30e législature, 3e session

L113 - Tue 16 Nov 1976 / Mar 16 nov 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, I would like to remind members of the House that an article appeared in the November 8 edition of the Kenora Daily News in which the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) is quoted as having said, “Not once, either in public debate during my estimates which were being heard at the same time or in the Legislature itself, did one member from this area make any statement whatsoever to protect the reputation of northwestern Ontario or explain our need for economic growth.”

Mr. Lawlor: Shame.

Mr. Stokes: I hope the minister was misquoted, and that if he doesn’t recall what was said by --

Mr. Bain: He was playing politics.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Stokes: -- northern members during the estimates he will go back and read it so that he would refresh his memory and perhaps correct the misstatement in that edition of the News.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, if I may be given the opportunity to reply to the hon. member’s accusations --

Mr. Renwick: Withdraw.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If memory serves me correctly I really can’t recall the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) standing up and defending northern Ontario --

Mr. Warner: The best thing you can do is resign.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- like the rest of us on this side of the House but I will take it upon myself to review the comments he made in Hansard and if I’m wrong, I’ll correct the statement.

Mr. Lewis: That’s not good enough.

An hon. member: You’re wrong.

Mr. Laughren: Nobody needs you.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, this is a very short statement which relates to the results of the Quebec election. The choice made yesterday by the people of Quebec is today the subject of much speculation and discussion across Canada. This is understandable but I hope that Canadians, and particularly Ontarians, will consider these results in a moderate, common-sense perspective.

Let us remember, first of all, that the Quebec election was fought on a wide range of issues. Quebeckers reacted like the voters in any other province. They voted for what they perceived to be their economic and social wellbeing and for a government that they believe will best ensure this result.

I do not think the results of the election should be regarded in any way as a statement by the people of Quebec on separatism. The polls taken on this issue last week, the same polls that so accurately indicated the election outcome, were quite unequivocal. I believe the great majority of Quebeckers are opposed to the separation of Quebec from Canada.

I would like to table a copy of a telegram that I sent today to the Premier-elect of Quebec, Mr. René Lévesque, congratulating him on his victory, noting the close historical relationship between Ontario and Quebec, and looking forward to working with him, as I do with all my fellow Premiers, in considering and resolving the various problems facing Canada and the provinces.

Clearly the election of a Parti Québecois government in our neighbouring province adds a new dimension to our intergovernmental relations. I believe it is the obligation of all Canadians in these circumstances to act in a moderate, mature way, which is the special characteristic of this country. I know Ontarians will feel a particular responsibility in this regard.

As a Canadian and as an Ontarian, I am determined to continue seeking that balance in our federation that will permit us to enjoy the dual advantages of our national unity and our provincial diversities. I am sure I can count on the support and co-operation of all members of the House in this endeavour.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, to the Premier in response to his statement. In the interests of stilling some of the irrational voices of doom about the consequences of yesterday’s election and in the interests of sharing publicly our determination to keep Canada unified with Quebec as an indispensable part, will the Premier first share with the members of the Legislature in advance what Ontario proposes for the agenda of this now terribly important federal-provincial conference in December? Second, will he insist that the discussions at that conference on no account be held in private, as he and his colleagues go about refashioning a sense of confederation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would like to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that probably the prime area of discussion was to have been and may still be the question of constitutional reform. I can’t predict for him accurately whether the first minister of this country will still have that as part of the agenda discussions, with the recognition that the Premier-elect of Quebec, who will then be the Premier of Quebec, may not have had sufficient opportunity to assess carefully what his or his government’s position may be. I cannot predict accurately for the Leader of the Opposition whether that item will be the main agenda item which I believe it would have been 48 hours ago.

I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition that we have really made available to the public the basic position of this province as it relates to our views on constitutional reform. I’m sure he has read these carefully and would have been prepared to debate them and would be prepared if we still have a debate, which I believe we should, in this House on the assumption that that still is, shall we say, one of the main aspects of the first ministers’ meeting.

Mr. Lewis: I assume we will, of course.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have had no communication yet, and I think it’s understandable, from the Prime Minister of the country as to any suggested change in the agenda or what may take place as a result of yesterday’s election in the province of Quebec. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that I will be quite prepared to share this when the information becomes available.

Certainly, if the constitution remains as one of the prime areas, for discussion -- which was originally, I think, the intent of the first ministers’ meeting -- that documentation is here ready for discussion. I just add not a word of caution but the possibility, I would think, that this may or may not be discussed in December because the new Premier of Quebec may want the opportunity to assess what position he may take, I don’t know; I’m only guessing at that.

Mr. Lewis: A further supplementary: Can I come back to the second point -- in the interests of good faith and sharing in public terms can the Premier of Ontario ask that the conference deliberations be held in public rather than the practice on the last occasion?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it is on the record but if it isn’t the Premier of this province, certainly in the last three years if my recollection is correct, has been one of those who, when asked by the first minister of this country whether he preferred the meetings to be open or closed, had no reluctance in saying he was prepared to have them open.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: In view of the importance of the forthcoming meeting, if it were to be held on the constitutional matter, would the Premier undertake to make efforts to include some representation from the opposition parties as part of the Ontario delegation to this particular conference, be it open or closed?

Hon. Mr. Davis: As I understand the possible structure of the conference it is not to be a full-fledged federal-provincial conference with numbers of delegates. It is basically for the first ministers and I would be reluctant to give that undertaking. I don’t think it would serve any useful purpose because I don’t think it will necessarily be the kind of meeting where there are 30 or 40 people in every provincial delegation.

Mr. Roy: In view of the question of my leader and the Premier’s response, understanding that that may be a problem if the conference is only for first ministers, would he alternatively undertake to have a debate in the House prior to the conference so he may have our views and, proceeding as the Premier of this province, will have cohesion and full support of all members of the House in the approach taken by this province?

Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for Ottawa East perhaps didn’t hear what I said to the Leader of the Opposition and what I said when the House reconvened. That is why we have tabled documents which I assume the member for Ottawa East has read very carefully. Those documents were tabled so that all members would have the opportunity -- I invited the members -- to participate in a debate on the position that Ontario was presenting with respect to constitutional reform.

I have just said to the Leader of the Opposition that I would assume that is one of the main agenda items along with fiscal arrangements; if that is still an agenda item, not only would I welcome the debate or the discussion that is why we tabled the documents -- so we would all have a chance to take a look at it and be able to participate in a constructive fashion which I am sure the member for Ottawa East always wishes to do.

Mr. Lewis: I would like to ask a related question of the Premier based on his reply. Since the Prime Minister said clearly to the media, to the public, last night that the agenda for the conference was still open to negotiation with the Premiers, would it be Ontario’s position to expand the terms of that conference now to deal with economic and social matters beyond the return of the constitution, and, again, to do it in the kind of public arena which would begin the process of subduing anxieties and reaching a new Canadian consensus?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think really the member is talking about two or three rather distinct problems and I think we can get into a lengthy discussion today as to which compartment one would put those individual problems in. The Prime Minister has said the agenda is still open and I think agendas are always open until we get there. I would not be really anxious to state that I believe the Prime Minister should adhere to those things which 48 hours ago he felt would be normally part of our discussion. In his wisdom, he may want to consider himself just what should make up the agenda of the first ministers’ conference.

Mr. Lewis: What about your wisdom?


Hon. Mr. Davis: I am always prepared, if asked, and sometimes when I am not asked, to pass on whatever thoughts I might have. As it relates to having a discussion, shall we say, in this House on Ontario’s position on fiscal arrangements, I don’t know that I would have any reluctance, because our positions have been publicly stated and there have been opportunities for questions and discussion here in the House. I’ve not sensed any great division of opinion as it relates to fiscal arrangements.

Once again, I would probably observe that that aspect of any first ministers’ conference doesn’t really go to the heart of whatever difficulties this country may face. It causes problems in terms of finance, taxation, etc., but I don’t think it’s the thing, in my view at least, that was sort of the basis for the results of what happened yesterday in the province of Quebec.

Mr. Bullbrook: Supplementary: I’d like to ask the Premier if he could assure us, if the question of the constitution is not thought proper or timely with respect to the next first ministers’ conference, that he might attempt to extract from the Prime Minister of Canada an undertaking that there will be no unilateral action by the federal government with respect to patriation before the matter has been fully discussed?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t really think it will be necessary to do so. We’ve made our point of view known to the Prime Minister on this issue. I’ve made a number of speeches expressing genuine reservation about any unilateral action on the part of the Prime Minister. This was part of the communication made to him as a result of the Premiers’ meeting here in Toronto. In fairness to the Prime Minister, while I don’t think he necessarily agreed with all of those matters that were raised at the Premiers’ conference, I think he made it clear in his response that he was prepared to discuss it with us.

I’ll certainly make this point again, but I would say to the member for Sarnia it’s relatively academic: I do not believe in the present circumstances the Prime Minister of Canada, without consultation with the other Premiers, would take any unilateral action. That’s a point of view the member for Sarnia might not share, but I don’t think the Prime Minister would.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Premier:

When might he be able to tell the House his choice of a chairman for the Environmental Assessment Board hearings on the proposed Reed Paper transaction?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would hope to inform the House just as soon as that choice and decision have been made.

Mr. Lewis: That certainly cuts through the blur to the core. I hope the Premier is as precise at the constitutional conference. It will be reassuring to Canada and our future. When he meets René Lévesque, he’ll have to be on his toes.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have had some practice with you.

Mr. Lewis: He’s a far greater match, let me assure the Premier. By way of supplementary, may I ask the Premier what is his response going to be to the apparent explicit rejection on the part of the peoples of Treaty 9 of participating in the Environmental Assessment Board hearings? What further steps does he intend to take?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think that really relates to the person who will be asked to undertake this responsibility. I have communicated to, or it’s in the process of being communicated to, Mr. Rickard the desire on my part to discuss that particular appointment with him prior to any public announcement. That is not necessarily the usual or customary practice, but that has been or is in the process of being communicated to him. I think that would be the occasion to have discussions as to what involvement Treaty 9 would have. It is still my hope that they will approach this in a way that is constructive and that will add to the hearing and help us resolve this problem. I don’t want to speculate or make any other conjectures at this moment until such time as the person who is to be chairman of the hearing is determined.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Education: Since it is now well over a month since he promised to have some revision in the requirements for the secondary schools in curriculum planning in Ontario, can he tell us when we can finally expect a full report with a full explanation, so that the guidance teachers can once again begin to give guidance to the students of Ontario? There are cases in Oakville, for instance, where the teacher is unable to give advice, not knowing what the course requirements are going to be for the next year.

Hon. Mr. Wells: All the schools in this province have had the requirements and they know they will get the detailed HS-1 document within the next couple of weeks. All they have to do is phone up our regional office if they have any questions.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities: Is it true that in view of administrative and other difficulties he might consider abandoning the differential fee concept for foreign students? Has he come to the conclusion that it is turning out to have the appearance of unfairness which causes hardship and that it’s administratively difficult to handle?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: The answer to the first question is a very clear no. The last part of the question is supposition and I didn’t share it.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary:

Can the minister tell us whether the government has made any efforts whatsoever to arrange reciprocal arrangements with such places as the state of Michigan and other places where Canadians frequently study so that Canadians can have the benefit of reduced rates for tuition similar to those given to the residents of those particular states, in exchange for which residents from those states, when they come here could pay the same fees charged to other people in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: There has been a lot of discussion on that subject but I would ask the leader of the third party to recognize that in Canada we educate two students for every one who goes out of the country. I think that statistic shows we are carrying a very full share. If we combine it with the amount of subsidy or the amount the taxpayer of this province pays for the education of those students -- which still is 65 per cent of the total cost -- when we equate those figures plus the fact that there is a very small base of population to carry that very heavy burden here in Canada, there is no doubt that we in Canada and particularly this province are doing more than our full share in educating those people from other countries.

Mr. Sweeney: A supplementary to the minister’s first answer: Is it not true that the differential fee which was levied on the community colleges, effective September, has not been collected from all those students it should, because the administrators simply can’t identify them? Is this what the university presidents are concerned about for January?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think we are as concerned as anyone else about how that programme will be finalized. There are very few in the college system where that applies and by the first of January when a large number will be in the system we will have the full mechanism in place. I don’t anticipate for a minute that it isn’t possible to do and we shall do it.

Mr. Speaker: Is this supplementary? All right, final supplementary from the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.

Mr. Warner: Does the full mechanism involve each student in the university proving his or her citizenship rather than just relying upon a signature as a statement of citizenship?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I thought I said, and I will repeat, that by January 1 the full mechanism will be in place. There are still some details to be worked out and we are working on it but I don’t want the member to think for one minute that it isn’t possible. Secondly, I would like to say to the member that this country does need some individual responsibility by those people who are participating in the many benefits this province yields. It is about time all of us recognize the total responsibility isn’t always on the system but should be on individuals on many occasions.

An hon. member: Like the home-owner’s grant.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

An hon. member: He’s sounding very right wing.

Mr. B. S. Smith: It’s not the same for the professors. That’s a different situation. It depends on who you are.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Revenue: Is the Minister of Revenue now prepared to respond to my question of last week regarding land speculation tax and land transfer tax waivers for Ronto and Wimpey respectively, regarding what seems to have been a $10.5 million profit or approximately $10 million profit made in Brantford recently?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I inquired just this morning on that score and I expect I will have the answer for the hon. member within a couple of days.

Mr. S. Smith: There is no rush about it. It is only $10.5 million.

Mr. Peterson: Take your time.

Mr. Makarchuk: When the minister tables his reply, will the minister table a breakdown of the half-million-dollar selling cost, and how much of that selling cost was involved in donations to politicians and political parties?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I have no information in my ministry on that score, Mr. Speaker, and I would expect that any kind of contributions to political parties will be disclosed in the usual fashion through the election finances commission.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities once again, and I trust we will get a slightly better answer.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It depends on the question.

Mr. Moffatt: We hope it is a better question.

Mr. S. Smith: Your duties to the third world are very touching.

Has the minister received a letter from the Ryerson students’ association concerning the delay of OSAP approvals? Approximately 100 people in that institution alone have had some delay. What does the minister plan to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: If the member is asking me if I personally have received that letter the answer is no. There may be a communication to the student awards officer, but I personally haven’t received that letter as yet.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, has the minister been informed of an unusually great number of delays in the OSAP approvals which have been occurring this particular year? These have certainly come to my attention. Has the minister been informed of these delays, and has he been informed that there appears to be a belief that there is a particular delay when the application arrives in the French language?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, I am not aware of that at all. I discussed this at some length this morning, and the statistic that I have in my possession now relative to delays is of those that need to be reprocessed, and there are a considerable number of them, through errors either by a student or within the ministry, or wherever, the proportion is about three to one of errors on the part of the student; three out of every four. I don’t suggest that is from lack of knowledge or an attempt to mislead, but these errors do occur and they do slow down the process because then they have to be recycled and the computer can’t handle it when a mistake is made. I think that is understandable.

Mr. Good: Yes, they can’t read and write.

Mr. Lewis: What about you personally?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: We are not talking about the commitment I made in the House the other day. That still stands. I would have to remind the House that I made a commitment that I would personally help any of those students who were going to drop out of school because their award wasn’t coming through. I had two lists presented to me. The first list was from the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain) with three names on it. Two of them already had their award received and one is being looked after. Two were already received.

Mr. Yakabuski: A mountain out of a molehill.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: The other member sent me a list of 21. I have a report on that 21 now. Many of them were not students who will ever receive an award because their parental income was such that no award was indicated. The commitment that I made was to help those students who would need to drop out of school at this moment if they weren’t given an opportunity to have their awards.

Mr. Cassidy: How many hundreds never heard about that commitment?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: How many dropped out?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: The point is, if you keep sending over lists --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister ignore the interjections when answering.

Hon. Mr. Parrot: -- then it destroys the whole process.

Mr. Cassidy: Nonsense.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: It delays it. If you will take your responsibility we are more than prepared to take ours on this side of the House.

Mr. Cassidy: If you would start to administer the programme --

Mr. Bain: On a point of personal privilege, the minister stated he was sent a list with three names. He was sent only one name. I did not send him a list with three names on it. I sent him one name only.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: If I remember correctly, in the House that night there was a great speech going on by the member for Timiskaming telling us about how many were not getting the award certifications back. When we pin it down it becomes one. Not the many hundreds, the many thousands; it becomes one.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bain: On a point of personal privilege, I realize that Timiskaming may be remote for the minister, but if there is one person in Timiskaming with this problem there is one in every other riding in this province.


Mr. Warner: If it is not true that there are approximately 10,000 such applications which are approximately two and a half months late in being processed, could the minister give us the accurate number as to how many fall into that category for all of the institutions in this province?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Well, it’s certainly not true that it’s 10,000. I would think a more accurate figure of awards not yet returned to the students is about 5,000 at this time.

Some hon. members: Shame.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Some of those, as I indicated earlier, were because of errors on the part of the students and some of them within the ministry -- but by far the larger per cent were on the part of the students -- while some of them were late applicants. There are many reasons for that, and I am thinking that if the member suggests it is 10,000, he is totally incorrect.


Hon. J. R. Smith: In answer to the question asked by the hon. member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. Reed) yesterday, effective November 15 this year, Mr. D. J. St. Andrew was suspended without pay in accordance with section 22(1) of The Public Service Act. Mr. St. Andrew’s suspension is related to an incident which occurred at the Maplehurst Correctional Centre which is currently under investigation by the local police authorities and the Ministry of Correctional Services. Further public comment on the nature of the incident might affect the judicial process.

