The House met at 1000.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr Kormos moved resolution 22:
That in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario should immediately amend the Ontario Drug Benefit Act, SO 1986, and relevant regulations so that eligible persons who require hypodermic syringes for the self-administration of prescription drugs or medication are deemed when purchasing hypodermic syringes to be purchasing a drug or listed drug product; further, that a drug or listed drug product purchased by an eligible person, outside of the province of Ontario, be deemed to have been purchased in the province of Ontario.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): The member is reminded that he has up to 20 minutes for his presentation and may reserve any portion thereof for his windup speech.
Mr Kormos: This is really a relatively modest proposal. It is indeed in two parts. The two parts, although very much related, are in some respects very different.
It is my understanding that the only illness which requires the self-administration by syringe of medication is that of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which has impacted or affected incredibly large numbers of Canadians and indeed people outside the country. But speaking in terms of Canada, we should be aware that approximately one million Canadians currently suffer from the disease diabetes, approximately 6.8 per cent of the adult population. In Ontario, it is estimated that some 540,000 people have diabetes. That includes both diagnosed and undiagnosed incidence of diabetes.
It is a disease which impacts on the young and the old, although it is conceded that one is more likely to acquire the disease as one ages. It is a disease which has some horrendous impact on the people who suffer from it. It is the leading cause of new cases of adult blindness. Diabetes accounts for approximately 30 per cent of new cases of kidney disease. Approximately 50 per cent of all nontraumatic amputations in Canada occur in people with diabetes. Heart disease is twice as common and often more fatal in people with diabetes than in the general population. In Canada, we are told, approximately 50 per cent of people with diabetes have hypertension compared with only 20 per cent of persons without diabetes.
Diabetes can be and is life-threatening for those people who suffer from it. For as many as 20 per cent of those people who suffer from diabetes and, as I say, it is life-threatening -- the only resolution is a daily intake of insulin, and it is an intake which can only be administered by use of a hypodermic syringe. Diabetics who fall within that 20 per cent group are required to take anywhere from one to three or four injections daily, and it is the rare case who can ever expect to not have to self-administer insulin. Indeed it is not just a likelihood but an extreme probability that they will have to self-administer insulin for the rest of their lives. It is a matter of staying alive.
Under the existing Ontario drug benefit plan, as we know, seniors are eligible persons under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act and have their medication compensated for. Persons who are on fixed incomes, persons who are in receipt of family benefits allowance or general welfare assistance are also the beneficiaries of the Ontario drug benefit plan. So we are dealing with really a modest number of persons in the total scheme of things who would be eligible persons who would be similarly suffering from diabetes, but we are dealing with persons who obviously are recognized to be ill capable of affording the cost of their prescription drugs by virtue of being on family benefits allowance or general welfare assistance.
We are talking about senior citizens whose incomes, in all likelihood, are severely restricted. Many live on very, very modest incomes, people who, because of their circumstances, are recognized to be eligible for compensation -- in the instance of diabetics, for the cost of their insulin, but the essential tool to administer it, the hypodermic syringe, is not compensated for.
The cost of the individual syringe is, at first glance, relatively modest. The price of a syringe that a diabetic would be required to use is 25 cents a unit per syringe. But at the same time, we are talking about persons who are required to use one, two, three, four syringes a day on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, monthly, indeed on a yearly basis. We are talking about persons who can ill afford the increased financial burden that generates.
In the instance of a diabetic, the syringe is so thoroughly entwined with the drug itself, with the medication itself, that one cannot function without the other. It is impossible for that 20 per cent of diabetics who require injections of insulin to utilize the medication without utilizing a disposable syringe. I am sure it was but an oversight in the original drafting of the legislation in 1986 that resulted in syringes not being included as items for which there would be compensation.
There are 540,000 diabetics in Ontario, 20 per cent of them requiring the use of syringes, only a portion of those, of course, being within the class of eligible persons, that is to say, those people who would be normally eligible under the drug benefit plan. I am asking this House to endorse the proposal that these people who receive compensation for their purchase of medication also receive compensation for the purchase of the syringe that is essential to the medication.
The second aspect is somewhat broader, and that deals with the purchase of medication outside of the province. Currently, reimbursement for the cost of approved drugs prescribed for persons entitled to Ontario drug benefit is limited to those drugs obtained from an Ontario pharmacy or dispensary.
At first glance, that seems entirely appropriate and entirely logical. However, the instance was revealed to me of one Christina Green from Welland, a 73-year-old woman who travelled to New Brunswick in the latter part of 1988 to visit with her family. While there, she became ill and required medical attention. It was an illness that was unanticipated. She required hospitalization.
Part of the treatment that was required -- it was not optional; it was not foreseen -- was the use of prescribed medication. She purchased this medication immediately, as she should have, in New Brunswick; yet she was not entitled to compensation for that under the Ontario drug benefit plan.
That is a grossly unfair scenario, one which punishes Ms Green for a situation which is entirely unanticipated. Had she suffered from the same illness in Ontario, Ontario prescription drugs would have been provided to her under the drug benefit plan with no question.
In the instance of diabetics -- I am speaking, of course, of diabetics who will travel outside the province, on vacation or on business -- insulin must be refrigerated; it must be kept cooled. The life span of insulin that is not cooled, that is not refrigerated, is very brief. Diabetics who found themselves outside of the province with their prescriptions, who were required to purchase insulin either to replace a spoiled bottle of insulin or to replenish a supply that had been depleted, would -- like Ms Green, who suffered an emergency illness -- be denied any coverage under the drug benefit plan, notwithstanding that had they been in Ontario, their home, that medication would have been provided for under the drug benefit plan -- assuming that they were indeed eligible persons, that is to say, senior citizens or persons on the Family Benefits Act or General Welfare Assistance Act.
It is in some respects the corollary of the first part of this motion, when one considers the dilemma and the unenviable status of diabetic persons, that diabetic persons are required to use a drug daily provided in liquid form which is injected, a drug that must be preserved in a cooling situation, a drug that would spoil otherwise. It is the corollary of considering their plight that they should be allowed to purchase drugs outside of the province if they are normally resident in Ontario.
It is expanded, though, when one considers that seniors should not be denied the opportunity to travel and should not be denied the opportunity to visit relatives or merely tour outside the province with the fear that if they are struck by an emergency medical situation, drugs that would be available to them in Ontario are denied them outside the province, although within the country.
Any concern about the amount of moneys paid could be resolved by a schedule, that is to say, compensation would be limited to amounts that would normally be paid out for the drug here in the province.
The Canadian Diabetes Association has indeed called upon this government to provide financial assistance for all diabetic residents of Ontario for their diabetic supplies. Presently, only senior citizens have their insulin and blood-testing strips covered through the Ontario drug benefit plan. Those under 65 have no government coverage. The cost of syringes, blood glucose monitors, strips, insulin and additional costs associated with the necessary diet amount to approximately $2,500 a year. This is an onerous expense for many persons here in Ontario.
When I comment that this motion is indeed but a modest proposal, it is asking that effect be given only in part to the request and recommendation of the Canadian Diabetes Association, that is, that the Ontario Drug Benefit Act as it currently stands be amended so that diabetics who require insulin, where that insulin is paid for under the plan, also have their syringes paid for under the plan at a modest cost, but one which is a significant hardship to those same persons.
Similarly, it is asking that diabetics or other persons requiring medication outside the province, when they are nominally resident in the province, be entitled to have compensation through the Ontario drug benefit plan as they would have were that drug purchased here in Ontario. As I say, any concern about increased prices could be dealt with by way of an Ontario schedule that would limit the amount of compensation to what that particular medication would have cost here in Ontario.
I can tell members that seniors across this province would be oh so grateful for that modest concession to their interests and needs.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs E. J. Smith): Does the member wish to reserve the whole of his time for conclusion?
Mr Kormos: Yes, please.
Mr McLean: I am pleased to have this opportunity to say a few words about the resolution of my colleague from the riding of Welland-Thorold.
In simple terms, this resolution calls on the government to amend the Ontario Drug Benefit Act to enable eligible people who require hypodermic syringes for self-administration of prescription drugs or medications to have them considered as a drug or a listed drug product. As well, the resolution says that any drug or listed drug product purchased outside Ontario by eligible people be deemed to have been purchased within Ontario.
In other words, hypodermic syringes purchased by eligible people for self-administration of drugs or listed drug products and specific drugs purchased outside Ontario by eligible people should be covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary.
I want to make it clear that I support this resolution in principle, with certain reservations. I think the key word used in this resolution is the word “eligible.” We are talking about eligible people under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act, such as senior citizens, welfare recipients and others on fixed or low incomes who simply cannot afford to purchase their medications, let alone the hypodermic syringes that may be required to administer this medication. We are not talking about providing clean hypodermic syringes free of charge to addicts or those who abuse drugs as a form of recreation.
We are all aware that many children and senior citizens require hypodermic syringes because they are diabetics and must inject themselves with insulin. There are also many others who must self-administer other forms of medication to keep healthy. I find it rather strange that many of the drugs or medications these people must self-administer through injections are covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary but the means for self-administration, in this case hypodermic syringes, is not. In other words, the formulary provides certain drugs or medications to those who cannot afford them, but the means to administer these drugs or medications that many people also cannot afford to purchase are not covered. That simply does not make sense.
There are people who are eligible to have their drugs or medications covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary but only if these drugs or medications are purchased within the boundaries of this province. What happens if they are outside Ontario, for whatever reason, and the need for these drugs or medications arises? They have to rush back home to purchase the necessary drugs or medications to have them covered by the formulary; they must dig into their own pockets to buy these drugs or medications when they already know they cannot afford them, or they have to do without and jeopardize their health. None of these solutions is acceptable to me.
I think these eligible people should be permitted to purchase the drugs or medications that are eligible under the formulary outside Ontario and then be reimbursed once they return to Ontario, but only if they still reside in this province. This must not apply if they have moved to another jurisdiction. They must have resided in Ontario for at least a year to qualify.
From my comments I think the members can determine that I support the resolution of the member for Welland-Thorold in principle. By including hypodermic syringes for the self-administration of eligible drugs or medications and by including the purchase of eligible drugs or medications outside Ontario, I realize it will lead to increased costs to the drug benefit plan. Therefore, before the act is amended in the fashion suggested by the member for Welland-Thorold, I recommend cleaning up the drug benefit plan, because we all know it is out of control.
The drug utilization report concluded that Ontarians consume more drugs and spend more on their health care budgets than any other society in the world. The average person covered by the Ontario drug benefit plan fills 23 prescriptions each year. That is almost one every two weeks. Evidence shows that increasing drug use, irresponsible prescribing and adverse reactions in patients taking several medications are creating a significant health problem and driving up the cost of the drug benefit plan. It has been estimated that 20 per cent of hospital admissions of geriatric patients are for adverse drug reactions or errors in drug dosage.
Another problem relates to the host of drugs being routinely prescribed that are not listed in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary. Many of these drugs are costly and have been proven to have therapeutic value, but special authorizations to prescribe these drugs can be obtained only for individuals covered by the Ontario drug benefit plan, such as senior citizens and people receiving social assistance. Between 1976 and 1983, there was a substantial increase in special authorizations for drugs, from 11,000 to 100,000.
I said earlier that the drug benefit plan is out of control. We can look to recent Ministry of Health statistics to see this. Ministry expenditures on the plan increased from $72 million in 1977-78 to $498 million in 1987-88. That is an increase of 591 per cent over that period, or an average increase of 21 per cent.
We can all see that the drug benefit plan is clearly out of control. It has resulted in over-medication for citizens and is costing taxpayers an excessive amount of money each year. That excessive amount continues to grow at an alarming rate with each passing year.
I have always maintained that each person in Ontario should be issued a so-called smart card, much like a plastic credit card, to make people aware of the cost of drugs, services or each visit to the doctor. Intervention must occur to curb misuse of the Ontario drug benefit plan and to reduce this excessive cost.
Far too many people take our health care system and the Ontario drug benefit plan for granted, and actually believe there are no costs attached to a stay in a hospital or a visit to the doctor or the prescription of drugs or medications. We have all come to expect too much from the system. We must develop a new attitude towards our health care system. Nothing is for free.
There must be changes, because just about everyone in Ontario uses the system. All of us are affected throughout our lives. Good health is vital to our wellbeing. All of us have the dual responsibility during our lifetimes to establish healthy lifestyles and avoid abuses of our health care delivery system.
Government must become more aware in looking for alternatives to reduce costs. The government and its bureaucracy must maintain and improve the quality of our health care delivery system within the framework of fiscal responsibility and common sense. There has to be another alternative other than unpopular tax increases. Remember, as I said earlier, nothing is free.
Ontario’s health care system is not cost-effective, which results in the grave danger that quality will decline if change does not occur.
I support the principle of this resolution from the member for Welland-Thorold, but I think there needs to be a great deal of work done on our health care delivery system and a major overhaul of the Ontario drug benefit plan. But I do not support it in so far as I believe the means of administration of drugs and medication covered by the Ontario drug benefit plan should also be covered, and those eligible for coverage of their drugs and medication should have the coverage extended beyond the borders of this province if the need should ever arise. But the government has to clean up the entire health care delivery system. There is a crying need for such action.
I think the most important part of this resolution is the syringes for the insulin that the diabetics need. This is an excellent resolution and has many good points. Our party will be supporting it and I would hope that everyone in this Legislature would support it, as I think it is a benefit to those people who can least afford it and it is those people who need this help.
Mr Keyes: May I first congratulate you, Madam Speaker, on assuming a new chairmanship? It is the first occasion I have noticed in here. I am sure you will bring that same ironclad justice to it as you did in another portfolio.
This resolution is one of those issues I am very prepared to speak on, because it is a very worthy issue raised by the member and supported by another worthy member. I know the issue will gain a lot of sentiment among members of this House and among the community, particularly those persons who by necessity must use insulin and inject it by means of a syringe, and certainly from their families and friends.
But I do not consider that the method proposed by the honourable member for Welland-Thorold really is the appropriate way to look at this issue; that as laymen here we should be making a decision to revise the Ontario Drug Benefit Act. I consider that there are procedures in our Health ministry which will deal with it in a much more appropriate way. I want to go back and make some reference to some of the issues.
First, if we want to include new drugs or devices or anything like that, we turn not to the laymen but to the experts to determine and make recommendations to us. I refer, of course, to the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee. This is an independent advisory group composed of specialists in medicine, pharmacy, pharmacology and epidemiology. That is the group outside of the ministry that makes recommendations to the government regarding the inclusion of any drug products in our ODB Formulary.
The committee always bases its recommendations on factors such as the results of drug testing, evaluation of technical and clinical documentation submitted by the manufacturers, and the inspection of manufacturing facilities. Therefore, when products are listed in the formulary and are dispensed in Ontario, eligible recipients can be assured of receiving quality medication; quality assurance is one of the things I will try to touch on later in my remarks. If we are to add new drugs or devices to the Ontario drug benefit plan, it should be done through the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee.
I think also that we should first take a look at the Ontario drug benefit plan and its purpose. The Ontario drug benefit plan, as has been referred to by the member for Simcoe East (Mr McLean), now covers approximately 1.6 million people in this province -- virtually all of our Ontario residents who are over 65 and those residents under 65 receiving family benefits allowance, general welfare assistance, extended health care benefits, home care benefits or who are residents of a home for special care. Those people get certain prescribed products, including insulin, if they are eligible recipients.
But I think we should remember that since its inception, the Ontario drug benefit plan has been designed to be of somewhat limited assistance, both in terms of the people eligible and the benefits provided. There are many benefits and needs of people using medication that are not provided under ODB plan, such equipment as the syringes we were referring to, needles, rubbing alcohol, absorbent cotton, those necessary ancillary supplies that are not provided and never have been.
We would like to draw attention to the fact that the whole issue of syringes and their appropriateness to be included in one program or another of the government did receive a fairly considerable hearing some time ago. That was under the assistive devices program. The assistive devices program, as we are all aware, was established to contribute towards the cost of rehabilitative or specialized devices for those individuals who have a long-term functional disability.
As the program was set up, these devices were to support or replace a weakened or absent part of the body. At the time, the funding of syringes was considered but not approved, with the argument that this program was not funded in order to provide a financial contribution towards the purchase of devices which are used to administer medication. Again, we must remember that we are not talking only about medication for insulin: There are many other diseases treated by drugs which must be administered through a needle or syringe.
Accordingly, then, our assistive devices program has not paid for syringes used for medication, but where there is a financial burden in the acquisition of any medical aids or devices the Ministry of Community and Social Services may provide assistance under the program. If individuals are hit heavily by the financial constraints they should work through that ministry.
That brings me to the role of CDA Ontario; what it has requested of the government and what it has done. As members know, on 7 June the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) announced additional funding to CDA Ontario of $500,000. This was in response to the representation made by CDA Ontario so it could purchase the home blood glucose monitors, which is one of the major areas that has been brought to our attention. Our funding has increased, to the extent that $1.1 million will be spent this year.
CDA Ontario currently gives some financial support to more than 7,500 diabetics of all ages in all parts of the province, enabling them to purchase the equipment. Of them, some 3,072 were enrolled in the program for the first time last year, and this year it is expected that another 3,000 people will be enrolled. I think we have to acknowledge that the assistance the government is giving comes in an area where we are finding more and more people, as the member for Welland-Thorold has said, coming into the program, more of them being recognized. The home glucose blood monitors is the area that will give them greatest assistance, which they have sought. There will be an increase of as many as 3,000 next year.
We should go back for a moment and look at the monitoring program, because I think the member made an error in his statement that should be corrected for the record. He said that no one under 65 was assisted. The program started four years ago and provided financial support to the diabetics who were 18 years of age and younger for the purchase of monitors and testing supplies. It started out with 260 clients, but in 1987-88 it included adults. CDA Ontario administers the program and provides advice on the use and maintenance of the equipment.
