The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform members of the Legislature of the results of an investigation relating to the theft of documents from the office of Praxis Corporation.
Members will recall that on June 24, 1977, I received a letter from the Solicitor General of Canada conveying information he had just received regarding the theft in December 1970 from the Praxis office on Huron Street. The information included suggestions that there were police officers in Toronto who had knowledge of the theft.
Earlier in 1977 the Metropolitan Toronto Police had concluded an investigation into allegations that members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police may have committed criminal offences in relation to Praxis Corporation. In a statement issued May 27 of last year the Metropolitan Toronto Police said: “The Metropolitan Toronto Police have investigated the allegations that the RCMP may have been involved in the fire and theft of documents at the Praxis Corporation, 373 Huron Street, December 18, 1970.”
The report goes on: “As the result of the investigation, the Metropolitan Toronto Police are satisfied that no member of the RCMP or any agent of theirs was involved in the offence. With respect to the retention by the RCMP of the Praxis documents that were given to them, this aspect was investigated to see if it warranted the laying of possession charges or obstruction of justice.
“We are satisfied as a result of the investigation that there was sufficient justification on their part for not notifying our force. The documents were not retained by them for criminal purposes and there was no intention on their part to obstruct us in our investigations.
“Mr. Rickaby, York crown attorney, was consulted in this matter and kept posted and fully informed of our investigations. He has advised us that when all the circumstances were considered, it was his opinion that charges are not warranted and we agree with his findings.
“The RCMP has co-operated fully with us in this investigation.”
Mr. Speaker, upon receipt of the letter from the Solicitor General of Canada, I wrote the same day to the chairman of the Ontario Police Commission asking him to review the letter. Shortly thereafter, following consultation involving the chairman of the Ontario Police Commission and senior officials in my ministry, it was decided, in light of the information contained in the letter from the Solicitor General of Canada, that there should be a further investigation to determine if there was any evidence to warrant the laying of any charge against any police officer or officers or any other person.
An investigator from the police commission and two senior criminal investigators from the Ontario Provincial Police were appointed to conduct that investigation. I received an interim report of that investigation in October and advised the Legislature on October 31 that it revealed no evidence of any involvement by any police officer in the break-in or arson. I informed the Legislature that I was awaiting the results of further investigation and a final report with respect to other aspects of the matter.
In December I received a further report from the OPP. After the receipt of each of these reports senior officials in my ministry met and reviewed the matter with the investigators in some considerable detail. A final report was received April 18, 1978.
Its conclusion is that there is no evidence that any police officer or person acting as an agent of any police officer or police force had anything to do with the break-in, arson or theft of documents belonging to Praxis Corporation at 373 Huron Street on December 18, 1970. The report also concluded that there are no grounds to lay charges against any person, arising out of the subsequent receipt and possession of Praxis documents by the RCMP.
The senior law officers of my ministry who have been consulted by the investigators during the course of this investigation agree with these conclusions. I am satisfied that there has been a full and proper investigation into the matters which were referred to me by the Solicitor General of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I have been advised that the OPP has turned over its file relating to this investigation to the investigative staff of the McDonald commission for whatever assistance it may be to them in carrying out their duties.
ARTS COUNCIL GRANTS
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation. Can the minister now answer the question which I put to him on May 11, as to whether or not a $25,000 grant for the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication, approved in April by the Ontario Arts Council, has in fact been sent to the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication? What is the minister’s intention in this regard? He has been away, as we know, since then and I thought he might have a statement today about that.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the grant to which reference is made has not been paid to the applicant. It is my understanding that the arts council has made it clear to the applicant that the entire council wants the opportunity to review that particular matter at its June meeting.
Mr. S. Smith: I am glad to hear that. A rather different tune today, isn’t it?
Mr. Deans: Had time for reflection?
Mr. S. Smith: May I ask the minister, by way of supplementary, if he is prepared to make his own opinion known to the arts council or whether he prefers to wait for the arts council to decide this matter, or does he not feel that in a matter of this importance the opinion of the government should be very clear?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, there is no question that I have every intention to share my views with the officials of the arts council.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister has been asked several times about this matter; both in relation to Strike and also in relation to the centre, but has not made his views or the government’s views clear. Is the government prepared to assure the House that it will not see funds given to organizations which are advocating terrorist ends or supporting them?
Hon. Mr. Welch: There is no question in my mind, I have made that point quite clear. However, I do respect the fact that we have an independent agency which itself is now seized with this particular matter. I would be very surprised if they didn’t share the same views, but I will at least give them the opportunity to meet in June to review that matter with the applicant.
Actually, they have been having some preliminary meetings with the applicant, and I certainly would not want to leave any confusion in anyone’s mind as to where the minister or the government stands with respect to any group that advocates this type of behaviour. It is absolutely unacceptable to the minister or to the government.
Mr. S. Smith: What a difference a week makes.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I said that the last time I had my very friendly exchange with the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Peterson: What about that speech on censorship you made a week ago?
Mr. S. Smith: For my final supplementary, may I ask the minister whether he has now changed his mind since May 11 when he lectured me saying: “There is absolutely no connection between the application and that grant that is being discussed by the Leader of the Opposition” -- which was the grant we were just talking about -- “and the tabloid”? He said there was absolutely no connection at all. I take it the minister now has second thoughts on this matter.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think the Leader of the Opposition, in fairness, would recall that in the exchange I indicated the Ontario Arts Council had treated the application separately. There was one for the tabloid Strike, which had been submitted about a year ago. Then there was the annual review of what one might call the maintenance grant for the organization itself, that is, the Kensington Art Association.
Certainly on the information I had from the arts council, the arts council had made it quite clear to me they were treating those two applications quite separately. The Leader of the Opposition, in fairness, did point out, as has been pointed out since, that there was some similarity in some of the names of those who were seen as the members of boards of directors of the organizations, and certainly that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Mr. S. Smith: I can read it again.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll ask a question of the Attorney General. What happened to him? He was here a second ago. Oh, there he is. He is not the sort of guy you lose track of.
Mr. Peterson: Are you getting legal advice from the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve)?
Mr. Roy: He is telling you he likes the Judicature Act.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I was consulting with one of my very distinguished colleagues.
Mr. S. Smith: He’s helping you with your backhand.
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Attorney General: Going back now to the item of confidentiality of health records, the action of Centurion Investigations and the matters that have come to light in the Krever commission, the Attorney General will recall that during the Krever commission inquiry a certain person in St. Catharines had drawn to the attention of his office the practice, on at least one occasion, of trying to obtain information under false pretences. I take it that what happened then was that a certain private investigation firm lost its licence as a consequence of the inquiry having been made to his office. Could the Attorney General explain to us why the firm to whose number the call was actually traced did not lose its licence but some other firm did? Could he explain the circumstances of this matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’ll attempt to explain the circumstances as best as I recall them at this moment. It came to my attention again when I read in one of the local newspapers that this information had apparently been communicated from St. Catharines to the Ministry of the Attorney General. Certainly some inference at least could be drawn from that story that the matter died there and nothing happened. On getting the report, I recalled at the time that we had turned it over to the OPP. That brought it back to my memory because, quite frankly, I had forgotten about it.
As a result of their investigation, charges were actually laid and a conviction was obtained against the principal of this particular investigating firm. I could give the member this information in greater detail later. I don’t even recall the name now of the investigator or his firm, but I do know that he was successfully prosecuted and convicted. As a result of that prosecution, he lost his licence. As to the relationship between that firm and Centurion, there was a working relationship with them, but my recollection of the facts is that the information that we had and that the OPP were able to uncover didn’t justify any action in addition to what did take place.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary -- accepting that in matters of this complexity the minister might wish to provide the details a little later, which I would look forward to -- apart from the question of why Centurion itself appears not to have been prosecuted, but rather the company which allegedly hired it, what else did the minister’s office do when this came to light?
We now know that there were some hundreds of examples of this kind. Did the minister do anything to inform the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) that this practice was in place so that they might improve their own standards of confidentiality? Did the minister do anything to find out whether there were other examples, that this wasn’t just an isolated case that just happened to occur in St. Catharines? Was there an inquiry made any more broadly than the one case?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I recall -- the details are not totally clear in my mind now -- it appeared at that time to be an isolated case and there was nothing from that investigation that would indicate that this was in fact a widespread practice. I just remind the members of the Legislature that it was the Minister of Health and myself who acceded to Mr. Justice Krever’s request to broaden the terms of the inquiry so as to allow them to investigate as broadly as they have, which has obviously been done in the public interest.
My recollection of that particular set of circumstances is that there was nothing from the OPP investigation; and, of course, we are dealing with experienced police officers who would, on their own, be in a position to make a judgement as to whether or not further investigation was warranted. My recollection of the report that we have is that there was no such evidence to warrant a broader investigation at that time.
Mr. Cassidy: Since it will be some time before the commission’s report is in fact delivered up to the Legislature and to the government, what steps is the Attorney General taking with the Ministry of Health and other ministries in order to ensure that some of the practices being revealed before that commission can be curbed and confidentiality can be improved over the period of time until the commission report is delivered?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think the Minister of Health has made it very clear as to efforts that he has taken to ensure that the confidentiality of these medical records will be secured -- will be maintained; and certainly as these revelations occur, through the course of the Krever iuquiry, it will alert the Minister of Health or, indeed, any other ministries that may be involved as to the care that must be taken.
But certainly I think the Ministry of Health, to my knowledge, has done everything that is humanly possible, as far as the minister is concerned, to secure the confidentiality of this information pending the outcome of the Krever commission.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Attorney General. In view of the fact that the standing resources development committee begins its hearing tomorrow on the two per cent kickback in the food industry, will the minister today table the information which my colleague from Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) requested last week and on which the minister based his judgement that there was no illegality in connection with those kickbacks?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t have the information to table today, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister tell us if he has any information, and if he will table the information or not, and when?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We will be tabling the facts, upon which our opinion was based, before the end of the week.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, by way of a supplementary question, surely the Attorney General could co-operate with the committee of the House and table the statement of facts promptly so that it will be available to the committee. Doesn’t he think that is his obligation, or is he in fact saying that he didn’t have any written statement of facts on the basis of which he prepared his opinion?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have nothing to add to my answers, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, will the Attorney General undertake to table all of the information which he received from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in connection with his decision and will he also undertake to get it before the committee before it begins its hearings tomorrow so that it can do an effective job and have that information which governs a major area of this inquiry?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have nothing further to add that would be anything other than pure repetition of what I have responded to earlier, Mr. Speaker.
PHYSICIANS OPTING OUT OF OHIP
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health which arises from the announcement by the president of the Ontario Medical Association that he intends to withdraw from OHIP and raise his fees by the equivalent of $4 for an office visit and goodness knows how much for more high-priced items. Can the Minister of Health tell the House how many doctors have opted out of OHIP since the announcement of the separate OHIP and OMA schedule of fees?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all it was not, to the best of my knowledge, an announcement as such from Dr. Vail. He was phoned and asked a question. He wasn’t making a grandstand of it.
Ms. Gigantes: He didn’t say that?
Mr. McClellan: Very cute.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Secondly, the figures on the numbers serving notice -- they have to give three months’ notice -- are being compiled. I have initial reports that they’re being compiled and in an answer to a question from the member’s colleague, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) of a week or two ago, I said once they are compiled I’ll report them.
