STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 18 November 2014 Mardi 18 novembre 2014
The committee met at 0903 in committee room 1.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Good morning to everybody, and welcome to the first meeting of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies. It’s the first real meeting that I’m chairing, so bear with me as I’m getting used to some of the scripts and the conduct of the meeting.
Before we begin the appointments review, the first order of business is to consider our subcommittee reports. The first subcommittee report is dated Thursday, October 30, 2014. Is there someone who would like to move adoption?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes. I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, October 30, 2014.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Any discussion? All in favour? It’s carried.
The subcommittee report dated Thursday, November 13, 2014: Would someone please move the adoption of the report?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes. I move the adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, November 13, 2014.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you. Discussion? All in favour? It’s passed.
Mr. Alexandre Brassard
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Alexandre Brassard, intended appointee as member, Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Now we’ll move to appointments review. We have two appointees today. We will consider both concurrences following the interviews. Our first intended appointee is Alexandre Brassard, nominated as a member of the Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs. Please come forward and take your seat at the table.
Monsieur Brassard, merci d’être ici aujourd’hui. Vous pouvez parler français ou anglais. Nous avons des traducteurs. Je parle français un peu, et mes collègues aussi.
However you’re comfortable and you want to proceed, we have translation.
You may begin with a brief statement—again, in either language—and members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions.
I would also like to let members know that the earpieces connect on the right-hand lower side of where your mikes are.
M. Alexandre Brassard: Merci, monsieur le Président. Good morning, members of the committee. As a political scientist who often waxes poetic about our democratic institutions, I’m thrilled to be at Queen’s Park this morning, and I’m honoured to meet the members of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies. I understand that I am the first intended appointment that you are reviewing, so I’ll try to be a suitable appetizer.
I am Alexandre Brassard, and I am here today to offer my services as a non-remunerated member of the Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs. My professional background is academic; I have a BA, an MA and a PhD in political science. I am the director of research at Glendon College, York University’s bilingual campus. I also teach Canadian politics and coordinate the activities of a public-policy forum, the Centre for Global Challenges.
À un niveau plus personnel, j’ai quitté le Québec il y a plus de 15 ans pour venir m’installer à Toronto, et depuis lors je me suis impliqué activement dans plusieurs organismes de la communauté franco-torontoise. J’aime me définir comme un Franco-Ontarien d’adoption. Je suis passionné par cet Ontario français qui représente la plus importante minorité de langue officielle au Canada.
The committee’s role is to provide advice to the minister responsible for francophone affairs on the development of strategies, priorities and programs which affect Ontario’s francophone community, and on the planning and delivery of government French-language services. There is currently a vacancy for the central Ontario member, and I believe that my academic work and my personal involvement with the community make me well-suited for that position.
On the professional side, I work at Glendon College, which is the main provider of French-language university education in central and southwestern Ontario, as well as a hub for stakeholders of the Toronto francophone community. My Canadian and provincial politics courses always include a strong component on official bilingualism and on francophone minority rights, so I keep abreast of those issues.
I co-edited a bilingual book on Ontario/Quebec relations which included a chapter comparing language policies in both provinces. I recently presented a paper at an academic conference in Charlottetown about the evolution of francophone minority rights in Canada since 1867, and last month I participated in the États généraux sur le postsecondaire en Ontario français, which was in your constituency, Mrs. Martins. This was a two-day gathering of stakeholders examining the state of French-language post-secondary education in Ontario.
At a volunteer level, I was the secretary of the Association des communautés francophones de l’Ontario à Toronto, ACFO-Toronto, for two terms. ACFO is the voice of the 125,000 francophones in the GTA and the local counterpart of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario. I am a member of the provincial committee on the commemoration of 400 years of francophone presence in Ontario, and for the third year now I am the convenor of the Forum de la francophonie torontoise, a yearly event that brings together all community stakeholders to discuss major issues such as official bilingualism and francophone immigration.
I was pro bono consultant for ACFO-Toronto during the last municipal election and coordinated a survey of all Toronto candidates regarding francophone issues, so should it please the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Legislative Assembly, I would consider it a privilege to bring my commitment, my policy skill and my knowledge of the francophone community to the service of the Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs. There’s important work to do, and I’d love to do my part.
