43e législature, 1re session

L150B - Tue 23 Apr 2024 / Mar 23 avr 2024



Tuesday 23 April 2024 Mardi 23 avril 2024

Opposition Day

Affordable housing

Private Members’ Public Business

Hate-related incidents

Adjournment Debate

Office of the Premier


Report continued from volume A.


Opposition Day

Affordable housing

Continuation of debate on opposition day motion number 4.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam: Thank you very much, Speaker, for the opportunity to rise to speak in this House once again and to speak about an issue that touches the heart of all of us: the fundamental right to affordable housing. I stand before you representing Toronto Centre, a vibrant community deeply impacted by the housing crisis that we are debating today.

In Toronto Centre, as in many parts of our province, the dream of affordable housing is slipping away. Our constituents face ever-increasing rents, limited housing supply options and the spectre of demovictions. Many members of this House understand the housing crisis through headlines. Some of you have had your own personal experience of living underhoused and perhaps even living with homelessness. My constituents in Toronto Centre understand the housing crisis from that particular lens—through lived experience.

The motion before us today calls upon the government of Ontario to take decisive action to increase the supply of affordable and non-market housing. This is not merely a request, but it is an urgent necessity backed by the devastating statistics and lived experiences of many in our communities today.

The motion asks the government to make a choice: Is housing fundamentally a human right or is it simply a private asset, a mere commodity? If you accept that housing is a human right, Speaker, the government has to step up and start putting shovels into the ground to build housing for people and not just for profit.

In Toronto Centre, we’ve seen the impact of policies where we are pursuing the free market forces and exclusively to that—and that is not palpable, and it cannot be sustained. From the Church and Wellesley Village to St. James Town, to Regent Park—all of it is being threatened by speculative pressures and a lack of investment in non-market housing. My constituents are seeing rising rents everywhere, and we’re also seeing our small businesses struggle to stay on those main streets which we know are absolutely critical to building vibrant and inclusive communities.

Ontario’s housing crisis is at a breaking point, and we can’t afford to continue to waste time. But how did we get here? It wasn’t simply overnight. The housing crisis feels very complex, and yet the answer is somewhat simple: It’s a lack of leadership and political will.

Under Conservative leadership, we’ve seen this government waste time in addressing the housing crisis. And yet, despite press releases, photo ops and other opportunities where the government gets in front of the camera to talk about their good work, we are not seeing the outcome. That is why housing starts have fallen by 7%. The government is not on track to meet their housing target of 1.5 million homes by 2031. That is just a mere seven years away.

Across the country, in British Columbia, we see a different story unfold. It’s a story where you have an NDP government that is putting people first, and this NDP government is seeing their housing starts go up by 11%. So what is the NDP BC government doing right, and how are they changing the storyline there? What they’re doing largely has been inspired by Ontario’s own affordable housing task force. They’re implementing the same recommendations that this government’s task force asked them to implement as of two years ago. The NDP government in British Columbia is legalizing more affordable housing options, such as semis, townhomes and multiplex apartments, in many neighbourhoods. They are also designing preapproved housing designs so that homes can be built very quickly—you’re basically pulling development permits. And they’re actually designating areas as-of-right. Of course, we’re seeing that they’re also changing the building designs as well as the building materials. All of this is making things move a lot faster, which is exactly what we need to do here in Ontario—is to be able to take all of those good ideas and scale them up as quickly as possible and export them to every single corner of our province.

BC now builds two and a half times more housing than Ontario—and that’s when it’s adjusted for size—and we know that BC is now spurring on construction at a rate of 150% more than we are in Ontario.

All that talk about making sure that construction workers get to their work sites is all talk if we don’t have housing to build.

It’s also important to know that this government has failed to meet their target, and they’re going to continue to miss their target, largely because their target has to be 12,500 homes every single month if we’re going to reach that 1.5 million housing target. They’re not going to do it. So the government has started to count all sorts of other homes as part of their count, such as long-term-care beds, student dormitories. Pretty soon, I think they’ll be counting tents. Of course, we know that a tent is not a home.

We know that everybody in Ontario deserves a home. We can all think about the way we feel about our homes, how we feel safe in our homes, how we gather with our families in our homes, and every single Ontarian deserves to have that.

I want to just finally wrap up by saying that affordable housing is something that we have to get behind. It is not optional anymore. Governments have to be partners and leaders in this sector, without which it cannot get done.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Everyone has the right to an affordable home. Housing is a human right, but the problem is, in my community it’s harder than ever to find an affordable home, and people are desperate. Oshawa has experienced some of the most dramatic rent increases in the province. Between 2014 and 2023, the cost of renting increased by 61%. That’s more than Toronto and nearly four times the government’s rent increase guideline.

My office hears regularly from families, students and seniors who are struggling to find safe and suitable housing that fits their budget. I heard from Donna Hall, who lives in my riding. She had shared her story. She said, “I am aware that it might be extreme to use the potentiality of homelessness but in my case it is rather true to my story. I am a single parent of adult children. I live with my two adult children in the home I bought. They both pay rent and contribute to the cost of the bills in the house. However, my daughter has exceptional needs that limits the hours that she works and my son’s position is seasonal.... If I were to enter the rental market, I am priced out of what I would need.

“I have engaged the brilliance of three different mortgage brokers to assist me in finding a solution to this; however, they continue to come back to me with the same answer: I need to sell my home, the one I wanted to retire in. Aside from winning the lottery or suing the PC Party, I am at a loss of what to do. I’m scared and don’t ... can’t have this go on any longer as my interest continues to” raise “the amount of money I need to obtain. I just want to be able to have a mortgage and be able to pay everything else that is included in living day to day....

“I am not the only Canadian in this situation. The housing market in Ontario has gone completely nuts. Can we do anything together to resolve this?”

That’s from Donna in my community. Donna is in a house and she’s not sure she can stay in that house because of the market.

But I had the opportunity to meet with Mark. Mark has been working in a stable job for over 20 years. He is about to retire. He has two young adult daughters. They’re living at home. The daughters are also struggling to navigate. They were forced to sell their family home, and they were panicked when they couldn’t find a rental. They did find an apartment, but it’s far more than they can afford. His food expenses come from his credit line that is maxed or from his daughters’ savings. And the best that I could offer him at our meeting, because he is in an apartment, one he cannot afford—the best I could talk to him was about how to use the food bank, the only after-hours market model that Feed the Need has. That was how I was able to help him because of the market that we’ve got.

