30e législature, 3e session

L081 - Thu 10 Jun 1976 / Jeu 10 jun 1976

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


On vote 2701:

Mr. Chairman: How do you wish to handle this vote 2701? Do you want to do it item by item?

Mr. Nixon: Item by item.

Mr. Haggerty: Item by item.

Mr. McClellan: If I may make a suggestion, Mr. Chairman, since about 90 per cent of the ministry’s budget and programme are in votes 2702 and 2703, I suggest, if it’s acceptable to all parties, that we try to move quickly through 2701.

Mr. Nixon: We will discuss nothing except important matters.

Ms. Gigantes: What?

Mr. McClellan: That’s up to you.

Mr. Chairman: Do you want to go through 2701 item by item? If so, item 1, main office.

Item 1 agreed to.

Mr. Warner: Boy, that was quick.

Mr. Chairman: Item 2, social assistance review board.

Item 2 agreed to.

Item 3, policy analysis and financial planning.

Mr. McClellan: That was one item that I wanted to talk about.

Mr. Nixon: That’s a very important one, I can tell you.

Mr. McClellan: It is. It deals with policy analysis and financial planning. I don’t want to dwell on it except to say again, as I think I said in the spring estimates, this ministry’s record in providing adequate social planning data in order to plan rationally for the needs of the people it’s serving is a rather dismal record.

Let me quote something again from the Swadron report of 1971, on page 5. They complained in their opening remarks about the paucity of data produced by the ministry and the difficulty of trying to develop employment opportunity programmes for the people, in this case on the general welfare assistance caseload, because they simply didn’t know enough about the people to be able to do that kind of planning. The report says:

“The March registration form describes a number of objective characteristics of the person, such as family size, age, health [etc.]. There is no information gathered about education, skills, employment record or other personal characteristics. Yet these items are absolutely essential to an assessment of this group’s capabilities and potential.”

Again they’re talking about unemployed employables on general welfare assistance. It goes on:

“The absence of this information is, to say the least, surprising. How can the disadvantaged be helped when we do not know what their full disadvantages are?”

That’s as true in 1976 as it was in 1971. The Swadron report recommended:

“That the department formulate and develop a better service of comprehensive reporting of meaningful vital statistics relating to recipients of general welfare assistance so that it will be in a more favourable position to measure trends, forecast needs and plan accordingly.”

I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am, when I say that that hasn’t been done in five years. When I was trying to gather data, particularly on general welfare assistance recipients, it simply wasn’t available. Let me leave it at that and ask the minister whether he has any plans to improve the data collection system of this ministry.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, there is no question about it, data collection can always be improved. I suppose not just the collection but the utilization of that data. May I say this that --

Mr. McClellan: If you don’t have it, you can’t use it.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I suppose that’s elementary. But may I say this, that I have been concerned in terms of making sure that we have almost instant information available.

As you know, we have moved into the computer area. We have about 20 municipalities using computer systems -- they have the self-contained systems at the municipal level. At the provincial level, we also have a computer system that operates for us in terms of family benefits. Of course, it handles all of the information on caseloads, all of the particulars in connection with the recipients of family benefits.

Our plan is to provide a hook-up with our 19 district offices. We are proposing and working on a terminal at each of the district offices so that we will have a rapid, two-way flow of information between the various field offices and the central office.

Mr. McClellan: I was aware of that. My concern is around the general welfare system --

Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right, I was going to come to that. In regard to the general welfare caseload, what we are doing is encouraging the municipalities to get involved. As you appreciate, we have been subsidizing the municipal administration in terms of the computers. We are working with them now to link up the various municipal systems so that they can talk to one another for exchange of information. Again, as you know, there may be persons who apply in different municipalities for general welfare assistance, and sometimes it’s difficult to detect that. So, if we get the interchange of information among the municipalities, it will improve our system. We will link up the two systems so we can get a free flow of information. I think that’s going to be a big improvement, and we plan on doing that without involving too much more money. We are probably spending about $2 million a year in terms of computer time.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I have a couple of questions. I don’t quite understand this vote. It wasn’t included in last year’s estimates. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am sorry. I didn’t hear you.

Mr. R. 5. Smith: This item as it is worded was not included in last year’s estimates -- policy and planning.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s right. It was under research.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Okay. Could you tell me if it is basically the same as the research vote last year?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It co-ordinates the planning policy of the government, research programme evaluation -- this type of thing. It involves some of the studies that we have been doing on the whole field of income support supplementation, which we mentioned earlier. Papers were prepared on the different approaches that could be taken in that whole area. Actually, three branches were combined -- research, financial planning and the income security secretariat.

Mr. R. S. Smith: The demonstration projects that are referred to at a cost of $1,058,000 of transfer payments, how many of those are there? Are they mostly a carry-over from last year? Are the demonstration projects which have been carried out in regard to payment to the working poor included in this?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No. There are 16 projects; some of them certainly are carry-overs. For example, some are the type of project such as the one in York which the member for York South was interested in There is the one from Lakeshore -- LAMP they call it -- that type of project. There was one in Frontenac. That again is the type of project in there. For example, the LAMP project is fairly new. It has been approved since I became minister, which hasn’t been too long. I know that one, for example, is new.

Mr. R. S. Smith: What type of project is that?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s a co-ordinated approach to social service delivery which would co-ordinate various aspects. They try to integrate the health aspect of social service with counselling and in some cases they may involve legal aid, that type of thing. They try to co-ordinate the various services within the community.

There was one in Guelph, too, which took a little different approach to it in terms of relating the lower income spectrum and some welfare recipients to the other persons in the community who were at different social levels. It’s sort of a cross-pollenization, an integration, of people and ideas. We have under consideration projects worth about $350,000, I guess.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I asked a question on whether this included any funds for the demonstration projects in regard to income supplement for the working poor. That’s not here?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’m sorry. No, that’s not in here.

Mr. R. S. Smith: These are all one-shot transfer payments for definitive projects which aren’t carried on; is that so?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Actually, in terms of one shot, they are not necessarily confined to one year. They may be over a period of three years and we budget for so much a year.

Mr. R. S. Smith: They are more community services, bringing together the different agencies and what not into a one-stop service which people can go to, is that it?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s right; basically that’s it. It’s a method of delivering a broad spectrum of social services.

Mr. R. S. Smith: That brings us to the whole question of the delivery of services which in some parts of the province is undertaken by four agencies which are all overlapping. This comes up every year. We do it here or we do it in the next vote -- it’s administration so I suppose we can do it here since you do have some demonstration projects in this area.

For example, in my area we have the municipal welfare department; we have your regional office; and, of course, we have your regional office which looks after the people on general welfare assistance who live in unorganized territory. We have actually four areas covered by different offices and people just don’t know where to go. We’ve gone over this time and time again. There should be some type of amalgamation of these services so that they’re all provided from one central area.

I know the area of the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) is different from this. It’s much broader and it takes in the health field and many other fields but strictly in your area of consideration and concern, is there anything being done in that area toward a central service for those communities such as that?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’m trying to focus in on what you’re getting at. I surmise that what you’re concerned about is maybe an overlap or a confusion on the part of the public as to where to go for what service. We have 19 districts and we not only have the district offices but we have probably 100 offices in Ontario. We have field offices apart from the central office. With our 19 districts, we try to keep that well co-ordinated so that there’s a free flow of information from a field office apart from a central office. In terms of programmes, we have attempted to co-ordinate -- it’s social planning really -- the services to prevent duplication and overlap or competition for similar target groups. We work with the various social service agencies in each of these areas.

These demonstration projects are often multi-service centres where we try to bring together the services of a number of agencies, if possible within the same physical premise. If it’s credit counselling, then they do credit counselling there and if it’s family counselling, they have a family counselling service and so on.

You’re also touching another area or hinting at it -- that is, the question of some agency or somebody that would be able to co-ordinate in the field the services that are there. Again, that would be a two-way flow. In other words, if there was a new service to be implemented, then it would go to this co-ordinating body or agency which would assess it and give it a cost-benefit analysis for recommendation before it was approved. We’re dealing with maybe 4,000 agencies in the field. We fund probably at least half of those directly or indirectly. When you’ve got that many it’s a matter of trying to utilize what you have in the field without working at cross purposes.

We have some communities -- for example, in the Waterloo area -- where they wish a body, an agency in some ways akin to the health council, that would function for social services. I know in the Ottawa area there has been some push for a similar type of agency or body there that could co-ordinate and makes sure presumably that the best utilization was made of the physical resources, the social services and dollars that are there. You’re actually touching on a number of matters.

In response, we haven’t resolved the problems in terms of creating another council or agency which would have sole jurisdiction to deal with the delivery of services in a particular area.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Last year your ministry was doing an internal study in regard to the establishment of social planning councils. I think Mr. Williams, who used to be the head of your municipal welfare assistance programme, was involved in that insofar as setting up some type of social welfare councils that would be parallel to the health councils that are being established across the province. I really don’t think that is the answer but how far did that get and what happened to that study?

Secondly, I would like a straight direct answer to this question because it has been studied about five years over there. What is happening to the turning over in the unorganized territories to the district social services boards of the administration of the General Welfare Assistance Act? In some areas you have people hopping over each other to service areas over here. It is patently ridiculous in the waste of funds and the waste of effort of professional people who are either being paid by you or by the district welfare board.

I would like an answer to those two questions as concisely as possible please.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: On the first one dealing with the councils or agencies, without being repetitive we haven’t made any decisions in terms of establishing a council which would parallel the health council.

I feel you have got to deal with agencies. There are going to be all kinds of agencies making end runs around those. There is a problem too because they handle GWA or FBA or such services. They can’t handle them all because of technical statutory requirements. How do you avoid talking to some agency that wants to meet with the minister with some new concept and he is not prepared to go through a council? What jurisdiction or authority should there be or how do you structure a board like that? There are a lot of problems that you have to face there: I don’t think they want to function just as advisory council. I haven’t made any determination of that.

