30e législature, 3e session

L131 - Tue 7 Dec 1976 / Mar 7 déc 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: When The Borrowers and Depositors Protection Act was introduced in the House of Commons late in October, the government of Ontario went on record as saying that, while we welcomed the federal government’s initiatives in dealing with unscrupulous lenders, we had some grave reservations about the Act as a whole. Having now had time to study Bill C-16, I regret to announce that we still have serious reservations as to its potential effectiveness. I recently advised Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Anthony Abbott of our concern on four major points.

The first is with the concept of the bill and its potential effect on the lending and borrowing communities. Bill C-16 envelopes the entire financial community, from those elements which might be considered criminal in their activities through to those already adequately governed by provincial legislation, whose activities have given no serious cause for concern. For example, the concept of unwarranted rate appears to be insufficient to deal with loan sharks while creating considerable difficulty within the legitimate market. People indebted to loan sharks will simply not go to court to have the rate adjusted. However, this concept could seriously hinder lenders in dealing with borrowers who are attempting to avoid payments. The net result could be that the borrower meeting his payment commitments on time would end up subsidizing the lender’s costs which are involved in dealing with delinquent debtors.

Second, the bill, as it stands now, could create serious constitutional problems. Woven into the text of Bill C-16 are many matters which we feel fall solely within provincial jurisdiction. Ontario has long had legislation relating to cost of credit disclosure in its Consumer Protection Act, collections in The Collection Agencies Act, and unconscionability under The Unconscionable Transactions Relief Act and similar legislation.

Third, the overlap with provincial legislation could create serious problems in administration. We recognize the clear-cut federal jurisdiction in respect of criminal law and of interest, but feel that this bill mixes the subject-matter to an extent that will require court interpretation to untangle. Until such matters are settled by the Supreme Court of Canada -- and that could be several years from now -- a considerable degree of uncertainty will prevail for both borrowers and lenders. There is also the day-to-day problem of applying provincial legislation where similar, but not identical, federal legislation exists. A businessman could find himself in conflict with one piece of legislation and facing prosecution simply for complying with the other jurisdiction’s legislation. We have not as yet had any indication of the federal government’s attitude as to which legislation will prevail where they differ,

Fourth, the federal legislation appears to be only a shell with the main impact depending on the regulations written under it. I have advised Mr. Abbott that, if it is his intention to proceed with the bill in its present form, Ontario will expect to be given ample opportunity to examine the regulations and express our concerns. The letter to Mr. Abbott concluded by saying: “We feel that we have a mutual interest in providing the best of the law for consumers, but that we must do so within the concepts of a balanced marketplace and a proper respect for the provincial role.”

I am tabling today a copy of my letter to Mr. Abbott so that all members will be aware of Ontario’s position on this very important legislation. It’s a position which will be put forward at this week’s provincial consumer ministers conference in Edmonton.


Mr. Roy: I’d like to rise on a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that on Thursday last my leader and myself asked questions in the Legislature directed to the Premier, (Mr. Davis), hoping he would direct these questions to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough). They pertained to a land sale transaction in Ottawa, where there were allegations in the Ottawa Citizen that a former reeve, a member of the council, had invested certain moneys in land and it had returned a profit. Apparently he was on council, and there were allegations that he had not declared his interests.

At the time the questions were asked, and subsequently on Friday, December 3, in the Ottawa Citizen, the member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman) was quoted as saying the following: “The same dirty political tactics used in the 1975 provincial election are now being injected into the contest for reeve.” Then he was quoted as saying as well, “The minister said the charges were in the same spirit as the dirty political campaign waged by the Liberals against him in 1975.”

I want to take strong objection to this in that it seems to me that for a minister of the Crown, when members of the Legislature feel there has been an infringement of a provincial statute and bring it to the attention of the minister, to say that is “dirty political tactics” is highly irresponsible of the minister.

Secondly, to suggest that we, the Liberal Party, had something to do with the story appearing in the Ottawa Citizen is an affront -- that is to give us certain powers we don’t have over the Ottawa Citizen is an insult to the Ottawa Citizen, which is an independent paper.

I think the minister should be made to withdraw such remarks.

Mr. Speaker: I presume this all happened outside the House. I don’t recall it happening in here.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: May I please speak to the point, Mr. Speaker?

First of all, if there is any suggestion at all or any thought that I might be attributing any motives to the leader of the third party and the member for Ottawa East, I would like to dispose of those thoughts immediately. I was speaking entirely of the tactics which were being used in Ottawa at the last minute, which were the same kind of tactics which were used against me in September, 1975. It had nothing to do with any member of this House.

Mr. Speaker: That apparently happened outside the House.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The reference was to my opposition in 1975. Unfortunately it is a fact. They were the tactics they used against me.

Mr. Roy: It was highly irresponsible of you.

Oral questions; the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, if I may, Mr. Speaker, before we get into question period.

Mr. Speaker: I thought we were in it.


Mr. Lewis: May I beg your indulgence to precede the question period with a point of order?

If a matter arising from a debate in the House is reported in the press and then brought to your attention as a point of order or a point of privilege, is that not within the bounds of the Speaker’s jurisdiction?

Mr. Speaker: As I understand it, there was a discussion in the House but the comments which the hon. member objected to were comments which were made outside the House.

Mr. Roy: Yes, but it involved something that took place in the House.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: No it wasn’t, not at all.

Mr. Speaker: I can’t control what went on outside the House.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It was the story in the Citizen, you said.

Mr. S. Smith: May I speak to that point, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: I’ll hear the hon. member.

Mr. S. Smith: Very briefly, you will recall that I asked the question. I said there was a story in the Ottawa Citizen and I asked: “Can the Premier explain whether or not there is any truth to this or if he has looked into it.” That’s all I asked. Whereupon the hon. minister called out: “I dare you to say that outside the House,” with a real implication that somehow I had said something salacious or libellous. That is there; and I imagine the interjectionist picked it up although I have not particularly checked Hansard. That is simply not acceptable, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Roy: You said the Liberal Party.

Mr. Speaker: I say again, there was a question asked in the House and I don’t know what the answer was. The comments to which the hon. member took exception were apparently in a speech or some interview outside the House, and I can’t control that. If the hon. member wishes to read May, I believe there is something covering such situations but as far as the Speaker is concerned he can’t control what is said outside the House. Order, please. I believe this is getting into a debate. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: I think the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations believes that everything libellous is salacious, doesn’t he?

Mr. Speaker: I believe the minister gave an explanation that was reasonable.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Labour, now that events have effected, and her ministry along with it, a resolution of the dispute in Hamilton-Wentworth between the public health nurses and the board, where do we go from here in terms of the collective bargaining negotiations?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am anxiously awaiting response to a communication directed toward the executive director of the Ontario Nurses Association from a meeting which they held on Saturday. I have not had any communication from the executive director since that time. However, there are three other sets of negotiations going on at this point. It is my hope, as a result of the successful solution found in Hamilton-Wentworth, and hopefully successful solutions in the other three in- stances, that the other 25 may follow suit.

As I have stated publicly on many occasions, and to both the Association of Boards of Health and the Ontario Nurses Association, as soon as this set of negotiations is completed the entire capacity of the Ministry of Labour will be available to both of those parties to work together to find a reasonable solution to this recurrent problem, one that will preclude the possibility of the kind of disturbance we’ve had this year.

Mr. Lewis: May I ask, by way of supplementary, where we stand in the other three ongoing negotiations?

Hon. B. Stephenson: They are negotiating at the moment and I think it would be improper of me to say at what point they are at this stage.



Mr. Lewis: A question, if I may, of the Minister of the Environment: Is the minister thinking seriously of taking the pesticide leptophos off the schedule 2 list in The Pesticides Act, which he administers?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I want to make sure it is the name. Is it Phosvel? Is that the name? That’s one that we mentioned earlier this week -- yesterday as a matter of fact.

Mr. Lewis: That would probably be the trade name it goes under.

Hon. Mr. Ken: Yes. I understand the Ontario crop protection committee is meeting to decide whether or not it will recommend the use of that particular pesticide on its 1977 list. There is some difference of opinion between members of that committee.

Also Agriculture Canada is currently reviewing the product and its potential neuro-toxic implications. It’s presently under the Environment Ontario schedule and it is available only to licensed operators and agriculturists.

The product contains a warning as to its possible neuro-toxic implications. The feeling as far as my ministry is concerned is that it is safe. It is not manufactured in this country although it is distributed by a firm in Stoney Creek.

However, because of the uncertainty I expect that there’ll be a firmer answer sometime before the end of this year and before that new list is made final.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, has not the appropriate group within the ministry met, even within the last week, and recommended that leptophos be taken off the list?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, Mr. Speaker. The majority decision on that committee is that it does not have enough toxicology information to delist it and that is what the committee wants to obtain now before it makes a final decision. In other words, it wants to get a little more information and also discuss it with Agriculture Canada and make a decision before, as I say, its further use is permitted.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications on the ongoing theme of Gray Coach and Greyhound, if I may ask him. Was the minister aware at the time he presented the approvals from the Ontario Highway Transport Board that it would result for Gray Coach in a $1 million turnaround from the projected profit of $700,000 in 1977 to an explicit deficit position of $300,000 in 1977? And when they move into a balance position as a result of that, who is going to supply alternative work for the 245 who will lose their jobs? And how will the small communities of Ontario be serviced since Gray Coach has decided to abandon them?

Mr. S. Smith: Sound familiar?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of assumptions in that question --


Mr. Speaker: Order please. Order.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I have no information that Gray Coach have decided to abandon any routes,

Mr. Lewis: What of the $1 million turnaround?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I have no information directed to me as to the so-called turnaround that the hon. Leader of the Opposition mentions.

Mr. Davidson: Better talk to the chairman.

Hon. Mr. Snow: There has been nothing forwarded to me and I don’t know whether there has been that type of evidence presented at the hearing which was held by the Highway Transport Board.

Mr. S. Smith: It was.

Hon. Mr. Snow: And I do not accept the suggestion that there will be 245 drivers laid off because of any decision that has been made.

Mr. Reid: They will bump other TTC drivers.

Mr. Deans: How many do you think will be laid off?

Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, Mr. Speaker, Gray Coach operates a great many buses for the Toronto area transportation authority. I believe we now operate some 120 buses. Most of them are operated by Gray Coach for TATOA. We are expanding that fleet all the time -- at least annually -- and, of course, as there are more buses there are more drivers required. It’s my understanding there have been some problems in getting enough drivers rather than having a surplus of drivers.

Mr. Lewis: If I may, by supplementary: Why does the minister remain in the world of conjecture when the various people associated with the TTC, Gray Coach and the union have provided to the board publicly, and are in the process of providing to him, absolute specifics as to a $300,000 deficit next year, the number of jobs that will be lost and the necessary curtailment of routes?

As a supplementary to the supplementary -- then I’ll take my seat -- is the minister, in the light of this evidence, if it proceeds going to provide public subsidy to maintain the service to those various routes, primarily in western Ontario, which will be in effect a public subsidy to Greyhound for the right to competition?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, first of all, we do not supply public subsidy --

Mr. Lewis: Yet.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- to inter-city bus routes.

Mr. Reid: You will be.

Mr. S. Smith: You’re going to have to.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Reid: Going to supply it to Greyhound.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Secondly, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. S. Smith: Ten million dollar give-away.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- I am in no position to make any decision with regard to the decision of the Highway Transport Board. As the hon. members know I’m sure, and as I’ve said here many times and as the Premier has said, there are provisions in The Public Vehicle Act for appeals on the decisions of that board. It is my understanding, from press articles I have read, that it is the intention of both Gray Coach Lines and the union representing the drivers to appeal that decision. When that appeal is received by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, every consideration will be given to the appeal and a decision will be made.

With regard to figures which have been supplied by Gray Coach -- the management of Gray Coach and the TTC are one and the same, basically -- I have had conflicting figures and unreliable figures presented to me by TTC in the past year and I cannot totally rely on the figures which they present.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Can the minister now give an assurance to the people who are living on the Gray Coach routes between Barrie and Owen Sound; Guelph and Owen Sound; the people in Orangeville; Alliston; Beaton; the Port Carling area; Bala; Bracebridge and the Gravenhurst region, that they will suffer no curtailment of the presently available bus services as a consequence of this particular decision? Can he give an assurance that even if it requires public subsidy they will lose none of the services they presently have?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give an assurance that they will not lose any of the services they presently have. I cannot say that Greyhound-Gray Coach Lines might not --

Mr. Wildman: They aren’t one and the same yet.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Gray Coach Lines -- I can’t say Gray Coach Lines will not withdraw service from a particular route.

Mr. Davidson: What is your responsibility as minister?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I am quite sure, though, that if there’s any withdrawal of service there would be many other applicants willing and ready to supply that service.

Mr. Deans: It is nonsense. You have destroyed public trust in the province of Ontario single-handedly.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, to the minister: If the minister is not sure that any jobs are going to be lost and since in fact he agrees there will not be any loss of jobs, is he now ready to guarantee that any individual who does lose his job because of this new licence can come to his office and will be directed to an appropriate suitable job in the same profession?

Hon. Mr. Snow: No. Obviously, I’m not an employment agency --

Mr. Reid: You are an unemployment agency.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: Send them down to the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson).

Mr. Breithaupt: Send them down to Lorne.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I can assure this House from the information I have at hand there is nothing to lead me to believe there will be any serious depletion of jobs. In fact, I can see nothing but the number of jobs increasing in the bus transportation industry in the years ahead.

Mr. Cassidy: A fatuous reply.

Mr. Speaker: The final supplementary on this.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary. Since the minister says he cannot rely on the figures provided to him by Gray Coach and the TTC, may I ask exactly what means he and his cabinet colleagues are planning to use in considering the appeal? How is the minister going to go about getting reliable figures if he can’t count on the ones their management will provide for him? Might he consider putting the whole matter in front of the select committee on highway transportation which already exists in this Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Snow: When an appeal is made to the Lieutenant Governor in Council it is very thoroughly investigated. The different parties to the appeal make written submission. If members of cabinet do not feel they have the necessary information, they will ask for additional information. This is why it sometimes takes a considerable period of time for cabinet to get all the information to be able to deal with an appeal.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I said that was the final supplementary the last time.

Mr. Sargent: On a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: A point of order.

Mr. Sargent: We have lost our trains up our way. Now we’re going to lose all our buses. I reserve the right to ask a question of this minister on this subject.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member may ask a question in his turn.

Mr. Lewis: I will ask one on this subject, then the member for Grey-Bruce can follow.

Mr. Sargent: Okay, thanks.

Mr. Lewis: In light of the peril which now faces the small bus routes throughout western Ontario, does the Minister of Transportation and Communications not think he should now disqualify himself from any hearing related to Gray Coach and Greyhound’s application at all since he has gratuitously repudiated information from the TTC and since he has indicated already that he will not accept the arguments being made on employment loss or on financial loss? Surely the minister is in no position to sit in judgement when he has taken a position counter to that which will be put to him.

Mr. S. Smith: The member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) asked that last week.


Hon. Mr. Snow: I have taken no position at all in opposition.

Mr. S. Smith: On television.

Mr. Lewis: There is a conflict of interest.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I have reported to this House, factually, the information, and replied factually to the questions that have been asked of me. I have said definitely that this matter, if it is appealed to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, will be dealt with by the cabinet.

Mr. Davidson: Irresponsible.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary on this. The member for Grey-Bruce.

Mr. Sargent: In view of the fact that the Greyhound corporation owned by Holiday Inn of America, is represented by Mr. Eddie Goodman for these hearings and that --

Mr. Speaker: This is supposed to be on the question that was asked.

Mr. Sargent: This is on the question, very much so.

Mr. Speaker: Please proceed.

Mr. Sargent: We have Mr. John Robarts acting for another firm. We have John Clements acting for Voyageur of Power Corporation. Is the minister not concerned about this? I want to ask him does he know for sure that the Highway Transport Board are in favour of this themselves? They are concerned about political interference at this point, I can tell the minister that.

