The House met at 1000.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr Morin-Strom moved resolution 53:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that municipal solid waste should be reduced as much as possible so as to eliminate the need for more landfill sites, and recognizing that each region of the province should solve its own waste problems, the government of Ontario should adopt a policy that no municipal or other garbage from southern Ontario should be shipped to any location in northern Ontario for treatment or disposal.
Mr Morin-Strom: I believe this is an issue which faces communities right across Ontario, and it is one which is particularly disturbing to rural Ontario and residents of northern Ontario. We cannot allow southern Ontario municipalities to take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach to their garbage by shipping it to rural Ontario or shipping it to the north for disposal. What we need instead are efforts by this government that municipal solid wastes should be reduced as much as possible so as to eliminate the need for more landfill sites across the province.
Surely each region of the province should have to solve its own waste problems rather than be able to foist them on to other regions, whether in rural southern Ontario or in the north. Right across Ontario, environmental groups are very strongly opposed to this concept, as proposed by the greater Toronto area particularly, which would like to get its garbage problems out of its own area and foist them on other regions of the province.
We know the greater Toronto area has tremendous financial resources. Its ability to be able to buy its way into smaller municipalities, areas of the north, with attractive offers of what they would call “economic development” should not be foisted upon people across the province who feel they want to protect their own regions and do not want the garbage generated in another area to be foisted on them.
A coalition of environmental groups across Ontario has taken a strong stand opposing plans to haul waste from the greater Toronto area. Last year this coalition responded to the proposal from the greater Toronto area by stating quite emphatically that hauling waste will not solve the waste problem. It will merely transport the waste to communities that have not created it.
They pointed out that some of the rail-haul proposals claim that they can recycle and compost mixed garbage after hauling. The province has already tried this at the experimental resource recovery plant in Downsview where it was found to be totally unsuccessful. Successful recycling depends on separating waste at source through programs like the blue box program. This is where the efforts of the province should be focused.
Recently the province announced some new funding for recycling over the next 11 years. This funding is on the order of $200 million. However, the estimate for the cost of the rail-haul proposal is potentially over $1 billion per year. Surely, as a province, we should be putting those kinds of resources into recycling and reusing materials in the province.
Some of the groups opposed to this kind of proposal in the environmental coalition include Pollution Probe, the Citizens Network on Waste Management, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Environment North, Citizens’ Coalition to Maintain the Environment, Nipissing Environmental Watchdog, Northwatch and Algoma-Manitoulin Nuclear Awareness.
Transporting garbage long distances for disposal is not only a waste of non-renewable energy supplies, but it tries to solve the garbage crisis by simply finding more places to put our trash. The real solution is to create less garbage in the first place in order to remove Canada from the dubious distinction of being the largest producer of garbage per person in the world.
Our party has taken strong positions in this Legislature asking for initiatives in this regard. Last December, a resolution presented by our Environment critic, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, was adopted unanimously in this Legislature. That resolution listed policies and laws to reduce garbage through less packaging, more refillable containers and more durable consumer products. It called on the government to introduce the needed legislation at the opening of this sitting of the Legislature.
When the Liberals failed to act on that, the New Democrats stepped in again this spring session. Last month, my colleague the member for Hamilton West presented Bill 165, which set out very specifically the kinds of regulations that government should pass under the Environmental Protection Act so that we can tap the real potential to reduce garbage in the province. That bill, which was passed on second reading and is currently in committee of the whole, although it has not been called by the government to be addressed and is not on the government’s priority list for items to be addressed in the balance of this sitting, would in fact take us a major step towards dealing with the waste problems in Ontario.
That bill called for new regulations which would include some of the following items.
First, it would establish provincial programs to help municipalities achieve a 50% reduction of garbage going to landfills by 2000.
Second, it would establish timetables for prohibiting the disposal of certain wastes in landfills so that they must be either reused or recycled.
Third, it would lay down a plan for phasing out the use of containers and packaging, for example, non-refillable soft drink containers, for which there are already waste reduction alternatives.
Fourth, my colleague’s bill would have designated disposable products for which non-disposable substitutes are available and would have prohibited the use of such products as, for example, disposable razors.
Fifth, it would have prescribed durability standards for consumer products such as small household appliances as hair dryers.
Sixth, this resolution would have required municipalities to establish blue box recycling programs. At present, these programs are only voluntary and do not exist in all the communities across this province.
This proposal would have required all residents to separate their recyclables. This bill is still alive. It had been past second reading, and I would call upon this government, if it takes waste management seriously, to call that bill into committee so that we can deal with it as a Legislature and have it passed into law before we complete this sitting of the Legislature.
If the government really took waste reduction seriously, no municipality across Ontario would even have to entertain the desperate idea of shipping its garbage hundreds of kilometres away. If the government does not get tough now on waste reduction, there will we no end to the steady stream of proposals for northern and rural dumping of big city garbage.
Last year, the government called for submissions from the Solid Waste Interim Steering Committee with regard to long-term systems for disposal of garbage from the Metropolitan Toronto area. There were 86 proposals in total presented. There is no end to the list of big developers, big-interest corporate people who see an opportunity to make money off a very serious problem that the government should be dealing with itself.
This list of 86 proposals includes some eight proposals from northern Ontario. Shipping southern garbage to the north is not just a general fear raised by northerners, it is a very real threat. For example, the Ontario Northland Railway proposes to haul garbage from the greater Toronto area by rail to landfill or to incinerate it near Kapuskasing, New Liskeard or Kirkland Lake, and several rural southern Ontario farm communities have been targeted quite specifically by entrepreneurs as sites for greater Toronto area garbage, including two sites in Lambton county, one in Kent county and one each near the towns of Orillia, Marmora and Cayuga.
Even within these communities where there may be some economic interest -- they want to make a buck on the waste, stinking garbage from the city of Toronto -- there is opposition to this movement. Environment movements right across the province have been formed. RAGE, Rural Action on Garbage and the Environment, in particular, is an Ontario coalition of eight rural citizens and environmental groups that opposes Metro’s plan to export millions of tons of garbage to rural Ontario. They advocate legislated, mandatory waste reduction, reuse and recycling on the basis of municipal equity.
These communities include those two communities in Lambton, the ones in Kent, Simcoe, Hastings, Haldimand and Norfolk. Also represented in RAGE are two communities in northern Ontario, Kirkland Lake and Timiskaming, and Kapuskasing in Cochrane district. These areas, which have been specifically targeted by the greater Toronto area and this Liberal government as areas for waste disposal, are very strongly opposed to this kind of proposal.
Rural communities outside Metro Toronto face an environmental crisis. Despite their unconditional opposition, Metro Toronto continues to plan for the export of its garbage to those communities’ neighbourhoods for landfill disposal. They are asking that Toronto not be allowed to ship its garbage to distant, unwilling communities or to be able to expropriate land in those communities.
Rural Ontario and northern Ontario both have the right and the responsibility to protect farm land and to protect our northern wilderness areas from the exploitation of those resources. Landfill sites create serious environmental threats to water, air and soil. Toronto must solve its own garbage crisis within its own area and not export its garbage to rural Ontario.
Mrs Marland: As I rise this morning to speak to ballot item 53, I want to read into my own record the resolution because I am in support of the resolution partway through the wording. The resolution says, “That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that municipal solid waste should be reduced as much as possible so as to eliminate the need for more landfill sites, and recognizing that each region of the province should solve its own waste problems, the government of Ontario should adopt a policy that no municipal or other garbage from southern Ontario should be shipped to any location in northern Ontario for treatment or disposal.”
The second part of this resolution in fact contradicts the first part. In the first part, the member for Sault Ste Marie is saying that each region of the province should solve its own waste problems, and I agree with that completely. But we cannot say, on the one hand, that every region of the province should solve its own waste problems and then go on to say that one region may not ship garbage or transfer garbage to another region. Obviously, if there is an agreement with a willing host to ship from one region to another region and both those regions reach an agreement as a willing exporter and a willing importer, if you want to phrase it another way, obviously then they are making their own decisions and managing their own garbage.
In fairness to the member for Sault Ste Marie, his main argument about the reason we are in a garbage crisis today is one that I wholly support: the fact that we have a Liberal government in Ontario that will not make any decisions on anything until it is pushed against the wall and finally has to either climb over it or along it or make a decision. Unfortunately, in a lot of circumstances this current government does a lot of fence-walking or wall-walking, or whatever term you want to use. It does not want to rock any boats by making major decisions and taking the leadership role that a provincial government with the largest population of any province in this country should be taking. What happens is that decisions are not made and we get into a crisis or we get interference where it actually accelerates the crisis.
I can only give you, Mr Speaker, a very good example on the same subject of waste management in my own region of Peel. I have told this House on a number of occasions that the region of Peel had its own waste management process well in hand. They were all the way down the road to a date being set for the hearing on their site selection for their landfill site and at the midnight hour received notice of order from the Minister of the Environment that they had to go back to the drawing board and bring to the hearing a number of alternative sites and that they would not be permitted to proceed to the hearing with only one site, although they had done an assessment of other alternative sites and in fact had at that point spent quite a lot of money reaching the conclusion for the recommended site and had very valid arguments about why that should be the preferred site.
It was rather ironical because although Peel was put back to the drawing board, at a cost in excess of some $4 million to go back and reassess other sites, it was being treated differently than a crown corporation of this government of Ontario, namely the Ontario Waste Management Corp, which was allowed to proceed to an environmental assessment hearing on its site selection with only one site. So, on the one hand, we had Ontario Waste Management Corp going forward with one site; on the other hand, we had the region of Peel going forward with one site and then having the door closed in its face and put back three years and $4 million and then being lumped into all the other Metropolitan Toronto regions with the major garbage crisis.
Mr Speaker, I give that to you as an example of how far wrong the situation of waste management has gone today in Ontario. We all understand very well the 3Rs. Some of us understand a little better the 4Rs, and speaking on behalf of myself and my residents, we are not yet supportive of the fourth R of recovery, which is mainly incineration. Although the Minister of the Environment has stood in this House a number of times and said he understands that the member for Mississauga South supports incineration -- no matter how many times I correct that for the record -- I do not at this time support incineration because we do not yet have a state-of-the-art process for incinerating garbage that is proven not to add any risk to the environment through the stack emissions. I certainly understand that when technology is developed and science becomes more sophisticated in the industry, it is entirely possible at some time in the future that we may have incineration; but today I do not support it.
We do have a lot more information today in terms of reduction and reuse and obviously recycling, and I wish that instead of putting pressure on any community in this province where decisions are made by those communities in a crisis, more support and more leadership could be given by this government to those municipalities to help them with programs in reduction and reuse. I wish this government would bring in legislation that had mandatory requirements on the reduction of packaging in this province. We all understand in this House very well what excess packaging is doing in terms of using up unnecessary space in our landfill sites and also the excess packaging is very often in the plastics area, which is not a product necessarily that is able to either be reused or recycled.
In fairness to the member for Sault Ste Marie, I think I could support his resolution if he had just made the statement that the government should adopt a policy of support to municipalities in resolving their garbage crisis and that, while recognizing that each region of the province should solve its own waste problems, there would be some support from this government. But in fact what this government is saying is, “Go find your solutions. We will grant you interim landfill sites in the greater Toronto area without full environmental assessment,” and if anyone in this House disputes that fact, I would remind them of the announcement made by the Premier -- not by the Minister of the Environment, which I think is pretty significant.
I respect the Minister of the Environment because he did not make this announcement. The Premier of this province announced in August of last year that the interim landfill sites in the greater Toronto area would be exempt from the full impact of the Environmental Assessment Act and shortcut and be considered only under the Environmental Protection Act. Anyone who knows those two acts well knows the difference between the two and recognizes very readily that it is not a full environmental assessment unless it is under the Environmental Assessment Act.
So we have the government saying, “We’ll give that exemption in order to expedite a solution in the greater Toronto area,” but what we are saying is, it can streamline the process without shortening the process and risking the environment. Because the government has not taken seriously yet the crisis of over 100 municipalities in Ontario today in terms of what they are going to do with their garbage today and tomorrow, we have a major, increasing problem.
Since we are limited in time in this debate this morning, I regret that I cannot present the rest of my arguments which are only partially in support of the member for Sault Ste Marie because of the final part of his resolution, where he is actually making a statement for northern Ontario. Maybe eastern or western Ontario feels the same way about Metro garbage.
I think it is up to the municipalities to make those decisions. If there are willing hosts and it is an economic benefit to one municipality to have an industry such as waste management within its boundaries when another industry is dying, that is up to that local municipality to decide. We certainly are aware that there are letters from Kirkland Lake and other municipalities in northern Ontario where they are now quite willing to have some of their abandoned mines used for garbage, but that is up to them.
Mr Adams: I listened with interest to the member for Mississauga South. I am very interested in joining this debate on this resolution on waste management in Ontario from the member for Sault Ste Marie.
As the previous speaker noted, there are really two halves to this resolution. The first one deals essentially with how we should manage waste in our society and particularly stresses reduction. As the member for Mississauga South pointed out, the reduction part of waste management is particularly important. We reduce, we reuse, we recycle wherever we can, in that order. To reduce is very important at the present time. That is why this government is interested in the national packaging standards. If and when that program comes through, it will have an enormous impact on the amount of garbage which is generated in our society. We certainly must support that program when it comes and take all action that we possibly can to reduce before it comes.
The second of the 3Rs, reuse, in fact very often really results in reduction. We have the 3Rs and it is a useful concept, but very often they lead to the same thing. For example, if we buy a durable product instead of a disposable product, it simply means we reduce consumption. We use a cup twice, three times, five times instead of once. That actually reduces, through reuse, the amount of the garbage.
It is not an example that I use lightly, but the really good example of reuse in our society is in the beer industry in Ontario where roughly 98% of beer bottles are reused and the remaining 2% very often go back and are actually recycled. Think of the extraordinary saving that is involved in this one particular industry from that fact. It arises of course from the way we handle beer in our society. The Brewers’ Retail has essentially a monopoly. It distributes beer in our communities and it receives that beer and returns the bottles for reuse to breweries which are located in various parts of the province.
The same applies -- unfortunately not at the moment, although we are making great progress -- in the area of soft drink bottles and reuse. The province has mandated a production ratio whereby 30% of soft drink containers are to be reusable. We have mandated reduced costs for reusable soft drink bottles, we have mandated that they should be available in stores, etc, and we have mandated that their availability be advertised. So we have really promoted reuse, and it is very important that we do. As I say, that sort of reuse results in reduction, the first of the 3Rs.
Then, of course, as the member for Mississauga South pointed out, there is recycling, which has received such an enormous emphasis in this province. Our blue box program has been recognized internationally. It now is in two million homes and spreading to apartment buildings and other locations. It is resulting in the diversion of a quarter of a million tons of waste every year into productive use. The Student Action for Recycling program, which is now being taken up by the school boards, will eventually involve every school board in Ontario so that students can be involved not only in recycling the standard blue box recyclables, but various types of paper and different types of plastic, etc. That is spreading.
In the recycling area we have our recycling technology fund which is encouraging people to come up with innovative ways of recycling different materials. For example, we recycle aluminum cans to achieve incredible energy savings. One of the figures that is used is that to make an aluminum can from recycled cans uses only 5% of the energy that was originally required to produce that can, and we do the same with steel. We recycle oil and of course we recycle paper and some plastics, and we are experimenting with recycling of different types of plastics.
Of course, both the previous speakers are right that only after all the possibilities of the 3Rs have been exhausted should we move to landfill and then that landfill should be as safe and secure as is humanly possible. That is the idea we are aiming for, a situation in which every possible usable part of the waste stream is used and that the remainder, which we hope will be a very small amount, will be disposed of in a safe and appropriate way.
The government’s targets are 50% diversion within 10 years; 25% within a few years. We believe that is achievable, although many people in other jurisdictions say it is impossible for us in such a short time to achieve a 50% diversion of waste to useful uses. We believe it can be done by the year 2000 and figures suggest, and the progress, for example, of the blue box program and industrial recycling programs suggests, that we are well on track.
The second part of this resolution actually addresses something completely different. It actually says that each region should be responsible for all of these things that I have been describing, in isolation from others. For a region, a municipality or an individual to be responsible for its own waste in the sense that it should see to it that the 3Rs are developed as fully as possible in that region and that municipality or, if it is an individual, in the individual’s household, is it really appropriate or possible that a region which receives goods from outside should be responsible for the recycling, reuse or whatever of all of these goods which have come to it, not only from other parts of the province and other regions, but from other provinces, other countries and, indeed, from around the world? In fact, could a region do that?
Let us take the case of the beer that I described. The distributor, Brewers’ Retail, should be responsible for the collection of those bottles. By accident, it is one of the ideal situations we have in our society for reuse. But, of course, it is the breweries that have the capacity, I assume, to sterilize and recap those bottles. Can that be done in every region? It strikes me that is impossible.
Let’s take the case of oil, which is increasingly recycled. The service stations in a region should take back oil, but can we expect the service stations in a community to recycle oil? There are plants in the province of Ontario which recycle oil extremely effectively. The oil that was skimmed off from Hagersville, for example, was recycled into bunker C. Can that be done in one community, in one region?
Let’s take the recycling of paper. In the recycling of paper, can we expect that there will be mills which can deal with all the papers that are collected around the province in every region? Again, with aluminum cans, can we have smelters in every region? I think not.
The free flow of goods and services is one of the great strengths of our society and we are at last recognizing implicitly, in the 3Rs, that large parts of the garbage stream are in fact goods. They are useful products and this is something which is widely recognized. It is recognized in the schools and it is recognized by industry. In fact, it is recognized that it is not waste at all. We are dealing with products. Free flow of products is a feature of our society.
We are also recognizing at last that the processing of this so-called waste is an extremely valuable and important service in our society. The free flow of goods and services is a feature of our society. Surely we should foster the idea that these parts of the waste stream are goods and that the processing of the waste stream is a valuable service in our society. I think we should foster this way of thinking as a way of dealing with our so-called waste management problems.
I cannot support a resolution which would reduce the effectiveness of our handling of garbage and which would restrict the free flow of goods and services in the province of Ontario.
Mr Wildman: I must say that the previous speaker, the member for Peterborough, obviously did not read the resolution.
I rise in support of my colleague the member for Sault Ste Marie because I am dealing with the resolution. The resolution deals very clearly with two very important matters in our society today.
The first one the member for Peterborough did deal with briefly, and that is reduction of waste in our society. Obviously, as a society that produces more garbage per capita than any other society on earth, we must reduce, because the other matters that were dealt with by the member for Peterborough cannot take up all of the refuse that we are producing unless we do in fact reduce the amount of refuse. Recycling and reuse are very important, but they are not dealt with in this resolution directly.
The member for Sault Ste Marie at no place in this resolution is suggesting that every region of the province must have a recycling program, although I am sure he would be in favour of that if it were possible, and the blue box program is spreading from one area to another. He is not suggesting that every region of the province or every community of the province must have its own reuse programs for every type of product that is produced and can be reused. That is not what is suggested anywhere in this resolution.
The resolution says that we must reduce, which I certainly agree with, because we must resolve this problem of the amount of waste that we produce. But then, in dealing with the waste for which we do not have reuse possibilities or which we cannot as yet recycle, the resolution says we must not ship that type of garbage from southern Ontario to northern Ontario. I support that completely.
The problem is that in northern Ontario we have a situation, and it has been historic, where we have shipped our resources, often, too often, in raw form to southern Ontario for manufacturing. While doing that we are not just shipping away the resources from the north; we are shipping jobs out of the north; we are shipping wealth out of the north to the south.
Then we are told, “Fine, the tremendous wealth that we have in the greater Toronto region, for instance, built largely on the resources of the north, should justify the shipping of the refuse from the greater Toronto region back to the north that has already been raped for its resources.
The member for Mississauga South indicated that while she certainly supported the reduction of garbage so that there would not be more landfill sites in the province, she felt that this was a matter that really should be dealt with by the local municipality with regard to the acceptance of waste from another region. She brought out the concept of a willing host, a willing importer of garbage.
Inevitably, what happens in this province is that the communities that are chosen to be asked if they would be willing hosts or willing importers of garbage are those communities that are desperate for economic development and jobs. We never get a prosperous community going to a another prosperous community and saying: “Look, would you like our garbage? We’d be happy to send you our garbage.” I have never heard of that. I have never seen a community that is doing well, that has lots of jobs, approached by another wealthy community that says: “Look, we’d like to send you our garbage. Would you like it? I’m sure you’ve got a few holes in the ground, a few old mines or something that you can dump it into.”
No, they always go to the communities where everybody is out of work and they say: “Look, you guys have nothing. You’re desperate for work. We’ve got something for you. We’ve got an offer you can’t refuse.”
As a northerner I appreciate the beauty of the north, the important tourist value of the north and the important value of the forests and the water resources that we have in the north, but I am not someone who argues that we must always maintain the beauty of the north in its pristine, original form. I am in favour of development. I want development. I want economic development for the communities in the north. But I want it to be development that means we are going to be able to process and manufacture our resources so that we have worthwhile, good jobs in the north, not a situation where we have to accept the garbage that is produced in other areas that do indeed have the good jobs.
My colleague talked about the proposals that have been made for shipping garbage from the greater Toronto region into certain communities in northern Ontario. There is another development that is taking place across northern Ontario right now at the federal level. The Atomic Energy Control Board has approached a number of communities across northern Ontario, again inevitably the communities that are in trouble economically, and said to them: “Look, we’ve got some low-level radioactive waste from Port Hope and we’d like to ship it to your community. What do you think?” It has also said, “We, as a federal government, would be interested in providing you with all sorts of grants to help you develop your community, just as long as you take this radioactive waste along with the grants.”
In some of those communities they have even determined that the soil and rock formations are not adequate for burying this waste, so they have suggested that those kinds of communities could build some kind of great big concrete tower above ground and put this radioactive waste in it.
They have set up a number of committees to talk about it and a number of those committees have rejected the idea, but then the AECB has gone to the local municipality and said, “Despite the local information committee’s decision, would you still be interested in taking the waste?” In some cases, the municipality says, “Yes, we’d like to continue looking at this possibility.” I suppose, in the terms of the member for Mississauga South, that is a willing host. Many of those willing hosts, I think we have established what they are; we just have to establish now what the price is.
I support my colleague. We must reduce garbage. We must not leave it to others to deal with our garbage. The garbage that cannot be recycled or reused but must be disposed of must be disposed of by the community that produces it. It must not be shipped somewhere else to a willing, desperate host.
Mr Pollock: I just want to make a few comments on this resolution. I agree with the Environment critic for our party when she says we can agree with the first part of the resolution. However, I do not particularly agree with the last line in this resolution where they do not want it in northern Ontario. I can assure members we do not want it in eastern Ontario either. I do not know about western Ontario. Western Ontario can speak for itself. Anyway, we certainly do not want it in eastern Ontario.
I just wanted to place on the record that I certainly do not agree with the member for Peterborough on his comment that we reduce and recycle and then put in a landfill site. I have said loud and clear on quite a few occasions in this House that there is no proof out there that over the next 50 or 100 years -- landfill sites are every bit as damaging to the environment as incinerating garbage. Right now they have incinerators that are supposed to be environmentally safe. I am talking particularly of the one out in Burnaby, British Columbia, where they have admitted that it is environmentally safe. Landfill sites, as far as I am concerned, are just a cheap fix for some of the big municipalities, so therefore I am totally not in favour of landfill sites.
Mr Brown: Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this debate. I appreciate the resolution from my colleague the member for Sault Ste Marie, which I think epitomizes the NIMBY syndrome, not in my backyard, to the hilt, only this backyard is 90% of the province. The resolution brings the NIMBY syndrome to new heights, or new depths, a syndrome I think and believe often obstructs rational and considered thinking on many issues.
To be clear, northerners are in the forefront of environmental issues. The people of the north, because of their close association to the land, care about the environment. Northerners are committed to making the 3Rs, reduce, reuse and recycle, the first principles of waste management. We believe everyone has a role to play in waste management. Industry must take responsibility for the waste it creates. Governments must become model waste managers. Consumers must choose products that are not overpackaged and municipalities must ensure a careful selection of waste management facilities.
But to say that we cannot have garbage -- the member talks about but never defines what garbage happens to be -- defies, at least in my humble mind -- that means MacTier cannot take garbage from Midland, cannot recycle products for Midland, cannot do those kinds of things, yet we can have Kirkland Lake shipping to Kenora, a couple of thousand kilometres, anything it wants.
As a northern member, I think what is really important is that we deal with environmental issues in a reasonable fashion, recognizing that sustainable development is what is really important in the province as a whole, in Canada as a whole, in the world as a whole. I think that is what is really important. I know in my own small communities on Manitoulin we are taking dramatic steps in terms of reducing. Private groups, private individuals are organizing composting bees, if you want to call it that. They are building composters just out of their own feeling for the environment. They want to help reduce waste and they are taking those kinds of steps.
Just the other day I had the opportunity to talk to a paper company, the paper company that is in the forefront of recycling newsprint in this province. They tell me that if the facilities they see coming on stream in terms of de-inking and recycling paper occur, by the next century Ontario, not just northern Ontario, will be importing newspapers from other jurisdictions, American, Quebec, perhaps Manitoban, into this province just to make those plants work and to be environmentally responsible. I think there are opportunities in recycling and reuse.
Mr Morin-Strom: That is not garbage.
Mr Brown: I think it is. The member has not defined what he is talking about here. I think there are opportunities. I have a ream of resolutions from municipalities that are interested in recycling projects, in energy reuse, in a number of things, that are saying, “We want the opportunity.” The north, being 90% of the province, has many different views in many different places. I just have to go on record as saying that I believe that the municipal people, the people in the area we are talking about have every right and should have the right to make their own decisions about what they believe to be practical.