Again I think you hinted at something I have been very interested in and we have been helping with in terms of funding -- that is, the single intake system for FBA and GWA. I am trying to avoid duplication in terms of application where someone may be applying for GWA and is told instead of going to the municipal office he had better go to the district office and apply for FBA and fill out a similar application by a different group of employees. At this time, you are dealing with the provincial employees.

We are trying that in several areas to see if we can avoid duplication or unnecessary work in that regard. It seems to be working out pretty well, which means that we could expand that further depending upon our experience. That’s another area we are going into in that regard.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Are you indicating to me that you are considering taking over the administration of GWA?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No, I am not saying that.

Mr. Chairman: One member on his feet at a time please.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I am trying to get him to reply.

Mr. Chairman: The hon. minister can’t reply as long as you have got the floor. If you have asked the question, and if you yield the floor to him, then you will get an answer.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No, I am not suggesting that the province take over general welfare assistance in that system but what I am suggesting is we might be able to get together in terms of a single intake system instead of having parallel systems in regard to taking in applications.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Mr. Chairman, if you don’t mind, he didn’t answer my other question in regard to unorganized territories, which I am sure the chairman understands.

Mr. Warner: And the chairman said he will get an answer.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In the north, our district directors handle the system. We pay 100 per cent of the cost.

Mr. R. S. Smith: That is not my question. My question is -- and it has been for the last five years and your people have been studying it for that long -- why in areas where there is a district welfare board -- such as Nipissing, or such as surrounds the chairman’s area in some instances -- is that board not given the right to administer the general welfare assistance in the unorganized territories?

You have field workers who are passing each other on the road in their travels to these unorganized territories. They are going through organized territories, where the district has the jurisdiction, to get to the unorganized territories -- and you have real duplication of travel. It’s the identical same service, applying the identical same Act and the same programme -- and it is ridiculous. I think your ministry has looked at it for at least the last four or five years, and I can’t understand what’s taking them so long to come to that same conclusion.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am sorry. I think what you are referring to is the co-ordinating effort between the organized and unorganized areas. If you are, I talked with Dr. Chaquotte in Thunder Bay in February. He undertook a study, which he has promised to have completed by June 30, and it is to provide recommendations in regard to delivery of services for organized and unorganized areas. Maybe that type of thing is what you had in mind.

Mr. R. S. Smith: What I am suggesting is that when you have a district board, and there are unorganized territories within that district board, that they do it. All I am suggesting is to take it out of the hands of your direct administration and put it into the hands of the district board, because they have the people going in the same area.

Mr. McClellan: I had intended to raise this at a later vote, but since it came up, maybe we could pursue it for a few minutes. It is the question of municipal administration of the General Welfare Assistance Act. We are aware that a number of provinces have moved in the direction of assuming provincial responsibility for income maintenance, leaving free the development of a decentralized social service delivery system without having to worry about the administration of an income maintenance programme.

That’s being done in a number of jurisdictions with some success. I understand that Manitoba is at least moving in the direction of assuming provincial responsibility for income maintenance.

I expect we will have some interesting recommendations from the Robarts commission, hopefully this fall, around a decentralized social service delivery system -- hopefully a community-based social service delivery system -- and I will relate back to an exchange a few minutes ago between yourself and the member for Nipissing around a health council model of some kind.

What rationale can you give us against assuming responsibility for income maintenance, assuming on the one hand that you plan some kind of a rationalization eventually of the different categorical programmes? What justification is there for leaving the general welfare assistance administration at the municipal level? You have a dual administrative apparatus that is incredibly costly. It ought to be possible to effect some real cost savings and some real efficiencies, particularly if you yourselves are moving to a district office base for the balance of your provincial programme.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I don’t think it necessarily means a cost saving in terms of administration -- that’s problematical. True, you say it may or may not be possible. We are moving more in terms of decentralization. We are also taking on more responsibility. An added one, for example, is the assumption of drug costs in whole, which will mean the municipalities will not be responsible for the 20 per cent of those costs. We feel that in that case we can administer the programme again centrally, really, at a sum that would not exceed what the municipalities are paying.


Mr. McClellan: May I ask whether you are doing any studies of the relative cost benefits of the one system or the other, or whether your ministry is actually at the present time giving any thought to assuming jurisdiction of municipal welfare administration?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Not as such. If you are asking me whether we’re studying whether or not the province should take over the whole area of income support supplementation -- that part of it that would be administered by the municipalities -- as such, no. What we have considered, of course, in conjunction with the whole field of income security, is a federal-municipal-provincial sharing, and assessing where that might be done best -- at what level, instead of having a duplication of systems. You’re talking about the province and municipalities.

Mr. R. S. Smith: That’s part of the orange book.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s right. But in your orange book you’re also involving the federal level. It may very well be that the jurisdiction that controls your tax system might be the best agency, because when you get into these systems -- and there we’re into some variations of guaranteed annual income and that type of thing, or support supplementation where you’re helping the working poor in effect -- the tax system at one level starts to operate at, say, $6,000 and then at the same point you have a supplementation system working up to, say, $10,500.

On the one hand you have a taxing authority which is taking away money that hard-working people earn, only to have them go back into a welfare type of system to apply for supplementation or support and to recover part of what they have already paid out in taxes. That’s why I feel it’s easier for, say, the Province of Quebec, which controls its tax system more so than we do in Ontario, to get into a more rational system. Our consideration was directed toward the responsibility of the federal government getting more involved in that, rather than the province.

So we have considered it. We have considered specific items in terms of municipal responsibilities, such as the drug item, which we have taken over. We’ve worked with them in terms of co-ordination, for example, on an overall plan for dental care that the municipalities could come into. No matter how small or how large the municipality is, we’ll share in that plan and they can do it, we feel, more economically, and have the advantage from us working out our province-wide plan with the Ontario Dental Association.

So there are moves like that that we have made. But insofar as takeover, no; insofar as consideration of single intake systems, yes.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I have a few questions and comments I’d like to make in regard to another study that is being carried out within your ministry. I presume it would come under policy analysis. It may be a demonstration project for receiving transfer payments, I don’t know.

It’s on the question of adoptions. As I understand it, there is a committee that has been looking into the whole area of adoptions and it is chaired by one of the people from your ministry. I think it’s the head of adoption services in your ministry. I understood the report was to be in last week. Could the minister tell me whether he has received that report yet or not?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No, I haven’t. That committee, I may say, is under Mrs. Victoria Leach from the ministry. I did set up that committee because of a concern expressed in terms of the release of information about the triangle -- the adopted child, the natural parents and the adopting parents. It’s a very sensitive area and as you know some information was being released through the Children’s Aid Societies which was disturbing. I thought it a matter of such sensitivity and importance that we should really study it objectively.

I did set up that committee. As you know it’s composed of quite a broad spectrum of people. They’ve held hearings throughout the province. I was asked if I would give them a little extra time within which to report because apparently other jurisdictions have been interested in the work of this committee. That being so, I think they wanted to do as thorough a job as possible without unnecessarily prolonging their report. I am expecting that report fairly soon but I haven’t had it as yet.

Mr. R. S. Smith: On the same subject, I want to make a few comments. I’m sure the minister is aware of this and I’m hopeful that that committee will make some specific recommendations in this area because there are some real concerns particularly among adopted children who, when they become adult, cannot get information in regard to their parents.

It is rather a traumatic experience for many of them to be refused information as to who their parents are or were and their background -- whether they were French or English or of Ukrainian origin, this type of thing. All of this is refused to them once they find out that they are adopted children.

Many of them don’t find out until they’re 12 or 13 and it creates great problems for them as individuals to cope with the idea that they are adopted. There is always the gnawing sensation that they don’t know from where they came and they’re being denied the right to find out.

I would suggest that for the future there can be set up some type of registration system by which all this information can be put on file with the consent of the natural parent. It could be made available without the name of the natural parent -- the mother or the father -- being made available to the adopted person. Following that, of course is the opportunity for the natural parent to find out if the adopted child, when it grows to adulthood, wishes to meet the natural parent.

There is an organization, which you’re aware of as well as I, called Parent Finders which is very active in this community. It’s trying to provide this service to these adult people who wish to find out their background, and to the natural parent -- either male or female but in most cases the female -- who wishes to find out what has happened to the child but doesn’t have the opportunity to do so.

I would hope, if this is the recommendation of that committee, that it be accepted and that co-ordinating all this information be placed under one responsibility -- of course with the caveat that the adopted person has the right to find out what she or he asks for contingent upon what direction the natural parent has given to the organization which will hold this information. I think that would look after in the future many of the problems that these people run into.

I also believe if they desire there should be made available to them their first birth certificate, that being the one that contains their actual true name. If they want to find that out, I don’t think that should be denied to them. On the other hand, as you are aware, this would have to be handled in a very discreet fashion because the adoptive parents have also to be considered. I do believe that there should be some consideration for them as well in that they feel they have -- and rightfully so, in most cases -- provided a home and an upbringing for the child.

In many cases, as I understand it, the adoptive parents are willing to help their children find out what their background was and in some oases arrange a meeting with the natural mother. Because of the way this is being handled now and the secrecy that surrounds the original birth certificate and the information from the Children’s Aid Societies, etc., this is in many cases impossible. Some of these people seem to believe that they do live in a rather unreal world because they don’t know their true background and they wish to know it.

I should hope this committee would recommend something of that nature. For those who are older now this would not work because much of the information cannot be made available. I do believe the original birth certificate information could be made available to them. With some amendments to some of the Acts within your ministry, more information as to the actual birth, if the adoption has taken place through an agency, could be made available. Private adoptions may be a lot more difficult but at the time of adoption the arrangement through the private agency or the private lawyer or whoever is involved in the private adoption should be placed in that area where that person’s name would at least be available to answer any questions that he or she could answer within the bounds of the wishes of the natural parent. I realize it’s a very complicated area but it is a very important area for a small minority of people.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There is a concern, as you have expressed, in terms of the creation of a central registry. In that central registry it’s a matter of the information that would be available there. I am concerned with the development of a policy that would apply province-wide so that we didn’t have the latitude from area to area and agency to agency. If there was a central registry created then there would be a bank presumably from which you could draw that information.

