32e législature, 1re session
































The House met at 10:03 a.m.


House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 90, An act to establish the Ontario Waste Management Corporation.

Mr. Chairman: Bill 90 -- at this early hour!

Mr. Nixon: Not for farmers.

Mr. Chairman: No, that is right, Mr. Nixon -- not for you farmers.

Mr. Kerrio: The sun has been up five or six hours.

Mr. Chairman: All right. I am sorry I opened up with any kind of remark. I am just a humble little lawyer in the village of Newcastle trying to find my way.

Are there any comments or amendments to any section up to but not including section 15?

Mr. McGuigan: After section 15?

Mr. Chairman: No. Up to but not including section 15.

Sections 1 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 15:

Mr. Chairman: Are there any amendments?

Mr. G. I. Miller: Yes, Mr. Chairman, we would like to --

Mr. Chairman: I am sorry, Mr. Miller. The minister has given me notice for his amendment. We should carry on with the minister's amendment first.

Ms. Bryden: I have an amendment too.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Norton, you have an amendment, do you not?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, my amendment is to subsection 2 of section 15. I believe that --

Mr. Swart: A point of order, Mr. Chairman: The amendment that the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) wishes to put refers to subsection 1. I believe the amendment being put by the minister refers to subsection 2; so I suggest to you that the member for Beaches-Woodbine should be recognized.

Mr. Chairman: You are right. In that event, Mr. Miller, your amendment is in regard to subsection 1 too; is that correct?

Mr. G. I. Miller: That is correct, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart, since I had originally recognized Mr. Miller, and since his amendment is in regard to subsection 1 also, we might consider Mr. Miller's amendment first. Ms. Bryden, is that all right?

Ms. Bryden: I think I was on my feet first.

Mr. Chairman: I vaguely forget exactly who jumped up first. I am sorry, Ms. Bryden. In my mind I did recognize Mr. Miller. I think we will go on that basis.

Mr. G. I. Miller moves that section 15(1) be amended to read: "The Environmental Assessment Act, 1975, section 33a of the Environmental Protection Act, 1971, and section 43 of the Ontario Water Resources Act do apply in respect of the following."

Mr. Swart: Are there copies of this, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Nixon: It calls for the deletion of the word "not" in the third line.

Mr. Chairman: I do not believe the table has a copy. There is some difficulty here at the table. We have a copy of your original amendment. Is this a new amendment?

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Chairman, it simply deletes the word "not" in the third line of section 15(1) of the opening statement. I think that what we have presented to you is a copy of the complete section without the word "not." Does that clarify it?

Mr. Chairman: All right. So we ditch that and keep the new one you gave me.

10:10 a.m.

Is there any further discussion?

Mr. Nixon: No, Mr. Chairman. I am in favour of this.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, while this amendment may appear to accomplish the same purpose as my amendment to this section, which I presume will come next, it seems to me my amendment is a more clear-cut way of removing the offensive section which takes the operations of the waste management crown corporation out from under the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act.

If we simply delete that section, as my amendment proposes, then there is no blanket exemption such as is provided in the present Bill 90. By just taking out the word "not," the rest of the section is still left in there. It does not seem to make very much sense to leave the rest of the section in there because, if the exemption is not there, those acts that are mentioned definitely would apply. That is what we feel very strongly should apply in this case.

There was no real justification for removing the operations of this crown corporation from the proper assessment acts and the Environmental Protection Act. The time saving, which was given as the reason, appears to have been exaggerated. In fact, it may take a longer time to carry on the present hearing process with the hearing officers, and there will be a great many disadvantages to that process from lack of precedents, lack of experience in assessment cases. On the whole, the public will be less well served by the alternative hearing process that has been set up for this particular corporation.

We simply want to ensure that a proper environmental assessment is held before this project goes ahead and that all future activities of the corporation shall be brought under the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act. Therefore, I will oppose the amendment in favour of my amendment deleting the whole section.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I am at a bit of a loss with regard to this, if I understand the amendment correctly. Is the amendment simply to take out the word "not," and does it not do anything to subsection 2?

Mr. Chairman: That is my understanding, Mr. Swart. That is right.

Mr. Swart: Then this gives me a real problem, Mr. Chairman, because subsection 2 states: "On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, subsection 1 ceases to apply except in respect of such activities, enterprises or facilities as may be specified in the proclamation."

Unless I am interpreting the amendment wrongly, it appears that the effect of this would be to immediately take out the exemption from the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act, but leave then within subsection 2 a proclamation whereby the Lieutenant Governor in Council could put that exemption back in again.

It seems to me that if the member for Haldimand-Norfolk, who moved this, wanted the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act to apply, then subsection 2 would also have to be removed. Perhaps he can speak to that.

If I am wrong, then of course I am willing to be corrected in this. But it appears to me that his amendment does not do what he wants to do and certainly not what we in this party want to do. If our interpretation is correct, then we have to vote against this amendment, and we will be putting one of our own which would delete the whole section and therefore have all projects of the corporation subject to these three acts and the hearings these acts provide.

I point out that this is the key to all environmental protection. Here we have projects that undoubtedly may pose the greatest environmental danger of any projects that will be proceeding in the province. Here we have the situation where the majority of the waste chemicals are going to be dealt with at this one disposal site, and we are going to exempt it from the protection that is given by these three acts and the hearings under these acts

We have to comment on the enormity of what the government is attempting to do here. As my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine has said, the government indicates there is some urgency in getting on with this. If there is some urgency in dealing with this -- I am not sure whether there is, but there probably is -- I want to point out that it is the government's own fault.

The government got a report a year ago last summer which indicated sites in this province where this kind of a facility should be located. Instead, the government went to two sites that did not conform, two sites that were not even named in the recommendation from MacLaren, one in Thorold and one in Harwich. Then the government had to back off those.

If there is any urgency now, it is the government's fault, and it is going to compound all of its errors by exempting this project from the effects of the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act.

If the amendment did make this site and this operation subject to those acts for all time until the laws were changed, I would support that amendment, even though I think deletion of the whole section would be better.

Mr. Conway: Be reasonable then.

Mr. Swart: No; if the member for Renfrew North will read that, he will agree that it does not accomplish what he wants it to accomplish.

I wonder if the member for Haldimand-Norfolk, who moved this amendment, can explain that, if he understands what I am suggesting.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Chairman, the real reason we have brought forward this amendment is simply the fact that the region of Haldimand-Norfolk, the town of Dunnville, the town of Haldimand and the Haldimand-Norfolk Organization for a Pure Environment have been requesting that we follow the Environmental Assessment Act that was passed in the Legislature to protect the people of Ontario. The simple reason we deleted the word "not" is that we should be following that legislation.

The government is in the driver's seat, and what we are trying to point out to the minister is that it is his responsibility to make sure the people of Ontario are protected. That is the reason we have asked for the deletion of "not."

We feel that, if the Environmental Assessment Act were to be utilized, then the site would not fit the criteria, because it has been clearly pointed out by the MacLaren report that class one, two, three and four agricultural land should not be used.

If the minister is really concerned about the future of that part of Ontario, he will support the wishes of the people. They went to the polls on March 19, 1981, and clearly indicated they were asking for no more rights than anybody else in Ontario. They just want to use the legislation that is there.

It has been pointed out many times by the former Minister of the Environment, from the very beginning in 1975 when the legislation was brought in, that this was one of the finest pieces of legislation that existed in the world. I really believe that, but it has not been given a chance to work.

What we are saying on this side of the House, and what I, as the representative from the area, am also saying is just to give us the legislation that is there to protect the people.

Mr. Swart: But you are not saying that if you leave in subsection 2. That nullifies your amendment.

10:20 a.m.

Mr. G. I. Miller: I would like to have the minister respond to it. He has come in with an amendment. We discussed it in committee as recently as last Thursday; I hope he will respond as to how he views it, and we will leave it in his hands.

But again I want to point out that if we establish this along the valley of the Grand River it is going to be there forever, and if we bring all of Ontario's waste into one location it is going to be there forever. It is going to affect future generations no matter what happens. It is a historic moment that is taking place this morning.

We supported the principle of the crown corporation; that is fine, but now blot it out so we can look at other sites in Ontario. In my opinion we should be dealing with it not in one location but in regions, so that it is not a keg of dynamite that is going to be there for future generations but so that we spread the risk. I think it is important to assess it in that manner.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I just want to make sure that the House does understand the effect of this amendment. If subsection 2 is left in, it will mean that on a proclamation the government is back in the driver's seat, because subsection 1 will cease to apply. Therefore, the government can then exempt all projects from the Environmental Assessment Act except only those that it chooses to specify by proclamation. Once again, the government would be able to exempt all the facilities at South Cayuga after that proclamation is passed.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Minister, are you going to comment? Before you do, I am sure we will have a little bit of order between the minister and Ms. Bryden.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Ms. Bryden and I are not disorderly.

Mr. Chairman: A little bit of decorum over there, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I thought you were accusing the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) and myself of being disorderly. You wanted a little order between us.

Mr. Chairman, I first want to address my interpretation of the concern that has been expressed by the members of the New Democratic Party in this morning's discussion. I think they are in error in their interpretation of the effect of subsection 2, even if Mr. Miller's amendment were to be accepted. I do not think the proclamation that would render subsection 1 inapplicable would have the effect of putting the word "not" back in; it would eliminate the effect of that section altogether. My suggestion is that if that were the case the acts that are stipulated would then apply as a matter of course in any event, because there would be no prohibition to them.

Mr. Chairman: I hate to be such a grump in the morning, but actually I find it very distracting when we are having a little caucus here. Could the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) not hide underneath the gallery over there?

Hon. Mr. Norton: If the members look at it again, I hope at least they will come to that same conclusion. I am sure it comes as no surprise to anyone, in view of the fact that we have had a number of discussions on this very point, that I am not willing to accept either the particular amendment or even the interpretation of some of the members as to the need for it.

I can appreciate the anxieties that some people feel with respect to a new process that has been made available and put in place to meet a specific, pressing need in this province. I do believe, however, that the hearing process that has been established, which has just recently begun to evolve in terms of the preliminary meetings the hearing panel have held, not only will provide equivalent protection for individuals, the equivalent opportunity for individuals to participate in the decision-making process with respect to the specific site currently listed in the schedule, but also may have the effect of providing them with an even fuller opportunity to participate.

It is true that the process now in place and again reflected in this legislation would have the effect of eliminating a concurrent examination of multiple sites. It also would eliminate the necessity to hold a hearing to establish need, but I do not think that is a problem, because I think all members will accept the fact that there is a need to deal with the problem of safe destruction and disposal of liquid industrial waste.

However, I cannot accept the interpretation that the present procedure in any way jeopardizes the rights of individuals, with the exception, of course, of the opportunity to look at multiple sites, and I think we have dealt with that on numerous previous occasions.

It has been the clear intent from the time my predecessor first made the commitment that we would do everything we could to protect the rights of individuals, but because of the necessity to move forward at this time alternative process would be put in place. I am not prepared to accept the amendment as it stands.

I also want to respond to the member for Haldimand-Norfolk in regard to the desires he expressed for the opportunity to have the facilities located on a regional basis.

Mr. Kerrio: Kingston.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, one of the proposals, as the member knows, is a depot in Kingston and, if this process were in place, I would think the interests of my constituents were well-protected by a hearing process such as the one proposed here. They might have other views, and I might have some difficulty. I am not suggesting that the life of the member for Haldimand-Norfolk is easy these days, and I think he is doing a conscientious job in attempting to reflect the concerns of his constituents.

The proposal to proceed on a regional basis probably would be unworkable because, for an effective destruction process for some of the materials we are referring to here, volume is very important. Once they have fallen below a certain volume of material available for the process, it is no longer viable to operate an efficient destruction process and, therefore, in certain other parts of this country they are having to look at a location that will bring together the waste from several provinces to have the volume that will result in an effective and efficient destruction process.

If the technology changes and an alternative approach becomes available, that is something we may well contemplate in the future. I do not think it is available to us at the present time; so I have to oppose the amendment.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. G. I. Miller's motion will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Chairman: Are we going to stack the votes? Maybe we could work that out a little later between the House leaders.

Are there further amendments to subsection 1 of section 15?

Ms. Bryden: Notwithstanding the previous amendment having been defeated, Mr. Chairman, I would still like to move my amendment to section 15.

Mr. Kerrio: It has not been defeated.

Ms. Bryden: Pardon me. You are correct and, when that stacked vote comes, it will be upheld, we hope.

10:30 a.m.

Mr. Chairman: Ms. Bryden moves that subsection 1 and subsection 2 of section 15 of the bill be deleted and that subsequent sections be appropriately renumbered.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, the reason I think this amendment is the one that should pass is that it makes a clear-cut removal of the exemption of the whole activities of the waste management crown corporation from the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act.

We have worked for many years to provide adequate assessment of projects of this sort before they go ahead, and we have worked to provide for hearings so there can be citizen input. When one is dealing with very dangerous substances, which may, if accidents occur, get into our water table or into our lakes and rivers, it is extremely important that there should be very careful assessment. That is why we feel this blanket exemption should be removed.

We particularly dislike subsection 2 as well, which allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council on proclamation to remove subsection 1 but still to have complete power to apply the acts to whatever activities, enterprises or facilities the government chooses. It gives them another power of exemption.

There is power of exemption under the Environmental Assessment Act and the Environmental Protection Act, but it is hedged around in that they usually have to give reasons why they are exempting a project, and it then has to be passed by order in council and gazetted.

But in this case the government can, simply by proclamation, say that A, B and C facilities are not subject to those acts. This means they have control over all future activities of the waste management crown corporation and can bring them out from under the acts in the same way as this bill brings out the present proposal from these acts.

This legislation is destroying our whole environmental assessment system and is not giving the citizens adequate opportunity to see that any project is thoroughly examined as to its safety, its effects and the methods that are going to be used to dispose of the dangerous substances.

At some time or other, alternative facilities should be looked at if the facilities that are being proposed do not appear to be suitable for disposing of this very dangerous waste.

I urge members to support my amendment rather than the previous one.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I am not going to speak to the substance of this, because I did that on the previous amendment. But I do want to speak procedurally.

We have, I guess, three options before us, perhaps four. There was the amendment put by the party on the right; there is an amendment put by my colleague which would totally delete the section; there is the amendment by the minister; and, of course, there is the original bill, which we have before us.

We voted against the amendment by the party on the right, because we did not think it would accomplish what we wanted to accomplish.

In spite of what the minister says, I am convinced that if subsection 2 were left in it would override the Environmental Assessment Act and that when the Lieutenant Governor decided that subsection 1 would not apply, because this bill would be passed after those other acts, it would then not apply, and we would have total exemption at the will of the Lieutenant Governor in Council from all of those acts. That is the reason we could not support it.

However, I just want to say to our colleagues on the right that if we abolish this whole section, which is our proposal, these acts will apply indefinitely to all the projects in that area. I hope they will see fit to support this amendment put forward by my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Chairman, there is one thing I want to ask the minister. We have dealt with Bill 89, which we expect to be passed in the first session and which deals with the various boards on one basis. Will the minister not consider it possible to achieve that with this new bill by tying it in with Bill 90 so that the Environmental Assessment Act could be utilized and the fact that is going to be delaying or holding things up really is not a matter of fact any longer and they could be held in conjunction with one another?

Does he not believe that, to get the confidence of the people, it would be in the government's best interests at least to seem to be providing justice by leaving the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act, so they could all be fitted in and used under the crown corporation?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I do not think Bill 89, the consolidated hearings legislation, would be suitable to meet the purposes for which this bill is being presented, because Bill 89, even though there is a consolidated hearing, would still require that all the criteria in each of the bills would be met.

For example, it would be necessary for the procedures under the Environmental Assessment Act to apply, and that would mean looking at multiple sites which, as the honourable member is aware, is one of the concerns we have in terms of the time frame within which we have to work.

It might well be appropriate for any future projects that are considered by the corporation that it would apply, and we would therefore proceed by way of the consolidated hearings legislation rather than by the specific type of procedure that has been established under this bill for the specific site in South Cayuga. But I do not think that is a viable alternative at this time for the township of South Cayuga.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Ms. Bryden's amendment will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that section 15 of the bill be amended by deleting subsection 2 and substituting therefor the following:

"(2) The corporation shall not establish a facility referred to in paragraph 1 of subsection 1 for the reception, storage, treatment or disposal of waste on any part of the property described in the schedule unless a report is made under section 16 and the board concurs that the part of the property is a safe place for the facility and that the proposal for the facility is technologically sound.

"(3) On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, subsections 1 and 2 cease to apply except in respect of such activities, enterprises or facilities as may be specified in the proclamation."

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, following the hearings last week at which some local officials from Haldimand-Norfolk were present and were heard by the standing committee on administration of justice, at the request of the local member and at the request of the regional chairman, I sat down with the chairman to talk about some of the specific concerns they still had. Obviously we were not able to resolve all of them, but I think this amendment will resolve one of the major concerns.

There was concern that in the process as set out in this legislation there was no express reference to the necessity to establish the safety of the site. Obviously that was the intention and, in fact, I think the order in council makes reference to that. But their concern was that, even though we are committed to issue a new order in council that would be identical to the present one, with the exception of those changes necessary to identify the new corporation, their concern and some of the local concerns would be reduced somewhat if it were clear the corporation must have a positive report establishing the safety of the site from the tribunal before they could proceed.

10:40 a.m.

This really means there is a double opportunity to veto the site. First, before the site can be proceeded with by the board, they must have a positive report from the tribunal. Even if they get a positive report, the board of the corporation still has the opportunity to turn down the site. They are not bound to proceed on that site simply because the tribunal says it is a safe site and the technology is sound. If there is a negative report, if the tribunal says no, it is not satisfied that is a safe place for this facility, then they may not proceed.

With that sort of double assurance, and with it being enshrined in the legislation as well as repeated in the order in council setting up the tribunal, I think that goes some distance, although obviously not all the way, towards reducing the concern of some of the local citizens.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, the thing that bothers me about this amendment is that it would appear the crown corporation is actually the judge and jury in the case. It is a proponent and then there will be interveners and then there will be a report which might be in favour or might be against. If it is in favour, the board still has the power of veto over it -- but the board a proponent.

It seems to me the findings of an independent body are what should be considered rather than the findings of the board, and the board should not have that power of veto. Otherwise, the hearings are more of a charade than an actual assessment of the environmental problems concerned with the project.

I will not support this amendment. I would have liked to have seen a proper environmental assessment hearing where the report of the board goes to the minister and then there is a possible appeal to the cabinet. This leaves the board entirely in the saddle as far as accepting or rejecting the report is concerned.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, may I respond to that? I think Ms. Bryden is perhaps misinterpreting the intent of this section as it is worded.

It is true the board under one circumstance would have a veto -- an opportunity to reject the report or not follow the report's recommendations. That is if it was a positive report; if the tribunal says it is satisfied the site is safe, there may be some lingering concern on the part of the members of the board of the corporation. This simply says they too must concur. They may also under those circumstances say: "No. We still have some concerns. We are not prepared to proceed on that site."

I do not think the honourable member would want to bind them to go ahead simply because the tribunal said it was a safe site. However, if the tribunal says it is not a safe site, the board then has no alternative. It cannot proceed if the tribunal has found it is an unsafe site or not a safe site.

If the member thinks about that for a moment, that is probably a good second-level protection to have in there. If we are talking, for example, about South Cayuga, the board of that corporation is composed of a variety of individuals from various walks of life and includes a couple of persons from the local community.

The board may have a technologically sound assessment that comes forward from the tribunal, saying, "We are satisfied it is a safe site." They may still choose not to proceed on that site. That is the only veto they would have, and it is not really a veto. It is surely an opportunity to exercise their judgement at a second level. They could not do that if they were told the site was not safe.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Chairman, this party has not had a real chance to caucus on this, but I believe we would support it on the basis that this is probably the best of a bad deal.

As we look at section 15(2), it says, "an activity, enterprise or facility of the corporation approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under section 14." Then one looks at section 14: "Except with the prior approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the corporation shall not establish, alter or enlarge an activity ... "

It seems to me that, with these two operating principles, they can go ahead and do almost anything. By adding the safeguards the minister has added in his amendment, it seems to me it improves that part of the act.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Norton's amendment will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Section stacked.

Mr. Chairman: To refresh the memories of members who have just wandered in, especially those in the back row on the government side, and for the benefit of those who have joined us in the gallery, we are working on Bill 90, An Act to establish the Ontario Waste Management Corporation.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, aren't you going to make reference to the members on the other side?

Mr. Chairman: You are behaving on the other side; so I am not making reference to you.

On section 16:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. McGuigan moves that the following section be added to the bill, that the section be numbered 16 and that the subsequent sections be renumbered:

"(1) In this section, 'fund' means the environmental hearing assistance fund.

"(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may establish a fund to be known as the environmental hearing assistance fund.

"(3) Where a fund has been established under subsection 2, the moneys required for the purpose of the fund should be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund in the fiscal year during which it is established and thereafter shall be paid out of the moneys appropriated therefor by the Legislature.

"(4) Whenever a review is authorized under section 16 of this act, any party or intervener may at any time make an application for financial assistance to those responsible for that review.

"(5) A person may apply under subsection 4 where that person (a) represents an interest representative of significant bodies of opinion if it is not represented at the proceedings and (b) does not have sufficient financial resources to enable him adequately to represent that interest.

"(6) Where a fund is available and those reviewing an activity under section 16 are satisfied financial assistance is appropriate, they may order that a sum be paid to the applicant therefor from the fund in such manner at such times and in such an amount as they consider appropriate.

"(7) No person is precluded from applying under subsection 4 by reason only that he has previously received financial assistance under subsection 5.

"(8) Where it appears that several parties or interveners having identical or substantially similar interests have applied for financial assistance, those reviewing an activity under section 16 may consolidate the application and make such orders concerning payment as is considered appropriate.

"(9) In considering the sum to be awarded to any applicant, those reviewing an activity under section 16 shall have regard to all the attendant costs associated with participating in the proceedings, including: (a) legal fees; (b) disbursements; (c) conduct money; (d) witness fees; (e) fees for relevant reports and studies; (f) any other cost that is relevant and appropriate to participation in the proceedings."

10:50 a.m.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Chairman, the amendment is pretty well self-explanatory. It has been debated on a number of occasions concerning environmental matters, because it goes a long way to answer those needs that are felt by people who feel abused by an undertaking and who see a powerful government with all sorts of facilities and moneys and resources at hand to make its case. It is often made out that these people do this selfishly but I do not agree it is selfishly.

I think it is a principle of law in our democratic society that any person who feels he is aggrieved should have the opportunity to defend himself and on a somewhat equal basis, although we can never make it totally equal because of the huge amounts and huge resources of the government. This at least would go part way to balancing up that equation and to making it appear that people have a fair chance in what otherwise appears to be a David and Goliath situation.

I experienced this over the last couple of years in the Harwich township proposal to establish this very facility we are talking about, at least on a temporary basis in Harwich township. The fact there was not funding really angered those people and I believe caused them to go out and put together an organization and put together a sort of political body that gathered strength as it went along. More people donated through bake sales, auction sales, direct donations and so on the more they became part of that anti-organization.

I feel that in a large way it was responsible for the switch that the government made in changing to the Cayuga site from the Harwich site, and that governments hurt their own cause by refusing to allow funding.

I do not think there is a great deal more I can say about it. It is rather self-evident, and I just hope that all members will give it serious consideration.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of comments on this proposed section 16.

I want to support the amendment and maybe make a couple of points in regard to the input that has been provided in my area. Going back to 1975 and 1976, when they were going to establish the deep-well disposal system, the public had a tremendous amount of input, and again at Nanticoke with the proposal of 1979 and again in 1980. The Haldimand-Norfolk Organization for a Pure Environment was established because of the fact the proposed facility was going to be located in South Cayuga.

I think the minister has had an opportunity to meet with those people. They have a tremendous amount of information. They want to be part of the process. They want to have input and they have given a lot of free time. I think the minister would be wise to harness and utilize that information and again get the confidence of the people, because they are extremely good citizens, they want to be helpful and I think they deserve some consideration.

I know he has indicated that is in place through the process that has been established to deal with this particular site, but if it were put in legislation I think it would be more meaningful and people would realize they would have some financial support to bring out the best evidence possible so that the citizens generally can be protected.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. McGuigan, the amendment that is on the floor indicates in subsection 3 that "moneys for the purpose of the fund should be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund." In my view, this is a commitment of expenditures that is being made by you outside the jurisdiction allowed in the committee. Therefore, subsections 1 and 2 will stand, but subsections 3 and onward are not allowed to be made.