I also want to tell you, Speaker, that I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a number of Ontario Works participants in the Getting Ahead program. It might be more than once a year I meet with these—they’re not students but participants, and they’re doing this awesome program. I’ve heard from them about what it’s like to live in a shared room because they’re bringing in $733 a month. There’s nowhere to live. They have no protections. They rent beds in a shared room. They might answer an ad and get there and find another person living in the same room, a stranger, but that’s all that there is available to them. They are boarders; they’re not tenants. They have no protections.

So, Speaker, we have a range of folks across our communities and they don’t have a safe place to live, and if they can find a place, they’re forced to live in substandard conditions. That is not appropriate in this province. People deserve safe, clean, accessible homes they can afford. We need public, non-profit and co-operative housing. We need non-market housing. We need fourplexes, real rent control.

The Ontario NDP is calling on this government to get back into the business of building homes, not just talking about it, because, as I said, housing is a human right.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Miss Monique Taylor: It is always an honour to be able to stand in my seat in the Legislature on behalf of the people of Hamilton Mountain, and today to speak to the housing crisis that we see in our city and to thank the leader of the official opposition for bringing forward this motion to allow us the opportunity to talk about options, to talk about plans that could be put into place to ensure that there are many options on the table to ensure that there is affordable housing, because that is something that we all see in each and every one of our communities.


In Hamilton, our numbers show that we have 1,592 active homeless individuals in our city. Those are numbers that have been accounted for, people we have had the opportunity to actually count. We have almost 8,000 people on wait-lists for affordable housing. That’s years of waiting for those units. The median household rent in Hamilton is $1,899: for a one-bedroom, it’s $1,719 and for a two-bedroom, it’s $2,128.

Now, let’s think about people who are on social services. If you’re on the Ontario Disability Support Program, that means you are physically disabled and not able to work, you are only making $1,328. Now I want to repeat again, for the one-bedroom, it’s $1,719 a month. So legislated poverty has put people out of the housing market. We need affordable solutions to be able to tackle this crisis. We need co-op housing. We need apartment houses. We need supportive housing. We need so many options.

Seniors’ homes: These are the types of things that I know in my community, I’m hearing from seniors. I have some wonderful seniors’ buildings in my riding, and they are hot on the list. You would know this, Speaker, being one of the former city councillors in this area, that they are the hottest sought-after apartments for seniors, and yet the wait-lists are years long. We need more of these options to ensure that we have that affordable housing.

Veterans: In Hamilton’s surrounding area we have over 300 homeless veterans identified. In Hamilton, we have 100 that we know are identified. Veterans, people who have served our country, put their lives on the line for our country—they’re homeless, and we have no solutions. These are the types of issues that we’re seeing.

I’ve sent several letters to the previous Minister of Housing asking for a Homes for Heroes project in the city of Hamilton, trying to find property, and the Minister of Infrastructure has also promised to do so but it’s been months—longer—since I’ve heard back, with no end in sight to help the veterans in our community, which is so disheartening.

There are options. There are things that we can do, and today is one step in dedicating your voice, saying that, “Therefore, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario government should get back to building by swiftly and substantially increasing the supply of affordable non-market homes in Ontario.” It’s a simple solution. We’ve given you the options; it’s your turn to decide that it’s the right thing to do and, hopefully, vote for today’s motion.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Hon. Paul Calandra: I’m very, very, very excited to speak today to this motion because it allows us to highlight some of the incredible work that we’ve been doing on housing as a government since 2018. But I think it’s also important that I address some of the things that we heard earlier in some of the other speeches that we heard.

I wanted to briefly—not really a long time, Madam Speaker, but ever so briefly—talk about, of course, one of the people I think is one of the best Premiers this province has ever had: Mike Harris. Many of the members have talked about that.

I know the member for Niagara Centre, I believe it is, talked about closing hospitals, and I’ve talked about this before. Mike Harris, of course, never closed a hospital, but what he did do was merge hospital boards. So where there were three hospital boards, he merged them into one hospital board. But you know what still existed? The three separate hospitals.

Let’s take Scarborough for instance. There’s what was the Centenary Hospital. There’s the Grace hospital. There’s the Scarborough General Hospital. Whereas before they had three separate boards, they were merged into one. And what did the NDP and Liberals count that as? Closed hospitals. Now, the University Health Network—they count those at closed hospitals. When you reduce the boards and you reduce red tape and put the money back into hospitals, they count that as a closed hospital. We count that as a better-running hospital.

Now, I do appreciate that somebody gave the Liberal leader the Heimlich because she is no longer choking, right? No longer choking on those words.

Now, the NDP—let’s go back and talk about the NDP, because the NDP—

Mr. John Fraser: The Grace hospital and the Riverside Hospital, they closed. I know.

Hon. Paul Calandra: They didn’t close hospitals as such, but what they did was they took a hospital and said, “We don’t want to be blamed for closing the hospital, so although there are 10 floors, we’re going to close five floors and we’re not going to have those five floors have any patients whatsoever, but nobody can accuse us of cutting or closing hospitals.” That is, again, what the NDP did. That was in their time of office. They laid off nurses. They didn’t build long-term care at all. That was then.

The member for Ottawa South talked about Evelyn Gigantes. Now, I don’t know her. I never met her. I’m sure she’s a wonderful, wonderful person. She served her community very well, but now I, for instance, look at Evelyn Gigantes—former Minister of Housing; I think her picture is on the wall in the boardroom of the Ministry of Housing—and I think, “What did she do that might have been something that we could do?”

Now, what Evelyn Gigantes did as Minister of Housing was remove rent controls on new purpose-built rental housing. That wasn’t us who came up with it; it was actually the NDP who came up with this policy. And do you know why the NDP did that? The NDP did that because, coming off of five years of Liberal government—Progressive Conservatives were in government for 42 years. In those 42 years, we built roads, we built hospitals, we built the college system, schools—everything that makes Ontario great was during a Progressive Conservative time in office.

Now, the Liberals, they won—they didn’t win, actually. They lost the election in 1984, but then teamed up with the NDP to set aside the votes of the people of the province of Ontario, and they created a coalition government. So between 1985 and 1990—five years—the Liberals spent and borrowed more money in five years than the hundred years preceding that. That was the legacy of David Peterson’s time in office. Five years—that is what they did.

In those five years then, it got so bad in housing in the province of Ontario that the NDP government brought in this policy. They said that because it was so tough in the province of Ontario, because the Liberals were so bad—and I agreed with them back then—they had to spur on new purpose-built rental housing, and the NDP came up with a plan, a policy that would eliminate rent controls on new purpose-built housing so that more people would get into building housing. I congratulate the NDP on that policy, because it did bring in more housing supply. I congratulate them.


Hon. Paul Calandra: Yes, join me. Wonderful policy, wonderful policy.

