30e législature, 3e session

L104 - Tue 2 Nov 1976 / Mar 2 nov 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Godfrey: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, although I don’t see the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) here, my point is with regard to communications in this House. I have today received a letter in my office, dated October 25, on a rather important matter which I had raised with the Ministry of the Environment. In the same mail I received a letter dated November 2.

My point of personal privilege, sir, is that I am disadvantaged by this delay in mail and I wonder if there could not be some rectification made with regard to communications within this House itself.

Mr. Speaker: I’m not sure where the delay occurred. Ofttimes a letter is dated one date but it may not get into the mail. It may or may not be a lack of delivery, if that’s what the hon. member is inferring.

Mr. Godfrey: That is indeed what I am inferring.

Mr. Speaker: I’m sure that whatever the content the hon. Minister of the Environment will take it into account. I understand one of the ministers has a statement, perhaps we might revert later -- the Minister of Labour.


Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, during my statement to the Legislature on October 26 on the introduction of The Employees Health and Safety Act, Bill 139, I mentioned that I expected to appoint an assistant deputy minister responsible for occupational health and safety matters in the near future.

I am pleased to announce at this time the name of the new assistant deputy minister. His name is Dr. Clifford Rodney May.

Dr. May joins the Ministry of Labour after a life-long commitment to creating a safe and healthy work place.

Our new ADM was born in 1922 in Newbury, in the English county of Berkshire. He was trained at London University and received his licence in medicine and surgery in 1949. He subsequently took a number of post-graduate courses in occupational medicine, radiological protection, community medicine and industrial psychiatry.

Dr. May is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a member of the United Kingdom Royal College of Physicians, Faculty of Community Medicine. He holds a certificate in radiological protection and a diploma in industrial health.

He has 22 years’ experience in the occupational health and safety field, beginning with 16 years with various corporations in the United Kingdom.

In 1968, he came to Canada, became director of industrial health services with the Department of Health in Alberta, and during his tenure there participated in the development of The Radiation and Health Act, the regulations covering lead, noise, the use of lasers, pneumoconiosis, x-ray installations and notification procedures for industrial diseases.

He moved to the Nova Scotia public health department in 1974 and developed that province’s first occupational health service.

He is a member of a number of professional bodies, including the Permanent Commission and International Association on Chemicals, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, and the Canadian Council for Occupational Medicine. He has published a number of articles and papers and has been active in developing educational courses in occupational medicine.

He will take up his new responsibilities in the Ministry of Labour, in the occupational health and safety division, as soon as the employees’ health and safety legislation has received the approval of the Legislature.

I am pleased to make this announcement today and I am even more pleased that a qualified scientist with a special knowledge of industrial health problems and a demonstrated commitment to make the workplace healthy and safe for all workers has agreed to assume this challenging and demanding position. I am confident that his leadership will result in even greater progress toward creating a safe and healthy workplace in Ontario.


Hon. Mrs. Birch: Yesterday I rose in the House and indicated that based on an interministerial review of the circumstances and criteria preceding the tragic death of Norma Dean, I would be making a full report to the House today.

I rise this afternoon to beg the indulgence of the House until its next sitting.

The initial report which I have received is extremely detailed. In its thoroughness it deals with many areas of personal medical and treatment records which are, frankly, of a highly confidential nature and would relate directly to the family’s rights to privacy. In a discussion this morning with the mother of the deceased girl, the question of privacy was shared and held to be of common concern.

With the indulgence of the House, I would like to make the statement based on this report which I promised at the next sitting of the House. At that time I would be pleased to share the more detailed report with the leaders of the opposition parties.

While the report indicates extensive care and effort on the part of many agencies involved, one can never feel any sense of satisfaction when a tragedy such as this occurs.

I can, however, assure members that there was no breach of responsibility on the part of the Ministry of Correctional Services. The interministerial committee, on which my ministry is represented, did consider the matter. As this was related to a section 9 referral, there is no direct responsibility for the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. J. R. Smith) to report it to me directly.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: I hadn’t intended to pursue it but since she gave a partial statement, I will. May I address my first question to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development.

Prior to her statement on Thursday, could I ask the minister to ask her colleague, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), to give to her a recent letter he received by hand yesterday from a lawyer in the Toronto area dealing with two specific referrals to training schools of 15-year-old girls in the immediate recent past, both of which referrals were on the advice of major government institutional arrangements, Thistletown again and Queen Street Mental Health Centre on the other hand, both of which were subsequently found to be inappropriate? Could I ask her in the process of the reply to comment therefore on the practice of government centres designed to handle such children recommending to the courts that training schools be used?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Yes.

Mr. Lewis: A question, if I may, of the Minister of Correctional Services: Is the minister aware that just last week Judge James Fuller sitting in the family court division in Oakville made very critical comments of the necessity to refer children to training schools in the absence of alternate facilities -- that was on Wednesday of last week? He said:

“I am very concerned over the haphazard method of court-ordered direction over the young people of this community.”

How can a judge be driven to such anxiety in the one community where there is allegedly a diagnostic and assessment centre which, I assume, could have treatment capability if your ministry and the government were to grant it?

Hon. J. R. Smith: It is an assessment centre of this ministry and actually there just happens to be a treatment programme for girls at Oakville in operation since the end of August at that facility. I think the very fact that there are so few children compared to a few years ago in training schools shows us that there have been alternative in-community services provided to look after these youngsters. I would just like to set the record straight by saying that my personal visits to the training schools of this province have given me every assurance that the care and the concern of the staff and those involved with looking after the children and caring for them at these various schools are of a very high order, and that very good programmes are being offered in the main.

Secondly, I was not aware of His Honour’s statement. I have not heard of it before.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Whatever the quality of care or containment which is available in a training school, the minister would not deny that Judge James Fuller speaks for most of the family and child court judges in the province when he expresses his frustration and dismay at a reference to a training school in the absence of alternate facilities. The minister would agree that that is so?

Hon. J. R. Smith: I really don’t see how he could say that.

Mr. Lewis: The minister really doesn’t see that?

Supplementary: He is not aware that even the Attorney General is reported on the weekend as having spoken to family court judges who presented to him their anxiety of referring children to training schools under these sections -- at least section 8; it might have been section 9 as well?

The minister is surely not fighting a rear-guard action to civilize what is essentially and permanently a punitive setting.

Hon. J. R. Smith: First, I would like to say about containment that the basic philosophy of all the schools, other than the facility for girls at Oakville and Hillcrest School in Guelph is not really of confinement. They are basically open schools. I refer the hon. member to Brookside School in Cobourg which is very open. There is a need for more community-based facilities, as the Attorney General said. I agree with that and I would like to see more of them developed. Undoubtedly, we are reviewing the whole matter of the schools. We closed one last year and the counts are down in a number of others. It’s under review.

But I think there will always be the need for some training school facilities in this province. Other provinces and jurisdictions have done away with them and then have had to come back and reintroduce them or have opened facilities under a different name. In essence, they are really the same thing; they are for a certain small group of very difficult, hard-to-manage children. I’d agree they are not basically psychiatric assessment health facilities; they are training school facilities. What the Attorney General was referring to I think is very valid, and new facilities of that nature undoubtedly will be forthcoming.


Mrs. Campbell: Does the minister not feel some concern that judges, having expressed the concern about the lack of facilities over the years, may feel they can no longer use the training school and therefore we may lose the opportunity to assist children because they slip through the system?

Hon. J. R. Smith: The fact is that I’m pleased so many judges usually only use the training school as the last avenue of placement for the youngster.

Mrs. Campbell: Certainly.


Mr. Lewis: I have a further question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. I’d hoped that the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) would be here. Could I ask her to ask the Minister of Health to refer to her the three very serious cases in the Lakehead which were brought to the attention of government by my colleague from Port Arthur from a private psychiatrist, Dr. David Palfaram, who attends at the psychiatric hospital and acts as a consultant to the Children’s Aid Societies and other groups -- I had the pleasure of meeting with him myself a few weeks ago -- to look into the three instances which he has cited of severely acting-out adolescents in the Lakehead, one of whom ended up jumping from the fifth floor of the pediatric wing of the General Hospital; the other of whom ended up in an adult ward in the psychiatric hospital; and the third about whom he has enormous concerns until this day, to see again if the minister can take a look at these constantly proliferating examples of difficulty in the adolescent area to provide us with a policy as well as an explanation?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: I’ll be very pleased to discuss that with the Minister of Health. But I just would like to emphasize that of course there are always instances where we do have these situations arise. I think that we shouldn’t lose sight of the many hundreds of children who are helped within the system that we do provide.


Mr. Lewis: I have a last question, I guess -- I’ve taken up time -- of the Minister of Labour, if I may. I’m not quite sure how to phrase this, but I’ll do it carefully. Has it been brought to the minister’s attention, or might the minister inquire into a recent proliferation of cases of lung cancer, stomach cancer and asbestosis leading from the Johns-Manville plant in Scarborough? Many of them were workers who have worked for 20 years or more. I have five that were brought to my attention today, all of them within the last few months, and one who died on Saturday night, apparently without the x-rays at the end of 1975 or 1976 showing the imminent severity of the illness. Is it possible on that basis to try to provide testing lung cytology which might go beyond mere x-rays, so that the workers would know how quickly the diseases were advancing?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, it has not been brought to my attention and, yes, I might be persuaded to examine this. I have not seen this information and I should be very pleased to. Sputum cytology is one of the areas in which I am particularly interested.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Housing: Given the further evidence in Ontario recently of a decline of 1.8 per cent in building permits issued for construction of dwelling units in the first six months of this year, which contrasts with an increase of 25.4 per cent across the nation generally, is the minister prepared to explain to us why it is that Ontario is lagging behind the rest of Canada and precisely what policies he is now going to implement to make sure that we catch up?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member of course is using the percentage figures and I think he well knows that in the province of Ontario today there are a large number of new units that are for sale. The decline, if you will, in the starts of construction is a result of a market that has all kinds of houses for sale. Surely the hon. member does not expect people in the industry to be building houses until they are reasonably certain there is a market for their products?

Mr. Sargent: That is a pretty lame answer.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since the minister is suggesting to us that there is a glut of houses on the market and thus explains our lagging behind, could he also explain how it is that the figures for multiple dwelling starts -- in which, by his own admission, there is a shortage at least in Metropolitan Toronto and elsewhere -- are up 19 per cent nationally but have fallen three per cent in Ontario? Does he have any policy or not?

Mr. Roy: Not many of those for sale.

Mr. Bullbrook: Tell him why, Sidney.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member, I believe, is aware that in calculating multiple housing or apartment starts in this province, we deal strictly with rental accommodation. In other jurisdictions in the country, counted in as multiple family units for rental purposes are condominiums. We haven’t done that. If we do that, I think he would find that the figures would be certainly comparable and would show that we do have the multiple housing starts. In the pure rental accommodation, quite frankly, there have not been the starts in this province for a number of reasons of which I think the member is aware.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary -- the minister has not answered the main point of the question -- if he admits that there are not the rental starts in this province and people need somewhere to live, what policy is he going to follow to bring about the rental starts in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Short of, I suppose, simply going out with a dictatorial hand and forcing people to get into building rental accommodation --

Mr. S. Smith: You can’t think of anything else.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- I don’t understand how we can possibly force people to do that. If the hon. member has some magical solution to the problem, we cannot have developers building it --

Mr. Sargent: You are dragging your feet.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: What would you suggest?

Mr. Roy: You are really way off this.

Mr. S. Smith: When we are over there, we will solve it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: We have an answer.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: If the hon. member is suggesting that the problem will be resolved when he comes to this side of the House, there will be ample rental accommodation apparently in about the year 3000.

Mr. Nixon: Heaven help us if you are re-elected.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister having admitted that he lacks the magic wand, can he tell us if he has any policies to bring affordable housing for people to buy or to rent on the market, given the fact that the glut is in the very high priced sector?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member knows very well that as far as Ontario Housing Corporation is concerned we have been going ahead with developing the HOME projects in various parts of this province. There has been an attempt made to provide low interest rate loans to developers in order to build these buildings in the particular communities. He well knows some of the problems faced in the various communities when they try to develop this type of housing. We have had some success in providing lower cost housing. I would tell the hon. member, and all members of this Legislature, that we are now, at the present time, having some difficulty in marketing units which have been built under the HOME programme. They just aren’t buying them. For some reason or other, people are quite prepared to stay in their rented accommodation.

Mr. Singer: Is the minister telling us that he is satisfied with Ontario’s housing policy; that he’s satisfied with the list of people wanting public housing; and he’s satisfied with the fact that most people in Ontario, of average income, cannot afford either housing or rental accommodation? Is that what he’s saying?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It is the federal interest rates.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am certainly not satisfied and I don’t think any member of this Legislature is satisfied but there are circumstances which have to be overcome and which the hon. member is aware of. I don’t pretend to have the magic wand that was referred to earlier and I am reasonably satisfied that they don’t have it over there either.

Mr. Roy: You are not even trying, though. That is your problem.

An hon. member: If you can’t do the job, then get out.

Mr. Cassidy: If the minister is dissatisfied, is he prepared to ensure that 90 per cent of the houses built under the Ontario Housing Action Programme be dedicated to people earning less than $17,000 a year rather than 10 per cent only which is the present policy?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lewis: So you won’t put affordable housing on the market.


Mr. S. Smith: On the same topic to the Minister of Revenue. Considering that in the last campaign the great answer to the housing problem was the home buyer’s grant, can he now tell us what he estimates the cost to be of continuing the audit at the end of this calendar year into those people who have illegally or incorrectly obtained home buyer grants? Precisely how much will it cost to recover the $9 million?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I think it is fair to say that that kind of cost is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate.

Mr. Ruston: You don’t know how many you have got to start with.

Hon. Mr. Meen: The short answer to the hon. member is that I cannot tell what the cost would be


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Meen: One has to consider not only the expenses of audit directly relative to their conduct, but the lost revenues to the province in the other areas in which those auditors would otherwise be active with respect to retail sales tax and corporations tax. As we get farther and farther along in this programme, the audit of retail sales tax and corporation taxes then gets a little farther behind all the time. When one recognizes that there is a three-year limitation period with respect to the remission of retail sales taxes collected, those start to go off the end of the spectrum and are then potentially lost to the government forever. So it is essential we get back to conducting those audits.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since we are now being informed that the same auditors who would have to do this check for the Minister of Revenue would then have to neglect their work in the sales tax area where the statute of limitations is apparently three years, could the minister tell the House whether he thinks there might be the possibility of hiring outside auditors to check on the people who have incorrectly received these grants and whether there is any chance that these outside auditors would charge less than $13.5 million of public funds to do that check, to recover the money and also to recover the additional $500 which his ministry is going to send out to illegal holders of these grants?

