30e législature, 3e session

L083 - Mon 14 Jun 1976 / Lun 14 jun 1976

The House resumed at 8 p.m.

Clerk of the House: The ninth order, resuming of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 94, An Act to provide Certain Protections for Purchasers of New Homes.


Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, supported as I am by the socialist hordes behind me, I’d like to -- two of the horde have arrived.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’d watch those fellows.

Mr. Renwick: I did want to pick up briefly on the remarks which I was making at the time of the adjournment on Bill 94, which is entitled, delightfully, An Act to provide Certain Protections for Purchasers of New Homes. We wouldn’t want to think for a moment that we were providing for a bill which would provide all of the protections for the buyer of a new home; we wouldn’t want to ever go that far in it.

What I was saying just before the private member’s bill was called at 5 o’clock, was that there’s a strange philosophy around that every time we move to deal with the business community in any of its aspects, and in particular the real estate industry in the Province of Ontario, we are immediately confronted by the Conservative government -- aided and abetted, as I said earlier, by members of the Liberal Party, who, from time to time, can be classified as composing a party -- that all we are legislating is about a small group of scoundrels, and that everybody else is fine. And if it wasn’t just for the small group of scoundrels, we would never ever have to deal with anything in this Legislature.

I guess it’s a profound difference in our philosophy about the jurisprudence of what is taking place to indicate quite clearly that the place where scoundrels are dealt with is under the Criminal Code of Canada. But you can’t get to the Criminal Code of Canada, until the provinces within their jurisdiction have established standards of behaviour, very high standards of behaviour, below which nobody can fall. And then you provide a venue by which the criminal law can come in and deal with those who, despite those high standards, persist in breaking them in a way which is wilful and neglectful of what their obligations are to the society which is involved.

I would like to try once again, as we did in a number of other bills before the assembly from time to time, to reassert the proposition that we in this party are not engaged in talking about a small group of scoundrels.

I don’t think that there’s anybody in this party, and I’m quite certain in the Legislature of Ontario, who considers that they’re here solely to deal with a small group of scoundrels and we pass all our laws for that purpose, and we impose immense obligations on the rest of the business community in order to apprehend a few scoundrels. That has nothing to do with it; so let’s stop talking about it.

Let’s simply say that what we are here engaged in is raising the standard of behaviour in an industry which has had sufficient indication, province-wide, that it does not adhere to a standard of behaviour which is acceptable within society as a whole. And when we’ve established that standard of behaviour, and when there are wilful and gross breaches of it, then the criminal law can pick up.

But that’s all that the criminal law is for. The criminal law is not engaged in enforcing other than minimal standards of behaviour. We are engaged in legislating relatively high standards of behaviour. There was a great deal of tut-tuttings when my colleague, the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans), was speaking earlier today in the debate about whether his majority was right or whether your majority was right or whether the Liberal Party’s sense of majority was right, and whether or not that’s what this bill was all about; I reiterate what I said before the adjournment for the private members’ hour at 5 o’clock, that if I have to accept, and I readily would accept, the conclusions drawn by my colleague the member for Wentworth and the work which he has physically done in this world about this whole question of standards, as opposed to the conclusions drawn by the experience of anybody else in the assembly, I would accept his, willingly, wholeheartedly and totally.

Mr. Shore: And forcibly.

Mr. Renwick: I am suggesting to the minister that in the course of this debate we not kid around about what we are talking about. We are trying in this bill to provide marginal protections and marginal protections only. I want to say to the minister that we in this caucus have great difficulty with bills like this. These are the kinds of bills which we had to suffer along with in the days of the Conservative majority in this assembly. We had to try desperately to say to ourselves they are good bills because they do something in that a Tory government would even consider that it would introduce them.

Those times have changed. I want the minister to know, along with any other members of the government who happen to have any influence upon the government of Ontario, that if this bill, as we understand it, is not vastly improved in committee of the whole House during the course of that debate, we will vote against it. We are going to caucus specifically about this tomorrow. I am quite sure it will not happen in any event, but if by any chance we should get to committee tonight, I will simply ask that it be stood down, because we will caucus tomorrow about the specific details of the objections which we have to this bill so that we can introduce amendments in committee of the whole House; and if they are not accepted within reasonable limits of the give and take of debate in this assembly, we will vote against the bill on third reading.

We are not engaged in ultimatums or anything else. I just want simply to say to the government this is an important bill. We are very concerned with it. We do not accept that historic argument that somehow or other you weren’t able to get one at the federal level, after many years of discussion and negotiation, and that now you are bringing in your own bill because the Liberal government in Ottawa has failed to introduce one. We don’t accept that argument, we never have accepted it.

Anybody who has ever had anything to do with the whole question of trying to get uniformity across Canada, at any time on any matter in laws dealing with matters which are strictly within the provincial jurisdiction, will know that somebody has to front-run the game. The Province of Ontario has an immense responsibility in these areas to front-run the game. They haven’t front-run the game at all. They have played along and they have tagged along and now they use it as an excuse; that because there isn’t a federal bill which will be enacted by all of the provinces on a uniform basis they now are coming to the rescue of those persons who are buying houses for the first time.

That flies in the face of history so far as uniformity of legislation is concerned and we do not accept it as an excuse for this government. We consider it only as an occasion for their total unconcern, on the one hand, or their total failure to understand the immense complexity and power of the real estate industry on the other side.

The minister knows full well that in the time of his predecessor when we were dealing with business practices, we tried to get the business practices bill extended to the real estate industry. Oh boy, were we ever chopped down in this party at that time. We had relative acceptance by one minister of the Crown, who then took ill, and the present parliamentary assistant just went along with the total pressure of the industry and the Business Practice Act does not apply to real estate.

Do you know why it doesn’t apply, when it’s such an important contract for people to enter into? We said, precisely because it is that important, that the Business Practice Act must apply to the real estate industry when a person is buying a home, but we have never been able to persuade the Tory party about that.

I think it is trite to say, but it requires restating from time to time, that for the great majority of people in the Province of Ontario -- and by great majority, if somebody wants to argue with me, I will say 90 per cent -- for 90 per cent of the people in the Province of Ontario who want to buy a home it is the single most important transaction of their lifetime.

The number of dollars with which they are involved, either through down payments or mortgage payments and interest payments, make it for most people the one and only major transaction in which they will be involved in their lifetime. The obstacles in the path of consumers in the real estate system in this Province of Ontario are a total disgrace; an absolute, incontrovertible total disgrace. I have reference to the expenses which are involved for anybody who wants to buy a new home, let alone the hurdles with which he is involved if he wants to buy a home which has already been inhabited.

The reason they are a total disgrace is because nobody ever faces up to the problem that from the consumer’s point of view it is the major transaction of that particular person’s lifetime.

What are we faced with? A bill which talks about what? -- warranties. Let me, with the greatest respect to my profession, describe that as one of the finest weasel words in the vocabulary of the English language. In the county courts and in the Supreme Court of Ontario, and in the Supreme Court of Canada, it has been honed and refined for various classifications at various times; the word has different meanings for different people in different areas of law, and for different purposes.

It has no meaning for the ordinary citizen, because he assumes it means something simple. Then when somebody says, “I warrant to you so and so”, he says, “That man has guaranteed to me so and so.” That’s what the word “warranty” means to the ordinary citizen, and that’s what in most of my talk I think it means. It doesn’t mean that. When we talk about a bill, which in section 13 -- it’s a wonderful number for the section; it’s a misfortune that the minister’s bill should provide that in section 13, since I happen to be superstitious when I talk about this kind of problem.

When the bill says that every vendor of a home warrants to the owner, the ordinary citizens of the province consider that word “warrant” means “guarantee”; that that means the person who warrants to him stands behind that contract for everything which it says.

Well every now and then, when we are involved in these intricate refinements and honing of words of the English language which mean something to the ordinary citizen and you want to understand what they mean, the last place you go is the judicial dictionaries. You go to something called the Oxford dictionary. Some time when you have nothing else to do look it up. Warranty: If you were buying a house -- I spoiled my whole line for the evening. If you were buying a horse and somebody warranted to you that it was in sound condition and it turned out to be in unsound condition, in the early days of English law you returned the horse. For most people in Ontario -- and this is how I spoiled my major line of the evening -- if you change the “r” to a “u” most people think that’s what it should be; if the warranty doesn’t stand up they should be able to say to the vendor, be he builder or seller of that house or property, “I am walking away from it; you can have it.” We can deal with the questions, as my colleague from Wentworth said, of the wall that is not plumb, the line that is not square, the house that will settle, the water that will flow into the basement and all of the rest of it. We can walk away from it and say, “You build it, you sold it; you take it back and sell it to somebody else. Don’t leave me with the remedy and damages. It is totally inadequate for the purposes for which it is required.”


I want the minister to understand that what we in this party are talking about is not some sort of minor adjustments of the bill. We want very much to get in this assembly, in this Parliament, in the time that is left to us in this Parliament -- and God knows how long that will be -- some kind of a bill which will be meaningful.

If we look at the other definition of “warranty” in the Oxford English Dictionary, it means something incidental to the main contract. When you are buying a house, and it’s the major transaction of your lifetime, the question of whether or not the house is properly built is not something incidental to the main contract. And that is what the law has done for its own purposes to the various terms which are involved in it.

I intend no disrespect to the legal profession, but every lawyer comes, as I do and as every other professional man does, with certain blinkers on the way in which he perceives the problems with which he is faced. The minister has come to this through the eyes of lawyers and through the eyes of the court; for practical purposes, he has adopted a definition which, in the final elucidation of the term “warranty,” is in the Sale of Goods Act of the Province of Ontario.

“Warranty” means an agreement with reference to goods [in the bill before us, the reference is to a house] that are the subject of a contract of sale but collateral to the main purpose of the contract, the breach of which gives rise to a claim for damages but not to a right to reject the goods [I will substitute the word “house” for “goods”] and treat the contract as repudiated.

Even in the sale of goods, which for most people is a transitory matter of one kind or another -- it is designed for merchants and those who deal in goods, and not really for consumer protection -- they have a distinction between what is a warranty, which is a collateral matter to the main contract for which your only remedy is damages, and something called a condition, which says that if there is a breach of that condition, you can repudiate the contract or you can elect to treat the condition as a warranty and sue for damages. It’s the buyer of the goods who is given those privileges to treat those things in that distinctive way, who is given the option to step down from the one stratum of law to the other stratum and seek only damages for the remedy.

When one reads this bill and can understand it -- and I have tried to make it somewhat clear, without getting involved in the immense intricacies of warranties and all the rest of the things -- then one can perhaps understand why we in this party feel so strongly about the bill and why it is, with great reluctance in this present situation, that we are prepared to support the bill on second reading. But we will want significant and important changes in it, because we cannot say to a person who buys a house in the Province of Ontario at this time, at the cost which is involved in terms of the overall mortgage payments and the runout of the amortized payments over many years, that whether the house is properly built is a matter collateral to the main object. We just can’t say that.

