Monday, November 27, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
We will proceed at this time with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any Introduction of Visitors?
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to call the attention of all Members to the presence in the public gallery of Brigadier-General Larry Gollner, who was appointed commander of the northern region of the Canadian armed forces effective July 31, 1989, and replaces Brigadier-General ODonnell, who was known to a number of Members of the House here. Brigadier-General Gollner is here with his aides, including the officer commanding in Whitehorse. I would ask all Members to bid him welcome.
Saskatchewan Roughriders Grey Cup win
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I rise to bring the attention of the House to a monumental event that took place in Toronto yesterday. As Members are aware, and as I would like to highlight, the Saskatchewan Roughriders clinched the Grey Cup in a remarkable display of Canadian football supremacy. That supremacy has not been demonstrated since I left the province 23 years ago. Far be it for me to suggest that there may be any relationship. I am sure that all Members, including Edmonton, fans would join me in an expression of congratulations to the team and I thank you, sir, for your kind interpretation of the rules.
Mr. Brewster: I would also like to congratulate the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and go beyond that to congratulate the old farmers in Saskatchewan who have foot the bill until they finally got a championship.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling the Annual Report of the Yukon Development Corporation for the period ending March 31, 1989, and the Annual Report of the Yukon Energy Corporation for the period ending December 31, 1988.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have for tabling a legislature return in response to a question raised by the Member for Porter Creek East, the Interim Management Plan for the Porcupine Caribou Herd in Canada 1989-90 and 1992-93, and the 12th Annual Report of the Yukon Liquor Corporation.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling a legislature return to a question asked by the Member for Watson Lake.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 19: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Finance that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 19 agreed to
Bill No. 13: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 13, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Finance that Bill No. 13, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 13 agreed to
Bill No. 7: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 7, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1988-89, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Finance that Bill No. 7, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1988-89, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 7 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
Statements by Ministers.
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Northern Accord
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions with regard to north Yukon and the Beaufort Sea. A Northern Accord was signed some time ago between our government and the federal government. At that time, to our dismay, the Government of Northwest Territories had taken the initiative with regard to negotiations on these important matters. My question of the Minister of Finance is to ask, generally, where we are with regard to our negotiations with the federal government under the Northern Accord.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not accept the Members preamble assumption that the Government of the Northwest Territories had one up on the Yukon in that the Government of the Yukon had been intending to sign a similar document with the federal government has proven to the be case. The negotiations have been continuing at the administrative level respecting the details of the Accord, and we have identified persons in the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business to do just that. They have also been working with the federal government in establishing a regime that would accommodate certain kinds of developments as they take place, while the Accord is being developed.
Mr. Phelps: Have the meetings been formal? Has our government or the federal government tabled any position paper on the amount of resource revenue sharing?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, the meetings have been formal, mostly at the deputy minister level and the more junior administrative level. As well, the meetings have been numerous between the administrations of the federal government and the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business.
With respect to resource revenue sharing, the Government of Yukon is establishing for itself a position for which I will be seeking approval from the Yukon government shortly to take to the federal government.
Mr. Phelps: I take it the federal government has not made its position known. Do we know the position of the Government of the Northwest Territories with regard to negotiations on its agreement with Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No formal presentation or position has been received from the federal government, to my knowledge, nor the Government of the Northwest Territories. Instead, there have been general discussions around various elements of an Accord. The time for formally presenting positions has not yet come.
Question re: Northern Accord
Mr. Phelps: Could the Minister advise me whether or not the negotiations between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government are at the same stage, or are they more advanced than ours?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is my opinion that the negotiations are at the same stage. All discussions between the governments usually take place on a tripartite basis, both about the interim arrangements of oil and gas administration, as well as the Accord itself.
Mr. Phelps: Is anything being done by this government regarding the definition of the boundary between the Northwest Territories and Yukon to ensure that Yukons boundary will include the offshore in the Beaufort Sea?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure the Leader of the Official Opposition would be satisfied to know that this government has communicated firmly and effectively both with the Northwest Territories government and with the federal government on exactly that point.
Mr. Phelps: What is the next step?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We believe that the Northern Accord negotiations are an important practical step toward the realizing of our objectives in this area. We have received opinions from the federal government regarding the application of other laws on the books and laws pending, in terms of our interests. I would be happy to brief the Leader of the Official Opposition on those questions, without publicly betraying our negotiating position.
Question re: Recycling and anti-litter program
Mr. Phillips: The Government of Yukon has decided that it is time to jump on the environmental bandwagon and has made several announcements in that regard. To date, we have seen very little in concrete initiatives other than announcements. On April 19, we received unanimous support for my proposed motion dealing with a year-round anti-litter program in Yukon. The first point of the program was to ask the government to establish an environmental awareness and anti-litter education program for use in Yukon schools, over and above Project Wild. Can the Minister of Renewable Resources tell us if the Yukon anti-litter program is in place for this school year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Any question regarding what is happening within the schools should be addressed to me.
The Department of Education has requested all principals in the school system to ensure their school grounds are cleaned on an annual basis and not only during the annual litter clean-up week. We expect full cooperation from the principals. We have also included the item for discussion at principals in-servicing on a number of occasions since the time the issue was addressed in the House.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to know, then, from the Minister of Education, when he issued that memo to the principals because just as early as one month ago, before we had snow, if you drove through the F.H. Collins schoolground and all the way up this way from the schools in Riverdale, there was a mess all around the boulevards and all around the schools. I am wondering, then, if the memo has been issued, why have the schools not been carrying out the policy of the government?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know why there may be litter on Lewes Boulevard, assuming that it is coming from F.H. Collins, but I will undertake to check into the matter for the Member and for the Legislature and see to it that the directives are in fact adhered to by public school staff.
Mr. Phillips: What other procedures is the government putting in place? The intent of the motion was that an anti-litter educational program would be put into Yukon schools so that we not only have the principals just asking the children to go outside once in a while and pick up the litter, but that we educate them within the school system that littering is not a good practice. Is there going to be a policy within the Department of Education that will give instruction to students on what the problem of littering is and how to stop it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am sure the Member is aware that the problem of litter and the environment is a much broader matter than simply picking up garbage around schoolgrounds. We have attempted to address that particular item, as I have mentioned to the Member. We have also undertaken a number of initiatives that will make students more aware of environmental concerns within our community and in the territory, both through the curricula of existing programs, as well as the introduction of environmental awareness sections within the various programs in high schools and at other levels.
We have also undertaken to encourage such things as the science fair to focus on environmental questions and have encouraged the Department of Education to be aware of some of the major issues of our time. I will be making the appropriate announcements, after the budget is tabled, with respect to some of the initiatives that carry budgetary implications.
Question re: Recycling and anti-litter program
Mr. Phillips: I thank the Minister for his answer, but I still think the Minister and his government are just paying lip service to the environment. Nothing concrete has been done. School has now been back in for over three months, and the schoolgrounds in many of the areas of Whitehorse are a mess. If they had issued instructions to the principals, obviously the instructions have not been getting through to the children.
I would like to move back to the Minister of Renewable Resources. The second point in the motion asked the government to establish a year-round anti-litter advertising promotional campaign. I have not heard one single announcement, other than the ones that were produced in clean-up week, on the radio or in the local papers.
Why has the Ministers department done nothing with this section of the motion, especially in light of the fact that all Members on that side supported the motion so strongly?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I take issue with the Members assertion that we have done nothing since the time this motion was discussed in the House last spring. The department has instituted work in a number of areas, and one in particular.
You may recall the concern that was raised this summer about the amount of litter along the rivers. We did a clean-up along some of the rivers. We encouraged the wilderness guides to clean up the rivers, and they each took a project upon themselves to clean up a river as part of their work. Also, to further that, next year we are going to release some information to all wilderness travelers advising them of how to properly dispose of all their litter.
We have brought into effect the conservation fund, which will address attempts by various people to try to clean up litter. As you know, the Yukon Conservation Society has recently received $20,000 from that fund to start a recycling program. It is looking at recycling aluminum cans which, as the Member knows, is the source of a lot of the litter in the territory.
As you know, we are also working toward a conservation camp, where we will be inviting students from around the territory for a two-week period to talk about environmental issues, talk about the principles of protecting the environment, and of course discouraging littering.
There are a number of initiatives our department is doing in this regard, and you will see them unfold next year.
Mr. Phillips: I thank the Minister for his answer, but he did not answer my question. I asked the Minister, and I will quote from Hansard, The purpose of the motion, (2), was establishment of year-round anti-litter advertising and promotional campaigns.
I am asking the Minister if he has directed his officials to begin anti-litter advertising and promotional campaigns in the territory. If he has, I have not heard one announcement yet. It is already about nine months after that motion was passed, and there has been nothing done this year.
When will the Minister tell his department to go ahead and start the program and when can we expect to start hearing things on the radio and in the media?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I just mentioned, the Yukon Conservation Society is about to embark on an anti-litter and recycling program. It is going to try to achieve two objectives. One important point of that program will obviously be advertising to get the message out. That is what we are trying to accomplish by recycling: to reduce the amount of litter and, also, to conserve energy.
The Government of the Yukon, through the Department of Renewable Resources, instead of having the government telling people what to do, much prefers to have an independent society do that. This is one of the reasons why they have applied to our department for funding. This is why we created the fund, so people such as that society and others could tap into it to do their own education programs to inform Yukoners about how to dispose of their waste and not to litter.
Mr. Phillips: The answer is quite clear. We are not going to get a territory-wide, anti-litter promotional campaign from the Government of the Yukon telling people why they should not litter.
I would like to go onto part (4) four of that same motion where it describes the the creation of an awards program to recognize individuals, groups, businesses and communities who have contributed to a litter-free Yukon. Why have we not heard anything about this awards program? Is there going to be an awards program this year? Why is it not in place now rather than waiting for litter week?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not recall agreeing to the Government of Yukon establishing an awards program to discourage littering.
Question re: Recycling and anti-litter program
Mr. Phillips: I would like to quote from page 409 of Hansard, April 19, 1989. I am quoting an amendment to a motion amended by the Minister of Renewable Resources who has now, surprisingly, lost his memory.
The Member said the creation of an awards program to recognize individuals, groups, businesses and communities who have contributed to a litter-free Yukon;. Now that I have reminded the Member of what he said that day, is he prepared to tell the House and the people of the Yukon today that he is going to initiate such a program now and finally follow the intent of the motion, or are we wasting our time passing these motions in the House?
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this time I am not prepared to advise the House that we are going to institute that program.
Mr. Phillips: This is the second time we have passed a motion in this House and the Minister has decided to ignore it. Does the Minister feel that the motions we pass in this House are important?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I do.
Mr. Phillips: When does the Minister plan to initiate this awards program in the Yukon so Yukoners may be more aware of the anti-litter program? When will the Minister follow the intent of the motion and put the motion in place?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I have indicated already, we have created a fund for the very purpose that any society in the territory that wants to create such a program can tap into it.
Question re: Caribou antlers
Mr. Lang: I refer the same Minister to the sale of caribou antlers that took place this past year in northern Yukon.
Did the Minister have any prior discussions with the Porcupine Caribou Management Board prior to the issuance of the export permit for the purpose of selling 700 sets of caribou antlers?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No.
Mr. Lang: Why not?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It was not raised by the management board as a concern at that time.
Mr. Lang: Did the management board have knowledge that this was being done prior to the issuance of the export permit?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot answer that question directly. I can only assume that with two members from the community of Old Crow sitting as members on the management board, they would have prior knowledge that those antlers were being exported.
Question re: Caribou antlers
Mr. Lang: On the same topic, in the recent meetings of the Porcupine Caribou Management Board, it is our understanding that the board recommended that there be no further sales of antlers until it reviewed the situation. Could I ask what the position of the government is on that recommendation?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The position of the Government of the Yukon is that we will honour that request coming forward from the Porcupine Caribou Management Board, and we will not be issuing any export permits for large-scale export of antlers.
Mr. Lang: To follow that up, what is large? Are we talking 400, 500 or 700 - or is there a cutoff? What is the position of the government?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not think we are looking at a specific number as a cutoff point. As the Member knows, the initial sale involves some 750 pairs of antlers, which is quite sizable. Anything in the order of the same size would cause us to consult with the management board and the people of Old Crow as to their desire to see an export permit issued for that purpose.
Question re: Regulations accompanying new legislation
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Justice. Her department handles the responsibility of drafting new legislation for the departments, and it was a policy of this government to have the regulations accompany new pieces of legislation. I believe it was so that the public would have a better understanding of the new laws that were going to be imposed on them by government. I would like to ask the Minister if it is still a policy that the regulations will accompany new acts that are brought forward in this Legislature?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The policy she has questioned is still the same. It is our intention to have the regulations included. If that has not been done up until now, then I do not have an answer as to why they have not, but that is the policy.
Mrs. Firth: The regulations did not accompany the Pesticides Control Act, just to refresh the Ministers memory. Who makes the decision whether the regulations will accompany the bill, or not accompany it? Is it her department that makes that decision?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It would be the department responsible.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister telling us that she did not know that the regulations were not going to accompany the Pesticides Control Act? That is what I understand from her answer; was she not aware of that?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It was my understanding that the Pesticides Control Act was in a form of a consultation process and that regulations would be developed.
Question re: Education curriculum changes
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Education regarding the new curriculum being developed in British Columbia. In the draft copy of The Year 2000 Curriculum: An Assessment Framework for the Future it states: Parents, educators, and the general public, as individuals or groups, are requested to consider and discuss the plans and provide comment to the ministry before December 31, 1989".
My question is: does the Minister know if the Department of Education made any submissions to the B.C. government regarding this new approach to education that is being developed in British Columbia?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the Member may well know, there is substantial confusion in British Columbia as to what the final product will look like with respect to the curriculum changes proposed in their position paper.
I gather the Department of Education has, on a number of occasions, participated in meetings called by the B.C. Department of Education respecting the curriculum changes, primarily to acquire a better understanding of what those proposed changes are. As I have indicated a number of times before, the Government of Yukon has not made any decisions as to whether or not they are going to participate in those changes. Any participation in curriculum changes of that sort that we might contemplate taking would have to be a subject of considerable discussion in Yukon before we agreed to participate.
Mr. Devries: The Minister has not really answered my question. I asked if the Minister knows if the Department of Education made any submissions to the B.C. government?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I did answer the question. I indicated that in the times that we have come together with the B.C. department, we have been seeking information, not telling the B.C. department anything, because we have not made any decision as a government or as a department as to whether or not we are going to participate in any of the changes that the B.C. Department of Education is contemplating.
There is some confusion in B.C. as to what those changes are going to be. There is a better understanding in Yukon, as a consequence of the joint meetings, of what the B.C. ministry is contemplating. But whether or not the Department of Education and the Yukon school system will accommodate any one or more of those changes is a decision that has not yet been made.
Mr. Devries: According to the Year 2000 document from B.C., it indicates that there is feeling that this new direction will help address the needs of students not going on to post-secondary education. Does the Minister know if the Yukon Department of Education has reviewed the draft documents pertaining to this and if the department agrees with the B.C. governments assessment regarding post-secondary education?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I presume the Member is referring to the initiative within the B.C. position document, which refers to the desire to incorporate more work experience in the high school grades in order to give students who may not be going into post-secondary education the opportunity to get some field-work experience.
We, in the Yukon, are past the experimentation stage in encouraging more work experience for students who are not contemplating a post-secondary education, and, consequently, I guess, in essence, we do agree that work experience in the high school grades is a good thing, but we have not yet taken any position as to whether or not we want to accommodate the proposed changes to the B.C. curriculum, which has a subtly different impact on the curriculum currently provided by the Yukon Department of Education.
Question re: Education curriculum changes
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow up on that a little bit further with the Minister of Education. I would like to know why the Department of Education has not put forward their formal position with respect to this major curriculum change? The Government of British Columbia has been asking for people and organizations to put forward positions in the report that was provided to the Minister quite some time ago. I guess my question is: why have they not put forward a position?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Largely because the Yukon government Department of Education is not just another special interest group that deals with the Department of Education in B.C. We can choose whether or not we are going to accommodate some of the changes if we feel they are a good idea. We are not simply a special interest group that provides comments from time to time to the B.C. Department of Education, and we do not consider the B.C. Department of Education the prime movers of what should happen in the Yukon public schools.
We have been trying to get a greater understanding of what is happening in B.C. because, as I indicated to the Member for Watson Lake, there is substantial confusion in B.C. as to what the changes might mean. Consequently, even if we wanted to put forward a position, we would not be in a position at this point to provide that kind of information.
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow through on this further. For the most part, we are on the British Columbia curriculum. If the Minister of Education does not agree with the future curriculum and assessment framework, what is the alternative? Are we going to go with the Alberta system or are we going to develop our own? These are the only recourses. Otherwise, we have to change with British Columbia because we receive their books.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In a number of areas, where we felt it appropriate and where we have the resources, we have been pursuing an independent curriculum. We are not constituionally tied or in any way bound to the British Columbia curriculum. If we wish, there is the opportunity in the future to consider alternatives. There is a fair amount of opportunity for independent action by the Yukon Department of Education regarding operation within the British Columbia curriculum, irrespective of the changes to the British Columbia proposal. It is unclear whether the British Columbia Department of Education is going to move in certain areas. It would be incumbent upon us to understand exactly what they are doing before deciding to buy into those changes or to seek alternatives elsewhere.
