32e législature, 1re session
























The House met at 2:02 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues, the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch), the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) and the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), I wish to inform the honourable members of the completion of our report on the potential of peat in Ontario, and am pleased to table a copy of this report here today. This is a joint project of the three ministries and examines in detail almost all aspects of peat as a natural resource in Ontario.

I might add that the Minister of Natural Resources is releasing this report today at a three-day symposium in Thunder Bay, which was organized by the ministries of Energy, Natural Resources and Northern Affairs. This symposium includes presentations on all aspects of peat utilization by technical experts from around the world.

As honourable members may be aware, peat is vegetable matter that is decomposed in water and partly carbonized. It has been an important source of fuel down through the centuries, particularly in Ireland, Finland and the Soviet Union.

Peat has not had the same importance in Canada because of the availability of other more convenient fuels, such as coal, natural gas and petroleum. However, Canada, and particularly Ontario, have vast peat resources. It is generally accepted that by itself Ontario has the third largest peat reserves in the world, about 26 million hectares, of which almost 10 million are south of the permafrost line. If all the peatland were available for energy production, it would provide the energy equivalent of some 72 billion barrels of crude oil. To date, Ontario has used only minuscule amounts of peat, usually in the form of peat moss for horticultural purposes.

Historically, in other countries the standard use of peat for energy was to dig it, dry it and burn it for space heating. Modern methods, in varying degrees of sophistication and development, include space heating in residences, industries and district heating projects; the processing of peat into fuel pellets; the production of substitute natural gas, and the production of methanol. All these have possibilities for Ontario as we work towards our goal of producing 37.5 per cent of our own energy needs by 1995.

The first step in utilizing our peat resources is to assess the quality and quantity of our reserves. This study begins this process, providing an overview of our resources based on existing data. It also examines different ways peat can be used and the degree to which the technology has been developed, as well as assessing modern, energy efficient and economical ways of mining peat. These areas have been studied, particularly as they relate to Ontario conditions and to Ontario peat.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to be able to table the report of the Ontario Law Reform Commission on witnesses before legislative committees. As members will recall, this report results from a request contained in the report of the standing committee on procedural affairs on witnesses before committees, made during the Fourth Session of the Thirty-First Parliament. The committee had asked that certain questions concerning privileges and protections for witnesses appearing before legislative committees should be referred to the Ontario Law Reform Commission for study and report.

The commission's report contains a comprehensive review of the legal and procedural aspects of the very important questions raised by the standing committee. It recommends changes in the procedures required to obtain a Speaker's warrant. It recommends an explanatory brochure should be prepared to advise witnesses and committee members of the powers, procedures and rights involved in proceedings before legislative committees. It also recommends that witnesses before such committees should have the right to retain counsel.

I am sure all members of the House will want to review the report. I look forward to continued discussion of these important issues in the standing committee, based upon the commission's very helpful report.


Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, today my ministry will release the latest results of Ontario's fish testing program, which we conduct in co-operation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and health specialists in the Ministry of Labour.

Since we began publishing this data in 1977 as a guide to anglers, we have tested more than 70,000 fish taken from 1,100 locations throughout the province. The accumulated results are published each spring in our publication Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish, and further test results are updated in frequent environmental health bulletins.

More than 200,000 copies of these guides are distributed each year via government offices and vacation-area stores of Brewers' Retail and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. I might point out to honourable members that this fish testing and reporting program is unique in its size, scope and comprehensiveness in North America.

Our program is of benefit to anglers and their families who enjoy meals of sport fish and our program is being studied by several states in the United States. The program got under way in 1970 when we began testing for mercury. We now test continuously for PCBs and mirex. We began testing for dioxin as a regular part of the program in October 1980, with the opening of the ministry's dioxin laboratory in Rexdale.

The October bulletin reports the results of tests for PCB, mirex and dioxin in nine lake trout caught in Lake Ontario near Port Credit. The levels of PCB and mirex found in these fish, at 4,759 parts per billion for PCB and 244 parts per billion for mirex, exceed the federal unrestricted consumption guidelines of 2,000 and 100 parts per billion respectively, as did previously reported results. In addition, the average level of dioxin was found to be 19.7 parts per trillion, which is very close to the federal guideline of 20 parts per trillion.

2:10 p.m.

On the basis of these findings and the advice of health specialists in the Ontario Ministry of Labour, I am reaffirming my ministry's previous advice to the public to restrict consumption of lake trout taken from the Port Credit area of Lake Ontario. This restriction, which is based on the levels of PCB and mirex in these fish, suggests that anglers should consume not more than one or two meals per month. We also recommend that women of child-bearing age and children under 15 should not consume the lake trout from that location.

Comprehensive details of our guidelines are given in our Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish publications, which are available free of charge. The average dioxin levels found, I would point out, are within, but close to, the guidelines established last July by Health and Welfare Canada. This guideline was set with a very substantial safety margin to protect public health.

The toxicological data base was used by the US Food and Drug Administration to set an unrestricted consumption guideline of 25 parts per trillion, and by the New York state Department of Health to set an advisory level of 10 parts per trillion, for a portion of fish double the size of the meal defined by the Canadian and US federal guidelines. To put it simply, the New York state and Ontario guidelines are the same; New York halved the dioxin guideline but doubled the size of the fish meal.

The dioxin results being released today are the first completed on our new, more-sensitive analytical equipment. This new technology forms part of a scientific paper that our laboratory staff were invited to present later this week in Washington at a major worldwide conference on dioxin. The dioxin levels detected in Port Credit lake trout are slightly higher than previously reported tests on some lake trout taken from other points in western Lake Ontario.

This increase does not necessarily reflect an increase in dioxin levels in the Lake Ontario ecosystem, but does reflect an improved analytical capability that has made Ontario a world leader in the analysis of dioxin and other trace contaminants in fish.

As a part of Ontario's routine testing program the ministry is currently testing additional trout, and we will also test other species. The results of these tests will be announced in environmental health bulletins when they are completed.

My ministry has also tested supplies of raw and treated drinking water on a regular basis, and the results of the latest tests of water supplies from four Stations in the Oakville to Whitby area continue to show no detectable levels of dioxin.



Mr. Smith: I have a question, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of the Environment arising out of the statement he has just given the House about the levels of dioxin in fish in Lake Ontario.

The minister will recall that in July and August of this year he was busy reassuring the people of Ontario that, according to the findings his ministry had, a limit of 20 parts per trillion had not been exceeded. Has the minister had time now to familiarize himself with the fact that the figures given out at that time were misleading and that his officials had given out raw data rather than corrected data, which allows for the fact that some of the poison is destroyed in the very testing for it; and that, had the data been given out accurately at that time, it would have shown even then that the level of dioxin was above the 20 parts per trillion limit that he is now saying is Ontario's and the federal government's standard? Is he aware of that?

Secondly, can he tell us whether the data we are hearing today is again raw data or whether it has been properly corrected for the loss of some of the poison during the testing procedure?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the data released in July was obtained, it is true, with the previous equipment, as I indicated in my statement. The new gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, which was used in this series of tests for the first time, was not available to us at the time the July tests were done. It is probably correct to assume that had those tests been performed with this new equipment, the results might have been marginally higher.

If the honourable member is asking, for example, "Was the process known as 'spiking the sample' used this time in order to confirm the quantum of recovery from the sample?" the answer is yes, and that confirms the greater accuracy of the tests done at this time. Although the member is not correct in jumping to the conclusion that, had the present equipment and process been used in the July tests, the difference in the results would have been enough to put all the samples over the limit of 20 parts per trillion, it is possible some of them might have been in that range.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary, is the minister unaware that what he calls the "spiking the sample" technique, put in simple English, simply means that since some of the poison is used up in the actual testing, what is normally done is to test something other than the fish being tested to see how much poison is actually used up, and then to add that back in to the calculation? It is very simple. Since that apparently was not done, when he was reassuring us about how safe everything was, does the minister recognize that the difference involved was between 40 and 66 per cent of underestimation, and that the values given back in July and August were underestimated by about that much, and would have been well over the 20 parts per trillion?

Can the minister say now that he sees we have a serious dioxin problem in Lake Ontario? Can he say now whether he is finally willing to intervene in matters such as the Hyde Park dump site and to start to protect Ontario's interest more vigorously than he has done so far?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member may know, the levels of dioxin detected in different species does vary. If he is drawing a comparison with the July results, I do not believe in that specific series of results there were -- yes, there were some lake trout tested from the area east of Toronto but none from the western end of the lake.

I do not believe there is anything to indicate that the problem with respect to dioxin is worse now than it was then. It is important to recognize that even with the new testing technique and technology the results are still within the guideline. It is also important to recognize that the guideline arrived at by the Department of National Health and Welfare is a very conservative one. It is one seven-hundredths of what is normally regarded as being a potentially harmful level; so it is very conservative.

With respect to the reference to the Niagara River, I need say nothing more than I have already in the last couple of weeks --

Mr. Foulds: That is not much.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Obviously, that is something we will continue to pursue, and pursue vociferously, with our American neighbours. I say to the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) --

Mr. Speaker: He did not ask a question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: That is correct, Mr. Speaker, but I would offer this to him if he wants to make any further statements on the environment. I welcome his interest. I would even suggest that he might seek a briefing from my ministry so he has some understanding of what is going on.

Mr. McClellan: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I am going by memory, as I do not have my file here. This is a matter that has been raised a number of times. I have to express some amazement at the information we have been given today. Can the minister explain why the technology referred to today -- which was promised in October 1980 by his predecessor to be in place by December 1980, with test results of dioxin levels in fish in Lake Ontario -- has not been made available till today? When the minister was answering questions earlier in the last session, why did he make no reference to the fact that the promised technology was not available?

Why did the minister offer such categorical assurances that there were no problems with dioxin levels when he knew the technology was not available? When does he intend to test more than the 14 trout which I gather are the extent of his sampling here today? When is he going to undertake what was promised a year ago: a comprehensive testing of dioxin levels in fish, particularly fish that are being consumed from Lake Ontario?

2:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I do not recall because I was not in my present office on the original date of 1979 or 1980, whichever the honourable member suggested. I do not know what specific references were made at that time.

We did have very advanced technology in place in time for the testing in July. What I am now suggesting to the member is that since that time we have put in place a new gas chromatograph mass spectrometer which probably makes our lab the most sophisticated and reliable lab anywhere in North America for this type of testing.

Mr. Smith: Would that you could say the same for your people.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would say the same for the staff as well. I thank the member for reminding me. They are highly respected in the field. In fact, as I mentioned in my statement, our staff have been invited this week to present a major paper at an international conference on dioxin. I think that is indicative of the respect and the confidence not only in the lab but also in the staff.

On the question of why this equipment was not in place in July, surely the member will understand it sometimes takes a period of time to order and acquire the equipment and get it into place.

Mr. McClellan: Why was the minister assuring everybody there were no problems if the technology wasn't even in place?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Not only would I have assured people of that then, but on the basis of the data that is before us now the same assurance can be given, provided people follow the same guidelines that have been in place for these species throughout.

Mr. Foulds: Don't drink the water and don't breathe the air.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I might point out to the member, and I know it is always ludicrous to get into these sorts of situations, but if he were to talk to someone who is well informed on this subject, who is scientifically well informed in terms of the risk factors, I am advised, in terms of the risk of carcinogenicity and so on, that if an individual were to consume one meal a day of fish at 20 parts per trillion of dioxin throughout his lifetime, he would be running the same risk of cancer as an individual who smokes two cigarettes a year during his lifetime.

Mr. Nixon: That's better than the martini analogy.

Mr. Kennedy: Supplementary: If I heard the statistics correctly as the minister read his statement, the concentration of dioxin and mirex was higher in fish caught off Port Credit. Is there any significance to that as to the reason it is higher there than in fish from other areas of the lake?

Secondly, would the results of these latest tests add fuel to enable Ontario to put additional heat on New York state for a cleanup of the Niagara River and, presumably from that, the Great Lakes?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I do not believe there is any evidence to indicate the fish in the Port Credit area are any different from the fish in the western end of Lake Ontario. It is not that site specific. It is my understanding that the fish that are stocked in the western end of Lake Ontario do move from roughly Toronto around to the St. Catharines area, so they are basically from the same school of fish.

Mr. Breithaupt: The fish do move around.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The fish do move around --

Mr. Foulds: It's called swimming.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- that is one thing we have discovered, although there are limits as to how far they will move.

In answer to the second part of the honourable member's question, the answer is clearly yes. I think this is, as were the previous results, information that will be of great importance to me in our discussions with our neighbours across the border.

Mr. Smith: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister please explain why he has come to us today with data indicating that the dioxin levels are above or at his limit, announcing to us this wonderful new equipment he has that is allegedly the reason he is now talking to us about the results, when he must surely have been told before now that even the corrected data in his earlier tests showed levels above Ontario's limit? When did the minister learn that the data he had been handing out to us was incorrect and misleading? When did he learn that it had not been corrected properly? And how come Ontario handed out uncorrected data while New York state and the federal government handed out corrected, accurate data?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the data we handed out previously was not misleading; in fact, I think it was clear as to the basis upon which the tests were being done.

In answer to the first part of the member's question as to why I am bringing this to the members' attention today, the answer, in my opinion, is quite simple. It is not because there has been any marked change, but as a layman, and I am a layman, my concern was that the data we were presenting today, in the absence of a full explanation, could lend itself to the creation of unnecessary apprehension and alarm. I felt it was incumbent upon me, and part of my responsibility as the minister with responsibility for this particular area within government, to try to explain as fully as possible to the members of the public, who, like myself, by and large are laymen, what the significance of these results was.

Mr. Breithaupt: Most members of the public are laymen.

Hon. Mr. Norton: That is right; except for certain individuals who might be doctors, and they are expected to understand things of this nature a little better. But there is no cause for alarm.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Unless it were clearly understood what the significance of the numbers was, then it could very well lend itself to the creation of alarm by those people who want to grab the figures and run and make them sound like something they are not.

Mr. Speaker: New question from the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. McClellan: On a point of order: Let the members be aware that on May 26, 1981, the minister very carefully avoided any reference to the fact that the technology was not in place and that he could not do the testing --

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. There is nothing out of order. The Leader of the Opposition, a new question.

Mr. Smith: That is the sad part of it.


Mr. Smith: Canada and New York state gave out corrected data. Only the minister gave out misleading data.

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mr. Smith: Yes, I have a question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: On a point of personal privilege: The Leader of the Opposition has just suggested that I gave out misleading information --

Mr. Smith: Data. That is correct.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- and that is not correct. It was clearly understood always, I think, that there were different testing techniques used in this jurisdiction and in the United States, and they differ in many areas. We have now done some --

Mr. Smith: Don't be silly. Sit down.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am not being silly. I think it is important that --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: If the Leader of the Opposition wants to allege that I in any way have misled, then I think either he should withdraw that or I at least am entitled to an opportunity to respond.

The way in which the testing has been done in the United States is quite different in some respects from ours, in that we test the dorsal muscle or the fillet from the side of the fish, and the Americans test a larger portion of the fish -- in fact, in some instances, the whole fish. That results in different concentrations because some of the non-edible parts of the fish or the parts that are not normally eaten by people are where the greater concentrations may occur.

Sure, that results in a difference and that kind of difference will remain even though we now have improved technology; of course it will. Mr. Speaker, if the member would like a briefing on the details of the technique, I would be glad to offer it to him as well.

