31e législature, 2e session

L143 - Thu 7 Dec 1978 / Jeu 7 déc 1978

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for adoption of the November 9 report of the standing procedural affairs committee re boards, agencies and commissions.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, this is an important occasion for the members of this House and particularly for the members of the procedural affairs committee. I think that is noted by the packed gallery and the ample attendance of members here this evening.

I would be remiss if I did not start off by saying how proud I am personally of the members of the committee and the work they did and of the rather minuscule staff which slaved so hard during the summer months to prepare committee reports for the members of the committee and to give us the kind of background information we needed. Frankly, it is one of the few occasions when I have seen staff find the optimum point between trying to bury the members of the committee with paper and not saying anything at all.

I must say that Peter Johnson, Graham White and Mary Scraggs, who worked on preparing these reports during the course of the summer, put together some very succinct and very apt questions, probed the members of boards, agencies and commissions who were coming before the committee, and gave us the kind of optimum staff input that did not dictate to the members where they would go but certainly did indicate to them areas for discussion and opened up avenues which I think were welcomed on both sides of the table when we got to the hearing stage.

Because there has been so much discussion about boards, agencies and commissions in the last year or so -- resolutions in this House about sunset provisions and the odd newspaper article about the number of agencies that are out there, what they do, how they do them, who belongs to these agencies and whether they serve any conceivable useful purpose at all -- I sensed a feeling of relief on the part of a number of people who came before the committee. It was their first chance, for many of them, to explain what they did.

If I could start off by generalizing on the findings of the committee, I think we found that there are a number of people out there working on agencies doing an extremely useful job for the government of Ontario and for the people of Ontario.

There are some who, without question, do not know why they are there. There are some who challenge their usefulness any more. There are some who cannot quite give a good accounting of their activities. But they are in the minority. To generalize, I would say that by and large they do some good work.

An interesting point is that no one -- not one member of our committee, not one member of Management Board of Cabinet, nor the people who did their study in June 1975 -- no one can tell you how many agencies are out there operating. No one knows for sure. “Around 700,” “over 700,” “under 700,” “about 300” -- but no one has an exact number. And no one has an exact amount of dollars spent either. It is an interesting piece of business. How can one enter fiscal accountability when one doesn’t even know the bulk number spent? It becomes rather difficult to determine whether it was spent wisely or not wisely.

So for all of the gossip, rumour, investigation, committee reports, press discussions of agencies in Ontario, there are a great number of myths. It was the job of our committee, in the first formal, open and public activity conducted by this Legislature as a body in 20 years, to try to sort through some of this. I think it important that we take note of some of those things that I passed over so casually. In my mind it is important

Almost all of these agencies are creatures of this Legislature, not particularly always creatures of some ministry over there, but are things that, in some way or other, at some point in time, were provided for by various bills that went through this House. So in a very direct way sometimes, and sometimes in a rather indirect way, they are related to this Legislature in a way that perhaps you do not care to think about, but I think it now becomes important to the members of this House to pay some attention to this kind of thing.

These are not always loose contraptions put together by some ministry. These are almost always agencies created in some manner by this Legislature. The next time an act floats through this House that has a small clause providing for some advisory committee, some regulatory committee, whatever that might be, I think it would do the members of this Legislature some good to pay attention. Then, when they can make a difference, rather than afterwards, when the agency is formed and functioning.

So I caution the members of this House to pay more attention to the things that they create and to feel somewhat more responsibility for that. As part of that caution I would say that this House, not a government agency, not a government caucus committee, but the members of this Legislature have an obligation to review these agencies on a regular basis, to see that the information on how they function and the kind of money that they spend and the kind of activities that they carry on, are reviewed by members of this House. It is the members present here, particularly in a minority, but even in a majority government, who create these things in some form or other.

We could have made an attempt to deal with the vast expanse of agencies that are out there. We chose not to. We chose to look at a cross-sample of them to see the different kinds of classifications. That’s not difficult to do because there are all kinds of studies classifying these groups of agencies that work. We wanted to see how little ones function, ones that didn’t spend very much money. If you look at the committee reports, you will see that we looked at, and had interviews with agencies that spent somewhere from a minimum of $40,000 to those who spent in excess of $18 million. Now, that is quite a cross-section, and that is what we looked at.

In the end, we established our own priorities. We said that the first thing, the most important thing, is to set out some rationale for how these things are set up and how they function. So, in the first part of our committee report, we put together some general guidelines. These may, of course, be open to question and interpretation on the part of the members of the House, but I think what is not open to interpretation is the fact that if you are going to set up an agency, no matter what name you put on it afterwards, there ought to be some reason for it to be in existence. That should be laid out clearly in the beginning when it starts up and should be reviewed regularly thereafter. The members of this House, in particular, should play some important role in all of that.

Mr. Speaker, let me go through these recommendations in general, because I think that they are important. The first one is perhaps the most controversial one, and I understand it may subsequently, this evening, be the subject of an amendment. I should point out to the members of the House that at the time the committee’s recommendations were put together, there was no objection from any member of the committee. The committee felt there was a need to establish a pause, a moratorium, a hold-it period, where everyone sat down and implemented all of those things that other groups had talked about for some time.

I point out to you that there has not been a shortage of discussion papers, analyses, nor attempts even to bring these agencies into line. There is not a ministry, I am told, which hasn’t made the attempt to bring agencies, under its control or influence, into some semblance of order, but with a notable lack of success.

The Management Board of Cabinet has attempted to do that without a lot of success. The government has had a government caucus committee to do that and frankly I’m not overly impressed with what it did. But it did do something, and that’s important. I think it would be better if we were simply to accept that all of us -- whether it be members of the government caucus, or the members of this Legislature, or the people who work for Management Board, or the Management Board itself, or the individual ministries -- were prepared to say “just put a hold on this thing for a while, let’s look at it, let’s implement some of the recommendations of the Management Board’s study; let’s look at some of the recommendations from the government’s committee; let’s look at the recommendations from this committee; let’s see if we can’t put some perspective on all of this. Rationalize the process.”

It seems to me a number of groups in and around government in Ontario over the last decade have attempted to do that but because there is no concerted effort, no clear direction provided, it simply has not occurred. It now, I think, is incumbent on the members of this House to provide that direction.

Whether or not the members choose tonight to accept the concept of a moratorium or whether they decide to set that aside does not bother me nearly as much as the concern I have that finally the government as a whole -- not just the governing party but this Legislature -- pays some attention to the things it creates, decides to review them regularly and to put some common sense into the way they are set up, into the way they function, and when they cease to perform a useful function that we simply say that’s over.

If members choose to interpret that as being a sunset provision, that’s fine by me. All I’m arguing for is that whatever this House decides to do it should not do it simplistically nor unilaterally because many of these agencies perform a useful function. Some don’t and it is the job of the Legislature to weed out those who don’t and to provide for alternate services where it can be done in a better and more efficient manner. And the Legislature should encourage those agencies out there who do a good job for the people of Ontario at minimal cost -- and there are several of those.

We look for a number of things in setting out the general recommendations. We look for guidelines on the number of members who are appointed to an agency. That appears to be nonsensical. Despite the fact Management Board’s own paper on this matter suggested an optimum number, we see all kinds of variations out there, from three people on committees advising ministries to 30 people on the heritage foundation’s board.

We found some interesting things that would not be tolerated in any other circumstances. Most of the ones we looked at don’t have anything in their constitution, bylaws, the way they operate, that suggests if there is a conflict of interest it should be declared. That should be a recognized thing. So we suggest a simple policy procedure which if implemented will alleviate that problem.

I would caution you that many of the agencies out there are operating in sensitive areas where there can clearly be a conflict of interest. That should cease. That practice would be an unthinkable one, for example, for the members of this House, for the members of a municipal council or for the members of a school board. So we’re simply saying provide a little rationale in that.

We are recommending that there be a clearly set out goal for the agency itself. In other words before you appoint people to it you should work out clearly what the agency is supposed to do. From that point on you should try to measure how close they have come to that initial goal. For a surprisingly large number of them, they really don’t know why they’re there. Perhaps at one time there was a good reason for it, but there is not any more.

We uncovered a little recommendation in the Management Board paper that suggested there should be a thing called “a memorandum of understanding” -- an agreement between the ministry and the agency to do certain things in certain ways. It seems quite a sensible idea to us and we frankly don’t see why it doesn’t apply across the board.

We suggest the agency should table annual reports in this House -- all of them. A little later on we suggest there should be a standard format, somewhat, I would suggest, along the size of this committee report which provides the members with information. There aren’t any pictures and that might pose some of the members a problem, but it gives you why the thing is in business, what it does, what kind of money it spends. It should be a simple form to provide information to the members. We simply want them to table those reports in this House so the members can be aware of what’s going on out there.


We’re recommending an accountant format be devised, of a standardized nature so that the members can quickly review how the moneys are spent and how they are allocated. We found an amazing array of methods of accounting for themselves, from the very sophisticated to the virtually non-existent.

There are some overlaps, without question, among municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions. We are suggesting this House pay some attention to sorting that out where possible. The expenditures of these agencies should be subject to review by a committee of this House, namely the public accounts committee. These agencies should be listed in the estimates book so members may have the opportunity to raise questions about them; they are not now. Several of these are housekeeping matters which, frankly, do not do much more than open up the possibility of a review of these agencies by members of this House.

We made some specific recommendations on agencies where we had done a small amount of investigation. We invited them in to discuss the matters with the committee. We made those recommendations and we think they are reasonably sensible. If you look at them, there was a cross-section of some 14 agencies. While I would place the priority on a general set of guidelines as being the most important thing for the House to do at this time, I would point out we made specific and clear and rather sharp recommendations. We recommended three of the 14 agencies either be terminated outright or reformulated in some way or other.

We had some who came before us who said frankly they had a job to do but they had no powers to do it. The Farm Machinery Board was one example of that, an agency which had some good interests at heart, which had recommended to the ministry last January, I believe, that it be given somewhat expanded powers. They frankly said to the committee when they were there, that there was a job for them to do and they were anxious to do it, but they didn’t have any staff and they didn’t really have a mandate to do it.

What we’re saying in that instance is: Do one of two things. Make an obvious choice. Either provide the agency with a role to play or do away with the agency, one or the other. In several of the agencies that were before the committee we saw things of a similar nature evolve. Once upon a time perhaps their role had been clear; it’s no longer clear. Where there were things they wanted to do on occasion, they were prevented from doing them because they didn’t really have a mandate from anybody to do them. If that’s the case, then in my view and in the view of the committee, you either make the agency functional or you do away with it. That’s the choice.

We found a variety of responses to the agencies. Let me leave the members with a couple of things on that aspect of it. We looked at two agencies in particular: the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Addiction Research Foundation, both large spenders with large budgets.

It was the committee’s view that in terms of our resources for research and investigation we weren’t quite prepared to have one researcher -- which is what we had -- take on the kind of research mountain that, for example, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has at its disposal. That was not exactly a reasonable battle to take on. But certainly the Ministry of Education is well-equipped to conduct a thorough and ongoing examination of how that institute is set up, firstly, and whether it succeeds at its original mandate, and whether it now serves a useful function in this province of ours or whether the functions now carried on by the institute for studies in education would be better served if they were carried out, for example, by the University of Toronto.

In terms of the Addiction Research Foundation, once again we found much the same thing. There is a need for the Ministry of Health to conduct a thorough, ongoing examination with professional opinion offered from its own staff as to whether or not that agency now provides as useful a service as can be provided to the people of Ontario in that form. Should the form be changed? Should alterations be made which indicate some of its functions would be taken on in part by the ministry and in part perhaps by hospitals and in part by other agencies? Are we content that it now succeeds at doing what its mandate suggests it should do, that is identify various forms of addictive ingredients or drugs or alcohol or tobacco or whatever it might be?