There is also a sensitivity in connection with what type of information should you be able to get. Identifying information is one thing and maybe medical records or histories of natural parents and so on are another item. We’ve found, and I have turned up at a number of these meetings, that there are often extreme differences of view from people, some believing you should know nothing about your ancestry or your natural parents, and others that there should be complete and full disclosure.

I am looking forward to the report, frankly, because I know the committee has been working very hard. I certainly wouldn’t want to anticipate what its recommendations might be because I have no idea. It is a very sensitive area and I think we’re going to have to come up with some provincial policy which is consistent and which maybe is not freely available. As I say, there has to be some type of control on it.


Mr. R. S. Smith: I indicated that I believe there should be some type of safeguard insofar as some of the information is concerned and it should only be provided if one of the other parties is willing that it be provided and what not. The only other thing I would ask you about in regard to the setting up of this agency, if, in fact, this does come about, is: Do you believe it should be within government or should it be without government, although likely it would have to be funded by government?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I would want to see the report on that because I think we have to respect the privacy of that information and I wouldn’t want it to be readily accessible. Personally, I haven’t considered that aspect of it; I have thought about it but I haven’t concluded anything. I am keeping a completely open mind until I do get the recommendations because it is a most experienced committee in terms of the membership. I have been at some of their meetings where people have really opened up.

I don’t know whether you turned up at the one we had at the Macdonald Block, but it was really heart-warming to have those people come forward to that committee. There were persons who were adopted and parents who had adopted children, not only the adopting parents but the natural birth parents. Their different views and the way they opened up their heart and gave their views was really a traumatic experience for me as minister. Knowing the sensitivity of the issue and the difference in views, frankly I am reserving my judgement until I hear fully from the committee as to its findings in the different areas of Ontario.

Mr. McClellan: We do seem to be bogging down in this vote, despite what I thought was an understanding, but so be it.

Mr. R. S. Smith: We had an understanding of two hours.

Mr. McClellan: We have a statement that the minister gave us today with respect to his new programme -- I suppose his claims of success for his new programme. I think that legitimately the evaluation of the effectiveness of that programme could fall within the purview of policy analysis and financial planning.

On Tuesday, June 8, 1976, there was an exchange at question period between the minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis). The Leader of the Opposition raised the question of the Ottawa statistics which the minister has provided for us today. The minister responded that if there is one municipality on which his programme would have a decided impact, it would be Metropolitan Toronto. He added: “I would ask the hon. member to look at those figures.”

You are going to have to excuse us for being, let me say frankly, suspicious and slightly incredulous with respect to your figures. Your ministry doesn’t have the best record among ministries. We haven’t unfortunately had time adequately to assess the figures ourselves. Commissioner Anderson, for example, has been with you in Owen Sound and his staff were unwilling to talk to us in his absence and your staff seem to be unwilling to respond to my phone call. You did provide us with the Metropolitan Toronto figures and I have to say to you they make no sense to me.

Mr. Chairman: If I might address myself to the hon. member for Bellwoods, it would seem to me that that would come under vote 2702, income maintenance or social services rather than the fine line of policy analysis and financial planning. When you are dealing with specific municipalities, it would seem to me it would be more appropriate to bring it up under vote 2702.

Mr. McClellan: With respect, Mr. Chairman, I am not dealing with a matter that is peculiar to a municipality or to income maintenance. I’m trying to raise the question of the credibility of the ministry’s policy analysis function. Frankly, I want to question some of the data that was given today. The application of the data is irrelevant in terms of which programme it falls into. The question is the confidence in the policy analysis function; and I’d like to proceed if I may.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Sure. I’m glad you raised that.

Mr. McClellan: Well, I’m not finished.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Okay. I’ll wait till you finish.

Mr. Conway: No such luck.

Mr. McClellan: You indicated in your communication to the Legislature today that the total general welfare assistance caseload in Metropolitan Toronto dropped from 11,538 in May, 1975, to 10,748 in May, 1976. Mr. Chairman, my figures on the caseloads in Metropolitan Toronto don’t conform to that at all. My figure is that in December, 1975, the general welfare assistance caseload in Metropolitan Toronto was 21,951 -- not very close to your figure of May, 1975, of 11,538.

My figure for the welfare caseload of Metropolitan Toronto, which was given to me by Commissioner Anderson in February, was 22,414. You have asserted that in May, 1916, the caseload was 10,748.

You have claimed that the total number of employables rose from 25,000 in May, 1975, to 26,000 in April, 1976. Commissioner Anderson’s figures, which he gave me, are as follows: in January, 1976, there were employables on the Metro caseload of 8,211. In December, 1975, there were employables on the caseload of 8,009.

What kind of nonsense have you been dishing out to this Legislature, Mr. Minister?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well, if you had permitted me to make a correction, I was going to point out that -- and it’s not Commissioner Anderson; it’s Commissioner Ray Tomlinson.

Mr. McClellan: Tomlinson, right.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I do have his data that was delivered here on June 7. I did wish to correct at least that one paragraph of my statement. I thank you for the opportunity, because I was happy that you did raise it. I had intended to correct it.

Actually, I don’t think I can accept your figures. I’m just reading them from what I have from Metropolitan Toronto. But the total general welfare assistance caseload increased from 19,365 in May, 1975 to 19,531 in May, 1976 -- an increase of approximately one per cent -- while the employables caseload declined from 6,196 in May, 1975, to 5,740 in May, 1976, or approximately seven per cent. The figures were unfortunate, but the conclusion was the same. There was a drop of seven per cent in regard to the employables.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I would hope that the minister could take the time and trouble to obtain the accurate figures, month by month, from the beginning of 1975 until the present time, and give them to us in an accurate version. Again, I haven’t had an opportunity to carefully analyse the figures, because we just received them. But it seems to me that there are some interesting discrepancies in the material you’ve presented. You’ve selected your periods of time very conveniently. You’ve juxtaposed caseloads over selected periods of time in order to make the statistical evidence suit your desires. Since I’m rather lousy at rapid calculation I’ll come back to this matter on a subsequent vote.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Just in response, Mr. Chairman, if I may. I sometimes read the papers too, maybe not as carefully as my friend from Bellwoods. But I can say this, early in the year, back in March when the caseload started to fall, the credit was given to our programmes as the reason for the declining caseload. As a matter of fact, I was at Owen Sound on Monday where I spoke to Commissioner Tomlinson, who seemed elated -- and I don’t think I’m being extravagant in using that particular language -- in regard to their experience with declining caseloads for the employables.

I appreciate your criticism and your scepticism, but I think it’s going to be pretty hard to refute that what we have demonstrated is correct: That is, through the tightening up of the eligibility requirements there is a declining caseload -- plus our Manpower linkups, of course.

Mr. McClellan: That may well be. I’m quite open to being convinced, if you can provide us with some meaningful figures that aren’t a mish-mash of nonsense. For example, in May -- again, I missed your figures. Let’s assume you had caseloads and employables reversed on the sheet. Is that a correct interpretation?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Yes, we have, if I could repeat -- do you want to take the figures down?

Ms. McClellan: I think it’s important.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right. The general welfare assistance caseload increased from 19,365 in May, 1975, to 19,531 in May, 1976 --

Mr. McClellan: And the employables?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- which is an increase of approximately one per cent. The employables caseload declined from 26,196 in May, 1975, to 25,740 in May, 1976, which is approximately seven per cent.

Mr. McClellan: How are you determining these employables? I have a statistical sheet from Commissioner Tomlinson that lists the number of employables on the caseload of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto: employables in December, 1975, 14,224 persons; employables in November, 1975, 12,906. I simply don’t understand what kind of statistical material you’re throwing around. I have Mr. Tomlinson’s printout of his monthly caseloads and it bears no relationship to the figures that you’re giving us at all. Would you not concede that? I have it here, here’s his signature. It’s a perfectly bona-fide document.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’m not going to debate on our sheets.

Mr. McClellan: I suggest that your sheets are wrong.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I admit that I may be wrong. I’m certainly not infallible.

Mr. McClellan: I suggest to you that you are wrong.


Hon. Mr. Taylor: The ministry is not infallible. By the same token it might be possible for you to be wrong, too.

Mr. McClellan: Before you run around this province claiming tremendous success for the programme, it might be worth your while to get the right figures. You should take a little time to make sure that you know what you’re talking about before you go to the press and before you come to this Legislature with what you allege is statistical proof of the success of a programme.

I point out again that you said to the Leader of the Opposition, “Look at the Metro figures.” I’m telling you I don’t think you’ve even got the Metro figures. I don’t think those figures you have represent the employable caseload in Metropolitan Toronto at all. From the figures I have they bear more relationship to the unemployable caseload for Metropolitan Toronto which is in the vicinity of 25,000 to 26,000.

I would suggest that you get on the blower to Commissioner Tomlinson and try to find out exactly what his figures are; get them month by month for the last 15 months, bring them back to us and let us see if we can make some sense out of them.

While I’m on the subject I think I’ll point out to you that your material on family benefits is equally bizarre. Fun with figures is all very nice but this is really something. On page 2, if you would compare the increase in family benefits from Jan. 30 to May 30 of this year you will find that the family benefits assistance caseload increased from 100,033 to 103,035. In the same period last year the family benefits assistance caseload increased from 90,349 to 94,775, an increase of five per cent.

Over the 15-month period we’re talking about there’s been a 15 per cent increase in family benefit caseloads. That could have an important bearing on the relationship between any fluctuation in the general welfare assistance caseload over the same period of time.