Mr. Speaker: New question, the Leader of the Opposition.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, may I respond to that point of privilege?

Mr. Speaker: A new question, please.

Mr. Smith: The minister knows perfectly well they simply forgot to add in the correction factor. It is as simple as that.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities with regard to her comment in estimates on October 19 that, "Ontario's funding restraints on post-secondary education until now have been absorbed without government intervention and without serious damage to objectives."

How can the minister make a statement of this kind and defend it when the report of the Committee on the Future Role of Universities in Ontario, a study done under the direction of her own deputy minister, makes it plain that university physical plants are seriously deteriorating, and that unless university funding is improved, some institutions will have to be shut down and others will have to limit their programs?

How can she say everything is going well, there is no damage to objectives, everything is just as it should be, when a study from her own deputy minister and many other authorities makes it very plain the opposite is true?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition obviously does not understand English. If he were to read the document, he would determine and discover that the objectives that have been established by the universities have not to this point been damaged. That is precisely what I was saying.

Mr. Smith: I take it that is the English of the fine print which I did not exactly follow. Ontario's universities are in trouble -- and I trust the minister takes seriously the report by her own deputy, among many others, on this matter -- largely because, had the government of Ontario funded universities at a rate that kept up with inflation, the universities would be approximately $321 million better off over the past several years of funding. Because Ontario underfunded universities below the rate of inflation, they are now in the very sad state that is depicted here where they are either going to have to be closed in part, have certain courses stopped or continue to deteriorate.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I was not referring to any small print, but to the very large print in all of the documentation that has been established on this subject. The universities of this province have been funded at a level that is consistent with the levels of funding for other institutions for which the province is responsible. They were not given special status. They were funded at a level that was consistently higher than some others for which the government has responsibility.

I really would have to ask the question whether $321 million richer means $321 million better, or whether the program of the universities would serve the students better and serve society better simply by providing more funds. That is a question we have asked consistently of the universities and have had varied responses. The responses are now being collated in a way I think is going to be useful to all of us.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister explain why it is there are increasing numbers of reports of universities and community colleges that have had to move to theoretical instruction in the physical sciences and in areas of technology because they can no longer afford to provide the right kind of equipment on which their students can train?

If I can be quite specific, does the minister not think it is rather bizarre that at Confederation College in Thunder Bay they have been compelled to borrow from the banks for a period of two and a half or three years for the major proportion of the cost of the facility that is required for the training of workers to work in the aircraft industry, a technological industry where it is vital we have skilled workers? Is that not bizarre and a sign of the way in which the ministry and the government have kept universities and community colleges on such short rations they can no longer do an adequate job?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is in any way bizarre. A plan for the funding of the advancement of the aerospace technology course at Confederation College has been developed and is going to be functioning effectively on behalf of both the students and that industry.

Mr. Sweeney: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister agree that one of the goals set for the university system by the Premier (Mr. Davis) when he was the minister was totally open accessibility for all students in this province who earned a 60 per cent passing average from secondary school? I understood that was one of the goals of the university system.

The minister will surely realize the studies done at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, York University and Carleton University have all shown the degree of accessibility for those students who are from lower-income families has dropped during the last four or five years. Therefore would the minister not respond that one of the key goals has not been met?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I could not respond in that vein at all. The studies that have been carried out, which the honourable member mentioned, are incomplete in terms of the factors to be taken into account by the students making the decision. It is a concern of mine, and was a concern of the special committee on the future role of the universities, that one or two groups within our society were not being served on an increasing basis: the francophones of Ontario and the native peoples of Ontario.

Many factors are involved in that decision-making process which encourage or discourage a young person from deciding to acquire a post-secondary education. The accessibility point addressed by the special committee on the future role of universities did not in any way suggest that lower-income students were being prohibited or impeded from attending universities. This province has the most generous student assistance program in Canada. It has addressed itself specifically to the low-income students in this province, and has done so successfully.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question in regard to election spending I would like to address to the Attorney General.

In April 1979 charges of conspiracy were laid against Dylex Limited, the holding company which includes Tip Top Tailors and a number of other manufacturing and retail operations in the clothing area. Those charges were still outstanding at the time of the campaign this March. Would the Attorney General explain to the House how it is that, under those circumstances, in his campaign account and his riding account he accepted $1,000 in contributions from Dylex Limited plus a further $1,100, which came in donations from Mr. Posluns, the executive vice-president of Dylex Limited, and from his associates?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this was a question that was directed to me by Mr. Oved of the Toronto Sun about a month ago, I think. I said to him at that time I was not aware of any charges against any of these companies until the time it was mentioned to me by Mr. Oved. I also said I was not aware of any campaign contributions at any time before this information was brought to my attention by Mr. Oved. I assume the leader of the third party would have no difficulty in accepting those facts.

Mr. Cassidy: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister explain, first, why as Attorney General he would not have taken special care to ensure that justice is not only done but is also seen to be done and, therefore, why he would not have ensured that no contributions came into his campaign from companies or individuals against whom charges were outstanding in the courts? Second, would he say whether he has now returned the contributions to Dylex and to the people associated with Mr. Posluns, the vice-president of that company?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would think even the leader of the third party would appreciate that there are some hundred thousand plus criminal charges pending in the Ontario courts at any particular time. Also, all campaign contributions are a matter of public record. I have a very excellent committee that reviews contributions and attempts to ensure the best they can that there is no question arising in relation to any of these contributions, and that has been done.

2:40 p.m.

So far as the Posluns family is concerned I do not know the details of this matter at all. I do happen to know the Posluns are an exceptionally reputable family in this community. Certainly my campaign committee or finance committee would have no reason -- and to this date have no reason -- to return those contributions that were made. This is particularly so as there can be absolutely no question in anybody's mind as to whether or not this would have any influence whatsoever with respect to the matter that was before the courts.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary to the government House leader on this question of Ontario election law: I am interested since there is a developing debate on the requirements of reforming Ontario's election law. I would like to ask the government House leader, since on an earlier occasion he responded --

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. That is not a supplementary, with all respect.

Mr. Conway: It's not a supplementary to the question?

Mr. Speaker: No.

Mr. Cassidy: Final Supplementary: Could the Attorney General just be a bit clearer with the House? Does he not understand that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done? Is he not aware that subsequent to the election there was a $50,000 fine levied against the company in this case?

Since he collected in his campaign account and his riding account $102,000, and then went ahead and spent $67,000 in the riding of Eglinton, does he not think that at least to have the appearance of justice being done he could have acted after eight months when he learned about this donation and returned it to the company? This would make sure nobody could say there was any kind of an influence on his campaign or on the justice minister personally because of money coming from people who had cases before the courts of Ontario.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I do not think I have anything further to add to what I have already said, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The vacancy rate for apartments in Metropolitan Toronto is now down to 0.4 per cent. Would the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing say what action the government intends to take on the request by the city of Ottawa for draft legislation that would permit the city to refuse to allow the demolition of low- and moderate-rental apartments where the proposal by the developer is to turn those apartments into luxury condominiums at prices far beyond the reach of the present residents?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I take it the leader is referring to the draft legislation being proposed by the city of Toronto and not by the city of Ottawa.

When the legislation is presented to me and we have a chance to review it we will do so and report at that time.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Has the minister not informed himself about the situation which has been brewing for some time? Does he not have a report back from the very angry group of people, many of whom supported the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) in the election campaign in the riding of Eglinton, who are now facing eviction because of these practices by landlords?

Does the government not have a policy which it can announce now? Is the government prepared to sit down with the city of Toronto to react positively in principle to the request to get that legislation into place so that the city can act to protect people who are in danger of losing their homes because of evictions so that their units can be turned into luxury housing?

Hon Mr. Bennett: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am aware of some of the public meetings that have taken place in this community relating to the issuing of a building permit which allows for the construction of some new condominiums on a site, and which also has made application for the demolition of the present units.

As I said, the legislation is being sought by the city of Toronto. We are prepared to review it. I am not prepared at this time to make a blanket statement that we are going to introduce legislation of such a character to govern this province.

Mr. Smith: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not recall that the Ontario Municipal Board itself on March 19, 1981, asked the government for some policy in this regard? I want to quote from its decision regarding the city of Cambridge. This is the OMB speaking: "There is no specific policy in the Planning Act or Condominium Act which relates to this issue of conversion nor was the board made aware of any other legislation in which it might be contained." It says, "There is nothing of a binding nature or even existing policy to which the board can look for assistance."

So the board itself would like a policy. There are people waiting to find out what their fate will be because of an appeal launched by the city of Toronto on the matter of the buildings in the Eglinton-Bathurst area. In the United States the rush to condominiumize -- if that is a word -- the affordable rental accommodation in the middle of cities has just about eliminated affordable rental accommodation there. Given all this, is the government prepared to bring in a policy to guarantee people are not going to be thrown out of their homes just so some developers can make a few million dollars on speculative changes of rental housing into condominiums?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Of course, Mr. Speaker, I believe we are talking about something in the range of two different issues here today. It sounds as if one was demolition and replacement by a new structure versus a conversion --

Mr. Smith: Either way.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Either way it is not quite correct. But let me just give the House some information --

Mr. Smith: They are not building rental accommodation. That is for damn sure.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Smith: It is going to be condominiums, any way.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister should just address himself to the question.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is obvious the leader of the Liberal Party would like to give us some rambling situation. However, just so there is no misunderstanding, members should look at what has happened in this province since 1976 to September 1981 in the area of conversion from private rental to condominium.

Mr. Smith: Look at what is happening now.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let us look at what has happened. In 1976 the number of dwellings fully approved and converted from rental to condominium was 2,091. In 1977 it was 1,579. Take note that in 1978 it was 678 and in 1979, 1,029. Last year it was 483 and this is all over Ontario. Until September of 1981 it was 199 units. Indeed, out of three million --

Mr. Smith: The problem is right now: 80 inquiries in the last six weeks.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: One can talk about inquiries, as has been interjected by the leader of the Liberal Party, but let me suggest strongly that inquiries have nothing to do with the positive aspect of how many are converted. There are more than three million living units in this province. A total of 1,170,000. which is 38.2 per cent, are in rentals and 1,893,000, which is 61.8 per cent, are in ownership.

Over the period of the five years 0.005 per cent has been converted from rental to condominium. The rate of conversion in this province is tremendously different from that in the United States and tremendously different from what we experienced in 1975 and 1976.

Mr. Philip: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: I wish the minister would tell that to the constituents of the member for Eglinton (Mr. McMurtry) who are being thrown out on the street. Is the minister not concerned that, while private sector housing is being destroyed, Ontario Housing Corporation is not able to keep up with the demand from those who have been dispossessed in the private market?

Is the minister aware that as of July 31, 1981, Metropolitan Toronto Housing Company had 4,574 families on its waiting list as compared with 3,746 families in March 1981 and 3,275 families on August 31, 1980? This is an increase of more than 30 per cent in less than a year. Or is the minister simply prepared to accept that one solution to Ontario's housing crisis is the one proposed by a number of his constituents who put on a bumper sticker which reads, "Bump Bennett. Ontario needs a housing minister who works."

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the member for Etobicoke is up to date with bumper stickers that are about a year and a half old. It did not work through March 19 of the current year so it really does not have much validity.

2:50 p.m.

I do not think by any stretch of the imagination that the private housing sector is being destroyed in this province. The private sector should have an opportunity to function effectively. It is great to try to put restrictions on, but one of the reasons we have some difficulties is that we have placed restrictions against the private sector. These have turned them off trying to put investment in place in rental accommodation.

Ms. Copps: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: How can the minister say the private sector --

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of order.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Many Ontario citizens are very concerned about the crisis in Poland and the Premier has received many requests to respond to this crisis by sending food and medical supplies and giving immigrants help for resettlement. When will he or his government develop a policy that will spell out specifically what this government is prepared to do to help out?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, this government has responded over the years when unfortunate situations have occurred in other countries of the world. I think one should be careful how a response is phrased or how it is developed in terms of a provincial jurisdiction involving itself in matters that should be dealt with by a national government. I am not being critical of the government of Canada at this point.

I know the honourable member has distributed some correspondence which a number of us have received. On the question of assistance to people who now may be outside Poland or matters of that kind, the cabinet will be assessing it. Information is being obtained and when something is to be said I can assure the honourable member we will communicate it. Premature is the wrong word, but I am not in a position to make any statements for a few days.

Mr. Ruprecht: I appreciate the comments by the Premier. If I may be permitted to ask one more question about this item, in the Premier's response to Senator Haidasz's statement, he indicated the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, which is responsible for assessing this kind of assistance, will be developing some policy initiatives. Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) also produce a statement soon, or will it be in co-operation with some other department?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Perhaps the honourable member has not been involved in the House when some of these situations have occurred before. It will be a matter of general government policy involving the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Recreation. I can think of a few situations when we were involved in relief in one or two countries where two or three other ministries were involved. But on an issue as important and sensitive as this, I or one of the ministers will be having something to say. However, it will not be for a few days.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Early last week in the Premier's absence, I asked the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) the same question that has just been asked. My question included whether or not there would be some specific initiatives in terms of medical supplies, resettlement and so on. At that time, if I recall correctly, I asked him to report back to the House and he said there would be such a report. I wonder if he could be a little more specific as to when we might get some idea of the places we might tie into it as members of this House?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy informed me of the member's question and the reply he gave. I think I have answered that question. I cannot give the member exact days. As I say, it is a sensitive issue but I will assure the member there will be a statement forthcoming from the government fairly soon.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, if I could have his attention please. I wonder if he would tell the House why he terminated the loans under the Shoreline Property Assistance Act on September 30 of this year? Why were they terminated without any advance notice to the municipalities or the people concerned?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, if I recall correctly, I indicated to the municipalities at the time that the amount of money we had allocated for shoreline protection and flood control was depleted and that I was not in a position to extend further funding at this time.

Mr. Swart: Would the minister not think the manner in which he took the action to terminate it was irresponsible, in fact, cruel to the lakeshore property owners who had already paid their $200 application fee, had received approval and proceeded with the work? One example is Mr. Normand Baillargeon, who owns property in Dunnville on Lake Erie. I will send a copy of the correspondence to the minister.

He will note, when he gets that correspondence, that by letter dated September 28, 1981, the town of Dunnville authorized Mr. Baillargeon to proceed with an $8,800 anti-shoreline-erosion project. Then by letter from his ministry dated September 30, and received in the Dunnville municipal office on October 8, he cut off all loans effective October 1, one day after his ministry's letter was dated and seven days before it was received. By this time Mr. Baillargeon's contractor had his work 50 per cent completed. Others are in the same situation.

Will the minister not, in fairness, agree that the loan money should be provided to all those shoreline property owners who have received approval and have let contracts or commenced work? Will he yet provide those loans? If not, what advice is he going to give those property owners?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I trust the member read the second letter that came from my ministry on September 30, signed by Glenna Carr. If he reads the last paragraph I am sure he will understand exactly what it means. It says, "As the year progresses, if there are surplus funds in other accounts we will make the transfers and try to accommodate the applications."

