Wednesday 22 November 2000

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Statute Law Amendment Act, 2000, Bill 132, Mrs Cunningham / Loi de 2000 modifiant des lois en ce qui a trait au ministère de la Formation et des Collèges et Universités, projet de loi 132, Mme Cunningham

Humber College
Dr Robert Gordon

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
Ms Sherry Rosner

Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences
Ms Renate Krakauer

Council of Ontario Universities
Dr Ian Clark

DeVry Institue of Technology
Mr Peter Brown

Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists
Ms Angela Shama
Mr Trevor Onken

Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
Mr Mark Schaan

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Ms Leah Casselman
Mr Jordan Berger

Glenn Gould Professional School
Dr Jack Behrens
Mr Rennie Regehr
Ms Shannon Paterson


Chair / Président
Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East / -Est PC)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente

Mrs Julia Munro (York North / -Nord PC)

Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk PC)
Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain L)
Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton PC)
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)
Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East / -Est PC)
Mr Dave Levac (Brant L)
Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina ND)
Mrs Julia Munro (York North / -Nord PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants

Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill PC)

Clerk / Greffière

Ms Anne Stokes

Staff /Personnel

Mr Larry Johnston, research officer, Research and Information Services

The committee met at 1531 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill 132, An Act to enact the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, repeal the Degree Granting Act and change the title of and make amendments to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act / Projet de loi 132, Loi édictant la Loi de 2000 favorisant le choix et l'excellence au niveau postsecondaire, abrogeant la Loi sur l'attribution de grades universitaires et modifiant le titre et le texte de la Loi sur le ministère des Collèges et Universités.


The Chair (Mr Steve Gilchrist): Good afternoon. I call the committee to order for our second day of hearings on Bill 132, An Act to enact the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, repeal the Degree Granting Act and change the title of and make amendments to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act.

Our first presentation this afternoon will be from Humber College. I invite their representative to come forward to the witness table, please. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Robert Gordon: My name is Robert Gordon. I thank you for this opportunity. I certainly will try to make it brief because I realize you have a very short timeline.

First, I'd just like to offer my congratulations to the government and, in particular, our minister Dianne Cunningham for shepherding this through. In my opinion-and I've been at Humber for 19 years as president-this is a remarkably visionary bill, long overdue. It will not be greeted, as you have probably already discovered, with enthusiasm in some quarters, but I think you have done the right thing in focusing on what's beneficial to the province in the long term, both for the students and taxpayers, but also for our ability to relate internationally.

I would like to make two major points, and maybe a couple of minor ones in closing. The first is that there is a major issue-and others may have mentioned this-relating to the inclusion in paragraph 2 of section 2, and it's mentioned throughout, of "or part of a program." I don't think it was meant the way it could be translated in years to come. We assume it's not intended to undermine existing relationships that have been developed, by the colleges in particular, with institutions within Ontario and certainly without, to facilitate student learning and access in an ongoing, seamless, lifelong educational perspective.

This could be a disaster if it is applied as it is specifically stated. Presumably it means every time you try to do some of these things, you require ministerial consent. That would be a bureaucratic tangle that I think would serve very little effective use of anyone's time. More importantly, the colleges have hundreds of relationships already in place, which in theory, as there's a grandfathering clause, would be jeopardized by this. For example, at Humber alone we have a book that's about half an inch thick which lists our relationships with universities all over the world, for which of course we have no ministerial consent because we haven't needed it. In any case, I think I make my point.

Attracting foreign students is a very important part of our business now. They want to know that they can take a diploma at a college in Ontario and then proceed to a degree. We live in the credential world, and the baccalaureate is understood around the world, whereas the diploma offered by the Ontario colleges, while it may be a very good education, is actually not that well understood because it is not in sync with the associate degree in the United States and western Canada, which is essentially two years, followed by two years to get a bacca-laureate. We, as you know, have three years and two years. We need to have that marketing potential so that we don't disadvantage ourselves in that competition.

Anyway, there's more to be said on that point, but if you review your own document, you'll see that it's mentioned so many times that it's going to be very hard to ignore it. I don't think we need, with all respect, some bureaucratic enthusiast who starts applying the letter of the law.

The second point is a little more controversial, possibly. In section 4 you talk about an "applied area of study," or "applied degrees," as they have been picked up by the media, for the colleges. I am very concerned that the universities are not enthusiastic about the colleges getting into this field, that is, the baccalaureate level, and they will not be helpful in terms of allowing students flexibility. Obviously, the primary focus of these degrees would be to go into the workforce, because why would we do them? The applied degrees will essentially be in this Education Quality Assessment Board, which has yet to be established. We'll be looking at proposals which are not offered at the universities for which there's a tremendous socio-economic need and also a demand by students.

Having said that, one of the big problems of the CAAT system for 35 years has been the fact that, as we now integrate so many things, the CAAT students, of which I would suggest there are probably about a million Ontario graduates at this point and growing every year, are essentially blocked from age 21 or whatever year they graduate-obviously some are older-from returning to any institutional credential which would allow them to keep their lives moving at the pace they require to upgrade. In other words, they're eligible to return to colleges, but most of them probably want to upgrade their college credential into a university one, and they find tremendous blockages.

Similarly, if you have applied degrees which will be translated by some as second-class degrees, not real university degrees, de facto, if the universities are not excited about this prospect to start with, they can easily block the colleges from further aggrandizement of their scope by saying, "Well, these degrees are not eligible for entry to graduate school." I think that's a great shame. Degrees should be offered on their merits just as every university in Ontario is not the same and, therefore, their degrees are not worth the same, at least in the marketplace and in the reputational place, if you read Maclean's magazine last week. I think it's only fair that the colleges and their graduates, if they're offering degrees, should be offering degrees and then judge them on the basis of the quality of their production and how their graduates do in years to come.

In other words, my point would be to not repeat the mistakes of the past, which is essentially having a two-tier system which never speaks and which has disenfranchised and made, I believe, Ontario weaker. If you remember, the colleges were established 35 years ago to fill a gap between high school graduates and the few university graduates to provide a middle level infrastructure for the economy, but the economy has changed and now we're looking at lifelong education where people need to have the opportunity to upgrade. You simply have to see the number of MBA programs that are offered in a flexible manner to understand that point. It is quite clear that more education will bring a better chance for Ontario to compete internationally, which is where we are today.

I would ask you consider stressing that where the colleges are getting in a nominal way into degrees, not applied, and eliminate the terms which talk about "applied," so that the universities-they may not like this, but I've been around a long time-will not be able to christen them as second class and not really degrees.

Nursing, by the way, is another example of this, where the nursing people very definitely want degrees. They've got this through the Ministry of Health. We're now in a very great problem of trying to make sure the curricula are integrated. It's not easy because the universities don't accept the colleges by and large, and yet 70% to 75% of the nursing students in this province go to the colleges. I think this is a very good example of where the nurses are saying, "We fought all these years for degree status, so we don't want second-class degrees," and the universities say, "Right. We agree with you 100%," not looking at the needs of society at large. I think there needs to be some more flexibility which says that these are real degrees.

I have a couple of other points that are very nominal. In section 8, the sentence "The giving of a consent does not entitle the person ... to any funding...." I would put in words like "does not automatically entitle the person to any funding."

I'm a little concerned about the use of the word "inspector," which I think you stole from England, where they do have inspectors. I went there for six months and I know all about it. They descend on the colleges and universities to inspect their activities. This is a little pejorative. I think you may want to consider another form of the word "inspection." "Evaluation," "learning assurance"-there are other ways of doing it. I come from Quebec also, I might add, where the language police have developed quite a reputation for descending on recalcitrant stores who happen to have a sign that's one inch bigger in English than in French.

Finally, I'm a little concerned about the freedom of information and the rights of individuals where it is not clear what powers the inspectors have when it gets to things like reviewing student transcripts, which is actually private information, confidential to the student and the institution. I think that needs to be clarified.

Finally, in section 11, the whole question of OSAP and throwing people in jail: it is an interesting concept and may be fair from the point of view that there are those who have been ripping off the system, but I think it needs to be softened to read something like, "those who deliberately wish to mislead," as opposed to everyone's a crook until you can prove you're not by paying it back.

Anyway, there are some observations there. I hope I've said something that other presenters have not said, because I appreciate that many of my colleagues have already been here.


The Chair: Thank you. If you wish, we have about three minutes for questioning. The rotation this time will start with the Liberals.

Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain): I'm a little confused about your comments about universities not being sympathetic toward the degree-granting status of colleges, because, coming from Hamilton, McMaster and Mohawk have worked very well together and have in fact applied to do a joint nursing degree and have received approval in principle by both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Unfortunately, approval is all they've received; they haven't received anything else and they cannot offer the program in September 2001. But they were ready to go. They've got the curriculum and everything. My experience has been there's a great deal of respect between those two institutions and a few others I have visited over the last year. I guess I'd like to know what hard evidence you have for making that comment, because I don't see that problem.

Dr Gordon: The hard evidence is 35 years working in public education. With all respect, the Mohawk-McMaster deal just fell apart last week.

Mrs Bountrogianni: I know that. But why did it fall apart?

Dr Gordon: Because McMaster insisted on getting millions of dollars for a new building, which is-

Mrs Bountrogianni: That's not why it fell apart.

Dr Gordon: I'm making a simple point about applied degrees, I'm not-

Mrs Bountrogianni: Actually, sir, it didn't fall apart. It's on hold.

Dr Gordon: I'm not here to argue with you. You can believe what you want, but the truth of the matter is that there has been very little co-operation and transfer between colleges and universities for the 35 years of the existence of colleges. If you wish to believe-

Mrs Bountrogianni: All right. If that's your evidence, thank you. That's all.

The Chair: Mr Levac, do you have anything? You have about one minute.

Mr Dave Levac (Brant): Just a short one. Thanks, Mr Chairman. I appreciate it.

Doctor, you made some observations about two or three concerns you expressed about the legislation presently. Could you give us a recommendation beyond just saying you have concerns about it? What would you do to rectify some of those things? Would you take them out?