It’s very funny how all of the refinements of the word “warranty” work through. The funny thing is, when you get into insurance law and the insured person warrants certain things to the insurance companies, what right do the insurance companies have?

The insurance companies have the old right in law to walk away from the contract. All I am pleading for, and I have pleaded about it on many other occasions, is that the English language is designed for communication, not for obfuscation. The ordinary sense and meaning of the terms are important.

When one is talking about the rights of people who are buying houses, they shouldn’t have to consult a lawyer to find out what the terms mean. I am saying to the minister that this bill is engaged in the obfuscation of the problem which we are involved with. We are talking about a builder, or a person who sells a home which has never formerly been inhabited, and that he be required to guarantee the home -- that is what we want.

My colleague, the member for Wentworth, made it very clear to you. He thinks the only conceivable way it is possible to do that -- and he may very well be right; he has a lot more practical knowledge about these matters than I will ever have -- he may very well be right that the only method is by an inspection on the spot at the time.

It is very interesting that when you are building a Bank of Commerce tower, or when you are building the ManuLife Centre, or when you are building any edifice on which you can afford the luxury of an architect, there is just no way that building is ever transferred in the commercial world without very significant and different guarantees and protections that are never available to the homeowner.

I am not going to go on at great length. I just want to say to the minister that my colleagues in the House don’t want him to misunderstand our position on the bill. We will introduce very significant amendments. We will not accept the proposition that this word “warranty” is just going to float out there to be used for court applications or questions of whether or not damages will flow.

We are going to say to the minister and we are going to say to the government that this bill has got to be protected. It has got to be perfect. We have waited too long over too many sessions for us to fool around any longer in this kind of pussy-footing operation with respect to the protection of those who buy new homes. Because we have got to get on to the protection of people who will buy homes that have been occupied before. If you don’t start at the right place some time, then you are going to be in serious trouble.

I want the minister to know that we don’t happen to have an overall umbrella of what we will do with respect to the real property law of this province when we become the government, or if we become the government -- or if we still remain in opposition, what we will urge upon the government to do.

We will certainly correct the land registration system. We will certainly ensure that a sketch of survey will be available. We will certainly ensure that soil tests will be available. We will certainly ensure that the flow of water is discernible and understood by the person who is buying the home. We will certainly make certain that the house is built according to certain acceptable plans and specifications as the minimal requirement. And we will certainly make certain that if there is anything which can be categorized as a major defect, that it will be equivalent to a condition under the law of sale of goods, and that the buyer will be able to reject the contract and turn the house back if he wishes to do so.

In other circumstances, it may very well be that they are matters, as the word “warranty” has become to be known in the law of the sale of goods, which are incidental to the main thing on which the remedy will be damages. Or, it may be somewhere in between, where it will be up to the buyer of the house to elect whether he will treat it as a condition and repudiate the contract and turn the house back; or elect otherwise to treat it as a warranty and get damages for it.

Those are very significant problems that we have with this bill. Every time the government introduces a piece of legislation, we can’t assume that it still thinks it is the majority in the Province of Ontario. We, every now and then, have to decide what we will do. In this particular instance, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We had to have something in the law dealing with this matter. Therefore we agreed that we are going to support the bill on second reading against the immense divisions within our caucus as to whether or not we should or should not support it. Those remarks have been mirrored by my colleague the member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt), who is just as reluctant as anybody else in the assembly to support it, and just as reluctant as, if not more so than, my colleague the member for Wentworth, with all of his experience to support it.

Mr. Shore: They have more positions than Masters and Johnson.

Mr. Renwick: We’re going to support the bill. That’s a gesture toward the government. But we also want the minister to understand if we do not get substantial amendments, not by way of ultimatum to the government but in the give and take of debate within this assembly during the course of this bill in committee of the whole House, then I can assure him, for whatever that’s worth -- and I’m quite certain it doesn’t strike terror in the hearts of the Tory government knowing full well the support which it always manages to get in the assembly -- we will vote against the bill on third reading. That is in no way a threat or an ultimatum or anything else. That’s simply saying to him what our course of action will be during the course of the debate in this assembly.

Mr. Nixon: Good heavens!

Mr. Shore: No no, a statement of fact.

Mr. Renwick: I regret having to take up such an immense amount of time on this bill but my colleague from Durham East, my colleague from Wentworth, and myself, are all expressing to you, Mr. Speaker, what this caucus in this House at this time feels about this kind of a bill.

Mr. Shore: I would like to make a few comments on this bill and suggest that in principle we certainly support the concept. I’d like to make a few statements, though in direct reply and response to some of the comments of the member for Wentworth and more recently the member for Riverdale.

I won’t debate how capable and how knowledgeable the member for Wentworth may be in the house-building industry, but he’d want to rethink some of his allegations and some of his statements because they either directly or indirectly address themselves to very severe poor workmanship put on by qualified, capable people. I think he’s made those statements extreme to such an extent that if I were the trades people I’d want to look at these statements because I don’t think they stand the light of truth and may not be doing justice to much of the trades involved in the house-building industry.

In relation to the concept, I believe, it’s too bad that when the government tries to put forward a bill or a piece of legislation that is going to address itself to some problems it has to go very often from one extreme to another. That’s what the member for Wentworth is suggesting and that’s certainly what the member for Riverdale is suggesting. With the greatest respect, I believe very strongly, whether they like it or whether they don’t like it, that the housing industry in Canada is for the purposes of the people.

If the government puts any overly undue restrictions on this whole industry, whether it likes it or whether it doesn’t like it, and I’m getting to believe that they like it, it’s going to scare the whole industry out of the field. I don’t think that’s healthy to the same very people that these people are purportedly trying to protect. I don’t think one has to go to the extreme in trying to rationalize a fair and equitable plan. I don’t think the government has, as the member has suggested, to come to immediate grips with it. Let’s try something out first, I suggest, and if improvements are needed at a later time, then that’s the way to address ourselves to them. I cannot think of a more obvious one than the rent control bill, which I think is a catastrophe, and I’ll put that on the record personally.

Mr. Renwick: It is one of the greatest pieces of legislation that has been passed in this assembly.

Mr. Shore: The member for Riverdale has suggested that the whole purpose is not to take care of the few bad apples. No one has suggested that at all. But what always brings these things to light is a certain number of bad apples.


Mr. Renwick: This member did and that member did.

Mr. Shore: I’m saying what usually brings these things to light is that type of thing. He also stressed that when a person buys a house and they’re not satisfied with it at the time of transition, they should get their money back and go home. Now I want to tell you something that maybe even the member for Wentworth isn’t aware of, in his hipboots and everything else; that human beings are what they are sometimes, and very often you’re not talking about a $1.98 item or something like that, where you come back and you give it back; very often, and I’ve seen it and it’s not unduly uncommon, for any number of reasons, not necessarily on the basis of the workmanship or warranties, but for other reasons, it may well be they’re going to try to get out of a contract. You just don’t hand back a $50,000 contract, that’s very often done on a contractual basis rather than on a spec basis or otherwise.

Does he suggest that at the whim of any particular moment, if they’re not satisfied, they can go and stick the owner or the builder? You’ve got to be fair to both sides in this, and I think this bill has tried to address itself to that aspect. If it can’t be policed and properly administered, then they can take another look at it. But please, I say, for the sake of the people buying the houses, never mind the builders, if the minister goes to the extremes these colleagues on the right have suggested, on almost any piece of legislation, he’s going to ruin an industry and ultimately ruin it for the public.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, as an individual who has had some experience in having to deal with people in the construction industry, and particularly the ones who build homes in subdivisions, I’m not sure that we’re going to scare them. If we do scare them, I think we’re going to scare them in the direction that they will be concerned about the kind of product they put out and what they put into the product and what they sell to the people.

The people are prepared to pay. Maybe they’re not prepared to pay, but they have to pay, and they pay a good buck for the housing that they’re getting these days. But they certainly are not getting the product that they should get. When the member for London North, I think --

Mr. Shore: So far you are right.

Mr. Makarchuk: Yes. When he speaks about the fact that there are a few bad apples in the industry, I should point out to him that in just about --

Mr. Cunningham: A majority according to the member for Wentworth.

Mr. Makarchuk: -- every subdivision that I had to deal with, and I have had to deal with quite a few subdivisions in the city of Brantford, there have been major complaints from the people who have moved into those subdivisions. It wasn’t a matter of just one builder in one subdivision, but there were builders in every subdivision who were putting out shabby products, who were trying to evade the building code, who refused to correct the problems afterwards and we found ourselves, and the municipality found itself, in a position that there’s nothing we can do.

There were subdivisions being built where at least 50 per cent of the homes had outstanding work orders against them. Unfortunately, the municipality found itself in the position that there really is no way it could enforce these work orders.

The people, of course, were conned into these situations. In most cases the people had put their money down, they made plans to move, they had to move at a certain time. They moved into their homes because they had no other place to live and they were stuck with these things. Then afterwards, when they tried to rectify these problems, when they tried to go and find somebody to help them out, there was nobody to help, there was no place to turn.

You go and see their lawyer; sort of the standard argument. You go and see their lawyer, or you go and see the builder. Of course the lawyer in most cases, was unavailable; and if they did get to the lawyer, eventually, there was little they could do about it. There was no penalty, no financial hold-back or anything of that nature on which they could count or use as a lever to try and bring about the improvements or the repairs to their home.

Consequently, you have a whole series of complaints right now about water coming in, rugs being ruined; where you have drapes --

Mr. Shore: That is why we are supporting this bill.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: That is why we have the bill.

Mr. Makarchuk: You have the drapes being ruined; you have the wiring system ineffective, it doesn’t serve the purposes of the home, the lights dim as the fridge goes on and so on.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Support the bill!

Mr. Makarchuk: Admit it. Now the minister has the bill, the problem has been around for years and years and it makes you wonder just exactly where the government has been for the last 20 years in this situation; this is not a new problem. Finally it has come to the conclusion that it has to have a bill; we want to make sure it’s a darn good bill, that it does serve the purpose, that it doesn’t and is not manipulated the way the government is trying to manipulate or misuse the rent control bill at this time, that we are not stuck with that kind of a situation with this particular bill.

When the minister says at this time, as he has said with the rent control bill that this is the kind of legislation that’s going to go and do the job, and then through his regulations, through his secret little memos to his rent control officers and so on, the minister tries to subvert the whole thing, we are trying to prevent the minister from doing the Same thing with this bill, because this bill is important to the people of Ontario.

Mr. Hall: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to offer a few brief comments on this bill. I view the legislation as a major step in the right direction. The registration of builders, the protection to purchasers, and a clear method of settling differences between purchaser and vendor will be welcomed by both parties to the transaction of acquiring a home.

As the head of a relatively small building company prior to my election last September, I can’t agree in any way with the exaggerated comments made this afternoon along the lines that the majority of builders were not giving value. For 21 years, the people I had the pleasure to work with in this industry did their jobs in all kinds of weather -- in rain, heat and cold -- because essentially it is not a job that can be done indoors as virtually every other job can be. They took necessary risks against injury. They did a lot of hard slugging. They worked overtime to complete tight schedules. They suffered layoffs when business was poor or when governments turned the money off or were slow in unwinding the red tape for lots to be approved to keep a balanced programme functioning.