Mr. McGuigan: Can I speak to that, Mr. Chairman?

The Deputy Chairman: Yes, you may. I would like to clear this up immediately.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Chairman, we considered that matter, and I believe that by saying in subsection 2 "the Lieutenant Governor in Council may establish a fund" puts it back in the government's hands, which I believe is the intent of the ruling you just gave. The fact that the government may establish this fund makes it their prerogative.

I understand that the Speaker made a ruling a few days ago in regard to the private member's bill of the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), the bill regarding the Ontario health insurance plan, supporting what I have just said.

The Deputy Chairman: Are you prepared to make the "shall" discretionary as well?

Mr. McGuigan: If that satisfies it, yes, Mr. Chairman. I still believe that the previous "may" takes care of the situation.

The Deputy Chairman: I want to be absolutely clear myself, and I am not until I see a revision in the wording.

Mr. McGuigan: We will accept that.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, there is a slight technical problem with this amendment that I wish to draw attention to first; that is, it is to be a new section 16 but it refers to hearings under the old section 16. It seems to me it would have been more appropriate to make it a new section 17, since it can then refer to hearings established under existing section 16.

I do not know whether you want to rule on that technicality or whether that can be --

The Deputy Chairman: In the next few moments, thank you. Ms. Bryden, have you finished your point?

Ms. Bryden: I did not finish my remarks on the proposal, just on that technicality.

With regard to this amendment, certainly this party has been supporting the principle of public funding for interveners in environmental hearings for a great number of years. I moved a motion in 1977, I think it was, to provide for public funding through a fund. I left it to the government to decide how the fund could be established, partly because of the complication that private members cannot initiate expenditures.

But, of course, a fund could come from a variety of sources. The actual proponents could be asked to put up a percentage of the costs that they themselves would be putting forward, or there could be a levy on the generators of toxic substances, which could go into a fund for such hearings. So it is not impossible that a fund could be set up with or without tapping the consolidated revenue fund.

My environmental Magna Carta bill, which I introduced a year ago and which was debated, included specific provision of this sort for a fund. I have moved similar motions in several committees, several meetings of the standing committee on resources development, and I do not recall that the Liberals supported me on that particular proposal. This seems to be a rather late conversion. Now that they have found some groups are having great difficulty presenting their cases to the environmental hearings in Harwich, Ajax and --

Mr. Kerrio: Why don't you speak to the amendment?

The Deputy Chairman: Order. I believe Ms. Bryden is speaking to the amendment.

Ms. Bryden: It seems to me that this amendment is a recognition that these groups do need help. I am glad to see it coming in, but it must be the left wing of the Liberal Party that is bringing it in, and I am not sure whether that is a majority.

Mr. Kerrio: Next election there will be 10 of you over there.

11 a.m.

Ms. Bryden: I think the principles are good in that the funding would be done by the review agency, which perhaps would have a subcommittee to decide how much out of a total pot should be allocated to individuals and to groups, and would ask groups to come together if they had common interests to save funds and to use their funds more efficiently. These are all principles we would support.

I think the funds definitely should include legal fees, because hearings that go on for a long time do require somebody who is knowledgeable and who could cross-examine there, on behalf of the interveners, and not many volunteer groups can provide the monitoring that is necessary for long hearings.

There should also be included funds for doing research studies and for hiring technical experts. The government, so far, has stonewalled on this question. The only place where it is giving funds to interveners is where the waste disposal crown corporation has been allowed to give funds out of some money that will be granted to it by the government. I think Dr. Chant is probably the moving factor in this, because he believes very strongly in this principle.

When I asked the minister in committee if this principle would be extended to other environmental hearings in the province, he said flatly, "No." So we are still a long way from having a policy in this respect; and even if it goes into this particular bill, I am afraid it will not be a general policy. I am not sure whether it is a part of the new Ontario Environmental Rights Act introduced by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) yesterday, but it certainly was not in his original act of two years ago.

If this principle is not in that act, I hope he will amend the act to put it in. It is a principle whose time has come. It has been recognized in the Mackenzie Valley hearings, in the Porter commission hearings and in the Hartt commission hearings, but those are about the only cases we know of. It is a principle that should be extended to all environmental hearings.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I will support the amendment wholeheartedly and enthusiastically but, as sort of the dying glow of the right wing of the party, I just want to make another comment based on some observations I have had in my own constituency.

When it was the wisdom of the minister's predecessor that the final solution to these industrial liquid waste problems was to put them into big tanks in my constituency, I was extremely impressed by the phenomenon of citizen participation in opposition to it.

While I am sure if the government policy had been more or less to have some group registered and then have access to money that would have provided it with legal and environmental technological advice, I am not at all sure that the strength of their opposition would have been improved.

I was deeply impressed, however, at the ability of the citizens to raise funds in support of their opposition, which turned out to be successful. I cannot say for sure that it was the citizens who persuaded the then Minister of the Environment to turn his attention to South Cayuga and away from Middleport.

I just want members to know that, while it would be extremely convenient to have government funds readily available for a registered group in opposition to, or even in support of, some government initiative, we should not lose sight of the fact of the tremendous efficacy of aroused citizenry when they want to bring to the minister's and public's attention that there is something wrong with the policy.

That group in Onondaga township was successful not only in getting the minister to change his policy but also in raising the funds necessary to do that. There was always the feeling that the group -- and I was part of it in a way; I was very glad to provide what assistance I could and attended many of the meetings -- wished it could afford competent legal representation. In many respects, I thank the good Lord that they did not have "competent legal representation," because I feel it would have diluted and maybe even vitiated the strong personal thrust of the citizens who felt they were protecting, and I believe they were right, their own community and their own family.

Another instance in my own experience had to do with the hearings of the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs. When we were deeply involved in assessing the safety of atomic reactors and the future of atomic energy in the province, there were many groups and individual citizens who came forward with recommendations based on their own expertise. When citizen groups band themselves together and give themselves an attractive acronymic title and then have access to large amounts of public funds to buy technological advice and representation and spokesmen, I think there is some danger that you are going to set up a new industry which would probably be one that would attract me, for example. One could establish himself as a spokesman for these groups and use research that was usable in one dump to defend another community from another dump or whatever the minister has in mind that week, month, year.

Probably the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) is correct, the time for this idea has come, but I would look back with some yearning for the days when the initiative and the ability came from citizens who were truly aroused in defence of their families and their communities and not simply going through the motion whereby they buy advice at no expense to themselves, and buy a spokesman at no expense to themselves. If that were to happen, I think we would be in danger of losing some of the strength of community reaction that we have experienced so effectively in this province in the past.

You can see that I am heartily in support of the amendment.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I want to concur with the comments made by my colleague from Beaches-Woodbine, and for that matter with those others who have spoken in support of this amendment that we have before us to provide funding for citizens' groups to participate in any hearings taking place under this act.

There can be no question that if there is going to be fairness in the decisions then there has to be some equality in presentation. Irrespective of what the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk said, in today's society and in highly technical hearings, as most of them are at this time, you must have some expert advice and in fact -- forgive me for saying this, Mr. Nixon -- you must even have lawyers representing you if the job is going to be done properly at those hearings.

I agree entirely with his comments that an aroused citizenry taking leadership is a great thing but they do have to have this technical assistance. I hope, Mr. Minister, you will rise in your seat and say: "Yes. We are willing to accept this." I hope you will say that in spite of the fact that the party on my right over the months and the years have opposed this principle, spoken against it and voted against it. Their leader brought in the Environmental Rights Act which didn't have any provision for this. This is probably part of the new image they want to present to the public to have this rapport with the citizen groups. Even though they may change that at their next leadership convention, right now it happens to be the line they want used.

11:10 a.m.

However the principle is very sound. Although we in this corner of the House would prefer a comprehensive bill that provides for all kinds of public hearings across the province on a great variety of matters, this perhaps is a good place to start. Because it only deals with one type of disposal in one area it could be sort of a pilot project. The minister should go for this now even though he might not be willing to accept a comprehensive principle at this time. I am looking forward to you rising and accepting the amendment.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Chairman, I do not think our amendment here in any way is at variance with the feelings of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. As I have said on two or three occasions -- and I am going back to the experience in Harwich -- I believe the local people should be required to put up some money on some sort of a matching basis. If the undertaking is not worth defending from personal funds it is probably not an undertaking of great consequence. I fully support the efforts of local people in raising money to defend what they see as an invasion of their rights.

I am no expert in international law but we often wonder why we have these planes flying up in the Arctic. Surely it is not to look at the polar bears or the walruses. It is to establish a presence up there, to say to the Russians: "We are flying over this area of sea and ice and a little bit of land on a regular basis and therefore it is ours. We are protecting it."

I think it comes right down to the individual; he must be willing to protect his own land. In the matter of livestock getting on to another person's property, that person must have a fence around his property to protect himself. It is not altogether up to the livestock owner to fence in his animals. It is up to the property owner also to fence his land against the animal.

I do not feel anything here has changed that. You may establish the fund and you can establish it on your own terms and conditions.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, I suppose I would be upset too if I were blubbering about this bill and the other party moved it and took a responsible position on a very important matter. I imagine that is what has upset these Socialists today.

Mr. Swart: You're always upset, Vince.

Mr. Boudria: That's what happens when you have only three members in the House.

Mr. Kerrio: I guess that says something about the bill as well.

I hope the minister will look with favour on this amendment as it shows the very responsible position this party takes about inequity at a hearing. This is something that is not new to the government. Those members have gone to great lengths to be sure people are represented in a courtroom with legal aid so that they do get a good hearing. Regardless of to what degree they may be guilty of some crime against their fellow man, they get a good hearing and they get legal aid supplied to them.

I bring that into focus because here we have citizens who are protecting themselves and others across the province from inequities the government might heap on them. The government can have research and all kinds of experts trying to prove their case. On the other side there often are only the people who can get to these hearings, who are not tied up with their jobs. They are thus at a very distinct disadvantage.

If the minister truly wants democratic hearings I am sure he will give thought to accepting this amendment -- in fact putting it in place. Then as we start down the road towards doing something meaningful to clean up our environment, he would be giving the citizens who are grossly concerned about the inadequacies a way to protect their interest in all these matters.

It is not something new. The Indians were given the right in northern Ontario to have funding to represent themselves. If I am not mistaken, the Preservation of Agricultural Land Society in the Niagara Peninsula was given a substantial amount of money to make its case. I think if the minister is going to do what is fair for those people who would stand up for their rights he will give them the means to be able to present themselves in a fashion that will make it very even and equitable in the argument placed before him.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I want to address myself to the amendment here, as put forward by my colleagues the members for Kent-Elgin and Haldimand-Norfolk. I think it is a good amendment. There are good reasons for it. As my colleague the member for Niagara Falls has mentioned, PALS in the Niagara region received substantial assistance, I believe, through the Attorney General's office to assist it in bringing forward strong opposition to reduction of farm lands in the Niagara region, good agricultural lands.

I suggest this is the right approach to take to it. I have found an area of particular concern to me in the town of Fort Erie, where people were objecting to a particular lagoon that was going to be located in the city of Niagara Falls and were getting red tape and the runaround -- the hearings were held in Niagara Falls, for example. There was not much chance for those people to put up a strong argument and give the reasons why they were objecting. For one thing, the region had all their expertise before the Ontario Municipal Board, and the environmental assessment hearing too, I understand. Knowledgeable persons from the ministry staff were supporting the program of promoting a lagoon in that area.

I feel people were shortchanged in those hearings, one reason being that they did not have sufficient funding to go out and hire the professional talent required to put forward their objections. In that particular area in the town of Fort Erie, the lagoon in the Stevensville-Douglastown area, these people were shortchanged. They never did have a fair hearing. Now, all of a sudden, there is talk about having another hearing. These things can be costly.

I suggest some funding should be provided. People do have a right to a fair and just hearing before the Environmental Assessment Board or even under this particular bill we have before the Legislature now. People should be entitled to some assistance. In fact, all the information related to such a hearing or objection to a program or industrial waste site should be available to all the people.

There should be an impartial body there, and this is what the Minister of the Environment staff should be. They should be impartial, and they should be able to supply needed information for both sides. But they should not take a particular stand as witnesses to say, "We support this." The information should be available to all parties so that they can have an independent study, an independent review of the decision and let the board, whatever board may be appointed, arrive at a fair and just final decision.

I feel people have been shortchanged in a number of these hearings. I support the amendment put forward by my colleagues. It is a good reasoned amendment and brings out some equity within the hearings. I feel in this particular area there must be changes made. I often think, when I look at this whole industrial waste issue about the Cayuga site, we have municipalities crying about promoting industrial development in their municipalities. I think these municipalities themselves have a responsibility in this area. If a municipality wants a particular type of industry that will have a large amount of industrial waste, I think it has an obligation to look after that, without dumping the waste on to its neighbour's property.

This is the point I feel the people in South Cayuga are really concerned about. The objections are there for that reason. I suggest that when new industrial sites are permitted to go into the municipalities there have to be assessment hearings relating to the types of industry going in. Do they want that type of industrial waste and who will look after it?

11:20 a.m.

When I look at the MacLaren report, one of the suggested sites was the town of Fort Erie and that is just about a mile north of my place in Sherkston. It was unknown to me they were discussing or had done some studies on that area. The reason we came upon it was because my colleague and myself were on the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs when these matters were discussed in regard to uranium waste in the Elliot Lake area.

This was when the MacLaren report came forward. In that report there were 10 to 15 sites they thought would be most suitable for this type of industrial waste disposal. Why South Cayuga was ever chosen, I do not know. There are areas I feel can be used for industrial waste.


Mr. Haggerty: Yes, I quite agree with what the minister is trying to tell the chairman; but the whole point is you are agreeing with me that people are not aware of these studies. Open the books so they can see what is going on in these communities, can see whatever studies your ministry is doing.

I support the amendment. It is a reasonable amendment and hopefully all the government members over there will support it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I have listened very carefully to the arguments from the members opposite on this amendment. I must say the longer I am around this House, the more I realize there are certain members of the House who have been here a little longer than some of the rest of us, who perhaps reflect in their views a longer experience of life and of living in a community and, thereby, the kind of wisdom some people develop as a consequence of that breadth of experience of life.

I think the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk --

Mr. Nixon: Blame me for making a bad decision.

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, I was just reflecting upon your wisdom and insight into human nature, community life and those important things we all want to preserve and protect.

I listened to his balanced arguments, so balanced I was not sure which side he was on in this particular issue. I found some parts of his argument more persuasive than others and more persuasive than some of the other members when he spoke of the importance of voluntary action and of not underestimating the power of citizens' action on a matter which involves protecting their rights and their children's future in that community.

I really do concur with the view we must not fall into the trap of assuming that for effective community action and effective presentation of the views of the citizens of a community, some source of funding from other than their own collective resources is going to make their position significantly stronger. However, there may well be some situations where by virtue --

Mr. Kerrio: You could make that argument about legal aid.

Hon. Mr. Norton: One could, yes. The only thing is, in that area one is most often dealing with an individual case as opposed to a collective response from a community. That is a significant difference. Some communities have rather well-off citizens like the member for Niagara Falls who, if he were a member of a citizens' group, could fund the whole thing.


Hon. Mr. Norton: That is right. He could do it just out of his own pocket. But if some poor individual was accused of a crime and was trying to defend himself in court alone with limited resources, unable to afford the services of a lawyer, that is a little different from the --


Hon. Mr. Norton: That is right, except in the collective sense there is a greater strength than there is for that individual in court before the powerful forces of the state.

The one person whose argument has left me quite disillusioned is the member for Beaches-Woodbine. I recalled as she was speaking her stout defence of the right to independent, individual action under the consolidated hearings bill when it was before us yesterday and previously in committee, specifically against what she perceived as being an offensive section, which would allow the tribunal to appoint someone to speak and require a group or class of individuals to work collectively. She very articulately opposed that concept.

However, one might say that everybody has his price, because I notice that this particular amendment states quite clearly in subsection (8) that in order to be eligible to receive funding assistance, "Where it appears that several parties or interveners having identical or substantially similar interests have applied for financial assistance, those reviewing an activity under section 16 may consolidate the applications and make such order concerning payment as it considers appropriate."

The only difference between the effect of this section and the one we were debating yesterday is that there are some dollars attached to this one. I am surprised the honourable member did not check on the grounds that there is potential blackmail in this particular section.

Ms. Bryden: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman: Did I hear the minister say that everyone has his price? Was he suggesting that I was speaking in favour of withdrawing that section in the bill about class actions for some pecuniary advantage?

I made quite clear that my advocacy of the withdrawal of the section in Bill 89 relating to class actions did not preclude class actions; it simply restricted the ability to form classes, and left the joint board considerable power to determine what kind of class actions could take place. But I certainly never said I was not in favour of class actions.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, my point was simply that in this section which the member for Beaches-Woodbine is now endorsing there appears to be absolutely unfettered power for those reviewing an activity under the section to require a group, in order to get any funding, to come together and act as a class or a consolidated group. The point I was trying to make was that yesterday very eloquent arguments were made against vesting that strength in a reviewing body, but today, when there is a dollar figure attached to it or the possibility of receiving money, it somehow does not seem to be offensive.

I think if the member looks at this and looks at her arguments yesterday, in order to be consistent she really must be offended today as much as she was yesterday by the effect of this subsection.

I think the proposal that we go ahead with any such amendment under this particular bill at this particular time flies in the face of equity, if nothing else. There are many other pieces of legislation in this province where hearings are required, the Ontario Municipal Board being one such body that is established to hold hearings, the Environmental Assessment Board being another.

I am sure the honourable members would say, "Well let us make it apply to all of them." You cannot make it apply under one bill to all of them. I think as well that there are still many issues, philosophical and otherwise, to be sorted out before we jump in on all fours to provide such an amendment, even though the poor honourable member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is somewhat isolated from the other members of his party in the wisdom he has brought to bear in his comments on --

Mr. Nixon: I am supporting this amendment.

Hon. Mr. Norton: He is supporting it, but he is supporting it in such a balanced way.

11:30 a.m.

Mr. Nixon: Its time has come. After all, the minister is paying money out, and he is doing it without legislation, as far as I know.

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, we are looking after that. However, as the member knows, in the specific hearings that will take place under this bill there has been an expressed intent by the proponent to make some funding available. We will see how that works. At this point I must stand in opposition to this amendment.

Mr. Kerrio: You are hard hearted.

The Deputy Chairman: We have before us the public interest funding amendment moved by Mr. McGuigan.

All in favour of this amendment please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

On section 16:

The Deputy Chairman: Ms. Bryden moves that subsection 1 of section 16 of the bill be amended by adding thereto, after "Council" in the fourth line, "and to the minister, and the minister shall then lay the report before the assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next ensuing session."

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, the reason for this amendment is that section 16 gives the Lieutenant Governor in Council the power to appoint one or more persons to review any activity or proposed activity of the corporation, but the reports under the present section 16 go only to the Lieutenant Governor in Council or the cabinet.

When there are such reviews and inquiries it seems to me that the public is entitled to know the results. Once again I say that, lacking a freedom of information act in this province, we have to continue to try and amend individual acts to make sure reports of this sort are made not only to the Lieutenant Governor in Council but also to the minister and, through him, tabled in the Legislature so that we can then all know what are the points at issue, what was the reason for the inquiry and what are the recommendations, if any. Therefore, I would urge support of this amendment.

Mr. Swart: Surely, Mr. Chairman, all this amendment can do is enhance democracy. It is an innocuous little amendment as far as causing any problem to the government, and I expect that this time for sure the minister will get up and say, "I accept this."

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I think it is clear under section 15 as amended that the report will be a public report. I do not think there is any question about that. There need be no concern. I think the section is unnecessary.

The Deputy Chairman: Those in favour of Ms. Bryden's amendment to section 16 will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Sections 16 to 20, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 21:

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment to section 21. Again it is to open up accountability to the public.

The Deputy Chairman: Ms. Bryden moves that a new section 21 be added to the bill to read as follows:

"The corporation shall, after the close of each fiscal year, file with the minister an annual report upon the affairs of the corporation signed by the chairman or the vice-chairman of the corporation, and the minister shall submit the report to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and shall then later report before the assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next ensuing session."

Ms. Bryden further moves that the present section 21 and the subsequent sections be appropriately renumbered.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, this section was lifted from the Power Corporation Act, I believe, and is the kind of report that Hydro is required to make. There is no reason why this new crown corporation should not make a similar report annually which will be tabled in the Legislature. When this does happen under this amendment, I hope there will be full opportunity for the Legislature to review and debate that report in order that it may have input in determining the policy directions for the corporation.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, perhaps to assist here and to abbreviate some further discussion, I will simply indicate that I am quite willing to accept that amendment. It makes good sense.

The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Ms. Bryden's motion will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Section 21, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 22 and 23, as renumbered, agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman: This bill is set down for stacked division later.


Consideration of Bill 95, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

On section 1:

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Renwick moves that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

"(1) Clauses a, b, c and d of section 40(1) of the Employment Standards Act, 1974, being chapter 112, are repealed and the following substituted therefor:

"No employer shall terminate the employment of an employee who has been employed for three months or more unless he gives,

"(a) four weeks' notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is less than two years;

"(b) eight weeks' notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is two years or more but less than five years;

"(c) 16 weeks' notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is five years or more but less than 10 years;

"(d) 26 weeks' notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is 10 years or more and such notice has expired."

And that subsections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of section 1 of the bill be renumbered as subsections 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I do not imagine I have to speak to the amendment because of its essential and inherent reasonableness in the modern conditions related to notice of termination. Perhaps the minister will indicate, in the interest of saving time and because of its reasonableness, that he will accept it. Otherwise, I will have to speak to it.

11:40 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I don't accept that amendment.

The Deputy Chairman: Back to you, Mr. Renwick.

Mr. Renwick: I am surprised. The proposal is a modest one, and I am a modest person. Perhaps it is because the minister is not a particularly modest person, nor should he be really. He is not --

The Deputy Chairman: Dealing with the amendment, Mr. Renwick.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I may be some time.

The Deputy Chairman: We will get some water to you.

Mr. Renwick: I have some water, thanks. I am not used to water.

I want to make certain that I am talking about the same documents the minister is talking about. I am looking at the Employment Standards Act, 1974, the pamphlet copy dated December 1980, which includes regulation number 251. I believe that is the up-to-date bill.

I am not talking about mass layoffs; I am talking about an individual employee. That bill provides now, and has provided for some considerable period of time, the following termination notices: One week's notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is less than two years. Surely to change that to read four weeks' notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is less than two years is an essentially reasonable and necessary amendment at this time. I do not believe the minister can say that one week's notice for employment up to two years is adequate notice for any employee in the province at this time.

Similarly, the second item is two weeks' notice if the employment is two years or more, but less than five years. I can say to the minister that he could not possibly go to the court in the absence of a statutory requirement and find that was held at this time to be reasonable notice. What we are proposing as an alternative for that provision is eight weeks' notice.

The next item is four weeks' notice in writing to the employee whose period of employment is five years or more but less than 10 years. We are proposing 16 weeks' notice. For eight weeks' notice in writing to the employee, if his period of employment is 10 years or more, we are proposing 26 weeks' notice.

The minister has to understand that the time has come when the ordinary working person does not have to lag behind the law in other cases such as where it applies to provide supervisory and executive employees with adequate notice. The minister must be up to date. His ministry seems to follow the law as it relates to employers very closely, because they always give the employee something less; so they must understand the law that relates to employers.

Let me just draw the minister's attention to a couple of comments that have been made about this question in the light of the modern development of law. Then I ask the minister and other members of the House to ask themselves, are we to perpetuate these ancient notice provisions, which may have been adequate as a minimal basis at the time when they were introduced, but are now no longer adequate?

Anyone knows the questions that must be asked by an employer in an ordinary instance of an employee to determine what notice he is entitled to are twofold. The first one is, what is a proper, fair and reasonable period of notice to accord the employee? The second question is, how long will this employee take to relocate successfully?

Can anyone at this time state that one week's notice for a person with less than two years' employment is fair, reasonable and proper notice or that an employee will be able to relocate successfully within that period of time?

Those are the tests and those are the questions the minister has to ask himself. The present statute is totally inadequate to meet those two tests.

Let me go on a little further. The minister knows full well that a few years ago a maximum of six months' notice for persons holding executive and managerial positions was about the maximum that could be obtained. It is now commonplace to have much longer notice provisions or salary in lieu of notice in the event of termination without cause. The minister knows that.

