The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure that all honourable members will wish to join me in welcoming to our gallery the secretary general of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Sir Robin Vanderfelt. Sir Robin is in Canada for consultations with officials of various parliaments and to attend the first conference of Atlantic parliamentarians being held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, next week.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Today I wish to indicate the government’s general intentions with regard to providing an acceptable form of protection to the tenants of Ontario. This is to ensure that there may be some predictability for landlords and tenants and to erase any fears that tenants may have as the expiry of the rent review program approaches.
We promised continued tenant protection in the throne speech in March last year. We then laid out the fundamentals of continuing tenant protection in the February green paper. We distributed that green paper free of charge to the public, and widely; and provided a forum to allow full participation and discussion for both tenants and landlords by establishing an all-party committee of this House.
I wish to announce today that the government will introduce legislation in the fall to incorporate the following fundamental principles: continuation of an improved rent review program until December 31, 1980; the guideline for rent increases to remain at six per cent until December 31, 1979; a tribunal to be established with jurisdiction to handle all residential landlord and tenant matters; the new scheme to permit calculations other than simple cost passthrough when computing rent, including reference to comparative rents and the special conditions of landlords who are suffering real losses.
Members will remember our commitment to continue tenant protection. It was this government which last fall lowered the rent in- crease guideline to six per cent.
Mr. S. Smith: I remember what the Premier (Mr. Davis) said to me.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I also singled out the tribunal concept as being a basic factor of the entire program. Therefore, the government is pleased to see the committee’s support of these fundamentals.
The government wants to substantially improve landlord and tenant relations in this province. The tribunal, we feel will accomplish this by providing quick and easy mediation, arbitration and adjudication of all landlord and tenant matters.
Mr. Makarchuk: Larry, the Speaker is at the other side of the room.
Mr. Nixon: Raise your chin a bit; the cameras aren’t getting it at a good angle.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: One act, one tribunal, one ministry.
Mr. Nixon: That’s better.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The keystone of our new tenant protection legislation will be simplicity, speed and equity for landlords and tenants. Landlords should not have to wait three months to evict a tenant who is not paying rent --
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier should read his own interjections on Monday.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Your caucus is embarrassed. The member for Lincoln (Mr. Hall) is embarrassed. I have no problems.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There will be ample time for an exchange during question period.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- nor should a tenant have to wait three months to have the heat restored in an apartment. Also, there should be only one rent review hearing per building per year, instead of a series of hearings every few months.
These are some of our starting points, and we will move immediately to legislate these principles. The legislation will be ready in September for introduction in October.
On May 25 I addressed the problem of the 90-day notice landlords are required to give tenants for any proposed rent increase. I indicated at that time that we would await the committee’s report. Therefore, today I am also announcing that I will be introducing an amendment to extend the current legislation to February 28, 1979.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment the members of the all-party committee, all of whom signed the report, I am happy to note, difficult as it was for some of them.
Mr. Kerrio: It makes you responsible whether you want to be or not.
Mr. Nixon: A very hard-working, conscientious group.
Mr. MacDonald: There was certainly difficulty for your side of the House.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The report is a good one, the product of several weeks of intense work and pressure. They have played, individually and collectively, an important part in this process. I regret, as I know they do, that they have not yet been able to develop a gradual, long-term decontrol program. I urge them and other members of the assembly to continue to address this problem over the next few months, as an adequate supply of housing in an open-market system is the best tenant protection.
I hope this statement will assure tenants that they will be protected, and assure landlords that the continuing program will be an improved one.
Mr. Speaker: Before we proceed with oral questions, I want to remind honourable members that we have two other very distinguished guests in our gallery in the person of His Excellency General Edmundo Ibanez, the Ambassador of Bolivia to Canada, accompanied by Mr. Roland Arellano, Consul General of Bolivia in Toronto. Would you welcome them to our assembly.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. S. Smith: I would like to address a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Has the minister given to the Milk Commission of Ontario the obligation and the authority to monitor on a continuing basis the types and amounts of discounts given by fluid milk processors and distributors to their various customers in order to assess the effect of that practice on the structure and competitiveness of the industry; and if he has, in fact, given that authority to the milk commission, why has he not tabled with our committee the results of their ongoing monitoring?
Mr. Turner: Have a select committee
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the milk commission does not, on an ongoing basis, monitor the price of milk.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Given that the minister himself has read or should have read the report of the Inquiry on Wholesale and Retail Pricing Practices for Fluid Milk in Ontario 1971-75, from the Milk Commission of Ontario inquiry, addressed to the Honourable William G. Newman, February 8, 1977, and given that their recommendation 2(b) was as follows; “The Milk Commission of Ontario should monitor on a continuing basis the types and amounts of discounts given by fluid milk processors and distributors to their various customers and assess the effect of this practice on the structure and competitiveness of the industry,” which was a recommendation which followed a report indicating some very questionable practices indeed at the processor-to-retail level, why has the minister ignored the report of the milk commission? Why is there not this ongoing monitoring that would have clarified the situation?
Hon. W. Newman: With reference to the report that was done by the Ontario Milk Commission following the inquiry that was held, I think if the Leader of the Opposition will read all that report, which I don’t have in front of me -- and it’s quite a lengthy report -- he will find that in effect they have said that the markups in the price of milk are not undue or unfair as far as the consumer in this province is concerned.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Since the milk commission does not normally monitor prices beyond the milk board, because that is free and open in the market the minister espouses, but since the food council does monitor prices or has a statutory obligation to do so, would the minister please explain to this House how the chairman of the food council could tell the committee the other night that he didn’t even know about the discount processes, when it is contained in a report of that nature and is his responsibility to monitor food prices to some degree?
Hon. W. Newman: I think that is a little bit inaccurate. If I recall the comments of the chairman of the Ontario Food Council the other night, he said that on anything that was brought to his attention, and in some cases on matters that were not brought to his attention specifically, he took the appropriate action. He documented that back to 1972, if I remember correctly, and again in 1974 and in 1977.
He may have documented some other cases where they did see an undesirable practice, where they did move in and where they were able to resolve that particular situation.
Mr. MacDonald: Is the minister talking about milk discounts?
Hon. W. Newman: I’m talking about the situation that was brought to his attention.
Mr. MacDonald: The milk discounts?
Hon. W. Newman: Not milk discounts, no.
Mr. MacDonald: On a point of order: My question was dealing specifically with milk discounts. The minister has gone off and talked about a lot of other irrelevant things.
Hon. W. Newman: As far as milk discounts are concerned, no, but the member asked about the Ontario Food Council monitoring food prices. Hansard will show that.
Mr. Warner: The minister is irrelevant.
Mr. Makarchuk: We are talking about milk.
Mr. MacDonald: The question was about milk discounts.
Mr. Makarchuk: The stuff you get out of a cow.
Hon. W. Newman: Any individual or any group that doesn’t like the things that are done by the Ontario Milk Marketing Board which has control over milk supplies from the producer --
Mr. MacDonald: Answer the question.
Hon. W. Newman: Will you just be quiet for once in your life? Just try it. You’ve never stopped since joining the committee.
Mr. MacDonald: Answer the question.
Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Don’t be disturbed by that asphalt farmer.
Mr. McClellan: You are confused.
Mr. Martel: What asphalt?
Hon. B. Stephenson: That asphalt farmer.
Hon. W. Newman: There is an appeal process that people can take to the Ontario Milk Commission if they are not satisfied with what happens. There is an appeal process available and open to them.
Mr. MacDonald: The minister hasn’t answered the question.
Hon. W. Newman: And, by the way, those appeal processes are open to the public as well.
Mr. MacDonald: The minister hasn’t answered the question. He has deliberately evaded the question.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, is the minister saying to this House that the reason he has ignored the recommendations of the inquiry which were addressed to him --
An hon. member: He never even read them.
Mr. Pope: You are a grandstander.
Mr. S. Smith: -- in 1977 and the reason he has ignored their requests for ongoing monitoring facilities is that in his view the report disclosed nothing unusual? If that is what he is saying, how does he account for the fact that in this report they report on 18 per cent discounts in the dairy industry, situations where processors whose chain discounts are almost three times the discounts given to independents, certain situations where favoured customers were offered discounts where others were not and a number of other practices so questionable that the milk commission asked the minister for power to monitor all the pricing arrangements? Why did he refuse them that power and why has he neglected to comply with what this inquiry asked of him?
Hon. W. Newman: I think there were 14 recommendations in that report. The member has it in front of him, I have forgotten the exact number of recommendations.
I think we acted on most of the recommendations in that report. I think, to summarize the total report, the inquiry indicated at that time that things were not excessive and were not out of line.
Mr. MacDonald: Since milk is normally deemed to be a food, and the food council has responsibility for monitoring prices throughout the whole chain of the food industry will the minister indicate to me specifically how the chairman of the food council could indicate the other night that he wasn’t even aware of the discount in milk after that report?
Mr. S. Smith: That’s exactly what he said.
Hon. W. Newman: As far as discounts are concerned, I think he went on at some length the other night to explain, under questioning by the member and by the Leader of the Opposition, about the discounts that had been dealt with -- milk or otherwise. Wherever he thought there was a problem or an undesirable fact he moved in on the situation.
He basically acts on complaints. That is exactly what life is all about. We are not on a witch-hunt for anyone -- no. If there is certain information that is coming forward on a confidential basis, and there is a problem, we will look at it.
Mr. MacDonald: There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Mr. Eaton: You should know.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order: To set the record straight, the minister mentioned 14 recommendations. There are precisely four recommendations. The one I read to the minister starts: “We believe it is imperative that there be a continuing assessment of recommendation number two.” Why did the minister ignore that recommendation? He obviously has no answer. I doubt If he has even read the report.
Mr. MacDonald: It’s a copout.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, he is talking on a point of order. I would point out to this House that there are other recommendations in there too. The member should read the rest of the darn report -- “darn” I said, sir.
We have been on an inquiry for some time now, where all these questions were able to be asked; we have dealt with them. We will be continuing next Tuesday night. I am just a little bit appalled that the Leader of the Opposition is taking the time of the House when the committee will have had a total of about 35 to 40 hours to deal with this matter. Yet some members are coming here and pulling out the milk commission report --
Mr. MacDonald: It is time to appoint a minister of food. We will continue forever.
Hon. W. Newman: Sure I know about the report, but read the summary and the finalization of the report. Does the member want us to go out and hold everybody’s hand in this province in the private-sector free-enterprise system? If these members believe in controlled retail prices, they should get up and say so.
Mr. S Smith: I did.
Mr. S. Smith: I will direct this question to the Premier, Mr. Speaker. Since we all know how unhappily he finds himself now, having to espouse continuing rent review, and since we know too that he wishes to have --
Mr. Yakabuski: Flip, flop.
Mr. S. Smith: Was the member not in the House the other day when he made his comments about that? He should have listened to him. He is the Premier.
Mr. Speaker: I must remind all honourable members that this is a question period.
Mr. S. Smith: Little as the member may think of him, he is his leader. The member should listen to him sometime.
Since we realize that rental housing will have to be built if we are to get out of rent control at any point, is it the government’s intention to announce target levels of new rental starts for major metropolitan centres? Is the government prepared to make a specific commitment to increase the supply of portable rental housing?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I listened very carefully to what I said the other day and I have paid great attention to the rather contradictory and strange emanations from the official opposition on this very difficult subject.
Mr. Nixon: I see you have adopted our plan holus bolus.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk --
Mr. Speaker: He didn’t ask the question. Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have difficulty ignoring him.
To say that the government, as everybody’s big brother, is going to establish goals which the private sector must, I assume under his plan, by legislation, meet -- I don’t think that’s the proper route or procedure for the government of this province to go. To suggest that we can say X thousand units will be the objective, say, in Metropolitan Toronto, and that in some way we are going to legislate the private sector into building that number of units, I would have to say to the Leader of the Opposition that I think that really is beyond the capacity of even this government; and our capacities are not limited -- but I don’t think I can give him that kind of undertaking.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, pointing out what the Premier said on June 12: “... even the program being advocated by that great free-enterprise Liberal Party of Ontario which is advocating” --
Mr. S. Smith: I’m quoting the Premier.
Mr. Nixon: These are the Premier’s words. You were applauding them last week.
Mr. S. Smith: I admit the Premier’s words are laughable, but they are his words, nonetheless -- “which is advocating its continuation for another two years, even knowing it will prejudice the tenants and the development of new accommodation in the province of Ontario, I think.”
Mr. Nixon: Now precisely your program.
Mr. S. Smith: So on June 12, such a two- year extension would prejudice the tenants in the development of new accommodation. Today, the government is proud to make it its program. I’m delighted to hear that. But what I do want to know, since we all want to have some more rental housing built, is basically whether the Premier is aware of proposed changes in the ARP program, changes which have disturbed the city of Toronto because it would make mortgage money a little more expensive than it is at the moment. Has the government, through the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), opposed these suggested changes in ARP and will it set targets? Will it also demand that ARP remain unchanged, if not improved?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course, governments can always set targets. As I understood the Leader of the Opposition’s question, I assumed he meant -- and I think he did -- that we would set certain targets which we would then commit ourselves as a government to meet. What the Leader of the Opposition does not understand on this issue is that we are totally committed to the reasonable protection of tenants.
