43e législature, 1re session

L013 - Wed 31 Aug 2022 / Mer 31 aoû 2022


The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Good morning. Let us pray.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We’ll now have a moment of silence for inner thought and personal reflection.

Orders of the Day

Robert V. Callahan

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ll recognize the government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Robert V. Callahan, with five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Robert V. Callahan, with five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.

Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Robert V. Callahan, who was the MPP for Brampton during the 33rd Parliament and Brampton South during the 34th and 35th Parliaments.

Joining us today in the Speaker’s gallery are members of Mr. Callahan’s family: his wife, Lyn Callahan; his sons Kevin Callahan, Peter Callahan, Timothy Callahan and Brian Callahan; his daughters-in-law Andrea Caskey, Cassandra Callahan and Cheryl Roth; and his grandchildren Emily Callahan, Ryan Callahan and Victoria Callahan. With them in the Speaker’s gallery is David Warner, the Speaker during the 35th Parliament.

I recognize the member for Durham.

Mr. Todd J. McCarthy: I would like to take a few moments to honour the late Bob Callahan. I’d like to begin by sharing a famous story that exemplifies who he was as a person. About a decade ago, Bob Callahan and some friends went downtown to catch a Toronto Maple Leafs game. On his way there, he was approached by a homeless man who asked if he had any change. Mr. Callahan did not have any change, but he had a $50 bill with him. In classic public servant Bob Callahan fashion, he gave the man the entire amount. He then spent a few minutes talking to the man, and concluded the conversation with a legendary line: “Just remember, I’m Bob from Brampton.” This story tells you a lot about Bob Callahan and his 43 years serving in public life. This 43-year résumé makes him one of the longest-serving politicians in Canadian history.

Brampton Bob passed away at the age of 83 on Boxing Day, 2020.

Mr. Callahan was a Liberal member of provincial Parliament who had friends on all sides of the aisle—a truly well-respected man. In fact, Brampton had recently named one of its community centres the Bob Callahan Flower City Seniors Centre in his honour, just a few days before his passing.

Mr. Callahan is survived by the love of his life, Lyn, his wife and partner for 58 years. He was a loving father to his four sons and a loving grandfather to his seven grandchildren.

Bob had a reputation of never missing his sons’ or grandchildren’s games. That is why he will be remembered by his family as the best fan anyone could ask for.

Bob will be remembered for his humour; his genuine kindness; his humility; his care and concern for others, especially the most vulnerable; and his tireless service to the community.

I remember Bob, his wife, Lyn, and his sons at Thunder Beach over many summers, and I know that Bob’s memory is honoured as Lyn continues to cottage at Thunder Beach in recent summers.

Even when Brampton Bob was not involved in politics, he continued helping people through his legal practice focused on criminal law. Bob often said that a large percentage of his clients were simply victims of their circumstances. He not only provided his clients with legal representation, but he took an interest in helping them change the direction of their lives through rehabilitation, gaining access to further education, and improving their life skills.

In 1969, Bob put his name in the ring to run for Brampton council. This was the beginning of what would become a lifetime of proudly serving the people of Brampton. Bob saw Brampton grow from a small town of just 15,000 to the vibrant city it is today.

A fun fact about when Bob Callahan was first elected to council: He was not a councillor as we refer to such office-holders today, but instead an alderman. While serving on council, among many other things, he was instrumental in the development of the Peel Heritage Complex, the new city hall, the Rose theatre, the Gage Park skating trail, the Powerade Centre, South Fletcher’s hockey complex, and double tracking for GO trains.

He continued doing great work during his 10 years as member of provincial Parliament, championing the construction of the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse as well as the Brampton Civic Hospital, and he was an outspoken leader for many social changes happening within the province at that time.

Bob Callahan was first elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly in 1985 for the riding of Brampton. He was re-elected in 1987 and again in 1990 for the new riding of Brampton South. Over the years, Bob served on various committees here. He was the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Select Committee on Health, the Standing Committee on Administration of Justice, and the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills. He also served as a member of the Standing Committee on General Government.

All in all, not only was Bob Callahan a tremendous public servant who dedicated his life to serving those in need, but he was also an inspirational human being, a mentor to many, a great legal mind, and a true parliamentarian in the best sense of that tradition.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Next, the member for Algoma–Manitoulin.

Mr. Michael Mantha: I look up to the family this morning—and I didn’t personally know Bob. This is my first honour as a member to stand and provide a tribute to a previous member who was here, and I hope I do him justice for you.

Speaker, it’s an honour to rise in my place on behalf of the official opposition and offer a few words of reflection on the life and service of Bob Callahan.

When journalist Steve Paikin paid tribute to the late Bob Callahan in January 2021, he wrote, “Callahan exemplified some of the best that public life can showcase.” Powerful words.


But when you truly consider Bob’s life and his contributions to his community, it quickly becomes apparent that Paikin’s kind words, while true, don’t fully do justice to the impact the man jokingly known as “Bob from Brampton” had on his city and his family. If you were to drive through Brampton, Bob Callahan Flower City Seniors Centre is an obvious tribute to Bob’s many years of faithful service. But if you took a closer look, it becomes apparent that Bob’s legacy looms large over the Rose City, both in the iconic—such as the Rose theatre, city hall, the Alderlea, and Gage Park skating trail—and the essential public works like GO service expansion, Brampton Civic Hospital, and the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse. And those are only a few of the Brampton landmarks that Bob played a role in bringing to life. In fact, Bob’s 43 years of provincial and municipal service almost seem like a timeline of Brampton’s rapid rise from a small rural town to one of Canada’s most diverse and rapidly growing communities.

After two unsuccessful runs for provincial office in 1977 and 1981, he finally made it to Queen’s Park in 1985, when voters chose him to be Brampton’s MPP, following the retirement of the incomparable Bill Davis—the first time someone other than Davis had represented the city in three decades. Knowing he had big shoes to fill, Bob went to work, mindful but undaunted, building on his many years of experience in municipal politics to become an effective voice for Brampton while carving out a formidable legacy of his own, earning the respect of political allies and opponents alike. After his defeat in 1995, Bob returned to municipal politics, driven by his love for Brampton and his passion for public service.

A man of faith, Bob lived his life by the golden rule, treating others as he would want to be treated. This belief guided him as powerfully during his years as a criminal defence lawyer, when he worked with clients to rebuild their lives and offered his services and expertise pro bono to those in need, as it did during his time in elected office, which he treasured greatly for its opportunity to bring positive change to the lives of Bramptonians.

Bob’s commitment to Brampton also stretched beyond the council chamber and Queen’s Park, including volunteer roles coaching lacrosse and service on the boards of St. Leonard’s House, Peel Memorial Hospital, and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority.

Speaker, as elected officials, we owe so much to our families for their love, support and sacrifices they make over the course of our careers in office. But taking a look at Bob’s obituary, it is clear that he had his priorities right. Those closest to him remember him not for his long lists of political accomplishments, of which there were many, but for the lasting and loving impact his life made on those he held dear. It’s clear that Bob put first things first and understood his legacy as a husband, father, grandfather and friend was no less important than his contribution as a politician. All of us who are elected would be well served by following a similar path.

To the members of the Callahan family with us today and to those watching on television or online, thank you for sharing Bob with Brampton and Ontario and for the sacrifices you made throughout his many years of service. This honour belongs to you just as much as it does to him.

In closing, Speaker, Bob wasn’t just from Brampton; Bob was Brampton, and we are all better for it.

Thank you, Bob. You were an exemplary man, an exemplary person of service. Rest well.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa South.

Mr. John Fraser: It’s an honour to pay tribute to Bob Callahan, best known as “Bob from Brampton,” member of provincial Parliament for Brampton and Brampton South from 1985 to 1995.

Welcome, to his family. We’re so happy that you can be here.

I didn’t know Bob, but in preparing this tribute, I got to know the kind of person that Bob was, his qualities.

As a politician, he remembered these golden rules: Never forget where you came from, who sent you and what they sent you to do. Bob’s accomplishments, which were so great, in building up his community and building up the community we have here in the Legislature demonstrated to me that he never, ever forgot that.

Bob was a hard worker throughout his life, in his education, activities in the community.

And after serving here for 10 years, he went back to serve on Brampton council for 17 years, having served there 10 years before he got here. I’m not sure many of us would have that kind of stamina or endurance for political life. It can be a little corrosive at times, but it didn’t wear Bob down.

At a time when most people are slowing down, Bob appeared to be speeding up—or, at least, not slowing down.

From what I’ve read and what I understand, he was a man of deep faith, and that was evident. He led a very centred life, focused on others, wherever he was. I imagine him going to St. Basil’s church, just a block away from here, where I like to go in the mornings. Being in this place requires you to be centred, and Bob knew what he had to do to achieve that.

My father, like Bob, worked in criminal justice, and he used to say two things: Nothing replaces a genuine interest in people, and people can and will change and the effort to help them do so is worthwhile. I can imagine Bob saying those two things as well, after learning what I’ve learned over the last couple days.

Steve Paikin told a story, which we’ve heard this morning, of Bob being stopped on the street on the way to a hockey game by a man asking for money. All he had was $50, which he gave to the man. He also took the time to talk to him, to show a genuine interest in him, and said to him, “Just remember, I’m Bob from Brampton.” A year later, going to another hockey game, he heard someone shout, “Hey, it’s Bob from Brampton.” It was the same guy. The man remembered him not just because of the money, but because Bob took the time; he listened. I don’t think that was the only time that happened. It happened many times during Bob’s life.

I like to find somebody who sat with the member we’re giving tribute to, and I was lucky enough to get in touch with my old boss Premier Dalton McGuinty. I asked him if he had something to share with Bob’s family. He has written quite a bit, so I had to cut this down a little bit, and I want to apologize to him. Here’s what he had to say:

“Bob embodied that lovely quality that never goes out of style, decency. He was a decent man.

“Bob Callahan was a proud Liberal. But his decency led him to respect and enjoy his colleagues on all sides of this Legislature.

“Bob worked hard on behalf of his constituents and, along the way, encountered the usual frustrations in politics. It was his decency that led him to uphold respect for this place and all our democratic institutions.

“Life can wear us down and rob us of our youthful idealism. Life’s inevitable hard knocks can force us onto the sidelines. We can give up on others and turn inwards ...

“Not Bob.

“Bob devoted an amazing and inspiring 43 years of his life to meeting the needs of others through public service. It would be perfectly understandable for ‘Bob from Brampton,’ the name he gave himself, to have become cynical ... to have grown tired and tainted by what can be a corrosive experience.


“But that wasn’t Bob.

“Bob brought unfailing decency and honour to his political responsibilities. He was devoted to his community and, through his good example, reminds us all that the reward of public service is to be found in the service itself.”

To his wife, Lyn; his sons, Kevin, Peter, Timothy and Brian; their spouses; and all of Bob’s grandchildren: I know that you miss your husband, your father and your grandfather. Bob from Brampton led an incredible life of public service to his community, and that incredible life was possible because you shared him with us. That’s something that we ask from all our families and something that we are all so grateful for. Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Bob Callahan.

Mitro Makarchuk

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government House leader?

Hon. Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Mitro Makarchuk, with five minutes allotted to independent members as a group, five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, and five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Mitro Makarchuk, with five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group, five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, and five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition. Agreed? Agreed.

Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Mitro Makarchuk, who was the MPP for Brantford during the 28th, 30th and 31st Parliaments. Joining us today in the Speaker’s gallery is Mr. Makarchuk’s family: his sister, Lisa Makarchuk; his brother-in-law, James Love; his nephew, Darwin Milian Valdez; and his friend Honora Dines. Also in the Speaker’s gallery is Mr. David Warner, the Speaker during the 35th Parliament.

I recognize the member for Orléans.

Mr. Stephen Blais: I’m honoured to stand and say a few words on behalf of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus on the life and work of Mitro “Mac” Makarchuk, the former member of provincial Parliament for Brantford.

Mac, as described by his younger sister, Lisa, was a true character, an inveterate and generous party thrower and partygoer and a genial rabble-rouser. I think that legacy is still alive and well in this place today for a few of our colleagues.

Mac was born in northern Saskatchewan in 1929 to parents who emigrated from Ukraine. Growing up through the Great Depression, like so many others, their family was poor, and Mac would recall always being hungry for lunch. I’m sure that these experiences no doubt played a formational role and were a formational aspect of his future political ideologies.

From his humble beginnings growing up on his parents’ farm, he left his family at the age of 17 to embark on a new chapter, one where he could grow, learn and make his parents proud.

Mac had an eclectic professional life, to say the least, I think. He served in both the navy and the air force, which I’m sure made the rivalry games very difficult for him. He was a boat builder; he was a journalist; he was a Brantford alderman; and of course, he was a member of provincial Parliament.

At one point, Mac was even a budding sports executive, offering to underwrite a collegiate hockey championship between the western Canadian champions and the eastern Canadian champions. In true western form, Saskatchewan’s native son convinced the Huskies to accept the offer, but it was the Toronto Varsity Blues who turned him down, and so the championship never got off the ground.

Out of all of his professional work, Mac’s entrance into public life, into politics, I think is the most interesting. Certainly, how he first became an NDP candidate was very interesting when I read about it. As a journalist, Mac was assigned to cover the local NDP nomination race. Well, as it turns out, there was no candidate in the nomination race, so when he showed up he put his name forward, and he won. He then went back to work and wrote the story about his victory for the newspaper. I’m sure that’s the kind of press we would all like to get every once in a while for ourselves. So that’s how his journey with the NDP started, in the 1965 federal election. He ended up losing that election, but that was just the start of Mac’s journey in politics.

He became the provincial NDP candidate in the following year’s provincial election and was successful. In fact, he was still working at the Expositor newspaper at the time. He asked for a leave of absence to run the campaign. They refused, and so they fired him. Well, he ultimately won that election for MPP in Brantford in 1967, and after he won, crowds of people went to the head office of the Expositor and chanted, “You fired him, and we hired him.” They were chanting outside the newspaper in celebration. I think that’s a brilliant way to start off your political career. And certainly he had a great deal of success.

He served one term as MPP and then served on Brantford city council as an alderman in 1972. He eventually returned to the Legislature in 1975 and was re-elected again in 1977, eventually leaving this place in 1981. Throughout his time, Mac never failed to speak up for his constituents, either here at the Legislature or at city hall.

Outside of his professional life, he loved to travel the world with his wife, Carolynne, and he always enjoyed a nice glass of wine and fine dining.

To his loving wife, Carolynne; his sister, Lisa; his brother-in-law, James; his nieces, Tanya and Michele; and his nephew, Darwin: Thank you for sharing Mac with the people of Ontario.

Rest in peace.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Brantford–Brant.

Mr. Will Bouma: It is an honour to rise in this great House to pay tribute to the life of a colleague who once represented my riding. Today, Speaker, I’m going to spend a few moments to remember and give my respects to Mitro Makarchuk, MPP for Brantford, who was affectionately known simply as Mac.

Joining us here today are Mac’s sister, Lisa Makarchuk; his brother-in-law, James Love; his nephew, Darwin Milian Valdez; his friend Honora Dines; and, of course, former Speaker David Warner. I welcome you all here today.

Mac passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. True to character until the end, Mac waited to pass until a few minutes after an extended family and friend visit.

He was born in 1929 in northern Saskatchewan to hard-working parents who had emigrated the previous year from Ukraine.

In addition to his many different interests, Mac had a long, varied and adventure-filled life as an MPP for the New Democratic Party; a city councillor for Brantford; a journalist; an inveterate and generous party thrower and partygoer; boat builder, cruiser and charterer; Royal Canadian Navy seaman and Royal Canadian Air Force flight lieutenant stationed in various places in the world.

After leaving school, Mac decided to try his hand at journalism and joined the news team at the Brantford Expositor. One day in 1965, he was sent to cover a nomination for the local NDP, which didn’t have a candidate—as we’ve already heard. Nobody was running, so Mac offered himself as the candidate. He ended up losing that federal election, but he was nominated to the provincial NDP and elected to represent Brantford here at the Ontario Legislature in 1967, serving one term. Mac was elected to Brantford city council as an alderman in 1972. He returned to the Legislature in 1975 and was re-elected in the 1977 election.

He lost his seat in 1981 to PC candidate Phil Gillies, who would be a cabinet minister, and who, to this day, is my friend and mentor. Phil Gillies ran against Mac twice. In the 1977 election, Mac came out on top. And in 1981, it was Phil Gillies who won.

After Gillies was himself defeated in 1987, he went to a gathering at the old Press Club on Wellesley Street. With some other now-former MPPs, Phil climbed the stairs to the club. He was enjoying the evening at the bar, but Mac Makarchuk—I’m told Mac looked at Phil and said, “Welcome to the alumni association. It took you long enough. Come on, let’s have a drink.

This was the disposition of Brantford–Brant politics, regardless of party affiliation. The camaraderie of public service always comes first.


After Mac Makarchuk left the Legislature in 1981, he dove into some really interesting business projects, one of which was the construction of a large tour boat to accommodate meetings, tourists and parties in Toronto harbour. He also built a personal yacht that led to some media questions. When the Globe and Mail interviewed Mac about this, the reporter asked, “How do you reconcile being a socialist-leaning politician and owning a $2-million boat?” Mac replied, “I’m still a socialist. I think everybody should have one of these.”

He was active in the anti-nuclear-arms movement. He supported various political and environmental organizations and was actively engaged with all of them.

With his wife, Carolynne, he was a global traveller through dozens of countries. He sunned in the tropics, and he enjoyed good wine, fine dining, and conversation, especially if it was political.

He was one of a kind—charismatic and imbued with a boundless sense of humour. He had a powerful influence on everyone around him. He turned political adversaries into lifelong, trusted friends. He had the ability to turn dreams into reality.

Mac was certainly one of a kind and leaves behind a legacy of working across the aisle for the people he once represented, and I currently represent, in Brantford–Brant.

He used his charisma to get things done, and he championed the creation of the Doug Snooks community centre in the Eagle Place community in Brantford.

Even though he retired from politics four decades ago, his name is mentioned with affection, respect and fondness not only in Brantford–Brant but at MPP alumni gatherings throughout southern Ontario.

In conclusion, on behalf of the government of Ontario and the riding of Brantford–Brant—and I know I speak for many former MPPs who served in this grand House alongside Mac—I salute you, sir, for your service to Ontario. Thank you for serving the people of Brantford–Brant with professionalism, style and respect.

And to Mac’s family who have joined us, thank you for loaning him to the people of Ontario for so many years.

You will be remembered as a journalist, an MPP, a city councillor, a shipbuilder, a businessman, and a compassionate, caring man who wanted to figure out what binds us together rather than what drives us apart. For all of that, Mac, we respect and salute you.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s an honour today to pay tribute to Mitro “Mac” Makarchuk on behalf of the official opposition, the people of Ontario, and on behalf of our party—the party he served with such distinction.

Before I begin, I’d like to welcome Mac’s friends and family to the Legislature. His many successes speak to the love and support of those closest to him. In particular, running for office and serving as an MPP is a group project, so it’s an honour to have you here as we celebrate his contributions to the Legislature and to the province.

I never had the opportunity to meet Mac, but as I read this, there are many similarities that make me wish I had, and we will touch on some of them.

Mac was the kind of person who wouldn’t be kept down. He trusted his instincts, fought for what he believed in, and made a point of having lots of fun along the way.

As a child, his family struggled to settle themselves in Canada after emigrating from Ukraine—my parents emigrated from Holland; I can understand that—and there were days he went hungry for lunch. I will never eat liver, because we ate a lot of liver. Even still, he occupied himself by constructing a radio and building a darkroom.

At 17, when he decided to expand his horizons beyond his family farm in rural Saskatchewan—and that touched me, because at 17, I had to decide whether to keep the family farm or move on, and I made a decision different than his, but I respect the decision. He first joined the navy and then the air force as a pilot and a parachute jumper. It takes a special kind of person to volunteer for those jobs, and throughout his life, he proved time and time again that he wasn’t afraid to make the jump.

When he left the University of Toronto after two years, he quickly pivoted to a career in journalism. One day, when he was covering an NDP nomination meeting and saw that nobody was running, he threw his own hat in the ring. I was also one of the most unlikely NDP candidates ever, except for him.

He lost his first race, as did I, but as was his way, he didn’t let that setback stop him—not even when he was forced to choose between running for office and his job with the newspaper. In fact, he later said that getting fired by the Expositor was the best thing to ever happen to him.

He won that election in 1967 and then won again in 1975, at which time he took on the role of whip for the NDP. As current whip for the NDP, I know he had to have a sense of humour.

After being re-elected in 1977, he lent his expertise in housing and urban affairs as critic for regional development and planning.

Mac was prescient in the causes he advocated for, including his support for environmental organizations and the anti-nuclear-arms movement. He also never overlooked the local projects that make people’s everyday lives better. From championing the creation of a new community centre to offering to personally underwrite a national university hockey championship, he did what he could to make life more joyful for everyone around him.

While most people would stop there, as if that were not enough, he also built a yacht while he was serving as an MPP. I give him credit for that. Nobody was ever going to put Mac in a box. He would always surprise you.

After his career in politics, he reinvented himself once again. Mac built a successful business operating a charter boat and travelled the world with his wife. He filled his life with good food, good wine, good conversation and, of course, lots of laughter.

Mac truly lived life to the fullest. There are not a lot of people who can say that. He grew from humble beginnings as a child of new immigrants in the Prairies to become an air force parachutist, journalist, whip in a provincial Legislature, shipbuilder, entrepreneur and world traveller, all the while collecting many new friends. It’s the kind of story that movies should be made of. It’s the Canadian dream.

