1981 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 32nd Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1981
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Multicultural education. Hon. Mr. Smith –– 6453
The Vancouver Electoral Reform Act (Bill M215). Mr. Lauk.
Introduction and first reading –– 6453
Provincial Court Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 8). Hon. Mr. Williams.
Third reading –– 6454
Gas Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 19). Hon. Mr. Heinrich.
Third reading –– 6454
Building Safety Standards Act (Bill 20). Hon. Mr. Vander Zalm
Third reading –– 6454
Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 7). Committee stage.
Report –– 6455
Real Estate Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 23). Committee stage.
On section 5 –– 6455
Third reading –– 6458
Notaries Act (Bill 28). Second reading.
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6458
Mr. Howard –– 6458
Mr. Ree –– 6459
Mr. Hall –– 6459
Mr. Cocke –– 6459
Ms. Brown –– 6460
Mrs. Wallace –– 6460
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6460
Notaries Act (Bill 28). Committee stage. (Hon. Mr. Williams)
On section 5 –– 6461
On section 8 –– 6462
Third reading –– 6463
Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No –– 2), 1981 (Bill 31). Second reading.
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6463
Attorney-General Statutes Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 30). Second reading.
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6463
Attorney-General Statutes Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 30). Committee stage. Hon. Mr.
On section 22 –– 6463
On section 30 –– 6465
Third reading –– 6465
Medical Service Plan Act, 1981 (Bill 16). Committee stage. Hon. Mr. Nielsen
On the amendment to section 6 –– 6466
On the amendment to section 8 –– 6466
Third reading –– 6466
Provincial Debt Repayment Act (Bill 14). (Hon. Mr. Curtis). Second reading
Mr. Mussallem –– 6466
Mr. Hall –– 6467
Hon. Mr. Curtis –– 6467
Division on second reading –– 6467
Committee of Supply: Ministry of Labour estimates. (Hon. Mr. Heinrich)
On vote 140: minister's office –– 6467
Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders and Private Bills' sixth report
Mr. Strachan –– 6469
Appendix –– 6470
FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1981
The House met at 10 a.m.
MR. STRACHAN: I would ask the House to welcome a guest of mine who is in the gallery. With us this morning is Alistair McVey, a College of New Caledonia geography instructor. Alistair has an excellent standing in our community, and I would ask the House to give him a nice, warm, Friday welcome.
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I have good news. The snow has melted in Cranbrook, and as a result we are honoured today with the presence in the gallery of the former member for Kootenay, Leo Nimsick. The member is here to catch up on any old bets that are unpaid or caucus dues that have been left as liabilities, and he is available this morning for counsel to all members of the House. We wish to welcome him here.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of te government, we also would very much like to welcome Old Cash Register Eyes back to the assembly, and mention to some of the younger members that there was always a sign when the session was coming to an end. One was the one the hon. Leader of the Opposition referred to as the melting snows, and the other one was when we had the songbird speech from the former member.
MR. RICHMOND: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery this morning are two fine constituents from the city of Kamloops, Ed and Jan Odgaard. They have two friends from Auckland, New Zealand, with them, Jack and Ramona Wright. I would like the House to make them welcome.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: I would also like to join in welcoming Mr. Nimsick. I understand he's here because he heard a rumour that this House was sitting beyond Easter, and he came to see if it was really true.
HON. MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement. I think it's appropriate today, following the introduction of the Civil Rights Protection Act yesterday, to announce that multicultural education will be strengthened in B.C. schools today, as a preventive means of combatting racism. In November of this year my ministry commissioned a study on multicultural education and surveyed every school district in this province asking what we could do to give direction and assistance to the schools of this province. The preliminary results of that survey show that there is a sincere wish to have assistance in the areas of curriculum and materials, and particularly in the in-service training of teachers. Most school districts requested help in developing and improving programs on multiculturalism, and most said they would like to see languages other than English and French taught as a subject, but not as a language of instruction. Today I'm happy to announce that we will appoint a provincial coordinator of multicultural education in English as a second language to pull together multicultural programs, and that in the fall we will set up a major provincial workshop for teachers in the lower mainland in October. This workshop will assist teachers with both the content and the methods of multicultural education, and will help teachers with practical ideas and materials for dealing with multiracial classrooms. The objective of this will be to try to show teachers that they should approach this subject in a positive and not a defensive way, and to give them assistance in doing so.
We will also be preparing strong regulations which will give principals authority to prevent the distribution of racist literature and propaganda on school property.
MR. LAUK: I'm pleased that the government is finally acting in this direction after some considerable movement by teachers, parents and community groups to encourage the ministry to provide resources for this kind of education. We'll be monitoring the situation very closely, as all members will be, to see if the program is sufficient or adequate to meet the rising tension in our schools.
Introduction of Bills
THE VANCOUVER ELECTORAL REFORM ACT
MR. LAUK: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to introduce a bill intituled Vancouver Electoral Reform Act.
MR. SPEAKER: Shall leave be granted?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Hon. members, in requiring leave for the introduction of bills, it is an historic leave. It is really only a pro forma question. The leave has traditionally been granted, and therefore I would ask the question again. Shall leave be granted?
On a motion by Mr. Lauk, Bill M215, The Vancouver Electoral Reform Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today,
Orders of the Day
HON. MR. GARDOM: I ask leave to proceed to public bills and orders, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: Shall leave be granted?
MR. LAUK: Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege.
MR. SPEAKER: On a question of privilege, before the question of leave, the first member for Vancouver Centre.
MR. LAUK: In view of the lack of response from the private bills committee and the information received by me as late as yesterday as to the nature of the deliberations of that committee on the ward system bill, I move the following motion of privilege.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I hate to interrupt the hon. member in the middle of being about to make a motion. However, matters which take place in committee, or even any information about matters referring to what takes place in committee, can only be made by a report to the House on the instruction of the committee through the Chairman of that committee. Any matter of privilege which may arise from proceedings that happen in committee would certainly have
[ Page 6454 ]
to follow the report of the committee, unless the member can show otherwise.
MR. LAUK: Mr. Speaker, with respect, any question of privilege can be raised at any time, whether it occurs in committee, in the corridor, on the space shuttle or whatever. When it affects the privileges of an hon. member he has the absolute right to bring it before the House, and the Speaker, of course, has the responsibility to decide whether it's a prima facie case of privilege.
MR. SPEAKER: In any event, hon. member, according to the standing orders the statement of the matter would be all that could be made in the House. The motion, of course, would only be moved once it could be determined whether a prima facie case did exist.
MR. LAUK: This is a statement on the matter. I would ask for a motion for a Special Committee of Privileges to be appointed to consider the matter of a breach of undertaking by the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, which was clearly and publicly given to support the democratic wish of the city of Vancouver to have a ward system. Because of high political office that hon. member reneged on the undertaking, denied his vote in support of that amendment to the Vancouver Charter, and in this chamber has breached the privileges of hon. members. He has indicated that he will use his office and his power to renege on that promise and that undertaking to the people of the city of Vancouver. I therefore move this motion.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We cannot accept a motion until....
MR. LAUK: Well, I'll send it up to the Chair.
MR. SPEAKER: So ordered.
MR. LAUK: I intend to move that motion if Mr. Speaker finds that there is a prima facie case of privilege.
MR. SPEAKER: The member is prepared with the motion. We will then take the matter under advisement, hon. member, and return the decision to the House.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I already asked for leave to proceed to public bills and orders, and I don't think it's been granted yet.
MR. SPEAKER: That was suspended.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, report on Bill 8.
PROVINCIAL COURT AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
Bill 8 read a third time and passed.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Report on Bill 19, Mr. Speaker.
GAS AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
Bill 19 read a third time and passed.
MR. NICOLSON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, was there a motion put on the Gas Amendment Act, 1981?
MR. SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Report on Bill 20, Mr. Speaker.
BUILDING SAFETY STANDARDS ACT
Bill 20 read a third time and passed.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Committee on Bill 7, Mr. Chairman.
MOTOR VEHICLE (ALL TERRAIN)
AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
The House in committee on Bill 7; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Sections 1 to 5 inclusive approved.
On section 6.
HON. MR. CHABOT: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper. [See appendix.]
Section 6 as amended approved.
Sections 7 to 9 inclusive approved.
On section 10.
HON. MR. CHABOT: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper. [See appendix.]
Section 10 as amended approved.
On section 11.
HON. MR. CHABOT: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper. [See appendix.]
Section 11 as amended approved.
On section 12.
HON. MR. CHABOT: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper. [See appendix.]
Section 12 as amended approved.
Sections 13 to 15 inclusive approved.
[ Page 6455 ]
HON. MR. CHABOT: Mr. Chairman, I move the committee rise and report the bill complete with amendments.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
MR. SPEAKER: When shall the bill be considered as reported?
HON. MR. CHABOT: With leave of the House now, Mr. Speaker.
Leave not granted.
Bill 7, Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Amendment Act, 1981, reported complete with amendments to be considered at the next sitting of the House after today.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Hon. members, may I just observe that a question of leave is simply a matter of yes or no. It is not a matter of debate or comment. The bill will be considered at the next sitting.
MR. NICOLSON: On a point of order, I believe those remarks were directed toward me, I would like to draw to the attention of the House that when a bill is held over for reporting it is then printed in its perfect form, and that is the reason why it is necessary to ask leave. That is the reason why leave was denied.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Committee on Bill 23, Mr. Speaker.
REAL ESTATE AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
The House in committee on Bill 23; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Sections 1 to 4 inclusive approved.
On section 5.