Dr Gordon: I would take out the clause. The fundamental clause is the one about "or a part of." I don't have and certainly my colleagues don't have problems with-we think the legislation is wonderful, but it's not only confusing, I think it's going to be very problematic. It could destroy a lot of relationships that have already been established if one has to follow the letter of that clause. In addition, it will certainly be problematic for the future, because the way you read it is that you can't establish a relationship with the University of British Columbia without getting-and that's just a transfer. This is not about who's offering the degree in Ontario, which is another issue entirely. It simply means that you'd have to get ministerial consent. They'll have to establish a full-time bureaucracy to vet the hundreds and thousands of relationships that have been developed in the last 10 to 15 years.

Mr Levac: You're also talking about the entire relationship of the college portion of the bill that's speaking directly to granting of degrees.

Dr Gordon: Yes.

Mr Levac: Is it fair to distinguish between the two? So your support of the bill is mainly because of the degree-granting possibilities for colleges, or the privatization or-

Dr Gordon: Both. I'll take my chances. The colleges have always had competition from many private colleges, so this issue is fundamentally for the universities and they're going to have to speak to it. From a personal and professional educator's point of view, I think it's marvellous. To me, more education, particularly for people who are willing to pay for it themselves, because I assume that private universities will have to charge fees and there's no public money involved-how can that be a problem, except for those who want to protect a monopoly?

The Chair: Thank you, Dr Gordon. I appreciate your coming and making your presentation here today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation: Ms Sherry Rosner and Mr Mark Ciavaglia. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Ms Sherry Rosner: Thank you. We have provided copies of our presentation to you. I'll just read through it, and if there is ample time at the end we will take questions.

The long title of the bill, An Act to enact the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, repeal the Degree Granting Act and change the title of and make amendments to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act, betrays the true nature of the legislation. The act should be called "An Act to allow persons friendly to the Tory government an opportunity to make large profits by providing a minimum education at blockbuster prices or degrees for those able to pay."

As in the public elementary and secondary panels, most post-secondary education has faced the same kinds of fiscal pressures on education in Ontario. John Snobelen outlined the reasons for creating the crisis in his now-famous "create a crisis" speech caught on camera in 1995. Since then we have witnessed an erosion of funding that has produced a 30% increase in the ratio between full-time faculty and students at Ontario public universities. The new ratio exceeds the average ratio of nine other provinces. The reason for this increase lies in the cuts to operating grants to universities. In 1996-97, the government cut $280 million to universities, which since 1995 amounts to a cumulative cut of $1.4 billion. Just as has been experienced in public elementary and secondary education, the per-student amount committed to post-secondary education has declined since 1995 by 17%. At the same time, to compensate for declining investment in post-secondary education, tuition fees increased. Tuition now counts for over 40% of operating costs. Tuition fees are $1,395 higher than in 1995-96, when this government came to power.

In terms of capital expenditures, government commitments to funding new buildings and deferred maintenance are outstripped by need. New infrastructure money allocated in the SuperBuild fund will be directed to projects largely in the applied areas of technology, health sciences and general sciences. At the same time, applications from students are at the 40% level for programs in the arts. Maintenance costs are projected to rise to $1.3 billion by 2010. This government has not addressed enrolment growth and crumbling infrastructure, other than by divestment.

In 1999, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that a summary analysis of the financial position of the Ontario university sector indicates that universities do not possess the necessary financial resources to fund their own growth, to take advantage of opportunities or to meet the record level of student demand they will be facing over the next decade.

Underfunding has served to drive tuition up as part of a broader strategy to make private, unregulated tuition fees palatable. By underfunding universities, the government has paved the way for business to assume what is a necessary government function. Driving up student debt reduces access for those least able to afford post-secondary education. In conclusion, the government has deliberately set the groundwork in place to absolve themselves of the responsibility to provide comprehensive education for all citizens in Ontario.

Opening the doors for private universities has made profit the bottom line-not excellence. Market forces work to increase profits and, to do so, modify service. Currently, Ontario has a system that works toward excellence in academic legitimacy and in the interests of students. Efficiencies delivered by for-profit institutions will speak to the qualification rather than the qualifiers or requirement to attain the degree or diploma. Private institutions allowed to grant degrees or diplomas will deliver the paper but not the rigour. Any implementation of academic rigour will cut into profits and market appeal. As Henry Jacek, President of OCUFA, said, "If it's a profit-making corporation, you're under a lot of pressure to make it easy for people to enrol, to pay money and to get a piece of paper saying they have a degree."

Private for-profit post-secondary institutions will create institutions of higher learning dedicated to play on the anxieties of job-hungry potential graduates and not on the betterment of society. They will cater to the interests of companies, not citizens, and narrow the focus of education to training alone. They will view students as products and evaluation as quality control. If tuition rates are competitive, then only service can be adjusted to produce profit. The quality assessment board for private universities proposed by the Ontario government is only an advisory body. The government does not have to follow the board's advice. In Ontario, we will have the same as the United States, where an accredited private university does not mean that it is necessarily of high quality.


A recent example of this is noted in an October news item on CKNW radio in British Columbia, which read as follows:

"Degrees for sale on-line.

"The regulatory body for private post-secondary institutions in BC is taking court action against Vancouver University, because it sells degrees on the Internet. In a writ filed in BC Supreme Court, the Private Post-Secondary Education Commission says the university, also known as the BC Montessori Teachers College, charges US$500 for a certificate, and US$4,000 for a PhD. It says the degrees are awarded following a review of an individual's prior studies, and professional or other experiences. However, the commission claims the BC institution has no lawful degree-granting authority."

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports in its October issue that the University of Phoenix in the US, with more than 75,000 students, is now the largest private university in the United States. About 14,000 students take its courses on-line. The Harris government has said this type of service is what makes private, for-profit post-secondary education attractive, especially for working people.

A report entitled What's the Difference? April 99, A Review of Contemporary Research on the Effectiveness of Distance Learning in Higher Education, prepared for the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in the US, pointed out that a higher percentage of students participating in distance education tended to drop out before the course was completed. Only 40% of the students who started on-line courses completed the courses, compared to 95% of resident students who completed their courses. The report refers to the learning styles of individuals who took on-line education, to whom it is supposed to appeal. The report suggests that researchers look at the factors that reduce participation rates among those who take on-line courses. With the high dropout rate, the company is left with the profits and the students are left out-of-pocket.

If the Ontario government's recent university quality performance funding announcement, based on graduation and employment rates of university graduates, is an indication of what the government sees as quality in university programs, then there is no assurance that students at these private universities will be guaranteed a quality education. Quality relates to the whole range of resources and experiences a university brings to its students, including ongoing student-teacher interaction and library and research facilities. Private, for-profit universities such as the University of Phoenix have been found wanting in each of these areas in a number of US states.

In terms of research, we only have to look at the experience of Naney Olivieri and her research arrangement with Apotex. Bill Graham, president of the University of Toronto faculty association, summed it up best at a conference on creeping private sector control of education last November: "Government and business want us all to be entrepreneurs." He went on to say "the job of an entrepreneur is to develop and sell a product, not to pursue the truth."

Private universities will do nothing to address the disturbing trend of declining access to higher education for students from lower-income families caused by high tuition fees and other education-related costs. For example, a recent University of Guelph study found that students from lower socio-economic groups were not attending the university in the same numbers in the late 1990s as in the late 1980s. The study found that in 1987, 40% of the students came from families making less than $40,000, while 33% of families in Ontario reported making less than $40,000 that year. Almost 10 years later, in 1996, 16% of Guelph students came from families earning less than $40,000, while 23% of Ontario families reported earning that same amount.

In 1998, the University of Western Ontario raised tuition fees for incoming medical students from $3,500 to $10,000. Among those in the 1998 first-year medical program who paid $10,000, only 7.7% reported their family income at less than $40,000. However, more than 17% of fourth-year medical students who were not affected by the large tuition increase came from low-income backgrounds. Another recent study at the University of Waterloo found a similar trend. The government needs to address these trends through appropriate funding and student assistance policies, not by introducing private universities which only accentuate problems of accessibility to higher education.

The OSSTF is opposed to the high-tuition programs offered by public universities, which essentially represent the creeping privatization of public universities. The OSSTF believes government policy should be directed to meeting student demand through an affordable, high-quality public university system which is much more accountable to the taxpayer than a system of privately owned institutions which charge exorbitant fees and offer programs of questionable quality. We also question why the government is devoting so much time and resources to setting up an essentially means-test private university system when our excellent public university system could accommodate student demand, if given the appropriate resources.

In a January 2000 Canadian Press story about Canada's first Internet-based degree-granting university, Michael Gaffney, president of Learnsoft Corp, the Ottawa-based company that owns and administers Unexus, said it's a bargain for students. Tuition for the inaugural program, an executive Master of Business Administration degree, is $25,000. The program takes two and a half years to complete. Such a program at most Ontario universities would cost anywhere from $55,000 to $85,000.

For students who can least afford a post-secondary education, there will be no choice. When the government of Ontario claims that introducing private universities will offer a greater scope of choice, one has to wonder about whom they are talking. In some cases, as we see in the Chronicle of Higher Education, for-profit institutions such as the University of Phoenix can afford to pay fines as the price of doing business and leave students who cannot afford higher education to learn the bitter lesson that you get what you pay for.

As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education in April 2000, the University of Phoenix agreed to pay $6 million to the US federal government and to lenders to resolve education department charges that the institution gave federal financial aid to students who were ineligible for the funds. The department's inspector general had sought more than $55 million in fines against the for-profit university.

In an audit report released late last month, the inspector general, Lorraine Lewis, said the University of Phoenix students did not spend enough hours in class to qualify for the aid they received. As a result, she recommended that the department require the university to repay lenders $50.6 million in federal loans which she said its students had received improperly. She also recommended that the university be required to reimburse the government for the interest and the federal subsidies the department had to pay to lenders for those loans. This was the second time in the past few months that the education department has penalized the university for mishandling federal aid funds.

Who is ultimately left holding the bag? It's the students. And it's the students who can least afford it. We only have to look at the King's Medical Centre fiasco to see what happens when private enterprise is allowed in a picture motivated by concerns for profit.

