The House met at 1:30 p.m.
CAMBRIDGE HIGHLAND GAMES
The swirl of the kilts and the skirl of the bagpipes will delight thousands on Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18, at the 13th annual Cambridge Highland Games. Early arrivers and those who wish to camp at the park will be awakened by the lament of a lone piper, but by noon the sound will turn to a thundering of massed bands.
One thousand highland dancers from all across Canada and North America will compete for the Ontario open highland dance championship while others enjoy the spectacle of colourful sporting events such as tug of war, the caber toss, shot-put competitions, soccer finals and a five-kilometre foot race.
This is truly a major event for Ontario, and I invite you all, those who are of Scottish descent and those who wish they were, to come and sample the warm hospitality of my native Cambridge.
NORTHERN HEALTH SERVICES
It is important, however, to recognize that while there may be too many doctors in total practicing in Ontario, there is a severe shortage of many specialists and general practitioners in northern Ontario. There are already 100 communities listed in the underserviced-areas program of the Ministry of Health, and this announcement made by the provincial government will only make it more difficult to attract medical practitioners to the small, isolated communities of northern Ontario.
It is time this government stopped dealing with the medical profession and the numbers involved in practicing medicine in this province simply on the basis of total numbers, and dealt with the maldistribution we now face and took action to ensure that doctors locate in the areas where they are needed.
SERVICES AUX PERSONNES ÂGÉES
II y a quelque temps, le ministre délégué aux personnes âgées (M. Van Horne) mandatait une équipe pour aller rencontrer les gens à l'échelle de la province. Lors du passage de cette équipe itinérante dans l'est, nous avons discuté entre autre de la possibilité de mise sur pied de régions pilotes pour de tels points d'accès unique.
Depuis cette rencontre, plusieurs individus et groupes nous ont laissé savoir leur appui fervent à la possibilité de voir l'est de l'Ontario désignée région pilote. C'est maintenant un fait accompli. Je suis certain que la population de l'est prendra l'occasion fournie afin d'assurer que ces points d'accès unique aux services répondent le mieux possible à leurs besoins.
On behalf of all the people from eastern Ontario and on my own behalf, I wish to thank my government for having really listened to the concerns expressed by the people from the east, especially with regard to the specific nature of this area. In particular, I wish to express my appreciation for the excellent co-operation I have had from the Minister without Portfolio responsible for senior citizens' affairs (Mr. Van Horne) and from all the other ministers involved in this dossier.
Just think, you will probably even get to meet the member for York East (Ms. Hart), the minister's parliamentary assistant, whom he values so much that he allowed her and her staff to arrange this lovely evening. And do not forget, for those of you in the health care field who did not feel quite pressured enough to put out $200 to the man who is directly responsible for your funding, the Minister of Health decided to pull out all the stops and really send in the clowns.
According to the second notice, you will get a chance to meet not only the Minister of Health but also his cabinet colleagues the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway), the Attorney General (Mr. Scott), the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye), the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley), the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara), the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil), the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton), the Minister without Portfolio responsible for senior citizens' affairs (Mr. Van Horne), the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Grandmaitre), the Minister of Energy (Mr. Kerrio), the Solicitor General (Mr. Keyes), the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Eakins), the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Munro), the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) and even the Premier (Mr. Peterson).
As William Somerville, one of the noted bagmen for the Liberal Party, told the Toronto Star in March, "These gatherings allow businessmen to tell their problems to the politicians, who tend to listen better when they know money for the party is involved."
Yes, it will all be there, the ministers, their limousines, their drivers, their highly paid assistants, and it will cost only $200.
CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY WORKERS
The workers in children's aid societies around Ontario had a great deal of difficulty in the last number of years with contracts and with child-welfare administration. Last September, in a letter to a Canadian Union of Public Employees representative, the minister indicated he would meet with representatives from CUPE locals, presidents of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union locals and unorganized workers from other agencies around the province.
That meeting is to take place today. As of Friday of last week, the minister's staff indicated he would not meet with them all; he would meet with only a small group of them, perhaps six. There are representatives of 38 of those organizations here. They come from Thunder Bay, they come from Sault Ste. Marie and from many long distances in this province, and they expect to meet with the minister at 4 p.m.
I am suggesting here to the minister that it would be wise if he were to meet with them all and not with a small, select group. They are not to be feared; they are his servants.
SENIOR CITIZENS MONTH
I think it shows the sensitivity of a government when it appoints a minister directly responsible for senior citizens. It shows the new approach and direction this government is taking, and it becomes particularly important to me as I get on in years that I should be certain the government that is looking after these matters does look after senior citizens, because I am fast approaching becoming one.
I would like to direct the members' attention to two of my favourite senior citizens, who are sitting in the member's gallery. One of them is my mother, Louise Callahan, and the other one is my father-in-law, James Grant Murray, 84 and 85 respectively, along with my lovely wife, Lyn.
PENETANGUISHENE MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE
I have on previous occasions asked the minister for $2.8 million to enable the hiring of additional staff at the Penetanguishene facility. As members are aware, about 90 additional staff are required to provide adequate treatment services at the centre. I want to make it quite clear that I am not downgrading the importance and usefulness of a sports and recreation facility; I am trying to make the minister aware of a greater need, and that is additional staff and improvements to the centre of a far more urgent nature.
I have to wonder if the minister looked at the Oak Ridge project objectively, or did he merely see it as a political opportunity? In a letter to me dated May 14, 1987, he indicated the existing Oak Ridge facility is not appropriate in today's context. He said, "It is my opinion that rebuilding the facility is the preferred option," and that a new building would be in the same general area.
Again, I would like to stress that any money this provincial government spends in the riding of Simcoe East is welcome, but let us consider first and foremost the real needs confronted by the administration and staff at the centre. Let us make certain that taxpayers' money is being well spent where it will do the most good.
It is my humble and objective opinion that $4 million would have been more wisely spent for hiring additional staff and building a new facility. When is the minister going to announce the funding required for Oak Ridge?
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
SEVERANCE PAY AND NOTICE PROVISIONS
Later today I will be introducing a bill to provide greater protection for Ontario workers who may fall victim to layoffs and terminations because of plant closures and other kinds of business discontinuance. It will also require businesses to provide disclosure to the Minister of Labour and to the employees.
The bill is designed to broaden the scope of the Employment Standards Act by providing individual workers who are terminated with the right to severance pay. In addition, it is designed to lengthen the notice of termination period received by individual workers and to ensure that workers on lengthy temporary layoff will have a right to termination pay if they are not given notice.
A worker's rights to notice of termination and to severance pay are enshrined in the Employment Standards Act. These rights manifest a philosophy recognized by this House that the relationship between an employer and an employee is to be just and equitable. The legislation I am introducing today goes considerably further than the existing provisions of the act in guaranteeing the fairness of that relationship.
Severance pay recognizes that, over a period of years, a worker develops employer-specific skills, substantial seniority and associated benefits. When a long-serving employee loses his or her job, those employer-specific skills become redundant and those associated benefits are lost. Severance pay is compensation for those losses. That is why, effective today, under this legislation, any individual worker with five years' employment at an enterprise which has an annual payroll of at least $2. 5 million would be eligible for severance pay in cases of termination or lengthy layoff.
En élargissant la définition du mot employeur à un groupe de corporations affiliées ayant une feuille de paie annuelle de 2,5 millions de dollars, cette loi assurera le versement d'indemnités de cessation d'emploi à un plus grand nombre de personnel. Cette caractéristique du projet de loi et les améliorations apportées à la Loi sur les Normes d'Emploi prouvent que notre gouvernement reconnaît la dignité et la valeur des hommes et des femmes travaillant dans notre province.
In the past, terminated workers were not eligible for severance pay unless the business was discontinued and there were at least 50 workers terminated within a six-month period. Under this bill, a worker can be part of a group or can be the only individual terminated and still be entitled to severance pay.
The worker would qualify for severance pay regardless of the cause of the termination. The termination could arise because a business closes or because its operations were reduced. In the case of reduced operations, any worker with five years' employment who is laid off for 35 weeks in any 52-week period would qualify for severance pay.
Terminated workers would also have the option of renouncing recall rights and claiming the severance pay immediately or retaining recall rights and having the severance pay placed in trust with the director of the employment standards branch. Interest will be paid on these funds.
The legislation would ensure protection for workers who are employed at a company that is part of a larger enterprise. For instance, if a worker was employed at a company with a payroll of only $2 million, the worker would be eligible for severance pay if the payroll of that company and related companies, combined, was at least $2.5 million.
In the past, the calculation of severance pay has been based on a worker's completed years of employment. This meant, for example, that a worker with five years and 11 months of employment with an employer received credit for only five years' service. The 11 extra months did not count. This legislation would provide credit for those months.
Any employer who fears that the measures in this bill would cause financial hardship may apply for permission to meet severance pay obligations by instalment over a three-year period. Each case will be reviewed on its merits.
In instances where the workers affected are members of a labour union, the legislation would permit the union to bargain a settlement of severance claims on their behalf. This provision would allow a union to negotiate a settlement that attempts to protect the workers' rights to unemployment insurance.
Severance pay was never intended to substitute for unemployment insurance benefits, and it should not be classed as earnings for that purpose. The position of this government on that issue is well documented and I can assure this House that the government has by no means abandoned its efforts to protect the severance pay of workers. The battle is far from over.
In many instances in the past, workers have been hampered in seeking alternative employment once an employer has announced a closure, because they must stay on the job until the closing date to be entitled to severance pay. This has produced frustrations for workers wanting to leave early to start a new job. The legislation would resolve this problem by permitting a worker to give two weeks' notice during the statutory notice period without jeopardizing his or her claim to severance pay.
Besides addressing severance pay issues, this bill also seeks to improve the provisions for notice of termination to individual workers. Workers with less than two years' employment have been entitled to only one week's notice, while those with less than five years on the job have been given only two weeks' notice.
This bill would also require employers to provide written notice of termination of at least one week to anyone employed for more than three months, but for less than one year. Two weeks' notice would be required if a worker has been employed for at least one year but less than three years. An additional week's notice would be required for each completed year of employment up to a maximum of eight for workers with eight or more years' employment.
In the past, there has been no requirement to give notice to a worker on temporary layoff regardless of the length of the layoff. As with severance pay, any worker temporarily laid off for 35 weeks within a 52-week period would have the right to termination pay if that worker had not been given notice.
There are special provisions under the Employment Standards Act which require longer notice periods of between eight and 16 weeks to employees who lose their jobs in mass layoffs. A lengthening of these periods could place many Ontario employers in the untenable position of having to serve notice of termination on employees before knowing whether such layoffs will be necessary, with the associated uncertainty for workers. For this reason, the government has chosen not to lengthen the mass-layoff notice periods.
The legislation I am introducing today is designed to give the worker, the community and the government information on why a closure is taking place, what the impact will be and what the employer is prepared to do to help the employees. It would require employers to be more actively involved in helping the workers and their families to adjust. Once proclaimed, in cases of mass layoffs employers would be required to disclose to employees and to the minister the following information:
First, an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the intended mass layoff or closure;
Second, an indication of consultations already carried out with its employees and the community, and proposed consultations;
Third, a profile of affected workers, such as age, occupation and length of service;
Finally, proposed adjustment measures to assist laid-off workers, including an indication of the number of employees expected to benefit from the proposed adjustment measures.
The legislation would provide that until such time as this disclosure statement is reviewed by the Minister of Labour and determined to be in accordance with the requirements, the statutory period of notice to workers affected by mass layoffs would not begin.
The measures in this bill will increase and ensure benefits for workers who have not been protected adequately in the past, but beyond those measures lies the challenge to create an active early warning system, capable of preventing or reducing closures and mass layoffs before they happen.
My colleague the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) will soon be announcing the appointment of the industrial restructuring commissioner. It will be the commissioner's task to identify problem situations in their early stages and to attempt to develop creative options in selected restructuring situations.
The changes to the Employment Standards Act I am proposing today put Ontario ahead of any other jurisdiction on the continent when it comes to protecting workers from the contemporary forces of economic change adversely affecting them and their families. It is the view of this government that in 1987 it is unacceptable to the people of Ontario for society to respond to workers who are losing their jobs with anything less than sensitivity, understanding and respect. Workers in this province have a right basic economic protection against layoffs and closures. More important, they have a right to retain their dignity in the face of adversity; a right to know their worth as human beings has not diminished because they are without a job.
I am proud that these amendments I will be bringing forth recognize those rights and ensure their enhanced protection. The changes I am proposing are responsible and reasonable but, most important, they will bring a new measure of economic justice to working men and women in Ontario.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON
L'étude sur le gouvernement régional d'Ottawa-Carleton mettra l'accent sur la révision du mode de représentation du conseil régional et l'imputabilité, ainsi que les modes de fonctionnement et de financement.
Un premier rapport sur l'imputabilité et le mode de représentation sera complet en décembre prochain si l'on respecte l'échéancier prévu.
This should provide adequate time for consideration of any recommendations which may deal with council composition prior to the 1988 municipal elections. The second phase of the report will deal with functions and related financial matters. A study co-ordinator will be appointed soon to conduct the review.