Hon. Ms. Snow: No, I’m not aware of the Highway Transport Board’s concern. There has been no indication to me of any political interference. Of course I cannot make decisions for applicants to the board as to who they might employ to be their legal counsel.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton West with his questions.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I might also say that again the hon. member is referring to a company owned in the United States. I have to say that according to the information I have 40 per cent of that company is owned by citizens of this country. I think they have some rights, too.



Mr. Breithaupt: That is where the control is.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton West.


Mr. Speaker: Are you leading off? That was the final supplementary on the same topic.

Mr. Bullbrook: Do you realize there was one supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The same question has been asked day after day so we have to get on with other questions.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I have called for the hon. member for Hamilton West with his question.

Mr. S. Smith: To the Minister of Transportation and Communications: How can the minister justify sitting as a judge on the appeal that is going to be brought his way when he has already said that the party bringing the appeal is unreliable in terms of its presentation of facts and figures? How can he sit in judgement in that type of situation?

Mr. Roy: Do you consider that impartial?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have not said that the company is unreliable. I have said that the company or the TTC, whose management have the same individuals, have presented me with figures before which I have found unreliable.

Mr. Reid: That’s a fine distinction.

Mr. Lewis: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Could we ask the minister to give us chapter and verse, to which the TTC can respond, on the figures which they presented to him and which are unreliable -- since he is so gratuitously slandering them? What figures is he talking about?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am referring to figures the TTC gave me approximately a year ago when discussing the capital programme for this current fiscal year. The TTC told me there was no way it could get by with its current capital programme for this year, with less than $127 million I believe it was. We were unable, within the constraints of our ministry, to allocate $127 million but we did allocate to the TTC, for capital purposes, $92.4 million. I must say I received some degree of public flak from the TTC for that decision -- that we were not giving them enough money.

Mr. Mackenzie: Now you are going to penalize them.

Hon. Mr. Snow: The truth is that now, nine months approximately into that fiscal year, the best information I have from my officials -- who I must say at that time said $92.4 million was adequate for the programme; it was all the TTC needed and all it could use -- the figures I received yesterday showed that TTC spending on the capital programme this year will be $73 million -- almost $20 million less than it said was not enough and almost $50 million less than it said it needed.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton West.

Hon. Mr. Snow: No further supplementary today?

Mr. Lewis: No.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Hamilton West only.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Natural Resources; this has to do with the Lake Wanapitei issue which I raised in the House on December 3. Could the minister explain why he told me on December 3, “I would just advise the hon. member we are working very closely with the Ministry of the Environment on this matter,” when on December 1 in estimates the Minister of the Environment said, with regard to Lake Wanapitei, “I am not sure what MNR’s plans are. We haven’t got any studies in respect to Lake Wanapitei in Sudbury.”

Could the minister explain what form this close working relationship with the Minister of the Environment takes in as much as the Minister of the Environment doesn’t seem to know about it?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of what the Minister of the Environment said.

Mr. Nixon: He just told you what he said.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It could have been taken out of context. I would like to read into the record a copy of a telegram that I sent to --

Mr. Nixon: It was taken right out of Hansard.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- Mayor Mike Solski, of the town of Nickel Centre, Sudbury, in answer to a telegram he directed to me on November 29. It said: “Drilling on Lake Wanapitei. Result of discussion between officials of my ministry and representatives of those wishing to carry out this exploratory drilling programme, I understand that agreement has been reached to defer drilling pending study of water quality and protection methods. The balance of the area of the lake was withdrawn from staking by deputy minister’s order two weeks ago.”

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since the minister has just read this telegram and since he also told me and this House on December 3 that he had taken steps to guarantee that the companies holding claims on Lake Wanapitei would not drill, how is it that a Mr. Ron Christie, the deputy regional director for the ministry in Sudbury, has informed us today that the ministry has not received such an assurance from Mr. A. Arena, who has recorded claims in his name east of the Hollinger claim? Mr. Arena has not yet agreed not to drill; and in fact when we spoke to Mr. Arena, how is it that he could tell us he received a work permit last week from the Ministry of Natural Resources for diamond drilling assessment work and was planning to work this winter, even though he said he was just told yesterday by the minis- try that his work permit was issued in error? How does the minister explain this fiasco where diamond drilling for uranium is permitted in the middle of a water supply of Sudbury?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I said in answer to an earlier question, when I indicated to the leader of the third party that drilling would not be allowed until we have the proper controls; and those control programmes, of course, will be discussed with the Ministry of the Environment. In no way, and I repeat in no way, do we want to jeopardize the water quality or the quality of that water which is going to those particular communities. We have met with the Hollinger people and they have agreed to defer until suitable plans are put in place to guarantee that this will not happen.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: When the Ministry of Natural Resources gives permission to a company to drill for uranium does it first ensure that that company has obtained permission from the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Related exactly to your supplementary?

Mr. Laughren: Yes. It is not, in fact, a requirement of the Atomic Energy Control Board that such permission be obtained before any drilling goes on at all?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the province does have the responsibility of promoting and assisting in exploration for minerals in this particular province. It is a provincial responsibility. Only when the ore is found and being developed does the Atomic Energy Control Board come into play.

Mr. S. Smith: Can the minister explain -- he still has not done so, Mr. Speaker -- why he told this House that all the holders of claims have agreed not to do any work on those claims, when in fact Mr. Arena today tells us he has reached no such agreement and has in fact received a work permit from the ministry? Why does the minister say he has agreements from all claim holders when Mr. Arena has not given him that agreement?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I’m assured by my staff that agreement was reached. I can only assure the member that I will look into it and find out what the discrepancies are all about.

Mr. Bullbrook: Was it a phone call?

Mr. S. Smith: Another question to the minister then, a new question on this topic: The minister assured us on December 3 he had taken steps so that no further claims would be permitted in the middle of that lake. Since he’s able to do it now, may I ask how come his ministry did not in fact prevent claims from being staked in the first place, last year and the year before, in the middle of Lake Wanapitei? Why did he allow those claims to be staked?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the Crown lands of this province are open to staking by anyone who has a valid miner’s licence --

Mr. S. Smith: Why are you blocking it now?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It’s our concern about the water.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- and in no way did we realize at that particular time that there was uranium in that particular area. Since then this has come to light and we’ve withdrawn the rest of the lake from staking. As I indicated before, we will guarantee that the water supply is protected.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Since the minister and his ministry knew very well there was quartzite ore under that lake, and since he has now withdrawn the rest of the lake from staking, why didn’t he withdraw the whole lake in the first place, which would have avoided the entire problem?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I believe I’ve answered that question already.

Mr. S. Smith: To the Minister of the Environment regarding the same matter: Can he tell this House whether in fact his ministry has done any testing in the lake for radon gas, given the fact that his ministry is well aware of the quartzite ore that exists in that particular lake, and had any such radon gas study been done prior to a phone call that the ministry received in the last couple of days?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: There has been no drilling that I am aware of for uranium in Lake Wanapitei. I’m not aware of any testing for radon gas. Certainly there’s all kinds of testing in respect to chemicals in a body of water which is a source of drinking supply for a community such as Sudbury. I will get the information as far as radon gas is concerned, but the point is that there has not been any drilling. One has to drill to test, and I would assume that certainly before any drilling is allowed in that particular body of water that we have to be absolutely satisfied that the drinking water supply will not be affected as a result of that drilling. Certainly the Ministry of Natural Resources is aware that it has to get permission from us before any such drilling can be carried out.

Mr. Speaker: Further questions?


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of the Environment on a different topic: With regard to the sulphur dioxide pollution at Stelco in Hamilton, when an article was written on this, the minister was quoted as saying, with regard to measuring from the stacks the amount of sulphur dioxide coming out of Stelco: “It’s an idea that makes sense. We want to be more accurate and it is likely we will have stack monitoring several months from now.” How does the minister manage to make that correspond with the following statement from the minutes of Hamilton’s pollution control committee, Thursday, December 2: “The committee dealt with the correspondence from the Hon. George Kerr which indicated that the Ministry of the Environment would not support the measuring of sulphur dioxide emissions either entirely or in part from stacks.” When did the ministry change its mind and what occasioned the change in mind? When can we expect stack monitoring now?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The ministry changed its mind after some discussion with the minister.

Mr. S. Smith: And when can we expect stack monitoring?

Mr. Speaker: Any further questions from the member for Hamilton West?

The hon. member for London North.


Mr. Conway: Marvin’s going Social Credit.


Mr. Speaker: The member for London North after all that.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for London North.


Mr. Shore: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are wasting valuable time in the question period here.

Mr. Shore: I am paid by the season, Mr. Speaker, so I’m okay.

An hon. member: And you turn colours like the season.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member proceed?

Mr. Shore: The question relates to perhaps airways rather than the busways for a moment, but I would like to ask the minister if he is aware of and concerned about an article in the London Free Press, dated December 3, 1976, headed by: “Tough Luck,” subheaded by “Student may lose out on tans if loans delayed much longer”? The thrust of the article is that many students will not be able to travel south or north during the Christmas break this year because the student loans have not been received --

Some hon. members: Question, question.

Mr. Shore: I would like to ask the minister if it would be fair to say --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Shore: Would it be fair to say that most students are properly in need of their loans and that they should not have to be concerned that their loans may be jeopardized by a few irresponsible students who undermine the validity of student loans by abusing the privilege? Would the minister comment on this and would he not agree that the purpose of loans is to help those in need of education and not travel? And if he agrees with this --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think that’s quite a lengthy question.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. All this noise is just delaying the question period.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. minister have an answer to that?


Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would like to reply to that question. I think it was one of the better questions that we had asked today.



Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister continue with the answer.


Mr. Singer: Even the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) is laughing.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am in no hurry. I, too, have the honour of representing a portion of that area of the province. I did see the article and I share many of the concerns of the member for London North. I would like to assure the member and other members of the House that we do have a pretty active audit and verification section in the student awards division of the ministry.

Mr. Peterson: Like the home buyers grant.

Mr. S. Smith: Lend them to Arthur.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am sure they will continue to exercise judgement in this instance and in other cases which might be brought to our attention. I would also remind the members that it is a needs-tested programme and I would hope that any irresponsible action by any student would not put a very valuable programme in jeopardy. I am sure it is easy to indicate cases in which, perhaps, it isn’t applied as effectively as sometimes one would like but surely that should never destroy the importance of a good programme in this province. We will work hard to see that it is kept well within the bounds of good administration so that the students who need help will receive it.

Mr. Conway: If you think that was a good question, wait for the supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary?

Mr. Warner: Yes. Since the --

Mr. Shore: A supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Do we have a supplementary here first of all? A brief supplementary?

Mr. Shore: What would the minister’s response be to the travel agent’s comment: “Certainly some of the money going for student travel comes from government loans and why not?” What would be his response to that?

Mr. Speaker: I think that was answered, was it not?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: The response, I think, is that, very carefully, the needs of a student are assessed --


Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am not going to speak any longer.


Mr. Speaker: Order, before we go ahead.

Mr. Warner: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Since --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The minister has not completed his answer yet.


Hon. Mr. Parrott: One tends to forget the question after that length of time. I think the point I want to make is that the awards are made based on need. Very carefully, all the needs and the resources of the student are assessed. Once the award is made -- again, underlining the very important principle that it is a needs-tested programme -- the actual spending of that money is the responsibility of the student.

Mr. Roy: You have said that.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Obviously, the first claim is tuition fees. The balance is for living accommodation. We ask, naturally, that the students allocate and budget the money they receive in a fashion appropriate to the purpose of the loan -- that is, to continue their education here in the province.

Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary?

Mr. Warner: Since part of the question of the member for London North dealt with the processing of the applications and the lateness thereof, I would ask the minister if he could tell us how many applications still have not been processed?

Secondly, does the minister intend to deal with those students who have applied for loans but not received them by lending money to those students until such time as the loans have been approved? That is a common story which is circulating in some quarters.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am afraid that I must explain this in a little more detail to the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. The loan programme isn’t something which terminates on September 30, it is an ongoing programme. I was advised the other day that 10,000 applications have come in since November 1. It takes approximately six weeks to turn around an application. He certainly wouldn’t expect us to lend money on those new applications. It is a continuing process and therefore those in the process will be through in about six weeks’ time, and there would be no obvious need to do what the member suggests.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: The member for London North has a right to laugh after that.

Mr. Speaker: Is this a new question?

Mr. Warner: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: No, we have to have a new question. The time is nearly up. The member for High Park-Swansea.


Mr. Ziemba: A question of the Solicitor General, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that the Ontario Government Protective Service provides security for most government buildings, why is a private firm being used at the Ministry of Revenue offices at 77 Bloor Street West?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I gather the suggestion is that a private firm is looking after the buildings of the Ministry of Revenue. I don’t know that; I’ll have to get that information. I don’t know whether that’s factual or not.

Mr. Ziemba: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the private firm is Intercon Security, who have as their representative the well-known Mr. Richard Grange, a man who has been the subject of much discussion in this House?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I admitted being past the menopause the other day, but I guess I’m getting deaf as well. I didn’t hear the last of the question.

Mr. Ziemba: I was asking the minister if he’s aware that the private firm is Intercon Security, which has as its representative Mr. Richard Grange?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I didn’t even know there was a private security company involved, so naturally I don’t know the second part of it. I will make investigations.


Mr. Reid: I have a question for the Solicitor General, in regard to organized crime. Can the minister indicate to the House if there has been an appreciable increase in the amount of illegal gambling in the province in the last three or four years and in the amount of loan sharking, and if that is related to organized crime in the province?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Yes, I think there is. The problem, of course, is getting definite figures on such things as organized crime operations. Certainly, there is much more gambling in the province today than there was and I’m afraid that some of it is in the hands of organized people.

In so far as loan sharking is concerned, generally it is more fear of what’s going on than reality. I wish -- and I know my hon. friend wishes it too -- that the victims of loan sharking would come forward and make their complaints known to the authorities and to the police. We fear there is a great deal of loan sharking going on, but, sir, we have no figures to substantiate just how much increase there is or is not.

This is the whole problem that we’re faced with, trying to get victims of organized crime to come forward. Of course, if they don’t come forward we have a great deal of trouble getting any accurate figures at all, so we have no accurate figures.

Mr. Kerrio: Don’t you read reports?

Mr. Reid: Supplementary: In view of the minister’s answer that he’s having difficulty in having people come forward, will he reconsider his decision, in view of his answer, to hold a public inquiry into organized crime? Is the minister aware of Judge Roach’s report on organized crime, where he said, on page 365, “There is no doubt in my mind that the establishment of this commission under The Public Inquiries Act has operated as an effective brake, at least for the time being, on the criminal activities of persons disposed to organize themselves into groups.”

In view of the minister’s answer and in view of his statement in his annual report, indicating that people should be aware of it, will he consider an inquiry into organized crime in the province?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Some days ago, the hon. member for Rainy River asked me if I thought it would be proper to have an investigation into organized crime. I replied at that time that I didn’t think it would accomplish anything. Since that time I have had discussions with some of the senior police officers and they tell me they do not think we are ripe or ready for a formal investigation into organized crime.

Mr. Reid: You are ripe for organized crime, though.

Mr. Bullbrook: Just not enough organized crime.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: They feel that little, if anything, would be gained and that some of the work they are doing in a quiet way and some of the knowledge they may have would be destroyed by it and that it might drive them away.

I’m not saying that at no time would an investigation be appropriate; at some time it may be appropriate. But the police authorities I have talked to say that little would be gained by it at this time and their opinion is that at the present time it would do more harm than good.

Mr. S. Smith: Just before the next election.

Mr. Peterson: What percentage more do you want, John -- 20 per cent, 25 per cent?


Mr. Philip: A question for the Minister of Health: Is the minister aware of the resignations last Thursday of the majority of the doctors at Campbellford General Hospital? Is he aware that three medical doctors, namely, Dr. David Burgess, Dr. A. F. Kaufman, and Dr. George Astaphan have reportedly requested an outside impartial audit of the accounts of that hospital?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I was not.

Mr. Philip: Is the minister prepared, perhaps in co-operation with the Attorney General, to investigate the allegations and the signed affidavits that I have provided him with, allegations which would suggest there may be some connection between the purchase of a paper shredder and the destruction or disappearance of records that are not yet seven years old, and allegations also of possible fraud, mismanagement and unusual labour relations in that hospital?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I haven’t had a chance to read the statement the member sent to me just a moment ago, but if it indicates there is a need for an audit or an inquiry into the operation of the hospital, I would see that it was done.


