40e législature, 2e session

L091 - Wed 27 Nov 2013 / Mer 27 nov 2013



Wednesday 27 November 2013 Mercredi 27 novembre 2013























































The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Good morning. Please join me in prayer.




Mrs. Meilleur moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 133, An Act to amend the Ontario Provincial Police Collective Bargaining Act, 2006 / Projet de loi 133, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2006 sur la négociation collective relative à la Police provinciale de l’Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Madame Meilleur.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to highlight the proposed amendments to the Ontario Provincial Police Collective Bargaining Act.

I would like to start by reminding the House that these amendments were meant to be passed as part of the 2012 budget. The removal of these measures in committee was an error, and one that the other parties agree was not intentional.

We know that stand-alone legislation on this item is something that the official opposition has said they will support, and the leader of the third party has stated in writing that she also supports these measures.

If passed, the legislative amendments to the act will establish more consistency between the act and two pieces of legislation: the Police Services Act, PSA, which includes the framework under which municipal police forces negotiate; and the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, which is the framework that governs other OPS bargaining agents. This would allow the party to negotiate a management rights provision clause into the collective agreement between the employer and the Ontario Provincial Police Association.

Les changements proposés vont dans le sens de l’engagement qu’a pris le gouvernement d’améliorer, de moderniser et de transformer les procédés du gouvernement en mettant en place un cadre de relations de travail qui soit tout à la fois souple, dynamique et bénéfique pour les employés de la Police provinciale de l’Ontario.

If passed, these amendments would promote employee engagement, ensure an accountable and professional public service, and allow for management rights to be exercised in a manner that is consistent with the collective agreement policies and applicable legislation. These changes will impact approximately 9,000 OPPA members.

Comprehensive consultations were held with the OPPA in November 2009 and February 2010. Further discussions were held as part of the public sector compensation restraint consultations in August and September 2010.

The language within the OPPA collective agreements would need to change as a result of the proposed amendment. The current collective agreement with the OPPA expired on December 31, 2011. The framework agreement resolved all compensation adjustments through to December 2014, and the parties are scheduled to begin negotiations in late 2014 for a renewal of the collective agreement. It is anticipated that upon passage of the legislation, the parties will amend the collective agreements to incorporate the management rights. The employer would work with the OPPA to make changes to the collective agreements to align them with the proposed legislative amendments prior to proclamation.

Our government’s commitment to ensuring that Ontario has a truly modern policing model goes well beyond labour relations issues. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services hosted a summit on the future of policing in 2012, at the urging of the policing community. We brought together police leaders and other partners to discuss challenges facing police services in Ontario and the sustainability of police service delivery into the future. As a result of that summit, the Future of Policing Advisory Committee was established.

The committee’s role is to recommend policy changes that will make policing services in Ontario leaner and smarter. The committee has provided the government with valuable advice on a range of topics including a new community safety model that helps resolve complex social problems, strengthened local governance and oversight, a plan for the sharing of services and resources to realize economies of scale and maximize service delivery, and the identification of alternative resources for service delivery.

Cette phase du travail étant bien avancée, le ministère soumet des thèmes clés relevés par d’autres ministères et intervenants concernés afin qu’ils soient présentés pour des consultations étendues. Ces consultations suivent leur cours et se poursuivront l’année prochaine pour nous aider à déterminer les prochaines mesures et les prochaines étapes nécessaires.

Mr. Speaker, I’m glad to say that the OPPA is a key partner in the discussion shaping the future of policing in Ontario. Collectively, we must find ways to ensure that our communities continue to enjoy policing services that are both effective and sustainable. At the same time, police services have to make decisions on how best to meet the needs and expectations of the communities they serve.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize again that the proposed Ontario Provincial Police Collective Bargaining Amendment Act would have an impact on labour relations by promoting transparency and accountability, providing consistency across the OPS bargaining units, and improving, modernizing and transforming government process by building a labour relations framework that is both flexible and dynamic and that will improve service to OPP employees.

To be clear, Mr. Speaker, the proposed changes will not impact the OPP’s ability to fulfill its public safety mandate. They will, however, ensure greater consistency between the labour relations framework of the OPP and municipal police services.

La loi entrera en vigueur le jour fixé par proclamation, ce qui assurera que les droits de gestion sont intégrés à la convention collective avant d’être supprimés par la loi.


Mr. Speaker, enabling stable and efficient labour relations across the Ontario public service and ensuring that a solid future for community safety in the province is part of the government’s plan to work together as one Ontario to build a successful, compassionate and united province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and enjoy a high quality of life.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments.

Mr. John Yakabuski: It’s a pleasure to join the debate, albeit a short one this morning that we were presented with by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, on Bill 133. This is something that we’ve been talking about for a few years now. I want to take my hat off to Jim Christie and the members of the OPPA for continuing to raise this issue. I was the critic for community safety for a couple of years, and I must say I really enjoyed my time in that position, representing Tim Hudak and the PC caucus as our liaison with the members of the OPPA, who are the primary, I would think, movers of this piece of legislation. This is something that I know they’ve been looking for some time. In fact, I do believe that there was a commitment by the government that they would do this some time ago.

I want to congratulate and thank Jim and his members for the great work they do around this province. I think it’s overlooked sometimes, because when you read headlines in the newspapers, the headlines are always tilted towards the negative because that’s what sells newspapers or gets your spot on the 6 o’clock news. But I want to thank them for the commitment they make in keeping our communities safe, in making our people comfortable that we live in one of the most secure and safe environments in all the world, and that when you leave your home in the province of Ontario, you know you’re walking on good ground. It is our first responders and our police who make us feel that way. So I want to thank them for the great work they do and that I know they will continue to do on behalf of all of us here in the province of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I’m pleased to rise as the member for London West and also as the Ontario New Democratic Party critic for correctional services and community safety. I want to thank the minister for her comments in introducing this bill and also for finally moving forward on this issue. I understand that as early as 2009 the Ontario Provincial Police Association had brought these concerns forward about the lack of consistency across the OPS in terms of the treatment of management rights in statute or in collective agreements. This has been an issue that has been flagged and highlighted as something that has to be addressed, and it’s good that we’re finally moving forward on this.

I also wanted to echo some of the comments that were made by the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke in terms of the important role played by the Ontario Provincial Police Association, in particular the advocacy of president Jim Christie: the negotiations and work that takes place, and the partnership that contributes to community safety in this province. We know that stable, effective and sustainable policing services will only be accomplished through solid and positive labour relations between the OPPA and the government. I’m very pleased to speak on behalf of the NDP and support this initiative coming forward.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments. The Minister of Labour.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Thank you very much, Speaker, for recognizing me to speak about Bill 133. As the Minister of Labour, I wanted to state my support for this bill. I, first and foremost, want to start by thanking all our Ontario Provincial Police officers. They work extremely hard. They keep us safe. On behalf of all legislators and on behalf of our Premier, I thank them for their ongoing community service and ongoing work to keep our communities safe.

I also want to thank the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services for bringing this very important piece of legislation, something that will definitely level the playing field for our OPP officers. These measures correct an error that took place at a committee meeting some time ago, and I’m happy to note, at least as far as I know, that the official opposition and the third party support this particular bill, and I hope there will be speedy passage of this bill, given that we have the support of the Ontario Provincial Police Association.

The bill affects about 9,000 OPPA members. It really, at the end of the day, makes sure that labour rights of OPP officers are consistent with the rights of officers working for municipal police forces. This is obviously quite crucial and essential. Again, as the Minister of Labour, I really hope that all members of the House pass this bill as soon as we can.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I’m pleased to add some comments to substantiate where we’re going with Bill 133. But first of all, I’m glad that this bill has come forward, because when things happen too fast, mistakes happen, and that’s what we’ve seen over and over again with this Liberal government. So it’s important to be taking a look at these mistakes and figuring out how to fix them—


Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: —because, guess what, Speaker? I come from a police family, and my colleague who will be speaking in a few moments also comes from a police family. We have to make sure our first responders and the folks involved in this very, very important service are respected.

I know Jim Christie, and he has a lot of respect for my brother, who is an OPP officer; my brother’s son is an OPP officer; and our critic here hails from a family of OPP officers and police officers. In fact, his one son, to pursue his dream, actually had to move out of province. As per the norm over the last few years, a lot of people have trended to the western move. It’s just indicative of how this government has lost sight and made mistake after mistake. We’re losing our young people to good jobs in the west, even in the police services field, and it’s a travesty.

Coming back to Bill 133, again it’s nice to see this government taking a look at the mistakes it’s made because of really quick actions and not a lot of due diligence. That’s a thread that’s found from ministry to ministry to ministry. Going back to the fact that Jim Christie was here last week representing the OPPA, I think we have to give due diligence to this mistake that was omitted during the 2012 budget, because we cannot take anyone for granted in this province. Our police services are very, very important.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The Minister for Community Safety and Correctional Services has two minutes.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I want to thank the members from London West and Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, the Minister of Labour and the member from Huron–Bruce for their comments.

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Provincial Police are responsible for policing almost one million square kilometres of land, over 100,000 square kilometres of waterways and two thirds of the municipalities in the province, which make up almost 40% of the country’s population. So we have to listen to the request from the OPPA and its president, Jim Christie—I’m sure that Jim is listening today—and pass this bill that, by mistake last year, was not adopted.

We know that, day in and day out, OPP officers are patrolling our roads and highways, helping Ontarians when they are in need and providing excellent police services to keep communities safe. There’s not a week that goes by without me receiving positive comments from the community.


If I have my chance today, I will talk to you about this couple who were lost in Ontario a couple of weeks ago. They were deep in the forest, and because of the good service the OPP provided—you know, these police officers don’t think about their own safety; they think about the safety of the citizens. So they did their utmost to help to find this couple.

Our government and the OPP are committed to ensuring the safety of all Ontarians.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate.

Mr. Steve Clark: It’s a pleasure for me, on behalf of the Ontario PC party and our leader, Tim Hudak, in my capacity as critic for community safety and correctional services to rise and speak about Bill 133, An Act to amend the Ontario Provincial Police Collective Bargaining Act, 2006. I’m pleased to be able to rise to speak on the bill today, to have a few comments.

It’s a very important bill, and when the minister first tabled the bill, I congratulated her. I was at the Ontario Provincial Police Association’s president’s dinner up in Blue Mountains with the minister. I have to give her credit: She stood up at the mike that night and indicated that the government was going to be moving forward with this piece of legislation—and she did. She came forward, tabled the bill, and I appreciate some of her comments.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I offered you a ride back.

Mr. Steve Clark: She did; I want to acknowledge that, Speaker. She reminded me of something. She even offered, once she realized I was there, to give me a ride. So that’s the type of co-operation that Minister Meilleur offered that evening. I know we joked about it later; after I asked her some questions about the OSPCA, I thought maybe I got that offer parked. But I have to admit that it was a great night. It gave me an opportunity to have a discussion with Jim Christie, the president of OPPA. In fact, I spoke to him this morning about the bill, had a good conversation, and I really appreciated hearing from members of the association about the importance of this bill and really what happened. In my time today, I want to acknowledge that as well.

It’s a very small bill. In fact, anyone who is around this place knows that any time we debate, all of the bills that are being debated are at the table. So I walked in this morning and I grabbed a copy of the bill and I got to my desk. This is how small this bill is: I actually grabbed four copies. It’s just that small that I thought I had one copy of the bill and I actually have—so maybe I’ll get one of the pages to come up and take these three bills and put them back to the table so that one of the other members can have them.

Even though it’s a very small bill—it’s one of the only bills that I’ve ever seen that is printed on one page—I can’t underestimate the fact of how important it is to the members of the Ontario Provincial Police Association. It’s all about changing the OPP Collective Bargaining Act, which we know that the members of the association have been asking for for a long time. I’m glad that the previous critic, the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, did a two-minute hit on the minister’s speech. I know that both he and the previous critic, the member for Simcoe North, Mr. Dunlop, have had extensive conversations with the Ontario Provincial Police Association, have been very supportive and very understanding of how we really got here today.

I’m sure some, in debate, will call this a housekeeping measure to give the Ontario Provincial Police employees access to the same collective bargaining rights as their counterparts in municipal policing. I just want to stop there, because one of the things I realize is that not a lot of people understand policing. I had the opportunity, when I was in municipal life, to learn a little bit about what it does and what it means to be involved in the government structure. I can remember like it was yesterday. Neil Macdonald, who now is with CBC, was then with the Ottawa Citizen. When I was elected mayor, I had lots of interviews by people about different things. Well, Neil Macdonald caught me: He called me up and asked me a question. I had probably been mayor for two or three days—I hadn’t even been inaugurated yet. He asked me about how I was a member of—they were called police commissions then.


Mr. Steve Clark: There we go again. The Attorney General has known me for so long that he remembers me when I had hair. I appreciate that comment. Thanks for making me feel old, Minister.

Neil Macdonald asked me this question: “So, what do you think about being on the police commission?”

I, being a political neophyte, said, “What’s a police commission? Let me guess.”

Guess what the headline of the Ottawa Citizen was the next day: Mayor doesn’t know what a police commission is. I never forgot that. I have to tell you, I was not very happy with the Ottawa Citizen for a while because he wrote that story.

But you know what? It made me sit down and understand about how policing works. And you know what? I made a decision that I would step back. Normally, the tradition back in the early 1980s was that the mayor would be the chair of the police commission. I purposely parked myself and became a member and let one of the other long-serving members became the chair. But I really learned from that experience, really took my issue of governance very seriously and spent a lot of time understanding the relationship between a police association and the administration. I found it very valuable. I think that some of that experience I had, other members of our caucus certainly haven’t had before.

In terms of this bill specifically, the amendment is going to impact the 9,000 uniformed and civilian employees of the Ontario Provincial Police, and it’s going to give OPP employees the same rights as their counterparts in municipal police services right across Ontario. I should add and acknowledge what the minister said in her speech today: The removal of management rights in the existing legislation is certainly not unprecedented. It really brings the OPP Collective Bargaining Act in line with the Police Services Act, and the crown employees act, for instance. And I think she acknowledged that, over time, we’ve been supportive of some of those changes.

I have to tell you, though, that in a minority Parliament, things are quite busy, especially these last few weeks of the session. There are lots of stakeholders who want us to get bills through the legislative process and into committee. This bill certainly was one that we didn’t have a chance to caucus on, as an Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus—I know there are some questions. I’m hoping today, as part of my address, to try to address some of those questions for some of my members—maybe people in the other two parties as well. But I know that I, and certainly the previous two critics, Mr. Yakabuski, from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, and Mr. Dunlop, from Simcoe North, have worked very closely with the OPPA, and I think there are a number of members who are extremely supportive.

I have to say, though, that I am disappointed to some degree that there aren’t some more substantive measures we can deal with as a Legislature. I know that I called back to my constituency office yesterday to try to deal with some issues. This is the first snowfall of the year, and I can’t imagine how many calls I’m going to get at my constituency office about hydro issues. I just dread leaving the Legislature this morning after question period and calling back to Brockville to find out how many people called.

People are in crisis in this province, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t have a constituent come in with a hydro bill. I have people in my office crying on a weekly basis about the high hydro rates in this province. I just wanted to put that on the record, because even though this is an extremely important bill for members of the OPP—and I have said I’m understanding; I have said I’m supportive—I wanted to put that on the record, because I know that so many members have that same issue in their ridings and are basically deluged with issues.

Listen, this bill is not an issue that’s going to hit question period today. I think we’ve seen how question period has been dominated with some of the job losses at Heinz and Sears and Imperial Oil.

Before you jump in, Speaker—I know you’re giving me the look; I tell you, you’re giving me that look—I’m going to jump back to Bill 133 before you stand up.

During their annual conference last week, I had a chance to speak to members of the Police Association of Ontario who aren’t affected by this bill, and I know that some of the concerns I raised apply as well to the Ontario Provincial Police Association. One of the things I had been talking about there was the fact that we’ve got high debt in this province: about $20,000 per person.


I think there are some substantive policing issues that I want to talk about today, because there is some confusion about what this bill does compared to some of the other issues that are hitting municipal council tables. I do want to take an opportunity, Speaker, even in this fiscal crisis we have in the province, to address specifically things in this bill.

As I said, it’s a very small bill. There are only a couple of sections. The explanatory note really indicates why we’re here: “The bill repeals subsection 2(3) of the Ontario Provincial Police Collective Bargaining Amendment Act, 2006, which states that every collective agreement is deemed to provide that specified matters are the exclusive function of the employer and will not be the subject of collective bargaining. A consequential amendment is made to subsection 2(2) of the act.”

What I want to do is try to explain to people what that section is that is being removed. I know I had questions from some of my own members about exactly what is being repealed. What’s being repealed is subsection 2(3) of the previous act, so I want to take the opportunity to explain to members what exactly was in that previous section. I’m going to read it into the record, Speaker, with your indulgence. This is what’s being removed from the act.

Under the heading “Exclusive functions of employer,” subsection (3) states:

“Except in relation to matters governed by or under the Police Services Act, every collective agreement is deemed to provide that it is the exclusive function of the employer to manage, which function, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes the right to determine employment, appointment, complement, organization, work methods and procedures, kinds and location of equipment, discipline and termination of employment, assignment, classification, job evaluation system, merit system, training and development, appraisal and the principles and standards governing promotion, demotion, transfer, lay-off and reappointment, and that such matters will not be the subject of collective bargaining nor come within the jurisdiction of the negotiating committee or an arbitration board.”

I appreciate that, to members, that’s a lot to digest, a lot to accept. Not many of us are labour lawyers or human resources experts. So as part of our informed debate this morning, I’m going to give members some real-life examples of just what that means, because I’ve had the question come to me in my own caucus: “Give me an example of what takes place now, in the old Police Services Act, that won’t be allowed under this new Bill 133.” If you’ll indulge me, I do have some examples. I’ve talked to association members. I’m not trying to say anything bad about the way the OPP is operating. I want to make sure I have the utmost respect. But I’ve had questions about what can happen today that can’t happen once we remove that.

One example: Anyone who knows policing knows how the promotional process works. So let’s say a member of the OPPA goes through the promotional process for becoming a staff sergeant. They go through the process, they’re advised that they’ve won the competition, that they conform to all the OPP HR standards. But then, let’s say, the commander of the bureau lets them know that the member didn’t meet the bureau standards. You know that in one of those types of organization there’s really no autonomy the commander can have. The person’s gone through the system and the system is very clear. Anybody who’s ever been around the police service knows how this works in terms of promotion. They can’t challenge that promotion without this legislative change. Anyone who is close to policing understands what I’m talking about and realizes that in a municipal police force, or in police forces throughout the country, in most of them, the vast majority of them, this doesn’t happen.

The other example that I’m going to use for members today is, let’s say a member—and it happens in every organization. Let’s say there’s a minor transgression. The member decides, “I realize I’ve done wrong. I accept my penalty from my supervisor.” They take responsibility. Let’s say it’s within 24 hours, so it’s done immediately after the offence, the transgression, occurred, and then the member goes back—let’s say they’re specialized personnel involved in a specialized unit. They show up for work and all of a sudden they’re told that they’re being transferred to uniformed duties. That’s a double penalty. In other police services that just doesn’t happen; you deal with the issue and you don’t get doubly penalized by the administration. Without this legislative change, that challenge, that unfair treatment, is not available. So if you’ve ever been involved in a municipal force—and I know that there are a number of members who have been close to those forces—you’ll know what I’m talking about in terms of this change.

Even though the clause is very, very large in terms of the specifics, it’s a system that really works in police services right across Ontario. Again, the difference that we have, Speaker, is the fact that we’re not talking about a small 10-, 15- or 25-member service; we’re talking about 9,000 uniformed and civilian personnel. This is representing our province. This is our police service. I think members, when they compare those larger police services throughout our country and in other provinces, realize how this change is needed for the OPPA.

I wanted to give those changes. We’re not blazing new trails in terms of Bill 133. In fact, I think it’s very interesting to talk about why we’re having the debate today. I know that the minister did make reference to it, and I want to make reference as well. Bill 133, or at least the contents of it, was actually contained within something called schedule 52 of the government’s 2012 budget bill. Unfortunately, during the debate—I’m sure you can appreciate, Speaker—there were a number of schedules that the committee had to vote on, with a lot of different information. You’ve got three parties, you’ve got a minority Parliament and, you know what? Things happen. It’s regrettable. In this particular schedule 52, in addition to this OPP management rights clause, there were also some arbitration changes. From our perspective they didn’t go far enough, based on the input that we received from some of our municipal partners. I believe New Democrats—I’m not going to talk for them; they can put their comments on the record. I think they thought they went too far. As a result, the way that the situation happened, they weren’t moved forward. I appreciate the minister’s characterization of what happened at committee regarding schedule 52. It was defeated that day as—I think her quote was, “in error, and one that other parties agree was not intentional.”

I do want to point out two things, though, about this. First, if the changes put forward in Bill 133 were included alone in schedule 52, I suggest that we wouldn’t be having this debate today and there wouldn’t be any Bill 133. Secondly, I think the government did have the votes—and I’m not going to go into that whole situation that happened with the recess and how the votes ended up; it’s ancient history. I’m not going to revisit that whole thing. I think we just need to move on. So it’s a regret. I think the minister has heard from me, as the present critic, and from the previous two critics. I’m hoping that the bill will be able to be moved forward. I still, though, do regret that we’re not having a more substantive debate on some other issues today, but I appreciate the fact that we’re having the debate and having the discussion.

I would like to take an opportunity, Speaker, if you’ll indulge me. The member for Huron–Bruce talked about members of the police service who are associated with my family. When the minister spoke about the bill earlier—I’d better get some water before I start talking about my family—I did mention my son Mitch, who has since moved to Edmonton to become an Edmonton city police officer.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: He’ll be a Calgary Flames fan—

Mr. Steve Clark: No. I’m a Sens fan, but Mitch is clearly a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He’s clearly a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. There’s no question that he’s a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.



Mr. Steve Clark: Okay, okay. Speaker, call my caucus members out of order so I can get on with my speech.

I do want to take the opportunity, because I did mention him when I responded to the minister’s introduction to the bill. I mentioned his mom, Cindy Bisson, who is an Ontario Provincial Police officer with Grenville county. Her husband, Paul Bisson, is a retired member. My caucus colleagues know that sometimes I refer to Sergeant Bisson as my husband-in-law, because anybody who understands when I talk about my son and his mother and his stepfather—I think people know the drill. So I do have OPP officers on that side of the family.