The home glucose monitor is perhaps one of the most expensive items in the insulin user’s lifetime, because it costs about $250. CDA Ontario pays 75 per cent, and the client the remaining 25 per cent. CDA also provides up to $500 per person for the test strips that are used. Once again, there are diabetics who, by reason of economic necessity and on the recommendation of their physician, can receive additional assistance in purchasing a monitor.
In closing, I look at the Lowy Inquiry into the Acquisition, Distribution, Dispensing and Prescribing of Pharmaceutical Medications, because that is the organization we have currently asked to have the responsibility for examining all aspects of the government’s role and influence in the prescription drug marketplace.
We respond quickly to their recommendations. In their second quarterly report, they recommended that we should be providing assistance to those persons with cystic fibrosis or thalassemia. Again, the reason was based on cost, because it recommended that a person with cystic fibrosis may have drug and drug-related therapy bills as high as $8,000 a year, and bills for persons with thalassemia may run as high as $25,000 a year.
We have responded to that on the recommendation of a professional group, the Lowy drug commission, of which the chairman of the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee is a member. It is an ongoing commission from the standpoint of recommendations. We will be spending an estimated $5.1 million a year on the cystic fibrosis program.
I suggest that the government has reacted in the areas of greatest need. Therefore, I cannot support the resolution, based on the in-a-sense unprofessional recommendation here.
Mr Reville: I rise and support with great pleasure the resolution of my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold. I want to tell the members of the Legislature that I am deeply disappointed by the reaction of the member for Kingston and The Islands.
First, he seeks to diminish the importance of the resolution by saying that this is an unprofessional piece of advice and goes into a fairly boring, bureaucratic description of the assistive devices program, the Ontario drug benefit plan and the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee.
He describes the programs accurately enough from a bureaucratic point of view, but it is absolutely foolish of the member to suggest that the decision to provide syringes or not is a medical decision. That is preposterous. It is a political decision.
What any of the pharmacologists who serve with the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee will tell the minister, if she were to ask for their advice, which she occasionally does, is that you must administer insulin with a syringe and that you must do that between one and four times every single day of your life, for the rest of your life; that hypodermic needles cost about 25 cents each and that you will have to buy a new one every time you need an injection or you will be risking infection. That is the kind of advice that would be given by the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee. In fact, as the groups that work to support diabetics will say, diabetes is the only disease that absolutely requires medication to be administered by injection.
What we see is persons contemplating an expenditure of $1 a day, at the top end, every day for the rest of their lives, unless some medical advance happens between now and the end of their lives. There will be an increase, as the Premier (Mr Peterson) reminds us, in the cost of needles, as there is in the cost of milk and clearly, under this government, in the cost of car insurance.
The minister’s aide, the parliamentary assistant, points out that maybe this should not be done, because (a) the professionals have not recommended it and (b) the syringes are not the difficult part, not the major cost of blood glucose, monitoring being the major part. Again, that is a goofy kind of argument if you ask me. When one has diabetes, there is an array of paraphernalia that is required, as has already been described by other members in the debate. One of those pieces of equipment is a device to measure how your glucose is doing and whether or not your insulin is appropriately dealing with your illness.
It is good that there are ways to reduce the cost of glucose monitors for people. What the member for Welland-Thorold is indicating is that through the device, through the mechanism of the Ontario drug benefit plan, we could make life easier for diabetics by picking up the cost of the equipment they need to self-administer the drug they need.
It is clearly a political decision. Do we, who are charged with making these kinds of decisions, think that we could extend to our fellow citizens, some 540,000 of them, a benefit to improve their lives? The method that has been suggested by the member for Welland-Thorold is through the Ontario drug benefit plan under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act, so that those who are most in need, the elderly and those of very low income, would not have to shell out for their syringes. They would not have to go on bended knee to their worker and say, “Could you give me some help with the purchase of this equipment that I need?” They would be entitled, as a legislated, mandated right, to have these administering devices that are absolutely essential.
The member for Kingston and The Islands also mentioned the Lowy inquiry, as though the Lowy inquiry would somehow provide some justification for the curious position that he has taken. I should remind members of the Legislature that the Lowy inquiry was established by the government following the release of alarming information: that doctors’ prescribing practices were terrible; that many of the drugs listed in the Drug Benefit Formulary and on the special authorizations list were harmful, too expensive or of little therapeutic value; that seniors particularly were being overmedicated, both in the community and nursing homes, and that 20 per cent of all admissions of elderly persons to hospital were related to adverse drug reaction, a catastrophe that is costing this province $1 million every day -- $1 million every day.
Quite properly, the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee had been pointing out to the government over a number of years that this was a problem of great concern to it, and regrettably the government did not listen. Outraged by the refusal of the government to listen to this advice, which of course the member for Kingston and The Islands is saying we should now listen to, even though they are not giving that advice, virtually everybody on the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee resigned, particularly the two previous chairmen.
Dr Lowy did indeed recommend that the state cover the costs of medications for those who suffer from cystic fibrosis and thalassemia, not on medical grounds, but on the grounds that the treatment that people were required to seek for those conditions was very expensive: $8,000 in the case of those with cystic fibrosis and up to $25,000 in the case of those with thalassemia.
Surely by the same logic one could say that suffering from diabetes is an expensive situation, an expensive human condition, up to $2,500 a year to cover the cost of administering and monitoring the insulin, and therefore it would be good public policy to protect those citizens of Ontario from the burden of carrying that cost themselves, particularly those who are least able to carry it.
Perhaps I should say in conclusion that, probably every morning, members of this Legislature have an opportunity to walk by the Banting and Best Institute, which is just down the street. I think that, on an emotional and historical basis, if nothing else, it would be appropriate for this province and this government to recognize that the device that you need to administer the drug that was invented down the street from here should be made available to people who cannot afford it at the cost of all of the citizens of Ontario. That seems to me to be a fitting tribute to the ingenuity of two of our citizens of this province.
Mr Elliot: I would like to commend the member for Welland-Thorold for a very good resolution as well. I would also like to commend him at the same time for framing the resolution in such a way, from an opposition point of view, that it is almost an ideal kind of resolution, in that the first half of it really tugs at the Liberal strings of my heart, but from the semicolon on, it makes it almost impossible, from a government point of view, to support.
As far as supplying the hypodermic syringes for people who require them in their medication is concerned, particularly those who are eligible, I think that idea has been expressed several times as being an extremely fine one, but at the semicolon the resolution goes on to say, “further, that a drug or listed drug product purchased by an eligible person, outside of the province of Ontario, be deemed to have been purchased in the province of Ontario.”
That is the kind of open-ended statement that a person on the government side has to take a look at, and the first thing you have to be very cognizant of there is the potential cost associated with such an open-ended statement.
I believe that because the Lowy inquiry is examining all aspects of the government’s role and influence in prescribing drugs in the marketplace and that because the Lowy inquiry’s final report is expected by the end of the year, really as far as the good part of the resolution is concerned, the timing of implementation of that particular aspect of the resolution would come after the professionals on that particular inquiry, or who report to that particular inquiry, have reported, have completed what they have to say and the Lowy inquiry has reported to the government on that.
In the interim, I think it should be noted that, for the purposes of people who might be listening to this who really need financial support where there is a financial burden in the acquisition of medical aids or devices, the Ministry of Community and Social Services may provide assistance under its programs. If any individual is in financial difficulty because of acquiring this kind of device, he should contact the local office of that particular ministry.
I have two or three concerns with respect to the purchase of drugs and related paraphernalia outside of Ontario. That particular part of the resolution is open-ended in two regards. It does not say whether it is outside of Ontario but in Canada or whether it is outside of Ontario, period, which means it is global. I think two or three things should be pointed out there.
First of all, Ontario drug benefit plan recipients who leave Ontario, for example, if they go on a holiday, at the present time can receive up to a 250-day supply of medication to take with them. In order to remain eligible for these benefits, they must reside in Ontario for at least four uninterrupted months in any one year. If the program paid for drugs filled outside Ontario, it would be very difficult to monitor resident eligibility. I really do not see how we could do that with the four-month residency involved, that particular kind of criterion.
As stated, the resolution also requested payment for drugs eligible for reimbursement under the Ontario drug benefit plan when dispensed outside Ontario. However, there is no assurance that the drugs dispensed outside of Canada have the same formulation as those approved for listing in Ontario. Furthermore, the reimbursement formula which would be used for assessing claims may differ from that actually paid by the recipient. Also, claims are not subject to audit because the pharmacies are outside Ontario’s jurisdiction.
If the intent of the resolution is to pay for all drugs dispensed outside Ontario, including those which are not benefits in Ontario, the lack of quality assurance might result in the program paying for drugs of questionable therapeutic efficiency. Also, some recipients might fill their prescriptions outside Ontario in order to circumvent decisions not to include certain drugs as benefits in Ontario, for example, expensive so-called miracle drugs which lack proof of safety and efficiency.
Another complication which may arise is the use of mail order pharmacies, which are common now in the United States.
I did not want to speak too long on this particular resolution, but I did want to indicate the one aspect of the resolution which I find very palatable and which really could be quite worth while. I think when the Lowy commission reports, one of the things it might very well be amenable to is the extension of the drug benefit plan to this particular aspect of medication. But because of the wording beyond the semicolon with respect to the giving of drugs outside of Ontario and outside of Canada, which I have already read into the record, I cannot support this resolution.
Mr Kormos: I thank the member for Simcoe East, I certainly thank my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr Reville) and I thank the member for Halton North (Mr Elliot) for his sympathetic criticism of the resolution. Indeed, I appreciate the comments that were made by all members on this resolution.
I want to reiterate once again, and it has been said a couple of times, that diabetes is the only disease known to us which must be controlled by the use of syringes. Diabetics have no option. They want to stay alive.
Let’s look at the economic burden of the disease diabetes itself. Each year, patients with diabetes or complications spend some 24 million days in the hospital. A conservative estimate of total annual costs attributable to diabetes is $13.8 billion.
The full economic impact of the disease is even greater because additional medical expenses often are attributed to the specific complications of diabetes rather than to diabetes itself. For example, annual hospital costs for amputations related to diabetes exceed $350 million. Perinatal complications resulting from maternal diabetes usually require care in a neonatal intensive care nursery at a cost of some $10,000 a week. The annual cost to medicate for diabetes-related end-stage renal disease is more than $330 million, a figure that is expected to double in the next decade.
The Canadian Diabetes Association has indeed called for all persons with diabetes to be provided with syringes. That is not what this resolution proposes. I am well aware of the monitor for health program, a $1.1-million program administered by the Canadian Diabetes Association, which assists people in acquiring various mechanical devices, testing units and so on, so they can do self-administered tests for blood glucose levels and so on.
What we are talking about is appreciably a twofold resolution:
First, what this resolution proposes is that just as “eligible persons” -- because all this speaks of is those diabetics who are seniors and considered eligible persons for the purchase of medication or prescription drugs under the drug benefit plan, those persons on family benefits and welfare assistance -- are entitled to receive appropriate medication that is listed in the schedules and regulations to the drug benefit plan, they be entitled to receive payment for syringes like this which they have to use on a daily basis. They have no choice. Without the syringe to administer the insulin, they die.
We are talking about people with the unenviable and unpleasant prospect of having to use syringes like this one to four times a day for the rest of their lives -- not just for an intermediary period of time, but for the rest of their lives. We are talking about a drug benefit plan that provides for the medication, but, unless the syringe is provided as well, the medication is of no use whatsoever to and cannot be effectively used by the approximately 20 per cent of diabetics who require syringes like this.
I talked about the incredible social cost. Part of the incredible cost from the secondary and tertiary problems related to diabetes results from inappropriate medication. What I am also fearful of is that those persons least able to afford the financial burden this creates -- and I am speaking of those persons with diabetes -- without the benefit I am speaking of, might be inclined to use a syringe more than once and run the risk of secondary diseases that are associated with that. They might be inclined not to self-administer the insulin as regularly as required, and again, the secondary impact of that is not just an impact on that person but an impact on the community as a whole.
Second, the other half of the resolution addresses issues directly concerning persons with diabetes. As I indicated before, insulin has to be refrigerated. A diabetic person, a person with diabetes who travels, for whatever reason, either consumes the whole supply of insulin -- I can appreciate what was said. I have made inquiries and I understand that if the medication is in tablet form, sure, a 250-day supply can be provided, but a 250-day supply of insulin cannot be provided in advance unless refrigeration is available to the person who is required to use it on a daily basis.
That also begs the question of the dire straits Ms Green found herself in. That was the woman of whom I spoke earlier, the 73-year-old woman who travelled to New Brunswick at Christmas-time in 1988, who became ill, who did not expect to become ill, who was hospitalized, who was treated appropriately by doctors there and for whom part of the treatment was the prescription by a doctor of some medication, the total cost of which ended up being a couple of hundred dollars. There is a senior citizen who is eligible under the drug benefit plan for payment for her cost of medication, who similarly should be eligible when she chooses to travel to New Brunswick and is struck down with an unanticipated illness.
The problems that are raised can be dealt with. I urge acceptance of the motion so that those problems can be addressed.
The Acting Speaker: The time allotted for this ballot item has expired.
Mr Cureatz, the member for Durham East, is recognized in order to introduce his motion.
Mr Cureatz: It is going to take me not quite half the hour I have to read it, but for all those in attendance, especially the students who are in the galleries, I will try to make it a little interesting for them on a dreary old Thursday morning.
ELECTRICITY DEMAND AND SUPPLY
Mr Cureatz moved resolution 19:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing the importance of a reliable supply of electricity to individuals in their homes and to the economy in general for job creation, industry, and commercial establishments, and recognizing that several studies and reports have shown Ontario Hydro does not have the capacity to supply forecasted demands of electricity for the year 2000, and that it will take at least eight years to approve and construct a new generating station, and that this government has known since 1986 it will need a new generation station to meet the demands of the mid- to-late-1990s; the government of Ontario, and in particular, the Minister of Energy, should direct Ontario Hydro to initiate any aspects of the process to establish a new generating station that can be approved in advance, such as the site selection process, with consideration that it could be a station using one or more sources of fuel to ensure Ontario Hydro meets its obligations to provide all Ontarians with a reliable supply of power in the next decade.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): The member is reminded he has up to 20 minutes for his presentation and may reserve any portion thereof for a windup speech.
Mr Cureatz: I do anticipate reserving some of my time for the opportunity of rebuttal. I see that the resolution was so wonderful our students are now leaving. It is somewhat disappointing in terms of what one is trying to accomplish.
Let me speak to whomever is watching on television. I do not think there are going to be too many people sitting around on Thursday morning -- unless maybe via satellite in northern Ontario, if it is raining and they do not feel like going fishing -- who are tuning me in thinking, “What’s going on at Queen’s Park?”
I have a funny feeling that late in the evening, as people with nothing better to do are turning the television dials, they may happen upon this very instant on the replay. As they say in television, “Don’t touch that dial,” because we have something interesting to talk to you about. It is electricity, boys and girls, and you should gather around the TV instead of the campfire, because do you know what makes that television work? Electricity, and we have some concerns in Ontario about electricity.
We could go on at great length. We are going, for the few moments we have, to refresh people’s memories about electrical production in Ontario. I have to refresh everyone’s memory, more importantly the people who are listening, because they are saying: “Who is that guy, anyway?”
I must remember to comment to those who are watching from the fine riding of Bruce, because the member for Bruce (Mr Elston), the Chairman of the Management Board, indicated that he had a group of people down last week and they were so disappointed that I was not in attendance. I do not know why I was not; I should have been. In any event, I apologize profusely, and I hope that upon another sojourn their member will advise me in advance and we will greet them with open arms at another time.
To refresh everybody’s memory: To make electricity, you have to turn a turbine. You turn the turbine; it turns a rotor on top; you have large magnets and they send out electricity through these huge transmission wires across Ontario. “Rudimentary,” someone says.
That electricity is made, sort of, in three ways. I know all the Liberal backbenchers will really appreciate this, because is there not someplace better they would rather be on a Thursday morning?
First, you have falling water: Niagara Falls. The water comes down and they put it through great big chutes. In the various committees I sat on, we had the opportunity to go. The water goes down and turns these turbines and, presto, we have electricity coming out of the Niagara Falls area. That has produced one third of the power for the province in terms of electricity.
Then we have coal, oil and gas. That produces roughly another third, so there is 60 per cent. Then, I say to my colleague the Energy critic for the New Democratic Party, 40 per cent is produced by nuclear power. We have site locations at Bruce, Pickering; in my own riding of Durham East we have Darlington, which is presently under construction and will come on stream this fall; we have some smaller units along the Ottawa River which are being phased out of production.
We have the production of electricity in terms of those three major sources. The difficulty arises that at the moment there is some projection that we are going to be running out of electricity; conversely, the demand for electricity is going to be increasing in terms of what we can supply. Do we run around and look at the sky and say, “The sky is falling”? I am not one to be so panicky, but we can be in the position to be a little panicky if -- here it comes; do I hear a drumroll? -- this Liberal administration does not do anything to get its act together in terms of the construction of a new generating facility.
I hear the people screaming at home: “What’s going on? Does that mean that if we turn on the light switch at home, the light bulb won’t go on?” That is exactly what it means.
Why am I bringing in this resolution? Let’s talk turkey, as my leader said yesterday. The reason I am bringing in this resolution is to try to embarrass this government, which, as we have seen over the last month, has no shame. No shame? Well, a little shame, I say to the member for Mississauga West (Mr Mahoney). My attempt is to try to embarrass them so they will sit up, if it is at all possible, and take consideration of the fact that indeed we are going to need more electricity.
I know this government has had lots of other things on its plate over the last six weeks, which I will not review, because, as I indicated before, all those other wonderful things that have taken place are more the purview of my illustrious colleagues who sit on the front benches of our two opposition parties.
I want to centre on an important issue that is going to be with us for a long time. The various so-called scandals are going to come and go, but this one is with us and is going to be with us. It is a major issue we have not been -- not “we”; not my colleagues from the official opposition and not us: I have yet to get used to calling ourselves the third party. This government has not been centring on issues.
