STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES AFFAIRES GOUVERNEMENTALES
Monday 31 March 2014 Lundi 31 mars 2014
The committee met at 1403 in committee room 2.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): I’d like to call the meeting to order. I’d like to welcome members from the three caucuses, members of the audience, the clerks’ office, Hansard and legislative research.
This afternoon, we’re going to continue our review of the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games and the Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat. We have two delegations with us this afternoon. The first one will start very shortly. We will have introductory remarks of five minutes, followed by 25 minutes of questioning.
CANADIAN SPORT INSTITUTE ONTARIO
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): At this time, I would like to welcome, from the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, Debbie Low, president and chief executive officer, and I believe Tommy—is Tommy with us as well?—Tommy Wharton, director of high-performance sport. Welcome. Take your time. You have five minutes. Enjoy. Thank you very much.
Ms. Debbie Low: Do we just get started?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Yes, if you want to just introduce your names for the Hansard record.
Ms. Debbie Low: Hi. I’m Debbie Low, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, chief executive officer and president.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Hello. My name is Tommy Wharton. I’m the director of high-performance sport at CSIO.
Ms. Debbie Low: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and general committee members. My name is Debbie Low, and I am the CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. Joining me today is my colleague Mr. Tommy Wharton. Mr. Wharton is the director of high-performance sport at the CSIO. Prior to joining our organization, he was the national team coach for the Canadian Yachting Association for four years, and coached at two Olympic Games for Canada, as well as at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio. Tommy also served as a national team athlete from 1997 to 2001 in the sport of sailing. Coaches and athletes are our future leaders, and that is why I have asked Mr. Wharton to join me today.
I have served in the position of CEO at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario since November 2005. I am responsible for the daily operation of the sport institute and for leading the transition to Ontario’s first facility-based sport institute as a legacy of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.
I have been heavily involved in sport—as an athlete, administrator and volunteer—for my entire life. Before joining the CSIO, I was the executive director of ParaSport Ontario. I worked as the director of sport for Toronto’s 2008 Olympic bid, on a four-year secondment from the province. I worked for 10 years at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation in the Ontario and Canada Games program, and have also worked for two provincial sport organizations.
As a volunteer, I have served on a number of sport boards and committees in leadership positions, and I must state that I am extremely passionate about and committed to the Paralympic movement in Canada.
I am currently the vice-president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. I was on the board of the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games bid as the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s representative, and I am most proud of serving as Canada’s chef de mission for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and assistant chef de mission for the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. The chef de mission is the head of a delegation; I was not the cook for the team.
As you can see, I am committed to amateur sport in my personal, professional and volunteer life, so I can say with certainty that the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will have a positive and lasting impact on all Ontarians.
I believe in the power of sport. Success in sport strengthens and builds community, develops our future leaders, develops civic pride and instills a belief that we can win, that it is okay to win and that it is okay to want to be excellent. Sport is a vehicle through which we can all aspire to be excellent.
The sport infrastructure deficit in Ontario is one of the main reasons that the Canadian Olympic Committee awarded the Pan Am Games domestic bid to Toronto. I believe that the 10 brand new sport facilities being built and the 15 upgraded venues for the games will lead to more Ontarians of all abilities spending more time in sport.
From a sport perspective, these are the first 50-metre pools to be built in the GTA in more than 30 years. Canada’s only permanent cycling velodrome will be built, as well as the Pan Am Games athletic stadium, which will be a world-class competition and training venue. These three main legacy venues will draw participants and enable our best athletes to get even better.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Thank you, Debbie. The TO2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will have a meaningful and proven effect on the enthusiasm for sport in the region. Competing against other nations at a meaningful home games is one of the most powerful motivators for athletes in any sport. The patriotism, passion and effort that our athletes and coaches demonstrate will be contagious.
Here are a few examples—or case studies, if you will. The first one is Karen Cockburn. For athletes like Toronto’s Karen Cockburn, the 2015 games represents an opportunity to cap off a very accomplished career at a meaningful competition in front of friends, family and supporters.
This is taken from a March 6, 2014 article in the Stouffville Sun-Tribune, if I may: Karen Cockburn “has won an individual world championship in 2003, claimed two silver Olympic medals in 2004 and 2008 and one bronze in 2000.” That’s three Olympic medals in consecutive Olympic games. “But before retiring from soaring heights on the world stage, Cockburn revealed there’s one void missing from her storied career—to compete in a major event in front of a home crowd. ‘I was born and raised in Toronto, so to be able to compete at such an event at home in front of family and friends would be a great experience,’ she said.”
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay. We’re about at the five-minute mark, so if you can wrap it up and make it quick.
Ms. Debbie Low: Okay. The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will have a direct impact on our organization. The games will enhance our ability to help athletes and coaches reach their full potential and seize the home games opportunity. We are the people and programs behind the medals, and we have been preparing for this home game opportunity for several years.
The fundamental purpose behind a sport institute is to bring together high-performance athletes, coaches, sports scientists and sport management professionals, all under one roof, working together to help our athletes reach the international podium. From the playground to the podium, the sport institute will be the epicentre from which we create athletic champions and heroes for generations to come. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. If I could just ask one question before we get going: What type of sport was your favourite? Because you have a long resumé. You indicated a sport that was—
Ms. Debbie Low: That I competed in? Canoeing.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Excellent. Okay. Thank you very much.
We’ll start with the government. You have about 24 minutes.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: I just wanted to say, if you had anything else to add, I’m happy to share my time, because I know that you may have cut short. So please feel free to finish your submission.
Ms. Debbie Low: Why don’t you hit on those athletes, Tommy?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Sure. If I may, there are just another few vignettes. The first one is from a Pan Am-only recognized sport. These athletes are Whitney McClintock and Miranda Ranieri. So for those athletes competing in Pan Am-only sports, like Waterloo’s Miranda Ranieri—she’s a two-time defending squash champion who captured three medals, including one gold at the 2011 Guadalajara Pan American Games—and Cambridge’s McClintock siblings, who were two of the world’s most decorated water skiers, the 2015 Pan Am Games will be an important and passionate emotional event, just like Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics was for skiers and skaters.
I also want to point out that the Pan and Parapan Games’ success is a proven precursor to Olympic success. By hosting these games, more Ontario athletes will have access to this proven gateway or pathway.
The list of our Canadian summer Olympic heroes whose Olympic success was almost immediately preceded by Pan American Games’ success is startling. Here I name just a few that I think you all would recognize.
The first one is Daniel Igali. He’s in the sport of wrestling. He competed in 1999, when the Pan Am Games were in Winnipeg, and won a medal and followed that up with an Olympic medal in 2000.
Simon Whitfield, who I think you’ve all heard of—he was our flag-bearer in the 2012 Olympics, in the sport of triathlon: a Pan Am medal in 1999 and an Olympic medal in 2000 and also 2008.
Alexandre Despatie, diving: a Pan Am medal in 2003 and 2007 and Olympic medals in 2004 and 2008.
The final one is Carol Huynh, in women’s wrestling: a Pan Am medal in 2007 and an Olympic medal in 2008.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you. I’d like to begin by thanking both you, Ms. Low and Mr. Wharton, for coming down and sharing those stories. Thank you very much. I also know you have a very busy job, the two of you, so I appreciate the fact that you’ve come out to be here with us.
As you know, we here at the committee are continuing the review to find out whether the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has effectively exercised its role in the oversight of the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games that will be hosted next year. Could you perhaps tell us a little bit more, Ms. Low—I know you already alluded to it a little bit—about your past role as an assistant chef de mission for the Paralympic Games?
Ms. Debbie Low: Sure. As I said, the chef and assistant chef are team leader roles.You have, at the Paralympic Games, 19 sports in the games, and it’s all different sports. All of these athletes are used to going to their own world championships and world events, and come together as one team. What we’re trying to do is bring them together as one team for the games, so they are one Canadian team.
I put together what’s called a mission team. That mission team is responsible for everything from transportation, logistics, freight—everything that can alleviate all of the things an athlete has to think about so they can just focus on the competition. Their job is to train when they get there and then to compete at their best of their ability. So we take out all of the distractions. We make sure their families are taken care of. We are there to provide all of that support around them, a little bubble around them, so that they can compete and do the best that they can do.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you. Obviously, that means you interact heavily with the athletes and para-athletes. That must be quite the privilege. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to meet the women’s basketball team that’s going to—I guess it’s the Canadian team, and it was just fascinating, just the calibre, the skill level, their enthusiasm. This is the para-basketball team—I have to get the name right. I had an opportunity to play with them in the special wheelchairs, and it’s very competitive. I actually fell off the wheelchair. It was a lot of fun and really quite the privilege to have interacted with them for that short while. I envy you being able to actually interact with them for much, much longer.
These are games where, really, the hopes and aspirations of an entire country are on their shoulders at that point. We saw that very clearly at the Sochi games, especially in the hockey games, both men and women. What is their mindset? What is the mindset of athletes when they attend and compete in events like the Olympics and the Paralympics?
Ms. Debbie Low: As I said, it really is our job to make sure we take away all the distractions so they can compete and be the best they can be. Tommy’s example of Karen Cockburn is prime—I mean, being able to compete at a home games is key.
I think that with any games, we believe the games are successful when our athletes are successful. When Sidney Crosby scored that goal at the end of the games in 2010, when the women’s hockey team scored that overtime goal as well in 2014—all Canadians really come together for those moments. I think that Canadian pride is what we get from athletes competing in events.
I’ll ask Tommy actually to speak to that as well, as a national team athlete and coach.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Sure. I think that performance on demand is a critical piece in high-performance sport. Obviously, we want everyone to do well in 2015 on home soil, but I think it’s important as well to realize that this will translate to, ultimately, success in 2016, but really 2020 and 2024. A lot of athletes are going to be going to the Pan Am Games. For the senior athletes, they’ll be in what we call a “peak now” period, so they’re taking the performance in Toronto and translating it into Rio. But for some of the athletes, it will be—maybe they’ve done a world championship before, but this is their first games, and it’s just fantastic experience. They’ll probably participate in the Olympic trials the following year but may not make it. But they will use the experiences that they experience through the Pan Am Games to translate into 2020 success. I think that’s critical.
I know, just in my background as an athlete, they didn’t have Quest for Gold back in the day when I was coming through the Ontario system. They had the Wintario system, and that was a fantastic program. I went through the ranks of that and then became a national team athlete and then a club coach and then an Olympic coach. I went to Rio in 2007, and I was just looking at all the facilities and going, “I would love to have this in the GTA.” And it has become a reality.
If I may as well—when you go to games, you get to interact with all the other athletes and coaches. Without a doubt, it’s a very nomadic existence as an athlete and as a coach. Sometimes we refer to ourselves as gypsies, because you’re basically living out of a bag, travelling around the world. It’s because there’s a gap in world-class training facilities in a variety of different sports. The product that we’re going to get after the Pan Am Games in terms of the velodrome, the athletics stadium—the facilities that we’re going to have at PAG, they’re going to be world class. We’re very fortunate.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Have either of you had any experience with event bids? I know you did, so I’m just curious. Why did you participate in the Toronto 2008 Olympic and Paralympic bid?
Ms. Debbie Low: In the bid?
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Yes.
Ms. Debbie Low: Again, this is a world-class city, and we need to bring world-class events here. As the director of sport, one of the things that I had to do was put together—what the International Olympic Committee wants to see is your past hosting experience of international events, sporting events, primarily, but other events as well. We had to go back to 1930, when we hosted a major multi-sport competition. We did a few worlds here and there—world cycling championships—but we were really stretching, trying to figure out events that we have held.
All of the synergies that we’ve talked about and all of the benefits of hosting a games were really key to me. I am a Torontonian. I grew up in the city. I believe in the power of sport and all the things that can happen, so I passionately believe that we should—well, we should have won that bid, but we did win the Pan/Parapan Am Games, and I firmly believe that we should bid for a future Olympic Games.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: This is a question that I am really curious about, because the world meets are of the same calibre as the Olympics, but there’s always more status, more glamour and excitement to the Olympic Games than the world championships. As people who are so closely tied to sport, perhaps you can explain what the difference is.
Ms. Debbie Low: Between a worlds and a games?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Between a world championship and something like the Olympics, or the Pan Am Games?
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Yes, the Olympics just seems to get a lot more media attention. It just seems to be more glamorous. Winning the Olympics is a little bit different than winning the world championships, even though it’s of the same calibre. I’m just trying to understand that dynamic.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Yes, sure. Every four years, respectively the winter or summer Olympics—it’s just the buildup. World championships happen every year and, without a doubt, it’s an unparalleled accomplishment. If you can win a world championship, that’s amazing. But everyone remembers the Olympic champions. To get on that podium, I think, is critical. Historically—no disrespect to world champion individuals on the podium there—everyone remembers the Olympics.
Also, in terms of funding and the way national sport organizations, NSOs—they are gearing toward medal count, and it’s a competitive process right now. Everyone knows of Own the Podium. Every nation that we’re up against wants to own the podium as well. Medal count has become a major, major factor. It’s the pride of the nation.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: You already alluded to this a little bit, but I just want to expand a little bit more. When you said that often Canadian athletes lead a nomadic existence, it’s in part because you’re competing everywhere, but in part because you need to train elsewhere as well. Could you tell us what the infrastructure legacy of the Pan/Parapan Am Games is going to mean to our athletes?
Ms. Debbie Low: Sure. We’re incredibly excited about the opportunity to host events here. As Tommy said, all of our athletes have to go elsewhere to train. Right now our cyclists have to go down to LA to train. They’re away from family. They’re away from friends. It’s not really the best environment for training. It’s the same with swimming, as we’ve said. We’ve got two 50-metre pools in this city, and that’s just not good enough. It’s really critical to have these venues here, and as well to invite the rest of the world here to compete.
You would be surprised at the technology that goes on at other venues. We can tape training sessions so that we can see what the world’s best are doing when they come here to train. The Olympic Oval is a perfect example of that. The Japanese speed skating team would spend upwards of a month at the oval training, so we get to see their training techniques and learn from them. There’s also, of course, the economic impact of that on the community from athletes staying here and competing here. Really, all of the things that we find beneficial and our athletes have found beneficial going to other places, we can now bring here right into our own city.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: If I can add to that, I think I alluded before to the performances that we’re looking at for 2015 and also in Rio, but we can’t underestimate the impact that facilities are going to have for the long term, so 2020, 2024.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. In the sport of cycling, Debbie alluded to the fact that we don’t have a velodrome in Canada right now, a fully international standard velodrome, so all the athletes have to go for training camps to Los Angeles. It gets very expensive, and the athletes are away from friends, families and loved ones. It’s the same with the coaches and the integrated support team around them—sports science, sport med. To have a facility here will be amazing as we lead into Rio, but it’s also about developing the underpinning group of athletes, the rising stars, if you will.