Mr. Ruston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has the minister been able to assess whether he is going to have any funds to transfer into this program?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: We are in the process of doing just that, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. I recognize the position he is in, in terms of local autonomy. However the overwhelming majority of people in the Niagara region are opposed to the expenditure of tax dollars for the construction of a new regional headquarters building in that area at a time when municipal taxes are increasing rather substantially and inflation is eating away at their real incomes. Would the minister be prepared to intervene in any way in an attempt to persuade the members of that regional council not to proceed with this monument to regional government, and this program which amounts to financial insanity?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am not so sure I would accept that last interpretation of an action of the regional council. I believe they are a council freely elected by the same people who likely elected the member who just finished speaking. They made a decision on behalf of their council. I have talked to the chairman and several members of that regional council. They believe the decision is a wise one considering that at present the administration of the region is scattered in a number of buildings. They think this decision is, in the long term, in the best economic interests of that community. I do not intend to interfere with what is local autonomy to make decisions and practise them in its own community.

Mr. Bradley: Would the minister not agree with what I thought was a very frank and honest assessment on the matter by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells)? On June 2, 1980, he stated in the Legislature in answer to my question, "I do not disagree with the member about the need in the Niagara Peninsula. I met the regional council at its present office and I saw nothing wrong with that office. I do not see any particular need to build a palace to give regional government some kind of focus in the Niagara Peninsula."

I am not attempting to drive a wedge between the ministers, but in view of what I think was a very honest assessment by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, would the minister not agree it would at least be worthwhile to attempt to persuade them to delay their action until further studies can be undertaken to determine whether they really need to make that kind of expenditure now?

3 p.m.

Mr. Swart: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: A committee which is now province-wide has been created to investigate the dramatic changes and downgrading of regional government. In view of this does the minister not think it would be wise at least to hold off building that $6 million or $7 million project until the committee has reported?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I trust the member realizes there is nothing I personally can do about it. I do not intend to interfere, period. And as far as this committee is concerned, it is a splinter group that is running around trying to create difficulties in regional government formation. I do not think its authenticity is very substantial.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health, and it is about an apparent anomaly in the Health Insurance Act, which seems to suspend Ontario health insurance plan coverage for those 16 to 18 years old who are in nursing homes.

Is it the case that a Mr. Knight in my riding will have to spend more than $9,000 in the next two years to keep his son in a nursing home, as that nursing home has informed him, although his son was fully covered by OHIP before he was 16 and will be in another two years' time? Why does the minister think his ministry's officials have said the boy can, on his own merits, be subsidized under general welfare, when the Metro assessment officers for welfare tell us they must take into account his father's income? It is $23,000, and the result is the boy will be ineligible and the father poor.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, after hearing a 20-second description I am not going to make a judgement one way or the other.

Mr. Martel: No, it has taken seven months for Benedetti.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, I am sorry; I answered that fairly quickly.

Mr. Martel: No, the minister did not. His answer was useless.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In regard to this one, I take it the member has some of the details and can give me the name, address, location and so forth.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I can only say in response that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs does not work under the same conditions as the staff of the region.

If the boy is an extended-care patient and entitled to subsidy then the subsidy should be paid, I would think.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: At the moment there seem to be approximately 48 people -- it is hard to tell -- who are covered by general welfare assistance in nursing homes. Yet according to Kay Wlodarczyk of the Ministry of Health, at least 121 families have children between the ages of 15 to 19 in nursing homes, and, according to her, the vast majority of them are being asked to pay out of their own pockets. It is not just this one case; it seems to be a large problem across the province.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I remind the honourable member that in nursing homes the only ones who are covered in any way by government plans are those who are there under the extended-care program.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member is asking me to make a judgement on a case I have not heard of before. I would love to have the details; if he would give them to me I will try to get it straightened out.


Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware of The Ravaged River report, which was recently released by the New York Public Interest Research group? The limited data they had to work with showed that the New York state overall cancer mortality rate ranked second in the nation during the period from 1950 to 1969. In both Erie and Niagara counties the male cancer rates exceeded the national rate.

Is the minister aware the recent Niagara District Health Council Task Force report number two has indicated a similar problem of high rates of mortality, especially with respect to comparison between Ontario, Canada as a whole? Niagara revealed significantly higher rates of neoplasm, a disease of the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems. A comparison of potential years of life lost between the ages of one and 70 for Ontario and the whole of Niagara reveals a significantly higher rate per 1,000 population for Niagara residents.

Since both reports indicate a general health problem, will the minister initiate a comprehensive health study relating to the possible health hazards to that region's population, which may well be subject to long-term water and air pollution?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I did not catch the name of the first study to which the honourable member made mention, but --

Mr. Haggerty: It was an American report.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes. To my knowledge it has not been sent to me. Some of my public health staff may be aware of it, but if they are, we have not at this point discussed it.

I know too the health council was working on a study looking at morbidity and mortality and that it was going to circulate it for comment. I will find out for the member where that study is and whether it is one that, in the view of our epidemiologists in the ministry, merits further study.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister aware, and I am sure he is, of the anxiety in the town of Cobourg over the possible closing of D'Arcy Place, the facility for the mental retarded there? Has he or the cabinet made a decision about whether the facility will remain open? Is he completing a meeting that the honourable member for that riding is arranging for this afternoon with residents from that community?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, no decision has been made. I am sorry, I missed part of the last question about the member --

Mr. Speaker: The member is arranging a meeting.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I have a meeting this afternoon with a group from Cobourg. That is substantially the message I am going to give them. Somebody gave me a clipping the other day suggesting there was supposed to be a cabinet meeting on Thursday that would decide it. To the best of my knowledge, there was not a cabinet meeting on Thursday. As I say, no decision has been made on the future or the present of D'Arcy Place.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: When the Premier (Mr. Davis) over the weekend warns the right wing of the minister's party that that is not the route to go for the Progressive Conservatives of this province, why is it that this ministry is continuing to put in jeopardy, make uneasy and threaten the most vulnerable members of our society, the mentally retarded? Why does the minister not give a clear assurance that facilities such as D'Arcy Place will remain in existence, and, in the words of the Cobourg Daily Star, "call a halt to this reckless, ruthless and unfair move to end the good works of D'Arcy Place in this community."

Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, it is absolutely delightful that the New Democratic Party, through one of its leadership contenders, has now endorsed the facility or the institution as the only place for the care of the retarded.

Mr. Foulds: That is not what I said and that is not what the party said in the community.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Well, he is right there. What has to be looked at in the context of care and treatment of the developmentally handicapped is the fact that, for the past several years, more and more of those who once would have gone to a facility have not gone. They are being raised by their parents in the community with support services. More children who were in facilities some time ago are now coming out into community endeavours. In terms of the adult retarded, the same situation prevails.

To say that a particular segment of that total care concept, of which D'Arcy Place is a very prominent example -- and we are building homes, some in the communities, some in facilities, some larger than others, some smaller than others -- to try to lay down an absolute dictum to keep open facilities -- and I am not talking about D'Arcy Place at the moment; it has to be looked at as part of the whole -- to keep open facilities that are no longer needed because the work is being done in the community, cannot be described by the adjectives the honourable member used. Indeed, it would be absolutely ridiculous.

I could not go to the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded, with the work it has done in the community both for the retarded and with government co-operation, and say I am never going to change any of the facilities. There is quite a move that a number should be closed and I think that has to be kept in context.

3:10 p.m.

On the last little item, that the Premier gave some admonition to the right wing of the party, I have never been identified with the right wing. As a matter of fact, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and I are usually on the other side.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: It was quite disturbing; I thought I heard the minister say he was going to attend a meeting this afternoon.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I said "tonight."

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Tonight? You said "this afternoon," I think.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I did not say that. I am meeting them after I get done with my estimates.

Mr. R.F. Johnston: Check Hansard.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I am just a little tired of the innuendo. I have estimates this afternoon. I told the people from Cobourg I would meet them after estimates.

Mr. Cassidy: Take a rest.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Why, do you want to skip them?


Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. It certainly was a pleasure to be involved in the new GO facilities coming in from Milton. I think this is a first where we have hooked up the railway line to the subway system. The question to the minister is, are there more of these facilities in the offing in the future?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I fully expect my ministry and the Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority will be continuing, as they have for the past 14 years, to expand the service operated by GO Transit.

Mr. Smith: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Since we are hearing about the expansion of GO Transit, when will we finally have GO Transit on a regular-train basis between the largest industrial centre in this country, Hamilton, and the capital of our province, Toronto? When will the minister finally get GO service on a regular-train basis into Hamilton?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, there has been GO Transit on a regular-train basis to Hamilton now for 14 years. It so happens that it is two trains in the morning and two trains in the evening.

Mr. Smith: That is pretty regular.

Hon. Mr. Snow: This guy is pretty smart, is he not? It so happens the service we inaugurated yesterday through Etobicoke, Mississauga and Milton will be operating with three trains a day. It so happens that the Georgetown GO train service operated for a number of years with three trains per day and now has four trains per day. It also so happens, and the honourable member should know it, that with the difficulties we have with the rail service, it is impossible for us to get more than two trains per day into Hamilton.

Mr. Speaker: May I have your attention for a few moments? I would like to call all members' attention to the fact that the Lieutenant Governor will be holding an investiture ceremony for the 1981 recipients of the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery and the Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery in the main lobby and on the great staircase of the Legislative Building today at 6 p.m. It would be appreciated if all members would use the elevators and not the great staircase during this investiture.


House in committee of supply.


On vote 401, ministry administration program; item 1, main office:

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, I want to raise a few more items with the minister. Most of the questions that I have left are about the Civil Service Commission or involve the staff relations field. I am pleased that we have made some progress in getting through the backlog of grievances that we had, but it seems to me that we still have a problem with time. It is my information that a typical grievance -- and I am not referring here to a dismissal -- requires four months.

Mr. Chairman: Can we just have a little bit of quiet, please, so we can hear Mr. Mackenzie?

Mr. Mackenzie: It takes four months from referral to the Crown Employee's Grievance Settlement Board to the date of hearing. A further two months is required for the award. I would point out to the minister that under the Ontario Labour Relations Act, section 37(a), we have accelerated this process. The process from referral to the minister to the appointment of an arbitrator is expedited, and the hearing takes place within no less than 21 days. Surely some kind of permanent arbitration system such as the grievance settlement board could be able to function must faster than the ad hoc system administered under section 37(a).

I know that the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has proposed -- but as far as I know, Mr. Minister, to no avail -- to appoint a full-time chairman, for which I understand they said they would be willing to pay half the cost. They have asked for regional arbitration boards because scheduling is made more difficult when witnesses, grievor, etcetera, must be brought in to Toronto. They have asked also for non precedential arbitrations in which the decision could not be used as a basis for other arbitrators. A nonprecedential case could be decided orally or by a relatively new arbitrator. They have also proposed specific time limits. This makes more than a little sense and I am wondering if the minister is considering it.

I am sure he is also aware of a position we have taken in this House consistently -- and probably one of the foremost requests of those members covered by the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act -- which is that they would like to see the change so that they are covered under the Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Labour Relations Board rather than the current setup they have.

They raised the question with me that because the Chairman of Management Board is both the employer's agent and the minister responsible for administering the labour legislation, this administration is biased by the employer's interest. While I am sure the minister himself would not agree with that, I think they make a legitimate case. I think we would resolve a number of the concerns and a lot of the bad feeling we have had for a long period of time if there were a shift to the Ministry of Labour.

I also understand that the government appointed Professor Weiler recently to investigate reporting relationships. I am wondering, if this is accurate, when we could expect Weiler to report and how long -- if indeed he does make the recommendation that I suspect he might -- it would be before the government might act on this specific proposal. There are, as the minister knows, a number of problems involved in the restrictions on employees covered under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act.

I am also wondering if the minister would be prepared to present us with the breakdown of the grievances that have been dealt with over the last year on an individual basis, giving us the cases, when they were referred to arbitration, when they were heard and the date of the decision, to give us some idea as to whether or not I am accurate in the time frame that I have been talking about.

I wonder too if the minister would tell us whether he intends to look at the cost to employees of the union of defending themselves where they have been charged in assault cases and where the case has not been proved or the charge has been dismissed. Even though the case may be dismissed, the minister must be aware that the employee or the union is still on the hook for the legal charges, and it seems to me that is not a fair situation.

3:20 p.m.

I am also wondering, Mr. Minister, whether you would deal with the question of referrals that are now coming in. If I can use one example, this is a letter from the Hamilton office:

"Recently two referrals came in from the insurance carrier of the LTIP," long-term income protection plan, "to the vocational rehabilitation services section of ComSoc in our area. Both referrals are asking our services to evaluate vocational potential of both cases to enable the carrier to arrive at a further disposition of their cases."

I think that raises a number of serious concerns and it certainly has for the employees involved, because the vocational rehab staff are concerned simply because VRS staff are also members of the bargaining unit, and as such they are placed in a conflicting role. The civil servant on LTIP is also placed in a rather no-escape position as refusal to participate could be interpreted as an unco-operative attitude.

I think they have a valid concern here and I really ask why a taxpayer of Ontario, not an insurance carrier, must spend moneys on evaluation of the vocational status of this client. As a matter of fact, I am told that the insurance carriers under LTIP are increasingly asking for information on which to make an evaluation of the cases. I am really wondering why ComSoc should be subsidizing the insurance carriers by doing such evaluations for them.

It makes you wonder if the province is really working for the insurance companies in a case like this. It would seem to me there is a valid case there for the minister to take a look at the situation and see what can be done to change that particular situation.

I am also wondering if the minister is prepared to look at another complaint that exists with the employees, and that is the lack of any kind of indexing or income protection in terms of those who go on long-term income protection plans. I have two examples to underline the case.

One concerns a Joseph Breau who went on LTIP on June 30, 1978, at $11,200 a year. That is now well over three years ago and there has been no adjustment or no change. So what might have seemed to be a fair income at the time under the plan certainly is now one that can only hurt that employee. It is not going to be too long before he is also going to be looking at welfare as a way out; his income is still too high to qualify for it, but I think it underlines what I am saying.

The other one is a Nicholas Begey, who went on LTIP on February 24, 1979, at an income of $12,787. He has been on it for maybe only two and a half years, but in two and a half years there has been no increase or no adjustment. It certainly points out that lack of indexing means the long-term income protection plan is not an income protection plan. I am wondering what the minister is prepared to do in terms of looking after the legitimate needs of these particular employees and others who are under that kind of category.

I was also intrigued by some of the remarks made by the Liberal member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) in his comments. Those were concerning expenditures when he was also raising, as I did, the question of exactly how you justify some of the expenditures, whether it is for a plane, Minaki or the oil purchase as against some of the other needs.

He raised with the minister the fact that an awful lot of ex-members and ex-cabinet ministers in this House seem to end up not only drawing their pensions but also fairly hefty salaries in many cases on various commissions and boards. I am wondering if the minister would provide a list of all ex-MPPs and cabinet ministers -- cabinet ministers in particular -- who are drawing pensions from this House and at the same time are holding jobs on boards or commissions, and what rates they are being paid in these particular boards and commissions.

I am wondering if the minister would also respond as to whether or not he is giving serious consideration to the growing request from women employees within the government service for some form of pregnancy leave and whether or not he is prepared to accept the principle, which has certainly been established within the postal service, that this is a right of women employees and that we do not need to expect that it is going to become one of the serious points of difference in negotiations. I would be surprised, Mr. Minister, if it is not one of the requests that we are going to have before us.