I say to all the backbenchers, most of whom will not be here after the next election anyway so they might as well just sit back and enjoy my little talk: Do they know what is going to happen? If they wind up with a brownout in their constituencies, they are going to be answering the phone, or their staff is, and they are going to have to try to come up with an answer why this government has led the province to the position of being short of electrical power.
Mr Ruprecht: Name names.
Mr Cureatz: The honourable member says, “Name names.” All I have to do is hold up the sheet and I can go over all the members in the various seats and single out those in particular who will not be back for the next sojourn. If I name names, it would use up all my time and I would not discuss my resolution, so I will save that for another topic. We have two more years to go here, so they can just enjoy all their fanciful impressions of how they are going to get back, because most of them are not.
“Is there a concern?” I hear. I say to my friends in the official opposition and the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) that he and his party -- and he has sat with me a number of times on the various select committees on energy; I am sure we will hear from him -- come to the problem from a different approach. But I respect their position; at least it is a position.
Their position is that if you conserve enough electricity -- they came up with the Passmore Associates research a couple of weeks ago. I will refresh the memories of those at home. Roughly speaking, Ontario needs about 25,000 megawatts to run the province and at present Ontario Hydro is producing the 25,000 megawatts; these are rough terms. The difficulty is that it would appear we would need, through various projections, another 5,000 megawatts maybe by the end of the next decade.
Where do we get the 5,000 megawatts? The official opposition indicates that it can he obtained by conservation: various appliance uses, taking a look at better insulation, etc. My feeling and our party’s feeling is that all those are indeed worthwhile goals, but our projection is -- you have to look into the crystal ball, but it is better to be on the safe side than on the sorry side -- as we look into the crystal ball, our projection is that notwithstanding the conservation the official opposition has indicated, we are still going to be needing another major electrical supply plant.
Who else says so? Interestingly enough, last week there was a meeting with AMPCO, the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario. Unfortunately, due to the Shriners’ parade, yours truly was caught -- where else? -- in traffic, but the association did meet with our leader to indicate some concerns it has. They left with us Scanner, with a nice picture of the Minister of Energy (Mr Wong ) on the front. Here is what they indicated in their opening remarks:
“Ontario stands on the threshold of a crisis in electricity supply. Brownouts, blackouts, even the possible loss of investment and jobs lurk just around the corner unless the province commits to building a major new generating facility immediately. That is the key message that leading industry leaders will take to the Ontario public this summer and fall, as part of the high-profile public awareness campaign launched recently by the joint industry task force, JITF.”
In a speech delivered by Bill James of AMPCO back in April this year:
“Today you are going to hear about the concerns of industry regarding the prospect of power shortages in Ontario in the relatively near future. In August last year, there were six or seven occasions when power supply to Ontario industries had to be interrupted because of less than adequate reserve margins on the Hydro system. It seems that only when we get to the point of general brownouts and blackouts will there be any urgency applied to getting on with the job of planning and decision-making, and by then it will be far too late to avoid lost opportunities for growth in employment and the Ontario economy.”
We have to remember that the major users of electricity, in terms of large industries, are employing thousands of people in Ontario. So what are we talking about, when it comes down to the bottom line? Job losses or job postponements.
For instance, in the city of Oshawa, of which I represent the north portion -- in the past 10 years I have had the wonderful opportunity of representing almost half the city; now my learned colleague the member for Durham Centre (Mr Furlong) has the opportunity of representing that fine area, as I had, and we will see if he is going to do such a wonderful job as maybe I did the last go-round if he gets re-elected -- if the line at General Motors has to be shut down because one of the transmission lines is not carrying enough electricity to make the line go around, the 7,000 to 8,000 people who are working at GM will have to be sent home because there is no electricity.
No one thinks about these things. We get carried away from day to day with some of the high-profile issues in the major newspapers, but if we have a brownout, a blackout or if people are being sent home, or if they go home and cannot turn on the switch because there is no electricity, then there will be someone to answer for it, and it is going to be this government, as tedious as this topic is.
Is this government going to do anything? I had the opportunity of reviewing -- through the library, which I might add did a wonderful job in research for me, which I appreciate -- that back on 22 February 1978, under the topic “Darlington Nuclear Plant,” there was a question from a gentleman by the name of Mr S. Smith. Who has heard of S. Smith? Hands up. No one from the Liberal Party has put his hand up -- well, one. He was their esteemed leader back before the member for London Centre (Mr Peterson) took over, who is now the Premier.
What did Mr Smith have to say?
“In view of the fact that the primary rationale for exempting the Darlington station from the Environmental Assessment Act was the need for this plant to be operating in time to avoid supposed power shortages in the mid-1980s, and in keeping with the new study with regard to the projected growth in electrical power consumption, does the minister now agree that the tremendous degree of rush that was referred to, no longer exists and that it is possible to have the project referred under the Environmental Assessment Act?”
We can go on with page after page, but the direction, if there was any kind of precedent set by the Liberal Party, was to sit back. As indicated by the then leader of the Liberal Party, the need for Darlington was not paramount and there should be an expansion of the environmental process which Ontario Hydro did in-house by a full environmental assessment hearing.
It would seem to me that this administration is taking that same course of action, namely, that it is going to sit back. For those who have been interested in question period, I have been asking questions over the last few months of the Minister of Energy on a variety of fields, but always concluding by asking: When is he going to make the decision to build a new major electrical producing plant, where is it going to be and when is it going to come on stream? I am not even centring on what manner of plant that should be -- hydro, oil, gas or nuclear -- I am just asking him to get on with the job.
I have also been inquiring: If the minister is that hesitant about it, why does he not at least start some kind of environmental process on the various possible sites that can be selected for a major plant?
I asked the Minister of Energy, I guess it was the first of this week, about what Ontario Hydro is doing with the investigation of Sir Adam Beck 3 down at Niagara Falls. Is that not an environmental assessment and has he not approved it? Has Ontario Hydro in its Hydroscope not indicated it is going to take four years to do that full investigation?
If I remember Hydroscope correctly, that is only going to supply about 1,000 megawatts. We are still going to need a few more thousand megawatts to at least have a cushion, never mind meeting the demand. So why does the minister not make the decision to intervene to allow Hydro to start at least some environmental assessments?
This government’s policy at the moment is to put it off. They are hoping they are going to delay the decision until after the next election. I can tell them they are not going to get away with it. The next election is two years away, and if the projections of what we have seen through the various select committees on energy hold true, we are going to be forced into a position of at least some brownouts during the heavy winter cold spells and the very hot spells in summer-time.
As frustrating as it is, I say to all the moms and dads at home, my time is running out. I can see the crocodile tears around the assembly; everyone is remorseful about that. I will reserve a moment or two to allow me a summation. We are looking forward with great anticipation to what the sheep have to say, to see how have they been directed by the front four to respond to this resolution. It is going to be pretty crucial if we run out of electricity; it will not power the lights of this assembly or will not power -- heaven forbid -- the televisions at home.
Mr South: I welcome the opportunity to respond to the resolution made by the member for Durham East. I would say without any hesitation that there is no one in this House I enjoy listening to more than the member for Durham East. He speaks with a great deal of candour. He brings a certain amount of amusement to his remarks, but always they are very insightful and they are always said with a lot of sincerity. I say to the member, as one of the sheep he referred to, he is going to have to listen to these remarks.
We do believe that there are some real concerns about what the next major generating station will be for Ontario Hydro and where it will be located. That is a matter of great concern. But essentially you cannot put the cart before the horse and you certainly cannot leap before you look when making important decisions like this, especially when these decisions will have far-reaching effects on the people of this province for decades to come. That is exactly what the member for Durham East is asking us to do in his resolution, and it is for that reason and for others that I will outline why I cannot support his resolution.
As the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, I have had a chance to learn a great deal about the energy picture in this province. I agree that the demand for energy, and electricity in particular, is growing. By the year 2000, Ontario residents are likely to be consuming 13 per cent more oil, 25 per cent more natural gas and, in the absence of demand management measures, 39 per cent more electricity.
I think the member for Durham East is correct in saying that Ontario has to investigate new, major sources of electricity supply for this province. In fact, the government is conducting such an investigation: a comprehensive and detailed investigation of Ontario Hydro’s planning process and of Ontario’s energy options.
Let me fill some of the members in on the history behind the process. It really began when the government received Ontario Hydro’s draft demand-supply planning strategy, better known as the DSPS. This weighty report laid down the basis for Hydro’s planning process and for such things as forecasting, and it has focused the debate on the future of Ontario’s electricity system.
It is an important document and one which the recent select committee on energy studied at some length. I know both the member for Durham East and I can attest to that, as we were both present on that committee.
I might add that it was not the select committee alone which examined this report. An independent panel of technical experts on electricity planning also reviewed the strategy. In addition, about a dozen government ministries reported on the document.
The findings of all these intensive studies have been passed along to Ontario Hydro. I understand the utility has been asked to come up with its preferred demand-supply plan this fall and I await that plan with great interest, as I am sure we all do.
Certainly, this government has already acted on some of the recommendations arising out of the reviews of the DSPS. The technical panel suggested that the issue of Candu nuclear costing needed to be further investigated. That review was completed by a two-person panel which concluded that Hydro’s cost estimates were sound.
I know that many members of the public had concerns about the costing issue and about the question of nuclear safety. The government commissioned a report by Dr Kenneth Hare that was tabled in the House early last year. It responded to and addressed many of these concerns.
We on this side of the House have not been idle on the issue of energy planning and supply. As I see it, this government has invested a great deal of time and energy in these questions. Again, I agree with the member for Durham East that these are important questions; important to our economy and to the environment.
I do not think we have all the answers to these questions yet but we have come a long way in gathering the necessary information upon which we can base good and responsible decisions.
Certainly the government has set some definite priorities in terms of reviewing all of our electricity options. I think it is important to look at these options in terms of how they impact on economic development in the province. We have to make sure that any choices we make will help to improve our competitive ability in the new global economy. Being able to compete means that our economy will continue to grow and create new jobs and businesses.
As all members are aware, there is a growing concern for the quality of our environment. Any energy choices we make have to take this concern into account. Our use of energy and the production of our energy resources have some negative impacts on the air we breathe and the water we drink. We have to work hard to reduce these negative impacts.
Obviously a secure supply of energy is critical to our economic future. Our businesses and industries depend on our reliable and relatively low-cost supply of electricity to stay in business. All of us depend on energy to help maintain the wonderful quality of life we enjoy in this province. We have to make sure that everyone in Ontario is using energy wisely, that we are getting the most out of every megawatt of energy we produce. I think we all have to put a higher priority on energy efficiency and conservation. By conserving energy and using it more efficiently, we can better our economic performance and our environment.
I would add that energy efficiency will help to cut our $12.5-billion annual energy bill. This will free up some of the province’s money, money that could be better spent on important items like health care and education.
As the member for Durham East knows, this province has a wide range of options to choose from in terms of future supply. There is the option of major new generation stations powered by coal, oil, gas or nuclear power. We could also look at trying to get more out of the existing facilities in Ontario. One example was alluded to by the member for Durham East, and that is the Sir Adam Beck 3 plant, which will produce an additional 700 megawatts of electrical energy. I think we can all agree that we should try to work on this kind of system enhancement across the province.
Look at my own riding of Frontenac-Addington, where the Lennox oil-fired plant is located. I might say that Lennox was built by a previous government that did not look before it leaped. That is why it sat there for a number of years not being used. Recently, however, part of that station was recommissioned to meet the peak needs of my part of the province.
I could also point to the Wesleyville generating station, widely known as the Wesleyville white elephant today. I think it was the same government that did not do the necessary planning for Lennox that built this station not too far from where the member for Durham East lives.
I think we should take a second look at Wesleyville to see if it could be retrofitted and brought into service some time in the future. Ontario could also get a new supply by buying it from our neighbouring provinces, such as Manitoba and Quebec. We are looking at both of these options.
Natural gas can also be used in the cogeneration process, and I understand there are energy and environmental benefits. I think Ontario Hydro should be encouraged to consider co-operating with the private sector to develop this energy source.
In closing, let me say that we have to take a responsible and prudent approach to planning for our energy future. As such, I cannot support the resolution of the member for Durham East.
Mr Charlton: I will start out my comments by congratulating the member for Durham East. I am sure he is watching these comments wherever he has gone. I congratulate him for the concerns that he feels, the concerns that prompted him to bring forward this resolution.
I happen to share his concerns about Ontario’s energy future, although I must say at the outset that I will not be supporting his resolution. I will not be supporting it for far different reasons than were just expressed by the government member, the member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr South).
I will not be supporting the resolution because of some of the very specific things which this resolution actually says. Unfortunately, the member for Frontenac-Addington completely avoided what the resolution says in his remarks.
I say to the member for Durham East, as I have already said, that I share his concerns, but in his own speech here today, he set out very clearly a number of reasons why the direction his resolution presents is the wrong one for us to follow.
First, his resolution says “several studies and reports have shown Ontario Hydro does not have the capacity to supply forecasted demands of electricity for the year 2000.” That is essentially true. What the resolution forgets to deal with is all of the studies that have been done in the last three years that clearly show us that Ontario’s needs for the next 20 years can be met without Ontario Hydro’s building a single megawatt of additional generating capacity in Ontario.
The Ministry of Energy has commissioned studies on conservation in Ontario, on industrial cogeneration in Ontario and on private independent generation in the province, all of which show substantial potential at significantly lower cost than our next nuclear plant, or our next generation facility of any kind, to help us meet the needs of electrical energy in the future in this province.
The member, when he was saying why he had brought this resolution forward, used the phrase that he hoped to force the government to sit up and listen. I want to say to the member for Durham East that in order for the government to sit up and listen, there has to be a spine. This government, unfortunately, has not shown any more spine in dealing with and controlling Ontario Hydro than the previous Conservative administration did, and that is part of the problem.
The member also referred to meetings which his leader had with representatives of AMPCO, the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario. He is right in understanding that AMPCO has a major concern about the future of electrical energy in Ontario. But AMPCO is one of the major culprits in terms of dealing with how we approach that question, because its members are the major power consumers in this province and they also hold the keys to many of the solutions in the industrial sector. Until we effectively address those questions, it seems to me a bit irresponsible for AMPCO to be here demanding that Ontario Hydro build new facilities that would be paid for by all the people of Ontario, while AMPCO members pay the lowest and most-subsidized rates for the electricity they will then use.
The member for Durham East also referred to questions like transmission and the problems when the transmissions lines either are down or cannot carry the power that is required by a firm like General Motors, for example. I point out to the member for Durham East that one of the beauties of energy efficiency is that kilowatts saved do not require transmission, nor do kilowatts saved require a reserve margin. He also referred to the declining reserve margin we are faced with in Ontario, and kilowatts saved also do not require a reserve margin.
To put it another way, so we can understand the real perspective in terms of meeting our electrical energy needs via efficiency versus constructing a new plant, if you go the efficiency route you have to create only 75 per cent or 80 per cent of the capacity you have to create if you build a plant, because you have to build the plant plus a reserve margin to make the system viable.
If we need 5,000 megawatts of generated electricity in Ontario, we can supply that need with only 4,000 megawatts of efficiency. That is one of the realities we have to deal with in the whole course of this discussion.
There is another aspect of the member’s resolution which causes me particular and great concern, and that is the part that says “to establish a new generating station that can be approved in advance, such as the site selection process, with consideration that it could be a station using one or more sources of fuel.
Again, I understand the concern that has been expressed by several members of the government party about this advance approval process, about having everything in place so that you can move quickly when the time comes, but the very wording of this resolution sets out the problem. A site that might be acceptable for a nuclear plant is not necessarily acceptable for a coal-fired plant, a hydraulic plant, a gas-fired plant or an oil-fired plant, because the environmental criteria in each case are substantially different.
Let me just take the examples of the two most likely options if you are going to build a generation facility, one being nuclear and the other being coal. Because of the cost questions, gas and oil have been a little bit out of the picture in Ontario, although in the future, as cost structures change, they could come back into the picture.
A nuclear plant looks for a site that is fundamentally solid and stable. They talk about earthquake-proofing nuclear plants, they talk about protecting the storage bins in which the spent fuel is kept and so on. But the site-specific criteria for a coal-fired plant are substantially different, because of the need to store large volumes of coal on the site, because of the process Ontario Hydro goes through now of crushing, washing and cleaning coal and the coal dust that emanates from that process, the sulphur that is extracted from the coal in that process and a number of other factors which totally change the nature of the site you want to look for for a coal-fired plant.
To talk about advance approval of a site which may be utilized for a plant using any number of different fuels is a totally inappropriate way to approach the whole question of environmental assessment. I have no objection if Ontario Hydro wants to proceed internally to plan and design its next generation facility so that, if and when it is needed, it can proceed quickly to make applications. I have absolutely no objection if Ontario Hydro wants to proceed internally to identify sites for the next nuclear plant or sites for the next coal plant, but they will not be the same site. For those reasons, I find the specific wording of this resolution very difficult to support.
Having said that, I repeat what I said at the outset: I agree with the concerns that have been expressed by the member for Durham East. I agree that we need to make this government sit up, and that is going to be difficult, until it is prepared to deal in a much more straightforward and aggressive fashion with Ontario Hydro. We need to answer within the next two years the questions about where we go with electrical energy in the future.
Mr Runciman: It is a pleasure to participate in the debate this morning and to support my colleague the member for Durham East with respect to the resolution he has placed before the House. I think what he is attempting to do, and certainly what the party is attempting to do, is send out a message that indeed it is an urgent situation and that Ontario could find itself in significant difficulties in the not-too-distant future if the government is not prepared to make some decisions with respect to the construction of new generating facilities in the province.
At this point, as the member for Durham East indicated, not taking action has significant negative implications for the economy of this province. We are talking about jobs, we are talking about attracting new investment and we are talking about keeping the cost of power in this province at a very attractive level. Again, if initiatives are not undertaken in the near future, much of that could be placed in jeopardy.
I guess this ties in with a number of other concerns with respect to the operations of this government currently. They do not seem to have any significant or meaningful agenda; they are drifting on a number of important issues. We could suggest perhaps that the recent matter dealing with Mrs Starr may be causing some of the paralysis in this government, but it goes back beyond the revelations related to Mrs Starr. There really does not seem to be anyone prepared to take the bull by the horns with respect to a number of controversial issues facing this province.
