STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 30 May 2017 Mardi 30 mai 2017
The committee met at 0901 in committee room 2.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): Good morning, committee members. Welcome to government agencies.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): Today we’ll begin with a couple of subcommittee reports before we get to our intended appointees.
Would someone please like to move our first subcommittee report? Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, May 18, 2017.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): Is there any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Our next report is dated May 25, 2017. Mr. Gates, would you please read it?
Mr. Wayne Gates: I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, May 25, 2017.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): Any discussion, members? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): We are now going to move to the appointments review. We have two intended appointees to hear from today, and we will consider the concurrences following the interviews.
Mr. John Gorman
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party and third party: John Gorman, intended appointee as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): I would ask that John Gorman please come forward.
Mr. Gorman, you are nominated as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp. Please have a seat. You’re going to have up to 10 minutes to speak to us, if you wish. Following that, any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions, and the opposition parties will each have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Start by stating your name for the record, and please begin.
Mr. John Gorman: My name is John Gorman. Thank you for inviting me to appear before the Standing Committee on Government Agencies. I’m delighted to be here and to be considered for a position as a member of the board of the Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp., which I’ll just refer to as the “deployment corporation” for brevity’s sake going forward.
A little bit about myself personally: I was born and raised here in Ontario. I now live in Ottawa, in a very energy-efficient house—which I’ll mention later—with my family, including two teenagers who like to use a lot of energy these days.
I have developed a passion and an interest for empowering people and businesses with their energy use, over the last 15 years in particular—so much so that I have been giving a number of TED Talks on the subject of empowering people and businesses through clean tech and through energy generation and management, to lower their carbon footprint using existing technologies. I’ve combined this personal interest with a very concerted plan in my career that has progressively brought me towards relevant areas, including renewable energy, clean tech and the intersection of where climate policy meets economic development. I clearly feel that climate change is a serious issue and that people in businesses and governments should be doing what they can to curb that. But I also see that there is tremendous economic opportunity in being a leader in clean tech, and I think that Ontario can continue to do its part to be a leader in clean tech and lowering GHGs and creating a low-carbon economy while creating significant advantage for itself in the new economy and in the global markets.
When you combine my personal passion in this area with my experience over the last 25 years, I feel that I’ve got a great deal to offer the deployment corporation as a board member.
I’d like to just take a couple of moments to speak to the things that I feel are most relevant when I look at the mandate of the organization. I’m going to speak to my experience in energy systems, particularly with utilities and regulatory matters. I’m going to talk about my experience with clean tech, my experience with stakeholder relations and municipal affairs and communications, my experience with governance and my personal experience with our home. I’ll try to be brief.
From an energy systems and utilities perspective, I’ve been involved in the energy sector, in particular with the electricity sector, for about 15 years, since serving on the board of one of Ontario’s largest electric utilities. From that point forward, I started a consulting firm called Public Affairs and Community Engagement, which focused on stakeholder relations and municipal affairs and stakeholder outreach, primarily in the area of sustainable infrastructure. Energy was always a large part of that.
From that point, I joined a company that is primarily owned by General Motors, called Empower Energies, whose job it is to help corporations lower their GHGs and energy use using cogeneration and renewable energy and other clean technologies. We had a bit of a speciality in Canada and in the United States dealing with solar charging stations, solar rooftops, electric vehicles and cogeneration.
Regulatory matters that came along with being involved in the energy sector have always factored prominently, as well as utilities, especially here in Ontario. We’ve got 70-some utilities in this province. Their business models have been evolving, as they have all over the world, as the electricity system changes. They have a very, very important role to play in the future and in the evolution of how we use electricity. We’ve moved from a system that’s very, very centralized, that started in the 1880s, where you built as big a plant as possible, you used the cheapest possible fuel—usually coal—you created as many electrons as possible and you shoved them down smaller and smaller pipes into essentially captive consumers’ homes, or businesses. This model is changing now that you have distributed generation and clean tech and storage and information technology that allows consumers to really generate and manage their own electricity, and utilities are having to change how they operate.
We’re managing this transition well in Ontario, that’s my opinion, but the utilities are going to have to continue to evolve so that they can meet consumers’ needs and expectations. Some of those needs and expectations have a lot to do with offering green tech and clean tech and solutions to consumers, just as this deployment corporation envisions.
From a clean tech perspective, over the last number of years my focus has been primarily on solar electricity and solar thermal technologies; however, solar is a very versatile technology in that it’s so distributable—it can power your calculator, your home or your business—and as such it is coupled with other types of technology all the time, whether it’s battery storage or information technology or communications with your utility. Solar has given me a very wide perspective in terms of other types of clean technologies that are out there that help people generate and manage their electricity more efficiently.
I think that I bring to this board quite a wide view of the technologies that are out there and actually touching people and businesses.
From a stakeholder relations and communications point of view, I mentioned that I ran a consultancy for a number of years that focused on stakeholder relations—the public—communications, really involving them in the process, and I feel very strongly that this is going to be an essential element of making a successful effort with the solutions deployment corporation. Reaching out to people in a direct way, in a way that allows them to understand how they can actually participate in lowering the costs of their energy use and managing it better, is going to be essential, and I think I’ve got something to add there.
From a governance perspective, I’ve been a member of all types of boards of different organizations: community groups, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations. I am a CEO with a board of 10 executives right now with a not-for-profit corporation. I think I have experience there that makes me comfortable in governance situations, and I’ll be able to add value there from a number of different perspectives.
On a closing note, I just wanted to mention my own personal experience, because I think it’s relevant here.
We live in a bungalow in Ottawa—it’s a sort of 1950s bungalow—which we’ve turned into a very energy-efficient home. That has included a lot of different measures and a lot of technology, including the recent addition of more solar panels that are connected, net-metered, to the electricity system. It’s not a contract with the government. It’s “use your own electricity,” coupled with a lithium-ion battery from Panasonic in my basement, and some very, very smart software that is looking at the cost of electricity and when it makes the most sense to use what source of electricity to power the needs of our home. Is it best to use power from the grid or the solar power, to power the loads in our house, or to charge the battery up and then use the battery later at night, or even to feed electricity back into the grid so that the utility can use it and serve other people?