In the Globe and Mail on April 28, 2000, Premier Harris noted, "There are a considerable number of Ontario students who are now going to the United States who are prepared to pay $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year in tuition." He said it is only common sense to provide institutions in Canada that would accommodate such students.

From the Premier's comments it is apparent who would attend these private institutions. He obviously did not mean poorer students. Students at the new private institutions will be eligible for money from the Ontario student assistance program. But the maximum tuition fee that will be accepted for OSAP aid will be $4,500, as is the case for the existing institutions. So to whom will private, for-profit post-secondary institutions answer?

On Friday, September 29, the Chronicle of Higher Education, in an article entitled "U. of Phoenix Sells $70-Million Worth of Stock in its Distance-Education Efforts," stated that the parent company of the University of Phoenix raised $70 million from Wall Street investors on the previous Thursday in a stock offering tied directly to the company's distance education operation. The deal was being widely watched in education and finance circles, because it was the first market test of a public offering of stock in a distance education institution.

The parent company, the Apollo Group, raised the money by issuing stock tied directly to the performance of the company's University of Phoenix on-line division. The five million shares of this so-called tracking stock were sold at $14 per share, the low end of the $14 to $16 range the company had previously discussed in public filings. The stock closed at $17.81 on the first day of trading, having reached as high as $21 per share during the course of the day. Although these first few shares were not voting shares, the next issues may well be, and the Apollo Group will act in the interests of their shareholders to deliver profit, not in the interest of citizens to deliver excellent education.

The same Michael Gaffney, president of Learnsoft Corp, the Ottawa-based company which owns and administers Unexus, said in the Globe and Mail, "We're not here for charity or for the public good."

Again in the Chronicle of Higher Education issue dated September 22, Ane V. Wellman said, "American higher education is undergoing a period of enormous experimentation, which holds great promise for positive change. But the potential for inferior educational offerings is also ripe, from sham operators who offer `college courses' over the Internet to established institutions that have allowed quality to erode in the scramble to do more with less. In such an environment, the role of accreditation in ensuring that higher education institutions are accountable to the public is more important than ever."


The Chair: Excuse me, Ms Rosner. I've already indulged you with three minutes over your time. Perhaps you could move to your conclusion.

Ms Rosner: Sure. Sorry about that.

The Chair: That's OK.

Ms Rosner: In conclusion, the introduction of Bill 132 raises more questions than it answers. There is no doubt that privatization of post-secondary education is the first step down the line. We can expect, and indeed we are hearing of, overtures made to this government to put public money into private education at the elementary and high school levels. This is the government that claims it is here to fix government. In fact, this group of Tories sees no role for government at all. Bills such as Bill 132 have become indicative of the theme "business good, government bad."

This bill is foolhardy. It is equivalent to inviting in off-shore registered education providers. The role of government in all of this will be to clean up the mess, à la Exxon Valdez. There is a role of government to protect the public interest. It is not in the public interest to develop a multi-tiered education system. People in Ontario want government to provide public health care and public education. Do not leave the people of Ontario on the hook for the inevitable cleanup after free enterprise has delivered the educational disaster.

We encourage you to withdraw the bill.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate your coming in today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. Welcome to the committee.

Ms Renate Krakauer: I hope you'll all be able to see the slides. This is just a summary of the brief that we are handing out to you, but this will hopefully leave time for questions. So I can do it quite quickly.

I'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to address how Bill 132 will affect the Michener Institute, which is a unique institution in Ontario, and how it will benefit our students, our graduates and the employers who hire our graduates.

We're here particularly to address the issue of the Bachelor of Applied Health Science, which we think our students deserve and for whom this bill would hopefully make it a reality.

The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences has a unique role in Ontario, both in the health care system and in post-secondary education. It's been around for 42 years and has developed an excellent reputation. It is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, so you're not dealing with a private university. The Michener is the only institution of its kind in Ontario dedicated to educating professionals for the health care system.

The Michener Institute particularly appreciates the government's emphasis on excellence and choice in Bill 132, because we believe we have demonstrated excellence. As I hope to point out this afternoon, we've demonstrated excellence in our programs, in our graduates and in our faculty.

I'm going to refer particularly to our three- and four-year diploma programs-we have seven of those-which are the ones we believe qualify for a Bachelor of Applied Health Science. Although we also have 12 additional programs in advanced areas and in certificate programs, these are the ones, as you see on the slide, that are three- and four-year and require entrance requirements the same as universities, that is, six OACs.

We have a very rigorous applicant selection process, which is also equivalent to that of universities. By the way, in terms of entrance requirements I failed to mention that not only do they require six OACs, but some of our programs require two years of university as a prerequisite. In terms of the selection process, we only accept those candidates who are the best qualified. It's not an open process, so we make sure we have a very high quality of student.

Our curriculum is very demanding; it has three basic components which we believe is part of our sure-fire success in finding employment for our students. There is a theoretical or didactic component; a practical component in our very well equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment; and a third component, the applied or clinical education component in over 80 clinical sites around the province, where the students actually get hands-on experience in the kind of work they will be doing when they graduate. These clinical relationships are with Ontario's hospitals and public and private sector laboratories.

Five out of our seven programs are accredited by the Canadian Medical Association Conjoint Committee on the Accreditation of Educational Programs and two are in the process of acquiring accreditation through highly respected professional associations in the United States. Attesting to the excellence of our programs is the fact that we already have agreements with a number of excellent Ontario universities, and those are the University of Toronto, Queen's, Ryerson and the University of Waterloo.

All of our programs have mandatory advisory councils which ensure that we have the most relevant information about the workforce and the skills and competencies that are required. These councils consist of physician specialists and technologists, usually senior technologists in their fields.

Now to address the excellence of graduates: our graduates receive a high-quality education and so they graduate with a high level of skills and knowledge in compliance with national competency profiles established by their professional associations with the CMA, and 97% of our graduates find employment within the first three months of graduation, as we have found in our most recent survey.

Our graduates would qualify for degrees in other jurisdictions outside of this province. For example, in Australia, a very similar three-year education earns students a degree in these disciplines. Many American jurisdictions also provide degrees, as does Great Britain, and, in fact in other provinces of this country students who take similar education get a degree. So our students are currently disadvantaged by not getting degrees. They are disadvantaged particularly in the global economy if they want any mobility. In fact one example of this disadvantage is the withdrawal of mutual recognition that we have experienced recently with Australia.

Our faculty also can measure up to the criterion of excellence. They're highly qualified professionals, combining academic credentials with advanced certification in their own disciplines. They are leaders in their disciplines by participating in their professional associations, regulatory colleges and the Canadian Medical Association accreditation survey team.

I'd like to address the issue of choice, and I do believe that an applied degree for the Michener Institute has a lot to do with choice for students. It would expand the choice that our students would have in terms of career path opportunities. Currently it's very difficult for diploma students, who have put in an awful lot of work and have achieved a high level of skill and competency, to advance beyond that level. We believe that with a bachelor of applied health sciences degree, they would have more access to management jobs, they would have more access to further education, including graduate education, and they would be able to pursue research careers if they wished to do so. They would certainly gain greater credibility nationally and internationally.

We believe that having a degree would give them a choice in terms of getting the appropriate recognition for their knowledge and skills to move into other professional areas. There would also be an increase in employer confidence, because a degree does stand for something intangible in many employers' minds. It represents a combination of generic skills and high-level technical skills. I think that employers almost use the degree as a shorthand to represent to them a certain level of qualification that a diploma doesn't, even though the content of the education itself would be identical.


The applied degree would support the Michener Institute's track record on quality, reliability and accountability. We don't require additional funding from government for this initiative.

You may not know, but it may be of interest to you in relation to the legislation specifically, that the Michener Institute has the lowest student loan default rate of any post-secondary educational institution in Ontario.

A degree would also help us to attract more students. We are currently going into a period of very high skills shortage areas where it's difficult to recruit students. We believe that an applied degree would help us in our recruitment efforts. It would support our responsiveness. We've always been responsive to our stakeholders, but it would increase our responsiveness to the professional associations which are increasingly requiring degrees for entry to practise. The nursing profession is not the only one that has established that. Other health professions are now requiring the same. And I believe we would be responsive to our employers, especially in the private sector where we are now trying to help our students find employment in the pharmaceutical and biotech areas. They use the degree as a screening tool, and quite often, even though our graduates have the required skills and competencies to work in the private sector, if they don't have a degree they don't even look at them.

Given the right to grant an applied degree, the Michener Institute will ensure that it will do so within the academically and fiscally sound framework expected in this province and it will do so in the best interests of the citizens of the province. I'd be pleased to answer any questions, as will my colleague.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That does give us about three minutes for questions. This time it will be from the NDP.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): Thank you for the presentation.

You mentioned several times that your curriculum is demanding and that excellence is achieved by your graduates, of course. You say that because presumably some people doubt it?

Ms Krakauer: No.

Mr Marchese: No one doubts it?

Ms Krakauer: I've not had any questions doubting our excellence; in fact, we've had universities from overseas seeking us out to partner with us.

Mr Marchese: What about universities? Do they doubt the excellence of your program?

Ms Krakauer: As I mentioned, there are four universities already that have partnerships with us. We're very pleased-the University of Toronto, Queen's, Ryerson and the University of Waterloo.

Mr Marchese: I was about to mention the fact that you do have a link with the universities and that's a good thing, obviously-

Ms Krakauer: Yes, it is.

Mr Marchese: -where some colleges don't have that link with universities and that's a problem, so that speaks well of your program.

Ms Krakauer: I believe it does.

Mr Marchese: But Dr Gordon was here earlier from Humber College and he was talking about how some of the universities will not recognize the degree from the various colleges and that they will have a difficult time getting into graduate work in a university. You're saying, however, that will be easier. Is there a problemo here?

Ms Krakauer: I think there are two things that are different here. We are not a community college. I have a great deal of regard for the community colleges but as I explained, our entrance requirements are higher and we do not have open access. We do take the best-qualified candidate, and so I think the universities find it easier to deal with our graduates because they're dealing with students who have achieved a certain level of achievement.