Suspension of an employee without pay is a serious matter which is given careful consideration before it is put into effect. However, it has been the experience of this ministry that in cases which involve police investigation and possible further judicial involvement, suspension without pay is advisable in some circumstances due to the length of time that may be involved in these proceedings. The choice of whether an employee is suspended with or without pay is not a reflection of the ministry’s opinion of guilt but rather relates to the seriousness of the allegation and the manner in which the allegation may be dealt with.

Should Mr. St. Andrew be cleared, he will be returned to duty and reimbursed for the period of his suspension.

Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Considering that to this date no charges have been laid, no hearing has been held, no trial has been held, can the minister give us an indication as to when this suspension will be lifted, knowing full well that it is reinstatable every 20 days, whether or not he agrees with me that it is an implication of guilt?

Hon. J. R. Smith: I wish to assure the hon. member that as soon as the police investigation is completed and our internal investigation is completed, and if it is found that the employee is innocent, he will be reinstated as quickly as possible. I personally will give him that guarantee. It is not going to be dragged out too long. A very serious charge has been laid by an inmate of that centre regarding this gentleman and the matter has to be cleared by investigation before he can be reinstated.


Mr. Laughren: A question for the Minister of Labour concerning the fate of a Mr. Aimé Bertrand, a former Inco employee who worked with asbestos and now suffers from throat cancer: In view of the increasing evidence that there is a relationship between all forms of cancer and exposure to asbestos dust; in view of Dr. Irving Selikoff’s statements, as recently as yesterday in Toronto, that it should be compensable; in view of the fact that there is no evidence to the contrary; in particular, in view of hair samples from Mr. Bertrand that were just returned from a laboratory in the United States which show an extremely high level of silica and silicon, namely 46 parts per million of silica and 98 parts per million of silicon; and in view of the fact that Dr. Cecilioni’s opinion is that there is justification for reconsideration by the board, will the minister direct the Workmen’s Compensation Board to change its policy on the relationship between throat cancer and exposure to asbestos dust so that it becomes a compensable industrial disease?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I will not direct the board to change its position at this time. However, I would remind the hon. member that Dr. Ritchie and Dr. Miller have both looked at this problem. They have reviewed all of the available literature but they have not, at this time, recommended any consideration of the inclusion of cancer of the larynx or of the throat in the compensable area of asbestos. It is a matter which is being kept under study by a number of researchers.

I am aware of Dr. Selikoff’s statement as of yesterday and I’m sure that both Dr. Ritchie and Dr. Miller are aware of it as well. If there is good reason, good epidemiological reason, to include it, I’m sure that it will be included. The matter is under review by the board and when the board has made a decision based on scientifically valid evidence I am sure it will inform me.

Mr. Laughren: In view of the fact that even the minister would admit, surely, at this point in time that there is at least conflicting evidence as to the relationship between asbestos exposure and all kinds of cancer, does the minister not think it’s time the Workmen’s Compensation Board accepted some responsibility to do more research in matters such as this instead of relying upon the union and the worker to send hair samples to the United States to get results? Further --


Mr. Laughren: I’m not finished. Further, has the minister acted yet upon Dr. Ritchie’s recommendation of a year and a half ago that studies should also be initiated to determine if there is a real association between exposure to asbestos and carcinoma of the larynx?

Mr. Lewis: That’s a separate study.

Hon. B. Stephenson: There are epidemiological studies going on at all times specifically related to asbestos. This matter of asbestos and the larynx is one that has been examined. It will continue to be examined as more information is made available.

Mr. Davidson: Until more people drop dead.

Hon. B. Stephenson: There may be conflict of opinion on the part of certain medical specialists in this area but the weight of opinion at this time is that there is no direct relationship.

Mr. Lewis: Oh, shame!

Hon. B. Stephenson: Dr. Selikoff believes that there is a direct relationship. There are others who believe there is no direct relationship.

Mr. Lewis: Name them.

Hon. B. Stephenson: On the basis of epidemiological reports this has not as yet been included in the compensable list.

Mr. Laughren: In view of the fact that the minister has stated on numerous occasions that when there is a doubt the benefit of the doubt goes to the worker, would the minister indicate to the House who it is who’s giving evidence to the contrary -- that there is no relationship between asbestos exposure and cancer of the throat? Finally, would she also meet with the senior medical people at the board, with Mr. Falkowski and other people of the Steelworkers Union to consider this case again?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have met with the senior medical officers of the board and with Mr. Falkowski from time to time and I would be perfectly happy to do it again. There is a difference of opinion on the part of some specialists and I will get the member the list of those who believe at this time that there is no direct relationship.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of privilege. Mr. Speaker, on a point of order or privilege, I’m not sure which --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is getting into a debate. We’ll allow the hon. member a supplementary.

Mr. Lewis: I’ll ask the supplementary and put it in that context. Why is it always so difficult for the ministry and the board to accept even the evidence which we have in the province of Ontario? How can she say there’s no direct relationship established when the best study in this area in the scientific community was conducted by Dr. Robert Morgan almost two years ago, with the University of Toronto, establishing a direct link between asbestos and laryngeal cancer? The minister won’t accept it!

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to respond to that question. The study done by Dr. Morgan in the province of Ontario has been subjected to careful epidemiological examination --

Mr. Lewis: Yes, and clearly --

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and in fact the one thing that study proved is that married men get cancer of the larynx more frequently than single men.

Mr. Lewis: Come on. You always do that to your medical evidence.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It does not prove any direct relationship. Cancer of the larynx is a multi-causal disease and the multi-causal diseases must be examined carefully in order to ensure that the proper decisions are made.

Mr. Lewis: You will have to give in on this one again.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s exactly what we’re trying to do on behalf of all of the workmen in this province.

Mr. Lewis: Six months from now you will accept it. All you know is to smear Bob Morgan’s studies. That is ridiculous.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition will restrain himself, please.


Mr. Good: I have a question for the Minister of Energy on energy conservation. Is the minister aware of the new concept in store and commercial lighting developed by Wand-X Corporation Limited of Waterloo, which is a low voltage, high-intensity lighting arrangement that can effect a saving of 50 per cent of the electricity used for store lighting?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I’m very pleased to take part in this advertisement for this firm in the riding of Waterloo North, as long as I can get equal time for Saft Batteries which is in my riding.

Mr. Mancini: Try again.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m well aware of this type of device. I must admit I wasn’t aware of this particular company. There are a great many more of them coming on the market, which we’re pleased to see.

Mr. Good: One short supplementary:

Would the minister have his people examine this sealed beam lighting unit, which at 35 watts develops the same lighting intensity as a 150-watt incandescent bulb? Would he have his people look at it and do what he can to promote this type of lighting --

Mr. Bullbrook: Put some light on it.

Mr. Good: -- no matter by whom it’s developed, as an energy conservation measure?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has pointed out that he’d like one of those as well, if the member has two.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would like to study it.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I note on the advertising sheet which the hon. member sent over to me to tell me that he was going to ask this question that it already says “Approved by Ontario Hydro,” so in fact it has already been examined by Ontario Hydro, which is responsible for the electrical safety code --

Mr. Singer: But not by the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- and it has been approved for marketing in the province.

Mr. Good: But he couldn’t get into your ministry with it.


Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: In view of the persistent allegations of widespread bootlegging of milk to plants in eastern Ontario, would the minister indicate what he has ascertained to be the facts in this connection and what he’s going to do about it?

Mr. Conway: No bootlegging in eastern Ontario.

Mr. S. Smith: Certainly not milk.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I’m well aware of the allegations that the member for York South has made. We have looked into it and we can find no substantiation for this.

However, to be on the safe side, I notified the appropriate person, who is Hon. Eugene Whelan, by phone about two weeks ago that there was a possibility this was going on and asked him to please look into it.

Mr. Nixon: What would you do without Whelan over there?

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: In view of the specification of those allegations by one of your own back-bench members, namely the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve), in specific detail as to 125,000 to 200,000 pounds a day going to Kraft, has the minister dismissed it from him too, and what was the minister’s reply to him as to an explanation of this so-called programme?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, if the agriculture critic over there would only get his facts straight and get a few things sorted out in his mind, yes, some milk did come in from Quebec to Ontario plants, which is quite legal.

Mr. Cassidy: Blustering Bill. He is off again.

Hon. W. Newman: Up to 240,000 pounds came into Ontario in October with one company. There was milk going from Ontario into Quebec too, but that’s not the kind of milk that the member is talking about, and I think he should get his facts straight.

Mr. Ruston: It is goat’s milk.

Mr. MacDonald: May I ask what is the minister’s reply to the detailing of this situation in eastern Ontario by one of his own members, the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have asked our people to look into it and our people have been looking at it. I cannot interfere with another provincial jurisdiction and I have brought it to the attention of the federal Minister of Agriculture that there is alleged -- there is alleged, I say -- some of this going on. I have no confirmation of it or proof in any way, shape or form at this point in time.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, may I just draw to your attention that the minister rose and accused me of spreading this detail --

Mr. Singer: How many supplementaries does he get, seven?

Mr. MacDonald: -- when now he concedes he’s been getting it from his own backbenchers. Will the minister take a look at the memo he got November 1 from the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry?

Mr. Lewis: Right. It’s a good memo. It’s an excellent memo.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would say that the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry is one of the finest members of this House and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s done a great job with some of the things that the hon. member for York South would like to try and undo in the dairy industry --

Mr. Nixon: He won’t be the next Minister of Agriculture.

Hon. W. Newman: -- and he better stop it because the farmers are catching up to him.


Mr. Lewis: We are ready to go. Pull the plug.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A final, final supplementary, the member for --

Mr. Nixon: What do you mean, final? It’s his first one.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Huron-Bruce.

Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, supplementary:

Has the minister heard any reports of milk coming in from the United States, and if so, has he investigated those reports and what were the results?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I understand there was a couple of loads of whey came in from the US --

Mr. Lewis: A couple of loads of whey?

Mr. S. Smith: Not curds?

Hon. W. Newman: I checked with the board -- it’s illegal to bring milk into the province of Ontario as the hon. member well knows -- and in talking to our own people and the Milk Marketing Board there’s no proof of any milk at all coming in.



Mr. Peterson: I have a question of the Minister of Energy, referring to the Medina Natural Gas Company in Aylmer. Is the minister aware of their rate application now before the Ontario Energy Board; and the very excessive rates they’re charging, relative to the other gas companies? Is he taking any action in this area, as the minister?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m sorry, I missed the first part of the question. I think the question was am I aware of the application. I am aware that they’ve applied; I believe it’s for a phase 1 rate hearing to determine rate base. I may be mistaken; perhaps it’s phase 2.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: One of the problems in this situation is that there is proven line loss of 30 to 35 per cent, for which it appears that the consumers are paying because of a faulty engineering system.

Mr. Speaker: Is there a question?

Mr. Peterson: My question was is the ministry looking into it? What is the ministry’s position on these gas companies, particularly the smaller ones which have deficient facilities?

Mr. Eaton: It is operating like a Liberal, it is inefficient.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: On the question of the safety and operation of the gas lines, as the hon. member knows that falls basically under the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. There was a hearing before the Ontario Energy Board early in this year on the takeover of Medina Gas. Two local gentlemen, Mr. Harold Stafford, the former member of the House of Commons for Elgin, and Mr. Lowrie, applied for permission to assume control of Medina, which permission was granted.

In the approval granted by the government, we did include provisions for undertakings by the new owners to improve the quality of the system. We are very concerned about the fact that over the last few years the losses in the Medina Gas system have been significant and we want them improved.

Mr. Peterson: As I know the minister understands, the line loss was roughly 35 per cent a year or so ago. Now they’re projecting 27 per cent. Does the minister think this is a reasonable standard to ask from these gas companies, to permit a line loss of 27 or 30 per cent? We’re talking about what the consumer is paying for.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The point is that the system is being improved. Inspections by the staff of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations are going on to ensure that it is a safe system. The new owners have undertaken to improve the efficiency, to get it to acceptable levels. Every gas line in the province loses some gas, though granted in this case the losses, previously at least, have been extremely high. They are being improved and will be improved further.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Housing has the answer to a question asked previously.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry. The member for Essex South with a supplementary.

Mr. Mancini: If the minister is going to allow certain utilities supplying natural gas to lose 27 or 30 per cent, then why did he allow members of his ministry to use that as a reason to shut off the now defunct Farmers’ Gas?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It was not a case of allowing 27 or 30 per cent; it comes down to whether or not there is a safe system in operation. In the case of Farmers’ Gas that in fact was not a safe system; in the case of Farmers’ Gas all customers have now converted to other fuel.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Housing.

Mr. Mancini: I have another supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary.

Mr. Mancini: When we had a meeting in the minister’s office the deputy minister used the excuse or the reason that we were losing a great amount of natural gas as one of the reasons why this gas line was now shut off. The question is not that they got extra energy or a new source of energy, but why in some cases is the minister allowing up to 30 per cent to be lost, while in other areas he is using this as an excuse to shut down gas lines? That’s the question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I understand the question but I think the hon. member misunderstands the background. First of all, the member had in his area a company which had not filed its reports with the government and which had lost its charter, that’s number one. That company in fact did not exist any longer. In the case of Medina, the company very much exists. The company changed hands and the new owners have agreed to improve the system, which they are doing.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yesterday the hon. member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr) and the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) inquired as to the situation involving homeowners who had mortgages held by the Ontario Mortgage Corporation as it related to the payment of back municipal taxes. As just a brief word of explanation, the factors affecting the mortgage accounts in question included the length of time between the occupancy of the houses and the Ontario Mortgage Corporation’s notification by the municipality of the full year’s tax levy. Tax increases were also higher than anticipated.

OMC, as is the normal practice, estimates monthly tax payments on new properties but does not adjust the monthly payments until after a full year’s taxes have been paid by the OMC on the owner’s behalf. In Windsor, for example, many owners occupied their houses between November, 1974, and mid-1975. In some instances the partial 1975 bills were not received by Ontario Mortgage Corporation for payment until June, 1976, by which time the final 1976 bills were also becoming due and payable.

Upon payment of the final 1976 bills, Ontario Mortgage Corporation’s annual review revealed that 1976 taxes in some accounts were 21 per cent higher than in 1975 and 35 per cent higher than in 1974 when the original estimates were made.

Mr. Deans: Do you hear that, Darcy?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: This resulted in deficit positions after payment of 1976 taxes. What I want to tell the two hon. members and others, is that in the short period of time we have looked into this we have been able to identify approximately 800 such mortgages in the Windsor, Hamilton and Ottawa areas. I have instructed Ontario Mortgage Corporation to remove any question of deadline. There will be six months given to the property owners to make their payments and there will be no interest charged for those six months.


Mr. Moffatt: I have a question of the Minister of Health: I would like to ask the minister what action has been taken by his ministry to correct the obvious failure of Robonic switches in alternative generating sources at hospitals in this province, as reported in the October 30 story in the Ottawa Citizen?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, since I am unaware of the problem I will have to check and let the member know.

Mr. Moffatt: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Presenting reports.


Introduction of bills.

Before the orders of the day, I should announce to the House that pursuant to standing order 27(g), the hon. member for Ottawa Centre has filed the necessary notice that he is dissatisfied with the answer given to him by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations on November 10 concerning rent review. This matter will be debated at 10:30 this evening.

Orders of the day.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 139, an Act respecting Employees’ Health and Safety.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, before we adjourned yesterday I was questioning section 4(6) in the Act respecting Employees’ Health and Safety.

It says a committee shall meet during working hours, at least four times a year and not more often than once a month, and may be required to meet by order of the minister. I think this should be left up to the individuals at the certain work place. I believe if they feel it is necessary to meet four times a year they should, but I also believe if they feel it is necessary to meet more often than once a month or at least once a month they should be allowed to do that.

I would like to say that probably the most important and most basic principle in this bill is the right to refuse to work. Now that the workers have this right, or will be having this right very shortly, I believe we will be seeing many employers working very quickly in the direction of taking care of the heat problems which exist now in some factories. I am sure they will be moving now into the area of reducing gas odours and excessive noise. This is surely something that should have been done in the past but now, with this type of legislation, we’ll be able to get on with it.

Another section of Bill 139 that gives me some concern is section 7. This section allows a government inspector to give direction in writing to the employer and this direction is supposed to be placed in an area where it’s very visible. It concerns me because there are many people in our province -- some of French descent, some of Italian descent, some of Portuguese descent, etc. -- who may not be able properly to understand exactly what the order says. I believe it is very incumbent upon the minister, where there is a work place with a large ethnic community, such as some of the ones I’ve just mentioned, to ensure that the order should be in more than one language if the people feel it’s necessary. I think that can be worked out through the safety committee and through the inspector.

Regarding section 8, we must not only try to protect people who are presently employed in dangerous and hazardous working conditions, but we also must give notice to prospective employees. Therefore, I believe the minister should include a provision in this bill to the effect that a corporation must make available to a prospective employee a copy of that company’s safety record so that when a person is going in to apply for a job he knows by the company’s record whether it has been attentive to the workers’ needs as far as health and safety are concerned. I think that is very important.