Mr. Ruston: I have a question for the Attorney General.

Mr. Conway: Headline.

Mr. Ruston: What action is the Attorney General taking to avoid the misuse of Legal Aid funds, such as the fraud case in London where 22 people are being charged and there is a possibility that the cost may run the fund up to a quarter of a million dollars?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I know this case in London. I know a little bit about it but it hasn’t been brought to my attention that there has been any misuse of Legal Aid funds. As a matter of fact, as I understand it, and perhaps the hon. member opposite can add more to my information, there is some concern by the local Legal Aid administrator as to the number of counsel involved. I gather there’s some dispute between counsel representing certain accused and the local director of Legal Aid in relation to the number of actual certificates. But I know of no abuse of Legal Aid as suggested by the member.

Mr. Ruston: Supplementary: Is the minister considering any effort to prohibit anyone from drawing on Legal Aid more than twice?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The member is talking about a recidivist. This is a problem that is of concern to the Law Society. I think I should remind all members of the Legislature that there is a very important presumption in our law which is really fundamental to the freedoms of all our citizens, that is, the presumption of innocence. To arbitrarily deny persons Legal Aid because they have been convicted once or twice or three times is tantamount to making a judgement of their guilt or innocence, and surely we can all appreciate the very serious dangers inherent in that.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I raise a point of privilege on behalf of the public accounts committee. On November 4, 1976, by letter a motion was sent to the deputy minister. I shall read the motion: “That records of OHIP’s statements of payments of income to individual licensed practitioners in excess of $100,000 during the fiscal year 1974-75 be made available to the committee; such records to include the name, address, nature of practice and any income derived from clinical billings to the practitioner.” As well, we sent a legal opinion from the Attorney General’s department which indicated the committee had a right to this information.

It is now December 7 and the information is still not in the committee’s hands. In various telephone conversations with the manager of OHIP and his staff, I have come to the conclusion that they are not co-operating with supplying the information to the committee. I bring this to your attention, Mr. Speaker, so that you might impress upon the people concerned that it is our right and our privilege to have this information.


Mr. Speaker: I’m sure your comments will come to the notice of the appropriate people.

Mr. Bain: Well, do something.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. It’s not the Speaker’s duty to do this at this point.

Mr. Nixon: Let’s hear from the Minister of Health on that.

Mr. Foulds: On that point of privilege, is it not possible, if the information is not forthcoming, for you to issue a Speaker’s warrant?

Mr. Speaker: I really don’t think so, but I’ll check into it for the hon. member.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on the point of privilege, I have no knowledge that my staff is delaying the procuring of that information. I have never given them any such indication that they should -- in fact, just the opposite. I’d like to see it also and I have asked them to hurry it up.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I’m wondering if I could have the permission of the House to make two announcements while most of the members are here and before they go to other responsibilities?

This afternoon at 4 o’clock Her Honour will be in the House to give royal assent, and I know the members would like to know that in advance.

I would also like to point out as a matter of some interest that members of the Legislature and the people of the province will be interested to learn that December 7, 1976, marks the 50th anniversary of the appointment of Major A. C. Lewis as Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. This means that for half a century a member of that family has presided at the head of the table of the Legislative Assembly of this province. Major Lewis served 28 years, from 1926 to the end of 1954, and his son Roderick has succeeded him for 22 years since January 1, 1955. I would ask that members of the House join me in acknowledging the major contribution Roderick and his father before him have made to our parliament and express our thanks for their many years of faithful service.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, if I may, on the point raised: It is a sign of the elegance of the Lewis family, and intelligence -- I speak only of the clerk Lewis -- that in expressing his acknowledgement he should bow to the Speaker rather than to the government.

Mr. Speaker: Don’t you wonder how they have withstood 50 years?

Mr. Reid: Especially with certain Speakers.

Mr. Roy: Especially the last 30.

Mr. Speaker: That’s obvious. Certainly, I acknowledge the assistance of the hon. clerks.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, he kept his hair too.

Mr. Speaker: That’s obvious.


Presenting reports.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener presented the report of the public service superannuation board for the year ended March 31, 1976.

Mr. McNeil from the standing resources development committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill 131, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization.

Mr. Speaker: Motions. Introduction of bills.


Mr. Swart moved first reading of Bill 183, An Act to amend The Municipal Elections Act, 1972.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, this bill would require that an employer give his employees three consecutive hours within which an employee may exercise his voting privileges in an election under The Municipal Elections Act, 1972, and so extend to these elections the same time-off provisions as exist in The Election Act in relation to a provincial election, in order to ensure that all electors have the opportunity to vote in municipal elections.


Mr. Stong moved first reading of Bill 184, An Act to amend The Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, this bill establishes a bargaining unit of hospital pharmacists as an appropriate unit for collective bargaining.


Mr. Stong moved first reading of Bill 185, An Act to amend The Election Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, this bill expands the qualification to vote by proxy from those engaged in the business of transportation to those whose employment requires that they be out of the province of Ontario during the election period.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 157, 158, 171 and 176 standing on the notice paper.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day. House in committee of supply.


On vote 3002, institutional health services programme; item 3, institutional care services:

Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Chairman, when we adjourned the debate on the 30th, I was speaking at the time.

Mr. Chairman: You had the floor?

Mr. Bain: Yes, I did.

Mr. Chairman: You are allowed to continue then. The hon. member for Timiskaming.

Mr. Bain: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I’m sure the minister will remember the points I raised on the 30th about the conversion of the old Kirkland Lake hospital into a combined chronic-care, extended-care facility. I also mentioned the other day something which could he added and which would be innovative in the province; that is actual senior-citizen units. At that time I mentioned the necessity for this because of a most unfortunate situation. We have a number of elderly single people in the riding, particularly elderly miners, who live by themselves and I’ll cite only one example to the minister to prove the point.

There was an elderly miner living by himself in a boarding house and he was ill. He was without much income and he couldn’t afford any other accommodation. The owner of the boarding house was kind enough to look in on this gentleman from time to time. The elderly miner reached the point where he couldn’t get out of bed on his own. The owner of the boarding house would come in and move the gentleman from the bed to a chair by the window where he would sit all day, have a little bit to eat and then be moved back into his bed at night.

The unfortunate thing was that by the time this elderly miner was taken to a doctor, his condition had deteriorated so badly that he had to have a leg amputated. The doctor who was in charge of him for this operation said it was the kind of situation that needn’t have occurred. It would have been something they would have caught if there had been this type of facility -- a chronic-care, extended-care, senior-citizen facility that could easily be made out of the Kirkland and District Hospital.

The minister might say that kind of gentleman should have been brought to medical attention. But there are a number of more isolated communities and this gentleman happened to have lived in one of them. There was no access to a doctor. By the time his condition had deteriorated to such a stage where he was brought to a doctor in another community, it really was at a situation where it was very advanced. I would think this kind of facility that the people are asking for would be one that would be very worthwhile. It would not only serve Kirkland Lake and the immediate area, but also places like Larder Lake, Virginiatown, Matachewan and other rural communities that are in Timiskaming.

We already have a commitment by the local medical profession that there are sufficient doctors attached to the present Kirkland Lake Hospital who would be able to look after a chronic-care facility that would be made out of the old Kirkland Lake and District Hospital. We also have the commitment of the present administration of the hospital in Kirkland Lake that they would be able to administer the old hospital as well if it were converted to this kind of facility.

I would appreciate the minister’s comments. Because I know a number of other people would like to bring up important points in his estimates, I won’t speak any longer. I would appreciate the minister’s comments and perhaps a brief opportunity to ask a couple of further questions.

Hon. F. S. Miller: We’ve discussed this in previous estimates. I think the last time we talked about it we made the comment that a bed need study of the north was being done in that particular area. I believe we’d even talked about the town of Kirkland Lake having done one of its own. My staff tell me that we’ve had ours handed to us since my estimates began, or within the last week in any case, on the area. As yet, we haven’t responded to it. I believe it will bear out our original comment, that opening this facility as a chronic hospital probably won’t meet the real needs of the community, that its needs probably lie more in the direction of more homes-for-the-aged beds or facilities than in either chronic or nursing-home and that the chronic bed needs can be cared for by the new Kirkland Lake hospital.

Apart from that comment, you’ll remember that we had to look at the overall rehabilitation needs of the northeast part of the province. As yet, that has not been resolved. We will have to have a chronic rehabilitation facility, I’m sure, somewhere in the northeast. I suspect Kirkland Lake would not be the best of all the choices. Without seeing the results in advance, I suspect that probably Timmins would be. This has been the indication of those who’ve made, let’s say, a perfunctory overview of the needs of the area. You only need one rehabilitation facility versus a number of holding chronic facilities in a given geographic area.

More important is the danger of always assuming that a used hospital facility will continue to operate when a new one is built. I see this popping up in community after community. I see it in the Haileybury area where, as you know, a deal has been made. Somebody was offering to buy the old facility. That’s fine; they were offering to do it with their own money. You can see it occurring in Midland where somebody just withdrew from the offer today to buy the old hospital. There is always the assumption you’ll get something new but not lose anything old. That’s not something we should inculcate into the minds of people. The purpose of building new facilities is to upgrade and offer services that can’t be offered in the old one, or can be offered in a better way in the new one. This often means the old facility should disappear.

While a building like this can be worth a million dollars -- and I think that’s what the province paid for it or something in that range -- the operating costs can be two, three, four, five or six times the purchase cost per year. Therefore, one must not just operate them simply to operate and provide employment, one must operate them to fill genuine health needs of the community, otherwise we shouldn’t have built the new hospital at all.


Mr. Bain: Just on two points that the minister covered. I was a little disturbed you said you had received a study since the beginning of your supplementary estimates last week. Although you just received the study, you seemed in your answer to be supporting a decision that conversion of the old Kirkland and District Hospital will not be warranted. I hope you have not already made a decision without having evaluated the study.

The other thing is the mention of rehabilitation. Again without having the facts you seem to be saying that a rehabilitation facility would not be suitable for Kirkland Lake. I just don’t want these kinds of conclusions drawn without having all the facts in.

One point I would like to make is that it’s nice to say we should have a senior citizens home, or we should have these kinds of beds, or we should have home care provided, but what happens when those programmes are not in place, are not likely to be in place and you have people with real needs? Why put them in a category and then deny them access to a facility that already exists and could be converted into, I think, a good facility?

Would the minister be agreeable, before any decision is made about the old Kirkland and District Hospital -- once he has evaluated the study, would he be agreeable to sit down -- I would prefer it if the minister would come up home, but I know he doesn’t have the time to visit all the ridings even a riding as pleasant as Timiskaming. I am sure he might like to come to Timiskaming, he’d enjoy the rest, but I realize that is not always possible --

Hon. F. S. Miller: Every time I go you win votes.

Mr. Foulds: Come again!

Mr. Bain: But before a final decision is made, once you have evaluated the study, would you be agreeable to meet with a delegation from Kirkland Lake to discuss the possibility of conversion or to discuss your decision as a ministry?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Generally I have been willing to do those kinds of things. I certainly don’t want you to jump to the conclusion that I have jumped to a conclusion. That’s all.

We are talking about my estimates today and I am saying that appears to be the tenor of the report -- at least if the synopsis just given to me, I have not even seen it, is correct, then that was the tenor of the report. I am certainly not going to jump to that conclusion until I have had my staff review it properly and offer me their recommendation on it.

Mr. Bain: And you would be happy to meet with a delegation before a final decision is made?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am always willing to undo the errors of the past.

Mr. Bain: That, I take it, is a yes?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes.

Mr. Bain: Let Hansard show the minister nodded yes.

Mr. B. Newman: Last week when we were discussing the minister’s estimates I raised the issue of the Riverviev Hospital. At that time, the impression was left in my community, rightly or wrongly, that Riverview Hospital still does have a chance of remaining where it is, that there are some studies being presented to the minister by the chairman of the board of the Windsor Western Hospital in which he is attempting to point out that the phasing out of Riverview would simply be a transfer of costs from Riverview to the other hospitals in the community.

Can the minister without any equivocation give us the straight facts concerning Riverview Hospital? Will it or will it not be phased out at or approximately at the end of the fiscal year, March 31, or some short time after March 31?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The answer I gave the other day as you know was remarkably brief for me. When you asked me the question about the future of the Riverview Hospital I gave an answer that implied that I was waiting for some information. That information was whether the date of March 31 could be met in the closing of Riverview. I understand there are certain technical problems in having all the alternative beds in place for that date, so that there may obviously be some need to carry on operations at that location for a short time after the finalized date.

But in terms of will it close or won’t it close, the answer remains exactly the same. It will close at that location as soon as we have the other facilities available for the transfer of patients.

Mr. B. Newman: The reason I raised that is the community was informed that the minister was a bit hesitant and there was a chance that Riverview Hospital would remain open. Now I would assume the hospital will be phased out completely, but the exact date may not necessarily be March 31; it may be some short period after that.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Chairman, I say to the minister that I very much regret that that decision is now what it appears to be from the minister. He has just admitted to my colleague, the member for Timiskaming, that he is willing to admit the errors of the past. Certainly from your reply last week to the members here, in which I also asked you to be flexible, for the first time you seemed to be flexible on this issue of the question of the closing of Riverview Hospital. It’s quite a disappointment to have you now admit publicly that the only flexibility you have is not the closing, but only the date of that closing. I cannot understand why the minister and his officials are so closed-minded with respect to this decision.

Mr. Wildman: Closed-minded in more ways than one.

Mr. Bounsall: It was implied last week that you were waiting to hear back from the district health council, with respect not just to the date but to the closing. I thought perhaps that may have been a political answer only at the time, because at that very time their chronic care rehabilitation committee had a chronic care task force touring the community -- it has completed its work now -- investigating what should best be done in chronic care. We hear in the community that the informal decision of that task force is that they are again going to recommend that Riverview not be closed. So that chronic care task force, reporting to the district heath council, would have that district health council reporting to the ministry that that was the best information to be found in the community, having thoroughly surveyed the situation.

I just can’t understand why the minister continues to be so closed-minded when not one, but more than one, fully experienced chartered accountant and people from the faculty of the business administration of the University of Windsor, have done the figures on this and are convinced that in fact there will be no money savings and simply a transfer of costs to other hospitals.

In addition, in the other hospital locations, the 120 or so beds remaining would be put into space which in most of them is no newer than the present accommodation they are in. The argument, about newer facilities, if one is going to use it as an argument on the minister’s behalf, simply does not pertain either. Since at times you are willing to admit errors, I don’t see why you and your staff simply do not face facts in this situation and admit that all you are getting is a transfer of costs.

To turn to another point, the provision of the services, to try to ward off the break-up of those units that are currently giving the service, Windsor Western-IODE, of which Riverview is a part, have indicated that they are willing to use their reserve funds, borrowing capacity and preferential income to build the two 72-bed wards that would replace the beds in Riverview out of the funds they now have, bearing in mind that although it might be some years, the building of new chronic- care facilities is the first priority in the capital construction programme for the city of Windsor.

I simply cannot see, with only a transfer of costs involved, with one hospital willing to do that, why those beds at Riverview cannot be left open until that hospital is built either with the Ministry of Health funds under the priority which it has, or until those hospital facilities are built via the means by which Windsor Western-IODE is willing to so do. I gather that there have been attempts made by Windsor Western-IODE to consult with Mr. Davies, your southwestern regional consultant, right until the very last instance to try and reverse this situation, which the minister is bull-headedly in this instance charging along with.

They are not trying to be confrontationalist on this. They are very concerned about this, Mr. Minister. They are waiting until the very last but let me tell you, they have already received support from Mr. Tony Borg of the service employees union saying to them that if it is the board’s decision to go to court in order to prevent the closing, the union will join with the hospital in so doing. They do not wish to do that. They wish that reason would prevail on this, but I would suspect that the board, with that kind of support having been tendered, in the final analysis would be ready to take that step.