Where others might stay in their comfort zone, Mac went looking for adventure. Where others might be hindered by self-doubt, Mac embraced new challenges. Where others might just talk about the things that need fixing, Mac took action—truly a life well lived.

We thank you, Mac, for your service. May you rest in peace.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Mac Makarchuk.

Carman McClelland

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Sault Ste. Marie and chief government whip.

Mr. Ross Romano: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find you will have unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Carman McClelland, with five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Sault Ste. Marie is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Carman McClelland, with five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.

I recognize the member for Brampton North.

Mr. Graham McGregor: I’m honoured here today to pay tribute to a former member of provincial Parliament for Brampton North, Mr. Carman McClelland. Carman McClelland passed away earlier this year, on June 1, and is survived by his children, Emma and Doug. He was born in 1951, in Angola, and soon after moved to Canada. Here, he was educated at York University and the University of Windsor faculty of law.

Mr. McClelland began leaving his legacy in Brampton early on. He was a resident of the city for over 25 years, and he was a practising lawyer in the city prior to seeking election. He also was a passionate advocate for his community. Mr. McClelland was a member of the local advisory board of the Canada Community Development Project, and he was chairman of the local advisory board for the summer 1981 Canada Student Employment Program. He was also a member of the Rotary Club of Bramalea, and he was on the board of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities.


Carman McClelland was first elected to the then new riding of Brampton North on September 10, 1987, under Liberal Premier David Peterson, just a few weeks before his 36th birthday. This was the first election for a city once represented by one riding by somebody who will be known in this House, former Premier Bill Davis, after it was divided into two ridings, Brampton South being the other riding in Brampton. Ultimately, it was represented by Liberal MPP Robert “Bob” Callahan.

Carman was re-elected in 1990 and sat as an opposition MPP until he lost his seat in the 1995 election, after which he returned to his law practice.

There are a few parallels that I can draw between myself and Mr. McClelland, both of us having been raised in Brampton and taking it upon ourselves to put our names on the ballot and stand up for the people of our great city.

Some of his key priorities when seeking election were transportation and health care for Brampton, which are also my two key priorities as I stand here in the House today, and what I promised to be a champion for on behalf of my community. Ultimately, I think it led to my election and the election of my other Brampton colleagues here in this House.

In 1987, after his election win, he said “a second health care facility” was his major concern. In 1987, the population of Brampton was 180,000 people, a time when it was growing quickly. It continues to grow today as a diverse city, with a population of over 650,000 but only one hospital. We’re still fighting for a second hospital here today.

Speaker, I think it is more than appropriate that I have the privilege to stand here today to speak about the great man, Carman McClelland. People like Mr. McClelland are the reason Brampton has become the city that it is today—home to people from all corners of the world, who come to our city and succeed in their respective fields.

Mr. Speaker, as members in this House will know, it’s not easy to seek public office, and it certainly doesn’t get easier once you’re successful—or it hasn’t yet, but I’m also new, so maybe give it some time. For some, the private sector calls their name. Carman McClelland, however, was eager to get back into politics and once again served the people of Brampton after his last election, this time in 2007 as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the now defunct Brampton–Springdale riding—an unsuccessful election at the time.

In 2008, Mr. McClelland tried his hand at municipal politics, running for regional councillor in Brampton wards 1 and 5. Although he did not find success in running for office after his second term in provincial politics, Carman’s desire, passion and commitment to the people of Brampton is exemplary. And that passion and commitment to the people of Brampton North is what I hope to bring to Queen’s Park myself.

Carman served two terms and served this province in numerous roles, as the Chair, Vice-Chair or a member of different committees. He was a critic. He was a parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment. Filling so many roles across his two terms, he left his mark on this province, a record that his family should be very proud of.

After his first election in 1987, Carman thanked his supporters at the Brampton Briar Hill Recreation Centre while the theme song from Rocky played in the crowd. The legendary quote from Rocky rings in my head: “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward—how much you can take and keep moving forward.” It’s a quote we should all believe in.

We all have our time to go—and, for me, coming in as a new member, I think God places moments like these into our lives to remind us of our own brief time that we have, and our own mortality. As members, we have limited time in this chamber; as humans, it’s limited time on earth.

May we all leave such a mark on this Legislature but also in life, and live a life as rich as Carman did.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me the opportunity to speak here today in honour of a fellow Brampton boy I can look up to as I fight for the same city he did.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s an honour to rise on behalf of the official opposition to pay tribute to Carman McClelland in acknowledgement of his years of service to the people of Brampton and Ontario. I’d like to acknowledge his family for this celebration of life. We know that public service poses unique challenges for the family members of those who hold office, and we both honour them and thank them for sharing Carman with Brampton and Ontario.

Carman brought a unique perspective to this place. As a child of missionaries, he spent many of his formative years abroad in Africa, moving to the then small town of Brampton in 1964 for his high school years.

Carman had a front-row seat to the rapid changes in Brampton, watching it transition from a small community of 20,000 in his teens to one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. His riding alone, one of two in the city at the time, was nearly five times larger than the entire town of his youth, boasting over 95,000 residents during his time in office.

Carman loved Brampton and its people and took great pride in the things that made a fast-growing Brampton special. He always spoke very highly of the city’s diversity, its economic and social potential, and the unique characteristics that made Brampton North, in his words in this chamber, “one of the greatest communities in the province.”

Carman’s service to Brampton and its people went far beyond his time in elected office and was reflected in his volunteer work with his church; Rogers Cable 10; the William Osler health centre; The Bridge, which was an in-custody and release program; and the Brampton Youth Hockey Association, just to name a few.

During the 1987 election, Carman won easily in a campaign where improved transportation and a new hospital were top priorities for Brampton voters—issues that continue to resonate with the community some 35 years later.

Regardless of where he sat in this chamber, be it in the government benches or over here on the opposition side of the House, he never forgot the people who sent him to this special place, always bringing the challenges and triumphs of his beloved hometown to the floor of this Legislature.

Carman was a fierce advocate for improved health care in his city and pushed for increased services and access in Brampton North from both sides of the aisle.

He was also an outspoken voice for the environment, using his platform as an MPP to draw attention to issues like acid rain, landfill expansion and water quality.

After losing his bid for re-election in 1995, Carman returned to practising law in Brampton, though elected office never strayed far from his thoughts.

Carman re-emerged with a desire to serve, putting his name forward as a candidate for Brampton council in 2018. In an interview with the Brampton Guardian during the campaign, Carman spoke passionately about his desire to share his “experience and commitment to ‘servant leadership’” as part of an overall goal to help “build a better Brampton.” Though unsuccessful, it is clear that his passion for his city continued to play a prominent role in his life.

Thank you, Carman, for your service to Ontario. May you rest in peace.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Orléans.

Mr. Stephen Blais: It’s an honour to stand here in the Legislature on behalf of the Ontario Liberal caucus and pay tribute to former MPP Carman McClelland from Brampton North.

As has been stated, Mr. McClelland was born in Angola, Africa, in 1951, and after his family immigrated to Canada, he attended York University for his undergraduate degree. He later attended law school at the University of Windsor, and upon his graduation, he began to practise with the firm of Fogler, Rubinoff here in Toronto. He was also a board member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities.

Carman fell in love with Brampton, and it is where he chose to settle down and raise his family.

In those days, it wasn’t easy being a Liberal in Brampton. The Big Blue Machine was dominating provincial politics and, of course, Brampton was home of chairman Bill Davis. But the riding went red in 1985 and, in 1987, it would be split in two, and this is when Carman took his shot in the newly formed riding of Brampton North. Carman coasted to victory in Brampton North in 1987. He led through the advance polls and finished above the Tory candidate by nearly 7,000 votes. Being re-elected in 1990 in a squeaker, he bested the NDP candidate by only 98 votes. That’s a big swing, 7,000—I’m not sure my heart would take that kind of close election, Mr. Speaker.

His tenure in the Legislature was ended in 1995 with the Common Sense Revolution, and this is when he chose to return to his life as a lawyer. He also served as vice-president of the Peel Law Association executive committee and, later, he was president of the Brampton Board of Trade.

But politics was in his blood. Carman attempted a provincial comeback in 2007 and ran again municipally in 2018—and while unsuccessful, it was clear that his dedication to public service was at the core of his being.

He was an active member of the community, involved in local sports leagues, and he also served on the boards of many local clubs in Brampton. As has been mentioned, he was a member of the local advisory board for the Canada Community Development Project. He was vice-chairman of the local advisory board for the summer Canada Student Employment Program in 1981, and he was a dedicated member of the Bramalea Rotary Club.

Mr. Speaker, it’s without a doubt that Mr. McClelland cared deeply about his community—not just by advocating for them inside this Legislature, but through his extensive involvement in the community on local boards and with the board of trade.

On behalf of the Ontario Liberal caucus, I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to his family—Karen, Emma, Doug; siblings, Brad and Sandy—for sharing Carman with us, sharing him with the people of Brampton.

May he rest in peace.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We are joined today in the Speaker’s gallery by Mr. McClelland’s family: his spouse, Karen McClelland, his son, Doug McClelland, and his son’s girlfriend, Mary Catherine McDonough McLennan.

We give thanks for the life and public service of Carman McClelland.

Orders of the day? I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.

Ms. Andrea Khanjin: No further business.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There being no further business at this time, this House stands in recess until 10:15 a.m.

The House recessed from 0953 to 1015.

Members’ Statements

Events in Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke

Mr. John Yakabuski: After a two-year absence, the fall fairs—which actually happened in the summer for the most part—have returned to the Ottawa Valley. The fairs are back, and in a big way.

It all began a few weeks ago, as it always does, with the Beachburg Fair—as Dai Bassett referenced in his song, “the first big summer fair.”

That was followed by a new weekend fair in Arnprior called the Valley Agricultural Festival.

This past weekend, as I did in Beachburg and Arnprior, I opened the 163rd Cobden Fair.

And coming up the second weekend in September will be the 167th edition of what we call the greatest fair in the Ottawa Valley, the Renfrew Fair.

While every one of these fairs is unique in its own way, they all have two things in common: They bring communities together, and each one of them has agriculture at its roots. While today there is something for everyone, including midways, horse draws, live entertainment and smash-up derbies, the heart of our fairs is still the farm and the families who work so hard to put food on our tables.

When attending these fairs, I can’t help but think how much they’ve changed over the years but how much people still anticipate going to the fair with their families, rubbing shoulders with and enjoying the company of friends and neighbours in such an enjoyable environment. While always being open to the reality of changing times, by holding fast to the traditions that made them a must-see, must-attend event so many years ago—it’s what makes our county fairs so special and gives me confidence that they’ll still be around 100 years from now.

Health care

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: On a daily basis, my office receives emails and phone calls from constituents about the health care system, from doctor shortages to excessive wait times in the ER, and about this government’s Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act, demanding public hearings take place.

Bryan sent me an email and asked me to get his story out there, because he says he’s not alone. His daughter is a registered nurse with over 30 years’ experience, and she has seen the health care system crumble. Bryan is an 82-year-old senior. His doctor has just retired. He signed up with Health Care Connect, and all he was offered were phone numbers to call doctors’ offices in hopes that they were accepting patients. He couldn’t get through to speak to doctors and fill out applications, and he has heard nothing. He is being forced to monitor his own health—blood pressure, arranging blood samples to check cholesterol, and, as a cancer survivor, his blood count. He is attending an urgent care clinic just to have his prescriptions filled. He also has a pacemaker, and—lucky for him—he’s monitoring by downloading an app. Bryan has been living in London for 51 years, and he feels like a senior who has been cast out in an open boat. This is beyond shameful.

It’s time to fix the health care system, and the NDP has put forth solutions.

Will this government finally agree to reinstate the Practice Ready Assessment Program for internationally trained doctors and nurses, and repeal Bill 124 to give health care workers the pay and incentives and respect they deserve? Yes or no?

108 Health Promotion Association

Mme Dawn Gallagher Murphy: Speaker, I rise in the chamber today to inform you of an important organization in my riding of Newmarket–Aurora that is making a positive impact on the lives of seniors. It is called the 108 Health Promotion Association. It is our local Chinese community organization. Their president, Mr. Nan Zhou, named it “108,” as he wants to help their members live to 108 years of age. Their vision is to support healthy aging and culturally appropriate community programs that encourage physical activity and mental well-being. Current programming includes yoga, health-related workshops, singing and dance clubs, as well as seasonal vegetable cultivation workshops, and a training course on preventing the elderly from falling.


At the beginning of 2021, I am proud to say that 108 was a recipient of our government’s Seniors Community Grant Program. Through this funding, they were able to help older adults and seniors in our community stay mentally and physically healthy during COVID-19. They transformed their programming to a digital format to continue social interaction within the community of 2,000-plus seniors, promoting healthy and safe engagements.

This past Saturday, I was honoured to be invited to the 108 family bonding event. There was a barbecue and a dragon dance, as well as a Chinese waist drum dance and many other forms of entertainment for the entire family.

Seniors are and will always be important members of our communities. We must take care of them and each other as we grow as a province.

Gogama health services

Mme France Gélinas: There’s this beautiful community in Nickel Belt called Gogama. They are about an hour and a half south of Timmins, and about two and a half hours north of Sudbury. The only access for the good people of Gogama to our health care system is through a nursing station. The nursing station has been there for decades, giving all of the residents of Gogama—I must tell you, though, that over 60% of them are over the age of 65, and they gain access to our health care system through the nursing stations.

Unfortunately, tomorrow, September 1, the nursing station will close. They were given notice that the nursing station would close on September 1, which means that all means of access to health care will stop.

I have approached the Minister of Health to see what can be done to make sure that the people of Gogama continue to have access to a full-time nurse practitioner in their community so that they have what we call equity of access.

Do we do a double lung transplant in Gogama? No, we don’t. But we need a full-time nurse practitioner working in Gogama so that the people of Gogama can gain access to the health care system.

I was talking to Dan Mantha yesterday. He needs to go to a walk-in clinic in order to gain access, an hour away from his home.

The minister has to get on this file. She has to sign a new agreement so the nursing station stays open.

Gerrie Kautz

Ms. Goldie Ghamari: Mr. Speaker, it’s with a heavy heart that I rise today. On August 19, 2022, Gerrie Kautz—father, grandfather, friend, colleague, and one of my closest mentors—passed away peacefully and quickly at the age of 84 in Ottawa. Gerrie will be lovingly missed and cherished by his daughter, Cammie Ritchie, and grandson, Marshall Ritchie. Gerrie’s many friends and colleagues will remember the memories of happy times together for years to come.

Gerrie was born in Winnipeg and grew up in the southern Manitoba town of Ridgeville.

In 1956, he entered the Royal Roads Military College as a navel cadet, moving on to the University of Manitoba, where he received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

After a wonderful career in the military, Gerrie’s second career was spent in international marketing, where he conducted business in over 40 countries.

He retired in 1998 to help care for his wife, Edna-May “Eddie” Kautz. During this time, Gerrie worked for over 10 years as a business and marketing consultant. He was also an author, with over eight published books in Canada and the USA. His golden years were spent happily helping and sharing his vast business knowledge and support, sitting on local committees, assisting local businesses, building and organizing community associations, and volunteering his time and services to charity events, including assisting me on my campaign as part of my election campaign committee team.

He was an active and dedicated member and pillar in the Greely area and beyond.

I’d like to express my sincere condolences to Cammie Ritchie, his family, and the entire Greely community on this loss. My condolences.

Post-secondary education

Ms. Marit Stiles: This week, I had the great pleasure of dropping off my second child at university—quite a momentous occasion, I know, for a lot of us. I want to use this opportunity to speak to all the parents who are sending off their kids to new beginnings in our post-secondary educational institutions. It’s a difficult time. It’s a really important time. And I know, personally, what an emotional time it is, too.

I want to also speak to the government for a moment about what our post-secondary students need at this moment.

A lot of our kids struggled over the last two years under closures during COVID, whether at post-secondary institutions or in our schools. A lot of our kids are struggling young people today—struggling to find truly affordable housing—and a lot of families are struggling to put together the supports they need for their kids through this difficult time.

So I encourage the government to use this opportunity, as we head into this new school year, to support our post-secondary institutions, to support our post-secondary students, to support our faculty members who have really struggled in this time—and to encourage the government to be there, to reduce the tuition levels for our students, and support families today more than ever.

School bus safety

Mr. Mike Harris: Next week, over 800,000 students across Ontario will once again be taking the bus to school every day. In Waterloo region, nearly 30,000 students take the bus to school.

Starting next week, Ontario will join every other state and province in North America when our school buses will be picking up our students with the safer dual amber-red warning light system. Until now, Ontario was the only jurisdiction in North America to not use amber warning lights to let drivers know school buses are about to come to a stop. Think of it as a stoplight that suddenly went from green to red. Now imagine every pedestrian at that crazy intersection being a child.

Provincial data estimates that there are roughly 17,000 incidents involving drivers who blow by stopped school buses every day across our province. A pilot program in Waterloo region found that there were nearly 500 to 700 blow-bys each week. School bus drivers know this all too well. In a recent CTV News article, Jen Mazer, a certified driving instructor with Switzer-Carty transport, was quoted to say, “I had a frequency of at least three cars a day passing my red lights when I was stopping trying to” let schoolchildren off the bus.

Thank you to members from all parties who unanimously supported my private member’s bill. This common-sense change will save lives. In that spirit, let’s all do our part to keep our kids safe by driving carefully every day, but especially during the school year.

COVID-19 response

Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: I rise today asking the government to end the patchwork of approaches to in-person learning at colleges and universities.

Several families impacted by recent policy changes at some schools contacted my office. The families are aware rules are to be followed, but they question why these policies were not advertised prior to acceptance letters being issued. These institutions knowingly accepted tuition payments between the beginning and middle of August and then, last week, changed the rules. Remember playing games with the kids who changed the rules partway through? It’s inappropriate, it’s irresponsible, and I would go as far as to say it’s disingenuous. Even for those students who wish to comply, the timing may make it difficult.

Instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, which made COVID-19 vaccination policies mandatory in post-secondary institutions, were revoked on March 1, 2022. I question why some institutions are adding the stress to the lives of students at a time when they are already anxious. Why is Western University the only Canadian university mandating boosters?

I know the government will say it does not meddle in the everyday operations of publicly supported institutions. However, government has, in the past, waded in to correct patchwork policies, especially at the municipal level.

These young people are our future leaders. These are the same young people who have missed out the past three years. These students need assurance the rules will not continue to change.

Speaker, I call on this government to ensure Ontario students are treated fairly and consistently, no matter where they choose to learn in Ontario.

I also wish all students across the province all the very best this school year.



Mr. Anthony Leardi: Tuesday, September 6 is back-to-school day in the province of Ontario. We have over two million elementary school students and secondary school students who are going back to school after two years of pandemic disruptions that they went through with their parents. Now is the time for us to get back to normal.

I want to thank the Minister of Education, on behalf of parents like me and parents across the province, for making it absolutely clear that we want our kids in school, in person, full-time, with sports and a full array of extracurricular activities. We want for our children the full school experience.

Let me take this opportunity now to wish all the students and staff members across the province of Ontario, and especially my folks in Essex county, a very successful academic school year.

Islamic Society of Ajax

Ms. Patrice Barnes: I rise today to say it’s an honour to represent the people of Ajax.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending a family fun day put on by the Islamic Society of Ajax. The Islamic community and faith-based groups continue to grow and build strong ties within our community.

The Islamic Society of Ajax completed construction for the first masjid in the town of Ajax in 2016. The masjid is located on Harwood and is led by imam Waqqas Syed.

The Ajax masjid has become a focal point for Muslims of Ajax. It is centrally located in the midst of the Muslim community and services the social, economic and recreational needs of that community.

The family fun day event this past weekend was tailored for families and children of all faiths, but they also put on events for our seniors.

A few weeks ago, they were able to take a group of seniors to Niagara Falls, and the tales and stories are amazing. These trips offer more than entertainment for our seniors, as it’s a chance to socialize and break out of norms, which has a huge benefit for their mental health. Social isolation among seniors is a growing issue, not just in Ajax, but across Ontario.

Groups and organizations like the Islamic Society of Ajax are some of the main reasons that the Ajax community is growing continually strong.

Under the Premier’s leadership, we hope this government will continue to encourage and support opportunities for these organizations that are playing an integral part in our communities. I’m confident that our government’s continued involvement in organizations and groups like this will make Ontario a global destination to work, live and raise a family.

Introduction of Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): In the Speaker’s gallery today, we have guests from the riding of Wellington–Halton Hills: a councillor from the township of Guelph/Eramosa, Mark Bouwmeester, and his son Casey Bouwmeester. Welcome to the Ontario Legislature.

Also with us in the Speaker’s gallery is Anne Sargent, the deputy clerk of the legislative council of the Parliament of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Anne is visiting us over the next two days and will be meeting with me and assembly officials to discuss the operations of our respective Parliaments, in furtherance of the Ontario-Victoria partnership agreement established several years ago.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: We have a delegation from Nigeria—and this may be the nicest business card we’ve ever seen here; I’ll have to share it after. It is the business card of Minister Aliyu, the Honourable Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory. Welcome, Minister. And Ambassador Asekun, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada—welcome, sir.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Speaker, I want to welcome Bill McBain to the Legislature. Those in these ranks know this extraordinary organizer.

Bill, welcome to the House.