Mr. Swart: It’s one of those things where the minister has to keep a running total.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister assure the House that the ministry is monitoring those doctors leaving in order to ensure that no situations exist like the one that was described by my colleague, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke), last week in which whole communities are being exposed to doctors who will only charge the OMA fees and will not be prepared to accept OHIP? If that monitoring is taking place, what action is the minister taking in those communities to ensure that patients have access to medical care at a price they can afford?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, yes, we are monitoring. If the member would look at my remarks of April 14 in answer to a question from my colleague, the member for York East (Mr. Elgie), I think, I indicated that we are in a position to monitor this mainly through OHIP, which is the body to which doctors must give notice of their intention either to opt into or opt out of the plan and to my own ministry’s central office. I may say there is no evidence to date in these isolated incidents to indicate these moves are in any way deterring people unnecessarily from the health care system, that they are, in any way, suffering a lack of medical care because of it
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: I’d like to ask the honourable minister if he’s aware of a survey conducted by the Hamilton Academy of Medicine wherein it was revealed that 450 of their 834 members had made inquiries via letter or the telephone about leaving the province?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I seem to recall seeing a press report of that. It may, in fact, have been a statement made at the recent annual convention of the Ontario Medical Association. Inquiries are one thing; actually doing something about it is quite another.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: I’d like to ask the minister why it is taking so long to get the information before the House on the number of doctors who have served notice? What is the problem there? Secondly, he made reference in a couple of speeches as to what he might do if the majority, or a large number of doctors, opted out. Can he share his thoughts with us on that matter?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I never pegged my comments to a number of doctors. What I talked about was the basic principle of the universality of the system and whether there was any indication that that was being threatened. To date, and in the nine years that we’ve had the present system, during which time all doctors have had the right to opt out --
Mr. Cassidy: It is under threat now.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’d like to finish, please -- and they haven’t. That is not the threat. As far as the number is concerned, I got the rough figures at the end of last week. It’s being compiled into an answer and I will get them to the member.
Ms. Gigantes: What are they, roughly?
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the minister has indicated he doesn’t have the complete figures for the province of Ontario. Does he have them for Windsor and/or Essex county?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I said I have the initial report, the rough figures for the province. I don’t have them broken down by county, region or district. It’s being worked into an answer through the ministry.
Mr. Martel: Give us a ball-park figure.
Mr. Warner: The minister is totally inept.
Mr. Dukszta: Supplementary: Does the minister intend allowing these insidious actions by the doctors -- allowing a deterrent fee in our health system in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, I didn’t hear the question.
Mr. Dukszta: Does the minister intend, by allowing physicians to opt out from the system by very insidious actions of this sort, to introduce a deterrent fee into the health system without taking action himself?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, and if he will refer back to the budget of March 7, the principle of a province-wide profession-wide deterrent fee was considered by the government, by the Treasury in particular, and rejected. It is still a fact that since the beginning of the plan, any physician, himself included, has had the right to opt in or opt out of the plan. That has worked very well and I have no reason to believe at this point that it won’t work in the future.
Mr. Warner: The system crumbles around you and you do nothing.
Mr. Foulds: I wonder if the minister could do two things for us: one, share with us the rough figures that he already has before him; and two, give us his definition of universality? Is that 75 per cent, 60 per cent or 100 per cent? In other words, at what point does he think the system will be threatened?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am not sure what the honourable member is referring to -- 75 per cent, 60 per cent of what, but --
Mr. Foulds: Of doctors, in.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- again, going back over a month to the exchanges in this chamber, I think it is far too premature and would be the height of speculation to try to pin what may be a problem to a specific number. We haven’t had a problem in nine years. I am sure that as the anti-inflation controls come off we will see some aberrations in the pattern, but looking ahead to the longer term, I have no reason to believe that the basic principles of the system will be threatened, although I have made it clear repeatedly in this House and outside of this House that if we find that people are being deprived of services because of the whole system being changed beyond the authority of this House and this government, then we would step in, and the intervention would be tailored to the degree of the problem.
Mr. Cassidy: You ought to table the figures. Why don’t you bring in the figures?
SCARBOROUGH CENTENARY HOSPITAL
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, on April 25, the hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere asked my colleague the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) that Scarborough Centenary Hospital co-operate with the Metropolitan Toronto Police force in the investigation of the beating of a hospital employee by a patient and two visitors so that charges could be laid in this matter. I have spoken with the Minister of Labour on the subject and I would like to reply on our mutual behalf.
I understand that this question was precipitated by a letter written by a Mr. Edwards of the Canadian Union of Public Employees to Mr. Glover, administrator of the hospital, alleging that a number of serious incidents have occurred in the hospital psychiatric ward with regard to patients abusing the staff.
I have been advised that there was one incident recently on April 12 and one incident about six months ago. Such incidents are, however, very rare. All such incidents are brought to the attention of the hospital’s administration for information and followup. The hospital does, of course, co-operate with the police in such investigations and I understand that the hospital’s administration has not been contacted by the police in this case.
I would also like to point out to the honourable member that hospitals are required under regulation 729 of the Public Hospitals Act to have an accident prevention policy. This is to ensure the establishment of procedures designed to encourage a safe work environment, safe work practices and the prevention of accidents to patients, employees, professional staff and visitors.
The hospital must also provide for an accident prevention committee with a composition representing the administrative staff, the medical staff, the nursing staff and employees to whom the Labour Relations Act applies. This committee, under the regulation, must meet at least once every three months, report to the hospital board of governors on each meeting and make recommendations to the board concerning implementation of the accident prevention policy. Scarborough Centenary Hospital has such a committee, which it calls the occupation health and safety committee.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: While I take it that the minister is exonerating the actions of the hospital, is he aware of a letter of April 26 in which the hospital administration says it doesn’t wish to meet any longer with the union with respect to the health and safety committee? What leadership will the minister show to make sure that the health and safety committee will be set up properly and do its job properly so that Mr. Allan and other employees won’t be the subject of attacks because they are understaffed?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The first thing I will do is have a look at the whole letter rather than listening to something taken out of context perhaps. To the best of my knowledge I am advised that the committee does exist --
Mr. Warner: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, the minister is accusing me of taking this out of context.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am casting no aspersions. I am just saying the member has quoted one small part. I will take a look at the whole letter and I will confirm what I have been told; namely that the committee does exist, it does meet regularly and does consist of the people I referred to.
NATIVE PEOPLE’S CENTRE
Mrs. Campbell: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation. Can the minister confirm his intention to continue funding the unique Ahbenoojeyug native people’s centre for this year; and will he allow the youth workers’ program at the centre to be supported by grants from his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes.
Mrs. Campbell: I wonder when we could have an indication of that, in view of the fact that this centre, which serves over 400 children and their families, has been closed down for three weeks because of lack of funding. Could he speak to his colleague, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), to try to get some permanent funding for it?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I would be glad to look into that right away.
Mr. Breaugh: I have a new question for the Minister of Health. Recently the minister sent letters to all the private physicians and public health units indicating a shortage of vaccines in this province. Could he tell us how he rationalizes this indication to stop using the vaccines with his public information program asking that there be further, larger and better immunization programs?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am not sure of the letter the honourable member refers to, but I suspect it is one that refers to temporary shortages of certain vaccines and that was written in order to draw this to their attention.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: Can the minister assure the House then that his ministry will have sufficient vaccines available to cover what is normally a rather increased usage, particularly in polio and tetanus shots, during the summer?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: To the best of our ability and dependent upon our suppliers, we always make sure of that.
HARWICH LANDFILL SITE
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of the Environment has the answer to a question asked previously.
Mr. Kerrio: It is about time.
Hon. Mr. McCague: The member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) asked me last week about the disposal site in Harwich township. His question related to why we issued a certificate to a new owner. I will explain that a little.
The Gore landfill site was previously licensed and owned by Mr. Vogler. After Mr. Gore purchased the site and prior to the renewal of a provisional certificate of approval, Mr. Gore fulfilled the following requirements: All motor vehicles on the site were moved to one area remote from public view to be either stored or removed. The entire site was cleaned up. A building was removed and proper berming was either constructed or is under construction. A series of ground-water monitoring wells was established around the site after consultation between Mr. Gore’s consultants and the technical support section.
Mr. Gore provided a site operation plan which was acceptable to our ministry. This plan outlines the location of the garbage and the type of site development. In conjunction with the landfilling operation on this site, Mr. Gore is undertaking recycling operations for metals, glass and cardboard and is attempting to establish a subsurface, long-term compost operation.
Mr. McGuigan: Supplementary: The minister mentioned that they had been issued a provisional certificate of approval. Would he care to expand upon the meaning of “provisional” and just what it involves?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Gore would receive a certificate as soon as he lives up to the requirements. One thing that was mentioned was that the berm hasn’t been completely constructed as yet.
LEGAL AID PLAN
Mr. Lawlor: A question to the Attorney General: Would the Attorney General care to comment upon that statement made fairly recently by Simcoe county Crown Attorney John Murphy under two counts: (a) with respect to Mr. Murphy’s contention that legal aid as such is a licence to steal; and (b) that the public defender system would mean the end of the legal aid setup in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I was asked a similar question on Thursday by the member for Ottawa East.
Mr. Roy: The very same question.
Mr. Deans: Is the minister afraid of the bar? Is he afraid of the law society?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I certainly dissociated myself from the statement attributed to the local crown attorney, where it was reported that he was referring to the legal aid plan and lawyers who participated in it in the very uncomplimentary manner which you have just referred to.
Certainly, in so far as the public defender concept is concerned, the public defender concept is being reviewed. A proposal has not even been suggested, but it has been reviewed with a view to opening up such an office in Metropolitan Toronto because of the fact that Metro Toronto is a very large urban centre and people charged with criminal offences do have difficulties in knowing which lawyers have particular qualifications with respect to the undertaking of criminal defences.
The concept is being reviewed in that context -- not to replace the legal aid plan but only to supplement it; not to interfere with the freedom of choice that accrues to each individual charged with a criminal offence to select a lawyer of his or her choice, but simply to give that citizen an additional alternative.
BAN ON ALCOHOL
Mr. Bradley: My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.
In the light of the apparent success of the policy prohibiting alcohol in certain provincial parks during the past weekend and until June 19 -- successful in terms of less rowdyism and vandalism taking place -- does the minister intend to extend that ban throughout the summer, because it’s been so successful in stemming the tide, or does he intend to terminate it on the prescribed date of June 19?
While the minister is answering the question, would he share with the House the points of view brought forward in the reports made to him by his parks’ superintendents on activities that took place this weekend?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The original date of June 18 was not arbitrarily chosen but because we don’t normally have much trouble in the parks past that point in the summer, there appeared to be no reason to prohibit the use of alcohol in campsites past that point.
Whether I am prepared to extend it to another year will depend on a couple of factors. An analysis of the real results of the weekend shows that everything seems to have gone well. Since I take the blame when things don’t, I might as well take the credit when they do go well. Obviously, then, it was because of my decision.
Mr. T. P. Reid: You weren’t in the park, were you?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, you weren’t in the park. That’s the difference. It’s the single ones we worry about, not us married fellows.
Mr. S. Smith: Thanks for the good weather anyway, Frank.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That, of course, is another thing I legislated.
Mr. Breithaupt: The weather is federal. Don’t take credit for that.
Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would think we really did add to the pleasure of the experience for many campers this weekend and, thank goodness, many people obeyed the law without confrontation, for which I thank them. It has shown what I have always believed, that enforcement, while important, isn’t as important as a population willing to obey a law. That was done this weekend and as a result, the enjoyment for the people in this province in our parks was increased.
I would think our experiment appears to be successful and if it’s successful we should extend it to another spring and let the summers continue as they always have. We can always adjust the policy if we have trouble.
Mr. Bradley: A supplementary question. Looking at it on a permanent basis, over the next several years, would the minister be prepared to look at classifying parks, for among other reasons, to allow alcoholic beverages to be used on a permanent basis and those which would not, so that the people of Ontario would have a choice when they’re entering provincial parks as to whether those parks are going to allow alcohol or not?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I think that would be reasonable and would be something we could do if a final disposition were made. I suspect we’ll have to watch though because the use of parks can shift pretty quickly. One year one park may have a problem and we may transfer it to another. This year that did not appear to happen. It could easily happen again. In so far as we’re able to do so, I think we should give potential campers that information in advance.
