STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 27 March 2018 Mardi 27 mars 2018
The committee met at 0901 in committee room 2.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Good morning, everyone. Before we begin our intended appointments review, our first order of business is to consider three subcommittee reports.
The subcommittee report dated Thursday, March 1, 2018: Would someone please move adoption of the report? Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, March 1, 2018.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
The subcommittee report dated Thursday, March 8, 2018: Would someone please move adoption of the report?
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, March 8, 2018.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
The subcommittee report dated Thursday, March 15, 2018: Would someone please move adoption of the report?
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, March 15, 2018.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried. Thank you.
We will now move to the appointments review. We have two intended appointees to hear from today. We will consider the concurrences following the interviews.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski
Review of intended appointment, selected by third party: Tyler Twarowski, intended appointee as member, Temiskaming Shores Police Services Board.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Our first intended appointee is Tyler S. Twarowski, nominated as member, Temiskaming Shores Police Services Board. Please come forward and take a seat at the table. Welcome and thank you very much for being here this morning. You may 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 questioning. When questioning does begin, it will begin with the third party. Welcome. You may begin.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Good morning. Can you all hear me fine?
Hi. My name’s Tyler Twarowski. I’m Métis from Saskatchewan and have called Temiskaming my home for the last 12 years. My family and I live in rural Temiskaming. My wife is a nurse practitioner there. I have a son, Jackson, who’s 11, who enjoys hockey, and a daughter, Alaina, who’s seven, who enjoys gymnastics.
I’m director of services at Canadian Mental Health Association. The work we do there is important. We engage people who live with mental health experiences and face challenges in their lives, and we support and assist them so they can live in a way that’s meaningful for them.
We have a variety of services and supports, including primary care, mental health and addictions, consumer support, which is like a drop-in centre, justice diversion, court diversion and a number of other groups and supports that assist people in the community to maintain a level of health in the community.
At Canadian Mental Health Association, I started in a counsellor-type position, moved to team lead, to program manager and now as a director. This is important because I have direct service experience and so I know what it’s like when people present in crisis, as well as when the police reach out for assistance to us, or vice versa, when we reach out to them for similar support and help for the hospital.
I am a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, previously a councillor with that organization. I’m also the chair for the local aboriginal health committee which provides and develops strategies for indigenous health in that LHIN. I also am now a steering committee member for the LHIN health services plan steering committee, which is intended to develop strategies for that sector, for that region, over the next three-year period. Along with those positions, I sit on a number of committees, in particular one for local aboriginal service providers.
So, at a higher level, I provide my experience and support for indigenous causes but also have connections at a local area. This is important in the role that I’m applying for today. I do have connections, I have experience working in partnership and I have those linkages which are important for our community health and a strategy along those lines.
I am completing a master’s of education in aboriginal and world indigenous educational studies through Queen’s. My focus of research is on reclaiming a prideful Métis identity. This holds relevance because, along the lines of what we’re talking about and what I’ve mentioned, in a lot of cases—stereotypical—people who have been marginalized have been characterized as having characters flaws. In many cases, the reasoning behind where people are at is because of systemic issues or traumatic issues in their past.
I have experience working with police in mental health interventions in both Kirkland Lake and New Liskeard. This has been a very interesting experience and rewarding on many levels. I say “interesting” because there are differences in those approaches and systems. There are differences in the way that we go about things, and in many cases I’ve seen strengths and limitations to that co-operation.
I’m very optimistic and hopeful because we have, at my level, engaged with police in a collaborative and partnership-developing way and seen many good outcomes come from that. It is important because we’ve begun to understand each other’s approach and limitations in those roles. From that, if you get a better understanding of where people are coming from and why they’re doing what they do, it can be helpful to work in partnership as opposed to being frustrated when the other system isn’t doing what you expect of it or ask of it.
In particular, a liaison role that has been set up in New Liskeard with Sergeant Devost has been very helpful. It’s a liaison-type role, which is easily accessible and works in advance. If we see areas that could use improvement or particular individuals who are challenging to either system, we can try to work in co-operation to prevent, rather than engaging when it’s a full-blown crisis.
Also, at our organization, we have a police representative on our board of directors, which has been insightful for me.
In closing, I would just like to say that, while I don’t have a particular overriding passion around policing, I do have a passion around healthy communities, engagement, partnerships, collaboration, and I think those all work well to improve our community. I’ve seen good results come from that. Thank you.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much. We’ll now begin questioning with the third party. Mr. Vanthof.
Mr. John Vanthof: Thanks, Tyler, for making the trip down. We live pretty close to each other—
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: That’s right, yes; neighbours.
Mr. John Vanthof: In northern Ontario terms, definitely.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: That’s true.
