30e législature, 3e session

L052 - Thu 6 May 1976 / Jeu 6 mai 1976

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 75, An Act respecting the Board of Education for the City of Windsor and Teachers Dispute.

Mr. Speaker: Does the minister have any opening remarks?

Mr. Renwick: On a point of order, if I may.

Mr. Speaker: Your point of order.

Mr. Renwick: Having nothing to do with the bill, could the House leader inform us whether or not the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations are going forward in the Justice committee?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I was just asked that question. I don’t know. Are Correctional Services finished?

Mr. Renwick: I understand that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) couldn’t be found before dinner. Is he now available, do you know?

Hon. Mr. Welch: It is the first time it has been brought to my attention. I will check into that.

Mr. Renwick: Thank you.

Hon. Mr. Wells: In speaking on second reading of this bill, as I indicated this afternoon, this is a piece of legislation that I am not particularly pleased to have to bring before this House. But I feel it is necessary if the secondary schools in the Windsor area are to reopen reasonably soon and the programmes for some 12,500 students are to be resumed.

Perhaps I should trace a bit of the chronology connected with this particular dispute between the secondary school teachers in the Windsor area who I think are known as OSSTF, district 1 --

Mr. Bounsall: We are No. 1.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- which means they are No. 1, the beginning. I don’t know whether that has any special significance or whether it just means that that’s where they start numbering the province. Anyway, they start there --

Mr. Bounsall: Best place to start.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and their dispute, of course, is between themselves and the Windsor Board of Education. They are negotiating a contract which begins on Jan. 2, 1976.

The old contract expired on Jan. 1, 1976. The negotiations for this particular contract began, or notice to negotiate was given, back on Aug. 14, 1975, and up to the end of the year various procedures connected with negotiations between the two parties went on, I would have to believe. I have no particular record of that, but I would have to believe that they did negotiate in some manner.

However, on Dec. 1, a fact-finder was appointed under the provisions of Bill 100. This, of course, was before the expiry date of the contract, which would expire at the end of the year. Before that time, negotiations had arrived at the point where a fact-finder was requested and appointed by the Education Relations Commission. This fact-finding process culminated in a report on Jan. 26, 1976. After that time, mediation occurred. However, no negotiated agreement was arrived at.

On March 3, 1976, the secondary teachers in the Windsor area conducted a strike vote and a vote on the last board offer. This last board offer was rejected and the teachers voted 8 per cent in favour of strike action.

Dean Ron Ianni, dean of the law school, University of Windsor, who had been mediating with the two parties, continued to mediate and be available to try to bring about a negotiated settlement. However, on March 20, the teachers, having already voted to go on strike and fulfil the requirements of Bill 100, gave notice that they would actually go on strike on March 30, and on March 30 the teachers in the Windsor area had a complete withdrawal of services from the 12 secondary schools in that area.

On March 31, the teachers returned to school but continued a form of work-to-rule. On April 1, the board locked out the teachers. There was a day of confusion as to who was in and who was out and what was actually happening. However, on the next Monday, April 5, as well as locking out, the board formally closed, as it can do under Bill 100, the secondary schools in the Windsor area and they were effectively then closed to the teachers. From April 5 until this present time, the schools in the Windsor area have remained closed.

I think the dates that are significant after that date of April 5, when the school closing occurred, are Monday, April 26, when the Education Relations Commission held a hearing in Windsor to listen to both parties and the public, and to ascertain and decide whether the programmes of the students were in jeopardy. At this particular time it should be pointed out, I think, that the teachers had begun what they called “alternative programmes,” first for the grades 12 and 13s, and then a programme which has recently expanded down to the grade 9 level.

In one of their meetings with me, they informed me of this procedure and we sent people down from the ministry to monitor these programmes, and I think the report of our people has been made public. It was made public to both the board and the teachers, and it indicated the good points and the bad points about the alternative programme. I think, though, that it has to be said that credit must be given to the Windsor teachers for organizing a fairly credible alternative school programme, something which had not been done in any like manner that I can find in any of the other strikes that have occurred in this province in the last few months. At least, certainly not to the complete extent that this occurred in Windsor, although there were some very fine programmes in parts of Metropolitan Toronto run by some of the boards here during the strike, but I think nothing of quite the scope that was organized in this particular area.

However, as our ministry people who monitored these programmes found out, there were certain drawbacks to the programmes. Certainly they were very short of proper accommodation and space. The numbers were not great. Some students, for various reasons, did not choose to attend, full programmes could not be offered in all subjects or complete courses in other subjects. I think, though, for those who attended, in particular cases these programmes provided a good alternative. For others, they didn’t provide the alternative. The reason I disagreed to mention that first, Mr. Speaker, is that, of course, when the Education Relations Commission held its hearing to decide whether students’ programmes were in jeopardy, it listened to what both parties and the public had to say, and in the report it said that at the present time the commission didn’t think the students’ programmes were in jeopardy, and one of the reasons that it gave -- although not necessarily the only reason -- was the existence of this alternative school programme that the teachers had organized. They said this offered, for those people who wanted the programme, an opportunity for them to take the programme, and, of course, as my friends know, they did not recommend that we should legislate an end to this particular dispute.

Upon receiving that report, the cabinet indicated that we would accept the view of the Education Relations Commission that students’ programmes were not in jeopardy and that the best way to settle the dispute was through a negotiated settlement and that actually -- and again the Education Relations Commission points this out in its particular report to us -- the wherewithal to open the schools lies clearly within the power of the two parties, and particularly the board, which has closed the schools and locked the teachers out; really the key was in the hands of the school board and all it had to do was put it in the lock and turn it and those schools could be open.

This was based, I think, upon some presentations the teachers had made to them that if the schools were opened, they would probably go back although perhaps maintain minimum sanctions. So the commission was really saying to us the wherewithal, the means to open the schools in Windsor, lies within the parties’ hands; there is no reason why they couldn’t use those means and open the schools again, and then continue their negotiations in some manner or other.

We accepted this at our cabinet meeting on Wednesday, April 28, and as a result of that, later that day I wrote to both parties releasing the report of the Education Relations Commission and outlining a three-point programme to open the schools this last Monday and to continue negotiations. That programme consisted of the following: that the board suspend its lockout and suspend its closing of the schools effective May 3, that the teachers suspend their strike on May 3, that classes and full programmes begin again and that a dual mediation team of Dean Ron Ianni and a Mr. Haney from Kitchener move in with the parties, which would begin negotiating at once, and that they negotiate until May 10, hopefully to arrive at a settlement. If they didn’t arrive at a settlement, Dean Ianni and Mr. Haney would present a report to me and the parties as to how the matters still in dispute should be settled.

This offer was put to the parties on April 28 and I asked that I hear from them by April 30 as to whether they would accept this offer or not, a means whereby the schools could be opened and negotiations could continue in a very forced manner, a manner where there was some deadline at the end and a conciliation-type report to be written. In other words, real forced negotiations would occur but the schools would be open at the same time.


I was sorry to finally find that this proposal was not accepted by both parties. The teachers did accept the proposal. The board rejected the proposal because they rejected Dean Ron Ianni as one of the mediators. That particular small point I think is a regrettable point, one which I still cannot understand the position of the board on, particularly its comments about Dean Ianni and his partiality to the teachers -- which I, in all my talks with him, failed to see. I think they did Ron Ianni a disservice suggesting that he was partial and in suggesting he said some of the things they said about him -- some of them in my presence -- which were absolutely not said: particularly that he was recommending to the board that they should accept the teachers’ position. That kind of a statement was not put forward, and certainly not in any of the meetings that I had with the board and Dean Ianni during many of our talks which went on over the last week or so.

However, as things will be, the board didn’t accept this proposal. Because it was necessary for both parties to agree voluntarily to some kind of a procedure to open the schools on Monday, May 3, this kind of action didn’t occur and the schools didn’t open.

Therefore, the teachers and the board came down here to meet with me on Tuesday, May 4. At that time I put forward the suggestion that they get together themselves and try and either come up with some arrangement that could open the schools and continue their negotiations, or else negotiate a settlement to the whole matter. There are not many matters remaining in dispute, only three or four, and it would seem to me that a good session of negotiations could complete the procedure and bring about a negotiated settlement.

The parties did consent to meet together face to face on Tuesday afternoon, and they began a session of face-to-face negotiations which went until about 10 p.m. on Tuesday before adjourning. They went back to Windsor and began yesterday in the early evening and went through, I think, until about midnight. I guess I had hoped that out of that session of concentrated, forced negotiation would come a settlement to a matter for which negotiations began away back last August.

However, I was advised this morning that these face-to-face negotiations had concluded and that there was no settlement; no agreement had been arrived at; and no common ground for settlement had been delineated. I, along with my colleagues in cabinet, then had to decide whether we should take any action, or whether we should wait for further steps to unfold.

It was our decision -- and I must say we have not had a recommendation from the Education Relations Commission. We are into about the 28th day of classes being suspended for the students in Windsor. With this in mind and, as I say, with no further recommendations from the Education Relations Commission -- and I want to emphasize that. We have received no advisement from them since their communication to us of April 27.

However, we had decided that we must take this step at this time, and that is to restore or open the schools in Windsor. We feel that the 28 days that have elapsed, coupled with the two other strikes that have occurred for these particular students, many of them in the upper levels now, having experienced the other two strikes as well as this strike; keeping this in mind and the fact that with this period of negotiations and contemplation of negotiations that have gone on, particularly in the last week or so, and still no contracts being arrived at, no negotiated settlement being arrived at, that the prospect of anything happening the very near future are not very great.

Therefore, considering first and foremost the students and the demands, the admonitions, the requests of a lot of citizens of Windsor -- some of them sitting in this House -- having considered these requests, we feel the only logical course of action is to bring in this bill, which we are bringing in today. It provides for the suspending of the strike, the opening of the schools, the suspending of the lockout on the part of the board.

I want to emphasize that, because this is one of those areas where there is a lockout and the closing by the board. That, in fact, is what is keeping those schools closed at the present time. This bill suspends that, cancels the strike and puts the matters to arbitration as we did in several other bills, to speedy arbitration by an arbitrator appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council who will report within 30 days.