The member for Frontenac-Addington talked about a number of options being available to the government. I am not certain that I would share that view with respect to the number of options in terms of ability to meet the forecast growth patterns in this province in terms of electrical consumption. Before I go any further, he mentioned the former government constructing a plant in his area which was shut down for a number of years and he suggested that was poor planning. I have some difficulty with that because, as he knows, that plant was an oil-fired station and in reality it was shut down because of the effluent and the acid rain concerns. Because of increasing consumption levels in this province, the plant had to be put on stream.
Again, talking about the number of options available, the member for Durham East went through those in detail, but I just want to touch on them again. On hydro generation, we are limited very much in what we can do. We can look at a few new sites, retrofit and so on. On coal and gas, again, I think there are some opportunities here, especially with clean western coal, in not only helping ourselves locally with respect to the generation of new electricity, but also in assisting our Canadian neighbours, as well, in terms of the total economic picture for this country. But again, we are talking about finite resources and we are talking about acid rain problems.
Of course, there was significant testimony before the select committee on energy, which I had the good fortune to sit on. We heard a great deal of detail with respect to what these products are doing to the ozone layer and other significant concerns with respect to pollution of lakes, damage to trees, acidification of farm land and so on, which is increasingly becoming a concern of most countries of the world. I think we have to take a very careful look at how much further we want to go with respect to generation of electricity through the use of polluting, finite fuels which over the long haul are perhaps not in our best interests environmentally and are certainly not in the best interests of providing long-term assurance of reliability of supply.
Now we get down to a number of other options, including conservation and demand management. Again, these are very positive areas in which to look for savings, if you will, but again, they alone are not going to solve the energy problems of this province.
Then we get down to nuclear. We had significant testimony before us in the select committee, both pro and con, with respect to nuclear. I guess I was not personally persuaded that the negatives with respect to nuclear generation outweigh the positives. We can take a look at the fact that with respect to emissions from these plants, we are not going to be doing any further damage to the ozone layer. We are not producing acid rain. There is certainly a question about the ability to deal with the waste from nuclear plants, but I think those are problems that can be solved, will be solved and, in some respects, are now being solved. Even if you take a look at the amount of waste generated from nuclear facilities, it is relatively modest in terms of tonnage, if you will. I think we certainly cannot rule that out.
With respect to my party, I think my colleague and I and the select committee have suggested that we should be looking at a number of things which certainly are not restricted or limited to nuclear. Approval banking, which is mentioned in the member’s resolution, we think is an excellent way to go.
Another area we talked about in the select committee was building to export. We find that reasonably attractive. Rather than simply delaying until the need is apparent in this province, why do we not take a look at entering into agreements with our neighbours to the south so that we can construct generating facilities, get them on stream and enter into sale agreements with our neighbours to provide them with electricity over a given period of time. Then, when our needs increase in this province, we will already have that generating facility or facilities on stream and will be able to cope with any increasing demand.
When we talk about increasing demand, there is no question that it is there. All of the signs, all of the signals are there. If you look at the studies done with respect to what is going to happen in this province as a result of free trade, although I know the government disagreed with that initiative, certainly all the studies indicated a significant increase in the number of manufacturing jobs in this province, and Ontario Hydro’s studies indicated a significant increase as well in demand for additional hydro resources.
We just have to look at what happened last summer with an extremely hot summer when we were faced with Hydro running into its peak during the summer, I think, for the first time. My colleague confirms that. We had to go through a point where we were faced with a possibility of brownouts during the summer months. We have a number of companies that have been operating in this province on interruptible supply that are finding their supplies now being too frequently interrupted and are having to look at moving away from interruptible supply contracts. It is a significant problem.
We have talked about this government’s ability to deal effectively with the management of Ontario Hydro and I think that is a cause for concern. Ontario Hydro is a power unto itself. There is no question about that when we take a look at what has happened with their debt. I brought forward a question some time last year with respect to the differential in the United States dollar and the Canadian dollar, the debt repayment to the United States and the fact that Ontario Hydro was going to reap a windfall in the neighbourhood of $150 million.
I suggested to the minister at that time that there be a one-time application to significantly reduce the Ontario Hydro debt. The impact of that one-time, $150-million payment was astounding over a 10-year period in terms of the reduction in debt and the impact it was going to have. But this minister was not prepared to indicate to us, to this House or to Ontario Hydro, “Yes, indeed, we recognize the Hydro debt is a major problem and we’re going to ensure that they take action on it and recognize it as a major problem.”
We could not get that kind of commitment out of him. We can never get that kind of commitment out of him. He is a very likeable individual, no doubt, but he is not a strong enough personality, in my view, to be able to deal effectively with the powers that be at Ontario Hydro. We on this side of the House have to be very much concerned with his ability to twist arms with those folks because there is no doubt about it, they know where they are going and they are very familiar with the games of persuasion and ability to twist governments and government officials around their little fingers. It has been proven on many occasions over the past 10, 15, 20 years.
Another indication: The Cresap study done on Ontario Hydro indicated 2,500 redundant employees in just one section of Ontario Hydro. What was Ontario Hydro going to do about those 2,500 employees? Nothing. “Resource smoothing” they call it. They build a new building in North York to house 2,500 redundant employees.
Ms Collins: The member for Durham East would have us all believe that it is necessary to get the shovel in the ground on new energy supply tomorrow. I do not believe that is the case. This province is not running on empty. It is, in fact, running on a very strong and reliable electricity system. It is a system that has served this province well over the past 80 years. I believe it will continue to do so over the next 80 years and beyond if we take the time and effort to ensure that the decisions we make about the future are the right decisions.
My friend the member for Frontenac-Addington talked about the process the government is involved in to examine our energy future. He referred to the detailed investigation the government is conducting into our energy choices. I think this is a valuable exercise. We have to answer the questions about the economic and environmental impacts of our energy choices before we make those choices. There are many outstanding questions.
However, in this day of increased global competition and growing concern about the environment, I believe there are decisions we can make today in the energy sector. I believe we have to make a decision to aggressively pursue wise energy management. That means making better use of our energy resources, and that means managing our energy demand more effectively. Demand management through such initiatives as conservation and energy efficiency must be a continuing priority of this government.
Yes, I agree with the member for Durham East that we have to investigate major new sources of electricity supply. Ontario’s electricity needs are growing. But there is more than one way of doing this. Just because we acknowledge the need for a major new supply some time in the future does not mean we should not try to capture some of this supply from gains in energy efficiency today.
I understand that estimates on the amount of energy we could save through demand management vary. I know that some energy interest groups have suggested that we would never have to build another generating station if we implemented efficiency improvements and moved to more private-sector-generated power. There are others who suggest that efficiency improvements cannot be counted on and that the shovel should have been in the ground yesterday.
But surely it is not the debate on the amount of gains we can make through energy efficiency and conservation that matters. What does matter is the significant benefits that come from pursuing these gains. I have been told that energy efficiency is directly related to productivity. The less energy used per unit of production output translates into a better bottom line for industry. As we all know, a better bottom line means a more competitive product. Today, as we face Fortress Europe and a new trading environment, the ability to compete is more important than ever before.
Here in Ontario, gains in efficiency can also have a significant impact on the province’s bottom line. Ontario is Canada’s largest energy-consuming province, and we have a $12.5-billion bill to prove it. Using our energy more wisely can reduce that bill, freeing up more money for our social programs. Improvements in the way we use energy can be made across the board. In industry, commerce, governments and at home, each of us can make a difference by doing such things as turning off unneeded lighting or keeping the thermostat turned back at night over the winter months.
Home owners can make investments in insulation, weatherstripping and caulking. Saving energy at home means saving money, and that means increased consumer spending power.
I know the Minister of Energy recently announced the first standards under the Energy Efficiency Act. This act, which enables the government to set minimum efficiency standards for household appliances, will go a long way in improving the way we use our energy in this province. I understand the Ministry of Energy has efficiency programs targeted at every sector of our economy. I applaud the efforts being made; however, I think we could be doing more in this important area.
Energy efficiency does more than just benefit our collective pocketbooks, and it does more than enhance Ontario’s energy security and self-sufficiency. Perhaps most important of all, it can mean major benefits for our environment. The global warming trend and acid rain have become household words. The public is alarmed by the degradation of our environment and is looking for leadership from government that will protect this important legacy. Energy use and the production of new energy resources have negative impacts on the environment. Using energy more efficiently will help to minimize these impacts and protect the quality of our land, our air and our water.
I believe that as the government moves to investigate new supply, it should also be moving to implement new and more aggressive demand management initiatives. A responsible approach to electricity planning means examining both the demand and supply sides of our energy picture. I understand that Ontario Hydro’s demand-supply plan will include plans for demand management and I look forward to seeing that plan this fall.
The Speaker: I believe the member for Durham East reserved three and two thirds minutes.
Mr Cureatz: Do I not get the other minute that no one else wanted to use? I say that to the Speaker notwithstanding the fact that he hosts such a lovely dinner meeting from time to time during which some crucial issues of this assembly have to be discussed. The member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) and I were very concerned about some major issues and we certainly related them to the Speaker.
He missed some of my opening remarks concerning my resolution. I want to refresh his memory. As I was hearing some of the speeches, I was thinking to myself, I said: “Self, what a great resolution: ‘That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing the importance of a reliable supply of electricity to individuals in their homes and to the economy in general for job creation, industry and commercial establishments...the government of Ontario, and in particular the Minister of Energy, should direct Ontario Hydro to initiate any aspects of the process to establish a new generating station.’”
At least we have heard from this nasty, huge, arrogant Liberal government that it is against the resolution. They finally made a decision. Holy smokes. What have they decided they are against? They are against job creation. They are against individuals living in their homes. They are against industry and they are against commercial establishments. When that next election comes around and on election night, about 10:30 at night when those Liberal backbenchers are looking at the poll results coming in and they are going down the drain, they will be saying to themselves: “Jeepers, I should have supported Sam’s resolution, that great member for Durham East, because he was in favour of jobs in Ontario. He was in favour of ensuring that people could go into their homes and turn on the switches and get electricity. He was in favour of electricity turning the wheels of industry in the heartland of Canada.”
Not this group; no, sir. These guys are in for big trouble because this is a big, crucial issue. I have not even gone into, as my colleague the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr Runciman) indicated -- and of course I should not be remiss but should thank all of those who participated in the debate. As bad as the comments were against my resolution, we appreciate their thoughts and concerns. Of course, the Liberals are toeing the party line: delay, delay, delay. The honourable member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway) knows the crisis we are in because down in his riding -- well, it is a long story and I do not want to bore members with it, but it was a great story. In any event, he knows the crucial aspects that we are involved with in terms of electricity.
For the last 30, 40 seconds that I have, I am going to look into the crystal ball. Do members know what I foresee? I foresee this government finally making a decision. We have to go through all this stuff, but finally it is going to be so crucial to Ontario that, yes, it will come forth with an announcement -- I say to the member for Hamilton Mountain, and boy, he will be really angry. Do members know what the announcement is going to be? That Darlington 2, another four-unit nuclear station out in my riding of Durham East, is going to have to be constructed. That decision is going to be forthcoming, preferably before the next election, to ensure that we are going to have electricity after the next election, in which, I fear, we are going to be suffering brownouts.
The House divided on Mr Kormos’s motion of resolution 22, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. R., Cooke, D. S., Cureatz, Eves, Hampton, Henderson, Jackson, Kormos, Kozyra, Laughren, LeBourdais, Leone, Mackenzie, Matrundola, McLean, Morin-Strom, Nicholas, Offer, Philip, E., Polsinelli, Pope, Reville, Roberts, Sullivan, Wildman, Wilson.
Ballinger, Brown, Callahan, Collins, Cousens, Elliot, Epp, Faubert, Fawcett, Fleet, Furlong, Kanter, Keyes, Lipsett, Mahoney, Mancini, Miclash, Nixon, J. B., Oddie Munro, Poole, Reycraft, Ruprecht, South, Sterling, Tatham.
Ayes 28; nays 25.
ELECTRICITY DEMAND AND SUPPLY
The House divided on Mr Cureatz’s motion of resolution 19, which was negatived on the following vote:
Callahan, Cooke, D. R., Cousens, Cureatz, Epp, Faubert, Fawcett, Henderson, Kozyra, LeBourdais, Leone, Matrundola, McLean, Miclash, Nicholas, Pope, Roberts, Runciman, Sullivan, Tatham.
Ballinger, Brown, Bryden, Charlton, Collins, Cooke, D. S., Elliot, Fleet, Furlong, Hampton, Kanter, Keyes, Kormos, Laughren, Lipsett, Mackenzie, Mancini, Morin-Strom, Nixon, J. B., Oddie Munro, Offer, Philip, E., Polsinelli, Poole, Rae, B., Reville, Reycraft, Ruprecht, South, Wildman, Wilson.
Ayes 20; nays 31.
The House recessed at 1216.
The House resumed at 1330.
Hon Mr Elston: I have a message from His Honour the Administrator of Ontario, signed by his own hand.
The Speaker: The Administrator of Ontario transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending 31 March 1990 and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, signed by Mr Howland.
BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR NATIVE PEOPLE
Mr Hampton: Sometimes in the course of doing constituency case work, you come across some unbelievable situations. The fight in which many Indian people must engage in order to get an Ontario birth certificate is such an unbelievable situation.
Several Indian people who were born on remote reserves prior to 1950 have never been able to acquire an Ontario birth certificate. Because many of these individuals were born on the reserve and not in a hospital, there are no hospital records of their birth. Because reserves then were remote and required travel by bush plane or boat, census statistics from Statistics Canada did not record their birth, then nor since. No school records exist for many of these people, because they chose not to attend Indian residential schools that dominated native education until the last decade, schools which required a fair bit of religious indoctrination as well as education. If they did not register under the Indian Act as status Indians, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa has no record of them either.
When Indian people lack indicia of birth and existence, the government’s vital statistics branch will not provide them with Ontario birth certificates. The government’s requirements for the granting of birth certificates unfairly discriminates against Indian people, specifically against older Indian people who initially lived a very traditional lifestyle. The criteria the government has set are simply culture-bound.
Mr McLean: My statement is for the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil). It is quite clear that the minister is not the champion of the tourist industry he claims he is, if the May budget is any indication.
For example, his government’s proposed payroll tax will lead to employment rationalization and see employees ultimately pay as employers reduce salary increases to compensate for this new tax, and create increased inflation and make Ontario’s tourism less competitive in targeted US markets. The increased payroll tax will result in reduced pleasure and vacation travel in Ontario and increased pleasure and vacation travel by Ontarians to the United States and other less costly travel destinations.
Increased fuel taxes will result in less travel by automobile in Ontario, fewer American visitors and more travel by Ontarians to the United States. Increased beverage alcohol taxes will result in reduced licensee sales of beverage alcohol.
This will result in less discretionary income for all Ontario drivers and less discretionary travel and spending on tourism and hospitality products and services in this province.
The government is crippling this province’s tourist industry with increased taxes. It has also frozen and reduced transfer payments to municipalities and school boards, but still expects them to come up with the new payroll tax. The government’s policies for wringing more and more tax dollars out of the people of Ontario will lead to increased inflation and increased unemployment. The people of Ontario have had enough.
Mr Fleet: Brian Mulroney, just say no. Proposals to accelerate tariff reductions under the free trade agreement for soybean oils jeopardize an important Canadian-owned company and the workers and their families who depend on it.
Canada Packers Inc has the largest edible oil refining plant in Canada located in my riding, where over 225 people are employed. The company has invested $52 million in plant modernizations in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec in recent years to ensure it is competitive in a tariff-sensitive industry. Canada Packers represents 40 per cent of the Canadian refining market in edible oils and fat products.
Free trade means Canada Packers must compete against more specialized American giants. The company needs time to change its business structure and find a niche in the American market. Fresh multimillion-dollar investments are necessary for physical plant changes, market research and personnel training. Although Canada Packers is willing to take up this challenge, it is impossible if the company is denied adequate time to adapt. Jobs, as well as the wellbeing of Canada Packers, are seriously compromised by the new proposals.
Brian Mulroney, your government has the authority to stop this. Do your duty to protect the interests of Canadians. Say no to the fast-tracking of these tariff reductions.
Mr Laughren: In September 1987, the Premier (Mr Peterson) promised that he had a specific plan that would lower auto insurance rates. Since that time, rates have increased by approximately 17 per cent. The government then established the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board, which was supposed to set rates. When that board brought in recommendations with rate increases that were unacceptable to the government, the government said, “We can’t accept those proposals, and we’re going to put a cap on at 7.6 per cent.”
Then the minister, in another example of his Keystone Cops scenario, gets the report from the auto insurance board which tells him that no-fault insurance is not the answer either and would really cause no meaningful saving to the driver in Ontario. While this chaos is going on around us, the insurance companies are toying with the minister and his cap on insurance rate increases. In one case I raised in the assembly the other day, one company with the same address, same president, same signatures on the forms, had increased an insured’s rates by almost 30 per cent.
It is absolutely ridiculous, and the minister has done absolutely nothing about it. The present minister has raised incompetence to an art form.
Mr Jackson: On 2 May this year, the Liberal government grabbed headlines with an announcement regarding funding for shelters for battered women. What the headlines did not say was that this money is not going to result in any new beds in an incredibly overcrowded system. Nor did it recognize the special needs and demands for these services in northern Ontario. Remember, it was this Liberal government that allowed a rape crisis centre in Sault Ste Marie to close for lack of funding.
New Starts for Women Inc has identified the need for a shelter for victims of family violence in the Red Lake area in the riding of Kenora. There has been no action undertaken by the Liberal government in this regard, and no confirmation from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Last year, 56 women and 86 children were referred because they were victims of violence. There were no places to refer them to. Where did they go to find their shelter? Many were referred out of this province to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Ontario government has shown its lack of understanding of the legitimate need for local shelter by denying funding to this group. All those splashy headlines are not going to help the victims of family violence in the Red Lake area. The government will not acknowledge the need for services for victims of family violence in this area. This group has documented that critical need, yet the government turns a deaf ear. Government by headline is not going to respond to the desperate need for services for victims of family violence in northwestern Ontario.
ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORTATION
Mr Tatham: Headline: “G-7 Leaders Closer Than Ever.” The press commented that West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was a major supporter of Canada’s proposal for a standard system of indicators to measure the environmental effects of economic policy and business decisions. However, in recent discussions with Brazil about the loss of its rain forest, the West Germans were frustrated when the Brazilians disputed Bonn’s estimates of the size of the problem.
It is funny how we point the finger at the other fellow. How about Transport 2000 telling us highways use 2.7 times as much land as rail, passenger cars use 3.5 times as much energy, freight trucks use 8.7 times as much energy and motor vehicles cause nine times as much pollution and have 24 times as many accidents?
Bangkok is negotiating to build a $2.3-billion sky train. Part of the complex financing package is a proposed $625-million loan by Ottawa’s Export Development Corp.
Environment, money, trains. Chief Seathl of the Duwamish tribe said it well: “All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.”
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
PARALLEL GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY
Hon Mr Wong: Today I am pleased to announce this government’s policy on the parallel generation of electricity in Ontario.
As some members may know, parallel generation is the production of electricity from equipment that is not owned or operated by a central utility, in our case Ontario Hydro. Parallel generators, such as municipal utilities, entrepreneurs, industry and gas utilities, sell their electricity to the central transmission grid. It can include electricity generated from a number of sources, such as water, natural gas, wood waste or solar and wind power among others.
As members are aware, I recently introduced amendments to the Power Corporation Act designed to make Ontario Hydro more responsive to government policies and public priorities. The policy I am presenting today fulfills a commitment made in that legislative package to help reduce the barriers and to encourage parallel generation development in Ontario. This policy also provides clear direction to Ontario Hydro as it develops its preferred demand/supply plan, which I expect to receive this fall.
The development of our parallel generation resources will benefit Ontario in a number of ways.
The parallel production of electricity will strengthen our provincial economy by providing a secure source of safe, reliable and relatively low-cost electricity.
Parallel generation projects help to protect our environment by making use of renewable resources and energy-efficient processes such as cogeneration, or the simultaneous production of heat and electricity.
Lead times to bring on parallel generation projects are shorter and capital costs are much lower than for large-scale developments. These factors help to maintain rates at the lowest feasible level for consumers.
Such smaller-scale projects add flexibility and diversity to the province’s electricity system.
They also stimulate economic development by creating new jobs and new business. This is particularly true in northern Ontario, where much parallel generation potential exists.
Finally, the government’s endorsement of parallel generation serves to support the ongoing development of a strong, indigenous and exportable Ontario industry.
Ontario Hydro will continue to be the primary supplier of electricity for the province. However, the government believes that the private sector also has a contribution to make towards supplying Ontario’s electricity requirements.
I am pleased to tell the members of this House that Ontario Hydro is supportive of parallel generation. The chairman and president, Bob Franklin, has made a commitment to work closely with the industry to ensure the timely and efficient development of these resources.
As part of the policy I am announcing today, I am asking Hydro to advance its target dates for achieving increases in parallel generation. The original goal was 1,000 additional megawatts of parallel generation capacity by the year 2000. We are now asking for that target to be met by 1995 and asking for an additional 1,000 megawatts by the year 2000. In other words, Ontario Hydro is being asked to double the amount of additional parallel generation capacity it was originally intending to achieve by the end of the century.
If these goals are achieved, as I fully expect they will be, parallel generators will be meeting as much as 10 per cent of our electricity needs by the year 2000. This will be a significant contribution indeed to our electricity supply system.
This new policy also ensures that increases in parallel generation capacity will not be at the expense of Ontario ratepayers. Ontario Hydro will pay no more for power from independent producers than it would otherwise pay to build equivalent new facilities. As the parallel generation industry matures, the costs of independent power can be expected to fall, which will help to keep rates down.
The policy also provides for an early public review of Hydro’s proposed method of determining its avoided costs. My staff are now working out review procedures and terms of reference so that all interested parties will have a full opportunity to make their views known. We expect that the review will take place this fall. The recommendations arising out of this review will guide Ontario Hydro in establishing appropriate purchase rates for parallel-generated power.
Our policy on parallel generation is an important step towards meeting our goal of ensuring that Ontario’s energy requirements are met in a timely fashion.
Allow me to point out in closing that today’s announcement is the result of comprehensive consultation with many players in the energy field. In particular, I would like to thank the Non-Utility Generation Advisory Committee which helped to formulate this policy.
As we work to ensure that our electricity needs are met, we will continue the consultation process. All of us have a stake in our energy future. I want to invite further involvement by the public and energy interest groups as we shape the best possible energy future for Ontario.
CORRECTIONAL TREATMENT SERVICES / SERVICES DE TRAITEMENT CORRECTIONNELS
Hon Mr Ramsay: I am pleased to announce an important initiative today to be undertaken by my ministry in the area of clinical treatment and rehabilitation services for francophone offenders.
J’ai le plaisir d’annoncer que le ministère des Services correctionnels entend mettre sur pied un important projet relatif au traitement et à la réadaptation des contrevenants francophones.
Treatment and rehabilitation for offenders continues to be a major priority for the Ministry of Correctional Services. A great many offenders suffer from psychological or psychiatric impairment or from behavioural disorders. In many cases, contact with ministry professionals is the very first time their condition is identified and dealt with.
In keeping with this goal, it gives me great pleasure to announce the addition of a 16-bed francophone treatment unit to the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.
À cet égard, c’est avec plaisir que je fais l’annonce de la construction, au Centre de détention d’Ottawa-Carleton, d’une unité de traitement pour francophones, comprenant seize lits.
The unit will offer French-speaking offenders a range of programs including anger management, substance abuse counselling and short-term treatment, and assessment of psychiatric, psychological and behavioural disorders. This new program will augment the existing network of treatment services, including the ministry’s regional treatment centres. It will also demonstrate the ministry’s commitment to meeting francophone offenders’ needs throughout the province, but particularly in this case in eastern Ontario.
The goal of providing treatment services in French in designated areas of the province was identified in my ministry’s French-language services plan.
Le plan de notre ministère, pour la mise en oeuvre des services en français, avait d’ailleurs identifié le besoin qui existe de soins théra-peutiques de langue française dans les régions désignées de la province.
The plan was drafted in accordance with the requirements of Bill 8 and it will ensure that the Ministry of Correctional Services meets the act’s implementation date of November 1989.
A two-stage renovation plan has been developed. The first, which will begin shortly, involves a $60,000 conversion of dormitory space to a treatment unit complete with beds for 16 inmates, a counselling room and three offices. The unit is expected to be operational by late fall.
The second stage, an 800-square-foot addition, will accommodate a clinical area and three professional offices. At an estimated cost of $140,000, this construction phase of the project will begin in the winter with expected completion by the spring of 1990.
I am also pleased to announce that the ministry will soon be advertising for professional staff to operate the new francophone treatment unit, including a psychologist, a psychometrist and a social worker.
This important initiative is another indication of the Ministry of Correctional Services’ support for this government’s commitment to French-language services.
The ministry is on schedule in implementing the French Language Services Act, enabling francophone offenders to receive treatment and rehabilitation in their own language.
Je désire également souligner que nous avons su respecter les délais de la mise en oeuvre de la Loi sur les services en français, permettant ainsi aux contrevenants francophones de recevoir des soins thérapeutiques dans leur langue.
FIRE AT INDIAN SETTLEMENT
Hon Mr Kerrio: I would like to inform the House that an additional 296 people have been evacuated from the remote Indian community of Bearskin Lake. A forest fire was started by lightning two days ago southwest of the Bearskin Lake community in northwestern Ontario. The fire is now approximately 1,000 hectares in size.
Tuesday night, 87 people were evacuated from Bearskin Lake, southeast to the Big Trout Lake Indian community. These people included the elderly, the infirm, pregnant women and people with breathing problems. My ministry’s fire-fighting staff decided, for safety reasons, to order the additional evacuation.
There immediate fire threat to the community, but smoke in the village was very heavy yesterday afternoon and it may worsen today. We decided to evacuate the community in case the smoke became too heavy to safely transport the residents.
Today’s evacuation began at nine o’clock this morning. A Department of National Defence Hercules airplane transported a total of 268 residents approximately 425 kilometres south to Balmertown, which is northeast of the town of Red Lake. At the same time a Hawker Siddeley 748 flew 28 residents to the Big Trout Lake Indian community.
My ministry is co-ordinating all firefighting efforts in the area. We are working closely with 50 Bearskin Lake residents who have remained behind to help fight the fire. There are currently five Ministry of Natural Resources firefighting crews, 16 extra firefighters and 11 MNR fire managers and resource staff working to contain the fire. I would like to thank the defence department and the people of Balmertown for their co-operation.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is committed to protecting human life and property against forest fires. Our expert district and fire management staff had the foresight to effectively handle a difficult situation and our fire crews are doing an outstanding job in responding quickly and effectively.
PARALLEL GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY
Mr Charlton: I am rising to respond to the statement that the Minister of Energy (Mr Wong) made this afternoon regarding parallel generation policy. The minister’s statement reflects a small, meek, cautious and therefore inadequate step forward. It is a step forward, but to put it into perspective, the minister has announced here today, in a fashion that makes his announcement sound powerful, that he is forcing Ontario Hydro to double its commitment to parallel generation between now and the year 2000.
To put that into perspective, that is forcing Ontario Hydro to increase its projections for parallel generation from 10 per cent of the identified potential, from studies by his own ministry and others, to 20 percent of the potential that sits out there unused.
It is a very cautious and a completely inadequate approach, albeit a small step in the right direction. The minister also does not seem to understand the importance of the hearings and review around the question of avoiding cost -- the price that Hydro will pay for independent generation. He has announced today that that review will commence some time this fall, but he does not seem to understand the importance of the conclusions and the findings of that review to the whole process around Hydro’s preferred plan, which will be tabled this fall.
People at the Ontario Energy Board are sitting champing at the bit waiting to proceed with this review. Why is the minister delaying this review unfit some time this fall when it could proceed right now? We are extremely disappointed to ream, for example, that it is our understanding that Mr Franklin, the president of Hydro, personally intervened to ensure that this review would not occur until after his preferred plan was tabled. That is just an inappropriate and inadequate approach to a very important topic.
FIRE AT INDIAN SETTLEMENT
Mr Hampton: I am responding to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio) on the evacuation at Bearskin Lake. From the perspective of my party we want to say that we are glad that loss of life has been avoided and we are pleased that people are being protected from this fire. However, I do not think the Ministry of Natural Resources deserves any congratulations in this instance. The fact of the matter is that this is, I believe, the fourth native community to be evacuated in northwestern Ontario this spring.
It is fine to say that people have been taken out of the way of the fire, but the fact of the matter is that when these fires are allowed to burn, and they have, there is an impact upon the livelihood of the people of those communities. The impact is that their lives in terms of certainty and security are threatened. The impact is that the hunting, fishing and trapping that they depend on are very much threatened by these forest fires.
The fact of the matter is that if the response for other communities, say small white communities in northwestern Ontario, was to always evacuate, that would be an unsatisfactory response and people would tell the minister that.
Is it not about time that the Ministry of Natural Resources put in place trained fire teams in all of these communities so that there was better response, instead of using native people as sort of fill-ins on regular firefighting crews? It is about time that that happened.
I also want to say for the minister’s benefit that without the phonetic spelling, it is indeed Balmertown. All he needed to do was check with us and we would have told him how to pronounce the name.
SERVICES DE TRAITEMENT CORRECTIONNELS / CORRECTIONAL TREATMENT SERVICES
M. B. Rae: J’aimerais féliciter, au nom de notre parti, le gouvernement d’avoir pris cette initiative pour améliorer les services disponibles au centre de traitement. Cela représente pour nous un exemple du travail rendu absolument nécessaire par le projet de loi 8 et l’obligation légale du gouvernement ; mais il n’est pas seulement question d’obligation légale, il est aussi question de notre devoir envers la population francophone de la province.
J’espère que nous allons aussi pouvoir attaquer le problème de la formation professionnelle, afin de pouvoir former des gens qui seront en mesure d’offrir les services nécessaires, non seulement aux contrevenants de cette institution, mais dans toutes les institutions de la province.
Mr Cureatz: I would like to first respond to the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr Ramsay) in regard to his news release on the construction of a treatment unit for francophones at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.
I would like to say that it would probably be more appropriate for my colleagues the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr Villeneuve) and the member for Cochrane South (Mr Pope) to respond in French, which I am not able to do. But that is not to say that we are not congratulative in terms of his announcement.
I know from working with the ministry since our sojourn into opposition in 1985 that it is a difficult ministry the minister has -- I think we have talked about this before -- because it is tough for him to get in line when he is speaking with the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) for the kinds of funds that are needed to ensure that the various treatments would be made available.
I think his ministry, unfortunately, from time to time has always been set back in the far corner, due to the demands of the various other more high-profile ministries. Obviously he and his staff have been working away, and I know my colleague the member for Carleton (Mr Sterling) would be supportive of this initiative of which we are very appreciative. I might add that I have yet to get on question period committee, if I can divert momentarily.
We are supportive of the minister’s news release, but there are some areas of concerns that we directed to him at the beginning of this session, more particularly about the Don Jail and the Merrill escape. We wanted to bring to the minister’s attention that, as supportive as we are of his recent announcement, at the time of the escape, the count number during the day was 540 and the recommended count is 528. There was a large divergence in terms of what that institution can accommodate. We still have concerns about the lack of staffing at the Toronto Jail and we hope we will pursue that with him, if I have the opportunity during question period.
PARALLEL GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY
Mr Cureatz: Well, if that is not enough, the Liberal backbenchers now will have to listen to me about some of my thoughts on the statement by the Minister of Energy (Mr Wong) on parallel generation. The interesting thing is that the Minister of Energy is trying to be cute about this, because I came through with my resolution this morning on electricity.
Mr Carrothers: You’re the only one who likes to listen to your thoughts, Sam.
Mr Cureatz: More wind from the Liberal rump. No support, interestingly enough, here. I have the list of the number of Liberals who supported me and I want to thank them sincerely very much at a more appropriate time. When I do have more time, I will gladly read off their names and praise them immensely.
Mr Runciman: Free thinkers.
Mr Cureatz: They are free thinkers. I will praise them immensely for the forethought they had in terms of supporting my resolution.
As much as I admire the Minister of Energy, what does he do? He comes out with his statement on parallel generation. It is the old ploy. I saw those Tory ministers do it for years too when I was sitting up in the back bench. Lo and behold, there would be a member of the opposition coming in with a resolution and then later in the afternoon there is a minister of the Tory government bringing forward something to combat the resolution. Now the Minister of Energy is up to the same tricks. I am just mentioning it to him so he will not get away with it and think he has pulled off some great big coup or something.
We are, of course, as is my New Democratic Party colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain Mr Charlton supportive of this new initiative. The interesting thing is that the minister mentions on page 2 “a secure source of safe, reliable and relatively low-cost electricity.” If he investigates that further, in what manner is he going to produce that electricity? Is it going to be from burning waste wood products or from coal or oil? Then he has the same old problem of acid rain which the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) is concerned about.
It would be interesting to have a few more details, because the Minister of Energy and his government cannot have it both ways. They are not going to be able to get away and say, “This is wonderful. We have parallel generation,” yet in the front bench the Minister of the Environment is talking lavishly about how we do not want any more acid rain. What kinds of procedures and safeguards has the minister put in to ensure, in terms of this cogeneration, that he is not going to be afflicted with those kinds of concerns about polluting the air because of the need for electricity?
On page 3 the minister mentions the need in northern Ontario. We are supportive of that. Our caucus met in northern Ontario with regard to providing more employment and more electrical demands in the north. We congratulate him for the requirement.
With a few seconds left, I am concerned about the statement on page 5 that, “We expect that the review will take place this fall.” The minister has been telling me all along in question period that he is not going to make a decision on the new plant until this fall when Ontario Hydro comes forward with its new demand/supply options study. Is this going to be another delay --
The Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr Cureatz: -- because I do not think this report is going to be due in the fall and the minister is going to be telling me --
The Speaker: Thank you. That completes ministerial statements and responses.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question to the Minister of Housing. This morning, I had a chat in my office with Rev Clifford Ward, who I am sure is known to the minister as the chairman of St Hilda’s Towers Inc, which is a charitable institution in the heart of the minister’s riding.
I was asking Rev Ward why it is that St Hilda’s Towers had made political contributions to the minister’s campaign in 1987, to the campaign of Mr Tonks. the Liberal candidate in York South in 1987, and other political contributions. Rev Ward was saying the charity had made those political contributions, and when I asked him why, he said, “Well, the reason why we gave the money was because we felt it was the only way we could get the government’s ear in competitions for housing and nursing home allocations which St Hilda’s Towers was involved in.”
Rev Ward is well known to the minister and he is well known to me as somebody who has been very actively involved in dealing with seniors’ problems for many years. He is also well known as an active member of the Liberal Party.
I want to ask the minister, why would it be that he would have this kind of impression that this is the way business is done in the province?
Hon Ms Hošek: The member opposite clearly knows Rev Ward well, as do I, and knows that his work at St Hilda’s is truly exemplary. The work that he does with seniors in the community is quite remarkable.
I have no idea why, if indeed he said what the member says he said, he would have that impression. I believe that the work he has done at St Hilda’s speaks for itself. Anyone who has visited St Hilda’s and talked to the people who live there will know that it is one of the very best places, certainly, I have ever seen in which seniors live in this province and are very well cared for. I think whatever decisions he has made about donating to any campaigns, clearly, he has made on his own.
Mr B. Rae: A political contribution requires two things. It requires a donor; it also requires someone willing to receive the money. The minister, I am sure, by now realizes that St Hilda’s Towers Inc, which is a charitable foundation and which is limited by the laws respecting charities in the province, just as other charities are limited in terms of their political work, made these political contributions in 1987 and made them to the minister.