What is his response going to be to me and to this House on the two questions? Does one week in the case of employment of less than two years, two weeks in the case of employment from two to five years, four weeks in the case of employment from five to 10 years and eight weeks in the case of employment over 10 years, meet the present-day tests of what is reasonable, proper and fair notice?

Is that the period of time within which the employee who has received that notice can successfully relocate? I wish the minister to answer those questions and to engage in some dialogue as to whether he has any concern about the adequacy of the provisions as they stand at present.

I also want him to say he has been persuaded by the points I have made and he is now going to accept the amendment. Will the minister respond?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I always find the member for Riverdale persuasive, reasonable and sometimes accurate, but I have to tell him the position of the government is that its present termination notice provisions, which are for individuals when it is not a mass layoff and which are quite different in a situation with regard to mass layoffs, are seen by this government to be equivalent to or better than those of most jurisdictions in North America, particularly when one realizes no comparable notices are required in the states of our neighbour to the south.

No matter what the member may say in terms of argument with regard to the adequacy of these provisions, taken in the context of the North American climate where we live -- that is the reality of it -- our provisions are equal to or better than most. We feel they are appropriate for the time being, having that in mind.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, we in this party have looked carefully at the amendment as proposed by the member of the party to our left, and we have examined the impact it would have. Regrettably, we are not able to support his proposed amendment because of the extremeness of the position.

I remind the member for Riverdale that in some cases the change proposed is a change that would quadruple the present notice provisions. We believe the present provisions, in spite of what the minister suggests, are inadequate and should be doubled.

We cannot see that the quadrupling effect proposed by the member for Riverdale would be a reasonable change. For that reason, we will be opposing this amendment.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, I am not surprised in the least by the comments of the last speaker. It was interesting when we sat on the select committee looking at plant shutdowns that the large corporations told us they plan five or six years in advance. If companies are planning five to six years in advance, tell me what the cost is to them to notify their employees six months in advance to give them an opportunity to find a job elsewhere.

It seems to me the only people who ever get screwed in this system are working people, and we are never prepared to apply laws to them that --

11:50 a.m.

Mr. Kerrio: I am glad you are out of the classroom.

Mr. Martel: Why don't you crawl in your hole, Vince? Is that your leadership challenge? Go out and challenge in the boys' room. You should go out and --

Mr. Kerrio: That is very unparliamentary procedure and you know it. You teach our children.

The Deputy Chairman: Order.

Mr. Martel: If you have a filthy mind, that is not my problem.

Mr. Kerrio: Your speech here is gross.

The Deputy Chairman: Order.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, will you throw him out or shut him up? One of the two.

The Deputy Chairman: Carry on, Mr. Martel.

Mr. Kerrio: Hurts, doesn't it?

Mr. Martel: Nothing you could say would bother me, Vince. You are not even in the right league.

Let me go back and start again. The major corporations told us they plan five to six years in advance. The only advantage to them is to do what people like Bendix Automotive did. We are allowing that to continue. Bendix came in, went to its subsidiary in the Windsor area -- I hope my friend the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) is listening -- and called in the Canadian management. I believe they were given a week, if that, to try to persuade the corporate board in the United States that the decision should be altered. I think it was Bendix, and I think the time was a week.

Workers have no defence, absolutely none, against that sort of decision. Even the Canadian management had no input into a decision of that magnitude. Workers were left in the lurch. I believe it was right in the middle of negotiations in Windsor, and I believe Bendix rented a room one Saturday. The news media learned from the United States that they were shutting the doors before the Canadian workers did right in the middle of the negotiations. What protection was there for working people in that operation? None.

What defence is the minister prepared to build in? That someone with a year's service gets a week? Where or how does someone find a job in Ontario or in Canada in a week? The longer one has been involved in a particular company, the more difficult it is to relocate and to have the funds necessary to relocate. It takes time to go out and look for a job and a home. If you have some lead time, at least that eases the task to some degree.

We do not even want to take into consideration the economic factors of today. There is massive unemployment. There are areas where employment traditionally was good. Look at the Windsor area; look at St. Catharines. People in those communities do not find jobs overnight.

It was interesting that in the Armstrong Cork case the committee found one job for one employee of Armstrong Cork. Does the minister know where they found that job for that fellow from Lindsay? With 20 per cent of the people of Windsor unemployed, the committee found a job for one worker in Windsor, where 20,000 people were already unemployed.

There is something loony about what we are doing here. We are not giving adequate protection to the workers. We leave all the economic levers, all the economic decisions, against which the workers cannot protect themselves and from which unions cannot protect them, in the hands of the corporate board and in the type of economy we have, which is branch plants of the multinationals.

Over and over again, we saw those decisions made. We saw the decisions even with respect, I guess, to McDonnell Douglas where the Canadian firm of McDonnell Douglas could not even bid for some of the contracts in a more competitive sense than people outside. They did not have an advantage.

Those decisions made in corporate boardrooms never take people into consideration. If the minister wants to say, "Well, to the south of us they do not have it," that might be right. Maybe they are cavalier in the way they treat people and do not give a damn about people. Maybe if we kept our resources in this country we would have all kinds of jobs.

If the minister wants to wave his finger at what other people are doing, I can make a comparison with Japan, which has no resources and leads the world economically. In Ontario, we have all the resources in the world and, with this government, we have sold them off. We do not have jobs, and we have a branch-plant economy that leads to this type of problem.

If he wants to deal with the real problem, he had better talk to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) and start to do some planning that is going to provide work in this country. Then we will not have to worry about what our friends to the south are doing or what they do not have in legislation.

In another vein, the Minister of Industry and Tourism gets up and says our tax rate is better. Remember that book he sent around last year? What was the name of that? He bragged in there that we have a lower tax rate for industry; he said our wage rate is not as high as those states we compete with in the United States.

What do we do for Canadians that is to our advantage, using what we have here? Nothing. In times of high unemployment we will not even build in protection so that workers are not faced with the whims of some decision made in the United States some day, without even involving Canadian management.

I keep hearing these silly comparisons that are always made. We are either the best or they do not have it somewhere else. So what? We have a lower tax rate. That is supposed to bring them here. Why are the advantages always to the corporate sector? Why are they not made on behalf of working people?

When I hear my friend the member for Windsor-Sandwich say he will not support it, I remind him of what Bendix did. They decided overnight, in the middle of negotiations, that they would close their doors and go home. They did not worry about the employees -- not a jot --

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel, coming back to the amendment.

Mr. Martel: -- or the time on the bill we are proposing so that workers have protection. Then I hear this nonsense about how it is so radical. When we talk about six months of planning ahead, why is it so impractical, why is it so demanding to force these beggars to give employees enough lead time to find adequate employment without going down the tube? That is what we are talking about.

When the corporate sector appeared before the select committee it was very candid. In fact, when we tried to get Haig, the president of Bendix, before us his company would not come. That is how gentlemanly they are; they would not show up. We had to subpoena the records of their auditor by Speaker's warrant. Finally they found someone, after two months of negotiations, to come and talk to us. They sent a couple of characters they should have left south of the border.

When I hear this type of gobbledegook, when I hear from the minister that somebody else does not have it, I have to say, "So what?" If the minister wants to improve the economy of this province, maybe the government should get involved in some sound economic planning that would see resources remaining here and turned into finished commodities so there would be jobs for Ontarians. At that stage we would not have to worry about what goes on in the United States; we could protect the employees here adequately. We are not prepared to do that in this bill.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, I rise to speak to this amendment and to point up some very obvious shortcomings in some of the arguments that have been made.

I hear the Socialists talk of the corporate board and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the worker. But in this great province of ours there are many small business people in between, many small companies that are affected by the bill. They do not plan five years ahead. They do not have the capacity to do some of the things that are being discussed here. They do not even direct themselves to the fact that the persons who are given notice under the rules of the Canadian scene are not unfunded after one or two weeks.

We do have unemployment insurance. If that is inadequate, I would argue in favour of increasing it in the face of the costs of living as they are today. But to turn an argument around and make it appear as though notice that is given an individual is all the time he has to look for a job is certainly not the truth. People do have time and they have coverage that is very meaningful to them and helps them find a new place. If that is inadequate, that is another argument; it has nothing to do with this amendment that is before us.

12 noon

There are many small companies that do not plan five years in advance. When they go to renegotiate their mortgages, they might find they are out of business -- not five years from now, not one year from now, maybe not even one month from now. The realities of the marketplace today have changed to the point where it is time people considered having something besides the boards we are talking about here running this province and this country.

The fact is, many small businesses are affected by this amendment, and they have to be considered. Many of them cannot put the costs through. Many of them cannot give the kind of notice we are talking about here. It is unrealistic. There are other areas that should be addressed that would help people in the transition period. It is very easy to stand here and make determinations when someone else picks up the responsibility.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, it is not easy to stand here and make determinations when someone else is going to pick up the tab. That is an outrageous statement. What should be made clear is that legislators in all three parties are responsible legislators who are trying to make improvements in the laws of Ontario, and that kind of nonsense has no place in this debate.

The examples that are being used do not make sense. The previous speaker, the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio), does not seem to understand that there are employers with fewer than 50 employees who can well provide adequate notice. In my own constituency there is a lumber company that last fall shut down its operation -- about 35 employees -- and said it would open up in the spring. In the spring, they said: "There are problems. We do not know what we are going to do." The next day -- bang -- there was a notice of total shutdown. They hired back almost none of those 35 employees.

Some of these employees had worked there for 30 years. Some of them spoke no English at all; they had come directly from Finland or spoke only French and so forth. That is a company that merged with a larger company, and they have adequate resources. Sure, the company has less than 50 employees; but to say that employers with less than 50 employees cannot afford to provide that kind of notice is simply outrageous. They certainly can.

There is absolutely nothing in this amendment that is not reasonable. I do not know of anybody who plans his life on shorter notices than this. It is time the private sector was served notice that they too have to plan their lives in a better way and to allow the working people of this province to plan their lives in a better way.

There is nothing at all unreasonable about this amendment. To refuse to accept this amendment is to continue to believe there is a master-servant relationship in Ontario and that is the way we want to keep it. The minister is saying there is still a master-servant relationship and he has no intention of changing that.

These amendments would not remove that totally, but they would give the working people of this province a sense that they had to be considered when decisions of this import were being made. The minister is saying: "You, the working people who create the wealth, are not part of that process. You will do as you are told. It is the decision the employer makes that will determine your future. You are not really part of this. You are fodder out there. That is all you are. We will deal with you in the private sector as we see fit."

That is what the minister is saying by refusing to put in these amendments. Yet he sits there in his comfortable pew and continues to bring in legislation that does not even allow basic dignity for people who should have the right to this kind of notice.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I could not believe what I heard from the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye), that the extravagance of this proposal of ours was such that it offended him and he could not support it. I cannot believe if the member for Windsor-Sandwich asks himself, "What is reasonable, proper and fair notice for me as an employer to give an employee who has served me for five years?" that he would say two weeks.

Let me comment a little bit about my friend the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio). When we were discussing the Workmen's Compensation Board amendments he raised the same point last night: what about the small businessman? I am as concerned, and we are as concerned, about the impact of the laws on small businessmen as anyone in the chamber can be. This amendment does not talk about a dollar outlay. This is a case of a business that, because of its business circumstances, good or bad, must give an employee notice of termination of employment, and it must be fair, reasonable and proper.

It does not matter what is happening south of the border. I cannot believe they are any more unreasonable south of the border than we are when it comes to answering those questions. The same question is how long it will take that employee to be successfully relocated. I am not going to have our proposed amendment attacked on the grounds that the small businessman cannot cope with this amendment. He can cope with it in two ways. He can give the notice, give the employee a chance to turn around and find himself another location, having relation to the periods of time we have set out in the bill; or, as happens in many cases, the employer can say, "I am giving you notice of termination of your employment, but I am going to give you your salary for that period in lieu of notice." He has the options and he has the choices involved in that.

At some point the minister has to come back into this assembly and make some adjustment to the notice periods that are in part 12, section 40(1) of the Employment Standards Act. We are talking about unorganized workers; we are talking about workers who have an individual contract of employment, and I defy the member for York East (Mr. Elgie) to say that anywhere in his riding the notice presently set out in the bill would be accepted as fair, reasonable and proper, or that an employee in Ontario can be relocated successfully in the period of time for which notice is being given. The minister knows we are correct. The minister knows the amendment is reasonable, fair and proper, just as the proposal contained in the amendment is reasonable, fair and proper.

Another factor is involved in these matters which must be calculated. I am not going to stress this now, but I want the minister to understand clearly that another element enters into the question of the termination of employment of employees. For the sake of the circumstances as they are coming about I am going to indicate what the court in Ontario had to say recently about a 42-year-old regional service manager earning $15,000 a year. He was dismissed from his employment after 17 years of service. He was able to turn around and get another job, but he said, "After that length of time, in the circumstances in which I was dismissed, I am entitled to damages for the upset that was caused."

12:10 p.m.

Notwithstanding his success in finding another position in short order, he advanced a claim against his former employer for mental distress resulting from breach of contract on the part of the employer when his employment was terminated. The court found the employee's dismissal had caused serious mental distress and that the method by which the employment relationship was ended aggravated that distress. In awarding $7,500 to the plaintiff, the presiding judge found that it was in the contemplation of the parties at the outset of the employment relationship that if the employer discharged a man whom it had led to believe was secure in his job, there would be the likelihood that this individual would suffer vexation, frustration, distress and anxiety.

It may well be a departure from a traditional way of looking at the relationship, but I know, and the members of this House know, the distress, the frustration and the anxiety caused by the plant shutdowns in this province when large numbers of men with mutual collegiality and a community of interest are laid off.

What happens to the individual employee with a reasonably long term of employment who is given this pittance of notice in having his employment terminated? Do you think he is free from frustration, anxiety or distress? Do you think that is not a factor which must be taken into account in determining what is fair, proper and reasonable notice?

We are obviously not going to be able to change the view of the minister this morning, but I want to say to him that he must at some point make the decision. I refuse to stand here in my place and listen to the minister, this minister particularly, make excuses for the inadequacy of the law of Ontario by comparing it to something called the northern tier of states or the sunshine strip states. Those are not criteria on which Ontario has ever founded its position.

To have the minister stand in his place last night and talk about Sir James Pliny Whitney being the first, and today say that those provisions for notice are adequate: when is the minister going to be first? Or is he saddled with a bureaucracy in his ministry and a bureaucracy in the cabinet that make him more and more testy whenever he introduces any bill into the Legislature, and less and less capable of both receiving criticism, accepting criticism and coming up in a public forum with reasonable solutions?

I can only believe he is saddled with a bureaucracy in his ministry that does not understand modern working conditions. It is certain to be that unless he is strong in the cabinet, you can be assured there are very many members of the cabinet who have no conception of the conditions under which people work in this province.

I say to the minister what we have proposed is reasonable; I say to my friends in the Liberal Party what we proposed is reasonable; I say to the government that it is going to have to introduce this because it is behind even the courts in an adequate assessment of the problems that are created by notice of termination in employment when it is not for cause.

The minister ought to understand that, the minister ought to respond to it; and the minister ought to have the graciousness to indicate that perhaps he will look at it, that perhaps there is something wrong in the Employment Standards Act as it is presently written.

He knows as well as I do that he can come down the Danforth with me and speak to employees with the length of service and the notice which this act requires, and ask person after person after person; and does he think they would say it would be reasonable? He knows the situation as well as anyone else in his own riding. We are not talking about people who have the benefit of the protection of organized groups within their society for collective bargaining; we are talking about the individual employee working in many shops and businesses across the city and across the province. One day we will get this amendment.

Mr. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I had no intention of actually partaking in this debate because my colleagues in the House have had the opportunity to express their points of view. However, I would like to bring to the minister's attention that quite a few years ago we had problems in the labour field with various types of industries.

It was brought to the attention of your government -- you were not here at that time -- but there was no action. Had the government taken action back in 1970 -- April 27, 1970 -- when 142 individuals lost their jobs as a result of the shutting down of Erie Flooring and Wood Products Limited -- at that time the Honourable John Robarts was Premier of this province, and I asked him then to look into the situation, asked him why the government did not examine the company's books to determine whether there was a legitimate excuse for the shutdown -- 11 years ago, we would, in that period of time, have been able to develop some legislation that would have been much better than that we are presenting here today, and we might have avoided a lot of the problems we have had in our own community over the last half dozen years.

I know you want to rule me out of order, Mr. Chairman, but I want to indicate to the government that it has been asleep at the switch for many years, and because of that disinterest in acting we are confronted with the situations we have today.

Mr. Wildman: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I may have missed something, but I am not sure. Was the previous speaker speaking in favour of or against the amendment?

Mr. Chairman: It was hard to fathom. I think we will have to look at Hansard within the next few days to establish exactly his stand on the amendment.

Mr. Cooke: Just very briefly, Mr. Chairman, I might point out that if we are ever to get to the point of having justification for plant closures, we certainly have to relate that in some way to notification for layoffs. The only way we can have proper justification is to have long notice, and the Liberals have already indicated they do not want to support our amendment.

Mr. Renwick: I just want to draw to the members' attention one example. I am indebted to my colleague the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande). We happened to learn on January 29, 1981, that the Royal Ontario Museum -- I am talking about severance pay -- settled upon an amount of money to be paid to an employee in lieu of notice to work out his contract. Mr. Harvey had 12 years of dedicated service to ROM. They worked out negotiations and offered one year's salary for that employee. For 12 years' service, he was to receive the equivalent of 52 weeks' notice to terminate his employment.

He retained a lawyer and did considerably better. He got 18 months' pay in lieu of notice after 12 years' service. His annual salary was $30,000, so presumably he got $45,000 after 12 years' service, the equivalent of 18 months' notice.

What is special about that category of person? What is special about that body that it can provide that kind of arrangement for an employee? Then we have the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr Wrye) saying that our amendment in regard to salary in lieu of notice is extravagant. How unreasonable it is.

12:20 p.m.

I can quite understand why the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) is exercised by the position which her colleague, the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) has taken, and I can well understand why the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) tried to disengage himself gently from the position of the member for Windsor-Sandwich. I don't know where the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) has gone, but perhaps now sanity will prevail in the Liberal Party and they will support our amendment. I trust that you will support the amendment. It is a reasonable, fair --

Mr. Ruston: For some sanity from your party we might.

Mr. Renwick: Oh, the other member from Windsor is agitated now, as well. Perhaps he would get up.

Mr. Ruston: Little sanity there.

Mr. Renwick: Perhaps my friend the member for Essex North would get up. Certainly down in the Windsor area it won't go very well --

Mr. Ruston: It didn't go very well for you in the last election down there.

Mr. Renwick: Perhaps you had better rethink that -- and it won't go very well in the Hamilton area any more than it will go well in the east end of Toronto or in East York. It will be a problem --

Mr. Ruston: Your problem.

Mr. Renwick: -- so I hope that you would rethink your position. We would be delighted to recess for a few minutes while the Liberal Party has a caucus over the position it has taken on this matter. I trust we will have your support.

Mr. Ruston: Maybe your members would like to have a caucus meeting.

Mr. Chairman: Order. Mr. Ruston, I have never seen you so agitated.

Mr. Renwick: I trust we will have the support of all thinking members of the chamber on this particular amendment.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Renwick's amendment will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

On section 2:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick moves that subsection 1 of section 40a of the act, as set out in section 2 of the bill, be amended by striking out "and who has been employed by the employer for five or more years" in the ninth and tenth lines and by striking out "to a maximum of 26 years" in the thirteenth and fourteenth lines.

Mr. Wrye: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: You never asked if there were other amendments to section 1, and I was simply waiting for you to do that so I might begin to move amendments to section 2 of the bill. Perhaps you could tell us when you have completed each section.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, unfortunately the new boy got scooped at the starting gate, and you recognized my colleague. He wants his amendments to be moved and voted on, but whoever gets the chairman's eye is the one who gets recognized. It is a tough lesson to learn, but it will serve him in good stead in the years ahead.

Mr. Renwick: In the spirit of charity and in the hope that it will soften the minister's heart and my colleagues on the right, I would be quite happy to defer our amendment to the amendment proposed by the member for Windsor-Sandwich.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick, that is very kind. Actually, I was just about to rule in his favour, but you very graciously acknowledged Mr. Wrye could continue. Unfortunately, Mr. Renwick did catch my eye first because sitting in this chair your focus tends to be this way, not that way. So I did miss him.

Ms. Copps: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: Since the House leader for the NDP seems to be so ably cognizant of the rules of the House, perhaps he could instruct members on his side who are moving said amendments to provide the members on all opposition sides with copies of those amendments before proceeding. I do not have a copy.

Mr. Chairman: One last chance, Mr. Martel.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, if the member wishes to raise a point of order she might inquire as to whether or not her colleagues have received copies of the amendments.

Mr. Cooke: The acting critic has a copy.

Mr. Martel: The acting critic --

Ms. Copps: The critic did not receive a copy of the amendment.


Mr. Chairman: The point is well taken from all sides.

Mr. Martel: Should we provide -- how many? Would they like 34 copies? We will adjourn for a few moments so we can get copies for them.

Mr. Chairman: Now, Mr. Martel. Order please. The point is well taken on both sides. It is straying from the problem we originally had.

Mr. Wrye, any further amendments?

Mr. Wrye: I have two amendments to section 2 of the bill, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Martel: Have we got copies of this amendment? I do not have a copy. I would like a copy.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, we could run off 30 copies, one for each of the members to our left -- or is that 21? I am not sure.

Mr. Chairman: All right, all right.

Mr. Wrye moves that section 40(a)(1) of the act as set out in section 2(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "five" in the tenth line and inserting in lieu thereof "one."

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, perhaps at the outset I could ask if the minister is prepared to accept the amendment. He did not leap to his feet to accept it, so perhaps I ought to attempt --

Mr. Chairman: Why do we not go into clarification of the amendment and at that time the minister may respond?

Mr. Wrye: We have said quite a bit on this portion of the bill on second reading. I want to remind the minister briefly that in setting out the criteria to establish minimums and maximums the minister himself suggested that the criteria were a degree of permanence involved in the employee and a degree of commitment to the company. It seems to me that any employee who has spent a year at a company has indicated in a very real way a degree of permanence and a degree of commitment, and he should not be discriminated against in severance pay.

I remind the minister that as the bill now stands many employees who would otherwise qualify for severance pay would be eliminated.

In addition, the bitterness that would be engendered by having employees who have spent four and a half years, or four years and 10 months or four years and 11 months, and who would fall just under the very arbitrary five-year stint that is established by this bill, would linger in the final days at the company. It is a very unrealistic level for the government to have set. One year, as I suggested, does establish very much that degree of permanence and commitment on the part of the employee, and as a result I hope this House, with support from all sides, will agree to that amendment.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, the amendment put by the member for Windsor-Sandwich and, I believe, the next amendment he is proposing to put, were covered by the amendment I inadvertently placed before he had an opportunity to place his. Therefore we will support his amendment. We think one year is too long, but it illustrates the principle we are concerned with.

12:30 p.m.

The regulations with respect to mass layoffs under section 40(2) provides for three months and I don't see why we shouldn't go to three months. Our amendment was simply to eliminate that particular five-year restriction on the grounds that it was not going to make any difference whatsoever to the company which was required to pay severance. It makes no difference whatsoever if it had to pay those short-term employees the kind of dollars that we are concerned about.

We have some examples, but my colleague is going to speak to the matter and if necessary I can speak further. We just think the period should not exist at all and we would support it down to the one year, if that is the best the minister can do, but I think we will move the elimination of that particular clause and I will leave that to my colleague.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick, although I appreciate that you haven't placed your amendment, do I understand you won't be proceeding with your amendment?

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, my sense is our single amendment which I placed before the assembly and then withdrew in deference to my colleague, covered the two aspects of the two amendments which he is going to put. Let us await the event.

Mr. Martel: It is pretty radical stuff, I must say. I am not sure I can support it. It is so radical it bothers me.

Mr. Chairman, you must be embarrassed with this particular hunk of junk because you happened to be a member of the select committee which adopted as its recommendation -- the only recommendation the committee made in fact -- one week's severance pay for each year of work.

What bothers me is that on second reading of this bill not one of those six Tory members rose in their place to object to this section of the bill, having voted on it not once, Mr. Minister, but twice. We not only moved it once, it was brought back to the House as a report and we then reaffirmed the position based on some of the minister's answers at that time. We took it back to the committee and with six Tories voting, the committee all voted for a week's severance pay for each year of work. We certainly did not include that you had to be employed for five years before you would qualify.