Cycling actually has a whole program called Rising Stars. They also have another program—I really like the name of this program—called Pedal to the Medal. They’re finding athletes—they could be coming from hockey or rugby or just off the street—and they’re putting them through specific testing parameters to find athletes that really, really have incredible engines and leg power, and putting them into the sport of cycling. We’re trying to find those diamonds that are out there, introducing them to a new sport. You won’t see their success in 2016; you’ll see their success in 2020 and beyond.
It’s a different sport, but rowing has a program called Row to Podium. They actually have three talent development centres located throughout Ontario, and they’re funded through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. One is in St. Catharines, one is in London and the other one is in Trent. Same thing—they’re finding new athletes that may be coming from different sports—cross-country skiing or endurance backgrounds who have very extreme, long hands and tall bodies, because they’re levers in the sport of rowing—and introducing them into the sport. It will take time, but they’re going to be our future national team members and our future world champions and future gold medallists.
Ms. Debbie Low: If I may add one other thing, I think in our building that we’re going to be moving into, the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, our partners in there are the city of Toronto and the University of Toronto, Scarborough. So we’re really looking at a whole continuum, from playground to podium, the whole sport-for-life piece. Really, this is a unique building and a unique opportunity to have everyone—your youngsters training right beside your Olympians and Paralympians. It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating for everybody.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: We started a program in 2010 called OHPSI—sorry for all the acronyms—Ontario High Performance Sport Initiative. When it was launched in the spring of 2010, it was very much working with PSOs—provincial sport organizations—and NSOs to focus training groups and athletes coming up through the system that are going to be ready to perform in 2015, in Rio and beyond. Because in 2010, you can imagine that most national teams—their focus, their lens, is firmly on their performance in London, as it should be. So it was fantastic to get the support of the ministry to invest in this program and to invest in coaching, in sports science, sports medicine and athletes that are coming through the system.
So I think the Pan Am Games came at a perfect time in terms of the development of CSIO, but also as a spinoff of the 2010 Olympics. It was okay to try to win, to try and be on that podium. Some people say that we have a monopoly on humility, that Own the Podium is a bad term, but I think it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: It’s been really fascinating to watch you talk about the fact that this is sowing the seeds of future success as far out as 2020. So thank you for that.
Now, what would the build-out of this infrastructure mean, not just to the high-performance athletes—you very eloquently described what it means for current high-performance athletes as well as future high-performance athletes. But what about just everyday Joes, people like me? Can you give me some idea of what the benefits might be of building this infrastructure?
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes. I think it was a really unique partnership in the development of all of the facilities, because the municipalities—there are 16 municipalities involved—had to be a partner in the build of these facilities. Of course, the municipality has their vision on what the facility can be for their venues as well. So there was absolutely—you know, the community was involved, and discussions with provincial sport organizations and national sport organizations, to make sure that these facilities work for everybody.
Certainly we have sat in four years of meetings with the city and the university at our own facility that we’re going to be a part of to make sure that the programs that are developed, from the learn-to-swim programs right up to the Olympic teams training—that we’re making sure that it exists for everybody.
High-performance sport—you need a huge base at the bottom to get the cream of the crop at the top, so we need the community involved. We can’t do it without the community. So the more community programs there are, the better it is for everybody.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: You alluded to the fact that 16 municipalities are involved. Actually, that’s what’s unique about these games, in many ways, the distributed model we have. Instead of having all of the facilities in one place or one city, we’ve deliberately chosen to spread them out. I was just curious: How do you feel about this strategy?
Ms. Debbie Low: I think it’s a great strategy. Ontario is a large province, with almost 13 million people here. Not everything is going to happen in the GTA. Our best athletes come from all over the entire province. The Canadian Sport Centre—we were the Canadian Sport Centre before we became the Canadian Sport Institute—looked at the model of bringing our services and programs closer to athletes. So we have a regional model as we move forward to make sure that we can meet the needs of athletes wherever they are.
It’s important, as we said, being able to live at home and be at home rather than having to uproot people all the time. That was a real coup when the Quest for Gold program was launched. We had our up-and-coming athletes now getting direct athlete assistance so they could live and train where they are. So this is really a perfect marriage now, after the program being in place for a while, to have the facilities in place for them as well.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: The other very unique thing about the way we have been going about these games is that we’re planning the legacy piece ahead. It’s not, “Build; worry about the games, and then we’ll worry about what to do with everything we’ve built later.” From the get-go, everything that we’ve built, we have a plan as to what we are going to do with it after. A big piece of that is the athletes’ village, as you know. So I was just curious as to what your thoughts are on the way we are building the athletes’ village and our plans for it after the fact.
Ms. Debbie Low: It’s a great concept: having the athletes’ village down on the waterfront. In fact, that was part of our Toronto Olympic bid plan as well, because it’s a key location for athletes to be able to get to where they need to get to.
The legacy for the athletes’ village afterwards is that there is going to be athlete and coach housing available as well. That’s a really unique concept, something that was done a little bit in Whistler, but this is taking it even further to make sure that our athletes and coaches can live there with their families and be part of that community.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: A couple of weeks ago, Minister Chan made an announcement about the CSIO and the funding for their headquarters. Could you perhaps tell us a little about this funding and what you will be using it for?
Ms. Debbie Low: Sure. That was a very nice $8.06-million announcement to the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. It’s a three-year commitment to enhance some of the things that we’re currently doing. Part of that funding is for this year, and some of that goes towards equipment. You can imagine: We’re building a sport institute, so we’ve looked at best practices around the world and what makes best sense to have in our own sport institute. We have a large equipment purchase to make, because we just get the shell of the 24,000 square feet, so we’ve come up with a plan of what needs to be in there. This has been based upon our four-year business plan as to what we need to be successful on the international podium—from an equipment perspective to programs and to the people that we need to support our team. That’s what we have done.
In this build-out of the four-year plan, right now we’re working with about 10 targeted sports. This will enable us to work with more sports as well as to bring on more sport scientists and sport medicine practitioners to work with our athletes on a daily basis.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Just coming back to the headquarters that I alluded to earlier, I understand that this will be at the Pan Am aquatics centre. What is the reason you’re putting your headquarters there, and how is that going to be beneficial?
Ms. Debbie Low: Again, the synergies from having to be there in partnership with the city and the university are key. Sport, as you know, is won by hundredths of a second now, so the partnership with the university and the research and innovation piece that can happen there is key for us, as well as the facilities on the campus, in addition to our space—as I said, we’ll have 24,362 square feet within that building: world-class facilities. The synergies of athletes, coaches, sport scientists and sport medicine practitioners cannot be understated.
Every country—or most developed countries—have had sport institutes around for a long time. We’re behind the eight ball on this. So we believe we’ve designed a sport institute facility that can help our athletes be the very best they can be.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: You just mentioned that we were behind the eight ball on this issue. Do you think you would have had this fantastic opportunity to have the CSIO headquarters as part of this world-class Pan Am aquatics facility but for the games?
Ms. Debbie Low: No. We’ve been working hard. It’s not just been because of the games that all of a sudden we came up with the sport institute idea. Since the inception of our organization in 1998, it has been our goal and our vision to create a sport institute in Ontario. With the Toronto 2000 Olympic bid, that was part of the plan; it was called the national sport centre at the time. It was going to be down on the waterfront as part of the velodrome. Certainly Calgary, after their games, created the first sport institute; Montreal, very much the same. Now they’re rebuilding their facility and will have an amazing sport institute. As well, as a legacy from the 2010 games, they’ve got three different locations out west. So it really takes a major multi-sport games for these types of legacies and these types of facilities to happen.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you so much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Wow. Very good. We’ll pass it on to the opposition. Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Thanks very much for coming today. I know that you’re busy people with lots to do and I appreciate your time and effort to come in today and speak with us. It certainly is enlightening for me and it certainly gives me a light heart to see that we’re doing such a good job in Canada, overall, helping our athletes. I think you’d probably agree that although there’s a long way to go, we’ve come a long way in the last little while, especially since the Vancouver Olympics, and it has a lot to do with the work that you guys have done, so congratulations on that.
Ms. Debbie Low: Thank you.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I certainly think that the Pan Am Games coming to Toronto are going to give you a great opportunity to grow that further and create a legacy that doesn’t exist in Ontario for athletes. That’s going to be one of the prime legacies, I think, of the Pan Am Games. To hear about it in more detail from you really puts it into perspective, so thanks for that.
I really don’t have a lot of questions for you, but I do have a couple. Could you let me know what the process was for the Canadian Sport Institute to have its office and lab facilities go to the Pan Am aquatics centre? What was the process that led you to that?
Ms. Debbie Low: We had been working with our partners. Our partners are the provincial government and Sport Canada. Again, we’ve been trying to get a sport institute here, as a legacy from the 2008 bid. When we didn’t win that bid, that plan ended.
The organization—it was my predecessor, Robert Bettauer, who was the president at the time—then looked at Downsview Park as a possible location. I wasn’t there at the time, but that program didn’t come to fruition.
Then York region bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Part of their bid plan or part of their legacy was an aquatics centre. When they were not successful with the bid, we continued to work with the town of Markham, hoping to build a sport institute there, but, again, it takes many partners to come together to build these facilities that are costly. When the Pan Am Games were won, because the aquatics centre was going on to the university campus, we had some meetings with the university and the city, and it really made sense, with the synergies that I was talking about with the university, to be located on the campus.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Did you make an application to the ministry to get the—did you say the funding was $8.06 million?
Ms. Debbie Low: That was an additional $8.06 million. We are already funded by the provincial government and by Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. So, yes, we have submitted a business plan over the years to say that if we want to increase the number of sports we want to operate, if we want to be world-class, this is what it would cost.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Does that get you to where you want to be?
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes, it does.
Mr. Rod Jackson: For how long?
Ms. Debbie Low: The commitment is for three years. All of our commitments are for three years from provincial and federal governments. That’s just how it works. Usually, if we’re doing a good job and we hit our key performance indicators and our measurables and our targets, we have been able to increase our level of funding every year since 2005.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Good. Outside of the obvious, your involvement with athletes and the training of athletes and bringing high-performance athletes to the best world calibre they can be, do you have any formal relationship with the Pan Am Games secretariat or with TO2015?
Ms. Debbie Low: Formal relationship? Again, because we’re working on the plan to have the best facilities, we certainly meet with the sport department. We were actually there this morning meeting about, during games time operation, what our role can be and what access we’ll have to the three main facilities. In addition to our headquarters at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, we’ll have a satellite office at the velodrome that will continue on. We look at that as a great opportunity to service the southwest part of the province.
As Tommy talked about, our rowing program in London right through to what we’re going to have in Welland—we’ll be able to service athletes out of that hub as well, as well as York, with the athletic stadium. Our relationship with Toronto 2015 really is about how we can provide the best facilities during games and leading up to the games, and what it will take.
Again, I meet with the secretariat probably quarterly to give updates on how we’re doing and how we can work best together.
Mr. Rod Jackson: You quickly mentioned there that you have an office, a satellite office, in the velodrome, or you will have one?
Ms. Debbie Low: We will, yes. We’re working on that.
Mr. Rod Jackson: On an ongoing basis?
Ms. Debbie Low: Mm-hmm.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Is that part of the legacy funding, or is that part of your funding?
Ms. Debbie Low: That would be part of the funding that we talked about. We’re still working on this with the town of Milton, and we’ve got a big meeting next week, but our plan would be to have a sport therapy office there, as well as some of our sport scientists. A big part of what we have are sport scientists—right?—our biomechanists, nutritionists and physiologists. So we will have some of our staff there, co-located with the coaches from Cycling Canada as well as Cycling Ontario, again, to create those synergies and know day-to-day what our athletes need, as well as to service the community. We’ve made that commitment.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Sorry; I can add something too. Just beyond cycling, that western area would be like a hub for us. There are other cohorts of targeted athletes in high-performance sports. In Guelph, there’s a regional training centre. It’s Triathlon Canada’s hub. They have a national team coach and a really good group of athletes. Also in Guelph is Dave Scott-Thomas, who’s a national team coach with Speed River—a very, very critical group of athletes there.
There’s also a wrestling hub of athletes.
Canoe-kayak: Actually, Burloak is just down Bronte Road, not that far away. It has Adam van Koeverden, Mark Oldershaw—another really good base of targeted athletes. For them to come all the way to Scarborough, for example, to access a mental performance person or a nutritionist—that’s not high performance, so we have the ability to co-locate a hub.
Ms. Debbie Low: That’s what the town of Milton liked about our discussions with them, because although we’re servicing the high-performance athletes, we would offer services to the community.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I’m assuming that para-athletes have the same access to those—
Ms. Debbie Low: It’s 100%. We would not do it unless they did.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Good, yes. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your taking the time to talk to us.
Ms. Debbie Low: You’re welcome.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I don’t know if my colleagues have any questions.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: I do. Thank you very much.
Ms. Low and Mr. Wharton, again, thank you very much for coming today. I wasn’t that familiar with your organization. You had mentioned, Mr. Wharton, acronyms, and you apologized for that. So do you call it Kiz-ee-oh—CSIO?
Ms. Debbie Low: No, we haven’t yet.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: We haven’t yet, but you can call it—
Mr. Rick Nicholls: There’s a new one for you.
Ms. Debbie Low: There we go.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: If we haven’t got it already.
I appreciate your coming here. Ms. Low, you talked about what sport does for people. I played sports all my life, and now I’m more or less an athletic supporter of what goes on. In my past life, I spoke to a lot of different sports teams as a motivational speaker and what sport can do in terms of developing individuals from a leadership perspective plus community pride.
Chatham takes great pride—that’s my hometown. You had mentioned Adam van Koeverden. Of course, he’s a Wallaceburg boy—just north of Chatham. We’re all very proud of his efforts and his accomplishments as well.
Also, you had mentioned that one of the key things is that striving for excellence is important. I’m a big believer in that. You don’t strive for perfection; you strive for excellence, and it’s a lot easier on the individual too, I think. I think that it’s very, very key. There’s no question in my mind what sport does for individuals, for communities, for national pride and whatnot. I think that it’s very, very important.
