STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Wednesday 2 April 2008 Mercredi 2 avril 2008
The committee met at 0935 in room 151.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Good morning and welcome to the standing committee on government agencies. Members, you do have an agenda before you.
The first item is the report of the subcommittee on committee business dated Thursday, March 27. I'd ask for its adoption.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move the adoption of the report of the subcommittee on committee business dated Thursday, March 27, 2008.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Any discussion? If not, all in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Raj Anand, intended appointee as chair, Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We'll move to appointment reviews now. Our first interview today is with Raj Anand, intended appointee as chair, Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
Good morning. Please come forward. As you may be aware, you have an opportunity, should you choose to do so, to make an initial statement. Subsequent to that, there are questions from the members of the committee. This morning we will begin our questioning with the official opposition. Please begin, Mr. Anand.
Mr. Raj Anand: Thank you. Bonjour, madame la Présidente et les membres du comité. Il me fait grand plaisir de me présenter devant votre comité ce matin. Je vais commencer avec ma naissance.
I was born in India, a child of parents who met during university in Lahore in what was then British India. At partition in 1947, they were on one side of the cavalcade of humanity that saw Hindus fleeing from what became Pakistan and many Muslims leaving what became India. Upon immigrating to Montreal as a minority within a minority in Quebec, we grew up with a particular understanding of the need for tolerance and the importance of resolving disputes between English- and French-language communities without violence or separation.
After graduating with the Dean's Key from the University of Toronto law school in 1978, I entered practice as a civil litigation and administrative lawyer.
The Human Rights Legal Support Centre lies at the intersection of two of my personal and professional preoccupations over the last 28 years: access to justice, and equality. Twenty years ago, I was chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, appointed by the Liberals. I later served as a member of the Human Rights Tribunal and the police civilian complaints board of inquiry, appointed by the NDP. I've also been an adjudicator at the University of Toronto and at the law society.
Comme membre du Comité d'audition du Barreau du Haut-Canada, j'entend les causes ou en anglais ou en franÃ§ais.
Over the last two decades, I have represented racial minorities, women, aboriginal women, gays and lesbians, social assistance recipients, persons with disabilities and others in constitutional and human rights litigation. I've worked closely with community organizations representing all of these groups. I've also represented employers, co-operative corporations and other parties who respond to complaints against them under the Human Rights Code. I have been involved as counsel in challenging legislation and policies of provincial governments, whether NDP, Conservative or Liberal, including the spouse-in-the-house welfare application, in which we were successful in striking down an unconstitutional law on behalf of single mothers.
I have participated on the board of two community legal clinics, including as a founding member of the Income Security Advocacy Centre in 2000. I've been on the board of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. I was the first recipient of the Advocates' Society's Award of Justice when it was created in 1997–under its terms, the lawyer who best combines excellence in advocacy with representation of the disadvantaged.
In 2003, the Law Society of Upper Canada awarded me the Law Society Medal, which is the highest honour bestowed upon a member of the bar for service to the public.
I currently serve as member of the Equality Rights Panel of the court challenges program, which, contrary to popular belief, still exists. I have been a founding member of an organization called Pro Bono Law Ontario, which is designed to facilitate and encourage lawyers to do legal work on a pro bono basis. I was its president for two years.
Et je suis membre du conseil d'administration d'Aide juridique Ontario, et j'ai été élu en 2007 au Conseil d'administration du Barreau du Haut-Canada.
Last June, I was named Professional Man of the Year by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. I've also served minorities, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, as chair of the Minority Advocacy and Rights Council. I teach administrative law to graduate law students at the Osgoode Hall Law School.
Human rights enforcement has been sorely inadequate in this province and across Canada from all perspectives: from those complaining, from those being complained against. The phenomenon is well known and has resulted in many inquiries and reports.
In the year 2000, former Justice LaForêt of the Supreme Court of Canada was commissioned to chair a task force on behalf of the federal government to look into this issue, among others, at the federal level. After hearing from all sides that the human rights enforcement process was broken and needed to be fixed, his task force asked me to formulate for them the remedial mechanism that should exist. What I proposed and what was ultimately adopted essentially was a direct access model where one files a complaint with a tribunal, along with legal representation and assistance from an independent body. That is what has been created under Bill 107: a legal support centre, in which legal services are required to be provided to applicants in both official languages.
I view this task as an enormous challenge and opportunity, if I'm appointed. It is an innovative experiment, the first in North America, and it's an important reform in the promotion of equality rights in this province.
I'm honoured to be nominated to help put in place this unique access-to-justice administrative structure to promote equality in this province.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We'll move to Ms. MacLeod.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you, Mr. Anand, for coming here today. I have a series of questions for you. Yours has been the first candidacy that sparked an independent e-mail from one of my constituents. I'm just questioning, if you can tell us, how you came to know about this position and how it was made available to you.
Mr. Raj Anand: I knew that the board of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre would be created because I was following closely the progress of Bill 107, which creates it. So I knew at some point that it would be posted. I learned from someone in the community—I don't actually recall whom, but I suspect it was a lawyer—that it had been posted. I looked it up on the Internet and I applied.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. Can you tell me if you gave any advice to the Attorney General during hearings from Bill 107, before public hearings or after public hearings, with respect to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre?
Mr. Raj Anand: No.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Did you give any advice at all to the Attorney General with respect to Bill 107?
Mr. Raj Anand: No.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. Are you aware of your per diem for this committee?
Mr. Raj Anand: Yes. I haven't seen it, but I understand from persons in the Public Appointments Secretariat what it is.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Could you clarify that for us?
Mr. Raj Anand: Five sixty-six per diem, I believe.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: How many days are you expecting to sit?
Mr. Raj Anand: It depends on what time frame you're talking about. In the current time frame, in the run-up to the effective date of the legislation, which is June 30, it's going to be an intense period in which—I can't tell you for sure, but I would estimate that it could occupy up to half my time.
I understand that the expectation in the steady state, once the effective date has been passed and the centre is in place, is that this is a policy board which will meet monthly and that my involvement would be approximately one or two days a month.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: So one or two days a month, which is $1,100 a month. But up until then, you could be working maybe—would it be fair to say 100 days in the next three months? Sorry; there's not even 100 days in the next three months, but up until—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: A lot of overtime.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Yes, a lot of overtime. What—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Excuse me. How many days are you expecting to work up until that period of time?
Mr. Raj Anand: I've given you my best estimate.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Which is half of your time, but you haven't given me any days. How many days do you expect?
Mr. Raj Anand: You're asking, how many days is half of my time?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I'm asking you how many days you expect to dedicate to this position once, or if, you are confirmed.
Mr. Raj Anand: Well, I have a full-time practice—I have, for most of 28 years—and I'm maintaining that practice. I'm also a bencher of the law society and, like all of us, I have other commitments.
So I've given you my best estimate, which would be as many as—I would hope it doesn't take as many as that, because there's a concern, obviously, in terms of the time that's available—half of the working days. If there are 20 or 25 working days per month, half of that would be perhaps 30 over the next three months.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. Thank you. Just to change tracks a little bit, we received an e-mail to the committee from Hakim Abassi, who is from Ottawa, who also happens to be a constituent of mine. He has concerns with your appointment. He has asked us to be very diligent in hearings today and wants us first, as a Legislature, in all parties, to clear the air on what occurred in 1989.
He provides us with a submission, in which case he says: "In 1989, Raj Anand had to resign amid allegations of inept mismanagement and discrimination within the commission against minorities." This appeared in the Toronto Star on July 23, 1991.
He believes that these allegations are very serious and that, at the time, the opposition of the day—which was the New Democrat and PC parties, similar to today—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: He was appointed by the Liberals. In any event, at the time there was a call for an inquiry and an investigation. At that time, it did not occur.
My constituent obviously thinks that we need to do some clearing of the air before your public appointment, and I'm wondering if you would like to comment on this.
Mr. Raj Anand: I would say a few things. First of all, the allegations that he refers to were in fact investigated and reported upon by a former judge at the time. On May 29, I believe, of 1989, he issued his report, clearing me of all of the charges that are alleged here. So I don't know what Mr. Abassi's knowledge, if any, is about that.
Secondly, I would say that the complaints that he refers to—and I have looked at the e-mail; it was available to me here—were not the subject of complaints by any employee under the grievance procedures or the Human Rights Code itself, at the Human Rights Commission or otherwise. There were no such complaints to be looked into. They could have been, if complaints had been made by the Grievance Settlement Board, by the Public Service Grievance Board or any other body.
Thirdly, I would say that I don't know anything about the committee hearings that fall, other than what I'd read in the newspaper, and I was not involved in any way in what went on between the political parties in that regard.
The fourth thing I would say is that I would suggest that there is little weight to the allegations that are made, because if the allegation was that there was discrimination against racial minorities, my practice, which I have described to you—involving representation of disadvantaged groups, including, prominently, racial minorities—involved those minority organizations coming to me almost immediately and consistently thereafter in the 1990s when I represented these community organizations, so that I would try to give you some comfort in saying that I don't think the views that are put forward by this constituent are shared by those who were most affected.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. I just have one more question, and then it's going to go to my colleague. You mentioned my constituent, and it wasn't put forward, but Mr. George Bancroft, who was another commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission stated: "I question why not a single non-white person was hired for the seven positions, especially considering the quality of some of the non-white candidates who applied." Would you like to comment on that?
Mr. Raj Anand: Mr. Bancroft wasn't involved in the hiring process.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Clearly.
Mr. Raj Anand: I'm not sure what he knows of the candidates, because it was quite confidential, as it should be.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Thank you for coming here today, Mr. Anand. When you started speaking, you gave us the picture of your tolerance and your ability to resolve disputes as one of your hallmarks, but I'm looking at this exhibit, and during your time with the Human Rights Commission, your entire legal staff quit.
Mr. Raj Anand: That's not true.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Well, this is as reported in the Toronto Star.
Mr. Raj Anand: It still isn't true.