I also have another officer I want to talk about today, and that’s my late father-in-law, David Roberts. I appreciate my wife Deanna being the daughter of an Ontario Provincial Police officer. My late father-in-law passed away on Christmas Eve 2007. He was a great person. He had a tremendous interest in politics. He was actually one of the few people I’ve met who regularly watch question period and the debates. He was a real political junkie. He loved debates in this place. He had a vision for me that I didn’t have at the time. I was more interested in the kids because they were younger. But he felt that if someday I would be in this Legislative Assembly, somehow I would follow my predecessor, Bob Runciman, now Senator Runciman. He kept saying that he hoped one day to see me as a member of provincial Parliament. He never got to see that, because he passed away in 2007, but I’ve been waiting to try to talk about his career in the OPP. So I hope you’ll indulge me, because I want to talk about some of the places he served in his career. He was a great guy.

I’m glad the member for Oxford is in front of me, because he was actually born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario. My late father-in-law, David Roberts, joined the OPP in September of 1961 at the age of 23, and he was posted to the St. Thomas detachment. He worked there from September 1961 to the spring of 1968. It was interesting. I received some information from my mother-in-law, Freda Hilderley, who lives up in Newmarket, that he also did some summer duty in Port Stanley. That was quite common, that they would also do some summer duty in a different community.

As with most OPP officers, he moved around a bit. From the spring of 1968 to the spring of 1975, he was in Parkhill, and at one point he was detachment commander of a two-man detachment which came under the jurisdiction of the Strathroy department. He also did some summer duty in Grand Bend. During his time in Parkhill, he was promoted to corporal and then he was transferred to Brockville, and that’s when he moved the family to Brockville. He was stationed in Brockville from 1975 to 1984, and during his time there, he again was promoted, from corporal to sergeant. In 1984 there were again a number of changes. As I said, anybody who knows OPP officers knows they do move around a little bit. He was then transferred to Oak Ridges and served in the Oak Ridges detachment from 1984 until his retirement in 1992-93. In Oak Ridges, I think there was a new Aurora detachment that was created.

I have to tell you a story, Speaker. He told me a story about Frank Klees, the member for Newmarket–Aurora.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Can you tell us the story?

Mr. Steve Clark: I’m going to tell you the story. When he was looking after Oak Ridges–Markham, my late father-in-law told me he drove him in a Santa Claus parade one time in a convertible. As you know, the member from Newmarket–Aurora has a wonderful head of hair. If Christina Blizzard ever had a vote on the best hair in the Legislature, I think Garfield Dunlop, the member for Simcoe North, and the member for Newmarket–Aurora would sort of be neck and neck.

So my father-in-law is driving the convertible in the parade. MPP Klees is in the back. He took off his OPP hat and put it on the seat. As he was driving through the Santa Claus parade, he noticed that, way down in the distance, there were a number of kids, and there had been some fresh snow. He noticed the kids were getting some snowballs ready, and they were coming up closer and closer to these three kids with snowballs. So just at the last moment, my father-in-law took his OPP hat and put it on his head, and they scattered.

I remember telling that story to MPP Klees and having him laugh, saying, “I love those OPP officers. They go above and beyond the call of duty to protect members of provincial Parliament.” My father-in-law helped Frank Klees look his best that day in that Santa Claus parade. All he had to do—he didn’t have to exert any force; he just had to put his hat on. It was great. Again, I wanted to tell that because the member for Newmarket–Aurora represented different ridings, but he had always represented that area since my father was in Newmarket–Aurora—

Mr. John Yakabuski: It would’ve been devastating.

Mr. Steve Clark: Pardon me, sir?

Mr. John Yakabuski: If Frank had got a hair knocked out of place, that would have been devastating.

Mr. Steve Clark: No, that wouldn’t have been good. It would have been tragic.

I know that Mr. Klees will get me back at some point for telling this story.

I also want to talk about how, after his retirement, my father-in-law also did some photo radar when photo radar was in the province. It was fascinating talking to him about the creation of the photo radar unit and the dismantling of it as well. It was interesting how, even though the photo radar system had stopped, he was still appearing and going to court to deal with some of the charges. The Attorney General is here; I was amazed at the time at how long it took from those original charges to be levied and sent out to members for being caught by photo radar to the time that he actually went to court and gave his testimony. I couldn’t believe how long he had been retired from the photo radar unit, and he was still going to court.

Just in closing, he was a member of the OPP vets, Toronto chapter number 5. My father-in-law, David Roberts, was very loyal to the OPPA. He was a proud OPPA vet. He wore his OPPA pin often, on a number of his jackets. He was one of those people who was really proud of serving the province of Ontario as a member of the Ontario Provincial Police.

He felt that the system where he got to see some different areas of a province—it was a bit hard on the family. They had three kids. I know when he left St. Thomas, he had three young children and moved around from Parkhill to Brockville, and then back to Oak Ridges.

But I never had the chance to talk about him as a great father and a great mentor to me in terms of politics. Again, he never got to see me sit in the Legislature, which I think is regrettable. But I know that he was always very supportive of me in my political endeavours, so thank you for giving me that opportunity to talk about my late father-in-law.


Mr. Steve Clark: Thank you very much.

I want to go back to Bill 133. I’ve had a lot of people in the community confused about an OPP bill before us. I spoke to Jim Christie about this this morning. A weekend almost doesn’t go by that I don’t have some discussion about the OPP—mostly confusion about this bill, because it’s a very narrow bill. As I said, it’s a very small bill, dealing only with the OPPA, the contract negotiations and taking that exclusion out, but I’ve had a lot of discussion in communities about the OPP billing process.

I just had my briefing last week. I want to thank Minister Meilleur for having her staff assemble to give me the briefing on the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Her staff were very accommodating to me, to give me the overview of what’s happening in the ministry.

A lot of people, when they heard or read—because what happens is, AMO sends out a legislative briefing to all the municipalities, and when people saw that there was an OPP bill on the docket, they came to me and said, “Is this the OPP costing bill?”


I think what I’ve seen is that there are three things happening right now that are confusing people. There’s this bill, which deals with the very narrow OPP negotiations and removing that management clause from the act; there’s the OPP billing reform that’s taking place; and there’s also the future-of-policing discussion that’s taking place in the province. I have to admit that after that AMO notice went out, I had mayors coming to me saying, “Is this the OPP costing reform that’s coming to the Legislature?” I had my own members, before they read the bill, before the bill was printed, asking me what this piece of legislation was about: Was it about the formula? All you have to do, Speaker, is go into the clips this morning and you’ll see story after story about these issues.

Policing is in the media a lot lately. I’m looking at a story from the Orillia Packet and Times that was published on Tuesday, November 26, at 6:24, by Sara Ross: “City Could Save $1M with New OPP Cost Formula.” It’s referring to the city of Orillia’s policing budget. Again, it was something that has come out of some of the initiatives of the ministry.

There’s a story here in Meaford from the Sun Times in Owen Sound, from Rob Gowan. It was published yesterday at 3:40: “Meaford Makes Policing Decision,” is the headline, going through a discussion about moving to a pay-as-you-go model over the next year while they explore all the options.

There’s another Owen Sound Sun Times story from Rob Gowan called “Policing Cost Concerns Remain.” It’s yesterday afternoon’s story, talking about a local information session on the OPP’s billing review process.

So there are stories going all over the province on this, and I have to admit that when I was home on the weekend, I did have a couple of mayors question me about this, about whether this bill was dealing with the costing. It was good that I had the briefing with the minister’s staff to go through it, because it is three separate initiatives and people shouldn’t confuse them. This is very narrow in scope, only dealing with the OPPA. The other two are wide-ranging discussions. I do believe—and I said this at my briefing; I know that there are some ministry staff in the back behind you—I was pretty clear that I really think the ministry needs to communicate exactly what’s happening in policing—not just this bill; not just Bill 133 and how it affects the management rights, but also the other two systems of what’s going on right now.

I’ve had mayors come up to me, and they know right now based on their discussion that there are going to be winners and there are going to be some losers. I think all members know that these discussions are going on. Some communities may not know the impact, but I do believe that the ministry has a responsibility to come and talk about some of these issues.

In my own community where I live—Brockville—their OPP costing was put in limbo. It was a very divisive discussion in the community. That city is the first incorporated municipality in the province, so obviously it has the first police force in the province. It’s over 181 years old. There’s a big discussion going on that’s now parked because of this costing.

I do want to just quickly talk about the OPP: the fact that there are 324 municipalities that are serviced by the OPP and members of the OPPA. According to AMO, the costs of policing are all over the map. I have to put on the record that some costs per household are as low as $100. In fact, I think some are even lower than that; there may be one or two. Others pay more than $600. In fact, in my riding, the town of Prescott would love to pay $600 per household, compared to what they pay. Right now, they have one of the highest per capita household costs in Ontario, at $900. I know that there are a number of mayors who have spoken to me about this process, and they were asking, “Does this bill provide clarity for those OPP costings?” I tell them, “No, it’s a very narrow bill.”

I challenge the staff within the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to have a more substantive debate. We are in the last couple of weeks of the session. I’m not sure what the government’s intention is—whether we’re having night sittings, whether they’re going to put this bill on a legislative programming motion. I can’t read John Milloy’s mind, as the government House leader, but there are a number of bills like this one where the stakeholders are asking when these bills are coming forward. I know even you, Speaker, have a bill that you’re quite anxious to have go through the legislative process. This is what happens. There are lots of things that want to get passed, that want to have that due diligence in the Legislature, and I think that policing is an issue that every community has been talking about right now, no matter whether you have a municipal force or whether you’re dealt with by the Ontario Provincial Police.

I also want to try to clarify the confusion between the OPP costing and the Future of Policing Advisory Committee. I know that the minister struck a committee more than a year and a half ago—another one of the government’s many panels and committees that are studying the issue. I just want to quickly—very quickly—try again to provide that clarity on what’s not in the bill but is still out there and of concern to police officers and communities, the fact that they are looking at a number of options regarding the future of policing. I just want to quote from a communiqué, if you’ll allow me, Speaker, and then I’ll move back to the bill. This is a communiqué that the government put out in June:

“Following the establishment of the Future of Policing Advisory Committee (FPAC) last year, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) has worked with our policing partners to plan for effective, efficient and sustainable police service delivery in Ontario in the future.

“Through FPAC and its four working groups, MCSCS has sought the experience and expertise of senior policing and municipal leaders in reviewing the issues and helping develop a clear plan forward.

“FPAC and the working groups have provided thoughtful and valuable advice to address several emerging themes. Those themes include:

“—Forward-thinking policy direction provided by the province that includes clear goals, objectives and priorities for policing, inclusive of performance measures;

“—A new community safety model that provides for multidisciplinary approaches and partnerships to resolve complex social problems;

“—Strengthened local governance and oversight;

“—Sharing of services, infrastructure and resources to realize economies of scale and maximizes service delivery; and

“—Identifying alternative resources for service delivery while ensuring proper training and oversight.”

There is a bunch of other information. I think I’m going to stop there. But the time frame—it says, “expected completion time frame of spring 2015.” So when you look at it—if you were a municipal politician, Speaker—you know that’s 18 months and then it’s another 15 months. I just question whether municipalities can wait that long, given the fact that there’s another initiative on the cost of policing that’s going out. There are public meetings like the ones that I quoted in these stories today, in the media. There’s that lack of understanding on what the process is. I think that communities and local mayors and councillors should be briefed on that. I think members of the Legislative Assembly should have a far more detailed briefing on what those initiatives are doing, because when we look at what this bill covers, it’s only dealing with that small, narrow section for collective bargaining.

I do want to take an opportunity to give a couple of tributes to the government. I want to talk about the fallen officer memorials, because I think that that’s an initiative that we need to give the government credit for, just like I gave them credit for bringing this bill forward. The minister certainly delivered on her word at that OPPA conference. I know that in my riding of late, we’ve talked a lot about the service and the tremendous job that our men and women of the Ontario Provincial Police do to serve Ontarians. When I first became the critic, I had two services that I attended—one for fallen firefighters. I came down, and the minister was there. We had the tribute to the fallen, and it was a very moving experience. I saw General Rohmer last night at the Churchill Society Dinner at the Royal York. General Rohmer and Premier Wynne and the minister officiated over the tribute to the fallen, which honours our fallen police, firefighters, paramedics and Canadian military personnel who lost their lives. It was the first time I’d ever attended that service, Speaker. It was tremendously moving, one that I will not soon forget.


Over the years, we also pay tribute to the sacrifice of officers by honouring them through the Highway Memorials for Fallen Police Officers Act. I want to just talk about that, because there’s some special significance in my riding. Since 2002, 52 highway structures have been named in honour of fallen officers, and over the past couple of months, I’ve been honoured to support two initiatives to rename bridges in Leeds–Grenville after Ontario Provincial Police officers killed in the service of people in my riding, and in this opportunity of talking about the important service that OPP officers do, the fact that there’s a bill that brings them, in terms of the bargaining chip, consistent with other officers, I wanted to pay tribute to those two officers that I recently wrote a supportive letter to.

I also want to recognize Jerry Carmichael from the town of Gananoque, a long-time friend of mine, who was driving one of them. I sent him an email the other day, inviting him to my MPP public reception on December 8, and he told me it was almost impossible for him to tear himself away from the 80-degree heat that he was in to come back to Ontario to deal with the party. But I do want to recognize his hard work on trying to rename the County Road 33 overpass on Highway 401 to honour Constable Henry J. Harper.

Constable Harper died on September 11, 1957, from injuries he suffered while on duty a month earlier, on August 5, 1957. The officer had been investigating a traffic collision on the 1000 Islands Parkway just east of Gananoque when he was struck by a vehicle. It was a terrible tragedy, as the 28-year-old left behind his wife and three daughters, and I should add that his wife, Ellen, was expecting the couple’s fourth child at the time. I was interested to learn that, prior to becoming a police officer to serve our community—he served the area where he was born and raised—I found out that Constable Harper was an incredibly talented kayaker; in fact, he represented Canada in the 1948 Olympics in London.

Earlier this month, I wrote a letter to support renaming the CN overpass on Highway 416, in another area of my riding, in North Grenville, in honour of another provincial constable, Constable Alan G. Thompson. The memorial recognition effort was led by Sergeant Craig McCormick, who is in the Kemptville OPP detachment in Grenville county. I’m glad that I was able to support the nomination of Constable Thompson.

On the night of March 31, 1975, Constable Thompson was killed on duty while in pursuit of a speeding vehicle. The officer’s cruiser was struck by a train at an uncontrolled level crossing on Beach Road. A nine-year veteran of the provincial police, Constable Thompson left behind his wife, Janet, and their two children, Michael and Pamela. As I wrote in my letter supporting this fitting honour for Constable Thompson, “His death is a tragic reminder of the risks police officers and all first responders take every day in the service of their community.”

I look forward to the government organizing dedication ceremonies next year, because I think it’s very important in our ridings to honour the service of people like Constable Alan Thompson and Constable Henry Harper, who paid the ultimate price in defending our communities and making our communities safe. I also want to take the opportunity, again, to thank Jerry Carmichael and Sergeant Craig McCormick for their very hard work in getting this together.

Speaker, I could actually go on and on. I’m very passionate about policing in the province. I appreciate the work that Jim Christie and the members of the OPPA do. I appreciate the openness of the government to table this bill for debate. I look forward to speaking to my caucus about it in the next week, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on recognizing the very important contributions that members of the Ontario Provincial Police make every day in this province.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on Bill 133.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I’m pleased to rise, as the member for London West, to make some comments in relation to the remarks from the member for Leeds–Grenville. I wanted to thank him for his eloquence and his gift for storytelling. I learned a lot from his speech and really appreciated his family experiences. The story of his late father-in-law brought to mind for me some places that I’m very familiar with: Port Stanley, Parkhill, Strathroy and Elgin. As a former trustee with the Thames Valley District School Board, I had the pleasure of travelling around to many of these communities in southwestern Ontario that were within the district.

I also wanted to comment about his disappointment about the other issues that the Legislature could be dealing with, should be dealing with. He mentioned high hydro rates, which certainly is an issue as well for me in my riding. We are constantly getting calls from constituents who are dealing with the cost pressures of high hydro rates and having their hydro turned off, and having to work with the city to implement some emergency assistance so that constituents can have their heat on.

I wanted to echo the member for Leeds–Grenville in his congratulations to the ministry for bringing forward this legislation. It is small, as the member said, but it is important, and it’s something that we, as a Legislature, definitely should be moving forward on as expeditiously as possible.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I appreciate the comments from the member from Leeds–Grenville. I’m pleased that he acknowledged the work that is being done on the OPP cost, and I’ll say to him that, yes, it’s long overdue. No party before did anything about it, so at least we did the review. We put a committee together. It’s important, because then we get the input from—they may believe that when you’re the minister and when you’re in power, you know it all and then you don’t need to consult. On this side of the House, we believe that we need to consult, and so that’s what we have done. There is a good report that was presented to me. But as he said, there are winners and losers, so we have to make sure, before we make the final decision, that everybody knows what’s going on.

We are here to talk about Bill 133. I would like to see this bill pass, because if this bill passes, the proposed changes will move the management rights clause out of the legislation and into the collective agreements for uniformed and civilian staff.

The member from London West may think it’s a small move, but for the OPP, for Jim Christie and his team, it is very, very important.

We have been listening. That’s why we put this bill—not this bill, but this change into the budget bill last year. It was not approved, so we’re trying a second time for the OPP.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Mr. John Yakabuski: I want to commend my colleague from Leeds–Grenville for his wonderful presentation this morning, and his remembrances as well as his own thoughts on policing in general.

As I said earlier in the hit, I was the critic prior to my friend Mr. Clark, and I, too, had the opportunity to attend the police memorial for the fallen, as critic. The minister was there as well as Premier Wynne.

I’ll tell you, that is some special ceremony. With the names of each one of those officers who has lost their lives in the line of duty from as far back as the records have been kept, it is very special. Then the march past and the parade that follows is something that literally blows you away. It’s something that’s very, very special.

He talked about the naming of bridges and overpasses after fallen officers. I take some pride in the fact that Phil Shrive, who was an officer with the Renfrew detachment of the OPP, who lost his life in the line of duty in 2003, prior to me becoming a member of this Legislature—I presented a motion to the Legislature. The member for Sudbury, Rick Bartolucci, had actually put a private member’s bill in years ago allowing bridges to be named after fallen officers. When I got elected here, I put forth a motion to name the bridge over the Bonnechere River at Renfrew after Phil Shrive. I’m proud to say that it was the first structure in the province of Ontario ever to be named after a fallen officer. Since that time, you’ll see that, all across the province, there have been structures named. I’m glad that it started, and I’m proud that Phil Shrive was the first one to be recognized.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments? Seeing none, the member for Leeds–Grenville has two minutes.

Mr. Steve Clark: I want to thank the member for London West, the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke and, of course, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services for their comments regarding my address on Bill 133.

I also want to take an opportunity—I was remiss in acknowledging the two existing bridges in my riding that have officers’ names. I want to acknowledge that the motorist crossing Highway 416 bridge over the Rideau river, just north of Kemptville, is now the O’Callaghan bridge. Traffic Officer Hiram O’Callaghan of the Ontario Department of Highways was on his motorcycle patrol on the afternoon of January 12, 1928, on the former Highway 16 near Kemptville when he was killed. It was a head-on collision with a delivery truck, and Traffic Officer O’Callaghan was killed instantly. He was 43 at the time of his death and was survived by his wife, Mary, and their six children: Charles, Fred, Gerald, Claude, Marjorie and Dorothy.

I also want to acknowledge the bridge sign posted at the Blue Church Road overpass on Highway 401. It’s in honour of Constable Tyler Boutilier of the OPP. He died on May 23, 2004, while responding to a call on Highway 15, north of Seeleys Bay, when his cruiser was struck by an oncoming motorist.

These tragedies were now acknowledged by this program. It was unfortunate that I sat down without acknowledging those two existing bridges in my riding.

Again, I just want to wrap up my comments by acknowledging that I look forward to the debate, and I look forward to discussing this bill with the minister and how it can be moved forward.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): It being close to 10:15, this House stands recessed until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 1013 to 1030.


Mr. Percy Hatfield: I’m very pleased this morning to introduce three constituents of mine from Windsor–Tecumseh. They’re in the west gallery this morning. We have Jim Wood, the president of CUPE local 82 with the city of Windsor; his wife, Judy; and Chad Goebel, the vice-president of CUPE local 82. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Rick Bartolucci: Speaker, I’m pleased to introduce four firefighters who do a great job within the province of Ontario: Kris Volpel and Rob Hyndman from Sudbury, Ontario, so from the Sudbury fire department; Warren Scott from St. Thomas; and Mike Pauze from Cambridge. Welcome to you and to all the firefighters.

Mr. Garfield Dunlop: I’m pleased to introduce to you this morning two firefighters from Simcoe North: Rene Oldfield from the Orillia fire service and Michael Gagnon from the Midland fire service.

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: I’d like to welcome the Giesen family to the Legislature today. I have Jenniffer Giesen; Theodore Giesen, who was a page here last session; and Emily Giesen. They are here to support page Sarah Giesen today. She’s page captain. I want to say thank you to them for coming to the Legislature, and congratulations to Sarah on being the captain today.

Hon. John Gerretsen: Speaker, would you please help me welcome two great firefighters from Kingston: President Ann Bryan of the Kingston Professional Firefighters Association and Jeff Olejnik. They’re great firefighters in Kingston.

Mr. Ted Arnott: I’m pleased and delighted to welcome the parents of page Jeffrey Howson, Andrea and Mark Howson, who are here with us in the visitors’ gallery. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. James J. Bradley: I welcome and I ask members to welcome to the Ontario Legislature firefighters from the Niagara region: Ryan Madill, Dean Stoltz, Chris Wheeler, Mike Fowler and others who are here from the Niagara region.

Mr. Todd Smith: It’s a pleasure to welcome Tim Fulford and Dana Yonemitsu from the Bancroft and district real estate association, and also Elaine O’Hara and Sharon Shortt from the Quinte district real estate board. They’re in town for the Ontario Real Estate Association political action conference. Welcome to question period.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Speaker, I’d like to welcome Peter Osterberg, who’s here all the way from Timmins with the firefighters. I know that Randy Richards from Sault Ste. Marie is around here somewhere, and I see Mark McKinnon back there. I suggest we welcome all firefighters who are here today. We look forward to seeing them tonight.

Mr. Steven Del Duca: Speaker, it is a real privilege for me to have the chance to recognize and welcome two very special guests to me who are here in the east members’ gallery. My mother, Margaret Del Duca, and my uncle, Henry Leonard, have joined us here today.

Mr. Rob Leone: I’d like to introduce John Jetter and Ken Talbot, members of the Cambridge Fire Department, who are here at Queen’s Park.