I know my friends over there are going to argue that what we really need is to suspend the legislation and say, “Get the schools open and then let’s have another session of negotiations.” I just have to tell them I don’t think that is practical and it won’t work. I have never believed it will work.

Mr. Foulds: Why not?

Hon. Mr. Wells: We have tried to get it working and it is just going to cause further problems for the city of Windsor. I just want to say that I hope my two friends over there who represent that city will for once come with us and vote with us in a bill which I have to believe most of the city of Windsor wants passed in this House tonight, because they want those schools open next Monday and they want some kind of finality to what has become a very, very serious problem in the midst of the education system.

Therefore, for the good of those students and in response to what I would have to think the majority of the citizens of Windsor would like to see happen, we are bringing this bill in today. I would hope we can pass it in a speedy manner and that things will get back to normal in Windsor and they can enjoy quality education as they deserve to enjoy.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the minister’s remarks and his summary of the situation in Windsor. I might say I think he was quite accurate as he outlined the steps which had taken place in the Windsor situation. I agreed with the minister in the feeling he has got from Windsor that the great majority of people in Windsor want the classrooms open and the students back in those classrooms. I too am glad to see that the classrooms will be open on Monday and that the students will be back in the classrooms.

This does not speak to the point, however, as to under what conditions they are back in the classrooms. This is the only point on which the government party, represented by the minister, and we over here differ. We differ in the way in which the negotiations or the settlement will then be arrived at. We are in agreement that the classrooms be open and that the students be back in those classrooms. The citizenry of Windsor feels that way but the citizenry of Windsor is not saying to the minister compulsory arbitration, which is what is contained in the bill.

I appreciate that last week and since a week ago Wednesday and before, the minister has indeed tried to be innovative in his approach to this very difficult situation. But we here are very disappointed in the form of the bill in which the minister simply imposes compulsory arbitration as the means of settling the issues in dispute. We have no quarrel at all, in fact, we support the minister in the fact that the classrooms are to be opened on Monday, and we deeply regret very much that the sides could not reach a negotiated settlement.

The minister is quite right. I think as of today, the students have been 27 days out of school and there are some 32 days left in the programme. By the time we finish the bill tomorrow and they get back into the classrooms Monday, they will be 28 days out of class and there will be 31 days left in the term, provided one doesn’t count the professional development days which the bill provides may be cancelled.

I think there is some concern particularly among the parents of those students who go to high schools that are on the semester system. I have a daughter -- at least I have a teenage young lady staying with me; not formally a foster daughter but a sort of private placement -- who is in one of those schools, Centennial High School which is on the semester system. I know precisely how much work she will be having to do once school is reopened on the semester system in order to complete the year. This week she has been attending the classes set up by the teachers, the alternate form, as a means of not falling behind. I gather that certainly in this past week and in a rather concentrated way she has been reviewing, on her own, French vocabulary and grammar, a course which for her particular level of grade 11 and grade 12, is not offered in that alternative system. I’m very conscious of the time factor and the days lost.

One of the things which profoundly disturbed me in the Windsor situation, way back when, was the report of the fact-finder. I’m not going to dwell on the details of that report but the fact-finder’s role, as exemplified in this Windsor situation, was not really the role I envisaged when Bill 100 came into being. It was really the equivalent, in labour relations of a no-board report.

We did not envisage the fact-finder doing this. We envisaged the fact-finder going in, becoming seized of all matters in the dispute and remaining there until he, in his or her own mind, was thoroughly seized of all matters in the dispute. The fact-finder would then come out and write what he felt to be a solution, in detail, to the matters in dispute.

This fact-finder did not do that. To me, at that time, it was a great disappointment. I felt at that point that we were heading for some difficulty in the Windsor area with that sort of a non-fact-finding report from the fact-finder. I don’t mean to dwell on this because events have gone on since then but that certainly was not helpful in the situation and was to be regretted. It was not how I envisaged the fact-finder to operate.

In the situation I might say and I’m sure the minister knows this, the teachers did not want a strike. They did not want to take a strike vote and they really couldn’t believe that what they thought to be rather reasonable offers on their parts would be so thoroughly rejected by the board; and that such a final offer would come from the board as did come, causing them to have to reject it. There was a great deal of shock among the teacher community that the board’s final offer in early March was such that they found themselves having to reject it and having to take a strike vote in order to back up their side of the argument.

Many teachers said to me at the time, “All they had to do was continue the 1975 cost of living arrangement in that contract and we would have been willing to continue. We can’t understand why that can’t be done.” They recognized, sure, that in terms of negotiations they had a few more items on the table but they did not really expect there to be any difficulty. They just couldn’t understand why the cost of living arrangements in the 1975 contract would not be carried over into this one which is all they would have required in order to return. This is from personal conversations with many teachers.

It was with some great reluctance and, for many of them, a state of shock that they found the very reasonable and acceptable position which they would have accepted was not what the board was offering and that they had to go on strike. The strike vote was taken and, in rather overwhelming numbers, however reluctantly, they found themselves in a strike situation.

I might say, with reference to the minister’s statement, that the date is rather an important point. I would hope the minister would search this out tonight before we come to the clause-by-clause committee debate stage tomorrow on this bill. The date which is in the bill is with respect to the commencement of the lockout. There was a lockout on April 1 but, really, the procedures which the board took up to that point were deemed to be illegal. It was really admitted by the board in the sense that it then redid its whole procedure among its members, taking a vote thereafter. The legal date of walkout was April 3 and not April 1.


I would hope the minister will carefully search out that point because I believe the bill should be amended in the “whereas” clause to indicate that it was on April 3, not April 1, that the lockout took place. If it stands, I’m afraid I will have to place an amendment to recognize the actual happenings in Windsor and the fact that the legal lockout did not take place until April 3. The board redid its procedures between April 1 and April 3, and its redoing of them was an admission that the April 1 date was not valid and that the April 3 date is the proper date for the lockout. It’s an important point, because it affects by a couple of days the pay of the teachers involved when the dispute is settled.

Throughout this whole thing, the board has not wanted to negotiate. I think that is fairly clear, and I say to the minister, why should they? This is where the ministry’s procedures with respect to disputes have fallen down. I believe that legislation ending disputes in Metro Toronto, Kirkland Lake, central Algoma and Sault Ste. Marie, after the classrooms had been closed for some time, is responsible for the unwillingness of the board to negotiate. I believe that the board can feel confident that as long as they dig in their heels and do not negotiate in a way that will lead to a properly negotiated settlement; if they simply dig in their heels and cause a strike or effect a lockout themselves, that after so many days, as has happened in the other disputes, this government will come in and open up the schools and provide a solution. In most cases, of course, the solution has been compulsory arbitration, which gets the board off the hook.

It has been stated by the teachers, and it is felt by the teachers that in this situation this is precisely what the board has been up to. The board members are up for re-election this coming December, and they would like to be able to say at that point, “Look, we didn’t give the salary increase. We didn’t give the economic settlement that occurred. It wasn’t us.” Their whole game plan throughout this was to let the strike occur or to cause the lockout to occur; to not bargain in good faith throughout, or at least to not bargain in a way that would result in a settlement; and to have this kind of legislation come forward again so that someone else would have to bear the brunt of any increased expenditures which the board would have to make as a result of the contract.

Again, on this very point, we are in some difficulty in Ontario, with a growing feeling on the part of both sides for that matter, but particularly the boards, that they can simply wait it out and let time from the classroom elapse on the part of the student. All of us are concerned about the students’ lack of education, there’s no question about that; and that concern will lead to their being placed back in the classroom and the board off the hook. This has always been one of our main concerns about the way things are going and it has led, as the minister knows, to our proposal in the past on other bills to open up the classrooms and get the teachers and the students back into the classrooms -- not by compulsory arbitration of the dispute but by compulsory negotiations in which the government ensures that both sides keep up bargaining in a compulsory form and makes it very clear that neither side, in this case the board, will be let off the hook in terms of reaching a negotiated settlement. That is our concern, that is why we have placed the amendments that we have, and that is why, yet again, we will place those amendments tonight.

Some parts of this dispute also cause me concern. Away back on April 30 in the House, the Premier (Mr. Davis), in the absence of the Minister of Education, indicated that in view of the cumulative situation in Windsor -- three strikes having taken place in a four-year period -- the probability of the government allowing the situation to last for any lengthy period of time in his view was very limited. I expressed concern at that time because I thought statements of that sort would encourage the board not to continue to negotiate.

On Monday, April 5, in the House I expressed my concerns to the minister about that and what effect that would have on the negotiations. Would that not have a detrimental effect, I asked. He expressed his concern about the whole situation. My colleague, our education critic, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) asked the minister -- since the situation in Windsor is qualitatively and quantitatively different, as recognized by the minister and the Premier, from the other situations we have faced -- does it mean that if the government is forced to legislation it will bring in more innovative legislation than it has to end the previous disputes?

I’m afraid what the minister has brought in is simply the Metro Toronto solution here and not an innovative solution in terms of legislation, and that is very disappointing. We will continue to place what we feel to be the innovative solution to this situation as we have done in the other situations. The minister has replied in a very positive way that he has said many times in this House and will continue to say that negotiated settlements are the best kind of settlements. Of course, we agree with him in that statement.

Turning back to the situation, the Education Relations Commission had a public hearing very early on in the Windsor situation which I attended as an observer. I think what one might say to be the positions of both sides became fairly well known in the Windsor area. Since that time, various citizens’ groups arose trying to have an influence on both sides, particularly to negotiate -- groups headed by Jerry Potvin, Sarah Byer and Barbara Cecily. They suggested a mediation group be formed, key persons on that being Mr. Potvin himself, Mr. Ed Baillargeon, the president of the Windsor and District Labour Council, and a third person, as a means of helping to settle the strike or the lockout, and that was not picked up.

