Thursday 5 November 1992

Review of special audit on Toronto General Division of the Toronto Hospital

CUPE local 2001

Roman Schyngera, president


*Chair / Président: Mancini, Remo (Essex South/-Sud L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L)

*Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South/-Sud L)

*Cousens, W. Donald (Markham PC)

Duignan, Noel (Halton North/-Nord ND)

*Frankford, Robert (Scarborough East/-Est ND)

Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND)

*Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND)

*Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings/Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud ND)

*O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

*Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

*Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Ms Haeck

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Leishman, Ken, executive director, reporting and special audits, Office of the Provincial Auditor

*In attendance / présents

Clerk / Greffiére: Manikel, Tannis

Staff / Personnel: McLellan, Ray, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1007 in room 151.


The Chair (Mr Remo Mancini): The standing committee on public accounts is called to order. I'd like first of all to thank the subcommittee for meeting with me early this morning prior to the sitting of the full committee. We had a number of things on our agenda this morning that we were able to accomplish. We will be reporting to the full committee, hopefully before the end of this morning's sitting.

The committee had requested the clerk to contact CUPE Local 2001 to return to the committee to discuss its original presentation, which was made some weeks ago, and to answer some questions that committee members may have. I'd like to thank CUPE Local 2001 for returning today. We appreciate your attendance. We have with us today Al Wahid, Roman Schyngera, Ron Morrow and Steve Eadie.

The committee has decided that all witnesses pertaining to this matter concerning the original allegations and all responses and all witnesses pertaining to this situation in regard to the Toronto General Hospital audit shall from now on be sworn in, so I'm going to ask the clerk --

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Excuse me, Chair. On a point of order: When was that decision made?

The Chair: It was decided by all members of the subcommittee this morning.

Mr Owens: Is that report not a report that's voted on? I made my objections to that known last week when we discussed that. I believe it is a practice of the subcommittee to report to the committee for a vote on the report.

The Chair: It's not quite a practice, but if there's a problem with this, can someone make the motion that all witnesses henceforth be sworn?

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): Is the government moving that we not swear them? Is that what you're moving?

The Chair: You'd have to ask the member directly.

Mr Callahan: Could I inquire, are you making the motion that they not be sworn?

Mr Owens: I'm certainly not in favour of having any witnesses sworn at this committee, whether it's this group or any other group. We have no reason to believe that this group or any other group would make statements that were knowingly false. I think we should accept their testimony at face value and move forward.

Mr Callahan: I'm still not clear, Mr Chairman. I need clarification. Is the member making a motion that we not have these witnesses sworn? We can vote on that.

Mr Owens: I think if what the Chair is asking us to do is to accept the subcommittee report, then I'm going to suggest that we not accept the subcommittee report.

The Chair: Can somebody make a motion that we accept the subcommittee report that all witnesses from henceforth be sworn in?

Mr Callahan: I move we accept the subcommittee report.

The Chair: Moved by Mr Callahan, seconded by Mr Cousens. We don't need a seconder. All in favour of Mr Callahan's motion?

Mr Callahan: Could I have a recorded vote, please?

The Chair: Mr Callahan has requested a recorded vote. Any discussion on the motion? Mr Cousens.

Mr W. Donald Cousens (Markham): Really two questions: Mr Tilson, with his legal background, wonders whether or not there is a precedent where you have a vote on this? Is it not something that could easily be decided by the Chair, rather than having a vote? Maybe the clerk could just confirm that there is a --

The Chair: The clerk has confirmed my original thoughts on this. Usually, past practice has been that the Chair in fact could decide. However, in all of the situations I personally have been involved in before there haven't been objections from the committee. Because there have been objections from certain committee members and because it was necessary to place a motion, that took the authority that I had and diminished it substantially. Now it's going to be decided by the committee. So you're right in one respect, Mr Cousens.

Mr Cousens: My second question, depending on what happens with this vote, I would then ask, but I'll wait until the vote is taken. Once that's done I would be inclined to ask those who are here whether or not they have any objection to being sworn in. But I don't think that's really the issue. The issue is what the committee wants to do.

The Chair: That's correct.

Mr Cousens: When that's done, maybe those who are here will offer to be sworn.

The Chair: Just to give you the information that you requested earlier on, in all the committees that I've sat on where we've asked witnesses to be sworn in, I can never recall any single objection to that being done, but that's for the committee to --

Mr Cousens: I'll leave it. Let's see what happens with the vote. It might well carry.

The Chair: Mr Callahan, do you have anything else to say on your motion?

Mr Callahan: I just moved the motion.

The Chair: You asked for a recorded vote. We have Mr O'Connor and then Mr Tilson.

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): In the subcommittee I did express some concern around this and whether we're going to be setting precedents that are going to make the --

The Chair: There are no precedents being set.

Mr O'Connor: -- people feel a little bit less comfortable in coming to the committee if we formalize it too much. I refer to that so that all the committee members realize that I did raise that in subcommittee.

The Chair: We're not asking these witnesses to do anything that any future witness is not going to be asked to do. Any further discussion? Mr Tilson.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I pass.

The Chair: Mr Callahan has asked for a recorded vote. I'm sorry; Mr Johnson.

Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): Again, I'm not familiar with this practice. I've never seen it happen before in a committee. Is this a usual occurrence? Does this happen often and why would this be required to happen?

The Chair: It's an authority that the committee has. In past practice there have been committees, particularly the Legislative Assembly committee, when Michael Breaugh was Chairman, where all witnesses were sworn in on any subject that came before the committee. There have been other committees that have used this practice and there have been committees that have not used the practice. I think it's been more or less up to the committee, but the committee does have certainly the authority to do so and it's done for reasons that the committee wishes to do so.

Mr Johnson: In this case or in any other case, what would the criteria be? Why would the committee deem it to be necessary?

The Chair: I can't speculate on why any committee would deem something to be necessary. I'm just telling you what the past practice has been.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): I just have really one concern about this particular motion. It's hard not to think that we're sitting in this committee and trying to make an example of one particular group of people here, and for that reason I don't think I could really support this particular motion.

The Chair: I'm sorry, could you say that again?

Mr Hayes: The motion is made because of feelings that maybe some of the accusations were not totally true, and now we come in here and say, "Well, let's make these people swear under oath." I just can't help but think that this committee or some members of the committee are saying, "We'll make an example," or, "We'll set a certain group of people up." I have concerns about those kinds of things happening. That's what I'm saying.

The Chair: I'm sorry you weren't at the subcommittee, because if you were -- maybe Mr O'Connor can report to you all of the comments made during the subcommittee meeting -- you would agree that those comments are maybe not --

Mr Hayes: Mr Chair, are you speaking in favour of the motion? Is that what you're doing now, or are you being the Chair?

The Chair: I'm speaking as Chair, because you made a comment that insinuated that because we have a local union in front of us -- let's be very clear on what we're insinuating. You're insinuating that because we have Local 2001 in front of us, certain motions are being made because it's a trade union. That's not true.

Mr Hayes: Excuse me, Mr Chair.

The Chair: I've got the floor right now. You're out of order, Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes: On a point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: There's nothing out of order. I would ask that all committee members be very careful about what they insinuate because I, as the Chair, prepared the agenda for this morning, and the comments made earlier on by Mr Hayes insinuate very clearly the point that a certain group of people who are before us today are being treated in a different fashion from anyone else.

I'm sorry all of you were not at the subcommittee this morning, because that is not true. I hope that you speak with Mr O'Connor and I hope that you speak with Mr Callahan and I hope that you speak with Mr Cousens to get a clear reflection of what happened between 9:30 and 10 am this morning.

Mr Owens: I was just going to say that in terms of having the witnesses sworn in, that this group, whether it's a union local or whoever it is, has appeared here of its own volition and it did not have to be compelled to be here.

The Chair: That's correct.

Mr Owens: My problem with that is the requirement with respect to swearing in. It is a coercive measure that I see as unnecessary. My concern is, what is the follow-up? Is there going to be some kind of determination as to whether the testimony that has been given is in fact true? I don't understand why it would be necessary. I'm certainly not going to support something that gives anyone any kind of open-ended authority to go after any particular deputant, whether it's this particular group or any other group.

The Chair: I'm trying to get us through these procedural matters as quickly as possible. It's proved to be difficult again. We only have the two hours. We've requested these people to come in to see us. We're now almost at 10:20 and we haven't even given them the courtesy of making a statement yet or answering any questions. I try to get procedural matters through this committee as quickly as possible. I give you historical precedents and all kinds of other things, but it doesn't seem to do any good. Mr Callahan, and then that's it. We're going to have the vote. We have to hear from our witnesses.

Mr Callahan: Mr Chair, we had extensive discussions about the reasons for the oath on a former occasion, and I believe all the members who are here now were here at that time. I wouldn't care who was before us. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it's a union. What we have is allegations of fact, which may very well be explained quite simply to us, that just don't gel with the auditor's report.

There is provision for taking evidence under oath. There is nothing significant about it. I would expect that these witnesses, as you say, having come here voluntarily, are going to give us that explanation in the same way, whether it be under oath or not under oath. But I think the committee itself has a responsibility, in light of all the circumstances, to resort to an oath, and that's the reason for it. It's not the people who are before us. I wouldn't care who was before us. I think if these circumstances existed, if it were Conrad Black himself, I would insist on an oath.

Mr Owens: That's not the point.

The Chair: Order, please. We're not having a debate. As I said before, I wonder if having subcommittee meetings for this committee is a proper use of our time.


This is a recorded vote. All in favour of Mr Callahan's motion, please raise your hands.


Callahan, Cousens, Tilson.

The Chair: All opposed?


Frankford, Hayes, Johnson, O'Connor, Owens.