It’s a step which would be time-consuming and expensive and in the interim of which Riverview Hospital would remain open. I really can’t see why the Minister of Health and his staff will not face facts in this instance, look at the economics, admit that it’s not quite the saving that you had anticipated and it’s simply a transfer, and for the delivery of chronic care and the people using chronic care in the Windsor region the continued operation of Riverview is what should occur until those replacement facilities are built, whenever those replacement facilities can be, whether it be one year, two years or as long as five years.

Hon. F. S. Miller: There is a difference between flexibility and indecision. In your particular case, we had two years of negotiation which was flexibility and then an agreed-upon decision at the local level where we would cut our $4-million saving to roughly $3 million for the overall change of roles and beds in the city of Windsor. That was on 1975 figures. To go on past that point is to allow chaos to result.

We had a hammered out decision, obviously only hammered out because we were insisting on a better use of funds in the Windsor area, but in the final analysis we chose and accepted most of the recommendations made by a local study team last year. I am sure you know that. To pretend that we are going to keep reviewing and reviewing and reviewing, in my mind is only being unfair. That decision was taken early and it’s one we have stuck with. There were, according to my estimations, some $3 million in savings in the Windsor area as a result of all the changes once they are completely effected and in my opinion that was necessary.

Mr. Bounsall: Just to go on very briefly, it’s precisely that saving and whether you have accomplished that saving or any saving with respect to this one portion that’s very much in question. With virtually the whole community wanting Riverview to remain open until adequate replacement facilities, if they are even necessary, are in fact built with no particular saving being proven around that particular point of it, is what the issue is here now, and the issue is also programme and staff.

Some 300 employees are involved there. You are going to be paying out some portion of additional moneys for the termination pay when that should arise, and one does not have, to deliver chronic care in the community, that team of employees who are in fact skilled at it and want to work in that area that are presently in Riverview. That whole team, when and if new facilities are built, should move with those patients.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, if the officials from Windsor Western Hospital can prove to the minister that there is no saving whatsoever in the phasing out of the hospital, that it’s simply a transfer of expenses from one hospital to another, would he allow Riverview to remain open?


Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, that was all discussed last year. I am no longer willing to reopen it.

Mr. Wildman: I have a couple of very short questions I would like to get the minister’s answers on under this vote. The first one deals with the cut-backs in beds in Sault Ste. Marie after the restraint programme was announced. It has come to my attention since that time that prior to that decision and since -- even more so since -- a large number of people in my riding around Sault Ste. Marie and people living in Sault Ste. Marie who need to get into the hospital for care have some difficulty in getting in.

This morning my constituency office received a call from a gentleman who is suffering from cancer and requires therapy. His doctor says that he requires hospitalization in order to receive that therapy but his doctor is unable to get him admitted to the Plummer Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie because there aren’t enough beds.

I would like to know the minister’s reply to that. What is the situation with beds in Sault Ste. Marie? What is going to be done to ensure that people can get into the hospital when they need care, especially people with very serious illnesses like this, who require therapy but end up waiting? I have had a number of calls from people who have had difficulty. I was on an open line show a couple of weeks ago and people phoned up to complain about the elderly having difficulty getting into the hospital when they need to and having to wait one, two, sometimes three weeks. I would really like to know what the minister is doing in that regard in the area of the Sault?

Hon. F. S. Miller: In the Sault, I am told, we have an adequate number of beds in the two hospitals. I am quite willing to look at it. I think it is always possible to find patients who claim they have had to wait and who, in their own opinion, were deserving of admission. Perhaps they are even right.

At that point we have to look at the medical priorities and see that doctors in the area are discharging patients properly and their general admission and discharge procedures are properly carried out before you jump to the conclusion that the problem lies in the number of beds. That is why I can’t really answer on the basis of one. I need to look at the overall picture to see whether it was being properly managed from a medical point of view.

Mr. Wildman: Okay. I understand the minister’s answer on that. I certainly agree that perhaps some beds were being used and perhaps still are being used for chronic care when they are actually designated as active care beds. Perhaps if those people weren’t in the hospital there would be beds available for people who need active care.

It is also true that the Davey Home residential care facility is being extended in Sault Ste. Marie and that might alleviate some of the problems of active care beds. It is a serious problem. I hope the ministry will look at it, see what can be done and see if there are adequate facilities. If there are, what can be done to ensure that they are being used as they should be, because I have had a number of complaints on this?

The other issue I want to bring up is in reference to Wawa. I understand the minister in August, 1975, made a commitment that his ministry was willing to allocate funds to provide ten extended care beds for that community.

I recently received a letter in response to one I had sent to the reeve in which he says, “Following a brief meeting with Frank Miller four or five years ago the approval for extended care was dropped upon the local hospital board.” That is an interesting phrase he uses -- “dropped upon the local hospital board.”

He says, “This type of care has not been pursued by the township. In 1974 a group met with Frank Miller at Sault College; Mrs. Dwyer and Mrs. Lawson were in the group. Our needs were expressed at that meeting.” He goes on to talk about residential care and so on which aren’t under your ministry, but I would like to know whether your ministry is still committed to providing extended care beds in the Wawa area?

If you are, what is the timetable? What is required of the municipality? How do you react to the phrase that you dropped this upon the local hospital board? I’d like to know what your feelings are on that and if the commitment is still there and what is required of the municipality in order to be able to take advantage of it.

As you probably know, there’s also a movement afoot in Wawa to obtain residential care for the elderly there. Although the Ministry of Community and Social Services says there are enough beds in Algoma they are all in the southern part, which is 140 miles away from Wawa and many people don’t want to go there. If you are committed still to the 10 extended-care beds, would you consider again a similar facility to the one in Hornepayne, where your ministry has co-operated with the Ministry of Community and Social Services to share a facility, where they provide a number of units for residential care and you provide for extended care in the same facility? And, if so, have you had any meetings with the Minister of Community and Social Services about that or with any people from Wawa?

I know there are a lot of questions there; I’d like to get some clarification.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Interestingly enough, at this very moment my parliamentary assistant is sitting in the office of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) discussing Wawa. I was to be there at 3:30 and because I’m on my estimates I asked my parliamentary assistant to take my place and that is exactly what he’s there for.

I guess it goes back to the point when I was Dr. Potter’s parliamentary assistant, that the offer for 10 nursing-home beds as a wing on the local hospital was made. If we dropped it on the hospital board it was unintentional, because in fact representations were made to me via their elected representatives saying they needed those beds and that there appeared to be only one place in the community they could go -- that was the hospital. Would I, therefore, consider giving them 10 beds, provided they were built in the normal, nursing-home way.

In other words, the funds for the actual creation of the physical plant would be raised locally, either by the hospital board or any other group and the facility then would buy its services through the hospital, but be paid the normal nursing home per diem. Because 10 beds couldn’t justify a unit all by itself -- it takes 60 beds to do that -- it seemed a logical way out, because we did feel the people in Wawa deserved that type of service.

I can’t tell you whether the offer is still bona fide in the sense that there’s a commitment standing in my ministry, because usually we allow only so long for a commitment to be taken up and for working plans to come in. I do know that when the member for the area reported back to me that the hospital board was unhappy at being short-circuited, we deliberately stopped discussing it because obviously we had been led to believe that the hospital board wanted it.

It’s very difficult sometimes to know, when you’re talking to people from a given community, who represents that community’s point of view. I had been led to believe by several people from Wawa that this would be met with open arms. So we in fact bent the rules for them, only to find that the hospital wasn’t willing to keep up its share. I don’t say that in the wrong way; I say they weren’t willing to raise the money for building that unit. They would have done it had we provided the money. That, of course, is not one of the rules for nursing-home facilities.

As far as the Hornepayne experiment goes, I am unable to answer you today. We’ve gone in with Community and Social Services in Barry’s Bay to do much the same thing, I believe, where we have one facility that I guess is off the drawing board but not necessarily off the ground. We have, in effect, homes for the aged -- it’s not quite the same, my deputy tells me, as Hornepayne, but it’s at least combining the two ministries in trying to meet the needs of a small community in one building, rather than have two ministries say neither one can justify their own facilities because there isn’t enough demand for them in the community.

Mr. Wildman: I appreciate the minister’s answer on that and I want to concur with him in his interpretation of his offer and the way it was extended. I don’t understand the former reeve’s attitude in this letter. Certainly, the people of Wawa wanted the facility and they felt it was needed. I think one of the reasons the hospital board didn’t go through with it was because they didn’t get as much support as they should have from the municipal council -- or at least they didn’t feel they did.

It is interesting that you say your executive assistant is attending a meeting today to dis cuss Wawa. Could you indicate to me if you have had any representation from Wawa, from residents of Wawa, on this? I met with the people concerned, the senior citizens, representatives of the council and the hospital board a week ago Saturday. At that time, Mr. Renault, the representative for the council, said they had a proposal they were going to make to the Minister of Community and Social Services. They didn’t want to go and meet with either him or with you until they had something very concrete they could put on the table as a proposal, at which time I phoned the office of the Ministry of Community and Social Services and indicated to them we would hold off on a meeting until we had something very concrete. I’m glad you’re concerned with Wawa, but I’d like to know whether we are perhaps working at cross purposes and why you are having a meeting, unless it is just an interministerial thing, with anybody representing Wawa.

Hon. F. S. Miller: We always have representatives of citizens groups and sometimes political influence is put on us to consider things. I think the very first time we met was on such an occasion, was it not?

Mr. Wildman: I’d like to have a meeting.

Hon. F. S. Miller: As a matter of fact, I have had people through my own party organization ask me the very questions you raised in the House here. I think that is quite a legitimate way for it to come from time to time.

Mr. Wildman: Are you telling me you are meeting a Tory?

Hon. F. S. Miller: There are still some left up there.

Mr. Wildman: Not many.

Mr. Kennedy: I want to take this opportunity to ask the minister about the status of the Mississauga Hospital extension. It has been a high priority for some time and, with the growth in population continuing, the problem is not lessening at all. As we were told the last time estimates were before us -- I believe I raised the point -- it was approved but it was a matter of funding. I am wondering at this point in time if any encouragement can be offered or if the minister might comment on the present status of accommodation and the pressure that is on at that location for additional facilities. I would think that pressure is just increasing in proportion to the population increase. I would appreciate your comments.

Hon. F. S. Miller: In the perimeter of the metropolitan area of Toronto there has been a great deal of population growth. We have a number of areas where we have been proposing the extension of hospitals. I think the extension of Mississauga was for 200 beds and $23.5 million or something of that nature. Hospitals don’t come cheaply, I can tell you.

Mr. Kennedy: I think it was 15 million.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You may be right at $15 million. Maybe Peel was $10 million. In any case, I was looking the figures over earlier today because I was looking at my overall budget for capital and trying to relate it to the overall demands for capital. I only know that there is more demand than there is money. I have a feeling I’m going to have a difficult tightrope to walk in matching the demands of the north with the demands of the south. Therefore, I will be looking very carefully at the number of facilities each allocation would build in one place or another.

I can only tell you, yes, that is still a high-priority item, subject only to the availability of capital funds in my budget. Its position hasn’t changed relative to other hospitals that we are trying to build. It’s simply been a fact that I haven’t had enough discretionary dollars in any given year to get it into that year. It’s within a year, I hope, of being started at least.


Mr. Kennedy: Could I just ask a supplementary? Is it possible to do the funding over a number of years whereby the hospital board might get started with a certain amount of funding in one year with the idea that it be continued? Or are we speaking in terms of an approval in one year for the total funding? It takes longer than a year to complete.

Hon. F. S. Miller: It sure does. I think if I look at that hospital under any conditions it’s a three-year funding mechanism and it may be even four. If I recall the only allocation of money for it in the coming year would have been something like $100,000 for planning fees -- if I’m not wrong. I think I stole the only copy everybody had last week and I had it at home while I was there. I think $100,000 in round figures was allocated this year for planning.

Once the planning process starts, of course you then require something like $5 million the next year and $5 million the next year and $5 million the fourth year. The issue is not to let them start until in fact the other money is in place.

Mr. Kennedy: Would you try to scrape up say $4 million a year for the number of years needed?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, I’m trying to -- that I can answer affirmatively. At the same time I’m trying to solve the problems of Terrace Bay and of Kapuskasing and of one or two other places.

Mr. Maeck: Parry Sound.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Parry Sound is another one.

The cost of the 200-bed addition was $21 million and about $180,000 is all that would be required to let them start this year for planning services, $4 million the next, $5.6 million in the third, $2.8 million in the fourth and $1.4 million in the fifth year.

Mr. Moffatt: I’d like to speak for a couple of minutes, if I might, with regard to these estimates.

Mr. Conway: That is interesting, Mr. Chairman -- a couple of minutes.

Mr. Angus: Watch it Sean, he is looking at you.

Mr. Moffatt: You know one of these days the member for Renfrew North is going to open his mouth and actually say something instead of just making a noise.

Mr. Conway: Now, now. Order. Order, please.

Mr. Moffatt: What I wanted to discuss was the practice as it has emerged over the past 10 to 12 months at the hospital in Bowmanville, As a direct result of the activities of the ministry in cutting back the funding and the number of patients allowable in the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, what we have emerging in the region of Durham is a very serious situation where ambulatory patients are placed in the privately owned nursing homes in the area, and people who would normally be resident in those nursing homes are being forced to remain in hospital for extended periods of time because there is no suitable location for them.

I know the minister will deny this is happening, but if he will check with the administrator of the Bowmanville Hospital I’m sure this will emerge as being the case. What they have noticed over the past several months is that doctors who wish to discharge patients and normally would have used the privately owned nursing homes -- there’s no space in any of the publicly funded institutions in the region of Durham because there aren’t enough beds available in the first instance -- because of the number of ambulatory patients released from Whitby Psychiatric Hospital to those particular institutions, the hospital in Bowmanville has found the number of days stayed, particularly by elderly patients, has dramatically increased over the past little while. One of the board members of that hospital was in the House the other evening while the estimates were going on and drew this to my attention.

What has in fact happened is that the cost there accrues to the people in the region of Durham in two fashions. Number one, because these people from Whitby Psychiatric Hospital now are in the privately owned nursing homes, a portion is paid by the region of Durham. That adds significantly to the tax cost of the people in that area. As well, we’re finding that these increased lengths of stay in the hospital directly contribute to increased costs. It’s much more expensive to keep those people in the hospital, where they don’t want to stay, the doctors don’t want them to be there, but because there are no available spaces, that’s where they have to remain.

I’d like to hear the minister’s comment on that if I could please.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You started your comment by saying that I would deny it, and I will. HSC beds are separate from nursing home beds in our allocations for areas. Very often areas firmly believe that they’re somehow being cheated on the number of nursing home beds available to them because they see people released from psychiatric hospitals in nursing homes, the very same nursing homes that may have nursing home patients. The fact is, though, that we have specific licences for these two kinds of care and, in fact, when an area is getting HSC patients, we are bringing business to that area, if you want to put it that way, that otherwise would be disbursed to the area of origin of the patient.

We’re not really cutting down on the number of nursing home beds available for nursing home care patients. What is a more serious problem is who’s getting admitted to the nursing home beds available? Should they be there? Or have they been allowed in by perhaps a generous assessment of the disability of the patient prior to admission by the family physician?

Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Chairman, if I may respond to that, what has in fact happened is that the tremendously expensive hospital care beds are the ones which are now having to be used by those doctors in Bowmanville, even though in Bowmanville they have tried to comply in every way with the minister’s regression analysis and they have closed down parts of wards, they have closed a whole floor, they have closed down beds, they’re operating on a lower budget than they were last year and, in fact, they’re finding that their costs are going up.

It seems to me that in this overall regional analysis, if that’s what is done or was done, somebody made a mistake in the calculations, because the costs to that hospital board should not in fact have been going up but they are, and it’s this sort of third level effect, the spinoff of your last fall’s great activity, which is causing this little community to have great difficulty in maintaining its hospital.

I realize that the minister has attempted to deal fairly with this situation on an area basis, but in some cases where we have such a hospital board there is no fairness at all. What is happening is that costs which never used to be charged to the local people are now to some 20 per cent being picked up by the local people and other costs are being maintained at a much higher rate because of the place that we’re keeping people.