You had mentioned that you were in rowing?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: I was in sailing.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: You were in sailing, and Ms. Low—
Ms. Debbie Low: Canoeing.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Canoeing, not rowing. Okay. Because there was a Marnie McBean.
Ms. Debbie Low: Marnie McBean: a good friend of mine.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Yes. Marnie is a London gal, as well—
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: —and an excellent speaker.
We’ve talked a lot about the facilities, and you had used the term “world-class facilities.” Of course, with world class, there does come a price tag for that. As the PC critic for sport, recreation and youth, you had me at “Hello,” so to speak. There’s no question in my mind where my heart lies with regard to sport and recreation.
From your past experiences, both you and Mr. Wharton, you have referenced facilities—Mr. Wharton, I think, had mentioned, “Wow, here I am, and if we could only have this in Ontario or in Toronto, wouldn’t it be wonderful?” Of course, these will be world-class facilities; no question.
But I’m wondering about this. First of all, how many athletes will be participating in these games?
Ms. Debbie Low: About 10,000 in Pan and Parapan together.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: It’s 10,000 athletes. Okay.
You participated in how many different games?
Ms. Debbie Low: I didn’t participate in Olympic and Paralympic—I didn’t quite make it to that level—
Mr. Rick Nicholls: That’s okay. I didn’t either.
Ms. Debbie Low: But I have been to five games in different capacities. Tommy has competed in two Olympic Games.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Sorry; coached.
Ms. Debbie Low: Coached. Sorry. So we didn’t quite make it there as athletes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Sometimes there’s more pressure on the coach.
My reason for asking is this: I’m very concerned about the security of athletes. I remember many years ago when the trouble happened at the Olympic Games—I’m trying to think where it was now—
Mr. Jeff Yurek: Munich.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Munich. Is that where the bomb—yes. So perhaps you’ve had an opportunity to see, at first hand, security that has been provided. Are there any issues that you might have with regard to security of these games, especially with what’s going on in the world today? Who can foresee the future? Obviously, with 10,000 athletes and almost the world watching—what concerns might you have?
Ms. Debbie Low: When you’re in a games, as I said, part of our job as the head of a delegation or the Canadian Olympic Committee or Canadian Paralympic Committee—when you’re putting a team together, it’s our job to make sure we mitigate all of those distractions. That is making sure that we know what’s going on in security or whatever it may be. With 41 countries—we’re not talking about 196 countries at an Olympic Games. You heard all of our athletes talk about some of the security concerns before going to the games. This is about competition and competing and being your best. In what other realm can we bring together 200 countries in relative peace to participate in an event? That doesn’t happen anywhere else.
I believe that our athletes will be safe. They’re willing to be here; they’re willing to travel the world to be the best they can be.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: As a parent, we’re always concerned about the safety of our children, wherever they may be. As a coach, Mr. Wharton and Ms. Low, having been there as well as a participant, security is big, especially from a coaching point of view. In a sense, if I may use the term loosely, Mr. Wharton, they’re like your children, right? You’ve overseeing them. You’re caring for them. You’re making sure that they’re where they need to be when they need to be there—just everything. It’s parenthood personified, I might suggest.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: I think it’s important to identify that there will be a lot of test events as well, prior to the Pan Am Games. I think they’re going to actually run through some of their protocols to make sure that they are screening credentials, that type of thing.
Also, we had a symposium on Friday. It was called Seize the Opportunity. We had over 200 people there from various provincial sport organizations, PSOs and NSOs, respectively. One of the speakers was Mary Conibear, who was basically John Furlong’s right-hand person in command. She talked for about two hours about contingency planning and planning for different scenarios. Some of the learning that happened in 2010 is being shared in terms of best practice. There’s good dialogue with the COC and the people who ran VANOC, so I think there’s quite a bit of expertise.
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes. When I was at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games, we had an RCMP officer who was with us the entire time. We were kept up to speed on everything that was going on. Certainly, if there had been any concerns, I have no doubt our country would have taken care of us.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Okay. Ms. Low, you mentioned earlier some of the training facilities—I’m kind of changing the channel just a little bit—available for our athletes prior to these games. You mentioned that, a lot of times, they have to go to other countries and whatnot. The reason why I’m asking is because I’ve had many discussions back in my home riding of Chatham–Kent–Essex with parents, and one in particular. They have a son who played with the Canadian national baseball team. They have another daughter who is training for the Canadian bobsled team, but she has to do well provincially and then perhaps get asked for the national team.
The challenge for her—and I’m sure it’s not just her; it’s for all athletes similarly competing to become part of the national team—is funding. They said that it’s basically non-existent. They have to carry their own lines of credit until things are—could you comment on that at all, and what perhaps could be done to make funding more readily available for these athletes?
The cream of the crop, obviously, are going to be competing at the national level and on those international stages. But for those who are also striving—as you mentioned earlier, the difference between winning and losing is tenths of a second, so competition is pretty keen. Could you comment on that, please?
Ms. Debbie Low: Sure. Again, the cream of the crop are the nationally carded athletes. What our province has done now, just back in 2006, is introduce the Quest for Gold program.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: I’m sorry; the which?
Ms. Debbie Low: Quest for Gold.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Quest for Gold.
Ms. Debbie Low: It’s an athlete assistance program. When that was launched in 2005-06, $10 million was committed to athlete assistance and enhanced opportunities for athletes. Almost $7 million of that is direct athlete assistance.
Now we’re looking at the provincial level. If you can make it to the provincial level, you can become carded through Quest for Gold. Your provincial sport organization, whether it’s bobsleigh or baseball, is deemed a certain amount of what they call Quest for Gold cards—I think it’s up to $5,000 or $6,000 an athlete—so they’re eligible for that funding. Again, making sure that we can prepare Ontario athletes to make it to that national level, we now have Quest for Gold, which is a great opportunity.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: That’s excellent, because that gives individuals an opportunity, especially if they have the natural athletic ability, finely tuned with good coaching. But sometimes it makes it very difficult for them to get to those levels because, financially, they just don’t have the means to get there.
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes, for sure, but then you have your Marnie McBeans, who then can turn that further.
I think it’s really key, the Quest for Gold program, and what has been able to happen, so it’s not just the athlete assistance but now we have coaches. They have coaches through our programs. You can’t get anywhere without a coach, right? A coach is the main person that an athlete needs.
There are all these enhanced abilities and enhanced programs that our athletes can now get at the provincial level. We want to keep them here in Ontario. We don’t have a bobsleigh track, but for those athletes who we have facilities for, universally, we want them here. We don’t want them going to the US or other provinces. We want to keep Ontario athletes here and then onto national teams and then onto international podiums.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Quest for Gold was sponsored through the provincial government?
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes, it was. It’s Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.—that’s $10 million that goes directly to our ministry for that athlete assistance program, and some of that comes to us for enhanced opportunities.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: You mentioned that in 2006, it was $10 million.
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Is this ongoing—
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: —or is this a one-time shot?
Ms. Debbie Low: Again, it was part of the lottery leading up to 2010, I think. Right, Tommy? That was when it was first—yes, so up to 2010, but now it is a commitment from the OLG, I understand, to give $10 million. There’s a Quest for Gold lottery card that came out, right? It’s a lottery program. But whether that lottery, or that particular game, reaches $10 million or not, they still have a $10-million commitment that goes to the program.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: That’s annual, or—
Ms. Debbie Low: Annual.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Annual?
Ms. Debbie Low: Annual, yes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: That’s great. It’s good news to hear. Well, thank you.
I don’t have any further questions. How much time do we have left, Chair?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Six minutes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Okay. Do you have anything further? No? Okay.
Well, then, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Thank you for your time.
Ms. Debbie Low: You’re welcome.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you. We’ll move to the third party: Mr. Miller.
Mr. Paul Miller: Hi. That was the Good News Bears; now the Bad News Bears. Thanks for coming in. I appreciate it.
Obviously, with your extended background in sport, that’s good. Just so you won’t think I’m talking through my hat, some of my family were involved in the first Pan Am Games in Hamilton. My aunt taught many Olympic and Pan Am swimmers out of Hamilton at the Jimmy Thompson Pool for 35 years, and she had competed.
I personally am friends with many rowers out of the Leander Boat Club, which I worked with. They competed in a lot of Pan Am Games and that, and a lot of my family members competed at high levels. I wanted you to know that. I’m not just some guy who doesn’t know anything about sports.
Ms. Debbie Low: Okay.
Mr. Paul Miller: And I did quite a bit myself, in different challenges.
But why I said that is because, as you know as athletes and coaches, you also want to have a good persona and good image with the public, especially when it comes to money. Our job as opposition parties is certainly to keep the government in line with the costs.
It’s funny; you mentioned Montreal. Well, I lived through that in Montreal—the Olympics—and the people of Quebec and Canada were paying for 20 years after that for the various venues that were either not built properly or not put to use. They had a cycling place in Montreal, and it now has got weeds growing through it. So I’m very familiar with legacies and what can happen after.
That was one of my concerns, and I’ve had varying reports from the present government about costs and where they are at. Their numbers don’t match mine. They say that everything’s on time and everything. Well, I know for a fact that the stadium in Hamilton is already six to eight weeks behind, and there are other things where they keep saying that everything is hunky-dory, and it’s not. I get reports on a regular basis.
I’m not quite sure why they asked you to come in—if it was for promotional reasons; I don’t know—because the questions I would have asked are financial. I’m not going to burden you with that, because I’m sure that you wouldn’t be privy to those types of questions, so I’ll try to make my questions to you more user-friendly because I don’t want to put you on the spot.
I guess my first question would be: Who appoints the president, CEO, senior staff and board of directors for your organization?
Ms. Debbie Low: For myself, I applied for the job; it was the board who interviewed me, and then I was the successful candidate. For our board members, we had an open nomination process.
As a not-for-profit organization, we changed our governance structure in 2010. Prior to that, all Canadian sports centres were set up the same way—representational boards. We knew that, once the games were won, we needed to move to a more skills-based board, so we had a call out for nominations.
We had a nominations committee that included Alex Baumann, who was the CEO of Own the Podium; the ADM of the ministry at the time; and one of my CSI colleagues, the president of CSI Pacific. There was a nomination, it was out there, people applied and there was a selection of the board.
Mr. Paul Miller: And who are you accountable to?
Ms. Debbie Low: To the board of—to who am I personally?
Mr. Paul Miller: Both of you.
Ms. Debbie Low: Our board of directors.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. Could you clarify for me what “high performance” is? Do you only put money into high performance, or also for the facilities, after use, for the general public and that? What percentage of that use for the public will there be as opposed to the future high-performance athletes who would be preparing for the next Olympics? How much is the public going to have access to these venues?
Ms. Debbie Low: High-performance sport, as you know, is an expensive endeavour, because it does need to be targeted. Where sport has been in the past—in Canada it’s been everything for everybody. The reason Own the Podium was created was that we were the only country not to win a gold medal in hosting an Olympic Games. We wanted to change that once we won the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Again, looking at more best practices—what was going on internationally—we knew we had to be targeted, and tiered within our targeting of that funding, to make sure that we could enable athletes and coaches to reach those podiums, because if we continue to do everything for everybody they can’t get the best services that they need.
We’ve continued on that path of having a targeted and tiered approach to funding in this province now with our organization. We are a high-performance sport organization. As I said, that is what we do on a daily basis: We try and get athletes on to the podium, so—
Mr. Paul Miller: So you’re telling me you wouldn’t have a lot to do with the public use, then.
Ms. Debbie Low: Well, we do have access to the public. We also have fee-for-service where other organizations can come and use our facilities on a fee-for-service basis.
Mr. Paul Miller: And they’re going to pay you to use the facility?
Ms. Debbie Low: Not our facilities; our people. The aquatics centre—
Mr. Paul Miller: I think we’re getting off track. My question—
Ms. Debbie Low: The aquatics centre is not our facility.
Mr. Paul Miller: I understand that. And by the way, when you were doing your presentation, you didn’t mention Hamilton—our nice stadium.
Ms. Debbie Low: Sorry.
Mr. Paul Miller: That’s okay.
Ms. Debbie Low: It’s going to be a great stadium.
Mr. Paul Miller: You left us out. But anyway, what I’m saying is: Now, after, before—is the general public going to have access? What percentage—is high-performance going to be 70%, with 30% for the public? Are the public going to have to pay to use these facilities where the high-performance athletes don’t, obviously, because they’re training for reach for the gold? So what’s your answer to that?
Ms. Debbie Low: The percentage—really, it’s for high-performance athletes.
Mr. Paul Miller: So your answer would be “no” to the general public.
Ms. Debbie Low: Unless it’s a fee-for-service basis, correct.
Mr. Paul Miller: Thank you. Okay, that’s what I wanted to know. And who determines your funding?
Ms. Debbie Low: At the federal level, it’s Sport Canada. At the provincial level, it’s the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are partners as well.
Mr. Paul Miller: Do you have any idea how much money, over the period of training and through the actual games, that a high-performance athlete would cost individually for the province or the feds? In general, what would it cost to get a person up a level that could compete in Pan Am or Olympics—$100,000, $200,000?
Ms. Debbie Low: No idea. We know what they get for carding—you’re up to $1,800 a month for a national card, up to $5,000 to $6,000 a year for Quest for Gold, but if you add coaches and facility costs in there, I don’t know that, but I can get that to you.
Mr. Paul Miller: Thank you. Do you submit a yearly budget for approval?
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes, of course.
Mr. Paul Miller: I’m not being facetious here, but if you’re submitting a yearly budget and you don’t how much each athlete is going to cost, how do you do that?
Ms. Debbie Low: How we get funded from sports: We have a targeted number of sports that want to work with us. It’s up to the national sport organization to determine if they want to use our services or if they’re going to be in Calgary or if they’re going to be in Montreal. The national sport organization will allocate resources and funding to us for the national athletes. For the provincial athletes, we have a formula that we use as to how many sports are in the program and how many sport scientists we use around that.
Mr. Paul Miller: I see. Your website notes that your staff at your organization tripled in 2007. Can you explain the reason for that—in 2007, why it tripled?
Ms. Debbie Low: We were trying to prepare for our athletes.
Mr. Paul Miller: So it was preparation.
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes, absolutely: preparation.
Mr. Paul Miller: Will it expand more during the games?