Mr. Randy Hillier: "The commission's entire legal staff has quit," with one exception. Most of the senior managers that you hired had no operational staff to direct. It goes on with a litany of items that do not support your assertion of tolerance in resolving disputes, and of course, having to resign doesn't instill confidence that you do have that ability to resolve disputes in your tolerance level.
Mr. Raj Anand: I'm not sure what the items you refer to have to do with tolerance in resolving disputes.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Well, when you have—
Mr. Raj Anand: Let me refer to—
Mr. Randy Hillier: —your entire legal staff quit—
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Excuse me. Let's have one at a time. Mr. Anand.
Mr. Raj Anand: As I just said, my entire legal staff did not quit, so I'm not sure what to say about that beyond the fact that it's not true.
You've made a sort of broad assertion. The one specific item you've referred to is that the directors who were hired had no operational staff. Well, if you were aware of the circumstances at the time, beyond what you've read in this one e-mail, you would know that this was a time of reform of the structure of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. What was created was a new structure, and when you create a new structure, you hire the director and the director hires his or her staff. That's the nature of the creation of a new structure, and so it stands to reason that when the director is hired, he or she won't have any staff.
Mr. Randy Hillier: I think I'll just end this off by saying I'm quite disturbed that there's a lot of this in your background, your previous experience with the Human Rights Commission. I would hate to see the same thing happen with this new arm of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the legal support. We could be repeating history, I guess, and the failings if we don't recognize this. Thank you.
Mr. Raj Anand: All I would say is, what you would hate to see repeated was the subject of an independent report, which found that what you're now repeating did not take place.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. We'll move on to Mr. Bisson.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I just have a follow-up to the questions that were previously asked. I'm going to go through some of the allegations that were made under the Star investigation of 1988, and I just want to ask you some very simple, to-the-point questions. One of the allegations was, "With one exception, all of the commission's non-white senior and lower-level managers who were on staff when" you had taken over—"have been fired or have quit." Is that true or is that false?
Mr. Raj Anand: False.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay, so you're saying false?
Mr. Raj Anand: To my knowledge—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I'm just asking: true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: To my recollection, one white senior staff member was laid off, and there is no truth whatsoever to that allegation.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: You're saying false. That's fine.
Then your answer to the question that the entire legal staff quit—was there a high turnover of legal staff while you were there?
Mr. Raj Anand: Not at all.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Were there any legal staff—
Mr. Raj Anand: I created the legal staff within the commission. It didn't exist before that.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I'm asking the question. Were there any legal staff that have quit as a result of your being the head of the commission when you were there?
Mr. Raj Anand: One person did, yes.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: One quit? Were there any more?
Mr. Raj Anand: I wouldn't say it was as a result of me being head of the commission. One person quit.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay, that's fair. So you say only one legal staff person quit in the time that you were the head of the commission.
Mr. Raj Anand: That's correct.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: It says here, "More than 10 experienced investigators and senior staff have also quit." Is that true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: I'm not sure over what time period that is.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: In the time period that you were there, more than 10 experienced investigators and senior staff had quit the 144-person agency. A lot of those things were unfilled, but that's not the issue, the point being that there were a number of experienced investigators that quit while you were there. Is that true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: I don't know whether it's true or false. Let me just say, Mr. Bisson, that the turnover rate in any public service agency—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Oh, I know, yes.
Mr. Raj Anand: —is in the neighbourhood of 15% to 20%—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I've got limited time, so I'm asking—
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Excuse me. Just one at a time. Let Mr. Anand finish.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I have limited time and I have some questions to ask, so I'm asking if they're true or false.
Mr. Raj Anand: Excuse me, Mr. Bisson. Can I just finish my answer, please? No, I'm sorry; I don't answer true or false necessarily if it's a misleading—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Are you saying I'm misleading you, sir? Because if that's the case, I'm going to give you a hard time this morning.
Mr. Raj Anand: "True" or "false" is a misleading answer; that's what I was going to say. What I was saying is that there is a natural turnover in any organization, and 10 of 144 is a small proportion.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I hear you, but my question was, was there an exodus of staff in the investigation department at the commission at the time that you were the head of it?
Mr. Raj Anand: Certainly not.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: You're saying no. Thank you.
The other thing is that most of the new people who were hired in senior management positions didn't have direct operational experience; that's the allegation. Is that true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: That's untrue.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: That's false. Thank you.
The other one is, "The commission, whose primary job is to ensure employment equity in the government and the private sector, does not itself have an employment equity ... program." Was that the case in that commission at the time, that employment equity was not achieved by the time you got there, first, and then it was not made better in the time that you were there?
Mr. Raj Anand: There was an employment equity initiative and plan throughout the government, and the Human Rights Commission was part of that.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay, but the allegation is made that basically there were no steps made by you in order to work towards achieving employment equity. Is that true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: False.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay. That's what I was asking.
The last question is, and I'll leave the rest up to my colleague Mme Gélinas, that one of the allegations was that the staff morale in the time that you were there was quite weak. Is that true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: I think that's a subjective question which you would have to ask members of staff. I'm not sure that I would be the best person to attest to that.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay. To my colleague.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. Ms. Gélinas.
Mme France Gélinas: Merci. Est-ce qu'on peut vous poser des questions en français?
M. Raj Anand: Oui, bien sà»r.
Mme France Gélinas: Merci. J'aimerais savoir—je ne sais pas exactement comment traduire "Chief Commissioner of Ontario Human Rights Tribunal."
M. Raj Anand: Non, non, je n'étais pas commissaire en chef du tribunal. J'étais commissaire en chef de la Commission ontarienne des droits de la personne.
Mme France Gélinas: Combien de temps avez-vous occupé ce poste?
M. Raj Anand: De 1988 à 1989.
Mme France Gélinas: Donc, est-ce que c'est à peu près un an, un an et demi? Combien d'ans?
M. Raj Anand: Un an et demi.
Mme France Gélinas: à peu près un an et demi. Pour quelle raison est-ce que vous êtes parti?
M. Raj Anand: J'ai parti à cause des accusations que nous avons discutés ici, et après le rapport qui a pris certaines décisions à cause des allégations, comme j'ai mentionné, j'ai pris la décision qu'il serait dans l'intérêt de la commission de recommencer avec un nouveau commissaire en chef. Et c'est exactement ce qui s'est passé.
Mme France Gélinas: Okay, so you told us that on May 29, 1989, a report was written/tabled/presented that cleared you completely of all allegations. But although the report cleared you, you decided to resign your position.
Mr. Raj Anand: Quite correct.
Mme France Gélinas: You were not fired or laid off?
Mr. Raj Anand: Absolutely not.
Mme France Gélinas: You decided by your own will, but—
Mr. Raj Anand: I decided to return to practice.
Mme France Gélinas: Okay, but if the report was—
Mr. Raj Anand: And to contribute in other ways, as I did. As I say, I was appointed by the NDP, among others, to do that in subsequent years in the human rights area.
Mme France Gélinas: So basically you worked for about 18 months, the allegations came, you said they were investigated in the report tabled on May 29, but you still decided to resign. When did the resignation take place?
Mr. Raj Anand: June 2.
Mme France Gélinas: Of 1989?
Mr. Raj Anand: Yes.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I still have a bit of time. There's just one other question I forgot to ask you. The other allegation was that the commission did not hire a single visible-minority candidate under your watch. Is that true or false?
Mr. Raj Anand: That's false.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Back to my collègue.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I must ask you to do them all in order as opposed to going back and forth. We normally just go around once.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I know, but you know me, Madam Speaker. I can't help myself. It's just beyond me.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I just want to remind you. Ms. Gélinas?
Mme France Gélinas: That's okay.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): All right. Thank you very much. We move on to the government members.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I just want to say thank you, Mr. Anand, for appearing before the committee. I really appreciate your being here.
Mr. Raj Anand: Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): This completes the time that we have allocated. Thank you very much for being here this morning. You can step down.
Mr. Raj Anand: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Yusra Siddiquee, intended appointee as member, Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I'd like to call upon our second interview, with Yusra Siddiquee, intended appointee as member, Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario. Good morning. Welcome to the committee.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Good morning.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): As you may have heard, you have up to 10 minutes in which to make any remarks you choose to make. After that, we will go around the room in rotation. We'll begin our questions with the third party. Please begin.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Thank you for considering me for an appointment to the Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario. I want to introduce myself to you and also explain why I applied for this particular council. I'm a partner at the law firm of Ogilvy Renault. I graduated from the University of British Columbia law school in 1994 and I completed my undergraduate degree at McGill University. J'ai grandi à Montréal et je parle anglais, français et ourdou, ma langue maternelle.
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Merci. Chez Ogilvy Renault je dirige nos départements d'immigration.
Immigration law is a field of administrative law. It's a statute-driven area, and I have comprehensive experience in advising on, interpreting and applying regulations, as well as making recommendations to several Ministers of Immigration as well as Ministers of HRSDC at the federal level on improvements to legislation.
At my previous firm I had the opportunity to represent all the leading accounting firms in Canada, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Touche, and Arthur Andersen as it then was. I became very acquainted with key issues that face the profession, such as labour shortages, professional conflict issues, and the recognition and licensing of foreign-trained professionals. I no longer represent any accounting firms in Canada. Furthermore, as the daughter of an accountant, who practised in Quebec and is now retired, I have always been quite familiar with the accounting profession.
Equally important, which I wish to highlight, is my background and my community involvement. I have participated in several Muslim, immigrant and women's organizations for over 20 years. I was one of the founders of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association over 10 years ago and I continue to be one of its directors. I am dedicated to encouraging my community to become fully engaged members of Canadian society as well as highlighting the unique cultural and religious perspectives of my community to ensure that they are properly ad fairly represented in the Canadian legal system. It is essential that the development, interpretation and application of the law be done by the broadest segment of the society it represents.
And, as a woman, an immigrant, a visible minority and a religious minority, I can truly say I represent several significant segments of Ontario society. With this, combined with my legal training, I believe I would be a valuable addition to the board of the PAC; and, as a Canadian and an Ontarian, I would like to participate in our legal and administrative processes.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We'll begin with the third party. Ms. Gélinas.