Mr. di Santo: Is the minister aware that on the weekend of June 9 and 10 there is a very big gathering of divers in Brighton, Ontario? There is real concern because that is an occasion where many, many tourists are attracted, not only from Canada but from the United States. Is the minister willing to consider whether to lift the ban for that date?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have already been asked to do so by a member of my own party and I can assure the member that’s been given serious consideration. The purpose of the ban was to prevent those who did not want to be disturbed from being disturbed. I am told that whole park -- Presqu’ile Park -- is taken over by the diving group. As such they would only have themselves to bother and I have recommended to my staff that we withdraw the ban on that weekend for that park.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the shift he spoke of may already be taking place towards conservation authority parks? I’m not sure if that’s within his jurisdiction or not, but would he look at extending that same protection against rowdyism to the conservation authority parks?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The conservation authority regulations are approved by my ministry but they are prepared by the individual conservation authorities in the province. I would think that if a conservation authority felt it had a particular problem then we would gladly consider it with them.
I’m not anxious to make all the parks in Ontario dry. I’m only anxious to protect serious campers who, they tell me, are 60 per cent of the people normally visiting our campsites most days of the week -- families. If some isolated conservation authority campgrounds need this kind of protection, we would consider it.
I’m also told we shifted it to the private sector. That’s a little too early to tell, but I have a great faith in the private sector; they don’t depend upon a written regulation to enforce rules of conduct. If they don’t like the way someone is acting, they don’t have to have a statute or regulation to back them up. They can simply evict the person on the basis that they don’t want them.
STANTON PIPES PLANT
Mr. Mackenzie: Can the Minister of Labour tell us where her safety people have been in the case of the Stanton Pipes plant in Hamilton and how we can have 248 lost-time accidents, including one death, in less than four years? Does she realize that a major reason for the strike there is the approach to safety and health conditions in the plant? With a list of horrors than can be documented and a management attitude that completely rejects safety and health matters, can the minister tell us what her inspectors had to say about this situation and what role she is willing to play in this strike?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I’m interested to hear the honourable member’s personal opinion of the attitude of the employers and of the description and history of accidents in that plant --
Mr. Deans: How could he come to any other conclusion?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have asked the occupational health and safety division for a full report --
Mr. Warner: You are going to defend them now.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- on their investigations of that plant which I intend to present to this House as the --
Mr. Renwick: You will find that the facts are identical with his opinion.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- member for Hamilton East had requested earlier. That is being in the process of being drawn up and will be presented to the House when it is ready.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I had asked the minister if she would play an immediate role in the strike. It’s pretty difficult when a plant superintendent refuses to let even the police in, even after there has been a death in the plant. The superintendent also tells the workers that the safety conditions they are complaining about in the plant are none of their business. We had another serious accident just a matter of weeks ago --
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Mackenzie: -- and still no safety facilities as recommended by a coroner’s jury. Surely this is the major issue in the strike and surely the minister should have a role to play in that strike.
Mr. Speaker: No question was asked.
The Minister of Correctional Services has the answer to a question asked previously.
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRES
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on May 1 I undertook to answer a question from the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) concerning the placement of inmates at the time of the closing of the Glendale Adult Training Centre.
Of the last 40 inmates, nine chose to go to detention centres near their homes to complete their sentences. Eleven other inmates went to community resource centres; 13 went to the Brampton Adult Training Centre; six to the House of Concord and the remainder to Maplehurst and Burtch correctional centres.
Four of the inmates were from the Haldimand-Norfolk region. One of these went to the Burtch correctional centre, the second to Maplehurst correctional centre, the third to the Brampton adult training centre and the fourth was transferred to the Elgin-Middlesex detention centre and subsequently to a community resource centre for employment purposes.
There are currently 25 community resource centres in the province, with plans for 19 more to be opened this year, depending upon the availability of suitable property. One of these facilities is located in Brantford. Negotiations are under way for the establishment of a community resource centre in Simcoe and an additional one in Hamilton.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Could I ask a supplementary, Mr. Speaker? Are these privately operated community resource centres and what is the cost per inmate per operation? Does the minister have those figures?
Hon. Mr. Drea: All community resource centres are privately operated, with the exception of two which are native where we had them set up their own boards. They are run by private social agencies under contract to us on a per diem. The per diems depend upon the locality. On a ball park figure, they range from about $19 a day to about $23. I’ll send the member a note if he wants the exact per diems on the places.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: When the minister is determining whether or not there will be a resource centre set up, from whom does he receive a report on the potential backup services such as psychiatric services and other services that might be available to those who would be using the community resource centres?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The proposals initially come forward from the private social agencies. Included in their proposal is the program they intend to have, along with the fact that the municipality has approved the zoning, the health and the fire. In conjunction with the program proposal the agency makes, a list of the ancillary services available in the particular area is usually included.
The difficulty in St. Catharines is there is an all-encompassing local bylaw which prohibits the use of a residence for criminals or inebriates. That is our difficulty in that particular area of the Niagara region.
PORT DOVER EROSION
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Given the fact that a serious erosion problem along the east end of the outer basin at Port Dover has now reached the critical point and this erosion has seriously affected the structural stability of many homes along the lake shore, would the minister consider immediately investigating the area in order that some emergency funding may be provided to the residents living along this part of the shoreline?
I would also like to present a petition signed by 106 residents at this time.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has asked me questions about this a number of times before and he knows that there have been only, I think, two mechanisms by which moneys were made available -- money through shoreline protection programs through TEIGA, which was on loan, I think, to municipalities, rather than gifted. He’s also aware, I believe, the federal government has been looking at problems of this nature. Currently there is no provincial program
I won’t reject out of hand, though, his suggestion that we should look at it. I’d be glad to do that in case there is something that can be done either by us, but more likely by his friends in Ottawa.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: Would the minister consider supporting 80 per cent funding, a program similar to that provided to the municipalities at this time?
Mr. Kerrio: Darcy has decided they’re our friends.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I can’t answer that with an affirmative answer. I would have to look at it carefully. It is an area that to date has not been considered to be one the province should be funding.
FEDERAL HOUSING PROPOSALS
Mr. Dukszta: I have a question for the Minister of Housing with reference to the minister’s answer to my question on May 12, when he stated unequivocally that Ontario has used up virtually every program that the federal government has put in place. Since I am dead certain that the minister could not possibly have intended to mislead the House, and I am equally certain that he is in total command of his ministry, can he explain how it happened that last year Ontario did not use up $46 million of federal money for public housing projects and $15.5 million of federal dollars allocated for co-op housing?
Mr. McClellan: That was John Rhodes’s position.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first of all, one of the problems we always have in trying to track down how much money the provincial government uses in relation to the federal program is that we work on two different fiscal years.
Mr. Dukszta: The minister means he didn’t know when he answered last time.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The fact remains that, if one takes the overall sums of money that are allocated to Ontario, we have made complete use of the funding given to us by the federal government.
Mr. Warner: Oh, come on.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not what Ottawa says.
Mr. Dukszta: Can the minister then say that he has used up the $46 million for non-profit housing and the $15.5 million allocated for co-op housing which his own documents state have not been used up? Could he explain to me where the discrepancy arises -- with the minister’s knowledge of it or actually the document his ministry has produced?
Mr. Pope: He just explained it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As far as the actual dollars and cents are concerned, I will be glad to get for the member a breakdown of the funding used over the last 12 to 18 months for both co-op and non-profit housing.
Mr. Samis: That is a non-answer.
Mr. Dukszta: With reference to Friday’s question, has the minister come to a position on federal proposals or does he intend to discuss, with the representatives of co-op housing, the impact of those disruptive proposals on that sector of housing? Thirdly, will the ministry continue to make its share of provincial money available, with the 10 per cent capital grant, as well as the rent supplement program?
Finally, will the minister, if necessary, pick up in time the financial responsibilities so far held by the federal government since the responsibility for housing basically is a provincial responsibility?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As I said some time ago, the province has been reviewing some of the proposals offered by the federal government, and while there are certain aspects of the program that might offer some advantages, we are not certain in the field of co-op housing or non-profit housing that those advantages are as good as the previous programs. I fully understand the situation that the co-ops and nonprofits are in.
I would like to inform this House that, as the Minister of Housing for Ontario, I have invited my colleagues from the other nine provinces to meet in Toronto on June 14 with us and Mr. Ouellet to go over all his proposals, after our officials have met in Quebec City on June 1, to try and resolve some of the difficulties that exist.
Mr. Foulds: Why doesn’t the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) do that about the auto pact?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I do not intend this afternoon, in any way, shape or form, to be dragged into trying to answer the problems or the programs any more explicitly than that until we have had a further review with the federal minister to find out exactly what he means by some of his programs and what the long-range benefits happen to be for Ontario and the other provinces across Canada.
Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. I wonder if the minister could tell us whether Ontario Hydro is participating with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in the experimental reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, at least to the extent of supplying spent fuel bundles to AECL? Could he also tell the House just how much material has been shipped and how much is planned to be shipped in the near future?
Is the minister aware that Canada’s position officially has been that it would not engage in any approach towards reprocessing until receipt of the report called The International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation, which is not yet in the hands of the government of Canada?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, I have a cold.
Mr. Cassidy: You were freezing in the dark, eh?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The whole question of irradiated fuel is not only an important question, it is the most important question facing Ontario Hydro, Atomic Energy of Canada and Canadians generally.
Mr. Deans: Are you going to reply or not?
Mr. Cassidy: How pompous can you get for a Tuesday afternoon?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is a question that my ministry has very actively and systematically been exploring and discussing.
Mr. Deans: I think your cold has blocked up your brain.
Mr. Breaugh: Never saw Jim Taylor wandering around like that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is a question that we will be making an announcement on within the next two weeks. We are still hoping that at that time we will be making a joint announcement with the federal government. But if the federal government is not ready to make a joint announcement with the province of Ontario -- and our position is clear on this one -- we shall make the announcement on our own. But by June 5 we shall be making an announcement on irradiated fuel which will also deal with the question of reprocessing and so on.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: Will the minister in that announcement tell the people of Ontario how much irradiated fuel has gone to AECL for trial reprocessing to this point and how much is planned to go in the future? In other words, will he let the people of Ontario know to just what degree of magnitude reprocessing is being carried on in Ontario now? Would the minister perhaps go one step further and reassure the people by telling them what safeguards are undertaken with this unprecedented kind of transportation to ensure that there is going to be no spillage of this very highly toxic product?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can assure this House, and the honourable member opposite, that Atomic Energy of Canada, Ontario Hydro and our government are meeting completely the conditions laid down by the two-year moratorium that Canada agreed to enter, which expires in July of next year, on the whole question of reprocessing of fuel.
At this time I can assure the House that none of this is going on. As I said earlier in my previous comments, this is a very serious, important and crucial question for all Canadians and particularly the people of Ontario.
Mr. Peterson: That is why he asked it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is one that my ministry has been giving top priority to over the last few months and, as I said earlier, by June 5, no later, we shall be making an announcement either alone or jointly with the federal government and its agency, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister could tell us if this projected statement that he has now informed us of will include Ontario’s attitude and position with regard to nuclear waste disposal and the whole question of storage, which is of course part of the question of the reprocessing; and particularly how that will affect the projected site, if any, that may be placed in northwestern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Yes. Our statement will deal very much with the whole question of irradiated fuel, its temporary storage and its eventual disposal.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can the minister now give us an assurance that the storage of the irradiated fuel underground, in whatever geological formation, is a completely safe process and that there is no danger of escape into the atmosphere and environment where it is buried?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We have been advised by scientists that there are techniques available which are very definitely safe. However, again this is a matter that we will be discussing and reporting in more detail, following our statement on June 5.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: I would like to ask the minister if he is aware of the report done in Britain by Sir Brian Flowers which discussed the question of waste disposal and determined that, in fact, the technology was not yet safe?
Mr. Foulds: Same thing happened in a meeting at Thunder Bay three weeks ago.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am very well aware of that report. I am also aware of other reports by scientists of perhaps a higher stature that say there have been safe techniques developed for the safe and permanent storage of irradiated fuel.
Mr. Laughren: Like the Minister of Labour, you are always looking for a way out.
Mr. Peterson: To the minister: Is the minister also going to be dealing in his announcement of June 5 with the problem of mine tailings, which some people feel is even more serious than the question of irradiated fuel?