Miss Martel: About a year ago the controversy around Metro garbage really spilled over into this House, and at the time there were some jests and some comments made about how we should transport the garbage to northern Ontario. Since that time the issue has become more explosive. I am glad my colleague has taken the opportunity to raise it for some debate in this House today.
There are two points I want to make. First, shipping southern Ontario garbage to northern Ontario is not going to solve this province’s garbage problem. My colleague reminded us of the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” I suppose if we put garbage on buses, trucks and trains and shipped it to northern Ontario, that would reduce some of the controversy here in the greater Toronto area around garbage, but that is not going to get to the crux of the matter, which really is that this government has to come to grips with this serious environmental issue.
This House unanimously endorsed a resolution by my colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore on 7 December on the hierarchy of the 3Rs; that is, reduce, reuse and recycle. Since that time the Minister of the Environment has gone at it all backwards and instead of putting the emphasis on reduce and reuse has focused almost entirely on recycling. In fact the problems in those other areas still continue. On reduction, for example, my colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore raised the point last week that a typical Canadian household consumes one ton of packaging per year, that 38% of what we send to landfills and incinerators for disposal is packaging and that 82% of the packaging used in Canada is disposed. Less than 20% is reused or recycled. She talked about the steps Ontario could take without the federal government. In fact, on packaging or reducing packaging of items, soft drinks, beer, domestic liquor and milk, all of these things should be returnable, refillable at best and at least have deposits. This has not been done by this government.
Second, the problem about reusing: There has been a constant controversy around refillable pop containers versus pop cans. We have said that the only legislation that is workable on soft drink containers is one that places stiff deposits on all non-refillable containers to discourage their use or one that prohibits their use altogether in favour of refillable, returnable containers. The Minister of the Environment is totally opposed to this. He has said that in letters to municipalities even though those same municipalities, through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, endorsed last year, first, having a refundable deposit fee in Ontario, and second, ensuring that the government of Ontario prohibit the sale of non-returnable drink containers including those now used for soft drinks, milk, juices and all kinds of alcoholic beverages. The minister is far behind what the municipalities in this province think is the answer to the problem.
Third, there are all kinds of problems around recycling. My colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore talked about that, about how far we were away from actually getting a recycling plan that into place that would getting at all the garbage in this province.
Instead of spending our efforts trying to figure out where we can hide garbage in northern Ontario, it seems to me that the thing we should be doing is focusing double, triple our efforts on reuse, reduce, recycling and trying to come to terms with the garbage crisis in Ontario for all of Ontario.
But the second point I want to make -- this is far more important -- is that garbage disposal is not an alternative to long-term, stable economic development in northern Ontario. Many of my colleagues represent single-industry towns. We are always at the mercy of boom and bust in the economy, whether it is up and down prices of nickel or other resources, or the up and down of the value of the Canadian dollar, or the fact that there is the introduction of new taxes like the softwood lumber tax, which again hits at industries and people working in those industries in northern Ontario.
We in this party have said for many years that it is the responsibility of the government of this province to establish a long-term plan for economic development in northern Ontario, one that stresses diversification so we get away from the boom and bust in single-industry towns.
But garbage disposal is not the way to achieve economic diversity in northern Ontario. It is neither stable nor long-term as an employment source. What has happened is that many communities in northern Ontario that have been hit by reductions and closures of mines, or that cannot get the access they once had to timber plots in this province, are so desperate to take any type of employment to reduce some of the pressures in their communities that they would grab at anything. Indeed, they would grab at southern Ontario garbage as the way to have some kind of employment in their communities.
Take, for example, the Sherman mine closures, the Adams mine closures: 700 people thrown out on the street. Take a look at Elliot Lake: 2,000 people to be laid off this August. The Premier and the Treasurer have been there; not a word said about what this government is going to do to reduce the pressures in that community because of that unemployment and because of those layoffs. The Premier has not said a word.
It is not as if northern Ontario does not contribute anything to the economy of this province. In fact, if you take a look at what we do, we contribute enormously to the profits and the wealth of this province. For example, stumpage fees and other forestry revenue are going to be $100 million in 1989-90. The mining profit tax alone is going to provide $197 million of revenue in the fiscal year 1989-90.
What do we get back? In northern Ontario we get a mere $30 million over 12 years through the northern Ontario heritage fund and that is supposed to produce and promote economic development in northern Ontario. That is it; that is all.
Where has the government been on important issues like a fertilizer plant in northern Ontario, like a northern medical school to produce employment, like the manufacturing of dental and surgical equipment that we could do, using the resources we have in northern Ontario? There has been no leadership by this government when it comes to the northern economy. That is why I blame this Liberal government for putting northern communities in the position of having to take garbage as the only source and the only way that they can have employment in their communities.
In summary, the garbage crisis is not going to be resolved by shipping garbage to northern Ontario. We need proper economic development in northern Ontario so that no municipality feels it has no choice but to accept southern Ontario garbage.
The Speaker: The member for Sault Ste Marie may wish to use the final two minutes.
Mr Morin-Strom: This resolution, I feel, and northerners feel, is a vitally important one that sets a principle that this government should be acting on. We want a government committed to the reduction, the reuse and the recycling of materials right across this province to the extent that is possible, but when it comes to that leftover garbage that has to be disposed of, that has to be the responsibility of the regions in which it is generated.
The people of the north are not going to become a wasteland for southern Ontario, and northerners find it an insult that the members of the Liberal government support the concept and the proposal from the greater Metro Toronto area that 25% of its leftover garbage should go to northern Ontario. The north will not accept that as a solution. We are not a wasteland for the south. We are an area that needs real economic development. We have a quality of life that northerners appreciate. We want to maintain that for our children and for future generations.
This is an issue where the government has to decide whose side it is on. Are they on the side of the public or they are on the side of the big developers down here in the greater Metro area who see the opportunity to make millions of dollars on the garbage generated by the population in this area? Surely rural Ontario and northern Ontario should not be foisted with this particular problem. These areas have not generated the garbage. We may have 90% of the area in the north, but we did not generate 90% of the garbage in this province and we should not take the responsibility for cleaning up the mess that Toronto is creating.
Give us real economic development in the north and allow us to maintain the quality of life we all appreciate in our area of the province.
Mr Daigeler moved resolution 51:
That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that the Canadian Criminal Justice Association in their 1989 paper on safer communities has called on the provinces to play a major role in the promotion of crime prevention through social development, the government of Ontario should accept crime prevention as a significant and integral part of public policy, especially in education, housing, social services and health, and continue to create a social environment that nurtures respect for the law, peace and security of its citizens, but also addresses the root causes of crime.
The Speaker: As is the custom and as stated in the standing orders, the member has up to 10 minutes to open the discussion.
Mr Daigeler: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. As usual, you are very generous with your allocations.
It is indeed a privilege to address this House on a topic that has been dear to my heart for many years. Already in my previous work as the researcher for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. I was keenly interested in weaving a social fabric that promotes personal strength and responsibility and prevents crime from entering a person’s mind in the first place.
Crime prevention is an approach to fighting crime. Crime prevention through social development is an approach that overlaps, but is different from law enforcement. Most of our present efforts in Canada to fight crime tend to be through law enforcement. They use the justice system, police, prosecutors, courts and prisons to find the offenders and bring them to justice, to punish or to rehabilitate them. There is a growing recognition, however, that reduced crime in the future will come less from adding police courtrooms and cells than from measures to prevent crimes from happening in the first place.
Crime prevention programs can therefore be examined from three perspectives. The first is the so-called target-hardening. Such programs make potential victims less vulnerable. For cities there are urban designs that discourage robbery and violence. For homes and businesses there are better locks, better designs and reinforcement of vulnerable structures. For automobiles there is encouragement not to leave keys in the cars and to lock them when not in use. And of course, for people there are self-defence programs for minors, women and others often targeted for assault.
Second, there are volunteer participation programs. The best known in Canada are, of course, the Block Parent program and the Neighbourhood Watch program. These are in wide use already. I am very pleased to say that they are very, very effective in that in fact Neighbourhood Watch programs can result in lower insurance premiums for home owners, because they have been proven to be so effective.
Finally, there is the approach to crime prevention called countering deviants. The increase in antisocial deviant behaviour requires us to look at major shortcomings in our society and especially in our family and community life. Often enough, young people no longer receive the consistent and kindly guidance they need in early life to nurture development as normal and responsible members of the community.
Obviously such failings by society do not justify in any way criminal behaviour, nor, and I would like to stress this, do they explain all criminality. A high percentage, nevertheless, of crimes is attributable to a relatively small percentage of the population who have certain characteristics in common.
It is possible to supplement and support the development of this particular group with programs that give them a better chance of normal, fulfilling, contributing lives. In other words, improving the fabric of society where it is found to produce alienation helps us to prevent crime.
Federal and provincial governments so far have focused on the more traditional models of crime prevention: target-hardening and opportunity reduction, combined with a recent emphasis on citizen participation -- the cops, courts and corrections approach. I do not wish to discredit the value of these older models. Rather, my motion simply establishes social development as an essential complement, an action orientation to these traditional models.
I feel that the timing for this particular motion is a good one since as we all know, our legislative standing committee on administration of justice is currently studying a new Police Act. In fact, the committee will be sitting again this afternoon to hear from the public. One of the avowed purposes of this new law, according to the minister’s press release, is to make crime prevention, education and community-oriented services as much a part of policing as law enforcement.
In my motion and my speech today, I am pleased to draw on the work of my federal colleague, Bob Kaplan. As Solicitor General in the Trudeau cabinet, and since then, Mr Kaplan has worked tirelessly to broaden our approach to fighting crime and to alert the different levels of government to their broad responsibilities for crime prevention.
I am also heavily indebted to the Canadian Criminal Justice Association and its 1989 paper entitled Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. This association has called for a coherent, systematic strategy for effective crime prevention by tackling the social situations that cause crime.
Before I describe in greater detail some of the factors that may lead to crime, let me say three important words of caution. As I mentioned already, my resolution is complementary to, not in competition with, opportunity reduction approaches. Second, we must not ignore white-collar offences and new areas of criminal behaviour when we ask for services to those most susceptible to crime. Finally, and most importantly, every effort must be made to avoid the trap of automatic correlation. A number of social factors can combine to increase the likelihood of a person becoming delinquent, but there is certainly no definite or automatic cause and effect relationship. Being poor, being a single mother, living in a disadvantaged area increases the risk, but these factors are but factors, by no means inevitable causes of crime.
Let me describe some of the factors that should be considered in any crime prevention effort. First, there is age. The peak period is in fact the 15- to about 18-year-old range, with persistent and serious delinquents likely to have started at an earlier age and to go beyond 18 in their delinquency. In Canada in fact, the rate of young males charged in 1981 -- the most recent statistics -- rises steadily from 10 per 1,000 at the age of 11, to 80 per 1,000 at age 14, to 165 per 1,000 at age 16.
A person’s sex is another key dimension to look at. Males are much more likely to be involved in crime than females, and that is hardly anything to be proud of since I am a representative of that sex. Of the 92,000 juveniles charged in 1981 with Criminal Code and federal offences, 83,000 were male; in other words, nine males charged for every female. It gives us something to think about.
Obviously we cannot change a person’s age or sex. The point here is to call for prevention efforts that are specifically targeted towards the most vulnerable group, namely, the segment of our population that is approximately between 15 and 25 and male.
According to studies analysed by the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, other factors that can make a big difference include early childhood experiences, parenting styles, circle of friends, education, employment, housing and marital relations.
The parenting characteristics most strongly associated with delinquency are parental criminality, inconsistent, uncaring parenting, family discord and disharmony, and weak parent-child relationships.
Since we are getting very close to the time allocated for me, let me conclude my point here by saying that crime prevention through social development will require many changes in attitudes, programs and plans. It means carefully targeted intervention in the family, schools, youth employment and housing. It means co-ordination of our policies for justice, teaching, training, health, leisure and social welfare. Above all, however, it means our determination at Queen’s Park to make crime prevention through social development an important focus of our priorities. I invite members’ support for this effort.
The Speaker: The next 45 minutes will be divided equally among the three parties.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, I should tell you and the member that we will be supporting the resolution. We applaud its spirit. We applaud its intent. It brings to mind the old Anatole France quote. It has been quoted many times, but as many times as it has been quoted it has been misquoted, so maybe it is time to put on the record the correct comment made by Anatole France just prior to the turn of the century, “The majestic egalitarianism of the law, which forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
This resolution, with its intent, brings that old, oft-used quote to mind, but it also brings to mind some of the immediate shortcomings and some of the things that the member, in moving his resolution and in speaking to it, really brings to the forefront.
We have had imposed upon us, by virtue of the political will of the federal government, a Young Offenders Act. The member is quite right. There is a grossly disproportionate number of young people, youthful people, children involved in the criminal justice system. The Young Offenders Act, in an attempt to address that, of course embraces youngsters up to and including the age of 17.
There are whole big chunks of people out there in the community who find little solace in the fact that it was but a young offender who broke into and vandalized their home, who assaulted them, who caused mischief to their property or who robbed the corner store, the Becker’s, the Mac’s milk or the 7 Eleven in the late hours of the evening.
The young offender who is 16 or 17 years old may well be a six-foot 200-pounder with the names of any number of previous paramours tattooed on his biceps. There are big chunks of the community who find it difficult to understand how that particular type of offender should be accorded special treatment, especially when the courts in this country have, prior to the passage of the Young Offenders Act, given special treatment to and shown leniency towards youthful offenders and among others, as others here will know, to youthful first offenders.
Let’s forget for the briefest of moments that perhaps to consider a 16- or 17-year-old, at least in many cases, a young offender is an absurdity in the minds of most people.
Let’s look at the potential that the Young Offenders Act created for the type of intervention that has been spoken of, because what the Young Offenders Act did for offenders from the age of 12 onwards was to provide that there could be an emphasis on rehabilitation rather than punishment, that there could be an emphasis on treatment and addressing problem areas rather than merely imprisonment for the purpose of creating deterrents. Sadly, the responsibility for generating those programs, although the responsibility was created by the federal government, rests with the provincial government. What do we find in this province now?
We find open custody facilities lacking, day after day, month after month, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. We find judges wringing their hands, receiving psychological reports about these 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old children describing the emotional and psychological problems that can and should be addressed. We find judges wringing their hands because the facilities are not being provided by this province.
If we want to talk about disproportionate representation, yes, there is a disproportionate number of young people involved in the criminal justice system. When you look at those young people, you find kids who are illiterate, kids who are dyslexic, kids who have been abused, mishandled and mistreated in any number of ways. The government has an opportunity to intervene. It has an opportunity to change their lives. It has an opportunity to steer them towards treatment or education. It has an opportunity to influence them with positive role models.
I am prepared to accept that this was at least in part the intent of the Young Offenders Act and the fact that it created open custody facilities and the variety of dispositions that are available to a sentencing judge. Yet it remains that as I said just moments ago, it is true today, right now, in the province of Ontario, it being 11:15, I know there are young offender judges sitting in despair with a youngster, a child in front of them who cannot be helped, and those judges have to say to themselves, and as often as not are saying it publicly, that the province has failed in its responsibility to provide these programs.
There is absolutely no excuse for a province as affluent as this is to have youngsters 12, 13 and 14 years old who remain illiterate. There is absolutely no excuse for young people to suffer from disorders like dyslexia and not be able to obtain treatment. There is absolutely no excuse for youngsters to be abused and mistreated and to show the symptoms and the scars of that, if only in their misconduct, and yet to be denied the therapy, treatment and care that should rightly be theirs.
It is not some long-term goal that we should be looking at here, and that, quite frankly, is what this resolution implies. It is the reality of the present moment when this government, these Liberals, the Premier and his cabinet, have deserted those young people in need of care, treatment and assistance.
It does not take a whole lot of investigation to understand, and there has been a lot of writing and learned discussion about this, that once a kid gets into the criminal justice system and gets labelled, gets marked, the recidivism factor starts to become effective almost immediately. You find kids who may well not be able to remove themselves from that criminal justice system, who find themselves caught up in what is virtually its revolving-door syndrome.
The fact is that in 1990 Ontario there is little room for kids or young people or adults who are illiterate. The fact is that these people do not fit into the mainstream of the community and find themselves on the margin, on the periphery, time after time and subsequently find themselves forced into activity which is criminal.
Again, none of this is to diminish the unfairness of all this to the victims. We have to become increasingly aware of the importance of responding to victims’ needs. It is ironic that this resolution by a Liberal member would come so soon after 31 May, and indeed 30 May, when there were questions and statements in this Legislature about one Timothy Garland.
Do you remember that, Mr Speaker? He is a 27-year-old convicted child molester who is due to be released some 20 days after that date. He is going to be out in a matter of a week or so, untreated, uncared for, uncontrolled, a man who in his prison cell had started writing a list of the names of the little girls who were going to be his next victims, actually describing the horrors that he was going to impose on them.
Yet this government was unresponsive to questions and to issues raised when concerns were expressed. The people of the city of Brampton are concerned. That is where this Garland is from. This creep is going to be roaming the streets of Brampton, and who knows where else in southern Ontario, untreated and committed, quite frankly, to committing more sexual crimes against children.
Here was an opportunity to perform some effective intervention to save some victims and to participate in treatment, but for Garland there was no treatment forthcoming. The government just shrugs. The government just says, “Well, maybe next time.” That is simply not enough because that is not an adequate response to the victim of next time and to the parents and family of that victim of next time.
So the spirit of this resolution we support. But at the same time we point out -- and one would only hope that the government members would be sensitive to it as well, not just be sensitive but do something about it, act on it. The opportunity is there. The fact is that for young people who are being drawn into the criminal justice system, the legislation provides for treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and educational programs right here and now. But the Premier and these Liberals and this government have been thoroughly irresponsible. They have been delinquent, they have been criminal, in their refusal to develop those same programs as they ought to have.
Mr D. W. Smith: I want to make some comments and express support for the private member’s resolution put forth by the member for Nepean, a resolution on crime prevention. With the rapid growth of urban centres, the ready availability of dangerous illegal drugs and what some would describe as a decline in traditional family values in our society, it is more important than ever that government strengthen its stand in support of crime prevention.
As parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Correctional Services, I am honoured to be part of an administration that is active in the prevention of crime. In this role, I have been exposed to the suffering of those whose lives are touched by crime, those who have suffered personally as victims, those who have suffered indirectly, such as the families and friends of victims, and those who are themselves caught up in the criminal justice web. It touches even the average citizens of this province, who are called upon to support police, the courts and correctional programs through their tax dollars.
There are a good many reasons for the government to become involved in programs geared to preventing first offences, particularly among our young people, who may be more likely to be lured into criminal activity by curiosity, peer pressure or boredom, and I would just like to expand a little bit on those three things.
I think of the three children that we have raised or are raising -- our youngest is still 16. You have to keep children at that age, I would say from 10 to 16 or 18, entertained. You have to have them doing something because their minds are very active, and certainly they have got lots of energy to burn off. I think it is a parent’s duty to work at those young people or with those young people as much as they can. I know in some cases this is very difficult, but I think there is a big onus on us as parents to deal with them.
I can think back to my younger days. If I am going to put that age bracket there, I guess I am going back at least 40 years. When you think of the different opportunities you have had from your own peers to maybe put a dare to you and say, “Do you want to do this? Will we go and try and steal an apple?” or something like that, that sometimes is the start that gets us all into trouble.
But I want to say too to those young people that you have to be able to evaluate just what is good for you at that moment and what may be good for you in the long run. I certainly think if you have got into trouble once, maybe you have run amiss of the law, you should not take the attitude that they are out to get you after that, because we all get into that wrong place at the wrong time from time to time. So I think I am going to say in my own personal way that we, as parents, have to do a lot in the crime prevention area.
But I believe in developing such programs. There are some lessons that can be taken from the correctional system in its attempts to prevent the recurrence of crime. We see in the correctional system people who are poor, people who lack the basic educational life skills to cope with the working world. We see people who are functionally illiterate, a term that describes as many as 70 per cent of those under institutional custody in this province. We see people with learning disabilities that have not been addressed by the mainstream educational system. We see people who are mentally and emotionally handicapped, people who have suffered abuse and neglect, people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, people who have never been exposed to constructive leisure-time activity.
Education is certainly one answer to crime prevention, ensuring that citizens know and understand the law, ensuring that young people are aware of the pitfalls of negative lifestyle habits such as drugs and alcohol, ensuring that drivers are plainly aware of the consequences of impaired driving in graphic detail. I believe the police has a video now that you can take. If you have been given a certain charge, you may not have to pay the fine if you are willing to go and watch this very graphic video. It may teach you a lesson so that you will not want to do the thing you have just been charged with.
Deterrence may also have some effect on crime prevention. The range of sanctions available to provincial judges presently include probation, community service orders, restitution orders, electronic monitoring, community residential supervision and institutional custody. But also the ministry is committed to expanding the range of options, particularly those in the community where the deterrent value of restricting personal freedom can be coupled with positive opportunities for rehabilitation.
Treatment can be a major contributor to crime prevention, making sure those with mental health problems have access to clinical services and support networks that they need in order to keep them out of trouble with the law.
Community participation is another important force in crime prevention. This has been demonstrated through programs such as Neighbourhood Watch, Block Parents, police auxiliary and other areas. In Correctional Services we have actively sought and received the support of thousands of volunteers to work with offenders both on the streets and in our jails and correctional centres. At this moment we have over 5,000 volunteers who are willing to work with the clientele we have in some of our correctional institutions and jails.
As a society, we have many responses to the problems to crime, but it is not sufficient to address these problems after the fact. The solutions need to be incorporated as part of a comprehensive preventive strategy in every facet of government interaction with the public: education, health care, social services, labour practices, culture and recreation, even tourism. I sometimes think myself that the sectors of society are so out of balance one with the other that that may be the real economic problem that causes some of our problems out there.
By sensitizing all areas of government to the need to adopt crime prevention strategy as part of their programs and service delivery, I believe we can make a positive difference to the safety and security of every Ontario citizen.
Mr Wildman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Just before I intervene in the debate, I would like to know, if the members of the Conservative caucus are not going to participate in the debate, is it possible to share their time with other members of the other two caucuses?
The Deputy Speaker: Yes, it is possible.
Mr Wildman: In that case then, how much time would I have?
The Deputy Speaker: Fifteen minutes.
Mr Wildman: I am not suggesting that I should take all of theirs. I am suggesting it could be shared between the other two.
The Deputy Speaker: I think we shall wait until the end in case some Tory members come up at the end. If at the end there is still 15 minutes, then at that point I shall share among the members the time.
Mr Wildman: But then people who have spoken would not be able to speak a second time.
Mr Kormos: Maybe the Conservatives are not concerned about crime.
The Deputy Speaker: Does your party still have some time left?
Mr Wildman: We have four minutes, but that is all.
I will participate briefly then. I commend the member for bringing forward the resolution. I understand the intent and I am very much in favour of it. But I think there is a danger in concentrating on statistics, because statistics can indeed show us that crimes, particularly violent crimes or crimes against property, are more often committed by young males who perhaps have not functioned well in our education system, for instance, than by other groups in society.
It might also indicate that certain ethnic groups might more often be charged and/or convicted than others, and there is a danger in extrapolating too much from those statistics. In my area of the province it could indeed be argued that if you are a young male Indian, you are more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system than if you are an older female of Anglo-Saxon background.
I think that is a very dangerous line to get into. Surely the intent of the resolution and the purpose for bringing it forward is to look at the reasons why certain groups might become involved with the criminal justice system more often than others and then to move to determine how we deal with those reasons and what should be done in our education system, in our provision of housing, in our training for jobs and in our economic system to try to change those propensities.
In essence, what we are talking about, I think, in this resolution is a social and an economic revolution, because if one were to argue that people who are poor are more often likely to become involved with the criminal justice system, or people who do not have a lot of work skills, or people who speak a different language or do not have the proficiency of literacy, or people who live in substandard housing or have suffered from family violence or have been exposed to alcoholism or drug abuse, then what we are saying is that we have to move to a better education system that meets the needs of those people, a social system that integrates those people into society, a system of provision of housing that ensures that those people are provided with decent housing and a system that deals with the problems of socialization that will deal with violence in our society.
In essence, what we are talking about is empowering the weak, and our system would then be threatened, because by empowering the weak we threaten the powerful. I am in favour of doing that. I think that this society indeed in many ways needs to be turned upside down, but I doubt very much that this government or any government, despite its good intentions, is prepared to do what is necessary to make those enormous changes in society that might indeed deal with the alienation that many groups feel in order to feel that they are integrated and are part of this society and have a role to play.
Mr Kanter: I am going to be speaking in support of the motion. I note that it deals with crime prevention and talks about a number of different public agencies that should be involved in crime prevention. While I certainly agree that education, housing, social services and health have significant roles to play, I would like to focus particularly on the important and positive role that the police can and should play in crime prevention.
I would like to speak briefly about community-based policing as an approach, about initiatives of the Ministry of the Solicitor General in the area of community-based policing and about some of the specific initiatives of Bill 107 with respect to community-based policing and crime prevention.
I think the philosophy, the approach to crime prevention is of particular importance here, and I think it raises some very basic questions. What is our best defence against disorder or crime? I would agree with the mover of the motion that it is the family at base. It is community institutions, schools and hospitals.
But I would submit that the police do have an important role to play. I think that policing is more than law enforcement or responding to calls for service. I think that the police have a role to play in helping people to improve and protect their neighbourhoods, that the police should work with citizens and help them identify and solve their problems.
What happens when crime occurs or perhaps occurs frequently in a neighbourhood? I think that community-based policing then has an important role to play. Community-based policing is not soft on crime, and I think that community-based policing makes law enforcement more effective.
Some very interesting research on this subject has been done in some jurisdictions, and I would particularly like to bring the attention of the House to a series of publications called Perspectives on Policing, which are published at Harvard University. They result from seminars between police officers, police chiefs, local municipal officers, academics and community leaders.