Mr. Roy: That’s right.

Mr. Reid: You could use the member for London North (Mr. Shore) at half the price.

Mr. Ruston: Yes, we have got a job for him.

Hon. Mr. Meen: The hon. member is, I expect, not deliberately distorting this picture, but certainly he is distorting the picture of the potential lost revenues. For one thing, the $9 million which the hon. member is multiplying by 1.5 to come up with the $13.5 million figure he has just mentioned --

Mr. Peterson: He is closer than you are.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- is on the basis of a linear extrapolation of the 10 per cent figure.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister.

Hon. Mr. Meen: I thought that expression would get the hon. member. Perhaps he would like to go back and look it up.

Mr. Roy: Is that expressed horizontally?

Hon. Mr. Meen: No, I had not thought of using regression analysis. The fact of the matter is that the audits being conducted --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- and which will be completed by the end of this year are being conducted in large measure in the areas in which we would anticipate a higher rate of identification of the individual cases of lack of compliance.

Mr. Cassidy: I will get it from your candidate.

Hon. Mr. Meen: So it is not accurate to extend in a linear fashion the 10 per cent figure which we have established as the rate of recovery within the other category.

Mr. S. Smith: Oh, come on, you can do better.

Hon. Mr. Meen: If the hon. member for Hamilton West will just stop trying to interject snide remarks and listen to what I am trying to say --

Mr. Conway: No extrapolations.

Mr. Roy: Answer the question.

Mr. Ruston: Answer the question then.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- I’ll point out to him that we would expect that that figure is considerably less than the $9 million on which he is basing his extrapolation. Furthermore, just the fact of identification of these areas does not affect recovery. There are many of these instances in which the money has been spent, in which it might be impossible to recover the moneys improperly obtained --

Mr. Roy: Oh, yes, get a judgement against the house.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- simply because we do not want to be that hard-boiled about recovery from some people who have taken this $1,000 honestly or otherwise and spent it for the purchase of white goods when they bought their first home, or at least as alleged by them to us to have been their first home.

So, just by way of identifying these homes does by no means indicate or confirm that we will recover the money. We expect to recover a substantial part of it, but by no means would we recover all of it. I might point out another thing. The hon. member is suggesting that we should go out and hire auditors. We cannot go out and simply hire auditors in that sense.

Mr. Peterson: Put them on a contract.

Hon. Mr. Meen: These are skilled people from the branch.

Mr. Roy: Oh yes, there is no one.

Hon. Mr. Meen: I am not about to suggest we should do that, entirely apart from our constraints on employment of additional staff.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: That is the Liberal syndrome; hire more people, hire more people, always hire more people.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Ms. Bryden: In spite of the fact that there is a three-year period in which to collect back taxes, it seems to me that tying up the auditors for the past several months as well as the next three months is going to cause some loss of revenue to the province; and taxes not collected mean the rest of us pay more. Can the minister estimate how much he expects to lose in tax revenue from the fact that the auditors have been tied up for six months? I think this cost should be added to the cost of the home buyers’ grant.

Hon. Mr. Meen: It is possible that there would be some outside that three-year period but I don’t believe that that is significant, provided we don’t keep these people out of that field too much longer.

Mr. Lewis: You’ll lose $15.6 million.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: In connection with the response by the minister to my leader’s original question, when he brought the legislation before this House, did he not recognize at that time that he would have to establish ancillary administration? Did he not also recognize at that time that legally he had to perform a post-audit?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: You are the people who amended it.

Mr. Bullbrook: I’m sorry, who’s yelling?

Mr. S. Smith: It’s Darcy. When he’s wrong he yells.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member just carry on with his question?

Mr. Roy: That was brought in before minority government, if you recall.

Mr. Speaker: Order.


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

Mr. Bullbrook: Did he not recognize he had a responsibility to perform a post-audit? Is he telling my leader, in effect, that he intended to use the audit people with respect to retail sales tax to perform the post-audit -- which is his ministerial responsibility -- and he can’t do it now because of the time limitations in the Retail Sales Tax Act? Is that the answer that he is giving to us now?

Hon. Mr. Meen: We had intended from the beginning --

Mr. Reid: And you call yourselves ministers.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- that the post-audit programme would end at the end of this year. It had never been expected that it would carry on through two or three years --

Mr. Bullbrook: Why not?

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- so that a post-audit would be conducted on all of the grant applications. We had to rely, as I’ve said in this House before, on the integrity of the applicants when they filed and in their certification. I might just emphasize it was the hon. member for Sarnia who proposed the amendment that extended this qualification to all homes regardless of their location.

Mr. Bullbrook: By way of one final supplementary, may I premise my final question --

Mr. Speaker: Is the hon. member correcting something?

Mr. Givens: A point of order here --

Mr. Speaker: I misunderstood what he said.

Mr. Cassidy: As a final supplementary, could the member explain why the government is showing this compassion to home owners when the same government is hounding public housing tenants for every nickel of back rent to which they became liable because OHC got taken out of rent review?

Mr. Speaker: Is there no answer?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I can speak only for my ministry, and I can say that we illustrate some compassion.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Peterson: I don’t understand this. By the minister’s own admission he doesn’t know the costs of recovery and he’s not prepared to estimate those; how can he make a decision on whether to proceed with recovery if he doesn’t know what the costs are?

Hon. Mr. Meen: Simply because we know that to keep our auditors out of the retail sales tax end too much longer would start to raise that spectre and we do not want to do that.

Mr. Speaker: We should have a new question now.

Mr. S. Smith: A new question for the same minister: What’s going on? Is he prepared seriously to go before the people of Ontario and to say that approximately $13 million -- I won’t quarrel with him; maybe it’s between $10 million and $13 million -- that kind of money, public funds, taxpayers’ money, is to be lost because (a) he doesn’t think he could find some auditors to do the job; and (b) he figures that even if he finds the people he couldn’t dream up a way to get the money back from them? Is that really what he is saying to the people of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. I Meen: Mr. Speaker, the gross figure which the hon. member uses -- it’s in that ball park somewhere; perhaps in the order of $10 million or so -- is that amount which we would identify were we to complete the audit. I’ve indicated that we would be unlikely to recover all of that money so we can’t look at that figure as a total.

We will have identified, by the time the programme of post-audit is completed at the end of this year, a significant portion of that and within the area which we do identify there will be a portion which will be recoverable. Somewhere in there we have to stop this kind of work and get on with the job in the government which is more important. With respect to retail sales tax alone, when we recover something in the order of $5 million or $6 million daily, to say nothing of corporation taxes it’s essential that those audit programmes go forward -- and that is what we propose to do.

Mr. Bullbrook: A supplementary, if I may:

Is it not a matter of logic and common sense that when you know there is something wrong, you pursue the wrongdoer; and that the minister doesn’t presume there’s a wrongdoing in retail sales tax? That’s all my leader is asking of the minister. Ferret out these people so that the public knows they don’t do anything wrong and get away with it --

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. The question has been asked.

Mr. Roy: I’ve got a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we can get on to another subject.


Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton West with a further question?

Mr. Roy: No, look --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Roy: No, you’ve cut me off twice now.

Mr. Lewis: We will all ask a supplementary, then you can --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ve spent quite a few minutes now on the same topic and getting the same answers. The questions are --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. In order to be fair to everybody else who wishes to ask other questions, I think we need to get on and change the subject. The hon. member for Hamilton West has a further question.

Mr. Lewis: Why don’t you turn it all over to Marvin Shore on special assignment? He will fix it all up.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. S. Smith: I must say this is a first in my short career here, Mr. Speaker.

A question for the Premier, if I might: Can the Premier now report to the House the findings of the advisory board which he has set up regarding Ontario Securities Commission policy 3-02, the regulations on junior mines financing? I believe, if I’m not mistaken, the Premier had stated that his policy would be ready no later than June 1 and be would act with dispatch. Would the Premier tell us what the status of that is, please?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I’m informed that the group has been meeting. We should have a report before the end of the year.

Mr. Nixon: Oh, it was next June?

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, in view of the fact that the prospecting and exploration industries in Ontario have virtually ground to a halt and no new mines are being developed, how is it that the Premier is now having to go back on his statement, which said, “I give you my commitment that the government will act to effect that action with dispatch no later than June 1”? Which year did he mean?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if it’s any help to the hon. member for Hamilton West, who is trying to shine here today --

Mr. Nixon: And doing a very good job!

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I would say to him that I mean this year.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.

Mr. Reid: Not much competition.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I said “trying to.” I didn’t say “succeeding.”

Mr. Nixon: So what about June 1?

Mr. Peterson: I have turned out a graph --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Why is the member for London Centre so enthusiastic? How is his campaign going?

Mr. Peterson: You’ve got a problem in --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: However, getting back to the question of the member for Hamilton West, who was concerned about having proper regulations in the right sense of the word as they relate to the prospecting industry, which I think some of us in this House agree is in need of some consideration or some encouragement, I am also informed, though -- it might be of some interest to him -- that in spite of this concern, as of June there were no applications before the Securities Commission, but there are now three.

Mr. Reid: Do you know why? They can’t get any information out of them. They don’t know what’s going on.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would only say to the president of the Liberal Party of Ontario, as separate from the Liberal Party of Canada --

Mr. S. Smith: Why are you six months late?

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that if his people had their way, there would be fewer applications even now than exist today. That’s right.

Mr. Reid: How can there be fewer than none?

Mr. S. Smith: Fewer than none?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Rainy River does not have the floor.

Hon. Mr. Davis: However, we will have the report by the end of the year.


Mr. Lewis: I think socialism is responsible for this.

Mr. Speaker: Are there any further questions?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. You are out of order. Order, please. I might point out --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I might point out we’ve been over 20 minutes on this leader’s questions. Are there further questions?

Mr. Conway: Are there any answers?

Mr. Speaker: With the questions and answers, of course.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, one brief question. I didn’t think we had spent 20 minutes on my questions, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Well, I keep track of it up here. I assure the hon. member that it’s true.

Mr. S. Smith: All right. Well, that’s the problem when you try to shine, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: If you have a question, will you please present it?


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Community and Social Services --

Mr. Lewis: Oh, spare us!

Mr. S. Smith: Does he agree with the statement that’s attributed to Ms. Ellen Adams of the Ombudsman’s office, when she said that it’s “outrageous” that the Rideau regional mental retardation facility offers no services in the French language for the French-speaking children? What is his response to that statement and to the recent charges at the national conference on mental retardation that French services in eastern Ontario for French-speaking handicapped children are virtually non-existent?

Mr. Eakins: Darcy says there should be more French.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Naturally with regard to the first part of the question, no. In regard to the second part of the question, we do make every effort to accommodate the clients held in our institutions and I think that’s being done fairly well.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary -- I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, but after an answer like that -- can the minister please give some explanation as to why it is that there are no French services at the Rideau centre, and that there are no facilities for French-speaking children who suffer from mental retardation? It’s a very simple question.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Where there is a need I can assure the member that it’s addressed. That’s the short answer. He asked for a short answer.

Mr. Cassidy: Having visited the Rideau Regional Centre this summer, is the minister aware of what it means to see a retarded person aged over 21, whose only language is French and who has very little command of that language, who is addressed only in English by the staff of the Rideau Regional Centre because there is virtually no French competence there at all, and no effort to put French-speaking residents in with French-speaking staff? Doesn’t he consider that to be sound therapy?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Is that a question? Maybe the member could rephrase his question.

Mr. Lewis: Yes, it is a question.

Mr. Conway: Try to answer it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re wasting time now.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: If he is asking me to agree with his visitation I don’t.

Mr. S. Smith: At least rescue Bette Stephenson.


Mr. di Santo: I have a question of the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker. Since on December 17 the Great West Steel plant in Mississauga, which employs 300 workers, will be shut down, I’d like to ask the minister whether the ministry is satisfied with the reasons given by the company for the closing, and whether the minister has made any attempts to delay the closing at least until after the new year?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have been notified by the company of the phasing out programme which it is proposing for reasons which it believes are valid. The ministry is examining those reasons and is also assisting that company in the adjustment of employment for the people who are working presently in that plant.

Mr. di Santo: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, while the minister is examining the reasons given by the company can she also inquire whether the closing has anything to do with similar operations of the company in California and Mississippi, and with the system of contracting out work that the company practises?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge of contracting down in other areas. Some of the reasons which have been given, I gather, have to do with the competitive position of that company in terms of its product. I think this is probably a valid economic reason. There are some other reasons being given as well which we are looking at.


Mr. Roy: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I wonder if the minister might let us have his comments pertaining to a story that appeared in yesterday’s Citizen, a story written by Mr. Bert Hill about the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Morrow), in which, if I may quote in my question, he states:

Mr. Morrow has some pointed and unflattering things to say about the current cabinet: “I told Don Irvine to his face that if he stayed as Minister of Housing we’d lose every city seat in the province.” As for Sid Handleman’s frequent statements that he will quit if rent controls are not allowed to expire next year, Mr. Morrow says: “I told Handleman to shut his goddamned face on taking off rent controls.”

Did he shut his face?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Great member, great man.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: What is the question?


Mr. Roy: I asked him did he shut his face? What’s his comment pertaining to this?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t got the slightest idea what the question was. I heard the report and I had already read it. So, if he wants to ask a question, will you ask the hon. member to do so?

Mr. Bullbrook: The question is did he say to you --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: If the question is did I say it, the answer is no.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I hope this is on film.

Mr. Speaker: Just a moment. Order, please.

The purpose of the question period is to seek information, not so much comment on things. We are wasting the time of the question period with improper use of it.

Mr. Roy: No, I asked him did he say it.

Mr. Speaker: All right.


Mr. Roy: He’s been around long enough to know how to answer a question.

Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Ottawa East have a legitimate question?

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, my question was to the minister: Did he say it? Is he shutting his face about rent control?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is no. The hon. member for Ottawa West did not say it to me and, therefore, the second part of the question does not have to be answered.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A final supplementary by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Roy: Just a quick supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: As a matter of fact, it is a very opportune moment and I want to ask if the minister intends, despite the public utterances, to extend rent control beyond July, 1977, as was indicated? If so, can he bring in legislation this fall so that people will have adequate advance notice of the government’s intention?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The government will announce its intention in the usual way. No decision has been made by government --

Mr. Lewis: No decision?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: -- nor has it even been discussed by government.

Mr. Lewis: No decision?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: No.

Mr. Lewis: So you differed on a whim -- just impulse?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Foulds: I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services with regard to the Thunder Bay Jail. It’s a three-part question if you will bear with me.

