landlord.

Put they never were complied with by the landlord. In fact, he dragged the tenants into court to obtain eviction orders against them and these evictions are in the process of being fought out in the courts. Then the tenants of 800 Richmond approached CMHC and CMHCs response was to grant the landlord a retroactive increase of 28 per cent without allowing the tenants even a glimmer of access or information about the process by which CMHC concluded that a rent increase in the order of 28 per cent was justified.

CMHC has refused even to meet with the tenants to discuss their problem at 800 Richmond. The tenants are still facing in the courts the process of eviction because they were so deluded that they thought they were going to be protected by the government of Ontario from an arbitrary landlord and from an irresponsible federal agency, an agency which has consistently refused to enforce its own contracts with landlords. That is the consistent pattern right across this province and the minister ought to be aware that Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. by its record as recently as March of this year is simply refusing to protect tenants in CMHC-financed buildings from illegal violations of its own contract by landlords. The minister has no basis, no justification whatsoever, for removing the protection of the rent review legislation from CMHC limited-dividend tenants.

The building at 800 Richmond which is, as I said, very new, is rapidly turning into a slum. The garage leaks, the elevators don’t work, there’s no snow removal, there’s one superintendent for two high-rise buildings, the plumbing is rusted already after three years. I could go on and on. There are holes in the walls, there are cockroaches, the windows aren’t clean. This is a three-year-old building. I mention these things simply to illustrate to you the irresponsibility of CMHC.

I urge you not to proceed. I suppose I urge in vain that the members of the third party show some consistency and some restraint in their impulse to adopt every position known to man. They flip-flop more than Sharky the Seal.

Mr. Kerrio: You’re there by mistake. Don’t gloat about it.


Mr. McClellan: At any rate, you make so many mistakes.

Mr. Riddell: You are an overnight guest. The trouble is, if you get defeated you will go back teaching high school and that will be disastrous.

Mr. McClellan: That basically concludes the remarks that I wanted to make.


Hon. Mr. Meen: The next election will be over there.

Mr. McClellan: I just repeat again that the question of principle is a question of relationships between landlords and tenants in this province and until the government is prepared to address itself to that problem, we are not prepared to accept these amendments.


Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I would just like to reassure the member for Ottawa Centre that there has been no occasion upon which we have been in bed with the Tories. If he will recall, during the winter, in one of the songs which I have occasion to write, I alluded to the dangers of sleeping with sharks. So, we will --

Mr. Breaugh: I never tried it -- what’s it like?

Mr. Reed: -- continue to maintain that position and he can rest easy.

The principle of this bill is good housekeeping, and one hopes that after a good, detailed debate we will all be able to give it our seal of approval. There are a couple of items to which my leader made reference, and I should like to state them in my own words, if I may.

The first is in reference to section 5, which is listed as (aa), and it is one of the first contentious parts of this bill that I can find. It appears at first look that the clause simply exempts church homes and student housing and so on. We would like to state it is our understanding that that is the actual intent of the clause, and that it doesn’t go beyond that. I should say we are concerned it might be possible -- and we would like reassurance -- for a non-profit organization which does not carry the high purpose or intent of the churches, or charitable organizations to which we relate, to possibly take advantage of this clause. I think it is important to have that reassurance.

One other part of the bill is quite a contentious issue, I believe. We have to divide this statement into two parts. It is of concern that the first part of this clause does not include a statement referring to those people on rent geared to income. Since this kind of housing includes many people in this category, it would appear that this clause as it stands would remove rent-geared-to-income people from the rent review umbrella.

The second part deals with limited-dividend housing.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s what your party is supporting. Your party wants OHC tenants taken away.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: The Liberal Party is split again, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Reed: It is our feeling that this kind of housing should continue under the protection of rent review, since the privately owned portion of limited-dividend housing raises concern that it is difficult to arrive at true costs, which in turn determine rents charged under this system.

For instance, where a private owner has a mixed development, how can maintenance or landscaping costs be fairly assigned -- or, for that matter, checked? I would also state briefly that we would also question the effectiveness of CMHC recommendations regarding rents. Does it have the power to enforce the recommendations and do the landlords pay any attention to CMHC?

Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to take part in this debate. The hon. member for Riverdale?

Mr. Renwick: No, I don’t want to take part.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Peterborough.

Ms. Sandeman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Singer: That’s an improvement.

Mr. Swart: From that caucus to this -- that’s an improvement.


Ms. Sandeman: I understand that one of the major principles of the amendments to the bill, which are now before us, continues to be that rent review legislation was introduced to protect tenants from unconscionably large rent increases. It seems to be the belief of the government that by exempting, for instance people who live in CMHC buildings under limited-dividend arrangements, it is only exempting people who already have protection from extremely high rent increases. I cannot believe that is so.

If I may give one example to illustrate what I mean, I would like to draw members’ attention to a set of buildings in Peterborough which are under CMHC financing and which have had extremely high and frequent rent increases. One of these buildings is let exclusively to senior citizens. The upper income limit is $6,000 but, of course, for many of the tenants their only income is the GAINS payment which gives them very little more than $3,000 a year. When this building was first advertised last spring -- a year ago from now -- the rent was to be $117 for a senior citizen’s one-bedroom unit, which sounded very reasonable for senior citizens getting the GAINS payment which was then around $240 a month. There was great joy in the city of Peterborough that finally we were going to have apartments available for senior citizens to supplement our very few OHC senior citizens apartments.