Is he going to be dealing with that waste disposal problem also?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is not the intention to deal with the question of mine tailings in that announcement. I believe this is a question which is more directly related to the Ministry of the Environment.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Has the minister been made aware of an announcement by the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) that he would be calling on the Premier (Mr. Davis) and presumably this present minister for a select committee to look into the waste disposal problem in northwestern Ontario? Has that been discussed at cabinet and has such a request gone forward?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The member will be getting some of the answers to that question.
Mr. Warner: When?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: All I can tell him is that by no later than June 5, this government will be making a detailed statement. We hope it will be a joint statement with the federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources to deal with the modus operandi and with the procedures of the four parties --
Mr. Kerrio: Consistent, that’s one thing.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- which have some responsibility in this whole question of irradiated fuel disposal, namely, the federal government and its agency, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and the provincial government and our agency, Ontario Hydro. We will be setting forth what we regard as our position on a modus operandi as to how to deal with this very important subject.
Mr. Warner: Modus operandi! You should resign.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are not trying to duck the issue. This is a responsibility and we are dealing with it.
Mr. Wildman: You are just trying to dispose of it.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Beaches-Woodbine with a new question.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: We’ve had six supplementaries already, and the minister said he will be making a major announcement on June 5.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Ms. Bryden: I have a question of the Solicitor General. When I visited the Fleck plant last Friday along with two of my colleagues, I observed 15 or 20 OPP cars on the site with at least four officers in each car. Can the Solicitor General tell us exactly how many OPP men were assigned to the Fleck plant that day to handle about 90 women strikers and a number of other women who joined their legal picket line, a peaceful picket line, as a demonstration of support for what appears to be a very legitimate request for bargaining in good faith on a first contract? Can he also tell us what was the estimated cost of this policing overkill on that day?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: To answer the last question first, I haven’t got the information as to that particular day. My information is that there were about 20 police officers in the area of the park that day.
Mr. Wildman: There were more like 70.
Mr. Warner: Make it 70.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: As the member knows, there was some notice of a large picket line that day and that there were going to be workers joining the picket line from other centres in Ontario. In order to keep the park open and to keep some semblance of order, that is why there was an increased number of police officers that day. I think the honourable member will agree that there was really no problem. One of the problems that exist in that area when there are picketers from outside --
Mr. Wildman: There were 70 men there.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- is that they are not picketing right directly in front of the plant but they are closing off the main road into the park, which means that workers at other plants cannot get to their jobs.
Mr. Laughren: The minister knows the problem. It’s called Fleck.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: So it’s a mailer of traffic direction and keeping the road open, not intimidating the workers.
Mr. Cassidy: That is absolutely not a problem at all.
Ms. Gigantes: That wasn’t happening at all.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary: When the Solicitor General obtains the figures I requested, will he also obtain a cumulative total of the police costs in connection with this strike? Will he also obtain a report as to whether there was any closing off of the main entrances on that day last Friday?
Mr. Cassidy: Including their regular salaries.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes.
Mr. Warner: It could have been avoided if the Minister of Labour were doing her job. They could have settled it long ago.
Mr. M. Davidson: Supplementary: Can the minister confirm the story which appeared in the press that the estimated costs of policing that strike to this point is in excess of half a million dollars? Can he also tell us why it is necessary to provide accommodation in places like Holiday Inns for police officers being assigned to that strike, when there are far less expensive accommodations available in that area?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think the honourable member has probably been influenced by some recent press summaries of the situation rather than what is going on on a day-to-day basis.
The question of accommodation at the Holiday Inn -- this was in respect to the one incident, the one day, when Mr. McDermott attended at the plant when there was in the vicinity of 400 police officers in that area.
Mr. Renwick: A low ratio.
An hon. member: Isn’t that dangerous?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: if the member will recall, it was expected that there would be about 1,500 workers from outside that area that day. The 400 police officers were not in the park. They were in the area only in case they were required.
Now, the member asked me for the total cost. I believe he used something over half a million dollars. That figure is in excess of what I have. I understand it is something under that. It is something closer to about $400,000.
Mr. Deans: That makes it okay?
Mr. Lupusella: The minister should be ashamed.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: That, in fact, I believe, includes the normal salaries and overtime pay which was paid to many of those police officers. However, I have up to date figures, figures which are given to me daily and I would be happy to share them with the honourable member.
Mr. Deans: How is the minister doing on his investigation of organized crime?
Mr. Breithaupt: Where these particular costs have been incurred, why would the Solicitor General not have investigated the possible use of Camp Ipperwash, for example, as a location for these police to be accommodated in order to have minimal expenses in this very difficult situation?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We are using Camp Ipperwash.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
ECONOMIC IMPACT DISCLOSURE ACT
Mr. Peterson moved first reading of Bill 93, An Act respecting the Economic and Fiscal Impact of Government Policies.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Peterson: Very briefly, the purpose of the bill is to require the preparation and disclosure of fiscal and economic studies for all legislative measures proposed by government.
ONTARIO WATER RESOURCES AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Germa moved first reading of Bill 94, An Act to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Germa: The purpose of the bill is to prohibit mining activity in bodies of water that serve or are likely to serve as sources of community drinking water. The bill provides for the issue of permits to authorize mining activities that are in the public interest. Mining activity undertaken without the authority of a licence is constituted as an offence.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, just before the orders of the day I would like to refer to Hansard of May 18, Thursday afternoon. On page 2632 I used the word “continued” twice in answering a question or point of privilege by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). I meant to say, at that point in time, “the practice had been discontinued.” So the reading is now correct and I’ll read it to the members of the House.
“I was not aware of the letter written to the Honourable William Stewart in 1972, but I have been sent a note saying that the prompt payment discount was discontinued at that point in time ... ”
Further in my answer I used the same word “continued” and it should be the word “discontinued.”
I was unable to have the changes made in Hansard but have requested the change be made or corrected.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
YORK MUNICIPAL HYDRO-ELECTRIC SERVICE ACT
Hon. Mr. Baetz moved second reading of Bill 66, An Act to provide for Municipal Hydro-Electric Service in the Regional Municipality of York.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable minister have a statement?
Hon. Mr Baetz: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a brief statement.
This bill establishes a new municipal hydro-electric commission for each of the eight area municipalities in the Regional Municipality of York. The nine existing commissions are to be dissolved. The bill is substantially similar to previous restructuring acts in Waterloo, Peel and Oxford regions.
No later than the first day of January 1979 all customers within the towns of Aurora, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughan will be supplied by the new commissions. Customers in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and the townships of East Gwillimbury, Georgina and King who are currently served directly by Ontario Hydro will continue to be served by Hydro. New hydro commissions will serve the remaining customers in Georgina, King and Whitchurch-Stouffville.
This legislation has been reviewed by the provincial steering committee, Ontario Hydro, TEIGA and the Ministry of Energy in consultation with the local study team, the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario, the Ontario Municipal Electric Association and the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee. The provisions of the bill, in general, have been agreed upon by these groups.
On behalf of this government, I wish to commend the York local study team, the steering committee, their staff and Ontario Hydro for their efforts during the past three years in helping to establish a more rational and responsive electrical power service for the people of York.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill 66. It represents the accumulation of many years work by the steering committee set up in the regional municipality of York and headed by Mr. Sam Cook.
Basically, this bill provides for localized hydro commissions and, in that sense, it is a step in the right direction from what may have been termed as regional government, or regional hydro. With this bill, although there may be some argument with respect to efficiency, what we lose in efficiency by going to localized government we make up economically and in accountability. For this bill, Mr. Speaker, provides among other things for elected officials to the local hydro commissions, thereby ensuring accountability to the people, especially those who are paying the bills.
The bill likewise covers several other issues. It covers the makeup of commissions and how the commissions are going to come forward and what’s going to happen in the transition and interim period. It likewise provides for an arbitration process whereby, in the event of disagreement between a local municipality and Ontario Hydro, or one municipality and another, arbitration provisions are provided.
I must say that in this particular aspect of the bill, when this matter gets into committee I will be moving an amendment to the arbitration clause of this bill. The arbitration, as it is set up, provides that the arbitration committee is the final recourse, and there is no recourse of appeal. Some of the municipalities have expressed concern about the fact that there is no appeal of the decision of the arbitrator.
The bill also covers transfer of personnel, and all its ramifications, including the pensions, sick leave and the life insurance, and there are no difficulties with respect to that part of the bill. But the bill does get into an area of transfer of assets and in that area the way the bill is written constitutes a very inequitable and unfair position with respect to those commissions or those communities that must transfer assets one from the other. The same is true as between Ontario Hydro and some of the commissions.
This bill sets up localized commissions to conform to the boundaries of the towns and municipalities as they were constituted with the institution of regional government. This is a good thing as far as having local commissions is concerned, but in extending the commissions that are already in existence to the boundaries as they were set by regional government, there are difficulties that arise. There is a particular difficulty between the towns of Richmond Hill and Vaughan and more particularly with respect to commissions of those respective towns. There are assets that must be transferred from one town to the other in terms of the commission and ownership by those commissions.
But the biggest problem arises out of the fact that in the cases of Richmond Hill, Markham and I believe Newmarket, arrangements and agreements and contracts were entered into between these towns and developers. Before they were permitted to develop a tract of land the developers had to agree to supply all of the services and plants and they paid for those services and plants. In so far as they paid for them, the money was collected by the town. For instance in the case of Richmond Hill, the town, pursuant to a subdivision agreement, collected payments from the developer. Those payments were then transferred to the town of Vaughan and Vaughan then initiated and constituted plants and services.
The wording of this bill as it has been offered by the minister provides for the transfer of certain assets. It refers to original cost. It refers to the fact that, for instance in the case of the town of Richmond Hill, where the commission would have to purchase assets from the hydro commission of Vaughan, those assets would be purchased at the original cost less some of the accumulated depreciation as well as equity.
But the real problem is that the town of Vaughan or the commission of Vaughan did not pay for those assets in the first place. The developer paid for them. In so far as the developer paid for those assets, why should those users or consumers in the town of Richmond Hill have to pay again for the assets with this takeover? This takeover works an unfair advantage to the town of Vaughan in this particular case.
Those ratepayers in the Baif subdivision particularly have paid for those assets, for the physical plant, when they purchased their home. The bill was added by the developer to the purchase price of the home. Now if Richmond Hill has to buy those assets from the town of Vaughan because Richmond Hill has taken over that area pursuant to regional government and pursuant to this bill, Richmond Hill would be required by this bill to purchase those assets from the town of Vaughan.
The same problem arises with respect to Markham and Newmarket in so far as Ontario Hydro also is selling those physical plants and services to the individual commissions. Again, subdividers could not subdivide without having paid for the assets. Arrangements were entered into between the town of Markham, for instance, and subdividers, in a subdivision contract or agreement, whereby those physical assets and plants and services be paid for. In so far as they were paid for, Ontario Hydro is now, in turning those assets over to the commission for the town of Markham, charging the town of Markham for what it did not have to pay initially.
So when this matter gets to committee, I will be offering an amendment to section 4(8) and likewise to section 4(10) dealing with the unfair and iniquitous situation that arises thereunder.
Mr. J. Reed: Did you say inequitous or iniquitous?
Mr. Stong: Iniquitous. I must say that in principle, in so far as this bill sets up localized commissions, I can support it and it will receive support from this side of the House, with the exception that no town, no commission ought to pay twice for assets and no consumer or ratepayer should have to undergo the cost of purchasing something for which he has already paid. With those exceptions, we will be supporting this bill.
Mr. Swart: We too in this party support this bill, and subject to some of the reservations mentioned by the member for York Centre we support this bill with some enthusiasm. I think this system which has evolved in determining the type of structure for a region is desirable and is a good system. The results are good.
I would have to point out, though, that we have almost come a full cycle in the last six years with regard to the whole principle of restructuring, and at considerable cost to the people of Ontario. The minister and other members of this House will know that Task Force Hydro in its December 14, 1972, report recommended in all the restructured areas that Hydro be at the regional or at the upper tier level. This was confirmed by the Hogg report some two or three years later, and then modified by a statement of the minster in February 11, 1975, so that it could either be at the upper tier or at the lower tier.