Mr. Logan Kanapathi: I would like to welcome Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, Honourable Minister of State in Abuja, Nigeria; and my good friend Ms. Bose Odueke, CEO of Alpha Oasis International Inc., who is organizing these wonderful delegates to Ontario, Canada; and members of Canada-Nigeria Business and Investment Expo 2022. Welcome to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Ms. Sandy Shaw: I’d like to introduce Zoe MacKeracher from the riding of Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas. She’s a student at McMaster University. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I have a number of introductions to make today. First of all, I would like to introduce Raj Dam and his immediate and extended family, who are from my riding of Guelph. He’s also the associate director at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Ms. Christine Hogarth: It is my absolute honour and privilege, on behalf of Solicitor General Kerzner and PA Bailey, to welcome to the House the Peel Regional Police chief, Nishan Duraiappah, and the executive director of the Office of the Chief of Police, Charles Payette.

I want to thank you both. I want to thank the men and women in uniform. Under a Doug Ford government, we will always have your back.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: It’s a great honour today to welcome Dewitt Lee to the House. Dewitt is the founder of Emancipation Month Canada and helped all of us write the first bill in Ontario history supported by all four political parties, for Emancipation Month. He’s here for the flag-raising ceremony that will happen in the front yard at noon today, and also to celebrate the International Day for People of African Descent.

Dewitt, welcome to the Legislature today.

Mr. Stephen Crawford: I’d like to welcome a great Oakville resident and a young entrepreneur, Kristian Tazbazian.

Ms. Laurie Scott: I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce one of my team members, Kailie Oortwyn. She has been a member of my team for about three years. I want to tell her that we appreciate everything she has done for us and the residents of Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock. I wish her all the best in her new adventure at the Ministry of Health.

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome a new team member to Team St. Catharines, who was born on June 16, 2022, to his proud parents, Jesse and Kasey, and his proud big sister, Elise: Jack Reginald Michor. Welcome to our team.

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: Speaker, I can’t let this moment pass without welcoming the first Tamil chief of police in Ontario, Nishan Duraiappah. I was just with you at Tamil Fest in Scarborough. Welcome to the Legislature today.


My friend Dewitt Lee, thank you so much for all you’ve done for the Black community in Canada and for bringing Emancipation Month to us here in the Legislature.

Also, Halima Patel, a constituency assistant, is here at Queen’s Park, watching these proceedings for the first time. Welcome, Halima Patel.

Ms. Patrice Barnes: I’d like to welcome to the Legislature a young man from my riding, Mugis Awon. He was instrumental in my campaign. He’s a very intelligent young man, just starting grade 10 of high school and already having great conversations about politics, education and what that will look like. Welcome.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It goes without saying that we welcome all of our visitors to the Legislature.

I would ask and remind members, when they’re making their introductions, to keep them brief and devoid of political statements.

Question Period

Long-term care

Mr. Peter Tabuns: To the Premier: Yesterday, the Premier was asked about the fees his government wants to impose on seniors to force them into long-term-care homes that they don’t want to go into. He said, “I’ll pretty well guarantee it’s not going to be $1,800.”

Will the Premier make an absolute guarantee today that no senior will be charged that fee?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the Minister of Long-Term Care.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, in fact, the only people who have been talking about a fee like that for seniors who are going into long-term-care homes have actually been the opposition. They’re the only ones who have talked about it—the Leader of the Opposition, the critic, and the members of the Liberal Party, and, of course, the media, but only as they’re reporting what they have been saying.

We have been saying right from the beginning that the goal of this is to ensure that those who are waiting to go into a long-term-care home, who have been discharged or are about to be discharged from a hospital, have a better opportunity, better outcomes. That is what this legislation was all about.

This is another step, yesterday was another step on the road to improving health care in the province of Ontario—a step that started with Ontario health teams, a step that continued with 58,000 new and upgraded long-term-care beds in every region of the province, with the addition of 27,000 health care workers for long-term care alone, with new hospitals in every part of the province. It is another step to making Ontario have the best health care system in the country and in North America.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Again to the Premier: Well, that didn’t sound like a guarantee from the Premier.

These numbers, these charges may not matter much to the Premier, but it’s literally a matter of life and death for many seniors across this province.

The government is ramming Bill 7 through today with virtually no debate. They refuse to hear from families and front-line workers who say this bill will be devastating.

And now the Premier is literally not giving any guarantees about what people will be charged.

If we can’t get a guarantee that $1,800 is not on the books—how much does the Premier think seniors should be charged?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To respond, the Premier.

Hon. Doug Ford: Well, Mr. Speaker, it’s not about the cost; it’s about giving proper health care to people who should be in long-term-care homes. It’s differentiating between sticking your loved one in a hospital bed—imagine that: a hospital bed for one of your loved ones, when alarms are going off, bells are going off all night, compared to giving them a beautiful home to stay in, a long-term-care home, which will have proper care.

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the opposition: They were preaching at the top of the mountain, saying, “Get people out of the hospitals.” They kept going on and on, and many of them were quoted in the media. All of a sudden, now they change their tune. They can’t have it both ways.

The right place to put people who have been discharged from the doctor is in a proper home, for proper care, to make sure they have a better quality of life.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The final supplementary?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Again to the Premier: The Premier is charging ahead with changes that will devastate people’s lives, and he can’t even or won’t even answer basic questions about those changes. Seniors are being told that they will either have to move hundreds of kilometres away from their loved ones or they will have to pay huge fees, fees the Premier has either not figured out or is not willing to reveal.

Will the Premier do the right thing, admit that this dangerous scheme was rushed, and pull Bill 7 today?

Hon. Doug Ford: I’ve never, ever seen all CEOs agree across the province, all front-line health care people agree, all doctors agree—the only people who don’t agree with this plan is the NDP. They’re going back and forth every single day. They’re being political.

We aren’t being political. We’re making sure we’re taking care of the people who need support, who need patient care. They’re going to get much better care in a long-term-care facility than sitting in a hospital bed. Even one of the CEOs said this is not good for the ALC patients. What is good is to make sure they get the proper care, and that’s what we’re going to give them.

As the Minister of Long-Term Care said, we’re building 58,000 beds for these seniors.

Long-term care

Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour le premier ministre.

At hearings held by the NDP this week, front-line health care workers sounded the alarm about the Ford government’s Bill 7. The bill does nothing to address the human resources crisis in our health care system, but it will force frail seniors into private long-term-care homes miles away from their circle of care and their family.

This raises the question: Is the goal of the bill to help patients, or is it to force frail, elderly seniors into private, for-profit long-term-care homes that no one wants to live in?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Long-Term Care.

Hon. Paul Calandra: The members continue to do this. We heard the member from Windsor yesterday say that we were going to be sending people from Windsor to Timmins—completely not the case. We’ve heard them talk about huge fees—obviously, not the case.

They say that it’s a new problem, but let’s look at the Auditor General’s report of 2012: “Given our aging population, developing alternatives to long-term care and implementing more efficient processes for placing people in” long-term-care homes “in a consistent and timely manner is critical.”

She went on to say, “Numerous studies have shown that remaining in hospital longer than medically necessary, including waiting in hospital for” long-term care “can be detrimental to a person’s health for various reasons, among them the potential for a hospital-acquired infection such as C. difficile, and, for older patients, a decline in physical and mental abilities due to lack of activity.”

She went on to say that five provinces have a first-bed policy. This is back in a 2012 report, based on 2011.

What was done in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018? Nothing.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question? The member for Niagara Falls.

Mr. Wayne Gates: To the Premier: The long-term-care homes with the most available beds are the ones with the worst records of caring for seniors.

Orchard Villa is a private, for-profit long-term-care facility in Pickering where the Armed Forces found residents living in horrifying conditions. Durham police have not ruled out criminal charges. It’s no surprise that their wait-lists are short—literally 42 times shorter than not-for-profit homes of comparable size.

My question is, if a patient doesn’t want to be moved to a private facility like this, why would the government force them?

Hon. Paul Calandra: This is the very same member who said that we were going to be forcing people into three- and four-bed wards. Of course, that hasn’t been allowed in the province of Ontario since we made those changes, right, colleagues? It didn’t happen in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018. It didn’t happen when they had the balance of power. It happened under this government. This is the same member who said we would be sending people thousands of kilometres away from their homes—not true. Not true—three- and four-bed wards. Not true—thousands of extra dollars.

What is true: more resources and better care. We’re standing up for seniors who want better care, who are on a long-term-care waiting list. They want to be in a home. Experts agree it is better to get that care in a long-term-care facility.

This is another step on the way to finally tackling the challenges in health care—that include staffing, that include more hospitals, that include better long-term-care homes.

They should get on board because the status quo is working for nobody.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Final supplementary?

Mr. Wayne Gates: Again to the Premier: Let’s be clear, 70 people died in this facility, over 100 staff got sick—soiled diapers, dehydration, cockroaches and flies everywhere.

Time and time again, the government has bent over backwards to support for-profit long-term care. They exempted them from legal liability, ignored their own commission’s call to eliminate profit in long-term care, and granted facilities like Orchard Villa licence renewals of 30 years, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Now they are literally threatening seniors with massive fees if they refuse to move to these homes. Does this government truly believe that this is fair to seniors and their families—as 5,000 people died under your watch in the last four years?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ll remind the members to make their comments through the Chair.

To reply, the government House leader.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Under our watch, Mr. Speaker, we have seen the level of care increase in this province like it has never happened before. Under our watch, his own riding is getting $55 million more for care in the homes that he has. Under our watch, I have approved over 500 new long-term-care beds for people in his riding alone. Under our watch, investments in health care have grown to the highest level in Canadian history. Under our watch—a new hospital in Mississauga. Under our watch, small and medium-sized hospitals finally get budgets that are equivalent to large hospitals. Under our watch—the largest investment in health care in Ottawa’s history. Under our watch—new hospitals in Niagara. Under our watch—four hours of care for seniors. Under our watch—58,000 new and upgraded long-term-care beds. Under our watch, we’ll get it done.

Education funding

Ms. Marit Stiles: This question is for the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, after a really tough two years, students are heading back to school next week in need of a lot of extra care and a lot of extra support. Thankfully, they’re going to get some of that support from dedicated education workers—from educational assistants to foodservice workers to the custodians who are keeping HVAC systems working.

Speaker, contracts with these CUPE workers are set to expire today. Will the Premier commit to hiring more education workers so that students have the services they need at this very crucial time?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Education.

Hon. Stephen Lecce: We can confirm that under this Progressive Conservative government we are actually increasing the amount of staff in this province by 3,000 more for this coming September—more custodians, more EAs, more ECEs and educators who make a difference in our schools. That is part of our vision for a more normal and, frankly, a much more stable September for these kids—yes, with more people in the schools.

In addition to more dollars, we’re asking for and expecting a higher standard for our kids. We need these children to be immersed in learning with a stable environment that keeps them there from September right to June in a normal, fulsome experience that includes the sports, the extracurriculars and clubs that produce the well-rounded leaders we all want.

Mr. Speaker, our intention for September is to ensure that these kids get back on track—with a learning recovery plan that invests over 650 million more dollars for this September, to ensure these kids are well supported and get back on track.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Ms. Marit Stiles: Mr. Speaker, the government talks about stability, but the only person risking disruption in this school year is this minister.

I want to go back to the Premier. The average income of these education workers is just $39,000 a year, and 91% report that they are facing financial hardship, and more than half of them have to take a second job just to make ends meet.

Will this Premier commit to a wage increase so that the workers who support our kids every single day can support their own families?

Hon. Stephen Lecce: Yet again, the New Democrats and the Liberals abdicate their responsibility.

The member didn’t even ask the question setting the priority of keeping kids in school, which ought to be the priority of every MPP in this place. Mr. Speaker, our priority is ensuring stability for children. The question should focus on our kids. It’s about time the opposition starts to get on track with that imperative of stability for kids.

That’s why we’ve ensured more money is in place for September. It’s why we’ve been negotiating in good faith to land a fair deal for the workers but a good deal for our families. The principle that we’re going to communicate to the union, to the board of trustees and the people of the province is: We’ll stand up for stability for your children.

Community safety / Sécurité communautaire

Ms. Natalia Kusendova-Bashta: My question is for the Solicitor General.

Speaker, Peel has experienced an increased number of gun-related crimes—and I would also like to welcome Chief Nish and Director Payette of Peel police, and congratulate our brave men and women in uniform from Peel on leadership on issues like combatting human trafficking, mental health and community safety.


Ms. Natalia Kusendova-Bashta: Yes, thank you.

Unfortunately, it is not rare to hear the news about innocent Ontarians being caught in a crossfire, both figuratively and literally.

Monsieur le Président, Mississauga a connu une augmentation de la violence et de la criminalité des gangs.

What is the Solicitor General doing to combat gang-fuelled violence and smuggled guns in Peel?

Hon. Michael S. Kerzner: I appreciate the member from Mississauga Centre’s question.

Monsieur le Président, tous ont le droit de se sentir en sécurité chez eux et dans leur collectivité.

We’re working with law enforcement agencies across the province to keep Ontario safe, and our government has invested over $200 million to combat gun and gang violence. This unprecedented investment includes $6 million for CCTV cameras for municipalities and First Nations. And we’re investing over $267 million through the Community Safety and Policing Grant program to help police services address priority issues in their community.

Monsieur le Président, notre gouvernement a renforcé la sécurité publique, du premier au dernier échelon.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary? The member for Brampton West.

Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: My question is for the Solicitor General.

My constituents in Brampton West are deeply concerned about crime in Peel, especially when smuggled guns and illicit drugs are involved. Every day, Mr. Speaker, they hear on the news about the gang violence fuelled by smuggled guns and drugs.

Can the minister tell us about our government’s plan to combat the drug flow in Peel?

Hon. Michael S. Kerzner: I really am happy that we have the question from the member from Brampton West, because this is an important question.

Community safety is a top priority, not just for those who work in and support Ontario’s policing services, but for all Ontario families.

Since our government came to office, we’ve invested over $17 million in grants for policing in Peel region alone. In fact, yesterday, the Peel Regional Police announced the results of outstanding work on Project Warrior. Peel Regional Police used the funding provided by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, combined with excellent investigative work, to take a staggering $12 million of illicit drugs off the street.

I want to congratulate chief—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.


L’hon. Michael S. Kerzner: —la sécurité de notre province.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

The next question.

Health care workers

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: My question is to the Premier.

Sabrina and her husband, Jack, are both registered nurses. Their four-year-old daughter, Hazel, lives with type 1 diabetes and is starting junior kindergarten in September. In what should be a time of excitement for a young family, Sabrina will have to take an unpaid leave of absence to administer medication to her daughter at school. Hazel is on a wait-list. There is not one single community nurse available who can come into the classroom each day and assist Hazel with managing her needs.


Premier, we are in the midst of a staffing crisis. With this province already short 30,000 nurses, will this government commit to more community nurses for schools so health care workers like Sabrina and Jack aren’t forced to choose between their families and their jobs?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I love being able to highlight all of the work that our government is doing to increase the number of health human resources who practise and work in the province of Ontario.

There is no doubt that across Canada, and indeed the world, we are experiencing shortages in our critically important health care system.

However, what we have seen here in Ontario is that by investing $35 million to increase enrolment in nursing education programs, we are actually expanding spaces to introduce over 1,130 new practical nurses and 870 registered nurses into the health care system.

I’ve been working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to make sure that individuals who have applied to practise and work in the province of Ontario get those applications reviewed and expedited quickly. We’ll continue to do this because people like Sabrina need to have that confidence that when their young daughter goes to school, they have the resources they need to make sure her diabetes is monitored and they’re looked after.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: Back to the Premier, through the minister: Increasing nurses at this time for Jack and Sabrina doesn’t help. They’re RNs. They’re nurses. Their workplace will be short now that they have to go and look after their daughter.

During the pandemic, we saw that working mothers became the default parent, leaving their jobs to manage virtual learning during a time when daycares and schools were closed. Now nursing shortages have trickled down to the education sector. Every child has the right to equal access to education, and every parent deserves to know their child has the care they need when they need it—without sacrificing their career.

Premier, will your government commit to a plan to ensure working mothers like Sabrina are not forced out of a workplace that is already in a severe crisis to fill gaps within an already broken system?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Education.

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I want to thank the member for the question.

We do agree; these children should have access to the practitioners they need wherever they are. That’s why, two years ago, working with the Minister of Finance, under the Premier’s leadership, we actually doubled the number of public health nurses who work in our schools—640 public health nurses working in schools—

Interjection: Where are they? Name one.

Hon. Stephen Lecce: The members opposite pose the question, “Where are they?”

At a time when front-line workers are making a difference in our schools and our communities, we should be grateful for their contributions to our kids and to our communities. It’s precisely why we more than doubled the allocation. It’s why we increased investments overall for special education by an additional $90 million for this year. It is now at the highest levels ever recorded in the history of this province, because we want those kids to get the services they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, we’re going to continue to increase investments, increase access to staff and practitioners, and work with the Minister of Health across ministries to improve the services for the kids of this province.

Transportation infrastructure

Mr. Graham McGregor: This question is for the Minister of Transportation.

The cost of road congestion continues to take its toll on my constituents and their quality of life. Congestion impacts Ontario’s economy, with billions of dollars a year in lost time, wasted fuel and delayed deliveries. Other costs include greenhouse gas emissions, accidents, and poorer health—since people perpetually stuck in traffic report lower life satisfaction and physical activity.

Experts and academics have already warned that Ontario’s transportation infrastructure is not ready for the incoming surge of new Ontarians in the next 20 years. The status quo is not sustainable, especially if every new Ontarians decides to hop into a car during rush hour.

What actions is the Minister of Transportation taking to build critical road infrastructure?

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: Thank you to the member from Brampton North for the question.

Highway gridlock is a problem that continues to plague communities across Ontario. Why is that? It’s because successive Liberal governments simply chose not to invest and chose not to build, despite knowing the growth that was coming to this province.

Speaker, we know that the opposition is driven by an ideological opposition to new highways, and that is simply offside with where Ontarians are. People rely on cars to get to work, home and more, and if we don’t start building now, already-intense gridlock will only get worse for Ontario drivers.

The 401 is already the most congested highway in North America.

Within the next decade alone, all major highways in the region, including Highway 407, are expected to be at or to exceed capacity during rush hour.

Under the leadership of this Premier, our PC government is doing what the Liberals refused to get done years ago, and that’s build Highway 413.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mr. Graham McGregor: Thank you for the answer to that question.

It’s clear that road congestion costs the economy billions of dollars annually and will only worsen as our population grows.

In 2019, the National Post reported that Toronto was North America’s fastest-growing city and Canada’s most congested city. Peel region and the surrounding communities have also faced the same predicament, as they are some of the fastest-growing in this province and equally the most congested.

My constituents value their time, and driving remains the fastest way to travel for most commuters, according to Statistics Canada data. That same Statistics Canada data shows that their drive time is increasing yearly.

What actions is the Minister of Transportation taking to build major highways in this province, helping to ease the congestion crisis that has dragged on for far too long?

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: Thank you again to the member for the question.

Gridlock is not just going to disappear, and neither is commercial traffic.

Building Highway 413 is just the kind of bold action we need to avoid the next generation of drivers being stuck in traffic. It’s a key piece of our government’s transportation plan that will make the difference between calling home to say that you’re stuck in traffic or tucking your kids into bed at night.

I am pleased with the support that we’ve received to date on this project, including from LIUNA’s international vice-president, Joseph Mancinelli, who said that our government “continues to demonstrate progressive leadership in investing in critical infrastructure, like Highway 413, that will aim to address future growth and demands of our municipalities,” and Todd Letts, CEO of Brampton’s board of trade, who commended our government for prioritizing projects like Highway 413.

Speaker, as we saw in this past election, support for Highway 413 is strong. Our government will get it done.

Long-term care

Ms. Peggy Sattler: My question is to the Premier.

In February, 83-year-old Don Wilson slipped and cracked his pelvis. Four days after admission to London Health Sciences Centre, Don was transferred to a long-term-care home—a home that was in COVID outbreak, with only two PSWs for a ward of 30 residents, and no rehab services. Less than a week later, Don fell out of his LTC bed and was readmitted to hospital, where, tragically, on April 15, he passed away.

Is this the kind of trauma and grief that more families will face with Bill 7?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To respond, the Minister of Health.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Every example is tragic when it ends up in death. But the member opposite is talking about the past, and our government is focused on making improvements in the future.

We have talked and we have acted on home care in particular. I often talk about how, as a government, we are ensuring that hospitals have capacity, that community care has capacity, that long-term care has capacity, that primary care has capacity. We’re doing that through investments specifically related to home care.

I want to highlight the $1 billion that is in our most recent budget, which will ensure that 739 nursing visits are able to be provided in community—157,000 nursing shift hours in community; 117,000 therapy visits, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology, in community. It’s what people deserve. It’s what people expect. It’s what we are delivering.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: When Don’s wife, Jane Berges, heard about Bill 7, she contacted me to share her story. Jane and Don were told by the hospital that Don was being transferred to LTC and were not given any time to discuss or consider other options. Jane continues to live with the guilt that she didn’t say no, but she was overwhelmed and felt they had no choice—this was before the new powers under Bill 7 to admit patients to long-term care without their consent. No family should have to go through this.

Will the government do the right thing and withdraw Bill 7?


Hon. Sylvia Jones: Speaker, I think that the member opposite is forgetting that the health care system, as a whole, needs to co-operatively work together for the patient. That is our goal, as a government.

I point to Anthony Dale from the Ontario Hospital Association, in reference, specifically, to alternate-level-of-care patients. Health care providers in Ontario are committed to working collaboratively with patients, with substitute decision-makers, families and caregivers during any transition into patient care.