Many people went onto the waiting list for that building. Before they even moved in, they were told there had been an error in the calculations of mortgage and carrying costs, and so on, and that the true rent would be $126, which they were a little dismayed about but still willing to pay. People began to move into those buildings last spring, through May and June, and the rent was set at $126. They received notice last summer that the rent was to increase on Dec. 1, 1975, to $147, a fairly high percentage increase.

They received another notice in January of this year that the rent was to increase in June, 1976, to $167 and their only lifeline at that point was the rent control legislation introduced by this Legislature last December. Their relief was enormous. They felt the Ontario government understood quite clearly that the fact they were in CMHC buildings did not protect them and there seemed to be no proper control of the rents being charged to people in those buildings. It was beyond their belief that the costs of a new building could have escalated b that enormous percentage in just a few months. They have been awaiting, with some trepidation but some relief also, the rent review hearings scheduled on their behalf.

I cannot imagine what their feelings will be when they realize what the intent of this amendment to the bill is. I think they will feel betrayed by the government which they thought had understood their need and was prepared to protect them.

The ramifications of what will happen to these people if the amendment goes through and their rents are raised to $167 a month are frightening. If, as it is for many of them, their total income is $265 a month under the GAINS payment, they will have left a disposable income of about $100 a month for everything.

Many of them have already done the calculations and realize they cannot live on that so they look at what else is available in the city of Peterborough. They look at the OHC buildings and they discover that those are full and that there are waiting lists. They are caught in the untenable position of not being able to afford to pay the rent in buildings which they moved into in good faith, believing they had protection in a limited-dividend building and now find they will probably not be able to afford to stay in; or the other alternative, which is to give their notice and have nowhere they can afford to go.

We’ve had some pretty frightening feedback from people who know the tenants of that building, and I know many of them well. A doctor who has an office in the ground floor commercial area of the building said to me, and not entirely as a joke: “I find it upsetting to spend a lot of time picking old ladies up off the floor of this apartment.”

The reason he was picking a lot of old ladies up off the floor was that they were upset and distraught about the rent increases. They came to see that the rent review officer would hear their case, would carefully consider the large increases that they were being asked for, and they believed that some relief would be given to them by the rent review officer, courtesy of the Legislature of Ontario. I’m afraid that doctor is going to have some very trying times over the next few weeks if this amendment to this bill is allowed to go through.

I really urge the government not to remove the only protection that tenants such as these have from frequent large and untenable, unbearable rent increases which the federal government, through CMHC, does not seem to be able to handle. The CMHC rule’s, as previous speakers have said, do not seem to consider the real need of the people. There is no protection at all left to these people if we remove from the legislation the limited-dividend buildings. I urge the minister to look at the principle of the original bill, which I understood was to provide protection for tenants in Ontario from untenable and large rent increases, and consider what he may be doing to the tenants of limited-dividend buildings.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I’m going to be very brief, as brevity is one of my virtues.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Any others? What are the others?

Mr. Ruston: Hear that, Mike?

Mr. Riddell: Clause (ab) of section 5, subsection 1, would exclude any building or project owned, operated or administered by or on behalf of the government of Canada or Ontario. I’m wondering if the minister realizes that in the great riding of Huron-Middlesex there is a place known as Huron Park, which was purchased by the government at the time the old air base was phased out. The housing there is owned by the Ontario government. This is not rent-geared-to-income housing, so really if all government housing was excluded from. rent control then the government would be able to raise the rents to these tenants living in Huron Park who were attracted there to live and to work in industry which was also attracted to that particular area to make use of the existing biddings which at one time belonged to the Canadian government as part of a Canadian Forces air base.

Mr. Breithaupt: Some of them used to work at the hospital.

Mr. Riddell: That’s right. It’s rather interesting; the management out there endeavoured to raise the rent, and I had a petition presented to me, signed by 85 per cent of the tenants. They insisted I have a meeting with the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) to indicate to him that all wasn’t well out at the industrial park there in Huron county.

They hummed and hawed in the ministry and finally got back to me and said: “Well, if it will put their minds at ease we will reduce the rent increase to eight per cent.” I got back to the tenants and I said: “It would appear that the ministry isn’t particularly fussy about meeting with you people, and they are prepared to reduce that rent increase by eight per rent. If you still have some dissatisfaction with management out there we should still go ahead and endeavour to meet the minister.”


I haven’t heard from them again as yet so it would appear they are somewhat satisfied that the rent increase has been reduced to eight per cent. The fact of the matter is they endeavoured to raise the rent considerably more than that and when they found it wasn’t meeting with the approval of the tenants out there they brought it back to the eight per cent.

If this type of situation is excluded, as it would be under this particular amendment, the government could simply go ahead and charge whatever it wanted, at its whim and fancy, because it is government-owned housing. The tenants would be compelled to pay that rent increase. I maintain that this type of situation should remain under rent control and only rent-geared-to-income accommodation should be excluded.

