43e législature, 1re session

L038B - Mon 5 Dec 2022 / Lun 5 déc 2022



Monday 5 December 2022 Lundi 5 décembre 2022

Progress on the Plan to Build Act (Budget Measures), 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la progression du plan pour bâtir (mesures budgétaires)


Report continued from volume A.


Progress on the Plan to Build Act (Budget Measures), 2022 / Loi de 2022 sur la progression du plan pour bâtir (mesures budgétaires)

Continuation of debate on the motion for third reading of the following bill:

Bill 36, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various statutes / Projet de loi 36, Loi visant à mettre en oeuvre les mesures budgétaires et à édicter et à modifier diverses lois.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Further debate?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: I’m pleased to be able to stand in my place and add a few more comments, actually, on the fall economic statement. I say “a few more” because I was able to share some voices from Oshawa, as I like to do, the last time that we debated. It has now been through the committee process out the other side and here we are finishing up this conversation, but this is a conversation that is by no means finished because when we’re talking about the fall economic statement, which you can think of as a bit of a budget, it is the government’s priorities that we are standing and discussing. So I wanted flag a few things that are not just missing but that are missed opportunities.

I’ll start out with health care and education—big topics in all of our communities. Whether you live in Oshawa, Niagara or Brampton, folks are concerned about health care, the wellness of their loved ones, and they are concerned about their public services—health care, education. They want public dollars not just to go into those services, but they want the services to be strong. They want to be able to turn to health care in their time of need and have it be what keeps them healthy and well, not waiting in the hallways, not worried at home when there’s no room for their children to receive the supports or services that they need.

Something that we don’t see, talking about the fall economic statement and comparing that to the FAO economic and budget report from October, the government will be short about $6.2 billion in health, $1 billion in education, and $360 million in colleges and universities through 2024-25.

Health care spending and planned increases fall far short of what is needed to address the crisis. You could talk to any neighbour in your community—not everyone speaks the language of government, but everyone speaks the language of care and need and that personal connection. We all heard the story of, or we love, someone who has not been able to get the services that they needed. So not investing what is required is doing everyone a disservice.

This government states they’ve added a whole whack—almost 12,000—health care workers since 2020, but when we talk to CUPE, they say that 47,000 new health care workers are needed to be hired per year for the next three years to maintain—just maintain—current service levels. So we can dicker back and forth about the numbers, but it’s the service that is at the heart of this and that’s what we need to aim for: the service standards and the levels of care.

I want to read part of a letter, and it’s quite a long letter so I will just share some of the highlights. And because it’s sensitive, I’m leaving out her name, but this is someone who shared this:

“My 12-year-old child was admitted to hospital.... The medical team told me if she went home, she could die in her sleep despite ‘looking fine’ her heart was failing. She remained in hospital for 19 days.

“Her recovery is short of a miracle. I am beyond grateful for the medical” staff “who worked to save her life. However, this medical team did not have the support it required to work efficiently. My child had to be on a heart monitor 24 hours a day. Most of the heart monitors were damaged or not working properly. On her last day at hospital, they did not have sufficient thermometers. On her follow-up this week, we were told there was a shortage of paper cups in pediatrics. Explain to me how a hospital runs out of thermometers? Explain to me how a child that requires a heart monitor asked her mom ‘It doesn’t work well, am I going to die?’....

“Upon being discharged from hospital, we were told that ‘public care outpatient treatment would take at least six months.’ For non-urgent care, the wait-list is 18 months. Private care treatment is possible. However, it is cost-prohibitive and I will find a way to care for my child. Even if it means going in debt. Because we do what we have to do to save the lives of our children.

“I pay taxes in Ontario. Yet, I will have to dish out money to find care for my child.”

She went on to say: “When we were in the ER, my child was assessed in a hallway due to the urgency of her needs. There was no privacy. I did not care about privacy. I wanted them to save her life. Then, we were placed in a holding room with two adults who were screaming in pain. My child was terrified. I explained that I would not leave her side. I would be with her. Again, the medical teams are not to blame. They are doing what they can. There was even one patient sleeping on the floor.

“Premier Ford, how can we, in the province of Ontario, one of the richest provinces in Ontario, do this to our residents? How? You are wealthy enough to be able to afford private care. I am not.... I urge you to find a solution before other children get ill or die.”

There’s a lot more to that letter, and there are a lot more letters like this, and most of us who check our email know that.

I will say as well that a conversation we have a lot in here but we’re having out in the streets is about nursing. I was visiting some family friends that I haven’t seen in awhile, and our political stripes do not align. I will politely leave it there. But for long-time, lifelong, die-hard Conservatives, as these family friends are, for them to be so angry at this Premier because of the decisions around nursing—because they have a child who’s a nurse and they are seeing, up close and personally, what it’s like in terms of the working conditions and the disrespect. This is political because it’s personal, and personal is always political, but it is fascinating to hear true blue, super Conservatives saying, “Not that man, not again. Look what they’re doing to nurses. What’s next?”

Everyone has a button, and this Premier in this province and this government keep pushing those buttons, and rather than investing in the care and in the front-line services—I mean, they’re playing footsy with developers. They’re doing all sorts of other things that they would prioritize, but real people in need? Not so much.

I’ll read a letter here from Samantha, who says:

“Thousands of job vacancies remain unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled nurses available and willing to do the work under unfair working conditions. Unprecedented backlogs of surgeries and other procedures can’t be cleared without proper investment in publicly delivered health care.

“People with urgent care needs are waiting longer than ever, with some overstretched emergency rooms having to close their doors and send patients elsewhere.

“These challenges are the result of underfunding and unfair legislation like Bill 124 making it harder than ever for our public health care system to retain and recruit nurses and health care professionals.

“This situation isn’t sustainable. Nurses, who pride themselves on being able to push through adversity, are openly talking about their exhaustion, their frustration and their anger at the way they are being treated. Conditions are only getting worse as more and more burned-out nurses and health care workers leave their jobs, driven out by government disrespect and untenable working conditions.”

The front page of our paper—this is going back a couple of weeks, but still true:

“Lakeridge Health Hammered by Staff Shortage

“If you think Durham’s hospitals are short-staffed, its emergency rooms are taking longer to see patients and its remaining staff are burned out, you’re absolutely right.

“Lakeridge Health is being hit by a tsunami of impacts—nearly all having to do with staffing pressures—that are hammering the patient health care experience.

“Whether it be nurse-to-patient ratios or inability to off-load patients at the emergency department from paramedics due to a lack of staff availability or longer waiting times in emergency—again due to lack of staff—the problems run rampant.” Speaker, we remember in our neck of the woods during the summer when the Lakeridge Health Bowmanville ICU was forced to shut down for six weeks. They’re no longer shut down, but it’s quite remarkable to have an ICU shut down because of lack of staffing. Hospitals are making, I would argue, impossible choices.


Here’s another one from someone named Angie who wrote to me about agency nurses, about private nursing. She said, “People with urgent care needs are waiting longer than ever.” She also said Bill 124 is making it harder for folks: “We need more full-time nurses and less reliance on overtime, agency nurses, and part-time workers. We need to prioritize nursing education, so we have enough young nurses to meet the demands of our aging population. And we need meaningful retention strategies to keep skilled nurses in the profession. This must start with repealing Bill 124.”

Well, didn’t we hear that recently from the courts? And this government is going to appeal. They’re going to fight that, which is the wrong thing to do.

Back to that conversation, Speaker: I referenced that I had a bit of a heart-to-heart with some folks that, politically, I would say I’ve been out of step with for a long time. But some of the things we could all understand was the fact that—whether it’s this Conservative government or some others, the broader community seems to think that Conservatives can do math and make good decisions about money or would stand up for businesses and competition. Well, we have hospitals, like Lakeridge Health, and all of you have hospitals, who are not allowed to decide what they pay their nurses. They can’t bargain. They can’t dicker over how much. They cannot choose to pay their nurses more to retain them. They are not allowed, because Bill 124 is a wage cap; it’s keeping your foot on that balloon so it can’t go anywhere. There is no room to manoeuvre. But private nursing agencies out in the community are allowed to pay nurses whatever, and when the hospitals have no staff—they don’t have what they need, they’re running so short—they’re forced to pick up the phone and call these private agencies and say, “I need this many nurses.” And the agencies can charge them whatever, and the hospitals are being held hostage and have to pay whatever. The hospitals get their money from the provincial government, basically, right? I’m oversimplifying the pathways here, but the province is fine with the hospitals having to practically pay ransom. But they are not fine with hospitals being able to figure out what is fair for them to pay their own employees.

Imagine going into any other workplace and saying, “You’re not allowed to pay your employees what you determine is fair.” This, from a Conservative government that’s—well, any Conservative government. It doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit, and people are realizing that. That was part of the conversation: Nothing makes sense right now.

I had a conversation in my area, where some of the local Conservative folks that I have a decent rapport with, as is true with some of the folks in this space, have said, “Is there not an adult around the Premier right now?” Is there no one advising him when it comes to decisions that are impacting municipalities, that are going to see our property taxes shoot through the roof because of the ability for municipalities to no longer get those development charges and decide how to spend them? Money has to come from somewhere to provide services in a community.