In spite of all of this, and because of all of this, they took considerable pride in their work. They handled callbacks without complaint. In that period of time there was never a single lien, never a work order, never a single court action or even a threat of same, and never a difference with a customer that wasn’t settled amicably to the satisfaction of the purchaser. I’m not just speaking about one particular company; I am speaking about all the companies that I had contact with.

Builders, their workers, their subtrades and their material suppliers, by far the greater percentage of whom have good standards of performance, will support this bill for two main reasons: They want an industry which makes a small percentage of poor builders come up to the proper standards of workmanship because, as in any profession, one bad apple does cast a dark shadow on everyone; and secondly, because the customer will have a better understanding of his rights and responsibilities when purchasing a home. Sometimes customers have been known to complain unduly about defects for a long period of time when perhaps they didn’t have quite enough funds to pay for all the extras that they had ordered.

The building industry generally will have good reason to discipline itself properly, because it knows very well that the government will take over the job if there are many claims for dissatisfaction.

Mr. Shore: That’s what they want to happen.

Mr. Hall: The building industry has many checks and balances in standards now -- various building codes and material specifications, municipal inspectors, health inspectors, plumbing inspectors, electrical inspectors, mortgage inspectors and professional engineers who under subdivision agreements and what have you, are supposed to establish proper lot drainage grades, survey requirements and many other items that have to be done in the construction of each home.

This applies to all homes, built everywhere, that are permanent residences, and not just on surveyed lots; a lot of homes that are built on difficult sites require some pretty tricky plans. To hear some of the members of the NDP speak you would think it is a very simple task to build a home. But it is not quite that easy.

However, the bill will provide yet another level of inspection. It won’t replace these others. Yet to the extent that better control is needed -- and I agree that some is needed -- I suggest that the house-building industry, which has the most to lose by non-performance, will bring to the fore a good quality of discipline and do a good job on inspection. Many past faults, whether from ignorance or carelessness, will be eliminated immediately by the requirement of registration and proof that a builder is competent in his work. We certainly will be looking at the items clause by clause and hearing the dialogue that takes place, but for the most part I thoroughly support the principle of the bill.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, my remarks will be quite brief, since in listening to the positions presented by the member for Wentworth and the member for Riverdale, and I must admit I agree with most of what they said.

There is one thing I want to really stress to the minister. I would hope that, regardless of the final form of this bill, that the people outside this Legislature, especially people who have never bought a house before -- those who are not very sophisticated in the law and aren’t very familiar with the whole process of home buying -- will be made fully aware of the contents and provisions of this bill.

I think back to the Consumer Protection Act and how little publicity and attention has been given to that Act across this province. I think the publicity was minimal and abysmal. I would dare say if you asked 1,000 people in this province if they knew any of the provisions of that Act, my guess would be 90 to 95 per cent couldn’t name one clause or one provision.

I would certainly hope with this bill, as I say, regardless of the final form, that the minister would make special provisions to make sure the people in all regions of the province find out what’s in this bill -- what their rights are, what the provisions are, and what the procedures are. I would hope we would advertise it in all forms of media, not just the printed word. We should use radio, television, and even use displays to travel around the province to let potential home buyers know exactly what their rights are.

I think legislation can be good in itself, but if people aren’t aware of the provisions of it, then the actual benefits are very limited. I would really stress that whatever the final form is, that the minister take this publicity approach into consideration.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I think at the outset I would like to express my gratitude to the member for Riverdale, who made quite clear to me something which was completely unclear during the debate. Because if one had come in just a little bit later and missed the last remarks of the member for Durham East, one could not have concluded other than that the New Democrats were going to oppose this bill. The member for Riverdale made it quite clear --

Mr. Moffatt: No, I didn’t say that.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: -- but he hasn’t made me understand why; I simply don’t.

Mr. Renwick: You know very well. You understand perfectly.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I understand that they say there has to be a bill, and therefore they will approve it on second reading. They will approve in principle the bill that has been put forward to them. Then they say, through the member for Riverdale, that unless there are substantial and significant changes in this bill -- and I think I’m using his exact words -- they will vote against it on third reading.

Now, speaking for the government, I want to say this, something I think that has always been our principle in this Legislature. That is, when improvements can be made without destroying the principle of a bill, this government has always been amenable to amendments which will accomplish that.

Mr. Renwick: We welcome that statement.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I am quite prepared to see the amendments that the New Democrats are proposing to put forward. I just want to point out, though, that when the member for Durham East spoke and the member for Wentworth spoke and the member for Riverdale spoke, there was not one word said in support of the principle of this bill. There was nothing but negatives all the way through their comments.

I must say that I do not share the jaundiced view of the small business sector and the building industry in this province, that seems to be expressed by the member for Wentworth, the member for Riverdale, the member for Brantford, etc.

We happen to feel that the people of Ontario are the best housed people in the world, and that has been accomplished through the efforts of the building industry. There has been no legislation whatsoever which has governed the quality of building other than the common law, because every buyer of a house has always had recourse through litigation if not satisfied with the quality; and the builders have met the needs of the people of this province.

I listened to the litany of the so-called improvements that the member for Riverdale would make to the real estate industry in this province if, as and when his party form the government, and I didn’t hear any suggestion there whatsoever that the next sentence was going to be, “We will also reduce the cost of housing” -- because every item that he mentioned would have nothing but an --

Mr. Renwick: We have already said that and you know that.

Mr. Samis: That is not within the scope of the bill.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: -- inflationary effect on the cost of housing.

The member for Durham East has said the government is bringing this in late -- and, of course, the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) did explain that to some extent.

Mr. Moffatt: He didn’t explain it, he rationalized it.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: But I think there is some confusion and I want to clarify it. There was never any suggestion that the federal government was going to bring in a bill. What the federal government was trying to do was to bring the provinces, the consumers’ associations and the industry together, to develop a uniform standard which would then be legislated by the provinces. Those meetings broke up in failure. Ontario is the only province which has brought in the kind of legislation that we think will provide the leadership in this country. Copies of our bill have already been requested by other provinces so that they can look at them.

What you have in the other provinces of this country, Mr. Speaker, are voluntary plans run completely by the trade association of the builders in those provinces. That is not good enough for Ontario and I have made it quite clear to my colleagues in government and to the industry that we could not accept a voluntary plan as is instituted in the other provinces. We have here mandatory standards and mandatory registration -- and I must say that I have more faith in the incentive of deregistration, the incentive of the cheque book which will require the builders to upgrade their standards.

The member for Wentworth said there is nothing in this bill which will require anybody to improve his standards of construction. Of course there is. The threat of being out of business is the incentive. They can be deregistered. We have provided appeal rights for anybody who is deregistered, but I think that is the ultimate incentive.

There has been suggestion that the warranty should be for 10 years. Here we have almost no experience in Canada with a five-year plan and we are already talking about 10 years. Again, I have no objection to 10 years. I don’t know what five years is going to cost yet. The insurance business has tried to estimate and we will learn by experience how much it is going to cost in the price of a house for five-year protection. It is not one year. It is five years.

Mr. Deans: Give me some facts, Handleman. Give me some facts.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: One year for ordinary construction problems and four years for major structural defects.

We are told that Britain has two years. I should point out that Britain has a voluntary plan. There is no legislation in Britain that requires any warranty. They started off with one year; they decided to try two years. The experience has been bad and there’s a simple straightforward reason. If you had a two-year warranty on ordinary cosmetic problems, as have been outlined by the member for Wentworth and the member for Durham East --

Mr. Deans: Ordinary cosmetic? What are you talking about -- insulation is cosmetic?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The member for Wentworth wasn’t here when we were talking about cosmetic problems. It was the member for Durham East.

Mr. Deans: What’s cosmetic about insulation?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the member for Wentworth be quiet?


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, we are talking about satisfaction, not major structural defects. We are talking about the kind of problem that can be corrected, and can be corrected quite simply without great expense. There has been no incentive to do that.

In Britain, the homeowner in buying his house knows that he has two years in which to report those. As was quite properly pointed out by many members, the homeowner is not an expert in construction. He does not understand the problems that may arise and as a result he tends to defer his complaints until the end of the warranty period: “I can live with that.” He doesn’t know that it may develop into a major structural defect.

The people in England have suggested stay away from a two-year warranty, go back to one. Now having gone to two, they are having great difficulty of course in backing away from it, but they now recognize it as counter-productive. It does not really assist anyone to have a two-year warranty. The one-year warranty plus the extended major structural defect warranty is the one that we have settled on, the one that most of the other provinces are using on a voluntary basis, and the one that the British suggest we stick to.

There have been suggestions that the building code is not a satisfactory set of standards, that there are defects in the building code. The building code has been in effect in this province since April of this year. We have appointed an advisory council on the building code on which are represented a large variety of skills -- engineers, builders, manufacturers of products, building inspectors. Almost every organization in this province which has an interest in building is represented on this council and we expect them to monitor the code, to tell us where the defects are and what corrections have to be made. Because as most members know the code is made up of regulations primarily and we can change, we can be flexible in the code and we are prepared to be that way, but we have --

Mr. Renwick: And the enforcement is decentralized across the province.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Of course the enforcement of the code is decentralized, as enforcement of this Act will be.

I think it was the member for Wentworth North who mentioned that he hoped the caveat emptor principle is still in effect in this province. It is our philosophy that caveat emptor should apply where it is possible for the consumer to exercise that kind of caution.

An hon. member: That’s a good point.

Mr. Renwick: I think we should fight the election on the caveat emptor.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: If the consumer is not able to exercise that kind of caution, then we suggest that legislation should provide the necessary parameters within which he can obtain the protection. We do not feel that the consumer is a completely helpless being in the marketplace, where he has to be led around by the hand and shown the way to go as the member for Cornwall suggested. Certainly we intend to publicize this. I am sure the member for Cornwall would be the first one to object if I appeared on channel 8 in Cornwall night after night promoting the legislation because he would say we were using it for political propaganda.

Mr. Moffatt: You would be.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I hope to have a budget which will enable me to publicize this legislation because I think it is good. It is pioneer legislation. It will be developed as time goes by and as we find the flaws in it. There is no question about that. We will be coming up later tonight -- I expect immediately after the vote on this bill -- with amendments to another bill which is of very recent vintage. It is pioneer legislation to which we are bringing forward amendments to improve it, and we always do that. As long as this party is in government we will always do it.

The member for Wentworth doesn’t seem to understand that the incentive to the builder to upgrade his standards is there in the deregistration.

Mr. Deans: I understand. You don’t care about the individual buyer. You want to protect the builder. Why don’t you tell the truth?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: He talks about accountability. Of course the council is accountable to government. The very clause that says the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall designate a non-profit corporation is the protection.