Mme France Gélinas: Est-ce qu'on peut vous poser des questions en français, mademoiselle?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Oui, bien sà»r.
Mme France Gélinas: Oui? Okay. Bienvenue. Merci d'être ici.
J'ai essayé d'écouter et de prendre des notes en même temps et ça ne m'a pas bien servi. Depuis quand est-ce que vous êtes comptable?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Non, je ne suis pas comptable. Je suis avocate.
Mme France Gélinas: Oui, c'est ce que je voulais dire. Je m'excuse. Depuis quand?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Je suis du barreau—1996.
Mme France Gélinas: De 1996?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Oui, mais j'ai terminé mes études en 1994.
Mme France Gélinas: Vous avez toujours pratiqué en Ontario?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Oui.
Mme France Gélinas: Puis votre père est comptable? C'est ça que vous avez dit?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Il était comptable à Montréal.
Mme France Gélinas: Il est à la retraite?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Oui.
Mme France Gélinas: Qu'est-ce qui vous motive à aller sur ce comité? Quel genre de changements est-ce que vous aimeriez voir si vous devenez membre de ce comité?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Je veux ajouter ma perspective comme immigrante, comme musulmane, comme minorité, comme avocate au conseil du PAC. Parce que maintenant je ne suis pas membre, je ne sais pas tous les sujets qui sont maintenant les plus importants, mais c'est d'ajouter une perspective différente.
Mme France Gélinas: Puis vous vous sentez d'attaque pour prendre ce genre de défi?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Oui, parce que j'avais plein d'expérience en ces sujets et d'ouvrir les yeux sur d'autres sujets aux membres d'un conseil. Je pense que les sujets comme les désignations des comptables d'un autre pays, c'est quelque chose très important pour moi, parce que c'est très important de garder nos niveaux au Canada, mais aussi c'est également important d'ouvrir nos systèmes aux étrangers et aux immigrants. Alors c'est un sujet tellement important pour moi.
Mme France Gélinas: Est-ce que vous savez, sur le conseil, combien de personnes siègent, et, des ces personnes, quel pourcentage représente des minorités visibles?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: C'est un grand pourcent, à mon avis, parce que comme avocate d'immigration, la plupart des professions que je vois sont les ingénieurs et les comptables. Ils sont tous des gens avec une formation technique. à mon avis, dans les cabinets de comptables comme PwC et KPMG que j'ai vus, plus de 10 % sont des minorités, et à mon avis c'est peut-être plus proche que de 25 %.
Mme France Gélinas: Non, je voulais dire les gens qui siègent au conseil. Vous avez fait application pour siéger au conseil. Les gens qui siègent à ce conseil—est-ce que vous savez si vous allez être la seule représentante des minorités visibles ou s'il y en a d'autres?
Mme Yusra Siddiquee: Je sais qu'il y a d'autres membres qui sont des minorités, mais il n'y a aucune femme qui est d'une minorité visible et il n'y a aucune autre musulmane.
Mme France Gélinas: Merci.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. Comments?
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: Again, thank you very much for appearing before the committee. We have no questions.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. Mr. Hillier?
Mr. Randy Hillier: Thank you very much for coming here today. I have a few short questions.
The first one: How did you become aware of this position being available?
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: That's a good question. Actually, I wasn't very familiar with this process until about last year. Because I was invited to attend various meetings through either my law firm or through community and mosque involvement, I became aware that the Ontario government does actually have a system whereby you can access a website and see which councils have appointment positions available. So I was directed to the website, I went through the website, and this is the council that appealed to me.
Mr. Randy Hillier: From what I've heard, you don't have any accounting designation yourself or any experience in accounting.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Correct.
Mr. Randy Hillier: But this role is to oversee public accounting in the province.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: That's right.
Mr. Randy Hillier: So you don't have any of that direct, practical knowledge on the accounting side.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Right.
Mr. Randy Hillier: It begs the question—public accounting is self-governed, and now we have another level of regulation regulating the regulators. But in this case, without a whole lot of experience or practical knowledge of the profession in your case—
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: I have knowledge of the profession; I'm just not part of the profession. And as an outsider, I think my eyes are wider open to considering the legislative and regulatory issues that would impact the regulation of this body because, as an administrative lawyer, that's what I do. I apply regulations, I design standards and I ensure compliance policies are in fact meeting minimum thresholds. I think that serves across the board of various industries.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Are you aware of the per diems for this position?
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Not until recently, only when I received the literature from the public appointments council. I was very surprised to see what the per diem was, because I wasn't doing this for the money.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Right. I was quite surprised as well. Do you have any intuition as to how many meetings you will be attending or taking part in?
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: I would imagine once a month, but nobody's advised me on it.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Because it is $700 per meeting as the per diem, plus $700 in preparation time and also $100, I believe, for travel.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: I wasn't even aware of the preparation time.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Are you a member of any political party?
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: No.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Have you ever been a member of a political party?
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Never.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Have you ever contributed to a political party or a campaign?
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Yes. When I was at McGill, I had to support Gerry Weiner's re-election campaign. I did door-to-door campaigning for that, against my will, because my family made me. Then I had friends who ran for the NDP: Guy Hunter federally, and more recently El-Farouk Khaki. Also, I have contributed to the leadership campaigns of Stéphane Dion and Gerard Kennedy, and Omar Alghabra, all federally.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Those are all my questions. Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. This completes this round. We really appreciate you coming here today.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee: Thank you very much.
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Karen Lowe, intended appointee as member, Kincardine Police Services Board.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Our third interview this morning is with Karen Lowe, the intended appointee as member, Kincardine Police Services Board. Good morning. Please come forward.
Ms. Lowe, as you might know, you have time in which to make a statement, if you wish. Then we'll go in rotation with questions from members of the committee. You may begin.
Ms. Karen Lowe: Thank you, Madam Chair and members of the committee. It's certainly my privilege to be considered for a position on the Kincardine Police Services Board. I'd like to begin my statement by highlighting some of my volunteer and work experiences which help make me a qualified candidate for this appointment.
First and foremost, I'm a very engaged member of my community. I am an involved citizen who cares very much about the well-being of the community and of the citizens of the community. I have spent many years working with both victims of crime and those who are particularly vulnerable in our society. I have lived in the municipality of Kincardine for 25 years and I'm the mother of two daughters, one in university and the other finishing high school.
I have been very active in leadership volunteer roles within my church, within our local hospital, within the Canadian Cancer Society and other charities as a fundraiser and, most recently, within our community as both a member and chairperson of our World Peace Day committee. This committee strives to emphasize the value of peace and respect, not only in our world but also in our communities, through education and understanding around the issues of diversity and inclusiveness. The committee engages both the community and, as well, a large number of public and high school students on these issues.
As well, I have recently finished my term as a member of the economic development committee for the municipality of Kincardine, a committee of council whose aim is to improve and promote tourism and development in the municipality.
I've also volunteered for the past seven years as a board member on the Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce. I have served both as secretary and, most recently, completed my term as president of the board. This role has enabled me to have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors and their accountability to the people and/or members they represent. My seven years on the board of the chamber of commerce has also allowed me to interact with and get to know numerous and various community citizens and gain an understanding of their concerns.
I was employed for nine years within the local women's shelter. As manager there, I reported directly to the board of directors on a regular basis. As such, I have gained an even higher understanding of boards and their roles as I have experienced both sides of boards: sitting on a board and reporting to a board. I was responsible for organizing and participating in training sessions for our board of directors and other boards with an area consultant and expert Nathan Garber. This training revolved around the issues of governance, strategic planning and evaluation processes.
During my nine years at the women's shelter, I had a number of experiences that helped my understanding of interactions with police and community citizens. Clients of the shelter interacted on a regular basis with police officers, often with the assistance of staff. The women's shelter, of course, is a place that houses and advocates for women who are victims of domestic violence and abuse.
On a number of occasions, it was my privilege to be a trainer to local police in workshops on the issues surrounding women and domestic violence. As an expert in that field, I was able to increase the understanding of those in attendance on the potentially dangerous situations and complex issues surrounding domestic violence. I was also a trainer to workers and volunteers within the victim services field and to numerous and various audiences of community people in and around Grey and Bruce counties.
My work in the area of domestic violence was recognized in 2006 when I became a nominee for the Women of Distinction Award from the Grey-Bruce International Women's Day committee.
I've also taken training in the field of anti-racism and anti-oppression from the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses which I feel has not only been a benefit to me professionally and personally but which can also be a benefit to the board.
With the growth of industry within our area primarily within the nuclear industry, Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation, our community is changing and becoming more and more diverse. More people from other countries and cultures are moving into the area and I believe it is vital to have a broad understanding of diversity, inclusiveness and the dangers of oppression.
I also sat on the social justice committee of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses for two years which again increased my understanding of the importance of inclusiveness, within both our workplaces and our communities.
Within my training and managerial role at the women's shelter, I have worked extensively with youth, particularly those within the high schools and those at risk. Issues of conflict resolution, bullying and ending violence of all kinds were topics that I discussed at length with teens. Doing this work has helped me to understand some of the challenges that youth in our communities face and how difficult their lives often are.
As a manager, I've taken training in strategic planning, conflict resolution, leadership through team-building, interest-based contract negotiations—the women's shelter was unionized—as well as essentials of staff supervision processes, human resources in action and performance management training. My work as shelter manager encompassed the need to develop and implement operational policies and procedures, as well as the responsibility to recruit, interview, hire and train new employees at all levels.
In conclusion, I believe I have the transferable skills and applicable knowledge from my volunteerism and work within the community, and from my extensive work with victims of violence within the women's shelter, that could benefit the police services board.
I look forward to an opportunity to serve my community in that way.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We'll go to Ms. Van Bommel.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: Thank you for appearing before the committee.
The Kincardine area being very rural, could you tell us a little bit about some of the unique issues that occur in rural communities—I see you have a background in domestic violence—especially as it would relate to your work on the police services board?