Mr. Warner: I wonder if the minister might really come back with the kind of answer which I think we all realize is at the root of this whole amendment; that he is not really concerned about the conflict which he says exists between rent-geared-to-income and rent control. He has been very careful to ensure so far that the lower of the two shall apply. He has not encountered great difficulties and those tenants have been assured that the lower of the two amounts will apply. He has used discretionary powers and if that practice were to continue it could very well be a meaningful one for the tenants.

I suspect that what we are looking at here really is somewhat unnecessary. It may be some political posturing, for what reasons I am not sure. I would like an explanation.

I am not sure that the minister entirely understands the situation that people in Ontario Housing Corp. projects, in rent-geared-to-income situations, are forced into living with. I would like to bring in a bit of history to show why the scale needs to be re-examined.

The plain fact is that public housing rents today take a larger share of people’s incomes in real terms than they did, say six years ago, The tenants are quite right to argue that over the same period of time it’s become harder and harder for people to get by on modest incomes during an inflationary economy.

Specifically, when the OHC scale took effect in July, 1970, the minimum wage was $1.30 per hour and the average industrial wage was $131.55 per week. Today the minimum wage is $2.65 and the average industrial wage is about $220. In 1970, a person with a spouse and two children, and who earned the minimum wage, would pay approximately 17.5 per cent of his gross income in rent. Today, the same person earning the minimum wage would pay approximately 24.1 per cent of his gross income to Ontario Housing.

If we take someone earning only half the average industrial wage, with a family, he paid 20.5 per cent of his income in rent to OHC in 1970. Today he pays 24.3 per cent of his income in rent. In effect, OHC has abandoned the idea that the share of income going to rent should be lower for people on low incomes. For people who work the rents in Ontario Housing developments are pretty close to a fiat 25 per cent of gross income. Couple that with the fact that many of those people who are earning minimum wages will be in a situation where they must pick up OHIP costs -- we have seen a substantial increase in those -- and they are left with less disposable income. I bring in the figures from the social planning council of Toronto which indicated that in August, 1974, a family of four needed about $9,100 to have an adequate living standard in Toronto. Today, the same family needs $10,500.

When we get right down to it, OHC is not taking any account of the shortfall in living standards of people who are earning less. That is to say, whether they earn $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 a year, OHC is still charging the same flat 25 per cent of gross income. The minister knows full well that for many of those units the income has gone beyond the recovery cost.

It would have made a great deal of sense, I think, had the government said to us that it could find some compromise solution nod would put into legislative terms what appears to be the practice now of allowing the lower of the two amounts -- that is rent-geared-to-income or the eight per cent -- but that hasn’t been done.

Further, I think we need some explanations with respect to the part which says, “situate in a building or project owned or operated by a religious institution for its purposes on a charitable, non-profit basis.” All of us realize here that, for the most part, what we are talking about are places for the elderly, whether they be called retirement homes or homes for the aged or whatever names they go under. There are some very serious questions to be asked. If the minister is quite prepared to exempt those institutions, is he also prepared to offset the spiralling costs for elderly people?

Is the minister aware that in this city of Toronto, it will cost an elderly person in the neighbourhood of $550 to $650 per month to live in a room with three other individuals.

I make it very clear that I’m not --

Mr. Riddell: Where did you get those figures?

Mr. Warner: Would you like to see?

Mr. Riddell: It costs $650 a month with three other people sharing the same accommodation?

Mr. Warner: That is correct.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: In a religious institution.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, to the members of the House who have not done the research that I have, who have not visited the institutions that I have --

Mr. Good: Give us the names.

Mr. Warner: I do not intend to reveal the names now.

Mr. Good: Tell us what home it is.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I realize the third party is quite inquisitive as to the research going on. I don’t blame them. They should be envious. At some point in the near future, this House will be most enlightened to learn of the practices going on in this city of Toronto and other communities with respect to accommodation provided for elderly people, and the services rendered for the fees charged.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s right on.

Mr. Warner: I am not saying anything about the precise care, but I am talking about the prices paid for that care.

Mr. Good: At a charitable institution?

Mr. Warner: Before any member of the third party wishes to make further comments, for which he or she may be embarrassed later, they might do well to check with a member of their own caucus who is as fully aware of the situation as I am and has done more research because of time available to that member over a period of years. The facts are there and they will be fully revealed in due time.

The fact remains that elderly people in this province are faced with heavy financial burdens. My fear -- and I would like some comment from the minister -- is that he may be taking away the only kind of protection which is possibly available if he exempts the religious institutions. Not because they are doing anything wrong, but because they are reacting to a lack of government subsidies from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. That, I suspect, is the crux of the problem.

Further, when the minister talks about non-profit educational institutions, has he been provided with accounting statements from the universities and colleges which have residences, which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that each of the residences is operated separately and individually and can be accounted for individually in an accounting statement? I would appreciate his thoughts on that.

In conclusion, I’m afraid that the government is reacting to a situation which it has created itself over the past few years, particularly as it affects the Ontario Housing Corp., by not offering any alternatives, by not saying that the 70,000 tenants should have a voice in the management of their affairs and by not saying that the scale is incorrect or not truly reflective of need. Rather, the government is simply offering a Band-Aid solution to a far deeper, serious wound in the health of those people who live in Ontario Housing Corp. projects.