Mr. Deans: Who are you going to designate?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We are going to designate the HUDAC council which is now in place.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Wentworth has spoken on second reading. He will have an opportunity during clause by clause.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that in the Act anything that is designated -- and I don’t know whether this is coining a word or not -- can be de-designated. The government has the right to take away the designation from any corporation which is named under this Act and replace it with another one. So there is no problem whatsoever. If it doesn’t work out, and I have every confidence it will, the government has the ultimate authority to change the rules. Then we will have no objection and no hesitation whatsoever in doing that.

One of the things that doesn’t seem to be taken into account is the cost to the homeowner.

Mr. Deans: That’s where a few thousand others have been robbed.

Mr. Shore: Does the member for Wentworth trust his mother-in-law?

Mr. Deans: She’s dead.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We can insist that every building that is built in this province be absolutely letter perfect, that there not be a single thing wrong with it. The principle that right as soon as one moves in there should be satisfaction or money back, which has been proposed so forcefully by the member for Riverdale, could not apply in this industry; it simply cannot.

Mr. Renwick: Why not?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: When one cancels or rescinds a contract in the real estate industry it is like upsetting a deck of cards. One card falls and they all fall.

Mr. Deans: Don’t be silly.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The transaction is one in a series of transactions. The right of rescission --

Mr. Renwick: That’s ridiculous.

Mr. Drea: What about that crackpot thing you put in on Bill 55? You know what happens when you do that.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I don’t think there is any point in belabouring our adherence to the principle of this bill because I understand there will be a number of amendments. I am looking forward to seeing the nature of those amendments because if they will improve the bill, if they will not destroy the principle of self-regulation that is incorporated in this bill, then obviously we will give them serious consideration. I am sure all members of the House will regardless of which side they sit on. If they are trying to destroy the principle of the bill, then I must say Mr. Speaker, we will have to accept the negative vote of the New Democrats on third reading.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for committee of the whole House?



Hon. Mr. Handleman moved second reading of Bill 98, An Act to amend the Travel Industry Act, 1974.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to just make a few brief introductory remarks. Bill 98 results from some of the comments that were made during the examination of my estimates very recently. I think it is an indication of how quickly we were able to respond to criticisms which are made from time to time. I made a commitment during the estimates that, if there was something wrong with the Travel Industry Act, I would not hesitate to bring forward amendments. I think I have carried out that commitment by introducing this bill.

Mr. Moffatt: If you absolutely will, you have to.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: In essence, there are two major changes which are incorporated in this bill. One of them permits a travel agent to claim compensation where he himself has compensated the traveller who bought a trip from him which was not delivered by a travel wholesaler. He has passed on the funds to the travel wholesaler and he has dealt at arm’s length and in good faith with that wholesaler. We have always intended that that be the case.

The hon. member for Riverdale mentioned, coincidentally, section 13 is an amendment to section 13 of the original Act which was discussed at great length in the Legislature on the original debate, and in our view the amendment reflects the intention of the original Act.

We are also strengthening the Act to permit our ministry to seize any assets which are apparent to us during the course of an investigation. We have found that quite often we conduct the investigation and by the time it’s completed and we have found that some devious actions have taken place, there are no assets which can be taken to offset some of the compensation out of the fund.

What we are doing in the final substantive section of the bill is to change some of the regulations which were made under the bill; because those regulations had dates attached to them, in order to ensure that they are valid, that there is no question of litigation on them, we are asking the Legislature to make them valid retroactively upon approval of this bill.

Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, we welcome these changes in the Act. The minister was correct in that the items were raised during his estimates, but I think it was obvious to many members on this side of the House, who have had contact with not only the individuals who were affected, who lost out on various tours in the pre-Christmas time, and in talking with a number of the travel agents across the province, that there were some problems with this legislation.

We welcome the cleaning up of the Act, so to speak, because it now protects not only the consumer but the travel agent, I think, as we said during estimates, that the travel agent, who is a frontliner, so to speak, in the industry, when he was saying to his customers: “I’m sorry, I can’t reimburse you, you have to go to the government for that.” The client just couldn’t understand why not, when he had paid that $200 or $300 across the counter.

I have some questions with regard to the bill and with the regulations that are attached, some concerns. We would like to see it go to committee at a future point in time so we could discuss them in detail and possibly make amendments if appropriate. I’d like to go through them very briefly, if I may, Mr. Speaker, to give the minister some idea as to my thinking and the thinking of my colleagues so that possibly he can answer some of them; because some of them involve federal as opposed to provincial jurisdiction. As well, he possibly can bring in his own amendments if he feels he is prepared to do so.

The first concern I have, and I just happened to read the Canadian Transport Commission air carrier regulations, I was amazed to find that section 40, item 9 actually forbids air carriers from selling tours of any kind. Yet as I was travelling down from Thunder Bay to Toronto, I happened to see a sign at the Air Canada wicket, that stated: “Try us first.” Also in the terminal in Toronto, there is indication they have tours. My original concern was we are insuring the agent and the wholesalers, making them contribute to the fund, yet the air carriers, in effect, in the Blue Vista situation were the ones who pulled out. While there were some problems with Blue Vista itself, that brought about the eventual situation which has led us to tonight. I was wondering why the air carriers couldn’t contribute as well. However, with that regulation I’ve just come across, I’m going to ask why they are offering tours and what this government can do to prevent that in the Province of Ontario.

I think one of the concerns that has been brought to light because of the Judy Rea incident is that the consumers -- and, when we were speaking about the last bill, the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) spoke to it very well -- the consumers weren’t aware exactly what it was all about. The industry knew, or at least the full-time employees and the owners knew, about the regulations because the ministry is very concise in making sure they do. In fact the regulations state that you must display your certificate or what have you. But the consumer really doesn’t know; he doesn’t see the little piece of paper off to the side of the office; he’s in there for a particular tour and he’s more concerned about where he’s going than what regulations they offer.

I would wonder, Mr. Speaker, as within this ministry in terms of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, which by regulation requires that all those establishments that serve liquor --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would you keep the private conversations down? It’s difficult for the speaker who has the floor.


Mr. Angus: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Liquor Licence Board of Ontario regulations require all establishments that sell liquor under their auspices to display prominently a sign stating, “Licensed by the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario.” I think something similar with a licensed travel agent or a licensed wholesaler would be a more appropriate way of making the consumer aware that “Holy cow! There’s a licensing thing here. This guy’s got the sign out.” Possibly there would be another travel agent in the community who, for whatever reason -- and it’s spoken to in the regulations -- would not be a licensed travel agent or a participant in the fund. Perhaps the minister could give thought to making some kind of change that way.

Also, a lot of travel agents participate in group meetings and go out, in effect to sell their product. They have a number of people come in, and they put on a slide show of the Bahamas, say. It’s put on by such-and-such a travel agency, and there is a representative there; it’s obviously a means of promotion. If those individuals who are going out and doing that kind of thing were required by law or by regulation to show in some way or to state that they are licensed representatives of a licensed travel agency, then the consumer once again would be aware of the situation.

Another thing -- and again this is where we come into the federal-provincial jurisdiction -- that bothered a lot of people about Blue Vista, through Judy Rea, aside from the whole question about whether she was a duly constituted employee of that agency, was the fact that they had tickets of a licensed air carrier in their hands. I feel that there should be some responsibility by the airlines to ensure that whoever they are supplying their blank tickets has an ability to meet their particular concerns and the concerns of the consumers.

Further, in terms of consumer awareness, on the outside cover of the ticket -- not the folder, but the ticket itself -- we could require by regulation or by legislation, that there be an empty box with writing underneath it, saying “The above agent or wholesaler is a licensed travel agent by the Province of Ontario, and in the event of any default of this tour or this ticket, this agent will reimburse you.” The ministry then would provide for some kind of stamp, such as they have for legal documents, that would allow that travel agent to do it. In that way the consumer once again would be aware of the situation.

Another concern that I have follows out of the Judy Rea situation -- and it’s unfortunate that this lady and her clients have been the examples, so to speak, that have brought about certain portions of this legislation -- is the fact that, by this legislation or possibly by the regulations, there is no appeal to the minister or to the cabinet. We’ve seen the problems that have been created with the directors of the fund -- and it’s excellent timing that the minister was able to change the makeup of that board, because in the regulations he provided for a board to be established June 1; I don’t know whether it’s a new board, and I’d like to find out tonight whether the minister has replaced various members of the board so that they would handle the Act in a different way than it has been handled.

I still think that there is a need for an appeal, because this is an Act under the Legislature of Ontario. It is an Act that has been enacted by the representatives of the people, the consumers. After Sept. 1, when the Lieutenant Governor in Council has appointed another board or reappointed the board -- I assume that from then on it may be self-appointing, as was this one, and I’d like some comments on that -- there has to be that right for the consumer to go one step higher. As it is now, the consumer doesn’t even seem to have the option of appearing before the board to present his case.

Another concern which has been sparked by the situation is the integration of some of the air carriers into the travel agency business. Again, section 41 states that there can’t be that integration and yet Nordair, I guess it was, just got a slap on the hands for its involvement. I’m wondering if the Province of Ontario can do something to require, as part of this licensing, that there is not even part ownership by an air carrier of a particular wholesaler or travel agent.

I don’t know. I’ll have to leave it to the minister’s legal people to advise him on that one.

I think too, that if there is some way this Act can be changed to provide that -- for instance, say I went out and bought a ticket -- one ticket -- for my brother-in-law or a friend, because I was getting on the same charter.

Mr. Haggerty: One way?

Mr. Angus: One way, yes, for my brother-in-law. One could say that I, in effect, was an unlicensed travel agent because I sold him the tour, but I think if a person holds a valid ticket, if it has been prepared by a licensed travel agent or prepared by a licensed wholesaler, that should constitute a legitimate claim on the travel industry fund.

That’s still federal? I’m sorry, I can’t believe that one. In fact, under the present regulations this ministry requires proof --

Mr. Drea: Lose your luggage and you will find out that ticket is federal.

Mr. Angus: Okay, but the minister and the government can say, in order to be reimbursed under the travel fund -- Okay, the minister has already said you have to show the ticket, but if that ticket was issued by a licensed travel agent or a licensed wholesaler then that should constitute a legitimate claim on the fund.

Mr. Drea: Swear an affidavit, it is simple.

Mr. Angus: We thought it was pretty simple too, but all those people who worked with Judy Rea have got legitimate tickets. Okay?

Mr. Drea: No, that’s a bit more involved.

Mr. Angus: Okay, you’ll have the opportunity to reply later on.

Mr. Speaker, while I realize that the Judy Rea situation will be resolved, hopefully within due course of time, in the event that the travel industry’s board of trustees find -- and I hope they won’t and I don’t believe that they should find this way -- that Judy Rea was not an authorized employee of that firm there should be some way of reimbursing those 50 or so consumers who, in good faith, purchased a tour through her, as what they thought was a representative of Blue Vista. In the spirit of the legislation and in the spirit of protecting the consumer the ministry should find a way to reimburse them.