Ms. Karen Lowe: Well, speaking directly with regard to the municipality of Kincardine, it's not only a rural area but also a tourist area; there are a lot of cottages and people coming to the area for tourism reasons. Therefore, there are a lot of cottages that are left vacant during the winter months and lots of people breaking into these cottages. I know there are a lot of property crimes there.
I also know, from my work with youth, that there are a lot of drug crimes associated with the area. It's not just because it's a rural area, but I know that domestic violence incidence is increasing in the area.
It's a small area—an area of about 12,000 people—but it's also a bit of a unique area because of the nuclear power plant being there. In the past, it's been a kind of very white, mainstream area, but what we've all noticed is that more and more people from different cultures and countries are coming because of the nuclear power plant and the expertise they require there. So the demographics are changing slowly in the area. It is a small area, but it's kind of a unique area in that way, because of our dependence on that large nuclear power plant.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We'll move on. Ms. MacLeod?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you, Ms. Lowe, for attending here today. Could you tell us how you heard about this appointment?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I heard about the appointment from a community member who told me that another person had resigned from the board. She suggested that I should consider applying for this position. I was not very familiar with this process, but I did go online and filled out the application and went through the process that way.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Was the community member one of your references?
Ms. Karen Lowe: No.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: So it wasn't Carol Mitchell, a reference of yours who is also the MPP for the area?
Ms. Karen Lowe: No.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: What is your knowledge of policing issues? I noticed at the last presentation that we were given a presentation by somebody who is going to be appointed to the public accounting group, who basically said that she had skills in that because her father was an accountant. I guess if we use that logic, then I'm going to say I was the daughter of a police commissioner and I know, from speaking with a lot of the police chiefs and policemen in my community, growing up and having those discussions around our supper table, that you have to have quite a knowledge, not only of crime and how you combat that, but also in terms of budgeting and being visionary in terms of the needs of the community.
Your background doesn't necessarily suggest that you have those types of skills or the type of experience that would provide you with the knowledge of policing issues. Could you elaborate on that?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I guess, through the years of working at the women's shelter and with victims of violence, and through this process I have participated in now, I have come to have a better understanding of police services.
I know that because our area is small—under 25,000 people—the board will consist of three people, and their role will be around governance, particularly around issues of the selection of the commander, and determining, with the commander's advice, priorities that the police services should take. I believe that some of those priorities right now revolve around issues of domestic violence, property crimes, drug and alcohol control, and traffic control—drinking and driving, and speeding. I believe those are the areas of concern right now.
I also know that the board needs to concern itself with reviewing the complaints process and monitoring any conflicts of interest which might occur, as well as monitoring the performance of the commander. I know that the municipality is mandated to provide effective and adequate police services, which consist of things like prevention of crime, law enforcement, maintaining order in the community, serving the needs of victims of violence as well as emergency response.
I've interacted with police on many occasions on behalf of clients of the women's shelter and attended court with those clients on many occasions, and I think I have a general understanding of what the mandate of the police service is. I would certainly need to get up to speed a little bit further. I understand there is some training, but I feel I have a good, broad understanding.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: What would you say is the most serious issue associated with policing and enforcement facing your community?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I think the four areas that I identified previously are all equally serious. I guess what I'm most familiar with is domestic violence, because we all know that it's a very complex issue; it can lead to serious injury and often death of women who are victims. I also believe that the drug problem and the grow ops and drug labs that exist in our area are very serious, probably as a result of organized crime.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: So you suggest that there's organized crime in Huron—Bruce?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I believe that the drug labs and the grow ops are probably a result of that.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Do you have a needle exchange program?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I'm not aware of one, but it doesn't mean there isn't one. I just don't know.
I also believe that drinking and driving is a serious issue, as are property crimes. I believe they're all equally serious in their own way.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Just to wrap up, do you have any political affiliations?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I am a member of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Have you ever been a financial contributor to the Liberal Party of Ontario?
Ms. Karen Lowe: Yes, I have.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Would you elaborate? Do you know how much, roughly, you've donated in the past?
Ms. Karen Lowe: It would be roughly $100 a year.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Which is consistent with our research, which is a little bit higher.
Ms. Karen Lowe: Well, $120 maybe. I think it's $10 a month or something.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay, thank you very much.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. We'll move on to Mme Gélinas.
Mme France Gélinas: Welcome to Queen's Park, Ms. Lowe. I was very interested in your background. I'm sure nine years as the manager of a women's shelter has prepared you to face anything and everything that could come your way—not an easy job. Thank you for taking it on.
I see that there are municipalities within the area you will be covering that are looking at installing video camera surveillance. They think it will deter youth from attacking women in downtown Kincardine. Do you have any concerns with the use of those cameras?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I don't have any concerns with the use of those cameras as long as they're complying with the privacy act. I really feel that if it's a deterrent and it has been determined that that's the best way to deter those crimes, then that would be okay; I'd go ahead with that.
Mme France Gélinas: In your own experience, are cameras a good way to prevent violence against women?
Ms. Karen Lowe: No, I don't think it's a good way to prevent it. I think education, particularly with our youth, is the best way to prevent it, and awareness in our communities. I think it could perhaps help identify perpetrators of crime. It might be a deterrent in that people who know about it might be less inclined to commit those crimes in those areas.
Mme France Gélinas: I know that you've talked about the four priorities. If you were to select one, what is it you hope to do in taking on this volunteer position?
Ms. Karen Lowe: What is it that I hope to do within one of those particular areas?
Mme France Gélinas: No, in any area at all. You're going to be one of three persons, and what are your motivators? This is a volunteer position. It will require time, effort and energy. What are your motivators? What do you hope to do?
Ms. Karen Lowe: I think that throughout my career I've been very involved with victims of violence and those people in our communities who are particularly vulnerable. Within my work in that area, I have always had very positive interactions with the police, in that the police in our area have always been very helpful. I just thought that as a person who's interested in helping vulnerable people in our society and victims, this would be another way I could contribute to my community with that in mind.
I also believe I have a good understanding of boards and their roles and responsibilities. As well, I think I would bring another element to the board in that I have a good understanding of anti-racism, anti-oppression, diversity and inclusiveness in those areas.
Mme France Gélinas: Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. That concludes the questioning. We appreciate you coming here today.
Committee members, I'm going to call a five-minute recess.
The committee recessed from 1031 to 1042.
BARBARA LYNN GRAHAM
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party and third party: Barbara Lynn Graham, intended appointee as member and chair, Champlain Community Care Access Centre.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I'd like to bring us back together and begin with our fourth interview today, Barbara Lynn Graham, the intended appointee as member and chair, Champlain Community Care Access Centre.
Good morning and welcome. As I'm sure you know from the previous instructions I've given, you have up to 10 minutes in which to give a statement, if you so wish. Then we'll continue with questioning from the members. So please proceed.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Thank you. I apologize. I woke up with a cold this morning, so I've got my Kleenex and my water with me.
Good morning to the Chair and members of the standing committee on government priorities. Thank you to the Public Appointments Secretariat for helping me today with the preparations and also to all of you members for providing me with the opportunity to elaborate on the information you have before you.
I'll use this time to address four topics: my political affiliations, the background leading to this position, my qualifications and my interest in the position.
First, I've had a lifelong interest in politics at all levels. In the past, I've supported different political parties and candidates and have donated funds to the Liberals, the Conservatives and the New Democrats. Since retiring from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in December 2006, I have joined the Liberal Party, both federally and provincially. In the recent provincial election, I supported Jim Watson in Ottawa West—Nepean and Yasir Naqvi in Ottawa Centre.
Secondly, the process leading to this nomination began in January 2007 when I submitted three applications online to the Public Appointments Secretariat. A year later, in January 2008, I was contacted by the minister's office and the ministry to inform me that I was being considered for the position of chair of the Champlain CCAC. While I had not applied specifically for a position on the Champlain CCAC, I had applied for membership on the board of the Champlain LHIN, and I recognized many commonalities between the two organizations.
I requested a copy of the job description for the position of chair of the Champlain CCAC, and I read what was available on CCACs, and the Champlain CCAC in particular. A few days later, I accepted the offer to have my name stand.
Thirdly, I believe I am qualified for this position. I am familiar with the role of CCACs in the provision of professional services to school boards. I have life experiences that have made me aware of care for the elderly. My father, who died in 2006, received home support and professional services coordinated by the CCAC in London. My uncle, who passed away in 2001, received acute care treatment in the Ottawa Hospital and then remained there after treatment ended until a bed could be found for him in palliative care at the Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre. He enjoyed day programs at the Hospice at May Court. Also, on my husband's side of the family, our aunt spent the final years of her life in a long-term-care home, Lanark Lodge, in Perth, Ontario.
Through the Internet and the media, I have knowledge of CCACs and the challenges they face. I look forward to learning a great deal more about the work of the Champlain CCAC in managing the placement of persons into long-term-care homes and in providing a range of health and social services for those receiving care at home and in the community.
I've just got to take a drink of water. My mouth is completely dry.
My credentials include a master of social work degree, with a course concentration in community organization-community development. This degree has served me well over the decades and would be put to good use in the service and resource coordination work of the Champlain CCAC.
My first government job, with National Health and Welfare's New Horizons program, helped me understand the recreational needs of the elderly across the country. Having lived in the Ottawa area for almost 40 years, and with my school board experience, I am familiar with the urban, suburban and rural sectors of Ottawa and, to a more limited extent, those of Renfrew, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville and the eastern counties.
Undoubtedly, my most important qualification is the fact that I have chaired a large board in the Ottawa area, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. In my final term as chair, during the first part of the 2006-07 school year, the board had 70,000 students, 150 school sites and a budget of $612 million. I understand issues around transition, having been a trustee throughout the time the Ottawa Board of Education and the Carleton Board of Education amalgamated to become the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
I know how to communicate effectively with a board, senior management, a provincial government ministry and local partners. I have had extensive experience in setting agendas, conducting meetings and building consensus. I have been directly involved in strategic planning, budget reviews and approvals, policy development, labour relations, community liaison and media relations.