I’m disappointed by the legislation. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I say to you and to the minister, that what they are proposing here is rather hollow, because what they are doing in those OHC projects is offering the tenant a rent that is either the eight per cent or the rent-geared-to-income, whichever is lower, and they don’t really have a problem at all.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I’m sure the minister is aware by now that the proposal in the bill which would exclude limited-dividend housing and limited-dividend apartments will not be included in the final form of the bill. Speakers from both opposition parties have indicated clearly that we do not like that inclusion, and that will most certainly be removed in the committee stage on this bill.

Certainly that was one of the things which very much concerned me. I saw no reason at all that persons in limited-dividend accommodation should be excluded from the bill. The landlords of limited-dividend accommodation must indicate and prove that their costs have gone up in order that their increases apply; therefore, they can be very easily subject to this particular bill. In fact, I would be very upset if I thought they were being exempted, because of the stories I’ve heard about some of the limited-dividend housing that has been financed through CMHC. The feeling there is that CMHC does little, if anything, to really check out the figures provided by the developers and owners of a limited-dividend apartment unit and that, in fact, it accepts whatever it is told.

It has been brought to my attention by more than one person in Windsor -- and I have not been able to tie this point down specifically -- that there are some developers who, when the time of the year is approaching that they wish to prove higher costs in order to get an increase in their particular units, simply let units go vacant as they turn up for some three or four months so that the costs are artificially inflated. They can then get their increase based on that cost, even though minor checking occurs on it, and then, of course, they proceed to fill up their units.


That sort of thing must be thoroughly looked into and should not be tolerated at all. The rent review mechanism is yet another handle that we would have upon those developers who are engaging in this sort of quasi-illegal practice in terms of the rents they are charging. There’s no justification at all, based on costs to those developers and landlords, for their being exempt from any sort of rent review which we have here in the Province of Ontario.

There’s one other point with respect to this. There was an election promise made by the Premier (Mr. Davis) that rebates would be made on rents over 12 per cent for senior citizens living in municipal limited-dividend housing. At the time this rent control bill came in, it was indicated that the reason that promise was no longer appropriate was that they would be covered by rent control. To now propose what the government has done, that these persons be dropped from rent control without reinstituting the election promise that a rebate of rent over a 12 per cent increase would be made -- or, in fact, eight per cent -- is completely unacceptable to us and completely illegitimate en the government’s part. However, it’s clear that this will be back in the bill. It will out be taken out, as both opposition parties are in agreement on this. The Liberals are supporting our position on this, that the limited-dividend tenant would remain in the bill.

Again, speaking from the Windsor experience, I’ve already mentioned the situation that was brought to my attention regarding the limited-dividend apartments and the ways in which rents are artificially inflated there. There are a large number of units which the city of Windsor runs for senior citizens in limited-dividend housing through the Windsor Housing Co. It’s been in business for quite some years. It was first started by Archie Cherniak, carried on by Bill Riggs, and then Bert Weeks was chairman of that particular housing company. Those gentlemen did a fine job over the years as chairmen and their interest in senior citizen housing was profound and detailed, and their feeling for the need superb.

Those Windsor Housing Co. units are limited-dividend, in fact, non-profit. Over the years they have never, as far as I can recall, had to raise their rents at any given period over eight per cent, including the last two or three years. Those units are run in a very conscientious way by the Windsor Housing Co. and they charged only what the costs were on those units. It’s very clear that the Windsor Housing Co. does not need rent control in order for its rents to be reasonable. They charge only what it costs them, and it has not been eight per cent.

However, in case the administration might change, or it might occur to someone that this is a good way to help finance the general taxation of Windsor, in no way would I want the Windsor Housing Co. or the municipal senior citizens limited-dividend housing persons removed from this bill. They don’t come near the eight per cent anyway, and therefore they can fit quite comfortably in the bill, continuing as they have always, done.

The one other main aspect of the bill is the situation about the OHC rent-geared-to-income tenant. There is no question that we favour the general principle of rent geared to income. We are in favour of many other things being geared to a person’s income, including forms of taxation that are geared more to income than forms which are not, such as the sales tax and property tax.

So in principle we would like to see some form of rent-geared-to-income which is working. What we object to -- what I object to at least -- is the percentage of one’s income that is charged by this government on the rent-geared-to-income programme.

I recognize very well that at the time this bill was first introduced, putting rent-geared-to-income tenants under rent control which limited the amount of percentage increase was in one way destroying the principle of rent geared to income.

That made me a bit uneasy at the time. But I was able to support that amendment because when everyone else was in a burst of enthusiasm at seeing some rent control finally coming on, I clearly saw that this large group of tenants in Ontario should be seeing and feeling that same sort of relief coming to it.

There are many family units of OHC housing in Windsor; and it is very discouraging perhaps, in the initial instance, for those people to get that housing because they very desperately needed it since they were on some sort of assistance, and then the family arrangements changed. The man of the house finds himself, or both the man and the woman find themselves in gainful employment with an income which would cause their rents, even two or three years ago, to be well in excess of $200 a month. With the charge being 25 per cent of gross, their thoughts now turn to being able to get out into the private market and rent in the private market, or else their thoughts mainly tum to purchasing their own home.

They find that with 25 per cent of their gross being taken as their normal rental, there is no way, with their income earnings, that they can effectively save a penny in order to move out and be able to purchase a house. So I see quite clearly that the percentage on rent geared to income is, in fact, too high a percentage to enable most people in it who are making a decent income, or come to make a decent income, to get out and purchase a house.