I think that kind of interchange between the police and various parts of the community on subjects like crime prevention is extremely helpful and should be done more frequently here in Ontario. I think that this research shows that more criminals are caught by information provided by citizens when policing is done in a community-based way.
Police forces in Ontario have established an excellent reputation for integrity and efficiency, but to maintain that reputation I think police forces have to put more attention on problem-solving, consultation with the community they serve and accountability to the community they serve, and I think that is starting to happen.
I would like to spend the rest of my time outlining some of the initiatives of the Ministry of the Solicitor General and some of the initiatives in Bill 107 that promote crime prevention from the police perspective, bearing in mind that it has a broader perspective, the perspective that the member for Nepean referred to in his motion, of other community-based institutions as well.
The Ministry of the Solicitor General has recently established a new division, the policing services division. It has the mandate for crime prevention initiatives in this ministry. I think it is important to note that this government has shown leadership in the responsibility for initiatives in policing. That is something that did not happen before. I had the privilege of serving in the past as parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General and it was a time of great change and expansion within the ministry. Rather than just reacting to the problems that particularly some smaller local police forces experienced, it was a time of taking initiatives, at looking at standards, new programs and new organization to reflect this new concern.
There is now a new policing services division. It has the mandate for crime prevention initiatives. A project manager has been assigned. There is a province-wide network of both police and civilian practitioners known as Crime Prevention Ontario which is supported by the provincial Ministry of the Solicitor General. The ministry is putting more emphasis on crime prevention programming. It is developing resource manuals, both for police officers and community groups, and I understand these will be released later this month at the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police conference which takes place, as I said, later this month.
The ministry is working with other groups concerned with drinking and driving, anti-drug strategy, the crime prevention committee that I mentioned and the Retail Council of Canada loss prevention committee, so the Ministry of the Solicitor General is getting involved in crime prevention. The ministry recognizes the importance of crime prevention and is actively pursuing the concept of crime prevention through community development, one component of social development that the resolution speaks to. The idea of community-based policing -- and I think, again, the mover of the motion referred to this -- the fact that there are different ways of approaching community-based policing, some of them things like target hardening, others a more preventive approach.
I must say, as a municipal politician before I was elected to this Legislature, I certainly took part in Neighbourhood Watch programs and programs of that type. I was concerned that their perspective, while important, may have been limited and incomplete, and I think the motion recognizes the complete range of initiatives we have to take if we want to be effective in crime prevention.
I want to conclude my remarks by making a few comments about Bill 107. It is important, I think, as our committee hearings progress, that we spend most of our time listening to deputations. There has not really been a lot of opportunity for members to speak to this point, but I want to emphasize at least three ways in which crime prevention is very explicitly promoted by Bill 107, as we move from a Police Act that emphasizes law enforcement responding to crime to a Police Services Act that includes crime prevention as one of those services.
First, in terms of the responsibilities of the Solicitor General, he has a very much expanded responsibility to develop and promote programs for community-oriented police services. As I have said, community-oriented services include crime prevention. Second, there is a clarification, a very substantial clarification, of the role of municipal police services boards, the successors to the police commissions, a civilian group which must be in place in every municipality to direct the policy of the police force. This municipal police services board has explicit responsibility under the act. Section 31: “A board is responsible for the provision of police services and for law enforcement and crime prevention in the municipality,” and it goes on to expand and elucidate how that should be done. Again, that is a major initiative.
The third aspect is probably the most significant. The bill spells out the obligations of police chiefs and police officers for the very first time. The duties of a police officer occur in section 42 of the bill, “preserving the peace,” and clause 42(1)(b), “preventing crimes and other offences and providing assistance and encouragement to other persons in their prevention.”
I support the motion. I think that the philosophy behind it has been ably explained by my colleague, and I think that the importance has been recognized by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, particularly with the introduction of Bill 107, which is now before the standing committee on administration of justice.
The Deputy Speaker: As there is a 15-minute period available to the third party and nobody is here yet, I would like to be as fair as possible. I would like at this time to find out who would like to have some of that 15-minute period. The member for Algoma has indicated, even though he has already spoken, that he would like part of that 15 minutes. Is there unanimous consent to allow him to speak?
The Deputy Speaker: Who else would like to speak, if anybody else?
Mr Wildman: Give some to the member for Nepean.
The Deputy Speaker: Of course, the end closure for the two minutes.
Mr Wildman: We could give him more time.
The Deputy Speaker: Would the member for Nepean want more time than his two minutes to end up?
Mr Daigeler: Yes, if possible.
The Deputy Speaker: How much?
Mr Daigeler: Well, we will just go on, and if there is time left --
The Deputy Speaker: In that case, why do we not split the 15 minutes both ways? Would that be fair enough? The member for Algoma for seven and a half minutes.
Mr Wildman: I appreciate the agreement of the members to allow us to use the time and to allow me to speak a second time, which is quite irregular. I am sure the absence of the members of the third party in this debate is not an indication of their feelings about the motion. I know it is out of order to talk about the absence of a member in the House. I would just say that it probably means acquiescence and agreement to the motion.
Mr Daigeler: That is putting a good face on it.
Mr Dietsch: So when you miss the votes, that means you agree.
Mr Wildman: I would not extrapolate too far. I was talking about the danger of doing that a moment ago.
I do want to raise a couple of other problems that I think are spoken to in this resolution. I think my friend the member for Nepean indicated that in his view, I think he used the term “cops, courtrooms and cells” had not been very successful in dealing with crime in our society, and I agree with that. That is not a criticism of the police or the people who serve the bar, the people who serve on the bench, or the people who are involved in the correctional system. It is just that in dealing with policing we are talking about enforcement, we are talking about after the fact; we are not talking about prevention. It is almost similar to the health care system, where we deal with curative medicine and do very little in preventive health care.
The Deputy Speaker: We have a Conservative who has just shown up.
Mr Wildman: The problem with the resolution is, I do not know how we identity the cause of crime or the causes of crime in our society. For that matter, we do not even define what we mean by “crime.” Are we talking about a whole spectrum, all the way from youthful vandalism, a minor crime against property, all the way up to more dangerous types of criminal activity or unlawful activity, illegal activity, such as break and enter, robbery, stealing, to violent crimes of assault and even murder? What do we mean by “crime”? Are we being all-encompassing? Frankly, a number of the things that many of us may have done in our youth which may have violated municipal bylaws or have even been a minor violation of the law to protect property, in my view, does not make the perpetrators criminals.
Oftentimes, people become involved with the justice system and are convicted of offences simply because they are unaware of their own rights before the justice system. Many times people pay the price of poor education or being unaware. I think that we have to be very careful in this resolution as to what we mean by crime and also in identifying what causes people to become involved with the justice system.
I said that I agree that cops, courtrooms and cells have failed. They have failed in our society because we have an enormously high recidivism rate. People who are convicted and serve time, more often than not, within a not-very-long period of time are back before the justice system, before the courts, and are incarcerated once again. Rehabilitation, for whatever reason, has not been successful in most cases.
Most people who are convicted are, in fact, incarcerated with little or no psychological treatment. We are, in fact, just punishing people or keeping them off the street for a period of time; we are not in any way empowering them or influencing them to a different approach to life after they are released. We do not provide the facilities and the personnel that is required to educate people and to deal with their psychological and social problems. If we do not do that, we cannot fulfil the purpose of this resolution.
It is not just money. Obviously, we need to provide more funding for these kinds of services in our society. It is partly attitudinal, as the member for Nepean indicated. We have to be willing to do that, to be concerned about it. We cannot just want to punish people or keep them locked away. We have to try to determine why and who might become involved with the justice system, who might become a problem for himself or herself and for the society, and then be able to deal with those people.
This is a very, very big issue. I congratulate the member for bringing it forward before the House.
But I want to ensure that we all recognize that we are talking about major change, not just adjustments in how the police operate, in our society. Perhaps crime, like the poor, will always be with us. But as long as we accept that the poor are always with us, I submit that crime indeed will always be with us. Are we willing to attack the type of economic and social system that we have for so long accepted that indeed means that some people are poor, ill-educated and vulnerable in our society, while others are wealthy, well-educated and strong?
I appreciate the additional time.
I note that there is a member of the third party here. I hope that person will be able to participate in the debate.
I appreciate the member for Nepean allowing me to participate, as I have done.
Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, I assume that although our party missed its turn, I may have some time. Is that correct?
The Deputy Speaker: We have seven and a half minutes on the clock. Is there agreement to that?
Mrs Marland: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will leave time for the mover of the resolution to sum up since he was anticipating that. May I apologize, first of all, that there was not anyone here from our caucus to speak in the normal rotation this morning. In my own case, we have had a small emergency in our office, so I am here pinch-hitting.
I want to read into the record, however, preceding my comments, the resolution of Mr Daigeler: “That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that the Canadian Criminal Justice Association in their 1989 paper on Safer Communities has called on the provinces to play a major role in the promotion of crime prevention through social development, the government of Ontario should accept crime prevention as a significant and integral part of public policy, especially in education, housing, social services and health, and continue to create a social environment that nurtures respect for the law, peace and security of its citizens, but also addresses the root causes of crime.”
This is a very creditable resolution. I congratulate the member for Nepean for bringing it to the House. I think it is also significant that the member for Nepean is a member of the government and he is giving a message through this resolution to his own government. I think it is important that a statement is being made here that we look at, as the words say, “the root causes of crime.”
It is encouraging to note that in the wording the “especially” emphasis is in education, housing, social services and health. It is really refreshing to see for once that we are not attacking the policing of our province or the police officers throughout all the forces in Ontario with the problems of crime prevention.
I see this as a progressive approach to thinking, because too often -- I may emphasize far too often -- in the last few years the attack on the police forces in Ontario when we are dealing with crime has been, in my opinion, unjust. We have had situations where police officers are in fact dealing with the end result of the voids in these areas that are so well addressed in this resolution, those areas of education, housing, social services and health. If we were to deal with those areas as priorities, I am quite sure that the job of policing in the total package of crime prevention would be made easier.
I always stand with pride to commend those people who are at the end of the problem dealing with criminality in our communities. Those people who serve to enforce law and keep all of us safe never receive the recognition that they deserve. I know there are different problems in different areas with different individuals, as there are in every job and vocation in this province today, but I feel that we should make the emphasis that is being recommended in this resolution in terms of crime prevention, and make the job easier at the other end in dealing with those people who commit the crimes and the people who serve to deal with those people in the criminal events. The police officers, the men and women of this province who serve to protect all of us, I am sure, would be very happy today to see a resolution of a government member suggesting that there are other ways to deliver programs of crime prevention in Ontario today. I look forward to supporting the resolution.
Mr Daigeler: Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak. I guess I have four minutes now, with my closing two minutes and the two minutes that are left.
The Deputy Speaker: Three and a half.
Mr Daigeler: Let me thank, first of all, the members and the member for Mississauga South in particular who came in and I would say perhaps saved the credibility of the third party, because I do think the issue I raised is a very important one for public policy generally in this province and in fact in the country. It is recognized by the criminal justice association of Canada itself that we have to look at crime in a global and comprehensive fashion.
I would like to particularly thank as well the member for Algoma. As it happens, I must say I agree with him quite a bit. Perhaps one of the reasons I agree with him so much is that he has some very close relatives from Nepean and in fact those relatives are good Liberals. Perhaps that is where the connection comes in with the member for Algoma.
When he says we have to be very careful about statistics and drawing correlations too quickly, I absolutely agree with him. In fact, I stressed this in my speech. The member may not have been here at this particular point. It is certainly not in any way an automatic relationship between certain social characteristics such as poverty or single parenthood that they automatically lead to delinquency.
Nevertheless, we cannot fail to recognize the statistics that show, on the one hand, that we have certain factors -- very highly concentrated public housing areas, income levels that are very low, education levels that are not very advanced -- and, on the other hand, that we have people who have committed crimes. So while we have to be very careful not to say that if you are poor, therefore it will lead to delinquency, that we must avoid that, at the same time, and here again I agree with the member for Algoma, it does point out that we must be reformist or, as he has said, radical in our approach towards social policy.
While we may not have started a revolution and while we may not be able or want to start a revolution, I do agree with him that we want to start a reform. In fact, one of the purposes of my motion is to encourage the continuation of the reform that we have already started, especially the social assistance reforms that, with the support of the whole House, were initiated by the former Minister of Community and Social Services, the member for Kitchener-Wilmot.
I do simply, with my motion, want to encourage all of the different ministries to look at their efforts towards social change in a very, very broad perspective, that it is not just of interest to their own particular ministries but that it has impact even on such things as delinquency, in particular also in the area of education, where early childhood education is so extremely important to set people on the right road towards responsibility in life later on. I am very pleased that the throne speech in fact has those goals set out.
The Deputy Speaker: This completes the time allocated for the debate on Mr Daigeler’s resolution.
The Deputy Speaker: We shall first deal with Mr Morin-Strom’s resolution. Mr Morin-Strom has moved resolution 53.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
We will have the vote deferred for a few minutes.
The Deputy Speaker: Mr Daigeler has moved resolution 54.
Motion agreed to.
The House divided on Mr Morin-Strom’s motion, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes -- 13
Allen, Bryden, Charlton, Farnan, Hampton, Kormos, Mackenzie, Martel, Morin-Strom, Nixon, J. B., Philip, E., Pouliot, Wildman.
Nays -- 28
Adams, Bossy, Brown, Carrothers, Cleary, Cordiano, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elliot, Faubert, Fleet, Hošek, Kanter, Keyes, Leone, Mahoney, Mancini, Marland, Miller, Oddie Munro, Owen, Pelissero, Pollock, Ray, M. C., Reycraft, Roberts, Tatham.
The House adjourned at 1213.
The House resumed at 1330.
PRIVATIZATION OF LABORATORY TESTING
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, let me tell you one more chapter in the health care horror show that the Liberals here in this provincial government are creating for people in Ontario.
As of 16 April 1990, at the Welland County General Hospital all lab testing of non-pre-operative patients is being contracted out. These services, which were originally provided internally and for which the facilities are there, are ones for which the hospital does not receive subsidization from the Ministry of Health. At the same time, when they are contracted out so that patients have to travel to private labs operating in the city of Welland, OHIP will pay for the lab procedure on a per-procedure basis.
It is incredible. In fact, some five employees have been displaced in the hospital as a result of this transfer of responsibility. In the last two years, five jobs have been eliminated because of what amounts to privatization of a service that ought to be provided by the hospital. It is nonsensical and indeed it is stupid that the Ministry of Health would be paying private labs to do a service that could be performed properly and appropriately in the hospital, but the problem is that it would rather finance and subsidize private corporations than its own health care system.
NATIONAL UNITY DAY
Mr McCague: On behalf of my party, I would like to congratulate the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and president Eileen Lennon on its National Unity Day initiative. The teachers are currently organizing a simultaneous singing of 0 Canada by children across the country. This is in response to concerns that Ontario students have expressed about the fate of our nation.
The five-minute, coast-to-coast salute to national unity is scheduled for next Tuesday, 12 June. It will begin at 12 noon in Ontario. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association has contacted teacher organizations across the country to encourage national participation. It is hoped that some five million children will sing the national anthem simultaneously.
We encourage our national leaders, who are struggling daily with the current constitutional crisis, to take note of this very special event.
Mr Tatham: The Los Angeles basin contains some of North America’s dirtiest smoggy air, but they are going to try three small activities to fight smog. The most unusual is the electric street planned for a section of Los Angeles by the city’s department of water and power and Southern California Edison, a local utility. Each is putting up $1 million.
It will involve stringing electric cables beneath 1,000 feet of roadway in a West Los Angeles development called Plaza Vista. The cables would be used to power electric vehicles that run on the roadway and to recharge their batteries. Initially, two modified vans and a specially designed electric passenger bus will ply the street. The vehicles are expected to operate within about a 20-mile radius of the development.
Second, Santa Barbara will soon be operating two electric buses, no wires overhead or underground, using self-contained batteries.
Third, Unocal, a Los Angeles-based oil company, will spend $5 million by giving $700 to the first 7,000 people who come forward with pre-1971 clunkers. The sellers will also be provided with a free bus pass for one month.
High-watt highways would be difficult in freeze-thaw Ontario, but fresh air is precious.
GOOD NEIGHBOUR AWARDS
Mr Farnan: Today I wish to applaud the leadership of the Cambridge Times for organizing the 1990 Good Neighbour Awards. These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals, groups and businesses to environmental awareness in the Cambridge community.
Brian Reid, the editor of the Cambridge Times, was the driving force behind this project. His concept was accepted and supported by the Times publisher, Jim Merriam, and his staff. The response of the Cambridge community was enthusiastic.
The purpose of the project was to get beyond the enumeration of the threats that exist to our natural environment and to celebrate the vast number of local citizens who have altered our lifestyles or developed new ideas and projects to help turn things around. These range from new corporate policies to changes in family lifestyle to students’ environmental projects. The award recipients ranged in age from elementary school children to seniors, and the awards ceremonies were well attended and meticulously planned.
It is expected of a community newspaper that it keep the residents informed on matters of community concern, and the Cambridge Times does this very well indeed. However, the community is blessed when the media go beyond this role and in a constructive and positive manner highlight the accomplishments of environmental role models.
So often we feel overwhelmed by the enormous environmental problems that we must face. However, the Good Neighbour Awards program initiated by the Times gives us hope that we can meet and overcome these environmental challenges. I would urge the Times to make this an annual event, and on behalf of the entire Cambridge community we salute the management and staff of the Cambridge Times.
NATIONAL ACCESS AWARENESS WEEK
Mrs Marland: Sunday 10 June marks the beginning of National Access Awareness Week, which has been designated to inform the public about the problems facing disabled persons. The theme for the week is, “Independence -- That’s Living.”
It was a very special Canadian, Rick Hansen, who proposed National Access Awareness Week as a means for the public to learn about the importance of integrating persons with disabilities into all areas of society. We have come far in accommodating the special needs of disabled persons in Ontario. For instance, access to public and commercial buildings has been greatly improved, transit services have been developed in most urban areas, and employment opportunities have been broadened.
But we still have a long way to go. Disabled persons living in rural areas do not have adequate transportation services, and those in some urban areas have to book rides several days in advance. The number of people requiring attendant care exceeds the supply by 3 to 10 times. We are waiting for the government to fulfil promises regarding employment equity, integrated housing and support services.
During National Access Awareness Week, it is important for us all to review access to employment opportunities, financial security, transportation, buildings and recreation. Only with full access can disabled persons achieve the independence that is necessary to lead a full and enriched life.
Mr Dietsch: It is with great pleasure that I rise today to inform my colleagues in this House of a very special concert taking place in my riding this evening. The Peninsula Music Club Orchestra and I are proud to co-sponsor a heritage concert to benefit the British Methodist Episcopal Church restoration fund.
The church, located at 92 Geneva Street in St Catharines, will be celebrating its 135th anniversary in November. It has played an integral role in the history of our city. Originally built by runaway slaves who had fled the American south, the church was closely tied to activities of Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous conductors of the underground railroad during the early and mid-l880s. Today the church continues to serve as a place of worship as well as a guardian of black heritage and culture in our community.
The program will feature the talents of the Peninsula Music Club Orchestra, the Laura Secord Quintet, the Garden City Brass Quintet and the Workman Gospel Quartet as well as performances by the members of the British Methodist Episcopal Church congregation.
I would like members to join with me in expressing my deep appreciation to the numerous businesses within our community who so generously donated to the fund to help make this evening possible. We give special thanks to Helen Smith of the BME church, whose drive and determination will make this restoration project a reality.
Mr Hampton: From time to time in our work representing our constituents, we meet a constituent who focuses our attention on the real world. Recently I received a letter from a constituent who asks, “Why is our tax system the way it is?” She gave me permission to read part of her letter, because I think it says a lot about the tax system we have here in Ontario. She says:
“I have a problem to understand about taxes, why the poor have to pay more taxes than the wealthy. I am a widow. I live in my own house. My pension is only $11,940 a year. I am 64 years old. I had to retire last year on account of poor health. My back gave out. I used to be a housekeeper in the hospital.
“They say that the poverty line is $15,000 a year, so it means I live under the poverty line. I don’t have any other income, only my pensions: Canada pension and a hospital pension. When I filled out the income tax this year, I had to pay $967. How come?
“I cannot live in poverty. I cannot eat good. One pension I save to pay property taxes and house insurance. At the end of the year I need $2,000 just to pay the property taxes, the house insurance and the income tax. The other pension I live on. But I don’t eat well. I don’t eat meat. Last week I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well. He told me it’s because I’m not eating very well. I should eat better.”
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES STAFF DAY
Mr Jackson: I read in today’s Toronto Sun newspaper that the Minister of Natural Resources has cancelled her now-famous fun-in-the-sun staff picnic which I raised in the House two days ago. At that time, I suggested to the minister that forcing civil servants to attend an all-day pool party and steak barbecue could hardly be considered a service to the taxpaying public. I can only assume from the minister’s decision that she agrees with me.
The minister has indicated that the focus of that day, as opposed to the cost, was her primary concern. We are reminded on an annual basis by the Provincial Auditor that the cost to the taxpayer has never been a major concern to this government, be it the cost of a picnic or a policy, the dry-cleaning or the Christmas parties of cabinet ministers. The Premier and his cabinet seem to think that simply because they hiked tax revenues by 132% since taking office they can spend it any way they please. That attitude is unacceptable, particularly at a time when, because of those tax hikes, taxpayers have to do more with less and when in spite of those tax hikes our hospitals, universities, school boards and other agencies are being asked to do more with less.
The minister’s decision provides us with a rare demonstration of common sense on the part of a member of the Peterson cabinet. However, like the Premier’s own sudden case of pre-election morality, I suspect that this decision is more the product of political expedience than it is of good judgement.
TOWN OF DRYDEN
Mr Miclash: A couple of weeks ago I took pride in handing out to my colleagues in the House a supplement to Trade and Commerce magazine 1990, entitled Dryden, Town of the Decade.
Dryden is truly the town of the decade. Situated in the centre of my riding, it services some 10,000 people. It has grown and prospered with a solid foundation in the forest industry. As well, the town has been blessed with insightful leadership and more than competent municipal administration to create an appealing and privileged community, complete with all the amenities of any major community.
When it comes to the people of Dryden, I must only refer to the comments made by my colleague the member for Peterborough, who after his first visit to the town said, “I can report that the residents of this important part of the province are enthusiastic, hardworking, well organized and extremely well informed.” I share his comments.
During visits to Dryden by my fellow caucus members, cabinet members and the Premier, we are often quoted the town’s motto: “Dryden is carved from the wilderness and progressing with the wise use of natural resources.” The mayor, Tommy Jones, is always quick to point out that its most valued natural resource is its citizens, and as witnessed by both visitor and resident, Dryden is a great little town with a sense of community.
Might I ask that my fellow colleagues join me in congratulating this, the first ever town of the decade.
Hon Mr Ward: I wonder if we could have unanimous consent to honour Portuguese National Day.
The Speaker: I will put your request to the members. Is there unanimous consent?
PORTUGUESE NATIONAL DAY
Hon Mr Wong: Today marks the annual celebration of Portuguese National Day. It is a time to celebrate Portuguese life in Ontario. It is also a time to stop and reflect on what it means to live in our great province.
This government is committed to ensuring that all the people of Ontario have the opportunity to participate fully in our multicultural society while retaining and sharing their identities and cultures. As Minister of Citizenship and minister responsible for multiculturalism, I have the responsibility to oversee our progress towards this goal and to serve as an advocate for our multicultural communities to my cabinet colleagues.
Multiculturalism is a reality in Ontario, lived daily by people of diverse cultures and races. It embraces the rich cultural and racial heritage of every person in our province. This dynamic concept of multiculturalism embraces those in the Portuguese community.
It is especially significant that by celebrating Portuguese National Day we are not commemorating a battle of war but the memory of Luiz de Camões, Portugal’s national poet, whose legend has survived long since his death in 1580. This is an example of the pursuit of peace and harmony through one’s nationhood. This day honours a true cultural hero and not a latter-day warrior or political liberator. This exemplifies the ideal to which the people of Canada and Ontario aspire: a society of peace, acceptance and understanding. This is a goal we all share.
On behalf of the Ontario government, I extend best wishes for a successful national day weekend.
Mr Farnan: If there is one fact I want to stress in recognizing the national day of Portugal, it is the warmth of the Portuguese and Portuguese Canadian people. I am not just referring to the wonderful and colourful religious festivals, processions and fetes; I am talking about their everyday kindness, generosity and friendliness. They are our co-workers, our neighbours and especially our friends.
I happen to represent the riding of Cambridge, and in that community we have approximately about 14,000 Canadians of Portuguese origin. In Ontario we are probably talking of some 300,000 Canadians of Portuguese origin.
I happen to live in a neighbourhood in which the vast majority, certainly well over 50% of my neighbours, would be of Portuguese descent. I think of my next-door neighbour, Carlos, and his fine family, Tina and Leo across the street, Maria and Antonio down the street, and I can say that one could not wish for better neighbours.
But it goes beyond that, it goes way beyond that, because the Portuguese community in Cambridge, as in other communities across the province, has made a very significant contribution to the economic prosperity and the social and cultural fabric of our province and of our communities.
Among the traits of the Portuguese community, I would say that foremost is the strong family commitment, the love that exists in the family, the manner in which they strive to create opportunities for the advancement of their children, encouraging them to work in the educational system and encouraging them on into the fields of business, the professions and academia, their strong tradition in their religious beliefs and their pride in preserving the unique heritage of language, music, dance and celebration and encouraging the continuance of centuries and centuries of customs and traditions by passing them along from generation to generation.
In Cambridge, our Portuguese community is looking forward to celebrating next year the 25th anniversary of the Portuguese parish. In order to celebrate that anniversary, they decided they wanted to do something tangible and worth while for the community. That is typical of the Portuguese within Cambridge.