I might say to my friend, when we discussed that particular resolution we had to change our original motion because the Liberals would not accept the resolution as proposed because it was going to affect too many small businessmen.

Ms. Copps: Business people.

Mr. Martel: Pardon me, small business people. We went along with that in order to get it through. But here we see the spectre raised again today in the last amendment, when we know it will not affect small business people because they are excluded. We are talking about the Bendixes of the world, and you and your colleagues continue to play the game. You weren't really too interested in the beginning so why should you change now, except that you are forced to the wall on it and it would be rather embarrassing if you didn't.

Not one of my six Tory friends who voted has risen in his place. I believe there are two who are now cabinet ministers, one is the Deputy Speaker, one is the Chairman.

Mr. Wildman: It's called the majority gag.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: The chairman has to be impartial.

Mr. Martel: He doesn't when he is speaking from his seat, when he is not in the chair. Not one of those six Tories managed to get up and say that this was a bit of nonsense. Why should someone with five years and a day be entitled to benefits and someone with four years and 11 months be excluded? How silly and how unfair and how unjust to decide that one only has four years and 11 months and, therefore, doesn't qualify.

What the hell is the difference between four years and 11 months and five years? What is the difference if one only has four years? He has given four years of dedicated service. The minister says, "Well, it has to do with his allegiance to the company." I think that was the terminology he used. Does someone with only four years not have any allegiance to the company, or someone with three years or two years?

It is such a foolish amendment. You will remember the reports in the Star and the Globe and Mail. The chairman recalls them well because he questioned some of the witnesses. The chamber of commerce said the figure was $700 million a year. That is what severance pay is going to cost us. Everybody is quitting his job at the same time tomorrow. No one is going back to work. All the plants are closing down and we would have to pay $700 million.

When we got the chamber of commerce before us, we questioned them about their figure. Go back and read the Hansard transcript of those hearings and you will read about the backpedalling they did. I didn't think a bicycle could go backwards. When they were confronted with their figure and asked to explain how they calculated it, they couldn't. Obviously, the cabinet bought the argument. I guess what is so frustrating for me is that we stand here and get severance pay and 700 or 800 employees of those laid off are going to get it this year. Whoop-de-do I

Most of the people who are out on the street because of plant shutdowns this year do not benefit by this act. It is a small handful; it might be 7,700. I'm not sure what the figures are, but I am not very far out. Why are we putting this terrible five-year period in there? Can you imagine the consternation of somebody who has been there for four and a half years? Aren't his problems as big as someone with five or six years? In fact, they are probably greater today. He is probably younger in age; he probably has younger children; he is probably paying for a home. His needs are every bit as great, but we don't see fit to do it.

We have to put on a limit and I can only assume it is because the chamber was able to --

Mr. Villeneuve: You are a lovely man. Now hurry up.

Mr. Martel: Then I had better take some nasty pills. I want to know if people with four and a half years have less difficulty than people with six years because that is what we are talking about. We are talking about a small measure when people are faced with unemployment and having to relocate somewhere else.

If you only have four and a half years, your problems aren't as great. I guess you could walk away from your mortgage. You haven't got as much invested.

I know that my friend the minister saw that when he was good enough to come to Sudbury and to the town of Capreol. He knows well the case of a young man who only had four years in and he walked away with his wife and two kids from his investment in his home. They went down to the Nanticoke area, but he had to walk away from his investment of three or four years in a new home. Maybe some of you in your grey and blue business suits can afford that, but most working people can't. In fact, in that town there are still homes for sale that they have not been able to sell. Even worse, after they have left the house for a year the federal government insists that when they sell that house and purchase another one down here, there is a capital gain on the house they have up north.

12:40 p.m.

There has been talk about putting it to them, and we know how. In this piece of legislation, in this particular section, we really are discriminating against some and we are causing rancour. It is just unfair.

I would urge at least one Tory who voted for one week's severance pay, without specifying any number of years, to have enough courage to get up and oppose this five-year requirement. Six of them not only voted once, but voted a second time to uphold that amendment, and not one has had the courage to say it yet.

I would like to hear from the minister how he can rationalize five years as opposed to four. Maybe he can tell me why someone with six years or four years has less of an economic problem than someone with six or seven years. In the interests of working people, maybe we should start looking at what the effects are when someone is wiped out because his job is gone. Maybe we could accept an amendment like this if some of the Tory back-benchers would have the courage to get up and say that it is wrong to discriminate in this fashion.

That is what it is. It is discrimination at its finest. Maybe one, just one, would have the courage to say that it is wrong, particularly one of those six who served on that bloody committee and voted twice for it.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, I support wholeheartedly the amendment put forth by my colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) with regard to the one-year limit instead of five years. It is a very worthwhile amendment and should have the support of all the House.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I do not accept the amendment for the reasons I have given on two or three occasions. I am surprised at some of the members suggesting that this is done for any ulterior motive when they know full well that this legislation, when passed, places this province in the forefront in North America. I am quite surprised at that approach.

Even the suggestion that it is some sort of new idea is surprising, when their colleagues in Ottawa in their feeble legislation with regard to layoffs have a five-year floor. It is intriguing that these members have a position different from theirs. It is also interesting to note that a variety of other European countries which have taken this approach -- and not all have -- have chosen to put in some sort of a floor in recognition of the fact that severance pay is paid in recognition of years of service and commitment and also for loss of future benefits.

For instance, in Great Britain there is a two-year floor; in France, a two-year floor; in Ireland, a two-year floor. It is not unusual in collective agreements.

Mr. Martel: The minister is very selective. Why did he not choose Germany or Sweden?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I did not say they were all that way. The member has to stop being perceptively selective. He likes to do that. He likes to say, "You are all bad and we are all good." My friend the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) likes to use that phrase as well. But responsible people, looking at the actions of this government, will see it as a progressive government. Let there be no doubt about that.

It is not uncommon in collective agreements bargained for by the parties to have a floor, nor is it uncommon to have a ceiling. The government is perfectly justified in this area, in which it is pioneering, in accepting a definition of severance pay which requires some commitment over a few years to a company in order to be eligible for severance pay.

On those grounds, Mr. Chairman, I oppose the amendment.

Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. Wrye's amendment to section 2 of Bill 95 will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that subsection 1 of section 40a of the act as set out in subsection 1 of section 2 of the bill be amended by striking out "to a maximum of 26 years" in the thirteenth and fourteenth lines.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I know my friends opposite have combined the amendments, but if there is anything that is mean-spirited about this so-called pioneering legislation -- fortunately, the pioneers of yesteryear were a lot bolder than the minister has been -- it is the cap put on the severance pay in this so-called legislation.

Speaking to this amendment, it seems that if the minister wants to talk about a commitment in establishing a floor at five years, a floor we disagree with, surely he then cannot turn around and forget the commitment of employees, many of whom may have worked 28, 30 and 32 years.

Mr. Martel: I have not got a copy of that.

Mr. Wrye: I am sure the member has a copy.

That is why we are proposing to drop the cap of 26 years from the bill. The very least that can be done for those who have worked beyond 26 years, probably a lifetime for the company, given the difficulty they will probably have in relocating, is to give them one week's pay for each and every year they have worked with no top to that. That seems to us to be only fair.

Someone who has worked 35 years should not be receiving the same amount of severance pay as somebody who has worked 26 years. It seems to fly in the very face of the overall intent of the act. I would hope those members opposite would support this amendment. My friend the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) has referred to the two votes that were taken. I guess we would call them the gang of six, who voted yes twice. In remembering those earlier deliberations of the committee, I do not remember seeing a cap of 26 weeks on the legislation. I certainly hope at least one of that group of six this time around, will have the courage of the convictions he had back in December and January and will be supportive of the amendment.

Mr. Renwick: I will be interested in how the minister gets out of this amendment, considering he said a few minutes ago that the whole question of severance pay was a kind of reward for long service in a company. I wish I had jotted down the exact phrase, but the substance was, somehow or other, the old paternalistic view that the employee, having served for a long period of time, is deserving of some additional pittance, now to be supported in law in the province. How does the minister decide that the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, thirtieth and thirty-first year of service do not count in that particular world in which the minister and the bureaucracy of his ministry appear to dwell?

Mr. Martel: I would like to say to the chairman I am prepared to take his place for a few moments if he wants to speak on this bill. I would be very accommodating to him if he wants that opportunity. I would be more than prepared to occupy that chair for a few moments. I am intrigued by what my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) says. It would be interesting to hear the minister on this one. I can almost hear it though. In contracts, there are caps. We talked to the unions about negotiating severance pay and pensions. They found in most instances it certainly was not what they wanted, but that was all they could get.

12:50 p.m.

I suppose he will say, "In North America, we don't have it anyway, so we are pioneering and it is great stuff." Then the other one he will give us is, "In Europe, they have a ceiling." I suppose they might be able to find the odd country that has a ceiling. He is pretty selective in the countries he picks.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Look at Saskatchewan for severance pay.

Mr. Martel: No, no. He is very selective in the countries he picks.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let's pick Saskatchewan.

Mr. Martel: I wish you would pick West Germany. Why do you not pick West Germany in some of your pickings? If you want to make comparisons on protection for workers and you are prepared to make comparisons with those countries, adopt what some of those countries are doing such as justification.

If you want to compare us to England, France and other countries, they have justification. They also have laws that say one cannot shut the door unless the government says it is okay. We do not have that. The minister is very selective in what he picks. Surprisingly, he finds the ones that do not have it. But maybe he is prepared to include justification in this bill now.

I am not sure about the Liberals, but we would support it. If you were to put an amendment about justification, we would heartily endorse justification, seeing as you have picked England, France where they have justification. I would be delighted to see you put this in the bill. I am sure the Chairman would too. In fact, I know he would. He was all for justification.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: He cannot speak for himself right now.

Mr. Martel: I volunteer to let him speak for himself. I will take the chair for a few moments to give him that opportunity.

It is going to be interesting because you put a limit of 26 years. Even given that a man took a job at 25, that would make him 51. We know the difficulties men and women over 45 have in obtaining employment. There are the people from National Steel. I phoned the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs just last week over pensions for some of those people at National Steel. There was a gentleman in question who is now 63. Who do you think is going to employ him?

In fact, talking about National Steel, I wonder if the minister has an answer for me today about my friends. I would not mind delivering a bunch of cheques from our friends in Cleveland to all those employees scattered around the province. I would not mind delivering severance pay cheques to them since National Steel, which shut its doors two years ago, only made this termination official on January 19, 1981.

I am hopeful those employees will get these benefits. I think of a friend of mine who is 63 years of age who simply cannot find alternative employment now. What is wrong with giving him a year of severance pay for every year worked if it is based on dedication and commitment to the company?

Surely to God somebody who has been there 25, 26, 30 or 35 years has shown great dedication to the company. Why should he be penalized for his dedication to that company? I am not sure what you are implying. Is it that the last 10 or 11 years were downhill, or was he not as committed? I do not know how you make that fine distinction except that you probably could not get through cabinet what the committee recommended, namely, one week's severance pay for every year worked.

I suppose the cabinet, on the plea from the chamber of commerce that it was going to cost $700 million annually, bought part of the line that we could never in our wildest imagination subject those poor companies to having to pay for those employees for the full number of years they were there. What is so perverse about paying the full amount that you must terminate it at the twenty-sixth year? There is really something amiss in this whole piece of legislation.

I am not sure if the minister has responded to what I said when I spoke on the last amendment as to how many people in Ontario of the total number of employees up to this time would accrue benefits from this piece of legislation. I suspect we might reach 20 per cent of employees who are thrown out of work because of plant shutdowns. If we reach 20 per cent with this piece of legislation, we will be lucky. Even though we do, not only is it only about 20 per cent, but there are limitations to the amount one receives once one has qualified.

What you have introduced is an obstacle course. Only the swift and the agile will persevere long enough to qualify. The rest that fall by the wayside do not qualify for survival of the fittest so they are not entitled to as much or not entitled to enough. Even those who do manage to get over the obstacles are penalized beyond 26 weeks.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I just want to state that we support this amendment. I await with interest the minister's rationale for not accepting it.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I acknowledge it is a very difficult task for a government when it has involved itself in this area which, as I have said, and I say it modestly, it is pioneering in North America. We are not going to be mean-spirited enough to look to Saskatchewan where there is no severance pay legislation at all.

I think it would be unkind to look at the legislation passed by another great Labour government in Great Britain. It had a 20-year ceiling on it. We did not think that was good enough for us, nor did we think the 20-year ceiling imposed in the federal statute was appropriate. We looked around to see what was the norm in other areas of collective agreements. This own government's severance policy with regard to civil servants is 26 weeks -- one week per year of service.

Although we have been involved in a lot of rhetoric here today, I am sure the members for Sudbury East and Riverdale know it is not uncommon in collective agreements to have some type of ceiling. In the food industry, I am told many agreements have five-year or 10-year ceilings. The United Auto Workers in many of its agreements have a 30-year ceiling. I am not alone in the world in realizing that when one enters into this kind of legislation one has to compare oneself to what is happening in the world.

I know that is troublesome for you. You would like to set us up as an island nobody wants to come to, but that is not what we want on this side of the House. We want to preserve ourselves as an island that is looked upon as progressive, not punitive, and that tries to deal with problems appropriately, as this piece of legislation does. I cannot support that amendment.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Wrye's amendment to section 2 of Bill 95 will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick, in regard to your amendment, I am having some difficulty because now that I have had the opportunity of reading everything, it is exactly the same.

1 p.m.

Order, please. I cannot hear Mr. Renwick.

Mr. Renwick: Subject to the one observation my colleague and I made that there is no floor in our amendment, then the two my friend the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) put encompass the whole of our amendment. We did not want to have any minimum, but there is now no need for me to put that amendment.

If I may speak though to my concerns, this provision of the bill we are dealing with, the gut provision of the bill, defied any amendments that would satisfy the kinds of concerns I have. So I want to ask two, three or four questions of the minister. Let me start with the easy ones first.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: Did we not vote on the particular amendment that was put or are we on a new amendment now? I am not quite sure where the member is leading us. What are we on now?

Mr. Chairman: That is a good question. Do you have your questions relative to a specific section of the bill, Mr. Renwick?

Mr. Renwick: Yes. I am sorry I confused the minister. I can well understand that the mental gymnastics he went through a few minutes ago must have confused him.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Please say with respect.

Mr. Renwick: With respect. I am referring to subsection 1 of what will be section 40a, which is included in section 2(1) of the bill. I just wanted to speak to a couple of concerns I have on that subsection.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I thought we voted on that.

Mr. Chairman: Yes, we have a problem, Mr. Renwick, because we just voted on that.

Mr. Renwick: I am not dealing with an amendment. I want to speak to the section. I have some questions about the section, not about the time period. I withdrew that. We said we would not be placing our amendment.

Mr. Chairman: That seems fair to me.

Mr. Renwick: If we can all just settle down and get with it now, the first easy question I have is, is the severance pay payment clearly in the minister's mind in addition to any other payments to which the employee may be entitled, specifically notice payments and all such other payments? Is it, in fact, in addition to the amount of money the employee will have?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I think the act makes it quite specific when it says, "The severance payment contemplated in the bill is in addition to payments under the termination provision." But if the member is saying, is it in addition to all other payments an employee would receive, I would ask him to look at the bill because, in line with collective agreements, supplementary unemployment benefits, for example, may be set off against any severance pay, as they are in all United Auto Workers' collective agreements with the auto industry.

Mr. Renwick: Apart from those setoffs, it is not a substitution for any other payment, except as expressly set out in the bill?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Really, Mr. Chairman, I do not think I can be more specific than I have been in saying the bill specifically says this is in addition to termination pay. The bill says that quite precisely.

Mr. Renwick: I wanted to hear the minister say it.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I guess it is important, but I am not --

Mr. Renwick: It is important.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is important. That is why it is worded the way it is.

Mr. Renwick: The second question is, is severance pay taxable in the hands of the employee?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I am afraid that is a question I would have to get legal advice on from counsel. I do not know if it is considered as wages or not.

Mr. Renwick: We are not going to delay the bill, but these are questions about which I would appreciate in time if the minister would let me have opinions. They are matters of concern.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Sure.

Mr. Renwick: Are the payments deductible for tax purposes by the employer who gives the notice of termination?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would presume so. They are payments made, so I would presume they are tax deductible.

Mr. Renwick: Would you include that question as well?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Sure.

Mr. Renwick: I want to come to a couple of more substantial ones. The wording that bothers me in clause 40a(1)(b) that we are talking about, which is the second part of the conditions that are required for severance pay to be given effect, "the terminations are caused by the permanent discontinuance of all or part of the business of the employer at an establishment."

I am indebted to my friend the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) for this. Let me assume for the moment that the Chrysler engine plant was at a separate location in Windsor and the Chrysler company had a number of other operations in the Windsor area. It was all Chrysler. The engine plant is shut down, but the other operations continue. What is that? Is that a permanent discontinuance of all of the business of the employer at an establishment or not?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, that is my understanding of it. It is my understanding that we have worded it specifically so that it applies to that particular establishment and not to a group of separate establishments. Certainly that is what is intended in the legislation.

Mr. Renwick: So we are speaking about the specific, clearly defined geographic limits of the particular plant in the particular location?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: That is right.

Mr. Renwick: I take it then that if a company picks up and moves to another location and starts up in that other location -- let us assume for a moment that they have moved from the Oshawa area down to the shores of the Ottawa River, as plants have done -- is that a partial shutdown or is that a permanent discontinuance of the business at that establishment? Is severance pay payable in those circumstances?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, technically, under this legislation as I understand it, and subject to counsel correcting me, that would be considered a shutdown. But I would remind the member that employers who offer reasonable alternative employment, for example at the new location, would be exempt from this legislation.

Mr. Renwick: But in the case I gave that would be a permanent shutdown of the business of the employer at that establishment?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: That is my understanding, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Renwick: What would happen if two companies were to merge or be amalgamated, or if one company were to purchase another company at a particular location, and, as a result of the merger and for other economic reasons, they dismissed a significant part of the employees of the plant who come within the provisions of this new section 40a(1)(a)? What would result in that case? Would that be considered a permanent discontinuance of all or part of the business of the employer at an establishment?

I am thinking about the numbers of business combinations by amalgamation or merger or purchase of assets or whatever it may be with the result that over 50 employees lose their employment. Are they going to be entitled to severance pay, and if so, will it be on the basis of their long period of employment? I cannot conceive that this particular situation is covered by this clause, but I would like the minister's comment on it.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I do not know that I can resolve all the jurisprudence that may evolve as this bill gets interpreted from time to time. I am not certain I can give the member an exact answer. I think the key is whether or not there is a termination, a closure, of part or all of that business. As he knows, on the sale of a business the rights flow to the new owner, and I guess it would depend on whether or not there is a partial or a total closure. But as to an exact interpretation I think the member well knows that will be subject to jurisprudence over the years following.

Mr. Renwick: So I take it if there is a merger of two plants so that one plant is shut down at one location, and as a result thereof, a number of people in the new company lose their employment, they would have the benefit of these provisions with respect to severance pay.

1:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I understand the member and I think he is making a very valid point. But with due respect, I am not now prepared to provide comments that would impede the jurisprudence that will develop on these matters. I am sure he understands that. He knows the intention of the legislation. There will be a variety of situations that will develop over the years that will require some jurisprudence. If untoward things develop then we will have to introduce amendments to correct those matters.

I think the bill will have to stand on its own and will have to be subject to that kind of jurisprudence over the years and if something untoward develops we will have to look at it.

Mr. Renwick: Another area that really bothers me is the question of indefinite layoffs in circumstances where the same impact is felt by the people who are laid off as if there had been a partial shutdown of the business at that establishment. I guess the classic example was the Inco layoffs which went on for a considerable period of time.

I am confused as to the impact what you are doing in the statute will have on the provision which appears in regulation 251. There is an item in that regulation which states that notice of indefinite layoffs shall be deemed to be notice of termination of employment. It provides specifically that termination of employment includes a layoff of a person for a period longer than a temporary layoff and then defines at some considerable length what a temporary layoff is.

As I read the bill, if there is an indefinite layoff there is a termination of employment because it is for a longer period than the period of temporary layoff as defined. There is no discontinuance from the business -- permanently or in part -- of the employee at the establishment. Those employees do not have the benefit of the severance pay provisions in the bill.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I think the member has accurately interpreted the bill and it is the way I explained it on two occasions during debate or discussions on it. It is true this legislation deals with closure -- either total or partial. It does not relate to terminations which are being carried out because there is either a constriction of the business or a temporary discontinuance, such as the recent American Motors situation that you will recall -- since you are always interested in what happens in Brampton, I know. They were shut down for a considerable period of time and then started up and all the employees were brought back. This bill does not cover those types of situations.

The problem that jurisprudence will have to resolve is at what point does an indefinite layoff which constitutes some sort of discontinuation of all or part become a complete closure or a partial closure. Those are matters that jurisprudence will have to develop. Again if problems seem to be developing in the interpretations that are coming forth, then we will have to look at those too. But it is a new area and it is going to require some thought and consideration over the years.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, to clarify that point, and assuming there is no further discussion on section 40a(1)(a) and that I can now move an amendment on 40a(2)(a), I would like to move that amendment.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Renwick moves that section 40a(2) of the act as set out in section 2(1) of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following clause: "(h) an employee who is on a layoff which extends beyond 26 consecutive weeks."

He also moved that the following be added as section 2(7): "An employee having received severance pay pursuant to item (h) of subsection (2) shall not thereby forfeit any right of recall to which he may otherwise be entitled."

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, what I am trying to get at here is a case where there is an indefinite layoff. I have not used the 13-week period which is one of the operative parts of the regulation in the definition of temporary layoff. I have arbitrarily picked 26 weeks -- so there is no magic in 26 consecutive weeks.

I have tried to say if there is an indefinite layoff that extends beyond 26 weeks, at that point it seemed reasonable to me an employee should be able to treat the layoff as a termination of the employment and to preserve his right of recall, but to call for his severance pay. Otherwise, I can envisage circumstances where the provision with respect to giving notice of indefinite layoff will vitiate the operation of the provision with respect to severance pay.

I would be delighted to be told I am wrong but it does seem to me that at some point you have to say a layoff ceases to be an indefinite layoff and is equivalent to a termination where all of the other parts of the bill are not in question. That is, there has been a partial closure of the plant or a full closure of the plant. Those employees somewhere down the line should be able to say this is equivalent to having received in the initial instance the notice of termination as a group and that therefore we are now entitled to our severance pay.

All I attempted to do by adding the additional subsection 7 was to say the closure did not have anything to do with the employees and they should not give up whatever right of recall they have. But the gut provision of the amendment is to try to do something about the indefinite layoff by establishing a clear rule that would apply. I would appreciate the minister's explanation of whether that amendment is necessary.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I think the member's amendment proposes one of two options. One is to introduce an entirely new concept beyond that proposed in the bill -- namely, that it is to apply only to closure. Or I am not sure whether he is suggesting this amendment would simply say after a business is not in operation for a period of 26 weeks -- either a total or a partial discontinuation of work -- it is deemed to be a closure for purposes of subsection 7.

If it is the former I cannot accept it. If it is the latter I think those are matters that are going to have to be solved by jurisprudence. I do not say it is going to be easy to do it, nor do I say it is appropriate to resolve it the way you are trying to do here.

For instance, in the recent case of American Motors that I referred to, their indefinite layoff went longer than 26 weeks -- some two, three, four weeks longer. Again that is the problem we have all been talking about whenever you set dates or times or periods. That is why these are matters that are going to have to be resolved in jurisprudence, just when it is deemed a business is partially or totally shut down.

1:20 p.m.

Again I want to assure the member if problems develop with that definition in jurisprudence I will certainly address myself to those problems. I do not think the method he is proposing is appropriate because it could well jeopardize the starting up of many industries, for instance, the particular example I gave of American Motors. I think it could well have jeopardized the reopening of that particular plant.

I might also say I am a little surprised at the second part of his amendment because as he knows, in most collective agreements if severance pay is accepted the right to recall is forfeited. I am surprised that he went against the trend in most collective agreements in his suggestion.

Mr. Renwick: I think the minister understands the situation I am talking about, and I have difficulty in thinking that jurisprudence can solve that kind of problem. When you have a situation where 50 or more employees are given notice of indefinite layoff in a period of six months or less, the result of that is there is a discontinuance of the business, either in whole or in part.