Yesterday, a lot was made of the legislation coming from Saskatchewan. I have a copy of that legislation before me now, and I believe that legislation, in section 14(2), does not allow an employee to refuse work; it only allows this to be done by an order of the minister. I think our legislation is somewhat stronger than that, but we can also look at that in a different sense. We can also look at the Saskatchewan legislation as being more balanced legislation.

We here would like to believe that no one would be irresponsible enough in our work places to stop work or to stop production for reasons other than those relating to health and safety as the bill allows. I think the minister must give some type of consideration to what alternatives the employer has if the employees are using the tool of The Employees’ Health and Safety Act to stop work for other reasons.

I think I’ll end my comments there, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Godfrey: Mr. Speaker, like many other of my colleagues in this party, I welcome this bill, and certainly the philosophy behind it is to be admired. I will not reiterate some of the comments that have been made with regard to the zealotry with which the minister will pursue some of the philosophy, but it is our hope that she will pursue it with suitable aggressiveness.

The bill on the surface appears to be concerned largely with some of the more major aspects of the health of workmen and it would seem to deal extensively with the mechanical things, the mining hazards and other things like that. However, there are other hazards that apply to employees in other areas of the work force -- employees on a production line and employees in the offices. In particular, I’m more concerned in speaking today about the white collar workers.


The bill purports to make safe certain activities while on the work team. Looking at what safe means, it means secure, out of and not exposed to danger; unsafe would seem to be the opposite of those definitions. In speaking of unsafe we presume that the bill will protect against noise, not only the noise which is in mines or on heavy construction work but also the noise which would apply to normal working situations in office areas.

While I do not denigrate any of the hazards which are apparent in heavy industrial areas there are many people who suffer morbidity as the result of many factors which are existing in current working situations. One of the more common ones of these is the hazard of tobacco smoke. The House has previously heard me speak to this matter.

I wish to reintroduce it so that the minister understands very clearly -- I am sure the minister will agree with me because in some of the minister’s statements with regard to the etiology of cancer in various organs of the body, the effect of nicotine upon the incidence of cancer has been mentioned many times. If this can be brought forward as possibly one of the causes, as opposed to asbestos or other things like that, tobacco smoke must also be considered.

I think in all fairness that sometimes there is a shrugging off of the fact that cancer is caused by asbestos by pointing out that these people also smoked so therefore we cannot say clearly that carcinoma of the larynx is due to exposure to asbestos. It may also be due to tobacco smoke; but I will not debate that now, I prefer to do that at the academy of medicine.

The point I am making is that every worker should be free to work in a tobacco-free atmosphere, a tobacco smoke-free atmosphere. As we all know, tobacco smoke is composed of two components, one of which is called the main stream component which has been recycled through the smoker’s lungs and does not carry as high a content of hydrocarbons or other carcinogen constituents. The other is side-stream smoke, that is, the smoke which is given out from a cigarette while it is being held or a pipe while it sits upon the table. This contains the more lethal components of tobacco smoke.

It represents a greater proportion of the tobacco which is consumed on a daily basis and it represents a significant factor in the working situation in many areas, whether in hospitals -- smoking is still carried on in many hospitals, I regret to report -- or whether it is in offices or other similar areas.

These hazards are not simply a matter of irritants. It is not simply a matter of being noxious to the eyes or to the nose but rather these are truly vectors of disease. I am sure the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), in collaboration with the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) will eventually come to a sound proposal which will ban this type of activity.

When we talk about tobacco smoke, we are talking about tobacco smoke in normal working conditions, in an office. We are talking about a concentration level of constituents such as carbon monoxide, benzopyrines and nicotine which have been measured in public places and working places and shown to have levels of carcinogens which are above normally accepted values.

The threshold limit which has been applied by our Ministry of the Environment for the acceptance of carcinogens is ignored in these common working conditions. This all takes place in the province of Ontario where we do not enjoy the same protection, at least on the books, as they have in Quebec. Under Quebec civil law, article 19, it sites: “The human person is inviolable. No one may cause harm to the person of another without his consent or without being authorized by law to do so.”

In quoting from the Quebec civil law, I point out that we are remiss in not having a similar article on our books which, by legislation, would protect persons from being exposed to noxious fumes. This is not a theoretical consideration.

If we look at the body as being a machine, we need merely turn to a recent hearing of the standing committee on health, welfare and social affairs -- a federal committee -- which was looking into aircraft and health factors. At that time evidence was introduced to the standing committee that on Air Canada flights the instruments on the panel hoard are subject to premature failure if they are exposed to tobacco fumes. Indeed, it has become a matter of common convention that smoking is not allowed around aircraft instruments on the proposition that they will fail more quickly.

This can also be seen in other areas, In testimony which was put forward in the United States where there was a consideration of computers and computer effectiveness, it was pointed out that computers are subject to more failure and subject to earlier breakdowns when exposed to tobacco smoke, with the result that there is now in several large companies a universal rule that tobacco smoke will not be allowed in the presence of computers. As a member of this House I appreciate the protection which is afforded to me by tradition, convenience and safety, inasmuch as I am not subject to tobacco smoke while working in this particular room. This is a pleasant tradition which happens by circumstance to have come about. Surely the Minister of Labour would not deny the same convenience and freedom from vectors of disease to other people who work in a common atmosphere? We enjoy the ability to work in this chamber without inhaling smoke. I suggest that the same right should be enshrined in legislation for other workers in white collar jobs.

Mr. B. Newman: In rising, Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the minister for the introduction of this bill. We applaud the bill and we welcome the bill, except that we wonder what took the government so long to introduce such legislation.

Mr. Bain: Lack of minority government.

Mr. B. Newman: When we are dealing with health and safety in the work place I think that should have been a prime consideration of this government years ago. As one who is in a fairly heavily industrialized community you can readily see, Mr. Speaker, that the health and safety of the employees in the work place is of extreme consideration to me. As I mentioned earlier, this legislation is long overdue. It has been asked for by employees for years. It has even been asked for by employers. The advantage of this legislation now will not only be to the worker, to the employee, but it will also be to the advantage of the employer, to the government and to all. We hope that with the implementation of this piece of legislation the injuries and accidents in the work place will be substantially reduced as a result of seeing hazards and unsafe conditions -- the safety committees within those plants acting accordingly, bringing it to the attention of management; and likewise the other way around, management bringing it to the attention of the workers -- and remedying the unsafe conditions or the unsafe piece of equipment, as the case may be.

I can see now that the ministry will have to probably require first aid education in more of the work places, because there is going to be the need for a fairly good familiarization of the employer with first aid procedures, since not all plants will have the advantage of having either a medical doctor available readily or having an individual who is familiar with the rendering of first aid, as the case may be.

As my colleague the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) made mention, I think it is sort of imperative of the ministry to see that information is published in the various ethnic languages so that those who are unfamiliar with the English and/or French language will have the opportunity of reading information and instructions in languages that they are completely familiar with.

One of the things that does disturb me is that in the bill itself we have certain types of hazards that I don’t think are mentioned. For example, I think unsafe conditions could be as a result of high humidity in a plant. They could also be as a result of excessive heat. The work place could be unsafe and the employer could be at a distinct disadvantage, if such conditions do exist. I can see where there will have to be built-in heat tolerance limits. Once the plant surpasses the heat tolerance, then there should be an automatic suspension of work activity in that plant up until the time the excessive heat has been substantially reduced.

There are other physical aspects in the work place that could lead to an acceleration or increase in accidents. I would think that the physical aspects, likewise, would have to be taken into consideration. There is the fact that an employee in some instances has to work longer than the eight-hour day. Due to the fact that he is in some cases working double shifts and even around the clock and being put to such strain in the work place, physically he is not able to operate to his maximum potential. As a result, a dangerous condition could develop simply from the overworking of the individual. During the discussions of the estimates of the ministry, some of these points were brought to the minister’s attention. We hope that the minister will have tolerance limits in case of heat and, likewise, limits as to the number of hours that the individual could safely work in the plant.

I hope that as a result of this legislation data banks will be developed in the plant so that the employer at least will have a history of the individual’s working conditions as well as history of the accidents and the medication that may be given to the individual in the work place.

I would think also that one of the things we are going to have to demand is that the introduction of new procedures should always be a joint venture with the employees and management agreeing to the introduction of those new procedures. Likewise, if in the course of the manufacturing the management introduces new types of chemicals, I think there has to be some information provided to the union, if there is one, or to the safety committee of the new chemicals that are going to be introduced into the work place. Today with the exotic types of chemicals that are being discovered daily we haven’t gone through sufficient experimentation to assess the safety of the use of the chemicals.

For example, in the sewing trade some of the materials that are being used have already been processed by flame retardants. From what I understand, some of these flame retardants, especially one called Tridibromopropyl phosphate, are carcinogenic. I would think that not only might it but also many other types of flame retardants be used on materials so that the individual working in the sewing trade is exposed to the handling of these materials and, as a result could be adversely affected, and could develop a cancer.

In fact, in the United States right now they are looking into the use of the chemical that I made mention of and the chemical being used in the manufacture of pyjamas. It is said that there is a great danger that children wearing these pyjamas can be adversely affected and can develop cancer.


For example, back in the early 1960s I had raised the question of the use of asbestos; asbestos had been used in clothing manufacturing. At that time the Minister of Health said there was no danger whatsoever from the use of asbestos. Today we are sorry as a result of not having paid attention to the carcinogenic effects of asbestos, and now we have the problem to the point where asbestos will practically be banned.

I would hope that the work place not only be the factory or the shop, but also offices as well as medical laboratories and even hospitals. For example, there is the danger of mixing chemicals developing an explosive. For example, in Atlanta, Georgia, now, the centre for disease control has found that sodium azide is being used in blood testing and in blood cell counting, and the sodium azide is eventually poured into the sink and it combines with other types of chemicals. It combines with the lead, it combines with copper and can cause a violent explosion.

So you can see, Mr. Speaker, with the introductions of all types of new chemicals into the work place, unless we have some control over them and unless we test these, the danger to the individual being exposed to these in the work place is extremely great, and it could be such that it could mean his death.

I bring these few points to the attention of the minister, hoping she will take them into consideration. I support the bill and we certainly hope that as a result of this legislation this will be just the first step and that we eventually will develop health and safety in the work place to its prime, so that our industrial force or labour force works in a completely safe environment.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I wish to first congratulate the minister for bringing the bill in as far as she’s gone with it. I am a little sorry that we had to be dragged into the 20th century on this topic of industrial health and safety. While I support the bill in principle, I am concerned with some shortcomings in it and I really hope the minister is open to positive amendments that may be moved. I think what concerns me, if I can put it on record, is the little debate we had earlier this afternoon in this House, when we tried to establish what there is no question about in my mind or in the mind of almost anybody who is dealing in the mines and the factories, a legitimate case of Aimé Bertrand. We found the minister’s own statement that where the board’s going to err it’s going to err on behalf of the workers just wasn’t true, because that’s not what’s happening in that particular case.

In dealing with some of the principles of the bill I am compelled to comment just briefly on the comments that were made yesterday, about who did or who didn’t support safety and health legislation or bills in the House, by the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook); and I’m just sorry that he’s not in the House today. As I listened to him yesterday, and I never heard such whining and carping in all my life, I could have sworn that we were listening once again to Albert Rheume, that late Liberal-Labour member, and I just wondered why the Liberal Party always seems to want to drag labour into the courts and into the clutches of lawyers and try and define to death various sections of the Act.

What I really find is that there seems to be a tremendous amount of frustration from the members over their inability to sell the labour movement in the Liberal Party. It shows quite obviously in this House. They think a little bit of name-dropping, the occasional private member’s bill, some fence-sitting hypocrisy or statements taken out of context, make a fair case.

Mr. Haggerty: You fellows would never do that, would you?

Mr. Mackenzie: That just hasn’t convinced the labour movement at all. The fact is, they’ve blown it, as they did in Quebec yesterday. They’ve just simply blown it.

Mr. Lewis: Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island -- that’s all they have left.

Mr. Mackenzie: In dealing with this bill, I think we have to deal with the principle that’s involved. What we really are dealing with in the field of safety and health, and the principle we’ve got to understand and stay with in discussing this hill, is who has what at stake. In the case of the companies -- in the case of the mines, for example -- where a worker refuses to do a job that he considers unsafe, the company possibly is risking some production, possibly X dollars in profit. In the case of the worker who refuses, and who hasn’t had much support in refusing an unsafe job up to this point in time, he could be risking his arm or his leg or his very life. That, I think, has got to stay before us when we’re debating this particular bill.

When we take a look at why we’re debating this bill in the House and the fight we’ve had to get this kind of legislation, I think it interesting to put a few things in perspective. Yesterday, my colleague, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), mentioned there is the right under the WCB Act to form a safety committee, but the fact is that up until now, even though we’ve had some real examples of unsafe work places in this province, it has never been done. Just as the minister’s statements on Aimé Bertrand and on lung or throat cancer didn’t give me too much confidence, the past record hasn’t given me much confidence in what we get in the future.

I’d also like to point out that under The Industrial Safety Act, as we discussed in the estimates, there is the possibility of fining a major industrial employer, or indeed of imprisoning him, for being responsible for unsafe working conditions or accidents in the work place. But, other than in the construction industry, we find that provision has never been used in the past either.

A publication that came out just this month from the steelworkers’ union -- I’m talking about the November issue of the Miners’ Voice -- deals with the safety laws across Canada and with who has the best and who has the worst safety laws in the mines. British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are at the top of the list; the worst are Ontario, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

It’s rather interesting, to go through the checklist that was used in an investigation of all of the provinces and their legislation. I’ll deal only with three or four of them, but there are about 30 positions. The right to refuse unsafe work?: “Yes” in British Columbia; “No” in Alberta; “Yes” in Saskatchewan; “Yes” in Manitoba; and we now have a bill before us in the province of Ontario. Workers’ safety committees recognised?; “Yes” in British Columbia; “Yes” in Alberta; “Yes” in Saskatchewan; “Yes” in Manitoba; “No” in Ontario. Workers’ right to inspect?;” Yes” all the way through and “No” once again in Ontario. I could go down the check-list on what kind of protection or coverage the workers have or don’t have in the mines of this province.

There are several shortcomings in the bill and I hope the minister will deal with them when we get to looking at possible amendments. One of the areas that we’re concerned with obviously is the fact that it’s not mandatory and we feel it should be mandatory. We think, for example -- at least I personally think, and I want to put this on record that -- the British system of no limits on the numbers is a good system and should be considered.

I’ll give one example for the minister to consider; There are a number of part plants that are highly automated but where there still can be some dangers. In many of these parts plants there are three to 10 men working, and I see no reason why they should not be covered by a safety committee as well.

A safety committee has got to be able to deal with all of those who come into the work place and not just those who are employees of that company or workers in that particular union. There are many cases where people are not involved in that unit but should be covered or where the safety committee should have the authority to deal with people who may come into that particular work force.

We think independent technical advice should be available to the workers. They should be able to request inspections of job sites and go around with the inspectors when they call them in. This is something we haven’t had. I only have to refer to the situation at Stelco. I can tell the minister that one of the things we got when I was in the 1005 office this week was a bill for some $600 for testing some substances which we thought were unsafe in the Stelco operation.

It was a period of time ago when we had the tests done. It was to do with tires used to line the inside of the ingot moulds and what we did was take some of that material out of the plant and send it away for testing. When the inspectors came in -- I’m going back a number of months ago now -- there are two or three different substances which could be used in that plant and it wouldn’t be the particular tire that was being used.

The test results we got back -- in this case through Dr. Selikoff -- showed they were extremely dangerous and high in asbestos fibre count. That is not being used now. It’s something we’ve achieved in that plant. They’ve stopped the use of it. We didn’t do it with any help from the Minister of Labour or the ability to call them in ourselves. If we asked for somebody, they’d come in and the company took them and they made sure that the operation being done wasn’t with that particular substance.

Let me give another example. No. 2 scrap yard is right beside the coke oven. We haven’t yet been able to get a test on that but the emissions from those coke ovens are affecting the workers in No. 2 scrap yard. We should be able to call in an inspector and we should have had this right long ago. It’s been a long-time fight -- it’s not something new I’m raising -- but we never got this kind of cooperation or this kind of ability to achieve this kind of free inspection in the work place.

I think the bill is also deficient in not ensuring protection for workers who are moved as a result of not being able to cope with some of the unsafe conditions. They should not have to be taken down to a lower job.

We have already run into some problems in the coke ovens. I didn’t realize there could be somebody who might have some potential heart problems there, but their own doctors are telling them they should not be using the respirators which are now required or they do not advise it. At the same time we’re discussing that, if she has not already done it, it might be worth the minister’s while to take a look at what they call the facial-airstream helmets which the union itself is taking a look at.

It’s funny, though -- I’m glad to see the minister nodding that she is looking at them -- the first reaction we get from the companies is that they can get away with the old respirators at about $8 apiece. We’re dealing with about $135 or $140 for one of these lightweight helmets which are very effective. That seems to be the stumbling block right there. It’s not the safety or health of the worker -- it’s the cost of that doggone helmet in an operation like the coke ovens.

I think when we have to move a worker out of a job because he can’t cope with the existing equipment or requirements, he should not suffer a loss. There’s the potential of suffering a fair amount of loss on the pension if a man is moved out of a higher paid job into a lower paid job. There’s the potential of being moved into a sweeper’s job when he’s been in a class 12, 13 or 14 job and he’s raising his family or working on that kind of income level. We haven’t made provision for that in this particular bill.