It is my continuing wish to explore the potential for enhanced local government in Ontario and to assist all citizens in better understanding municipal government in the province.
J'ai la ferme intention de poursuivre mes efforts afin d'accroître l'efficacité de l'administration locale, d'une part, et d'autre part, d'aider les citoyens à mieux comprendre la nature de l'administration municipale à travers notre province.
We have already undertaken a study of regional government in Metropolitan Toronto, and I will be releasing the government's proposals to implement changes to the structure of Metro's council shortly. Legislation will follow in the fall.
I will be announcing the terms of reference for a review in the region of Niagara in the not-too-distant future. This review will also be conducted in two phases. La première phase traitera sur l'imputabilité et du mode de représentation alors que la deuxième phase se penchera sur les modes de fonctionnement et de financement des conseils régionaux.
In addition, my ministry is discussing a review with the region of Haldimand-Norfolk.
INTERNATIONAL BANKING CENTRES
Honourable members will know by now that in spite of major concerns about this proposal raised by the Blenkarn committee and many other knowledgeable Canadians, we now find that the federal government is attempting to bring this idea into force through the back door.
Last week the federal government attempted to bury this measure in a comprehensive tax bill. Furthermore, it now apparently intends to bypass the all-party House of Commons finance committee and refer the proposal directly to a legislative committee.
We do not believe this to be a process that will allow a full discussion on this important matter. Quite frankly, we find the federal government's action at this time to be inconsistent, given that a major tax reform package is to be announced later this week. None the less, let me again note Ontario's strong objection to the proposal as it now stands.
We believe that any move towards international banking centres should not be based on geographic discrimination, that the marketplace be allowed to determine financial centres and that unless these factors are put in place, the federal government should withdraw this proposal.
ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Human Rights Code of this province is a declaration of public policy designed to engender a climate of understanding and mutual respect. More so than most legislation, it reflects the community's readiness to adapt its inherent fairness and open-mindedness to contemporary concerns.
This government has demonstrated its strong commitment to the principle of equality rights by bringing the code into conformity with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by providing the commission with additional resources and strengthening its mandate; but I would remind honourable members and the people of Ontario that even these steps will not eliminate discrimination in our community.
None of us can afford to be complacent as long as the rights of any individual are abused or denied. We must remain vigilant against the discrimination that still needs to be addressed. While this anniversary is a time to reflect on our accomplishments in the field of human rights, and they are many, it is a time to rededicate ourselves to the challenges that lie ahead.
Both the code and the commission are vital to this province and its people, but they do not, in and of themselves, constitute the full measure of the community's recognition of the dignity and worth of every person. Nor do they respect the full measure of the community's solemn undertaking to provide for recognition of equal opportunities and rights. That totality can only be measured by the ways in which each of us living and working in Ontario respects and responds to each other each and every day.
SEVERANCE PAY AND NOTICE PROVISIONS
First of all, we welcome any changes that are made in the interests of the workers of Ontario. That is something we all benefit from. At the same time, I have to point out that some of the points the minister has made with regard to justification do not hit the mark entirely the way they could.
Let us take a look at the present circumstances. At the present time, with regard to justification, it is my view that it lacks teeth. Over half of the Ontario workers are still left out in the cold. As the minister knows, it is now 50 or more who are protected. In my view, it should have been lowered to at least 20. This would then begin to cover the majority of Ontario workers.
At the same time, with regard to protection for people laid off prior to June 15, that is also a moot point. We have seen increases in layoffs in northern Ontario up to 49 per cent in the last two years. While this is certainly going to help some people, it does not help the people who have been laid off over the past two years in northern Ontario. We believe while the government has acted, it has acted too late. It should have acted much earlier than this.
First of all, I think it is remarkable that the minister would be making two statements with respect to areas that are directly covered by the accord which, after all, brought about the formation of the government over there. Again we see the fact that the minister has chosen to pretend there was a process of immaculate conception that put him into his chair as Minister of Labour rather than a direct process of negotiation.
I want to say to the minister that I think it is interesting that he would make a statement with respect to severance pay and not have the decency to inform the House in his statement how many workers are going to be covered by the legislation and how many workers are not going to be covered by the legislation. It is worth pointing out that at least half the workers in the province are not going to be covered by this legislation. The minister knows that fact and he has chosen not to tell the House about that fact.
For example, on page 11 of his statement, in his pathetic attempt to reconstruct not only his own position in this House but also the past, the minister says, "Workers in this province have a right to basic economic protection against layoffs and closures." We agree with that statement, and that is why we think the rest of the statement is so inadequate.
It is an inadequate meeting of the commitment that the Liberal Party made. It is an inadequate meeting of the commitment that the Premier (Mr. Peterson) made when he was the leader of the Liberal Party in opposition, not only during the election campaign but also before the election campaign, with respect to the question of notice, severance and the question of justification.
There is no justification here. There is a letter to the Minister of Labour saying, "We are closing down and this is why." Big deal. It will not make a bit of difference to any of the workers. There is the minimal protection of one, two, three, four, five or six weeks, depending on the amount of seniority one has. There is the basic fact that over half the workers in this province will not be covered.
We ought to understand precisely what kind of world Liberal Ontario is. We now face a work force where half the workers are not going to be covered by the Employment Standards Act with respect to this question of severance and notice. Over half the workers will not have any private pension and are not going to benefit from any of the legislation brought in. We are seeing the creation by the Liberal Party of basically two worlds of employment in Ontario. If you are covered, you have a very minimum protection, and perhaps a small pension at the end of the day; if you are not covered, you get nothing.
What is so true is that the areas of growth in the economy, the areas of new jobs being created are the areas of the economy that are not covered. That is what is troublesome and that is why the approach the minister has outlined is so pathetically inadequate in terms of meeting the challenge of the 1980s and 1990s in terms of our new work force.
It is interesting that if you look at the numbers, it is clear that more and more women are not going to be covered by this legislation. It is discriminatory against low-paid people. It is discriminatory against those people who are working in smaller establishments. It is going to discriminate particularly against part-time people and women in the work force. That is the Liberal world of employment in 1987 in Ontario.
ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
This statement on the 25th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Commission is an embarrassment. There is no announcement of a new initiative, no announcement even that they are meeting the commitments they made in the accord when they were so desperate to form a government. Now that they have formed a government, we can see they do not know what to do with the responsibility they have been given by this House.
SEVERANCE PAY AND NOTICE PROVISIONS
This legislation that the minister has brought into this House is little better than a piece of garbage.
Does the Premier not agree with me that when the government cannot guarantee a university spot for every grade 13 student getting 60 per cent or better, the people first affected are members of groups not properly represented in universities, particularly visible minorities and immigrants, francophones, single parents and people from lower economic groups?
There is, under the new funding formula, a three per cent corridor up and down. In addition to that, there is an accessibility package to take advantage of the great new explosion in enrolment that will come this fall. I believe that every qualified student will have a place in university this fall.
Let me just read from his press release of January 15, 1985. He said, and these words will sound familiar to him:
"The first affected are members of groups not properly represented in universities, particularly visible minorities and immigrants, francophones, single parents and people from the lower economic sectors."
Those are precisely the words I used in my question to him and precisely the words that he rose, with his usual arrogant unctuousness, and condemned as suggesting that those people somehow were being suggested by me, as opposed to being suggested by him, not to be qualified or bright enough to get into university.
My final supplementary to the Premier is this. As he answers the question and begins by apologizing to the people he offended, by his own definition, would he attempt this afternoon to give a simple guarantee that every Ontario student getting 60 per cent or more in grade 13 will have a spot in Ontario universities?
This government has increased student aid by 25 per cent after the former Treasurer's parsimonious approach to the matter. That will allow a lot of people previously precluded on the basis of income to go to university. We have started the process of undoing the harm that the member has brought to the university system with visa students: $5 million in order to equalize the harm that he brought about.
I think if the member looks at the accessibility package and our commitment to making sure that every qualified young Ontarian finds a place in our post-secondary system, he will find amazing progress in undoing the damage that he, as Treasurer, brought about.
ASSISTANCE FOR THE DISABLED
I think my honourable friend would want to give a complete picture of this entire matter before he takes a fact and tries to spin it into a universal truth. I think he has found out that his research has been so faulty lately on matters of immigration, pensions and school allocations that at least he should have the common decency of the New Democratic Party and fire the researchers when they make mistakes.
SEVERANCE PAY AND NOTICE PROVISIONS
I would just like to hear from the minister his justification. He knows full well that over 55 per cent of the workers will not be covered by this legislation. I wonder if the minister can justify that discrimination against over half the workers in the province today. What is his justification for discriminating against half the working people in this province?
I have been listening a lot to the leader of the third party compare everything in Ontario with things in Manitoba, and I am waiting to hear from him today a comparison of Ontario's severance pay laws and the changes we are proposing to what is going on in Manitoba. The reason the leader of the third party will be so silent is that we are so far ahead of Manitoba and every other jurisdiction in North America that he has no other comparison to make.
The honourable gentleman will know that the way is now open for automatic growth in years to come. As the payroll goes up with upward changes in the income of employees, there will be growth in the number of workers each and every year, each and every month, who will be covered by the severance pay.
I would have thought that the leader of the third party would have acknowledged in his response to today's changes that Ontario is the only province that makes severance payable in mass closure-layoff citations. I would have thought that he would have acknowledged that Ontario is the only province that cites a payroll level of $2.5 million.
I would have thought that the honourable member, sensitive as he is to the recent Goodyear situation, would have acknowledged that workers who want to leave early to move to new jobs may now do so. I would have thought that the honourable leader of the third party would have acknowledged that in temporary layoffs --
GUIDE TO FINDING A JOB
I wonder if the minister can explain why the real authorship of this document has been concealed from the people of Parkdale.
Can I ask the Minister without Portfolio why he is repeating the same mistake that was made in the earlier leaflet; that is, why is he suggesting that people who are looking for a job in his riding should not be asking about wages, hours or benefits? Does he not think that is the kind of information the working people of Parkdale are entitled to?
I wonder if the minister could explain why such an extraordinary amount in untendered contracts was awarded by himself.
I wonder if the minister might be able to tell us a bit about one of them particularly. The Ministry of Government Services on July 17, 1985, awarded an untendered contract in the amount of $55,000 to a company called CCA Canada. Can the minister confirm that CCA Canada was actually a subsidiary of a company known as Graham, Schwartz and Partners Ltd., whose founders and directors were Abe Schwartz and Terry Graham, and that this untendered contract for $55,000 was awarded days after Mr. Schwartz ceased to be a director of the company and during the time that Mr. Schwartz was in the minister's office advising him on computer-related matters?
On June 2, two workers were sent down a shaft by their foreman to repair a pump at Levack. At approximately the same time, another shift boss sent workers to lower an eight-tonne crusherjaw, attached by a cable to the cage, down the same shaft. The only reason the two events did not occur simultaneously was that the pump was repaired quickly.
Can the minister confirm that the workers lowering the eight-tonne crusher jaw were not advised that two workers were sent to repair the pump, and can he also advise that there was no communication between the two shift bosses involved?
One of the shift bosses involved in this incident was the same man who stated in the Joe Kuhle case that the workers do not work above while workers are working below, yet the same foreman sent workers to repair the pump.
Can the minister now indicate to the House that despite Inco's stated policy, in fact the practice of Inco has been that men work at the bottom of a shaft while at the same time work is going on up above? I would ask the Attorney General to look into this matter as well, since it was he who refused to withdraw the prosecution against Joe Kuhle.
Regarding the second part of the honourable member's question, I understand the member's sensitivity and concern on this issue. However, I must repeat, and I am sure the Attorney General would agree, that this matter is now before the courts. It is a very important matter, certainly to the worker involved. I am sure my friend the member for Sudbury East would know that.
There is a proper way and a proper forum for information coming forward, and I am sure that will happen. Anything that would be said in here or outside could have, potentially, a detrimental effect on the right of this individual to a fair trial, and I do not intend to infringe in any way on his right to a fair trial.
Without identifying themselves, after a minor disturbance caught their attention, they violently smashed the head of 17-year-old honour student Joe DaCosta three times against the pavement. When the boy's father, Mr. DaCosta Sr., arrived on the scene after being summoned by neighbours and demanded identification, he too was brutally assaulted and badly bruised. A concerned senior citizen who also tried to intervene was brutally attacked and beaten, which resulted in serious concussions to his head. He was taken to the hospital. When the mother of this immigrant Portuguese family tried to intervene, she was told, as allegedly heard by a witness:
"Keep away, lady. To us, you are just a piece of paper."
Will the minister look into this unfortunate example of police brutality in our city, reminiscent of places like Soweto or Warsaw, Poland, or, most recently, South Korea? Will he publicly condemn this unacceptable behaviour by launching an immediate investigation, notwithstanding the fact that a complaint has been lodged with the public complaints commissioner?
Once again, will the minister launch an immediate investigation? It is his prerogative and right to do so, since obviously the public complaints commissioner has not helped in stopping the police from such unacceptable behaviour over the past years.
I would like to ask the minister today about C-I-L in Sarnia. C-I-L has a massive holding pond that contains over 400 million gallons of liquid industrial waste which contains ammonia, phosphate, sulphuric acid, fluoride, dinitrotoluene, radionuclides, carbon tetrachloride and perchloroethylene.