The Chair: The report of the subcommittee in regard to having witnesses swear under oath has been defeated. I apologize to CUPE Local 2001 for using 20 minutes of your time to debate a matter that I perceived, only a few moments ago, to have been already decided.

Mr Cousens: Mr Chairman? Would our guests be prepared to be sworn in on this?

Mr Roman Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Callahan: We could have solved a lot of problems by asking.

The Chair: I thank Mr Schyngera for his full cooperation, and I'm not surprised by his answer. But I cannot open this up again for another 20 minutes to have --

Mr Cousens: If we have unanimous consent --

The Chair: No, I'm not going to do that. Mr Schyngera, on behalf of his organization, has clearly made a point which he wished to make. It's on the record.


The Chair: We thank you for coming, sir. We thank your whole delegation for coming. We appreciated your first visit. At least I, as Chair, and from what I can tell, not every member on the committee has made up his mind about this matter; I don't believe they have closed minds on the matter. We've had a number of witnesses come before us since your last testimony, and we're going to have more witnesses after your testimony this morning.

Mr Schyngera, if you could formally introduce your delegation to us, then I'm going to turn the committee over to the members for questions and answers. I'll also give you the courtesy of making an opening statement if you wish, sir.

Mr Schyngera: Thank you for having me attend this meeting this morning. With me are Ron Morrow, the national staff representative for our CUPE local; Steve Eadie, the secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, a body of CUPE that represents CUPE in bargaining in the hospital sector; and Al Wahid, the president of CUPE Local 1744 at the Western site of the Toronto Hospital Corp.

The Chair: Mr Schyngera, do you have an opening statement to make?

Mr Schyngera: Not at this point, thank you.

The Chair: We're going to run a list. We're going to start with the official opposition, the third party and then the government members, and then we can reverse the order after.

Mr Callahan: Thank you very much for coming. We appreciate it. As was pointed out, although we have powers of subpoena, we have not exercised those, and you people have voluntarily come here. I appreciate that.

I think you've gathered from my comment during the discussion on the vote that the concern we have, and I'm going to go into this, is that some of the allegations that were made, at least from the independent auditor's standpoint, have proven to be incorrect, and some of them have proven to be totally incorrect.

First of all, how was this information on many of these allegations gathered? Was it just hearsay? Was it something that someone heard and felt should be reported? What's the mechanism for putting forward these allegations? How does it work? Who tells whom, and how does it get to the stage where it's submitted in the way it was?

Mr Schyngera: To my best knowledge, the facts in the brief as I presented it, supporting the recommendations we were trying to bring forward to this committee, were, as I indicated in the brief, a historical perspective of the Toronto Hospital Corp from the time of the merger up to the present. These rumours that I put in here and others -- these specifically, particularly Begley and the computer system -- are a common theme throughout merger up to the present. There were discussions. No more than a week would go by without somebody, either at the front-line worker level or middle to senior management, talking about these problems, if you want to characterize it that way. The figures specifically came from senior administration, whether it be bargaining tables or labour-management forums or what have you.

The comments have been going for several years, as I say, some of these discussions in the Toronto Hospital. Press releases have been out, not by this local, either before these allegations were put or after these allegations were put. We've had ample opportunity that we have not exercised at this local; we've never done that. We have simply taken the facts as we understood them from senior administration. When press releases were issued on this subject -- as an example, when the Provincial Auditor's report came out -- the president and others of the hospital didn't seem to refute those.

What I'm saying here as best I can, I guess, is that the figures that were put out, whether it be $80 million or $85 million, what have you, on the computer system, as an example, those ballpark figures were simply figures that were never refuted and were reported in the press. I believe the press quoted the Provincial Auditor; Thomas Walkom and all the dailies were quoting that figure.

As you see in the brief, it's an appendix that I put on. I assume that that's a fact, I guess. We have brought these concerns to the ministry over the years, from 1985 up to the present, on three occasions that I've been present and in three different administrations, and we've never been responded back to. It was sort of a court of last resort to bring some of these concerns forward, to put them to bed, because it's been a poor morale in the hospital over the past few years, and continues. There's been some improvement this year because of attempts at better relations and that type of thing, but we have a long way to go. As I say, the atmosphere is not good. Layoffs were occurring, reductions; there's been a significant change in our hospital.

Many employees have asked this union, because we're the only union that could get to this committee -- I mean, we didn't know where to go and others were simply unprepared; it was short notice and that type of thing. But many people wanted these concerns, and as I said in my previous presentation to you, I'm just a spokesperson on behalf of not only employees but many employees, not just this union, who wanted these concerns put to bed. I'm pleased with the report, frankly. If it had been done a long time ago, we wouldn't be here and we wouldn't have made these allegations. We assumed them to be correct and factual.

Mr Callahan: All right. I'm not sure whether you've told me who prepared the report. You didn't prepare it?

Mr Schyngera: No, I didn't.

Mr Callahan: Who would have prepared it?

Mr Schyngera: We had a legal firm, Cavalluzzo, Hayes and Shilton, that we retained to prepare this.

Mr Callahan: And they would have prepared it on the basis of information that was given to them by whom?

Mr Schyngera: By myself, and prepared by not just myself but by local members, other employees of the hospital. As I say, it's brown-paper-bag time, because we've never had access to any information. When we've asked these questions, numerous employees and numerous unions and myself, we never got a response, so it's brown paper bags of documents and that type of thing. I've a couple of shoe boxes full that I gave the auditor, the best I had at that point, and I tried to get other information. Unfortunately that wasn't forthcoming, it seemed, from others.

Mr Callahan: Let's leave aside the computer aspect till later. Let's talk about things such as the revolving door that was alleged in the report. I want to be perfectly clear with something. There seemed to be some suggestion -- and I'm not trying to be pejorative to Mr Hayes -- that this is being done simply because you're a union. That's not the case at all. What we have here in spades --

Mr Hayes: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I don't think I made any statements that this is being done because this is a union, and I think it had better be clear. Mr Callahan was saying that I was insinuating certain things and that was I was saying was false. What Mr Callahan was saying is false, as far as I'm concerned.

The Acting Chair (Mr Larry O'Connor) That's not a point of order.

Mr Hayes: The point of order is that he's insinuating that I said this is a union and that's why we're bringing up the issue, and that is false.

The Acting Chair: It's a point of clarification. I'm sure if we take a look at Hansard, we can see what was said. I'll give Mr Callahan the floor.


Mr Callahan: I think you can understand, as we go through these allegations, that this must have had, or one would expect it had, a significant impact on the Toronto Hospital and perhaps its reputation in the community in terms of being able to raise funds and so on. I'm just laying out the groundwork as to why these questions are being asked.

Having said that, I'd like to go to the revolving door that, it was alleged, was obtained free from a Nevada casino. Can you tell us what brown bag that came in or who gave that advice or where they got that information from?

Mr Schyngera: If I may respond first to your first assertion that there may have been damage through these allegations made at this committee, I categorically deny that. To my knowledge, I can't see any press -- unless you can show me; I haven't seen it -- that has gone out from this committee other than, I suppose, your Hansard. I know press has been sent to me regularly. I don't know by whom. I've refused to answer any sort of questions because I want to be --

Mr Callahan: I'm not trying to get you on the hook --

Mr Schyngera: Well, you did suggest the reputation, and I take that very personally and seriously, because I have tried to uphold the integrity of the corporation. I'm only a concerned citizen, a union official, as well as an employee. And I do work: I'm not a full-time officer; I work more on my own time to do this type of work. I suggest to you, sir, that I have never to this date gone out publicly and this local has never gone publicly to make these allegations. We thought this was a body of a government that could go and put these allegations to rest. That was my only concern and this local's concern, to see the better administration of hospitals. That's what we were after here and what this local was after, nothing more and nothing less.

Mr Callahan: Let me cure any concern you may have about that. I'm not suggesting that in terms of you having caused damage. I'm just saying you have to look at the background against why we're trying to reinstate. We have nothing to do with whether there were any problems in that regard. We're trying --

Mr Schyngera: I'm saying to you, sir, that there was no --

Mr Callahan: Can I just have a second? We're just trying to reinstate the picture as it perhaps should be in light of what the auditor's report was. Let's go back. Let's leave that alone, because that is not the purpose of you being here. We're not trying to suggest that at all. We're just trying to more or less reinstate whatever happened to the Toronto Hospital as a result of this.

I'd like to know, how did you get the information about the Nevada revolving door? Where did that come from?

Mr Schyngera: Only one more comment, if I may. Again, subsequent to my presentation to you, there was no press; and prior, as I say. There has been ample press, I know, from merger up, but it hasn't been from this local, myself or anybody else in our organization, as far as I understand, other than general comments from others that have been made through the institution, including administration over the years, and press coverage that has been digging dirt. I want to make that very clear.

That is more or less the basis of a lot of the allegations in here. We have press clippings going back to 1985, and it's been done by either investigative journalism or other sources. I don't know where those sources come from, but they have been, and they've never been put to rest. Of course, stories like this take on a life of their own and that may be some of the cause célèbre of these allegations. As I say, administration has never put them to rest. We assume, when things go public and auditors and others, press people and public officials, quote these types of things, that they would be accurate. That's all I would like to say.

How did I get the information for the revolving door? Again, from senior administration, across the table in bargaining and other forums. Again, these things have never been put to bed. Our tradesmen who work with these senior officials have gotten that information. Again, it is a common theme, how this was purchased and that type of thing. I suspect the way the story should have been, if they had been accurate, is that it may have been intended for a casino but they purchased it, as the auditor reports. I'm quite satisfied with that now and I understand it, but the story as we presented it to you is exactly the way the story seems to have been presented throughout the institution up to the time of this audit.

Mr Callahan: Okay. So you say it was gotten from a senior person in the hospital. Is that what you're saying?