One final concern I have -- two final concerns, sorry. Under the regulations the minister provides for a travel agent to give two years’ written notice that he or she is opting out of the fund. That scares me. That scares me because I thought the intent was that this was to protect all consumers and if you allow an agent to opt out -- that’s right on the last page -- then you don’t have complete protection for the consumers. How are they to know, unless some of my other recommendations are accepted, that the person is not a licensed travel agent or travel wholesaler?

I’m just trying to find the particular item. Anyway, the other final concern I have is that on the front cover of the regulations -- and incidentally, Mr. Speaker, the members of this House are very appreciative of receiving these regulations. I have spoken in the past about the need to have the regulations in order to debate the bills. We would love to have the regulations all inclusive within the bill, but I have lost that one once and this week I don’t think we need that kind of hassle, so I will wait till next round.

You say: “The Lieutenant Governor in Council, the undersigned, has the honour to recommend that the appended regulations be made under the Travel Industry Act, 1974;” and on the second page it says: “Regulation to amend Ontario regulation;” etc., etc.; Okay. In No. 1: “Subsection 9 of section 15,” etc., “as amended by subsection 1 of section 2 of the Ontario regulation is revoked.”

My apologies, I was misreading it. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to the minister’s comments.

Mr. Cunningham: The Liberal Party will favour this legislation. I think it is appropriate.

The only comment I would make about the industry as a whole, is that possibly we might take a look at making the licences a little more restrictive or requiring some form of endorsement kind of participation with the airlines. I think the airlines, as the member for Fort William very well and very appropriately pointed out, the airlines should share a sense of responsibility to this end and recognize that such participation would be the cost of doing business.

I think this amendment will protect people from the very few unscrupulous agents who might exist within the province at this time and I am sure will serve the people of Ontario very well.

Just a couple of questions, very briefly Mr. Speaker; I am just wondering if it would be fair to all members of the industry to pay at the same rate. For those members of the travel agency business who operate, the larger ones or maybe the ones that have operated for some length of time, it would be my hope that possibly you might consider some sort of lower payment for them. I am not sure if it is fair that everybody pay at the same rate.

Other than that the only other question I have is I am just wondering if there is some provision here to protect the fund against a contrived type of arrangement between an agent and a packager for an anticipated bankruptcy? That’s the only confusion I have on that part.

Other than that, Mr. Speaker, I would commend you for moving as expeditiously as you have in this regard and I hope this will serve the people of Ontario well.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to express my appreciation to both members who spoke on this bill. I think they have given us some food for thought. I should point out to the member for Fort William, of course, the specific case he mentioned has not yet been adjudicated by the compensation board and therefore really should not be commented on here.

Mr. Angus: I was saying that in case the board found against Judy Rea.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Yes, the question of qualification of that particular situation is still in limbo. I have suggested to the board they seek legal advice rather than try to determine on their own what the standing of this woman is, whether or not she was an employee of the tour operator or an unregistered travel agent; but I don’t think we could have it both ways.

While on the one hand the member for Fort William stressed the importance of making it known to the consumer that the person he is dealing with is in fact registered under the Act, and we agree with that because there is a regulation that says the sign has to be displayed prominently, unfortunately there is nothing in the Act which says the sign shall not be surrounded by a variety of other signs which say Sabena, Air Canada, etc. -- you know, they sort of tend to drown the sign. I don’t think we can interfere to that extent.

We would like to see the sign more prominently displayed, and particularly I think in the advertising in the newspapers and magazines, to show a registration number, or somewhere in the advertising show significantly that they are registered under the Travel Industry Act and this is protection for the consumer. In my view it’s a good marketing technique and I don’t know why they haven’t used it, because it seemed to me that the traveller would have more confidence if he was aware of the fact the person he is dealing with is registered.


With regard to the federal regulations, and this is a very difficult field. I want to point out that only the regional carriers are prohibited from operating tours. This does not apply to Air Canada, CP Air or foreign airlines. We are talking about airlines like Nordair, Transair, Quebec Air, Eastern Provincial, and people of that nature. They are not permitted to operate tours but they do control their ticket stock. They are the people who must account for the ticket stock to the federal authorities. They can give their ticket stock to anyone. The fact that it ends up in the hands of a consumer doesn’t necessarily mean there has been any amount paid into the travel fund.

Our test for payment of compensation must always be whether or not the person was dealing with a member of the industry who had contributed to the fund and therefore in some way had contributed towards the compensation. As long as the airlines are permitted to control their ticket stock and are not required to adhere to federal regulations which require that trips be paid for and that the money be there before they depart, and before they pick up their passengers, then there are going to be problems such as those we encountered in the case of Blue Vista, where the airline over- extends its line of credit and then suddenly pulls the rug out from under the tour operator for whatever reasons.

I am not here to try to attribute any blame to anyone but they did that. As a result, the compensation fund, the agents for this province had to step in and move very quickly, which they did. To their credit the agents and the industry moved in very quickly to ensure that most people got their holidays. Whether they got the holiday they actually wanted or not is another matter and something we are going to devote some thought to in the future.

With regard to the status of the board, the board which was appointed last year, in our view, has served the province. They have developed a number of guidelines which are very valuable to us and will be serving out their term. Some members of that board have indicated to us they are prepared to serve again. When the legislation is passed, we will be appointing a new board. The Act does say on or after June 1. The term of office of the present board can be deemed to extend to the end of June so that we are not in any great urgent need of a new board at this time.

The question of appeal is one on which I have thought there was something lacking in the Act. I certainly don’t feel that the appeal should be to the ministry. I feel if there is going to be an appeal from a separate independent board -- and that’s what the compensation board has to be and we are continuing that independence -- then it should be to another independent tribunal. The ones I would have in mind would be the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal which handles appeals under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act and so on. We certainly ought to give some thought to that.

I don’t believe it’s possible for the provincial government to legislate divorcement between the carriers and the tour operators. In fact, the member for Wentworth North suggested that perhaps we should give the carriers the right to endorse the agents and the tour operators. I don’t think we could accept that either because it would mean many foreign airlines would be in the position of endorsing somebody to operate in Ontario. We are not suggesting that we would accept that suggestion from the member for Wentworth North.

We are studying with the industry the question of improved qualifications and criteria for entry into the industry or to remain in the industry. I don’t think it’s possible to grandfather everybody in the industry while at the same time setting up tough new rules for entering into the industry. In my view, that is the kind of protection to those who are in the industry that really should not be brought in by this government. Certainly we are interested in upgrading their qualifications, improving criteria and developing stricter guidelines for registration into the industry.

I would like to comment on that one point about the two-year opting-out period because our understanding of the regulation is that anybody who is in the business now can give notice that he intends to leave the business but he’s bound for two years to contribute to the fund. That’s all it is. It is to keep people from running away from their obligations to the fund without any notice. There is a two-year period which also will develop a certain amount of caution among people who are entering the business. You can’t just be in and out overnight. You are bound for a certain period of time. If you are going to come into this industry, be serious about it and make it a career.

There was one other point. I don’t know whether the member for Fort William understands our purpose in distributing the regulations -- and I am glad he is pleased about it -- but it was simply because the Act refers to the regulations. We didn’t think the Act could be debated with any intelligence if you didn’t have the regulations, which are a very integral part of the Act.

On the other hand, the Legislature cannot, Mr. Speaker, I put to you with respect, amend the regulations. Certainly, we are prepared to listen to suggestions; and I have heard some very good ones here tonight. I hope there will be some faith that the government will look at the suggestions, will study Hansard, and where we feel there has to be amendments to the regulations, we will make them without any hesitation at all. But if there are to be any amendments in committee, because I expect we will be going there, they will have to be to the Act and not to the regulations.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading? Committee of the whole House?



Hon. Mr. Bernier moved second reading of Bill 104, an Act to amend the Provincial Parks Act.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I have some opening remarks.

The purpose of this bill is threefold, as I said when I introduced it. Firstly, section 1 of the bill will update and enlarge the definition section of the Provincial Parks Act. There are new definitions of the terms “assistant superintendent, conservation officer, master plan, park warden and superintendent.” The changes are housekeeping in nature, and intended to facilitate the administration of the Act.

Secondly, section 2 of the bill creates a new section to the Act, section 7a, and gives legislative authority to the concept of a provincial park master plan. Subsection (1) of the new section 7a authorizes the minister to prepare a master plan in respect to any existing or proposed provincial park. Subsection (2) of the section authorizes periodic reviews and amendments of master plan. The term “master plan” itself is defined in clause (c) of the new section 1 of the Act. The master plan embodies official government policy prepared with respect to the development of a particular park.

Finally, section 3 of the bill will update and redefine the classes of person who are to have the same power and the authority as a member of the Ontario Provincial Police, as provided by the present section 12 of the Act. The proposed section effects no change in principle.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I only want to make two comments with respect to the bill. Let me deal with them in reverse order. The bill, as the minister has indicated, covers in the first three sections three more or less separate matters.

One of the matters is to give park officials the power and authority of a member of the Ontario Provincial Police force. That is, they become provincial park peace officers by the enactment of this particular section. And this would apply to the district manager, the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and a park warden and conservation officer.

I have no specific objection to the section as such. Strangely enough, over the course of time, the Criminal Code has eroded the power of the private citizen with respect to the enforcement of law in favour of the peace officer. The peace officer as specifically defined under the Criminal Code, includes officers of various police forces charged with the administration of justice. And, of course, a member of the Ontario Provincial Police has the authority of a peace officer under the Criminal Code.

So, by indirection, what we are saying is that in a provincial park, these particular persons within that park have the authority of peace officers under the Criminal Code. I can’t object to that principle; it has existed before and there is no real problem about it. I think all of us would feel it is essential that that particular power be extended to these particular officers.

I am, however, somewhat concerned whenever that extension is given that it be very clear as to the person who has it. I note in section 1 of the Act that while the superintendent is defined, and while the assistant superintendent is defined, and while the park warden is defined, and while the conservation officer is defined as to who that person is, I think by omission more than anything else there is no specific definition of the district manager. There is in the explanatory note, of course, the reference that a district manager is defined by a particular section of the Ministry of Natural Resources Act, which is part of the legislation of the province.

I do think it is worth while putting the bill in committee of the whole House simply for the purpose of adding in section 1 of the bill a definition of district manager, so it is very clear as to who that particular person is. It is one of those perhaps oversights, perhaps matters which are considered unnecessary, but where you are giving persons the powers of a peace officer under the Criminal Code, I think it’s very important that the Provincial Parks Act contain the definition, by reference to the other Act, of the person who is going to exercise that authority.

My second concern is with respect to master plans. I am not skilled in or able to deal with all of the problems which have arisen in respect of the development of master plans for parks in the Province of Ontario. Many of my colleagues, who unfortunately cannot be here tonight, were very much involved in the question of master plans for Quetico Park and for Algonquin Park and of course my colleague, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), is now in the chair so he can’t speak to that question.