My contribution to public education was recognized provincially in 2006. At the annual general meeting of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, I was presented with the Dr. Harry Paikin Award of Merit for outstanding service as a public school trustee. I was gratified by the support I received for this award from my community and from my colleagues. It marked the first time an Ottawa area trustee had received the award.
Enfin, je parle français, pas couramment, mais je suis en train d'améliorer ma capacité. Depuis janvier 2007, je prends trois cours en conversation française à la Cité collégiale à Ottawa. I will bring this knowledge and these skills to the Champlain CCAC.
Fourthly and finally, I have a genuine interest in this position, particularly in providing care for the elderly. As the baby-boomer generation retires and gradually moves into this demographic, the challenges evident today will become even more pronounced in the future. How are we going to provide a range of services so the elderly can remain in their own homes as long as possible? How are we going to free up acute care hospital beds now being occupied by the elderly whose medical needs have been addressed, but are awaiting places in palliative care facilities? How are we going to ensure that there are adequate beds in long-term-care homes and that these long-term-care homes meet the physical, social and emotional needs of the elderly? How are we going to be able to afford to provide quality care for the elderly, whose numbers will be exploding in the coming decades? I truly welcome the opportunity to become actively involved in one of the organizations addressing these and many other issues.
I'd be happy to respond to your questions. Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We will begin questioning, then, with the official opposition.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Simply, Lynn, I won't be pursuing the questioning for the official opposition. I just want to comment about the great working relationship we had while you were still chair of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. When you're on this board, I expect that we'll have the same good working relationship. I just want to thank you for your hours of service to our community and wish you well.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Thank you very much, and I just want to say—I was going to say "Lisa"—as the member says, I truly enjoy the outreach into the community. If I am appointed, if I receive invitations, I'll be the first one to accept them, because while I enjoy the chairing of the board role and the other roles, I truly enjoy being in the community and with the people toward whom this program will be directed.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Good luck.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Thank you very much for being here today. I have just a few questions. I see you have a significant background in education, but limited experience within the health care field, except that you did work for health and welfare, the federal—
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: I did.
Mr. Randy Hillier: And how long did you work for them?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: A short time. It was right at the beginning of my government career; it was a year or two. It was a brand new program called New Horizons. I was the very first person hired for it. It was my first government job. I became the executive assistant to the director, so I had a real overview there. It might have been longer than a year; I don't think so, though.
Mr. Randy Hillier: You mentioned that of course you have been involved and active politically. In the last provincial election, you supported Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson. How much have you been contributing, approximately?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: As I said in my introduction, I have contributed in quite recent years to both the New Democrats and the Conservatives. But in terms of the recent provincial election—I didn't look it up in my chequebook—I believe I gave Yasir Naqvi's campaign $100, and Jim Watson would be more because I have supported events of Jim's over the last few years. I don't have the exact number; I'm sorry.
Jim and I go back quite a long way. Back in the mid-1990s, when I first became a school board trustee, I represented Capital ward on the Ottawa school board, Jim represented Capital ward on city council, Brian McGarry, if any of you know Brian, represented Capital ward on regional council, and the three of us became really tight colleagues and had a lot of joint celebrations and community events. I've contributed to both Jim and Brian over the years in terms of their political work.
Mr. Randy Hillier: One of the things that I've noticed in dealing with the community care access centres, and the same one that you're applying for—of course, portions of my riding are covered—
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: A tiny portion. It's just a part of Lanark. I figured it out on the map, and it's a thin stretch of Lanark.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Yes. Recently, I had a case where there was a family member with intellectual disabilities who needed home support. The access centre had funding for that individual. However, they had no mechanism to get the funding to the people who could actually deliver the home support. It's caught up in some red tape and regulatory fashion. To me, that's a significant obstacle for these people: applying for funding, looking for funding, looking for assistance, and then finding that the access centre hasn't done its homework and hasn't got the proper mechanisms, the paperwork, in place so that they can actually help them. How do you see solving some of those problems?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: As you are aware, I don't have specific knowledge as to that situation. But when I looked on the maps and figured out which parts of your political riding were part of Champlain, it was a very narrow strip, and I would hope that there would be good coordination between the central and satellite sub-offices of Champlain CCAC and those offices that are in the South East CCAC, in Perth and Smiths Falls and places like that. I don't know if that would help. I would hope that there's good coordination for those constituents of yours who, geographically, are in a difficult part of the Champlain district, I would think.
Mr. Randy Hillier: There are some difficulties there. I don't know who was drawing the lines, but—
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: I see that Carleton Place and Kemptville are in Champlain, but then Smiths Falls and Perth are outside. So, all I can say is that would certainly be one of the challenges that absolutely has to be overcome.
Mr. Randy Hillier: Of course, another big component is long-term care. Everybody's talking about long-term care and the shortage of beds. It's not just a case of managing who gets in and where they get in, although that is a significant component, but when you have such a significant shortage, it's a difficult job.
I'm wondering, with your involvement with ministers and different political people, are you going to have the confidence and feel the freedom to speak critically of government policies as they relate to the shortage of long-term-care beds in our area?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: I will do everything I can to advocate for the needs of the Champlain CCAC. Of course, I'll be the spokesperson for the board, so I will take direction from my board, but I certainly would see my role as being that of an advocate, when my board agrees to that. I know a number of people connected with the LHIN. I know Dr. Cushman and others, and I see myself speaking out if and when necessary; absolutely.
Mr. Randy Hillier: You mentioned earlier that you had applied for membership on the LHIN. You gave a brief explanation about not being on the LHIN board in the new-found community care board. Were you approached by anybody to apply for this?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: No. Before I left the school board, I believe it was Minister Watson who mentioned to me and probably others that there was this website. So, a year ago, in January, I looked at the upcoming appointments on the public appointment service's website, and the Champlain LHIN was one of the openings. I also applied for two other openings there. I don't remember, but I would think that possibly at that time the Champlain CCAC didn't have an opening. I obviously can't remember. I didn't apply for the Champlain CCAC. Really, in my mind, I was hoping to be appointed to the Champlain LHIN, but when I saw how connected the two were, I thought this was a tremendous opportunity for me.
I'm very comfortable chairing, because I've done it so much, with not only the school board, but other boards. With the integration of health services, if I'm appointed, I think the role I'll have at the CCAC will be as stimulating as any role could possibly be for me.
Mr. Randy Hillier: The CCAC is a very critical and important agency, and it's what people actually see, in many cases—and the frustrations, as well, with health care.
Thank you very much for being here today. It's been a pleasure.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We'll move on to Ms. Gélinas.
Mme France Gélinas: Bonjour madame Graham.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Bonjour.
Mme France Gélinas: Est-ce qu'on essaie une question en français?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Oui, j'essaie de répondre en français. Bien sà»r, demandez en français.
Mme France Gélinas: On en essaie une. Selon vous, quelle est la priorité la plus importante du Centre d'accès aux soins communautaires de Champlain?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: En français.
Mme France Gélinas: You can switch if you—
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: The most important priority of the Champlain CCAC—I would answer that in a very broad way. I think the most important priority, with what I have observed as the priorities of CCACs, the ministry and the LHIN, is that they are all certainly moving in the same direction with priorities in terms of primary care services and prevention services. I understand that there's a critical problem with long-term-care facilities and the beds in long-term-care homes, and that of course has to be addressed. But I think the big priority has to be the ongoing focus on primary care and prevention, and initiatives such as CHCs—community health centres—and the aging-at-home strategy.
I'm excited to see that, because there's quite a partnership going on in Ottawa with aging at home and the development of the CHCs. I think that probably has to be the primary focus, while not forgetting, of course, the drastic situation in the hospitals with emergency wards and acute care beds being occupied by individuals who really should be either in long-term-care homes or other community facilities. They would probably be much happier if they weren't in acute care beds, as well.
Mme France Gélinas: Receiving the appropriate care that they need, because their needs are not being well served when they're in an acute care bed and what they need is something else.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Exactly. As I mentioned in my introduction, my uncle was in the Ottawa hospital much longer than his medical needs required. There was no recreation program; there was nothing for him. Once he went to the Elizabeth Bruyère Health Centre and went to day programs at the hospice at May Court, he had his emotional and social needs taken care of. That's so important. I think that people who are in acute care beds and don't need them is a serious situation for the hospitals of the province, but it's a very serious situation for those individuals and their families as well.
Mme France Gélinas: You understand that we call community care access centres CCACs for short.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: I know they're called CCACs.
Mme France Gélinas: Okay. So you understand that CCACs look after placement in long-term-care homes, like you've just described, and home care.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Yes.
Mme France Gélinas: If you read the papers a little bit, you will know that Minister Smitherman, our Minister of Health, has halted the competitive bidding process in the home care sector. This is a process that is managed by the CCAC, and basically, through that process, they allot home care contracts to different providers. I would be interested in knowing, what is your knowledge of competitive bidding, and what are your values toward competitive bidding in a health care setting?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: What I know is really what I've read. I have also looked at some of the minutes of the Champlain CCAC board, but I'd be speaking in generalities on this bit. I think what has to be the central focus is the quality of care of the client, combined with cost. I see that there are very important principles that are part of the competitive bidding process now: client- centred, stability for the health care worker and continuity of care for the client. I guess I'm questioning those principles. Maybe the interplay with those principles is not adequate at this time.
I read what I could about the situation in Hamilton, and it may be that the bidding process is weighted in favour of for-profit instead of not-for-profit. I don't think that's right at all; there has to be a level playing field. But apart from that, I really don't have any further details.
Mme France Gélinas: As an individual, what are your values toward having for-profit delivery of home care services? In your CCAC, the Champlain Community Care Access Centre, most of the providers of home care services have switched from being not-for-profit. Most of the contracts have been awarded to for-profit companies. Those are companies that provide the service and take money out for profit; this is what it means. As a core value, do you support a for-profit health care system in home care?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: I support the best quality delivery of care to clients. Repeating the principles I have already mentioned, I think stability for the health care workers is crucial, as are continuity and quality of care. I certainly am a firm believer in the principle of universality and quality and access for all Canadians, but as long as the playing field is level between for-profit and not-for-profit, I would not eliminate for-profit.