This is just an example of the type of technology that’s commercially available and out there right now, and right on the cusp of helping Ontarians manage their energy costs while offering great advantage to us from a sector development point of view, a clean tech point of view, as Ontarians.
I have to tell you that we were the first house in Ottawa to have done this, and there was a real experience in doing that.
Part of the value of what the solutions deployment corporation is going to be doing here is enabling all of the players in this sector to understand what these new technologies are. At one point, I had about eight people in my basement: Japanese engineers from Panasonic; a safety authority from the Electrical Safety Authority; Hydro Ottawa; the solar installers, all in the basement, with some using Google Translate to talk to each other about hooking up this first system.
The learning that came out of that was incredible. There have been subsequent systems done in Ottawa that have been done much quicker. But the point is, it’s good to have that practical experience when you’re thinking about offering these things to Ontarians.
Thank you for having me here today. I do feel I’ve got a great deal to contribute. I’d be very happy to answer questions.
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Daiene Vernile): Thank you, Mr. Gorman. Our questioning for you begins with Mr. Gates, with the NDP.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning, sir. How are you?
Mr. John Gorman: Good morning, Mr. Gates. Very well, thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I think you still had 30 seconds to talk, if you wanted to use it.
Mr. John Gorman: I’ve got some stuff I could say, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m glad. It’s nice to hear. Just a question: Have you ever donated to the Liberal Party?
Mr. John Gorman: I have donated to multiple parties—probably all parties—including the Liberal Party.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you. I appreciate that. You’re not special. I ask everybody that question.
This is an important issue for a lot of people. The Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp. is a new agency. We had the pleasure of speaking with some of your future colleagues at our last committee hearing. I asked them this question, and I would like to hear your thoughts about it as well: Could the witness discuss, in your own words, what you believe the purpose of this organization is, including the primary goals?
Mr. John Gorman: Thank you for the question, Mr. Gates. The primary purpose of the deployment corporation is to take the monies from the Green Ontario Fund and deploy them, to allow people and businesses to adopt green technology that is going to lower their GHG emissions and help them manage costs. That’s established technology; it’s commercially available technologies.
I believe that an important aspect of that mandate is twofold. One, it is to empower individuals and businesses to understand the technology, lower their GHG footprint and manage their own costs. Secondly, in the process of doing that and creating that consumer demand, it is going to be growing our existing sectors within the clean tech side of the equation and enabling us to continue to build our expertise and become more competitive globally, both south of the border and elsewhere, to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that are showing up in the new economy as countries around the world are trying to decarbonize their economy. This corporation is going to have that twofold approach.
Mr. Wayne Gates: As we have seen, during the Green Energy Act, contracts were signed which really probably shouldn’t have been signed. I don’t think somebody who has never bargained an agreement would sign some of the ones that they did. It ended up costing us a lot of money. Do you have any concerns around this committee being a boondoggle of that kind? I understand your expertise, and I actually like the people who are applying, but I am concerned. Are we going to get into wasted money again, like we’ve been going through with solar and some of the green energy contracts that were signed? Are you concerned about that, particularly putting your name forward? Because your name is going to be tied to this.
Mr. John Gorman: Thank you, Mr. Gates. It won’t surprise you to know that I think Ontario has accomplished something extremely important by phasing out coal and bringing in renewables—not just from a health perspective, but the expertise that we have developed in terms of being able to integrate multiple sources of technology into the electricity grid, including large sources of renewables. It’s something that has made us a leader in North America and globally, and is increasingly allowing us to provide services and give expertise and grow our economy.
I also would like to say, for the record, that it is misdirection to suggest that renewables are the cause of large increases in electricity bills. Some 13% of the increase in electricity bills is due to renewables being brought in to replace coal. The vast majority of price increases come from decades of successive governments not investing in infrastructure and the need, over the last decade, to invest in crumbling infrastructure.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s a good point. I’ll jump on that. I hear every day from the Liberal government when we ask hydro questions that because of other governments—we can agree to disagree to what extent the role each government might have played, but to my understanding, the price tag to fix our system was about $50 billion. Is that the number that you had heard?
Mr. John Gorman: I’m only familiar with the 13% figure of the cost increase.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay, so let’s say it was $50 billion; that’s what I think is relatively accurate, to my understanding. If you spend $50 billion to fix a system that in your eyes and maybe my eyes and others’ is working, is providing affordable electricity—maybe you can help me. It’s working. We don’t have blackouts anymore. Whatever the selling feature is, why do you give it away? Why do you sell it, if it’s so good, after you’ve spent that kind of money on it? I don’t understand that.
Mr. John Gorman: Well, I go back to what I said at the beginning, with Ontario having accomplished the single largest GHG reduction initiative in North America by phasing out coal and the benefits that came with that. When it comes to this corporation, Mr. Gates, the intent of this corporation is very much different from the utility-scale renewables that you have been referring to. This is about bringing green tech to individuals and to businesses—existing green tech that we have developed in our sector that will help them lower their energy costs and manage their energy better.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I appreciate your answer. I’ll still follow it up, because you’re the expert; I’m not. I’m going to ask you this, because maybe you know better than me. Getting off coal was probably a good thing, and I think that most people agree with that. But my question to you is, as an expert, could we not have powered up our nuclear plants, which are sitting today at about—like, I’m from Niagara Falls. That thing sits idle for a good part of the day. Sometimes it doesn’t run at all. We used to dump it. Could we have utilized that 13% that is renewable on the grid and just done it with nuclear, which is pretty clean as well?
Mr. John Gorman: Thanks for the question. I’m not an expert in nuclear, but what I will say is that it appears to me that this government is investing in nuclear. I’ll just comment on the difference between nuclear technology, which is a baseload technology that’s always running and is there for you and covers the baseload at all times—compared to solar energy, which produces electricity during the day when we most need it, electricity that is being produced at peak times for people to use during the day when the peak is going up. So the two are very, very complementary.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have just under three minutes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you. This committee has heard that one of the primary objectives of the corporation is to stimulate the development of the industry, trades and business undertakings that further the deployment of commercially available technology in the hopes of greenhouse gas reductions. I believe these are positive objectives. I also believe that climate change is real, a real issue in our province and the world, and deserves real solutions by policy-makers.