This government is playing all sorts of neat games that are ticking off a lot of their base, eh? It’s quite interesting, and to have those conversations in our community—I know the Conservative members are having those conversations with their folks too. It cannot be comfortable. I do hope that you find some adults to surround the Premier. That’s what I’m hearing is needed in the communities, just to break it down to that. But what’s needed in this bill—let’s get back to that.

We’ve talked a lot about education. Here was a note from someone who is a school secretary. It said, “I’m the first point of contact for every parent and student in a school with over 900 elementary students. Every injury or illness, every forgotten lunch, every visitor comes through my office. I’m responsible for unlocking the door to these visitors—the security of the school rests on me. And yet the Ontario government makes me feel unimportant, hated, and greedy for asking to earn enough to feed my family, put my daughter through university one day, or save something for retirement.... It breaks my heart to think of leaving a job I love, but I have to take care of my family and future.” And that’s from a secretary named Jennifer.

We have had lots of conversations, and I know that the government and the education workers are moving forward in a positive direction with the deal, and I think we’re all grateful for that. But it’s the reminder that there are real people impacted by government decisions who are not just being disrespected, but are hurting.

When I stood in this House earlier in this debate, in this process for the fall economic statement before it went to committee, I talked about ODSP and I talked about people who are hurting and the fact that there are some positive changes. I concede that, absolutely, there are positive changes in the fall economic statement when it comes to ODSP. But it won’t impact all that it should.

We would have liked to have seen a doubling of ODSP rates. That would make a real difference to real people: people who can’t find safe places to live that they can afford, folks who are celiac but can’t afford gluten-free food to keep from getting sick. There are people who can never stock up to save money or shop when things are on sale because they’re forced to buy what they need when they have the money.

It is a very different way of living than for most of us, and for many in the community. But it is a challenging way to live, and I shared some stories from people and I got this letter. So it turns out, Speaker, some people do watch the Legislature—not just our loved ones or staff, but real people do tune in from time to time. I got this letter:

“As I write this I am watching you on” the legislative channel “and was thoroughly impressed with your answers and presentation. I wanted to share my story with you.

“I’m a 37-year-old guy that has survived a multitude of health scares and health issues, such as kidney cancer and a non-cancerous brain tumour that, even though it is not cancerous, has thoroughly destroyed my life.

“I have had four operations and two rounds of 28 sessions each of radiation and gamma knife radiation. I live in some form of pain and because of this I have to take at least four tablets of Tylenol a day just to deal with the headache pain.

“I have tried to apply for ODSP and was told that because I followed the rules and saved my money when I started working to one day have a retirement, I have too many assets. I turned and applied to CPP disability and was told that I was not disabled enough, which I have since September applied and I am still awaiting an answer.

“The system is broken and is in desperate need of being fixed. I hope brave people like yourself can help other people navigate a system that” helps people and doesn’t “punish people for trying to live a ‘normal’ life.

“Keep fighting and thank you for” what you do. That’s from Jamie.

There are just folks out there who are looking for help, who are looking for support, who are looking for respect. And sometimes, unfortunately, they just are not helped.

I raised an issue in here the other day. Gloria is a senior in my community. She reached out to my office. She is a low-income senior. She called because she was trying to make an appointment to get her teeth fixed, but she was told she doesn’t qualify anymore for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. She had qualified. In fact, she had actually received services in the past, went back to make her next arrangements and, surprise, no longer qualifies. And that is because the federal government increased payments to low-income seniors. They increased CPP payments—not by enough, but by just enough that it knocked out all of those low-income seniors who formerly qualified. I won’t say “all.” We’ll wait to see how many have been knocked out.

Once you qualify for the program, by the way, the government—it’s something that they have done, and I thought that they were proud of, to provide dental care to the really low-income seniors in our community. But quietly—once they qualify, it’s good for a year, and now what’s happening is people are going back at the end of that year, and rather than just a rolling eligibility that continues, Gloria was bumped out by what works out to be about 18 bucks a month. She’s bringing in that much too much from this federal bump that now she’s too rich by $224 a year, so she can’t get dental coverage anymore.

The province hasn’t adjusted the threshold, but they do know about it. So she’s been cut from the program and all of these other super-low-income seniors are going to find out that they’ve been bumped as well. I’ve asked this government to make that change, to bump the threshold back, to allow them to qualify again—I mean, arguably to make it so more people can; more seniors should have what they need.


But anyway, that’s the kind of thing—I don’t see that in this fall economic statement, and that’s not a lot of money. You guys said you were already budgeting to help seniors with their teeth, low-income seniors, through the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, and now the lowest of the low-income have been bumped out quietly because of this minute federal increase, and you guys—I guess the government is just fine to let that carry. Are you hoping that they won’t call because they’re in too much pain? I think it’s awful, and I’ve raised it before. It’s something the government is well aware of.

I also received a letter, and I shared it last week, from Don Leblanc, who had written to me: “I had to see my doctor because I was having troubles with feet/ankles and my balance, dizziness. I got my mail today and in it is a bill from Alpha Laboratories for $30.... I am at a point where I do not have $30 to spare for anything.” And he told me about having to put down his cat, and he talked to me about his liver issues. He’s having a rough go, and I shared his story, and I will let that stand for itself.

But I’ll share the follow-up, because we reached out to him to figure out exactly what had happened, as we’re talking about health care privatization and these creeping fees and surprises for people. He said, “The blood was taken in” my doctor’s “office, and then he sent it away. I do not recall them telling me about any charge associated with it.

“$30 doesn’t seem like much, but it is to me. With groceries and rent taking most of my pension, very little is left. I really thought that this month was finally coming together....

“This is a reason seniors are stopping going to hospitals and seeing their doctors.

“Thanks again,


Surprise: $30, and $30 is a lot, like he said, to people who don’t have it.

Speaker, I have a lot more that I would be glad to talk about, and perhaps during questions and answers I’ll have the chance to share some of that, because I’m hearing a lot from people in my community, and all of their voices are worth sharing in this space.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Ms. Christine Hogarth: I want to thank the member opposite for her comments on the bill. You made a comment with regard to ODSP of positive changes, and I appreciate you making that statement. With those positive changes there will be more money that people will be able to keep in their pocket, and their exemptions will be from $200 to $1,000 per month. This is a game-changer. Just as you were saying, it’s a game-changer to these people on ODSP.

We want people to work. We want people to feel the power of having a job, and I think that is so important for everyone, to be able to get up in the morning, get dressed, get out there and have that fulfilling job. With these comments and with this increase to ODSP, will the member and her party be supporting this bill?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: As far as the ODSP, I’ll repeat what I said, that the positive changes are indeed positive. The earnings from $200 to $1,000 a month is significant. The cohort is small; the people impacted by that will be grateful. That is a real change.

But there is no new money for social assistance recipients beyond the inflationary increases, right? There is no new money—and we weren’t expecting any, frankly, but there is no new money—for Ontario Works.

You have to understand, though, that there are a lot of other things that government could do. When the member talked about, if it’s employment or differently contributing in their community, the positive outcomes we want to see for people, let’s also see the transit investment, because these are folks who you want to be able to get to those jobs. They need to be able to afford the transit. It all has to be interconnected. This government keeps missing the boat, so to speak.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Chris Glover: I just want to follow up on the question from the member from Etobicoke–Lakeshore about ODSP. This government keeps boasting about their historical investment in ODSP. ODSP is down 7% relative to inflation during this government’s time in here.

This week we had Amir Farsoud in the Legislature. Amir applied for medical assistance in dying because he cannot survive on the ODSP rates, and there are other reports in the media. There are 216 people who died of homelessness in the city of Toronto alone, let alone the number of deaths in the province.

My question to my colleague is, why do you think this government just doesn’t get it—that they’re letting people die on ODSP and Ontario Works and they’re not raising those rates so that people can actually live?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Sometimes in this space, we—there’s a lot of hyperbole that can be in this room, but I will say to the member that is not hyperbole. When we are speaking to people in our community and we know that they have no hope anymore—not only do they not have a home or a safe place to live with any kind of predictability, many of them are out of hope, they’re out of options, and there isn’t a quick fix. In fact, I’m going to read—I got this from George Alphonso, who wrote to me and said, “I’ve written to a couple of MPs in the past, and not one of them has had the decency to reply.... I’m not one to complain ... about every little thing, but lately I feel compelled to reach out and voice my concerns.... We are on a fixed income. The cost of everything is skyrocketing out of control, but our income cannot keep up....

“Jennifer, I know everyone wishes they could wave a magic wand and make everything better (wouldn’t that be nice)?”

People don’t know where to turn. They turn to their government for support, but they also turn to their government for compassion and understanding, and that also is not in this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Rick Byers: I thank the member opposite from Oshawa for her comments. She mentioned a range of subjects in her remarks including education, health care and, in the Q&A, transit. I wanted to bring her attention to page 8 of this lovely document which highlights a few numbers that are significant on this side of the House, we believe, as noted: health care spending, up $5.6 billion, to a record $75.2 billion; education, up $3.4 billion, or 10%, to $32.4 billion; transit, $60 billion over 10 years. I’m asking the member, are these numbers not big enough to secure your support on Bill 36?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: So if he’s going to read from that, I’m happy to read from the FAO Economic and Budget Outlook, fall 2022:

“Government spending plan contains funding shortfalls in every program sector, offset by historically high unallocated contingency funds.