We are transitioning people into their homes with sufficient community care support. We are transitioning patients into long-term-care homes with sufficient support. We’re getting it done because we understand, at the end of the day, alternate-level-of-care patients deserve better than sitting in a hospital waiting for their next transition.

Transportation infrastructure

Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: My question is to the Minister of Transportation.

Last March, the ministry, without explanation, reported that the long-overdue replacement of Caledonia’s Argyle Street Bridge would be delayed another year. During an inspection in 2001, it was determined that the bridge was in a state of deterioration. Keep in mind, the current bridge was completed in 1927. It’s now over 20 years overdue and one and a half years since notice of delay by this government.

The approvals have been in place for many years, and yet the July 1 parade in Caledonia took an alternative route to avoid the bridge due to safety concerns.

The people of Caledonia, of Haldimand county, want to know what’s holding up the reconstruction of the Argyle Street Bridge.

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I thank the member opposite for the question. I want to assure her that completing the replacement of the Argyle Street Bridge is a priority for our government. As she correctly pointed out, this is a century-old bridge and its restoration is long overdue. Unfortunately, the Liberals had over a decade to take action and address this issue, but instead, they did nothing.

Mr. Speaker, as I’m sure the member opposite can appreciate, our government is doing its due diligence to ensure that we get this right before putting shovels in the ground. This includes consulting with First Nations communities that are potentially impacted by this project and conducting early work projects to conserve the Toll House and potential archaeological resources before the bridge replacement begins. This early work is slated to begin this fall.

Our government is making great progress to get shovels in the ground for this project. It is a priority for our government, and we will get it done.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: Argyle Street is the main thoroughfare of Caledonia, and the bridge serves both local and commercial vehicles.

In 2019, the ministry set up stoplights at the bridge after the load posting was reduced to eight tonnes. These lights helped clear traffic in the event fire trucks must make a pass.

In August 2020, MTO boarded up the famous Toll House occupied by Lorrie Harcourt. The ministry claimed it needed to expropriate the property on the north side of the Grand River so reconstruction could begin. The ministry kicked this woman out of her home, and yet nothing is happening.

I fear a national headline if the ministry does not get to work.

The community has been waiting for over 20 years. The people of Caledonia are waiting for any government, perhaps this government, to make them a priority. We all want to know what is holding up the reconstruction of the Argyle Street Bridge.

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I want to be clear: The Ministry of Transportation only acquires properties that are absolutely necessary for the construction of a project. We are committed to treating all affected property owners fairly. Expropriation is a backstop measure only.

As the work on this project continues, we have taken interim measures to protect the safety of the travelling public who use the bridge. This includes implementing, as the member pointed out, further load restrictions for vehicles and completing temporary repair work that is necessary to maintain the serviceability of the bridge.

Mr. Speaker, we have been making great progress. The detailed design of the Argyle Street replacement is already complete, and now we’re in the process of obtaining the final approvals to proceed to construction.

We will not take any shortcuts when it comes to getting critical infrastructure built.

Manufacturing jobs / Small business

Ms. Natalia Kusendova-Bashta: My question is for the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

For over a decade, under the previous Liberal government, the citizens of Mississauga and the region of Peel were abandoned. We saw jobs leaving our region and infrastructure projects that needed repair never being prioritized.

Under the Liberals’ watch, many of my constituents were shut out of gainful employment. Unemployment among young people was worse in Ontario than in rust-belt states like Indiana and Ohio.

Speaker, my very own brother, a skilled automation specialist, left Ontario six years ago due to lack of economic opportunities and settled instead in British Colombia. We certainly could have used his skills right here in Ontario.

The citizens of Mississauga are hard-working and sacrifice every day to make Ontario a better place to live and grow.

What is our government going to ensure that my constituents have good, secure, well-paying jobs for themselves and their children years into the future?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: The Liberals and the NDP gave up on Ontario’s manufacturing. In the last economic report, hear their true intention: “shifting employment from goods-producing industries, in particular manufacturing, to service sector.” That’s what they intended to do. But we changed all that, Speaker, by lowering the cost of doing business by $7 billion annually. We lowered taxes. We cut red tape. We reduced their hydro rates.

That’s why investments in Mississauga keep on coming. Cyclone Manufacturing invested $21 million to re-shore from the US a project and create 60 aerospace jobs. Bora Pharmaceuticals invested $2.5 million in Mississauga to scale-up their operation. And there are dozens of auto-parts manufacturers who have invested in their companies through our auto modernization program. Mississauga is, again, where businesses are investing.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Ms. Natalia Kusendova-Bashta: I thank the minister for his response. It is encouraging that our government is focusing on investments that are protecting Mississauga’s and Peel region’s tech and advanced manufacturing sectors.

But these are billion-dollar investments, which are possible only for a small number of large businesses. While these large businesses employ thousands of people in my riding, what about the small companies and the start-ups? Small businesses and start-ups are the backbone of our economic strength as a province.

I know many constituents whose small businesses—like Palma Pasta, Lazio Bakery, or Hub Climbing gym—are integral to what makes my riding work and thrive.

But as we all know, starting a business is hard work and is filled with risk.

What is our government doing to help entrepreneurs in my riding and city to start and grow their businesses?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Small businesses account for 98% of our economy and employ millions of families. Yet for 15 years, the Liberals and the NDP made small business ownership difficult and costly. We are on a mission to reverse the Liberal- and the NDP-era anti-business policies.

With our support, Mississauga’s entrepreneurs now have all the tools they need to grow their businesses. We’re providing Mississauga’s Small Business Enterprise Centre with $420,000 to support local companies, and another $112,000 to support Mississauga’s Summer Company and their Starter Company PLUS. These are companies that help students and young entrepreneurs start businesses of their own.

We want entrepreneurs to know that this government understands them and fully supports their success.

Long-term care

Miss Monique Taylor: My question is for the Premier.

Judy, who resides in a long-term-care residence in Hamilton, has reached out to my office, and her concerns are alarming. Judy tells me that the staff are overworked, beyond exhausted, and most are working double shifts due to staffing shortages. A few nights ago, there was one PSW on her floor, and she was left to work alone until 4 a.m., when an RN from a private agency was brought in. Thankfully, none of the 27 residents, including Judy, had a medical emergency, fall, or worse.

What is the Premier doing to ensure these homes are staffed to a level of safety and to a level that caregivers were promised for their loved ones?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Long-Term Care.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Well, again, we started increasing staffing in our long-term-care homes in the last Parliament. The member opposite will know that we’ve increased funding by over $4.9 billion, because we are the first government in North America to go to a standard of four hours of care per day. The member opposite will remember that she voted against the increase in staffing, and she will remember that she voted against the increase in staffing for the homes in her own riding. But more important than that, the member opposite was part of a caucus who supported a Liberal Party that, between 2009 and 2018, despite a report from the Auditor General suggesting that we had to do more for long-term care in 2012—the last three Liberal administrations—only managed to increase care for our seniors in homes by six minutes. Shameful.


We are on our way, and we will have four hours of care because of the investments that we have made, and that is a very—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Miss Monique Taylor: I assure this minister that I will vote against his bad bills each and every time—as I will Bill 7.

Not repealing Bill 124 and the push to move residents from ALC to long-term care are not going to solve the issue. PSWs are nervous and they’re fearful that they’re not able to provide the care necessary.

Judy goes on to tell me that she’s worried for her neighbours, other seniors, and their caregivers who visit daily to fill in the gaps. Her request was clear.

Premier, when will you admit the reality of long-term care and support and protect health care workers whom residents like Judy depend on?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

The member for Kitchener–Conestoga, come to order. The member for Niagara West, come to order.

Restart the clock.

Minister of Long-Term Care.

Hon. Paul Calandra: I know the member opposite will vote against improvements in long-term care, because the member voted against the increases in long-term-care capacity in her own riding. Additional beds? The member voted against that.

What this legislation does specifically is ensure that, for somebody who is a patient in a hospital and about to be discharged, we’re able to match up an appropriate home. So exactly what the member is talking about is what the whole point of this bill is. Looking at the services a person needs if they’re going to be discharged from a hospital—does the long-term-care home have the services that patient needs to care for them properly, to care for them better? It also includes $5 million of support this year, right now, for behavioural services of Ontario. It includes $2.6 million of support for a partnership with Baycrest to have leading-edge behavioural services, and a $20-million local priorities fund to ensure that every home, frankly, has what the senior needs before they get there.

Skilled trades

Mr. Anthony Leardi: Ontario has more than 370,000 unfilled jobs, and there’s a rising need to replace retiring skilled tradespeople. A report from the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum suggests that Ontario needs to recruit 300,000 new skilled trades apprentices over the next decade just to keep up with the retirements.

Training new skilled trades workers must be a priority, and it’s crucial for us to promote the skilled trades among young people.

What is the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development doing to help more young people start careers in the skilled trades?

Hon. Monte McNaughton: I want to thank the member from Essex for being such a strong voice for better jobs and bigger paycheques for the people of Essex.

Speaker, unlike those in other parties who want to “phase out” well-paying and in-demand careers, our government knows that our skilled trades workers are heroes and we need more of them. That is why we are leading the way with a historic investment of more than a billion dollars over the next three years. With this unprecedented funding increase, we’re working with employers and our labour partners to reduce the stigma around these meaningful careers and expand training opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, when you have a job in the trades, you really do have a job for life, and you can be damn proud of what you built.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mr. Anthony Leardi: To the minister again: Traditionally, women represent less than 10% of skilled trade workers, and that’s just not enough. As we face a labour shortage, attracting and retaining women in the skilled trades will be very important to fill the labour gap.

My constituents in Essex are very happy that this government and this minister are providing free training for 500 people from under-represented groups in the trades, especially women. How is this investment going to remove barriers specifically for women, and also remove barriers for other under-represented groups in the skilled trades, and get people into those well-paying jobs and those rewarding careers in the skilled trades?

Hon. Monte McNaughton: This is a great question.

Our government is working every day to spread opportunity more widely and fairly to every corner of this province.

Pre-apprenticeships, like the member mentioned, really do lift people up and help them move off of social assistance and into a meaningful career—people like Nattisha, a single mom who got to buy the tools she needed and try different trades in the construction industry through the Hammer Heads program. She’s now making $44.08 an hour, with a defined pension and benefits. It’s truly a life-changing career for Nattisha. She has been able to buy a car. I remember talking to her, and she told me that for the first time in her life, her two daughters look up to her.

Mr. Speaker, we need more life-changing stories like Nattisha’s. That’s why we’re working every day. We’re on a mission to get more people into these amazing careers.

Tenant protection

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: My question is to the Premier.

My constituent Summer has contacted my office to express concern about the high temperature in her apartment. A candle in her apartment even melted of its own accord. The temperature must have hit at least 46 degrees Celsius or higher to melt a paraffin candle. Speaker, people will pass out from heat exhaustion or even die from heatstroke in this temperature.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently ruled, “Access to cooling during extreme heat waves is a human rights issue.”

Will the Premier today obey the human rights commission of this province, make air conditioning a vital service, and establish a maximum temperature in apartments? If not, why not?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Steve Clark: I want to thank the member for the question.

Our government appreciates the work of the human rights commission.

As the member noted, recently the human rights commission has issued a statement regarding air conditioning in apartments. We take those recommendations very seriously and will consider it, as we do when we look at issues regarding the Residential Tenancies Act.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary? The member for University–Rosedale.

Ms. Jessica Bell: My question is back to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

I want to quote the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

“Access to cooling during extreme heat waves is a human rights issue....

“At most risk are people with disabilities, older people and low-income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities....

“This vulnerability is also compounded by social isolation and poverty....

“The Ontario Human Rights Commission calls on the government of Ontario to include air conditioning as a vital service, like the provision of heat, under RTA regulations....”

Over 500 people died in BC during their last heat wave, and the vast majority of them were elderly people who lived alone in un-air-conditioned apartments.

Will this government listen to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, make AC a vital service, and set a maximum temperature for homes?

Hon. Steve Clark: I want to thank the member for her comments and her interest. She has placed a number of housing recommendations in this House, and we appreciate that. We would hope that her party and herself would consider, as well, some of the amendments and proposals we’ve made. We’ve stood up for tenants on numerous times in this House. Her party, and her specifically, have voted against all of those measures. Every time we want to stand up and give tenants better compensation, we want to crack down on landlords who abuse tenants—every time we’ve done that, that member and her party have voted against it.


My question back to her: Are you going to support pro-tenant measures? Are you going to support landlord measures that we put into place? And do you want to build upon our success?

Skilled trades

Ms. Goldie Ghamari: Mr. Speaker, since the 1990s, the involvement of women in the skilled trades has been less than 5% of the total workforce. A recent news article detailed the challenges many women in the trades face. Poor retention was identified as a contributing factor for the low number of women in the field. That’s why we must increase female representation in the skilled trades.

Ontario has a massive skilled jobs crisis, and we need all hands on deck to help us build a stronger province.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, can the Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity please inform the House of the progress made by our government in encouraging young women to enter the skilled trades?

Hon. Charmaine A. Williams: Thank you to the member from Carleton for the question.

Mr. Speaker, I recently spoke to a young woman named Sophie, who shared with me a time when she had left her partner and was left with no job, no home and no financial stability. When she was in a shelter, she was able to access their back-to-work program, which enabled her to enter the carpentry trade. Now she is a successful journeyperson and is on the job site. Her credo has been, “If you can see me, you can be me,” and she is inspiring other young women to enter the trades so that they can experience the same rewards and financial stability that she has.

Women like Sophie show us the progress that our investments and programs are making. And they need us to accelerate their efforts so that more women can follow in their footsteps and see further progress in changing the landscape of the trades.

I’ve said it before on this floor: Women belong in all places, in all spaces, and at every table. That includes a construction site.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Ms. Goldie Ghamari: Thank you to the associate minister.

Speaker, a career in skilled trades has countless benefits. Jobs in this field are in high demand, pay well, and will comprise 20% of jobs by 2025.

I recall travelling in Ottawa with the Minister of Labour in the previous legislative session. It was very inspiring to see so many young women in the trades when we visited IBEW as well as when I visited the steelworkers.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister please share details on the programs put in place by our government to raise awareness and encourage young women to consider a career in the skilled trades?

Hon. Charmaine A. Williams: Thank you again to the member opposite for the question.

Mr. Speaker, our government invested record amounts into the skilled trades strategy: $288 million in the 2021 budget; and $90 million in the 2021 fall economic statement; and not only that, but we have proposed an additional $114 million over the next three years through the 2022 budget. Within that, we’ve invested $22 million this year to enhance the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. These investments will help women and girls to explore the skilled trades and set them on a path towards financial stability. As part of this funding, school boards can request additional funding to promote 14 trades in which women have been historically under-represented. That is why it is imperative that all members support the 2022 budget and help deliver the resources they need to not just get by in our economy but to get ahead in our economy.

Health care funding

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: My question is to the Premier.

Speaker, many of my constituents have reached out, horrified about creeping privatization and the overt destruction of our treasured public health care system under the Ford government.

Ryan wrote to me about how the care he received for his aortic stenosis would have cost at least $250,000. Without it, he would not be alive. He remains deeply thankful, but he worries about the deteriorating quality of health care and this government’s obvious movement towards profit-making in health care.

Will this government continue to destroy health care with their privatization agenda or finally fund health care and health care workers properly?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Health.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Again, the member’s question gives me an opportunity to highlight the five-point plan that we have put in place and are driving towards efficiencies in innovation within our health care system—things like easing pressure on emergency departments by actually investing and launching new provincial emergency department peer-to-peer programs, investing over $300 million as part of the province’s surgical recovery.

We are encouraging innovation in our health care sector. Those ideas are coming forward for review and assessment, and we are making the investments to ensure people get the health care they need, when they need it, where they want it, which is in their community.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: My question is back to the Premier—and through you, Speaker, respectfully, to the minister: How about you come up with a six-point plan and scrap Bill 124?

Underfunding health care by $1.8 billion last year was a destructive act, and so is Bill 124, and now the government claims the system they’ve been strangling is barely breathing. This government manufactured this crisis in order to promote privatization.

Heather wrote to me about her stepfather being pushed out of hospital into a for-profit long-term-care home, where they would then squeeze an additional $4,000 per month for his care.

Is this government morally and ethically comfortable padding the pockets of the private long-term-care industry and private, for-profit hospitals rather than fixing our public system and paying health care heroes what they deserve?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: The member opposite is, frankly, spinning a tale.

We have, through our actions, invested to ensure that today, right now, in the province of Ontario, there are 400 doctors practising in rural and northern Ontario who weren’t there three years ago.

We’ve invested to make sure that when internationally educated health care professionals want to practise in the province of Ontario and have submitted their application to the College of Nurses or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario—we are acting to make sure that those are being assessed and given appropriate review quickly so that they can practise.

We know that there are people across Ontario who want to practise in health care in Ontario, and we’re expediting that process to ensure that we have those people in place where we need them.

Affaires francophones

M. Andrew Dowie: Ma question est pour la ministre des Affaires francophones.

Monsieur le Président, la pandémie a eu des répercussions importantes sur les petites entreprises de toute la province, dont plusieurs dans les communautés francophones. Pour beaucoup, ils sont encore confrontés aujourd’hui à des défis dans le cadre des problèmes de chaîne d’approvisionnement économique mondiale. J’ai entendu des histoires d’électeurs de ma circonscription de Windsor–Tecumseh et de nombreuses entreprises et groupes communautaires francophones qui ont eu du mal à joindre les deux bouts pendant cette période et comptaient sur le soutien de notre gouvernement pour rester à flot. Nous devons nous assurer de donner des outils aux Ontariens, y compris les Franco-Ontariens, qui souhaitent contribuer à l’économie de notre province.

La ministre des Affaires francophones peut-elle expliquer ce que fait notre gouvernement pour soutenir les entreprises francophones alors que nous sortons de cette période d’incertitude économique?

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: Je remercie le député de Windsor–Tecumseh pour sa question.

En plus de la création du fonds de secours COVID-19, qui a soutenu les organismes francophones sans but lucratif pendant la pandémie, notre gouvernement a aussi bonifié le Programme d’appui à la francophonie ontarienne, le PAFO, en le doublant. Nous avons aussi mis sur pied la Stratégie de développement économique francophone, avec maintenant 38 programmes permettant de mieux appuyer les entrepreneurs francophones.

Le Programme d’appui à la francophonie ontarienne vise à soutenir le développement à long terme des communautés francophones de l’Ontario. Monsieur le Président, grâce à une enveloppe budgétaire maintenant de deux millions de dollars, ce programme appuie le dynamisme des communautés francophones au niveau local et au niveau régional.

De plus, l’accès à une main-d’oeuvre bilingue qualifiée est un défi réel pour nos entreprises, et c’est pour cette raison que notre gouvernement demande au gouvernement fédéral plus de contrôle sur l’immigration, pour qu’on puisse appuyer leur opération et leur croissance.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.

M. Andrew Dowie: Merci, madame la Ministre.

La population francophone de l’Ontario est une composante essentielle de notre composition culturelle. C’est pourquoi nous devons promouvoir la francophonie ontarienne comme un atout économique important dans la croissance de l’économie de la province. Ce faisant, nous pouvons nous assurer que nous améliorons le réseautage entre les entreprises, les entrepreneurs et les organisations essentielles pour augmenter les opportunités commerciales et les alliances stratégiques.

Monsieur le Président, la ministre pourrait-elle nous parler des avantages économiques du premier réseau provincial d’affaires franco-ontarien?

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: Notre gouvernement apporte des solutions concrètes en reconnaissant l’atout économique important que représente la francophonie ontarienne.

En 2020-2021, par le biais d’un investissement initial de 500 000 $, nous avons soutenu la création de la Fédération des gens d’affaires francophones de l’Ontario, de ses services de conciergerie et de sa plateforme de marketing en ligne, Quartier d’affaires, qui soutient la promotion des biens et des services des entreprises franco-ontariennes.

Depuis, grâce à un investissement de 1,5 million de dollars sur trois ans, l’Ontario élargit la gamme de services de soutien aux entreprises et aux entrepreneurs francophones. Monsieur le Président, ces initiatives visent à aider les entreprises francophones de l’Ontario à saisir les occasions d’affaires ici et dans les marchés francophones à l’extérieur de l’Ontario et à faire rayonner la francophonie dans nos communautés et aussi au-delà de l’Ontario.

Mental health and addiction services

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: My question is to the Premier.

Today, on August 31, we recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, an annual campaign to end overdose, to remember those lives we have lost to addictions, and to acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

More than 2,400 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes in 2020. During the first year of the pandemic, there was a 96% increase in apparent opioid toxicity deaths compared to the year before. Since then, deaths have remained high. An increasingly toxic drug supply; increased feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety; and changes in the availability or accessibility of services for people who use drugs have led to a worsening of the opioid crisis.

In my community, the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy group has released five alerts already this year due to a high number of opioid-related emergency department visits and overdoses.

In 2021, 66 people in Windsor–Essex lost their lives to overdoses.

My question is this: How many lives must be lost before this government takes action to address this crisis?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Yes, today is International Overdose Awareness Day. I want to begin by reflecting and thinking about the families who have lost loved ones and the pain and the suffering that they are experiencing as a result of those losses.

I also want to reflect and think on the things that we have done as a government and continue to do—and that’s the investments we make through the Addictions Recovery Fund, the $90 million that went into ensuring that there are supports and services. We’ve invested in 400 beds and 7,000 treatment spots. These are all investments that are being made by the government because it recognizes the importance of providing the supports for mental health and for addictions in the province of Ontario.