Mr. Lang: I know the Minister has had a few problems. There has been a total changeover of staff during the past six months. Is the Minister going to put forward a formal position of the Yukon Department of Education regarding the substantial changes to the curriculum our children are presently taking?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Personnel changes in the Department of Education have not created any trouble in terms of responding to the proposals made by the British Columbia government. We have been pursuing a course of action calling for greater understanding of what British Columbia is proposing. We have not attempted to form a group to lobby the British Columbia Department of Education for other changes. We are trying to understand those changes that do come to pass. There is a substantial timetable of upwards to 10 years, in some cases. We have tried to determine if those changes will be beneficial to the Yukon. Once we have decided that, we can either consciously adopt them or seek alternatives elsewhere, whether they be homegrown or the purchase of a different curriculum from somewhere else.
Question re: Alaska Highway anniversary celebrations
Mr. Brewster: With the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway fast approaching in 1992, various communities and organizations are planning celebrations. Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services advise the House how much money the federal government is prepared to provide for this celebration?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not in a position to advise as to budgetary amounts being provided by the federal government.
Mr. Brewster: Is the Minister in a position to advise how much the Government of Yukon is going to provide for this celebration?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The question is somewhat untimely. We will be tabling a budget shortly; those figures will be there.
Mr. Brewster: What plans has the Minister of Tourism developed to mark this anniversary?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Government of the Yukon, along with the Government of Canada, made funds available through the Economic Development Agreement subagreement on tourism to provide funds to establish the Yukon Anniversaries Commission, which is mapping a strategy to help Yukon celebrate and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. In the first year of funding, I believe $300,000 is made available.
Mr. Brewster: This can go to either Minister, since neither of them seems to know. I think we must realize these committees have gone ahead to make great big plans, yet there is no money coming up for these. Why are they wasting their time if you are not going to turn around and back this celebration?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have to tell the Member that we are tabling our budget this afternoon, and he will be able to see from that budget, specifically under the Department of Tourism, that there will be something allotted for that purpose.
Question re: Health act, proposed
Mr. Nordling: With respect to the proposed health act, in a ministerial statement, the Minister of Health and Human Resources announced a process of consultation to establish the principles for a new health act. The consultation is to start with an invitation to all Yukoners to comment on the principles outlined in the ministerial statement.
Who will do the consulting? Will it consist only of soliciting comments on the ministerial statement?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Government of Yukon, more specifically the Department of Health and Human Resources, which will be developing the act, will be doing the consulting. The subject of the consultation will be the principles outlined in the ministerial statement, but which will be elaborated upon further in letters that will go to citizens and interest groups. There will also be meetings with professionals in the field and health interest groups in the coming period. As I indicated in the ministerial statement, we will also be looking forward to putting out a position paper in the next few months that will describe the ideas for a new act in greater detail. There will be a period of consultation around that paper. The third stage will involve us bringing the act before the House.
Mr. Nordling: When the Minister says the Department of Health and Human Resources will be doing the consulting and developing a position paper, will it be done in house, or have there been consultants hired now who will do the consulting and will eventually develop the position paper?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot say definitively at this point what consultants may or may not be hired. I appreciate the suggestion, though. It is certainly the case that a number of jurisdictions in this country are doing interesting work in the health policy field. Some have done major studies already. I do not think we would want to duplicate those major studies, but it might be possible for us to invite the principals, or people, from other jurisdictions to meet with us and advise us of the work they have already done, so we do not duplicate it.
Mr. Nordling: I think that would be valuable. Developing a whole new and innovative health act is a huge undertaking. How long does the Minister expect the consultation process to go on?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Almost any Minister on the front bench who has been here for a while knows it is a mugs game to predict the end date for a consultation since, on several occasions, people have asked us to take more time, or have further meetings or discussions. It is our intention to table an act in this House in the next calendar year, if we can.
Question re: Service contracts
Mr. Lang: I have a question for the Minister of Government Services. I had a private conversation with him last week on the new method of studying the budget. In the past, we have always had the capital budget in the fall and the operation and maintenance budget in the spring. The position of the government at that time was that, because of the process, the service contracts would be made available to us in the spring. Now the format has changed, and I requested that the service contracts be provided as in the past. When can we expect those to be tabled so we can study them in conjunction with the budget documents?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have sought information on whether or not that is possible. I remind the Member that we took a policy position last year to provide all the contracts to the House at the close of each year. Accuracy was the reason, and the ability of the departments to produce them. At this point that is still the policy, but I am investigating.
Mr. Lang: It would not make much sense to get these documents when we are not sitting. We could well be out of the Legislature by that time, or at least finished with the budget. In view of the fact there has been a whole new change in format in the introduction of the budget, we ask that we be provided with the service contracts that have been issued to date so we can do our job.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the question as notice and will advise further on it.
Mr. Lang: When can we expect an answer?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: He can raise it with me when we return to the House after the break.
Question re: Service contracts
Mr. Lang: It is my information that it would take three or four days to get this information to us after a decision has been made. It is a question of getting a printout from the computers where the information is already stored. If the Minister can make a decision as of tomorrow, we would appreciate it. It would be very nice to have that information when we come back to the House if the government is intending to scrutinize the budget this forthcoming week after their extravaganza down east.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member underestimates the amount of work he is asking department people to do. We are talking about contracts currently in progress, contracts that have to be checked, the printing process, and a department that is swamped with a lot of other activity. I am not prepared to tell the Member tomorrow whether I have taken a decision or not. I do remind him that the contract tabling will continue at year-end as previously established. That is a practice that I will continue. It is by far much more than was ever provided to me when he was Minister.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell the House how we are supposed to deal with items such as supplementaries for money that has already been spent if we are not going to be provided the information?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is quibbling. We table the budget. It has information. We are available to answer questions. Information is not being withheld from the Member. It is inappropriate for him to suggest that information is not being provided for him to do an adequate job on the budget.
I might remind the Member that he did not ask me one question for all 5,000 contracts that were tabled last spring. What is he getting at?
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill. No. 19: Second Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved the Hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act 1990-91, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker and hon. Members. I am pleased to introduce today the combined capital and operation and maintenance budget for the fiscal year 1990-91.
This budget reaffirms the continuing commitment we have made to responsible fiscal management. It emphasizes our focus on investment for the future, in our people, in our industries and in our natural heritage. It is a realistic budget that marries well our concerns for the social and economic well-being of Yukoners and the protection of our environment.
Our commitment to sound financial management is evident in the budget before you. It is, in broad terms, a balanced budget. This represents the third consecutive year that this government has brought forth a balanced budget. It requires us to continue to live within our means. And it reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that the governments finances are managed in a prudent manner.
The economic environment within which we operate must be taken into consideration when establishing a budget in order that both the social and economic concerns of our citizens can be appropriately addressed. I would like to take a few minutes to present you with an overview of the economic situation we currently face.
The Canadian economy is expected to experience moderate but solid growth in 1989. Constant dollar gross domestic product is forecast to increase by 2.8 percent over the course of the year. This compares to an average growth rate of 4.7 percent for the previous five years. The national economy should continue cooling-off next year: a growth rate of 1.8 percent is forecast as consumer spending and the housing sector soften even further. Business investment will remain fairly healthy and is expected to continue to drive the economy in the coming year.
Nationally, increases in federal and provincial indirect taxes are contributing to higher consumer prices throughout the country. While the overall consumer price index is forecast to increase by 5.2 percent this year, tobacco and alcohol products are experiencing increases of 11 percent. The rate of inflation is expected to ease to 4.7 percent in 1990 but this is still relatively high given that the national average hovered around four percent during the previous five years.
The introduction of the federal governments proposed goods and services tax in 1991 will contribute to a significantly higher inflation rate in the order of two or three more percentage points. The rate of inflation will probably top seven percent in 1991 as the cost of services comes under the new federal tax regime. This, of course, is a matter of some concern and has been the subject of much recent comment.
Interest rates will likely moderate somewhat but are expected to remain relatively high. The prime lending rate should dip to 12.5 percent in 1990 from its forecast level of 13.25 percent this year. Concern about increasing inflationary pressures continues to influence the Bank of Canadas monetary policy.
The number of Canadians employed is projected to continue to increase by a respectable two percent in 1989 and then slow to a modest 0.8 percent next year. As a result of this, the unemployment rate will average 7.5 percent in 1989 and then is forecast to rise slightly to 7.7 percent next year.
The Yukons economy, generally speaking, continues to be healthy. Territorial gross domestic product in current dollars should increase by about nine percent in 1989. This compares favourable to the forecast national growth of just under eight percent.
Since 1985, the Yukon has had the fastest growing economy in Canada. Over this period, territorial gross domestic product will have increased from less than $500 million to nearly $800 million in 1989. This increase has taken place despite the fact that the government sector, as a proportion of total economic activity, has declined significantly. Over the same period, wages and salaries are estimated to have increased by more than 40 percent.
Our population is currently just under 30,000 as compared to under 26,000 in 1986. A large part of this increase is due to in-migration and is indicative of the confidence people have in our economy.
The Yukons rate of inflation is significantly lower than the national average. Since 1985 our average annual rate of inflation has measured 3.3 percent. This compares to a national average of 4.2 percent over this same period. In 1989 we expect the Yukons inflation rate to be four percent, a full 1.2 percent points lower than that for Canada as a whole. This too, is encouraging.
The level of employment in the territory is projected to average more than 13,000 in 1989. This is an increase of more than three percent over 1988 and, once again, will be a stronger showing than is the case for the national picture. Our rate of unemployment is expected to continue to decline this year. The unemployment rate, which stood at 15 percent in 1985, is expected to average less than 12 percent in 1989. While the decline is welcome news, the absolute figure of 12 percent is still, in our minds, unacceptably high.
Although the general economic picture has been bright, not all sectors of the economy have enjoyed the same degree of prosperity. Some sectors, such as tourism, did not meet expectations this year. While the overall unemployment rate continues to fall, not all areas of the territory have experienced this decline. Unemployment continues to be a serious problem, especially in the smaller communities.
The economic outlook for 1990 calls for continued growth, but at a somewhat slower pace than in 1989. Territorial gross domestic product is expected to increase by about eight percent in 1990 and the number of people employed is projected to increase by 1.9 percent to a level of 13,300. Unfortunately, we believe the unemployment rate will continue to hover around 12 percent. The rate of inflation is also anticipated to remain virtually unchanged at four percent in 1990. This compares to an estimate of 4.7 percent for the national economy. These inflation projections are especially encouraging since rapid economic expansion, such as we have experienced, traditionally results in excessive price increases.
We expect the tourism industry to enjoy a promising season next year. Increased expenditures on tourism advertising should help attract more North American tourists and the trend toward more overseas visitors is expected to continue.
The minerals sector is also expected to pick up in the coming year. While no new mines are anticipated to go into production and production volume will remain almost unchanged, mineral exploration activity should show some recovery from the relatively poor level experienced in 1989. The proposed Mount Hundere lead-zinc mine north of Watson Lake will be a welcome addition to the Yukons mining industry. Extensive development work will take place in 1990 with production expected to commence in 1991.
The output of the forestry sector is forecast to realize significant gains in the coming year. Yukon Pacific Forest Products in Watson Lake will reach an output of up to 50 million board feet of lumber, more than three times its estimated output for the current year. This is welcome news for the economy of the Yukon as a whole and the Watson Lake area in particular. For the long term, it is our hope that this mill will serve as the base for an integrated forestry complex in the southeast Yukon.
While 1990 gives every indication of being a good year for the Yukon, the outlook for 1991 and beyond is clouded by the proposed federal goods and services tax, to be introduced January 1, 1991. The impact of this tax will be felt much more harshly by the people of the Yukon than by the average Canadian, not only because of the higher costs we pay for goods and services, but also because of the structure and very nature of our economy.
Tourism is expected to be especially hard hit and tourism, as we all know, is one of the most important sectors of our economy. The general cost of doing business in the Yukon will increase substantially. And not only will the tax raise the costs of goods and services, it will also impose additional administrative costs upon most, if not all, Yukon businesses.
The consumer will be particularly hard hit because certain basic necessities, such as home heating fuel and transportation costs, will be taxed. Federal initiatives to offset some of these financial burdens with a refundable tax credit system will not adequately compensate northerners due to our already high cost of living and high nominal, as opposed to real, incomes.
The Government of Yukon and numerous other interested groups and organizations expressed these concerns during the visit to Whitehorse by members of the federal Standing Committee on Finance concerning the goods and services tax. It is our understanding the committee found the presentations and the concerns expressed very enlightening.
I would like now to speak to the issue of the federal transfer payment being shown in the main estimates. I need not remind anybody here of the crucial importance of this transfer payment to our governments fiscal well-being and the economy of the Yukon.
The current series of formula financing negotiations have been long and difficult. While the issue is close to resolution, we are not yet in a position such that a definitive sum can be incorporated in the budget I am tabling today.
However, we are not unmindful of the financial situation the federal government is facing. To have presented main estimates reflecting no reduced federal support would have been, I believe, unrealistic and dishonest, when one of our goals in setting this budget was to present an honest budget. Consequently, we have assumed a $5 million cut in the grant from Canada for the purposes of this budget. This reduction equates to a decrease in federal support for the territory of approximately $170 for every man, woman and child in the Yukon.
When taken in conjunction with the direct expenditure reductions the federal government has imposed on its programs in the Yukon, we feel the $5 million is excessive. However, given the position the federal government has taken in negotiations and the federal deficit reduction measures that have been imposed upon the provinces in areas such as established programs financing, we feel this sum is realistic.
This reduction in the transfer payment will, obviously, have serious consequences for us. This budget reflects the restraint the new fiscal environment will force upon our government and citizens. We have had to restrain, cut back and establish priorities in spending in a number of important areas, and this cannot help but reduce the overall level of service we are able to provide. We have attempted to alleviate the impact of the reduction by carefully planning and budgeting for it in what we consider to be the best interests of the people of the Yukon.
The main estimates being tabled here today show the Yukon receiving a transfer payment of $202,044,000 for the 1990-91 fiscal year. This figure, which incorporates the $5 million reduction I have just mentioned, represents an increase of just 3.4 percent over the grant we currently expect to receive for 1989-90. This is a low rate of growth indeed, and will not even keep up with inflation. It is, however, the reality we must live with, and we must reduce our expectations to match that reality.
I stress the formula financing negotiations have not been concluded. We are continuing to make a strong case to the federal government that northerners not bear more than their fair share of federal cutbacks.
The budget I am now introducing is, on the whole, a balanced budget. It provides for decreased capital spending and moderately increased operation and maintenance expenditures. The combined capital and operation and maintenance expenditures for 1990-91 are $342.5 million. This represents a decrease of 2.7 percent from the forecast estimates for the 1989-90 fiscal year. This decrease in total expenditures reflects the reduced transfer payment we project to receive from the federal government and our determination to continue to live within our means.
The budget, while providing for capital expenditures of $93.9 million, and operation and maintenance expenditures of $248.5 million, will initially result in a small apparent surplus of $6,896,000 for the fiscal year 1990-91. These monies will be required to finance normal supplementaries, including anticipated collective bargaining settlements yet to be negotiated for the coming year. We therefore anticipate the final result for the year, when all is said and done, to be a balanced budget.
We have tabled today supplementary estimates for the current fiscal year, which project capital expenditures of $116.6 million and operation and maintenance expenditures in the amount of $235.5 million. Consequently, the opening accumulated surplus for the 1990-91 year will be approximately $33 million.
The main estimates for 1990-91 will ostensibly, therefore, result in an accumulated surplus of roughly $40 million at the end of the year, that being March 31, 1991. However, as I have just indicated, we anticipate unavoidable supplementaries during the course of the year and therefore believe our accumulated surplus on March 31, 1991, will, in fact, remain at the $33 million figure projected for March 31, 1990. We consider this amount, which is the equivalent of one months spending, to be the prudent minimum required to protect us from economic downturns or other events requiring an infusion of government funds.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce there will be no tax increases for the coming fiscal year. The tax burden on the people of the Yukon has for many years exceeded the national average and this state of affairs continues to the present day. This burden is about to be made even heavier with the implementation of the federal governments proposed goods and services tax and to ask residents of the Yukon to bear even more would be neither reasonable nor acceptable.
Budgetary revenues are expected to total $351.5 million in 1990-91, some 4.3 percent higher than the current years revenues.
Our locally-raised revenues continue to increase. For 1990-91, they are forecast to total $58.4 million. As our locally raised revenues continue to grow, our dependence on the federal government continues to decline. In 1990-91, the federal grant is expected to represent 57.3 percent of our total budgetary revenues. This compares to the 61.6 percent of these same revenues it represented in 1985-86.
Personal income tax revenues are expected to increase by 6.9 percent to $23.8 million while corporate income taxes are forecast to remain above $5 million. The relatively high level of both personal and corporate income taxes is indicative of the strong performance and health of our economy.