MR. LEVI: Mr. Chairman, this section, which is the flipping section, is the one I personally remember having so much trouble with. First of all, I don't know whether we made it clear in second reading that what the minister is doing in this bill is really not in accord with what even the real estate people have asked for. The other day I quoted him a statement by Mr. Buttress, who is with the Real Estate Council of British Columbia. They put out a bulletin which he may be familiar with. In it he is very careful about what he says about the role of agents. Those agents who have been doing these various things in terms of flipping have suffered a great deal of embarrassment. There is also Mr. Butler, who is the new president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. He said back in March that he felt the existing legislation for his particular area was strong enough, but that it needed to be reinforced. That's fine. What the minister has done is made the disclosure situation much more specific.
I'm having great trouble with one of the sections, and I raised it in second reading. It's the issue of commissions in respect to these agents. I cannot accept the minister's explanation. I would repeat the quotation from Mr. Buttress' article in the bulletin of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia. He winds up by saying in effect: "How a licensee can in good conscience participate in. the commission when purchasing for himself is beyond my comprehension." That's one of the major spokespeople of the real estate industry. Surely when you put this legislation together — and I know that you've had some consultation with them.... They are unhappy about some of the things that have not been dealt with. We mentioned that the other day.
This is the key section. I cannot for the life of me understand why it is, and I'd like the minister to enlarge on this whole question of why he feels in this case, contrary to the wishes of the real estate industry.... What you're really doing, when you allow this to happen in this particular set of circumstances, is saying: "Well, we're not very happy about this; we want you to make disclosure, but we'd better let you have the commission anyway." The industry asks how in good conscience — that's the phrase Mr. Buttress uses — a licensee can participate in the commission when purchasing for himself. The whole involvement of licencees in the purchase of property for themselves is considered a no-no.
Maybe the minister has come up with part of the remedy. It still doesn't satisfy us, for instance, in respect to something that goes sour. A deal is completed; we have the business of the superintendent then having the power. He looks at the disclosure form and says, " Something is not right here," and then moves towards sanctions, presumably after a hearing. That leaves the individual involved in this situation....
I can't even see the minister anymore, because of that big fellow standing there. Are you having trouble there? There's a rule in this House. Thank you. I see the minister.
We are looking here more at enforcing the legislation against people who contravene the section, but I'm not satisfied with the minister's explanation that an individual has gone into this situation in good faith. I spoke to two or three real estate agents the other day. I want the minister to address this: when you are doing a conveyance, you're there, you've taken it to your lawyer.... Sometimes people have gone to their lawyers, and maybe at the actual signing the lawyer is not there. There are some documents to sign. The document the minister is talking about here — that bright red document that's going to catch everybody's eye.... The minister knows that when you're getting into a discussion about a lot of money and there are various documents to sign, there is no real guarantee that that document can be signed or witnessed by the people involved, in the sense that they don't really know what it is.
Let me ask the minister this. The disclosure document will be made available, presumably when it's signed, to the representative of the person purchasing — a lawyer. The main thing is that the person who actually buys the property — the non-lawyer, if you like — has got to have some assurance that literally nothing is going to be slipped in among a bunch of papers. It's a procedural thing. Nowadays most real estate transactions involve at least $100,000. We're not talking anymore about $50,000 or $60,000; we're dealing with very large amounts.
Let me recap what I would like the minister to address himself to. I'm not satisfied with the whole commission issue. Real estate agents are entitled to commission; that's a negotiable item. But here you are tending to reward somebody who may very well get into trouble when the industry
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itself feels that it's unconscionable to allow such a commission in that kind of transaction. That's the industry speaking. It seems to me that you need to address that and do a little bit more analysis of it.
The other question is, what kinds of safeguards are there even though the form may be bright red? After all, some of the forms people sign are pink. What kinds of procedural safeguards do the purchasers have so that they're not going to have something slipped over on them? That's the key document in terms of your enforcement. Then, of course, there's the final question: that even though they may be found by the superintendent to be breaking the law and subject to sanction, we have the purchasers out there in a situation where they may have been the subject of some misrepresentation, and they've got to go the whole civil route.
We would have preferred to see the minister come in with a section in this act saying that no real estate agent can buy for himself in that situation — just as straightforward as that. Because the industry has said all along that it doesn't want real estate agents messing around in its own private business or purchasing any kind of property. They have continually looked for mechanisms.... Mark you, the industry has nobody to blame but themselves in terms of this kind of legislation. We have now seen in four different areas — motor dealers, travel agents, the industry and a fourth one which I can't recall — where the government had to get involved in regulating an industry that failed to regulate itself. It may very well have been that they had no mechanism. They had it in the act that you had to make a declaration, but quite obviously the declaration wasn't being submitted. So now the minister has gotten into this thing in a very hard way.
We know that what we have here is a form of declaration a form of insider trading, if you like. We're not always that happy with what goes on even on insider trading reports in the securities industry. Anyway, we said we were prepared to have a go at this and see what works out.
Has the minister really listened to what the industry wants? I don't think so. The commission thing is very serious. I wonder what procedures there are to make sure that someone who purchases property, even with this bright red form, really understands what's going to happen. You said that you wanted to bring this in by September.
If there has been a breach by the real estate agent, surely there should be a possibility of voiding the agreement with the purchaser. That is an even-handed way to deal with both an errant real estate agent and someone who, if you like, has been a victim of that individual. But you say no, they'll have to go through the civil courts; and that's a very long and expensive process. I'd like the minister's views on that.
HON. MR. HYNDMAN: I will try to briefly cover the various major concerns expressed by the member for Maillardville-Coquitlam. First of all, with respect to the reaction of the real estate industry to the legislation, I think the best answer I can give is that since the introduction of this legislation, both major real estate organizations — the B.C. Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association — have issued public statements very strongly in support of this legislation. Therefore my view is that this legislation enjoys the enthusiastic endorsement of the key, leading real estate organizations. I do not think that the somewhat selective reading by the member from certain real estate bulletins accurately conveys the views of those two provincial and national real estate bodies.
I was pleased to see that my concerns from earlier debate that the opposition had not really clearly stated some of their alternative policy views in this field have now been satisfied. If I heard the member correctly, he clearly stated that his party's preference would have been an approach which simply forbids licensed realtors from engaging in any type of property transaction in the province, so that their role would be purely as brokers, and they would not be allowed to engage in property transactions of any sort. We have a philosophical difference on that.
On this side we prefer to take a somewhat more selective approach, targeting in on that small handful of realtors who are the problem. We don't think it's fair to the legitimate, conscientious and responsible broker to penalize that person and to provide a flat prohibition that under no circumstances can they engage in property transactions.
My basic response to the member is to refer him to the very key phrase in section 28(c), as proposed in the amendment. The phrase is: "...in the form and manner prescribed by the superintendent." Clearly in that phrase we have reserved the flexibility and the capacity to ensure that this new system will indeed work. For example, it is within that phrase that we shall seek to provide that the citizen is not presented with the disclosure at the same moment that the interim is required to be signed, but rather that, because it deals with the manner of operation, there shall be some advance presentation and sufficient reasonable time for advance thought by the property owner affected.
In terms of commissions, as I indicated in earlier debate, with great respect, I think the member may not have fully categorized or thought about the range of potential commission situations. Let me just briefly summarize them and relate those situations to this section. There would really be four kinds of situations relative to a commission that would arise if, say, a given homeowner was selling his or her home to a third party.
Category 1 would be circumstances under which no commission was payable; in that event the commission concern doesn't arise.
Category 2 would be a situation in which commission was payable but in no way, directly or indirectly, to be shared by a licensed realtor who was the purchaser. In that event the disclosure is made; the homeowner, the vendor, can make up his or her mind, but in that situation, with full disclosure, the commission would be going to a licensed realtor, but not to the same licensed realtor who was, in whole or part, the purchaser. In any event, the homeowner can made make up his mind about that.
Category 3 was one I referred to the other day. There are increasing situations in which, if there is to be a commission or fee, it is paid by the purchaser and in no way paid by the vendor. In that case, again the homeowner can make up his or her mind.
Category 4 would be the kind of concern to the member, as I understand him; namely where there is a commission to be paid, it is to be payable by the vendor and directly or indirectly, in whole or part, the realtor part of the purchasing group receives some share of it.
What does this section do that didn't happen before? First, and most importantly, it requires full disclosure about those particulars. Secondly, and in the face of that, the homeowner may want to make up his own mind about the transaction, and I would suggest it's going to be an unlikely case that a homeowner armed with those facts is going to
[ Page 6457 ]
want to pay commission of that sort, but if he does he may under the provisions of this bill.
But again I caution the member to be patient and see in its form and content the operation of the bright red form and what it has to say about commissions. Certainly — and this is the key feature, I think, Mr. Chairman — regardless of this legislation or the form, there are some extremely strong common-law provisions and duties which flow and devolve upon the realtor, if he or she is receiving, in whole or part, a commission on a transaction.
That is the range of comment I have on the member's concerns as to remedies for breach, apart from what already may be a matter of common law or in the statute. Again I would say to the member, if he will be patient and see the bright red form in its content and in its operation, I think his concerns will be much relieved.
MR. LEVI: Mr. Chairman, I don't agree with the minister. It's not a selective reading I've done; I've also spoken to the real estate industry. There are some concerns until this is passed. Prior to that, the industry did have a major concern with a small number of people. We're in no way categorizing the whole industry; we're talking about those people who simply didn't follow the act, and they've had that trouble. The problem is that you always have people who are prepared to take a chance on this kind of thing. The strongest possible legislation is always going to be ignored by a number of people. Because of the nature of the world we live in, we continually now have what is categorized as white-collar crime. There are people who set out in very set ways to plan, perpetrate and succeed in ripoffs.