We also know that if the development industry, and while the Liberal Party, like the NDP, would probably take over the development industry --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure they would, sure they would. It’s the only way they can meet some of the things they’ve said.
-- the development industry has to have some understanding that at some point in time we will be out of a total control mechanism. The members opposite know it. The member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) knows it because he’s said as much to some of the people in the development industry.
Mr. Breithaupt: Don’t adopt our policy if you don’t like it.
Mrs. Campbell: It is not a controlled mechanism and the Premier knows it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You people have tried to have it both ways for the last four months. And you’ve got caught. You’ve been caught. The people in the industry know you’ve been caught.
This government is committed to doing everything it can to encourage the development of rental accommodation.
Mr. S. Smith: “Prejudice the tenants and the development” -- I quote.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only suggest to the members opposite that some of their activities have not made that task any easier.
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier’s words are in Hansard. Read Hansard, June 12.
Mr. Nixon: Four days ago.
Mr. Speaker: Only one person has the floor and that’s the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: In an attempt to clarify the difference in the answer which we had the first time from the Premier and the second time, perhaps he could explain whether or not he is rejecting two of the most important recommendations from the committee report -- namely, that a committee of this Legislature, either a standing committee or any other committee, be formed to look as quickly as possible at the need for adequate quality and quantity of rental housing and to include looking at the financing and mortgage aspect of the housing market, land banking and corporate land holdings, housing and maintenance standards, the capacity of --
Mr. Havrot: Did you ever own one? Did you ever own an apartment building?
Mr. Warner: -- the private and non-profit and public sectors to provide affordable housing and so on and other details that are included? Is the Premier rejecting that as a reasonable approach to try to solve the problem of housing in this province?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not rejecting anything. I can make one or two observations. I don’t in any way minimize the capacity of a standing committee or a select committee to deal with some issues. However, I would suggest that this particular issue has been discussed at some length. There are certain aspects in the report that have been debated in this House. The New Democrats can talk about land banking and all of these things, and it’s intriguing.
I would only say to the member that there is sufficient land and there are sufficient registered lots in terms of rental accommodation. What is necessary is to see that there is some expectation of a reasonable rate of return.
Mr. Martel: That is what happened in 1971.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That was the philosophy that gave us until recently one of the highest qualities of residential accommodation in any jurisdiction on this continent. The people across the House, if they’re not careful, are only going to make the situation more difficult. That’s the problem we face in attempting to come to solutions.
Mr. Makarchuk: That is a lot of baloney.
Mr. Martel: That is why you introduced rent control.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Since the question of return on investment is really what is behind the assisted rental program, I’m asking the Premier again, is he familiar with the changes suggested by the federal government in the assisted rental program? That is a very important program. Compared mere. to the previous ARP, the new program would build in increases about one per cent higher, or seven per cent higher in additional operating cost increases. Toronto is very worried about that. What I am asking the Premier is, has the Minister of Housing discussed this at the recent conference and has Ontario taken a stand on the proposed change in the assisted rental program, which I think would be very harmful?
Hon. Mr. Davis: This was discussed by the ministers. The Minister of Housing of this province will be making a statement, probably on Monday, dealing with a number of issues that emerged from the conference. I could only say to the Leader of the Opposition, with some slight knowledge of what went on, and some slight knowledge of the federal programs, that the people of this province can be very grateful that we have a Minister of Housing who knows something about housing.
Mr. Warner: The minister without housing.
Mr. Breithaupt: He lives in one.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The federal programs, I would hope, will be adjusted to reflect the realities that do exist in this province.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Is the Premier aware of the fact that the tenants’ presentations dwelt, on many occasions, on the availability of affordable housing and not the availability of housing? Is the Premier aware, taking into account current land costs, financing costs, et cetera, that it is impossible for the private developer or any developer to build rental accommodation today at prices people can afford?
In view of that fact, what initiatives is the government prepared to undertake in order to ensure that there is affordable housing available and not just housing available?
Mr. Havrot: Make them out of cardboard.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the honourable member is referring specifically, as the committee was in dealing with it, to the question of rental accommodation, I think the answer to that is partially within the assisted rental program and partially within one’s definition of what one means by affordable, location, et cetera. All I’m saying to the members opposite is that the present situation does not really give the expectation of resolving this problem the way people opposite are approaching it.
Mr. Makarchuk: They can’t build affordable housing.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not going to argue for a moment the degree of affordability. We all know, whether it’s rental accommodation or tingle-family units or even townhouses, that the question of affordability is difficult. I would only say to the honourable member that there are some basic reasons for this and some for which people of his philosophy have to take some responsibility.
Mr. Martel: We didn’t create the problem.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Part of the reason for the housing costs in this province today --
Mr. Makarchuk: You are the government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure, we’ll take some of our responsibility.
Mr. Nixon: It is your legislation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I happen to know that part of the reason is the question of delay. The questions that people in the member’s party raise are those of their philosophical instincts that lead to delays in the registration of plans -- and subdivisions.
Mr. Makarchuk: The Premier just said there was availability and that all sorts of lots were available. He is not even consistent.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They would have environmental hearings and delays for every project in this province if they had their way. They certainly would.
Mr. Warner: That’s your fault.
Hon. Mr. Davis: People of their philosophy are partially the authors of our present difficulties; that’s the simple point I am trying to make.
Mr. Makarchuk: You just said there are lots available.
Mr. Nixon: Slippery Bill.
Mr. S. Smith: You’ve been the government for 35 years.
Mr. Martel: When the Premier is throwing around responsibility for the housing crisis --
Some hon. members: Question.
Mr. Martel: -- he should remember that the Tories have been in power for some 30 years and they are the people responsible for that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In answer to that question --
Some hon. members: Down, down.
Mr. Breithaupt: One at a time, please. Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought it was a question to me.
Mr. Martel: No, it was just an aside, a reminder. The Tories were the ones in power; not us. They shouldn’t try to put the blame here.
Mr. Turner: Do you want to make a speech, Elie?
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH CENTRES
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Labour: In a release from her ministry dated June 12, the following was stated:
“Four occupational health and safety resource centres have been established throughout the province to assist in the identification, monitoring and control of work-related hazards. The centres are established at the University of Waterloo, serving Waterloo-Kitchener-Cambridge ... Queen’s University, serving eastern Ontario ... and the Sudbury basin (with emphasis on mining); the University of Western Ontario and Lakehead ... ”
Was the Ministry of Labour or other ministries responsible or involved in the initiatives that led to the establishment of the four occupational health centres in Waterloo, Kingston, Western and Lakehead?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, may I ask whether that’s an aside or a question?
Mr. Martel: It’s anything you want. I am not at liberty to answer.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Thank you. Obviously it’s a question.
Mr. Speaker, the honourable members must understand that the funding for this program comes through the Provincial lottery --
Mr. Wildman: So you decide on the universities by lottery too. Is that it?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- the grant that is allotted to the Ministry of Labour for the purposes of research and education or projects in occupational health and safety.
I think the honourable members should understand as well that the recommendations for the allotment of these funds is established by a totally independent, non-governmental committee which gives the granting committee advice about this. The recommendations are based upon the presentations and applications of the various universities involved and the degree of commitment to the principles of teaching occupational health and safety at the paraprofessional level in order to help us to improve our capability in this area.
The decisions were made by the granting committee, the awards committee, of the Ministry of Labour portion of the lottery fund. They were certainly made with a great deal of thought and a great deal of consideration.
I could tell the honourable member that we looked at a number of applications. Some universities did not submit applications in this area, and some community colleges did not apply as well, but we have looked at various places. If the honourable member is disturbed about having the Queen’s program tied to Sudbury, I would remind him that there has been a traditional relationship between the faculty of medicine and the faculty of engineering at Queen’s and the Sudbury area in terms of teaching and educational programs.
I would also remind him that there is a centre at Thunder Bay, which is most certainly in northern Ontario. We might consider some other area such as Timmins or North Bay or some others, in the future, but the amount of money that we had allotted to us provided us with four centres and these appeared to be the most appropriate for the purposes.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: With laryngeal cancer now established as coming out of Inco; with cancer of the lungs a problem from the sintering plant at Sudbury; with bronchial problems three times higher in the smelter in Sudbury than anywhere else in the province; with more than 800 cases of industrial deafness in northeastern Ontario; with numerous cases of cancer of the lung coming out of Elliot Lake; with silicosis rampant in Elliot Lake and other mining areas -- and the minister is going to jump on the word “rampant,” but it’s much more rampant than anywhere else -- can she tell me why she would not locate this type of facility in the area predominant in mining rather than go to Queen’s University, which doesn’t have a mine within 100 miles of it, to check out, as the ministry’s release says, “identification, monitoring and control of work-related hazards”? Why wouldn’t the ministry go to Sudbury and establish there, where the real source of the problem is, and not at Queen’s?
Mr. Hodgson: Quit showing off, Elie.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is obviously labouring under a misapprehension.
Mr. Martel: I am not labouring under any misapprehension.
Hon. B. Stephenson: These centres are centres for the education of individuals who will be involved in monitoring, who will be involved in training, who will be involved in investigating the problems.
I would remind the honourable member that, indeed, there has been very close cooperation between the medical school at Queen’s University -- which is a very good medical school and which is, indeed, concerned about these problems -- and Laurentian University, and that co-operation is part of the reason for the award of that amount of funding to Queen’s University, because of their close relationship.
It seemed to me that the kind of programs which they lad established in the past, which have served that area very well, will be an excellent basis for training --
Mr. Martel: In whose opinion?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and for education of those people who need to be trained for the Sudbury region to do the monitoring. That is the reason for it.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am always supportive of Sudbury and there you go attacking Kingston.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Could I ask if the minister might go back and review this particular decision a little more carefully? Might it perhaps not be the peculiar insensitivity which some of the major southern university communities can have occasionally about the desperate need to locate in and serve at source in the north, rather than forever training at Queen’s people who then have to come back to Sudbury but who are indigenous to Sudbury at the outset? Does she not understand and do they not understand that Sudbury has been the focus for the entire occupational health controversy in this province, so why can she not set a resource centre in Sudbury? Doesn’t that make sense?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in the first place, the decision was made, recommended strongly, by a group of knowledgeable people who are not just from southern Ontario. They are from all over the province but they are extremely knowledgeable people.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, they served at southern universities.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Secondly, it may be the view that all of the occupational health and safety problems are lodged in Sudbury or that it has provided a major need for impetus in this area -- and that is probably so traditionally -- hut I would remind the member that this is a program for education and the education is going to take place in Sudbury. It is not going to take place in Kingston.
Mr. Lewis: Where is it going to take place?
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is going to take place in the related division, the co-operative division in Sudbury, in Laurentian University, because of this co-operative program. It is not a treatment facility, it is not an investigation facility, it is a training facility, and most of the people who will be taking that training will, indeed, probably come from the Sudbury basin.
Mr. Lewis: And they will take it at Queen’s.
Hon. B. Stephenson: They won’t take it at Queen’s, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: Of course they will. That is where the resource centre is.
Mr. Rotenberg: Why don’t you listen? Why don’t you listen once in a while? You know it all.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The resource centre is the co-ordinator of the program, providing the staff for the program and the expertise for the program. Except for certain areas of that program, most of the training will take place in the Sudbury area.
Mr. Martel: In view of the fact that, having spoken to the president of the university, Dr. Henry Best, yesterday afternoon, and he feels that Laurentian is merely a periphery to the whole program --
Mr. Lewis: Of course. How can they do otherwise?
Mr. Martel: -- and in view of the fact that the minister does not allow for any area 01 northeastern Ontario to be covered off, as she has outlined in her statement, that the other localities will serve northwestern Ontario, southwestern Ontario, eastern Ontario, and the Metro Toronto area, who is going to be responsible for the rest of northeastern Ontario, in view of the fact that there is no one there?
Ms. Gigantes: Sudbury always is.
Mr. Wildman: Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. Martel: Would the minister, therefore, alter her decision and put in the Sudbury area the type of facility that is necessary?
Mr. Havrot: That’s a good way to make good headlines --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this is a training resource centre, it is not a treatment resource centre.
Mr. Lewis: That’s where the problem is.
Mr. Turner: Don’t you understand?
Hon. B. Stephenson: If there is more money forthcoming from the Provincial funds we may, indeed, have applications from other community colleges or universities, and we would be most encouraged if that were to happen.
Mr. Lewis: Yon are going to do all your training in Sudbury; why don’t you put your resource centre there?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We would also look very favourably upon those applications. At the moment, with the allotment which is available to us, it has been distributed to the greatest advantage of those areas where, indeed, major problems exist and where the facilities --
Mr. Lewis: Yes, where the clout is. Queen’s has the clout versus Laurentian.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, indeed, where the expertise and the commitment of individuals to helping in training people to solve occupational health and safety problems rather than simply blow them up, is situated.
Ms. Gigantes: Why don’t you find some professionals to go to Sudbury and set up a program?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I think the program which is being established at Queen’s is an excellent program which will incorporate, in an integral fashion, Laurentian University. I do not in any way denigrate the programs which have been funded by the awards committee of the Provincial lottery. If there is more money available, then certainly we’ll look favourably on others.