Vote 3002 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes the supplementary estimates of the Ministry of Health.

On motion by Hon. F. S. Miller the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.

Clerk of the House: Mr. Stokes from the committee of supply reports the following resolution:

Resolved: That supply in the following supplementary amounts to defray the expenses of the government ministries named be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1977.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Could we dispense with the reading of this report?

Resolution concurred in.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker I understand Her Honour awaits without, and is prepared to enter and consider certain bills.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.


Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.

Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:

Bill 97, The Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1976.

Bill 99, An Act to amend The Corporations Tax Act 1972.

Bill 130, An Act to amend The Planning Act.

Bill 133, An Act to amend The Assessment Act.

Bill 136, The Corporations Information Act, 1976.

Bill 137, An Act to amend The Business Corporations Act.

Bill 138, An Act to amend The Corporations Act.

Bill 149, An Act to amend The Municipal Act.

Bill 150, The Regional Municipalities Amendment Act, 1976.

Bill 151, An Act to amend The District Municipality of Muskoka Act.

Bill 152, An Act to amend The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.

Bill 153, An Act to amend The County of Oxford Act, 1974.

Bill 154, An Act respecting The Municipality of Shuniah.

Bill 155, An Act to amend The Insurance Act.

Bill 156, An Act to amend The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.

Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.



Mr. Wiseman, on behalf of Hon. F. S. Miller, moved second reading of Bill 171, The Funeral Services Act, 1976.

Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments about Bill 171. The bill provides for two types of licences; there is a professional licence for funeral directors and a licence for funeral services establishments. As far as a funeral director’s licence is concerned, we have adopted the licensing provisions of The Health Disciplines Act, 1974. The bill does away with the licensing for embalmers as all funeral directors are embalmers.

Complaints against funeral directors and disciplinary matters against funeral directors will be handled in the same fashion as the health professions under The Health Disciplines Act; that is, by the complaints and discipline committees. Our experience seems to indicate that this system seems to work well.

The Board of Funeral Services -- that is, the governing board of the funeral directors -- has been increased to a seven-man board, five professionals plus two lay representatives. The board provides for the licensing of funeral services establishments. This will eliminate some of the problems the present board has experienced over the years. Funeral services establishments must have a funeral director. Each funeral establishment requires a separate licence. These are some of the noteworthy features of the bill.

I would also like to inform the members that I will be moving three amendments to the bill. The first will be to section 2(2)(a) of the bill, to strike out the words “at least”. This will ensure that four of the five funeral directors of the Board of Funeral Services are of the management class of funeral directors, the fifth being an employee-class funeral director.

The other two motions deal with the corporations that are licensed to establish or maintain funeral services establishments. The change will require that each one of a majority of the directors of the corporation is a Canadian citizen or a resident of Ontario. These changes will come in section 24(3) and section 36(2)(d) of the bill.

Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things that need to be pointed out this afternoon with regard to this particular legislation. I think the first thing that needs to be pointed out is that this particular bill had first reading on November 26, 1976, and while over the past several years there has been a great deal of discussion in the media as we’ll as submissions to cabinet and to various government agencies from a number of concerned groups about this whole business of better policing of Acts covering funeral services, the people in this party feel one of the things that needs to take place with this particular bill is that somewhere along the line the public need to know more about how this Act will affect them directly.

What I think we are attempting to do here is to make this legislation proceed through this chamber in far too hasty a fashion. We are concerned that we have memorial societies, to use an example, which are placed in the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations as a responsibility, but if you read this bill you’ll find that in no place in the legislation are those people allowed any sort of input into the continuing workings of this particular Act.

We agree with the stated purposes of the Act. In conversation with the member for Waterloo North, we feel that this particular Act will be a significant improvement over the existing situation. We give credence to that. There is no reluctance on our part. But we are concerned with section 2(2) which precludes taking part in any of this board by people from the public at large. There are two people shown there, but the majority will be funeral directors. The memorial society people at large who have a concern with this whole topic will have no way of having any sort of control over the way the Act is applied.

We’re aware that there are a number of things which occur in a family at a time when a person might have recourse to such an Act. It is a time of emotional involvement. It is a time when people really can’t make a number of rational decisions. We realize too that the majority of people involved in the professions which would be affected by this Act have an interest. The majority of them carry it out in an appropriate fashion and deal in a very humane way with the people who are concerned directly. But, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure you are aware of this, in every instance of a profession there are some people who bring discredit to the rest of their fellows. I’m sure that the member for Waterloo North would agree with me on this that there are some communities not served by people such as himself who have the interest of all of their community at heart.

What we are concerned with is that this bill, if it proceeds at this time as it is now set out, will have had no input at all from people other than those involved in the profession as a professional person. We don’t think that in the interest of legislation that is the way we should proceed.

Mr. Worton: In the future.

Mr. Moffatt: There are a number of people here who may be customers earlier than I; I’m not sue about that. I am concerned in this particular bill that people who have joined memorial societies in the interest of planning for some alternate method of dealing with their remains at the time of death will have had no say at all in this legislation.

As I’m sure you’re aware there have been articles written over the past several years by a number of people ranging all the way from Peter Worthington to the moderator of the United Church, and that’s quite a disparity in views I might add. All of those people have put forward the case that there is need in our society for the option for those who choose to provide some alternate method and not necessarily be locked into a system which is completely under control of those people who professionally are trained and so on.

In this particular Act there is no provision for those people in a memorial society really to have any way in which they can get at the way the board is running. I think that’s extremely important. What we propose is that, while we have no aversion to seeing this bill come in some form with suitable input from the public, we think the board should have a different make-up. We are not about to say that the board should be three from this profession and two from outside and nine from somewhere else because we haven’t really had that kind of input as a party. I don’t think the government has and I don’t think the third party has. What we are going to propose this afternoon is a resolution which will give us that kind of input from the public.

Seconded by the member for Port Arthur, I am going to move that Bill 171 be not now read a second time but be read a second time four months hence.

As I said earlier, we are not opposed to the principle of the bill. The principle of the bill is to regularize and bring under a firm body of control all of this business and we think that makes some sense. Apparently the bill does align very strongly with The Health Disciplines Act and all those changes and it brings some sense in that fashion. What we think needs to be done is to have somebody co-ordinate the efforts of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) and the Minister of Health because they are both dealing with the same people.

I don’t know if they are dead or the people are dead but something needs to be done in order to get that kind of input. It’s not enough to sort of put this one group apart and say, “You stay here and we will deal with you in this fashion, in a very legalistic way, and when you need the services, you will move to another ministry and deal with these people.” As a matter of fact, my colleague from Parkdale has questioned whether The Funeral Services Act should be in the Ministry of Health at all because it represents failure. Maybe it should be with --

Mr. Reid: They bury their mistakes.

Mr. Moffatt: -- the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Hon. Mr. Meen: The minister of everything.

Mr. Moffatt: Maybe that’s where it should be.

Mr. Foulds: The Minister of Revenue.

Mr. Moffatt: I question whether that minister could deal with it. He has so many other things on his plate at this time.

I would urge members to support our motion, which would mean that the public from all sectors would have a chance to have input into this process. We would then have some way of finding out what the best ways of dealing with this whole question might be.

Mr. Speaker: I might say that this is a reasoned amendment but it does not appear on the order paper. It should. It must appear on the order paper before it can be accepted so that the motion is not in order for that reason. Under section -- I think it’s 32(b); no, it’s 32(a) -- it says, “Notice shall be given of a motion for a reasoned amendment to a motion for second or third reading, for a resolution, or address, for the appointment of any committee, or for the putting of any written question.” It does not appear on the order paper and therefore it’s not proper.

Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, with all respect, before I presented the motion I did ask the Clerk of the House if it was in order to move such a motion to hoist. I don’t claim it to be a reasoned amendment because I don’t think there are any instructions to change or alter the Act. It simply says the bill would not now be read a second time but would be read a second time four months hence. While I am not a parliamentarian as the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) might be, I would think that is not a reasoned amendment.

Mr. Speaker: While the debate continues, I shall consider it, but the next part says, “Notices under this standing order are to be laid on the table before 5 o’clock p.m., and printed on the notice paper for the following sitting day.” In my opinion it is out of order but I shall consider it while the debate continues and decide whether we should place it or not.

Mr. Foulds: On that point of order, Mr. Speaker, while you are considering it, might I ask you to consider seriously the difference between what we call a hoist motion in the House and a reasoned amendment? I believe the two are separate in practice, as I recollect. A hoist motion is acceptable at the conclusion of a speech and --

Mr. Speaker: I will take that under consideration.


Mr. Good: I would like to declare that I am a funeral director, licensed under the present Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act, and I would like to participate in this debate on the same basis that a school teacher would participate in a debate on legislation dealing with legislation of school teachers, that a farmer would deal with legislation dealing with the farm community, and that others in this House, such as lawyers, have in the past dealt with legislation dealing with The Law Society Act. Indeed, I recall that the member for Oxford (Mr. Parrott), who is a dentist, dealt with The Health Disciplines Act, and in my view made a great contribution by bringing in a very important amendment into the Act which only he as a dentist could bring the government to accept. That was back in 1974. I am dealing with this bill with a background of some knowledge of it and, as a legislator as well as a funeral director, I hope to bring a little information to the House regarding this bill.

First, I would just like to say by way of background that there has been legislation -- I think starting back about 1914 -- regulating certain aspects of the funeral business in the province of Ontario. The present Act, which is still in effect, I believe was introduced in the early 1940s; it was one of the last acts of the then Hepburn government before it went out. Finally, some 30 years later, we have one of the last acts of another government in this session, and who knows what the future might bring or what the omen might be in that particular instance.

The Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) has been trying to bring this legislation before this House for over five years. I believe it was when the hon. member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells) was Minister of Health, that be first realized the necessity to update our legislation regarding funeral services in the province of Ontario. It has been a long, tough job frying to bring in a bill which would suit the needs of the province of Ontario, both in regulating the funeral directors practice and in protecting the public interest. There were other issues at the time which seemed of paramount importance, notably the potential taking over of funeral service in Ontario by foreign investment. Happily this did not materialize.

I think this is good legislation. Administered by a Board of Funeral Services, it will not only regulate the funeral service, but protect the public interest. All ethical funeral directors in the province are concerned that the public interest is protected. Unfortunately -- perhaps it is part of our own problem -- there has not been over many years much communication between the business and the public at large. I think those people who have bad constant contact with the funeral business, such as clergymen and what not, perhaps realize better than anyone the work that has gone on by this particular group of people in the province.

The first particular part deals with the establishment of a Board of Funeral Services, not unlike the present board, which is composed of five members, one of whom is a person not licensed under the Act, or a lay person. This Act suggests that the board be composed of seven persons, five of whom would be licensed; one of those five would not be an owner or a manager, and then there would be two lay persons. The purpose for having the two lay persons, of course, is to protect the public interest.

Let me say that the notion that there should be overwhelming representation on the board by unlicensed persons could lead to falling into a rather unusual predicament. I am told, and I have looked into this very thoroughly, that 90 per cent of the work done by the present board is of a technical nature; by that I mean the establishment of standards, the establishment of examinations, the conducting and supervision of those examinations, the marking of papers and things of that nature, which must be done by people who are well versed and knowledgeable in those matters.

The matters of complaints regarding embalming, the shipment of bodies outside the province, the funeral director’s relationship to The Public Health Act, The Cemeteries Act, The Coroners Act, The Prearranged Funeral Services Act and The Vital Statistics Act, all of which very closely supervise and govern the operation of funeral service in the province of Ontario -- these are technical matters which must be dealt with by a board which is knowledgeable and has had a background of experience in the funeral service business. There must, of necessity, be lay persons on that board so that the public interest can be looked after and dealt with.

The proposal would indicate that the lay persons’ major duty would be to sit on the complaints committee and the discipline committee of the board. The board is made up of seven, and I would like to draw some comparisons with other boards that have been established previously.

I checked the record. There was unanimous agreement in the Legislature by all parties when the boards were set up under The Health Disciplines Act and the ratio of lay persons on those boards is very similar, if not, in some instances, fewer in proportion than on this particular board. The dentists, with a nine- to 12-man board, have three to five lay persons, which is about 33 per cent. The doctors, with a 17- to 23-member board, have four to six lay persons, which is about a 23 per cent representation. Nurses, with 24 to 32 personnel on the board, have a six-to-eight representation of lay persons, which is 25 per cent. Optometrists have about a 30 per cent lay representation; pharmacists about a 23 per cent representation. The funeral directors bill, as it is now drawn up, calls for something just under 30 per cent lay persons representation on the board.

I think it is logical and fair to assume there must be lay person representation on the board, but there certainly could not be an overwhelming group of lay persons because the burden of work of a technical nature carried by the board, as I had iterated previously, would certainly be overwhelming for two or three licensed personnel.

The public interest, of course, is protected by the establishment of a complaints committee and a discipline committee. Before we deal with that, I think it is important that I read from the Act a few of the objects of the board and they are these: “To regulate the practice of funeral directors in accordance with this Act and the regulations.” That is a much broader concept than in the previous bill. This provides for the regulation of both the business and ethical practices of all persons licensed under the Act -- “to regulate funeral services establishments in accordance with this Act and the regulations.”

Previously, the old Act provided only that a licensed funeral director could be regulated. Under the new Act the establishment will also be licensed, so that it will be possible, under severe disciplinary action, not only to take away the licence of the funeral director but also to take away the licence of the establishment, which is a very serious course of action that could be possible. That type of sanction, of course, would effectively put a funeral director right out of business.

Also, another paragraph says, “to establish, maintain and develop standards of professional ethics among funeral directors and funeral service establishment licensees.” This means every funeral director in every establishment must be licensed under this Act and there will be developed a standard of professional ethics. We have a code of ethics in the funeral service business from our association, but, unfortunately, not all funeral directors belong to the association. So this particular section would now bring under the umbrella of a code of ethical practices all persons engaged in the funeral business.

The board is required to establish four committees: an executive committee made up of three persons with one of whom must be non-licensed; a licensing committee, three persons with one non-licensed; a complaints committee made up of three members of the board, one of whom is non-licensed; and a discipline committee of three persons, one of whom is non-licensed. It is a condition of this bill, as it was with other legislation dealing with the other services under The Health Disciplines Act, that the lay person sitting on the complaints committee may not sit on the discipline committee. In fact, no member of the complaints committee may sit on the discipline committee. So we have a situation where those dealing with a complaint will not then pass judgement if the matter goes to the discipline committee, which I think is very fair.

It should also be pointed out here that while the funeral services establishments themselves are responsible for payment of members of the board on a per diem basis, the lay persons sitting on the board will have their per diem and expenses paid by the government. So that there could be absolutely no thought or even implication of conflict of those persons sitting on the board in that they were beholden to anybody. They are there as representatives of the public on the board, which I think is very commendable and a good idea.

There is provision in the Act for a board of inquiry made up of three members of the board, one of whom would be non-licensed who can look into matters dealing with an incapacitated funeral director, who it would be best not to permit to continue to serve the public. This is standard in the other legislation, too, where there can be a method to remove from service to the public those persons who are not competent.

The Funeral Services Review Board is established here, which is something new. I think it is of great significance and should go a long way to allay the fears that had been expressed by the former speaker. The Funeral Services Review Board is made up of three to seven members who will be non-licensed persons or persons not engaged in the public sector of the province. This review board acts as an appeal board to complaints that have been put before the complaints committee. Either the complainant, or a funeral director against whom a complaint has been made -- if either party feels that the complaints committee has not dealt justly with that complaint, then the Funeral Services Review Board will review that particular decision. The Funeral Services Review Board can also deal with matters that have been before the complaints committee for 60 days and have not been dealt with.

What fairer system could there be where a complainant, whether a member of the public or a funeral director against whom a complaint has been made, who is not satisfied with the action being taken by the board, has a procedure where an appeal can be made to a public body on which there will be no civil servant representation and there will be no one on that public group representing licensed funeral directors? To me, that is eminently fair, it is the ultimate in appeal and looking alter complaints. This is taken right out of The Health Disciplines Act and is common to all of them. Delays of 60 days by the complaints committee in acting on complaints can result in action by the review board.