Can the minister explain why he has given C-l-L permission to take the easiest and the cheapest route to getting rid of this industrial waste, by diluting it and letting it go into the St. Clair River? Why is he allowing C-I-L to discharge these chemicals into the St. Clair River?
I would like to ask the minister why, given that this is a disposal of liquid industrial waste, he has not called for an environmental assessment hearing under the Environmental Protection Act or under the Environmental Assessment Act so that the people downstream, such as those in Wallaceburg, who draw their drinking water from the St. Clair River, can have some input into the decision which I think he has made but which he says he is about to make? Are we going to have some public input into what he is contemplating there?
It is one of those situations we are confronted with across the province. Where there is a winding-down or decommissioning taking place, where there is a change of operation or where particular circumstances arise of the kind she has described, we have a very careful dialogue with the people involved to ensure that the public safety is protected.
I have attempted to handle this, I might add, in a nonpartisan way. However, since the local Liberal candidate has made this comment, I thought I would get some clarification from the minister.
I would remind the honourable member that, as the former mayor of the city of Sarnia, he was involved in that same boundary dispute, but I must admit that he did try to find a solution. On the other hand, he failed. Now he is asking the government to resolve a 36- or 37-year-old problem. I can assure the member that we are still convinced we can find a solution, and I am sure the member will be the first one to congratulate this government for having found a solution to his problem.
Does the Premier have an explanation for this misuse of an ethnic cultural centre for Liberal fund-raising purposes?
Can the Premier tell us if this is a continuation of his government's rather sleazy fund-raising tactics that we have seen from the Liberals in the last few days?
I am not sure what the honourable member is suggesting here. Perhaps he is upset that he was not invited, but I can assure the member, because I know my honourable colleague enjoys wide support across the community, I am sure he would be very welcome to attend as well.
WINTARIO TRAVEL GRANTS
"It is with the deepest concern that I am writing directly to your offices regarding the support of our Ontario representative teams who hopefully will be soon going to Canada's national championships. We have just recently been informed that Wintario travel support for these teams has now been reduced to up to 27 per cent. Our organization is expected to send Ontario representative teams to four national championships. What in the world are these teams and associations like ours going to do?"
What are they going to do, now that the minister has cut them back?
These have not been reduced; in fact, the member should brush up on the facts and find that the funding has really been increased.
SEVERANCE PAY AND NOTICE PROVISIONS
Can the minister tell us what this announcement he has made today will do for these workers whose jobs, it certainly appears, could be moved right out of this country to the United States?
In this party on this side, we want to ensure that everything that can be done will be done to ensure that workers, if they are to lose their jobs, will be treated in as sensitive a way as possible.
In the days to come, my colleague the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) will be coming forward with information regarding an industrial restructuring commissioner. It may well be that a commissioner may be able to get involved; that, given we are looking at a year-and-a-half to two-year lead time, this commissioner will be able to get involved in this specific situation.
I want to know what the minister is doing and what steps he has taken, now that he is aware of this situation, to protect the jobs of the workers in Windsor.
Maybe the members on the opposite side disagree with that. Maybe the third party believes that companies ought to be told how to run themselves. That is not the view over here. We believe that any self-respecting company will follow the very responsible course we have taken. That party may disagree, but this legislation goes further than any legislation in any jurisdiction in North America, and that includes the jurisdiction of its friends in Manitoba.
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES
I do not know if the minister has had a chance to check his briefing notes or with the ministry since last Wednesday, but I ask him now if he would be able to tell the House the results of any research that his ministry has done about those industries that could be most susceptible to the loss of jobs or market as a result of the current protectionist trade legislation now being considered by the US Congress.
As I say, we are talking about natural resources and the pricing of those. Another area that could be affected would be the imports of steel that would be coming into the United States. We are talking about natural resources, about steel and about telecommunications, plus a number of other varied articles which could also possibly be brought into both those bills.
ASSISTANCE FOR PEOPLE WITH BRAIN INJURIES
I cannot use the name, but there is a 26-year-old gentleman in court this afternoon or tomorrow, facing another possible conviction. He had brain damage through a skiing accident eight years ago. Since that time he has had 12 convictions for theft. His modus operandi basically is to go into a Mac's Milk store and say he is robbing the store. Things are given to him because his brain damage makes him look quite scary as an individual. He then goes outside and waits on the sidewalk for the police to come and goes peacefully with them.
Can the minister tell me what programs he has in Ontario to deal with the behaviour management of brain-damaged adults?
The assistance for the kind of behaviour which the honourable member suggested is not the major function of these centres. It is supported independent living, with some counselling, but it does not provide the kind of behaviour support the member spoke about. The other program that we have in place for the brain-injured is our vocational rehabilitation program, which again contains some counselling but not very much for the type of behaviour situation the member referred to.
I want the minister to know that the last time this gentleman was in court, he had a good judge who gave him a suspended sentence on the basis that he would get treatment, but the notion of treatment was that he was sent to the Sally Ann. Clearly, he did not last there because that was not appropriate.
Can the minister guarantee to me that he and the Minister of Health will sit down together soon to work out some more projects to deal with this side of the problems of the many thousands of brain-damaged people each year in Ontario?
The next question is, what happens when these people leave the hospital and move back into the community? We have met with a representative group of families of brain-injured people in Ontario and are exploring with them at the present time some of the things we might do.
They have brought to our attention, for example, that there are several facilities in the United States that charge, I believe, something like $500 a day for this kind of rehabilitation program. We have assured them that we will examine what these facilities are doing and the extent to which we might be able to set up something similar in Ontario. That is a joint, co-ordinated effort going on between the Ministry of Health and my ministry at present.
TRADE EXPANSION FUND
The minister is the Attorney General and he is responsible. If he had a Premier who really cared about conflict of interest -- the minister put the careers of six of his colleagues, six parliamentary assistants, in jeopardy. They were in violation of the guidelines, and any Premier who had any conscience, who felt any moral obligation or any obligation at all to his own rules, would have had to do something in that situation. The Attorney General sat on them, and it is his ministry.
DURHAM COLLEGE OF APPLIED ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY
Durham College was, like the other 21 community colleges over the past budgetary year, adapting to a radically different contract in respect to work load for faculty. There were some management problems there in implementing the contract. I am satisfied that those have been overcome and that every step that the ministry needed to take in order to assist in that regard has been taken, including the provision of some additional funding.
The member suggests to me that the reduction of 25 staff members impacts on the program. What I tell my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere is this: in adjusting to the new contract, there were more hirings than one would have reasonably anticipated at Durham College and there has been a subsequent adjustment. That is simply a process that had to be undertaken at the college.
LENNOX GENERATING STATION
I am so surprised. Very seldom do any of us get caught for words over here: but three times at this question after the member has struck out all the other times? It seems like an unreasonable way for him to put his head back in the trap. Having said that, I tell the member that it makes uncommonly good sense for us to provide the jobs down there that --
I listened to the question very carefully because I wanted to be sure the member was going to attempt this again. Let me share this fact with him. We are putting 1,000 megawatts into the eastern grid to maintain the voltage to the people down in eastern Ontario, who happen to have the biggest demand in all of Ontario right now. This government is absolutely committed to providing not only reasonably priced power to the people in eastern Ontario but also a guaranteed supply. We are going to supply it with Ontario workers, not workers the member would hire in Quebec.
NOTICES OF DISSATISFACTION
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"That the government of Ontario" -- the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton) will be interested to know --"construct a noise berm along the Queen Elizabeth Way to alleviate the problem of traffic noise which is disturbing and unbearable."
It is signed by 81 residents of the Grimsby Beach Park Road area of the riding of Lincoln.
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"That the government of Ontario provide the funding for a haemodialysis unit at one of the hospitals in Peterborough."
It is signed on behalf of a group of concerned citizens from the Asphodel, Norwood and Hastings area.
MARKET VALUE ASSESSMENT
"We, the undersigned, are opposed to the imposition of 1984 market value assessment on Metro Toronto by the provincial government and therefore beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas higher property taxes for many west Toronto home owners and tenants as a result of market value assessment would pose a tremendous financial hardship on many individuals, particularly those on fixed incomes, single-parent families, seniors and low-income workers; and
"Whereas the people of Ontario are already paying too much in taxes; and
"Whereas the increase in property taxes under market value assessment caused by escalating land prices in Metro Toronto would not result in a corresponding increase in municipal services; and
"Whereas the imposition of market value assessment on Metro Toronto by the provincial government will not only cause financial hardship for many people, but also have a destabilizing effect upon neighbourhoods and families in west Toronto;
"We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to:
1. Not impose market value assessment on Metro Toronto home owners because it is an inequitable and onerous tax on land and places an unfair burden on home owners and tenants where real estate prices are rising;
2. Reform the property tax system by adopting the all-party April 1984 recommendation of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs that the province increase its direct funding of the total cost of education from its general revenues to 60 per cent from the current 44 per cent;
3. Explore alternatives to the current funding of education through residential property taxation which is not the most appropriate basis for education revenue."
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly be authorized to meet following routine proceedings on Tuesday, June 16, and Thursday, June 18, and in the morning of Wednesday, June 17, and Thursday, June 18, 1987.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that, at the request of the applicant and on the recommendation of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, standing order 72(e) requiring notice of an application for a private bill to be published in the Ontario Gazette be waived with respect to Bill Pr19, An Act respecting the Township of Chapleau.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wrye moved first reading of Bill 85, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 62, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act;
Bill 63, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act;
Bill 77, An Act to amend the Beef Cattle Marketing Act.
PAY EQUITY ACT (CONTINUED) / LOI DE 1987 SUR L'EQUITÉ SALARIALE (CONTINUÉE)
Hon. Mr. Scott moved third reading of Bill 154, An Act to provide for Pay Equity.
L'hon. M. Scott propose la troisième lecture du projet de loi 154, Loi portant établissement de l'équité salariale.
This has been a long time coming. I am actually rather grateful that I have an opportunity to say a few words on third reading because I have been one of the members who has had an interest in this bill for a long, long period of time and I have not been able to participate in the committee procedures, as many members were able to do.
It is a major change in Canadian legislation, in provincial legislation, despite all the shortcomings the bill has. For us as a political entity, as a political party in Ontario, we thought that this concept was important and that it belonged in the accord we signed with the Liberal Party some two years ago. If we have regrets, they centre around how long it has taken to produce the bill in its final form and the deficiencies that are still in the bill.
All of that notwithstanding, I think it is still important legislation. Members can probably tell it is important by the letters, the telephone calls and the number of people who are interested in this legislation.
It is true that of all the things we have done here in the last couple of years, trying to address ourselves to the matter of pay equity is one of the most important, because for more and more women in the work place the fact that they are working is not something casual but rather something essential. That argument and all the long arguments we have gone through are important ones.
I want to say for my party, because she will not say it herself, that the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) has distinguished herself on this bill. This is a bill that is critical to working women in Ontario. I have watched her, with her usual ferocity, go at the legislative process in any way she could. That is what a good parliamentarian does. She attempted on a regular basis to improve the quality of the legislation. She successfully put forward the different sides of the issue, and it is a complex issue, and of course she had the tenacity to follow it through the process.
I would like to speak longer but I do not want to prolong the situation this afternoon. I do want to hear from the member for Ottawa Centre, who is not in her place. I am sure other members will have an opportunity to participate briefly this afternoon, but I think it was worth noting that although we normally do not engage in a great deal of debate on third reading of bills, this is a concept that deserves that kind of attention. This is a bill that is certainly not perfect but is significant in the history of our legislative process in Ontario and worth noting by means of some debate.
I refer to the Portuguese and other immigrant women who clean our offices. If you look at the system of contracting out jobs, you will have an immigrant Portuguese woman cleaning my office in the Whitney Block paid some $4 an hour less than the lady cleaning my colleague's office in the Legislative Building doing the same work. One is a public servant of the government of Ontario, a civil servant paid according to the unionized rate. The other lady doing the same work is being paid $4 an hour less because she is contracted out.
This bill does not resolve the issue. I tell the Attorney General and the government that if we have a philosophy of pay equity, of eliminating inequities that are exploiting individuals, particularly women, we should review our policy of contracting out jobs.
It is an irony. When I raised the issue and the contract of the company that was hiring these women came up for renewal, its contract was not renewed. When I was fighting on their behalf, they ended up without jobs two months after this issue was raised.
Maybe it is an issue of contracting out to somebody else, but these inequities exist. I appeal to the government that if we are moving in the direction of eliminating these inequities that have discriminated, basically against women in such a blatant way, we should review our contracting-out policies. Wages should at least be close enough to the wages that are being paid to those workers who are members of the civil service, doing exactly the same job. That inequity has to be addressed.
I have not received an adequate response to this from either the Attorney General or the acting Minister of Government Services (Mr. Conway). As we pass this bill, which I know is supported by all members of the House, I would like to hear how the minister will address the other issues; because the women will be coming back, working exploited once again, taking care of the same families, with the same concerns, with the same problems of economic survival, and their plight is not addressed one iota.