I would appreciate answers to these, as well as answers to my questions on the kind of assessment or evaluation that is done of the various programs that come before your ministry, in your response during these estimates.

Mr. Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Mackenzie. It is my understanding that the minister will have a general reply to the opening statements and then we will look at specific votes, if that is agreeable. We have approximately one hour and five minutes left on the estimates.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, I presume the members know, but in case they do not, the two gentlemen in front of me are Mr. Butler on my right, who is the secretary of the Management Board of Cabinet, and Mr. Waldrum on my left, who is deputy minister in charge of the Civil Service Commission.

The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) mentioned in his opening remarks the state of labour negotiations and relations in the government last year and I thank him for that comment and agree with what he said.

There has been some mention in the comments of both honourable members of the purchase of a jet and Suncor. As far as the purchase of the jet is concerned, a cabinet decision was taken to obtain a jet. We at Management Board looked at the relative merits of either leasing on a permanent basis or purchasing, and we found purchasing to be the most advantageous.

Mr. Martel: Do you lend it to anyone?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Certainly, if I happen to be going to Sudbury, I would be glad to have you aboard.

Mr. Martel: I need it for the twentieth, though.

Hon. Mr. McCague: It is not going to be here by that time, as I understand it.

As far as Suncor is concerned, again that is a cabinet decision on which the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has already decided how it will be financed and --

Mr. Cassidy: You manage, except when the cabinet decides.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Well, certainly, would you not agree that any decision any minister or ministry makes is subject to cabinet approval?

Mr. Cassidy: That is a licence for irresponsibility. What was the cost benefit on the jet?

Mr. Chairman: Please allow the minister to proceed with his comments.

Hon. Mr. McCague: There was considerable comment by both the Liberal critic and the NDP critic about the salaries we paid to various people who are members of this House and chairmen of agencies, boards and commissions. While I could get that information for the members, it is all in public accounts, I think you will agree, and can easily be referenced there.

The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk raised several questions about the overuse of consultants generally, about the fees paid to them and about the use of lawyers. Mr. Nixon, of course, on occasion feels the same way I do about fees charged by lawyers. Since both of us are farmers we are rather distressed, and I can understand that the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) might well feel the same way.

3:30 p.m.

However, just a little on consultants: We at Management Board, of course, do not appoint all the consultants. Policies are laid down in the manual of administration that ministries are asked to follow in the appointment of consultants. As I said before, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk raised a question about lawyers. I think he probably has the biggest problem with those who are appointed to serve select committees or committees of the House. I would point out to him that the administrative policies concerning those lawyers are the policies of the Office of the Assembly --

Mr. Nixon: It is actually the royal commission lawyers that really bug me.

Hon. Mr. McCague: They are the ones the member was particularly speaking about, and they may happen to be the same ones he is in charge of as a member of the Board of Internal Economy.

Mr. Nixon: They often are. They just go from one trough to another.

Mr. Mackenzie: Is the minister asked to do an evaluation of the merits or demerits of this kind of situation? For example, we have been well served without going to expensive lawyers in the select committee on pensions.

Hon. Mr. McCague: In regard to the lawyers who would be retained by committees of this House, no, we are not asked anything about those. In regard to the lawyers serving royal commissions, we are asked to approve their scale of fees, but it is always within a scale that would approximate what members in the House would approve for people they hire on the various committees.

Both members asked a few questions that relate, really, to the role of Management Board. Of course, members realize it is a committee of cabinet, and in simplest terms its role is to ensure the effective, efficient and economical administration of government. The responsibility is somewhat similar to that of a general manager in the determination of corporate administrative policies, the administration of the annual funding process and the co-ordination of program implementation.

The board sets manpower and financial control policies, monitors expenditures and program results throughout the year, and advises cabinet on matters of corporate administrative interest. It also ensures that government administration is responsive to economic and technological change. Finally, it undertakes initiatives to improve government's internal management processes.

The chairman has direct policy and priority input through his membership on the Policies and Priorities Board. In this he is given analytical support by the Management Board secretariat. The annual resource allocation process is the key vehicle for the chairman's participation in priority setting. This process, directed by the Policies and Priorities Board, has major participation by the Management Board secretariat as well as by the Ministry of Treasury and Economics. Management Board secretariat also provides important staff input to the work of the policy field committees.

The ministries are allocated specific financial and manpower resources, subject to the ultimate approval of the Legislature through the annual estimates process, which is administered by the Management Board secretariat and on which allocation recommendations are made to cabinet by Management Board. The Management Board secretariat continuously monitors ministry expenditures to ensure compliance with corporate financial decisions. Expenditure problems are reviewed with the ministries and, if required, by Management Board. Ministers may appear before the board either by their choice or, frequently, at the request of the board.

There was a question about how Management Board monitors ministry performance. It does this by monitoring the use of the human and financial resources as approved in each ministry's estimates and by monitoring program performance using management by results data. This includes information on whether the program is achieving its objective and whether it is doing so efficiently by monitoring the quality of the management processes. At present this consists primarily of monitoring the results orientation of the ministry's processes, but in the future it will include some monitoring against the standards set in the management standards project.

Mr. Mackenzie: Does that mean if you were monitoring and found something wrong you would report back to the Premier (Mr. Davis)? How do we highlight the minister's performance?

Hon. Mr. McCague: To the ministry, or it might be highlighted in the minutes we provide after each meeting that are adopted or otherwise by cabinet.

It was mentioned that probably the records retention function was not very important. I think, as a part of our work, it is quite important. During the project we have had enthusiastic support from such organizations as the Financial Executives Institute Canada, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, the Association of Records Managers and Administrators, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and many others.

I guess the specific question raised by the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) was the one regarding the retention of health records. During consideration of this matter, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Labour were consulted. What we are recommending is that records be kept for 20 years after the patient's last visit. We are told that is adequate, although the honourable member may have something further to say about that.

As far as the riding-horse records are concerned, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is looking at 36 regulatory amendments relating to records retention. It is really up to them to recommend to us what we should do in this regard. At this point, we have not had their final opinion.

I am sorry that responses to a couple of the matters raised by the member for Hamilton East will be rather technical in nature. As he will recall, some of the figures he gave from tables and questions relating to last year's estimates do require a rather technical response, which I will give him. He asked for an elaboration of the figures quoted on page 0281 of last year's opening remarks. These figures are based on an analysis of Ontario government expenditure from 1975-76 to 1979-80. Real trends in spending were determined by removing the effect of inflation.

The 1.3 per cent reduction applies to the total spending of the general government policy field. The 1975-76 expenditures, when restated in constant dollars, were $1.725 billion compared with actual spending of $1.702 billion in 1979-80. The reduction of $23 million is 1.3 per cent less than the 1975-76 figure of $1.725 billion. Similarly, the social policy field 1975-76 expenditures restated in constant dollars were $9.220 billion compared with actual spending of $9.830 billion in 1979-80. The increase of $610 million is 6.6 per cent greater than the figure of $9.220 billion.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That's a billion.

Hon. Mr. McCague: One-twentieth of the budget.

Mr. Nixon: You've got a good writer over there. Great stuff.

Mr. T. P. Reid: You should be on Friday Night Live.

Hon. Mr. McCague: You are a great advocate of that.

The member for Hamilton East asked a question concerning the proportion of government expenditures on goods and services that small business receives. As I stated before, on March 28, 1980, we tabled a report. The survey indicated that during the 1978-79 fiscal year ministries spent approximately $278 million on goods and services via purchase order. Small businesses -- that is, those with 100 employees or less -- received 51.2 per cent of the dollars expended or approximately $143 million. On surveying the government purchase of goods and services, we were focusing on the purchase of those commodities defined in the public accounts as services, supplies and equipment, not on the acquisition and construction of physical assets.

3:40 p.m.

I think the question was asked why we excluded such things as automobiles, petroleum products, road salt and construction projects. Those are all decided by tender. Basically they are all Canadian companies. Automobiles, petroleum products and road salt have only two suppliers -- Domtar and Canadian Salt. Of course I do not think the construction projects amount to small purchases. They are really one large contract.

Mr. Mackenzie: All these are by tender?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes. Regarding the attendance improvement program, the member for Hamilton East asked a question regarding the breakdown of absenteeism by category. We do not have that. I do have the list here by ministry, which somebody could deliver to him, but we do not have the information broken down by employment classification.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Do you have extra copies?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes, somebody will get you one.

I wonder if the member for Hamilton East would agree that I might pass across to him some information on all the questions he asked about classified, and so forth, rather than taking the time to read it. What does he wish?

Mr. Chairman: The acknowledgement is that he will just accept it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: What are you doing about the Ministry of Health, which has the highest rate of absenteeism?

Mr. Chairman: Carry on.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Regarding the use of unclassified, the member for Hamilton East mentioned that the uniformed police in OPP do not have any unclassified staff. Actually, in the OPP there are some unclassified such as matrons and guards on an on-call basis, and part-time caretakers and clerk typists in detachments. These people show up on the statistics and may prove to the member there are some unclassified in there.

The Ministry of the Attorney General is not employing crowds of high-priced, unclassified lawyers. There are a few professional contracts and a few people on special projects, and they hire some students. However, about 85 per cent of their unclassified staff are persons working 24 hours or less per week in the area of court administration.

Regarding the Ministry of Health, there is a wide range of unclassified jobs involved, including doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, nurses' aides, ambulance workers, food service helpers, cleaners and a variety of staff on projects. This will presumably include professional contracts, part-time work and staff on call to cover a vacancy or peak loads, et cetera.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services mainly has clerical staff, stenographic staff and residential counsellors and counsellor assistants on unclassified staff, although it also employs food service helpers, welfare workers, social workers, nurses and observation and detention home workers in these ways.

I have lost my little note with the questions the member for Hamilton East asked towards the latter part of his remarks.

As far as the grievances are concerned, we did have a bad situation as far as backlog is concerned, a year ago now. I guess about a year and a half ago, I issued a challenge in the order, if you want to say it that way, to clean these up. I think progress over the past few months has been dramatic. It is true there are some delays. The member mentioned four months from the date of setting the hearing. I think we have been hampered to quite an extent by the fact there was this backlog. Now that we are fairly current as of April 1 of this year, I think we can do better.

It is true the union asked for 21 days or 30 days, something like that. Our sort of unwritten agreement at that time was to proceed this way and see how it worked. It may be necessary to do something in the future, but I think we can assess that as time goes on. It is true cabinet has asked Professor Weiler to take a look at the reporting relationships. It is true I represent the union as employer and I am also the one responsible for negotiations with them. This has been brought to my attention by the union. Professor Weiler is looking at the reporting relationship.

When we asked Professor Weiler to take on this task, he had other duties but we expect him to report before the end of the year. As to when it might take place, I cannot state. We will have to look at the recommendations and cabinet will also. The matter of costs to employees and the vocational status of a client is a matter that has not --

Mr. Mackenzie: Has the minister any reservations about transferring authority?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Personally I have some sympathy for the argument made by the union, although I think, as the member stated --

Mr. Mackenzie: Are there hangups on the part of the Minister of Labour or do you know?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I do not know that. The member is asking questions I do not have the answers to. I understand the point. I guess we are the only one in Canada that has this kind of reporting relationship, but that does not necessarily mean we are wrong.

Mr. Mackenzie: I think one can make a lot of good arguments and a few criticisms.

Mr. Chairman: I would like to inform all honourable members that although we are not usually very strict with regard to rulings, I do have a list already in terms of general inquiries of this minister. There is another one. Could the member for Hamilton East please refrain and allow other members to make general inquiries after the minister's response?

Hon. Mr. McCague: As far as the cost to employees of grievances and the vocational status of clients are concerned, that is something that has not been brought to my attention at this point. I will look at it as the honourable member has requested.

Indexing and long-term income protection: I think that is a matter before us now as far as negotiations with the union are concerned.

Women employees' pregnancy leave: That matter comes up periodically when we are in the bargaining sessions and I would not want to comment on it at this time.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Cassidy, we are now responding to the general opening statement of the minister and Mr. Ruston was first on the list I had. Is that all right? If the committee is agreeable, first it is general questions on the opening statement and then we will go to the specific vote.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, I will speak briefly. One thing concerned me somewhat. I am not sure whether the minister is really involved in it. We call it Chairman of Management Board and we as laymen get the impression that since you are Chairman of Management Board your officials should have a knowledge of how the money is being spent throughout different ministries. Maybe you do not. I am not thinking of whether money is misspent. But in the administration of different ministries and their operations, does your ministry ever have any -- I would be afraid to use the word consultants -- any cost analyses of operations in other ministries as to how they are operating in that area?

Do you ever get involved when a ministry comes in and wants another 200 employees? Are you going to say, "What do you need them for?" Do you have personnel experts in charge of management and in charge of production of work and so forth? Do you ever get involved in that type of thing?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes.

Mr. Ruston: I know this is a difficult question, but it concerns the Ministry of Revenue's operations in the last couple of years since they took over the tax grant system. From my staff and other people I have talked to here, I get the opinion it is almost a disaster area in the ministry with regard to the tax grant system. It has become such a disaster that I understand they have informed my office they will not take any claims for the next three weeks because, quite frankly, they are so bogged down with problems they do not know what they are doing.

3:50 p.m.

The second thing I am looking at is the cost of operating that mess. If we want to give people over 65 years of age a little more money, there is a massive computer set up in Ottawa. We have the old age pension, the supplementary old age pension and we have the Gains right here in our own province. If the ministry wants to give these people more money why not put the Gains up $30 or $40 a month instead of sending them a $500 cheque and then a $50 cheque for sales tax benefits?

I have been told 1,500 people in Ontario received three $50 cheques. I do not know how true that is. I do know of some people who received two $50 cheques and their neighbours did not receive any. These people tell me, "Our neighbours are Conservatives and that is why they received two and we didn't get any." I am sure that is not the case. I am sure they would not do it that way.

But I say somebody over there has to have control over how the money is spent and how it is wasted. There has to be millions wasted on those types of plans. No one can convince me the government is not wasting money. We have a system in place for looking after our elderly people for financial assistance. The cost of putting in that type of system just so the government could have the political advantage of sending out a cheque has to be astronomical. There is nobody to blame except I guess the minister and his officials for not checking into it and having their say. Somebody has to pay for this, and it is such a mess.

I have had four or five calls to my house and four or five a day to my office. Some people even call long distance to Toronto which costs them quite a lot of money. They will have to watch that or they will be spending more than they are getting. But people get worried when they find out their neighbours receive money and they do not. Some people get letters telling them: "Here is $300. You received X dollars four months ago." But some of them never received any money four months ago; something happened. Some people have had their names taken right off. Other people die and six months later cheques are still being mailed to them. I know of people who passed away last November and a $50 tax grant cheque was mailed to them this fall. The Gains cheques were stopped but you fellows keep sending the other cheque.

There is another thing hidden in here and I have seen mention of the situation in the United States in the Detroit papers. This is where people have been dead for 14 years and the family still continues to receive their cheques, cashes them and spends the money. Sure, those people are charged with fraud. I am not saying that is happening here, but some of that is going on. I have had cases where people have still been receiving cheques even three or four months after notification. Ottawa is just as bad with the old age pension.