Now, unfortunately, that’s where the brilliance of the NDP stopped, because they then systematically started destroying the province. To put it into context, when they left office in 1995—well, they didn’t leave office; the people, you know. We all suffer that. Once in a while we lose. That’s just what happens: You lose. But when they left office in 1995, they left the province of Ontario with a massive debt—massive debt—a deficit at the time, in 1995 dollars, of $11 billion. So, fast-forward, it’s about $30 billion of today’s dollars. That’s in five years under the NDP. Now, the NDP and the Liberals, in 10 years, managed to literally bankrupt the province. That is the situation that they left us in—and then it got even worse.


So Mike Harris comes and he’s faced with a massive, massive problem: A million people were unemployed in the province of Ontario, the highest unemployment rate we would ever have, thanks to the coalition of the NDP and the Liberals at the time—a million people out of work because of them. We were suffering; our economy was suffering. We were having trouble in the province of Ontario—and you don’t have to take my word for it. Floyd Laughren, who was the former NDP finance minister, was unable to raise money in the markets to pay the bills of the province of Ontario. That’s how bad it got, even despite the social contract, when they forced people to take days off.

Now, it’s interesting. The member for Ottawa South got up today to say that the Minister of Transportation isn’t allowing people to go on vacation. Well, they did. They did; I’ll give them that. They forced them to go on vacation and they didn’t pay them, and it was called the social contract, and that’s why all the unions left them and have never come back to them. But I digress; I don’t want to get too far off track.

So they didn’t have any money. The NDP knew that they were in trouble in 1995, right? But why come to the House? They never actually brought the House together. In the last year that they were in government, I think they served maybe 11 days when they had the House because they knew that they were losing the confidence, not only of the people, but of the House—their own members—despite the majority that they had.

So Mike Harris had to do some dramatic things to bring the economy back on track—some very dramatic things. He cut income taxes by 30%. Do you know why? Because we knew that if you put more money back in the pockets of people, good things happen, and that is exactly what happened. We increased health care spending under the Mike Harris government. But do you know what then happened two years into that government? Do you know what happened, Madam Speaker? You would probably know. The member opposite from St. Catharines says that we had closed hospitals, but what we did—

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: Twenty-six of them.

Hon. Paul Calandra: She must not have been here—she says 26—when I was speaking earlier.

What we did was reopen the floors that the NDP had closed, merged the hospital boards—again, I’ll say it slower—we merged the hospital boards so that more money could be put into care and less into administration. But I digress. I don’t want to just focus on the NDP. Let me not just focus on the NDP because, in 1997, what happened? The Liberal government federally decided that they were going to unilaterally slash health care funding to all of the provinces—unilaterally. No discussion, no talk, no nothing.

Now, for Ontario in 1997 that was close to $3 billion in health care cuts. A Progressive Conservative government could have brought forward a social contract like the NDP did. They could have done that. But what did we do? We said, “Not only are we going to make up that close to $3 billion; we’re going to actually increase health care spending in the province of Ontario,” because we knew we had to maintain the advantage that was our health care system. So that is the record of a Mike Harris government, and I could go on and on with the $20 billion in the infrastructure—

Mr. John Fraser: Please do. Please continue.

Hon. Paul Calandra: See, the leader of the Liberal Party wants me to continue, and I will. I will because it is for me to bring people together in these times, so let it not be said that, when the Liberals ask, I do not provide, Madam Speaker. So I’ll do that.

It was Mike Harris who brought in, of course, the infrastructure—at the time, the largest investment in infrastructure in the province’s history: the SuperBuild fund. Do you know why we had to do that? Because, again, under the Liberal-NDP coalition they stopped investing in infrastructure, so we started it up again.

Now, fast-forward to 2003. We heard from the member for Niagara Centre; earlier he talked about how great the NDP were. They were fighting things now. I will say, we lost that election in 2003; right? We lost that election in 2003. The NDP not only lost, they actually lost party status in 2003. So I’m not sure what success he’s talking about. The measure of success for me isn’t whether you lose party status; it’s what you accomplish. When you’re given the responsibility from the people to govern, it is what do you accomplish.

Now, fast-forward to the Liberals. For 15 years, I don’t know what the heck they accomplished. I truly have no idea what they accomplished. So, in riding after riding after riding, we have been forced to come through, build long-term-care homes. We have had to do that because they didn’t build any. We had to build highways because they’re just not building any highways. They couldn’t build bridges the right way. We had to build subways. So we had to bring the jobs back because they had lost so many jobs. Manufacturing had fled. We heard all about it, right? Chrysler said this is the worst jurisdiction to do business. They said that with the then-Liberal Premier standing right beside them. So we had brought that all back, and we got things moving again.

Now, fast-forward to today. What do we have? The parliamentary assistant said it very, very good: When it comes to housing in the province of Ontario, we’ve been focused on that since day one, and the opposition parties have been against everything that we’ve done.

We’re building transit-oriented communities because you should build new communities around the transit infrastructure. Now, why are we doing that? Because we’re actually building transit infrastructure. Why didn’t they do it? Because they didn’t build it, so we’re going to do it.

We’re building homes faster. We’re investing in infrastructure. Why are we investing in infrastructure? One would think that if you want to build homes you would have the foresight to put in water and sewer in the ground. Did that happen under the two previous governments? No, nothing, and they admit that the housing crisis started under a Liberal government. A Liberal Premier said that; a Liberal cabinet minister has said that. So we’ll solve, and we will fix that problem, too.

They talk about the National Housing Strategy, and I want to touch on the National Housing Strategy, if I can. Now, the member for Ottawa South said that we signed a deal—

Mr. Joel Harden: Ottawa Centre, Paul.

Mr. John Fraser: Ottawa Centre; I’m Ottawa South.

Hon. Paul Calandra: Ottawa Centre. You’re so close I can’t recognize the difference. You’re so close. In terms of policy, you’re the same thing, right?

Now, the member for Ottawa Centre says that we signed a national housing agreement. Actually, we didn’t sign the national housing agreement. It was signed in April 2018 during a time period when we were heading to an election and governments are not supposed to be signing deals that put other governments in a situation to live up to something without their knowledge.

So, in 2018, in the dying days of the previous Liberal government, they signed an agreement—an agreement that they knew that they couldn’t do. Do you know why? And I think we’re on the same page on this: because when we looked at the housing stock of the province of Ontario, our partners in cities and towns, our service providers, said our biggest challenge is that our properties are old, they’re outdated and thousands of units were taken out of circulation. Thousands of people had to be evicted because the units were not livable—they weren’t livable—and that was in communities all across. Why? Because they never made the investments.