I’m also reflecting on the fact that it’s this government that is making these significant investments—not former governments, which left the province of Ontario in shambles, and not providing supports and services that are needed.

It’s important that we continue thinking about people that overdose and making sure that we provide supports and services where and when they need them, no matter where they live in the province of Ontario.

Deferred Votes

More Beds, Better Care Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 pour plus de lits et de meilleurs soins

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

Bill 7, An Act to amend the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 with respect to patients requiring an alternate level of care and other matters and to make a consequential amendment to the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 / Projet de loi 7, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2021 sur le redressement des soins de longue durée en ce qui concerne les patients ayant besoin d’un niveau de soins différent et d’autres questions et apportant une modification corrélative à la Loi de 1996 sur le consentement aux soins de santé.

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

The division bells rang from 1144 to 1149.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): On August 30, 2022, Mr. Parsa moved third reading of Bill 7, An Act to amend the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 with respect to patients requiring an alternate level of care and other matters and to make a consequential amendment to the Health Care Consent Act, 1996.

All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk.


  • Anand, Deepak
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barnes, Patrice
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Bresee, Ric
  • Byers, Rick
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Dixon, Jess
  • Dowie, Andrew
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Flack, Rob
  • Ford, Doug
  • Ford, Michael D.
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Gallagher Murphy, Dawn
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Grewal, Hardeep Singh
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Jones, Trevor
  • Jordan, John
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Kerzner, Michael S.
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kusendova-Bashta, Natalia
  • Leardi, Anthony
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • Lumsden, Neil
  • Martin, Robin
  • McCarthy, Todd J.
  • McGregor, Graham
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pierre, Natalie
  • Pirie, George
  • Quinn, Nolan
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Riddell, Brian
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Sarrazin, Stéphane
  • Saunderson, Brian
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, David
  • Smith, Graydon
  • Smith, Laura
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Triantafilopoulos, Effie J.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Williams, Charmaine A.
  • Yakabuski, John

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Blais, Stephen
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Bowman, Stephanie
  • Brady, Bobbi Ann
  • Burch, Jeff
  • Collard, Lucille
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hsu, Ted
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • McMahon, Mary-Margaret
  • Pasma, Chandra
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shamji, Adil
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • Vaugeois, Lise
  • West, Jamie
  • Wong-Tam, Kristyn

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 76; the nays are 35.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion carried.

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

Third reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): There being no further business at this time, this House stands in recess until 3 p.m.

The House recessed from 1154 to 1500.

Royal assent / Sanction royale

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Administrator has been pleased to assent to a certain bill in Her Honour’s office.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Trevor Day): The following is the title of the bill to which His Honour did assent:

An Act to amend the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 with respect to patients requiring an alternate level of care and other matters and to make a consequential amendment to the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 / Loi modifiant la Loi de 2021 sur le redressement des soins de longue durée en ce qui concerne les patients ayant besoin d’un niveau de soins différent et d’autres questions et apportant une modification corrélative à la Loi de 1996 sur le consentement aux soins de santé.

Introduction of Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m very pleased to inform the House that we have a former member in our presence: Jeremy Roberts, the member for Ottawa West–Nepean in the 42nd provincial Parliament. Welcome.

Ms. Doly Begum: I’m very excited to welcome some wonderful guests from Scarborough here today. Please welcome Md. Hossain Soman, Tawfiq Ahmed, Fuad Hasan, Mahin Md. Shahriar, Azmol Miah, Md. Ilias Khan, Arif Imtiaz and Mohammad Zilani. Please welcome my brothers from Scarborough to the House today.

Reports by Committees

Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: I beg leave to present a report from the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy and move its adoption.

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Ms. Valerie Quioc Lim): Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill 3, An Act to amend various statutes with respect to special powers and duties of heads of council / Projet de loi 3, Loi modifiant diverses lois en ce qui concerne les pouvoirs et fonctions spéciaux des présidents du conseil.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed.

Report adopted.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The bill is therefore ordered for third reading.


Affordable housing

Ms. Jessica Bell: This petition is called “Housing Crisis: Safe and Affordable Housing Now.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Toronto’s residential rental vacancy rate is 1.1%; and

“Whereas the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Toronto is over $2,000/month...; and

“Whereas the wait-list for social housing in Ontario is nearing 200,000 households; and

“Whereas the Ford government eliminated rent control protections on new rental housing; ...

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

“—Reverse the recent elimination of rent control protections for new rental units;

“—End vacancy decontrol” which allows landlords to increase the rent to whatever they want once a tenant leaves;

“—End above-the-guideline increases...;

“—Strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act to protect tenants from renovictions and illegal evictions.”

I support this petition. I’ll be affixing my signature to it and giving it to page Evan.

Government’s record

Mr. Dave Smith: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas our government was elected on commitment on keeping costs down and putting more money back in Ontarians’ pockets by increasing housing supply, making it less expensive to drive or take transit, and by providing relief on everything from child care to taxes; and

“Whereas the government is delivering on that commitment by:

“—reducing 5.7 cents per litre on the gas tax for six months starting July 1;

“—$120 each year in savings in southern Ontario and $60 per year savings in northern Ontario by eliminating licence plate renewal fees for passenger and light commercial vehicles;

“—$300 in additional tax relief in 2022, on average, for 1.1 million lower-income workers through the proposed low-income individuals and families tax credit enhancement;

“—scrapping tolls on Highways 412 and 418;

“—cutting child care costs by 50% on average by December of this year; and

“Whereas the government is reducing the cost of housing by:

“—increasing the non-resident speculation tax rate from 15% to 20% and expanding the tax beyond the greater Golden Horseshoe region to apply province-wide and closing loopholes to fight tax avoidance;

“—implementing reforms that reduce red tape associated with new housing builds, making it easier to build community housing, and speeding up the approval process; and

“Whereas this plan is working—last year, over 100,000 new homes began construction, the highest in more than 30 years in the province of Ontario;

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

“To urge all members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support the housing action plan of the Ontario PC government.”

I fully endorse this petition, will sign my name to it and give it to page Quaid.

Health care

Ms. Sandy Shaw: I have a petition entitled “Stop Ford’s Health Care Privatization Plan.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontarians should get health care based on need—not the size of your wallet;

“Whereas Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones say they’re planning to privatize parts of health care;

“Whereas privatization will bleed nurses, doctors and PSWs out of our public hospitals, making the health care crisis worse;

“Whereas privatization always ends with patients getting a bill;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately stop all plans to further privatize Ontario’s health care system, and fix the crisis in health care by:

“—repealing Bill 124 and recruiting, retaining and respecting doctors, nurses and PSWs with better pay and better working conditions;

“—licensing tens of thousands of internationally educated nurses and other health care professionals already in Ontario, who wait years and pay thousands to have their credentials certified;

“—making education and training free or low-cost for nurses, doctors and other health care professionals;

“—incentivizing doctors and nurses to choose to live and work in northern Ontario;

“—funding hospitals to have enough nurses on every shift, on every ward.”

I fully support this petition and will add my name to my constituents who understand there is a crisis in health care in Ontario, and I will pass it to Evan to go to the table.

Health care funding

Mr. Dave Smith: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario”—but before I read it in, I want to thank Chris for getting the signatures for me on this petition.


“Whereas our government was elected with a plan to stay open by investing in hospitals, long-term-care homes and home care and Ontario’s health care workforce; and

“Whereas to accomplish this our government is:

“—investing $40 billion in capital over” the next “10 years for hospitals and other health” care “infrastructure to meet the challenges that ... lie ahead;

“—spending $764 million over two years to provide nurses with up to $5,000 retention bonuses;

“—investing $42.5 million over two years, beginning in 2023-24, to support the expansion of 160 undergraduate and 295 post-graduate positions, including at the new medical schools in Brampton and Scarborough;

“—investing an additional $1 billion in home care over three years;

“—shoring up domestic production of critical supplies and ensuring Ontario is prepared for future emergencies by committing, as of April 2022, more than $77 million of the Ontario Together Fund to leverage almost $230 million in investments to support manufacturing of Ontario-made personal protective equipment;

“—investing $3.5 billion over three years to support the continuation of over 3,000 hospital beds put in place during the pandemic, and $1.1 billion over three years to support the continuation of hundreds of new adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care beds added during COVID-19;

“—a new refundable Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit to help seniors aged 70 and older with eligible home care medical expenses to help people stay in their homes longer; and

“—a province-wide expansion to the community paramedicine program, enabling community paramedics to provide key non-emergent health care services within homes for eligible seniors;

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

“To urge all members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to continue to make strategic investments in support of A Plan to Stay Open.”

I thoroughly endorse this petition, will sign my name to it and give it to page Juliet.

Social assistance

Miss Monique Taylor: I have a petition to raise social assistance rates.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario’s social assistance rates are well below Canada’s official Market Basket Measure poverty line and woefully inadequate to cover the basic costs of food and rent;

“Whereas individuals on the Ontario Works program receive just $733 per month and individuals on the Ontario Disability Support Program receive just $1,169 per month, only 41% and 65% of the poverty line;

“Whereas the Ontario government has not increased social assistance rates since 2018, and Canada’s inflation rate in January 2022 was 5.1%, the highest rate in 30 years;

“Whereas the government of Canada recognized through the CERB program that a ‘basic income’ of $2,000 per month was the standard support required by individuals who lost their employment during the pandemic;

“We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, petition the Legislative Assembly to increase social assistance rates to a base of $2,000 per month for those on Ontario Works, and to increase other programs accordingly.”

I fully support this petition, thank Dr. Sally Palmer for sending them to my office, and will give them to Arushi to bring to the Clerk.


Mr. Deepak Anand: I’d like to read this petition.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas everyone in Ontario deserves to find housing that is right for them, and our government is taking action to increase housing supply and make sure that everyone in Ontario can find a home that meets their needs and their budget; and

“Whereas throughout our consultation with the public, municipalities and the Housing Affordability Task Force, the message is clear: Red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies are holding back Ontarians from buying homes and driving up the cost of homes; and

“Whereas our government has committed to implementing the task force report with the housing supply action plan every year over four years, starting in 2022-23; and

“Whereas delivering bold changes that can last requires a strong partnership between all levels of government to ensure the policies the province introduces will actually be implemented on the ground; and

“Whereas since our government introduced the More Homes, More Choice Act in 2019, we have seen significant progress:

“—the year 2020 saw the highest level of housing starts in the decade with the highest level of rental starts since 1992;

“—the year 2021 broke even more records with the highest level of housing since 1987 and the highest level of rental starts in 30 years; and

“Whereas our plan is working, but we are just getting started—under the leadership of Premier Ford, we will continue to get it done for the people of Ontario by building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years;”—

Mr. Mike Harris: What a petition. Wow.

Mr. Deepak Anand: Yes, amazing.

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

“To urge all members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support the PC government’s housing supply action plan and efforts to build 1.5 million homes across Ontario.”

I fully support this petition, Mr. Speaker, and I’ll give it to page Apollo.

Social assistance

Ms. Doly Begum: I have a petition here to raise social assistance rates.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario’s social assistance rates are well below Canada’s official Market Basket Measure poverty line and woefully inadequate to cover the basic costs of food and rent;

“Whereas individuals on the Ontario Works program receive just $733 per month and individuals on the Ontario Disability Support Program receive just $1,169 per month, only 41% and 65% of the poverty line;

“Whereas the Ontario government has not increased social assistance rates since 2018, and Canada’s inflation rate in January 2022 was 5.1%, the highest rate in 30 years;

“Whereas the government of Canada recognized through the CERB program that a ‘basic income’ of $2,000 per month was the standard support required by individuals who lost their employment during the pandemic;

“We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, petition the Legislative Assembly to increase social assistance rates to a base of $2,000 per month for those on Ontario Works, and to increase other programs accordingly.”

Speaker, I fully support this petition. I will affix my signature to it and give it to page Juliet to take to the table.

Economic development

Mr. Andrew Dowie: This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas from electric and hybrid vehicles to barbecues, the government is supporting the development of homegrown supply chains, creating the next generation of products and returning Ontario to its rightful place as the workshop of Canada; and

“Whereas low-carbon steel production has become critical for jurisdictions to compete for manufacturing investments as businesses look to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain. These investments support the creation of new jobs and economic growth as steel producers, automakers and other industries transform their operations; and

“Whereas critical minerals in the north will drive electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing in the south, where Ontario’s automotive sector is poised for resurgence as the industry continues its large-scale transformation; and

“Whereas the government’s plan will help Ontario become a North American leader in building the vehicles of the future and will build the next generation of vehicles in Ontario by securing auto production mandates to build electric and hybrid vehicles; and

“Whereas Ontario invested $1.5 million through the Regional Development Program to support an $18.5-million investment by auto parts manufacturer Ventra Group to create the Flex-Ion Battery Innovation Centre in Windsor and invested $250,000 to support the development of two new battery production lines at the Electra Battery Materials Corp.’s future Battery Materials Park near Cobalt;

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

“To urge all members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to continue to invest in the manufacturing sector that will contribute to the economic success of the province.”

This petition comes from Rolando, and I will affix my signature to it, grateful that this petition came forward, given its—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Petitions?

Social assistance

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I’m pleased to bring forward a petition to raise social assistance rates in Ontario, and I want to express my thanks to Dr. Sally Palmer from McMaster University.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario’s social assistance rates are well below Canada’s official Market Basket Measure poverty line and woefully inadequate to cover the basic costs of food and rent;

“Whereas individuals on the Ontario Works program receive just $733 per month and individuals on the Ontario Disability Support Program receive just $1,169 per month, only 41% and 65% of the poverty line;

“Whereas the Ontario government has not increased social assistance rates since 2018, and Canada’s inflation rate” is “the highest rate in 30 years;

“Whereas the government of Canada recognized through the CERB program that a ‘basic income’ of $2,000 per month was the standard support required by individuals who lost their employment during the pandemic;

“We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, petition the Legislative Assembly to increase social assistance rates to a base of $2,000 per month for those on Ontario Works and to increase other programs accordingly.”

I’m pleased to affix my signature and will send it to the table with page Sharmin.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It would seem that the time for petitions has expired. I will point out that the length of the petitions seems to be getting longer by the day. Members in many cases want to present the petition in its entirety and I understand that completely, but you don’t have to. If you wish, you could abbreviate it, which would allow more petitions to be presented on both sides of the House.

Orders of the Day

Plan to Build Act (Budget Measures), 2022 / Loi de 2022 pour favoriser le développement (mesures budgétaires)

Mr. Bethlenfalvy moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 2, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various statutes / Projet de loi 2, Loi visant à mettre en oeuvre les mesures budgétaires et à édicter et à modifier diverses lois.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: I’m proud to rise on behalf of our entire government to speak about our Plan to Build Act.

Je suis fier de me lever au nom de tout notre gouvernement pour parler de la Loi de 2022 pour favoriser le développement.

This legislation supports our 2022 budget, which is entitled Ontario’s Plan to Build. Mr. Speaker, as you know, our government’s budget was first released earlier this year, in April. It is a budget to make life more affordable for families by keeping costs down, and a budget that helps Ontario’s talented workers get the skills and support they need to succeed. It will get shovels into the ground to build highways, to build roads and to build public transit. It invests in hospitals, long-term care and home care so that people across the province can get access to the quality health care system they deserve. In short, this is a plan for a stronger Ontario.

To begin, I will go over some key areas of our budget as well as provide highlights for the next steps in our Plan to Build Act.

The first pillar of our plan is rebuilding Ontario’s economy. Our government has a plan to rebuild Ontario’s economy so that it gets stronger each day, building prosperity everywhere, for everyone. Part of our plan to build includes taking advantage of the province’s critical minerals opportunity.

Canada is the only country in the western hemisphere that possesses all the critical minerals needed for an electric vehicle battery. The Ring of Fire has the potential to fuel a provincial supply chain for battery technology, electronics and electric and hybrid vehicles. This brings multi-generational prosperity to northern and First Nations communities. That’s why the government’s plan includes close to $1 billion for vital legacy infrastructure, such as all-season roads to the Ring of Fire, accessing potential mining sites, building the corridor to prosperity. Critical minerals will be transported via these roads to manufacturing hubs in the south and help deliver prosperity to Ontario’s north. Likewise, it will help improve access for First Nations communities to health care, goods and services, education, housing and economic opportunities.

The plan is supported by a Critical Minerals Strategy and $2 million in 2022-23 and $3 million in 2023-24 to create a Critical Minerals Innovation Fund.

Ce plan s’appuie sur la Stratégie relative aux minéraux critiques et sur deux millions de dollars en 2022-2023 et trois millions de dollars en 2023-2024, constituant le Fonds pour l’innovation relative aux minéraux critiques.

During the past two years, Ontario has secured a string of historic investments of nearly $16 billion that will make the province a leader in automotive manufacturing. But I will leave it to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to speak to how our government is transforming this province into the economic engine of Canada once again, as it was at the beginning of Confederation.

As part of our plan to bring prosperity everywhere, we are proposing to extend the temporary enhancement to the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit. It helps lower costs for businesses that expand and grow in areas of the province where employment growth in the past has lagged the provincial average. To provide additional support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily doubled the tax credit in the 2021 budget from 10% to 20%, until the end of 2022. Our government is proposing to extend the temporary enhancement to the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to the end of 2023. This financial support will stimulate real growth and create jobs in regions that need it the most.

Madam Speaker, the shortage of housing supply impacts all Ontarians, regardless of background or budget. The Ontario government introduced legislation that would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa more responsibility to deliver on shared provincial-municipal priorities, including building 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years.

Le gouvernement de l’Ontario a déposé un projet de loi qui donnerait aux maires de Toronto et d’Ottawa une plus grande responsabilité pour mettre en oeuvre les priorités provinciales-municipales, dont la construction de 1,5 million de nouveaux logements au cours des 10 prochaines années.

If passed, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act would give the mayor of Toronto and the mayor of Ottawa the ability to move priority projects forward and get more homes built faster. This legislation is an important tool to increase the housing supply, and is one of a number of initiatives being taken by the Ontario government to address the housing shortage.

Additionally, to help communities across Ontario build more attainable homes, Ontario is also launching the housing supply action plan implementation team. This will provide advice on market housing initiatives, including building on the vision from the Housing Affordability Task Force, More Homes for Everyone and other governmental conversations.

Our plan also includes keeping costs down for Ontario families. Our government has recently released the 2022-23 first-quarter finances, which provide updated information on the movement of Ontario’s economic and fiscal outlook since the 2022 budget. The numbers reflect that people and businesses are experiencing the effects of inflation in a very real way in their daily lives. While this global economic trend is happening, we’re taking action to help every Ontarian with the cost of living. We are doing our part to help keep a few extra dollars in people’s pockets and to help keep costs down.

The Plan to Build Act proposes amendments that would provide relief to families and workers by helping with the cost of everyday essentials. Beginning with the 2022 tax year, our government is proposing an enhancement to the low-income individuals and families tax credit, also known as the LIFT credit. The proposed enhancement would mean roughly 700,000 more people would benefit from this tax credit for the 2022 tax year.

À compter de l’année d’imposition 2022, notre gouvernement propose une amélioration au crédit d’impôt pour les personnes et les familles à faible revenu. Cette amélioration signifierait qu’environ 700 000 personnes de plus profiteraient de ce crédit d’impôt pour l’année d’imposition 2022.

It will increase and expand this tax benefit, providing $320 million in additional tax relief to even more of Ontario’s workers. And with the general minimum wage rising to $15.50 per hour as of October 1, 2022—by my calendar, that’s a little over 30 days from today, this will help ensure eligible minimum wage workers continue to receive additional relief.


Let me take a few minutes to explain how the LIFT credit works. Introduced in 2018, this non-refundable tax credit has provided up to $850 in Ontario personal income tax relief each year to lower-income workers. Under the current LIFT credit, the benefit is phased out at a rate of 10% for individual income above $30,000 and family income above $60,000. So, combined with other tax relief, the introduction of the LIFT credit means that about 90%—90%—of all Ontario taxpayers with taxable incomes below $30,000 will pay no Ontario personal income tax. And under our proposed enhancement, the maximum benefit will also increase from $850 to $875, helping to keep more money in the pockets of many eligible beneficiaries.

Our plan for keeping costs down also includes cutting fees. Our government is helping people who are feeling the pinch at the gas pumps, as the cost of gas has never been higher—although it’s lowering, it’s still very high. As of July 1, we cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months.

Notre gouvernement aide les gens qui subissent les effets de la hausse des prix de l’essence. Le 1er juillet, nous avons diminué la taxe sur l’essence de 5,7 cents le litre et la taxe sur le mazout de 5,3 cents le litre pour six mois.

In addition to these cuts, we are making it less expensive to drive, because we know that driving is necessary for many families. By eliminating and refunding licence plate renewal fees for passenger vehicles, light duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds, drivers in southern Ontario will be saving $120 per year, per vehicle, and about $60 per vehicle in northern Ontario. Further, Madam Speaker, we have also removed the tolls on Highways 412 and 418, bringing relief particularly to people in the Durham region, and a benefit to every single person who uses these highways.

The next pillar that I would like to speak about is working for workers. Our economy needs skilled workers, and our workers need our support. That is why our government is working for workers and reducing the harmful stigma around trades, especially for women and young people. Building on the success of the Skills Development Fund announced in the 2020 budget, Ontario is providing an additional $15.8 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year to support the development and expansion of brick-and-mortar training facilities, which could include union training halls, to help more workers get the skills they need to find good, well-paying jobs and to ensure employers can find the talent they need to build and grow their businesses.