I just wonder how many of those cheques are not being cashed. I am not sure some people are not taking advantage of that. Everybody likes to look and see what might happen in a case like that. It is easy for anyone to open an account in a nearby city or town, go in and tell the clerk they wish to make a deposit in their account. The clerk is not going to check that signature because the older person is not even there. How can we check that out? Somebody has to put a clamp on this somewhere because millions of dollars are being wasted both ways. It is double-handled in the fact that we have employees sending out cheques and others trying to find out how many cheques are coming back when the person passes away and we do not know where the money has gone.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, when the decision was made by cabinet to handle these accounts we did have a submission from Revenue asking for a certain number of employees to process this work. Our function at that time would be to assess whether or not what they were asking for was adequate or more than adequate to do that job. As I recall at the time, we gave them considerably less than they were asking for, as we often do, in terms of dollars and in terms of manpower. We watch both those very closely. We do not follow what they do with the money after that assessment is made, as the member has admitted he knows. It is the Provincial Auditor who works on the value for money or brings to light any inadequacies there are in their accounting system.

As far as a lot of questions the member raises, I am sure he will want to raise those with the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) during his estimates.

The Deputy Chairman: Just before the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) starts, I am concerned that we are going to want to proceed item by item. There are not that many general statements to be made, and then we will be proceeding through it item by item. I would not stop you, but I guess that is the procedure we normally follow, isn't it?

Mr. Cassidy: I have one matter that relates specifically to the minister's authority --

The Deputy Chairman: Oh, fine.

Mr. Cassidy: Has the minister reconsidered the position he has taken with respect to the application of the Public Service Act and the regulations it enforces or lays down about political activity by public servants? I draw the minister's attention to sections 11 to 14 of the act. Among other things, section 12(1)(c) states that a Crown employee shall not "associate his position in the service of the Crown with any political activity." It says a civil servant "shall not ... canvass" and it says " ... a deputy minister or any other 'designated' crown employee ... shall not at any time canvass on behalf of or otherwise actively work in support of a provincial or federal political party or candidate."

Section 15 says "a crown employee shall not during working hours engage in any activity for or on behalf of a provincial or federal political party." Section 14 says "Except during leave of absence ... a civil servant shall not at any time speak in public or express views in writing for distribution to the public on any matter that forms part of a platform of a provincial or federal political party."

I come from a civil service riding. Ottawa Centre is my riding, and that happens to be federal civil servants, but I am quite familiar with the way the law is applied federally and the way it is applied provincially. If a provincial civil servant wishes to comment publicly -- for example to criticize a policy of the government and say he disagrees with it -- that is not allowed. That is cause for instant dismissal under section 16 of the act which says, "A contravention of section 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15 shall be deemed to be a sufficient cause for dismissal."

In fact, the archaic way the law is worded means that any civil servant could not comment on any matter that happens to be included in the program of the New Democratic party, for example -- and we have a pretty broad program; it covers almost anything over the course of the election campaign. It would mean that technically speaking a civil servant could not comment on that over the course of the 37-day election campaign, and certainly not with respect to any matters that become publicly identified as being part of the platform of a political party.

What is happening in practice though is that the law has been amended. I would like to read the way section 14 of the Public Service Act is now being interpreted by the government. It would read as follows: "Except during a leave of absence granted under section 12(2), a civil servant shall not at any time speak in public or express views in writing for distribution to the public on any matter that forms part of a platform of a provincial or federal political party unless it is the Conservative party of the Province of Ontario."

That, Mr. Chairman, is the position that exists right now. I would like to ask the minister to explain, for example, how it is that during the course of the election campaign officials of the Ministry of Energy were briefing reporters on the announcements the government had made about a program to provide loans to homeowners to improve their home conservation, their insulation, when that had formed part of the platform of the Conservatives in the election? It was part of the BILD program.

How is it the deputy minister of Energy, Mr. Rowan, wrote a letter to the city which was speaking specifically about that residential electrical services program? That letter was dated, I believe, March 2, and sent in the midst of the election campaign. He knew that letter would be made publicly available, since all documents at City Hall are essentially available in the city of Toronto. That too formed part of a platform of a political party -- namely the provincial Conservative party.

How is it, given the statement in the Public Service Act that a crown employee shall not "associate his position in the service of the crown with any political activity," some 100 invited guests, including a number of crown employees, associated themselves by presence on the platform at the time of the announcement of the $10 million greenhouse project at the Bruce nuclear plant, which the Premier made under the auspices of Ontario Hydro?

4 p.m.

Surely the civil servants who were part of that large group of people who took the day off in order to be present at that ceremony during the course of the election campaign were clearly associating their positions in the service of the crown with the political activity indulged in by the candidate for Brampton and the Leader of the Conservative Party, who was seeking election.

Mr. T. P. Reid: How about Ed Stewart?

Mr. Cassidy: I was coming to Ed Stewart.

The law is quite explicit. It says a deputy minister shall not actively work in support of a provincial or federal political party or candidate. I am editing out the other parts of section 13(2) of the Public Service Act.

Hugh Winsor may be listening on the blower right now, but he dropped down to the Conservative Party headquarters during the course of the election campaign. When he was down there who should be on the telephone talking to Patrick Kinsella, the campaign manager for the Conservatives, but Ed. Ed who? Ed Stewart, deputy minister in the Premier's office, clerk of the executive council. He was trying to find Norman Atkins, who was campaign co-chairman for the Conservative Party. In other words, it was quite clear -- and everybody knows it as well -- that Ed Stewart, deputy minister, was contravening section 13(2) of the Public Service Act of Ontario because he was directly involving himself in the political campaign of the Conservative Party.

I would have thought there would have been some response to this, given the evidence raised. There has been some correspondence on this subject with the chairman of the Civil Service Commission from my friend and colleague, Dick Gilbert, an alderman of the city of Toronto. But problems were raised and instances were raised and I thought they would have gotten some kind of substantive response.

Instead, Mr. Gilbert has received a letter dated October 6 which said Mr. Waldrum sought legal opinion and that it is all right. I am not a lawyer, but it does not look all right to me. It looks to me as though it is firmly and completely in contravention of the law.

Then the minister says the circumstances do not warrant any investigation other than Mr. Waldrum's investigation. Is the minister not concerned, as the person responsible for the impartiality of the civil service in Ontario, that people of a rank as high as deputy minister have been directly involving themselves in political activity during an election campaign? Would he and his colleagues not be down in an instant if they found a senior public servant was involving himself or herself in a campaign of the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party? Why should it be different with respect to the Conservative Party? Why is he so hypocritical as to have a double standard?

The minister's letter says the rules governing political activity by civil servants in Ontario are as stringent as those of any public jurisdiction in Canada. Is he not aware that rules and laws can be as stringent as anything, but if they are not enforced they are a dead letter? If they are enforced only in one direction they are being enforced in a biased way. He has a responsibility to administer the law in an impartial and unbiased way.

Then his final point is that "Mr. Waldrum is a dedicated civil servant" -- which he is -- "who has given many years of excellent service to this province" -- which is true -- "and he has my utmost confidence in all respects." I am very glad to hear that, but I want to know whether the minister is now prepared to take seriously the allegations that have been made that public servants involved themselves in matters and spoke publicly on matters which involved the platform of a particular political party -- namely, elements of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program? It is absolutely clear this was the centrepiece of the platform for the Conservative Party during the course of the 1981 election campaign. And people as high as Ed Stewart were involving themselves in political activity in contravention of the act. Will he protect his act or will he not?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, this is an argument that could go on and on and on. Obviously, the honourable member does not agree that the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development was one of the programs of this government prior to the writ being issued.

Mr. Cassidy: It was part of your platform.

Hon. Mr. McCague: It was not part of the platform, it was part of the government's program, clearly and distinctly prior to the issuing of the writ. Obviously, there were certain people in government right up to the deputy minister level who were carrying out the elements of that program, as was so clearly set out in the BILD document, and I do not see any particular point in carrying this argument any further.

Mr. Cassidy: Let me ask the minister, was the BILD program a part of the platform of the Progressive Conservative party in this election in 1981 -- yes or no?

Hon. Mr. McCague: The platform was all those things that the government has done in the past four -- and about 40 -- years.

Mr. Cassidy: Was the BILD program, which was promised just a few days before the election was launched, a part of the platform of the Progressive Conservative party in the March 1981 election?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I think I answered the question.

Mr. Cassidy: The answer is yes. Then, Mr. Chairman, since the act says that without taking leave a civil servant shall not speak in public or express views in writing for distribution to the public on any matter that forms part of the platform of a provincial or federal political party, since the Conservative Party of Ontario is clearly a provincial political party, and since you have said that the BILD program was a part of the platform and it is now clear that public servants or civil servants were speaking publicly on that matter, what action do you intend to take?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I did not say that the BILD document and what it contained was part of the platform. I said that in any election you are standing on your record, be it for four years or 40 years. I do not intend to get into the argument you are trying to make that it was strictly part of an election campaign.

Mr. Cassidy: Would the minister say that if there was advertising paid for to the tune of $1.1 million by his party, the matter that was subject to the advertising would form a part of the platform of his political party?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, I would not say that at all. Obviously, the advertising programs of the government do not discontinue when there is an election campaign.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Obviously.

Mr. Cassidy: Wait a minute, Mr. Chairman, I am talking about the advertising that was funded by the Progressive Conservative Party. If something is mentioned in that advertising, would you not say that then was part of the platform of the political party that you happen to be a member of?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I have no further comment on the issue.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, the minister is being totally unreasonable, because he knows he does not have a leg to stand on. The BILD program was mentioned specifically in election advertising by the Progressive Conservative Party. It was obviously announced just before the election campaign in order to form a part of the platform. The minister is quite correct in saying that it is a program of government, because his party happens to be in government. However, it was also a part of the platform.

Will you perhaps change the law so that the asininity that is in the law right now could be sorted out, and so that if the minister thinks public servants should have the right to work on behalf of Conservatives in the election campaign, that should be clearly spelled out in the law?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, the honourable member is raising now a different question, whether we are prepared to change the law. We are always prepared to look at it. The union has raised the matter of political activity by its members on several occasions and each time -- about once every two or three years -- we get an opinion from legal counsel. We do not see any need to change that at the present time, even with the allegations the member is making.

Mr. Cassidy: The allegations are true, Mr. Chairman; the minister has just pointed them out. What about the fact that a deputy minister, Mr. Ed Stewart, was actively working in support of a provincial political party, namely, the Conservative Party?

Mr. T. P. Reid: He was in the commercials.

Mr. Cassidy: He happened even to appear in the commercials, albeit, I think it is fair to say, that might have been an oversight. I do not think you were giving him fees for his appearances in those particular commercials. That, however, was improper. The fact is that Mr. Stewart was clearly involved, was actively counselling, was in active and regular contact with the chairman and the campaign manager of the Conservative Party's campaign. Does the minister consider that to be proper in view of section 13 of the Public Service Act?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, I do not think there is anything out of order at all. Probably talking on the telephone is not political activity in any event.

4:10 p.m.

Mr. Cassidy: What would the minister have said if Mr. Stewart had been in regular contact with the campaign chairman for the New Democratic Party's campaign or the campaign chairman for Dr. Smith's campaign? Would he feel that would be proper?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Probably. If your campaign manager had telephoned Dr. Stewart and asked him for the answer to a particular question, he might have got it.

Mr. Cassidy: Perhaps the minister could say on how many occasions there were meetings between Mr. Kinsella or Mr. Atkins and Mr. Stewart, the deputy minister, during the course of the election campaign and, during those meetings, whether they talked about the price of tea in China? Did they talk about their fishing reminiscences from northern Ontario? What did they talk about?

The Deputy Chairman: May I just say before the minister responds that we have about 20 minutes left in these estimates. There are a number of votes so I would like to give others an opportunity to participate. I pass it on to the minister.

Hon. Mr. McCague: That ridiculous question does not deserve an answer. I was in Dufferin-Simcoe trying to win my riding.

Mr. Cassidy: Well, my final question --

The Deputy Chairman: If the member for Ottawa Centre could appreciate that there are other things to continue with; the last thing I want to do is thwart public debate.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, you should be ashamed of your colleague here being unprepared to enforce the law of Ontario, the Public Service Act.

My final question to the minister is, were there then no meetings between Mr. Stewart, deputy minister in the Premier's office, and the campaign people in the election campaign? Was it just an idle inquiry, was Mr. Stewart not actively involved, or, as Hugh Winsor puts it in his column, has it now got to the situation where any distinction between political crony, civil servant and paid staffer is fused by their common devotion to the continuance in power of William Grenville Davis?

Is that not the case and is that not abuse of the laws that were meant to provide for impartiality of civil servants in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I have no idea if there were meetings or if there were no meetings. I would presume there were none.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, if it is agreeable, I think we should cover any topic that we have in the 20 minutes that is left.

The Deputy Chairman: Is that generally agreed? Agreed.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Unfortunately, I had quite a number of things I wanted to raise.

First, I would like to congratulate and express my thanks to Mr. Butler who is leaving us shortly. Ever since you have become minister, your deputy ministers seem to be going on to bigger and better things. They are certainly competent people but I wonder if it is a case of going on to better things or getting away from you.

However, since I do not want to take all the time, I want to express concern about three particular matters. One is the Civil Service Commission, which will be appearing before the standing committee on public accounts this week on matters we raised last year in regard to the absenteeism, a sheet of which we have. It is interesting that in Canada as a whole, absenteeism costs the economy more than all the strikes put together.

I think this is a shocking document. It is shocking there should be this much absenteeism in the civil service. As I said earlier, it is ironic the Ministry of Health should have the highest percentage of lost time. It is at a point where the government has been almost forced to put truant officers in each ministry to keep tabs on it.

I want to ask a question about money as well in regard to the civil service, particularly where the cost of the merit pay comes in. I wonder if that comes under item 4, contingencies, in vote 401 or if there is a separate item for merit pay.

I would also like to know if Mr. Waldrum's Civil Service Commission has taken the recommendations of the public accounts committee and required that performance appraisal be done. I think the taxpayers would be shocked if they knew that civil servants were getting merit pay for merely showing up, which has been the case in the past. I hope something is being done about that.

I wish we had more time on this, Mr. Chairman, but I want to raise one more item and then have both answers at the same time. The operational review branch was the standard in 1980 in keeping with the movement towards strengthened internal operational audit capability and accountability in all ministries. In my years on public accounts and around here I have come to the conclusion that there is very little accountability and responsibility in government, particularly as it relates to the civil service.

I am not one who contends that everybody should be fired for every mistake that has been made, but we have seen it in merit pay cases. We have had ministers and deputy ministers of the crown get up and say they cannot discipline people and they cannot fire them because of the cumbersome grievance procedures and the fact that the grievance board turns around and reinstates people after the case has been heard and everything goes on as before.

What concerns me about the operational review branch is that the auditor in his last report of last year did a study of the internal audit of the various government ministries and said in his report -- I am sure the minister read carefully the auditor's report of 1979-80 -- that the internal audit in almost every government ministry is of very poor quality; it is not up to standard and it needs a lot of work.

In my discussions with a lot of internal auditors I found the deputy ministers -- whom the minister will recall have been identified at least by the public accounts committee and accepted, I believe, at least in principle, by the minister as being the responsible people in the ministry for this kind of thing -- are not getting the reports or are not reading them and are not carrying out the recommendations of the internal audits that they get.