“Compared to the FAO’s spending projection, the spending plan in the 2022 Ontario budget contains funding shortfalls across all program sectors, which total an estimated $40.0 billion over six years. However, the FAO estimates the government’s spending plan includes $44.0 billion in unallocated contingency funds. The province will need to use these contingency funds to address the program sector shortfalls identified by the FAO, or make program changes to achieve its sector spending plan targets”—etc. etc.

There is so much room for investment in care, and the government chose not to. So what page is that on, the explanation as to why haven’t you cared?

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: Thank you to the member for her presentation. I’m very interested in your thoughts about the growing level of poverty, homelessness, the growing lineups for food banks that we’re seeing right across Ontario, in small communities, northern communities and in urban centres. And in particular in this past fiscal year, what we’ve seen from this government is that they’ve cut $85 million from the homelessness program. In your opinion, will that actually put anybody into housing? Will that reduce the lineups for food banks? Will that actually stop people from becoming homeless?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Obviously, no. Something else that we’ve talked about—we talk a lot about housing right now. You know, the government has bills that they would say are about housing. I would say that they’re about PC donors getting stupid rich, and we won’t see the housing that’s been promised. We can’t. You’re hamstringing the municipalities. We’re seeing housing starts at an all-time—at a low, at a low, at a low. The housing is going to be a problem. It’s not coming. These bills are not making that change, but also, when we’re talking about the fall economic statement, the government has failed to increase support for tenants on affordable rental housing, failed to increase funding for homelessness. Instead of funding, they’re cutting, and that creates problems not just for those individuals—unimaginable struggle—but across our broader community. It is all interconnected. You have to approach things with compassion and thoughtfulness.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

MPP Jamie West: One thing we keep talking about in this is affordability issues and the fact that people who are on OW and ODSP social assistance can’t make ends meet. Now, the government continues to talk about the 5% increase and tying it to inflation and that the 6% of people who are able to work on ODSP will be able to now go up to a maximum of $1,000. I was just wondering if the member from Oshawa could talk about affordability and what it means for people on OW and ODSP who are living so far below the poverty line and how it affects their lifestyles.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Okay. During COVID, some folks used Instacart, the delivery of groceries, and others were able to bulk-buy and stock up. That kept us—arguably it made a difference in terms of our safety and not having to be out in the community that often. But folks on ODSP could never afford to bulk-buy or stay home more often. They had to pay to take transit. They take more risks than others. They don’t have money to get that over-the-long-term discount, where you buy in bulk. They need to clothe themselves and their growing kids—kids who more often get bullied because they don’t have new clothes or well-fitting clothes. They deserve to be able to feed their family nutritious food and they can’t.

And by the way, a lot of folks shouldn’t have to be beholden to skeezy landlords who take advantage of their desperation. They want a phone. They don’t have access to a credit card. They have to pay higher rates, usually without data. And it goes on and on. The reality is, they can never get ahead. They can’t even keep up, and that is by design. So while we do see positive changes for some, what about for everybody else?

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Further debate?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: I’m happy to rise today in support of our government’s plan to build Ontario’s economy, address the province’s labour shortage and keep costs down for families and businesses like those in my riding and across Ontario. The last three years with the pandemic have caused a lot of uncertainty and upheaval in our economy, and we continue to face economic uncertainty as we move forward. Global geopolitical conflict, elevated inflation, rising interest rates and ongoing supply chain challenges continue to present unpredictability for our economy, our people, our workers and our businesses.

Speaker, our government recognizes that we are facing a difficult road ahead. That is why this government is working hard to ensure that the province is in a strong position to manage risks and a challenging global economy, while investing for the long term to build a stronger Ontario. I am pleased to discuss Bill 36 and the measures that are aimed at furthering these themes, as articulated in our fall economic statement.

This bill highlights the responsible, flexible and targeted approach that will benefit the families, the seniors, the students, the workers and the business owners across our province and in the riding of Simcoe–Grey. Our seniors built this province, and for that we owe them our thanks, our acknowledgement and our support. But the high cost of living and uncertainty has caused our low-income seniors to fall behind. That is why our government is proposing to double the Ontario guaranteed annual income support—or GAINS—payments so seniors can receive a maximum increase of almost $1,000 per person for low-income seniors per year. These proposed amendments would temporarily double the payment for all recipients for 12 months, starting in January 2023.

The act provides a monthly payment to eligible low-income Ontario seniors. Currently, the maximum payment per eligible person is $83 per month. Under the proposed legislation, the maximum payment would be doubled to $166 per month, meaning many seniors will now be receiving extra supports in 2023. This measure, if approved, would help 200,000 of Ontario’s lowest-income seniors mange their costs. We’re also committed to introducing measures to expand the eligibility of GAINS in the future, to ensure that more seniors who need financial help get it.

Speaker, our government also understands that families and businesses are feeling the financial pressures. That is why our government is also proposing to extend the cuts to the gasoline tax rate and diesel fuel tax rate. In April, our government passed legislation to temporarily cut the gasoline tax rate and fuel tax rate to nine cents per litre, which took effect on July 1, 2022. On January 1, 2023, both taxes are scheduled to revert back to their rate before the temporary rate reduction. We are proposing an extension of the cuts to the gas tax and the diesel fuel tax rates, and that means the rate of tax on gasoline and diesel would remain at nine cents per litre until December 31, 2023.

Extending these cuts would mean the households of this province would save, on average, $195 between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023. This temporary 12-month extension is part of our plan to help keep costs down for families and businesses in Simcoe–Grey and across our great province.

Speaker, as noted in the 2022 economic outlook and fiscal review, Ontario’s Plan to Build: A Progress Update, the government is providing Ontario’s small businesses with $185 million in income tax relief over the next three years. The proposed extension of the phase-out of the small business tax rate would benefit about 5,500 small businesses across the province. This is in addition to automatically matching property tax reductions for small businesses within all municipalities that adopt a small business property subclass.

We are also launching the Electricity Act—the clean energy credit registry, which, if approved, would boost competitiveness, attract jobs and provide businesses with more choice in how they pursue their environmental and sustainability goals, as enabled by the proposed legislation. Here, the proposed amendments would authorize the establishment or designation of a provincial clean energy credit registry by early 2023.

To support investment in the province and in alignment with Ontario’s low-carbon hydrogen strategy, the government is seeking approval for the legislative amendments that would allow the designation or establishment of the clean energy credit registry. The registry would track the transfer and retirement of clean energy credits from clean electricity generated and consumed across Ontario.

Our government is committed to attracting investment and bringing good manufacturing jobs back to Ontario. As has been said many times in this House, during the 15 years of Liberals on this side of the House, supported by the NDP, over 350,000 jobs went south. Since 2018, we’ve brought back that in spades, and we are increasing our competitiveness for this province and giving Ontario businesses another tool as they compete in the global marketplace, which is why our government is proposing legislation to launch this clean energy registry.

Speaker, our government is focused on job creation and economic growth, but in order to make social and economic progress, we also need to address the current historic labour shortages. There are over 387,000 jobs currently unfilled across the province. That’s 387,000 paycheques going uncollected, and 387,000 job opportunities that are sitting vacant, with the impacts on businesses, with the impacts on our market and with the impacts on our economy. Thousands of businesses are not able to meet customer demand.

That is why this government is focused on supporting job creation and economic growth by investing in skills training for job seekers. We are investing an additional $40 million in 2022-23, for a total of $145 million, for the latest round of funding in the Skills Development Fund, which will benefit job seekers across the province. This fund has already helped over 390,000 people take their next step in their well-paying, stable, long-term careers that are in demand in our industries.

We are investing an additional $4.8 million over two years, beginning in 2023-24, to expand the Dual Credit Program, which will encourage more secondary school students to enter a career in the skilled trades or in early childhood education.

In relation to the Securities Act, we are proposing to introduce rule-making authority to allow public companies to digitize access to certain financial documents. The amendments proposed here would provide the Ontario Securities Commission with authority to make rules enabling public companies to make certain documents, such as prospectuses or financial statements, accessible to investors online or on a central website. These rules would replace the current approach, which requires public companies to provide investors with either physical or emailed copies of prospectuses or financial statements.


As a result, under the proposed model, investors would have the option of requesting physical or electronic delivery of documents. It will also encourage companies to adopt a digital and environmentally conscious approach to engaging and communicating with investors. This amendment speaks directly to the recommendations made by the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce in 2020, and furthers this government’s commitment to modernizing capital markets in Ontario.

We are proposing amendments to the Pension Benefits Act to consult on pension funding and governance policies, to strengthen target benefit pension plans. Target benefit pension plans have been operating under temporary regulations since 2007, and they will expire in 2024 unless replaced by a permanent framework. These amendments will allow the government to work with stakeholders to develop a clear and fair framework for these pension plans, specifically around funding, governance and communication. This supports the government’s 2022 budget commitment and will provide employers, plan administrators and members with certainty, stability and confidence in their pension plans. The implementation of a permanent framework will also pave the way for more employers to offer workplace pension plans, increasing the opportunities for workers to save for their retirement.