Ms. Debbie Low: During the games, no. I would say that this year—tomorrow is April 1, so we have our new organizational structure that has come into place, so we probably have about five or 10 more staff that will be added over the next two years.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Can I answer that too? Living through it on the other side, prior to 2007 I didn’t work at CSIO. It was a cohort of experts, like nutritionists or mental performance or strength and conditioning, but they were service providers. They weren’t full-time in the environment. That only happened since 2007. We’re trying to put people in full-time positions, where this is actually their full-time job to work with high-performance athletes, and PSOs and NSOs respectively, but not in their own clinic, or they’re just subcontracted. So it was movement from service providers, part-timers, to basically full-time employment, which is the best practice internationally.
Mr. Paul Miller: Getting back to the cost—which I’m not going to belabour. But the cost certainly—the public pays attention to those things, and they always say, “Do we need it? Do we have to do it?” Not everybody loves sports, as you can appreciate. They’re going to say, “What does this cost us? How are my taxes going to go up? Sure, okay; how much am I going to get to use the facilities after?” You’re going to get a barrage of questions from the naysayers and the people that are not happy spending money on sports. We have to deal with those people as well, in our constituencies and around the province. What is your organization doing to—how would I put it—soften the blow of negativity in reference to the general public saying that we’re wasting a lot of money on sports and we shouldn’t be; we’ve got better things like poverty or education or medical? What do you say to them through your—do you have anything to combat that?
Ms. Debbie Low: Again, we talk about working with the high-performance athletes at that level, but the fact is that we need a large base of athletes in order to get to that pyramid. So we do go out to communities—our talent identification program that Tommy was talking about. Trying to make the program available and accessible—all of our programs, whatever the sports that we’re working with, available and accessible to everyone, so that anyone can become an Olympian if they want to.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. Now, you’re going to get one kid out of 200,000, maybe, who is going to make that level of high performance. Every kid likes to compete—you know that as well—going through sports, as young people. There’s the guy that is the captain. There’s the guy that wants to be the captain and can’t be, for whatever reason; he hasn’t got the ability or he gets left at the bus station, or whatever reason.
My concern is, after the games are over, I want the general public and kids that are financially challenged to be able to use these facilities, because there could be some diamonds in the rough out there that you’re missing through your high-performance program that maybe some of these kids cannot afford to be part of, or the parents don’t have the wherewithal to drive them around to facilities to train them. But they could be raw talent that you may be missing. What programs are you setting up to deal with kids that you may miss in the cycle?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: It’s a great question. I think it’s a national issue as well, and it’s something that Own the Podium has actually addressed. They call them TIDs—talent identification initiatives—where they’re trying to make sure as well that athletes who are sometimes at a loss in their sport—they’ve reached a certain level or they’ve plateaued. The track athlete could become an excellent bobsledder—we’ve seen that—or the rugby player could become an excellent cyclist. It’s called Podium Search, and it was launched out west. It hasn’t really made its way this way yet—
Ms. Debbie Low: But there’s no cost to take part in those programs. We ran one just last week in our current sport lab for cycling. There’s no cost to participate in a talent search.
Mr. Paul Miller: That’s a good answer. But from my coaching experience, which probably is not as good as yours—I’ve been around a long time. In many sports that I’ve played in and coached, we have what they call walk-ons, people that come out of the blue, that you don’t have a clue about. You have no record of them participating in any major event. They go on to become not just good, but some of them make the podium, with proper guidance. They’re the ones I’m thinking about.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Well, it’s a great question. One of the sports that we work with is beach volleyball. They have a program called Tall Maples. Again, some of these programs’ names are—
Mr. Paul Miller: Tall Maples? It makes sense: higher over the net.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: I like that one. They’re trying to find the ex-basketball players and people, again, just off the street, with a high wingspan and extremely tall—especially tall females, because on average, the national team is shorter. They’re finding these athletes. With good coaching in a good environment—the beach volleyball team is centralized at Downsview. There’s a fantastic facility there. That’s how they’re finding athletes. It’s an actual program that the PSO and NSO run, so it’s provincially and nationally integrated. They get out to schools; they get out into communities. They have what you said: They have a walk-on practice on Wednesdays, where it’s just open for people to come in.
But if I can just answer your question in a different way, we’ve been talking a lot about legacies in bricks and mortar, and I think we have to talk about legacies as well in terms of the cultural piece.
One of the programs that we’re attached to is called CIBC Team Next. CIBC is one of the flagship sponsors for the Pan Am Games, obviously. We were linked with CIBC in terms of identifying the athletes who are going to be the future Olympians in 2016, 2020 and beyond.
It was a very comprehensive and sophisticated athlete selection process. We just looked at the performance element, but there were resumés that they had to write. They had to write essays about what inspires them, who their role model is. They did a background check in terms of the character of these athletes. They went out, and it’s also geographically based, so they were picking athletes like Carling Zeeman from Thunder Bay. She’s a national team rower. Mary Spencer was one of the athlete ambassadors. Simon Whitfield is one as well. This is a national program, but the majority of the athletes are based in Ontario.
To your question, these athletes that are identified by Team Next are the ones going to schools and getting outreach and actually inspiring other individuals to get involved in sport. They may never become national team athletes; they may never go to the podium. But they’re getting them active, getting them engaged, getting them away from video games and getting them out there.
Mr. Paul Miller: They may end up as coaches.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Like me. Exactly.
Mr. Paul Miller: But I have a question. One of my disciplines was boxing, and I haven’t heard much about the boxing venue. Where is that? You have boxing in the summer.
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes. It was in Oshawa. Again, it’s not a targeted sport that we work with, other than athletes. Yes, it was Oshawa during the bid time. Again, we work in that targeted sport fashion. I think with our partners—when you said you don’t know why we’re here, I think we’re here because what we do is collaborate. We make sure we leverage partnerships as best as we can. Tommy gave you some great examples of what we do with a corporate sponsor from CIBC, what we do with Own the Podium, provincial and national sport organizations, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Within the system, we’re kind of in the middle there, making sure things leverage—
Mr. Paul Miller: Well, when you find out where the boxing is, let me know, will you? Thanks.
Ms. Debbie Low: I think it’s in Oshawa.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: I think it is in Oshawa.
Mr. Paul Miller: I’m disappointed.
Ms. Debbie Low: I’m sorry.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: We would if Mary Spencer won a medal.
Mr. Paul Miller: Rowing, I can help you with: the Leander Boat Club, I guess.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Yes.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay, thanks very much. I really didn’t get into the stuff I wanted to get into, but you’re probably not the right people to talk to about those things, and I’m going to wait when we get to call witnesses to talk about things we should be talking about.
Ms. Debbie Low: It’s important for you to know about what we are doing.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Yes, we always joke that we have one shot at this. We hope we don’t. We hope there are multiple events post this, but we have to make this right.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, everyone. We’ll move to the 10-minute round and we’ll start with Ms. Damerla.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Some days, I feel there’s shadowboxing as a sport right here.
Mr. Paul Miller: The Liberals are really good at that.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: I’m just curious: In your role, what partners outside of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, CSIO, do you work with? Are they excited about the games, your partners?
Ms. Debbie Low: Sorry, what—
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Who are the partners outside of the CSIO that you work with? And paint us a picture of what they feel about the games: Are they excited? Where they’re at.
Ms. Debbie Low: This is the last—not the last—the only multi-sport games on the horizon in Canada right now. We had a good lead-up there with the 2010 Winter Games and the 2015 games, so certainly our national partners, Own the Podium, Sport Canada and all of the national sport organizations that we work with, are incredibly excited and want to leverage this opportunity the best that we can, whether that is great performances, legacy facilities, programs; you know, you have to have programs so you don’t have white-elephant facilities. We’re incredibly excited.
The provincial sport organizations—again, we are always meeting with them. We meet with them on a monthly basis to make sure that we are taking advantage of these opportunities. They are the ones that are here in the province when the games are gone, so how can we best make sure that they have access to the facility, priority times, preferred rates—those type of things.
Tommy, anything else that you want to add there? Other partners?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: COC, CPC—
Ms. Debbie Low: Again, yes, our Olympic partners and Paralympic partners: We’re always working together with them to help identify what would be best for them during the games, and then how we can lead up to the games with them as well to make sure that we have everything that the team can be successful for.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: You just mentioned your Paralympic partners. Tell me, how important is it that we have the Pan Am Games and the Parapan Am Games separate, as two distinct events?
Ms. Debbie Low: We wouldn’t have the Parapan Am Games if it wasn’t for bidding for the Pan Am Games. It is now a precursor. For the Olympic Games, you have to also put in for the Paralympic Games. This has all just very recently happened, right? And the same with the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. It’s important for them to have their own world stage. The games would be far too big if we tried to join both games. Certainly, the International Paralympic Committee—we’re not ready for that, but I think that it’s important to have two distinct events so that the athletes can shine as best they can shine.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Speaking of the athletes, you interact with them quite a bit. How excited are they about being able to compete on home turf?
Ms. Debbie Low: You know, it goes without saying that they’re incredibly excited. I have to tell this story: When I was in Athens—what we have during an Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are Canada Olympic House and Canada Paralympic House, so it’s an opportunity for athletes and friends and family—not so much athletes, but friends and family and supporters to gather so they can get that Canadian feel. We host a reception for the families and friends that Petro-Canada sponsors. I have to say, I was there and we had our president at the time who was up speaking about this great opportunity. Here we are in Athens and everything is so great, and this man is beside me and he’s crying; he’s in tears. I turn to him and say, “Are you okay?” And he was telling me this story about his son, who is a wheelchair rugby player.
This will be the first time wheelchair rugby is in the Parapan Am Games. Wheelchair rugby was invented right here in Canada, right here in Toronto at Variety Village, as well as with some other coaches who helped evolve that sport. It’s for quadriplegics, and it’s kind of like soccer in a wheelchair, but a really tough, rough sport. Most people who are playing on the team have had horrific accidents; that’s how you end up as a quad.
So this father who was standing beside me had nearly lost his son in this really bad accident. It was worse than worse—we’re supposed to pass away before our kids do. He said that that family was at the lowest it had ever been, and then here he is now, competing on the international stage in the Paralympic Games. I think the power of that—and we kind of get inside the bubble and we take that for granted, but the power of sport, as I said at the beginning, is so important in what it can do to everybody—for everyone.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: I can answer that too. It’s not just the individual athletes and individual coaches; it’s actually national sport organizations—NSOs—that are very excited about this event as well.
There was a time—I can take you back about five years ago—where there was really only one designated national team training centre in Ontario, and that was rowing in London, Ontario, where the national women’s team trains. Now we’re at a point where there are 10 national team training centres, because why would you invest in the province when there aren’t facilities? That was the big thing. With this Pan Am initiative that’s now a reality, we’re going to see even more national teams—diving is a new one. Why would you invest in Ontario when you have a facility in Montreal and facilities in other places in Canada, but not in Ontario? So this is going to be a game-changer for a number of different sports, and they’re looking at Ontario through a different lens right now.
Again, this is not just for the success of Rio; they’re going to invest in the development of athletes for the long haul—2020, 2024. So I think NSOs are very excited as well. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches in terms of athletes in Ontario. Show of hands: Has anyone ever gone to OFSAA, for example? Track and field? It is an incredible event. Coaches come from all over the States—NCAA—to take athletes away from Ontario because there’s no programming, really, or coaches—basketball as well; swimming as well.
Now with the national team designating York stadium as an eastern hub, this is going to be their largest national training centre in the entire country, and imbedding national team development coaches to work with us on the sports science/sports medicine side of things is going to be a game-changer for that sport.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: That’s a really interesting angle that I hadn’t thought about before: the whole idea of retention of high-performance athletes, as opposed to losing them to other jurisdictions because they’re lured away by better training facilities and all of that. Thank you for sharing that.
On that note, I have no other questions. I just want to congratulate the two of you on what you’re doing for Canadian sports. Keep up the good work. Thank you.
Ms. Debbie Low: Thank you.
The Vice-Chair (Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield): Do you have any questions?
Mr. Rod Jackson: A couple of brief ones, yes.
So with some time to think, I just came up with a couple of other questions you might be able to enlighten me on to do with the velodrome. I’m just curious: Do you work with cyclists?
Ms. Debbie Low: Yes, we do.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Actually, a good friend of mine was in the last Pan Am Games as a cyclist, and actually won a medal—Ed Veal. Anyway, I’ve had a lot of conversations with him about the value of having a velodrome and how that helps his training immensely. He’s a huge advocate for it. Where do our cyclists go to train now?
Ms. Debbie Low: They train all over the world. Primarily in LA, where there is a track—so we’re talking about track cycling. Primarily where there are tracks—we have a good relationship with the US Olympic Committee—it’s in Chula Vista. Right?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: No, it’s in Los Angeles, but there’s also a mini velodrome in London—Forest City—that Rob Good runs. It’s not a full internationally designated velodrome; it’s, I think, three quarters, but they train there. There’s an outdoor velodrome in Bromont in Quebec, and that was actually cobbled together—a legacy from the 1996 Atlanta games. They’re nomadic; they go all over.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Right. I guess the reason I ask the question is that it kinds of begs the question: Why aren’t there more around North America? I’m intentionally leading you toward this path. They’re difficult to maintain. They’re very expensive to have—you know, the Montreal arboretum, which used to be the velodrome for the Olympics there, in its day was actually quite beautiful and high-tech.
The legacy program that the province has put together to maintain this over a period of years is promising, but do you have any concerns about making sure that the—and Milton is not exactly an international destination. It might become one now. What is the reality of that? In real terms—
Ms. Debbie Low: There’s a lot that has been done in terms of legacy venues and facilities—certainly since 1976—just in the way they’re built. We’re working there now to make sure that we have enough space when we’re there, but the whole programming of the indoor of the facility: That’s huge now. So basketball, volleyball—they’ve developed a whole court piece inside the velodrome that can now be used. When you look at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, more than half the seats get taken out, so the facility is not as costly to operate. Those types of things are being looked at and planned for for legacy, but the programming aspect is what will make sure the venues are successful. So that whole legacy planning piece is important.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Just another thing: You probably know Curt Harnett, who’s the chef de mission for the Pan Am Games, a cyclist, as well as Pert commercials—if you’ve seen them. He informed us—and we did a site visit, obviously multiple site visits, in Milton—but he was explaining to us that there’s a tremendous cycling culture in Milton. One of the biggest financial backers is Peter Gilgan from Mattamy Homes. He’s an avid cyclist. It’s got a really strong base of a community who are avid cyclists. So it was a very interesting answer that he gave, because that’s a great question, but he actually enlightened us as to the region and how they’ve—I don’t know; just that cycling’s huge for them. So I think it couldn’t have gone to a better location, actually.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Good. I had a question and I totally forgot about it—I think you actually answered it.