You will have to excuse me but when I see those kinds of cooked numbers I get very suspicious. I start to lose my generally openhearted credulity. I become cynical. I become jaundiced. I begin to think that people are trying to put something over me and I think even on the basis of this little paragraph on page 2 I have good grounds for feeling that way. I don’t think it’s paranoid at all. I think it’s good common sense to be rather suspicions of this ministry.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, I don’t wish to get involved in an unnecessarily prolonged statistical debate. I can share the commissioner’s figures I have -- which I admit is a photostat copy with his signature photostated -- if they will be of some assistance. I don’t purport to have the infinite wisdom of my friend and it’s possible that I could be wrong but we do try to be truthful.

Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman; there are two matters I would like to discuss with the minister for a moment. He has referred tonight to the terminal programme which has been instituted. I am very delighted to hear that since I requested that this ministry do this and was advised last year that it would not be effective.

I take it that there has been a rethinking of the use of terminals and that they are satisfactory, giving better and faster service to the people in the outlying parts of the province where the service was distinctly bad before, according to those who are more experienced than I am in that area.

The other thing I want to speak to on this particular vote is, the minister may recall that during -- I guess I should say the interruption with my speech in answer to the Speech from the Throne -- he did indicate that I was in error that I indeed knew that there would be a project going on this year in the child abuse area. Could the minister tell me whether that is, in fact, true and if it is reflected in the moneys allocated in this vote?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In response to those two questions -- and I certainly appreciate your concurrence in terms of the computer terminals --

Mrs. Campbell: Thank you.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- I must confess I don’t care where the ideas come from. If they’re good ideas and if they can streamline the system -- make it more economical and efficient -- let’s do it.

In regard to the child abuse; again, it’s in the social services vote. I don’t mind discussing it now if you wish.

Mrs. Campbell: Fine. I thought it would be under research here. Thank you.

Mr. Chairman: Shall item 3 carry? Carried.

Item 4? Carried.

Item 5? Carried.

Item 6, financial and administrative services? Carried.

Item 7?

Mr. R. S. Smith: I have just one short question here, Mr. Chairman. I would like the minister to explain to me the cut in the allocation of transfer payments and grants from $534,000 last year to $294,000 this year.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right. Did you wish the total number of grants and so on? We have 18 -- and I have them all itemized, if you wish -- totalling $294,000.

Mr. R. S. Smith: We have all that.

Mr. Chairman: It’s on page S-25.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: What did you wish to know?

Mr. R. S. Smith: I want to know where the reduction was from $534,000 to $294,000, which is a reduction of -- what? -- $250,000 or 50 per cent.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Excuse me for the delay, but I had $302,000 in the estimate for last year, which isn’t that much different, so I’ll see if I can --

Mr. R. S. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I looked up the estimates and I found $534,000, but it may have also included the grants for the Association for the Mentally Retarded where there is a very large cut of $160,000. That may make up for it. I now see that’s in a later vote.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Yes. I have $302,800 for the 1975-1976 estimates and $294,000 for this year.

Mr. R. S. Smith: So the 11.7 per cent increase in your overall expenditure is not applicable in this vote?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In terms of an overall increase in spending, you mean? No, it wasn’t calculated that way.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Okay. That is all I have.

Mrs. Campbell: Would the minister bring us up to date on the ongoing volume of work performed by the Soldiers Aid Commission? I am delighted to assist veterans at all times, but really this is an ongoing item and I have never yet understood what the volume of work is and why it continues in this vote.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Yes, I’m very conscious of that. I became conscious of that matter not only through here, but if I’m not mistaken, through a public accounts reference some years ago. I did take a look at that and it’s a matter of administration of the money that is there. Frankly, I have been considering it and have in fact drafted a bill which would provide for the repeal of that legislation. I’m glad that the member for St. George acknowledges support for that. It’s not a question of doing away with the work of the commission.

Mrs. Campbell: I know that.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s a matter of structuring it and probably putting it under a special account through the regular provincial accounts.

Mrs. Campbell: Thank you.

Mr. Chairman: Item 7 agreed to.

Vote 2701 agreed to.

On vote 2702:

Mr. R. S. Smith: I have a couple of short questions here. This had to do with the administration both in Toronto and in the regional offices, I presume. Is that correct? I am referring particularly to the salaries and wages. Is that just the administration of family benefits or what is that?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Yes, that’s correct.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Again I ask, is there any consideration being given to moving this out into the districts which it serves, in other words, having decision-making power in regard to family benefits moved out into the regional office?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No, there hasn’t been consideration of that. Without repeating myself, the consideration is in terms of strengthening our field office operations, but not in terms of transferring our central office to the field.

Mr. Chairman: Item 1 agreed to. On item 2.

Mr. McClellan: Item 2 deals with income maintenance and I have a number of areas I want to cover. The estimates in this ministry are frankly unusual in that so many separate programmes and so much money are crammed together in so relatively few votes. If I can make a suggestion for future years, it would be a lot more helpful and would promote a more useful debate if the estimates of this ministry could be broken down more discretely.

I alluded in my leadoff, to the need to rationalize the categorical programmes of this province. They remain as mysterious and nonsensical to me today as they did some 12 years ago when I was a welfare worker in the ministry. They made no sense then; they make no sense now. And they make no sense to most of your staff now. The people who are charged with the responsibility of taking applications under your legislation can make no more sense out of the programmes than I can, or than the people who are served can.

I have a memo from staff, whom I don’t think I need to identify. It’s an internal memorandum of your ministry that expresses some real concern about the inability of the field staff to distinguish any more than we can distinguish or clients can distinguish --


Mr. Warner: That’s one the shredder didn’t get.

Mr. McClellan: -- between disabled persons and permanently unemployable people. If I may quote it to you, it says it better than I could say it:

“The similarity between the two definitions, disabled persons and permanently unemployable persons, is apparent. Both mention the inability of a person to work for a long period of time. In both cases, this must be shown with evidence to the medical advisory board. While there may appear to be some differences, no important distinctions can be drawn from the definitions as they now stand. In fact, as it appears, all those who are disabled are also permanently unemployable. One category and one only should be used as applicable. This must be clearly defined and comprehensible to field workers, applicants and doctors through a revised form 4 that will present all useful and relevant information as specifically as possible. The lack of clarity has led many to feel that decisions of the medical advisory board at present are largely arbitrary and often contradictory. [That certainly is our experience.] This is not to imply that flexibility is unnecessary but that vague definitions implied inconsistently serve no useful purpose for anyone concerned.”

Mr. Warner: Where was this from?

Mr. McClellan: It’s an internal staff memorandum dated June 9, 1975.

Mr. Warner: The shredder didn’t get it.

Mr. McClellan: Shredder or no shredder, your staff have been saying the same thing for a long time now.

Mr. Warner: And who listens?

Mr. McClellan: It’s about time that you moved to end the absurdity of a categorical distinction that cannot be distinguished by your own staff. How is a field worker supposed to go into a person’s home and complete the form 11 when they can’t tell themselves what the distinction is between the categories? It’s utterly ludicrous.

They point as well in this internal memorandum to the lack of a psychiatrist on the medical advisory board. Is that still the situation, if I may add by way of a second question? Is there a psychiatrist on the medical advisory board? How is the medical advisory board supposed to determine disability when the disability is an emotional impairment? Year after year we raise the same points. I’ve checked back over Hansard and seen that previous critics have raised the same points with successive ministers and we still have the ludicrous situation of categorical distinctions.

Let’s not forget what this means. It means a real difference in money to people, a substantial difference in money to people. It means the difference between the GAINS level which, if it were raised, would be adequate. If you would give them a cost of living increase, it would approach adequacy. The family benefit levels are frankly substandard. It’s about time you eliminated the permanently unemployable category. Abolish it. Do away with it. There’s no justification for that kind of inequity. I’d appreciate a response.

I understand you’re moving in the direction of trying to rationalize your programmes. Again, I remain utterly sceptical that this ministry has the capacity to rationalize its programmes. One can always express optimism. We’ve been expressing optimism now for years and years and years. We can express it again this year. You did allude earlier to plans that you had to try and make some sense out of your income maintenance programme. With the social security review under way, it seems to be a great opportunity for you to do it. What are you going to do?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: As the member has pointed out, it is an old chestnut; I will grant you that. It is a definition that I have struggled with.

Mr. McClellan: Nothing is done.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There is a difference sometimes difficult to distinguish in the field. That is why we have the medical advisory board. That is why we have medical reports coming from the field because how can a field worker tell whether a person who had a heart condition was permanently unemployable.

Mr. Bain: Why make the distinction? What is the real difference?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I will tell you what the real difference is in terms of definition for cost-sharing, if I may.

Mr. Bain: Tell me what the difference is.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: At present, a disabled person is defined as one who has a physical or mental impairment that is likely to continue for a prolonged time and is severely limited in activities of normal living. A permanently unemployable person is defined as a person unable to engage in remunerative employment for a prolonged time.

Mr. Bain: How is this different in terms of a person being able to go out and get a job?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There may be a person who is permanently disabled who cannot even get out of his own home. He is completely disabled and needs services in his own home. There may be another person who may be permanently unemployable but he can get around. He may be a person who has had a heart attack, for example. It is often a question as to the severity in what he can do. He may be classified as permanently unemployable. That person may be unemployable for a certain type of work but employable for another type of work.

Mr. McClellan: Surely the distinction is utterly meaningless. You can make those kinds of academic distinctions which then become almost impossible administratively to operate. The subjective difference for me if I am permanently unemployable or disabled is irrelevant. I need an income. If by definition I am unable to work, the need is the same. In terms of need, there is no difference.

Why should you so discriminate? Why continue this utter absurdity? It perpetuates a great deal of unnecessary suffering on people. It perpetuates inequities in benefit levels of a very substantial nature. It perpetuates a more complex administrative structure than is necessary. There is no rationale for it. The most compelling argument of all is simply the one of need. Both groups of people, which in your mind are different, are the same in their need. They cannot work and they need an income. Why don’t you simply rationalize the programme and equalize the benefits and meet the need?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In response to that, I don’t accept the proposition that the need is the same.

Mr. McClellan: Nothing is done.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Very basically, it is on the basis of the extra need that we cost-share with the federal government.

