31e législature, 4e session

L129 - Tue 2 Dec 1980 / Mar 2 déc 1980

The House met at 2:03 p.m.



Mr. Speaker informed the House that the Clerk had received from the chief election officer, and laid upon the table, the certificate of a by-election held on November 20, 1980:

Electoral district of Carleton: R. C. Mitchell.


This is to certify that in view of a writ of election dated October 6, 1980, issued by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Ontario and addressed to Ross Coulter, Esquire, returning officer for the electoral district of Carleton for the election of a member to represent the said electoral district of Carleton in the Legislative Assembly of the province, in the room of Sidney Handleman, Esquire, who, since his election as representative of the said electoral district of Carleton, has resigned his seat, R. C. Mitchell, Esquire, has been returned as duly elected as appears by the return of the said writ of election, dated November 28, 1980, which is now lodged of record in my office.

(Signed) Roderick Lewis, chief election officer; Toronto, November 28, 1980.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and the pleasure to present to you and to the House Mr. Robert C. Mitchell, the member-elect for the historic riding of Carleton, who has taken the oaths and signed the roll and now wishes to take his seat.

Mr. Speaker: Let the honourable member take his seat.

Robert Mitchell, Esquire, member-elect for the electoral district of Carleton, having taken the oaths and subscribed the roll, took his seat.


Mr. Speaker: May I have the attention of all honourable members? Yesterday, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) raised a question of privilege concerning the receipt of correspondence from an inmate of the federal prison at Millhaven which had been opened. The member suggested the letter had been opened somewhere between the point where it was mailed and where it was received here.

I have checked with the Solicitor General of Canada, who is responsible for the administration of federal prisons. The minister informed me he has not surrendered the right to have mail addressed to members of provincial Legislatures opened and read. However, I understand that mail addressed to federal members of Parliament is not intercepted. I feel I should also point out that mail sent from provincial institutions is also subject to interception unless it is mail directed to the Ombudsman or the correctional investigator for Canada.

I also want to advise all members that all mail addressed to members of the assembly is scanned by government mail services in the Macdonald Block. Mr. J. D. Campbell of the Ministry of Government Services assures me that mail is never opened in this process.



Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker. The Treasurer may be aware that in his absence the other day I questioned the Premier on the subject of interest rates. Given that the interest rates for mortgages, as well as for small businesses -- but let us deal with mortgages for the moment -- are reaching very high levels, and there is speculation they might go even higher so anyone who has to renegotiate a mortgage of about $40,000 or $50,000 today may well be facing a 50 per cent increase in their monthly payments, will the Treasurer tell this House whether he is prepared now to bring in a program to cushion the impact of these heavy mortgage rates on home owners, as he implied he might do last spring? Or does he feel that another study might suffice, at least for our friends to the left, as it did last spring? Is he prepared at this time to take genuine action to help the people who are facing these gigantic increases in their monthly payments?

2:10 p.m.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, obviously we are as concerned as the member is. There are some experts who, in making predictions of mortgage interest rates, have felt we were likely facing a peak with something of a trough coming ahead of us. This time last year it seems to me we were in the 13.5 to 14 per cent range and quickly escalated past that point, in spite of such expert predictions. I have learned, therefore, to temper with caution any acceptance of these predictions. But I am delighted to hear there is a likelihood of a slight reduction in the near future.

The second thing that is quite different from this time last year is that there is a large differential between the Canadian and American rates. I am sure the member is aware that, in the United States, interest rates are as much as four percentage points higher than they are in Canada. At the banks we have been able -- and I might say Ontario advised this -- to follow something of an independent Canadian policy. In the meantime, from all I can see, using the value of the Canadian dollar as the measure of the interest rate policy, they have kept it very close to the 84- to 85-cent range through interest rate administration.

I hope the rates will not go higher. I point out that, in the study we had, it was indicated there was little provincial authority and control, and most of the monetary levers are quite properly federal.

Mr. S. Smith: The Treasurer did produce this lengthy study, I guess it was last May, on the matter with a number of provincial options. The government has already acted, albeit inadequately, at least to cushion to some extent the interest rates for farmers, and that is something they made a big thing about in the recent by-election.

Will the Treasurer please explain to the people of Ontario whether he has an actual program, not just hopes or predictions, to help those people who are today facing 40 per cent and 50 per cent increases in their annual payments just to be able to keep their homes? If a person has to renew a mortgage today he is in serious trouble in Ontario.

The Treasurer has money for vans and refrigerators. People will not be able to have the homes in which to park the vans or put the refrigerators.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable member obviously does not want to paint anything like an optimistic picture on anything. That is part of his job.

The fact is, effective interest rates on renewals and purchases last year were less than predicted. Of course, it has an impact. In many cases, however people are renewing mortgages that are five years old, and in that period of time, as the member well knows, a number of them have seen the value of mortgages remain constant or be diminished while they have had at least some nominal increases in salaries.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact it is the federal Liberal policy that is giving these high interest rates and in view of the fact they do not appear to be doing anything about it, will the Treasurer take a second look at the proposal this party presented to the Treasurer last spring which, for a cost of only about $20 million to Ontario, would have provided interest relief to families earning less than $25,000 a year? Will the Treasurer take a look at that policy?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I do not rule out reviews of any policies, but we should at least have the patience to watch what continues to happen in this field; I think that action and reaction by us right now is premature.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Treasurer was a part of the Conservative government in 1974-75 when he and his government told the public of Ontario they were prepared to subsidize interest rates when, at that time, the interest rates ran around 11.75 per cent and 12 per cent. We assumed he studied the matter then and came to those conclusions because he thought the matter was serious. Why does the Treasurer not think the matter is serious today, when interest rates are hovering around 15 per cent and better?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I never implied they were not serious, Mr. Speaker. At the same time, I think one has to look at the underlying rate of inflation at any point in history and recognize that inflation is the problem and interest rates are the symptom.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Treasurer comment on the fact that these questions from the Ontario Liberal Party were not raised in any way during the recent weekend meeting of the federal Liberals in Ontario; and will he undertake in going to Ottawa to take the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) with him, since clearly the Leader of the Opposition has no other influence on his federal Liberal colleagues?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Whether the member and I like to admit it, Mr. Speaker, that may be rather supportive of some of the federal Liberals if they are not paying attention to him. Maybe the member and I can see common ground in that. It is interesting how they really do not want to be related to their cousins in Ottawa when problems like this crop up that were caused by inefficient management of the Canadian economy.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: While the Treasurer is conveying that message, perhaps he can tell the leader of the New Democratic Party that he is least attractive when he is trying to be funny. I want to ask the Treasurer, having gone through with these extravagant programs -- $260 million worth of sales tax relief; $20-odd million to lower rural hydro rates; an unspecified amount of money to bring down the price of heating oil in this province -- and having assisted in so many ways to subsidize the consumer, why can he not look at probably the single most important economic threat facing a large number of people in this province and spring loose some money from that to assist in the mortgage rate problem right now and in the next two or three months when it is going to be worse?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the honourable member is saying in public what he really feels in private. I wonder if that is the case.

Mr. Peterson: Are you accusing me of being hypocritical?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh, never. The truth is, I will have the opportunity on December 17, along with nine other provincial finance ministers, to discuss the problems with Mr. MacEachen and to tell him, whether the member likes it or not, he really cannot run $14-billion deficits and not have inflation and high interest rates.

Mr. Peterson: You are spending $300 million for other trifling incidentals. You are so screwed up you do not understand it.


Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the Opposition have a question?

Mr. S. Smith: I would gladly ask a question, Mr. Speaker, but the Treasurer is busy talking.

Mr. Speaker: So is your colleague once removed to your left.

Mr. S. Smith: The least we could do is keep the NDP quiet with another study of options.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. The minister is undoubtedly aware that Browning-Ferris Industries is planning to continue its plans for a solidification plant in Harwich township and presumably is going to continue going in front of the board to hear the matter.

Since the South Cayuga plant supposedly is going to take all or almost all of the liquid waste in Ontario, may I ask where the liquid waste is to come from for the plant that is still being recommended by Browning-Ferris? Will they get their $100,000 if they stop their application now, or do they have to go through the entire hearing and then be rejected before they get their $100,000? What is the government’s position now? It has withdrawn from being a coproponent, but is the government prepared actually to oppose this particular application by Browning-Ferris in front of the Environmental Assessment Board?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is absolutely correct in that that hearing is before the review committee now. It may continue, I guess. It is their right. I think it is far too premature to try to answer the question of where the waste will come from. It is just not possible to determine where that waste will come from. Who knows if the site will be approved? I really think it is a hypothetical question in that sense.

The more pertinent matter that was raised was the money and our legal commitment. As I said in the House the other day, yes, we will accept our legal commitment. I do not think that is fully determined at the moment, but we want to fulfil our legal obligations to that company or any other company to which we make legal commitments, and in this instance we will.

Mr. S. Smith: Since the question basically was asking the nature of the legal commitment, is the minister committed to giving them $100,000 if they withdraw their application now, or do they only get the $100,000 if they see it through and are then rejected by the review board? That was the question. I hope the minister will address that.

2:20 p.m.

The other question was: What is the position of the government in front of that board now? The government is no longer a coproponent: Is it prepared to be opposed? Is the minister prepared to go before the board and say the site is now simply not required and that he is prepared to oppose the Browning-Ferris application?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: The position of the government on that proposal, as it would be on any proposal before them, is to review the proposal, offer the comments of the various ministries and then put that report out for public assessment. At that time the government’s position on this proposal, or any proposal, would be known, but not until such time as the review is complete. This is the way all proposals are handled.

It is absolutely essential that a full review be completed before a government position is taken on any proposal. A full review of that proposal is not complete, whether we are proponents or not. It must wait until a full assessment review has been completed. Then it will be put out to the public.

To amplify on the matter of the financial commitment, we are prepared to accept the legal obligation we have. That could very well be with or without the completion of an assessment. We have a legal obligation to pay and we intend to do so.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary to the minister, Mr. Speaker: He says it is the procedure for all proposals like this to undergo a review, the comments of ministries and then an assessment, before the government can decide whether the proposal is an acceptable one. Can he explain why this is the procedure except in the case of the South Cayuga dump? Why is it not also appropriate that the South Cayuga proposal would go before the process of review, comments of ministries and assessments, since it poses the same kind of environmental matter as the Harwich dump?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, with respect, I do not think that is quite a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: I do not think so either. You can treat it as you wish.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: There is one site under consideration in Cayuga. I previously gave this House the decision and the reasons for the decision. I want to make it very clear that answer was contained in previous responses.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the ministry is going to undertake to fund, at least in part, some of the legal obligation with respect to the Harwich matter, and presumably with respect to the Walker Brothers matter as well, will the minister consider flowing some funds to the citizens of Ajax, in view of the fact they put up such a good fight throughout and that project now seems to be in some jeopardy?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, Mr. Speaker. In a meeting between the Premier (Mr. Davis) and myself, we made it very clear that, if expertise were required before that board, the board would be appropriately funded to see the expertise was there. That position stays on all matters before the board. That was a policy statement. I do not know whether the board chose to bring in some witnesses, but we are not going to flow funds to that committee.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, back to a supplementary to the original question: Can the minister at least assure us that any application from private industry to deal with liquid industrial waste will be subject to a full hearing under the Environmental Assessment Act, 1975? Can he assure this so that the suitability or otherwise of the site, the operator and the possible alternatives can be explored through full public hearings?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I do not think the question is clear as to whether we are talking about liquid waste or various wastes. I have to refer repeatedly to statements I previously made in this House. I will be glad to read those into the record again. What we have done in the past is very clear. We always deal with matters as they come to specific issues. There is no doubt we have made a very positive decision on the one in Cayuga. That site is the one under investigation under the full assessment method of Dr. Chant and that corporation --

Mr. S. Smith: Assessment method of Dr. Chant? What is that?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: If the member will just listen. Under the technical --

Mr. Cassidy: What’s wrong with the assessment method of the Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Whatever the member wants; I do not care. That is the site under discussion, and I do not think it is appropriate at this time to answer the member’s hypothetical question on other sites.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, as an Ottawa member, it would be extremely impolite if I did not introduce the Honourable Walter Baker in your gallery, the federal House leader for the Conservative Party of Canada. Some of my colleagues thought it would be more fitting if he were sitting lower down here. They thought he was the member for Carleton for a while. I understand he is here to give some advice to the government House leader at the provincial level.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, it is like the eminence grise of the Carleton by-election who is here in the House today.