I would like to ask the minister, when did she realize that these contributions had been made and why were they accepted?
Hon Ms Hošek: The member opposite knows that all of us who run for public office have received contributions from many sources, as have I, from many different people and organizations, even labour unions. All these facts have been public for over a year, available to the member opposite to look at, available to everyone else in the province to look at if people wish to do so. I did indeed receive a donation from St Hilda’s, as I did from many other organizations all over the riding.
Mr B. Rae: St Hilda’s Towers is a charitable organization. Charities are not permitted under the laws of this land to give money for political purposes. The minister should know that. If she does not know it, she should wake up and smell the coffee. That is the law of the land of Ontario.
The minister must know that St Hilda’s Towers has been interested for some time in building a 20-storey tower. She must know the interest that Tridel Corp has in assisting St Hilda’s Towers with that construction. Those are all matters of public record, nothing under the cover about either of those facts.
I want to ask the minister, and I come back to it, does she now think it appropriate that her campaign in 1987, Mr Tonks’s campaign in 1987 and the central Liberal Party campaign in 1985 accepted political contributions from a registered charity?
Hon Ms Hošek: The member opposite knows, as he has repeated himself, that charities are not supposed to give political donations. However, all of us who receive political donations receive them in good faith, assuming that the people who send them have the right indeed to send them.
I should also remind the member opposite that in 1987, when I was running for public office, I was a private citizen running for public office for the first time. I received donations from a variety of sources. I had every reason to assume that they were reasonable and legitimate donations. I am proud and very glad of the help that I was given by many people to help me get elected into this House.
Mr B. Rae: My second question is to the Minister of the Environment. He was not at any of the meetings, but I am sure he must have read about the announcement the Premier (Mr Peterson) made when he was at the meeting of the five chairmen back on 14 March.
The minister will know that the particular announcement by the regional chairmen, which was endorsed in such glowing terms by his leader, was criticized viscerally by the following organizations: the Pollution Probe Foundation, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Pickering Ajax Citizens Together, Citizens for a Safe Environment, Vaughan Committee of Associations to Restore Environmental Safety, Mississauga Citizens’ Environmental Protection Association and the West Burlington Residents’ Association.
Has the minister in fact read their response to the regional chairmen’s statement, and what does he think of the criticisms they have made?
Hon Mr Bradley: I have, of course, received representations from a number of people, as I do on these issues. I invite people to express their views to me, just as I am always interested in what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) has to say in matters of this kind, and members of the third party.
I am sure the government of Ontario will be taking into consideration, when final decisions are made, all of the representations which are made by each one of these groups, whether it is an observation they would make in terms of the recycling component, the four-Rs component of such an announcement or any other aspect of it. Before very final decisions are made, I am certain that those representations will be taken into consideration.
Mr B. Rae: It is certainly a definitive answer from the minister. The regional chairmen’s proposal calls for a 15 per cent reduction in garbage generated out of the regions concerned by the turn of the century. This figure is described by the groups involved as utterly inadequate --
Hon Mr Bradley: Did you say 15 or 50?
Mr B. Rae: Fifteen -- and entirely out of keeping with what is technically possible, what is politically possible and what must be done.
The minister has his deputy minister on that steering committee. On such an issue, quite basic to the whole question of how much garbage is being produced, what the volume is, can the minister tell us what his deputy is saying about the volume of garbage that he thinks should be generated and what targets can be reached by the year 2000?
Hon Mr Bradley: As the member may know, some time ago earlier this year I made an announcement on behalf of the Ontario government which related to the reduction of the amount of material that would go into either a landfill or an incinerator and I made it to fit the entire province; of course that includes the greater Toronto area.
Our goal that we have set is a 25 per cent reduction by the end of 1992 and indeed a full 50 per cent reduction by the year 2000. I happen to agree with all of those who would say that this is attainable and I am pleased that the national government has adopted the Ontario government’s position, which in fact is the 25 per cent reduction and ultimately the 50 per cent reduction.
I think if we look at the technology that is available, I think if we look at the will of the people in the greater Toronto area and right across Ontario, we would draw the conclusion very quickly that indeed those goals that I have described are attainable. I would expect that the same is going to be true of those who would finally approve a system to deal with the greater Toronto area.
Mr B. Rae: The GTA group adopts the minister’s criteria, yet it still comes up with a 15 per cent reduction in the amount that is actually generated. They talk about diverting 50 per cent and that clearly implies that some kind of incineration is what they have in mind. The group makes other points: that the disposal of garbage must he under public control at all times; that it should not be contracted out to groups that have an interest in profit and not in reducing the amount of garbage produced. They make it very clear that this proposal, as they describe it, is ill-conceived and unnecessary.
This is the most important environmental decision the minister is going to have to take with respect to garbage disposal in southern Ontario. I do not know how much longer the minister is going to be where he is, but I think we are entitled to know where he stands. Does he approve of the GTA proposal as put forward by the five regional chairmen; yes or no?
Hon Mr Bradley: The member knows I have never given a yes-or-no answer in this House and I do not want to break that precedent at this time.
Mr Wildman: Everything is “maybe” with you.
Hon Mr Bradley: Not even a “maybe” that quickly.
As the member knows, in all environmental issues I have a great deal of interest in what environmental groups have to say. Indeed, they have been the ones who have come up with some excellent ideas over the years on how we can manage all of the problems which confront us in the field of the environment. If one looks at the initiatives we have taken, they are very often synchronized with what one would see people in the environmental community recommending.
I am determined to see that we reduce garbage. I want to address a very legitimate point the Leader of the Opposition has made, particularly about incineration. My idea of diversion, 25 per cent by the end of 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000, is in fact diversion from disposal, whether that disposal is by incineration or landfill. I think he has raised a good point there and I am glad he gave me the chance to clarify that.
Second, we are willing to listen to all of the representations which are made from a wide variety of people. The first person I ever talked to about this, indeed, was a person the member would know very well. That was Richard Gilbert, who has done a good deal of research in this field and has some excellent ideas. I have met with Mr Gilbert on two or three occasions to discuss these matters.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Mr Brandt: My question is for the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet and it is related to his responsibilities in his capacity of administrator of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. I would like to advise the minister that 30 days ago today I made an inquiry under the act, as is required, from the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil) in connection with certain correspondence that transpired between the minister, the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Recreation and Patricia Starr in her capacity as chairman of Ontario Place.
I have not as yet been able to receive any information; the 30 days is now up. Would the Chairman of the Management Board indicate what his intentions are with respect to meeting the obligations he and his government have under the act?
Hon Mr Elston: I will check into the matter. I do not know exactly when the letters were sent or otherwise. I will look into it, check with the Minister of Tourism and Recreation and report back to the honourable gentleman.
Mr Brandt: I am pleased to have the co-operation of the Chairman of the Management Board with regard to this matter. Had the Minister of Tourism and Recreation been in the House today, I would have addressed the question to him, but in view of the absence of both the minister and the Premier (Mr Peterson), I am asking the Chairman of Management Board, in his capacity as administrator of that particular act, that he follow through on our request to provide that material and that information as quickly as possible.
I say that because, in response to a question I raised some time ago, the minister, and I will quote him as accurately as I can, responded in this House by saying he had nothing to hide and there was no reason to delay any of this information. Do I have the assurance from the minister that this information will be provided forthwith?
Hon Mr Elston: The member has the assurance that I can give him that I will certainly contact the minister. The minister, when he says that he will make available the information, is obviously accurate and I will check into the reason there has been a delay. I think there was some indication earlier suggesting that there was a request for an extension of time. Other than that, I do not know enough of the detail to provide him with an accurate answer, but I will undertake to do that.
Mr Brandt: The extension of time proposed, I believe, is something of the order of 90 days. That is totally unacceptable to us on this side of the House.
Quite frankly, the new vetting process that the minister has, of allowing all of this material to go through the Premier’s office and then to be in some way reviewed before being released, when in fact a request has been made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, would lead one to think -- and I am not the type of individual who would jump to this type of conclusion -- that he is almost trying to hide some information from the public or from the people of this Legislative Assembly.
I would not suggest for a moment that the minister would attempt to do that, but will he give me this undertaking, this last day of this week of this session: Will he undertake to provide that material that has been requested under freedom of information within a matter of the next few days -- not 90, as is a possibility, but within the next few days, as is required?
Hon Mr Elston: On this last day of this week of this session, I will undertake to check into the reasons for the delay and report back to the House. As I told the honourable gentleman and the people here, the reasons for the delay I am not familiar with; the request for an extension I am aware of and I will check as to why. The reasons that the member has expressed may have been some of them. I will check into that to see whether or not we can clear up any misunderstanding about vetting or whatever.
I know that my friend would not suggest for a moment, and in fact has clarified the fact that there is not, an attempt to hide anything. I thank him very much for that, because I know he does not usually jump to unsatisfactory and inaccurate conclusions. As the person responsible here in the government for freedom of information, I will review the matter and get back to the honourable member in a few days, as he requests.
Mr Runciman: My question is for the Minister of Housing, dealing with an issue raised earlier by the member for York South (Mr B. Rae): the contribution made to her campaign from St Hilda’s Towers Inc. Would the minister inform the House when she first learned of that contribution?
Hon Ms Hošek: My election finances were released to the Commission on Election Finances a year ago. I think it was 10 March 1988. At that time the commissioner, I assume, went through my finances, as he did everybody else’s in the House, and never indicated any difficulty with them.
Since that time, I have asked that my finances be reviewed again, and if there is found to be anything inappropriate in any donations that have been made to me, I will, of course, return them.
Mr Runciman: I do not think there was an answer to my question in all of that. I specifically asked the minister when she first knew of the contribution made by St Hilda’s.
Further along that point, in respect to the crisis surrounding the Patricia Starr matter and the contributions from the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, Toronto Section, I am sure the minister was directed, as were all members of her caucus, to review contributions made to her campaign. Why was that money not returned following that review?
Hon Ms Hošek: That review is in fact going on right now. If any of the contributions are found to be inappropriate, they will be returned.
The Speaker: I will listen to a final supplementary. I have been listening to see how this is tied in to the ministry activities.
Mr Runciman: Mr Speaker, I think perhaps you should take this opportunity to listen to some of the minister’s responses as well, and the fact that she is really not dealing in any direct way with the questions I am putting to her.
The Speaker: And your supplementary?
Mr Runciman: She has indicated in the House, in response to earlier questions, that the contribution was inappropriate. Is she committing herself today to return those funds? If so, when?
Hon Ms Hošek: I have answered this question twice, and both times I have said that if this contribution is found to be inappropriate, it will be returned. Let me say it one more time. If the contribution is inappropriate, it will be returned. I hope that is clear.
Mr Morin-Strom: I have a question for the Minister of Housing, dealing with an issue raised Minister of Community and Social Services with respect to the total lack of any regulations in place to control retirement and convalescent homes in Ontario. Residents of these homes across the province do not have the types of protections that are available to those who are in nursing homes or rest homes in our local communities.
Why have the minister’s staff told my office and myself in each of the last two years, with respect to questions I have raised on Pathways retirement home in Sault Ste Marie, that they are waiting for task force guidelines to put in place regulations on these types of homes? When are we going to see some regulations providing protection to the residents of these homes?
Hon Mr Sweeney: The honourable member is correct that there are not, at the present time, provincial regulations on rest and retirement homes. As he has indicated, my ministry is responsible for homes for the aged and the Ministry of Health is responsible for nursing homes. That is partly to do with the fact that rest and retirement homes, when they first sprang up, were serving basically as boarding homes for older people who did not have any other needs, other than shelter and food.
Since that time, a number of municipalities have entered into contractual arrangements with rest and retirement homes in the form of domiciliary hostels. The member might be aware of the fact that we provide the funds to the municipalities to pay for this cost. Therefore, at the present time the municipality is responsible for regulating rest homes with respect to fire protection and general safety.
The member may also be aware of the fact that a joint review by both the Ministry of Health and myself is being undertaken at the present time and will be concluded in September as to the full range of long-term care for citizens of this province.
Mr Morin-Strom: In communities like Sault Ste Marie we have concerns with facilities that have had allegations that nursing care is going on in these facilities unregulated, and the staffing levels certainly appear to be inadequate in comparison with nursing homes or the homes for the aged.
The residents and the staff have expressed serious concern with respect to certain homes, particularly, in Sault Ste Marie, the Pathways home. We know that nursing home operations are undergoing expansions in accompanying facilities and adding tremendous number of beds that are totally unregulated by the province. The residents in these homes are paying more than they would in nursing homes and are not being provided with the same kinds of protections.
Will the minister assure us that new regulations will be brought into place so that protections are in place for all the residents of retirement homes in Ontario and what would the date for those regulations be?
Hon Mr Sweeney: No, I cannot make that promise to the honourable member because we are not convinced at the present time that retirement homes, as they currently exist, are the proper place for people who have the kinds of needs that he has just described. That is why we have our homes for the aged. That is why we have nursing homes. That is why we as a ministry have put into place a range of home support services, including home care services, which do include nursing services.
Retirement homes are not intended to carry out the kind of service the member has described. They may or they may not be included in the range of services about which I spoke a couple of minutes ago. If they are, then yes, there will be a degree of regulation put in place that is not there now. If they are not, they will be clearly told by either one of our ministries that they cannot properly provide that kind of service.
Mr Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Housing and her Ontario Rent Registry, which is responsible for recording on computer the maximum legal rents that may be charged for residential rental stock in this province. If I may, I would like to quote briefly from the minister’s annual report from 1987-88, wherein it says, “In 1987, the recording process began.... These landlords were given until 1 May 1987 to do so and the vast majority complied.” It goes on to say, “These tenants may call their local rent review office to find out any available information recorded on the computer system.”
That was 16 months ago. Could the minister please advise the House as to how many units have had their maximum legal rent accurately recorded and currently accessible to Ontario tenants?
Hon Ms Hošek: Information on 539,000 rental units is now available at the local offices. The member knows there are 1.1 million pieces of rental accommodation in the province, but this applies only to buildings with a certain number of units in them -- six or more -- and that is 539,000 rental units that are now on the system.
Mr Jackson: The minister’s response intrigues me, because in her own in-house ministry document, Chez News, of May 1988, in an article entitled Rent Registry Deals with Big Numbers, it clearly is indicated that this information had begun to be sent out in November 1987 and that they had hoped to send out some 700,000, to be mailed in the middle of last year. Given those targets, I find it unusual not only that the target has not been met with the extended time frame but also that several hundred thousand copies of the 9R form were shredded internally by your ministry because you had to review the actual wording and the complexity of that form.
My question simply is this. It is my understanding that if a tenant in most cities in this province calls the rent review office, he will not get access to the computerized rent records. He has access only to manual records. I ask the minister if she would confirm that a decision has been made within her ministry not to allow that information to be made available to tenants because hundreds of thousands of tenants would be challenging the legal rent if she were to release that information to them.
Hon Ms Hošek: The member opposite knows that the rent registry is a very unique service. I do not think it is available anywhere else in North America. In this province, we have recorded the rents for 539,000 units. That information is freely available. Any tenant who wishes to call a rent review office and ask what is the rent registry rent for his unit is perfectly welcome to have that information; in fact, many thousands have gotten that information.
Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Treasurer. A few days ago I received a letter from the mayor of Ottawa requesting my support for the idea of a hotel room tax which would be devoted exclusively to tourism promotion. Mr Durrell refers to press reports that the Quebec government is looking favourably on a similar request from the city of Montreal.
May I ask the Treasurer what his position is with regard to the idea of a hotel room tax, a tax that would help Ottawa and other cities increase tourism promotion without placing an additional burden on the property tax.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I am not very keen about it, but that does not mean it will not happen. The honourable member, in his questions, usually ends up affecting government policy one way or another.
I know that the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr Eakins) is convening a special review of intergovernmental financing arrangements with the municipalities, and that is the sort of thing that might be discussed there. I know the treasurer of Toronto has brought forward some similar alternatives.
It is not clear really from the question whether the present five per cent transient accommodation tax should be allocated or whether the honourable member is talking about allowing the municipalities to levy an additional tax. In either case, as I say, I am not very keen about it, but I am a little old-fashioned in many of these things and time marches on.
Mr Daigeler: I hope in the Treasurer’s case that time does not march on too quickly. We are certainly enjoying his presence, and I hope we can continue to enjoy his presence in the House.
The minister will know that tourism is an extremely important industry for eastern Ontario. If the Treasurer, as he indicated, has reservations regarding a hotel room tax, can he advise this House what fiscal initiatives were taken in his recent budget to promote tourism across the province and what contribution for eastern Ontario we can expect from these budgetary allocations?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I appreciate the good wishes of the honourable member, but I warn him that if the Premier (Mr Peterson) hears him, he is liable to get his wish, and then what is he going to do? Some of these things are sometimes self-fulfilling.
What we have done for tourism is allocate $190 million, which is up eight per cent over a year ago. Of course, what we have really done for tourism in the Ottawa and eastern Ontario area, through the good offices of the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton), that generous and sensitive minister, is announce a substantially improved allocation for Highway 416, which, as everybody in Ottawa knows, is the most important thing that is needed by the community, apparently. That is going to be extremely helpful when that finally provides the kind of access to Highway 401 that is greatly desired and is universally expected to be an important addition to the community.
When the honourable member talks about specific things, all I can say is that the additional money is financing a wide variety of programs, the details of which have been provided for me by my advisers and which I will make available to him.
Mr Mackenzie: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. While his government has been preoccupied with its friends in the construction industry, and particularly its developer friends, thousands of workers in Ontario have been losing their jobs because of the free trade deal. Just two days ago, the loss of yet another 450 jobs was announced by the Burlington Carpet plant in Brampton. This follows a number of recent major closures. When is the minister going to act on desperately needed plant closure legislation to protect workers rather than cosying up to his business friends with bills like Bill 162?