I might add that many of our students already have some university. We found in a recent survey that about 75% of our students have at least one or two or more years of post-secondary education before they even come to us.

Mr Marchese: By the way, my objection to the title "Choice and Excellence" is more connected to the allowing of private universities to enter our market-

Ms Krakauer: So it doesn't refer to us.

Mr Marchese: I understand that, but out objection is usually to that. There is no choice in terms of a majority being able to have access to those programs because if it's a private university and presumably they're funding their own education, it will cost a minimum of $40,000 a year in tuition fees. So I say to myself, "To whom does that give choice?" Not many, except the very wealthy. In terms of excellence, we don't know whether there is quality or not, because I'm not sure that we've seen that greatness of quality being achieved by universities like Phoenix.

So that's our objection to that, just so you are aware of it. Thank you very much for your presentation.

The Chair: Thank you both for coming to make a presentation before us here today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Council of Ontario Universities. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Ian Clark: Thank you, Chair. My name is Ian Clark. I am the president of the Council of Ontario Universities, which represents the interests of Ontario's 17 universities. We're delighted to appear today. I have with me Ken Snowdon, who is the vice-president of research and analysis at the council, and Marny Scully, who is the manager for research and analysis. Dave Marshall, the president of Nipissing University, is planning to join us. His plane was delayed leaving North Bay. He might get here to answer questions at the end of my 15 minutes.

Bill 132 will make two very significant changes to the delivery of post-secondary education in Ontario, dealing with private universities and the extension of limited degree-granting authority in applied areas to colleges. In both these instances, as the government bill title suggests-although as the honourable member previously questioned-these changes will increase degree opportunities for Ontario students.

Our concern, described in our brief which we have tabled today, is essentially that the bill, as it stands, does not provide sufficient protection for the taxpayer or for the students. We would like to propose amendments to the bill which would strengthen these protections.

In May the Council of Ontario Universities participated in the minister's consultations and submitted a written brief. We stressed four principles at that time: transparency in the review process; quality and how to maintain the quality of current degree standards; the need to limit degree-granting authority for colleges to applied degrees; and public subsidies and the need to limit the use of scarce public funds to public rather than private post-secondary institutions. Let me just elaborate on those four principles as they apply to the wording in the bill before us.

First, on transparency: the proposed legislation does not include a requirement for applications nor the recommendations for the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board to be made public. We in the council believe that a number of benefits can be gained from procedural transparency. There are other examples in legislation that require such openness and transparency, and we think that applications for degree-granting situations are at least as important as applications for liquor licences, for example, where the transparency and public nature of the applications are made clear in the legislation.

A legislative requirement for an open and transparent review process would provide the public with the opportunity to review new proposals and make comments that would help members of the board with a broader array of perspectives on the new proposals, as well as provide additional information through which programs and institutions can be assessed. It will strengthen consumer protection and ensure accountability to the taxpayer. So our recommendation here is to include a requirement in the legislation for all applications and board recommendations to be made public.

The second principle on quality: in addition to an open and transparent process in order to ensure that new, private degrees provide a level of quality commonly associated with the Ontario degree, we believe that the assessment process should ensure "expert" membership on advisory and assessment panels.


So we would recommend that the legislation indicate that expert evaluators should conduct the reviews and provide advice to the board, and that one add a clause to section 7 which states, "The board shall include members who have special knowledge in university education."

The third principle regarding the limiting to applied degrees to colleges: Although quality assessment and protection is crucial to consumer protection for both private universities and applied college degrees, the quality measures and degree standards should be clearly seen as different for the applied college degree in order to distinguish this credential from the university credential. Without a clear understanding and statement of the difference, there would be considerable consumer confusion regarding the two types of baccalaureate degrees.

The act, as proposed, makes clear this point in sections 2 and 3, and our concern is that the exceptions, subsections 4(6) and 4(7), essentially give the minister authority to give a community college consent to grant any kind of degree without limitation.

In essence, this would give more opportunity for a community college to get university status than is available to existing affiliated or federated universities in Ontario which wish to obtain full degree-granting status. In fact, the legislation as is presented would give colleges more freedom than, say, Nipissing University, which has a limited charter by its legislation.

When we combine this discretionary freedom implied in subsections 4(6) and 4(7) with the lack of public scrutiny, I think you can understand why the Council of Ontario Universities has concerns about this significant departure from past practices.

Our recommendation would be simply to remove subsections 4(6) and 4(7) from the bill. If the purpose of the legislation is to provide limited applied degree-granting to colleges, these clauses are unnecessary. In the public consultation legislation, this was the only issue presented and the only issue to which the council and the universities replied. If the government has other intentions, these intentions should be made public in order for the public to assess and comment on the need for these exceptions clauses.

The fourth and final point is limiting public funding for private post-secondary institutions. Section 8 of the bill stipulates, "The giving of a consent does not entitle the person to whom the consent is given to any funding from the government of Ontario." However, taxpayers will be subsidizing degree education provided by private institutions through the Ontario student assistance program tax credits for tuition and the potential of Ontario research grants and other government programs.

The minister's consultation document states, "The maximum tuition fee that will be recognized for OSAP purposes at new degree-granting institutions will be $4,500 in a normal academic year. This is the same maximum that applies to additional cost recovery programs at publicly supported institutions." The government-stated restriction on tuition fees recognized for OSAP purposes is not stated in the bill before us.

A recommendation would be to change the wording in section 8 to something like, "The person to whom consent is given is not eligible for direct provincial government funding from any government program," something more categorical that states that the government will not provide these kinds of funding as opposed to "the consented person is not entitled to."

Second, we would propose that the legislation make clear that the tuition fee cap recognized for OSAP purposes for private degree-granting institutions should be stipulated in the legislation, and that should be the same as that which applies to the publicly funded institutions.

That ends my presentation, Chairman. We believe the best consumer and taxpayer protection is to ensure that there's a high standard of quality in all degree programs before they are offered and students are enrolled. We have recommended amendments to the legislation to achieve this purpose.

We're happy to try to answer any questions the committee might ask.

The Chair: This time the questioning will be to the government.

Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): How much time do we have?

The Chair: You've got about four minutes-a bit less, three-and-a-half minutes.

Mrs Molinari: Thank you very much for your presentation. It's very comprehensive and there are some very detailed recommendations that you have made throughout your presentation. It's evident that you've read the bill and certainly have a good understanding of it.

There are some concerns and some questions I would ask about your comments and I'd ask you to expand on the issue over the $4,500 maximum OSAP application that this provides. You've stated that your recommendation is that it be included specifically in the wording of the bill. Could you just expand on that?

Dr Clark: Yes. It's not a specific number because that could change over time, but the principle, which was enunciated in the government's consultation paper, is that the cap would be the same for private institutions as for public institutions.

Mrs Molinari: If it were stated in a regulation rather than the legislation, would that address the concern that you have?

Dr Clark: It would go a long way toward addressing the concern. Naturally, we would like as much as possible to be in the legislation and therefore less subject to change over time than to rely on regulations which are more changeable than the legislation is.

Mrs Molinari: Also, your comments about the applications should be made public-I'm trying to find it in the presentation here-if you could expand on how you envision that occurring.

Dr Clark: Certainly. As we understand it, the quality assessment board will receive an application from an institution. We would like the application that the quality assessment board receives to be made public at that time or in time for other interested parties to comment on. Then we assume that the quality assessment board will cause to be created an expert group of some kind, expert in that area of university activity, to give them advice. We would like to see that advice or that assessment to the quality assessment board made public as well.

Mrs Molinari: You're referring to applications for private universities and also for applied degree granting for colleges?

Dr Clark: As a general principle, it would apply to everything, but we have in mind more particularly the private institutions for the initial application.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Unfortunately, Mr Marshall's plane has obviously prevented him from joining you here today, but thank you to him for making the effort and to you for actually achieving it. Thank you for you presentation here today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from DeVry Institute of Technology. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee. Seeing as I don't have any names on my agenda, perhaps I can get you to introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Peter Brown: I certainly will. Mr Chair and members of the committee, my name is Peter Brown and I'm president of DeVry Institute of Technology in Ontario. Joining me today are Rick Davey, our dean of academic affairs, and Judith Fraser, our director of communications.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to appear before this committee and to provide our comments in support of Bill 132. DeVry strongly believes in providing students with educational options and commends the government for adopting this position. We believe this bill contemplates a new vision for post-secondary education in the province, a vision that emphatically reinforces the importance that individuals, society at large and employers place upon the values of choice, equity, flexibility and quality. We believe these values should shape and inform our post-secondary education system and we will work to support this initiative as best we can.

Our support for this policy direction and hence this legislation is based on our experience providing post-secondary education to Ontario students.

DeVry has been a committed, contributing and taxpaying member of Ontario's post-secondary education system since 1956, offering coursework leading to diplomas since its inception. DeVry's two Toronto-area campuses currently offer six diploma programs in electronics and computer-based business. Currently, DeVry Ontario diploma graduates of our electronic engineering technology and our computer information systems programs are able to transfer to another DeVry campus for one additional semester to complete course requirements for the bachelor of science degrees. These degrees are conferred by the receiving campus.

While this arrangement in part meets our students' demands for degree completion opportunities, it's not good enough. DeVry is very concerned that the need for students to transfer to one of our US campuses has negative implications both for our students and for the province and contributes to the current loss of students to jobs south of the border.

To reinforce this point, during the five-year period from October 1994 through June 1999, 63% of DeVry Ontario students in our electronic engineering technology and computer information systems programs transferred to another DeVry campus to complete the requirements for a degree. Of these, 42% of the computer information systems graduates and 33% of the electronic engineering technology graduates elected to remain in the United States to work. This represents a totally unnecessary and unwanted drain from Ontario's skilled labour force. The passage of Bill 132 will put in place the framework to address this situation, providing students with another option, a better option, to complete their degrees at home in Ontario.