I wonder if the minister could also address himself to that and assure the House that the internal audits will be brought up to standard and that the information or recommendations in them will be taken seriously by the deputy ministers.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, the honourable member raises three points: absenteeism, merit pay and internal audit. I know merit pay is a subject that demands a lot of attention from time to time, but employees are hired and there is a pay range. Really there is not a merit award made, but people are moved up in the pay classifications. It is possible for an employee to be moved up in a pay classification and also get the yearly award that is made to all civil servants. So to that extent yes, it is for merit for work done and so forth. You argue that it is automatic. The Civil Service Commission will argue that it is not automatic. If an employee deserves it, he will get it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Waldrum told us everybody got it, with one or two exceptions, in a civil service of how many people?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Not everybody, by any means.

Mr. T. P. Reid: People to whom it is available all got it.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Seventy per cent of the people are at the top level in the category so not everyone gets it at all. Some out of 30 per cent probably is a more accurate figure.

In regard to absenteeism, that is something that disturbs everybody. It is something that disturbs us all and we are one of few jurisdictions that have really tabulated what it means. We have done that as a starting point. We have some industries that do it, and because of our inquiries to industry there are now a lot more of them doing it. When we have more data on which to base our experience, and as the Civil Service Commission develops programs to counsel against this and make supervisors more aware of what the problem is, I think we will make some improvements, but I do not think it is going to be easy or very quick.

Performance appraisal: There has been considerable work done on that in the past couple of years and we have a three-step process. You will be interested to know it is being done at the more senior levels of government and it is hoped that will filter down. Certainly, it is an area where improvements can always be made.

4:20 p.m.

Internal audit was recognized by the Management Board before. It was highlighted by the auditor. It is not a process that develops overnight. However, I think we have now persuaded all ministries that they should have internal audit, and that it is much more than just an audit of money. It is an audit of performance and all that goes with that. We have allocated more staff to the ministries -- not a whole lot more, but we have given each ministry up to two more people for their internal audit and they, in turn, are assigning more people internally to internal audit. I think we will see a great payoff in that area in the years to come, which will be of benefit not only to us at Management Board but to the Provincial Auditor himself.

Mr. T. P. Reid: How much is paid out in? Do you have that figure?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I don't right now. I will try to get it for you.

Mr. Newman: I want to make a few comments concerning the publication Topical, which I assume is put out by your ministry. I appreciate receiving a copy of it in my constituency office, but I wonder why you only send one copy to a constituency office rather than two. I like to display it, but I cannot display two sides of the same page. I would put them up in a window in my office so that at least the residents in my own community might have a chance to apply for the jobs that are listed.

I would also like to ask the minister how many applicants outside the city of Toronto receive the jobs that are listed in Topical. My constituents say they keep applying but they are unsuccessful. As a result, they hesitate even to spend a 17-cent stamp to apply for a job, if they are just going to apply for the sake of correspondence with the civil service. Could the minister or his officials tell me the approximate number of people outside Toronto? I don't care for exact numbers, but would they say that perhaps one third of the applicants are taken from outside Toronto rather than from the city of Toronto, so that people outside the city do have the opportunity not only to apply but to become gainfully employed?

Hon. Mr. McCague: With very few exceptions, the residency location is not a criterion for employment. I am sure we have thousands of applications for every person who is employed. I think it would likely be the policy of those government agencies in Windsor to hire people from Windsor, because they are probably the only ones who apply. I cannot see somebody in Toronto applying there, and probably the reverse is true. I do not think we could begin to get you the statistics, but I will ask my staff if it is possible to do that. As far as sending you two Topicals, I would be glad to do that, so you will not have that problem.

Mr. Newman: The minister says it will be difficult to know from which municipality the applicants come and to categorize them in that fashion, but when it comes to the jobs that may be available in Windsor, who knows about them? Where is it found out that there are jobs available in Windsor? I have never been able to find out. If you can tell me, Mr. Minister, how we would know that a job is available in Windsor, I would sit down.

Windsor residents assume that because it is in Topical and head office is here in Toronto, only people from the Toronto area are going to get the jobs, even though Windsor residents may be qualified for the jobs. In a community with more than 15,000 unemployed, many of those 15,000 are as qualified as a lot of the people in Toronto. They would love to get those jobs and would be willing to move to Toronto to be gainfully employed rather than stay unemployed in Windsor. We are only looking for our fair share of jobs.

Hon. Mr. McCague: You may have a good point. I am not sure. If it is a Windsor job, does anybody know whether we advertise in Windsor? My staff tells me that if it is a Windsor job we do advertise it in Windsor.

Mr. Newman: Will the minister's staff send me a copy of an ad then?

Hon. Mr. McCague: I also understand, Mr. Chairman, that the Canada Manpower offices carry our jobs.

Mr. Mackenzie: I may have missed it but I am not sure whether the minister responded to the query I made about the position employees are put in when they are asked for an evaluation by one of the insurance carriers, and whether or not we should be doing this work for the insurance carriers in terms of long-term income protection?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I did respond to that. That has not been brought to my attention. I do not have any information on that today but I will discuss that with you at a future date.

Mr. Mackenzie: I have one other question, Mr. Minister. In terms of disability in particular, but some of the other plans as well, have you considered or are you considering self-insurance within the government rather than going to some of the carriers?

Hon. Mr. McCague: We tender, as I understand it, for the carrier of LTIP. I understand there is a member of the union on that committee. Is that correct or is that just on the life insurance carrier? It is on both.

Mr. Mackenzie: That still does not answer whether or not you would consider self-insurance and what your arguments are if you would not.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Since I have come to the ministry I have not been in any discussions on that. It may be a possibility. You did raise the question of indexing the LTIP. I understand that too is a matter for negotiation at this time.

The Deputy Chairman: Does any other member wish to participate? We have three minutes remaining. Shall we take the votes item by item at this point then?

Votes 401 to 405, inclusive, agreed to.

On motion by Hon. Mr. McCague, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.

4:30 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Henderson moved second reading of Bill 18, An Act to amend the Dog Licensing and Livestock and Poultry Protection Act.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, this bill was introduced on April 28, 1981, but it was not dealt with during the spring session. It might be helpful if I made some comments with respect to the act and the purpose of this bill.

The act provides for the awarding of compensation to the owners of livestock and poultry killed or injured by dogs or wolves. In organized municipalities, compensation is paid by the council. The amount of compensation is determined by the valuer appointed by the council. The owner, if dissatisfied with the amount, may appeal to the livestock commissioner, who appoints a second valuer. A further appeal may be made to a judge of the county or district court.

In any territory without municipal organization, compensation is paid by the livestock commissioner. The amount of the compensation is determined by a valuer appointed by the commissioner. If the owner is dissatisfied, he must appeal to a judge of the district court. The cost of the second valuation by an appeal to the district court places residents in an unorganized territory at a disadvantage in terms of cost and time-consuming procedures. The Ontario Cattlemen's Association passed a resolution at its annual meeting in February 1980 requesting that this disadvantage in cost and time be alleviated for the residents of the unorganized territories.

The main purpose of the bill is to equalize the appeal procedure under the act for all residents of Ontario. To achieve this purpose, the bill amends section 16 of the act to designate agricultural representatives and assistant agricultural representatives as valuers in territories without municipal organization, to receive and investigate claims from owners whose livestock or poultry are killed or injured by wolves. Where the owner is dissatisfied with the valuer's report, he may appeal to the commissioner who then names a second valuer to investigate and report. The appeal to a judge of the district court is also retained.

The bill also clarifies the procedures that apply in the territories without municipal organization by setting them out expressly in section 16 of this act. This makes it unnecessary to determine what procedure for organized territories would apply in unorganized territories.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, the three bills we will deal with this afternoon pertaining to agriculture are not of an earth-shattering nature. They are strictly housekeeping bills and we are going to support them.

I would just like to say I think it is a crime and the farmers find it very regrettable that we are dealing with this kind of legislation at a time when they are going through one of the worst economic conditions since the 1930s. We are all busy now attending various meetings: the ploughmen's banquets, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture meetings and what have you. When a member stands up to make a speech and tells them he is going to be dealing with the dog licensing act, the sheep and wool act and the amendment to the milk act and what have you, they sit back there and say: "My God, what is going on? Why are you not dealing with something that will save us, something that will keep us viable, something that will keep us in the farming operation?"

They cannot believe it when they hear this is the type of thing we are doing in the Legislature at a time when the farmers are encountering serious difficulties.

As far as this bill is concerned, I fail to understand why it has taken all this time to bring in this kind of amendment. I suppose for some time the people in unorganized municipalities have been penalized by having to make appeals through the courts rather than being able to appeal to the livestock commissioner, or it may well be that there have not been too many appeals directed to the livestock commissioner in unorganized municipalities. But to treat them on an equitable basis, this amendment has long been coming and we will certainly support it.

I am just wondering if the minister can tell me what the situation is at the present time in connection with dog and wolf damage. It seems to me back in 1978 we were picking up papers with headlines: "Wolf Problems Worry Farmers"; "Farmers Claim Wolves at Their Doors"; "Wolves Play Havoc with Livestock"; "The Advent of Winter Sees Wolf Trouble"; "Leeds-Grenville Swindled by Wolf Bounty Hunters"; "Bruce Keeps Bounty on Wolves but Cuts Rate." Those are just some of the headlines that appeared in various papers.

That led me to introduce a private member's bill, An Act respecting Predator Control in Ontario, back in 1978, to see if we could bring some of this under control.

Maybe the minister, in responding, could tell us what the situation is now throughout Ontario -- not just in northern Ontario, eastern Ontario or southern Ontario -- in connection with wolf and dog damage to livestock. I have not heard too much about it of late. Maybe it has been brought under control. If so, what has brought it under control? I am just more or less interested in what kind of damage we are encountering now.

As far as this bill is concerned, as I say, it is a housekeeping bill and we certainly want to see that the unorganized municipalities are treated as fairly as the organized municipalities when it comes to appealing the decisions of an evaluator.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I shall not take a great deal of the time of the House. I think these bills fall into the category of things that might have been done months ago, perhaps years ago. I will not repeat at great length one of my arguments in the estimates that this ministry has tended to drift so that things that should be done this year do not get done until next year.

They are housekeeping bills. The minister has explained them either in the original introduction or now and the honourable member who has just taken his seat has spoken to them. Nothing more need to be said; therefore, I shall not say it. We will support the bill.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Are there any other members who would like to participate in this debate? The minister?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I want the honourable members to know that livestock damage costs us about $125,000 a year. We have about one appeal a month to the livestock commissioner from different areas of Ontario. I think those were the only questions asked.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.

4:40 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Henderson moved second reading of Bill 19, An Act respecting the Marketing of Sheep and Wool.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, this bill was introduced on April 28, 1981, and was not dealt with during the spring session. It may be useful for me to make a few comments on the content of this bill.

Since 1974, the Ontario Sheep Association has financed its activities on behalf of the sheep industry through a fee charged on the sale of wool under the Wool Marketing Act. The amount raised has not been enough to permit the association to function as effectively as its members would like. The association has therefore requested legislation authorizing a fee on sheep as well as wool.

The bill is similar to the Wool Marketing Act but provides for a fee on sheep sold for meat purposes and wool. The bill establishes a maximum limit on fees of one and a half per cent on the sale price of sheep and wool. The actual amount of the fee, up to that limit, will be set by regulation.

An important feature of the bill is that those persons who so wish may apply for and are entitled to receive a refund of any fees paid by them to the association.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, we support this bill. I quite agree the sheep association has to have sufficient funds to carry out its many useful objectives. As a former sheep breeder, I can well appreciate and congratulate the sheep association for the work it has been doing.

We can certainly attribute, I think, the increase in sheep production in this province to the association, and although I think it was their request that we have this amendment made to the bill, one of the major concerns of the sheep breeders still is the amount of lamb that is coming in from the United States, particularly at a time when we are selling our lamb.

It is hard to get an accurate figure on how much of this trading is going on because a lot of this lamb is being sold to ethnic groups in the spring when we are hoping to get a fair, good price for our lamb. That is the main concern, I think, of the sheep breeders at the present time.

As far as this bill is concerned, I suppose the sheep breeder is doubly taxed. He is going to be charged a fee for the wool that he markets, and now, I guess, he is going to be charged an additional fee for the lamb he markets. He is doubly taxed, whereas I may be a farmer who buys this lamb -- of course, this is almost a thing of the past, too, but I can well recall when we brought the lambs down from the west, put them in the feedlot, fed them out to 100-pound lambs and then sold them.

Under those circumstances I would be levied a fee for the sheep association, but on the other hand, the fellow who is raising the flock and selling his lambs is going to be doubly charged. He is going to be charged for his wool and for his meat as well. But I would assume they are prepared to do this, because I believe it was the request of the sheep association that this amendment be made so they can bring in more revenue to carry out the very important work they are doing.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, as the member for Huron-Middlesex has just indicated, the sheep association has requested this and, as far as I know, there are no growers, no producers and no farmers involved in the association who have any objection to it, so it is really just providing them with the means to do the job their association was set up to do. It is a high-level housekeeping bill, worthy of support.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Huron-Middlesex mentioned imports. The federal Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Whelan -- and I was trying to ask the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil) -- I think it was two weeks ago -- told me he had agreement on the world trade that there would be no more fresh lamb brought in for a one-year period. That does not say that there will not be frozen lamb, but that would be very helpful.

I should have told the honourable member the reason I was not here. I was up in Hanover, meeting the organization of farm women. We had a very good meeting, and I might say the other three Liberal members from that area were there.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Hon. Mr. Henderson moved second reading of Bill 74, An Act to amend the Livestock Branding Act.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, this bill was introduced May 21, 1981, and was not dealt with in the spring session. It may be useful if I make a few remarks on the content of this bill.

At present, the Livestock Branding Act requires registration of every brand used on livestock. The use of individual distinctive brands for each animal has become attractive as a means of identifying individual registered purebred animals. Under the present act, the purebred livestock owner would be required to register each such individual brand. This is not practical and is not necessary to carry out the intent of the act, which is basically to provide for herd brands.

The amendment therefore exempts from this act that kind of individual brand where it is part of a purebred livestock identification program. This amendment was requested by the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry and the Canadian Standard Bred Horse Society. At the same time, because branding may readily be used for animals other than horses, cattle, sheep and fowl, we are proposing to provide for designation of additional classes of animals by regulation.

Finally, the present fee structure is built right into the act. The bill repeals that fee structure and provides for fees to be set by regulation. This will permit fees to be more readily adjusted to meet the changing costs of administration of this program.

Mr. Riddell: I must admit, Mr. Speaker, this is one bill that I am not too clear about. A purebred breeder in the past has been assigned initials that he can use and that have been registered. In other words, if I made application as a purebred breeder of short-horn cattle for registration, I would be given some initials; maybe it was WKR. Then I would proceed to use WKR when tattooing all of those animals, along with the number; maybe WKR-1 for one of the calves, WKR-2 for another one, and on down the line, each of which I believe has to be registered.

But now the minister is telling me that the purebred breeders are getting away from identifying their animals by tattoo and they are starting to brand their animals. He is telling me now that the brand does not have to be registered. I am just not clear. Every purebred animal that is tattooed has to be registered; is that not right? If I decide to brand my animal WKR-1 or WKR-2, do I have to register that animal? I am a little vague because I am not that familiar with branding. It is something that is new to me.