Mr. John Vanthof: I’ve just got a couple of questions. You’ve obviously got a deep background in the mental health field. What roles do you think the Temiskaming Shores Police Services Board can play to improve the outcomes for mental health in our area?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Building on what I just talked about, I think that engagement piece is really important. I think working in partnership—not that the police haven’t, but their role has been fairly clear: They do what they do. When we have come together and partnered—I mentioned those limitations—both systems have had to adjust a little bit what we do to understand the limitations of what we’re asking from each other. Developing the linkages, sitting on committees together, sitting on boards, developing those partnerships—being able to reach out and work hand in hand has been very important.
An example of that: If someone presents at hospital, oftentimes there is involvement of mental health and police. Trying to determine the best fit for each of those roles is really important in making the person who’s undergoing a crisis or a mental health situation—so those outcomes can be positive and hopeful, rather than resulting in charges that don’t need to be laid, an unpleasant experience.
An example of this is, previously, anyone who was undergoing an arrest would be placed into a cruiser with their hands handcuffed behind their back. If you are undergoing a mental health experience which is a crisis, that can be the one thing that you remember from that experience and it may prevent you from reaching out again. That’s a worry. We want people, if they’re suicidal or if they’re in a moment of weakness, to be able to feel confident in the systems that support them.
Mr. John Vanthof: You mentioned that you are a member of the Métis community. Do you see any specific issues, gaps, in the Temiskaming Shores area that the Métis community is experiencing?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: I’m sure that there are many, and I don’t mean in particular to the Temiskaming Shores area. As I’m sure you’re all aware, we are in a period where we’re looking for reconciliation. I think that’s important for all of the roles that we do.
In particular, for Temiskaming Shores, I haven’t heard of overriding problems like other areas in my experience. I’m from Saskatchewan, so there are areas there where I can speak of specifics. For Temiskaming Shores, I think the police services have been respectful. I think they’ve engaged well.
Areas for opportunity: I’ll give you an example of my own organization in which I’m a director now. Previously, there was another director. When I was in a program manager role, one of the directors came to sit on a committee, and three people turned to me and asked, “Who’s that?” These were people who had been in our organization for a long time, but they didn’t know who the director was.
What I’ve said is, if the only time you engage someone is through a conflict or adversarial role, it makes it hard to build partnerships. If police only engage with indigenous communities when there’s a law being broken or when they need to incarcerate somebody and take them out of the community, it’s going to be hard to build bridges.
Areas of opportunity could be presenting or carrying a flag at a powwow, engaging at the school level when the schools are having indigenous days, or, specific to Métis, presenting and working in collaboration with the Métis on Louis Riel Day—something along those lines, to help foster a sense of trust and engage people outside those conflict roles.
Mr. John Vanthof: According to your bio that has been provided, you don’t actually live in the area covered by the Temiskaming Shores Police Services Board—because we’ve been asked that. How are you going to handle that?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: This is the fourth time I’ve been asked that. To me, I don’t see it as a large issue. I was asked to present to the board and put my application in. I live in Englehart, which is a small community outside of New Liskeard. I commute to work every day. My work office is in Temiskaming Shores. In reality, I probably spend more time in Temiskaming Shores than out of it. I don’t see it being a conflict. One of the things, going back to the previous comment around indigenous—a lot of the lines that we draw in the sand are imaginary lines. I understand wanting to keep a clear division. To me, I don’t see a conflict there around where I live and the Temiskaming Shores board.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any further questions from the third party?
Mr. Wayne Gates: No, we’re good.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you. We’re going to turn it over to the government side. You have four minutes. We’ll start with Ms. Kiwala.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Welcome to the committee. It’s a pleasure to meet you and hear about your experience. I note from your last name that it sounds like you must have a little bit of Polish background.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: I do. Polish Ukrainian on my father’s side.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Okay; got it. It’s quite a unique background that you have, and I can hear from your comments today that you’re drawing from a lot of past experience and deep experience within the community. The story that you told about the individual in a mental health crisis being handcuffed in a police car really rings home, and it suggests to me that you really do have your feet on the ground in your community and the community that you work in. So I think that’s certainly something that will give the committee some assurance that you can draw from a wide range of your experiences.
As the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, I’m really pleased to hear about your Métis background as well. I’m wondering if you’re familiar with the fact that the Ontario government signed a tripartite agreement with the federal government and the Métis Nation of Ontario just at the end of last year. You were aware of that?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: I did hear that, yes.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Okay. With that new framework agreement, are there ways in which you can work in your capacity on the police services board to integrate your work a little more closely with the Métis in the area where you will be working?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: I think in both areas, mental health and indigenous—and the reason I’m including those together is that they historically have been marginalized people. A lot of good can come when you can present—let’s use the term “champions,” or people who are thriving and doing well. For police, for hospital systems, for mental health systems, there can be a little frustration or even burnout if the only people of a population you ever see are those who are in challenge, in crisis or maybe frustrated or against the system. It’s easy to be frustrated with police if you think they’re coming to arrest you or engaging with you in a way that you don’t want, similar to mental health systems.