In your opinion, how does the corporation best feel this objective can be achieved, and how much autonomy, which is a key issue for me, from the government direction does the witness believe the corporation will have to achieve the objectives? And, again, please touch on the importance of autonomy.
Mr. John Gorman: My view is that there is going to be an exercise that’s going to be crucial upon the setting up of this organization that deals with the memorandum of understanding between the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the corporation. My strong feeling is that if that exercise is done properly and with diligence, there will rarely be a need for the minister to issue a directive. Of course, that’s always his prerogative, and, as a board, we will have to ensure that if that does happen, it is being executed under proper policies and governance.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So at the end of the day, the autonomy part of this corporation is important.
Mr. John Gorman: At the end of the day, the autonomy of this organization is important. I think that that can be largely structured by taking care to do it at the beginning, when we form the memorandum of understanding. But I do understand, having read the objects of the corporation, that the minister does have the right from time to time to issue directives, and if he does so, it will be the duty of the board to ensure that those are being executed with proper policy and governance in mind.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m going to ask you a question. You don’t have to answer it, but it’s fair. I understand MOUs. I’ve signed a lot of them in my day. At the end of the day, the government is the boss. The minister is the boss of the corporation. If he put a directive out there that you felt that you couldn’t live with, would you make that call at that time, that maybe this might not be the corporation that you thought it was?
Mr. John Gorman: Going through life I always have to look at those sorts of situations and make determinations at the time, but right now, given the way that this corporation has been defined and what its objectives are, I’m very comfortable and excited to be a part of it.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much. That concludes the time for your presentation.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thanks, John.
Mr. John Gorman: Thank you, Mr. Gates.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): We are now going to pass it on to the government side, and they’ve got 15 seconds.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Fifteen seconds. Good morning. Would you say that Ontario is on the right track with our climate change plan and in our efforts to create a low-carbon economy?
Mr. John Gorman: I’m very, very proud to be an Ontarian, especially because I feel we are demonstrating global leadership in terms of our climate change policy, and I’m very proud of the way that we are not only reducing our GHGs but creating some terrific economic opportunity for the various clean tech sectors in our province.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: I’d like to see your basement sometime.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much.
Mr. John Gorman: Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): That concludes the time allocated for this interview.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Oh, sorry; we have to go to the PCs. You’re like, I had a shield over here—
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): We’re going to flip it over to the official opposition, and we’ll start with Mr. Pettapiece. Thank you.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Thank you, Chair, for recognizing me. Good morning, sir.
Mr. John Gorman: Good morning, Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I understand that you’re still the president and CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association?
Mr. John Gorman: Yes, I am.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Are you? To what extent have you personally benefited, directly or indirectly, from the Ontario Green Energy Act contracts or other public subsidies? Do you know the answer to that?
Mr. John Gorman: I have not personally benefited from any contracts. I’m an employee of a trade association that advocates for good, sustainable policies for solar energy.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: You were quoted in the Financial Post as saying, “The Green Energy Act established a solar industry in Canada.” Do you think it’s appropriate that taxpayers subsidize an Ontario solar industry when their hydro bills are spiking and they can’t afford everyday living expenses?
Mr. John Gorman: Thank you, Mr. Pettapiece. There are a number of ways to bring renewables into existing energy markets. The one that Ontario chose was the feed-in tariff approach, which is used by the majority of jurisdictions around the world as the preferred way to bring in renewables. It’s not easy to bring in renewables to electricity systems that, as I said, were designed more than 100 years ago to be centralized. The feed-in tariff approach is proven to be a good way of introducing renewables into that old structure. So yes, I think that phasing out coal and bringing in renewables has given Ontario very significant expertise that it’s going to be able to benefit from, while, at the same time, reducing our GHG emissions.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: That’s not the question I asked you. I agree with what you’re saying, but the question I asked you, sir—you know, we get letters to our offices pretty near every day about people having real difficulties paying their electricity bills. Much of it is blamed on the Green Energy Act and the feed-in tariff system. I don’t think it would be surprising to you—it certainly wasn’t to me—that when they started out paying 80 cents for solar power, when they first started this business, it was pretty high. I understand those rates have come down somewhat, but you tell that to someone who can’t pay their hydro bills and they’re certainly not going to agree with what you’re saying.
Mr. John Gorman: Yes. It has been a source of frustration for our industry and the renewables industries that the facts haven’t gotten out there about electricity rates and renewables’ contribution to them. Renewables are responsible for 13% of the rate increases, and that’s from replacing coal-fired generation; we needed new generation. The vast, vast majority of these price increases have stemmed from the fact that successive governments did not invest in the main infrastructure that was needed to support the Ontario electricity system; as a result, we’ve had to put in quite a bit of money to transmission, gas-fired generation and other things, which has caused prices to go up.
What I will say is that this corporation offers Ontarians the ability to use green technology to manage their own energy, even to generate their own energy and store it, perhaps, and to manage their costs. So in light of the fact that costs have gone up, this corporation offers the ability for people to save money, while at the same time creating jobs, and that’s why I want to be part of it.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Do you mind sharing what the cost of your house conversion was?
Mr. John Gorman: No, I don’t mind sharing it with you. The solar panels, which were about five kilowatts, that we recently put on the house, were about $12,000. The storage battery itself was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $30,000. The panels will pay for themselves. They’re already basically economic in terms of how they last for 25 years and they’ll be generating that electricity. The storage isn’t quite there yet. It might pay for itself over 10 years, at this point, but at the end of 10 years, the battery system probably will have cycled to the point where it will have just covered itself and will have to be replaced.
That being said, it’s technologies precisely like storage that are right on the cusp of becoming economic, and if we can continue to develop our expertise in the storage area, as an Ontario sector—and I think this corporation can help do that—we’re going to be leaders in what is going to be one of the biggest economic plays globally for the next three decades.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: So I think you could agree that the ordinary person would have real difficulty doing what you’ve done.