There are, however, two major revenue sources that are estimated to decline in the coming year, namely, tobacco taxes and investment income. The revenue from the tobacco tax is expected to decline as changing attitudes toward smoking reduce consumption. This trend is already evident in the current year. Investment income is also projected to be less as the result of a slight drop in interest rates and the decline in our accumulated surplus.
While we will not be increasing the rates of any of our taxes, we have found it necessary to increase motor vehicle licence fees for the 1990-91 fiscal year. As the result of the realignment of these fees, motor vehicle licence revenues are projected to increase by $335,000.
Our prime objective in preparing this budget was to present a realistic budget that incorporated all of the expenditures we could reasonably predict. This, it seems to me, is a fundamental principle of sound fiscal practice. We wanted to introduce a budget that will allow us to live within our means without imposing an undue burden.
Today we are introducing such a budget. As an example of the all-inclusive nature of these main estimates, we are including in them the allowance for bad debts expense in the Department of Finance. While we do not intentionally plan to incur such an expense, it does occur and the introduction of this item will enable us to provide better financial management practices, which is consistent with the budgeting for accrued leave and termination benefits introduced by our government in 1985.
It also gives Members of the Legislature and the public a more complete picture of what is ultimately expected to occur in the governments accounts for the year.
The budget is tailored to match our current economic environment. Our expenditures next year will place even more focus on the communities where unemployment is a continuing problem.
Now that our economic course is set, we want to devote our resources to striking a better balance between economic, social, and environmental goals. Ultimately, they are inextricably intertwined. This became very apparent during the recent Yukon Economic Strategy Conference. Our future budgets will further highlight this interrelationship and balance as we strive to attain sustainable development in the Yukon.
While continuing the economic emphasis of our expenditures, we have begun to shift our focus toward social and environmental issues and concerns. Social programs will represent 37.7 percent of the proposed expenditures for 1990-91 compared to 34.4 percent in 1989-90.
The importance of our economic development operations and programs are far from being ignored, however. Todays budget includes approximately $103 million for these purposes.
Our goal in the field of economic development continues to be to implement the recommendations outlined during the Yukon 2000 process. We consider those recommendations, as defined by the people of the Yukon themselves, to be our guide in developing our economy. We intend to continue to implement them and have, in fact, already made a good start in doing so.
I am pleased to announce that our budget provides for the implementation of several new initiatives and the enhancement of numerous existing ones that will address a number of the social, environmental and economic concerns of the people of the Yukon in the coming fiscal year. Foremost, of course, among these concerns is a land claims settlement, which continues to be the first priority of our government.
I would now like to take this opportunity to review with you some of the more important of these expenditure initiatives provided for in the estimates.
Last March, we announced the initiation of a multi-year strategy to ensure quality, affordable, comprehensive child care throughout the territory as outlined in our child care strategy. I am pleased to announce that the governments long-term commitment toward child care is being implemented. In this, the second year of our commitment, we will provide an additional $400,000 for child care services. These funds will be used to expand the Child Development Centres Outreach Program so that it covers all rural communities. They will also be used to expand our child care subsidy and the quality enhancement program. The commitment of these resources will take us a step further toward our goal of ensuring affordable access to quality child care services.
The Department of Health and Human Resources will allocate $200,000 in the coming fiscal year for the design of the planned new detoxification facility for alcohol and drug abuse treatment. This facility will provide the necessary treatment so that those individuals in our society who are in need of such care will continue to have access to this service.
We have recognized the need for an extended care facility in the Yukon and budgeted toward the construction of such a facility. This year we will provide an additional $3,150,000 for extended care. These funds will be put toward the construction of the new facility. They will also be used to provide for immediate needs through the upgrading of Macaulay Lodge. Quality health care for all Yukoners is an investment that I am certain all members support.
In May of next year, we will host the Eighth International Congress on Circumpolar Health. This forum will enable us to discuss with other northern nations important health issues common to us all. The Department of Health and Human Resources will contribute $150,000 towards the hosting of the congress.
The Department of Education will be undertaking a number of initiatives to continue to improve the quality of education that Yukon students receive. The Native Teacher Training Program will receive an additional $232,000, bringing the total funding to $632,000, to continue training Indian people for teaching positions in the Yukon. The Northern Studies program will receive $87,000 in new resources to provide for a much enhanced program in years to come. The construction and renovation of a number of schools is being planned for the coming year. A total of $3 million is being budgeted to commence construction of the new elementary school in the Granger subdivision, and $1.4 million is being set aside for the proposed South Highway school to meet the very valid needs of residents of that area. The Del Van Gorder School in Faro will receive $350,000 for renovations in 1991, in addition to the preliminary work begun in 1989-90. The Department of Education will also allocate $400,000 to complete phase one of the construction of the new Watson Lake high school, and $100,000 has been set aside to begin the planning for a new Catholic school in Whitehorse.
Our commitment to the Yukon arts centre is reiterated by the allotment of $2.5 million toward its construction in the coming year. When completed, this facility will provide the Yukon with a much needed centre for the performing and visual arts.
This is the first budget to reflect the status of Yukon College as an independent, autonomous operation. Yukon College now not only has a new Whitehorse campus, of which we are all proud, but also a new sense of direction as it becomes autonomous.
In recognition of the fact that the most important element of an organization is its employees, an additional sum of $300,000 has been provided to the Public Service Commission for the professional development of the public service. The expenditure of these monies will contribute to reduced turnover and outside recruitment, both of which cost our government hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
The Yukon Housing Corporation will spend $14.9 million in 1990-91 on capital programs to help improve housing conditions throughout the territory. It is expected that a total of $1.3 million will be infused into the communities to provide for staff housing in the coming year, and $7.7 million will be spent on non-profit housing projects throughout the territory. The corporations other capital programs, the Home Improvement, the Home Ownership and the Joint Venture programs, will provide $5.8 million to help improve housing conditions in the Yukon.
We are all aware of the importance of tourism to our economy. To further promote the Yukon as a choice destination, the Department of Tourism is committing $295,000 to the launch of its Destination: Yukon marketing program. The program will market Yukon vacation packages and will promote the services of Yukon operators and businesses to Canadian travelers. This new program, along with a contribution of $255,000 to the Yukon Anniversaries Commission, will complement existing promotional programs and will bring our total commitment to tourism marketing to over $3 million this year.
Our transportation systems are fundamental to the well-being of our citizens, not only because of their vital role in economic development but also because of their contribution to our social interaction and well-being. Since 1985, we have committed more than $250 million toward the expansion, improvement and maintenance of all our transportation systems. In 1991, the Department of Community and Transportation Services will provide a further $56.9 million in expenditures for our transportation systems. Of these funds, $20.4 million is for capital projects and $36.5 million is for operation and maintenance of these systems.
In particular, I would like to note the Robert Campbell Highway, from Faro to Carmacks, will receive $2.2 million in expenditures in the coming year, and the South Klondike will receive a further $6.2 million for its continued reconstruction in 1990-91. The Resource Transportation Access program will have a budget of $2.5 million, which will enable it to effectively provide transportation infrastructure for new resource developments. In addition to this, Yukon airports will receive a further $2.4 million in upgrading next year. These are but a few of the many planned projects to expand and improve the Yukons transportation systems in the coming year.
The availability of suitable serviced land is important to the continued economic development and prosperity of the territory. A total of $7.8 million will be used to develop lands throughout the territory over the coming year by the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
In an effort to promote our capital city in the best interests of all Yukon people, we will contribute $50,000 toward the creation of a capital city commission. This commission, which will be broadly representative, including rural Yukon and native band representation, will endeavour to promote Whitehorse in a manner befitting the capital of our territory.
In response to the concerns voiced by our citizens during the Yukon 2000 process, we are developing a Yukon Conservation Strategy, which will be released this coming year. It will outline our environmental agenda for the future development of the territory. As part of our action on environmental issues, we will be providing for the development of sewage treatment and solid waste disposal projects as well as the development of our environmental protection program.
The environmental protection program, which was initiated last March, will be enhanced with the expenditure of a further $192,000 by the Department of Renewable Resources in 1990-91. These funds will facilitate the planning, coordination and development of environmental protection programs and legislation in the Yukon.
The Department of Community and Transportation Services will provide $1.6 million for various sewer, water and solid waste projects in communities. It will also develop and implement a comprehensive special waste management program in 1990-91.
With the signing of the Northern Accord Agreement in Principle and the renewed interest in northern oil and gas development, an additional $400,000 will be allocated by the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business toward the areas of oil and gas development in 1990-91. This issue is of vital importance to the future of the territory, and these additional funds will provide a firm commitment toward the potential development of these resources in the best interest of Yukoners.
This government remains committed to the transfer of provincial-like programs from the federal government. The accompanying resources must be sufficient to allow the Yukon to carry out that responsibility at a level of service adequate to the full and proper functioning of the program and at a minimum, on a basis comparable to similar provincial programs.
This budget contains $126,000 for mine safety responsibilities, which will become the Yukon governments responsibility during the year. Discussions are proceeding on other transfers, including the transfer of the Whitehorse General Hospital, inter-territorial roads, airports and land titles.
Discussions pursuant to the framework agreement on land claims are progressing well. To accommodate the increased activity as band agreements are negotiated, an additional $734,000 has been allocated for 1990-91 over the current years allotment. A total of $229,000 is being provided by the Department of Renewable Resources; $44,000 by the Department of Justice; $166,000 by the Department of Community Transportation Services and $295,000 by the Executive Council Office.
This will furnish the respective departments with the resources necessary as we work toward finalizing settlement agreements.
The budget also includes $1.75 million of the $6.75 million commitment made by the government toward the implementation of the land claims settlement. One million dollars is earmarked for training, $500,000 will be available to fund the resource management structures and $250,000 will be contributed to the Wildlife Enhancement Trust.
The identification of these funds will provide the parties the flexibility to begin pre-implementing many of the required structures and to identify problems that will have to be dealt with in the band-final and umbrella-final agreements. This commitment demonstrates the high priority the Yukon government places on the successful completion of land claims settlements for the benefit of all Yukon people.
While we have been able to find the resources required to fund these expenditure initiatives, we have had to implement a number of restraint measures and redirect funds in every department in order to do so. In addition, planned capital programs have been deferred or extended over longer periods of time to balance the budget.
As I mentioned earlier, capital expenditures are to decline. Last March, I introduced capital plans totalling $104 million. Today, capital expenditures are forecast to total $94 million for 1990-91, some $10 million less than the current years budgeted amount.
Mr. Speaker, I have presented in this budget a realistic and balanced approach to addressing the needs of the Yukon. The estimates before you reaffirm our commitment to fiscal responsibility and the reality of our need to live within our means. This budget provides for some allocation toward new and existing programs that will contribute to the social and economic well-being of our citizens.
I am sure that all Members of this Legislature will wish to support these goals, and, to that end, I commend it to the favourable attention of all hon. Members.
Mr. Phelps: I move that we adjourn debate.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition that we adjourn debate.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. We will now have a 10 minute recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will proceed with the Pesticides Control Act, Bill No. 66.
Bill No. 66 - Pesticides Control Act
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Mr. Lang: During the debate on second reading, I indicated I would like to have further information with respect to what the plans of the department were for the purpose of enforcing this legislation. Are we looking for more personnel and, if so, how many? If it is with existing personnel, how are they going to do it in conjunction with the positions they already hold? I would request elaboration from an administrative point of view.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member knows, we have created an environmental protection unit within the Department of Renewable Resources. In the next week, we will be hiring an environmental protection coordinator, whose responsibilities will be to enforce this particular act. As well, beginning April 1, 1990, there are provisions for two more person years to round out that unit. Those people, as well, will have special training in the area of pesticides, and they will have enforcement and administration of this act as part of their duties.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give me an idea how much pesticide we are dealing with in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot give specific numbers in terms of pounds or different types of pesticides. Generally speaking, it is used by people in the landscaping business; it is not used extensively by members of our agricultural community, and it is used by the Department of Community and Transportation Services in its annual mosquito abatement plan. There is not a great deal of pesticide use in the Yukon at this time.
Mr. Lang: That brings me to my next question. The Minister outlined a branch of three individuals being responsible for this legislation. How much time is going to be required to administer it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The three people in the unit the Member referred to will certainly have to devote some of their time to administering this act. We are not anticipating a great of deal of their time being budgeted for this purpose.
Mr. Lang: How does this co-relate to the Hazardous Goods Act in respect to transportation? It has to be transported here, and I am curious how that is going to work with licensing. Has that been checked out?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The transportation of dangerous goods legislation supersedes this piece of legislation dealing with the transport of hazardous goods.
Mr. Lang: How do the two relate? Are you required under the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act to register the transportation of goods such as this? If so, how does it dovetail with this legislation?
Hon. Mr. Webster: For the transport of dangerous goods you have to have papers approving the transport of those goods. That would also be the case for pesticides occurring in the regulations that can be applied through restricted use only. We are only talking about potentially dangerous pesticides that have been approved for application through a license. Then they would come under the requirements of the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act.
Mr. Lang: Does this relate to herbicides in any way?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It does indeed. As the definitions point out, it does apply to herbicides as well.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to get a clarification from the Minister. Is it a common practice in other jurisdictions to have just an act called the Pesticides Control Act and it would be all-encompassing - it would include herbicides, pesticides and fungicides - because this act certainly does. It includes all three, from what I can interpret when I read it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, this is the general outline that is used by other provinces. In fact, this act that we have before us is a composite of three jurisdictions: Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, and British Columbia.
Mrs. Firth: The concern I have is that when people in the Yukon who are not familiar with these kinds of laws in other places in Canada are told that we have a pesticide act coming in, a lot of them will assume that it is just for pesticides and not herbicides. I would like to ask the Minister what kind of consulting he did. Did he consult with the agricultural association and with some of the landscapers, because I have been in touch with constituents who I know are landscapers and they were unaware that this legislation was coming forward.
Hon. Mr. Webster: This particular piece of legislation has been coming forward now for eight years. Where we will stand to benefit, of course, from such input, is in drafting the regulations, which will deal with which pesticides and herbicides are dangerous and whose application will have to be controlled. The legislation as it stands is basically a piece of framework legislation, with the accompanying regulations specifically spelling out the dangerous pesticides and herbicides that have to be subjected to controlled use. That is the most important part of it.
Mrs. Firth: I do not disagree with what the Minister has said, but I think he is missing the point I raised. I do not care if people have been talking about it forever. The fact is that it is now going to be a law. The law as we see written on the pages of the bill does not give us all the information as to what the real regulations and laws are going to be when it comes to the control of these products and that there are a lot of people out there who may be involved in the use of products such as herbicides and may not think they come under this jurisdiction of the Pesticides Control Act.
I would have thought that the Minister would have been in discussions with the agricultural association and local landscapers who are involved in using these products to inform them that this legislation was coming forward and ask for their input. I would also like to know if that happened and if there were any outside consultants or individuals with expertise in this area who were involved at all in the drafting of the legislation or who were sought out for counsel.
Hon. Mr. Webster: In the actual drafting of the act we did not use outside experts. We used people who were working in the agricultural branch who have a lot of knowledge over the years work in this area and have knowledge of similar legislation in the provinces.
The Whitehorse chapter of the Yukon Livestock and Agriculture Association have recently seen this bill, as has the Agricultural Planning Advisory Committee (APAC) recently and we have asked for their comments. Again, it is a very straightforward piece of legislation that will establish what will be set out in the regulations.
Once we have done that, with their assistance, I can assure you that we are not going to make it a secret. We do not go through all this process of drafting a bill, seeking input on drafting regulations, to keep it quiet. People who are in the habit of applying pesticides will be notified of the act and its regulation through APAC and the livestock and agricultural association chapters will be informed as well. The private sector, such as White Pass, who have had occasion in the past to use pesticides, will be informed. There will be an intensive education program prior to the spring.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has reaffirmed my concern. He is unnecessarily defensive. I am not accusing the government of being secretive. I am only asking who has been consulted and wondering if they are aware that this includes things like herbicides. The Minister said that White Pass used pesticides when they did not. They used Spike, which is a herbicide.
If this Legislature is going to talk about imposing new laws upon the Yukon public, it should be incumbent upon the Minister to keep his terminology clear. The public should be made aware of exactly what this includes. I am simply making the point that I feel that the public should be made aware that it is going to include things such as herbicides. We should not use the terms interchangeably or call a product like Spike a pesticide if it is a herbicide.
Who is going to be involved in drawing up the regulations? Is it going to done by consultation where the government will meet with the organizations and groups involved? Does the Minister have a list of people compiled with whom the government would be meeting to draft the new regulations?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I apologize for terming Spike a pesticide.
We are a small territory. We have a list of people who are in the practice of using pesticides. I do not think it would be a great deal of trouble to contact all those people for input. The process should last for, at least, a couple of months. We could draft the regulations in time for the spring season.
Mrs. Firth: Is it the Ministers intention to have a form of draft regulations to present to those people for their input? Is that the process he will be using? Will the department officials or whoever will be writing them draft a set of regulations to be presented to these groups for their input?
Hon. Mr. Webster: When dealing with some aspects of the regulations, such as suitable containers, we will ask for comments on something already prepared. When actual lists of what pesticides would require a restricted application are established, we will be looking for public input.