ELLIOT LAKE HOUSING
Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Housing: In view of the extremely rapid growth in Elliot Lake, which has created many serious problems in housing and in the variety of services which are available, can the minister indicate what planning took place by the municipal government, the provincial government and the industry before that boom which has exacerbated the problems started recently?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that there had been some discussions with the municipal council and with the provincial member and, indeed, with the industry. The industry, as the honourable member knows, is in the process of developing a number of housing units to satisfy, I trust, to the greatest extent possible the needs for housing of its own employees.
Mr. Wildman: Build the Granary Lake road.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: At the same time, as the member will recall, the government entered into a contract to establish a senior citizens’ residence in that particular community. As a result of some findings more than a year ago, the project was brought to a standstill until it had been reviewed and investigated. I can report to the House that just about a week ago, as a result of some redrafting of the design characteristics of the building, we have entered into a construction contract to commence the senior citizens’ development.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the shortage is so critical that workers cannot find places to stay, even to rent --
Mr. Wildman: They are living in basements.
Mr. Martel: -- can the minister indicate if there are any plans in order to speed up the construction so that workers can bring their wives to Elliot Lake and stay there? The case is that the changeover is so rapid now that there is no steady work force.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: There are several people proposing development and subdivision work, not only in Elliot Lake but also in communities adjacent to Elliot Lake. My understanding is that those proposal are being advanced as quickly as possible. I am also of the understanding that the councils of the communities in which they are located have been co-operating with the developers and the province of Ontario in frying to finalize the subdivision plans as far as servicing is required. I cannot give a specific date for commencement of construction.
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Since the minister is interested in the subdivision developments being proposed for adjoining communities, would he urge upon the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) and the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) the necessity of completing the Granary Lake road in order to enable workers to commute easily from the North Shore to Elliot Lake?
LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEWS
Mr. Sterling: I have a question of the Premier.
Mr. Martel: Oh, you are in trouble, Bill.
Mr. Sterling: In view of the statement made yesterday, relating to the Mayo report, wherein the Treasurer stated that many issues in the white paper issued by the Treasurer in May remained contentious, and in view of the fact that the townships of Goulbourn, March and Nepean have agreed to the creation of a new western city, would the Premier and his cabinet consider bringing forth a bill dealing only with that particular matter, as it is a cloud in the air at this time for the residents of those municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I understand the member’s very real interest in this. I will discuss with the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) the possibility of dealing with only a portion of the report. I would say to the honourable member that the difficulty the government has is to take a particular recommendation out of one of these reviews and implement it, at the same time leaving other matters for further study and discussion. However, I understand there is some real support for this in the area affected.
Mr. Cunningham: That’s never stopped you before.
Hon. Mr. Davis: While it does create problems, and while I certainly can’t give the honourable member any commitment or any decision today, I will explore this with the Treasurer during the early part of the week.
Mr. Bradley: A supplementary: When the Premier is taking that course of action into consideration, would he be prepared to do the same in the regional municipality of Niagara? Perhaps he would consider bringing in a bill which would include those noncontroversial items which have been generally agreed upon in the region? Then St. Catharines, for instance, could move towards a more lust number of seats in the regional council -- namely seven. There are a couple of other housekeeping items on the bill as well.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The very able House leader --
Mr. Conway: And Deputy Premier -- the Premier forgot that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and one who is still very interested in the great city of St. Catharines, has already been discussing this with his colleagues in cabinet.
Mr. Conway: The last Tory in the peninsula.
Hon. Mr. Davis: So the point the honourable member has raised, with respect, has been very reasonably and adequately dealt with by the House leader --
Mr. di Santo: Dispense, dispense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and the member’s next- door neighbour and one still genuinely interested in the welfare of the citizens of St. Catharines.
An hon. member: And the Premier has agreed with him, has he?
Hon. Mr. Davis: When is the honourable member going to ask about Hamilton?
Mr. S. Smith: I am going to ask those questions publicly from now on.
Ms. Gigantes: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I’d like to ask the Premier, while he is requesting of the Treasurer that consideration be given to moving ahead with those agreed-upon items in March and Goulbourn townships, whether he would also take a look at the request that was made by Gloucester township in January for an addition of two members to the five-person council? The Treasurer had asked the OMB to delay proceeding with the consideration of that request pending the bringing in of a package of legislation under the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Act. Would the Premier ask the Treasurer to take a look at that motion and see if he could unblock it and get it moving before the time for setting up of municipal elections in Gloucester?
Mr. Conway: The Premier knew Evelyn lived in Rockcliffe Park.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think we’re always prepared to look at anything. It’s just a question of what real expectation of some of these changes being made one should generate. However, I will bring that to the Treasurer’s attention. I think it’s always helpful if we can deal with these in a total sense but --
Mr. di Santo: How would you handle this in the cabinet now?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- on two or three of them, consensus has not been achieved. I think the honourable member understands this, particularly as it relates to one or two issues that she doesn’t ask us to move upon, as I understand it. I understand that she canvassed pretty well the whole community of Rockcliffe, committing herself to seeing that they are preserved. I understand that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We know.
Hon. Mr. Davis: She doesn’t say as much here in the House but we do get this sort of information.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We’re sneaky.
Mr. Martel: She did better than the government’s candidate did there.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We knew what the honourable member was doing.
Mr. Conway: Is the Treasurer still going to cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Such crass support of a class-structure community. I’m surprised at the honourable member. She has been fooling around with the rich people of Rockcliffe.
Ms. Gigantes: There are fine people in that community. Don’t you --
GARDEN CITY SKYWAY
Mr. Bradley: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Taking into consideration the tragic fatal accident that occurred on the Garden City Skyway on June 7, and several accidents that have taken place -- the most recent accident being where a truck broke through the guard rail and fell several feet below, where the driver was killed -- is the minister prepared to adopt some or all of the recommendations of St. Catharines coroner, Dr. David Lorenzen? Those recommendations included lowering the speed limit on the skyway, posting new signs saying: “Pavement slippery when wet,” investigating the flow of water on the bridge during rainstorms and possibly altering it, and installing horizontal steel rails along the fencelike guardrail on the edge of this bridge?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have not received those recommendations yet from the coroner. They may be in the ministry, but they certainly have not come to my attention. I’ll be pleased to look at them when I do get them.
Mr. Bradley: A supplementary: Does the minister have within his ministry any other studies that have taken place previous to this most recent accident which would indicate that the Garden City Skyway has some special circumstances on it which make it particularly dangerous when weather conditions are bad?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Not to my knowledge. I have not had anything in the past three years brought to my attention that would indicate any specific problem on the Garden City Skyway. I know we do have a problem on the Burlington Skyway during conditions of high wind when the bridge has to be closed. Other than that, I haven’t had any specific concerns brought to my attention regarding the Garden City Skyway, but I’ll be very pleased to look at the recommendations of the coroner.
SALE OF BUTYL NITRATE
Mr. Swart: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Warner: Who’s now hiding under his desk.
Mr. Swart: Is the minister aware that the Journal, which of course is the publication of the Addiction Research Foundation, carried an article as long ago as last February of this year in which its researchers reported a craze in the use by inhalation of the drug butyl nitrate, about which little is known in terms of long-term effects, although the immediate effects are dizziness, headache and a general high?
Does the minister know that this drug is freely sold under the names of Rush and Locker Room at “head” shops and psychedelic shops, and even in book stores, in Toronto and certain other places, to people of any age, including children? May I send a bottle to the minister and will he note that it says on it, “Not to be sold to minors”?
May I ask the minister why his ministry has not listed it as a harmful product, when amyl nitrate, a less used and less serious drug, is controlled under the Health Disciplines Act?
Hon. B. Stephenson: How much experience have you had with it, Mel?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have no power, authority or jurisdiction to do so.
Mr. Wildman: Will you recommend it to the federal people then?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That wasn’t the question.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Write to Rodriguez.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps I will phrase it as a question. Is it not true that some of the minister’s officials have bad contact from the Addiction Research Foundation and have been doing some studying on this but nothing has been done as yet and no report has been made to the federal food and drugs people? Does the minister not think that his government should take some initiative in investigating these matters when it’s so publicized by an agency of this government?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I presume that the agency is perhaps more aware of the limits of our jurisdiction than is the member for Welland-Thorold. I am sure the organization has forwarded the information to Ottawa. In any event, I will be happy to check back and see if in fact they have in the ordinary course forwarded it to those who do have some authority to act, because I think the authorities who do have power to look after this ought to be active.
Mr. Swart: Can I have a further supplementary about a 13-year-old child?
Mr. Speaker: A new question; the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the Minister of Culture and Recreation when he has a moment.
Hon. W. Newman: He doesn’t have a moment.
Mr. Nixon: Elie, go and lie down somewhere for a moment.
This has to do with the minister’s responsibility as the minister in charge of the lotteries. Would he care to explain to the House the situation which has led him as one of the participants in the Provincial lottery to decide that we too are going to have one of those instant-win machines in the Provincial lottery outlets in the province? How is this going to affect the situation vis-a-vis Loto Canada, and does he not think that maybe the aggressive competition between those two revenue sources is becoming a bit ridiculous?
Mr. Conway: If not obscene.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the very last question is yes. Indeed, my colleagues, other provincial ministers with responsibility in the lottery field, joined together with the federal minister in Regina about a week ago and said just that and suggested a solution for the problem, in that we understood that it was the intention of the government of Canada, following the expiration of the Olympic lottery, to move into a lottery with specific purposes, known as Loto Canada, to expire at the end of December 1979, to assist in the reduction of the debt incurred in the province of Quebec as a result of the Olympics. There was a sharing formula developed there; I think 87.5 per cent of the proceeds of Loto Canada go for that purpose. while the provinces share 12.5 per cent on the basis of their ticket sales and five per cent is for national sport governing bodies, and included in that is some contribution from Loto Canada for the Commonwealth Games.
If one reads Hansard and the reports of the committee hearings at the time of the establishment of Loto Canada, it seems quite clear that, once that was over, the federal government left open the fact that they would remove themselves from the lottery field and leave that revenue source to the provinces, since the provinces had already developed lotteries. All the provinces are now involved in that field, either through lottery corporations or combinations, and for years had been meeting to discuss what would happen once the Olympic lottery was over.
It should come as no surprise that there is a difference of opinion between the federal minister and the provincial ministers on that particular subject. We felt that perhaps that matter could now be referred to the first ministers. We announced some time ago we were inviting proposals for the hardware that would be necessary for a more active gain. That is being done by the Ontario Lottery Corporation. It is not an instant gain; it is a gain where people choose their numbers themselves rather than buying a ticket with a number already on it.
An hon. member: It’s called the numbers racket.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The federal government has done the same thing. I would think there is every reason to support what has been said editorially in a number of journals of finding some way to rationalize this. It seems to me absolutely ridiculous to have two state- run lotteries competing against each other in the same jurisdictions. We are urging the government of Canada to honour its commitment. It seemed to be quite clear at the time of the introduction of Loto Canada that at the end of 1979 they would not carry on with Loto Canada but would leave the field for the provinces as in fact had been developed prior to the introduction of Loto Canada.
Mr. Nixon: By way of supplementary, there was an indication following the minister’s trip to Regina, where these matters were discussed and some of them were settled, that we were going to have a type of instant lottery -- not Wintario but the Provincial -- wherein a number was selected, fed into some kind of a computer and there would be an instant win or instant loss.
The minister has been talking about hardware. Has he heard about a somewhat similar machine which I think has already been developed where you put your money in and pull a handle and there is an instant win or loss? The money comes out at the bottom. Is there anything different between what is now going to be done in the province and putting a slot machine in all the grocery stores?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Knowing my honourable friend’s strict Calvinistic background, I share his concern.
Mr. Nixon: I never said it was sinful; you did though.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The announcement to which he makes reference following the Regina meeting was the announcement by Loto Canada that it was the intention of the federal government to introduce such a game across this country. I find that scandalous. I find that completely unacceptable.
Mr. Nixon: What kind of hardware is the minister searching for?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The difference is the instant feature where one would immediately know the result.
Mr. Nixon: That’s where the good Lord enters into it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: No, I’m sure that any synod would draw the distinction.
Mr. Nixon: You’re wrong, there is no difference.
Mr. Kerrio: A la Dutch Schul.
Hon. Mr. Welch: In the game we are talking about, the only difference between that and the actual lottery is that one chooses the number rather than the number already being printed on the ticket. It’s simply a lottery, a more active one than the present.
Mr. Nixon: It’s a matter of free will then.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It’s the federal government that has introduced the instant features. If you go into a bank now and buy a Loto Canada ticket, you can open up an envelope and find out whether you got an immediate win there. I wrote to Iona Campagnola almost a year ago expressing some concern about that type of gambling in this country. I am still opposed to it and this government would be opposed to it.
Mr. Nixon: You know precisely what you are doing.
Mr. S. Smith: Blessed are those who wait to find out what they have won.
HANDICAPPED CHILDREN’S ALLOWANCE
Mr. di Santo: I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister aware that now it takes six months to determine the eligibility to receive the handicapped allowance for parents with retarded children? If he is aware of this, can he explain to us why it is that it takes such a long time? Can the minister also tell the House why it is that the delay in processing family benefit applications is increasing month after month?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I think the time frame that the member suggests may have occurred in a few very exceptional cases. I can assure him that is not the average length of time. It is very rarely that it would take six months to process. I agree, however, it should not ever under any circumstances take that length of time. But there are regulations which I hope will shortly be approved -- and by shortly I mean within a matter of a few weeks -- which will streamline the process and simplify the application procedure based on the experience that we have had over the last year, since the introduction of that program. It will result, for example, in a delegation of decision making which will also eliminate the necessity for an order in council and will, in fact, make it an approval which can be granted under the authority of regulations under the family benefits legislation.