She said: "As you consider the amendments and go through the committee stage, there is sometimes a tendency in this process to weigh equally the amendments put forward by the business community and by women's groups and the unions. We ask you to recognize that this is not an equal process because for the past aeons and centuries women have been paid unfairly. It is not appropriate at this time to split the difference and give the business community part of its amendments and us some of ours."
In fact, very few of the amendments sought by the Equal Pay Coalition, by representatives of women working in unions, by community groups around this province, and indeed by members of my party, were passed in committee stage. One does not like making predictions in politics and the longer I spend in elective politics the less wise it appears to me to make predictions, but I am willing to predict to members of the Liberal Party that this legislation will come back to haunt them.
This is the kind of legislation whose inadequacies will become obvious only with the passage of time. I know there are hundreds of thousands of women across Ontario who today feel that the legislation we are passing is going to benefit them, that it is going to rectify the inequities they have suffered in the work place and that it is going to ensure their particular employer no longer discriminates between women's work and men's work as it is performed in that work place. All of us who studied this legislation and attempted to improve it know this is not the case.
This is not what will be happening tomorrow; it is not what will be happening next year; it is not what will be happening the year after that. In fact, the formula provided in this legislation may cover as few as 1.1 million out of two million women, leaving 800,000 to 900,000 effectively excluded from the benefits of this legislation. Under the provisions of that legislation, even the women who qualify for equal pay adjustments are going to have to wait years.
Given the intent of employers not to bear the burden of the cost of rectifying discrimination and given the reluctance of the Liberal Party to provide against the restraint of wages by employers to provide for the costs of equal pay adjustments, those very women who are eligible under this legislation for equal pay adjustments will be asked by wage restraint to help contribute to the costs of rectifying the discrimination that has been practiced against them.
It will take time before the full extent of the loopholes, exemptions, failures and flaws in this legislation are clear and obvious to all the people of Ontario; but the smart employers of Ontario know already, the legal firms that specialize in such matters know already and we know. There is a whole host of very powerful people preparing in this province to be able to seek out every loophole that exists in the legislation and to make sure the effectiveness of this bill when it is passed into law is severely limited.
For years, women have been doing the jobs of cleaning, cooking, clerking, co-ordinating and caring in this society. Those jobs have been called women's work and those jobs have been underpaid by each and every employer across this province, almost without exception.
Would that this legislation were stronger. We could then support it with a whole and happy heart. I will vote for this legislation most reluctantly and feeling most disappointed in the product we have been able to bring forward legislatively.
I say to the Liberals, this legislation will haunt them and they deserve to be haunted. We in our party will continue the fight for equal pay for work of equal value for every person in Ontario.
We in this party think this is a poor piece of legislation. We think many parts of this bill will prove to be unworkable and many parts of this bill will not achieve the purpose or the great principle the bill sets out to achieve, that of redressing systematic, gender-based pay inequity.
Throughout this bill, we in this party have had to face the reality that the other two parties are going to proceed. We had to face the reality that they were determined to proceed with a "pay equity bill" whether it was a good bill or a bad bill, whether it in fact would meet or would not meet the objectives of the principle that was outlined for it; that in fact there were other circumstances that have been driving this particular piece of legislation that seemed to make it "important" that this had to be passed. Something had to be passed, whether it was good or whether it was bad.
We tried very hard to make changes in this particular piece of legislation. We moved a number of amendments to make this legislation, we felt, perhaps more workable, to make this legislation more acceptable to those who are going to have to implement and work with this legislation; those being the employers of this province. We feel their concerns have been totally ignored. We feel there has been a great insensitivity on the part of the government, in its proceeding with this particular bill, to the private sector and to those who are going to have to make it work.
I pointed out last week during one of the very critical amendments, the one that summed up to me the total unwillingness to listen, involving who was in fact going to enforce this legislation. We lost all the amendments we had put forward on behalf of those employers, who are indeed the ones who must make this work or else it will be a shemozzle.
As members will know, when a bill is so complex and gets involved in areas that are breaking new ground, that are difficult or impossible to administer, one will be blamed for trying to circumvent legislation no matter what one does. We believe it gives rise to confrontations that we do not think need to be there.
Last week I spoke, not on an amendment that changed the bill, although we moved many of those amendments and were defeated by the Liberals on them, but on the particular amendment that talked about who would administer this bill. This legislation will create another independent, self-perpetuating bureaucracy.
Last week, we proposed an amendment that would have made the new pay equity administration a part of the existing employment standards branch of the Ministry of Labour. The business community, I might add, very much supported this view; and I pointed out last week that that surprised me a little bit, because I know that many in the business community have felt they have had to spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars -- I have a number of cases in my files in my constituency office defending what they felt were interventionist interventions by that particular branch of the Ministry of Labour. On those occasions they proved themselves right, but they had spent innumerable dollars, lawyers' time, accountants' time and what not, defending the position they were put into.
I was surprised to hear many of them say, "In spite of that, at least here is a branch of the government used to dealing with employer-employee relationships; it has been used to dealing with equal pay legislation. We have far more confidence in that group than we do in a whole new, independent, self-perpetuating bureaucracy." We were defeated on that amendment as well. I believe I had expressed at that time that I could not understand why that particular amendment was not looked at with a little more sensitivity by the government.
I just wanted to refer to a couple of comments I made at that time. I said we were not talking about the principle of the bill. We were not talking about the legislation in that amendment. We were talking about the people who have to make it work. The choice was the employment standards branch or this separate Pay Equity Commission; the employers said they would be more comfortable with the employment standards branch. The government would have to give the same direction to both of them. The legislation is going to be the same; either one would have to enforce the legislation. Given that those who have to make this legislation work indicated a preference, what difference would it make to the government, unless it really did want to set up a new bureaucracy, a new commission and a whole bunch of new appointments and a whole bunch of new civil servants?
I said at that time, and I have not been given any argument since, and I still maintain that I cannot think of any other reason they would not allow the employment standards branch of the Ministry of Labour to deal with this particular legislation, unless they wanted to just rub the employers' noses in it and say: "We do not care whether you like it or not. We are going to stuff it down your throats and this is the way it is going to be." They said that on a number of the amendments; but now we are not talking about the bill, we are not talking about any amendments that would affect anything, we are just talking about who is going to administer it.
Either it wanted to make a lot more appointments, to set up a whole new bureaucracy -- I admit that when I expressed that view, maybe it was something of an off-the-wall comment, but the way this government is hiring civil servants perhaps it could hire all nine million Ontarians. They would have zero unemployment, and then presumably everybody would vote for them because it gave them all a job. They are going more in that direction than they are in any responsible direction as to what we see as a responsible way to proceed in Ontario.
We really thought that was a slap in the face and the last insult to what I think is for the most part -- there may be one or two bad apples of any group; there is whenever you take numbers -- a private sector here in Ontario that wants to abide by the law, that wants to do the right thing, that wants to be fair and wants to treat employees fairly. We felt that was maybe the last slap in the face.
We tried to make those changes. They were all turned down.
I guess I would like to indicate that our party is concerned about gender pay equity. We have expressed those concerns.
I pointed out as well last week our disappointment that for those civil servants in Ontario, the public sector, that I thought this government should be condemned for not providing that for them two years ago. That was a commitment of all three parties more than two years ago in an election.
Indeed, that could have been provided without legislation, and we have gone more than two years now where two things could have happened: one, the public sector would have been covered by pay equity; and second, we might have learned something in those two or two and a half years. We might have learned something about ground-breaking legislation that may have made it more applicable for us to come up with a meaningful piece of legislation for the broader public sector.
Rather than taking a piece of legislation with the public, the broader public and the private sectors, rolling them all into one and phasing it out over one year, three years, seven years, and gosh knows how many years for some, we think it would have made far more sense to proceed with equal pay for work of equal value in the public sector two years ago.
Perhaps had the government been serious in wanting to really find out what problems there may be and come up with meaningful solutions, in at least a year we could have had in place pay equity legislation for the broader public sector which we think and we have said is the way we would have proceeded. We feel it would have made a lot more sense. We feel it would have given us experiences that would have provided for a better piece of legislation, if in fact that is what is required in the private sector, after what our experiences through the public and broader public sectors demonstrated.
We do have very grave concerns about this piece of legislation. We do not think this bill is the answer in the private sector. I suspect the government is not sure either whether it is the answer, given the implementation period it has put into it, but none the less it is determined to have something it can hang on the wall that says, "Yes, we have passed something that has to do with pay equity."
I also want to tell members that I indicated we had to face reality, that we had to put forward amendments to a piece of legislation we felt should not be dealt with in the way it was being dealt with. We put those amendments as best we could and we were defeated on most of them, as members know.
Before I conclude, I also want to congratulate the member for Cambridge and the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Baetz), who worked so hard on behalf of our party in putting those positions forward, and the member for St. George (Ms. Fish), who has made a valuable contribution not only to this particular piece of legislation but also to this caucus and to most pieces of legislation we deal with. The member for Ottawa West and the member for Cambridge, as well, put in a lot of time on this particular piece of legislation.
I should also indicate to this Legislature that we are not going to allow one party, another party or anybody to say we are less sensitive because we are concerned about some aspects of this particular bill. We think perhaps we are more sensitive, because we have tried to put forward a timetable that we think is far in excess of this government's timetable on the public sector and would have provided experience that we feel would have helped us through the private sector.
As I indicated, we are not going to allow anybody to say that because we disagree with one part or another, or with the methodology or with many parts of this particular legislation, we are not sensitive and cognizant of the fact that there is some gender pay inequity out there.
In closing, I want to indicate very clearly to this Legislature that our party and a future Conservative government would take a long look at this particular piece of legislation to see whether we could not find a better way to achieve the goals this legislation purports to address.
It is interesting to notice that it has taken us two years to get this far. We had a real struggle to convince the Liberals and, in effect, to lever the Liberal Party into combining both pieces of legislation so that we would ensure that private sector workers were not left behind, which would have been the effect of the Liberal plan.
I do want to say that this legislation is not the final word. It seems to me it is the first effort of the Legislature and the first effort on the part of the Liberal Party to deal with this question, the first effort to face up to the problem of inequality between men and women in the work place. It is a piece of legislation which in our view is long overdue, but nevertheless is really only a very partial solution to the massive inequity which exists between men and women in the work place.
The legislation does not deal with the problem of low pay; and let us be quite blunt about it: low pay is the problem that simply will not go away. It is interesting to notice that not only this bill does not deal with the problem of low pay; we also have the pension legislation, which does not deal with the problem of people with low pay who do not have pensions; and the severance pay legislation, which does not deal with the problem of those workers who are now going to be without any protection at all in the work force simply because of their vulnerability.
I must confess that this historic day is a day of mixed feelings. Let me say, though, that there is one feeling I have which is not at all mixed, and that is to pay tribute to my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre, who has done a really outstanding job, not only on behalf of our party and working women in Ontario but also on behalf of all Ontarians, in seeing that this legislation has come forward in the way it has.
I know that the member for Ottawa Centre is also somebody who is experiencing some mixed feelings today with respect to this legislation. Indeed, in that regard, she shares the feelings of all the members of our party when it comes to this legislation. We are in the position of knowing perfectly well that if we had not pushed for the bill in its current form -- that is to say, one bill covering both sectors, public and private -- there are a great many private sector workers who, by this time in June 1987, would have had nothing. Nothing would have been planned, and nothing would have been forthcoming from the Liberal Party of Ontario. Of that, I am completely convinced.
We also know that this legislation is flawed. It excludes a lot of women, it excludes a lot of work places and it has built into it many delays in terms of its implementation. We know, and this is going to be extremely important, that there is nothing in the bill which protects employees generally from having to pay in a sense for Liberal Party legislation. There is nothing here which ensures that it will be employers who will have to set money aside with respect to implementing this legislation rather than simply taking the money out of the pockets of men who are working, and that is an enormous problem.
We know that a great many of these issues are still going to be settled at the bargaining table and will depend on the labour movement's commitment with respect to equity and on the labour movement's ability to negotiate fair agreements. So it is something where, when it comes to unorganized employees, when it comes to many work sites where there are no bargaining committees and no one to bargain, we know there are going to be many opportunities for continuing unfairness.
Having said that, I do want to point to the future. It is impossible for us to see this as the last word. It seems to me this must be seen as the first step, a first step which must be put in the context of two other very important, not only pieces of legislation but also social concepts which, together and working together, will create a world of greater equality than the one in which we live.
Pay equity is obviously the first. We have to have a policy in this province which ensures, when it comes to the evaluation of jobs, that there is no discrimination between men and women and that we attempt to establish definitions of jobs and the worth of jobs that are, as much as is humanly possible, free of any of the historical discrimination against women's work which has been so much a part of our work force, as it has been in the rest of the industrial world.
That is only part of the battle. There are two other parts that we have to address, which we addressed in the accord but which the government has yet to address in fact. The first of these of course is the question of child care. If we cannot deal with the historical double standard with respect to the raising of children, and if we as a society do not make it perfectly clear that men and women share that obligation equally and that it is up to the community generally to provide the supports that need to be there in terms of the raising of children so it is not the common expectation that women alone will bear responsibility for the raising of children, unless we make those changes, we will not be moving to a more equal world in terms of the world of work. So it is fair to say that child care is, as much as anything else, a vital part of this strategy for general overall equality between men and women.