Mr. Percy Hatfield: I’d also like to welcome two firefighters from the city of Windsor: Brian Bobbie and Andre Gingras. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Speaker, I want to welcome all the firefighters who are here today in Queen’s Park, but Ontario’s finest come from Ottawa, so I want to welcome John Sobey, Erik Leicht and Craig Morrison. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mrs. Christine Elliott: Speaker, I’d like to welcome two firefighters from the Whitby fire department, the best in Ontario: Mr. Bob Brandon and Mr. Dirk Franke as well.

Mr. Bill Mauro: We have at least two members here today from the Thunder Bay Professional Firefighters’ Association. I’d like to welcome both Eric Norlund and Dennis Brescacin here in the Legislature today.

Mrs. Jane McKenna: I’d like to welcome Dan VanderLelie. He is the president of Burlington Professional Firefighters, Local 1553.

Miss Monique Taylor: I would like to welcome some wonderful firefighters from Hamilton. We have Ron Summers, Dan Santoli and Colin Grieve. Welcome to the Legislature.

Ms. Soo Wong: I would like all of us to welcome three classes of grade 10 students from Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in my riding of Scarborough–Agincourt. They are coming in. Their teachers are Alison Rimell and Bibi Stojanovski. Welcome to the Legislature.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I’m pleased to welcome Gwen Kirkpatrick and Ron Garland of the Huron–Bruce chapter of the Ontario realty association.

Hon. Liz Sandals: I’m pleased to welcome two exceptionally fine firefighters from Guelph, Colin Hunter and Jason Smith, representing the Guelph Professional Firefighters Association.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: It gives me great pleasure to welcome the president of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, Mark McKinnon, and the vice-president, Jim Holmes, and all the firefighters. I invite all of you to come to the dining room tonight at 5:30.

Mr. John O’Toole: I’m not sure if there are members of the professional firefighters from my riding of Durham here, but I’d like to welcome them to Queen’s Park. Members of the firefighters’ association: Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I’d like to welcome my good friends Marta and Aubrey Dan, who are here in the Legislature this morning. Aubrey is a dear friend who has contributed a great deal to Ontario’s arts and culture community. So welcome to them.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I too want to welcome the professional firefighters to Queen’s Park today. A representative from the Woodstock Professional Firefighters Association, Trevor Ford, will be here. But I want to thank them particularly for their support for my private member’s bill that will be debated this afternoon.

Mr. Bill Walker: I’d like to welcome Dawn Lee McKenzie, president of the Realtors’ Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound, who will be visiting Queen’s Park today.

Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette: I wish to introduce Steve Barkwell and the firefighters from Oshawa and welcome them to Queen’s Park, as annually we do.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Let me offer my own introduction, in the Speaker’s gallery, to the best fire department in Ontario. I guess I get to say that.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’ve been asked if I was partisan. I’m just being factual.

Mr. Tom Smith and Mr. Gavin Jacklyn are here with us with the firefighters. I welcome all of our firefighters and our schools and all of our guests. Thank you for being here today.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Does the Speaker get the opportunity to correct his record?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): It doesn’t happen.



Mr. Tim Hudak: My question is to the Premier about the ongoing job losses in the province of Ontario. I think, Premier, you’d agree with me that Ontario is at a crucial inflection point. We can continue down the same path we’re on of job losses, high youth unemployment—a province where one million men and women woke up this morning who want to work who have no job to go to—or we can choose a new path for a better Ontario. We’ve laid out our plan to do exactly that.

We woke up this morning to another series of job losses. Sears Canada—almost 800 jobs, the large majority here in the province of Ontario—will be closing down their parts processing plant in Belleville, by way of example.

You know, Premier, I agreed to clear the deck to see your jobs plan. It seems like every day, every week, there are more and more job losses, particularly in manufacturing. Will we actually see a plan before Christmas, or is this the best you can do?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know that the Leader of the Opposition will want to hear some more names of companies that are coming to Ontario who are creating jobs and expanding, and I will speak to those in the supplementary.


But, Mr. Speaker, we actually have a plan, and I have spoken about this plan many times, as has my team. We believe that investments in people, making sure that people have the right skills, making sure that they have the right training opportunities; investments in infrastructure that will allow communities to draw business to their communities and make sure that goods can move around the GTHA region and beyond; and investments in a business climate that is competitive, innovative and dynamic and allows businesses to thrive—those are the investments and that’s the framework within which our plan is functioning. Businesses are coming to Ontario.

I understand that the manufacturing sector is going through a transition, Mr. Speaker, and we are very aware of that. It’s all the more important that we create that environment for business.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: Hold on a sec here. The Premier calls 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost a transition? She calls the loss of almost 40,000 manufacturing jobs under her leadership alone a transition? I call it a hollowing-out. I call it a decline in the province of Ontario. I call it an economic disaster. And for you to stand here and say, “Oh, it’s just a transition. Oh, it’s just the forces of globalization”—the problem is, Premier, these plants are leaving your province of Ontario and setting up shop in the States and in Quebec. John Deere, which had built farm equipment in the Niagara Peninsula for decades, picked up stock. That is still being built, but it’s in the state of Wisconsin. Heinz had made ketchup for 100 years in Leamington, in the province of Ontario. We’ll still be able to buy Heinz ketchup; it’s going to be made in the state of Ohio.

Don’t give me this garbage about a transition. This is a serious issue. It needs a serious plan. If you don’t have one, step aside. We’ve got a plan. We’ll—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Be seated, please. Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. That’ll do.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: What the Leader of the Opposition needs to also acknowledge is that there are 460,900 net new jobs in Ontario since 2009.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: That’s true.

It is very important that the Leader of the Opposition acknowledge the successes. Our plan plays to those strengths. I understand that there are changes in the—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. The member from Leeds–Grenville will come to order. The member from Prince Edward–Hastings will come to order. The member from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex will come to order.

Carry on.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I understand that there is a change in our economy, but that change is bringing business and bringing companies to Ontario. There are changes happening in terms of companies leaving, but there is an exchange.

Green Arc Tire Manufacturing in St. Mary’s, Ontario, an auto supplies manufacturer, is opening North America’s largest tire remanufacturing plant: 340 jobs. Gizeh Verpackungen in Brantford, a plastics manufacturer: 50 to 70 new positions. There are jobs coming, and we have to create that environment so that that will continue.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: We’ve lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. That’s a net loss. That is a hollowing out of our manufacturing sector. That is a weakening of the middle class of Ontario, and I can’t understand—I cannot fathom—this Pollyanna attitude that you have.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, come to order.

Mr. Tim Hudak: —said that manufacturing job losses were a myth. Now she shrugs it off and says, “Well, Speaker, it’s just a transition.” You tell that to the families in Leamington, Ontario, who’ve got no jobs to go to, come next year. You tell the folks at John Deere. It’s a sad state of affairs when Ontario’s leading export today is manufacturing jobs going across the border to the US.

We cleared the path. We said, “Put your plan on the table.” You’ve got no plan. You’re driving up hydro rates; you’re putting in new red tape every day; you’re increasing taxes. Your plan is not working. It’s time to actually clear the decks of this government and bring in a new plan to restore hope, restore optimism and restore our middle class. You’ve got no plan—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I think that if the Leader of the Opposition spoke to the Ford employees in Oakville, where we’ve invested $70 million to allow those 2,800 jobs to be preserved and to allow Ford to compete globally, that the families in Oakville would be very, very positive about our plan.

I know that the Leader of the Opposition is having a town hall in Leamington, I think, in the area in the next couple of days. I know that he’s going to try to claim that there is only doom and gloom, that there is no opportunity for the possibility of success in going forward. I know that his member who was at the meeting last Friday has since said that that meeting was not worthwhile.

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we have been on the ground in Leamington. We understand that families are suffering. We are working with the community. There are possibilities there, and it would be a very good idea for the Leader of the Opposition and his members to work with the community rather than stirring up negativity. That’s not the way to make success.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Minister of Rural Affairs will come to order, the Minister of the Environment will come to order and the member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke will come to order.

New question.


Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier and her lack of a plan for jobs. There was a story about President Truman, where they told Truman to go in and give Congress help. Truman said, “All I have to do is tell them the facts, and they’ll think it’s help.” Premier, 300,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in our province—you’re hollowing out the middle class. Ontario is last in growth in all of Canada when it comes to income.

My Ontario will always lead Canada. My Ontario is one of hope; it’s of opportunity. It’s where we’re bringing good jobs to the province, not sending them across the border.

The Ontario we’ve always known was the leader, the best place for work. Now we’re at the back of the pack. You call that a myth? You call that a mere transition? Do your ideological blinders prohibit you from understanding the challenges that we’re facing in the province of Ontario?

So is it simply globalization, or can you tell me why, Premier, that Ontario, under the Liberals, is last in growth of income of all 10 provinces? How did we go from first to the back of the pack?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’m sure that the Leader of the Opposition would like to, in his argument, explain how we’ve achieved 460,000-plus net new jobs since 2009. We’ve done that by making investments in businesses, by playing to our strengths, by creating a competitive environment so that businesses come to the province. I’m—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That will do.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I did not get quiet so any member can continue the dialogue, including the Minister of Finance and the member from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex. I hope you’ve noticed that I’m mentioning your ridings, which means that if you use up your time, you’re gone.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’m not suggesting that our work is done. Obviously, there is more to be done, and the recovery has not been in this jurisdiction or other jurisdictions as quick, as fast, as we would have liked it to be, Mr. Speaker. But the people at Ericsson Canada, Toyota, Ford, GM, Green Arc Tire Manufacturing, Gizeh, Newterra, Pillar5, Lambton Conveyor, Pavaco Plastics, NASG Canada—all of those companies have benefited from investments and support from this government. We are working with those companies. Jobs are being created. That is our plan, and it is working.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: I quoted Harry Truman, and she quotes Bobby McFerrin. She says, “Don’t worry; be happy. Things are just doing great across the province of Ontario.” The problem is, Premier, that’s simply not the reality.

We’re down 300,000 manufacturing jobs. We actually have the lowest wage-growth of any province in Canada. Facts are stubborn things, Premier, but these are the facts that families are facing each and every day.

I’ll give you two more examples. You referenced GM. GM had made the Camaro in Oshawa. Now the Camaro is going to be made in the state of Michigan. Caterpillar had made their equipment in London, Ontario. That equipment is now made in Indiana.

The point I’m making, Premier, that the Liberal benches don’t seem to grasp: These products are still being made, they’re still being sold, they’re still being bought, but they’re no longer being made in the great province of Ontario. Why does that keep happening over and over and over again?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.



Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Why has the opposition party not supported our efforts to support the auto sector, Mr. Speaker? Why has the opposition party not supported our regional economic development plans? Why is the opposition not working with us to get the Supporting Small Businesses Act passed, the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, the Local Food Act—


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: That happened. We got that passed—and the Waste Reduction Act? Why is the opposition not working with us to get those pieces of legislation passed that will create jobs?

I understand that it is the job of the opposition to challenge us. I understand that, Mr. Speaker. But it is also the job of the opposition to be consistent. If they are interested in job creation, they should support us on those pieces of legislation that are going to create jobs in the province. I look for that support.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: But the problem, Premier, is you’re creating jobs in Michigan. You know what? I think you missed this point. Michigan has now passed the province of Ontario in auto production. We had been the leaders, the chief jurisdiction, top of the pile when it came to auto production in North America. Michigan blew by us, and why did that happen? Because you’ve doubled energy rates in the province of Ontario. You’ve increased taxes. You’ve hollowed out our middle class. You pile on more and more red tape, and you’re more interested in kissing the ring of Al Gore, whose policies have driven our hydro rates through the roof.

Who do I put on top? Ontario workers, families who need jobs. You can appease Al Gore all you want to; I’m going to stand with the working families in the province who want good jobs and strong manufacturing jobs. That’s where we stand. Why don’t you?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): As I remind members on an ongoing basis, when I ask for quiet and it does get quiet, it’s not the moment for you to inject.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

What we know about the plan of the Leader of the Opposition is that we would lose 10,000 education workers in this province; we would fire 2,000 health care workers. There would be a cut-and-slash regime in this province, much the way we had a cut-and-slash regime when he was in cabinet previously.

I do not believe that in order to have a strong and aspirational Ontario, we have to sacrifice our environmental protection. I do not believe that having a strong and aspirational Ontario means that we have to undermine the relationship between organized labour and government and declare war on the people who have made sure that our workplaces have been safe and have developed those protections over years. That is what the opposition would do. They would gut unionized labour, they would fire people out of the public service and they would cut and slash—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock, please. Be seated, please.


The Minister of Community and Social Services will come to order, and the member from Nepean–Carleton will come to order.

New question.


Mr. Peter Tabuns: My question to the Premier: Next week, the government will announce another long-term energy plan. Since the last plan was introduced, the public has seen their electricity bills surge with private power contracts—cancelled and otherwise. Why should they believe that this plan will be any different?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know that the Minister of Energy is going to want to speak to this in the supplementary, but what I would say to the member for Toronto–Danforth—because I know in his career he has been very, very supportive of clean energy; he has been supportive of conservation. I hope that when the long-term energy plan comes out next week and he sees the focus on conservation that we are going to entrench in that plan, he will be supportive, because I think it speaks to many of the core values that he has held in the past and core values that I think have been held by the NDP in the past. So I hope that he will see that and he will be able to support our long-term energy plan.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Boy, if you’d listened to us earlier, we’d have much lower electricity bills.

The government has claimed multiple times to have a long-term plan for electricity. But the plans always seem to change, and Ontarians have the bills to prove it—a billion dollars for cancelled private power deals in Oakville and Mississauga; $180 million for unneeded new nuclear reactors; $900 million worth of contracts signed for nuclear refurbishment for a contract that doesn’t even have a business case presented.

Why should people believe that this government will have a plan that will work for Ontarians when frankly your plans haven’t worked for a decade?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I fear that if we had listened to them, we would have had no rebuilt transmission, Mr. Speaker. There would have been no investments into the system and there actually wouldn’t have been a plan.

We do have a plan. What we know is that the NDP, this version of the NDP, has opposed nuclear. They’ve opposed wind and solar, they’ve opposed gas—they’ve opposed pretty much everything that we’ve put forward, which is why I said maybe, when we bring forward the long-term energy plan with conservation as a lead element, they might support that. But there has been no plan, surprisingly, coming from those quarters. We’ve had the plan, we’ve made the investments, and that will be reflected in our long-term energy plan.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I wouldn’t exactly call that an answer.

Families and businesses in Ontario are paying the highest electricity rates in Canada—nearly twice as high as their neighbours in Manitoba. The fact is, the government’s electricity plans have helped private power companies get paid for cancelled contracts, but they’ve left Ontarians with massive bills. What assurances can the Premier offer to people that the new plan is not just another public relations exercise from a government that’s left the public carrying the bills for 10 years of misadventure?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Energy.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: The member will be able to see the long-term energy plan this coming Monday. It’s forward-looking. It is very sensitive to the ratepayer.

With respect to private developers, the member from Toronto–Danforth has made it quite clear that he condemns private investment in power generation in Ontario. But when the NDP last formed government, they signed nine private power generating contracts for natural gas plants in a five-year span, totalling over 400 megawatts of generation.

The fact is that Ontario has a hybrid system, a healthy mix of publicly owned generation and private investments that help drive our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs in Ontario. The NDP plan to eliminate private investment in Ontario’s energy sector would not only cause thousands of job losses, but would also result in higher hydro rates for Ontario’s families and businesses. Mr. Speaker, he’s an ideologue and he doesn’t know how to—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Mr. Michael Prue: My question is to the Premier. Families are feeling squeezed by tough times and they’re worried about the future. But at the same time as families keep getting asked to tighten their belts, public sector CEO pay keeps going up.

Since 2010, the New Democrats have been saying it’s time to put a hard cap on public sector CEO salaries. In September 2012, the Minister of Finance said the government would move forward with that cap. He said, and I quote him, “It will work to bring some of the overly generous compensation packages back to reality.”

Does the Premier agree it’s time to put a hard cap on public sector CEO pay?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As the member knows, the NDP supported the budget in which we committed to examining some measures to manage compensation costs, including considering hard caps. That work is happening right now, and we’ll be implementing new measures. We’ll be bringing those forth in the next few months. I know the member of the third party understands that that was part of what we agreed to in the 2013 budget.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Michael Prue: It may have been part of the deal, but we keep waiting and waiting.

It would take the average Canadian nine years to earn $418,000, which is twice the Premier’s pay. It’s pretty generous as an annual paycheque. In 2012, the Liberal government finally agreed it was time to cap public sector CEO salaries at a level two times higher than the Premier’s.

The Premier has no problem telling hard-working families they’ll have to get by with less. Will she agree to follow through on the commitment the government made and do it now?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’ve already said that we are working on this, that the measures will come forward in the next few months. But, Mr. Speaker, I want to just be clear that we have to have more than a blunt instrument as we deal with this issue, because there are sectors where there is expertise that’s needed, whether we’re talking about medical professionals or nuclear technicians who are vital to running the services that are needed in the province and that the system relies on. We have an obligation to make sure that those systems are run well.


So we are doing the work, as we committed to do in the 2013 budget, Mr. Speaker. Those initiatives will come forward in the next few months. I hope that the member from the third party understands that it’s going to be very important that we do this in a sophisticated way so that we have the expertise that’s needed in every sector across the province.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Mr. Michael Prue: Most Ontario families haven’t seen a raise in years, and every time they open the newspaper, they see billions wasted on gas plants, eHealth and Ornge. Will the Premier take a small step tomorrow to show some respect for their money and for the plight many of them find themselves in and support the bill to cap public sector CEO pay?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, we’ve already said that we are working on a plan and some initiatives that we’re going to bring forth. That’s what we said we were going to do in the 2013 budget, and that is what we were doing.

As I have said, we need to make sure that whatever we bring forward is not a blunt instrument that doesn’t recognize that there are needs in different sectors. We need to look at how this can work so that we get the expertise that we need, whether it’s, as I say, nuclear technicians or within the medical field.

I agree that we need to put in place some controls on executive compensation. That absolutely needs to happen. That’s why it was in the 2013 budget. We’ll bring those initiatives forward, and my hope is that the member from the third party will be able to work with us as we introduce those initiatives.


Mr. Frank Klees: My question is to the Premier.

Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Health admitted that she was surprised that Chris Mazza was back on her payroll. Not long ago, the minister called Chris Mazza a liar. She fired him from his job as CEO of Ornge. She called in the OPP to investigate him. She knows that he’s under investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and she knows that he put front-line Ornge staff and patients at risk. Now he’s working in the emergency ward at the Thunder Bay hospital. When asked yesterday how she would feel if he was working on her in that emergency ward, she refused to answer. Yet this minister claims she has no authority to keep this man off the public payroll and away from patients.

I ask the Premier: If the Minister of Health has no authority to ensure this man doesn’t get anywhere near the public payroll, who does?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock.

Be seated, please. Thank you.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I think that this question was answered very well yesterday by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and I know she may want to comment in the supplementary, but I just want to say that the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care made it very clear yesterday how these hiring processes are done.

The comment that I want to add is that I know that the member opposite is not suggesting that we somehow find a way to go around due process. There is due process, and there have obviously been processes that have been begun because of this person’s previous activities. I’m sure that the member opposite is not suggesting that we would somehow contravene that due process that is there for the protection of every citizen in this province.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Frank Klees: Actually, Speaker, I am suggesting precisely that. If the chief of staff at the Thunder Bay hospital doesn’t know enough not to put this man on the payroll, then the Premier should overrule that decision. That’s what I’m saying.

A senior Ornge executive revealed that while under the employ of Chris Mazza, he became addicted to Percocet, and that it was Chris Mazza, as the CEO of Ornge, who prescribed his addiction by prescribing those drugs. That’s Chris Mazza. That’s the kind of reputation he has: putting front-line Ornge staff at risk, mismanaging millions of dollars, putting the Ontario taxpayers into debt to the tune of multi-millions.

I say to the Premier again: This man has no place on the payroll of the province of Ontario, let alone in the emergency ward of one of our hospitals.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Be seated, please. Thank you.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Speaker, I watched the party opposite stand up and cheer a line of argument that would lead to a very, very dangerous set of precedents, I believe. I don’t know whether we’re getting insight into the kind of society that the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario would have in place, a society where—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke will come to order. The Minister of Energy, the Minister of Rural Affairs and the Attorney General will come to order. The member from Nepean–Carleton will come to order.

I remembered them all, and I’ve told a few of you more than once. My next time is a warning.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: That would be a society where the College of Physicians and Surgeons would no longer have the authority that they have now. It would be a society where due process would be thrown aside, and an individual politician—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Northumberland–Quinte West will come to order. Last time.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: —would make a decision about another individual without the benefit of due process. I don’t believe that’s the society that we’ve built over the last 150 years, and I don’t think it’s a society that would protect the interests of the population of Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. New question.


Mr. Michael Mantha: My question is to the Premier. For the last year, the government has been suggesting that a deal with Cliffs was a done deal. But a year ago, a VP at Cliffs, Bill Boor, told the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce that they were concerned about progress the Liberal government was making on the Ring of Fire. In March 2012, Boor said Cliffs needed to sign a definitive document before it could develop the Black Thor in the Ring of Fire.

Did the government sign a definitive document with Cliffs, and what commitments were in that definitive document?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Northern Development and Mines.

Hon. Michael Gravelle: I appreciate the question. Certainly, as the member knows and people in the region know, the Ring of Fire continues to be a project that we’re working very, very diligently on. In fact, we have set up development corporation in which we’re trying to engage both industry, protected First Nations and the federal government.

In terms of your specific question, though, let’s be clear: Indeed, we have had very significant conversations with a number of companies, and that does include Cliffs. In terms of the details of those discussions, they are, for commercial reasons, very confidential. I think that it is important that that remains the case, particularly as the company itself has announced a suspension, a delay, rather than ceasing their interest in the project.

May I say, Mr. Speaker, we want to continue to focus on moving forward; we want to—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.

Hon. Michael Gravelle: —continue to focus on developing the Ring of Fire and doing all the—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. I stand; you sit.


Mr. Michael Mantha: All right, Mr. Speaker, let’s try this again. So the Liberal government pushed Cliffs away from Ontario. Cliffs was raising concerns over a year ago. We don’t know what commitments were made to Cliffs, and we don’t know whether the Liberal government lived up to its end of the bargain.

In March 2013, Cliffs was still pursuing a definitive document. Did the government sign a definitive document with Cliffs, and if not, why not?

Hon. Michael Gravelle: Mr. Speaker, what we all do know is that indeed we’ve been engaged in very significant conversations with a number of companies, and that certainly very much includes Cliffs. We’re going to continue to carry on those discussions.