Mr Schyngera: Not just one person. I'm saying it's administration on several levels but one particular person we would trust or believe would have that type of insight into that, because he would have some involvement or understanding of that type of installation and seemed to have the access to the type of people who would have made some decisions in purchasing of that type of door.

Mr Callahan: Okay. In fairness, I should have started off by asking whether you've had an opportunity to read the auditor's comments in relation to the union's --

Mr Schyngera: I got that, by the way, just a few days ago. I didn't get a copy from the auditor, which I was promised.

Mr Callahan: Have you had a chance to read it then?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, I did.

Mr Callahan: Okay. I don't want to go through this if you haven't. Let's just jump over to the claim that was made that the hospital spent $50,000 to $60,000 to recarpet one wing of a floor while claiming a deficit last year. This is page 23, if anybody's following along. The finding of the auditor was that, "Most of this floor was tiled, not carpeted." Where did you get that information from?

Mr Schyngera: That allegation -- if I had to do it again, I probably would have checked it a little closer, but in fact it did happen. It's on the wrong floor, as I told the auditor. What he briefed me on what may be contained in the report before he issued it was that he had gone to the specific area I had indicated in the brief and found the tiles, quite correct. I suggested to him the people who installed it, workers in our service unit who would put that type of carpeting in when it was purchased, told me -- or I got the impression it was in that area.

However, they were on vacation, these two chaps, and when they returned -- and this was a few weeks ago -- they indicated it was 12 NU, and there is a rotunda area. It's not 12 Eaton; it's in 12 NU. There's some visitor rotunda area that was recarpeted.

Now, whether the figure is accurate, I suspect, based on what I see here -- it probably is a lot lower, I would imagine. There is, and I viewed it, a new carpet. They were concerned simply because layoffs, as you can appreciate, were occurring and we're talking about tight deficits now and restraints and they were concerned, of course. They saw a new carpet being removed. I found out from our trades people that that carpet in fact may have been put from a foundation or something. I'm not sure.

Mr Callahan: So you really didn't have a figure. You put the figure on it, I gather.

Mr Schyngera: No, I didn't. I got it from the individuals who installed it and, again, from when our trades got checked, some people who may have some knowledge of purchasing felt that that may be a ballpark figure.

Mr Callahan: Are you saying there was a carpet --

Mr Schyngera: There is a carpet installed. It's just in the wrong area. Unfortunately, I couldn't direct the auditors to the right place, is what I'm saying.

Mr Callahan: So you're saying there was a carpet installed for $50,000 to $60,000 --

Mr Schyngera: I'm not sure if it's that figure now, based on what I'm seeing here.

Mr Callahan: -- in a wing of a floor in the hospital.

Mr Schyngera: That's the figure I was given and, unfortunately, it was in the brief in the wrong area.

Mr Callahan: You're also aware, having read the brief, that the auditor said, "We also reviewed expenditure records for the past four years and found no examples where $50,000 to $60,000 was spent to recarpet a wing of a floor in the hospital." So even if you directed them to other wings, their finding is that that's not the case.

Mr Schyngera: I would accept that, as I say, based on what I'm seeing here, again, but these are common rumours that have been put out, and possibly by our own workers. I'm not sure.

Mr Callahan: So you never personally saw this carpeting. It was simply rumours.

Mr Schyngera: Unfortunately, in hindsight, I should have probably checked that a little closer, but it seemed to be a figure that was accurate because, again, I trusted the people who gave me those.

Mr Callahan: All right. Now, there's also a suggestion that the staff estimated that anywhere from $90,000 to $130,000 was spent to put an island -- ie, rock garden -- in front of the revolving door in the Eaton building. Where did you get that information from?

Mr Schyngera: That's probably one of the most common -- almost every day we'd joke and talk about it, every employee from administration to -- it's a common theme, because it was an island previously where people sat and enjoyed summer lunches, traversed it and whatever. I know it was characterized by the administration as being a safety hazard. Well, I could probably put it the other way: Many employees view it, including myself, as a safety hazard now, because you can't see cars on the other side of the island and when it gets slippery in the winter it may cause fender-benders, whereas before you could see clearly.

So I'm just saying it's a common discussion since it's been put there, and that figure has never been refuted again. That's a figure that's -- it's sort of like lunch talk: It's constant, on everybody's mind in discussion.


Mr Callahan: Would it be fair to say that you were sort of looking around the hospital in terms of what might be considered to be inappropriate expenditure of funds that might be saved and might avoid the necessity of layoffs of employees as a result of the merger of the two hospitals? Is that a fair statement?

Mr Schyngera: That's one aspect, yes. That had a great deal of concern on my mind as well as others'; yes, almost everyone.

The Chair: You have four minutes left.

Mr Callahan: If I'm in your position, I suppose that's a reasonable concern. If I'm in your position and I see that there are going to be employees who are going to be laid off or lose their jobs because of so-called cutbacks, I want to go around and ensure that moneys have not been spent frivolously. Is that a fair statement?

Mr Schyngera: I didn't go and seek, as I say, the information, but it seemed to be an apparent possible use of hospital funds that didn't need to be used if we were going into a financial crunch. However, as the auditor indicates, it was a private foundation and I found out through that, so I suggest maybe it's not general funds. I didn't know that and, as I say, that was never put to bed, this conversation -- so we assumed, as I say, from senior administration that fuelled this type of conversation on the figure, at least.

Mr Callahan: I haven't got time to go into another allegation, but I want to in a general fashion say that I gather a lot of the material that was provided to Cavalluzzo et al, barristers and solicitors, was based to a large degree on what people had told you, without verification.

Mr Schyngera: I can only say that I'm not an expert. I've never written a brief. I'm not a university grad or anything else and I trust people who put documentation. I'd never presented a brief before. I was, as a concerned citizen and, as I say, a union official, coming forward, and when I brought the documentation that we had from brown paper bags, it was a lot of material. The auditors obviously found nothing unwarranted in it, but we felt that it had some substance to it, and I brought that material to --

Mr Callahan: Did your solicitors, when they were preparing the brief, ask to see some evidence of things such as the carpeting and the other things?

Mr Schyngera: All I can say is that I presented the material and they crafted the brief presented here. It was short notice, as you can appreciate. I tried to be here in February, and maybe we wouldn't be in this position at this point. I know your committee was very busy. I don't know if I would have been able to even be present. At that point we were extremely busy. I know that I picked up this brief here the night before to come to your committee. I had only an opportunity to read through it the night before I got here in a really substantive fashion. I had some conversation on two occasions on a couple of drafts of this, but all I can say is that the brief is as you see it.

Mr Callahan: Just finally, did you tell the committee when you presented the brief that this was based on things you'd heard around the hospital, that you didn't have any facts to back up --

Mr Schyngera: I think if you look at my May 7, I was very clear. I tried to be. I was extremely nervous, as I am today, but I constantly -- I examined my comments again back at that date, and I used the word and I tried to convey the impression very strongly that it was "anecdotal" evidence. I thought that's what I was conveying. My concern was not only to have those allegations either put to bed or what have you; my concern, if you read my brief, was simply to try to get accountability in the system so that we could have an open, accountable system. That was the intent of the brief; nothing more, nothing less.

The allegations were simply, as you said, concern in an official -- it was concern for jobs, it was concern for an open process and a better health care institution. I live in the area, I've worked in the hospital a considerable time and I consider that a great deal of investment in the hospital.

The Chair: Mr Tilson, you have 20 minutes.

Mr Tilson: Mr Schyngera, you're the president of CUPE Local 2001?

Mr Schyngera: That's correct, sir.

Mr Tilson: How long have you been president?

Mr Schyngera: I was installed in February 1983, acclaimed when the previous president left. I was president throughout till 1988 and for two years I was absent from the position. I again was reinstated back in October 1990.

Mr Tilson: How many members currently are with CUPE Local 2001?

Mr Schyngera: My best estimate right now, because it keeps decreasing because of attritions, and we're getting monthly figures that vary, is just above 900, with part- and full-time combined.

Mr Tilson: You've indicated that there has been some dissatisfaction between your union and the Toronto Hospital?

Mr Schyngera: I think I can honestly say that the dissatisfaction is simply that we perceive labour relations to have been very poor in terms of getting any real results. One of the main concerns we've always had is the decentralization of authority that allows our collective agreement to be interpreted a multitude of ways. The corporation, by the way, at this point has taken some concern to that and tried to rectify that. Some of our problems don't stem from the labour relations directly, because we don't have that much difference in views when we're across the table, but to implement settlements has been a hard, hard process to get done.

Mr Tilson: How long has this difficulty been going on?

Mr Schyngera: Since I've been with the hospital.

Mr Tilson: Oh, prior to 1983?

Mr Schyngera: I can only suggest to you that when I walked in it was difficult, but it got worse. The tension is worse, and it's probably because of the amount of merger activity. As I say, the activity has been mind-boggling in terms of that. It's hard to describe, because I've worked in various other hospitals --

Mr Tilson: But it's gone on for at least 10 years.

Mr Schyngera: I would say it's been of long historical standing, yes.

Mr Tilson: With regard to this brief that you presented to this committee, the public accounts committee, I understand that you took similar concerns to the Ministry of Health.

Mr Schyngera: Yes, I did.

Mr Tilson: When was that done?

Mr Schyngera: Let me rephrase that. Not only myself but several -- not quite all, but almost all -- bargaining units from Western hospital presented our concerns to the Ministry of Health.

Mr Tilson: When was that done?

Mr Schyngera: I can't give you a specific date right now -- I don't have it with me -- but it was some time in early January, I believe, or mid-January of this year.

Mr Tilson: Was that a written presentation?

Mr Schyngera: No. We were trying to get a meeting with Frances Lankin. The unions had gotten together at that point because layoffs were very poorly handled. All the unions felt themselves to be badly served in the layoffs that were processed, the way they were undertaken. We felt it to be very brutal and so we were trying to raise those concerns and attendant costs with the ministry. We got a meeting in, as I say, January.