Frankly, in discussing the matter with the Addiction Research Foundation, we found some drifting on their part. Having done the pure research some time ago and not being terribly successful in getting implementation, they too had then begun the political process of contacting the members, making sure the members had read their reports and were aware of what they did. They were not terribly convinced among themselves as to precisely what their direction should be.

Perhaps that’s simply an indication that the Addiction Research Foundation and OISE are two agencies in Ontario that have grown to a substantial budget, that have the expertise on their own staff to fight the good fight, that are now into public relations, that are able to provide research reports on innumerable topics and that communicate and circulate their information throughout Ontario. In effect, those two agencies are, without question, larger than some of our ministries, with more staff and a larger budget, and have the potential at least of doing very good things. It is a judgment call as to whether or not they succeed at that.

Let me move to a couple of other areas that I would like to touch on quickly. The government had set up in the spring of this year an agencies review committee. It was part of our concern initially that there might be some conflict between --

Mr. Mancini: That was before the member for London South (Mr. Walker) had a job.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Just call us the hatchet.

Mr. Breaugh: -- the work of the procedural affairs committee and this committee. We met with the Premier (Mr. Davis) and he assured us that he would attempt to straighten out the lines of communication.

I must admit I am not overwhelmed by that report. It’s not that I deny that a good effort was made or that some decisions were taken which should not have been taken. I am simply saying it’s unfortunate that the work of that committee was not tabled in this House and that the work of that committee will not directly be debated in this House. That committee was done within the government caucus -- and I respect their right to do so -- and it was tabled with the press, as opposed to with the members of this House. Again, I respect their right to do so, but I think it would have been more useful had it been a committee of this Legislature and had it reported here.

I looked, with some sadness, very carefully over the list of agencies which they purport now to terminate. I find that there are few in there that would not have been terminated at any rate. As a matter of fact, I find few that haven’t already been dead for a year and a half or so right now and were dead when that committee started up its job. In my mind, I never got much joy from shooting live birds, let alone dead birds. I express some reluctance on the part of that committee in terms of their technique but not in terms of their objective.

They can’t say, although I suspect some members will, that they have eliminated 43 agencies.

Hon. Mr. Walker: How many have you recommended?

Mr. Breaugh: I would suggest to the members present that if they omit or do away with 43 agencies that are already dead and buried, they haven’t done anybody much of a service. I’ll be more impressed when the government review committee gets around to OISE, when it decides to take on the Addiction Research Foundation and when it decides to take on some very live and active agencies in this province and makes me an evaluation of them.

Hon. Mr. Walker: We are looking forward to that.

Mr. Breaugh: I am not singularly impressed by the death or demise of the pregnant mare urine board. That doesn’t overwhelm me.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Do we have your support for the abolition of OISE?

Mr. Breaugh: The biggest single asset in here is the recommendation to do away with the North Pickering Development Corporation, an agency which hasn’t met in about a year and which has money in the bank, but really hasn’t done anything and with respect to which we already passed an act this week dealing with it. I find the work good in the sense that some attempt was made, I think it could have been much better. That would be my plea in that regard.

Whether we saved a great deal of money or not is certainly open to question. I noticed that the chairman of this committee, for example, started out by saying in Kirkland Lake to the New Liskeard Kiwanis Club that we would save $2 million. That’s according to the North Bay Nugget of October 3. By the time he got down to Toronto and talked to the Toronto Star on October 5, we were down to saving $1 million. By the time it got around to December 1, he told the Globe and Mail we would save $800,000.

I appreciate that in all of this review we will indeed save some money. That is in itself a useful exercise. But the most useful exercise is to establish that we will no longer have agencies in this province that don’t know why they’re there, don’t know what they’re doing and don’t perform a useful function for anybody. When we get to the point when agencies in existence in Ontario serve a useful function, we all know what it is, we all know what they do and we all know how they spend their money, then we will have succeeded in creating agencies that serve a purpose and that are useful to this Legislature and to the people of Ontario.

I want to cover a couple of other matters I think are important. I want to deal with a paper that was done on agencies, boards and commissions in the government of Ontario by the management policy division of the Management Board secretariat in June 1974.

I have a copy of that. Many members of the House have read that. I wish, I really wish, that in June of 1974, the recommendations contained in this study were implemented. Surely in the time from June 1974 to December 1978 there was ample time to do it. In our discussions with Management Board staff, they indicated to us how difficult it is to deal with other ministries; how difficult it is to take something out of business or to alter its form or format, once it has been established.

That may well be the most serious problem that this House faces. There is a need to take on, not those agencies that are already dead or dying on the vine, but those that are still out there collecting public moneys and serving no useful purpose. I note for example, from this report tabled with the Management Board of Cabinet, and one would think you can’t go much higher than that, that they have not been successful in implementing that report. I note with great interest the review agencies set up in some ministries but not in others. And I have reviewed with some interest the success some ministries seem to have had in amalgamating things, in putting together agencies which serve a useful purpose.

I note, with great disdain, the failure of other ministries who have, and we saw them before the committee and you can read the Hansards of the committee work if you like to pick up the details on this, agencies set up and when they came before the committee they really didn’t know why they were in business. The people who did the work were ministry staff. The people in the agency, in many cases, knew who they were and knew they were fine people, but they didn’t really know what they did.

So in effect, all of the things put down in this study, which was put to Management Board in June 1974, were true. They didn’t know why they were there; they didn’t know how they functioned. In effect, the function often turned out to be one civil servant already employed by the ministry doing that job. The whole idea of an agency to go with that was completely extraneous. They admitted that. I think that is sad when a government gets to the point where it is so large, so complex, that it can’t even bring its own house in order.

Every one of us, from the Management Board, to people who work there, to our committee, to the committee set up by the government caucus, I think is pleading for much the same thing. We would like a little sanity to prevail. We would like to see a common set of guidelines; some rules laid out and followed.

They are simple matters. They are not difficult things. If the government sets up agencies from this point on, they will be very easy to implement at that point. You will simply say that any new agency you set up to regulate, whatever its function might be, will follow these guidelines for keeping its accounts. They will report to the House annually so the members can keep track of what is going on out there. They will be subject to regular review by a committee of the Legislature, or committees within the ministry, or both. It will have a clear understanding of what it is supposed to do in the first instance. You will draw up that understanding and formalize it and have an agreement between the ministry and the agency so we no longer have agencies that really don’t know why they are in business.

The basic purposes, it seems to me, in many instances have been lost. No group -- not the agency, not the ministry, not the government, not this Legislature -- knows why it is there any more, nor what it does or whether what it does is useful or not.

I think that certainly is an extremely sad state of affairs. Whether it’s the Ontario Arts Council giving grants to people outside Ontario -- which we found difficult to understand, and it is our recommendation that it simply stop doing that -- or whether it’s an advisory committee of this government giving research money to itself, so you get the rather unusual situation of five or six people sitting around in a room deciding which one will get research money from the government to go off and do what they would like to do -- any aspect of that is open to investigation.


I want to close by simply saying to the members of this House that there are a number of people around this Legislature who have had a kick at this cat. Management Board of Cabinet has had a shot at it. The government has set up a committee on its own -- and I express my reservations not about what the committee attempted to do, but about the way in which that committee functioned. This committee, the procedural affairs committee, has set about to do that. This Legislature, this evening, will be a further part in that process.

I make the plea that, for once, we lay down our differences and decide that there is no sense in perpetuating agencies which are of no conceivable useful purpose and that, for once, we unite to see if we cannot rectify the situation.

We have put together some specific recommendations on specific agencies, because that was our job. I admit outright that ours was not a perfect process, but it was an open one. It was one with a reasonable amount of accountability in it. Perhaps what is most important of all, we tried to do it with a sense of fairness so that those agencies which were called before the committee had their chance to say what they wanted to say -- to express their point of view. We happen to think, from our committee’s point of view, that that is an extremely important thing to have in place, that you know precisely what you’re doing and that you talk to the people who will be most directly affected.

As I said at the beginning of my comments on this particular committee report, it would be my view that the most important set of recommendations is the general recommendations. I am quite happy, quite frankly, to have the government go behind closed doors and take all of the dead dodo birds off the line and do away with them. I am not suggesting the government will do anything that is much good, but if it wants to clear out that closet by itself, in private, please go to it. The government is more than welcome to that task. I am suggesting that more important than that is to lay out a rationale for what they are and how they function, and to do that openly and publicly.

In my view, the report of the procedural affairs committee begins that process. It is not meant to be definitive. Certainly definitive reports have been done before, with no success. But there is a need to become active in the field, to be co-ordinating and to make those agencies responsible to the members of this Legislature.

As a final proviso, I want the members of this Legislature to be more aware of what they are doing and of the fact that, without question, these agencies do spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars. If that performs a useful function in our society, there will be no objections from any side of the House. But when they do not, or when it appears that function is not clear -- and that certainly appears to be the case with a number of the ones we looked at -- when no one involved in the process is sure of why they are there or what they are up to these days, then that is wrong.

There should be a strong measure of accountability brought into the process. There should be a strong measure of rationality inserted into the process. There should be an ongoing review. Whether that is done by procedural affairs or some other committee of this House, it matters not to me; so long as the House itself is aware of what is going on and conducts that review.

I do not mean to be exclusionary. It is quite kosher in my book that the government cleans its own house or puts it all in order in private, behind closed doors. It can issue all the press releases it wants to; it can do it in any format it wants; all I’m saying is, do it; then, after that point, see that we clean up the act. The process is probably far more important than the specifics that are involved.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that there may be those who would be disappointed that the committee took this particular tack, and there are those in this House who might like to see a committee report come in like this which says: “We want to do away with 765 agencies. Pow!” It would be my respectful presentation that that is not a sensible approach to it.

It is relevant, of course, that useless agencies be done away with, but this should not be a numbers game or a witchhunt. It is meant to be a process whereby the members of the House play a rational role in assessing whether or not these agencies serve a useful purpose and to see that in the future we do not continue to perpetuate a system that has obviously gone amok. We provide that rationale, I think, in this committee report, and I look forward to the comments of other members on it.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the discussion of this report. The member for Oshawa has given a good summary of the events of the committee and, I think, in most aspects has been fair in his commentary. I would like to point out to him -- and I think he knows this also -- that many of the recommendations that it has proposed in 1974 have been adopted by this government.

I know that the Civil Service Commission is probably not one of those to which he is referring, but I would like to report to him that that commission has been in operation for about 60 years ago from tonight. They are having a little celebration, and rightly so. I am sure the member would agree that some people would say that the Civil Service Commission was set up to take patronage out of the system. He might not quite agree with that, but we will leave that up to his judgement.

I would like to discuss some of the steps that the government has taken to ensure that an appropriate level of control is maintained over the government agencies, boards and commissions. As this House is aware, there are approximately 300 agencies or groups of agencies to which the government appoints one or more of the members. This does not take into account the reductions announced last week by my colleague, the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Wiseman).

These agencies are very diverse. They vary in size from Ontario Hydro with thousands of employees and a budget of millions of dollars to some advisory committees which have no staff and expend little or no government funds. Some are very active and others meet only on demand. Some are self-financing while others are fully or partly funded from the consolidated revenue fund.

It should be clear to all members of this House that the overall management of agencies is a complex issue which cannot be solved by a simple set of guidelines which applies to all agencies. The establishment of guidelines and other initiatives that have been or are being taken by the government have kept this in focus.

There are five areas which I should like to touch on tonight: Management Board’s policy on agencies, Management Board’s control over the remuneration of government appointed members, the effect of the estimates and MBR processes, the agency review committee and the government’s deregulation program.