So as I see it, the minister has to change and renegotiate that rent-geared-to-income scale which he has with his OHC tenants right across Ontario. It’s particularly interesting to be in Windsor and know that there are a couple of housing projects just a short distance across the river in Michigan in which I believe the rent geared to income, based on gross, is in one case 17 per cent and in the other case 18 per cent. That is a percentage at which those living there found they could save some money in order to get out, in order to give less fortunate people in need, on very low incomes or on temporarily low incomes, the opportunity to hive their rent based on that income rather than renting in the private market which would be considerably higher.

I would say to the minister that we would be agreeable to excluding OHC tenants from rent review only if -- and this is an important proviso -- we actually see that the minister or some minister has negotiated a new scale with the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations on behalf of all those tenants in Ontario Housing Corp. Knowing this government’s tendencies, and the ministers who have been in contact over the years with OHC tenants, it is not enough even for them to come in and say, “We will,” because that does not indicate to us the final form of the negotiations.

In order for us to agree that OH tenants should come out from under rent control we would need to see the conclusion of those negotiations. If those negotiations resulted in a changed rent control scale, a changed rent-geared-to-income scale that we felt to be appropriate, we would most certainly say: “Let’s get out from under this bureaucratic mess we are in, in a sense, by putting those rent-geared-to-income persons under rent control, with all the applications which will be coming, from those persons.” But we would need to see that completed scale, and the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations scale is certainly one which can be taken as a basis of negotiation with the government.

One of the other major demands of the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations, and it’s a quite legitimate demand, is that they have representation and a voice at all levels of management of Ontario Housing Corp.; and we would accept, I would think, a government commitment to say, “Yes, by six months from now we will ensure that that would happen.” We would accept that commitment for some time in the very near future, but we certainly can’t accept the commitment that they will simply go ahead and renegotiate a new scale before we would take it out of rent control. We would want to see quite clearly the results of that negotiation and see that there was some real progress being made in the rent-geared-to-income situation.

On the things which profoundly disturbs the tenants of OHC housing is, again, when they find themselves in some strain and difficulties and need extra cash, or they find themselves in a situation where the family is now at an age where the spouse can go out to work, they find so much of the spouse’s income is now entered into on the calculation, That’s one other point from the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations scale that the minister should take much more into account than he does.

It’s all right for the minister to say that the total outlay by Ontario Housing Corp. exceeds its income over the years and therefore it is subsidized. I feel the same way as the Ontario Housing Tenants Association feel about this, that far too much of the money of OHC is spent on administration of those programmes. They could cut out a lot of that administration and a lot of those programmes if they gave the tenants a fair hand in helping to run the units in which they live and the projects in which they live.

None of the ministers over there in this Conservative government seems to realize that. They seem to have the paternalistic “We’ll tell you” attitude to OHC tenants, and it’s that which causes such a top heavy administration and escalates the costs far beyond what they should be at the administrative level. Turn some of this administrative work over to the very willing tenants in the OHC projects, who would help with the administration and help cut down the overhead costs and, therefore, lessen the subsidy which this government is required to give year by year to the whole OHC tenant project.

We are certainly, therefore, opposed to section 5, subsection 1(ab) of the bill, which would exclude limited-dividend housing. Until we see quite clearly a renegotiated rent scale and we know the details of that negotiation and the results of that negotiation, OHC tenants must stay in rent review. It’s a situation which you’re not happy with, we’re not happy with and the tenant isn’t happy with.

Within a week or two of the bill having been put into effect, I had quite a handful of OHC tenants approach me and say: “Look, my rent has gone up by eight per cent. What do you feel I should do about it?” I was on the horns of a dilemma in advising them what to do, because I felt that, sure, they could complain; sure, they could go through the steps; and sure, they could withhold their rents up to no more than eight per cent; but they stood, upon appeal, to have it reversed and the gearing to the income principle held, So I was on the horns of a dilemma, trying to advise them one way or the other, and I said to them: “If you go ahead, make sure you set up a savings account where you bank the entirety of the difference, where you bank the entirety of the funds which you haven’t to pay, so that should the decision go against you all of those moneys will be there to pay up that back difference.” I said, “Do not contemplate it unless you do that sort of thing. If you are willing to do that sort of thing, go ahead and I will give you a hand.” I realized immediately the bureaucratic problems that this involves. At the same time, I fully appreciated that for many of these persons the 25 per cent of gross with the various other small factors that are taken on to it was indeed far too large a slice, reasonably, to be paid out of these persons’ incomes for rent and that some relief must be given.


I say to the minister give them that relief, go in and negotiate in good faith, quickly. We’ve probably got to have a couple of weeks before we’re going to go back to actually voting on this bill, with the proposed special debates we hear are coming up next week. Go back, and in this couple of weeks period get into meaningful negotiations immediately with the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations, bang out an acceptable revised rent scale and come back to this House and tell us that you have now done that and that this is the result. We will then ha able to look at that result and see whether that is a satisfactorily large enough step forward so that we could say OHC tenants can come out of rent review.

Why don’t you do that? You’ve got a couple of weeks, so take them. You’ve had the proposal from them for a long enough time. You must have some thoughts on the matter and therefore you should be able to come to some sort of speedy conclusion on our part.