Merci de m’avoir invité à présenter mon point de vue. J’ai hâte d’entendre vos questions.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): So we’ll begin questioning with the official opposition.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out. According to our estimates in public accounts, the Office of Francophone Affairs has not seen a budget increase for some years, so value for the money is becoming a stronger component in assessing program delivery. How will you determine whether particular projects or services deliver value for money in our francophone communities?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: The Office of Francophone Affairs still has a very modest budget considering its very important mandate and considering that it’s serving 600,000 Franco-Ontarians. I would have to be briefed by the public servants to get into the detail of how the money is being spent. As a private citizen right now, the information I have access to is basically the budget, so it’s not very detailed. But value for money is always important in the delivery of public service, certainly.
Mr. Jim McDonell: An issue that surfaced in my riding a couple of years ago was a statement by one of our prominent doctors that with some of the services being designated bilingual, such as the hospital in Cornwall, the policy was making it very difficult to get doctors, because in most cases doctors were unilingual English, their spouse was unilingual English—many times a nurse—and it meant that they couldn’t get a job locally. The policy at the time seemed to be 100% bilingualism required for all jobs, even though it meant that the majority of anglophones couldn’t get jobs. Do you see how we could put best practices in to look after the needs of both segments of the population, the majority anglophone and the minority francophones?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: Well, I think it’s always a challenge to recruit doctors in every region of the province, except the central region. Requiring a bilingual doctor makes it even more difficult; I realize that. At the same time, we have specific rules for the designation of areas. As you probably know, the current rule is that if you have over 5,000 francophones in an urban area or if you have at least 10% of the population in an urban centre or if you have significant community support, which is usually represented by support from MPPs, then the region can be designated and receive French services, so the hospital—every provincial service would fall under that purview, I believe.
Recruitment is also tied to the training of doctors, and so if we want to have more bilingual nurses, caregivers and doctors, it is important that we invest in post-secondary education and the training of bilingual doctors. The supply and the demand must meet each other.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Do you have any questions?
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Just one: What do you feel is the best way of promoting the learning and everyday use of a language? I know it’s a lot easier just to go to Quebec and talk the language all the time, but I think we need some strategies in Ontario for that very reason. Do you have any ideas on that?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: The daily use of language in private life?
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Strategies for promoting the learning and everyday use of the language.
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: Ontario is already making a big effort with immersion schools and with the francophone education system. That is major for the transmission of language. A good part of the work is done in the family, as well, obviously, and we need to have a vibrant cultural sphere as well. It’s one thing to learn the language, but then you need opportunities to practise it, to live it. So education is part of the answer but also, I believe, cultural institutions—le Théâtre français, Cinéfranco etc.—so that it’s not only a language you speak in the kitchen, but it’s a language you use when you get educated, when you work, when you entertain and when you take part in cultural activities. The vitality of language is a complex phenomenon, but we need to take into account the broader social context and make it more vibrant.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Okay. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning. How are you?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: Very good.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good. What has motivated you to seek this position?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: I have been interested in the francophone community since I moved here about 15 years ago; I’ve been involved. For me, moving to Ontario was an immigration of sorts. I had to learn English. I had to make new friends, make new contacts. But the existence of the French community made it much easier for me to transition and to get integrated in Ontario society.
I think this is something that happens as well for new Canadians who speak French. In the last 15 years, over 18,000 francophone immigrants settled in Toronto. This is a cause that is dear to my heart. I think we need to do better on the recruitment, the establishment and the integration of francophone immigrants. I would say this is my prime motivation to get involved in this committee.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Maybe you could describe how your previous experience will assist you in undertaking this position.
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: On the theory side, I have been studying francophone minorities in Canada for a little while. I have co-published a book on the topic. I have presented academic papers on the subject. I have been giving directed readings on language policies. So on the academic side, there is an interest, but also on the personal side, I was involved in various community organizations. ACFO-Toronto is sort of the umbrella group for the francophone community in Toronto. It is the voice of GTA francophones. I was the secretary, so that gives me a good knowledge of who the stakeholders are—I know them on a personal level—and also the issues. What are the needs of the local francophone community? I would need to get more acquainted with the needs of francophones outsides of the GTA, but I’m applying to represent the GTA, and I will be listening to the points of view of my other 12 colleagues around the table.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Very good. What contribution do you hope to make to the committee?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: I hope to bring my knowledge of the GTA community. We organize, every year, a Forum de la francophonie torontoise, which is a yearly event where all the Toronto francophone stakeholders come together and discuss priority issues. Last year it was immigration, for instance. I hope that I can bring that connection to the minister’s attention and that I can be a bridge-builder.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You seem like you’re a pretty busy guy. What impact will your current commitments elsewhere have on your performance as a member of this committee?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: There’s a nice synergy between the committee’s activity and my academic work as well as my personal involvement. So there’s a synergy. I meet some of the people on different occasions, anyway. Also, the committee meets on at least three occasions per year, so it’s not a tremendous time commitment. This is something I can do. I’ve checked my diary carefully, and it’s a commitment I’m willing to do and ready to do.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My last question: You realize that you’re going to be appointed in the province of Ontario to the committee, so what’s your favourite hockey team?