J’aimerais bien accueillir le député fédéral de Carleton. Bienvenue dans notre Chambre.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. The minister will be aware that last night the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), the labour critic for the New Democratic Party, moved in the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment a motion which would recommend severance pay of not less than one week’s pay for a year of service be granted to employees covered under the layoff notice sections of the Employment Standards Act. The minister will also be aware that the NDP motion was accepted unanimously by the committee and is coming forward later today in a report to the Legislature.

In view of the fact that the recommendation had all-party support from both the Conservative and Liberal Parties as well as the New Democratic Party, will the minister now undertake to add those provisions to the amendments to the Employment Standards Act which are coming forward this evening in Bill 191?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, in my statement of October 14 I indicated clearly the government was not opposed to the principle of severance pay. I also went on to indicate what I thought were complex, honest and straightforward matters that had to be addressed in relation to severance pay. It is my understanding the committee deliberately decided to go a case-study route on an immediate basis and that individual and group presentations on issues -- from the Ontario Federation of Labour, the chamber of commerce, experts in the area and so forth -- have been delayed until a later time.

I am surprised that, in the absence of addressing themselves to those issues which are put directly and deliberately to the House, the committee has decided at this premature stage, in the absence of that information and in the absence of those briefs and opinions, to present such a resolution to the House. I am surprised to see it.

Mr. Cassidy: I am not sure who the minister is directing that criticism towards, because the position of our party for a long time has been that there ought to be severance pay in the Employment Standards Act of Ontario.

If the minister is saying his Conservative colleagues erred, why does he not say so directly? I ask the question again. In view of the fact that this was a unanimous recommendation, and in view of the fact that we on this side of the House, the NDP, intend to move that motion when the bill comes forward this evening, will the minister now agree to incorporate that in Bill 191 to ensure that the Employment Standards Act of Ontario grants severance pay to workers who are laid off under the act?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am sure the member knows exactly what I was saying. What I was saying was there were a great number of issues that had to be addressed. The committee has not addressed those issues and, in the absence of that information and In the absence of that deliberation, I think the committee has acted hastily.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Notwithstanding the minister’s view of the performance of committee members, including those from his own caucus, the fact is that a committee of this Legislature has passed the report which, frankly, we do not intend to allow to go by this afternoon with the report merely being adjourned. We want to have that matter debated here and heard.

2:30 p.m.

Since the report is simply saying that the law should provide for all workers what government negotiators were able to provide at Houdaille Industries, so that people could have the same coverage without having to occupy the plant, should the minister not agree to accept that amendment as recommended unanimously by the committee and give proper protection to the people being laid off all over Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, let me just reiterate that I, personally, and this government, have made it very clear we are not opposed to the principle of severance pay. Let us go over it once again very carefully.

Mr. Peterson: You are a many-principled man.

Mr. Makarchuk: How do you pay the rent with principles?

Mr. Cassidy: The workers are being laid off now.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I know the members have a propensity for and a nice habit of dealing with questions in the absence of information and in the absence of reviewing matters carefully and thoughtfully; but that is what this government wants done at that committee. I said so in that statement, and I welcomed it. Now we want them to do it.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not realize that the committee was given responsibility to look into the serious problem of plant shutdowns and the effect on workers, and that it is the committee’s job to look into that and to make recommendations? Rather than lecture the committee -- that is exactly what the committee has been doing, carrying out its responsibility. It has now asked the minister, by unanimous recommendation, to bring in a recommendation that would assist workers in plant shutdowns. Will he not respond? Will he not incorporate that into his amendment? The timing is obvious. His bill is up tonight.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think I have answered that in great detail, Mr. Speaker. I have indicated that I feel the committee has acted hastily in the absence of the information it was committed to gather, and I ask it to do that.

Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since now seems to be the appropriate time to bring this into the Legislature for discussion, can I ask the minister whether he does not feel it is the right time when he intends to introduce legislation to cover this aspect?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Once again, Mr. Speaker, I ask the member to refer to my statement. It indicates that I was carrying out certain consultation processes and that I expected the committee to do the same sort of thing; to have groups and individuals knowledgeable in the area and knowledgeable about the complex problems related to severance pay discuss them with the committee. They should do it.

Mr. O’Neil: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe my question was answered by the minister, and he did not tell us --

Mr. Speaker: That is not a question of privilege, and the honourable member knows it.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have asked a page to take some documents to the Minister of Health, for whom I have a question respecting professional misconduct by doctors in the province; that is, the specific item of professional misconduct, according to the regulations under the Health Disciplines Act, that makes it misconduct to refuse to render a medically necessary service, where payment of the whole or part of the fee is received in advance of the service being rendered.

Is the minister aware of the submissions by various organizations of the professional misconduct practice where some physicians are requiring payment for services prior to their delivery? These include gynaecological specialists; ear, nose and throat specialists; anaesthetic specialists; and surgical specialists. Since this is not an uncommon practice and since the minister is not prepared to stop opting out, from which this practice flows, will he at least take measures to put an immediate stop to this illegal practice of demanding payment up front before patients receive medical treatment?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to take this up with the college. I will need specific patients’ names to file the complaints. It is specifically a matter of professional misconduct to demand payment before the provision of service, and I will be glad to pursue it.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister not aware there are already three cases of misconduct that have gone before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario? Will the minister say why he has refused to initiate an investigation of required prepayment for medical services when he was requested to do so by people from the Young Men’s Christian Association back in 1979 and when he has had specific cases brought before him over the course of the last year or two, such as the one involving a lady from Timmins and a gynaecologist at Toronto Western Hospital? Why has the minister not been prepared to act in the past, and why does he simply say, “I will act some time in the future”?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think I have pointed out on every occasion I have been asked about this subject that it has been professional misconduct in the regulations under the Health Disciplines Act for a number of years. We already acted on that a number of years ago.

Secondly, for a complaint even to be considered and eventually to get to the discipline stage, a complaint must be filed by a patient against a doctor. What I am saying is, where I have specific complaints, I am more than happy to pursue them and see that justice is done.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister prepared to act then with respect to the anaesthetists at the Toronto Western Hospital, who have been sending out a notice to certain patients which says specifically: “The anaesthetic fee for this procedure will be $50 in cash, money order or a certified cheque. Kindly bring this amount to the hospital on the day of your surgery”? Surely that is a violation of the professional or misconduct provisions of the Health Disciplines Act. What action will the minister take to stop these doctors demanding anaesthetic fees to be paid in advance; in other words, before patients can get the service?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is a more general question and one that I think we can pursue directly with the anaesthetists at Toronto Western Hospital, with the board there and the college; that is a general form. As regards the others, let me repeat, specific complaints will be investigated in every case and, where the facts support the complaint, it will go to discipline.

Mr. Speaker: Just before I call on the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) for a new question, I would like to draw to the attention of honourable members the presence in the gallery of Mr. John Baxter, MLA, from the province of New Brunswick. He is a former attorney general for that province. Would you please welcome him.


Mrs. Campbell: I have a question of the Minister of Housing, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that the Anglican synod, concerned with the fact that single employables in Toronto are paying $35 to $40 a week for rent and, while classed as employable, many of them could not gain employment by reason of ill health or in some cases poor mental health, passed a resolution last September, one part of which follows: “That the eligibility criteria for subsidized housing be changed to allow singles to apply for rent subsidy within Metro and city public housing,” and in view of the fact that the Metro housing authority is operating under the policies, as amended, of the Ontario Housing Corporation, is the minister prepared now to authorize Metro housing to alter its policy to permit these persons to have access to subsidized housing in Metro?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, let us look at the problem on a broader basis than just Metro. If policies are to be changed, they shall be applicable to the province, not singly to this great metropolitan area. The eastern and northern parts of this province are entitled to the same consideration and recognition.

As far as the mentally retarded and the physically handicapped are concerned, let me emphasize, if they are single, regardless of age, they are already eligible to qualify for public housing in any part of the province. In recent months we have amended the policy more specifically to relate to the mentally retarded where the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded shall assist the local housing authority in determining which applicants are or should be eligible for the possibility of entering public housing.

As for the other group of singles, regardless of age, as was said to the justice committee, which is reviewing the Ontario Housing Corporation, those situations are under review. I want to emphasize to this House very clearly and very distinctly that, even though this ministry and OHC might make some determinations as to changes in policy, we also must have the concurrence of our federal partner the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Mrs. Campbell: In view of the fact that these people are on general welfare assistance, is the minister not aware that in all likelihood they have not had approval from that ministry as being disabled, nor are they mentally retarded? Is the minister aware that there may be mental difficulties other than the retarded? Will he now take this matter under consideration since It is of such concern? I would be happy to have it apply across the province.

2:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I cannot emphasize any more clearly than I have in the initial part of my answer to the question, that policy relating to people eligible for public housing is constantly under review, not only by my ministry -- may I emphasize again -- but indeed also with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. They are a senior partner; they pay 50 per cent of the cost of providing public housing and the administration of it on an annual basis. Whatever policy changes take place will be with the concurrence of CMHC.

I only offer the direct assurance to this House that it is not the intention of my ministry to recommend to cabinet that, because CMHC will not participate in the program, 100 per cent of the cost should be absorbed by the people of this province. I think it is unrealistic at a time when we are faced with economic constraints in Ontario. The policy related to all persons -- whether it be the mother-in-the-empty-nest situation or other situations -- is under review by ministry and CMHC to find if there is a way to facilitate that particular group within the financial limitations of the taxpayers of this province and this country.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. The minister may be aware that Ontario Blue Cross is running a series of advertisements for its services. Part of that advertising program is a cute little thing about what happens if you break your arm and how much it costs for treatment.

In the ad which they ran in the travel section of the weekend Toronto Star, they said: “Break it at home, $350; OHIP might pay $283.” Since the approved OHIP fee for this service is $283 and not $350, is it the minister’s intention to prosecute or inform Blue Cross to stop putting out this kind of misleading advertising?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think the question should go to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) as regards any possible question of misleading advertising.

Mr. Breaugh: Since this agency is run by the Ontario Hospital Association, whatever happened to that grand agreement between the ministry, OHA and the Ontario Medical Association to provide services such as this in Ontario hospitals at the approved rate?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, judging from the fact that only 7.5 per cent of all claims on OHIP are at opted out rates ranging from a few percentage points up, I would say it is working very well. There is no connection with the first part of the member’s question.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Now that the Ontario Provincial Police investigation is finished and allegations of impropriety between the ministry and Walker Brothers have not been substantiated, is the minister now investigating allegations of environmental violations at the site itself?

In his investigation, does the minister have an explanation for a pumping system that has recently been set up from the leachate lagoon down into a newly constructed well via a pipeline? Does this material vent into the nearby Welland Canal? Can the minister tell us what is being pumped there, what tests are being done and what form of monitoring is being done on the material being pumped into this newly constructed well?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first question is yes. The balance of the question was very technical in nature and I will take it as notice and try to respond on Thursday or Friday.

Mr. Kerrio: In the minister’s investigation, has he received evidence that there has been tanker traffic from the waste lagoon site, which has now been closed, back and forth to the landfill site? Does the minister accept the contention given by the president that all that traffic in November was for the purpose of dust control?

When is the minister going to act in a responsible way and get the evidence for which my leader and I have been asking for over a month and clear up that matter of investigating the alleged violations?

When is the minister going to get that done?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: With respect, we did clear up two of the three allegations. I remind the member that they were not made by myself, but they were made by outside sources. For the record, we have cleared up two of the three allegations. I said the balance will take more time. I said that before.