Which of the recommendations in the memorandum of Mr. J. R. Keddie of May 11 to Mr. G. F. Tegman of the ministry with regard to the Thunder Bay Jail have been implemented? In particular, I wonder if he could address himself to enlightening the House as to whether point No. 6 on page 2 of that memorandum, a procedure which is so fraught with security breaches and danger because of under-staffing at the jail, has been met by the implementation of post No. 3, as outlined in Mr. Keddie’s memo?

Can he tell me whether the fundamental structural changes, as outlined in the last page of Mr. Keddie’s memo, which would avoid the crowding at the front of the jail has taken place or are even under way?

Thirdly, can he tell me if it is true that the jail is so overcrowded at times that the staff must issue night passes to prisoners because there are simply no beds for them at the jail?

Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it’s a very long and detailed question.

An hon. member: Take your time.

Mr. Singer: Be as long and detailed as you can.

Hon. J. R. Smith: I will seek to give the answer. I have been informed that the Thunder Bay Jail document the member is referring to -- that’s a confidential document, of course, which the member received in a brown envelope, I presume -- is a report of February, 1976. The regional administrator for our northern area requested the superintendent of the Fort Frances Jail, a Mr. J. Keddie to take up the position of superintendent of the Thunder Bay Jail on an acting basis in the absence, because of illness, of the superintendent, Mr. Gillespie.

While there, Mr. Keddie made a number of recommendations to the regional administrator regarding security and programming at that institution. On receipt of these recommendations the regional administrator asked our inspection and investigation branch at main office in Toronto to attend at the jail to review the recommendations and the recommendations which had recently been made by the grand jury. The review was carried out; certain changes at the jail have been effected and others are under way as a result.

In September, 1975, our official complement at the Thunder Bay Jail was 34. By July 23, 1976, we had increased this figure to 40 by adding three correctional officers, two nurses and one clerk complement. We retained our OCAP student. In the clerical stores area during the summer we employed a summer student as a storekeeper who set up a satisfactory stores operation. Also during the summer and into September we employed a summer recreation student who set up a recreation programme. As part of our ongoing review of complement requirements in all institutions we are now considering whether additional complement is required in excess of the extra complement assigned during the summer.

With respect to the facilities and modification of the jail, a security grille has now been installed at the control office which was not there at the time of the hostage-taking incident, and steps are under way to install a security grille in the kitchen. Plans are also under way with the Ministry of Government Services to more greatly secure the exercise area through the installation of razor-ribbon wire or chain-link fence. The kitchen has been renovated and new equipment has been added.

The revision of standing orders is now taking place, and it is expected that revised standing orders will be put into operation in the near future. The movement of inmates within the institution has been greatly restricted since the hostage-taking incident. With the implementation of these revised standing orders, the addition of extra staff as mentioned, renovations which have been carried out and are contemplated, it is expected that the recommendations of both Mr. Keddie and the grand jury will be largely satisfied in terms of security and programing.

Also it is important to note that the regional administrator has been meeting with the employees, through our employee relations committee. The ministry has responded to the recommendations which have been made regarding the Thunder Bay jail. The point may be raised regarding the recent hostage-taking incident, that if more staff had been added or more renovations had been completed, this incident would have been avoided.

Our inspectors have carried out a complete investigation into this incident and they’ve commented that the jail has designed efficiencies, and staff coverage was adequate to meet security requirements at the time of the incident. The key thing is that this incident developed through a breakdown in security practise at a time when the jail was holding more inmates than its rated maximum capacity. Unless staff members are carrying out or the superintendent is enforcing correct standing orders regarding security, particularly the transfer of inmates within the institution, there is going to be a breakdown.

The capacity there is 64 males and eight females. At the present time, there are 67 males and two females. So, in respect to the overcrowding, it is not undue but it was at the time of the incident when there was an overcrowding situation. Also involved in the whole matter, as far as I’m concerned, is that there were too many prisoners in transit between the chapel and the corridors at the time the hostage-taking occurred.

Mr. Speaker: May I suggest that is the sort of question that’s quite long, involved and complicated and which required a long and detailed answer. It has taken approximately five minutes of the question period, which is really a little bit too much to expect of a question and answer.

Mr. Foulds: One quick supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I would suggest that in future such a question which requires such detail might more appropriately be placed on the order paper for a long answer too.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That’s just a comment on the question and the answer which was necessary.

Mr. Roy: No, he had a prepared statement.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We just have a few more minutes left. If you have further questions or if you have a quick supplementary, that’s fine.

Mr. Foulds: Yes, specifically, I would like the minister to answer whether the procedure that is outlined in point No, 6 -- which frankly I have not yet made public and I dare not enunciate in this House because it could endanger the lives of guards -- if that particular procedure has been eliminated by the establishment of a post of key man, post No. 3, that is outlined later on in the memo?

Hon. J. R. Smith: I’ll review the internal document the hon. member makes the reference to and answer that tomorrow.


Mr. McKessock: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the fact that farmers are being asked to pay more for bulk farm storage of gasoline than they can purchase it for at a local service station, and in view of the fact that this is a reversal of oil company policy, and as well the companies are aware that the farmers cannot drive to town to fill up, it appears that they are taking advantage of the farmer in this regard. I would ask the minister if he would consider doing something to protect the farmers in this area?

Mr. Reid: Is he going to resign?

Hon. W. Newman: As the member knows, I am always prepared to protect the farmers and always have been. Certainly I’m not aware of that situation. My bulk tank price delivered to my place -- and I don’t get any preferential treatment -- is a fair price.

Mr. Nixon: Yes, but you make your money off the farm.

Hon. W. Newman: But certainly if there is a particular problem I will discuss it with the appropriate minister -- I guess the Minister of Revenue. Maybe that question should have been directed to him.

Mr. Nixon: He can’t spare any auditors.

Hon. W. Newman: I can let the member know if there is any problem, there might be a price war going on in the particular town he is talking about. I don’t know.

Mr. Nixon: No.

Hon. W. Newman: Certainly I will look into it.

Mr. Peterson: You stay making zucchini; you are doing all right.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: A point of order, yes.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, understanding order 27(d) it’s at the discretion of the Speaker, if you feel a statement or an answer by a minister is in fact a statement, to say that the House should revert to statements. That is a discretion which you have. In view of the lengthy statement by the minister, which did take five minutes, and since it’s not the fault of the member who asked the question but of the minister who answered the question, can we get some extra time?

Mr. Speaker: I think I have said what I wanted to say about that particular question and answer, both.

Presenting reports.


Hon. B. Stephenson presented the 57th annual report of the Ministry of Labour for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1976.

Mr. Speaker: Motions.

Introduction of bills.

Just before the orders of the day, I should announce that pursuant to standing order 27(g), the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) has filed the necessary notice that he is dissatisfied with the answer given by the Minister of Labour on October 28 to his question concerning criteria for compensation to workers in sintering plants. This matter will be debated at 10:30 this evening.

Orders of the day.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes moved second reading of Bill 130, An Act to amend The Planning Act.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, we are going to support this bill because we welcome some of the provisions in it. I wanted to make one or two comments, however, and suggest to the minister that he should be talking with his colleagues in TEIGA, and also get some assurances from him about the speed with which the proposals in those amendments are going to take effect.

The main purposes of the bill are to provide for the delegation of certain ministerial responsibilities for severances into local planning areas in a territorial district and to newly created land division committees in unorganized territories, as I understand it. In addition, the bill also corrects or changes a judicial decision which overruled the power the minister previously bad to make a zoning or land freeze order anywhere in the province. As I understand it, the court decision required that a notice be given before those zoning or land freeze decisions were made and this now restores status quo ante. That’s how we read section 4 of the proposed bill.

I would remind the minister that when Bill 102 was before this House some time ago regarding the creation of local government in unorganized municipalities, one of the major complaints that the unorganized municipalities had was precisely the fact that they would not gain power over severances and land division with the creation of the new form of local government involving proposed community councils. Now that 102 is down the drain, this bill answers that particular objection without providing them the local self-government which they so desperately wish to have and which they are still pressing the minister to provide.

In that, it’s obviously welcome. However, we are concerned that in moving to respond to the alienation, particularly of northern areas of the province, the proposed structure still leaves an enormous amount of control in the hands of the minister. In particular, we are concerned at the fact that no changes are being made in the way in which planning boards and territorial areas are to be appointed. We are also concerned over the proposal that the land division committees to be created in unorganized territories will be exclusively appointed by the minister.

I would like very much to have some comments from the minister about the way that those appointments are going to take place. It seems to us that it would be a lot more desirable for those land division committees to be selected or to be appointed locally. They could be appointed by election or they could be appointed by various forms of town meetings, which I suspect could probably be held under the supervision of officials from the ministry, given the fact that the territories are unorganized.


The member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stakes) also suggested they could be done by the device of using the local roads boards which are, I think, the one elected body at the local area in unorganized territories. It does not seem satisfactory, however, to have these land division committees appointed by the minister with no local input. In fact, what seems to be happening then is simply the creation of a buffer to protect the minister, with no guarantee that local feelings and sentiments are really going to be adequately represented in making the decisions about severances and the other responsibilities under the section which come into these new land division committees.

We should like to have a statement from the minister to say when he intends to proclaim this particular section of the bill and how the government intends to see that the land division committees are appointed and whether there are any intentions to change the way by which the planning boards are named because that is a problem as well. The member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman), who unfortunately could not be present for the debate today because of meetings in his riding, has raised with me the problem that the planning board in Sault North, which is one of the major areas that would be affected by these severance granting powers, is not adequately representative of many of the people who live in that particular area.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That was an election.

Mr. Cassidy: That was an election. I don’t know if it was an election where tenants as well as owners could vote.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Everybody.

Mr. Cassidy: Certainly there is no question that the planning board in Sault North does not adequately represent the interests of the thousands upon thousands of people who live in mobile homes in that particular area.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: There are not thousands upon thousands.

Mr. Cassidy: I believe that the minister would find that there were thousands upon thousands. Their interests are not adequately represented, and there is a feeling that the mechanism used so far is not yet adequate; so his welcoming of the delegation of severance-granting powers to the local planning board is tinged with regret at the lack of representatives of that particular planning board.

The other question that is raised in the bill, and I think one or two of our members may also wish to discuss it, relates to ministerial order. We have had a fair amount of discussion about this particular question because of the feeling we in the NDP have that normally arbitrary actions by government, be they by the provincial government or by the local level of government, should not be permitted. What the minister is proposing to do is to restore an arbitrary power which was diluted, as we can understand it, by the courts in the case of the Orangeville Highlands decision of February, 1975. I am grateful to the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) for his legal erudition in giving me that particular citation.

However, on balance we believe that the minister has got to go this way and we welcome the fact that the right to go to the Municipal Board is guaranteed now rather than being at the discretion of the minister. I believe the mechanism by which the Municipal Board is used here to conduct a ministerial inquiry probably is a foretaste of what we may get from The Planning Act review. I think it might be useful for the minister to state during the course of this debate what is happening with that review and how its recommendations will affect these particular amendments to The Planning Act.

With those comments and with some reservations about the means of appointment of these land division committees up in the north, we will support the bill.

Mr. Nixon: I believe that the main purpose of this piece of legislation is to correct a situation which was rapidly becoming another legal debacle as far as the Ministry of Housing and the planning authority enjoyed by the government are concerned. You are aware, Mr. Speaker, that for a number of years the powers to enforce arbitrarily ministerial orders, commonly called land freezes, have been very much a part of the planning decisions in a number of places in the province of Ontario. These powers have been exercised under The Planning Act in such a way that the Treasurer’s predecessors, and now the Minister of Housing, were able in the exercise of their responsibilities to issue, like a bolt of lightning, an order freezing the land use in any area they so designated in its present form and, whether or not an official plan existed, taking away from local authorities completely the power to interpret the plan and to give severances and building permits on a central basis. In other words, in those areas which were frozen the total planning responsibility was centralized in the government here at Queen’s Park. In the first instance it was in the hands of the Treasurer -- at least the Treasurer’s predecessors -- and it now lies with the Minister of Housing.

There have been a number of complaints about the powers, really the autocratic powers, exercised by the various ministers under these circumstances. The one case in point with which I am familiar was the decision taken, I believe, by the former Treasurer, John White, to exercise ministerial planning prerogatives by ministerial order in almost the whole of the territory now making up the regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk. It is not all involved but a good part of it was and still is.

At the time that freeze order was pronounced there certainly was no notice and certainly no hearing, and the powers which were taken by the minister on a temporary basis are now, three years later, still being exercised. The hon. member who spoke indicated that certain court decisions relating to the minister’s powers in this connection have called the powers into very serious legal question.

As a matter of fact, it is quite clear that unless the government acted as it does in section 5 the centralizing powers of freezing land use would be lost. Anyone who was aware of the court decisions in the Mono township situation involving Orangeville could really, in all good faith, go ahead and build a house without a building permit on land which is unsevered and, under the circumstances, there was nothing in the law to stop them.

It appears that in a number of areas of the province in some municipalities, people who are very much conversant with these changes were doing just that. I’m told that in the former town of Waterford a house is under construction without a building permit having been issued and that the process of winterizing cottages along Lake Erie, making them into permanent residences, has been going forward in spite of the planning regulations entered into by the municipalities before the minister’s freeze and even now after the minister’s freeze because they have been deemed to be illegal by court decisions taken in the recent past.

Frankly, I resent, to some extent, the minister introducing this piece of legislation and, in his statement on introduction, not bringing that to the attention of the House and to the people most directly affected. In my opinion, it would not be disastrous if these powers were not granted to the minister and it’s quite possible that, with the component strength of the House as it presently is, these powers could be denied. If the minister did not have the power to freeze the use of land as he and his predecessors have exercised it, there may be those who would say that the planning process in some parts of the province would be chaotic.

Frankly, a good deal of criticism can be directed not at this minister but at his predecessors for perhaps not using these freezing powers in the previous levels of development, let’s say, in the province when local planning authorities were almost non-existent. I suppose the case of Chatham is the most classic one where, without local planning authority, a very large new shopping centre was established just beyond the borders of the town which really in my view was not in the best interests of the overall planning of the area.

We don’t have to go over the debate again because it happened in other centres but it seems strange that the former Minister of Municipal Affairs, the present Treasurer, under the circumstances involving the powers of land planning that he and his successors have used, could have allowed that to happen. So there have been occasions in the past when -- from our point of view in opposition, with the information that is available to us -- it might have been supportable for the central authorities to say, “We cannot allow, in the interests of an overall provincial plan, for such instances of development which we consider not to be in the best interests of the province or the community to go forward.”