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: I would have to say the Canadiens, Montreal, but I’m not much of a hockey guy, unfortunately.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: What’s the team in Niagara Falls?
Mr. Wayne Gates: No, we don’t have one. We have the IceDogs. I was just going to say that it’s almost like a question period answer there: It didn’t get answered. Thanks very much, sir.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates.
On the government side, you have six minutes.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I’m not going to take six minutes, Chair.
First of all, let me thank you for coming in today. I think it’s great that we get to know you on a bit more of a personal basis as we make the decision today. But more importantly, we’re really impressed with your resumé and your commitment to want to volunteer for such an important role for all Ontarians, not just for Toronto Ontarians.
I really don’t have a question. I just want to say thank you for doing what you do and for adding to your list of volunteer commitments. That’s what Ontarians are all about. Thank you.
Mr. Alexandre Brassard: Thank you, Mr. Rinaldi.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): That’s it?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: That’s it.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Again, thank you very much, Mr. Brassard. Merci d’être ici aujourd’hui. Thank you for your time and your courtesy of speaking in les deux langues officielles.
M. Alexandre Brassard: Merci, monsieur le Président.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Bear with me for one second. As we’re a little early and our next intended interviewee is not here, I would like to ask the committee if we could get unanimous consent to do the concurrence right now. Is that good with everybody?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Well, no. They would not have anticipated to get here until 9:30. If you’d rather—
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Sorry, I should have been more clear. Just the single concurrence for Mr. Brassard. Are we all in agreement?
We will now consider the concurrence for Mr. Alexandre Brassard, nominated as member, Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs. Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Rinaldi.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Alexandre Brassard, nominated as member, Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you, Mr. Rinaldi. Any discussion?
All in favour? Opposed? Carried.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Congratulations.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Congratulations, Mr. Brassard. Thank you very much again. Merci.
Can I suggest we take five minutes? The next intended appointee is not here, so we’ll take five minutes and, hopefully, they’ll be here by then. Is that okay? Great. Thank you.
The committee recessed from 0923 to 0929.
Ms. Naki Osutei
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): We’re back. Our next attendee today is Naki Osutai, nominated as member, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology board of governors. Can you please come forward to the table? Thank you. Just have a seat, please.
Welcome, and thank you very much for being here this morning. Did I get your surname correct?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Osutei.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Osutei? Okay. I will get it right at the back end.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Okay, thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You have 10 minutes, or you can start with a brief statement. Any time that you use will be taken from the government’s time for questions, which is 10 minutes.
Members of each party will have 10 minutes to ask you questions, and we’ll begin with the third party. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, that doesn’t happen very often.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Statement, sorry. Pardon me; that’s my fault. I’m reading too quickly.
Please, your statement. I’m sorry.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chair, members of the committee. Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. I’m speaking in relation to my public appointment to the Seneca College board of governors. I’ve been a member of the Seneca College board of governors since 2011. In 2014, in tandem with my reappointment for my second term, I was nominated by the college to serve as an LGIC appointee, Lieutenant Governor in Council appointee.
I bring to the board a combination of skills in the areas of program development and management, leadership development, fundraising, strategic planning and DiverseCity inclusion. In addition to these skills, I also bring a general understanding of social and economic issues facing the greater Toronto area and Hamilton.
I’ve gained these skills through a range of roles that I have had in the city-building civic space. I have held positions at Toronto Artscape, Magazines Canada, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, and I’m currently a staff member at the organizing committee for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, where I serve as director of public affairs and social legacy.