What we also know is that we are committed to moving forward with making decisions related to some of the key aspects of the Ring of Fire. That certainly very much includes infrastructure, and that’s why we have formed a development corporation and are bringing so many different organizations and partners to the table. Obviously, we hope that includes First Nations, the federal government and industry.

But the fact is, certainly it would not be in any way appropriate or fair to anybody, and I think the member knows that, to be talking in terms of the details that the member seems to think are so crucial. What’s crucial is moving forward with the Ring of Fire development on the First Nations consultations, which are so vital, and, may I say, on forming the development corporation—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you

Hon. Michael Gravelle:—which will be the key—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Stop the clock.

I will remind the minister: When I stand, you sit. Did you forget? You forgot.

New question.



Mr. Steven Del Duca: My question today is for the Minister of Energy. Speaker, I’m sure many members in this House will agree that one of the most common questions that we receive from our constituents is regarding their hydro bills. It certainly is one of the most frequent calls that I receive in my constituency office in Vaughan.

As we know, hydro bills have many different components, and it can be difficult for folks in our communities to understand what each part represents. I also hear from constituents wondering how they can better manage their energy consumption, to reduce their bills and to reduce the impact of their energy usage on the environment.

As this is something that we all hear regularly from our constituents, I feel it’s important for Ontarians to have a better understanding of the province’s electricity system. I’m wondering if the minister could please provide the House with an update regarding any initiatives being undertaken to increase energy literacy.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I thank the member for his timely question. The need to promote energy literacy is something that we’ve heard from Ontarians from across the province during consultations for the long-term energy plan, and it is an important priority for the Minister of Energy.

In fact, just yesterday morning I was at the launch of the Hydro One Electricity Discovery Centre at the University of Toronto. Members may remember seeing the discovery centre at the International Plowing Match and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The discovery centre is a fully mobile customer education tool designed to engage and educate consumers. Mr. Speaker, it’s one of the several initiatives we are introducing as part of our commitment to keeping Ontarians informed about the electricity system.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Steven Del Duca: I thank the minister for both his response and for the outstanding job he’s doing on behalf of the people of Ontario.

This definitely does sound like an extremely worthwhile initiative. Promoting energy literacy will help Ontarians improve their understanding of how our system works. It will help them understand how their energy choices affect their bills and our environment and it will also help them better manage their own energy consumption. I understand the need to promote energy literacy among Ontarians is also a message that we’ve all heard from the Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller.

Given the complexity of the modern system, and the amount of correspondence that I and many others receive from constituents who are confused about their bills, helping the public better understand Ontario’s electricity system has never been more important.

Can the minister please inform the House regarding what kind of information the discovery centre will provide and how I can make that information available to the constituents in my community?

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: The discovery centre provides the opportunity for visitors to learn about Hydro One and Ontario’s electricity system in an engaging and interactive way. Specifically, visitors can learn about electrical safety, important tips on managing electricity use and costs, how the electricity system is modernizing—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound will come to order.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: —and the benefits of investing to keep it up to date for future generations of consumers.

The mobile format of the discovery centre brings interactive and engaging exhibits to consumers’ fingertips. To ensure this information is available to all Ontarians, Hydro One will work with any MPP to bring the discovery centre to their own riding. I invite all members to take advantage of this excellent resource.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod: My question as well is to the Minister of Energy. Good morning, Minister. Earlier today you confirmed, I think, what is the worst-kept secret in Ontario right now, and that is that you are going to announce the long-term energy plan the day before the Premier is set to appear again before the justice committee probing the gas plants, so it’s an obvious distraction.

I note also that last week—


Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Calm down.

I note also that last week, in speaking to the press, the minister suggested his long-term plan would be “short-term in nature.” With that contradiction alone, it is very hard to take this minister’s long-term energy plan seriously, so let’s consider what the last LTEP had in it. It had a rigid adherence to wind energy that has cost this province dearly, particularly the ratepayer. Then it planned for two gas plants, which they later cancelled for a political decision. Now we have OPG asking for another 30% rate increase.

Speaker, I ask the minister a very serious question: Is there any reason that Heinz and others are leaving this province—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.

Minister of Energy.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: Sometimes questions come from the opposition that are quite uninformed. I’m pleased that the critic chose to use the Heinz example because the Heinz facility in Leamington, Ontario has a seven-megawatt cogeneration plant located on-site. It’s generating its own electricity under our system at very, very cheap prices. They’re not on the grid. It’s uninformed, as all of her comments and questions are uninformed.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve come from a deficit that they created to a surplus. We’ve come from dirty generation to clean generation. Their record is a disgrace. Our record is laudable.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod: The truth hurts; the facts hurt deeper.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock.

Order. I can’t hear when you heckle either.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): No, that’s my job. You’re not getting the last word either.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): No, you’re not. If you say it again, I will warn you. I don’t need challenges here.

Supplementary, please.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: He bungles and he blusters this entire energy file, but if he won’t take my word for it, why don’t we talk about the report released yesterday by the Canadian vehicle—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Sudbury, come to order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I’m just going to let their quotes speak for themselves: “More recently … a combination of factors—not the least of which is revised policy goals—have converged to make Ontario rates higher than competing jurisdictions. For example, electricity costs for a typical large-scale assembly operation in the US South or Midwest are estimated to be as much as $5 million lower than those in Ontario, a penalty that is now well-known to decision-makers.... For example, Toronto large power users pay 123% more than Chicago customers, 50% more than Nashville and 37% more than Detroit.”

Why are they running businesses out of this province?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Durham will come to order.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from—

Mr. Jim McDonell: Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Yes, I know what it is. I’m giving you time to contemplate.

The member from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, come to order.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): You guys haven’t gotten the message. I’ll have to be even tougher. Please.

Minister of Energy.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: Mr. Speaker, again, the premises of her questions are very false.

We talk about Heinz; we talk about energy prices in the United States. They blame the closure of Heinz on energy. At the same time, two Heinz manufacturing facilities were closed the same day in the United States. So they want to use the United States as a good example, but they have no credibility in terms of what they’re saying.

Mr. Speaker, we have created a reliable system of electricity. We’ve made huge investments in this sector because of their deficit. Yes, it put pressure on prices, but in the meantime, we have created programs that ameliorate the pricing. For industrial consumers, we’ve created the Industrial Conservation Initiative; we’ve created the Industrial Electricity Incentive program; we’ve created the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program.

With respect to Cliffs, we put something on the table that was very, very agreeable and acceptable with respect to energy.


Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour la première ministre.

Speaker, this morning, Ontario midwives launched a human rights challenge against this government because of two decades of gender discrimination. Ontario midwives are paid 52% of what they should be earning. For years, midwives, the families they care for and the NDP have asked this government to take action on this most basic equity issue. We know that the government can talk a good game about the value of midwives and the good care that they provide, but can she tell us why she has ignored her obligation to pay equity for this female-dominated, essential health care provider group?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, what I can do is tell you that we do tremendously value the work of midwives.


That is why we’ve got three times as many women getting care from midwives now than we had just 10 years ago. That’s why we’ve increased funding to midwifery programs fivefold since we were elected. That’s why we’ve increased the number of spots in our midwife training: because we believe that women who want care from a midwife should have access to that care. But our commitment does not end with those investments. We have increased compensation to midwives by 25% over the past 10 years. Our commitment to midwives is strong and remains strong.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mme France Gélinas: What the minister just told me is that she is comfortable with men being paid 48% more than women to do the exact same work. As midwives tell us, to devalue midwifery services is to devalue the people for whom midwifes provide services: women and their families.

Today, Ontario midwives are being asked to work for free from July 1 to December 31. Midwives are angry and frustrated, and after years of being ignored by this government, they had no choice. They had to pursue legal action for this government to follow its own law.

Is the minister going to fight, in the courts, these women who care for 20,000 women and newborns each year, or is she going to respect her pay-equity obligations?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I have witnessed first-hand the extraordinary care provided by midwives. On two occasions, I have been present at the birth of a grandchild in the care of a midwife. Our Premier has had two of her three children delivered by midwives. Our commitment and our respect is enormous.

I think it’s important that the member opposite get her facts straight. We provided the first compensation increase to midwives since they were established in 1994. In 2005, midwives received a 20% to 29% salary increase and, every year from 2006 to 2011, a 2% compensation increase. I confess I do not understand why the midwives are going this route, but I am very, very proud of our record, and I will defend our record.


Mr. Grant Crack: My question is to the Minister of the Environment. Today, November 27, is the 2013 Ontario Environment Industry Day. Established in 1991, the Ontario Environment Industry Association, otherwise known as ONEIA, is the business association representing the interests of the environment industry in Ontario. This not-for-profit environment business association is governed by a board of directors and has approximately 200 member companies.

The Ontario environment industry sector represents over 40% of Canada’s environmental industry and generates an estimated $8 billion in annual revenues. This industry is important to the future of Ontario’s environmental and economic health.

Speaker, through you, would the Minister of the Environment please share with this House more about ONEIA and how they fit in Ontario’s environmental and economic plans for the future?

Hon. James J. Bradley: Well, the question is a very timely one, and I’m pleased to acknowledge the 2013 Ontario Environment Industry Day.

This is an interesting figure: With more than $8 billion in annual revenues, including more than $1 billion in exports, the Ontario environment industry sector is making an important contribution to Ontario’s environmental health, the quality of life of its citizens and our economic strength. We want to see that continue under the government’s plan to invest in people, build strong infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

The Ministry of the Environment will continue to build on the long-standing relationship we have with ONEIA through events like the Environment Industry Day and our supportive research projects like the Ready to Grow initiative and its follow-up, Still Ready to Grow. ONEIA has had a positive and constructive relationship with our government and is interested in continuing to work with the province on strategies to support and grow Ontario’s environment industry.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Grant Crack: Thank you again, Minister, for the update. This established partnership between the Ministry of the Environment and the Ontario Environment Industry Association is a great example of how this government is following through with its economic plan to partner with key sectors of the economy.

This plan will encourage technologies which will help protect our land, our air and our water. The results will build on Ontario’s environmental strengths, as well as contributing to our economic and competitive strengths.

Speaker, through you, would the Minister of the Environment further elaborate to this House how our relationship with ONEIA will help protect our environment and foster the development of environmentally friendly infrastructure?

Hon. James J. Bradley: The member has appropriately asked an important question—strategically as well; he probably stole the next question from the official opposition—so I am pleased to answer the question.

When municipalities need to upgrade water or sewage treatment, who are they going to turn to? When industries need to abate air or water pollution, who are they going to turn to? When producers of goods need to set up a recycling system, who are they going to turn to?

All these organizations, with all these challenges, are going to turn to a company that is a member of the Ontario Environmental Industry Association. It’s important that we have associations such as this in Ontario, and I look forward to continuing to work with Ontario’s environmental industry to ensure that we have a healthy environment and a clean, prosperous future for our province.

Remember to attend the reception today.


Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: My question is for the Premier. Premier, much to the dismay of Ontario taxpayers and ratepayers alike, your government is facing lawsuits by two companies whose wind projects were cancelled by your government as a result of a 2011 pre-election moratorium on offshore wind development.

We have learned that Trillium Power Wind Corp. has filed a $2.25-billion lawsuit and that WindStream Energy is seeking damages in the amount of almost half a billion dollars. If the government loses these lawsuits, it could cost taxpayers $2.7 billion on top of the $1.1 billion it cost to cancel the gas plants. And the irony in this is that WindStream was motivated to seek damages because of your gas plant fiasco.

Premier, given the pushback against offshore wind in an election year, was the decision to put a moratorium on offshore another Liberal seat-saver scheme, and will the Liberal Party be picking up these costs if indeed these lawsuits are successful?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I hear the question, but what I don’t hear is any consistency on this front at all, because my understanding is that this party is against wind altogether, that this member would have us cancel all the projects.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I hear the heckling from the member for Renfrew.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke is warned, the member from Prince Edward–Hastings is warned and the member from Durham is warned.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I hear the heckling that they don’t support wind power at all, and that’s exactly my point, Mr. Speaker. They don’t support green power. They would cancel all of the contracts. We believe that green renewable power is the right way to go. We believe that phasing out all of the coal plants and banning that generation in the future is a good thing to do. They don’t believe that, but they would have all those contracts cancelled, and that’s not consistent with the member’s question.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Clearly, Speaker—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock.

Be seated, please. Thank you.


Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you, Speaker.

Clearly, that answer was practised and they were waiting for this, because this truly is another example of Liberal mismanagement.

Back to the Premier: In 2011, during an election year, the Minister of Energy contradicted the then original claim of the Minister of Natural Resources and declared that there was not enough scientific evidence to proceed with offshore development. Now, in 2013, study after study—even your own University of Waterloo study—is demonstrating an association between proximity to turbines and negative health impacts.

So where are we going with this? The Liberal government chooses to cite evidence of one example and yet you ignore evidence on the other hand. Premier, will your government just stop all of this madness and call for an immediate moratorium on all construction of turbines?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Premier.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Attorney General will come to order.



Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the accusation that I practised the answer, I never could have predicted such an inconsistent question. So actually, Mr. Speaker, I could not have practised the answer to that question.

Let me just say this: The member opposite, on the one hand, is berating us because there is a legal case because we have cancelled projects—and I’m not going to comment on the specifics of that—but on the other hand, she is saying we should cancel all of the projects, thereby potentially incurring more legal situations. So there is no consistency in this party’s approach to energy. There is no consistency in this party’s approach to the process of siting infrastructure. We are going to continue to work to put a better process in place, but we are not going to be looking to the inconsistency of the Conservatives for guidance on that, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.

New question.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for Thunder Bay–Atikokan will come to order—last time.


Mr. Gilles Bisson: My question is to the Premier. Common Voice Northwest was here at Queen’s Park yesterday raising concerns with the recent announcement your government made for a partial biomass conversion of the Thunder Bay coal plant. Their report says that the biomass supply approved is far too small to supply the energy required by northwestern Ontario, even in the short run. How come you can come up with $1.1 billion to cancel two gas plants in southern Ontario and you can’t deal with the issue of Thunder Bay?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Energy.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I appreciate the question from the member. I did have the opportunity for a short while yesterday to speak to some of the delegation, including Iain Angus, who thanked me for the decision of doing it. He did raise some questions with respect to supply of the biomass. He came up with some very positive suggestions on how that can be met, and we are certainly going to take those into account.

Mr. Speaker, our energy plan for northwestern Ontario is very, very solid. It’s extensive. It involves $2.5 billion of investments that we’re projecting. The energy security of Thunder Bay is absolutely secure. They’re going to have a plant. We’re going to extend the life of that plant, the biogas component, if it’s required. They have the electricity when they need it, where they need it, Mr. Speaker. It’s extremely reliable.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Minister, quite frankly, what you’re saying is pretty shocking, because you should know as Minister of Energy that northwestern Ontario is very different when it comes to supply and ability to utilize the grid than anywhere else in the province of Ontario. What’s happening in Thunder Bay is that that used to be a plant that was able to provide electricity to the northwest. Now what you’re going to have is a peaking plant which is going to produce far less power than what the region needs.

I ask you again: Why is it that your priority was to spend $1.1 billion to save a few seats in Mississauga and Oakville but you’re not prepared to support the people of Thunder Bay in the northwest?

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: Mr. Speaker, this absolutely is an NDP question. They’re asking us to make investments that are not required. We’re making the necessary investments. We’re relying on the experience of the Independent Electricity System Operator with respect to reliability. It’s the right solution at the right time for Thunder Bay. They will not have to worry about their energy generation, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: For the record, this question has only been moderately practised.

Ma question est pour le ministre du Développement économique, du Commerce et de l’Emploi, l’honorable Eric Hoskins. Speaker, as you will know, our government has officially launched its youth jobs strategy. This is especially important to families in my own riding of Etobicoke North. The government’s announcement came after a series of consultations which brought together local business leaders, employers, not-for-profits, educators, labour and, of course, the youth themselves. These discussions provided a local perspective about the needs of the various stakeholders and participants, and directly influenced the design of this important program, the youth jobs strategy of October 16.

Speaker, would the minister please inform this chamber when young people in my own riding of Etobicoke North and, of course, beyond in Ontario can begin to start accessing these funds?

Hon. Eric Hoskins: Thank you to the member from Etobicoke North for this great question.

These funds, a $295-million investment by the government over the next two years, will create 30,000 jobs across the province for young people. With the youth jobs strategy fully launched now, all funds are open and are receiving applications.

We have a Youth Skills Connection Fund which will see the first deadlines in December and the funds disbursed in early 2014.

We have a Strategic Community Entrepreneurship fund, which will have a series of application windows that will see intake and fund disbursing running all the way through to January 2015; a high school outreach program accepting applications now, with applicants receiving notification next month; and Summer Company, designed to help students run a summer business. The application process is open all the way through to next May.

Each fund has a distinct application process; it’s important that those interested go to our youth and jobs strategy website, ontario.ca/youthjobs.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I commend the minister on this program, his outreach to youth, and the multi-faceted nature of these disbursements. I, of course, Speaker, will do my part in my own sphere of influence to publicize the fact that our youth job strategy is under way, that applications are being received, and that youth in my riding will be able to apply now.

The young people of Etobicoke North also recently heard about the youth employment fund and the great opportunities that it also offers. Youth unemployment is a significant concern for parents and families, and this program is welcome, encouraging and much-needed news for them.

May I respectfully ask the minister to please advise this House: How can young people access the youth employment fund?

Hon. Eric Hoskins: To the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Hon. Brad Duguid: I’m very pleased to be able to report to the member and all members of this House that we’ve had great success with the youth employment fund. After just two months, 3,721 young people have active job placements through the youth employment fund. Ultimately, this fund will benefit 25,000 young people overall.

This program allows young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while earning an income. Youth and employers can apply for this fund by reaching out to our local Employment Ontario service providers. In the member’s riding of Etobicoke North, young people can turn to the Community MicroSkills Development Centre on Vulcan Street, Humber College and the YMCA at 1530 Albion Road. Those are some of the areas where they can apply to for this fund.

We’re proud of the work that is being done. We encourage that member and all members to encourage young people in their ridings to access this very significant and successful program.


Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the Premier. Mr. Speaker, as you’ll recall, almost eight months ago, A.O. Smith, the water heater manufacturer which has been our economic cornerstone in Fergus for over 100 years, announced it would be ending manufacturing there, putting 350 people out of work. These lost jobs are not a myth; they are real, and they are going to the United States.

This was a devastating blow to our community, but we carry on, expecting the provincial government to do its part to establish a competitive economic climate and encourage the creation of new jobs.

This fall, our caucus was prepared to work with the government to clear the backlog of legislation before the House. But we had one request: that the government bring forward a jobs plan. My question to the Premier is simple: When will the government be tabling its jobs plan?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I appreciate that the member opposite has raised the issue of A.O. Smith. I know he has been working very hard with his community on this issue. He knows my own personal attachment, as well, with the company: My great-uncle worked there for 50 years, from the floor all the way up into management. There’s nothing more important to this small community of Fergus than to be able to grow their economy and provide jobs for people going forward.

We are working hard. The member opposite knows that there are measures in place, and the government has been active with a number of companies. We’re hoping that there will be some good news in the foreseeable future. Of course, for the employees that unfortunately lost their jobs, we have set up an action centre that provides them with job search support as well as retraining opportunities.

It’s a community that’s very important in southwestern Ontario. It’s very important to this government, and as I mentioned, it’s very important to me personally as well.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Ted Arnott: As far back as 2005, I was ringing the alarm bells in this House about the competitiveness challenges faced by Ontario’s industry and the need to develop an action plan to save manufacturing jobs. Mr. Speaker, they ignored us.


Since then, we have lost more than 300,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs—38,000 since the Premier was sworn in last February. This number includes the 350 people who lost their jobs at A.O. Smith in Fergus. These job losses are more than just statistics. With the Christmas season soon to be upon us, we’re talking about thousands of families who worry about their future, with good reason, and they see a provincial government without a clue of what to do. If the government can’t come up with a jobs plan of their own, will they adopt ours?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.


Hon. Eric Hoskins: Mr. Speaker, here’s where I need to disagree with the member opposite. We have a jobs plan. The problem is that the PCs didn’t support it. You didn’t support it back in 2008 when we provided support to the auto sector. If it had gone your way, GM and Chrysler would have left the country.

You didn’t support us last year when we created the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, which has created and retained more than 7,000 jobs in the last year alone. You voted against it.

You didn’t support us for the youth jobs strategy, which we just heard a moment ago has resulted in more than 3,000 placements already, with a $300-million investment over the next couple of years. We have a jobs plan; the problem is that you refused to support it.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Be seated, please.

New question.


Ms. Cindy Forster: For years, New Democrats have strongly supported legislation in which certain occupational-related diseases are presumed to be job-related for WSIB purposes. Along with the Ontario firefighters who are here today, we agree it’s time to add testicular, skin, multiple melanoma, breast, lung and prostate cancer to that list of diseases to be presumed. In fact, the government has told firefighters that they agree, too. Will the Premier actually change the existing legislation to add these diseases, or is she simply making commitments that she has no plans to change?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Labour.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: I thank the member opposite for asking this important question. I again welcome all the very hard-working firefighters who are here in the assembly today.


Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Speaker, I thank all the firefighters for the hard work they do in making sure that our communities remain safe. That’s why I’m very proud to stand here today. It was in 2007 that our government was the very first government to bring in presumptive legislation in the province of Ontario, recognizing eight different cancers and heart diseases—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Ms. Cindy Forster: Premier, what we need is action, not standing ovations.

The reality is that firefighters are exposed to many toxic substances in the course of their duties and, as a result, they face higher risks of certain cancers. This new legislation would build on presumptive legislation from 2007 that deemed a number of other cancers, like oesophageal and colorectal, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and heart injury within 24 hours after fighting a fire deemed occupation-related. I ask again, is the Premier prepared to pay more than lip service to the firefighters so that these brave men and women who face dangers day in and day out on their jobs can be treated with respect and dignity, and when will she do it?

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Speaker, I thank the member again. I want to thank the member from Vaughan for bringing forward Bill 81, which actually suggests that we add six additional cancers to the presumptive list. I thank the member for Vaughan for his leadership on this very important issue.

Speaker, I want to assure you and, through you, all the members of this Legislature that we’re working very closely with members of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. The Premier had the opportunity to speak with them and show our commitment to our firefighters that we’ll continue to work hard to make sure that all firefighters are safe at their workplaces, that they are fully protected, to ensure they can continue their job. I’m very proud of our very positive, constructive working relationship with our firefighters, and we’ll continue to work with them in making sure that they’re safe every single day.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): On a point of order before our deferred vote: Let’s make it quick, the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke.