I think it is interesting to note some of the powers of the review board. After the hearing the review board may, “confirm the decision, if any, made by the complaints committee;” or, “make such recommendations to the complaints committee as the review board considers appropriate;” or, “require the complaints committee to take such action or proceedings as the committee is authorized to take under this Act.”

So we find that there is a good procedure in this bill, as there is in the other health disciplines, to deal with complaints, both by the professionals within the group or by the public at large. And for these reasons I certainly feel that the public interest is well protected, which is the real basis of bringing in a new Act. The old Act had its shortcomings; it has been with us a long time. There were certain punitive sections in there which were practically meaningless. The board did not have the necessary sanctions to deal properly with its own members. These have certainly been increased and improved.


I would like to just also draw to the attention of the House the powers of the discipline committee. While I won’t read what all the powers of the discipline committee are, I would like to say that the discipline committee now has powers to revoke a licence, which it had before, to suspend a licence and impose restrictions. The important part is subsection (e) which now gives the discipline committee power to impose such fines as the committee considers appropriate to a maximum of $5,000, to be paid by the funeral director to the Treasurer of Ontario for payment into the consolidated revenue of the province.

I’m sure some members in this Legislature will remember this as the amendment we fought until two o’clock in the morning to get into The Health Disciplines Act so that the dentists would have power to deal with their particular members in that manner. It was a very important amendment.

Mr. Conway: That’s why the member for Oxford is smiling.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: It’s good legislation, that is why.

Mr. Good: The member for Oxford played a very important part in getting that particular sanction in as a power of a discipline committee dealing with a group. I think it is most important.

Mr. Conway: No doubt he did.

Mr. Ruston: The party didn’t agree with him.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Something you can really get your teeth in.

Mr. Good: We were very indebted to him for helping our cause of getting the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) to accept that amendment. Every body, except that under The Law Society Act, has power to fine its members and turn the money into the consolidated revenue of the province.

Mr. Ruston: We got to fix them too.

Mr. Good: I think we are going to have to do something about that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Samis: Unanimous consent.

Mr. B. Newman: With the dentists or the lawyers?

Mr. Good: I don’t want to overdo this. I know. Unfortunately --

Mr. Conway: Even the legal profession.

Mr. Good: -- The Law Society Act still allows the Law Society to assess costs against its members as a punitive measure. In my view and in the view of any group which wants to deal with its own members must do so with moneys provided by others in that group and not with set costs against that particular person. I think a fine is what should be made and that money should not go to the benefit of the group concerned but into the consolidated revenue of the province. That is a great step forward, in my view.

There is an appeal on the discipline committee’s action to the Supreme Court, and this, of course, is in all other legislation.

There are sections which say that no person shall act as a funeral director and no person shall establish a funeral home except under authority of a licence under this Act. I think this is important. It’s the only way there can be control over the actions of those who are holding themselves out as funeral directors.

When we get to section 24, I’m very pleased that the parliamentary assistant has indicated he will bring in an amendment which meets the objections of today. I suggested to the minister last week when this bill was first introduced that this particular amendment should be in here. I am pleased to see that they have consented to bring it back. The amendment has simply to do with when a corporation is the funeral home owner. When the owner is a corporation, the Act now states that one member of the directors or one director of the corporation must be a licensed funeral director but the amendment proposed will also indicate that the majority of the directors must be Canadian citizens.

I’d like to give members a little background on this. The present Business Corporations Act of the province of Ontario, section 122, requires that the majority of the board of directors of a provincially-chartered corporation shall be resident Canadians. We require this in any business incorporated with a provincial charter. Those incorporated federally have the same requirements. The federal Corporation Act requires that the majority of the directors of a federally-incorporated company be Canadian citizens. There is one minor exception when a federally-incorporated company contributes, I think, less than five per cent of the profits of the parent company; they are excused.

In my view, the only way to control extra- provincially incorporated companies doing business in Ontario is to require them to do their business through a Canadian subsidiary which would have a majority of Canadian shareholders.

I personally feel that corporations owning funeral homes in Ontario should do so from a Canadian-based subsidiary company and not from a head office in some foreign country. We presently have two US corporations which own funeral homes in Canada and each of these is operating in the province of Ontario. Briefly, Mr. Speaker, one is IFS, which is International Funeral Service Incorporated, with head office in Des Moines, Iowa. They own 15 funeral homes, I understand, and they conduct their Canadian operation, including their Ontario operation, through a subsidiary called Canadian Funeral Management Incorporated, and they have a majority of Canadian directors on their board of directors and feel that this is how their Canadian operation should be run. I feel that’s how it should be done, and fortunately that particular company is doing it that way, because I personally feel there is some difference in the way the funeral service business operates here in the province of Ontario and the way it operates in some sections of the United States.

The other company, though, SCI, Service Incorporated International, based in Houston, Texas, its Canadian operation is run by a computer hookup with its head office in Houston, Texas, and I just don’t think that’s good enough. I feel it would be no great hardship for them to form a Canadian subsidiary with a majority of Canadian directors. I think that I’m only one of many who feel that this particular service business of an intimate nature should be operated at least by a subsidiary with a Canadian board of directors. Because of this, I am certainly pleased that the minister has seen fit to bring these amendments into the bill as I had suggested to him when I first saw the bill.

There are a few other things I would like to say, Mr. Speaker. One thing that I think will be of interest to the lawyers is that previously the funeral directors in the province of Ontario had the shortest statute of limitation of any particular group. In other words, according to the old Act if you wanted to bring a civil suit against a funeral director you had to do it in three months or the statute of limitation had expired.

Mr. Reid: Or they wouldn’t bury you.

Mr. Good: This will now be changed and the Act will now read, “unless such actions commence within one year from the date when the person commencing the action knew or ought to have known the fact or facts upon which the alleged negligence or malpractice” and so on.

I take some good-natured ribbing from some of the lawyers in our caucus over this three-month statute of limitation period, and I said well, really, you don’t need it at all because I don’t know of any instance where a funeral director has been sued for malpractice or for misconduct of that nature.

Mr. Reid: You just bury your mistakes, that’s what.

Mr. Good: There was one potential suit, I understand, which was settled out of court.

Mr. Reid: How much did it cost you?

Mr. Good: So there never has been in Ontario a court action against a funeral director for negligence or malpractice. So the lengthening of the statute of limitation period is good.

I would like to say just a few words about the opposition that has arisen to this bill from the memorial societies. The memorial societies are a group in the province of Ontario that have established themselves in most major cities. Their main function appears to be to convince people that our present type of funeral service should not be offered to everyone and they do promote a type of service which is not a funeral service but simply a matter of disposing of the body. This they call Plan A, and I would like to say a few words regarding some of the telegrams which I have received.

Mr. Conway: Is there a Plan B?

Mr. Good: There is, in fact, a Plan B --

Mr. Samis: Tell us about it.

Mr. Good: -- and a Plan B, to bring you up to date, consists of Plan A plus a memorial service at a later date.

Mr. Conway: Is that the layaway plan?

Mr. Good: Let me say this --

Mr. Edighoffer: Order.

Mr. Good: -- I can assure this House that there is no area in the province of Ontario where the services of a funeral director are not available to meet the needs of the members of the memorial society in the manner in which they want to be served.

Mr. Foulds: That’s a pretty sweeping statement that you won’t be able to back up in fact.

Mr. Good: I can back that up in fact and I will go further, Mr. Speaker, to say this, if it can be proved there is a funeral home in the province of Ontario that has not served a family in the manner in which it wants to be served, no matter how minimal that service would be, I would like that particular memorial society member or the memorial society in that area to report that matter to our present board which will deal with it.

The facts of the matter are simply these, that in the 15 years the controversy has been going on there is only one instance of one specific complaint against a funeral director by memorial society members. This was a matter which dealt with additional charges for removing the body from Toronto to southwestern Ontario for burial, which the parson who belonged to the memorial society thought was included with his payment for the disposal of the body.

I feel badly that we must meet these complaints in a public forum. I have telegrams here from the various memorial societies around the province. I would like to simply read one to give members the gist of what the problem seems to be:

“On behalf of 2,000 members of the Hamilton Memorial Society, I would like to inform you of our dissatisfaction with Bill 171, due for second reading in the House on Tuesday, December 7. The proposed changes to The Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act include a seven-person Board of Funeral Services, five of whom must be members of the funeral industry. This continued self-regulation of the funeral industry is completely unacceptable since it is not in the consumer interest. We urge you to defeat Bill 171 and to give serious consideration to a board that would include a majority of consumer members. This is the only way to ensure a fair hearing for complaints regarding the funeral industry in the province of Ontario.

“Yours sincerely, Joan Marshall, director, Hamilton Memorial Society.”

I would ask Mrs. Marshall to indicate to someone, to the present board, how many complaints they have lodged against funeral directors in the province of Ontario. You will find, Mr. Speaker, that there have been none.

I would also invite those members of the memorial society to tell our board the names of funeral homes which have refused to serve them in the manner in which they want to be served, which is a disposal of the body, in most cases without any type of service. Anyone in the province of Ontario who does not wish to have the functions of what we call a normal funeral service does not require them. There is no law in the province which requires embalming, unless that body is going to be held for a certain number of days for a public funeral. Then it comes under The Public Health Act and one would have to get authority of the local medical officer of health to keep that body unembalmed.

There is no law which says a body has to be embalmed if it’s going to be buried or cremated within a reasonable length of time before it becomes a public health hazard. Funeral directors are aware of this. I know of no instance where there has been a complaint to the board by people who have not been served in the manner in which they wish to be served.

The other telegrams I have received dealt with exactly the same type of thing. The indication in the telegrams seems to be that there have been complaints and they have not been fairly dealt with. The present registrar and the present board would sincerely like to know what those complaints are against the funeral service business.

Mr. Samis: This sounds like a free-time political announcement.

Mr. Good: All right, maybe it is.

Mr. Conway: Give it to them.

Mr. Samis: I am listening, don’t worry.

Mr. Conway: Let’s bury the NDP.

Mr. Good: I feel badly about this criticism of this particular branch of business and that these critics have been so vocal. I just wish they would back up their verbal criticism with facts and names of funeral homes in the province which have not dealt with people properly. Mind you, I’m not saying there aren’t any; but as yet facts have not been given to our present board.

There is on an average about one complaint a month before our present board dealing with funeral services. By and large they are not complaints of people against the funeral director, the public against the funeral director, they are complaints where the funeral director has contravened the present Act. In other words, he’s maybe running a branch without a licensed person, or he has done something in contravention of The Prearranged Funeral Services Act, which is something which is relatively new in the past 10 years. Any moneys collected on prepaid funeral services come under that particular piece of legislation.


I am thoroughly convinced, as one who conscientiously feels that the public interest in all areas must be protected, that this bill is a much better vehicle to protect the public interest and regulate the funeral service industry in the province of Ontario than was the previous bill. I would sincerely ask for support of this bill from all members of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Before we proceed I should clarify the matter which I took under advisement a few moments ago. I find that this is not a reasoned amendment but just an ancillary motion or what is sometimes known as a hoist motion and therefore is in order as is. I’ll place it before we go further.

Mr. Moffatt moves that Bill 171 be not now read a second time but be read a second time four months hence.

Since I have to inform the House before 5 o’clock about this matter I shall do so now. I beg to inform the House that in accordance with standing order 27(g) the hon. member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) has filed the necessary notice that he is dissatisfied with the answer given by the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) to his question concerning the implementation of the Willard report. This matter will be debated at 10:30 this evening.

Do we have another person who wishes to I speak on this bill? The member for Port Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At the risk of arousing the catcalls of other members of the House, I do feel somewhat ill-prepared for the debate. I think that speaks to the point raised by my colleague the member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt) and the point made to me on the weekend in an astounding number of cases; that is the bill is being unduly rushed through the House, I think. The member who has just spoken said it has taken the Minister of Health five years to bring forth this piece of legislation.

If that is the case, why was it necessary for the bill to be placed on the order paper for the first time so that we saw its actual contents on November 26? After it is in legislative form none of the consumers or consumer interests of the province has the opportunity to comment on it in its final legislative form. That is one of the reasons I wholeheartedly support the hoist motion.

If that hoist motion does not pass, if it is not accepted either by the Liberal Party or by the Conservative Party, I would very seriously plead with the parliamentary assistant to withdraw the bill temporarily so that those people who are concerned about certain sections of the bill have an opportunity to make their representations to the minister, to the Premier and to him, and that we bring the bill back within the first week or two of the new session of the House. We do not want to obstruct the bill unduly and we do feel there are improvements which have occurred but there are some very serious limitations to the bill.

I want to say at the outset that the only direct personal experience I have had with a funeral director and a funeral home was on the death of my father some three years ago. That experience was entirely satisfactory, and I have no personal axe to grind against funeral directors or funeral homes. That was the route my family chose to take at that time and that was quite a satisfactory route as far as we were concerned. I think that choice should be available to as many people in this province who want to make it. I also submit to members that this bill unduly limits the choice of those people, particularly those people in memorial societies, who want to have a more simple service and disposal of the body.

Mr. B. Newman: In what section?

Mr. Foulds: Section 5. I was astounded on the weekend at the number of calls I received from people who had just heard of the bill and it brought my attention to the kind of things that happen in this Legislative even in the days of minority government. With the best will in the world, with the rush to accomplish business by the closing of the House, we sometimes overlook the major concerns of people in the province.

I was deluged with phone calls in my constituency office and a very unusual thing happened -- I had people coming to my home on Sunday evening to express their concern. The memorial society people in Thunder Bay hurriedly put together briefs and letters which they sent through the courier service of my colleague, the member for Fort William, who left on a slightly later plane than I did to come here to Toronto.

One of things I want to underline is that people in memorial societies are, by and large, rational, articulate people who have no disrespect to express against the process which exists and which they would like to see possibly implemented. The phrase one of those people used to me was that the bill was going to be “rammed through the House.” I was surprised. I had looked at the order paper and looked at the bill but hadn’t been fully aware that that was the piece of legislation being processed. I’m very glad I was alerted to that danger.

I would like to read into the record, if I might, copies of a couple of letters forwarded to me, which were sent to the Premier and to the Minister of Health. I think they outline the concerns certainly of the people who belong to the memorial society in Thunder Bay. The letter is dated December 3 and addressed to the Hon. William Davis.

“Dear Mr. Davis,

“Re proposed Bill 171, The Funeral Services Act, 1976.

“Please don’t, whatever you do, don’t let Bill 171 pass until you have given yourself and your cabinet time to understand how gravely you would displease over 30,000 Ontario citizens who have joined memorial societies and thousands of others preparing to join. Give yourself time to revise it, to provide adequate, effective, consumer representation. Don’t listen only to your present board of administration, packed with funeral directors. Profit by the studies of lawyers Neilson and Watkins in Ontario, Dr. Gosse for the government of British Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. Learn why Ontario Funeral homes should be forbidden to embalm bodies before receiving family instructions and obliged to quote prices when requested.

“Mr. Davis, memorial society members are voters -- teachers, doctors, lawyers, professors, nurses, clergymen, engineers, as well as people in humble callings. Their common denominator is that 92 per cent of them, recording their funeral choices on society forms, while in good health, free of grief, in consultation with spouses or next of kin, choose simple disposals at modest or low cost.

“Unless they own a grave plot, they usually opt for cremation, no embalming, cosmetology or open casket viewing. Most believe that a memorial service held after their body has gone to the cemetery will celebrate the life that was lived as well as, if not better than, a service with the dead body present. They believe that the amount spent on a funeral should never be taken as the measure of a person’s love, honour or respect for the dead.

“What happens when people seeking simplicity go to the Ontario funeral directors who naturally like to sell costly caskets, embalming and viewing? We hope you’ve read the seven-page brief mailed to you on December 2.”

I say that I’m sure the Premier hasn’t read that seven-page brief and I believe the parliamentary assistant probably has not yet had an opportunity to read that seven-page brief. Until that kind of material is viewed by the government I don’t think the bill should proceed.

The member for Waterloo North asked for examples of offences and although there may not be any legal offences, it is very difficult for a person to get a quotation from a funeral home in advance of the -- well, I have a letter right here which I will read into the record and I will be delighted to send it to the board.