Mr Tilson: That meeting was with Ms Lankin?

Mr Schyngera: No, Ms Lankin didn't attend; it was with Michael Decter and other aides of his at that table.

Mr Tilson: Was there just the one meeting or were there other meetings?

Mr Schyngera: That was the only meeting I attended. I'm not sure if there were other meetings with others.

Mr Tilson: What were the concerns that you expressed to Mr Decter?

Mr Schyngera: Most, if not all, of the concerns I put here were expressed there, yes. As I say, the other union officials, to be clear, either supported or extended criticisms beyond this. I was hoping that when the audit came forward their concerns, which were beyond my concerns and a great deal more, would also be brought forward.

Mr Tilson: So most, if not all, of your concerns that were expressed in this report of May 7 that you presented to this committee were made to Mr Decter in January?

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Tilson: What did he do?

Mr Schyngera: I got no response back from the ministry. It was a frustrating experience, because we went, a few years back, to the auditor's department when we knew the auditor was doing a general audit, which they do of our hospital, and tried to raise the same concerns at that time -- and not just us, but other union officials also at that time.

Mr Tilson: Who all was present with Mr Decter when your group, your delegation, appeared before Mr Decter?

Mr Schyngera: You mean on the ministry side?

Mr Tilson: Yes, on the ministry side.

Mr Schyngera: It was Michael Decter. I don't remember the names, but there was a Sue Colley and a few others present at that time.

Mr Tilson: Have you had any communication with Minister Lankin on any of these matters?

Mr Schyngera: No, never.

Mr Tilson: Have you written her at all?

Mr Schyngera: The other unions have, and we did send communications to her.

Mr Tilson: You sent communications to her.

Mr Schyngera: Not personally, but through our union we did.

Mr Tilson: What were those concerns?

Mr Schyngera: To have a meeting.

Mr Tilson: Simply to have a meeting?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, basically.


Mr Tilson: Did you express any of the concerns in the report that you made to the committee in this communication with Ms Lankin?

Mr Schyngera: No, we were simply trying to get a meeting to raise those concerns.

Mr Tilson: And she was simply unable to see you?

Mr Schyngera: I assume that; I'm not sure why.

Mr Tilson: Was your meeting with Mr Decter a good meeting? Was it a lengthy meeting? An hour?

Mr Schyngera: It was a lengthy meeting, yes; a half-day meeting.

Mr Tilson: It was half a day?

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Tilson: Did Mr Decter give you any undertakings to look into these matters, these difficulties you were raising?

Mr Schyngera: I don't know. I know that he listened throughout the period. As I say, there were a lot of people in the room, so I was only one of many players who expressed many concerns to him. He only commented that the ministry was under some restraint and they were trying very hard and that type of comment.

Mr Tilson: Did Mr Decter indicate that he or Minister Lankin or anyone from the ministry would be communicating with the Toronto Hospital?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, there was some communication back in that meeting that said there are ongoing meetings with Dr Hudson on various matters and that type of thing.

Mr Tilson: These discussions that you had, this half-day meeting that you had with Mr Decter --

Mr Schyngera: I'm not sure it was exactly a half a day, but it was more than two hours.

Mr Tilson: Sure; more than two hours. At the meeting you had with Mr Decter, you essentially elaborated on what was in this report. It wasn't reduced to writing, but your concerns were put forward.

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Tilson: I'd like to refer to the Provincial Auditor's report. I must say that as a member of this committee, when you came to us, I listened to you, I listened to the report, to the most alarming allegations that you were making. This committee, in good faith, then instructed the Provincial Auditor to pursue these matters. You have read the report and Mr Callahan has gone over some of the items.

Some of the preliminary statements that were made by the Provincial Auditor: at the top of page 2, "The union representatives were unable to provide us with substantiating evidence for many of the concerns raised by the president of CUPE Local 2001," and under the section "Overall Assessment," it says, "We concluded that with the exception of operating problems with the new computer system, concerns were generally without substance or were overstated."

The Provincial Auditor spent, it's my understanding, approximately four days dealing specifically with the allegations you made. I could stand to be corrected, but I believe it was four days. There was staff, and I don't know how many staff working on it. This was not treated lightly by this committee.

The Chair: Mr Tilson, I don't think four days is correct, but I don't want to use any of the committee's time to verify that now. Maybe the auditor can mention it later on.

Mr Tilson: It was some period of time. I'm sure that it took a great deal --

Interjection: How long was it?

Mr Tilson: How long? Maybe we could just clarify this now.

The Chair: Do you want to clarify the situation quickly?

Mr Ken Leishman: The audit commenced --


The Chair: Order, please. We're trying to hear the answer.

Mr Leishman: -- approximately June 1 and we've accumulated about 2,500 hours under this assignment.

Mr Tilson: Okay.

Mr Callahan: Is that $1 an hour?

Mr Leishman: Considerably more than that, Mr Callahan.

Mr O'Connor: Any more than the witchhunt --

Mr Tilson: This wasn't a witchhunt at all. We were responsibly dealing with allegations that were made, sir, and this committee respected you in coming forward with these concerns. I would like you to respond to the general comments that were made by the Provincial Auditor's report on page 2. You just run through it paragraph after paragraph, the subject of costs.

Your concern was that the hospital had "spent $85 million on the direct purchase of a patient care computer system that does not work." Auditor's response? "According to the union representatives, their estimate of...the system was based on conversations with staff. They were unable to provide us with any documentation to support this amount." Then they start mentioning figures of $22.7 million.

The next concern: "Documents exist showing that operating money has been used to cover the cost of computers, which should be from capital funds." Response from the Provincial Auditor: "We found no documents or other evidence that operating funds were used to pay for the computer equipment."

The heading is "Does the System Work?" "The hospital has spent $85 million on the direct purchase of a patient care computer system that does not work." Answer, the very first sentence, of the Provincial Auditor: "The system is in continuous use by hospital staff."

Page 6, "Benefits of an Integrated System": "Each department has developed its own internal system. Accordingly, the proposed benefits of an integrated computer system have disappeared." Answer by the Provincial Auditor: "It is not true that each department has developed its own internal system."

It goes on and on, on every darn statement, sir. There are a lot of serious allegations that you have made where the Provincial Auditor simply says that you're not correct, that you're not even close. In your own comments to Mr Callahan, the facts that you're basing these things on were made on rumours. You have caused this committee to spend a whole pile of taxpayers' money based on rumours. Is that what you're telling us?

Mr Schyngera: Sir, if I may respond now, on May 7, if you look at my comments to this committee, I never asked for an audit.

Mr Tilson: You asked for a royal commission.

Mr Schyngera: Yes. Excuse me.

Mr Tilson: A royal commission; that's even more.

Mr Schyngera: A royal commission --

Mr O'Connor: Different issues.

Mr Schyngera: Different issues. If you look at --

The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Schyngera: I think it is being taken out of context, sir.

The Chair: Order, please. I think it's appropriate when questions have been asked of the witness that the witness be given full courtesy to respond to the questions or statements. Thank you. Mr Schyngera, the floor is yours.

Mr Schyngera: Thank you.

Mr Owens: There's no need for the member to go after the witness.

The Chair: Order, please. Mr Schyngera has the floor. Mr Schyngera, please respond.

Mr Schyngera: If you look at my May 7 comments, this union never asked for an audit. I didn't even know that would be an option because I knew the auditors had been in just prior to Christmas, or in that period they were in. I was quite surprised that the committee would have done that. When I left this committee at that point I thought our recommendation of having -- I said I was speaking on behalf of employees who feel intimidated. An open process where they could come forward with my recommendation from this local, so that they could give evidence or what have you without feeling tension or what have you, so that this committee, or I'm not sure what body I was thinking of, could hear people's concerns on the hospital: That was my intention here.

Simply put, the other side of it is that $85 million and what have you and some of these statements -- again, I refer you back to my appendices, but a whole host of articles appeared, including from when the Provincial Auditor issued his report. The daily press picked that up and were quoting that figure.

The hospital had the opportunity to respond and never did. There were many press releases prior to this over the years and they've never responded. In fact, Dr Hudson and others of the corporation were responding afterwards as if that were an accurate figure in the press. We have other press releases that seem to indicate that to me. I would assume that's a factual figure when you see that in the press, being a person, as I say, who reads the press and reads the Provincial Auditor's report and what have you. That's the basis on which we believed it to be a fact.

Mr Tilson: I have a copy of Hansard and I have a copy of the report and you'll recall that you said, "We have five basic recommendations we believe will be an effective way to bring the Toronto General and Western hospitals back on track, as well as being a good plan for the future of health in Ontario."

You have essentially said in this very detailed report, quite a thick report, prepared by your legal counsel, that the Toronto Hospital is an absolute mess, that it's overspending, that it's wasting a substantial amount of funds, and a whole slew of other irresponsible matters.

In fact, your very first recommendation that you ask for is -- this is based on your personal observations of the conduct of the officials of Toronto Hospital -- "We call on the provincial government to launch a royal commission into the future of health care in Ontario, one that will accept input from not only the employees involved in health care, but also the users of health care in the province and the communities that benefit from having health care facilities."

In response to that, we asked the Provincial Auditor to determine how serious your allegations were and we found them to be completely false. How dare you ask for a royal commission. Your comments?


Mr Schyngera: First of all, they were not my personal observations. I refer you back again that on May 7, I said always that these are anecdotal, these are --

Mr Tilson: It's a fairy story.

Mr Schyngera: Well, that's your opinion, sir.

Mr Tilson: Mr Cousens has some questions.

The Chair: Mr Cousens, you have just under four minutes.

Mr Cousens: That's fine. I wanted to ask --

Mr Owens: On a point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: We have a point of order.