Mr. John Yakabuski: I’d like to welcome to the chamber today and to Queen’s Park Valerie Miles and Steve Carson, realtors from the Renfrew County Real Estate Board, in my riding. Thank you for coming.

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: I wanted to also introduce to the Legislative Assembly some guests who were in the members’ gallery; they are there no longer. They’re firefighters from my region: James Taylor, Dan Boyer, Kane Demers, Mike Scarangella, Ryan Outtrim, Mark Train and Ryan Coburn.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I’d like to welcome guests from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association joining us this morning for question period: Brett Gibson and Steve Mair, from the Waterloo Professional Fire Fighters Association. Welcome to Queen’s Park.


Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I just want to correct the record, to the question from the member from Timmins. I mentioned in my supplementary a biogas plant. It should read “biomass plant.”


Mr. Monte McNaughton: I’d quickly like to introduce a friend of mine, and the mayor from Strathroy-Caradoc, Joanne Vanderheyden, who is here today at Queen’s Park, and other members of Ontario Good Roads Association.


Mr. Steve Clark: I want to correct my record this morning. In my speech about Bill 133, I, in error, forgot—I promised her that I would mention her and her hard work. She’s a senior policy analyst with the office of my leader, Tim Hudak. I want to acknowledge the hard work of Larissa Smit.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I’d like to introduce a very important spiritual leader from the town of Oakville. The Reverend Jim Gill and his wife, Bonnie, have joined us at Queen’s Park today.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I do want to make a point that this is a little unorthodox, because we have a rotation for introduction of guests, and I have told you that while we’re doing that, I’ll even go past the time in order for us to do that. This is an important cyclical thing we need to do. So from now on, I’ll be a little less patient on that particular issue.



Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of the following bill:

Bill 55, An Act to amend the Collection Agencies Act, the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 55, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les agences de recouvrement, la Loi de 2002 sur la protection du consommateur et la Loi de 2002 sur le courtage commercial et immobilier et apportant des modifications corrélatives à d’autres lois.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1147 to 1152.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): On November 26, Ms. MacCharles moved third reading of Bill 55.

All those in favour, please rise one at a time to be recognized by the Clerk.


  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Balkissoon, Bas
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bartolucci, Rick
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bradley, James J.
  • Cansfield, Donna H.
  • Chan, Michael
  • Chiarelli, Bob
  • Chudleigh, Ted
  • Clark, Steve
  • Colle, Mike
  • Coteau, Michael
  • Crack, Grant
  • Damerla, Dipika
  • Del Duca, Steven
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dhillon, Vic
  • Dickson, Joe
  • DiNovo, Cheri
  • Duguid, Brad
  • Dunlop, Garfield
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Flynn, Kevin Daniel
  • Forster, Cindy
  • Fraser, John
  • Gerretsen, John
  • Gélinas, France
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Michael
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Hillier, Randy
  • Holyday, Douglas C.
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hudak, Tim
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Jackson, Rod
  • Jeffrey, Linda
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Klees, Frank
  • Kwinter, Monte
  • Leal, Jeff
  • Leone, Rob
  • MacCharles, Tracy
  • MacLaren, Jack
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Marchese, Rosario
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • Mauro, Bill
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • McNeely, Phil
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Miller, Norm
  • Miller, Paul
  • Milligan, Rob E.
  • Milloy, John
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • O’Toole, John
  • Orazietti, David
  • Ouellette, Jerry J.
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Piruzza, Teresa
  • Prue, Michael
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schein, Jonah
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Sergio, Mario
  • Singh, Jagmeet
  • Smith, Todd
  • Sousa, Charles
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Wong, Soo
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff
  • Zimmer, David

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): All those opposed, please rise and be recognized by the Clerk.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 96; the nays are 0.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Third reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): There are no further deferred votes. This House stands recessed until 3 p.m.

The House recessed from 1156 to 1500.


Mr. Victor Fedeli: I have two sets of guests to introduce. First of all, I would like to introduce Robb Roy and Gord Mulcahey from the North Bay firefighters, who are here today.

Later on today, we’ll have Tom Hawkins, Pam Hawkins, Kayla Hawkins, Kendra Hawkins and Debbie Hawkins here. I wanted to have this opportunity to introduce them.



Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Two years ago, a young farmer from Kars started a business on 900 acres of farmland. For Mark Lindsay, farming was his passion. He harvested corn crops, and he milked 100 cows four times a day with two robotic milking machines. He had a dream, he had a passion and he had a farm, Cranberry Creek Dairy Farms.

Last week, all of Ottawa would learn Mark had more. He had a family who adored him, friends who loved him and a farm community that respected him. He had a nickname: “Pump.” Residents in Canada’s largest agricultural city would get to know more about Mark’s life and the impact he had on others in Kars, North Gower, and Osgoode after a tragic farming accident. We learned about Mark from their gestures, born of grief, that were so remarkable they need to be shared in this assembly.

With broken hearts, area farmers did something heartwarming, something we don’t see every day, but something that reminds us of the common decency we all grew up with. His friends lined the funeral procession with tractors, even parking his favourite tractor at the funeral home. But it’s what they did next that is most moving of all. In Mark’s memory, and as a show of respect to his wife, Anne, and his parents, Eldon and Betty, more than 30 area farmers harvested Mark’s crops. What normally takes days took mere hours. Many said they would be back to plant crops for next year.

Farmers are the salt of the earth, Speaker, and in my community last week, in Mark’s memory, they proved it yet again.


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: It is my pleasure to share with the members of this Legislature an important cultural and historical event in my riding of London–Fanshawe.

As you may know, London is home to many unique and historical ecological sites, including the Meadowlily Woods community. Recently, our community celebrated the rededication of the Meadowlily bridge, which was originally built in 1911. This bridge is one of the first iron bridges built in the London area. Historically, this bridge provided a path for farmers to reach the mill and served as a crucial connection for residents travelling between the townships of Westminster and London. Earlier this month, the bridge was rededicated to the community of Meadowlily after an extensive restoration and rebuild.

Specifically, I want to recognize the Friends of Meadowlily Woods, a not-for-profit volunteer group formed in 2008. In addition to their efforts to revitalize the bridge, the group fought to safeguard the site of an ecologically substantial area in London–Fanshawe as well. It is home to 33 at-risk species, and the Friends of Meadowlily have worked tirelessly to protect this land.

This group of approximately 50 volunteers came together to save and protect. In acknowledgement of their hard work, the Friends of Meadowlily Woods were awarded the Margaret and Nicolas Hill Cultural Heritage Landscape Award by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Friends of Meadowlily Woods on receiving this prestigious award and for their dedication to our community. I am very proud of the creativity and passion shown in London–Fanshawe, and I’m also pleased to share this achievement with all of you here today.


Mr. Mike Colle: I rise today to wish all my constituents of the Jewish faith, and all Ontarians of the Jewish faith, a happy Hanukkah.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah. All across this province and all across the world, we celebrate the incredible bravery of the Maccabees and their courage in standing up to oppression, and the miracle of the oil, which was supposed to have lasted only one day but lasted eight days.

Today, I’m sure that all over Ontario there are all kinds of families who are going to light their first candle. They’re going to prepare for the dancing of the hora, the eating of the latkes, the playing of the driedel and the lighting of the menorah which will take place.

I would also like to read a Hebrew blessing for Hanukkah.

Prayer in Hebrew.


Mr. Rick Nicholls: Some 104 years of rich history, providing thousands of jobs and a key component of the community’s identity: That is what Heinz means to Leamington. I can only imagine what went through the hearts and minds of those affected by the closure announcement, the darkest day in the history of Leamington. Whether they are employees themselves, their families, tomato growers or part of the supply chain, every single member of the community will feel the loss.

At this point, no one knows the overall economic impact that this closure will have. It’s estimated that thousands of supply chain jobs could be lost, with the local economy losing hundreds of millions of dollars—a heavy blow to the tomato capital of Canada.

Some may say inefficiencies and an old, tired building led to the closure, but I say we’re not asking the right questions. Why has there been no real investment in equipment that would have improved efficiencies? Why were there no improvements to the overall site? Unfortunately, the policies of this Liberal government have handcuffed Heinz and many other businesses with red tape and rising energy costs.

In the aftermath of the announcement, I received countless phone calls from concerned constituents. I attended meetings with officials from all three levels of government, as well as with affected growers. Most importantly, I talked to workers themselves.

Speaker, do you know what? You can’t keep a good agricultural town down. Leamington was there before Heinz opened its doors, and it will remain long after they close. Often adversity leads to creativity and innovation. Heinz didn’t make Leamington; the people of Leamington made Heinz.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I’m pleased to rise in the House today to recognize an outstanding advocate and a local champion in my riding of Oakville.

Robert Alexander-Carew was first diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, in June 2011, at the young age of 39. IPF is a progressive lung disease that causes scarring of the lungs and makes it very difficult to breathe. It’s estimated that up to 30,000 people in Canada are currently diagnosed with IPF. Of those, between 5,000 and 10,000 suffer from very serious IPF.

Robert was shocked at the lack of information he found out there, so he and his friends rallied together and established Rob’s Ride. It’s a fundraising spinning event to increase awareness of the disease and to raise money to improve its diagnosis and treatment.

This year, I was fortunate enough to participate in the second annual Rob’s Ride for Pulmonary Fibrosis. Because of the incredible work, his team of supporters was able to raise over $20,000, and that money is going to go directly to the lung clinic at Toronto General Hospital.

September was IPF Awareness Month in Canada; November is Lung Awareness Month in Ontario. I’d like to congratulate my constituent Robert Alexander-Carew on his courage, his strength and his determination to ensure that those living with IPF get the information they need and access to all available treatments. Thank you and congratulations, Robert.


Mr. Jim Wilson: I’m pleased to rise today to recognize Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston for having been featured recently in the Canadian Business Journal, a top Canadian publication. The journal praises the great work being done at Stevenson Memorial Hospital, noting a 100% patient satisfaction rate in the birthing unit, acknowledgement of “exemplary standing” by Accreditation Canada, and Ministry of Health recognition for high achievement when it comes to wait times in the emergency department. In fact, the article mentions that Stevenson Memorial Hospital is currently ranked second in wait times out of 74 high-volume emergency departments in all of Ontario.

This distinguished recognition by the famed business journal is acknowledgement of the hospital’s tremendous commitment to the safety and well-being of the patients they serve. It also speaks to the tremendous team of physicians, nurses, staff, volunteers and board members who work tirelessly to make this all possible.


Mr. Speaker, you may not know this, but this hospital was built nearly 50 years ago to accommodate 7,000 emergency visits per year; this year, it will exceed 30,000 visits. The hospital is literally bursting at the seams. To work within their budget and provide such high quality care and do it well is an impressive accomplishment.

As MPP for Simcoe–Grey, I’m tremendously grateful to the people at our local hospital. I look forward to moving ahead with the much-needed expansion of this health care facility.


Mr. Jonah Schein: I’m going to change it up today and actually pay tribute to friends and colleagues in Toronto Centre, which is not an NDP riding. It’s still a Liberal riding.

On Monday night, I was able to be at the party for Linda McQuaig, who was an incredible candidate for the federal NDP in Toronto Centre. I was very inspired; I’ve been inspired by Linda’s work for many, many years. Her campaign continued to focus on the issue of growing inequality in this country, which I believe is an issue that people across the country care about, and I think it should be front and centre in the minds of all politicians in this province and this country.

Speaker, it’s an inspiration to me that the NDP has candidates like Linda stepping forward and working on this issue, and also that people across the city came out to help that campaign. I want to thank all the volunteers who helped out on that campaign and remind all of them that we’re going to be in elections again soon, and that building a strong organization that will fight for those values is incredibly important, and to encourage people across the province to step up and get involved in politics, however you believe in it.

The message that came out of that campaign is that the status quo is not okay. Linda’s message is that we have power as citizens, as people of this country, to reduce inequality, to be powerful, and that we can’t just leave it up to corporations to take control of that agenda. So I thank the community across this city for stepping forward and taking that challenge seriously.


Mr. Joe Dickson: My wife, Donna, and I had the distinct pleasure of welcoming Premier Kathleen Wynne to our riding of Ajax–Pickering, to make a very major announcement at Greenwood Conservation Area, located in Ajax. Councillor Pat Brown and Councillor Colleen Jordan were also there to welcome the Premier.

Ontario is expanding its world-class trail systems as a key legacy initiative of the 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games. Some 250 kilometres in gaps in Ontario’s Trans Canada Trail will connect communities from Ottawa to Windsor and Fort Erie to Huntsville.

The province is investing more than $3.5 million—as announced by the Premier, with Michael Chan and me—in Pan Am/Parapan Am trails to help create a continuous trail of more than 2,000 kilometres. The trail will go from Taunton Road in Ajax to Highway 7 in Pickering and also connects the city of Pickering’s village museum in Greenwood.

Additionally, Pickering’s village museum will expand—a cherished facility in Pickering and all of Durham, like Greenwood itself, will welcome visitors in a bigger way. In 2015, the city of Pickering forecasts $7.25 million for the design and construction of a new visitors’ building.

Everything is progressing. We will create some 26,000 jobs.

Ajax is hosting both softball and baseball.


Mr. John O’Toole: This Liberal government is planning to cut funding to communities across the province by significantly reducing the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, often referred to as OMPF. Last year, the Liberal government allocated $575 million to OMPF for communities. This year, only $550 million is going to go to those communities. In two years’ time, only $500 million will go to local communities—a cut every single year.

The government’s solution to balancing their budget is to cut funding for municipalities across Ontario. In my riding of Durham, the township of Uxbridge had OMPF funding slashed over two years—and here’s the true story of it: 10% of $1.2 million in 2013; another 15% cut in 2014 is planned. That’s $300,000 in revenue that’s being chopped from their budget. Where are they to get this funding? This will amount to a 3% increase in tax on seniors in the province of Ontario. This is a 25% drop in funding. This is just unacceptable.

My municipalities have had these cuts in services and cuts to staff. Uxbridge is a rural community, heavily populated by retirees, but Uxbridge has had to increase taxes by 3% in order to pay for municipally mandated services.

There have been further cuts by the assessment changes, such as the greenbelt and the Oak Ridges moraine, eliminating growth in revenue by taking productive land out of service.

What this government has done to the province of Ontario is simply not tell the whole story about the changes of uploading services in Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. I thank all members for their statements.



Mr. John Fraser: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas ‘texting while driving’ is one of the single biggest traffic safety concerns of Ontarians;

“Whereas text messaging is the cause for drivers to be 23 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident;

“Whereas talking on a cellphone is found to be four to five times more likely for a driver to be involved in an accident;

“Whereas Ontario is only one of few provinces in Canada where there are no demerit points assessed under the current cellphone/distracted driving legislation currently in place;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“To adopt Bill 116 by MPP Balkissoon into law, which calls for each individual guilty of an offence and on conviction to be ‘liable to a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $700,’ in addition to a record of three demerit points for each offence.”

I’m affixing my signature to this, as I agree with it, and I’m giving it to page Michaela.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I’ve got a petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and it reads as follows:

“Whereas protecting the environment should be everyone’s responsibility, including manufacturing and material producing companies; and

“Whereas it is important to require producers to be financially and environmentally responsible for recycling the goods and packaging they sell in Ontario, and to divert these wastes from landfill to recycling to drive innovation, generate new jobs, and new Ontario-made products; and

“Whereas new approaches are needed that reflect ideas and recommendations from the recycling sector that are designed to improve current recycling systems, to increase recycling and diversion rates, and better protect our environment;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That members of the Legislative Assembly pass Bill 91, the Waste Reduction Act, 2013, introduced on June 6, 2013, by the Ontario Minister of Environment.”

I agree with this and will send it down to the table with Jonathan.


Mr. John O’Toole: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Durham region. It reads as follows:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Hydro One Networks Inc. (Hydro One) is proposing construction of a new transformer station on a 100-acre site in Clarington, near the Oshawa-Clarington boundary;

“Whereas the site is on the Oak Ridges moraine/greenbelt” which is a sensitive environment;

“Whereas concerns have been raised about the environmental impacts of this development, including harm to wildlife as well as contamination of ponds, streams and the underground water supply;

“Whereas sites zoned for industrial and/or commercial use are the best locations for large electricity transformer stations;

“Whereas most, if not all, residents do not agree this project is needed and that, if proven to be necessary, it could be best accommodated at alternative locations such as Cherrywood or Wesleyville;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, ask that the Ontario Legislature support the preservation of the Oak Ridges moraine, the greenbelt and the natural environment at this site. We also ask that the Ontario Legislature require the Clarington transformer station to be built at an alternative location zoned for an industrial facility and selected in accordance with the best planning principles” and full environmental approval.

I’m pleased to sign and support it and present it to Yong Da, one of the pages.


Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that comes from the women around Brantford and their families.

“Whereas Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life with continued breastfeeding along with other food sources for up to two years and beyond for optimal health;


“Whereas breastfeeding is normal and natural but like childbirth it can be complicated requiring specialized support for a family’s success;

“Whereas lactation consultants are trained, internationally certified breastfeeding specialists who can assist women having breastfeeding problems, and be resources of breastfeeding expertise in the community;

“Whereas Brantford, until 2005 when the service was cut, had a breastfeeding clinic run by lactation consultants at Brantford General Hospital which was highly utilized;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to facilitate the reinstatement of a lactation consultant-led breastfeeding clinic in Brantford General Hospital.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask page Payton to bring it to the Clerk.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: It’s great to be able to read this petition while I’m joined by Andrew Lee and Paul Anderson from the Oakville Professional Firefighters. It reads as follows:

“Whereas protecting the environment should be everyone’s responsibility, including manufacturing and material producing companies; and

“Whereas it is important to require producers to be financially and environmentally responsible for recycling the goods and packaging they sell in Ontario, and to divert these wastes from landfill to recycling to drive innovation, generate new jobs, and new Ontario-made products; and

“Whereas new approaches are needed that reflect ideas and recommendations from the recycling sector that are designed to improve current recycling systems, to increase recycling and diversion rates, and better protect our environment;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That members of the Legislative Assembly pass Bill 91, the Waste Reduction Act, 2013, introduced on June 6, 2013, by the Ontario Minister of Environment.”

I agree with this, obviously, will sign it and send it down with Spencer.


Mr. John O’Toole: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to present another petition on behalf of my constituents in the riding of Durham. It reads as follows:

“Whereas approximately 20% of Ontario’s electricity is produced at the Darlington generating station;

“Whereas it was Premier Wynne who cancelled the new build at Darlington, costing Ontario 20,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with the new build;

“Whereas this severely limits employment opportunities for university graduates from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology” and other universities in Ontario. Where are they to gain experience in Durham now?

“Whereas in addition to refurbishing the four existing reactors at Darlington the building of new capacity is important for the future of Ontario’s manufacturing sector and for jobs and investment in our Ontario;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That Ontario’s elected MPPs and the provincial government reaffirm their commitment to the complete refurbishment of all four units at the Darlington generating station and that the Ontario government reinstate the original plan for the completion of the two new reactors at the Darlington generating station.”

I’m pleased to sign and support this and present it to Michaela, one of the pages here at Queen’s Park.


Mme France Gélinas: It’s a pleasure for me to present this petition from the people of the northeast, and it goes as follows:

“Whereas the Ontario government” has made PET scanning “a publicly insured health service available to cancer and cardiac patients...; and

“Whereas, since October 2009, insured PET scans are performed in Ottawa, London, Toronto, Hamilton and Thunder Bay; and

“Whereas the city of Greater Sudbury is a hub for health care in northeastern Ontario, with Health Sciences North, its regional cancer program and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine;

“We ... petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to make PET scans available through Health Sciences North, thereby serving and providing equitable access” to the people of the northeast.

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask page Ana to bring it to the table.


Ms. Mitzie Hunter: A petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas ‘texting while driving’ is one of the single biggest traffic safety concerns of Ontarians;

“Whereas text messaging is the cause for drivers to be 23 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident;

“Whereas talking on a cellphone is found to be four to five times more likely for a driver to be involved in an accident;

“Whereas Ontario is only one of few provinces in Canada where there are no demerit points assessed under the current cellphone/distracted driving legislation currently in place;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“To adopt Bill 116 by MPP Balkissoon into law, which calls for each individual guilty of an offence and on conviction to be ‘liable to a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $700,’ in addition to a record of three demerit points for each offence.”

I will sign this petition and give it to page Jeffrey.


Mr. John O’Toole: I’m certainly having an advantage today to speak up for my constituents.

“Whereas the United Senior Citizens of Ontario has expressed its concerns over the high costs of parking at hospitals in Ontario on behalf of its more than 300,000 members; and

“Whereas thousands of Ontario seniors find it difficult to live on their fixed income and cannot afford” not just the electricity but “these extra hospital parking fees added to their daily living costs; and

“Whereas the Canadian Medical Association Journal has said in an editorial that parking fees are a barrier to health care and add additional stress to patients who have enough to deal with;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That Ontario’s members of provincial Parliament, and the provincial government” of Kathleen Wynne, “take action to abolish parking fees for all seniors when visiting hospitals.”

I am pleased to sign and support this on behalf of the seniors in the province of Ontario.


Mr. Michael Mantha: I present this petition on behalf of the good people of Marathon.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas northern Ontario will suffer a huge loss of service as a result of government cuts to ServiceOntario counters;

“Whereas these cuts will have a negative impact on local businesses and local economies;

“Whereas northerners will now face challenges in accessing their birth certificates, health cards and licences;

“Whereas northern Ontario should not unfairly bear the brunt of decisions to slash operating budgets;

“Whereas regardless of address, all Ontarians should be treated equally by their government;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“Review the decision to cut access to ServiceOntario for northerners, and provide northern Ontarians equal access to these services.”

I agree with this petition and present it to page Spencer to bring down to the Clerks.


Mr. Bob Delaney: I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it reads as follows:

“Whereas ‘texting while driving’ is one of the single biggest traffic safety concerns of Ontarians;

“Whereas text messaging is the cause for drivers to be 23 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident;

“Whereas talking on a cellphone is found to be four to five times more likely for a driver to be involved in an accident;

“Whereas Ontario is only one of few provinces in Canada where there are no demerit points assessed under the current cellphone/distracted driving legislation currently in place;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“To adopt Bill 116 by MPP Balkissoon into law, which calls for each individual guilty of an offence and on conviction to be ‘liable to a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $700,’ in addition to a record of three demerit points for each offence.”

I am pleased to sign this petition and to send it down with page Cynthia.


Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that comes from all over Ontario.