It was sent on November 30, 1976, from the Blake Funeral Chapel in Thunder Bay to Mr. Eric Gowen, president, Memorial Society of Thunder Bay, PO Box 501, Thunder Bay F, Ontario, and it reads:

“Acknowledging your letter of November 22, 1976, and your request for pricing of your type A and B services, we are prepared to discuss these with the families only at the time of need or as a pre-arrangement, and can assure you that they will be competitive and to the satisfaction of the family for the service they request. At no time was any price given to your society by our firm.” That was a reference to some previous controversy between the parties there.

The letter to the Premier goes on: “A few firms philosophically and courteously supply simplicity at low cost.” They agree to that point, that there are some firms that do that. “For example, Mr. Paterson of William Speers Funeral Home, Toronto, while carrying on his normal business, has pleased hundreds of bereaved with simple disposals at $160 or $170. How we wish we had one like him in Thunder Bay! Here the prices quoted verbally to memorial society representatives early this year were Everest Funeral Chapel Limited $225; Jenkins Funeral Home, $265; Blake Funeral Chapel Limited, $325; Sargent and Son Limited, no quotation. The Blake $325 is no longer reliable.” That’s because of the letter that I just read.

“When on November 21 a CNR employee had died and I was asked to accompany his widow, son and daughter while they arranged for a simple disposal, to be followed by a memorial mass at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church already promised by the priest for November 23 without the body present, the man in Blake’s office, a Mr. Salini Jr., stated a price in excess of $500 for a simple disposal! It was the highest I ever heard of. Would you please note in the Blake letter the conditions under which this Ontario monopoly-protected funeral director will divulge his prices?” He goes into referring to lengthy articles in the local press that I won’t refer to.

“It is a real regret that such a letter as this must be written to you. Don’t proceed with Bill 171 until it is altered.

“Yours truly, Eric Gowen, President, Memorial Society of Thunder Bay.”

The letter to the Minister of Health is somewhat briefer. I hesitate to read parts of it, but I will read it in its entirety.

This was also signed, I should make it clear at the outset by Eric Gowen, president of the Memorial Society of Thunder Bay.

“Re proposed Bill 171, Funeral Services Act.

“My claims on your attention are that I voted for James Jessiman in the last Ontario election” -- I am not sure that that’s a valid claim for anybody’s attention, but the person says it --

Mr. Ferrier: He shouldn’t be bragging about it anyway.

Mr. Foulds: -- “that I lived in Ontario for 68 years.”

Mr. Deputy Speaker: It is not a part of this bill either.

Mr. Foulds: That’s not my fault. I am just quoting the letter that this gentleman has sent to the minister, which I am sure he has not yet had an opportunity to read.

Mr. Ferrier: He doesn’t have the same courier service that you have.

Mr. Foulds: That’s right

Mr. McClellan: Was it in a brown envelope?

Mr. Foulds: This was a public white envelope carried by my colleague, the member for Fort William: “ -- that I have lived in Ontario for 68 years that I am president of the Memorial Society of Thunder Bay and that I am public relations officer of the Memorial Society Association of Canada. If indignation should blow me into a thousand pieces, each piece probably would rise up and protest your proposal of Bill 171 in its present form.

“Are you unable to see that if it were passed, Ontario’s funeral directors, with some notable and appreciated exceptions, would continue the same abuses of their privilege of self-governing monopoly as they have under the 1970 Act? They were drawn to your attention in the six briefs to your ministry of the Memorial Societies of Ontario in October, 1973, soon after the publication of the Neilson-Watkins report. Did it not commend itself to your intelligence at that time?


“Those abuses have not gone away. They include embalming without awaiting family instructions, withholding prices until people are in the grief and shock of bereavement, failing to display or stock a lowest-cost casket or cremation container, misrepresenting embalming as being essential for public health reasons. (Physicians J. R. Augustine and Neil McLeod on the advisory board of the Memorial Society of Thunder Bay have told its members that embalming serves no public health purpose, yet defenceless people in grief in Ontario and elsewhere are told otherwise by some funeral directors.)

“Are you informed as to memorial society aims and objects? In case the funeral directors to whom you have listened have persuaded you that our members are merely after cheap funerals, I attach one of the AIMS pamphlets they read when joining so you may know better. At the present rate of growth there will soon be 40,000 Ontario members. On :their behalf I must ask questions about some of the clauses of Bill 171 and make comment as attached. Your answers will be appreciated.

“In the meantime, you are requested not to proceed with Bill 171 until you have read our brief mailed to Premier Davis on December 2 and the subsequent letter, and informed yourselves more fully.

“Yours truly, Eric Cowen, President, Memorial Society of Thunder Bay.”

I would like to point out that the people in the Memorial Society in Thunder Bay only got word of the bill being on the order paper on Thursday of last week.

Mr. Good: What is wrong with their member?

Mr. Foulds: As a matter of fact, I didn’t make any bones about that. I pointed out that I was not aware when I started to speak that the bill had been placed for first reading. I am sure not all members present know right now all the bills that have been placed for first reading on the order paper. Some of those things escape us from time to time.

Mr. Ferrier: We weren’t consulted by the minister like you were, Ed.

Mr. Ruston: Thought you had top research.

Mr. Foulds: These people in that very brief period of time got together a letter with an attached petition. It is addressed to myself and to my colleague, the member for Fort William.

“Re Bill 171. Please find enclosed a copy of a letter of protest from concerned citizens in Thunder Bay to Premier Davis requesting that he postpone the second reading of Bill 171 for further consideration.

“Also enclosed is a copy of a letter sent to the Hon. F. S. Miller, Minister of Health, asking for his assistance in this matter.”

The petition reads as follows:

“Hon. William Davis, Premier of Ontario, Legislative Buildings, Queen’s Park, Toronto.

“Dear Sir:

“We, the undersigned, do protest the hasty passage of Bill 171. We ask you to postpone the second reading for further consideration. We believe this bill is not in the best interests of the people of Ontario. We also ask you to change the provisions of the bill so:

“1. That more than half of the members of the administrative board are consumer representatives rather than funeral directors;

“2. That it will not become illegal for persons other than funeral directors to offer advice on funeral planning;

“3. That funeral directors may not proceed with embalming without authority from the next of kin;

“4. That funeral directors may not misrepresent that embalming is necessary for public health reasons;

“5. That funeral directors are required to quote prices on request;

“6. That funeral directors are required to have available to consumers at all times a minimum-cost casket or cremation container.”

That letter is signed by 109 different signatures; some are couples signatures, although both parties have not signed, but there are 109 signatures. Coming from Thunder Bay alone, that seems to me to be a significant protest and a significant reason why the parliamentary assistant should over the supper hour consult with his minister and possibly take our suggestion on the bill.

There is just one individual letter that I have received; it’s a copy of a letter that was addressed to the Premier, dated December 4.

“Dear Mr. Davis:

“Please hold your horses on Bill 171 until its provisions are more consumer-oriented. I understand that the bill in its present form allows funeral directors to police their own industry and that it makes it illegal for anyone else to give advice to bereaved families. I strongly feel that the Ontario government should protect the consumer rather than an industry which is already regarded as one of the rackets of society.

“Yours very truly, Herman J. Dost.”

I want to make it very clear, Mr. Speaker, that all of those comments are not necessarily endorsed by myself, but I wanted to put them on the record of the House as being legitimate concerns by the constituents in my area. I also want to put on the record of the House the very grave concern I have as an individual member of the House that the bill is being rushed through. I think it’s worth taking note of some of the public discussion that has taken place over the last number of years about the whole business of funerals and their high costs and the consumer-oriented style of funeral service which is what this bill deals with -- that has come to be accepted.

It seems to me that we have to raise a couple of basic questions. There are a number of questions that we will raise in the clause by clause as they are necessary, but the church, from the Anglican church through the United church, Presbyterian church and Catholic church, have all made comments about the legitimacy of simple funeral services, and I need not get into that today. I suppose what I want to ask in a philosophic way in a matter of principle -- and we don’t come to grips with that in this debate; certainly the parliamentary assistant didn’t in his opening remarks, nor did the apologist for the funeral industry of the Liberal Party -- is why no person except the funeral director should be allowed to engage in the activity of disposing of a human body? That’s what we’re discussing when we’re discussing matters of principle. Why is it? Surely the public interests that need to be protected are only threefold.

Mr. Gaunt: You could look after your own. You don’t need a funeral director to do that.

Mr. Wildman: We’re not talking about beef.

Mr. Ruston: How about allowing anyone to teach?

Mr. Foulds: Are you going to speak on the bill? I’ll be glad to listen when you do.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member for Port Arthur direct his remarks to the Chair?

Mr. Foulds: Not only to the Chair, Mr. Speaker, but to yourself as well in the chair.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: They are one and the same by the way.

Mr. Foulds: If I might divert for a moment, I thought you were far more animated than the Chair.

There are only three basic principles. Surely health must be protected; surely safety of the community and surely dignity of the person who has died and the family must be protected. I see no philosophic reason and, in fact, no pragmatic reason, why only a funeral director can deal with those three things of public interest that must be protected. As long as that happens, I see no reason Why a person who is knowledgeable, such as a person who may be a member of a memorial society or in remote northern Ontario communities where there are no funeral directors --

Mr. Wiseman: Have you read the bill? It’s in there.

Mr. Foulds: I’d be glad to cede to the parliamentary assistant to correct me on a point of principle here, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You can’t do that. On second reading, once you’ve finished speaking, you’ve finished speaking.

Mr. Foulds: All right.

Mr. Wiseman: Read the bill.

Mr. Foulds: As I read the bill, section 5(1) says “no person shall engage in or hold himself out as engaging in providing or directing the providing of funeral services or funeral supplies or both to the public unless he is licensed as a funeral director under this Act.”

Mr. Wiseman: Subsection 4(c)?

Mr. Foulds: Section 5(4)(c) -- do not apply “in a sparsely settled area where a funeral director is not available.” Well, hot dog! Good for you! But still --

Mr. Wiseman: What about Toronto?

Mr. McClellan: I told you you hadn’t read it.

Mr. Ruston: You should have read the bill first.

Mr. Foulds: That is one of the things that’s involved in this whole debate --

Mr. Good: Promoting a special interest group -- that is all you are doing.

Mr. Foulds: The bill was presented last week; you get it up for second reading this week, unless we speak at considerable length. We have people trying to read the bill and leading the public mind on it, so we get into this bind. I think it is one that we should take note of.

I frankly don’t mind embarrassing myself, if I accomplish the aim of getting going a legitimate informed debate following me, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ziemba: It is still a red herring. It doesn’t apply to northern Ontario.

Mr. Foulds: It doesn’t apply to Thunder Bay. How do we define in the Act a sparsely settled area? Those are questions that arise about the regulations. I hope the parliamentary assistant will have answers to those very real concerns.

I’ve been urged by my colleagues not to stop, so I will delve into some more material.

No, in conclusion, I think sufficient concerns have been raised about the principles in the bill, about the makeup of the board, about the legitimacy of the complaint procedure -- legitimate concerns that may be answerable -- that we should deal with before we pass this bill on second reading. I think that those concerns must be dealt with frontally. I think that they must satisfy all members of this House before we in this parliament are ready to agree to a second reading. Therefore, I would commend to you and to the other members of the House, the hoist motion that was proposed by the member for Durham East and seconded by myself.

Mr. B. Newman: I wanted to make a few comments concerning this bill, primarily because all of the seven funeral homes in the city of Windsor are actually in my own riding. I’ve had the opportunity of visiting each one of them over the weekend and getting some of the thoughts and concerns of some of the funeral directors who did look at the legislation and as a result expressed their concern to me.

All seven in the community, I would say, are of extremely high calibre. You’ve got a place such as Janisse Brothers, that have been in the business for generations. One certainly couldn’t criticize them by any stretch of the imagination for the type of service they have performed in the past. You’ve got Marcotte’s, another family that has been in this type of service for years and years --

Mr. Ferrier: Bernie, which one do you recommend?

Mr. B. Newman: You have the Windsor Funeral Home. That one is now located on a playground that I had developed in my earlier days when I was coaching the fine sport of gymnastics for both boys and girls. As a result --

Mr. Germa: They are burying their mistakes.

Mr. B. Newman: -- of the many hours of practice we have spent in the area the funeral home people thought it was a nice place to put up the service that is there today -- the Windsor Funeral Home. You have Kelly’s, a long-established business, you have Morris’s, and you have Sutton’s --

Mr. Foulds: Does that tell you something about the riding?

Mr. B. Newman: So you can see, Mr. Speaker, I’ve named seven, and all seven are in the great riding of Windsor-Walkerville. Oh, I forgot Anderson’s -- one of the other long-established and probably the largest of the lot.

Mr. Foulds: You won’t get a donation from them.

Mr. Germa: Are you looking for donations?

Mr. B. Newman: And they’re ready to take any one of you fellows, even now --

Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Mr. B. Newman: -- and they will give you the type of service you ask for.


Mr. Riddell: They are the last people to let you down.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, several of the funeral directors in the community were concerned and as a result, from what I understand, sent a telegram to the minister or to the member who is going to pilot the bill, asking for consideration. They were essentially concerned with section 5 of the bill and how it applies to them in relation to not having a licensed individual who could also be the owner of the establishment, answering the telephone and making arrangements for services.

For example, they could get a call about someone from the city of Windsor who had passed away during a vacation period, say, in Florida, Arizona, or California. Naturally, very few funeral homes could have or would have someone on duty at the home for 24 hours a day. Most of them in the city of Windsor do have someone on duty but the person on duty is not necessarily licensed.

They are concerned about section 5 of the bill, subsection 1, which says, “No person shall engage in or hold himself out as engaging in providing or directing the providing of funeral services or funeral supplies or both to the public unless he is licensed as a funeral director under this Act.” The owner of the establishment or one of the employees who is there in the late hours of the evening could get a call from Florida but could not make any arrangements. They’re afraid that individual could not make any arrangements for funeral services for the individual who has telephoned long distance.

If I am incorrect they would like the parliamentary assistant to reply to it and put their minds at ease so they would know they could carry on in exactly the same fashion as they are now. They are very much disturbed that they are being limited by the subsection I read and that they might be put out of business and would have to sell to an individual who does maintain a funeral director’s licence. As I said earlier, the individual could be actually the owner of the establishment who lives in the home or in the place where his business is conducted and is there for answering the telephone at odd hours.

I do understand that there were some arrangements made that this bill was not going to be proceeded with at this time. Is that correct? I shouldn’t say at this time. It will proceed to this extent but will not come back for clause-by-clause study or third reading until some time later, maybe later on next week. Is that correct? In other words, does the government intend to proceed with the hill as it is now? It will go through the committee stage and third reading before we adjourn?

One of the homes which happens to have a branch office in a smaller community expressed the concern that it would have to increase its charges for its services if it had to hire an additional individual who is a licensed individual so it could have service around the clock in the smaller community.

It mentioned that if it had to put on that type of additional staff it could mean a substantial increase in the cost of services. It would prefer to provide services at a minimal charge in keeping with the high quality and fine services it has been providing in its main establishment in the bigger city, the city of Windsor.

One of the directors in the community actually had a lawyer look into section 5, subsection 1 and from what I understand the lawyer commented that if the bill went though as it is the director, not being a licensed funeral director, would not be able to operate and would be subject to the disciplines envisaged in the discipline section of the Act.

It being the concern of those who have had an opportunity to look into the bill and who’ve asked me to convey their concerns about the bill to the Legislature at second reading of the bill.

Mr. Bounsall: In rising to speak on this bill, I will say initially that I certainly support the hoist motion introduced by our member for Durham East that we not proceed with this bill for some months so that everyone in the Legislature, in considering The Funeral Services Act, 1976, that’s been proposed, may have time to become thoroughly in formed upon all the matters pertaining to and affecting the funeral services situation in the province of Ontario.