What we are talking about here is the question of those few people. I understand that a report was submitted to the minister regarding the level of flipping that was going on in the province. It's not easy to tell. I'm informed that the statistics were based on the multiple listings statistics for 1979, and as I understand it there were some 325 cases which might be looked at. But, of course, multiple listings represents only about 20 percent of the sales of real estate in the province, so we could be looking at a greater number.
Frankly, I'm not a great believer in deterrents for those people who will never be deterred by anything. We could get into a great debate one day on the value of deterrents, as it is often expressed in the courts. People who do not need to be deterred are people who have a very good view of their role in society, and they don't have to be told that if you do this you're going to get your head banged in. We're always dealing with people who will not be deterred by anything. Obviously, when we had the onset of flipping, the real estate industry was very sensitive about this, and has been for some time.
The minister gave four categories of examples of where commissions can be paid, and it's the fourth one which is the one I'm focusing on. I'll be very candid with you: I'm not looking for you to fall on your face on this thing. If this is going to help the consumer, that's great — I think that is important. There obviously has to be some concern from the industry that they have not been able to put their own house in order and consequently they have had to go to the government to do it.
I'm certainly prepared to give the whole operation time. I don't think for one minute you can realistically expect that even by September you're going to get this done. That's okay too. Fortunately, as we see from the press, there's a levelling-off of the speculative side of housing and flipping at the moment. It seems to have levelled off for a couple of months. Maybe it will stay that way long enough for you to be able to get in.
One of the things is that the minister went to some expense to put out "Renting? Renting? Renting?" I hope he might go to the same expense in one way or another of informing people out there. Half the population in this province are renters; among that population you have a percentage of potential buyers. Now that this legislation is coming in, it is important that they understand just how it works.
One of the things that I worry about with this thing is that it can result in a great deal of need for bureaucracy. After all, you have to have all of these things examined. There's got to be accountability. There has to be some inquiry mechanism. There's already a lot going on in any case. It's a difficult thing.
AN HON. MEMBER: Aye.
MR. LEVI: Are you in a hurry? You just had breakfast. I'll tell Leo about you.
HON. MR. GARDOM: You're saying the same thing you said in second reading...
MR. LEVI: I have to repeat it for Leo. He wasn't here at second reading.
HON.MR.GARDOM: ...and not as well.
MR. LEVI: Oh, you know there used to be a time when this guy used to take up hours of this House with his legislative program. Remember, Mr. Chairman?
HON. MR. GARDOM: That was good stuff too.
MR. LEVI: It was stuff all right.
The only place the minister and I separate on this thing is that I do not accept his explanation under the fourth example. I can't buy that at all. I think he would have been far better off to leave out payment of commission in that particular area. That's the key thing he's attempting to do in here. Not in selective reading, but in two fine articles people have taken the trouble to.... This one is an internal house document: "Speculation in Real Estate." That's what they dealt with. That's the thing that they wanted to be able to settle. I must say, Mr. Chairman, that the minister has not listened to what they want. Apart from the broad adulation he's received from introducing the legislation.... That's one thing, but he has completely missed what they've been saying in terms of a fourth category that he gave.
Sections 5 to 27 inclusive approved.
HON. MR. HYNDMAN: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
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The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 23, Real Estate Amendment Act, 1981, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Second reading of Bill 28, Mr. Speaker.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: In rising to move second reading of this bill I would like the members to be aware that for many years in this province there has been a debate, based upon the present legislation, between members of the Law Society of British Columbia and members of the notaries' society with respect to the right of notaries to carry out the rights and responsibilities which the existing legislation permits. Since approximately 1948 there has been an arrangement between the two societies with respect to the numbers of notaries that would be granted seals under the existing legislation to carry on their responsibilities, and this system has worked reasonably well. However, in recent months the arrangement which has worked well between these two professional bodies has been the subject of discussion and, in some cases, attack.
In particular the attack has taken place because under the present legislation the authority of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to authorize an applicant to be examined and then admitted as a notary public has depended upon need in the particular community where that applicant proposes to carry on his practice as a notary public. Because of these challenges to the right of applicants to be granted a notary seal, there have been a series of discussions between the benches of the Law Society and the president and directors of the Society of Notaries Public in an attempt to allow the preexisting agreement to function.
During the time these discussions were taking place there was a challenge in the Supreme Court of British Columbia of an applicant based upon the question of need, and a decision of the court has made it clear that the existing statute requires the matter of need to be established. In the particular case it was not established because in the community where the notary proposed to carry on business there were other persons, either lawyers or notaries public, who had the authority to discharge the responsibilities, and as a result the application failed.
As a consequence the notaries' society proposed to proceed, by way of private bill, to bring about amendments to the existing legislation. Those amendments would have given the notaries' society a fixed number of positions throughout the province. The province would be divided into notarial districts and the number of notary seals which might be in existence at any one time in any one district was set by the proposed private bill. The numbers and notarial district concept was the direction in which the two societies were then negotiating. Perhaps it could have been resolved by an arrangement, but in view of the decision in the courts this was not possible.
When the notaries came forward with their proposed private bill it was, except for the matter of the establishment of notarial districts and the numbers of notaries therein provided for, essentially a rewrite of the existing legislation, which is very old and clearly required a number of important housekeeping changes with regard to the operation of the notaries' society. At that time the government considered the proposed private bill, and after discussions with the directors of the notaries' society, it was the government's decision to do two things. One was to proceed with a public bill, which is before you now, which would make the necessary housekeeping changes and modernize the statute, thereby enabling the notaries' society to better discharge its responsibilities. We cleared out many of the unnecessary hindrances to orderly operation, and we improved in several respects the structure of the society and the manner in which it discharged its responsibilities. At the same time we included in the bill the same provisions that the notaries' society requested in their private bill regarding the establishment of notarial districts and the fixing of the number of persons who could act as notaries public under the authority of this legislation in those districts. In so doing we recognized that there would be some areas of the province which perhaps were not identified in the established notarial districts, and therefore we continued the authority that exists in the court to grant applicants for notarial seals the right to proceed if need could be established.
Therefore we have the benefits of the existing legislation, plus provisions which will assure that there will be in each area defined in the legislation the opportunity for applicants who meet the qualifications to come forward, be examined and be granted notary seals. I think the bill is a marked improvement over the existing legislation and clearly meets not only the needs of the citizens of the province, but also the appropriate aspirations and requirements of the notaries' society and its members. With that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of this bill.
MR. HOWARD: Mr. Speaker, in my view notaries public serve an extremely valuable function and provide an extremely valuable service. In my personal experience I would prefer dealing with notaries public to dealing with lawyers on subject matters that they're able to deal with, realizing, of course, that there are restrictions on the types of things that notaries can do. I've had very good relationships with them. I've found them to be very efficient, with great attention to detail, and very competent.
The bill before us seeks to place certain restrictions on the numbers of notaries public that may be licensed to practise in specific notarial districts, as I understand it. There's an element of protection in that, as well as a restriction. It seems to represent a reasonable compromise between the requirements of notaries and of members of the legal profession. I'm sure it will continue to serve the interests of the general public in a very satisfactory manner.
One question comes to mind. Future amendments may be necessary to the bill or to the schedule therein with respect to notarial districts and the numbers of notaries licensed to participate in those districts. I'm talking about the possibility that arises from time to time in a province like British Columbia of new communities being established around new industrial projects and ventures of that sort. If there are, there will be a potential population growth in a new area. If it is not contemplated in the schedule now, there needs to be some recognition given to that to ensure that notaries public will also be able to practise their profession in any new areas or districts that come into being following the passage of this particular act.
I haven't looked at the details of it, but often statute schedules are amendable by order-in-council. I don't know if that is the case in this particular bill; if it is, I would hope that
[ Page 6459 ]
order-in-council activity would be used only to expand the number of notaries and expand the notarial districts, if that occasion arises, and would not be used to restrict them in any way. We support the bill completely, wish it speedy passage and wish the notaries every respect in the world.
MR. REE: My colleague the Attorney-General has indicated some of the history leading up to the implementation of this bill. As a result of that history, representatives of the notaries approached me last January or February and asked whether I would sponsor the private bill they were proposing this year. Having practised law for many years in and around the city of Vancouver, I have had occasion to deal with or be associated with a large number of members of the notaries' society. During that period I have had excellent rapport with them. I have found them competent and capable within their terms of reference, and therefore it was with pride that I was prepared to sponsor the bill as such. The bill was prepared and was submitted to me as a member of the private bills committee of this Legislature.
Upon that presentation, after discussions with the Attorney-General, and recognizing the need for maintaining the facilities of notaries in this province — a very old and historic facility in the community, which has rendered great service to communities in this province — the Attorney-General and the government agreed to make this a government bill. It was with pleasure that I learned of that, and I have encouraged it until its presentation in the House earlier this week.
I might mention that in the bill there is provision for a special fund which the notaries have had in the past. I am informed that there has never been a claim on this fund to date. I think that speaks well of the integrity and the honesty of the members of that society in the performance of their duties. However, I draw to their attention that, with inflation and escalating prices on houses in certain parts of British Columbia, they should seriously consider the increasing of this fund, because a great deal of the work of notaries is in conveyancing — a certain amount of it — and their members may be charged with larger sums than are provided for in the bill. But I leave that to their discretion, recognizing their responsibility and their integrity.
It is with pleasure that I support this bill, and I am very pleased to hear the member for Skeena (Mr. Howard) advise that those on the opposite side will also be supporting the bill, which I think has the unanimous support of the people of this province.
MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, the bill will be supported on the basis that it is going to help the notaries who are presently operating. I do have some misgivings. It occurs to me that if we were talking about landscape gardeners or butchers or carpenters, the chamber would be full; the press gallery would be full of people wondering why we were allowing one group of people to prevent somebody else from doing part of their work. That is essentially what's happening here. We have a really powerful monopoly of lawyers at work here, who are basically preventing a group of people from doing part of their work. That's really the story behind this bill.
The Attorney-General has said that they're moving forward in concert, but he knows full well that the notaries public were made an offer they couldn't refuse. They were really under the gun, and if, indeed, they had proceeded with the private bill, or anything more than just acquiescence to a diminishing population rollover, every one of their applications would have been fought by some young lawyer somewhere in front of an old lawyer somewhere, dressed somewhat differently and sitting in a chair slightly higher than the young lawyer. That's how this work is carved up. That's what it's all about.
If we were talking about trade unions, everybody on the other side of the House would be on his feet talking about it. They do it in concert, under a vote and under a certification process. They do it under a fair process. You should know about that; you were once Minister of Labour. This isn't fair; you know that. You've made them an offer they can't refuse, and they're accepting it. We've got a schedule which is part of the act. I suppose I'd have been happier if the number of notaries public in the notarial districts had been — beggar the thought — part of the regulations. At least they could have been changed swiftly.
This is really what the bill is all about. I'm sorry the notaries public lost their courage at the last minute and didn't go ahead with it. We'll support it, but it's vested interest in a full monopoly on one side fighting some small people on the other. Let's not forget what it's all about. If this was happening amongst ordinary working people in the trade union movement, the other side would be shouting and screaming about it. As I say, for the Attorney-General to say the trade union movement doesn't do it shows an abysmal and, frankly, convenient loss of memory from when he used to hold a different portfolio.
MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, I think you and others can remember that over the last two or three years there have been requests made of this House and the government to act on behalf of notaries. There's no question that what we have here is quite an improvement over the rather unsatisfactory situation that we have seen heretofore — and that was the whole question of every dispute having to be resolved in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. We saw the results of a number of those, and I'm pleased to see that the Attorney General, as the representative for the government, has taken it upon himself to at least go as far as he has.
I know the second member for Surrey (Mr. Hall) indicates that this is a one-sided proposition and that they had no choice. Unfortunately, they were in an even worse position before, so naturally we're supporting the proposition put before us.
However, the problem I have with the whole schedule situation is as follows. I see burgeoning communities where the numbers of notaries permitted for those particular areas are written in as part of the act. In other words, the schedule to the act is part of the act and there will be no regulations pursuant to that. In order to amend this from time to time, it will have to be brought before the House. It may be, Mr. Speaker, that this will be a much amended bill. For example, I notice that Kelowna, which is growing very rapidly....
And there are other areas where numbers set now probably won't be relevant in two years time. For instance, I notice the number in New Westminster is the same as it's been for many years; that is what they had sort of tentatively agreed upon. The number was ten for as long as I can remember and I notice it's still ten in the schedule. However, the fact is that New Westminster has grown, and our province has grown. We now have fewer notaries public than we had a decade or so ago, and we're seeing to it that in a decade or so from now we will have no more.
[ Page 6460 ]
They, however, have agreed to go this route, so I'm not going to admonish the government particularly for having brought forward a bill that at least gives them this kind of protection. I also would go along with those who have said that notaries have given a good account of themselves over the years in this province — some a better Account than others, but that's the case in every profession.
The one niggling little doubt in the back of my mind is the fact that most notaries are involved in real estate. I would think most of their transactions would be real estate transactions. There was always the possibility of just a little bit of self-interest attached to their work. I think that's probably one of the reasons why it's always been thought that there should not be a proliferation.
In any event, I hope that the notaries public are as satisfied as they appear to be with this new piece of legislation. I hope that in the future where there are needs for change, those needs can be acted upon readily without lobbies from the benchers and lobbies from local lawyers and so on and so forth stifling the opportunity to give at least some proportion relevant to population, rather than a proportion, as I see it now, only relevant to that which has always been. If that's going to be the case, I think that we can support this bill without any hesitation whatsoever.
MR. REE: May I have leave to make an introduction, Mr. Speaker?
MR. REE: I'm sorry that I didn't notice earlier, but since we are debating the notaries' bill at the moment, I feel it's apropos to introduce again to this House a gentleman in the gallery above me here, the president of the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, Mr. Roy Bishop. I'd ask this House to welcome him here today.
MS. BROWN: Like the other members of the opposition, I too am going to support this bill, but I thought I should just get some answers to a couple of questions about the decision made about how many notaries there are to an area. I wonder if the Attorney-General will say whether they have adopted the recommendation of one notary for every 5,000 people, or whether the schedule, as it's now written, in terms of the number of notaries to each area....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Perhaps it would be a question more appropriate for committee.
MS. BROWN: That's true, Mr. Speaker, except that I thought that under second reading debate was permitted on any of the areas as long as I didn't refer to a specific section.
MR. SPEAKER: I thought I heard the hon. member refer to the schedule, but maybe I was in error.
MS. BROWN: I'm sorry, I won't use the word "schedule" then. I withdraw the word "schedule."
I'm wondering whether the Attorney-General, in closing debate in this, will explain to us what provisions have been made to adjust the number of notaries to a specific area. I noticed, too, that Burnaby is going to be assigned eight notaries. With a population that's growing rapidly, is the decision to increase or decrease that number attached to the population? This is what I'm trying to find out. I noticed that in the brief that was presented by Mr. Bishop there was some request to do with tying it to the population — that is, one notary for every 5,000 people in the population. I wonder whether the Attorney-General took this into account in making the decision as to what the total should be. I also noticed that we're up to a total — if my addition is correct — of something like 353 notaries for the entire province. Again, that seems to be within Mr. Bishop's request.
Is there any room in the legislation? I've looked through it, and I didn't see any room in the legislation to increase or decrease this amount based upon the need. For example, if it became obvious that 350 notaries were being overworked and that more and more people were beginning to use notaries because they found that the service they received from them was excellent service and not quite as expensive or as complicated as dealing with a lawyer, is there anything in this legislation that would then make it necessary or possible to increase the number of notaries without having to bring it back to the House?
I would also like to associate myself with the comments made by the member for Skeena (Mr. Howard). I have certainly received a number of letters from people in my constitutuency of Burnaby-Edmonds who speak very highly of the service that they have received from notaries and regret that the number of notaries is going to be limited in any way.
MRS. WALLACE: Following along the same lines that my colleague for Burnaby-Edmonds was speaking on, I would like to commend the Attorney-General for at least upgrading the legislation in relation to my area. The original draft called for one notary for Duncan, and it completely ignored the fact that Duncan is a very small city in the centre of a very fast-growing population. I'm pleased to see that the municipality of North Cowichan is now included in those total figures and that the number of notaries is increased to three, which is the existing number of notaries in that area.
My concern relates to the same situation raised by the member for Burnaby-Edmonds (Ms. Brown). The whole area south of Duncan, which is neither in North Cowichan nor in Duncan city, is not considered in the total population figures shown there.
The area of Shawnigan and Mill Bay is one of the fastest-growing areas in the province. The population is estimated to be growing at one and a half times the normal growth rate for the rest of Vancouver Island. I can foresee in the very near future a requirement for an amendment to this legislation, because there is no provision that I can see for allowing an elastic situation to provide for the addition of a notary in the Shawnigan-Mill Bay area, which is growing so rapidly but is completely excluded from this particular piece of legislation. It's true, a person can go to Duncan or North Cowichan, but that is not in line with the general thinking and the principle behind this bill that these notaries would be assigned according to population. I am concerned that that seems to be completely omitted from this legislation.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: In closing debate, may I say that I associate myself with the remarks of the member for North Vancouver-Capilano (Mr. Ree) and also with the remarks of the member for Skeena (Mr. Howard) with respect to the quality of professional performance of the notaries. In discussions with the notaries' society, their president and directors, it is clear that they are concerned about the quality
[ Page 6461 ]
of persons who hold notary seals. It is their intention to vigorously pursue programs which will ensure that applicants for positions will in every way be fully qualified to discharge their responsibilities. This is not to say that those who presently hold seals are not so qualified, but as entrants come in, that the profession is aware of the need to ensure that the highest standards are maintained.
The prospect of new communities is of concern to the government. For that reason we inserted the provision in section 7 whereby, based upon need, applicants for notarial seals and examination can still be allowed to proceed. But I wish to assure members that from time to time, as circumstances change throughout this province by reason of growth of population or the establishment of new communities, the government will expect the Society of Notaries Public and the general public to make known their view with respect to need, so that the schedule can be changed either by establishing additional notarial districts or by increasing the numbers of notaries who can practise within any district now in the schedule.
We considered whether or not the schedule should be amendable by order-in-council. We concluded that, in view of the public interest in such matters, it would be more desirable if the matter were attended to by legislation, thereby avoiding any suggestion that changes in the schedule might not provide full opportunity for debate as to the need for change.
May I say to the member for Burnaby-Edmonds that there is no intention of reducing the number in the schedule. As it is changed from time to time, that number will undoubtedly increase.
I move second reading of Bill 28.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to refer Bill 28 to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
Bill 28, Notaries Act, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
The House in committee on Bill 28; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Sections 1 to 4 inclusive approved.
On section 5.