But things have changed quite dramatically since then, and I don’t know of any area of the province where, if the minister did not exercise these -- well, autocratic, personal, central powers of planning, the planning structures or the decisions would fall into chaos. Certainly in the case of Haldimand-Norfolk, where regional government was established three years ago, they have the very best, certainly the most expensive, planning experts and facilities there. Even before the freeze was imposed there were official plans, accepted and approved official plans in some of the areas, most specifically the township of Townsend and some other areas, and there were already zoning bylaws covering the whole area, and still the ministry feels that it must bring in section 4 and section 5 of these amendments, which perpetuates the centralized and autocratic imposition of central planning authority.

I wish that we could escape the continuation of those authorities I would be very interested to hear the minister indicate to the House that he feels in all conscience that these special powers must be maintained. There is no doubt in my mind, that the provisions of sections 5 -- and this is really the heart of the amendments before us -- are designed to save the minister from the errors perpetrated by his predecessor, particularly John White, in establishing land freezes which have now been shown to be illegal. Section 5, subsection 1 says:

No order ... heretofore made in exercise of the powers conferred ... is invalid by reason only of any deficiency in the making or bringing into force of such order including the lack of a hearing at any time prior to the coming into force of this section.

In other words, this says “Whatever mistakes we made in the past, the Legislature now says that what we did wrong is deemed to be right.” I really hate to support that kind of a concept. I do not believe in centralized planning powers. I believe there was a real and immediate need for them up until maybe five years ago, and I would expect the minister to assure the House that for some reason it is necessary that these special powers be continued, because I would hope that it would not be necessary in the future for the minister or the Treasurer, who is by statute the chief planner of the province, to exercise or recommend the exercise of this kind of a usurpation of the planning authority of the local municipality.

It’s quite tempting to vote against the whole bill on that basis.

Mr. Bullbrook: You betcha. You betcha.

Mr. Nixon: As has been pointed out, however, there are a couple of the amendments that, while they may be of only minuscule value, we don’t want to oppose. We think that the land division committees or committees of adjustment -- land division committees in this case -- should be established in unorganized territories. I’m concerned that one of the sections calls for these land division committees to pay for their expenses and their own remuneration out of the fee collected by their activities. It sounds like we’re establishing a police force in a tank town that pays their salaries by collecting fines. I don’t like that approach. I see, of course, that there is a further section that will pay from the consolidated revenue fund whatever payments are needed, but I don’t like the idea that we’re going to encumber the fees taken in by such a committee with the need to use them to pay the expenses of the committee, because I think it can lead to abuse and almost, in fact, a kind of a conflict of interest.

The fact that the minister is now finding it unnecessary that the Municipal Board informs him of any application for a review or an appeal of a decision of a committee of adjustment or a land division committee is interesting. It’s backed up by the fact that the Ontario Municipal Board will no longer find it necessary by law to inform the minister of decisions it makes.


It’s interesting to ponder whether or not this means that the Minister of Housing, unlike the Treasurer, is not going to impose his views by letter on the Municipal Board hearings involved in any of these matters. But if he says that he as the minister doesn’t want to know about the meetings and doesn’t want to know the decisions taken by the Municipal Board, it may mean that unlike the Treasurer, he is going to give up what the Treasurer considers his continuing responsibility to interfere, from his position of great responsibility and power, in what should be an independent hearing of the Municipal Board and which should, in my view, not be interfered with by the senior cabinet minister in this connection.

To return to sections 4 and 5, which in my view are the heart of this bill, I have expressed already my concern for retroactive legislation legitimizing what has been found by the courts to be illegal action. But I am also concerned that in more or less putting a veil of acceptance, perhaps, over this whole clammy business, the minister is setting out a somewhat slightly amended procedure for Municipal Board hearings to be held if someone objects to the minister’s order. It used to be that he could order the board to have a hearing if he chose. Now he can still choose to do so, but if somebody wants one then he must order a hearing.

When you read the procedure, which is largely a duplicate of what is already taking place, the board must have the hearing, it can inform those people that it feels might be concerned, and the hearing is held under certain circumstances. Then it says in section 4(12):

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Municipal Board shall make a report to the minister, in which shall be set out the Municipal Board’s findings and recommendations in respect of the application, and shall send a copy of the report to each person who appeared at the hearing and made representation on the matter.

That sounds great until you go to section 4(13):

After considering the report of the Municipal Board, the minister may either amend or revoke the order in whole or in part, or refuse to amend or revoke the order in whole or in part, and the decision of the minister is final.

Now really, you just wonder what the concept is. I know in The Pits and Quarries Act that the minister, who is concerned and under the law must concern himself in granting a licence for the opening of a new gravel pit or a quarry, can order a hearing. The hearing is held and everybody comes in with his legal counsel, and the technocrats and the experts. They thrash around for days and days and come up with a finding of the experts as to whether the pit or the quarry should proceed and a licence be granted, and it’s sent to the minister and he can do what he pleases. He can follow their advice or not and it is as if the hearing had never been held -- except perhaps for the pressure of public opinion, and no one is prepared to underestimate those.

But surely there are sufficient safeguards if the minister makes an order -- and I guess we are prepared to say that for a while yet he must have those powers, although I have very serious misgivings about them and continuing them -- if someone objects he can order a hearing, and then the Municipal Board goes through this procedure of giving everybody -- you can’t call it a day in court, because nothing is decided there; it really is a facade and just a sham, that’s all there is to it.

Mr. Singer: Good point.

Mr. Bullbrook: It is another day in court, right.

Mr. Nixon: The minister can write letters and say, “Oh yes, I’m going to order a hearing and you people are going to get in and you’ll be able to have your say.” Then the report comes to the minister and he can do whatever he wants with it. He can set it at the edge of his desk and say, “Well, I think I was right in the first instance and we’re going to go forward.”

Mr. Bullbrook: It’s a slap in the face to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr. Nixon: I agree with the interjection from my colleague from Sarnia. It downgrades the responsibilities of the Municipal Board. It uses them for what I consider to be political purposes, to buffer the minister against the attacks that he should be receiving personally because all of the authority still lies in his hands. I resent that. I really think that is a misleading approach through the legislation.

But I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, if that section 4(13) were not in there and if a substitution were made so that the Municipal Board’s findings prevailed, then if the minister felt that somehow justice wasn’t done or that the grand Conservative plan for the development of the province, which we’ve been hearing about for years and haven’t got yet, somehow was being abrogated, then surely on appeal to the cabinet could be forthcoming, and by reason of a decision of the whole council, which surely would show the policy of the administration, a reversal could take place, and we as believers in the democratic system could not object. But this really is a sham and I am surprised that the minister would approve this sort of an approach.

The member for Ottawa Centre says he rather hopes that this procedure is going to become one of the basic reforms of the review of The Planning Act. My goodness, it seems strange that he would think that is a good way to proceed because it establishes a method for a hearing which is largely meaningless and certainly would tend to mislead the people in the communities concerned. They would think they were fighting the real battle when in fact they should be approaching the minister directly since under this amendment the full power is still held by the Minister of Housing.

So I certainly have expressed some concern in this. I believe that since it is before us --

Mr. Cassidy: You should oppose the bill.

Mr. Nixon: -- in principle and deals with matters for establishing the land division committees in the north and so on, that it would be ridiculous for anybody to propose opposing that bill because of course there are some good parts to it. But we do have a procedure in this province and in this Legislature whereby these matters come before us again and we can deal with them more specifically. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that we will be offering amendments I hope along the lines to correct the criticisms that I have put before you at this time.

Ms. Sandeman: My colleague has already indicated that we would support the amendments introduced in this bill. Looking at section 32(5), the present section 4, I felt that what we are passing here is really a kind of safety net to be used only in emergencies, in situations where there are no official plans, or by total mishandling at a local level of the planning procedures or a total lack at the local level of the planning procedures the minister has felt he had to step in to put a freeze into existence while things were sorted out.

I think it says something about the present planning situation in this province that we have seen the minister and his ministry have to use this section so very often. I think, for instance, of a situation which the minister and I have discussed at some length, the situation in Cavan Township, where a ministerial order is now in existence. Six or seven years ago there were lengthy discussions in this House about what was happening to this rural township when the Whiterock developers moved in. Agricultural land was being taken indiscriminately for subdivision; urban park planning was happening indiscriminately in a rural area.

At that time, the ministry said it felt there should be proper planning in such an area and that it was the responsibility of the ministry to help municipalities to plan. Here we are six or seven years later in an emergency situation with a ministerial freeze in that township. It seems to me that as well as trying to improve the legislation around the ministerial freezes there has to be much more attention to overall planning in this province, land-use planning, designation of agricultural land and so on.

I am pleased to see, as my colleague pointed out, that there has been some slight improvement in the handling of the ministerial orders in the new section 9 where we find that now it is mandatory that people who object to the order go before the Ontario Municipal Board. The catch 22 in the way the legislation previously stood was that the freeze was imposed by the minister and the ministry and the review of the freeze in individual cases of hardship was by the same ministry. I think people felt that that was grossly unfair and felt trapped in a situation not of their own bringing about and from which they felt no immediate escape.

I wonder, when I look at the legislation as it stood before -- I am sure people in Cavan township and other areas across the province have wondered and have asked the minister -- why he so rarely -- certainly in Cavan township never -- used his option for hearings before the Municipal Board. There seems to be a certain lack of credibility when individual landowners who have been appearing before the minister and have claimed and, I think in many cases, proved considerable hardship because of the imposition of the freeze have not been given the possibility of making their case before the Municipal Board because the minister has not chosen to go that route.

At the same time they have seen the minister suggesting that other areas of that same township, which have good agricultural land, should be given up to subdivisions. There’s been an enormous loss of credibility on the part of the minister in a situation like that. I imagine that the provision that these people may now go before the Municipal Board will bring a little more equity to the situation.

I wonder if the minister could address himself to the question of how long he expects it to be before this amended section is proclaimed? If it is to be any considerable length of time he might consider, in the interim, acting under the existing section 6(a) to allow people who are currently bringing requests for amendments to the order to go now before the Municipal Board even before the amendment is proclaimed. The minister has the powers under the Act as it exists at the moment.

Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon there were some questions addressed to the minister which, to say the least, were somewhat critical. Both the questions and the answers were critical of the performance of his department insofar as producing housing is concerned. It’s my thought, having read some of the sections of the bill now before us, that if we pass them we are going to make it more difficult to produce housing or other kinds of development in the province of Ontario.

My colleague, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, pointed out his concern about some of the sections in this statute. I share that concern and I wanted to emphasize it perhaps in a somewhat different way.

As the minister well knows, I’m sure, under section 32 of The Planning Act as it now exists no ministerial order can be made if it is contrary to the official plan. However, it has been known that orders have emanated from his office, or the office his predecessors had before him, which were contrary to the official plan. What he’s asking us for is a regularization of any and all mistakes which ever could have been made including orders which were contrary to the official plan.

I say that really is a negation of the process of justice in this province. “If I made any mistakes,” says the minister, “in 15(1), let’s forget about them because I’m bringing in a statute that’s going to regularize anything which might have been done.”

Mr. Nixon: It’s 5(1).

Mr. Singer: I’m sorry; 5(1). “No order heretofore or regulation heretofore made in the exercise of the power conferred under 32 is invalid only by reason of any deficiency.” Any deficiency -- what does that mean? That means anything he’s done wrong; it has to mean that. Any deficiency in the making or bringing into force of such order or regulation; in the making.

“I, the minister, make an order and it’s contrary to the section under which I act but that’s all right, the Minister of Housing comes to the rescue. I’ve got a new section, section 5(1). I regularize any illegalities I may have committed before.” Does that make sense, Mr. Speaker? Does that set him up as a tsar, a dictator, who can do anything he wants, whether we can find it in the statute or not? It’s done, and the fact is it isn’t going to be of any help, except it’s going to show who is the boss, democratic process or not. Is that the kind of thing we want in our statutes? Surely not.


Let’s look at the reasons we are here. One of the reasons, as the hon. member for Ottawa Centre pointed out, was the decision of the divisional court in the Orangeville Highlands case. I am sure the minister is familiar with the decision of the Chief Justice of the High Court, Mr. Justice Dalton Wells. He is familiar with the fact that a letter came to the minister of the day from the people who wanted to develop the land. They said, “We must respectfully insist that your ministry pass no zoning order with respect to these lands without giving our clients a hearing in this matter.” Remember that? The minister remembers that. The minister acted, paying no attention to that at all; there was no hearing. Surely people with rights should be entitled to a hearing and a hearing that is meaningful.

What is his solution this time? It is this, there won’t be a hearing but, if the appropriate steps are taken, we can ask the Municipal Board to sit and ponder and then give an opinion to the minister. Which is really not a hearing, because it is not decisive. What the Municipal Board then has to say is for the ear of the minister only, even though other people might be able to hear it, but it has no binding effect unless the minister wants it to have a binding effect.

In keeping with the delays presently existing in the whole development process, does the minister know what he is proposing? Does he know how long it takes to get a hearing before the Municipal Board when you want one? How long it takes to get those wheels turning, with notices, advertisements, applications and on and on? Does he know how long that takes? I have been through one recently. It took us six months to get on; when we finally got a decision and got an order, there was a mistake in it: they said Schedule A instead of Schedule B, and it took another six months to get that one mistake corrected. Is that the kind of thing that the minister is inviting?

Why should these developers have been denied a hearing? Why should they not have been allowed to come forward and state their position? That’s what Chief Justice Dalton Wells said, and the two judges who sat with him. Surely that makes sense. It’s the process of natural justice, and the minister is taking it away. He is throwing a sop to the people of Ontario by saying, “Well, we can ask the Municipal Board to have a hearing and they can come to a conclusion, but it is only for the ear of the minister who may or may not like it and that’s the end.”

Why involve them at all? If the minister’s decision is going to be final, why doesn’t he say so? I don’t think his decision should be final and my colleagues don’t think it should be final. Why is the minister afraid to trust the Municipal Board? Or is he just throwing in another delay procedure in figuring that by the time all of these processes have been gone through, the poor person who wants to develop the land will have exhausted his financial resources and his patience and gone, like Cadillac-Fairview have done recently, to California, to Maryland and to Massachusetts, where they are putting their money to develop land in those jurisdictions because they can’t get land reasonably developed here in the province of Ontario? The minister is setting up so many roadblocks that he is driving developers out. That’s one of the main reasons why there is a housing crisis in this province of Ontario.

If there was a procedure whereby the Municipal Board could make a decision, surely that procedure and the appeal provisions under section 94 of The Ontario Municipal Board Act would allow appropriate reviews. I don’t know whether the minister remembers the provisions of section 94, but it says that upon a petition of any party or person interested, filed with the clerk of the executive council within 28 days after the date of any order or decision of the Municipal Board, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may vary, confirm or rescind the decision that has been made. It’s the appeal provision. Why is the minister afraid of that? He doesn’t even trust his cabinet colleagues apparently. He just wants to take the power entirely unto himself.