Finally, I am a great believer that it is only when our society embraces the notion of affirmative action and embraces the notion of job fairness, employment equity, whatever you want to call it, so that we have in place in the world of work, as in the world of housing, as in the world of the family, some basic understanding of the discrimination that has existed until now and of the need for us to break down that discrimination, that we will deal with the problem of inequality in terms of wages and in working conditions between men and women.
We have, for example, one per cent or less of apprenticeships in a great many trades occupied by women. There is no reason women cannot become electricians. There is no reason women cannot be working in those occupations which are now, for sociological and for other reasons, in effect barred to women. Unless we break down those barriers of discrimination, all the pay equity in the world will not bring about the kind of equality we want to see.
The next step is twofold: to move in the field of child care and to move in the field of employment equity. These are the areas where the government simply has to move, where public policy has to move, and where this piece of legislation must be seen simply as very much a first step.
Let me conclude by saying it has been a long haul. It has taken a lot to drag the Liberal Party and to drag the cabinet and the government to the point where they are prepared to bring in this legislation and actually make it happen. It has been part of the process of the last two years. It has taken this long to get it there. It is one thing to drag the Liberal Party horse to water; it is another thing to get it to lie down on its back and kick its legs in the air. That is precisely what we are seeing at the moment: a great deal of reluctance on the part of the Liberals to move.
Nevertheless, it is something which l think this House will mark as a day of importance, if only because we are going to be coming back to this legislation and improving it, changing it and constantly reforming it, so that one day we will have genuine legislation with respect to equal pay for work of equal value.
Let me just say that if a resident of my constituency came here on this great day to hear this debate, I believe he or she would be surprised at the form the debate takes and would have a number of questions to ask me about it.
The first thing he or she would say is: "Why is it that the members all make self-serving statements designed to show how brilliant, bright and intelligent they are, while at the same time denying those qualities of conscience and intelligence to others? Why is it that those who say the legislation is terrible will stand up in the end to vote for it? Why is it that legislation that is universally condemned by a majority of the House will pass unanimously?" The answer is that this is the political process. The political process achieves a significant end game on this particular occasion.
As I speak to the passage of pay equity, I want very much to have with me, supporting me, a number of people. The member for St. George has worked hard for this bill and the principle for which it stands, and whatever may befall her or them in the next year, she is entitled to say with some credit, "I stood for pay equity," and is entitled to the public respect that brings. The second person is the member for Ottawa Centre, not of my party, who was prepared to excoriate me at every turn, but who, it must be said, has exhibited a long-term commitment to the principle for which this bill stands, and this House owes her credit.
Having said that, I want to draw to me, because they were important support for me in this bill, my colleague and very dear friend the member for Oriole (Ms. Caplan), who is sitting to my right, and the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Ward), who is sitting in the back, who brought this bill through committee and through the cabinet, because they are, as are members of my caucus, as committed to the principle for which this bill stands, like it or not, as the member for St. George or the member for Ottawa Centre. I do them honour.
One other person whose name I think should be mentioned in this context -- and I am sure the member for St. George and the member for Ottawa Centre would agree -- is Sheila Copps, now gone from this House, to whom this bill was an important and significant commitment.
I should also draw to the attention of the House that my experience with women's issues is not long. I remember, in 1985, in the campaign, when the member for Oriole, at an all-candidates meeting at which I was not present, raised the issue of pay equity -- it was then called equal pay for work of equal value -- and said, "That is going to be a symbolic enactment of critical importance to our party as we move forward." We were not near government at the time.
I heard her, I understood her point, and when the time came in St. David riding for me to make a little plastic recording which could carry one message to the people of my riding, the message on that, thanks to the member for Oriole, had to do with the importance of pay equity in Ontario.
So whatever may be said about the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for St. George, our party, like them, shares a major commitment to pay equity.
There is one point to be made today. If there was ever a day that separated our generation of Ontario from the generations that have gone before us, it is this day. It is here today that, unless the members of the opposition act according, apparently, to their consciences, we will be passing pay equity and at the same time giving final reading at second stage to freedom of information. Those two bills, I respectfully suggest, distinguish our generation of Ontario, this assembly, from those that have gone before it.
Let me say one other thing. There are other people who have committed themselves to this process, who have worked hard and to whom I am extremely grateful. First is the Ontario women's directorate. Glenna Carr, the head of that directorate when we came into office, and Elaine Todres, the head of it now, worked long and hard with their staffs over this two years to make what is happening today possible.
Supporting them has been a range of women's organizations across Ontario, from our own Ontario Advisory Council on Women's Issues, of which Sam Ion is the chairman, to the Equal Pay Coalition, of which Mary Cornish is the chairman, all of which have dedicated themselves to this principle and its enactment, its enshrinement in legislative form. I have been delighted to participate in the process, working, I know, for something they hold very dear.
What we have seen in Ontario in the last quarter century is a fundamental social change. Twenty-five years ago, only 25 per cent of the full-time working force was female, it is now up to 44 per cent, and shortly before the year 2000, a majority of full-time working people in Ontario will be women. It is axiomatic -- it has been demonstrated a dozen times -- that they suffer from often unconscious gender discrimination. The purpose of this act is to begin the process of remedying that significant human and economic wrong.
We began in this Legislature with Bill 105, which was restricted to the Ontario public service; it became amalgamated, effectively, with this bill. In the bill before us there is a remedy for women in the public sector, in the broader public sector and for 85 per cent of the women in the private sector of Ontario. The point I make is that there is no bill in a proactive form in Canada that goes this far.
When members of the third party tell us the bill is inadequate, we will want to recall that in the three jurisdictions in Canada where they have had the reins of power, they have not gone as far as this bill. I am delighted to have their support, but they will want to tell their colleagues in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and even now governing in Manitoba, there is nothing to fear about taking pay equity to the private sector, as we now propose to do, and there is a lot to commend it. The speech of my friend the honourable leader of the third party should be made, not here, where action is being taken, but in Manitoba, where no action is being taken.
We have made an important and significant start. We have undertaken a significant social change. We are doing something that is right and just and important for women, and I believe we are doing it in a way that will permit Ontario's economy to thrive and prosper and create jobs.
I want to say last that I am very grateful to all members of the House who have made a positive contribution to this bill, who have supported it at one stage or another, who have come to me or my colleagues and said, "That bill is right and we hope it succeeds," and who have participated actively in the work of the committee.
I think today is an important day, not only in Ontario history but also in Canadian history. We have before us the first truly proactive pay equity legislation for the public and private sectors in North America, and I am delighted to ask all honourable members of the House to join in assuring its passage.
Motion agreed to.
La motion est adoptée.
MENTAL HEALTH AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Elston moved third reading of Bill 190, An Act to amend the Mental Health Act.
It was an effective hearing. We had a number of delegations that made a number of pertinent arguments to the legislation and to the whole issue of the Mental Health Act and more particularly the issue of what is known as the competent override. Arguments were made about the fairness of this bill, about the fairness and the wisdom of taking away from patients who suffer from mental illness -- patients who it has been determined have the ability to make their own decisions although they are suffering from mental illness -- the right to decide whether or not they should undergo treatment, and whether it is any fairer to take away that right to make decisions in the case of a patient suffering from a mental ailment than it is from one who suffers from a physical ailment.
Arguments were made on the basis of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, something we often refer to in this House, something society often refers to. Arguments -- well-documented, I might say -- were brought to the committee by a number of interest groups that to deny competent patients the right to decide on treatment for themselves is to deny them appropriate rights under that charter.
Arguments were made by practitioners, members of the Ontario Medical Association, Friends of Schizophrenics and representatives of nurses' groups that the decision with respect to the treatment of people with mental illness should remain with skilled practitioners, with those people who have demonstrated the ability to come to grips with these diseases and disorders, who have trained themselves in this field and who are in a position to determine the necessity of treatment, setting aside emotions, all those strong feelings that individuals and their representatives might have, to try to make those decisions in a less emotional and an attempted more objective manner.
In the final analysis, the committee came down in favour of supporting the ban on the issue of the competence override. In fact, the government members, those four members on the committee who were there to support their own legislation -- or it would seem so, given the fact that it was government legislation that was being debated -- chose to support the withdrawal of the clause which purported to reinstate the status quo on the competence override that had been in place prior to the amendment brought to this House under Bill 7.
If the Attorney General, the member for St. David (Mr. Scott) was astounded or expressed concern that a friend of his or the president of his riding association would have come down to this Legislature and been astounded at the manner in which the debate took place on Bill 154, he would be even more astounded by the double-speak that took place in the committee studying Bill 190; doublespeak that I might say existed to the point of near strangulation for those government members who were sent to that committee to support their minister and his legislation.
Let me say this: I was amazed and astounded at that turn of events. The Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) came to me some five months ago, when he first introduced Bill 190, seeking my support. The Minister of Health came to me not 10 minutes before the committee convened seeking my support. Why the change of heart?
We are told that certain members of the committee suggested they would delay the bill; they would bring in amendments that would protract the debate to the point that it might frustrate the whole purpose of the legislation. We heard that some of the advocacy groups were prepared to go before the courts of the land seeking a decision under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which would have frustrated the section of the bill that dealt with the competence override. We are told that the Minister of Health had certain evidence presented to him that would suggest the issue of competence override was one that was being blown out of all proportion.
This is not an easy issue for a caucus of any political party to deal with; it was not an easy issue for our caucus to deal with. There were many in our caucus who felt very strongly that the rights of competent patients to decide whether they should be treated were rights we should make sure are held to very dearly. There were others who felt very strongly that patients had the right to be treated, and their support for the bill was brought to our caucus on that basis.
To support that bill was not a decision our caucus made on politics, but a decision made on the basis of caring for people who are suffering from illnesses that are very, very difficult to handle in our society. Our caucus looked to its critic for advice; my advice to it was based on the appeal from medical groups, on an appeal from Ministry of Health staff who have had a wealth of experience in this area, and on an appeal from the minister himself to support this legislation.
In the final analysis, it was based on the fact that during those hearings many groups came before us and indicated that out there in the community was a lack of community-based services, a lack of support systems for these very patients we were speaking of; that to frustrate the treatment system as it is today was not in the best interests of these individuals but, rather, to bring in a more refined system that provided safeguards for these individuals and their rights, was the proper direction to go. Therefore, I made that recommendation to support the bill to our caucus and it accepted me at my word.
At the outset of the hearings, we asked that we be provided with accurate figures on the number of cases in which review boards in the province granted competence overrides. We never received those figures. Individual groups came forward and suggested numbers of their own, but we never received the precise figures we had requested from the Ministry of Health. I have them now. I received them after the debate in the committee was over, but I did not have them at a time it was most important, when I was going before my caucus to give my recommendation.
Why were we not provided with these figures? Why, in the interests of co-operation and understanding in this, a very nonpolitical issue, did the Minister of Health not deem it appropriate to provide the critic whose support he had asked in this legislation with the very essence of the argument?
I say to the minister, he has chosen to play a political game with an issue that cannot be played with. Needless to say, I was surprised. I was astounded. I was deceived. I am sure the members of the Liberal caucus who sat on that committee, who argued in support of that bill, who gave press interviews on the very morning the bill was being considered and indicated publicly at that time they were supporting the bill, are experiencing the same kind of feelings.
There was one other significant aspect out of all this debate which I think must go on the record. That is the fact that the public's attention and the attention of those individuals who play such a vital role in the treatment of patients suffering mental ailments is now focused on the issue, a very difficult issue, of defining competency and incompetency.
We know there is a great deal of further work to be done in that regard, and it will serve all segments of our society, all people who are vitally interested, whether they are patients, practitioners, advocates, families of patients or society as a whole, it will serve all those groups well for us now to conduct in a very orderly, aggressive and fair way a discussion on the issue of competency and incompetency.
I am now again in a position, similar to that of the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) on the last bill, of supporting something which has come in an incomplete form, which is not adequate, which speaks to a very strange inconsistency and illogicality in terms of civil rights in this province and whose history can only be described as weird and wonderful. It got curiouser and curiouser as it went along. l have even heard some new things today in terms of the dealings with the critic of the official opposition about the way he was played on this issue.
It is important to remember what has happened. Because of the Charter of Rights, Bill 7 was brought in to deal with the rights of people, to make sure that certain acts in Ontario conform to those rights now established within the charter of our country.
An amendment to the Mental Health Act which took away the right to override an incompetent person's guarantor or representative in a mental institution, a competent involuntary person's right to say, "No, I do not wish to have treatment," and the override that was in the past legislation which allowed doctors and the board to override those wishes, was moved by the member for Ottawa Centre. It recognized a pretty fundamental notion of what our basic human rights are in Ontario; that is, if you are deemed to be competent, a full citizen of the country, you have certain inalienable rights.
One of those things is to say, "No, I do not wish treatment" from some professional who believes you should have treatment. The other thing is that you have the right to appoint somebody to represent you if you are not going to be competent much longer, or the state has the right to approve somebody who has been selected as your representative to make the same decision as if he were you when you are no longer competent.