That would give us time to read the very excellent proposals for legislative reform aiding the consumer of funeral industry products and services that was prepared by William Neilson and Gaylord Watkins in 1973, a study commissioned jointly by the Memorial Society Association of Canada and the Continental Association of Funeral Memorial Societies. They have many legislative suggestions in that document. It’s a proposal for legislative reform and it documents all of the different kinds of services and legislation available throughout North America. It would provide time for us as legislators to have a thorough understanding of what goes on in other jurisdictions.

I was a little bit surprised, therefore, to find this bill coming forward at this time and being dealt with so quickly in this period. I would certainly hope the member piloting the bill through for the government, the parliamentary assistant, would recommend the delay of the passage of this legislation. With respect to the legislation I might say that what we need, in my opinion, in the province of Ontario is a consumer protection Act relating to the funeral service industry, not this Funeral Services Act which follows the rough outlines of the other Health Disciplines Act as if the funeral directors in the province were somewhat like a profession, such as nurses, pharmacists, doctors, dentists and so on. Because it’s brought through the Ministry of Health we have a bill that is very similar to The Health Disciplines Act as if there was some connection.

This bill rather should be a consumer protection bill and be handled by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations so that the emphasis in the bill is one in which consumers are protected and not one in which, as I read the bill, is basically one which protects the funeral directors in Ontario. The makeup of the board, for example, with five funeral directors and two persons who are not, in which the objects of the board are that the public interest may be served and protected, is not in contact or in touch with reality at all.

It is a complete anomaly to me, when the object is to protect the public and to serve the public to have funeral directors who are in the business of providing a service for which they are making money, and it’s quite legitimate as businessmen for them to make money in this area -- I have no objection to that -- as a majority on a board which is to operate in the public interest so that the public will be served and protected.

The least one needs on a board which is supposedly serving the interests of the public and to protect the public, is a majority of people who are not funeral directors, not those people whose object in life is to be in the business of making money from this particular service. Their interests will be, as I see it, more concerned with the best type of operation, no doubt, an operation of which one of the main concerns is to be in business and perform that business in a manner which will maximize profit.

It is a legitimate business to be in, but for them to be the majority on a board presumably to protect the public interest is simply not realistic at all. Any bill regulating the funeral directors should include on that board a majority of consumers, representatives from memorial societies, other consumer associations and perhaps a representative from the medical profession, as well as a couple of funeral directors. It’s reasonable to have a couple there, rather than a majority.

I have some concerns about other sections of the Act, particularly section 5 which stipulates that no person shall engage in the provision of funeral services and supplies unless he is a licensed funeral director. I find that prohibition as it affects supplies quite limiting. In Ontario there is at least one memorial society that does provide some funeral supplies and I cannot see why this should be the sole jurisdiction of a licensed funeral director. I gather that things like funeral pouches for burial have been supplied by memorial societies and I cannot see why that right should be taken away.

And, for example, if a licensed funeral director now wishes to supply to the memorial society -- and there are instances in Ontario where presently licensed funeral directors are in fact talking to and very helpful to some of the memorial societies -- why should not that funeral director be able to tender that advice and in fact supply supplies to that memorial society, which they in turn supply to those people who are their members or who come to them for advice? I cannot see why this section 5 should be in any way prohibitive of that kind of situation which has arisen or why it would prevent a consumer information group, such as a memorial society, from supplying various funeral supplies, which this section most certainly does.

I would say the word “supplies” could be easily deleted from here. Let those supplies be readily available from whatever source and not simply through the aegis of a licensed funeral director.

Certain societies have had great difficulties with funeral directors in their communities in the provision of services. We heard the member for Fort William indicate some of the difficulties which have arisen in his community and the depth of feeling of people from his community in this regard.

I understand that the members of the memorial societies down in Kingston have people coming to them indicating that certain services will not be supplied by the funeral directors in their area. The memorial societies have contacted those funeral directors to provide those services; the answer is no. For those people in the Kingston district interested in obtaining those particular services, they have to go outside their community as far as Belleville in order to obtain them.


So the collective attitude of some licensed funeral directors in certain of our communities in Ontario is such that they are at least not providing a particular service and, when that is brought to their attention, not willing to respond to a group of people representing those other persons wanting that service, and for those particular services they must go outside their community. This speaks directly to the point of professionalism in the licensed funeral directors being asked to provide a service and a refusal which gives rise to the need for good, tough, effective consumer legislation on behalf of those people who find themselves in the position of providing for and helping to provide people with that service at the time of the need.

The other major point as to why the legislation should be framed in terms of consumer protection legislation is the problem of high costs. Funerals are a large and a significant consumer expenditure which virtually everyone in the province gets involved with once or twice in their lifetime, with a member of their family passing away. It’s a time of great emotional stress. In no other transaction do consumers find themselves at such a great disadvantage. They are under great emotional stress; in many cases it is something which they have had no time or opportunity to prepare themselves for and they feel under some pressure to dispose of the body in a fairly respectable way within a fairly short period of time.

In no other product or service at any time is anyone in Ontario in that situation. If one is going to buy a car or if one is going to purchase the services of a piano teacher for one’s children and so on, there is time in which to consider what kind of car and whether or not one finally wants that service and so on; this is true in virtually all the other services provided. Here is one which comes upon the consumers in Ontario surprisingly -- in many cases quite surprisingly -- and because of the involvement with a person who has died, at a time of great emotional stress. It is in that context which they then have to carry out their transactions, and in many cases they are not fully informed as to what the requirements are in Ontario with respect to what must be provided.

I think my two major concerns have been covered: The makeup of the board, which should be a consumer protection board rather than one dominated by the industry; and the cost of funerals. I think the legislation dealing with funeral services in Ontario should make very explicit the right to self-disposition of one’s body after death -- the right of people in Ontario to be able to dispose of a body themselves rather than going through a funeral director, but with due and proper regard to what is required through the Ministry of Health regulations. That should be clear to the consumers of Ontario and that right should be clearly set out in legislation in Ontario.

There are various other things about the Act that one would say are improvements. I think any Act in the funeral services area should prohibit embalming without permission from the family of the deceased unless the deceased has already clearly spelled out beforehand his wishes that he wants to be embalmed. If those wishes are not spelled out, then there should be a prohibition against automatic embalming unless the permission of the family has been obtained.

Also this Act should make it a duty for funeral directors to inform the users of their services that embalming is not required in the province of Ontario. I’ve had various examples given to me in which, if not openly stated, it is certainly implied that the province of Ontario requires the body to be embalmed. In any Act worth the paper it’s written on, there should be a duty on funeral directors to inform all users of their services that embalming is not required in the province of Ontario.

Also an Act of this sort should permit and require that funeral homes advertise their prices so that those involved in the selection of the services required at the given time will be able to compare prices among funeral homes.

Finally, I think any Act relating to funeral services in Ontario should very carefully and clearly stipulate that funeral arrangements made by persons ahead of time are legally binding and cannot be changed by members of the family or by anyone else at the time of that person’s death, when all arrangements have been made beforehand by the person who is deceased.

In addition, a Funeral Services Act, which should be aimed at protecting consumers in Ontario, should require each funeral home or each funeral director through the various homes he might run, to have a minimum cost casket available and a minimum cost cremation box. People who want to he simply, quickly and easily disposed of can be placed in an inexpensive box -- heavy cardboard for example, is quite sufficient -- and they can be cremated without any fuss.

This kind of service is available through some funeral directors in Ontario but, as far as I can determine, not that many and the fact they have them is certainly not made very open to the public. An Act in Ontario requiring them to indicate the cost and to carry this sort of minimum cost casket or minimum cost cremation box would be very useful to all consumers in the province of Ontario. We recommend that we have that in legislation.

The only problem is this bill does not approach this whole subject from the consumer’s point of view and simply sets up the regulation of funeral directors as if they were a profession. One really cannot, as far as I can see, amend very easily this bill to have within it the flavour which reflects the concerns read out by the member for Fort William and the concerns I have mentioned which should be in the legislation to give valid protection to consumers.

In closing I don’t wish to speak at length on this bill -- I would think that the consumers of Ontario and the various memorial societies engaged in helping people plan their funerals, by providing information on rates and what services are available at what costs, should have a much longer time to look at this legislation, to become thoroughly conversant with it. They should have time to present to all members of the Legislature their detailed views, as consumer protection groups, on the type of legislation which should come before us.

In that respect, I agree with the hoist motion as presented by the member for Durham East and I would hope that the parliamentary assistant would take that fully into account. If that hoist motion was not on the floor, I would have to say that LI would be opposed to this bill because it is not what is needed in the province of Ontario. What we need here is a consumer protection Act relating to the practices of the funeral service industry, not this type of bill which we have before us which makes them a regulating profession, regulated by boards and committees which have on them a majority of funeral directors.

Mr. Germa: I would like to offer a few comments on this bill. I think the title, The Funeral Services Act, 1976, should be changed to reflect what the bill really does. I would propose that it should be entitled The Funeral Directors Protective Society Act. It doesn’t speak to the problems of burying people in the province of Ontario.

The very fact and the evidence that there is a problem is the flourishing of memorial societies across the province. We know that they started in the far western United States and crept up to British Columbia and are now sweeping east across Canada. There is a great disgruntlement in the populace as it relates mainly to the cost of providing this very necessary service. I know we cannot legislate the attitudes of funeral directors but I think that there should be encompassed in legislation a protective feature. In no place in this legislation is there any protection for the consumer. The protection is only for the benefit of the funeral director and those people concerned with making money out of the job of disposing of dead people.

I would like to look just at a couple of points. There is provision in the bill for a person to complain. I would ask the members of the House to take a look at where someone starts in the bill to file a complaint. He starts on page 7 and flogs his way through all the various routes he must take in order to bring the complaint to a conclusion and arrives at the end, 11 pages later. On page 18, he has come to the end of the procedure as far as his complaint is concerned. Eighteen pages of legislation in my mind could be at least 18 months of hell in the offices of the registrar. This self-perpetuating, self-licensing, self- protective society has other people to learn from. They will learn from the legal profession and the medical profession. Anyone who has tried to lodge a complaint with the legal society knows how frustrating that is.

I can see that by the time a person gets to page 18 in this bill, he’s going to say: “To hell with the complaint. I have forgotten what the complaint is by now because it is so long since I lodged the original complaint.” Even when one gets to page 18 in the legislation, then it can go to the Supreme Court as well. Where is the culmination of the complaint this innocent complaint that one launched 18 months previously? The whole thing just won’t work.

It’s protective legislation, but all of this doesn’t apply unless one is in southern Ontario. In sparsely settled areas of the province, all of this protection doesn’t apply. One can do as one wills in a sparsely settled area of the province.

The bill tells me that the legislation is really not in place other than to protect the funeral directors because it absolves anybody of responsibility in a sparsely settled area of the province. It just doesn’t function in that kind of an area. If it is important in this part of the province, then it is important in the sparsely settled areas, but the bill tells me it is not. It’s hard for me to take the bill seriously when a large section of the province can be written off in that fashion.


There is one particular section, Mr. Speaker, which is particularly offensive, and which is repeated from the legislation which is being repealed. That is section 36(2)(d). This was a vicious amendment to the Act to put the co-own funeral homes out of business. This section of the Act says that a corporation which is engaged in this business must have on the board of directors a licensed embalmer.

My city, the city of Sudbury, got in just under the wire to that amendment. The city of Sudbury has the last co-operative funeral home which was licensed in the province of Ontario.

Tell me who put this government up to wiping out the co-op movement as far as funeral homes are concerned in the province of Ontario -- and that section is repeated in this particular bill. If that section alone could be removed from the bill then that would give some competition to the system that is presently in place right now, the co-op funeral home concept. But no, that section is continued in this particular bill, and we will never have another co-op funeral home in the province of Ontario, because it is inconceivable to believe that a licensed embalmer would ever join a co-op and become a member of the board of directors. He would rather go into private business himself and reap the benefits --

Mr. Shore: Do you hear that?

Mr. Nixon: How about do-it-yourself?

Mr. Germa: -- from driving people around in Cadillacs and selling them flowers. I can go even farther than my colleagues who proposed the hoist motion. I have no difficulty whatsoever in voting against this bill tonight --

Mr. Ruston: Get those books straightened out yet?

Mr. Germa: -- and unless it is amended substantially to remove section 36(2)(d) I would be pleased to vote against it four months hence.

Mr. Ferrier: I want to make a few comments on this bill. Probably I have had as much experience as any one in this House -- with the exception of the member for Waterloo North, and possibly Yorkview -- with undertakers and families in the grief situation, and the whole matter of dealing with grief situations.

I must say that there is a wide variety of practices in this country as far as funerals are concerned. I have conducted a funeral where a man was buried in a rough box with just excelsior in that box, and I have conducted funerals where people have been in steel caskets and oak caskets and they have been very elaborate. I suppose the final outcome of that --

Mr. Nixon: Can you get them all into heaven?

Mr. Ferrier: I was just getting to that. The final outcome of that person’s destiny may have been just as well prepared in the one in the very simple funeral as the one in the rather elaborate funeral.

I don’t think there is any doubt about it that funerals have gotten away out of hand and people have at one point come to expect far too elaborate procedures. I think that the glorification almost of the dead body is to some extent a pagan intrusion upon our culture. I think that trend must be resisted very strongly and I know that it is within the church community.

The church community has for some time been advocating a more simple type of funeral and the spending of less money on the funeral service and the accompaniments around the particular service. A number of the churches have had the practice of using a pall should a person come into the church, so that no matter what type of casket they have the person is the same as far as the service in the church is concerned.

I have always felt that a good deal too much money is spent on flowers. It’s rather a waste of money and the money people want to give in memory of a person could more usefully be given to some of the societies, such as the Cancer Society or the Heart Fund or the various memorials in our community and in the churches.

I think the bill probably has too much emphasis on protecting the funeral directors p? se. I think it would be better to have a balanced board without a preponderance in favour of the funeral directors. I don’t take the cynical view that some do about funeral directors. I know there are some who are hard-hearted businessmen, I suppose, and are trying to get as much as they possibly can. The experience I’ve had with a number of funeral directors is that they are rather sensitive and concerned people who don’t use high pressure on people who come to them and who are rather helpful at a time when people are very vulnerable and are very much in need of some assistance.

In saying that, I know some say that when the people are vulnerable the funeral director will say, “You must have the very best for So-and-so.” The funeral directors I have known personally have not been that kind. They have had a wide variety of caskets and funerals and, to my knowledge, have not been the kind to use high pressure on these people. I know in one community I am aware (4 there was one funeral home which did not have a very low cost funeral; the lowest cost was quite high. Another funeral home came to that community and provided the lower cost funeral; the other home changed its ways so in that respect competition had its benefits.

I think, as I say, it would be better to have a stronger non-funeral director presence on that board. There should be guarantees for people who wish to have a very simple funeral and disposition of their body. This should be enshrined, in a sense, in legislation for those people in our society who want this kind of service. It should be guaranteed to them and there shouldn’t be the difficulties mentioned in Kingston or perhaps Thunder Bay or other communities.

I think that because there is this dissatisfaction and uncertainty about those matters it would be advisable for this bill to be stood down and further consideration given to it. The memorial societies would have a better chance to study the bill and put forward their point of view, and we could provide greater protection for those people who feel this way so their kind of funeral or their kind of disposition of their body could be provided for.

Society, I suppose, must have some guarantees, if a person is going to have almost anyone perform this kind of service, that there was no foul play involved in a death, I mean some guarantees or safeguards are necessary in a murder situation, that society would be protected in that way.

In the churches there is certainly a strong movement afoot that we have simpler funeral practices and that the emphasis on the body per se should not have got to the stage that it has got to. We must remember that the body itself is no longer the instrument of the life of the person, as far as the church is concerned; the person has left the physical body and has gone to possess a spiritual body in another realm. While we respect the dead body, yet it is not to be glorified as seems to have been done in our culture to too great a significance.

Because there is significant dissatisfaction among those people who desire a simpler funeral and who feel their rights are not being protected and guaranteed, and since this bill has not had a very long time on the order paper, I feel our party’s position is a responsible one and we would like to see it delayed.

Mr. Speaker: Do other hon. members wish to speak to this bill before the parliamentary assistant responds? Well, because of the lateness of the hour, we will recognize the clock.

The House recessed at 5:57 p.m.