Over two weeks ago now, in response to the way information and requests were being transferred back and forth between the parties, the teachers said: “If the board will lift its lockout, we will return to the classrooms and, as long as the board continues to negotiate, we will remain in the classrooms.” The teachers, I believe, were then asked by the minister or one of the ministry officials what happens if negotiations break down? And they said: “We will still stay in the classroom for another three or four days so that it’s very clearly determined that negotiation have broken down before we would continue to take any sort of strike action.” That showed a real willingness on the part of the teachers in this particular strike, which re&1v is a lockout, to do everything they could to get meaningful negotiations going, and that was not acceptable to the board.

The Education Relations Commission, as the minister mentioned, did have a report on the Windsor situation on April 27. In that report they had some very interesting things to say. Reporting to the minister and the Lieutenant Governor, they were unable to find that the continuation of the dispute between the Windsor Board of Education and the branch affiliate of OSSTF would place in jeopardy the successful completion of the courses of study by the students affected, after careful considerations made by the board, the branch affiliate and interested affected citizens including parents and teachers. They went on to explain some of it. They indicated that the time lost by then, 18 days, was not insignificant and they mentioned the three fairly prolonged interruptions in four years. They might arguably adopt a view that the time lost in 1976 has a cumulative effect, at least upon the senior students who have experienced all three conflicts. On the other hand, they said.

“When we address the prospect of harm to the students, we cannot avoid giving weight to the availability of alternative instruction organized by the branch affiliate almost from the outset of the dispute.”

I will digress for a moment from reading the decision. I quite appreciate the minister’s comments when he says a very fine programme of alternate study was set up by the teachers almost from the very start of this dispute. Initially, it was for the senior students only, grades 12 and 13. But in the past week and a half it has been extended to cover all the classrooms in all the grades in the Windsor schools, with most of the regular subjects being taught. The Education Relations Commission report goes on to say:

“In gauging the ability of the students to recover ground lost to date, the affirmative influence of alternate instruction must be taken into account. [And the report concludes] Generally, the alternate instruction is of acceptable quality except in relation to certain technical and scientific subjects, which depend upon the availability of facilities such as laboratories. However, to date it also demonstrates that the number of students reached by the programme is far less than the total enrolment, even at the senior grades to which it has been directed.”

They say, as well, that if the classes were extended to all grades and all schools affected and they managed to attract substantial attendance by the students and participation by the teachers, and if they managed to extend them to virtually the whole curriculum, they would be loath to make the finding under section 61. That finding being, of course, that the education in this particular year was in jeopardy.

They go on to make other comments. One other thing I found interesting from the report -- and it was quite a lengthy and well-written document, running over five pages -- was:

“While the boards and teachers are ultimately committed to the students, each also has separate interests which may be differentially affected by our intervention. An interruption of classes, whether by strike or lockout, means an immediate economic loss to individual teachers; and to the extent that they receive strike pay, by their central organization. But the school board members suffer no such loss and the board itself probably profits from the savings of teachers’ salaries during the conflict.”

I would like to expand on that point just a little bit at this time in my remarks. I understand the saving to the board for each day of the strike is roughly $40,000. So at this point, the board has saved over $1 million in terms of salaries.

This lends weight to another point in the report. If the board wishes to balance its budget and not increase taxes, all it has to do is force a strike or affect a lockout so that it can then have enough money saved in which to balance its budget. This is another point which does not lead to meaningful negotiations or lead the board particularly to reach a negotiated settlement -- until it has saved some money.

I must also say to the minister that one of the points, in all fairness to the board, which has worried the board in terms of granting a new contract which would involve a monetary consideration, an increase in wages of some kind to the teachers, is the fact that it did lose half a million dollars in grants this year from the ministry. The cutback resulted in a half-million-dollar cutback to the Windsor Board of Education and this has affected negotiations.

If the normal increase had occurred, it would have some money with which to play. They also have to make up that in taxes from the public; roughly half a million dollars, I am told by the board. Certainly this has had an effect upon the board in its determination of what it can do in the situation. This is part of the situation the board finds itself in, the fact that taxes must be raised in Windsor to cover that particular loss of income which the board would receive from the ministry.


I might say at this point, Mr. Minister, that the teachers very strongly feel that they have done everything they could right along. The board may say they have been flexible over some of their points, but of the three points in issue, the pupil-teacher ratio and the continuation of the cost of living allowances which they negotiated in 1975 are very important points to the teachers.

They felt after the 1975 contract that they had a contract which could be very easily continued with those sorts of provisions in them. They are very loath, having had a couple of strikes, particularly a lengthy one last year, to arrive at that position, to go through another strike in order to have that continued. They are very loath to give up the cost of living allowances which they won at some sacrifice to themselves.

All along they have been willing to negotiate. They have been appalled that they did have a strike situation facing them, finding themselves locked out. They found themselves all along agreeable to any sort of means by which the classes could be opened.

They said, “We’ll go back and we will continue in the classrooms as long as negotiations can continue and even for three or four days beyond that before we consider taking some other form of action.” They indicated that that action may be in some form of a rotating strike among the schools, so that the pressure was still on somewhat but classroom time was not being lost right across the city. Then, to get a bill of this type coming in, is simply compulsory arbitration.

There is no doubt a certain feeling among the teachers that they have been somehow unfairly dealt with throughout all of this, including by the ministry.

They accepted the minister’s proposal -- an innovative one really, based on our suggestions of compulsory bargaining -- which the minister made on Wednesday, the 28th, following the ERC recommendations. They accepted that. They put no conditions upon it and were appalled to find that the board had turned it down.

I am glad the minister cleared up in his remarks over that point that the public reason given by the board was lack of confidence in Dean Ianni in making statements about what Dean Ianni had said in front of them to you, to the effect that he could not understand why the board could not accept the position put forward by the teachers. I note that the minister denies, as far as his recollection goes, anything of that nature coming forward and the minister does not see any reason why, from his perspective. Dean Ianni would have lost confidence in the board and could not have accepted Dean Ianni as a mediator.

The teachers feel that they have gone all through this situation in good faith. They wanted to negotiate. They wanted to negotiate a settlement. They have responded to the minister’s proposals positively and they find the same bill back before us, a bill, I understand, which definitely causes many of them to feel that they have done everything in good faith and they don’t deserve this kind of compulsory arbitration bill back before them.

Several teachers have since said to me -- and some have been on the phone today -- that some of them may not be turning up in the classrooms on Monday. This is the effect that it has had on the teachers who have proceeded in all good faith.

I would say at this point to the teachers: I hope you do not take this attitude. You have shown right along, particularly in the recent stages, that you are willing to cooperate. The public perceives this. We who are involved in the situation perceive this. This would be an unfortunate move for any of them to take this coming Monday.

They were willing to go back in good faith, trusting that something would be achieved right along. In spite of compulsory arbitration that this bill includes, I would say to the teachers, “Do not take steps now not to return to the classroom on Monday,” but the minister should be aware of the feeling of at least some of the teachers in response to this particular type of legislation which has been brought forward.

Here again I point out that they are not opposed to returning to the classrooms, they’re just opposed to the compulsory arbitration as the means of reaching the final settlement here. They have mounted the alternative school programme out of their concern for the students involved and, by the minister’s own remarks, it has been a very good one. I feel it has been a good one too. I hear from parents about the quality of it and it’s a mixed reaction. Some have said, “Well, all they do is hand out assignments. They’re not doing too much teaching.” Others have said, “Gee, we’re getting better instruction than we got from the other teacher we had.” That’s not surprising, that there should be some dichotomy in terms of what the alternative school programme has provided, but it’s been given in very good faith and in pretty good spirit by the teachers involved, and they felt they have made every effort. We simply hope their disappointment in this bill will not lead to the particular action which they are thinking of.

Let me return to last Wednesday. The minister last Wednesday did a very positive thing, from my point of view and our point of view here, where he laid the scene -- this is a week ago Wednesday, April 28 -- for what I thought to be a solution. He said, “Open up the classrooms on May 3. In the interim, bargain and we will appoint the two mediators, Dean Ianni, who has been in the dispute all along, and the other mediator, Mr. Haney from London.”

The conditions were that the strike and lockout he suspended, negotiations would continue from Friday, April 30, on with the second mediator, Mr. Reginald Haney, also there with Dean Ianni, and if no settlement was reached by Monday, May 10, the mediators shall present a report to both parties in the dispute to the Education Relations Commission and to yourself, the minister, recommending how the matters remaining in the dispute should be settled.

That was very positive. That was where the minister was innovative. The minister, in essence, was adopting in a sense what we have been proposing as the legislative solution in these bills; that the parties open up the schools and that forced collective bargaining continue and, as well, set a date at which, if a conclusion wasn’t reached, a report would be made to the minister and then some action be taken.

I asked the minister a question on the day following his offer. I was a bit concerned that the setting of the date -- May 10 -- would cause both sides not to negotiate, and I think the minister replied in very good terms. He indicated that the matters that were in dispute would be reported to him and that they recommend how the dispute should be settled, and implied at that time that perhaps they just wouldn’t come back and say, “Look, this is the type of legislation to end it,” but they might in fact come back and say, “Look, having been seized of the facts of the matter, this is the solution which we would like”; in other words, do the role that the fact-finder had taken. Then, of course, if that’s what was envisaged, if the sides did not accept that settlement, the minister could always come in and legislate that particular settlement.

It was a very good try by the minister to take into account our proposals and put some compulsion into the bargaining. The next day I questioned him again, when that was rejected over the weekend by the board, and in this regard I would like to read just a short editorial from the Windsor Star that appeared on Monday, May 3:

“School Trustees Drag Their Heels

“It was just a couple of years ago that most of the clear-thinking, rational people of the world laughed at the antics of the Paris peace talks. Where people would sit, the height of chairs, and who would cook the meals, and why some tables were larger than others, were a few of the nonsensical objections raised by allegedly-mature men with a professed interest in seeing an end to the Vietnamese conflict.

“To try and draw an analogy between that and Windsor’s secondary school teachers’ board of education contract dispute is a shaky position. But the nonsense part is certainly in evidence and the Windsor Board of Education is the perpetrator.