But master plans as such are extremely important and I think that the lesson that all of us have learned, both with respect to master plans and to all other forms of growth encroachment by governmental authority on what many people consider their private rights, require immense input from the public with respect to the way in which plans are developed. I am very much concerned that in a bill such as this, which is introducing a new section under section 2 of the bill, which provides that the minister “may prepare a master plan in respect of any provincial park or proposed provincial park” and that he may review it from time to time and make amendments to it, that there isn’t the least gesture in the bill towards public participation in any way in the evolving of that plan.

I must say that I would have assumed that when we are defining in this Act a master plan to mean “a programme and policy or any part thereof, prepared from time to time in respect of a provincial or a proposed provincial park and includes the maps, text and other material describing such programme and policy,” I am very much concerned that there isn’t a clear indication in this bill that the government would consider as an essential part of the enactment of such a provision, that there be specific and clearcut arrangements made for public participation in the development, right from the very beginning, of a master plan, not only for the existing provincial parks but certainly for any proposed provincial parks.

An immense number of people have shared the same common end which has often been stated by the minister, that we must maximize the use of land for the common use of people in the Province of Ontario through the instrumentality of provincial parks. But the whole of the development of those plans, the enunciation of the policies with respect to them and the achievement of the objectives that we want to achieve through the provincial park system have to be done in close co-operation with all people throughout the province who have an interest in them.

I cannot, and I wish I could, speak with the concern and the intimate detail and the knowledge and the emotional concern that other members of my caucus do speak with from time to time and have spoken with about Algonquin Park. I just don’t know why the minister would bring in a bill and provide that he can prepare the plans without any reference to that kind of participation; I’m almost affronted by it.

We’re not going to oppose the bill, on second reading, but I do want the minister to understand that we would anticipate and expect in his remarks on the closing of the debate on this bill that he address himself specifically to that particular problem. We would also hope and expect that he would be receptive, either on his own initiative or in response to initiatives which could be taken by our caucus on this matter, to insist upon the prerequisite of public participation in the discussion and the evolvement of those plans right from their original inception.

So far as I know the Environmental Impact Act does not apply to proposed provincial parks; so far as I know there is immense concern. We would be very chary of granting this kind of authority. We are always prepared, of course, why we never can quite understand when we do it and reflect on it in the sombre light of after effects, we are prepared to grant good faith to the minister on this occasion to indicate what he’s going to do. But I want him to know that we consider the question of public involvement and public participation to be an essential ingredient in the development of any effective plans for any of the provincial parks or proposed provincial parks.

Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I must say that it’s unfortunate that you’re in the chair tonight, I’m sure, I’m positive you would have done a much better job on this bill than your colleague from Riverdale.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I doubt that very much.

Mr. Reid: I’m positive you would have, sir.

We’re concerned, also, with some of the matters in the bill. In a way it is almost a completely innocuous bill and I wonder why, except for giving in section 3 of the bill, the quasi police -- or rather quasi police powers to these people. Obviously this is in response to the rowdyism that we’ve had in provincial parks. I’d like the minister just to comment as to what actions have been taken against these --

Mr. Renwick: I think the response to rowdyism is the rewriting of an existing section.

Mr. Reid: It is, but it’s to clarify the whole thing; and if the member for Riverdale would give me time I was going to get to that. Because really, one wonders what the --

Mr. Renwick: We haven’t all that much time, you know, life is too short.

Mr. Reid: You went on for 15 minutes saying nothing as usual. Now it’s my turn to go on for the same amount of time.

Mr. Breithaupt: Hopefully to say something of more value.

Mr. Reid: I had to listen to you and you’ll have to listen to me.

Mr. Renwick: Why do you repeat what I said?

Mr. Reid: I am not going to repeat that somebody else would have done a better job; on which we all agreed with you, incidentally, for the first time in a long time.

The point is that one wonders why the bill was brought in; in any case we can’t see any reason for opposing it.

I’m concerned, also with section 2, in regard to the master plan. As I understand it, the minister, again, already has the authority to draw up a master plan. I’m concerned, Mr. Speaker, particularly with the way in which these master plans are drawn up. You and I, Mr. Speaker, have been on committees, land-use committees in northern Ontario -- I think I sat, at one time, on four or five of them; I haven’t heard from any of those committees lately. The process of drawing up these master plans is a weird and wonderful thing to behold.

My concern particularly, and I know this isn’t really in the bill, is what happens to them once they are drawn up. We’ve had a master plan in Algonquin Park; we had a committee of the Legislature -- and others, it wasn’t a committee of the Legislature -- look at Algonquin Park; we had a committee looking at Quetico. All of those are not in place, the recommendations and the master plans that were derived from those, as I understand it, have not been accepted by the minister. I, too, am concerned. Section 2(2) reads: “The minister may review a master plan from time to time and make amendments thereto.”

I agree that these plans should be flexible, and obviously the minister must have the authority and responsibility to amend them, but I too am concerned about the kind of participation or the way in which they will be amended, because there’s no process that’s spelled out here for the public to have any input into how the plan should be amended, let alone talking about how the master plan should be drawn up in the first place.

One other comment that I would like to make is that the ministry, in its plans for provincial parks, seems to have some concept that a provincial park can only be of a certain minimum size to be successful. I don’t know if that’s an economic matter or otherwise, but I would point out to the minister that some of his most successful parks in terms of user-days are much smaller than the guidelines that the ministry is using for the size of provincial parks.

We too will support the bill, but we would be interested in the mechanism that the minister is going to use, both in drawing up master plans as far as public participation goes and in making amendments to those plans.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to concur with the previous two speakers and to endorse the principle of the bill. Also, like the other two speakers, I have to question the matter of provincial park officers acting as police officers, or wearing two hats, particularly when I look at section 1(g), which states: “‘Public lands’ means lands belonging to Her Majesty in right of Ontario, whether or not covered with water.”

As I interpret that, I presume that park officers might even be enforcing speed regulations along provincial highways. That concerns me quite a bit, because I understand the ministry at present is short of staff in terms of game wardens. I suppose I can relate to the situation in the Niagara district where there’s a shortage of officers in that particular area to enforce the regulations relating to the Game and Fish Act.

I am just wondering, when they wear the two hats like this, whether it isn’t going to create further problems within the ministry because of the short staff situation. Since the Ontario Provincial Police are policing many of these areas, this should be as much their responsibility as that of the officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources relating to the Game and Fish Act.

The other matter that concerns me is the provincial master plan for parks. I know the difficulties that the minister has had in the past in terms of Algonquin Park and Quetico Park, as was mentioned by the other members, but I question the statement in the minister’s opening remarks when he said he would obtain legislative authority in much of this particular section that relates to the parks.

I recall that back in the 1960s the Ministry of Lands and Forests, as it was at that time, had around $20 million set aside for the purchase of certain park lands throughout the Province of Ontario. Even though I was a new member in 1967, I found that the Legislature wasn’t aware where the minister was going to spend the money at that particular time. Since there is going to be a certain amount of money set aside for this purpose under this Act, I think it should be brought before the Legislature and that there should be some dialogue with members of the Legislature about some of the sites that are to be chosen for future provincial parks. I think there’s just too much left in the hands of the minister to decide where some of these parks should be located.

I hesitate to relate back to the days of 1967 and 1968 when the Minister of Lands and Forests at that particular time made an announcement of a particular provincial park that was supposed to be located somewhere along the shores of Lake Erie between Fort Erie and Windsor -- I think one particular area was in the former county of Welland

-- but to this day that park has not come about on the shores of Lake Erie, where there is a shortage of access to Lake Erie and a shortage of recreation areas. There’s Selkirk Provincial Park but it’s not one of the better swimming areas along the shores of Lake Erie. I suggest that more public input should be taken into consideration when the minister goes out and makes up his mind that he’s going to purchase a particular site for a provincial park. Hopefully, the minister will, in deciding where a park should be located, come back and consult with members of the Legislature about what they think about where a provincial park should be located. There is a shortage of parkland along the shores of Lake Erie and hopefully the government will move in that direction.

We’ve seen the problem at Rondeau Park, where there is a problem at the present time trying to set up a master plan for that particular park. Finally, the minister did bring in public participation. I hope it’s going to be satisfactory to all the persons in that particular area, and I think it will be because the public has participated in that plan. Without public participation, then I think the minister is still going to be in hot water in many instances.

We support the bill in principle with the few reservations and the comments I’ve made here. I hope the minister will consider some of them.

Mr. Foulds: I have just a couple of brief comments on the bill. In section 3, it strikes me that the minister is on the verge of issuing a press release, based on this section, because he indicated that somehow he was broadening the powers to cope with the problem of hooliganism in the provincial parks, in response to some comments by the member far Rainy River. Yet, as I understand it, really all the section does is include the new definitions of personnel within the ministry. There isn’t any real expansion. Perhaps that can be clarified when the minister sums up. It seems to me also that the problem is not so much punitive in nature but somehow needs to be avoided and prevented, and that may have more to do with the access and the admittance to provincial parks under certain conditions.

The second comment I have has to do with section 2, the business of master plans and so on, and I have been involved in the committee in northwestern Ontario. I think it would do the minister and the ministry a great service if we had, before the Act actually was proclaimed, the regulations that outline the process of devising the master plan published for all to see. I would like to take this a step further, because it seems to me that we must have more than master plans. I am in favour of the idea of development of master plans for provincial parks because I think it is the only way we can develop a meaningful management strategy of the park, but surely that principle then applies to the whole province. We should in fact be developing a master plan of the provincial parks for the entire province so that we know where the development is going to take place and we know what kind of development and we have a balance of the kinds of parks, whether they serve families and overnight camping, whether they be wilderness parks or whether they’re the various categories that we have.

It seems to me that what we really need to get onto in the province and we need to have tabled in this Legislature, so that the public can be aware of it and have input on a province-wide basis, is a master plan for the provincial parks of the province. I think that that would go a long step toward a rational development of a park policy for the entire province. The government might, if that were put forward in a public way, even get its friends at the federal level to determine what kind of national parks they were developing within the Province of Ontario, because I think those two things should also be interrelated and intermeshed.


Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t intend to be lengthy at all but I do want to speak on the two items that almost everyone else who has partaken in this debate has talked about. The first one is the master plan.

The minister is familiar with the master plan that was drawn up with a tremendous amount of public participation back in my own community when the ministry decided to purchase Peach Island and develop it into one of the outstanding provincial parks in the province. The input there was not only from members of the council but the public as a whole had the opportunity to make comments and suggestions to the ministry.

However, in spite of what has taken place in the past there has been no action on the part of the ministry to fulfill the master plan. I am afraid that even though we may draw up master plans for specific parks in the area, financial restraints and other reasons may be given for the non-fulfilment of a province-wide parks policy. I hope the minister doesn’t back down on the one on Peach Island and that he seriously thinks of following through with it so that at least it could be programmed and eventually come to fruition.

There is another park planned for the area and that is Tremblay Beach park. I would suggest to the minister that he start working on it because it has been under water now for the last two or three years ever since the high water has affected the lakes system. He should look and see what was done on the American side of Lake St. Clair where infill was taken in from Lake St. Clair in the winter months. The recreation area was developed in that fashion -- working in the winter months, bringing in the sand on the bottom and filling in the parkland so that it would not be under water when the spring came around.