The Legislative Assembly Act currently states that MPPs’ salary freeze ceases as of April 1 of the second fiscal year immediately after the provincial budget returns to surplus. As a result of the provincial surplus reported by the President of the Treasury Board in the public accounts of Ontario for 2021-22, the salary freeze would end automatically on April 1, 2023, triggering an MPP salary increase. However, we are proposing in this bill to extend the freeze indefinitely; until a further amendment is made to the Legislative Assembly Act, MPPs’ salaries will not be increasing at this time.

Speaker, through these uncertain economic times, our government has a plan. This bill and our 2022 fall economic statement clearly show that our government’s plan is a responsible, targeted approach to help the businesses, the workers, the families and the seniors in this province as we all navigate this period of uncertainty together and build a better future for Ontario. Speaker, this government is getting it done.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Chris Glover: Thank you to the member opposite for your statement today. This is really an important statement, because it’s the economic statement, and it’s an opportunity to actually do some real good. It’s an opportunity to invest in health care and education and end the crises in those areas, and this government is not doing that.

But it’s also an opportunity to bring an end to homelessness, and what we’ve seen in the FAO reports is that this government is cutting $84 million from funds that were to go to people experiencing homelessness, to bring an end to homelessness.

There are 16,000 people who are homeless in this province. About half of them have mental illness or disability. Why is your government not making the investments necessary to bring an end to homelessness?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: I want to thank the member opposite for the question. I can tell you that in my municipality of Collingwood, in a former life, during the pandemic, we put together funds to open a homeless shelter in our community for a span of three years. During the pandemic, the provincial government kicked in to assist those individuals in providing secure, safe accommodations where they each had their own room and access to safe, warm meals.

So I resist the proposition of the question that this government is not serving the homeless in Ontario. We have an extremely aggressive set of legislation to address affordability and housing in this province, and your side of the House is not supporting it. We believe it’s going to have a huge impact and it is going to reduce the homelessness in Ontario and address the housing crisis, and we stand behind that.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Trevor Jones: Speaker, could the member tell us how the proposed measures in this legislation fit into the government’s larger plan to address affordability issues in communities across Simcoe–Grey, towns like Collingwood, and across Ontario?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: Thank you very much to the member for the question. We know that families and workers and seniors are facing a crisis with affordability, and this government has always worked to keep costs down and put more money back into the pockets of the people of Ontario, whether it be by cutting the gas tax, providing licence plate sticker rebates or rental relief to low-income families and workers.

In these challenging times, this government is providing additional relief by proposing to extend the cuts to the gas tax until December 31, 2023, which, as I indicated in my speech, will save an average household about $195 during that same time period. We’re looking to help families manage the costs by increasing ODSP and increasing the amount that they can earn during their time on ODSP.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

MPP Jamie West: The member opposite was just talking about ODSP, so I want to ask about that. This is a concern for me. The poverty line is $19,930. If you’re on ODSP and you’re able to work up to the $1,000 in increased allowable earnings, and you get the 5% increase, you’re still $3,457.20 below that poverty line. How can the Conservative government say that this is a good thing to do to people who are living in abject poverty legislated by the Conservative government?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: Thank you to the member opposite for that question. This is my first term in this House, but as I understand it, our increase to the amount of ODSP is historic and unprecedented. Perhaps the members who have been here longer might answer the question about why it is that preceding governments for the last 15 years did little to raise the ODSP rates. We have done that. We have done it, and you can claim that it’s not unprecedented, but it is.

The fact that an unprecedented increase has happened that is indexed, and that we’re now increasing the amount that a person on ODSP can make while they’re on ODSP—I say that is unprecedented, and that shows this government’s compassion.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: My thanks to the excellent member for his speech this afternoon. I always appreciate hearing how he addresses with such wisdom the legislation that comes before this House. I was wondering if he could speak a little bit about value for money. We saw previous governments of different stripes spend a lot of money, but without a lot of results to show for that money, and so I’m wondering if perhaps he could speak to the importance in this bill of ensuring that the money that is spent is actually getting results for the people of Ontario.

Mr. Brian Saunderson: I appreciate the question. I do caution my friend that nobody has ever accused me of being wise, so thank you for that.

But I will say that looking at Simcoe–Grey as a microcosm, over the last four years of this government in office, we are seeing hospital projects move forward, both in Alliston at Stevenson Memorial, with a $6-million planning grant as they move into stage 3, which means that the next stage will be shovels in the ground; and the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital received $15 million on stage 1 approval and are working forward with an aggressive plan to build a new hospital that will serve the southern Georgian Bay region.

We’re also getting a new school to replace the Banting Memorial school down in Alliston, and they recently opened a new school, St. Cecilia, which is a Catholic elementary school. These are concrete actions that are happening by investments by this government, and we will continue to do that in the future.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: Thank you to the member for his presentation. I’m just interested in understanding the investment priorities of this government. There’s a history of underspending on services that Ontarians expect and deserve, and what we’ve learned is that the FAO has identified that there is less spending in key areas: $859 million in the health sector, $413 million less in education and $244 million less in children’s services. Why does this government have such a difficult time investing in the services that Ontarians deserve and need?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: Thank you to the member opposite for that question. I think my colleague from Grey-Bruce answered that question extremely well when he quoted from page 8 of the fiscal update about the significant investments in health care, in education and in long-term care that this government is making. We stand behind those investments.

Again, to contrast the previous 15 years: 611 long-term-care beds over a 15-year stretch, in an aging population. We clearly went into the pandemic underutilized. This government is committed to rectifying that, and you don’t turn an ocean liner on a dime, and so we’re making those changes.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Ms. Christine Hogarth: I just want to thank the member from Simcoe–Grey for his excellent presentation. It’s very exciting to see what this government is doing and has done. Over the previous session and now, we’re seeing shovels in the ground. We’re seeing schools being built. We’re seeing transit being built. We’re seeing hospitals being built. We’re seeing long-term care being built. This is unprecedented.


But the one thing I have a question about is keeping our costs down and getting people out of their parents’ basements. I know the opposition party, the party of no, wants kids to stay in the basements forever, but we want kids to live on their own, build their houses. But to do that, they need a job. So to do that, I’m wondering, how will this government’s legislation support the government’s efforts to address the labour shortage in Ontario?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: Thank you to the member right in front of me for that great question. This government is committed to establishing the Skills Development Fund, which will support innovative training projects that upskill workers and job seekers, including apprentices, preparing them for meaningful careers.

The first two rounds of the funding delivered 388 training projects, helping more than 393,000 Ontarians take the next step in their careers in in-demand industries. We are committed to increasing that funding by an additional $40 million in 2022-23, which will bring the total to $145 million for the latest round of funding. This is prioritized on training and retraining Ontarians so that they have the skills they need to get a strong economic future, so that they can plan for the future, so that they can eventually buy a home.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): A quick question, the member for Brampton North.

Mr. Graham McGregor: Our government has put a pretty ambitious plan forward to help people with some of the cost-of-living issues that they’ve seen. We’ve seen $120 in licence plate stickers back into drivers’ pockets. We’ve seen the gas tax extended—which is going to help all the drivers in my riding, and I suspect all the drivers in the member’s riding—and then, recently, another round of the catch-up payments, which is putting money back into parents’ pockets to help them with their expenses.

Now, I’ve always believed that people know how to spend their money better than governments do. Taxpayers know how best to spend their money, not politicians sitting in Queen’s Park. Does the member agree with me?

Mr. Brian Saunderson: Yes, I do. That is the Conservative [inaudible]. We want the money in the hands of our public, so that they can invest it as they see fit. They know best what their needs are, and they will make the investments that best suit them.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I appreciate the opportunity to rise to speak at third reading of Bill 36, the government’s fall economic statement. Speaker, I want to make a real clear point to the people watching today: The fall economic statement is an opportunity for government to respond to changing circumstances, to maybe shift gears on a few things and deal with emerging, urgent issues, and I can’t think of a more urgent issue right now than the crisis we’re facing in our health care system.

Over the summer, after the budget came out, we had emergency room closures, and right now we’re experiencing pediatric ICUs overflowing. We have paramedic services backed up—

Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: The climate crisis.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Yes, I’ll talk about the climate crisis. The member is heckling me about the climate crisis. It would be nice if you weren’t making Ontario’s response to the climate crisis worse instead of better by ramping up gas plants and many other things.

But I want to talk right now about the fall economic statement.


Mr. Mike Schreiner: You know, if you all want to heckle me and waste my time—


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Stop the clock.

I cannot hear the member, so I would kindly ask for everybody to stop the heckling. Thank you.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Thank you, Speaker. I really appreciate it. I know that the government is very upset about the health care crisis they’ve created and how they’ve made it worse, and want to heckle me so I don’t have the opportunity to talk about it—


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): The member for Niagara West will come to order.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I said “one of the most”—

Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: No, you said “the most.”

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Do you want to continue to heckle me, member from Niagara West? Okay.