In a role like this, if you can provide different perspectives or show people engaging in different ways—I think the powpow is a good example of that. Here are people coming together in a healthful way to promote community, to promote a cultural practice, and police are able to see that. It helps reduce stereotypes or helps reduce an us-versus-them mentality, and that’s not just policing; that’s mental health as well, where that’s a very effective strategy to move towards community-building. So I can see that as a real opportunity.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: That’s great. Thank you. I don’t think I have any further questions—unless there are other areas in which you feel you would like to add that you haven’t touched upon. You would have a two-year mandate. Are there particular things that you would like to accomplish in that mandate that are special to you?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): And you have 15 seconds to wrap that up.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Yes. I’ll say simply that this is a new role for me. I was asked to consider it. I’ve reviewed the packages that have been provided to me. In the beginning, I think, I will just become familiar with what the board does.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you so much. We’ll now turn it over to Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Good morning.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Good morning.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I was interested in your justification of where you live and where you’re going to serve. I’m from rural Ontario too, so distances aren’t just that big of a deal. We do travel probably miles or kilometres farther than what some people maybe in the city do, although it takes you longer to get through the city than it does—
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Yes.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I want to direct your attention to a recent development, and that’s Bill 175. Are you aware of Bill 175?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Only recently. In the package, I noted that it was something that has been developed, so I printed it out and I reviewed it in the last week.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Okay. Some of the things—they’ve replaced the Ontario Police Services Act. It amends the Coroners Act and it creates a Missing Persons Act and the Forensic Laboratories Act, the Policing Oversight Act and the Ontario Policing Discipline Tribunal Act. It received royal assent on March 8. It covers a lot of ground, I guess is what I’m getting at. One of the things that it says it does is to set “clear parameters that outline police responsibilities and that identify where it may be appropriate to use non-police personnel.” Any thoughts on that?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Yes. I don’t know enough of the specifics around the bill to speak on it, but I like the intention of the bill, and I think that is to get communities working in collaboration and partnership and find appropriate roles for when police intervene and when they can call on other organizations.
Myself, I am aware that we have a memorandum of understanding with the police in Timmins and another one in Timiskaming, where I’m at. We will be fleshing that out to work in better partnership, to see how that can benefit the members of our community. I think there is a role to play—I think police have been frustrated when they’re called out for mental health crises. I think our staff in the mental health field have felt a sense of frustration, and also safety concerns when they’re being called out for the unknown and engaging with someone. So I do think that there is opportunity there.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: With the First Nations community up north, do they have their own police service where you’re from?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: I believe Temagami has, and I’m not sure about—well, Timiskaming First Nation is along the border, so a lot of their people come to our community. It gets a bit complex. There are a number of indigenous communities that surround Temiskaming Shores and often come to school there or work there and things like that. I believe that Temagami does; the other ones, I’m not certain.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I want to come back to this point, again, about the non-police personnel. There are some concerns about that, that people who have maybe not had the right training or whatever get involved with police work, and then end up calling the police in anyway when there’s a problem. I think we’ve seen this in years past.
There’s sometimes a security service. Down where I’m from, they’ll do a dance or something like that, a community event. You end up calling the OPP in anyway, so you might as well have them there in the first place. So there are concerns around that, that we do that right. That’s why I asked that question.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: The only feedback I would have to that, and I don’t have a lot of knowledge around this: I will take my experiences where again, at the hospital, often we get concerns from the hospital that a person presented at crisis or at the emergency room, and they may have been able to be better served somewhere else. Their response to that is, “Yes, but you probably don’t know the 15 people that we didn’t direct to the hospital, that we worked with in the community and in our crisis office at the building.” There could be that, and I think engagement, linkages and collaboration, sitting at a committee or having that open dialogue, might help with the situation, but that is only a perspective. I don’t have a lot of background information on that.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: The changes also include that they will enhance “the capacity of police services boards by requiring all board members to complete training, including diversity training,” within a prescribed time. Have you been briefed on that?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: No.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: It will strengthen “reporting requirements for boards, increasing the minimum and maximum board size based on local needs.”
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Can you repeat that? Sorry, I didn’t catch that.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I said it will strengthen “reporting requirements for boards, increasing the minimum and maximum board size based on local needs.” On your boards, are you aware of whether the size needs to be increased or decreased?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: I don’t, actually.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: And it offers First Nations the opportunity to choose whether they want to establish their own police services boards or continue with their current policing framework. Is this something you’ve considered?