Mr. Kerrio: How much time?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: After all, it does take a considerable amount of effort to finalize all those considerations. We have all kinds of evidence already. The member is asking new questions today not pertinent to the accusations made previously. I have told the member I will get that information for him. I will do that and report as soon as I have it.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: When the minister says two thirds of the problems have been cleaned up, or words to that effect, is he not aware that there are 1,200 to 1,400 drums buried in Walker Brothers’ quarry and that he has excavated perhaps only 100 of them to date? Is he going to do the investigation of the thousand or more that remain in that quarry?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I want to clear the record very specifically, Mr. Speaker. We responded to two out of three of the allegations that were made. As to the other one, we are in the process of getting more and more information. I think the member knows that and I will respond to his question along with that of the member for Niagara Falls in due course.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. I have an eight-page memorandum dated September 12 from the general manager of the ministry’s mental retardation services division and in section B it reads as follows:

“Under the funding policy for residential services for mentally retarded children approved by cabinet, parents of children in residences” -- that means residences for mentally retarded children -- “will be required to commit themselves to a monthly contribution of between $40 and $90 a month” effective the beginning of the new year.

I want to ask the minister how on earth his government could add to the burden of parents suffering from having a retarded child the additional financial burden set out in the memorandum, and would he kindly reconsider what can only be described as the imposition of a tax on parents of mentally retarded children?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I think it is very unfair to characterize that as a tax. It was a measure that was introduced after considerable discussion with the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded and is being done with the support of that agency. I think it is important in terms of the range of the charging policy that the low of $40 is the amount the family would automatically be receiving by way of family allowance and the child tax credits, so $40 is the minimum.

For those who are in a position to afford more, the upper limit is $90, which was calculated to be an approximation of the actual cost they would be paying for the normal provision of shelter and food for that child in the course of a month if the child were residing at home.

It is tied as well to the development of service plans for each individual child, and I would also point out that as a result of introducing those service plans we will be in a position to significantly enrich our eligibility for federal cost sharing which has not been possible in many of these programs in the past. We have also made commitments to the Ontario association to ensure that the enriched funding from the federal cost sharing will be ploughed back or applied immediately into areas of both enriching services in some of the institutional settings but primarily into the community settings for services to the handicapped.

Mr. McClellan: Surely the minister is aware, first, that family allowances for children who are in schedule one or schedule two facilities are not paid to the families; they are paid to the ministry itself.

Second, does the minister not understand that according to his table of monthly payments in the memorandum a single parent earning $12,000 a year with a child in a residential program, by my calculation, would be charged under this fee schedule $1,080 a year? Surely that is an intolerable regressive tax on the parents of a mentally retarded child and there is no other way to describe it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: First of all, I can assure the honourable member that there will not be any double charging. I am not sure administratively how this is being handled --

Mr. McClellan: The minister should find out, because that is what his staff told me.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Listen, don’t be so hysterical; just calm down for a moment and listen.

There will be no double charging, I can assure the member of that, if that is what he is implying by saying this is being paid directly to the facility. I would also point out that it was seen by the Ontario association, following our discussion, to be both beneficial for the children and beneficial for the services that will be developed as a result of this approach.

2:50 p.m.

Surely the member does not think that in instances where a family does have an additional burden as a result of the handicap with which their child was born it ought not bear any responsibility whatsoever for the maintenance of that child because it happens to have a handicap. All we are saying is they ought not to have any greater costs than anyone else or any greater cost than if the child were residing with the family. We are not adding burdens, we are significantly relieving them, even at that level of assistance.


Mr. McEwen: I have a question of the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker, which concerns the employees of the Land-O’-Lakes Health Centre at Northbrook in the great riding of Frontenac-Addington. I would like to ask the minister why the employees who are paid by the Ministry of Health are not considered to be government employees? Why are they not allowed sick leave with pay? Why are they not allowed holiday pay? Why do they not have deductions taken from their paycheque for unemployment insurance benefits, Ontario health insurance plan, or the Canada pension plan?

I would also like to know why an employee receiving $33 a day for five days a week has deductions for statutory holidays? Why is paid maternity leave not allowed? As employees do not have UIC deductions taken from their paycheque, they are ineligible for maternity benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Commission. Why have they not received an increase in salary since June 1979?

The employees had thought they were employed by the Ontario government. However, Dr. W. J. Copeman of the Ministry of Health denies that such is the case. They would like to know just who their employer is. I would ask the minister if he would care to enlighten me, the House and these employees as to whom these non-employees being paid by his ministry are working for. Why are they being denied the benefits to which the majority of working people in Ontario are entitled?

Mr. Speaker: I can understand why the honourable member would want to catch up because he has not taken full advantage of the question period. But, with all due respect, I think that is really a question for the Order Paper. There are at least seven questions.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, let me respond to the member’s maiden speech after being a member for five years -- although he has not been here in the session very often. When I called him “Silent Earl” a couple of years ago I did not think he was going to prove it.

I would be glad to take the question as notice. The employees at the Northbrook centre are not now nor have they ever been employees of the Ministry of Health. I will be glad to have our staff contact the people who are the sponsors of the health centre to ask them to sit down and deal with these questions with their staff.

Mr. McEwen: I wonder if the minister could hurry this reply along. One employee, the receptionist, was to give birth to a baby in January, but this morning she was rushed to the hospital. It is premature by a month and a half, and the girl has no way of paying the costs to continue the necessities of life.

Is the minister aware this has been happening under his program or is he more interested in trying to insult me in some way?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the minister have a response to what he has heard so far?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, regarding the latter part of the question, the member makes it so easy when he does not come here very often. He comes only once or twice a year to pick up his paycheque. If the member is in his riding as often as he is here no wonder he cannot get the problem straightened out.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister is not really answering the question.


Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Given the unequivocal refusal of the Premier (Mr. Davis) to my proposal yesterday of sending an independent delegation to Italy formed by the three parties of this province and a representative of the Canadian Red Cross Society, and considering the Italian Red Cross is continuously sending SOS telexes to the Canadian Red Cross requesting urgent aid from the national society in the form of funds or goods, can the minister tell us in what way our provincial government is responding to this human appeal and to the immediate needs of over 250,000 survivors at present requesting our help?

Can the minister also give us a detailed report on the situation, considering he has had meetings with representatives of the Canadian Red Cross?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to. Our meetings started at least a week ago when the Premier went to the headquarters of the National Congress of Italian Canadians and informed them we were making available $100,000 from the province to their fund, which would be at the disposal of that committee as to how it would feel it could best be used in this tragedy.

I have also had discussions with the Red Cross. We are still continuing those discussions. We have appointed a permanent liaison person from our ministry with the committee here, headed by Mr. Angelo Delfino. We have indicated complete support.

It is my understanding that the need for emergency supplies in Italy at this point is being fully looked after. I listened, as many members probably did yesterday, to a telephone conversation from Christie Blatchford of the Toronto Star speaking directly from Rome when she indicated there were supplies all over the roads. One could reach out and get bottles of water. It was raining on some of the supplies. It seemed to me the Italian Red Cross and those relief agencies are doing a fantastic job of making those supplies available.

Our real purpose at this point is to consider the long-term matter of rehabilitation. To that end, I have indicated and the government has indicated to the committee that Ontario will strongly support what will be long-term efforts to help rebuild the areas that have been devastated. We have indicated that to the committee.

If there is any need for emergency help in the interval, we are certainly in contact with the Red Cross and that need can be met. It is my understanding there is no need for money for the Red Cross at this minute.

Mr. Lupusella: With great respect, is the minister aware of the telex dated December 1, 1980, which was sent to the Canadian Red Cross by the Italian Red Cross? It states: “It goes without saying that grateful for the very important help of our sister society, we have to cope still with a great amount of problems and needs so that we continue to ask the aid of the national societies.”

In view of that, would the minister consider increasing the amount of money allocated to the relief fund? Will our government take the urgent step of responding to this immediate SOS telex by using our Canadian Red Cross as the proper channel to relieve the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think I indicated the answer. We will keep in close touch with the Red Cross to see if there is any more help we can provide to them in any emergency sense. I have indicated to my friend this government will probably assist at least to the level we did in the Friuli earthquake and it could be to a much greater level when the needs for the restoration of the communities become known.

I think the member would be the first to agree we must depend upon the kind of advice we get from the committee here, made up of our Canadian citizens of Italian origin who are spending night and day raising money and keeping in close contact with what is needed. It is with this committee and these people in Metropolitan Toronto and Ontario that we are working. Whatever needs are identified by these committees, I am sure all members of this House would want to stand ready to support the kind of efforts that we are making.

3 p.m.


Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I will address my question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Since the continued operation of Ogoki Lodge is important to the tourism industry of this province, could the minister confirm whether or not that lodge is now closed, when it closed and the reasons for it closing, since the federal and provincial governments have substantial investment in this lodge?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I would have to get an update on Ogoki. I do not happen to have that information with me today. I will find out for the member and let him know.

Mr. Eakins: Since the minister thinks his memory is always so keen on so many occasions, could he not recall that the province has substantial money in this lodge? This summer the minister put several thousand dollars into advertising it, and he does not know whether it is closed or not?

Would the minister not think it is more important to make sure that this wilderness lodge -- which takes in only 30 people and last year had 11 per cent occupancy -- is more important than the millions he is spending in Minaki Lodge, and he does not know what is going to happen to that? Should not Ogoki be the minister’s first priority?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: May I only say that I am pleased the member has noted the support we gave that lodge through grants and advertising. It has been fairly substantial. I am sure the member appreciates the contribution we made to that fine enterprise. That is not the answer, sorry folks.

The fact is -- and the member will find this hard to believe -- I am not posted on a day-to-day basis with regard to the current business situation of a whole lot of enterprises supported by the Ontario Development Corporation -- there are thousands -- and a number of tourist establishments supported through our tourism division.

We have helped the firm. The member knows we have helped Ogoki, he knows of our commitment there. He is asking me whether I know it is closed. The answer is I have not been informed in the last few days that it has been closed. If the member is asking me whether I will find out, of course, I will.

May I say that one of the benefits that would be lost if the member’s party ever sat or this side of the House, which it will not, would be the kind of day-to-day attention being paid to that and other matters by the Ministry of Northern Affairs, which the member’s party is committed to disband.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that there was a notice by the sheriff in the Thunder Bay paper several weeks ago seizing certain assets of Ogoki Lodge? Does he know the importance of that seizure and the reasons for it? Would the minister not agree that one of the things that needs to be looked at is improving the management of that lodge?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I heard only about half of that but I will read Hansard and get all the information for the member. When I get the rest of this information I will report to him.


Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Labour: Now that the minister has had an opportunity to meet with both sides in the Domtar strike, could he report to the House what hopes he has that both sides will return to the bargaining table? If not, what other initiatives is he prepared to undertake to get them back to the table?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I did meet with both parties to the dispute in Domtar and I have every reason to believe that negotiations could resume next week.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services in regard to the Woods Gordon report that I brought to his attention over a month and a half ago. Now that the minister has had over a month to obtain the Woods Gordon report commissioned by the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded on the subject of pay rates for association employees, does he now agree with the general thrust of the report that community workers with the mentally retarded are grossly underpaid, being 34 per cent behind the salaries of their institutional counterparts who are paid directly by the ministry and at least 20 per cent behind wages paid by similar community service organizations?

Can the minister give us his reaction to the findings of the Woods Gordon report, and can he tell the House if he has any intention of helping striking mental retardation workers in St. Catharines and locked out workers at Participation House in Hamilton, whose wages average only $4.63 per hour?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, yes, I have. As a matter of fact, I apologize to the honourable member. I think I made it clear to him after my earlier response in the House that I erred, that I had seen the report at that time. I am not sure what happened. It slipped my mind in the course of answering his question.

I am aware of the fact there are -- not only with associations for the mentally retarded, but with a number of other private agencies across the province -- considerable discrepancies in terms of what staff are being paid. I reject that there is necessarily a direct relationship with the people working in our government operated facilities. One of the things those preparing the report failed to do was examine the job classifications in the civil service with which they assumed there was parity or ought to be parity. They did not examine our job classifications.