Mr. Nixon: He knows them better than we do.

Mr. Singer: Yes. So what have we got? We have got this obnoxious --

Mr. Good: He has some poor advisers, that is what he has.

Mr. Singer: -- this horrible section 5(1) that says no matter how illegally the minister may have acted in the past we are being asked now to pass o section that is going to regularize it.

We have another section that throws a sop at -- well, at the poor, ignorant people of the province of Ontario saying, “Oh well, since the divisional court said we shouldn’t deny people natural justice and we should have hearings and notice and so on, we will give them some kind of a hearing.” We will let the Municipal Board sit, go through all the notice of procedure and all the advertising and all the formalities, and they will listen and then they will give an opinion, not to the world, not an opinion that is binding. They will give it to our good friend the minister who may accept or reject it. End. Finish.

I don’t know why we need a Municipal Board Act, a Planning Act, a Planning Amendment Act. Why don’t we just have one statute which says the minister can do anything he wants about planning and development? It would make it much simpler. But if we are going to have some kind of democratic and intelligent and useful process, surely to goodness the minister must recognize that he is not the tsar, he is not the dictator, and that people of this province have some rights?

Over and above all of that, if we are going to get on with the development process there must be some reasonable way of bringing these matters to a somewhat timely solution.

Those are the reasons why I find it most difficult to support sections 4(12) and 4(13) and section 5(1). There are some ideas in here, and there is some reason why the minister should be concerned about what the divisional court has said. I note with some interest that the minister wasn’t advised, or if he was so advised he didn’t take the advice of his legal advisers and go from the divisional court to the Court of Appeal. So between them all they must have come to the conclusion that what the divisional court said was right. They didn’t have the nerve to take it on to a further appeal themselves.

Mr. Nixon: You know their record on that.

Mr. Singer: So when they are wrong, what do they do? They bring in a more obnoxious statute. Let’s correct it -- that is the way -- let’s correct it and make it even worse than it is, and let’s even take out the protection that is presently in there. If there is a ministerial order that is contrary to the official plan and is no good, we will even rectify that.

I would urge that the minister take those three subsections back to his advisers and consider how terrible they really are and bring us back something more logical and more democratic, so that when there is a right there can be a hearing and before an arbitrary decision is made the people who are going to be affected by it have certain levels of appeal in a public way with full notice, so that they will be appropriately dealt with. For goodness sake -- and I can’t resist this one last word -- for goodness sake let’s not throw any more systems and methods and complications on the planning system that is going to further delay development. We hear from the minister and his colleagues day after day, “We are going to whip away the red tape.” Now we have another statute full of red tape.

Mr. Swart: I was going to make the comment when I rose to speak, prior to hearing the member for Wilson Heights, that there seemed to be a great deal of unanimity on this side of the House all the way along with regard to this bill. However, I certainly must dissociate myself and my party from his comments and his concerns about the developers being so hard done by on the part of the government of this province.

Certainly there are a great many delays caused by the legislation in Ontario with regard to development, but I want to point out that those are caused by the confrontation process between the municipalities on the one hand and the developers on the other, because the developers are trying to get every last dollar out of the development.

The answer is not to lessen the legislation which gives authority to the municipality to wage that battle. The answer, of course, is to remove the confrontation to a very large extent by some form of public land development and let that set the criteria, as is done in Red Deer, Alberta; Saskatoon, Regina and elsewhere, where the length of time for development from the time the raw land starts to be developed until it is on the market is about one-third to one-half of what it is in this province. That’s just an aside, Mr. Speaker.

I do want to say to the minister that I really think he should take into consideration the comments in general which have been made from this side of the House, and bring in recommendations to certain parts of Bill 130. It seems to me the recommendations for amendments from this side of the House have really said to the minister that we think the public should have more rights. Particularly in regard to the disadvantage of the public at the present time in having input into planning and recourse to appeal in planning, the public should have more rights. Certainly I think it’s possible to write into this first section of the bill a procedure where there would be consultation with communities in unorganized areas so that they would have some rights in determining who should be on the planning board in their areas or the land division committees in their areas.

I am also inclined to think, in spite of the court decision, with the order changes that have been made in section 4 of this bill, that the bill doesn’t need to say that no notice or hearing is required prior to the making of an order. Certainly, generally, and I’m sure the minister would agree with me, there is value in consultation before an order is made. There are times when you have to move in, and I think rightly move in quickly on behalf of the public, but where you are making orders in northern Ontario where they have no organized communities, or in a great many places, there surely is room for a large degree of consultation ahead of time. I would ask that the minister consider removing that rather obnoxious sentence to many people in section 4 of this Act -- which, of course, is section 32(5) -- and find some wording which is, I think, generally more acceptable to the public and doesn’t, in a prior way, remove the rights that really they should have and think that they are entitled to.

Of course, it has been mentioned I guess by almost every speaker with regard to sections 4(12) and 4(13) that in the areas where the minister makes a ministerial order, first of all there are some rights and privileges taken away from those people by the very fact he makes a ministerial order, and then subsequently he’s not giving them the same right of appeal as he is giving the people in the organized and the more sophisticated municipalities. Oh yes, they have the right of appeal, of course -- he’s given that to them through the Ontario Municipal Board -- but the Ontario Municipal Board doesn’t have the right of decision. All it can do is recommend to the minister. Surely the Municipal Board there should have the right of decision, the same as it does in appeals from the municipalities that have official plans and all of the other municipalities in this province.


I suggest to the minister that there are some pretty really serious contradictions in principle to which I would subscribe in this bill. First of all he interferes, in some instances rightly so, but I say unreasonably so by this bill in some areas in what may be very small matters, certainly in the north. When it comes to such things as giving guidelines to regional councils for their official plans the minister won’t provide them; even on the second request he won’t provide them. That’s really where the authority should rest.

We have the contradiction of interfering in very small things but when it comes to the major things, the planning of land use in this province, the minister opts out of that but that’s really where his responsibility lies.

Secondly, I say that with the principle here, those who have few rights now -- we shall see even in this bill -- will have fewer rights in the overall appeal procedure.

I think the minister can change this bill so it will be satisfactory to all sides of the House and I urge him to do so.

Mr. Bullbrook: I want, if I may, without being provocative --

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Pick your own lines.

Mr. Bullbrook: I’ve heard that line somewhere before. I’m really astounded that the member for Ottawa Centre had so little to say about this legislation. I think it has far-reaching implications. I’m glad that some of his colleagues have been able, after my colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk had pointed out the deficiencies in the legislation, to see the basically insidious aspects of this.

This is nothing but semblance on the part of the minister. What he is trying to do in connection with the Orangeville Highland case is dissemble a degree of natural justice which doesn’t exist.

I’m not going to deal with the other principles of the bill. It’s the principle of the bill which was dealt with by my former leader that I’m vitally interested in because it leads into considerations which deal not only with the right and duty of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) but also the right and duty of the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) as the superplanner for Ontario, and many things which are going on in my community at the same time.

I think, really, to assess the implications and the propriety of what’s put forward, one has to reach out for the fundamental concept of what planning is all about. I believe in the premise that when a person owns a piece of land, the person who owns the piece of land should be able to do with that land that which he wishes to do, subject only to the common good.

That’s all that planning’s about, really. For the common good. The protection of society as a whole, the protection of the values of the community -- that’s what planning is all about. Two hundred years ago we had no planning per se. We’ve evolved a system over the past five decades of the protection of the public good by vesting in municipal authorities the right to say to an individual, “No, you can’t do that which you wish with your property because we feel it would be unfair or obnoxious to your neighbours or to the community as a whole.” That’s the fundamental.

The fundamental was that the individuals in that area would make a judgement as to what was in the best interests of that community or that area. Eventually the final decision in that respect was vested, under the Act, in the municipal elected officials. They developed committees of adjustment. They developed, afterwards, land division committees. They developed planning boards -- all emanations of municipal councils and all basically subject to the final will of the elected people.

I say frankly this is the essential problem that I face constantly in trying to make value judgements with respect to planning. Should it be the elected people who make the ultimate decision or should it be appointed people? Frankly, I say that I come down unequivocally on the side of the elected people.

When we look at section 94 of The Ontario Municipal Board Act, that’s why it’s there. If we look at the functions of the Ontario Municipal Board -- I won’t read them in total detail, they’re listed inter alia in section 36 -- they say the board has jurisdiction and power:

(1) to hear and determine all applications made, proceedings instituted and matters brought before it under this Act or any other general or special Act, and for such purpose to make such orders, rules and regulations, give such direction, issue such certificates and otherwise do and perform all such acts, matters, deeds and things as may be necessary or incidental to the exercise of the powers conferred upon the board under such Act.

Throughout it gives power to the Ontario Municipal Board to do some things. That’s the function of the Ontario Municipal Board. On the one hand, you have the common good; on the other hand, you have the individual applicant.

The decision is made with a right of appeal to a quasi-judicial body, the Ontario Municipal Board, who sit in effect as a court making a decision. But superimposed upon that objective evaluation of the righteousness of the decision by municipal council or planning board, subject to that objective evaluation it’s always the right of the citizen to go to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, namely, the ultimate authority, elected by all the people of the province. And that’s what I think is fair. It’s ultimately fair.

It’s not the exercise of an absolute discretion by the Ontario Municipal Board as appointed people. It’s not the coming to a conclusion by the Ontario Municipal Board exercising its judicial function. It’s eventually the supreme legislative and governmental body making a judgement in the best interests of the people as they see it. You don’t do this here. That’s fundamentally what the member for Wilson Heights was talking about and that’s fundamentally what we don’t want.

We feel that you should not have the absolute discretion to make a judgement. We say there is nothing wrong. We say in effect it’s a charade. I think that’s the word my colleague used. It’s a charade and it’s a denigration of their function to say that the Municipal Board shall have a hearing and make a recommendation and then to litanize in section 5(1) all the things the minister can do with it -- revoke it, change it or disregard it. That, to me, frankly, is not in the best interest of what the Municipal Board is all about.

I wonder to myself, frankly again, whether we’re not involved truly in a larger charade when we talk about the holding of the hearing itself. It’s absolute to read in the statute that the minister can do what he wants to, no matter what the recommendations are. But I want to read some correspondence if I can where the Treasurer of Ontario deals with his function with respect to planning.

It’s in the area of Sarnia, and it’s right on the principle here because it’s a question of the exercise of the Ontario Municipal Board and the function of government. I premise it by saying that ultimately the Treasurer of Ontario and his cabinet colleagues should have the right to make the decisions. Ultimately, if my leader became the Premier of Ontario and I were a part of his cabinet, I’d want to reside in us the right to make that decision because we’re elected to make that decision.

In Sarnia, as in many other communities, our downtown area can only be regarded as a cancer, and something has to be done about it. It’s common knowledge that there must be redevelopment, and I compliment the government in its new initiative in assisting with the respect to some type of urban renewal programming. But even evaluating that programme, one recognizes the government wants its money back, and rightly so. It’s a temporary loan in effect. How do you get your money back? You get it back because of economic viability. Because you build the development, you lease it and you bring people downtown. As a result, you generate the profit by which you can repay the municipal and provincial governments under the programme.

What’s happened in Sarnia is that a huge shopping centre in Sarnia township -- and I’m sure this might well happen in Sault Ste. Marie too, but certainly it’s not unique at all to Sarnia -- is being further enlarged to such an extent that the cornerstone of any development downtown in Sarnia is taking place in Sarnia township. I wrote a letter to the Treasurer. I must say before I read the letter that what we’ve had is a Hedlin-Menzies study -- I don’t know whether you realize it but it’s a study primarily generated by provincial funds -- looking into the whole question of amalgamation in our areas and what’s in the best interest of the Sarnia area. On July 28, 1976, I wrote to the Treasurer as follows:

I am informed by the solicitor of the city of Sarnia that a resolution has been adopted by the city of Sarnia to take formal objection to the expansion of a general commercial zoning in the township of Sarnia. This, to my way of thinking, is the ultimate result that many, including yourself, have seen coming for several years.

I, as the member for both areas, understand the state of extreme and justifiable concern for the expansion of satellite commercial facilities in the township -- this coming as it does at a time when the area’s most pressing need is the revitalization of the city’s downtown core. I understand also the natural desire of the township of Sarnia to attempt to equalize their assessments through additional commercial activity. The latter indeed is not blessed with a strong industrial assessment base. However, the time has come when the studies that have been undertaken must be practically implemented. The Ontario Municipal Board, with the greatest respect, should not be placed in the position of having to decide this Solomon-like problem. I request initiative by yourself and, under your direct guidance, with all the support that I and our colleague, the Hon. Lorne Henderson, can give --

Mr. Nixon: Bring out the big guns.

Mr. Bullbrook: God bless him. It goes on:

-- to look at the necessary amalgamation required in our area. Another level is not needed, Mr. Minister, but I feel frankly that those elected in both municipalities can rationalize the eventual needs of the area.

I received a response to that letter from the Treasurer of Ontario, dated August 25, 1976. I am not going to read it in too much detail. Suffice to say --

Mr. Nixon: Is it a “dear Jim” letter?

Mr. Bullbrook: As a matter of fact, he used to call me “Dear Jamie” and he now refers to me as “Dear Jim.”

Mr. Nixon: Could be worse.

Mr. Bullbrook: I don’t know whether it’s a result of maturity on my part or coolness on his, but in any event this one is headed “Dear Jim.”

What he says, in effect, is that the Ontario Municipal Board will make this decision and they will do it on the basis of proper planning and land-use evidence as given to them. The interesting part of it is who got the copies of this letter. It is directed to myself, with a copy to the Hon. Lorne Henderson, Minister without Portfolio; Warden D. L. Williams, chairman of the Sarnia-Lambton Steering Committee and -- get this -- Mr. W. Shub, chairman, of the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr. Singer: “Here are your marching orders.”

Mr. Bullbrook: In other words, the Treasurer of Ontario is sending through to the chairman of the Municipal Board -- I hadn’t copied him at all; I thought it was highly improper for me to do so. The Treasurer of Ontario writes this letter, which says these are the things that should be done in our area based on these criteria with respect to land use, and he takes it upon himself to send a copy of that to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr. Nixon: It is like phoning up a judge.

Mr. Cunningham: It’s worse than that; he does it all the time.

Mr. Bullbrook: I read that to you, Mr. Speaker, because the Treasurer has an ultimate function to perform there. He does. But surely it is a political function. As the Minister of Housing would know from his experience, one doesn’t decide matters of that nature solely on the basis of proper land use. One must take into consideration the questions of balance of assessment and provision of services as well as questions of economic vitality. Those are the things that are important. And ultimately -- it has been done in a regional government -- the cabinet has to do it with respect to the use of peoples’ land. That basically is why all of us in the Liberal Party rise here and say we find this completely offends us.