“With only a modicum of exterior gloss the board now suggests, Ron Ianni, dean of the University of Windsor law faculty and mediator in this dispute for the past two months, is biased. Why else would they want him replaced? In board chairman Lex McCrindle’s words, “We have nothing against Dean Ianni; he has worked intensively on this with us. But the board feels [a new mediator] would be in the best interests of obtaining a negotiated settlement.” Hogwash, or is it pure coincidence that an assistant mediator to Dean Ianni, Kitchener lawyer Reginald Haney, also appointed by the province, just happens to be a former Kitchener-Waterloo Board of Education trustee?

“Now shall we return to the subject of real or imagined bias? Education Minister Thomas Wells proposed last week that the board suspend its lockout, the teachers suspend their strike, and negotiations resume. The teachers, known to periodically nit-pick to ensure that they are not conned, accepted the idea, lock, stock and so on. That sounds like good faith, especially considering their willingness to have an ex-trustee act as a mediator. The board says it wants only Mr. Haney. That does not sound like good faith, in fact that sounds more like an attempt to gain an edge when it comes to talking terms. The board has by its own hand cast aspersions on its sincerity, its wish to see an end (preferably an amicable one) to the strike. It becomes clear the board does not want to negotiate, it wants the province to take the whole messy business into an arbitrated end.”

A very positive editorial, I think, and one which describes the situation. Following on that very Monday I asked the minister would he be willing -- or words to this effect -- to in fact come in, and would he consider, as one of the means of settling the strike, legislating his very reasonable proposal of last evening -- bring in legislation based on his proposal of Wednesday, April 28. The minister has chosen to come back with this type of legislation -- legislation, Mr. Minister, which we find very disappointing in its compulsory arbitration aspect.

We’re concerned that compulsory arbitration is not the means of the settling future problems which the board and the teachers in Windsor may have in post-August, 1977, as a means of settling their disputes. Forced arbitration is not the means of resolving problems for the future and it’s because of that concern that we will continue to place compulsory bargaining reasoned amendment to this particular bill, and I so do, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Bounsall moves that Bill 75 be not now read a second time, but that it be read a second time one hour hence and that it now be referred back, to have incorporated therein the following amendment.

Section 1: Subsection 1(a) to be deleted and all subsequent clauses of section 1 be renumbered:

Section 2: Subsection 2 to be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

During the period from and including the first school day after the day this Act comes into force until an agreement as defined under the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, comes into effect, no teacher shall take part in a strike against the board of education and the board of education shall not lock out a teacher.

Section 3: Subsections 1, 2, 4 and 5 to be deleted.

Section 3: Subsection 3 to be amended to read as follows:

The parties shall give written notice to the Minister of Education within seven days after the day this Act comes into force setting out all the matters the parties have agreed upon for inclusion in an agreement and the matters remaining in dispute between the parties and the notice shall be deemed to be notice to the commission and thereafter, except as provided in section 57 of the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, a party shall not withdraw from the negotiations hereinafter provided for.


Section 4: Subsections 1 and 2 to be deleted and the following to be substituted therefor:

Subsection 1. The parties involved are instructed to resume forthwith negotiations in good faith in order to resolve all matte’s remaining in dispute.

Subsection 2. Notwithstanding subsection 1 of section 51 of the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, the agreement giving effect to all matters agreed upon by the parties shall be for the period commencing on the second day of January, 1976, and expiring on Aug. 31, 1977.

Mr. Ferris: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a few remarks. Once again I am probably in a position very similar to that of the Minister of Education in that I am a little disappointed this legislation is here, too. It is very familiar legislation and I don’t think it requires a great deal of discussion to be taking place.

I think somebody commented during the minister’s opening remarks that it was district 1 and obviously Windsor has a situation of being No. 1. I think perhaps it relates more in my mind to the fact that this is the only place where there have been three disruptions in the school system in the last four years. Those three have meant that the effective time lost by the students in the fourth and fifth years of the school programme would amount to the equivalent of about one-third of a school year. I can’t help thinking that this would have a tremendously bad effect on how these students are prepared as they go on into university and into the work force.

Along that line, because of this thinking, the report of the ERC on April 28, wherein it stated it felt the programmes were not in jeopardy, bothers me a little bit. It said the programmes being offered by the teachers could perhaps adequately cover at that time. I would think the previous disruptions in the system which had taken place in 1972 and 1974 would far outweigh the possibilities of what was then an uncertain programme of the future and what might be taught. There was also the fact that the attendance probably, from the discussions I have had with the people, was no more than 50 per cent at best in any of the years. In the vocational programmes especially and in the ones for which labs are required, it is virtually impossible to find any facilities which could cope with this situation.

Certainly I do join with the Minister of Education and my colleagues in the NDP and I commend the teachers. I think this has been a very genuine show of good faith on the part of the teachers in trying to establish these courses and to make the arrangements. It was very difficult, I am sure, to find facilities in which they can perform the functions they wish to, trying to improve the education of these children in perhaps very difficult circumstances in many cases.

Mr. Warner: This is their reward for it.

Mr. Ferris: I am also very disappointed at the conduct of the Windsor Board of Education in this dispute. Having negotiated, I can’t believe that you throw something into a contract -- a very major item -- and withdraw it at the next point in time. Maybe they have their reasons -- I have never had them justified to me satisfactorily -- and it is very incredible to believe that the situation came to that point last week. I commend the minister for his suggestion of giving them the unlegislated reasoned amendment of the NDP, of giving them the option to do this without the benefit of legislation. In my mind, it is exactly the same as what the NDP is using as a reasoned amendment; and by their refusal to accept this kind of action, they obviously do themselves a very great disservice.

When I think about the approach that was taken by the minister as opposed to the reasoned amendment the NDP is putting forward, at least there was a degree of finality by virtue of the fact that some dates were mentioned by the minister, such as the May 10 date, when some kind of action had to take place. In my mind, the biggest failing of the reasoned amendment of the NDP that has been put forward in each of the disputes so far is the fact that there is nothing in it that guarantees there will never be a finish to the dispute. It might still be going when the next contract should be getting on to being negotiated.

As I say, I do commend the minister for giving this option to the people. I certainly wish that the board in their wisdom had seen fit to accept that and get back to the table. It is most unfortunate that we have a situation where the 12,000 children in the school system must be affected by a personality problem involving only one person. I think it is unreasonable, just because he is a mediator, for him to almost say that he will force his position. In my experience, the terms of negotiation don’t say that the arbitrator or the mediator can sign the document, but only that the two sides must agree. So they still have all kinds of control over what is going to go on, and at least they could show enough good faith to go back to the table.

One of the other things that should be commented on once again is that this is the first strike where we are talking about a calendar-year contract that is held by a teaching group. It point up the fact that one of the clauses of Bill 100, which brought back the negotiating of all contracts on the basis of a school year, is a very sensible and very good clause. The fact that we could get into a situation where a strike, because of the nature of going through the steps of Bill 100, brings us to this point in time so close to the end of the school year is certainly a very difficult situation with which to live.

Because of the importance of finishing the school year, and since there is so little of the school year left, meaning there will be great difficulties in crowding the amount of school work into the short period left, we will be opposing the reasoned amendment of the NDP and we will be supporting the legislation.

Mr. Burr: Mr. Speaker, like other members, I have mixed feelings about Bill 75. I’m regretful that it has been made necessary but happy that the ministry has finally been persuaded that the students must get back to their classes.

Mr. Nixon: But you are voting against it.

Mr. Burr: I am happy to see the students return.

I should have been much happier if this legislation had been brought in on April 6, when everyone expected that it would be, rather than today, on May 8, after serious damage may have been caused to the academic careers of many Windsor students.

Almost everyone realized that the students could not afford to be out of school, including the Premier (Mr. Davis), who at the very beginning, on Tuesday, March 30, as recorded on page 744 of Hansard, in reference to the Windsor teacher-board confrontation, expressed his concern for the students as follows:

“It is a personal feeling ... that with the sort of cumulative situation in the city of Windsor the probability of the government allowing the situation to last for any lengthy period of time, in my view, would be limited.

“[And a few minutes later he said with reference to Windsor:] I do not believe a prolonged strike could be tolerated, and instead this should be brought to an end quite speedily. If this emerges tomorrow [he was referring to the cabinet meeting] as being, in fact, government policy, which I expect it will be, without question that will be communicated to both sides in the city of Windsor, because the academic career of those students at this stage of the year cannot be prejudiced.”

Mr. Speaker, I’ll read that opinion of the Premier on March 30 again: “The academic careers of those students at this stage of the year cannot be prejudiced.” in the face of such statements, Windsorites -- the citizens, the board members, the teachers, the students -- all expected legislation to be forthcoming in two or three days, certainly by the following Monday. Under such circumstances, further genuine negotiations were obviously impossible. Everyone awaited the back-to-school legislation, yet no move was made by the ministry. Finally, the ministry met, separately, both teachers’ representatives and board representatives on Thursday, April 15. Just what hopes the minister gleaned from these meetings is unknown.

It is true that a three-citizen group at this time offered to mediate and was accepted by board and teachers. How could they refuse at this point? Yet a 12-hour negotiating session on Easter Monday achieved nothing.

There are times when an identifiable and unmistakable impasse is reached. This was one of them. The Premier himself had indicated that the students would not be out for any length of time. However much we all agree that a negotiated settlement is the best kind, it was evident after the Premier’s statement on March 30 that further negotiations would be fruitless and that further efforts would be a waste of time, both for the board and for the teachers and above all for the 12,500 students, whose academic careers were obviously in jeopardy at this point in the school year.

It should be obvious, also, without a pronouncement from the Education Relations Commission, that 20 days out of school in April is as bad as 40 days in November. It may even be disastrous for some of those students whose further education may depend upon their success or failure to win a scholarship in competition with students from other communities where there have been no interruptions in classes.

It has become obvious that there is now only one way for classes to resume in Windsor, and that is through legislation. I support the return to classes, as do we all. I am going neither to defend nor to castigate the board or the teachers, but the present moment seems opportune for a few reflections on the future of collective bargaining in the educational field.