I have a master’s in sociology, where I focused on issues pertaining to the lived experience of multiculturalism. My first board appointment or committee appointment was to the Learning Partnership, where I was a member of their research and policy council.
In each of my paths, be it academic, professional or volunteer, I’ve sought to find new ways of building stronger and more resilient communities.
The college has held a special place for me for a long time. As part of my opening remarks, I’d like to share three personal moments of impact.
My mother worked in a factory for several years when I was growing up. Unfortunately, her employment at the factory ended after a workplace accident which left her with permanent injuries. In the 1990s, she became a student at Seneca College as part of a back-to-work training program. I can still vividly remember her standing proud at her convocation in her gown and hood, believing that her new education would allow her to reinvent herself.
Just a decade after my mom’s graduation, I was invited to participate in a Seneca College strategic planning session at the very small campus at Yorkgate Mall in the Jane and Finch area. Having grown up in nearby Weston and Finch, I had several occasions to visit Yorkgate and was impressed that Seneca offered programs there. I was actually very pleased to see Seneca in the community soliciting feedback that would help inform their plans for the next several years. I was excited that my contribution would have a small role in that.
Shortly thereafter, I began mentoring a Seneca student. At the time, my mentee, Laurie, was a relatively shy woman with a lot of passion for her community. In the course of her time at Seneca, I saw her rise to the challenges associated with a heavy course load, while still taking advantage of non-academic offerings in her midst. By graduation, she was a confident young person ready to build a career in nursing.
After hearing these stories, you won’t be surprised that some 20 years after I sat down to watch my mom accept her Seneca diploma, upon hearing about the opportunity to join the board I immediately submitted my application. Now, having had the experience as a non-provincial representative on the Seneca College board, I welcome the opportunity to represent the people of Ontario as an LGIC appointee. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Osutei. Mr. Gates, now we can go to you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you very much. Good morning.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Good morning.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How are you today?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Good, thank you. How are you?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good. Thanks for coming.
What insight has your previous experience on the board of governors of the college provided you for the nature of this position?
Ms. Naki Osutei: As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the work I’ve done has been around city building and region building in the greater Toronto area. In part, that work has afforded me with knowledge around social and economic issues that are external factors for the college. As we deliberate around the college table with respect to how we want to create greater access to opportunities to education, be it by providing more flexible programming, greater offerings or non-traditional methods of offering programming, I can bring the insights that I’ve developed through my career to those conversations.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The second question may be similar, but I’ll ask it anyways. What key objectives are particularly motivating the witness in seeking this appointment? You said a little bit about your mom, which was kind of a nice story.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Absolutely. Certainly, my mom’s experience, and seeing how that transformation could occur for someone like her, and knowing that the Seneca College student body is comprised of individuals like my mom but individuals like me and everybody in between.
As far back as I can remember, education has always been a very important part of my life. My objective as a citizen has included the desire to ensure that people have opportunity and access to education. For me, Seneca has a particularly special place.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What does the witness see as the greatest challenges and opportunities facing Ontario community colleges? I’m from Niagara. I don’t know if you know, but we have Niagara College down there and Seneca College in particular.
Ms. Naki Osutei: I had occasion to meet some staff from Niagara College at the Colleges Ontario conference last year. I think the challenges that are facing colleges across the GTA may be different from Niagara, but certainly across the GTA, I think, the challenge of increasing demand for education is a huge problem for the post-secondary system. With that, it presents some opportunity for the college system to think about non-traditional modes of offering programing. I know that Seneca College has been very keen on doing so, in the course of my time as board member, only increasing as we move into the next three-year period.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Some of that is with opening more doors for skilled trades, particularly for women as well, in the community colleges.
Do you have any views on how the expansion of the King City campus might be undertaken while respecting the unique history of the former Eaton estate and the obviously natural character of the site?
Ms. Naki Osutei: The King campus: I’m glad you raised that, because I think that’s one of the examples of how we’re trying to address the increased demand. I mentioned in my opening remarks that I mentored a young woman who actually was a student at the King campus, so I heard first-hand from her some of the challenges that she experienced. But I also remember her speaking about the beautiful landscape. She commuted from downtown Toronto to King City and she would remark on the beautiful campus and the experience of having that.
Ensuring that we retain that natural environment is critical. I know that the staff have undertaken quite extensive consultation with community members in the area to ensure that we are soliciting the feedback, such that we can use that feedback by way of retaining the character of the surrounding area.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And you’re in full agreement with that, I’m sure.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Absolutely.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Could you describe how your experience with other boards might be of assistance in this position?