There are other sections of the bill which do concern me. One is respect to the mobile homes, but we have one of our caucus members intimately concerned with that past of it and, rather than taking up the time of the house, repeating in a perhaps less able way than that member will be the remarks on the mobile home part, I would gladly yield at this point.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member for Waterloo North wish to speak?

Mr. Good: The provisions other than section 5 are not controversial. Excluded from the provision of rent review are residential premises run by religious organizations, universities, accommodation that is rent-geared-to-income, limited-dividend and mobile homes. These are the five classes which would be taken out from under the umbrella of rent review.

I’d like to deal first with the provision which would exclude projects or buildings owned and operated by religious institutions on a charitable or non-profit basis, I have done a little work looking into the rates of the institutions, not only in my area but some in this particular area. I have found that in the case of those in my own riding, the Parkwood Home for Senior Citizens, the Fairview Mennonite Home in Preston, which is not in my riding, the Eventide Home run by the Salvation Army in Kitchener; in each instance the rates in those institutions, which are institutions under the Charitable Institutions Act, are lower than is the rate at our senior citizens home run by the municipality.

Similarly, I have knowledge of another home out in the village of Stouffville which is run by a church group. The rate there is lower than the rate charged by the public home run by the municipality there.

These institutions invariably have had considerable amounts of capital funds put in by the church or the charitable institution which is the sponsoring body. If the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) is correct in stating that there is a home run by a church group or charitable institution, here the rent is $550 per person for a month and where three people share a room, then regardless of by whom that is run, I think the exposure of public scrutiny should be brought to bear upon that institution and he should be prepared either not to tar other institutions of that nature with that brush, or else he should name that particular home in the Legislature. I resent very much the implications that there is this type of institution and that it would be prevalent or common to institutions run by churches.

Very recently in my own community the Lutheran Church built 24 senior citizens apartments, and along with CMHC the church itself took a $250,000 mortgage on the property which it will retire not from rents but from offerings of that congregation. This is the type of thing which is going on all across this province. I am not particularly acquainted with any instance in which a church group or charitable institution is getting profit from residential accommodation which it is turning over for promotion of its own sectarian needs. There may be instances but I am not aware of them and consequently I have no hesitation in supporting that particular section of this bill.

The university question is one which has caused a great deal of concern in my own riding. Half the 21,000 rent review cases in the Kitchener area were from the university. I know they created an administrative problem but I do not think the administrative problem created should be the sole reason for releasing them from rent review. I think it is incumbent on the ministry to assure us that all universities open their books to the students. I know they have in some universities, including in my area, and the whole operating cost of the residence involved has been made known.

I am told that at McMaster University the students agreed to an 11.5 per cent increase after they saw the operating budget of their residence. This was rolled back to eight per cent by the rent review officer. The university, I understand, will lose $100,000 on the operation of that residence and this will have to be made up, I suppose, out of general revenue or by the taxpayers.

I think it is important in those instances -- and I can only speak for my own area where it does occur -- that tenants not only in the married student quarters but also in the single-room residence have access to the operating costs at those universities. The other university accommodation which is built on a co-operative basis, of course, was excluded in the original bill.

The next matter is the rent-geared-to-income accommodation. I met, as did others from my caucus, with the Association of Ontario Housing Authorities and there is no doubt that there is almost, I suppose one could say, an administrative nightmare in trying to dovetail two systems of setting rents -- that is, rent geared to income and rent geared to costs involved which are then related to a fixed percentage of increase.

I, for one, agree that there is no compatibility between the two methods. It is impossible to try to work the two together -- rent geared to income and rent fixed to costs. Surely the housing authorities should not be interested in proving their costs? They are there to supply rental accommodation which is, in fact, geared to the income of that person.

I realize that to get increases when the income of tenants does change, they have had to operate under the rent review legislation and have found it very difficult. In no way do I minimize the problems of people who are living in OHC housing, but taking them out or leaving them in rent review is not the answer to their problems. The problem is much deeper than that. The problem is something about which we have spoken for years in this Legislature, and that is the agreement between the provincial government and the federal government as to how these rents are established.

It is unfortunate that the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) isn’t here for this debate. I think he should be here. It was he who put this original legislation through the House and it is on him that the responsibility for a better deal for these tenants will ultimately rest.

Those are the facts of the case. Perpetuating this mishmash of administrative problems between rent geared to income and rent raised to expenses is not going to solve the problems of the OHC housing. But I would expect this, Mr. Speaker; that with the experience of the last six months, surely someone in the provincial government, surely someone in the Ministry of Housing and surely the minister himself will realize the importance of doing something to change the rent scale and to get a better agreement with CMHC and the federal government as it relates to OHC housing and the housing administered by the housing authorities across this province, of which I believe there are about 42.

I could cite some of the examples that the housing authorities gave us in which real inequities exist because of the incompatibility of the two systems. People who should, because of their income, be leaving OHC and going into the public market for their accommodation are staying there because there is no effective means to move them. They are taking up space which could be better used by people with an emergency and who can’t get in.

I think this is regrettable, and while the NDP may try to make political marks out of their rejection of this particular exemption, I think in the final analysis the people living in OHC units will have found that should this situation continue they will be worse off than if they were on strictly a rent-geared-to-income basis.