We say that the minister can undertake what he wants to without going through the semblance of undertaking what he wants to. Because the courts have said there has to be more than just a decision by the minister. There has to be a hearing. And a hearing of its very nature envisages a result. That’s what a hearing is all about. A hearing is for somebody to listen to arguments and evidence and come to a conclusion. That’s the basic failure in this. The function of the Ontario Municipal Board in undertaking a hearing is, as I have read in one part of section 36, to make such orders and directions as are necessary based on the evidence put before them. And my colleagues all, as one, say that’s the way it should be.


We say, in effect, that if the minister must transfer to himself, as is needed from time to time, the ultimate decision-making apparatus, rather than it being at the local level, then he must retain the same responsibilities and be subject to the same strictures as a municipal council or a municipal planning board in making those decisions. We say, in effect, that if the minister is correct in coming to a conclusion that the Ontario Municipal Board itself was incorrect in making a judgement or order to which he is a party, then he, as any other citizen of Ontario, being an interested party under section 94, has nothing to do but invite his cabinet colleagues to reconsider, as they would in every other planning matter under The Planning Act.

Mr. Nixon: The more I hear these arguments, the more I think we will oppose it.

Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to add a few words to what has been said. I think the concern of this party has been very ably and amply expressed on the matter, but I’d like to first deal with some of the other things in the Act. The consideration of the minister receiving notice of every appeal before the OMB from a land division or committee of adjustment hearing will no longer be required, nor will the minister have to get copies of the decisions of every land division committee and committee of adjustment, I think those are good. They’re streamlining the system to a minor degree.

Back in 1973 we passed legislation whereby the minister could delegate authority to the local municipality of the regional government in relation to subdivision plans of approval and that sort of thing. Not too much has happened. I know the authority has been delegated to certain regional governments, but from what I’m told up to now there hasn’t been very much use of those authorities in our area because there haven’t been that many new subdivisions brought in recently under the new criteria.

We would hope that many of these instances where authority is delegated would streamline the system to some extent and relieve the minister of interference, because if we have the controls of the committees of adjustment, the land division committees with powers of appeal to the OMB and appeal of an OMB decision to cabinet, we feel in this party that that is a good and proper procedure, one which safeguards the rights and puts the ultimate responsibility at the political level and the cabinet or Lieutenant Governor in Council as a whole, and with this we’d agree.

But getting to the other section of the bill, section 4, which deals with the problem which has arisen by the powers that the minister has exerted under section 32 of The Planning Act dealing with ministerial orders, we find under section 32 that when the minister does make a ministerial order he can make it on a variety of premises. On anything on which a municipal council can pass bylaws under section 35, the minister can make an order of -- and this covers a wide variety of things; the use of land, the construction of buildings, pits and quarries, density, the erection of buildings and all this type of thing. Now when the municipal council passes bylaws dealing with those matters, it has a specific and regular procedure to apply and it has to follow that procedure; and that procedure is as we have said -- there is a case for appeal to OMB and on up to the cabinet if required.

However, the ministerial order section under 32 in the old bill is the one that was found deficient by the courts in that natural justice was denied to people in these areas where ministerial orders bad been imposed. We recognize the need for ministerial orders, and I think it has been pointed out by previous speakers that while they should not be required if the planning process had been developed in the past 10 or 15 years to the point where it should have been, but because of such things subdivision control came into many parts of southern Ontario as recently as five or six years ago and official plans are still lacking in many, many parts of the province. In fact, only a small portion of the province has official plans completed. Every day we run into situations where the minister uses his blackmail methods and says, “We will allow no further development in that area until such time as official plans have been completed.”

We have been saying for 10 years here that if these municipalities had been given some financial assistance -- and thank goodness they are getting more now than they did 10 years ago -- and some incentives, there would have been more planning done at the local level. There would have been official plans and there would not have been the necessity for as many ministerial orders. But where ministerial orders had been placed on these areas, the minister did have a procedure which he had to follow. There is nothing of course which said the minister had to allow for an OMB hearing. It just said that under 32(6)(a) the minister may request the OMB to hold a hearing upon the application where they wanted a change from the order.

The amendment to the Act says the minister may request that OMB hearing or he shall upon notice of an objector to the order then request the OMB to have a hearing. We have no quarrel with that. We think that is probably put in there now to overcome the objections of the court to this ministerial order section which, as I understand it, was ruled to deny natural justice in these areas where ministerial orders had been put on. The point has been well made. We do not think the minister is making any improvements whatsoever by being required to hold an OMB hearing now, if there are objectors, whereas before he only had to do it of his own initiative. But it has not improved the situation when the minister is given the authority to completely disregard the OMB hearing when it comes up with its final recommendations.

This happened not long ago in the region of Cambridge in regard to a hearing before the OMB on an opening up under The Pits and Quarries Control Act. The OMB decision definitely said there should be no instigation of a gravel pit in that area. The minister ruled against the OMB decision and allowed the licence to be issued. This is the point we are getting at. The ministry has a procedure of appeal, an appeal from the OMB hearing to the cabinet. We agree with this and certainly this should be the procedure and nothing less than that under these amendments.

As has been said before, the minister is going to have to do something with subsections 12 and 13 of the Act which make the OMB hearings nothing more than a sham, just something to be able to satisfy the minister’s own self by saying: “We had an OMB hearing. I will read what they had to say but I still have the right to do what I want. We don’t think that’s good enough. If one person is going to be the chief planning officer at the local level, I think he then should be responsible to the people, to the OMB, the same as the local people have to be through their process. That is our objection to that thing. I think the minister can come up with an amendment to this section which will satisfy that condition and then we will all agree that justice will have been done,

Mr. Mancini: I am pleased to speak on this particular bill. There is one section that concerns me slightly. It’s section 6(11).

If I understand this correctly, it says here that basically the minister is going to have the right to decide which municipalities are going to send their approved applications of severances and which ones are not. I was wondering what criteria the minister was going to use which would require certain municipalities to send in their applications of approved severances and which municipalities would not. We, in the southern half of the county of Essex, I might add, are greatly concerned and many times disturbed by the actions of the ministry. When locally-elected officials have taken steps to appoint planning boards and to appoint committees of adjustment and they make a decision which they feel is good for their particular area and they approve these decisions, they send them down here to Queen’s Park, to the powerful hand of the bureaucrats. They know this is not a good move for the local area and things seem to get held up for six or 12 months at a time. Personally, I feel the minister should take the attitude that if an area has its own planning board and its own committee of adjustment, it should be able to take care of its own problems.

That is all I would like to say.

Mr. Renwick: I have one brief comment to make particularly on the provisions of section 4 and section 5 not for the purpose of extemporizing about the matter but to have the record clearly show the very limited amendment which the minister made to the statute for the purpose of overcoming the decision of the divisional court in the Orangeville Highlands case in 1975. I want to quote the two paragraphs which obviously attracted the attention of the legal talent in the Ministry of Housing, in order for them to prepare the minimum amendment which would overrule that judgement, to nullify its effect insofar as any other cases were concerned. Presumably the ministry’s hope is that that will solve the problem which caused the divisional court to give its judgement adversely to the minister in 1975.

“The power invested in the minister is contained in section 32(1)(a) of The Planning Act which provides that the minister may, by order with respect to any land in Ontario, exercise any powers conferred upon councils by section 35 without the approval of the Municipal Board. His order, of course, violently alters the right to use the land as proposed. Though it is alleged by his counsel that he had complete power to act as he did it is not the ministerial power he is exercising but the power of a municipal council. He, therefore, comes under the principles that were first enunciated in this court in the case of Zedgoviz and town of Brampton in 1972.

“On appeal [talking about that decision] the court took the view that it was not necessarily applicable where there was an additional appeal from the bylaw passed by the municipality but otherwise there was no quarrel with the practice laid down by the court in that case.”

The general principles enunciated there, I think, apply in this case to the minister’s order.

In order to overcome the problem of whether or not there was some appeal from the decision the minister changed the word “may” to “shall” in the appropriate subsection of the bill, or what will now become subsection 9 of section 32 of The Planning Act. I assume and expect that in all likelihood that is effective to accomplish the purpose of the ministry.

It gives us concern -- it gives me in particular concern, of course -- because it then proceeds, in section 5 of the bill, to validate the existing orders or put them in a position where they cannot now be challenged in the same manner that the order was challenged in the Orangeville Highlands case -- but, of course, without affecting any of the cases presently before the courts or the decision in the Orangeville Highlands case. That kind of validation provision gives everyone concern but I think in this instance we must accept it because of the overall purposes of The Planning Act to plan adequately the land use within the province of Ontario.


Some of the members who spoke for the Liberal Party in this debate have made a great point that the decision of the Ontario Municipal Board, if a matter goes before that board for a proper hearing, should be the end of the road and that the minister should not have the power, after considering the report, to alter in any way the decision of the Municipal Board.

I think it is misconstruing the process which is embedded in the statute and was embedded in the statute in the sense that it was there before the Orangeville Highlands case, apart from the obligatory nature which is now going to be in the statute. I think it misconstrues it to say that the minister can ignore the decision of the board, or that the minister can do whatever he wants, or as my friend, the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Singer), indicates, that all we need is a statute thing, that the minister can do whatever he wants with the land in the province of Ontario. And if the minister doesn’t understand, I’m sure he does understand that he must consider the report. He can only, in the light of that careful consideration of the report, make a decision which would in any way effect the decision of the Municipal Board.

We in this party don’t object to that provision. We think that the public interest, at this point in time in the province of Ontario, requires that the public interest in land use should be a matter ultimately, after proper hearings and after due consideration, of policy in the final analysis. They must be political decisions in the sense that they must be decisions of the government which must and can only be dealt with in the overall policy of the government and the way in which the people of Ontario accept that policy at the polls when and if, as occasion may require, there is recourse to the electorate.

I do not think it is possible to make the argument that you can require the government to have the responsibility for its land use policies as a matter of policy on the one hand, and then suggest that provided the government has given an opportunity to hear fairly and properly both sides to any given issue, if occasion should require that to be done, that it must then of necessity accept as final the decision of the Ontario Municipal Board. If I thought that was essential, I think I would have left the matter for the court and let the court’s decision to have been final in the circumstances.

But I do want to say that if this distinguishes the New Democratic Party from the Liberal Party in the area of land use planning in the province of Ontario, well, so be it. I would be very much concerned myself if, in fact, the ultimate responsibility for land use policy in the province of Ontario rested anywhere else than upon the government of the day and in this particular case, so far as this ministerial act is concerned, in the Ministry of Housing.

Mr. Singer: Did you not hear section 94 of the OMB Act?

Mr. Renwick: In substance, what we are saying is that so long as there is a proper hearing, so long as there is then adequate consideration by the minister of the results of that hearing and he acts in good faith and not frivolously -- because he must, of necessity, act in good faith and not frivolously in the matter -- he then comes to a decision either to confirm what the Municipal Board decides in the particular case or to alter it and exercise his own responsibility in that area, then we, at this particular point in the history of Ontario, cannot possibly see that it can be done in any other way.

I think it’s fair to say that were we, if the occasion should require, to have responsibility for land use planning in the province of Ontario we would want to have the powers to decide that policy and to implement it and to stand or fall at the polls on the question of it, and we would not in any way want to escape that responsibility by suggesting that in some way basic decisions with relation to land use should be delegated in some way to the Ontario Municipal Board as the final resting place for those decisions.

If I clearly understood the members who spoke for the Liberal Party, I wanted to state the position of this party, and as I said, if that is different from the position of the Liberal Party, well, so be it.

Mr. Singer: Some day you should read both The Planning Act and The Municipal Board Act.

Mr. Grande: In one day?

Mr. Singer: Maybe one day he will, before he makes a speech.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, let me begin my remarks by saying that as far as I am concerned. I would much rather that there be no such thing as the minister’s zoning orders at all in the province of Ontario, because in order to accomplish that we would have a very effective planning process and a plan in place over most, if not all, of this province.

The question of having the zoning orders is one that has certainly bothered me, and I think most members of this House know the reason for the zoning orders in the first place, because of the fact we -- as has been pointed out quite accurately by members opposite -- do have many areas in this province where there are no official plans or bylaws and as a result, in an effort to have some control over what would be happening in the fringe areas around some municipalities and in other areas of the province to make sure that there was no uncontrolled development or development that would not be, as was expressed by the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook), in the common good.

Much has been said about the move to plug the hole, if you will, that was created as a result of the court decision and it’s been referred to -- the one in Mono township. There was another one that gave us some reason for concern and that was the one in Timmins; a decision that was made there. Both of them really are different circumstances as they related to their decisions, but as I read both of the decisions it seemed to me -- and I don’t want to be provocative --

Mr. Singer: You left your badge on.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- that the decision in both cases, as I read them -- and I am subject, of course, to others more learned in the law -- did not seem to say that the particular section of the Act was illegal or that it was wrong. It seemed to me that they took a specific case and dealt with the circumstances on that specific case, but I think reasonable people, upon reading those decisions and seeing what was happening, would have to take the steps that I suggest be taken in this amendment in order to avoid any of these uncertainties.

In the case of the Mono township decision, that was a case where, as was properly drawn to our attention here this afternoon, a letter had been written to the minister requesting that a hearing be held. The minister of the day decided to ignore that request and proceeded to impose the order, and that did not sit well with the courts and with the decision. In the case of Timmins, the order was even found to have been imposed as a direct effort on the part of the minister to, in fact, prevent what was already in the process of happening. It was an after-the-fact sort of thing.

With respect, I don’t believe that the courts actually found that this particular section or the actions under that section were illegal. They have, in my opinion, cast some shadow on the effectiveness of that section and that’s why I’m before you today --

Mr. Singer: Oh yes. Oh yes.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- and that’s why I’m here today with the proposed amendment.

Mr. Good: But you want to change it.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, I think it’s only right because there’s no point, I suggest, and I would hope that some of my friends who are in the legal profession would agree, that we would not want to clutter up courts with continuing cases like this, that we have much more important things to deal with --

Mr. Singer: That’s why you should have a simple statute.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- and we can certainly do this in the proper way.

It’s been suggested that the procedure that is proposed in the section as it relates to the hearing before the OMB and the fact that the final decision rests with the minister are wrong, and that in fact it should go directly to the cabinet for a full cabinet decision if an appeal is filed.

Mr. Singer: If there’s an appeal, yes.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: But I think that flies in the face of what the member for Wilson Heights said, and that is that we should be doing everything we can to speed up the procedure of allowing things to happen if they can properly happen.