Hon Mr Sorbara: My friend the member for Hamilton East and I have probably been over some of this territory before. I must confide that every time we see a situation like the one in Brampton, one becomes terribly concerned once again as to whether in that particular instance the real economic underpinning of the decision to close that facility is driven by the trade arrangement which the government of Canada brought in, notwithstanding that the majority of the people in this country voted against that kind of trade arrangement in the election of last November 21; whether it is the free trade agreement that has led yet again to that plant closing. And let’s remember who was arguing most forcefully against that agreement, certainly in Ontario.
It is imperative to point out, in light of the question, that the plant closure legislation we have in Ontario, including the notice provisions and explanations that must be provided to the government, is certainly the strongest legislation of its sort in Canada, if not in North America.
Mr Mackenzie: The minister’s government has an unenviable record of broken promises in recent weeks, auto insurance being a classic. Can the minister tell us if the specific promises the government made, signed by the Premier, like public justification in plant closures, further notice, better severance and benefit provisions and better-paid retraining programs, are destined to be yet other broken promise in Ontario?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I am absolutely shocked that the member for Hamilton East should put his question in that manner. Where has he been over the past few years? Where was he during the debate on Bill 85, which put into the statutes of this province those very things he mentioned? What other province requires, before layoffs of over 50 employees can be effected, that government must be notified and the reasons, the economic basis and the plans the employer has for those decisions, must be set out on paper and not only submitted to the government but submitted to the employees themselves, to the workers who will obviously be affected by such a decision?
In addition to that, I invite the member to drop over to the Ministry of Labour and see the kinds of programs we have in the area of employment adjustment to assist workers who may be affected by such a layoff.
The final thing to mention, of course, is that notwithstanding this closure which is going to affect some 350 workers, as I am advised -- and all of us have to direct our minds immediately to those workers -- the fact is that in this province over the past four years the job creation this economy has produced really has far outweighed job losses.
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Runciman: My question is to the Minister of the Environment, about his ministry’s refusal to provide funding for sewage plants in small municipalities in eastern Ontario. The minister will know that many of these plants have been identified as some of the most inefficient in the province: Brockville, Smiths Falls, Kemptville and Spencerville to name just a few. Many of these municipalities have also received word from the ministry that they may be facing development freezes.
So the municipalities are somewhat in limbo. On one hand they have the ministry telling them they have to upgrade their facilities but not prepared to provide the funding; it is all going to the major municipalities in this province. On the other hand they are telling them they have a development freeze, that they cannot proceed with new subdivisions and new commercial or industrial developments. Can the minister advise the House today whether these municipalities can proceed with new development or not?
Hon Mr Bradley: The member is aware that it would be irresponsible of me to allow developments to take place where there is not sufficient capacity in terms of sewage capacity for any particular municipality. It is not only in the kind of municipalities he mentioned but right across the province. Our requirement is that there be sufficient capacity before there can be further development. I think that is a very wise course of action to follow.
The member will also know that we have some $196 million being spent in this specific year on water and sewer projects in Ontario, both in small municipalities and large municipalities, and that in the smaller municipalities the percentage paid by the province is substantially larger than the percentage which is paid to the larger projects.
We attempt to address all those problems in a fair way. We have a committee of the Ministry of the Environment technical and scientific people who go through all the applications, who make a determination on those which would rank the highest environmentally and so on down the line. In many cases, the municipalities that come forward with the proposal would be unable to move forward with that specific proposal in a year, but they may well be eligible to have the funding in a subsequent year when its engineering documents and other explanatory material is ready.
Mr Runciman: The minister is saying that they rank highest in terms of the polluting impact they have. In the same breath he is saying he is not prepared to provide the necessary funding. A number of the municipalities have come up with alternate plans with respect to these million-dollar projects that have been dumped in their laps. Will the minister indicate today whether he is prepared to take a look at those alternate proposals; to defer for perhaps five years funding implementation of these construction projects, set aside funding for that period of time, providing the municipalities with the ability to reduce debenturing costs? Is the minister prepared to look at that and at the same time lift any freeze on development that he has been talking about up to this point?
Hon Mr Bradley: We are prepared to look at a number of options that would be available to the Ministry of the Environment. I had a list here somewhere -- The member will be happy I do not have the list to read to him, because I was going to get up and read all these projects that had been approved, in eastern Ontario particularly but right across the province.
There are millions upon millions of dollars which have been allocated. I mentioned the figure of $196 million. We have ongoing projects that started, say, three years ago and there is money allocated each year, and then new projects which come on. We are always looking for ways to work with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, to work with other ministries to determine how we can best assist municipalities in meeting their obligations. Some municipalities, when they feel they want to proceed with a project regardless of provincial funding, will in fact do so.
I want to assure the member. As I say, he will be delighted I do not have this list I wanted to read to him, because it is a really long list of all these projects.
The Speaker: You can send it to him.
Hon Mr Bradley: If the member asks me on Monday, I will have the list here and I will read it all to him.
Mr D. R. Cooke: My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. When the minister announced the supports to employment program, STEP, on 18 May 1989, it was a great day for the social assistance recipients in Ontario and indeed for all citizens of Ontario. Such provisions as the elimination of financial barriers to full-time work for single parents, increasing the basic earning exemption, and allowing a special exemption for training allowances, will vastly increase the opportunities for current welfare recipients to get off social assistance and join the workforce.
Recognizing that STEP and other concurrent initiatives taken by the ministry to make the social assistance system more just, are complex and wide-ranging programs, what timetable is the minister following for their implementation?
Hon Mr Sweeney: The honourable member may be aware of the fact that a considerable number of people on our social assistance program are currently working on a part-time basis. Therefore, they will benefit from these new initiatives, as well as those people on the program who are not working at all.
The plan at present is to have the new employment initiatives in place by October of this year. I have been meeting with my staff almost on a daily basis for the last three or four weeks as we go through the various details that have to be put in place, both with the municipal income maintenance workers, the provincial income maintenance workers and a number of community agencies that are going to work with us to make these initiatives work.
I would point out to the honourable member also that in October of this year the $54-million package which will make a greater number of resources available to families with dependent children will also trigger in.
Mr D. R. Cooke: That is good news. As we all know, Ontario is a vast province with significantly different regions, all with their own pitfalls and benefits. For instance, in Kitchener jobs are more plentiful but housing is relatively scarce, whereas in northern Ontario the situation is the opposite. Are there any measures for the implementation of STEP that take into account the regional differences across the province?
Hon Mr Sweeney: There are a couple. The first one is the child care component we will be building into STEP, whereby we will be saying to single parents in particular, but some disabled families as well, “If you require child care as part of the program of getting back to employment, then you have available to you either the existing subsidized system, for which of course you would be eligible, or we will deduct from your earnings the full cost of whatever child care you do find, whether it be the informal system or the formal.” That is the parent’s choice. That will obviously be different all across the province, because there is either a greater or a lesser amount of child care available and there are different kinds of child care available, and the per diem rates for those kinds of child care are different across the province.
The other way it will be different is the way in which we will make use of various community agencies to participate in the opportunity planning components and in the training components that are going to assist people to get back to work. We are now consulting, from our various area offices across the province, with a number of agencies --
The Speaker: Thank you. That seems like a fairly comprehensive answer.
Mr Wildman: I have a question to the Minister of Transportation. Is the minister aware of the anger and despair of the residents of Hornepayne over the deplorable condition of Highway 631, the main truck route between Highway 11 and Highway 17? If he is, how can he justify the fact that his ministry could find the funds to put three-inch hot asphalt on the parking lot of the patrol yard but could not find enough money even to put cold mix surface treatment on Highway 631?
Hon Mr Fulton: The member for Algoma would be very much aware of the attention we pay to highway maintenance, road maintenance and rehabilitation in this province. He brings to me a particular issue on Highway 631 which I believe we have just responded to in the mail. If he has a particular issue with respect to the patrol yard -- where heavy trucks, winter equipment and heavy vehicles are being stored, where obviously a proper base is required -- that he would like to bring to my attention, as he has now, I will be only too happy to deal with it, and he knows that.
Mr Wildman: If the minister says he needs to have hot mix on the parking lot because of the heavy trucks and equipment there, then surely he should admit that it does not make sense to postpone the cold mix paving of Highway 631 for a year, when it is the main truck route between Hearst and Marathon. Why is the minister not completing that project this year, so that the trucks from the area of the Minister of Northern Development (Mr Fontaine) will not tear it apart and people have to wreck their cars when they are travelling between Hornepayne and Hearst or Kapuskasing?
Hon Mr Fulton: I attempted to answer the member’s question. We are addressing the needs of maintenance and rehabilitation. The Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) has only recently generously added to the budgets of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and my ministry to do these things. Clearly if there is a situation that is unsafe, we will deal with it. He knows also that it is my plan, as soon as the opposition members let us out of here, to go up north and visibly take a look at some of these things personally.
The Speaker: Order.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr McLean: My question is for the Minister of Agriculture. We have asked a number of questions relating to the federal drought assistance program. I would ask that, in response to this question, the minister turn down his volume and turn up his compassion. The minister knows federal-provincial drought assistance has always gone to livestock producers. We are only asking that the same consideration be given to our cash-croppers and our horticulturalists. If the minister would only say yes to this program, this would mean an additional $150 million for these producers. Why will the minister not say yes?
Hon Mr Riddell: The federal livestock drought assistance program started out right from day one as being a co-shared program between the federal government and the provincial governments. However, the drought relief program was announced by the federal government at the time of its last election and there was no mention made of provinces participating in this program. There was no consultation whatsoever with the provinces about this program. The honourable member should know that, because I am sure he read the press release that was sent out by the Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council. This council represents about 12 different commodity groups. I quote:
“‘A clear commitment was made by federal politicians last autumn that assistance would be provided to compensate farmers to a level of 87 per cent of normal crop yields,’ stated Larry Miehls, chairman of the umbrella Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council, a (coalition of major farm groups), and himself a farmer from near Windsor,....
“‘Now we are hearing clear signals that much of the money will not come unless the provincial governments agree to pay half,’ added Miehls.”
This was certainly not part of the original commitment made by Ottawa. It is a federal program --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr McLean: Yesterday in this House, in response to a question by my leader, the minister said that there had been no prior --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr McLean: I asked the minister to turn up his compassion and turn down his volume, to which he did not listen. Yesterday in this House, in response to a question by my leader, the minister said that there had been no prior consultation on this program. Again today he says there was no prior consultation. On 7 July, at a meeting with the Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture indicated that there had been prior consultation.
I do not know who is telling the truth, but I do know that the Minister of Agriculture agreed to cost-share a $12-million drought relief program for the livestock industry, because livestock producers needed help to recover from the 1988 drought. He has refused to admit that cash-croppers and horticulturalists are equally affected.
The Speaker: Your supplementary would be?
Mr McLean: All the other provinces are willing to negotiate with the federal government on this program. Why is Ontario the only province in this country publicly refusing to participate in a program to relieve the crop losses suffered by our farmers in 1988? There have been letters sent to the Premier (Mr Peterson) and --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Riddell: I certainly do not intend to start negotiating on federal election promises, but where I will negotiate with the federal government, and this is where opposition members can help me out, is that I am prepared to negotiate a tripartite arrangement on crop insurance, provided the federal government is prepared to amend the act to make it a better act for the farmers not only of this province but right across the country.
We have been asking for it now for two years. The federal government has not acted, but if it wants a tripartite arrangement on crop insurance, I will be there. I am not going to negotiate a federal election promise. It is a drought relief program that is not unlike the two previous programs of the federal government when it came in with a special grains program. This is very much the same.
ELECTRICITY DEMAND AND SUPPLY
Ms Collins: My question is to the Minister of Energy. I am interested in the statement he made this afternoon regarding parallel generation. As already mentioned, we had an interesting debate in the Legislature this morning on the resolution brought forward by the member for Durham East (Mr Cureatz).
Can the minister tell the House just how he expects parallel generation to fit into the whole demand and supply picture for the province’s future electricity needs?
Hon Mr Wong: The private sector should play an important role in providing electricity to this province, and that is one of the underlying premises of this new policy paper.
The fact that several years ago there was no quantitative target indicates that today’s numbers would suggest that the government and Ontario Hydro are beginning to take the idea of parallel generation more seriously in terms of translating policy ideas into action.
As for the adequacy, the parallel generation sector could provide as much as 10 per cent of the total electricity generated in the province by the year 2000. It has been suggested that perhaps that is not enough. Let me point out, however, that if, instead, the same electricity was supplied in terms of Darlington reactor equivalence, we would be talking about many billions of dollars’ worth of spending by Ontario Hydro, not by the private sector. This would undoubtedly add to the financial --
The Speaker: Thank you. Perhaps the minister should leave a little material for the supplementary.
Ms Collins: The third party would lead us to believe that construction of a new large generating facility should have begun yesterday, while members of the official opposition argue that we never have to build another generating facility. This question is extremely important to industry, environmentalists and all Ontarians generally.
Can the minister tell the House exactly how the government’s position compares and contrasts with those views put forward by the members of the other two parties?
Hon Mr Wong: As the honourable member has indicated, one opposition party has one view, which is heavily emphasizing the demand side, and the other party, while I would not say it completely disagrees, believes strongly in the supply side. This government believes that both are necessary.
Furthermore, demand management should not be thought of as a short-term measure. It should be part of our ongoing ethic and the way we think in terms of the electricity supply-demand picture in this province.
On the supply side, I want to say that no option has been ruled out. Even the parallel generation policy paper that I announced today tries to remove the barriers so that the parallel generation sector can become more active.
To conclude, let me say that this government will continue to ensure that this province runs on a strong and reliable electricity system.
ASSISTANCE FOR BLIND SENIOR CITIZENS
Mr Philip: To the Minister of Community and Social Services: There are about 65 blind residents, ranging in age from 75 to over 100, who will be losing their residence at Clarkewood Residence as of August 1989. The rationale of both his staff and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind for the closing down of this facility is the difficulty in providing care for these people. My question to the minister is very specific. What does he intend to do as of today to ensure that those residents receive adequate service in that facility?
Hon Mr Sweeney: Let me make one small correction. The decision of the CNIB, not just in Ontario but all across the country, to begin to phase out the homes it has been specifically running for its senior clients is its decision. It is not our decision. Once they had made that decision, however, staff of my ministry consulted with them as to how best to arrange for the transfer of the people who are presently receiving that service, either to another charitable facility or to a home or community support service.
As a matter of fact, I cannot remember the amount, but we gave the CNIB Clarkewood something in the neighbourhood of $150,000 to begin to make plans for that transition. We are very much involved with CNIB on the transition. Prior to it actually taking place, the service the people will receive will continue. But I want to reiterate that this was their decision and not ours.
Mr Philip: The minister has not answered my question. I acknowledge that under the Charitable Institutions Act --
Mr Ballinger: Sure he has. You weren’t listening.
Mr Philip: Mr Speaker, if I may continue, if the mayor of Uxbridge does not mind.
The Speaker: Please do.
Mr Philip: One has to admit that under the Charitable Institutions Act, the minister cannot tell the institution whether to close or not close, but my question was very specific. His staff admits there is inadequate care at that particular facility and that is the rationale for closing; so does the CNIB. My question to him is: What is he going to do about the inadequate care now? Also, what specifically does he intend to do to help these people, if they are going to be transferred, to have a transfer that will cause them the least amount of damage, since research clearly indicates that there is a high mortality rate for people of that age who are transferred out of their residences?
Hon Mr Sweeney: I thought I at least partially answered the question. We are currently joint funders with CNIB for the operation of that home, and we will continue to do that as long as those residents are there. The decision as to when to move them out and how to move them out is CNIB’s responsibility. We have clearly indicated to them, and we are in fact right now co-operating with them and co-ordinating with them, as to how to move those people out.
We are working in a number of cases with the families of these residents, where those families are still available, to help us make those decisions. We have indicated in some cases, and as a matter of fact some of the residents have indicated, that if the option is available to them to move back into the community and into a supported independent living option in an apartment or in some kind of group home setting, we would make that available to them and we will provide the necessary resources. If they want to move to another home for the aged, we will provide the resources.
Mr Philip: What are you doing about their present condition?
Hon Mr Sweeney: We are doing that right now. We are providing the transitional dollars to help them do that right now. We have been working with them. We are providing resources for them to do what they need right now.
The Speaker: Do the member for Simcoe West (Mr McCague) and the member for Durham East (Mr Cureatz) have seatbelts on?
Mr McCague: The Minister of the Environment has a letter from a Metro councillor outlining concerns about the air quality in east Toronto. Some of that is based on a study that was done by the Adam Beck Community Health Association, which sets out that the respiratory illness in that part of the city exceeds the average by about 10 per cent. What is the minister going to do about that?
Hon Mr Bradley: We have a number of programs designed to meet the air quality challenges that face Ontario. I can indicate very clearly to the member, for instance, that we are the only jurisdiction that really implemented what I call low-smog gas for this particular summer. We reduced the Reid vapour pressure from 11.5 to 10.5, which means we have less evaporation of gas from both the vehicle tanks and from the pumping station tanks, which we think will have a significant effect on smog as it relates this summer to communities such as that; in fact, all over Ontario.
We hope that other jurisdictions will follow suit. We hope the people in the Ohio Valley will follow that particular lead, because the air currents bring much of that ground-level smog up into Ontario. We are making our contribution; we need our American friends to do the same. Also, we are embarking upon the clean air program in Ontario, where people will be required to have the best available technology on the stacks of any new construction taking place in the province and to be retrofitting over a period of years those stacks which are presently there.
Mr Beer: I have two petitions, both on the same topic. I will read the first:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas it is my constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of my preference; and
“Whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;
“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practice their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”
I mentioned two petitions, one with some 30 signatures, one with some 40, and I attach my name to those.
Mr Brown: I have a petition signed by 16,279 individuals. It states:
“Whereas the increasing cost of health care in the province of Ontario continues to take the largest share of provincial budget at a time when health care costs exceed revenues.
“And whereas the level of demand pertaining to hospitals/nursing homes capital and operating costs are increasing, be it resolved that we the undersigned support the establishment of a provincial lottery, the proceeds from which would go to augment hospitals/nursing homes capital and operating expenses.”