“Whereas Ontario is one of the few provinces that does not have independent oversight of child welfare administration; and

“Whereas eight provinces now have independent oversight of child welfare issues, including child protection; and

“Whereas all provincial ombudsmen first identified child protection as a priority issue in 1986, and still Ontario does not allow the Ombudsman to investigate people’s complaints about children’s aid societies’ (CAS) decisions; and

“Whereas people wronged by CAS decisions concerning placement, access, custody or care are not allowed to appeal those decisions to the Ontario Ombudsman’s office;”

They petition the Legislative Assembly “to enact legislation in support of the Ombudsman of Ontario to have the power to probe decisions and investigate complaints concerning the province’s children’s aid societies (CAS).”

I will affix my name to this, Mr. Speaker, and ask page Ana to bring it to the Clerk.



Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition that also comes from all over, and it goes as follows:

“Whereas many Ontarians need health care services at home and 6,100 people are currently on wait-lists for care;

“Whereas waiting for over 200 days for home care is unacceptable;

“Whereas eliminating the wait-lists won’t require any new funding if the government caps hospital CEO salaries, finds administrative efficiencies in the local health integration networks (LHINs) and community care access centres (CCACs), standardizes procurement policies and streamlines administration costs;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly” of Ontario “as follows:

“That a five-day home care guarantee is established and existing wait-lists eliminated so that Ontarians receive the care they need within a reasonable time frame.”

I support this petition, will affix my name to it, and page—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you.

Mme France Gélinas: —will bring it to the Clerk.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The time for petitions is over.


Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Before I start, I’d like to introduce the Speaker’s gallery full of the Hawkins Gignac family, who are here this afternoon to be part of this auspicious occasion. I just want to say that they’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity to be here for third reading of Bill 77.

Today, I rise to speak to Bill 77, the Hawkins Gignac Act, hopefully for the last time. This bill—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Excuse me. Mr. Hardeman, you have to move the bill first. You didn’t do that.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t think I had to do—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): You missed a level.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I didn’t think I had to do that. I’ve done that a number of times before.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): You have to do it every time, I’m afraid.


Mr. Hardeman moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 77, An Act to proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 to provide safety requirements related to the presence of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide on premises / Projet de loi 77, Loi proclamant la Semaine de la sensibilisation au monoxyde de carbone et modifiant la Loi de 1997 sur la prévention et la protection contre l’incendie pour prévoir des exigences en matière de protection contre la présence, dans des lieux, de niveaux dangereux de monoxyde de carbone.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Mr. Hardeman has moved Bill 77, third reading.

Mr. Hardeman.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Today, I rise to speak to Bill 77, the Hawkins Gignac Act, again, hopefully for the last time.

This bill will make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in all Ontario homes. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is a colourless, odorless and tasteless gas that can only be detected by a functioning carbon monoxide alarm.

As many of you know, getting this bill here today has not been an easy road. I have introduced it five times before. Each time, the bill was blocked and I had to make a decision: Am I going to introduce this bill again? Am I going to use my private member’s slot to debate this same bill?

Each time I considered those questions, I thought of the reasons why we had put this bill forward in the first place, such as the dedication of the many supporters that are here today. For five years, many of these supporters have written to committees, come to Queen’s Park for hearings and meetings, extended support to my office and raised awareness across the province about the dangers of carbon monoxide.

I want to take a moment to thank some of these people for their perseverance on this issue. They are the people who truly deserve the congratulations.

They include the Insurance Bureau of Canada and their representatives who I have toured parts of the province with to raise awareness and donate detectors to local fire departments. I want to thank both Doug DeRabbie and Matt Hiraishi, who are here with us today in the gallery.

I also want to recognize Carol Heller from Kidde Canada, who has been very helpful in raising awareness and distributing detectors across the province.

The Hawkins Gignac Foundation for CO Education has also been very supportive of this process. They are represented here today by Pat Folliott and others.

Another group that has shown support both in person here today and throughout the five-year process is the Ontario firefighters’ association, who are represented today by president Mark McKinnon. I introduced them this morning, Mr. Speaker, and they have been very supportive. They represent over 11,000 professional full-time firefighters who have been very active in supporting this bill from day one, and I want to say thank you to them.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has also been a great partner, represented today by president Matt Pegg. They were helpful in amending previous versions of the bill to ensure that enforcement of this law would be guaranteed. They recommended that our bill amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act instead of the building code. Thank you very much for your support.

Also, Trevor Ford, a firefighter from the city of Woodstock in my riding, is here to lend support. I want to thank Trevor for his support all the way through.

Over the last five years, I have received support from more groups and people than I could name today. That being said, there is one person in particular who has been a force behind this bill. That man is John Gignac, the uncle of Laurie Hawkins, who has been instrumental in pushing this legislation forward. John created the Hawkins Gignac Foundation for CO Education to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide to help save lives, not only in Ontario but across the country. John experienced the heartbreak every time unanimous consent was denied or that prorogation killed the bill. However, John persevered and is truly an inspiration and one of the reasons that I have continued through this long process. I want to thank you, John, for everything you’ve done. I look forward to personally congratulating you a little later, maybe over a glass of wine. Thank you, John.

John’s brother Ben is also here, joined by his wife, Donna Gignac. They are the parents of Laurie Hawkins. I want to thank them for their support throughout this difficult process. In addition, Richard Hawkins’s mother, Debbie, is here, and his brother Tom. They are joined by several other members of the Hawkins family, and I want to thank them all for coming, even though it must be tough for them to show their support.

Laurie and her husband, Richard, and their two children, Cassandra and Jordan, tragically perished in December 2008 in their Woodstock home from carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide accumulated because of a blocked vent in the gas fireplace. A carbon monoxide detector may have prevented this tragedy. That is why we are here today.

Shortly after this tragedy almost five years ago, I introduced the Hawkins Gignac Act the first time. The reason was simple: to make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory so that tragedies like this would hopefully never happen again. Yet despite this common sense idea, the process has taken five years. In those five years, I have introduced the bill five different times. Every single time the bill received unanimous support at every step. It went through, but due to prorogation, it was blocked from being law each time, except today.

This bill, in all of its five forms, has never received a single vote or a single speech in opposition to its objectives, and that is a telling fact. It means that there is an institutional problem in our Legislature, when a bill that is not opposed by anyone in this chamber has taken five years to pass. I’m glad to see it finally get to this point, but I strongly urge the members to consider the process that this private member’s bill has gone through.

Despite the wait, there has been some positive to it, Mr. Speaker. I’m happy that we have been raising awareness of the issue for five years, and many people, including hundreds in my riding of Oxford, have taken necessary steps to protect themselves and their families.

Earlier this month, I went to Trenton with the member from Northumberland–Quinte West, donating carbon monoxide detectors to the local fire department. There, the fire chief, John Whelan, told me about a couple who had perished from carbon monoxide poisoning. They had a gas-fired generator in their semi-detached garage that they rarely used. One day, they decide to test the generator to make sure it still worked; unfortunately, it did and caused carbon monoxide to accumulate in their home. They did not have a working carbon monoxide detector.

On the other hand, I recently heard at committee from Jim Jessop, the deputy fire chief from the city of London. He told me about a couple, Tom and Linda Moore, who had a very similar experience. The Moores’ neighbours were having their ducts cleaned. The duct cleaning service left a truck running to power the generators in a shared driveway, and the exhaust fumes blew right into the air intake of the Moores’ home. The carbon monoxide alarm went off, and the Moores evacuated and called 911. Tom later said, “I probably would have been dead if it weren’t for the alarms.”

It is these types of stories that point out why carbon monoxide detectors are needed in every home in Ontario. A carbon monoxide detector helped save the Moore family.


CO poisoning can stem from a number of different sources, both inside and outside the home. Everyone is at risk. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has written that “88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat.” There are still many Ontario families that need to be protected from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Some municipalities have realized this need and taken steps to protect their citizens. They’ve done this by passing municipal bylaws requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all homes. These municipalities include my own hometown, South-West Oxford, and Ingersoll, in my riding. North Bay has also taken these steps through the mayor at the time, who is now my seatmate, the member from Nipissing.

While I appreciate the work that these municipalities have done to protect their families, it does not replace provincial law. Every family in Ontario deserves the same protection from carbon monoxide poisoning. In fact, there are many homes in the northern parts of our province that don’t belong to any individual municipality. They deserve protection from carbon monoxide poisoning as well.

The need for these detectors reminds me of the story of a local Girl Guide troop in my riding, from Ingersoll. While on a camping trip, the Girl Guides, led by troop leader Amy Boddy, made sure to test the carbon monoxide detectors in their cabin. Just the next morning, the alarm sounded. The stove had a blockage and filled the cabin with carbon monoxide. The girls evacuated and called the authorities. The fire department registered carbon monoxide readings at levels well above fatal.

Amy Boddy wrote to me about the need for detectors and told me clearly that she believes they would not have survived the weekend without the detectors. That group of Girl Guides was here in the Legislature when we read this bill for the second time for the last time. However, having a detector is only part of the solution. It is critical that appliances are inspected for potential blockage, and that the CO detectors are regularly tested and replaced.

This bill becoming law does not mean that all Ontarians will know about the dangers of carbon monoxide. To raise awareness, now and in the future, we have amended the bill to create Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. This week would take place beginning November 1 each year and coincide with the end of daylight saving time.

Many fire departments already promote the changing of the time and inspecting smoke alarms together. We need to continue this promotion and increase the awareness of both the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the need for functioning detectors. With the combination of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and this law making carbon monoxide detectors mandatory, I hope the lives of many Ontarians will be saved.

Over the past five years, I’ve heard many tragic stories about people perishing from carbon monoxide poisoning because they did not have a working detector, but in those same five years I’ve heard many more stories of people being saved by carbon monoxide detectors. I know that the work that John Gignac, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and fire departments across the province are doing is paying off.


Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Exactly. Give them a round of applause.

I’ve heard stories about a man who went out and bought a detector, only to have it go off and alert him to a high level of carbon monoxide before he even took it off his kitchen counter. From the Moore family to the Ingersoll Girl Guides, people are being saved every day because of the awareness raised around carbon monoxide detectors.

I’ve met with fire departments across the province, like the one in Stratford, which has created a loaner program for CO detectors. When they respond to a call, be it for a smoke alarm or a dead battery in the carbon monoxide detector, they bring along a new CO detector. The department loans the homeowner a detector so they can be protected until the family has a chance to buy a new alarm.

It’s initiatives like this that need to be complimented. These programs are created to fill a void. To this point, we have not been doing everything we can to protect Ontarians from that silent killer, but today, with this bill, we can be proud that we are doing something worthwhile to help the people of this province.

It’s been a long journey, a journey filled with many disappointments, but today, we as legislators—and, more importantly, as Ontarians—have the ability to do the right thing. Today we have the opportunity to make five years of hard work pay off and be worth it. The Yukon has already passed similar legislation, and we may have lost the opportunity to be the first province or territory, but I’ll paraphrase John Gignac himself when he told me, “This is the first time in my life that I don’t mind finishing second.”

For the final time in this process I ask for your support, and I speak to the members of the Legislature, for Bill 77, the Hawkins Gignac Act. Today, we can take a great step to honour the Hawkins Gignac family and know that some good came from this tragedy.

Please join me in honouring the memory of Laurie, Richard, Cassandra and Jordan, by protecting all Ontario families. Thank you very much.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you. Further debate?

Ms. Catherine Fife: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It’s a pleasure to stand up and speak in support of this important piece of legislation. I would like to commend the member from Oxford for his tenacity and his resilience. He is clearly someone who is very passionate about creating safer conditions in our home. I would also like to say that I also share in his frustration over the time that it has taken for this day to come.

This act actually began on December 11, 2008. Bill 77 was then first introduced as Bill 143. It has been private member’s Bill 69. It has been Bill 20 on December 6, 2011. In February 2013, it was Bill 18. It is now Bill 77, the Hawkins Gignac Act (Carbon Monoxide Safety).

It has taken a great deal of energy and a great deal of effort to bring this legislation to this place in this House. I too would like to thank those who have not only assisted the member from Oxford and encouraged him but have done some of the hard work on the front lines on the ground to ensure that this act will truly address the core issues that we see around carbon monoxide detectors.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada came to our committee, and they were very clear that they’re very supportive of this. They have joined forces in ensuring that there’s an education campaign associated with this act. It is very clear from the fire chiefs of Ontario, and I think it’s very powerful that today the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario is also here. They are in the front lines and go into homes where 911 calls have been made. Those are dangerous situations. Quite honestly, they are also those first responders when carbon monoxide detectors have not been in the home. They welcome this legislation as well.

I think one of the most frustrating things about how long it has taken is that deaths through carbon monoxide are preventable deaths. With education and with resources, we can ensure that the pain and grief that the Hawkins family experienced is not felt by other families across this province.

I would like to commend John Gignac, his family and his friends who are here today for turning their grief and their sorrow into something positive, a positive action that will save lives. I think that is a very meaningful way to honour the lives of his family.

I was going to cite the same story that the member from Oxford has, because there’s a clear record through the media and through education that we know that carbon monoxide detectors do save lives. We know that these are preventable deaths, and we know that through his resilience and through the resilience of the family, this act can pass today with all of our support. The act actually was made stronger, I believe, by also incorporating the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. This is a great opportunity to partner with the smoke detectors and public health. They’re definitely on the record as being very supportive.


The fact that this has come here today, when we also have real estate agents and firefighters in the House, I think, is very meaningful.

As I said, I’d like to commend the member for his resiliency. Of course the NDP will be supporting this. It should not have taken five years, but let’s get it done today, and let’s ensure that families are stronger. I know John has said that once this law passes in Ontario, he’ll move on to Canada because this actually should be a national campaign as well.

My thoughts are with the family and friends who are here today. The NDP is fully supportive of this piece of legislation.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Just a friendly reminder to our guests: You can’t clap or make any noises. Unfortunately, you have to be good and be quiet. That’s the rules around here, I’m sorry to inform you.

Further debate?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I want to start by thanking the member from Oxford, MPP Hardeman, for his advocacy and dedication on this issue.

I would like to welcome the Hawkins and Gignac families to the House today. I just cannot imagine how we would feel if we arrived and found three or four of our siblings dead from carbon monoxide. I cannot imagine how you felt.

We support this bill. This is a step that needs to be taken, and I appreciate the initiative that the member for Oxford has taken. My ministry has worked with the member to craft this version of the bill to improve its chances of success.

This bill will build on the other work my ministry has done. We have strengthened the Ontario fire code so that smoke alarms are required on every storey of a home. We amended the Ontario building code in 2010, requiring all new residential buildings higher than three storeys to install sprinklers. We are proud to become the first province in Canada to make the installation of automatic sprinklers mandatory in existing residences for seniors, people with disabilities and vulnerable citizens.

We have made a lot of progress by working together, but more needs to be done. We know that carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in North America. Between 2008 and 2012, an average of 12 Ontarians died from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. These deaths are preventable. Currently, CO detectors are required only in new, expanded or renovated residential construction if there is an attached garage or if there are fuel-burning appliances.

Bon nombre de familles ontariennes n’ont pas de détecteur chez elles et pourraient être empoisonnées par le monoxyde de carbone.

We ask Ontarians to do their part to protect their families. But our goal as government is to ensure all homes are adequately protected.

Since 2011, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has mandated the installation of CO detectors in new construction through the Ontario building code. Many Ontario municipalities have introduced bylaws that mandate CO detectors in residential buildings. We would like to see CO detectors become mandatory and uniform across the province. That’s why we support the member from Oxford’s bill.

If passed, the bill will allow the ministry to regulate the use of CO detectors and give local fire departments additional enforcement powers. This will make Ontario families and our communities safer. It will save lives.

If this bill passes, the Office of the Fire Marshal will conduct technical consultations as soon as possible. We will make sure that the technical advisory committee expedites this process. We want to see this done quickly and correctly, just as the member for Oxford does.

In closing, I would like to thank all the firefighters across Ontario, who, on a daily basis, are putting their own lives at risk to save other people’s lives. In this bill that we’re talking about, they will do it through education and inspection.

I want to thank the family for being here. I know it’s not an easy moment, but as you can see, all three parties are in agreement to pass this bill.

Again, I want to thank the member from Oxford.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Mr. Victor Fedeli: I am proud to stand once again in this Legislature to speak to the third and final reading of Bill 77, the Hawkins Gignac Act.

I want to begin by congratulating my seatmate, the member from Oxford, and the members of Laurie and Richard’s family, many of whom are here in attendance today. They should all be commended for their dogged determination in ensuring that a tragedy like the one that befell their family never, ever, ever happens in Ontario again.

Speaker, I have to just acknowledge the rollercoaster ride that the person we affectionately, in this place, call Uncle Ernie has been on for five years. We’re all very, very proud of you, Ernie, for pushing for this.

We can only imagine the rollercoaster ride that the family has been on, as well, over these several years.

The deaths of Laurie and Richard and their children hit very close to home in Nipissing, as they were former residents of North Bay.

I’d like to take the time to recognize members of the family who are here today from North Bay: Tom Hawkins and Pam Hawkins and their lovely daughters Kayla Hawkins and Kendra Hawkins, and North Bay firefighter Derek Gignac. Thank you for being here today. I hope I’m not leaving any of the North Bay people out.

As mayor of the city of North Bay at the time of the family’s tragedy—our community was determined to do something to ensure that we never saw anything like that happen to another family in our community. In March 2009, North Bay city council enacted a bylaw making it mandatory for every home with a fuel-fired appliance to have a working carbon monoxide detector.

The awareness raised through the Hawkins Gignac Act in my community has saved lives and will continue to save lives; its passage will do likewise for all Ontarians.

The frightening thing about carbon monoxide poisoning is the number of close calls that we do not hear about. Let me give you an example. Just last January, the North Bay fire department received 17 carbon monoxide alarm calls—17 in one month—and of those, four had confirmed levels of carbon monoxide in the home. Fortunately, four potential tragedies were averted.

Just this past Friday, in Norfolk county, two people were sent to hospital, as a precaution, after their home became contaminated with carbon monoxide. According to the Simcoe Reformer, the occupants of a house on old Highway 24, near Waterford, hadn’t been feeling well, and when firefighters arrived, they found high carbon monoxide readings. Luckily, this did not end in tragedy. But, as we’re all aware, not everyone is that lucky. In September of this year, an 84-year-old man from Burk’s Falls died and his wife was left critically ill from CO poisoning. I’m sure if members of this Legislature checked with their local fire departments, they too would get a better sense of how frequently these close calls really do come about.


I have previously relayed the story of Colleen Point, a high school teacher in North Bay. Last year she, her husband and her young daughter started to feel nauseous and tingling, but only when their CO alarm finally did go off did the family of five get dressed and leave their home. Thankfully, they took their alarm seriously, and their lives, thanks to you, were saved.

CO detectors do save lives. It’s as simple as that. I can’t understand why anyone would object to having a device in your home that can save a life. How can anyone not afford to have one in the home, law or no law, especially in a day like today when you can easily get a smoke detector and CO alarm combined in one device? Why require one and not the other?

As winter approaches, I would again take this opportunity to remind people, especially northern and rural Ontario residents, to please periodically check the exterior vents of your home to make certain they’re clear of snow and ice. This is one of the biggest dangers we face in the north when it comes to possible carbon monoxide poisonings, and the importance of this cannot be stressed enough.

In closing, I again congratulate members of this House for supporting the Hawkins Gignac Act, and I’m so pleased to be able to vote today to see this become a law in Ontario. I congratulate all of you family members who, despite setback after setback, didn’t give up and saw this through. Today is your day. Passing this legislation means we, as legislators, will literally save lives. Speaker, it’s not every day we in the House can say that. Please join us in supporting our member from Oxford and the Hawkins and Gignac family today.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate.

Mr. Michael Prue: Before I actually speak, I would seek unanimous consent to allow the people here to cheer. They have a great deal to cheer about, and I’m seeking unanimous consent to allow them to clap because they have every reason to clap.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Okay. It will be my decision that for once the gallery will be allowed to clap.


Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As always, you make very sage and wise decisions.

Mr. John Yakabuski: He just gets a little bit of help from you, Michael.

Mr. Michael Prue: Perhaps.

I’d like to start off by thanking the member from Oxford. I know a number of people have already done that, but I want to talk about the times that he has been here in this Legislature, the times that he has raised this issue. I know myself, each and every time he raised the issue, it fell upon me to speak to it. I have spoken to this issue before and I am privileged today to be speaking to it at third reading, a thing that I had feared might never happen. But here we are, in the process of third reading, having gone through committee, having made the necessary amendments, having discussed it in its fullness and totality. Today I can see that magic time in about an hour when we’re going to vote on this, and I have every confidence we’re going to see it done through.

To the member of Oxford, Uncle Ernie, as we call him in this party too, for good reason, has finally delivered—five years and a very, very long process.

I am thankful as well to all the members of the House for allowing this to proceed. I have to state, and this might not be the politically correct time to say it, but this I have to state: I am thankful that we have a minority government. I am thankful because this is the kind of deal that is made between the parties and amongst the parties that allows private members’ bills to proceed. They don’t proceed in majority situations, except perhaps if you’re a member on the government side. I have seen some of the very best ideas in this Legislature—the very best ideas—come from private members’ business. We don’t always see them come to fruition, but today I see something coming to fruition that needed to happen a long time ago.

I thank the members of the government party, the members of the Conservative Party especially, and perhaps some from the NDP, too. This was part of a programming motion that some were not particularly satisfied with or didn’t like. But this was a programming motion that allowed certain bills to come forward that might not have seen the light of day in order that some government bills could pass. People on all sides of this House need to take a bow because this is the way this place should work.

I want to say, when I hear debates in here and banter going back and forth about “You’re not doing anything; you’re not getting any results. You’re collaborating with the government,” and all of those things—I hear those constantly. But unless this kind of process takes place, we’re not going to have bills like the member from Oxford is presenting today. He stuck it through. His party agreed, although sometimes they don’t agree in the House about allowing things, but they agreed here and it was an excellent thing to happen. I’m sure even the bills that they had to vote for from the government deserved to happen, too. We need to respect each other and the decisions that we are making here and talking about here because good ideas come from everywhere, and this is a beauty.

This is an opportunity to pass a bill that will enhance public safety and that will save lives. There is no reason that it should not have been the law before, but I’m hopeful that we get very speedy passage from the Lieutenant Governor, that he signs it into law and that this can be in place hopefully as early as the new year, because it needs to be in place because of, of course, the country we live in. Let’s not forget the country that we live in.

This is a very cold place. It is one of the coldest places on earth where a lot of people live, this beautiful place of Ontario and of Canada. The winters can go down to 30, 40, or 50 below, depending on what part of Ontario you are in, and we all need to heat our properties. One of the most common ways of heating the properties is through combustible machines: oil, gas, fire generators, all those things that produce carbon monoxide. Because we live here, the presence of carbon monoxide is probably a great deal higher than in other climes.