For many years, before Bill 100 became law, teachers used to negotiate with boards, finally either agreeing to the contract offered or, in many instances, refusing the contract. When they refused the board’s final offer, however, this did not mean that they worked under the previous year’s conditions and the previous year’s salary. It meant merely that they got the new conditions and new salary offered by the board, but they did not formally acknowledge that it was an acceptable contract. A certain coolness sometimes developed between the negotiating committee members of both sides, but that was about the worst thing that happened. In the following year, the board, in many instances, offered a more favourable contract and the relations between the teachers involved in the negotiations and those board members or board officials involved improved somewhat.


On the whole, the system worked, but when inflation became a serious matter, teachers’ salaries throughout the Province of Ontario tended to fall behind in relation to those of other groups in the community. Talk of strikes by teachers reflected their increasing dissatisfaction with their failure to maintain their relative economic position.

Bill 100 was an honest effort to give teachers full collective bargaining rights. It offered alternatives to strike action, some of which have been used and used to good effect. But it also granted clearly the right of teachers to strike. Under Bill 100, in about 98 per cent of the negotiations, the strike weapon has not been used. We now find that when it is used, it is not necessarily the ultimate step.

Under Bill 100, in almost every instance, it has become the penultimate step; it has become the second last step. This Legislature has had to pass legislation in five cases out of six, I believe, to end the strike and require arbitration. This has led many people to ask: “How intolerable a procedure is compulsory arbitration?” They find out that in many instances employees have been pleasantly surprised by an arbitrator’s decision.

In the Sault Ste. Marie dispute the teachers preferred binding arbitration to strike action and actually asked for it in order to avoid closing down the schools, obviously, to many teachers in Sault Ste. Marie, binding arbitration is a lesser evil than a strike. In that instance, the board refused to go voluntarily to binding arbitration. This Legislature had to legislate an end to that strike or lockout and legislated compulsory arbitration.

In the decades before Bill 100, teachers had recourse neither to binding arbitration nor to the strike weapon. Since Bill 100 was passed they now have both, but they cannot count on binding arbitration without risking strike action first. They cannot get binding arbitration, if that is what they prefer, without going on strike.

Many citizens are asking how Bill 100 can be made more effective. After viewing the behaviour pattern that has emerged from recent troubled negotiations between teachers and boards many people are raising this question: “Which is worse, binding arbitration after a strike or binding arbitration instead of a strike?”

This seems to be the choice that is emerging for many communities. Are the teachers in Sault Ste. Marie behind the times or are they ahead of the times? The Minister of Education says that a negotiated settlement is the best kind of settlement; so does the Premier; so does every member in this House. The question is: What is the second best kind of settlement, when the first kind becomes impossible? I merely raise the question and I leave it for others to find the answer.

Mr. Warner: That’s your job; you know that.

Mr. Burr: Many citizens are posing another question: --

Hon. Mr. Wells: Come on, Fred.

Mr. Breithaupt: He will still vote for this bill. Just be careful, he can still do it.

Mr. Burr: -- “Why not a provincial salary scale?” “Why,” they ask, “should the taxpayers of Ontario have the expense of 100 school boards hiring 100 lawyers or other high-priced negotiators?”

They say that even if all the teachers in the province went out on strike at the same time, at least no students would suffer competitively

Again I express no opinion on this point of view, but I merely give notice to members that it is the question that is going to be asked more and more as strikes follow strikes.

It has been said that everyone suffers from an educational strike -- students, parents, teachers, board members, the whole community. Not quite everyone. The hired negotiators always win.

I don’t know under what terms they work, whether by the hour or by contract, but I suspect that the longer the negotiators work the more they receive. I suspect that like two lawyers representing two auto insurance companies and writing countless letters to each other, the longer they prolong the negotiations the more financially rewarding the whole operation becomes. With this in mind many people are saying: “Let the board members do the negotiating with the teachers. That’s one of the jobs we pay them to do.”

With the students returning to classes in Windsor on Monday one of the causes of the impasse in negotiations has been removed. We still are left with the resolution of the collective bargaining dispute. There are two alternatives: A negotiated settlement or an arbitrated one. We agree with the minister on the proposal he made a week ago that the students return to school and negotiations continue; compulsory negotiations if one wishes. We agree with the minister that a negotiated settlement is better than an arbitrated one. For that reason, I feel the teachers and the board should continue negotiations but with some fresh faces. If the present negotiators and mediators have reached inflexible positions let them use some pinch-hitters but keep on trying.

To sum up, I support the reopening of schools on Monday. I support the minister’s view that a negotiated settlement is the best kind of settlement. I agree with the minister’s proposal last week when he requested that the schools reopen and the negotiations continue. For those reasons, I support our reasoned amendment.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, this is the fifth time in five months. I am reminded of a scene in the film “Michelangelo,” as he was painting the Sistine Chapel. The Pope of the day walked in after many such visits and said, “When will you make an end of it?” I think many of us in this Legislature are feeling the same way. When will we make an end of this practice?

Reading a single paragraph from the ERC report sums up partially the dilemma that we all find ourselves in once more:

“To strike a balance between these policies is our bask. If we acquiesce in a conflict for too long we will have failed in our duty to the students. If we prematurely precipitate legislative intervention we will undermine the bargaining process.”

Surely, that is the dilemma we find ourselves in once again but, nevertheless, we are here.

These issues seem to have a certain sameness about them but there are some real distinctions in this one which I think we need to remember. The first one is that this is essentially a board lockout rather than a strike. Secondly, as has been pointed out, this is the first situation we’ve been involved in whereby a board and its teachers have been invoked in strikes, lockouts, whatever you wish to call it, for the third time in a relatively short period of time.

Thirdly, for the first time, at least in this particular round, we are dealing, as a basic issue, with the intention of the board to withdraw some of the benefits it had previously agreed to.

Fourthly, we have here, again it has been pointed out, a recognition of and a commendation to the teachers of this board in a real attempt to offer alternative programming.

The basic issue, however, as I understand it, in the minds of the teachers at least, and in the minds of the board, is the decision of the board to attempt, through negotiations, to reduce or to daw back from previously negotiated situations.

There are a couple of questions here. The first one is can the board legitimately and unilaterally decide to drop from its contractual arrangement the COLA clause which was previously in it, when the understanding of the teachers was that no changes in that contract would be made until a new one was signed? I understand that is a very sore point which is presently being grieved. If, in fact, that is the situation then it certainly should be grieved and it is understandable that it is a sore point.

The follow-up to that is can the board even negotiate a change in a previous agreement? I think we have to go back and look at one of the clauses in Bill 100.

When this came out, the two most contentious issues of all were the right to strike and clause 9, which says negotiations shall be carried out in respect of any term or condition of employment put forward by either party. In other words, anything is negotiable.

I can remember very clearly the many months that preceded this legislation coming into force and the long and acrimonious debates that went on among teachers, among trustees and between teachers and trustees as to what that clause really meant and the concern on both sides as to what it really meant. Surely in the minds of the teachers as I read it at that time, it meant for the first time, with legislative support, any condition of work or employment was at least negotiable. They may not get what they ask for but at least it was negotiable.

It was also pointed out, and I think that’s part of the heart of this case and we must remember it, that it also meant, as far us the board was concerned, any point was negotiable, even an item of a previous agreement or contract. That’s the sort of two-edged sword that was, I believe, uncertainly but nevertheless knowingly accepted.

Therefore, at the heart of this question, at the heart of this concern, is the fact that I do not believe the board had any legal right unilaterally to drop out the COLA clause in its existing contract until a new contract was signed. But I do believe that the board legally has the right to attempt to negotiate it out. Whether they should or not is another matter altogether, but certainly they have the legislative right to do so.

There is also in this particular issue a couple of complications that we must keep in mind and that no doubt are having an effect upon this. The first one is the position of the present provincial government in deciding to reduce its average funding for the secondary school panels of this province from an average of 62 per cent to 54 per cent. This has meant for almost every single secondary school board in this province or the panel of every secondary board a very severe financial restriction. It has meant they must go back and seriously cut their programmes or cut their staffing or go to their local ratepayers and ask for substantial increases in taxes. This is having an effect upon this particular negotiation settlement. There can be no doubt about that and we must recognize it.

The second point we have to keep in mind as far as the complication is concerned, and we gleaned this from talking to both members of the board of trustees and the teachers in that group, is an underlying feeling of ill will, if you will, between this board and its teachers because of the continuity of these kinds of negotiation breakdowns, the series of strikes and lockouts. It is an element that must be recognized as an overbearing and overlying complication in this particular situation.

Finally we come to the whole issue of the jeopardy of the students, and there are a couple of factors we must remember. First of all, we are talking about a 28-day loss of instructional time and, as it was pointed out earlier in this debate, that 28 days comes with only about six weeks of the school year left. It is a very critical time. The kinds of flexibility that some of the previous disagreements had in them simply aren’t present here and must be recognized. Surely that is a matter of jeopardy.

The second point we have to keep in mind is, as has been pointed out, the senior students in this situation are facing the cumulative effect of three strikes in a short period of four years. That brings us to the ERC report of Jan. 27.


To say the least, this is a rather unusual document -- I could almost say an incredible document. We have in past legislative debates in this issue questioned the effectiveness of the ERC, and I think this document, produced on April 27, gives some justification to that questioning.

They decided here that the students’ educational progress was not in jeopardy; that’s the decision they made. Let’s go along and see some of the other things they said. They said: “The commission might arguably adopt the view that the time lost in 1976 has a cumulative effect upon at least those senior students.” They recognize that. They go on and say: “It also demonstrates that the number of students reached by this programme” -- that’s the additional programme offered by the teachers -- “is far less than the total enrolment, even of the senior grades to which it has been directed.”

They go on to say: “Parents present at our hearing made representations concerning the inadequacies of both the quality and the quantity of the alternative programming.” They go on to say that they would feel easier about this if the classes are extended to all grades, if they manage to attract attendance, if they manage to extend it to the whole curriculum. A whole series of ifs, buts, maybes. They go on: “We might be less concerned if the Ministry of Education might accept the credit. This is not to deny that a loss in the quality of education is involved here.”