The next part of our plan I will cover is building highways and our infrastructure. Ontario is growing, and as Ontario grows, we will need roads, highways, transit and other infrastructure. That’s why we have a plan to keep moving Ontario. At the heart of our plan is a capital investment of $158 billion over the next 10 years, with planned investments of over $20 billion in 2022 and 2023. Our plan fights gridlock, with improvements to trains, to subways and highways. We’re investing an historic $86.6 billion—let me repeat that: We are investing an historic $86.6 billion over 10 years to build and expand roads, highways and transit infrastructure right across the province, including Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass. Highway 413 will save drivers up to 30 minutes each way during rush hour on their commute, while supporting thousands of jobs each year.

Nous faisons un investissement historique de 86,6 milliards de dollars sur 10 ans dans des projets d’expansion et de réhabilitation de routes à l’échelle de la province, dont l’autoroute 413 et le contournement de Bradford. L’autoroute 413 permettra aux conducteurs d’économiser jusqu’à 30 minutes à l’heure de pointe, dans les deux sens, tout en soutenant des milliers d’emplois chaque année. D’accord?

And construction of Highway 413 is expected to support up to 3,500 jobs each year and generate up to $350 million in annual real GDP—I thought the associate minister would like that.

The Bradford Bypass is a new four-lane freeway connecting Highway 400 in Simcoe county and Highway 404 in York region. The Bradford Bypass will relieve pressure off of Highway 400 and existing local roads.


Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Yes, we have many supporters on all sides.

Drivers in the region will experience relief from endless gridlock, saving them up to 35 minutes. And during construction, the Bradford Bypass is expected to support about 2,640 jobs per year on average and generate an estimated $274 million in annual gross domestic product.


Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: I heard a clap.

Further to building new highways, our government’s plan also includes widening or improving highways in Peterborough, in Belleville, in Brockville, in Leamington, in Cochrane and many more. Our capital plan will invest more than $61 billion over the next 10 years and a huge expansion in new subways, GO rail and other vital transit infrastructure.

And in the north—we have a number of people from the north here—we have a plan to improve road safety, create jobs and make life easier for people in the north. In 2022-23, the government plans to spend $492.7 million on critical infrastructure projects in northern Ontario.

The final pillar of our budget is our plan to stay open. Our plan includes unprecedented investments and measures to keep our economy open and to invest in our health care and long-term-care system.

Notre plan comprend des investissements et des mesures sans précédent pour garder notre économie ouverte et investir dans notre système de santé et de soins de longue durée.

Our government’s 10-year, $40-billion capital plan includes building or renovating hospitals, supporting more than 50 major hospital projects and adding 3,000 new beds over 10 years.

Now, we know that people would prefer to recover at home where they are comfortable, in comfortable surroundings, along with their loved ones. That is why our government is planning to invest an additional $1 billion over the next three years to expand home care. We’re also going to support aging at home. Our government is proposing to create a new seniors care at home tax credit. This refundable personal income tax credit would assist seniors who have a low-to-moderate income and help cover the cost of eligible medical expenses such as grab bars and grip rails, vision and dental care and walking aids. Starting with this tax year, 2022, eligible recipients would receive up to a maximum credit of $1,500. This new tax credit, should this legislation pass, is expected to provide $110 million in support to about 200,000 low-to-moderate-income senior families, or on average about $550.

To make it easier to claim the new Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit, it would be based on the medical expenses claimed for the existing Ontario medical expenses tax credit. Furthermore, the proposed credit would be refundable, supporting low- to moderate-income senior families even if they do not owe any personal income tax. This would fill a gap for those seniors who cannot fully benefit from the existing non-refundable medical expense tax credits because they owe little to no personal income tax. So the new seniors care at home tax credit means seniors could more easily and comfortably age in their own homes, within their community, surrounded by their loved ones.


Our plan to stay open also takes immediate action to support our health care workforce, investing $142 million to recruit and retain health care workers in underserved communities. In order to keep health care strong so it can deliver care across the province, the government is also investing $42.5 million over two years, beginning in 2023-24, which would support the expansion of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training in Ontario, with an expected increase of 160 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions over the next five years. And we are investing more than $1.3 billion in making the wage enhancement permanent for more than 158,000 personal support workers and direct support workers.

Now, in a time of inflation and economic uncertainty, the opposition has had every opportunity to help us put more money back into the pockets of the people of Ontario, but let me ask you this: Did they vote for the Tax Relief at the Pumps Act?

Interjections: No.

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Let me ask you this: Did they vote to raise minimum wage, which we introduced in our fall economic statement in 2021, Build Ontario?

Interjections: No.

Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Madam Speaker, the opposition has already voted against this budget once. They voted against providing low-income workers and families needed tax relief through the LIFT tax credit. The opposition can now correct that mistake. They can work with us to make life more affordable for the hard-working people of Ontario. The Plan to Build Act is an important piece of legislation that would allow us to put this plan into action.

La Loi de 2022 pour favoriser le développement est une loi importante qui nous permettrait de mettre en oeuvre ce plan.

Madam Speaker, I urge all members to vote for this plan. Together, let’s build Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: It’s an honour for me to rise today on behalf of the great residents of London North Centre to discuss Bill 2, the Plan to Build Act, for its third reading in this House.

Last time, I discussed some items that were good in the budget—I’m very much in support of moving WSIB to London—but today I would like to discuss some of the elements that are missing. It’s often been said that if we do the same thing again and again and expect different results, it’s the definition of madness. But also, in nature, the tree that is unyielding will eventually break, whereas the one that will move with the wind is the one that will thrive and persevere. This budget is an example of unyielding, of unchanging, of not learning the lessons over the past number of months.

You see, Speaker, we have a budget that was tabled in April that has not undergone significant modifications. We’ve seen the affordability crisis explode—inflation at 8.1%. We’ve seen ERs closing across the province. We’ve seen nurses walking away from their jobs, retiring in droves. And this government has not done enough to address that in this budget.

The budget, as well, is a statement of priorities. We discuss values often in financial terms, but a budget also includes a government’s values in terms of principles. In short, the budget is a statement of values as guiding principles; it is both an ethical and a moral document.

In this Legislature, we ought to enforce equity to ensure those who are pushed to the margins are heard, respected and strengthened. We have to affirm as a Legislature that those at the beginning of their lives and at the end of their lives, with some exceptions, need more support than the rest of us in between. We ought to ensure as well that every single dollar that is spent by this government achieves its intended result. If expenditures are ineffective or compromised by outside forces, we should similarly adjust our approach.

We have this opportunity to learn the lessons from COVID, and we have the benefit of retrospection and clarity to see what worked and see what did not. Seniors, children, those living with disabilities, social services and small businesses were all pushed to the brink. At the same time, we saw others profiting from these disastrous conditions. We have yet to see this government stand up to pandemic profiteering and do the right thing, do the honourable thing.

As I mentioned, inflation has hit a staggering 8.1%. In this budget, the government has 2.5%. It’s less than half the current level of inflation. It’s even been called wishful thinking by some. It’s delusional. It’s unresponsive. It’s unrealistic to our current fiscal climate.

Additionally, the budget’s $1-billion rainy day provision is far, far too low. That amount is just one half of 1% of the total spending. If there are going to be spending hiccups, overruns or any other difficult or problematic decisions, this government is going to be in grave difficulty. And I worry that it’s going to be an excuse for further privatization and further cuts to our public spending if this government doesn’t do the right thing.

Furthermore, we hear a lot about this ridiculous and unnecessary highway, Highway 413, which is going to benefit many wealthy developer friends of this government, but in this budget there is no detailed costing for it and other highway spending. It’s not itemized. That’s disturbing, Speaker.

As well, with inflation being as high as it is and not being addressed thoroughly by this government, it means working people and families have lost almost one tenth of their buying power. It could mean taking on more household debt to put food on the table. People are having to make difficult decisions. To actively combat this affordability crisis, the government could raise minimum wage. They could focus on ensuring good jobs have equally good pay.

In health care, we’ve seen that Ontario has 5,400 fewer nurses than one year ago. They could repeal Bill 124 and show some respect for our front-line heroes, who have worked tirelessly, made tremendous personal sacrifices, put their families at risk. Instead, we see them plowing forward with this cut to nurses’ wages, because 1% is a cut with inflation being at 8.1%.

We also do not have wage parity across sectors. The Victorian Order of Nurses cannot respond to the number of requests that they have for service, and part of that is a direct result of wage parity, because in the community care setting, PSWs earn $3.57 per hour less, whereas nurses earn $11 less per hour. That’s a gap that needs to be addressed by this government.

I also am deeply surprised that, in terms of seniors’ care, this government has not yet learned that—having profit off of someone’s ill health or someone’s old age is something that they’re content with. When we saw that the army came in and saw the conditions that they did, this government should have been incentivized to act to make sure seniors were treated with respect and dignity, but instead we see rewards going to the worst of the worst, multi-million-dollar contracts, 30-year contracts going to homes that do not deserve to care for yet more seniors. It is a moral horror and one that is on this government’s conscience. I wish they would listen to their conscience.

As well, when we look at young people, students do not have enough supports. We see that this government has frozen tuition, but they’ve cut from the university sector. We also need to see greater further mental health supports for students, as referenced by OUSA and Eunice Oladejo. Unfortunately, we don’t see enough investments in mental health, either for the province or for children. The two-and-a-half-year wait time for children for mental health supports is unconscionable and something that needs to be acted upon.

There’s so much to discuss in this budget. Ontarians with disabilities are hardly even mentioned. We take a look at this government and their investments in hospital infrastructure, but not in the people who support that infrastructure. There’s no mention of the AODA whatsoever. It doesn’t mention the goal or the fact that they’re not going to achieve it by 2025 as promised.


I see that I’m running rather low on time, Speaker, but I also wanted to mention something that the last Liberal government let southwestern Ontario down on for a number of years, and that would be rail connections to southwestern Ontario. It’s something that was promised, and we still have yet to see shovels in the ground.

This crisis that we have in health care and long-term care and privatization should be a wake-up call for us all that privatization steals money from the public purse. It siphons tax dollars into the pockets of insiders, and how Conservative governments can justify not spending the entire health care dollar on front-line care is beyond me. It goes against the fiscally prudent values which they claim to espouse. No one should profit off of someone’s ill health or old age.

I cannot accept this budget as written. It needs to be improved.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Harris: It’s a pleasure to be able to stand here today and take part in debate on a very important bill that was originally introduced back in, I guess it was, April of this year, before we rose for an election. This bill is important to that measure because it really was our election platform, and I want to congratulate the 83 members of the Progressive Conservative caucus that were elected here to this House—83 members—including the member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke; I know he’s happy to be back—one of the largest majority governments in this province’s history, Madam Speaker, all based off of what we’ve been talking about with—

Mr. John Yakabuski: We ran on the budget.

Mr. Mike Harris: We did, and if you weren’t late getting in, you would’ve heard that—but anyway, I digress, Madam Speaker.

There are a few things I want to talk about here today. Obviously we’re here to speak about Ontario’s Plan to Build. The five key pillars of that are: rebuilding Ontario’s economy, working for workers, building highways and key infrastructure, keeping costs down—which is very important, given a lot of the uncertainty we’re seeing in the world right now—and, of course, our plan to stay open.

It was great to hear the minister speak a little bit earlier about the broader pieces of this, but I wanted to bring it a little bit closer to home for the people of Waterloo region, Kitchener–Conestoga and a little bit more for southwestern Ontario. I want to take us back to, realistically, I guess, almost 2018, when we released our first budget as a government here in the province.

One of the things that I heard at the door during the 2018 election that was really great to see in subsequent budgets past that was GO train expansion. This has been a huge, huge deal for Waterloo region over the last four to five years. Quite frankly, Madam Speaker, we had really next to no service in Waterloo region. We have, as a Progressive Conservative government, increased that service by almost 100%, and it’s great to see in the 2022 budget and what we’re debating here today that we’re actually expanding that service beyond Waterloo region to London. I know there are some members from London on the other side of the House here, and I’m sure that the people of London probably never dreamed—never in their wildest dreams—that they would have GO train service come to their city.

Now, mind you, yes, it is in its infancy and it is a bit of a trek right now to get from London to, let’s say, downtown Toronto, to Union Station, on the GO train, but there are constant upgrades being done consistently on the Kitchener line—as we like to call it, of course, being from Kitchener—to really speed up that trip. We’ve really built a much better relationship with CN rail, which controls a roughly 30-kilometre stretch of those tracks, and we’re now seeing more passenger service being allowed on those lines. There’s obviously a lot of work being done with level crossings through Guelph, making sure that underpasses and overpasses are being built out safely and that we’re able to get that time cut down.

I know there was a very recent announcement where the Premier and the member from Niagara West—it might have even been this week—officially announced better service to Niagara region, which is phenomenal to see. And of course, service is being extended out into Durham, which obviously, Madam Speaker, you would be well aware of.

Just keeping in the vein of a little bit more about what’s happening in this transit infrastructure piece, I want to talk a little bit—we were sort of joking about it earlier when the minister was speaking—about Highway 7. Highway 7, between Kitchener and Guelph, is obviously a two-lane highway, one lane each way. There are interchanges, stoplights, stop signs. It’s become quite unsafe over the last few years with the growth that we’ve seen through our communities, whether that be Waterloo region, which is now—I think we’re approaching 630,000 people in the region of Waterloo. Guelph has got to be somewhere up around 200,000 people themselves. It’s a key corridor. There’s a lot of advanced manufacturing, a lot of auto parts that are brought back across that highway every day.

Back in—gosh, it would be the late 1990s, early 2000s, I think, maybe even before that, this highway was going to be expanded and extended. It’s gone through successive governments for years upon years upon years, with very little being done. I just want to read a quick quote here. This is from 2007, Madam Speaker. This is from the former Minister of Transportation, a Liberal Minister of Transportation, Donna Cansfield. She says, “Times have changed; now it’s time to change Highway 7.” This was in 2007 when that quote came out, and I am very proud to be able to stand here and say that our government is actually getting it done when it comes to building Highway 7. We’ve completed the first phase of what is a three-phase project. We’re now into the end of phase two. Next to be built is the new bridge that will be spanning the Grand River. After that, it’s four lanes all the way to Guelph: no more stoplights, no more stop signs; there will be complete expressway interchanges. I know the people of Waterloo region are really excited to be able to see that actually come to fruition.

I want to talk a little bit more about our Plan to Stay Open. This is something that I’m very proud of. We’ve been working on this in the region for a long time now, and that is the planning of a new hospital. I was very proud to announce, back in April, a $5-million planning grant that is included in this budget. That $5-million planning grant is to start the process of a new joint hospital between Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s hospital and to really explore what it’s going to look like to build a state-of-the-art, new 1,200-bed facility that, like I said, is going to serve the growing region of Waterloo. Our hospitals right now—we have three hospitals: Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s hospital and, of course, Cambridge Memorial Hospital. Those three hospitals serve over a million people—the catchment area, when you really break it down into where we pull from in Waterloo region. St. Mary’s hospital, in particular, is very interesting. It’s actually the second-highest rated heart health hospital in Canada. But it’s in a building that’s 100 years old, and they’re doing façade work right now where bricks are actually falling off the building. Never mind going there to get your heart fixed; it’s dangerous just to walk around the outside. So it’s really great to be able to see those types of things put forward in this budget.

There’s obviously lots we can talk about. One of the other things that I want to highlight that the minister was talking about is skilled trades and working for workers. There are a few things that I think are very important in this budget that pertain to Conestoga College, which is the largest trade school in Ontario. Based on the resurgence of the trades and what this government has been able to do, they are now building a brand new trades campus that will centralize all of their trades training under one roof. It’s fantastic to see. We’re talking about state-of-the-art machinery, the best learning environment possible. Not only that, but I was at Conestoga College with the Minister of Colleges and Universities not too long ago to announce the extension of three-year degrees in colleges, which is fantastic. We’re going to be able to shrink down the time that people need to be in school, not necessarily having to go to university to get a four-year degree, if you will, but being able to extend that to your diploma, that you might at a college. So it’s really great to see these things in the budget.


Madam Speaker, I know that we have some other people who are going to want to speak this afternoon, so I just wanted to say thank you very much for the time, and it’s great to see you in the chair. Congratulations.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Meegwetch, Speaker. Remarks in Oji-Cree. It’s a good day.

Thank you for the opportunity to be able speak on the government’s proposed budget. I know that this budget is disappointing but not surprising. Over the past four years we have seen this government make significant funding cuts in certain areas, and I know that although the government may call this budget the “corridor to prosperity,” we must ask ourselves: prosperity for whom? To me, this is a corridor to oppression. This is a corridor to colonialism. I say that because there’s such a focus on the Ring of Fire. I know that this government is not an ally to First Nations people. I know this government does not understand us. This government does not know our ways of life.

When the government speaks of reconciliation, the only type it wants to engage in is economic reconciliation. That’s the easy part—jobs. We must look at the government’s intentions critically and ask, is it economic reconciliation the government is after, or is it the exploitation of our lands and the resources that are in our traditional territories?

We see the government using the divide-and-conquer approach, the divide-and-conquer strategy, to develop the Ring of Fire. It has been done time and time again, over and over. That’s what colonialism does. That’s what colonizers do. They do this rather than seek the consent of all First Nations that are affected. They are working selectively, with only those who support the mandate.

When we talk about the Ring of Fire and projects like it, we have to remember that there’s always more than one perspective on it. If you listen to the questions the government asks itself in question period about this development, you only hear one of those perspectives. There are so many voices to be heard. One of them is Grand Chief Reg Niganobe, who reached out to me to further elaborate on comments which the member of Chatham-Kent–Leamington quoted yet neglected to add the full context to.

This is what he said: “Thank you for quoting Anishinabek Nation’s Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe on Monday, August 28, 2022, in the Legislature.”

The Grand Chief “expressed that mining and large-scale projects could move more swiftly, and I stress, with the full implementation of UNDRIP, as well as veto power for First Nations impacted by projects on their territories.

“This will ensure proper consultation, accommodation, inclusion, and equity in projects which impact First Nations territories.

“So will this government take into account his full statements and pledge veto power to Anishinabek Nation communities when projects are being proposed, considered, or staked in their territories?”

These are his words.

But also, I’d like to thank the government. I’d like to thank the government for reminding me that colonialism, oppression, still exists. I’d like to thank the government for letting us know as First Nations that you will divide and conquer—to whatever you guys want to reach, whatever prosperity that you’re looking for.

One of the things that I’ve learned, though: As people, we’ve always been here, for thousands of years. We are here today. We will continue to be here. But the more oppression you bring, the stronger we become as nations. So bring it on.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

M. Stephen Blais: Madame la Présidente, les Ontariens sont frustrés. Ils sont frustrés parce que les salles d’urgence ont été fermées. Ils sont frustrés parce que de plus en plus d’entre eux n’ont pas accès à leur médecin de famille.

Ontarians are frustrated because they know nurses and front-line health care professionals are overworked, underpaid and burnt-out as a result of this government’s crushing Bill 124. They’re frustrated because when they call 911, they are less and less likely to have an ambulance available to reach them quickly.

Ils sont frustrés parce qu’ils voient toutes ces choses et qu’ils voient leur gouvernement parler et parler et parler et ne prendre aucune mesure pour y remédier.

They’re frustrated because they hear their government talk and talk and take no action to address these issues.

Now, I’d like to take a moment to address the growing challenge of level zero here in Ontario. Level zero, for those of you who don’t know, is the complete unavailability of ambulances to respond to a 911 call. In 2021, Ottawa paramedics spent more than 49,000 hours in off-load delay at area hospitals. This resulted in 750 incidents of level zero—49,000 hours of off-load delay at hospitals, Madam Speaker.

The 90th percentile off-load delay was 97 minutes, far exceeding the 30-minute benchmark. That means that paramedics are waiting over an hour and a half to transfer their patients to hospital.

Plus que 90 minutes en retard à l’hôpital, madame la Présidente.

Now, that’s two paramedics and an ambulance stuck at a hospital because the hospitals are too backlogged to take them. That’s two paramedics and an ambulance not on the road responding to emergency 911 calls to save someone’s life.


In the first seven months of this year, Ottawa paramedics have experienced 1,125 level-zero events. In some cases, Ottawa has had 11 hours of continuous level zero—11 hours without an emergency ambulance available to respond. Imagine an ambulance not being available to respond to a 911 call when your spouse is having a heart attack or a stroke. Imagine it’s your child who has just fallen off the deck and is unconscious and unresponsive. Imagine that for a moment, Madam Speaker.

One in 10 people survive cardiac arrests that happen outside of hospital. One in 10—that’s it. With cardiac arrest, the odds of survival go down by 10% for every minute until a person is resuscitated. After 10 minutes, the risk of permanent brain injury is very, very high.

When my heart stopped, I was fortunate. The fire service was already outside dealing with a minor car accident, and they just walked into the gym. The paramedics were already on their way to respond to that car accident. I’m here today because of that fast emergency response, and I’m here today because the doctors and nurses at the Montfort Hospital had the time to spend with me.

The Montfort emergency room is one of the rooms that was recently closed. For a weekend, the emergency room closed. Why were they closed? Because of the health care crisis this government has created.

Now, it’s no mystery what would have happened to me had there been no ambulance to respond. It’s no mystery what would have happened had the emergency room been overcrowded or closed. It’s no mystery what would have happened: I would have died. That’s what would have happened, and that’s what will happen in Ontario if we do not address this problem.