Mrs. Firth: Will the Minister be drafting licensing procedures, permit procedures and enforcement procedures and asking for input after?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes.
Mr. Lang: The Minister stated the bill was drafted locally and that there was a lot of knowledge within the department. I do not understand that. We have been informed that we are hiring people for the purposes of administering legislation of this kind. How many people do we have on staff who are knowledgeable in this area? Why do we have to obtain knowledge from other jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The current and previous agricultural staff, going back as far as Dick Fileau, are the people I was referring to who have the special knowledge and years of experience. They were responsible for drafting this act, and for involving individuals from the agricultural community. The actual enforcement and administering of the act will be the role of the people in the environmental protection unit.
Mr. Lang: I wanted to go back to the procedure again as it does concern me. The Minister indicated to me there has been a draft of this legislation around for eight years, I believe he quoted. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes. The draft pesticides act was first raised in June, 1981.
Mr. Lang: I wanted confirmation of that. I do not understand why, in the House today, we do not have draft regulations to at least assess with respect to the legislation before us. First of all, the legislation has been in the drafting stage for quite a number of years. Secondly, we have been told we have had people on staff for quite some time who are knowledgeable in the area. I do not understand why we do not have the regulations when we are dealing with the law that my colleague, the Member for Riverdale South, referred to.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Perhaps I should more fully explain the history of this draft pesticides act. It has not been ready for the last eight years in this particular form. It has evolved over the years and been updated.
I have already addressed the question as to why the regulations do not accompany this act at this time. We will be looking for local input. We will also be looking at the national scene. In my second reading speech, I mentioned the national forum to be held on pesticides in Ottawa in January. At that time, we will have regulations to accompany the act in time for the spring season, when pesticides are used in the Yukon.
Mr. Lang: I want to register my concern, and I hope the Minister takes it in the spirit I am giving it in. The next time we are dealing with a bill, I would appreciate the regulations, although they may be draft. At least, it gives some indication of what the governments intentions are. In the particular case of this legislation it is not absolutely crucial, but it is a practice we should be getting into. So often, we get a piece of legislation like this that is strictly a framework. The actual law is in the regulations. As lawmakers, in the essence of making laws, we are giving you the right to make the law through regulation.
As a legislator, my concern is that we should be ensuring that, where possible, the law is being scrutinized through this body, as opposed to through other bodies outside the Legislature. This is the final determining body.
When the Minister has other bills coming into the House that require regulations, I would appreciate them accompanying the bill. In deference to the public we serve, it would be in everybodys best interest.
Here, we are almost talking about a straw man nobody knows anything about. I do not think there is any excuse for not having regulations drawn up. The Minister is quite right in saying, Yes, it has been discussed for eight years in the confines of government, in one manner or another. That is true, as I recall it being discussed years ago. Therefore, it is not a surprise, nor is it a bill being presented on an emergency situation. With some planning, the regulations could have been provided just as easily here in the beginning of December as opposed to January. That is not to say there will not be changes in the regulations, knowing they have to go through some public consultation. At least, though, it would give us on this side an idea of what the governments intentions are or are not. In some cases, those interested may provide some advice as to what should be done.
Mrs. Firth: Are any of the regulations written yet?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, they are not.
Mrs. Firth: Questions I will have about particular areas of the act are going to be consistent with what would be in the regulations. If the regulations are not written, I will have to ask the Minister what the overall philosophy is.
An example is the licensing requirements. In the act it says that no person will be able to use pesticides other than in accordance with a licence authorizing them to do so. Are they going to have to have a licence or are they going to have to take a course to put herbicides on? These are the things people want to know. Is the Minister going to be able to answer those kinds of questions for me? Will distributors have to have a special licence? Do they have to take some kind of course to be legitimate distributors?
An expert from B.C. put on a course at the last conference of the agricultural association. Individuals who passed the course were given a licence for the application of herbicides. Those are the kinds of specific answers I would like to get on behalf of the individuals I represent.
Can the Minister explain how he is going to answer these questions if no regulations are drafted? Does the government have some idea of what is to be in the regulations?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With respect to licensing - people who apply pesticides as a job or for hire, commercial applicators, will require a licence under this act. It is standard throughout the country that there is a course and test. People have to gain a certain amount of knowledge before they can become a commercial applicator of pesticides. Whatever is required outside, I am quite certain will be the requirement here in the Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: Is the government going to provide programs for these individuals to become licensed? Is it going to be that extensive? Are they going to have to pay licensing fees? Are they going to have to train and license employees?
I gather that members of the agricultural association will be able to go ahead and do it if they are not doing it on a commercial basis. The Minister is interpreting the commercial part as being anyone involved in a commercial endeavor that requires application of herbicides or pesticides. He is not referring to the commercial application of herbicides or pesticides. Is that correct?
This is the problem. It is very unclear according to the legislation.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, the Member has done a fine job of confusing it. I suggest we wait until we come to section 8, when we talk about licensing of businesses to apply and use pesticides, to deal with this matter.
Mr. Lang: A fungicide that has come to my attention is one that is used on lumber that is to be exported. I gather it has been used, at least some times, at the Watson Lake mill. It is apparently very dangerous. I am led to believe that most times the dipping of the lumber is done in Vancouver as opposed to the mill site, but at times it is done at the mill. Is the Minister going to have guidelines on how this type of fungicide is to be used? Has it been brought to his attention?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of that substance being used at the mill.
Mr. Devries: Yes, last year at one time we imported a small quantity. We had to have special trucking regulations and so on drafted just to get this stuff up to Watson Lake and it was sprayed onto the lumber manually. They were talking about installing a dip tank but as far as I know that has not happened. I am not sure what they call it anymore.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for Watson Lake for that response and informing us about this.
In a general sense, though, any material that comes from the outside will have to be subjected to our regulations to see if its use requires application by an expert.
Mrs. Firth: I just have one question. The Minister may want to leave it to the licensing section but I would like to get some idea now.
In the Department of Renewable Resources now, for anyone who wants to use a pesticide such as strychnine, is it mandatory that they get permits from the department to use it or is it just something that is advisable?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Technically, they are to get permits under the Wildlife Act for something like that, but in the absence of any Pesticides Control Act, or regulations to accompany them, it could very well be done.
Chair: Shall we proceed clause-by-clause?
On Clause 1
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask the Minister why we are using the word device in the definition of pesticide? It states, any product, device, organism.... Could he tell us where it would apply?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am informed that this may be a mechanical device to dispense pesticides. That is why it is included here.
Mrs. Firth: Would device not also include traps? I know I have Indian people come to my farm with traps to trap gophers, or snares for rabbits. The way this first clause is written would exclude those kinds of activities.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Are we referring to the device in section (a) or (b)? They are two different matters. In a general sense, the device suggested by the Member for trapping pests would be considered here.
Chair: We are going to go with each definition in clause 1, and we will work our way down that way. We will begin with the definition of animal.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand how we are defining pesticide. Under the definition of pesticide, why do you have a mechanical device? Pesticide is either a product, an organism or a substance, unless I am mistaken. I understand you have to apply it by a machine or however, but that is a separate issue altogether. It should not be in the definition of pesticide.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The definition here says it includes any product, device or thing registered under the Pest Control Products Act. If you refer to that act, it would probably provide a definition of device.
Mr. Lang: In deference to the House, the Minister is the sponsoring Minister. Has he read the Pest Control Products Act of Canada?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No.
Mr. Lang: I humbly submit that we are dealing with a law here. Perhaps we should set this one aside so the Minister can review and assure the House exactly what the intent of the section is. I do not want to be standing here and having somebody say, It probably means that. It does not have much to do with me, but I think it means that. In deference to the people we are representing, we are making laws and we should be definite.
I do not understand why device would be in 1(a). It does not make any sense to me. My understanding of a pesticide is it is a product, organism or substance. It is not how you apply it; that is separate.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The point is well taken. There is a logical explanation for it. I am in agreement that we stand this over until that logical explanation arrives.
Chair: So, the definition of pesticide stands.
Mrs. Firth: If I may make another comment, when the Minister looks into his word device, which I think is the word the Minister will be examining, as it relates to the word animal, the definition of animal is so broad when it says it is any animal other than humans, I think he is going to have to take into consideration the fact of the point I raised about the snares and traps. It can be interpreted in a broad enough sense that those kinds of devices would also come into question under this legislation.
Just to reinforce the point, it is the substance we are supposed to be making the law in regard to, not the applicators, spray cans or so on. Further on in the legislation, I think there are sections to take into account how it is applied and stored, and how those particular containers and applicators are to be treated.
I want to emphasize that I want the Minister to take a really close look at it when he comes back next time to discuss that particular word.
Clause 1 stood over
On Clause 2
Mr. Lang: How many pesticides are we talking about when referring to banning pesticides? Are we talking about a list of 550, or 25 or 30? The Minister must know this since he brought this legislation forward.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are talking in the neighbourhood of 20 pesticides.
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Mrs. Firth: This is the clause I was quoting about the licence authorizing them to do so. Did the Minister want to talk about the licensing issue under the licensing of businesses? He is nodding his head. I will leave my question about licensing until we get to the licensing of businesses.
Mr. Lang: The question I have is about a person not in business. I take it that if I were a farmer, I would need a licence. We are talking about two forms of licensing, one for the distributor and one for the user.
Mrs. Firth: In section 3(1) it says that no person shall use the pesticide otherwise than in accordance with a licence authorizing them to do so. To me, that represents the individual. The clause that the Minister is referring to, about licensing of businesses to apply is clause 8. Does this represent the individual?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Clause 3 refers to the individual. Clause 8 refers to commercial applicators of pesticides.
Mrs. Firth: Is it fair to conclude that the regulations are going to state that everyone in the Yukon who applies any herbicide, pesticide or fungicide will have to have a license to do so?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, it will only apply to those who are applying pesticides under controlled conditions. This will be spelled out in the regulations.
Mr. Lang: What are controlled conditions?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Usually the controlled conditions are specified on the containers of the pesticides themselves, including the quantities and the duration of the application.
Mr. Lang: Maybe the lights are not going on here but I just want to know who is going to tell me which ones I am going to have to be licensed for. I am thinking of the individual actually out in the field applying various pesticides.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That information will be contained in the regulations, as to which pesticides will be applied under restricted use.
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow through with what my colleague for Riverdale South referred to earlier. I would like further clarification. In order to get this licensing - and I am talking about individuals now and not distribution by businesses - are they going to be required to take courses in this? I did not get a clear answer earlier.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, that will be dependent on the nature of the pesticide being applied. If it stipulates in the regulation that there will have to be controlled, restricted use, the individual would have to be licensed. We will be putting on courses to enable a person to become licensed for that purpose, as we have already done this past year.
Mr. Lang: Then I take it that the government will take the financial responsibility for the courses and there will be no cost to those that want to participate in such a program.
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, I cannot guarantee that there will not be a fee charged to participants to take the course.
Mrs. Firth: I just want to follow up on the question of these courses. Does the government have a number of courses planned for this spring?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, we have planned some courses, as we did last year.
Mr. Lang: Can we be assured in the House that the courses that will be provided will ensure that those who are applying this type of commodity will have all the credentials in order to be licensed to apply it for this forthcoming year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is the intent.
Mrs. Firth: Could I ask the Minister a question about some of the research done before the act was tabled in the Legislature?
Presently, some of the local stores sell herbicides that people can buy and use to kill weeds in their gardens, and some pesticides too, I would imagine, such as ant sprays and Raid, and all these other name-brand products. Is the Minister aware of any that are going to become banned products under the regulations that his government is proposing? For example, have any of the local hardware stores been selling products they may not be able to sell unless the people who are buying them are licensed individuals?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Two years ago there was an inventory undertaken on all pesticides being sold through all commercial outlets in the Yukon. It was discovered at that time there were a handful being sold here that, according to B.C. regulations, should be applied in a controlled fashion.
Mr. Lang: Were the people who were selling these pesticides informed these commodities were being applied in a manner that was probably less controlled than what it was in other jurisdictions? Are they aware that some commodities they have been selling over the last number of years will no longer be allowed to be sold?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Those products are legal and will still be sold. Greater control of application will be required now.
Mr. Lang: Will the individual who is buying them have to have a licence? I am thinking of the storekeeper. He or she has a licence to sell these commodities, but for those commodities on the semi-banned list, will the purchaser have to have a licence? Is that how the system will work?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The way the Member describes it is how the procedure will work. When an individual goes into a store to buy some pesticides he will be required to sign an affidavit saying he has a certificate to allow him to apply the pesticide in a controlled manner.
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Mr. Lang: I need one further clarification on transportation. Presently, under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, are those who now truck this type of commodity registering them at the weigh scales when transporting them?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The dangerous goods that are defined as such by the federal government are presently monitored that way.
In the absence of legislation or regulations here in the territory, there is no way of knowing.
Mr. Lang: The Minister referred to the banned commodities, or pesticides, that would be coming under the regulations. Are those banned pesticides also covered under the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, they are.
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Mr. Lang: What happens if I happen to be a farmer, something happens to the original pesticide container, and I put it in another container? What happens to me if I am found in violation of section 5? Will I be told to put it in a proper container or I will get up to a $15,000 fine if I continue, or is there some other section that comes into force, were that to occur?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We will assume that the use of this unapproved container to store these pesticides would be an interim measure. Under the act, noticing a pesticide was being stored in a container not approved for that purpose in the regulations, the inspector would inform the individual to correct the matter.
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Mrs. Firth: What are people supposed to do with their containers?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I believe the Member asked a question on what people should do with the empty containers, once they have used the pesticide. One day a year, there is a call for people to bring in their containers for disposal by the Environmental Protection Service.
Mr. Lang: Where do they get stored? At the Ministers house? What do they do with them?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Once the Environmental Protection Service has collected these empty containers, they dispose of them immediately. They do not maintain a collection of these containers.
Mr. Lang: Specifically in 6(b), they refer to a site. Are we speaking of the industrial area in downtown Whitehorse? What are we actually referring to? There must be a reason for this section, because you must have some knowledge of some pesticides that have to be stored in such a manner it will not cause any damage to anyone or the environment. Where would that site be?
Hon. Mr. Webster: EPS does maintain a site to store containers, and that would be the one prescribed in the regulations.
Mr. Lang: Where is that site?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Apparently there is a site down in the Marwell area that is used for storage of these containers.
Mr. Lang: Exactly what is stored at this site? This is the government that said it was on top of all these environmentally damaging materials, hazardous goods, pesticides and so on. You would think that at least some of the frontbenchers would have some idea of what is being stored there and exactly where down in the industrial area.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will ask the federal government department, the Environmental Protection Service, what is stored at that site and identify its location.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that. The other thing is, the Minister has been referring to the Environmental Protection Service both from a territorial point of view and also, I gather in the last few minutes, in a federal sense. Do we have agreements with the federal Environmental Protection Service that we will be storing these commodities there? Is that correct? Or will we be creating our own storage site?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Currently we have an agreement that the federal EPS will store empty containers.
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Mr. Lang: I am not knowledgeable about pesticides so I am curious. In what manner would we be allowing pesticides to be put into an open body of water, even if one was licensed to do so? Is it just for mosquitoes?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Other than for the obvious control of mosquitoes, there are some on the market for controlling vegetation. They are used to kill off vegetation to improve fish habitat.
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Mr. Lang: Once again, we go into further licensing. Is this going to cost the business or individual money to buy this licence?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would imagine that individuals taking the necessary training to apply pesticides in a commercial manner would have to pay some fees to do that.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make the observation that here the government is again asking an individual or individuals for money. They are already required to have a business licence to do something, and it is my feeling that if they are prepared to meet the law primarily for their own protection and in the publics interest, I would submit that maybe it should be part of the business licence and encourage people to get registered. It is $25 here, $30 there. We just had the announcement earlier today that there were no tax increases but our motor vehicle licences are going up. I question why we are going to set up another licensing fee structure and all the costs that go along with it and so on. I am sure there can be some streamlining in government under the licensing that would require one to register and, if called upon, to be able to follow it through to ensure things are being done properly.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will consider the Members suggestion. We are not talking about very many people. In a general sense, it is not uncommon to charge fees for people to take a course for proper training, such as a course for the application of insulation...
I will consider that suggestion. I thought the Member was referring to taking a course or training to become a qualified commercial applicator of pesticides.
Mr. Lang: I can see the rationale where you would charge someone for costs incurred. I am thinking of the actual licensing itself. Serious consideration should be given to providing licensing in conjunction with a business license. If they need one, they will need the other. We are requiring so much licensing of people, it is becoming a detriment to anyone doing anything. You spend your whole time chasing around government offices rather than doing something. There is not going to be any money involved either way. I do not think you will have a lot of people applying for this licence. It is not going to mean anything to your revenues. My recommendation is that it be a certification and they can conduct themselves accordingly. Government then knows who is in the business and who to get in touch with if there is a problem.
Hon. Mr. Webster: All that confusion has been straightened out. I can see what the Member is saying. It is certainly worth considering.