Ms. Gigantes: Is that the definition?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There is a difference between a person who is totally incapacitated and confined to his home who may need something that a person who is not confined to his home does not need. It is on that distinction that we are able to cost-share with the federal government.

Mr. Warner: That is your real concern, getting federal dollars.

Mr. R. S. Smith: On this same point, I would just like to make a few remarks. This is about the tenth time we have gone over this same thing in the last ten years and I am sure that the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Brunelle) who is sitting behind you well knows how many times the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) and myself have gone over this differentiation between permanently unemployable and disabled. The only difference is that we get a different argument from you than we used to get from the last minister. The last minister was always going to look into this and have it straightened out. He never did get around to it.

Mr. Warner: In the fullness of time.

Mr. R. S. Smith: We developed the GAINS programme but we still have that differentiation between the disabled and the unemployable. You say they have a different cost of living. That may be true in about one or two per cent of the cases, but I know people who are on the GAINS programme who could get around and look after themselves and have all the facilities of living that the unemployables have and there’s no difference in the needs of those people insofar as their need for dollars and cents to exist it concerned.

Mr. Warner: Absolutely.

Mr. R. S. Smith: They all have to eat the same way. They have the same shelter costs. Basically they have all the same needs because they are all people. They all have the same basic needs. The way you put it to us tonight is a little different. You’ve indicated that there is a differential in the cost-sharing between yourselves and the federal government if a person is considered disabled or considered unemployable. I’d like you to explain to me where in the Canada Assistance Plan that difference is outlined.

Second, I would like you to explain to me how your medical advisory board makes decisions based on medical evidence provided to it, by the doctor who does the actual examination. In spite of the fact the doctor may have checked square No. 4 on the back of the form that says he’s permanently disabled and on the front part of the application form has outlined his disability as being some type of heart condition or some other disabling disease, your medical advisory board can then say, “We don’t believe the medical doctor who made this examination. We think this fellow is only unemployable.”

The medical profession in this province in many cases has come to the point where it refuses to fill out these forms any more. They say it’s a waste of time: “People ask what our medical opinion is, we give it to them, and a decision is made on a basis directly opposite to the opinion we give.”

I would like you to explain those things to us for the tenth time and be specific as to what the difference is in the needs of those two people. Don’t tell me what the needs of people with heart conditions are or with arthritis or this type of thing. They are no different; they are all the same; they all have to eat and they all have to sleep; they all have to live the same way. If you could tell me how they differ I’d like to know.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In effect you are saying we did a tremendous job in being able to increase the allowance to certain persons whom we could distinguish as persons with a greater need because they were permanently disabled -- because it was on the basis of being able to distinguish and define a category that we did participate with the federal government in obtaining additional money which we could pass on to those recipients. So we’ve done well there, but everything costs money.

Mr. McClellan: That’s not the same.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: We are trying to get more money.

Mr. Deans: You should talk to the Provincial Auditor.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: We are trying to get more money for those people who are more severely disabled, and we have been successful in that. You may say it’s an artificial classification and I must confess that there are cases where it is very difficult to distinguish --

Mr. Deans: You could find a way.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- I’d be less than honest if I didn’t. But at the same time, we were able to do this for a certain category of persons who could be defined as permanently disabled as opposed to permanently unemployable. In that way we obtained additional moneys for that group of persons. With respect, I really don’t think that we should belittle the additional money that we’ve been able to get for some of the group. What you’re now saying is why didn’t we get it for the rest of the group? We are doing what we can to help everybody but at least we have a little more money for some of the case load through federal cost sharing.


Mr. Deans: I want to tell you first of all, you sound more like a bookkeeper than a minister. The problem which comes through, as far as your approach to the matter is concerned, is this: If you can get money from the federal government you will classify them one way; if you can’t you will classify them another way; and if you can’t you will pay them less.

Can you explain to me how it is any more the responsibility or fault of the individual who is permanently unemployable than it is of the person who is permanently disabled? How can you victimize the individual simply because, in the one case, they are permanently unemployable for any number of reasons over and against another person who may have become permanently disabled?

That is what you are doing. You are looking at two people and you are saying that neither can fit into the work force. If you are capable of getting into the work force, you would not qualify for either of these allowances. On the one hand you have a person who is classified in some magical way as being permanently unemployable. On the other hand, you have a person who is unemployable as the result of a permanent disability. You are saying that one is worth more to this society than the other or his needs are greater. That is a lot of nonsense.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am not saying that.

Mr. Deans: That is what you are doing by virtue of the way in which you pay them. You don’t have to say it in words; you show it in your actions. Here you have two people, sitting side by side, neither of whom fits into the work force; neither of whom is able to leave his place of residence and find employment. You turn around and because you have set up some mythical method of determining their disability, whatever it may be, you say one is permanently unemployable and the other is permanently disabled.

That just doesn’t wash. They both shop in the same Loblaws store. They both pay rent to the same OHC unit, presumably, yet you find yourself in the position of paying one more than the other.

It may well he, let me tell you, more difficult for the individual who is permanently unemployable than it is for the one who may be classified by you as being totally disabled. It may be more difficult because that individual may not be able to understand, for example, why he can’t work. That individual may be suffering, and likely is suffering, from all of the trauma that goes along with thinking he should be working but is not able to. At least the others have been able to rationalize their disabilities. I have never quite understood why you would draw the distinction and now you have told me why.

The reason you draw the distinction has nothing to do with the individual people at all, absolutely nothing. It has to do with whether or not you are able to trip off to Ottawa and get a few dollars to offset the cost to the Province of Ontario. Let me tell you something -- if there is an area within all your ministry where you couldn’t possibly get any flak if you paid a reasonable level of payment it would be in these areas here.

You may run into some difficulty over payment of general welfare. You may run into some difficulty over payment in some other areas but let me tell you no one in the Province of Ontario would deny that the people who are disabled or who are classified as permanently unemployable, for whatever reason, should receive an allowance sufficient to allow them to live reasonably in this society. Not one single person. Not even a Tory supporter. Not even in Prince Edward-Lennox. Let me tell you that just in case you are worried.

That’s why I don’t understand. If you are telling me that the person who is permanently disabled, who may be in bed and may require nursing care or some kind of additional help, has to get more than the other, you begin by establishing the same base rate for both which is adequate. In the event that there is a group of individuals who require additional care by virtue of their disabilities, you pay them an additional sum for that purpose. You don’t turn around and deprive the other group of an adequate level of income simply because you want to draw a false distinction between the two groups. I think that’s what we’ve been trying to get through here, and not just this year and not only to you. I’ve got to confess that you’re not the first and you will likely not even be the last if they change you before the next election.

I can recall having much the same discussion with the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Brunelle) in the Legislature when he was in charge of this ministry. I can recall how they were doing an analysis of the various groups. They were going through them one by one -- does he remember that? -- to see if they couldn’t transfer them from the one to the other because they realized there were problem areas.

Why would we go to the expense and the difficulty? Why would we do that? What is it about two people, one who may have a physical disability brought on by an illness or a disease and one who may be impaired in some way or another to the extent that he is unemployable? Why would we draw some distinction between the two of them and determine, for some reason or other, that one needs more money to live than the other? Why would you do that? What possible rationale can there be for it?

I can think of all kinds of people, without going into examples, who are unemployable, and that’s not their fault. They are unemployable in the true sense of the word. No one would employ them. But their needs are just like other people’s needs. They still have to eat, they still have to find a place to live, they still have to live a reasonable kind of life throughout whatever life span they’ve got. We make it even more difficult for them because we begin by paying them less than is required. Then we move from there to say that, if for some reason or other they happen to be in what my colleague over here from Nipissing may say is a more fortunate group that happens to have a heart attack, a stroke or whatever and become disabled as a result of that -- because of a physical disability, a permanent disability -- they’re worth more. It ain’t so.

Mr. Warner: Just say you’re wrong.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s not a question of who’s worth more.

Mr. Deans: That’s all it is. That’s exactly what you mean.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: We don’t pretend to try to evaluate that.

Mrs. Campbell: You are doing that.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s not a question of victimizing people. Surely you must understand that. Well, maybe you don’t. I hoped you would.

Mr. Warner: You do it daily.

Mr. Deans: I can’t understand the minister.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: You have got to understand that there may be people, who because of some type of permanent physical disability who are incapacitated to the degree they need special money for --

Mr. Deans: Fine, give them more. I said that.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s precisely what we have done. They may have transportation problems. There may be special diets. It’s okay to say they all eat the same and they all sleep the same and so on, but their needs may be different.

Mr. Deans: You are not doing that because they don’t start from the same base.

Mr. R. S. Smith: That’s a special consideration. It has nothing to do with this.

Mr. Deans: That’s not the basis on which you make your calculation.

Mr. Acting Chairman: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s for that reason we were able to distinguish the extraordinary needs and to see that this group got more money.

Mr. Deans: You don’t understand it if you say that.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: We’ve helped them do that. Now you are criticizing us for doing what we can on behalf of those people who are in need.

Mr. Deans: We are criticizing you because you are not doing it properly.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I will just make one final comment on this. When you brought in the GAINS programme and your parameters were made public, I said at the time that you were discriminating against those people who are unemployable not because of any physical handicap which would have made them disabled but generally because of their mental capabilities. That’s exactly what you are doing in most cases. You’re discriminating against people because of their educational background or their mental capabilities. There is no other way that you can look at this. If one looks at the cases individually, anybody could obviously come to that conclusion.

I won’t carry on too long on that because I have a couple of other specific questions that I want to ask in regard to this vote. They are questions that I asked in my opening remarks, to which I did not receive an answer.

First, in this $361,299,000 for provincial allowances and benefits, as well as that amount which is aside for general welfare assistance, is there any moneys included for an increase during the coming month or two? As I explained earlier, they are now a complete year behind and inflation has taken away 10, 12 or 13 per cent of the purchasing power that they had a year ago; and they are dropping behind again.