What this document is saying is that they’re not concerned about the educational jeopardy of these students, and yet they put in one qualification after another with their ifs and buts and maybes. They go on then to say, and to so recommend, that if the board were to permit the teachers to return to work, while so doing the teachers could maintain a symbolic or token sanction or strike. And yet that was the very issue on which the board locked out the teachers in the first place. Whether we agree with their decision or not, that was clearly the reason they did it -- the continuing token sanctions and strikes. And on page 5 they even, in their own definition of a sanction, point out that it entails some risk and some actual harm to the students.

As I pointed out, I seriously have to question the effectiveness of a commission that would produce this kind of a document upon which they’re making the decision as to whether or not the students’ educational progress is in jeopardy. I don’t think there can be any question of it. And on the basis of that, I think that we have no choice but to support this legislation.

Mr. Deans: I don’t want to go into the details of the dispute because obviously the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) and the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr), together with members of the Liberal Party, have already expressed some of the problems that developed over the course of the last few months and the reasons why the dispute reached an impasse. I could choose sides I suppose, but I don’t think that would really help. The thing that worries me is, in my opinion, more important than whether or not this dispute needs this legislation.

It’s become all too common and, therefore all too easy, for the members of this Legislature to deal with disputes in education by legislative means. It’s gone from being a matter of some considerable importance, a matter that required the attendance and the involvement of a great number of members in the determination of whether or not the legislative proposal of the minister was correct, to a point where it’s almost commonplace, where we ask ourselves on Fridays:

“What’s happened this week? We haven’t yet had the minister bring in a bill sending somebody back to work.”

I think that those in the government are playing a game. I think the game is that at some point in time the government is going to make a determination that the Act, Bill 100, is not providing for the resolution of disputes as it intended that it would, and that it is going to take some additional steps to try to correct that as per the government’s view of how to correct it.

I don’t know how to put it to the minister, but he can’t have autonomy on the one hand, and this government solving every single dispute which becomes a major problem on the other. He has to choose between the two. He has to make a choice at some point. Either autonomy is a worthwhile thing and the local boards that are elected by the local ratepayers are going to have the responsibility to resolve the matters that are within their jurisdiction, or were going to opt for an entirely different system in the Province of Ontario.

We may decide at some point that we are going to have to have province-wide bargaining. We may decide at some point that we are going to have to deal here at Queen’s Park with all of these disputes. Before the minister tells me that 90 per cent, or 95 per cent, or 98 per cent of all of the disputes in the province are settled at the bargaining table within the provisions of Bill 100, let me tell him this: Where there are parties of good will, who set about to resolve the matters in dispute, they can and they almost always do resolve them. But when you find boards, as in this case, or when you find teachers and their representatives, who are not about to solve their problem, then we can’t make it evident to them by our past actions that we in the Legislature will solve it for them.

I said this in the last bill and I say it again to the minister, that the members of the boards of education are elected, as we are elected. They go to the self-same people in the Province of Ontario and they ask for their support in order that they should be given the right to govern over the education of that municipality, to make decisions, to chart the course, to set the financial requirements. When they ask for that right they don’t go door-to-door and say they would like to solve the easy problems. They don’t go door-to-door and say, “As long as things go well we would like to serve as trustees.” They go out and they say, “We would like to represent you on the board of education.”

By God, since they have asked for that responsibility, as far as I am concerned they should be made to live up to the obligations that go hand-in-hand with it. I think the sooner we in tins Legislature tell them, right across the province, that they either do their job properly or the job will be taken away from them, the sooner they will buckle down and come to grips with some of the more difficult matters that confront them.

I don’t think it only applies to the Windsor board. I think it applies to the Windsor board perhaps in some instance in this case, but it doesn’t only apply to the Windsor board’. It applies to a number who have operated in the gentlemen’s club atmosphere, who never did see themselves as politicians and never understood that they were, for the first time in their lives, actually engaged in politics. They hated the confrontation. They didn’t like to be accountable to the public. Many of them still don’t like to be accountable; many of them don’t understand the negotiation process and many of them don’t care to understand it. Therefore they approach it blindly and without an understanding and a consideration for the effect of their decisions, not only on the teachers but on the parents, the people who pay the taxes.

I think it has become all too easy for boards too, and for teachers, to sit back and think: Let’s not worry about it, because if we don’t find the solution and there happens to be a strike it will be okay because the Legislature, even if it isn’t in session, will be called back to make the system work again.

That is wrong. I don’t think that is our job. I think we have given them an Act to work within. We in the Legislature passed all kinds of legislation which applies to boards and to teachers. We provide funding, albeit not adequate at this point in time, from the general coffers of the Province of Ontario for the purposes of providing an education for children. We should say to these people. “If you want to take on the responsibility of administering that within your own municipality, you can run for office and be elected and do so.”

When things get tough around here and we are faced with a civil service which decides for one reason or another that it would have a work stoppage; or when we are faced with other very difficult decisions in the Legislature, we don’t go out and ask the school boards to solve them. We solve them ourselves, because that is why we were put here. That is why they are put there and I think that they are copping out. They have responsibilities and they have to live up to those responsibilities.

The only way they can live up to those responsibilities is if we make it clear that this Legislature isn’t about to bail them out every time they come across difficult times. I say it is true of the Windsor board, it is true of the Wentworth board and it is true of any board; that if you want the job and you go out and you ask for it, then you do it.

I think it is time this Legislature said to them that if they can’t solve their problems there, then answer to their own electorate. If there is something wrong in the relationship between employer and employees, then they must answer for that and take their chances. I don’t think that is our responsibility.

I say to the minister that it is about time he made that clear to them so that the sooner they understand it, the stronger the local autonomy in the Province of Ontario will be. Every single time the minister brings in a bill doing what he is doing today, and no doubt what he will be doing two weeks from now in another part of the province, he is undermining the entire strength of local autonomy and doing the exact opposite to the things he professes to believe in. They either do their job or they get out and make way for people who want to do it.

Mr. B. Newman: The previous speaker certainly took an awfully simplistic view of the problem. He said let the boards solve their own problems. That is what we want to do, but what does one do when we have an impasse? The board would like to solve its own problem with the teachers. The board suggests one thing, but the teachers suggest another. They are at an impasse.

Mr. Deans: That’s not true.

Mr. B. Newman: Neither will budge. When neither budges what do you do; let them sit there?

Mr. Haggerty: That’s what he suggested.

Mr. Deans: They opened the schools last week.

Mr. B. Newman: We can’t do that. We have got to think of the consumer in this instance, that is the student who is being deprived, because of differences between two bodies, of his rightful opportunity for an education.

One of the things that is wrong with Bill 100 is that it is too one-sided. It penalizes the students in the case of a dispute because they don’t get their education; it penalizes the teachers because they lose pay when they are not working; but it rewards the boards. The longer the board can hold out, regardless of which side is at fault, the board benefits by it. Here we have a bill which deprives students of an education; punishes teachers by loss of income; and provides additional income to the board to meet financial obligations.


If it were so simple to come along and get the two sides together, for heaven’s sake doesn’t the member think they would have been together and would have resolved the differences? There are extremely capable people on the board’s side -- but there is no one negotiating on behalf of the students who are being deprived their right to a proper education.

Mind you, Mr. Speaker, in the Windsor situation, it was a little different because the students did receive alternative types of education as a result of the teachers showing their good faith and being willing to teach under adverse conditions. They taught in almost every type of physical establishment one could think of in an attempt to prove to the community and to the students that they were concerned.

One thing I would like cleared up for me by the minister is, he mentioned that on April 28 the cabinet decided on a three-point programme to end the lockout, to end the strike and have the dual mediators. Did both parties, the board and the teachers, accept the recommendation without any reservation? Did neither party accept it?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The teachers accepted; the board rejected.

Mr. Nixon: On the basis they didn’t like the arbitrator.

Mr. B. Newman: The teachers accepted without reservation, did they?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Without reservation.

Mr. B. Newman: All right, that’s all I wanted to know. My understanding was there were reservations on both sides.

Hon. Mr. Wells: There were, but they were --

Mr. B. Newman: Let’s straighten this out. Were there reservations on both sides?

Hon. Mr. Wells: To answer my friend, to straighten him out, Mr. Speaker. In response to the initial letters, there were some reservations or concerns or matters that were not quite clear on both sides. These were straightened out, a full explanation was given and they were then asked again if they would accept the proposal. The teachers accepted verbatim the proposal set out in my letter. The board rejected the proposal because it said it couldn’t live with Dean Ron Ianni as a mediator.

Mr. B. Newman: All right. The minister has cleared up a problem I had because I had understood there were reservations on both sides about the minister’s suggestions.

On March 30, the Premier (Mr. Davis) made some extremely interesting and pertinent comments. They have been brought to the attention of this House by most of the other speakers and I would like to put them in the record, too, because it shows the lack of concern on the part of the government about attempting to resolve the issue at an earlier stage. For example, the Premier said, “But with the history of the situation in the city of Windsor, I do not believe a prolonged strike could be tolerated and instead this thing should be brought to an end quite speedily.” He ends the next paragraph: “Because the academic careers of those students at this stage of the year cannot be prejudiced.” That’s April 30 and action is only being taken today.

Hon. Mr. Wells: March 30.

Mr. B. Newman: March 30, did I say April? I’m in error; it was March 30 and action is only being taken today. On that same date, I asked the Premier if he would send the Minister of Education into the community in an attempt to, “resolve the issue today so that any legislation may not be necessary tomorrow.” I thought that was the least that could have been done.

Maybe I will correct myself and say that the minister was not in the city on that date but if he was, I think if he had gone into the community and met with both sides at that early stage, the issue might have not continued until today. I think he might even have been persuasive enough then to resolve the problem.

Just as the other speakers have mentioned, an arbitrated settlement under compulsory arbitration is not the best type of settlement. It would be better if the two sides in the dispute could resolve their differences. But, as I mentioned earlier, when they are at an impasse, when neither side intends to budge from its firm stand and both sides can justify the stands they take, then we simply can’t allow the students to be left hanging there and not receive what the schools are originally constructed for; that is, their education.

The report of the Education Relations Commission disturbs me because, as a former teacher, I know that even one day away from school can have a harmful effect on students, especially if the follow-up teaching for a week or some period of time is based directly on what is being taught on a given day.