In the Management Board’s policy on agencies, one of the significant steps we have taken is to develop an agency policy. This policy delineates the extent to which the government’s administrative and financial policies and procedures apply to its agencies. The policy, which is proving to be particularly useful in the ongoing management of the government’s agencies, has been approved by the Management Board and is published in the government’s manual of administration. In essence, all agencies or groups of agencies which either expend government funds or are of a commercial self-financing nature have been allocated to one of three schedules.

It should be noted that there are approximately 40 agencies which neither receive provincial funds nor have a significant relationship with the government, other than the appointment of some members. These agencies, such as the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada, are not included in the policy. The three schedules to which all other agencies are allocated define varying degrees of government involvement in the administration of agencies.

Schedule one includes some 200 agencies, or groups of agencies, which are funded out of the consolidated revenue fund and are mostly regulatory or advisory in nature. These agencies, which can be construed as close to the government, subject to all its administrative controls, are normally staffed by civil servants and have administrative support provided by the ministry. These measures ensure that the agencies are administered as effectively as possible, which is very important in a time of government restraint.

There are nine agencies in schedule two. These can be considered commercial and are basically self-financing, for example, LCBO and the Niagara Parks Commission. In each case, the agencies provide their own support services. Their employees are not appointed under the Public Service Act and they are not automatically subject to the government’s manual of administration.

Mr. Conway: Tell us about it.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. McCague: I think it’s working quite well.

Mr. Conway: There’s nothing like creative patronage.

Mr. Warner: Or defeated Tory candidates.

Mr. Makarchuk: Did Eddie Goodman have any input to the appointments?

Hon. Mr. McCague: However, as I will discuss later, they are required to prepare a memorandum of understanding.

The third schedule includes approximately 40 agencies which tend to be concerned with the delivery of community or social programs. They are fully or partially funded by the province but they enjoy a degree of administrative and operating autonomy, for example, universities and the Royal Ontario Museum. In each case, these agencies are not subject to the manual of administration but they are subject to appropriate financial planning and reporting processes as determined by the parent ministry.

I refer to the use of memoranda of understanding. All schedule two and certain schedule one agencies are required to prepare a memorandum. At the present time, there are 18 memoranda which have either been completed or are in the process of development. A memorandum is a document which defines and clarifies such matters as the role of the minister and the agency for policy development and approval, financial arrangements, operating and administration relationships, and control and reporting procedures. The concept of memoranda of understanding has been well received and the government is confident these memoranda will help ensure that effective relationships are maintained between ministers and the agencies for which they are responsible. In short, the agency policy which I have just outlined has become an integral part of the government’s overall management of its agencies.

I’d like to mention the remuneration of government-appointed members. Management Board maintains a close control over the payment of salaries, per diem fees and expenses to government appointed members.

Mr. Mancini: You’ve got to be kidding.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Where members are full-time, their salaries are based on prevailing levels of remuneration in the civil service. All per diem payments are established according to guidelines which recognize the complexity of the work performed. For example, where members of most advisory agencies receive a per diem of up to $85 per day, members of regulatory agencies dealing with complex matters may receive from $85 to $125 per day. It should be noted that members appointed to many bodies are not paid by the province. They either provide their services without any remuneration or are paid directly by the bodies to which they are appointed.

As these guidelines were tabled in the House in May of this year by my predecessor, the present Minister of Energy and Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld), I will not expand on them any further. All agencies which receive funds from the consolidated revenue fund are, of course, subject to both the regular ministry and Management Board estimates review and legislative review. Approximately 250 of the 300 agencies or groups of agencies are affected in this manner. The extent of this review is, of course, a function of the type of agency and the level of funding.

As the members will also be aware, the government has been introducing management by results over the past several years. Management Board requires the government programs, including those that fund agencies, define the specific outputs they will achieve in the coming fiscal year with the resources allocated. I will not minimize the difficulty in developing effective measures for some programs and I am pleased to be able to report they are being developed and refined on an ongoing basis.

With regard to the agency review committee, I am sure all members will have been pleased with the interim report of the committee which was recently published.

Hon. Mr. Walker: All members are.

Hon. Mr. McCague: The committee has taken positive steps to identify those agencies which have outlived their usefulness and those agencies which can be organized in a more effective manner while fulfilling their important mandates.

In the next few months, in addition to reviewing other agencies, the committee will be assessing whether further controls should be instituted in order to insure the government manages its agencies in the most effective manner.

The government’s initiatives in the area of deregulation should also be mentioned. As certain areas become deregulated, it is quite possible there will be an effect on regulatory agencies. An indication of the importance placed on this issue by the government is the appointment some months ago of an associate secretary of the cabinet to be responsible for deregulation.

The initiatives which I have briefly outlined this evening show clearly the government has been, and is concerned about the effective management of its agencies. I am confident when members review in detail the policies and procedures I have mentioned, they will find the government has taken positive steps to control in a very definitive manner most, indeed all agencies, boards and commissions. For this reason, I am of the strong belief that the first recommendation of the standing procedural affairs committee in this report should be reviewed most carefully.


The desire for a moratorium as outlined in that recommendation I’m sure is grounded in the committee’s desire that future agencies and boards not be created faster than a mechanism, such as the agency review committee, could examine them. In practice, however, I believe members must accept that recommendation one poses certain crucial difficulties to the performance of our work as legislators.

By way of example, I would cite Bill 118, An Act to revise the Children’s Boarding Homes Act. This important piece of legislation requires the creation of a children’s services review board. I am sure no member of the standing committee on procedural affairs ever intended to block Bill 118 through its formulation of recommendation one. Likewise, Bill 163 is generally accepted by all members of the House to be a vital piece of legislation, whatever our orientation towards various aspects of the bill may be. This bill, too, requires the creation of a tenancy commission and would be obstructed by implementation of recommendation one.

In view of that concern, on behalf of the government I would like to move an amendment to recommendation one as printed in the report.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Hon. Mr. McCague has placed a motion. However, I am informed that notice was not given according to the standing orders and it would take unanimous consent of the House to present the motion. Does the House give unanimous consent?

Agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Hon. Mr. McCague moves that recommendation one be amended to read: “Management Board, in concert with the ministries and using the Committee on Government Productivity and the 1974 Management Board study guidelines, should comprehensively review all agencies in Ontario with a view to rationalizing their structures and arriving at an explicit policy on agencies.”

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to make some comments concerning this report tabled by the standing procedural affairs committee. I have a great interest in this matter of agencies, boards and commissions.

Mr. Warner: Do you want to get on one?

Mr. Mancini: No, but there might be a seat for you after the next election.

Mr. Warner: I wouldn’t put any loose change on that one.

Mr. Mancini: There are a number of very good reasons why this controversy over agencies, boards and commissions has erupted in the last year or two. How could public concern not have arisen when we come to the conclusion that the government of the day, first of all, does not know how many agencies, boards and commissions it has --

Hon. Mr. Walker: It does now.

Mr. Mancini: -- it is not sure what their expenditure is, it’s not sure how long they last --

Hon. Mr. Walker: We know that now.

Mr. Mancini: -- it’s not sure what their responsibilities are --

Hon. Mr. Walker: Come over after and we’ll have a talk.

Mr. Mancini: -- it’s not sure exactly what they do.

Mr. Warner: Nobody’s sure what the government does.

Mr. Mancini: It’s very evident; if one only looks at the recommendations made by the standing procedural affairs committee one would come to those easy conclusions. First, the committee asked for a moratorium -- no more committees for at least 12 months, not including the amendment proposed by the Chairman of Management Board. Secondly, it asks for a comprehensive review of Ontario agencies. These recommendations could only have been made as a result of the conditions that have prevailed over the last number of years with these boards, agencies and commissions.


Mr. Acting Speaker: Could we please have order in the chamber?

Mr. Mancini: I don’t mind the chatter.

The Management Board should establish general guidelines. What kind of recommendation is that for a standing committee to make to a government that has appointed 700 boards, agencies and commissions? What’s been going on over the past number of years?

Also, the standing committee has asked for a standard format for the annual reports. A standard format would include expenditures. The standard format would include, of all things, what the board, agency or commission does. The standing committee asked that these be listed in the estimates books so that the members of the assembly could have a chance to find out exactly what they do.

Surely, the government cannot accept anything but the criticism that they have been lax in their appointments of boards, agencies and commissions. I cannot for the life of me understand why they wish to do an internal review, as has been done, for example, by the agencies review committee, chaired by the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Wiseman). One would think the new Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) would have enough to do in his new portfolio without being saddled with this committee.

Hon. Mr. Walker: We take corrections in the broadest sense.

Mr. Warner: Goes around making irresponsible statements.

Mr. Mancini: This type of committee should have been sent to an all-party committee with the research and staff to do an in-depth review.

Mr. McClellan: You will build a few poor-houses and you can run them.

Mr. Mancini: I’m glad to see that the civil servants under the gallery are listening and hanging on to every word I’m saying. Before too long it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen that the government is going to lay open on the table that it has more boards, agencies and commissions than it knows what to do with. It’s going to have to accept the responsibility that all members of the House should have the opportunity to review these agencies. All I can say is that I wholeheartedly endorse the report by the standing procedural affairs committee. I’m very sorry I wasn’t a member of that committee. The recommendations they make are good ones. They should be accepted by the House and we should get on with the process of cleaning up this mess called agencies, boards and commissions.

Mr. Warner: Over the years there has been some very good work done by particular boards, agencies and commissions. No one doubts that there is some very good work that has been done, that needs to be done, and that there are particular boards and agencies which serve a useful purpose and which can help to relate matters to the public and deal with public business. No one’s questioning that. No one’s saying that you don’t have any. I assume no one in this chamber is extreme enough to say we’re not going to have any boards or agencies or commissions.

But surely the members of the Legislature now realize that the whole thing is out of control. It’s just gone too far. I understand the members of the government have a certain inclination to soften the blow to those fellows defeated at the polls by offering them some opportunity to slip quietly into the sunset. I understand that.

Mr. McClellan: Which one do you want?

Mr. Warner: That’s kind of a natural inclination that a Conservative government would have. But it’s got to the point --

Hon. Mr. Walker: You mean like Ed Schreyer? Are you talking about Ed Schreyer?

Mr. Warner: Are you going to attack the monarchy now? Do you wish to attack the monarchy this evening?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I am not NDP. Don’t accuse me of being NDP.

Mr. Warner: Before the good member for London South (Mr. Walker), otherwise known courteously as Mr. Bumble, cares to make any more comments on the about-to-be-appointed Governor General, he might check with his Premier’s (Mr. Davis) speech from last night, which I understand reads in part that the Governor General represents all of the best things which are available in Canada, being embodied greatly now, I would say.

It has got to the point where apparently the government is not even sure how many of these boards, agencies and commissions exist.

Hon. Mr. Walker: How sure are you?

Mr. Warner: We are not talking about a discrepancy of one or two or half a dozen. The figures range from 50 to 60 to 70.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: No way.

Mr. Warner: We don’t know how many. We have had several different figures presented to the committee.

Mr. Haggerty: Where are they? How many are there?

Mr. Warner: We have had several different figures. The member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman), in answering a question in the House a few days ago, had difficulty with the number. He wasn’t quite sure how many. He said, “I think it is about ... ” Wasn’t that the phrase? Surely the government knows how many. How many are there?

Mr. McClellan: Have you lost some Tories somewhere?

Mr. Warner: Does the government lose boards and commissions? Does it appoint them and then they disappear? Does it know where they are? Does it know what they are doing? Does it know that they were set up, I assume, for a particular purpose at a certain time. After they carry on for a while, does the government lose touch with them? Does it know what they are doing any longer? Is there some reason why we cannot call a halt to this business?