I think it was a wonderful thing that it was moved at that time and that those broad freedoms were guaranteed. Unfortunately, there was a reaction from the medical community and other groups in society to the passage of that. As a result, the Liberals, who had not necessarily been too happy about the amendment in the first place, decided it was time to bring in another bill, Bill 199, which basically said that section of our adaptation to the charter would not come into effect until June of this year. Then the lobbying started and the development of Bill 190 came forward.
I think it is very important at this stage, after many revisions to Bill 190, that members understand what the bill looked like when it came back. This bill had such an overreaction to the needs of the powers of the professionals in the system that it not only reinstituted the right of an override of a competent person and the override of an incompetent person's representative, it also extended itself out into the community and said that ex-psychiatric patients would also be denied certain rights and that they could be overridden and their desires overridden, if we can imagine it. That is what came back to us in the initial form of Bill 190.
Because of the timing of the House coming back and the normal procedures here of the need for a throne speech debate and a budget debate before we can get on with the other business, we then received a bill suggesting the extension of the June 1 deadline to a date next year, which was Bill 68. That was determined not to be an appropriate bill and so Bill 78 was brought in, which established a date of July 10, or whenever this would take place, in order to give us time to deal with the substance of Bill 190.
I think it is really important to understand that currently in Ontario the motion of the member for Ottawa Centre stands. Bill 7 is in effect as of June 1 because we have not gone to third reading on these other two procedural matters before now. For 15 glorious, dangerous days in Ontario, competent people in mental institutions had the right to say no to treatment and the representatives of incompetent people in those mental institutions had the right to say no to treatment, and the province has survived. Our doors have not been broken down here by a trembling populace that has been totally terrified by ex-psychiatric patients running amok in Ontario.
I sort of regret that we have to have the debate on Bill 190 and have the proclamation of this taking away half of those rights brought into effect today, when we know that in fact the member for Ottawa Centre was right that that was the appropriate way to deal with this.
The member for Lincoln (Mr. Andrewes) has indicated already that we did not have the figures about how many people were involved in this, and it sure sounded as if it was going to be a terrible, dangerous thing on June 1 when these rights were going to be given to these people and all the powers taken away from the professionals in our mental health system.
Finally, on the last day we dealt with the bill, we received those figures, and basically, I have to tell members it was a handful of people in Ontario who had ever used the override. Many times when an override was even initiated for the few that were involved, it did not have to go the whole distance because the person decided to consent in the meantime. What we learned is that the system works without it.
I thank the member for Lincoln or whoever it is who sent me the actual figures here. Would you like them, Mr. Speaker? Why do I not read them into the record?
June 1, 1986, to May 31, 1987, treatment orders: There were 16 applications and 11 orders for a patient who was competent to consent to treatment. There were 18 applications and 16 orders for a patient incompetent to consent to treatment and the nearest relative refused the consent. There were 41 applications and 31 orders for a patient incompetent to consent to treatment but with no relative available. That was for the entire year.
What we saw in committee was this amazing turnaround where the government members were so anxious to prove the case of the need for this override that they hauled up Gilbert Sharpe, the lawyer for the ministry, and set him down beside the parliamentary assistant. Whenever questions were asked of her, they were turned to him as the expert. He attacked and took on David Baker from the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped, or anybody else who came on as an expert, and savaged them in terms of their approach and their civil-libertarian view of this whole issue -- until the last day. On the last day, going into committee, we discovered all of a sudden that in fact they were relenting on half of the issue.
I find it really quite strange that we have this notion of rights of psychiatrically ill people in the province. We now say that a competent involuntary patient, who was described to me by the lawyer for the ministry as necessarily dangerous by definition of the involuntary nature when the government was trying to argue for the fact that this person should not be given this kind of right, now may be allowed to vote in Ontario in certain circumstances. Many of them did vote in the last election. They have the right to choose us as their representatives who can then make laws to affect their lives, but they do not have the right to say no to treatment and they do not have the right even to decide how they will spend pocket money in a psychiatric institution.
Now we have decided to say that those people will be given the right to say no. That is the compromise by the Liberal government, that they should be allowed to say no. The government acceded to the request by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Reville), to the other groups, to the basic civil rights premise that was out there, without a huge explanation, but just saying, "We are now convinced," after days of attacking anybody who came forward with that notion.
Strangely -- and I am glad the Attorney General is here, because in legal terms I find this really astounding -- they have said that anybody who is deemed to be incompetent and has a representative, a guardian of some sort, somebody who is there as his official representative, that person's representative can still be overridden. I find that really strange. Have we somehow changed our notion of what guardianship is about? Are we not saying that guardians in this field have the same kind of rights, that is to say, they are that person and can exercise that person's civil rights in this case? Why have we made the distinction?
I will tell members why it has been done; and it has been done for the wrong reason, as was the case of the override. The override was brought in not to take away civil rights, as we have seen. They have said now that they do not want to do that. It was done because it was so difficult to determine competency.
The real issue was, is a person competent to make a real decision about treatment or not? Now they have admitted that this was the problem and that it should not be dealt with by an override of a person's right to refuse consent. In fact, you have to be sure that your definitions of competency are correct. They have now moved to the other question, which is, how do you guarantee that somebody who is going to represent somebody is an appropriate representative? Because they have difficulty with that notion, they have decided to take away the rights of all the parents of schizophrenics in the province, who are their representatives, and say, "At any time we can override and you have to go before a board." I think it is madness -- members caught the irony of that? -- and I implore the government at the last moment. I think it is really silly for it to think in those terms.
Surely what the government wants to do is put into Bill 190 a better means of making sure that there are appropriate guardians or appropriate representatives. If the government's fear is that a 16-year-old in the institution who is determined to be incompetent has chosen a 16-year-old ex-psychiatric patient to be his representative and that kid is going to say no to anything that is being handed out, let it admit that is its problem and deal with the issue of the quality of representation. But it should not take away the rights of parents of schizophrenics to be able to say: "No, I do not want my son to have electroshock. I accept the notion of him having the chemicals, but not electroshock."
What the government has effectively done here is to say that if a doctor says electroshock is the only thing that will help, the parent is going to have to prove before a board that the doctor is wrong. The onus is on the parent to prove the doctor's decision is not appropriate. The weight of law is in favour of the doctor. It is so ironic, when one considers that it was parents of schizophrenics who came before us concerned about the wide open nature of what had been proposed by the member for Ottawa Centre, that it is exactly they who can be victimized now. It is not the person who is determined to be competent, but the parent of a child who is determined to be incompetent is now the one who can be overridden and whose civil rights as the child's natural representative can be taken away.
I would suggest that it does not take much to amend this act to make sure our list of people who can be representatives -- which we have now added to and which I think is a great improvement to what was there before, especially with the amendment from the member for Riverdale to add the official guardian when nobody else is involved -- to make sure we put in some kind of qualitative control. We can debate that and try to work it out. Goodness knows, the member for Riverdale gave us enough other assistance in this act, as he brought forward amendment after amendment to make what was coming forward a much more workable piece of legislation.
So I stand here today, saying, "We are getting half the cake and we will support it," but it leaves me with a very sick feeling in my stomach that our view of charter rights would distinguish so sharply between the competent patient and the incompetent person's representative in a way that we do not do in any other legislation I know of. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the members have not understood that they are attacking the wrong issue.
I promised the member for Riverdale I would not speak at length on this, that I would go back to my committee and be a good boy and deal with heritage languages, as I am supposed to do now. But I would not want to step down without saying there are very few times in the Legislature when an individual member, especially an opposition member, has a chance to be very effective in changing a government's mind and in bringing forward some progressive action, especially in an area where people are so highly vulnerable and have so few advocates or people who for them as the psychiatrically disabled.
I think the combination of work done by the member for Ottawa Centre and, after the turnaround and the attack on what she thought she had accomplished, the amazing work of the member for Riverdale in working with groups in the community and with legislative counsel here is something I have not seen before.
Knowing, as I and all members of this caucus do, the passion of the member for Riverdale around this issue -- his deep, deep involvement with this issue for many, many years -- I just wish that we had got the whole thing and that we did not have this one matter still left hanging, where parents and loved ones of people who are so vulnerable in the institutions may actually be second-guessed by professionals who mean well, but, by goodness, do not have the answers in this area by any means.
I just regret we were not able to have the total victory and get this act to be what I think in other terms would probably be the best piece of protection for patients that we might see in the western world.
I want to start by thanking my dear friend and colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) for his kind remarks. I note that the member for Lincoln spoke mainly about the politics of making legislation and my colleague from Scarborough West alluded to some of the politics of making this particular piece of legislation.
I, however, would like to talk about the politics of mental health because, in the end, that is what our exercise has been about. The exercise was begun by the member for Ottawa Centre as she struggled valiantly to make our mental health legislation conform to all the accepted notions of human rights, and in particular, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She very nearly succeeded, if only momentarily, last December in giving us mental health legislation that we could be proud of in this province.
Seven months later, after what I have described as a good deal of toing and froing, we have come almost full circle. I regret, as does the member for Scarborough West, the fact that we have stopped some degrees short of the full circle, back to Bill 7 in December 1986.
As I look at the legislation, as I look at the amendments that were led by the government and the amendments I led myself, I think that with one exception we now have a fine piece of mental health legislation. While I deeply regret the fact that a substitute decision-maker of an incompetent patient may still be overridden in this province, probably starting again today after the 15 glorious days the member for Scarborough West alluded to, I do expect that in this case there is a parent in Ontario who is lucky enough to own a pinstriped suit, who will be able to secure counsel and who will, in fact, lead a charter challenge of this section without much delay. I find it ironic that in this one area the government was not persuaded to go all the way towards human rights.
Some members of the House may know that the reason I am in politics is because I was a mental patient. In the Ontario psychiatric hospital system, I had occasion to learn the power structure of that system. I had occasion to understand, in a very permanent way, what the absolute lack of power feels like.
I would say that anyone who alleges that a competent person should be overridden is not talking about care; he is talking about power. I do not think there is any other conclusion that could be drawn. If there is anyone in the House who doubts that, then probably the only way he could ever find out is by spending some time as an involuntary patient in a psychiatric unit or a psychiatric hospital. He would discover that every single aspect of his life and decisions thereon have been removed from him, in a system that is so antitherapeutic, in spite of the best efforts of the science of the day, that another entire burden is placed on the person who has already suffered from some kind of crisis considered to be severe enough to require hospitalization.
I feel fortunate that I was able to return to some kind of control over my life some years after I managed to get out of the psychiatric hospital; in fact, it was the Ontario Hospital in Kingston. I often wonder why I was so lucky, because a great many of the people with whom I talk each week have not been so lucky and, in fact, find themselves back in psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units of general hospitals with the kind of frequency that should make us all ashamed.
If there was one point that was underscored in the hearings we had on the matter of Bill 190, it was the irony of discussing forced treatment for 11 people in the one case and for 18 people in the other case, of the two cases we are dealing with, while in Ontario the gaps and inadequacies of our community mental health programming are in fact contributing to the crises that land people in hospital.
The Community Mental Health Programs Federation saw this problem so clearly that it offered for the committee's edification what amounted to a community mental health bill of rights and a model for implementing that bill of rights. Regrettably, when I moved that amendment, it was ruled out of order because the Mental Health Act and the way our legislation often works, I regret, is about rights rather than entitlements.
One of the interesting things about the debate around these issues is that the most passionate, most anguished and most despairing input often comes from the friends and relatives of people suffering from mental illness -- in particular, in the most organized sense, from the Friends of Schizophrenics chapters and divisions in Canada and in Ontario.
There is no question the Friends of Schizophrenics have often been concerned about what they see as perhaps rights that are given to their relatives that may impede in some way the hopes they have for the recovery of their relatives, but when one has a chance to explore further, what is clear is that the Friends of Schizophrenics are really taking issue with the fact that the relatives have no right to treatment in the first place.
Time after time, they recount real-life stories, stories of disappointment and anguish, sometimes of terror and sometimes of death. When you follow the stories through to their conclusion, you discover the problem is that they know their son, daughter, husband, wife, aunt or niece has gone into a crisis and the system has been inadequate to respond to that crisis. Perhaps the police take him to the Queen Street Mental Health Centre and half an hour later return him home because the Queen Street Mental Health Centre admitting department has said, "We cannot see there is any problem here."
More often the relative is discharged after a week or two in the hospital. The immediate crisis has been stabilized through the generous use of psychotropic medication, and the person, at that moment stable, is discharged into an environment that is inherently destabilizing. That person is discharged into a crummy rooming house. That person goes out on the street with inadequate income and with nothing much to do except, inevitably, to decline and end up back at Queen Street again, more demoralized, I might add, than at the first admission and probably a lot more reluctant to accept the tender mercies being offered in that hospital.
This alarm I am raising today should be no news to any member of this Legislature, but I regret to say that on issues of mental health and the problems therein the Legislature as a whole does not appear to be particularly well informed. If it were, how could it tolerate the fact that 94 cents of every dollar is spent on institutional care, while the remaining mingy six cents is spent on community support services? Do members of the Legislature believe that people who suffer from mental illness spend most of their time in the hospital? No. Most people spend most of the time in the community.