MS. BROWN: Mr. Chairman, I don't think that the minister answered my question. He said that he wanted to reassure me that there would be no decrease, but I am also interested in increase. I notice that in one of the briefs presented by the notaries a formula was suggested of one notary to each 5,000 increase in population. section 5 of the bill says that we are stuck with the districts listed in the first column of the schedule, and also with the numbers listed in the third column of the schedule. I am asking the Attorney General whether there is a formula devised that would deal with increases in population.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, no formula has yet been devised, and the schedule establishing the districts and the numbers which has been incorporated into this bill is the schedule which was advanced by the notaries' society. As I said in closing second reading, if with changing population and the growth of new communities there is an indication from the notaries society or from the general public that the schedule needs revision, then the government will be most happy to sit down with the society and consider that.
The difficulty with using a formula — one for 5,000 or whatever the case may be — is that it may not necessarily provide a fair allocation of numbers throughout the province. As you will note, in the present schedule there are a very large number in our very large communities. As circumstances change, that may prove to be the wrong way to go. As the member herself said, maybe there should be more in Burnaby and fewer in Vancouver, but I think that's something that would have to be established on the basis of demand from the public. This is one of the matters to which the notaries' society will be addressing itself.
It's the same with the question from the member for Cowichan-Malahat (Mrs. Wallace). The fact that there are now, perhaps, growing communities which are not in the schedule may produce a need for revision to the schedule to make those inclusions. Presently, if a need is established, then a seal can be granted in an area outside the district. But if the notaries' society would prefer to reorganize the districts and change the numbers, then that is a matter the government is prepared to consider with them.
MRS. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, I'm very interested in what the Attorney-General has said. What I think I heard him say was that if they were going to add one in Burnaby, they might have to take one away from New Westminster. Will he tell the House, in no uncertain terms, that that magic number — whatever those numbers total — is not a fixed and total number, but that it is subject to upward revision if the need arises, so that we can have notaries appointed in new areas? Granted, it has to be done by law, because for some reason, while everything else can be done in order-in-council by this government, for some reason they have decided that this particular piece of legislation cannot be handled by order-incouncil, but must come before the House. It seems to me we've seen other, far more important things shoved away to order-in-council, and now we have one that has to come before the House. But my point is: can we be assured that if an amendment comes before this Legislature, it could be an amendment that would add a notary without taking one away from some other area?
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry that I am having difficulty making myself understood. The example I gave was simply the problems associated with using a formula. I said it may be that more are required in one area and less in another, based upon the formula. That would result in the problem that the member for Cowichan-Malahat has just indicated. You would be treating this as a fixed number, and that's not the intention.
I'd better make it perfectly clear that if the demands for material services increase, if new communities are formed and populations expand, then we will expect the notaries' society to come to the government or the public and make representations either to permit on the basis of need the granting of seals or the inclusion of additional numbers in
[ Page 6462 ]
existing notarial districts, or changing or increasing the number of notarial districts, and thereby solving the problem, because it's a matter of service to the public, and that's to be the guide.
MR. COCKE: Mr. Chairman, just to give you an example. I look at Penticton for an example of two approvals in this bill. We know that Penticton is a very rapidly growing community. Beyond that there are a lot of land transfers going on in a rapidly growing community. Then I compare that, for example, to Kelowna, which has a traditional number of seven. Therefore it appears to me that we're dealing far more with tradition and far less with actual needs. I also refer to the district of Delta, a huge district which has become, I guess, as big as or bigger than many of the lower mainland municipalities — and they have two. Then I go to New Westminster, which has ten with a population of, say, 40,000 compared to a population of some 100,000 in Delta. So I worry that what we're looking at here is far more tradition than need. Naturally, when I think in terms of what the future holds, I suspect that the districts have had it, unless they can make some very strong representation. When I look across at that government bench and think in terms of the number of lawyers over there, it worries me that there aren't going to be very many significant changes.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I don't want to allow this section to pass without responding to what has just been said. That is not the purpose at all. And it may be that in the establishment of this particular schedule the notaries society did pay attention to tradition; they certainly had to pay attention to those members of their society who hold seals and who have practised for many years, and where they practise has been established for many years. This has been the first opportunity to move in this direction, and as I indicated, henceforward it's not going to be tradition; it will be based upon identified need for the service which notaries can provide, and it will result in the adjustments. You mentioned the Delta area. Yes, there is a large population and that's one area that maybe has to be looked at. But this schedule is one which the notaries society themselves devised, and if it is based upon tradition, it is so because it is the first time a schedule was put forward.
MS. BROWN: I'm really nervous about this, Mr. Chairman. Does a notary have to die or retire, for example, before another notary can be appointed? In other words, is what we have here the list of existing notary seals and where they are? Was there any give or take built into this schedule? Is it possible for any new notaries to come on stream now, or do we now have existing already in the province something in the area of 350 notaries? Is this it? Is the minister saying that before any other notary seals are going to be invested or introduced— whatever one does — the existing notaries have to retire or die, as the case may be, or an amendment has to be brought back to this House based on some kind of census study? How was this schedule put together in the first place? How were these figures arrived at? Maybe we should start by getting that information.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, as I indicated earlier, the notaries presented a private bill for consideration, and they established the schedule. I'm advised that the schedule includes more positions than there are presently notaries practising in the province. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that we're anxious to proceed with this bill is that there are, I believe, some 20 applicants for notary seals, for which positions are made available in this schedule, who can't be considered until this bill is passed. So there are new positions presently pending. Once the legislation is passed, yes, in any particular district a notary seal will have to become vacant in order that it be filled, unless the schedule 1s increased.
MR. LEGGATT: Mr. Chairman, there is something lacking in the bill that I want to draw to the attention of the Attorney-General. That is, there is no provision for a lay member....
MR. LEGGATT: Is it in?
MR. CHAIRMAN: We're on section 5, hon. member.
MR. LEGGATT: I think I can squeeze this in if I look at section 5. Section 5 deals with enrolment limited by district. I've got to make a quick point, and we'll see if it's in order.
There is no provision with respect to a lay person sitting as a member of the board of directors of the society. The notaries presumably operate under the Society Act with this enabling legislation. I know that the Attorney-General is sympathetic to governing bodies of professional associations having lay persons sit on the boards of those associations to provide some public input in terms of the management and discipline of the members of any particular society. The Law Society has decided that is a good way to go. It seems to me that we should have made some provision in this act with respect to that.
Otherwise, I think the act is very sound. It's a good piece of legislation, which in effect gives the existing arrangement between the notaries' society and the Law Society some statutory authority. I think that's a desirable thing. In our concern expressed here....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. The debate that the member is now entering upon would have been appropriate in second reading. The Chair has allowed considerable latitude. The member has made a point, and it's certainly not on section 5. The Attorney-General may or may not wish to respond.
Sections 5 to 7 inclusive approved.
On section 8.
MR. COCKE: "The Attorney-General shall appoint a board of examiners consisting of three persons to conduct the examinations of applicants for enrolment." What input does the society have in terms of the creation of this board? Right here it sounds a little bit arbitrary. I would have thought it would be in consultation, and that that would be written into the act. Instead of that, it's just: "The Attorney-General shall appoint...." We all know that....
[ Page 6463 ]
MR. COCKE: The member for North Vancouver-Capilano (Mr. Ree) says it will be all doctors. Anyway, I'd like to hear from the Attorney-General.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, the present legislation provides for the board of examiners to be appointed by the chief justice. In order to facilitate the appointment of boards, the responsibility has been given to the Attorney General. It will be established in consultation with the board of directors of the society.
Sections 8 to 45 inclusive approved.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 28, Notaries Act, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
MR. SKELLY: I ask leave to make an introduction.
MR. SKELLY: I would ask the House to welcome Marguarita Sandbom, a representative of the Democratic Revolutionary Front of El Salvador, who is in the galleries today visiting with members of the New Democratic Party caucus in this Legislature. I would ask all members of the Legislature to make her welcome to British Columbia. Miss Sandborn is the representative for the FDR in Montreal.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Second reading of Bill 31, Mr. Speaker.
AMENDMENT ACT (No. 2), 1981
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: This miscellaneous bill on the government's position is best dealt with in committee. I move second reading.
Mr. Howard moved adjournment of the debate.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Second reading of Bill 30, Mr. Speaker.
ATTORNEY GENERAL STATUTES
AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Each year there are a number of amendments to statutes which fall within the jurisdiction of the Attorney-General. These are housekeeping amendments, and they are included in this statute. Accordingly I move second reading. I'll be prepared to deal with specific items in the bill during committee stage.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to refer Bill 30 to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
Bill 30, Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act, 198 1, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
ATTORNEY GENERAL STATUTES
AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
The House in committee on Bill 30; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Sections 1 to 21 inclusive approved.
On section 22.
MS. BROWN: I wonder if the Attorney-General would explain the significance of section 22.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: This deals with the question of what we refer to as non-expiring judgments. The member will recall that when the Land Title Act was introduced in 1979 it was provided that instead of judgments being recorded in the judgment register— as had been the practice up until that time — judgments are now recorded against the specific title to property. The previous practice was to register judgments in the Land Title Act in a judgment register. Now the practice is to register the judgments against the specific title to property. That legislation provided that the previous practice of using a judgment register would expire two years after the enactment of that legislation. Therefore you will find, not only with respect to the Family Relations Act but in a couple of other statutes as well, that we are simply correcting a clerical error. We referred to section 76, and now we refer to section 76(l), which clarifies that non-expiring judgments filed in a land title office before October 31, 1979, must be renewed by October 31 this year.