Mr. Nixon: That’s right, Mussolini kept the trains running on time. A dictator can speed it up.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I honestly believe that the hon. member for Wilson Heights would have to agree that going through the process of an OMB hearing, having an appeal filed, and having it go directly to the cabinet certainly is not what you would call the most speedy process in the world, and that we really wouldn’t be speeding anything up by going along those lines.

Mr. Singer: You’re not speeding it up the way you are doing it now.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: By having it come back for a final decision by the minister, I think that accomplishes what the hon. member for Sarnia said was important to him and I think to all of us -- that is that the decisions be made by the elected people. I’m really not a great fan of allowing the Ontario Municipal Board to make final and absolute decisions that are binding on all parties. I never have been, I never have been.

Mr. Singer: Subject to an appeal.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I feel there has to be an opportunity for the elected people who are accountable to make those decisions. I suggest to the member that by it coming back to the minister for the minister’s decision, the minister remains accountable. He still has to make the decision, that decision is known and he’s accountable for it. I have never noticed anyone in this chamber ever being shy about suggesting to the minister that he be accountable to the other members of this House. So I don’t think the member is losing anything there. I don’t believe it’s really a sham, or that it’s right to say that it’s a sham, because we are in fact giving an opportunity for a hearing.

Mr. Singer: Could I ask the minister a question?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Sure.

Mr. Singer: Does it make sense that the bill has the minister accountable only under section 32? If the minister wants him to be as accountable as he’s saying, should he not be accountable throughout the whole scheme of The Planning Act, and not just under 32?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to get into that particular area at this time. I was asked a little earlier in this discussion -- I think by the hon. member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) -- what the status was of the Comay report as far as The Planning Act was concerned. That study will be completed this fall. We should have it in the hands of the printer this fall and I’m hoping to have it into the hands of the public by January at the latest. There has been some delay due to the illness of Mr. Comay, but otherwise it’s moved along very well. Some of those matters I’m sure will be dealt with in Mr. Comay’s report.

I want to touch upon the fact that it was suggested in the discussion that the minister would already have made up his mind, and that despite having the OMB hold a hearing and make a report back to the minister, the minister had already made his decision earlier by imposing the order. It’s really not necessarily so in the case of a request for an amendment to that particular order, or if it’s in fact to revoke the entire order, because I think the members could appreciate that you are not always fully aware of all of the circumstances on every piece of land in that particular area. If a person does in fact appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board and wishes to be heard, many circumstances and details of that individual’s property would be brought forward that the minister would not be aware of at the very beginning. I would hope the minister would be open-minded enough, whoever he or she may be, to make the decision properly based upon the common good, and upon the facts as presented by the Ontario Municipal Board at its hearing.

Mr. Singer: It’s always been a great principle of justice to appeal from Caesar to Caesar.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Well, if Caesar is a compassionate person --

Mr. Singer: Oh yes, so are we all.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I suppose it depends really what political stripe Caesar happens to be wearing. I suppose that would be entering into the conversation too.

Mr. Swart: At any particular time it changes.

Mr. Singer: Well, you have got good allies; Renwick agrees with you.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, in regard to a comment made by the member for Wilson Heights -- and I would like to correct any inconsistency in this area -- to the best of my knowledge, zoning orders have not been placed on those areas contrary to an official plan.

Mr. Singer: I can show you one and I am sure there are more.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: If the member can, I would like very much to know that, because I don’t think that should be done.

Mr. Singer: I had it taken off after I brought it to the ministry’s attention.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Fine, and I think that’s proper. But what has happened, and I would mention this to the hon. member, is that there have been areas where an amendment to the zoning order has been requested by the landowners, by the municipalities and other interested parties and approved by the planning people of the area who have said: “We think this is a reasonable use. Would you amend your order even though the proposed use might be contrary to the official plan?” There I have agreed and have so amended. I don’t think that it’s flying in the face of the public forum.

Going to the questions on the northern Ontario and the unorganized territories and the provision for planning boards in the north to become land division committees or committees of adjustment and the establishment of land division committees in the unorganized areas, it’s true the Act says that the minister shall appoint. But that is not done with the view that the minister is going to go out and select the people. By virtue of the fact that it is unorganized, the minister will make the appointments -- go through the formality of appointing. But I can assure the members it is not my intention to go around picking out names out of a hat and determining who is going to sit on those particular boards.

Those particular boards will be served on by people who will be from those areas and who will be hopefully selected by the people who live in those areas. I draw to the attention of the member for Ottawa Centre with respect that the planning board that now exists in the area north of Sault Ste. Marie was an elected planning board, elected by the people who live in that area and who own property in the area. I don’t disagree with the criticism that perhaps there are persons, a segment of the population there, the tenants in mobile homes, who are not represented on that particular board. But I didn’t decide who was going to run for office nor did I determine who was going to be elected. That was done, I trust, by, and I obviously support it, the pure democratic process of nominations and going to the ballot. And the winners so sit.

That’s what occurred in that area in a special election, I don’t think the like of which has been held anywhere else in Ontario. But they did in fact elect their own members. If there is some way of getting away from that inequity, fine, let’s take a look at it. Maybe the only way is to appoint the members to that board to see that all of those interested people will be properly served on that particular board.

I do draw again to the member’s attention that there are not thousands and thousands of mobile homes in what is known as Sault North. They just aren’t there. And there aren’t thousands and thousands of mobile home tenants. He has been in the area on a number of occasions and I strongly suggest he spend more time up there and take a look at them. Don’t look at one and multiply by some fictional figure. There just aren’t that many in that particular area. Those that are there should be represented, though. I make no bones about that.

I must confess I had some difficulty with some of the comments of the hon. member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) as to the public right. I think we are doing that. He says he has some concern over the fact that in section 4 I say “No notice or hearing is required prior to making an order under subsection 1.” I think that’s important, because if you are going to give notice then the whole effect of putting the zoning order on is lost. It’s totally lost. The very thing that you are trying to prevent will happen as soon as the word is out that you’ve given notice that you are going to in the future put the zoning order on. All of the things you want to prevent will occur. You lose the effectiveness and you really shouldn’t bother having a zoning order. It’s important that the order can be put on.

In fact, part of our problem at the time under the old section was that we really thought that the section in the Act had the same effect as a municipal bylaw. One of the good learned judges in a decision said the same thing. We thought, that being the case, when a minister’s zoning order was put on to the land that in fact you had the same authority as a municipal bylaw. If the bylaw was in effect it was law and the hearings were held after, if necessary, and a decision in that case given by the OMB on a municipal bylaw. But the judges’ decision would lead us to believe that we do not have that authority.

One of the decisions leaves us really wondering because it said you are acting as a municipality, therefore you must have hearings. The hearings are after the fact in municipal life, as you well know. We didn’t have that and the judge couldn’t give it to us. They told us that we were wrong in at least two cases.

I think what we’ve got here in this particular Act is a good amendment. I think it’s worthy of support. I think it should remain as it is. I can’t see the necessity for any amendments in the Act.

The member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) has left, but I did tell him I would put this on the record for him: He was concerned about section 6(11), where the minister would be requesting the receipt of copies of decisions of the committee. I wish to point out to him that the only time that would happen is where we found municipalities where the committee seemed to be disregarding completely the public interest or the planning procedures; then we would ask that the decisions be sent to us to determine whether or not the committee was carrying out its responsibilities properly. I don’t think that’s going to be necessary too often. Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe I have any other comments.

Mr. Nixon: That is unsatisfactory.

Mr. Singer: Not good enough.

The House divided on the motion by Hon. Mr. Rhodes for second reading of Bill 130, which was approved on the following vote:














Davison (Hamilton Centre)


di Santo
















Johnson (Wellington-Dufferin-Peel)


















Miller (Muskoka)

Newman (Durham York)










Smith (Hamilton Mountain)












Ziemba -- 71













Miller (Haldimand-Norfolk)

Newman (Windsor-Walkerville)



Reed (Halton-Burlington)

Reid (Rainy River)






Smith (Nipissing)

Smith (Hamilton West)



Worton -- 28

Ayes 71; nays 28.

Ordered for committee of the whole.


Hon. Mr. Meen moved second reading of Bill 99, An Act to amend The Corporations Tax Act, 1972.

Ms. Bryden: This bill changes the amount of profits eligible for the reduced rate of Ontario corporation tax which we passed this spring. In effect, it increases the limit on eligible profits to bring the limit into line with the proposed increases which were announced in the 1976 federal budget, but has not yet been enacted as far as I have been able to determine.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There is a great deal of background noise in the chamber. Could we keep it lower please?

Ms. Bryden: The reduced rate of corporate tax of nine per cent provided for in last spring’s amendment applied to companies and profits which qualified for the federal so-called small business deduction. It was, therefore, restricted to Canadian-controlled private companies. But while both the federal and the provincial reduced rates of corporate tax are touted as small business incentives, they in fact could be collected by Eaton’s or by any other Canadian-controlled private company on the first $100,000 of their profit up to a maximum of $500,000 over a period of years. Under the proposed change the reduced rates would apply to the first $150,000 up to accumulative maximum of $750,000.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Could we have a little order please?

Ms. Bryden: We supported the amendment to The Corporations Tax Act last spring which put the reduced rates into effect because we believed that it mainly benefited a substantial number of small businesses. We would have liked some clause which would have removed the benefit from the large private companies which qualified, but this would have required a departure from parallelism in the application of the reduced rates at the federal and provincial levels.

We therefore supported the small business exemption last spring mainly because we thought it would offset some of the disadvantages that small business suffers from. We don’t think the tax incentive is nearly enough to assist small business in this province.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) is having difficulty hearing. Could you conduct your private conversations elsewhere please?

Ms. Bryden: Small business suffers from difficulties in obtaining credit at the same rates as big business. It suffers from difficulties in completing government forms because it doesn’t have as much computerization. It suffers from difficulties in fulfilling its obligation for tax collection again because of smallness of size, and generally complying with red tape. For these reasons we think it is entitled to some tax concessions. But we do not think the cost of such tax concessions should be spread over the entire population of Ontario, over the other taxpayers of Ontario, many of whom are paying far more than their share right now.

We think the cost of such small business concessions should have been spread over the other corporations, the large corporations, the foreign-controlled corporations. We would have liked to have seen last spring’s bill include an offsetting increase in the corporate tax rate. The Ontario corporation tax rate of 12 per cent has not been changed since 1967. Three other provinces have higher rates; B.C. at 15 per cent, Newfoundland at 14 per cent, Manitoba at 13 per cent.

Since 1965-66, corporate taxes in Ontario have been producing a smaller :and smaller percentage of total revenue. They have gone down from 17.5 per cent to 10.4 per cent in the 11-year period. We think that the amendment last spring and this change now should have reversed that trend and started to have the large companies, which are benefitting from inflation, paying a larger share of the total cost and contributing to the reduction in that overblown deficit which the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) is trying desperately to reduce.

We intend to support this amendment despite our regrets about the failure of the government to make up the lost revenue from the big corporations, many of which are foreign-owned. Most of them are shipping profits out of the country or using those profits to buy up Canadian-controlled industries. We feel that they could well afford to pay a larger contribution to the revenues of this province.

I would like to ask the minister if he could give us an estimate of how many additional companies will benefit by the raising of the profit limit under this amendment; and also how much revenue loss he expects from the raising of the limit. When we know this we will know much better how much he should have increased the corporate tax on the large corporations in order to offset this loss of revenue.

Mr. Edighoffer: I’d just like to make a very brief comment on Bill 99. As was stated earlier by one of my colleagues, maybe this shouldn’t be 99; it should be 45(a). I realize this bill is a further amendment to Bill 45, which was passed earlier in this session, which re-enacted section 106(a) of The Corporations Tax Act.

The federal budget, I believe, was brought down on May 25 of this year. That budget stated that the small business deduction limits would be increased from $100,000 to $150,000, which should be of some assistance to a greater number of small and medium-sized businesses, particularly now, throughout Ontario. The federal Act, I understand, has finally been introduced and this bill, of course, will not be enacted until it’s been proclaimed. I presume that will be after the federal bill has been given approval.

I think the most interesting part of this legislation, because we’ve had many requests from small businesses and small business associations, is for less paperwork and more tax relief. I think the one thing we’re interested in is what change will be made and how many more businesses will receive benefit -- I believe it was 50,000 that was announced in the original budget by the Treasurer in April of this year. I hope the minister will be able to assist us with those figures. Also I’m wondering, because the budget referred to the fact that there would be a transition bonus which would represent a onetime cost of $8 million, whether this will change the previous budget procedures as well.

We in this party will support Bill 99.

Hon. Mr. Meen: The members have directed their attention to the potential revenue loss to the province, and we don’t have precise figures, of course, on this. But our best estimate is that somewhere in the range of 1,900 on the lower end, to 2,700 at the upper end of the scale would benefit. The average of that is 2,300, and on that basis we are estimating -- I can give hon. members, rather than just an estimate within the two bracketed ranges, an estimate of the two bracketed ranges of revenue. On the low end, we have an estimated revenue loss of $3.8 million; on the high end, an estimated revenue loss of $7 million. Those are the figures we’re looking at as money that would be retained within the business community for expansion and, of course, creation of other jobs.


I don’t know whether there’s much more. I think that was the gist of the thrust of the questions by the hon. member for Perth as well.

I should just add, though, that there is a small difficulty attached to moving in this direction at this time, initially intended for the purpose of paralleling the announced intentions of the federal Minister of Finance when he brought in his budget in May of this year. They did in fact introduce the bill, and that’s the bill to which the hon. member for Perth has made reference. But that bill died on the order paper. To the best of my knowledge, contrary to what the hon. member for Perth indicated, I do not believe that any subsequent bill has yet been introduced.

My understanding is that they are having some difficulties with some sections of their amendments to the Income Tax Act -- of which their corporation tax section is a part, as opposed to being a separate piece of legislation as we have here in Ontario -- and that although they will likely go forward fairly soon with their amendments to the Income Tax Act dealing with personal income tax, it’s apparently not expected that they’ll be going forward for some months yet with their announced intentions as to corporation taxes.

The amendment I am proposing today adopts the sections in the federal Income Tax Act -- sections 125(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d). Subsection (c) of those sections as adopted by us is the one which itself at present imposes a limit of $100,000. It will be necessary for them to amend their Act before our Act can be proclaimed.

What we’re saying is this, that not only do we believe in paralleling the federal legislation, but we also believe it is appropriate to go to $150,000 at this time. I think if the federal government does not move within a reasonable time to increase that subsection (c) to read $150,000 as opposed to the present $100,000, we would have to come back to this House with a still further amendment to The Corporations Tax Act of Ontario to actually effect this increase to $150,000. This amendment today accomplishes that, provided the federal government makes that amendment to its Income Tax Act.