Mr. John Gorman: Exactly, and I think that’s the importance of this corporation: To take those cap-and-trade revenues and redeploy them to people to help them be able to bring in these clean technologies to manage their costs in energy use in an effective way.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Did you receive any government subsidies for this?
Mr. John Gorman: No, I did not.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I have one more question, then I’ll turn it over to my friend Mr. Oosterhoff. The Auditor General estimates that consumers have paid $9.2 billion more for renewables under this government’s green energy plan. Can you explain how this is of benefit to Ontarians?
Mr. John Gorman: Well, I think I’ve spoken to the benefit to Ontarians, in my view, of phasing out coal-fired electricity and bringing in non-emitting sources of electricity. It’s not only from a health perspective, but in the process, we have built some very robust sectors—particularly with solar, wind and, increasingly, storage—in this province as a result of that policy.
It’s those sectors that are going to enable us not just to compete globally in this burgeoning new economy, but also to be able to deliver the type of services and expertise that are wanted by Ontarians right now to help manage their energy needs and costs better.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you, Mr. Pettapiece. Mr. Oosterhoff, please.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: Thank you very much for coming in this morning. I just had a question. I wanted to sort of bring it down to a more localized level, because I completely agree with my colleague Mr. Pettapiece, and I actually also agree with my colleague from Niagara Falls. The PC Party recognizes that climate change is a reality, that we need to address it, and that we need to do so in a way that isn’t hurting the most vulnerable in our society.
He talked about getting letters about hydro rates. I also get letters from people who are concerned, especially those on the lower end of the income scale, who say, “Look, the cost of gas is going up because of cap-and-trade. The cost of food is going up because of cap-and-trade. It’s nice that you want to invest in $30,000 solar panels or $30,000 batteries, but the reality is that my cost of living just keeps going up, and I feel like I’m treading water.”
I just want to make things very personal for you. When someone comes to you, as the head of this solar organization, you can obviously talk about the big-picture stuff, and that’s important. That needs to happen. But what about those families who are really struggling? For them, all they see is that the cost of living is going up again. How do you explain that cap-and-trade isn’t revenue-neutral? We believe in a revenue-neutral carbon tax, where people get the money back. What do you think people need to take away from this?
Mr. John Gorman: As I understand it, the way that the carbon-pricing regime in Ontario has been structured, all of that money has to flow back into carbon- and GHG-reducing activities that benefit Ontarians. Especially with this corporation, the money from the Green Ontario Fund has to go directly into supporting clean technologies for people and businesses that are going to help them manage their electricity and energy use and costs.
I see this question that you’ve brought up through a solar lens and a distributed-generation lens, and I can tell you that the most exciting thing that has happened to the electricity system since its inception 130 years ago is the development of new technology like distributed generation, like storage, like information technology that allows you to communicate with your utilities and your neighbours, monitor your energy use and control it remotely—
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: This is really big-picture, though.
Mr. John Gorman: But it’s not big-picture, because these technologies are what are bringing it down to individual homes and individual businesses. It’s the reason that I’m passionate about this space: because it’s putting the control in the hands of people, either in their homes or in their businesses. We need to encourage and nurture this evolution, and this deployment corporation is going to be a big help in doing that, while, as I said, creating a whole bunch of economic advantage for us in this new economy.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): About 30 seconds.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: Okay, but the price of gas still went up. The price of food still went up. And your answer is that in the long term, perhaps, we’ll see some efficiencies in the electricity system?
Mr. John Gorman: We are seeing those efficiencies now, and I can tell you that the price of sunshine will never go up and the price of wind will never go up. When you build a solar farm, you can count on, for the next 25 years, the fuel being free.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much. That concludes the time allocated for this interview. You may step down. We will consider the concurrences following the next interview.
Mr. John Gorman: Thank you.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party and third party: Elizabeth McDonald, intended appointee as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Our next intended appointee today is Ms. Elizabeth McDonald, who is nominated as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp. Please come forward, Ms. McDonald, and take a seat at the table. Welcome and thank you very much for being here this morning. You will begin with a brief statement, if you wish. 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. When questioning does begin, we will begin with the government side.
Welcome, Ms. McDonald. You may begin.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Good morning. My name is Elizabeth McDonald, and I’m pleased to meet with you today to review my nomination to the board of directors for the new Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp. or, as many call it, the Green Ontario Fund. I will do my best to present myself to you and indicate why I think I can be of service to the province sitting on this board. As you may know from my CV, I have a diverse background, and I believe that diversity will be useful on this board.
First of all, I’m a librarian. This background means that I thoroughly research issues and proposals presented to me very carefully. I will verify what is presented to me. Given that this is a new agency, I believe that that thirst to know will be very important.
Secondly, I have spent the last 10 years of my life in the energy space in Canada, with a special emphasis on Ontario. I understand how it works. I know the players, I know how they interact and I understand the regulatory aspects.
Thirdly, since I originally came from the television world, I’m actually aware of the need to develop programs and services that will be effective for consumers and businesses in Ontario who, in the end, are the audience for this agency. For example, I know that any programs aimed at consumers or businesses should be built on the reality that people are busy and they’re looking for solutions. One can design a program that might perfectly meet lowering GHG emissions, but if they’re not useful and interesting to the target audience, then they will not be used.
Fourthly, I’ve sat on public boards before and have served in roles where governance involves the public trust. I sat on the board of a federal fund at the time of its inception. I understand the complexity, the importance of transparency and the reality that, in this case, you are responsible to the citizens of this province. As a consultant, I have reviewed the efficiency and effectiveness of government agencies and programs. I will always be looking to ensure that these goals are met.
Finally, I was born in this province, in North Bay to be exact. I live in Ottawa, which is a key jurisdiction in this province. I raised my children in this province. I want to serve this province. I recently returned from a vacation outside of Canada. It’s quite amazing to sit in a hotel room in Europe and see coverage of flooding not far from my home in Ottawa. In fact, in one case it was from, as we would say, up the valley, where my father was born. It reinforced to me that climate change is real and it is destructive.