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Again, it hasn’t come up at a lot of the committees or tables that I sit at, but I do like the idea of empowerment in that. People having the opportunity to consider themselves what approach they want to take I think falls along a self-governance model, so I would be in favour of that.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Okay. Thanks, Chair.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any further questions? No.
Thank you very much, Mr. Twarowski. You may step down. We will consider the concurrences following all of the interviews today.
Mr. Tyler Twarowski: Thank you.
Mr. John Milloy
Review of intended appointment, selected by third party: John Milloy, intended appointee as member, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Our next intended appointee today is John Milloy, who is nominated as member, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
Mr. Milloy, please come forward and take your seat at the table. It’s wonderful to see you here this morning.
You may 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 we do begin questioning, it will begin with the government side.
Welcome. You may begin.
Mr. John Milloy: I have an opening statement and I have a copy to provide to the Clerk for Hansard or for members.
Thank you, Madam Chair. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honour to appear before the Standing Committee on Government Agencies to discuss my proposed candidacy as a board member of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, often referred to as HEQCO.
As I think all members of the committee will agree, higher education is crucial to the future of our province. An effective and responsive post-secondary education system is important to Ontario’s economic and social future, particularly in these times of rapid change.
HEQCO was established in 2005 to provide independent, evidence-based advice to the government of Ontario about post-secondary education. It’s my understanding that the board is responsible for overseeing HEQCO’s overall direction and priorities as it reviews relevant questions facing the sector.
I believe that I have the experience and qualifications to be a board member. As you are aware, I served as Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities on two occasions, from 2007 until the 2011 election, and then briefly during the transition between the McGuinty and Wynne governments.
During my time as minister, I had a chance to work very closely with HEQCO and understand its value to the government. It’s always easy to get mired down in the day-to-day demands of a busy sector like post-secondary education, and as minister I found it very helpful to have a body that was looking at post-secondary education through a longer-term lens using the best possible evidence.
Being a former minister gives me a good understanding of the sector and the challenges that it faces. I worked very closely with university and college presidents, senior administrators and, most importantly, students to help improve our system. Working with both the colleges and other training providers, along with students, I was also able to gain an in-depth understanding of our apprenticeship system, another important facet of Ontario’s post-secondary education sector.
As well as holding the post of Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, I was also honoured to serve as Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, which gave me a different insight into our post-secondary sector and the important contribution made by our colleges and universities to Ontario’s research agenda. Although HEQCO’s mandate is to offer independent advice to government, it needs to be advice that is relevant and presented in a manner that is useful for decision-makers. I feel that my background as a former minister would help me contribute to board discussions and decisions involving the agency’s research agenda.
Since leaving politics, I have continued to be associated with the post-secondary sector, and I presently hold several appointments that are relevant to this post.
I am currently the director of the Centre for Public Ethics at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, a federated institution with Wilfrid Laurier University. The centre’s mandate is to promote dialogue, research and education on the choices we make in support of the public good, with a particular focus on Canada’s faith communities. I also have an opportunity to be in the classroom, serving at the seminary as an assistant professor of public ethics, teaching a number of courses related to public faith and public theology. I would argue that classroom experience is important to anyone thinking about the future of our post-secondary system.
As well as my work at the seminary, I also serve as practitioner in residence in Wilfrid Laurier’s department of political science. In that role, I focus on three main activities. First, I am a resource to both students and faculty, and I often guest lecture in various political science classes. Second, I run a series of workshops for political science students on the practice of politics. Attendance at these workshops can become part of a student’s co-curricular record. Included in this program is an annual trip to Queen’s Park, where students have a chance to watch question period and meet with representatives of all three parties as well as the Speaker and key political staff.
Finally, and perhaps most relevant to this new role: Working with both the department of political science and other university administrators, I have been charged with the examination of certain public policy questions through the development of various policy dialogues.
Last year we worked with faculty, students, administrators and alumni to examine experiential education and the important role that it plays in preparing students for the workforce. The result was a half-day policy round table on the subject and a report that has been taken up by Laurier’s administration. Later this spring, I will have the honour of presenting some of our work at the national conference of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers during a session entitled “Strategically Connecting the Non-Profit Sector with Campus to Address Shared Interests.”
This year we are involved in a longer-term examination of the transition of high school students to university, particularly in the arts and social sciences field, and hope to develop recommendations for Laurier based on a series of round tables and consultations with university students, high school instructors, university faculty and others involved in the transition process.
As well as my work at Laurier, I also teach and assist the University of Waterloo’s master of public service program. This two-year co-op program helps prepare students for work in the public service in all three orders of government, including the Ontario public service.