Mr Owens: The member for Dufferin-Peel is needlessly abusing the witnesses, and there is in no way any kind of incentive for anybody to appear before this committee after the treatment that this member has inflicted on these witnesses. I ask that he keep some level of decorum in his comments.

The Chair: That's not a point of order; it's an opinion. Mr Cousens, you have four minutes.

Mr Cousens: With the number of issues that came through on the report after the auditor had spent over 2,500 hours doing his analysis, which works out to be over a man-year, a person-year of time and effort into this, which means that our committee and the government has taken it very seriously -- I think that's good. The process is such that if someone makes a comment, it is imperative that we, as legislators, pursue it to see that the truth is found.

What alarms me, if I were to take just one of the issues where there is a difference between what you said and what the auditor's findings were -- I'll just take one and ask you why more information or backup wasn't found. For instance, you say patient files have been lost, and no evidence was found on that. How could you, your lawyers or your representatives make that statement when there is no verifiable proof of it?

It's just a very fundamental thing, because it's rather black and white. Could you explain how you would say that? Did you lose the information? In your defence and for the point you're trying to make, is there more information you could present to the auditor now to clarify on the basis of what you know and maybe he didn't find out?

Mr Schyngera: Let me respond again on the money spent, and I go back to that again, where would a citizen go when he has concerns that rumours, bad morale and working conditions appeared because of these rumours and continued and were never put to rest, and that when questions were raised by union officials, like our union and others, to administration, they were never refuted? Where do you go when you go to the Ministry of Health over the years and don't get any response to this? How is one to believe, as I say, or not believe, whatever, what a corporation is telling the public or us? I guess coming before this committee was a way. Again, I don't know what this committee was supposed to do or what have you. I just knew there was a body that could look into matters and nobody else seemed to be doing that. I'm not sure what venue you would have taken to do that, and you chose an audit, I guess. That wasn't the way I --

Mr Cousens: That's our only way. Do you have more information?

Mr Schyngera: I didn't know that was your only way. I thought an open inquiry would be a way. I guess that's what I was asking, that people could come forward without feeling recrimination.

Mr Cousens: Do you have more evidence that would show that patient files had been lost? Would you in any way challenge --

Mr Schyngera: I don't believe that --

Mr Cousens: Let me finish the question. Do you challenge the auditor's findings?

Mr Schyngera: No, I can't. I believe he did a thorough job, based on what he had before him. If we had had an open inquiry, people might have come forward, but they're not going to come forward -- when the auditor said that in his general experience in hospitals or other institutions they may audit, that people would come forward and know they're there, I can assure you that most people didn't know they were there, other than those few people they'd talked to. It's a large corporation. You go Monday to Friday, it looks like a mall, and people don't know -- they're into their own business and world.

Mr Cousens: Okay. Can I ask another question? What facts would you rely on to make the statement that patient files have been lost?

Mr Schyngera: Again, I can only say that others in other bargaining units and others in meetings I attended made those comments numerous times on a repetitive basis. I won't repeat what I said on May 7, but they have made those and I can only stand behind that; that's all I can say.

Mr Cousens: Can I ask you one more question? Is there anything you would do differently if you were to have anecdotal information dealing with accusations or allegations about the hospital than what you've done this time?

Mr Schyngera: Absolutely, sir. I've learned a great deal. This has been quite a learning experience for me.

Mr Cousens: What would you do differently?

Mr Schyngera: What I would do differently, obviously, is that I would make sure, or get in writing, that the people who make statements would stand behind them; make sure they would stand behind them. Unfortunately, I guess I'm a naïve person and trusted that people would stand behind their comments. I guess they haven't, to my regret.

Mr Cousens: I thank you. That becomes part of the hard process we've gone through, what you've just said. Maybe through that kind of thing, we can build better relationships as we grow and learn. I think you've just made a very strong, courageous type of statement and I thank you for it, I really do. I think it's a tough process you've gone through.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Cousens. Twenty minutes, starting with Mr Owens.

Mr Owens: Some questions have been asked with respect to the context which the allegations came out of. You said that you had approached hospital management on numerous occasions with respect to these allegations, is that right?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, these concerns were brought forward because of either, let's say, arguments in a grievance or bargaining process, or attempted board meetings that we were excluded from, that type of thing, when we were lobbying because of one concern or another.

Mr Owens: You mentioned layoffs being badly handled. Can you briefly describe the process that took place at that time?

Mr Schyngera: As I indicated, there has been a long-standing labour relations problem. We've had what you'd call mini-layoffs in the sense of redundancies; there haven't been direct, people out the door type of layoffs since I've been there. There was a large amount apparently before I came to the hospital in October 1980, and there were two sets in the 1970s, but I wasn't part of that. I know that many of the members of my local and others in the hospital were very bitter at that time. We had redundancies. Basically, the employer would come to us and follow the agreement to its letter, not necessarily what we would have liked, an open dialogue process.

But at this point, at this layoff, we didn't even get that courtesy. In fact, the press put out a news release of layoff, and the unions got that notice next day. We found that to be abominable, when people were going out of the door less than a month, as we thought, and under our agreement -- and I found, again, a great deal of wisdom in trying to find out what my agreement actually meant to my members and others in the corporation who weren't fortunate enough to have union representation when they were going out the door. It was not a good time and there was a lot of acrimony.

Mr Owens: In terms of some of the allegations and the response in the auditor's report, I look particularly at one example on page 10, where there is a comment around potential conflict of interests in shares. The allegation was made that the Ontario Nurses' Association had been involved in reporting that allegation. How was that allegation reported to you and, to your knowledge, why have they backed away from that allegation?

Mr Schyngera: I can't speak for them. I have no idea why they would have backed away from it, because I have been in meetings and others on our side have been in meetings who would have heard that on a regular basis, and just general chitchat. But also at the Toronto health board there was a presentation made, as I indicated, on December 16; I said it was the 17th, but it was the 16th of December. We presented various papers to them on our concerns, again hoping something would be done at that time. It was presented there. It was presented, as I said, on May 7 at a meeting I attended with others. But I don't want to repeat them, because obviously they're not going to stand behind it. I don't know why they would back away from it. I have no idea.

Mr Owens: In terms of your livelihood, sir, do you have any reason to believe that your livelihood has been threatened by your appearance at this committee?


Mr Schyngera: Yes, it has. I feel very threatened, because I feel singled out. I feel like I'm the messenger being shot here. The corporation, through Dr Alan Hudson, has initiated -- which is probably a good idea -- over the last few months a president's newsletter that talks about concerns and meetings that we, junior officials, attend so that everybody can be on board in what's going on. In the lead paragraph of his recent newsletter -- which, by the way, I was quite shocked to read, because I hadn't received an auditor's report or I hadn't received any Hansards of what was going on in the proceedings after I appeared -- he said he was exonerated, the hospital, and why aren't union officials quitting or resigning or that type of thing.

Mr Owens: Would you be prepared to share that with us, sir?

Mr Schyngera: I don't have a copy here, but it's in every department and posted all over the corporation.

Mr Owens: Would you please provide the committee with a copy of that at your convenience?

Mr Schyngera: I will do that. I also feel threatened because union officials of other bargaining units, as I understand it, were brought into a private meeting with Dr Hudson. I've been told later that they felt very uncomfortable and intimidated because he was threatening my job and asking for their cooperation to have me removed. I've heard also, from others in our union movement, that he's gone to various public bodies and other officials in the ministry to try to have me removed. So yes, I do feel threatened and I know letters have been sent to our union about legal action, possibly, and other types of things.

Mr Owens: Just a final question, Chair. I raised a concern, I believe it was about three weeks ago, with respect to the process, and being informed by Mr Morrow that the hospital had contacted him indicating it had received a copy of the audit. It was indicated to me that that is in fact the practice, that the auditee receives a copy.

Can you tell me in what manner you were contacted and what manner of verification process was done with you to ensure that the material you had presented was in fact what was going to be reported in the auditor's report?

Mr Schyngera: I had a meeting some months before, and they told me when they would be writing a preliminary draft. I believe it was some period in August. I'm not sure of the chap's name again, who's sitting at the head of the table. He was there.

Mr Owens: Would that be Mr Otterman?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, Mr Otterman, and Mr Mishchenko, I believe. I'm not sure if there was another -- no, I think they were the only two. They went through a draft. They gave me the allegations in a couple of pages, and then went through an oral report, basically, of what they may be putting in. They told me they would be issuing a copy to the hospital and would give it the same consideration, an oral report, then give it a copy and myself a copy.

Mr Owens: Did you get a copy?

Mr Schyngera: No, I didn't.

Mr Owens: For the record, Chair, I want to indicate that in terms of the concerns Mr Schyngera has with respect to his livelihood, I think we, as legislators on all sides of this committee, must take a very dim view of that. It's our duty to be able to hear from taxpayers, and they should be able to testify in front of this committee or any other committee without fear of any kind of reprisal, whether it's their --

The Chair: It has always been the practice that --

Mr Callahan: I don't think that's even necessary. I think that's a statement --

Mr Owens: Well, sir, the witness has indicated that he has some concerns for his livelihood, and I want to get the message out that taxpayers are able to come to this committee and testify and be free of any kind of fear that their livelihood is going to be jeopardized.

The Chair: As the Chair of this committee, I'm not going to allow anything that has not been traditional, that has not been without precedent or that in any way is not within the rules we govern ourselves by. I want to make that very clear. When this morning on occasion I had to interfere, as I was supposed to, on behalf of Mr Schyngera, and sometimes I had to interfere on behalf of members, it was within full tradition, full precedent and full support of the standing orders we govern ourselves by. I don't think that's at issue here. I don't want to waste a lot of the committee's time on this matter. We've already lost a good 25 minutes of Mr Schyngera's time and his delegation's time. I think we should continue with our questions and we can have full discussions at other meetings if we have big policy issues that we have to decide among ourselves.