So when we looked at it, we said, “Okay, they have signed an agreement”—and we’re very unique on this, because we allow service providers in our municipalities to do it. They signed an agreement that we could not do without asking our partners, and our partners in the municipalities said, “Help us renovate these units, because we can do more good if we renovate the units.” Our goal—the target by the federal government was 23,000 units renovated and put back in circulation. Our partners—123,000 units have been put back into circulation—123,000 units.

Now—I know I’m running out.

The federal money—surprise, surprise—most of it comes towards the end of the agreement. When we said, “At the end of the agreement, in the last five years, we will start building more and more of the new units, but allow us to renovate”—and what happened when they were supposed to give out that money, the federal Liberals? “Eh, we’ve changed our mind. We don’t want to do that.”

We built 11,000 of the 19,000 new units together with our service providers, and the federal Liberals have said, “No, we have changed our mind. Fire the service managers, and the province should take over that responsibility exclusively,” and we’re not prepared to do that. We want to work with people. So I hope you will help us.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Mr. John Vanthof: I’m always humbled to follow the government House leader. I have to say, he is one of the most masterful debaters here. Give him credit. It was interesting to hear from him that infrastructure is one of the things we need. For the last while, they’ve been trying to develop housing in a place with no infrastructure: the greenbelt. That was kind of a change.

The other issue that we brought forward in the motion is to allow fourplexes. The Premier was a bit unclear on whether he wanted fourplexes or not—four storeys. But the part we don’t understand—and I listened to the government House leader several times during question period—is, there are seven million people now who live in areas where fourplexes are a right, but there are not very many fourplexes being built. So the government is willing to forgive or give up $5 billion of funding—is that the number I’m looking at?—because they don’t want fourplexes. But what are they afraid of? Because there’s not that many fourplexes being built. If you say we can build fourplexes all over and there’s still not that many being built and you get $5 billion from the federal government, why are you not doing that? We don’t understand that. It’s a question. They never allow me to ask questions in question period, but that’s my question. It seems pretty simple. You seem to be creating a fear of something that there is no reason to have a fear of.

So we hope that the government members will actually look at what they’re saying and support our motion. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): MPP Stiles has moved opposition day number 4.

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

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members. There will be a 10-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1752 to 1802.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): MPP Stiles has moved opposition day motion number 4.

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


  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Burch, Jeff
  • Clancy, Aislinn
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Harden, Joel
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Pasma, Chandra
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wong-Tam, Kristyn

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


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

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Trevor Day): The ayes are 22; the nays are 65.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): I declare the motion lost.

Motion negatived.

Private Members’ Public Business

Hate-related incidents

Ms. Laura Smith: I move that, in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario should develop and implement a post-secondary institution hate-related-incident directive that, among other things, requires a response to be made to incidents and complaints within 30 days, includes a requirement for annual reporting by colleges and universities to the Minister of Colleges and Universities on hate-related incidents, and enforces compliance with the directive’s provisions, including penalties for non-compliance.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Pursuant to standing order 100, the member has 12 minutes for her presentation.

Ms. Laura Smith: It’s an honour to bring motion 90 to this House. It states that, “in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario should develop and implement a post-secondary institution hate-related-incident directive that, among other things, requires a response to be made to incidents and complaints within 30 days, includes a requirement for annual reporting by colleges and universities to the Minister of Colleges and Universities on hate-related incidents, and enforces compliance with the directive’s provisions, including penalties for non-compliance.”

This motion comes as a complement to Bill 166, the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024, which is currently with the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

Post-secondary institutions should be inclusive and safe places for all our students. As a mother of post-secondary students, I’m very aware that the environment on campus should be that of vitality and growth, where our students feel safe, valued and fostered, and these students should know that supports are available if they need help. I truly wish that this legislation was unnecessary and the issue of hate did not exist, but sadly, this is a very real circumstance for my community and across this province.

I’ve spoken to several brave students, many of whom are my constituents. They’ve come and they’ve spoken out about the hate that they’ve experienced on campus. For example, a constituent whose child was living in residence on campus recently received a note under his door. Drawn on the paper was a swastika and a hateful and threatening anti-Semitic message. I wish that I could repeat the message, but the words are too disturbing for repetition.

Another constituent contacted me very upset. Her daughter had been chased out of a university party after other students had learned that she was Jewish, forcing that student to run to another location. Then she hid there for hours before she felt she could be safe and go home.

Another student was targeted by other students who drew over a peaceful wall mural. She was an artist, and the other students wrote hateful and harmful words and threats on top of her mural, and it was seen by all on the walls within that college. That student is now so terrified that she refuses to go back to campus and will not go back to finish the final fourth year of her degree. Imagine that: She’s not going to finish her final fourth year. She’s currently attempting to request leave of the college to complete her final year virtually. The worst part about this situation was that this student felt threatened not only by the other students; it was my understanding that her instructors also took part in this anti-Semitic activity that made her feel not only uncomfortable on campus but not able to return.


Another student couldn’t leave his campus residence because of an angry mob of protesters. They were an intimidating group that chanted hateful messages against his faith on the field outside his room. That young Jewish man only wanted to cross a field on campus so that he could get to the library to study, and that afternoon he wasn’t able to leave his room—not even to go to the food hall to get dinner—because he quite simply did not feel safe.

And then there’s another example: A Muslim student who wears a hijab was putting up posters for an MSA event on campus. She was outside a busy building when she was verbally harassed with Islamophobic slurs and was shoved by a stranger who also happened to be on campus grounds. That student was shaken, and she reported it to various campus offices but was left with little support.

My last example, Speaker, is yet another. An Indigenous student was personally targeted as paint was smeared on a three-storey mural that nods to Indigenous stories of creation. One of the students on campus told investigators that the sight of such blatant hate made him feel like he had to throw up.

This is just a small fraction of the countless acts of hate on a variety of university and college campuses which are far more than a distraction and disruption for learning for our students, especially when these terrible acts of intimidation and abuse and, sometimes, assault happen without any ramifications against the person or the group perpetrating the hate.

Further, when these actions are not recorded by the university or college or, worse yet, never adjudicated, how does this reflect on the post-secondary educational system? Life is complicated—and I know this as a mother—but if we cannot protect our children, these students, our future leaders, who simply want to learn and grow in an inclusive environment where they can flourish in peace and safety; if we cannot provide this safe environment or, worse, not hold these bad actors accountable, then I believe the time has come for our government to force standards on our post-secondary institutions.

Speaker, it’s common knowledge that hate incidents have drastically increased toward students on university and college campuses across Ontario and Canada. It is honestly horrific to think of all the aforementioned forms of discrimination that occur every day in the lives of students in this province. Our government simply cannot continue to stand for this. Our government must be committed to supporting post-secondary education which is healthy and sustainable so that students have the best post-secondary experience possible and they are ready for the jobs and careers of today and tomorrow.

