DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT FUNCTIONS AND OBJECTIVES
AN ADDRESS BY
HONOURABLE WILLIAM GRIESINGER, M.C., V.D. MINISTER OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Chairman: The President, Mr. H. G. Colebrook
Thursday, April 20th, 1950
Honourary Guests--Members and Friends
The subject of our Minister's address as announced, must be one of great interest to all loyal citizens who take pride in the development and beautification of their country and particularly their own province.
Colonel Griesinger was elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1945, as Minister without Portfolio, following a long record of military service, having been awarded the Military Cross in World War I--in which he served first with the 19th B'n., C.E.F.--promoted to Lieutenant in 1915--Captain in 1916 and Major in 1917.
He then served in the Canadian Militia as Lt.-Col., with the Essex Scottish from 1933-36 and later with the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Regt., 1941-1944.
In 1949 he was appointed Minister of Planning and Development for the Ontario Government.
Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen
First, may I express to your President my appreciation for his very kind introduction. Probably he has overdone it a bit.
Secondly, may I say I do appreciate the opportunity of being your Guest Speaker today and I trust I may have something of interest to you all.
Before my appointment as Minister of Planning and Development in 1949, I was Chief Commissioner of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and as such maybe I might have found something more tasty about which to talk. However, you people are the taxpayers of this Province, whether you realize this or not, and I imagine you all do. I have often felt that our people seldom know exactly how their money is being spent and for what purposes it is being used.
The Department of Planning and Development was organized in 1945 and at that time the Minister was an ex-president of yours, the Honourable Dana Porter, and I believe Professor Langford, who is present with us today at the Head Table, was the first official appointed to the Department. Since that time it has grown to a great extent and I can truthfully say its ramifications are manifold. To give you some idea, the Department of Planning and Development has under its jurisdiction Community Planning, Conservation, Immigration, Trade and Industry, Ontario House, London, England, Ontario Research Council, the Ontario Northland Railway, which is your Railway, and Housing, which presents quite a problem today. If Rental Control had not been satisfactorily taken care of in Ottawa a few months ago, unfortunately we would have had this under our wing too. So you will see it is a very interesting and unusual Department of the Government, and, as I said before, its ramifications are manifold. Only just this morning, for instance, I was sitting in on three different conferences on three entirely different matters.
I could devote at least a half-hour and possibly a great deal longer to the activities of each Branch. Today I thought I would give you a few of the facts and figures on what this Department has accomplished.
Each Branch is headed by a Director, and I see one of our Directors here today, Mr. A. H. Richardson, who is the Director and Chief Engineer of our Conservation Branch. Much credit must be given to Mr. Richardson for the splendid work that has been and is being carried on in conservation.
Just a few short weeks ago during the Legislative Session there was a Select Committee appointed on Conservation and that report was brought in as the Session was closing. I must say I can see the handwriting of the work of the Director of Conservation in that particular report.
The Conservation Branch is concerned with the work of conservation being done by Conservation Authorities. These are groups of municipalities which are brought together as a body corporate on the basis of watersheds, and are formed under the Conservation Authorities Act, 1946. This type of organization is a new concept in conservation, as it places the responsibility of initiating and carrying out all types of work such as land use improvement, flood control forestry, wildlife and recreation etc., in the hands of the municipalities concerned. The Branch of this Department services these Authorities by preparing a conservation plan for the whole area which indicates the types of conservation work which are most urgent. The work itself is carried out by the Authority either on its own or in conjunction with Departments of the Governments. The work may be assisted financially by grants from the Government or other sources.
At the preesnt time 13 Authorities are in being covering a total area of 10,000 square miles--and that is a lot of land, and 273 member municipalities.
The policy of the Government at the present time on Conservation is, if the type of work meets with approval of this Department we will guarantee 37 1/2 % of the cost, the Dominion Government 37 1/2% and the participating municipalities 25%. It is true we are not in a position at the present time to carry on some of the work we would like to and I agree with the Dominion authorities that, in many cases the timing of this type of work may not be proper. It is felt we should go ahead with some work but, on the other hand, some should be held back until it is known whether or not we are heading for a recession. Let us hope this does not happen. Under this Department we have a number of "canned" plans where the engineering work has been completed and we can go ahead with it should the necessity arise. So, you can see we are prepared to work with the Dominion Government should a serious situation confront us on a moment's notice.
The Community Planning Branch administers the Planning Act which was first passed in the year 1946, and since that time 65 planning areas have been established covering more than 161 communities and municipalities, and embraces two-thirds of the population of this Province at the present time. I consider much credit must be given to the Directors and former Ministers when one realizes the growth that has taken place in the few short years that the Planning Act has been in effect.
There are also 37 Planning Boards--you have one in Toronto and North York; there is one in Windsor, and practically all the large centres today are working on plans for their future development, which I feel is becoming more and more necessary as, we find many municipalities where industry and housing are jumbled together.