Level zero isn’t just a problem in Ottawa; it’s a problem right across the province. It’s in Hamilton. It’s in the valley. It’s in the GTA. In fact, Madam Speaker, when there’s a level-zero incident in Ottawa, guess who we call? We call the paramedic service in the valley to come to Ottawa, leaving your residents without ambulances too. That’s how it works. We call the ambulances in Embrun and Russell as well. That’s your government. That’s your government not providing the funding. The province and municipalities pay for paramedics to be there for us. They don’t pay for them to be conducting hallway medicine in our hospitals—hallway medicine caused by the chronic underfunding of health care by this government, hallway medicine created and amplified by Bill 124, leaving health care professionals underpaid, overworked, burnt-out, and leaving emergency rooms in Ontario in a crisis. It’s time to make the health care investments that we need for our families, and to repeal Bill 124 and pay front-line heroes what they’re worth.

I don’t come just with criticisms of this government, because I could be here the entire 20 minutes. I come with a solution. The city of Ottawa is seeking $5 million in base funding to hire 42 new paramedics. These paramedics will be strategically deployed to emergency rooms at area hospitals so that the paramedics who arrive with patients can transfer them to these paramedics, who will be permanently stationed at the hospitals. They’ve requested $5 million in base funding from this government, and I hope that this government says yes. I hope the government chooses to get this done, because it’s imperative for families in Ottawa, it’s imperative for families across Ontario that ambulances can respond to 911, that they can get people to hospitals quickly, that those hospitals are open and have the capacity to take them and save their lives.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Dave Smith: When we’re talking about the budget, it’s a very large document that has a whole lot of stuff in it, and usually the government focuses on some of the key things that they want to talk about in it—and there’s a lot of good things in this one. We talk about eliminating the licence plate renewal fee. We talk about electric vehicles and our Critical Minerals Strategy. We talk about seniors’ tax credits so that they can stay at home. We talk about child care costs and reducing that for parents. We talk about some of the gaps that there are in education as a result of what’s happening with COVID—and there’s a lot of really good things in it. The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit—up to 20% for people who want to vacation here in Ontario; spend your money in Ontario, get the economy going. Those are all great things that we talk about in the budget, and the opposition focus on things that they want that may not be in it.

But, Speaker, there’s something that we don’t often talk about and it’s one of the tools that we, as MPPs, have. As members, all of us have the ability to introduce a private member’s bill. We can all craft some legislation that we would put forward, but you can’t have anything that commits government money in it. That’s not possible. But sometimes there are things that we, as members, are passionate about, that really got us here at Queen’s Park: things we’ve decided that we want to do, that we want to make better, and bills like the budget and the fall economic statement are ways that we, as members, can actually have influence on what the government does because we have the ability to go and lobby a minister.

I’m going to touch on a couple of things. Specifically for me, in my first year I was really active in our community with the special-needs community, involved with hockey, involved with baseball. A lot of the people I worked with helped me, and I said to them, “I’m going to do some things that are going to raise awareness, that are going to make a difference in your lives—small differences, but they make a difference.”

One of the things I was able to get in the first fall economic statement was Special Hockey International day. For those who don’t know, Special Hockey International is a hockey league designed specifically for those who have special needs. Ontario has hosted that tournament—it’s an international tournament—a number of times. And 2019 was the last time we hosted it in Ontario. Prior to that, it was 2016 and it was in Peterborough, and I was involved in it. I was able to convince the Minister of Finance at the time—again, I’m not allowed to say his actual name—that this was something good. It was something I was able to accomplish, just a small thing. It became part of the budget—actually, the fall economic statement.

I was appointed as special adviser to Ontario Parks at one point, and I did a great deal of work on a parks report. What came from that was two budget cycles later—just about everything that I had recommended was something that was implemented in our budget. It’s a way that we, as private members here representing our communities, can make that difference without having to be a minister, and it doesn’t have to be partisan. In fact, it’s not partisan in a lot of cases.

A story was relayed to me today by my good friend Jeremy Roberts, the former member from Ottawa West–Nepean. He talked about his time when he was working for the federal government, and how Jack Layton had this great idea and he went to Prime Minister Harper about it. He went to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty about it and pitched it, and they worked together across partisan lines.


Jack Layton’s idea was something that truly was not partisan: It was a way to help veterans turn their helmet into a hard hat. How could we get veterans who were leaving the armed forces into the skilled trades? How could we do something that would make it easier? That ended up being part of the budget; I believe it was 2011. A federal budget: a private member—opposition leader, actually—Jack Layton working with the finance minister to get something put in the budget that was completely non-partisan, that was in the best interests of not only the people Jack represented but the people every MP represented.

That’s a tool that we have in the tool box. We have that ability, then, to lobby the minister, to lobby the Premier, to work with the ministry to flesh out things that are going to make a positive difference.

We heard Jeremy’s story of why he got involved in politics, why he wanted to make a difference: Jeremy’s younger brother is on the autism spectrum, and there were some significant challenges that his family had gone through navigating the system and getting things done.

One story in particular—and I’m going to apologize to Jeremy, because I’m going to plagiarize a number of things that he has said and done. When his brother was 10—Jeremy was 14 at the time—they had gone into CHEO hospital, and there were some issues around behavioural outbursts with his brother. That’s not uncommon when you’re on the spectrum. When you’re far on the spectrum, it’s not uncommon for something like that to occur. They were working with the children’s hospital and, as Jeremy has relayed the story, they were talking to the doctor about it. He wanted to change the medicine, but they needed to speak to a neurologist, as well, to find out how that would affect Jeremy’s brother and whether or not this was actually something that was going to be good and have the desired effect. But they couldn’t talk to the neurologist right at that point, because that’s not how the system worked. At 14, Jeremy was dumbfounded by this and said, “He’s only three floors above. Why can’t we get together in the same room? Why can’t we have the same meeting?” The answer was, “Because that’s not how the system works.”

He was a very strong advocate for the autism community. The reason he got involved in politics was because of that: to try to make life better.

On page 128 of the budget—I just have to bring my laptop back up here so that I get the quote appropriately. On page 128 of the budget, there’s a line in there. It reads, “An example of a children’s health investment is $97 million over three years to improve the experiences and lifelong outcomes for more than 1,100 children and youth with complex special needs at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario”—CHEO—“Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and McMaster Children’s Hospital. Funding will support a pilot project for an integrated model to provide key health and social services, including hospital‐based assessments, access to interdisciplinary clinical teams, medical care and behaviour therapy.”

What it is, is a long way of saying, “We’re going to make it easier for those families.” We recognize that when there’s a child with a special need, that there are multiple diagnoses, there are multiple people you need to be working with. The way the system is right now, you are going to be working with multiple different divisions within the hospital.

I’m going to pivot a little bit to a personal experience. It’s been well documented that my daughter had cancer when she was four. We saw the nephrologist. We saw the oncologist. We saw a psychologist. We saw a urologist. And after treatment was over, we still had to see all of those individuals. It was about once a month that we saw them—four different departments in the hospital—and it meant we were coming up once a week, because there was no coordination of it. There was no way that we could get all of those different departments together.

You go through a traumatic experience, and the way our system was set up—fantastic medical support, absolutely the best. My daughter is alive today because of our health care system. There’s no question in my mind about that. We have, by far, the best medical professionals in the entire world, but the system is not designed to be focused around the patient, to be focused around the child or the family.

If you have a child with a special need, it’s not uncommon to have multiple different diagnoses, and everything is based on that diagnosis. The supports that are there are based on this diagnosis or that diagnosis, but there isn’t a system in place where they’re put together, where they work together for the needs of the child, the needs of the parents, the needs of the family.

This small paragraph—I’ll read it again, because I think it’s so important: “An example of children’s health investment is $97 million over three years to improve the experiences and lifelong outcomes for more than 1,100 children and youth with complex special needs at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and McMaster’s Children’s Hospital. Funding will support a pilot project for an integrated model to provide key health and social services, including hospital-based assessments, access to interdisciplinary clinical teams, medical care and behaviour therapy.”

For many parents across the province whose children are diagnosed with special needs, they’re shocked to learn that clinical therapies for the children are often not fully funded and, unlike other medical issues, special needs treatments are often funded through a web of social services and health care. It’s a challenge to navigate and access it.

This is a pilot project to show that we need to be focusing on the needs of those families and those kids. What we have said all throughout government, for the last four years that we were elected, is that we need to break down those silos. We need to make sure that things that are inter-ministerial are actually breaking down those silos. This is one of those prime examples, because you have the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, who looks after most of the funding for special needs, but there are health care components to it. What this pilot is doing is putting the Ministry of Health together with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and they’re working closely together and they’re jointly funding a project that, in the grand scheme of things—and I never, ever thought in my life I would ever say this: $97 million isn’t really a whole lot of money for a government. I never thought I would ever say $97 million isn’t a whole lot of money. It’s a $190-billion budget; $97 million is not a whole lot when you look at it from that perspective. But it’s going to make such a positive difference for so many different families.

The only reason it’s in the budget is because a former member decided to put his name forward, because of his personal experiences with how the system worked. That member had the tenacity to not accept “no.” He knew what the problem was. He had the lived experience with it. He saw how the system wasn’t working properly.

All of us, as members, find times where we feel like we’re beating our head against the wall talking to the bureaucrats on different things, because a government of this size with a budget of that much money doesn’t turn on a dime. It’s a massive, massive shift, and the way things are done. We hear that a lot when we introduce things.


I’m going to use one of our catch phrases, and the NDP is going to boo me for it and harass me and heckle me on it: Status quo doesn’t work anymore. You can’t just accept status quo. Jeremy Roberts didn’t accept status quo. He had an idea. It was the right idea. The idea was, focus on what the needs are of the families; focus on what the needs are of the kids.

How do we make it easier to get a better outcome? The system is the system. We’re not changing families. We’re not changing what’s happening that creates the environment of whatever it is. We can’t do that. But what we can do is, we can change the system. We can make it easier for families to navigate. Because when you find yourself in those positions—whether it is a special need, whether it’s a family illness, whether it’s some diagnosis that you don’t know anything about—your focus is on, “How do I deal with this? How do I help my child? How do I help my brother or sister?” That’s where your focus is.

This is one of those times where a private member has been able to get into a budget a pilot project that says, “How do we focus on the needs of that family? How do we focus on what is going to give the best outcomes for that child?”

In the grand scheme of things, it’s $97 million of a $190-billion budget. It’s a small victory. It’s not a victory for us. It’s that small victory for all of those families who have had to navigate the system, for all of those families who have found themselves in the position where their child, at two or three years old, was diagnosed with something that was outside of the norm of 80% of the rest of the population. It’s a change to the system for the better. It’s a small change, but the expression is, how do you eat an elephant at a barbecue? You do it one bite at a time. Government systems are a massive, massive thing. It’s very difficult to change the direction. It’s very difficult to make an adjustment. The system wants to continue with status quo.

But a private member, a member elected by his community who wasn’t a minister, said, “Status quo is not acceptable. This needs to change. We need to focus instead on the needs of the families, the needs of the children, the needs of everybody who is coming through the system.” We can make that change. It’s a small change, but it’s a change that is going to make a difference for every one of them.

By doing it as a pilot, it makes it small enough and nimble enough that we can try different things. We can see what’s going to work. We can see that maybe there’s going to be some challenges with it; maybe there are some things that aren’t going to work perfectly. By rolling it out by a pilot this way, we can do things to get it right. Because that’s why all of us have been elected, to make that positive difference for so many families.

I want to make sure that it is on record that my friend Jeremy Roberts stepped up and made a positive difference for all of these families. He made a change to the system that will benefit everybody, and deserves the credit for it.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: It’s an honour to rise on behalf of the residents of Toronto Centre today and to speak to the government’s budget bill, Bill 2.

With skyrocketing inflation, tenants need support from their government more than ever before: tangible supports to keep people housed, to keep them in their homes and out of encampments. But instead of helping, this government is actually hurting Ontarians, especially renters, by allowing rents to rise by a historic 2.5% this year. But despite these increases in recent years, the number of applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict tenants for renovations or repairs has actually surged.

This government has recognized this problem and made some moves to track when landlords apply for renovictions for their tenants. That’s good. However, the Toronto housing secretariat recently noted that a significant number of illegitimate evictions are still happening without documentation. The Toronto housing secretariat has called for a centralized data system on rental units, not to mention vacancy rent control. There is no funding of any sort for this kind of program in this government’s budget.

With skyrocketing inflation, vacancy rent control is the least expensive way that this government can curb the cost of living and help the most precariously housed in Ontario. But with such a growing backlog of cases at the Landlord and Tenant Board, I don’t see the measures in this budget to help those who are really needing the support. We need to be able to provide tenants the support that they need to get, and those laws are actually on the books, but they’re not being enforced.

So let’s speak about the laws on the books. I want to comment that there are no new measures in this budget to correct the problems facing Ontario’s tribunals. Ontario’s tribunal backlog needs investment, so that they can function at the level that Ontarians rightfully expect from their courts and government. The wait time for cases before the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Human Rights Tribunal, the Social Benefits Tribunal and Family Court are creating avoidable costs for my constituents, your constituents and businesses. I’ve heard about law firms now being worried about taking on additional family law cases, because the costs are so high and case completion times are so protracted that families now let go of their lawyers early, because they can’t afford to pay them. So we are finding that Ontarians are not getting access to justice.

Speaker, I do not see investments in legal aid in this budget, something that I understand, based on studies in other jurisdictions, has shown to be a net-neutral effect on government budgets, because investments in legal aid reduce the costs and prevent homelessness-associated costs and mental health costs. It allows for a more speedy resolution of complex cases, rather than having it fall into our judicial system.

Since 2018, this government has now subjected our legal aid system to years of cuts after years of cuts after years of cuts. This is having consequences that I’m being told mean that people in Toronto Centre and other communities are now finding that people are no longer able to get access to trials in a timely fashion, which means that cases that have underlying mental health or economic issues at their core will not be resolved, because the legal aid system is so poorly funded. From the limited information available to me as an opposition MPP, it seems that spending on justice is not even keeping up with the rate of inflation.

In 2022, in April, tenant representatives reported that tenant applications are being scheduled within nine to 10 months after they are filed. By comparison, only two years earlier, those applications took nine weeks to schedule—nine weeks, and now we’re at nine to 10 months. Those same reports note that eviction for non-payment of rent took seven weeks to schedule in the year 2020, but a year later, they’re now taking 18 weeks. This is the backlog this government has created when we don’t actually invest in the programs and we’re denying Ontarians access to justice. Literally everyone is stuck in the system—landlords, tenants, business owners, everybody—and they’ve got no place to go.

Again, while I do not have access to the detailed budgetary information which I need, but I don’t have, I also know that with respect to the Landlord and Tenant Board, CTV found out that the Tribunals Ontario business plan shows a shrinking operating budget, from $81 million in 2020 to about $63 million today. That is a defunding of $18 million over two years, which is the wrong direction to be headed in.


Delays in access-to-justice issues at Tribunals Ontario are connected to the following—and I’m going to try to summarize: the government depleting the overall skills and experience of the adjudicators at Tribunals Ontario by appointing in some cases, not all, poorly qualified adjudicators and by insisting on the removal of physical access points for service and in its place primarily digital service, which has left many Ontarians unable to assert their rights because of technological, language, disability and other barriers. That is a problem that has to be addressed. The Zoom hearing format is not suitable for the busiest and most litigious tribunal in the province, which is the Landlord and Tenant Board, which now further extends the time needed to adjudicate disputes. Legal aid clinics which used to routinely resolve their matters now are not able to do so, again because of the digital divide, because low-income Ontarians can’t get access to the Internet or stable Internet.

The duty of care is failing our residents. This is a problem that this government can fix by addressing it in the budget, but they’re choosing not to.

Legal Aid Ontario’s budget must be at least restored to its pre-pandemic level. That is the baseline where we need it to go. Otherwise, we’ll see more Ontarians fall through the cracks and fall on hard times that we’re not going to be able to resolve.

I’m just going to take some time to speak about what I’m seeing in the Statistics Canada recently reported data. This is important, because I think all of us care about safe communities. But what I want to flag for everyone here is that the budget is entirely silent on new funding when it comes to gender-based violence. And yet, at the same time, Statistics Canada is telling us that the rates of violence and incidents of violence have now gone up over 18% from 2020.

While sexual assault is underreported to the Toronto police, we need to see that survivors need support. A survey by the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres found that during the pandemic, what they saw was 81% of Ontario sexual assault centres saw a rise in crisis calls for their programs. Yet their funding has not moved for years—not under the Liberal government, not under the Conservative government. This budget, again, remains dead silent on new funding for gender-based violence. Not addressing sexual assault is costly. When the government does not invest in appropriate services, it costs taxpayers much more later on. Studies have shown this repeatedly.

This is the time to fix this budget. We are willing to work with you to fix this budget. There’s no reason to delay, especially when the needs of Ontarians are there for us to meet and yet we are failing to meet their needs.

So I implore you. You have said that you want to work across the aisle. I’m putting forward some solutions that, I believe, can be worked on. These are non-partisan solutions, but they’re solutions that get us to where we need to go.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Ms. Stephanie Bowman: I’m disappointed today. I’m disappointed that the Conservative government was not able to get an update done of this important budget document, first issued four months ago, when so much has changed around us. Interest rates have gone up. Inflation is soaring. The cost of food is soaring, and families are feeling the pain of that. There is an ongoing war in Ukraine, and many economists and individuals are worried about how we will weather these challenges. This budget document has few mentions of climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, two of the many great challenges facing our province and our country.

Ontario’s economy has weathered COVID quite well, thanks in large part to federal transfers for health care spending and growth in personal taxes from the revenues that federal programs like CERB and CEWS provided to workers. But we also need to prepare now for how a possible economic slowdown based on global supply chain challenges, rising interest rates and the cost of living could affect Ontarians. This means spending more now to prepare for transitioning workers to new jobs in new industries. This government has a history of underspending on education, including post-secondary education, and that is not a fiscally responsible approach to making sure that our workforce and our workers are prepared for the economy of the future.

This government also has a history of underestimating its overall financial results. While prudence and fiscal responsibility are admirable features of a budget, underspending on priorities—like health care and protecting our kids, our seniors and our most vulnerable—is not.

Take the latest year of 2021-22. The FAO projects that the 2021-22 budget will be $8.1 billion, versus the government’s deficit projection of $13.5 billion. That’s a difference of $5.4 billion. That money could have gone a long way if it had been spent on treating health care workers with respect and paying them a fair wage by repealing Bill 124 and not cancelling the 10 paid sick days implemented by the Liberal government that would have helped to relieve the staffing crisis our health care system is facing.

This Conservative government talks frequently about how it is working for the people of Ontario, yet in 2021-22, the Expenditure Monitor report from the FAO indicates that the government underspent from its plan: On children’s and social services, it underspent by $662 million; on K-12 students, it underspent by $284 million; and on post-secondary education, it underspent by $289 million. That money could have been spent to better support our students and education workers by providing better mental health supports, which were, and continue to be, much needed during the pandemic.

Given this underspending and strong revenue growth projections in the budget, I believe it is the responsible and moral thing to do to increase ODSP rates by 20%. It is within our fiscal ability, and it would greatly improve the quality of life some of our most vulnerable citizens are facing.

This budget still focuses on building a new highway, the 413—this government’s pet project—which paves over more than 2,000 acres of some of our most precious farmland, not to mention over 400 acres of the greenbelt, at a time when Ontario should be preparing for ongoing global food supply challenges. We’ve seen the cost of food rise in response to the war in Ukraine and many other global factors. The government has proposed the creation of a food security strategy, but is also proposing to build a highway which will pave over that fertile farmland and spur development on that critical land. So we see billions of dollars for highways, but a mere strategy for food security. That, to me, is not fiscal responsibility.

Let’s talk a little more about this highway. The Conservative government likes to say this project will save commuters 30 minutes per day and get them home to their families sooner, but data from their own ministry says otherwise. In May 2022, the Toronto Star reported, “That’s the promise that appears right at the top of the official website for the proposed Highway 413: The new highway will save commuters as much as 30 minutes each way when crossing the Greater Toronto Area.

“It’s an appealing message for commuters—and voters—but a Ministry of Transportation analysis obtained by the Star suggests it’s not true.

“That’s because the calculation doesn’t take into account the existing 407 ETR, a major toll highway commuters can already use. If that highway is factored in, according to a briefing note prepared Sept. 16, 2021, by a team of Ministry of Transportation officials ... as of 2041 commuters using the already-existing 400, 401 and 407 highways could cross the GTA 16 minutes faster than they could using the proposed Highway 413 alone.”

Madam Speaker, this highway will hurt our environment by adding greenhouse gases. It wasn’t fiscally responsible of this Conservative government to not pursue $1 billion in penalty payments from the 407 during 2020 and 2021—$2 billion that would have added to the treasury—and it’s not fiscally responsible to spend $10 billion on the proposed Highway 413.

Let’s talk about energy. We need sufficient capital investment to address our growing energy needs related to the thousands of new electric vehicles we’re building to go on those highways, especially as the Pickering nuclear plant is to begin decommissioning in 2024. The government is proposing turning Ontario into a green vehicle and clean steel powerhouse, but does not have a robust plan to produce the energy needed to see that transition through and is not committed to ensuring the energy that we create remains green. Expanding the use of electric vehicles will require an estimated 26 million megawatt hours by 2042. The Pickering nuclear plant is 14% of our energy supply. The government plans to replace electricity from Pickering with emitting sources. New energy that is not clean energy is not good for the air we breathe, nor is it good for attracting companies that are looking for clean energy sources.