Where the government has a specific reason to appoint a board, that is fine. We are talking about the rent bill that is on now, Bill 163. Part of that is to establish a commission. It is going to be a rent review and landlord-and-tenant commission. That is going to serve an extremely useful purpose around Ontario. Everyone agrees with that, whether there are tenants --

Mr. Eaton: Not everyone.

Mr. Warner: You may not like tenants but that is your problem.

Mr. Eaton: I didn’t say I didn’t like tenants. I am saying everybody doesn’t support them.

Mr. Breaugh: Do you want to keep up attacking the monarchy and tenants?

Mr. Warner: Is the member for Middlesex going to attack the monarchy and the tenants all in one night? You people are becoming extreme over there.

Mr. Conway: They may have no choice but to resign.

Mr. Warner: These raving middle-of-the-road radicals.

In that bill, we are going to establish a number of commissions around Ontario. The approximately two million tenants, hopefully, will be able to avail themselves of that service. When they have a particular problem they are going to be able to go to the commission and get some redress to that problem, whether it is rent or a tenancy problem or maintenance bill or whatever it is. That is the general philosophy of the bill. The government is going to try to make that work. That is laudable.

We are instituting a very useful commission and it is going to be in place for a very long period of time. I would hope it will be there long past the time all of the members of this assembly are going to be here. It is going to become a very valuable institution in Ontario.

What I don’t understand is why it is not possible to vet those appointments in the assembly? What is so wrong with that? It seems to me to be very democratic. If we are going to make important appointments and if we are hoping that these commissioners will carry out an important function well, do a good job in the community and represent all of our interests, is there something wrong in vetting those appointments first? Is there something wrong in presenting a list to the assembly of the people whom the government wishes to appoint as commissioners?

It may not be possible on a list of 100 to have 100 faithful and loyal Conservative Party members to fill the slot.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Do I have to shred your letters so that I don’t have to answer a question like that?

Mr. Warner: You shred everything else. I expect you probably will.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I don’t even have a shredder.

Mr. Warner: You don’t? You sold it.

Mr. Conway: The question is has the minister got a second tie?


Hon. Mr. Drea: Never.

Mr. Warner: I understand we’re not discussing which cabinet ministers have or have not done away with their shredders.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, the shredder is coming from Mr. David Warner.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: I would hope since the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is here tonight, he will stand in his place and tell us for the first time in Ontario we’re going to become very democratic and vet those appointments. We’ll have a chance to look at them ahead of time.

Hon. Mr. Drea: On the letters you write to me about people for employment, do you really want me to read them to the House?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: What letters? What are you talking about?

An hon. member: Yes, the answer’s yes.

Hon. Mr. Drea: You have no idea.

Mr. Warner: It’s the minister who’s out of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Would the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere continue and ignore the interjections, please.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Keep yourself on track.

Mr. Warner: Thank you, I shall. I’ll address my remarks to you because I know you were listening.

Hon. Mr. Drea: With good reason.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, under the present legislation we’ve managed to get as rent review officers, particularly the chief rent review officers, quite an interesting collection of individuals, quite an interesting collection of real estate agents, many of whom hold cards in the Conservative Party of Ontario. Those were the appointments. What happened? These weren’t people who knew anything about the Landlord and Tenant Act or even the law. They knew very little about accounting. They knew very little about the rent review process. What they did know was how to create a great deal of confusion for tenants who came in front of them.

Those were all appointments, Mr. Speaker, as you well know, that were made in the back rooms. They weren’t made here on the floor of the Legislature. There was no opportunity for opposition members to have some input as to what kinds of appointments should be made or to say anything about it. It was done in the back room somewhere. It may have even been the Albany Club for all I know, never having been to the Albany Club.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Me?

Mr. Warner: You may have --

Hon. Mr. Drea: Come on, I can’t even belong. Neither does Mr. Grossman.

Mr. Warner: -- but it certainly wouldn’t have been your colleague from Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch) who had the opportunity to make those appointments in the Albany Club.

Hon. Mr. Drea: She’s trying. Come on, they banned me four years ago.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: I think what the committee on procedural affairs managed to do -- and I understand by unanimous agreement -- was to realize we have a serious problem with boards, agencies and commissions. It just got out of hand. We don’t know how many there are, we don’t know what they’re doing, and we’re concerned about the appointments, how they’re made and when they’re terminated. In fact, some of those jobs sound a little better than going to the senate. That’s hard to believe, mind you. No one could ask for a better retirement home than the Canadian Senate.

Mr. Conway: Leave Hazen Argue out of this.

Mr. Warner: You’ll be left out of the Senate, that’s for sure.


Mr. Warner: Some of these appointments seem to be forever. I guess once you get on one of these agencies, that’s it. There’s no way to get rid of you. In a democratic system, we have what appears to be a very undemocratic process. I don’t want the government members to misunderstand. There are some important boards and some important agencies and some important commissions. They should remain.

Hon. Mr. Drea: That’s why you write letters to people like me about who should be employed by them.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Conway: You’re too powerful, Frank. That’s your trouble. You have too much power.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, the member for Scarborough Centre is really inviting an exchange which I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Oh, I would love to. I would love your exchange.

Mr. Warner: He’s being provocative.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Go ahead, David.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I have the file, David. I have your file, David.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: He’s being provocative.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order. Would you please ignore the provocations and address the Speaker?

Mr. Warner: I will, and I know that all members will ignore the member for Scarborough Centre.

Mr. Conway: The honourable member.

Mr. Warner: The honourable member for Scarborough Centre. I must say, he is a very honourable member. It’s been my experience that when there’s a problem, a constituency problem, the member for Scarborough Centre has always been most helpful, most willing to help. I appreciate it. He tries to do a good job and under the trying conditions in which he finds himself he does the best that can be expected for any member of that government.

I am sure that as the members of this assembly reflect on the problem which exists now they will want to find some way to bring a bit of sanity to the situation. You can’t just let it go on and on and on. It’s not just simply the sunset provision. That is a very simplistic approach to it. In some cases it will work, but it is not the answer for every one of these.

I guess the perfect example at hand is the tenancy commission. No one in their right mind would attach a sunset provision to the tenancy commission. We are dealing here with a basic statute of law which previously was the responsibility of the Attorney General’s department. We are putting that into tenancy law, if you can call it that, and it is going to require the activity of a commission. No one in his right mind is going to build in a sunset provision for that -- at least I assume not. I do not think there has been any suggestion from the government side that there will be a sunset provision. The minister nods his head. I assume he is not falling asleep but is in agreement with my comment.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I am very disturbed; that is why I am here tonight.

Mr. Warner: Oh good.

That is why the member for London South -- otherwise known as the gatekeeper at Newgate or whatever -- had a suggestion earlier about sunset provisions and we went through a discussion in the House over his bill. He thought it would be a good idea to build a sunset provision into every one of these boards, agencies and commissions. In some cases that will work and in some cases it should have been put in, and now we don’t know what to do with those. What are we going to do about those boards that were created a long time ago with no sunset provision? They exist now, they don’t appear to be serving any useful function other than to keep some poor starving Tory off the street, and what do we do with them? What do we do?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Why don’t you send me?

An hon. member: Appoint New Democrats.

Mr. Warner: Yes, you could. You could appoint New Democrats and that would probably breathe life into the commission, I agree with you. But if the commission doesn’t need to go on forever, and it didn’t have a sunset provision built into it, what do you propose to do with it? That is why I understand the procedural affairs committee came up with the suggestion it did, which the government now is rejecting. They are rejecting the idea of having anything to do about terminating those boards, agencies and commissions which are not needed now. I would like to know what you are going to do about it, You don’t wish to terminate their life. All I can assume is that you are substantiating their uselessness and that you intend to perpetuate them.

I would hope the government is going to make a commitment, perhaps this evening, that from here on it is going to clearly identify those boards, agencies and commissions which they wish to have a sunset provision built into. They should commit themselves to ensuring that happens in each instance. With the ones such as the tenancy commission they should specify they are not going to build in a sunset provision and that they are going to be very selective.

Secondly, and I guess this is the toughest part, they should commit themselves to opening up the appointment process. If they don’t wish to vet those here in the assembly, perhaps they would be so bold as to go to the community. A little frightening, that democratic stuff, isn’t it? Maybe you would go to the community and ask them how they view that board or agency or commission and what people they think should be sitting on it. Maybe you would work with the municipal councils.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The LCBO.

Mr. Warner: A good example, the member for Scarborough Centre, whose remarks I am supposed to be ignoring, suggests the LCBO.

Hon. Mr. Drea: You had better talk to your fellow members, my friend. You had better talk to your fellow members right between the seats and they’re not here tonight.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: Well, your attempt to intimidate --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, order.

Mr. Warner: If the member for Scarborough Centre -- it’s all right, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Acting Speaker: We’ll have order in the chamber please. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere please continue. Could we please have no further interjections.

Mr. Warner: Okay, I know I’m not supposed to listen to the member for Scarborough Centre. I was doing it out of courtesy because no one else does. But he had interjected with the LCBO and it’s a good suggestion. The minister knows full well that in the good borough of Scarborough there has been a suggestion. Mr. Speaker, the member for Scarborough Centre assumes that I can read the fine print from here. Send me a copy, I’d be quite happy to read it; send me a copy of the mysterious letter. The member for Scarborough Centre knows full well, he's going to listen now, that the good borough of Scarborough is concerned about how the applications for liquor licences --

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I said the LCBO, that’s the liquor store.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please. Could we stick to the topic before us, which is the report of the procedural affairs committee?

Mr. Warner: Yes, one of the boards, of course, is the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario. In our area of Scarborough, the municipality is very concerned about the process that’s used in --

Well, Mr. Speaker, now that we have the real Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your presence because I know that you understand the problems of Scarborough. In our area, in the good borough of Scarborough, we’re concerned about the process involved at the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario: how can the public find out what’s going on, how they can know ahead of time and how they can be involved in the process. Up until recently, it’s been a very mysterious kind of procedure. Our council is quite concerned about it and they’d like some answer. They’d like a way for our citizens to find out, in advance, what’s happening. I guess that’s kind of opening up the system, democratizing it.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, but I did that. Now you’re talking about the LCBO, that’s the retail liquor store.

Mr. Speaker: The minister doesn’t have the floor. Order.

Mr. Warner: It’s all right, Mr. Speaker, he continually --

Mr. Speaker: No, it’s not all right. I’ll decide whether it’s all right or not.

Mr. Warner: He tries to provoke me. It’s the charitable season of the year, Mr. Speaker. I wish there were some way we could impress upon the government the need to have the community involved when there are appointments to be made to any of these boards or agencies or commissions. It shouldn’t be afraid of democracy, it really shouldn’t be.

When one opens these things up, one often is quite surprised at the good result. Suddenly people appear out of the community whom one perhaps wasn’t aware of before, people who serve well and who take on the task seriously and energetically. They don’t happen to be card-carrying members of any party. They don’t happen to be political appointments. They happen to be citizens who have never heretofore had the opportunity to be involved in the process, and suddenly one gives them a chance.

But, the honourable members know that’s not going to happen; I know that. I know this government will continue with the old ways; the patronage appointments. Surely that’s what’s going to happen. The debate tonight isn’t going to settle anything. The government already scuttled one part of the committee’s report. It is not going to change its ways. We’re still going to have the same old boards, agencies and commissions churned over and over and over, and with them, the political appointments that are made.

The community isn’t going to know any more about the functioning of those agencies than it did before. The system will move on like a glacier. It will just move on. We had one good opportunity, and that was through the report from the procedural affairs committee. The government, with its motion, has managed to scuttle the major portion of it. Why? Sure, they’ve got a lot to protect; I understand that.