This was further modified by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) -- am I correct in that? -- in July 1977. At that time I went after him and his government rather hard, not so much for what the end result was but the fact of all this money spent for all these studies which had been done over this period of time. Now we have come back to almost exactly the same type of structure and a slightly different method of accomplishing it as we had prior to 1969 or 1970. However, because it does provide the optimum in local decision making, I am very much prepared to support this bill.
I suppose it is possible that there would have been some restructuring done at the regional level, or at the upper tier, if the government had not put in regional governments which are so thoroughly discredited that now wherever the study teams are going around in the areas and talk about the upper tier, all the members of the public who attend those meetings, and usually the members of the local council, invariably say, “Look what regional government has done to this area; look at the cost of regional government. We don’t want that to happen with our hydro.”
As a result, when it might have worked at the upper tier level, because it would be a single tier level, regional government has so discredited the principle that no longer are the public or the local councils willing to accept or even consider Hydro at the upper tier level.
This bill provides considerable flexibility for the local councils. You can have an appointed or elected commission, Mr. Speaker, that’s really left to the council after the first term is up. I guess the desire on the part of the drafters of the legislation is that it should be an elected commission because the council has to take some action if they want to make it an appointed commission. They have to pass the necessary bylaw, at least that flexibility is left there with the local council. They have the flexibility of determining whether it shall be a three or a five-man commission after that first interim period.
The town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and the townships of Georgina and King have the option to go all the way in at a later date or back out and turn it over to Hydro. There is considerable flexibility there.
It seems to me that this bill, like the bills for the restructuring in the other counties and regions which have been dealt with, provides security for the employees so they won’t find themselves out of a job or find themselves with the loss of fringe benefits to which they have been entitled.
The member for York Centre raised a point with regard to the bill -- perhaps we don’t want to discuss it here at great length -- but I understand there may be some difference of opinion between him and the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson) on parts of his proposals for amendments.
I want to listen to the arguments put forth by both because the member for York Centre seems to make a lot of sense in his argument that Richmond Hill should not have to pay Vaughan or anyone else for certain facilities, or assets that were provided by developers. That makes sense. If these were provided in lieu of the lot payments which are sometimes made to a municipality, and the township of Vaughan didn’t charge those assets, then we have to take a rather close look at that too, if it was in lieu of something else.
In the end I suppose I will be the arbitrator of this dispute in this party so I’ll listen very closely to the arguments put forth by both sides and by the minister to determine whether the amendment should be supported or not.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That’s right, Mel. Common sense will prevail.
Mr. Stong: The minister’s been shafted.
Mr. Swart: Subject to those qualifications which are minor with regard to the bill, we will be supporting the bill in principle and reserving the decision on the amendments until we hear the full arguments on both sides of the House.
Mr. Hodgson: I would like to rise in support of Bill 66. Just so there’s no misunderstanding -- and I get rambling on -- forget what the last member said about the difference between me and the member for York Centre. I look at a much broader picture as far as restructuring Hydro in the region of York. I’m looking at the whole region, not just at Richmond Hill and Vaughan.
Mr. Stong: How about Markham and Newmarket?
Mr. Roy: That’s not your usual style, Bill.
Mr. Hodgson: The member for York Centre and I have discussed it and he knows where I stand. I hope he’ll concede that we look at a bill that is in the interest of all the people and all the users in the region of York. There are certain --
Mr. Roy: Maybe we can get the former minister to talk about that.
Mr. Swart: You got to answer his argument though.
Mr. Stong: At one time everybody had to purchase from Ontario Hydro.
Mr. Hodgson: -- aspects of the proposal the member for York Centre alluded to, not the localised part but the overall view of the region of York. I can give very serious consideration to supporting it.
Wherever there has been assets paid for by a developer I don’t think Ontario Hydro is entitled to charge them back to the local municipality. I can’t perceive myself supporting anything that would cause a home owner to pay twice for the same service. If these were forgotten in former bills, as the old saying goes, two wrongs never make a right. This may be a good time to correct that. I’m sure that if the home owners in the other areas knew that they had paid for it twice, there would be --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Hell to pay.
Mr. Hodgson: Right.
Mr. Roy: The member can’t go wrong; he should just support the member for York Centre.
Mr. Hodgson: I would like to thank at this time the former Minister of Energy, the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, for the work that he had done on the restructuring of Hydro in the region of York prior to our present minister coming in.
Mr. Samis: Don’t forget some of the other things he said about Hydro.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Stong: Just stick to the issue here, Bill.
Mr. J. Reed: He was right, too.
Mr. Hodgson: But I would just like to review for a moment what has gone into York restructuring, what local input. The local study committee formed in 1972 put in long hours and a lot of days in restructuring. They went to every municipality, explained what they would like to see in the bill and they got approval from eight municipalities out of the nine to go ahead with restructuring.
After the bill was printed I sent out a copy to the five municipalities that I represent and asked for comments. I got comments from one municipality -- the township of King. They would like to see -- and I can see the reasoning behind it -- the present commission they have now in King City extended over the whole of King township. King township is the third largest rural municipality in the province. It would break the township to extend it over the whole of the area at once, they have asked if they could enlarge on the King City commission some time in the future. But they haven’t outlined how much they would like it enlarged in the first year or the second year -- or an outline at all; I don’t think they’re ready for this.
Although I have sympathy for King in this regard, I couldn’t support at this present time taking on a four-mile square area around King City, and then two or three years later taking on another four-mile square area. You have to be fair with suppliers of hydro; you have to put your transformers in place for a certain size area of certain expected population, it would be very difficult otherwise. However, some of those things may be overcome when this bill is reviewed. It can be reviewed two or three years from now.
This is the major point I want to bring out. I would ask for the support of this House and ask for your very sincere consideration of any amendment which is going to delay this bill for any length of time. It has been seven and a half years since the region of York was formed. Taking Newmarket alone -- north of Davis Drive was all brought in from East Gwillimbury township -- there are 3,000 homes north of Davis Drive paying the same taxes as everybody else in the whole town of Newmarket and here they have been paying a different rate for hydro. They wanted it three or four years ago. I brought it to the attention of the Ministry of Energy at that time, but this is the first indication that it’s going to be something that everyone in Newmarket -- paying municipal taxes or anything else -- is going to be treated the same as the old consumers prior to regional government.
Again, I would ask every member to support this bill. I hope we would be able to clean it up. The minister indicated he was not going into committee today, but maybe we can get into committee next Tuesday and clean this thing up once and for all. Thank you very much.
Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I think there are a couple of observations that one must make here. First of all, the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) has done it again. He has established himself very quickly as being one of the great legislative men in the whole Legislature, and certainly in our caucus. We’ve come to depend on his astute observation of bills. This is no exception, because I think in perusing this bill he has made a discovery that heretofore had not been made. It shows that legislators, like anybody else, are fallible. But the one thing we do have is the advantage of having this forum, certainly in this time of minority government, where we can actually take a very objective look at a bill to see if there is something wrong with it. It doesn’t necessarily affect the principle of the bill but it helps to improve it.
I would request at this time that the Minister of Energy peruse the previous bills to find out if the same condition, the same foible that exists in this bill now, does not exist in the others. Maybe we should undertake to review those and to correct them.
I have supported this thrust since I have been Energy critic, because I feel that one of the accomplishments of this kind of legislation is that, in its own small way, it is gradually getting Ontario Hydro out of the retail business. I think that’s a very laudable move.
When Ontario Hydro was first created, one of the good things that happened was that it was able to provide electric power to rural Ontario; and because it was a crown corporation it was able to provide the service probably as a matter of public policy and probably at least more quickly than could have been done in other ways. But now I believe, having had a chance to look at the price we are paying for rural electrification, that it is becoming more obvious, at least in many areas, that the rural consumer under the old system is perhaps paying more than he needs to be paying for his electric power service. The contract shows up when you come to a street and on one side you have a municipal service and on the other side you have a rural service. Watch out for the tremendous disparity between the two.
We do know that in a rural area, of course, it takes a longer connection between one service entrance and another, it takes a little more to maintain the wires and so on, but I do think that the minister would do well to review the whole process of rural electrification and perhaps this kind of bill or the intent of this bill might well apply to other areas of Ontario.
I think also that this bill, by the increase in size and probably the improved ability of the municipality to grasp its utility, may well give incentive for more municipalities to undertake generation of their own electric power.
We have some municipalities in Ontario that have hydraulic facilities and are doing this now. The city of Orillia, I believe, is now installing its third generating plant, and the municipality of Parry Sound just recently has upgraded a plant it has been operating for many years.
But there are other municipalities that had their own generating facilities which they let go as the price of power went down. I don’t know if many of us can remember far enough back that as the years went by the price of power was decreasing in Ontario. But now the whole picture has changed and it would seem relevant to at least some municipalities if they seriously considered generating their own power again.
One of the wonderful things about having a power facility within a municipality is that it provides a levelling device going over that wonderful peak at 5:50 p.m., which is a very costly thing for the consumer. I see that as another plus factor as the principles of these bills start to apply in the larger sense to Ontario.
Certainly it’s with enthusiasm that I support the principle of this bill and I look forward to the amendment of my colleague from York Centre.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Just very briefly, I wish, of course, to rise in support of the principle of this bill. It was some years, as the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) mentioned, before there ever was a first bill introduced in this House for the restructuring of public utilities commissions in this province.
I think it was the need for flexibility and the confidence in the good judgement of the local people, the need for self-determination and local autonomy at the basic municipal level that had to be acknowledged and recognized before we could be flexible enough and see a bill brought forward in this House that gave that jurisdiction to the local utilities commission.
There has been a growing gap, I think a growing inequity, throughout Ontario in regard to the rural users and the urban users of electricity. As I support this bill and thank my colleague, the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson), for his kind remarks, I also express concern that as more customers of Ontario Hydro become customers of the local utilities there are fewer rural customers to take up the ever increasing financial burden to be borne by the rural customers.
I think that was maybe the concern alluded to by the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed), because with every increase in hydro rates -- and an increase of nearly 10 per cent has been indicated again for this year -- we see that gap widen. The gap presently is probably 36 per cent higher for rural customers than urban customers on an average in Ontario. We can see that gap widen.
I think probably the urge on the part of many communities to get on with restructuring is to get into a category of consumption that would lessen their financial load. With their own utilities commissions they can accomplish that, get out of the rural structure into the urban structure and, therefore, the rates will be lower.
I think we must never forget the burden of the rural ratepayer. I think that implicit in this bill is an obligation on the part of government to ensure that the cost to the rural customer be reviewed as well and to make sure that that problem is addressed squarely, as an issue and as an ever increasing financial burden on the rural people of Ontario. Again, I urge flexibility in the approach of restructuring across the province. I think the various parts of Ontario, the varying geography and the peoples, the municipalities, all invite differences. I think we must accommodate those differences and I think we must be flexible in our approach to ensure that the best interests of the local people are served.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other member wishing to participate? If not, the honourable minister.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated, we do not wish to pass this on to committee today and, therefore, my remarks will be very brief. I would only like to say that I was delighted to hear the honourable member for Welland-Thorold tell us that he is going to be listening to the debate with an open mind and heart.
We are sure that wisdom and good judgement will prevail in this particular subject matter as it so often does.
Mr. J. Reed: Does the minister have any particular bias as to which way?
Mr. Swart: Any other bias?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are on the side of truth, so we are rather confident as we go into the debate, when we get to committee.
I must say that I found it rather interesting that I believe the four speakers who addressed themselves to this subject all touched on this question of greater equity between the rural Ontario hydro subscribers and those in the structured municipalities. Of course, one of the results of the proposed amendment would be to further exacerbate the difference that now exists between the rural subscriber and the municipality.
Mr. Stong: Nonsense, nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We will be able to demonstrate that when we get to debate, but that certainly would be one of the by-products. Of course, also, I was glad that the member for Halton-Burlington did recognize his colleague had a great deal of wisdom in this and paid tribute to him. I would do the same thing.
