Thursday 24 June 1993

Subcommittee report

Annual report, Provincial Auditor, 1992: Ministry of Health


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

Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

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

*Duignan, Noel (Halton North/-Nord ND)

Farnan, Mike (Cambridge ND)

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

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND)

*Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

Murphy, Tim (St George-St David L)

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

Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L) for Ms Poole

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND) for Mr Farnan

Waters, Daniel (Muskoka-Georgian Bay/Muskoka-Baie-Georgienne ND) for Mr Perruzza

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Peall, Gary R., director, ministry and agency audit branch, Office of Provincial Auditor

Peters, Erik, Provincial Auditor

Clerk / Greffiére: Manikel, Tannis

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

The committee met at 1019 in room 151.


The Chair (Mr Joseph Cordiano): Members of the committee, the public accounts committee will come to order to deal with our business scheduled for this morning. I assume everyone has a copy of the agenda for this morning. There are three items on the agenda. The first is the report of the subcommittee.

We met on Thursday last, June 17, and discussed the committee's agenda for the summer recess. We agreed that the Chair will write to the House leaders and request four weeks of meeting time during the summer recess: one week for the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees conference and three weeks for hearings in August and/or September. In addition, we agreed that this letter would note that if the conference occurred while the House was meeting, only three weeks would be required for hearings.

The subcommittee discussed section 3.12 of the 1992 Annual Report of the Provincial Auditor, the housing item. We agreed that the Provincial Auditor will send a follow-up letter to the Deputy Minister of Housing asking when an accounting and management system of non-profit housing units will be implemented.

The subcommittee discussed the Task Force on University Accountability. It was agreed that the clerk will contact the Task Force on University Accountability asking when the task force report will be available.

The subcommittee discussed the agenda. It was agreed that if the House is still sitting, the committee will not meet on Thursday, July 8, as a result of the conference that is being held.

Essentially, that's what we've arrived at. We have further items for the subcommittee to consider with regard to the additional issues or agenda items that subcommittee members will bring forward to our meeting. I believe we have a meeting today at 12, so we will be discussing this afternoon the items to be deliberated upon and considered for the summer.

Any questions? Oh, we need a mover of the adoption of the report of the subcommittee.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I would move that, but I have some questions.

Regarding the first paragraph, is it clarified now as to when the House will be sitting? I believe the sitting has been extended. Does that clear up the matter now of the conflict with the conference? I guess we have a start date for the extended sittings Monday, but I don't think we have a concluding date. That's open-ended, as I understand. It may be one week, two weeks or three weeks. Has a member of the government no indication of that? You don't know whether it conflicts or not?

The Chair: The conference will go on as scheduled, regardless of whether the House sits or not.

Mr Eddy: What date?

The Chair: It will start on the 8th. Pardon me, what am I saying, the 4th. I'm ahead of myself. I'm thinking that because I'm on holiday after that.

Mr Eddy: July 4 to?

Mr Noel Duignan (Halton North): It's Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th.

The Chair: It's the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, yes. It ends on the Wednesday.

Mr Eddy: It may well conflict. On the other hand, it may not conflict. So that's an unknown.

Mr Duignan: I think we can safely assume that the House will be sitting that week.

The Chair: We have to assume that at this point, I would imagine. The conference, however, will go on as scheduled and we'll have to work around that.

Mr Eddy: I'd like to ask a question about a follow-up letter to the Deputy Minister of Housing. I wondered if there had been a response to that. Maybe there hasn't been time to get it there and a response. Also, the third item, contacting the Task Force on University Accountability, is there a reply to either of those? It's just for information.

Clerk of the Committee (Ms Tannis Manikel): I did contact David Coulter, who is the ministry contact I had on the university task force. He indicated to me that copies of the report had been made available to the universities and that they had decided to make it public at that time. They were getting additional copies printed. I had hoped to have copies ready for the committee members today, but they haven't come in yet. I'm expecting them at any time now. I'll get those out to your offices just as soon as they come in.

The Chair: And on the other item, the housing matter?

Clerk of the Committee: The Provincial Auditor gave me the copies of the letters this morning. I've just got them photocopied and we'll be handing them out momentarily.

The Chair: That answers your questions. Mr Eddy, are you moving this report be adopted?

Mr Eddy: Yes, I'd be pleased to.

The Chair: Mr Eddy so moves, that the report of the subcommittee be adopted. All in favour? Carried?


The Chair: Do you have a question?