The other question I wanted to ask you is: What is your position insofar as the legal ramifications of the General Welfare Assistance Act and the regulations under it which specify that as long as funds are provided by the municipality within the parameters of that Act that you have to reimburse them to the extent of 80 per cent? What are you going to do with the municipality that has costs that are well within the parameters of the Act and the regulations, but are above your 5.5 per cent basic increase that you have allowed -- which I believe in the case of the General Welfare Assistance Act and the municipalities has been done illegally?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, in regard to provision in here for an increase in rates -- no, there is not a provision. If there is an increase in the rates, then that would have to be a cabinet determination and presumably I would have to come in with supplementary estimates, as I did earlier in connection with last year’s budget when the rate increase was given then. So simply, no, there is not money provided in this for a rate increase.

Insofar as the 5.5 per cent parameters in terms of general welfare assistance and your allegation that this is illegal, may I just say that I have full confidence that the municipalities will be able to function within those parameters.

I have indicated that if something most extraordinary happens to their caseload, something dramatic which is unanticipated, then I will deal with that problem at that time. It’s a hypothetical question, I suppose. It need not be answered now. Our experience is that they will very well meet the overall spending parameters, so I don’t think any change in the regulations will be necessary to vary the present situation.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I would just point out to you that for you to indicate that you will not pay more than 5.5 per cent is wrong, because by law you would have to pay it. It is just a farce to try to give the impression across this province that you are going to curtail the increase in general welfare assistance by 5.5 per cent, when you don’t have the legal right to do it.

It is the same way with closing hospitals and the same way with entering into, perhaps, the AIB negotiations in contracts with Ottawa.

You are ruling over there by divine right. You no longer have to refer to what’s legal or what’s not legal. You just go ahead regardless of the law. If the guy on the street tries that, what happens to him? The same thing should happen to you people.

I indicate to you that the public in this province are becoming well aware of the attitude that this government is taking toward what is now statute and what is now regulation.

I would like to ask a few other questions, but I don’t think you answered fully my first question in regard to the increase. We are talking about these estimates, and we can’t talk about what you may do or may not do under supplementary estimates. We have got to talk about what you have got here, and you haven’t got money here to increase either family benefits or general welfare assistance.


What we’re looking as is two years without any increase to those people who are at the lowest level of income in this province. If you can explain to me that it is the policy of your government not to increase allowances for two years for people who are at the lowest level of income, I would like you to get up and say that’s what the policy of this government is.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: At the risk of repeating myself, there is no money in this budget for an increase in GWA or FBA.

Mrs. Campbell: And you don’t care.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In terms of it being the policy of this government to freeze those limits for two years, I did not say that at all and I don’t think that’s implicit in these. If you will look at the experience of the rate changes over the years, you will see that they have been very conscientiously considered by cabinet from time to time and increased accordingly, not on a regular basis but as the need dictates.

It’s very difficult to forecast sometimes. In one year there might be two increases. The next year there may not be any increase but that is something which has to be left open. Hopefully, the constraint programme of this government will prove so effective that we will be able to contain the inflationary rate which will have a decided impact and effect on what this government does in terms of rate increases. That’s something we cannot determine right now.

If we do determine to do it, if it becomes cabinet policy -- again this is hypothetical -- I’m saying that our past experience has been, and it’s been my experience since being minister, that supplementary estimates are brought into this House for approval of that rate increase or that expenditure by the House.

Ms. Gigantes: Last thing on your mind.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s what has happened. In terms of an explanation of the 5½ per cent overall increase in total spending for GWA, that’s being monitored in terms of legal authority to pay. It’s on a fiscal year basis. It’s not a question of a month-by-month basis. Surely, the member for Nipissing is not raising a question that the government or my ministry is breaking the law in any way because there’s been no breach of the law or of the regulations.

Mr. R. S. Smith: There very well could be if you refuse to pay on that basis.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: The municipalities are functioning as before. They’re paying as before. They’re within the law. I don’t know why that should be raised.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Mr. Chairman, on that one point quickly, I would say to the minister that, being a member of the legal profession, he should certainly understand that if a municipality does go above 5½ per cent and does make application and you refuse to pay and their payments not have been within the parameters of your legislation and your regulations, you are either breaking the law or you are breaking the agreement which had been made over the years with the municipalities as to what you will pay and won’t pay. Whether it’s a moral agreement or a legal agreement doesn’t really matter. You still have the obligation.

You’re saying to me, when you say “I’m putting a 5½ per cent cap on that increase” that you’re going to do that regardless of what happens. In my opinion at least, that is government policy saying to the people, “We’re going to do what we like, regardless of what our commitments are and regardless of what the law and the regulation say.”

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, this is only June and our fiscal year started April 1. We’ve had two months or so. You’re surely not saying that the municipalities have spent 105 per cent of what they spent last year and therefore are breaking the law or something?

Mrs. Campbell: No.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Not saying that at all.

Mrs. Campbell: It is next February he is talking about.

Mr. R. S. Smith: What are you going to do next February or March?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: What I’m saying is that you can’t suggest, surely, that some law will be broken until the total spending of 105 per cent of last year is reached. You are not suggesting that there is a current breach of the law surely.

Mr. R. S. Smith: You are suggesting that they will break the law if they go over the 5½ per cent.

“Our concern with the inadequacy of the maintenance allowance is prompted not only by the numerous complaints that Toronto councillors receive, but by the increasing inability of some clients to take full advantage of our programme due to severe, personal, financial limitations. Our maintenance allowances were last raised in January, 1974.”

That’s some commitment, isn’t it? That’s some commitment to facilitating employment and to creating employment opportunities for people, allowing a two-year lag in the maintenance allowance; allowing the maintenance allowance to fall behind the levels of support available through income maintenance programmes. It’s so absurd.

I just want to put this on the record. A person with three dependants who goes on a VRS programme can expect to get $369 a month. If that person was on family benefits he could get $455 a month. If he was on GAINS he could get $609 a month. If he was on GWA he could get $490 a month. If he was on Canada Manpower training allowance, based on 4½ weeks, he could get $433 a month.

It’s utterly ludicrous to run a vocational rehabilitation services programme on the basis of financial disincentive. What kind of rationale is that? It puts the lie to all of the rubbish that you spout about wanting to help people on public assistance return to productive employment when you allow those kinds of situations.

I have a letter from the director of the rehabilitation branch to a Mr. Willhelm. Let me say categorically that I didn’t obtain that letter from either of those two gentlemen. In fact, I don’t know who I obtained the letter from. But it deals with the same concern about the total inadequacy of the VRS maintenance allowance and your failure to raise the rates. Mr. Creighton says:

“A recommendation was taken to the senior management committee in the fall of 1975, but it is our understanding that a raise and restructuring of the VRS maintenance allowance is not appropriate at the present time.”

That was in a letter of May 4. And on the same day, Mr. Creighton wrote to a client, I assume, a Mrs. Nigata, and I quote:

“I recognize that the cost of living has increased, but unfortunately because of government spending restraints and other factors, I can offer you no encouragement regarding the increase of maintenance allowances at this time.”

Again, in your enthusiasm to save a few bucks, you’re undermining one of the best programmes that’s ever been developed in this province. You’re denying the opportunity of welfare recipients to go into a meaningful vocational rehabilitation programme. It is a programme that has a good track record, an established record of success in the field -- and the only problem with it is that it’s limited. It’s limited by the short-sighted, penny-pinching, ridiculous attitudes that typify your stewardship of this ministry.

Let me ask you very simply: When do you intend to raise the VRS maintenance allowance so that you can restore the effectiveness of this programme, even to previous levels, let alone talking about the need to develop and expand it as I suggested in the leadoff?


Hon. Mr. Taylor: You are right and you are wrong. You are right in that we do have a very good staff and we do have an excellent vocational rehabilitation programme. I want to thank you, and I say that sincerely, for your commendation of that programme.

Mr. McClellan: It’s no credit to you.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I think maybe some of your other conclusions are wrong, though, because we are continually upgrading and expanding our rehab programme. As a matter of fact, we have made some recent moves which will expedite the whole area of workshops and that type of thing. We are very interested in and concerned about assisting people to help themselves.

Mr. McClellan: Isn’t that dandy.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s precisely what we are doing. I don’t think that is measured in money alone or in terms of how much you pay or in terms of an allowance. You have pointed out some differences in what a person would get, depending on what programme he or she was in. I grant you that there are differences.

Mr. McClellan: There are more than differences. Let me say one very short thing. What is happening, and I have been told this by a number of rehabilitation workers across this city, is that clients are refusing to participate in the rehabilitation programme because of the disincentive that the maintenance allowance represents. It represents a substantial loss of income for a lot of people.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Far be it from me to suggest that the law be broken. I have never suggested that the law be broken; I am rather surprised that you could infer that.

Mrs. Campbell: Just collect from the federal government and not pass it through.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: If we have seen that we should, for example, change regulations in order to carry out our programme we have given very careful consideration to that type of change to make sure that there was some authority for what we were doing. We have done that. We have been very meticulous in ensuring that we do comply with the law.

Sometimes there are changes in the law. We hope that any changes made are fair and just and in the interest of the people of Ontario and that is what we propose. But I am convinced that what you are raising is really a hypothetical question of some very excessive expenditures on general welfare assistance which I am convinced will not happen. If that happens then I will deal with that at that time very fairly to ensure, again, that no municipality is unnecessarily hurt.

Mrs. Campbell: Does anybody plan on that ad hoc basis?

Mr. R. S. Smith: My advice then to the municipalities would be to spend within those regulations and within the Act, and don’t worry about the 5½ per cent criterion.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Just spend for the sake of spending. Well, that may be your advice.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Spend within the regulations.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: They are spending within the regulations.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Okay, that is what I said.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Any person they are supporting financially would have to be eligible within the regulations, so they are paying out in accordance with the regulations. What I am saying is that that is designed to keep them within the 5½ per cent, because implicit in the regulation changes was a decrease in caseload which would accommodate the containment of spending to an overall 5½ per cent.