I know the government doesn’t want to hear about the health care crisis we’re facing. I’d be embarrassed about emergency rooms closing, I’d be embarrassed about pediatric ICUs being overflowing, I’d be embarrassed about the fact that the Red Cross has had to be called in to CHEO, and I’d be embarrassed about the fact that while this is happening, the government has underspent their own health care budget by $900 million. I would understand why they would not want to have a conversation about that. I would also understand why they wouldn’t want to have a conversation about the fact that they’re going to maintain legislated poverty in the fall economic statement. I’d understand why they’d be embarrassed about the fact that a number of people on ODSP are now considering medical assistance in dying, MAID, because they’re feeling hopeless, trying to survive on $1200 a month—and people on Ontario Works trying to survive on $731 a month.

I’d like to compliment the government on raising the ODSP work allowance, but I’d like to challenge the government to actually bring people out of legislated poverty. It’s the moral thing to do. It’s the decent thing to do. And, quite frankly, it will save the people of Ontario $33 billion, because that’s what poverty costs the people in this province each and every day. The fall economic statement could help address that crisis.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I appreciate the brief comments from the member for Guelph.

He talked about the crisis that is overwhelming pediatric ICUs at children’s hospitals across the province. A number of health care providers—emergency room physicians—have come together to advocate for paid sick days as a critical strategy to help address this crisis. Because if parents don’t have paid sick days when a child is coming down with something, they will send them to school, where there is the possibility of disease or infections spreading in the classroom. I wondered what the member thinks about the opportunity that was missed, in this fall economic statement, to provide paid sick days.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: One of the biggest challenges facing our health care system is not only the underinvestment that the government has made in the health care system and the fact that so many front-line nurses and health care workers are leaving the profession due to Bill 124—I’d ask the government not to appeal that and continue to waste taxpayer money on it—but it’s also the social determinants of health, things like ensuring that we have paid sick days, so workers in this province don’t have to choose between paying the rent, paying their bills, putting food on the table and going to work sick. We could take significant pressure off of our health care system if we brought in 10 paid sick days, Speaker.

We could also take significant pressure off our health care system if we ended legislated poverty in this province.

And because the member from Niagara West wants to agree with me that the climate crisis is urgent, I’ll also remind the members opposite that one of the biggest drivers to pressure on health care systems now is the climate crisis—and the fact that this government is failing to address it. So I would say a fiscally responsible approach would be—

Hon. David Piccini: You keep saying we’re failing—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Thank you.

Hon. David Piccini: What are your targets, Mike?

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Minister of the Environment, come to order.


Mr. Mike Schreiner: No, you’re not. Because the previous government—


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Minister of the Environment, come to order.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: The Auditor General has said—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Thank you.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Thank you.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): The member for Guelph will come to order.


Ms. Christine Hogarth: We talk about, and you’ve acknowledged, that people are having a tough time and people are on a fixed income. With some of the items in this legislation, we’re talking about helping those on a fixed income. We’re also trying to help those people on ODSP. So could the opposition member tell us why he won’t support the proposed measure in this bill that will both keep costs down and support those on a fixed income at this time of rising costs—which he admitted himself?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I’d say one of the biggest threats that people on fixed income are facing right now, Speaker, is what will likely be a significant increase in property taxes due to Bill 23. I know we’re not talking about Bill 23 right now, but the member asked the question, so I think it’s important to have a conversation about that. The Association of Municipalities Ontario—numerous municipalities have talked about the fact that Bill 23 is likely going to lead to significant increases in property taxes. We know that directly affects people on fixed incomes. I’m especially worried about seniors and elders on fixed incomes, who just can’t handle those types of price increases.

So I would say that if the member opposite really wants to help people on ODSP—yes, I’ll give the government credit for raising the work allowance. I think they should deserve credit for that. But let’s end legislated poverty by doubling social assistance rates today and helping the province save the $33 billion a year that poverty costs this province.


The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: Can the member please elaborate on how the government is not meeting their climate targets?

Ms. Christine Hogarth: That has nothing to do with this bill.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Well, I know that isn’t relevant to this particular bill, but a number of the members opposite want to talk about it, it seems like. First of all, I’ll just say that the Auditor General has made it very clear: The government doesn’t have a plan.

The previous Minister of the Environment said, “We have an evolving plan,” the last time the Auditor General said they don’t have a plan to meet Ontario’s climate objectives. And I guess the plan is still evolving, because the Auditor General just confirmed that the government has no plan.

Speaker, if you want to talk about helping people save money, let’s electrify transportation. It costs one tenth to fill up an electric vehicle versus a gas-powered vehicle. Let’s help people save money by saving energy, by helping them retrofit their homes and reduce their energy costs. We can address cost of living and climate at the same time, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): The time for questions is over. Further debate?

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I’m always intrigued to hear members opposite speak about their priorities. It is ironic to hear members opposite—New Democrats, Liberals, the Green Party member—speak about making life affordable, as if they didn’t have an opportunity in this Legislature over the past months—and years, in many cases—to vote for pragmatic measures that make life incrementally more affordable for the people we represent.

Let’s use a case study, a very compassionate example of our government in action: the LIFT credit, a tax credit for the lowest-income Canadians among us. Even when we gave greater economic opportunity to those who face underemployment or outright unemployment—we gave them an opportunity to get back to work. We created the conditions for over 300,000 net new jobs, overwhelmingly in the private sector, overwhelmingly full-time. And then we cut their taxes to incent them to keep working harder. New Democrats, Liberals and the Green member coalesced in opposition to tax relief for the most vulnerable people, and it isn’t comical. The most vulnerable among us could have saved thousands of dollars per year, and yet their record is clear: They opposed it.

Madam Speaker, when this Legislature had an opportunity to vote in opposition to the federal carbon tax, which is in itself a regressive tax that disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable low-income families, fixed-income seniors, individuals who don’t have the flexibility perhaps like some of us as legislators do to absorb the shock of a never-ending increasing—now tripling—carbon tax at the federal level. We had an opportunity to send a signal, to send a clear, unambiguous message to the federal government: We oppose higher taxes; we want to make life affordable for the people we represent. And yet again, the coalition, if you will—small-c, Madam Speaker. I know that will inevitably create some concern; I mean that cheekily. The voting, the coalescing of opposition parties coming together to oppose lower taxes, for me, is perhaps the most ironic testimony in the House. To be hearing about the plight of the low-income, which I agree with—they face great difficulty and their lives are not made any better when the opposition members vote to oppose tax relief or affordability.

As was raised by the member just earlier, the monies we’re giving to families—we have now, four times, provided direct financial relief to individuals through catch-up payments. We just announced a new one: $200 per child, up to $250 for every child with special education needs. Madam Speaker, I appreciate that that’s not going to pay the mortgage for the next year, but it is going to incrementally provide hundreds of dollars per child. We’re talking about over $2,000 a family saved to date, because through the pandemic and certainly now as we face continued economic uncertainty, both at home and abroad, we’ve stepped up in a big way to help families.

And yet again, the constant in this sort of enduring story is the opposition of the New Democrats, the Liberals and the Green member, who had an opportunity even to select, to cherry-pick the elements they may like. And yet they’ve disproportionately and systematically opposed all relief, all tax cuts, all savings, all rebates, and I find that odd. I mean, Madam Speaker, members of the opposition—some of them are from big cities and that’s wonderful, and some of them are from suburban communities and rural communities, and that too is wonderful. But for those of us who represent communities that aren’t in the heart of downtown Toronto beside a subway stop and a GO station and a multitude of public transit, for many people in this large, vast, wonderful nation of ours, they must drive. And yet when we brought forth the measure to reduce gas taxes, as codified in this economic statement, for another year—again incrementally saving roughly five cents per litre, thousands of dollars per year—opposition members again opposed those savings. New Democrats, Liberals and the Green member opposed that measure too.

Madam Speaker, when we thought, “How unusual to have the licence plate sticker fees, one of few jurisdictions continentally to do this. We’re going to rid the province; we’re going to save families money, seniors money, young people money—their money.” And when we again said, “Look, we can do this. Families could use this relief,” we knew then as we know now that there’s uncertainty in the global economy; we have to be prudent. We have to also play the critical role of helping families, individuals and seniors get through this difficulty.

When we brought that measure forward to help the drivers we represent, part of a continued contrast of what is becoming increasingly a war on those that have automobiles by some members of this House who have an ideological opposition to vehicles, to the use of natural gas, petroleum, home heating—things that are necessary to get to work, bring your kids to school, to live a life in this land—yet again, New Democrats, Liberals and the Green Party opposed it.

So the constant in the story is one of opposition, not bringing forth pragmatic policies that would make life more affordable for the people we represent. And for that, Speaker, I urge members opposite: Do the right thing; vote for this bill that will enable families to save the money they deserve.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Michael Mantha: I always enjoy being in the House when the Minister of Education talks, and I want to ask him the same question that I’ve asked other members earlier, because I always enjoy his frank answers.