Mme France Gélinas: Would you expand those values to having for-profit hospitals, as long as the playing field is equal? Could we have not-for-profit hospitals like we have now and for-profit hospitals? Could we have for-profit in any other part of the health care system, as long as the playing field is the same, and kind of kiss medicare goodbye?
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Well, no. As I said, I'm such a firm believer, as I was in public education, in level playing fields and universal access for everyone. But I've tried to do some reading of reports, such as the Kirby report and others, and I understand this is a very big issue. I believe it's the minister and the ministry that are going to be making that decision, and if I'm appointed to this position, I'm certainly prepared to accept whatever policy comes down from the ministry on this.
Mme France Gélinas: You may have a rude awakening once you get the chair of the board, because the CCACs have within their power the ability to make decisions to award to not-for-profit and basically to decide not to encourage privatization of our health care system. Those won't be given to you by the minister; those will be decisions you will have to make, and they're usually based on values. What are your values in the health care system? Do you believe in a publicly governed health care system, or do you believe in a for-profit health care system? What you seem to be telling us this morning is that as long as the process is equal between for-profit and not-for-profit, you would support for-profit.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Well, no. As long as the process is equal—and my understanding is that it's the ministry that is reviewing the situation, developing criteria and examining the principles that are there at the moment. I will have to wait and see what comes from the ministry, but I'm not supporting one over the other; I'm asking for a level playing field when it comes to awarding contracts. My understanding is that the CCAC will have criteria from the ministry that will guide them when it is awarding contracts. I may be wrong on that, but that was my understanding.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We've expired the time.
Mrs. Sandals, a comment?
Mrs. Liz Sandals: I just wanted to say welcome to Lynn. Lynn and I have a long connection in another field, back to the school board, because we both came out of the school trustee business. I just want to say that when I saw your name come forward, I was absolutely delighted because I know the work that Lynn did as a school trustee. You dealt with a very difficult situation with the Ottawa school board and Ottawa-Carleton amalgamation—a lot of experience with managing budgets and making difficult policy decisions. I think that as you move on to chairing the CCAC, your experience with the school board and working through all those issues will stand you in excellent stead. I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job. Thank you for allowing your name to come forward.
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much for coming here this morning. That concludes our time.
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party and third party: Mina Grossman-Ianni, intended appointee as member and chair, Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We're looking now at our final interview this morning, Mina Grossman-Ianni. Welcome to the committee. As I'm sure you know from the previous people interviewed, you have up to 10 minutes to make a few remarks, and then we will go to questioning from the members. You may begin.
Mme Mina Grossman-Ianni: Bonjour. Vous avez tous vu mon CV et vous aurez vu que j'ai travaillé en français et que j'ai été dans la carrière de la radiodiffusion, de l'enseignement et des arts.
I started in French, but I notice that our French person is no longer here.
You'll see from my CV that my professional career has been divided between teaching, broadcasting and arts management, and I loved each of these elements of my career.
In broadcasting, which was the major part of my career, I loved being a reporter, a producer and, finally, a manager. Until I became a producer, I worked in both English and French in radio and television. When I became a staff producer, I became a French-language producer with Radio-Canada. I never regretted my decision because I got to know the Franco-Ontarian community of southwestern Ontario and became very involved with French culture in general. At the end, I was the manager for Windsor and Toronto.
Unfortunately, I had to leave that very interesting career as my husband was very ill. He died in 1997. I don't know if many of you knew him. He was Ron Ianni. He was the president of the University of Windsor. He died in 1997, then my father died in 1998, and then my mother died in 2000, so I had a very, very busy time.
I was off work for about a year, and then I started a new career as general manager of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, which was in dire straits and on the brink of bankruptcy. What it needed was a little bit of management. I brought my transferable skills from the CBC—I learned a lot from the CBC—to the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, and it's been turned around. You might have heard of us. We're just waiting to see if we're going to win a Juno on Saturday night.
More recently, since 2001, I'm a part-time development director of the fundraiser of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.
Also during the time of my career, I served on many national committees of the CBC. I was also on boards—I'll just mention the highlights; I do assume you have my CV in front of you. The Ontario Arts Council board was a very interesting one. The last time I was before this committee, I was still a member of the National Gallery board, but I'm not now—the Green Shield Canada board, which is prepaid medical services. I was the first lay member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. I got my first taste of the medical field from these two last boards, and I found them of great interest. Then, I was named chair of the Erie St. Clair LHIN.
I had an accident in July 2006, and there wasn't really a mechanism to take a leave of absence, so I resigned from that, and here I am, back again.
So, I had my personal contact with the medical field during my husband's illness, and with my father and my mother, and my own personal contact during the time of my accident, and I think that it's a very, very interesting and a very important area to know about.
I've had a great many honours.
I think I'll stop now. You all have a copy, so I'll stop now. That's fine.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We'll begin with Mr. Miller.
Mr. Paul Miller: Thanks, Madam Chair. I'm just filling in. The other member will be returning in 10 minutes. I guess we're first up, so I'll have to fill in with some questions.
It appears to me you have a very extensive background in many different disciplines, which is very admirable. I see there is a lot of dealings with the government. You've had some different positions throughout the Trillium Fund and the Media Development Corp., so you've had much exposure to probably the last two governments.
The first question I'd like to run by you in this job you're applying for: How do you feel about for-profit and non-profit care?
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: We have a health care system which has three major components: universality, access and—I forget what the third one is. I believe in a public health care system, but I think that there are certain areas that have to be open for bidding. I think the main thrust of the health care system and of the LHIN is that they're patient-centred. I think that sometimes the patient can be best served by a private company, and sometimes by a public company. But in general, I believe in public health care.
Mr. Paul Miller: I'm glad to hear that. As you know, there was a controversy in the Hamilton area which I was in the middle of. It was about the caregivers of the VON and St. Joseph's, and the people in the area wanted the VON to remain, because they'd been serving for 80 to 90 years; this is happening all over the province. The people had a big rally, and Mr. Smitherman reversed the decision in the Hamilton area, but we don't have that provincially at this point. So we're very concerned about for-profit and non-profit. I must say—
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: But the VON—is that a not-for-profit or a for-profit?
Mr. Paul Miller: It's a non-profit, the VON.
We're very pleased to hear that your position is that you are basically for public—at least we are, anyways. So I'll pass it on to the next questioner. Thank you.
Mme France Gélinas: Welcome to Queen's Park. My questions are along the same lines. As chair of the local health integration network, you will face some tough fiscal challenges; that is, the health care needs are that big, and the money to provide them is that big.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: And getting bigger.
Mme France Gélinas: And getting bigger—that big, then; like a fishing story.
I would be interested to know your views about health promotion and disease prevention in the mix.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: I think those are very, very important areas, both of them. I think that we're trying to very much work that way. I see that everywhere, disease prevention and prevention in general. So I really agree with that.
Mme France Gélinas: You will be confronted with very strong, well-organized—I would even add, slick—lobbying from the big players in health care. Those are the hospitals, the CCACs. Those are the people who have the money, and those are the people who need more money; they provide care.
At the same time, you will be responsible for some tiny, weeny little agencies which provide community-based services that don't have the means to organize advocacy campaigns to provide for, as I said, slick, convincing arguments to you. Some advocates are asking LHINs to consider a one-way valve; that is, the money that is presently being allocated in the community cannot be flowed to the hospitals, no matter how hard the hospitals are strapped for cash, and if the envelope of the LHIN is to grow, then it should grow equally to the community side, then to the hospitals.
We know that our hospitals are strapped for cash: The recent report is that half of them won't be able to balance the books this year and up to two thirds of them won't be able to balance the books next year. Those are hospitals that are in the catchment area of the LHIN that you'll be serving on.
Can you talk to me a little bit about your views on community-based care versus acute care hospital care and how you intend to deal with this?
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: I think that's a very serious issue. I think we were very aware of it at the beginning, when we were first at the LHIN; we were very aware of the hospitals, the community care access centre and the very small—we have approximately 145 organizations that are under the LHIN. I'm a very strong community person; I think that's one of the reasons I'm here in front of you. So I think we just have to be very aware of it. I'll have to get back into it again. I just don't see us letting go of the small organizations.
We are patient-centred. If that means anything to us, we will go along with what the patient needs. I think that's going to be the very strong challenge that we have coming up. I know that half the hospitals have not balanced their budgets. That's going to be the very strong challenge.
Mme France Gélinas: There is competitive bidding happening right now in only one part of the health care system, and that's in the home care system. Working for the LHINs, would you be open to having competitive bidding within other parts, let's say, community mental health? Would you be open to having a competitive bidding process apply to other parts of the health care system within your realm of decision-making?
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: I've said to your colleague that I'm for publicly sponsored health care. Part of the whole Canadian culture is the health care. Having said that, we have to look at what is the best thing for the patient. So without wanting to prejudice my point of view right now, because I've been away from it for a year and a half or two years, I've said that and I agree with it and I believe in it strongly—publicly funded health care. However, maybe there are areas where we will have to look for the private funding for the good of the system, for the good of the patient. I'll have to see.
J'ai parlé français juste en votre honneur et vous n'étiez même pas là .
Mme France Gélinas: Je vous ai regardé à la télé, madame.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We've run out of time. I'd like to move on to Mrs. Van Bommel.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I want to welcome Ms. Grossman-Ianni to Queen's Park and thank her for appearing before the committee. We have no comments or questions.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Ms. MacLeod.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you very much, Ms. Grossman-Ianni, for coming. You have quite a varied background.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: I do.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It's very interesting.
You previously served as chair, and I'm just wondering if you could let the committee know what you've been able to accomplish during your previous incarnations on this LHIN.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: We were, right at the very, very beginning, aux balbutiements, of the process, and we were learning as much as everybody else.