I hope that the regulations will be approved within a matter of a couple of weeks or so and that ultimately before the end of the summer, the process will, I hope, be much more streamlined and efficient and effective in the delivery of that service to the handicapped children of this province by the fall.
Mr. di Santo: Supplementary: In view of the fact that most of the cases that I have are processed in six months, perhaps it would help if I submitted them to the minister.
But I would like to ask him about the delay in processing the normal family benefits application, especially Metropolitan Toronto, and if it has to do with the guidelines or with the shortage of field officers in his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Norton: My impression is that it is probably neither of the two reasons.
Mr. Wildman: It’s the second one.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Personally, I think the structures that have existed and the method of procedure, in the sense that all applications are processed for family benefits in Toronto -- If my parliamentary assistant would move a bit one way or the other; there, he has gone -- I have lost him, obviously. And they say I am a pinko.
Mr. Martel: Your parliamentary assistant is a Red Tory.
Hon. Mr. Norton: He’s a Red Tory, that’s it.
Mr. Wildman: Are you not replacing people who are on leave in your ministry?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t believe it is a shortage of field workers. I don’t believe it is specifically the regulations; I think it is the procedure that has required the processing of applications in the head office in Toronto.
As I indicated earlier, in the reorganization of the ministry -- the proposals that I announced a short time ago -- one of the objectives of that, in my mind one of the important objectives, is a decentralization of the decision-making process. I would like to see, and I hope we will see -- and I am not suggesting it can happen overnight because it requires further training of staff; it requires the establishment of the authority at the local level, the decision making with respect to family benefits made as closely as possible to the field-worker level in this province, so that the process of making out applications, forwarding them to Toronto, waiting sometimes if the information is incomplete until they are sent back to the field and further information developed and forwarded back; those are the kinds of things I think have in some in- stances, not in all cases, caused delays. I think though decentralization and more decision-making authority that should be eliminated.
PEACH TREE DAMAGE
Mr. McGuigan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the fact that the severity of the past two winters has all but wiped out the peach orchards in the county of Kent and has severely damaged peach orchards in the county of Essex, would the minister have the Crop Insurance Commission of Ontario review their decision back in 1974 when they were requested by the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association to develop a plan that would insure the trees themselves rather than the crop as at present? Would the minister have the commission review those plans with a view to developing a system of insuring the trees themselves?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, as you know we have developed many new plans over the last three years. I am not exactly sure how a plan to insure the trees themselves would work out as far as the crop insurance is concerned. We would certainly be glad to look at it, but we would first like a formal request from the appropriate body.
Mr. Swart: In view of the fact this demonstrates further it is only really in the Niagara Peninsula we have the frost-free conditions to produce peaches year-by-year, will the minister give further consideration to preventing the paving over of that fruit land, as is presently provided in the Regional Municipality of Niagara Act?
Hon. W. Newman: That matter has been dealt with in this House at some length. Months and months ago a decision was made and was handed down at that time.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Very sensible.
SAULT STE. MARIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Minister Of Correctional Services. In view of the minister’s reply to the public building inspection panel’s comments on the Sault Ste. Marie jail that the money just wasn’t available to deal with the production of a new building for Salt Ste. Marie and district; and the statement by his assistant director, Mr. Ben Hoffman, that the program for inmates working in the Ministry of Natural Resources forestry program had been temporarily dropped because of spending restraints; can he indicate what, if anything, the ministry is doing to try and alleviate crowding in the Sault Ste. Marie and district jail through one or other of these programs?
What are his plans with regard to a new building; or getting the inmates out into the field and working with MNR?
Hon. Mr. Drea: To put it in perspective, one of the difficulties in the Sault Ste. Marie jail, which is overcrowded, is the fact that as of a week ago, the last time I was up there, there were only four sentenced inmates in the whole place. They were all on remand.
Mr. Wildman: Right, there aren’t very many.
Mr. Worton: Well-behaved people.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, but as I pointed out at the time, I am not in control of the destiny of remand inmates. I told the court to get off their tail up there and start processing cases.
Mr. S. Smith: How about the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry)?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes I have talked to the Attorney General and I have talked to the crown, and I have talked to everybody else.
Mr. Nixon: Does the minister want to take over as Treasurer? Now that Darcy is moving out, they are looking for a Treasurer. How about that?
Hon. Mr. Drea: In regard to the question of the expansion if the Sault Ste. Marie facility, there is no question that with the population increase and other social factors in the entire Algoma area, the catchment area for that institution is the entire district of Algoma. There is going to have to be either an expansion to the existing facility, which is rather difficult because of its location and the lack of land, or the building of a new institution.
As I said the last time I was in Sank Ste. Marie, there is no question that both in Sudbury and the Sault -- because the population changes and the fact that remands are getting longer in both centres -- we are going to have to provide within the next few years the necessary funds for expansion. When that will be, I know not, but I have said I that it has to be done within the next three or four years.
In terms of alternatives for sentenced inmates, it is quite true that at McCreight’s Camp north of Thessalon we did work for the Ministry of Natural Resources. The difficulty is that McCreight’s Camp is completely dilapidated. We have been entering into negotiations with the Ministry of Natural Resources to acquire other property where we could take sentenced inmates and continue to do that work.
It may be of interest to you, Mr. Speaker -- I was going to discuss this matter with you after the House -- that in a similar situation in the district of Thunder Bay jail, we are making plans to locate a major work centre in Nipigon. That will relieve the overcrowding there. We will be doing Hydro slashing, we will be doing farming, we will be doing community work, we will he doing a number of road activities. In that circumstance, the difference between the difficulty in the Thessalon or the Algoma area and the opportunities in the Nipigon area is that the Nipigon Chamber of Commerce approached us and will help us to provide facilities. I have demonstrated there is an abundance of community work that can be done by inmates out of the Thunder Bay institution.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
BEEZEE FOODS LIMITED ACT
Mr. Edighoffer, on behalf of Mr. J. Reed, moved first reading of Bill Pr28, An Act to revive Beezee Foods Limited.
Motion agreed to.
RESIDENTIAL PREMISES RENT REVIEW AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Grossman moved first reading of Bill 24, An Act to amend the Residential Premises Rent Review Act, 1975, second session.
Motion agreed to.
LOCAL ROADS BOARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Wildman moved first reading of Bill 125, An Act to amend the Local Roads Boards Act
Motion agreed to.
REGISTRY OFFICE CLOSURES
Mr. McKessock moved, pursuant to standing order 30, that the business of the House be set aside so that the House may debate a matter of urgent public importance, that being the announcement by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations of the proposed closing of 28 registry offices in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 30, the honourable member has up to five minutes to state his case.
Mr. McKessock: I have been told by the provincial registrar that 28 of the province’s 65 registry offices could be closed; the first being the registry office of South Grey in the town of Durham, which is scheduled to close September 30.
Due to the fact that this session is fast drawing to adjournment and the September 30 date will come before we return for the next session, I request that we set aside the business of the day to have an emergency debate to discuss this very important issue, which will cut service to 28 municipalities in Ontario and will be a special hardship to the rural municipalities of Ontario where distance is an important factor.
Our winters in the Durham area not only make another 60 miles to register a document hazardous, but sometimes impossible. The extra cost in time and travelling is going to be borne by the public. In Durham, the proposed saving is wages to this government is $25,000 compared to increased costs to the public of $209,461.65 in extra time and travelling. These figures have been worked out by the Grey law association. The government’s duty is surely to serve.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Are you sure of that?
Mr. McKessock: Cutting the ministry’s budget by $25,000 to cost the public about 10 times more for that service is surely not feasible. I certainly agree with saving money if there were a true saving, but no studies have been done to find if there really is a saving or not. It is just being assumed by the ministry that if you put two offices together it is going to work and be a saving. in the case of the Grey county law -- again, the one I’m familiar with -- Durham is going to be moved to the Owen Sound registry office, which is in the county building. The county does not want any more. They are already busting at the seams and there is no room there. There would not be enough parking space for the extra work load. The building would have to be expanded and then where would the savings be?
Maybe Brampton offices would be large enough to hold Orangeville, or maybe Kitchener large enough to hold Guelph and Cambridge -- or would they?
Mr. Worton: Never!
Mr. McKessock: Bigness is not always better. The minister tells me some of these offices have been 53 days behind in their registrations, and they have to bus in help from other registry offices to catch up. In Durham you get same-day service. Do we want to spoil that service?
We must remember that these registry offices are one thing that pays for the government. The Durham office took in $222,557.49 last year, but J realize it is hard to talk business with a minister whose ministry does not receive this money. It goes directly into general revenue; also, the rent of the registry office is paid by the Ministry of Government Services. The only thing the minister has in his control is salaries, so he cuts here, with no business approach or realistic outlook in the matter. If salaries are the only thing that he has to look at, then let’s look at who’s not doing a job and cut there.
When you divide the number of full-time employees into the number of registrations -- and I want to especially bring this to your attention, Mr. Speaker -- you find that Durham last year registered 1,866 registrations per full-time employee per year. The provincial average was only 1,326. This is 51 more registrations per employee in the Durham office than the provincial average. This is taken from the figures the minister has provided me. Surely with efficiency like that this is one office that should be left open.
If the minister has to find $750,000 to $1 million, there is another way to do it. It would be to add another 75 cents to the present cost of the registrations, and he would have it. This would not be a hardship to anybody and would leave our present service to the people of this province in place.
Mr. Speaker, I urge you to rule in favour of setting aside the business of the House today so that a number of the members whose ridings will be involved will get a chance to present their views to the minister and uphold the service to our small communities, which continue to get pushed aside.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, while I sympathize with the problem that’s presented by the member --
Mr. Nixon: Don’t tell me you’re not supporting it?
Mr. Martel: -- I can’t find where this creates an emergency.
Mr. McKessock: Only if it were in Sudbury.
Mr. Nixon: Only if they were closing it in Sudbury.
Mr. Martel: I want to tell you they closed down an office with 45 jobs and sent it to Sault Ste. Marie, and in my riding they also closed down an institution which cost 200 jobs. So don’t give me that crap. Don’t give me your nonsense this morning.
Mr. Nixon: You should have done something about it instead of sitting idly by.
Mr. Martel: Everything’s an emergency. A party that constantly talks about cutting bureaucracy is here this morning advocating not only that you maintain but at the same time increase the cost in services to people.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, you want them closed; I see.
Mr. Breithaupt: You want them closed.
Mr. Martel: You can’t have it both ways. I simply want to make the point that I sympathize with the problem that has to be discussed between the ministry and the people affected, but surely if this House is going to start to meet on an emergency basis every time the government decides to relocate, then we could spend the next three years doing nothing but having emergency debates. We simply don’t believe that is in any way, shape or form an emergency.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: This debate began last April, of course. A very fundamental part of this debate -- beginning some eight or ten weeks ago -- was, of course, the thrust which the Liberal Party of this province likes to take so much credit for, and that is the thrust to cut government spending. Of course, that debate has to unfold as the consequences start to unfold.
Mr. Nixon: They should start by reducing the size of the cabinet.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Needless to say, governments have a responsibility to respond to that obligation which we imposed on ourselves. But now, with the position of the Liberal Party --
Mr. Nixon: We are thinking of a few ministers who are not carrying their weight. Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- in that OHIP debate, to in fact cut back where we think it’s reasonable and sensible, one of the places we have to look at, it seems to me, is the place where the service being provided is to a minimal number of people actually using that service. That is the lawyers; there are two law firms in Durham.
Mr. Nixon: Defending the indefensible actions of the government.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: To address the urgency of this, I have to point out that this began eight weeks ago. It began with the requirement that this government continue its program of cutting back.
Mr. Mancini: Larry Grossman for Treasurer.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And that party over there, the Liberal Party will call us to an emergency debate every time we actually take a step to cut red tape, to cut the number of civil servants --
Mr. Nixon: Just when your decisions are wrong.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and to in fact move to rationalize our services. Since the announcement was made that we intended to close the Durham office, there have been something like 32 question periods during which this matter could have been raised.
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s been raised.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It was raised twice in 32 days. There have been at least 10 or 12 days of budget debate and no one said a word about it in the budget debate. There have been all sorts of opportunities, and the people of Durham have availed themselves of those opportunities, to deal with this through the media.
Mr. Breithaupt: And here’s another one.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They have been into my office. Everyone in Durham well knows that I have agreed to meet each and every person from Durham, let alone delegations or groups, among those who have asked to meet with me.
Mr. Nixon: They feel you are not receptive.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have now met with three or four groups. I believe one of the groups that came in to see me has also had the opportunity to meet with the caucus of all three parties, including my own.
Mr. Nixon: They are very concerned about your policy.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So all this process of consultation has continued. To address the urgency again, I must point out that --
Mr. Breithaupt: You are going to close it anyway.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- this consultation process and exchange of information has been going on with the ministry providing all sorts of detail and information to the people requesting it. We proposed as the first step in this to close the Colborne and Port Hope registry offices as well.