I think the idea of the master plan is sort of basic to development of a parks policy, but just as the previous speaker made mention we have to work in consort with not only the federal authorities but also the municipal authorities who are likewise developing parks within their own bounds. So it is a three-level-of-government participation that is going to come and will bring about an ideal type of parks plan that we all envisage for the Province of Ontario.

The other item is the one giving the district manager, superintendent and assistant superintendent, parks warden and conservation officer the authority of a provincial police force. I would suggest to the minister that if they are going to have that authority that they do have some type of insignia or some way so that the public could easily identify them with that authority, otherwise by their wearing the forest green or the grey the respect for the various parks officials may be downgraded. We don’t want to see that happen, because in the interests of better recreation facilities and the enjoyment of our parks the various officials must be respected by the public, otherwise the public will not have the full enjoyment of the park system they are entitled to.

Mr. Ferrier: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few comments about this bill. As far as section 3 is concerned we all know that there have been some incidents of rowdyism in the parks and it reached something of a crisis a year or so ago. I know that officials in your ministry felt that the system working in California, where the rangers had constable authority, should be adopted here in Ontario. I believe this has been taking place in our parks in the last couple of years. Certain of these people have in fact had the authority of a constable and when problems have developed they have been able to move in fairly quickly and to take appropriate action.

I believe, on occasion, that some of the park personnel have been manhandled but I don’t think to any great degree. Nevertheless, we deplore that, but we hope that in giving him this authority you are also giving him some kind of training in this type of work; that is needed.

I think out in some of our parks, somewhat removed from the built-up areas, it takes a little while for OPPs to get there and the problem needs to be handled right away. So I agree with this action, but I have this one reservation to which my friend the member for Erie made reference, and on which a number of the people in the fish and wildlife management areas in northern Ontario in particular have expressed concern. You made a big hullabaloo a year ago about increasing your budget in fish and wildlife management and adding to the number of conservation officers in this province, I think some 25 or more -- or was it 100? I don’t just recall the figure. You gave them this authority, supposedly to police the Fish and Wildlife Act; and what happened? You put them in the parks for the summer, and there really was very little extra law enforcement of our fish and game laws.

There has been some dissatisfaction amongst the people in my riding, and I believe in the whole group in the anglers and hunters federation and throughout the north. So with this reservation, I would think this principle is okay; but we want to see the job that the conservation officers are hired to do done properly and not have them taken away from that job to operate as constables in the parks all summer.

I think the point made by my colleague the member for Riverdale is a valid one; the minister should have the authority, of course, to go ahead and make master plans for our provincial parks, but I think he should make adequate provision for input from the public. He has set up a number of advisory committees, the Act that establishes his ministry gives him that authority. I would hope in most cases that he would set up advisory committees of the general public to hear representations about the uses that should be made of the parks within the areas where they live; they have some commitment to their own recreation and to the development of their area. I think it would be a very sad thing if the minister arbitrarily, listening to the civil servants, went ahead and imposed a master plan on parks without providing adequate input by the public in the area.

As far as planning of new parks is concerned, there has been a vehicle in place, the strategic land use committee, but they haven’t really accomplished too much in my part of the province. I don’t think they have had too much input in deciding when parks should come on stream. I think in a number of areas of the province there are Crown reserves where future parks are contemplated, but up until this point I am not sure the general public have had sufficient input into the determination of development of these parks, what kind of parks they are to be and what area they are to serve. I really think there should be more provision given for public input but once that public input is there then certainly I would like to see you move ahead and introduce the master plan.

When the minister gets reports from committees, I think he has an obligation seriously to consider what they are saying and to move ahead and implement as many of the recommendations that they have made as are feasible. I know in the case of the master plan of Algonquin park the minister will tell me he has implemented almost every recommendation but there are some significant ones that were made by that committee that he hasn’t really proceeded to implement. One is the recommendation on motorized boats and that type of thing in the park. I don’t think the minister has moved to cut those down in any significant degree. The other recommendation is the one concerning various types of containers for food, the kind that will disintegrate. When we were there we considered it in some detail and depth. I remember the chairman, the late Leslie Frost, was quite impressed and was very enthusiastic about having that recommendation made and implemented.

To my knowledge, the government hasn’t gone ahead and done anything about it. It should go ahead and implement some of the important things that have been recommended by a committee, which are not of a frivolous nature but for the benefit of the park.

Mr. Conway: I thought there for a moment I had said too much at that symposium a few weeks ago and I was going to be left off this exchange. I have just a brief comment with respect to something that has been addressed by a great number of speakers tonight, and that’s this whole business of master plans. My one area of specific concern is Algonquin. My comment grows out of something that many of the preceding figures referred to, the business of regulations and what we do with master plans when they are in effect at least in one way or the other. I have spent some time with representatives of the ministry, in fact, in the Algonquin region. Up until just a few weeks ago, there was a great deal of confusion as to what elements of the Algonquin master plan were going to show up in the regulations for this year.

I know the minister has discussed this in this Legislature on a number of occasions. I just want to highlight the situation and the concern on the part of people in the ministry and the concern on the part of a great number of park users as to the point at which the master plan regulations or intentions translate themselves into effective policy from the ministerial level. I think this is something about which we have to be concerned because, as has been said many times before this evening, the credibility of the master plan concept, certainly for Algonquin, gets very substantially undercut by the ongoing lack of implementation. I would draw this to the attention of the minister because I know it to have taken place this past spring and our provincial parks policy must address itself to this kind of a correction.

Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Lewis: Don’t tell me the Bradley- Georgetown power line runs through a park.

Mr. Breithaupt: It runs through almost everything else.

Mr. Lewis: How are you going to work it in? We are all waiting.

Mr. Reed: It is the best issue I have had in a long time.

Mr. Lewis: That’s what you think now. Wait until the campaign.

Mr. Conway: You aren’t nervous, are you?

Mr. Reed: It is my privilege to speak to this bill tonight and I will try to confine a very few brief remarks to it. Obviously the most important part of this amendment is section 2, the authorization to prepare master plans for provincial parks and to review and amend such plans. Provincial parks are increasingly popular as our population expands and as we become more oriented towards getting out of doors both in winter and summer. The provincial park is not just a habitat for wild animals, it is also a place of escape and recreation for people who are more and more concentrating in large cities. Therefore the consideration of the creation of new parks will probably become more predominant as times goes on.


The one concern I would have is that when master plans are prepared, for the creation of new parks particularly, that there be sufficient local input, particularly in the areas chosen for these future parks. I think one of the things that we must always be careful to do is to try as much as possible not to upset the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the area. One of the things we can learn from those people, of course, are the important aspects of the geography of the land and the kinds of things that those people themselves are interested in preserving and possibly sharing with the people who come to visit. I can only say that we are concerned that when these master plans are created they involve adequate local input.

So far as sections 1 and 3 are concerned, section 1, of course, is to modernize the bill, to bring it more up to date and section 3 follows along to extend policing powers to those newly designated areas. I think the functions of the foresters, superintendents and so on, with the powers of the provincial police, have served very well in the past. I think we would be remiss if we were not to extend those powers to the newly designated areas.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, may I express my appreciation at the outset to the number of speakers who have expressed an opinion with regard to what I consider housekeeping amendments to this particular bill. It indicated to me the interest and the concern that the members of this Legislature really have with regard to the provincial park system in this province.

One hundred and twenty-three provincial parks are operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, scattered from Kenora right through to Windsor and to Ottawa. It is one of the finest provincial park systems on the North American continent.

Mr. Reid: In any jurisdiction.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: In any jurisdiction. In fact our parks system, as I’ve said on many occasions, compares very favourably with the national parks of Canada. When you compare the acreage involved, the number of visitors that we have to our provincial park system, I think we in this Legislature can take a great deal of pride in what has been accomplished in the past in the development of these provincial parks.

Of course, what we are trying to do tonight is bring the Act up to, as the members mentioned, modern-day language. Many of the amendments relate to the reorganization of the Ministry of Natural Resources, from the old Department of Lands and Forests and the clarification and the defining of those particular persons who may act in authority.

With regard to the question of rowdyism I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, we are making gains. When one thinks that last year alone we had something like 40,000 occurrences in one way or another -- not all charges but 40,000 registered occurrences -- in our provincial park system, then it is cause for concern.

The biggest problem, of course, is with alcohol, there is no question. I would have to state publicly, and I want to state it with enthusiasm, the tremendous co-operation that we have received from the Ontario Provincial Police in the last couple of years since we’ve brought this particular problem to the public’s attention and their attention has been most gratifying. In fact the training that they have given our parks people over the last two or three years has resulted in improved quality of recreation in many of our provincial parks.

In fact, I can report to the House that following the first long weekend of this year, our occurrences were down considerably from that of last year. The first long holiday of May 24 is always one that gives us concern and problems. This year, for the first time, we had a decline in the number of occurrences in our provincial parks system. So I’m particularly pleased about that.

Mr. Conway: Was the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) riding shotgun?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I don’t know if he was or not; but the results are very encouraging indeed.

Mr. Renwick: You will find that as NDP popularity rises, crime decreases.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Well, no matter who takes credit for it, I’m particularly pleased; really.

Mr. Reid: Why? Are they all joining the party?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I didn’t notice that in British Columbia.

An hon. member: You’re a redneck group.

Mr. Ferrier: How many Tories are there in British Columbia?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Probably not enough to account for the crime rate, anyway.

Mr. Foulds: Is violence in the provincial parks as great as it is in hockey?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Well, I thought at one time it was; but we’ve come to grips with the situation.

An hon. member: You guys in the parks should make love, not violence.

Mr. Good: Order, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: In fact, I think the hon. member for Cochrane South made reference to the work of the conservation officers in our park system --


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. If the members want to carry on separate conversations, do it outside the chamber.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The member for Cochrane South is quite right in making reference to the conservation officers assisting us in the provincial parks programme; but I would point out to him that last year we received an additional complement of 25 new conservation officers and some of those were assigned to that particular duty. This is the largest increase in complement in 11 years, so that we don’t think that the enforcement with regard to our fish and wildlife should suffer at all. The extra staff, the extra training that our parks people are receiving from the Ontario Provincial Police is certainly encouraging and the results are evident to us after this first long weekend.

With regard to master planning, I just want to point out that it is government policy that there be public input in master planning, and many of the members spoke about the desire to have public input. As a practising politician, I certainly welcome that kind of assistance in planning a park.

Mr. Renwick: How do you plan to control them?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We feel strongly that a provincial park, adjacent to an urban centre or any large group of people, has to reflect the needs of that particular area. All areas are different, and that is why we established the Provincial Parks Council -- to go that one step further and to look at the province as a whole. As you know, the parks council filed its annual report about a week ago -- and the report wasn’t all complimentary to our parks programme.