I can advise the member that following the enactment of the Land Title Act, the process of reregistering of judgments commenced. There are now only a few hundred still remaining in the judgment registers. Whether any of them touch upon Family Relations Act matters is highly doubtful. In order to ensure that there is no difficulty, we are sending out to every lawyer, notary public and registrar specific notices advising them that judgments must be reregistered by the end of October this year. Additionally, we are notifying each individual judgment creditor — the person who holds the judgment— personally with a form letter advising him or her that the judgment must he reregistered against a specific title to property, rather than being in the general old judgment register by the end of October. Against the possibility that someone, through oversight, may not do this, I also want to assure the member that there is provision in the law for an application to be made in the case of inadvertent oversight, so that no one is going to lose as a consequence. We want to clean up the old judgment register system. It will be done by the end of October. There are only a few hundred judgments left. We're sending out these special notices to get everybody to reregister. As I say, against the possibility that inadver-
[ Page 6464 ]
tently somebody misses the deadline, there is still the opportunity for relief.
MS. BROWN: I want to thank the Attorney-General. I assume that that's what's going to happen with section 18 too, because they're both.... Okay.
MR. LEGGATT: I wanted to ask a couple of questions about this. The Attorney-General has indicated that there is provision where an oversight takes place. But where property is transferred, subsequent to an oversight, I don't know what the remedy could be in that case. It seems to me that the property itself would be gone. Therefore how would there be any remedy available to the judgment creditor? That was my first question.
The second one is: under the old land titles system when you registered a judgment generally and the judgment debtor didn't own any property, if he subsequently acquired property it would come under that judgment registration. It would mean that when he subsequently acquired property, he would then be prevented from retransferring it, because the judgment in fact, being generally registered, would automatically attach to that property. Now that the law has changed and we must register against a specific title, does it mean, therefore, that each judgment creditor must conduct a name search in the registry in order to determine if there is any property in the name of the judgment debtor and thereafter register, so that he doesn't have the old opportunity of simply registering generally and hoping that the judgment debtor will make the mistake of allowing property to come into his name?
I wonder if the Attorney-General would deal with those two aspects.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: The matters raised by the hon. member are correct. That was the decision that was taken in 1979 in amending the Land Title Act and moving from the old judgment register system to registration against specific property. It is now the responsibility of the judgment creditor to register. When his judgment debtor acquires property, he doesn't have to pursue the registration technique and his remedy.
With regard to the problem that arises following an inadvertent error to reregister and then the property is sold, that is one of the problems that gives us concern. There is no remedy for that. That's why we're going to the rather extensive length of again notifying the entire legal profession, the notarial profession and all the registrars and sending a special notice to each person whose name appears in the judgment register, drawing to their attention their need to register non-expiring judgments. There aren't that many of those.
MR. LEGGATT: I want to point out to the Attorney General that in fact what we've done is made it more difficult for those people who have orders under the Family Relations Act to enforce those orders. Under the old system the order could simply be registered in the land titles office generally. Therefore in this case if the husband or the wife judgment debtor happens to acquire property, the spouse with the order would have the opportunity of trying to execute their order. Now we've weakened that, and we've weakened the Family Relations Act. Now what happens is that if a spouse has an order against him, he will certainly make arrangements not to acquire property or have property in his own name. Therefore it's more difficult for those people who happen to be judgment creditors under a family court order to levy execution or to put pressure on their spouses to pay the order. In the process of trying to make things more efficient in the land titles office, we in fact have weakened the capacity of people who hold orders under the Family Relations Act — or judgment creditors generally — to recover their debts.
MS. BROWN: I wonder whether the Attorney-General was aware of this fact when he was introducing this amendment. Heaven knows, the Family Relations Act is weak enough as it is. The last thing that we need is anything to weaken it further; it will expire and die. Was my learned colleague incorrect?
HON. MR. GARDOM: He's not a notary.
MS. BROWN: I need the assurance of the Attorney General that the Family Relations Act is not at risk, because this is a serious matter. I think the Attorney-General is checking his law books.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS:
I have the answer to the concern of the member. I would ask the member
to consider the provisions of subsection 76(l) of the Court Order
Enforcement Act, to which we're making this apply. It provides that:
"Every judgment, except non-expiring judgment including a
renewal...registered under this part, at the expiration of two years
after the registration or last renewal...ceases to form a lien o ' r
What we are doing is ensuring that that does not apply to an order made under the Family Relations Act. If you look at section 64 of the Family Relations Act, it presently says the whole section 76 of the Court Order Enforcement Act does not apply to an order registered under subsection (1) of the Family Relations Act. We're just changing it to make sure that it's perfectly clear that the expiry after two years does not apply to orders made under the Family Relations Act.
MR. LEGGATT: That is certainly a more satisfactory explanation than the one we received earlier. That sounds as though we are enshrining the non-expiring element in a family relations order, which is a very desirable thing.
Perhaps I could get a final clarification.
Can we assume that a Family Relations Act order will not be an order
that expires in terms of the land registry office? Is it also true that
we still have to register that order against a specific property....
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
MR. LEGGATT: ...or can that order be registered generally in the land registry office against the name of the judgment debtor?
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: The property is registered.... An order made under sections 56 to 62 of the Family Relations Act, when certified by a proper officer of the court that made the order, may be registered in any land title office of the province, and shall charge the land of the person against whom the order is made, and shall be deemed to be a judgment defined in section 74 of the Court Order Enforcement Act.
Sections 22 to 29 inclusive approved.
[ Page 6465 ]
On section 30.
MR. MACDONALD: Mr. Chairman, I think the discount rate is around 3.5 percent now. It's a calculation on future losses of wages and costs of future care. They might be figures of $100,000 or $150,000 in some cases. It's fine to have a standard rate that changes from time to time set by the chief justice, but the vice remains. That is that the court is asked to look in a crystal ball and assess loss of future wages and costs of future care for somebody who has been badly injured, making very much of a guesstimate in both cases. The person may need greater care; the person may recover; the person may or may not be able to work.
What I'm saying is that these lump-sum judgments — as was pointed out by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Andrel's case — are really the wrong way to go. The legislatures must look at some provision for time-payments when future care is involved — depending on the needs of the individual, the medical expenses, the kind of accommodation that's necessary — and time-payments in the case of future wage loss, so that it can be adjusted in some realistic fashion. I don't know whether the Attorney-General can tell us how that discount rate is calculated. It's rather complicated. I think if you have $ 100,000 in future loss of wages — if that's the judgment — you just take 3.5 percent off that. It's trying to assess receiving $100,000 in cash right now as compared to getting it over a period of time, as if you were earning the wages. Anyway, I think this whole matter of damages has to be looked at. That's my point.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: I agree with the general position taken by the member with regard to the difficulty of trying to provide for future losses through lump-sum damage awards, because the circumstances can change drastically one way or the other. Sometimes judges make it much too large for what is needed. I think what is required is some better assurance that care will be provided to meet the needs.
I wouldn't presume, Mr. Member, to tell you how the discount rate is established, but this is one of the reasons for the change. What is happening is that every time we have a trial of this kind a group of experts comes in and testifies as to what the rate is. The concern we have is that different cases are producing different rates, and therefore you're getting one rate applied in this damage award and a different one applied in the next damage award, based on the kind of evidence that's been brought. So it is proposed to give the chief justice the authority to establish the rate. The technique will be that the chief justice and other members of his court will periodically, with the assistance of qualified actuaries, sit down and review what the changes have been and establish a new rate.
MR. LEGGATT: Mr. Chairman, I want to point out something else to the Attorney-General under this section. At the present time, in establishing the discount rate, the courts are also required to deduct from any lump-sum award the value of no-fault insurance that the claimant, who may be very seriously injured, receives under his contract. The difficulty with that is that the claimant then loses the capacity to manage his own money. In effect, the present law provides that, for example, if you're entitled to certain care under your ICBC insurance, the courts take that into consideration and reduce the award. The difficulty there is that the claimant to some extent loses control of his own funds. The funds in fact become allocated. Serious consideration should be given to the ability of a seriously injured person like a paraplegic to rehabilitate himself by investing his own money and having a good deal to do with managing his own affairs. My experience has been that while from time to time we've gone out of our way through insurance provisions to help a claimant, sometimes giving the claimant his own funds to manage and disburse is very good for that particular claimant. I think that somewhere along the line the Attorney-General should give consideration to reviewing that particular provision where a deduction of the no-fault provision is made from the award.
The second thing I wanted to raise with the Attorney General is that there's now a case in front of the Supreme Court of Canada dealing with the famous trilogy of cases which dealt with the limit that can be awarded for pain and suffering. Depending on the outcome of that particular case — in the event that the Supreme Court of Canada finds it won't reverse itself or won't give effect to the judgment of Mr. Justice Bouck in considering inflation on the basis of pain and suffering — I'm asking the Attorney-General....
MR. LEGGATT: Has the decision come down? In the event the decision is unfavourable to the claimants, I'm asking the Attorney-General to give serious consideration to intervening in the law in this case and opening up the question of pain and suffering as a matter that should be determined by a judge or judge and jury, as the case may be, so that the standards of the community can be applied and not the standards of some supreme court judges in Ottawa, who may be quite out of touch with the reality of what is an appropriate award for pain and suffering.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: With respect to the first point, the no-fault damage provision, I'd be very appreciative if the member would drop me a note about that, so that we can examine that problem. It is a serious one, and if we can rectify it, we will.
With regard to this matter of setting damages, I agree with the member. We are anxiously awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, because since the earlier decision I think it's clear the courts have not been acting in accordance with that decision, and I hope the Supreme Court of Canada will clear it up. If they don't, then we'll have to consider techniques such as that recommended by the member.
Sections 30 to 37 inclusive approved.
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 30, Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act, 1981, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
[ Page 6466 ]
HON. MR. GARDOM: Committee on Bill 16, Mr. Speaker.
MEDICAL SERVICE PLAN ACT, 1981
The House in committee on Bill 16, Mr. Davidson in the chair.
On the amendment to section 6.