I know out west they slap a brand on their cattle so that they can identify the cattle in case they wander away or in case they are rustled or something of this nature; but I am not clear when it comes down to the purebred end of it. I take it the breeders are starting to use a brand now instead of a tattoo in the ear. If they are still required to register that animal by tattoo, why aren't they also required to register the animal with the brand? Maybe I am just not understanding this thing right, but I would appreciate the minister's explanation. I am going to support the bill. It is just that I am not clear what it is all about.

4:50 p.m.

Mr. MacDonald: I shall be interested in the minister clearing up the fogginess on the part of the member for Huron-Middlesex on this point. Otherwise, the bill is worthy of support.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, this is from my staff. I have two explanations here. They are both the same. Some associations are asking for identification by a brand rather than by a tattoo. The present act would require an individual to have brand registration. Those would not be eligible by a tattoo. Let me read you the original briefing material:

"The general purpose of the bill is to remove individual identification of purebred livestock from the act. The present act requires an individual brand be used to identify a single purebred animal to be recorded as a brand under the act. Also, the bill provides for an additional class of animal to be classed as livestock for the purpose of the act. At present, the act is restricted to horses, cattle, sheep and fowl. The bill provides for fees to be established by regulation.

"At present, the fees are spelled out in the act and therefore cannot be readily changed to reflect" -- that is not what the member wanted -- "The intent of the Livestock Branding Act is to provide for the registration of one brand by a livestock owner to be used to identify all the owner's commercial livestock.

"The act requires that every brand used be registered and it is an offence to brand any animal by a brand that has not been officially registered under the act. For registration purposes, purebred livestock must be individually identified. Such identification is usually done by tattoo or ear tag methods, which do not contravene the current provision of the act.

"Branding as an alternative method" -- only as an alternative -- "is receiving increasing attention by breed associations. Since each individual purebred animal must be identified individually, the present act would require a separate brand registration for each purebred animal identified by branding. This is not practical for purebred livestock breeders and is not essential to fulfil the purpose and intent of the act.

"The Canadian Arabian Horse Registry and the Canadian Standard Bred Horse Society have requested that the Livestock Branding Act be amended so that the purebred animal identified for registration purposes by means of a brand be exempt from the act."

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 22, An Act to amend the Racing Commission Act;

Bill 47, An Act to establish a Corporation to Promote Innovation Development for Employment Advancement;

Bill 84, An Act to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I think it is well known to all that on this side of the House we think about people. We think about their needs and we develop policies and programs that answer those needs. Our senior citizens have always had a special place in the heart of this government and budgets throughout the year have reflected our pragmatic and sensible approaches towards this special group. I would like to digress for a moment and recall some of our past initiatives in providing a secure financial future for all our seniors.

In last year's budget the property tax and sales tax grants programs provided a major first step in providing seniors with the kind of direct tax relief they deserve. Under the old credit system. average renters and home owners received benefits, indirectly of course, of between $285 and $295 toward their property taxes. Under the grants system, these same home owners receive between $400 and $500 directly in cash for their property taxes. During 1980, approximately $268 million in property and sales tax grants were delivered to home owners and renters -- approximately 500,000 home owners and renters in the province. In the Metropolitan Toronto area last year, $59.5 million was distributed to 136,000 seniors. That works out to an average grant of $435. As of early April this year, first instalment payments totalling $110 million have been sent out to seniors, and that works out to an average payment of $210.

Another thing to consider under the new program is that the elderly no longer have to go through the confusion and inconvenience of filling out the Ontario tax credit portion of their income tax forms. We also have the Gains program, which gives financial assistance to seniors with incomes below $5,000 a year. Last year, Gains payments amounted to $103 million. Home heating credits were introduced into this year's budget. In spring 1982, seniors will receive a $60 home heating grant to help offset high fuel costs.

At the present time, people 65 and over comprise approximately nine per cent of our population, or more than 800,000 people. By the year 2000, approximately 1.4 million or 14 per cent of Ontarians will be over 65. This growth in numbers is going to have a tremendous impact on all aspects of our society, and especially government programs. In looking at the long-term effects of this ageing process we have to decide the best means by which we can accommodate the needs and wants of our elderly within our system of government and service structures. It is impossible for governments to fulfil all social needs. In fact, the only people who expect us to cough up endless social service dollars are the members of the third party.

The people of Ontario, on the whole, are a pretty resourceful bunch. They recognize, as we do, there are limits to what government can do and there are limits to the amount of taxes anyone can pay. It has long been the policy of this government to encourage independent community living for seniors. This reflects our changing population trends.

Back in the 1940s, which is not all that long ago, the average male could expect to die before reaching retirement age, while the average female lived four or five years longer. Today, life expectancy at birth has increased to 71 years for men and 78 years for women. As the proportion of the taxpaying labour force diminishes, social service and health programs will come under an increasing strain. We cannot afford to pursue policies that create dependence. We can and do have programs to assist people in staying independent, and we have a wide range of programs that fulfil people's needs at various stages of their lives.

It is also important to remember that less than nine per cent of our elderly live in group accommodation, such as nursing homes and homes for the aged. To encourage independent living is a reflection of the present situation.

5 p.m.

A good example of this is housing subsidies provided through the Ontario Housing Corporation. Generally, rents for seniors range from 20 to 25 per cent of income and this includes heating, water, electrical and other charges. People 60 and older who are capable of looking after their daily needs may apply for the apartments. This program allows seniors to remain and participate in the community at a relatively low cost.

Once people are no longer able to manage on their own, there are a variety of services that can be brought into the home. The home care program administered by the Ministry of Health allows patients of all ages to recuperate at home with the assistance of visiting nurses, social workers, visiting homemakers and Meals on Wheels. Family members are encouraged to participate in the day-to-day care of the patient and very often patients recover faster in their familiar home environment. Costs are also lowered since patients do not need to spend so much time in the hospital, which frees beds for those people who do need higher levels of care. Chronic home care programs are also being expanded across Ontario.

Nursing homes supply a balance between personal care and the companionship of others. In 1972, Ontario had a little over 22,000 licensed nursing home beds. Today there are over 28,000. We subsidize a portion of the extended care cost. In 1974, we spent $63 million on this program. In 1980, we spent approximately $163 million. The increase in funding for this program over a six-year period amounted to more than 150 per cent.

While nursing homes provide a variety of services that suit a large proportion of our elderly, their medical resources are not equipped to handle the needs of the very frail, very old clients. The numbers of chronic and extended beds are being expanded to handle the next stages of care. These have been increased by approximately 6,800 over the past five years. In the Metro Toronto area, chronic beds have been approved at the Queen Elizabeth, the Salvation Army, Scarborough Centenary and West Park hospitals.

Earlier this year the Premier (Mr. Davis) announced that a replacement chronic hospital has been approved at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. The province will contribute $27 million or two thirds of the capital cost and construction is slated to begin next year. The new Baycrest will focus on ambulatory and outpatient programs which will help seniors in the area maintain their independence.

The policies we have developed are designed to ensure that the needs of our elderly are met to their satisfaction and to the satisfaction of the taxpayers. We know in the future there will be a smaller working population contributing the dollars we need to fund the programs. It is unlikely the costs of these programs will go down.

This year a five-year co-operative program to expand and renovate homes for the aged was announced. This government, with the assistance of municipalities and charitable organizations, will spend a combined total of $40 million to improve homes across the province. By 1986, Ontario seniors will have an even greater choice of programs and services to enjoy. Homes for the aged and elderly persons centres offer a variety of services to assist seniors in the community. Meals on Wheels, day care, counselling and recreational programs are important in maintaining contact between seniors and helping them to function and remain in their homes as long as possible.

The government has promoted the idea of people helping people through the link skills exchange program. Seniors with skills and time assist one another when services are needed. No money is involved. The services are paid for by link exchange cards that have been earned by providing services to others.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Advisory Council on Senior Citizens provide Ontario's elderly with a great range of services and advice. The ministry has prepared books on retirement planning and activities and the council publishes and distributes a quarterly newsletter to approximately 760,000 people. Since 1974 the council has worked to recommend changes in policies and programs within all ministries concerned with providing services to the elderly.

There has been talk about the possibility of creating a seniors' secretariat just as we have a youth secretariat. I think this would be an excellent vehicle to co-ordinate and centralize program policies in government.

As members of this assembly, we are not yet faced with some of the problems of senior retirement, such as a drop in income or limitations imposed because of physical frailties. We have to be open to changes and suggestions that would benefit the elderly. We must continue to listen to them. At the same time, we must recognize that we cannot be the sole provider of assistance. Other levels of government, private agencies, businesses and, most important, the family have responsibilities as well. Something that might be considered is encouraging families to look after an elderly relative by providing an adult tax credit, much like the child tax credit, which would help to defray the support costs.

Any number of reasonable actions is possible. We in this House can do our part by bringing our suggestions and ideas forward for debate and by giving our support to policies and programs that will enrich the quality of life that is so important to Ontarians of all ages.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Sudbury East.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker --

The Deputy Speaker: Oh well --

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I might just ask --

The Deputy Speaker: Yes. I might have been a little quick there.

Mr. Ruston: I move the adjournment of the debate.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Essex North has moved the adjournment of the debate. Does the motion carry?

Mr. Ruston: Are you going to speak now?

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, all I would like to do is to indicate that our speaker had just stepped out for a moment and I was just asking your indulgence to wait a moment until he returned.

The Deputy Speaker: The motion is withdrawn.

Mr. Philip: It is a pleasure to take part in this debate on the budget. The speech I am about to give could perhaps have been more appropriately given as part of the leadoff statement by our party in the justice committee. However, unfortunately, because of the arbitrary decisions of the chairman of that committee who seems to run it as though it were a fiefdom of the Conservative Party rather than acting as a chairman should, it will not be possible to make that speech in that committee. Therefore, I would like to deal with some very important issues dealing with housing, which is the area I am responsible for in our party, and more particularly, housing issues as they relate to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

In 1974, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation did a survey. They concluded that low income seniors, single parents and single person households are the most likely to benefit from rent controls. It is widely known that the proportion of seniors to the rest of the population is expanding rapidly and the percentage of single person households has quadrupled in the past 25 years. More than 70 per cent of families in public housing in Ontario are of the single parent type. Moreover, high interest rates are cutting down heavily on the number of households that would otherwise be able to buy homes. Indeed, under the present rent review system, mortgage rates are driving up the price of private rental accommodation.

It would hardly seem the time, therefore, to reduce protection to these people who have a need. Rent control legislation now covers only 960,000 out of 1.5 million rental units in Ontario. Therefore, there are large numbers of people, particularly those living in suburban areas such as Rexdale, which I represent, and Scarborough and Mississauga, who are not covered by rent review at all, thanks to the present Conservative government.

Those who want to do away with rent review or weaken it, as the Conservative Party has attempted to do, should understand that the rhetoric about the free marketplace simply has no bearing and no relevance in areas like Metropolitan Toronto. To decontrol rents might make sense if there really was competition in the rental field in Toronto. In fact, that is not the case. If we look at areas like Metropolitan Toronto we see increased corporate concentration and monopoly in the area of rental accommodation.

5:10 p.m.

As in other important markets, the free enterprise ideal of many sellers competing for the dollars of many buyers and setting commodity prices via the perfect competition is simply a myth, particularly as it relates to our larger urban areas in Ontario. The lion's share of the market for land, new housing and rental units is concentrated in the hands of a small number of large development corporations.

Peter Spurr pointed out in his massive 1976 study on land and urban development, and I quote: "In most of the larger centres in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, over 75 per cent of new residential lots are produced by a small minority of all developers. The fact that much of the land slated for urban development around most large centres is controlled by a few owners, together with the process of controlled urbanization itself, creates conditions within which land becomes a relatively scarce commodity. As any monopolist worth his salt knows, control of a scarce resource is the stuff out of which superprofits are made."

In 1978, the Ontario Economic Council study by R. A. Muller, entitled The Market for New Housing in the Metropolitan Toronto Area, found that the six largest development firms controlled the following percentages of registered building lots: Durham, 98; Halton, 67; Metro Toronto, 58; Peel, 59; York, 71. In addition, the study found a high degree of concentration in building over 1973 and 1975, with the six largest firms erecting the following percentages of the main types of residential buildings: Durham, 61 per cent of ground units and 100 per cent of apartments; Halton, 36 per cent of ground units and 91 per cent of apartments; Metro Toronto, 22 per cent and 27 per cent respectively; Peel, 29 per cent and 48 per cent respectively; York, 36 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.

Such concentration gives leverage to the major development firms, permitting them to manipulate the overall supply of housing -- especially of certain types of shelter, that is high-rise apartments, condominiums, row housing and so forth -- in order to maximize the profits. Thus, those who would justify the removal of rent review seem to indicate that somehow competition and the increase in the production of apartment buildings and rental units would somehow bring down the price, or work to the advantage of tenants. In fact, when dealing with a monopoly situation, nothing could be further from the truth.

Another argument that is being used is that somehow it is unfair to landlords to leave the unjustified increases at six per cent. However, if we look at a study done at the University of Toronto by Professor Dale Martin, an economist, we find he deals with exactly how profits are made in the rental area. One of his conclusions is that an investment in rental accommodation is not like an investment in industry or manufacturing. Indeed, under the Ontario rent review program, which is designed to control unjustified increases over six per cent, it allows a pass-through to tenants of all operating costs and financial costs, including both principal and interest payments on mortgages.

In other words, rent review both guarantees that landlords do not lose money on the operation of their buildings, and ensures a reasonable rate of return or profit through merely having or owning the building. In fact, a landlord can have a tax-free minimum, real profit rate of 22.7 per cent based on investment, while, at the same time, claiming to show no profits for either rent review or for taxation purposes.

Two anomalies in the real estate industry make traditional techniques of determining profits inappropriate. First, the assets in the real estate industry -- that is, buildings and lands -- are increasing in great value at a rate much higher than inflation. In industries such as manufacturing, assets like machines and factories decline in value as they wear out.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, if you or I had $150,000 to invest and invested it in machinery to manufacture a product, the day after purchase, that machinery would probably be worth 80 per cent of the amount we paid for it. On the other hand, if we were to invest in a building, that building increases in value year after year rather than decreasing. Therefore, it is completely inappropriate to use the simplistic kind of logic which the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker) has used in saying that six per cent is not enough in a highly inflating economy.

Second, the amount of money initially required to make an investment is much less in real estate than in other industries. In order to own rental property, only a small portion of its value, usually 10 or 15 per cent, is required. That is why we can explain that a landlord in Toronto in recent years would have averaged -- without showing any of his profit whatsoever for rent review and for taxation purposes -- an appreciation on his investment of 22.7 per cent, according to this research study done at the University of Toronto.

It is very simple. If there is a building one can purchase for $1 million, one puts down 15 per cent. Those of us who have represented tenants at rent review hearings know very well 15 per cent is acknowledged as a reasonable amount for a deposit on a building by rent review, and anything over that is counted and passed on to the tenants. On a $1-million building with $150,000 down, if that building were to go up even five per cent, one would have had an appreciation of some $50,000. Fifty thousand dollars on a $150,000 investment is not a bad return on one's money.

It is simplistic to call for the removal of rent review or for the raising of the base on grounds that landlords should be allowed the same kinds of income increases as those of other businesses. They are not in the same kind of business as manufacturers and other people in other businesses.