Mr Duignan: No, I was simply saying that some time ago we reached an arrangement that when the subcommittee agreed on something it was automatically deemed to be accepted by the committee.

The Chair: Yes, we still need --


Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I wish my committee was like that. Oh, and the person who doesn't do that is on this committee. Isn't that a strange coincidence?

The Chair: Yes, Mr Duignan, this is just a formality, hopefully. We still need a motion to carry that on record. Carried. The motion is carried.


The Chair: We're going to have to deal with Mr Murphy's notice of motion. Is this a notice of motion? No, it's a motion. The second item on the agenda is Mr Murphy's motion, which everyone has a copy of included in your agenda for today. Do I have a mover of this motion?

Mrs Marland: Was this the motion that was originally Mr Callahan's?

The Chair: Yes, it has been moved. Oh, here's Mr Callahan.

Mrs Marland: Oh, we're back to Mr Callahan.

The Chair: This has been moved. I'm just getting clarification from the clerk that this was moved and that we are resuming debate on this motion. I apologize for that miscue there.

Mrs Marland: We had started talking about it.

The Chair: We did and we're resuming that debate. I will take interested parties' questions or debate on this matter.

Mr Duignan: A couple of points on this particular motion: I feel maybe the motion is a little premature. In fact this committee is still looking at the whole issue of the health card in this province. We just recently, a couple of weeks ago, had people in from the Royal Bank and the green card insurance company in here to discuss this issue. I notice that a report has come to the deputy minister's committee and the minister's policy committee this month with recommendations on how and whether to change the health card. Maybe we should have those people from the Ministry of Health come in and give an update to this committee on the process.

Also, the branch in question, the registration program branch, has been in existence for only about a year, long enough to have identified some of the issues and problems and to have identified some of the priorities, but not, I believe, long enough to have fixed those problems. I think another audit so close on the heels of the last would be disruptive and focus energies away from the tasks that actually need to be done.

Again, the last audit on the system was conducted in February of this year, so I think it's a little premature. The ministry has looked at the whole issue and has come back to the committee of the ministry and to the ministry with some recommendations. Maybe we should have those people from the ministry come in here and give us an update on their findings.

Mr Robert Frankford (Scarborough East): For a start, could we have it clarified where we are in the whole health card review? As Mr Duignan says, we're still going to presumably prepare a report on what we've heard. In referring to the hearings we've had about smart cards and so on, are we exploring the whole thing quite broadly? I personally was not quite clear why we were having those reviews, but the committee felt that this was quite appropriate. But if that is the case, then I think we should keep on exploring. I don't think we exhausted all the alternatives just with the two sessions we've had on that.

Secondly, as I've mentioned before, I think there are some real problems in the whole payment system affecting practitioners. I have suggested before that we might want to give the OMA the opportunity of coming to give us an update on how it's finding the health cards working out in practice.


The Chair: I don't know if you want me to respond to that. Just to update what the subcommittee has said on that item, I believe we agreed that we would consider the outstanding items around this issue when we're sitting in the summer. We've certainly not concluded in terms of that piece of business. We haven't concluded that. As a result, we would be considering some of the outstanding matters that were still before the committee. We haven't wrapped up that report, unless the auditor wants to comment further on anything that he sees necessary with this item.

Mr Erik Peters: No, I think everything has been put on the table that is to be considered. I'm not sure whether the February intervention is actually a full audit, but I agree with the disruptive point that was made.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): I'd like to have a review in this aspect. In the auditor's report, under the topic "Valid Health Cards," it says, "A key objective of the registration system was to tighten control over the fraudulent and unintentional abuse of Ontario health benefits by non-residents."

Down further, it says, "If an individual used an invalid card, the ministry would reimburse the service provided for the medical care and notify the provider that the card was invalid."

I have a letter here and I'm going to ask the clerk to circulate a copy to all of the members of the committee. The nuts and bolts of this is that a constituent of mine wrote me. They discovered that their 14-year-old daughter's health card would no longer work. They assumed that the magnetic strip had been deactivated by something. They contacted the ministry. Instead of the ministry saying, "Go ahead and use it," this young lady was denied service.

There was a question about the birthdate of this child. The child had used the card. The card had been used on a number of occasions, and yet here they were disputing it because the date of birth was wrong. In the meantime, this person was having difficulty. I'll just find what her illness was. My constituent called the Ministry of Health, and it took a considerable period of time to even get any information, and then it told them it wouldn't give them any information.

"There was no warning written or verbal that the health card had been rendered null and void.