I think there has to be more posting of unsafe conditions and the chemicals used in a particular work place and that should be guaranteed in the bill as well. I worry about the words “reasonable cause.” It may be that that has to go in. I would be inclined to say “cause” only, to refuse an unsafe job. One thing that’s hung us up in grievances and arbitration over the years is the definition of “reasonable.” It’s one of the reasons I’m suspicious of attempts to move us back in with the legal profession and getting definitions of these various terms.

Finally, there is the number of times we can have an inspection. I can’t see why we limit it to not more often than once a month. I think that provision should be out of the bill.

My last comment is on minutes of meetings. When the minister sits down with the company, with the safety committee and with the Ministry of Labour or if it’s just the safety committee and the company sitting down, I think minutes should be kept. They should be on record and should be available to the minister as well as the union in the future. It’s surprising how often we find statements being made which weren’t necessarily what went on at particular meetings we’ve had in the field of safety and health, and with many of the companies we deal with.

Finally, I’m really hoping that the minister doesn’t break faith with the workers on this particular bill; that she looks at positive and strengthening recommendations and doesn’t bow to the lobby I know she’s already feeling, at least from the mining industry and probably some of the other major industries, trying to make changes which would weaken the bill. I say to the minister it has taken a long time and a hard fight to get to this point in terms of workers’ health and safety in the work place and that she will really be breaking faith with an awful lot of people if she gives in to any suggested amendments that weaken it from the industrial sector. With that, I do commend the minister on the step that we have made with this bill and hope for its speedy passage.

Mr. Haggerty: I want to add a few comments to Bill 139, An Act respecting Employees’ Health and Safety. I am most pleased and delighted that the minister and the government have finally moved in this direction. As the lead-off speaker for our party, the member for Sarnia, mentioned, we had introduced amendments to The Mining Act back in 1970. When I look at sections of the bill that is introduced by the minister -- sections 4 and 5 I believe -- they are similar to the amendments that were moved by the Liberal caucus back in 1970. As has been mentioned before, the party to the right, for some unknown reason, couldn’t see justice in supporting the amendment.

Mr. McClellan: Read yesterday’s Hansard.

Mr. Haggerty: Of course, it may be new to them and I regret that the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) is not present today because I think he would concur with my views and thoughts on this particular bill too --

Mr. Bullbrook: A very temperate and reasonable man!

Mr. Haggerty: -- because he has been most outspoken and added perhaps some of the best comments in leading the government to this present bill today and in bringing the legislation forward.

And I want to extend my best wishes for an early recovery from his present illness. Hopefully he will be back in the House very shortly. I am sure that we all miss him.

I am at a loss for words at this particular time about this particular bill because as I said before, I have a bill here, An Act to provide for the Establishment of Safety Committees, that has been on the order paper here in the Legislature for the last five or six years. It reminds me of the position that the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Singer) was put in when finally the government moved in the direction of bringing in Ontario’s first Ombudsman bill. I think it is quite gratifying, in a sense, to say that at least the government is listening. It may take them a period of time but they do finally listen to the members from the opposition, from labour unions and from the employers and workers throughout the province of Ontario.


Mr. Haggerty: Again, I want to refer to a news release of September 13 from the Ministry of Labour.

“There is the fear that the occupational health and safety issue will become another forum for labour and management to carry out their political posturing. If management and labour, organized or unorganized, want to flex their muscles, fine, but let them do it over the bargaining table, not at an operating table.”

Perhaps that is the particular section I want to deal with in the bill -- and the minister’s comments relating to this -- that it has been labour that has been bringing it to the forefront and that government must move in a direction to provide better safety measures in all industries in Ontario. In many cases it has been done through the bargaining process and on occasion members of this party and myself have objected to this method of bargaining, that if a person is to bargain for his health and safety it should not be done at the bargaining table but it should be done through legislation and not on an operating table. I suppose we can look at the minister in her profession as a physician; maybe it’s sympathy for those persons who had gone to the operating table to cure cancer.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Of course.

Mr. Haggerty: Certainly. Well, I’m glad the minister feels that way. But I can tell her this much: the previous Ministers of Labour, the previous Minister of Lands and Forests and Mines have not looked in this direction. If I had the time I could go on and read you a list of names, possibly 252 names, of persons who have --

Mr. Laughren: Lots of time. No hurry.

Mr. Haggerty: -- come to cancer and related occupational diseases. And it’s rather difficult that that person should have to bring information forward to the different ministries. I can say that the efforts of this particular party, and the NDP, have brought about changes in the thinking of the Workmen’s Compensation Board and they have allowed special claims for sinus cancer.

Perhaps there are other fields related to carcinogens that we should be looking at. One is cancer of the larynx. It’s occurred particularly in persons employed in the mining industry, related to the smelters of the nickel industry in the province of Ontario, and hopefully the Workmen’s Compensation Board will be looking into that matter of changing some of its views on it. Hopefully the minister will be bringing in an accompanying bill for the required amendments to The Workmen’s Compensation Act as it relates to the regulations concerning new classes of occupational disease.

To this present day we don’t have any compensation for severe bronchitis conditions or a number of respiratory conditions and diseases that workmen have come down with over the years. I think these are the areas that the minister is going to have to move in.

Look at section 4: “The minister may, by order in writing, require an employee or a class or group of employees as defined in the order to establish a joint health and safety committee or committees for a work place

Then in section 6(2): “Where there is no safety representative or authorized representative, the inspector or engineer shall endeavour to consult during his physical inspection with a reasonable number of the employees concerning matters of health safety at their work.”

I say those two sections there are rather ambiguous, and perhaps the word should be changed from “may” to “shall.”

Where it is requested by a group of employees, if a group of employees want a safety and health committee established within that environment, in their working place or the plant they’re employed at, then by all means it should be available to them. I bring that to the attention of the minister. Hopefully she will bring in the amendments to do it.

The report of the royal commission on the health and safety of workers in mines may be a mild report in a sense to read, but it certainly does outline the lack of government policy in this particular field. In a sense it may be a damning report as regards the lack of interest of all government agencies, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Mines and the Minister of Health. They’ve done very little in the field of occupational health, and I’m sure that reports and studies will bear this out. They have done little in research in this particular area in the last two or three years. No doubt about it, the 117 recommendations here are relevant to the conditions that have existed in the mine smelter operations for the past 25 years.

I think recommendations 66 and 67 are identical to Bill 32, An Act to provide for the Establishment of Safety Committees, that I’ve introduced in the last six years. Section 22 is rather important. I think the minister must take a look at this particular section. As I mentioned before, she must be looking at changes to the workmen’s compensation system. It should be an accompanying bill.

It says: “Section 22 and section 53 of The Workmen’s Compensation Act be amended as necessary to provide clear entitlement for rehabilitative compensation based on the principle of work adjustment per person, subject to exceptional exposure to environmental hazards at work.”

I think what he’s saying here is similar to what other members in the opposition party have stressed for a number of years, where that risk is the highest, that person should be compensated to the fullest.

It’s no good to say, as I think it does in one of your reports, “It is better to have the person living than dead. He should be retired from this particular place of employment and put out to pasture.” He should also be compensated for that damage done to his health. That is the obligation of industry and the obligation of the government to see that that person has sufficient income to maintain a standard of living in this province similar to what he was earning in his take-home pay. In a number of eases this does not take place with the Workmen’s Compensation Board. The minister is going to have to bring in an accompanying Act to change the workmen’s compensation to go along with this present bill.

One can sit and look and say, “What has the government done?” They’ve had reports, they’ve had warnings for the last 15 or 20 years and they have not moved until now.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is not so.

Mr. Haggerty: She says it is not so. Look at the silicosis report on hard rock miners in Ontario. That report was buried in a file some place in the Ministry of Natural Resources. There is all of this information available. The report of the Ham royal commission definitely spells out that the worker should be the first one to know of the hazardous conditions that are present and the information shouldn’t be kept from him. I have had a number of persons call me concerning this report and concerning their past work record in the province of Ontario, and it relates to Elliot Lake. I can tell you I am no physician but the minute I pick up the phone and am talking to such a person, without asking where he has worked, I can say, “Have you worked in the mines in Ontario?” And he says, “Yes.” I can tell without x-rays, just by his voice.

There are going to have to be changes in ministry decisions on compensation for silicosis for persons today who have got out of the mines on the advice of a physician telling them they have to find new occupations.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is not in the bill.

Mr. Haggerty: Oh, she says we are not in order. Perhaps the minister doesn’t like to be reminded of this report.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That isn’t what I said, Mr. Speaker. I said it is not in the bill.

Mr. Haggerty: I can’t quite hear the minister. Perhaps I should go back to what I said about the physicians, that they have told them they have to get out of that particular type of work employment. They have gone out and many have had to suffer over the years. Many of them have gone on welfare. Perhaps there is greater need in the Elliot Lake area and in the mines of northern Ontario, but many of those persons have come down into this area, hoping that they can pick up a light modified job, which is very hard to pick up in the Niagara Peninsula or even in southern Ontario.

There are areas that the minister is going to have to take a look at, instead of going around and saying how good the safety programme is in the province of Ontario. One of the arguments the government side members put up is that it’s the best that we have. The best can be improved and this report gives the minister that direction to improve it.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Precisely. Those are exactly what our motives are.

Mr. Haggerty: Why take so long, six or seven years? Surely some members on this side of the House must be getting home to some of the ministers over there. It shouldn’t take that long. Is it because the government is not getting down to the grassroots problems that exist in the province of Ontario, particularly relating to the occupational environment in Ontario? In the seven or eight years that I have sat here I can go back and rehash the things I hope the government will move in that direction to improve, but it takes them so damn long. The minister can think about it, yes.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Is that language permitted in the House?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Perhaps the hon. member would continue speaking on the principle of the bill.

Mr. Haggerty: I shouldn’t have used the word “damn.”

Mr. Sweeney: Six years of frustration.

Mr. Haggerty: Six years of frustration is right. Think of the position in which the government has put a number of employees in the province of Ontario, a further risk of occupational disease. I can go back again and cite a case where a person in a quarrying operation in the Niagara Peninsula had silicosis but even the best advice of the experts sent him back into that working environment and eventually it speeded up his death.

What I am concerned about is the delay in the government’s moving to bring about justice to the employees in Ontario, particularly as it relates to occupational health. It is a serious problem. There are more new chemicals coming on the market and less research done as to what effect they have on a person’s health. Time will tell.

It is just the same thing in the United States where they have been trying to get an occupational health bill over there for a number of years. It was industry and government that didn’t want it. A big lobby was put on. One saw it here in the province of Ontario in the past.


I will read again the report of the Ontario Mining Association that was placed on my desk on May 28 of last year. It says: “Recognizing that co-operative evolution will make the role and activities of such committees more constructive and permanent than any set of rules composed by legislation” he is talking about joint safety committees of management and labour, and he goes on to recommend that establishment of joint health and safety committees at each mining property be made mandatory. Now it is mandatory.

You couldn’t reach them before. Now that is what they are suggesting. That was my comment, that you couldn’t reach them before.

In about the six months of debating The Mining Act back in 1970 the opposition party hammered at the government to bring in this type of amendment to The Mining Act. Of 800-and-some clauses in The Mining Act there are about 400-and-some that are permissive legislation, as it relates to occupational safety. Now all of a sudden the Ontario Mining Association says, “We want to jump on the bandwagon.”

I’ll tell you at that time they didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. And the minister at that time, the Hon. Allan Lawrence, went along with them. He said there was nothing wrong in the mining industry in Ontario, that was one of the safest places to work --

Mr. Ferrier: That was the white knight.

Mr. Haggerty: -- well, reports don’t indicate that, and I suggest to the government that you should be moving in the direction of more research in occupational health. Better records should be kept.

We could look at the Shaver Clinic, the hospital in St. Catharines, we could open up the records there -- I suppose that would open up a can of worms too, wouldn’t it, with all the problems of occupational health in the Niagara Peninsula. It is one of the best research places for respiratory diseases in Ontario, I am sure it is. It has a good record.

Hopefully the minister will be moving in the direction of a new Occupational Health Act -- we have the safety, let’s go for occupational health. That is the next step. That should be the next goal of this government, that employees in industry in Ontario have the safest of places to work without that fear: I may be the next one who will have problems with occupational health.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please, I hate to interrupt the hon. member, but will he direct his remarks to the principle of the bill? If he has any constructive suggestions for the government he might use those in a Throne or budget speech.

Mr. Haggerty: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have been constructive in this line for the last seven or eight years. All I can say is that I am thankful that the government has finally moved in this direction. It is long overdue, but I am thankful for it. Thank you.

Mr. Dukszta: In order to understand the bill presently before the House we must clearly bear in mind what it purports to do, what it does do, and what it ought to do.

It purports to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of employees in the work place. In fact it does not do this. Instead it grants workers a limited and constrained right to refuse unsafe work under certain limited conditions within the context of the master-servant relationship in common law. What it should do is to remove the important and pressing issues of health, safety and well-being of workers from the master-servant relationship, and establish the principle that people have a fundamental right to participate in those decisions which most directly and immediately affect their lives, health and safety in the work place.

A famous folksinger who is well known for support of labour’s cause once defined “progressive conservative” as a person who staggers forward when shoved. In this case, I think there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is the New Democratic Party opposition which is doing the shoving, and the Conservative government which has been doing the staggering.

The present bill is specifically and generally modelled on The Occupational Health Act introduced experimentally by the New Democratic Party government in Saskatchewan in 1972 as subsequently amended. This Act was designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of all persons engaged in occupations in the province.

To this end, it established health and safety committees in every place of employment in the province where more than 10 persons were at work. It created a special occupational health and safety division within the Department of Labour. It established a group of occupational health and safety officers to enforce the provisions of the Act and together with section 68(c) of The Saskatchewan Labour Standards Act granted to workers the absolute right to refuse to engage in work which was unsafe or unhealthy to themselves or to others. The government of this province says it intends, in the bill presently before the House, to promote the health and safety of employees but this bill differs in several important respects, both philosophically and practically, from the Saskatchewan Act upon which it is modelled.

There are really two aspects of interest in this bill. One, it purports to recognize the right of workers to refuse unsafe work; and two, it seeks to establish safety committees with substantial worker input. However provisional and tentative these two proposals are they nonetheless open up the question of industrial democracy and workers’ participation in committees to oversee health and safety on the job. There’s no doubt in my mind that workers, more than any other group, have the interest and first-hand knowledge of the dangers present in their work place which are necessary to deal effectively with this issue. The question of industrial democracy and workers’ participation is, however, a question about which a number of people have strong opinions.

John W. Eleen, research director of the Ontario Federation of Labour, in an article in the Toronto Star on November 13, 1976, page B4, expresses labour’s fear that when employers or their friends in government call for workers’ control they really mean control of workers. He argues that these proposals should not reflect corporations’ interests in co-opting and controlling the work force and government’s motives in ensuring industrial order and reducing strikes. By contrast there is a widespread interest on the part of workers and worker organizations in moving toward workers’ participation but only where it is not subverted to other ends.

These views are representative of a worldwide movement. Several conferences have been held here in Canada over the past several years on this theme. There is also a well-documented interest in workers’ control among trade unionists in Belgium, France and Italy, West Germany and Scandinavia and in socialist countries such as Yugoslavia.

Reactions among trade unionists to this topic turn on at least three points: The scope of the issues to be decided by a workers’ committee: two, the relative power compared to management’s; and three, the degree of active worker participation in making essential decisions. It is clear that the workers’ control movement goes beyond traditional trade unionism but this does not mean that unions most oppose it, ipso facto.

For example, deliberations by local plant safety committees are going to open up other potential issues in the management of the company. What is the budget for health and safety? How is the overall budget allocated? To whom are medical or paramedical personnel in the company responsible? Participation on this issue, in other words, has the positive effect of opening up to the committee the full range of company policy on a host of issues: Resources; personnel; the whole financial picture; the chain of command and responsibility; and technological change.

I believe that the reason some persons of good faith like John Eleen are cautious about the concept of industrial democracy -- and feel that the European experiment in industrial relations can only be valid for the Canadian scene when it can be adapted to the adversarial system and not substituted for it -- stems from scepticism about management and the present government’s intentions regarding workers’ participation. In this case, as I will show presently, this scepticism is justified -- many of the elements of this bill are not quite as revolutionary as they appear at first.

Implicit in the proposed Employees’ Health and Safety Act is the protection of so-called residual management rights. I say so-called residual management rights because we must recognize that labour has a major if not overwhelming role in the productive process. It is inconsistent to speak of the rights of capital without recognizing that labour is a form of capital. Some of the doubts about the idea of workers’ participation in industrial democracy can be dispelled when one recognizes that its implementation is essentially a matter of degree. There is, first of all, a form of --

Mr. Reid: On a point of order. You cut my colleague off some time ago for not speaking to the content of the bill. Surely this speech that’s being read to us is not really dealing with the principle of the bill.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Would the hon. member continue and direct his comments to the principle of the bill?

Mr. Dukszta: Let me just explain this --

Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, could you tell me where my colleague’s comments were off base and how these are on?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Perhaps the --

Mr. Reid: Sorry to wake you up, but perhaps you could be consistent.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I would point out to the hon. member that I listened for some little time to the hon. member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) trying to associate his comments with the principle of the bill. Then I drew it to his attention. I’ve been listening with some patience to the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) and I assume that he will soon be returning to the principle of this bill.