Mr. McClellan: We have established that you have no intention of rationalizing your income maintenance programme -- of reducing or eliminating the traditional hodgepodge of inequity.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That is your conclusion.

Mr. McClellan: We have established that you are content to let the needy and disadvantaged in this province fight your war on inflation through your refusal to raise rates --

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That is your misreading.

Mr. Bain: That is the only reading anyone can take.

Mr. McClellan: -- to take into account cost of living increases. The direction you are going is very clear and you are not fooling anybody by all your pious rhetoric about nobody in this province suffering. But you also have a lot of pious rhetoric about your interest in promoting employment opportunities and work opportunity, and we will also look at that part of your record while we are on this vote for a few minutes.

Your shredders are not working too well this year. I have another document, this might even be called intelligence, as opposed to information, from this most secretive of ministers. It is an internal memorandum from staff, dealing with the vocational rehabilitation service.

The vocational rehabilitation service of the ministry has always been, in my opinion -- and I don’t think I will qualify it -- I think it has been the best programme that your ministry has developed. Jack Amos deserves a lot of credit. He built well when he built the vocational rehabilitation services branch.

But I am increasingly concerned about what is happening within vocational rehabilitation services. This document, which is dated March 23, 1976, a memorandum from staff to Mr. Thorne, does very little to allay those concerns, and does little to support your pious rhetoric about an interest in helping people return to productive employment.

The document deals with the inadequacy of vocational training allowances. Vocational training allowances are clearly so low at this point in time, because they haven’t been raised in how many years? In two years? It’s been over two years since your ministry has increased the VRS maintenance allowances. At this point, welfare benefits are higher in many instances than the maintenance allowances. For many clients of vocational rehab they’re better off to stay on welfare than to go on to the vocational rehab programme -- the benefit levels have fallen so low and so far behind. The staff write:

“On top of the basic loss of income from transference to VRS from even general welfare assistance or family benefits or GAINS there are additional costs that a VRS trainee has to assume. These are the same kind of costs anybody else has who is participating in a job, really; the same kind of daily living costs an employed person has to incur are incurred by this person. They may not have had to incur them while they were on GAINS or FBA or GWA. What is happening and I am telling you that this is happening -- is you are discouraging people from going into the programme. You are driving people out of the programme. That is what happens when you have these kinds of negative disincentives in work opportunities programmes. You will have to try to get that through your head and you ought to raise the allowance.”

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I think maybe the member for Bellwoods should understand, too, that a person can be on FBA and still be involved in our vocational rehabilitation programme. He can participate in that and obtain transportation and that type of thing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that because a person is on one of these programmes he is being treated any the worse.

Mr. McClellan: Maybe I do misunderstand it and if I do I would seek clarification. It is my understanding that a person on family benefits going into a vocational rehab programme transfers from family benefits to the vocational rehab allowance. Am I incorrect?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: He can remain on FBA.

Mr. McClellan: So there is no loss of income?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There may not be.

Mr. McClellan: Are there compensation amounts to take into account the additional living expenses incurred by participation in a rehabilitation programme?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: For example, if you take a single person it may be to his advantage, if you look at the allowance for him on the VRS. He would get more that way.

Mr. Sweeney: Could you advise me whether there is any provision in this budget for people whose total income comes from a disability pension and who are living in a nursing home? I’m thinking of one case in particular where nursing home rates went up roughly $3 a day for a semi-private room, which works out to about $90 a month. That’s pretty close to a 30 per cent increase. At the same time, this one particular person had an increase in his pension benefits somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 10 per cent. As near as I can find out, the differential between those two figures just about wipes out any living expense money that that person had.

Is there any provision in this budget to take into account those rather dramatic changes in the nursing home rates which is putting this person in a rather precarious position?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: If it is the private disability pension you’re talking about that may be eaten up or wiped out because of the nursing home rates, then we can pick up to the extent of the comfort allowance rate.

Mr. Sweeney: My understanding is that the only source of income for this person is a disability pension from your ministry. He has no ether source of income.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Then he should still be left with the comfort allowance of $43 a month.

Mr. Sweeney: My understanding is that that is not the case. If there is something else missing there --

Hon. Mr. Taylor: If you have a specific case, it is very difficult to argue in general terms but I would be happy to look into the particular case you have.

Mr. Sweeney: Do I understand you to say that the $43 comfort allowance would be there, regardless of the change of rate of the nursing home, and that your ministry would pick up the increase? Is that what I hear you saying?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s right.

Mr. Sweeney: Maybe part of the problem is the fact that this person is in a semi-private room, but because of his disability, he can’t be in a ward. Could that make any difference? I understand that makes a difference. Maybe I didn’t clarify that.

Mr. R. S. Smith: It makes a difference of $100 a month in costs to him.

Mr. Sweeney: The disability is of such a nature that the person has to be in it. I think this is what is causing the problem and it has been brought to the attention of somebody in your ministry and they were told there was nothing they could do about it.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I understand what you are saving. The argument is, and I’ve heard it, if it’s a nursing home that doesn’t have standard care and it’s a semi-private room, therefore there is the additional charge it gets from the family. There are those situations. We found generally where we’re supporting them that they do in one way or another manage the standard rate. However, if you’re talking about the ministry financing a semi-private room, there isn’t any provision to finance a semi-private rate.

Mrs. Campbell: I am sorry I’m now somewhat out of contact because I wanted to join in the debate at the time that we were discussing the matter of GAINS and disability allowances. One of the things I do find difficult about this government is that we have exercised hitherto absolutely no control over private labs. We presumably have assumed that they will function in an honourable fashion. If we had the same kind of control over them that we’re exercising over people in deep need of assistance, I could perhaps better understand the procedures in this ministry.

Both the present minister and his predecessor have maintained that they carry on this useless and inhuman kind of distinction between the person who is disabled and the person who is unemployable by reason of a disability because of that dreadful, treacherous group in Ottawa.

I want to make this statement; and I want to make it abundantly clear; and I want to make it for the record; and I want to make it so that everyone may understand it. That is not so.

The government at Ottawa and the hon. Minister of Health and Welfare have consistently stated that if Ontario finds a person to be disabled, then that government will cost-share. He cannot understand, nor does the government, what all the fuss and feathers are about here.

Let me just once more give you some examples. One of the cases that I found was precluded from the GAINS programme. I’ve given the example before, but I want to stress it again. It was the gentleman in my riding who had one leg and part of a foot amputated. He was in a wheelchair and you people were hounding him for an alleged overpayment under a disability allowance.

In addition, he wasn’t entirely and completely blind, but he was very close to it. I don’t know what your doctors were doing with that case. I don’t understand their operation. But I do know that when I found out that he was in this position and worried sick, because you were claiming an overpayment, suddenly we found that indeed, this man was disabled. I don’t know who in the world could have denied it. We got it straightened out.

I don’t understand why we have a panel of doctors, paid as they are, to review cases -- and they never see the patient Oh, I understand they read the doctor’s prognosis. But they sit in their ivory tower and determine whether that doctor initially is right or wrong. But the funny and ludicrous thing is that your review board, made up of lay people, can overrule those doctors.

The minister earlier tonight talked to us about the fact that these people are not statistics, they are people. I would like him to answer that kind of a situation. How is it that we have such tight controls to deny people their rights? How is it that a government can go on playing the game of blaming somebody else? They do that rather than standing up and acknowledging that if they can refuse the GAINS programme it is money in the pocket of the government, and presumably money in the pockets of the taxpayers of this province. Only, of course, it isn’t. It will go out in some other direction.

There is nothing in this ministry until we get to the next vote that so disturbs me and so fills me with contempt as the way in which this government plays games with people such as I have described. I want the minister now to acknowledge, if he will, that undoubtedly the federal government will participate in cost-sharing for any of those cases where this province determines that there is, in fact, a disability.


Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I just say this? Surely the member for St. George isn’t indicating that I referred to the people in Ottawa as a “dreadful, treacherous group,” because I haven’t, and we’ve got --

Mrs. Campbell: Not in words, just in attitude.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I feel our ministry gets along very well, as a matter of fact, with our counterparts in Ottawa. We’ve participated very well in the Canada Assistance Plan to date. We’ve made very full use of that plan in regard to --

Mrs. Campbell: Very limited use.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- in regard to the definition of “disabled.” I know that’s an old chestnut. I said that earlier tonight and the hon. member may not have been here at the time.

Mrs. Campbell: I was listening.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There are difficulties. Sure, if Ontario defines the disabled and a person comes within that definition we cost-share, but I think the member must remember that the definition has to be acceptable to Ottawa. We’ve attempted to do that to improve the lot of whoever we can -- in other words, to try to elevate the financial position of persons who are permanently disabled because, again, and I’m being repetitive, I feel that often there are extraordinary needs that that person must have and I think if there are some additional moneys, so much the better.

In connection with our medical advisory board. I’m not suggesting they’re perfect. They do try, as I understand again --

Mrs. Campbell: At a $25,000 a year rake-off for a part-time job they ought to be excellent.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Nobody’s perfect. We must remember that they do a lot of work in a year. I think they probably certify over 3,000 cases a year in terms of disability.

There is a full opportunity for presentation of any additional medical evidence and so on. The fact that the case you mentioned was righted, I think is significant. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my staff. I think they are sensitive --

Mrs. Campbell: It wasn’t righted by them; it was righted by me.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I think they are sensitive of people; if someone does get misjudged in some way they try to right it. In the case you mentioned, it was rectified and I’m happy that that was done.

We’re doing the best we can. There certainly will be inequities. There’ll be individual cases that will need more individual attention or reassessment and we’re happy to review those.