I think it must be instructive to know that more than 60 per cent of the people currently patients at Queen Street Mental Health Centre just down the street have already been there once this year. The recidivism in mental illness in Ontario is, I think, shocking. In fact, it has been demonstrated over and over and over again that, with appropriate support in the community, people have far fewer rehospitalizations and, in fact, a far better prognosis for complete recovery. Yet this government and the one before it have failed time and time again to acknowledge what should be by now a truism: If you discharge a person to nothing, then very soon you will have him back again.
That speaks to the whole question, it seems to me, of empowerment. If on the one hand this government is belatedly prepared to say that a competent person has the right to make decisions about his treatment, should not that same person on discharge from hospital have the right to make some decisions about his future? Is it not the responsibility of this government to make sure that people can make decisions about their housing, their employment, their recreation, their education and the kind of treatment available to them in the community to help them deal with crises and resist further debilitating hospitalization?
This is an issue that is not going to go away. As the Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics pointed out to us, for every schizophrenic in hospital there are four in the community. As I have discovered in talking to a psychologist who is just putting the finishing touches on a paper studying schizophrenics in Ontario, there is a reasonably high percentage of schizophrenics in Ontario managing to live independently. A significant percentage of schizophrenics must live at home because our society basically has left their parents out to dry, without any help to deal with this problem. Those families that are very strong and are able to put extraordinary energy into providing the supports needed for their relatives have quite often done our job for us. But I suspect that as time goes on, the Canadian Friends of Schizophrenics, the Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics and the chapters that belong thereto will begin to put together a lobby for community mental health programs that I, for one, hope will be irresistible.
One of the very rewarding aspects of the fact of the debate on the Mental Health Act has been the coming together of a coalition that cares about community mental health that we have not seen before. It is a coalition that includes the professional social workers, the psychologists and the people who provide community mental health programming and who in fact provide it under difficult circumstances. There is not one community mental health program in Ontario that does not have an intolerable waiting list and that is not suffering at the hands of administrative incompetence from the Ministry of Health so that their budgets arrive following the fiscal year and other tomfoolery like that.
The coalition is joined by an increasing group of advocates, not only the legal advocates but also advocates like the Justice for Children organization.
I was very impressed and I must say heartened by the work of the office of the psychiatric patient advocate. This is a branch of the Ministry of Health which was absolutely adamant that competent override must not stay in the bill. I was among those who were modestly sceptical, when the psychiatric patient advocate office was established, that it might not be able to be independent, seeing that the co-ordinator was going to report to the minister. In fact, in this case it showed itself to be capable of not only independence but also a good deal of vehemence about its point of view.
I was delighted to see that, and I want to include in my congratulatory message the kindest possible congratulations to the office of the psychiatric patient advocate and the people who work there, as well as to the other members of the coalition, who came together and in fact proposed a number of amendments which have found their way into Bill 190 and the Mental Health Act.
There is no question that the debate between the best interests of a person and the autonomy of a person is a valid debate. Our society is going to have to struggle with that. As long as there are people in society who are vulnerable, and I suppose that even with a much more democratic division of resources, there will always be some who at some time or another are vulnerable in society, we are going to have to struggle as legislators with the tension that exists between best interests on the one hand -- in other words what kind of intervention is tolerable in order to ensure that a person is going to survive to take his rights back again -- and on the other hand, the absolute right of a person to decide his fate. In some cases, I suppose we are going to have to say yes, people have the right to make foolish decisions and decisions that might even in fact be life-threatening.
The dilemma with the best-interests test is, who is the Solomon-like figure who can decide anyone else's best interests? Should it be a psychiatrist, for instance? In fact, what we heard from some of the psychiatrists was that they really did not want to have that responsibility. What they wanted to do was to deliver care. They did not want to have to be involved in decisions that might result in the deprivation of someone's liberty or autonomy.
We have seen what happens in other jurisdictions. I think of New York City, for instance, where services for ex-psychiatric patients are so inadequate that police round up ex-psychiatric patients armed with nets. I shudder at the thought of importing to Ontario that kind of response to a problem. Also in New York City, in the cold nights in winter, people are arrested and taken to a place and guarded therein so that in the morning they can be let out. The societal interest that has been protected is that those people will at least not freeze overnight. It is, however, an interesting response to a social and economic question of justice. Why is it that 50,000 people in New York City have nowhere to live? Is arresting them the way to solve the problem?
I do not think it is the way to solve the problem and I do not think it is the way to solve the problem here in Ontario either. I think we do know the way to solve the problem, and that is to take a look at our community mental health programming. We have some excellent programs in the province that do the job they were intended to do, but the coverage is spotty and inadequate and, in many places in this province, absolutely nonexistent. If one happens to be unfortunate enough to go into crisis north of the French River, the best advice I can give to that person is, "Get yourself to Toronto as fast as possible and hope you are one of the lucky ones who can get in on some of the crisis services available there."
I want to conclude by saying that it has especially been a pleasure for me to have joined the tag team of the member for Ottawa Centre, and I was very pleased to be able to take the tag from her and try to carry on with the work she did all last fall.
There is a feeling by the patients; a sense of uncertainty, even a sense of fear of the powers of the doctors. These are people who have had no experience in a hospital such as this. It is something new to them, and when they are locked in and under the control of the doctors, they have great foreboding about what is going to happen to them.
Members have talked about the implications of the powers of doctors over patients, and it is very true. That is a fear these people have. It is something I was not knowledgeable about, and I question very much whether many of the members in this House would be knowledgeable about it or would ever have had the experience to know anything about the nature of this concern, but it is very real and it is very much of concern to the people who are involved.
In this particular institution there is a young lad, 17 years of age, who has no father. He has never known his father. He has had foster mothers, but I think even his last foster mother has given up on him. He is only 17. He has no future. He has no hope. I truly do not know what will come of the lad, because we are just not prepared in society to look after him. There is a real need. This is just one out of 30 people I can relate to.
I have heard talk about defending their rights, the Charter of Rights defending the rights of the patient. I do not think we have to be concerned with the charter. We should think in terms of the best interests of the patients. I do not think the minister or anybody else in this Legislature wants to inflict on the patients anything other than care; I guess it is an argument over the best care possible.
The one thing we should be aware of is the fact that many of those people -- in fact, I would think nearly all of them -- do know what is happening, and they have concerns and they have fears. I think we have to do what we can to alleviate those and not create more problems and more anxieties for them, because they are going through a very traumatic experience. It is something we do not have to add to by granting too much power to the doctors. Unfortunately, in some cases, the doctors are not that understanding of all their patients' needs. They try, but I think they lose patience themselves with the reactions of their patients.
I simply leave it with the minister to try to look at the side of the patients as much as or even more than the side of the doctors, because we are all hoping to achieve the best results possible. I wish the minister the best of luck in his endeavours to do this with Bill 190.
As the members have heard a number of very good speeches on third reading of this bill, I wanted to say that I had indicated to the government House leader that the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) had felt very strongly about this particular bill and other bills that were part of this whole process and had wanted to comment -- not at any great length; two or three minutes -- on this particular piece of legislation before it went forward.
I indicated to the government House leader that the member for Leeds could not be here on Monday and thought it was understood this would be called tomorrow and not today. However, the government House leader indicated to me he forgot that, and it was scheduled for today. In view of that, I think we have been able to proceed, we have been able to get a number of the speeches out of the road and covered, and fine speeches they were. I know everybody would want to extend the same privilege to the member for Leeds, so I move the adjournment of the debate.
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
I had indicated at that time to the member for Ottawa Centre and to the member for Lincoln that we had passed an amendment without what I thought was adequate public discussion concerning the various aspects of the Mental Health Act which Bill 7 dealt with in a very particular manner. I had indicated as soon as the vote had been taken -- in fact, probably right after the vote and certainly within a very short time, maybe a day or two later -- that I felt Bill 7 had been amended inappropriately because there was no time to go through the deliberations which we have now gone through as a Legislative Assembly.
We did talk with the Ontario Psychiatric Association, with the Ontario Medical Association, with the patient advocate groups, with the people from the Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics. We did hear from them in the legislative process, in a very open and public forum, as I had indicated to my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre and others that I thought we should.
We have gone and discussed the items which were extremely important to the Friends of Schizophrenics. We have been able to hear their stories, and although my friend the member for Riverdale is not here at the moment, the stories were alluded to in a very feeling, sensitive and passionate way by him in the telling or the recounting of some of those presentations. He is without a doubt a very passionate advocate of his position on mental health services in this province, and he went through, at some length, what he felt was an appropriate way for us to determine allocation of resources in that regard. His interventions have been extremely helpful.
The interventions of the Friends of Schizophrenics have been very helpful. The interventions of the people who were involved in delivering care, the psychiatrists, have been very helpful, because they brought to our committee the opportunity of discussing for a very short time -- necessarily a short time, I guess -- the concerns that were raised as issues in a piece of legislation designed to answer a bill which was, from my standpoint, passed without adequately hearing from those groups.
We have done that. For that, I make no apology whatsoever. We have here now a piece of legislation which, I am told, is probably amended to a form which is in advance of any other of the jurisdictions in the nation of Canada. That is a very positive step forward for Ontario.
In fact, I was quite surprised that my colleagues, as they spoke to other issues not yet addressed and not yet fully understood and developed, were unable to bring themselves forward at least to speak about the positive aspects of Bill 190. All the members would like to know, I am sure, that at one point I canvassed the possibility of not proceeding with Bill 190 but of getting on particularly and precisely with determining the question of competency, which is also an issue we must attack with -- l am not sure about aggressiveness, but certainly with some degree of sincerity, to reach the conclusion of how we deal with that very important issue.
The members opposite failed to indicate that there were positive parts of this legislation, and there are positive parts to Bill 190. There have been very thoughtful people who have assisted me in my consultations beforehand and who have recommended to me that I make sure Bill 190 moves forward and that we do the things that have to be done to get on with the other issues.
We also have, from my standpoint, a lot of work to do with respect to our community mental health services. I agree with my friend the member for Riverdale on that. There are, without doubt, very many variations on the themes, but all of us are committed to putting more resources into community mental health programs. We realize the situation that exists in the community in terms of need.
We have very many challenges ahead of us, as we deal with mental health and the treatment thereof in the province of Ontario and in the nation of Canada. We have seen deliberations take effect not that long ago in Ontario, where they were dealing with a uniform code with respect to the establishment of a mental health act for the whole of Canada. There are a number of positive steps from Bill 190 and there is a lot of good being done in Bill 190. It is an attempt by a committee to reach a balanced approach to delivering care for those people in need of mental health services.
I thank the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. M. Johnson) for his brief but insightful deliberations, his assistance in regard to the people who are involved in caring for members of their families. The concerns that are expressed there are ones which, if all of us had been in the committee during the deliberations, we would have found, as the family members, the Friends of Schizophrenics, for instance, were making their presentations. I can understand and appreciate the need to do more. In fact, we are doing more. I understand the context within which the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel presented his remarks and his comments.
We have some difficult problems with respect to striking that balance. There is no question at all about that, in my mind. Specific difficulties arise with respect to who is competent, how the competency is determined and how we deal with assessing the way in which a decision has been made. People have told me the difficulty with some people suffering from schizophrenia is that they are unable to progress or to remain in voluntary community services, or to accept those services of a voluntary nature, because of the nature of their illness. This puts extra pressure on the delivery of services to schizophrenics and otherwise through our voluntary community services system. It means we have to struggle harder, to do more, to make sure our programs react to their needs.
It was difficult for me to sit in on the presentation by the Friends of Schizophrenics and listen to the mother of a son who committed suicide in a rather gruesome manner, as was described in that committee, and not believe that she had a sense of duty to that son to express to me, as Minister of Health, that there is a need to have an avenue to question the wisdom of someone making a decision not to accept treatment. That was the message in that presentation. There are obviously also messages that were underlined by the member for Riverdale.
In those presentations, I see a frustration born out of wanting to help and being unable to; a frustration born out of seeing legislation being introduced with promise but which has not made it easier for the parents; a frustration out of love so real and so genuine that I expect none of us as individuals, if we have never had to experience it ourselves, can ever imagine. It was in the context of this that the deliberations of this committee with respect to how to handle the right to override decisions by a patient requiring mental health services were taken and were made.
We have had the debate, the presentations and the clause-by-clause, and now we have a piece of legislation.
There are important things left to be done. I agree with those other people who made their 25-or 30-minute interventions that there is more to be done. I would like to list a number of things that must be done for mental health services in this province.
Suffice it to say that I think we now can move forward to deal with some of these issues in a more sensitive manner and in a more complete manner with the passage of Bill 190. I thank the people who participated in the committee work. It is not easy to put personal experiences in front of the public and show the degree of difficulty parents have with children who are not well, being unable to receive treatment for them.
I appreciate the legal advice that has been received. I thank those people who are practitioners who also play an extremely important role in our system and who came to the committee and provided us with information. I am pleased to be here to move third reading and look forward to the passage of the bill.
Motion agreed to.
House in committee of the whole.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT (CONTINUED)
Consideration of Bill 34, An Act to provide for Freedom of Information and Protection of Individual Privacy.
Therefore, I would agree with the motion the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) has been kind enough to give me notice of. I will allow her to put forward the amendment to my amendment.
My motion on section 72 still stands. I expect an amendment to my amendment by the member for Ottawa Centre, which we will support.