Clause 8 agreed to
On Clause 9
Mr. Lang: This is a technical point. Is this clause not redundant? Anyone applying pesticide for hire or reward would have to be licensed. There is no one who would be using an airplane to distribute pesticides unless they were doing it for commercial purposes. I may be off base, but I do not see the need for section 9.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The line of thinking is that only trained and licensed people should be permitted to apply pesticides from aircrafts, considering the the risk involved if the pesticide should be swept away by the wind into a place where a person does not want pesticide applied.
Mr. Lang: I am not arguing that point. The section above it requires that one has a licence if one is doing it for hire or reward. The only use I can see now is for mosquito control. They are being hired to do it. They are required to be licensed, whether they distribute it from a car or an airplane.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There may be some applications here that this particular section may apply to, such as applying pesticides from an aircraft over a forest. That is a common one in the provinces. Some people are actually hired to fly the plane, as opposed to applying the pesticide from the plane.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to hold up the legislation. It just seems redundant with section 8 above it. I would assume section 8 applies to any application no matter whether it is by vehicle, space ship, airplane or whatever.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member makes a good point. That is quite true, but is he opposed to having this clause in here?
Mr. Lang: I leave that to your discretion.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Thank you.
Clause 9 agreed to
On Clause 10
Mr. Lang: I do not understand why the Commissioner in Executive Council is making these appointments. It would seem to me that it is an administrative job, under the legislation. So often when this section is in legislation the paperwork seems to go astray for one reason or another and it never gets into Cabinet for ratification. If it does, it is a year later because there has been a turnover in staff. I do not see why such an appointment is required by Cabinet. It does not make sense to me. It would seem that the Public Service Act would come into play. Perhaps the Minister has some comment on it - unless they have some political people they want to put to work.
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a fairly standard procedure. An order-in-council is the way that people are made conservation officers. This is one method to appoint inspectors. I really cannot comment if this method would be preferred over the one suggested by the Member opposite. This method seems to work and is used in many other acts.
Mr. Lang: I do not intend to hold up the legislation. I do know there are times when the paperwork is not done. It is very questionable then what happens when you go to court and you have not abided by law in appointing an individual. Personally, I do not believe the Ministers example of the appointment of conservation officers by Cabinet should be occurring. I really do not. I do not see the rationale. They have the law to enforce and it is there, but why is Cabinet appointing conservation officers? Here we have the same situation developing in the Animal Protection Act, where nobody was appointed under that act. Look at the situation that arose this past year primarily because the appointments did not go through Cabinet and nobody knew who was supposed to enforce the legislation. I raise it as a point. Perhaps in future laws we should be looking at these appointments and change the way we appoint these people. It compounds the paperwork within the government.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his comments, and that is probably something that should be reviewed in that policy.
Mr. Lang: On the overall policy, who would we talk to about that so it does not get lost in the shuffle over the next year? Is the Cabinet Minister who just spoke prepared to carry the ball and raise it as a general policy issue in Cabinet to see whether the legislation should be changed, as time goes on, to reflect more of a modern way of appointing people?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I think Cabinet would be the appropriate place to review that policy, and I will take that forward.
Clause 10 agreed to
On Clause 11
Clause 11 agreed to
On Clause 12
Clause 12 agreed to
On Clause 13
Mr. Lang: With respect to clause 13(6), we talked about the creation of an Environmental Protection Services branch in the department. Are we talking about all three of them being appointed as officers under this act?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that would be the case.
Clause 13 agreed to
On Clause 14
Clause 14 agreed to
On Clause 15
Clause 15 agreed to
On Clause 16
Mr. Lang: I want to make an observation. These are pretty substantial fines of up to $15,000. The second fine is up to $30,000, and up to a year in jail. Are penalties of this kind normal in the other jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, they are consistent with other jurisdictions. In Ontario, for example, there is a fine of not more than $5,000 for each offence, and a fine of up to not more than $10,000 per day; major offences in New Brunswick have fines not exceeding $50,000 or imprisonment of one year. Right across the country, it is a reflection that penalties are becoming stiffer to reflect the nature of the damage being created.
Clause 16 agreed to
On Clause 17
Mr. Lang: I question why this section is here. I have a lot of problems with the employer being liable for the employees conduct. I notice that there are two caveats. One is that the employer did not consent to or condone the violation. If he or she did not have any knowledge of it, then the employer would not be responsible for the employee. With that being the case, I do not understand why the section is there. You have to be a party to the offence to be a part of it and responsible for it, whether you are the employer or the employee. Could the Minister clarify why that section is there? It seems to be redundant, in view of the fact that if you do not have knowledge of the situation you would not be charged. It leaves it wide open for you to be charged. You would then have to prove to the court that you had no knowledge. You are guilty until you prove yourself not guilty.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is incumbent upon the employer to become familiar with the pesticide being applied and the necessary control procedures and to pass that information along to the employee. By making the employer responsible for pesticide offences, we may be able to ensure closer supervision of the pesticide applications.
Mr. Lang: My concern, in part, is with the way it is written. Would it not be better if the employer was liable if the employer condones or consents the violation? It would be very clear that the state has to prove, prior to laying charges, that the employer agreed to the violation. I am concerned because it is so wide open in the way it is written at present. Every time we turn around, the employer is the bad guy. It is getting to the point where no one wants to be an employer.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As it is written now, subject to subsection 2, the employer is not liable. If the employer has not informed his employee of the hazards involved in applying this pesticide, then clearly the employer is liable for violation of this act. That is straight forward. The employee can still be charged if, upon hearing the instructions from the employer, he does not follow the instructions. This saves the employer from the violation.
Clause 17 agreed to
On Clause 18
Clause 18 agreed to
On Clause 19
Clause 19 agreed to
On Clause 20
Mrs. Firth: This is a regulations clause that we have raised concerns about in the House. They are very broad definitions of what the regulations can do. They can include everything from A to Z. Will the Minister provide us with copies of the draft regulations before they become law to give us an opportunity to do our own consulting and make our own recommendations as to the contents of those regulations? I would also like to caution the Minister to be very specific when defining herbicides and pesticides, particularly the ones they are going to be banning so that we know what all the rules are. Will the Minister give us a commitment to the first question that I asked?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly the draft regulations for which we are looking for some public input includes everyone in the territory. I would be pleased to make that available to the Members opposite at the same time as I do the Livestock and Agricultural Association and the Agricultural Planning Advisory Committee.
Clause 20 agreed to
On Clause 21
Clause 21 agreed to
On Clause 1
Hon. Mr. Webster: Returning to clause 1, on the definitions, in response to the questions raised by the Members for Riverdale South and Porter Creek East, with respect to the inclusion of the word device, there are electronic devices on the market used for attracting and electrocuting insects. These are pesticide devices.
The Member for Riverdale South also asked if the definition would include snares or mammal traps. Technically, they would, but they would not be scheduled as a controlled or banned device. They would not be regulated.
Mrs. Firth: So what the Minister is saying then is that when he has the list of devices in the regulations, snares and traps will not be included in that list but things like the electrical lights that attract mosquitoes and other bugs and ant traps and whatever things they have on the market that entice bugs and insects to crawl into them, are the kinds of things he would be looking at under these circumstances.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow this device idea a little further. What is wrong with devices such as the kind that the Minister referred to? Are they going to be banned?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, they are not going to be banned. These things that attract and electrocute bugs are pesticide devices. They will not, in any way I can foresee, to be having some controlled use and be therefore banned by regulations.
Mr. Lang: Why is it in there then? What is the purpose of it then? Why is it here if we have no need to regulate or refer to it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are trying to define pesticide and include everything under that definition.
Mr. Lang: I can see the Minister is a little embarrassed because he does not know why. If that is the reasoning for the word device, why is it included in this section as a definition of a pesticide? You have just said to the House that you do not intend to control it, do anything with it or have any problems with it. I do not understand why it is there.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Pesticide means any product, device for use in destroying or repelling any insects. One such device as I have described are those for attracting and electrocuting insects. That is why device is there. Just because this particular example will not be included in the regulations does not mean that the word device should not be in the definition of pesticide. Does it?
Mr. Lang: I agree with the Minister. Does it?
I still do not understand it. It seems to me the Minister is searching for reasons why it is here, to justify it. I do not understand why it is here. He has not given me a good reason why it is here.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will try again. We are defining pesticide as any product, a device as being an elaboration of a product, et cetera, for use in destroying or repelling any insect. That is why device is there.
I can see I have convinced the Member opposite with the sound logic for including the word device. Would the Member opposite not concede that a device used for attracting and electrocuting insects is indeed, under the definition of pesticide, one use in destroying or repelling of insects?
Mrs. Firth: The Minister just stood up and said he did not think that an electrical device would be one that would be banned. Therefore, one would ask why device would be in there if you are not going to ban that particular device, although that is the only example he can give.
On the converse of the Ministers argument, by including the word device, it does give the government the ability to ban whatever they want, because device is included there. I think that is the point the Member for Porter Creek East is making. Why do you need the term in there unless you have some intention of banning some devices? In his reasoning, the Minister stood up and said this is an example of a device, but we are not going to ban it anyway. I guess the question still remains: why bother having device in there?
The obvious question here is, could the Minister please cite an example of a device that could possibly be banned by regulation?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Now I will answer my question with some help from Members of the House. No, I cannot at this time provide you with an example of device that could be banned. I could stand this over until I come back with an example of one that could be considered, something that could be invented 10 or 15 years from now.
Mr. Lang: Why do we not just bring an act in that says Mr. Webster can do any thing, any time, any place and any where?
In all seriousness, I would like to know why it is there. There has to be a reason. This almost sounds like a repeat of the Yukon River Basin Study. We are bringing it in, just in case. We do not know if they are going to need it, but we are going to bring it in anyway. I recommend we set it aside. We have tomorrow, and I am sure, with all the staff he referred to earlier, the Minister should be able to conjure up some idea that has some legitimacy. If it does, it will be accepted by the House. If it does not, we will amend the legislation accordingly.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be pleased to stand this clause over and take 24 hours to come up with a possible reply if that would satisfy the Member for Porter Creek East.
Mrs. Firth: Usually laws are made because there is a problem that has occurred and you want to remedy the problem. If the Minister cannot think of examples where devices have been used that should be considered for banning, that further reinforces the argument about why it should not even be there. The concerns I brought forward about snares and traps were legitimate. I felt that if other people read it they would probably interpret it that way too, because it was some kind of physical device they were using to capture and kill animals.
If the Minister does not have any intention of banning those kinds of things, nor the electrical devices, why is the word there if there is no great problem that this is being brought forward to solve? Usually, legislation is made to solve a current problem. We do not make a lot of legislation for problems that just might happen, although there are some legislators who like to do that. I am not a strong proponent for that type of legislation. Perhaps the Minister might take that into consideration when he explains the terminology.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister suggested that something could happen 15 to 20 years from now. I suggest we leave it to those legislators when they amend the act at that time, not amend it now for 15 years from now.
Clause 1 stood over
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is my understanding that we have stood over clause 1 for further explanation. On that note, I move that you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Chair: Does the Committee want to have a break? We will take a five minute break?
Chair: I will call Committee back to order.
It is my understanding that we are going back to Bill No. 66.
Bill No. 66 - Pesticides Control Act - continued
On Clause 1
Hon. Mr. Webster: In raising the concern, the Members opposite are focussing on the banning aspects contained in the regulations. Some things under the definition of pesticides will be banned outright. There will be a number of things set out in the regulations that will be permitted for use in a controlled situation. An example here is electronic devices. They will not be banned, but the regulations will stress that these should be used in a controlled situation. For example, they should be kept out of the reach of children. They should not be used around a swimming pool, et cetera, or anywhere where they could be knocked over. That is the explanation I am offering to the Members. That is why it is included here in the definitions.
Mr. Lang: I have never come across this electrical device that the Minister is referring to. I gather this clears the whole area of mosquitoes. Maybe we should use it in Old Crow. It may be an answer to some of the problems experienced there in the summertime. You might have to carry a generator along for power, but that would be all right. Could the Minister be more specific? I do not understand this. I have never been exposed to this. The Minister has not given us an example. Are there people here with electrical devices to attract insects?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, they are in use in the Yukon. I have seen them in the Yukon. It is a device that emanates a blue light at 110 volts. It attracts insects larger than mosquitoes and it zaps them.
Mrs. Firth: The point I want to make is if the Minister had provided regulations, we could see what the intention is. I am still not in total agreement with the term device being there, but we could then see what he is going to be referring to as devices, and I would not have had to ask the question about the snares. When the Minister brings a bill to the Legislature that is going to impose new laws upon Yukoners, it is incumbent to bring a complete bill with the regulations attached. That is what we had did in the past with the Human Rights Act, and lottery licensing regulations and so on.
I would ask the Minister to get the draft regulations done up as soon as possible and make them available to us as well as the rest of the public so that we know the governments intentions are positive and there is not something being kept from us that the public should be made aware of.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have already made a commitment to provide Members opposite with a copy of the draft regulations as soon as it is available.
Clause 1 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that you report Bill No. 66 without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: We will move to Bill No. 3, the Hospital Act.
Bill No. 3 - Hospital Act
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I described in second reading, the purpose of this bill is to establish in law a hospital corporation and a hospital board to which the federally-operated hospital in Whitehorse can be transferred, and for whom the employees of that hospital, when they come to work for the people of the Yukon, can work. As I explained the other day, we are doing this to provide for independent governance of the hospital, but also to facilitate the transfer in that the employees will be able to go, upon passage of this act, directly to work for a hospital corporation rather than first coming to work for the Yukon government and then us having to do a subsequent transfer. We believe that the passage of this bill and the incorporation of the hospital and the creation of a board of trustees will facilitate the transfer process.
Mr. Nordling: As the Minister said at second reading, this is a fairly simple piece of legislation in that it is, and then he said, fairly straightforward in its purpose. I would like to know if there is some twist that we should know about that makes it something other than straightforward. I would like to hear about that. I would like to know if the act is based on provincial legislation and, if it is, what legislation it is based on.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are no hidden twists or turns in this legislation. This is based on the conventional Canadian model of hospital administration. It is not specifically based, but is informed by the legislation in a number of provinces. I believe that at an early stage in the drafting we received some advice from a technical draftsperson who had experience in the Province of British Columbia in the drafting of such legislation there.
Mr. Nordling: The other question I have has been discussed at length with respect to other bills. This act also provides for the making of regulations, and I am wondering if the regulations have been drafted to go with this act. The Minister seemed to imply it was very urgent the other day and the implication was even there that the act would solve the crisis in health care costs.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If I indicated that this act by itself would solve the crisis in health care costs I must have misspoke myself because that certainly would not be the case.
Some of the regulations that the Minister has the power to make here are regulations that are already in effect in a number of areas. I do not want to leap ahead to the regulations section, but the regulations that will govern the granting mechanism, for example, for the operation and maintenance grants already exist under the health legislation: the Health Care Insurance Plan Act and the Hospital Insurance Services Act. There are some regulations regarding capital equipment and capital construction, which are not yet written. I am quite happy to share them with the Members of the House when they are drafted.
The most important regulations that will operate for this corporation will be the bylaws, which will be written actually by the board or the corporation itself and will have to be approved by the government. They will be the ones that will be the most pertinent rules by which the corporation will operate.
Mr. Nordling: No, I do not want to jump ahead to the regulation section and I am aware of the bylaws that will be written. My question was with respect to the principle of tabling draft regulations with the act. It is not being done again. I just wondered if that policy has gone completely out the window.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry, I am not sure that I heard the question correctly. The Member indicated that the government had made a commitment to always table regulations. I think our predecessor, the Minister of Justice, had indicated that it was a good idea to do that and, when it is possible, it is obviously a good thing. I have no problem, in principle, before a bill is proclaimed, in sending regulations to the Statutory Instruments Committee for review. That is not a problem. I think that most of the regulations that operate, at least in the period to which we will be immediately looking upon transfer, are covered in the bill, as I mentioned already. We will have to have some other regulations and I have no trouble making them available to Members as soon as they are in draft form.
Mr. Nordling: The other question I would like to ask the Minister is: other than the technical assistance received from the Province of British Columbia, who else was consulted with respect to the drafting of the Hospital Act?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Mainly, this was an internal consultation. We talked in a very general way to the employee representatives, but in the nature of this legislation, which was an act to incorporate a hospital board, we decided to make the structure of the board consistent with the model that we had adopted under the College Act. This is an act to provide for the structure of the board and the corporation. We did not deem it appropriate and necessary, given that this is an essential feature for the negotiation process on the transfer, to get into the kind of consultation that we will about a more comprehensive piece of legislation, namely the Health Act.
Mr. Nordling: People who work at the hospital and will be affected by this have commented that they are in favour of the purpose of the act, in that the governance of the Whitehorse General Hospital be done by a board. Were they also given a copy of a draft of this act to look at?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, the principal mechanism under which we are dealing with the employees and their representatives is through the process of a memorandum of understanding of the terms and conditions of employment surrounding the transfer. The Member will understand the complexity of this. We have kept them apprised of our intentions in respect to the creation of a board and our intention with respect to the representation the staff and medical professionals will have on such a board. I believe I have also indicated in meetings I have have had with staff people that it was also our intention, from the beginning, to have broad-based community representation, such as is provided in this bill.