My concern with that is that it just seems to have been a challenge for velodromes to exist just about anywhere. We really need to work hard to make sure that this one doesn’t become an arboretum or have grass growing through it or whatever, especially with the size of the investment, I think $50 million-plus or whatever. That’s pretty substantial. It sounds like you’re involved in that sort of process. You have an office there and you’re giving advice and helping ensure that that stays a velodrome and is able to sustain itself—
Ms. Debbie Low: Sure.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Well, I think the big thing, too, is that the NSO has been—the National Sport Organization, Cycling Canada Cyclisme. They’re relocating their national team coaches to Milton, so they’re going to have a home base there. That’s a big piece when you have national team coaches coming into that environment, as well as development coaches. We work with the ministry on the funding programs that we run—like OHPSI, I mentioned before. We actually create salaried positions in partnerships with the PSOs and NSOs. We’re trying to get the next generation of coaches. There will be a critical mass of coaching talent to support the athletes who are going to be at the velodrome. So that’s a big piece as well.
There’s been actually multiple discussions about this, making sure that we actually have—that there will be programs as well to find the athletes. I mentioned Rising Stars and Pedal to the Medal, basically poaching athletes from other sports or just off the street and trying to feed the programs.
Ms. Debbie Low: Well, then, of course, there’s the $70-million legacy trust fund that’s been set up to sustain the three main legacy facilities. So that includes the velodrome, the Pan Am Games athletics stadium and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Based on business plans that the town of Milton put in, the city has put in, there’s been an allocation to make sure that high-performance sport, community sport, can access the facility and that it will be around for 20 or 25 years.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Do you see it becoming a destination—actually, all three of these venues—becoming a destination for international athletes outside of regular tourists?
Ms. Debbie Low: Absolutely. You know, we need to create some really key events. In track and field there’s the—what’s it called? The Diamond—
Mr. Tommy Wharton: The Diamond League.
Ms. Debbie Low: The Diamond League. So there’s opportunities to create those kinds of things, to make sure that the international sport community is coming back on an annual basis in order to create that real, “This is where you are in the world. You’re going to be in Toronto at this time for this event.”
Mr. Rod Jackson: Excellent.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Thank you. Just a couple of quick questions: Actually, Mr. Wharton, you kind of tweaked my interest when you mentioned the impact the NCAA has on our athletes and on our national program. Just recently, Canadian superstar basketball player Andrew Wiggins—was he a freshman at Kansas?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Kansas, yes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Yes, and now there’s a good chance he could go number 1. My point is, for the training of these athletes—and you never know; we have great coaches throughout Canada, and they put a lot of their time, effort and energy into the development of these athletes to get them from where they are to where they need to be. Then all of a sudden, you get these NCAA schools. I’m all for the education and the opportunities that can be presented to these athletes. Does that NCAA rating, I guess you might call it—I would call it that—of our athletes: Do they not have any opportunity to come back and still represent our country at special events such as that? Or does the NCAA say no, and would their rules say, “No, you can’t go back and you can’t accept any money, funding and so on”? Can you enlighten me a little bit more on that?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: It’s a great question. The man who is sort of in charge of Canada Basketball’s player development is Rowan Barrett, and he makes sure that he has conversations with the athletes who are going to the NCAA, because it will always happen. Some of them, frankly, are going into very good environments, with great coaching. You probably can’t get the same type of experience in Canada, but he makes sure that they go to environments where they can get let go for training camps or it could be international competitions. He’s in conversation with the coach as well, because, obviously, there’s a certain Canadian style of play that he needs to be in dialogue with the coach about as well.
But good NSOs are very active in terms placing the athletes or having conversations with the athletes, so they to environments where they’re starters, because what often happens in the NCAA is that everyone wants to get the free ride and they go to a B-level or C-level school, and they’re on the bench. A lot of sports—basketball’s one of them—if they go to an environment in the States where they’re a role player and they’re starting, they’re fine with that, but they have to have that conversation with the coach back and forth to make sure they get released at critical times.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Well, that’s great, because I was concerned that here we are, spending a lot of time, effort and energy, and then they go for educational reasons or for athletic endeavours, and suddenly everything that’s been invested is down the tubes. But you’re saying that that’s not the case—
Mr. Tommy Wharton: That’s not the case.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: —but that, prior to them going, dialogue must occur between the coaches and, perhaps, the school that they’re going to.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Right. And you’re seeing that more and more in other sports—wheelchair basketball is one of them; swimming, athletics—where there could be a very renowned international expert in the US. It’s a fantastic environment for them, but they need to be able to come back at critical times for a national team training camp, at mandatory times of the year—even for health checks, just to make sure that they’re all okay, because that’s the risk sometimes. Going into that environment, they get, perhaps, overuse injuries, and they come back broken.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Well, it’s encouraging to hear and see, because—
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Am I out of time?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Final comment.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Okay, thank you.
For these Canadian athletes who go down stateside as well, that’s big money for those schools. It’s big money, especially when you look at the football, the hockey, the basketball, especially with the March Madness going on right now. A lot of, I might add, Canadians who are playing and are starters on a lot of these teams—like my team, Michigan, just being beat out yesterday.
Anyway, thank you very much for your time, and I appreciate your comments. It helped to educate us as well.
Ms. Debbie Low: You’re welcome.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Nicholls.
Mr. Paul Miller: The Chair keeps looking at me, saying, “Be nice.” Why is he doing that? I thought I was nice.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: If that’s his “be nice” look, what’s his angry look?
Mr. Paul Miller: Yes. Jeez.
One of my questions would be: We touched on aftermath use and long-term involvement. Has your organization, or the organizations you work with, have they got a long-term plan or process to continue to attract corporate sponsors? Because, obviously, they play a huge role on any of the facilities in the province that want to continue at a good funding level, and to certainly fund the athletes whom we send there. You got any—
Ms. Debbie Low: Sure. I mean, yes, we certainly do. Moving into our new facility, we’ll have—you know, we’re in an office right now. I invite you to come up to see our space right now and see what it’s going to be in August when we move.
When you are just in a building, it’s not so easy to attract corporate sponsors. They’re not really so interested in supporting administration. But once we have these facilities and sports are in there full-time, training, you have that ability to bring your corporate sponsors to see and look and feel what you do, so there’s a much greater opportunity—and to plan. And absolutely, we’re trying to help them with those plans, to become better at that.
Mr. Paul Miller: That’s good. From a coaching perspective, obviously, someday you will retire, and what kind of mentoring program do you have for coaches?
Mr. Tommy Wharton: That’s a great question. It’s also succession planning, because we have to make sure—we’ve got an amazing collection of national team coaches in a variety of different sports in Canada, but the challenge is that we have one senior person, and then the depth underneath is sometimes lacking. So through funding through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, we’ve partnered with NSOs and PSOs respectively to create full-time jobs so that they can actually have that mentoring, that succession planning, where they actually work—say the sport is rowing. They actually are being mentored on a daily basis.
Mr. Paul Miller: Order. I’m having trouble hearing.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: They’re getting mentored on a daily basis with the senior coaches. That’s critical, because we do run coach professional development courses, which is fantastic, but actually being in the environment with the senior coach is the best experience you could get.
I don’t know. Did I answer your question correctly?
Mr. Paul Miller: Well, it wasn’t bad.
Ms. Debbie Low: Also, with the Coaching Association of Canada, we run what’s called the advanced coaching diploma program, and there are mentors with all of those coaches who are in the program.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. Well, you know what? I’m going to close off here and say thank you for coming in. Your expertise is certainly appreciated from our athletes’ perspective and us in government, and continued good luck. Bring home some medals for us. We’ll be looking forward to it.
I certainly will be wanting to find out where that boxing venue is. I’d like to show you some real boxing, not shadowboxing. But, anyway, we’ll be looking forward to it.
Ms. Debbie Low: Thank you.
Mr. Tommy Wharton: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Miller. I’d like to thank the both of you for coming in and taking the time to speak with us, sharing your experiences and information that you had. So thanks again.
Ms. Debbie Low: Thank you. And honestly, I would love for you all to come up to our new facility when we move in, in the fall, and see it first-hand. We’ll have some athletes training there, and you’ll see exactly what we do.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you.
Mr. Paul Miller: Well, don’t go through the Liberals, or I won’t get invited.
Ms. Debbie Low: I’ll send you a personal invite. I will.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much for the invitation. Very kind.
Does the committee wish to take a five-minute-or-so break?
Mr. Paul Miller: Sure.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): I believe I have consensus. A five-minute break.
The committee recessed from 1533 to 1542.
PAN/PARAPAN AMERICAN GAMES SECRETARIAT
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): I’d like to call the meeting back to order. We have with us this afternoon Jennifer Proulx, manager of the communications and issues unit, and Jennifer Lang, director of communications, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. I’d like to welcome both of you. You have five minutes for your initial presentation, followed by 25 minutes of questioning from each party, followed by another 10 minutes of questioning. The floor is yours. Once you’re done, we’ll start with Mr. Jackson from the Progressive Conservative Party.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Thank you very much. I’m Jennifer Proulx, manager of communications and issues at the Pan/Parapan Am Games Secretariat, which I will refer to as P/PAGS. I have been in this position since February 2013.
Although I was invited by the Chair and members of this committee to appear today, I have brought my director, Jennifer Lang, whom I report to and whom I may defer some of your questions to. Jennifer Lang is the director of communications at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and, since September 2013, P/PAGS as well.
In my position, I lead a small team responsible for providing communications and corporate coordination services for P/PAGS. This includes tasks like preparing speeches for events, news releases, planning events, media monitoring, and ministry and partner liaison. I liaise with our stakeholders and games partners to coordinate, project plan and work together on various communication pieces. These partners include TO2015, the games organizing committee; the federal government; the city of Toronto and other municipal games partners; ministry partners; and, from time to time, I also liaise with the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
This is a very challenging yet rewarding job with a host of partners involved, all with the same goal of delivering quality Pan American and Parapan American Games. We are only 16 months away from games time, and I for one am thrilled to be part of it.
Thank you. I’m happy to take your questions now.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Ms. Lang, did you have anything you wanted to add?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: No, nothing to add.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Very good. Thank you very much. We’ll pass it to Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Thank you very much, both of you, for coming. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy day. I know that you’ve got lots to do over the course of a day, and you’re probably very busy, so I really do appreciate your time, coming today.
I have a list of questions—a lot of them have to do with information that has been delivered by communications—and some other questions more specific to the games as we know them.
I want to start by asking if you would agree that at the current time, there is poor public information on the games’ budget and lack of public clarity with respect to who does what. I think at this point in time we’re going to see that, even internally, from what I can tell from some of the answers I’ve received from other deputants, there is a lack of clarity about who does what and what level is responsible for what. There is a tremendous amount of crossover. I can only imagine this might be somewhat difficult for you to manage in a communications role.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I believe that we have been communicating quite a bit, mainly with—we did a technical briefing back in November, which my team would have been key to coordinating. From that, we provided—there was a chart that had numbers on it and some detailed information on some of the various games-related functions that the province is involved with. We had another technical briefing just this month on March 14, which gave more of an update on where we were from November, and key technical experts were there to speak to those particular items.
Mr. Rod Jackson: So would you agree that it’s an issue, though? That there’s poor public information, that the public doesn’t understand who’s doing what and what the games are all about in general? I think we’ve seen some research that says that it’s growing, but there’s a low awareness of what the games are. It seems to be a challenge going forward.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: We definitely want to communicate the games and the benefits to Ontarians, for sure, so they understand what they’re in for, I guess, in 2015 and how exciting it will be for everybody. We are definitely doing our best to communicate all those benefits to Ontarians.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. I should also mention that either one of you should feel welcome to answer the questions. I certainly don’t want you to feel like you’re on the spot. I’m sure both of you are perfectly capable of answering the questions, so feel free to jump in at any time if need be, Ms. Lang.
Can you tell me how many people work in comms at the secretariat? How many people are in your department in total, from the top communications person through to—
Ms. Jennifer Lang: So for P/PAGS communications, including myself, there are seven FTEs.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Any part-time?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: No, no part-time.
Mr. Rod Jackson: So just FTEs. All right. Do you know how many are at TO2015? How many people are in communications there?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: No, I don’t know that number.
Mr. Rod Jackson: What kind of crossover do you have with the communications team at TO2015?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: We work closely with TO2015 and the other games partners, such as the federal government, the city of Toronto, municipal partners as well. We do try to coordinate our efforts so we’re not tripping over each other, so to speak. We liaise on a regular basis with them.
Mr. Rod Jackson: What challenges do you find when you have two parallel comms teams working together? Let’s start here: What are your responsibilities versus their responsibilities and how do they differ?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Our responsibilities are to communicate the province’s interests in the games, so, obviously, to talk about our responsibilities as host jurisdiction, whereas TO2015 is responsible for delivering the games. They are the organizing committee. They will promote the games and deliver the games.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Certainly there’d be a lot of, I would think, crossover in the communications. Really, it’s two in the same, isn’t it? Their concern is to deliver the games. Your concern is, really, to deliver the games too, as well as possible. I would think that the games in general are a provincial interest, and, to a certain extent, a national interest and a municipal interest.
I guess what I’m getting to is: how many comms people does it take to pull off the games, and why are there are two seemingly parallel organizations? What is the value to that?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Well, again, we’re not doing TO2015’s job. We’re communicating the province’s initiative. Things like the promotion, celebration and legacy strategy is a piece that is owned by the province of Ontario, and we have been rolling out those various initiatives to try to garner some excitement within the province, and to promote the legacies of the games as well. That’s completely separate from what TO2015 would be doing; they’re responsible for delivering the games. We’re trying, obviously, to help them to deliver those games, but also to create excitement for all Ontarians, where possible, and just to communicate all those various provincial initiatives.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Who does your department report to?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: As for all communications directors, I have a dual reporting relationship. I report to the line deputy minister for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and P/PAGS, and I also report to the deputy minister of Cabinet Office communications.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. So, I just want to back up a little bit and talk about promotion and legacy initiatives. Can you tell me right now—I might be asking for a list that you don’t have in front of you, but give me an idea anyway—what promotion legacy initiatives have been, and maybe will be, introduced that will come outside of the TO2015 budget; in other words, under the provincial umbrella?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes. The promotion, celebration and legacy strategy is completely outside of TO2015’s purview. We have announced a few of the initiatives so far; that would include Pan Am trails, connecting the broken pieces—not broken, but the unconnected pieces—of the Trans Canada Trail that exist in Ontario. We’ll be connecting the various venues by trails, so that people can cycle, walk etc. to the venues.