However, that aside, there are discrepancies and yes, we are in the process now of attempting to address that problem. It does go beyond associations for the mentally retarded. No, I will not address one association, particularly one that is in the process of a difficult labour dispute, in isolation from the others across the province; but we are now attempting to address that problem systematically.

Mr. Bradley: In view of what the minister has just said, further to his statement in the House, I believe it was a week ago Monday, that children’s aid societies unable to meet financial obligations because of unforeseen circumstances may apply to his ministry for special help -- we were talking there about children’s aid societies -- why would he not include in this arrangement the St. Catharines Mental Retardation Association and Participation House in Hamilton so they can begin to pay their employees wages at least somewhat close to what others are getting paid for similar work in the community? If he is prepared to do that for children’s aid societies, why not for the associations for the mentally retarded?

Hon. Mr. Norton: There are other associations whose wage structure is not above, in fact is probably below, the two agencies to which the member refers. Surely the member understands if we are going to address that particular issue the appropriate time is not during the course of a labour dispute. When that labour dispute is resolved, then we will be dealing with them along with all the other agencies with similar difficulties.

Mr. Isaacs: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: On November 17 the minister advised this House he would review the most up-to-date information available to him to determine how he might act to be of some assistance in the Participation House dispute. Can he tell us today what he has done since November 17? Will he at least sit down with each of the sides in that dispute separately, as the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) does from time to time, to determine what the facts are and what the stumbling blocks are in that particular dispute?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not the Minister of Labour. There are arbitrators in the Ministry of Labour who are available to those parties to engage in that kind of effort. It is neither my responsibility nor my area of expertise, and I do not intend to interfere, in my present role, in the collective bargaining process when there is another ministry with very well qualified staff available to those parties. If that is what they want, they know where they can go for that kind of help.


Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have eight separate petitions to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) asking that legislation be enacted to compel the placing of individual price stickers on all items for sale in food stores that use the universal product code scanners at the checkouts.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to rule 28(a) of the standing orders, I wish to give notice that I am dissatisfied with the response of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) with respect to my questions today about severance pay and intend to raise the matter upon the adjournment at 10:30 this evening.

Mr. Speaker: The proper notice has been given pursuant to standing order 28, and this matter will be debated at 10:30.

3:10 p.m.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have now had the opportunity during question period to study the statement you made on the point of privilege I raised yesterday. I appreciate the work you have put into the preparation of the statement, but I still am not clear as to whether anyone has made a determination as to exactly who in this one case did open this envelope which was mailed to me.

I simply ask, Mr. Speaker, that you either take the matter under advisement a bit further to see if you can determine that or, if that is not your pleasure, perhaps it might be appropriate to send this matter to the procedural affairs committee. There are a couple of points in your statement today which I would like to raise and to expand upon at further length, but very basically I would still like an answer to the question, if it is possible, as to who exactly did open this particular envelope.

Mr. Speaker: All I can tell the honourable member is who did not open it. It was not opened by our postal services here. It was not opened in the scanning process of the Ministry of Government Services. If you do have a grievance, it happened outside this building. If you feel the information I provided you from the office of the Solicitor General in Ottawa is unsatisfactory, your grievance is with Canada Post.

I have given you all of the information I have. I am not an investigatory body. I have assured myself it is quite conceivable it was opened at the source by the Solicitor General, who does not deny they do that and will reserve the right to continue to do it. I do not know what further I can do in the matter. All I can assure you is that it was not intercepted and opened by anyone under our jurisdiction here in the Legislature.



Mr. Cureatz from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:

Bill Pr45, An Act respecting the Powers of the Jewish Family and Child Service of Metropolitan Toronto.

Bill Pr50, An Act respecting the City of Kingston.

Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:

Bill Pr48, An Act to incorporate Redeemer College.

Your committee would recommend that the fees, less the actual cost of printing, be remitted on Bill Pr45, An Act respecting the Powers of Jewish Family and Child Service of Metropolitan Toronto, and Bill Pr48, An Act to incorporate Redeemer College.

Report adopted


Mr. Breaugh from the standing committee on procedural affairs presented the committee’s annual report and moved its adoption.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, this report is the annual report done by the procedural affairs committee on various agencies which have been before the committee. It contains recommendations on these agencies.

On motion by Mr. Breaugh, the debate was adjourned.


Mr. McCaffrey from the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee recommends that the government immediately introduce an amendment to Bill 191, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974, applicable to those companies required to give notice of intended layoff and closing, requiring a minimum severance pay of one week’s wages for each year of employment.

3:50 p.m.

The House divided on Mr. McCaffrey’s motion for the adjournment of the debate, which was agreed to on the following vote:

Ayes 81; nays 30.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that standing order 72(a) respecting notice of committee hearings be suspended for the consideration of Bill Pr53, An Act to revive McColl Farms Limited, by the standing committee on administration of justice on Wednesday, December 3, 1980.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. Foulds moved first reading of Bill 213, An Act to amend the Municipal Elections Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to change the polling day for municipal elections in Ontario from the second Monday in November to the first Monday in November in an election year. The reason for the change is to avoid any interference by municipal elections with the observance of Remembrance Day.



The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 82, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974;

Bill 185, An Act to amend the Assessment Act.

House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 118, An Act respecting the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario.

Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 6:

Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Chairman, I beg the indulgence of the chair. I do not have my amendment completely written out and I understand it is going to be difficult; the changes are fairly simple in nature. Do I have the agreement of the chair to proceed? The minister indicates it would be all right.

Mr. Chairman: I am sorry; I did not follow that comment.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I do not have my amendment written out yet. I ask your indulgence to permit me to put the amendment verbally.

Mr. Chairman: I am sorry; I cannot. It must be in writing.

Mr. M. N. Davison: If you want to wait until I finish writing it out, I will supply it to you.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, if this is the only section the member for Hamilton Centre wishes to address, we could proceed to the minister’s amendment and then return to that item in order to convenience the procedure in the committee.

Section 6 stood down.

Sections 7 to 24, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 25:

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Chairman, this is an amendment that was substantially moved in standing committee. It was left to the legislative draftsman to include a few minor descriptions. It was agreed to in substance by the standing committee.

Mr. Lawlor: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: Have we got copies of this proposed amendment?

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, Mr. Chairman, I did not provide copies, because it was agreed to in committee, it was just subject to a legislative draft.

Mr. Lawlor: I just asked our representative and he has none.

Hon. Mr. Drea: But I have it in writing.

Mr. Lawlor: It would be nice to read it along with your reading to see what impact it has.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Chairman, I am perfectly willing to do that. I would like it to be on the record that I was the one who was perfectly agreeable to the member for Hamilton Centre’s putting his amendment in any shape or form. Do not take it out on me because you lost one with the chair.

Mr. Chairman: I understand the member will supply copies.

Mr. Lawlor: You are sure bellicose today.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Friendly. I also know what you are up to.

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Drea moves that section 25 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“1a. Where the manager or the manager’s designate appoints persons to make an investigation to ascertain whether a member has committed an act of misconduct or incompetence involving trust funds, the persons appointed shall include two persons representing the insurers for whom funds were or ought to have been held in trust.”

4 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Chairman, to bring the committee of the whole House up to date on this matter, there was a question involving section 24, the preceding section of this bill. The Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario or the named corporation in this particular section of the act, where it makes a prima facie case about misconduct, can obtain by ex parte application in the Supreme Court the right to have a receiver appointed. The purpose is to provide a speedy stabilization of the funds involved. They are not commercial funds in the true sense, but they involve premiums that perhaps were not paid. It is a stabilizing and almost immediate protection of the consumer because of the sifting-out nature of the insurance field.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, on behalf of the insurance companies, has a substantial stake because it is providing the coverage, on which the trust funds, or the missing trust funds or any other defaults that have occurred, have a very substantial impact, and it wanted to assure itself a notice or a presence before the court.

I draw to the committee’s attention that section 24(4) does provide for that ex parte order being continued upon notice. This, in effect, was a compromise because the original submission was to provide notice to all interested parties prior to the court application. The particular concern was that this would slow down what literally might have to be an instant stabilization to provide a proper remedy.

On this basis, they will be part of the investigation. Therefore, when the application is made for the ex parte order, the insurers for whom the funds were held in trust or should have been held in trust would be part of the ex parte procedure. It may be a minor technical point, but it does provide that we have got around the problem of wanting to provide adequate notice for those affected but not having that adequate notice period, by its very essence, delay the stabilization procedure.

As I say, the amendment was agreed to in substance, but the legislative draftsman last week did want another look because it does refer to the corporation. It does refer back to section 24.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, as the minister has said, the matter was discussed at some length during the committee stage in the standing committee on administration of justice last week. This was a point that came up somewhat late in the committee hearings and, to ensure accurate draftsmanship so there would be provision for the insurance companies’ representatives to be involved, either directly or through IBC, and yet not have untoward delay of having to give notice to a great variety of people at the time an ex parte application was made, this compromise was accomplished.

We in this party are quite prepared to support this amendment at this time, which will complete the outstanding items agreed to by the minister as to amendments to be brought before the committee of the whole before the bill proceeded to third reading.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Chairman, we have no objection to the amendment placed by the minister and, as I understand it, it fulfilled the desire of the committee that met last week.

Motion agreed to.

Section 25, as amended, agreed to.

On section 6:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. M. N. Davison moves that section 6 be amended as follows: Clause a of subsection 2 be amended by striking the word “eight” and substituting the word “six” therefor; clause b of subsection 2 be amended by striking the word “three” and substituting the word “six” therefor and that the words “two upon the nomination of the Consumers’ Association of Canada and two upon the nomination of the Ontario Federation of Labour” be added, following the word “Council”; subsection 3 be amended by striking the words “one quarter” and substituting the words “one half” therefor; subsection 4 be amended by striking the word “eight” in the third line and substituting the word “six” therefor and by striking the word “four” in the fourth and fifth lines and substituting the word “three” therefor.

It appears there are a number of amendments for each subsection. Does the committee agree to take it in total?

Mr. M. N. Davison: I do not think the amendment comes as a surprise to either the critic of the Liberal Party or the minister. I announced during the committee session my intention to move it but, unfortunately, I was unable to be at the committee hearing on the day we dealt with the section in clause-by-clause consideration.

Those members who were present at that time will recall I had a two-part argument in favour of this series of amendments. The first part of that argument was that there should be an appropriate and proper balance in terms of the representation on the council and that I did not believe that eight and three was an appropriate balance of industry and public input. It seems to me, not only in this particular body but also in like bodies, we should be moving to the recognition that there should be a real balance between the public and the vested interest in these organizations. That is the reason for the first part of the amendment: it is to create that balance between the private and the public interest in the body.

The second principle contained in the amendment I am putting forward is that we in the Legislature decide what kinds of people would properly constitute public representation upon the council. There has been some discussion within and without the industry and, I suppose, the government, as to what would constitute in this case representation of the public interest before the newly self-regulating body.

At this point I have not heard a clear explanation from the minister of what he would propose, nor from anyone else in a position of authority, but some of the suggestions I have heard tossed about in terms of representation are that the kinds of people would be something like a representative from the office of the superintendent of insurance, a lawyer, or an accountant.

4:10 p.m.

From where I sit in this world we know as Ontario, and while I have the greatest respect for lawyers, accountants and representatives of the office of the superintendent of insurance in their professional capacities, that is not what we in Hamilton Centre consider to be representative of the public and the public interest. I do not in any way mean that as an attack on lawyers or anybody else. I have had plenty of opportunities to vent my obvious displeasure with members of that particular profession.

What I have tried to do, by way of my amendment, is to put into the bill a guarantee that there will be people chosen by the Lieutenant Governor in Council upon the nomination and advice of groups in the community whom I, as the member for Hamilton Centre, recognize as spokesmen for significant portions of the public in the province. The two I have chosen are the Consumers’ Association of Canada and the Ontario Federation of Labour.