I found it very interesting that during the election campaign the Premier (Mr. Davis) felt very defensive and said that as long as he were Premier rent review would not be removed or abolished. That raises a number of questions which he never did answer. First, we are not assured that he will continue to be Premier for even this term. Second, he refused to state in what form rent review would remain in force.

We know what has happened in other Tory- controlled provinces. Whether one calls them Progressive Conservative governments or Social Credit governments, it is the same thing. There, rent review may be on the books, but it is so degutted, so meaningless that for all intents and purposes it serves no purpose whatsoever.

One would think if the Premier were really keeping the promise, really intent on keeping rent review in the form in which it was introduced or, as we have suggested, strengthening it, he at least would have appointed as his minister one who clearly believes in the rent review process and is on record about that.

I would like to read a dissenting opinion of the present minister, the member for London South (Mr. Walker). This gives a good insight as to exactly where that minister -- the minister the Premier really understood had no respect for, no inkling for and no desire to keep rent review -- where that minister stands exactly on the rent review issue. This was the dissenting report in the 1978 report of the standing committee on general government on policy paper 13.

5:20 p.m.

Members may recall that recommendation 6(a) said, "The existing annual increase guideline of six per cent be retained until December 31, 1979, and for the second year the amount of the guideline be reconsidered, either as a proposal by the government of Ontario or by the assumption of the responsibility by the tribunal established to administer the program; but in either case the guideline shall reflect the actual increase or decrease of residential operating costs for rental accommodation as defined."

The minister has a strange kind of contortion and I read the dissenting report to members both for their information and perhaps for their amusement, if playing with the lives and incomes of tenants could in any way be seen as amusing.

He says: "I cannot accept the six per cent guideline for annual rent increases as proposed in paragraph 6(a), and for this and other reasons, must therefore dissent. The reason for my dissent is the unnecessary expenses it imposes on tenants throughout the province." So he is the great hero on behalf of tenants, of course.

He says, "The evidence at our hearing is overwhelming that such a fixed figure, originally established as a ceiling guideline, in fact becomes in practice a floor." This is the gentleman who says to the press that perhaps that floor should be raised above six per cent. We have read about it recently.

He says: "Vacancy rates throughout the province vary. In London they are seven per cent. Such a vacancy rate makes a rent increase of six per cent impossible to attain. A three or four per cent increase would be more likely, given the market, which, with that vacancy rate, favours the prospective tenant. Because there is a six per cent guideline, the evidence is clear that it becomes a more or less government-sanctioned figure which owners adopt, of course at the expense of the tenant, who would probably have paid far less in a free market without rent control in existence."

We have seen what happens in the free market without rent control and, indeed, what happens is that rents go up substantially more than under a rent review system.

He says, "For those reasons I feel it would have been better to continue tenant protection without this six per cent floor, but, at the same time, permit any tenant to initiate any application for rent review regardless of the increase" -- he apparently does not understand that is possible under the act anyway -- "if the tenant felt the increase to be unconscionable."

I have challenged rent increases of six per cent. As a matter of fact, in one case in North York I was able to get it rolled back to a zero per cent increase because the landlord was not able to justify any increase. What the minister is saying is that we should do what we are already doing now.

He says: "If the floor guideline were lowered to zero, I am convinced many tenants in London and all over the province would enjoy a far lower increase than the six per cent artificial floor. Such is the effect of eliminating guidelines where vacancies are abundant." That is an interesting kind of flip from his present statements reported in the press.

He goes on, and I think this is the key. Perhaps the Premier should have read this before he appointed him Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. He says, "Rent control" -- he uses the word "control." I use the words "rent review" because there are no controls, it is a pass-through; nor is any party advocating a rent control system rather than rent review -- "Rent control is not the answer to rent increases that are unconscionable. The best answer is abundance of supply of housing units. Landlords will not increase the supply of rental housing when some bureaucrat is arbitrarily setting his return on investment rather than the free market forces."

What we have here is a clear statement by the minister the Premier has appointed to head up the rent review program, a clear statement that he does not believe in rent review at all. He says, "Canadians are the best-housed people," and goes on with the usual rhetoric that is so often heard from that side of the House: "It is recognized that the problem is not one of rent increases, but rather one of affordability of accommodation."

The people who are being thrown out of their homes in the Yonge-Eglinton area by the conversions that this government has seen fit to do nothing about see it also as one of affordability. They cannot afford to buy the new condominium at $200,000 or $300,000 or whatever is going to be charged for that, and they cannot afford to move into any of the newer buildings that are built in the area but are not covered under rent review, and they do not want to go on a long list -- which is getting longer and longer every day -- for seniors' accommodation on a geared-to-income basis by this government, and so they see it as an affordability problem too.

But the affordability problem is created by the inaction of this government, both the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett).

The former goes on to say, "An across-the-board rent control becomes, in effect, an income redistribution system." Perhaps he would rather have the government out there paying out of our taxpayers' money to have an income redistribution system than to deal with it in a regulatory way so that the taxpayers are not so affected. That is what this Tory government has done.

In April 1981 the then Ministry of Housing embarked on an extensive questionnaire survey at an estimated cost of $250,000 on the impact of rent control in Ontario. The survey was supposed to be completed this fall. We have not seen it yet. Maybe the minister has it, I do not know. It would be nice if he could at least table it and send it over to us. Why has it not been tabled?

In early September 1981 the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations expressed the opinion that the six per cent ceiling on rent increases, in the light of current levels of inflation and high interest rates, is totally unrealistic. "Rising interest rates and energy costs," he said, "have greatly increased the costs of landlords, and therefore rent increases must be in excess of six per cent."

The fact is that during the first six months of 1981 there were 912 landlord applications for rent review affecting 30,000 rental units submitted to the commission, and over a similar period in 1980 there were 454 applications involving 13,620 units. In the second quarter of 1981, there were 328 landlord applications for rent review submitted to the commission of Metropolitan Toronto and this compares with 133 applications for the same period in 1980.

So what we see is that those landlords who are facing the problem of renegotiating mortgages, second mortgages, are in fact going to rent review and asking for the rents to be increased to reflect that. That is the system that was established; I don't know why the minister would want to scuttle a system that has been working or that he and his government feel has been working over the years.

An application by the new owners of Sutton Place apartment hotel for rent increases of up to 100 per cent has generated particular publicity in this city since it would affect the rents paid by at least 11 MPPs, including the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. If the rent increase requested by the landlord is approved, the minister's own rent would rise from $452.24 to $780 a month. So for the minister somehow to say that the rent review system is not working when even his own landlord finds it simple enough to pass on his increased costs to the tenants, including himself, is simply nonsense.

Rent control, when it was first introduced in 1975, had a higher ceiling. In 1977, it was dropped. If we look at what is happening in the rent review system, one of the things we would want to look at is the impact of the possible rent ceiling change on tenants. The fact is that an upward adjustment in the rent ceiling would lead to higher rent levels in the 960,000 controlled rental units in Ontario, including the 450,000 controlled units located here in this one city of Metropolitan Toronto. Such a change in the rent review legislation would affect one million Metropolitan Toronto residents or, in other words, 38 per cent of the population of Metropolitan Toronto.

5:30 p.m.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations has established that if landlords in Metropolitan Toronto in the coming year were to be allowed an automatic change at 12 per cent, rather than a six per cent increase, $100 million would be transferred in one year from tenants to landlords. An increase in controlled rents might also result in comparable rent increases in the 540,000 rental units in Ontario that are exempt from rent controls.

In 1980, a survey of rental increases in Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Metropolitan Toronto and Windsor, sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, found that the median annual percentage rent increase ranged from 4.2 per cent in Thunder Bay to six per cent in Metropolitan Toronto. The impact of rent controls is cited as an explanation for the moderate increases in those cities.

Housing survey data for 1974 of nine major Ontario urban centres indicated that those with low incomes are much more likely to rent than those with higher incomes, and this data indicated that 61.1 per cent of those with incomes under $10,000 were tenants compared to 40.7 per cent of those with incomes from $10,000 to $19,999 and 21 per cent of those with incomes of $20,000 and over.

This 1974 information also indicated that tenants are more likely to have accommodation affordability problems than owners. In 1974, 15.8 per cent of owners in the surveyed cities spent 25 per cent or more of their household income on housing expenditures, compared to 29.7 per cent of all tenants who spent 25 per cent or more of their household income on housing expenditures. In addition, only 6.3 per cent of owners, but 14.4 per cent of renters, paid 35 per cent or more of their income on shelter.

Thus, what we are trying to put before you, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that the households that are most protected by rent review are those with the lowest incomes: the middle class and working class of this province.

Household income information for Metropolitan Toronto for 1979 indicates that 24.7 per cent of households that rented their dwelling units and 10.7 of households that owned their dwelling units had incomes under $10,000. Furthermore, 61.3 per cent of renter households and 35.5 per cent of owner households had incomes under $20,000. This data would seem to indicate that tenants tend to have lower income profiles than owners, and supporters of the present method of rent control would, therefore, be right in claiming that this data demonstrates the need to keep the present ceiling and structure and controls.

On balance, it appears that, over the short term certainly, any adjustment to rent control ceilings would have detrimental impact upon tenants. The earlier research I have dealt with concerning the monopoly by large corporations on land and on the building of apartments would certainly indicate that in the long term, since there is an absence of competition in areas such as Metropolitan Toronto and other urban areas in Ontario, some form of the rent controls must remain on as a way of controlling the exploitation through monopoly by these large corporations.

Much has been made -- and there was a landlord debating the very point with me on Metro Morning -- of the case that somehow small landlords are faced with the huge bureaucracy of rent review, therefore it is a procedure that is very time consuming and, in the case of large landlords, extremely time consuming. I would like to point out to the minister that the Residential Tenancies Act, 1977, introduced a procedure that we in the New Democratic Party had asked for since 1975, which is for whole building rent review whereby rent increases for all suites in a building are consolidated and are handled at the same time.

Under the former act, the landlord could submit applications only for those units on which he wished an increase greater than six per cent. This process resulted in several hearings in the year. In the case of one building that I represented over and over again -- 35 Duncanwoods Drive, in the borough of North York but in the provincial riding of Etobicoke -- I think we were at rent review once a month because each of the groups of apartments in the building would come up. This was demoralizing and expensive, not only for the landlord but also for the tenants in that building who constantly had to organize their meetings and try to get the tenants' association involved on a monthly basis.

With the amendment we had asked for in 1975 and which was finally seen to by the government in 1977, a new procedure was instituted to reduce the number of individual rent review hearings and to allow the commission to work towards equalizing rents, which made it a much simpler process.

I think it is wise to look at what happened in Alberta when rent review was removed. Rent review was removed from the last segment of Alberta's rental housing market on July 1, 1980. The review system was gradually lifted in various other portions of the rent market beginning in mid-1977 and the low rental apartments were the last to be deregulated. The rationale was that this would protect lower- income renters for the longest period of time.

I guess one would have to ask the question, what is the rationale of preventing somebody from hardship? Does it make any sense to introduce hardship slowly rather than quickly? This is a kind of silly rationale that somehow slow torture or torture that comes five years down the line is less severe than torture that takes place immediately. The question is, why have the torture at all?

In the immediate period following the removal of controls, some tenants in Edmonton and Calgary faced rent increases of up to 35 per cent. Rents in Calgary are established or estimated to have increased at the annual rate of 20 per cent to 25 per cent since lifting of the controls. The experience in Alberta of removing rent review has shown what will happen in this province if such a procedure is followed by this government.

The Alberta government accompanied the lifting of rent controls with a $500-million program to finance mortgage payments, subsidies and loans to builders in order to assist the provision of affordable housing. Even with that we find that housing starts were down. So we have the worst of all worlds: we have the government sticking its hand into the taxpayers' pocket and handing out $500 million and we have fewer housing starts none the less.

5:40 p.m.

Any talk by this government of removing rent review would no doubt be accompanied by large grants to developers with some kind of rationale that this would increase the number of housing starts, but it has not proved to be the case in Alberta.

As I pointed out to Mr. Cosgrove in a debate I had with him on the Shulman File, when he was advocating on behalf of the federal Liberal Party that rent review should be removed and gutted, the Alberta situation seems to indicate clearly that the removal of rent controls does not in itself lead to any dramatic increase in housing starts. In fact, the opposite was the case in Alberta.

As long as we have the kind of high interest rates that the federal Liberal government seems intent on keeping, we can expect housing starts to be extremely low, regardless of what other action is taken in the removal of rent review or that kind of thing. It simply will not happen.

Paul Hellyer, the former Liberal cabinet minister who chaired a task force on housing and urban development in 1969, wrote a very interesting statement recently. He said: "We have a dearth of new rental units, but for a different reason: the high interest rates. The cost of a new 800- to 1,000-square-foot apartment including land is about $45,000. Borrowing that much money at current rates means about $10,000 a year for interest alone, not to mention taxes, heat, light and maintenance. So economic rentals of new apartments fall in the $1,000-a-month range and how many people can afford it? For that reason it would be criminal to remove rent controls ... " That came from Paul Hellyer. I am not sure which party that gentleman belongs to now. He started his own for a while. I know it is not my party. It would be either the Liberals or the Conservative Party; it is hard to tell the difference at times.

Mr. Ruston: Maybe it is Social Credit he belongs to.

Mr. Philip: Maybe Social Credit; that is a possibility.

He says, "For that reason it would be criminal to remove rent controls on existing apartments now. Rents would tend to rise upward towards the replacement cost and the result would be ruinous for thousands of people with low and moderate incomes."

I attended the International Conference on Condominiums held in Toronto a few months ago. One of the seminars I attended, which I found very interesting, was put on by some developers who were specialists in condominium conversion; that is, the converting of rental accommodations to condominiums. One of the things they pointed out was that the best market for moving in with that kind of thing was after rent review came off. The rationale is very simple. If you want to take a building that is only worth $1 million and sell it for $2 million, one of the things you want to do is to sell a large percentage of the units to people who are already living in the building.

One of the rationales they used was to get rid of rent review. Rents go up and then they are able to come in with a market price that is within $40 or $50 of the rent. Those people who can afford it will automatically be encouraged to buy their own unit. Therefore, the developers are able to get in and out quickly and sell their $1-million building for $2 million, chopped up in little pieces.

Of course, what they were not able to answer and what they did not seem to be concerned about was, as Ralph Nader pointed out at that conference, what happens to all the senior citizens and other people who are being displaced.

We saw that the other night when the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) and I attended a meeting in the riding the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) represents. There was an empty chair there with his name on it. He did not have the guts to face his own people that night. In the audience were the silver-haired people who were going to be thrown out of their apartments. The minister who represents that riding did not think enough of those people to show up and listen to their concerns.

Those of us who did were impressed by the fact that these were desperate people. Many of them had activities and a life centred in that community. Many of them attended the synagogues and other facilities that were available locally. Many of them were not wealthy people; they were renting in that building and they could never afford the $200,000 or $300,000 or whatever the converted unit would cost. They were going to be out on the street looking for accommodation.

That is the kind of thing that may now be happening primarily in inner cores of cities but that would be seen over and over again were rent review abolished or gutted, as this Conservative government seems intent on doing.

I have a few other comments to make. I would like to continue the debate at a later time.

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

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, since there is a ceremony downstairs tonight at six o'clock honouring police and firemen, I think it is appropriate now to move the adjournment of the House so that members who wish to attend may do so.

The House adjourned at 5:47 p.m.