Donna Behnke from Elliot Lake: She is struggling; she is on what we refer to as legislated poverty right now. She cannot work. She is on ODSP. She cannot supplement her income. She is quite pleased that the government has looked at supplementing the income of ODSP recipients who have children. She is also encouraged that the government has removed the claw-back, up to an increased amount of $1,000 that people on ODSP can reach. My question to the minister is: What happens with Donna? Where does Donna go? What does Donna have to do to say, “Hey, I’m here. I need help”?

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I will reciprocate; the member of Algoma–Manitoulin continues to be a strong advocate for his constituents.

I do appreciate the opportunity to speak about Donna. What I can point to in the economic statement is the fact that, to help manage costs for low-income individuals with disabilities, is through a commitment to adjust the core allowances under the Ontario disability program to inflation annually, beginning in July 2023.

I also note that the government has the LIFT tax credit and a variety of other measures that have been enriched in fact over the past year to help save low-income families and seniors and individuals money we know they deserve.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Ms. Christine Hogarth: First of all to the Minister of Education, I want to thank him for the three rebuilt schools in Etobicoke–Lakeshore. I can’t thank you enough, as the parents and our trustees are always saying thank you for those long-awaited schools. They were on a list for many, many years—in one instance it was 20 years. So I want to thank him, because that is a great investment of our tax dollars, to make sure that our kids have safe and healthy and current schools to learn from.

Now, one thing that the member mentioned in his statement was about why it’s important to keep money in people’s pockets. I know, through one of his programs, it’s that $200 and allowing parents to make that choice.

So, Minister, I just would like to know: Why—if you can share again with the people out there who are watching—is it important for people to be able to spend money their own way?

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I want to thank the member from Etobicoke–Lakeshore for her leadership. She should take the credit for the schools, because she’s been a strong advocate for them for the people of Lakeshore.

What I can simply say is: This is an ideological difference in this House. There are members of this House, Progressive Conservatives, who believe as an instinct, as a default, that individuals are better positioned to spend their money, Madam Speaker, not a large government or a bureaucracy. We think individual parents know best how to raise their kids, which is precisely why we’ve stepped up now, four times, with direct payments to families. Look, let the subscription of these payments speak volumes. We’re talking about 95%-plus of parents saying, “Yes, I could use that relief.” They signed up; within two weeks, they’re delivered those dollars directly in their pockets.


We think this is a sensible plan, and again it raises the question why members opposite do not trust parents to spend money for their kids.

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: Quick question.

MPP Jamie West: Very quickly to the Minister of Education: There is no increase for OW. There has only been a 1.5% increase to OW in the four and a half years since the Conservatives have been in government. Will the Minister of Education continue to advocate for increases to OW so people—children—who are going to school aren’t living below the poverty line?

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I appreciate the question from the member from Sudbury. Indeed, I think what gives me hope is that this will be tied to inflation annually with respect to ODSP. As I understand, this would be the first time Ontario has done so. The member opposite may have more expertise in this space, but I can simply say it is promising that we’re going to keep up with the rate of inflation, that we’re going to continue to make changes to allow individuals who are on disability, on ODSP, to work more and the clawback is reduced to incentivize the ability of these individuals to work more in their communities without the disincentive of government taking away their hard-earned dollars.

We appreciate there’s more we can do and I want to just give great recognition to the ministers responsible, Minster Fullerton and many others, who are very committed to these young people, to these kids and students in our schools, recognizing that we have now increased funding for the most vulnerable in our schools overall by roughly $3 billion compared to when the former Liberals were in power.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Further debate?

Mr. Chris Glover: I’m having trouble starting today, because I’m really upset. This government keeps boasting about their historical increase to ODSP, 5%, and they’ve allowed people on ODSP, people with disabilities—instead of just earning $200 before there’s a clawback, there’s now $1,000 before the clawback. That only applies to 20% of the people on ODSP.

In June, I had a press conference on ODSP rates and I had a number of people speak, and one of the people who spoke was Pat Gallagher. Pat Gallagher was a roofer. He fell off a roof, he got badly injured, he was put on painkillers and he developed an addiction to opioids. I’ve got his permission to speak here; he spoke to the media then. He’s been homeless for three years. Last February, he got frost bite in his feet and large chunks of his feet, all his toes, were amputated. That’s what the ODSP rates in Ontario do to people.

There were 94 deaths of people experiencing homelessness in the city of Toronto in 2018 when this government took power. There were 216 last year. These are real people. These are people in the streets. These are the people who you pass on the streets when you come in to this Legislature. I know most of the people in the House are coming from all different parts of the province, and during the week while you’re here you have a condo, and usually the condo is somewhere along University Avenue or Bay Street. You’re passing people on the streets and those people are being sentenced to die by the Ontario Works and the Ontario ODSP rates.

I’ll give you an example. After that press conference, I had a petition, and this gentleman wrote back to me and he said, “Thank you for caring about ODSP rates. We’re trying to get supports for people with disabilities.” His name was Amir. He says, “I’ve applied for medical assistance in dying because I cannot survive on ODSP. I’m in a rooming house and my rent is $600 a month, but the house is up for sale and I’m afraid that, if it’s sold, I will end up homeless.” He’s got a number of physical disabilities. He says, “I just can’t survive homeless, so I’ve applied for MAID,” and he had gotten the first signature.

We wrote back to him, and eventually there was a story in the media. I want to thank Cynthia Mulligan for actually following up on that story. She did an interview with him, it went in the media, and somebody set up a GoFundMe page and they raised actually thousands of dollars for him. He now describes it as saying, “I won the lottery. My life was saved, but I’m only one person.” There are tens of thousands of Ontarians with disabilities who are under threat of homelessness. There are also many—we’re seeing more and more stories in the media—who are applying for MAID because they cannot live on the ODSP rates or the Ontario Works rates.

When Amir came to the House last week, the minister was talking about, lauding, the historical investment in ODSP. Amir’s response was, “You can spin that stuff to the public, but you can’t spin it to me. Your ODSP rates almost killed me. I was supposed to die on November 15.” That was the date that was chosen for his medical assistance in dying. He said, “The only reason I’m still here”—and this was last week—“is that I happened to win the lottery. I happened to get an article in the paper, and the GoFundMe page gave me enough money that I’m secure. I’m not going to be homeless.”

The thing I don’t get is, how do you say those words? How do you talk about an historic investment in ODSP or Ontario Works when you know they’re at destitution levels? The ODSP rate, the $1,200 a month: You both said it went up by 5%. Well, inflation over the last four years has been set at 12%, so it’s actually a 7% inflationary cut. It’s not an historical investment. And now you’re pegging it to inflation. Well, it’s at such destitution levels that it’s actually killing people, and then you’re boasting that, “Well, we’re going to keep it up with the rate of inflation,” so that it will continue to kill people for years to come. And Ontario Works, $733 a month: You can’t rent a room anywhere in Ontario for $733 a month. We’re here talking about the budget statement, the fall budget measures, and there’s an opportunity here to save lives.

Sometimes when you’re out knocking on doors and people say to you, “I’m not interested in politics. I’m not interested in that,” I think what those people don’t understand is that the decisions that are made here are life-and-death decisions. It’s an incredible responsibility to make this place function like it’s supposed to function, and it doesn’t function that way. This is supposed to be a Parliament. There’s supposed to be a conversation back and forth across the aisle. You’re supposed to bring forward ideas, we’re supposed to bring forward ideas and we’re supposed to figure out how we can best serve the people of this province. That doesn’t happen here. It’s partly because the opposition parties have been stripped of their ability to hold up legislation.

When there was a power to filibuster—and I’m going to talk about Gilles Bisson, who was here. He’s a former MPP, from Timmins. He served for 32 years, from 1990 to 2022. He said that when he started in 1990, there were a lot of people who had been here from the Bill Davis era. They talked about how, in the Bill Davis era, because the opposition had the power to filibuster, the House leaders would get together. The Conservative government House leader would say, “Look, we want to get these three bills through before Christmas. What’s it going to take?” And the opposition would look at those bills and they would say, “Well, look, this one—fine. This one: We don’t think you’ve got it right. Let’s take that around the province and travel it and see if we can get some more input on it. This one: If you can make these changes, we’ll support it. But if we’re going to do that, we have this priority, and we want that priority.”

So there was some horse-trading, and I think there was a lot better legislation that was passed, because I look at the priorities of this government—you’re giving a billion dollars, a taxpayer gift, to developers with the reducing of development charges. That’s money that taxpayers, local taxpayers, are going to have to make up. The idea is that development is supposed to pay for development. This is Bill 23, but it’s relevant to this because we’re talking about the financial measures this government is taking. When you give a billion dollars to developers with no commitment or promise, it means that other taxpayers are going to have to pay for it.


Just giving you an example: If a developer buys 200 acres and they want to build a housing development on it, the idea is that the development charges are supposed to pay for all the services that are needed for that new neighbourhood. So it pays for roads and sewers and garbage pickup and transit and police and fire and all those different development charges. So the development pays for the development. If it doesn’t, then the existing taxpayers in the existing neighbourhoods—their taxes are going to have to go up in order to pay for the sewers and the roads and everything else that’s needed in the new development. So when you get give this development charge—a billion-dollar tax break—to developers, that means the existing community members, the existing homeowners are going to have their taxes go up or their services go down.