The first thing was, we hired an executive director, who turned out to be a very good choice. And then we proceeded in a very, very methodical way, I think, although there was a great deal of gnashing of teeth and a great deal of public controversy about the whole thing. We proceeded along and we got three members of the board, first of all, and then we had nine members and then we had to look at what was going to happen with the public funding thing. We really got to know everybody and got to know all the players in the field. It was basically a public relations campaign on both sides—for them to get to know us and we had to get to know them. Now they're funding, and I guess that's a very dicey situation because they have problems with the funding. They're very, very busy; I know that.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: What would you say is the greatest need in your community with respect to health care and providing services with the LHIN, and how would you go about implementing the mandate of the LHIN?
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: The greatest needs are very great. The emergency services need money in the hospitals. The hospitals, in general, need money, the CCAC needs money, and then all these smaller organizations as well. I've been out of it for two years now. The board was constituted under my previous incarnation. I would have to see how the board is doing, what they're doing. I haven't looked at it at all.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: You had indicated to my colleague from the third party—and I took it as an openness to private investment in the public delivery of health care, provided that health care is—
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: Publicly funded.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: So you say no to any sort of private investment in the public delivery—
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: I don't say no to private investment.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay, I just want to be very clear on that.
I just have a couple of quick questions. I did notice on your list of references that you included the current finance minister, Dwight Duncan. I also note, through our research, that you are a major campaign contributor to the provincial Liberals in Windsor.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: Not a major one; I go to events. Sometimes they're $250 a plate. But I've gone to NDP events; I've gone to Conservative events. I'm a member of the Conservative Party, too.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: That's great. It's just interesting that you've contributed over $2,000 to the Liberals in recent years.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: Over the years, yes.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: And there is a connection there with the finance minister; you've contributed to his campaigns and he is also a reference. So I'm just wondering if he or any member of his staff had approached you.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: He approached me in the beginning, the first time around, and I had to look at it very seriously. This time, I applied probably in December for several different things. I was talking to somebody in his office and they said that the LHIN chair was open again. I was very surprised that it was open, so I said, "Sure, I'll do it again."
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I notice that you did apply for eight different positions, one with the art gallery, which I think, based on your experience, probably would have been your first choice.
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: No. I didn't know that the LHIN was still open.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I notice that you did apply for the LHIN, as well. I'm just wondering how the process came about that it was whittled away from eight to one. Were you contacted by anyone so that you could express a direct interest in one over the other?
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: As I said, I talked to somebody in Dwight's office and they told me that the LHIN chair was open, so I said, "Well, that would be great." That's how it got whittled down.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Is that when you asked him to be a reference?
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni: Yes.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: That concludes our questioning.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): That concludes the questioning. We appreciate your coming here today.
We have completed this part of the agenda on the appointments review, and I'd like us now to move to concurrences.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Raj Anand, intended appointee as chair, Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Madam Chair, may I ask for a referral?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Yes, that is in order. In that case—yes?
Mme France Gélinas: I'm not exactly sure when to ask, but we've asked a number of questions on which I would like research to concur with the answer that the candidate has provided. Do you want me to go through this or do you have it through the—
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Yes. The researcher can get it on Hansard.
Mme France Gélinas: Okay.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: So will this be made available? I support what my colleague is asking for. Will this be made available to us before our next meeting?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Yes. Anything that a member asks the researcher to do is obviously shared among the entire committee.
Mme France Gélinas: The part we're most interested in is the series of questions where we asked for true and false and he made statements—but anyway, you'll get it through the Hansard.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): That's right.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: And may I also add this? We asked about a certain series of articles that were sent to us, submitted to us, by an individual from Ottawa. I believe there was an allegation. I would like the researcher to check this, that those articles in the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Star were false. And I want to know if there was ever any retraction made by either of those newspapers for printing those articles.
Mr. David Ramsay: This is, to be very polite about it, a little witch hunt that some of these committee members are embarking upon. I think this is quite unprecedented, that you would now try to use legislative research to verify the veracity of a potential appointee's answers. We have this opportunity to question the witnesses and then we make our judgment from there. If you don't like the appointment, then you vote against the person. But I think that's where it should lie.
To now start having some research into the validity of the answers that were provided I think is way beyond the scope of this committee. I'm not sure how legislative research can start to verify some of these issues that we see. It's like a "he said, she said" from newspaper articles years ago. If you don't believe the candidate, then vote against the candidate. That's the right of the opposition.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: The other thing is that the series of questions seemed to be about human resources issues. It's all very well to say you can go into some newspaper's morgue and pull out old articles, but the only way that you could verify is actually to go into the human resource records of an agency, and we obviously have no right to do that. The real answers to the questions lie in the HR records of the agency. Clearly, that's impossible to accurately verify. All you can do is bring up more media.
Mme France Gélinas: All of the questions that we asked are all facts. Those are facts that can be verified. We would like them verified because I feel like witnesses cannot mislead the committee. If they do, we have to know, and if they don't, hallelujah, everybody's happy.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I would like to support my colleague in the third party. I think that to do due diligence prior to the vote, a week from today, we should have the information. I agree with her that this committee is a committee of provincial Parliament. It is a very important committee and members of the public expect us to be doing due diligence. There should never be a cloud hanging over any appointee here. If it's not a crime to mislead a committee of this Legislature, it ought to be. I think that we have to do due diligence on this issue. Some of the questions were very pointed and I believe, on this side anyway, that some of the answers were deemed questionable. So we would appreciate, on this side at least, the courtesy of having some of those researched.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: I have great difficulties in putting an employee of legislative research in a position of being the person who characterizes an answer as correct or incorrect or misleading or not misleading. I am really disturbed that any member on the other side is using their immunity as members when we're on the air to disparage the answers of someone when they have absolutely no evidence at this point. They've self-admitted, because they need the research to verify, to doing that at this point. I think it's a gross abuse of our parliamentary situation here.
Mrs. Joyce Savoline: I think that all that's being required from the legislative research person is to produce information and facts. No one's asking the legislative research person to make judgment on what that information is but to bring the information here—
Mrs. Joyce Savoline: On the part of the research person, it's to bring the facts to the table. The decisions would be made here. I don't think that there's an issue with asking a research person to bring forward information.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I have real concerns about the issue of the research, again, because it has to delve into human resource records. Those are private records, confidential records. Certainly without the permission of the individuals involved, to ask legislative research to go into those files is inappropriate. It's an absolute breach of their privacy.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): All right. Thank you very much, members, for your comments. I am going to remind you that the request was made on the basis of the ability of the researcher to use a public document, and so the questions that you have raised with regard to those that are covered by privacy policies obviously would not be what was in the request. So I think if we were to look at any other question of asking the researcher to provide, then this would be something that would certainly be within keeping of the purview of the committee. So I think that—
Mr. David Ramsay: Madam Chair?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Yes.
Mr. David Ramsay: I would move that we put this request to a vote of the committee to see if the committee agrees with this direction.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): It would have to be in writing.
Mr. David Ramsay: Can you give us a minute, then?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I will give you about a three-minute recess to do that.
The committee recessed from 1138 to 1142.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I'd like to resume. Yes, Mrs. Van Bommel.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move that the opposition request for legislative research to investigate the truthfulness of Raj Anand's responses be put to a vote.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Discussion?
Mme France Gélinas: I don't want to play semantics. I'm not in my first language; I'll lose. But I'm trying to clarify. I just want to check the facts, like you do on everything else. When we come in here, they go through their resumé, they check the facts, they read. This is all I want to know: Things like, the entire legal staff quit. We asked that question; he said, "No." I don't want to know the names of those lawyers, I don't want to know their personal—I just want to know—go back and check if it did happen or didn't happen. I'm not on a witch hunt, I just want to check the facts.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. Before we call the vote on this, I just want to clarify for you that this motion is, of course, a motion that the committee is requesting, this information. So in voting, it does not mean that the individual can ask for information, just to be clear on that.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: The NDP, the third party, asked some very serious questions based on published reports in the Toronto Star on May 5, 1989. They have some serious questions. Based on published reports and what the testimony today provided, there is an inconsistency. The motion provided by the government is essentially shutting down research for the opposition. If we are not given the proper information by this Legislature on how to best appoint public appointees, then they are stifling debate.
They're throwing out lots of things and lots of rhetoric, but quite honestly, she made a reasonable request for facts—to fact check. We're not asking anyone to provide their own opinion. That's for us to do. He can advise us on what has occurred and he can do the fact checking. We can make the decisions quite capably on our own in this committee room.
I really resent the notion that five members in the government can basically stifle public debate and can stifle the information that we are trying to gather to make the best decisions we possibly can for the people of this province.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: That's just outrageous.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It's not outrageous.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: We've had the information regarding the appointment for some time now. If you had wished any facts checked, the time to ask was before the person appeared. I see no problem with that.
Further, I think that if you show any courage at all, you go outside this room and say it where you don't have immunity.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: We didn't say anything that was—
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Well, I think you did, if you check the record. I had the feeling we were in the Star Chamber here for a while. Look, I think it's reasonable and sensible that if you want to go check those facts, you have research, you can do it.
The problem is, any question, whether it's this or on any other issue, asking a researcher to come back and decide the veracity—either true or false, right or wrong—is a question really for the committee, not for the researcher. I have the greatest confidence in our legislative research, but for them to be absolutely, positively sure from sources that are available to them that they are correct or incorrect is virtually impossible. I see no problem with moving forward in the manner we normally move forward. I wonder if there's any kind of precedence for this situation.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Could I just interject here, because I would like to suggest to you that it is clear to me, as the Chair, that there is not consensus on the issue with regard to the committee and requesting this information. If you wish, we can simply move forward; that there is not consensus, and any individual of the committee is quite within their rights to ask for information from research. I am just suggesting this, as opposed to having a vote, because that is, in fact, the option that is available, given that, as the Chair, it's clear to me there is no consensus on this issue.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: I will go back to what I said before. My experience as a board chair, when you are dealing with human resource issues—and some of these questions had to do with who was being interviewed and who was hired and who left voluntarily and who did or didn't leave—is that newspaper reports are often highly inaccurate because, by definition, the employer cannot reveal the information. So to suggest that somehow if we get legislative research to dredge up old newspaper reports—which is the only thing that is publicly available. We will be no closer to what were the actual facts. I hear people saying, "All we want are the facts." Unfortunately, you can't have the facts. The facts—
Mrs. Liz Sandals: No, you cannot legally access the facts, because the facts are buried in the personnel file of an agency to which we have no legal access, and to which legislative research has no legal access. So we are not going to be any closer to the actual facts. No matter what you ask legislative research, it will still be, "Whom do you believe?"