If it happens to be miscellaneous type of work, then the absence of one day doesn’t mean a thing; maybe even the absence of a week isn’t important. But when the Windsor situation goes on for an extended period of time, and the ERC comes along and says that the successful completion of courses of study is not in jeopardy, I would like to know how a girl in a typing class, who comes from an economically deprived family, gets the opportunity to keep up her skills in typing.

I would like to know how the student who has difficulty with his schoolwork, who is not as bright as some of the members here but is more of a dullard like me, can miss so much school and not be educationally deprived.

I wonder how a student in a machine-shop course, who needs the use of a machine in the school, and the guidance of an instructor, is not adversely affected by not being given the opportunity to use the school equipment and to have the guidance of an instructor.

What about a grade 12 student who intends to go to a community college or to a university -- one of our universities if they will accept him, or an American university, where they will accept grade 12 students? Is he not educationally disadvantaged as a result of an extended disruption in his school-learning programme?

How about the grade 13 student who is going to compete against students from all over the Province of Ontario for scholarships and awards? The minister may say the grade 13 student is capable of taking care of himself. Some may be, but a lot are not; they need the help and the guidance of the teacher. I just can’t understand how the Education Relations Commission could come along and say that the completion of a course of study is not in jeopardy. Sure, the teachers had their own alternative form of education, or provided alternative education: but it wasn’t compulsory, attendance wasn’t compulsory.

My daughter went to the classes, thoroughly enjoyed them, was taught as well if not better than she was in her regular classroom activity in her regular school. She wouldn’t miss it because he found it was to her advantage to be there, but not everyone could get to some of these facilities because they weren’t in the locations to which transportation was readily available. So we can see there are others who have been and may continue to be deprived of their education.

The grade 9, 10 or 11 student may not suffer to the same extent, because when he passes to the grade higher next year he can catch up what he lost during the past year. He will have to work harder in the ensuing year. But remember, the student who is in grade 11 may have had his education interrupted for a third time for a total of well over 60 days, I think almost 70 days. One can’t tell me that he hasn’t missed something. They must have missed something; unless those students happen to be geniuses, but if they are average the way the rest of us are. -- I shouldn’t say the rest of us, average the way I am -- they would be missing something.

One could come along and lay blame on the teachers, one could lay blame on the board, one could lay blame on anyone he wishes. That never solves the problem. It doesn’t solve it. I don’t really care who is to blame; I care that the students are being deprived of something, and that we should see that they are back in the classroom as quickly as we could possibly put them there.

I’m pleased the legislation takes away the professional development days, so at least there cars be some catch-up there. I would also hope that the minister would provide summer school at government expense so that those in grades 12 and 13 who may have, or have, missed something as a result of this, will be able .to at least have the opportunity to pick up some of the education they have missed.

I hope this legislation receives the approval of all members of the House, because it is extremely important that the 12,000 or so students in the city of Windsor are able to continue their education; and maybe have it a bit accelerated, so at least they will not lose as much as they would have normally lost as a result of the differences between the school board and the teachers.

I’m pleased to know that the legislation will force the board to open the schools and that the teachers will lift their strike and be back in the classrooms. I don’t foresee any of the teachers in my community resisting this legislation and refusing to teach. Teachers are law-abiding individuals; they respect the laws and will carry out the laws to their maximum.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I am reluctant to rise and speak to this legislation to put the Windsor school teachers back to work

It has become very repetitive in this House to do this kind of an Act and what I am concerned about is the case with which this legislation is receiving assent as we do time and time again. I recall the first time when legislation such as this was passed, there was great to-do. There was much interest. The public was interested. The members of the Legislature were interested. Everyone was concerned as to the outcome.

Here we are about five times later down the road, the House is practically bare and in fact there are only four government members in the chamber at this present time to listen to the debate of this very important piece of legislation, which is in fact depriving people in Ontario of their legitimate right to strike, a right which they have laboured long and hard to receive, a right which this government recognized unwillingly when it brought in legislation allowing school teachers to negotiate and to press their demands with the ultimate weapon, that is to strike. Here we are on this evening with hardly anyone in the province interested in what is happening to people who work for wages who are being deprived of their rights.

After listening to the last speaker, it’s quite easy to see that he is really not in touch with the real world, with society as it really is --

Mr. Riddell: How much teaching experience have you had?

Mr. Germa: -- with the conflict that goes on in this world in order for --

Mr. Cassidy: Every politician is a teacher. You know that.

Mr. Germa: -- certain people in the work force to demand from society that which they think they are entitled to. School teachers in my mind are workers in the ordinary sense in that they labour for their wages. While they do not necessarily wear a blue collar, they are in fact victims in the work place just like any other worker in the Province of Ontario.

Most workers in this province have the right to enforce their demands upon society. This group of workers, particularly the ones in the Windsor area, have been pressing their demands for these many years. In fact, this is the third time they have had to press to the ultimate degree in order to enforce their demands.

There are only two principles in the bill that I am concerned with. The first one is that these people are being forced bath to work. I abhor slavery and this, in my mind, is what the bill dictates, that these people shall go to work or they shall be criminals. You cannot say we have a free and democratic society and we recognize free collective bargaining when you consistently bring in legislation which abrogates this very basic principle in Ontario.

I am unalterably opposed to forcing workers into the work place. No longer are workers free when the government lays the heavy hand on them and says, “You must work or otherwise you are a criminal.” Once you have put them back to work, then you force a settlement upon them, a settlement that they might possibly not agree with, but they will have to succumb to because the government is an immense force. Only the foolhardy will stand against the government for any length of time, because we know from history that the government will have its way.

I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty and all of the confusion surrounding the negotiations -- what the mediator said, what the Education Relations Commission said, what the arbitrator said, what the school board said, what the negotiating team said on March 28 or what the Premier said. I am only concerned with the basic principles of free collective bargaining and the right of a person to withhold his labour if he is not satisfied with the conditions in the work place.

That is precisely why I felt compelled to stand here and tell the minister -- for the fifth time, I believe -- that I am unalterably opposed to the legislation he has been bringing into this House relative to forcing school teachers back to the work place. And I am unalterably opposed to a compulsory settlement.

Mr. Haggerty: That is what your amendment says, compulsory.

Mr. Bounsall: It contains compulsory bargaining, with the schools open.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Germa: There are different degrees of objection in this House. I would like to read into the record my stand on those two issues, which is enunciated in “Legislative Proposals, 1976, to the Government of Ontario,” submitted by the Ontario Federation of Labour. On page 19 they say:

“All who labour, whether in office, classroom, factory, mine or field, regardless of skill or position, should have the right to join the union of their choice, and this right should not be circumscribed in any way.”

The minister has circumscribed their right.


“Compulsory arbitration in any form, should have no place in collective bargaining.”

Until those two rights are upheld, we do not have a free and democratic society.

Mr. Nixon: I feel very strongly that the Windsor board must carry a great deal of the responsibility for the fact that we are debating this particular bill here tonight. I find this particularly galling when it was the Windsor board in the first instance that made a settlement -- was it three years ago? -- which more or less has become the pattern for a good deal of the controversy involving teachers and boards all across this province. There have been a number of strike situations, and situations heavily overlaid with acrimony, where the teachers have said, I suppose with a great deal of validity, “Simply give us the Windsor settlement as applied to our own community.”

Yet this same board, which agreed to an extremely generous settlement, along with a cost-of-living programme, after negotiation and a strike, I suppose, has not seen fit in what I consider to be a serious lack of wisdom, to withdraw that cost-of-living arrangement. Whatever we think about a cost-of-living situation, and how dangerous it may be to the economy at large and all the rest of it, still it has become quite a reasonable arrangement between teachers and their employing board. I find it particularly galling that the school board in Windsor, perhaps because of circumstances beyond anybody’s control but at least associated with negotiations in Windsor, gave the kind of settlement that led to so much of the strife across this province involving the teachers, and is now compounding it by this ridiculous position whereby it would withdraw COLA. They are absolutely intransigent in that regard. I simply cannot fathom why they would do that. From my particular point of view, I particularly resent the circumstances that have put us into this position tonight where, as the hon. member has pointed out, we are facing the same kind of legislation for the fifth time.

Another thing that bothers me is their intransigence in refusing to accept the mediation of Dean Ianni. The minister, in his opening remarks, made some comments about things said in his company and things alluded to but not said in his company and so on. I don’t know anything about those things. I don’t know the dean and I don’t know the circumstances, but it seems to be the minister might very well have bowed to the board’s strong feeling in that regard.

As is probably proper, the minister has defended Mr. Ianni’s objectivity and ability. But in this instance, if the board has such strong feelings, perhaps the minister might have done something to move in a direction whereby both sides might have accepted his three propositions put forward a few days ago. I must say I feel that position went as far as the minister could possibly have gone except perhaps for moving a bit further as far as mediation and the personnel involved in mediation are concerned.

I feel the minister perhaps failed us to sonic extent in that regard. I am a little more hesitant to talk about that, not knowing the circumstances, but since the board has been so strong against Dean Ianni, surely the minister can hardly set himself up as the only judge in that regard and might very well have given in in that area.

Another part of this circumstance I find irritating is once again the role of the Education Relations Commission. I’ve been as critical in the past as anyone has been of that commission and I feel constrained to be even more critical now. Both the government and the official opposition have defended the commission repeatedly, but I feel its report in this connection is irrational and fatuous. For it to suggest that these ad hoc classes held in church basements are somehow going to mitigate or moderate --

Mr. Foulds: You should read the report instead of the news reports.

Mr. Nixon: -- moderate the impact on the students is just hogwash.

Mr. Foulds: Read the report.

Mr. Nixon: Hogwash.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: For one thing, I feel quite strongly that when the strike does end, which presumably will be next Monday -- 2an it will be, if my vote has anything to do with it -- even though these classes have been held and the teachers are to be commended for organizing them and using their time for it -- there’s no doubt about that -- and when the classes resume, they’ve got to go back to the lowest common denominator and teach all of the kids in that class. The ones who went out of their way to go to the church basement and go through all of that stuff to improve their circumstance are simply going to hear the same stuff run through the machine again. It’s unfortunate but that’s simply a fact. Part of the Education Relations Commission report was an acknowledgement that only a relatively small percentage of students availed themselves of that particular opportunity.