So they decided they wanted to build a housing project. This was the inspired idea of Father Antonio Cunha, and he has put together a board, including José Sousa, Germano Bairos, John Raposo, José Escobar, Edouardo Madeiros, Virginio Pacquette, Edouardo Pareira, Adelino Pinto and José DaRosa. What a monument to their presence in Canada that they would want to be at the forefront in addressing the housing needs of this province and of their own beloved community of Cambridge.
The minister is quite correct; when the Portuguese people looked to choose a national hero, they did not choose a warrior. They did not celebrate a war. They chose a poet. Luiz de Camões is a celebrated poet of the Portuguese people and the greatest figure of Portuguese literature.
There is so much in the history of Portugal, from the age of discovery on down. Indeed, Luiz de Camões wrote an epic poem, Os Lusiadas, in which he wrote, “The Portuguese gave new worlds to the world.” We are extremely proud to have within Ontario and within our communities people of Portuguese descent. I personally am very proud to represent one of the largest communities in Ontario.
Mrs Marland: On behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party, I am delighted to pay tribute to all Ontarians of Portuguese ancestry as they prepare to celebrate their national day this coming Sunday 10 June.
Many countries observe national days which commemorate past glories, battles, revolutions or independence. Portuguese National Day commemorates its illustrious lyric poet Luiz de Camões, who died on 10 June 1580. This tells us a great deal about the soul of the country and the people. It is said of de Camões that his epic narrative of Portuguese achievement, Os Lusiadas, is the greatest of all Renaissance epics, patterned on the Roman poet Virgil. No others approached de Camões in inspiration or poetic gifts.
Large-scale Portuguese immigration to Canada began after 1950. Since then, a steady stream of people have been coming to Ontario in search of opportunity for themselves and their families. Most of them settled in greater Toronto, others in cities throughout the southwestern part of the province. The first Portuguese club in Toronto started in 1956 and became a popular centre for community activities. Many other clubs and associations have since been formed to fill cultural, recreation and social needs. These organizations also help newcomers to adjust to life in a different country.
In my city of Mississauga we are fortunate to have a large and dynamic Portuguese community that is an integral part of our cultural mosaic. When Jack Almeida, one of the central figures in the Portuguese community of Mississauga, passed away last January, we all mourned the loss of one of Mississauga’s most outstanding citizens. He was the founder of the Portuguese Club of Mississauga, and Jack was also a key organizer of Carassauga and a member of the immigration and refugee board.
Our province has been greatly enriched by various ethnic communities, and the vibrant people of Portuguese origin have made an important contribution to the quality of life wherever they have settled. An example of a typical quality of family life which stands as a role model for us all is the family of Maria and Manuel Goulart and their two sons. Their example is to all of us who came to this country as immigrants.
We are very happy today to extend our best wishes on this wonderful occasion to all our friends in the Portuguese communities around Ontario.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
NATIONAL ACCESS AWARENESS WEEK
Hon Ms Collins: Starting Sunday, people will be celebrating National Access Awareness Week across Ontario and across Canada.
It is an important opportunity for each one of us to become more aware of the achievements and talents of people with disabilities. It is also a time to look closely at the accessibility of employment, education, recreation, housing and transportation in our communities. Do our communities offer people with disabilities a chance to fully participate?
This is the third annual National Access Awareness Week, and 50 Ontario towns and cities are holding special events across the province. Government, disability organizations, business, municipalities and community groups are working together to ensure that the progress towards integration continues.
Our combined efforts are necessary if we are to remove the greatest barrier to integration for people with disabilities: outmoded public attitudes. When people with disabilities are excluded from the mainstream of community life, we all lose. National Access Awareness Week promotes better understanding of the contribution and the still greater potential that people with disabilities bring to Ontario’s social and economic life.
This special week is an excellent example of community-based participation and involvement. While government can do a great deal to remove obstacles for people with disabilities, growing public acceptance and support for integration ensures that gains will continue to be made.
Ontario kicks off National Access Awareness Week this Sunday afternoon at Queen’s Park. Members have been invited to attend the ceremony, which opens an important week for all of us who believe in equality.
ONTARIO SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Hon Mr Offer: It gives me great pleasure to announce the fourth annual Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of the Ontario Special Olympics. The torch run is a volunteer fund-raising activity of Ontario police departments and is sponsored by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
As part of the windup of weeks of fund-raising runs across the province conducted by the police, a ceremonial run around Queen’s Park will be held later today. About 20 Ontario Provincial Police officers and Ontario Government Protective Service officers will be taking part.
The Ontario Special Olympics provides training, fitness and recreational programs for persons with disabilities. Currently, there are almost 5,000 people registered as Special Olympians in Ontario.
Last year, 3,200 police runners raised more than $310,000 in support of the Special Olympics in a series of relays totalling more than 5,000 kilometres. This year, there are eight relays comprised of representatives from every participating police service in Ontario. A ceremonial final relay will lead into the SkyDome before tonight’s Toronto Blue Jays game. Tonight at the SkyDome, 700 Special Olympians accompanied by 800 police officers will be on hand to cheer on our Toronto Blue Jays.
I hope the people of Ontario will join the police of the province in supporting the Special Olympians and join me in cheering the good efforts of the police. The direct involvement of police volunteers has brought new opportunities for Special Olympians. The training and recreational activities resulting from this volunteer effort have improved and enhanced the physical development and quality of life of those with developmental disabilities.
I am sure that all members of this House will join with me in thanking the police who volunteered to help the Special Olympians.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Hon Mr Phillips: I would like to advise the members that later today I propose to bring forward a number of amendments to Bill 208, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Of those amendments, there is one that I would particularly like to bring to the attention of the House. That is an amendment which would improve the ability of public sector employees to respond to health and safety risks in their workplaces. Currently, these workers are excluded from exercising these responsibilities.
The workers that will be affected by the amendment include police officers, firefighters, correctional officers and most health care workers. This amendment would give these workers formal mechanisms similar to those that have been in place for private sector employees for the past 10 years. This would include the right, within certain limitations, to avoid occupational hazards. At the same time, we have carefully built in assurances that recognize that public health and safety will continue to be placed first and foremost.
Public sector workers will have the right to refuse to do dangerous work provided certain conditions are met: (1) if the refusal does not endanger the life, health or safety of another person; (2) if the danger in question is not an inherent part of the employee’s work, and (3) if the danger in question is not a normal condition of employment.
For example, a police officer could not refuse to intervene in, say, a robbery attempt on the grounds that the suspect was armed and therefore the work dangerous, nor could the officer refuse to police a particular area or location because it was considered dangerous. Such situations are inherent in the job. However, a police officer could, before beginning a day on patrol duty, refuse to do so in a vehicle that had faulty brakes.
Similarly, a firefighter could not refuse a dangerous task that arises while responding to a firefighting emergency. He or she could refuse to handle firefighting chemicals that were being incorrectly stored.
In another example, an experienced medical lab technologist could not refuse to handle a blood sample from a patient with an infectious disease in the course of his or her regular work, but the technologist could refuse to test for a highly infectious virus where proper protective clothing and safety equipment are not available.
These examples may give the members some idea of how the amendment would affect public sector workers.
This amendment will enable Ontario to join all the other provinces and the federal government in giving public sector workers greater rights and responsibilities in dealing with workplace hazards. I am confident, based on other Canadian experience, that extending these rights will result in improved health and safety for public sector workers.
There are a small number of other amendments to the bill which I will bring forward. One amendment focuses on the logging industry, and it will clarify the responsibilities of those holding timber licences. Another amendment would maintain the present definition of work that may be refused.
I look forward to bringing these amendments before the House later today.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr Mackenzie: We are pleased to see the amendments that are coming in, in terms of public sector workers’ right to refuse, or at least to deal with hazardous situations. I should, however, tell the minister that there never was an intent to refuse many of the jobs he outlined trying to sell this piece of legislation, and I think the minister knows that.
The tragedy of this amendment -- and we do agree that it improves the legislation as it now stands -- is that it is, in effect, the federal legislation and we are breaking no new ground. It would have been so much more effective for Ontario to have given the public sector workers the same rights that other workers have in terms of unsafe jobs.
NATIONAL ACCESS AWARENESS WEEK / SEMAINE NATIONALE POUR L’INTÉGRATION DES PERSONNES HANDICAPÉES
Mr Allen: I want to join with the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons in encouraging all members and all citizens of Ontario to participate as actively as possible in next week’s recognition of the handicapped and disabled in our community and once more to galvanize our efforts more securely and strongly to see that their full integration into the life of our society and all of our communities is finally complete.
I think that there has been in recent years quite a parade of films, books, announcements and activities, voluntary sector and otherwise, which have called attention to all the remarkable abilities that often lie hidden behind the wall of difficulty that persons with handicaps have. The recognition and involvement of them and their abilities in our communities in a full and adequate way would enrich us all, so in all areas, whether recreation, transportation or employment, whether in work, play or education, those opportunities need to be there fully and completely for disabled persons.
But given that this mood has changed so much, I am very surprised that the minister refers to the fact, as she sees it, that the greatest barrier to integration is in outmoded public attitudes. The public is accepting, ready, waiting and the handicapped and the disabled are still in need. I suggest to the minister that perhaps the attention ought to be drawn a little bit more closely to the fact that when we come to install transportation networks, in a grand recent announcement, for example, there was no clear provision for elevators in Metropolitan Toronto subway stations; that GO Transit is not integrated; that, for example, our party has had to wait five years since the government opposite was committed to an employment equity bill for the disabled and other persons in 1985 under the New Democratic Party-Liberal accord which brought this present government to power. Five years later there is still no bill.
I ask you, Mr Speaker, where is the will that is lacking? Where is the vision that is lacking? It is not with a public that has outmoded public attitudes; it is with a government that has not undertaken the actions that are appropriate and necessary vigorously enough, sufficiently enough, in order to see that the handicapped, the disabled, have an integrated place, a full station, of equivalent benefit, equivalent access and full enjoyment of life as individuals in our society.
La semaine nationale pour l’intégration des personnes handicapées est l’occasion, pour chacun d’entre nous, de prendre davantage conscience des réalisations et des talents des personnes qui ont un handicap. Ce sera également le moment d’examiner attentivement l’accessibilité aux emplois, à l’éducation, aux loisirs, aux logements et aux transports dans les localités. Les personnes qui sont handicapées n’ont pas, jusqu’ici, la possibilité de participer pleinement aux activités de la collectivité.
ONTARIO SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Mr Kormos: We join with the Solicitor General in congratulating and applauding those police officers and other law enforcement personnel participating in the fourth annual law enforcement torch run today. They are to be thanked for their efforts, which have created new opportunities for developmentally disabled people. At the same time those people who participate in the Special Olympics as Special Olympians are to be congratulated for their extra effort and for their excellence within their own frameworks.
Down in Niagara region we are, quite frankly, accustomed to police officers being participants in volunteer work. People like Wayne Mills and his long-time work in hockey coaching; Rick Geedy in the Boy Scout movement; Ernie Clayton in young people; Peter Race and Ray Crown with the Optimist club. These are all police officers who have also gone that extra mile.
Mr Runciman: My party wants to join with the Solicitor General and other members of the Legislature in saluting the police officers in the law enforcement torch run on behalf of the Ontario Special Olympics.
As we know, police officers across this province in the past period of time have been subjected to considerable criticism in some quarters, and I think that the efforts by the police in respect to what they are doing for the Special Olympics in Ontario once again indicate quite clearly what kind of significant role police officers play in our society, not simply jobs enforcing law but their off-duty participation in numerous community activities. I know we see them always in the schools and the community centres alerting members of society, especially children, against the dangers of illicit drug use, bike riding and a host of other things.
In our own building in the Queen’s Park detachment I know that Constable Deb Walker has raised in the neighbourhood of $850. I know that Constable Walker is a very persuasive lady in blue indeed and that most members of this assembly have been touched by Constable Walker in respect to this particular fundraising effort. I want to congratulate Constable Walker and all the men and women in blue who are participating in this most worthwhile event. It reinforces the Progressive Conservatives’ view and the view, I believe, of most Ontarians that indeed cops are tops.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mrs Marland: In responding to the statement from the Minister of Labour, I just want to refer to where he talks of “mechanisms similar to those that have been in place for private sector employees for the past 10 years,” where he is talking about the changes to Bill 208 for the public sector. Obviously, if it has been there in the private sector for 10 years, the government could have done this a long time ago.
He also refers to another amendment that would maintain the present definition of work that may be refused. We do not know what the present definition of dangerous work is and the minister appears to change it daily. We also want to look very quickly at the chronology of this bill and look at the announcements of Bill 106 in 1987, Bill 208 in January 1989, government amendments to Bill 208 in February 1990, and now we have today’s.
Anyway, in our opinion today’s announcement is insulting to the public sector employees. Only on their fourth swipe at occupational health and safety in Ontario did they get it right. Well done, perhaps, but why could this not have been done sooner?
NATIONAL ACCESS AWARENESS WEEK
Mrs Marland: In also speaking to the statement today by the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons, I just want to say at the outset that in her statement where she says they should have time “to look closely at the accessibility of employment, education, recreation, housing and transportation,” about transportation I would ask that minister, what about transportation at the Toronto Transit Commission and access in a real sense of the meaning of that word for people who live in Metropolitan Toronto?
Also, their commitment to employment equity is very weak. We have had five years of promises and throne speeches and we have had a result of nothing.
I think, on a positive note, that it is important to use this opportunity to recognize and thank from the bottom of our hearts all those volunteers who work every day of their lives to help people in this province who have disabilities, people who, I might say, shine in the example of a family like the Cleary family in Mississauga which started the Peel Association for Handicapped Adults. Mr Cleary actually died last year, but that is a family which for 20 years has devoted its life to the wellbeing of people with disabilities, and we congratulate and thank them all.
Mr Jackson: On the occasion of National Access Awareness Week I would like to invite the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons to use this occasion to convince her government that it should not be one of the only provinces in Canada that discriminates against handicapped children who attend independent schools.
We have a health care program in this province that is specifically denied to children in independent schools. We have agreement from the minister that it is wrong. We have agreement from the Minister of Education that it is wrong, and even from the Minister of Health. Let’s stop blaming each ministry and let’s start helping children like Wally Elgersma and the hundreds of other students like him who are denied health care just because they are handicapped and in an independent school.
Mr Reville: My question is to the Deputy Premier. Mrs Patti Starr has made serious allegations that a high-ranking member or high-ranking members of the Peterson government told her how to launder political contributions. In the Toronto Star she refers to “very, very senior people.” In the Globe and Mail Mrs Starr describes “a ‘major, senior’ figure in Mr Peterson’s 1985 cabinet.”
Most Ontario political observers would say that the senior people in the government include the Minister of Education, the Attorney General and the Deputy Premier himself as probably the most senior. Will the Deputy Premier assure us that he has made the appropriate inquiries and will he now confirm that none of those ministers I have mentioned is Mrs Starr’s coach?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I read those allegations in the press today. I consider that is all they are. There are charges that have been laid. Investigations have gone forward. The Commission on Election Finances has some responsibility in this regard to review it. I have taken no other action.
Mr Reville: I am not aware that charges have been laid as yet in connection with the allegations of improper use of charitable funds. I understand there is a charge of fraud pending against Mrs Starr with respect to moneys received from a ministry.
The day after Mr Ashworth resigned the Premier called a judicial inquiry and spoke very strongly about his intention that no stone should be left unturned so that the public could know all the details in this unfortunate matter. As we all know, the Houlden inquiry was stopped by the Supreme Court, but now Mrs Starr has certainly turned over a very mean stone.
I wonder if the Deputy Premier does not now feel it is time to constitute a new inquiry, one that will not offend the Supreme Court, but one that will reveal for all to see, as his Premier wanted, the facts in this sorry affair.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I am sure the honourable member is aware, as he recounted to the House, that two levels of the courts supported the founding of the royal commission and its terms of reference and the Supreme Court turned it back, saying it was too much like a police investigation, so it was quashed. Police investigations continue. The election expenses commission has, under the act passed by this House, the responsibility to pursue it as it sees fit. My view is that the system is working appropriately.
Mr Reville: It is possible that during the course of possible hearings in the courts the name or names of senior people in the government will be revealed. It is not, in my view, the best way to deal with these matters. As we have said over and over again in this House, we believe it is important that the public have a chance to look at the relationships between this government, the development industry, particular developers -- although if we do not name specific developers we will not offend the Supreme Court -- and the whole question of planning in our regions.
Mr Reycraft: Vigilante movement.
Mr Reville: I do not think it is a vigilante movement at all. I think these allegations concern the Deputy Premier as well as concern all members of this House. He would not want it to be thought by any member of the public that in fact a senior member, one of his colleagues, was involved in this. I wonder what comfort the Deputy Premier is prepared to give the people of Ontario and the House today on that matter.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I appreciate the reasonable approach to this very important subject taken by the honourable member, but I remind him of something that everyone knows, and that is that the election expenses commission represents all political parties and is completely independent of political influence. As a matter of fact a former leader of the New Democratic Party is the chairman, a highly regarded person known personally to us all, who is irreproachable.
The statute gives substantial powers for investigation in matters. If there is some indication that some law has been broken or evidence has been given in relation to related charges by Mrs Starr or anyone else, the police can take appropriate action. My own view is that this is sufficient and that it is working reasonably. I do not for a moment say that it makes me comfortable, but I believe the structures are there to see that truth is revealed and justice is done.
Mr Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources regarding the letter she sent to me as well as to others dated 5 June, which I received that same day, re the forest policy review which is to be initiated and carried out by Professor Peter Pearse of the University of British Columbia, to be completed by autumn 1991, about the same time that the Ministry of Natural Resources would be making its final arguments before the Environmental Assessment Board.
In her letter the minister says, “I want to emphasize that this policy review will not duplicate or pre-empt the ongoing environmental assessment dealing with timber management.”
“The need to develop an overall forest policy for Ontario -- that reflects the priorities of the public and the provincial government -- has become more clear in recent months.”
Did the ministry come to this awareness of the need for an overall policy because of its own dissatisfaction with the case it put before the Environmental Assessment Board, now that that case has been subjected to counterevidence by the intervenors? Is this an attempt to pre-empt or end-run the environmental assessment process?
The Speaker: Order. The question has been put.
Hon Mrs McLeod: No. In fact, as the letter quite clearly says, this is not in any way an attempt to pre-empt or to duplicate any part of the class environmental assessment process. The decision to have Dr Pearse come in to do a review of how we can go about preparing what will be an overall forest policy statement which integrates, and clearly shows how we integrate, the other components of our forest management policies was made because we have a number of initiatives that are ongoing, all of which become a part of forest management in an integrated approach to forest management.
In class environmental assessment we are dealing specifically with the issue of timber management planning processes. In another forum we are dealing and have dealt with the development of new fisheries policy. We are dealing with the development of a new wildlife policy. We have a wetlands policy that has recently been out for consultation. We have been asked by environmental assessment to develop a new timber production policy and table that with the environmental assessment panel. We have also in recent months had an increased concern with the management of old-growth ecosystems.
It was our sense that with all of these initiatives we had to have an encompassing, integrative, overall forest policy framework statement. Dr Pearse is going to assist us in determining how we can develop that.
Mr Wildman: That was very similar to the comments made by the minister in the estimates hearing on Tuesday, but is it not the case that in a class EA into timber management in the province, the ministry is responsible for integrating all the various aspects of forest management with its timber management? The evidence provided before the EA has indeed shown that the ministry is not very good at that integration.
Does the minister not admit that the Environmental Assessment Board has the mandate and the breadth of mandate to deal with overall forest policy and that this is what the EA is about and that now she is duplicating that by implementing this study by Dr Pearse?
Hon Mrs McLeod: I think there has been considerable discussion, specifically about the work that is being done by the EA board, with MNR, as the proponent, having put forward the purpose of the undertaking, being to provide a continuous and predictable supply of wood for the Ontario forest products industry, which clearly takes us into the question of access, of harvest, of renewal.
Obviously we recognize as a ministry, as other intervenors at the EA panel have recognized, that those very questions themselves raise questions about fisheries management, wildlife management, the whole question of sustained yield. Clearly what we believe we are practising as a Ministry of Natural Resources is integrated forest management. That is our commitment.
We would agree that we have learned in the course of the class environmental assessment that there are areas of concern. We in fact have had previous reviews undertaken because we ourselves had questions and concerns about how well we were managing different aspects of our forestry. We are constantly prepared to learn, to improve. In this case I think that at the class EA the lack of a broad forest policy statement presented some concerns at the EA. It continued to be a concern for us and that is what we are addressing.
Mr Wildman: Surely we have been asking the Ministry of Natural Resources to produce that kind of a policy statement for many years now, going back to my predecessor from Lake Nipigon in this role here on our side of the House.
Does the minister not agree that the Environmental Assessment Board, in making its ruling at the end of this process, will in fact be making decisions not just on timber production and supply, but on how the production and supply of timber will affect wildlife, fisheries, parks and all of the other aspects of forest management in this province? If that is the case, does the appointment of Dr Pearse not indicate that the ministry itself does not have faith either in the evidence that it proposed before the EA or in the EA to make an overall forest management statement as a result of the hearings?
Hon Mrs McLeod: I would express appreciation for what I think was indirect support for the initiative that we are taking in having Dr Pearse do this review of the policies we have in place and are developing, and the fact that we are attempting not only to say clearly how we see those policies as being integrated, but be perceived as carrying out integrated forest management.
I had already indicated that I think it is very difficult to separate out the timber management planning processes, the concerns we have in harvest and renewal, from the issues of fisheries and wildlife management. Quite clearly that is the kind of thing we are trying to do in developing our policies in each of those other areas.
In the case of timber production policy specifically, as I indicated the environmental assessment panel has asked that we table a new timber production policy with the EA panel so that it can examine that. I would fully expect that at the end of the EA process there would be a number of recommendations which could potentially affect our policies in different areas of forest management that we would want to look at and incorporate.
In the meantime we are committed to practising the best management we can. That is why we are undertaking this initiative.
Mr Runciman: My question is to the Deputy Premier and deals with some of the allegations attributed to Mrs Starr in the media this morning. I am sure the Deputy Premier will appreciate, given the record of resignations for reasons of conflict of interest and bad judgement which the cabinet has set in the past five years, that we on this side of the House assign some degree of credibility to Mrs Starr’s charge that a major, senior member of the Peterson cabinet coached her on ways of manipulating the election finances laws.
I want to remind the Deputy Premier that last June the Premier gave his “personal assurance that those whose performance has been found wanting will be discovered. Those who have erred will be punished.” Is the Deputy Premier indicating to the members of the assembly and the public today that based on the allegations in the media, he is not concerned and is not going to direct officials within government to conduct an internal investigation to see if there is indeed any truth to the charges made by Mrs Starr?
Hon R. F. Nixon: There is very little more I can say to the honourable member than what I have already said to the House. We feel the structures are there for any kind of an investigation that might be seen to be necessary by independent authorities. We think those will be going forward if necessary. This matter has been before the public and before the House now for a full year. Certainly it has not been comfortable for us, or for anyone, but we feel that the system, as it was established frankly by the previous government, has essentially remained unchanged, with the establishment of the commission and so on and it is a reasonable way for the process to work out.
Mr Runciman: Perhaps there is another approach with respect to the Deputy Premier talking about the election expenses commission and the fact that there are representatives of all the major political parties serving on that. He has also not expressed any concern about some of the comments publicly made by Mrs Starr and others with respect to the charges that are pending, the fact that there were allegations made with respect to members of this assembly -- and put aside that most of them were Liberal members of the assembly -- and the fact that because of a statute of limitations and for whatever reasons the commission now finds itself not in a position to proceed with charges against any member of this assembly.
I think Mrs Starr makes a valid point in the media when she says to look at people like chief financial officers and herself being charged by the commission while elected people who accepted those contributions are not being charged and are not going to be subjected to the kind of scrutiny that her actions and those of others are being subjected to.
Does the Deputy Premier have any concerns about that aspect of what has happened? Is he prepared to launch an investigation to indeed see if anything untoward occurred?
Hon R. F. Nixon: Of course I have concerns, as anybody in this House would. As a matter of fact some people designated me in the question period earlier as a senior cabinet minister. We are all under that kind of cloud and under a shadow.
I believe that if the election expenses commission has some doubts -- the statute of limitations, as I understand it, was referred to not by it but by another official who may or may not have been correct in his reference. Certainly the election expenses commission need only convince a justice of the peace that charges are appropriate and they will be laid.
I think the Premier has shown quite clearly in his actions over these rather uncomfortable months in this connection that he is prepared to take very, very strong action indeed, not only to find those who are guilty if there is anything that has been associated with wrongdoing, but that they do not continue in senior responsibility.
Mr Runciman: I think something quite to the contrary has occurred in respect to a whole range of matters, some related to Mrs Starr and others. We can look at the York region investigation stopped by Gordon Ashworth, we can look at the Houlden inquiry, the Supreme Court decision and the government’s decision not to restructure an inquiry, and we can look at what has been happening over the past month in respect to the standing committee on general government’s attempt by this party and the other opposition party to have the York region inquiry matter reviewed to determine why indeed it was stopped at the Premier’s office. That investigation was not carried out. We have been thwarted at every turn by the Liberal members of that committee. They did it again today.
So for the Treasurer to stand up here in this House and indicate that the Premier wants to have a full public airing of these matters is ludicrous. It just is not backed up by the facts. If the Deputy Premier wants to make an indication to this House today, will he indicate that he will direct the Liberal members of the general government committee to proceed immediately with the request from this party to investigate the York region matter?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I will not. These honourable members have been assigned responsibilities to those committees, and that one in particular, and they make judgements that I think are appropriate.
CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Jackson: My question is to the Minister of Education. Could the minister please advise the House just how many consultations were undertaken between his ministry and Colin Maloney?
Hon Mr Conway: I must say to my honourable friend that I am not aware of any particular consultations, though in a department of hundreds of individuals it may very well have been the case that the person to whom the honourable member makes reference was dealt with by the department. I would be more than willing to take the question in that respect as notice and to supply him with an answer at a very early time.
Mr Jackson: In light of the fact that there have been, for the last four months in this House, a series of questions about children’s mental health services, the crisis and the impact on Ontario schools, given that the minister himself has made light of the very nature of the size and magnitude of this crisis, I am concerned that he cannot even share with this House how many meetings would have occurred between his ministry and Colin Maloney, if any meetings have occurred at all.
If I can share this with the House, the minister should be aware of the case of an eight-year-old boy who is attending an elementary school in Peel; the child has a learning disorder which makes him alternatively frustrated, overly sensitive, angry and aggressive. This child needs support and psychiatric help and needs a residential care setting. In frustration, the mother has given up her child to the children’s aid in order to enhance the child’s access to residential care for a learning disorder.
My question to the minister is simply this: Would he please advise this House of at least one thing he is doing positively in this province through his ministry to help the thousands of children on waiting lists for mental health support services who are trying to survive in Ontario schools today?
Hon Mr Conway: The honourable member is really quite a special case. I shall say to him that the ministry -- pardon me?
Mr Reville: It’s not that unusual.
Hon Mr Conway: I simply like to think that members of the Legislature who have some experience in these matters would be perhaps a little more forthcoming with facts as they know them in questions, notwithstanding that this is a very political place. But, as I say, the member for Burlington South is at best an acquired taste.
My officials have been working very closely with others in the government of Ontario to improve the range of services to young people, both in and around their schooling. Together with my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services, we have been reviewing quite a number of policy options and an interministerial committee has been at work. That committee and senior members of my department have been meeting with people both inside the government and with scores of individuals outside the government, all of whom are committed to providing the best possible response and service to this group of individuals.
Mr Jackson: I suppose I am being invited to apologize to the minister for not advising him in advance just who Colin Maloney is, but I suspect he has now been briefed, during the process of this question, and he can perhaps investigate this matter in the detail it deserves.
The fact is that we have laws in this province governing a child’s attendance in school. We have laws that even go further, that say that during a strike action we can move in when a child’s year is in jeopardy. The cruel truth in this province is that we have no laws to protect a child in the loss of his or her school life because of access to mental health support services in this province, so there clearly is a role for the Minister of Education in this crisis in this province.
The minister can attack me if he wishes or he can try to avoid the issue, but I would like him to specifically advise this House what he and his ministry are doing. We are seeing no involvement and no support from his ministry on the crisis facing children requiring mental health support services in Ontario.
Hon Mr Conway: I can assure my honourable friend I do not intend to waste much of my time or energy attacking him. I am much more interested in attacking the problem that all responsible and honourable individuals, I think, would recognize as a social problem that does merit attention and response. Certainly, the government of Ontario, the Ministry of Education, takes very seriously its responsibility. One of the areas where I think education can and has played --
Mr Jackson: It’s a learning disability. You don’t even understand a learning disability, do you? You didn’t hear it; it was a learning disability.
Hon Mr Conway: Mr Speaker, would you please encourage my barracking friend to just await the answer that he wanted so very much?
I can tell you, Mr Speaker, that the Ministry of Education sees its role in prevention as one of its most important responsibilities. One of the very important aspects of our mandate in special education is the early identification of children at risk and to put in place the kind of programs and strategies in support of those young people and their teachers so that the kind of curative measures that might be required at a later date will not be necessary. Those areas of special education have, I think, taken root in most, if not all, school boards across the province. I would be very willing to share with the House a number of those and other related strategies that we in education have developed to address this concern.
Mr Allen: On the same issue, but to another minister, this day cannot pass without the Minister of Community and Social Services responding to this quite incredible story in the Toronto Star this morning of the Mississauga woman whose severely emotionally disturbed child could not get service either in mental health clinics or in 57 hospitals that were canvassed, but yet had to resort to giving up her child to an agency to get some kind of preferential treatment which she as a natural mother in a natural family situation could not get on her own for that child. The issues are clear and recognizable. What does the minister say about them?
Hon Mr Beer: I would say very clearly to my honourable friend that when I saw this story I too was most upset to read about what appeared to have happened and directed that information be obtained in terms of the specifics of the matter. I think we have in the various communities within the province means that should have worked to ensure that this particular individual was helped. I want to know why that system, in this case, broke down and what it is that we have to do to ensure that this does not happen. As the honourable member will know, sometimes the stories that appear provide us with some of the information, not necessarily with all, and so we are looking into this matter. Clearly, this is not the kind of thing that we want to see happening within our system to assist children.
Mr Allen: What really disturbs me about the minister’s answer is that he is responding to it as an individual case; that it can be solved as an individual case problem. Surely it is not. We have been told by representatives of the children’s mental health associations of this province time and again that there is such a waiting list and if the minister has seen the waiting list, as I have, with descriptions of the profiles of the children who are on it, he will realize there are families and children all across this province going through hell who cannot get their kids into service and, obviously, they should not be where this boy ended up overnight, in an adult psychiatric institution.
The problem is systemic. We are also told by the same people in the children’s mental health associations that there is a back-door route, that you can through a children’s aid society and get a sort of preferential treatment by virtue of the nature of the status of the society and so on.
I ask the minister not just what the response to the individual case is, but what he is going to do about the systemic problem that is out there facing children who are severely emotionally disturbed and their families.
Hon Mr Beer: I am delighted with the question from the honourable member because in fact we are addressing precisely the systemic problem. One of the things I have been saying throughout this debate is that we will not solve it solely by looking at the children’s mental health sector. This is the reason why Colin Maloney was appointed to the position and why the committee is looking at the area of children’s services. It is children’s aids, it is the children’s mental health sector, it is the young offenders; we have got to look at that whole area as providing services to children. We cannot look at them or continue to have them work as separate focuses. There are changes that we are working on directly with those individuals in all of those sectors, precisely to bring it together.
In relation to the earlier question, we are working very closely with the education sector, with school boards and with all of those groups and individuals that are working with children under the new thrust that we will be taking and I think members will see it when Mr Maloney’s report is available at the end of this month. When that comes forward, we will be able in fact to attack the systemic part of this problem so that the issue that came up --
The Speaker: Order.
FARM TAX REBATE
Mr Villeneuve: The Minister of Agriculture and Food has told us on several occasions now that his interest rate relief program would not have money in the hands of farmers until late summer or early fall. He has got a commitment from the Treasurer. He has got a commitment of more than $35 million from the federal government. Why is it going to take so long? Interest rates are high. Farmers need the money now.
Hon Mr Ramsay: On the contrary, it is not going to take so long. I expect to get an application form out in the mail within the next few weeks. As I said to the member and many of my farm clients in the province, we will have a very simplified form that is going to be very quick to fill out. You will not, unlike other forms, have to get expertise to fill this out. You can mail it back in fast. I would hope that most of the cheques would be gone out there by August. In talking to farmers in the last few weeks out in the countryside, they seem quite satisfied with that.
Mr Villeneuve: In the minister’s press release 10 days ago, he said September, October possibly. It will be based on last year’s income. Farmers have all of that information on hand now. The money is in his hands, committed by both the Treasurer and the federal government. Can he not within 30 days tell our farmers, “You will have your interest rate relief in your hand instead of paying 2% a month”?
Hon Mr Ramsay: I certainly cannot tell the farmers of Ontario that within 30 days I can have money into their hands. I would hope the member would appreciate and I hope would desire that we administer in the proper fashion a program that is responsible and fiscally responsibly, as I know his party has always lectured us on. We believe in that and it will be a fiscally responsible administered program. That is what we are doing. The criteria, as you say, are right. That is why I made it retroactive to last year’s financial information from the farmers. They will be able to fill that out, get it into us quickly and we will be able to get cheques out to them and be assured that the proper people, the farmers of Ontario, will be getting this money that the Treasurer gave the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Ms Oddie Munro: My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Housing. It is well over one year since the release of the provincial land use planning document, a document which called for 25% of new housing to be affordable, a document which stressed partnership choices and involvement of community for ways in which municipalities can respond to intensification, conversion, in-fill housing and new development on new lands.
Hamilton and Hamilton-Wentworth have been investigating ways and means by which they can be the initiator of long-range plans. We have a housing task force and the city, region, developers and community are involving themselves in the planning process.
Affordable housing is important. Other issues important to citizens are the challenges in already developed neighbour-hoods of housing intensification. Various Hamilton wards have formed groups called Citizens for Citizens to express concerns to a March 1990 position paper released by the region on housing intensification. Citizen concerns relate to uncontrolled conversions of duplexes and triplexes, pressure on existing services --
The Speaker: Question?
Ms Oddie Munro: My question relating to intensification as one of the factors in affordable housing is: How does the provincial planning statement deal with the question of intensification so that it can be viewed as only one of the options for releasing new affordable units?
Hon Mr Sweeney: I would want to emphasize, as I think the question indicated, that intensification is one of several different elements in the housing policy statement. We also speak in the statement of 25 per cent of new development. We talk of streamlining the process itself. We talk about a range of housing options so that the range of the population that has different needs would be able to find something to meet its needs.
Clearly, one of the points that we make in the statement is that intensification is something that our larger urban areas ought to take a look at because in many cases they just do not have a lot of new land available within their urban boundaries to build new stock.
The other reason we suggest that is that in a number of our larger urban areas, like in parts of Hamilton, there are certain parts of the city where the current housing stock is significantly underused; we have very large homes being inhabited by a very small number of people.
The third thing we point out is that intensification will often produce housing stock that meets the needs of certain kinds of people. Our elderly, for example, often do not need a big house; our students; our single people; so it is very much part of the statement.
Ms Oddie Munro: My problem, since many of these wards front on my riding, is that many of the concerns of citizens dealing with intensification relate to municipal responsibilities and the Planning Act and zoning, yet the provincial land document is a partnership document. I wonder where the checks and balances are so that the minister could advise the kind of areas of Hamilton that he has already alluded to -- the downtown core, the older and more established neighbourhood and communities which border around commercial-industrial sectors -- how can we get the kind of dialogue going which ensures that municipalities know where the minister is coming from so that he is just not simply at the end of the road, which I understand is within a year, saying to them, yes or no, that is acceptable. What can we do now to dialogue with them?
Hon Mr Sweeney: We have a housing advocacy task force within our ministry that is prepared to meet with community groups and with municipal people to assist them in doing the kinds of planning that the member is talking about. I would also point out to the member, however, that our larger, faster-growing areas like Hamilton are required to compile a very detailed housing planning statement -- in other words, tell us exactly how they are going to implement the provincial housing policy -- and obviously that would have to indicate how they are going to achieve the number of lots, how they are going to achieve the identified residential areas and how they are going to achieve their intensification program.
That plan must be approved by the ministry. We have staff available working with communities like this, and I would want to emphasize that, while this is very much a partnership between the municipality and the province, the final responsibility does rest with the municipality. We will work very clearly with them, but the final responsibility rests with them, and we will do what we can do to assist them to come up with the best possible plan.
Mr Mackenzie: I have a question for the Minister of Labour, although I had seriously thought of going to the Minister of Citizenship. One year ago. Canadians and citizens around the world were gripped by the events unfolding in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Young students took the lead in a drive for democracy, which we in this country take for granted.
One of those students was Che Zong, now 26 years of age, who subsequently got out of the country along with fellow protesters who were lucky enough to escape. Che vowed that they would gather together on the anniversary date of the horror of Tiananmen Square to honour their friends who were the victims of the brutal repression. Che Zong is now, or at least she was, a chambermaid working at the Kingston, Ontario, Holiday Inn. She asked for last Sunday off work to attend the demonstration that was held in Toronto in remembrance of Tiananmen Square. She was denied this time off. In any event, Che took the time off work and came to Toronto, and on her return to her job she was fired by her employer. Does the minister not find this drastic action rather harsh and unacceptable?
Hon Mr Phillips: I read the account and I gather that the individual is a summer student who had been employed for approximately a month. Having said that, I personally would hope that perhaps employers might take into account special circumstances. I can appreciate that they clearly are within their legal right to do what they did, but my suspicion is that they may not have fully appreciated the total background of the circumstances.
As I say, I think sometimes we must understand that legally they certainly did what they were entitled to do, and if the story is correct, it is a summer student. But I would hope that employers in the province might get in behind a situation like this and recognize that this individual is operating under a very special circumstance. The organization might, on reflection, consider the uniqueness of the circumstance.
Mr Mackenzie: When Che asked for the day off work, she was told that they had heard these kinds of stories and requests before. Surely good corporate citizens would be more understanding in a case such as this, and surely the Holiday Inn can do without the services of a chambermaid for one day, given the traumatic experience of this young woman.
Will the minister use his office to try to correct what appears to me to be an injustice? I am sure that the Holiday Inn would recognize the value of a little more sensitivity in a case such as this.
Hon Mr Phillips: As I said, I suspect -- I have not talked with the organization -- that they were perhaps not aware of the full circumstances. I think when employers are dealing perhaps with the number of employees they have, they may not have the chance to fully discuss it.
I would hope, as I said in my earlier response, that the organization might reflect again on the unique situation and recognize that this individual was dealing with a very important aspect of her life and one which put her in a very difficult circumstance relative to the job. They might reconsider it.
I think I will find some way that we can discuss this with the organization. While I cannot obviously direct the employers to do it, I think that they may, when they reflect on it, recognize the unique circumstances.
Mr Cousens: I have a question for the Minister of Education. It has to do with the Roman Catholic separate school system in York region and the deficit that it is increasingly having to live with. They had a deficit last year and they have a deficit this year. I understand some 24 separate school boards are having deficits. I do not know how many public boards have deficits, and I have an Orders and Notices question to ask the minister that.
I am getting letters now from my constituents who are raising this. I have one from a resident of Thornhill who says, “It is not an equitable situation when one system has been given the funds to maintain programs when the other system must cut them.” Now we are faced with the separate school board cutting programs and being faced with increasing deficits.
What help is the minister going to give the school boards that have these deficits to face up to them and to live within their means?
Hon Mr Conway: I thank my friend the member for Markham for his question. It is correct that on the basis of submissions that have arrived in the regional offices of the Ministry of Education, a number of school boards -- if my memory serves me, I think almost all of them from the separate school jurisdiction -- have indicated that they will be in a deficit situation.
I would say to my honourable friend, who is very familiar with school board organization and financing, that it is the requirement of the Education Act that no school board can plan for a deficit. I can tell him that we expect that that provision of the Education Act will be honoured by all school boards.
To assist, I have asked my officials at the regional level to meet with any school board that appears to be having a difficulty in this respect, to provide any and all assistance that we might to ensure that the Education Act is complied with.
Mr Cousens: It is going to be quite a compliance project for the ministry, because the accumulated deficit for the Roman Catholic board in York region is going to be over $18 million by the end of this fiscal year.
It is just making a farce out of the promise of equal funding for both systems of education, public and separate, when in fact one program is having to cut back -- the separate system is cutting back on programs and having a deficit -- when the other system beside it and within the same community is able to maintain those programs.
I really am interested in the action that the minister is going to take. Is he going to take legal action against the boards with deficits? Is he going to give money to pay off the deficit or is he going to overlook it?
Hon Mr Conway: Again, I have a great deal of regard for my honourable friend. Particularly in matters of school board organization and finance the honourable member for Markham knows perhaps better than most just exactly how this system works.
I repeat that the Education Act requires, and all school boards know this, that no board can plan for a deficit. If, for whatever reason, a deficit occurs, then an action plan is required to retire that deficit. At the ministry we are going to be looking, through our regional offices, at these school jurisdictions that appear to be having deficit difficulties. We are going to be looking very carefully at their budgetary plans, at their expenditure forecasts and at their revenue forecasts.
My friend the member for Markham, I hear, is a very good and able manager. He will know that it is not always easy to manage all of the pressures, whether it be in a government ministry or in a local school board. But I expect that school boards, locally elected, are going to be able to meet local needs with local resources and a very significant amount of provincial grant in most cases, and they are going to manage effectively within the requirements of the Education Act.
I repeat that officials from the regional offices of the Ministry of Education will be meeting very shortly with a number of school boards which appear to be having some difficulty, to assist them in whatever difficulty they might be having.
Mr Callahan: Following up on that point that was raised by a member of the third party, I have a question for the Minister of Education. In my riding the school boards indicate that the degree of funding that the province provides for school boards is something I think in the neighbourhood of 17%. What does the minister have to say about that?
Hon Mr Conway: I appreciate the question from my honourable friend the member for Brampton who also has a very keen appreciation of these matters, serving as he did on local government for so many years.
He would want me to say that this year the provincial Ministry of Education is providing about $5.5 billion worth of funding in support of our elementary and secondary schools: $4.5 billion worth of operating grant in support of elementary and secondary schools, over $300 million in support of capital projects and $625 million as the employer’s contribution towards the teachers’ pension plan. So in this year we will be providing about 56.9% of all approved operating expenditures in school board finances.
The Speaker: I have great difficulty in hearing the response. If you would just sort of --
Mr Callahan: It is obvious that the members of the third party are not interested in that information because they were shouting like hound dogs while the minister was giving the answer.
Mr Jackson: We have raised that question twice and you know it. It has already been raised.
Mr Villeneuve: Where have you been, Bob?
Mr Jackson: Where were you? You weren’t even in the House.
The Speaker: Order. Is the member for Burlington South okay? You do not have a problem? No?
Mr Jackson: No, I did have a problem. He said we were not interested.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Jackson: I raised it last week. I named your board.
Sorry, Mr Speaker, I apologize.
The Speaker: Order. We will just wait if you like, wasting the time.
Mr Callahan: It has been indicated as well that the reduction in funding over the years has occurred just in the last couple of years. Can the minister perhaps indicate to us just how long ago there was a reduction in the percentages that were paid by the provincial government? Perhaps he might also repeat the figures for my colleagues in the back who could not hear them while the noise was going on over there by the carping third party, which is just itching to be reduced to even less than what it is now.
Hon Mr Conway: I must apologize for not speaking to the Chair, because that is quite out of order.
Just in summary, this year the Ministry of Education will be paying about 56.9% of the recognized cost of elementary and secondary education in the province of Ontario. Furthermore, this year, at $4.5 billion worth of operating grant, the provincial grant will be about $1.5 billion more than when we took office five years ago, or 50% more than was the case five years ago.
On the capital side, our honourable friends in the House know that the rate of increase is like 360% above where it was when we took office, and I repeat that in the current year we will be adding some $363 million more on operating, or 8.7% more on the operating account for elementary and secondary education.
I should say in conclusion that we do allow school boards to spend above the approved expenditure ceilings, if they choose to do so. That is a local decision that will have to take account of the local ability to pay above and beyond the approved expenditure ceilings.
NORTHERN HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Hampton: My question is for the Minister of Health. When the Minister of Health first became minister three years ago, an average of about 30 communities in northern Ontario were on the underserviced area list, that is, they were looking for family physicians and could not find them. Now, in April and May 1990, an average of 42 communities are on the list.
I want to ask the minister how it is that in her three years as Minister of Health there are more communities than ever before that are now on the list as needing physicians in northern Ontario.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would say to the member opposite, as I have on a number of occasions, that in fact provision of services in northern Ontario, where there are a number of small communities in a vast and sparsely populated, large geographic area, offers special challenges. I am very aware of that, and we have taken a number of initiatives.
In fact, just last week I met with the Northern Health Human Resources Committee which has been established, and I am optimistic that we have brought together a group of people who will address themselves to providing advice on how we can look at the issues of attraction, both recruitment and retention, in northern Ontario to meet those special challenges.
Mr Hampton: This is really quite incredible. What does the minister say, for example, to communities like Armstrong that have been on the list almost every month for the last three and a half years, or Atikokan, Chapleau, Cochrane, Dubreuilville, Elliot Lake, Ear Falls, Geraldton, Hearst, Hornepayne, Englehart, Garson, Fort Frances, Manitoulin Island, Manitouwadge, Marathon? How can she continue to say to these communities that something is being done when it is quite clear nothing is being done and the situation is getting worse?
Even the Premier’s announcement in Thunder Bay that there were going to be more residency programs will not do anything about it until 1994 at the earliest. That is when those residents will be available. What are those communities supposed to do until then? Wish upon a star or something?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The member opposite anticipated my response to his supplementary. The list of initiatives that we have undertaken in northern Ontario is important and significant. The underserviced area program has been very successful in placing physicians and others in northern Ontario. There are numerous bursaries and opportunities available.
But probably the most significant initiative that has been undertaken by this government, other than the establishment of the Northern Health Human Resources Committee, has been the development of a residency program to ensure that young people who want to become family physicians have the opportunity to practise and train in northern Ontario. The centres of Thunder Bay and Sudbury will be accommodating that new program, and I am very proud of it.
I would say to the member that there is much to do. We have not solved the issues, but we are actively working on them. I am pleased that he has given me an opportunity to tell the House about the important and significant things we are doing to meet the needs of northerners.
Mr Pollock: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation. Is he coming back into the House or not?
SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Mr Sterling: I have a question for the Minister of Education. As he knows, I have some slight interest in the engineering profession and in scientific professions and was glad to hear the Premier try to urge secondary school teachers, high school teachers, to encourage students to study in the maths and sciences, as there is now a worldwide shortage of engineers. We are particularly concerned about keeping our engineers here in Ontario. Why is it not mandatory that high school students take science or math courses after grade 10?
Hon Mr Conway: When the previous government reorganized the secondary school curriculum, Dr Stephenson gave, I think, quite an eloquent articulation as to the nature of that OSIS reform. A number of changes were brought about. The reform required an increase in the number of mandatory subjects and the ministry has over the last few years been implementing OSIS.
But I will tell my honourable friend he is right when he says that the evidence of the future suggests that we are going to have to revisit the whole question of science and technology. We are in the process of doing that. I would say to my friend the member for Carleton, who unlike me wears the iron ring, that there is a lot of evidence to suggest that we are going to have to consider some very new strategies to increase the participation on the technology side, particularly for young women. As recently as last week, we have been looking at a variety of counselling strategies that will hopefully do that.
Mr Mahoney: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I have been contacted by several organizations in Mississauga which have expressed a very grave concern regarding the consultation paper on charitable gaming and the subsequent review of written submissions pertaining to this document. Their prime concern centres around the perceived pressure to freeze minor sports groups out of bingo by redefining charity to exclude minor sports groups.
I am sure the minister is aware that these groups face many financial pressures and it is often only through the ability to raise funds through such activities as bingo that some of these minor sports groups are able to continue functioning. Can the minister inform the House on the status of the review and when we can hope to see this bill brought forward?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I am delighted to have that question from my friend the member for Mississauga West, because it is not only in his community but really right around the province that organizations, including minor sports organizations, rely on the provisions that govern charitable gaming in order to raise revenues to keep their organizations going.
In fact, after the consultation paper went out, I had an opportunity to visit some seven communities and talk to about 70 or 80 organizations. It was clear from that consultation that one of the central issues of this whole business of charitable gaming is who should and who should not qualify. The proposal that we provided for in that consultation document referred to organizations which are undertaking things for community organizations in need.
Now, it is clear that many minor sports organizations are in need of resources and one of the ways they can raise those resources is through the provisions governing charitable gaming. I do not anticipate a major change, but we are waiting for a piece of work the Ontario Law Reform Commission is doing on charitable gaming and charities generally before we cast our definition in stone.
Mr Mahoney: I certainly understand and appreciate the desire on the part of the minister to stabilize the gaming market and ensure that charitable and religious organizations are indeed the primary beneficiaries of the proceeds. But can the minister assure me and this Legislature that the current review being undertaken will not discriminate against minor sports groups?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I do not have any hesitation in giving that assurance. One of the issues that has arisen when it comes to sports organizations is whether individual teams should be allowed to raise money and deal with the financing of their operations through the use of charitable gaming, and in particular bingo. That is often a question that will be determined, and will continue to be determined, at the municipal level.
Our preference, I should say, is for sports organizations like the bantam hockey league of Mississauga, should there be such an organization, to be the sponsoring organizations because then the proceeds from that sort of activity, whether it is one night of bingo or a Monte Carlo night or a series of bingos or what have you, can be distributed equitably among all the teams that might participate in such an organization. But there is absolutely no intention to discriminate against sports organizations. They are the lifeblood of our community. I talked to a number of sports organizations in the consultation that I took part in, and I think they can feel comfortable with the way in which we are proceeding.
Mr Allen: I have a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. The minister will recall that the central principle of the Social Assistance Review Committee’s report was that there should no longer be considered to be deserving and undeserving poor in Ontario. Yet anyone who looks at the implementation of that report to date would have to say that the government has divided the poor into two basic groups, deserving and undeserving.
If you had children involved in a family in support, if you were in a family situation, single-parent or couple, then you got major, important responses from the SARC reforms. If you were single you did not. You got a modest adjustment in the shelter increase because of the adjustment to 100% of ceiling. But otherwise you got no real dollar increase.
I wonder when the minister is going to remedy that division. When are the singles in the social assistance system going to become deserving and not the undeserving poor under the old-fashioned scheme?
Hon Mr Beer: I would hope very much, as we look at the problems facing the poor, those on social assistance, that in fact we are trying to help all of them and I would share with the honourable member that the concept of deserving or undeserving is not deserving of being perpetuated.
I think it is true to say that in the first round of reforms we did put particular stress on families and particularly single parents in families, but at the same time, if for example you look at a single individual on general welfare assistance, on a year-over-year basis that individual also saw an approximate 15.5% increase in benefits. So I think everybody received a benefit.