I have no intention of discussing whether amalgamation or annexation is the answer to your problem here, but something must take place in a very short time in the way of orderly planning as the City of Toronto is destined to become a much larger city, and I hope that the citizens of Toronto and its outlying municipalities will be able to settle their difficulties and together work out some suitable solution to their problem.
We have also subdivisions coming under our control throughout the whole Province. These subdivisions must be properly laid out in order to provide proper housing space, sufficient space for orderly parking, sewage, water, etc. Up to the present time we have approved over 3,000 subdivision plans. In addition we have land for housing projects in 81 different municipalities, that is orderly planning for housing projects. If this work is continued, which we intend to do, the Province will have formed Planning Boards throughout its breadth and length. Then we have our Immigration Department, although the immigration plans of our Department have been cut down materially since 1948, and particularly during 1949. You probably will recall the splendid work that Department carried out under the Honourable Dana Porter as Minister, when we inaugurated the Air Scheme from Britain to Canada. During the period that was in operation 10,000 people were transported by air to this Province, and I am glad to say practically everyone had jobs available the moment they arrived.
Today we are co-operating with the Dominion Government in their Immigration Plan and I understand a new Immigration Act will be passed in 1951. We have given them assurance that we will maintain a certain amount of immigration in the Province of Ontario, and also keep Ontario House in London, England, to cooperate with them. In fact, I might say a few short months ago we received a request for 500 farm labourers. We have had over 1,000 applications in our Ontario House in London, and up to the present time have accepted some 300. We are quite choosey whom we bring in to the Province of Ontario-we are not into immigration to bring in anyone who wishes to come-we are picking and choosing. Industry gets in touch with us, telling us what they would like and we do the rest of the work in London, England, to see they are brought in.
Housing, this is a very touchy subject, but, I do feel your Government handled the situation very well during the past several years.
The first Housing Act was brought into force in 1948. We did not feel at that time that we should go into house building proper, and I am; frank in saying I do not think we should at the present time. It is not our intention to try and interfere with private enterprise. If private enterprise cannot find itself in a position to build sufficient houses, and certain communities are in such a position that they require them, then, under our new Legislation, which is complementary to the recent amendments to the National Housing Act in which we become a 25% partner with the Dominion Government, we will go into such projects, and I might say approximately 15 applications have come in from different municipalities. As fast as we can cover the territory our men are going out with the National Housing people to find out what the true picture is, and if houses are necessary they will be built.
During the past the Second Mortgage Loan Plan was in effect, and mind you it was second mortgage loans. I do not know how many of you people feel about second mortgages, but this plan created over 15,000 houses in the Province of Ontario which are owned by the people who built them. These people who build their own homes and have a stake in them make the best citizens for any community, and it is our desire to stimulate home ownership.
At the end of December 31st, 1949, we ceased to be in the Second Mortgage field and since that time this has been taken over by the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In other words, their original first mortgage was increased to the extent to take care of the Provincial Government second mortgage. Under the Provincial Second Mortgage Plan applications to the extent of 16,726 were received, and the average second mortgage loan on these houses approximated $1,100. At the close of business second mortgages amounted to a little over $16,000,000, in fact $17,500,000.
In addition to housing loans, the Act also permitted assistance to municipalities in the way of services. Many of these homes, of course, had to be built on property not serviced by sewers, water, streets and sidewalks and direct grants were made up to a maximum of $300 per house. That was something the Province gave without any strings attached, and amounted to $1 1/2 million dollars to the end of 1949.
Under the new Housing Legislation we become a partner of the Dominion Government, and they will do the building through their organization thereby removing the necessity of the Provincial Government establishing an overlapping organization. This new legislation permits Federal and Provincial authorities joining in projects for the acquisition and development of land for housing purposes and the construction of houses for sale or for rent under arrangements by which costs, profits and losses will be shared seventy-five percent Federally and twenty-five percent Provincially. Provision is also made to permit municipalities to contribute to the Provincial share of the cost and to participate in implementing such joint projects. We appreciate, of course, that many of the municipalities are not financially able to enter into these but at the same time we are investigating that possibility and hope to the things out. That gives the general picture of the Housing situation.
Now, one of the most important Departments, and one in which I take a great deal of interest because I am in private enterprise myself, the lumber business, is our Trade and Industry Branch under Colonel F. J. Lyle, and when I give you a few of the figures I have here with me I think you will appreciate the work they are doing in the Province of Ontario.