Those people came in and they were successful in making some early points to me and I agreed to defer a final decision on those offices until the end of this year. Now that had nothing to do with any emergency debate in this House. It resulted from the dialogue that --
Mr. Worton: There was a Conservative in that area, that snakes a difference.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- we encouraged between the people in Northumberland and myself. My friend, the member for Northumberland (Mr. Rowe) --
Mr. Nixon: Northumberland? -- that’s not in Durham; you’ve got those places mixed up; this is in Grey county, you are mixed up.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neill) -- you weren’t listening -- agreed to continue to process and to defer these two other offices. If there are any points to be made which we feel are good enough to warrant --
Mr. Nixon: Then you will make them.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- a slowdown in our program to save money and to cut bureaucracy, then of course the decision will be changed. I do want to take this opportunity to say at the present time I have seen absolutely nothing which indicates that there is any sense or justification in deferring the Durham closing as we have decided to do in the case of Port Hope and Colborne. We will continue to meet with any group from Durham that wishes to meet with us. Finally, I would point out that the member has some wrong information. He indicated that the Durham office will close before we get back here. We have indicated to the people, and always have in Durham, that we intend to close that office as of October 31.
Mr. Nixon: Shame.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So the process will continue. We will continue to meet with people; and I am sure the people from Durham will continue to operate as effectively as they have through the media, which is right and proper.
Mr. Lewis: You certainly do single out Durham for special punishment, though.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In conclusion, the member for Scarborough West reminds me of my concluding remarks --
Mr. Nixon: That’s where they tried to close the hospital.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- I would like to say in the last minute of my response --
Mr. Lewis: The hospital, the Hydro corridor, the registry office.
Mr. Worton: It’s the ghost of Eric Winkler.
Mr. Lewis: What is the vendetta against Durham?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- I should like to say that we do in fact not have the slightest bit of a vendetta going on against Durham.
Mr. Nixon: It looks that way.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, it may appear that way to you but I want to assure everyone that I know some of the lawyers who are practising in that area. They are all very fine, fair, decent, honest, reputable lawyers who have served theft clients very well.
Mr. Worton: Conservatives.
Mr. Breithaupt: The clients are going to have to pay for the loss.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The people who work in the registry office have done a fine job and the town --
Mr. Lewis: All lawyers are decent.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- of course, has a long and excellent history. We think their people will continue to be well served by the change we are proposing.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable minister’s time has expired. This matter has been the subject of questions in the question period, and there is ample time to raise it by way of questioning the minister in the House and the budget debate. In my view, the subject matter of this motion does not have the degree of urgency that is required under standing order 30, and I would have to rule that the motion is not in order.
Mr. Worton: Kind of like Loto Canada, isn’t it?
ORDERS OF THE DAY
TOWNSHIP OF PELEE ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 121, An Act respecting the Township of Pelee.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable minister have an opening statement?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I have any more to say than what was said on the introduction of the bill. It is a very brief bill that provides authority for the township of Pelee Island to run a ferry service from Sandusky, Ohio, to Pelee Island and to points in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Essex South.
Mr. Mancini: I think this is as tall as I can get, Mr. Speaker.
An hon. member: Stand on your seat.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill 121, An Act respecting the Township of Pelee. Mr. Speaker, may I draw to the attention of the House that the township of Pelee is the most southern part of the whole country of Canada, and is situated in my riding, and I have had the honour of representing the township of Pelee for nearly three years.
Over the past three years, brought to my attention on very numerous occasions has been the lack of good and fair transportation for the people on the island and for the tourists who would like to get to the island, and from the island to the Ontario mainland, mainly the ports of Kingsville and Leamington.
Through the initiative of the Pelee Island council, and with very successful meetings with the Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications we have been able to put in service a second ferry which operates between Pelee Island and the mainland, and this ferry has subsidized the service of the federal ferry.
The people of the township of Pelee wish to extend their sincere thanks to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for the vessel which is under provincial jurisdiction. However, that one single vessel was not large enough and was not capable to serve all of the needs of Pelee Island, and that is why it is necessary to maintain the second ferry which comes under federal jurisdiction.
It is a well known fact that the federal authorities do not wish any longer to be part of the transportation system between Pelee Island and Sandusky, Ohio, and the Ontario mainland. So I would like to congratulate the Minister of Transportation and Communications. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to two of his very fine civil servants -- Mr. Frank Norman and Mr. Charles Meyers -- who have worked very diligently on behalf of the people of Pelee Island so that we could secure this legislation so that the township council of Pelee Island could operate the federal ferry.
Although in the past three years we have made some gain as far as equitable transportation for Pelee Island, I would be remiss in my responsibility of representing the people of Pelee Island if I said that the transportation that we will now have, after Bill 121 receives third reading, would be wholly satisfactory.
I think the minister and the ministry staff know full well that Pelee Island requires a large single ferry with high-speed capability to serve its needs in the tourist area and in the agricultural area.
Hopefully, in the two or three years to come, we will be able to continue our consultation with the minister and we will be able to secure an even better ferry service for the township of Pelee.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, of course I and my party support this bill which will give some improvement in the service to the township of Pelee. I would like to ask the minister whether, when he winds up the debate, he could indicate whether there is going to be any provincial assistance in the way of a subsidy such as road subsidies or this sort of thing, to the use of this ferry. Obviously this takes the place of what could be a bridge. I know it’s too far but --
Hon. Mr. Snow: Do you know where Pelee Island is?
Mr. Swart: Of course. I’ve been to Pelee Island. I know where it is.
Mr. Mancini: Mel, slow the bill down.
Mr. Swart: But it takes the place, nevertheless, of a road system.
Mr. Mancini: Let the record show that he’s slowing the bill down.
Mr. Nixon: Does he want a bridge?
Hon. Mr. Snow: A bridge to Pelee Island!
Mr. Swart: It’s the only contact that these people who live on the island of Pelee have. It seems to me that it’s not unreasonable that there should be some form of road subsidy to the municipality of Pelee in the operation of this ferry. I’m not sure whether there is or not, but I hope the minister will comment on that. In other words, it’s really costly, of course, for people now to get in and out of Pelee Island.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say briefly that I support this bill. It’s been a problem for some time. Having sat on county council, I can recall visiting Pelee Island a number of years ago with the county council. At that time they were looking for some assistance in getting an airport for one of their transportation needs in one part of the county. It’s been a problem. Now that the federal government has more or less removed itself from the situation, it’s certainly going to take some co-operation.
I think it’s the responsibility of the federal government as well to see that adequate transportation facilities are available to this township 15 miles from the mainland. With this authority for the municipality to operate it, perhaps some agreements can be made with both levels of government. I don’t think the federal government should in any way relieve themselves of any responsibility. I believe that is something that certainly has to be considered. For 71 years, I think, they have in some way subsidized and assisted in seeing that transportation was made available.
I think the member for Essex South was quite correct in saying that one good-sized ship that had the speed and so forth is necessary. It made me think of the improvement made in the area of Manitoulin Island in the last two years with the new ship they have there for transportation. It was indeed an improvement. We should maybe be looking at something similar in the Pelee area. Hopefully, this could be arranged with the cooperation of the two levels of government, federal and provincial, and in some way operated by the township.
I certainly hope we keep this in mind because there is certainly the potential for tourists, and we also don’t want to forget the agricultural resources that are available through the good land in that area -- soya beans and seed corn plants located on the island.
Mr. Mancini: Pheasant farms.
Mr. Ruston: Of course, the pheasant farms, as we all know, are their main attraction each fall.
Mr. Mancini: World renowned.
Mr. Ruston: This is something we should all keep in mind. The facilities should be available to maintain this township. It is, after all, a part of Ontario and a part of Canada, and I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to see that adequate transportation is available to it.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to stress the point that Pelee Island is the most southern point in Canada. I think it’s a point that our Ministry of Industry and Tourism should come along and sell so that we could attract that many more tourists who would come from Sandusky, just across the lake, and be able to come into the province of Ontario.
Mr. Mancini: The minister should listen to this.
Mr. B. Newman: After all, Mr. Minister, the slogan this year is, “We Treat you Royally.” We certainly would like to see our Yankee friends come across into Pelee Island to help the economy of that island and, for this, we commend you for introducing this bill. We hope that it resolves many of the problems that they have had there with transportation in the past.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I thank the honourable members for the support of this bill. I’m sure they are very familiar with the reason for this legislation -- the fact that the federal government who have operated a ferry serving Pelee Island for such a great number of years, last year notified the island and the province that they no longer intended to do so. Even though many meetings were held and many points were made that the service was still required, the federal minister has decided to discontinue their participation. But after several presentations and representations by myself and fellow members and on our recommendation, the boat owned by the federal government was put up for tender for someone in the private sector to operate this ferry service.
The township of Pelee Island saw fit to submit their proposal to the federal government, which has been accepted, to lease this federal ferry and to operate it, hopefully, on a private sector type of basis because they feel that the operation of this particular ferry will not require subsidy. Of course, the Upper Canada -- the other ferry which is owned by the province and which we supplied to the island last year when the private operator give up the service -- is also run by the township in agreement with the ministry and we do subsidize the operation of the ferry service from the island to the Ontario mainland.
Unfortunately, the Upper Canada, although it gave good service, as I understand it, and the islanders were quite happy with it, is not large enough to carry some of the agricultural equipment and the large loads of fertilizer, seed corn and so on that are required on the island, especially the large combines and tractors. So it is very necessary to the economy of the township of Pelee Island to have additional service. I’d like to compliment the township on their own initiative to step forward when the federal government offered the ship for tender and to put forward their proposal. They’re not asking for a subsidy and they want to continue to operate this service from Sandusky because of the importance of the tourist industry to the island. Most of their tourists, I’m told, come from Sandusky Port. So I was happy to bring forward this minor piece of legislation which we found was necessary to allow them to proceed and operate this service in international waters.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Kennedy, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 110, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the parliamentary assistant have an opening statement?
Mr. Kennedy: No, Mr. Speaker, the changes are just to update the Education Act, 1974, in relation to the dates contained in the recent changes to the Municipal Elections Act and that’s the substance of it, and a few changes in clerks’ responsibilities.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), who is our education critic, had to be in London today and he asked me to make a comment or two on second reading of the bill. Certainly we have no objections to this at all. It simply lines up the time for the election and the first meeting of the school board with the changes brought about by the Municipal Elections Act in four municipal councils. We think that this is of course a necessary change to keep school board work in step with the municipal councils.
Rather than send this to committee, I was interested in the first section of Bill 110. There is a definition of county municipality and I, for the life of me, can’t decide why that sort of a definition is required unless it may be is to preclude some sort of duplication in representation. Otherwise, the bill seems to be very straightforward. It is an example, however, of how complex a relatively simple change seems to be when it comes to making the changes in statutes which accomplish it.
After all, we changed the election date and it gives rise to Bill 110 and Bill 111 with all of the complexities and ramifications and references to other pieces of legislation involved. It is a great credit to the draftsmen and of course to the parliamentary assistant that this matter is done in such a careful and expeditious way.
Mr. Swart: As the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has said, this bill, as stated in the explanatory notes as well, provides necessary changes due to the change in the Municipal Elections Act and certain other necessary housekeeping changes, and I support it. However, I have one concern -- and perhaps the parliamentary assistant would comment on this -- and that is with regard to section 2, subsection 9, which sets the time when a council may pass a bylaw to change the methods of electing the school board and although this may only be a minor thing, it is different to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act amendments which we made in this House last night --
Mr. Nixon: I remember.
Mr. Swart: -- which has nothing to do with the election of the chairman.
Mr. Nixon: I thought you wanted to run that through again.
Mr. Swart: We should, just for your sake.
Mr. Warner: Why not?
Mr. Swart: I proposed an amendment which was accepted by the government and, quite frankly, I wasn’t aware that this bill set a different time so that a municipal council, if they want to change the composition of a council or a county council, will now have to pass the bylaw at least 30 days prior to the last posting of the offices for which elections are going to be held. This provides that the date is September 1. It moved from October 1 to September 1. If I had known that, I probably would have moved that amendment to the act so they would have been in conformity and it seems to me there is value in having conformity so that municipal councils don’t get confused on this. If a change is going to be made, I think change should be made in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act rather than in this act. I like this one better. It’s clearcut by the first of September. But apart from that minor comment, we fully support the bill.
Mr. Warner: The bill in section 2 sets out the boundaries and how they can be changed. One of the concerns that was brought forward during all of the hearings on the Robarts report was the different kind of approach towards boundaries for school trustees as opposed to those that might be required for aldermen. In other words, the suggestion that seemed to make a great deal of sense to a lot of people was that the boundaries for trustees should follow the school pattern in Toronto. I am not sure about communities outside of Metro. Within Metro, it is mostly now a situation of a family of schools where there is a junior school, a senior school and a high school occupying a certain neighbourhood. it is perhaps a very large neighbourhood but, nonetheless, it is a neighbourhood.
The boundaries of that school population would not necessarily follow straight lines, nor would they necessarily be in conjunction with the boundaries as set out for the ward system. Obviously, there is some concern that the ward system should fall in line for the trustees as well as for the aldermen.