Mr. Renwick: It is the minister, not the Provincial Parks Council that makes the decisions.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, the council makes recommendations to the ministry and is very forceful in its recommendations, as you saw in the first annual report. But the Provincial Parks Council is made up of people from all across this province. I believe there are 19 members in total. Some are even from the member for Rainy River’s riding, and some from my own riding of Kenora.

Mr. Renwick: There is nobody from Riverdale.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m sure there will be if you look at the long list.

Mr. Reid: After your speech, obviously nobody knows anything about parks.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The input is there from a very broad section of the public and they hold public meetings and public hearings across the province on a very regular basis. This is not only to review what the ministry is doing with regard to the development of our park system, the reclassification of the parks themselves, but also we’ve given them the responsibility to review the master plans every five years. Already we’ve seen their comments with respect to the master plan of Algonquin Park.

We have had a lot of public input right from the initial request. We have pulled together a large group of people at the local level to start and develop a master plan, but then we also have the Provincial Parks Council which moderates and reviews on a regular basis the input and the various activities and the progress that is made by the Ministry of Natural Resources with respect to provincial parks.

It is our hope, eventually, to have a master plan for every provincial park in the province. This is a mammoth undertaking. We are operating basically with the major parks at the present time, such as Quetico and Algonquin. We have a master plan for Bronte Creek, which is a very special park.

Mr. Cunningham: They come once every election.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: On Rondeau, the oldest provincial park in the Province of Ontario, we have just completed its master plan. So we are moving along and we are getting these master plans in place and their recommendations are being accepted.

One of the members questioned the speed with which we are accepting the recommendations of the master plan. First of all, of course, we have to gain public acceptance, and of course the education of the public at large does take a certain amount of time. Funds and complement to implement many of the recommendations are also a requisite that we are a little slow in coming by periodically; but the master plans are in place and where they are they will be implemented.

With regard to Algonquin we have just recently passed regulations affecting four of the recommendations. As members know, in Quetico we have accepted the total recommendation of the advisory committee and many of those recommendations are being put in place at the present time.

The member for Windsor-Walkerville mentioned Peach Island and asked what we were going to do with Peach Island. His desire, of course, is to have that developed as a provincial park. This is on our long-range programme, but this year we will be using our “Experience ‘76” people, as we did last year, to assist in an educational programme and an assistance programme for those people who choose to visit that very beautiful island off the city of Windsor. So that it is in place and moving ahead.

We would have no objection to accepting the recommendations of the member for Riverdale that a definition in the definition section of the bill with respect to the district manager be added. I think this was a good suggestion and certainly in the committee of the whole, if it goes there, we would be willing to accept that.

Mr. Lewis: Another triumph for socialism.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: For the member for Riverdale.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading? Committee of the whole House. So ordered.

Clerk of the House: The second order, House in committee of the whole.


House in committee on Bill 100, An Act to amend the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of the bill and if so to which section? The hon. member for Riverdale.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, the only comment that was of concern to me, and I am sorry the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) does not appear to be here -- I am not trying to await his arrival, it may well be the parliamentary assistant to the Treasurer would respond to my inquiry.

Mr. Breithaupt: It is his burden.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I understand the hon. parliamentary assistant will respond.

Mr. Conway: An upward and mobile young man, that member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton).

Mr. Lewis: Fortunately, he and Flora spent Saturday night together at the NDP dance in Kingston.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Would the hon. member continue?

Mr. Renwick: The one thing I learned when I was in Kingston was that the member for Kingston and the Islands better spend a lot more time east of Princess St.


Mr. Norton: That’s the harbour.

Mr. Lewis: That’s what we mean!

Mr. Renwick: Let me try again: North of Princess St.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.

Mr. Renwick: Let me put it another way: The other side of Princess St.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Will the hon. member return his comments to Bill 100, please?

Mr. Renwick: The opposite side of Princess St. to what your constituency office and your law office are on at the present time.


Mr. Renwick: Perhaps you should build a causeway out to Wolfe Island.

Mr. Norton: Do you know where it is?

Mr. Renwick: I learned a lot.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Which section of the bill did the hon. member wish to refer to?

Mr. Breithaupt: Precisely which section, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Renwick: He could also return to university and collect those 10,000 votes that are down there. The NDP is obviously a big threat to you --

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.


Mr. Lewis: If the member for Scarborough Centre wants to interject, let him get back in his seat.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, with your colleague, the Deputy Speaker, out of the chair, it’s like being out of school when you are in the chair.

My one and only concern about the bill is the very technical question dealing with the re-enactment of section 1(4) of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. At the present time it specifically provides that there will be no indirect pecuniary interest imputed to a person who is designated by the particular council to be an appointee of that council or the local board on any emanation of the municipal framework within which that appointment is made. That is now changed to say there will be no indirect pecuniary interest imputed to anyone, no matter to which council or board he is appointed.

I stated that quite badly, but by the change from the word “the” to the word “a,” from the definite article to the indefinite article, it seems to me you have in fact provided an immense broadening of the area of those to whom an indirect pecuniary interest could be imputed. I would like to understand, from my own point of view, the reason for that change, what the impetus was which led to this particular amendment.

That’s the only point I have on the bill. Otherwise, we are quite happy with it.

Mr. Norton: I won’t launch into a lesson for the hon. member on the geography of Kingston. I’m pleased to note that the only time he proceeded to -- I think he meant the north side of Princess as opposed to the east -- was in order to dance.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Would the hon. member confine his comments to Bill 100?

Mr. Norton: I shall, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Cunningham: What were you doing at that dance?

Mr. Conway: Did Flora go too?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.

Mr. Norton: In response to the specific question the hon. member raised, he suggested there was an immense broadening; I don’t know where he gets the idea that the broadening is so immense. I think the only situation in which this would apply would be in those situations where there are two-tier governments; for example, in the regional or, I suppose, in the county structure. I can’t think of any other situation where one might be a member of two councils at the same time. It was in response to that kind of problem that this amendment was introduced.

As I’m sure you are aware, there are some municipalities in the province where a two- tier structure is in effect and where all of the members of a specific area council serve as representatives of that area on the regional council. Should those members be appointed to a board or a body as representatives, say, of the regional council, at the present time without this amendment they would be deemed to have a conflict of interest if a matter relating to that board should come before them in their capacity as a member of the area council.

There could also be a reverse effect. If, for example, they were an appointee of a regional council to a conservation authority, should any matters come before the area council on which they also serve they might well be deemed to have a conflict of interest unless the amendment as proposed is changed.

I can’t think of any other situation in which one might sit on more than one council at a time, given the requirements with respect to residency in the province for serving on a municipal council.

I hope that answers your question and if you have further queries, I would be pleased to try to answer them.

Mr. Renwick: It doesn’t and I don’t think it is your fault. It’s just that I don’t understand it.

Suddenly we are faced with a bill which changes the definite article to the indefinite article and the explanatory note says:

The effect of the amendment is to provide that a council member who is a member of a board, commission or other body does not have an indirect pecuniary interest by reason of that fact only, provided he is the member of such board or commission as an appointee of any council.

It doesn’t seem to me to mean anything. I still don’t understand the change and what I don’t understand is why suddenly we are asked to make this change. Something must have happened to have led somebody to make this minuscule amendment to this important bill.

Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that these amendments grew out of requests that were presented to the ministry from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario or the PMLC in situations where -- I don’t know of specific situations where a problem arose, other than the fact that apparently the question came up in municipal councils about the province about the kinds of situations that I described.

And going back to the supplementary note; on the changing of the article from the definite to the indefinite, really I can’t appreciate why you don’t understand it, actually. Obviously the definite article refers to only one council and that would be the council upon which they were sitting at the time they were called upon to cast a vote. Changing that to the indefinite article would expand that to include another council or any other council.

The only situation that really could exist is that one might sit on two councils, an area council and a regional council, or perhaps a township council and a county council. If a person, while sitting upon an area council in that capacity, were called upon to vote on a matter that related to a board -- for example a conservation authority -- to which they had been appointed by a regional council, unless the article is changed from “the” to “a,” or from the definite to the indefinite, they would at the present time have a conflict of interest. In order to preclude that possibility, where they have been appointed by the upper tier and are voting at the lower-tier level, by changing that article it means simply that they would not be deemed to have a conflict of interest under those circumstances.

It really doesn’t change the effect of the existing legislation. All it does is expand it to include an appointment from the other tier -- from the one on which they are sitting at the time they are called upon to cast a vote. I don’t know whether that clarifies it further for you or not. Does it?

Mr. Haggerty: I think the parliamentary secretary has answered the question that I had in mind here that the bill actually doesn’t cover conflict of interest. It doesn’t remove the sophisticated corruption that now goes on in certain municipalities where certain members of council may be associated with a certain profession such as real estate and where a member of council, knowing full well that a certain development may be taking place in a community or a municipality that’s going to be a benefit to him in the long run, can lead council or direct council in a sense up to a certain level. Then when it comes to a vote in council, he sits back and says, “I have an interest in this,” and can sit down and not vote on the issue. But the damage has been done.

I can cite a case, for example, and I told the parliamentary assistant during the recess prior to 8 o’clock, that this has taken place in a number of area municipalities.

I feel the conflict of interest provision doesn’t go far enough. I think the person that is elected to council, when it comes to a particular item as it relates to real estate and he happens to be working for a real estate firm or broker, then definitely he shouldn’t be sitting on council because in the long run the benefit is for him. He can be a member of council and a member of the regional council or a metro council but I feel that this doesn’t remove the conflict of interest. After all, there is a moral responsibility on many persons elected to council. They have a responsibility to the people who elect them to look after their needs, but for many of them who are sitting there their interest is perhaps more important than the interest of the community.

I feel that some place along the line the minister should be plugging this loophole. The situation of a person sitting on council where there is a conflict of interest, who may lead council up to that particular stage and then declare himself in the open by saying he has an interest in this matter, is not good enough. It doesn’t plug the hole. As far as I’m concerned, the bill means nothing. It doesn’t do what it is intended to do, that is, to stop the sophisticated corruption that there is in local government.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate if we could stand the bill down at this particular point so I could either speak with the parliamentary assistant or try to satisfy myself. It does appear to me to be an enlargement of the number of corporations that can enter into contracts with municipal council or municipal corporations or with local boards without jeopardizing persons who hold two offices. One is as an officer or director of the corporation on the one hand while on the other hand the second is as a member of the council or of the local board with which the corporation contracts. I still express my concern. Perhaps we could clarify it before it comes back again.

Mr. Norton: May I just briefly respond to that before the matter is set down? If the member is interpreting corporation, I would suggest that it be clear in his mind that it is a corporation incorporated for the purpose of carrying on business for and on behalf of the municipalities, in other words, something like a housing corporation to administer housing for the municipality. It’s that type of thing. It’s not a corporation independent from the municipality.

Mr. Renwick: I think that is helpful.

Hon. Mr. Handleman moved that the committee rise and report.

Motion agreed to.

The House resumed, Mr. Speaker in the chair.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of the whole House begs to report progress and asks for leave to sit again.

Report agreed to.

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

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.