During 1949, 47 new plants were established in this Province through the efforts of our Trade and Industry Branch. All kinds of manufacturing too numerous to mention--rubber goods, watches, diesel engines, automobiles, etc., and these plants have not all been established in the City of Toronto. We do not want anyone here to go away with the idea that we did not want to locate in Toronto, but we do try to have these plants more or less decentralize themselves, if possible. We would like to see them go into smaller communities, yet, I must admit we are not in a position to dictate where any plant will locate. We simply give them the information, take them around and show them properties that are available, tell them about the different municipalities, and today practically every municipality has become industrial minded. We have files that will give you every information you wish to know about any community, no matter what the size may be. Every community today has some person in their Council who is taking the responsibility for industrial development, and we have worked up an organization, I think, second to none on this Continent.
The Capital invested totals $33,000,000 giving employment to 5,300 people, with an annual payroll of $10,500,000.
Mind you that was the accomplishment of the Trade and Industry Branch in 1949, and we are hopeful the year 1950 will be just as productive.
Ontario House in London, England, has its own Trade and Industry Branch, which works under our Department, and since they have been in the Trade and Industry business have brought 20 British subsidiary or branch plants to this Province. We appreciate that since the devaluation of the pound we are experiencing more difficulty in bringing British Industry into this Province because the British Government will not allow sufficient money to be taken out under devaluation to take care of the work necessary, but we are working on plans, whether we will ever bring them to a final conclusion or not is hard to predict.
Of the 47 plants that started in Ontario last year 12 of them did located in the City of Toronto, or its immediate vicinity, and 35 elsewhere. When you take this into consideration that practically means a community the size of Niagara Falls, 21,000 people, which probably accounts for the fact our population in Ontario is growing so rapidly. Since its inception in 1945, 116 new plants have been started in the Province, which I feel is no mean effort on their behalf, and I certainly want to give them the necessary credit to which they are entitled. We hope 1950 will be as successful as the previous years.
I might mention that Ontario House has been producing very good results for the Province of Ontario. In 1943 it was re-opened--Colonel Drew was then Prime Minister of this Province. I was over in England last September and I can assure you that the public relations these people are doing in Great Britain and the United Kingdom is something we should all be proud of. Unfortunately, they were instructed to cut their budget. I believe in 1949 their budget was around $300,000 but before I left England we had it cut down to $150,000. I, however, believe they will function just as well inasmuch as we eliminated a lot of expense in immigration. But, for $150,000 we have something of which to be proud because they have developed the 20 plants for us, and, on top of that, they built up a good relationship between our own people and the people of Great Britain, and if you ever take a trip over there, may I ask that you take advantage of Ontario House. I can assure you they will give you all the information you ask for.
Now there is one thing on which I had a lengthy conference this morning and I should like at some time to talk to you for an hour or so on your own Railway, The Ontario Northland Railway. It is a short line of some 450 miles with a total trackage of 700 miles. Since 1945 we have been building up this railway and at no expense to the taxpayer. Yes, it is paying its own way, and I think will continue to do so provided we use every method of economy. We are now starting to dieselize. Your revenue today, based on costs are such that you must use other methods than steam and I think that probably within a period of five to seven years this railway will be completely dieselized. That in itself is one major step we are taking. We have a Commission to operate this railway and may I say they are doing a splendid job for the taxpayers of this Province.
Last, but not least, Ladies and Gentlemen, we also have the Research Council of Ontario under our wing. I am not in a position to discuss this very freely as I have not been in the Department quite long enough to become too familiar with the work they are doing. However, I do know that 1900 small industries last year used the facilities of that organization for research work. We have a lab which is very modern in every way and small industries are allowed to come in with their problems. They in turn will investigate it and in many instances have produced something to assist the industry. I attended a meeting of the Research Council in Niagara Falls last Fall and was quite impressed with some of the things they have accomplished and some of the items they were responsible for inventing.
I recall reading a book in connection with the Research Council of the State of Texas where they organized within themselves, patented the very ideas on which they worked and sold the patents, receiving royalties from industry thereon, and finally became self-sustaining. Today this does not cost the taxpayers of that State a five cent piece. I have hopes in years to come this organization will develop the same way and not only be of some assistance to industry at large but also will be a revenue producer for the Province of Ontario.
In conclusion may I say that a lot of talk is taking place about Dominion-Provincial relations. I feel this, Gentlemen, that the prosperity of this Province, which is the most prosperous in the Dominion of Canada, depends upon its people realizing that we alone cannot prosper unless this great Dominion prospers. I can assure you, and I believe our Prime Minister, the Honourable Leslie M. Frost, has stated more than once that we will co-operate in every way with the Dominion Government. Of course, we are not going to sell the Province out, but you can see from the remarks I have made where this Department is tied in to certain Departments of the Dominion Government and unless we cooperate with the Federal Government, and with all Governments of this Dominion, then I cannot see where we will have any prosperity ourselves. I think our whole economy is tied in on the basis that we are Canadians not people who are born or living in Ontario, but we are good Canadians and the welfare of our whole country is something we want to see accomplished. I am confident when the next Dominion-Provincial Conference takes place you will see a great measure of co-operation from good old Ontario.