If the indefinite layoff continues for a period of time, presumably under regulation 291, if one started to refer to the provisions which I referred to earlier, the indefinite layoff is equivalent to notice of termination of employment. Then you find termination of employment to be defined as something in excess of temporary layoff, and you have a long list of what constitutes temporary layoff, but the operative part being 13 weeks. I have used 26 weeks, but after 13 weeks or after 26 weeks, where there is a partial closure, surely we in this Legislature are not going to leave the question of entitlement to severance pay on whether or not it was permanent, a permanent discontinuance of all or part of the business.

Surely there must be a point in time where the rules say, regardless of what you call it, it becomes a permanent discontinuance of all or a part of the business, depending on the circumstances, and at that point the employee should be able to call for the severance pay. I am not talking about the actual period of time -- that always must be arbitrary -- but I do feel very much concerned that we are creating a situation where indefinite layoffs will not have a specific rule for providing entitlement for that severance pay to an employee when the plant is partially shut down or totally shut down, when nobody can say whether it is permanent.

The minister said he wanted to leave it to jurisprudence. I just think it is unfair to the working person to leave that question to jurisprudence. At some point he should be able to say: "Look, the plant has been shut down, discontinued. It has gone on for 26 weeks," or "It has gone on for X number of weeks, and I am an employee; had it originally been a notice of termination and the shutdown had taken place as a permanent matter I would have been entitled to severance pay. Now I must call for my severance pay, and I should be entitled to do that." I think there is a serious gap in the bill.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I would like to associate myself with the remarks just made by the member for Riverdale, who I think speaks for some of the concerns that we have had in this party ever since the bill was first introduced. That concern was what would happen in the event of indefinite layoffs that go on for months and months and then almost into years without a permanent shutdown and what happens to those employees. I think it is a serious gap in the bill.

I am not sure that the amendment as proposed by the member for Riverdale is the perfect solution, but I think it is a better solution than the suggestion from the minister that we leave it to jurisprudence. We agree with the first part of the amendment, but we have a problem with the second part -- but despite that, I think on balance the amendment is a good one and one which this party will support.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I have no argument with the motivation for the amendment, believe me. I am just saying there will be such a great variety of circumstances that will lead to the director of the employment standards branch determining if there has been a closure, that one should not tie his hands in any way. When, for example, at American Motors it was 28 or 29 weeks, that could have jeopardized the reopening of the plant.

I think he should have that kind of discretion and let jurisprudence develop from that on the basis of appeals to determine what closure of the plant is in terms of the common law. That is the way this society has functioned in this common law country for years, and it has worked pretty well. Mr. Justice Riddell used to say that the common law worked very well until Parliament intervened. Probably this is the kind of approach we should take here.

The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of the amendment will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Renwick: I would ask another question that bothers me. Let me see if I can express it clearly. The clause which bothers me is contained in the regulation, and I recognize the regulations apply to part 12. I am not certain that it is necessarily appropriate to the point I want to make. The problem is obviously one that has been addressed in the regulations. It says, in regulation 251, item 14, subsection 2:

"Successive periods of employment of a person by an employer shall constitute one period of employment except where the successive periods of employment are more than 13 weeks apart in which case the period of last employment shall constitute the period of employment for the purpose of part 12 of the act."

I would get very worried if a long-term employee suddenly finds that he is not entitled to the benefit of the full period of his service because he has been terminated for more than 13 weeks so that he has successive periods of employment, as I read this, "where the successive periods of employment are more than 13 weeks apart, in which case the period of last employment shall constitute the period of employment for the purpose of part 12 of the act."

Am I facing a real danger that someone with a significant period of employment could find he had been not employed by that employer for over 13 weeks and returned to employment -- whatever the technical terminology would be about that return to employment -- to have them say, "Oh well, you are an employee, but you have only two years service because you remember that although you have worked here for 20 years there was a 14- or 20- or 26-week gap in the period of your employment"? Surely there must be some protection for the working person against that kind of interpretation of the rules applicable to part 12.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I must be quite frank with the member; I do not know the answer to that question. I will certainly have counsel prepare a response for me and will get back to you with it.

Mr. Renwick: My last comment in this area expressing my concern is that I take it that as promptly as possible the minister will look at regulation 251 to make sure there are no hidden anomalies in here by virtue of that regulation that will vitiate the principle we are trying to establish, which is that a person should be entitled to severance pay for the full period of his employment and not be hung up on some technical rule that there was a gap or an interruption in his employment in excess of 13 weeks, in a situation where it is not the employee's determination that that interruption in his employment should take place.

1:30 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman: Is there any further discussion on section 2? There being some amendments that have been stacked, could we proceed to section 3?

Mr. Renwick: I have a further amendment to section 2(1) of the bill.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Renwick moves that section 40a of the act as set out in section 2 of the bill be amended by adding a new subsection 4 as follows, "No employee entitled to severance pay under this section shall forfeit the pay by reason only that he left his employment prior to the termination date set out in his notice of termination in order to seek other employment," and that the following subsections be renumbered.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I think the amendment is self-explanatory. I do not think it is covered anywhere else in the bill. I would not want a situation to arise where all the other factors are operative and notice has been given, but prior to the actual date of termination of the employment the employee leaves to get another position or to seek other employment, in other words, he anticipates the fact that he is going to be out of work, he makes some effort to get other employment, and he leaves before the actual date of termination as set out in his notice of termination. As I read it, any employee at the present time taking that action would forfeit his right to severance pay.

I may be wrong in my interpretation but that is the way I read it, and I think it is a necessary provision to be included in the bill. I would not be at all surprised that, without defeating the purpose of the bill, it might well be included in a regulation. The minister may want time to think about it but the point has to be made. I hope the minister can satisfy me that it will be met.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I must say I understand what the member is driving at. Would it not seem inequitable to him, however, when the employer, who has complied with the law, has given the notice required and is carrying on business, that those who leave early receive the same benefits as those who stay on to complete the work as required with the company they have served for so many years?

I do not quite understand the logic of that, and I suspect that is why, in many of the collective agreements that do deal with this matter specifically, there is mention of being available to stay on for work as part of the severance pay requirement. That is why, I presume, in Canada and the United Kingdom they have specifically excluded from severance pay people who leave early.

I do not think I am alone in feeling it would be very inequitable to treat those who stay differently from those who choose to leave early, but that does not preclude voluntary or contractual arrangements to the contrary. Indeed, in many of the closure situations I have had to deal with personally, there have been provisions made for certain numbers of employees to leave early. The bill does not preclude that type of arrangement. As a basic standard, surely the member is not suggesting that there should be that inequity between those who stay and fulfil the commitment to termination and those who do not?

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, for each instance that the minister can give I can give the opposite instance. The minister must know that.

What about the employee who has been there for 25 years, is terminated, is very anxious, concerned and distressed about what his future is going to be, has an opportunity given to him to take another position and leaves before the actual expiration of the period of time set out in the notice? Does the minister mean he is to forfeit his severance pay?

I am not suggesting for a moment that we are talking about a situation where everybody, having received notice of termination, leaves and claims severance pay. But I am saying that I see nothing in the act and nothing in the regulation that relieves that kind of inequity. It cannot be all one way and it cannot be all the other without destroying the equity. I think the minister has to look at it and give us assurance that he will do so.

My own view is that if the minister cannot solve it he has to accept our amendment, because that is the way it should be. The person who needs the assistance, the person who needs the severance pay, the person who is the reason for the severance pay, is the working person, not the employer. I think the minister has to give us some assurance that he is aware of the problem and that he is going to deal with it.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, I understand what the minister is saying, and I might even buy what he was saying if I thought the whole layoff procedure -- or the shutdown or whatever it is -- were a negotiated process in which the workers had some role to play. But the workers have no say in this whatsoever, and yet there is the implication that if the worker changes jobs or finds other employment then everything is equal, that suddenly there is equity between what the employers had to do under the act and what the worker has received as a result of the act.

It seems to me that this is wrong, that we have taken a worker -- who knows how long he has been in employment? -- whose work is disrupted relatively suddenly; it ends, it ceases. That can put that person through a wringer. To say that the worker might end up gaining something he should not gain, I find a very strange argument. It might be for legitimate reasons that the place is closing -- I am not saying there are never legitimate reasons for closures or layoffs -- but, regardless of that, the worker is at the mercy of the employer.

To suggest that an employee who decides to stay to the end should be rewarded, whereas the person who leaves early should not be rewarded, is a fallacious argument. In the first place, the employer probably does not want them all to stay to the end -- he is reducing the work force -- and, in the second place, the employees who stay to the end probably do so because they have not been able to find something else to go to. Why else would they stay to the end?

If the job is running out and a job opportunity comes up, that employee would have to be very strangely motivated not to jump at that new job opportunity, because who is to say it is going to be there in another two weeks, four weeks or even six weeks? I think the minister should not regard the two parties as equal in this case.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I have listened to the arguments from both the mover of this amendment and the minister. I have had some discussions on the matter, and I think the member for Riverdale pointed out the dilemma we all face in that the bill, as he so rightly points out, does not speak to this one issue of the employee who may find himself, in the course of the period after termination is given but before the termination date actually arrives, in a position where he can get other employment. Perhaps the employment will be at a rate lower than that he was making in the plant at which he was employed, and yet he is caught at that point because, if he does so, he could forfeit his severance pay. The minister has pointed out with some justification that one surely would not want to discriminate against those employees who stay until the termination date.

1:40 p.m.

I suppose that once again -- we have had a number of these today -- what this points to is that the select committee should have been reconstituted. The minister himself has said on a number of occasions, "We will have to see how it works." Surely, had the select committee been reconstituted, we could have brought these matters forward, and we could have made arrangements for this kind of detail.

I find myself in a terrible dilemma in that the member for Riverdale has addressed a very real problem, a very real hole in this bill. Yet I think his amendment on this basis is probably too extreme. He could have worked out some middle ground where there could have been some penalty provision for those who get new employment, in that they would not get the entire amount of severance. That seemed to be what he was speaking to in his remarks that perhaps there should be some penalty provision.

There should be some provision for at least partial severance for someone who is lucky enough, knowing that he is going to be unemployed, to get a new job in that period between the time notice is given and the termination date actually arrives. There should be some provision for at least partial severance payment. So, on balance, I say I do not think we on this side can support the amendment.

I say that regretfully to the member for Riverdale, but I say to the minister I am much more concerned that we are only now realizing the real problems this bill has. A select committee should have been established to look at these very important provisions, these very important details that are arising out of these amendments. I find it very distasteful to be in a position where we have to choose between two almost equally unpopular -- how does one say it in French? -- and unattractive alternatives. We have to choose between the two of them, and so we will regretfully oppose this amendment.

The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Renwick's amendment will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

The Deputy Chairman: Any other debate on subsection 2 of section 2?

Mr. Laughren: I have a lengthy amendment, Mr. Chairman, to section 2.

The Deputy Chairman: Will you see that copies are distributed?

Mr. Laughren: It is a very lengthy amendment, and I would ask the indulgence of the House. I guess I will have to read it as I move it. It is a very important amendment; so I do apologize for the length.

I move that section 2 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

"Part XII of the said act is amended by adding thereto the following sections:

"40b. In this part,

"(a) 'board' means a job protection board;

"(b) 'minister' means the Minister of Labour;

"(c) 'plant closing' includes the closing of part of a plant or the closing of a product line in a plant that results in the permanent loss of employment for 25 or more employees.

"40c. (1) There is hereby established a job protection board to be composed of five persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

"(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council should appoint one of the members of the board who shall be a full-time member as chairman and may appoint one or other such members as vice-chairman.

"(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint persons to the board who are representative of industry and labour.

"(4) Three members of the board, one of whom shall be the chairman or vice-chairman, constitute a quorum and they exercise all the powers of the board, notwithstanding any vacancy in the membership.

"(5) The chairman shall have general supervision and direction over the conduct of the affairs of the board and shall arrange the sittings of the board and assign members to conduct hearings as circumstances require.

"(6) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint a registrar for the board who shall perform such duties as are assigned to him under this or any other act or by the chairman of the board.

"(7) The registrar of the board and every member of the board have power to administer oaths and affirmations for the purpose of any of its proceedings.

"40d. The objectives of the job protection board are to inquire into the causes of intended layoffs and plant closings, to assess the social and economic impact of such layoffs and plant closings on individual employees and communities and to recommend specific action" --

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Laughren, this amendment is outside the scope and general definition of the bill. I am going to rule this is not an amendment and is therefore out of order.

Mr. Laughren: Are you serious?

The Deputy Chairman: Yes.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, will you elaborate? What we are talking about is a complex bill that deals with a question related to plant closures and layoffs. The question of justification and reason is an essential ingredient of the hardship to which working people are put in those circumstances.

Within the scope of the bill, given the statement that is made in the bill, it appeared to us appropriate to establish in law the provisions the minister uses in circumstances that led to this particular severance pay provision. In section 1(1) of the bill an explanatory note --

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Renwick, you are debating my ruling. The ruling is that in the second reading of the bill in the House there was no approval given for the establishment of a board, and on the basis of that I have declared this amendment out of order. That is the ruling.

Is there any other discussion or debate that you have on --

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, can I speak to --

The Deputy Chairman: On what point, Mr. Laughren? Is this a point of order or a point of personal privilege?

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, yes -- a point of view, even.

The Deputy Chairman: Please tell me what it is you are talking about.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: If you look at section 1, subsection 1 of the explanatory notes of the act we are debating, it states that it will "give the minister specific authority to require employers to participate in actions" -- et cetera -- and refers to "the establishment of committees to facilitate the re-establishment in employment of employees whose employment is being terminated and to require employers to participate in the funding of any such committee."

It seems to me what we are doing is simply expanding on that principle of the amendment by establishing a job protection board, and that really is not outside the jurisdiction of the act.

The Deputy Chairman: Thank you. The ruling stands.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, you looked like you were being persuaded.

The Deputy Chairman: I almost was. It was a good case.

Is there any further debate on section 2?

Mr. Renwick: I would like to comment on the other provisions in the bill, Mr. Chairman.

The Deputy Chairman: In that case the bill is stood down.

1:50 p.m.


Consideration of Bill 129, An Act to amend the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, I bear no grudges. Despite your ruling, I intend to participate with you in this debate.

The Deputy Chairman: I appreciate that. I will remember you all summer long.

On section 1:

Mr. Laughren: I have an amendment to section 1 of the act. May I move it?

The Deputy Chairman: Do you have a copy of this being circulated? Do you have copies for me, the minister and a copy --

Mr. Laughren: It has been circulated to the minister and to the opposition. Perhaps I ignored the most important person of all.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Laughren, we do not have a copy at the table. Can you see that we get one?

Mr. Laughren: There is a package of amendments, Mr. Chairman, not just one.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that section 36(1) of the act, as set out in section 1(1a) of the bill, be amended by striking out "$1,200" and substituting "$1,900"; in section 1(1c)(i) striking out "$447" and substituting "$621"; in section 1(1c)(ii) striking out "$492" and substituting "$695"; in section 1(1d)(i) striking out "$447", "$123" and "$139" and substituting respectively "$621", "$171" and "$193"; in section 1(1d)(ii) striking out "$492", "$136" and "$153" and substituting respectively "$695", "$191" and "$214"; in section 1(1e)(i) striking out "$139" and substituting "$193"; in section 1(1e)(ii) striking out "$153" and substituting "$216"; in section 1(1f)(i) striking out "$447" and substituting "$621"; and in section 1(1f)(ii) striking out "$492" and substituting "$695."

Mr. Laughren: Very briefly, Mr. Chairman, just to explain that rather lengthy amendment to section 1 of the bill, the first $1,200 to $1,900 is the allowance for burial expense, which we think should be moved up to $1,900. Moving from $447 to $621 is the monthly pension for widows effective July 1980 and then bumping it up to $695 on July 1, 1981, when there is a sole dependant.

Moving from $447 to $621 and then up to $695 is when there is one or more dependent children after a worker is killed on the job. In that case there would be an increase in the amount for each child as well, from $123 to $171 in 1980 and $191 in 1981, and from $139 to $193 in 1980 and $214 in 1981. When all the dependants are children -- when there is no widow or widower in place -- then it would bump up the amount that would go to those dependants too, to $193 in 1980 and to $216 on July 1, 1981.

There is a catch-all clause in the bill which refers to all other dependants who do not fit into those categories. We would move that up to $621 in 1980 and $695 in 1981.

Briefly, while it may look complicated in written form, all it is really doing is increasing the amount of pension to dependants of workers killed on the job.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak in favour of the amendment. I think it recognizes an equal contribution from both partners in the case of a widow whose spouse has been killed on the job. I believe the figure that is quoted in the amendment is more in line with the kind of remuneration that would be paid to a worker who is totally disabled as a result of a compensable injury.

I think the spirit of equality should be endorsed, and I think this amendment does speak to that spirit. I also suggest that if the amendment does carry, and if the subsequent amendment carries with respect to the permanent disability pension, perhaps we could consider incorporating an amendment that will keep both the widow's pension and the pension of the person on permanent total disability aligned. Then the spirit of equality would not be violated with respect to spouses whose husbands or wives have been injured on the job.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I cannot accept this amendment. It comes on the verge of a white paper for consideration by this House and by the public which proposes major reforms in the workmen's compensation system. Also, the government has put forward interim pension benefit awards that are in keeping with the inflationary changes over the prior two years.

These amendments in their totality range anywhere from a 90 per cent increase in some instances to 50 per cent in the first year and 12 per cent in the second in other instances and, at the very lowest figure, 39 per cent in the first year and 12 per cent, which compounded comes to 56 per cent over two years. I think that to introduce amendments like this is really a little strange when we were on the verge of considering significant reforms to the compensation system.

According to my calculations, these amendments come to something in the neighbourhood of $1 billion. I am interested in reforming the compensation system, not because the original idea was wrong, because it was right. It was in the forefront, and the member knows that. What he is doing in these amendments, with respect, is to try to detract significantly from that process of consideration which I had hoped the white paper would receive. I have to oppose these amendments.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, that is an outrageous allegation. Injured workers in the province are getting tired of always being on the verge of a breakthrough in compensation. There is always either a white paper or a royal commission or some kind of study going on that is going to make things better tomorrow.

We are saying we are tired of being on the verge and it is time to put in some decent levels of benefits for workers and their dependants in the province.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Laughren's amendment will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Amendment stacked.

2 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that section 36(7) of the act, as set out in section 2(1) of the bill, be amended by striking out "$1,200" and substituting "$1,900."

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, may I speak briefly to that? That is simply the amount that is a lump sum payment to a widow or widower in the case of a death of a worker on the job or as a result of an accident on the job.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, we cannot accept this amendment for the very reasons I gave before. This government is in favour of consideration of major reforms of the board. This particular amendment, which many of us have great sympathy with, constitutes --

Mr. Laughren: Oh, come on.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Under the Weiler recommendations, there would be much more than that available, but the member is proposing a 90 per cent increase in an interim bill. Although the government favours the principle, it is being considered in the white paper and he knows it.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to carry on the discussion, but I think the amendment as proposed, with the $700 increase in the payment of death benefits, is a small price to pay to the widows and orphans of this province who have lost spouses and fathers in work accidents.

The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Laughren's amendment will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that subsections 42(8) and 42(9) of the act, as set out in section 4 of the bill, be amended by striking out in subsection 8 the figure "9" and substituting the figure "39", and by striking out in subsection 9 the figure "10" and substituting the figure "12."

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, the reason we have done this is to remove the erosion of the Davis years from workers' permanent disability pensions. We have gone back to 1971; I know we could have gone back a lot farther than that, but we thought it was very nice to put in parentheses the erosion of pensions and tie it in with the Davis years of government in Ontario. We believe that is the amount by which the permanent disability pensions of injured workers have been eroded in the last 10 years, and that is the reason for the number "39."

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, once again, I will not accept that amendment on behalf of the government, not because the government does not believe that reform is necessary but because it has that process of reform now out for consideration. In the meantime, we are proposing interim benefits in keeping with inflation.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Chairman, in keeping with what the minister has said, if he does support the spirit of the amendment, I think he would have no choice but to endorse the amendment because, although this is interim legislation, there are people in this province who have interim lives to lead and who have seen their standard of living eroded time and again by unequal distribution of income with respect to the workmen's compensation system.

I do not think we can stall on this question any longer. I think the amendment is attempting to redress the loss of income that was seen through the Davis years, and our party has no choice but to support the amendment, because we believe that workers in this province are not receiving a fair share at present.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, perhaps the minister would like to engage in some horse-trading this afternoon.

Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: Before the horse-trading begins, are we not at this stage supposed to be undertaking ministerial statements? Are we finishing the bill?

The Deputy Chairman: I am ready for a motion at some point.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, it raises one amendment. I just want to conclude by saying that, if the minister wants to engage in some horse-trading, I suspect the injured workers of Ontario would be quite happy to trade his sympathy and concern and the white paper and all other future reports for a decent level of benefits.

The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Laughren's amendment will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported progress.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to bring your attention to a matter of considerable concern to me relating to the conduct of public business in this Legislature and in particular relating to question period.

As you well know, Mr. Speaker, a minister may decide to answer an oral question or a written inquiry in any way he pleases. Indeed, standing order 27(i) states, "A minister may, in his discretion, decline to answer any question." That is with regard to oral questions, and there is a similar provision for written inquiries.

My first concern is with respect to the habit of the government ministers to undertake to respond to a question and then to neglect to follow up with any response.

To take the example of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker), on April 30, fully two months ago, I brought to the attention of this House a series of serious allegations concerning the role of the Ontario Securities Commission in the Astra/Re-Mor affair. The minister stated at the time that he would come back to this House with answers to these charges. Since then he has been asked in the House for those answers on May 11, May 19 and June 11. Each time he has reiterated his intention to respond, but we have yet to receive any answer.

Similarly, on June 17, I queried the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations concerning the role of his ministry in the collapse of Co-operative Health Services of Ontario. The minister said he did not have any answers, but he undertook to make inquiries and get back to us. It has been two weeks and we have not heard a peep from him.

Another matter that I draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, is the 41 questions on the Order Paper from members of my caucus concerning the advertising expenditures of various ministries of this government. An answer was promised for mid-June and we have not heard anything since.

Without taking up too much more time, I want to raise the matter of the lands in the town of Vaughan. Here was a case where we in the opposition could not receive from this government anything approaching a reasonable and plausible chronology of the events that transpired between the various ministers and parliamentary assistants involved.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that you may not be able to police the activities of the ministers of this government, but surely every citizen of this province would be surprised, if not shocked, to learn that ministers of the crown are not required to answer questions with reasonable diligence, promptness and honesty. Is that really asking too much of Her Majesty's ministers?

In view of the fact that ministers are entitled to refuse to answer but instead of refusing to answer they are promising answers that never appear, could you, sir, offer any advice that would assist this assembly to meet the requirements of an open and responsive Legislature, which the citizens of Ontario surely expect of us?

2:10 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Smith. I suggest that you direct your question to the government House leader (Mr. Wells) when he comes in.


Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. This point of privilege will come as no surprise to you, Mr. Speaker, since I advised you of the contents of the issue I will be raising in order that you might prepare your response since it concerns your own actions.

On Saturday, June 27, at approximately 12:25 p.m., a broadcast was carried over CFMP-FM in Peterborough in which you expressed certain opinions. The broadcast was repeated on the same station at approximately the same time on Sunday, June 28. In this broadcast you made a favourable pitch for an item of government legislation, one that is before the House today and one that has been the focus of considerable partisan dispute.

You made no reference to the role of the opposition in pressing for this legislation and, indeed, you credited the government alone with having initiated hearings which led to the present bill. You enumerated the specific provisions of the bill, making not so much as an implicit acknowledgement of the criticisms of same made by our party and by the labour movement. You concluded the tape by stating, and I quote: "The government believes this legislation represents a major step forward." The signoff was "John Turner, Queen's Park."

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, your broadcast to your constituents certainly breached the well-established convention that the Speaker at all times must be at pains to avoid seeming partisan lest he undermine his standing as a presiding officer in the Legislative Assembly.

Specifically, in this broadcast carried over the airwaves to many ridings, and not only to your own, you advocated the merits of a government bill that was to be debated in this House. You did so before the debate had been concluded and hence disdained the possibility that opposition amendments might pass.

You made no mention of the role played by opposition parties in pressing for legislation in this area, such as NDP pressure for committee hearings, and you made no mention at all of NDP amendments to and criticisms of the current bill, though you did cite several specifics in explaining beneficial effects of this initiative.

In short, you clearly broadcast as a Tory MPP. In no way did your presentation of this highly contentious piece of legislation acknowledge the existence of the two other parties in the House, let alone reflect a sense that you as Speaker are a servant of this whole House.