I would, of course, remind both of them that there are other distinguished members of the Liberal caucus from Kitchener-Waterloo, from the city of Waterloo, from Kitchener, from Kitchener-Wilmot, who have supported the principle of this kind of legislation without the amendment, so I would hope that in the party of the loyal opposition over there --
Mr. J. Reed: I pointed out I missed it too.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- that there too good judgement and wisdom will prevail.
Mr. Stong: Are you afraid of it?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I do hope, as I know all of us here do, that we will be able to sort out what differences exist, and that we will enact this piece of legislation which I know all members here have been fighting for and striving for for so very long, including my good colleague from York North.
We will look forward to a very well informed debate when we get into committee.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
CROSSROADS CHRISTIAN COMMUNICATIONS INCORPORATED ACT
Mr. Lawlor moved second reading of Bill Pr3, An Act respecting Crossroads Christian Communications Incorporated.
Motion agreed to.
The bill was also given third reading on motion.
HILLPORT MOTORS LIMITED
Mr. J. A. Taylor, on behalf of Mr. Hennessy, moved second reading of Bill Pr16, an Act to revive Hillport Motors Limited.
Motion agreed to.
The bill was also given third reading on motion.
TOWNSHIP OF TILBURY WEST
Mr. Ruston moved second reading of Bill Pr20, an Act respecting the Township of Tilbury West.
Motion agreed to.
The bill was also given third reading on motion.
House in committee of the whole.
House in committee on Bill 71, An Act to amend the Judicature Act.
Mr. Chairman: Honourable Mr. McMurtry moves that the reprinted version of Bill 71 be the one that is considered by the committee.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Very briefly, following the last discussion of this bill in the House, I have had the benefit of the views of the Justice critics of the two parties opposite. I would like to say for the record I appreciate very much their very constructive and helpful involvement in bringing about a bill which is going to be the best possible bill at this point in time in the province’s history, particularly as this is such important landmark legislation. I think their participation again reflects the spirit of co-operation that has prevailed during the whole debate in relation to this legislation. I would like to express my appreciation for their assistance and co-operation and indicate that I will be moving, at the appropriate time, an amendment to the bill as reprinted, which has been fully discussed with the Justice critics opposite.
Mr. Roy: My colleague, the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell), who is the justice critic, and I have worked together on proposing certain amendments; I have had the benefit of her counsel in these suggestions. Some of the suggestions were made on second reading. If I may, I will address myself to the reprinted version which has some of the amendments that were suggested earlier.
In response to the comments of the Attorney General about having presented the original Bill 71 and our having brought forward certain suggestions and having had some amendments prepared and accepted by the Attorney General, I would like to say that the exercise has been one of co-operation between the three parties involved and the Attorney General. I would like to say to my colleagues who were involved in that process, including the Justice critic for the NDP, that we have had occasion to sit together and review some of the proposed amendments.
For instance, the original bill had suggested that the Lieutenant Governor in Council would designate the counties. We felt that some of these counties should be designated in the legislation right now and that there was no reason these counties not be designated in view of the fact that experiments in our criminal courts and some in our family courts had been under way and had been working out well.
I had suggested, and I will put it on the record, that possibly what we should have, in all these counties, is all the courts in those counties covered. The matter was discussed with the Attorney General, with my colleague the Justice critic of our party and the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor), the critic for the NDP party. There are practical problems. This is why we have arrived at a compromise.
Mr. Foulds: It’s either NDP or ND Party. P stands for party.
Mr. Roy: I’m sorry.
Mr. Renwick: It’s PC Party.
Mr. Roy: In any event, hopefully I will not be more nasty when I describe the party to my left than I have been in just mixing up one particular letter.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Be natural.
Mr. Roy: I just want to be conciliatory.
Mr. Haggerty: You are never nasty.
Mr. Roy: As the Premier (Mr. Davis) often says, I don’t want in any way to be provocative.
In any event, in a spirit of co-operation and with the realization there are practical problems in enacting this legislation, we agreed we must proceed cautiously and practically. Hopefully, when we proceed in those areas in a spirit of co-operation and in a non-partisan fashion, I think we advance the whole situation for Franco-Ontarians in this province. I think that is the most effective way of doing it.
There is no use in three parties taking hard lines and then sitting on their high horses, debating which has the best position. In the meantime, the Franco-Ontarians don’t obtain any services.
We have full knowledge of the fact we would like to go further, but we understand there are practical problems. In view of the fact the Attorney General has shown his good faith, first of all by presenting the legislation, and secondly by acceding to some of our amendments, we give him full marks and we are saying to him, “Okay, we have faith in the process, let’s proceed in designating these courts as expeditiously as we can.”
Hopefully that is the way we will proceed, because surely the good faith must be there in view of the fact the bill has been presented and he has accepted some of the amendments.
That is the spirit of co-operation that exists in attempting to have this legislation work. The counties are designated under the bill and we are in full agreement with this. Hopefully, the Attorney General will proceed in designating the courts involved.
We are cognizant there is a federal bill implicated here, Bill C42 which is presently before the federal House.
Possibly, Mr. Chairman, before I get into this --
Mr. Foulds: You gave this guy a QC; no wonder he is so chummy.
Mr. Roy: I like to call the shots as I see them; I can get involved in the partisan jabs as well as anyone, but when credit is due credit is due. We acted in a spirit of co-operation and we have arrived at what I consider to be good legislation, so why not put in on the record? I am not afraid that somebody might say I got too cosy or I was too compromising. That is the spirit we should have in this House in minority government and I am not afraid that somebody might say I got too cosy or I was too compromising. That is the spirit we should have in this House in minority government and I am not apologizing for anything.
Mr. Chairman, I just wonder if you want to proceed? I have other comments involved with section 1, but do you want to proceed with subsections because I have some other comments to make?
These are actually the only comments I have to make in relation to subsection 2. I have other comments, but I am ready to accede to the directions of the chair and limit my comments to subsection 2.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Lakeshore? Before you start, is subsection 1 acceptable? Is subsection 1 carried? Are you dealing with the bill in general or with one of the subsections?
Mr. Lawlor: The Attorney General made a brief preliminary statement arising out of certain negotiations or conversations we had, and my friend from the Liberal Party did likewise.
I1 would like to make such a brief statement.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I will allow that.
Mr. Lawlor: I won’t prolong it. Again, it is a rather novel thing for some of us in the House to go into a back room and sit down and thrash over the various possibilities of amending legislation. Certainly in this instance it saves a great deal of the time of this House.
As things stood when we started, it would have taken two or two and a half hours, and now the Attorney General has accepted those matters which were most urgent and most commendable at this time and has embodied them in this legislation. We all should give ourselves a little credit for that in saving the time of this House.
It is defective, still, in two areas. In the geographical scope there are certain areas of the province where a fairly substantial French-speaking population is extant and whose needs cannot be presently met for very obvious and practical reasons.
Secondly, with respect to a range of legal matters -- including motions which, again, impracticality would supervene -- there aren’t enough lawyers who speak both languages, there are not enough judges to handle both languages. I would trust that this legislation, like other matters that come before this House, would fructify and bloom, and that in time to come the scope of this particular kind of act will broaden out. It will be the job of the opposition, in any event, to continue to press in these areas. But, as I see it, we’ve done pretty much the best we can do, subject to some small changes that will be forthcoming.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Can we now deal with subsection 1 of the bill?
On section 1:
Subsection 1 agreed to.
On subsection 2:
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I always leave it to my colleague the member for Lakeshore, and my friend the member for Ottawa East to deal with substantial matters. I would commend, however, the following amendment to the consideration of the committee.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Renwick moves that the figure “4,” where it appears in subsection 2 of section 127, as amended in subsection 2 of section 1 of Bill 71, be changed to “3.”
Motion agreed to.
Subsection 2, as amended, agreed to.
On subsection 3:
Mr. Roy: In relation to subsection 3, I’d like to say this: We would have liked to see in the legislation the designation of certain parts of counties. As the member for Lakeshore has mentioned, there are certain areas of the province where there is still a substantial number of francophones who will not have the benefit of this legislation because they are located in just one part of the county.
I can think of the district of Renfrew, for instance, where in most of the county there are no francophones except in the city of -- my God, my colleague from Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) will never forgive me for forgetting the name of Pembroke. As we progress with this legislation, we’ll have to look seriously at certain parts of counties and at certain courts within those parts of counties.
As I said earlier, I would have liked to have seen the proclamation of all courts. But as has been mentioned by the member for Lakeshore, the problem is the practical one that we don’t have staff available; we don’t have lawyers; we don’t have judges in many areas who are able to give the service that is intended under this bill. Hopefully, we’ll proceed gradually in those areas.
One of the things mentioned by the member for Lakeshore is the lack of bilingual lawyers in this province. In the province of Quebec most everybody, including English speaking counsel, can understand French, and those who are French-speaking can understand English. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Ontario. So, we have to proceed gradually in those areas.
One of the other things I was going to mention was that I was concerned, and I talked about it on second reading, that two things exist. One is when you have a situation where for all intents and purposes it would be feasible to either have the trial or hearing in French or bilingually and if that takes place in a county that is not designated that there be provisions whereby you bring in a French speaking judge. In some circumstances, that wouldn’t be difficult because in some courts -- for instance the Supreme Court and even in county and provincial courts -- judges are travelling anyway. They are exchanging from one county to the next. That provision could be available. An alternative would be permission to have a change of venue; to change the site of the trial from that undesignated county into a designated area.
Of course, one of the things we discussed, as the Attorney General and my colleagues here know, is the fact, that first of all, in the criminal trial, there are provisions under Bill C-42 for a change of venue. There are provisions, Mr. Chairman, under that bill whereby counsel can make an application for a change of venue. That takes care of the criminal side of it. On the civil side, of course, the rules of practice now allow for application for a change of venue, but I don’t think there has ever been any precedent or any application made for a change of venue on the basis of language. Although, I suppose overall when one looks at the balance of probabilities, or you look at where it will be in the best interest, where it will facilitate all the parties involved that may be the situation.
On that basis, I was quite prepared, having in mind again the practical difficulties involved, not to press that amendment any further at this time. I hope this is something we will see through the workings of the legislation. We will see how the process works and how we can, through practice, and through experience, see to it that from a practical point of view we can enhance the workings of this bill.
Although I personally would have liked to see the legislation go further, I realize the practical problems. I realize as well that in our discussions there are provisions available now, certainly in the criminal field, under Bill C42 and there are similar provisions for a change of venue under the rules of practice. On that basis I feel, as agreed with the Attorney General, we would not press our amendment any further.
Mr. Lawlor: The area of venue has caused and will cause problems. That’s one of the nub points to be worked out in future legislation.
Under section 462, subsection 2, of the federal legislation, it says that “the court shall order that the trial of an accused be held in a territorial division in the same province other than that in which the offence would otherwise be tried if an order has been made that the accused be tried before a justice of the peace, magistrate, judge, or judge and jury who speak the official language of Canada, that is the language of the accused or the official language of Canada in which the accused can best give testimony or both official languages and such order cannot be conveniently complied with in the territorial division in which the offence would otherwise be tried.” That, as the member has said, covers the criminal aspect of the matter.
I think the civil aspect is likely to prove far more tricky, particularly in Ontario itself, as the provincial court judges are very often appointed on the basis of their capability with languages and particularly in and around the areas that are specifically mentioned in the previous subsection. Trials will have to be experimented with in a sense.
If the preliminary is taken partly in one language and partly in the other; and during the trial itself some witnesses speak one language and some witnesses speak another; and the documentation that has to be used is some in one language and some in another; the backward and forward movement in translation, and in the tenor and posing of the questions, et cetera, are, for a period of time, going to cause a very considerable adjustment or readjustment in the thinking of counsel and the court itself, as these numerous switches and problems work themselves out. That is why we are leaving that whole field fallow, in order to test its potentiality. All of us will be watching with great care and with high hopes, not just as an accommodation but as a heartfelt recognition of the needs in this province and as a gesture to the province of Quebec.