Mr. Sterling: Have you seen the amendment? What does the amendment say?

Mr. Warner: After all, the government wouldn’t want to throw some of these people out of work.

Mr. Turner: Read it quickly.

Mr. Sterling: Let the record show he just received a copy of the amendment.

Mr. Warner: “Rationalizing their structures ...” Yes. When?


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. I want to remind the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere he would get into less difficulty if he addressed his remarks to the chair.

Mr. Warner: Yes, this is true.


Mr. Warner: I noticed that none of the hecklers applauded.

Hon. Mr. Walker: And if he read the motion. It would have helped if he had read the motion, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Warner: Yes, and it’s here. Do you want it reread?

Mr. Breaugh: Have you read it?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Isn’t one reading enough for you?

Mr. Sterling: It’s our recommendation.

Mr. Warner: Has the minister read it? “Management Board, in concert with the ministries and using the Committee on Government Productivity and the 1974 Management Board study guidelines, should comprehensively review all agencies in Ontario” -- that’s just what the committee went through -- “with a view to rationalizing their structures and arriving at an explicit policy on agencies.” That’s what the procedural affairs committee did. That’s what it did. What’s the point of the amendment?

If the amendment meant anything, there would have been an end date on it. The government would have said “to report back to the Legislature by such-and-such a date.” That’s not in here. That’s not in the amendment. How can they expect any of the members of the assembly to take it seriously? Are they going to change the course we have known over so many years by this amendment? Not unless they decide to report back to this assembly by a certain date and it’s not in here. They’re not serious. I can’t take this seriously.

Mr. Eaton: It wasn’t in the original recommendation either.

Mr. Warner: The old system will prevail.

Mr. Breaugh: There was a mistake in the original amendment.

Mr. Eaton: Not in the original amendment.

Mr. Warner: I warrant five years from now the members of this assembly will be debating this matter again. We still have problems trying to find out how many boards, agencies and commissions exist. We’ll still be complaining about the patronage appointments. We’ll still be wondering when the government is going to bring an end to it, all of that predicated, of course, on it still being the same government. I wouldn’t want to put too many bets on that one.

Hon. W. Newman: You’ll be gone.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You never did know where to put your money for a good investment.

Mr. Warner: It’s highly unfortunate that we couldn’t simply have adopted the procedural affairs committee’s report verbatim. It’s even more unfortunate, at least from the vantage point I have, that those boards, agencies and commissions which are needed and which are going to be functioning could not be dealt with and could not be filled through the community, openly, actively.

Mr. Turner: They are.

Mr. Warner: The member for Peterborough has a good sense of humour and I have appreciated it on many occasions, but he knows as well as I do how the appointments are made and he knows who fills them. It’s not your Joe Average Citizen. That’s what we’re trying to get at.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Get to the point.

Mr. Warner: If any of these agencies or commissions is to serve the community in a meaningful way, then surely they should be using community people.

Mr. Turner: Sure, that’s what they do.

Mr. Warner: Average community people.

Mr. Turner: That’s who they are.

Mr. Warner: Do you want to drag out the list tonight? Do you want to start reading off who they are?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Mr. Warner: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker. I get distracted by some of these hecklers from Peterborough.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, he has nothing to say.

Mr. Speaker: Try to concentrate.

Mr. Warner: I will.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With what?

Hon. Mr. Walker: You are demanding the impossible, Mr. Speaker. You should withdraw that.

Mr. Eaton: Resign.

Mr. Warner: All I can suggest from the boards, agencies and commissions that are existent in the Metro area and with which I have had some experience, is that we need to have some improvement. I think we could start with that by operating from the community first. In that way, we would not have to be worried about accusations. None of us would stand in our place and accuse the government of patronage because it wouldn’t happen then. Secondly, perhaps we could relate the policies more directly to the community. The liquor licence board is a perfect example.

Every time one of those applications comes up, it means first of all you have to find out about it, and if you’re lucky enough to find out in advance, you’ve got a lot of fast working to do to inform the community, find out what they think about it, work with the municipal council and put all of that together and get down to the licensing board before they railroad the thing through.

What happens, when it does get through without the community knowing, is they get stuck with something they don’t want. It shouldn’t work that way. I’ve always been a strong believer in local community autonomy, a very strong believer.

Mr. Sterling: Who isn’t?

Ms. Warner: The members of this assembly will see a bill which will allow that to happen for the first time in Ontario; where the community will decide under what conditions Consumers’ Gas comes into their area. The community will decide, not some executive character in a Bay Street office. The community will decide. And the government will vote against it. I understand that.

But what I’m suggesting is that’s the route we should be going. Don’t be afraid of the people in the community. Don’t underestimate them either.

Mr. Turner: Never.

Mr. Warner: Don’t underestimate them. They know their community, they know what they want, and they know how to make it work. They could do that with the government’s boards, agencies and commissions, if the government would just give them a chance. But the government won’t do it.

All I can say in conclusion is that I think, first of all, the procedural affairs committee, dealing with the boards, agencies and commissions, did a lot of work. I think they functioned quite well. I must also say -- it’s not part of this and you may rule it out of order, Mr. Speaker -- that the work they’ve been doing on the standing orders, I’m quite impressed with. I think the members are turning their minds to the matter quite seriously.

Mr. Speaker: You’re right. that is out of order.

Mr. Warner: That’s what I thought. So I won’t mention it.

It’s very sad that all members of the assembly couldn’t simply have accepted the report verbatim from the procedural affairs committee because that would have been a small step of progress. Instead, we will get the old wheel turning again and again and again. But perhaps we will change them in the fullness of time.

Mr. Eaton: I rise to support wholeheartedly the amendment to the motion put forth by the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague), which would delete the words from the recommendation that there be a 12-month moratorium on the creation of new agencies. I think we can all see why that needs to be deleted, with two bills coming before us setting up two important agencies or commissions, as one wishes to call them.

It’s a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak in this debate, since I have a continuing interest in any commitment by this Legislature to further the cause of deregulation, and also in any attempt made to effect that commitment to deregulation.

Deregulation as a government objective has, as we are all well aware, been gaining popularity and demand from the public. In a statement made to the federal-provincial finance ministers’ meeting in January, our former Minister of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs stated that in order to increase confidence in the investment climate, a reduction must take place in government intervention and involvement within a decision-making process. “Part of an industrial strategy,” he said, “must include a commitment to resist the pressure to expand an already excessive regulatory framework.” I think we see this around us every day.

I quote from what he said: “We need to put every aspect of our regulatory climate under public scrutiny. When government intervention costs jobs or creates inflation, the public should be made aware of what it is doing in a clear and forceful means.” I couldn’t agree more with that nor could I agree more with the minister’s suggestion at that time to consider a review and a deregulatory body and to look at every major activity not able to prove its value to the public interest.

The idea of examining statutes regulations and policies governing business and industrial practices was again reiterated in a speech from the throne in February. There was added, as I recall very clearly, that in order to assist in accomplishing this end the government would establish some means of reviewing the operation of agencies, boards and commissions having responsibility for regulatory functions. I am very glad to have before me a report of the standing procedural affairs committee which is the result of the first steps to accomplish the review process.

As a representative of a rural riding, I am quite interested in the committee’s report. Many of the specific recommendations in the second half touch on regulations and regulatory bodies directed towards rural affairs. Furthermore, I find I share many of the feelings this committee as well as the government itself has in its regard to the review of agencies, boards and commissions.

Often when legislation is passed, it includes provisions allowing the Lieutenant Governor in Council to pass pertinent regulations. More and more regulatory agencies thus become necessary to enforce the proliferation of these regulations. I really wonder whether or not all of them are necessary.

I have been and I still am somewhat concerned over the proliferation of these agencies, boards and commissions.

Mr. Lawlor: It is against the rules of the House to read.

Mr. Eaton: I should like to point out this is not a problem unique to this government. Rather, it is a tendency towards overzealous intervention by government at all levels, both in the economy and indeed in society itself. I believe this system of democratic government, often in its attempt to regulate activities responsibly in the best interests of society must be more responsive to creating new regulations and to terminating existing ones.

The legislative process itself must bear the burden of the blame for proliferating many of these agencies. We see it in what we are doing right here in making an amendment to postpone that portion that would bring about a 12-month moratorium. We are doing it because we feel there is something that has to be created.

Therefore, I think to be quite frank and fair, one really must separate the superfluous agencies from those which are necessary, not by looking at the numbers of agencies, boards and commissions themselves, but rather at the programs they fulfil or the policies that they implement. In this respect, I think when the opposition makes the type of criticism it has been making in the House recently is on a bit of a high horse. I say this for two reasons.

First, if the opposition is as responsible and active as it purports to be, it has had a hand in the legislative process, particularly over the years of a minority situation. I would point out for this reason that they are responsible too for the creation of new regulations and thus also for the advisory and research bodies, et cetera, that are being set up.

Mr. Bounsall: Not boards and commissions.

Mr. Lawlor: You have had 35 years to do it.

Mr. Eaton: The third party is not without its own unique plethora of suggesting new agencies. Also I might mention right here for the benefit of the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) who was rather critical, that I see that the first private member’s motion on the order paper by the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) was a resolution “that in the opinion of this House” --

Mr. Breaugh: I don’t recall writing that in the procedural affairs committee report.

Mr. Eaton: -- “a joint state-provincial commission should be established ... ” The very first private member’s motion by a Liberal member suggested another commission be set up.

Mr. Conway: He is Liberal-Labour. Get it right.

Mr. Eaton: Liberal-Labour member. I am sorry. You don’t want to associate yourself with him, I see.

Mr. Conway: I think precision in fact is important.

Mr. Eaton: In saying this, I am not casting a judgement on the need for programs suggested by the opposition, but only pointing out that many of the programs are often accompanied by the need for overseeing agencies of some sort. I am not personally aware of each of the issues involved in the current programs. I am certainly not familiar with each facet of a particular agency or board or commission that is being set up. This is why I can appreciate the considerable deliberation that must take place before we go into each and every judgement and recommendation the review committee must carry out.


Secondly, I’ve heard recent criticisms from the other side of the House that while the government is attempting on one hand to deregulate and trim the number of unnecessary agencies, boards and commissions, on the other hand it’s creating them just as quickly. I want to refer to that for a minute.

Since October 1976 -- and this is all during a minority government situation -- we’ve created 31. If we add the Peterborough Housing Authority it will be 32. I’d like to review those 32 we’ve created. Many of them have resulted through the expansion of current programs -- more precisely, through fulfilling programs that have been implemented and endorsed by both sides of the House.

These agencies do not stem from new programs and they’re not actually new agencies themselves. For example, half the 32 that have been created since 1976 are local housing authorities. Another six are district health councils. Two are improvement district hospital boards. So if you look at what’s been created, maybe they’re not so bad after all. I think it’s unfair to condemn the government for creating what’s termed “new agencies.” In fact, 65 per cent of them are not new at all. They’re programs that are already in existence.

Mr. Lawlor: You want it both ways. You want to talk out of both sides of your mouth.

Mr. Eaton: I want also to look at what the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) was saying --

Mr. Lawlor: Who are you, King Canute?

Mr. Eaton: -- about appointing people to commissions -- that it’s strictly on a political basis and that it’s defeated candidates on the Conservative side. Well, Bill Murdock, NDP --

Hon. Mr. Walker: Listen to this.

Mr. Eaton: Bill Murdock, NDP, London South, defeated -- he sits on the advisory committee for the handicapped.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Say it isn’t so.

Mr. Eaton: Bill Ferrier, Timmins, defeated, NDP -- he sits on the Hartt commission.

Mr. Bounsall: They won them both on merit.