Mr Callahan: Mr Chair, I don't want to waste time either, but surely that statement being made should not be made in such a way that it's advising us, as a committee, that that's the way we should proceed. It's absolutely true. We all start with that premise: The fact is that it is accessible to any citizen.

But the purpose of this hearing is to determine whether or not the statements that were made and the action that was triggered were appropriate in light of the facts that were submitted to us. It had an impact on other citizens of this province as well, ie, the Toronto Hospital, so I think you should recognize that.

Mr Owens: The issue is not access or rules of order --

The Chair: I'm not going to allow any more discussion on this. There's one matter of clarification that the clerk wants to make, and then we're going to go right back into our questions and answers. I would ask the clerk to clarify how Local 2001 got a copy of the auditor's report. Please, could you clarify that?

Clerk of the Committee (Ms Tannis Manikel): I felt that on October 15, when this was being tabled at the committee, it should go out to the union as well right away. My mistake was in not calling to make sure there would be someone at the office. I arranged for a courier to pick up the report at 10 am, when it was filed in the committee and became a public document. We had a call in my office from the courier saying that there was no one in the office and could he put it under the door? Because we didn't know when anyone would be in the office, we said all right to that. I probably should have followed up to make sure they did receive it, but I felt if it was under the door they would get it.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chairman, initially of course the report was confidential, and was marked "Confidential."

Mr Cordiano: No, it was released in the committee.

Clerk of the Committee: I waited until 10 am when the committee had it and the committee meeting started. At that point, as soon as it became public, it would go out to the hospital and to the union.

Mr Tilson: Oh. I apologize.

The Chair: Was there any such document on the floor of your office?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, I must say. But to go back again, we're all working officials, there's not a full-time officer, so we may not visit our office for several days, or weeks in some instances, because there have been some problems recently. I can honestly say there was that, but we picked that up in a full executive only about four days ago, I believe.

The Chair: Thanks, Mr Schyngera.

Mr Johnson had asked to be placed on the list along with Mr O'Connor. We may not get to you, Mr O'Connor. It depends on how much time Mr Johnson takes.

Mr Johnson: Thank you for that advice to be quick, Mr Chair.

Mr Schyngera, I wonder if you could just quickly tell me again what kind of relationship CUPE Local 2001 had with the administration of the Toronto Hospital in the months, maybe a couple of years, prior to the report being made. Did you have good cooperation with the administration? Were they willing to answer your questions or queries with regard to any major expenditures or administration problems that you might have raised with them?

Mr Schyngera: Let's put it this way. In the labour relations department, we felt cooperation in terms of at least understanding our problems in the labour relations forum, so we couldn't figure out why, every time any of the bargaining agents made some overture to go to the board level, we seemed to be politely shunted off.

It's a large corporation; it's not like a small community hospital. So when we raise concerns, the labour relations department, which is our only agent we could get a direct access to on a regular basis, which we deal with for various multitudes of problems, not just collective agreement issues, all it could say is that because it is cut off from senior administration too -- there are several layers above it -- it doesn't get that information either. That's a rarity, since merger. Before, they seemed to have all the answers, or at least were hiding it. The impression I got since the last few years is that we're feeding them information well before they seem to be giving it to us. So no, we've never been able. It's like a stone wall to try to get real information of any sort.


Mr Johnson: The process we've gone through certainly indicates to me that there's a need for better relations between management and the employees, whether that be administration and the union executive or just managers and employees generally.

Mr Schyngera: In fairness to the corporation, if I may just for a moment, I think some of these events may have helped, the ministry's guidelines and what have you, and I think the hospital is making a genuine effort. I want to be clear here. I've never tried to malign any officials of the Toronto corporation. In fact, in other meetings or publicly I have always suggested Dr Hudson is doing a good job or that other administration officials are trying to at a hard time. They're new officials -- they weren't part of a past corporation -- and were really trying. We have a long way to go, I always say, but that's basically what I'm --

Mr Johnson: Do you believe that as a result of this process we've just been through, the dialogue and relations between the management and the employees will improve? Is there a sense that this is going to happen? I understand that there might be some concern or that the senior administration -- I don't know this, but I suspect, just from what I'm hearing, that they may be a little annoyed that they've been brought through this process as a result of the allegations that were brought forward. However, do you expect that there will be improvements in the long term?

Mr Schyngera: I hope so, but my problem right now is that the process the ministry wants to get all bargaining agents involved in, at least discussing and trying to get involved in some of the decision-making in the future -- I don't mean how much expenditure and that, but how to help the corporation with suggestions and otherwise -- began, and unfortunately, since this process, I've been excluded, frankly. I feel threatened. I've been told I shouldn't attend. So this union is without a voice right now in this hospital.

Unfortunately, I feel the good work that has been accomplished by the other unions at this point seems to be -- they're very nervous. My concern simply is to get back to work with the corporation and try to get a better environment. Right now, since the auditor's report, I've been telling my members: "These are the facts and I'm quite pleased. Let's put those to bed and let's go on."

The Chair: Thank you. Mr O'Connor. Dr Frankford would like a moment for questions also, if it's possible.

Mr O'Connor: Going through and reviewing your submission to this committee, there was the concern of course that the Provincial Auditor went in and took a look. I guess there were some things that are beyond the mandate of the Provincial Auditor to perhaps take a look at, but to put things in context, I've been looking at page 8 of your brief to us.

"Many years ago, the process was for the operations staff and management to sit down and go over the bids and possible work that would be required of contractors and there was consultation to decide whether it would be feasible to proceed in that manner. With the Begley contracts" -- which of course are new, since the merger took place -- "there was no discussion with the staff...."

The "no" kind of stuck with me because at that point, I guess, if you've got people in the operational plant of the hospital who can do some of the work -- I guess that perhaps in the past there was a practice of including the people. Help me out a little bit here. The operations staff, were they the people who could actually do some of that work in the hospital?

Mr Schyngera: That was our concern. Up until the merger and Begley, our trades were probably overworked. They always complained that they were doing a great deal of overtime. The hospital was proud of the work they did. They developed, as I say, a large, extensive trades group in our hospital. I guess because of the merger, we've accelerated projects and whatever and growth in our hospital. The way I was told by our trades as well as senior administration, they could plan for a year and know our workers versus, let's say, contract work. There was an uneasy truce but it was reasonable. Nobody seemed to complain about each other's work.

After the merger, there was a continual, gradual increase not only of Begley doing large projects, but of our tradesmen constantly complaining that it was doing the work of the bargaining unit. They were left out of the process at bargaining through the hospital officials. When we were in bargaining and brought up that subject, which was very difficult for us, the employer indicated he was as frustrated as we were, because they were not part of the loop, other than being told what decisions were made. There was a new level of bureaucracy, of internal audit, that was deciding these things now with the Begley group.

Mr O'Connor: The submission that you made to this committee was in May, and that was subsequent to the announcements by the Treasurer and of course the Minister of Health about the 1% transfer payments. The minister was quite clear in her guidelines for the need to include the people within the hospital to be part of that. Do you feel that has taken place? I guess there was no way for the auditor to get a measure of that, but for us as committee members, that's going to be a concern. Sure, we could talk about the doors and some of the mechanics that have been raised, but I think in the context of the submission you made to us, you talked about the overall operations and some problems in communications. I think that's some of the underlying fact.

Do you feel the hospital is trying to improve that relationship? In fact, I believe one of your recommendations in the back was that there should be more democratization of it. Do you feel there's been improvement there?

Mr Schyngera: I believe the hospital is attempting. It's a large corporation. I have to always be patient, I think, like all of us, and I think that's going to be the exercise I'm going to try to follow here as much as possible, but one of the things is that I do see signals.

We still have a long way to go because we're still out of the central bargaining process. I see money being wasted. I see decentralization of authority. We brought those concerns to Dr Hudson and the chief labour relations officer, Michael O'Keefe, and others. They know that this decentralization is a primary cause of grievance arbitration, which has increased fourfold or fivefold. We've never taken the amount of arbitrations we have, ever, since I've been a local president, and it's not just simply in disagreement at the labour relations end of it, but simply to try to get the departments to agree to it.

In other words, we've been told things like, "Take us to arbitration because we can't get the department to cooperate," and that type of thing. There are signals that this is going to improve, and some of that has, in fairness to the corporation. But there's still, as I say, a long way to go to get implementation and relieve the frustration of having settled things not being accomplished.

Mr O'Connor: In realizing too that there's been a change in management and that the conditions seem to be improving, and taking a look back at what you've presented to us, that ONA had to take the hospital to court to get a member of staff on the fiscal advisory committee, do you have representation on the fiscal advisory committee? I guess if you don't, I can't ask you the type of atmosphere there is in that sort of setting.

Mr Schyngera: Never been invited, no.

Mr O'Connor: Have the employees, for example, the people you represent, been involved in developing the recovery plan for the hospital?

Mr Schyngera: No.

Mr O'Connor: According to the guidelines that the minister has laid out --

Mr Schyngera: I know. In fairness, again, to the corporation, it did put invitations out in November, I believe it was, of last year to attend operational planning meetings. However, when we were given copies at initial preliminary meetings with Dr Hudson and others to express a joint labour-management committee type of thing and how we were going to set up try to develop committee structures and that, we were only issued a report that was already done.

In fairness to the corporation, I guess it had worked on this for many months previously -- almost a year, I believe -- and it was under time constraints for the budget year coming up in March to deliver this to the ministry. That is what we were told. So they gave us a copy of the report.

The new process: I got the impression we would be invited back on and whatever, but these events have intervened, obviously, and none of that has happened. I'm hopeful that it will in future, but at this point, no.

Mr O'Connor: Mr Chair, if I might ask a question of the auditor, I believe I've got some more minutes according to the rotation.

