Thursday 16 September 1993

University accountability


*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:

Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC) for Mrs Marland

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND) for Mr Hayes

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND) for Mr Duignan

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND) for Mr Perruzza

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND) for Mr Farnan

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West/-Ouest ND) for Mr Hayes

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Pascal, Dr Charles, deputy minister, Ministry of Education and Training

Peters, Erik, Provincial Auditor

Task Force on University Accountability:

Broadhurst, William, chair

Lang, Dr D.W., member, steering committee and chair, subcommittee on performance indicators

McIntyre, Gerry, Ministry of Education and Training observer

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

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

The committee met at 1010 in room 151.


The Vice-Chair (Ms Dianne Poole): Good morning. I'd like to open up this session of the standing committee on public accounts. Today we are fortunate to have guests who will be reporting on the Task Force on University Accountability. Just to bring members up to date with a bit of the history, in three years, 1988, 1989 and 1990, there was an audit conducted of three universities. I believe they were the University of Toronto, Trent University and the University of Guelph, if I remember correctly. In I think June 1991, the public accounts committee issued a report on the status of the universities and the accountability of universities. Following this, there was a task force created by the universities which looked at the whole issue of accountability. In May of this year, there was a document produced called University Accountability: A Strengthened Framework, the report of the Task Force on University Accountability.

We have witnesses today from the Ministry of Education and Training and from the task force who will be commenting on their report and the progress that had been made. Then we will have comments from the auditor and we will open up for questions and answers from the various caucuses.

I would like to call on Dr Charles Pascal. Welcome to the committee, Dr Pascal. It takes me back to the select committee on education, when we had numerous opportunities to chat.

Dr Charles Pascal: I do recall that important occasion for a dialogue on education. I am very pleased to be here. I will make a few preliminary remarks and then I think it's appropriate for the Chair then to recognize Mr Broadhurst, who chaired the task force. With Bill Broadhurst is Dan Lang, who is a member of Mr Broadhurst's task force, and with me also from the ministry is Gerry McIntyre.

I would say at the outset that I'm pleased to be here because of the importance of the topic and the issues that flow from that topic. I'm pleased to be here because this issue and its heightened importance and clarity flow in large part from the Provincial Auditor and those inspection audits and the manner in which your committee picked up on the arising issues. I will say, autobiographically and ironically, that I was a member of the Trent board when those inspection audits were done, and Mr Peters knows my private opinion about the importance of the audit function and accountability in universities.

The task force report has been received by the minister and is now out for consultation, a consultation that will be thorough but timely, and he hopes to receive feedback from all the constituent groups on the report no later than the end of October. I believe, as deputy minister, that the report is a good basis for discussing the issues that you have posed in the past and for addressing some problems. In addition to seeking feedback from the report that Mr Broadhurst will introduce and describe, he is also going to, in the very near future, announce what the government is going to do about governance of universities, in particular the membership of the boards of governors, an activity and dialogue that was begun by his predecessor, Richard Allen. The minister will, in responding to issues of governance, deal with some of the issues arising from Mr Broadhurst's report.

In addition, the minister has recently received advice from the Ontario Council on University Affairs about undergraduate program reviews. In the university system, as you know, it has only been the graduate programs that have had some kind of peer accountability check through the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. The minister has, again, received and has tabled for discussion in the communities the issue of undergraduate education and quality assurance. That also has got to be seen as a part of the discussion, not just today but beyond.

I will say, in closing, just two final things. In reading and digesting the report, I do believe that it is a good basis for discussion. I think there are some serious and important issues around implementation which need clarity, which include the role of the board versus the administration of universities, the importance of performance indicators, and Mr Lang, as the leader of Mr Broadhurst's committee, may wish to address that and how important it is, looking at accountability in the university system, to look at outcome indicators, performance indicators and to do something meaningful. The membership and the manner in which the external advisory committee is implemented is a matter of importance. If it's implemented in a tough-minded fashion, it has great potential. Of course, the role of the ministry is something that the minister will want to address.

In closing my opening remarks, it is my hope that you will permit us to come back to this committee once the minister has received feedback on the report, the advice from OCUA on undergraduate program review, so that we can continue, in the spirit of accountability, closing the loop with respect to very specific action items that arise from the report and that the minister and his government wish to pursue and implement in good faith for the people of Ontario. Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Dr Pascal. I was remiss in not identifying you as the Deputy Minister of Education and Training, which is a slightly different role than in which we last met. Congratulations in your role in that area. I'm sure you have much to contribute.

Mr Broadhurst, or is it Dr Broadhurst?

Mr William Broadhurst: Mister.

The Vice-Chair: If you would just like to identify yourself for Hansard and then continue your presentation.

Mr Broadhurst: I am William Broadhurst, chairman of the Task Force on University Accountability, and retired a couple of years ago as chairman of Price Waterhouse in Canada.

I would mention the reason we've asked Dr Lang to be with us today is that he chaired the subcommittee which reported on performance indicators, which is a subject of great interest to you. Their report is appended to the task force's report.

Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the final report of the Task Force on University Accountability, which it was my privilege to chair. Before proceeding to describe the recommendations in the report, permit me to reflect briefly on the events which led to the task force being commissioned in the first place. I will enlarge a little on the opening remarks of the chair.

Over the period from 1988 to 1990, the Provincial Auditor conducted inspection audits at three Ontario universities: Trent, Guelph and Toronto. These audits were designed to assess the adequacy of the university's accounting records and related procedures. The auditor concluded these audits with the statement that, "Accountability for the significant amount of funding provided to Ontario's universities remains inadequate."