"My daughter sees a specialist regularly and has a recurring medical problem that she thought she might have to quickly go to a walk-in clinic about." The concern of my constituent was: "Would she be denied service? What happens in the interim while she's waiting to be validated? What could happen if she had to go to an emergency?"

The question's raised by my constituent: "Shouldn't the Ministry of Health be accountable and responsible to inform their clients of an important termination such as this? Albeit temporary, it is very unsettling.

"It took me one half of one hour to get through with multiple attempts and a 10-minute wait on hold. Isn't the purpose of a ministry to serve its people? If this was a company, this would be inadequate service. My time is equally valuable and half an hour was too much time for me to take out of my workday. Also, after a long wait one can tend to feel a little snarly.

"By the time I did talk with" -- and I won't name the person she spoke to -- "she sounded strained and impatient and it was only 9:30 am, one hour past opening time on a Wednesday.

"It would have been very easy to correct the incorrect number. There is something disconcerting" -- this is my constituent talking -- "about not being believed about the birthdate of your child. I had suggested that perhaps the data had inadvertently been entered incorrectly and this was refuted." This employee, whose name I won't give, "thought that it was an error outside of the ministry. However," my constituent's daughter's "card was valid all along since it was issued until now.

"I can understand bureaucracy, I can understand confidentiality, but there is something fundamentally wrong with a health care system that is out of touch with humanity.

"For the record, this is the third time that we have had dealings with health card issues. First, my husband's card broke. Second, my doctor's office told me to phone the Ministry of Health and obtain a version code for my son's card and the ministry" said "there was nothing wrong with his card. She instructed me to tell our doctor to resubmit the claim.

"And now, this wonder card won't work because of someone's error and the near-deity status of the computer. Something is wrong here. Where are our priorities and where is our good faith? What is being held as most valuable in this process of health care?

"I don't think that we can't afford to ask these questions along with a myriad of others. And, if we don't ask questions, we don't get answers. So, can we get some answers, please?"

I think there's a lot more wrong here than just the -- the major thing obviously is the number of cards that were issued vis-à-vis the number of people in Ontario. That's a major problem, and that's one the auditor has addressed, and we should probably go back and follow up on that to see how we're doing.

But I think more importantly than that is that the service to the public with this card -- if the card is going to create problems for people, and if there's not a fail-safe provision and legitimate people using the card can't get services, then there's something wrong.

I'm not sure whether this is an audit -- what's the terminology we use?

Mr Peters: Value for money.

Mr Callahan: Value for money. I think it's value for money for the citizens of this province if the system does not provide some fail-safe mechanism for this. We're trying to stop the fraudulent use, but in the meantime we're supposed to have a universal health care for people and they're supposed to have access to health care without being run around the block like a Philadelphia lawyer. I find it really objectionable.

I'm going to file this with the public accounts committee, and I'm going to ask that we have the auditor go back and not just look at the question of how we're doing in terms of the question of fraud and inappropriate use, but also the question of, have we set up such a red tape bureaucracy that we may be denying universal access to people such as my constituent, Ms Lisa Sportel of Brampton?

The Chair: Mr Callahan, I just wanted to point out, are there names in this letter, and do you want those revealed to this committee?

Mr Callahan: I didn't reveal the names on television, if we're being televised, of the employee.

Mr Duignan: If you label it, it becomes a public document.

The Chair: Yes. I just wanted to make that clear to you.

Mr Callahan: I don't think there's any great problem in that regard. As long as it's a public document here, the employee was the employee, but no need to put them on television.

The Chair: That's fine. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of that.

Mr Callahan: I appreciate that, Mr Chair.

The Chair: It's entirely your decision.

Mr Callahan: Yes, so perhaps we can circulate a copy of that. You might even circulate my reply to them. Thank you.

Mrs Marland: With respect, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Point of order, Mrs Marland, around this item, because I haven't --

Mrs Marland: I really would prefer that this was circulated to the committee with the name whited out. I just think it's a little dicey.

Mr Callahan: The employee's name, or the name of my constituent? I think my constituent doesn't have any problem.

Mrs Marland: Definitely the employee's name. I just don't think the committee needs to have the names. Personally, I don't think the committee needs to have the names.

Mr Callahan: I don't have a problem with that. This is not a vendetta against the employee; this is a vendetta against the system. I don't care who the employee is.

Mrs Marland: I know, but in fairness to the people, I don't think it's probably such a good idea, and we don't need the names.