When I look at that billion dollars, what could it go toward? It could almost bring an end to homelessness in this province. There’s 16,000 people experiencing homelessness; 8,000 of them have either a disability or a mental illness. You could actually almost bring an end to homelessness with that billion dollars, instead of giving it to developers.

There’s so many. The priorities are just so wrong. Affordable housing: This government says, “Well, we’re giving that billion dollars because this is going to make housing more affordable, because it will make the developers build housing more quickly, and if they build more housing more quickly, there will be an oversupply. And supply and demand are in balance, so as the supply goes up, the price will go down.” But that’s not what happens, because the developers are for-profit developers. They’re not going to build an oversupply of housing and drive down their profits and drive down their profit margins, and there’s been several articles in the paper about this.

We already saw it. When the housing prices started to soften—particularly in the 905, because they ramped up so much during the pandemic—when the prices started to soften in the 905 last spring, you saw reports coming out, and I’ll just read a headline here: “Developers Limit Production to Keep Home Prices High, Mississauga Report Says—A Claim the Builders’ Association Calls ‘Absurd.’” But the “staff report to Mississauga casts doubt on the province’s Housing Affordability Task Force recommendation that curbing municipal permissions for homebuilders would lead to lower housing costs.”

Let’s see. Another headline: “Project Cancellations During Canada’s Housing Downturn Will Worsen Affordability.” So they’re saying that as the prices are going down, the developers are cancelling projects because they’re not going to make the same profit margin as what they had anticipated when they started those projects. They’re going to, you know, hold off until the prices start to go up again before they build.

This idea that we’re going to strip away our planning processes, that we’re going to give a billion dollars to developers, that we’re going to pave over the greenbelt and, through all of these measures, the for-profit developers are actually going to build an oversupply of housing which will reduce prices—it’s contradicted by the facts that when the prices start to soften, the developers stop building.

So if we want to address affordable housing, we have to look at why we don’t have affordable housing anymore. And the last time that affordable housing, that not-for-profit housing was built en masse in this province was under the last NDP government. Up until 1995, in the early 1990s, the NDP government was building 15,000 units of not-for-profit housing. That was co-ops. That was social housing. That was supportive housing for people with disabilities and mental illness. Since then, almost nothing has been built.

And because there’s been no co-ops built, that means that when people want to go out and buy a home, then there’s no option but to go to for-profit developers. And the for-profit developers are charging the maximum rate that they possibly can. Even if they get a break on the development charges—and that’s what this government is saying: “If we give them a break on development charges, then the developers will pass that savings on.” That doesn’t make sense, because the for-profit developers are in it to make a profit. In fact, if they’re a public corporation, they have a responsibility to maximize that profit and the return on investment for their shareholders. So if you give them a $20,000 break on development charges on a unit that they’re building, they’re not going to say, “Oh, well, we’ll pass that on to the customer.” They just pocket it, and the price stays the same, because they sell it at the maximum possible price.

The other thing I mentioned there is social housing. We haven’t built social housing. The wait-list is now nine years long in Toronto for social housing, for people who do not make enough money to actually afford market rents or market housing. That’s nine years long. When I talked earlier about the number of people experiencing homelessness, and half of those people, 8,000 people, with mental illness or disabilities on the streets in Ontario, the reason that’s happening is because we haven’t built supportive housing en masse in 25 years. So the housing solution of this Conservative government and of the last Liberal government was, “Okay, people with disabilities and mental illness—we’re not going to provide them with the supportive housing they need. We’re just going to let them live on the streets, or we’re going to build shelters.” There are shelters in my area, and I’ve visited those shelters. They’re meant to be a temporary place to stay; you’re not supposed to stay in them for years and years on end. There are a lot of big blue tents: a hundred cots, two bathrooms—a men’s bathroom and a women’s bathroom—and one kitchen. Now, how long are you supposed to stay in a place with a hundred other people in cots in an open space with two bathrooms? And yet there are people who are chronically homeless, who have been in and out of shelters for 12 years—for a dozen years—and they’ve never been offered housing.

In my riding right now, the Novotel is closing down. The city is closing down the hotels it took over during the pandemic to provide emergency shelter to people experiencing homelessness. We had those hotels for two and a half years, and this government had the opportunity to take those two and a half years and actually build permanent supportive housing for people. But instead, the police are being asked to drag those people out of those homes, out of the hotel, and send them to shelters or send them somewhere, but not into permanent homes, not into the kind of housing that they need and not into the supportive housing they need.

I know people say, “Not in my backyard.” In my neighbourhood, we actually say, “Yes, in my backyard. We want proper housing. We want a mix of housing in our community.” If you look at the St. Lawrence Market area, there’s a lot of co-op housing, there’s a lot of social housing, there’s a lot of supportive housing and then there’s the for-profit market housing as well. And it is, I would say, one of the healthiest communities that you could have, because it’s an integrated neighbourhood, with people from all different income levels living in it. It’s a vibrant, vibrant community. So we have the solutions: We have the solutions to affordable housing. We have the solutions to homelessness.

But this government, the solutions that you’re proposing—to give massive tax breaks to developers, to pave over the greenbelt, to eliminate the planning processes and the planning rules so that developers just get to build whatever they want wherever they want to maximize their own profits—those things are not going to make housing affordable. The tax breaks are not going to get passed on to the customers, and the other things that you’re doing are not going to actually do it. You will see in four years’ time—or three and a half years, when your term is ending—housing will not be more affordable. You will have sold out the people of this province in so many ways, and yet housing will still be incredibly unaffordable.


When I look at our economic development in this province, there is an opportunity that is being missed here. I’m the tech and innovation critic. I’ve toured many, many tech companies in my area and across this province, and every one of them, especially in the GTA, says our biggest competitive disadvantage is affordable housing, is the cost of housing.

People are leaving the province in droves. We know that Alberta has got advertisements in our subways to get people to move to Alberta. They say, “What would you not expect to see in Alberta? Affordable housing.” My niece and nephew moved out to British Columbia in part because they thought they would never be able to buy a home in Ontario, and the measures that this government is taking are not going to actually allow them to buy a home in Ontario.

The measures that could allow them to buy a home would be to build some not-for-profit housing or to build some co-op housing so that there’s an alternative to the market, to build social housing for people who cannot afford market rents and market costs, and to build supportive housing for people with mental illness and disability.

When I walk in this place, sometimes I walk up here and I think, “Wow, there’s an opportunity to do incredible good here,” but I don’t see it happening, I don’t see it in this budget that’s before us, and I really wish the government would put away the spin and actually listen to what people are saying and actually implement some real solutions, particularly around housing.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Graham McGregor: I appreciated and I listened to my colleague’s speech with a lot of interest, and particularly when he talked about his riding and his neighbourhood. I can tell he really takes a lot of pride in his neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. For me, myself, a lot of our newer MPPs actually came from the suburbs, from suburban GTA, where life is a little different. Folks in my riding—95% of the homes in our riding have a driveway. We rely on the automobile. This government’s put forward measures to support drivers, whether it be putting highways that we can drive on, whether that be putting a little bit of money back in people’s pockets with the licence plate sticker reduction, whether that be with the gas tax cuts that we’ve seen. A lot of those ridings are where the member’s party had lost support the last time. Are there any lessons that the member might have seen from our fall economic statement on pro-driver messages that he can put forward to help folks in the suburbs?

Mr. Chris Glover: The big challenge right now is that gas prices are just so crazy, and the 5 cents a litre may help, but when you’re paying $1.45 or $1.95—I was talking to the member from Nickel Belt earlier last week and she was talking about it’s $2.25 up in Nickel Belt often—when you’re paying those kind of prices for gas, 5 cents helps, but it’s not making driving affordable.

What would make driving affordable is if we actually helped people to transition to electric vehicles. One of the things this government did is they cut out the electric car rebate. I’ve got a friend with two electric cars, and it costs them $6 to charge that car and they can drive 500 kilometres on that. That’s from here to Montreal. I mean, you’d have to stop partway and charge up, but $6 to fill up basically a tank on an electric car. That’s the transition. If we want to make driving affordable for people, that’s the transition this government should be supporting.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Question?

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: Thank you to my colleague here for his kind words today. I found it very interesting. As he was speaking, I opened up “Food Prices in Canada to Continue to Rise in 2023.” That’s the headline today. It says, “For a family of four, the total annual grocery bill is expected to be $16,288—$1,065 more than it was this year, the 13th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report released Monday said.”

Now, when I look at what the government has been saying, they say they’ve been giving an unprecedented 5% increase to ODSP, and they’re only making $15,472 a year. What does my colleague have to say—is that affordable housing? Is that affordable living for anyone who’s only making $15,000 and—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Thank you. Response?

Mr. Chris Glover: I want to thank the member from St. Catharines for your passionate advocacy and also for these statistics, because these statistics tell the story about where people are at. So if an average family of four needs $16,000 a year just for groceries, not for housing, clothing, transportation or any other essentials, and the government’s ODSP rate for a family of four is less than that—it’s $15,400—then you’re not even providing food for people. You can’t pretend that those ODSP rates are enough to survive on, and this is why there’s such hardship in this province. And it’s relieveable. There are so many ways this government could save money to put in to help people instead of spending $10 billion on the 413, or a billion-dollar tax gift to developers.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

Mr. Rick Byers: I thank the member for his comments. In fact, the member should know that for the last over 10 years, I’ve rented a place at Queen’s Quay and Spadina, which I think is in your riding of Spadina–Fort York, so I’m a constituent during the week. I look forward to good service from the MPP.