Mr. Dukszta: Let me just speak on that point. When I started speaking on the workers’ participation it’s implicit in a certain provision of the Act which deals with the joint committees of workers and other people in respect of health and safety. I am elaborating on this because I intend to prove that it is, in fact, a fairly phoney issue the way the minister has done it. She is not really introducing it and I have to develop the point more slowly, even if the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid) doesn’t quite follow.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member will continue.

Mr. Dukszta: There is, first of all, a form of workers’ participation in which labour plays a merely consultative role. There is a widespread example in Great Britain.

Now, the second point, before I was interrupted, there is a form in which workers participate in planning and decision-making. This is the meaning of co-determination as practised in West Germany.

Thirdly, there is genuine workers’ control. Here workers, through their representatives, have the power to stop or delay management initiatives and to inaugurate measures themselves.

Fourthly, there’s self-management. Here the work force is the management; no structural division between the workers and owners or workers and management is found at all.

In considering the provisions of this bill before the House, we must try to establish what the government’s intention is. Does the government intend that labour merely plays a consultative role in the system of production? Does it intend to introduce worker participation in planning and decision-making? Or does it intend to lay the basis for more fundamental industrial democracy? Are the key provisions of this bill merely old wine in new bottles or do they move, or at least have the potential to move, beyond it?

The two principal features of the bill, (a) that it establishes, at least under certain circumstances, the right to refuse unsafe work, and, (b) that it proposes to establish safety committees with substantial worker input, are, at first blush, commendable. That those features, however, are interwoven with ambiguous and reactionary ones has become startlingly clear upon the closer examination of the bill. This, in turn, raises serious doubts about whether or not the Conservative government really intends to promote the health and safety of the workers of this province. To understand this fully, one must probe beneath the surface of what is written and look both at what is omitted and what is obscured to see what, in fact, the Act does not do.

It is clear in detail that the master-servant framework which now forms the legal and philosophical basis for labour law in Ontario is one of the chief impediments to achieving a reasonable standard of industrial health and safety. This comes from the wholly one-sided power relationship which the bill implies and embodies, that a “servant” must do whatsoever the “master” wishes while on the master’s business.

The historic relationship has been modified in statute, particularly after the rise of labour unions, to protect workers’ interests. But in this province reactionary labour legislation has sought to preserve the master-servant relationship and since every new Act must relate to the existing legal framework, it is by no means clear that the effect of this proposed legislation will be the same as it was and is in Saskatchewan where labour law generally is more enlightened.


Do we really expect the Ministry of Labour to guarantee workers’ right to participate in decisions regarding health and safety when it does not even fully guarantee their right to bargain collectively? Do we expect the ministry to enforce the no-reprisals clause in the bill when, both by law and by administrative practice, it countenances hired strike-breakers?

Let us look at the bill itself closely. First, it is poorly drafted. A number of points, especially concerning the definition of the terms used in the Act, its administration and its ultimate responsibility for each provision of the Act, will have to be clarified in committee before this Act can hope to be enforced at all.

Second, it only grants workers a highly conditional right to refuse to do unsafe work. The entire burden for ensuring the safety of the work place rests upon the employees, who must report in some as yet unspecified manner hazardous conditions. Nowhere in the Act is there a general duty placed upon the employer to establish and maintain safe and healthy working conditions. This is, in part, a result of the fact that the thrust of the Act is towards issues of safety and not health. The Act gives the right to workers to refuse to work in unsafe conditions but no authoritative means to ensure that such conditions are identified, controlled and, where possible, eliminated as recommended in the Ham report.

Third, the proposed Act leaves the implementation of its provisions vis-à-vis any work place wholly to the ministry’s discretion. This could lead to highly uneven enforcement.

Fourth, the Act ties ministerial hands in the sense that the ministry has no clearly defined power to act where there is no prior complaint. It must now move from crisis to crisis like a horse-and-buggy fire brigade.

How are these crises defined? What is an unsafe condition? What is the prevailing definition of the term “employer” in the Act and what are “managerial functions”? How does the Act apply to the great diversity of work places, particularly to those not defined in The Industrial Safety Act, The Construction Safety Act and The Mining Act? What constitutes “reasonable cause to believe a work place is unsafe” and in what specific manner must the employee report “the circumstances of the matter” to his employer? What is the acceptable process for the selection of a safety representative and members of the joint health and safety committee where no trade union exists in the work place, which is true for the majority of Ontario workers?

All these questions are unanswered in the bill before this House or perhaps deliberately left vague.

Saskatchewan’s experience with litigation on similar legislation shows that these are essential points which required clarification for the Act to be at all effective. For instance, the case of the Crown versus Interprovincial Steel Pipe Company shows the necessity for defining such terms as “employer” and “places of work” in schedules laid out within the Act itself, rather than leaving such definitions open to an interpretation based on other, and perhaps inconsistent, definitions from other Acts. The decision in this case also mentions the importance of establishing the statutory duties of the employer. By not specifying the definition for terms used in the Act -- “employer,” “work place,” “unsafe,” “safety representative,” etc. -- the Ontario government runs the risk of interminable and futile litigation of these points.

This sort of thing is not merely a semantic game, particularly where people’s well-being is at stake. In the Crown versus Buildall, the court ruled that clear and explicit wording is of the utmost importance in Acts of this kind because, given that they contain a penal statute, they are subject to strict interpretation.

The most significant omission of this kind in the proposed Act is its failure to define what is dangerous or hazardous in the work place. The government’s fear seems to be that the employees will exercise their right to refuse to work frivolously or technically if it spells out what it considers to be hazardous or dangerous. Experience in Saskatchewan has shown that this is not true and that the Saskatchewan Act is not being used as a means of disrupting production. Moreover, the term unsafe usually implies a direct or immediate threat to a worker’s well-being. Unhealthy, by contrast, implies an indirect or a long-term threat. The proposed Act does not specify whether or not a worker can refuse to work in an unhealthy situation, for example, in an unheated building, in a dust or irritant-ridden atmosphere, with new chemicals or materials introduced into the work place whose long-term effects are not known.

Many of my constituents are all too painfully familiar with how ambiguity of this kind hurts them in dealing with the Workmen’s Compensation Board. They must fight to receive meagre compensation for an illness of disability that has developed over a period of years because of unhealthy but not necessarily unsafe conditions in the work place. In all of these cases, ambiguity in the wording seems to spring from the government’s political and philosophical confusion about it. Is it the intention of this Act to restrict the meaning of the hazardous conditions only to those which present a clear and present danger? To do so, would be to fail to recognize the workers’ rights to a safe and a healthy work place, rather than a freedom from industrial accidents.

Just what are the specific mechanisms protecting the worker? What is considered an acceptable report of an unsafe condition -- a phone call, a verbal statement, a written report? What happens in the event that the employer and/or the inspector or engineer is unavailable at the specific time of the report? What mechanism is there for appealing a decision of an inspector or engineer? Who is ultimately responsible for those decisions? What is the relationship between the joint health and safety committee and the safety representative? In all cases, once a worker has identified an unsafe or unhealthy condition, is he protected against reprisals and discrimination during the complaint and adjudication processes with his employer and/or an inspector or engineer? What, for that matter, would constitute reprisals and discrimination?

None of these points is clearly spelled out in the Act. On its face, the work place is assumed to be safe until proven otherwise. Surely the statistics on the number of work-related injuries and fatalities would suggest that such an assumption is unjustified. In considering this bill, it is important to recognize that any preventive or proactive steps that might be taken to promote health and safety are severely limited by some of the administrative procedures outlined in it. Let me go over this in point form.

1. Under its provisions an inspector or engineer must be called in by the employer, and hence she or he may be prevented from acting without a specific, crisis-oriented complaint, filed in some unspecified way with the employer.

2. The establishment of a joint health and safety committee in the work place is at the sole discretion of the Minister of Labour, rather than being a mandatory requirement of all work places which meet particular qualifications defined within the Act.

3. There are no provisions which ensure employee control over the selection of committee members and a safety representative.

4. There are no requirements which enable the joint committee to protect and promote the health of the employees in the work place through the use of personnel responsible to the minister for regular medical check-ups and reports, data analysis of illness and accident records, etc.

5. It is unclear how the power of the health and safety committees to obtain information will be guaranteed in practice since the Act places no onus on the employer to comply with committee directives. The only provision in which the employer can be held liable is where he or she contravenes subsections of the Act dealing with protection of employees acting in compliance with the Act from discipline or dismissal, or failure to comply with an order in writing of the minister regarding selection of a safety representative and/or the establishment of a joint health and safety committee.

6. It is unclear who bears the ultimate responsibility for the carrying out of the proposed Act’s provisions. The situation will inevitably arise when the worker or the employer will disagree with decisions made by the inspector or engineer. As a result, there is a need for some clear appeal mechanism. Under the proposed Act the inspector or engineer can make final decisions or complaints. In order for the administration of the Act to be successful, the Act should specify that the Minister of Labour is charged with the responsibility for confirming or denying each of the work-refusal decisions. As a result of administrative practice flowing from this, all decisions on work refusals should be reviewed at the ministry, as is the current practice in Saskatchewan.

7. Finally, the Act does not make clear provision for the training of inspection personnel competent to deal with both health and safety concerns for each general class or type of work place. Simply placing existing inspectors under one administrative roof will not sensitize them to the subtler long-term issues and new aspects of their job.

In summary, under the provisions of this bill the person most endangered by unsafe or unhealthy conditions must take all the initiative for protecting himself or herself from accident or illness. The worker runs all the risk, both possible sickness or injury and potential reprisals, if the complaint is judged frivolous by the employer and/or inspector and the worker cannot prove he was acting correctly within the Act’s utterly ambiguous provisions. And who will guard the guardians? The administrative provisions of the Act give workers no real assurance that existing and potential hazards will be eliminated from their work environment.

In the final analysis, it is quite instructive that, unlike the Saskatchewan legislation, there is no provision in this Act to allow employees to refuse to work if a condition exists which threatens the health and safety of other workers. Do we really want to reaffirm the most odious aspect of the master- servant relationship, that a master can force an employee to do things that are dangerous to others?

The extent to which the Conservative government is prepared to go in preserving the archaic master-servant relationship is also clear in how this Act would differentially affect unionized and non-unionized workers. Little attempt is made to see how the labour relations provisions of this Act fit in with other Ontario labour legislation. For union members, it is unclear whether or not a work refusal would constitute a walkout or strike under a collective agreement whose terms include a no-strike clause.

It must also be specified how grievance machinery established under the Ontario Labour Relations Act will relate to work refusals and the work of the joint health and safety committee regarding working conditions.

We must bear in mind, however, that Ontario, because of its antediluvian labour legislation, is a province where unions are the exception, not the rule. Thus, where no mechanisms for worker organization such as a trade union exist in the work place, the question of who will guard the guardians of occupational health and safety becomes a most serious one.

Within the present wording of the Act, there are no guarantees of democratic process in the selection of safety committee members, free from coercion by an employer. In Ontario, unlike in Saskatchewan where the model for this Act was written, there are no statutory obligations which force the employer to maintain an arm’s-length relationship with this process of selecting workers’ representatives. And without a labour union, there is no mechanism to provide organizational backup for the safety representatives and the joint health and safety committee.

Without a legal, political and administrative environment which actively promotes the right to employees and which encourages, not discourages, the formation of labour unions, collective bargaining and collective safety in health, we run the risk that legislation, no matter how good it looks on paper, will simply be a cruel hoax. It remains to be seen whether such a rough justice, will be any justice at all.


In conclusion, we have seen the lack of protection in this bill for the individual worker who protests. We have seen the lack of provisions for forcing remedies for unsafe and unhealthy situations. We have seen that it hinges on the whim or pleasure of the minister. In all these respects and others, the bill leaves the protection of workers’ health and safety to corporate or governmental agencies.

It is this feature of the bill which accounts for all its defects. We cannot come to grips with health and safety issues without clearly endorsing a definitive shift of power away from the employers, government inspectors, and ministers to the work force itself. We cannot do this without making government responsible to the people whom it represents.

To sum up, this Act appears to view the input of the workers on committees and the safety representatives as mere consultation. Decisions on implementation are left to others, and even then, these responsibilities are left unclear and ambiguous. This is a glaring weakness when we compare the bill before us to what has already been achieved in such countries as West Germany and Scandinavia where there is at least to some extent provision for participation or co-determination. This bill is pitifully weak when compared with the situation in our sister province to the west.

The present Act can only be made effective if the safety committees, with worker participation, are given authority to actively promote rules and conditions affecting worker health and safety. This would involve, in both principle and practice:

(a) Clear recognition at law of joint committees’ rights to function effectively, including access to all budgetary information which bears even indirectly on health and safety;

(b) A clear role for these committees in selecting health and safety personnel, i.e. in the employment of all medical and paramedical personnel; and

(c) An important voice in formulating employment policies which bear on health, such as leaves, medical care, etc.

Moreover, since health and safety issues overlap in practice with all functions and activities in a work place it becomes clear that the role of this committee must be clarified with respect to all other issues of management. This must lead to an involvement of worker representatives in all aspects of work life; it must ultimately lead to a genuine industrial democracy.

It is a great mistake to think of worker participation as achieved solely through the role of a few representatives on a committee, no matter how great the powers of that committee might be. There is a long and sad story, both in western and eastern Europe, of the co-optation of workers’ representatives on the part of employers, governments and political parties. Democracy depends on the real participation of each and every person in the matter at hand, through the representatives of his own choosing. This would necessitate regular meetings, at the shop-floor level and on company time, of all the workers in the work place. Here, in public discussion, all issues of health and safety and the issues that then open up can be discussed and tendencies toward bureaucratization and co-optation arrested.

Only through a genuine and full participation by people in those decisions which affect their health and safety and well-being can we truly democratize the work place. Only when all people participate in the central decisions which shape their lives, can we have a truly democratic society.

I don’t suppose anyone here will do this except us.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member for Rainy River.

Mr. Reid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lawlor: That’s the reason you made the interjection, you want to speak.

Mr. Reid: It’s nice to see you back, Patrick. I hope your health has improved; obviously your vocal cords have improved.

Mr. Lawlor: You are an impatient young fellow.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Reid: No doubt you’ll have your opportunity to make your contribution. I hope it won’t be as fatuous and self-righteous as the rest of your colleagues. But I’m sorry that’s something that probably is unavoidable.


Mr. Laughren: Typical Reid speech.

Mr. Ferrier: Tremendous speech. Are you finished?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Go ahead, Pat.

Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the principle of the Bill 139, An Act respecting Employees Health and Safety. Because the debate has gone on for so long and many of the points have already been covered, I would just like clarification of a few points and to underline some of the matters that have been raised by members in this party and the party to my right particularly relating to the provision in regard to the health and safety committee. The legislation is permissive rather than requiring and it doesn’t seem to make any provision for those work places which, in fact, are not unionized.

I would like to indicate to my colleague who just spoke that I presume that the definitions that are in The Labour Relations Act, The Industrial Safety Act, The Mining Act and The Construction Safety Act are the ones we are talking about in the bill. Perhaps if he had taken the time to read the bill, he might have realized that but when one is all tied up in ideology and philosophy one forgets the realities and the facts of the situation.

Mr. Bain: That’s coalition government in action.

Mr. Reid: But it raises a particular problem for me and probably for some of my other colleagues in northern Ontario and that is --

Mr. Ferrier: Not many up there, Pat.

Mr. Reid: I am glad to see so many of them are awake for a change. It raises particular logistic problems of matters relating to inspectors. We have had this conversation before in that when there is a problem in a mill or a mine or a work place, it’s often difficult for the unions or the people involved to get an inspector to come down and look at the situation, check it out and make a report. A side effect of that is that often the safety inspectors don’t talk to the unions or the people who called them but in fact deal only with management rather than dealing --


Mr. Reid: Well, I realize that but I am talking about things that have gone on in the past and hopefully they won’t in the future. The point is, how are you going to guarantee both the unions and the companies that the personnel are going to be available to do the kind of inspections that are going to flow from the provisions particularly of section 2 of the Act? That’s one concern.

The other concern is that it seems to me that in a work place it should be mandatory that there be a committee. Again the legislation is only permissive and says “may” rather than “shall.” It seems to me that this is obviously one of the most important parts of the social and economic part of the job that we have to deal with.

The other concern I have is that where these things have been voluntary in the past they have not worked in many cases, partly because management hasn’t been interested, in some cases because the workers haven’t been interested. The unions or the workers in some cases have placed all their concerns on wage rates and so on because that’s the thing that they can focus on; that’s the thing that gets public attention. Health and safety have not been able to focus public attention on the conditions in the work place. Therefore the health and safety of the workers have been somewhat less in the limelight until the conditions in the asbestos mines and the Ham commission brought things to the fore.

I am concerned therefore about how these committees are going to work. There’s provision in the Act that they meet at least four times a year. That may or may not be sufficient. It seems to me that it won’t be sufficient. It seems to me there has to be another mechanism, rather than almost what you might call confrontation as envisaged in sections 2 and 3 of the Act, before these matters are looked after. It again comes back to the logistics of the situation. If a paper worker refuses to work near a machine or in the wood room or kraft mill or whatever, by the time you get an inspector down there, there’s going to be a great deal of pressure put on him. It will come from his co-workers, from the unions, from management to work under those conditions until somebody does show up to do the inspection. It is the logistics of the thing that concern me because we had these problems in the past where there was an obvious problem that was brought to the attention of the Minister of Labour.