As you can see, I have a strong, ongoing connection to our university sector. Through my community involvement, I still stay in touch with both the college sector and, to a lesser extent, the apprenticeship sector. I am a board member of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, a charitable non-profit foundation whose mission is to enhance the quality of life and care for seniors. It is a partnership between Schlegel Villages, a retirement and long-term-care operator, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.
Since leaving politics, I have taken on other board work which I feel would prepare me to be a member of the HEQCO board. This includes being on the board of Mitacs, a national organization that facilitates co-operation between universities and the private sector to create training programs and internships. I am also a member of the board of my local community foundation and serve on the board of Waterloo North Hydro.
Although I believe that my experience with the post-secondary sector both directly and indirectly would be of great benefit as a HEQCO board member, I also realize that it could hold the potential for conflicts of interest. To that end, I am pleased to advise the committee that I have worked very closely with the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner of Ontario to review any potential conflicts. He has communicated to me his belief that as long as I practise the prudence expected of all government appointees and adopt strategies to mitigate any conflict concerns, I could serve as an effective HECQO board member.
In closing, although I have appreciated the opportunity to return to private life after almost 11 years at Queen’s Park, I continue to have a commitment to public service. I believe that our post-secondary education system plays a crucial role in preparing our students to be good citizens who can make a meaningful contribution to both our economic and social well-being.
I’m sure that members would agree that Ontario requires a post-secondary education system that is responsive to the changing needs of our society. HEQCO provides a valuable service in undertaking the type of thoughtful research that assists the government, along with its partner institutions, to meet the needs of Ontario’s students.
Although this is a part-time appointment, I still see it as a small way that I can contribute my knowledge and experience to helping to strengthen Ontario’s system of post-secondary education.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you, Mr. Milloy.
We’ll now turn it over to the government side, which has about two minutes. Mr. Fraser.
Mr. John Fraser: John, it’s very good to see you again.
Mr. John Milloy: It’s good to be here.
Mr. John Fraser: It’s a pleasure. Thank you very much for your presentation. I guess I usually get to see you when it’s faith and politics time, somewhere in November.
I simply want to say that I think the experience that you bring, both in government, in post-secondary and in the community, is critical for the appointment that you’re seeking, and that on this side we fully support it. I want to thank you very much for putting your name forward.
That’s all I have for you, John.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any further questions from the government side? Ms. Kiwala.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I don’t have any further questions, but if you would like, in the last minutes or seconds, to add any final comments, we’d be happy to hear.
Mr. John Milloy: No. I tried to cover it all in my opening statement, but thank you for your kind words.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I’m very comfortable with your application.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any further questions from the government side?
Okay. Thank you very much. We’ll now turn it over to Mr. Oosterhoff.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: John, it’s very nice to see you in person. We’ve exchanged a couple of emails here and there. I’ve got to say I very much appreciate the work that you’ve done since leaving public life—your work in academia as well as in the private sector. So, first of all, thank you for that. I enjoy reading your articles whenever they do come out. I would consider myself a fairly avid follower of yours, actually.
I do have a couple of questions. First of all, this isn’t intended to be rude, but would you consider this in any way, shape or form to be a form of patronage appointment?
Mr. John Milloy: Let me answer that by saying that the appointment requires attendance at six board meetings a year, and my understanding is that there’s a per diem of $200. Where I come from, patronage appointments are where people make a whole bunch of money from getting a plush government appointment. This will require me reorganizing my life, which I’m very happy to do, in order to make a commitment to coming to Toronto and elsewhere for work. I certainly don’t see it as a patronage appointment. Going back to 100 years ago when I was here, I don’t think the folks at home would see this as a patronage appointment.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: All right. My next question: Were you asked to apply for this position, or did you apply out of your own desire?
Mr. John Milloy: When I left politics, I decided, as you can tell by my presentation—well, maybe my presentation says that I can’t hold down a full-time job. But I decided to pursue a number of different avenues. The sort of highfalutin term, I guess, is the portfolio approach.
At that point, I had heard in passing that they might be looking for HEQCO board members. I had talked to the president and CEO and talked a little bit about the board and the position. A fair amount of time elapsed, to be honest. I was trying to get my feet. But as I became settled, I then put my name forward. I’ve been in touch with the minister’s office to understand the position and also understand—I don’t think it’s an elephant in the room; I’ve certainly talked about the idea of a former minister and about the fact that I am so involved in post-secondary education.
The act itself is very clear that they don’t want people who have a board of governors’ role or have an administrative role. Despite, for example, my title as director of the Centre for Public Ethics, that’s an appointment. I have no role in the administration of the seminary. I certainly wanted to make that clear and also make sure that people were comfortable with a former minister coming forward.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: Perfect. Thank you. My next question is, I would say, a little bit tying in with some of the work that you’ve done since leaving public office. I’ve been really impressed even just reading about, last week, the faith and politics event you held at Mount Zion Lutheran Church, I believe it was, with Robert Fisher, formerly of the press gallery and whatnot.