That's what this legislation is all about: increasing options and providing additional choices for students. It allows individuals greater opportunity to select alternatives that will allow them to meet their educational goals. Our students tell us they value choice. They also value the credential of the degree. And they are just about unanimous that, given the choice to remain in Ontario and complete their degree, this is exactly where they would stay.

But students must be assured of the quality of the degree they are pursuing and the institution they choose to attend. Ensuring quality must be the number one priority of the government and the new quality assessment board.

In DeVry's view, degree-granting institutions and private universities should be accredited based on a rigorous set of criteria that assesses them relative to their actual missions. Mission-based accreditation is the process that the US DeVry Institutes are already subject to as a member institution of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The North Central Association is one of six regional accrediting agencies in the US, each with a mandate to assure the public about the quality of their accredited colleges, universities and institutes of higher education. Such accreditation is recognized in practice by registrars across Canada. Member institutes include the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame.

The North Central accreditation for institutions of higher education demands a rigorous two-stage process. First, institutions must fulfill the general institutional requirements, which include specific expectations about an institute's mission being appropriate for a place of higher education. Additional requirements include appropriate policies and practices with respect to governance, finances and public information. And perhaps most importantly, clear expectations are established about the educational programs, the faculty who deliver them, and the resources that support student learning.

However, the real rigour of the accreditation process is ensured by the second part: an institutional self-study that is subject to a focused evaluation by a team of peer evaluator-consultants from other members of the North Central Association. This self-study aims to include all institute stakeholders in a comprehensive examination of the institution as it fulfills its stated mission and purposes. The association applies five criteria for accreditation. Both outcomes assessment and a detailed set of indicators are prescribed for each. All five must be met for an institution to receive and/or maintain its accreditation.

The US DeVry Institutes are currently preparing a self-study for a focused evaluation scheduled for the summer of 2002. Each campus is reviewing policies, practices and outcomes against five criteria, which in turn are linked to the DeVry Institutes' mission, which is: "to provide high quality career education, higher education programs in business and technology to a diverse student body." Our mission goes on to state that our "programs integrate general education to enhance graduates' personal development and career potential."

While we agree with other parties, including the universities, on the need for high-quality post-secondary institutions, clearly the DeVry mission is much more focused on applied learning and career education than that of a comprehensive Ontario university with its emphasis on research, teaching and service.

Because DeVry is subject to a mission-based accreditation process, it has an established and credible means to demonstrate that it is accomplishing its mission within the accepted standards of the north central accredited degree-granting institutions. In DeVry's view, a mission-based accreditation process is consistent with the policy direction of Bill 132. Such a process addresses public policy requirements while encouraging institutions that have a mission different from the universities that currently exist in Ontario. Rather than being judged within that existing context, they can be judged according to their stated mission. This will allow new degree-granting institutions that address specific needs to be rigorously assessed to ensure the highest quality, without having to fit into the box that is the Ontario university we know today.

Our view is that by encouraging mission-based accreditation of degree-education providers, Ontario's degree-granting sector will begin a process of diversification consistent with the government's vision. Ontario citizens in turn will benefit. They will have more real choice in selecting where they wish to pursue their post-secondary education.

With respect to three final matters, we have the following comments. First, we recommend that terminology that is more inclusive be used in the legislation; for example: "institute" or "college" or "polytechnic," as well as university. This will help ensure that the perspective within which these new post-secondary education providers are viewed is as broad as possible. Second, it will be important that the degree designations be established early in the process; for example, a bachelor of technology. All parties involved will want to know what type of degree they will be able to offer, and an early decision by government will help to clarify this. Third, the language in the bill, specifically sections 2 and 3, contemplates that institutions will be able to apply to grant degrees and/or become a private university. In our view, this is an important distinction that helps to underline that a degree-granting entity does not have to be a university. DeVry agrees with this distinction.

In conclusion, DeVry believes the government has demonstrated vision and leadership in introducing this legislation. We are pleased to support it and look forward to its passage. My colleagues and I appreciate the opportunity to come this afternoon and welcome any questions you might have.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That does allow us about four minutes for questioning. This time it will be for the Liberals.

Mr Levac: Mr Brown, I won't put words in your month, but I think you indicated a distinct concern for the students' choices and their availability to get those degrees. Is it fair to say that's what's been said?

Mr Brown: Yes.

Mr Levac: Do you agree, then, that there should be some protections built into the bill for the students who end up having one of the colleges or universities simply pull the plug in the middle of the year saying, "We can't make any more money so we close shop"?

Mr Brown: Of course.

Mr Levac: It's happened in my riding and they were left in the lurch. They did not get a certificate, let alone a diploma or a degree, and we're left with a pot full of bills.

Mr Brown: During the consultations we made that point in spades. We fully agree.

Mr Levac: Do you also agree that any kind of associated college or university that does that should never get a charter again in our province?

Mr Brown: I hadn't thought that far ahead. It makes sense.

Mr Levac: Would you then agree that anyone who has had that reputation anywhere else in the world and comes into our province to make the same proposal should not be allowed a charter?

Mr Brown: I have to think about that one. I'm not sure.

Mr Levac: Finally, you made mention of equity. Do you believe that it's almost a stacked deck when we say the word "equity" and poor students may not be able to afford to go to these institutions?

Mr Brown: Maybe you could just come back a little bit.


Mr Levac: I'm deeply concerned with the wonderful institutions that have been making presentations today, and they're all the best. I applaud them for that, and I'm not trying to be facetious here. Of the institutions I've been made aware of, they are excellent institutions. In some cases, if we now move down the road of private for-profit institutions, they may not be accessible to those people who may indeed need that degree because that's their gift, that's their talent, but they can't afford to go. That's not equity.

Mr Brown: I think affordability will continue to be an issue at all levels of education. I heard the number $40,000 mentioned earlier this afternoon. DeVry does not foresee those kinds of numbers in its future. For the record, we would come in at about $10,000.

Mr Levac: I appreciate that comment. I'm just voicing my concern that we can say equity across the board, but you can't control a private institution in how much they're going to charge. But if that student has a gift in that particular area and needs that diploma or degree to carry on, their ability to attain funds to go there is really kind of restricted, particularly if they are impoverished.

Mr Brown: I think the reality of tuition will continue to be a factor in any program-public universities, private universities, wherever.

Mr Levac: I wouldn't advocate completely tuition-free, but I am of the ilk that says anyone who cannot afford to go to university has been disadvantaged.

The Chair: Thank you all for taking the time to come before the committee today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee. Please proceed.

Ms Angela Shama: Mr Chairman, members of the standing committee on general government, ladies and gentlemen, OACETT, the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists, is pleased to appear before you in support of Bill 132. I am Angela Shama, executive director of an approximately 20,000-member association representing technicians and technologists, most of whom are graduates of the community college system. With me at the table today is Mr Trevor Onken, president of our association. Our comments will be very brief, but along with the verbal comments we have included in your package two briefs which will show our consistency of support over the years for degrees in technology in the college system. I assume that you've received the packages we've distributed.

The first is an OACETT brief to the colleges of applied arts and technology, submitted over 10 years ago, which proposed a degree-granting program for specific colleges to be identified by the ministry. The second is more current, having been sent to the ministry in this past year as a response to the ministry's request for input to their consultation paper Increasing Degree Opportunities for Ontarians. If I may, I would refer you to a couple of important recommendations from both those briefs.

First, from our brief to the minister dated May 29, 2000, on page 2, paragraph 4, regarding names of the degree and the academic institution, our comment is, "The name should be consistent with international nomenclature." We would appreciate your giving thought to using the term "polytechnic institute." That same name was used in our Vision 2000 response in that we recommended the need for a polytechnic system.

Further, in our May 29 brief, we stated in that same paragraph, "The bachelor degree should be the initial stage and not an associate degree." We believe it is important that the new applied degrees be recognized by universities toward post-graduate work and by industry for advancement to senior management roles. Similarly, in our response to Vision 2000 in 1989, we referred to the NAFTA, where a minimum of a baccalaureate degree is required. We recommend that BTech or BSc(EngT) degrees should be developed in Ontario.

Whether it be our brief of over 10 years ago or our recent one, our position of support for degrees in technology within the college system has been consistent. We are pleased to support on behalf of our association the ministry's new initiative within the colleges of applied arts and technology. We look forward to providing a certification process for those new graduates from these degree programs.

Mr Onken or myself would be pleased to respond to any questions you might have. If I might just add, we are very pleased with the presentation from DeVry as well. I think you can see from our comments that we share many similar views.

The Chair: You are the first group to allow us enough time to actually have a full rotation, because there are 12 minutes, or four minutes per caucus. This time we'll start with Mr Marchese.

Mr Marchese: Would degree-granting in that particular field of the community colleges involve more costs for the colleges? Do you know?

Ms Shama: My background is from the college system, where I came from, but I think that will certainly depend in many ways on the criteria that are established for the colleges. Are they three-year programs? Are they four-year programs? Will there be a greater degree of technical content, which of course increases capital costs, equipment costs, for a college? It's very difficult for me to give you an answer to that. I think it really depends on what the final product is going to look like.

Mr Marchese: Are you assuming, where there will be additional costs, once this government passes this bill, which it will, that the government will be there to support those colleges with those extra costs? Is that the assumption? Have you had chats with the parliamentary assistant or the minister or any staff person about that?

Ms Shama: I'm not sure it would be appropriate for our association, necessarily, to comment on that one. I think you need to determine what you're prepared to support in terms of the college system. I think public funding support is extremely important to the college system. It's critical.

Mr Marchese: Absolutely. We see the post-secondary educational system as being underfunded and has been so for the last-

Ms Shama: Right.

Mr Marchese: You don't say that because they won't like it. You can't say that.

It has been underfunded for many, many years. If this brings additional costs, I would assume you would be worried that if somehow colleges didn't get the additional costs, they would be unhappy-happy to have the degree-granting, but if they don't get the additional help, they would have to find money they don't have from other areas. That would be a concern for you, wouldn't it?

Ms Shama: It would certainly be a concern. We would like to see this succeed and we would like to see the degree-granting program succeed. In particular, we'd like to see a good offering of those programs within the technology area of the colleges. I think that's really important.