Since 2014, there have been over 500 publicly recorded hate incidents on campus, according to an investigative study by the Toronto Star and investigations by the journalism bureau. Our government does not condone any of these reported hate incidents, and we also know that so many hate incidents go unreported. This is disturbing, but something we must acknowledge and work to address. Our government understands the realities that many marginalized students face on campus. Whether it’s through hatred of speech or hatred through actions, these issues need to be tackled for the long-term future success and safety of those in our colleges and universities. But the grim reality is that students no longer feel safe, and this rising fear for their safety is impacting their overall mental health and well-being, as well as their academic success.

A new anti-hate policy that creates safer campuses, a streamlined complaints process for students, empowers schools to deal with all forms of racism. Direction to institutions would support greater consistency on how these incidents are dealt with and ensure a code of conduct is clearly communicated. Students who face incidents of hate deserve justice. They deserve justice by ensuring their academic institutions take appropriate action against the perpetrator and provide a response to the student and the ministry. We must hold these institutions accountable by including a strict adjudication timeline. We can ensure that students are not left waiting for years to have their concerns addressed or, worse yet, never adjudicated at all. Adding financial penalties for non-compliance will strengthen this stance.

For far too long, students’ concerns have been going unaddressed, and students in my riding and across the province are being verbally harassed, having property vandalized and sometimes being targeted into situations that become violent. The reality is that many students are fearful to report these hate incidents, and when they do, some schools fail to take appropriate action.

The Ontario Human Rights Code, which applies to all Ontario colleges and universities, prohibits discrimination based on race, place of origin, disability, age, religious belief, sexual orientation and more. Since 2019, all publicly assisted colleges and universities in our province have implemented a free speech policy that meets a minimum standard prescribed by the government and based on best practices from around the world. The policy protects free speech at colleges and universities but does not allow hate speech, discrimination, harassment or other illegal forms of speech.

It’s very concerning, especially since the outbreak of war on October 7. I’ve witnessed this first-hand, the tension rising among students on campuses across this province. Concerning incidents have been reported involving students and staff and student groups and visitors to post-secondary campuses. Given the lack of accountability with respect to hate incidents, it’s clear that a broader, proactive approach is needed so that all incidents are dealt with in a consistent manner.

Zehavi Zynoberg of CIJA—that’s the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs—said the following:

“The urgency of this matter is underscored by the alarming surge in anti-Semitic incidents and crimes recorded in Ontario since October 7, as evidenced by data collected by various law enforcement agencies and municipal governments, the Jewish community has been disproportionately targeted by hate on the streets, in the workforce, online and on campus.

“We lend our support to” ... “the government of Ontario in their endeavours to draft legislation....”

The positive aspect of this motion and Bill 166 is that it will be good for all groups that feel marginalized and have experienced hate on campus: the Muslim student that was taunted, the Indigenous student who felt their culture was disrespected, or the Jewish student that was assaulted on campus. I’ve been advocating for this for a very long time, so much so that my advocacy started far prior to my being elected. As a government, we will continue to work with our colleges, universities, student groups and other partners to make sure that our post-secondary institutions support a bright future for the people of this province.

Once again, I wish that this motion was not required, that our students felt safe and felt like they were supported in schools, in post-secondary institutions. We wish that these post-secondary institutions responded to their concerns and provided a safe learning environment. We have excellent colleges and universities across Ontario, and we have to work together to foster an environment where students can learn without fear.

I fully support this motion that puts Ontario students first with a continued focus on campus safety and accountability from our world-class post-secondary education system. Thank you very much, and I want to thank the members in this House for listening to my story.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Ms. Natalie Pierre: Good evening, everyone. I rise today to talk about a subject that has increasingly become a concern on college and university campuses across our province of Ontario. Hate-related incidences have been on the rise, and this is very concerning. All students have the right to study and pursue a higher education in a safe and respectful environment.

Speaker, every student deserves to feel welcome on campus. When that doesn’t happen, schools should step in and fix the situation. This is crucial to student success. There is no room for hate in Ontario, and students shouldn’t have to worry about racism, hate or discrimination anywhere in our province.


We’ve all heard reports in the news of unsettling events with students reporting that they don’t feel safe due to hate-related incidents on and off post-secondary campuses. I’d also like to add that it’s not just students; it’s staff members, it’s faculty and it’s visitors to colleges and university campuses who also need to feel safe when visiting or coming to work each day.

Although institutions have taken action to address these incidents, more needs to be done to ensure students have access to the right conditions to support their well-being and achieve academic success. We’re hearing stories of students who have received threats in their dorm halls and in common areas, and while there have been investigations, hate crimes continue to rise.

We’ve heard directly from students. We’ve seen reports on television. We’ve read reports in the newspaper of students being called out in lecture halls and on social media, and from students who have even been blocked from entering campus buildings. Imagine what a student feels like going about their day and then seeing slurs written on the walls or seeing notes in the hallways telling you that you’re not welcome, or perhaps even being in class and having to watch as someone charges at your professor with a weapon, injuring not only the professor but some of your classmates. Students aren’t feeling safe in their spaces, in their classrooms and on campuses.

To help protect students and ensure they feel safe, our government has developed several initiatives to put students first. The Campus Safety Grant is a $6-million investment each year to assist and support publicly assisted universities and colleges with safety programs that include safety training, safe walk programs, violence prevention workshops, and security equipment such as cameras and emergency systems.

However, students still feel their voices aren’t being heard. Students shouldn’t be waiting for weeks or months for a response to their complaints. We’ve actually even heard from students who have not received a response after filing a complaint. Students have reported that their schools haven’t responded in an acceptable amount of time. Some campuses have displayed years of racism on campus, and it’s reported that it has only gotten worse in the wake of the October 7 attacks.

Right now, there is no formal policy in place for universities or colleges to report hate crimes to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. It’s clear that a broader approach is needed, ensuring all incidents are dealt with in an appropriate and timely manner. That’s why it’s so important for our government to develop and implement a post-secondary institution hate-related-incident directive, requiring colleges and universities to issue responses to complaints within 30 days. This directive would also apply to college campuses and universities, and would require them to report annually to the Minister of Colleges and Universities on hate-related incidents.

Our government’s position on this issue is clear: Hate has no place at our post-secondary education institutes or any educational institute in this province, be it a college or university campus, or a secondary or elementary school. Institutions have a responsibility to provide a safe and supportive learning environment, and must adopt appropriate measures to address issues of hate, racism and discrimination when they occur.