I wanted to ask you specifically about HEQCO and faith and religion as it pertains to higher education. I know, being a post-secondary student myself and speaking with my peers and as a person of faith myself, that there does seem to be a concern from students of various faith backgrounds that sometimes, in the secular environment that is our post-secondary education system, religion or faith is not referred to except in a sort of desultory or almost condescending fashion, often, in courses. It’s not very popular to admit that you’re a person of faith in post-secondary education.
Has HEQCO ever looked at anything that could be done to make people of faith more comfortable in the post-secondary environment in the sense that their views are still treated as equal and of worth? What would you say are some steps that could be taken in that regard?
Mr. John Milloy: Sure. As a general question, we could eat up most of the morning. I’d love to pontificate and give a sermon on that. In terms of HEQCO, HEQCO is looking at longer-term trends in the post-secondary education system. I know they look at accessibility, at learning outcomes, at system design. They’ve done a lot of work over the past 12 years. I can’t—I’m here to apply to be on the board; I don’t have knowledge of all the research that they’ve done.
I’ll be candid: I think the longer-term, 50,000-foot system design that they’re looking at may not be a way to get at some of the issues that you’re talking about. But certainly in terms of making sure that university is relevant and making sure that people leave university with not only skills but with an understanding of those skills—that has actually been one of the biggest issues that I’ve seen amongst students. They don’t understand what they have learned. They can’t go to an employer and explain it.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: No, no, I completely agree.
Mr. John Milloy: Working in a seminary setting, I mean, it’s interesting to make students aware that what they’ve learned has an applicability—they don’t all have to become youth pastors or go work for a Christian overseas organization—and that there is a way forward.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: I’m not talking about seminary students so much as engineers, people going to school for engineering, people going into the humanities. I’m in political science myself. How do we—we talk about inclusion; we talk about inclusion especially in post-secondary education. I think that’s phenomenal. I think we need to have people from all backgrounds at the table. But people of faith do feel left out of that, and that’s not just Christians. I speak with Muslims and Sikhs as well who feel this sort of push-back whenever you bring your faith into a seminar or when you speak about something from that particular perspective. What can we do and what can HEQCO do to create a more inclusionary environment for people of faith?
Mr. John Milloy: In terms of HEQCO, as I say, I’m about to become a board member—
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: Well, because that would fit under quality, right?
Mr. John Milloy: I’m sorry?
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: That would kind of fit under quality—
Mr. John Milloy: Well, I think issues around learning outcomes, accessibility—I mean, all of the things that it looks like. Is there an overlay of making students feel comfortable in a classroom setting? And of course, HEQCO is not just looking at universities, colleges and apprenticeships; they are looking at longer-term trends.
I’m not here as a representative of HEQCO. I haven’t served on the board. This is about getting on the board, so I can’t talk about the individual research projects that they’re looking at, but I think creating a system where students feel welcome, where there’s healthy debate and dialogue is the goal of everyone.
Part of the problem with HEQCO, of course, is capacity. They have a relatively small budget when you think of all that is going on in the world. The Royal Bank just came out with a study about the changing economy and the skills that people are going to need. You think of issues around accessibility for those with lower income. There are a million and one things. Part of this is understanding the direction of the system, the direction of the government, and trying to make sure that HEQCO’s research agenda moves it forward.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: HEQCO also provides policy recommendations to the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, so you would have received recommendations from HEQCO, I’m assuming, when you were minister of colleges and universities, as well?
Mr. John Milloy: Yes.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: What do those recommendations look like, and can you point to policies that have actually been implemented based on those recommendations?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have two minutes.
Mr. John Milloy: One of the areas that I was involved with in the very early stages was the idea of differentiation, the idea of creating more of a system, the idea of asking that colleges and universities offer a good education but that they complement each other, particularly in areas of specialization. The strategic mandate agreements that were introduced by the province after I had left the ministry were very much based on early discussions with HEQCO. HEQCO had a role, I understand—I had left—in reviewing those agreements. That whole idea of creating more of a system of post-secondary education was a place where HEQCO was very, very involved with.
Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: I just want to get one more question in. The population of 18- to 20-year-olds is expected to drop over the next couple of decades, and that is going to lead to a decrease in tuition that is going to lead to a subsequent decrease in funding, potentially. How do you expect the post-secondary education sector to deal with these pressures as the operating grants are reduced based on the lower acceptance?