For a Speaker, you acted as a Tory backbencher. I find it an outrageous affront to this parliament that you as the chief presiding officer would speak in a partisan manner about a bill that was still to come before the House.

This is not the first time you have failed to recognize your important role as Speaker of the assembly and have demeaned the office by acting in a highly partisan manner. In the light of my criticisms, Mr. Speaker, I believe you owe all members of the House an apology.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Philip. I want to thank you very much for the opportunity and for making me aware before you rose on this point of privilege. I will read a statement, if I may, which I prepared rather hurriedly, but I think it explains my position.

Earlier today, the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) was kind enough to speak privately with me about a concern he wished to bring to the attention of the House involving a regular radio broadcast I make to my constituents. First of all, I want to thank the member for this notice and concern. Having had an opportunity to review the text of the short broadcast, I wish to make some brief comments to the House.

Mr. Philip expressed concern that I was commenting on a topical matter that was, or would be, before the House, and on which my independence as Speaker might subsequently be tested. The report was on the Employment Standards Act, debated here earlier today, dealing with matters that I know are of strong concern to that member and his party.

Given the concern members of the House have previously expressed on the scope of public commentary which the Speaker should make to his constituents, I think it best that I simply read the text of the broadcast to the House at this time:

"In a world of economic turmoil, the strength and prosperity of our province's economy is something we can all take pride in. Still, there is no denying that in recent months high interest rates, inflation and the recession in the United States have taken their toll on some of Ontario's industries and workers.

"Recognizing this problem, the Ontario government began looking into the need to introduce severance pay legislation to help people who have lost their jobs because of a plant closure. As a result, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act was introduced in the House on June 4.

"This bill will make severance pay mandatory for workers who lose their jobs in a full or partial plant shutdown involving at least 50 employees over a six-month period. These workers will be entitled to one week's pay for each year of service to the company, with a maximum benefit of 26 weeks' pay.

"To be eligible, workers will have to have at least five years' service with the employer. Regular full- and part-time employees will be eligible for severance pay but casual employees will not. If an employee refuses an offer of a reasonable alternative job from his employer, he will not be eligible for severance pay as will those who are entitled to receive their full pensions when a plant shuts down.

"Of course, the most important priority for workers who are laid off is to find a new job. The new severance pay legislation will also help workers solve this problem by authorizing the Ministry of Labour to make employers participate in manpower adjustment committees. In general, these committees will be made up of representatives from business, labour and the government. Their purpose will be to find new jobs for workers and suggest job training programs for those needing to develop new skills.

"Employers will also be required to take any further action deemed necessary to help laid-off workers find new jobs. Naturally, the circumstances surrounding a plant shutdown will be taken into account when applying this new legislation. For example, employees of a bankrupt company will be eligible for severance pay, but only to the extent the assets are available to satisfy their claims.

"Similarly, if a plant has to be closed as a direct result of the economic consequences of a strike, the striking employees will not be eligible for severance pay. In this way, the rights of employers will be protected. These proposed severance pay measures will be retroactive to January 1 of this year.

"The government believes this legislation represents a major step forward in ensuring that people who lose their jobs when a business closes down are treated fairly and equitably."

Further, I have sought opinion today on the appropriateness of the text, and some advice has been given to the effect that, however factual and objective my comments were about the content of the bill before the House entered debate on it, it should be preferable that the Speaker try to avoid entering into public discussion of topical matters expected to be taken up by the House. I abide by that opinion and undertake to reflect it in the future to the best of my ability.

I wish to point out that broadcast was made on June 27, 1981, and from the information I have, the bill was debated before the broadcast, on June 25.

May I say to the House I had no interest in being partisan or less than objective in the text. As members will know, my riding has a major industrial component and this legislation, which emanated following the work of the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment, of which I previously was a member, was of factual concern to me and indeed to many of my constituents.

It was solely for that reason that I chose to outline objectively the contents of that bill.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, may I make a comment on this point of --

Mr. Speaker: No, it is not debatable.

2:20 p.m.

Mr. Roy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: It is not a point of privilege, with all respect.

Mr. Roy: But it was a point involving your office, and it involves all members of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Order. It is a matter that has been dealt with --

Mr. Roy: How do you know it is not a point of privilege until I have raised it? That's what I am asking.

Mr. Speaker: You said you were speaking to the same point.

Mr. Roy: Your conduct is a matter of privilege involving all members --

Mr. Speaker: And I have given an explanation to the members of the House.

Mr. Roy: Do you have a further --

Mr. Speaker: Please resume your seat.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I think my privileges are affected in this particular case. How can you rule on it until you have heard me?

Mr. Speaker: Because I had already heard it, and I have dealt with it.

Mr. Roy: Well, you have not heard me, Mr. Speaker. As one member whose privileges I think --

Mr. Speaker: Are you raising a new point of privilege?

Mr. Roy: No. It is the same point of privilege that has been raised. As a member here, and having heard your statement, Mr. Speaker, I just thought I should make one comment, if I might.

Mr. Speaker: All right. I will listen to that.

Mr. Roy: My point to you, Mr. Speaker, is simply this: I have listened closely to your statement, which the member for Etobicoke mentioned had been broadcast. I think my colleagues and I are in agreement that we do not see very much wrong or very offensive in the comments you made. My impression was that your statement seems to have been more informative than partisan, and I congratulate you on the basis of that. But I think the whole underpinning of the role of the Speaker -- and I think you understand that -- is your impartiality.

What I am trying to get across to you is simply that every time a statement is made representing a bill that is being debated before the House you should not get involved. If all these statements were as objective and as neutral as your comment indicated, there would be no problem. But even though the bill has had second reading, there were further discussions on it. There were amendments put forward this morning by some of my colleagues and some of the NDP members.

I suggest respectfully -- I am trying to be helpful -- that the Speaker must be very careful in discussing matters that are before the House lest he be accused by some members, for political reasons or otherwise, of being partisan. That is the message I am trying to get across.


Mr. Speaker: I ask all members of this House to extend a welcome to the Honourable Neil Stacey, member of the Legislative Council, State of Victoria, Australia, who is accompanied by Mrs. Stacey.



Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I wish today to advise the members of the House that Government of Ontario Transit has placed an order for 71 additional bi-level rail coaches for delivery in 1983 and 1984.

The order, with Hawker Siddeley Canada Limited, designers of the car, is an add-on to the still-current order for the original 80 cars. They will be manufactured at their Canadian Car division plant in Thunder Bay.

The new order is valued at $59 million, or $825,000 per basic car, in 1981 dollars. It provides for escalation to offset increases in costs of labour and materials, plus a provision for optional extras or design modifications.

The new cars will increase GO's fleet of high-capacity double-decked cars to 151, sufficient to equip all GO trains operating in and out of Toronto today, including the three trains that will run on the new Toronto-Milton corridor starting this fall. The terms of the agreement with Hawker Siddeley also include an option to increase the order to permit expansion of commuter rail services when necessary.

Present single-level GO cars will be phased out with the arrival of new bi-levels. They will be sold on the North American market, where we have been advised there is a strong demand for commuter rail rolling stock.

The GO bi-level, already enthusiastically preferred by Ontario commuters, permits us to increase capacity without lengthening trains or running more trains on the restricted and costly railway rights of way.

While single-level cars only cost in the neighbourhood of $500,000 to $600,000 each, the bi-levels with their greater seating capacity -- some 75 per cent higher -- cost-wise are actually much more economical to operate.

Members will appreciate that this substantial order will directly and indirectly provide some 700 man-years of employment, not only at the Thunder Bay plant but also elsewhere in Ontario and Canada where components are manufactured.


Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, today I wish to briefly outline to the honourable members steps being taken by the Ministry of Revenue to ensure revenue flows and the delivery of guaranteed annual income system cheques during the current postal disruption.

On Thursday of this week, advertisements will be appearing in all daily newspapers reminding corporations and retail sales tax filers that tax payments can be made at their local chartered bank. The Ministry of Revenue has had this optional pay-at-the-bank system operative now for the past 18 months. Response from the business community has been favourable, and we are pleased to have this convenient payment method in place during this period of postal disruption.

Our print advertisements will also advise tax filers remitting payments to my ministry that their returns and cheques can be dropped off at any of our 64 field offices for prompt delivery to our taxation data centre in Toronto.

Of particular concern to my ministry is the assured delivery of 220,000 Gains cheques to senior citizens throughout the province. Consequently, the Ministry of Revenue is here and now guaranteeing the delivery of these cheques to each senior's household should the postal dispute continue beyond the fifteenth of this month.

Together, these contingency payment and delivery systems will ensure the continued flow of revenue into the provincial Treasury. As well, the seniors may rest assured that their Gains cheques will be delivered with the same punctuality that has characterized our mail-outs in the past.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, today I want to tell the members the details of two different programs.

The first one is the five-year, $1.5-million Ontario asparagus production incentive program. The second is the five-year, $1.5-million Ontario tender fruit for processing tree planting assistance program.

Farmers can qualify for the asparagus program by planting a minimum of five new acres of this important crop in one year. The program is backdated to cover plantings since April 1 of this year.

Grants will be paid for up to 50 new acres of asparagus a year during the program, up to a maximum of 150 acres. The grants will total $500 per acre over three years: $250 per acre for the first year, $150 per acre in the second year of the planting and $100 in the third year.

We expect that the program will help Ontario farmers plant an additional 3,000 acres of asparagus. This will double Ontario's asparagus production. My ministry's staff will be available to assist farmers in determining whether their land and soil are suited for asparagus.

More information and application forms now are available at all of my ministry's offices throughout the province.

The tender fruit tree program is intended to increase Ontario production of clingstone peaches for processing to 9,000 metric tons by 1990. Bartlett pear trees are also covered by the program. The trees may be used to fill in established blocks of orchards or for new plantings.

The program gives rebates covering the full price of suitable Ontario-grown trees purchased from commercial Ontario nurseries. There are two ways to qualify: For farmers making new plantings, a minimum of 150 trees must be purchased. Farmers who buy new trees to fill in existing orchard blocks must buy a number equal to at least 10 per cent of the number of trees already planted.

Information and application forms for the tender fruit tree program are also available at ministry offices.

I am sure both programs will be a great boon to Ontario farmers and to the consumers, who will be able to enjoy even more home-grown Ontario food.

2:30 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to inform all honourable members that we have in the gallery today a group of very special guests -- guests who have brought international honour to Canada and to the performing arts in our country.

I refer, of course, to the men and women of the National Ballet of Canada and the National Ballet School who have just returned home -- in fact, last night -- to Toronto from Moscow and an outstanding showing at last week's international ballet competition.

One hundred and three dancers from around the world competed at Moscow, and only 32 qualified for the finals. Of these, four represented Canada and one the United States. Most of the finalists were Russians.

Against very stiff competition, dancers from Canada won seven medals and prizes, more than any delegation other than the Russian group itself.

Kevin Pugh and Kim Glasco of the National Ballet of Canada won silver medals in the men's and women's senior category. In the junior men's category, Owen Montague won second prize. He also won the Moscow Ballet Academy prize for excellence, an award rarely bestowed upon a non-Russian. In the junior women's category Martine Lamy won a third prize. Both of these outstanding young dancers are in the National Ballet School program here in Toronto.

In the competition for best duo partnership, Miss Lamy and her partner, Serge Lavoie, won the junior prize. A special accompanist's award was presented to Mary McDonald, the principal pianist of the National Ballet of Canada.

The performance in Moscow was simply extraordinary, and the people of Ontario, whose tax dollars assist both the ballet and the school, should be very gratified by it.

It is now my pleasure to introduce our guests to all honourable members:

Dancers Kimberly Glasco, Kevin Pugh, Sabina Allemann and Martine Lamy; accompanist Mary McDonald; National Ballet teacher and coach Jean Geddes; National Ballet master David Scott; National Ballet mistress Joanne Nisbet; National Ballet artistic director Alexander Grant; and Miss Betty Oliphant, artistic director and ballet principal of the National Ballet School.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. I hope he does not do the usual pirouetting around the questions, as Miss Oliphant is capable of judging.

The Treasurer may be aware that in his absence I asked the permission of the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) to direct a question on equalization to the parliamentary assistant, but the Deputy Premier refused that permission and then told me he did not know the answer himself.

Now that the Treasurer is here, will he explain how it is that he was outvoted nine to one by his colleagues from other provinces with regard to his equalization proposal in Vancouver last week?

Specifically, will the Treasurer answer one question, please? Will he tell us whether the proposal he presented represented a willingness on the part of the government of Ontario to accept equalization or other similar payments, provided that resource revenues were allowed to enter more fully into the formula? Did his proposal envisage that Ontario would now be willing to accept payments of some kind?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, to answer the first part of the question, there were nine of them and there was one of me; it is as simple as that. And, as I said to the press, the fact that it was nine to one did not mean I was not right.

Because this matter is a fairly technical one and because I happen to be the minister dealing in the main with equalization, I think it is proper the minister answer in this case. My parliamentary assistant is going to be looking after the pension work on my behalf and is going to be spending a good deal of his time looking into that. I am sure there will be many days when he can guide me in that matter as we progress through the select committee and in other areas.

There is a tendency to think conferences such as we had in Victoria last week are failures because a headline portrays disagreement. The fact is, that was one of the most productive conferences of provincial ministers I have been fortunate enough to attend in the last few years. Most matters brought before the conference saw, if not unanimity, a great deal of unanimity or a great deal of common approach to problems. The major one that saw a deep difference of opinion, that which dealt with equalization, quite properly brought Ontario's response.

It is not ironic but perhaps fitting that this matter should be discussed here in this House on the eve of our 114th birthday in this country. The honourable member need not start looking like that, because I think it is the very kind of underpinning which has kept this country together.

Mr. Smith: I asked a specific question.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable member has just finished giving a great lecture to the Speaker upon ministers' abilities in answering questions. Please let me say something I think is important.

Ms. Copps: Are you for Canada?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, I happen to be. Out west I pointed out that this country flew in the face of many geographic facts when it was created. As a matter of fact, this country survived because certain provinces recognized it was important to share --


Hon. F. S. Miller: I am glad I had the opportunity to be there and not the honourable member. I was trying to deal with the problem, as I saw it, as a Canadian in a Canadian context and in the context of the history of this country. If the honourable member is not willing to look at the problem in that context, then he is not willing to understand the --

Mr. Smith: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I have the floor. Please sit down.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I honestly do not want to be provocative on this.


Mr. Smith: Come on now, I have respect for the Treasurer and I think you know that, Mr. Speaker. I believe the Treasurer has an important statement to make about his view of the country and about the importance of equalization payments in our history and in the future of this nation. I for one would actually be pleased -- and I say this with all sincerity -- to hear the views of the Treasurer of Ontario on this matter and I would invite him to make a statement to this House. He should have done so already, having returned from the conference.

In all fairness, however, my question simply asked whether the proposal put by the Treasurer on behalf of Ontario envisaged Ontario receiving payments. That really was the specific question.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I was working up to that. I have often allowed the honourable member to give me a long lecture as a prelude to a question, in which he states a whole series of comments and observations before he gets around to the phrasing of the question.

As a minister of the crown I think I have, as he pointed out, the right to answer questions as I see fit, and I think it happens to be quite important to understand Ontario's historic role in equalization before one can understand what seems to be our isolationist, individualistic role in this particular issue.

To answer the honourable member's specific question, yes, Ontario is willing to take payments providing no other mechanism is found to redistribute the revenues of the resource-rich provinces. That was stated in papers which we presented to the conference.

The fact remains, there are six recipient provinces. There are four provinces which are well enough off not to receive transfer payments, three of which have received them in the past. Those three are very much afraid some of their new-found, provincially owned wealth may be taken by the federal government to maintain the equalization formulas in this country. They obviously have a vested interest in making sure that does not happen.

The six remaining receiving provinces are very much afraid the federal government will diminish the payments. We endorse their right to receive them and we stated clearly all provinces have the obligation, when they are wealthy enough, to contribute to the wellbeing of the national government and this economy through contributions to an equalization program.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the Treasurer, on behalf of Ontario, is willing under some new formula to be the recipient of funds, will the Treasurer kindly explain why, when he was already eligible under the old formula to receive funds, his government chose to agree with amendments brought in by the federal government to make us ineligible, thus doing away with our possibility of receiving about $1 billion in equalization money that would have been due to us under the old formula?

Will the Treasurer not admit that the reason he did not want to accept money under the old formula, but is quite prepared to accept funds under some new and improved formula, is because he would have had to admit that Ontario was a have-not province prior to the election, something he is only prepared to do after the election?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Not at all, Mr. Speaker. As a matter of fact, the member can go back into my history as Treasurer as far as the fall of 1978 when Maclean's magazine wrote some articles on this. I was asked whether I would or would not accept the moneys from the federal government. I said, "I would accept them so fast it would curl your hair" -- I think these were the very words in Maclean's magazine -- "provided the principle of equalization payments embodies a redistribution of natural resource revenues." Currently it does not. The principle of equalization is aimed at providing basic governmental services in provinces that do not have the taxing capacity to do so. Any idea that Ontario is a have-not province is foolish.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Treasurer agree that if this province and this government were more willing to commit adequate Ontario dollars to establish programs, such as health care and so on, the government might be in a stronger position then to persuade the federal government to renegotiate more adequate fiscal arrangements with all the provinces, rather than continuing to substitute federal dollars as well as user fees for those programs, such as health care?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I hope my honourable critic understands that he has now changed the topic entirely. We were not talking about established program financing at all. We were talking about equalization payments. The unanimity of that conference was on the very topic he is raising.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: It appears that Ontario has been effectively isolated again; no one agrees with the Treasurer's position. It looks, at least to those of us observing from the side, as if he has no other suggestion to put forward to make the system more fair from Ontario's point of view. Why would that now not at least put the government in a position where it should have fought for that $1.3 billion in equalization we are entitled to?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the formula for equalization is, as you know, a measure of the some 29 revenue-raising variables in each province. It is an empirical formula. It was created at a time in our history when natural resources revenues did not form a major part of any province's revenue. It commits the federal government to pay money. It does not commit anyone to pay the federal government money.

The federal government has had a large increase in its obligations to pay in the last few years. It has had no offsetting source of income. It has, therefore, fallen back on its traditional tax base, 43 per cent of which is in Ontario. Yet only 38 per cent of the gross national product is in Ontario. I point out that as the inconsistency.

Mr. Peterson: We understand all that. It is refreshing that the Treasurer has just come to that conclusion. What is he going to do about it? What is his contingency plan?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Smith has the floor.


Mr. Smith: I would direct a question to the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker. The minister will be well aware, from his attendance last night, that many hours of committee hearings have gone on with regard to his bill to amend the Public Hospitals Act. The minister will also be aware that the great preponderance of views expressed last night in committee was very much unfavourable with regard to the act he has proposed.

Why would the minister, therefore, not accept the reasonable proposal that is being put to him by the two opposition parties: namely, to bring in legislation that affects Toronto East General Hospital so he can get on with that matter immediately, but to put to one side, until there have been adequate hearings over a reasonable amount of time, this all-encompassing and extremely important piece of legislation that touches on the entire idea of what constitutes a hospital board, how it is to operate, what authority it is to have and so on?

Why is the minister trying to use the Toronto East General Hospital as a sort of group ticket to get into all the hospitals of Ontario, when all that is required is an individual ticket to deal with the Toronto East General Hospital itself?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, the honourable member makes it sound as though in some way -- and I know this concern has been expressed in some quarters -- we are out to get the whole hospital community. What we are talking about -- and we talked about it in second-reading debate last week, we talked about it in the standing committee yesterday and hopefully some time today we are going to talk about it in committee of the whole House -- is accountability. What we are talking about is ultimately making the hospital sector as accountable as any other sector of the public service.

I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition, as I did to his colleagues on the committee, that for many years there have stood on the statute books of Ontario similar provisions of ultimate accountability with respect to municipalities and various social service agencies which are also volunteer directed. I am trying very hard to take cognizance of the apprehensions, and I indicated my intention and distributed copies of amendments I intend to introduce which I think will go even further in ensuring the balance necessary to --

Mr. Roy: Come on. Window dressing. Window dressing. That's right; amendment zero.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Excuse me, I am answering the member's leader. Does court not sit today?

Mr. Roy: Don't try to do a snow job in here. That's what it is.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Proceed with the original question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is no snow job, Mr. Speaker.

Let me go further and say that at no time during the discussions have I heard any suggestion that similar provisions that prevail with respect to municipalities and social service agencies should be repealed. If the member's position is going to be consistent, I submit that should be his ultimate position, to repeal the other statutes that relate to other elements of the public sector.

Last night in the committee there was a variety of views heard. Several of the witnesses said there should be no legislation at all, even for the Toronto East General Hospital. Some said, "All right, legislation." In fact, there was one brief that said, "Build in a cooling-off period." The gentleman was not aware when he wrote the brief that I had already indicated we would do that.

In my view, this is a reasonable bill and one which is well deserving of the support of this House. I do not consider it to be in any way radical; I do not consider public accountability to be radical.

Mr. Smith: Since the bill is viewed in the hospital sector as being somewhat more radical than the minister views it, and since we have a very great tradition in Ontario, a tradition of which I am sure the minister is as proud as I, of an excellent hospital sector with many people and volunteer boards giving a lot of their time to the makeup and conduct of public hospitals, why would the minister feel under some time pressure to try to force through an act that relates to all the hospitals, without giving a reasonable amount of time for sufficient thought and discussion?

Allegedly the only problem the minister has on his plate at the moment is the Toronto East General Hospital. Why would he not simply bring in legislation for the Toronto East General Hospital and then give the province of Ontario some time to have reasoned discussion where the minister can present his view at great length and listen to others on the matter of how to deal with hospitals generally?

Since there already exists an accountability system -- a little unwieldy; one has to put a lot of directors on the board and then appoint an inspector -- to handle emergencies should they develop, why not simply settle for the Toronto East General Hospital as a piece of legislation now and leave the rest for further discussion until a few months have gone by?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Again, we have gone over this countless times -- here last week on second reading and in committee.

The Leader of the Opposition refers to some of the other options available to me. After the briefing three or four weeks ago with the chairman of the inspection team that led me to conclude I should recommend legislation to the cabinet, I looked at all the options. I looked at the option of stacking the board, to use the common expression; I looked at the option of the British Columbia law -- not only BC, but three or four other provinces have legislation that gives the minister the authority to dissolve the board. I opted instead for what I think is a reasonable middle ground -- which follows the pattern already existing in Ontario, where it has existed for many years and under which municipalities have operated for decades -- of supervision.

2:50 p.m.

In the last couple of weeks the groups most concerned have put forward reasoned arguments from their point of view. Their arguments are based on fear that the power would be abused. That is exactly what their arguments are based on: an apprehension of bureaucratic administrative excess.

I will repeat a couple of arguments. First, the authority which already exists in the law and several other parts of the public sector has not been abused or used to excess in the past. Second, some have argued, including some of the opposition party members, that the authority which this bill would vest in the Lieutenant Governor in Council after a long process does in fact rest in law now. If members wish, I will expand my answer to remind them of the process. If the authority rests in law now and it has not been abused, then what is the objection?

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister has only one hospital report on his plate at the moment which indicates the possible need for some rather quick action, would it not make more sense to use that situation as a project to demonstrate the need for any broader and more sweeping legislation, rather than bring in the sweeping legislation?

The Toronto East General Hospital will give him an opportunity to show how the super-administrator works, how it fits in with the boards, and what sort of reforms are needed in the boards. More important, it will show whether the ministry is prepared to take the necessary steps the administrator will need to take if he is going to solve those problems, such as relieving the chronic care surplus in that hospital and getting them out of that hospital, overcoming the nursing shortage, and overcoming the emergency situation.

Without those actions from the ministry, no super-administrator will work and the minister's legislation will then appear to be in shambles.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will remind the honourable member of the part of the report, which I think is on page 57, which sums up the report. The reason for their conclusion that something other than the traditional remedies at present available in law and the regulations under the Public Hospitals Act was needed is found at the bottom of page 57, wherein they stated the hospital has suffered from a complete lack of management for years. They concluded in the report that this had an impact on morale in the hospital, the lack of capital planning and on any number of other things.