I see this new agency giving Ontario consumers and businesses the tools they will need to move forward successfully. It will put in place programs that will lower GHGs and it will ensure that the province is resilient—and that’s a key word, “resilience.” We must make sure that homes in Ontario are either renovated or built to respond to the realities of climate change. Citizens should have the tools at hand so that when they face potential challenges, they will feel confident.
In a recent report, the International Energy Agency noted that the solutions to meet 49% of our 2030 climate targets will be met by energy efficiency. That has been the focus of the last five years of my career. I’ve represented the sector—not just a company, not just a product—and I know what is happening locally and globally—practically. I also was the president, before John, of the Canadian Solar Industries Association for five years.
Today’s realities mean that renewable energy and energy efficiency should work together for real success, and I’m one of the few people who has worked in both fields. Bluntly put, if you put a solar roof on a building but the building is not up to code, it kind of makes no sense.
Given that the world is actively pursuing reducing greenhouse gas emissions, I see that this corporation can help Ontario meet economic goals as well. Investing in products and services that are aimed at meeting climate goals will attract ideas—IP, intellectual property, if you want to put it that way—to develop in this province. They can work here and they can work around the world.
Let me give you an example. Two years ago, I attended a meeting in Washington at the World Bank. There was a contingent from the Gulf States trying to educate themselves on building practices. In the end, they found that Canada provided the most interesting solutions. Why? Because they need to build resilient buildings to keep the intense heat out, while we need to build ours to be resilient to keep the heat in. The solution: insulation, and how you use it in modern building techniques. This led to a group of Canadians going to Dubai and opening up channels of communications on building practices and the use of insulation.
There are other reasons why understanding energy efficiency will be critical to this corporation and its board. I’ve already noted very early on, energy efficiency was identified as one of the most important tools for avoiding climate change by reducing the use of fossil fuels. However, energy efficiency and related demand management measures can also reduce some of the energy sector’s vulnerabilities to climate change impacts.
Deploying energy efficiency technologies in in-use facilities and in power generation transmission and distribution can help counteract the increased demand and increased output of power plants due to higher temperatures. Demand response programs and efficiency programs aimed at peak loads can help counteract the increase in peak demand due to increased use of air conditioning and address the uncertainties in generation and consumption due to extreme weather.
Builders can future-proof buildings against predicted changes in weather patterns by ensuring long-lived characteristics such as orientation, insulation and windows are appropriate for expected climate conditions. Cities can reduce ambient temperatures and make buildings more efficient with cooler green roofs. Constructing distributed generation, especially efficient combined heat and power plants, can provide secure electricity for large energy consumers, or micro-grids that are less subject to grid outages due to extreme weather. Water efficiency programs can address climate impacts on water resources and reduce energy use for pumping and treating water.
I would be remiss not to mention that I sit on the Building Code Conservation Advisory Council for Ontario, or BCCAC, as it’s fondly known. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in buildings, both residential and commercial, will play a significant role if Ontario wants to meet its 2030 objectives. The tool to address that part of it will be through building codes.
I’ve learned a lot from sitting at BCCAC. I’ve learned that implementing new building practices takes planning and training. The strength that BCCAC has is that it brings together experts who actually will have to carry out the changes and identify the challenges they face. I can bring that reality of what I learned to the table of this corporation.
I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you this morning. I’m honoured to be nominated to this board, and I’m more than happy to answer your questions.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Ms. McDonald. We will now begin questioning with the government side. You have about a minute and a half, Ms. Vernile.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Good morning, Ms. McDonald. Thank you for being here this morning and for putting your name forward for this position.
If you’ve been listening to the conversation this morning, we have heard the opposition Conservatives say that their only concern is that embracing a cleaner, greener future, in their view—which I disagree with—is going to cost Ontarians more. Could you please speak to that?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Well, I come from the efficiency world. I believe that the more you invest in the new technologies and efficiency, you actually can reduce use and then protect consumers in the longer term.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: So, you would disagree with them also?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: I would say that there are both sides to it. I think that maybe if we use the words “energy productivity,” that would be more attractive, because it means using your energy in a better, more efficient way. Certainly I know—I’ve just come back from Washington—that even Republicans talk about energy productivity.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Imagine that.
Mr. Granville Anderson: They want to go back to the Stone Age on that side.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Oh, Granville.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have 30 seconds.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Do you feel that you were able to share everything with us? In the last 30 seconds, do you want to add anything?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: It sounds so hokey. Last night I was at my son’s house and his two daughters were there, and I realized that one of the reasons I want to do that is to use this time to make sure those two little girls grow up in the best environment possible for them. That’s kind of hokey, but it’s the truth.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: It’s not.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: It’s who I am.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: We all share that. Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Ms. McDonald. I too share that when I think about my two young sons and wanting them to grow up in a better and cleaner Ontario.
We’re going to move it over now to the opposition. Mr. Pettapiece, please.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Good morning. You can be hokey if you want. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: I just actually really believe in energy productivity, and sometimes the words and how we explain it—
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I actually have a question related to that type of thing. I’ve had a number of business owners in my constituency put in LED lights and change a few things around— they actually some got grants from Ontario Hydro to do this—and up went their rates. So you can understand there’s some real skepticism out there about how this government is managing the electricity system.
Also, I understand the government here remarked about us not really buying into this type of thing, but when the Auditor General comes out and tells the public about how much money has been wasted on energy projects by this government—those aren’t my comments; those are the Auditor General’s comments. So I think we have a real selling thing to do here.
I’m certain you are genuine in your purpose in being here, and that’s great, but I think there’s a mistrust going on here about how the government has managed the energy sector.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: It has become a very difficult conversation in Ontario, and it is one of the most complex discussions one could enter into. I think part of it is the complexity of the issue, of the role that the regulator plays, the role that utilities play, all of those sorts of things; the role that municipalities play in it—only because municipalities, in general, own the utilities. So it’s not a simple question, and I would never take on the Auditor General, because I worked for KPMG for many years on the consultant side and I was so afraid of the auditors that—I won’t go there.
Always in those situations there are discussions between the auditor—and I think what we have to do is, we can be angry or we can solve. I am hoping that this corporation will lead to solutions, to better use of energy efficiency together with solar, for example—the renewables and energy efficiency working together.