We have been castigated because of our stance and a certain obtuseness to this date. As we move into a greater largess, I suppose we ought to be given a little recognition and credit too.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Subsections 3 to 5, inclusive, carried? Carried.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moves that subsection 6, as contained in section 1 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“(6) Where an application is made under subsection 4 and in addition to a direction made thereunder, the court may direct
“(a) that the hearing or any part of the hearing be in the French language if in the opinion of the court the hearing or part can be so conducted effectually and
“(b) that subsection 7 apply to oral evidence given in examinations for discovery or in any other pre-hearing stage of the proceeding.”
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment again on what has been said earlier. We very much appreciate the co-operation of the Attorney General in bringing forward this amendment. We could not understand why any oral evidence of a pre-trial nature could not be dealt with in the same way as oral evidence at a trial. The Attorney General was very quick to accept that position.
I personally hope the day may come when depositions and pleadings may be dealt with in the same way. However, we accept the fact that there are very real and practical problems at this point in time and we commend the Attorney General for bringing this amendment forward. We support it.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, at an earlier time we had some misgivings as to language but they were clarified in the revised version. The application to the court, whether by one route or another under subsection 5, designates a trial either before a judge touching the language issue or before a judge and jury, was to speak both the English and French languages; this is a broadening out of that basic principle in a double way. It recognizes that the hearing may be in French only if, as the wording here goes, it “can be so conducted effectually,” and then goes on to pre-trial matters to the extent, as we said previously, that these can be accommodated at this time.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to make a few very brief comments on this amendment as moved by the Attorney General.
On second reading of the bill we originally had two misgivings about the section. The first one was that there was far too much discretion given under the original subsection in that it allowed the judge to have discretion. First of all, the bill read that court “may” allow a hearing if the court felt the hearing or part of it could “be so conducted effectually.” The Attorney General has responded to that original concern by making an amendment in the reprinted version. We readily accept that and we feel it clarifies a serious concern we had about the provisions of subsection 6.
The other one was that we felt the bill did not go far enough in the sense that it limited itself, basically, to a hearing. Our concern is that the Judicature Act talks about writs, pleadings and proceedings and in this case, we’re only talking about proceedings. We understand that again there is a practical problem involved.
My original idea on this was to suggest to the Attorney General that he allow pleadings, parts of proceedings and proceedings themselves to be in French or bilingually. But on further reflection and in discussions with members of the bar, because I know something of how the law operates, doing a bit on the side here and there, there was a realization there are indeed practical problems in having pleadings in French. To give you an example, if you have a French-speaking litigant who drafts his statement of claim in French and sends it off to the defendant in English, and he wants to be represented by English-speaking counsel, there may be a problem in them understanding exactly what the claim is all about. In that sense, it would be unfair.
I asked members of the bar in the province of Quebec how they solved that problem, and of course, they have no problem because most everybody understands both languages, including the English-speaking counsel. In Ontario, 95 per cent of the counsel, I would think, do not understand the French language so there is that practical problem.
The reverse side of the coin is that you have a litigant who has his pleadings in English being examined in the French language on his pleadings, and that can cause a problem. But in discussing it with my colleagues and the Attorney General, we felt that what we are trying to accomplish is to give services to the litigant himself, and this is where we opted again for the practical, efficient side of having a piece of legislation which is workable, which is flexible and a piece of legislation which doesn’t cause undue hardship on one side.
Of course if it does cause hardship, that’s when we get into trouble. We get a lot of headlines in newspapers, we get a lot of people saying their rights are being jeopardized in this province and in attempting to right one wrong, you may be causing others. So we were extremely careful in that area and we opted for the fact that we should put emphasis on all evidence given by a litigant.
This is where the Attorney General has moved the amendment which we fully support, the fact that in certain pre-trial discoveries or other types of pre-trial motions or proceedings where the litigant is asked to give oral evidence, he should be afforded an opportunity, if the trial is going to be in French in the first place, to be able to speak in French. If you have the transcript of a discovery which has taken place in English and you are cross-examining the individual at trial in French, there can be communication problems.
The way the amendment is drafted, where it reads that it will apply to oral evidence given in an examination for discovery or in a pre-hearing stage of the proceedings, under the circumstances at this time, is about the most practical way of proceeding. Certainly it is a step forward. It’s a practical approach, because in some counties like Prescott and Russell where counsel are mostly French, and 85 per cent of the people speak French, you get involved in a discovery and again, you’ve got to go through an interpreter. That can be annoying, not only to the litigant involved, but to counsel. In those circumstances the amendment as proposed by the Attorney General is a good one and we fully support it.
I would hate to leave comments on this legislation without saying a few words in French to the francophones in this province for whom this bill is intended.
Alors si je pouvais, Monsieur le président, mes collègues veulent que j’aille lentement, pour qu’ils puissent me comprendre un peu. Je voudrais dire tout simplement, Monsieur le président, que, comme de raison, j’avais des amendements qui allaient plus loin que les amendements qui ont été adoptés. Mais nous ne sommes pas sans comprendre que dans ce genre de législation il y a certainement des difficultés pratiques quand on s’embarque surtout dans les questions de loi et que les Franco-Ontariens sont disperses ici et là.
Certainement on a des difficultés premièrement d’avoir des avocats gui parlent français, d’avoir des juges, d’avoir du personnel de Cour, et cetera. Alors, dans ces conditions, on a accepté le bill et les amendements dans un esprit de coopération. Les trois partis ont travaillé ensemble pour essayer d’avoir un bill qui soit aussi pratique que possible dans les circonstances. Alors, Monsieur le président, nous avons ici une situation où, premièrement, le Procureur Général a accepté nos amendements au sous-article 2, où il a accepté de designer immédiatement les comtés en question; deuxièmement, il a accepté un autre amendement qui clarifiait une situation dans le sous-article 6 où la loi n’était pas très claire, ou encore, il y avait peut-être trop de flexibilité laissée aux juges qui président dans un procès.
Cette situation a été clarifiée pour que ce soit très clair qu’une fois que le juge décide qu’un procès, ou qu’une procédure peut se faire en français, que ce soit tout simplement la seule décision. Une fois qu’il décide que c’est pratique de le faire, qu’il le fasse et qu’il n’y ait pas plus de discrétion qua cela.
Finalement, Monsieur la président, nous croyons que la discrétion du juge n’est pas limitée seulement au procès comma tel, mais qua cela aurait dû aller aux procédures préliminaires et, dans ces conditions, nous croyons que pour l’enquête, l’examen au préalable et toute autre procédure, un individu qui se présente devant la plus haute Cour, que ce soit la Civile ou la Criminelle, doit avoir la possibilité, si son procès est en français, d’avoir las procédures préliminaires également en français.
Comme j’ai dit plus tôt, Monsieur le président, nous aurions aimé aller plus loin mais nous nous rendons compte que nous nous heurtons à des difficultés pratiques. Nous sommes convaincus de toute façon qu’il faut s’entendre, et que Monsieur le Procureur de la Couronne va suivre cette situation de très près.
Nous avons travaillé, les trois partis ensemble, de bonne foi, et nous faisons confiance au Procureur Général. Nous allons suivre la situation de très près et, à mesure qu’on verra du progrès, on pourra, premièrement, élargir la législation pour couvrir le plus grand nombre possible de Franco-Ontariens, et, deuxièmement, avoir aussi une législation qui pourra couvrir le plus grand nombre possible de procédures. Alors vraiment, Monsieur le président, je crois que dans les circonstances, le Bill 71 va aussi loin qu’il est pratiquement possible pour le moment.
Motion agreed to.
Subsection 6, as amended, agreed to.
On subsection 7:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. McMurtry moves that subsection 7 as contained in section 1 of the bill be amended by striking out “for the purposes of appeal” at the end thereof and inserting in lieu thereof “for all purposes.”
Mr. Sargent: Say it in French.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: One of these days I will.
Motion agreed to.
Subsection 7, as amended, agreed to.
Subsections 8 and 9 agreed to.
Section 1 agreed to.
On section 2:
Mr. Roy: Could I just make one comment on section 2? Under Bill C-42 full jurisdiction is left to the courts as to application of the provisions. I only refer to this because originally, back in 1968 when the Official Languages Act was brought into force by the then Attorney General, John Turner, certain concessions had been made to the provinces, and they would not move to enforce any of the provisions of the Official Languages Act to apply. I take it that that is what is meant by section 462.3 of Bill C-42, the federal bill.
So again, this is evidence of co-operation between the province and the federal government. Hopefully, even the provisions of Bill C-42 will be dependent upon the initiatives taken in this province. I have the assurance of the Attorney General that we are going to look at this very closely as we proceed. In fact, he can take credit for having presented his legislation before they did at the federal level. I’ll even go further and say that we will give you marks for initiating -- in fact, prodding the federal government to bring in the provisions of Bill C-42.
So, I just make these comments, Mr. Chairman, again as a reflection of the importance of co-operation between parties not only at one level but at both levels. All of us can take pride in the fact that in spite of some radicals who may be moving one way, the leadership of this country is moving in the right direction to give true meaning to the spirit of partnership of this country.
Section 2 agreed to,
Section 3 agreed to.
Bill 71, as amended, reported.
Hon. Mr Kerr moved second reading of Bill 86, An Act to amend the Coroners Act, 1972.
Mr. Stong: In rising in support of Bill 86, I would like to say to the minister that we are, on this side of the House, prepared to accept the recommendations as set out in the amendment to the Coroners Act.
However, I am wondering if the Solicitor General could answer at least two inquiries arising out of this act.
One of them involves the principle contained in section 3 of the act which limits the operation of that section and the calling of an inquest into the death of a worker as a result of an accident occurring in the course of his employment at or in a mine. I am wondering why the Solicitor General limited these accidents to those occasioned in a mine? Why not in an excavation such as a ditch where the walls cave in, or in the excavation of a building where the walls in the basement cave in, or any other type of excavation? Why is it limited to work in a mine rather than in other places where accidents can be occasioned by walls caving in and crushing the worker?
I assume the intent of this section is to cause an inquiry where death results as a result of a cave-in. Surely a cave-in or any type of accident such as that can occur, not only in a mine but in a pit or quarry, for instance, or in an excavation. Why has the Solicitor General limited it to a mine?
With respect to the other sections of the act, they are an improvement and I have no hesitation supporting them in principle. I would refer to section 11, however.
I know that section 11 of the bill is intended to clarify the words “criminal offence.” It limits the coroner being able to call a person charged with a criminal offence at an inquest. However, it does go on to say that a person charged with a criminal offence under the Criminal Code is a competent witness, but not a compellable witness.
There are two stages, as I envisage it. There could be criminal charges arising out of an incident which call for an inquiry under this act as well. Should that criminal charge be completed, I see no reason why a person cannot be not only competent but compellable at such an inquiry, providing the criminal charges have been completed. We know that the purport of this section is to protect the rights of an individual who is charged with a criminal offence before the courts and is subject to our judicial system. However, if the criminal charge has been disposed of, why is it not possible to call that individual, convicted or acquitted, at an inquest, providing his position at the trial would not be prejudiced?
Perhaps there could be problems with appeal. However, if there are no appeals in progress and the criminal charges have been disposed of, for instance, by way of plea of guilty or something of that nature, why isn’t that witness not only a competent witness but a compellable witness?
The other sections deal with notifying the crown and substitution of barristers or solicitors for the crown attorney in hearing an inquest. There is no problem with them. The bill in principle, as it has been offered, does improve the Coroners Act and to that extent I have no problem supporting it. But I do ask the Solicitor General to clarify those two areas that I have alluded to.
Mr. Lupusella: I am going to be brief in my remarks. I welcome those particular amendments introduced by the Solicitor General. As has been stated in the compendium of background material sent to us by the Solicitor General, there are a number of housekeeping amendments proposed to update the legislation.