Mr. Eaton: Stephen Lewis, just recently appointed to arbitration hearings. Cliff Pilkey sits on another one.

Mr. Bounsall: That was a merit appointment too, I think.

Mr. Warner: How many is that?

Mr. Eaton: There we are. There are four just there. I just thought about four very quickly. I can probably come up with more if I look through it.

Mr. Warner: Four out of 1,000. How many Tories?

Mr. Eaton: The Liberals don’t escape it either. They shouldn’t speak out too quickly. The police commission in Toronto -- Phil Givens, former Liberal member.

Mr. Bounsall: I’d appoint him any time.

Mr. Eaton: Vern Singer, OMB. No one can say they were political appointees of the Conservative Party because they were Conservatives.

Mr. Warner: That was part of your plan. What a way to buy back Ontario.

Mr. Bounsall: That was the prize for not running.

Mr. Eaton: We’ve got you chirping a little bit now, eh?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: That is the least you can do for Phil Givens.

Mr. Conway: I didn’t think you could divide 30 pieces of silver so well.

Mr. Eaton: The member probably will be waiting like his other colleagues were for some of it sometime, when he’s a defeated Liberal member very soon.

Mr. Conway: I am waiting.

Mr. Roy: We will be sending you postcards.

Mr. Eaton: I think the assessment of agencies is tremendously important, but the justification of specific recommendations such as those of the standing procedural affairs committee, must occur without losing sight of the fact that most agencies reflect, as the agencies review committee puts it, “the mandate of government.”

Any review must, while frankly and effectively examining the ABCs, ensure that the often unique, legitimate and necessary responsibilities of government continue.

The standing procedural affairs committee demonstrated perhaps its support of the work of the agencies through its inclusion in the introductory remarks to its recommendations the Management Board’s definition of agencies, boards and commissions; that is, they are seen as a means of assisting in the formation of government policy, delivering government programs, and/or executing the government’s regulatory responsibilities. I think the committee recognized it when it said that.

In any case, I was particularly glad to see the committee recommended the continuation not only of the Ontario Cream Producers’ Marketing Board, the Pesticides Advisory Committee and the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, but also the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.

Mr. Conway: How about the blue bean board?

Mr. Eaton: In addition, I look very positively on the further recommendation the committee made that the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario take action to achieve broader geographic representation on its board. Also I favoured the recommendation the Farm Machinery Board should be re-evaluated with a view to providing it with some greater authority. That’s something I’ve long supported.

Mr. Lawlor: My favourite is the warble fly board.

Mr. Eaton: It is certainly very difficult, Mr. Speaker, to develop a strongly effective means through which we can assess the validity of continuous varying agencies, boards and commissions, or even determine in a few cases what they are doing and how. This of course, from a financial point of view, the provincial auditor’s report can do. There is also the public accounts committee which can call before it the various boards and review their operations when they are continuing in their debates of the various ministry and government programs.

I feel too that perhaps it is often difficult for even the ministers themselves to make specific recommendations regarding the operation of some ABCs falling within the scope of their respective ministries. I say this for the simple reason that review is such a complex and time-consuming process. By the same token, however, I think it is impossible to conduct any kind of informative or substantial review without a tremendous amount of ministerial input.

For this reason, I am glad to see the increased activity on the part of several ministries in identifying areas where regulatory reform might take place. I might also add that in this respect the work of the agency review committee in conjunction with the ministries and on an ongoing studying of all the agencies will, I am sure, prove worth while.

The first of two specific recommendations of the report are indicative, I think, of the need for ministerial input. Indeed, the very wording the minister should consider, as such, makes clear the recognition that efficient review must in the final analysis lie with those directly responsible for the ongoing function of their respective agencies.

I would like to use the first two specific recommendations, if I may, to illustrate a small, seemingly obvious, but nevertheless significant point. I hope I do not sound critical of what to my mind is a very commendable effort on the part of the standing procedural affairs committee. I am sure the committee, through the wisdom of its own experience, will concur with me on this matter.

The recommendation, for instance, that the Ministry of the Environment assume the Pesticides Advisory Committee’s role of classifying pesticide products is perhaps a very valid one. After all, its function is one of some importance. On the other hand, the ministry itself might find the present arrangement is far more efficient in that it avoids duplication by providing classification schedules directly endorsed by the industrial representatives. If prepared by the ministry, the schedules would require separate review and approval of the committee, so the process is done twice. I think in that case, perhaps, the steps being taken are adequate.

Similarly, in regard to recommendation 13: does expansion of the Waste Management Advisory Board’s terms of reference to include liquid waste recognize the minister’s recent announcement of the seven-point plan for industrial waste which would include liquids? The plan, I believe, is to be directed by the waste management branch working in close co-operation with the board. There is a function that perhaps the recommendation isn’t looking at.

The point is simply that occasionally, the most efficient operation of specific boards agencies or commissions may be more obvious to those who are intimately involved in their functioning, or even to those citizens whom a particular agency is serving, than it is to the independent review committee restricted by time and wanting to get the job done rather quickly.

I welcome the idea, therefore, that the agency review committee is for some alternative review mechanism. This mechanism should be one of ensuring that not only are detailed discussions held in conjunction with each minister who is responsible for a particular agency, but also that the limitations of time itself is not a restrictive factor in allowing a complete and comprehensive study to be undertaken.

I do think the most important aspect of what we are debating in this House tonight is not so much the specific recommendations themselves but the pattern or format through which they are to be determined. We must, as many have already pointed out, establish the principles by which we can continue to carry out this kind of work with more than just a minimal amount of success. It is for this reason that I praise the standing procedural affairs committee’s attempt to make the task of reviewing easier and more simplified. I hope too, that the agency review committee will fulfil its specific mandate to analyze and explore the alternative review mechanisms.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak on this particular --

Mr. Mancini: Now here is a knowledgeable person speaking.

Mr. Haggerty: -- report that relates to the standing procedural affairs committee and to the number of boards and commissions we had the opportunity to review and appear before the committee.

I want to express my appreciation to our staff, and in particular, to Peter Johnson for the excellent job he did to provide us with background information. It made it much easier for the committee to delve into the number of boards and commissions in such a short period of time. I think the staff did an excellent job, in this particular area, of keeping us well informed.

I am a little bit concerned about the proposed amendment to the report. It seemed to take all the punch out of the intent of the committee, in putting on a 12-month moratorium. We had reasons to do that because we thought that there were some 800 different boards and commissions or agencies established now in the province. No one knows, today, just exactly what the exact number is. It could be around 800. It could be more, it could be less. But they are there and it would take the committee perhaps a year to bring all those different boards and commissions and agencies before us. The amendment put forward by the minister that the Management Board, in concert with the ministries, and using the Committee on Government Productivity’s 1974 Management Board study guidelines, should comprehensively review all agencies in Ontario with a view to rationalizing their structures and arriving at an exclusive policy on agencies kind of leaves the door open again so this could go on year after year.

I’m proposing to add an amendment to it to report no later than December 1, 1979. I hope the government will accept it. I think that’s a reasonable approach to take. It gives the government ample time to bring forward some changes and perhaps dissolve some of these boards and commissions or agencies.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food has already got the message. He’s brought in a bill now and --

Hon. W. Newman: You will get it long before the report.

Mr. Haggerty: -- it’s one of the recommendations in the report. It particularly relates to the Milk Act, and I know that --

Hon. W. Newman: The which?

Mr. Haggerty: The Milk Act -- the Milk Commission of Ontario, I should say. The minister and I have had quite a bit of dialogue over the past year and a half on this particular section. If you look at one section of the Milk Act, section 5(a), it tells you what broad powers the commission had. This is section 4: “the commission may file a certified copy of any order made under subsection 3 exclusive of any reasons therefor” -- now that’s really power -- “in the office of the registry of the Supreme Court, whereupon the order shall be entered in the same way as the judgement of that court and is enforceable as such.” You know, Mr. Speaker, that really gives them power, I guess, beyond everything. Yet you know --

Hon. W. Newman: They don’t always use it, do they?

Mr. Haggerty: -- here is a commission that says, “Look, we will give you the licence to function under the Milk Act of Ontario,” and yet it’s the same body and same agency that has a right to hear appeals. There’s not much chance of a person appearing before the milk commission and getting a fair deal. I suggest we adopt the recommendations we have here that an appeal board should be established at arm’s length from any of the agencies that are under the minister’s authority. I think this is rather important.

We discussed the matter of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. I think they are doing an exceptionally good job in administering that large stretch of parkland along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. If I can recall the discussions with them, I thought it was an exceptionally good idea we have the Niagara Parks Commission, the St. Clair Parkway Commission, the Algonquin Forestry Authority and I believe they have another authority, Quetico.


When you sit back and look at this, it’s a good way to set up a commission or an agency. It involves local people who are concerned about parks and the development of parks and improving the system within a certain area. I hope the committee will take another look at it, as well as members, and say that perhaps we should be establishing larger parks areas, such as the Niagara parks system, right around the golden horseshoe, and remove some of the authority that now lies with the Ministry of Natural Resources. There is another duplication there.

Under a parks board or parks commission the persons appointed to it could do a better job than the Ministry of Natural Resources. We would have the involvement and participation of local people who are concerned about it. I would suggest that we could establish different commissions or boards all along the Great Lakes system. We could have an exceptionally good parks system in Ontario and perhaps make some major improvements in it.

There are other areas we had discussed, particularly the Waste Management Advisory Board. I feel this board could do a lot more if it was given some more power to do something, in particular as it relates to industrial waste disposal in Ontario. As I understand it and as we were informed, they cannot act upon anything unless they are given some direction by the government or by the cabinet. I suggest there are broad, troubled areas this board could look into in the province, particularly as it relates to industrial waste disposal. In this area we lack any sound direction. It’s a serious problem. Here’s an agency that, given the right powers, could be a most useful tool in the province.

The member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) left the impression that at present there are enough safety valves in our system to review some of the different boards and commissions. He suggested the public accounts committee. I don’t think they have sufficient time to get into this number of boards and commissions in detail. This is one of the reasons why we have made these recommendations. Some of them duplicate and overlap. If we could combine them or put them into another ministry, it would give us the same effect and perhaps be less costly to the government of Ontario.

I know some of the members have been critical of the government saying it’s an area patronized by MPPs who have retired or by defeated candidates, but I can’t quite agree with some of those comments. In the long run, all political parties seem to look after their own party members. Even the government has suggested tonight that we look after members on this side of the House. I think if a person has the proven ability and the qualities, the government would look favourably and appoint anybody to these boards and commissions.

Mr. Speaker, I don’t have much more to say on that. The committee has gone into it in some detail, but I think there are areas where perhaps we could have gone into it in more detail. We could have considered the Ontario Highway Transport Board under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Perhaps that’s one area we should have looked at. But as the committee continues to sit, we will look at other areas that need special attention. I think we can come back with other recommendations. We have, what is it, 29 recommendations now? They are good recommendations. I hope all members will support the recommendations here and endorse the report.

As I said, I would move an amendment to the amendment proposed by the minister to add: “and to report no later than December 1, 1979.”

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Mr. Haggerty has presented an amendment. I’ve been advised there has been no notice given to the House prior to the amendment being put. Therefore, I will have to ask the House for unanimous consent.

There has not been unanimous consent, therefore I cannot accept the amendment.

Mr. Sterling: Could you perhaps ask the question again in relation to that amendment?

Mr. Nixon: What question?

Mr. Sterling: The question as to whether there is unanimous consent.

Mr. M. Davidson: On a point of order. The point of order is that you did place the question, and a member of the Conservative party would not allow unanimous consent.

Mr. Warner: The same member who wanted unanimous consent earlier. That’s mean.