The members who were in the committee hearings will recall that the chairman of the Consumers’ Association of Canada in Ontario attended and participated before the committee, which shows the interest the Consumers’ Association of Canada has in the work this body will undertake. I think that In the Legislature we should recognize, by way of legislation, that principle of the involvement of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. It is a fine protector of the consumer and, in that sense, of the public interest in our province. It has an enviable record. As a legislator, I would like to use what influence I have in the assembly to ensure there will be representation of that association on the body.

The other organization I suggest as an association that in many ways reflects a significant portion of the public interest is the Ontario Federation of Labour. We have had a happy history in this province of the involvement of the Federation of Labour in public policy. Unfortunately, the government has not listened to it as frequently as I and many of my constituents would have wished, but it has shown itself over the years to be a body that has a sense of social and economic justice. It is very tough in its presentation of that sense of the public interest. It is another organization that should be represented, by way of statute, on the body to protect the public interest in what is becoming a newly self-regulative part of the industry.

I would ask my colleagues in the assembly to support this. It still gives the Lieutenant Governor in Council, upon the advice of his Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the possibility of appointing a couple of other people such as representatives of the superintendent of insurance’s office, a lawyer, an accountant or whomever else the government, in its wisdom, defines as being representative of the public interest.

I think my amendment establishes a proper balance, a 50-50 balance, an equal partnership between industry on the one hand and the public on the other hand. Also, it guarantees we will have a process by which we should be able to appoint six people who can give a broad and accurate representation of the public interest. I think it is a good amendment. It is an amendment that should not only be accepted in this bill, but should be accepted in like kinds of legislation, especially as government in this province tends to move more and more towards deregulation.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, I listened with interest to the amendment as proposed. I regret that in my view, it is not worthy of support.

I understand that a member of the Consumers’ Association of Canada is likely to be one of the three persons. As I recall, in the hearings at the committee stage this was acknowledged as a likely appointee. Mrs. Anderson, representing the Consumers’ Association of Canada, when asked whether two persons should represent the Ontario Federation of Labour, as I recall said she did not see how that was particularly appropriate. I suggest it is probably no more appropriate than appointing two members of the United Church.

I do not know why this group necessarily has to be the group signed out to appoint persons who presumably have the public interest at heart. The tragedy that might result is that the OFL might suggest as representatives a lawyer and an accountant. Then the member’s whole purpose might be lost.

I think the present division, as we move into this program, is satisfactory. It is my hope the three appointed persons who are not members of the corporation will bring a certain balance of views to the activities of the corporation. However, I remind the minister that this whole institution is to ensure that a representative group of members of the association is placed in the responsible position of self-regulation. As a result, I think that, as a group that is achieving responsibility and a certain status of that responsibility, the proportion of members on the council is satisfactory the way it appears in the draft bill and the way it was approved in the committee stage.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Chairman, just to set the record straight, the member or a representative of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, Ms. Anne Brechin, is already sitting on the board of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario or the corporation.

It is my concern that if there is to be self-regulation, the majority of the responsibility must be in the hands of those who are regulating themselves. To diminish that responsibility flies in the face of the whole concept of self-regulation.

Part of the concept of self-regulation is public participation. This is exactly the same as was done in the credit union field when the Ontario Share and Deposit Insurance Corporation, OSDIC, was begun. It was the credit union movement’s own regulatory body, one that has a great many powers this Legislature vested in it for the orderly transaction of business in that commercial finance field. They even include the right to step in and intervene directly to protect the public interest as well as the public funds.

I suggest the OSDIC formula has worked extremely well. It has been so successful, many of the responsibilities OSDIC took upon itself to provide better public protection were subsequently confirmed by this Legislature.

In regard to the superintendent of insurance putting people on here, section 10 outlines the role of the superintendent of insurance and his office and of the minister. The superintendent of insurance, no matter how well intentioned, cannot be a member of the board of directors and at the same time be doing the very essential inspections that are particularly germane where trust funds and a number of other extremely significant financial regulations are involved.

4:20 p.m.

Obviously the minister's role is to be the vehicle and to provide the annual report of the corporation not only for public scrutiny but also for scrutiny by the members of this House, who have vested by virtue of Bill 118 the additional responsibility and obligation upon the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario corporation. Flowing from that there are additional responsibilities put on the people who are serving as directors -- either directors representing brokers of the province or the public directors.

In terms of public participation, obviously there is scope for specific public participation or in the field of public expertise. That is the reason for wanting a lawyer. The lawyer will not be acting as a vested interest. The lawyer who sits on that board is sitting as public member. The person who is the lawyer must regard the public as his or her client. The same holds true for the chartered accountant who will be on that board. That person brings to a very significant area of public participation and public protection a very skilled knowledge that must be used on behalf of the public, and not on behalf of his or her own particular interests.

It also seems to be somewhat negative in the field of self-regulation and more responsibility to hear that people must be brought in as adversaries to protect against the vested interest. I suggest with all due respect, that the Ontario Federation of Labour has as vested an interest as anybody else who qualifies as an organization or group that has specific goals or specific programs in an advocacy position. The designation of the OFL does not erase the vested interest -- which I suggest is more imagined than real -- but by the same factor makes vested interest abundantly real.

Of course, that does not pertain to the Consumers’ Association of Canada, which has a broader scope. Without getting into the merits going through, clause by clause, the goals and objectives and advocacy methods and approach of the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association or the Canadian Chamber of Commerce or any one of the 386 or so special or vested interest groups that appear before me in my ministerial capacity every year, they all have one thing in common; that is, by their structure and formation, which reflect the goals, they are relatively narrow in scope.

I suggest, on the scope matter, the broadest scope is that of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. That is why we have gone to that organization -- not because its goals or its outlook are considered superior or more popular or more conventional, but because of its plain, solid structure and because it operates in the public sphere with, because of its nature, the broadest possible scope.

If a person is on the board in the capacity of lawyer, that person’s other interests are surely very secondary or even very tertiary. As a professional person, that individual has one client, the public, and must assume professional responsibility for that. It is the same with chartered accountants. It is somewhat redundant, I suppose, to ask that the superintendent of insurance have a person there. It would completely erode and destroy the whole concept and the entire fabric of what this act is doing. It would cease being a model act for self-regulation; it would be a camouflage for substitution of regulation in a very inferior form. Therefore, I will oppose this amendment.

I do not think this is a debate on the merits of the individuals who might or might not appear on a board. I think it comes right down to the structure, to what is being done here and to what would happen to the structure and the approach if these inhibitions were imposed upon the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario by this series of amendments.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I will not take up much more time with this obviously lost cause, Mr. Chairman. I understand the arguments put by the minister and by my counterpart in the Liberal Party regarding the efficacy of moving to self-regulation in this area. Inasmuch as my amendments would stand in the way, trip, halt or in any way stop the rush, I understand the position they have taken. We have a fundamental and perhaps necessary disagreement over the wisdom of self-regulation in Ontario.

Frankly, I have a bit of trouble with this twisted, upside-down, topsy-turvy view of the world where somehow people can claim that lawyers are representative of the public interest, that lawyers are representative of the public. I cannot think of very many other bodies that are so insulated from the public for any number of reasons. It may be there are people in the assembly who hold in much higher esteem than I do the group of people who call themselves lawyers. I am not one of them.

When we talk about the public interest, I understand that, perhaps with the exception of the Legislative Assembly, there really is no group in the province that can claim to be representative of the public interest. I am glad there is going to be somebody on from the Consumers’ Association of Canada. I think it is a good step that there is one; there should be two.

4:30 p.m.

What bothers me is when you look at some kind of a balance as to who can better represent the public interest, we have on the one side lawyers, accountants and insurance brokers and on the other side workers and consumers. There does not seem to me to be much of a choice in terms of which of those two groups is better able to represent the public interest or, indeed, if nothing more, at least vested interests with a slightly wider horizon. I tell the minister and the critic from the Liberal Party that, if I have to take sides with a division that puts the workers and consumers on one side and the lawyers, accountants and insurance brokers of the province on the other side, I am quite happy to stand with the workers and consumers of the province. I still think there is a serious imbalance in the council membership. I do not think my amendments will totally destroy the minister’s bill.

To respond to my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt), I suppose it is a disagreement we have had for a number of years and will continue to have. Just because there are not very many representatives of the working class in the Legislative Assembly does not mean we do not have, on our own and though our organizations like the Ontario Federation of Labour, a real and important role to play in society. There is an important role for working people in the society, and I think we should encourage attempts like this to allow working-class people to participate fully in the councils that make the real decisions in the province.

I do not see any advantage in not guaranteeing by way of legislation some kind of public representation, and that is one of the things my bill tried to do. I am saddened there was not even a subamendment in some way to make that more palatable. Frankly, I admit to the minister that I do not like deregulation.

All I can say is that, considering some of the bungling I have seen within the ministry, private industry cannot do a great deal worse than some of the things I have seen. As I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, I regret the imminent and inevitable defeat of my amendment.

Hon. Mr. Drea: He slides by it so nicely.

First of all, Mr. Chairman, let us set the record straight. It is not the lawyers, the accountants and the insurance brokers of Ontario in a confrontation or, indeed, any kind of adversary role with consumers and workers.

As is his wont, the honourable member conveniently forgets, misplaces or does any number of things, which I am limited to describe by the parliamentary procedures of this House.

I remind the unlistening member for Hamilton Centre that the Consumers’ Association of Canada is already a member of the board; so if he would like to look --

Mr. M. N. Davison: They would like two spots on the board.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I just want to put that on the record. If the member wants to state it accurately or, indeed, had the fortitude to state it accurately, any adversary positions in the concept of the amendments he is proposing are taken by the insurance brokers, who are taking on the responsibility of being self-regulating -- it is not a gift bestowed by government -- by a lawyer under the sanctions and obligations of that profession, by a chartered accountant under the sanctions and obligations of that profession when acting as a public member, and by consumers. What the member wants to add is a very vested interest. That puts it into a little bit of perspective.

Indeed, in regard to the working-class representative, I like that one; I kind of regard myself as one, and I really think the public has some agreement with me. I represent the working class -- perhaps not the elite that brings the sneer from the member for Hamilton Centre, but I suggest my record will show a great number of things --

Mr. M. N. Davison: If you are the saviour of the working class, we are all in trouble.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I say back to the member for Hamilton Centre, if he had ever held a job in the private sector for a prolonged period of time, he might be able to comment.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I worked as long there as I have here.

Hon. Mr. Drea: That is not very long in either place, and this job is soon to be terminated.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Now you are attacking young people as well as the workers.

Mr. Chairman: Order.

Mr. Haggerty: He is here by a margin of 11 votes.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Fourteen.

Mr. M. N. Davison: What do you think about older people?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I have a great deal of respect for all people, and I am not going to engage in the vituperation the member for Hamilton Centre usually likes to bring into these matters, even though he has introduced them.

The public interest is very well served in the structure of this bill. The crowning insult to the member for Hamilton Centre should be that the senior person from the Consumers’ Association of Canada, who sat in the committee meetings, said the CAC, which can speak for itself, was perfectly satisfied with this structure.

Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. M. N. Davison’s amendment to section 6 will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Section 6 agreed to.

Sections 26 to 47, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 118, as amended, reported.


Consideration of Bill 169, An Act to provide for Liability for Injuries caused by Dogs.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

On section 3:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Riddell moves that section 3(1) be amended by adding at the end thereof: “except where the person who is bitten or attacked is deemed to have willingly assumed all risks under section 4(3) of that act.”

Section 3(1) would now read: “Where damage is caused by being bitten or attacked by a dog on the premises of the owner, the liability of the owner is determined under this act and not under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, 1980, except where the person who is bitten or attacked is deemed to have willingly assumed all risks under section 4(3) of that act.”

Mr. Riddell: On second reading of this bill, Mr. Chairman, several members mentioned working dogs on farms. They commented that these dogs, by natural instinct, do tend to nip not only at livestock, for which purpose they are used, but also at the heels of people coming on to the farm, whether they be invited guests or trespassers.

The way the bill reads now, it would supersede Bill 202, An Act respecting Occupiers’ Liability, and Bill 203, the Trespass to Property Act. We do not feel this should be the case.