Mr. John Milloy: Sure. As I said, that’s one of a long list of questions that are potential fodder for HEQCO. I’m not a member of the board. I don’t want—but it’s something to look at. Obviously, we have some thinking to do about our—the system that’s in place is a very good system. I referenced the Royal Bank report which is talking about how skills are shifting and how we need to—and there’s a myriad of reports—continually train people. What is the role of post-secondary education in that? I take that as one example.
Again, it’s going to be for the HEQCO board to think about, with advice from the staff there, what some of the major themes are, and then for HEQCO to pull it out. But the one you raise is obviously a prime candidate in terms of the shifting demographic.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Mr. Milloy. I let it go a few more seconds there, Mr. Oosterhoff.
We’re now going to pass it on to Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thanks very much. How are you?
Mr. John Milloy: I’m great.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I can tell that. I don’t want you to feel special on my first question. I do this quite regularly. Typically, I begin my questions by asking the witness if they ever donated to the Liberal Party. I suppose I know that answer, but have you ever donated to the Liberal Party before?
Mr. John Milloy: I have donated to the Liberal Party before.
Mr. Mike Colle: Any other party?
Mr. John Fraser: Shocking.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I just asked, okay? I don’t want to treat any of the people who come before me any different.
Other than being a former member of the Liberal government, what qualifications do you believe you have to serve on the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario?
Mr. John Milloy: Again, I was a member of the government. I was also the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities on two occasions, and also the Minister of Research and Innovation.
Since leaving politics, I have gone into the post-secondary education sector, where I started at the beginning. As I said in my opening remarks, I’m in the classroom, which is, I think, a huge benefit, to have people who are out there on the front lines.
I am involved in policy work at Laurier in the department of political science, which is looking at a number of very important issues in post-secondary education. I’m director of the Centre for Public Ethics, which is really an interface between our academic institutions and the community. I have experience in a professional program over at the University of Waterloo as a member of a board. I also mentioned that I do work on a board that has ties to Conestoga College.
I outlined a number of the boards that I’m involved with, some of them that have indirect links to post-secondary education, but also just board work in general. So I think I have that knowledge of board governance to bring forward.
The most important thing, when you think about HEQCO, is that HEQCO wants to be independent but it also, as does every board like that, wants to be useful and relevant. Having someone who can help provide that translation between what research may come up with and the government’s needs, to have that voice, I think I could add to it. I’m one of a number of voices around the table. It’s a board; it’s a high-level oversight, but I think I could add to it.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you. Just for the record, a question was asked by my colleague about getting this plum job that you’re applying for, because you talked about the $200. I just want to say that there are a lot of volunteers across the province of Ontario who don’t get anything to volunteer as well. I just wanted to say that on behalf of all the volunteers who volunteer in our communities every day, and they do it from the goodness of their hearts, as well. I don’t think that $200 swayed you any way, but I just wanted to say to the volunteers, thank you very much for what you do.
I think it’s important that we address the ongoing strike at York University with CUPE 3903. This strike and the recent strike at Ontario colleges highlights an important issue in our post-secondary institutions: precarious work for faculty. We know that more and more post-secondary institutions are relying on contract and part-time instructors to deliver their classes. I know that members of faculty right across the country have raised concerns about how this affects learning outcomes in post-secondary settings.
Could you speak to why the government hasn’t done more to address the issue of precarious work in our post-secondary education system among faculty, certainly with your experience that you have?
Mr. John Milloy: Yes. There are different parts. Let me unpack the question. In terms of the government’s policies, I can go back and talk about some of the work I did as minister, but, boy, that’s a history lesson.
In terms of the current government and the situation at York, I’ll allow the minister and others to speak about it.
In terms of HEQCO’s role, as a board member, I would be part of a group that would think at a high level, at a board level, about the direction of research and work that HEQCO might take in terms of providing independent research. Mr. Oosterhoff, when we spoke about some of the issues around the demographics—that’s an obvious one. The one you raise about precarious employment situations in post-secondary education is another one. That would be looking at it, again, longer term, evidence-based and providing that advice back to the government.
HEQCO is not going to be, obviously, commenting or getting involved in a particular dispute.
Mr. Wayne Gates: They might not be getting involved with it, but it obviously is affecting the education of our students right across the province of Ontario. We had the colleges once; now we have universities. Obviously it’s an issue that’s important, not only to your particular board, not only to the government, but I think equally important to the parents who are spending a fair amount of money on sending their kids to universities and colleges expecting them to get an education. Because we’re making decisions around faculty and how they’re using them—around precarious work—I think it’s not helping the education sector. It’s not helping our kids get the education they deserve. I think it is a big issue and one that I think the board should be taking a look at. I’ll go on to my next question, though.