Another initiative is the Pan Am Kids initiative. That one we rolled out—oh, I can’t remember exactly when we rolled it out, but that’s a program for after-school programs, for kids to learn about sport and para-sport. It involves various activity kits, so that kids can get some excitement about the games and learn about the various sports, help with being healthy and active fitness. The program will also involve schools and after-school care programs, as well as camps and so on and so forth, so camps can sign up for the program as well.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Sorry, can I just interrupt you there?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Sure.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I know you have some more initiatives to talk about. I just want to stop you there, because I might forget to ask you more about that program. Do you know what the cost is, specifically, of that Pan Am Kids program?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I don’t have the specifics on that program. I know that the promotion, celebration and legacy strategy as a whole is $42 million.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. So the Pan Am Kids—it sounds great. Is it province-wide? Is it GTA-wide?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Correct: It’s province-wide. Schools, after-care programs, service providers and camps can sign up as they feel, if they want to.
Mr. Rod Jackson: So it’s a voluntary process?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: What if you have more voluntary schools than you have a budget for? You’ll just have to turn them down?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I think the Ministry of Education would be better to respond to that. They’re technically leading that part of the program. They could probably respond to that better than I could.
Mr. Rod Jackson: So that money comes out of the $42-million fund. Is that administered by the secretariat?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: The fund, I believe, was approved through the treasury board, and the secretariat flows the appropriate funding to the appropriate ministry that is rolling out the specific program.
For example, for Pan Am Kids, a portion of that goes to education, and I believe a portion of that goes to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for their after-care programs. Pan Am trails was tourism, culture and sport. We also announced the pre-apprenticeship training announcement, which was rolled out by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Can you tell me a little bit more about that program, the apprenticeship program?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities could speak a lot more intelligently about that specific program than I could, but it’s essentially a program that’s going to help folks get some on-the-job pre-apprenticeship training on the venues that are being built for the games.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Sorry, did you just mention the budget for that?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No. Again, that falls within the $42 million.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Oh, okay.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I don’t have specifics, but I can endeavour to get that for you.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes. I’d appreciate it, actually, for all of the above. There’s a list of things. Just for the record, I’m just going to quickly name them. Plus the ones you’ve mentioned, Nathan Phillips Square has some improvements that are happening for event space—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Sorry, I didn’t hear you.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Nathan Phillips Square.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, that’s part of that program.
Mr. Rod Jackson: The trail network you mentioned. The volunteer legacy strategy—was that another one?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, there’s a component of that.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Pan Am Kids, the apprenticeship program—if you could endeavour to get the breakdown of that $42 million and any other programs we may have missed that would be included in that $42 million—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Sure.
Mr. Rod Jackson: —and supply that to committee, that would be appreciated. Thank you.
I want to go back a little bit to—now for something completely different, I guess. There has been a little bit of confusion recently—new confusion—about the transportation budget. Hopefully, being in communications, you’d be able to clarify this for me. Recently—I think in the first technical briefing—it was announced that it would be between $75 million and $90 million. Am I correct on that?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I don’t recall, but it sounds like it’s right.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Just recently, we heard from Mr. Rafi, the CEO of TO2015, that there’s another $32 million included in TO2015’s budget, on top of that $75 million to $90 million. Does that sound correct to you?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, it does.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Was that included in the first technical briefing, when those numbers were added up?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: That number, the TO2015 number, would have been included in the technical briefing, but I don’t think that it was broken out as a transportation cost. It would have been lumped in with the $1.4 billion of their budget.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Do you have any idea—I’ve had a hard time getting an answer to this question, and maybe you know—what the cost of health is for the Pan Am Games? I know it’s very broad and there are a couple of different angles to it, but I’m talking about the total; and when I say “total,” I mean the amount that the secretariat is responsible for and the amount that TO2015 is responsible for.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Unfortunately, I don’t know that figure. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care would be the ones that would be able to provide that number. I’m not aware of what that number is.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Some time ago, I guess around the fall, in September, P/PAGS appeared before estimates and defended a Ministry of Finance-identified pressure of between $250 million and $320 million. Do you know what that was for and what that was about?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Unfortunately, no. I’m not—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, that wouldn’t fall within the purview of communications.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I’m getting this information from a communications brief from July of last year, less than a year ago.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: A communications brief?
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes, from P/PAGS.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I don’t recall such a brief. I apologize.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Can you give me an idea of what groups you’re finding that are opposing the games and why? When I say “opposing the games,” it’s not criticizing them. I’m a good example. I don’t oppose the games—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Rod Jackson is opposing the games.
Mr. Rod Jackson: No, that’s not true, for the record. Actually, I’m in full support of the games.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, I know. You’ve said that.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I think they’re going to be an amazing opportunity for our province to help athletes and to showcase Toronto and Ontario and Canada to the world, if they’re done properly. My job is to keep the government accountable for exercising due diligence. But there are some groups out there, I think, that are having some issues with the games, and you, in communications, must be prepared to deal with that. Can you identify who they might be and what their opposition is based on?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: You mean, name actual groups that have opposed the games? I think that we can all recall that, back last summer, there was a group that was opposing the development of the field hockey site at the U of T site in Toronto.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Etobicoke.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Oh, Etobicoke? Sorry, I’m not familiar with that group. I’m sure there are several people opposing as well as people supporting. I can’t think of any off the top of my head right now. My apologies.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Would those types of things come to you, as a communications team and an issues team, or to TO2015? Who would have responsibility for dealing with those sorts of—who dealt with the field hockey issue, for example?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Right. So we would have read about it in the paper, or we would have picked it up on social media, or in some way, shape or form through our media monitoring processes. Then we would have flagged it for the minister’s office. We would work with the respective program areas that would have more knowledge on the subjects. So we would work with—I can’t recall directly, but our program area within P/PAGS, so the games delivery branch. We work with them to get information and follow the situation. We would consult with TO2015, with the federal government and with our partners, so everyone’s aware, and put together probably a house book note or some messaging for the minister that he could use, if he chose to.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Are you aware of some of the criticisms about the games, as far as being not as inclusive as they ought to be? For example, there are several groups that have complained that the games aren’t being as inclusive as they possibly could be. I’m sure this isn’t by purpose; it’s what I think is by just omission, and probably lack of organization on a general scale. Unfortunately, a lot of times it falls to communications people to deal with those sorts of issues, we know all too well.
One of them would be that—we know that there’s been some issues and I’ve heard from these stakeholders—there’s some controversy about sign language and the availability of sign language for the games. From what we can tell, from some of the information through the documents that we’ve received, there’s not a willingness to set a precedent by having readily available signing during the games.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’m sorry, I haven’t heard of that issue on sign language specifically.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Well, there are some issues with it, just so you’re aware. You might have to deal with that at some point or another.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Okay, thank you. I appreciate that.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Certainly one of the other ones is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. They had issues with an email being sent to a blind person without—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Mr. Lepofsky, yes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes. That’s certainly, maybe, one example of a mistake, but hopefully is not endemic of the accessibility issues that are going to be realized during the games. The world is watching, right?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Absolutely.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Can you explain to me how that was dealt with and if it’s been dealt with, and what we can expect the games to look like as far as accessibility is concerned?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: So you want to know about that—
Mr. Rod Jackson: Do you have an accessibility plan for the games?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: TO2015 has an accessibility plan for the games. I know that the athletes’ village will be LEED Gold certified. There will be accessible accommodation for the athletes, and once it’s no longer the athletes’ village and it’s a development where folks can live in the community, it will be, as I mentioned, LEED Gold certified. I’ve heard that it will be the most accessible community in Toronto. I don’t know if that’s a fact, but that’s what I’ve heard.
I think there’s a lot of work that is being done to ensure that these games will be accessible. Just by having Parapan Games as well I think shows the commitment to have accessible sports in the province.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I have an email here from you, and to your credit, identifying the issue on August 23, right around when it happened. You’re quoted as saying that you feel absolutely terrible and you want to know what we did wrong and where we can find guidelines so this doesn’t happen again. Did you find those guidelines? Has it happened again? And what are those guidelines?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I think you’re referring to the actual invitation that went out. Is that what you’re referring to?
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, so that was a system that we use. There is a system that we use to send out email invitations. It’s supposed to help prevent invitations from ending up in people’s spam email accounts. You know how people say, “I didn’t get it. It’s in my spam”?
Mr. Rod Jackson: Right.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I had a new person working on my team—very devoted and committed to the team. He had just learned how to use the system and pretty much just didn’t tick off one box that would have made it accessible, which created a whole lot of issues afterwards. He felt terrible and I felt terrible. It’s definitely not what I or anyone else wanted to see happen.
Mr. Rod Jackson: So the capabilities are there?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: The capabilities? Absolutely.
Mr. Rod Jackson: It was just a small miss that had a big problem.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Just a little human error, yes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay; fair enough. How much time, Chair?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): You have three minutes and 28 seconds. If I may ask, there’s been a request for a copy of that particular email that you just referenced.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes, sure.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): At your earliest convenience, if the Clerk could be provided a copy so that we can distribute it. So you do have just over three minutes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Can I do that after the split—yes. Okay.
Some of the other issues that we’ve encountered: I’m going to totally go back to the beginning here, with communications between TO2015 and the secretariat. Are you also dealing with the minister’s communications team on this too? Are there actually three communications teams working together?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Perhaps I can speak to that. As Jennifer has outlined what her team does with respect to preparing speeches, correspondence, remarks for events, media relations and liaising with ministry partners, I, as the director to that unit, provide leadership on the delivery of communications initiatives under program and policy for the ministry. Many of the materials that Jennifer mentioned earlier, we would provide to the minister’s office for their consideration to use for the minister. So we provide, as communications public servants, a suite of options, and then it’s decided, politically, what would be used by the minister.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. So you are working with the minister’s communications team as well?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Yes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Do I have enough time for a quick question?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): One minute, 46 seconds.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. On the countdown, on the clock always, eh?
In your opinion, does that go smoothly? When you have three communications teams working together on one project, although it is a large one, there’s going to be some misses and some confusion and frustrations. What’s your experience with this?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Can you just confirm the three communications teams that you’re—
Mr. Rod Jackson: The minister’s communications team, your own and TO2015.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: I would argue actually the opposite. The very reason for Jennifer’s P/PAGS unit, when I took responsibility for it, was to avoid duplication so that we can improve efficiencies with respect to communications from the provincial government. We work very closely with Toronto 2015, with their communications contacts. We think that provides great synergies in terms of sharing of pertinent information and ensuring that all communications initiatives are properly assessed.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Thanks. We’ll talk again in a few minutes.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Jackson. The Clerk will be asking you for a copy of that email and the package of the communications that you had referenced. Thank you again.
We’ll turn it over to Mr. Miller.
Mr. Paul Miller: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ladies, thanks for coming in. Was it Jennifer 1 and Jennifer 2—don’t tell me your staff is all named Jennifer, too? That might be a trick by the government.
Anyway, I guess my first questions will be to Jennifer Pruel. Am I saying that right?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Proulx.
Mr. Paul Miller: Proulx?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Proulx.
Mr. Paul Miller: Oh, I’ve got a Michael Prue; he spells it P-R-U-E.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, he does. Isn’t that interesting?
Mr. Paul Miller: Both French, I take it?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’ve married into the name. I take no responsibility for it whatsoever.
Mr. Paul Miller: Oh, okay.
I guess what I need you to do for me is explain what the secretariat does, why it was established and from whom it takes direction. What do you do, who do you take direction from, and why was it established?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I can’t speak to why the secretariat was established; it was ahead of my time. I started on the job in February 2013, but my understanding is, it was established to provide oversight of the government’s investment in the games, the $500 million that is part of TO2015’s $1.4-billion budget, and to use the opportunity to promote provincial interests in hosting such a large-scale games. From a communications perspective, it’s our job to push out those messages whenever possible, working with our partners, and to, obviously, push out the promotion, celebration and legacy strategy that I mentioned. We also have the athletes’ village that we’re responsible for as well.
Mr. Paul Miller: Would it be safe to say that your organization would be a go-between for the ministry and 2015, including oversight on procurement? Also, obviously, the financial aspects must run by you if you’re the go-between for the two of them, some of the questionable financial things we’ve been after.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I can really only speak to the communications function, unfortunately, but we do play a huge liaison role with that piece. We liaise with our federal communications partners, our ministry communication partners etc.
Mr. Paul Miller: Would your organization be exposed at any time to some of the financial wherewithal floating between the ministry and 2015? Would you be aware of communications costs? Would you be aware of the athletes’ village communication set-up for the games? You must be aware of that.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: From the athletes’ village perspective, we work with Infrastructure Ontario as well, which is the project manager for that. Yes, we would liaise with their communications team. I’ve forgotten the rest of your question.
Mr. Paul Miller: Maybe I can read it for you. On your website, it states that the “secretariat coordinates the province’s involvement in planning and operational activities for the games, including working with Infrastructure Ontario”—which is finances—“and the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure”—which spends money on the venues—“in the development of new and improved sport and recreation projects and the Pan Am athletes’ village in the West Don Lands,” and in the games venues section in Milton, Welland and Hamilton.
What I’m saying is, can we assume that the secretariat is involved in the tendering process for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games, and if so, how are you involved?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Again, we can only speak to the role of the communications branch within the P/PAG Secretariat. We are—
Mr. Paul Miller: So why does it say that you’re involved in the planning and operational activities of the games?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: That would come out of our games delivery unit or division out of P/PAGS—
Mr. Paul Miller: What do they do?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Tim Casey was the ADM. He was here a few weeks ago, and he spoke of his function—
Mr. Paul Miller: I wasn’t here.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Oh, I’m sorry.
Mr. Paul Miller: I missed him. Too bad, eh?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: They work closely on the venues, transportation, security. That kind of piece comes out of that shop. And then there’s the risk management and financial oversight division. You met with Nancy—
Mr. Paul Miller: Financial oversight.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Nancy Mudrinic was our ADM, and she was here, I believe, last week.