Mr. B. Newman: I wanted to ask the minister if he is taking into consideration the new rent increases that have been imposed on individuals on any type of government assistance programme, especially under the GWA. Mr. Minister, you’re aware that it isn’t possible for a lot of people to get the accommodations for the price you allow them under your programme. The only way they can get by is to deprive themselves of something and it generally happens to be food. Seeing an individual just last Saturday in my constituency office, 18 years of age, 105 lb in weight, certainly indicates that the young lad has been disadvantaged for a long period of time to be that light, the family having been do general welfare assistance for some period of time. What are you doing concerning rent increases?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In terms of rent increases -- or that element of the payment I think you are talking about, may I say that, in general terms, the emphasis is really on trying to increase or better the lot of the broader spectrum instead of just zeroing in on those persons who may be suffering the largest rent increases.

What I am saving, of course, is that we have to be careful that we don’t concentrate on one narrow aspect. As soon as we increase the allowance for rent, of course, there are landlords who may feel that is something which should be passed on to them because we have provided for that.

Hopefully, the rent review board we have will have some impact in terms of escalating rents. At present we do not have a plan in terms of overall increases, I want to be frank about that. If anything is done, I think it would lie done in as broad a context as possible to benefit the most people with that increase.

Mr. B. Newman: If I may ask the minister: What recourse has a landlord who does not receive the rental he’s entitled to from an individual who is in one of the government assistance programmes, be it GWA or another programme? I have had this brought to my attention by at least five landlords within a very short period of time.

Apparently the money is received by the individual but it is not passed on to the landlord. In all cases the rental was not exorbitant at all but it was spent for other purpose. In the meantime the landlord is out and has difficulty even in getting the tenant to vacate. If the tenant does vacate he doesn’t pay any rental for another one or two months and in the meantime the landlord has taken quite a financial heating. I am not referring to large landlords who have multiple apartments but one who may be renting the upstairs of his home or may have one income property only, but is being disadvantaged in this fashion.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Now you are getting to that problem and I may say I have that type of problem referred from members on all sides of the House. You are not talking about the large corporate landlord; you are talking about the ordinary citizen who may have accommodation he is renting to someone and he depends upon the rent. I may say again, in rent terms generally -- and you did mention rent increases -- a municipality has the right to give supplementary assistance for rent.

Mr. Deans: But they can’t afford it.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: If you are dealing at the municipal level, the municipality has a right to pay, under OWA, directly to the landlord. Under FBA we don’t have that right. I suppose in exceptional cases we could pay to a trustee if circumstances dictated that the person couldn’t really manage that money. But we don’t have any mechanism, under FBA, to pay directly to the landlord.

Mr. B. Newman: The minister did receive from me the names of at least three individuals who did not pay their rentals. He has replied and I wish there was some way by which we could see that the small landlord especially is not out of pocket on a thing like this. If a person went into any one of the chain stores and stole a pound of meat or anything from the store, he probably could get 30 days or some type of monetary penalty.

When this individual does not pay his rent to that small landlord, he is really stealing, after a fashion, from that person and he might be adversely affecting the livelihood of that small landlord. Yet there seems to be nothing we can do to help that small landlord. I wish there was some way your officials could figure out so that the small landlord is not out of pocket when he finds a tenant of his has disappeared in the middle of the night, owing one, two or even three months’ back rent. For the little landlord that small amount of rent or the larger amount is a real hardship on him. Is there no answer so that this would happen with less frequency?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: The only answer is the answer that I’ve given, that we haven’t any mechanism now, and I don’t know of one, frankly, whereby we could pay directly to the landlords. I don’t accept your parallel between something that may be a criminal offence and someone who doesn’t pay the rent. I know that non-payment of rent is serious as well, I know it’s often awkward and difficult and sometimes tortuous to have to sue a tenant for rent. But there is a process of recovery. I’m repeating myself but we don’t have the right under our regulations to pay a landlord directly. Under CWA they can pay the rent directly to the landlord.

Mr. B. Newman: There is no relationship between the two -- the individual who may take something from a supermarket or some other store. However, both people are out of pocket eventually but the small landlord is really being punished to a great extent.

Is the ministry thinking in the case of individuals who are under GWA of using the same principle with them as is used with the guaranteed income supplement? For each $2 you have of income your guaranteed income supplement is reduced by $1 so that an individual on a welfare programme would be encouraged to work. Each $2 he may earn would reduce his welfare assistance by $1. I don’t know if you can encourage them to work in all instances because in some municipalities there is no work. Where does one find work?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Frankly, I think that the FBA recipient is really in a better position than that because he is entitled to keep the first $400 of earnings and 25 per cent of the remainder, so there is that provision there.

Mr. B. Newman: How about the OWA?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, GWA is permissible at the municipal level. It’s up to the municipality.

Mr. Acting Chairman: Order, please. I gather that there will be other speakers on the item. Considering the hour, perhaps --

Mr. Deans: Is it possible to complete it by 10:30?

Mr. R. S. Smith: I think there are about three or four more votes.

Mr. Deans: Out of curiosity, could you ask if it is possible?

Mr. Acting Chairman: Are there other speakers who wish to discuss item 2, income maintenance?

Mr. R. S. Smith: Maybe we could finish if the questions were short and the answers were short.

Mr. Acting Chairman: I have already two people on my list so I think perhaps we would be better to stop. Is it the consensus of the House that we finish this vote before we rise and report?

Mr. Deans: I’m prepared to do that, provided it’s done within the next five minutes. I’d like to finish the vote before we rise. If we can agree to rise in five minutes, I’d be delighted to do so.

Mr. Acting Chairman: Do all sides of the House agree to that?

Mr. Breithaupt: Yes, Mr. Chairman, we can agree to that without any difficulty as long as section 2 of the vote then carries.

Mr. Acting Chairman: All right then we will ask the member for Bellwoods to proceed.

Mr. McClellan: I just wanted to raise again very quickly the question of the benefit rate for GAINS disabled recipients. I want to tie it specifically to a group of disabled GAINS recipients in Bellwoods Park House whose plight I brought to the attention of the minister last March. I remind you again that they have a comfort allowance of $43 a month.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Have you specific people in mind you wish us to check?

Mr. McClellan: I am talking about 50 people in the residence who, I understand, have had the same amount, a comfort allowance of $43 a month and a transportation allowance of either $15 or $30 a month. It is totally inadequate, and you must understand that. You gave a commitment to examine this need. If that isn’t an example of disadvantaged and helpless people who have a profound need for assistance from your ministry, I don’t know what the hell is. And you continue to send back a nonsensical reply like that: “We will examine the need.” My God, can’t you unbend sufficiently to raise the GAINS rates, and to provide adequate comfort allowances for the disabled in institutions, and provide a decent transportation allowance for people?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again you are talking about Bellwoods House. You are talking about a charitable institution under the Charitable Institutions Act. And presumably that is the approach.

Mr. McClellan: You don’t have to bring it up again.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I just have two quick things, Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask in regard to the rehabilitation programme that we are not going to touch upon very much, when we can expect an increase in complement in the rehabilitation services across the province. I referred two brothers for rehabilitation services; one of them has been seen and the other one can’t he seen for three or four weeks. In northern Ontario I believe the complement is far below that which is able to service the community.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, since the last estimates we have increased the number over the province by 50 and I think we have addressed the problem that you raised last year.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Yes, but not in my specific area.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There have been 14 additional people taken on in the north.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I don’t know what they are doing?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well I hope they are looking after you.

Mr. R. S. Smith: The other point I want to make is in areas for consideration in establishing guidelines. This is one of your documents put out to your people early in the game of restraint. And I just want to quote this under special assistance and supplementary aid: “Dental assistance: Issue dental cards only upon request by recipients.”

I think that is ridiculous and just an affront to anybody with any intelligence. In other words, if these people don’t have the ability to know that they are entitled to a dental card they don’t get it, and that is just ridiculous.

Mr. B. Newman: That’s right.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again we thought that was sensible, rather than to issue these cards automatically whether they are needed or not and have them floating around. They could very well have a cash value, you know.

Mr. R. S. Smith: How about the people who don’t know they are entitled to it?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Oh, I am sure that --

Mr. R. S. Smith: There are lots of people who don’t know.

Mr. B. Newman: Lots who don’t know.

Mr. R. S. Smith: They should have the card automatically if they are entitled to it.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am surprised at that, because I am doing everything I can to ensure that people are well informed. That is a part of our information system.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Why don’t you just give them the card? That will inform them that they are entitled to it.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It is easy to wave your arms and say give everybody a card, whether they need it or not and whether they can hand it to somebody else to use.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Do you know of anybody who goes to the dentist who doesn’t have to?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I think it is a matter of exercising some controls; I think they are sensible controls. We are spending a lot of money in social services as you know. It is a question of how open you want to be. And I think we would be criticized -- and probably by you --

Mr. R. S. Smith: Not by me.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- if we were too loose, if the arrangements were too open on things such as this.

Mr. Acting Chairman: Shall item 2 of vote 2702 carry? Carried,

Will there be discussion on item 3? No? We can adjourn and resume discussion of item 3 later.

Hon. Mr. Taylor moved the committee rise and report.

Motion agreed to.

The House resumed, Mr. Deputy Speaker in the chair.

Mr. Acting Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of supply begs to report it has come to certain resolutions and asks for leave to sit again.

Report agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, before adjourning the House I would indicate for the House leader that on Monday and Tuesday of next week we will consider legislation.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Am I to understand that these estimates will not be called on either Monday or Tuesday?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That is correct.

Mr. R. S. Smith: When will these estimates be called again?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I think we’ll have to consult with the House leader. My instructions were that those were the arrangements made. It was my understanding that the estimates would resume on Thursday and Friday, the 17th and 18th or the following Monday. I don’t know; I’m not telling you. I’m just saying it’s something the House leaders will have to work out.

Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, if I can be helpful. The intention at the moment is to proceed with legislation on Monday and to stay on legislation until we have completed all of the legislation currently before the House which has to be passed before adjournment. Then we will return to estimates and stay with estimates until the clock runs out.

That would mean we would likely be on legislation on Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday, if not all of Wednesday, with the government’s confidence motion coming some time on Thursday afternoon, presumably. From that point on, we’ll go to estimates until we’re completed. It’s very likely we’ll be sitting Monday and Tuesday.

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

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 10:35 p.m.