My colleague from Sarnia spoke briefly about the matter of the number of people who would have to be employed before such a committee was set up; certainly that is something that can be discussed. But I would urge upon the minister that in fact she make it mandatory -- I am sure there will be an amendment flowing from somewhere on this side to that effect -- and that we take a figure -- perhaps 10 or 20 employees -- and that we make it mandatory for these health and safety committees to meet.

There are some other concerns I have that have already been touched on. But I would like to leave the minister with that one thought, that she make the health and safety committees mandatory, and that she set a minimum figure of employees that makes it necessary for such committees to be set up and to function.

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill. Beyond the principles which have already been touched upon by a great many speakers on both sides of the House, in my view it establishes two extremely important precedents. One is that the work place, or the place of employment, whether it be the smallest unit in a locked building operation, or an extremely large, complex and sophisticated establishment, such as a basic steel mill or a smelter, the employee now has a direct voice in not only the safety of the operation but in the direct protection of himself.

Secondly, after many decades the Ministry of Labour is finally getting the kind of authority that I think was originally envisioned when first the federal Ministry of Labour was established, shortly after the turn of the century, and on the provincial labour department in subsequent years. As someone who some years ago did a considerable amount of work, not only in the construction field, but in the industrial field, one of the great difficulties was the fragmentation of authority which inevitably led to the fragmentation of reports, the lack of coordination, and quite frankly, in the final analysis, an almost groping situation in trying to look for the causes of the hazards that were really within the sphere of the human element to control.

Unfortunately, in the past decade with the sophistication of industrial technology, with the growing awareness in the occupational health field by professionals of hazards that 10 or 15 years ago were thought not to be a hazard, the old system simply does not work. I believe a progressive piece of legislation like this, if it did nothing more than to put the entire responsibility upon the appropriate ministry, would be sufficient reason for the passage of this legislation.

But it goes far beyond that. As I said before, virtually every speaker on this bill has touched upon -- some sketchily, some at great length -- the three fundamental principles which really are the thrust of this bill. These are: first, the centralization of responsibility in the Ministry of Labour; secondly, the right of the employee to exist in an open and clearly defined area when it comes to his concerns about the safety of his job as well as protecting himself from hazards: finally, the right of the worker to refuse to work when he has reasonable grounds to believe that continuing to work would be injurious to himself.


It is very interesting that in 1963 or 1964 -- it may interest some of the solicitors in the House -- the province of Quebec ruled this through the courts. I have always been surprised that the courts in this province really didn’t follow the precedent. At that time there was a mining operation in the province of Quebec that was threatened with a walkout by its white-collar employees. Not its mining employees, its white-collar employees. At that time they took what they thought were some precautions: They stored powder underground. In other words, they put the dynamite underground because they were afraid that the particular white-collar worker who had control of the powder in the operation might very well have withdrawn his services at a future time.

Of course, this caused considerable apprehension among the underground miners. It is a difficult enough situation to go underground and face a great many natural hazards without the company filling up empty chambers underground with dynamite so it would have easy access to powder in the event of a strike on the surface. At that time the courts in Quebec ruled that notwithstanding the collective agreement which had the usual and conforming clause that there was to be no strike within the duration of the contract, the workers did have an overriding consideration in that situation. You literally could not, under the terms of a collective agreement, force a worker to perform in an unsafe area.

That was a very historic decision in the mining industry of Quebec. As I say, I have always been somewhat surprised it was never extended not only to the mining in this province particularly, but to the industrial or construction spheres.

Nonetheless, with this bill there is a clearly defined area where the right of the worker to protect himself -- not just against injury and not just perhaps against the ultimate, loss of life, but to protect himself against a hazard -- is established. He does have the right, provided it is reasonable.

I must say I do not really understand the great concern by so many as to what constitutes the definition of “reasonable.” I think “reasonable grounds” means what it says. In virtually every statute in this country, reasonable grounds in one form or another are used. I think what is sufficient for the great body of law in this country, is when it comes down to safety law, “reasonable grounds” or “reasonable cause” will mean exactly what it means in the remainder of the body of law. That is a great step forward for working people.

To those who are in a position of being townhouse observers, or what have you, of the industrial scene, it has always been difficult to understand why a person would continue to work in an area that appeared to be unsafe. There has always been a fundamental reason. People who work generally have tremendous obligations; they have a wife or a family or some dependants to support. They have other financial obligations, and above all they do feel a vested interest in keeping their job.

Mr. Laughren: Would you put that in writing for the minister?

Mr. Drea: For these reasons, in a great many cases, faced with the right to withdraw labour or to refuse to continue because of a hazard, the person just shrugged his shoulders, hoped that something would be done and crossed his fingers that nothing would happen.

Mr. Davidson: Are you suggesting the company fire them?

Mr. Drea: With the passage of this legislation those days are gone.

Mr. Speaker, in terms of safety, which is really saving lives or saving people from serious injury, another benefit that would appear not to be important, but I think is a tremendous step forward, is that now the employee must have access to the information. All of us in this House, or those of us who have been associated with the labour movement or with working people, can recall the days when the company was told the safety inspector was coming, and what hour he was coming.

Invariably that meant a couple of labourers got a little bit of work 20 minutes beforehand -- the place was cleaned, it was swept, it was magnificent. The inspector came in and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about and left. Besides, he never even filed a report -- he filed the report with the minister and the worker never received it.

There was an argument at that time -- I never could understand the argument but it was argued that it disrupted production less if the company knew when the safety inspector was coming, that they could schedule the work around his visit.

Well, those days have been gone for some time, and thankfully now we have moved a step further. The worker does have the right, without loss of pay, not only to accompany the inspector, but to participate in the inspection because he has to be told publicly, in writing what the results of the inspection were.

No longer is it that the inspector has been here, he’s nodded his head, he’s gone through the quasi-medical jargon of a few hrrmphs and um-hmms, and marked something down on a piece of paper, and somehow it has gone into the maw at the Ministry of Labour. Now it is the subject of a public report that must be put on the bulletin board.

Furthermore, employees now have access to information concerning the occupational accidents and hazards in their industry. They don’t have to have their union fight for it -- not that their union isn’t capable of getting it -- for this type of information will be provided. And it won’t be only a matter of informing working people what has been going on in the health and accident area of the industry; it may very well be that upon reading those reports working people may be able to contribute a great deal toward future reports -- because there may be a great number of things that have been overlooked, or not considered as significant as they should have been.

The question of the mandatory health and safety committee has been rised on numerous occasions during this debate -- somehow the magic number of 10 has been appearing. I would suggest that in large metropolitan areas there is a vast number of employers who have less than 10 employees, Remarkably, many of them use very powerful machines, and I am suggesting that making it mandatory but stopping at 10 is not really doing much of a favour to many of the people who need it most --

Mr. Lewis: Bring it down below that.

Mr. Drea: -- because the truth of the matter is that it is extremely difficult, for a number of reasons and some of them their own fault, for trade unions to organize a very small place of under 10. These are the people I would feel need the protection of this Act the most.

The other difficulty in establishing a mandatory committee is when you get down to a small shop. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of small shops out in the east end that probably have the most grisly accident statistics. I think one of them has four or five people. In that particular one, the hands and fingers of the apprentices in that metalworking shop are in danger. You don’t last very long in there because there is virtually an amputation by accident once a year. What good would it do to have a mandatory health and safety committee in a place like that where there are two or three employees and an owner who functions not only as an owner and a manager but as a foreman and a supervisor?

Just making a health and safety committee mandatory or making it that it has to be established, I suggest to you, doesn’t get to the root of the problem. I think the failure over the years of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, the Accident Prevention Association, and a great many of the labour-management committees is that where there was no real clout -- in other words, the health and safety committee of an industrial union. The committee was much more semblance than activity. It was a health and safety committee virtually in name only.

I think the failing over the years of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association is that it spent about 90 per cent of its time on lectures and about two or three per cent of its time on inspections and the other seven or eight per cent writing annual reports that were published in four-colour publications.

I think the approach that the minister has taken concerning the health and safety committees is a practical one. It is one that will work in the largest, most sophisticated, technologically advanced and unfortunately sometimes quite hazardous industries as well as in the very small type of shop that is backward technologically. I think it is the only real answer at this time to the wide divergence within industrial society. Furthermore, I think it is a practical answer in the field of the small shop where the Minister of Labour really is the business agent because these people never will be organized into a trade union. I shouldn’t say never; almost never.

Mr. Swart: Not with your government.

Mr. Drea: I don’t care what government it is. Don’t you give me that. Come on. It’s as difficult to organize a place with three or four people in Regina, Saskatchewan, as it is in Toronto, Ontario. I suggest it’s probably more difficult in Regina for exactly the same circumstances I have outlined.

The Minister of Labour, in a non-unionized establishment, is the union.

Mr. Laughren: That is what bothers us.

Mr. Drea: The Minister of Labour, already under existing statutes --

Mr. Germa: That’s what we worry about.

Mr. Drea: The Minister of Labour under existing statutes, already is the one who ensures that there are vacations with pay --


Mr. Drea: -- who ensures that The Employment Standards Act is carried out, who ensures that the holidays are carried out, who ensures the entire scope of The Employment Standards Act, which in no way, shape or form is meant to meet the standards set by industrial trade unions in this province. She already has that authority under the Act.


When we come to safety, she is once again assuming that responsibility and I suggest it is compatible because it doesn’t say in this Act that health and safety committees shall not be mandatory.

It recommends most highly that they be there. If they are, it provides certain guidelines, certain procedures under which they operate. If there isn’t one in a particular plant, then with the additional information and the data that is going to be retrieved under the new system, if it turns out that that place is not exactly safe, then the minister makes the health and safety committee -- the joint labour-management committee -- mandatory in that particular establishment.

It’s a very simple and a very blunt thrust. Either you get together with your employees and you run a decent place in terms of health and safety or the government is going to come knocking on the door to hand you a piece of paper, and tell you since you wouldn’t do it the easy way you are now going to do it the hard way. There is going to be a mandatory committee set up and there’s going to be an inspector from the labour department standing around to make sure that that committee functions.

Mr. Laughren: Why wait? Do it now.

Mr. Drea: I would suggest making a health and safety committee mandatory in the bulk of industry in this province would be superfluous and redundant. Show me a major or even a minor plant where there is a collective agreement by an industrial union where there is not this type of committee. Show me one.


Mr. Drea: The difficulty on the other side is that in a small plant there will never be this thrust for the benefits of trade unionism; there can’t be. And it is not because the people don’t want it. It is because the geography of their particular industry, or the size or something beyond their control, makes it virtually impossible for them to enjoy it. Under this legislation the Ministry of Labour assumes the blunt thrust that the trade union plays in the larger and the more sophisticated and technologically advanced industries.

In summary, there are two real thrusts to this legislation. It opens, in a most open fashion, the door to greater participation by the employee in the thing that really concerns him the most, and that is safety. Secondly, the responsibility is now foursquare upon the Ministry of Labour. It is no longer fragmented. The responsibility is there. The responsibility is with the Ministry of Labour not alone, but to oversee management and labour in this field. I remind you once again that in a great many cases the Ministry of Labour has to function as the trade union. They can identify; they can control; and they can, in the words of the minister, eliminate as much as possible the hazards to health in the work place.

Surely this has been the goal of government after government in this province since at the turn of the century Sir William Meredith was commissioned to look into industrial safety and out of that came The Workmen’s Compensation Act. As a matter of fact it might be well, in conclusion, to hearken to the words of Sir William Meredith. One of the fundamental decisions he made at the turn of the century was that safety really is of paramount importance to only one person -- the person, where there is a lack of it, who is going to suffer substantial, grievous or painful injury or even the loss of life.

That is why, from the very beginning of modern industry in this province, the thrust has been upon government to ensure that the work place, whether it be a construction site, a mine or in industry, is as safe as possible for the people who work there.

I feel the bill continues in the most progressive spirit of that earlier time. I am confident the bill will achieve as much in the alleviation of human suffering and human misery as did the original Workmen’s Compensation Act over so many decades, and as such I would hope that the entire House would support this piece of progressive legislation by the Ministry of Labour.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, it would appear that that entire House will support the minister’s bill on second reading and give it support in principle. God knows, many members in this House, certainly those in the New Democratic Party, have been struggling for some time to achieve legislative implementation of some of the matters which the bill contains.

While we have profound reservations about the way in which it may be administered, and while we feel unhappy about some of the obvious omissions in the bill, we will certainly support the principles as delineated initially by my colleague from Nickel Belt and expanded upon by others in the New Democratic Party who spoke subsequent to his lead-off.

I would like to come to the bill in a slightly different way, by a kind of expression in a personal sense of what many of us have felt in the NDP as we followed this vexing issue of occupational health over the last three or four years.

If I may do it in a somewhat itemized fashion, I would like to point out to the minister that the litany of occupational disasters that flow from the introduction of chemicals into the work place and from exposure to hazardous substances in the mines -- that litany seems to know no end. Every day, every week, every month that members of this Legislature, scientists and journalists pick up learned publications, investigate reports and analyse assessments of various Workmen’s Compensation Boards, it becomes more and more clear that we have launched on an extraordinary self-destructive course of introducing carcinogens into the work place.

I don’t know how you call an end to that. I dealt know what we do about this fixated, technological society, which forever places the productive process ahead of the safety, health and often life of its workers. There’s something compulsive about it. There’s something obsessive about it. We all know, in dramatic and feeling terms -- and the minister has documented some of it -- what the consequences of the hazardous contaminants have meant to people. But even though the evidence piles in on us like a torrent, we are never able to turn the tide. We always seem to come in after the event to introduce safety precautions to reduce the emissions rather than removing the chemicals from the work place entirely or preventing their introduction from the outset.

This legislation, therefore, while it is important legislation and appreciated by members of the House, is wanting because it is invariably after-the-effect legislation. It deals with the dangers which will become explicit. It does not yet eliminate the dangers themselves. And the dangers kind of engulf us in this endless proliferation of data and evidence. It has been drawn to public attention, for example, in just the last few days that the emission of fibreglass particles, formerly a substance about which we had little concern, is now shown to cause mesothelioma in a particular group of animals under laboratory testing. It is not yet in workers, thank God, but that’s largely because the use of the small fibres of fibreglass have not been in the work place long enough. The latency period is net yet long enough for us to know the consequences to individual workers or groups of workers. There is now scientific data available that shows that the small fibreglass is in fact leading to mesothelioma, one of the rarest forms of cancer, and a cancer which seems to be only induced from exposure to asbestos thus far in the work place.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No.

Mr. Lewis: Perhaps the minister can show us other sources of mesothelioma as she is a medical practitioner. She probably knows my experience of mesothelioma is only in the presence of asbestos.

It has been revealed recently -- and this too is just flabbergasting -- that the asbestos in brake linings, if discharged into the environment, can cause cancer. There is now a case in the state of Connecticut of a tollgate operator who suffered from cancer as a result of the asbestos emissions from the brake linings in cars that screech to a halt at the tollgate to deposit the coins. It is bizarre, yes, but terrifying as well. That kind of proliferation of peculiar, but very real, cases that raise questions about occupational hazards seems to be growing.

Senator Hubert Humphrey recently had his bladder removed as a result of cancer of the bladder. When visited Irving Selikoff in January of this year with one of my research colleagues, he told us that he had been the man who had identified, who had diagnosed the senator’s cancer. The cancer of the bladder in the case of Hubert Humphrey relates to his occupation as a druggist and the occupational exposure he had to certain drugs, I gather benzedrine being one of them. The minister nods her head. Again she would know far more about it than I do, but it is naturally a terrifying business to realize what we have unleashed in the manifold work place that we call society and its appurtenances.

In Ontario we now learn -- and again it’s a matter of some shock -- that people called tapers, who are essentially plasterers who use a tape which has asbestos in it, working in the construction industry are susceptible to cancer as well even though the asbestos content of the tape is only 10 to 12 per cent.

There was a fascinating case, as yet I believe not dealt with in the public arena, in the province of Ontario which was debated at the Workmen’s Compensation Board in 1973 and 1974 over the question of a taper in this province and whether or not he had suffered cancer as a result of the simple exposure to a very small quantum of asbestos in the tape which he used in the plastering industry. The board, as is its wont, if you will forgive me putting it that way, categorically denied the claim on the basis that evidence was not available.


My former colleague from High Park in the Legislature, Dr. Morton Shulman, appealed that claim. In October, 1975, having provided himself in conjunction with the worker and the union with a weight of evidence which the board did not itself seek, the case became compensable. For the first time in any jurisdiction in Canada that I know of a taper, that is a plasterer who works with tape with an asbestos content, was granted compensation for occupationally-related cancer. Now I learn that there is a second case before the board being adjudicated, at this very moment as the debate takes place, which looks as though it will lead to compensation as well in exactly the same area. What does this presage for those vast numbers of workers in the construction industry who in one area or another have been working with products which have asbestos components or compounds?

We always thought that cement dust was an entirely safe business just as we assumed that fibreglass was a safe substance. Now we learn to our astonishment that there is an apparently definitive study out of Yugoslavia showing that cement dust causes bronchitis and emphysema in very serious proportions and was never thought to have these occupational implications before.