Recently, our government introduced the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024, which, if passed, will require all public colleges and universities to have clear policies in place to address and combat racism and hate. All students deserve a post-secondary experience free from hateful acts.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Ms. Peggy Sattler: I am pleased to rise on behalf of the official opposition to speak to the motion that is before us today, which the member has described as a complement to Bill 166, the legislation that is currently in committee. The member from Thornhill and I are participating in those committee proceedings.

Certainly, the official opposition has been pushing so hard to make sure that our post-secondary sector gets the funding and the resources it needs, because we understand how important the post-secondary system is to the success of our province and to the well-being of all Ontarians. We want the sector to flourish. Post-secondary education brings people together, and it should do so in such a way that everyone who attends a college or a university has a sense of belonging, has a sense of personal safety, feels free to exchange ideas and opinions, and that everyone who is on a campus grows and learns from those interactions with other students.

All of Ontario’s colleges and universities should be safe and welcoming places for anyone who attends and who works on these campuses. That is a commitment that I know is shared by every single one of the 47 post-secondary institutions in this province. Every college and university wants to realize that vision, and they have put considerable effort into promoting equity and diversity, taking action to prevent racism and hate, and responding to student reports, staff reports, faculty reports of incidents of racism or hate.

Unfortunately, as the other members have pointed out, we know that we have a long way to go. In fact, we are seeing increasing numbers of students on our campuses in this province experiencing and sometimes reporting hate-related incidents on campus. Every member here who has a post-secondary institution in their riding or near their riding has heard stories, I’m sure, or has read in their local media about hate-related incidents that have occurred on those campuses.

I have mentioned before in this House something that happened in my community, in London, on the Western University campus several weeks after the October 7 attack. Posters of hostages which had been displayed around the campus community were seen being torn down—it was videotaped, actually. It prompted an immediate joint statement from student organizers—from the Western University Students’ Council, from Hillel Western, from Israel on Campus, from the Muslim Students’ Association, and from the Palestinian Cultural Club. I couldn’t be prouder that all those organizations came together to condemn hate. The statement they issued said, “Over the past few days, students have expressed feeling unsafe at Western. Students have been scared to go to class. Students have felt afraid in common spaces. Students have felt deep anguish and fear on campus.” When you hear those kinds of words from students from many faiths—from the Western USC, from Hillel, from the Muslims Students’ Association—you know that we must take action.

We cannot ignore what students are experiencing in our post-secondary institutions in the province. Last year, the Toronto Star and the Investigative Journalism Bureau released shocking reports about the level of hidden hate on campus. These are the incidents that go unreported, and their investigation suggested that that is probably the vast majority of incidents. They go unreported because students don’t have confidence that their schools will be able to respond. That, again, is something that we can’t ignore. We have to acknowledge that despite the best intentions of our colleges and universities, students do not receive the support they need when they encounter hate-related incidents.


During public hearings on Bill 166, several Jewish students shared their horrendous experiences with anti-Semitism on campus. I want to thank those students who came forward, who bravely spoke to the committee, who talked about the pain that they’ve felt, the impact that it had on their academic success, on their mental health, even on their ability to complete their academic program. I understand why the member from Thornhill, hearing those deputations, talking to students in her community, felt so motivated to bring forward this motion. However, I am concerned about whether the kind of consultation necessary took place on this motion and whether it will address the real cause of delayed responses to hate-related incidents. We have to look for solutions that actually help students.

Certainly we believe that there should be speedy and timely responses—appropriate responses—to hate-related incidents. We know from the committee on Bill 166 that many students don’t feel that it’s happening on their campuses, but this motion imposes a requirement for a maximum response time to these reports of incidents of racism or hate, but not the motion, not Bill 166, not the funding announcement that went along with Bill 166 make any mention of resources to implement appropriate responses.

Post-secondary institutions have been chronically underfunded in Ontario, and this government has made significant cuts over the last five years that have put our sector in crisis. This impacts campus safety. We can’t keep comprising the ability of colleges and universities to provide employment to the counsellors, to the staff on our campuses who need training to respond effectively to reports of incidents of racism and hate, and then expect institutions to be able to deliver those services without the staff in place.

We hear constantly—I know I do in my work as critic for colleges and universities—staff telling us that their workloads have been increasing steadily. Vacancies are not filled, retirements are not replaced, and all of this means increased workload for the staff in the offices that are established to respond to exactly the kinds of issues that we know about. It’s very difficult to respond appropriately if you don’t have the staff in place to do that, if you don’t have the resources in place to do that.

The other issue that is a concern is a new reporting requirement. I want to be absolutely clear that we need data, we need information about the extent of hate and racism on campuses. We can’t engage in effective evidence-based policy-making if we don’t know what is really happening on the ground in our institutions in this province. We need colleges and universities to report to the province, but we do not see this motion as the way to effectively collect that data and respond, as a system, to the issues that students are experiencing.

When you think about the offices that are already in place on our campuses, the initiatives that have already been undertaken—we have anti-racism offices, EDI offices, human rights offices—what many of these offices have in common is that they are very small. They are very small teams tasked with everything from education, engagement and strategic planning to receiving complaints, supporting students who’ve experienced hate-related incidents and following up on them. We know from the students who came to committee that students have been let down. We need to provide the resources to expand those offices to ensure that the staff are in place to do the follow-up that is necessary.

Adding an annual report requirement is not the way that we are going to enhance the capacity of these offices to respond to the concerns of students. In fact, it could have the opposite impact. It could cause colleges and universities to respond less quickly to incidents on campus, which will be a net negative for students who have experienced hate.

Another concern is the power given to the minister to impose penalties for non-compliance without any information about what those penalties are. We heard during the hearings on Bill 166 that financial penalties for non-compliance are counter-productive. They actually further compromise the ability of a college or university that is struggling with chronic underfunding to respond effectively to disclosures that they receive from students who have experienced hate on campus.

So, Speaker, we need to look at all of the other solutions that are out there. We should be funding mandatory anti-discrimination training on campus. We should be properly funding and empowering the Anti-Racism Directorate. We should be funding student services adequately. We should be carrying out extensive consultation with all stakeholders—staff, students, faculty, experts and communities—to determine how we can most effectively support colleges and universities in responding appropriately to hate-related incidents and to supporting students who have experienced hate.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Mr. Will Bouma: Good evening, everyone. It’s an honour to speak alongside my colleagues about the member from Thornhill’s private member’s notice of motion number 90.

Ontario is home to world-class post-secondary schools that provide high-quality learning to students from across Canada and beyond. These schools are also centres of employment and economic growth for their communities and their cities and in the regions that they call home.

In order for our students to learn and to study effectively, it is important that we ensure that they have access to the best campus environments possible. For students to excel in post-secondary education and beyond, it is essential that we first provide them with a solid foundation that fosters success.