The Chair: I added two minutes to your time.

Mr O'Connor: No, I've got -- 11:32. Thank you, Mr Chair. I've got it recorded here.

The Chair: No, I don't think so. You were to be completed by 11:28 and then I added two minutes because of all the interruptions, which made it 11:30. What I'm going to do is to give every caucus another eight minutes. We'll start this eight-minute round with the government, then the official opposition and then the third party. I want to remind you that Dr Frankford is also on the list and it's up to yourselves to decide how you're going to split the time. So you have eight minutes, Mr O'Connor.


Mr O'Connor: That being the case, I can talk to the auditor on another occasion.

Mr Schyngera: Excuse me, may I just correct the record for a moment?

The Chair: Certainly.

Mr Schyngera: When I responded to Mr Johnson, I made a comment about being excluded from high-level discussions. That wouldn't be accurate. What I feel is that I should not be there because of the threats uttered. Also, I haven't had the courtesy of a meeting with Dr Hudson, which I've asked for through my representatives, to try to clear the air and what have you. My executive, as well as my membership, have asked me not to attend until this is cleared up. That's the reason.

The Chair: Thank you for the clarification. Dr Frankford has the floor and Mr Owens is also on the list.

Mr Robert Frankford (Scarborough East): Just one question, patient billings, page 9: Patient files have been lost, and billing statements. No computer system is perfect and errors will occur. In a hospital setting, besides the possible billing errors, I'm sure there's potential for clinical errors and serious consequences. Is there any routine way in which such occurrences are reported?

Mr Schyngera: Not openly. As I say, this is brown-paper bag stuff that I gave to the auditor to show that there seemed to be a problem in the system. The lab people were very distressed by what they saw in terms of reporting and reported to me. There seemed to be a document -- I guess it didn't pan out with the auditors -- that seemed to indicate there were lost or missing billings and that type of thing. Then again, officials seemed to confirm when I talked to them that there was a problem. Regarding expenditures, they didn't have an accurate figure, but they were throwing out ball-park figures of $500,000, that type of thing.

Mr Frankford: Is there a system in place in which, say, lab employees would report on occurrences of things.

Mr Schyngera: I'm not aware of it if there is. Because of the frustration raised for all the employees of the corporation who use the system, as I've understood it, in particular through ONA people who have better access and people who directly use it such as clerical staff and others, they feel, at least from the comments I've got, that there's nobody they can turn to.

Recently, I think they're having a new retraining program. That may be a result of some of frustration over the years, but there's been really none that I can understand. In fact, some people have even reported they've been threatened with discipline and other things.

Mr Owens: I raised the concern last week with the deputy around the issue of the Begley relationship. Quite frankly, I still find this troublesome. The auditor has clearly done a thorough job, but again, in terms of vindication versus questions being raised, in my view, especially in this particular case, questions continue to come up.

The auditor has said in his report with respect to the relationship that, in terms of Begley, it's paid a flat fee. I'm looking at page 11 now of the auditor's report. "In addition, the hospital pays the salaries and benefits of all other Begley employees and provides office space. Office supplies and equipment, such as the leasing of photocopy machines, are charged back to the hospital in monthly billings."

What I've asked the auditor and the deputy, and I'm going to ask you here today, sir, is: In your view, is there any differentiation in the relationship between the hospital and the contractor? Do you see any daylight in that relationship?

Mr Schyngera: I personally, as well as other employees, don't see any difference, as well as administrative staff who had the same concerns raised. In fact, if anything, it's been the strangest relationship. I'm glad that you find it as puzzling and the committee found it as puzzling as all the employees of the hospitals since they've been there. As I've understood it, when we went to a previous auditor some years ago, he was told Begley literally didn't exist. That's why we had to scratch our heads and ask for a corporate search to find out if Begley existed. Sure enough, it showed 200 Elizabeth Street as its address, but the corporation kept saying that it didn't exist.

On the other hand, I don't know what you'd call them. We've seen them contract work out, and yet they exist in part of the corporation. I guess you've dispelled some of that because I've read and become more insightful about how this relationship is in terms of contracts. But still, if they're a private, independent company, I can't see how they can make decisions -- let's say with the board, not being on the board -- with the board, the way it was described here. I'm puzzled by it too, and I guess all employees are. I can't really give you more than that at this point.

Mr Owens: At some point in this process, we're going to be preparing recommendations. What recommendation would you like to put forward with respect to this relationship? Do you have any thoughts at this point?

Mr Schyngera: In my view, they're either an employee of the hospital and should be incorporated in part of the overall plant, but we have a plant. Their function may have been to be there when the Eaton wing was being built, as an example. It was completed late in 1980. With the construction of the hospital, as I say, there's been refurbishment from one building to another because it's old and it was decrepit. They've accomplished that. Why they would have a need to contract work out on the scale that they have over the years remains a mystery to me at this point, since our trades go wanting in terms of work, and they're there.

Mr Owens: So it's your view, as a result of this relationship, that the contracting out is a problem?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, that's been a problem for quite some time now.

Mr Owens: Has it adversely affected your bargaining unit, and in what way?

Mr Schyngera: It's adversely affected the bargaining unit. We've estimated, over the years, and just a bit before merger, there's been not quite half but pretty close to half. Some trades literally have not been back in the bargaining unit again since they attritioned them out, and they contract that work back in.

Mr Owens: How have you brought your concerns forward to hospital management?

Mr Schyngera: We've tried to grieve it. We've tried to put it into bargaining. We've had labour management on numerous occasions. In fairness, on the labour relations end, we've had those discussions, but they seem to have the same wall as we do in terms of getting senior administration to cooperate with us. We were in consensus on what the problem is, somewhat in consensus on how we would like to solve the problem, but we don't get those resolutions or approvals from the senior administration.

Mr Owens: So in your view, your discussions are surface discussions?

Mr Schyngera: That's it, and it creates frustration.

The Chair: Mr Callahan, eight minutes.

Mr Callahan: You've helped me in terms of coming here and discussing this because, as I see it, you, as a representative of the union, were attempting to protect jobs that were being lost through the merger by substituting some of this high-tech stuff, computers and so on. Is that a fair statement? I don't see anything wrong with that; that's your role.

Mr Schyngera: No. I don't think I was opposed, and I still am not opposed, because I think a problem of quality assurance exists in our hospitals and others. I think we have a long way to go yet to get a real quality assurance program. We've gone a long way; we didn't have one in 1983. I believe that was the year we started a recipient program and developed it over a period, but I still think that we have a long way.

Computers are not our problem. There is a technological aspect to it. My problem is to get the best value for dollar spent, and of course the concern is to keep as much as possible of the work Canadian. There are all kinds of concerns that went through my mind, but mainly it's simply to make the corporation open. If the computers did that, fine, but they didn't seem to. They seemed to be part of that closed system of information.


Mr Callahan: Okay. I want to go back to get in my mind how the steps were taken. I thought you told one of the other members that the Ministry of Health encouraged you and others to keep an eye on what was happening in the expenditure of public funds, and whether they were being expended appropriately. I thought that was --

Mr Schyngera: No, I didn't say that. I didn't ever get comments from the ministry saying, "Overlook what's going on."

Mr Callahan: But you did approach the ministry, did you not, to tell it about these problems?

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Callahan: When did you do that? What was the date you did that, do you remember?

Mr Schyngera: I can't give you the exact date, but it was in mid-February. I'd have to look at my calendar.

Mr Callahan: Some time in early 1992?

Mr Schyngera: Yes. Early 1992.

Mr Callahan: And did you have the brief available or were you just --

Mr Schyngera: Well, the brief wasn't even -- I wasn't even contemplating, or this local or anybody else was contemplating, a brief. We were simply trying to see if the ministry, anybody, could --

Mr Callahan: Whom did you meet with?

Mr Schyngera: We've gone to auditors before; we've gone to the ministry. We wanted simply answers, and nobody's been able to provide them except until now.

Mr Callahan: Whom did you meet with in the ministry?

Mr Schyngera: As I said, in the meeting that I described earlier, Michael Decter and others who accompanied him.

Mr Callahan: When you met with Michael Decter, did you tell him about all these problems you reported to us?

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Callahan: Did you add any anecdotal comments?

Mr Schyngera: Everything you see in the brief was commented on and possibly more, and other union officials made an equal amount, or supported my allegations and made more allegations beyond this. This is the only area I know; they know other areas.

Mr Callahan: What did they tell you about these problems? What did he offer to do?

Mr Schyngera: He was concerned, it sounded like, but he listened and commented back simply, as I indicated before, that he was meeting with the Toronto Hospital officials and would look into it. That's all that I gleaned from him in the meeting. He listened, I guess, because we were raising our concerns to him.

Mr Callahan: Did you take any further steps to perhaps meet with the minister?

Mr Schyngera: Yes. That was the only meeting after numerous times, before and after, to try to raise these concerns. I know other officials of bargaining units have been trying. I guess some of them have received letters, but no direct meetings, as I understand.

Mr Callahan: Did you send any written communications to either Decter or the minister?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, back when we were doing some lobbying. As I say, we asked on various occasions, through our union, to get a meeting with the ministry, and that was the only opportunity, in this January meeting, to get that.

Mr Callahan: Was this a full statement of the things you've told --

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Callahan: Was that sent in writing to the ministry?

Mr Schyngera: No. We went into a meeting by invitation to raise our concerns, and it was done orally.

Mr Callahan: That's the meeting with Dexter you're talking about?

Mr Schyngera: Decter.

Mr Callahan: Decter. But did you ever forward correspondence setting out these concerns fully to the minister herself?

Mr Schyngera: No, not yet. We had given them a copy -- did we? I'm not sure if we did; I can't tell you offhand -- of our Toronto health board presentation, which is a mini. It doesn't put in all of the allegations, just simply our reforms of health care, the basic recommendations format to the Toronto health board and that type of thing.