I learned recently, and raised it in the House, of the findings in the United Kingdom over the use in the work place of toluene diisocyanates, TDI. TDI is a chemical that is used very widely, including in the province of Ontario. I can remember, meeting not so many months ago with a significant number of rubber workers in Kitchener who talked quite openly and anxiously about the sensitizing of features -- particularly breathing and nasal areas and coughing and spitting -- that came from exposure to TN. I gather that TDI is often used in the rubber and chemical and plastic industry. Now we have evidence in the United Kingdom from the government’s health and safety executive that TDI should have been declared more dangerous than polyvinyl chloride which has been identified as the cause of cancer in certain people working with it.

“We are very worried by TDI,” the spokesman said. “It doesn’t take precedence over asbestos but it should have taken precedence over vinyl chloride.” They record a death of an acute bronchial spasm due to bronchial asthma, TDI-related and induced. They come to the conclusion, and I quote from the article: “That the TDI safety limit of 0.02 parts per million in the air offers no protection to susceptible people and may be at least 20 times too high.”

In yet another case a hospital team in the area of Brampton is looking at the consequences of sensitizing due to TDI and the occupational diseases which flow from that. It’s a pretty frightening business when one realizes that TDI is a relatively common chemical about which we are only now amassing information. I simply say it’s one of the most depressing fields you can deal with, I think, because wherever we turn, whatever document we read, whatever we investigate, we find that technologically obsessed man has managed to induce into the work place yet further chemicals without first testing their consequences and their toxic effects. Then, 20 years later, we begin to count the bodies.

If you raise those kinds of questions everybody gets very anxious about it and wonders whether there isn’t irresponsibility attached to it. I can remember raising in the Legislature some time ago what would be happening in the petrochemical industry in the Sarnia area when it gets into full operation. All of that immense variety of chemicals, some of whose compound effect we know nothing, what will happen after that is introduced 10, 15, 20 years from now. The mere raising of the alarm brought calumny on the heads of all of us for causing public anxiety.

But I don’t think any of us should be deterred by that. I think the evidence is so tough, the documentation is so real, the scientific community is so learned, that no piece of legislation can be strong enough to protect the worker above ground and below ground from the dangerous contaminants to which they are exposed.

If I may, not willing to engage in a bitter kind of adversarial position, I would like to return to the questions which were raised with the minister in question period today by my colleague from Nickel Belt in his pursuit of the very, very sad case of Aimé Bertrand.

I raise it now because it flows logically, I think, from the litany of diseases which we are inheriting and documenting, and because it speaks volumes about the failure of government and of the Workmen’s Compensation Board to react to clear and compelling evidence. Indeed, it speaks volumes about the failure of the government and the board to react to clear requests for reaction. The minister, even though she is as partisan as I am objective, would surely recognize that all of the feelings of the government over there shouldn’t inhibit -- shouldn’t prohibit -- a more reasonable approach to these matters.

Aimé Bertrand, miner in Sudbury, 52 years old, has been exposed for 30 years to silica dust, to exhaust fumes, to asbestos, to cadmium, to sulphur dioxide, to a range of chemicals which is probably not available for recitation by many members in this House.

Hon. B. Stephenson: And to coal tar, nicotine.

Mr. Lewis: Coal tar, nicotine, everything. That is right. Cigarette smoking as well. When Aimé Bertrand, aged 52, after 30 years of exposure to this horrendous list of contaminants, comes before the Workmen’s Compensation Board with a case of laryngeal cancer, the board turns him down. When representations are made upon his behalf, one after the other, the board continues to turn him down. There is something about that that is so aggravating, so offensive in the behaviour of the board, that it can hardly be dealt with here in a dispassionate way.

I want to remind the Legislature of something. In April, 1975, Dr. Ritchie, chief pathologist for the medical school of the University of Toronto, dealt with this whole business of asbestos and related diseases. In April, 1975, he filed a preliminary report about the various diseases, giving his responses to his findings. This is what he said:

“At this time the evidence seems insufficient to justify compensation for an asbestos worker who develops carcinoma of the stomach, colon or larynx. However, evidence in this matter is accumulating and each case should be evaluated in the light of the evidence as it develops.”

He goes on and makes another point: “Studies could also be initiated to determine if there is a real association between exposure to asbestos and carcinoma of the larynx. In Ontario a high proportion of carcinoma of the larynx are treated at the Princess Margaret Hospital, and most of the rest must be treated at other radiation centres, so that conditions make a study easy. Those treated surgically could probably be traced by the ENT surgical group, but even if not, most cases do come to radiotherapy. A perspective or retrospective study could easily be mounted, and could well determine the reality of the suggested association and its strength.”

Can I summarize for the minister, lest she be distracted by other pertinent materials. Here is Dr. Ritchie, in April, 1975, saying that there was accumulating evidence between asbestos and cancer of the larynx, and that studies should be mounted to determine whether or not the link was occupationally provable. Here is Dr. Ritchie, in a report submitted to the Workmen’s Compensation Board and to the government, going so far as to suggest the methodology that might be used and the circumstances that might be found within which a study could, to quote him, “easily be mounted.” That’s in April, 1975.

Can I ask the minister something? What happens to them? What are they -- pieces of scientific gobbledegook to be filed away somewhere? Does the Workmen’s Compensation Board, in its majesty, read it and toss it into the waste basket? Does the Ministry of Health accept it and file it as arcane scientific data?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I think even you know better than that.

Mr. Lewis: Well, I’ll tell you, I don’t know better than that, because I want to reveal something to you. From April, 1975, to November, 1976, no such study as that suggested by Dr. Ritchie has been initiated by the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

Mr. Warner: They don’t care.

Mr. Lewis: Do you know of such a study? Because this afternoon the board didn’t know of such a study.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s not at the board.

Mr. Lewis: If not at the board, where else? Where else is the study?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I believe there is one being done at the University of Toronto.

Mr. Lewis: The minister believes there is one being done. Well, I am glad the minister believes there is one being done, but I want to say it is quite a commentary on the feeling of urgency which is associated with the board and with the government, if I may say earnestly, that the minister has this kind of request. It’s very rare one gets a document that says: “We can’t yet establish it, but the evidence is building; here is a possible study, please go out and do it.” And nobody does anything about it.

Does she call that socially responsible? Morally responsible? Does she call that working in defence of the injured workmen?

Then in April, 1976, Dr. Ritchie puts forward his second report. A year later he says, and I quote: “The best conclusion at this time is that the reality of the association between exposure to asbestos and carcinoma of the larynx remains to be established, though there is strong reason to investigate this possibility further.” That was April, of 1976.

It’s now November, 1976. Can the minister tell me what happens to these reports? Does nobody in the board treat them seriously? Does nobody in the ministry regard it as a matter of urgency?

Precisely the irony of it, the bitter irony of it, is that exactly at the moment when the board is receiving Dr. Ritchie’s report on cancer of the larynx related to asbestos, and exactly at the moment when the board is being asked by Dr. Ritchie to perform further study, the board is refusing to accept Aimé Bertrand’s claim. That is ironic and bitter hypocrisy. How can the minister reject the claim if she has launched the study which her own people have requested?

What is even more peculiar about it, and really distressing about it, is that the board has a study. The board has the Morgan study. And I want to say to the minister opposite -- with the greatest respect I can muster, because she has medical authority and I have no knowledge in that field at all -- that she does not make her case by debunking and depreciating the work of Robert Morgan’s study.

I want to draw to the attention of the minister that there is a British study of 1973 which draws a direct relationship between cancer of the larynx and asbestos. I want to draw to the minister’s attention that there is now a study in the United States which makes a direct relationship between cancer of the larynx and asbestos. I want to draw to the minister’s attention that Dr. Robert Morgan conducted his study under the tutelage of Irving Selikoff. Selikoff was his mentor in the study conducted here. It does not sit well with that government to accept Selikoff as the authority for stomach cancer compensation, but dismiss him when it is useful to the government on the question of laryngeal compensation. It is just too inconsistent and unacceptable.

I must say that I thought one of the shabbiest moments in medical science, as I have been familiar with it, was the way in which some members of the scientific fraternity moved in on the Morgan study, subsequently published in the annals of the Academy of Medicine, which annals do not accept trivial or frivolous studies, when the profession decided that they’d found something wrong with some of Morgan’s methodology.


All that Morgan showed was that a considerable percentage of those who had laryngeal cancer in a particular grouping at the Toronto General Hospital had had asbestos exposure. A percentage so high that it would be absurd for anyone to suggest that there wasn’t some kind of link. And, do you know, 23 per cent relationship to asbestos exposure; that’s almost supernatural. If there is no scientific validity drawn from that, then you ask us to believe in myths; 23 per cent asbestos-related and you say that there’s no cause and effect.

May I say that what’s going to happen, and we all know it, is that Robert Morgan, as a doctor, is going to be vindicated three months hence, six months hence, when the Selikoff study becomes public. He’s going to be absolutely vindicated. There will no question in the world.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Is Dr. Selikoff going to publish his study for a change?

Mr. Lewis: Yes, he is, and he has already said that he would be happy to share it with the Workmen’s Compensation Board of Ontario. Had they looked at his study of stomach cancer in 1965 we might not have waited 10 years or 11 years before the compensation was finally granted.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I doubt that.

Mr. Lewis: The minister doubts it? She doubts it because, you see, with great respect, Mr. Speaker, the board has a congenital inability to give the benefit of the doubt to the injured workman.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.

Mr. Lewis: Can I quote the minister something about that? Can I show her how effectively the case can be made?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Could we get to the principle of this bill?

Mr. Lewis: In an article in the Globe and Mail in early September, when the case of Aimé Bertrand was discussed and the matter of laryngeal cancer was discussed, Dr. McCracken, the medical director of the board, said that the Workmen’s Compensation Board is willing to accept larynx cancer and asbestos as an industrial disease if a well-documented report provides sufficient proof. He feels existing documentation is not strong enough, “but every day that goes by where documentation does not come forth, the case for larynx cancer gets weaker.” That’s a sick quote. I want you to know that I feel very badly using those words.

This is a man who receives reports from Dr. Ritchie requesting that studies be made on the relationship between asbestos and laryngeal cancer, does not undertake them, nothing happens with the recommendations, it all lies idle for a year-and-a-half and then, as a method of excluding the claim, he says the studies don’t exist and because they don’t exist the case grows weaker. That’s really perverse, you know. That really debases the quality of scientific truth and application. That’s not the way we should be dealing: that’s what I’m appealing for. That’s what we in the New Democratic Party are saying to the minister.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I thought we were debating this bill.

Mr. Lewis: We are debating this bill, and this bill has to do with occupational health and I couldn’t possibly be speaking more centrally to it. The problem with the government and the Workmen’s Compensation Board is the rigidity, the inflexibility, the reluctance to find for the workmen, the willingness to make them jump through every hoop to make them prove their own case.

Mr. Laughren: They call it benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Lewis: Yes, the government has the effrontery, or the board has the effrontery, to call it the benefit of the doubt. I appreciate we have a different view of the Workmen’s Compensation Board than they have of themselves, and the government has of them. Really, as a person who brings some scientific balance to this subject, can the minister justify -- is there any way in the world of justifying -- a report from Ritchie in April of 1975 requesting further studies, and no action as of November 1976? At the same time, the board is dealing with a case which would be affected by the studies. And then Dr. McCracken makes that kind of statement. It rally rattles us. It’s not civilized; it’s not decent, human behaviour; and it has to end, because this whole business of occupational health just mounts and mounts. Somehow the responses have to be strong and forthright, not passive and rejecting; and that tends to be much of the atmosphere.

In speaking to this issue, all I can say to the minister by way of counterpoint is to remind her of what’s happened with stomach cancer. We’ve been through this mill. We’ve gone through the minister’s assertions in the House that there was no scientific evidence. We’ve gone through the board’s delays while Dr. Ritchie looked at the material. We finally struck up a separate epidemiological study of the worth of Selikoff, involving someone from the cancer institute, I think it was. Finally we recognized what logic and common sense would bring one to recognize, that asbestos-related cancer of the stomach is a compensable disease.

All I’m saying to the minister is that that is the same for laryngeal cancer and it should be granted in November, 1976, with willingness, sensitivity and compassion rather than in November, 1977, after we’ve had some kind of confrontation about it. That’s not the way it should work. The board should be given all the encouragement that the minister can possibly give them, not just to undertake studies in this field but when they get these individual isolated examples of the Aimé Bertrand’s, for God’s sake capitulate. Why do we have to fight with these individual workers? Here’s a man who has been exposed for 30 years to those contaminants, even albeit he smoked; surely the board can err on the side of the injured workman, particularly when it itself is culpable of not pursuing the evidence which would make a compensation award possible.

That brings us to another focus of the bill, the question of whether or not the bill will work effectively and how these things have come to public attention in a way that results in the bill. I have made a couple of notes.

The minister will have to forgive the intensity of some of the positions we take, because prior to her entry to the Legislature we had to deal with situations which were very frustrating and aggravating. The minister wasn’t here when the Elliot Lake saga emerged, and I don’t know whether she realizes to this day that compensation in the case of Elliot Lake occurred as a result of two elements: One was the single most heroic compensation battle ever fought in this province, that by a man named by Gus Frobel from Elliot Lake, who won a lung cancer claim himself, no thanks to the board.

The other was that Wheeler and Muller of the board did a statistical documentation of the pattern of cases in Elliot Lake. And where did they deliver it? As my colleague from Nickel Belt pointed out, they delivered it in Europe. We would never have heard of it in the province of Ontario had we not stumbled upon it. This was evidence which not only showed a pattern of the catastrophe that was to follow for that community, but also demonstrated that we should be thinking seriously about the levels of compensation and the numbers we would have to compensate.

Elliot Lake turned out to be the worst disaster of its kind in the western world.


Mr. Lewis: That’s right, and that is directly from Selikoff and the other scientists. Nowhere else has there been the onset of so much lung cancer with such a short latency period as in the Elliot Lake condition. Nowhere else.

Hon. B. Stephenson: But that doesn’t necessarily constitute a disaster.

Mr. Lewis: Well, there is nothing more disastrous anywhere than what happened in the community of Elliot Lake and which we’re still dealing with. But surely the minister can understand our aggravation and our anxiety about it when that reality had to emerge (a) through the epic struggle of an injured workman and (b) through the tabling of a scientific paper in Europe, which wasn’t shared with the community here, with the workers affected or with anybody else.

Let me remind the minister of asbestos. The patterns which were emerging at the Workmen’s Compensation Board for asbestos were not shared, except when they were sought. The pattern at Johns-Manville in Scarborough were quite overwhelming when they emerged, but we had to fight for them; and ultimately the union itself had to make them public because for whatever reason, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and the Workmen’s Compensation Board did not see it within its province to share with the public generally its own compensable findings.

After one looks at Johns-Manville, thinking of the Reeves mine is enough to cause one nightmares. I don’t know where those workers are; I don’t know where they’re scattered. There were levels as high as 225 fibres per cubic centimetre in certain areas of that mine in which workers had been working for months on end, some of them for eight years before they closed it down.

Mr. Laughren: The Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) looked the other way.

Mr. Lewis: Can you imagine what will emerge seven to 12 years from now from among that group of workers?

In Matachewan -- look at the struggle we had to have around Matachewan even when everybody in this province, and certainly those still in this field, recognized the consequences of that kind of asbestos exposure. So the minister has at least to appreciate or understand, even if she does not approve of, the reasons for our inveterate scepticism. The government has failed and the board has failed. And the consequences have been catastrophic. If the minister is now moving to close that off, she’ll have our support every step of the way.

I’ve already chronicled and we’ve already chronicled, in the case of laryngeal cancer alone, that it’s still a bitter fight every step of the way. It still doesn’t happen voluntarily, willingly or urgently. At Elliot Lake it is uranium; at Johns-Manville, Reeves and Matachewan, asbestos. Let me remind the minister about coke ovens.

For years, as my colleague from Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) can tell her, the steelworkers in Ontario have been raising alarms about exposure to the coke ovens. For years it has all been depreciated as of no consequence. Then suddenly in April, 1974, the widow of David Smith, a coke oven worker at Algoma Steel, Sault Ste. Marie, gets full compensation for the death of her husband by lung cancer, occupationally-related.

Suddenly through all the years that we were telling the workers there were no worries, the threshold limit values were all right and they shouldn’t be unduly alarmed, the likelihood emerges that in all of those years the appeasing sentiments were misplaced and that all of the questions the workers themselves raised and the scientific community was documenting were valid. Then, finally, in 1975 we get our own coke oven study through the Ontario Research Foundation. What does it show? It shows that in Algoma, in Stelco and in Dofasco the levels of emission from the coke ovens exceed the threshold limit value in case after case, some of it five, 10, 15, 25 or greater, and are higher than the exposures to which the workers should themselves be exposed. And what’s happened?

Hopefully, they’re wearing masks. Hopefully, there are technological improvements. But the minister must know, as we know, that the exposure to those hazardous contaminants continues with our knowledge to this day, and it continues at levels which may ultimately cause sickness and even death. I want to point out to the minister that when this question of coke ovens was discussed with the Mount Sinai school of medicine, they pointed out that it may not be benzene and some of the other components at all, that every coke oven door has asbestos in its lining and that when you’ve got this kind of lung cancer tissue scarring, it may indeed be asbestos. It’s time that we started looking at that as a component of the consequences to exposure from coke ovens.