Right now the World Bank is working in Asia and Africa, not just selling solar roofs but selling whole solutions that include—not “selling” as much, but bringing to very poor people four to five hours of electricity and also washing machines that are Energy Star. In other words, it doesn’t help if you’re going to put in a washing machine that uses more electricity and it all just goes in the washing machine—that brings lights etc.
I think we have to look at the opportunity that this corporation presents. I know I will be driven to making sure that we touch as many Ontarians as possible.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: The environment minister came out with a quote in the House the other day about the so-called green bank: “This is so very simple. People go and retrofit their homes. When they retrofit their homes, they buy a high-efficiency furnace or a geothermal system, and this corporation gives them a grant to help with the cost of that.”
If it’s that simple, why does the government need to create a new agency?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Because the other agencies have been involved related to electricity only; this is much broader and not tied to utilities as such, and the money comes from a different source. One is ratepayer money; this is from the cap-and-trade dollars.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Yes, I understand that. But we just had a chat with another group this morning at breakfast, and they said that the issue they’ve been finding with some agencies is that if you have too many involved, you get one over here saying this and one over here saying this, and nobody wants to meet. They want to do their own thing. I think as you increase government bureaucracy, it sometimes gets more difficult to get these people together. I wonder, how would you address something like that?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Well, for example, there’s expertise at the IESO in the conservation area. They are going to be assisting this corporation in setting up its program, so that’s just using efficiently and effectively the resources already within Ontario. An organization can reach out and use what’s already there, and be kind of lean at the same time. One would hope that would happen, because bureaucracies slow things down.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Oh, yes. Too many of them certainly do. But I guess you can deal with these government agencies; you’ve been involved with this before.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Yes.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I’m talking about the ordinary person who comes into our office, pulling their hair out and going, “Jeez, can you help me get through this thing?”
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Absolutely. During my time at the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, we spent a lot of time looking at what consumers need and what consumers want. How do you speak to consumers? We just finished a big study about millennials in Ontario. There are things that have to be in place.
One of the things I think I bring, because I was from outside the sector, is that I actually can say, “I think that’s gobbledygook.” I mean, there are some very basic things. We’re going to have to appeal to people who are busy. If we’re going to make it really complicated for them, then they’re not going to avail themselves of the programs that could make a difference to some of the concerns that you have.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: That’s good to hear that.
The last question I had: I heard two or three different definitions of what a millennial was. What’s yours?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: I have two. My oldest one is about to become a non-millennial on July 13, because he’ll be 36. My youngest son has just turned 30, so he’s a mid-millennial. About 18 to 35.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: About 18 to 35?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: But you know what the truth is? The major change, as much as it was millennials, was the day that Steve Jobs stood up with the first iPhone, because what really happened is that we now use those phones to communicate. We hardly ever speak on the phone anymore—to get our bills and all of that. Millennials, in that age group from 18 to 35, are the most proficient at using it.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Mr. Pettapiece. Now over to a true millennial: Mr. Oosterhoff.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: Thank you very much for coming in, Mrs. McDonald. I just had one question about the independence of the deployment agency when it came to directives from the minister. We had the co-chair for the deployment agency in a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned that essentially if the agency received a directive from the minister that they felt contradicted their mandate, they wouldn’t listen to it. That was essentially where she went with that. I’m just curious: Do you have any concerns that any directives from the minister might compromise the corporation’s independence? How would you react?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: If you’ve read my whole CV, I worked at the CBC, so I know a lot about being worried about a directive from a minister. Often it never came.
But I would think that this has been a very thoughtful process to pick out a diverse and experienced board. I would say that the first thing you have to do if you receive a directive is—have you missed signals about where government policy is going? That’s the first thing. Because it doesn’t matter whether it’s this present minister, or another minister from another party: Have you missed the signals? Is that something that the board itself has missed? Then I think you have to bring the board together and talk about it.
I find it very hard to talk about the future and predict how I will react. You might be sitting there and say, “This makes perfect sense,” or “No, this is not where I want to go.” But often when a direction comes, it should not be a surprise. Has the board thought about it and does it have a position and does it have a relationship? I totally agree with John Gorman on the MOU and how that is written. That, I can say; I agree with him totally. I think you have to bring people together rather than estimating what they might do in that situation.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: So what would you say are going to be some of the biggest challenges for the agency as you get off the ground?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Well, I think just getting it up and going and being efficient and effective, to prove to all of you that it can do what it’s supposed to do and actually help Ontarians not only lower GHGs, but more importantly, lower costs where they live and where they work. If we take a long, long time, then we haven’t done very much, and that will undermine the government’s objective; it’s not good for the people of Ontario.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: So do you know anyone from BC or Alberta and the carbon tax regime there? Do you have any colleagues in those sectors, in a similar sector out in those provinces? What do they think about those regimes compared to our cap-and-trade?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: I won’t talk about BC right now, because it’s—
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much. That concludes the time for our interview right now. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Next, on to Mr. Gates, please.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You should talk about BC. They just elected three Greens out there, didn’t they, in that area?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: It’s just a tricky situation.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, but if you support green energy—they elected three Greens. It’s the first time in Canada. So I don’t think I would be saying anything negative about BC if you’re somebody who supports green energy.
I asked my good friend here this, but he didn’t answer. I’m going to get it out to you as well. I believe that green energy is positive. It’s great. It should be really good for our kids. But it wasn’t rolled out positively. It wasn’t positive when it was rolled out, because we signed long-term contracts that, quite frankly, were unacceptable, that should never have been signed, very similar to what we did in some of the infrastructure contracts. Long-term contracts were a mistake. That’s what got the negativity around green energy.
I think most Canadians believe that we have to protect our water and our air; last time I checked, without clean air and without water, we don’t live. So I think that’s important, so I give kudos to the Liberal government. I don’t do that too often, but they spent $50 billion fixing a system that they thought was wrong.