Chair: If there is no further general debate, we will proceed with clause-by-clause.
On Clause 1
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is very straightforward, in that it establishes the Yukon Hospital Corporation and indicates that it will have a board of trustees, which will be appointed as the act says, in accordance with a later section.
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, this is a commendably clear section in the sense it simply says that the objects of the corporation are to provide hospital and medical services to meet the needs of the people in the territory. That is almost as simple a statement of the purpose as we could probably get.
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Mr. Nordling: With respect to clause 3, I would like to hear if, when we look at hospital acts from other provinces, we would see very similar powers and direction for obtaining the objects of the corporation and whether the provision with respect to making bylaws is consistent with provincial acts and the fact that the corporation is a charitable organization.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In respect to the first part, the Member will understand that one of the most sensitive areas hospital boards have to deal with is the right to allow or disallow hospital privileges to physicians. The Member will know from discussions in this community over a great number of years, that have sometimes been the source of debate in the medical fraternity and among the people who were responsible for governing the hospital that usually, and this is consistent with general practices in the country, the mechanism is that medical bylaws will create a privileges committee that will make recommendations to the board, based on qualifications, training and experience. These recommendations will be accepted or rejected by the board. Again, as in common with Canadian practice, the physician will have the right to appeal to the board if he or she disagrees with the decision.
In respect to the registered charity, it is important to realize that, in most parts of Canada, hospitals are in receipt of private gifts or private bequests from time to time. It is not inconceivable that one could imagine the Willard Phelps Cardiology Centre or the Alan Nordling Maternity Ward. People do make gifts to hospitals and establish sections, and it is quite common for hospital boards to be able to accept gifts and be able to issue a tax receipt that gives maximum tax advantage to the donor.
Mr. Nordling: Clause 3(3) is about the board of trustees making bylaws and the bylaws not coming into force without the approval of the Minister - as we have not had this act for very long, I have not had much time to compare it to the provincial acts. Is this the standard system?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Where it is not, it is likely to become so. In Ontario, there is a major problem that was identified in a number of public speeches by the Minister of Health and the Premier about the kind of situation that can occur when a hospital, on its own hook, will decide to acquire an expensive piece of equipment, or technical facilities, or a program that may incur huge costs for the province. I think I was told of a decision by a community hospital somewhere in a small town in Ontario to hire an orthopedic surgeon, which meant hundreds of thousands of dollars in new billings for the province.
As the problem of costs gets worse and they have overall responsibility for health policy matters, most provinces take the view that it is essential that they have the ability to approve or disapprove bylaws.
The Member may also be aware that there are issues of great sensitivity in terms of public policy, namely ones around reproductive rights, and some of those health issues where governments may properly wish to approve or disapprove a policy established by a board in this area.
Mr. Nordling: If the Minister has notes I would appreciate hearing them.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have already told the Member what I can tell him without simply repeating myself.
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Clause 4 sets up the representation of the board. The Member, in second reading debate, mentioned the chief executive officer. I indicated to him that rather than use the term president here, which would be unusual in Canadian terms, we would be sticking to the norm by using the chief executive officer. It is proposed that that person be on the board. The other 12 members of the board come from various groups that shall submit nominees. Among that group of 12, it is the stated objective of the government to achieve general parity between rural and urban representation, representation by both the City of Whitehorse and rural municipalities, First Nations, representation by the medical staff and from the non-medical staff, as well as the public at large. The representation from the public service might well be a senior officer of the government who would be there in terms of the financial relationship with the Government of the Yukon, or it might be a senior official with the Department of Health.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask what medical staff means in this clause. It says that one member will be chosen from persons nominated by the medical staff of the corporation. Is that restricted just to doctors?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes. Likewise the next clause, which is persons nominated from non-medical staff, by the customary definition would be nurses or other employees who would nominate another board member.
Mr. Phelps: I am just curious about Clause 4(1). How do you select the community that is going to make the nominations for the First Nation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think what the Member has done is stumble on the same concern that I had about the particular language here though I was advised by extremely high-priced legal help in the department that it did not mean what I had read it to mean, which was that nominations were restricted to one First Nation and one municipality.
Since the Leader of the Official Opposition appears to share my concern on this, what I would like to do, if he is agreeable, is make it more clear in the English, if not according to law, that it is in fact the several First Nations and the several municipalities from whom we shall seek nominations, not just one from among many. If we could stand over clauses 4(1)(a) and (b), I would like to come back this evening with language that makes that clear.
Mrs. Firth: When the Minister is looking at that, I think that I would consider nurses as medical staff. I do not know why the terminology has lumped them in as non-medical staff. I wonder if the Minister responsible could have a look at that also. I would like to know what the reasoning is for giving nurses the description of being non-medical and other staff.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We were advised by health-care professionals that this was the convention. It was the intention that, under (e), we would have a nomination from the doctors, and, under (f), in all likelihood, there would be a nomination from the nurses. I will have the conventions and definitions checked over the supper hour. If the Member would like it to be more precise in (f) that we are referring to nurses or other or non-medical staff of the corporation in order that both doctors and other people working in the hospital can be represented, I would be happy to do that.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to see the doctors and the nurses and the non-medical staff have representation. I would not like to see the doctors have representation without the nurses. I have a concern about the term non-medical meaning nurses and other non-medical.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am reluctant to create three categories of staff who will be represented on the board. The intention was that doctors would have representation and the nurses or the other people working in the hospital would also have representation. This was the decision approved by Cabinet, after some discussion of balancing the interests represented.
Mr. Nordling: What other employees are included as non-medical staff, besides the nurses? Do we include every single employee of the corporation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We had in mind lab technicians, dietitians, x-ray technicians and those of other technical skills that will be increasingly represented in hospitals over the next decade.
Mr. Nordling: Is it nurses and other technical staff?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are assuming that the employees, as a group, would put forth nominations. Employees of the hospital may put forward people who are janitors or nursing assistants as their representatives; that is contemplated here.
Mr. Nordling: We are not talking about the person being nominated. We are talking about the people who do the nominating. Is the Minister saying that the doctors will nominate one board member and every other employee of the corporation gets to nominate one board member; every other employee being secretarial, nursing, x-ray technician, et cetera?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, the doctors would have a representative on the board and the other employees would have a representative on the board.
Mr. Nordling: Were the employees at the hospital consulted with respect to these two definitions?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The definitions were the conventional definitions used in this field. We will check this during the supper hour.
Mr. Nordling: With respect to 4(4), we are talking about terms not exceeding three years and may be reappointed...
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The belief here was that members can be reappointed, but that, assuming it takes a certain amount of time for members on boards to feel really comfortable and confident in making their decisions, the term of three years is considered an appropriate one to provide the continuity and level of experience you want on a board. The ability to reappoint gives the government the ability to take advantage of that.
Mr. Nordling: With respect to 4(5), is there anywhere in the act I have missed where a quorum is necessary for the board to act?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand the convention that I am told we no longer have to write in law is that half the board, or 50 percent plus one, of the majority of the board who are entitled to sit constitutes a quorum. I am not sure if that is the legal language. Fifty percent plus one of the members in good standing constitutes a quorum on such boards.
Mr. Nordling: Is it also conventional that the Minister designates the chair of the board rather than the board choosing its own person.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have provided for both possibilities in this act, I believe. We have provided initially for the Minister to make the appointment and, I think, the ability for the board to do that itself as it evolves.
It is our intention that at some future date we may either change the act or invite nominations from the board in order to then nominate a person to be chair, through the Cabinet.
Mr. Nordling: Is this the same concern being expressed that the Minister of Education had with the college board, that he should appoint a board, but for the first couple of years they would not be able to handle the job so he would do it himself until he was satisfied they could do it?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are told by people elsewhere in other jurisdictions where new hospitals have been created that the responsibilities of the board are quite serious. In many cases, the need to train a board or to provide the board with advice or a transition period is absolutely essential in order that board members feel comfortable with the assumption of their duties, particularly lay people or citizens who are serving this responsibility.
Chair: Order please, the time now being 5:30 p.m. the Committee will now recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
We are dealing with Clause 4(6) of the Hospital Act.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have, in respect to the clauses we stood over, drafted two amendments which, if we can get sufficient copies, I will introduce after we have gone through the bill. I am giving all Members notice of those amendments.
We were on 4(6). It reads, The Minister may designate one of the members to be the chair of the board and the members of the board may designate one or more of their number to be a vice-chair of the board. As I was saying, this does leave open the possibility that the board may, with the agreement of the Minister-of-the-day or the future, wish to nominate someone to the chair and the Minister may wish to accede to that nomination.
Mr. Nordling: Perhaps the Minister could give us a little bit more background about why the Minister wants to choose the chair of the board to begin with and maybe change later?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot anticipate what a future Minister might do. Appropriately, the Minister-of-the-day may want to designate, from among the board members, the person he or she deems to be the person with the necessary leadership qualities. Especially with a new board, the person should be able to help the board achieve its potential and communicate effectively, when necessary, with the Minister and the government-of-the-day. He or she should also be able to work with his or her colleagues on the board and the chief executive officer.
Mr. Nordling: Is the Minister saying that once the board is selected, the Minister does not trust the board or its abilities to choose its own chairman with leadership qualities and ability to deal with the government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I am saying that we are doing this consistent with every other law in the Yukon Territory which prescribes for the government to nominate or appoint the chair.
Clause 4 stood over
On Clause 5
Mrs. Firth: What is the relationship between the chief executive officer and the positions that are presently held at the hospital? Is this going to parallel the executive directors job?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Because the hospital would be coming under local administration, this chief executive officer would supervise all the positions that are presently in the hospital, in addition to working with the board and being representative of the board. Much of the direction of the hospital nowadays comes from Ottawa according to policies that are laid down by the federal department and established in Ottawa. The person in this chief executive officer function would be between the board and the staff of the hospital and be transmitting that policy direction from a board to the hospital, rather than from people who are in the bureaucracy of the Department of National Health and Welfare.
Mrs. Firth: I understand the part about the local responsibility. They have an executive director at the hospital now. Is this going to be the same position? The executive director does all those things the Minister has mentioned. Under what the duties are going to be, I see how they are going to work under the direction of the board, but is it going to be the same as the position of executive director or administrator of the hospital?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, the position would not be the same. The executive director reports now to the regional director. In this model, the person who is the executive director, or the incumbent in the executive directors position, would report to the chief executive officer in this structure, instead of the regional director of National Health and Welfare.
Mrs. Firth: So, this is going to be a new position within the hierarchy. Perhaps the Minister could give us an organizational chart of how he sees this new structure working. Then I would have a better understanding of who is going to report to whom and what the reporting authority is going to be. People who are presently employed, both at the federal and territorial level, would understand what the governments intentions are when it comes to reporting authority.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is our view that the actual structure and the organization of the hospital would, in the end, be a decision of the board upon the recommendation of the new chief executive officer. What I could do, since it is established, is provide the Member with a job description of the chief executive officer, since that has already been prepared.
Mrs. Firth: That would help, and I would like to have that as soon as I could. I think the government must have some idea of how this whole structure is going to come together. I think it is important to get, in the form of an organizational chart, the basis of reporting of authority. I do not see how they could make this decision without having some idea about who is going to report to whom?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot, in great detail, tell the Member how the hospital will organize once it is under the governance of the board, but this we know according to this act: there will be a board of trustees lead by a chair; the chief executive officer will be the top person of the paid staff of the hospital and will report to the board; the administration of the hospital - the department heads and so forth - will report in an organizational chart to that chief executive officer.
We could certainly provide, I suppose, a memorandum to the Member describing those basic elements of the structure. I do not think we would be in a position to say definitively - we would, to some extent, be speculating - what actual organization the board would eventually approve for all the workings of the hospital because it would be our view that that would be their decision.
Mrs. Firth: Surely the Minister must be able to give me a schematic drawing of the reporting authorities. From what he has said just now, I was making my own schematic drawing as to who reports to whom, and it goes around in an unusual circle. He has the CEO at the top, then the board, then out from the board comes the chair; the department heads are going to report to the CEO and that goes back around to the CEO. There has to be some kind of logic. I am not asking for anything complicated - just an organizational chart of how the Minister sees this organization working and what the reporting authorities are going to be.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can only tell the Member that the structure that I picture is quite a conventional one. It certainly is the case in every hospital my father worked at. There was a pyramidal structure with a chief executive officer, in some cases called the hospital administrator, at the top. That is the administrative pyramid. The chief executive officer reports to a board. The board is led by a chair. Then there is a reporting relationship provided in this act from the board to the Minister and a financial relationship between the board and the government through the Minister. It is a fairly conventional structure in terms of the governance of hospitals in this country.
I am sure the Member will understand that when you get to the actual arrangements in the hierarchy between departmental organization, although I would not anticipate anything unusual, it is our view that that would be for the chief executive officer to recommend and for the board to approve.
Mrs. Firth: I am prepared to accept whatever pyramidal organizational structure the Minister can present to us to indicate that there is some reporting structure. So, if he has some idea in his mind of what it is, surely his department has drawn up some kind of structure and he can present it to us in the House when he gives us the job description.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can certainly provide the Minister within a day or so with a schematic for what I have described, which is prescribed for in this act as a hierarchy of administration of the hospital led by a chief executive officer reporting to a board, and a relationship between the board and a Minister representing the government. We can certainly do that.
Mrs. Firth: Will clause 5(1) be elaborated on in the job description of the chief executive officer, because when I read this clause, it sounds like almost a totally encompassing job, as if this person is going to run everything?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Well, the person will be responsible for these functions, but obviously will not carry them out himself. I can certainly assure the Members question would indeed be answered to a great extent by the job description I promised her.
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The particular language of clause 8 is designed to make sure that, for the purposes of labour relations, the corporation is arms-length from the government. In other words, it can have a separate collective agreement with its employees from the collective agreement that the Government of Yukon has with its employees. It may have a separate bargaining certificate and the provisions of the two agreements could in some respects be different.
This, of course, is designed to simplify the employee transfer from the federal government to us and it frees the hospital from certain features of the Financial Administration Act, although it is specifically provided that the Languages Act passed by this Legislature shall apply notwithstanding the fact that this will not be an institution of the Government of Yukon within the meaning of that act.
Clause 8 agreed to
On Clause 9
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, while not being an institution of the Government of Yukon, two things are expressly provided here in clause 9. One is that section 14 of the Human Rights Act refers to equal pay for work of equal value, and it is proposed that that will apply to the hospital corporation. Part 2 is that the Financial Administration Act does not apply to the corporation. The reason for that is that if it did, all the revenues the hospital took in would have to come into the consolidated general revenue fund. As the Member notes elsewhere in this act, we have provided for the fact the hospital can keep its surplus, if it acquires any. The reason for that is that the experience of hospital administration everywhere else in the country has been that, if you do not allow the hospitals to keep any operating surplus, they do not have an incentive to operate in such a way that they have a net surplus at the end of the year. What happens is that they tend to run deficits, which the governments are required to fund, rather than the hospital having to finance. The advice we have had from everywhere is that measure of financial autonomy for the hospital corporation is necessary to achieve the high standards of financial management in the hospital.
Clause 9 agreed to
On Clause 10
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This simply provides that there shall be an auditor and there shall be an annual audit, and that the auditor shall be appointed by the board of trustees. This is the same language as is in the College Act. Under the College Act, I believe the board has decided to use the Auditor General of Canada, the same as all the other agencies of the government.
Clause 10 agreed to
On Clause 11
Mr. Nordling: Is there any reason for the six months in clause 11(2)? I seem to recall the Yukon Development Corporation has to have their financial statements to the Minister by the end of June, which is three months after the end of their fiscal year.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: For some organizations, that has proved more difficult than others. Given that we have had some problems with hospitals in even getting a final accounting many months after the fact - in some cases a year after the fact, we have not always had the final accounting - we were trying to be conservative here, in the best sense of the word, by suggesting that six months was a reasonable time, given that experience so far indicates the three months would just guarantee us frustration.
Mr. Nordling: I hope this is not an indication of the Minister slackening his will to tackle the crisis in health care costs.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, my will is still taut.
Clause 11 agreed to
On Clause 12
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It has been suggested by experience in other jurisdictions that it is a good idea in terms of public accessibility, that a board or an entity like this should hold at least one meeting a year in public to allow direct public access by citizens to the board and allow them to ask questions about the operations and procedures of the hospital, rather than would happen otherwise by putting questions to Ministers and MLAs and getting the questions indirectly. This annual public meeting would allow for them to ask questions of the board directly.
Clause 12 agreed to
On Clause 13
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Sometimes entities such as municipalities get into trouble and there is a requirement that an administrator be appointed. One would hope that will never be the case, but it is provided for in this act.
Mr. Nordling: Who makes the determination that the board of trustees is failing to direct the programs and activities in accordance with the act? Will it be the Commissioner and Executive Council?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Ultimately, yes. This can be triggered by a number of things. For example under the Municipal Act, a citizen could go to court to find the council technically in default or in violation of an act. Another example is the financial insolvency of the corporation. A number of events could trigger it. One hopes that this would be an extremely rare occurrence but one must provide for this possibility in law.