As I stated before, those amendments are welcome, even though I am not quite pleased about particular amendments because I share the concern raised by the member for York Centre in relation to section 3 (4a). I have to complain and raise this particular criticism because in previous estimates of the Solicitor General I raised the point that all work places in the province of Ontario, defined through the statutory legislation presently existing in the province of Ontario, should have been included in that particular bill. It seems the Solicitor General didn’t pay attention to that.
I also raise the concern that in those amendments the Solicitor General was supposed to include a particular clause in order that the coroner’s office would present an annual report in the Legislature in order that all MPPs of the province of Ontario would have an opportunity to study the recommendations and find out the cause of problems based on the fact that the inquest was called in the first place. It seems that the Solicitor General had a lot of time to incorporate those particular concerns raised by me during the previous estimates.
By the way, in relation to section 3 4(a), I raised this particular concern just 10 days ago before the Solicitor General presented those amendments to the Coroners Act in the Legislature. Again, he didn’t pay attention. I would like to compliment the member for York Centre who raised this concern because on the job accidents are quite a serious problem in this province. To give you an overview of the particular situation, in 1977 we had 226 on the job fatalities in Ontario.
The Solicitor General might reply to this criticism by stating it is not in his jurisdiction to solve problems involving work places in the province of Ontario. And I might agree with him. But if we are going to use the Coroners Act to find the causes of those fatalities I think we can also use other branches of this government to tackle seriously the problem of having a safe place to work.
In 1976 we had 297 fatalities here in Ontario. Nobody knows the causes. We know workers are dying but we don’t really know who or what is responsible for their deaths. I think we can utilize those coroners’ inquests to find out the causes of the workers’ deaths. This government at least can act according to those particular recommendations if this government is really serious about fighting on the job fatalities in the province. I hope the Solicitor General and members of the official opposition party are going to accept the principles of these amendments.
I was pleased when I saw section 3 4(a) the clause that calls an inquest for those deaths taking place in the mining. Again, we have frightening figures. In 1977 we had 35 fatalities in the mines and in 1976 we had 54. The Solicitor General has an obligation, not just to those workers dying in the mines, but one which should be extended to all workers in the province. Even though in effect we are dealing with dead workers and that’s not pleasant, we must have a commitment to find the origin of the problem that caused the deaths of those workers. At the very least government can act on the coroners’ recommendations in order to plug loopholes in regulations so the fatality rate will decrease, instead of us receiving these frightening figures from one year to another.
Another concern of mine is those workers dying on farms. In 1977 there were seven fatalities and in 1976 there were 10. My particular concern is that if we incorporate in that section the principle that any work place defined by the statutory legislation presently existing in Ontario, at least we are going to have an opportunity to have an overall evaluation about those problems causing deaths in the province of Ontario. It is not a pleasant phenomenon and the government should make an effort. I do not buy any statement coming from the Solicitor General that this does not fall under his jurisdiction but is under the Minister of Labour’s jurisdiction and he doesn’t want to deal with this particular problem.
He has to show to workers in the province the obligation to study the causes in order that loopholes which exist in the work place will be covered once and for all. I hope the Liberal members will also support those amendments, so at least we will reduce those fatalities which take place from year to year.
The other point, which I raised before, is why isn’t the coroner introducing an annual report to the Legislature? We are not concerned about a particular investigation which took place and which sometimes includes confidential material. We are interested in a report which emphasizes the recommendations coming out of those investigations.
I hope the Solicitor General is going to consider this item, which has been brought to his attention in previous estimates.
I am now talking about section 15(2). I will read it for your own information: “The coroner shall direct a constable to select from a list of names of persons provided under subsection 2 of section 28 five persons who in his opinion are suitable to serve as jurors at an inquest and the constable shall summons them to attend the inquest at a time and place appointed.”
I am not convinced that it should be a constable who has the duty of appointing the jurors to be part of the coroner’s inquest. It is against the principle of the judicial process which exists in Ontario. I would like to have a practical explanation from the Solicitor General why the person who has to appoint the jurors at an inquest should be a constable.
With this I am going to conclude my remarks. We will emphasize other principles on clause by clause discussion.
Mrs. Campbell: 1 just have a few brief remarks.
I am sorry the Solicitor General did not see fit to give some opening remarks in the introduction of this bill because there are some areas which give me some concern, although, as my colleague has said, generally we accept the bill as it is before us.
One of the things I do find very difficult to accept is that portion of the bill which relates specifically to those who die as a result of an accident in a mine. It may be that my experience in mining is very limited, but I do have experience in some of those areas in an urban setting where unfortunate deaths occur.
It does seem to me it is wrong to limit that section, as it is limited, unless there is some explanation for it of which I’m totally unaware. For instance, in an urban setting we have many work places where tragic deaths occur. Off the top of my head I’m thinking of underground or tunnel workers. To me, if a death occurs in any place of business which is the result of an accident at the work place, it does seem it goes without saying there should be an investigation as to the cause.
I’ve tried to understand why this limitation is here. I don’t think the death of a workman can be parcelled out as of greater importance because it happens in one industry or another. The death of a workman is the death of a workman and has very tremendous repercussions in the community, not just for the family but right across the community. I for one am very anxious to hear the Solicitor General’s explanation of this particular section in this bill.
I don’t wish to labour my remarks beyond that point because I would hope this bill will indeed go to committee where it can have a very thorough discussion and where amendments can appropriately be made.
It seems so awful to say in any piece of legislation that, “where a worker dies as the result of an accident at or in a mine but not including a pit or quarry ... ” The death is the reality and the cause of it is a reality. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, as I said before, in the time I have been involved in public life some of the greatest difficulties of this nature have been for those engaged in tunnel work. I am sure there will be more of that kind of work.
I would invite the Solicitor General to explain the thinking of his ministry and of himself, in so far as this particular section is concerned. I would like to see that section embrace all of those who die as a result of an accident in their place of employment. That is my view of the situation.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Everywhere? Insurance offices, civil service, everywhere?
Mrs. Campbell: Let me say this, Mr. Speaker, if someone dies as a result of an accident, whether it’s on the highway or whether it’s at the place of business, the death is something which ought to be investigated because perhaps there is something badly wrong with the work place from which we could learn to prevent other such tragedies. That, surely, is what this is all about.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You are talking about an inquest in every case?
Mrs. Campbell: I’m talking about an inquest where a worker dies as a result of an accident occurring in the course of his employment.
I presume the minister is going to say to me that if somebody unfortunately slips on a banana peel in a store, perhaps there shouldn’t be an inquest. Perhaps there should be one to find out just what kind of negligence there may have been when somebody slipped on a banana peel.
You know, I am getting a little worried in this country that there seem to be people who we can kill with impunity and others we can’t kill at all with impunity. There are people who can die in an accident whose deaths automatically must be investigated. But the lives of those people have the same importance.
The lives of people in Toronto who are working in a tunnel and who die as a result of the collapse of a tunnel are just as important -- and I say this with the greatest respect to my friends from the north -- as a miner who dies as a result of an accident in a mine. I don’t denigrate the miner, either, when I say that. I just don’t understand the thinking, and I would like to have clarification of that particular point.
Mr. Bounsall: I rise to make the same points which the previous speaker and my colleague the member for Dovercourt have made with respect to that important point in an otherwise forward-looking bill. Whenever a worker dies as a result of an accident a coroner’s inquest should automatically and immediately follow. In justice one cannot discriminate between accidents in the work place.
The minister now clearly knows, as a result of the short debate we have already had today, that both opposition parties have this point of view and no doubt will be supportive of an amendment in this regard. It is very reasonable that a bill dealing with coroners’ inquests into accidental death, this narrow sense only of a worker in a mine should be extended to all accidental deaths of workers at any work place.
One would think that, having already sensed this, the minister would be looking for reasons to agree rather than, as he did in the course of the last speaker’s remarks, become defensive about the whole matter and toss out comments such as, “Do you mean in an office building?” Well, sure. If there’s been an accidental death of a worker in that office building that should be the subject of a coroner’s inquest without any argument at all.
If I could refer to section 7 of this amendment bill, which deals with section 17, subsections (b) and (c) of the act, any coroner worth his or her salt, looking at subsection (b) would do an inquest anyway.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Is the word “salt” in the bill?
Mr. Bounsall: This is the section which deals with the coroner having regard to if and when he will order an inquest. Subsection (b) says, “the desirability of the public being fully informed of the circumstances of the death through an inquest.” I can’t conceive of the public not being, not only just interested but needing to be informed of --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You leave that discretion with the coroner.
Mr. Bounsall: -- not why the person died at his safe place of employment, whatever that may be, but the circumstances that gave rise to that death.
Any coroner in this province should automatically under subsection (b) of section 17 of the act order an inquest. Anything that turned up at that inquest would be very useful, when the reason is pinpointed, as it would be in an inquest in seeing that steps be taken to prevent further accidents of that kind. It would help ensure that measures are taken either by a health and safety committee of the work place, which didn’t realize the danger in it, or by the company, which didn’t pay sufficient attention perhaps to the dangers involved which gave rise to the accident. Any pressures such as having it made public would cause them to take notice and would definitely be worth while.
Certainly, under subsection (c) of section 17a of this amendment, it states the coroner shall have regard to “the likelihood that the jury on an inquest might make useful recommendations directed to the avoidance of death in similar circumstances.” Surely that makes it virtually automatic that every coroner in this province, in every situation of a death in the work place, would surely have some suspicion that a jury may be able to make useful recommendations directed at the avoidance of death in a similar circumstance in that particular hospital, in that particular school, in that particular office building, or that particular farm, in that factory, in that shop, or on that construction site.
It’s very straightforward to say, the worker fell off a scaffold and fell X many feet and that’s the cause of death. The point is that inquest would indicate why that worker fell off that scaffold, it would be important to his fellow workers in the work place on that construction site to know fully the circumstances surrounding that particular death and to the construction company to also know whether they were or were not negligent. If they were negligent, they would know how they should be changing their safety environment on that site in order that may not occur again.
It seems to me so very obvious this should happen that I don’t know why the minister sits there and, in some agitation now, fights the suggestion this should take place. It is inevitably going to turn up now, with both opposition parties favouring it in one form or another, as part of this bill.
I don’t know why they picked out mining in particular and indicated that would be the only appropriate place in which an inquest should be held. Certainly last year there were 35 deaths in the mining industry out of a total of 228. That 15 per cent figure does represent mining as having a higher proportion of deaths of the number of workers involved in the work place. In 1976 there were 54 deaths in mining out of a total 297 deaths. That 18 per cent figure again indicates mining is a more hazardous operation than other occupations one could engage in, in the province of Ontario.
In 1976 there were 243 other work place deaths. Surely, a coroner’s inquest and a coroner’s jury would have interesting things to say about virtually every one of those deaths. Last year 191 deaths occurred in places other than the mining industry. One should definitely have an interest in determining the whys and the wherefores of those accidental deaths.
I say to the minister, when he and his staff decided they would only leave mining in this bill, did they go through the work places by occupation to see which were the other high hazard areas at all? How did they determine to choose only mines?
I know the figure for mining is high, but surely there are other areas which are demonstrably high. I would like the minister to reply to that. What figures in all of these other areas caused the minister to say those deaths aren’t high enough in that particular area of work and therefore would be excluded from this section of the bill in terms of having an inquest and a coroner’s jury? Even if there’s only been one death in a particular area, I would say that was one too many, since useful suggestions can be made as to the avoidance of another fatality in the future by laying out clearly the details.
In farming in 1976, there were 10 deaths in the work place and in 1977, seven; that’s certainly well and sufficient to ensure that farming should be looked at. An inquest in every case, without giving it a second thought. Even if there is a work place which has been virtually free from accidental deaths there is no reason why that should not be included.
Mr. Speaker: If I may interrupt the honourable member, perhaps this would be a good time for him to sort of recess his remarks. By mutual agreement, we had agreed to recess at 5 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, If I may just make some reference, I know you are going to call the supper break now as agreed. When we resume at 8 o’clock, we’ll carry on with the second reading of this bill. Following it getting second reading we’ll do the second order, which is budget debate, for the balance of the evening session.
The House recessed at 5 p.m.