Mr Marchese: Perhaps the parliamentary assistant will assist me in helping with those questions, because she's next for questions.

Mrs Molinari: I'm not sure which questions he's asking for me to respond to.

Interjection: You're not going to help him, anyway.

Mrs Molinari: I would be very pleased to help. I missed the question.

I would like to congratulate the presenters on their presentation and certainly for submitting the brief to the minister during the consultation process. We had extensive consultations on this bill and a number of people joined in, not only in the consultation process that the minister and I held in various areas across the province but also in the submissions that came through in written format. Certainly it is our hope and our belief that this bill, as drafted, covers a number of issues that were raised during the consultations, and these types of hearings will also add to any amendments that might need to be made to the legislation as we move forward. We appreciate your comments and your support of some of the issues.

I believe, and the minister believes, that this is an area that is long overdue for us to be moving into, to offer students more choices. There is certainly a demand from the public, businesses and industries and globally and nationally that this is an area we should be moving toward. Again, thank you very much for taking the time to come today and for all the work you've done in submitting to us to help us in developing a legislation that is workable and effective.

Ms Shama: You're most welcome. If there's anything we can do in the future to help, we'll certainly be there as well.

Mrs Molinari: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Mrs Bountrogianni: I was also of the opinion that establishing polytechnic institutes is something we should be looking at, until I had a consultation with Dr Birgeneau, the new president of the University of Toronto, last week. He had just come from the biggest polytechnic institute, MIT. His opinion was, coming from MIT, as well-respected as MIT is, that you really lose a lot of breadth when you focus and overspecialize and develop just polytechnic institutes, that there are a lot more research opportunities and learning opportunities if you are part of a more-than-one-focus university. Can you address that challenge? It's making me rethink my position on that. How would you address that?

Ms Shama: I'm not sure I understand why it would narrow it. Perhaps our president would like to comment on that.

Mr Trevor Onken: Frankly, I wasn't sure what your scope was, so I probably didn't understand the question.

Mrs Bountrogianni: A polytechnic institute typically just has technical studies and very little general arts, liberal arts, languages, medicine and so forth.

Mr Onken: Right. I catch it. Our community colleges, as you realize, do not have that format. They are in fact designed for each individual area of the province through their industrial contacts in those areas that produce the type of community college graduate who fits the industrial workplace in the area. I would not see our Ontario polytechs changing from that.

Mrs Bountrogianni: When you say "polytechnic institute," you're not speaking of overspecializing. OK. That was my misunderstanding, then.

Mr Onken: I'm not looking at an MIT, but certainly-can I say it?-Mohawk has a-

Mrs Bountrogianni: Be careful when you say "Mohawk" around me. I'm from Hamilton.

Mr Onken: I recognize that.

Mrs Bountrogianni: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much for taking the time to come before us here this afternoon and for your previous submissions as well.



The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Federation of Students, University of Waterloo. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Mr Mark Schaan: Thank you. My name is Mark Schaan. I'm the vice-president, education, for the Federation of Students, University of Waterloo. I'm joined today by Ryan Parks, the executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.

I'd like to thank you for this opportunity to address you on behalf of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the 120,000-plus students we represent. Let me begin by saying that the challenges post-secondary education will face in Ontario over the next decade are daunting. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that in the next 10 years almost 90,000 additional spaces will be needed for university students.

I believe the government's move to allow private universities and colleges degree-granting status is a response to forecasts such as these, an attempt to avoid the infrastructure costs of investing in tomorrow's workforce that would otherwise be required.

OUSA strongly states that the government decision to allow private universities in Ontario is wrong on both philosophical and practical levels. I do not wish to take much of your time outlining the rationale for our opposition. I will simply say this:

Right now, Ontario students have the choice of 17 strong public universities. Over the next decade, a government's failure to create sufficient space to meet enrolment demands in these public institutions will not create choice. Rather, this failure will force students to attend a private university.

We already have the option of attending Harvard or the University of Phoenix. Do not take away tomorrow's students' choice to attend the University of Waterloo, Queen's or York. Please do not take away tomorrow's students' ability to attend Ontario's public universities.

With that being said, I did not arrive today with any hope of the government withdrawing this bill. I'm resigned to the fact that this government will force a significant portion of tomorrow's university students into private institutions or quite possibly to study out of province or out of country. For that reason, the remainder of my remarks will focus on how best to minimize the damage we see Bill 132 causing.

First and foremost, private universities should have access to no public funding of any sort-no tax incentives, no land grants, no operating grants, no research grants. I mention research grants last because that seems to be the most controversial point and is likely the only point requiring some explanation. I would put forward several points to you in this regard.

First, research dollars are too scarce and spread too thinly already. Second, public dollars should be spent on a public good. For-profit universities are no good-sorry-not a public good. A Freudian slip, I guess.

Finally, for-profit universities are a business like any other and, as such, should not be eligible for taxpayer subsidies any more than any other business.

A second area of concern is quality. Everybody raises the example of the University of Phoenix when speaking against private universities. Everyone cites the panacea of Harvard when arguing for private universities. We recognize that even the most token of quality standards would exclude an institution such as the University of Phoenix, and that Harvard probably has more pressing concerns than setting up a satellite campus in Durham region. The truth will lie somewhere in the middle, but by accrediting any private institution, the government of Ontario is explicitly placing a guarantee on their quality.

We note that Bill 132 creates a Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board whose mandate will be to recommend approval or denial of consent to the minister. We see two problems with this. First, we see no body to ensure that quality is maintained over any period of time after consent. For-profit universities will exist to make profit, not to provide quality education. Of course, as the graduates of these institutions enter the workforce, employers will be the judge of whether this ancillary mission was fulfilled. If the government is willing to attach its credibility by accrediting such institutions, it must recognize that it will be held accountable if one of these private universities turns out to be a Phoenix in Harvard's clothing. Second, while every other university in Ontario was created by legislative act, Bill 132 will allow private universities to be accredited by ministerial approval. Why? Why does the transparency and accountability of the legislative process not suit private universities?

Another major concern is that since the government is forcing a large proportion of tomorrow's students to study in private institutions, these students must be eligible for graduation, regardless of market forces. Therefore, we call on the government to require each private institution to develop and maintain an endowment sufficient to pay the costs of "teaching out" students already in the system.

Perhaps the thorniest issue, however, is that of student aid. This is what we believe: First, since the government is forcing a large proportion of tomorrow's students to study in private universities, we shouldn't penalize these people further by denying them access to public student aid. Second, it is very possible that public student aid could become a form of unlimited government subsidy to private universities, as their tuition is unchecked. Third, there is a movement in this government to bring transparency to public education institutions by publishing their student loan default rates. We are concerned that Ontario's high-quality public institutions may be tarnished in reputation if they are lumped together with private institutions.

Therefore, our recommendation to you regarding student aid for those at private universities would be that students at private universities should be eligible for public student aid but only to the limits faced by students at public institutions. Finally, a separate pool of funds should be established to distribute aid funds to students at private institutions.

I'd like to thank you again for this opportunity, and I'd be happy to address any questions or comments you may have.

The Chair: Thank you, and that does allow us lots of time for questioning. We've got about three minutes per caucus. This time it will start with the government members. It will be Mr Dunlop.

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): Thanks for being here this afternoon.

We listened the other day to the president of the community colleges association and we asked her how the students in the community college system felt about this bill, and all we heard was positive comments from her about the legislation and about how it would be so beneficial to the students in the community college system. Have you got any comments on that?

Mr Schaan: We represent eight university members from across the province and our unanimous consent at our recent general assembly passed the paper you have in front of you which is called Preserving the Public Good. What Bill 132 threatens to do is remove education as a public good and remove education as a shared responsibility, something that we believe society has a responsibility-not an opportunity but a responsibility-to help students with. By making private institutions available in Ontario, our members have had nothing but fear that this will compromise our notion of education and our understanding of the role of the university.

Mr Dunlop: So you see no opportunities in this bill whatsoever?

Mr Schaan: I think the kind of institutions we're looking to attract in Ontario aren't the kind of institutions that will necessarily be attracted by this bill. If we're looking for a Harvard of the north or if we're looking for a Yale or a Princeton, you're looking at operational costs that have required decades of alumni and decades of endowments to try and build. Meanwhile, we're looking at cash-strapped public institutions that are already facing quality gaps. I see no incentive for a for-profit private institution to come into this province with the aim of providing quality educational opportunities for Ontario's undergraduates.

Mrs Bountrogianni: Welcome. Excellent presentation, as always.

I think the part the colleges liked was the applied-degree part. They didn't make any reference to the private universities. they stayed away from that.

I'd like you to comment on the last few years with respect to the effect of the rising tuition on students from lower-income families. There have been three research studies done and I think one was done at your institute. Could you talk about that for us, please?

Mr Schaan: Yes. The University of Waterloo last year did a study based on postal codes, correlating data from Statistics Canada, average household income, with the populations of Ontario's universities. What we found is that over the last 10 years we've seen a 6% drop in Ontario of students coming from socio-economic backgrounds of less than $50,000. At the University of Waterloo, an institution which prides itself on its co-op program and the ability of students to help the financing of their institution, we saw a 10% drop, which is radical. Considering that tuition has gone up 150% over the last number of years because of the shortfall of funding, obviously there's a frightening trend that the university is no longer the jurisdiction or the landscape for all people in Ontario, but only those who can afford it.

Mr Levac: Thanks very much for your presentation. Again, I want to congratulate you for voicing the concerns of the students. Earlier I asked a presenter questions about equity, questions about availability and protection. Can you outline some of the things beyond what you've already said today about other areas of protection, because when we deal with a majority government, they tend to pass bills that maybe not everybody agrees with and then they become law. You've indicated that in your presentation. Can you give us an outline of other things that you think might be able to be done that would protect students?


Mr Schaan: There are a number of things we can do to ensure that both taxpayers and students are protected at these institutions, obviously at no public funding. But then also we need to ensure that there's a proper information channel to students. It would be negligent of this government to assume that simply opening the door to private institutions means that students are well aware of what the realities of their educational choices are. Students need the opportunity to make choices in their post-secondary education careers with informed decisions. Private institutions come with no operating history, unless it's the University of Phoenix, and we know what their operating history is like. That means lawsuits and the mismanagement of student loan funds, so students need to be made well aware of what their choices are. That's one of the key protections that needs to be put in place.