We recognize that there are particular categories where we would like to do more, and indeed will be doing more, but I think always within the context that we want to move everyone forward. In that initial go-through, we wanted to focus particularly on children, and that is why a great deal of the first phase was done in that regard.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
Mr Ward moved that the standing committee on public accounts be authorized to adjourn to St John’s, Newfoundland, to attend the 12th annual Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees from 8 July to 11 July 1990.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Ward moved that at the request of the applicant and on the recommendation of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, standing order 78(e), concerning publication of notice of an application for a private bill, be waived with respect to Bill Pr88, An Act respecting the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Motion agreed to.
SELECT COMMITFEE ON EDUCATION
Mr Ward moved that the select committee on education be continued to consider and report to the House on the role of the formal elementary and secondary school system in the successful transition of young students to adulthood in Ontario;
That the committee conduct its inquiry in two phases as follows:
In the first phase the committee shall consider the role the school system plays in a multicultural and multiracial society in the choices and objectives of students in transition to adulthood, including how the elementary and secondary school system can assist students in shaping and fulfilling career and work objectives, factors in an information society which influence the young adults’ choices of educational and training options and society’s perception of those choices, and the role of parents or guardians in the school system and the transition of young students from secondary schools to the world of work or higher education; and
In the second phase the committee shall consider the orientation of the school system to other educational and training opportunities both in the public and the private sectors and any other issues the committee may wish to consider;
That the committee have authority to release its reports during any adjournment or recess between sessions by depositing a copy of the report with the Clerk of the Assembly, and upon the resumption of the meetings of the House, the Chair of the committee shall bring such reports before the House in accordance with the standing orders;
That the committee have authority to meet during any adjournment or recess of the House, subject to the agreement of the House leader and the chief whip of each recognized party; and
That the committee be composed of the following members: Mr Campbell, Chair; Mr D. S. Cooke, Mr Furlong, Mr Jackson, Mr R. F. Johnston, Mr Keyes, Mr Mahoney, Mrs Marland, Mr Miclash, Mrs O’Neill, Ms Poole.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Faubert: I have a petition to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads, in brief:
“We, the undersigned students and staff of Henry Hudson Senior Public School and Heather Heights Junior Public School in Scarborough, beg to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas the government of Ontario has initiated and promoted a successful blue box recycling program;
“Whereas households across the province have been able to reduce their waste output by following the provincial recycling guidelines; and
“Whereas apartment buildings, fast food restaurants and public places such as parks also produce waste which can be recycled;
“Therefore we, the undersigned, hereby petition the government of the province of Ontario to continue to expand its recycling program to include those institutions, industries, public places and apartment buildings which are not currently involved in recycling activities.”
This petition is signed by some 73 citizens. As required by the standing orders, I have also signed same and put this forward for appropriate action by the government.
LANDLORDS’ RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Ms Bryden: I have a petition which is not strictly addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario but petitions the government of Ontario. I think its intent is within the new rules for petitions.
It states that tenants in over 100 buildings in Ontario are now threatened with eviction simply for having a pet in contravention to their tenancy agreement. Tenants are then forced to choose between giving up their pets or possibly losing their homes. Hundreds of animals are being abandoned or euthanized because of no-pet clauses.
The standard no-pet clause in leases discriminates against responsible pet owners who rent. They petition the government of Ontario to create a standard form lease for residential tenancies to outlaw no-pet clauses in leases and to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act to prohibit evictions based on breach of a clause in the tenancy agreement.
There are 71 persons, mainly in my own riding and other parts of Toronto, who have signed this petition. I am signing it myself, and I would like it to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
The Speaker: I might just draw the member’s attention to standing order 35(c), which says, “Every petition shall (i) be addressed to the Parliament, Legislature or Legislative Assembly of Ontario.” I am certain you will be able to advise your constituents of that in the future.
DIABETES TREATMENT IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
Mr Kozyra: I have a petition here signed by more than 4,200 members and residents of Thunder Bay which reads:
“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 there are approximately 13,000 diabetics in northwestern Ontario and that there is a higher incidence of diabetes in some northern communities in northwestern Ontario as compared to the national average, which is 6% of the population; and
“Whereas diabetics in northwestern Ontario have a particular problem regarding access to specialized health care and because recent findings show that appropriate treatment can delay and prevent the disease’s long-term complications,
“We, the undersigned, petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“We urge the Ministry of Health to establish a regional diabetes resource centre in northwestern Ontario. Thunder Bay is the appropriate location for a centre which will promote health and prevent long-term problems rather than treating sickness once it has occurred.”
I have read the petition and must say I fully support its intent. I have affixed my signature to it in keeping with section 35(e) of the standing orders.
SENIOR CITIZENS’ DENTAL HEALTH
Ms Poole: I have a petition addressed to the Legislature of Ontario that the Association of Jewish Seniors has asked me to present on its behalf. Mr Speaker, I am aware that you have asked us not to read out lengthy petitions, so I have taken the liberty of précising this and making a brief summary.
The petition concerns the dental health of senior citizens in the province and asks the Legislature to consider recommendations regarding seniors’ dental care made by the Advisory Committee on Dental Care for Seniors in Need, to consider the need for preventive dental and denture care for seniors, to implement oral hygiene standards and regular examinations in institutions for seniors, to provide seniors access to transportation for dental appointments and to provide support for graduate training specializing in geriatric dentistry.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
TOWN OF NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE ACT, 1990
Mr Dietsch moved first reading of Bill Pr88, An Act respecting the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Motion agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Ward: Prior to calling the orders, pursuant to standing order 53, I would like to indicate the business for the upcoming week.
On Monday 11 June we will have committee of the whole on Bill 208.
On Tuesday 12 June we will have committee of the whole on Bill 108 and Bill 106. At the conclusion of committee of the whole we will proceed to second reading of Bill 175.
Wednesday is an opposition day on a motion in the name of the member for Riverdale.
On Thursday in the morning sitting, we have private member’s ballot item 55 in the name of the member for York South and ballot item 56 in the name of the member for Brampton South. The afternoon sitting will be resumption of the committee of the whole on Bill 208.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1990
Consideration of Bill 208, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Hon Mr Ward: By agreement of the House leaders, I would seek unanimous consent that any votes relative to Bill 208 be stacked until the conclusion of consideration of the bill in committee of the whole.
The Chair: Is there unanimous consent?
Mr Charlton: Mr Chairman, on that point, just for clarification before we proceed: When you say that the votes be stacked, are you saying that the votes will not be called on each amendment? There will be no divisions now?
The Chair: You have to divide; you have to stand to require to stack at the end. Correct?
Mr Charlton: Which is it?
Hon Mr Ward: There will be divisions, but they will be stacked until the end of the bill.
Mr Charlton: There will be divisions on each vote now?
Hon Mr Ward: Yes, the divisions will be indicated, and they will be stacked to the end.
Hon Mr Phillips: I wonder if I might have permission to have staff join me and the parliamentary assistant to move to the front.
The Chair: Go ahead.
Those who have already submitted the proposed amendments have supplied copies to all concerned, Hansard, interpreters and the table here? Does Hansard have all the government and opposition amendments? Interpreters?
There are 40 sections in the bill. Does the third party have amendments to be brought forward? Let us look first of all at the proposed government amendments. At the beginning of the material I have received, it says the minister has an amendment to subsection 1(3). Is that correct?
Hon Mr Phillips: Yes.
The Chair: Thank you. So you have amendments to sections 1, 4, 12, 13, 24, 25, 28 -- different subsections, of course -- 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37 and 38. Did I miss any?
Hon Mr Phillips: I do not believe so.
The Chair: Thank you. We shall look now at the NDP proposed amendments; they are to sections 1, 3, 4, 6, 20, 24, 25, 33, 34 and 37. Correct?
Is the third party ready to give me a list of the proposed amendments it may have?
Mrs Marland: I am just confirming. I do not think we have any but I am just confirming that.
The Chair: Fair enough. In other words, you may have some later on; is that what you are implying?
Mrs Marland: I will confirm for you within about 20 minutes.
The Chair: Thank you.
Hon Mr Phillips: Mr Chairman, just to make certain that I do not miss sort of the terminology, you said we were amending section 13. I think we actually are adding a section in 13, as long as that is the understanding. Similarly, I guess we are adding section 31 a as opposed to amending section 31.
The Chair: So the section l3a that you want to add would come after 13, I presume, as usual. Right? Fair enough.
Hon Mr Ward: If I could raise a point of order: After further consultation, I would like to seek unanimous consent that any divisions that are requested, regardless of whether or not there are five members standing, be stacked to the end of the consideration of the bill.
The Chair: Agreed?
The Chair: I have a bit of a problem. The member for Mississauga South, if in 20 minutes you come up with a list of amendments, and suppose we are then at section 4 or 5 and you bring something to section 3, I would like to make it clear now that we might have to go back to open a section that may have been carried. Do you understand?
Mrs Marland: I thought we just agreed to stack the votes.
The Chair: Yes, but 20 minutes from now, at which section will we be? Once we have finished discussing these, we carry them as we go along. If there is no requirement for division, then they are carried.
Mrs Marland: Oh, I see what you are saying. I understand.
The Chair: I have a bit of a dilemma here unless members are agreeable to reopening discussion on a section that may have been carried if the third party brings consideration for changes to a section that has already been carried.
Has the member for Hamilton East understood what I have just mentioned? If, in 20 or 25 minutes from now, for example, we are up on section 10 or 13, and the third party brings a list of proposed amendments to sections that may have already been carried, would you be agreeable that we reopen the dossier and look at them, if they were already carried? These are very unusual circumstances, but I want to be sure we have a level playing field here before we start.
Mr Mackenzie: Yes, I am agreeable.
The Chair: You are agreeable. Okay, fair enough. I just did not want a surprise once we started.
We shall consider the sections to be added. We shall consider the sections to be amended. Once we cover the sections to be amended, then we will cover the sections to be added after a particular number. Is that correct with that procedure? Okay, fair enough. I am so glad that everybody understands and follows very well. I can tell by the look on your faces.
The Chair: If I go in numbers, I have a government amendment to subsection 1(3).
Mr Phillips moves that subsection 1(3) of the bill be struck out.
Hon Mr Phillips: This and two or three other sections are designed to assist in handling a situation in the logging industry where, on the one hand, we want to ensure that the timber licence holder is accountable for health and safety in the area where he holds the licence. But at the same time, in the original bill, we defined him as the “employer.” That presents a problem because in many respects, legally, for some of the people who are working within the licence area, he is not the employer.
We are trying to balance, first, the health and safety needs of people who work in the area with the recognition that in the original act we called the licence holder the employer. So we are proposing a series of amendments, this being one of them, that will have the effect of holding the licence holder accountable for health and safety.
The best analogy that we have been able to come up with is that this would be similar to where a constructor is held accountable for health and safety on his site. This arose after a fair bit of discussion with the industry, which felt that the original bill added the responsibility of health and safety but also would begin to call him “employer.” I think we retain the health and safety aspects of this, but we also do not put the industry into a legal position that it should not or does not want to be in.
Mr Mackenzie: I am not sure that I have any serious concern with it, but one of the questions that I wanted to ask the minister was whether or not in the course of this change that he is making he was consulting with the workers in the bush industry or the wood industry itself.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am not sure whether consultations took place with the employee group. I know that the employers were the ones who wanted to ensure that we balanced these two things. I cannot confirm or deny that there were any discussions with the employee group. I do know that most of the discussion was with the employer group.
Miss Martel: Let me just explain to the minister my concern, and if it has been resolved with this particular amendment, then we will accept it. It goes back to some of the problems in compensation, and particularly with a large owner-operator like Buchanan Forest Products in northwestern Ontario. One of the problems we were seeing with workers’ compensation claims was that in fact Buchanan was saying he was not the employer. The independent guy out cutting in the bush with his small operation was becoming the owner, and when he got hurt, the assessment was not applied to Buchanan, but in fact that individual person in the bush, cutting really on behalf of Buchanan, became responsible.
I want to ensure that what is happening here will not have that small guy out doing some work in, for example, Buchanan’s plot, who is going to become the employer in this case. He will still, because he is the owner of the licence, be considered the employer in that sense of the word and any health and safety will be his responsibility.
Hon Mr Phillips: I will try to answer it. Later on the member will see in the amendments that as we move to define the licence holder of the timber we say that “a licensee shall ensure that (a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this act and the regulations are carried out with respect to logging in the licensed area; (b) every employer performing logging in the licensed area for the licensee complies with this act and the regulations; and (c) the health and safety of workers employed by employers referred to in clause (b) is protected.”
I personally am satisfied that by changing the licence holder from an employer to a licensee we will still be able to hold that licensee accountable for the health and safety of individuals who are working in that area he has the licence for.
Mr Pouliot: With respect, what the member for Sudbury East is attempting to convey, and has done a very good job of, is this specific case, broadly summarized and simply put, where you had 40 employees that were employees of Wolverine Forest Products, owned by Ken Buchanan. Someone got hurt and sought compensation at the Workers’ Compensation Board. The documentation was obvious for everyone to relate to. There was no problem, except the person was denied because as a condition of employment, the employer requested that each of the 40 cutters sign documentation. They were like instant coffee; they were made instant vice-presidents.
Compensation was refused because they had signed that documentation. Furthermore, they were not aware that they were vice-presidents. But they had signed, so they were members of the executive. What my colleagues are seeking is certainty that this kind of scheme -- that is exactly what it was -- cannot and will not happen.
In this case, it took months of proceedings to achieve recourse and, happily, the situation was resolved, but the invitation to circumvent the legislation should not have been made available to Ken Buchanan or to other companies.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am aware of that situation and aware that Workers’ Compensation has had a fair bit, at least, of discussion with Buchanan over a long period of time, and I think it has resolved that.
My belief is that as we deal later on with the section that I just read out, that, in our judgement, will hold the licensee accountable for health and safety on the land that the licensee is responsible for.
As I said before, it is section 13a that we are proposing to add that deals with the duties of a licensee, and if you read that, I believe -- and I would ask the staff to make certain that I am not misstating anything -- it then is able to hold the licensee accountable for, as I say, health and safety for anybody who is working in the area that it holds the licence for. It is just a matter of defining the licensees and the responsibilities and not calling them the employer, which legally they are not.
Mr Mackenzie: I think we are satisfied with this section. I just cannot leave it without once again making the comment -- because this is what dogged us all through the development of this bill and all through the hearings -- that it would have been a little easier from our point of view, and I think it would have been smart on the minister’s part as well, if, when he had the consultations with the employers because of their concern over this section and the definition of a “licensee,” there had then been some consultation with the unions that are involved in the field as well. I think it would have been a useful exercise.
Motion agreed to.
The Chair: The second proposed change, subsection l(3a).
Hon Mr Phillips: This is part of the same issue.
Mr Phillips moves that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(3a) The said section 1 is further amended by adding thereto the following paragraph:
“14a. ‘licensee’ means a person who holds a logging licence under the Crown Timber Act.”
Hon Mr Phillips: I am sorry, Mr Chairman, what I said earlier -- this is part of moving from “the employer” to “licensee,” and I think we will deal with this in three separate sections. This, I think, is the second section.
Mr Mackenzie: We are prepared to accept this.
Motion agreed to.
The Chair: The other amendment I have to section 1 is a New Democratic Party motion to add a section to section 1. Is that correct?
Mr Mackenzie: I do not know whether we have handled this in the proper way, but our intent is an intent that we had during the course of the hearings that the section be amended. Subsection 3(2) of the act is repealed, and that is the section that -- just a moment now and I will be with you.
I know what it is all about. I am trying to find the section here now and I am having difficulty. It is the section of the act in section 1 that eliminates farm workers from coverage under the health and safety legislation in Ontario.
The Chair: Do we not have a bit of a problem because section 3 of the act is not being amended?
Mr Mackenzie: This is section 1a.
The Chair: That you want to add to the bill, but the problem is, section 3 of the act was not mentioned to be amended anywhere. That is the problem we have right now.
Usually what we have, since section 3 of the act was not proposed to be amended, you might want to make some comments and the only way we can proceed with that is if we have unanimous consent to consider that. I would have to ask for that. I hope you realize that.
Would there be unanimous consent to consider that NDP amendment to section 1a to repeal a subsection of section 3 of the act, at least to consider debate on that?
Hon Mr Phillips: Yes, although in the end we may not be in favour of it.
The Chair: That is a different story. I do not control that part of it. I just control the part where I have to ask if there is unanimous consent.
Mr Mackenzie: The only point I am making, and we do not intend to belabour it -- I am having trouble finding just where it is in the section -- but it is an argument we have made in this House many, many times, that the farm workers are excluded from the health and safety legislation in Ontario, and where it really has had some major effect is not just in individual people operating in a farm setting but in a number of plants where you have workers who are considered exempt because of the fact that they are working in an agricultural operation.
I think the classic was the long debate we had in this House of the mushroom factory in Picton, where they had tried to certify themselves, had signed up a majority of the workers and subsequently were denied certification because they are excluded under the Labour Relations Act as well.
This act does exclude farm workers. We thought that it was essential that we bring them into coverage under the act.
The Chair: Before you proceed any further, this is going to be a new section. In theory, before you even start to consider your proposed amendment, I should ask if section 1 should carry, as amended.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
The Chair: Mr Mackenzie moves that the bill be amended by adding the following section:
“1a. Subsection 3(2) of the said act is repealed.”
Hon Mr Phillips: I appreciate the concerns of the member for the farm community. I would say what I think we said at the committee hearings, that this is an issue that is under study. It was not something the farm community had an opportunity to participate in, because it had not anticipated that we would be dealing with it. So I repeat what we said at the committee, and that is, we appreciate health and safety in the farm as an important issue. There is a committee that has been established in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food that is reviewing the recommendations, the Agricultural Health and Safety Implementation Committee, and it is anticipated that it will have a report in the next two to three months that will be available for public release and discussion.
I do not mean to suggest that health and safety on the farm is not an important matter, but it is one that was not dealt with during the debate on Bill 208. It was not included in Bill 208 and I think it is best that we deal with it separately.
Mr Mackenzie: The difficulty we have here, at least that I have here, is in trying to deal between the act, the bill and all of the amendments. It is not an easy proposition.
I have found the section I was looking for. I recall well the argument the minister made. It is subsection 3(2) of the health and safety legislation wherein it says farming operations, “Except as shall be prescribed and subject to the conditions and limitations prescribed, this act or a part thereof does not apply to farming operations.”
It is obvious that there is a disagreement between our party and the government on this issue, but we moved it on purpose because it is not an issue that is new. There may very well be a committee looking at it, but it is not an issue that is new. It is an issue that has been raised in this House for a long, long time and it is an issue that I myself have raised in this House, I believe the first time in 1976.
It seems to take an awful long time to move in terms of providing coverage that I think is legitimate coverage for farm workers. That is why we have the amendment before us in this legislation, as we did while we were dealing with it in committee. We will be asking for a division on this section.
The Chair: Fair enough. I hope you realize that to require a division you need five members.
The Chair: If I understand well, you want to be able to ask for a division, whether you have the five members or not. Fair enough. I am sorry. Any other comments on this?
Mr Mackenzie: I presume you will call it and we will indicate whether or not we oppose it.
The Chair: Are we ready for the vote, then? Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Section 2 agreed to.
The Chair: Mr Mackenzie moves that subsection 7(7b) of the act, as set out in subsection 3(3) of the bill, be amended by striking out “twenty-one” in the third line and substituting “seven.”
Mr Mackenzie: Simply, there are three amendments in this particular area to initiate a quicker response from employers to health and safety representatives.
Hon Mr Phillips: The original wording, as I recall, was 30 days, and during the committee process we reduced it to 21. I think there is a balance here between a quick response and a thoughtful response. We are of the mind that the joint health and safety committee recommendations must be carefully considered by the employer and responded to in a careful manner. Nothing prevents, obviously, the employer from responding sooner than 21 days, and indeed I think we all appreciate that there will be situations where an instant response would be expected, because we are dealing with a matter that can and should be responded to instantly.
We agreed to move from 30 days to 21 days at the committee stage in the belief that it would allow sufficient time for a thoughtful review by the employer, without putting it in the position where it can respond by saying, “There simply isn’t enough time for a thoughtful response.” So we were trying to balance that and I guess we would believe that the 21 days is the balance between the two objectives.
Mr Mackenzie: There may be some investigations that require the thoroughness that is being suggested by the minister, but when you are dealing with a health and safety matter in the plants, and particularly if it is a more urgent matter, it seems to me that if an investigation has been asked for, if there is a report to be issued on it or the conditions are to be outlined, 21 days is still a long time for the workers to wait. The original intent, we think, was a much quicker response. Thirty was certainly too long, so you could say 21 is a gain, but most workers would find it hard to understand why you would need 21 days to respond.
Miss Martel: If I might just add a few comments, I agree with my colleague. I think 21 days is a long time and I think what you might find in many plants is that employers will use that as the maximum. They will not respond, as we hope, right away, within seven days, five days, two or whatever, but will hold on until that 21 days. If at that point in time the problem remains, then you get into a continuous problem of going on and on trying to get this whole matter resolved.
I would feel much happier if we went back to the seven days, even if at that point in time the employer was to provide a quick interim response suggesting and outlining what he planned to do and promising to get back to the joint health and safety committee with a fuller response at a later date. But I think the employers should be right on this matter at the earliest date possible, and that is why we have suggested we go back to the seven days.
Hon Mr Phillips: This was a subject of some considerable debate in the committee and, as I say, I think we have weighed the arguments and continue to feel that 21 days is appropriate.
The Chair: Fair enough. Any more discussion? Are we ready for the vote? Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
The Chair: Mr Mackenzie moves that section 3 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(5) The said section 7 is further amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(11) A health and safety representative is entitled to bring in a technical adviser to inspect and monitor the workplace to identify situations that may be a source of danger or hazard to workers and to attend meetings with the constructor or employer when mutually agreed.”
Mr Mackenzie: We are into an area where there are any number of chemicals not all that well tested before they are used in the workplace. We are into almost daily situations where people need additional outside expertise. I attended a meeting just this past week at the University of Toronto where the call, certainly from the student body and from at least some of the staff, was that they were going to need an outside and independent opinion on an asbestos problem that existed in the rooms we were holding the meeting concerned.
There was quite a large number of people there. The expertise or the arguments were not accepted, neither the university’s side nor the workers’ side in the situation, and they were asking for some outside expertise. That may not be the best example in the world, but there are many cases where it would be useful to be able to call quickly upon outside expertise in a work situation.
Hon Mr Phillips: It is quite an important matter and one that has been the subject of a lot of debate, because there is a certain interest in it. The challenge we run into here is that when you face a circumstance where we need confidence by the parties in the process, we are concerned about having, in one workplace, several different studies and opinions being voiced on an issue. We feel that what is normally required in a circumstance like this, if the two sides cannot agree on the process, is to have our inspectors work with them to find a process that they both will have confidence in, and therefore when the results of that process are complete, they both will have felt that is something they can accept and be part of.
The concern we have is that if a group is using outside resources without the opportunity of getting the two sides together to agree on it, rather than being helpful, it is harmful to the situation. So we would be against this amendment which again was brought forward at the legislative committee. We believe that it would be actually counterproductive to resolving health and safety concerns in the workplace, and rather, we should play the catalyst role to find a process both parties would agree on.
Miss Martel: May I bring to mind two situations for the minister, both concerning asbestos as well. Most recently in my own riding his ministry was involved with the separate school board and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, and with the joint health and safety committee that represented both OECTA and CUPE.
At that point in time the school board, quite frankly, decided that the problem in the school board was not a problem. In fact, although the joint health and safety committee had requested to the school board that it be allowed to bring in an independent consultant, and pay for that consultant I might add, the school board took the position that there was not a problem and that indeed the joint health and safety committee would not be allowed to do that.
They contacted me and through some pressure applied to the board we were able to get the board to agree to have a consultant. The problem we have now is that the board has decided which consultant it is supposed to be. Now we have to fool around and try to figure out how we get around the fact that the board wants X, Y and Z consultants even though those are not the people that OECTA or the joint health and safety committee wants to bring in.
The ministry has been involved but the problem has been that the joint health and safety committee, for various reasons, is not convinced that there is not a problem, or that it should merely go by what the board has had to say in this regard.
I point out to the minister as well the problems we had with asbestos in the Hamilton school board, but more so in the Toronto school boards, both public and separate. Many people, including many parents, were not satisfied with the results or with what the school board was telling them and so insisted on an independent inspection on the part of their representatives to be assured that in fact all the problems had been identified.
I think that would not have come about had it not been for the protests and the very loud and ugly public meetings that arose in order to convince the board to do that. So I certainly think the joint health and safety committees should be allowed to do that, because quite frankly, in some of the situations I have been involved in the employer -- in this case the board -- has not had any desire whatsoever to try to work it out or allow for an independent inspection or for the other side to be assured that there was not a problem. I do not see how we are going to get around that unless they can bring in their own people to do their own studies.
Hon Mr Phillips: We can get around it by the workplace parties asking us to be involved in it. We will find a mechanism so we get the two workplace parties to a process they both have confidence in. In the particular Toronto one, we were not dealing with the workplace party; we were dealing with parents. What this bill deals with is the workplace parties and I would suggest that the process is far better served by the two workplace parties and ourselves working to agree on a process that both have confidence in and that will lead to a decision that they both can feel they have been party to and part of.
The Chair: Are there any other comments? Are we ready for the vote? Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
Do I hear some “nos” and “carrieds”?
Mr Wildman: Do not ask for them.
The Chair: Whichever way, I want to hear clearly from members to help the Chair.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
The Chair: Mr Phillips moves that subsection 4(2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:
“(2) Subsection 8(2) of the said act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“(2) A joint health and safety committee is required,
“(a) at a workplace at which twenty or more workers are regularly employed;
“(b) at a workplace with respect to which an order to an employer is in effect under section 20; or
“(c) at a workplace, other than a construction project, where fewer than twenty workers are regularly employed, with respect to which a regulation concerning designated substances applies.