I really believe the commission, as constituted by Bill 100, has an impossible task. I believe it was set up more or less as a safety valve for the ministry, or the minister in a political sense, so that he could wait for it, as we have observed in the past, to give him the signal to go forward with legislation he might not feel would otherwise be palatable. Even that has now been set aside since these bills have become, as somebody pointed out, our regular Thursday night and Friday morning activity.

I don’t particularly blame the commission because I feel, frankly, the real failure in all of this is Bill 100. I feel very badly about that because I had high hopes and great expectations for the efficacy of the concepts and machinery in Bill 100. I felt the minister drew his cabinet colleagues and caucus supporters reluctantly into acceptance of the bill, I felt members on all sides had a certain feeling of pride in the concepts of Bill 100. That’s why I am particularly disappointed when it is now seen to be almost a complete and abject failure.

Believe me, I am not talking about failure of the right to strike. Unlike the member for Sudbury -- and I couldn’t disagree more with him, or the member for Wentworth -- I believe in the last analysis when we come to any sort of a labour situation where third parties are needlessly suffering and it is not possible to achieve a settlement, then this Legislature must act and we should certainly realize that’s our responsibility. If we’re not prepared to realize that is our responsibility, then I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, we should not be here.


Bill 100 is a failure. There are those who say maybe there are some sparks of life left in it, that the teachers are undoubtedly getting sick of these strikes -- certainly the students and the school boards are -- and the whole community is getting sick of the strike weapon in teacher negotiations. There are those who say the OSSTF is running out of money, that it is having a tough time and we’re going to have a year of more moderate labour relations in the schools, that we’re going to have a year when other alternative sanctions are going to be attempted. Maybe that is so. But I am very much concerned about the future of the concept of Bill 100. I feel that our experience has been a disastrous one during this year -- a disastrous one.

It may very well be, and I would be very sorry if this happened, that we are going to be facing province-wide negotiations, maybe of the type recommended by the economic council of the province, although I certainly don’t like their recommendations. It is interesting that they made those recommendations to the minister and there has been very little response from anybody on the thing.

Certainly I intend to vote for this bill, with the sense that it is our responsibility, as members of the Legislature, to see that the strike is brought to an end. There is no reason not to accept the minister’s description as factual, that there is no other possibility for a settlement, that the schools are locked and it’s up to us, with our authority, to see that they are opened and education goes forward.

I don’t know why everybody is looking at the clock, because I think we’ll be back here tomorrow morning if a vote is necessary. Certainly I intend to say what I have to say on it and I’m sure you, Mr. Speaker, will assure me of that right.

I think that the real failure is with Bill 100, which is one that was supported on all sides. We’re going to have to get our thinking caps on and use our best efforts so that we can do something better than that bill, which has, in my view, been a tragic failure since its enactment.

Mr. Foulds: I rise with no little sense of anger and frustration. I feel not only some disappointment and regret, but I feel angry that this bill is here before us tonight.

I feel angry because of the complacency with which this Legislature treats this piece of legislation and with the absence of members. I feel some anger and frustration because that complacency has arisen automatically knowing that the Liberal party will support any position that the Conservative government brings forward because of the dramatic and catastrophic flip-flop of the leader some time ago. Anything, anything the Tories bring forward, they will vote for.

Mr. Shore: Like putting kids back to school.

Mr. Foulds: I want to make it very clear, as I have in other debates, that we arc for opening the schools and our reasoned amendment does that. I am opposed to --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Port Arthur has the floor.

Mr. Nixon: You want it both ways. That is why you are voting for the bill.

Mr. Shore: You and Martel are both Masters and Johnson. One is Masters and one is Johnson and it is hard to tell the difference.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Foulds: I absolutely reject compulsory arbitration.


Mr. Foulds: I absolutely reject the last speaker’s contention that Bill 100 has been a failure. I absolutely reject it, because to admit, as he has, that, after six breakdowns in negotiations collective bargaining in the educational sector has failed, is to badly misjudge what’s happening out there in the province. I put to you, Mr. Speaker, that we need not bringing in this kind of legislation and we need not have done it in the past.

To shorten my remarks, I was going to quote the actual sections that I mentioned on March 11, I think it was, when we were doing the Kirkland Lake dispute, that we would, once we set on the path last January of introducing these individual pieces of legislation that breach the general legislation, we would need to run out the string of the outstanding disputes.

We are here today because of the government’s original folly in bowing to media pressure and introducing the Metro Toronto teachers’ bill and their precipitous action.

Mr. Nixon: They would be out on strike still.

Mr. Foulds: Would they indeed?

Mr. Nixon: Sure they would.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member direct his comments to the principle of this bill?

Mr. Foulds: That is a most fallacious piece of reasoning if I’ve heard one.

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that in the disputes that we have faced it is not collective bargaining that has failed. It is not collective bargaining that is not working. It is personalities. It is negotiators. It is individuals.

Mr. Sweeney: That’s what collective bargaining still amounts to.

Mr. Foulds: The Windsor board, across this province and by the previous speaker, has been the target for tonight. The Windsor board has been criticized by editorial writers and by other boards because it supposedly gave an overly generous settlement, last year I believe it was,. So, in reaction to that, in reaction to pure pressure, they have retreated so that they have become the most niggardly board in the province to try to balance two extremes in one case. That is unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean that collective bargaining in that process is a failure.

There have been some shots taken at the Education Relations Commission tonight. I wish those people who were taking the shots had actually read that report, because it is, in fact, the first detailed, factual report of that commission. I’m going to take some time to read into the record a fair amount of that report, because it hangs together in a way that their previous reports have not.

As the minister said, they were unable to find that the continuation of the dispute would place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses by the students affected.

Mr. Nixon: Talk to us. You only have three members here; three NDP members. You’d think with this important legislation there would be more NDP members here.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Port Arthur has the floor.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I was drawing to the attention of the House that there was a scarcity of members in other quarters.

Mr. Shore: Point out that there are 10 Liberal and three NDP members.

Mr. Swart: Ten of you, and two NDP are about on a par.

Mr. Reid: They cannot stand it either.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member may continue.

Mr. Foulds: What the Education Relations Commission did in this report was give weight to the alternate schooling that was available, and they I said quite clearly and I quote: “This is not to assert that the alternate instruction for some is, in the long run, an acceptable substitute for normal instruction for all.” They made a comment about the ministry report on the quality of those courses.

Mr. Kerrio: Better hurry up. There are only two now, Jim.

Mr. Shore: Time is running out.

Mr. Foulds: That’s okay. I can run out the clock.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member has a good, big audience. He may continue.

Mr. Foulds: Thank you. The ministry’s task force found that, by and large, the courses were of an acceptable quality and the only caveat it had was that the highly technical subjects were not available in the alternate facility. In the hearing that the Education Relations Commission actually had, the commission said:

“The board initially pressed us to find that the parties had reached a bargaining impasse which presumably could only be broken by legislation triggered by our finding in this proceeding. Subsequently, the board retreated from that position.”

In other words, the board admitted to the Education Relations Commission that an impasse had not been reached. It went on to point out, as the minister did, that it lay within the power of both parties to reopen the classrooms.

I want to emphasize one of the findings of the commission. They indicated that they had to find a balance between two conflicting parts of the original Act, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, and they say:

“To strike a balance between these policies is our task. If we acquiesce in the conflict too long we will have failed in our duty to the students, but, if we prematurely precipitate legislative intervention we will undermine the bargaining process. Further, it is essential to the long-run health of the bargaining process that neither side will be able to escape adverse consequences, so that each will have an incentive to seek settlement. Equally, it is essential that each side accept responsibility for settlement or for the consequences of this agreement, including prejudice to the students.”

That, I maintain, is a thoughtful, well put together decision, and I commend the members to read the whole report, not just to rely on excerpts.

The minister’s response, which I have necessarily had to include, was a proper response. He was on the right track. In fact, the three points that he outlined in his letter very easily could have been adapted straight from our reasoned amendment. If those three points -- the board lifting its lockout, the teachers ending the strike, and continuing negotiations -- aren’t in the spirit of our reasoned amendment or patterned on our reasoned amendment, what is? It certainly was. For once, why not be innovative? For once, why not give that thrust legislative sanction? Why not use the power of the Legislature to bring in the kind of thrust we have in our reasoned amendment and as the minister outlined in his letter to the board and to the teacher negotiators?

Mr. Reid: The awards are over, Jim.

Mr. Foulds: Why not give it time to work? If they know they are bound into negotiations until they have a contract that’s under negotiation; if they know they are going to get into that negotiating room, the door is going to be locked and the key thrown away, they know that they will get to an agreement.

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member have further remarks to make or would he care to move the adjournment of the debate?

Mr. Foulds: I think that I would be finished at approximately 10:30 p.m., Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Reid: If they were all put in a room and had to listen to his collected speeches, they would come out with an agreement.

Mr. Foulds: Do you want to adjourn the House? All right.

Mr. Reid: Don’t deprive us of the pleasure, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, will there be other members who wish to contribute so that we can have some knowledge as to what may happen tomorrow, or is it presumed that the present member speaking will be the last speaker in the debate?

Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to speak to the bill before the minister summarizes?

Hon. Mr. Welch: If the hon. member wants to finish his remarks, we could adjourn tonight on the understanding that the minister would be the last speaker and we could have our vote tomorrow. Would the hon. member like to take two minutes to finish?

Mr. Foulds moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the House is interested in joining with me in welcoming a guest in the Speaker’s gallery tonight, Mr. Walter Smishek, the Minister of Finance of the Province of Saskatchewan.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have other guests in the House tonight, Mr. Hohol, the Minister of Labour for the Province of Alberta, and representatives of the Northwest Territories. These are eminent members of Legislatures from the territories and the provinces attending the manpower ministers’ conference in Toronto.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Anybody here from Nova Scotia so we can even it up?

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will continue with this debate and if there is time after that, we could go back to the budget debate.

Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the House.

The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.