Mr Duignan: On the same point, I agree with Mrs Marland. I don't think we need a name. A certain allegation's been made against an employee of OHIP. The person has not had an opportunity to come here and defend herself. If you table this letter here today, it's a public document. There's nothing stopping the press coming and getting a hold of that either -- nothing.

Mr Callahan: I can save a lot of time, Mr Duignan. I'm content that we white out the name of the employee. As I say, it's not a vendetta against the employee, although my constituent was exasperated by the whole process, but this person who's down there may be getting a lot of this stuff and it's driving them around the bend. I think it's the system that my constituent has the concern with, and that we see this doesn't happen again. I think that's the important thing.


The Chair: That's fine. Obviously, there is agreement to do that, so Tannis will white out the names and then have this letter distributed. All agreed? I would imagine there's consensus for that.

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): I believe that earlier on we had decided that we would have the Ministry of Health come in and make a report to this committee about the status of the review and whatnot that was taking place. Are we going to then, this committee, request that they come to us? I would like to follow up with some of the concerns that Mr Callahan has raised on access, and perhaps we should follow through with inviting someone from the OMA to come before us and discuss some of this with us as well.

I don't think the Provincial Auditor doing a follow-up audit is totally necessary at this point. It may be something that we want to look at as a committee, I agree, because we all have very serious concerns about the system, but I would hope that we can get someone from the ministry to come in and do a follow-up report to us as to exactly what has been happening. At the same time, I'd like to hear from the OMA, because if our constituents, the people we are elected to represent, are going to be denied service, then we need to know that and find out what the problem is and have it remedied as quickly as possible.

I'd suggest that we include on our invitation list of who we'd like to have come and make a presentation the OMA and perhaps a representative from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, or somebody come before this committee so that we can have our concerns heard and have some response from the people who provide some primary care.

Mr Frankford: I appreciate Mr Callahan's contribution because I think I've been trying to make the point that there are a lot of problems with this card arrangement, not just overuse or fraud but non-payment or slow payment or just bureaucratic hangups.

I've had a similar case myself where a two-year-old child was taken to a walk-in clinic with what I think was a genuine enough emergency, and the father had to call up a friend to get cash out of a machine because they were refused treatment for not having a card, although the reasons for not having the card at the time were totally legitimate.

I personally believe -- I think it would be quite interesting to have the ministry come here -- that just a number is needed to get payment. There is nothing saying that there has to be a card and that the card has to be produced every week or on every visit.

My interpretation, and I'm prepared to be told otherwise, is that the medical service is not a bank machine arrangement where unless you have the card with you and have the right card you don't get anything out of the machine. I believe that it's a matter of having a legitimate number, and in my experience in the past, one could just get the number from somewhere else. In my office we're always being called by other practitioners' offices saying, "Can you give us this person's number?" That's been going on, and perfectly legitimately, because we are talking about people who are bona fide residents of the province.

I think the whole system can be quite simple. I would be quite interested to have the ministry come to clarify the situation. I think this would be very helpful to patients and physicians. The situation Mr Callahan describes probably need never have happened. Probably the card with a valid number was okay, and if the magnetic stripe failed, that shouldn't matter.

I think there are a lot of things to clarify in this. I would not support Mr Murphy's motion because I don't think it deals with really looking at the whole thing, but I'm certainly happy to keep on discussing this and get input from the ministry, from the medical bodies and even from representatives of patients.

Mr Duignan: We can all recount horror stories of the OHIP system now and in the past when we had the paper card; there were 24 million pieces of that thing floating around. At one point, I had two or three of them. I remember a time when I encountered a situation myself where I actually gave the wrong number from the wrong piece of paper and had a hell of a time trying to get it sorted out. There have been problems in that system from nearly day one.

But the point is that the ministry has set up the registration program branch and it has reported back. A report has come to the deputy minister's committee, and I want to hear what they have said about the system and what recommendations are contained in that report. I'm not saying Mr Murphy's motion is useless; I think it's premature at this point because this committee is still looking into the whole issue of the health card system.

Mrs Marland: It's unfortunate that we're rehashing this to the extent we are. I agree with Mr O'Connor that it is time for us to have the ministry come back. It's funny that when we started talking about this, it was two and a half months before the end of June; I remember Mr O'Connor saying, "The ministry is supposed to have an interim report by the end of June," and I thought, "Oh, it's too bad that we have to wait until the end of June," and now here we are the end of June.

I think we can keep going around the mulberry bush. The fact is that there is $675 million worth of health card fraud in this province and there has to be a remedy. It's just that simple.