Education and innovation: In 2019, we saw a decrease in funding to post-secondary education of over 13%, or $1.5 billion. This was compounded by a further cut of $1 billion in 2020. We’re not projected to return to that funding level even in 2024. There is an opportunity cost to four years of cuts to the development of an educated and innovative workforce. The government understands the concept of vertical integration—their plan for electric vehicles does just that—but the most important thing that will help grow the economy of Ontario is education. Without strong, continuous and innovative primary, secondary and post-secondary education, we will not be able to attract and retain the innovative workforce and companies of the 21st century, the high-tech industry that we also need.


Madam Speaker, I’d like to also talk about transparency. Like Bill 7, which violates long-term-care patients’ rights, the budget bill has not gone to committee for review, but is being rushed through to a final vote without giving stakeholders and other experts the opportunity to speak to what’s in the budget and what is not. As the legislated budget deadline of March 31, 2022, was looming, the government changed the rules and passed legislation to allow it to present the budget a month later, by April 30, allowing it to follow the new rules it had set for itself by issuing the budget on April 28. We also have not yet seen estimates—that is, more detail on how the government will spend the money included in this budget.

The Auditor General, in her Review of the Pre-Election 2022 Multi-Year Fiscal Plan, made some statements of note that should be taken seriously: The “supporting documentation prepared by ministries was not as detailed as the information used to support the previous pre-election report in 2018.”

More importantly, she reports on some exceptions. Exceptions from an auditor are a big deal and should be taken seriously. Her report says the government’s multi-year fiscal plan “understated estimates of provincial revenue from corporate tax in each of the three years” by $1.5 billion to $3.4 billion in 2022-23 alone. It should be noted that she was right on this point for 2022. The government’s budget for corporate taxes was $14.4 billion, and the actual amount spent was $22.2 billion. This government could be spending that money, almost $8 billion, now to pay our health care workers a fair wage instead of asking the federal government for more.

Ontario is a wealthy province. We are rich in resources and rich in talent. We need to ensure that we deploy our vast resources wisely by protecting our environment, building a clean energy supply, investing in our future in a way that is environmentally and fiscally sustainable, by supporting our younger generations with an education system that allows them to grow and develop to the best of their ability, by working towards reconciliation with the Indigenous communities.

Instead of building unnecessary highways, let’s spend that $10 billion to build up our public health care, our public education, our environment, clean industry, social and mental support systems, to ensure we have a healthy, strong and vibrant society and economy in the years ahead.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Ms. Jessica Bell: I’m Jessica Bell, the MPP for University–Rosedale, and I rise today to speak about the government’s budget. A budget is not just about numbers; it’s a moral document because it affects our lives. It tells us who the government cares about and who they don’t. Here are a few things I noticed when I read through the government’s budget and how it affects the University–Rosedale community.

Number one: Education funding falls short. I recently looked at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ analysis of education funding and the state of education funding in Ontario, and the reason why I had to go to an outside source is because the government does not provide a clear indication of how they’re spending their money and when they’re spending their money. So we have to go to outside sources and our Financial Accountability Officer to get that data. Their assessment is that, over the past five years, the amount of funding that now goes to each student has dropped by $800 a student when you factor in inflation and enrolment. They looked at how much that affects each school, and they calculated that the average high school has lost $600,000 in funding over the last five years. This budget is part of that process.

It’s a reason why there is not going to be enough funding to hire enough education workers to help kids catch up and grapple with the learning loss that they face because of the pandemic. There’s not going to be enough funding for the community nurses and the mental health professionals and the social workers to help kids who are struggling, who need extra support. There’s not going to be enough funding to hire education workers and teachers in order to decrease class sizes to ensure that our kids get additional time with a teacher to help them learn how to read and write and excel at math.

It is a tragedy that we are not investing more in our public education system, because it is good for our kids, it’s good for our future, it’s good for women and parents in particular, and in the long term, it’s good for our economy.

I also notice—number two in this budget—the issue with health care funding. This government loves to talk a good game about how much funding they’re putting into health care and how many nurses are supposedly going into the system, but the reality is, in my riding of University–Rosedale we have critical care units at Toronto Western who cannot take new patients at certain times because they have staffing shortages. We have issues at SickKids, where they have a shortage of 15%. They’re short 15% of staff, and they’re short funding. And this is the pre-eminent hospital for children in Canada. We have issues where Toronto Western’s emergency room was at risk of closure—the MPP for Davenport raised this issue in the Legislature—because there wasn’t enough staff. That’s unbelievable that that is happening.

Number three, what I noticed in this budget: I deeply care about our response to climate change and how we can adapt and mitigate to climate change. There’s nothing in this budget that will seriously address the climate crisis that we face. There are no significant funding programs for energy efficiency, for building resilient cities, for funding transit operations so that we can improve the service and lower fares on the thousands of transit routes that operate across Ontario today. There is nothing in there.

There is funding for future transit projects, that will one day—2030, 2032—be built. But there’s also a huge amount of funding for highway projects that we just don’t need. Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass will not save commuters time, and they will cost upwards of $10 billion. That money should be invested into our health care system, into our education system, and it should be invested into climate change programs so we can adapt to the crisis that we are facing.

There are many other issues that I see with this budget. The minimum wage is not going up fast enough. It should being $20 an hour, because $15.50—with inflation at 7%, with rent at the rate that it is today—is not enough. It’s not enough to live on. And the social assistance rate increase of 5% is really an insult to the people in this province who are living on Ontario Works and Ontario disability. It is locking them into poverty, when they should be helped, not hurt.

I urge this government to do more for the people of Ontario and bring forward a budget that invests in education, in health care, in mitigating climate change, in investing in public infrastructure and to helping people who are struggling get a leg up.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: It’s an honour to rise today to participate in the debate on budget Bill 2.

Speaker, budgets are about priorities. They define who we are and who we want to be. And yes, I want to build in Ontario, but we have to build in a way that is strategic, sustainable and responsible, and this budget fails to meet the moment that we’re in, in achieving those criteria.

I’m going to focus in my limited time on three critical areas. The first is health care. The government talks a lot about building hospitals and long-term-care homes. Yes, I want those. Yes, we need a new hospital in Guelph and in many other communities. The bottom line is: If you don’t invest in the people who are going to run those hospitals and care for the patients who access those hospitals, they will not provide the care we need.

I wanted to see a budget—I believe the people of Ontario wanted to see a budget—that repealed Bill 124 and said nurses and front-line health care heroes can negotiate fair wages, fair benefits and better working conditions, that we could have fast-tracked internationally trained health care providers to address the chronic health human resource crisis we’re facing across our health care system. We could have invested in the 28,000 young people who are on a mental health wait-list right now that averages 18 months. Imagine: Imagine not being able to access care for your child for 18 months.

Secondly, investing in people is also about addressing poverty and housing in ways that take pressure off our health care system. We are forcing people in this province to live in legislated poverty if they’re on social assistance. Doubling social assistance rates would be the right thing to do, to bring them up at least to the poverty line, and it would help save Ontario $33 billion a year, which is what poverty costs this province.


Finally, Speaker, the biggest crisis of our generation is the climate emergency, and I don’t understand how a government, in the face of the fires we see, the flooding we see—the fact that just in the month of May, when we had an election campaign, we had people in northwestern Ontario being evacuated from their communities because of flooding. We had a storm that hit eastern Ontario which forced people to go two weeks without power, and we were already having extreme heat days.

As a matter of fact, a report just came out two days ago saying that the climate crisis is going to cost us, from an infrastructure standpoint, $139 billion over the next two decades. And yet, this budget proposes to spend $25 billion paving over the farmland that feeds us, the wetlands that protect us from flooding—protect us from flooding at no cost. We simply cannot afford in this province to continue to pave over the farmland that feeds us and the nature that protects us, if we have any hope of mitigating the costs of the climate crisis and leaving a livable, sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. That’s why I will be voting against this budget.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate?

Ms. Lise Vaugeois: I would like to focus my time today on talking about the failure to seriously address climate change and the lack of environmental protections in this bill.

During the previous Parliament, this government made significant changes to the province’s environmental policies: for example, a 70% funding cut to the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre, a 30% cut to the Canadian Environmental Law Association and a 100% cut to the Ontario Biodiversity Council. The budget of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks was slashed, and in 2019, without any consultation, the Ford government gutted the province’s 36 conservation authorities, removing their ability to protect crucial waterways and wetlands.

In November 2021, the Auditor General accused the government of deliberately undermining its own rules by not following the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights, by passing changes to environmental assessment procedures without consulting the public. These cuts were not about saving dollars. In 2018, the Ford government killed the Green Ontario Fund, which included 227 clean energy programs. Okay, they didn’t agree with anything designated as clean energy, but it cost the people of Ontario more than $230 million in fines and legal fees to shut down these projects, and then there was the enormous cost of taking cases to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, only to be found guilty of acting illegally by cancelling programs without public consultation. Note the pattern here of refusing to have public consultations whenever the government doesn’t want scrutiny of its plans.

Now, regarding Highway 413: The people of Thunder Bay–Superior North do not support the government spending billions of dollars on an unnecessary highway that will, not incidentally, pave over 2,000 acres of farmland, cut through 85 waterways, damage 220 wetlands and disrupt the habitats of 10 species at risk. Claiming that new highways will reduce emissions because there will be fewer idling cars is a case of magical thinking. Decades of research show that new roads do not resolve traffic problems in the long run; rather, they attract even more drivers with even more cars.

The government has also not been able to answer the question of how the food production lost through this significant loss of farmland will be replaced. The last environmental review of these highway projects actually took place in 1997, and it found that they posed significant risks to groundwater, surface water and air quality and were not worth pursuing. However, this government has exempted both highways from undergoing another full review before construction begins.

My concern is thus that while there are many projects to expand the development of natural resources, environmental protections have been gutted, leaving nothing in place to protect the land, trees, air and water that are also under our care.

Growth that doesn’t have environmental stewardship at its centre risks burdening present and future generations with the long-term poisoning that we have seen in Grassy Narrows and Indigenous communities in the Sarnia area. In southwestern Ontario, we had the devastating explosion in Wheatley that has drawn attention to the thousands of abandoned oil wells in the province, an issue the province is currently ignoring.

Climate change mitigation, environmental protections and respect for Indigenous rights needs to be baked into every single government project from the outset. Between this government’s silence on climate change, their record of abandoning injured workers while repurposing the WSIB as a cash cow for employers, and their record of dismantling environmental protections, I cannot support this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate? The member from London West.

Ms. Peggy Sattler: Thank you very much, Speaker. This is my first opportunity to see you in that chair, so I want to offer you my congratulations. It’s great to see you there.

I’m pleased to rise to offer a few minutes of comments on this bill, this budget that is before us today, on behalf of the people I represent in London West.

This week and last week I have been raising stories of people from my riding who are experiencing first-hand what the crumbling of our health care system means for them. Our home care system is broken.

I raised the story of Robin Floyd; her son was discharged from surgery with a drainage tube. He had to wait nine days before he had a home care appointment.

I raised the story of Kim Fowler, who is exhausted trying to care for her mother, who is at home with dementia and COPD—cannot get admitted into long-term care, PSWs regularly don’t show up. Kim is frantic with worry about what will happen if she herself gets sick and cannot get the care that she needs and her mother deserves.

Today I raised the story of Jane Berges; her husband Don was discharged from hospital and admitted to a private sector long-term-care home that did not have the capacity to care for him properly. He fell out of the bed in the long-term-care home, was readmitted to hospital and tragically died.

I hear regularly from constituents who do not have access to a family physician, whose only recourse if they or a family member are sick is to use our overcrowded and stretched-thin emergency services.

And yet this budget that is before us today does nothing to address these pressing problems in our health care system. It does nothing to repeal Bill 124 and make sure that our front-line health care workers are compensated fairly, they get the wages that they deserve and the benefits that they surely have earned. It does nothing to deal with violence in health care workplace settings. It does nothing to fast-track internationally educated health professionals at the rate that they need to be fast-tracked.

I hear the government talk about their plan to stay open, as if that plan is to ensure that the health care system is going to be there when people need it. But one of the most important things that this government could do if they want to stay open, if they want our health care system to be there for Ontarians, is to legislate paid sick days. We heard today from Dr. Moore that Ontarians are supposed to stay home until their fever clears, until their symptoms have improved—60% of Ontarians don’t have access to paid sick days. They can’t stay home if it means losing a paycheque, if it means not being able to pay the rent or put groceries on the table. And we know that for racialized workers, for Indigenous workers—they are highly more likely not to have access to paid sick days.

The other issue that is of grave concern to people in London West with this budget is the absence of any appropriate measures to lift people out of poverty. The minister talks about the LIFT tax credit, but more than 200 advocacy organizations have told this government that what we need is to double social assistance rates. Instead, we see a paltry 5% increase for ODSP and nothing for Ontario Works. That ODSP increase will mean $58 more a month, which locks people into legislated poverty.


There’s no mention of rent control for the many London West constituents who don’t know that when they move into an apartment that was built after November 2018, there’s no rent control whatsoever. They are being hit with double-digit rent increases, unable to know how they’re going to afford to continue to live there.

There’s no mention of the climate crisis and the need for strong climate action. There are many, many gaps in this budget that make it impossible for me to support it if I am doing my job on behalf of the people of London West.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Further debate? The member for Algoma–Manitoulin

Mr. Michael Mantha: Thank you, Speaker. I, too, want to congratulate you on being in that Chair. It seems like you know exactly what to say and how to identify the members. I tell you, that must really impress the Clerks’ table. That’s a talent that speaks for itself.

There’s no surprise in where I stand on the position of this proposed budget bill that this government has put forward, which I will not be supporting. There’s no surprise. What I want to do is bring a sense of what people in Algoma–Manitoulin were telling me when I was knocking on the doors, and what they’ve been saying for quite a long time. When I was knocking on doors, Speaker, it was health care. Then it was health care. Then it was health care. And then it was health care. They’re not seeing that—we’re not seeing that—in this bill.

Health care comes in a variety of ways. Where are the travel grant increases or the review that we’ve been waiting for? Where are the increased PSWs? Where are the doctor recruitment and retention programs that we need to get doctors? Primary care is absent in northern Ontario.

Also, on the doorsteps, there was nothing as far as the discussion, even when we were talking about the opposition—because there were other candidates who were going to the doors, I was hearing what they were bringing to the doors as well. There was nothing about Bill 7 when we were going to the doors, in regard to removing consent from seniors and being travelled from one long-term care home to another. There was nothing about that.

There’s a variety of things that should have been there. Health care in northern Ontario is imperative, because we have to travel long distances to get to specialists. So primary care is very important to our communities—communities like Wawa, Manitouwadge, Thessalon, Blind River, Manitoulin. Doctor recruitment is a challenge for us. It has been huge. The East Algoma Primary Care Work Team—we’ve been working with this government. I’ve walked over and provided them with a complete proposal on a path toward getting doctors in northern Ontario, or at least to the north shore in my riding of Algoma–Manitoulin, but it has been crickets. I have not heard anything from this government.

We look at this bill, and for the life of me, there are so many things that are in there, but there are so many things that are missing. Speaker, tell me how repealing the requirement that WSIB headquarters in Toronto, under schedule 6—how is that going to help an individual who is being penalized? Deeming is happening, upon them. They are losing their shirt off their back. How is that going to help? Why didn’t we put anything on eliminating the practice of deeming under WSIB within this bill? We didn’t do that. It’s not there.

Price-gouging: Gas prices have been ludicrous in northern Ontario. People have been paying high prices. This is what I was hearing quite often at the doors, where everybody was upset. Did we see anything in legislation that was contained in here? I remember, just before we went to the doors—we had a very nice exercise here this afternoon where we demonstrated a lot of the words that the Premier was using when he was first elected in 2018, on how he was going to bring in legislation and monitor certain individuals to make sure that price-gouging stopped. That didn’t happen.

Health care was also affected in another way in northern Ontario, because people are wondering, “How am I going to get to and from my appointments?” We have to use our roads, right? So the investment that this government has touted, putting $10 billion-plus into roads like the Bradford Bypass and the 413—well, heck, there’s 68 kilometres of Highway 69 that could be finished that this government didn’t put a dollar or a cent towards in this budget. We didn’t see that.

In my specific riding of Algoma–Manitoulin: 542 and 551. Those are roads on Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in this world. You would think it would be a strategy for this government to develop a tourism practice which would attract individuals to northern Ontario, whether it be cycling or just sightseeing, and provide good roads. Well, they did some resurfacing just a couple of weeks ago. Guess what I was informed of this morning? Those roads are already full of potholes—the deterioration. So the five-year cycle is already starting. I can see why the people are so frustrated on Manitoulin Island that this is wasted money, when they could have properly paved those roads, which would have lasted the test of time.

Highway 637 into Killarney: It is a disaster. For crying out loud, that’s one of the best tourism areas we have in this province.

Highway 548 on St. Joseph Island—again I’m very fortunate in my riding. I have two beautiful islands, gems on their own. But again, if we’re going to attract individuals to come to our community, let’s make sure that the infrastructure that is there is properly cared for.

There are many other things that are not in the budget. Why did they not legislate the 10 paid sick days for people across this province? Why wasn’t that done? The experts have been telling this government to do so.

Why wasn’t there anything in this budget on climate change, real action on climate change? There was nothing in this budget. We see what is happening. We see more forest fires. We see more floods. We see the impact that it’s having on our municipal infrastructure. Bigger drains, larger culverts are needed, but we didn’t see anything about that.

Donna Behnke out of Elliot Lake has been writing to me: “Mike, please get them to do something on ODSP.” I told her, “Listen, I hear there’s something coming in the budget.” A 5% increase, $58—my goodness, that is a slap in her face. Those were her exact words that she provided to me. That is an embarrassment. She says, “What am I supposed to do with that $58? Do they not know my rent went up $110? Do they not know the price of food has gone up? Do they not know how much money it costs me in order to get to the grocery store?”

There are many things that are missing out of this budget that should have been in here, and this government again has shown how disconnected they are with those who are not singing their song. If I’m not singing the song, then I’m not going to be part of the band, and a lot of people are feeling like that in Ontario.

I know I’m going to hear from this government, “The member from Algoma–Manitoulin did not support the budget,” and they’re going to quote the area that I didn’t support. You know what? That’s fine. My communities know well enough and they are informed of the game this government is playing. I look forward to the next four years because I will stand in my place each and every day and bring the voices of people across Algoma–Manitoulin to this Legislature.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): The member from Nickel Belt.

Mme France Gélinas: Thank you, Speaker. I, too, would have liked to see things in the budget that are not there. The first thing is in my riding. In Foleyet, they are at risk of losing their ambulance services because the district services board doesn’t have enough money to maintain an ambulance service to a community that is an hour away from the next town, whether it be Chapleau or Timmins. How could you fathom that in Ontario there would be a community an hour away from the nearest hospital without ambulance service there? This is what’s about to happen in Foleyet if the district services board does not get an increase to their budget. But it’s not in the budget.

How could it be that in Gogama, tomorrow, on September 1, there’s a chance that their—well, there’s not “a chance;” Their nursing station won’t have a full-time nurse practitioner, won’t have a collaborative physician. The good people of Gogama won’t have a nursing station anymore. They have had a nursing station for decades. This is how they access the health care system.

Do we see in the budget money to improve people getting access to health care through nursing stations? Absolutely not. But what we do see are things to help the for-profits, whether it be for-profit home care or for-profit long-term care.

I just had the courage to read the Sienna Senior Living report—their second quarter for 2022. I am happy—no, I’m not happy to report at all that they made $354 million in the first six months. That’s $180 million in the last three months out of their long-term-care portfolio alone. That’s $2 million in profit. That would be 110,000 hours of care more if that money had gone to care rather than going to their shareholders. But no, they’re happy to report that their revenue increased by 10.7% to $180.2 million for Q2.

Also interesting is that they issued this on August 11, and they already knew that the bill to force people into the long-term-care home that they didn’t want was going to come. Not only did they know this, but they used it in their financial statement to say, “Don’t worry, although we are only at 88.5% average total occupancy in our long-term-care homes, we know that we will be at full occupancy to get the full amount of money, because we were made whole during the pandemic.” Although they’re supposed to have 97% occupancy to get full dollars, they were made whole. Now that the government is stopping this on October 1, they told their shareholders, “Do not worry, we will continue to be full; although we’re only at 88.5%, we will be at 97%,” because they already knew that the government was going to pass a bill that would force people to go into a long-term-care home that is not of their choosing. So that they could maintain, or even increase—rather than making $60 million a month, maybe they could make $65 million a month on the back of frail, elderly people who do not get the care they need in those long-term-care homes.

I could go on and on, Speaker. But the fact is that we will be voting against this budget because we want care to be based on needs. We want the taxpayers’ money to go towards the care, not the shareholders who make hundreds of millions of dollars, who are willing—it’s on the website, so anybody can go and see it. Sienna Living: Type it up and you will see they’re very proud of the $354 million that they made in the first six months. The $180 million—$151 million that they made in the last three months out of our long-term-care homes. I am not proud of that, Speaker. Not at all. And forcing people to go into those long-term-care homes so that they can continue to make millions of dollars is wrong.

I’ll be voting down that budget.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Pursuant to the order of the House dated August 29, 2022, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Bethlenfalvy has moved third reading of Bill 2, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various statutes. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed?

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

A recorded vote being required, it will be deferred until the next instance of deferred votes.

Third reading vote deferred.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): Orders of the day? The Minister of Energy.

Hon. Todd Smith: No further business.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Patrice Barnes): There being no further business, this House is adjourned until tomorrow at 9 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1724.