I know that one of the concerns of HEQCO is accessibility at post-secondary institutions. What has HEQCO done to highlight opportunities for the government to remove barriers for underrepresented students in the post-secondary sector, such as students with disabilities, students from low-income families and First Nations students? Again, I’m relying on your expertise over a long period of time to answer the question.
Mr. John Milloy: Certainly. I’ll just make one little comment on the way the question was phrased. It’s a very, very important question, a very good question. HEQCO provides advice to the government, so your question of what has HEQCO done—well, HEQCO has provided advice to the government, and then the government obviously implements different measures and takes their advice, doesn’t take their advice or looks to others for advice. That’s the government’s prerogative.
I know, though, that in terms of accessibility, the categories that you outlined—in terms of income, indigenous students, students with disabilities—have been areas that HEQCO has examined, that they’ve commissioned reports and research on. Certainly, going back in my memory as minister, accessibility was a key part of the agenda. That ties a little bit into Mr. Oosterhoff’s question. If we see a demographic switch or a demographic change, are we also going to see accessibility to larger groups—ongoing education and the role that post-secondary education can play?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Before I move off, because I’m going to go to a different question, I just want to say to your point that colleges should be making sure they’re offering courses and training to students that could actually move into jobs. I could say that down in Niagara, Niagara College is doing a really good job on that, especially around tourism and craft breweries. All the industries that go into the wine industry—Brock University is doing a good job for them. I just wanted to say that and give both the college and university—to say they’re doing a good job on making sure that with the courses that they’re offering, they are moving from the course into good-paying jobs in Niagara. I think that’s important to say, that they are doing a good job.
Another question that I think is important—I’m not too sure if everybody will agree with this, but I think it’s important to ask you. As a previous member of the Liberal government and a member of the Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corp., I’d like to discuss with you a decision made by the Liberal government, a decision that I believe, in my humble opinion, was the worst decision made by this government. Do you believe that the sell-off of Hydro One was a good decision, even though the Financial Accountability—
Mr. Mike Colle: Oh, come on. Point of order.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Mr. Gates, I’m going to ask that the questions that you ask are related directly to the appointment today of Mr. Milloy. Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’ll actually argue this again with you, or discuss with you, I guess; arguing is not the right word. In what was provided to me by the government, in here it talks about what his role was before and it talks about how he was working there, so obviously for me to make an educated decision on yes or no and whether I’d want him to have this—you provided the information to me. I’m asking a question on this that’s fair, balanced and reasonable.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You guys can say what you want, but—
Mr. Mike Colle: This is way off topic.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Then don’t put it in here when you ask me to read it and—
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): And I appreciate that, Mr. Gates. That is provided as background to Mr. Milloy and I ask that you pose your questions as they relate to Mr. Milloy’s appointment to the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. I appreciate that. Even though the Financial—it has now shown the government would have saved $1.8 billion if the government had taken the traditional debt rather than selling off our publicly owned asset to fund infrastructure. You don’t have to answer the question. I just wanted to get it into the record. I appreciate that.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have 30 seconds.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The other one that is equally important, and I think is probably the most important question I’m going to ask, is about apprenticeships and what we could do to get young people, young women and young men, into apprenticeships. You raised that, and I think the future of good-paying jobs in the province of Ontario, particularly with the infrastructure dollars that are being spent, is in apprenticeships.
Mr. John Milloy: I’m fearful I have no time; do I?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You don’t have any more time.
Thank you very much, Mr. Milloy. That concludes the time for this interview. You may step down.
We’ll now consider the concurrence for Mr. Tyler Twarowski, nominated as member, Temiskaming Shores Police Services Board. Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Colle.
Mr. Mike Colle: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Tyler Twarowski, nominated as member, Temiskaming Shores Police Services Board.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried. Congratulations, Mr. Twarowski.
We will now consider the concurrence for Mr. John Milloy, nominated as member, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Colle.
Mr. Mike Colle: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of John Milloy, nominated as member, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried. Congratulations, Mr. Milloy.
Before we conclude today’s meeting, we do have some extensions that we need to review. There are 47 names, so an email will be sent out to everyone to get unanimous consent on those extensions. I believe the extensions will be for May 9. We are meeting on Tuesday, after the constit week. Any discussion on that? No? Okay. Thank you.
The committee adjourned at 0956.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Présidente
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Ms. Sophie Kiwala (Kingston and the Islands / Kingston et les Îles L)
Mr. Granville Anderson (Durham L)
Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest / Scarborough-Sud-Ouest L)
Mr. Brad Duguid (Scarborough Centre / Scarborough-Centre L)
Mr. Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls ND)
Ms. Sophie Kiwala (Kingston and the Islands / Kingston et les Îles 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)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Mike Colle (Eglinton–Lawrence L)
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South L)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr. John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane ND)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr. William Short
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Erin Fowler, research officer,