I am wondering if the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) has a concern that it would make more sense to urge the municipalities, when they go about trying to set new boundaries, to set out their ward boundaries in conjunction with their school system and then have the election for both aldermen and trustees on the basis of new boundaries that would be coterminous but would also reflect the school system as opposed to the arbitrary way and the neat geographic way of simply setting out straight lines, particularly in urban areas. I am wondering if the minister has given that matter any thought and if he has any comments on it.
Mr. Kennedy: Responding to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, that definition change was made to accommodate situations, specifically in Oxford, where the representation of the city of Woodstock would have resulted in an imbalance of trustees in their view. That covers that situation.
In reply to the member for Welland-Thorold, the date of September 1 is to have this in place at that time.
Mr. Swart: I recognize that. It’s just that it is not the same as in the Municipal Act for reorganizing municipalities. It seems to me that they should conform.
Mr. Kennedy: That is true enough. In response to the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, outside Metro, this provides, as is the case, for representation based on the equalized residential and farm assessment. Within the city of Metropolitan Toronto, the representation is established and this piece of legislation wouldn’t change that. I recognize the honourable member’s comments and we will take them under consideration, if the observations are as I understand them.
I trust that answers the queries raised. I thank the members for bringing them forward.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Kennedy, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 111, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Kennedy: Here again it is sell-explanatory. It tidies up the Metropolitan Toronto Act in relation to the Education Act, 1974.
Mr. Nixon: We support it.
Mr. Warner: This is quite good. We are really expediting things. We support the bill, but the comment must be made that it is regrettable we are not going to get any changes with respect to the structure of education in Metro Toronto prior to the 1978 municipal election.
We had all anticipated getting some response from the Minister of Education in relation to the Robarts report and the subsequent white paper which was released, because there are some considerable problems with respect to the operation of the educational system in Metro Toronto. There is a very serious problem as to how the Metro board functions and whether or not it does function adequately. There are some concerns about the way in which the Metro board is able to handle its broader responsibilities, in the way in which it disperses funds. We had a question in the House just the other day. The government House leader will certainly recall, as he recalls everything that is raised here, that there was a question about the additional money being given from the ministry to Metro for special ed, and yet there was a decline in the number of teachers. How does that happen? What is wrong with the mechanism of Metro Toronto that the money doesn’t end up being spent where it is supposed to be spent?
There are considerable problems and questions. We thought on this side that the legislation from the government regarding the white paper and the Robarts report would help to solve some of the problems. It is with regret that all we have at this point is a housekeeping bill and not the kind of substantive material which we really require, if we are to get the education system in Metro Toronto back on the track and functioning better than it is now.
Having said I all of that, however, we certainly give our support to the bill and wish it speedy passage.
Mr. Kennedy: I note the comments of the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. As he says, it is quite true the issues he has raised have been discussed at some length. The housekeeping nature of the bill is to make these changes in order to have the machinery in place for elections this fall. The other broader issues he has brought forward are of a concern and ongoing.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
House in committee of the whole.
BUILDING CODE AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 91, An Act to amend the Building Code Act, 1974.
Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.
On section 3:
Mr. M. N. Davison: During second reading, the parliamentary assistant and I and a number of other members engaged in a discussion that couldn’t properly take place because there was no room on second reading for questions and answers, so to speak. There was one matter I wanted to clear up with the parliamentary assistant before we passed by this section.
The concern I originally raised with the parliamentary assistant was to whether or not there would be a necessity for a person wanting to build his own home to become a member of HUDAC because of these changes to the building code. I was quite able to accept the minister’s assurance that no, that was not necessary because of the definitions of that other piece of legislation. Individuals can build their own homes without having to belong to HUDAC. I think that’s a very useful way to proceed.
What I’m still unclear about is what happens if, after having built his own home, an individual chooses to sell it. Will people be denied a right to sell it until they become members of HUDAC and have another inspection of the home, or will the ministry impose, or is there in regulations or legislation an imposition of a residency requirement in the home? Perhaps the minister could respond to that issue and then we can pass by this section.
Mr. Pope: I thank the honourable member for raising that question. After second reading we did have discussions on this matter. I’m advised that the test is that if the person constructing the home occupies it he is entitled to sell it without being registered.
There hasn’t been a test case, to the best of my knowledge. I may be corrected if I’m wrong, but there hasn’t been a test case as to what period of time of occupancy constitutes occupancy in the way you might have with some federal or other provincial statutes. Basically, the test is if the owner occupies the home he is not required to register under the HUDAC program.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I think we have arrived at an understanding. What you are saying, as I understand it, is that there’s no legislation or regulations on the books that would specifically explain what the occupancy or residency requirement would be in terms of time, and if there should be any dispute that would probably be something that would end up in the courts and the courts would then have to interpret the legislation.
Mr. Pope: I think if we arrived at some kind of a problem in that respect we would probably either have to move through the courts or through regulation. I think the honourable member has suggested that in his initial comments and that’s probably correct.
Section 3 agreed to.
Sections 4 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 9:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Davison moves that in section 9(2)(4) the words “one year” be struck out and the words “two years” be substituted therefor.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The amendment is obviously self-explanatory. As I understand it, there was at some point in recent history a one-year time on this question as to when proceedings can be commenced. The legislation or the regulation was changed at some point to six months, and during the consultative process with municipalities and others in regard to the building code it was suggested to the ministry that six months was not adequate and, therefore, they should go back to the old requirement of one year.
When we’re talking about building, we’re not dealing with something relatively simple like a transistor radio; we’re dealing with a very huge investment on the part of the buyer and with a situation where quite serious problems may not show up in the first year.
While I think someone could quite properly stand up and argue that the period in which an action or a proceeding could be commenced should be five years or 10 years or 20 years, I simply put forward the amendment in the spirit of reasonable compromise and suggest that what we do is accept the amendment, raise it to two years instead of one year, and try that out for a few years and see what happens.
If it’s absolutely not necessary and obviously not necessary to have a two-year period, then we can go back to one year. On the other hand, as I suspect, if it may seem that two years is not long enough, perhaps we can extend it to three or four or beyond. I move the amendment in that spirit of reasonableness. I hope that it would be acceptable to the ministry and to the other opposition party.
Mr. Nixon: Before the parliamentary assistant comments on the amendment, we’re quite interested in its provisions. I have just been discussing it with some of my colleagues, and our experience is that we have not had complaints indicating that time beyond one year would be required. It might be. If there’s some record of a problem in this connection that would be alleviated by changing the limit I would like to hear about it. Otherwise, our tendency is not to support the amendment. I would like to hear from the parliamentary assistant as to what he has to say on it.
Mr. Pope: I believe that there may be a bit of a misunderstanding. We’re not discussing protection under the HUDAC home warranty plan provided to individual home owners which will enable individual home owners to seek redress in obtaining fundamental repairs to their premises. What we are talking about is section 23 of the Building Code Act which provides for prosecution for the furnishing of false information on any statement or failure to comply with any order, direction or other requirement made under the act.
The honourable member from the New Democratic Party is quite right that this change has been made to the legislation in response specifically to a resolution from the city of Owen Sound which was adopted at a regular meeting of city council held on May 30, 1977. There are a lot of “whereas” clauses, but I think I would just say that it says:
“Now therefore be it resolved that the province of Ontario be requested to amend the Building Code Act, 1974, to provide that proceedings to enforce a contravention of the code be initiated within one year after the time of the contravention and that imprisonment may be for a term of not more than six months.”
I might say this resolution was supported, by the city of Thunder Bay in a communication to the ministry dated June 14, 1977; by the city of Waterloo, the borough of Etobicoke and the borough of East York in a communication of June 20, 1977; by the city of Windsor in a communication dated June 27, 1977; by the city of St. Thomas in a letter dated June 29, 1977; by the city of Kitchener in a communication dated June 27, 1977; and by the cities of Brampton, Port Colborne, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Stratford, the borough of Scarborough, the cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Cornwall, Woodstock, Guelph, Oshawa, London, Mississauga, the borough of North York and the city of Barrie, as well as by the Ontario Building Officials Association.
Mr. Nixon: They favour one year rather than six months?
Mr. Pope: They favour one year; that’s correct. To give a little more background, the Municipal Act provided under section 466(2) that every such finance is recoverable under the Summary Convictions Act, all of the provisions of which apply, “except that proceedings to enforce bylaws passed under section 38 of the Planning Act or any predecessor of such section may be instituted within one year after the time when the subject matter of the proceedings arose.”
Basically, prior to the proclamation of the Building Code Act of 1974, building bylaws were made by municipalities under the authority of sections found in the Municipal Act, and under the authority found in the Planning Act. Proceedings to enforce bylaws made under section 38 of the Planning Act could be instituted within one year after the time when the subject matter of the proceedings arose.
The Building Code Act in 1974, by incorporating the summary conviction procedures, provided for a six-month period. As I previously mentioned, it was at the request of numerous municipalities throughout Ontario, whose representations were received in the year 1977, and after consultation with the construction industry and with the appropriate building official association that it was decided the one-year period would be appropriate.
The basic problem that we have with any extension beyond the one year period, is what could develop to be an evidentiary problem, and also the fact that justice delayed is justice denied. These are some of the situations that we are rather worried about We would prefer to remain with the one-year period I . If that is inappropriate for any reason, particularly with respect to larger buildings -- I think this is what my friend may be worrying about -- .then we will have another look at it. I think with the provision in the amendments to the Building Code Act requiring the filing of plans and specifications with the ministry, we shouldn’t have that kind of problem in obtaining adequate information to prosecute.
I appreciate the concern. It was a concern that the ministry considered in making the recommendations but they decided to stick with the recommendations of the city and building officials.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Parliamentary Assistant would I be correct then in understanding you to say that if over the next few years it becomes evident that there are some problems with a one-year limit, the ministry will then very seriously consider raising it to two?
Mr. Pope: I would just like to clarify that. If there are situations brought to our attention which demonstrate on a general basis the inadequacy of that time period -- and I think the honourable member will be bringing some of these to our attention if they occur -- I think then the ministry would have to have a look at it and would be quite willing to do so.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Davison’s amendment please say “aye.”
Those opposed please say “nay.” In my opinion, the nays have it.
I declare the motion defeated.
Section 9 agreed to.
Sections 10 and 11 agreed to.
Bill 91 reported.
MINISTRY OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned consideration of Bill 85, An Act to revise the Ministry of Correctional Services Act.
On section 9:
Hon. Mr. Drea: There were two statements made in connection with section 9. They were made on the question of letters and so forth. I don’t know whether they are on 9 or 10. It seems to me that we didn’t conclude 9. There was an amendment on 9 involving something else but at the time when the business of inmate mail to MPs and MPPs was discussed, I would like to point out that remarks were made that the federal system does not censor or read or open letters to and from MPs. That is not correct; they do.
Mr. M. N. Davison: So does the RCMP.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for High Park-Swansea. I was not in the chair before, has your motion been put?
Mr. Ziemba: Yes, it has, but what I would like to do is withdraw the motion because I lumped in the MPPs’ visiting rights, and mail with another amendment dealing with nongovernmental agencies. On the advice of legislative counsel, it has been suggested that I place the nongovernmental agencies amendment first. When that carries, I could place the MPPs’ rights amendment as section 9(a). When the bill is printed again it could perhaps be number 10 and all the succeeding sections could be renumbered.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: What you are saying is that the motion you have already put you want split into two separate motions?
Mr. Ziemba: Yes, exactly, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Ziemba moves to add to section 9 of the bill the words: agencies shall direct and be accountable for persons serving as volunteers with them in programs in partnership with the ministry.”
Mr. Ziemba: Volunteers who work in the prison system, I feel, should be free to criticize the officials as private citizens. They are not employees of the minister. They are not answerable in the same way that civil servants are answerable to the minister. I think these volunteers would lose whatever originality or autonomy they have when they go into our prison system and work in the interests of inmates.
If the minister insists that volunteers’ services should be under the direction of one of his employees, then as far as I am concerned he shouldn’t be allowing these visitors to come to jail, if that is going to be his approach. That isn’t the case now. I know that the John Howard Society has programs of its own in co-operation with the ministry. They are not answerable to or under the direct control of the deputy minister or any of the other correctional experts.
Hon Mr. Drea: That’s not true.
Mr. Ziemba: If there is a problem with probationaries or parolees, the government should reassess its whole approach to using these private agencies and insisting on having direct control over them. Speaking from the point of view of the volunteer agencies, if they wanted to be under the direction of a civil servant they would become civil servants. They wouldn’t be operating as they do in a dedicated and compassionate way as private citizens.
For that reason, I am moving this amendment. I think it is in order. I am willing to be reasonable about it, if the minister thinks that it is too loose. I don’t buy his argument that three or four people could go out and form an agency and organize a breakout. If he thinks these volunteer agencies should be identified, then perhaps he could identify them in regulation at the end of the bill. If he wants to tighten it up or bring in an amendment that could speak to the principle of autonomy for volunteer agencies, I would be very pleased to withdraw this one and accept his.
Mr. Bradley: Speaking to the amendment, when we discussed this in the earlier sessions, both the critic for the New Democratic Party and I indicated that we had had contact most particularly with the John Howard Society and Elizabeth Fry Society and that they had expressed concern. The minister gave rather a lengthy answer the last time this issue was discussed in the House, indicating that he did not feel that it would jeopardize the position of anyone from the John Howard Society or the Elizabeth Fry Society or any other recognized group that was doing volunteer work within the correctional services system.