We are not saying farmers should be exempted. We do not feel a farmer should keep a vicious dog for the purpose of guarding the homestead and attacking people as they come on to the farm. We are trying to protect the owner with that working dog who, by natural instinct, does tend to nip at the feet of livestock and would do the same thing with human beings.

4:40 p.m.

If the farmer, under the Occupiers’ Liability Act and the Trespass to Property Act, permitted snowmobilers on to his land, there are some dogs that get upset when snowmobiles cross the land and they tend to chase the snowmobile and to grab at the legs of the snowmobiler. I have a dog that does that very thing. Whenever any one gets on the snowmobile and takes off across the field, the dog is there and he is out to grab you by the leg. I do not know what it is that upsets the dog but he tends to do that. I do not feel that an owner should be liable if something like that happens.

We feel that the Occupiers’ Liability Act and the Trespass to Property Act should come into effect and that these people coming on to the farm should be prepared to assume those risks, one of which might be being bitten by a working dog. I think this gives the farmers the type of protection they felt they had under Bills 202 and 203 but which they now do not have.

I know the parliamentary assistant is going to stand up and he is going to say, “Yes, but it is a discretion that is going to be made by a judge.” I am not sure we should put the farmer to all that time and expense of having to go to court to try to prove to a judge that the dog was not vicious but by natural instinct bit the person who came on to the property. I am not too sure the judge would always hand down the right decision, because I am sure many judges are not familiar with working dogs and with what working dogs are expected to do on a farm and what working dogs might do to . trespassers or people invited to a farm.

If it is anything like some of the decisions that are handed down by judges on this so-called new law reform we have in this province, then we are in trouble, believe me. That is another matter and something we are going to have to discuss at some time in this Legislature, but --

Mr. Lawlor: Family law reform?

Mr. Riddell: Family law reform -- there are farmers’ wives leaving their husbands, saying they are going to get half of everything. You have never seen the likes of it in your life. This is something we are going to have to address at some time. That is getting a little away from this bill.

If we go along with this amendment, we are giving the farmer the protection he felt he had under Bills 202 and 203. I might say the Ontario Federation of Agriculture supports us in our endeavours to have this amendment included in the bill.

Mr. Breithaupt: In speaking to this, Mr. Chairman, I just want to raise the point that within the next few weeks or months many of us may be out canvassing for support on some of these farms. It may be appropriate for us to be protected in some way but it looks as though it would be even more appropriate for the dogs to be protected as we may be coming into their territory.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, if ever there was a human being deemed -- I use the word broadly -- to fall within the ambit of the section as proposed, it would be somebody seeking election, would it not? I mean, they are fair game for a lot of things, including mad dogs. I do not mean mad dogs in one sense of the term; I mean dogs that are maddened in another sense. We cannot, and I am sure we will not, support this extension of the act. My own feelings about the Occupier’s Liability Act are fairly well known. There seems, and I say this regrettably, no end to the coercion that is stipulated for and the attempts to carve out privileged positions vis-à-vis the law in any element or segment of the community. No one is privileged, whatever it may be, over against another segment of a civilized society. The earlier legislation, the particular move in this direction, and the attempt by the honourable member to protect certain farmers against both their wives and their dogs strikes me as a bit overreaching in this particular context. The fact the honourable member himself brought the other matter into play somewhat bemused me.

We cannot give accord to this particular amendment.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Chairman, I want to indicate that I, like the member for Lakeshore, must oppose this amendment, basically for the fact that the example brought forward by the proponent of the amendment, under the existing legislation as it now stands, would not penalize the farmer-owner to any great extent. The farmer-owner would be liable only for the damages the dog caused. If the dog viciously attacked someone, then he would be responsible for that vicious attack. I think the member has said there is no excuse for a vicious dog, be it in an urban setting or a farm setting, so that the potential liability is not great. If the dog is just nipping at the heels of a political canvasser, then the political canvasser at best can get a new pair of sneakers for his election campaign.

Mr. Riddell: At whose expense?

Mr. Sterling: It might be at the fanner’s expense, if that be the case, but let us take it to the extreme of what this amendment means. If a small child wanders on to that property, across a fenced field or whatever it is, under the Occupiers’ Liability Act he is deemed to have willingly assumed the risk. What if the dog attacks that child and mauls it? Is the member saying the farmer, knowingly keeping a vicious dog, should be any less responsible to that child than an urban person would, keeping the same dog which attacks a child in those circumstances?

That is the greatest difficulty I have in accepting this amendment in this particular case. The Occupiers’ Liability Act and the Trespass to Property Act were really designed to give a farmer protection from unknown dangers on his land. I think all members expect a farmer to take reasonable precautions on his farm if he wants to make it safe for himself and for his family, but those who are knowledgeable in the rural community know you cannot take care of every fence and you cannot be sure that every trap or depression in the ground is not hidden, et cetera.

Keeping a dog that has a tendency to bite is a different matter. It is something that is intimately personal to that particular farmer. The act provides that if the person coming on the land should not be there, should not be in the barn of the farmer, and is bitten, perhaps when he is in an enclosed building or something like that -- I think that was the example brought forward in the previous debate -- then the damages will be mitigated to the extent that the person should not have been there. He had no business being in the barn or wherever it might have been, and if he was there with a criminal intent, then he assumes all the risk, regardless of the results.

I do not think it is too much to ask the farming community to bear this liability when one considers the examples I have put forward. The fact of the matter is that the liability they would be incurring by the examples brought forward by the member for Huron-Middlesex would not lead to any significant litigation at all, unless serious damage were done to the individual who was bitten. Therefore, I cannot support this particular amendment.

4:50 p.m.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Chairman, I rise to support the bill which I moved, seconded by the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell). Most of the arguments have been made. I am not unmoved by the arguments made by the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling). I do feel the problem he is trying to address perhaps should be addressed in a separate act that would put controls on the handling of guard dogs.

In my electioneering days -- I have been through only one election -- I found very few of these guard dogs on farms, although I must admit there were one or two St. Bernards. I cannot recall encountering one of the various exotic breeds brought in during recent years and used by security companies and so on to help guard properties. This is perhaps going to extremes, but it seems to me they are almost in the category of exotic and dangerous animals.

I remember reading one time when someone was speculating on what was the most dangerous animal in the world. Of course, one would immediately say, “It is a lion.” The answer was, it was not a lion but a farm bull, because a person approaching a lion would expect a lion to attack, whereas one would not expect the bull to attack because it is rather unpredictable.

The point is that these guard dogs, some of the special exotic breeds, are predictable. They were trained and bred for that purpose. We do not think farmers who keep working dogs, which on most farms are domestic animals, should be penalized because of this recent phenomenon in our society. We are not unmindful of the things the member has said. We just ask that he give us his serious consideration.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, I have two points. At the extreme -- I admit it is an extreme situation -- the legislation could be construed as giving a licence to vicious animals and vicious dogs and -- I will even go this far -- to the training and maintenance knowingly and deliberately of such an animal, and to he relieved of the responsibility in this context. Admittedly, an overwhelming proportion of the farming community or any other community would not do that kind of thing. They would not acquire animals of that kind. But there would be a handful who would do so. You would draw it under the amendment as being able to rectify the situation and obtain the damages with respect to it.

The second point I wish to make is that it appears to be a deliberate move to hedge against all possible risks in the context of this legislation. Damn it, we are all exposed to risks all around us if we wish to be fully operative members of the civilized community. I repeat, there is none of us who can set up a tiny, secure preserve for himself against the ongoing world in which we want to enjoy all the benefits but do not wish to expose ourselves to the hazards that world involves.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I was one of those members who raised the matter of the farm working dogs during the second reading debate. I am still concerned about it, but I support the amendment put forward by the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell). The point he is trying to convey is that under the Occupiers’ Liability Act there is some responsibility upon the person entering farm property. I think that is the key to this. There is a risk involved when any person -- a milkman, the mailman, or a salesman -- enters any property, but particularly a farm yard.

I suggest it is a reasonable amendment. I am trying to recall what my household insurance cost me today for liability insurance alone. It is a very expensive item when you get the whole package deal.

Mr. Eaton: Liability only costs about $10 a year.

Mr. Haggerty: The member has awfully cheap insurance, I think. I would like to see it, if that is what he has.

Mr. Eaton: I’ll sell you some.

Mr. Haggerty: I think the liability insurance would be increased considerably if the farmer had to have additional insurance to protect somebody entering his property.

As the member for Lakeshore said, there is a risk for everybody today and one risk is entering strange property. I suggest it is a reasonable amendment. I suggested before that this piece of legislation will eventually see signs on farm property, posted right at the entrance of the driveway or the entrance to the property, saying, “No visitors or salesmen may enter.” That is what is going to happen with this bill. I can see it coming.

There is a risk. A dog does not have to bite or nip a person. A farm dog sometimes may startle a person coming on to the property. A hedge or evergreens might be there and a person may be just on the verge of taking the first step on to the property when a dog comes from behind and frightens him. I suggest a dog does not have to bite a person, but an injury could still occur to one who has been frightened.

The bill goes a little too far. There are some dogs that, through breeding over centuries, are trained to become vicious. Those are the dogs I would be more concerned about. Normally a working dog on a farm is never tied up, because nine times out of 10 when a dog is tied up that is when it becomes vicious.

Normally, depending on the owner and the background, the dog will not bite. It is there as a warning to let people know they can just go so far and that is it.

Since my municipality went into regional government, we very seldom see a policeman any more. Years ago we could always count on a police car going by the place. I live in an area where there are a number of farmers who live close to the lakeshore. There are a number of transients walking the roads at night -- looking for what? They run short of fuel, they are in there trying to siphon gas from the fuel tanks that are located on a farm. There are many reasons why a farmer in my area needs a watchdog, but not one that is vicious. I can see now that either he is going to be compelled to tie his dog up completely or post his land around saying nobody is welcome -- even politicians during election time.

It is a reasonable amendment, and I suggest that the parliamentary assistant take another look at it. What this does, as I interpret it, is put the risk upon the person entering another person’s property. It is time that people in our society had respect for other people’s property.

5 p.m.

For example, I was not very happy with the Trespass to Property Act introduced in and accepted by this Legislature. It is going to be costly for the property owner to prove that a person is trespassing. I do not think anybody should have the right to cross upon another person’s property without first getting permission, and that should apply to hunters and others.

Many people think that because they have a hunter’s licence, they can enter anybody’s property within a rural community. I suggest that is one of the reasons why farmers do have dogs, an area about which no thought has been given. A number of farmers have lost livestock over the years be- cause of people hunting on their property, 200 or 300 feet from a building.

I consider this a reasonable amendment, and I hope the parliamentary assistant will consider the amendment put forward by my colleague the member for Huron-Middlesex.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Chairman, I am always interested in the comments made by my urban friends. The problem is, they do not have any money in the poker game. They talk about business, about this act and how there should be a law for one person and something different for somebody else, but they do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in a farming operation.

As I pointed out in second reading of the bill, many large operators keep thousands of gallons of gasoline on their farms; they have expensive equipment; they have expensive livestock and in many cases they have a dog to protect their property. The parliamentary assistant is saying, “All right, Mr. Farmer, if you want to keep a dog to protect the gasoline, equipment and livestock” -- and I made mention of the dog kept in the SPF [specific pathogenic-free] pig barn -- “then you had better be prepared to assume liability when somebody comes on the farm.”

Let me give a personal example. I live on a highway between Exeter and Grand Bend which gets very busy in the summer. There is a lot of tourist trade. One night, past midnight, a car drove in. I got up and looked out the window. The car was parked under the sentinel light with the hood up. I thought, fine, they have had some breakdown with the car and they are using the light to try to repair it; so I didn’t do anything. I got up the next morning and, when I went out to the shed, I found that every drop of gasoline had been drained from the tractors in the shed.