Ms. Naki Osutei: I mentioned earlier that one of my first volunteer committee kinds of experiences was with the Learning Partnership. That experience gave me a broad understanding of the Canadian post-secondary—actually, the full education system, from kindergarten all the way through to post-secondary. Certainly, that provided a very good foundation for me.
I also serve as a member of the former St. Christopher House—now West Neighbourhood House—board of directors. That experience has given me great insight into issues pertaining to employment, challenges that people have re-entering the employment and labour markets. All of those experiences help me in this position as well.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Have I got time for another question?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I noticed in your opening comments that you were participating in trying to get the 2015 Pan Am Games up. Maybe you can elaborate on that, because it’s something that not only am I personally interested in, but as you may or may not know, the rowing is going to be held in St. Catharines—I’m very proud of that—on the Henley course, down in beautiful Port Dalhousie; I don’t know if you’ve been there yet. The paddle rowing or whatever it’s called—paddle-boating—which is really interesting to watch, is being held in Welland, down in Niagara. They’ve done a lot of upgrades to both of the courses in rowing, particularly in Welland.
So maybe just give me a little feedback on your role there, and also how we can continue to move forward to make it successful.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Sure. I joined the committee in January 2012. My role there was to lead and operationalize the diversity and inclusion strategy. My position changed shortly thereafter to include as well HR responsibilities. I was responsible for recruiting and providing supports to retain approximately 200 staff.
In August of this year, my role changed again to return to the focus on diversity, inclusion and accessibility, but an added component to the role is now developing plans around social legacy and supporting existing plans around social legacy.
For me, given my previous professional roles, this final role makes a lot of sense. It allows me to continue my commitment to city building and community building, and it allows me to communicate to the public the excellent planning that has gone into the new facilities, like the Henley, like our Scarborough facility and others.
I think one thing that the public generally is not aware of is the fact that the plans for these facilities have been done with community in mind, have been done through the development of early partnerships that have the legacy use of these facilities in mind.
We’re about 237 days out, and as we move closer to that goal, part of my role is to ensure that we’re conveying the social legacy opportunities, but also ensuring that the full diversity of the region is reflected in all aspects of our planning and delivery.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thanks very much. I appreciate you coming in, and I certainly appreciate your answers.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): To the government side. You have about six and a half minutes, Mr. Rinaldi.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Welcome.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you for sharing with us some of your past experience and your future endeavour—and your enthusiasm, I should say. Thank you for volunteering your time with such commitment and such dedication to make the life of Ontarians in the future much better.
I agree with you on the fact that I don’t think there’s any substitute for education and that it’s certainly an asset that Ontarians have when they have a place like Seneca.
I don’t have a question; I just wanted to say thank you for coming in this morning. Thank you for your commitment to the games. I think we have a real opportunity to showcase Ontario. Although my part of the province doesn’t play a physical role, we’re certainly there in a supporting role to make that they turn out the best. Once again, thank you, and thank you for volunteering your time.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you so much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Official opposition: Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming in today. I see that the colleges are having some major issues around enrolment. I know a college in my own community, St. Lawrence College, is having lots of issues. Kemptville college, of course, which has served most of our area, was recently closed through the ministry.
I’m just wondering, through your experience on the board, what are the biggest challenges you have at Seneca as far as enrolment, or is that an issue?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Yes. I mentioned it in my earlier response, but certainly the increasing demand for spots for students is a challenge. As I mentioned earlier, I think part of addressing that challenge pushes the college system across the GTA in particular to look for non-traditional models of offering programming, whether it be online, whether it be evening courses. I can recall that when my mom was in school, continuing education, the idea of doing courses in the evening, was a smaller component of college offerings. Now, I think as we move forward into this new era, we have to look at all kinds of ways of offering programs to our student population, also recognizing that that student population comes in so many different forms, whether it be someone graduating out of high school and looking for a college opportunity or somebody who has already gone to university and is now coming back to do some kind of postgraduate program—and, in addition, the full range of diploma offerings that we provide, whether it be a diploma, a baccalaureate, graduate. I think one of the challenges that we have is looking at all of those kinds of offerings and ensuring that we’re providing students with the access but also meeting the market’s demand as it pertains to employment.