However, I did indicate at that time that if his ministry had an amendment which could accommodate their wishes, I would be interested, along with the member for High Park-Swansea, in at least having the ministry explore that, if it is at all possible and if the minister and his officials feel it is a real problem. Apparently the people from these groups do feel rather strongly that their programs will be interfered with by being under the direction of an employee of the Ministry of Correctional Services.
I think we recognize that the responsibility for what is going on within the correctional services system in Ontario rests with the ministry employees and, ultimately, with the Minister of Correctional Services. I think this is probably the argument that the minister most hung his hat on, the idea that ultimately these people have to be responsible to someone within the system, because he has to accept the responsibility for what happens within the Ministry of Correctional Services. The head of the John Howard Society or of the Elizabeth Fry Society, for instance, may not want to be completely responsible for certain actions that might take place within the correctional services system over which they had no direct control and supervision. I would be interested in hearing any further comments the minister might have to justify the position he’s adopted.
Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, Mr. Chairman, I have met with two branches of the Elizabeth Fry Society since last Thursday and they were monumentally unconcerned; they didn’t even know anything about this, and couldn’t care less, even as late as last night. I just want to point that out.
This question isn’t something that is restricted to the John Howard Society. The John Howard Society, eminent though its position may be, does not provide us with the bulk of our volunteer services. Across the province, the Salvation Army provides us with the bulk of those services. They think section 9 as it stands now is perfectly adequate.
As a matter of fact, people from the volunteer organizations -- and many of them are not, as I keep emphasizing, umbrella social agencies; they are ad hoc groups, quite often from a particular parish or a particular church, not the entire church. Quite often they are from a convent or a theological school. Quite often they are just a group of people in a neighbourhood. They come in totally unstructured. These people point out that this section is entirely new. We have never mentioned the word “volunteer” in a ministry act before or an act under the former Department of Reform Institutions. What we are doing in this is recognizing that there are volunteer services provided.
In all fairness, what the member for High Park-Swansea mentioned aren’t volunteer services; they are professional services. The difficulty with his amendment and the alternatives put forward in one proposal by the John Howard Society is that nobody from either group -- nobody -- has either written to me or communicated to me. There was one communication from the John Howard Society to the deputy minister. But notwithstanding the fact that we debated this once, and my comments are On record, there has not even been a phone call.
When a volunteer comes into an institution, there is the question of security. One of the basic difficulties that many volunteers have in becoming acclimatized to institutions is the question of security. lo a great many cases they do not understand why they cannot do this at this time. We’ve gone to great lengths in the past six months to orient every volunteer who comes in, to tell him exactly why we have these regulations, which to lay people like myself, and I’m sure to honourable members, quite often seems to be very picky little things. When they are explained by the institution, they are rather substantial matters involving security.
As a matter of fact, last night I was in Ottawa, where there is the largest volunteer group in the province in one place, in the detention centre. Through the co-operation of Algonquin College and our own staff, we have produced a rather extensive film, for the magnificent cost of $50, which provides a complete orientation, not only for new inmates coming into that detention centre but also for volunteers.
The volunteers there, and in other places where I have been, are quite satisfied with the ministry program; and I’ve been to virtually every volunteer recognition night in the past six months across this province in various communities. What they want, and what we are providing, is a volunteer coordinator from the inside of the institution so that there is a specialist in putting them into time slots or into programs and allocating those resources.
Were I to accept this amendment, that means we would have absolutely no control over the people who came into our institutions. The full responsibility would go to their agency. That is a rather awesome responsibility, and I simply don’t think that social agencies, or groups of people, or people banded together because of the fact that they have a common religious persuasion, or community outlook or what have you, want to be placed in this position.
The other suggestion is, why don’t you list the agencies by regulation? There are groups of volunteers who form up very rapidly across this province. Sometimes it’s only one or two people who come in and say: “Look, I would like to get involved in one of your programs, I think I can help.” How in the world do we list that person’s name in there to recognize to whom he is accountable? So what you’re doing, in effect, is taking a rather simple section which recognizes that volunteers do operate under the direction of the ministry personnel so, therefore, the responsibility is ours, and you’re turning it into an infinitely complicated system whereby people almost have to get certification and recognition.
I don’t want to be placed in the position that where the Salvation Army in a community hasn’t been providing services to the federal government or to mental health, all of a sudden I have to pass a regulation recognizing the Salvation Army for purposes of that particular institution. I find that totally degrading. They don’t have to be recognized now. We have taken the precautions. We have given them a particular status in oar ministry that does not exist in other ministries where there are volunteers. Since the overriding question in terms of institutions is security, I think that’s very important.
Secondly, it’s been brought to our attention that there are groups now that go in holus boles and are not under our supervision. That is totally untrue. It may very well be that there are cases where we may take female inmates, because of the lack of numbers that would put them into a centre operated by us, and place them on a fee-for- service basis in a residence run by somebody else, but that person is under the direct supervision of the superintendent of the institution from whence they came until the sentence is completed.
If they are on parole, they are under the direct supervision of the probation officer, who is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they conform to parole regulations. There has to be a consistency. This isn’t the taking of ex-offenders, of people who have no responsibilities to the courts any more, nor the courts any control over them through us. You are dealing with people the courts have sentenced but who have not completed that sentence and are under our direct control.
In the field of outside probation, just straight probation, there is no problem. There is no problem at all, because for 98 or 99 per cent of their time these people are perfectly free in the community. They can do what they want within the terms of the probation order. They may attend upon a social agency, they may attend upon the ARF, they may attend upon AA, and so forth, so we don’t have that control. What we’re talking about is specific volunteer service where there are institutions.
On the very night that this was first raised lust previously, the New Democratic Party, later joined by the official opposition, did produce an amendment upon the probation bill of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and the thrust of that amendment was that if you were taking somebody and contracting out his probation from a public employee, which would be the ministry, then you had to ensure that there was a public employee in charge of that volunteer. That was exactly what was produced on the floor after considerable argument. This is precisely the same thing. If there’s going to be consistency in programs for the offender, then there must be consistency. To do otherwise in this would be to negate all of the debates on that past evening regarding the use of volunteers or non-ministry employees. Everyone was most emphatic that there had to be controls, otherwise there might be very great difficulties that could not be resolved.
Mr. Nixon: If I understand the amendment, which I don’t believe was put at this session but which was put at a previous session --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: It has been put again at this session.
Mr. Nixon: -- it has to do with access to these institutions by members of the Legislature.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: That is not before us. That is another amendment which will follow this one.
All those in favour of Mr. Ziemba’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
I declare the motion lost.
The member for High Park-Swansea has a second amendment which he would like to be section 9(a). Is that correct?
Mr. Ziemba: Yes, I would like this amendment to be named section 9(a).
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Ziemba moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following:
“9(a)(i) Every member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is entitled to enter and inspect any correctional institution, community resource centre or other facility established or designated under this act for any purpose related to the member’s duties and responsibilities as a member of the Legislative Assembly.
“(ii) Any letter addressed to an inmate of an institution from a member of the Legislative Assembly, the Ombudsman of Ontario or the correctional investigator of Canada, shall be immediately forwarded unopened to the inmate by the director or the superintendent of the institution or a person designated by either of them in writing.
“(iii) Any letter written by an inmate of an institution that is addressed to a member of the Legislative Assembly, the Ombudsman or the correctional investigator of Canada shall be immediately forwarded unopened to the member, Ombudsman or correctional investigator as the case may be, by the director, superintendent or a person designated by them in writing.”
Mr. Ziemba: The first part of the amendment is in regulation now and I don’t think the minister has any quarrel with it. I take violent objection to this business about getting mail and sending mail and having it censored by the correctional staff. I was always under the impression that our letters were coming and going unopened. In fact the regulation suggests that in respect to section 28. It says:
“An inmate shall be permitted at any time to send or receive letters from his solicitor, the minister, the deputy minister, members of the Ontario Legislative Assembly or members of the Parliament of Canada, and such letters shall be forwarded without delay and without the deletion of any part thereof.” Doesn’t that give the impression that you are passing on letters without opening them?
Hon. Mr. Drea: No.
Mr. Ziemba: Why would you put that in there if you are going to treat our letters the same as you treat any letters that come to these institutions? I think that whole regulation is really misleading.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Read the next section before you get so cocky.
Mr. Ziemba: I don’t know why it wasn’t spelled out for us, because I had a number of inmates write to me from institutions believing that their mail was confidential. Let me tell the minister that most of the letters weren’t very controversial, they were just routine complaints. During the past six months when I was the NDP critic for this ministry, I haven’t received one complaint about the ministry. What am I to believe? Is the ministry run so well that there isn’t one prisoner complaining about the system? Or is someone intercepting those letters and not passing them on to me?
Mr. Nixon: They are fighting to get in.
Mr. Gregory: The third possibility is that you are the last one they would complain to.
Mr. Ruston: You’ve lost your credibility.
Mr. Ziemba: I don’t know if I want to go along with the member for Mississauga East -- that I would be the last one to complain to. It seems that the role of opposition members is to bring up problem areas. How are we going to know if there are any problems if people who are incarcerated haven’t got open access to us? I think this is a fundamental right.
When the Mounties are criticised for starting an Operation Cathedral, I think this ministry isn’t too far behind with its approach to mail. I don’t believe the minister could give us one ease where an elected representative would send a letter that would be seen as a threat to security. Why would that letter be opened? There is no excuse that I can think of for opening mail other than simple curiosity -- or perhaps an instinct for survival. Corrections staff is just making sure that people don’t find out about what goes on in some of these institutions.
I would like to see all members support this amendment, because I think it is fundamental to individual rights.
Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, Mr. Chairman, let me disabuse the honourable member of the idea that we are suggesting in any way, shape or form that a member of this assembly would do something contrary to the Criminal Code in the contents of a written communication to a sentenced inmate, or to somebody being held for remand. The question is one of security. What are we supposed to do with an envelope that comes with a letterhead on it? How do we know that it is really your letterhead? Do we have to come back and say to the member, “Did you write a letter to Mr. So-and-so today?”
I will tell you, the Ombudsman and the correctional investigator who have this privilege -- and that’s in other acts; it’s also in this
-- very valid; shouldn’t be touched, going to either one of them -- are very concerned about the security of their envelopes. Both are trying to develop a type of envelope only they will have total control over, so their names cannot be forged.
If the member for High Park-Swansea is to tell me today -- and I don’t think he can -- that every single letterhead in his riding office, in his legislative office, is totally under his control; that I couldn’t go there today and say, “I would like to see Mr. Ziemba’s letterhead, because” -- for a number of reasons -- “I would like to have Mr. Ziemba’s letterhead from his riding office, because I keep forgetting his address.” Your secretary would provide that envelope and she wouldn’t think twice about it, nor should she.
You’re shaking your head. If you are to tell me that you’re that security conscious in your riding office --
Mr. Ziemba: I’m not security conscious.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- then I suggest to you that you are confirming some of the reasoning that I have behind the stance I am taking.
It is not a regulation. It is part of the manual, it is not in regulations. The procedure now is that on the outgoing mail we have the right to check it. But it must be forwarded without deletion and without delay to the member -- and the includes, by the way, the minister.
Sometimes they scan it, sometimes they just make sure there is no contraband. It is a spot cheek. I don’t want to go into too many details because obviously we don’t check every piece of mail going out and I don’t want to tell people exactly what our procedures in general are.
On incoming mail, the letter is not read. When the member writes, and it is on his letterhead -- this, of course, applies if the sender is thus identified. If a letter is sent in a plain white envelope, how are we to know the sender until we oven it up? But in coming in, and I am drawing from our own regulations, all we do is slit the envelope to make sure there isn’t contraband in it. We don’t bother reading it. It is delivered to the inmate without delay.
What you are asking us to do is, by virtue of the letterhead or some type of identification that purports to be one of the 125 members here, to completely throw out security. I may say there is a legal ease on this. There is a legal ease where, in the trial division and at the federal Court of Appeal, they have upheld the right of the correctional system to open mail.
The particular case, for those who are interested, is Solosky versus the Queen. The argument was that correspondence to a solicitor should not be opened. At the Federal Court, trial division and at the Federal Court of Appeal that has been turned down. It is now a stated case before the Supreme Court of Canada.
So even if it was the will of the House today that they might want to disregard the admonitions I have made about security, here we would be trying to pass legislation which might be directly contrary to the view of the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada when it came down. I don’t question the right of this assembly to do so.
Mr. Nixon: I hope not.
Hon Mr. Drea: I am not suggesting that at all. But neither have I ever known this assembly, when it did pass legislation prematurely, because the Supreme Court of Canada was ruling on a procedure, that it didn’t have to amend itself or didn’t choose to amend itself afterwards.
It is purely a matter of security. Obviously this matter was debated at some length previously, when the Ombudsman Act was being written. The section was put in the Ombudsman Act, put into our act, that his mail is to be left unopened, and rightly so.
With the correctional investigator, in the case of where we have a federal inmate being temporarily with us either on remand pending a trial for parole, it’s the same thing.
Even there, I suggest to you, there is grave concern by the Ombudsman about security. I just don’t think it is practical to throw it wide open and I don’t think it would produce the effects.