“(2a) Section 8 of the said act is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(3a) The constructor or employer shall cause a joint health and safety committee to be established and maintained at the workplace unless the minister is satisfied that a committee of like nature or an arrangement, program or system in which the workers participate is, on the date this act comes into force, established and maintained pursuant to a collective agreement or other agreement or arrangement and that such committee, arrangement, program or system provides benefits for the health and safety of the workers equal to. or greater than, the benefits to be derived under a committee established under this section.”
Hon Mr Phillips: The intent of all of that is -- I would say “merely” although others may not agree with “merely” -- to clarify that it was not our intent to require a joint health and safety committee on a construction project with fewer than 20 workers even if there was a designated substance on the project. Our concern is that to establish a joint health and safety committee, say, on a project of five or six workers is not practical in the construction industry.
The other requirements are the same as in the present act, but this is designed to accomplish what we think is a relatively straightforward housekeeping matter, and that is to not require, as I say, the establishment of joint health and safety committees on projects of under 20 workers.
Mrs Marland: Maybe I could ask the minister about clause (b), “at a workplace with respect to which an order to an employer is in effect under section 20.” Is it possible that this workplace to which an order is in effect may be a workplace with fewer than 20 people?
Hon Mr Phillips: I think that is a possibility. I think the minister can designate the need for a health and safety committee under that section.
Mr Wildman: I have a question. Could the minister explain the exact difference between this amendment and the original wording of the bill in this section, in intent? What is the main difference with regard to the limitations with regard to construction sites?
Hon Mr Phillips: I will have to fairly quickly find where the wording changes. The intent was to not require, under this amendment, a joint health and safety committee on projects of fewer than 20 workers even though there may be a designated substance on that site. That is the intent. The specific wording change, I will need fairly quickly. Do you have where the difference in wording is between the two? I think, probably, we are adding the words -- keep me honest here, staff -- “with respect to which a regulation concerning designated substances applies.” Is that correct? That is under (c).
Mr Mackenzie: In fact, is that not a backing off in terms of the legislation, that where designated substances were involved there could be a committee with less than 20 workers and now it is not necessary or there will not be?
Hon Mr Phillips: I do not think it was ever our intent to require a joint health and safety committee in those circumstances. I guess, as we went back through the wording, it was an inadvertent set of wording that was in the original bill because we had not anticipated the establishment of joint health and safety committees where there may be three or four workers on the site. I suppose you could say it is a change that does not provide the same level of protection, but it was not one that we originally intended to have in the bill.
Mr Mackenzie: Surely, the minister will not disagree with the fact that there could be some highly involved or concentrated projects where there may only be 10 or 12 or 15 workers involved, but where they are dealing with toxic substances or hazardous substances and it may very well be a case where there is a crying need for a committee and that now is not necessarily automatic.
Hon Mr Phillips: I guess I would say two things. One is that there are requirements for how one deals with designated substances on any site and it would be our belief that those requirements would provide the solutions to the concerns. Our concern is just in the construction area. We are moving from joint health and safety committees on maybe five projects in the province to, we think, 5,000 projects. We are making quite a substantial change in that. We want to make certain that our recommendations are also very practical and we are concerned about joint health and safety committees on very small projects. We think dealing with designated substances can be handled under things such as our workplace hazardous materials information system regulation.
Mr Wildman: I am trying to understand the minister’s position here. Am I to understand that the protection for workers dealing with designated substances extended in the original wording was inadvertent? In other words, that workers in this province, when they do gain extra protection from this government, it is only because this government does it by mistake. If that is the case, I am wondering if we could have an explanation of how the WHMIS program will provide the adequate protection for work sites with less than 20 employees, as indicated by the minister. If that is an adequate approach, why it is that we are treating work sites with more than 20 employees differently?
Hon Mr Phillips: Why we are dealing with work sites of more than 20 employees differently is that we believe the joint health and safety committees on projects of that size have a benefit. As I say, we are moving from virtually no joint health and safety committees in construction projects to perhaps 5,000 in the province.
As we put forward the bill, it was never our intent to have joint health and safety committees on projects of fewer than 20 workers. It was only as we worked our way through this process that we determined that this clause would have had that effect. As I say, the solutions to the concerns about the designated substances are -- obviously, we inspect those projects on a regular basis -- that there are controls around designated substances. While we may not have a joint health and safety committee on those projects, we do have a worker representative on any project of over five workers who also will have an opportunity to keep an eye on the designated substances.
Mrs Marland: I would like to go back to my question about (b). You are saying that where an order to an employer is in effect under section 20, it may be possible to require a joint health and safety committee. How would that work and how does that not contradict (a)? How would it work if you had, say, less than five employees? How could you have a joint health and safety committee if you had very few employees? What is section 2(b) saying? Is it saying while the order to the employer is in effect, and then as soon as there is a compliance, does the health and safety committee disband?
Hon Mr Phillips: The intent, of course, is that where we have 20 or more workers on a project, we would have a joint health and safety committee. There may be circumstances where, with our experience with a constructor or with the particular project that is going on, the minister requires the discretion, even though there are not regularly 20 or more workers there, to say in spite of that we should have a joint health and safety committee.
Currently, the way that joint health and safety committees on construction sites are approved is by the minister designating them. To a very large extent, we are going to require them. But (b) gives me the discretion, even though it is a smaller project, to appoint a committee. As I say, it may be because of the particular history of a constructor. It may be because of the particular history of that site that it would be required, even though there are fewer than 20 employees.
Mrs Marland: Maybe there is another way to ask the question, then. Is there any minimum number of employees where it would not make any common sense or would not even be feasible to have a joint health and safety committee? Are some joint health and safety committees two people -- the employer and the employee?
Hon Mr Phillips: I cannot do anything other than repeat what I said earlier. There may be certain circumstances where, even though a project does not meet the regularly 20 or more workers, in the opinion of the minister a joint health and safety committee is required. That provides the minister with that power.
Mr Mackenzie: I am wondering just once again for my own information if the minister can tell us, in a site of less than 20 employees, just how we currently make sure that all of the X number of employees on that site are aware of the WHMIS regulations and what they are dealing with. How is the training put in place and how are the employees notified?
Hon Mr Phillips: I said before, I think what we have is we ensure that we have on projects with five or more workers a worker representative who would be designated by the employees on that site as their representative who would be familiar with the WHMIS regulations to ensure that if there are designated substances on that site, he or she, along with the rest of the workers, was aware of it. There were requirements placed on the employers to ensure that they properly manage them. Our inspectors who deal with the construction sites would ensure that that is enforced.
The Chair: All those in favour of Mr Phillips’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say ‘‘nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
The Chair: Miss Martel moves that subsection 8(5c) of the act, as set out in subsection 4(3) of the bill, be amended by striking out “to the extent possible” in the third and fourth lines.
Mr Mackenzie: We had a fair bit of fun in the committee as to whether or not “to the extent possible” was more protection or better than “if possible.” I have real difficulty in deciding that one is any better than the other and we think that should be out.
Mr Wildman: Just for the sake of the members of the House who were not present in the committee to hear our debate on the difference between “if possible” and “to the extent possible,” perhaps the minister could explain what the difference is in those words, to find out really what it means to say “to the extent possible” as opposed to “if possible,” because I am not sure most of the members of the House would understand the nuances and the particular differences in those words. If the minister can explain it to us, perhaps we would be satisfied, but at this point, as my colleagues indicated, we believe there should not be any phrase with the word “possible” in it in the section.
The Chair: Minister, comments?
Hon Mr Phillips: Just a moment, Mr Chairman.
The Chair: Do not adjust your sets.
Hon Mr Phillips: I am sorry to take the time. My challenge is that we just saw the amendments recently, so I have not had a chance to go through them in detail. I am trying to refresh my memory. This was something we debated at the committee. We added “to the extent possible” at the committee.
Mr Wildman: You just changed the word “if’ to the words “to the extent.”
Mr Dietsch: By agreement with the committee.
Mr Wildman: That is right. We objected, but the committee agreed.
Hon Mr Phillips: I thought there was agreement at the committee to the words “to the extent possible,” and now they are moving that it be “if possible.”
Mr Wildman: No, no, we are moving to take the words out.
Hon Mr Phillips: Oh.
Mr Wildman: If I can be helpful, I know this might even sound picayune, but the argument was made at the committee that there was some significant difference between the words “to the extent possible” and the words “if possible.” I did not quite grasp the meaning of that and the significance of that at the time and I still do not, and for that reason we want to have the whole phrase removed.
The Chair: If I understand well, in committee there was a vote that won to change it to “to the extent possible” and your amendment is to remove it.
Mr Wildman: That is correct. If you note, on the printed version of the bill before us, there are two black arrows. The two black arrows, as I understand it, indicate that this section was amended in committee, and the amendment was to change from the words “if possible” to the words “to the extent possible.” I would just like to know what the significance of that is; I still do not know.
Hon Mr Phillips: If the intent is to take out both, either “if possible” or “to the extent possible” --
Mr Wildman: That is our intent, yes.
Hon Mr Phillips: Right. We have difficulty with that in that there may be circumstances where there is no employer representative on that site. There will be certain instances where there just is not an employer representative on the site. So we were attempting to direct the employer -- that is why we had the “if possible” and “to the extent possible” -- to select the employer representative from the site. It is possible in some areas that there is just not, on an ongoing, regular basis, an employer representative, so the intent was to say to the employer, “Pick from someone on that site.” If there is no one, they need the opportunity to pick somebody from offsite, somebody who perhaps is there for only a period of time or very seldom.
Mr Wildman: I do not want to prolong this, but it seems to me what the minister is basically saying to us is that there is no difference between the words “if possible” and the words “to the extent possible,” that it still has the same effect.
Mr Dietsch: Other than that we were trying to be congenial with you, Bud.
Mr Wildman: Okay. All right. In that case I appreciate the attempt to be congenial, but it still has the effect that we do not appreciate. I would say that we want to have the whole phrase removed.
Hon Mr Phillips: I want to be absolutely clear that I am clear on this, Mr Chairman, because the wording that I have before me is that you move that the subsection of the act as set out be amended by striking out “if possible” in the third and fourth lines, just striking it out completely.
The Chair: They are not striking out “if possible.” It is my understanding that in the committee the word “if” had been replaced by “to the extent possible.” Now they are moving to remove that completely, to remove “to the extent possible.”
Hon Mr Phillips: I see.
Mr Wildman: The problem is that our amendments were drafted prior to the amendment being passed in the committee. That is why the original wording is there. We did not catch it when we went over it. That is why my colleague, when she introduced it, changed the wording.
Hon Mr Phillips: Mr Chairman, we have the problem I outlined before, that there could be circumstances where the employer does not have a representative onsite and that was why we put in “if possible” or “to the extent possible” in the wording.
The Chair: In other words, you want to keep “to the extent possible.”
Hon Mr Phillips: Yes, Mr Chairman.
Mr Wildman: If that is possible.
Mr Dietsch: To the extent that that is possible, we will.
The Chair: I am doing pretty well, considering that English is my second language, yes.
All those in favour of Miss Martel’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
The Chair: Mr Mackenzie moves that subsection 8(6b) of the act, as set out in subsection 4(6b) of the bill, be amended by striking out “twenty-one” in the third line and substituting “seven.”
Mr Mackenzie: It is a similar point to an earlier one we made. The section simply says that a constructor or employer who receives written recommendations from a committee shall respond in writing within 21 days. It is our feeling that, if the committee has done its work and made the recommendations once again, all we are really doing is putting the workers at risk if we are going to wait 21 days. We think it should be within the seven days.
Hon Mr Phillips: I think we had a similar debate earlier, and for the same reasons I would suggest that we would not agree with that.
The Chair: Are we ready for the vote? I will read the amendment in its entirety since there was a typo mistake, just to make sure. Please listen carefully.
Mr Mackenzie moves that subsection 8(6b) of the act, as set out in subsection 4(6b) of the bill, be amended by striking out “twenty-one” in the third line and substituting “seven.”
Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
The Chair: We have another amendment to subsection 8 of section 4.
Mr Mackenzie moves that section 8 of the act, as amended by subsection 4(8) of the bill, be further amended by adding the following subsection:
“(l2d) A member of the committee is entitled to bring in a technical adviser to inspect and monitor the workplace to identify situations that may be a source of danger or hazard to workers and to attend committee meetings when mutually agreed.”
Mr Mackenzie: I think it is the same argument, as we try to develop not only some trust but a better and safer workplace, that we have the ability to bring in technical expertise. It is quite often needed in this modern day and age. To us it just simply makes sense.
Hon Mr Phillips: We would use a similar argument that we had before, and that is that for the resolution in the workplace, we are best to have a process that both sides have participated in and feel comfortable with and accept. That is where the Ministry of Labour gets involved where required and develops the necessary studies to be done. So I am again, as we were earlier, opposed to this motion.
Mr Wildman: I have heard the arguments and I think that all of us would agree that it would be helpful if both the workers and the employer could agree on a technical adviser who was acceptable to both sides, but that may not often happen. In this case, it seems to us that if we are really going to be giving powers to the committee, the members of the committee must have the expertise available that they require and they should have the right to choose who is best to give them that expertise.
I do not know what the concern here is. For instance, my colleague the member for Sudbury East earlier raised the question of the various schools and the asbestos problem in a number of school boards. In those cases, the teachers or the support staff and ultimately the parents requested that Stan Gray come in and look at the workplace and the school to determine whether or not there was a problem with asbestos.
Initially, some of the boards that were involved objected. They said: “We do not need this person who has been chosen by the support staff or by the teachers or by the parents to come in. We have our own people and we have access to the Ministry of Labour inspectors, and we do not think that we need this extra opinion.”
It seems to us -- and I am not talking about an attempt to harass the employer, I am talking about an attempt by a member of a health and safety committee to get independent opinions -- that that member of the committee should have the right to choose and the individual who has the expertise from whom the member is seeking the opinion should have access to the workplace in order to be able to express an opinion.
Again, I am not attempting to prolong this, but I just cannot understand why there would be objection to this, unless there is a suggestion that we do not want to give the members of the committee the kind of power that we purport to give them in this legislation. I do not think that is the purpose. I hope it is not.
No matter how well trained a member of a worker health and safety committee is, or for that matter, whether that member is a worker on the committee or a member of management on the committee, he will perhaps run into situations where he does not have all the technical information he requires and there may not be a mutual trust between the worker and the employer that might lead the worker to accept the position taken by management, or even by the ministry inspector.
I want to point out that in our amendment it says “when mutually agreed.” “A member of the committee is entitled to bring in a technical adviser to inspect and monitor the workplace to identify situations that may be a source of danger or hazard to workers and to attend committee meetings when mutually agreed.”
We are not suggesting that in terms of the meetings, a member of the joint health and safety committee could bring in this person by surprise or unannounced. He would have to notify the management people on the committee and if the management people objected, then the person could not attend the committee. So I cannot really understand what the objection would be, unless it is that they are concerned about access to the workplace for the inspection itself. But again, we are talking about “when mutually agreed.” If we did not have that phrase in there I could understand the objection, but with that phrase I do not.
I will not go on at any greater length. It just seems to me that it is reasonable to accept that if the workers on the joint health and safety committee want expertise, they should have the right to go to the employer and the representative of the employer on the committee and say, “Do you agree to us bringing this individual in to inspect and to attend the meetings?” If the employer representative does not agree, then nothing will happen.
Hon Mr Phillips: Let me go back to the general argument made earlier, and I appreciate the point the member is making about “when mutually agreed.” I guess when it is mutually agreed, by definition the individuals can come in and therefore it is redundant to put the words in. I think that the problem with putting it in with all the words before it is we then get into circumstances of who incurs the costs and things like that.
I think this amendment is unnecessary because where the two parties mutually agree, then obviously it happens. The problem with putting it in the bill is that it then runs the risk of complicating the situation and even of indicating that one party or the other may be required to pay for it. Where they mutually agree on it, it already occurs and is therefore unnecessary.
The Second Deputy Chair: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say ‘‘aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr Wildman: This means we didn’t mutually agree.
The Second Deputy Chair: That is right.
Section 5 agreed to.
Miss Martel: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: The amendment says section 6. It is actually section 7. We have made an error in the numbering.
Section 6 agreed to.
Miss Martel: Mr Chairman, before you start to read it all in, can I ask the indulgence of the House to give you the changes? We have made a couple of errors in terms of the letters and the numbering. I would like to go through that first before I move it so we know what we are dealing with.
The amendment is to section 7. Instead of section 10d of the act, it should be subsections 10c(3) and (4) that we are moving, as set out in section 7, not 6, of the act. There is one more at the bottom, where the paragraph reads “Coming into force,” subsection 10c(5). It should be “subsection (3)” not “subsection (I).”
The Second Deputy Chair: Miss Martel moves that subsections 10c(3) and (4) of the act, as set out in section 7 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
“10c(3) The agency shall determine the representation in respect to the manner in which an association, clinic or training centre is operated, and no grants or funds shall be given to any accident prevention association, occupational health and safety medical clinic or training centre established or continued under this act unless such representation is achieved.
“(4) Within six months after this section comes into force, the agency shall establish a plan for the representation in respect to the manner in which an association, clinic or training centre is operated.
“(5) Subsection (3) comes into force one year after this section comes into force.”
Mr Mackenzie: The essence of it is that we want the agency to determine how the clinics are represented, and that is really what is at stake in this issue.
Hon Mr Phillips: Just so I am clear on this, I guess there are three changes being proposed to the current bill.
One is that the agency will have the final say in the representation, and I think the intent was to have an independent look at whether the various organizations complied with the 50-50 or not, rather than the agency. That is one change. The second change, I gather, is the implementation time, one year instead of two years, and the third change is that it does not specify 50-50 representation on the clinics, the association or the training centre.
Is that right? I just want to make sure I have the changes that this represents.
Mr Wildman: Yes, that is correct. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that, while the agency is bipartite and will determine the representation, the decisions with regard to representation will not be dictated in the bill.
Hon Mr Phillips: I think this again was the subject of a fair bit of discussion at the committee stage. All of us are anxious that the agency work effectively. It is a new and quite an innovative step in health and safety in the province, and indeed in the relationships between employers and employees.
One of the things that we felt at the stage when we were drafting the bill is that we wanted to make certain that the various organizations did in fact have the proper representation. That is a role we felt, in drafting the bill, we would best leave to the minister to determine in the final analysis, after advice from an independent source. It does change the responsibility from someone advising the minister to the agency. We think at this stage we are better to have the adviser advising the minister, in terms of making certain that the representation is as it should be.
In terms of the timing, we are dealing with quite a significant change for many of these organizations and we wanted to make certain that these organizations move quickly, but none the less in a way that they did not find overly disruptive. That is why we are suggesting two years for implementation rather than one year.
Those are the two reasons and, therefore, we would be against the amendment and in favour of our original proposal.
Mr Wildman: I will not speak to the question of timing at this point, but I just want to say that we are attempting in this amendment to make it as flexible as possible. Right now, I am sure that some of the accident prevention associations would like to maintain perhaps some of the people who they feel have developed some expertise in their organizations to be represented on the boards.
In some cases it may in fact be preferable to have bipartite representation and equal representation, as is set out in the minister’s bill. But on other occasions it might be better, as long as it is with the approval of the agency, which is bipartite, to have some other type of representation. We are just trying to be flexible here and not to tie the hands of the agency or the associations and clinics or the training centre.
At this point, I will not speak to the question of timing, but I would like to hear the minister’s arguments, if he has any, against the possibility of flexibility of representation, again keeping in mind that the agency is bipartite and must approve.
Hon Mr Phillips: I guess I go back to the intent of the motion, that with the agency just being established and with it having quite broad responsibilities, as we drafted the bill we felt that the adjudication of whether the other organizations had met the requirements of 50% from each group rested best with an independent adviser speaking and advising the minister on it. So as I repeat myself, I think we would be against this amendment and in favour of the original parts of the bill.
Mr Mackenzie: I think I understand what the minister is saying but, if the minister will forgive me, I would like to know why an adviser in his office, a new position, would be more neutral in making these decisions than a bipartite agency, where you have to make the system work, and how the minister can really argue that that is a more independent approach to the decisions that have to be made.
Hon Mr Phillips: As I said, as we embark on quite a bold new step here, I believe -- it is my personal opinion -- this agency will pave the way for other opportunities for partnerships between employees and employers. I think people will look back on this agency and say, “That was a move that paved the way for new relationships.”
It happens to come in an extremely important area in health and safety, one that I think both parties should be equally committed to. Having said that, it is, I think, the first opportunity for that major bipartite organization, made up of 50% from the labour movement and 50% from the employer community.
I guess my concern is not to burden the agency with too many things. My concern is that we do have organizations out there that have been functioning for some time and are wanting to move forward. I think they are committed to the bipartite nature. I think many of them, the safety associations, actually are moving in advance of this legislation, to implement it. Having said that, I think that as we move on this, we also need to move perhaps not as swiftly as others might like to see us move.
I think the independent adviser analysing the situation to determine whether in fact we do have what we want, a 50-50 representation, in providing advice to me, is the better approach. The agency could do it, but we think this is a better solution.
Mr Wildman: Besides the question of flexibility, which I argued for a moment ago, I am more than a little concerned about the process that is proposed in the wording as it is now set out in the bill.
Although the minister says this individual, who is designated, would be independent, in fact it seems to me that this individual works for the minister. If that is the case, in essence what is basically being proposed here is that the minister will determine the representation -- not necessarily the individuals and the names, but the proportion -- through his adviser.
That then brings into real question the whole independence of this process and whether or not these organizations are indeed independent. That is why we believe the agency should be the one responsible for determining whether representation is acceptable on the various agencies, the associations, the clinics, the training centres and so on. That, in our view, would ensure the independence of the agency.
To have someone working for the minister, designated for the minister to carry out this role, in our view then takes away from the independence. It does not add to it, as the minister argued.
Mr Mackenzie: On the same point: The minister did say, if I was hearing him correctly, that the agency could do it, but he did not want to load them down. There were a number of other arguments that I understand. This is the reason for the independent adviser. Does the minister not also recognize that what he is doing is inviting a conflict or a question of jurisdiction? He is inviting a confrontation in an area and in a situation where a lot of the core of this is the agency and where it should have the authority.
Hon Mr Phillips: I think the whole process is going to require some goodwill on a lot of people’s parts. As the wording says, the individual will advise the agency on whether or not the composition is 50-50. I think that the selection of the individual by the minister will be done in a way that adds to the process and builds the confidence in the process and the commitment to the process.
Quite clearly, as we embark on this, a lot of trust is going to required on all sides. The individual who would be selected would be one who I, as the minister, would think would have the confidence of the parties involved that his or her designation would be seen to have been reasonable.
I think we have to have a little bit of confidence in all of this process that the individuals who will sit on the agency have the trust and confidence of others and that the individual selected to examine the matter of the 50-50 relationship would have the confidence of people in the process. Certainly for the minister that would be one of the criteria in selecting the individual.
Mr Wildman: I would like to draw the attention of the committee to subsection 7(8) just to see how that impinges, if it does, on the section that we are now dealing with. That subsection -- this is on page 13 of the bill -- says:
“If the agency fails to fulfil any of its functions and the minister determines that there is a significant public interest at stake, the minister may take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the functions are fulfilled.”
If we were giving the agency the responsibility of determining representation, would that subsection not cover what the minister is attempting to cover in his wording of subsections 7(3) and (4)? If he accepted our amendment then it would still give the minister the overall responsibility but at the same time would add to the independence and the appearance of independence of the agency.
Hon Mr Phillips: I might tell the members that I view subsection 7(8) as almost a last-resort section. I almost hate to have it in the bill, because I do not anticipate ever needing to use it. As I say, I would prefer -- I should not say I would prefer it not to be there, but I think it is required as a last resort and not one that I, as a minister, would ever contemplate using lightly because my expectation is that this agency is going to work and will work well. I think that section was put in as a kind of final move in the unlikely prospect that something was not functioning well.
I would hate to use that section ever, and I view it as a last resort. That is why I would not view that as a substitute for subsection 7(3), dealing with a person designated by myself to advise the agency that the governing body of the organization does not, in his or her opinion, have an equal number of representatives. I would much rather deal with it under that subsection than under subsection 7(8).
Mr Mackenzie: Does that comment then indicate that the minister would be prepared to remove that section from the bill?
Hon Mr Phillips: Subsection 7(8)? Well, as I said before, I do not contemplate the prospect of using it. I think, though, it is a mechanism for dealing with some extreme possibility. None the less, we should at least contemplate that that is a possibility and, therefore, have it available. I wanted to put the flavour around it for the members in that I do not see using section 8, as the member might suggest, for dealing with an item that we are trying to deal with in section 3.
Mr Wildman: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I wonder if the committee would agree to split this amendment, to vote on the coming into force subsection separately from the other two subsections.
The Second Deputy Chair: I am at the direction of the committee. Does the minister follow that?
Hon Mr Phillips: I think we are trying to be reasonable here, and if --
Mr Wildman: The reason I am suggesting that is that this section deals with timing while the other one deals with representation. They are not exactly the same issue. That is why I am suggesting that we vote on them separately.
The Second Deputy Chair: We seem to have some movement of co-operation. What shall we call it? Section 7?
Mr Wildman: It is to subsection 7(5).
The Second Deputy Chair: No. I am thinking more of the coming into force.
Mr Wildman: Oh, I see.
The Second Deputy Chair: What are we going to call that?
Mr Wildman: Sorry. I am not with you, Mr Chairman.
The Second Deputy Chair: Oh, I see, we are going to call it all section 7 and then a further amendment to section 7. How is that? Two amendments? Is that what you would like, two amendments to section 7?
Mr Wildman: Yes.
The Second Deputy Chair: Does the minister follow that?