Mr. Jim McDonell: You talked about alternatives to the normal classroom-type courses. Do you have some examples of what they’ve done at Seneca?
Ms. Naki Osutei: One of the things that I find very inspiring around Seneca’s work is the cross-disciplinary and experiential learning opportunities that we’re providing to our students. By that I mean ensuring that if you are in IT, in an information technology kind of program, you will still have the opportunity to explore programs in the humanities.
That kind of cross-disciplinary experience is all part of what we call a different kind of school for a different kind of graduate. We’re looking to support the development of students who can function in a world that can’t be predicted. If we go back 20 or 30 years, when students entered school, they could envision and imagine what their job would be. Now we’re at a point where we need to be graduating students who can think critically, who understand how to innovate, who understand what diversity means and how it’s relevant to any kind of work that they’re in and who are keen to contribute to their communities. The kind of cross-disciplinary and experiential learning experiences that we’re providing to our students helps them to function in a society that is not what we would have imagined 20 or 30 years ago.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Distance learning: Has the college embarked on any of that through the Internet? It’s relatively inexpensive technology, but something I haven’t seen in many places. Has the college taken on any of those initiatives?
Ms. Naki Osutei: You’re referring to online courses? Is that what you mean?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Well, even some of your seminar courses where people could view it over the Internet on a simple Internet link back to the college, live or even taped.
Ms. Naki Osutei: My understanding is that we provide online courses. I think what you’re describing is sort of webinar-type courses.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes.
Ms. Naki Osutei: My understanding is that those are offered in some programs. It’s not something that we offer across the board, to my knowledge. As a governor, I’m not as deeply entrenched in some of the operational aspects of the program offerings, but my understanding is that we provide a range of flexible learning tools.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Something that I found interesting: You were talking about this Eaton land. Is that Timothy Eaton?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Sorry?
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Was it Eaton’s out there?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Oh, at King City.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Yes. Is that Timothy Eaton? Was that the Eaton family?
Ms. Naki Osutei: That’s my understanding, yes.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Okay. Just for your information, a little history lesson here: He started in my riding, just west of Stratford, at a little place called Kirkton. There’s a plaque there that says, “Here’s Timothy Eaton’s first store.”
Ms. Naki Osutei: Wow.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Yes. Interesting, isn’t it?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thanks for the history lesson.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: You’re welcome.
Recently, the games received a bailout from the province despite assertions over the summer months that the games were on time and on budget. As a Seneca board member, one of your duties will be to preserve public trust in our colleges. A college’s credibility could and would be destroyed if it communicated wrong or misleading information to the public on its budgets and contracts, etc. How can you give your assurance that transparency and accountability will be at the top of your agenda at Seneca?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Certainly, transparency has been on the top of our agenda for as long as I’ve been a board member. The staff at Seneca College take that very seriously. Part of why I’m so honoured to be on the board is to be in the company of the members of the board, who are all highly experienced across a number of different professional and academic paths. Our board meetings are wrought with questions and challenges. I think that part of our responsibility is to ensure that we are fiscally responsible, that we are providing excellent return on taxpayer investment. Part of our role as board members is to ask the right questions and to not take things at face value necessarily but to dig deep and ensure that we are addressing risk, to ensure that we are asking questions of our colleagues, of ourselves, of the staff, of our president. In my experience, that’s the way that we are ensuring that we are being responsible to Ontarians.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Do I still have time?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Yes.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I believe you had a role as in recruitment and employee relations for operations. Is that correct?
Ms. Naki Osutei: Correct.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: What can you tell us about the $81-million security contract that might cause many of the security personnel at the games to be very inexperienced?
Ms. Naki Osutei: I can’t tell you very much about that because the security budget and security staffing is not part of my role. Certainly, it has very little to do with my role at Seneca, so I don’t really have a lot to say with respect to the security budget or staffing.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: You weren’t involved in the staffing of it?
Ms. Naki Osutei: It was not part of my jurisdiction.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Seneca was the—
Ms. Naki Osutei: Sorry, MPP Pettapiece, I want to make a correction. I was responsible for hiring—with security, we have the internal staff security, so the staff who are responsible for participating in the integrated security unit discussions and meetings and who provide that liaison. I was responsible for hiring a small number of those people. That’s five people. But then the security hiring that you’re referring to is the larger, broader security hiring under the $81 million. That’s not part of my jurisdiction. I just want to make that distinction.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I see. That’s great. Thanks. I wondered, too: Seneca is the largest receiver, amongst the colleges, of operating transfer payments from the province, and therefore good financial stewardship is very important. Were you involved in the hiring and arranging the compensation and expenses practices at the executive level in the games?