MR. COCKE: We are on an amendment I moved pursuant to section 6. Having listened to a gremlin or two, and finding that the government intends to significantly change the direction of this particular aspect of the bill, I would therefore ask the committee that I be given general assent to withdraw my amendment.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: With the general assent of the assembly, I move that section 6 be deleted.
Section 7 approved.
On section 8.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper. [See appendix.]
On the amendment.
MR. COCKE: Mr. Chairman, we agree with the amendment to section 8.
Section 8 as amended approved.
On section 9.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper. [See appendix.]
Section 9 as amended approved.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise and report the bill complete with amendments.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 16, Medical Services Plan Act, 1981, reported complete with amendments.
MR. SPEAKER: When shall the bill be considered as reported?
HON. MR. NIELSEN: With leave, now, Mr. Speaker.
Bill 16, Medical Services Plan Act, 1981, read a third time and passed.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Adjourned debate on second reading of Bill 14, Mr. Speaker.
PROVINCIAL DEBT REPAYMENT ACT
MR. MUSSALLEM: I think I have said all that needs to have been said before the adjournment of the debate. There are a couple of matters that I want to bring to the attention of the House supporting my contention regarding the bill. It must be remembered that back when the bill to borrow was brought forward in 1976.... I want to quote from Hansard of that day. The Minister of Finance of that day was speaking to the bill to borrow $400 million. He said this: "Thus, Mr. Speaker and hon. members, you can readily see the dilemma of the Minister of Finance. On the one hand he is faced with a $400 million deficit or cash shortfall, and on the other hand he was faced with having no borrowing authority. Obviously the situation must be quickly corrected, so the purpose of this bill, therefore, is to provide the government with the authority to borrow money to cover these deficits."
What I'm saying is that there was no doubt, when this government took office, that the financial situation was in deficit, but how much no one knew. In due course it was estimated to be $261 million. This government said that never again would we go into debt for general expenses of this government; we'd pay our way every year.
I want to give you an example of what debt can do to a province. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec are two good examples. At the end of this session of their Legislature they have already budgeted for a deficit of $3 billion, having already a budget deficit of $23 billion. Ontario's budgeting a deficit of $1 billion. There's a total of $30 billion of debt in these two provinces. The interest on that debt is a dead weight on the future of the people of those provinces. If we take that at an interest rate today of 20 percent, we'll quickly come out with a figure of $6 billion. The people of Ontario and Quebec are bearing a load equal to the entire budget of British Columbia. That is why we will not allow debt in our province. That is why I say that we must never again allow our province to go into debt.
There have been many arguments saying that there was no debt. If anyone wants to read the financial statements, it's obvious. There was a debt of $261 million, although the bill authorized borrowing up to $400 million. That was covered. That was the reason we moved this bill for repayment of a portion of this debt according to law.
MR. SPEAKER: Does the second member for Surrey wish to speak?
MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I was trying to find my notes. I thought I had spoken on this bill.
MR. SPEAKER: On Bill 14 the speakers in order are without mentioning the names — Mr. Curtis, Mr. Stupich and Mr. Cocke.
[ Page 6467 ]
MR. HALL: There's no quarrel, Mr. Speaker. We did adjourn the bill a couple of times, and the on again, off again problem of legislating means that sometimes we forget whether we've spoken. My notes didn't indicate whether I made this speech.
MR. SPEAKER: Please proceed.
MR. HALL: The fact of the matter is that we have maintained all along, Mr. Speaker, that this debt is a manufactured one. The member for New Westminster (Mr. Cocke) and the member for Nanaimo (Mr. Stupich) pointed out exactly what happened in the spring of 1976. The events that transpired were well canvassed by those two members in their speeches in second reading. However, the fact of the matter is that money did pass, transfer payments were made, debt was produced — we maintain — incorrectly and unfairly; we maintain it was an administered, deliberate, political debt. In so doing, moneys were borrowed from our pension funds to transfer money away from the general revenue of this province; moneys were borrowed to create this spurious debt, and they were borrowed at 9 1/8 percent, as Public Accounts indicate. It was money to support this alleged, punitive debt that exists only in Social Credit imagination and in the books administered by Social Credit politicians, checked by Social Credit chartered accountants.
This debt, Mr. Speaker, was borrowed at 9 1/8 percent out of the pension funds of this province. How are we paying it back? We're paying it back, slowly but surely, by these pieces of paper that come drifting through the Legislative Assembly, while this minister — the member for Saanich and the Islands, the ebullient Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Curtis) — sits on term deposits which are probably $1 billion today, earning 18 percent. So while he's sitting on 18 percent earning money, he robbed — if I may use that expression — pension funds by only paying 9 1/8 percent in this purely political exercise. That was a speech, Mr. Speaker, that I wish to make sure was on the record to answer once again — I wasn't here in 1976 and 1977 — and make sure the minister knew that I was aware of his machinations in terms of money that's represented by this political piece of legislation. This really isn't good enough; this isn't the kind of financial legerdemain that he should want to go down in history for; this isn't the kind of financial wizardry for which he would want his photograph placed on the walls of this legislative precinct.
I understand we're going to see the pictures of everybody who's ever been anything at all placed on all the walls of this building. We're starting down the corridor: every Attorney General there ever was, every Provincial Secretary there ever was, every Minister of Intergovernmental Relations there ever was or is ever likely to be....
HON. MR. GARDOM: Hey, I want to get out of here sometime!
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I want to make it abundantly clear that while in order to process and fulfil the political purposes of all those transfer payments made in the springtime of 1976 when we manufactured this debt — when we took money out of the pension funds at 9 1/8 percent — we are today sitting on deposits that are earning 18 percent. What a mockery of bookkeeping, Mr. Speaker!
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I spoke at length earlier in this session with respect to Bill 14 and outlined, as my predecessor did in the years following 1976, the situation in which we found ourselves. The second member for Surrey (Mr. Hall), who has just taken his place, has, I think, overstated a number of aspects of the matter. The fact remains that the debt was determined to exist, and many words have been spoken about it in the years since 1976. I would refer interested members to the remarks which I offered at the commencement of this debate, as I said just a short while ago. With that, Mr. Speaker, I now move second reading of Bill 14.
Motion approved on the following division:
YEAS — 29
NAYS — 16
Division ordered to be recorded in the Journals of the House.
Bill 14, Provincial Debt Repayment Act, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Committee of Supply, Mr. Speaker.
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
ESTIMATES: MINISTRY OF LABOUR
On vote 140: minister's office, $147,796.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Prior to recognizing the member for Burnaby-Edmonds, hon. members, yesterday the Chair undertook to review the Blues on a point of order raised by the hon. the first member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Lauk). Having reviewed the Blues, the Chair is of the opinion that the opinion rendered by the Chair at the time was a proper one.
[ Page 6468 ]
MS. BROWN: That's a surprise, Mr. Chairman.
Yesterday, in discussing the estimates, a number of people raised the issue of health and safety. I just want to touch very briefly on one area that has to do with health hazards to the children of people who work in areas where they are exposed to radiation or various toxic substances. One of the recommendations made by a committee was the fact that although the Workers' Compensation Board and workmen's compensation boards around the world deal with the workers who are disabled or injured as a result of their jobs, there is no compensation for the children of these workers — that is, the ones who are born with a disability as a result of the expectant mother being exposed, as I said, either to radiation or to toxic substances. Certainly there is no compensation for the children of those parents who work in industries where they bring home some of that substance on their clothes. We were given the statistics by the second member for Victoria (Mr. Hanson) about the high incidence of cancer and that sort of thing in these families.
I want to ask the Minister of Labour whether there is any thought being given to amending the Workers' Compensation Act so it would cover this particular area. I'm speaking specifically of the damage done to the fetuses as a result of the work of the parents. Children are then born disabled. There is no compensation in this instance or the instance where the family develops an illness as a result of the parents' job related exposure to toxic substances.
I also want to ask the minister why it is that the ad for a program development officer to deal with the employment opportunities program branch, which was published in March of this year, is for an auxiliary position. It seems to me that an auxiliary position is a very tenuous one. It does not demonstrate an ongoing commitment to this particular program on the part of the minister, and, of course, the person hired has no benefits. I'm wondering if the minister has changed this, and whether the person they are seeking for the employment opportunities program of the women's office could be hired as a regular person rather than as an auxiliary.
My third question to the minister has to do with the impact of technological change on the workforce. The reason I'm raising this specifically is because all the research that has been done shows that certainly one segment of the work community which is going to be really hard hit is the clerical component. It's the people who make their living by using typewriters, dictaphones and other machinery, which are fast becoming obsolete, who are going to feel the real brunt of technological change in this area. I'm wondering whether the government has any overall plan or strategy to deal with this. If I can use some European statistics, the member for Dewdney (Mr. Mussallem) not being here — I know he doesn't approve of any statistics that are not B.C. statistics....
We are told that in France they anticipate that 800,000 secretaries are going to become obsolete as a result of the advances in word processing and automatic typewriters. Germany anticipates that by 1990, 40 percent of its office work is going to be carried out by a computerized system. In the United States there is a bank in Boston, Massachusetts, which is beginning to replace its tellers with machines. It's not simply a matter of suggesting that these workers should start looking elsewhere for jobs, or be retrained. We have to have some kind of comprehensive industrial strategy on the part of the government to deal with the problems which arise from technological change in this area.
I was speaking to a teacher from the North Okanagan. He was telling me that they are now introducing some of these computers into the school system, and they're enrolling students to learn how to program them. What they're finding is that boys want to learn how to program the computers, whereas the young women are still signing up for typing, shorthand and all these machines which we know — and the minister is aware of this — are becoming obsolete.