The problem that I have is that when you spend $50 billion to fix a system, why sell it? That’s my issue. Why give it to corporations to make money, at the expense, quite frankly, of consumers? The real problem in Ontario is that the cost of hydro is unaffordable: 13% is all that’s in the green energy, but 13% to a consumer, to a family, is a lot of money. I wanted to say that that’s my issue, with selling off Hydro One. If you fixed the system, you shouldn’t have sold it—over 80% don’t want to.
I believe that green energy is really important. I believe that you, and your colleague as well, care about the environment and want to do a good job. My problem is what we’ve seen when we have lots of money—the AG talked about the $9.2 billion—the cap-and-trade money is going to go to the Green Ontario Fund. That’s a concern for me: how that money is going to be rolled out, where it’s going to go, who is going to get it, what type of contract it’s going to be.
I don’t have a problem with another agency if it’s going to be able to work in the best interests; my problem is what we’re going to do with the fund. That’s the issue for me. I want to be clear on that, although I probably will vote to support you even before you answer one question, because the issue with me isn’t with who is going on the agency. My issue is what we’re going to do with the money. That’s my issue, and I wanted to get that out.
Climate change is an unusually pressing matter in our province and throughout the world. You’ll like this part: It may be one of our biggest challenges to address, to ensure our children and our grandchildren have a world to grow up in and raise their families long after we’re gone. Because of that, I do support the general premises of this corporation. However, I do not doubt that the corporation will face many challenges—some of the ones that I’ve already said are around how you would distribute the money. Could the witness discuss, in your opinion, some of the major challenges that Ontario faces when it comes to combatting climate change?
I finally got you a question.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Well, I could start with transportation, but before I do that I would just like everybody to understand that I do not have a licence and I do not drive a car. I take public transport, all the time. I can get places anywhere in the world and figure it out without having to get a car. I think we’re going to have to change how people go places. Somebody raised the question of the increased cost of oil and gas. If we can learn to transport people effectively to their work, to their homes, to where they play—all of those things—and reduce the use of single people in single cars, then we will lower GHGs and they will not be spending the money on gas. It’s always less when you go with a group. That’s the first thing I really want to see, because I see all of this as about change.
We have to build and renovate our houses better. We have to get over our love of granite kitchen tops—I’m sure John agrees with me, because we’ve both been in this business—and start looking at what makes our homes work. That will actually reduce a lot of the use. Triple-paned windows, higher efficiency mechanicals and all of those things really make a difference, and teaching people how to use those homes. Habitat for Humanity spends three days teaching people how to use their homes or commissioning their homes. Most of us don’t spend an hour on it. We spend more time at our lawyers when we buy the house. We’re going to have to change some of those things.
With commercial and industrial buildings, we are going to have to build them differently. With public housing, there’s a program called Energiesprong in the Netherlands that’s building energy-efficient, GHG-lowering attractive homes for low-income people, and they’re also developing innovation because they bring business in and say, “How can we do this better?” We need to look at things like that that are really focused, in my mind, on the end user, whether it’s business or residential.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I appreciate that. Habitat for Humanity does a great job, by the way. I’ve participated in a lot of builds in Niagara, and I’m very pleased to say that the work they’re doing on trying to get affordable housing in Niagara is really good.
The other point that I thought you hit right on the nail is that we’ve got to get people out of our cars. I think you agree with that. Do you agree with that?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: I never got into one, at least in the driver’s seat.
Mr. Wayne Gates: But in your role, you agree that we should get people out of cars?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Yes. I think we have to change. I just came back from Europe and most major cities have really effective subway systems that work, with buses that connect to them etc. There’s a whole part of downtown London that has no cars.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And that’s a good point that follows up to my next question. I know Mr. Bradley’s going to like this: Do you agree that we should have GO down in Niagara by 2021?
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: We should have what?
Mr. Wayne Gates: That we should have GO down to Niagara by 2021 to get people off that QEW. Do you ever drive down that QEW where you don’t—
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: No—let’s go back.
Mr. Wayne Gates: But I’m sure you’ve got friends who are spending two and three hours on it. We need GO down in Niagara, and I agree 100% with your comment that we’ve got to get people out of our cars.
But the one that you touched on that I think is very important—it’s very important for consumers. You talked about building houses better, but what we have to concentrate on and make sure of is that the houses and the condominiums that are being built today are built to code.
We have a lot of problems in the housing sector where we’re getting lots of complaints after people buy their homes. I’m not going to say what type of work it is, but we have to make sure that they’re being built to code, and if they’re not being done properly, that they’re getting fixed in a timely manner. That’s an issue in the province of Ontario—
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Could I say something?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Sure, absolutely.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Sitting on the Building Code Conservation Advisory Council, one of the things we are stressing is the need to build capacity both in municipal governments and in the building community, so that we avoid the problems in the first place. But in the second place, these are signed off on by the cities, the municipalities. We have to make sure they have enough people working for them who are trained. There is a capacity issue there, and it’s one that I’m aware of and one that I know is actually in the climate change plan.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, I guess my point is—I understand; I was a city councillor. I’m talking about when you get a builder and they build a home that’s supposed to be built to code. It might not be to code, and then when you have all the problems, they’re not getting fixed in a timely manner. They end up spending thousands of dollars trying to have their dream home taken care of. The dream home is not taken care of and all that time, that energy is going out the windows and all that stuff.
That was my point. It’s a big issue in the province of Ontario, one that maybe your committee would take a look at as well to make sure it’s being done—or at least help me make sure that people are building to code and helping our environment.
How much time have I got left?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have just over a minute.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay, good. I’m going to make a quick statement because I think it’s important for your committee to understand that we have real issues in the province of Ontario around affordability with our hydro. I’ve listened to my colleagues to my right, and I’m sure my friends in the Liberal Party are seeing the same thing: seniors, families, and small and medium-sized businesses are all seeing that they can’t afford their hydro bills.
I’m going to ask this question; it wasn’t asked before. I just think that we have to make sure that whatever we’re doing in the province of Ontario, families aren’t being hurt. You talk about a young family. I have a relatively young family. They’re around the same ages as yours, by the way.
Ms. Elizabeth McDonald: Granddaughters.