Contrary to what the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) said, I believe my evidence shows that OHC does not use the lesser of the two methods. They use the rent-geared-to-income basis and try to arrive at it in some convoluted manner by using the provisions of the rent review legislation, which is almost impossible. So I think we are doing a disservice to the tenants to perpetuate this administrative nightmare.

The limited-dividend housing, I feel should remain under rent review. I supported that last fall; and it was fast fall, after hearing the evidence in committee and doing my own research in my own area, that I thought they should. I will tell you why.

In the Kitchener-Waterloo area last summer and fall, increases were given to limited-dividend housing by OHC which brought that housing higher than the then commercial level. There were incidents in several buildings in which those tenants were jumped a considerable amount under those provisions of CMHC and limited dividend so that they were paying more than the going commercial rate.

I think much has been said about the informal way or the lack of precise measure used in establishing those rents under limited-dividend housing. It is, in my view, important that those residential housing units stay under rent review.

The case made by the member far Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) I think is very important, and we intend to bring in an amendment which will cover that. Where the government of Canada or the province or any board or emanation of those governments owns housing which is not geared to income, then I think that housing should be under rent review legislation.

The mobile home situation will now bring new mobile home sites under the same provisions as new apartment buildings; that is those that are started after Jan. 1, 1976, will now be under the legislation.

There are a great many other concerns that I suppose one could bring into this legislation. There is the effect that rent review has had on the building of new accommodation, which is an entirely new subject, I hope it is one to which somebody is addressing himself, because if something isn’t done soon, we are going to find ourselves in a worse predicament than we were when we brought in rent review legislation.


Mr. Wildman: I feel somewhat like an odd man out here because I’m going to speak mainly about mobile homes and the provision in the legislation which will exempt a mobile home or mobile home site that was not occupied as residential premises before Jan. 1.

Really I don’t see what this has to do with the whole thrust of the legislation since the bill deals mostly with non-profit housing and with rent-geared-to-income housing. Our caucus has made very well the arguments against the exemptions in those areas. I think it must be, as the previous speaker suggested, that the government wants to try to encourage the development of mobile home parks and more mobile home sites, if that’s the case perhaps, then we might be looking at way of amending this to make it a little tighter because I’m not certain that from the way 5(1)(d) is worded that it really means that a site or mobile homes that were never occupied before, that is, that they are a new development, are the ones that are being exempted.

What I’m concerned about is mobile home sites in parks that are not new parks that were vacated prior to Jan. 1 and as of Jan. 1, therefore, were not being used for residential premises and then someone else moves on to the site. In this case they would not be subject to rent review and they should he. I think it’s very difficult to compare a mobile home park to an apartment building because if you’re going to exempt mobile home sites in older parks, if that’s what this means, then it’s like exempting apartments that are vacant in old apartment buildings.

If that’s not the thrust of it and if that’s not the reason for the exemption, if it is simply to fry to encourage now development, then perhaps there’s. some way it could be shown in the bill that this is only for homes or sites that are new and not ones that have simply been vacated as of a certain date,

Mobile home owners had no protection until last fall. The rent review legislation in the Landlord and Tenant Act amendment provided them with protection that they never had before. But prior to that, the) were very vulnerable. They were subject to a large number of abuses by some landlords. Other landlords, of course, did not treat their tenants this way. They were subject to arbitrary eviction and arbitrary rent increase with no warning. They could be forced to move off the site without any warning and at great expense. In some cases they had to sell their homes back to the landlord who was also a dealer and so on.

For the first time, these tenants are now subject to the same provisions of the Act as is every other tenant in the province, and it would be a shame if this exemption would weaken that protection. If this really means only new development, then why can’t it specify new development and say that right out? Any exemption for new development should cover a whole park. They must cover all new development as new development, meaning new park.

I don’t know exactly how you would do it, if you were dealing with expansion of parks and just some new sites in old parks, but perhaps you could do that. if it’s done in such a way that it might be interpreted to mean that vacant sites existing in older parks are exempt, then I’ll tell you, even if that’s not the purpose of the legislation, that is what will happen in most parks because these tenants have been so vulnerable for so long that they don’t really trust us in the Legislature.

They don’t really believe that they’re protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act. They don’t really believe that they’re subject to the rent review and it takes a lot of convincing. I know, because I have in my area a large concentration of mobile home parks, one of the largest in the province. I’ve gone to those parks and I’ve had to hold seminars on these two pieces of legislation to convince them that they’re subject to it. And even then, sometimes they don’t believe it.

I was at one park one Sunday afternoon during February. I was asked to come in and explain the legislation and how it applied to a mobile home park. Because the landlord’s son decided that day for the first time in a long time, to plough the street and was driving around the mobile home park in his snowplough, most of the people didn’t come out because they were afraid they would be evicted because they were talking about rents. That’s how vulnerable they feel.

Even if it is not intended to hurt them, it will because if the landlord increases the rent because there was a site vacant before, in most cases the tenant will not challenge it even if the tenant has the right to do that. I think we have to make it very clear that we are protecting mobile home tenants in the same way as we are protecting all other tenants in this province.