Now, they were very smart. One guy stayed and played around under the hood while the other fellow went and drained the tractors of gasoline. What if I had had a dog and the dog had bitten that person? One might say, “Yes, he came on there with the idea of stealing the gasoline.” But try to prove that to the judge. The fellow would simply get up in court and say, “Yes I went into the shed, but I went in to try to find a wrench to repair the engine.” I get up and I say, “Oh no, he took the gasoline.” It is my word against two other people -- the chap who did work under the hood and the fellow who went in and stole the gasoline.

This is just one example of what could well happen. If we don’t approve this amendment, we are going to have farmers in court trying to defend the actions of their dogs. Why does the member shake his head. The farmer should not be put to that test. We should not expect him to take the time and money to go to court to try to prove he had a dog that was just carrying out the duties expected of that dog; whether it be a watch dog to protect the property or a working dog used for livestock. I hope the parliamentary assistant will reconsider this amendment.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out again that the section dealing with the keeping of a dog for purposes of protecting a property is dealt with in section 3(2). If the person is there with criminal intention, with the intention of committing a crime, then if he is bitten it is his own tough luck.

I want to bring to the attention of the members the book written by Dr. Brian Cochrane of Ottawa to which I referred last week, Your Pets, Your Health, and the Law. His conclusion is, and I quote:

“Injuries due to dog bites usually involve children. Dog bites occur in 0.45 per cent of the total population [in the United States] and one per cent of all children. Children between the ages of four and 10 are the most frequent victims. Children are small. They love and trust animals and do not recognise the danger signs from a provoked dog. These children will often behave inappropriately with dogs that might be sleeping or feeding. You can rarely alter their behaviour in time to avoid being bitten.”

This bill is intended to protect smaller children who do not recognize this major danger. I cannot see why a child who comes on to a farm property should have any less protection from a dog than a child who comes into my home.

Mr. Eaton: Especially from your dog.

Mr. Sterling: Especially from my dog, the member for Middlesex says.

Mr. Chairman, I find it extremely difficult to support the amendment and cannot do so.

The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Riddell’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Section 3 agreed to.

On section 4:

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Sterling moves that section 4(2) be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“(2) Where, in a proceeding under subsection 1, the provincial offences court finds that the dog has bitten or attacked a person, and the court is satisfied that an order is necessary for the protection of the public, the court may order,

“(a) that the dog be destroyed in such manner as is provided in the order, or

“(b) that the owner of the dog take such steps as are provided in the order for the more effective control of the dog.”

Mr. Sterling further moves that section 4(3) be amended by striking the first three lines and inserting in lieu thereof:

“(3) In exercising its powers to make an order under subsection 2, the court may take into consideration the following circumstances:”

Mr. Sterling further moves that section 4 be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“(4) An owner who contravenes an order made under subsection 2 is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding $2,000.”

The amendments deal with two subsections. I would consent to take them as one amendment. Agreed?

5:10 p.m.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Chairman, the basic intent of this amendment is to make clear in the legislation the power of the court not only to order the destruction of the dog, but also to order more effective control of the dog. Under the legislation as introduced, the actual mechanics of a court proceeding allow a judge to do it but it is not specifically outlined in the legislation and is not self-evident to a member of the public reading the act. I think this is a better way of doing it.

It also means an owner who contravenes an order for controlling the dog can be brought back under a separate offence and is liable to a fine of up to $2,000. This gets around the problem of going through a contempt proceeding if a person disobeys that order; it penalizes the owner and not the dog specifically in terms of the control of that animal.

It is an attempt to bring in those two ideas. Some of these points were brought out in the debate on the second reading and I reacted to that debate.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, I spoke on this bill on second reading and I recall comments made that an alternative was required to ensure that the only choice was not to destroy the dog. This amendment provides an alternative for effective control and then places responsibility on the owner if that effective control is not otherwise attended to.

The amendments brought forward are satisfactory and resolve the three stages in a way that will be quite clear to any provincial judge looking at the alternatives and the sequence if the time comes that a certain conviction would be entered. The amendments make good sense and we can support them.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, dogs under the common law, which means forever, never had the right to bite anybody, anytime, even once. Why the myth grew up that they were entitled to do that had something to do with responsibility reposed in the owner of the animal. This amendment goes some distance toward a rational responsibility reposed in the owner of the animal, which was the main part of my remarks in the previous session. He has to be held accountable on some basis. If he goes out of the way and renders an animal vicious in order to protect, that flows from him. Dogs are not necessarily malicious from birth, as are some politicians. They do not emerge from the womb growling, so to speak, and seeking to nip the heels of the rest of the citizenry. In any case, this more fully accords.

I am a little puzzled as to exactly why legislation to which long and good consideration was given in the first instance has been altered to this extent. I suspect animal lovers have been in touch with the minister, because there is a certain clemency being extended to the dogs which previously did not exist in this legislation. The new clauses are more palatable, and an obvious concession to dog lovers generally.

It is not quite true that the section, as it stood previously, offered only one remedy, namely, the destruction of the dog. By implication there were other possibilities written into it, but it is better to spell it out when one is dealing with it. The use of the term “effective control” of the dog meets the necessities of the legislation and, by placing the penalty clause there, removes the omnibus power of a judge to drag someone before him to penalize him in some nonindicated way under the broad, general provisions of the Provincial Offences Act should he not carry out to the letter or in any reasonable way the mandate given from the bench for the protection of the public with respect to the known condition of the dog.

We give full accord to the changes that are proposed in this instance.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Chairman, I did not have the benefit of reading the amendment; so I can only go by what I heard.

Do I understand there are two alternatives? The judge can order the destruction of the dog or the judge can say to the owner, “We want you to control your dog better,” which may mean the farmer is going to have to keep the dog tied up. Am I correct in the assumption it means either the immediate destruction of the dog or the dog has what we may call a second chance, provided the owner is prepared to keep tight control over that dog?

I can support that. I think the parliamentary assistant has been listening to what we have been saying. He is not as hard-nosed as I thought he was.

Mr. Lawlor: It is the other way around. You are giving ground.

Mr. Riddell: No, I am not giving ground. I would like to have seen my original amendment passed. However, it is consoling to know the dog is not going to be destroyed immediately if it happens to bite somebody and leave a bit of a gash in the leg or the arm. The parliamentary assistant really has been listening.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Chairman, I want to indicate to the members opposite that I was listening during the second reading debate. I do not think any piece of legislation we bring to this House is absolutely perfect in every possible way. I want to indicate I always will listen to a debate.

Mr. Lawlor: You have been pretty obtuse on occasion.

Mr. Sterling: I have been on occasion, I must admit. On occasion, I listen as well.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Chairman, I want to indicate that I support the amendment. I do not have a copy of it before me, but I think it does address one of the points I brought up, the proper control of very vicious dogs whether on a chain or in a proper kennel. I would prefer they be in a kennel.

I want to congratulate the parliamentary assistant. I believe he has addressed some of the concerns we had, and we will support it.

Motion agreed to.

Section 4, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 5 and 7, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 169, as amended, reported.

5:20 p.m.


Consideration of Bill 168, An Act to amend the Juries Act, 1974.

Sections 1 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 7:

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Lawlor moves that subsection 1 of section 44a of the act, as set out in section 7 of the bill, be amended by striking out “or without” in the second line.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, like the owner of the mad dog, I am acting vicariously on behalf of my colleague. The subject is vicarious atonement.

The section in question will read, “Every employer shall grant to an employee who is summoned for jury service a leave of absence with pay.” The contention of my colleague is that the people who render public service as jurors ought not to be mulcted in their pay, ought not to end up poorer at the end of the day for having made this particular contribution to the realm. It would mean that employers would have to give recognition to this particular area of public responsibility.

Individuals are not called upon all that often to serve on juries. Jurors have been notoriously neglected here in Ontario with respect to the stipends they can expect to receive. Many businessmen, particularly, are severely hurt as a result of prolonged sittings, both on civil and criminal cases in the province. Some merchants even are threatened with bankruptcy because of very lengthy trials, and the trials tend to get longer and longer in our courts. Conspiracy trials and the complications of the law continue to grow, and more people are injured in this particular regard.

Taking the whole position into account, my colleague wishes to protect individuals in the course of public duty from being hurt financially. There is a great deal of merit in this. I will be interested to hear what the parliamentary assistant says.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, before the parliamentary assistant responds to that, may I add something very briefly to it. I concur with part of the amendment. As a matter of fact, I was going to raise this question with the parliamentary assistant. Perhaps I can describe a specific situation that was brought to my attention about a week ago.

A lady called me and indicated that her husband, who earned approximately $5 an hour working in one of the industrial plants in our area, was called for jury duty for, I believe, four days. He would then have lost approximately $40 a day for four days. As the parliamentary assistant well knows, he got $10 a day for his services.

We are not talking of large sums of money either way, but I draw to the parliamentary assistant’s attention that a person who is taking home less than $200 a week today has to watch every single dollar. Such people do not have money put aside. They do not have a bank account from which they can draw when this type of emergency comes up.

Quite frankly, what this wife and mother was drawing to my attention was, and she said very plainly: “Mr. Sweeney, my family simply can’t afford to forfeit approximately $110 in one week. We don’t have it. What we had to do in that case was to cut back on all our expenditures.”

What I am trying to draw to the parliamentary assistant’s attention is that in this case -- I suspect this is not an unusual one -- there was a case of genuine financial hardship. I suggest the government of the day has no right to put its citizens in that kind of financial predicament.

When this question came up in committee, the response from the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), or maybe it was the parliamentary assistant, was that citizens are expected to perform their patriotic duty and from time to time have to make these sacrifices. Probably there are some people in our society who could afford to make those sacrifices but, at the same time, there are significant numbers of people who cannot afford it. It is as simple as that.

I have one problem with the amendment, though, and that is the case of the smaller businessman who is faced with an additional cost. If he had several employees in this situation, the financial burden on the small businessman could be proportionately equally great. It seems to me, if this amendment were to be accepted, we would require from the government, through the parliamentary assistant or the Attorney General, some mechanism for reimbursing an employer who could demonstrate that a financial hardship was being imposed upon him or her as a result of having to pay out these employees’ wages while they were off for any extended period of time.

The point I am trying to make is that I agree very much with the spirit and principle of the amendment for the reasons I have given. At the same time, I think it must be tempered with the other side of the coin, that some employers can be equally affected. If the parliamentary assistant could speak about any mechanism he might have in mind to deal with this situation, I would be pleased to hear it.

5:30 p.m.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, this is indeed an interesting suggestion. It is an unfortunate one in that the reason for it is that this government is not paying jurors at a proper rate. This is the difficulty and, when one brings this amendment forward, one is also placing an unfair burden on an employer. The day a person is on jury duty, he is not working for his employer. He is working for all of us, for our society and while I do not think he should be at a loss, neither do I think it is fair to shift the burden automatically on to the employer. This is the problem. If this individual, who should be earning a certain rate, is going to be called for jury duty, it is a privilege. Indeed, it is often the case where someone who is called and is unwilling goes through the system, comes out and says, “Gee, that was an interesting experience. I am glad I was involved in it.” We want to encourage that, but not at a loss to the individual juror. It is, in my view, unfair to require that there be automatic leave with pay so that we shift the burden of the cost, which could be anything from $40 to $100 a day in many circumstances of persons employed in clerical work, skilled tradesmen, or whoever it might be. Unfortunately, by taking out these two words we do not solve the problem in the way I think it should be solved. We shift the burden, and unless there is compensation I do not think we are doing the fair and proper thing.

The answer surely is to raise the jury fees properly so that the commitment to public service might be an acknowledgement of a few dollars less than the average daily pay, but should not be the kind of burden that my colleague from Kitchener Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) mentioned in his example. That could well lose a family two- thirds or three quarters of its weekly income. That is not a fair burden to place on anyone.

I regret this amendment does not place the burden any more fairly, because it shifts it on the employer. There are many employers who, I am sure, make up the difference. That, I think, is first-rate. But there are others who may not be able to afford to, and we should not presume that the costs of the administration of justice have to be handled in that way.

I realize the importance of it, and the point that is being made. I am afraid to say that I do not think this solves the problem.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, it is all right and passing sweet for the member for Kitchener to plead the aspect of the government’s not bearing its element of responsibility. The juror, the employee, has been, remains and, as far as any moves that I see coming from any direction, would still be the goat.