The introduction of a supervisor to the hospital to advise and to assist -- and only if it is absolutely necessary, to act where the hospital might refuse -- is intended, it is hoped, to resolve the management and personnel problems, and so forth, so the hospital itself can get on with planning for these other problems. There is no question that areas such as nursing personnel is a problem across the country right now. We are aware of the problem of chronic care beds and we have acted on it. More will be done in the months to come. Those other things are problems which are not peculiar to the East General. They are ongoing problems of a very large, very dynamic health care system.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister share with this House any legal opinion, I hope written, that he has secured from his own legal branch or the Attorney General's department, outlining specifically how it is that the current Public Hospitals Act is deficient? He told us he feels it is. Has he a written legal opinion from anyone, in his own department or in the Attorney General's department, to set out precisely how it is that the current act is deficient? Would he table it?

Secondly, since he has stated repeatedly that it is his feeling this kind of situation we have seen at the Toronto East General and the legislation that was offered for its remedy speak to the rare exception and not to the general rule, can he share with us just why this Legislature ought to vote him the general sweeping authority he seeks in Bill 113 and not the specific legislation being spoken of by the opposition, since the vast majority of the people in the affected communities have come forward yesterday and at other times and said, "Mr. Minister, we have not had the same kind of co-operation and consultation on this most important legislation that normally characterizes our relationship, and we think you are very wrong on this particular bill"?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I understand that. I heard the member yesterday when he snapped his fingers at his members to leave the room, and that sort of thing. I not only understand that point of view; I respect it. That is why I have tried to accommodate those concerns and apprehensions with the amendments I have circulated.

With respect, Mr. Speaker, I would submit that we are now in debate in committee of the whole; we are not in question period any more. Maybe somebody should move that we move into committee of the whole; I do not know.

It is my view, which I presented to my cabinet colleagues and caucus and which they supported, that with proper balance the minister and the governments must have available to them the necessary remedies for the various types of problems that may arise.

The member will recall that, first of all, the bill as amended provides for an inspector to go in and look at a situation -- and that is exactly as it is now. That person will be appointed by the minister. If, in the opinion of the minister, a report of an inspector turned up something that looked very disturbing, then the Lieutenant Governor in Council would have the authority to appoint an investigator. That is the next step, which involves the entire cabinet, who are not about to be railroaded by any one minister. If the member is concerned that the minister or the bureaucrats might be out to get a particular hospital, they have got enough collective political savvy that they are not going to let that stand in their way.

Finally, once the investigator's report is in with the amendments to the amendment, there will be a 30-day period in which all affected parties -- the hospital board, the medical staff, the nursing staff, the community, the medical association, the hospital association, whoever -- may put forward their views and in that period influence the government's thinking as to whether a supervisor is the appropriate remedy or whether one of the other remedies that exist in the law and the statutes is appropriate.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Health, but regarding the previous one, he might try, if he wants accountability, some elected boards.


Mr. Martel: I have a question regarding Mr. Benedetti again. The minister will recall that Mr. Benedetti received a bill for home care for $6,490. Can the minister indicate to me why the assets from the sale of a home are being used to determine his eligibility for assistance when those assets in fact are directed towards providing a new home? Is it not improper for the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) to consider those as assets in determining eligibility?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not profess, Mr. Speaker, to be an expert on the formulas that are used by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to determine eligibility for benefits.

In the letter I sent to the honourable member, which I think I told him I sent back a couple of times to be sure we got all of the information in to assist him, I told him we rely on them and the formulae they use to determine those individuals who would be eligible for assistance with the per diem rate.

In his particular case, at the time of the assessment, and because he apparently showed a bank balance of whatever amount -- and I do not recall the figures -- using their formulae they said that this man is not in need of assistance, that he has the ability to pay for his wife.

I want to remind the member that the total bill, of course, came to as much as it did because a variety of things had to be done for the lady that the family was asked to do and did not do -- providing clothing and a few other things. But I think I concluded the letter by suggesting that if the circumstances have changed he should go back to the family benefits workers, who would do a reassessment of his means.

3 p.m.

Mr. Martel: Is the minister aware that using the calculations of the Family Benefits Act, with the man having a wife who is disabled and a child, they would base his income on $606 a month or $7,200 a year? Is the minister aware Mr. Benedetti's gross earnings last year were $19,000, of which over $3,000 was from overtime he worked? Does the minister realize that if we exclude $1,100 for the item he just mentioned, Mr. Benedetti is paying well over one third of his income annually for the maintenance of his wife? How can we expect someone to go on paying over one third of his income for maintenance of a wife in a home for special care?

The minister might be able to get away with it on his salary, or someone else might at $45,000. At $45,000, after one third is gone, one still has $30,000 left, but this man will be down to less than $10,000 a year to live on. Is there not something wrong, or does it not mean we have to revise what is going on over there to make sure this man has something to live on with dignity, so he can raise his family and live with some degree of dignity? It is not only him; others are in the same boat.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The Minister of Community and Social Services is not here today so I cannot refer you to him for some discussion of the formulas. I am not familiar with the formulas they use. If the gentleman wants to have his situation reassessed, there is a way to have that done. I will be glad to make sure it is done.

Mr. Martel: I am concerned about the overall problem. What bothers me is he might become eligible somewhere for a few dollars, but how can we expect someone on that type of income to contribute $5,000 to $6,500 a year for the maintenance of someone in care, so that person can live with dignity? That is what is wrong. This is just an individual case. Surely the minister has to review what is going on in order to assist people in this category.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There are various forms of assistance, as the honourable member knows. By the way, for the information of the House, the individual is no longer on the program. This is my understanding. Depending on whether the person is fully discharged, that is a significant question.

In some cases in some municipalities, the domiciliary hospital program is used, which is financed jointly by the province and the municipality under the General Welfare Assistance Act. I will be glad to take a look at the rates again, but as far as the individual case is concerned, in the immediate term my suggestion would be, as in my letter to him last week, that he go and see the FBA people immediately for a review.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Minister of Health. Can the minister continue to deny payment for prosthetics under the Ontario health insurance plan, given that for an artificial leg above the knee it now costs a family $2,000, an artificial leg below the knee is $1,200, and an artificial arm and hand is somewhere between $1,500 and $1,700? Can he continue to deny that as a benefit under OHIP?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, this is a matter we have had under review for some time with a view to trying to come up with a policy which would be both reasonable in terms of any additional benefits that might be considered for the health plan, and within our financial means. I would point out to the honourable member that at this time I believe there are only three or four provinces that cover orthotics and prosthetics of any kind. We are in the process of coming up with a policy on that subject.

Mr. Martel: Is the minister aware there are more than 850 young people requiring artificial limbs at the present time, and that from the time they are young people until they reach maturity, those limbs will have to be replaced eight times possibly, therefore creating a debt for families of between $15,000 to $20,000 per child. Surely we have to come up with some policy that rids families who have these unfortunate youngsters from this terribly costly expenditure which is so vital for them to live normally?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am aware some cases can involve as many prostheses as that. That is very much on my mind and the minds of my colleagues as we attempt to come up with a policy in this area. It has taken a long time, admittedly, because it is not a simple area. As an example, the catalogue they have for the plan in Alberta is literally about an inch and a half to two inches thick. There are thousands and thousands of permutations and combinations for orthotics/prosthetics. We are trying to come up with a policy that will be realistic in what we are able to afford and will be as fair as possible.

I would be remiss if I did not emphasize what I am sure the member already knows, that in this area there are a great many voluntary agencies -- the Easter Seal Society in particular with respect to children; the Canadian Cancer Society; the paraplegic association and a number of others; I will not try to enumerate them all -- which are very active in assisting individuals in the acquisition of necessary orthotics/ prosthetics at this time.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Where are this government's priorities when it can give hundreds of millions to pulp and paper companies and can build a road to Minaki for $14 million? When is the government going to come to a decision? Last year I raised the point a half dozen times that these people, through no fault of their own, cannot get this kind of assistance. if the minister had to go through all these voluntary agencies to get this assistance he would probably go without the artificial limb.

As I pointed out to him before, Quebec has a similar program. The minister has said that report was in the works for seven or eight years now. When is it going to be made available? When is he going to do something for these people?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, this government's priorities are very much in the health care field. I would point out that close to 32 or 33 per cent of the budget is spent on health care. This includes all the health care programs of this government, not just mine but those that are in other ministries that used to be part of mine. Let there be no doubt the single most important priority of this government is health care.

There are at any point in time a number of proposals before us for additional benefits and programs, facilities, machinery, whatever, to spend on the health care system. All of them have good compelling arguments about them. This is one which is very much to the fore in our thinking right now. We have been discussing it, admittedly, for some time and I do not apologize for that because I think the end result will be one that is a good program.

I would point out that the Quebec plan to which the member refers is very limited.

Mr. T. P. Reid: It is a start.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is a start. However, it may not be necessarily the answer for this province, in our view.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister recall a letter to him by Lynne Gordon, chairperson of the Ontario Status of Women Council, in which she pointed out that no less a person than the Honourable Darcy McKeough, when he was Treasurer, said he thought the provision of prostheses makes sense? If that Treasurer could promise it way back then, how long does it take this government to keep the promise?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I recall the letter very well, but I would point out to the member that this Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) this year has approved increases in spending for the hospital sector in excess of $400 million. There is no question that health care is very much the foremost priority of this government.

I would like, as Minister of Health, always to be able to say yes to those who come forward with proposals for additional benefits or whatever. Sometimes we have to say not now. Sometimes we have to say, as we are saying here, we are trying to come up with a program that will be a reasonable response.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Health: Is the minister aware that at this very minute there is a demonstration taking place just outside this building that concerns him? It is very clear that these people are demonstrating against the policy of deinstitutionalization by the minister.

3:10 p.m.

I would like to ask this minister what he will do to alleviate the housing crisis for people leaving psychiatric institutions, being aware that what this deinstitutionalization policy does is very clear. It throws out people from institutions who have no one to fend for them. That is why they are out there. They want to know from the minister what he is doing to help to find housing for people coming out of our psychiatric institutions.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, it is not my impression or understanding that they are protesting against the deinstitutionalization. I think most reasonable people --

Mr. Smith: They want housing.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- perhaps even the Leader of the Opposition -- support deinstitutionalization on the basis that people who do not need to be in a psychiatric facility should not be there.

Mr. Smith: They want housing.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Does the member not support that?

Mr. Smith: It is better than being in a dingy basement somewhere.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Hold on, does the member not support that? Perhaps he does not, I do not know.

Mr. Speaker, as we discussed in the House last week or the week before -- I forget which week it was -- we recognize Metro and the city of Toronto are facing a housing problem with respect to certain disadvantaged groups. This is unique as far as our overall psychiatric hospital system is concerned. In the communities in which our other nine hospitals are located, we are not experiencing the kinds of problems we are having in Toronto right now.

The honourable member will know I have had several discussions in recent months with representatives of the city and of Metropolitan Toronto, including the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto, Mr. Godfrey. At the most recent meeting it was suggested their view was that the answer to the crisis was to somehow tap into some of the housing programs financed through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. That may very well be. We have, in fact, followed up that suggestion with the Ministry of Housing staff and there may very well be, in the future, some prospect of tying into that program, which presently is used to provide housing or make housing available for the physically handicapped, for the developmentally handicapped and for others.

In the immediate term, though, it is my view -- and we have reviewed this with our colleagues in several other ministries, such as the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Housing -- that, as in all other parts of the province, there should be made use of in Metropolitan Toronto the domiciliary hostel program. This is a program financed 80 per cent by the province and 20 per cent by the local municipality to provide long-term housing for the disadvantaged.

As I said, it is in use now, to the best of my knowledge, in virtually every other centre in the province where we have a psychiatric facility and where there is a need of some of the discharged patients for housing, because they do not have homes to go to or for a variety of reasons with which I am sure the member is familiar. I will be pursuing that with the Metro chairman.

Last year, I am told, we spent something in the order of 513 million through the Ministry of Community and Social Services for the program in support of those facilities, which are basically private facilities for which contracts are made with the municipalities. We will be pursuing that with Metropolitan Toronto.

Mr. Ruprecht: The minister now has in his possession a petition signed by some of the people out there who are demonstrating. Will the minister be sensitive enough to go out there and speak to them? If he cannot speak to them to explain his policies, at least will he be sensitive enough to listen to what they have to say? Will he undertake to do that?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am meeting, I believe, with a group some time later this afternoon, just as I have met on many occasions with groups respecting various points of view on the psychiatric issue. I think it is a little ironic that the member for Parkdale, of all people, would get up to talk about this issue when he campaigned on getting discharged psychiatric people out of his riding within two years.

Mr. Ruprecht: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I think my privilege has been abused. The minister has indicated I have campaigned on this issue. The truth is that what we in Parkdale have been saying is, let the minister know his ministry, let him know what is going on in the Parkdale area and let him produce some housing for people and some aftercare programs.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You are on the record too often.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Supplementary, Mr. Martel?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You are on the record too often.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary to the Minister of Health if we can get his attention, Mr. Speaker.

Hon Mr. Timbrell: You and Attila the Hun.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Martel: Give him a kick.

Is the minister prepared to guarantee funding for the 300 spaces that I understand will be required in Metropolitan Toronto by October 31 of this year, or is he prepared just to let them eat cake?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is not usually a cheap shot artist so I can only assume he did not hear my earlier answer. My answer was that, as in other parts of the province, my understanding is we can make available to Metropolitan Toronto through the domiciliary hostel program the funds to pay 80 per cent of the cost of facilities to house discharged patients. My understanding from the discussions which have been held between my staff and those of the Minister of Community and Social Services is that the funds will be available to satisfy the needs to the extent that they exist.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. May I assume that by now the provincial secretary has made himself aware of the string of broken promises that has stretched over two years, which borders on deceit, dealing with the Treaty 3 Indians of northwestern Ontario? First of all, may I make that assumption?

Secondly, since within the last week the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) has written to the Treaty 3 people indicating he is refusing to negotiate the water boundaries of some 66 reserves which fall under Treaty 3 in northwestern Ontario, despite an agreement that goes back to, I believe, 1894, will the provincial secretary promise us he will make available to us the legal opinions and justification for that decision?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I believe the member for Nickel Belt is referring to a letter sent by the Minister of Natural Resources, who is not in the House this afternoon. I expect he will be here on Thursday, so I will take the question under advisement and have him respond to it at that time.

Mr. Laughren: With due respect, that answer is totally inadequate. The minister's predecessor was one of the two people who was party to all those broken promises, which have been very clearly and articulately enunciated by Treaty 3 for over two years. The minister's predecessor, the previous provincial secretary, Mr. Brunelle, was part of those broken promises and I assume the present provincial secretary would be aware of it.

In view of the actions that have been taken by the Quebec government in dealing with the Micmac people of the Restigouche reserve area, is the Ontario government prepared now to state unequivocally that they are going to recognize that Indian people of this province do indeed have special rights and that their hunting and fishing rights must be protected?

Is the minister really aware and does he really understand that the issue here is access to those waters for the purpose of hunting ducks and fishing and harvesting of wild rice? Will the minister make that assurance that he does indeed understand that our native people have special rights in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I would advise that a meeting has been scheduled for Monday, July 13, with the various native groups, at which time we hope to discuss many of those issues and hopefully to resolve many of them.

I would also like to advise at this time that the Minister of Natural Resources has already had some meetings in respect to those problems of hunting and fishing rights in preparation for our meeting on July 13, and that I would have to be encouraged by the results of those preliminary meetings.

3:20 p.m.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: No. There was one supplementary and one main question. The official opposition did not have a supplementary. I will recognize Ms. Copps.


Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is the minister aware that his counterpart within the Ministry of the Attorney General actively and aggressively pursued costs in an action brought about by the Hamilton Tenants' Association to clarify the legal definition of section 84 of the Residential Tenancies Act? Is the minister aware of the intervention by the Ministry of the Attorney General's office? If he is aware, was he in agreement with that intervention?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the specific intervention to which the member has made reference. I am aware the tenant group lost the appeal taken some time ago. There was a story in the newspapers on May 21. I believe the member is referring to the same matter.

There was a decision by county court Judge C. S. Lazier dismissing a motion of the Hamilton Tenants' Association challenging the right of the Residential Tenancy Commission of Hamilton-Wentworth to grant rent increases to landlords. If that is what the member is making reference to, I am aware of that decision. If she is asking now about an intervention being taken by the Attorney General, I am not aware of that specific one. The Landlord and Tenant Act falls directly under his responsibility.

Ms. Copps: Was the minister aware with respect to this definition of section 84 that a member of the Attorney General's staff contacted the lawyer for the Hamilton Tenants Association prior to a decision being rendered and advised that if the solicitor for the tenants pursued the matter the Attorney General's department would be seeking costs?

Does the minister feel this was a move to deter due democratic process in an action brought about by the tenants' association with respect to the Residential Tenancies Act? If the minister is aware of that intervention, will he please seek to clarify it and to table in this House who made the intervention, at what period in the court proceedings it was made and whether the minister feels it is in keeping with the allowance of due process for tenants and landlords alike?

Hon. Mr. Walker: No, I am not prepared to get involved in that. I think that is more properly a question for the Attorney General. He was here earlier and I believe he may still be --

Mr. Bradley: He has not been here during question period.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Am I wrong? I thought he had been here. I have the answer to a further question raised by the member for Hamilton Centre if that is feasible at this point, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Copps: Am I to take that as a redirection of the question and will I then receive an answer from the Attorney General? Is that a redirected question, or is the minister answering it by not answering it?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I am simply saying --

Mr. Speaker: Order. I am sure the Attorney General will read Hansard and take notice of the question.


Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Government Services. Now that the government has reconsidered the position given to me by the minister in the House several weeks ago concerning the need to build a ramp so that physically disabled persons can have access through the front door of this building on July 1, can the minister confirm or deny the rumour I have heard that this ramp will be dismantled or destroyed after the July 1 festivities?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, we have tried to design a ramp that will allow handicapped people entry into this building by the front door. We have had some problems in that we have an eight-foot rise at the front. To meet the standards, for every foot of rise we have to have a one in 12 gradual slope. We will see how this works for the July 1 holiday. I have asked that two of the attendants be there to help the handicapped if needed.

On one of the rainy days last week a handicapped person was wheeled or wheeled herself from the front door around to the back entrance, so I have had the attendants instructed to tell people that there are four parking spaces in the parking lot which are to be kept for handicapped people. We are going to put signs up as well to let them know these are available to them. There is a cover there, and that lady that day, instead of getting soaking wet, would have been able to get into this building under that cover and have access to wherever she wanted to go.

The ramp will be ready for July 1. The workmen have worked all weekend, and I hope we can come up with a shade that will blend in with the stone work in this building.

Mr. Philip: Is the minister saying that with all the expertise and all the engineering staff available to this ministry he still does not know whether somebody can enter up that ramp, which is in the process of being built, without assistance? Can the minister give us some assurance that some ramp will be developed so that disabled persons in wheelchairs can enter by the front door? Surely that is not an engineering impossibility.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I am saying that we followed the regulations for a one-in-12 rise. Not all buildings have the problem that we have with the front of our building, which rises eight feet to the first floor. Having walked it -- and we have railings and everything -- I am wondering if that one in 12 is going to be enough for them to be able to pull themselves up and control a wheelchair on the downward run without some accident. We will have to see how that works. But it is built in accordance with the regulations, and I think if the member goes out and has a look he will see that the workmanship has been really good.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister tell us -- and I am taking his words from Hansard -- which he feels is more important: the aesthetics of the stone work on the front entrance or accessibility for the handicapped?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, I do not think I have said anything about that. I think if the honourable member reads Hansard she will find that out. We are concerned about the handicapped even in following regulations, if the member was listening, that the one in 12 may still be too much --

Ms. Copps: The minister commented on the aesthetics of the stone work. Those were his words -- the aesthetics of the stone work.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Walk it and see.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Walker has the answer to a previously asked question.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, on June 18 the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) raised a question concerning the Ontario Building Code and apparently a letter to the editor in the Ontario March of Dimes, which was presumably a letter I sent to the editor of the Advocate of the Ontario March of Dimes. She complained that my comments there were inaccurate.

I do not know what was reported in the Advocate in the sense of how they interpreted my letter, but I do know that the letter I sent to Mrs. Gillian Kearney, editor of the Advocate, Ontario March of Dimes, dated May 12, 1981, is accurate as far as I am concerned. It said:

"The original code provisions for physically handicapped persons required access be provided for the physically disabled to every suite of all newly constructed apartment buildings in Ontario exceeding 6,000 square feet in building area or three stories in height that were equipped with elevators. By also requiring access to all newly constructed office buildings of the same size, access was required to potential housing units as well as places of employment.

"The recent amendments to the building code expand on the types of new buildings to which access must be provided, require washroom facilities on each floor of office buildings and thus extend potential work place opportunities for the physically disabled. Requirement for wider bathroom doors in apartment suites recognizes the needs of the handicapped who use wheelchairs."

In making that response I had in front of me part five of the building requirements for handicapped persons and in addition to that the regulation to amend Ontario regulation 925/75, made under the Building Code Act of 1974, regulation 230/81. The words were lifted from the document.

As I say, I cannot be responsible for what the person might have written. I do not have the benefit of that article. All I know is that the letter I sent contained those words. If the member feels they are inaccurate I would be interested in knowing what they are, given that I have lifted directly from the act.

3:30 p.m.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Two of the inaccuracies I pointed out in my question -- this is in Hansard, if you will take the time to take a look at that -- are: one, there is no requirement in office buildings for accessible washrooms on each floor. As a matter of fact, the requirement calls for revision of existing washrooms so that if there happens to be a washroom on the main floor it will be made accessible. There is nothing in the new act requiring an accessible washroom on each floor.

Two, with respect to office buildings, the entrance requirement is for the lobby area specifically. There is no provision to allow disabled people access into specific office cubicles. Those are two inaccuracies that the minister has alluded to specifically in his letter, and those were the inaccuracies I was addressing in my question.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Not so.


Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. What is he doing to prevent a recurrence of events at the Tilbury Farmers' Co-operative where the income of approximately 100 farmers is in jeopardy? Why is he spending thousands of dollars licensing and inspecting under the Grain Elevator Storage Act when such inspections failed to turn up the happenings at Tilbury? As he knows, under the act, grain that is accepted for storage should not be sold and this happened. How many other farmers beside those in Tilbury may have their incomes in jeopardy because his administration of the act does not fulfil its intent?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is bringing up a point I was not aware of. Is he telling me that the grain that was stored there is not there? Is that his statement? Before I answer, I would like to know that. It was my understanding that the storage sheets were all there, and the grain was there. Is that not the case? I will then answer the rest.

Mr. McGuigan: I am not sure whether that has been determined. They are still emptying the elevators to determine that fact, but it should have been known from the audit. What I am pointing out is that the audit is really not carrying out the intent. I am told there is a not uncommon feeling among elevator operators that they can sell the stored grain under a deferred contract and feel they have not made a sale, but in actual fact when they make that deferred contract they have made a sale and this does not show in the audits that are performed. Whether there is enough grain there has not been determined yet.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: With all due respect, it is my understanding, and I have no other information at this moment, that there is sufficient grain there. That was the word I had. Let us get the whole truth out. I visited this co-operative back in March. I met with the board of directors and they pointed out to me that they were in financial difficulty. They told me they owed $1.2 million. They said their manager had not done any default in the grain slips or anything illegal at all. The grain slips were all there. Everything in that line was in perfect order.

But they pointed out to me that their manager had done some buying and selling on the Chicago market that cost them $500,000. They were aware of that. That was done with the authorization of the board and they had removed that manager once they got into that financial difficulty. Then they decided they would broaden out their area and they bought two other small mills in the area. It was at this time that they found the $1.2 million was too big a debt for them to manage the interest on.

At the time they approached me and asked me to meet with them, they pointed out they had met with the federal Minister of Agriculture and put a proposal before him that they put before me. That proposal was an interest-free loan for five years: $300,000 from the federal government and $300,000 from the province of Ontario. The United Co-ops of Ontario had agreed to lend them $300,000 on a first mortgage. They pointed out they had collected $250,000 last year from their shareholders within the co-op and were holding that in a separate account.

I do not have the date, but I did send them a letter about mid-April. I said our position was that, unless the government of Canada extended help, there was no help available through Ontario.

The next word I had, some three weeks ago, was that there was no help from the government of Canada, and they were going into receivership. But I re-emphasize it is my understanding to date that for those people who are holding slips for storage grain that the grain is there. I know nothing different from that at this moment.


Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I am aware a point of privilege was raised by the Leader of the Opposition at the beginning of the question period today that would leave the impression I had not answered certain questions he raised on April 30, May 11 and May 19 involving the Astra/Re-Mor matter. I have reviewed the Hansard for those dates which I think is a sufficiently official record on the matter.