This committee wants to work together to resolve the problem, and we all have the same end goal. I think the next step is that we have the ministry come in and give us its interim report about what it found out and what it's doing. I agree with Mr O'Connor's suggestion that perhaps we have somebody from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association, I would suggest, because of the difference between those two bodies. Then we can move on from there.

If Mr Duignan thinks this motion is premature, why don't we table it again until after we've had these people in, and not get hung up on it? We can have people we've suggested come in and then we can look at the motion again. It may well be that after we hear from these people, we may be willing to support the motion for good cause, but I don't think we need to get hung up on the motion today. Let's just proceed.

For that reason, I'm going to move that we invite representatives of the Ministry of Health, the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Ontario Medical Association to appear before the committee to discuss this matter.

Mr Callahan: We'll have trouble getting the Deputy Minister of Health. He's tied up in the social contract area.

Mr Duignan: No, he's not.

Mr Callahan: Is he not? I thought he was.

The Chair: Did you make a motion, Mrs Marland?

Mrs Marland: Yes. It was a very good one.

The Chair: I'm sorry. I'm just trying to get a sense of where we're at with this. I'm going to allow Mr Duignan to clarify.

Mr Duignan: It was made as a suggestion to Mr Callahan that he actually withdraw the motion or table it till the fall, till we've had all these people in to have a look at it, and maybe we'll even want to expand the motion in the fall. But let's hear the people suggested in Mrs Marland's motion first.

Mr Callahan: I'm prepared to do that, but I want to adjourn it to a fixed date. These things, if they get adjourned sine die, sort of drift off into the sunset. I can concur with Mrs Marland's statement, but there are things in here that are very serious concerns. For instance, I was just reviewing again the question of security. I don't know whether this was corrected afterwards, but 12,000 computer users could read and change registration information on the health cards; is that right?

Mr Peters: That was right at the time. The ministry has advised us that it has corrected the situation.


Mr Callahan: Yes, but without sending the auditor in, we're told they've corrected it. How have they corrected it? Are we going to get the right people in here? That's what I'm concerned about.

Mr Duignan: We'll request the deputy minister to come.

The Chair: It's your suggestion that we set an approximate date or a definite date --

Mr Callahan: Adjourn this to a fixed date so that it will come back and we will deal with it.

The Chair: I just want to point out that it's very difficult to do that at this point, Mr Callahan, not knowing when we're actually sitting; we haven't had approval for any of our dates.

Mr Callahan: No, but we could fix it, Mr Chair, to the first date that public accounts sits when the House returns. That would be a fixed date.

Mr Duignan: That's agreeable.

Mr Callahan: All right. In the interim, though, I think what is important is that perhaps we have the auditor identify the items that he has not been told have been rectified and that are still outstanding, so that we can identify who the appropriate people are to bring in here to get those answers.

The Chair: We have two motions. I think we're all heading in the same direction, if I may just try to sum this up and get a clear sense of where we're going. Mr Callahan seems to be suggesting that the fixed date be the first date that the public accounts committee meets again when the House is in session, so that would fix it at some time in October, whenever that is, or at the very earliest, late September.

Apart from that, just to try and understand that there is a consensus, he suggested that at that point in time we call before the committee the appropriate witnesses, whether it be the OMA or Health ministry officials, or whomever else we would designate as appropriate through, I would imagine, the avenue of the subcommittee to do that, to order those kinds of people to come before the committee.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, I think I can make it just a little tighter than that. Why don't I move deferral or table, whichever you wish to use, what is now identified as Mr Murphy's motion on today's agenda, just move deferral of that motion until the first meeting after we have met with the representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ontario Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons? That sets the meeting to deal with this motion at whenever it is after we've heard the reports from those individuals, and then it might even be before the first meeting in October.

Mr Duignan: The only problem, Mr Chair, is that if we order our business for the summer, it may become impossible to do that, but I'm still agreeable, if we can; or the first meeting day after the House resumes in September.

Mrs Marland: When are they coming in? We don't know when they're coming in. The point I'm making is that I'm tabling this motion, deferring this motion, until after we've heard from these individuals. I'm saying this motion will be dealt with at the meeting immediately after we have met and heard from these individuals.

The Chair: Mr Duignan, if I just may, as the Chair, on subcommittee we tried to order our agenda to include this item in the summer, so if we preclude that from occurring in the summer, I point out that we may not have this item to be dealt with on the dates we may have set aside for summer hearings; we may not have this as an item to deal with.