Clause 13 agreed to
On Clause 14
Clause 14 agreed to
On Clause 15
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This simply requires that insurance must be maintained. This will be estimated by consulting with the Canadian Hospital Association or a provincial hospital association to determine the appropriate amounts of coverage.
Clause 15 agreed to
On Clause 16
Mr. Nordling: Would the Minister review the clause so that we know a little more about the bylaws.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The point is to establish legally binding bylaws. Of course, violation does not necessary lead to prosecution. It does provide for reprimands, punishment or dismissal from the employment office for violation under the bylaws of the hospital.
Mr. Nordling: Do we know any more about it? Is this a standard clause? Is it an offence in British Columbia to violate a bylaw?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is a standard provision. I was describing earlier the process by which doctors had privileges, or otherwise, in a hospital. A hospital, having granted privileges, may remove them according to its bylaws. The bylaws also exist to ensure proper procedures are observed in the hospital according to the norms. There are at least employment penalties for people who do not observe them.
Clause 16 agreed to
On Clause 17
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This section enables the Government of Yukon to make regulations governing the transfer of programs and resources to the corporation. It is conceivable that once the hospital is transferred and a new plant is built, some programs now carried out by the government might be better delivered from the hospital.
Clause 17 agreed to
On Clause 18
Mr. Nordling: I was just going to make comments about it being the same as the college board and wondering whether there would be an interim board and, if so, for how long it would be appointed.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The notion about an interim board is to allow a board to be appointed during a period where there might not be a full board to deal with the transfer. We would want to have a board in place at the time of negotiations. It quite likely would not be the full 12 or 13 member board that is contemplated in the act when it is fully operating. We want to allow the transfer to take place. We want to allow a training period for the board and the same - perhaps not exactly the same steps - kind of transition period allowed for this board as for the college board before it was fully operating. In an ideal circumstance, we would not only have the program transferred to us but the resources to build a new hospital. We would make the board and CEO responsible for the construction of the new hospital. Once it was commissioned, the new board, fully off and running, would take responsibility for governing that hospital, as it was fully in operation.
Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister then envision appointing an interim board upon completion of the hospital transfer? Are we going to wait until a transfer is complete before we start setting up a board or organizing?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry, Madam Chair, I am not explaining myself well. It will be necessary, upon passage of this act, to appoint an interim board, so that we can complete the transfer negotiations, because it is the employees and the arrangements for the hospital that will be transferred to this corporate entity, rather than to us and then to the board. In other words, we want to have a functioning board in order to be able to transfer the hospital to its care.
Mr. Nordling: I do not see a problem with appointing the board, pursuant to section 4, in the near future. I do not see that the transfer is going to happen in the next few weeks. I do not know why the Minister cannot go ahead and appoint a board under section 4 and not use this section.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As a purely practical proposition, it is the Government of Yukon who is conducting the negotiations for the transfer, not a new board. I think that if we had the full board, the new board, without any chance to become acquainted with the issues, without any staff operating to conduct the transfer, I think that would complicate issues enormously. I think you have got to have a smooth transition here. I do not think appointing the full board and having them responsible for the transfer negotiations would work, frankly.
Mr. Nordling: What does the Minister envision, then? A board that is not made up of the full 12 or 13 members that really does not have any power?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would envision a board that is not composed of all the members and it would not have all the powers, as we explained earlier. Like the college board, we would want to have an evolutionary situation, where the board would move to the assumption of its full powers. We want to have the corporate entity clearly established, though, so that the transfer can take place to this new body.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to hear a little bit more from the Minister as to what the plans are. I would like to know when he envisions this interim board being set up and whether he does envision that the interim board be in place for two years after a transfer was made, as was done at Yukon College.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot speak to the exact period; especially until we know the timetable for the completion of the transfer, it is very hard to be precise about this. Let us say we had an agreement from the federal government on acceptable terms to us. In other words they agreed to a stage 1 transfer, they agreed to a commitment to the dollars. It would be our view then to immediately appoint a chief executive officer who could then be responsible for administratively running the hospital program. That person would be appointed to the board. We are handling the negotiations for the deputy minister, and you remember the board allows for two public service people. We would probably appoint those two public service people to the board to allow ourselves to complete the negotiations. We may well seek nominations from some of the other represented groups, but it would be a mistake, I think, to create the whole board instantly before the employees, who would have to be given six months notice, came over to us. There would be a period of time in which some plans were made about construction of the new hospital while operating the old. The government is going to be intimately involved in those decisions about the construction of the new hospital. It is not a reasonable charge for a new board to be given responsibility for a $44 million capital project.
There has to be a transition phase during which the board would assume progressively more and more responsibilities, and we would appoint a full board at an appropriate stage in that transition.
Mr. Nordling: I understand that we will not be setting up an interim board that will be in waiting. We will have some sort of agreement with the federal government on at least a stage 1 transfer before the interim board is established?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We could have an agreement with the federal government that would cause us to establish an interim board so that that corporate entity could have the hospital program transferred to it. The corporate entity would have to be activated. I do not know the legal term, but it would have to have life. The lawyers can help me - what do you actually do when you turn a corporation on? It is not a switch, but at some point it exists. I suppose, upon the proclamation of this act, we would have to make some appointments. Baptism has been suggested by my colleague. Assuming at that point we had a chief executive officer recruited - that would be one of the first appointments of the board - we would probably have the public officials appointed and other board members, as was recommended in terms of the actual schedule of transfer.
Mr. Nordling: It is clear that, as soon as the act is passed, we are not going to appoint an interim board that will wait for negotiations to come to such a stage where we can make the transfer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The transfer negotiations will be conducted between the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada, and the board will be activated as a result of an agreement on that transfer.
Mrs. Firth: When the Minister describes this, he obviously has a picture in his mind of how it is going to work. I would like to see it on paper to see if it is consistent with what I am requesting about the reporting authorities. It is very difficult for us to grasp the concept of what the Minister sees as time lines and proposals of when the interim board would be appointed, and what its responsibilities would be. I would like a commitment from the Minister to get that visual image on paper so all Members of the Legislature can have it and have a better understanding of exactly what the Minister has in mind.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would be quite happy to provide a flow chart of how we see the transition happening if the Member would give me a few days. Of course, I cannot fix the trigger dates, because they are dependent upon the actual health transfer payment.
Mrs. Firth: That is fine. I would just like to see the plan and see what the flow chart is and what the Minister is anticipating so that we have some idea of how it is going to work. I have some concerns, as my colleague for Porter Creek West does, about the interim board, because when we asked the Minister of Education the exact same questions about the Yukon College board, we were given similar answers. Then after the House was no longer sitting, we found the interim board had been appointed, and it was a very small group that hired the president of the college. I believe it was the Minister of Education and the Government Leader and the public service commissioner. The Minister of Health has told us that they would be appointing a chief executive officer immediately so it would not be the board who would make the choice as the legislation says. We could be in the same position as Yukon College is now where they had hired a president and then some time before his term had expired, they no longer had a president.
I would like some reassurance from the Minister that we get a flow chart. I would like to ask some further questions about the hiring of the chief executive officer, if I could, after the Minister answers my questions.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, we can provide that flow chart. Just let me indicate that a chief executive officer would be recruited by this government and retained on a contractual basis, not only to help preside over the construction of a new hospital consistent with the kind of framework we are looking for, but also to help in the establishment and training of the hospital board of trustees.
I think some of the questions about that would be answered in the job description the Member has asked for and would be further elaborated in the flow chart she has also requested.
Mrs. Firth: My other questions are in regard to the hiring of the chief executive officer, who is going to be an interim chief executive officer on a contractual basis, from what the Minister is saying. Who is going to hire that individual and is it going to be advertised? Could we get some detail on that please?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Initially, because of the function I described for the chief executive officer, which would be to help get the board running and also to help supervise the construction of a new hospital, the first chief executive officer would be recruited and hired by us. I think we would probably draw up a contract for a certain period of time. Once that period of time was up, it would be the boards decision about what would happen from there in terms of whether they wanted to retain that person or recruit someone else. It would be their decision.
Mrs. Firth: I would like the Minister to tell us what us means. In the context of the president of Yukon College being hired, it was the Minister of Education, the Government Leader and the public service commissioner. What does it mean in this context?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It would be the Government of Yukon, I think, more expressly. Not me, the Minister, but the Department of Health and Human Resources. We would actually complete a recruitment action at a propitious time in the transfer negotiations.
Mrs. Firth: Why would it be the department that would do that? Granted, I had some concerns about the three individuals who hired the college president without the boards approbation or consultation. I do not know why it would be the department that would do that hiring in this circumstance. It is going to require a very competent and broad-skilled individual to do this kind of job. I can see the whole transfer and the direction the hospital is going to take being dependent upon the kind of individual that is hired.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member is quite right about the kind of qualities that would be needed in a chief executive officer. With respect, it is somewhat of a chicken and egg problem here. It is not a reasonable proposition to expect a lay board, who have no experience in these matters, necessarily, to immediately come in and assume all the responsibilities for the program overnight. The experience everywhere in the country where that has been tried has proved to be wanting. Part of the way we see of assuring a smooth transition from federal control to local administration is in the recruitment of a first class professional experienced in the field, who would help advise a board in terms of the establishment of their procedures and bylaws, help participate in the training of the board and also bring the kind of experience to bear that would enable us to professionally and properly preside over the construction of a new multi-million-dollar health facility here, something which nobody believes a citizen board can reasonably be expected to do.
Mrs. Firth: No, that is not my concern. I appreciate the board is going to be new and they are going to be lay people and so forth, but the Minister has said it is going to be the Department of Health and Human Resources that does the hiring. What about all those people at the hospital who have expertise and knowledge about what kind of an individual should be hired, or what exactly is going to be involved in the job - right up to the regional director, the executive director of the hospital, the administrator of the hospital, director of nursing, chief of the staff of the medical doctors? What about the Minister? Although I know the capabilities of the Department of Health and Human Resources are extremely high and that there are a lot of knowledgeable people in that department, they have not run a hospital before. I would like the Minister to give some clarification of that.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry if I have been communicating poorly, if the Member has misunderstood me. I may not have explained it well. When I say the department is going to be doing it, especially if we negotiate a contract, they are not going to be doing it in isolation without the benefit of the advice of the people who are now in the operation. I should tell the Member that, in terms of the deliberations we have had with the federal government, the regional director has been fully involved in the process we have been talking about and would be fully involved in the recruitment of this person. Ultimately, and this is where we have an important agreement with the federal government, the understanding on the transfer is that rather than them recruiting such a person - in terms of their jurisdictional mandate, they are agreeable to the notion - at the right point in the negotiations we recruit a chief executive officer in consultation with them, a skilled professional. This person will be working for the people of the Yukon, following the transfer, rather than the federal government. In other words, instead of them making the choice, we make the choice, but we do so in consultation with them.
Mrs. Firth: Now, it is the Department of Health and Human Resources in consultation with the federal government regional director. Will anybody else be involved in that consultation process?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As to exactly who might be on a recruitment panel, I frankly have not thought about that matter. We are not at that point yet. When we have recruited some senior positions of that kind, it has been the practice of this government to have interest group representation of various kinds on the interview panel. That is something we would actively consider at the time we came to make such a decision.
I would welcome the Members suggestions about who might be included in such an interview panel. From our point of view, one of the people who would almost certainly be involved, since he would be initially an employee of the people of the Yukon until we get the board and the new hospital up and running, is the regional director or a representative of the federal government, someone like the regional director, on the panel. There may be other interests that we would want to have represented there, as well.
Mrs. Firth: I am not talking about some interest group that happens to come along wanting some input. I am talking about the people with expertise at Whitehorse General Hospital now. I would recommend to the Minister that he strongly examine the expertise there now. There are many people who could have valuable input. If they are all going to be working with us one day, we should be examining that now. We should not let that slip by.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Maybe I am being particularly obtuse, but I do not understand the point the Member is making. If the Member is asking if we would entertain applicants for this position from incumbents of the administration, we certainly would. If the Member is suggesting we do more than involve the present administration of the hospital or the health program in the territory in the interview or the recruitment process, we certainly would invite people from the administration of the present hospital to apply for any position with us. We would include a senior person from that administration in the hiring panel because that is the most significant part of the recruitment process. I am not sure, beyond that, what she is recommending to me.
Mrs. Firth: Surely, I do not have to tell this government how to consult. They claim to be the people who do the consulting. You could ask opinions from people at the hospital. That is all I am saying. If this government is going to hire this chief executive officer, surely they are not going to do it in complete isolation from everyone that is working at the hospital in the administrative areas now. Surely, someone is going to ask if there are any particular things we should be looking for, or are there any particular management capabilities they should have for this size of hospital, and so on? There could be a hundred questions that could be asked to get some input as to the qualifications and qualities that the individual who is going to be hired is going to need.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure that was done at the level of drafting the job description of the person in question. Believe me, throughout the process, this has not been done isolation by our department. We have been in constant dialogue with the federal people and the senior management of the health program in the Yukon about all these arrangements. Notwithstanding the fact that we are some distance apart on the crunch question of money, there are dozen of areas where we have reached agreement on the health transfer. There are many details about how the transfer will be effected. There has been a continuing dialogue about not only this, but about other matters, between our officials and officials of the federal program.
Mrs. Firth: This is the same issue as when the Yukon College transfer was taking place. All the brass sits around in the boardrooms and has all kinds of discussions, but nobody ever talks to the people involved. That is exactly what happened at Yukon College. Why do we not talk to people at the hospital? What is the harm in that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is not true. I suspect that we have had more discussions and more dialogue with the employees of this hospital with respect to this transfer than has taken place with employees affected by any transfer ever in the history of the government. It is just not true. It is just not the case that we are operating in isolation. Consultation about decisions we have to make about negotiations with the people about whom we are negotiating cannot continue infinitely. There are certain decisions about the policies and procedures that this government wishes to establish and operate. Ultimately, we must make those decisions. When the Member sees the job description of the chief executive officer, it will not contain any surprises in terms of the responsibilities of such a position based on her experience working in the field. There is not anything in that job description that the federal people have not been apprised of or would be surprised about. They have been fully knowledgeable and fully cognizant of it, and I am sure it has been substantially based on their input and their advice.
Clause 18 agreed to
On Clause 19
Mr. Nordling: With respect to 19(2), it appears to me that it is covered under 20(a) and I wondered if the Member could explain why it seems to be there twice, whether it is for clarity or whether there are different meanings to 19(2) and 20(a)?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I assume it means that, given the entity - a person or a corporation - has been given the approval to operate a hospital, then under clause 20 there may be some rules and regulations that they must follow, having been given that consent. It means the difference between the operating authority and the actual regulations, which may govern such arrangements.
Mr. Nordling: That did not clarify a thing for me. Perhaps the Minister can try again. I do not see the distinction.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: With respect, I think clause 19 describes, broadly, the criteria, and the criteria may include something about the size or type or situation of a hospital, perhaps a mental hospital or some other kind of community hospital, and a certain size or type, according to some national classification. Clause 20 describes the regulations that will follow from that and presumably will be in more detail, rather than the ones referred to in clause 19. I think the Member is obviously noticing that the word criteria occurs in two clauses. I am assuming that it operates something like this: the government of the day may decide that it would like to see certain types of hospitals in certain types of communities. Then, having made that decision, which people, municipalities, or other bodies, such as First Nations, may wish to run or operate, then, in clause 20, there is a regulation power for the Cabinet to make recommendations in furtherance of the objective described in clause 19.
Mrs. Firth: Does that mean that when the extended care facility is built it will be operated by this corporation as well?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, we have not made the decision that it would be operated by that corporation. As the Member knows, there are facilities, such as Macaulay, which have been going through evolution, which we operated directly. I have not had reason to consider whether the model by which Macaulay operates should be changed. It is more our thought at this moment that the extended care facility would be operated closer to that model than to the hospital model.
Now that the Member has raised the possibility of a different model with me, I will think about that.
Clause 19 agreed to
On Clause 20
Clause 20 agreed to
On Clause 21
Clause 21 agreed to
On Clause 22
Clause 22 agreed to
On Clause 4
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move
THAT Bill No. 3, entitled Hospital Act, be amended in clause 4(1)(a) by substituting the expression Yukon First Nations for the expression a Yukon First Nation.
Picking up on the point made by the Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr. Phelps, I do not know what it is about legal history and drafting that requires the previous language. My submission is that the amendment proposed here and the one I am going to propose in 4(1)(b) clarifies the intent of the government in this respect.
Mr. Phelps: I am quite prepared to support the amendment.
Amendment agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move
THAT Bill No. 3, entitled Hospital Act, be amended in clause 4(1)(b) by substituting the expression the councils of municipalities for the expression the council of a municipality.
This is again for the same purposes I indicated in the last amendment.
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Nordling: Before we clear clause 4, I would like to hear a little more from the Government Leader as to how we came up with the fact that there would be 12 board members, as opposed to six or eight. Was it in order to get all this balance in, or is 12 a nice, round number?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Certainly 12 makes it possible to include the range of interests suggested in this model and to achieve the kind of balance proposed here. Seven, five or nine do not give us that possibility.