Mr Wildman: We are just going to be voting on them separately.
Hon Mr Phillips: My understanding is that the member would like to deal with each of them separately, three separate --
Mr Wildman: No.
Hon Mr Phillips: Just two?
Mr Wildman: Just subsections 3 and 4 together; subsection 5 separately.
Hon Mr Phillips: Yes. I think that is reasonable.
The Second Deputy Chair: So just a proposed amendment to subsections 7(3) and 7(4) and a further amendment to subsection 7(5).
Mr Wildman: Right.
The Second Deputy Chair: Let’s deal with subsections
7(3) and 7(4) then.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
The Second Deputy Chair: Then we will deal with subsection 7(5).
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Sections 8 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.
The Second Deputy Chair: Dealing with section 12, proposed government amendment. Is that right? That is what I have here.
Mr Dietsch: Just let the question be called.
Hon Mr Phillips: Well, I do --
The Second Deputy Chair: You want to go against this?
Mr Phillips moves that section 12 be struck out.
They just want to do away with section 12; so the government would vote against the original section 12 that it had proposed.
Hon Mr Phillips: Just by way of explanation. Mr Chairman, you will see later on that we have made some proposals around the public sector’s right to refuse that we think go well beyond what had been intended in this section. This section was intended to deal with it originally and therefore we think we have a better solution.
Mr Mackenzie: It does remove the advisory committees.
We originally had hoped that the public sector would be covered under the language of the bill and not under the new section the minister is bringing in, although as we acknowledged in the House today, it is a slight step forward at least, and for that reason we will support this deletion.
Motion agreed to.
Section 12 deleted.
Section 13 agreed to.
The Second Deputy Chair: Mr Phillips moves that the bill be amended by adding the following section:
“13a. The said act is further amended by adding thereto the following section:
“(1) A licensee shall ensure that,
“(a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this act and the regulations are carried out with respect to logging in the licensed area;
“(b) every employer performing logging in the licensed area for the licensee complies with this act and the regulations; and
“(c) the health and safety of workers employed by employers referred to in clause (b) is protected.
“(2) In this section, ‘licensed area’ means the lands on which the licensee is authorized to cut crown timber.”
Mr Wildman: I understand that prior to my coming to the House, the definition of “licensee” was dealt with by the committee. Is that correct? Okay. “A licensee means a person who holds a logging licence under the Crown Timber Act.”
A number of questions were raised before the standing committee on resources development with regard to the forestry industry and what this section meant. There was the argument raised about who indeed was the employer as defined under this bill. Abitibi-Price, for instance -- we will use that as an example -- is a large pulp and paper company that has a large licensed area, perhaps under a forest management agreement, and has hired logging contractors, jobbers, to harvest timber from that licensed area through a third-party agreement. Was it the company that had the licence for the large tract of crown land or was it the individual jobber who might employ a cutter and a skid operator and maybe a trucker to take the logs out?
I suspect that is what the amendment is attempting to deal with. If I am correct, perhaps the minister can tell me, in that scenario that I described, is the jobber the employer who is responsible under this bill?
Hon Mr Phillips: I got an answer from the lawyer. He cannot answer in general. The employer will depend on the contracts between licensee, jobber, cutter and skidder. The intent of this amendment, and I think this is the third in a series we are dealing with here, is, on the one hand, to ensure that we hold the licensee of the crown timber land accountable for health and safety in his licensed area. That is, I think you can see by the ones I just read, the intent.
The problem we have run into is that our original language did not call in the licensee, but rather the employer. That, in law, is not correct and, they felt, would have attributed responsibilities to them in other areas that they did not have.
They do not mind the things that we hold them accountable for here, health and safety, and this is what we are trying to deal with in this bill, but found that by defining them -- in other words, the crown timber licensee -- as the employer in Bill 208, there was concern that in other areas they would then be found to be the employer.
What we are trying to do, and I repeat myself, is hold the crown timber licensee accountable and responsible for the things that we prescribe here, but not hold them accountable as the employer.
Mr Wildman: I understand what the minister is saying. I understand my friend the member for Lake Nipigon intervened in the debate earlier with regard to the question of licensee.
What the minister is essentially saying is that the person who has the licence signed over to him or her by the crown is the person who is responsible in this case but not in the wider sense, and that is fine.
Motion agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
The Second Deputy Chair: The next government proposed motion is on section 24; the next official opposition motion is on section 20. How about if we carry sections 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19, or do you want a moment?
Mr Wildman: Yes. Perhaps while we are looking this over we could ask the third party to intervene in the debate.
The Second Deputy Chair: Casting my eyes about, I see no further intervention.
Section 14 agreed to.
Mr Wildman: The areas that were of controversy in the committee were in regard to medical surveillance in section 15.
In regard to section 15, there were amendments carried in the committee, and we do not have any further arguments to make with regard to those. Our position was clear in the committee.
The Second Deputy Chair: So there are no further questions on 15, as I understand it.
Section 15 agreed to.
Sections 16 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.
The Chair: Mr Mackenzie moves that subsection 21(3) of the act, as set out in subsection 20(3) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
“(3) For the purposes of this section, a biological or chemical agent is not considered to be new if, before a person manufactures, distributes or supplies the agent, it was used in a workplace other than the person’s workplace and it is included in an inventory compiled or adopted by the minister.”
Mr Wildman: I am sorry, but I believe we have a typo here. Do we not?
Mr Mackenzie: No, we do not. What we are trying to do here is, in the current bill it says, “or is included in an inventory.” We think that it should say, “and is included.” Once again, in a nutshell, what we want is to have all of the substances tested and on the minister’s list before they are used.
Mr Wildman: This is a very minor amendment. It is just changing “or” to “and.”
The Chair: It is not for me to decide.
Hon Mr Phillips: As quickly as I can, I am refreshing my memory on this. I gather the challenge is that if we have the word “and,” it is quite complicated. It makes for an extremely long list. I gather that the rationale that we have is that we want new chemical notices only for chemicals which are new and that there are, I gather, simply too many old ones to deal with effectively by having the word “and” in. I think we would regard it as quite restrictive and in practise difficult to actually implement. That is why we went with the original wording of “or” and why we would continue to recommend the original wording.
Mr Wildman: We made the arguments before the standing committee on resources development, but the problem with this is that if you do not have the word “and,” a chemical conceivably could have been used somewhere on this globe in some workplace that does not have the same kinds of protections that we would require or anything like what we would require and we would face the situation where because that is not considered new, it would be acceptable. That is why we think it should be “and.”
The minister says it is going to be restrictive. He uses the words “unduly restrictive.” In our view, it is going to be restrictive and that is what we are attempting to do, to make it restrictive and to protect workers and to ensure that there is indeed an inventory.
I do not think we need to go on at length. We have made the arguments before the committee. The minister says it would be a very long list; that is the problem. That is exactly what we are dealing with, the fact that there are so many chemicals, and we think that they should be listed.
Mr Mackenzie: It is not my intention to drag this out either, but I know of few issues that workers have fought for longer and harder to try to get the various chemicals they are working with in the workplace tested first and to make sure they are on a list or an inventory that is compiled by the ministry. I do not think it is that onerous or difficult a task and I really have difficulty in understanding why the ministry will not consider this.
The Chair: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Sections 21 to 23, inclusive, agreed to.
The Chair: Mr Phillips moves that section 24 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:
“24(1) Subsection 23(1) of the said act, as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1984, chapter 55, section 224, and subsection 23(2) of the said act are repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“23(1) This section does not apply with respect to a worker described in subsection (2),
“(a) when a circumstance described in clause (3)(a), (b) or (c) is inherent in the worker’s work or is a normal condition of the worker’s employment; or
“(b) when the worker’s refusal to work would directly endanger the life, health or safety of another person.
“(2) The worker referred to in subsection (1) is,
“(a) a person employed in, or a member of, a police force to which the Police Act applies;
“(b) a full-time, or a volunteer, firefighter as defined in the Fire Departments Act; a person employed in the operation of a correctional institution or facility, a training school or centre, a place of secure custody designated under section 24.1 of the Young Offenders Act (Canada) or a place of temporary detention designated under subsection 7(1) of that act or a similar institution, facility, school or home;
“(d) a person employed in the operation of,
“(i) a hospital, sanatorium, nursing home, home for the aged, psychiatric institution, mental health or mental retardation centre or a rehabilitation facility,
“(ii) a residential group home or other facility for persons with behavioural or emotional problems or a physical, mental or developmental handicap,
“(iii) an ambulance service or a first aid clinic or station,
“(i) a laboratory operated by the crown or licensed under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act, or
“(ii) a laundry, food service, power plant or technical service or facility used in conjunction with an institution, facility or service described in subclause (i) to (iv).
“(2) Subsections 23(11) and (12) of the said act are repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“(11) Pending the investigation and decision of the inspector, no worker shall be assigned to use or operate the equipment, machine, device or thing or to work in the workplace or in the part of the workplace being investigated unless, in the presence of a person described in subsection (12), the worker has been advised of the other worker’s refusal and of his or her reasons for the refusal.
“(12) The person referred to in subsection (11) must be,
“(a) a committee member who represents workers and, if possible, who is a certified member;
“(b) a health and safety representative; or
“(c) a worker who because of his or her knowledge, experience and training is selected by the trade union that represents the worker or, if there is no trade union, by the workers to represent them.
“(13) A person shall be deemed to be at work and the person’s employer shall pay him or her at the regular premium rate, as may be proper,
“(a) for the time spent by the person carrying out the duties under subsections (4) and (7) of a person mentioned in clause (4)(a), (b) or (c); and
“(b) for the time spent by the person carrying out the duties under subsection (11) of a person described in subsection (12).”
Hon Mr Phillips: This really is quite a substantive motion and it covers three major areas. One is the deletion of “work activity.” As members may recall, during the hearings at the legislative committee we attempted to find a way to expand the definition of “work activity” and the problem we ran into was in finding the right set of words. I think after a good deal of discussion with employees and employer groups it was felt that perhaps the best thing for all concerned was to go back to the original wording. That is what we are proposing here.
The second section is the one that I mentioned earlier today, which is to provide public sector employees, workers, with the right to refuse subject to the limitations that members see spelled out here. I think perhaps it is fair to say that during the legislative committee hearings, this was perhaps one of the most significant areas where groups came before the committee.
We proposed earlier an attempt to resolve this through, I think it was, section 12, and we found on reflection that perhaps the solution we are proposing here is a better one. It is similar to what has worked in other provinces and will I think represent a balance between protecting the interest of the public for protection but still provide the employees with an opportunity to redress unnecessary hazards they are subjected to.
The third major area here is again something that I think came out of the committee hearings where there was concern expressed by employees that where they have refused to do a job because they believed themselves to be in danger, the individual substitute worker who was asked to step in was not necessarily advised of the background and the rationale for why the worker had refused to do it.
What we are proposing here is a mechanism that will make certain that if a worker refuses to do a job because he or she believes there is a danger, any worker who is asked to step in for that be apprised of the reasons for it in the presence of, as we go through the subsections, either a committee member -- if possible, a certified committee member -- a health and safety representative, or in the absence of any of them, a worker who because of his or her knowledge and experience has been selected by the union. There are also some provisions to ensure that this individual will be remunerated for the time he spent doing this.
As I say, I think this is a fairly significant amendment dealing with two of the very major issues that arose during the legislative committee hearings. It attempts to respond, I think, to many of the concerns of the committee members and certainly of many of the people in the groups that appeared before the legislative committee.
Mr Mackenzie: There is a question that this is part of the guts of the bill. The wording -- I am going to deal only with the public sector part of it -- is in effect the federal wording and it is, we acknowledge, a step better than what we appeared to be getting, but it is not what we would have done or what we wanted.
Our amendment would have been, now we have had some help from legislative counsel, I think, to change it and I just want to put it on the record:
I move that section 24 of the bill be amended by renumbering subsection 24(1) as subsection 24(lb) and by adding the following subsections:
“(1) Subsection 23(1) of the said act, as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1984, chapter 55, section 224, is repealed.
“(1a) Subsection 23(2) of the said act is repealed.”
In effect, what we would have done would have been to remove the exemption from the bill of the various categories of public sector workers. We could argue for a long time. We have already had a fair debate in committee on this. We would like to have seen that dealt with. Obviously, from the look of it, we were not going to carry it with this government, but that, to our way of thinking, would have been a positive and progressive move that would have shown an awful lot more trust in our own public sector workers than we are doing.
We are not taking any lead in this province. We are once again grasping for some alternative because what this government was originally suggesting simply showed no faith or confidence in its own workers and just simply was not defensible and it is much better that they have been included. But the government has obviously decided to take the route of looking for some other alternative language and it has picked the federal language. I just want to make it very clear that while that may be a slight improvement over what we were expecting, it is not what we would have brought in if we were bringing in this bill.
Mr Wildman: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I would like your direction. Would it be in order for us to ask for consent to in fact deal with the amendment my colleague has just read into the record, that is, to put it on the floor and to deal with it? It is quite different from what is proposed by the minister.
The Chair: What you are proposing would be a substitute for what the minister is proposing, correct?
Mr Wildman: A substitute for what is in the bill now and for the amendment the minister is proposing, but only part of it, not the whole thing.
The Chair: Looking at the acrobatics of this, would there be a consensus to deal with your proposed amendment to subsection 24(1) first and maybe deal with the minister’s afterwards?
Mr Mackenzie: I had thought that was what we were going to do. I did not jump up quite fast enough on it. As I say, I understand now it is not likely to carry, but I was hoping that was the approach you were going to take rather than the minister’s. We may or may not have got it in the correct order or worded properly. Obviously, we were told legislative counsel had some difficulty with it the way it was and they did some reworking of it for us.
Hon Mr Phillips: The members opposite want to express their concern that they would prefer another approach. I personally have no problem with that, if procedurally the best way to do it is to deal first with their motion to essentially delete this section and then to deal with ours.
The Chair: Therefore is everybody agreeable? Agreed. Fair enough. We will come back to yours afterwards, Minister, and we will now deal with Mr Mackenzie’s.
Mr Mackenzie moves that section 24 of the bill be amended by renumbering subsection (1) as subsection (1b) and by adding the following subsections:
“(1) Subsection 23(1) of the said act, as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1984, chapter 55, section 224, is repealed.
“(la) Subsection 23(2) of the said act is repealed.”
Mr Mackenzie: It really is the heart of the matter. I thought it was a bit of a red herring, the argument the minister used in the House today, listing the things that obviously a policeman or a fireman could not or would not do. There was never any intention that they would not carry out the basic responsibilities they had, but I think if we are looking for a new piece of legislation, a new beginning in the whole question of health and safety in the province of Ontario and how we deal with one another, there should not have been the exclusion of the public sector workers in the province of Ontario. Any difficulties in terms of the responsibilities they have to carry out can be dealt with in dealing with those specific concerns and not by a blanket exclusion of certain classes of public service employees.
Mr Wildman: We recognize that the minister has attempted to respond to concerns that were raised in the committee, in the debate during the consideration of this bill before the standing committee on resources development, and we appreciate that the minister has taken a step to respond. Having said that, from our point of view we stand by the positions we took in the committee that the public sector workers such as members of police forces, fire departments or people who work in our corrections and so on, should in fact have the same protections that all other workers in this province have. There should not be a differentiation.
We recognize, as the minister said in the House earlier today, that certain jobs, certain professions in this province, have danger and hazard inherent in their work activities. We recognize that at times a police officer has to do important things to protect our society that can involve danger. There are occasions when a police officer might be confronted with someone carrying a firearm, for instance, or might indeed be subject to assault or might indeed have to deal with someone who is violent.
We recognize that, just by being a member of a fire department, an individual is prepared to become involved in very dangerous situations to try to protect life and property in this province and in the community. As I said before the standing committee on resources development, we are not suggesting, and I do not think any police officer or member of a fire department or someone who works in the corrections field in this province ever suggested, that an individual in those professions, facing those kinds of circumstances, would refuse to carry out his or her responsibilities.
We used examples, as the minister did earlier today, of faulty equipment, for instance, where it has been shown that a vehicle does not have brakes -- I think the minister used that example earlier today -- or a ladder that a firefighter might have to climb is found, early in the shift and prior to a fire call, to be faulty. Indeed, a member of those professions should have the right, as all other workers in this province have, to say, “No, that is a hazard, that is a dangerous situation and it must be rectified before anyone has to use that equipment.”
Or for that matter, if someone who was involved in guarding people who have been incarcerated found that there was, perhaps, an asbestos hazard in the correctional facility, that individual should have the right to refuse. That individual should have the right to protect himself, his co-workers and the people for whom he is responsible, by refusing and saying, “This situation must be rectified.”
We raised in the committee the very serious problems we have faced with regard to air ambulance workers and we also raised the issue of the tragic experience of a young person who was responsible in a group home for looking after or guarding, if you want to use that term, a dangerous person. We have seen the deaths that have occurred on those occasions and for those reasons.
As we said in the committee, these are very responsible jobs and very responsible positions. People are not given those jobs or those positions unless they are regarded as responsible people. If we think they are responsible enough to guard people who have committed offences, if they are responsible enough to assist the ill in emergencies, if they are responsible enough to be given the job of protecting the lives and property of the public in this province, then surely they are responsible enough to be trusted not to “abuse” a right to refuse if it were extended to them in the same way it is extended to all workers in the province. It is for that reason that we believe there should not be a differentiation made. We appreciate the fact that the minister has responded in his way with his amendment, which I suspect we will be dealing with in a moment. In our view, part of that amendment does not go far enough.
Mrs Marland: I wonder if the minister can explain something. I ask this question respectfully because the minister had told the member for Hamilton East and myself that these amendments were coming, and I actually got the binder yesterday morning. When I look at this wording, I wonder if the minister could tell me where a police officer or a firefighter or someone who works in corrections would be in a position to refuse work. If we look at the sections where the danger is inherent in the worker’s work -- which I do not think is very good wording, but anyway, let that go -- or the danger is a normal condition of the worker’s employment, or where the worker’s refusal would directly endanger the life, health and safety of another person, I understand all that. But with those three clauses, I am just wondering if the member could give us an example where any of those employees would in fact be in a position to refuse any dangerous work.
Hon Mr Phillips: I thought we were dealing with the member for Hamilton East’s motion. I do not mind debating that, but the member for Hamilton East’s motion is to strike out any differentiation between the public sector workers and other workers. My expectation is that we will be dealing with our motion after we have dealt with the member for Hamilton East’s motion. I just wonder procedurally, Mr Chairman, if you would prefer that the member’s question be dealt with after we have dealt with the member for Hamilton East’s motion.
The Chair: Why you do this to me at a quarter to 6 I will never know. It does not matter. I am open.
Hon Mr Phillips: I think we are dealing with two different subjects. The member for Hamilton East is dealing with the issue of should we differentiate between any employees in this province. Their motion suggests no. If we get off on to the substance of the government motion, we may not have the debate around the member for Hamilton East’s motion that is on the floor right now. That is all. As I said, I do not mind the debate at all, but I just think procedurally, Mr Chairman, you may want to deal with the member for Hamilton East’s motion.
The Chair: I think we had better deal first with the member for Hamilton East’s motion, as was agreed to. Then, once we have disposed of that, we will get back to yours. It is only normal.
Hon Mr Phillips: I appreciate the motion. I guess the reason why we will be recommending that we not approve this is that I, too, have confidence in the workers who are in those fields. As the members have said, they would not be there unless they had the trust and confidence of the community. Indeed, that is often the cornerstone of their careers.
However, I think we are dealing with, for the public, also quite an important issue of their wanting to be assured of a comfort level. What we have put into the bill is that comfort level. I think if we were simply to move to this motion, the public’s concerns would be substantial. I recognize that in the motion it is designed to articulate what I think the workers themselves would recognize as their responsibility, but it is designed to spell out for the community and the public, I think, the necessary comfort level. That is why, as I say, we would not be supporting the member for Hamilton East’s motion.
The Chair: Is it the pleasure of the committee that Mr Mackenzie’s motion carry?
All those in favour will please say ‘‘aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr Mackenzie: Mr Chairman, I think we have a bit of a minor problem here. We have dispensed with our motion in terms of the exclusion of the public sector workers, but if I am not misreading the government motion which we will be dealing with shortly, it is really in three parts: the public sector right to refuse, the work activity and, on the second page of the government’s motion halfway down on the left-hand side, “Subsections 23(11) and (12) of the said act are repealed and the following substituted therefor: Duty to advise other workers.” That is the basis of our amendment 10, 24(3a), so it seems to me that in effect their motion has covered really three key areas in this bill.
One, we would like to separate out the motion that we have moved, we think it is a crucial area of the bill; and two, we would like to have an opportunity to spend a few more minutes on the work activity section.
I am in the minister’s hands and the Chairman’s hands as to how we deal with this. We could go ahead with our amendment 10, which is part of the government’s, and it gets down just to the work activity area. But I would like to ask that we set aside -- I do not know whether we can just do the work activity area or whether we have to do that whole government section on this -- maybe until we start on Monday or when we are next into it.
Hon Mr Phillips: I think we are trying to be helpful here. I agree with the member that we are dealing with three substantive issues here, as he has properly identified. So if you can help us procedurally, Mr Chairman, I have no difficulty in separating the three so that the members opposite can deal with them. Then they may choose to deal with them individually, and I do not have a problem with that either. If you can separate the three issues procedurally, Mr Chairman, I have no difficulty with that.
The Chair: I am agreeable. Whatever the members are comfortable with. I can see it both ways. We can now deal with the 24 that the government had that we were discussing before and proceed with 24(3a) afterwards. Are you comfortable with that, or would you prefer to proceed with 24(3a) before?
Mr Mackenzie: Subsection 24(3a) comes halfway through the government’s. We would like to come back with a short amendment on the work activity, so that may be until --
Hon Mr Phillips: And you would like to do that on Monday?
Mr Mackenzie: Yes.
Hon Mr Phillips: I guess we are going to attempt to set aside the work activity part, deal with the public sector part now, and the advising the substitute worker the member opposite wants to deal with now as well?
Mr Mackenzie: If we can, that would be --
Hon Mr Phillips: I have no difficulty with that if we can, as I say, set aside the work activity part.
The Chair: So you will be splitting your own section 24 into different sections?
Hon Mr Phillips: Yes. I just have to make sure I understand where it is --
The Chair: If anybody else can understand it, I will gladly try to understand it myself.
Mr Mackenzie moves that section 24 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(3a) Subsection 23(11) of the said act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“(11) Pending the investigation and decision of the inspector, no worker shall be assigned to use or operate the equipment, machine, device or thing to engage in the activity or to work in the workplace or the part thereof which is being investigated.”
Mr Mackenzie: If I am understanding properly the government section and the government amendment, what it is saying in effect is that as long as somebody has notified the worker of the refusal, they can have a replacement there. It is our feeling that this should not be allowed just on that basis, because some workers are going to be influenced a little more easily than others and some foremen will operate differently from others. We think nobody should be allowed to replace them until the condition has been corrected.
Hon Mr Phillips: That obviously goes beyond our intent. We did listen carefully to the committee in its hearings across the province and we have moved the amendment that would ensure that where a worker has refused to do something when he has grounds to believe he is in danger and where the employer asks someone to step in, we have added the section to ensure that the worker who has been asked to do that work is informed of the reasons for the refusal in the presence of people we have outlined here.
I think the proposed amendment would go one step beyond, and that is to prohibit an individual stepping in at all. I think that would certainly go beyond what we had intended. We have already, as I say, strengthened it. We think we have provided a balance of protection for the workers. We have made a significant move forward in our proposed amendments, and this would be a step beyond what we could support.
Mr Wildman: It is quite simple. We are saying that workers should not be asked to work in conditions it is felt might be unsafe. If the investigation is ongoing, it has not been determined at that point whether or not the condition is hazardous.
I really do not understand how the ministry and the government can introduce the amendment that they are considering after having the evidence before the standing committee on resources development regarding the Gerber case. We had evidence right before the committee of a situation where an individual had exercised his right to refuse, was then reassigned to work elsewhere in the plant, and another worker brought in to do the job that the first worker had refused to do was in fact killed.
Mr Mackenzie: Hours later.
Mr Wildman: Within hours.
If anything argues against the government’s position, I think that situation does. If anything supports our position, it is certainly that situation. Unfortunately, we may have situations where there is an individual who exercises his or her right to refuse and then some other younger, less experienced worker, perhaps a probationary worker, is asked by the supervisor to carry out this task and is advised, according to the minister’s amendment, “Another worker has refused to this for these reasons, but we’d like you to do it if you want.”
If the worker is probationary, it is very difficult for him or her to say, “Well, no, I’m not going to do this,” particularly if the person is trying to make a good impression and do a good job in order to become a permanent employee.
Also, we have the situation unfortunately in some workplaces where there might be a younger worker who perhaps is a macho type and figures: “Well, that other person may have refused it and he may think it’s dangerous, but I don’t really think it’s dangerous. I can do this job despite what the other worker has said.”
Some people might say if an individual takes that position and then subsequently has an injury, it is his own fault, and who are we to say that we should tell this person that despite his own irresponsibility we are going to protect him?
Frankly, I think that is what this legislation is about. We are trying to protect workers. We are not simply attempting to give workers information. We want to give workers information, we think the workers have the right to information, and information in itself is a protection. But if there is anything further we can do to protect, that is what we should be doing.
Our amendment is clear. If a situation is thought to be unsafe, if an investigation is being carried out and has not been resolved -- it has not been determined whether or not the situation is safe -- then nobody should be working there. If doubt about safety has been raised, work should not continue until it has been determined that it is indeed safe or, if there is a hazard, that this hazard will be rectified and no work shall take place until it is rectified.
I notice the time is fleeting, Mr Chairman. If you would like me to move adjournment of the debate, I would be happy to do that.
On motion by Mr Wildman, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
The House adjourned at 1802.