Mr. Paul Miller: So you are involved in the finances of the games.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’m not, directly, no.
Mr. Paul Miller: But your group is.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: P/PAGS would have financial oversight of the province’s investment. Correct.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. You know, it’s the old story: “That guy takes care of that. I take care of this, I take care of that, and I really don’t know what he does.” I’m not getting a lot out of this, folks, but anyway. And you’re not involved in the tendering process whatsoever?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: That’s correct.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: No, that’s correct.
Mr. Paul Miller: How long will it take the secretariat—how long will you be in existence, and do your senior staff have performance and severance deals in their contracts?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: We definitely don’t have performance contracts.
Mr. Paul Miller: Severances?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No, sir. I’m a civil servant. I work for the Ontario public service, so—
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. That’s good to hear.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: —none of that.
Mr. Paul Miller: So there’ll be no Ian Troop deals with you guys.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No. Not for us.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. That’s good to hear.
Could you please explain to me why a quick search of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat 2013-14 Annual Accessibility Plan has a section on information and communications, but does not appear to have anything on the communications and issues unit of the secretariat? Do you want me to read that again?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: If you could. Thank you.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. I’ll do that again. Could you explain to me why the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat 2013-14 Annual Accessibility Plan has a section on information and communications, but doesn’t appear to have anything on the communications and issues unit of the secretariat? I’m a little confused with that. Are you confused?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’m not aware of that particular document.
Mr. Paul Miller: It’s there, folks.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: On the website? I’m sorry, I don’t know what—
Mr. Paul Miller: It says, “Why a quick search of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat”—that’s you guys, right?—“2013-14 Annual Accessibility Plan has a section on information and communications”—which you are, communications and information—“but doesn’t appear to have anything on the communications and issues unit of the secretariat?”
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Is that an actual copy of what you pulled from the Web there?
Mr. Paul Miller: Yes. I mean, if you guys don’t know, I don’t know.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’m afraid I can’t—
Mr. Paul Miller: Maybe you can help me. I’ll give you a copy of it. Maybe you can help me.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: I’m afraid I don’t know.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No. Sorry.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Mr. Miller, if you’d be so kind as to be able to provide the committee with a copy of that particular document—
Mr. Paul Miller: I certainly can. This is what I was given, so I’ll pass it on gladly.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Thank you.
Mr. Paul Miller: It says—here’s a little further to it—in the document that the ministry will ensure that that all venues are accessible. You’ve already talked about accessibility. What’s happening to existing structures for full physical accessibility, and for other full accessibility—for example, upgrading the Internet, WiFi and accessible phone systems. What are you doing there? Nothing?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’m sorry. I’m not familiar with what you’re reading off of at all.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. I’ll pass this on to you, and maybe we can both figure it out, then. All right? We’ll move on.
Jennifer 2, it’s your turn. The secretariat’s summer 2013 backgrounder states—now, you should know this; it’s in your backgrounder—that “the games will organize and train up to 20,000 volunteers—a great way for Ontarians to be involved and a valuable resource to tap into for future events.” Could you tell me how many volunteers are being selected, and if this will be a centralized selection? Will there be a focus on hiring local volunteers from the local municipalities where the venues are held?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: The volunteer program is run through TO2015, but if I may, I might have Jennifer just speak to the provincial role with respect to volunteerism.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes. Jennifer Lang is correct: TO2015 will put out the official call for volunteers. That’s actually going to happen very soon. National Volunteer Week is coming up April 7, and you’ll see some announcements coming out from TO2015. In addition to that, I know that certain municipalities—I believe Ajax, for one, is doing their own call for volunteers, which is great. That will be more than the 20,000 volunteers, all in.
The province is going to be making a couple of announcements that week, being led out of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, related to volunteers. They have a big, broad volunteer strategy, which I certainly couldn’t speak to because I don’t work in that ministry, but from a Pan Am perspective, they will be announcing two initiatives: the Gateway initiative and the certification initiative.
From what I understand, the Gateway initiative is basically a portal that is being built for the many, many volunteers in this province who are really excited about volunteering and want to find more places to volunteer at or for. They’ll be able to go on this portal and seek out volunteer opportunities.
The certification program is, I believe, a program that MCI is leading, wherein volunteers will be given a certificate after they have volunteered for the games. I believe that the thought around that is that a certificate would essentially be sort of a letter of reference that they could use for finding future job opportunities within the realm of what they volunteered for for the games.
Mr. Paul Miller: In their resumé when they apply for your organization to volunteer at the games, are they also going to have to go through police checks?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I believe that that’s part of it, but TO2015 is leading that call.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. I’ll ask them, then. That’s good.
These games are also being supported by some major projects that will create benefit to Ontarians as a whole; for example, the revitalization of Union Station and the creation of a new Union Pearson Express. What influence has the ministry and TO2015 on either or both of those projects in the ministry’s involvement?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: So, those are two, or three—I can’t remember—great projects for sure that I know are being pegged as will be finished by the time the games are here, but that’s not part of what we would use in our shop. We’re not part of the Ministry of Transportation. They would lead the Union Pearson Express and any kind of communication that went out on that. The revitalization of Union Station—I believe that’s the city of Toronto. I’m not entirely sure on that one, but that’s not within our communications purview.
Mr. Paul Miller: On the TO2015 website, I found that Cirque du Soleil will partner on the opening ceremonies on July 10, 2015, but I can’t find out where the opening ceremonies are going to be. Are they going to be in the stadium in Hamilton, or are they going to be in Toronto?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I don’t think that’s been announced yet.
Mr. Paul Miller: You don’t know? No? That’s interesting.
You guys are handling communications between the ministry and 2015—the secretariat and whoever. Right? So what I’m trying to get a handle on is, once the games are done, you’re going to go back to your regular jobs in the ministry; is that how this works? Are you temporarily on loan, or are you part of the budget? How did you guys get this?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I belong to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Mr. Paul Miller: You work for Mr. Chan.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Well, I work for Jennifer Lang.
Mr. Paul Miller: Who works for Mr. Chan.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Who reports to—
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Who reports to the deputy minister.
Mr. Paul Miller: Who works for Mr. Chan. Okay.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: And I am the director of communications for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and now P/PAGS.
Mr. Paul Miller: So how did you guys get—are you doing this full-time now and going to go back to your regular duties? Who’s doing your duties? Did you have to hire additional people to do your regular stuff other than the games? Do you know what I’m saying? You’ve been lent to do this, and that’s probably taking up a good chunk of your time. Who’s doing your job at the ministry now?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: I still am—I remain the director of—
Mr. Paul Miller: So you’re doing both?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Correct.
Mr. Paul Miller: You’re doing both?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No. I applied to do this job, so—
Mr. Paul Miller: So you left your other job to do this?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Correct.
Mr. Paul Miller: Is someone filling in for you on your regular job?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I left a position. Someone filled it, yes.
Mr. Paul Miller: Someone filled it, so—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: They own it, so I don’t have a home to go to after this. Is that what you’re getting at?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Jennifer won the competition for the current role that she’s in now—
Mr. Paul Miller: Competition.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Correct. I applied.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: —to be the manager for the P/PAG Secretariat.
Mr. Paul Miller: So someone is filling in for you. Now, do you get to go back when you’re done?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No. I gave up my position to apply.
Mr. Paul Miller: Well, how long is this position for? Are you on your way out the door or—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Could be. Who knows?
Mr. Paul Miller: I’m confused. So why would you leave a full-time position to do this, to maybe not have it when you come back?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: It was a personal risk. I decided it would be an exciting job, so I applied for the job and I got it, lo and behold.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay. So we’ve got you on this one and we’re paying someone else to do your regular—okay. How many more personnel have you had to hire? Now, you’re doing double duty, but how many more people have you had to hire in your department for people like Jennifer that have left?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: None. I—
Mr. Paul Miller: None?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: I absorbed Jennifer. Her role already existed. She was with the P/PAG Secretariat as the manager of communications, so I absorbed Jennifer and her six staff, and so now I have a full complement of 36 staff who report to me.
Mr. Paul Miller: Will they report to you after the games, all 36?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: I don’t know.
Mr. Paul Miller: Wow, that is risky.
Anyway, you know what? Since, once again, the government invited you and I can’t get any financial details from you and it’s a promotion thing again—that’s great; thank you for the rah-rah session. All their witnesses are rah-rah people, and that’s fine. We’ll get down to the financial stuff later, and I really don’t have any more questions for you. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Miller.
We’ll turn it over to Ms. Damerla.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you, Chair, and thank you, Ms. Proulx and Ms. Lang.
Just for the record, my understanding is that Ms. Proulx and Ms. Lang were actually invited by the PCs and not the Liberals, so I can only hope that the member will take back his charge of rah-rah. You’ll have your chance in the 10-minute go-around, if you want to.
In the meantime, I have a few questions for you. First of all, thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it. I know you’re very busy. I just heard you saying that you’re doing double duty, so I really appreciate your coming out.
I’m just curious. I heard you say that you took a risk to be able to be part of these games. So tell me, how important is an event like this for you?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I can only speak personally. I think it’s exciting to be part of this opportunity and I work hard every day to try to make it a reality. I look forward to 2015 and seeing everybody here there.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: How would you say your team feels about having the opportunity to be part of these games?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I have a very great team that is working very, very hard, so I would say that they’re 300% committed.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Would it be fair to say that these games will be an unprecedented event in Ontario?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: They’re the first games I’ve ever worked for, so I can’t speak from experience, but I think that they’re going to be a fabulous games.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: One of the things that we have done as the host is embrace the host jurisdictional responsibilities. A big part of that, being the host, is of course the legacy of these games. As I’ve said in the past, one of the things that this government is doing very differently is that the legacy piece is not an afterthought. It’s not, “Let’s build, let’s focus on the games, and once the games are done, we’ll worry about the legacy.” From the very beginning, planning for what we’re going to do with the infrastructure we’ve built has been part of the plan. I just thought you could give your experience in that.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I think that we have the luxury of looking at other games and learning from their good things and their bad things. So definitely taking those lessons and learning that legacy was a key component of a successful games and taking that to heart and putting a focus on that.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you. I did want to point out one thing, which is the PCL strategy that I think was discussed earlier in the round of questioning. My understanding is that the entire strategy has already been provided by Steve Harlow, so perhaps re-reading that report might be helpful in getting some of the answers. Many of the questions asked might be something that could have been asked of the ADMs who were here in the past—the ADM for accessibility, the ADM for transportation, PCL etc. We’re not sure why you’ve been called here if that’s the line of questioning, but I just wanted to point that out.
I just had one last question. One of the things that we are doing very differently, again, with these games is the wide geographic footprint. I just wondered, being so close to the games, how you feel about that. What are your thoughts?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: It’s definitely a big footprint, but I think that that was a conscious decision, to spread the games and the benefits to as much of the province of Ontario as possible. I think, from that perspective, that’s it’s great. Obviously, it adds issues on other parts of that, but I think it’s going to turn out to be great in the end.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you so much. No more questions.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Ms. Damerla. We will now move to the 10-minute round of questioning, and I will call upon Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Thank you. I’ve got quite a sea of paper in front of me now. Once again, thank you for your patience. This can be a particularly long ordeal, sometimes, especially when you’re sitting in your seat, I guess.
I just want to get some clarification on something you said, Ms. Lang, earlier. It may have contradicted an answer you gave me earlier, so I just want you to clarify it for me. I asked you how many full-time employees you have working with you, and you told me seven, and then I heard you say 35. I’m sure there’s a reason for that; I just wanted to give you an opportunity to clarify that.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: As the director of communications for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the P/PAG Secretariat, I have a total complement of 36 FTEs.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. And then the seven number was just for P/PAGS?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Correct.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Fair enough. Sorry, you said 36?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Thirty-six.
Mr. Rod Jackson: And that includes the seven?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Correct, yes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Thanks for that clarification.
I just want to go back to where I originally—well, where I left off on the last line of questioning. There’s been some question about not just accessibility but certainly inclusion with the games. I know that there have been some concerns from First Nations, particularly the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, who have had some issues with not being consulted, in their minds, as appropriately as they would have liked. I’m going to run through a couple of them, and maybe you can just give me a fulsome answer. It’ll probably take most of the time, I would imagine.
The other was concern from the federal government that there wasn’t enough French-language content for the Pan Am Games. Some of the main languages certainly for Pan Am would be English, French and Spanish, among others, but certainly those would be the three big ones.
Then the other one was a headline here in the National Post, “‘Pan Am Games … Without Pan American People’: Spanish-speaking Community Fear Games Shutting Them Out.” Then it goes on to say how there are people of Latin or Caribbean origin who feel they’re being left out of the games.
I would say that’s a fairly serious issue to be dealing with when you’re dealing with games that should be inclusive and certainly should be in consultation with all these different groups, and there are many in North America. It’s no small undertaking, understood, but can you explain to me how this happened and what is being done to rectify the situation for consulting First Nations people, francophones and Latin Americans?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I’m not really getting at your question. I’m not sure what you mean, what happened?
Mr. Rod Jackson: How did they get left out?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Oh.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Was there lack of a plan? If you were to do a debrief on it, what would you say you’d do differently? What are you doing now as a result?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I can’t speak to those specific issues. I don’t know that they’ve been ones that we’ve been dealing with directly. The Mississaugas of the New Credit: Can you clarify what that one was all about?
Mr. Rod Jackson: I don’t have the details quite in front of me. I do have a letter that was—I guess it came through the Speaker’s office in his role as the member of provincial Parliament for Brant, and then it was responded to by the Premier, who referred the issue of not being consulted to Minister Chan and Minister Zimmer—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Oh, is that the duty-to-consult issue that you’re speaking of?
Mr. Rod Jackson: I believe so.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I think that would be an issue that—yes, I’m not entirely familiar with that, but I understand it had to do with something about not consulting with that particular group related to development of one of the sites. Is that correct?