On the April 30 date I find absolutely no commitment made to any question raised. On the May 11 date, I indicated in reply to the matter involving these Bimonthly Reports that the Ontario Securities Commission was sorting through many of the questions that had been posed and in due course would have a response for the honourable members. I said I would be glad to provide that response once the moment arrived.

I further indicated, at page 543 of Hansard in reply to the Leader of the Opposition, that I anticipated that before long we should have some response from the commission.

On May 19, to a question raised in respect of the Bimonthly Reports, I said, as reported at page 766 of Hansard: "I know there is some concern on the part of the Ontario Securities Commission that if it does respond directly to some of the allegations posed, it prejudices some of the matters that are before the criminal courts and it is certainly very loath to do that. I expect it will probably be responding before long in respect to the matters the member raised."

Those are the only matters I find in Hansard in respect of those questions that are outstanding in terms of something left to respond to. There was the one of May 11 that when I received a copy of the response from the Ontario Securities Commission I would see to it that the honourable members received that.

When I got back to my office yesterday, I received a memorandum from Mr. Henry Knowles, the chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, which did provide the response. It says, "Statement of the Ontario Securities Commission, dated June 26, 1981, re Astra Trust Company, Astra Trust Agency Fund, C and M Financial Consultants Limited, Re-Mor Investment Management Corporation, et al.

This constitutes the report in respect of the Bimonthly Reports." I will be pleased to read this into the record. It is relatively short.

"In light of the recent public discussions in the Legislature and elsewhere relating to the above subject, the commission has again considered whether it could usefully assist in this discussion by making a formal statement pertaining to its roles in the matter.

"After a review of its files and further interviews with some members of the staff and the commission involved in the earlier proceedings, the commission met on June 25, 1981, together with a senior official of the crown law office of the Ministry of the Attorney General and members of its staff.

3:40 p.m.

As a result of this meeting, the commission concluded that it would be inappropriate for it, as a government agency involved in the outstanding proceedings, to make any substantive statement at the present time, although such a statement might assist the public in its understanding of the issues, particularly as to the role of the commission and its staff.

"The commission was informed that a release of the statement might well have an adverse affect on the conduct of both the criminal and civil proceedings now outstanding. The facts relevant to such proceedings will be developed in accordance with the settled judicial practices. When this established judicial process has been utilized, the commission will be prepared under proper circumstances to make such a statement. Until that time, the commission proposes making no further comment except when lawfully required to do so."

I therefore feel that statement answers the comments raised by the Leader of the Opposition in respect of questions left outstanding. In fact, I made no statements that I would respond in the Legislature. I simply said I would supply a copy of it the moment I got it. The moment has now arrived. I did get it yesterday. I am prepared to supply a copy to the member, which fulfils my obligation as it relates to the four dates he mentioned as outstanding points.

Those are the only ones extant. There was one matter further raised in respect of Cooperative Health Services of Ontario. The member is correct; I have left an unanswered question on the Order Paper. I will merely indicate that, with respect to the audits, the Leader of the Opposition had asked why our policy, especially for this company, was to demand monthly reports about the state of the company but we did not bother to demand that these monthly reports be audited.

I may say that the year-end of this particular company was June 30. It was traditional that we would receive an audit in our ministry. The company had been operating for 10 years. During each of those 10 years and right up until then, there was every reason to believe that the float -- if it were an ordinary company, we would call it the capital and in this case, because it was a co-op, the surplus -- was maintained at about $1.3 million all the way along.

On April 9, however, we demanded monthly computer-produced statements that they used for their own purposes. If we had required an audit every single month, it would have taken at least two months and probably three months to produce an audit for every single month that was required. Not only would that have become a costly item but also it would have ground the company entirely to a standstill, and we had no reason at that point in time to believe that was the case.

During the months of July and August, when we would normally have expected to have received the computer statements that would have revealed the depletion of the $1.3 million surplus -- and, incidentally, that depletion took less than five weeks to occur -- we did not receive the computerized statements. The answer given to us was that "we cannot provide both."

During that period of time we were told that the computerized statement could not be provided. It was considered to be a legitimate answer because of the fact that the audit was taking place. We did receive the audit on October 1, and on October 1 we discovered the depletion in the surplus. On October 3, we moved in a team of financial institutions people to take the place apart. That is the history of it, and I offer that as the answer that was outstanding.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have some response from the minister on these two very vital matters as we come a little closer to the end of this session.

On the matter of the Ontario Securities Commission, this is not the place for us to debate the matter, I realize that. Therefore, I must restrict myself simply to saying that the notion that the Ontario Securities Commission need not answer to these very serious allegations concerning its behaviour, on the basis that the matter is sub judice, is one that we have debated at great length here in the House.

The Speaker's predecessor issued warrants, as you know. We had discussions in the standing committee on administration of justice. It is sheer nonsense, it is an affront to the Legislature that the Ontario Securities Commission considers itself above examination and above the need to answer to the elected members in the House or in committee. I am frankly affronted.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider what the relationship is to be between the Legislature and certain appointed officials of the government, such as the Ontario Securities Commission. I ask you specifically to look at the matter of sub judice, because there is nothing in what was alleged with regard to the behaviour of the Ontario Securities Commission that could be remotely considered to be impinging in any serious way upon the criminal proceedings going on at present.

The only reputation that would be protected by the Ontario Securities Commission not giving answers is the reputation of the Ontario Securities Commission. It is not its job to deprive the public of information to protect its own reputation. The minister may be willing to wait two months to get an answer from that commission, and he may feel it is sufficient to say it is sub judice, but I believe that is an affront to this House.

On the matter of Co-operative Health Services of Ontario, the minister has stood in this House and said essentially that they could not possibly ask for an audited report every month; it would have brought everything to a standstill. He said he was briefed by his officials on the matter but did not know why they had not had an audited report. As my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) said, "It is like being told the story of Little Red Riding Hood but not mentioning the wolf." That, of course, was the essence of the matter.

They obviously believed there was something wrong in Co-op or they would not have asked for monthly reports. They never ask for monthly reports from anybody else. What is the use of having a special monitoring provision if there is a loophole in it as big as is required to drive three tanks through? If the minister wanted monthly reports, surely they had to be audited monthly reports.

We in the opposition are simply frustrated and are finding it a futile exercise to try to understand how we are to represent the public interest and determine the way in which that ministry and its commission have or have not protected the public in this regard if we are not to have a royal commission, if we are not to have answers in this House that are responsive to the questions and if we are not to have the matter before the standing committee on administration of justice. We believe a serious impasse has been reached in the conduct of parliamentary democracy in Ontario.



Mr. Shymko from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill 113, An Act to amend the Public Hospitals Act.

Your committee recommends the bill be referred for clause-by-clause discussion to the committee of the whole House.

Mr. Conway: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Speaking to the report, I had the pleasure of attending the hearing last night of the standing committee on social development, as did other honourable members present. I rise on a point of order because there is an issue here that concerns me a great deal. The report that has just been made turns on a motion put by the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) at or around 10:40 p.m. last evening in that committee.

The committee sat beyond 10:30 p.m. without any agreement. The objection of our voting members on that committee was registered loud and clear. In fact, I went to Hansard this morning to listen to the tape, and that was clear to anyone who was listening.

What I really ask you, Mr. Speaker, and where I think my point of order comes to rest is: What is the status of a report made by a committee, a report that turns on a motion put at 10:40 p.m., fully 10 minutes after the normal adjournment time and without the agreement of the committee to sit beyond 10:30 p.m.?

I know the rules are silent on the issue. It states on page one of the standing orders, under standing order 3(b): "The House may sit beyond 10:30 p.m. on the passage of a government motion for that purpose but such government motion shall not pass if 20 members stand in their places."

Standing order 3(b) speaks only of the House and not of committees. As far as I can tell, our standing orders are silent on that. From my experience, it has been the case in the past on many occasions that, with unanimous agreement, committees of this House have often sat well past the normal adjournment hour of 10:30 p.m. But in this case it is of real concern to me, since the bill involved is a matter of urgent and pressing necessity. The government is proposing a very major change in policy.

3:50 p.m.

The voting members on our committee -- my distinguished colleague the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), for our party -- registered that there was not agreement from this caucus to sit beyond 10:30 p.m. Regrettably, there were no members present from the New Democratic Party; so there was clearly no consent to sit beyond 10:30 p.m.

As I said earlier, at or around 10:40 p.m., the committee voted on the motion from the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones). Only the government members registered a vote. Others registered a strong complaint that we had no authorization to sit beyond 10:30 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for your direction and your judgement on the propriety of the report just entered into the record by the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko).

Mr. Gillies: Mr. Speaker, at 10:30 last night in the standing committee on social development, I was in the midst of questioning a couple of witnesses before the committee. I paused in that questioning to ask the indulgence of the committee to continue the work at that period. There was no objection from any member of the committee. In fact, members of the Liberal Party told me to go ahead, which I did.

Mr. Speaker, their opposition to continuing beyond 10:30 p.m. only manifested itself at about 10:40 p.m., when a motion came forward that they did not agree with. We legitimately, I suggest, had to dismiss that opposition at that time as a little bit of political grandstanding.

Mr. Speaker: This is developing into a debate. Will you be brief?

Mr. Roy: On a point of order, if I may, Mr. Speaker: I was present in the committee last night, and I suggest to you this report is clearly out of order in the sense that the House or the committee cannot continue unless a motion of some sort is acquiesced to, either by the members of the committee or by the House.

I direct your attention to standing orders 3(a) and 3(b), Mr. Speaker, which clearly state that the committee or the House adjourns automatically at 10:30 p.m. unless a motion is acquiesced to. Standing order 3(b) says, "The House may sit beyond 10:30 p.m. on the passage of a government motion for the purpose but such government motion shall not pass if 20 members stand in their places."

I would think it would require a motion from the House or at least a motion that is accepted by the government members. I say to the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) that what we on the committee attempted to do was to show some graciousness in allowing him to complete his questions. At no time was there acquiescence to sit past 10:30 p.m.

The motion on the report here today is clearly an attempt on the part of the government to try, with its majority, to ride roughshod over the committee members. I say to the government House leader, if he is going to start using his majority in committee -- it is shades of Eric Winkler again -- to ride roughshod over the parliamentary standing orders and rules, we in the opposition and you, I trust, Mr. Speaker, will not accept that type of conduct on the part of the government.


Mr. Speaker: No, I think there has been sufficient discussion.

Mr. T. P. Reid: The report is clearly out of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order. First of all, I want to thank Mr. Conway for raising that question, and he quite clearly put his finger on the problem. As he suggested, it is clear from the wording of standing orders 3(a) and 3(b) that the 10:30 p.m. automatic adjournment indeed applies only to the House. All committees rise on motion. Even the committees of the whole House rise only on motion that the committee rise and report; so there is nothing out of order.


Mr. Speaker: Order. My opinion is that nothing is out of order. The standing orders do not cover such a situation. All committees rise on motion. That is the key.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Speaker: Order. It is not debatable.

Mr. Martel: What do you mean, "It is not debatable"?

Mr. Speaker: Just what I said.

Mr. Martel: A point of order is debatable.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Shymko, do you move the adoption of the report?

Mr. Shymko: Yes.

Mr. Speaker: Shall the report be received and adopted?

Some hon. members: No.

Mr. T. P. Reid: No. It is out of order.

Mr. Speaker: No, it is not.

Mr. T. P. Reid: We have to challenge your ruling.


Mr. T. P. Reid: We are going to challenge the ruling on it.

Mr. Roy: We are going to challenge the ruling of the Speaker. We cannot accept that ruling.

Mr. Speaker: That is kind of a delayed reaction.

Mr. Roy: It may be a delayed reaction, but we have to challenge your ruling.

4:40 p.m.

The House divided on the Speaker's ruling, which was upheld on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Birch, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Cooke, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Di Santo, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Grande, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Laughren, Leluk;

MacQuarrie, Martel, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Philip, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Renwick, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener, Shymko, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Swart. Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.


Bradley, Breithaupt, Conway, Cunningham, Edighoffer, Elston, Haggerty, Kerrio, Mancini, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Peterson, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Riddell, Roy, Ruston, Spensieri, Sweeney, Worton, Wrye.

Ayes 68; Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Shymko has moved the adoption of the report. Shall the report be received and adopted? All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a new point of order, I think it would be in the best interests of this House if this problem encountered here today was referred to our committee on procedural affairs, because we have --


Mr. Roy: Hold it, the government cannot use its majority to run roughshod --

Mr. Speaker: Order. Will you please address yourself to the point of order?

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, the reason I raise this is that back on May 22, 1981, in a similar situation in committee, the chairman of the justice committee, the member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven), made the following ruling, and I quote: "The chairman advised the committee that the committee could sit beyond its usual time of adjournment provided no member objected. If a member objected to extending the sitting, the committee would adjourn, there not being unanimous consent."

You can see, Mr. Speaker, we have conflicting rulings from --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Roy: I would suggest that this matter be clarified, referred to the standing committee on procedural affairs, so that there be a standing order on procedures and on adjournment of committees.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, a number of years ago a recommendation was made that there should be a panel of chairmen so that someone would teach them consistency in the rules of this House. Surely it is time that panel of chairmen started to work together so that we could have consistent rulings in the way all committees are run.

What is going on is there is an abuse of the rules in the playing of the numbers game last night. There should have been a motion to sit beyond 10:30 p.m., in my opinion, or at least agreement in totality. When there is neither, then there is trouble. We are now down here defending the Speaker's ruling. Some of the members opposite should learn the rules before they play the bloody numbers game.

Mr. Shymko: Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the committee I would like to make it specifically clear that at 10:30 p.m. there was a request by the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) asking whether he should continue. There was agreement to continue. There were no objections and we continued. It was only when a motion was presented -- as a matter of fact, two motions were presented -- that all of a sudden, for one reason or another, someone objected and used the expression, "We want to adjourn." The meeting proceeded on the agreement of all the voting members of the committee.

Mr. Speaker: So the matter has been dealt with, and there is no point of order.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, since the committee chairmen are new members of the House, would it not be helpful if you called the committee chairmen together -- or through the auspices of the Clerk -- so that they would be given a fair opportunity to follow through on the rules with consistency? I think it would be helpful to the committee chairmen.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

4:50 p.m.



Hon. Mr Wells moved that when the House adjourns today it stand adjourned until Thursday next at 2 p.m.

Mr. Kerrio: What time?

Hon. Mr. Wells: What time what? I would propose that the House adjourn as soon as we conclude the stacked votes around 5:20 or 5:25.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 64(a), government business be considered on the afternoon of Thursday, July 2.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I might indicate to the members of the House that the order of business for Thursday afternoon and evening and Friday morning will be to continue the bills on the Order Paper. There will remain, perhaps, Bill 129 in committee of the whole House. We now have Bill 113 in committee of the whole House, then Bills 68, 124, 126, 127, 105, 106 and 121.

House in committee of the whole.


Resuming the adjourned consideration of Bill 129, an Act to amend the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1974.

Mr. Chairman: My understanding is we are on section 5, the previous sections having been approved. Do you have an amendment to section 5, Mr. Laughren?

Mr. Laughren: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment to section 5.

On section 5:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that section 43 of the act, as set out in subsection 1 of section 5 of the bill, be amended by striking out "$156" in clauses (a)(i) and (ii) and substituting "$243," striking out "$623" in clause (b)(i)1, and substituting "$866," and striking out "$686" in clause (b)(i)2 and substituting "$970."

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this amendment is to raise the minimum level for total temporary disability. The feeling --

Mr. Chairman: Order.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, it is nice to have you on my side.

Mr. Chairman: I would like to hear you.

Mr. Laughren: Yes, it is cause for concern. The reason we are presenting this amendment is that we feel that for someone who is totally disabled, and this is someone who is totally disabled temporarily, there must be a minimum beyond which the level must not fall. The level set out by the minister's bill is simply inadequate. We have, therefore, increased the amounts to what we think are more in keeping with the needs of injured workers in the province.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, my remarks on this are the same as they have been on the other sections that have been proposed. The government has introduced interim benefits which are in keeping with the inflationary changes over two years. There is a white paper before the House and before the public indicating significant proposals for revision. These amendments are inappropriate and I cannot support them.

Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. Laughren's amendment to section 5 will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

On section 6:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that section 6 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

Section 44 of the said act be amended by adding a new subsection 8:

"Commencing with the year 1981 and annually thereafter the board shall, as soon as practical after September 30, review the wages and salaries earned by workers who suffered injury and to whom compensation was paid during the period of one year immediately preceding September 30 of the year of the review; and whenever that review reveals that 10 per cent or more of those workers are earning in excess of the maximum wage rate at the time of the review the board shall, by order, increase the maximum wage rate for injuries occurring on or after the first day of the succeeding year by the appropriate number of increments of $1,000 as is necessary to reduce the number of workers whose salaries exceed the maximum wage rate to less than 10 per cent of the workers who suffered injury and to whom compensation was paid during the period of review."

Mr. Laughren: Although the amendment is a bit wordy, the purpose of this is quite clear. It is to put into place an automatic mechanism whereby the ceiling is automatically increased by the number of claimants who make claims at the board in a given year. If more than 10 per cent of the people making claims at the board exceed the ceiling, this would bump the ceiling, which now the minister is putting at $22,200. If more than 10 per cent exceeded that then it would jump up to $23,200, for example.

Obviously, we would have preferred our previous amendment, which would have raised the ceiling to the Weiler suggestion to about $40,000. Failing that, this at least puts into place an automatic mechanism and does not put the injured workers at the whim of the Minister of Labour. We would not have the agony we go through in the chamber every two years of debating this. There is no reason at all why there should not be an automatic mechanism. I would be very interested, aside from the minister's statements which are getting very repetitive --

Hon. Mr. Elgie: So are yours.

Mr. Laughren: -- I am waiting for the Chairman to rule out of order the minister's explanations as to why he does not support our amendments every time, because the minister is being repetitive. I would be interested to know if there is any reason, in principle, why the minister would disagree with an automatic mechanism like this. It would surely make things easier for the minister and, as a matter of fact, for the compensation board.

I wonder to what extent the resources of the board are used every two years just on the catch-up mechanism. The problems that it must cause the board when these increases are computed for all the existing claims must be horrendous. God only knows how much more efficient the board could be if we had automatic mechanisms in place that did things like bump up the ceiling.

5 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, the government does not accept this amendment. As the member well knows, the ceiling has been increased in line with the cost of living and the new proposal put forward in the white paper with regard to ceiling adjustment is there for discussion and consideration.

Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. Laughren's amendment to section 6 will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

On section 7:

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, this is the last amendment. Perhaps the minister could reflect on how he shot down in flames all of these various amendments we have put forth. Here is an opportunity for him to redeem himself in the eyes not only of those of us who are supporting the amendment but of the injured workers in the province and to grant us this one final concession for injured workers in the province.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that section 51(3)(b) of the act as set out in section 7(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "$290" and "$145" and inserting in lieu thereof "$450" and "$230" respectively.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Would the minister be allowed to have a copy of that amendment please?

Mr. Laughren: I have a queasy feeling all over that the minister is going to accept this amendment.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: You get queasy whenever my dog is near you, but I am surprised you are queasy today.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren, do you have any further comments?

Mr. Laughren: I am quivering in anticipation of the minister's response. I know he is used to having people quivering in anticipation of his responses, but it is a new experience for me.

This amendment will increase the allowance for replacement or repair of clothing that is worn out or ruined by upper or lower prostheses. It is a phoney ceiling that is put in the bill. Where did the figures $290 and $145 come from? I suggest they are arbitrary numbers and that the minister could replace those numbers with the ones we have put in. As a matter of fact, ii the minister thought he would lose some kind of standing or stature in the government or elsewhere by the figures $450 and $230, we are open to negotiation if he wants to split the difference.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am always delighted to hear that although he is trembling in anticipation, he is always ready to negotiate as well.

Mr. Chairman, the position of the government is the same on this as on the other amendments. We have already introduced proposals which allow for cost of living increases over the past two years.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, Laughren is the name and compromise is my game. I must say the minister is making it very difficult to deal with him in a positive way, because in this bill we have moved a number of amendments, not all of which were very expensive. Some would have bumped the ceilings or the amounts up substantially, but that is not true of all the amendments. For the minister not to have accepted any of them is an indication of his intransigence and all I am waiting for him to do now is to stand up and say that this is the reality of March 19.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Laughren's amendment to section 7 will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren, I was hesitant in inquiring about section 6 because the table has another amendment. Were you intending including that amendment? Have you dropped that?

Mr. Laughren: I thought I had moved that amendment.

Mr. Chairman: I might be in error. If we could beg the indulgence of the House, this was it: Mr. Laughren moves that section 44(1) of the act, as set out in section 6(1) of the bill, be amended by striking out "$22,200" and inserting in lieu of "$40,000". Did you intend including that?

Mr. Laughren: I thought I moved that just prior to adjourning for Orders of the Day.

Mr. Chairman: No, you didn't. What do you suggest we do now?

Mr. Laughren: I would suggest that, with unanimous consent and with the promise of the minister that he accepts it, we move the amendment now.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, we passed that section.

Mr. Laughren: Will you not let me move that amendment now and stack it with the other amendments?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: No.

Mr. Laughren: All right.

On section 8:

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, due to the minister's intransigence, I think it is time we had a prolonged debate as to the date on which this bill is going to receive royal assent. Here we are on June 30. The minister has brought in a bill that is inadequate in the level of benefits that injured workers are going to receive.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Come on. Let's go. Don't waste time.

Mr. Laughren: Don't waste time, you say. I want to tell you something, my friend, all we asked was unanimous consent to include an amendment to the bill that I failed to put earlier because we adjourned for Orders of the Day. You would not give unanimous consent to stack it with the other amendments, so don't talk to me.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You have tried our patience with a whole bunch of amendments anyway.

Mr. Laughren: Perhaps the debate should be centring on the wisdom of the government bringing in the bill at this time in the first place. That is what we should be debating.

Mr. Chairman: You are speaking to section 8.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Just tell everybody that you don't want the bill.

Mr. Cooke: Typical Tory manipulation.


Mr. Chairman: Have we had our say now, honourable members? Mr. Laughren.

Mr. Laughren: I had my say while I was on my feet.

Mr. Chairman: You are on your feet now. Would you speak to section 8?

Mr. Martel: You won't give us unanimous consent to go back?

Mr. Chairman: No, Mr. Martel, he won't. Mr. Laughren, please.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, we are addressing section 8. Section 8 states, "This act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent." I wonder what is going to happen when the Lieutenant Governor reads the debate today and realizes the government refused to give its consent to moving an amendment to one of the sections simply because it was out of sequence. I would not be surprised if the Lieutenant Governor refuses to give royal assent. What do you do then if the Lieutenant Governor says, "No, I am not going to be part of this manipulation and steamrolling on the part of the Tories"?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Don't excuse your own mistake.

Mr. Laughren: It is possible. You take a lot for granted because you have a majority, but you should not take the assent of the Lieutenant Governor for granted. That is to bring dishonour on His Honour.

As a matter of fact, with the Queen Mother coming, it is quite likely the Lieutenant Governor will strike a note of independence and say he wants no part of giving royal assent to a bill that provides an inadequate ceiling. If only you would allow me to move the amendment to section 6 which raised the ceiling from $22,200 to $40,000, then there is no doubt His Honour would give royal assent to this bill. It would then become the law of the land.


Mr. Laughren: What?

Mr. Chairman: Never mind the interjection.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, I will conclude my remarks, but it would not have hurt the government members one bit to have allowed us to move that amendment out of sequence.

Section 8 agreed to.

Section 9 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: We have a number of stacked amendments to be dealt with on three bills.

Call in the members.

5:20 p.m.


The committee divided on Mr. G. I. Miller's amendment to section 15 of Bill 90, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes 30; nays 53.

Section 15, as amended, agreed to.

The committee divided on Mr. McGuigan's amendment to section 16, which was negatived on the same vote.

Section 16 agreed to.

Bill 90, as amended, reported.


The committee divided on Mr. Renwick's amendment to section 1 of Bill 95, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes 9; nays 74.

Section 1 agreed to.

The committee divided on Mr. Wrye's first amendment to section 2, which was negatived on the first vote.

The committee divided on Mr. Wrye's second amendment to section 2, which was negatived on the first vote.

The committee divided on Mr. Renwick's first amendment to section 2, which was negatived on the second vote.

The committee divided on Mr. Renwick's second amendment to section 2, which was negatived on the second vote.

Section 2 agreed to.

Bill 95 reported.


The committee divided on Mr. Laughren's amendment to section 1 of Bill 129, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes 30; nays 53.

Bill 129 reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments and two bills without amendment.

The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.