Mr Callahan: Nothing happened, so the next step was that you came to this committee expecting us to --

Mr Schyngera: We were hoping, because after the auditor's report I was aware that the hospital was going to be appearing here. As I say, I still don't know all the ramifications of this committee, but I know it had to do with explaining the auditor's report as it was issued. I believe I called Ms Manikel at that time. We asked our union if I could appear and give our views, similar to views that were expressed here, but maybe not in a brief then, because we wouldn't have been anywhere near prepared then, but simply to comment on the auditor's report.

Mr Callahan: The views are obviously observations more than just your observations; they're observations of people throughout the entire hospital.

Mr Schyngera: As I say, they seem to have taken on a life of their own, and it seems to be truth in the sense of common conversation that regularly gets talked about and discussed.

Mr Callahan: All right, but I have to assume that somebody had put out the word to these people: "We'd like you to bring in all the complaints that you observe of money being ill spent or improperly spent or not for value." Isn't that right? In order to pull all this together, and getting rumours and advice from all over the hospital, there had to be somebody who had said to them, "Keep your ears and eyes open and report to us of any improprieties."

Mr Schyngera: Again, not by our officials because, as I say, if anything, I work in the hospital and I'm inundated with more information and more rumour that I try to dispel immediately or try to just take with a grain of salt because, as I say, the atmosphere has not been the most pleasant and people bring all kinds of wild allegations daily -- I guess a lot wilder than what you're seeing, believe me. All I can say to you is that I get more than I need. As I say, I don't go solicit information; it comes to me.

Mr Callahan: Do I gather from that what you're saying is that you, as the president, just simply became, as a result of receiving these unsolicited --

Mr Schyngera: It was a cry for help. That's the way I saw it. People from lower administration particularly who were vulnerable in their jobs were feeding me this information, saying, "Please, do something." These are things workers saw as unjust or unfair or whatever and asked, "Since you're officials of the union, couldn't you be bringing these concerns?" Our trades, workers -- I'm not saying they're officials, but they talked to us and we've had several meetings. As I say, I'm surprised. What can I say?

Mr Callahan: Okay. So you received these unsolicited, and the bottom line was that you and the others couldn't see why there were people being laid off or, because of certain of these allegations where if these matters weren't being overspent, as was suggested, they'd have the money to keep on these employees. That's your bottom line, isn't it?

Mr Schyngera: Yes and no. If there was a genuine deficit, we'd understand layoff, but it's the way it was conducted. It was not done in a humane fashion. It skirted the minimum requirements of employment standards. In fact, we raised a complaint at employment standards, thinking it was not accurate the way they went about layoff. It was a very complex meeting because they obviously had got legal advice just to the bare minimum requirement.

Yes, we are trying to protect jobs, be clear, but we also understand that in today's reality -- I'm not condoning it -- we would have thought, since the merger when the hospital got the hospitals act changed to allow it to merge with the other side and they made a promise, and that's been repeated over the years, that we would consult. Well, we've been told, not consulted with, all the way through, and this was the ultimate, extreme example of simply: "Here's what you got. You can take it or leave it."

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Tilson, eight minutes.

Mr Tilson: Mr Schyngera, I'd like just to clarify a couple of the items in the auditor's report, if you could turn to page 4. This has to do with a concern that documents exist showing that operating money has been used to cover the cost of computers which should be from capital funds. What documents do you have that lead you to make that allegation?

Mr Schyngera: Again, what I gave, I gave all to the auditor and the document that we believe -- I'm not the person who's the audit specialist. But again, brown paper-bagging information to us, people have given us here. Look at this. There's a department that has taken some funds, and it was a renal unit document for previous computer expenditures and it listed some -- I'm not sure of the figure right now. We assumed that would be an operating expense put towards a computer.

Mr Tilson: Who gave you the document?

Mr Schyngera: Documents come into my hands from various people. I can see why that would be a private document anyway, but it seems people are scared and they handed these documents over to me.

Mr Tilson: Do you recall who gave you the documents?

Mr Schyngera: I'm reluctant to name names because I'm not sure if it's appropriate or not, but they were given to me.

Mr Tilson: I just want to know, do you agree with the response of the Provincial Auditor?

Mr Schyngera: As I said before, and I'll say again, I accept the auditor's report as it stands, yes.

Mr Callahan: You've just given the reason there should be whistle-blowing legislation brought in by this government: to protect people and give them the right to bring those matters forward.

Mr Schyngera: As I say, my concern in this local is to put rumours to bed, but mainly to see whether or not we can simply improve administration, not to accuse. I realize, under the current hospitals act and in the past and whatever, the perception of secrecy in this corporation -- and I've never experienced a larger corporation that I've ever worked in, never mind a hospital, and the levels of bureaucracy are astounding and staggering. Some of that's being demystified with the process we're now undergoing, and maybe that's what's necessary. But clearly I feel and others feel, probably, that it's almost alienated in your own institution. That needs to be cleared up, I guess.


Mr Tilson: Obviously we as legislators, and I'm sure you as well, would like to see the relationship improve between employees and management at the Toronto Hospital.

Facts that you have given the Provincial Auditor simply doesn't agree with. Mr Decter, the deputy, appeared before this committee last week and he indicated that you had appeared before him or before his staff.

The process that has resulted from this exercise has been very expensive to the taxpayer of the province of Ontario. I understand that you came to this committee in frustration. I understand that. You can obviously tell that I'm rather annoyed by it, because it's cost the province of Ontario, the taxpayer, a lot of money. But at the same time, on the other side of the coin, I do understand your frustrations, and probably your regret.

However, let's return to the ministry, because probably these concerns should have been dealt with by the ministry. In fairness, you went to a meeting with the deputy minister, or you asked for a meeting with the minister and the minister wasn't able to see you. What do you think the ministry could have done?

Mr Schyngera: I'm not sure what forum -- I mean, I'm a citizen like most, I guess. I read about government. There's the Ministry of Health. Could they look into this just to clear it up, to see, one, whether these allegations are true and, two, whether out of that we could get to improve relations? That's an important feature, because it has not been pleasant working in this corporation for all of us during this period, and it continues at this point. The apprehension is unbelievable. It's electric.

When you talk about money, you're right. I regret in one sense, but I don't in another, that this committee did this, because it's finally put to rest. I will make sure, and I do tell people right now, that this is all put to bed and "Don't put it out any more." I tell this to my trades and everything.

But on the other side of the coin, I came here with the labour relations problem we have -- increased staff, increased amount of labour relations activity we've had to undergo right now -- and for naught. On one hand, I believe we have a better understanding of our agreement, all parties, and seem to agree, yet we're expending greater amounts of money than before, and I find that to be detestable. And probably, if I were to factor in right now that amount of money, it would be far, far greater than what this committee has spent for this audit. That's my concern also as a taxpayer of Ontario. It comes out of the taxpayers' money to do that.

Mr Tilson: You've indicated that you have sent correspondence to the minister and to the deputy minister requesting meetings. Are you able to provide --

Mr Schyngera: No, not me personally. My union, through our representative, requested a meeting on our behalf through a letter to the minister.

Mr Tilson: You have access to those letters?

Mr Schyngera: Yes, I have copies of those.

Mr Tilson: Would you be prepared to give this committee copies of that communication?

Mr Schyngera: Yes.

Mr Tilson: Because I must say, Mr Chairman, as a member of the committee I am concerned about the lack of action, the lack of interest by the Ministry of Health. Whether these allegations are --

Mr Schyngera: I didn't say "lack of action." I don't know what the ministry did.

Mr Tilson: That's for this committee to determine, and I can assure you that as a member of this committee I would be trying to determine what action the ministry did take. It appears at the moment that they took none.

Mr Schyngera: I didn't get communication. I don't know if they took action, but I didn't get communication.

Mr Tilson: That's my point.

Mr Callahan: That's what drove you to this committee: the inactivity on the part of the ministry.

Mr Tilson: That's right. I am concerned about that apparent lack of action, although I certainly don't condone the actions of this delegation. I have said in this committee in the past, and I say it to their face, that it was mischievous in so far as the resulting action this committee took.

However, this union felt it legitimately had concerns and it went to the ministry in good faith, it asked for an appointment with the minister in good faith, with allegations which it thought were very serious, and which appear now to be not that serious. I am concerned that the ministry did not take any appropriate action, or any action, in dealing with these concerns.

I don't have any further questions of that delegation, but I would like to hear other members of the committee comment, before we make a report on this matter, on whether we should pursue that apparent lack of action, or lack of action, by the Ministry of Health.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Tilson. I'm sure we'll have that discussion yet. Just in closing, I think it would be fair that we allow the delegation to have any closing remarks you'd like to make to the committee. Would you like to make any closing remarks?

Mr Schyngera: I'd just like to say again that it is unfortunate that we had to appear here initially and now. I don't regret that experience. Notwithstanding Mr Tilson's comment that it was mischievous, it was never intended to be mischievous. If you look at the body of the brief, the way I would like to read it is that it was a concern simply for health care, to improve it from now on. The snapshot, as I said in the brief, was to give a historical perspective of what may or may not go wrong in a corporation and what could be done in the future. It was never intended, and never was, mischievous intent.

The Chair: Mr Schyngera, I want to thank you and your delegation for appearing before the committee today and for answering all the questions that have been put to you.

Mr Schyngera: Thank you for having me.

The Chair: Can we take a couple of minutes before we rush upstairs for the vote, to decide on a matter or two? The clerk thinks we can do it all in two minutes or less. Quickly, please.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chairman, I think there's a vote that I must -- I have been requested --

The Chair: The committee stands adjourned until next Thursday morning, 10 am.

The committee adjourned at 1157.