REFERRAL OF BILLS 30 AND 31
Mr Conway moved that Bill 30, An Act respecting Funeral Directors and Establishments, and Bill 31, An Act to revise the Cemeteries Act, be transferred from the standing committee on social development to the standing committee on resources development.
Motion agreed to.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON ENERGY
Mr Conway moved that a select committee on energy be appointed to consider Bill 204, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act, and that the committee be composed of the following members: Mr Carrothers (Chairman), Mr Brown, Mr Charlton, Mr Cureatz, Mrs Grier, Mr McGuigan, Mr Matrundola, Mr Ray (Windsor-Walkerville), Mr Runciman, Mr South and Mrs Sullivan.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
MUNICIPAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT, 1989 / LOI DE 1989 SUR L’ACCÈS À L’INFORMATION MUNICIPALE ET LA PROTECTION DE LA VIE PRIVÉE
Mr Elston moved first reading of Bill 49, An Act to provide for Freedom of Information and Protection of Individual Privacy in Municipalities and Local Boards.
M. Elston propose la première lecture du projet de loi 49, Loi prévoyant l’accès à l’information et la protection de la vie privée dans les municipalités et les conseils locaux.
Motion agreed to.
La motion est adoptée.
Hon Mr Elston: The material that has gone into this bill is a reflection of a requirement under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which was previously passed, that required municipalities to be included in a freedom of information and protection of privacy mandate that the committee, during a previous Parliament, had undertaken to provide.
This act, although separate from the existing legislation, will provide for those bodies, municipalities and local boards to be included in the freedom of information and protection of privacy domain.
LANDLORD AND TENANT AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Kanter moved first reading of Bill 51, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Kanter: The proposed amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act will enable the residential tenant to keep a pet in his or her rented premises despite any term of a tenancy agreement unless the pet has caused a substantial nuisance to the person or property of the landlord or other tenants.
MUNICIPAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Elston moved first reading of Bill 52, An Act to amend certain Statutes of Ontario Consequent upon Enactment of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1989.
Motion agreed to.
ONTARIO HOME ECONOMICS ASSOCIATION ACT, 1989
Ms Hart moved first reading of Bill Pr35, An Act respecting the Ontario Home Economics Association.
Motion agreed to.
Ms Hart: The intention of this bill is to recognize the profession of home economist and to prevent any misuse of that term.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Eakins moved first reading of Bill 53, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Eakins: I am pleased to introduce for first reading today a bill to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act. The bill contains a number of amendments requested by the Metropolitan council.
The legislation will set out the functions, powers and duties of the Metropolitan Toronto Library Board as a special library service board under the Public Libraries Act, 1984. It will also make certain general provisions of that act applicable to the Metropolitan Toronto Library Board.
Bonuses to commercial and industrial enterprises will be clearly prohibited through a cross-reference to the provision in the Municipal Act which proscribes bonuses.
The Metropolitan corporation will be authorized to give grants to its area municipalities to assist them to reduce the volume of waste going to landfill sites through more recycling programs and subsidies in respect of any type of water pollution control project.
The bill also contains a number of amendments of a housekeeping nature.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Jackson moved first reading of Bill 54, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Motion agreed to.
The Speaker: Does the member have a brief explanation?
Mr Jackson: I am pleased to present for the attention of all members of this House a bill which deals with an amendment to the Employment Standards Act. This would allow mothers to defer part of a maternity leave in order to care for a newborn at home who is released from extended hospitalization. This generally involves high-risk, low-birth-weight, premature infants who have been on extended life support systems.
While the amendment would not increase the amount of maternity leave an employee is entitled to, it would allow employees on maternity leave to resume their jobs and defer taking the unexpired portion of their leaves of absence until their children are released from hospital.
The Speaker: Thank you. It is not necessary to debate.
Mr Jackson: Thank you for giving me sufficient time to make the presentation, Mr Speaker.
TOWNSHIP OF SOUTH DUMFRIES ACT, 1989
Mr Eakins moved first reading of Bill 55, An Act respecting the Township of South Dumfries.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Eakins: This bill amends the Police Village of St George Act, 1980, to extend the boundaries of the urban service area and the municipal hydroelectric service area. The bill also provides that future changes to the urban service area will be subject to approval by the Ontario Municipal Board.
The Police Village of St George Act, 1980, dissolved the police village and established urban service area and municipal hydroelectric service boundaries for the community. The township of South Dumfries, in which the former police village of St George is located, recently asked for changes to the boundaries to accommodate proposed subdivisions.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 (CONTINUED)
Consideration of Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Mr Reville: Mr Chairman, maybe the Minister of Labour could move down to the little table with his toys.
The Deputy Chairman: Agreed.
The last time we met on this was yesterday. All amendments are now before the committee. No further amendments having been filed by any member, we have the remaining amendments that we did not yet deal with. Could I ask that the minister go back to the one that was postponed until today, which is the amendment to section 3?
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Sorbara moves that section 3 be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“3. The said act is amended by adding thereto the following section:
“5a(1) An employer, throughout the first year after an injury to a worker, shall make contributions for employment benefits in respect of the worker when the worker is absent from work because of the injury.
“(2) For the purpose of determining a worker’s entitlement to benefits under a benefit plan, fund or arrangement, a worker shall be deemed, for one year after the date the injury occurred, to continue to be employed by the worker’s employer on the date of the injury.
“(3) If the board finds that an employer has not complied with its obligations under subsection (1), the board may levy a penalty on the employer to a maximum of the amount of one year’s contributions for employment benefits in respect of the worker.
“(4) The employer is liable to a worker for any loss the worker suffers as a result of the employer’s failure to make the contributions required by subsection (1).
“(5) Contributions under subsection (1) are required only if,
“(a) the employer was making contributions for employment benefits in respect of the worker when the injury occurred; and
“(b) the worker continues to pay his or her contributions, if any, for the employment benefits while absent from work.
“(6) If a worker is injured while engaged in employment described in subsection 1(2) or (4), the worker’s employer, other than the employer described in subsection 1(2) or (4), shall be deemed to be the employer for the purposes of this section.
“(7) If an employer makes contributions under subsection (1) in respect of a worker described in subsection (6), the employer described in subsection 1(2) or (4) shall reimburse the employer for the contributions.
“(8) Subsection (1) does not apply to an employer who participates in a multi-employer benefit plan in respect of a worker if, throughout the first year after the worker is injured whenever the worker is absent from work because of the injury,
“(a) the plan continues to provide the worker with the benefits to which the worker would otherwise be or become entitled under the plan; and
“(b) the plan does not require contributions from the employer during the absence and does not require the worker to draw on the worker’s benefit credits, if any, under the plan during the absence.
“(9) A multi-employer benefit plan shall contain and, if it does not do so, shall be deemed to contain provisions sufficient,
“(a) to enable all employers who participate in the plan to be exempted under subsection 8 from the requirement to make contributions; and
“(b) to provide each worker with the benefits described in subsection (8) in the circumstances described in that subsection.
“(10) Subsection 9 shall come into force two years after the date on which this section comes into force.”
Hon Mr Sorbara: That is the amendment. I just want to point out what the purpose of this section is. As members of the committee will recall, the bill as initially presented to this House had a provision in it that provided that all workers who were the victims of an injury in the workplace would have benefits in the area of health care, life insurance and pensions continued, in respect of that worker, for a period of one year after the injury. This section simply continues that principle within the bill. It in fact deems that for those purposes, the worker continues in his or her employment.
In addition, it deals with the unique circumstances which apply to workers who receive those sorts of benefits through what is known as a multi-employer plan; that is, a plan where a number of employers contribute to a plan, generally trusteed by employers and workers, and the benefits are available to the worker through that plan. The substance, really, of Bill 162 is not changed, but there is clarification and the resolution of a problem with multi-employer plans.
Ms Bryden: Bill 162 is so badly flawed that amendments cannot improve it. We believe that Bill 162 should be withdrawn.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 3, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 43; nays 0.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Sorbara moves that section 8 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“8. Section 28 of the said act, as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1982, chapter 61, section 2, is repealed.”
Mr Charlton: Bill 162 is so badly flawed that amendments cannot improve it. We believe that Bill 162 should be withdrawn.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I am not sure I am going to change the mind of the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton), although I probably should just put on the record the purpose of this section, which really just repeals a section of the act which has not only fallen into disuse but is now inappropriate to remain.
The current act permits schedule 2 employers to commute their liability for an injured worker’s claim by purchasing an annuity from a life insurance company. This can be done six months after payment to a worker has commenced. The annuity is payable to the Workers’ Compensation Board. This amendment obviously, as everyone can see, will delete that provision from the act.
I see a twinkle in the eye of my friend the member for Hamilton Mountain. Perhaps he has changed his mind, at least on this section, and he will allow us to carry on to the next amendment without a vote.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 8, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 45; nays 0.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
Section 9 agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Sorbara moves that subsection 10(1) of the bill be struck out and that the following be substituted therefor:
“(1) Section 36 of the said act, as re-enacted by the Statutes of Ontario, 1984, chapter 58, section 9, and amended by 1985, chapter 3, section 1, is further amended by adding thereto the following subsections:
“(1a) The spouse of a deceased worker may apply to the board within one year after the worker’s death for a vocational rehabilitation assessment and, after an assessment, the board shall provide a vocational rehabilitation program to the spouse if the board considers it appropriate to do so.
“(1b) Subsections 54a(11) and (12) apply with respect to a vocational rehabilitation program provided to a spouse.”
Hon Mr Sorbara: The spousal provisions of the current act authorize the Workers’ Compensation Board to provide vocational rehabilitation services to a surviving spouse. When I say “authorize,” that is, they are permissive. Bill 162 in its original form amended those provisions to extend the board’s timeliness obligations to these provisions as well; that is, that the board would provide a surviving spouse the same benefits.
Requiring the board to contact the surviving spouse within 45 days of the deceased worker’s accident would deny the benefit to the spouse if the worker himself or herself died later than the 45-day period. The amendment that I have moved and you, Mr Chairman, have just repeated at the insistence of, I think, the member for Algoma (Mr Wildman) extends a right to the spouse to request a vocational rehabilitation assessment within a reasonable period of time following the actual death of the injured worker, so that it is following the death rather than the accident.
This will ensure that the kinds of programs and vocational rehabilitation that are available under the bill to an injured worker would be provided as well to the spouse of that injured worker if the injured worker passes away. It is in complete accordance with the spirit of this bill on vocational rehabilitation.
Mr Philip: Unfortunately, the spirit of this bill is entirely wrong. Bill 162 is so badly flawed that amendments cannot improve it, and therefore Bill 162 should be withdrawn, not amended.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to subsection 10(1), which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 44; nays 0.
The Vice-Chairman: Mr Sorbara moves that subsection 36(13) of the act, as set out in subsection 10(2) of the bill, be amended by inserting at the end thereof “in respect of the deceased worker.”
Hon Mr Sorbara: This amendment clarifies that the integration of benefits payable under the Workers’ Compensation Act and under Canada pension plan and Quebec pension plan are just those that result from survivor benefits resulting from the death of the same worker.
Mr Morin-Strom: The minister knows that thousands of workers across the province have indicated to him that this bill is not acceptable the way it is. The bill is so badly flawed that no set of amendments can possibly fix it. We call upon the minister to withdraw this bill now and go back to the drawing board.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to subsection 10(2), which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 47; nays 0.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: The next government amendment is to section 11.
Hon Mr Sorbara: This is one of the amendments that was stood down yesterday dealing with section 11.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Sorbara moves that subsection 40(3) of the act, as set out in subsection 11(2) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(3) In determining the amount to be paid under clause (2)(b), the board shall have regard to any disability payments the worker receives under the Canada pension plan and the Quebec pension plan with respect to the injury and, if subclause (2)(b)(i) or (ii) applies, the compensation shall be a periodic amount proportionate to the degree of disability resulting from the injury as determined by the board.”
Mr Kormos: This bill is so thoroughly, utterly, completely flawed, I have got to tell members, that the injured workers of Welland-Thorold, the trade unionists of Welland-Thorold, the families of Welland-Thorold, youngsters and old people alike, factory workers, retail workers, retired people, senior citizens from Welland-Thorold, highway workers working on Highway 406, which has been blocked for some good chunk of time now, at least northbound --
The Deputy Chairman: Excuse me. The member for Halton Centre, on a point of order.
Mrs Sullivan: Mr Chairman, I believe the member is out of order in speaking generally. He should be addressing specifically the motion on subsection 11(2).
Mr Kormos: I digressed, albeit briefly.
The amendment proposed, along with the bill, is such that it simply cannot cure the horrible flaws contained in Bill 162. We believe so enthusiastically that Bill 162 cannot be amended, is so badly flawed, is so anti-worker, so anti-injured worker, so anti-member of the community that it has to be withdrawn.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 11, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 43; nays 0.
Section 11, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Sorbara moves that subsection 41(1) of the act, as set out in section 12 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor.
“(1) For the purposes of this act, the maximum amount of average earnings upon which the loss of earnings is to be calculated,
“(a) effective on the day this subsection comes into force, is the maximum amount of average earnings determined under this section as it read immediately before this subsection came into force;
“(b) effective on the 1st day of January of the year following the year in which this section comes into force, is $42,000; and
“(c) effective on the 1st day of January of each year after the effective date for the amount in clause (b), is 175 per cent of the average industrial wage for Ontario for the year, determined in accordance with subsection 2.
“(1a) Part IV of this act does not apply to the maximum amount of average earnings determined under subsection 1.”
Hon Mr Sorbara: This is the section of Bill 162, as amended now with this amendment which will raise the ceiling on insurable earnings, ultimately to 175 per cent of the average industrial wage. Just to give you an example of the effect of this when this section is in force, were this section in force today, the ceiling on insurable earnings would be approximately $44,000.
This is a very important section for many workers in the province, because many workers earn above the average ceiling which is currently provided for in the act; that is, about $35,600. You can imagine the impact on a worker who is totally disabled as a result of a workplace injury and who earns more than $36,000 to find that under the system that he or she relies upon, all of his or her earnings are not insured.
With this amendment, when this amendment is fully implemented --
Mr Charlton: This bill should make it 100 per cent.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I say to my friend the member for Hamilton Mountain that when this amendment is fully implemented, the earnings of some 96 per cent of the working people of this province will be covered.
We think it is very important to ensure that this gets carried, so I hope that my friends in the New Democratic Party, who have not supported the other amendments, will see that it is very important to support this one. I am sure they would not want to go on the record as not supporting this.
Mr Wildman: On behalf of all of those injured workers in the province who this minister and his government claim are overcompensated, I say that this bill is so badly flawed that it is beyond repair and we believe the bill should be withdrawn and the minister should consult with the injured workers’ groups and the labour movement to ensure that a proper bill is brought in.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 12, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 43; nays 0.
Section 12, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on whether sections 13 and 14 should stand as part of the bill, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 47; nays 0.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I notice, just before I get into section 15, because it is rather long and will deal with a very significant part of the thrust of this bill, that there are, as I look at my notes, some six amendments to section 15 of the bill, which deals with section 45 of the act.
Members should note that really this is the heart and soul of Bill 162 along with those provisions that deal with re-employment and, as well, vocational rehabilitation.
There is in the amendments in section 15 a minor amendment, the second one in fact, which deals with a matter that was introduced yesterday. That was the one we put together into two sections so that we could be absolutely sure that all matters and all pensions dealt with in this bill are indexed in accordance with the bill that we passed in this Parliament to ensure indexation of all matters under workers’ compensation.
The Deputy Chairman: The clock has reached 5:45 and I remind all members of the terms of the special order on which we are proceeding today. It reads, in part, as follows:
“On the second of these sessional days, at 5:45 pm, the Chairman of the committee of the whole House shall put all questions necessary to dispose of every section of the bill and any amendments thereto, not yet passed, including those proposed amendments not yet moved which shall be deemed to be moved, as well as the title, and shall report the bill forthwith to the House,” etc.
At this stage, I will therefore indicate that the remaining amendments not yet moved are deemed to have been moved and we will dispose of all the remaining questions.
Hon Mr Conway: I thought that I might just see whether or not we could --
Mr Wildman: I thought Jack Stokes was the only railroader who served in this assembly.
Hon Mr Conway: Listen, I know my friend the member for Algoma and I know he is a man of very good intentions, but given the provisions of the time allocation motion that has been passed by the House, I was wondering whether or not we could have one bell to call in the members to take all of the questions that are to be disposed of to meet the requirements of the time allocation; whether we could do that, call in the members once and then begin to put the questions and take the questions, if that is agreeable.
The Deputy Chairman: Is it agreed by the other two parties? The opposition House leader?
Mr Wildman: Oh, what the hell.
The Deputy Chairman: The third party House leader? Agreed.
The Deputy Chairman: We have a number of amendments that are all deemed to have been moved. I shall take them in order. There are six amendments to section 15.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendments to section 15 of the bill, which were agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 51; nays 0.
Section 15, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 16, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 16, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 17 and 18 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 19, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 19, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendments to section 20, which were agreed to on the same vote.
Section 20, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 21 to 23, inclusive, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 24, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 25, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 25, as amended, agreed to.
Section 26 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 27, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 27, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 28, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 28, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 29, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 29, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Sorbara’s amendment to section 30, which was agreed to on the same vote.
Section 30, as amended, agreed to.
Section 31 agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.
On motion by Mr Conway, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Conway: Pursuant to standing order 13, I would like to indicate the business of the House for the coming week.
On Monday 24 July, we will deal with third reading of Bill 162.
On Tuesday 25 July, we will deal with Bill 24, the Gasoline Tax Amendment Act, and Bill 93, the Justices of the Peace Act, in committee of the whole House, followed by a debate on interim supply and a motion to amend the standing orders of the Legislative Assembly.
On Wednesday 26 July and Thursday 27 July, we will consider Bill 194 in committee of the whole House.
On Thursday, in the morning, we will consider private members’ public business standing in the names of the member for Durham Centre (Mr Furlong) and the member for Rainy River (Mr Hampton).
The House adjourned at 1817.