I thank the hon. members opposite for their indicated support of this amending legislation, but I do indicate that it will not be proclaimed for a while. When it is proclaimed, as the hon. members will have realized, it will be retroactive to cover the fiscal years of corporations ending on and after our last budget date which, if memory serves me, was April 7. I should just check that and make sure I’m correct. Yes, ending after the sixth day of April -- on and after, then, the seventh day of April, 1976, rather than, say, the effective date of the last federal budget. Or as a matter of fact, I understand the federal position correctly, they were proposing to make it relate back to January 1, 1976. We are not proposing that, but ours would be effective from and including April 7, 1976.

Motion agreed to.

The following bill was given third reading on motion:

Bill 99, An Act to amend The Corporations Tax Act.


Hon. Mr. Meen: I’m pleased to move second reading of Bill 133, although I had understood that apparently one of the parties opposite had not wanted to go forward with it at this time. Is it agreed:? I move second reading of Bill 99 then.

Hon. Mr. Welch: No, I’m sorry, it’s 133.

Mr. Breithaupt: That was a good debate.

Mr. Meen: I’m sorry, of course, Bill 133.

Hon. Mr. Meen moved second reading of Bill 133, An Act to amend the Assessment Act.

Ms. Bryden: I had understood this bill was not coming up this afternoon.

Mr. Good: Well, we understood it was.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Bill 134?

Ms. Bryden: The Assessment Act, is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Meen: Yes, that is correct.

Ms. Bryden: I’d just like to make a few comments on it, Mr. Speaker. I think this is the fourth or fifth year that we have postponed the institution of the market value assessment system. As we have mentioned before, we feel that there has been a lot of unnecessary delay in the past in getting down to business on a proper reform of our property tax base. In some cases the delay appears to have been of a political nature, with an election looming and a lot of changes coming.

The present delay is presumably to allow the Blair commission to continue its work in examining the 15 proposed changes in the property tax base which were announced in budget paper E. We can do very little but support the proposal to postpone the implementation of market value assessment until the 1978 tax year, because in our submission to the Blair commission we pointed out that we think the whole idea of examining those 15 very far-reaching proposals in that short period of a few months was completely mistaken.

There are all sorts of implications that the people appearing before the Blair commission do not have an opportunity to bring forward their entire reaction because they haven’t been able to calculate the impact due to lack of information from the government and lack of background material.

I understand that the Treasury department prepared a background book on the 15 proposals which contained a lot of analyses of the implications as far as they could with the data they had, but this book has not been made available to the public in any form. We requested it when we appeared before the Blair commission but so far the commissioner has not seen fit to make it available to us.

The result is that not only were we disadvantaged in presenting our critique of the 15 proposals but every other group or person appearing before the Blair commission has been similarly disadvantaged by the absence of any of these background studies on the proposals and by the lack of statistical data. The Niagara region example, which was put into budget paper E as a so-called example of how the impact of the changes would work out, has been shown not to be representative in the slightest and the figures appear to have been somewhat cooked, shall we say, to make it appear that there are going to be shifts that will be favourable to homeowners.

We are not convinced at all that the premise upon which the 15 proposals are based, that is that the proportion of tax borne by home owners will be reduced, is supportable under these 15 proposals. We think that the whole exercise of the Blair commission is really a hasty, put-together to provide a smokescreen for enactment next spring of proposals which have not really been adequately analysed and which should have been much more thoroughly thought through by the government.

Already we notice the government is backtracking on a good many of the proposals when it has found the tremendous reaction against the proposals, for example, to raise business taxes on small business by 21 per cent, to raise them on chain stores by only 16 per cent, to reduce it on distilleries 43 per cent, to reduce it on wholesale business and to keep it uniform on financial institutions. The whole business tax proposal is going to hit small businesses and relieve some very big businesses such as the distilleries.

Another area where there is tremendous concern is the proposal to tax properties that at present are exempt -- mainly non-profit organizations of a charitable and educational nature. The implications for those, we are just beginning to realize. The United Appeal of Toronto examined its 25 agencies and found the tax burden would be tremendous, in most cases more than a lot of them could hear. They would probably have to go out of business.

Those are some of the areas where we feel there must be rethinking of those proposals. We feel the timetable for the examination of those far-reaching proposals is much too short. I know we are bound or constrained by the desire to get a more equitable system of assessment into effect. Market value assessment has the appearance of being more equitable. I think it is, where you can get adequate records of actual sales in the area.

It breaks down when you start to try to assess commercial buildings for which there are very few sales. Who can say what the Toronto-Dominion Centre is worth? Who is going to buy it? It breaks down when you try to assess the value of a park, a conservation-authority property, and so on. It seems to me the whole concept of market value has to be modified in cases where you don’t have adequate market material and new formulas have to be worked out before we can get what is really an equitable property tax system.

Another area where we have grave doubts about the proposal is with regard to the farm proposal, where farm land would be assessed at full market value but the government would pay the taxes in full, but if the farmland’s use was changed there would be a recapture of the tax. I understand a great many farmers are very concerned about this proposal. They don’t want to be --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Let me remind the hon. member that the principle of this bill is whether market assessment should be delayed a year.

Ms. Bryden: I’m just saying that it probably should be delayed even longer until we sort out some of the tremendous impacts of these proposals, including the one that farmland should really not pay any tax at all while it remains in farmland. But I don’t think farmers like being in a position where their taxes are paid by the government. They would rather pay their own way if they had an adequate farm income.

Mr. Ruston: Your party would take all the land over anyway.

Ms. Bryden: So that’s another area where there are grave doubts.


A further area is in the question of municipal local government property being taxable. It is going to add to the tax burden of all the people who support those various local governments. It may take money out of one pocket and put it into another but it is certainly not going to create any new property tax wealth -- just shift it from one region to the other.

We think the whole question of property tax relief depends on the province helping local government to reduce the burden of property taxes to have less reliance on property taxes. This can be done in two ways: by letting the local governments have access to other kinds of tax revenue -- possibly income tax, corporation tax, sales tax, a share of that, and secondly by the province increasing its grants to local government and perhaps taking over whole functions sunk as welfare and a much larger proportion of education in order to relieve the burden of the property tax which we all know is a very unfair and regressive tax.

These are the sort of considerations that should be debated before the Blair commission. They are not, because they are not in the terms of reference and that is my real --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Let me again remind the hon. member that she can’t speak to anything that isn’t in the bill. You must address yourself specifically to the principle of the bill and that is whether or not market value assessment will be delayed for one year.

Ms. Bryden: I was just going to wind up and say that under the circumstances we support this bill. But we would like to see some real action and more study by the Blair commission, with more information available to the public.

Mr. Nixon: A lot more studies.

Mr. Good: I’ll try to relate my remarks to assessment and the problems that have arisen regarding the delay up to now and the whole matter of market value assessment. Actually what would be most relevant is to dig out some of the speeches of 1970, 1971 and 1972, where we showed the ministers opposite the problems that would arise by trying to bring out market value assessment across the province.

Mr. Edighoffer: Good idea.

Mr. Good: Already it is obvious to all people that market value assessment is not going to be the be-all and end-all of the inequities that exist in our taxation system. Already in some areas, market value assessment, or so-called market value assessment, represents as low as 50 per cent to 60 or 65 per cent of today’s market value. Already the equity has gone out of what we call market value assessment. While some areas have had increases in market value to that extent, other areas of the province have not.

So on that magical day when market value assessment is brought in, there will still be the greatest need for equalization factors. There will be the greatest need to look at the assessment and see at what levels each classification of property will be taxed and there will be the need to try to remake a proper relationship between so-called market value assessment on residential property and market value assessment on industrial and commercial property.

Market value assessment as is being done on commercial and industrial properties bears no relationship to the market value of those particular buildings because it’s impossible to ascertain what the market value would be; that is, what a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller. Consequently they have had to use other methods to put a so-called assessment on those properties and my understanding is that they used replacement costs less depreciation.

We told the government, way back when they first started talking about taking over the assessment function in this province, that there was nothing wrong in many of the areas of the province because there was equity within the taxation area among the various classifications of property. Let’s go back and look for a moment on how that was accomplished.

The local municipalities that were responsible for their own assessment did assess various classifications of property at various percentages of market value. Some municipalities were assessing residential property at 23, 25 or 27 per cent of market value. Apartment buildings were assessed at 45 or 50 per cent, industrial and commercial at 100 per cent. That seemed to be about the general mix that was acceptable by the people in those days.

Granted, there were many areas in the province where assessment was not being done properly. I drew this to the attention of the ministry on my first speech in this House back in 1967. I said at that time that if they gave some money to the municipalities and made the use of the assessment handbook mandatory, they could do away with their assessment problems or at least improve them considerably. Instead of doing what was the logical solution to some of it, they said: “No one can do it properly but the province,” and they took over the whole assessment function and incidentally increased the cost of assessment from about $2 per capita to $4 per capita just overnight. Anything the province takes over from the local municipality has that result.

Along with taking over the assessment, they froze the existing assessment on buildings at that time. Along with freezing the assessment, the equalization factors were frozen and those factors that involve the payment of levies among the municipalities -- from area to region or from township to county. The equalization factors that were frozen were those used for the province giving its grants to the municipalities. Instead of things getting better in the last eight years, the inequities have been perpetuated. I suppose that while there may be some validity in saving it’s easier to live with the monster you know than the monster you don’t know, many people are quite happy to say, “I will take my chances on what we have now rather than wait for this equalized assessment.” Everybody is afraid of it.

The government ridiculed this party six, seven, eight years ago when we said the government was going to have to bring in various levels of taxation for various classifications of property. The government said market value assessment was going to bring equality to everything. Fortunately the government has been convinced now in the last couple of years that it is going to have to have various levels of taxation for various types of assessment. The resources equalization grant paid out by the province now has so many inequities in it due to the freezing of the equalization factors that the minister is as aware as I am of the situations where cities like Windsor get no resources equalization grants and the city of London gets them in the millions. I am sorry, I forget the amount. These things have been perpetuated, and bringing in market value assessment unfortunately isn’t going to solve many of these problems. There has been too much emphasis laid on what market value assessment is going to do to bring about the solution to the inequities that exist.

I don’t think at this point we should get into the matters of taxation that have been put forth by the Treasury; that is a different matter. But the bill before us says this is going to be put over for another year. In other words, it’s now going to legalize in legislation what the Treasurer said last spring. The rolls will be returned in 1977 for 1978 taxation. Let us hope that the government keeps faith with its promise to bring the rolls in early in the year so that at least people can have a look at them -- not that they are going to know what to do with that assessment, because there will be no manner in which a person can judge whether that assessment is high, low or in between.

I think the experience in those municipalities where market value assessment has already been brought in, such as the Grey, Bruce and Parry Sound areas, has shown that when the first reassessment went out, there was a slip which said that if the expenditures did not increase or if the mill rate did not increase, the assessment should be roughly about -- I think in Grey county it was 17 times what it was previously, which was a little bit of a guideline but certainly no basis on which one could appeal an assessment, which is understandable.

It’s unfortunate that this had to come about again. I think the approach by the government way back in 1970 when it took over the assessment was wrong. We established that fact at the time and I think now they are finding that their chickens are coming home to roost and they have got a political hot potato here which is really going to cause them trouble in the near future.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I think the saga of market value assessment epitomizes what’s wrong with the Conservative government in this particular province. It is a saga of incompetence and it is a saga of secretiveness. I think it is wreaking tremendous hardship and uncertainties on a whole lot of people across the province and this is simply the latest chapter.

I recall to the minister that it was back in 1964 or so that the Smith committee on taxation was appointed by the then Conservative government. There was a promise or a hope that during the 1960s the major tax reforms would come forward. That didn’t occur. In 1966 or thereabouts the Smith report came down. It recommended major reforms in the property tax field. They were then submitted to a legislative committee. Before the end of the 1960s that legislative committee had made its recommendations.

I submit it is typical of the Conservative government that this province has had for far too long that much is promised and little is delivered, and that certainly has been the case in the field of market value assessment. This minister, it seems to me, has been dogged by incompetent displays such as we have in the field of market value assessment,

I would like to suggest that we are going to have major problems next year when finally the work of the assessors is meant to be revealed before the public. They have been working since 1971 with absolutely no public scrutiny and no public accountability. The minister and his predecessors have repeatedly refused to give any kind of public inspection of the quality of the work being done by the assessors,

We were told back in 1973 or 1974 that the inflation of profit values made the work done up until that time of no use. It had to be scrapped and had to start all over again. We were told that there were problems with the computers. Nobody knows what has really been happening there. We are now told that the market values that will be brought forward will not be contemporary market values, but will be market values as of a particular spot in time. I am not sure what that spot in time will happen to be.

Tens of millions of dollars have gone down the drain in trying to come up with this market value assessment, and nobody knows whether the work is any good or not. What we can tell, though, is that the work of the Ministry of Revenue, under this particular minister is not particularly good. I have very little confidence that we are going to get better work when the work comes out from the assessors.

I am afraid, in fact, that people are going to be confused, dismayed, upset, and very angry when they find out what happens. They will not understand what the market value assessments that they receive actually signify. The appeal process will be so hopelessly overloaded that it will be impossible for people to get a just and fair treatment in trying to get a decent assessment on their particular property. The inequities and injustices that have been perpetrated on property-tax payers over the last few years will simply be continued by what is going to happen next year.

To compound this, we are going to see a series, I predict, of hastily devised measures by which the government will try to respond to the difficulties that are revealed both by the Blair commission report and by further political pressures that are brought upon the government over the course of the debate of the next few months. I would submit that the chance of major reform has probably been blown because of the incompetent way that both this minister and his government have handled the whole area of market value assessment.

I urge, if I can be brief, that the minister open up the rolls now so that people know what is happening. I urge, in addition, that given the fact that it is very likely market value assessment will not come in in 1978 but will be further delayed to 15, 16, 18 or even 20 years after the inauguration of the Smith committee report, we may or may not see some semblance of market value assessment in this province.

I would urge that equity within taxation classes be introduced now by bringing in market value assessment within classes, so that people in like circumstances pay a like amount in tax. In other words, one residence and another pay the same amount of tax if they have the same market value. That is not the case now. It has not been the case through the 1970s. It has not been the case because of the incompetence and delays of the ministry.

I submit that changes are needed because we have no confidence that the whole great, marvelous, perfect scheme promised by the ministry is ever going to be introduced. It has been delayed before; it is being delayed again now. I suggest that the government will simply be chicken once again and will give us further delays for as long as it remains in power. It is one of the good reasons perhaps why it should be booted out.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.