What we’re saying very clearly is that in every single major case, even in the last three or four years, we’ve had to struggle with an unnecessary intensity and an involuntary abrasiveness over the question of getting decent occupational health legislation in this province. Now we’ve gone a step toward it -- an important step and therefore we will support it -- but it is surely important to emphasize how the battle continues.

I want to suggest very strongly to the minister, through the Speaker, that something has to change at that Workmen’s Compensation Board. I don’t know what it is, exactly -- I don’t know how it happens. I had hoped that with the appointment of Michael Starr things would change, and I think probably the atmosphere did. The atmosphere changed from military to civilian rule. That’s really the shift that occurred at the board from the days of the colonel and the high tables in the dining room to the days of the more egalitarian accessibility of Michael Starr. But the ethos of the board didn’t change; the dynamic of the board didn’t change; the view of the board didn’t change.

That board cannot make the kinds of statements Dr. McCracken makes. That should not be the role of the board. The board isn’t a workman’s adversary. The board is a workman’s protagonist. The board’s definition has to become completely reconstructed. The board, when it sees patterns of disease, when it sees problems, when it receives through this bill or anywhere else the consequences of occupational disease, it has to get out there and talk about it,

Does the minister know that in the last 12 days there have been three deaths of workers who worked at the Johns-Manville plant in Scarborough -- all of them from cancer? That’s really a bit much. I understand what has happened in the latency period. I understand what has happened in the intervening 15 or 20 years. The first was a week ago Friday. The last was this Monday. There was one in between. Two of them are now, I think, being compensated. The third will be before the board. All of them long-time Johns-Manville workers. Can I say something about that? Because it really bothers me.

If I was chairman of the Workmen’s Compensation Board and there had been three deaths registered from cancer in a period of 12 days, even 15 or 20 years later, I would say something about it. I would think the board might say something about it. I would think the board might write some of the workers who worked at the Reeves mine or that it might meet with the workers in Matachewan or issue some kind of statement publicly, in Ontario, and say “these are the consequences of conditions inadequately secured. We want people to know therefore that the kinds of things everyone is fighting for must be achieved. We are sounding the alarm bells because we are weary of dealing with these wretched compensable cases.” But the board says nothing.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Rather than continue debating the role of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, would the hon. member return to the principle of the bill?

Mr. Lewis: You interrupted me at exactly the appropriate moment, Mr. Speaker, because I had finished what I wanted to say about the board. I believe that the board is tied to this bill very directly. Although I don’t hold an animus towards the board, its role is a peculiar one and a confusing one, and somehow it has to be given a broader mandate. It just should not be operating as it’s operating.

We will support the bill but we are going to fight very hard to have the clause made mandatory which requires a safety committee in the work place. If the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) is concerned that there are too many work places with fewer than 10 employees, we will be glad to reduce our amendment to five employees or three employees or two employees -- whatever the government finds acceptable, so long as it is mandatory.

We are not fundamentalists. We don’t grab the figure 10 out of the air and hold on to it like holy writ. You want it to be eight, five, three or two or in every work place in Ontario? We’ll buy it. So long as it is mandatory -- so long as the workers have that protection.

We also think that somehow, either in this or in another bill, there must be mandatory testing of the chemicals which are introduced into the work place. There just must be -- because the pattern that I opened with cannot be allowed to go on -- whether this government does it in conjunction with the federal government or whether it launches it itself. I understand its cost, but the government has $50 million from the lottery to be spent on scientific research related to occupational health and I wouldn’t have thought it wrong to use some of those millions for the testing of potentially carcinogenic contaminants. That too must be done in Ontario or we will forever be raising it with the minister at question period and she will forever be responding in a human and professional way to the kinds of things which present themselves in her ministry time and again by way of environmental and industrial disease.

We think as well that there has to be in the bill some kind of central data collection so that workers can have access to -- and if they say so, their unions and their doctors can have access to -- a pattern of exposure rather than fragmented and isolated exposure. There must also somehow be in the bill a provision which makes real the change of threshold limit values from guidelines to standards. What good is a standard if it’s no more enforceable than a guideline? And I have yet to see -- we have yet to see -- a ministerial order issuing from the minister’s office saying to a company or a plant somewhere in Ontario: “You are now violating the standard. You have X months to come down to the threshold limit value and if you don’t come down in this period of time there will be the following penalties.” None of that has happened yet, yet the minister made a very major pronouncement about the shift from a guideline to a standard.

All of those things follow logically as an extension of this legislation. We’ll support it. We’ll try to amend it. We’ll work with the minister -- we promise her, in good faith -- on every major initiative she takes, but we will brook no nonsense on the issue of occupational health. And if the board or the ministry plays cavalierly with the situations of a kind that Aimé Bertrand represents, if they continue to accept reports from Dr. Ritchie without acting upon them, if there are serious violations of the principles or the mechanics of the bill which are not responded to, then we will fight it every step of the way. Because there are few subjects in this Legislature which bear more forcefully upon the human condition.


Hon. B. Stephenson: While I have been edified --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please, the hon. member for Sudbury.

Mr. Germa: I wish to participate in the debate if the minister is closing the debate.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I had asked and nobody responded, that’s why I called the minister.

Mr. Germa: With all the noise in the chamber I didn’t hear you call.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I called, but I’ll recognize the hon. member for Sudbury.

Mr. Germa: Thank you. I certainly want to make a few comments regarding Bill 139. It’s been a long time coming and I have a personal interest in the bill, having spent a great deal of my life in an industry which has come to be recognized as possibly one of the most hazardous industries that we have in Ontario, the mining and smelting industry. My history in this industry goes hack as far as 1903, when my grandfather happened to get killed underground in a mine in Copper Cliff, with the Canada Copper Company. I’m the third generation in the mining industry from my family and my father lasted a little bit longer than my grandfather. I have done a little better than those other two who went before me.

Of course, in 1903 I’m sure the state of affairs was probably a hell of a lot worse than it is now. I don’t know how it could be much worse than it really is now, but I suppose it must have been.

Bill 139 had a very long incubation period. I think the motivating force for the introduction of the bill was the recent report by Professor Ham who is inquiring into the safety and health of miners. I think this was the weight that pushed this government, this insensitive, non-compassionate government, over the edge into bringing in this legislation.

I think the heat first started when my colleague from Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) undertook to investigate the hazards at the sinter plant in the Copper Cliff smelter. He fought a lonesome battle here for five or six years. He was subject to the recriminations of the government and I recall some of the stories coming out of the Legislature -- I wasn’t here at the time -- that he was overstating his case and he was being melodramatic and that his evidence was really not reliable. But this man persisted and he piled up body after body in front of the Minister of Natural Resources until the minister couldn’t stand the stench himself and he just couldn’t ignore the case any longer.

Finally, the Workmen’s Compensation Board succumbed. They did have a breakthrough and they are now pensioning sinter plant workers who have as little as six months’ seniority in the sinter plant.

Of course, when the Workmen’s Compensation Board first recognized the hazard of cancer from the sinter plant, they set a six year limit. They were going to be nice and safe and that’s how the board seems to work. They always err on the side of the employer. They never err on the side of the worker.

They set the standard that if you had six years’ seniority in the Copper Cliff sinter plant and you developed long cancer, you were consequently going to be compensated for it,

But statistics were being kept and it developed that people with as little as three years in the sinter plan were breaking down with lung cancer. Of course, the Workmen’s Compensation Board couldn’t hide the evidence any longer and they reduced it to three years.

A couple of years later, with the persistence of my colleague from Sudbury East, evidence was documented that people with six months in this sinter plant were developing cancer. I was at the meeting; by that time I had arrived on the scene. I was at a meeting at the Workmen’s Compensation Board. There were the various Workmen’s Compensation Board doctors. There were doctors from the occupational health branch. There was the chairman of the board. It was that day that the Workmen’s Compensation Board decided to lower the seniority requirements in the plant to six months and I recall Dr. McEwen’s statement at that time. She says anybody who even looked in the door of that place should be compensable. Now that is how virulent the hazard was in the Copper Cliff sinter plant.

Let me just tell the minister of the attitude of the International Nickel Company in those days -- and I don’t see that it has changed any.

On Saturday afternoon last, I was dealing with a compensation case, a person who has cancer of the stomach, and we are trying to find out just where he got it. He wasn’t an employee of the International Nickel Company. He worked for a contracting firm which is brought in by International Nickel Company.

I was asking him what kind of work he was performing and he said: “Well the, filthiest job I ever had was when I was with a contracting firm working in the concentrator in the Copper Cliff smelter.” He said: “I was sandblasting pipes,” but he wasn’t using sand. He was using sinter from the Copper Cliff sinter plant. He was spewing it out of the pipe like a black death all over the rest of the workers in the concentrator.

So we see that there are going to be some men who cannot qualify because the regulations of the Compensation Board are such that you have to have six months in the Copper Cliff sinter plant in order to get compensation for lung cancer. But here was the International Nickel Company spraying sinter around one of their buildings in a sandblasting operation.

Then the Elliot Lake situation came on the scene and I think my leader and various other members of the New Democratic Party, with the assistance of the United Steelworkers, were responsible for putting that case together. Once again we had to start piling bodies around the Minister of Natural Resources so that he would take action and bring to the attention of the Workmen’s Compensation Board that there was, in fact, a serious hazard at Elliot Lake which this government has refused to recognize for I don’t know how many years. And there was the ridicule that various union leaders faced, that various colleagues of mine faced, and which, in fact, I faced myself. There were the ministerial statements that this minister made when she accused people of crying with crocodile tears who were trying to make the case for workers who were poisoned on the job.


Mr. Wildman: Very nice speech.

Mr. Germa: And now the most recent case is the Reeves Mine in Matachewan. I remember the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) standing in his place telling us that the Reeves plant was the best asbestos plant on the North American continent, and that there was no need to close it down --

Mr. Laughren: He is a real winner.

Mr. Germa: -- and two weeks after he said that he went up there and closed the plant down for two weeks. What a ridiculous situation we had here in the province of Ontario when the man stood in his place and said we have the most modern plant in the world, and two weeks later closed it down.

Subsequently we found out what was going on up there. It wasn’t a new plant at all. It was some piece of scrap that had been imported from some place in Quebec, and the modern equipment which we assumed was in a new plant was just not there.

This is the kind of inspection service this government has failed to supply to the workers of Ontario -- there is a severe credibility gap, as well, between the workers of Ontario and the government of Ontario. if have been in the work place for very many years and I can tell you to a man, that no man I ever worked with ever looked on the Minister of Labour or the Minister of Natural Resources, as his friend -- they were always his foes.

Mr. Laughren: With just cause.

Mr. Germa: That situation still exists today. The minister, if she is sincere in what she said, if she is not going around the province crying crocodile tears on behalf of workers, has to overcome this great credibility gap.

Hear what Mr. William Mahoney, the Canadian director of United Steelworkers had to say about the government of Ontario. I am quoting from the Sudbury Star, March 4, 1976; “Our union has come to expect incompetence, bungling and outfight cover-up of dangerous situations affecting the health and safety of our members from this department --”

He was speaking then of the Minister of Natural Resources. The Minister of Labour has now taken over that responsibility and I would warn her of the credibility of that minister. He’s probably the most incompetent Minister of Natural Resources that the province of Ontario has ever faced, because it was under his jurisdiction --

Mr. Laughren: That is saying quite a bit.

Mr. Germa: It was under his jurisdiction that all of these hazards and ridiculous situations were allowed to develop.

Hon. Mr. Welch: My colleague?

Mr. Laughren: He is a bad news bear.

Mr. Germa: I have certain doubts that this legislation will work, This present minister who is taking over the responsibility has said she favours a self-regulatory system; the Minister of Natural Resources, over the years, has favoured a self-regulatory system. We have evidence, Mr. Speaker, that self-regulation in the mining companies is not going to work.

The mining companies and the government rely on the Mine Accident Prevention Association to do the dust testing in the environment. The government, of course, takes for granted that the figures that they get are accurate and correct and that they are done under proper settings. I haven’t got that much faith in the Mine Accident Prevention Association. You just have to look at the people who make up the MAPA and you have a loss of credibility as far as that is concerned.

Mr. Laughren: Does the minister have confidence in them?

Mr. Germa: Comparing this legislation with the Ham recommendations, Mr. Ham made 117 recommendations to the government of Ontario. As far as I can compare the two -- the bill and the recommendations -- I would say that only eight of these very serious recommendations in the Ham commission are covered in this bill. I would suggest that recommendations 60, 61, 63, 66, 67, 68, 69 and 81 are the only part of the Ham commission recommendations which are included in the bill.

There are three major items covered in the bill: The formation of health and safety committees, the right to refuse to work in an unsafe area or to move an unsafe piece of machinery and what I think is the most important part of the bill -- and something we have pressed for lo these many years -- that part IX of The Mining Act be transferred out of the hands of the Minister of Natural Resources.

For probably four or five years we have been trying to get through the government’s head that there is a conflict of interest between the Minister of Natural Resources and his duty as protector of the working man. The Minister of Natural Resources is concerned with exploiting resources to their maximum benefit and, consequently, that is in conflict with the protection of workers. I think this is probably one of the reasons -- at least I am going to credit it as one of the reasons -- that he was unable to protect the workers in the mines and mills of Ontario.

Mr. Wildman: He doesn’t know the situation and doesn’t care either.

Mr. Germa: Part IX of The Mining Act is a very large section of the Act; it covers 187 pages. I am sure the minister has taken time to make herself familiar with everything that’s in The Mining Act. One would suspect that after having written 187 pages of legislation, it would be possible to operate a mine in Ontario without the mayhem and destruction which has gone by in the past.

An hon. member: Well said.

Mr. Germa: Apparently legislation is not what we need. We need some enforcement. We can write all the laws we want, but until such time as we decide to enforce these laws and penalize the people who choose to not obey them, then the laws will have no force whatsoever.

I have in my possession the brief that the Minister of Natural Resources presented to the Ham commission. It is very revealing to read the statements of some of the mining engineers, and one can well understand the problems that this minister is going to have when she takes over part IX of The Mining Act.

Mr. Wildman: Is that an example of how you really feel about the whole thing? Look at the look on her face.

Mr. Germa: I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Laughren: That’s more than they give the workers.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Sudbury has the floor. Will his colleagues stop heckling him?

Mr. Germa: The most important section of this legislation is that section of the Act which allows a worker to refuse to enter or operate an unsafe vehicle or to enter an unsafe place. But right to the last moment, this ministry tried to defend its position in the brief to the Ham commission, and by no less a person than Mr. Jewett, the executive director of mines for the province of Ontario.

I would like to quote what Mr. Jewett said when he was appearing before the Ham commission. By the way, Mr. Jewett is very deeply involved in the mess in Elliot Lake. He was one of the mine managers and built some of those plants which today are killing hundreds of our people. This is the man who we expect is going to criticize the operation of the mines in Elliot Lake when, in fact, he was one of the builders of this organization in Elliot Lake.

What did he say to the Ham commission in response to a worker entering an unsafe place or driving an unsafe vehicle? Mr. Jewett said -- and I’m quoting:

“Some people speaking before this commission have suggested that miners in Ontario do not have the right to refuse to work in unsafe areas. But, Mr. Commissioner, under section 177(15) of The Mining Act they have had for years not only the right but the clear responsibility to satisfy themselves that their work place is safe before beginning work, just as they have shared in the responsibility for keeping it safe for themselves and their co-workers.”

Let’s take a look at section 177 and decide if Mr. Jewett was making a proper interpretation. We have evidence of a worker in the Sudbury area who refused to go into a stope one night. He was told either go into the stope or go home. He chose to go home and within an hour his replacement was dead. And yet Mr. Jewett to the Ham commission was trying to backfill and cover his flanks by making that statement. I went to the trouble of digging out

section 177 of The Mining Act, and there’s no place in there that I see -- what’s so funny about that?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s all right.

Mr. Germa: This is a very serious conversation we’re having. You’re not concerned. You’ll be in the golf club Saturday night with the rest of the aristocrats.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m sorry, I don’t play golf and I don’t belong to the golf club.

Mr. Germa: Section 177(15) says “No manager, supervisor or his agent, who has reasonable cause to believe that any machine or device in or about a mine or plant is unsafe or in contravention of this Act shall cause or commit it to be used or operated.” That’s the manager and the supervisor and his agent. It says nothing about the worker having the right to refuse to enter. He’s still at the mercy of the mine manager and this is the guy that we don’t trust, because the evidence is in that he stands condemned for the actions of the past.

Another problem which is not covered in the bill -- and the bill reads very beautifully, Mr. McCrodan, the --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I wish the member for Sudbury wouldn’t deal with what is not in the bill, but address his remarks specifically to what is in the bill.

Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, when I’m looking at the bill and I see that decisions have to be made by management and by a governmental inspector -- Mr. McCrodan points out to us that today there is often less authority at the mine site. Too many mine managers do not have the authority to deal quickly with major health and safety problems. I wonder how this bill can be effective if the manager of the mine has not got the power to enforce the legislation as we think that it should be enforced?

I would ask the minister to address herself to that, to grant to a local mine manager the authority, under this legislation, to see that he has the power. He shouldn’t have to phone New York or some other place to get authority to cause to happen something which might protect the health and safety of a miner.

Mr. Germa moved the adjournment of the debate.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.