When the machines take over, the people working on those machines will not be women who have been retrained to work on them. They are going to be young male graduates from high school and business school who had the foresight to learn how to program computers. Women are going to find themselves being phased out of the job market. Because of the fact that women make up such a large segment of the work community, I'm sure that the minister has to take this into account. I don't believe that the developments in training in non-traditional areas for women are meeting that need. Certainly the apprenticeship program is not meeting that need.
What we need from the minister is a definitive statement of the overall strategy for those women presently in the workforce. I would imagine that it would include women aged 20 and over; they are going to find this revolution happening so fast that the change is going to come while they are still in the workforce. The people who are going to be hardest hit, of course, are those women over the age of 30, 40 and 50, who as I said before, are not at this point being retrained in using these new machines and new computers, and are going to find themselves phased out.
The fourth issue that I wanted to raise with the minister has to do with the whole business of sexual harassment. I notice that the human rights branch puts out a little pamphlet talking about ways in which the Human Rights Code applies itself to or can deal with this particular complaint, which certainly is on the increase. However, I have heard from.a number of sources, and I find it impossible to see how section 8 of the code really addresses itself to this particular problem. I attended one of the public hearings of the Human Rights Commission when it sat in Vancouver and was chaired by the chairperson, Mrs. Strongitharm.
One of the issues raised at that hearing was the issue of sexual harassment. I just want to read into the record the recommendation which came down from the commission at that time. It said: "There need to be substantive changes to section 8 of the Human Rights Code. Protection against sexual harassment has to be made explicit in the Human Rights Code." It goes on to say that this is a problem which is increasing. It refers to "harassment, intimidation, coercion or threats to suspend or impose a penalty on or discriminate against any person because of that person's refusal to engage in sexually related interaction while applying for work, during work or after work." It says: "Presently complaints of this type are being accepted under section 8 of the code." However, the conclusion of the board was that section 8 was not able to deal with this in a satisfactory manner, despite the pamphlet that says that it can. Their recommendation was for substantive changes in the code.
The Ontario Human Rights Code does in fact have these substantive changes and is very explicit.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. member, I must remind you...
MS. BROWN: I mustn't discuss legislation.
[ Page 6469 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: ...that legislation or the need for legislation cannot be discussed in Committee of Supply. While the member has been allowed some latitude up to this point, I must advise the member that we must deal with the administrative responsibility under the estimates presently before the committee.
MS. BROWN: Mr. Chairman, I'm certainly not going to discuss the need for legislation. If the minister can think of any other way of addressing himself to this particular problem, I would be fascinated to hear it. I would be interested. He would have my undivided attention. I'm just bringing to his attention that in other jurisdictions where they have not had the imagination of the minister they have been forced to use legislation. I'm certainly not suggesting to the minister that there is need at this time for legislation but there is need for something, because as Mrs. Strongitharm, and the Human Rights Commission themselves pointed out, there is an increase in complaints lodged with the human rights branch about this particular area.
I am concerned with the fact that it is not just in the workplace that women have to contend with sexual harassment. I think that the minister knows of the case of those students of the school of journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa who raised this issue. As a result they are being sued by two professors on the faculty of the school of journalism. I think that is intimidation. What that does is to discourage other women who would like to bring a matter to the attention of the law or the Human Rights Commission, because they would be afraid of being sued in this way. I'm not sure how the minister can address himself to this, but I would certainly be interested in hearing from the minister how sexual harassment can be discouraged. Is there any way in which these complaints can be dealt with? Is there any way, in dealing with these complaints, that it can be expanded beyond the workplace? Because obviously sexual harassment does not take place only in the workplace.
As a matter of fact, in Ontario, that jurisdiction which lacks our imagination and was forced to use legislation, at that time it even included sexual harassment in housing. Certainly there isn't any question that that occurs too. I'm wondering whether the minister would like to address himself to that particular point.
The Ministry of Human Resources also funds certain groups in our community that deal with women. I'm wondering what sort of commitment we're getting from the ministry in terms of the funding for those groups which are dependent on the ministry at that time.
If the minister wants to make a note of it, this is my final point. I want to raise the question of women in nontraditional jobs, specifically in the area of mining and in development in the north. I was concerned that the Tumbler Ridge financial study, which was done by some consultants for the Ministry of Industry and Small Business Development, reported that the town of Tumbler Ridge is planned on the assumption that the labour force will be 80 percent male after 1983. One has to conclude that most of the women in the town are not going to be included in the job development end of it. This doesn't seem to tally with what the minister is telling us about encouraging women to get into nontraditional jobs and to make use of the apprenticeship programs that make it possible for them to get into nontraditional jobs.
All the studies that have been done on these single resource towns indicate that one of the major problems facing women in these towns is lack of employment. As long as they're confined to the traditional "female ghetto" jobs, there's always going to be a problem of lack of employment for women. If we want to encourage families to move into this town — and the studies all indicate that the stability of the town depends on there being families there rather than transient males moving in and out — the Minister of Labour certainly has to address himself to having some input into any development that goes on, to ensuring that there are sufficient jobs there open for the women who move into the town, that the apprenticeship programs and training of women in nontraditional jobs that are going to be available is encouraged, and that we do not have towns being developed based on the assumption that 80 percent of the workforce is going to be male. The minister is asking for trouble, Mr. Chairman, if this is the assumption on which the town is developed. All of the problems that we talk about — alcoholism, violence in the family, juvenile delinquency, desertions and the high divorce rates — can be traced to the fact that we continue to develop towns which are designed around male workers. No thought is really given to the fact that when the entire family's needs are met in the town, the town is more stable, and everyone benefits from that. So I would like to have some comments from the minister on the issue of non-traditional jobs and apprenticeship training, for Tumbler Ridge specifically.
MR. HALL: I was going to ask the minister a very long series of questions about the ICBC strike and make a number of proposals. However, I think that in view of the time, I'm going to move that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
The committee, having reported progress, was granted leave to sit again.
Strachan, Chairman of the Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders
and Private Bills, presented the committee's sixth report, which was
read as follows and received.
"Report No. 6, Legislative Committee, June 26, 1981. "Mr. Speaker, your Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders and Private Bills begs leave to report as follows: "The preamble of Bill PR403, intituled An Act to Amend the Vancouver Charter, has not been proved, as the assertions in the petition are not substantiated. The committee recommends that one-half the fees paid by petitioners be returned to them in accordance with standing order 98." All of which is respectfully submitted. W.B. Strachan, Chairman.
MR. LEGGATT: I wanted your guidance on this, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether it is in order to ask the Chairman of the committee a question about the report?
MR. SPEAKER: We do not have a question before us right now; therefore it would be impossible to enter debate. There is no debate on the report or the reading of that report.
[ Page 6470 ]
If there is a further motion and that motion is debatable, then, of course debate could be entertained.
MR. LEGGATT: Mr. Speaker, I would then move that we debate the report.
MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps the easiest way is to learn whether there is a motion to be entertained. Is there any further motion? In the absence of any question before the House, the Chair would remind the House that if there were to be a motion to adopt the report, it would have to be either by leave or by notice. In any event it would be difficult to entertain debate on that particular motion at this time.
MR. LEGGATT: On the same point of order, Mr. Speaker, I take it that since the report is tabled and there is no motion before the House, a motion must be made in order to have the report adopted by the House. That's still to come.
MR. SPEAKER: The Chair cannot possibly anticipate it, but it would be the normal step.
My point of order concerns standing order 115, which says: "When the
committee on any private bill reports to the House that the preamble of
such bill has not been proved to its satisfaction, or otherwise reports
unfavourably on the bill, the committee must also state the grounds
upon which it arrived at such decision. No bill so reported upon shall
be placed upon the Orders of the Day...."
Mr. Speaker, what would the grounds be on which the committee reported unfavourably? Were they contained in the report?
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, that would be a matter of debate when the motion to adopt the report is put. The Chair cannot possibly anticipate when that might be. The motion is not before the House just now.
MS. BROWN: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, is it necessary for there to be a motion for the report to be adopted? If there is no such motion, does that mean it's not compulsory that there be a motion to adopt the report?
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, it's not compulsory for any motion to be moved. The Chair can only acquaint the House with what would be a normal, anticipated procedure. The House can't move in the absence of a question.
MS. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, is it traditional — is that the word that I'm looking for? — that there will be a motion to adopt this report?
MR. SPEAKER: That would be the wish of the House. The Chair can't possibly anticipate that.
Hon. Mr. Gardom moved adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 1:01 p.m.
AMENDMENTS TO BILLS
7 The Hon. J. R. Chabot to move, in Committee of the Whole on Bill (No. 7) intituled Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Amendment Act, 1981 to amend as follows:
Section 6 (f) is amended,
(a) by deleting paragraph (r), and
(b) by renumbering paragraphs (s), (t) and (u) as paragraphs (r), (s) and (t) respectively.
Section 10 is deleted and the following substituted:
"10. section 9 (3) is amended,
(a) by striking out '237 (3) or 239', and
(b) by adding '219' after '204'."
Section 11 is amended by deleting ", 238 (3) ".
Section 12 (b) is amended by deleting the proposed section 4 (a) and renumbering paragraphs (b) to (f) as paragraphs (a) to (e) respectively.
16 The Hon. J. A. Nielsen to move, in Committee of the Whole on Bill (No. 16) intituled Medical Service Plan Act, 1981, to amend as follows:
Section 8: In subsection (2) by deleting paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d), and by renumbering paragraphs (e), (f), (g) and (h) as (a), (b), (c) and (d) respectively.
Section 9: By deleting "This Act comes" and substituting "This Act shall be deemed to have come".