Mr. M. Davidson: I would suggest the only one who can request the question be placed again is the person who would not allow unanimous consent.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I didn’t hear anyone from the Conservative Party saying that.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I placed the question to the House if they would give unanimous consent. I did not hear unanimous consent and stated that I could not accept the motion. I will stand by that ruling.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, during presentation of the motion I heard a number of things. I rather thought that perhaps unanimous consent had been given.

Mr. Nixon: What is going on?

Mr. Bradley: Only on the other side of the House.

Hon. W. Newman: Would you read the resolution again?

Mr. Roy: Get your act together over there.

Mr. Bradley: The confusion is over there.

Mr. Nixon: You’d better believe it.

Mr. Roy: That’s a pretty quick flip-flop, in a matter of 30 seconds.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I’ve been asked to reread the amendment. I can do that much.

It was moved by Mr. Haggerty to add to the amendment “and to report no later than December 1, 1979.”

Mr. Roy: That’s acceptable, eh?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: As I stated before, I did not get unanimous consent.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I wonder if you would put the question again.

Mr. Bounsall: It’s passed. Come on.

Mr. M. Davidson: On a point of order. You cannot place a question again unless the member who would not allow unanimous consent requests you place the question again.

Mrs. Campbell: That’s right.

Mr. M. Davidson: That is not forthcoming.

Mr. Warner: That was the Minister of Agriculture.

Hon. W. Newman: I am quite prepared, if it is the wish of the House that you have unanimous consent, to withdraw my objection.

Mr. Bradley: Good man.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The mark of a true statesman.

Mr. Nixon: That’s not the word that jumped to mind.

Hon. W. Newman: Be careful. We will make you Governor General.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Or the Queen.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Previously I heard a member object to unanimous consent. I’ve now been advised by the Minister of Agriculture and Food it was his voice and he wishes to withdraw his objection.

Mr. Nixon: How about the honourable Minister without Portfolio?

Mr. Roy: Yes, I heard a “no” there too.

Mr. Bounsall: Flip-flopped again.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Just relax,

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Therefore I can accept the amendment moved by Mr. Haggerty that the words “and to report no later than December 1, 1979” will amend the amendment.

Mr. M. Davidson: I’m not speaking to the amendment I’m speaking in general to the report, if that is in order.

Mr. Eaton: Indicate you are speaking to the amendment and then wander a bit.

Mr. M. Davidson: I would say that if the member for Erie has placed an amendment it is probably to the benefit of the opposition parties and, therefore, I would accept it.

In talking to the report that is before us tonight, as a member of the committee I would like to offer my sincere congratulations and thanks to the staff that worked with us during the period of time in which we were reviewing the agencies, boards and commissions that exist in Ontario today.

The information that was provided to that committee, both through the clerk of the committee and through the researcher, Mr. Johnson, was excellent. Having had that in front of us, it was much easier for us in the limited time we had to take a look at some of these agencies, boards and commissions which we had the opportunity to have before us and question.

One of the things that bothered me and I am sure other members of the committee, was the fact that we were kind of closed in as to whom we could call before us by the fact that the mandate given to the committee only allowed us to call before the committee agencies, boards or commissions which tabled reports within the Legislature.

If I recall correctly, there are various numbers, according to whom you talk, of agencies, boards and commissions that exist in the province. I will use a round figure of approximately 700. Out of those 700, I believe something like 94 by their mandate are required to table an annual report in the House. As a result of that, we were not able to call before us some of the agencies, boards and commissions we would have liked to do.

However, I can say that those that we were able to call before us were in most cases most co-operative. They did provide the kind of information or gave us the information we were seeking from them. Along with the information that we had received through the staff, that made it much easier for us to draw the conclusions and place before the House the recommendations that we do have at the present time.

There are and were several matters that did come up during the course of the review that I think in many cases perhaps surprised most of us on the committee, including the Conservative members. I recall most vividly the arts council. I think it was surprising to all of us to find the Ontario Arts Council was giving grants to people outside the province, if I recall correctly in places such as Reykjavik, San Francisco, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. I don’t think any one of us for the life of us could understand why these grants were being sent so far abroad, when the purpose of the Ontario Arts Council is to assist people in the arts within Ontario.

Members will note, if they have read the report, that one of the recommendations is that they no longer continue this practice and that they do concentrate their efforts on assisting persons concerned with the arts within the province. One of the answers we received was that only $4,000 was involved.

If one sends $4,000 to enough people outside of the province it can total a great deal of money. It may very well mean there are people concerned with the arts in this province who will not receive a grant as a result of that practice.

The Farm Machinery Board is another board which we found unique in that the original mandate of the board really gave it no power. We felt the board had acted in a responsible manner under the mandate that it had been given at the time and that it truly was doing the very best it could, given the circumstances under which it was necessary for it to work. Again, I think members will find, in reading the report, that the recommendation of the committee is that the Farm Machinery Board be reconstituted but that it be given greater powers in order to provide to the farmers of the province greater protection in the purchase of farm machinery and the usage of farm machinery within the province.


These are two examples of what the committee looked upon as being unique situations. There were others that probably were not as stark in their reality as these two were, or in the realization that these things were being done.

I have to be honest. I felt rather sorry for the five members of the Farm Machinery Board who appeared before us, because in questioning them, it became very obvious that they would like to do a better job, but the mandate under which they were structured did not give them the power or allow them to do a better job. I think there is a reason why the committee has recommended that within their mandate and within the structure of that board, they be given greater authority to act on behalf of the farmers in Ontario with regard to farm machinery.

The interesting thing we found during the entire process was that when we had before us a representative of Management Board of Cabinet, that gentleman himself could not tell us how many agencies, boards or commissions existed in the province. He could give us a figure grabbed out of the air. He could give us a figure pulled out of the hat, but he couldn’t give us an exact figure. He admitted that even with the ongoing review the Management Board had conducted, they had yet to determine exactly how many agencies, boards and commissions did exist in Ontario.

Another thing that really came to light during those hearings was the manner in which remuneration was paid to persons who were part of and participating in an agency, board or commission. In some cases the members received $85 a day and no expenses. In other cases, they received $125 a day and full expenses. In one case, I think it was the land compensation board, all of them received a yearly salary and to our surprise, the minimum I think was $22,500. On questioning, we found that maybe they met 75 or 80 times a year -- maybe.

Mr. Bradley: How many of them were Tories?

Mr. M. Davidson: Not all of them. I will respond to that. The member for St. Catharines said, “How many of them were Tories?” I really don’t know; we didn’t raise those kinds of questions. I believe the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) had said in his remarks that it was a place where you deposited burnt out, worn out, or defeated Tories in most cases, or something similar to that.

Hon. W. Newman: You want to remember that -- burned out, worn out -- you want to remember that.

Mr. Warner: Or words to that effect.

Mr. M. Davidson: I found it very interesting that the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) in his attempt to refute that statement, could come up with four names --

Mr. Eaton: That was very quick. Do you want me to come up with a whole great big list for you?

Mr. M. Davidson: -- four names of New Democratic Party persons --

Mr. Eaton: It can be done.

Mr. M. Davidson: -- that sat on 700 or more agencies, boards and commissions.

Mr. Handleman: Come off it.

Mr. Bradley: That’s tokenism.

Mr. M. Davidson: I’m quite sure, in my own mind, if one totalled the number of New Democrats and Liberals that sit on those agencies, boards and commissions, one may be able to constitute a single board -- maybe -- maybe one could do that.

In most cases it was interesting to watch them. If you’d been in politics in Ontario for a while, Mr. Speaker, some you knew by looking at them. You knew who they were. You understood who they were. Others you heard, or during the questioning, you could tell by the response as to exactly which party it was that they represented.

Mr. Bradley: None of them were former Tory campaign managers though, were they?

Mr. M. Davidson: Going beyond that, I don’t think that really matters. What appeared to the minds of those on the review committee was that all these groups were attempting to do, as sincerely as they possibly could, the job they had been mandated to carry out. The problem was, however, the mandate was so limited that some of them didn’t know what it was they were supposed to be doing.

Mr. Eaton: Name one.

Mr. M. Davidson: I did name one when the member was absent -- the Farm Machinery Board. They almost begged us to give them a stronger mandate.

Mr. Eaton: Oh, come on.

Mr. M. Davidson: If the member read the recommendation --

Mr. Eaton: If you give them a stronger mandate, yes, but not that they didn’t know what they were doing.

Mr. M. Davidson: I said that earlier also. I said they did the job to the best of their ability under the mandate they were given, but they couldn’t do anything.

Mr. Eaton: Oh, yes, they have done a lot. Give them credit for what they do.

Mr. M. Davidson: I am giving them credit. I gave them credit in the member’s absence. All I am saying is they would like to do more, but because their mandate is so restricted they are unable to do more. That is why the recommendation says give them a stronger mandate and allow them to carry out their job in the manner they see fit.

Mr. Eaton: If you had been here you would have heard me agree with that.

Mr. M. Davidson: So we are not at odds after all.

Mr. Breaugh: Oh, yes, we are at odds.

Mr. Eaton: Not on that one.

Mr. M. Davidson: I think, however, another thing we did find out is that there were some agencies, boards and commissions that were overmanned -- I say overmanned, I guess I should say overmanned-or-womanned.

Mr. Bradley: Overpersoned.

Mr. M. Davidson: There were some agencies, boards and commissions floating around with something like 30 or 40 members attached to them, when that number of persons was not required to carry out the mandate the board or agency had been given from the government.

I have to be honest and there is no sense kidding ourselves: every government, be it in Ontario or any of the other provinces, in the United States, or at the federal level in Canada, must establish agencies, boards and commissions in order to carry out their role as the governing body within the province or within the country. But by the same token, they don’t necessarily have to give a job to every worn-out political person they have had in their organization over many years.

This is the reason that some of these boards had far too many members on them. They didn’t know where else to put their people, so they put them on these agencies, boards and commissions. In reality there were some people on those overstaffed agencies, boards and commissions who were really trying to do a good job. In questioning those people -- and I think the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) will agree -- one found even some of those people saying there’s too many of them. “We confuse the issue because there’s too many of us.”

I think the members will find in the recommendations there are certain agencies, boards and commissions where the committee itself, and I might say by a unanimous vote, recommends a reduction in the number of members. It does not necessarily recommend that the body be eliminated, but that its membership be reduced. They will probably end up doing a better job because the people who remain will concentrate more fully on the job they are supposed to do. They will probably do it more properly without all of the interference -- like we have in this Legislature with 125 members.

Mr. Eaton: We could do without about 38 of them over there.

Mr. M. Davidson: I am quite sure the members opposite could. They would like to. let me put it that way -- they would like to do without them, but they are not going to.

Mr. Eaton: Oh, we may have a few less next time.

Mr. Bradley: They all want to be Governor General.

Mr. M. Davidson: Again we go back to the manner in which these agencies, boards and commissions are remunerated for the work they do. There was such a variation in what was going on the only thing the committee could say was that somehow or other the government had to standardize the amount paid on a per diem basis and whether it was going to pay expenses for all of the people or just some of the people.

I think that is only proper. I’m not suggesting that everyone gets paid $85. I’m not suggesting that everyone gets paid $150. I’m not suggesting everyone gets paid $22,500 a year for 80 days of work.

Again the mandate goes back to the government and it’s their responsibility. What I am suggesting is that somehow or other the people on that side of the House, who at the moment have the mandate to create agencies, boards and commissions, should also take a look as to how they pay these people. Surely they should all be paid equally for the work they do.