Mr. Wayne Gates: They’re struggling every day to pay bills in the province of Ontario. We have to make sure that to live in Ontario, to raise your family in Ontario and to open up a business in Ontario is affordable. One of the most important things that we have in the province of Ontario is hydro. It’s a necessity. We own it; we should keep it.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates, and thank you very much, Ms. McDonald. That concludes the time allotted for this interview. You may step down.
We will now consider the concurrence for Mr. John Gorman, who is nominated as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp. Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Qaadri, please.
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just before I do, I’d like to alert the committee that I will be calling some subcommittee business post this movement here.
I move concurrence in the intended appointment of John Gorman, nominated as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? Yes, Mr. Gates?
Mr. Wayne Gates: I just want to say again—I said it during my questioning—that I absolutely have no problem with the individuals who are applying for the agency, but I have lots of concerns around how the fund is going to work. I just wanted to get that out before I vote.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any further discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Congratulations, Mr. Gorman.
We will now consider the concurrence for Ms. Elizabeth McDonald, nominated as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp. Would someone please move the concurrence? Thank you, Mr. Qaadri.
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Elizabeth McDonald, nominated as member, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corp.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Congratulations, Ms. McDonald.
We do have a number of intended appointees whose deadlines are rapidly approaching, so we will need to extend those. Mr. Qaadri.
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I think in the interest of executing those appointments—as you said, there are quite a number—I’d like to have the subcommittee, if possible, stay for a couple of minutes after this committee to decide the physical meeting date during the month of June for that purpose.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Does everyone agree with the motion that is being put forward by Mr. Qaadri?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Why would we do that? Let’s just do it. Let’s just get it done. Why the subcommittee report? We’re all here; let’s do it. We have a subcommittee report, and then we’ve got to see who’s available. Why would we do that? Let’s just do it now. Let’s get it over with.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): I guess it doesn’t have to be a formal subcommittee report—but just in terms of perhaps the subcommittee, outside of this meeting, deciding on which dates to meet in the month of June to look at the intended appointees that we have here.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I don’t know everybody’s schedule. There are only going to be three of us here in the subcommittee. Everybody’s here. Let’s see if we can accommodate everybody’s schedule while they’re here. I think that would be the smart thing to do.
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I would support that, Mr. Gates.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Does the member have dates in mind?
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Well, it’s open, really, the entire month. We were hoping to execute it in the month of June and that’s perhaps why we wanted the subcommittee, but I think it’s probably better for all the members of the committee, if that’s agreeable, to discuss.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): So we should discuss this—
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: For argument’s sake, presumably we could keep it at Tuesdays. Should we make it, for example, one week from today? Is that suitable or catastrophic?
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Whatever suits the rest of the committee. I won’t be here.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): One week from today. Let’s all check our schedules.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: You just have to pick a date because you’re never going to satisfy everybody.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Mr. Qaadri is proposing that the committee meet June 6. Does that work for everyone?
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Just to be clear: I understand there are probably half a dozen or so appointments, so it would be a lengthy half-day type of meeting.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Do I hear that June 6, the committee would like to meet? Did we want to propose a second date should we need a second date, or just keep it at June 6 and we’ll do it all on that day, get it over and done with on that day?
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: That’s perhaps a good idea. On Tuesday, June 6, hopefully we can get it all done. If we cannot meet on Tuesday, June 6, or we require further time, which I don’t anticipate—perhaps the week after. Is that suitable? Tuesday, June 13?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Let’s schedule June 6 as the date that we will be meeting in the month of June, and as per Mr. Qaadri, should we not complete all the intended appointees that day, we would reconsider a further extension on that particular day. Can we do 9 o’clock on June 6? Okay, so 9 o’clock on June 6. I need to read all of these intended appointees into the report or into the meeting before 10:15.
I have a number of intended appointees that I need to get into the record before 10:15. Currently, some of them are expiring within the next few days or within the next couple of weeks. Because we do not know their availability for June 6 at this point, I will be requesting that each of these intended appointees be extended 30 days. I am going to read them now into the report here.
There are two intended appointees whose deadlines expire this Sunday, June 4. William Jamieson Harper, nominated as member, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network: I request that we have unanimous consent that his deadline is extended until July 4. Do we have unanimous consent? Yes.
The next intended appointee is Rita Westbrook, nominated as member, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. Again, her deadline expires this Sunday, June 4. I’m requesting that it be extended until July 4, 2017. Do we have unanimous consent on this extension? Yes. Perfect.
There is one intended appointee whose deadline extension expires on June 13, 2017: John Andrew McBride, nominated as vice-chair, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal, and Board of Negotiation. I’m requesting that his extension be extended until July 13, 2017. Is there unanimous consent on the extension? Yes.
There are two further intended appointees, our most recent selections, whose deadlines for committee review will expire on June 18. Does the committee wish to extend those deadlines at this time? Yes. Perfect. It’s Mr. Richard Makuch, nominated as vice-chair, Ontario Municipal Board, and Ms. Deborah Crawford, nominated as member, Erie-St. Clair LHIN. Those appointees expire on June 18. I’m requesting unanimous consent to extend it to July 18, 2017. Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed. Perfect.
Just one last piece here: We all agreed that we will be meeting at 9 a.m., June 6, to listen to all these intended appointees. Should any of them not be available on June 6, we will then need to reconsider and perhaps consider June 13. Is everyone okay with that?
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I’d also just suggest that if they’re not physically available, then teleconference is available too.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): This is not like a deputation before a debate on a bill. The intended appointees need to be physically present.
If there’s no further business, the meeting is adjourned. Thank you.
The committee adjourned at 1015.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Présidente
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Ms. Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre / Kitchener-Centre L)
Mr. Granville Anderson (Durham L)
Mr. James J. Bradley (St. Catharines L)
Mr. Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls ND)
Mrs. Amrit Mangat (Mississauga–Brampton South / Mississauga–Brampton-Sud L)
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff (Niagara West–Glanbrook / Niagara-Ouest–Glanbrook PC)
Mr. Randy Pettapiece (Perth–Wellington PC)
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North / Etobicoke-Nord L)
Ms. Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre / Kitchener-Centre L)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Erin Fowler, research officer,