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes, that’s correct. Yes, you got it.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: I don’t know why that didn’t happen or why that issue came up—
Mr. Rod Jackson: I’m just curious—and this is no reflection on you, because you only deal with the things that come before you. But it seems to me that in issues management, that’s part of what you do, that an issue like this might come before you, and if you didn’t deal with it, who did? This must come before somebody.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: An issue like that would come up—and I do recall that being an issue that had come up. I don’t know the timing around it. I think I recall—
Mr. Rod Jackson: July of last year.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: July of last year? Okay. So we would have heard, I guess, through a partner, or it was in the news or social media or something like that, and we would then consult with, in this case, Infrastructure Ontario, because they are working on behalf of the federal government on developing the site, on building the site. I’m not entirely sure what really happened there and what the outcome has been, but I know that the government has been working closely with aboriginal groups. There was just an announcement today, I think, related to some land that’ll be transferred over to the Nishnawbe First Nations group after the games. So I think there’s definitely an effort to work closely with that particular group.
The issue around the federal government not having enough French: We certainly do our part in providing our communication products in both official languages. We follow the French Language Services Act. Jennifer Lang is fully bilingual, and I have a designated staff member on my team as well who is fully designated bilingual, so I’m not entirely sure what the issue is there.
I have heard about the Spanish-speaking groups who feel that they need more representation within TO2015. Again, I can’t speak to the hiring or HR practices of TO2015. I know that they have their own processes, and their CEO and board of directors would be responsible for that.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. I’m not going to belabour this, but I guess that the Canadian government did say that they’re worried there’s a risk that the Pan Am Games may not meet its requirements to provide for both official languages during the games.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Okay.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I don’t think that reflects on your job as communications, probably more on the games, but I was curious if it was more an issue that you dealt with in your role as communications and issues with—I mean, it sounds maybe more like a TO2015 issue.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. So in the role—sorry, how much time do I have left?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Three minutes and 36 seconds.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. We’re not going to cover it all, but we’ll get there.
In an issue like the concerns about Latin Americans not being as represented at the Pan Am Games—that’s a fairly big one, considering that the vast majority of the players—and when I say “players,” I mean—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Participants?
Mr. Rod Jackson: —participants will be coming from Latin America.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Right.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Probably more than half of the participants will be coming from that area. That must be of concern to you in an issues and communications management sort of field. Wouldn’t it be?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Yes, I think, for sure. You want to make sure that everyone could be represented in some way, shape or form. There are a lot of groups, obviously, that would have a strong interest in being a part of the games.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Is there a communications plan to be able to deal with these issues if they come up in the future? I would imagine that this is something that—I mean, it’s already reared its head. I guess what I’m asking you for, if I could rewind a touch again, is to ask for—you mentioned already that there’s an accessibility plan. That was created by TO2015?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Correct.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay, so it’s unfair of me to ask you to give me that information. But do you have a communications plan to deal with some of these language and cultural issues that could taint the games if they’re not dealt with well?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: At this stage, no. We don’t have a communications plan specific to those particular issues.
Mr. Rod Jackson: And you haven’t really dealt with these specific ones?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No, sir.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Can you tell me, in your opinion, who is in charge of the Pan Am Games? Who runs the Pan Am Games? At the end of the day, where does the buck stop?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Well, again, we can only speak to the function of our branch and unit with respect to the communications role in providing a host of communications options to the minister’s office. The political decisions are made from that point on and communicated out.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: And don’t forget: We’ve invested, and so has the federal government as well as the municipalities. So it’s not just the province. We are a partnership, so we’re working with all of those partners.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Yes. I’m just trying to figure out who—at some point, though, there—
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Who’s the one person?
Mr. Rod Jackson: —there needs to be someone who’s responsible. I mean, for any large corporation or any massive undertaking like this, there should be one person that’s responsible. I’m trying to find that out, and to date, I haven’t got an answer from anybody. I don’t think it’s because no one knows; I think it’s because there isn’t one person. I’m just curious to see if you maybe knew something that I didn’t know.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: As we said, we report to the deputy minister.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Right, and the deputy minister reports to the minister responsible for the Pan Am Games.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Correct.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Right. So, for all of the provincial investment, both inside and outside of TO2015, the minister responsible for the Pan Am Games would be responsible for that undertaking. Is that a fair assessment?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: For the provincial investment, for sure—for the $500 million that we put into the games’ operating budget and for the additional games investments that we are making. Correct.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Great timing. Thank you very much.
We’ll move over to Mr. Miller.
Mr. Paul Miller: Thanks. Now I’m kind of tuning in here. Minister Chan has, on more than one occasion, come here and said that he wasn’t aware of this and wasn’t aware of that that had transpired at TO2015 and their board and the things that have gone on there, some of the arbitrary decisions that were made, he claims, with lack of his knowledge.
Do you send a representative to their board meetings? Do they not give you a dossier or their agenda of what happened at their meetings? With the amount of money that this ministry is putting in, they don’t report and send something through communications to the deputy minister or the minister, through your office?
Ms. Jennifer Lang: To answer the first part of your question, we don’t send a representative from the communications branch to the Toronto 2015 board meetings.
Mr. Paul Miller: You didn’t have ongoing dialogue with the 2015 board on anything—their decisions or where they were going to go. They were a separate entity; they worked and did their own thing. Who did they report to? If they didn’t report through communications, did they report directly to Minister Chan or his deputy, and sidestep you? You must have had emails and stuff that went through your communications that they would have got.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No, we don’t—
Mr. Paul Miller: You don’t?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: No, sir.
Mr. Paul Miller: I can’t believe that the communications for the government has nothing to do with 2015 and what they do in their board and what’s going on, when we’re funding it.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: We work closely with TO2015 from a communications perspective—
Mr. Paul Miller: Well, isn’t communications the dialogue and agendas and—
Ms. Jennifer Lang: For example, we have a daily call with our communications counterpart at Toronto 2015.
Mr. Paul Miller: Right.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: I have a weekly phone call with my communications counterpart at Toronto 2015, but not with the board.
Mr. Paul Miller: Okay, but if they have discussions at the board, and your contact at the board, through their communications officer who communicates with you—they don’t tell you what’s going on at the board or what’s going on or where they’re going? You know nothing of that? There are no emails? There’s nothing to tell you the decisions they’ve made?
Basically, what you’re telling me is that Minister Chan and his deputy minister and you didn’t know what was going on over there. Is that a fair assumption?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: We know what’s going on from a communications perspective, so when we’re going to announce a venue being complete or an opening or the—
Mr. Paul Miller: Yes, but isn’t dialogue a communication? Isn’t ongoing discussions communication? Isn’t what the board talks about communication? Was this person only telling you what she or he was directed to tell you, so that you were in the dark, they were in the dark and the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing? I want to get to the bottom of this, because a lot of times, the minister sat there, and he really didn’t know: “Where are you coming from? Where do you get this information from?”
I’m getting concerned here that the communications department of the government did not communicate—well, you’re telling me you did every week with the communications officer of 2015. But some of the rigmarole that went on with Mr. Troop and his expenses and all the things—that’s communication too. There are emails that go on about these things. So you’re telling me you know nothing about it, the minister didn’t know anything about it, the deputy minister didn’t know anything about it, but the papers did. They released a lot of this information, so they must have had somebody at the meeting.
I’m really worried that you don’t really know what’s going on. Do you know now what’s going on, after all the trouble they’ve had? Do you have any more influence, or do you have someone there now to check on what’s going on?
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: We don’t have a comms person at the board meetings.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: No, we don’t.
Mr. Paul Miller: That’s scary. That’s really scary. Because now I’m seeing where this is all happening. Basically, what I’m getting here now is that 2015 had their own little kingdom over there, and they were doing their own little thing. You guys were giving them money to operate, for whatever—expenses and all of that. And everything that goes from your ministry, through your department, to them is communications, in my humble opinion, whether it be in the form of emails, letters, directives, transfer of funds—whatever it is, that’s communication.
So you’re telling me that you guys don’t know anything about it, or you were not informed about it or that they didn’t tell you anything about it. Now I can see where the problems are in the Pan Am Games. I’m really, really getting a vision here. This is not good.
Okay. Well, I guess you can’t answer any more, because you don’t know, and the deputy minister doesn’t know, and the minister doesn’t know what goes on at 2015. They have an officer who reports to you weekly, and you don’t know.
Okay, that’s it for me. I don’t have any more questions. Thanks.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much, Mr. Miller. We’ll move to the government: Ms. Cansfield.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you very much. I think that maybe we can help to sort of straighten this out a little bit, having been involved in a couple of ministries. It is my understanding that the deputy minister attends each and every board meeting that takes place for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, so there is representation from the ministry at each and every board meeting. There is an ongoing communication that takes place. It’s also my understanding that someone from finance from the ministry attends each of the finance committee meetings—and the finance folks, the CFO—at the games as well. It is my understanding that there are representatives from a variety of different parts of the ministry that participate in a variety of those committees. So there is a lot of ongoing communication that takes place between the ministry and the Pan Am Games. That is there.
Your job is to manage communications that come out of that, if there are any. You do not participate in any of those committee meetings, nor should you; it’s not in your job description. Your job description is: Once there is an issue identified or an event to be communicated, or there is something that you want to be able to extend to the public, that’s your job, and you manage that in how you get that out. Quite frankly, I think you do a pretty good job.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Thank you.
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: I was particularly impressed with the pianos. I thought that was an absolutely stellar idea.
So if, in fact, we want to get some of those questions that I think Mr. Miller is looking at, it is the deputy who would be the person to speak to, because he’s the one who attends those board meetings. It certainly doesn’t fall within your purview.
I did want to say that you’ve done a great job. It’s not easy to be able to go out so far in advance and get people excited about something that’s not coming for a few years, and I think that you’ve really done a stellar job on some of these initiatives. Thank you very much for your time and for coming to share it with us.
Ms. Jennifer Proulx: Thank you.
Ms. Jennifer Lang: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much. I guess that’s it. I’d like to thank Ms. Proulx and Ms. Lang for coming this afternoon. Congratulations. Good job, and continue the good work.
I believe we have a motion. Do you want to take a five-minute break or do you want to table it now?
Mr. Rod Jackson: I’m ready when you’re ready.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay. Mr. Jackson does have a motion. Feel free to read it into the record. Do you have copies, by any chance?
Mr. Rod Jackson: I will need copies. Sorry.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): You can read it in and then we’ll probably have a little adjournment—
Mr. Rod Jackson: We’ll probably need a break anyway.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you very much.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I have a motion here:
That, for the purpose of continuing its standing order 111 study relating to the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games and the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat, as per the committee motion carried on February 19, 2014, the Standing Committee on General Government invite six additional witnesses per caucus; and
That, beginning the week of April 7, the committee meet on Mondays and Wednesdays for the purpose of this study, allowing for three witness slots per week;
That the committee Clerk make every effort to schedule two witnesses per meeting on Mondays and one witness per meeting on Wednesdays;
That the committee continue to proceed in the manner provided for in the committee motion of February 19, 2014; and
That each caucus provide a new witness list, of at least five names, to the committee Clerk, no later than two business days after this motion passes.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Thank you, Mr. Jackson. We’ll take a five-minute recess to allow—
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: I’d like a 20-minute recess.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): We’ll just take a five in order to get the copies of the motion.
The committee recessed from 1649 to 1655.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): All right.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Chair?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Well, I did have something to say. However, if—
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Are you commenting on the motion?
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Yes.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay. Just for clarification purposes, according to the motion—I think all three parties have had time to review it. Keep in mind—this is just for information purposes—that on March 19, the committee did pass a motion requesting the report writing on the auto insurance study for April 9. This particular motion would supersede that. I just wanted that on the record, for information purposes.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Chair, we’d like a 20-minute recess. This is all new to us, and we just need some time to understand and figure out what we want to do with it.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Do we have agreement for 20 minutes?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Is there any debate? I should ask for debate first.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: We haven’t had time to look at it—whether we want to debate, or whether we want to go to a vote. We just need a recess.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Twenty minutes, yes.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay. Is there an agreement for a 20-minute recess to allow the other two parties time to take a look at this?
Mr. Paul Miller: No.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Okay. Any further discussion?
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Chair, do we not get—
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: On the vote.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): The 20-minute recess is allowable upon the call of a vote.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: But we need some time to study the motion. If not 20, can we get some time for a recess?
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Are you requesting another amount of time? Any time in particular?
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Ten minutes.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): It’s a request for 10 minutes.
Mr. Paul Miller: No.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): I don’t hear consensus for 10 minutes. Any further discussion on the motion? Once again, any further discussion?
Ms. Dipika Damerla: Are we not entitled to any recess if a new motion—
Ms. Dipika Damerla: I know. I’m just trying to understand the rules. I understand that it has to be unanimous consent for 20 minutes, but if it’s five or 10 minutes, is it not up to the—
Mr. Paul Miller: You already had five.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: What’s that?
Mr. Paul Miller: You were here. You already had five minutes.
Ms. Dipika Damerla: No, that was to circulate the motion and make copies, but—
Mr. Paul Miller: Look, if you want to stall this thing, you want to stall it—
Ms. Dipika Damerla: We just want to give it an intelligent debate.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Order. Come through the Chair, please. Any further discussion?
There being no further discussion, I’ll call the question.
Mr. Phil McNeely: We’d like a 20-minute recess.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): A 20-minute recess is in order. Granted.
The committee recessed from 1658 to 1718.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): Back to order. I have called the question. Those in favour? Opposed?
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Recorded vote.
Mr. Paul Miller: Too late. You should’ve asked for that earlier.
The Chair (Mr. Grant Crack): The motion is carried.
This meeting is adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1718.
Monday 31 March 2014
Pan/Parapan American Games review G-575
Canadian Sport Institute Ontario G-575
Ms. Debbie Low
Mr. Tommy Wharton
Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat G-590
Ms. Jennifer Proulx
Ms. Jennifer Lang
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Chair / Président
Mr. Grant Crack (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre / Etobicoke-Centre L)
Ms. Sarah Campbell (Kenora–Rainy River ND)
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre / Etobicoke-Centre L)
Mr. Grant Crack (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)
Ms. Dipika Damerla (Mississauga East–Cooksville / Mississauga-Est–Cooksville L)
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South L)
Mr. Michael Harris (Kitchener–Conestoga PC)
Ms. Peggy Sattler (London West ND)
Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock PC)
Mr. Jeff Yurek (Elgin–Middlesex–London PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Rod Jackson (Barrie PC)
Mr. Phil McNeely (Ottawa–Orléans L)
Mr. Paul Miller (Hamilton East–Stoney Creek / Hamilton-Est–Stoney Creek ND)
Mr. Rick Nicholls (Chatham–Kent–Essex PC)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Anne Marzalik, research officer,