The other thing is potential tuition maximums. I mean, if these institutions are looking to come in and try and set up shop, they can't simply go under the guise-unfortunately, sticker price is often associated with quality, and just because you have high tuition doesn't necessarily mean you have a high-quality institution. In the same way that public institutions are regulated on how they increase their tuition to ensure that it actually is improving quality, we need to have some standards of how these institutions are making money and where their profit is coming from.

Mr Marchese: I enjoyed your presentation. One of the objections I put forth in the legislative debates was that normally governments introduce bills on the basis of someone in the public or a significant section of the population saying, "We really want this." I quite frankly haven't found too many of those people. There was a president from a community college who said he supports private universities-God bless, there must be a few of them-but not vocally saying, "We want it."

You come from a student body, you're a young guy. Have you heard young people saying, "We're screaming for this choice. We're lacking choice and we want it and that's why we want for-profit private universities"? Help them out, help me out.

Mr Schaan: We found it quite ironic that the bill was titled "choice and excellence in post-secondary education"-I can't remember the full title of the bill-because we agree, students aren't begging for choice. Students are begging for quality opportunity. We have seen the growth of some innovative and exciting new programs at the 17 public institutions we have in Ontario over the last number of years. We've seen the growth of software engineering at my institution and at McMaster. We've seen new programs in applied health sciences, new programs in gerontology and health, new programs in applied arts degrees. I think our public institutions are doing a very fine job at ensuring that all undergraduates in Ontario have choice in the university sector.

I think what we're lacking from the Ontario government is a commitment to quality choices and with quality comes increased funding. We're 59th of 60 in funding in this province. I don't know how many times we need to tell that and hit that home. We need to ensure that the excellent opportunities that are being provided at our public institutions will be met with funds to ensure that they are the quality that undergraduates are demanding.

Students aren't looking for more names of degrees. Students are looking for the degree they have but want to ensure that it's of the highest quality they can get and that's what we're asking for from this government.

Mr Marchese: Let's stick to that point about choice again. One of the deputants talked about the idea that this will provide equity and so on. "Choice, equity, flexibility and quality" was one of the comments that was made by an earlier deputant. As it relates to private universities, as opposed to the college part of degree granting, which is a different kind of discussion, in my view, do you think it offers choice to students in terms of their ability to access those private, for-profit university programs? If it's really privately funded, they're going to have to rely on tuition fees. In these universities we hear that it would cost anywhere from $40,000 a year and up if it's just privately funded alone, right? Does that offer choice to students, or for whom?

Mr Schaan: We agree. I don't know how many studies we've done. There's the Guelph study, the Waterloo study. Even the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce recently did a study of educational attitudes toward post-secondary education. The overwhelming barrier to access was not one of space at a university, although that is becoming an increasing concern and we need to make sure that we do fund increased spaces with the institutional requirements of faculty and support services on top of that, not just new spaces. But the biggest barrier to access is tuition, and if these institutions are coming in and charging $40,000 tuition, that's not accessibility. If we think that the student loan program is the way to go about creating access to that, we would, frankly, disagree because we would like to make sure that the student loan program doesn't become a subsidy for private businesses to operate private universities in this province. Without putting a maximum on students' loans, all we're doing is ensuring that the profit margins of these corporations that want to start universities are wider, and that's not what we're looking for. We're looking for student choice.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming before us and making your presentation today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Good afternoon. Welcome to the committee.

Ms Leah Casselman: Thank you very much. My name's Leah Casselman, I'm president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. With me today is Stephanie Blake, who's a member of our board of directors and also an employee at Ryerson, and Jordan Berger, who is our supervisor of research.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union represents community college professors and support staff as well as thousands of university-sector workers. We are appearing before you this evening to address Bill 132, the Post-Secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act.

This is our third opportunity to address this legislation. The first opportunity came in response to the government's consultation paper on private universities. There were a number of questions raised in that paper but all of them can be boiled down to just one: how do we introduce a private tier to the Ontario post-secondary education system? We answered the minister's questions but made it clear that our position remains that post-secondary education should remain a publicly funded and publicly administered system available to all qualified students.

The second opportunity came during a shadow consultation on private universities organized by the Ontario Post-Secondary Education Coalition, which unites faculty, staff unions, students and other supporters of public education. All of the participants during the shadow consultations were clear in their opposition to the introduction of private universities.


With Bill 132, this government shows that it has not listened to those who provide and value quality public education in Ontario. It is interesting to note that the Public Appointments Secretariat has already begun the task of identifying possible candidates for the quality assessment board, even though the legislation that creates that board has yet to be passed by the Legislature.

Obviously, the government feels that it must at least go through the motions of listening to those who oppose its education agenda. So we're here today. Although I have no confidence that our concerns will be taken seriously, I welcome the opportunity to have our objections entered in the public record.

First and foremost, the current Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act specifically prohibits a corporation from applying to set up a university in Ontario, in case you weren't aware of that situation. This proposed legislation would undo that prohibition.

Second, this act further removes the post-secondary system from public scrutiny by allowing the ministry to decide whether or not a private institution qualifies as a university. In contrast, the existing legislation requires these approvals to be debated in and decided by the provincial Legislature. This proposed change is clearly intended to reduce the accountability of government to protect public post-secondary education in Ontario.

The notion that problems can be avoided by giving the ministry stronger regulatory powers is deeply flawed. After Walkerton, does anyone believe that this government will allow its own staff the resources and freedom from interference necessary to preserve high standards in post-secondary education?

Finally, if this experiment with private universities fails, as we think it will-as we predicted the Walkerton crisis-the provisions of NAFTA will make it very difficult for a future, more progressive government to undo the damage. NAFTA allows US corporations to sue provincial governments if any future change in public policy-for example, to return to a fully funded public higher education system-negatively affects their anticipated profits, the almighty bottom line.

Given all of these concerns, why is the government so keen to pursue the path of private, for-profit education? In addition to its unqualified support for privatization and strong lobbying by the private sector, the government is once again trying to avoid its responsibility to support our cherished public services. As we all know, the number of students applying to universities is projected to reach unprecedented levels within the next few years. Rather than fund the services that these students need now, the government is looking to the private sector to take up, and charge hefty fees for, the slack.

Are Ontarians really demanding private education? Of course not, no more than they are demanding private health care. All Ontarians want the best quality public education system that we can provide as a society. As we all recognize, support for higher education today is a critical factor to ensure our province's success tomorrow.

Even our free market neighbors to the south recognize the importance of higher education. Ontario continues to rank near the bottom of the list of states and provinces in per capita spending on education. How can we expect our export industries to compete with those in New York and Michigan, for example, when we starve our educational system while they invest unprecedented amounts in their universities and colleges?

Of course, the issue here is not just inadequate funding. Education should do more than just produce human widgets to fill job slots in our workplaces. A higher education should develop full, rounded citizens who are equipped with the critical skills they need to assume their responsibilities to society and to reach their own maximum potential.

Private vocational schools already offer post-secondary programs but ignore their responsibility to provide quality higher education. They promise their graduates jobs, and they train for jobs alone. Yet they fail at even that meagre objective. What other conclusion can you draw from the fact that their students in private colleges have the highest default rate on their OSAP loans?

There are many ways to improve what we already have, but opening up the field to the University of Phoenix is not one of them. If we force students to get their education from, their fly-by-night education will eventually undermine our society and economy. Rather, we must invest in our future, not borrow against it to serve private interests.

On the subject of colleges offering applied degrees, we remain cautious and concerned. While it is not beyond the capability of Ontario colleges and universities to work out a system of applied degrees, such an arrangement would have to recognize the different strengths and qualifications of the university and college systems. Our experience with existing applied degree programs leads us to suspect that this balance is not being found. Nursing programs, for example, have been turned into cash cows for certain universities, with little benefit for the colleges that provide the bulk of the instruction. By extending the duration of nursing studies, we are starving our health care system of the qualified staff they so urgently require.

Clearly, there is a crisis in education today. But it is not caused by a lack of consumer choice. It is caused by years of systematic underfunding. Over the years, the provincial government has been squeezing the colleges and universities without mercy. Classroom time has suffered, courses have suffered, students have suffered. In fact, students have suffered doubly. They're not getting the quality their teachers would like to give them, because there aren't the hours in the day and classes are too large for any significant interaction with their instructors, and of course students graduate today with debt loads that would have covered a pretty decent mortgage 25 years ago.

This proposed legislation would act as a further barrier to poor and middle-class students by criminalizing the administration of student loans. For example, if a single mother suspects she may occasionally have to work more than 10 hours a week to provide for her family, the prospect of a $25,000 fine and jail time will surely discourage her from pursuing a degree. Mind you, the 60-hour work week would probably look after that too.

The per capita debt of the average student far exceeds the per capita debt carried by taxpayers. But this government that campaigned to create the phony debt crisis continues to ignore this growing financial pressure on our students and their families. As a result, we are losing a generation of students to a very real and very individual debt crisis.

The current federal election has shown once again that voters want no part of a privatized health care system. Canadians clearly view education and health care as two public services that must be preserved at all costs. Political parties that defy the public mood must be prepared to pay a very high cost in the court of public opinion. OPSEU remains confident that the citizens we serve as members and as students strongly prefer a well-funded public education system over a patchwork of public and private educational facilities.


I will conclude by repeating the same advice we have given in our two previous presentations on this subject. Like medicare, our post-secondary education system should adhere to some fundamental principles:

(1) It should be universally available to those who qualify and who want the opportunity.

(2) Its degrees and diplomas should be of a standard and reputation to be accepted at other institutions across Canada and around the world.

(3) It should have the infrastructure and resources to offer programs that meet this standard.

I'll repeat that, in case you missed it. It should have the infrastructure and resources to offer programs that meet this standard.

(4) It should be publicly funded and publicly run.