The measures that are being proposed today as part of motion number 90 are, first and foremost, student-focused. All students in Ontario—domestic students, out-of-province students and international students—deserve to learn in a supportive, in a safe and in a respectful environment. Students deserve campuses on which they feel comfortable, rather than environments where they fear discrimination or harassment. Post-secondary campuses must exist as spaces where free speech and debate can flourish and students can exchange thoughts and ideas with one another without fear of being ostracized, without fear of being threatened or, even worse, without fear of being assaulted.

I have been deeply saddened by the reports that I have seen in the news and on social media recently of unsettling incidents that are happening at colleges and universities right here in Ontario, across Canada and, indeed, Speaker, across North America. It is especially concerning for me as a father of children in university that incidents of racism and hate on post-secondary campuses have actually been escalating over the period of the last few months.

In early November 2023, CTV News reported that “police forces in major Canadian cities report a dramatic spike in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes in recent weeks—a surge correlated with the Israel-Hamas war.”

It is unacceptable that in 2024 instances of vandalism, verbal threats and even assaults are rising in our post-secondary institutions. Many Ontarians are asking how these incidents can be allowed to occur.


A large part of the answer to that question is that post-secondary institutions do not have the mechanisms to punish hate-based incidents. When hate-fuelled incidents are reported, post-secondary institutions’ only course of action is to report them to the police. However, many hate-based incidents reported by students are not illegal, and in these such cases, police are not required to investigate or intervene. This means that it is up to the college or to the university to deal with the reported incident internally.

This process has been riddled with challenges, especially when incidents fall outside of the scope of student codes of conduct because the perpetrators are neither students nor faculty. In fact, a spokesperson from the University of Guelph told the Toronto Star that when it comes to dishing out internal punishments for hateful acts, universities and colleges are either largely unequipped or have no mechanism to resolve incidents within a timely manner.

This motion, if it’s adopted into policy and government, will implement a post-secondary institution hate-related-incident directive that, among other things, requires a response to be made to incidents and complaints within 30 days, including a requirement for annual reporting by colleges and universities to the Minister of Colleges and Universities on hate-related incidents.

These measures will provide colleges and universities with the tools required to safeguard students against discrimination and allow students, professors and staff to feel safe on campus. Students will no longer feel like their concerns are not being heard, and administrators will be required to respond to students’ concerns in a timely manner, and it will give everyone a way of reporting that. This motion represents another step towards hate-free campuses and I am proud to represent a government that stands against discrimination of all kinds.

Speaker, I see I have a little bit of time left on the clock. We live in a world that is so often very radically self-centred. I think that’s one of the reasons why I appreciate sitting on this side of the House so much, because I sit between the opposition New Democratic Party, the independent Liberals, the Greens and the other independents. It allows a space to foster a relationship.

We need that to come back to our university campuses, but in order to do that, we need to be able to measure what’s happening on our university campuses. That’s why I’m so supportive of the work that the member from Thornhill has done on this: because we can’t just call the police for everything. They are busy doing other things, and some of these acts are not illegal. But we need to be able to measure it so that we can make change, so that we can make things better. I think that’s what we’re all here to do.

From what I heard from the opposition, they might want more, but I think we can all support this, and so I’m proud to support this today

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Ms. Aislinn Clancy: I thank you, MPP from Thornhill, for your moving speech and for sharing the stories that I know are personal to each individual who experiences these hate incidences and hate crimes.

It makes me deeply sad. I feel like young people’s lives are forever changed when they experience hate, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian hate, anti-Palestinian racism, transphobia etc. and all forms of racism and hate.

We see 75% of students report that they have a negative mental health experience at this moment. I would share that I think that often could have to do with the hate and racism that they experience on their campus.

I share your concerns about the rise in hate that we’ve seen take place across the province. A CBC article said there was a 1,600% increase in Islamophobia or anti-Palestinian hate crimes in one year and a 192% increase of anti-Semitic hate crimes, with anti-Semitism making up 40% all hate crimes as of November 2023. We know that this takes a physical, psychological and emotional toll on the students who experience that hate.

I was a social worker, and I was trained in addressing threats of violence. We had a process in my school board called violent threat risk assessment. I’ll urge you to look up Kevin Cameron; he’s an expert in Canada from Nova Scotia. He provides training to institutions all throughout North America to build the capacity within institutions to seek out, root out and prevent the very hate and attacks that we’re talking about today.

I know on our University of Waterloo campus we experienced a hate-related crime where a student came to a gender studies class, stabbed their professor and stabbed students in that class because he didn’t believe in gender-related education. We know now from instances in London and this incident in University of Waterloo that these students had poor mental health and were isolated as a result of social media, going down a rabbit hole that perpetuated their pre-existing hate and led to ideations of hate.

As someone who address ideations of suicide, I know that we need to build the capacity amongst all the stakeholders in this campus to root out ideations of violence, ideations of hate, because we need to do better to prevent these hate crimes.

I echo my colleague from London West that we need to go to the people who are working in these departments and say, “What do you need to do this better?” I agree with our MPP from Thornhill that we need to act with speed. Much like many of our judicial times, we can’t let this linger. We do a disservice to justice when people don’t have a timely response for the harms they’ve experienced.

First, I’d like to ask that we go forward with a collaborative approach, that we take the words of “nothing about us, without us” when we inform our policies. When we asked the delegations at the committee deliberating on Bill 166, we didn’t hear from the student unions, from the stakeholders or the professors that they had been consulted in the development of this policy. So I urge the government to bring an interfaith and anti-racism committee forward to ensure that the policies that are in place are informed by the very people who are impacted by these policies, by the people with lived experience.

I urge the government to seriously consider the funding gaps that exist today. Our blue-ribbon panel asked for $2.4 billion, and this government provided half of that. We know that our colleges are only funded to 44% of the Canadian average—not the Canadian best, the Canadian average. We come in at 44%. We come in last when it comes to funding our colleges and universities. And then we are asking them today to do more, to do reporting, to be more responsive and bring staffing responses to these concerns. I think if something matters, it needs to be funded. So I urge this government: If combatting hate matters, then we make sure that these efforts are funded.

I want to be sure that we don’t suppress any voices in our effort to curb hate. An IJV report said, “The suppression of speech on Palestine has significant consequences in academia where it threatens ... academic freedom and encourages surveillance of critical intellectuals and activists”—

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Your time is over.

We go back to the member for a two-minute response.

Ms. Laura Smith: I want to thank the members in this room for their contributions: to the member from Brantford–Brant, his very heartfelt comments; the member from Burlington; even the ones from London West and Kitchener Centre.