Mrs Marland: And if you don't, then the first meeting in October will be meaningless because we won't have heard from these people yet.

Mr Duignan: One of the suggestions to the subcommittee was in fact that we would continue reviewing the hearings and the reports on the health cards. That was one of the suggestions, so I strongly suspect that will be one of the items on the agenda for the summer recess.

Mrs Marland: That's great, because it's sooner than later, and that would be good.

Mr Duignan: But the point I was trying to make is that normally if we set aside two days, say, to deal with this issue, the next day then would have to be assigned to another issue over the summer program. That's the only problem. I'm sure we can accommodate it, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Tannis is just suggesting that for now, the motion include "any other groups," leave it open- ended so that we can be flexible. That would allow us, then, in the summer to hear from all these various groups.

Mr Duignan: Yes. I don't want to debate this all morning.

Mrs Marland: That's a good idea.

The Chair: Is that agreed? Shall we carry forward? We need to read this motion into the record, and as soon as Tannis has that written out and straightened out, we'll move forward with that.

In the meantime, I'd like to move on to the next agenda item just to prepare everyone with regard to number 3 on the agenda, the non-profit housing report, and try to deal with this item for the remainder of the time we have.

Mr Callahan: That's going to be in closed session.

The Chair: Yes, we'll move into closed session.

Mr Callahan: Mr Chair, before we go into that, since we will be going into closed session, I would like to inquire what happened to two motions, two items that I moved -- I think they passed -- about a special audit under section 17 of the Audit Act in terms of the furniture that I understand was ordered by Ontario Hydro but, because the interior decorator didn't like it, is now being moved around from warehouse to warehouse lest anybody find it. The second one is the redecoration, furniture and wallpapering of 361 University Avenue, which is the Ontario Court (General Division), at a very large amount of money when it wasn't needed. I don't know where they went.

The Chair: We haven't forgotten about them.

Mr Callahan: Were they passed? I can't remember. Were they moved?

The Chair: No, they weren't moved.

Mr Callahan: I gave notice of motion; that's right.

The Chair: You gave notice of motion for those items, and the subcommittee is attempting to schedule that for debate as a motion. Obviously, it's dependent on how many dates we have available to us to deal with. These items on this agenda were set by the subcommittee to be dealt with today. The next opportunity that the subcommittee deems appropriate or possible, we'll deal with those items.

Mr Callahan: My reason for having some urgency about them is the factor that if the furniture, as I understand it, is being sort of moved around and secreted, I don't want it to suddenly disappear by the time the auditor gets to it. For that matter, in being able to determine whether or not the renovations at 361 University Avenue were necessary, and I have on a fairly good authority they were not necessary, I would like the auditor in there. I think the major concern of public accounts, particularly when we're looking at the economy we're in, the fact that we're talking about the social contract and the fact that people are going to be having to take --

Mrs Marland: I'm sorry, I don't see this on the agenda today. With respect to Mr Callahan, we have a major item on the agenda, and this item which he's asking about is not on the agenda.

Mr Callahan: That's what I'm asking, Mrs Marland. I'm asking why it's not, and I've been told by the Chairman why it's not, but I'm giving my reasons why I want it urgently put on the agenda. I think that's totally appropriate, and I don't understand your reason for interfering in terms of my speaking to it.

The Chair: Mr Duignan, you have a suggestion?

Mr Duignan: Yes. Why don't we just schedule this for the meeting of July 15, put it on the agenda for July 15? That's the next date that this committee's meeting.

Mr Callahan: I'd be content with that, and I'll stop talking about it.

Mr Duignan: Let's move on with the rest of the agenda.

The Chair: Agreed. I think Tannis has this motion ready to be read into the record.

Clerk of the Committee: Mrs Marland moves that consideration of Mr Murphy's motion be deferred until the first meeting after representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ontario Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons and any other groups agreed to by the subcommittee have appeared before this committee.

Mrs Marland: Did we have to say "by the subcommittee" or just "by the committee"?

Clerk of the Committee: I can change that to "by the committee."

Mrs Marland: I think so.

The Chair: Is that agreed to? Okay. Mrs Marland, do you move this motion?

Mrs Marland: I will move that motion as read by the clerk.

Mr Duignan: I'll second the motion.

The Chair: All in favour? Carried.

Now perhaps we can move to closed session and deal with the third item on our agenda for today, the non- profit housing report.

The committee continued in closed session at 1100.