(5) It should be accessible to all students, so that poverty, language, family circumstances and disability create no barriers.

If we stick to these basic principles, which I know is a foreign concept for some, we can build a better public education system. I urge you to work with us to achieve that.

I do have one comment on what's happening with private universities. There is one that started up, called the Canada West Canine Centre. It's a school for dog trainers, registered with the Private Post-Secondary Education Commission. Obviously, in British Columbia, education is going to the dogs.

I do have an instant fix for the government today, if you're worried about finding the money to ensure there is adequate funding in the post-secondary system. I believe the Provincial Auditor found you have not collected a half-billion dollars in sales taxes, which employers have collected on your behalf. If you got the staff and went out and got the money, you'd have enough for post-secondary education. It would solve all your problems and certainly a whole bunch of ours.

The Chair: That leaves us about three minutes for questions. This time the rotation takes us to the Liberals.

Mrs Bountrogianni: Unfortunately-or fortunately, depending on which side of the House you sit-this is going to pass. It's a majority government. Are there any amendments you can develop which will minimize the damage done by private universities? That is basically what we've come to.

Mr Jordan Berger: We would like to see the quality assessment board made as firm as possible, so that it has good representation from qualified academics from the public system. If they are going ahead with this change, they need to take a lot of care to make sure that board is actually functioning as an overseer. You really are putting the future value of an Ontario degree in question. That would be one major area we would like to see some action on.

Mrs Bountrogianni: The Council of Universities voiced a similar amendment. Do you have any thoughts on amendments or additions to the legislation with respect to protecting students financially from the strong possibility of private institutions folding, as they have in the past.

Mr Berger: Obviously, there has to be protection. If the government authorizes this move to a private system, I think the position of OPSEU would be that they should assume ultimate liability for institutions that go belly-up.

One of the changes that I think the president has already mentioned is a real concern about the criminalization of OSAP. The system is too tight as it is, and it's no surprise that some people have to work a few extra hours or find some exception just to to provide for their families or themselves and to study. That's an area where we would like to see some changes as well.

Mrs Bountrogianni: Many more students I knew, as well, were actually working overtime illegally to make ends meet and still collecting OSAP. It points to the high tuition more than to their being criminals or trying to defraud the system.

The government does have some protection in the legislation for students, but maybe the government can answer this question. Is it the government that will take up the liability, or is it the institution that will be expected to pay the students if it closes?

Mrs Molinari: Could you repeat the question, please?

Mrs Bountrogianni: The way the legislation reads now, if a private university goes bankrupt and leaves, will the government assume liability-in other words, give back the tuition to the students-or will it be the bankrupt institution? I know there is something in the legislation.

Mrs Molinari: Before a private institution is granted status, a bond will be set up for student protection. The quality assessment board will ensure that all those things are in place before recommending to the minister that the institution to be granted status.

Mrs Bountrogianni: That wouldn't be like the bond you were supposed to have on all those companies, which you were supposed to be collecting for the Ministry of the Environment?

Mrs Molinari: Am I responding to questions?

The Chair: Actually, our time is up. Thank you very much for coming before us again to make a presentation.

Ms Casselman: It's our pleasure.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Glenn Gould Professional School. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Jack Behrens: Good afternoon, Mr Chair and honourable members. I would like to introduce my colleagues from the Royal Conservatory of Music: Shannon Paterson, the general manager of the Glenn Gould Professional School, and Rennie Regehr, the dean of the school. In light of the presentation two presentations back, I hope the fact I have a PhD from Harvard won't be held against me.

We appreciate this opportunity for the Royal Conservatory of Music to support Bill 132, the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000. It's a very timely act, and it recognizes the changes in higher education that are underway in Ontario and elsewhere.

It's becoming clear that the most successful institutions will be those that can adapt to and cope with change and society's demands and thereby offer high-quality education and training to students both within Ontario and from elsewhere.

Higher education is becoming more individualized and tailored to the needs and aspirations of individual students. There will be less emphasis on studying prescribed courses for prescribed numbers of hours in prescribed lecture halls. With access to computers and the Internet, anyone may now have access to a wealth of facts. Facts, however, are not a synonym for knowledge.

The most renowned professors and practitioners will likely be more and more associated with two or several institutions, with costs perhaps shared proportionately.

It is becoming clear that awards, grants and loans will follow students rather than institutions. In this regard, we support the concept that students should be able to utilize support, which should be available to all, based on common criteria. They should be able to utilize this at the post-secondary institution of their choice.

We also applaud the government's intent that Bill 132 be enabling rather than restrictive

We welcome the opportunity this bill provides for the Royal Conservatory of Music to apply for degree-granting status. Founded in 1886, the RCM, which until 1947 was known as the Toronto Conservatory of Music, is the largest and oldest self-supporting institution of its kind in Canada. In 1994, the Frederick Harris Music Publishing Co was donated to the conservatory. The modern era began in 1991 with the re-establishment of its independence from the University of Toronto through an act of the Ontario Legislature. Under the direction of Dr Peter Simon, the president and CEO, it has gained financial stability and has refocused its activities on a model of interrelated business units which include: the Royal Conservatory of Music examinations, which serve more than 100,000 Canadians annually; learning through the arts, which is in the school systems from coast to coast; the community school; and the Glenn Gould Professional School, which we represent.

This year, the Glenn Gould Professional School has an enrolment of 179 students: 132 are Canadians from 10 provinces; 47 students are from 15 countries, and of the 47, 15 are from the United States. It's interesting to note that of those who apply to the Glenn Gould Professional School, half do not apply anywhere else. That does not mean that they get admitted, of course, but it does mean that they are focused and have identified a school which they believe will be helpful to them. Our students are talented and motivated. Faculty who teach for us and also teach for universities in Ontario tell us that our students are in no way inferior and in fact are sometimes more highly motivated.

While we believe our curriculum is unique and does not parallel precisely those of Ontario's colleges of applied arts and technology, there are some commonalties, as may be apparent from our mission statement, which is on page 7 of the prospectus that has just been distributed. Our mission is to train performing musicians for successful careers, to provide artistic leadership skills and to inspire commitment to the transformation of contemporary society.


We believe we are complementary to but do not duplicate university programs. Among the advantages that students find in studying with the Glenn Gould Professional School is that we are one of the only major international schools to offer systematic training in communication skills, technology and teaching. We provide the skills that students need to be employable and entrepreneurial.

Our average class size is 10. We provide half again as much private instruction in voice or instruments as most institutions, whether in Canada or elsewhere.

We have a roster of national and international visiting artists who present master classes, workshops and lectures that are perhaps unparalleled anywhere. This allows our students direct access to the professional world and connections leading to employment.

Students enrolled in our four-year performance diploma program also have the opportunity to obtain a bachelor of music degree in performance or composition through British Columbia Open University, with which we have an articulation agreement. BCOU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Recently, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage has designated us as a national training institution. It seems somewhat ironic, therefore, that we are not permitted at the present moment to offer our own degree, as much as we have that rather unique distinction.

Diplomas, as I am sure you have heard in other presentations, are not widely recognized outside of Canada, it's unclear what they really mean, whereas baccalaureate and masters' degrees have more or less universal significance. In this rather incongruous and strange situation, we believe that we are competitive on an international footing, and we strongly urge that our recommendation that we be given degree-granting status be considered.

We believe that the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board and its review panel should be cosmopolitan in outlook. It should include international members and members of professional organizations and associations from the disciplines under review. The Glenn Gould Professional School within the past few years has been scrutinized by external reviewers on behalf of the Ontario Arts Council, the British Columbia Open University and twice for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, all of whom have been highly positive and even laudatory. We look forward with anticipation to being considered for degree-granting status under the provisions of Bill 132. Accordingly and naturally, we support this initiative.

The Chair: That certainly leaves us time for questions. This time the rotation will begin with Mr Marchese.

Mr Marchese: Just a few questions. By the way, I'm a big fan of the Royal Conservatory, obviously. I went there once for voice lessons. I used to sing Tom Jones. I ruined my voice singing Tom Jones.

Dr Behrens: We'll take you back for a visit. It has been transformed, perhaps.

Mr Marchese: It didn't help me, but that's because I'm the problem, not the teachers.

What is the difference in your programming from those programs offered by-


Mr Marchese: Mr Dunlop, sorry. Is everything OK?

Mr Dunlop: I just couldn't see you doing Tom Jones. Sorry.

Mr Marchese: Hard to picture?

What is the difference in your program versus those offered in colleges or universities?

Mr Rennie Regehr: It's much more practical. Our students do a lot more playing. They have much more interaction with professionals and artists in the field. We have a lot of internationally recognized guests coming in to give classes, to conduct our orchestra and that sort of thing. We feel that gives them a much closer look at the real world, so to speak, and it often provides-because contacts get made, relationships are built-our students options when they are finished their studies here. I think that's quite different.

Mr Marchese: Do community colleges or universities object to your perhaps providing degrees? Do you expect it? Have you had those discussions?

Mr Regehr: I think there is some feeling that they would rather we not be there with the degrees.

Mr Marchese: Have you had discussions with them?

Ms Shannon Paterson: We already do offer a degree through our articulation agreement with the British Columbia Open University, so they've had to deal with that situation for the past few years already.

Mr Marchese: Right. So that was good because you set a precedent with the university, obviously, with whom you work. But that hasn't necessarily helped with other universities here in Ontario or other colleges, has it?

Dr Behrens: We could probably say they are less than enchanted.

Mr Marchese: What kinds of support do you expect from the government, other than your ability to provide a degree? Anything else?

Mr Regehr: No. We are not expecting any operating funding at all.

Ms Paterson: Currently we are supported by the national program, through the Canadian heritage fund. We are hoping that will continue.

The Chair: Thank you for bringing the perspective of your unique organization before us here today.

Committee members, I just want to inform you that we've had a request from Mr Kwinter to consider meeting next Monday to deal with his bill, so I'm going to be convening a subcommittee meeting tomorrow to see if all parties are amenable to that. Pending those discussions, the committee stands adjourned until next Wednesday at 3:30.

The committee adjourned at 1735.