We need a policy that creates a safer campus and a streamlined process. We have to do better—reporting, accountability. As my husband would say, we have to get the puck in the net.

Students who face hate incidents deserve justice by ensuring their academic institutions take appropriate action against the perpetrator and provide a response to the students and the ministry. Students in my riding and across this province have been verbally harassed, and property has been vandalized. They’ve been targeted, and they feel alone.

Once again, I truly wish that this didn’t have to happen, that I didn’t have to stand in front of you and ask for this. But sadly, this is a reality. How are students supposed to excel in their studies if they don’t feel secure and supported on campus?


This motion is long overdue. Ensuring that every student feels safe on campus and feels safe and comfortable in their own skin is really an important measure that I think we have to face. We have to do better.

I want to thank all of the students who came forward. Their bravery is outstanding. I don’t know if I could have been that brave when I was that young. I also want thank the Minister of Colleges and Universities for being supportive as well.

We’ll continue to work with our colleges and universities, our student groups and other partners to make sure that these post-secondary institutions support a bright future by putting these regulations in. We have are to do better. We simply have to do better.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): The time provided for private members’ public business is now expired.

Ms. Smith, Thornhill, has moved private members’ notice of motion number 90. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

Interjection: On division.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Carried on division.

Motion agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): All matters relating to private members’ public business having been completed, we now have a late show.

Pursuant to standing order 36, the question that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been made.

Adjournment Debate

Office of the Premier

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): The member for Ottawa South has given notice of dissatisfaction with the answer to a question given by the Premier. The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter and the minister or parliamentary assistant may reply for up to five minutes.

I recognize the member for Ottawa Centre—Ottawa South.

Mr. John Fraser: Thank you very much, Speaker. There has been a lot of confusion around that today already. The House leader was having a hard time getting our ridings right.

I want to thank everybody for being here, like I usually do—the Table, yourself, Speaker, people behind the dais and, of course, the member from Whitby, who is always obliged to respond to me. I’m sure he enjoys it, and I do appreciate the fact that he’s here a bit later when he would rather be home.

We all remember the question, and I think it’s reasonable to say that going from 20 staff on the sunshine list to 48 staff is a pretty big jump. It’s more than double. Going from $2.9 million to $6.9 million in a budget is a huge jump. Where is that happening? In the Premier’s office.

I described it as a gravy train because that’s what it is. How can the people of Ontario expect the top person, the top guy, to manage their money when his office is so bloated? What do all these people do who are helping Ontarians? That was my point. Ontarians are still struggling. They’re struggling to pay their rents. More and more people everyday are having to pull out their credit card instead of their OHIP card because they’re just trying to get basic medical attention. That was my point.

I didn’t get an answer from the Premier. He didn’t say why he needed those 48 people. I didn’t realize this until today. The member from Guelph was at Good Roads, and he said that the Premier had, at Good Roads, 14 people there for his speech—14 people. Holy cow. That’s about one third of his Premier’s office staff. That’s a lot of people travelling around. How much support does one person need?

Those 48 people on the sunshine list, the average salary of those staff is twice the median family income—twice the median family income in Ontario. Not individual income—family income. I think it’s really hard for Ontarians to understand why this is happening. I just wanted an explanation for that.

I used the term “gravy train,” and I’m going to keep using it, because that’s a term that the Premier has used to describe a lot of other people, but here he’s doing the same thing.

I’m just going to go through the rest of the gravy trains before we’re done.

We have the greenbelt gravy train. That took a while to happen. Once they got it full of gravy and on the rails, what ended up happening was, it got derailed, because the people of Ontario said, “No, you can’t do that.” Someone got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

Then there’s the Ontario Place gravy train. That’s where you can get a secret sole-source contract if you’re a privately held company. By the way, the bonus caboose on that train is a $650-million parking garage.

We have the Staples gravy train. I don’t have to explain that. It’s another sole-source contract.

Then we have the MZO urban boundary gravy train, which is, if you’re a land speculator and you have some land that needs to be in an urban boundary—or that a municipal zoning order will solve—you’ve got the inside track. That’s another gravy train.

We all found out about the last gravy train today. It was a gravy train that started up but got derailed, too. That was Charles McVety’s gravy train, where he was going to get a degree-granting university. Again, it came out how that was all happening—that it was a payback—so it didn’t happen. But today we found out that that institution is now going to be one of the few institutions, private colleges, that get foreign students. How is that?

So there’s definitely a gravy train in the Premier’s office, but there’s not only one with this government.

I thank you for your time.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): Further debate?

Mr. Lorne Coe: Well, what we aren’t going to do is take affordability lessons from the Liberals. We’ve introduced a suite of affordability measures that directly benefit families.

That’s more than can be said for the pro-carbon-tax Liberals, who would see the price of gas rise by 17.6 cents per litre. Over 15 years in power, all they managed to do was chase away 300,000 manufacturing jobs and increase the cost of everything. They increased the gas tax by 4.3 cents a litre. We cut that tax, saving the average Ontario household $320 since its introduction, and still Bonnie Crombie talks about reversing it. They’re the party of higher taxes on everything. They even raised beer and wine taxes across the province. We stopped the beer tax hike. They increased transit fees for every hard-working commuter trying to provide for their family. They increased licence plate sticker fees for every family with a car, but we cut them entirely this year. The Liberals raised taxes on small businesses, family businesses and middle-class families.

If the member opposite actually cared about families, he would have voted for our motion to stop the 23% carbon tax hike—a tax which harms families by increasing the cost of everything from groceries to gas, which reached $1.80 today after the tax went up.

Speaker, I think you would agree that now is not the time to raise taxes and add to the financial strain on families, which is why, on this side of the House, we’re committed to keeping costs down.

Through the Ontario Low-income Workers Tax Credit, we’re saving families up to $850 a year on their personal income taxes.

Through our One Fare program, we’re saving riders an average of $1,600 a year across the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. That is $1,600 families no longer have to spend on transit; $1,600 they can use towards keeping their family cared for amid an affordability crisis.

It’s this Liberal Party that gave $163 million to their largest corporate donor while they were in power—$163 million; the party that gave lucrative green energy contracts to companies that donated a combined $1.3 million to the Ontario Liberal Party. Speaker, we’re talking about the Liberal Party that created this $6-million man at Hydro One.

Speaker, we’ll take no lessons from the out-of-touch Liberals. We’re committed—absolutely committed—to keeping costs down for all Ontarians, and we’ll make sure no one is left behind.

The Deputy Speaker (Ms. Donna Skelly): There being no further matters to debate, pursuant to standing order 36(c), I deem the motion to adjourn to be carried.

This House stands adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1900.