Mr. Nordling: Is it common for a hospital board to have this sort of representation or is this something new? I see by clause 4(e) that the doctors get to nominate a board member. The other non-medical, the nurses, may not even get their choice on the board. Is it normal for a hospital board to have the board heavily weighted by members of the general public as opposed to members of the medical profession?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, that is the norm and I can tell the Member that the first province to my knowledge that has proposed having a nurse, or non-medical staff representation, on the board - and we checked that term: medical staff refers to physicians with admitting privileges - was Alberta. It did it very recently, and I understand it was an extremely radical proposal. When it was suggested in Nova Scotia, it was similarly greeted as an extremely radical idea.
Mrs. Firth: I want to ask the Minister some questions about the board. I have some concerns about the composition of board and I am sure the Minister has gathered that by now.
I would like to ask him if he considered the option of an elected board as opposed to an appointed board and, if so, what are the reasons for it not being an elected board?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, we considered the possibility of an elected board and we had two very strong reasons for not adopting that approach. One was that we were fairly certain that if we went to an elected hospital board, it would be totally dominated by Whitehorse interests, that we would have a situation similar to the one we now have in municipal council in Whitehorse and have had for a number of years, where one subdivision of the city has most of the aldermen and other areas of the city remain totally unrepresented.
We would like to have a situation that accedes to the fact that two-thirds of the people of the territory live in Whitehorse, but having a board that is made up predominantly of Whitehorse residents would conceivably do a disservice to the rural municipalities and the Indian and aboriginal settlements outside of Whitehorse who have a strong interest in the matter.
The second issue, to be frank, is that we have watched with concern the situation in a number of provinces, including British Columbia, where single issue groups have, in the electoral process of hospital boards, taken over hospital boards and adopted policies in respect to certain matters that may have been even contrary to the public opinion in the area. This frustrated women, for example, in terms of their rights to have access to abortions, and matters such as that.
We felt for those two reasons that a model that allowed the government to appoint a board from nominations from various legitimate groups, including the people working at the hospital, the communities, urban and rural, and ensuring a gender balance and strong aboriginal representation gave us a much more representative board than did the electoral process.
Mrs. Firth: It is interesting that political appointments would be considered a more fair approach than the democratic election approach. I find that quite an interesting concept.
The Minister said that the medical staff represents doctors and the non-medical staff represents positions without admitting privileges, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No. Following the Members inquiry before the supper break, I was advised that the convention in this country is that medical staff refers to physicians with admitting privileges in the hospital. That is covered under clause (e). Clause (f), referring to persons nominated by the non-medical staff of the corporation, would include nurses, technicians and others employed by the hospital.
Mrs. Firth: So there will be no separate representation by nurses. The nurses will not have their own representative on the board, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Given the numbers of the people at the hospital, I think it would be quite likely that a nurse would be represented on the board. If that did not happen as a result of the staff nominations, of course, there could then be a nurse appointed from among the public-at-large representatives if the government wanted to guarantee that.
Mrs. Firth: Has the Minister considered the concept of having neither doctors nor nurses with the voting representative on the board, but instead have the chief of staff of the doctors, and perhaps the director of nursing or a nursing representative on the board, who would be at board meetings but would not have voting privileges. I know that happens in other areas in Canada, and it removes those medical people from any conflicts of interest that may arise from the board having to make decisions about things - like the issue of abortion that the Minister just brought forward.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is nothing to prevent the board deciding that the chief of the medical staff or the director of nursing be present at board meetings. In fact that does happen in many jurisdictions. I know hospitals where there are other people who are invited to attend board meetings. They may have a voice when they are invited, but they certainly do not have a vote.
The notion here is that, by virtue of working in the hospital, the doctors and the other staff have certain entitlement to a voice in the policies of the hospital. If, for example, there was a nurse on the board and the issue before the board was their bargaining position in upcoming collective agreement negotiations, then the convention in this country - and in every other country where this happens - is the person in question would declare a conflict of interest and excuse themselves from those discussions. Likewise would other board members where they had a direct conflict with respect to some matter before the board.
Mrs. Firth: Are those determinations that the government is going to have the board make themselves or will that be set out in regulation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We would be happy to have the board make those for themselves. In terms of the operations of not only most boards, but most corporations, those are well established norms in the operation of such institutions in this country.
Mrs. Firth: The interim board will probably not be having a lot of input into that kind of thing if they are considered an interim board. Is the government going to make regulations under which the interim board will be operating until the new permanent board is put in place and has the ability to modify those regulations?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: My predisposition would be to provide the board with only regulations sufficient to allow it to operate, the minimal. It is the case, though, for any new corporation - the college or any other new body - it does take them a while to develop a body of bylaws or regulations. They may initially borrow some, lock, stock and barrel, from some other institution, or they may adapt them.
I would think that would be principally the work of the chief executive officer: to develop the body of bylaws and regulations for the new hospital board. I would also recognize that would take some time. If there were recommendations from an interim board asking that we approve some minimal bylaws in the meantime, I am sure the government would be more than willing to do so.
I know from experience that it takes quite a long time to develop all the manuals and regulations you would want to have for the operation of an institution like this.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to make one more representation to the Minister. He talked about the Province of Alberta, and he mentioned another province that had made quite a radical move of appointing a nurse to the board. I think that is a wonderful and very progressive step, and I strongly urge the government, through the Minister of Health, to give very strong consideration to doing that. I think the nurses here should have that kind of representation.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I agree with what the Member says and, for me, it would not be a radical step. I mentioned those two jurisdictions. I am not absolutely sure if the proposal went through in either of them. Alberta did but, having talked to the Minister of Health in that province, I know it was done not without some anguish and some discussion.
Chair: We will now have a break.
Clause 4 agreed to as amended
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If we are completed, could I report progress on the bill, or is there wish for further debate?
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that you report Bill No. 3 with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: We will now have a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will now turn to Bill No. 45.
Bill No. 45 - Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act
Chair: Is there further general debate.
Hon. Ms. Joe: When I introduced the bill in the House, I sent some information to the Member for Riverdale South in regard to the amendments to this bill. She has already mentioned it in the House. They were an explanation of each and every amendment that is included in this bill. There was some concern in regard to the lack of consultation. I have also sent her a copy of the list of all the groups and organizations I sent copies of the bill to.
I was not expecting I would hear back from those groups, because I indicated there would be a full review of this act sometime next year. I have received two responses to those letters. One group had indicated it would like to put it on hold, the other had indicated it would like us to proceed with it and were pleased we had sent them the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act.
I am prepared to proceed with it.
On Clause 1
Mrs. Firth: I would just like to ask the Minister some questions about the list of people that the Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act was sent to. On Friday morning I phoned the Ministers department and asked for a copy of the list. I called around 9:00 a.m. I was called back around 11:00 a.m. by the Ministers secretary and told that the list would be in my office at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. I heard nothing further from the department until about 5:00 p.m. in the evening, when I was called at my home and told that the list was available for me. At that time, I asked the individual to just leave the list on my desk in my office, as I was going to be in Saturday morning and would have a look at the list then. The list was a faxed list of people who the amendments had been sent out to. It had been faxed from the deputy minister of Justice, I guess, to the Ministers office here, at 3:50 p.m. of November 24, 1989. Then, I was given a further appendix to that list this morning. It was dropped off to my office.
The Minister told us in the House that she had the list on her desk upstairs. I would like to ask why there was so much commotion and kefuffle to get me this list if she had it right on her desk. Could they not just give it to me off of her desk?
Hon. Ms. Joe: What I had was a list of a group of organizations and there were some that were crossed off and some that were not. It was a computer list and some of the organizations addresses were crossed off and other names were crossed off. I was trying to get a list that could be read. I had asked the department if I could get that list and we knew that there were some additions to it. Some of those additions were included on the list that I had on my desk but it was a very marked-up copy and what I wanted to present to the Member for Riverdale South was one that was retyped, so that it could be read. The problem with the delay, of course, was that the person who had the list was not in that day, and we were unable to locate her. I wanted to make sure that the proper list was handed to the Member for Riverdale South.
Mrs. Firth: I guess that raises the question of whether or not the Minister had the list on her desk. Part of the list I have is typed, probably by a computer, and part of it is printed by hand. Then I had a another memo sent to me and an additional comment that 10 copies went to public affairs.
From what the Minister said in the House, and she was very clear, she said, I have a list that I left upstairs and I will make that list available to the Member. Now she is telling us that she really did not have a list, that there were some names crossed off it, and it was not complete. I want to believe the things the Member says in the House, but she has to be accurate and specific with us.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I indicated to the House that I had a list on my desk and I did. I could have presented that list to her. As I said, it was marked up. The information that we received today with the further groups on it was given to me this morning when the person who had sent out the original copies the day it was tabled in the House had given us more information. That is the reason why she was sent a memo this morning. I believe that with the copy she got on Friday, mention was made that there might be further additions to it.
Mrs. Firth: Who is crossed off the list? She says her copy is all marked up. Did she have people on her list who were crossed off? Did all these people receive the amendments at the same time or were some sent out later than others?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I was trying to explain that the list I had was a computer list and some of the organizations and names were crossed off. I was not exactly sure what it indicated. I was able to find out that some were delivered. I believe where the addresses were crossed off they were delivered. Where the addresses were still on, they were sent through the mail because they could not be delivered. Those marks were on the list I had, and I did not know exactly what they were indicating. I had to find out before the list was sent. That was the confusion.
Mrs. Firth: Did everyone receive the copies at the same time? To clarify for the other Members who do not have the list, the first couple of pages of the list went to all the union representatives, Teamsters, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 310, President of the United Steelworkers of America Local 925, et cetera, et cetera, and toward the end of the list the Tourism Industry Association, Chamber of Mines, Chamber of Commerce, Contractors Association, and then this morning Canamax, Curragh, Faro and the Steelworkers. Were they all sent at the same time, or did the Minister have some sent out after concerns were raised about the consultative process?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The list that I had sent to her office included those groups who were either mailed the bill that day or had the bill delivered to them. There were not any additions after that day. Everything was mailed out the day the bill was tabled in the House.
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us how they arrived at the 10 percent figure in that change?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That was indicated in the information I gave her, and it works out to a pro rata amount of the standard amount. I think that is pretty consistent with other jurisdictions.
Mrs. Firth: Is the 10 percent consistent with other jurisdictions? Why is it not 15 percent, or five percent?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Ten percent would give eight hours to a person who worked full-time, and 10 percent for a person who worked two hours part-time.
After much review and study of these amendments, I find that the explanation I am being given is very confusing. If you will bear with me for a minute, the information I am being given is that a person working full-time, eight hours a day, would receive eight hours pay for general holiday. A person working part-time, for 10 hours a week, should receive two hours, which is 10 percent of what they earn in the two weeks before the holiday.
Mrs. Firth: I want to express a concern that when we are changing laws we should understand the concept of what we are doing. That the Minister would bring an amendment in and not understand the concept of it is a concern for me. I hope the Minister does not take my criticism unkindly, but I think that is a dangerous predicament for Yukon people to be in.
I take this very seriously, and I know Yukoners take it very seriously when laws are being changed. The Minister should have a full understanding of what she is doing when she is changing laws.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do take what she is saying very seriously. There are some things that are included in amendments that are very easy to understand and, as I said, I did not come in here with something I had not really spent a lot of time on. I did, and I apologize for the problem I have given the Member. I am hoping she will understand what it was that I was trying to state.
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Mrs. Firth: There is no explanation for this change. Could the Minister tell us why they have made this change?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Section 33 of the act sets out the three conditions an employee must meet to qualify for general holiday pay and this change simplifies the introductory wording of this section...
I am sorry, are we on Clause 6? On Clause 6, I believe that when I looked at the existing act, there was a section that was numbered incorrectly.
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Mrs. Firth: I understand from the explanation that it is a housekeeping amendment, but if it is a terminology change, what is the big reason we had to have it? Was it causing confusion? Why did we have to do it? I understand the explanation about the two negatives and all the rest of it, but was it causing a big problem? Were a lot of complaints raised or a lot of concerns brought forward, and what were they?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I think there was some confusion with the term along with the rest of the section in the existing act. There is an explanation in the information sheet I gave to the Member. I think that if you read the existing act there is a problem in trying to define what that section was saying.
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Clause 8 agreed to
On Clause 9
Mrs. Firth: Clause 9 relates to section 46 of the act. Section 46 of the act does not have a 46(1); is this becoming 46(2)? I would like to know if there is supposed to be a renumbering of 46 to 46(1) - and then this becomes 46(2)?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That was a question that I had, as well, and I posed it to the person who was responsible for the drafting, and I have been told that the inclusion of a (1) would be automatic with this numbering.
Clause 9 agreed to
On Clause 10
Clause 10 agreed to
On Clause 11
Mrs. Firth: This amendment has raised some concern with some of the employers and also, I understand, some contractors had made some representation to have this change. The Federation of Labour, as well, made representation to have this change. Now I know that all contractors did not come forward with a concern about the statutory declarations and issuances of certificates. The explanation talks about the certificate system as presently set out in the act as rewarding employers who are uncooperative. The employer who is prepared to comply with the statute will pay so much in fines; the employer who resists pays much less.
Is it really not the employee who is not prepared to sign the statutory declaration who is the problem? It is not the employer. If the employer is found to have not paid enough wages, the employee, under the present law, was required to sign a statutory declaration in order to get that money, so it was not really the employer who was being the bad guy, in the sense that they had been bad and were being penalized for that. There is a feeling amongst the business community that there is some onus upon and responsibility for the employee to sign that statutory declaration in order to be compensated for the unpaid wages.
Hon. Ms. Joe: One of the biggest problems that has been identified to me is that in signing a statutory declaration there was fear on the part of many employees who would not do that. There was fear that they would be endangering their jobs, and there were problems. For instance, if there were 10 employees who were not being paid the wages expected by them, and only one-third of them came forward and signed statutory declarations, then the employer was not obligated to pay the other seven who did not sign. So there was some problem with that, but the real problem was that employers just felt that it was a real problem for them to have to sign a statutory declaration. The onus is on the employer to comply with the act, and that sometimes may or not have happened.
Mrs. Firth: There is some feeling that the onus should also be on the employee to be prepared to sign a statutory declaration in order to be compensated. When the Minister talks about the system being streamlined, it is so streamlined now that the issuance of certificates that can be proceeded with by the director happens almost immediately. In the past there was an investigative process to go through. I do not want to get into a big wrangle on it. I am raising some concerns on behalf of the business community. I do not think all business people are in agreement with this particular concept. I know the Minister has had some strong representation from the union regarding this issue.
I want it on record that I raised the issue on behalf of the people who are going to be paying the bills.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Rather than the streamlined system the Member talks about, there is still a period of time for the investigation and a complaint to be confirmed. If the employer is complying with the act with regard to paying wages, then there is no problem. It is only in the case where that is not happening. I would hope that in the process things would move a little easier for all concerned, and in the end be justified. There is still an appeal process that has not been taken away; the employer can appeal.
Mrs. Firth: What happens to the monies collected, because now all the money will be collected? One of the reasons the Minister said the penalty was not being paid was that sometimes it was difficult to find the employees to sign the statutory declarations - they may have left, or so on. Where does the money that is collected from the employers that cannot be given to the employees involved go?
Hon. Ms. Joe: She is talking about the wages. If I could just receive clarification - is she talking about wages that are paid by the employer as a result of a complaint by the employee, and where that would go while waiting for an appeal?
Mrs. Firth: No. In the explanation, the department said employers were getting away without paying their full penalty. They could be owing $10,000, but they could not get statutory declarations from all the employees because of things like they felt intimidated, had moved away, or could not be found because they had moved to another location out of the territory.
Now, with this system, the employer is going to be required to pay the full amount of money that was owing to the employees. If employees cannot be found, or they have left the territory or something, what happens to that money? Does the employer still have to pay it, or does the department take the money?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is provision under the existing act that puts that money into a fund. I just cannot remember the name of the fund. It is kept there for a certain period of time.
Mrs. Firth: That was only if they had signed a statutory declaration. They could only get that money if the statutory declaration was signed. Now, they are not going to have to sign one.
Am I incorrect in concluding that if an employer owes $10,000, but only a number of employees come forward to collect $7,000, the employer is still going to have to pay the full $10,000. What happens to the remaining money that has not been claimed by employees because they cannot be found?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am told it goes into the employment standards expense account and is kept there for three years. After three years, if the person cannot be located, it goes into general revenue.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 45.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 66, entitled Pesticides Control Act, and directed me to report the same without amendment. Further, it has considered Bill No. 3, entitled Hospital Act, and directed me to report the same with amendment. Further, it has considered Bill No. 45, entitled Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: The House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:28 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled November 27, 1989:
Yukon Development Corporation Report for the year ended March 31, 1989 (Penikett)
Yukon Energy Corporation Report for the Year Ended December 31, 1988 (Penikett)
Porcupine Caribou Herd in Canada Interim Management Plan, 1989/90-1992/93 (Webster)
Yukon Liquor Corporation 12th Annual Report, April 1, 1988 to March 31, 1989 (Webster)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled November 27, 1989:
Money spent on Yukon River Basin in past agreement (Webster) Oral, Hansard, p. 529
Swift River Maintenance staff quarters, maintenance problems (Byblow) Oral, Hansard, p. 570