"This act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor or on the first day of January 1988, whichever comes first."
That being so, I withdraw my request for unanimous consent.
On section 72:
Ms Gigantes moves that the amendment to subsection 72(1) proposed by the member for Carleton-Grenville be amended by striking out all the words following the word "act" in the third line and substituting therefore the words, "comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor or on the first day of January 1988, whichever comes first."
Motion agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Section 72, as amended, agreed to.
On section 10a:
Section 10a negatived.
On section 24:
"(3) The applicant may indicate in the request that it shall, if granted, continue to have effect for a specified period of up to two years.
"(4) When a request that is to continue to have effect is granted, the institution shall provide the applicant with:
"(a) a schedule showing dates in the specified period on which the request shall be deemed to have been received again and explaining why those dates were chosen; and
"(b) a statement that the applicant may ask the commissioner to review the schedule.
"(5) This act applies as if a new request were being made on each of the dates shown in the schedule."
The information commissioner has the right, as I understand the section, to review that schedule and make certain the schedule is reasonable in scope. If the flow of data stops, then the person applying for the information would have the right to go to the commissioner and complain about the cessation of his receiving information over a period of time. No other act I am aware of has a right to continue the flow of information. Therefore, I believe it will be good in terms of the right not only of members of the Legislative Assembly but also of members of the public to monitor programs put forward by the government and to be able to call them into accountability, which is of course the reason this act is all about.
That is the sum total of the reasons for this amendment. I believe it strengthens the right of access to information.
Motion agreed to.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
Section 73 agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Scott, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
INTERIM SUPPLY (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for interim supply for the period commencing July l, 1987, and ending October 31, 1987.
There are a number of concerns coming forward from different parts of the province, and I would like to spend a few moments looking at the failure of the province to address the needs of the high-growth areas. We could talk about that for a moment. We are considering the fact that in the budget speech alone there was an effort to do something about northern Ontario and eastern Ontario as two geographic areas that need special attention by the government.
I suggest this government has failed to look at the high-growth areas. We realize there are regionally depressed areas that need special care, but at the same time the government needs to look at such areas as Peel, Durham and York, areas that are growing at a phenomenal rate and are therefore requiring an investment by the province to maintain a standard of living that people have come to expect before they move into the area. We are talking about one of the fastest growth areas in Ontario, the regional municipality of York, which has grown by over 52 per cent from 1979 to 1985.
Other municipalities across the province have grown by seven per cent on average, but the growth in York region is now placing phenomenal pressure on all the support services that the people who live there would love to see improved. We are talking about such things as Highway 407, which this government announced very recently, but when we look at the amount of money it is investing in Highway 407, at a mile a year it will be 25 or 30 years before this important highway is finally built. Fortunately, we have at least got the announcement, but we do not have any significant investment into it.
We are talking about the need for regional roads, we are talking about more social services, or health care as provided by York Central Hospital -- and Markham Stouffville Hospital was just formally announced today -- these services are not keeping pace with the population growth. We are talking about seniors' residences. York Manor is going to be closed down and we hope to build two seniors' residences, one in the north and one in the south of York region. There is no determination by this government as to when these seniors' residences will be built. We are seeing the possibility of Green Acres, another seniors' residence, a type of hospital which serves Alzheimer's disease patients and serves a number of residents from north Metro, being closed down and not being replaced.
We are talking about home support and expansion of home support services for seniors and the elderly in the region. For these services, instead of increasing government funding, we are seeing a minimal inflationary increase, but no recognition of the significant growth that is going on within our area.
I laud and compliment the government for the support in school spending in our area, but it, too, does not begin to address the total needs of our growing society in York region. We are seeing the need for environmental areas and the need for green belts, for parks, for Uplands Park in Thornhill, and there is no money coming from the province to help our communities retain these services.
What is happening, because the government is not putting in a fair dollar in York region, is that we are starting to see a very violent and unhappy reaction by the people of our communities to the provincial plans for growth. I have the statistics now and they are really a very enlightening set of numbers that show us just how bad the financial scene is for York region.
Let me tell members how bad it is. In real terms, the province of Ontario, from 1981 to 1985, spent $2,155,653,000 -- an increase of 13 per cent for the total province in general grants and provincial grants to municipalities across this province.
York region, for the very same term of reference and for the same time, from 1981 to 1985, received $26,772,851, representing a decrease of three per cent to York region. While the rest of the province had a 13 per cent increase from 1981 to 1985, York region had a three per cent decrease during that period, which means the region of York is receiving 16 per cent less money than the rest of the province's municipalities during a five-year period.
In other words, York region should have received $5 million more during that five-year period, on a per capita basis. The total amount of money should have been increased by $5 million rather than having a decrease of three per cent.
We are talking about a community, York region, that is growing. Yet we are not seeing the investment by this government in roads, in social services, in schools and in seniors' services that will make this community satisfied. What is happening is that this community is paying the tax dollars and it is paying for new construction, but we are not keeping pace with those social services, those hard services that are needed to make this community come together.
Now what is happening is that there is a reaction by the community: Where is the province going to be? We therefore want to stop growth. That is bad. The province will only continue to be a successful province with the financial income from those communities that are going to provide for growth. But the province should invest up front to help support that development and support those communities when they need it, not after the fact.
There is a need now for this province to help catch up on that investment for York region. There is a need for it to come forward and recognize York region as one of those urgent places within the province that needs to have financial assistance. The fact is, on a per capita basis we are suffering a decline in government spending. I have to say it is a major problem to those of us who live in York region. It is now time for this government to face up to the fact that we deserve some special attention.
I am concerned about the failure of this government to look at the total strategy for the future when it comes to the need to spend money in those areas in which it is going to do something. Last year, we saw a number of announcements that were front-page news: "One billion dollars to be spent by the Premier of Ontario and Ontario in support of high technology." The new high-tech fund. It allocated $1 billion over 10 years, but do the members know how much it spent in 1986-1987? It spent $2 million of the $100 million it had said it would spend in that time frame. The government is continuing to evaluate different methods of spending funds. The fact is, it said one thing and spent just a small proportion.
We are seeing a government right now which last year allocated $30 million to an expanded small business development corporation. In actual cash flows, only $16 million, just half, was invested.
We are needing the community economic transformation agreement. This is an important way of helping underdeveloped areas of the province. Last year's budget had an allocation of $5 million. How much was actually spent? Only $0.5 million. Five million was going to be spent and the government only put $0.5 million into it. I call this a disgrace.
We have seen this government announce northern development funds. Two years ago the Liberal government announced a $100-million northern Ontario development fund. To date, only $17 million has been spent of $40 million allocated for the past two years. What is happening to it? Again, the government announces something, but it does not do anything about it.
The northern Ontario heritage fund was allocated $30 million. This was merely a remainder of some of the unspent money from the northern development fund.
If they are really talking about eastern Ontario specifically, how much of a priority is eastern Ontario when only $5 million is being set aside to help eastern Ontario?
What we really need to see this government do with the money it is taking in through taxes and the money that is coming in through the great success we are having right now is at least three things.
The first thing we need is to have a trade adjustment fund to ensure a smooth transition for industries that are going to be involved in the freer trade agreements with the United States. We should begin now to try to smooth the way for those companies that are going to be encouraged to have more trade with the US. Let us begin to create some incentives for them to get ready. Let us create some environment for those companies and for those industries to get ready for the new day of opening up markets between our country and the US.
Why do we not as well have a revamped government procurement program to ensure that government purchasers who are contributing to our competitive society are given a fair deal by Ontario? Why do we not have a government procurement program that encourages people to buy and sell in Ontario? Why do we not continue to be Canadians first rather than try to go beyond the borders of our province? This province has a way of setting a standard, but what is it doing? It has no real standard for government procurement.
Why does this government not do something to encourage labour to begin to advance and to retrain and to allow its workers in declining industries to find opportunities that can allow them to get back to work and be re-employed? Why do we not start planning for solutions rather than creating solutions?
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Thomas Brzustowski, who is vice-president, academic, University of Waterloo. In a speech, he talked about three imperatives that have taken place in society.
The first imperative was one of those things that woke up society, in 1957, with the launching of Sputnik by the Soviets. When that Sputnik was first launched, everybody stopped and looked and said: "Hey, that's significant. We had better get down to work and start revitalizing our own industry and retooling our plants so that we are able to be competitive. Obviously, what has gone on prior to the Second World War will no longer work for us in the future, so let's do something about it."
That was one of the first imperatives of western society; the launching of Sputnik reactivated science and technology and refuelled the whole sense of urgency and importance for industry in this province and in North America to come alive and to get out there and make it happen.
The second imperative he talked about was the oil embargo of 1973, when suddenly we learned that here in North America, we are not able to rely on our resources alone and we have to rely on other resources. It was startling and everybody knew it, because it affected each of us. When we would go to the gas bar or the gas pumps, we had to understand the prices were out of control and there was a shortage of fuel.
We are now into the third imperative. We are in the middle of it. It is not as startling as Sputnik. It is not as dramatic as the oil embargo. We are talking about a world industrial crisis on freer trade, on the Third World markets becoming far more competitive than Canadian markets. We are seeing them grow and we are seeing the North American share dwindle and get smaller.
What we have to do in this province is recognize that one of our major priorities should be to enliven and make our whole industrial area competitive with the rest of the world. There is a great surge taking place in the Pacific Rim countries. They are increasing their international share of the market. There is an incredible inability of western nations to adapt as fully as possible to this new technological area. The result has been a diminishing western influence on international scenes and a decreasing access to foreign markets.
We in Ontario and in Canada have been far more reactive than proactive on the international level. What we need to do in Ontario is to redefine and co-ordinate our economy in anticipation of future developments. Instead of having a budget that is putting a smattering of money here and there and all over the place, there should be an industrial plan that has focus to it and that has a dream to it and will allow our industry to get ready for another day. But that has not happened in the budget of Ontario.
What we need to do is have that dream and give it some reality in a budget that says: "We are allocating our priorities. We are going to cut taxes and then, with the money we have, we are going to build for the future."
We in this province need to have a vision for the future in the changing nature of the work force. We are seeing our labour force participation rate of women between the ages of 24 and 54 years estimated to be approximately 75 per cent by the year 1990. We are seeing changes in the kind of makeup of the family, where we have single, sole-support parents. We are seeing a new role, a new situation developing for the family, as more and more parents are working -- the need for child care. What we have seen from this province is a totally irresponsible response for child care.
What we have seen is the development of a strategy that says we are going to pit government-financed child care against child care that is provided by commercial operators. In fact, commercial operators who presently provide child care could well be in jeopardy by the programs of direct grants that are being made now by this province to those agencies that are not commercially operated. We are going to put the commercially operated people into a position where they are treated very differently, by virtue of replacing the needs test with an income test only applicable in the nonprofit sector, until a revision by the federal government.
Why is there not some consistency to it? Why is there not some investment by this province in both commercially operated and nonprofit? What we have to do is face up and treat everybody alike. The government cannot run everything. The government should not run everything. But the government should establish a context in which both government programs and commercial and private programs are able to prosper. What we are not doing here is recognizing that some 45 per cent of licensed day care provided in this province is provided by commercially operated centres. What we need to do in this government is begin to do more for both sides, allow some of the system to change, do that through better regulations and better inspection. All of that can happen. But the government is trying to get in there and run it all. I am concerned about that.
l am concerned about the fact that this government has no vision when it comes to dealing with the older workers. It is not really coming together with a program for those who are 55 or older, who have lost their jobs and who are facing the problem of being retrained. There is no good program now to train older workers.
Where is the commitment as well to our disenchanted and disfranchised youth? One third of Ontario students drop out of high school before finishing grade 12. The drop-out rate in Ontario is four times larger than Japan's.
Where is the commitment to education? In this year's budget we see a net decrease in the general legislative grants to education of $144 million. We are talking about a government that has said in the past that it wanted to increase its share of government spending. What we are seeing is that they have decreased their share. They have broken the promise they made two years ago. We are witnessing a budget here that sees a decrease in the proportion of money for education that is very significant.
We are seeing a government that is doing very little in skills training. The Futures program, when announced, boasted of assisting 230,000 young people by 1986. By their own admission, this program has only helped 50,000 young people, or 21.7 per cent of the original goal.
We are talking about a government that has put lots of words and lipservice into what it was going to do for universities and colleges. The increase of 11.5 per cent in university operating grants is actually only 7.05 per cent. They say one thing, but when we look at the real dollars -- and this includes $60 million of a special allocation, which was a requirement arising from the 1984 community colleges teachers' strike -- we are seeing that educational spending has failed to reach 1984-85 levels. Twenty cents of every dollar was spent on education, colleges and universities and skills training. Today, instead of its being 20 cents, it is down to 19 cents.
Where is the dollar for education? They say one thing, but in relation to the dollars that were spent in 1982 and 1983, when things were tougher, there were more dollars then compared to what is being spent now in supporting education. We are talking about a government that says one thing but does not do it. It does not follow through.
I have a number of other remarks that I want to make about the whole deficit situation. I will reserve that until the next opportunity that I have, inasmuch as it is coming very close to the hour of six.
On motion by Mr. Cousens, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.
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