We also live in an enormous country and in an enormous province, where you have to travel long distances, and we rely on the internal combustion automobile and other things that also produce carbon monoxide. So we have an obligation to understand the sources of carbon monoxide pollution and to remedy them. That’s what this bill is going to do.

It was a particularly poignant moment for me not only when the member from Oxford lost his composure here, but also when the relatives of the Hawkins Gignac family came to the committee and testified. They testified about not even understanding what carbon monoxide was and not understanding the full ramifications until it actually happened to their family. I believe the man’s name was John Gignac who came in. He was a firefighter, and when I heard he was a firefighter and even he at that point did not understand the full ramifications, although he does now, then we need a lot of things to be done in terms of education. I’m proud that this bill is going to do exactly that.

I am proud that the Insurance Bureau of Canada came before us and talked about this because insurance insures mostly property. This is a silent killer that doesn’t harm one stick of furniture inside of a property, but the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in their wisdom, and rightly so, recognized the benefits of this particular act.

I’m proud of the firefighters who came forward and talked about this act, because they all too often are called to witness the carnage of carbon monoxide. It may not be blood splattered all over and those kinds of things; it’s just simply people dead, and to see the waste of human life must be horrific to them.

I’m proud of the people of this province, and I’m proud that they too have supported the member from Oxford throughout all of these many long years.


I am proud that the committee saw, in its wisdom, to pass some amendments. The first one—I admit, I was wondering why the first week of November was chosen, because it would fall on different days of the year, but, as the member from Oxford so correctly pointed out, you’ve only got a tiny window between Halloween and Remembrance Day. You had to choose some time, and this is the time when the clocks fall back, when people are expected to change the batteries on their equipment in the household, particularly carbon monoxide and fire detectors. It is a perfect time to remember this.

I am proud that we put a preface into the bill, because it did not have a preface that talked about the travails of the Hawkins Gignac family, so anyone reading the bill in the future will know the genesis of how this came to be and will understand the pivotal role that that family played in the passage of the bill.

I’d like to conclude by thanking the firefighters who go out every day into circumstances like this, and for supporting the bill and coming to committee. I would like to thank my fellow legislators, all of them who had a part in making sure that this happened, through the legislative process, through the bargaining back and forth to get the committee to hear this bill on the order paper, for the Conservative Party to insist that this was part of the programming motion, because there were other bills that you had that you could have done instead or as well as, but you chose this one, and rightly so.

I would like to thank the people of Ontario, who I think support this bill, who need some education around the bill, but who will understand for years and generations to come what was done here today. Thank you to all of you, and thank you to the member from Oxford.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Before I continue with further debate, I’d like to thank the member from Beaches–East York for helping me bend the rules.

Further debate?

Hon. Linda Jeffrey: I rise today with great pleasure to support Bill 77, the Hawkins Gignac Act (Carbon Monoxide Safety), being put forward by the member from Oxford. He is to be applauded for his tenacity on this subject, as there is little doubt that, should it be passed, this legislation would save lives.

I spoke in support of this bill this past spring and again just 27 days ago, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to do it again—this time, hopefully, for the last time, for its third reading debate. The question before us today is, how much value do we put on the lives of Ontarians and of our families? I believe we, as legislators, have the moral responsibility to take a leadership role to protect Ontarians from tragedies that can be prevented, tragedies like the one that took the lives of Laurie Hawkins, her husband, Richard, and their children, Cassie and Jordan, in December of 2008. I know that’s why this bill is here; it comes from a place of caring—caring from the community of Oxford and caring from communities across the province, whether they be in Sudbury, in Kingston or in Niagara Falls.

I know that the process of getting this bill to third reading has seemed like a very long journey for the member from Oxford, and I understand that. Getting a private member’s bill to become law feels like a Herculean feat at times. It’s one that forms the backbone of our democracy.

When I first came to Queen’s Park, back in 2003, I remember some advice that I was given by former Premier McGuinty about private members’ bills. I was trying to struggle with what I could bring to the table that could make a difference. He told us to be courageous and he told us to bring forward legislation that was meaningful.

For those of you who have been in this place long enough to remember when I first arrived back in 2003, I brought forward three private members’ bills to raise awareness with regard to fire safety. Through my efforts on this issue, I became familiar with the hazards that we face every day when firefighters are entering our homes, whether it be from the colourless carbon monoxide gas or the smoke that comes from a fire.

That’s why I’m proud that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has developed tough building code and fire code standards to protect Ontarians. In fact, recognizing that carbon monoxide poisoning has become the number one cause of accidental poisoning in North America, the building code was amended back in 2001 to require carbon monoxide detectors in all residential suites where there’s a source of carbon monoxide, such as a gas furnace or a gas appliance. Because this requirement covers both houses and multiple-unit residential buildings, more Ontarians are protected, whether they are homeowners or tenants who are renting.

Today we have many of our firefighters visiting us from across Ontario. They’re in our Legislature, lobbying us on a number of issues, particularly about safety. I think that’s the overwhelming issue that they bring to our Legislature on their lobby days. For years now, the Ontario fire service has been championing public safety. They’ve asked that all residents be protected by carbon monoxide alarms. Many fire departments have enacted local bylaws that prescribe CO alarms in all residential buildings in which occupants are at risk of exposure to the poisonous CO gas.

Though I acknowledge that a community approach is not the ideal way to address this issue, even these moves have saved lives. Across Ontario, a number of municipalities, such as Oshawa, Toronto or my own community of Brampton, have passed bylaws, based on advice from their fire professionals, requiring carbon monoxide detectors in their dwellings. They’re able to do this often by using the authority to pass property standard bylaws, which are set out in the Building Code Act. In fact, in my own home municipality of Brampton, many residents have benefited from the protection of a CO alarm since 1998, when the fire department saw the need for these alarms and took action to have council pass a bylaw to protect our residents.

There is still more work to be done, and our government is working to continue to ensure that Ontarians, no matter what their age, are protected. That’s why I was honoured to stand alongside the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the minister responsible for seniors, in May, when we announced that our government was moving ahead to make automatic sprinklers mandatory in residences for seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable citizens of Ontario. That announcement, much like this bill, has built on our government’s work to protect the residents of this province.

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, I’m proud that our government has decided to move forward on this important life safety initiative, and I’m glad to have been at the table to see these important changes take place, because we all understand the need to avoid tragedies, like that terrible tragedy that happened in 2008 that took the lives of an OPP officer and her family in Oxford. I want to see carbon monoxide detectors in every home in Ontario. I want to see those detectors in those locations because it will save lives.

A wise man once said that the best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago; the second-best time is today. The best time to ensure that all homes had carbon monoxide detectors was the day before that terrible, fateful day in December when Laurie and her family lost their lives. The second-best time is today to ensure every home has a carbon monoxide detector.

Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to support the member from Oxford. I appreciate his passion on this issue. I’m happy to support him. I know he’s doing it for the right reasons and I’m happy to support the bill.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: It is indeed my pleasure to speak in support of Bill 77 and the member from Oxford with regard to the Hawkins Gignac Act regarding carbon monoxide safety. This is important legislation, because it is guaranteed to save lives in Ontario.

When you look at the numbers, it is clear that this is way overdue. The Toronto Fire Services estimated that they receive approximately 4,000 carbon-monoxide-related calls annually. Hundreds of people are hospitalized annually in Ontario as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Polls have shown that up to 60% of homes in Canada do not have a carbon monoxide detector. Many jurisdictions across Canada and the United States legally require carbon monoxide detectors in homes and businesses, and it’s about time Ontario joined them.

I must congratulate the member from Oxford, and thank him as well, for his perseverance and his heart, which we saw earlier today. The fact that he has been dedicated to this for five years is just a testament to his character.

This is a very important, sensible issue, and I’d like to take a moment to take a look at the member’s journey that has led him to today. In December 2008, the Hawkins Gignac Act was introduced to this House for the first time. It made it to committee, but it died on the order paper when the House was prorogued in March 2010.

The member from Oxford tried again, and the bill was reintroduced on May 17, 2010, only to once again die on the order paper when the House was prorogued in June 2011.

The member from Oxford did not stop and, trying for a third time, introduced the legislation on December 6, 2011, only to have it stopped, once again, on the order paper for a third time when the House was prorogued in October 2012.


Do you notice a pattern here, Mr. Speaker? The member from Oxford’s perseverance and hard work did not die with the prorogations. He kept at it, and today, we have another shot at this, to get it right. We owe it to him, and we owe it to the families.

We must pay heed also to the caution that Mr. Hardeman shared with us just moments ago, and truer words have never been spoken. When there is a private member’s issue that has support of all three parties, for goodness’ sake, let’s do honour by it, do the right thing and see it have respect and swift passage. We cannot let party colours interfere with doing the right thing, and I’m just so glad to be able to share this with him today.

We have also heard that stakeholders on this issue are pretty much in unanimous support of this bill. From fire chiefs to emergency services, the list goes on. But I want to talk about a very important stakeholder group that came to visit with me at Queen’s Park a few weeks ago with regard to this important issue when, particularly, Bill 77 was receiving second reading.

I actually had the privilege to meet with a Girl Guide troop, the 1st Ingersoll Girl Guide troop, to be exact. They were here to support the member from Oxford and this very, very important piece of legislation. The member from Oxford shared their story, and it touched my heart. It was a “learn to do by doing” experience for the Girl Guides, but what a story they have. I congratulated them for making the effort to come to Queen’s Park with their parents and with their troop leader, to raise their voice, to exercise their voice on something that was so, so important. They were just thrilled to meet with Mr. Hardeman. They were thrilled to be here at Queen’s Park.

I wish all stakeholders felt that they had the support and the open door, like the member from Oxford offered them, in order to give them a platform, if you will, to talk about what mattered. Given that they had that true life experience that could have ended in tragedy makes it even more poignant. I have to tell you that it was a powerful story, where a carbon monoxide detector saved many lives.

I have to tell you that by promptly passing the Hawkins Gignac Act, we can make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory, and we can ensure that positive stories of lives can continue to be told. This is simple, sensible legislation, and once and for all we owe it to Mr. Hardeman, the member from Oxford, and to the Hawkins Gignac family to see that this legislation has swift passage.

Just to close, I want to share the fact that Laurie’s career as a first responder, as an OPP, focused on safe communities and saving lives. Laurie’s legacy, together with those of her husband, Richard, and her children, Cassie and Jordan, will ensure that lives continue to be saved.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Mr. John O’Toole: Much has been said on this issue, and I too want to reiterate the commitment from the member from Oxford, his passion and tenacity and persistence, really, in doing the right thing. It has been said by other members that doing the right thing is the right politics.

The lesson learned here is, and the member who just spoke basically said it all, that we should learn to work respectfully with each other, especially on issues where a wide majority of the public supports this and other good initiatives. It should have a higher precedence. In fact, the way they treat private members—I don’t want to make this a political statement—I’m saying, shuffled off to a Thursday afternoon where generally the discussions are ignored.

There have been important discussions even in the last several Thursdays. I participate in almost all of them. One more recently was the use of texting while driving, which is another future risk that should be dealt with now. We know the evidence is there.

I would only say that the wide support by the fire marshal’s office, as well as the professional firefighters who are here today—I think kind of more by coincidence than anything else. All of the emergency service workers have really written supportive letters and comments, as well as members in the industry itself.

I think the really fitting tribute today is to the members of the Gignac family who have actually made this a reality. That’s where it came from. It came from a tragic incident in 2008. We’ve all heard the litany of political interferences, if you will—prorogation—and why this did not become law. If you look, in the last 10 years, 250 people in Ontario have died of carbon monoxide poisoning. These are the lives that could have been saved, and it’s the action of Mr. Hardeman and others, specifically in the Gignac family.

I’ll read a comment made by John Gignac, chair of the Hawkins Gignac Foundation:

“Every loss of life is tragic. The Hawkins family carbon monoxide tragedy put the ‘silent killer’—as CO is known—front and centre in the minds of families across North America. It also revitalized the discussion about legislating the installation of CO alarms in homes.

“But provinces too can choose to enact legislation. MPP Hardeman was so moved by the Hawkins story that immediately following the tragedy he drafted a private member’s bill to make CO alarms mandatory across Ontario. Currently they are required only in new homes.”

I support this legislation, as I believe all members do. After all of these efforts I want to congratulate Ernie working with his community and the professional firefighters in Ontario to do the right thing, which is simply the right policy. Mr. Speaker, this action will save lives, and I thank Ernie and the community for it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Mrs. Jane McKenna: I am privileged to be up here speaking about this today. I’d like to say, first of all, about the member from Oxford, that there are certain people in your life that touch your heart that have admirable qualities, and that is all about my friend Mr. Hardeman. His determination and dedication, when he saw that this passage was essential, and he persevered each time when he could have gone on to another private member’s bill, speaks volumes of who he is as a person that I cherish as my friend, and obviously as you would cherish as well. Thank you so much for being here today and that we have the opportunity to speak about this bill.

In memory of Laurie, Richard, Cassandra and Jordan, that they live on in memory and they will be here today in spirit—and we’re grateful for all of that, so thank you.

Long-time members will know that the private member’s bill from my colleague from Oxford has a fair bit of history to it. This is the fifth time this proposed legislation has come before this Legislature in the last five years, Speaker. It also has the distinction of being wiped out three times by prorogation: as 2008’s Bill 143, 2010’s Bill 169 and 2011’s Bill 11. Bad luck, apparently, does come in threes. Fortunately, the patience and perseverance of the member from Oxford is even more abundant.

This is a worthy bill and one that is, as I have suggested, long overdue. It will certainly save lives and give peace of mind to households across the province.

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer, and with good reason. It is a colourless, odourless, flavourless gas, and it is poisonous. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. Continuous exposure to carbon monoxide at elevated levels can cause serious health issues and death. Without an alarm, there’s an outside chance that you would be aware that something was wrong, if you were awake. If you happened to be asleep, of course, you wouldn’t notice a thing. You wouldn’t even wake up.

What Bill 77 proposes is an entirely reasonable response to what is a very serious and all-too-familiar threat, Speaker. Without an alarm, there is an outside chance that you would be aware that something was wrong, if you were awake. But if you were asleep, you wouldn’t notice a thing.

Any number of situations can lead to elevated CO levels, and as we’re waking up to colder weather, we’ll run into them more often. Carbon monoxide can come from a gas-fired generator during a power outage, a space heater or hot water heater, or leaving an unvented gas stove turned on. Maybe it’s the garage where your car idles as you’re warming it up in the winter. We know that vehicles make up 40% of Ontario’s carbon monoxide emissions.


Bill 77 would amend the building code to require carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with either a fuel-burning appliance or an attached storage garage.

Whatever the cause, if you lack a carbon monoxide detector, you have no sure way of knowing when your house is filling up with poisonous gas.

With winter settling in and homes bundled tight to stay warm and keep hydro bills from running riot, the risks to homeowners are staring us right in the face. The same things that make our homes more energy-efficient can also increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. I say “homes,” but Bill 77 also addresses multi-residential buildings, where detectors will be required in suites with a fuel-burning appliance or those adjacent to either a garage or service room with a fuel-burning appliance.

At present, the Ontario building code only requires carbon monoxide alarms in homes built after August 6, 2001, which leaves too many families at risk.

We can do better, Speaker, and it starts with awareness, which is another common sense aspect of Bill 77.

Prevention starts with heightened public awareness, and Bill 77 will designate the first week of November every year as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.

Since this legislation was first brought forward five years ago, many municipalities have created bylaws to require carbon monoxide alarms to be installed and thereby protect their citizens from avoidable tragedy. They know it’s the right thing to do, Speaker, and so do we.

Bill 77 deserves to become law and I am happy to support it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Mr. Michael Harris: It is truly an honour and a privilege today to rise and speak to the Hawkins Gignac Act, brought forward by my honourable colleague Ernie Hardeman, the member from Oxford.

I happened to peruse a bunch of the quotes that the member gathered over the last few years, and I couldn’t help but notice the one from John Gignac, the chair of the Hawkins Gignac Foundation. He said, “Every loss of life is tragic. The Hawkins family carbon monoxide tragedy put the ‘silent killer’—as CO is known—front and centre in the minds of families across North America. It also revitalized the discussion about legislating the installation of CO alarms in homes.” He said the provinces, too, can choose to enact legislation. In fact, MPP Ernie Hardeman was so moved by the Hawkins’ story that immediately following the tragedy, he drafted a private member’s bill to make CO alarms mandatory all across Ontario. Currently, they’re only required in new homes.

I can tell you folks watching at home, the families in the gallery and supporters of this bill that today is a special day, but I can assure you that as a member of the Ontario PC caucus, I know that each and every Tuesday, when we meet as a caucus, we’ve had many, many discussions about private members’ bills that would proceed and move forward. I can tell you that the honourable member from Oxford didn’t miss an opportunity to continue to keep this issue front and centre in the minds not only of his constituents, Ontarians and other provinces across Canada, but also his colleagues both on this side of the House and that side of the House—the determination of this colleague to ensure that this tragedy that rocked his community never happens again, or that we do as much as we can to prevent a tragedy like this from happening.

I’ve got a two-year-old at home, and I’m down here through the week, and I often think of families residing in the wintertime in Canada—as the member from the NDP so eloquently stated, we have winters in Canada. They’re cold. Folks are firing up their furnaces. In fact, I had an opportunity to meet with the Professional Fire Fighters Association today, and they do see a spike in calls at this time of the year for a variety of reasons, and of course carbon monoxide is one of them, when folks want to get a bit of a head start to the day and leave their car running in their garage—even thinking of our pets, our loved ones who are extended members of our family in the homes, who could be victims of this silent killer.

I read another statement from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. I know a local chief in my riding of Kitchener–Conestoga, Tim Beckett, was a past president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs:

“Many Canadians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in their own homes, most of them while sleeping. …

“Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled. Everyone is at risk—88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat.

“Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, toxic gas that enters the body through the lungs during the normal breathing process. It replaces oxygen in the blood and prevents the flow of oxygen to the heart, brain and other vital organs.”

That is why this bill will come to fruition today with the blessing of this Legislature. I know there was a constant hurdle to overcome, ensuring that this bill finally made its way to third and final reading. That day has come, and I think it was with the strong efforts, again, of my honourable colleague Ernie Hardeman, from the great riding of Oxford, who would not let this issue die.

I can assure you that there are often important issues that arise through private members’ business. I know that the Minister of Municipal Affairs talked about tabling private member’s bills, when she entered this House, and the advice she received from then-Premier McGuinty in terms of doing something you feel is most important. I think this is one of those bills.

As years go on, members can choose different things to table, but this member has constantly brought this issue back to the forefront. I think that not only is this the day of the family and friends and supporters who are witnessing this historical event, but a great day for private members to know that they can truly become lawmakers, stand up in this Legislature and, although they may not be a member of the government, bring forward an idea, an issue, that reflects the needs of their community and addresses the broader perspective not only of other communities but across the province as well. Knowing that other provinces always look to Ontario to lead the way, we’re leading the way on this one, and we expect and hope that other jurisdictions across North America follow this important step.

I also think it’s important to note another comment from Ralph Palumbo, vice-president of the Ontario Insurance Bureau of Canada: “Despite the serious threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, many Canadians do not have CO detectors in their home. We support MPP Ernie Hardeman’s initiative to make CO detectors mandatory in all homes in Ontario. Imposing the installation of CO detectors is a wise investment that will help keep families safe at a minimal cost.”

I leave those comments. I appreciate the endorsements that my honourable colleague received for this bill. I’m happy to stand in this Legislature today on behalf of my constituents of Kitchener–Conestoga and the broader public of Ontario to support this important initiative, and I thank the member for bringing it forward.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate? Last call: Further debate?

Pursuant to the order of the House dated Thursday, October 3, 2013, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Hardeman has moved third reading of Bill 77, An Act to proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 to provide safety requirements related to the presence of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide on premises.

Is it the pleasure of the House that this motion carry? Carried.

Third reading agreed to.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.



Resuming the debate adjourned on November 26, 2013, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 122, An Act respecting collective bargaining in Ontario’s school system / Projet de loi 122, Loi concernant la négociation collective dans le système scolaire de l’Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): We’ll start off with questions regarding Mr. Harris’s comments. So questions and comments? The member from Durham.

Mr. John O’Toole: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was here when the member from Kitchener was speaking. I do commend him for making eminently good sense on Bill 122.

I recognize the importance of streamlining provincially the negotiation process, but really, at the end of the day, Bill 122, with all due respect, I believe it should be the kiss-and-make-up bill, or suck-up-and-make-up bill, because this really is an apology for the previous actions of this government, the Kathleen Wynne government, of bullying—in fact, I use the term “bullying”—the teachers of Ontario and the boards of Ontario and forcing the contract in Bill 13, without any negotiation with locally elected boards.

It’s shameful, the transaction of overriding the authority of the school boards. I know my boards in my riding of Durham and others were very, very upset with the government. So this bill is the kiss-and-make-up bill. That’s really what it is. It provides, I believe, about four tables for negotiations: the elementary; the secondary—that’s OSSTF—board; OECTA, the English Catholic teachers; and the franco boards as well. But who’s missing from this? Who’s missing from this are the administrators in education today. The parents aren’t being consulted and the students themselves aren’t being consulted.

I think there’s more work to be done on this bill. It’s mostly a governance issue. I think the member from our caucus, the member from Kitchener–Conestoga, made eminently good sense in his 10 minutes of remarks, and I hope to have 10 minutes to speak on this later. Perhaps I’d be given as much as an hour, because this bill has a lot more history to it that needs to be put on the record.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments? The Minister of Consumer Services.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Well, thank you, and good afternoon, Speaker. On this bill, Bill 122, I just want to acknowledge a couple of things. One is we’ve had 12 and a half hours of debate on this bill.

Hon. Brad Duguid: That’s a lot of hours.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: It is a lot of hours. And we’ve had over 50 different members—or maybe some of them are repetitive; I don’t know. But we’ve had 50 members speak to this bill. So my sense is that it’s time that we pass this and get it to committee. Thank you.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you. Questions and comments?

Ms. Catherine Fife: I was in the House when the member made his comments with regards to Bill 122, and his version of events and the version of history as to how Bill 115 played out in this House. It is really interesting, because the PC caucus has actually moved unanimous consent of adjournment of this piece of legislation, which they, in turn, then voted against; and the Liberals, who’ve actually just stood up and commented on the length of time that debate has occurred in this House—12 and a half hours, 50 members—they in turn voted to continue the debate and sided with the PC caucus. So we have only games here.