I don’t think that this government -- this government is sort of equivocal about mobile home parks and mobile homes in general. It says it feels that the mobile home is a viable alternative form of housing but it doesn’t know exactly how to set up regulations to make mobile home parks pleasant places to live. The Landlord and Tenant Act now provides responsibilities for the landlord as well as the tenant but they are very bard to enforce. As I said, the tenants usually do not challenge the landlords.

We have cases in my riding in which landlords have increased rents much more than they are supposed to, according to the rent review; they haven’t given the number of days and months they are supposed to give for notice of rent increases according to the rent review.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Challenge them.

Mr. Wildman: We have but that’s not a solution because most of the time the tenants won’t come forward. When they do come forward you can do something but most of the time the tenant still believes he is subject to eviction. I tell him. “Don’t worry; you can take him to court.” The tenant says, “Yes, sure,” but they just don’t believe it.

I think, as this operates over a number of months and many of them, perhaps, will win their cases -- if they do; I hope they do -- they will begin to believe it. If the minister starts bringing in exemptions which, whatever their good intentions, may be interpreted the wrong way, that’s going to make it even harder to mobile home tenants to be convinced that they are protected in the same way as other tenants are in this province.

Quite frankly, I don’t really see what it has to do with the whole thrust of the legislation which is dealing with rents of geared-to-income or non-profit housing. I have yet to find a non-profit mobile home park. In some cases they make exorbitant profits. At the rent review being held in my area, very few tenants have come forward even though very many of them have had very high increases.

I think if we bring in an exemption like this, it is just going to undermine the whole process of trying to convince tenants that they are protected.

I hope the minister can explain this provision and that he will tell us this is only for new development. I hope he will be able to tighten it up in some way to show that it’s only for new development or we will be producing an amendment during clause-by-clause discussion which will indicate that it’s only for new development and not for mobile home sites which were at one time used, or are situate in old mobile home parks which were vacant and have since become occupied.

For that reason, I would like that explanation from the minister. I would like him to explain exactly how he sees this working and what his purposes are. I would be willing to co-operate with him in producing an amendment which would set it out completely, if it means just new development.

Mr. Roy: Possibly I can use the next five minutes to express some views on Bill 60. One of the interesting aspects of this is that when the legislation was first introduced -- I am speaking personally to the minister -- the minister at this time, not realizing that this rent control would be under his jurisdiction, sort of played it pretty loose.

As I recall it, the people from Ottawa who had concern about the original legislation felt, as we felt in this caucus, that some of the terms of the original legislation as proposed were unfair, especially when there was no allowance for appeal between the original period of July to March, 1916, and the minister from Ottawa at that time was ant too keen on meeting with some of these people. Of course, lo and behold, the Minister of Housing, when he got the Ontario Housing stuff in it, was only too, quick to do sort of an end run and give the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations the responsibility for this rent control.

That had to be one of the fastest shifts that we’ve seen in this House, how he was able to slough that off. At that time when the people from Ottawa were wanting to see this minister and discuss some of the unfairness of the original legislation, he showed very little interest in meeting with them. At least, that is the information that I have and I tend to believe that information. It’s going to be interesting --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I met with everyone from Ottawa who requested a meeting, whether they were landlord or tenant. I met them in my office or I met them in my constituency. I never refused a single person a meeting.

Mr. Roy: He might have met only with the constituents because the information I have was that was not so. Of course, he has been misinformed, and we’re going to be talking about some of the things he has said about some of the goings-on in Ottawa in the near future.

What is of interest now is that if this legislation now goes through, it is going to be interesting to see whether he can pull a fast enough shift to put that back in the Ministry of Housing and out of his ministry again. He has been very vocal of late, saying that he doesn’t want to be the minister of a mess and so on, and one of these days he’s going to have a slip of the tongue where he is going to say, “I don’t want to be a mess as a minister,” and some of us question whether that’s not the problem that he has presently.

Mr. Speaker, we on this side understand the intent of some of the subsections in this amendment, and it seems to us that it’s not following a basis of logic that the subsidization of certain tenancies would take place, not only through rent geared to income, but then we would turn around and subsidize it again through rent control. We can certainly support parts of this bill, but we are concerned as well with other parts of the bill -- for instance, as my colleague from Waterloo North mentioned, the question of the limited-dividend housing.

I would hope that the minister would look at changing this legislation as it is presented, because it seems to us that when there is an agency, be it the Ontario government or the municipality, which is, in fact, protecting the interests of the tenant and making some subsidization, it doesn’t make sense that there should be some form of control. On the other hand, we have clear evidence that in the limited-dividend housing, for instance, Central Mortgage and Housing is not protecting the interests of the tenant.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If I may break in here, perhaps if the hon. member has further remarks to make, he might move the adjournment of the debate at this point. You may carry on at 8 o’clock.

Mr. Roy: I’m completing my remarks.

Mr. Renwick: No, come back next Tuesday.

Mr. Roy: Come back next Tuesday? Fine, if you insist on seeing me back here next Tuesday, Mr. Speaker, I will be only too pleased to move the adjournment of the debate, and to go on next Tuesday.

Mr. Roy moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Speaker: We will recognize the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) at 8 o’clock.

Mr. Roy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As I recall -- no? No?

Mr. Breithaupt: That is fine.

Mr. Speaker: I trust the matter the member was going to raise has been all looked after.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.