We found out that if there was an agency, board or commission that was relative to the works and the needs of government, no matter which one it was, the people on them were working equally hard to do the job that had to be done. Therefore those people should receive the same kind of remuneration someone on another board would be receiving. They certainly shouldn’t get less than anyone else nor, in the minds of the committee, should they be receiving more. They should all be receiving approximately the same or, I would say, equal pay for equal work because that’s what it is.

In addition to the remuneration, if they’re getting their expenses paid then everyone should have his expenses paid. I’m not concerned about that because I know these boards and agencies have to exist. I’m not sure we need 700 of them or more. Maybe when we end up we’ll find out we have a thousand. If the government can’t find out where half of their committees are, how do they expect the rest of us to find it out?

Mr. Eaton: Half? You are exaggerating again.

Mr. M. Davidson: Maybe half of a half, or something like that. All I know is that Management Board has been trying for four years to find out the number and it can’t give us one.

An hon. member: They keep adding more.

Mr. M. Davidson: Somewhere out there exists boards that have been created by the Conservative Party of Ontario which they can’t find themselves. All they know is they issue cheques when they hold a meeting.

An hon. member: They know about those kinds.

Mr. Bradley: I thought there was no patronage in Ontario.

Mr. M. Davidson: One thing the government should be taking a look at is the number that exists and it should be looking at whether or not some of these can be amalgamated or merged together in order to do what would probably be a better job in some cases.

I look at the boards that exist in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. I think all of them are necessary. At least the review committee found them to be necessary. I think all of them are doing an excellent job, but in some cases there’s an overlap. An amalgamation or a merging of those groups where there are overlaps probably would result in a more effective method of assisting the government.

Mr. Eaton: Which ones?

Mr. M. Davidson: They’re in the report, if the member cares to read it. Amalgamation would result in a more effective means or a more effective method of providing to the government the type of information that I know they need and require in order to carry out the job that they have been doing. If one thing probably has kept this government elected for 34 years, it’s probably the fact that it has half of Ontario on an agency, board or commission somewhere along the way.

Mr. Eaton: You’re exaggerating again.

Hon. W. Newman: You know, you like to hear yourself talk.

Mr. M. Davidson: You’re probably right, but I’ve heard you on occasion also do that.

Hon. W. Newman: You like to hear yourself talk.

Mr. M. Davidson: Yes, you’re absolutely correct. I talk so often in this House, don’t I?

Hon. W. Newman: When you are here.

Mr. M. Davidson: I am here probably more often than you are.

Hon. W. Newman: I doubt that.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. M. Davidson: Cabinet ministers have a tendency to stay away on occasion. If I may carry on, the committee recommendations that are before us tonight total 27. In going through them members have to remember this was an all-party review board. It was not the same as the report of the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Wiseman) which was a one-party review board.

Mr. Eaton: They hacked higher than you did.

Mr. M. Davidson: Certainly, and so it should be. It was a government body looking at itself and it should be critical.

Hon. Mr. Walker: A pretty effective government body, wasn’t it?

Mr. M. Davidson: I have no disagreement with it, although I dispute some of the recommendations and I’m sure the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) does also.

Mr. Eaton: Not a lot.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Would the honourable member disregard the interjections?


Mr. M. Davidson: Yes, I certainly shall, but without them it would be a very boring evening. There are 27 recommendations placed before the members by the committee on procedural affairs which had an opportunity to review those agencies, boards and commissions we were able to review. Again, I would like to refer in closing to the fact that there are some 700 or more -- no one can tell us exactly the number. The mandate of the committee was that we could only call before us those who, by mandate, were forced to table a yearly report in the Legislature. I believe that was something like 94. So out of 700 agencies, boards and commissions the procedural affairs committee could only look at a few of the 94. I expect that’s where the difference lies with the government review. They could look at themselves no matter where they were.

If you go through the book, Mr. Speaker, you will find one of the recommendations is that all agencies, boards and commissions should table a yearly report with the Legislature. It was recommended the procedural affairs committee should have the opportunity of calling before it any agency, board or commission that exists in the province for the purpose of finding out whether or not it is a functional body and does give support to the government, or whether it's just something the government probably instituted many years ago and forgot was there, but for which it simply signs the pay cheque every time the bill comes in.

Mr. Sterling: I am glad to join in this debate, as I sat with the other members of this committee for three weeks in September. Although we only reviewed 14 agencies at that time, Mr. Speaker, I feel that the deliberations were very useful.

We had a considerable amount of difficulty with procedure and how to approach this problem. I think already tonight in this debate other speakers have alluded to the fine work that was done for the committee by both Peter Johnson and Graham White.

Mr. Conway: Great fellows.

Mr. Sterling: They are great fellows. In particular they are to be commended for selecting 14 agencies which really provided a range of the types of agencies, boards and commissions we have here in Ontario. The sample varied in terms of budget, staff, size, level of independence, statutory powers and functions.

Throughout the hearings we received summaries highlighting the most relevant and sensitive issues relating to each of these agencies, boards and commissions. I do not feel the committee could have dealt with these agencies, boards and commissions without this valid research in our hands. However, we were limited in two rather fundamental ways when we were looking at these bodies.

First, of necessity, some agency briefs were lengthy and some were complicated. Time restrictions precluded going into detailed discussions of activities of some of the more involved agencies.

Second, an inherent bias existed throughout the proceedings. We did not have time to hear from the clientele of these agencies. To accurately determine the usefulness of an agency it is imperative we receive input not only from the members of the agencies but also from those whom the agencies are serving. It was these fundamental weaknesses which made the committee members reluctant to recommend that some of these agencies be disbanded.

These hearings, however, did afford committee members a solid if general understanding of the work of agencies, boards and commissions.

Mr. Conway: Say it, don’t read it.

Mr. Sterling: There are definite problems in overall co-ordination and consistency across agencies which render ministry management control extremely difficult. This problem of inconsistency is well illustrated by the number of different names we have involved with various agencies, boards and commissions. In many cases, the name of the agency in no way relates to its function. For example, the committee found that one commission may have no basic organizational, functional or structural similarities to other commissions.

One of the greatest frustrations the committee met related to the funding of these agencies. The experience of the Ontario Arts Council illustrates my point. I use this only as an illustration. When the arts council was originally formed in 1963 it distributed 30 grants amounting to $300,000.

Mr. Speaker: If the honourable members who are carrying on private conversations would be seated someplace, I would be able to see who is speaking.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, that is an aspersion on small men. I would protest that.

Mr. Van Horne: Stand on a chair.

Mr. Sterling: As I was saying, the problem in relation to the funding of these agencies was an extreme problem with us. When the arts council began, they funded $300,000 in 30 grants. Now they have 3,000 grants and a total budget of $12 million.

The question we continued to face was, how much is enough? How do we measure the cultural benefits to society which result from this type of funding? On the other side of the coin, how do we decide whether the government’s generosity is being taken advantage of? Criteria on which to evaluate such programs must be devised. Mechanisms to render agencies more accountable to government must be created, if we are to continue to enjoy the advantages of agency activity.

The government’s ongoing and successful deregulation program provided the impetus for committee deliberations and the basis of our recommendations. Substantial cost savings and a revitalized sense of responsibility in the private sector will result, when the government no longer regulates functions where regulation is no longer required.

However, while reduced government intervention and regulation is appropriate in many areas, there are also many cases where agency involvement is needed and is working very effectively. In fact, during our deliberations on many occasions we found the necessity perhaps to recommend the creation of additional agencies or to enlarge the powers of existing agencies. There is no doubt that in order for some legislation to be properly administered agencies must be created from time to time. We know, for example -- and the opposition concedes -- that the establishment of a tenancy tribunal would be necessary to administer the Residential Tenancies Act.

The committee recognized the existence of agencies which are no longer necessary. I believe that an ongoing and in-depth investigation to uncover weaknesses is necessary to make correct choices as to which agencies should be disbanded. The committee’s general recommendations strive to set out administrative procedures for increased control, continual evaluation and fiscal responsibility for existing agencies. For the purpose of simplification to provide means for comparing agencies, the submission of annual reports and standardized accounting formats should be mandatory for all major agencies. Most important, the precise relationship of an agency to its parent ministry should be formally established.

Many members have expressed in this Legislature their dissatisfaction with the estimates procedures. To ensure fiscal accountability, a percentage of each ministry’s estimates might be set aside to look at the specific agencies under the minister’s jurisdiction.

The members will note that under general recommendation 11 the committee recommended that each ministry list in the estimates books all the agencies which fall under that ministry. I feel this is necessary as the government can continue to study agencies, boards and commissions but the power and the priorities and the procedures as to the funding are political and should perhaps be discussed in an open forum.

It is my opinion that, given simplified and standardized monitoring procedures, these agencies which prove to be responding to the legitimate needs will continue to provide valuable services to the people of Ontario either directly or through the government which serves them.

In general, agencies provide our government with practical advice and expertise which complements the more academic and philosophical advice of the bureaucracy.

Specifically, agency members most often live in their own communities and share the work place with those people upon whose needs and interest he is acting or advising. In many cases agency members are experts, pursuing careers in addition to their agency responsibilities. As a result, these individuals stay abreast of the needs and problems in a specific sector and are in a position to act as specialized interpreters to provide the government with a grassroots assessment of the situation, coupled with a high degree of expertise.

Agencies provide a most efficient and cost effective means of utilizing the best in human resources. Salaries, I believe, are low in terms of expertise gained and many positions are part-time and voluntary.

When hearing from the Pesticides Advisory Board, for example, the committee recognized a level of expertise which could not be obtained outside an agency arrangement. Scientists on the board are able to continue their research careers while remaining in an advisory capacity. It is precisely this dual role which makes such specialists invaluable to this government and to Ontarians. in conclusion, the decision to disband those agencies which have outlived their usefulness should occur only after a comprehensive investigation. Monitoring of government agencies should be an ongoing process so that unnecessary agencies will be eliminated to make room for the creation of new and necessary bodies.

Mr. Bradley: Two minutes.

Mr. Sterling: A higher level of agency accountability should be fostered through streamlining and standardization of reporting procedures.

Agencies, boards and commissions have provided a unique and exceptional input to our government. They have helped to keep us responsive to the needs of diverse and specialized sections of the population we are elected to serve.

The agency system has provided us with otherwise unavailable expertise and has substantially contributed to the long-standing support this government has received from the people of Ontario.

Mr. Speaker: The member for London South, for about two minutes.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I will use less than that. I am very impressed by the efforts of the standing procedural affairs committee and the relative involvement in the overall sunset principle which is an attempt to eliminate agencies, boards and commissions.

I am struck by the comparison of pay. I would have to say the standing committee on procedural affairs managed to abolish one committee. They recommended all kinds of other expansions, but they did recommend the abolition of one committee, the Ontario Food Council. By my estimate of some 14 meetings, six members in attendance at $50 a day, that is a cost of about $4,200 for one abolition. On the other hand, the agency review committee spent $180 to get rid of 38 different committees. Now that works out to $4.74 cost per abolition as opposed to the $4,200 abolition by the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) in the standing procedural affairs committee. I just want that to be put on the record.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Breaugh moved the adoption of sessional paper 245.

Hon. Mr. McCague moved an amendment to add to the motion the following words: “That recommendation one be struck out and the following substituted therefor: Management Board, in concert with the ministries and using the Committee on Government Productivity and the 1974 Management Board study guidelines, should comprehensively review all agencies in Ontario with a view to rationalizing their structures and arriving at an explicit policy on agencies.”

Mr. Haggerty moved that the amendment be amended by adding thereto the following words: “and should report no later than December 1, 1979.”

The first question is, “Shall the amendment to the amendment carry?”

All those in favour of the amendment to the amendment will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Shall the motion to amend the original motion carry?

All those in favour of the motion to amend please say “aye.”

Those opposed please say “nay.”

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Report, as amended, adopted.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.