Let me once again disabuse the member of this, we don’t stop mail going. If you haven’t received a communication it is because some people haven’t chosen to write to you. I have had forwarded copies of communications from inmates to virtually every member of this House. They come over to my office for a reply or they have received this, it is addressed directly to them. I can tell you, my mail is down. I think the reason that the mail may be down is the fact that they are going to the Ombudsman directly. That is why the Ombudsman is there. The other night it was mentioned that it was an affront for me to say that I thought the Ombudsman was the proper person to handle it.
Let’s be very practical about it. Suppose we do get a letter. I am talking now as a member of the assembly, not the minister. Supposing I do get a letter from somebody in the Thunder Bay correctional institution who may have lived in my riding. As a back bencher or as a member of this assembly I am not going to be able to go up to Thunder Bay to investigate, or if I am, I may have some other duties here that will preclude me going for a week. The Ombudsman has his correctional investigation staff in place across the province. He can get there within the day. He can examine it impartially.
It is all very well for the suggestion to come out that the MPPs should investigate everything. As I look across, there are some members there with far more service than I. Prior to many of the situations being covered in the Ombudsman Act the MPPs in this House had a tremendous, almost Herculean task to even be able to scratch the surface on the number of complaints because they were here, not available outside.
The final thing I would like to say to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, the man who is very close to me in the gambling scene, is that the question was raised about members’ visits. What I left the last time was this: we now have in our administrative rules that the MPP is to he admitted, period.
The question was raised: “Should we not have it enshrined in legislation?” My thought was that it is a tradition of the House. We were prepared to file that for the convenience of the Clerk so he could tell new members in the future that this was a privilege extended automatically by virtue of membership in the House, rather than putting it into a ministry bill.
But I said at the time that if it was the collective will of the House that it preferred it to be in our act, we were perfectly willing to do so. On preference, I thought it much better to be a right of the assembly and to file it with the Clerk for his convenience. We don’t have many rights in comparison with members of the House of Commons in Britain or of the House of Commons in Ottawa.
In view of the fact that this had been brought in as a right some years ago by a previous minister, the Honourable Allan Grossman, I thought it was preferable that it remains as a right of the entire House, rather than being put into specific legislative language in a specific act. But if it is the will of the House to have it in legislation, so be it.
Mr. Bradley: Speaking to the amendment, I would indicate support for clause (i) of the section 9(a) amendment. Notwithstanding what the minister has said, that this is a right and tradition of members of the assembly, I see no real problem with making it part of this legislation.
I think members would like to know that it is in the statutes of the province of Ontario and that this right does exist. I have not heard of too many complaints. The other night I did hear a couple of minor complaints about access to institutions, but I have not personally experienced that, nor have I heard of very many cases where there has been a problem in getting access to one of our Correctional Services institutions. However, I think it would be preferable to have it in this act as well. I see no problem with that. It is there for everyone to see at that time. I think members would like to know they have that right enshrined in legislation.
The second part is a very difficult one -- clauses (ii) and (iii) of the amendment. I think all of us in this House jealously guard our right to confidentiality and we are concerned when there is a possibility that confidentiality will be violated or the opportunity will arise for that.
The minister has made some valid points in this regard. Certainly since the Ombudsman has come on the scene to deal with the problems experienced within our Correctional Services institutions there is no question that the volume of mail to individual members of this Legislature has gone down considerably.
Obviously, the inmates themselves feel that problems brought to his attention can be handled by the Ombudsman in a very adequate manner, in that he has a staff to do so; he has people with direct expertise. There is confidence in the Ombudsman and his particular organization.
Knowing that the communications can be directed to the Ombudsman, untouched, that the lines of communication are open and confidential, it is reasonable to assume that the inmates within the institution do have reasonable access in terms of making a complaint.
I am concerned -- I don’t know how we’re going to overcome this, and I share the concern of the member for High Park-Swansea -- that the possibility exists, at least, that there is going to be more than a scanning of the mail.
The minister shakes his head. Certainly we would hope that this is the case. But I don’t know how the minister can give us an ironclad guarantee that there isn’t going to be a reading of the mail, either going out to the member or coming in. I don’t think that guarantee can be made.
However, he makes a valid point in terms of someone being able to get access to the stationery of a member, particularly to envelopes of a member. It’s difficult to do, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
I think all members of the Legislature would share the concern that there may be certain materials which are directed to inmates within the institutions that might be used either for escape or for some other purposes which would not be desirable within the institution.
I suppose there is the possibility also that plans could be formulated for escape or some other activity undesirable to the smooth operation of a Correctional Services institute. It becomes a very difficult problem. In theory, I am sympathetic to what the member for High Park-Swansea is saying. If he feels it’s necessary, and perhaps it will be, the minister could at least express the concern of members opposite that our communications not be read, but merely be scanned to see that our signature is on them and that there is not a careful scrutiny of these communications.
That’s very difficult to do, but our options are very limited because of the questions the minister has raised about this and because of the points he has made. If the Ombudsman was not in existence, I would have to say that under those circumstances we would have to take those chances. With the Ombudsman in existence and with the mail situation as it is in relation to the Ombudsman, that does at least guarantee those within Correctional Services institutions the access to someone who is impartial and may be able to rectify their particular problems.
Mr. M. N. Davison: As I understand it, we have no problem in any of the three parties with the first part of my colleague’s amendment. I can agree with it. I have a question that the minister can answer for me when I’m finished or perhaps he can nod his head. When an MPP visits a specific prisoner in an institution, is that visit by the MPP counted or applied to total number of visits that prisoner can receive in any given time period?
Hon. Mr. Drea: No. The reason that a record is kept is that there are two docket books in any institution. One is general and the second is professional. The MPP signs as he’s going in because we want him to come out. It’s just the same way as for a solicitor or a doctor. There’s a professional log book there as well. It doesn’t count at all.
Mr. M. N. Davison: On the question of the mail, I think I have a solution which will be acceptable to the minister that will allow all three parties to accept the provisions or amendments made by my colleague. As I understand the minister’s real objection, it’s not so much to the letters going out from the institution to the MPP but to those coming in from the MP’s office to the institution.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Maybe I could say there’s one problem about mail going out that I would hope you’d address yourself to.
Mr. M. N. Davison: What’s the problem?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The problem there is if it’s going to go out without being looked at, what address do you have? Is it your legislative office or your riding office? What happens if the person knows your address? Say he’s from your riding and your riding is relatively small in dimensions and he knows where you live. These are very practical considerations. Suppose he writes to you at your address and doesn’t put the magic initials after your name and then you get an intercepted letter? These are very practical considerations about mail going out as well as coming in.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I can understand that concern. That’s rather easily solved, because most of us not being terribly wealthy people have three addresses, a Queen’s Park office, a constituency office and our residency. All those addresses for all MPPs can be kept on file at each particular institution and the correct spelling, initials and so on can be provided to the inmate wishing to write. I just don’t see any great security problem in terms of mail leaving the institution to an MPP. It’s really the same sort of situation as the Ombudsman is in.
We might get into a discussion about the employees of the Ombudsman and the employees of the MPP. I’m sure that no one would like to cast doubts on the worth or honesty of any employee of any MPP, nor would the minister nor any other member of the House really want to cast doubt upon the trustworthiness of an MPP in that he might be involved in some way in breaking a law or breaching security. I understand the minister’s position on that. I think we agree that that’s not the real problem, so I think we can accept the second part of my colleague’s amendment.
The real problem comes with the third one, and I understand very well the minister’s concern on this. Just because a letter arrives addressed to an inmate at the institution in one of the white and blue envelopes that we members of the provincial Parliament have, how does he know where it came from? I suspect most members, like myself, don’t have a special letterhead; we just use the standard government letterhead.
I think there are two ways, and rather simple, inexpensive ways, in which that problem can be solved. When the staff opens that letter the only way they can verify that it has come from the member of Parliament is if his signature is on that letter. It would be a simple matter for each institution to have on file a copy signature of each member of the Legislative Assembly and for the member of the Legislative Assembly sending the letter to have his signature on the back of the envelope.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Some of those guys in there can do your signature better than you.
Mr. M. N. Davison: If that is the only way in which the ministry now identifies whether or not a letter has come from a member of Parliament, and the minister didn’t suggest that there was another way -- as a matter of fact, he specifically said he didn’t want to be involved in having to phone us up each day to see if we sent this letter; the way you are doing it now is by signature -- so if it’s good enough on the inside of the letter, it’s good enough on the outside of the envelope.
However, if the minister wants to raise that as an additional point, that no, we can’t just count on the signature of the MPP because there are in this province a few people who can sign forged signatures --
Hon. Mr. Drea: A few?
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- fine, I think it shoots a hole in the balloon of the argument about opening them up to see if it’s really from the MPP by looking at his signature.
If the minister wouldn’t accept that, then I have an even better solution for him. That’s this: As the Ombudsman and the correctional investigator of Canada, as the minister has told us today, worried about the problem of people getting access of their envelopes and sending in letters to incarcerated people, the ministry can also follow their procedure and develop a secure envelope which can be given, one at a time, upon request, to an MPP at Queen’s Park, or one of his designates in writing. The communication to the individual in the institution can then be placed in that envelope; or if you don’t trust the MPP or his designate to go away and do that, if you think that might lead to another possible security problem, then I think members of Parliament would be willing to consider placing our letter in the envelope in front of a designate from your ministry.
I think, Mr. Chairman, I have been able to offer methods that clarify any problems that are raised by the second two parts of my colleague’s amendment. I think all of us in the House can agree with the first part, so I think that we can now, after some more reasonable debate, proceed to a vote on which all three parties can agree on these amendments so that MPPs and people in institutions can have confidential and secure communication with each other.
Mr. Nixon: I don’t quite agree with the honourable member who has just spoken that we are ready to go forward with approval of the motion as he has suggested. I agree with the comments made by my colleague from St. Catharines, however, that I believe it would be appropriate if the act were amended so the members of the Legislature by right can enter a provincial institution.
The minister has indicated it is our right now by a statement from his predecessor and that he is prepared to make such information available to the clerk and so on, and would accept an amendment making it a legal matter. I think, frankly, we would ask him to accept that.
However, I am prepared to accept the comments made by the member for St. Catharines about the role of the Ombudsman in this matter and also the objections raised by the minister. I don’t believe there is a substantial problem here, particularly since it has been raised in the House, and others in the ministry and the members themselves will be aware of any hitch in free communication between the people incarcerated and their members for whatever proper purposes that they see fit.
We are not prepared to support sections 2 or 3 of the amendment, as my colleague from St. Catharines has indicated. We would either have an amendment moved delegating those two subsections, if you want to call them that, or we could not approve the amendment in total if the minister is prepared to move one, as he has said he is willing to do, and accept the visiting privileges of the members.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Chairman, I presume the House leader of the official opposition does have some input from the members of his party and the member for High Park- Swansea has indicated it is their will.
I would prefer to have the three sections struck and a new section covering the visitations put in because I would want to have one exception in that. The one exception on the visits, since we are putting it into specific legislation, is really only common sense. The only limitation would be: “except here the ministry determines that the institution has become insecure or other emergency conditions exist” -- that would be in the case of a riot, a fire inside; as I say, common sense. No member probably would ever want to go in under that type of situation. But as section 9(a)(i) stands now there would be no authority to ban someone on the grounds that the place has become insecure.
You will notice elsewhere in this bill for the first time we are saying that we have the right to remove inmates and transfer than when the particular centre becomes insecure. That has to be our judgement. It might very well be not from fire, it might be from some type of contagion or a number of things. But with those limitations we would accept this.
So what I would propose is: “Every member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is entitled to enter and inspect any correctional institution, community resource centre” -- remember we are going far beyond jails -- “or other facility established or designated under this act for any purpose related to the member’s duties and responsibilities as a member of the Legislative Assembly, except where the minister determines that the institution has become insecure or other emergency conditions exist.”
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is that an amendment? Do you have that in writing?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I will give you the last three parts. The rest of it is Mr. Ziemba’s word-for-word -- 9( a) (i).
Mr. Deputy Chairman: In view of the time, might I suggest that be prepared in writing when we resume this debate at the next sitting?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Chairman, before we do, since we have some time, the proposition has been advanced by the House leader of the Liberal Party that if this amendment is going to come in the next time we would have time for a determination now on the entirety of the amendments to section 9.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I understand you are bringing in amendments to section 9(a) to Mr. Ziemba’s motion.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, Mr. Chairman, the suggestion was made that the entire amendment before you now be deleted and that a separate amendment be brought in covering the visitation rights, to be debated separately
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would suggest to the minister that if we vote down the amendment of Mr. Ziemba before us then the question would have been decided and another motion may not be in order. I think the proper way would be to have an amendment to Mr. Ziemba’s amendment.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order -- I can see with the points of order we are going to run out of time. But are you saying that if an amendment is lost the section carries?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: No, another amendment could be brought forward on another matter, but the matter of members’ visitations would then have been lost and that matter would have been decided. We have a motion to rise and report. I would suggest that between now and when we resume, these matters can be resolved among the various members.
Mr. Nixon: Is the motion put?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The motion will not be put. The motion is to rise and report.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported one bill without amendment and progress on another.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 91, An Act to amend the Building Code Act, 1974.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 1 p.m.