Down through the ages -- and it seems that long since my friend and I have been here -- we have seen every set of estimates under the Attorney General’s ministry proposing to raise jurors’ fees. For 14 years they have not been raised by an accretion. They are no way in line with the market. It is one of the running sores of the Attorney General’s estimates and ministry. If there is somebody to be victimized, all we are doing is trying to lift the burden off those who are most injured in this context.

I despair of the Attorney General. That is my initial proposition. From there you say, “Where will the weight fall in this context?” In most cases the whole of it will fall on the employer who can bear the burden and will accept it. In most union contracts it does so at the present time. So we are not making anything very overweening, and we are at least making a gesture to alleviate it.

Mr. Worton: Mr. Chairman, I would like the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General to look at the proposals that have been put forth by the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) and the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney).

Last week it was brought to my attention that in the contract negotiations for a unionized plant it was indicated they would receive pay while they served on jury duty. One gentleman in particular had waited around, I believe, for five days to be chosen. Out of 60 jurors I believe they were choosing 12, and it took five days to do that. The contract in this instance did not cover this. He just got the regular $10 a day for doing that. The contract did not cover those employees of the Kitchener firm while they were being chosen. I think the Attorney General should look at an adequate remuneration paid through his or another ministry for people who give up their services for jury duty.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Chairman, most of the arguments have already been made. First of all, I would like to indicate that the pay is $10 per day for the first 10 days and $40 per day if it goes beyond that.

I do want to point out to the member for Kitchener-Wilmot that, in speaking on the second reading, I expressed the very same concern that has been brought forward by his particular constituent. That is, the present rate structure really does penalize the fellow who is making $5 an hour. In most cases where the person is earning more than that, he is protected by a contract or some other way in terms of being paid while he is on jury duty.

The Attorney General does not make any excuse for it. It was raised to $40 per day, I think a year and a half ago, after the 10-day period. The Attorney General does not think that is enough. We are going to raise the issue again with the people who control the purse strings of this province, because I am not satisfied.

Mr. B. Newman: Doesn’t anyone listen to the Attorney General?

Mr. Sterling: They listen to him quite often. In this particular case he has not had his way. Following the second reading, he indicated to me he will try again. I will bring forward to him the comments made by the members of this Legislature.

I want to bring to the attention of the member for Kitchener-Wilmot that under section 5 of this particular act, the sheriff can excuse a person for whom serving as a juror may cause serious hardships or loss to him or others. He is put on the next session. That postpones the inevitable, but it may be a small amount of solace that he can postpone it to a time when he can --

Mr. Kerrio: Save some money.

Mr. Sterling: He might be able to save some money but he might also be able to get time off at a particular time during the year when he is not normally employed or whatever.

The jurors’ pay is controlled in the Administration of Justice Act and is the subject of that act. I agree with the member for Kitchener in that I do not think it is a duty of the employer to pay. I think it is a duty of the state. I think the criticism is well founded in terms of the amount a person is receiving per day. I accept that criticism.

Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. Lawlor’s amendment will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Mr. Lawlor: Instead of falling back and simply reclining against that enormous defeat, I just bounce back to the next one. I have an amendment to add a section 1a to the legislation.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Lawlor moves that section 44a of the act, as set out in section 7 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“(1a) Notwithstanding section 39, a person whose employment consists of administering and providing daily services to a household, and who does not receive a wage or salary for this employment, is eligible to be paid a fee, less the juror’s fee, in an amount fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council sufficient to pay the cost of reasonable homemakers’ services during the period of the person’s service as a juror.”

5:40 p.m.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, this is obviously an extension of the principle we were so eminently successful with in the previous amendment. That having gone through, the sheer logic of the situation will drive the parliamentary assistant to accepting this. If you trim your sails properly, you will adjust to the horizon, but some people get lost in the drink.

Homemakers are increasingly coming to be recognized as individuals for whom some compensation is forthcoming. The family law legislation we put through recently was severely criticized here this afternoon. Incidentally, that is the first severe criticism I have heard. I have heard how wise and Solomonic the judges, particularly of the Supreme Court, are in their construction of that new law and how they have broadened out their rather narrow astigmatic vision with respect to the relationship between a husband and wife.

I had heard nothing but praise for both the legislation and the manner in which it is administered until -- glory be to heaven -- I heard the inevitable carping dissenting voice that is always in some wilderness -- the wilderness of the Ontario Legislature mostly -- piping out. It is the beginning of dissidence among us.

This legislation does give recognition to the housewife, just as family law increasingly tends to do. This involves the business of not giving her a monetary value, thinking she has obviously no worth in terms of the only thing, in a capitalist society, by which we judge all persons, things and the works of man: hard cash value. We are not following our own nostrums in not giving recognition to the role of the housewife and to the fact that she, too, is taken out of the home very often for jury duty and locked up for days on end. The family is deprived of her services. A valuation may be placed on them. Sometimes a family is obliged to get substitute housekeeping services during the time in which the mother or the male or female housekeeper is excluded from the home. In this particular situation, my colleague, in his broadmindedness and imaginative grasp, has brought forward this legislation. I hope this House will give accord to it.

Mr. Chairman: Before recognizing another member, I wish to inform the committee that the Speaker has requested that the committee rise and report, as he has an announcement to make to the House.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Gregory, the committee of the whole House reported two bills with amendments.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Speaker: I would like to draw to the attention of all honourable members that I have received a letter as a result of actions taken by the Speaker on the direction of the House. I would like to share that letter with all members. It is addressed to me:

“Re: Warrant issued by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on November 24, 1980.

“The purpose of this letter is to outline to you the position taken by the Ontario Securities Commission with reference to the above-described warrant issued by you.

“The commission was established by the Securities Act, 1978, (the ‘Act’) and its predecessors and, under section 2, ‘is responsible for the administration of (the) Act.’ The commission in these terms is autonomous, subject to certain reporting requirements flowing from formal investigations. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (the ‘Minister’) answers for the commission in the Legislature and the commission is attached to that ministry for the purpose of budget and administrative services. While the commission’s director and his staff are members of the public service, the members of the commission are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Since the minister has no direct statutory authority over it, the commission thought it important today to draw your attention to the fact that it is the commission’s view that, in its terms, the Speaker’s warrant does not extend to the commission.

“This position taken by the commission has been formally communicated to both the Attorney General, (the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, QC) and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (the Honourable Frank Drea) by correspondence dated, respectively, November 28 and November 27.

“If you concur with the commission’s view that your warrant does not extend to it, it would be appreciated if you would issue a formal clarifying statement.

“The commissioners appreciate that, the commission being a creature of the Legislature, you may direct a warrant to the commission. Assuming that this is done and that such a warrant pre-empts the act, the commission has grave concerns and prior to the issuance of such a warrant, would appreciate the opportunity of bringing those concerns to your attention.”

The letter is signed, “Yours truly, Henry J. Knowles, QC,” who is the chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission.

I have carried out my responsibilities as directed by the House. I appreciate there is not a question before the House to discuss at this time, but I felt I should share the contents of this letter with the Legislature at the earliest possible moment.

I would also like to remind the House that the justice committee that brought the recommendation into the House will be meeting tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock. Since there is no question on this before the House, I see no opportunity to debate the issue right now. But I felt it incumbent upon me to share this communication with members of the House. It may well be that the House leaders may want to discuss the matter and perhaps offer some direction to the committee as to how they may proceed.

Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if you might not avail yourself of the advice for which you might see fit to ask as to the propriety of the chairman approaching the Speaker directly rather than through the minister to whom he reports.

At the same time, you might indicate what our statutes say as far as the powers of Mr. Speaker’s warrants are concerned. It was not my understanding that those warrants applied only to those who were servants of the government of the province, but that they extended beyond that. It would be helpful, perhaps not only to the House leaders but also to all members, if some review of this could be done and you could report to the House in this connection.

It concerns me that the chairman of the securities commission would correspond directly with you rather than through his minister.

5:50 p.m.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, could I add to that? I support the comments made by my colleague. I am also concerned that, in view of the fact the committee will meet tomorrow, it seems to me there should be some statement from the Speaker -- if I may deign to give him advice -- as to exactly what my colleague has said, as to whether you have discussed this matter with the Clerk, the First Clerk Assistant and those who advise you on these matters and what your feeling is in this regard.

The House is not going to sit again until Thursday. It seems to me the committee needs some direction from yourself before that time as to your feeling in this regard. I would suggest, if I may, that some statement should be forthcoming this evening between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, as I take it from that letter, I personally do not see any impropriety in the chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission communicating directly with the Speaker.

I think the point made in the letter is that the warrant this House issued was to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) that he produce certain documents. The intent of that letter to you was that he does not have the authority to produce the documents of the securities commission and, if this House wishes to have the documents of the securities commission produced by Speaker’s warrant we should ask you, Mr. Speaker, to issue a warrant to the securities commission. I think that is it, purely and simply. That is all he is saying in that communication.

Mr. Nixon: You mean the warrant was not directed to the chairman of the securities commission and yet he responded.

Hon. Mr. Wells: No. The warrant was directed to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, asking that he produce certain documents. I think the intention on the part of the chairman of the securities commission is to point out it is his understanding that under the legislation, he is not bound to report to the minister in the sense we might imagine and, if this House wishes documents in his possession, the warrants of the Speaker should be directed to the securities commission. I see nothing wrong in his pointing that out to Mr. Speaker. I think it is now incumbent upon the House to indicate to Mr. Speaker if it wishes the Ontario Securities Commission to produce documents for the justice committee.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on the same matter I must say I am somewhat nonplussed, as are some of my colleagues, about the warrant of the Speaker issued to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations being replied to by someone else. This is no time to get into an argument about to whom the Ontario Securities Commission is responsible. If the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is unable to respond to the warrant because of some advice he receives or a view taken by one of the boards, agencies and commissions for which he is responsible under the act, surely the proper communication to the Speaker of the assembly is by the minister.

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to impose on you in this matter, but I would certainly hope the government House leader (Mr. Wells), who has come to the defence of the chairman of the securities commission, would convey to his colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations that he is the person answerable under the warrant. If there are problems in connection with it, the minister should respond to the Speaker, and not a member of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Mr. Speaker: I have carried out the wishes of the House. The first and only communication I have had in response to the issuance of that warrant has been the communication I just shared with the House. I want to remind all honourable members that it is not incumbent upon the chair, nor is the chair considered competent, to rule on the constitutionality of any particular action or the legality of any particular action. I am the servant of the House and I await the instruction of the House as to how the chair should proceed further.

If there are any contributions other members might have for the guidance of the House between now and six o’clock, I am prepared to listen. I will be conferring with the Clerk and if there is anything we might do to assist the House in any way or if you have a specific request you would like to put to the chair and its advisers, I would be happy to take it under advisement. I simply did what I thought was incumbent upon me, which is to share the only response I have as a result of the issuance of warrant.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I have a suggestion that might assist in resolving this matter. Could the government House leader be asked whether he would be able to ensure that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations would appear before the justice committee tomorrow morning at its regularly scheduled time of 10 o’clock, in order that the committee be able to consider the views of that minister, and perhaps the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) as well through his crown law officers, to see whether a separate warrant is appropriate or whether, in the view of the committee -- and then of the House, based on a report that would come back to the House perhaps on Thursday -- the warrant is sufficiently precise that it should be responded to in accordance with the wishes of the committee and the House? Possibly if that were done, the difficulty that has arisen might be resolved.

Mr. Speaker: In the minute and a half remaining, I think I should hear the member for Etobicoke, who is the chairman of that committee.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I think it is the role of the committee and its members to decide and request who should appear before it. We are capable of making that decision tomorrow when we meet, and I do not think there is any onus on the Speaker to make those decisions for the committee.

It may well be that we will request the presence of the minister or some other persons who may assist us in our deliberations, but we will make that decision and we will make it tomorrow.

The House recessed at 5:58 p.m.