Ms. Naki Osutei: No.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: You weren’t doing that?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You’ve got 50 seconds.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you for your questions.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Osutei, for coming here this morning and presenting for us.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you for having me.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Okay. So now we will consider the concurrence for Naki Osutei, nominated as member of the Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology board of governors. Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Rinaldi.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Naki Osutei, nominated as member of the Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology board of governors.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you. Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried. Thank you very much. Congratulations.
Ms. Naki Osutei: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Okay. Now we’re going to move on to deadline extensions. As you know, the committee has 30 days from the day of an OIC certificate to review any intended appointment. This deadline may be extended by unanimous consent. There were six selections on October 24. Two of them appeared before us today, and the 30-day deadline will pass for the remainder of those people. The details, I think, have been handed out to you.
Do I have unanimous consent to consider the remaining four intended appointees? And I propose that we do an extension of 30 days for—Mr. Gates?
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m not really sure how to go about this, but from the NDP’s point of view, Carolyne Watts, who is looking to get with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, we no longer need to interview her at all. We would—
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You wish to withdraw her?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Okay. Mr. Gates has proposed withdrawing Carolyne Watts, nominated as a member of the Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology board of governors, from the list on the committee. Do I have unanimous consent to do that?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Going back, do I have unanimous consent to consider the deadline for the three remaining appointees, and again, I propose that these individuals would get an extension of 30 days, bringing them to December 23. I’ll put the question separately to each one, but do I have unanimous consent to do that?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: December 23?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): It’s December 23. No, but December 23 is the extension, yes. Do I have unanimous consent to go forward? Okay.
I’ll put the question for each one.
Do we have unanimous consent to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Nicholas Pernal, nominated as member, Landlord and Tenant Board (Social Justice Tribunals Ontario), to December 23, 2014? Thank you. Done.
Do we have unanimous consent to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Pauline Faubert, nominated as member, Social Benefits Tribunal (Social Justice Tribunals Ontario), to December 23, 2014? Okay. Great. Thank you.
Do we have unanimous consent to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Gérald Naud, nominated as member, Social Benefits Tribunal (Social Justice Tribunals Ontario), to December 23, 2014? I have that? Thank you very much.
That concludes our business for the day.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Just a point of clarification: Not having been in this committee before, December 23 is two days before Christmas, so what happens?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Well, our committee will sit—we’ll have a number of remaining meetings that we can bring these forward.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Oh, so up to 30 days?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Yes. So it’s 30 days. We’ll have meetings. We have three more meetings.
Any discussion? Anything further? So everybody is—
Mr. Wayne Gates: So I’m clear, Ms. Watts won’t have to come?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): No, she will not.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Then we have another subcommittee report that I think we’ve approved already today for other intended appointees. Everybody has a list.
Mrs. Cristina Martins: Erica Phipps?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Pardon me?
Mrs. Cristina Martins: The last person here, Erica Phipps: Are we extending that? We have until December 7, so we’re okay with that?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Yes. If we have to, at a certain point we’ll extend her as well—
Mrs. Cristina Martins: To January something.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): We won’t be sitting after December 9, right?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): We can do that as well.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): We’re good. We’re all good.
Any other questions?
Before I adjourn, I just want to thank you all for putting up with my newness. I appreciate your patience. The meeting is adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 0957.
Tuesday 18 November 2014
Subcommittee reports A-5
Intended appointments A-5
Mr. Alexandre Brassard A-5
Ms. Naki Osutei A-8
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Mr. Vic Dhillon (Brampton West / Brampton-Ouest L)
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South L)
Mr. Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls ND)
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde (Ottawa–Orléans L)
Ms. Harinder Malhi (Brampton–Springdale L)
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Mr. Jim McDonell (Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry PC)
Mr. Randy Pettapiece (Perth–Wellington PC)
Mr. Lou Rinaldi (Northumberland–Quinte West L)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mrs. Laura Albanese (York South–Weston / York-Sud–Weston L)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Carrie Hull, research officer,