The games themes would continue through last September 2012, when Bill 115 was introduced and when this government imposed contracts on the education sector. It was unprecedented. We had never seen this level of heavy-handed, so-called collective bargaining in the history of the province, except—


Ms. Catherine Fife: Mike Harris, actually, would not have gone this far.

So what we have here today in this House is the opportunity for a piece of legislation to come through; we have the opportunity for the legislation to do clear paths and clear responsibilities for school boards to be at the table, as they should—they have a legitimate role at that table—for the ministry to understand their role in bargaining, which clearly they forgot about last September, and for the respective unions in the education sector to know what their roles and responsibilities are at that table.

So this piece of legislation, despite some of the major gaps that we intend to address when it does get to committee, if the government would get to it committee—which they could do right now. Someone on that side of the House could stand up right now and send it to committee. Let’s get to work, for the love of humanity.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti: The bill in front of us today, Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013—we’re in the second reading. The first reading was just the introduction of the bill, and at second reading now, we’ve spent over 12 hours—12 and a half hours—on debate, and over 50 members of this Legislature have spoken to this bill. As the standing orders go, after a certain percentage of time the bill is usually sent to a committee, a standing committee of the Legislature. We want to send it there, but it seems to be continuous that members from the opposition want to continue to speak on this bill. I think it’s time to send it to committee, get a full discussion there—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): There seems to be a lot of cross chatter, and I believe heckling is not acceptable. So I don’t want to hear any more.


Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My point, again, is to say that there will be a full discussion at committee. We can hear witnesses come forward and we can amend the bill, change the bill. There’s a full opportunity at committee to do that. That’s been done on several occasions with several bills.

As I point out again here, in this Legislature, for over 12 and a half hours we have spoken about this bill. It’s time to send it to committee. I’ll vote in favour of sending it to committee. Let’s move on with it and get it there.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Kitchener–Waterloo wasn’t listening—last warning.

The member from Kitchener–Conestoga has two minutes.

Mr. Michael Harris: Thank you, Speaker, for that opportunity. I’ll bring the viewers who are watching at home back to the message, or bill at hand, and that’s Bill 122. I know we’ve heard a lot of different comments from the third party and, of course, the government.

This actually was the first opportunity that I’ve had to stand up on behalf of my constituents—some 100,000 people in Kitchener–Conestoga—to speak to this bill.

As I mentioned during last fall, I had several students in from the local high schools who were really concerned about the ongoings of cancelling the extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, this bill is basically formalizing the government’s role in negotiations. Really, this bill is simply about setting up a negotiation process; it’s not really about improving education.

We did ask the government to clear the deck previously so we could actually talk about the economy, and this is unfortunately another bill that does not do this.

One of the priorities that we’ve talked about in Bill 122 was amending regulation 274, and that was defining a teacher’s duties to reflect what they actually do in a day—and wage restraint wasn’t covered in this bill.

As I mentioned in my previous 10 minutes, we really should be ensuring that we’ve got the best teachers in the classroom, and when we come to hiring those teachers, it shouldn’t be based on seniority. It should be based on who’s best to teach. In fact, we heard about the young teacher in Toronto who was the teacher of the year but unfortunately is now unable to find employment in the classroom.

We need to ensure that our kids have the best teachers in the classroom. I know that we’ve got many, many of those. In fact, in our local school of J.W. Gerth—I go in there every day and I see a lot of smiles on those kids’ faces, and we need to ensure that they’re getting the best, highest quality of education, but I’m not too sure if Bill 122 does this.

Thank you, Speaker, for the opportunity to address my last two minutes.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Point of order.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): A point of order. The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke.

Mr. John Yakabuski: I move unanimous consent that the order of the House dated November 4, 2013, referring Bill 105, An Act to amend the Employer Health Tax Act, 2013, to the Standing Committee on General Government be discharged, and that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, and that the committee meet for one day of public hearings and one day of clause-by-clause as scheduled by the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Did the member submit one to the table so I can read it? I’ll just read it.


The member has asked for unanimous consent. Is it the pleasure of the House that it carries? I heard a no. Not carried.

Further debate?

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: It gives me pleasure to stand up in the House today to speak to Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act. This bill would provide greater clarity around the roles of the different parties involved in collective bargaining in the education sector. I was certainly pleased to see that the role of government at the bargaining table was formalized.

I have some difficulties with this bill, and I’d like to go through them right now. My children are all through school. My three boys are out on their own, but they have children of their own, and I wonder if we should be talking not only about this bill but certainly about test scores since 2003. Despite the fact that this government spends more than $8.5 billion on education, we have 250,000 less students in our system. This is troubling. As my grandchildren get older—they’re all in public school now—this certainly worries me, because the amount of money that we’re spending on education doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, 91% of professors at the University of Western Ontario felt that their students who came into university were not sufficiently prepared for their university education.

Something else that I’d like to address—and I think this should be addressed when we’re talking about education—is the troubling fact that principals, because of regulation 274, are not allowed to pick the best teachers for the job. It’s strictly based on seniority, and that’s troubling. When my sons were in public school a number of years ago, there were difficulties that we had at school, but we were always able to go to the teachers and work them out, and this was a great part of it.

In fact, with one of my children, he was moved around to other teachers that he could get along with or learn from better, because he did have a bit of a learning disability. I worry about that in this present system, with this regulation. I have a letter in front of me here that was sent to the minister from two principals in my riding, complaining about this very thing.

I think those types of things have to be addressed sooner than later, as it will relieve some of the tension involved in our school system, especially with the management part of the schools, which certainly are our principals and vice-principals.

Something else that I’d like to say about the bill is that we have no objection to this getting to committee, where some of these things might be able to be addressed, and we’re certainly willing to co-operate with the government on this, and as I said, we need to either modify or repeal regulation 274.

We want to work with the government, this is what we want to do on this bill, because education is certainly too important a subject to all of us in this House, which leads me to ask a question when we talk about co-operation. I learned just recently that the Minister of Education is coming into my riding on Friday to announce something on health. I wasn’t notified. Now, if this is the type of co-operation that we can expect from this government, then how are we supposed to debate with this government and trust them?

Actually, I don’t even know what the announcement is. She’s the Minister of Education, but she’s going to be in a hospital. I would think it’s about health, but why is the Minister of Education going to announce a health thing?

Mr. John Yakabuski: They’re a little bit mixed up over there.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I think so. Could it be about rural affairs? I am the critic of rural affairs. I don’t know whether she knows that much about horses, so I don’t know whether it’s about horses.

Mr. John Yakabuski: It depends what end of the horse you’re talking about, Randy.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: It could be. Or could it be about the independent school bus drivers whom this government seems to love driving out of business? I don’t know, but if that’s the type of co-operation that this government wants to give the opposition parties in this House, I have some real issues about that.

I would hope that the Minister of Education would at least have the decency to give me a phone call. I think she knows my email address. She could tell me what’s going on in the community of Mount Forest.

Interjection: I didn’t hear from her when she came to my riding.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I must commend the Minister of Rural Affairs. When he comes into my riding, he tells me when he’s coming, and I appreciate that. But for some reason, the Minister of Education has a problem with that.

We need to address this issue of co-operation between the parties a little bit more stringently. Mr. Speaker, I think we owe it to the people of Ontario to roll up our sleeves and talk about the kinds of laws and policies that will enable job growth in this province. There is no plan on that side of the House for job growth. We’ve seen too many factories leaving this province, as we’ve seen with Heinz recently, as we’ve seen in Hamilton with the steel plant and as we’ve seen with other things that have happened just recently in this province—some 30,000 jobs under this Premier’s watch, and that’s just unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, I would move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Perth–Wellington has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

I think the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1658 to 1728.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Members, take your seats, please.

Mr. Pettapiece has moved adjournment of the House.

Those in favour, please rise and remain standing. Everybody.

Those opposed, please rise.

Obviously the motion fails.

Further debate.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Wait a minute. Oh, we’re going to have a count.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 0; the nays are 37.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The motion fails.

Mr. Pettapiece.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Thank you, Speaker, for your leadership on this motion. I appreciate that.

I was talking about the way that we do want this bill to get to committee, and we can amend things when we get it there. But I want to get back to what—the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario wrote me a letter. It’s all about management rights. This gets back to the amount of money we’re spending on education, and yet our test scores are going down.

It says in their letter to me that they have seen an erosion of their capacity to effectively lead our schools. Teacher instructional time has been decreased by 11%, and yet there are less students in our classrooms. Time spent supervising students has decreased by 20% and class size has decreased. Now unions are telling them what can and cannot be discussed at staff meetings.

This is not right, sir. We need to get some authority back with our principals, that they can run their schools as they see fit. And for them to be told what they can and cannot discuss at staff meetings—that’s ridiculous. That is just absolutely ridiculous.

I think I would like to see this government come forward with a jobs plan in conjunction with the education system. We have seen that they don’t have a jobs plan. It would help address our prevailing problems we face in our education system, and I’m sure that everybody could agree to that.

I mentioned that my grandchildren are in the public school system right now. I worry about what they are going to face when they get to be older, with what’s going on with the system right now.

I think that we need to work with our management system in these schools in order to let them do what they do best, and that’s teach.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Ms. Catherine Fife: I just want to recap. I appreciate some of the points that the member has brought forward, although for the majority of his 10 minutes, he was not actually speaking to the legislation that’s before us.

So what just happened, for those who are watching at home, which includes my mother and my children and maybe your mom, is that the Conservatives called for unanimous consent for the adjournment of the debate on Bill 122, because we have to date, right now, in this House, over 13 hours of debate on Bill 122. Over 50 MPPs have spoken to this piece of legislation.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: That’s our right.

Ms. Catherine Fife: It is your right. Then you should not call for unanimous consent for adjournment of that debate, and then not stand up and support your own motion.

And the Liberals—let’s be very clear what the Liberals just did in this House. They stood up in this House, prior to this motion, and called all of us out for extending the debate on Bill 122. They said, “Bring it to committee. Vote on this legislation.” And then the majority of them came into this House and voted to extend the debate on Bill 122.

So these kinds of games—this is what happens. This is what you are doing. You are contributing to the cynicism in politics by doing these games.

Bill 122 has the support of the NDP. Any one of you on that side of the House could stand up and call for this legislation to go to committee, and you know what? We would support it. You can do it right now. You could do it. You could bring peace and stability and undo the damage of Bill 115 and regulation 274. You could do it right now, but you are not doing your jobs. No, you are not. Instead, you are standing up in this House and criticizing democracy. And yet—and yet—you will go out to the education sector, and you’ll say, “We care about you. We want a fair and transparent accountability around collective bargaining,” and yet you are playing these games. Shame on the government.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Brampton West.

Mr. Vic Dhillon: It’s obvious that the opposition is stalling this bill by asking for adjournment of the House and adjournment of the debate. It’s quite a ridiculous situation that we have here in the House this afternoon. What’s worse is, when we do come back to vote, the opposition members don’t even vote. They’re making a total mockery out of the system that we have here in the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, we don’t have a lot of time left before we break for the Christmas holidays, and we have a very, very busy agenda. This bill has been debated for more than 12 hours, and over 50 people have spoken on this bill. I think it’s time that we pass this bill and get it to committee.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments.

Mr. John Yakabuski: I would point out to my colleague from Brampton that it is within the standing orders that every member of this Legislature has the right to speak to every piece of legislation. That’s how democracy works. In the PC Party, we’re exercising that right. If members of the government choose not to speak to a particular bill, that’s entirely up to them. If the government decides that they want to put in a closure motion on this bill, that’s entirely up to them as well.

I think what needs to be pointed out, because they’re talking about process and everything else here, is that we agreed to a programming motion that would clear the decks in this Legislature. Much of that legislation has gone through. And Mr. Dhillon talks about how we’re going to be recessing—sorry; the member from Brampton—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): West.

Mr. John Yakabuski: —Brampton West. We’re going to be recessing shortly for the winter break, the Christmas recess.

What people across the province of Ontario want to know is, and I say this to the member from Brampton West: When is your government going to bring forth a jobs plan for Ontario? Every day we hear more and more stories about job losses across the province of Ontario, where jobs are going away to the States or to Mexico or to somewhere else. What we need is some action on jobs.

But what are you bringing in? You’re bringing in smoking regulations on patios. These are not things that are of paramount importance to the people of Ontario. They might be altruistic pursuits, but what people in Ontario want to know is, are you going to do something so that my family and I have an opportunity to make a living in Ontario? That’s what we want to hear from the government.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments? The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Hon. Brad Duguid: That’s right, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that.

I just wanted to make a couple of comments and follow-up to the member from Brampton West as well. We’ve talked about this, and we’ve said it and we’re going to keep repeating it: It’s now well over 50 speakers; I don’t know how many we’re up to now. It’s got to be over 12 hours—13 hours? It’s got to be 13 hours now that we’ve been debating this bill. I recognize every member of the House has the right to speak to this bill, but not every member of the House has to speak to this bill.

I think everything that could possibly be said about the bill has been said. In fact, most of the members in the opposition, when they do take the opportunity to speak to it, spend maybe 30 seconds of their speaking time on the bill and the rest of the time they’re talking about other things—and things that aren’t even in keeping with the facts.

I mean, we in this province—the member opposite said something about jobs plans; we’ve never not had a job plan in this province. In fact, we’ve had a very aggressive job plan that’s created over half a million jobs since the recession. In fact, just today I said in question period that 3,721—I think; I don’t know if that’s the exact number, but it’s pretty close—young people are working today over the last two months since we brought in our youth jobs strategy. That’s thousands of young people who are getting work experience, so when they say this stuff about job plans and things—

Mr. Vic Dhillon: They’re wrong.

Hon. Brad Duguid: They’re absolutely dead wrong. We’ve been working very hard to create jobs in this province.

Let me get back to it: It’s time to move on with this bill. It’s time for the opposition to stop making points over and over again. It’s time for us to move this forward.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Renfrew is extremely loud.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): A point of order from the member from Lanark–Frontenac–Lennox and Addington.


Mr. Randy Hillier: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I just wanted to mention to the House that I think there was an error mentioned by the member from Kitchener–Waterloo. She may want to correct the record about her statements from the member from Perth–Wellington. He did not—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): With all due respect to the member, it would be up to the member from Kitchener–Waterloo if she felt she said—

Mr. Randy Hillier: Just offering my thoughtful advice.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): You may sit down now. It would have been up to the member from Kitchener–Waterloo if she felt she wanted to correct the record. We don’t need any help from you, thank you.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I move unanimous consent that the order of the House dated November 4, 2013, referring Bill 105—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Huron–Bruce knows you can’t do that. We’re in questions and answers. We can’t do that.

Response, from the member from Perth–Wellington.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Thank you, Speaker. I do appreciate your indulgence in this matter. I do enjoy it when you are in the chair, and I thought I’d just put that on the record. I would also like to thank the members from Kitchener–Waterloo, Brampton West, Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities for their comments on my short talk this afternoon.

I did adjourn the House. I think we all know that. I didn’t adjourn the debate. That’s what the member to my left was talking about.

I would like to address a few of the thoughts that came my way with the members previous to me. Our children are getting a lot of experience in the workplace. Unfortunately, most of them are getting it out west; they’re not getting it in Ontario. We need to address that. We need to have an education system that addresses that.

Our party has put those plans out in our white papers on education. You should read them. They have some really good ideas in them. Perhaps we can help our young people, because the way it’s going right now, we’re not helping them. Their test scores are down, which has been proven from different education authorities. Professors at the University of Western Ontario say that their students aren’t prepared for university when they get there. I think that we need to do a better job as legislators on what we’re doing and how we’re affecting our young people in this province. This province can be great again, and education is certainly going to be a part of that greatness.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I got my timing right. I move unanimous consent that the order of the House dated November 4, 2013, referring Bill 105, an Act to amend the Employer Health Tax Act, 2013, to the Standing Committee on General Government be discharged and that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs and that the committee meet for one day of public hearings and one day of clause-by-clause, as scheduled by the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Nice. Can I have a copy of that, please?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: You sure can.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Do we have unanimous consent for this? I heard a no. That one is defeated.

Further debate?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I stand today wishing I could be talking about jobs and the economy, but instead the government has shied away from the difficult reality that their failed policies have generated. So instead, here we are talking today about legislation that has been introduced to define a negotiation process. We not even talking about improving education.

I am joining this debate because it addresses an important issue that we do need to get off the table. In the aftermath of Bill 115, as we all know, the education collaborative bargaining process was in total disarray. The importance of having a clear collective bargaining process when it comes to education is obvious. Bill 122 outlines what should be considered at the central bargaining table and what should be considered locally.

Also, this bill finally legislates a formal role for the crown in the process, and this is definitely a step forward.

So although the Liberal government is trying to save face by cleaning up the mess they made, they are starting to make some progress.

It’s important to remember, however, that the framework is totally untested in practice at this point. All the formal stakeholders in the process are proceeding very cautiously. Nobody opposes it, but nobody really supports it either. So the keyword here, definitely, is caution.

One of the biggest unknowns regarding how the process will play out is obviously the interplay between the central and local levels and how government will participate. We simply don’t know how well it will work yet. That is why it is so important that a sunset clause be added to this legislation so that it is reviewed after the next round of bargaining. It is a step forward to have a framework, but I’m sure there will be changes that need to be made once it’s tested in the real world.

To a large extent, Mr. Speaker, the really important thing to notice here is not what’s in this legislation but what isn’t in the legislation. It changes the framework, but it doesn’t change any substance. The most glaring omission is the failure to address regulation 274, which continues to wreak havoc on the hiring process for teachers across the province. Regulation 274 is single-handedly preventing thousands of eager, fresh young teachers from getting the valuable early career experience that they need. In simple terms, regulation 274 ranks teachers on occasional-teacher lists solely in terms of seniority; then it forces schools to give first dibs on permanent positions to the highest-ranked teachers. As a result, many exceptional young teachers—my colleague from Kitchener–Conestoga mentioned earlier that the best teacher in Ontario is out of work, simply because of seniority. Instead, young teachers like that gentleman are spending years on the occasional-teacher list instead of being in the classroom full time, where the kids really need them.

I want to emphasize that merit must be a consideration for hiring teachers. We all know that just because someone has been around the longest doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best person for a job. Teacher hiring practices need to recognize this reality.

According to the Globe and Mail, in September, Premier Wynne admitted that regulation 274 may have been an over-correction. Really? Furthermore, according to the same article, the education minister stated that the current government is studying the legislation, looking for ways to tweak it to fix this problem.

Speaker, regulation 274 is not an over-correction that needs to be tweaked. It is bad policy that needs to be completely rethought.

The youngest in my family is currently in teachers’ college, and she is just finishing up her first practice-teaching session. You know what? I am so, so proud of her, because when we hook up on the weekends, and I get a review of her week, I can tell with everything in me that she has hit her stride. She started university at Brock. She changed her program after second year, and she went into biology and mathematics. She went to Brock to play varsity fastball. She found her groove there. Now she has found her groove, and she’s so excited about being in the classroom and making a difference. In some ways, she’s paying it forward. She had amazing mentors and teachers and coaches as she went through high school, and it’s her chance to give back a little bit, as well, and encourage people to be excited about mathematics and biology.

Imagine a young lady who can go in and coach any sport and also teach math and biology. According to some of my teaching friends, she would be a gem and be on the top of somebody’s hiring list. But because of regulation 274, guess what? She is going to have to consider wading through all kinds of boards of education, fingers crossed, hoping she might get a call to supply.

Or worse yet, she may consider—while it would be an amazing experience, a lifetime experience—going abroad, or throughout Canada there are teaching opportunities as well. Do you know what’s really sad about that, Mr. Speaker? She’s pursuing her career that I know with everything in me that she absolutely loves and that she’ll be wonderful at—but pursuing that career elsewhere because she can’t get a job in her own province. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t count. She will not have any seniority. She can go away for one year or two years—but come back to Ontario? Why bother? The experience that she has gained elsewhere means nothing. This is unacceptable, as we look forward and try to figure out a way to engage young people and keep them in our province.

It’s interesting. From time to time, you hear the government say, “Unemployment levels have gone down.” The Minister of Finance is very good at saying that. But, Speaker, I would suggest to you, unemployment rates have gone down because all the unemployed, all the young people, have left our province. It’s a travesty, and Bill 122, as I said, does nothing to address the true issue at hand.

Well, you know what? We have to think about the hard work and the passion that brings people to the career of teaching. Regulation 274 is preventing these young people from taking their careers to the next level, and it’s happening to thousands and thousands of people. It’s a shame that this government doesn’t get it and place a priority on our young people. They are our future. Instead, they would rather burden them with the debt that they’ve amassed over the last decade. What a thing. It just doesn’t make any sense.

As I mentioned earlier, formal stakeholders in education bargaining processes are behaving cautiously because this bill creates uncertainty. They’re not sure how it’s going to play out. But potentially, the most important education stakeholder group doesn’t have a formal position on this legislation, because they are not engaged. I’m talking, of course, about the parents of the school-age children across the province, and, in turn, the students themselves. They’ve been completely blocked out of this process.

Parents and students are the ones that every collective bargaining session impacts the most, and they are consistently caught in the middle of every contract negotiation—unacceptable. And it is the parents and the taxpayers who always have to pay up in the end. Parents and students are the ones who suffer the impact of work-to-rule action, for example, but they are consistently excluded from the bargaining table. Their voices are consistently ignored.

Every parent across this province wants the best education for their child. They want the best teachers, the best curriculum and the most enriching extracurricular activities for their children. The education collective bargaining process has a profound effect on every aspect of the educational life of every child in Ontario, both inside and outside of the classroom. It’s a glaring omission that parents in this province don’t have a voice in this issue.

As we’ve mentioned many times before, there are many relevant issues that this bill does not address. Another important one is the looming crisis regarding education quality in the province. The education system in Ontario was once the envy of all other provinces in this nation and countries across the world. Our education system was first-class. A decade of mismanagement by the Liberal government, however, has left this once great system as a shell of its former self.

For example, the Education Quality and Accountability Office, the organization that administers standardized tests across this province, has noted some concerning trends in recent years. While reading and writing skills have generally remained steady, and even increased slightly, math skills are becoming a serious problem. But, as I said before, someone in my family who wants to teach math, who actually majored in math, won’t have a chance. She’s going to have to go abroad; she’s going to have to go outside of Ontario to do what she can to help students.

According to the National Post, the EQAO’s data over the past five years has shown a steady decline in math performance. Only 57% of grade 6 students, for example, achieved the provincial standard in math. This is down from 63% in 2009.

It’s clear that parents are seeing a huge problem here. Our party, the PC Party of Ontario, recognizes the issues here. We need to do better for our students.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I don’t think we have enough time for questions and comments.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): This House stands adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1754.