Anyway, my question: I heard the member talk about the concepts of supply and demand, and I think I heard the member being supportive of the concept of supply and demand. The reason we have a housing crisis is because the supply of houses in Canada is the lowest in the G7. So will the member support Bill 36 and the government’s program to build more houses and support our economy?

Mr. Chris Glover: Well, it’s good to know the member opposite is a constituent. I’ll be sure to provide you with a lawn sign in the next election campaign.

The challenge with supply and demand: Generally, in principle, that works, but when you’ve got real estate investment trusts like Core, which is buying $1 billion worth of housing in Ontario, it means that the supply and demand is all skewed. So if I want to buy a house and you want to buy the same house, we’re not competing against each other; we’re competing against a hedge fund, and that’s why the prices keep inflating. I don’t know what your background is, but I can’t compete against a hedge fund, and I think most Ontarians can’t compete against a hedge fund. So what we really need to do is to fix the market, because the market is being skewed and it’s being pushed up by these real estate investment trusts.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Questions?

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: My question to the member with respect to his presentation: You spoke about growth paying for growth, which is something that we’ve heard quite a bit about from CFOs and treasurers of local municipalities. The Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, which represents treasurers and CFOs—2,300 of them across Ontario—have come up with a proposition. I think what they were trying to do is debunk the mythology that if you reduce the development charges, they will be passed through to the buyers; there is no savings. What they’ve said is, “Now the province is exploring changes to legislation. If these changes lead to lower development charges, then existing residents and businesses will pay for growth through higher property taxes and utility” bills.

Why is it that the government is saying something that is entirely opposite to what auditors, accountants and CFOs and treasurers are saying in Ontario?

Mr. Chris Glover: One of the things—and I’ve watched different governments do that—is that they always want to have a response. They never say, “Oh, you’re right. I admit I was wrong. I’m giving a billion-dollar tax gift to developers, and it’s going to drive up your property taxes.” They will never say that. They will never admit that. They will always say, “Oh, we’re doing that because that’s going to reduce the cost of housing.” Even if all of the experts in all of the municipalities in the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, all the different municipal leaders are saying, “That’s actually going to drive up taxes. That billion-dollar gift you’re giving is going to drive up taxes,” they’re not going to say, “Yeah, you’re right. We know that.” They’re going to say, “Oh, no, it’s going to reduce prices,” and they will just keep reciting that same spin, even though it has been contradicted by everybody with any expertise.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Question?


Mr. Graham McGregor: I appreciated the member for his answer to my question before, but I think there’s a bit of a hole in the logic. I’ll say this: Our government has taken pretty good action to put money back into people’s pockets, be that $120 on the licence plate stickers; $200 to $250 for catch-up payments; the gas tax, which is a couple hundred bucks a year.

And when I talked about supporting drivers, the member said what we need to do is get more people to buy electric vehicles. Now, the cheapest electric vehicle that I could find is probably about 20 grand, 30 grand, and that’s at a minimum—probably more like 40, 50, 60. So the kind of rebate that we would have to do to buy that kind of vehicle—what I’m talking about are people that are driving a $4,000 car, an $8,000 car like I do, my 2010 Honda Accord. That’s real money. That puts money back into people’s pockets. Is the member aware of these numbers, or are we just disconnected a little bit on the math?

Mr. Chris Glover: So the rebate that this government cancelled was $10,000 per vehicle. If you can buy an electric vehicle for $20,000 and you got that $10,000 rebate, that’s $10,000 you have to pay for that car. And it means that—


Mr. Chris Glover: Well, you said $20,000. Even if it’s $25,000, it means that, yes, you have to pay more up front, but your operating cost is a fraction of what it would be for a gas-powered car. Because instead of paying—for me, I drive to Montreal, because my daughter’s there. It costs me $200 to go there and back in gasoline. I could get there and back on $12 worth of electricity if I had an electric car. So if you figure out the savings over the years or over the lifetime of the car, you can actually save a lot of money, and the government could actually help the environment if they were to help people get into electric cars.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): Further debate?

Mr. Graham McGregor: I guess I would just close it out with, when you hear that kind of rhetoric coming—especially for a boy from Brampton—when you hear that kind of rhetoric coming from a downtown Toronto MPP, it just feels completely out of touch with the reality of the lives that most of the people face.

The way to save money and put money back in your pocket, if just spend 15 grand up-front on a brand-new vehicle—and we know that, in many cases, it’s more like 25, 35, 45—you just pay the money up front, and you’re going to save money on your gas price, the gas that you put in your tank week after week. That’s just not the reality that people face, and that’s not the reality that the folks in Brampton North face. It’s certainly not the reality that a lot of people that are most hard done by face in their lives.

I do know the member is a very smart guy who cares a lot about the people of Ontario. I encourage him to spend a little bit more time talking to some of the folks that I talk to in suburbs, in Brampton, and see a little bit more of the life that we face.

I do appreciate that we’ve heard—and I try not to be the most partisan guy in the world. I hear some of the members wishing for those Bill Davis days where we had cross-partisanship and were able to kind of barter and get things done. I’ve only been elected here since June, but when I look back on the record of the NDP, they haven’t really been able to support anything that the government’s done, even things that I think it’s uncomfortable for them to admit are pretty good ideas.

I talk about the disconnect, and a lot of the ridings where they used to have an NDP member where they don’t have an NDP member anymore. A large reason—certainly in Brampton—is their lack of support for Highway 413. When this government put more long-term-care homes into the queue in Brampton alone over four years than the previous government did province-wide in Ontario over 10 years, the NDP didn’t support that in a non-partisan, beautiful, Bill Davis-like fashion. They actually voted against those investments.

When we put a medical school at the Toronto Metropolitan University in Brampton, in a historic fashion we’re finally going to have the ability for Brampton students to become Brampton medical students to eventually become Brampton doctors—a really good measure that certainly helps me as a current member for Brampton North and that I think helps the members for Brampton Centre and Brampton East, who are also new MPP colleagues. It helps with their communities from a health care perspective, but I also think that the NDP paid a bit of a political price for, frankly, putting partisan interests ahead of the interests of their constituents in Ontario.

I’ll talk a little bit about the investments that we’re making to make Ontario the best place to live. We want to make sure that everybody has reliable access to government services, but we also want to make sure that they’re able to get the skills that they need to get a great job with a big paycheque so they can have a bigger family, and we want government to have as positive of an impact and, dare I say, as minimal of an impact on their lives as possible.

While we do that, we’ve got record investments on the skilled trades, but we’re also spending a lot of money because we know we need to attract people to come to Ontario. The federal government has put an announcement out that immigration levels are going to go up to 500,000 by 2025, and we know that the lion’s share of those people are going to be coming to Ontario, and, frankly, we need them. We have a labour shortage of almost 400,000 people for jobs right now that the member for Perth–Wellington talked about—2.8%?

Mr. Matthew Rae: It was 2.6%.

Mr. Graham McGregor: A 2.6% unemployment rate in his riding. We desperately need people to come and work these jobs. The problem is, when we’re not competitive, when we’re not building homes for people to live in, we’re not building hospitals and investing in hospitals for them to go to when they get sick, when we’re not investing in post-secondary for them to get skills that they need and we’re not investing in job creation so that people have somewhere to work, people will go somewhere else. We see this—I certainly hear it on my drive in to work Monday through Thursday on the radio when I hear the government of Alberta telling me to come move to Calgary where I can have a 30-minute commute and a house that I can afford.

What I would say is Ontario can afford to be equally as aggressive when we’re targeting young workers to come and live in our province. What we’ve done to invest in the skilled trades, what we’ve done to invest in our growing economy, in our growing province to put shovels in the ground on 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years that the opposition agrees with in theory but they despise in practice, and when we talk about our investments to build more hospitals and long-term-care homes that the opposition members routinely oppose. I would caution the NDP and the opposition on such a hardline partisan approach to vote against good investments simply because it wasn’t their idea. We’re all elected to put people’s interests first in this House, and I think that that’s a responsibility certainly I take seriously and I know many of my colleagues take seriously as well. We disagree on policy, but I think we agree on the fundamentals of democracy. This is a good bill, and it’s a great chance for you to show the voters that you learned your lesson from the election in June and you’re going to create a positive impact for future generations.

With that, Speaker, I move that the question now be put.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): There have been six hours of debate and 16 members have spoken to this bill. The member for Brampton North has moved that the question be now put. I’m satisfied that there has been sufficient debate to allow this question to be put to the House.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour of the motion that the question be now put, please say “aye.”

All those opposed to the motion that the question be now put, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

A recorded vote being required, it will be deferred to the next instance of deferred votes.

Vote deferred.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bhutila Karpoche): It being 6 p.m., the House stands adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow, December 6, 2022.

The House adjourned at 1759.