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I appreciate the comments. However, what we are looking at is the issue of whether you want a motion, or whether you're prepared to simply do this on the basis that I'm suggesting, that there is not consensus.
Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I think we need to be clear as a committee. I would like the issue to be put to a vote, and that doesn't take any of the rights away from any member of this committee. We can still access legislative research, as long as it's within the purview of the committee.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): All right. Yes?
Mrs. Joyce Savoline: Just one comment that may be helpful and may not: First of all, I hope we never feel that we can't get facts, because that's part of our responsibility here, to at least attempt to get the facts. That's how we make decisions on real information, and not from the newspapers. I think that that's what the member is asking for. I wonder if it makes a difference to the government if the member asks for a deferral, so that her staff may research the facts. It's one week, and that takes it out of the hands of the legislative research folks and puts it in the hands of the member to bring back information to you. Perhaps, if the member would consider that kind of deferral, it may make it easier for the government to vote on that.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Let me just remind you that we have the deferral, and that's not on the table at this point. Since you have read a motion and there isn't consensus, I'm looking at the possibility, then, of simply voting on the motion.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I also want to remind the committee of what's stated here very clearly, that the allegations were investigated and he was cleared. Our research shows that he was cleared by George Thompson, a judge of the Superior Court. So I think we have to remember that as well. Are we questioning that as well, then?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I think that I would entertain any further comments on the motion itself, as opposed to anything else that deals with other issues.
Mme France Gélinas: Well, Mr. Brown said that if we wanted clarification we should have asked before the witness came into committee. If it was, I didn't know that, so I didn't. But I also didn't see the need for this.
When you asked the question, "Did the commission and its entire legal staff quit during your mandate?" I expected him to come up with an answer like, "This big opportunity opened up downtown. The lawyers transferred over because they were paid better and more respected," etc. That would have been a satisfactory answer and that would have been the end of that question.
But it's because of his answers that I feel like I need the facts, because they don't seem to jibe. If you bring it to a question of timing, I don't think it holds, because I could not guess what he was going to answer to that question. Only once I heard his answer did the red flag go up, to say that we need to check those facts, and that's all. Far be it from me to have any human resources file open. That's not what we're after. We're after the facts that lie within the public information domain.
Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I think the member for Burlington has it right. We've got certain rights as committee members that we're free to exercise from any one of the parties who are here today. It certainly is the opinion, I think of this side anyway, that the role that was being contemplated for legislative research is not appropriate. So I would ask that we have a vote on that, and that each of us be able to exercise our rights as members during the week of deferral that is being granted as of right already.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We did not receive the motion in writing.
Mme France Gélinas: Madam Chair, just a procedural question: If we do research that has not been mandated by this committee, will the result of that research automatically be considered by everybody on this committee? I don't understand how this will work.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Research that the committee wishes to do is available to everyone, but as an individual you can request research.
Mme France Gélinas: And the result of that research will be considered by everybody?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): That would be up to the individual member who requested it to decide.
Mme France Gélinas: So I would share the result of that research with the clerk, who would then share it with all of the members. And would it be considered by this committee like any other piece of information that we get?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): The deferral is only the right to defer a vote.
Mme France Gélinas: I understand. I'm more interested in the fact-searching.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I understand that, but I've given you the answer.
Mme France Gélinas: Okay.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Would you read the—
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I'm sorry. You have it now.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Oh, I'm the only one with it.
Mrs. Van Bommel moves that the opposition request for legislative research to investigate the truthfulness of Raj Anand's responses be put to a vote.
I think we've had sufficient conversation, and so I'd call for the vote. Is everyone clear on the motion being asked?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Can I just hear it one more time, please?
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Mrs. Van Bommel has moved that the opposition request for legislative research to investigate the truthfulness of Raj Anand's responses be put to a vote. So the request is being put to a vote.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Here's the challenge with that. We're not requesting that he go through the truthfulness; we're just requesting further research be done based on information that we've received as committee members, which was circulated by the clerk, and information which was obtained through questioning by the third party. There seems to be a bit of an inconsistency. All we're asking for is to provide us with the facts.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): I think you need to let me go back to a point I made a few moments ago, which is the fact that you don't need to have a committee making a request. That's why I said to you a few moments ago that as the Chair, I sense that obviously there is not an agreement here, a consensus. Therefore, I'm suggesting that in fact you may want to reconsider even having a motion, because it isn't necessary. An individual can request this information; it doesn't have to be through the request of the committee.
Mr. David Ramsay: I appreciate that, and I think you're right. Maybe the opposition members should just withdraw that request through the committee and then, of course, they can exercise their right as individuals afterwards and have a discussion with legislative research, if they so wish.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Can we get consensus on that idea?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: You know what? Just for the sake of getting on with this, I'm going to agree, but I'm going to tell you something. I resent the fact that the government is muzzling us in this committee. To learn from information, they've resorted to suggesting that we should go outside to say that we want more information because we believe that the sanctity of this committee should be upheld. From that perspective, I'm going to ask, as I'm sure my colleague from the third party will, for a lot of details on this appointment.
I gather that this group of Liberals has been sent in here just to pass everything that they've been told to pass. It's very disappointing. We have some inconsistencies that we believe we've seen out of today's committee hearings. I'll support the NDP and myself both going to the committee clerk ourselves and asking for legislative resources, if that's fine with her.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much. We will move on to the concurrences.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Yusra Siddiquee, intended appointee as member, Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move concurrence in the appointment of Yusra Siddiquee.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Any discussion? Seeing none, all in favour? The motion is carried.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Karen Lowe, intended appointee as member of Kincardine Police Services Board.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move concurrence in the appointment of Karen Lowe.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Any discussion?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: A recorded vote, Chair.
Brown, Flynn, Gélinas, Ramsay, Sandals, Van Bommel.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): The motion is carried.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Barbara Lynn Graham, intended appointee as member and chair, Champlain Community Care Access Centre.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move concurrence in the appointment of Barbara Lynn Graham.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Any discussion?
Mme France Gélinas: Recorded vote.
Brown, Flynn, MacLeod, Ramsay, Sandals, Savoline, Van Bommel.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): The motion is carried.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Mina Grossman-Ianni, intended appointee as member and chair, Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move concurrence in the appointment of Mina Grossman-Ianni.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Any discussion?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Recorded vote, Chair.
Brown, Flynn, Ramsay, Sandals, Van Bommel.
Gélinas, MacLeod, Savoline.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): That concludes our business on intended appointments, but I would just ask you to look at the subcommittee report.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: I move the approval of the subcommittee report on business for Tuesday, April 1, 2008, as follows:
Your subcommittee on committee business met on Tuesday, April 1, 2008, to consider the method of proceeding on agency reviews and recommends the following:
(1) That the committee conduct agency reviews pursuant to its permanent order of reference, standing order 106(e).
(2) That the agency reviews be conducted during the summer recess and the winter recess, and that the subcommittee meet to consider a proposed meeting schedule for the committee's reviews and direct the Chair to seek authorization by the House of committee meeting time during each recess.
(3) That the agency reviews be conducted based on the following selections (two per caucus):
Selections of the official opposition:
—Human Rights Legal Support Centre
—Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario)
Selections of the third party:
—Ontario Securities Commission
—Ontario Infrastructure Projects Corporation (Infrastructure Ontario)
Selections of the government caucus:
—Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
—Ontario Trillium Foundation.
(4) That the committee conduct follow-up reviews of selected agencies previously reviewed and reported on during the 38th Parliament.
(5) That the follow-up reviews be based on the following selections:
Selection of the official opposition:
—Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
Selection of the third party:
—Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
Selection of the government caucus:
—Selection to be determined.
(6) That the order for consideration and the procedures to be followed with respect to all agency reviews and follow-up reviews be determined by the committee upon receipt of a further report from the subcommittee on committee business.
(7) That the report on the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board, adopted by the standing committee on government agencies during the 38th Parliament, be printed and that the Chair be directed to present the report to the House.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): Any other discussion on the report?
All those in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Thank you very much for your participation.
Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Before we adjourn, what I would like as a member—I suppose I can get it myself, but it may be of value to all members here—is to get some sort of description as to the appropriate role for legislative research on this committee so that we're all operating from the same page. If you would provide that, or if I could have that, I'd appreciate it.
The Chair (Mrs. Julia Munro): We'll certainly do our best. The committee stands adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1207.
Wednesday 2 April 2008
Subcommittee report A-33
Mr. Raj Anand A-33
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee A-37
Ms. Karen Lowe A-39
Ms. Barbara Lynn Graham A-42
Ms. Mina Grossman-Ianni A-46
Subcommittee report A-52
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Présidente
Mrs. Julia Munro (York—Simcoe PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean—Carleton PC)
Mr. Michael A. Brown (Algoma—Manitoulin L)
Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn (Oakville L)
Mme France Gélinas (Nickel Belt ND)
Mr. Randy Hiller (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington PC)
Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean—Carleton PC)
Mrs. Julia Munro (York—Simcoe PC)
Mr. David Ramsay (Timiskaming—Cochrane L)
Mrs. Liz Sandals (Guelph L)
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex L)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins—James Bay)
Mrs. Joyce Savoline (Burlington)
Mr. Charles Sousa (Mississauga South)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr. Paul Miller (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Mr. Yasir Naqvi (Ottawa Centre)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr. Douglas Arnott
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Andrew McNaught, research officer,
Research and Information Services