Following its review of the 1988, 1989 and 1990 annual reports of the Provincial Auditor, the standing committee on public accounts made several recommendations based on the key recommendations of the Provincial Auditor. These include: providing the Provincial Auditor with the authority to conduct value-for-money audits of universities; developing administrative guidelines for enhanced management accountability in universities; and clarifying the accountability relationships between the universities and the ministry.

In response to these recommendations in particular, the Task Force on University Accountability was established by the Honourable Richard Allen in November 1991 to develop recommendations for ensuring the accountability of Ontario's universities to the government and to the public. The task force membership was broadly representative of the university community and included representatives of the provincial student, faculty and staff associations. The task force met from November 1991 to May 1993, when it delivered its final report to the minister.


The text and recommendations of the final report reflect the dual purpose with which the task force conducted its work: first, the need to develop an accountability framework that will assure the Provincial Auditor and your committee that appropriate accountability mechanisms can be implemented between the universities and the ministry; and second, the need to address the concerns of the government, the public, including parents, donors and community groups, students, faculty and staff that the universities are providing academic programs of high quality and other services in a manner which makes efficient use of resources and which reflects responsiveness to the educational needs of the people and communities the universities serve.

The recommendations of the task force reflect the following approach to an accountability framework: First, they acknowledge that the universities have a variety of accountability mechanisms in place, but these need to be strengthened within a more formalized institutional accountability framework and more coherently presented to the government and to the public. Second, there's a need to develop further mechanisms. Specific recommendations are made as to the areas which these new mechanisms should address, based on the task force's views of the necessary components of a strengthened accountability framework.

In its report, the task force does not attempt to identify which universities have adequate systems in place or to identify best practices. Rather, the onus is left with the individual universities to assess where they stand in relation to the degree of accountability described in the individual recommendations.

Responsibility for ensuring that adequate accountability systems are in place and functioning properly rests with the governing board or council of each university. The composition, functions and support systems of the boards may need to be revisited in order to ensure that the boards can carry out their increased accountability responsibilities.

Among the responsibilities of each governing board is the selection of performance indicators which the university should adopt to measure how well it is fulfilling its particular mission. In order to ensure that the governing boards are properly fulfilling their accountability functions, it is recommended that the government establish an independent monitoring agency charged with the responsibility for reviewing and assessing each university's accountability system.

The issue of the quality of undergraduate programs is being addressed by the Ontario Council on University Affairs, as already mentioned by the deputy minister, while the quality of graduate programs is addressed through the program reviews conducted by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. The task force report therefore does not address directly the issue of program quality, but it does recommend that the governing board of each institution should routinely receive the reports on the results of program quality reviews, including the identification of steps to be taken to remedy any deficiencies reported. Since program quality is an integral part of accountability, I am sure that the minister will wish to consider the advice of OCUA on program reviews and the recommendations of the task force together in the development of the accountability framework that ultimately will be put in place for the university system.

The report's 47 recommendations fall into three main categories: those dealing with the governing board, those dealing with institutional accountability mechanisms and systems and those dealing with the proposed new external monitoring agency. Eleven of these recommendations are directed specifically to the ministry or government, eight of which pertain to the establishment and conduct of the external monitoring agency. The remainder are directed to the institutions, the governing boards or to the Council of Ontario Universities and its affiliate committees.

Recommendations 1 through 23 pertain to the governing body of the institution: its composition, function, support and orientation systems, method of appointment, terms of office, methods of conducting business, liability of members, conflict of interest and the relationships with federated and affiliated institutions. Through these recommendations, the task force outlines what it believes to be the essential characteristics of a governing body that would be responsible for undertaking an increased role in the oversight of the accountability framework of the institution.

Recommendations 2 through 13 were formulated in response to the minister's letter of October 15, 1992, and the ministry's draft guidelines for enhancing the representativeness of governing boards. These were forwarded to him separately on the date of December 18, 1992.

Recommendations 24 through 39 comprise the task force thinking on the type of institutional accountability systems and framework that should be established. As such, they represent the substance of the framework that the ministry and the Provincial Auditor will have to consider in determining the characteristics of an appropriate accountability relationship between the institutions and the ministry. The recommendations cover such issues as mission statements, academic and financial plans, performance indicators, admission policies, undergraduate and graduate program reviews, terms and conditions of academic appointments including tenure and sabbatical policies, budget development and reporting, fund accounting, capital budgets and deferred maintenance costs, inventory controls, research policies, inspection audits by the Provincial Auditor, staff relations and community relations.

Recommendations 40 through 47 pertain to the external monitoring agency which the task force believes is essential in order to give the government, the public and the Provincial Auditor assurance that the governing boards are fulfilling their responsibility for ensuring that accountability systems recommended in the report are in place and functioning effectively in the institutions. This agency would monitor institutional accountability performance by means of a desk review of the biannual reports from institutions as well as by regular onsite reviews employing the peer review model and conducted on a seven-year cycle. Its reports would be public and would identify weaknesses in institutional accountability procedures and performance that would encourage improvements.

The task force envisions the monitoring agency as an independent committee within OCUA, similar in many respects to the academic advisory committee of OCUA. The report reflects the task force's assumption that such a committee would have more credibility and influence within the university community than if the monitoring function were to be situated entirely within the ministry itself.

The task force acknowledges that the adoption of its recommendations will increase the already significant demands made on members of university governing boards, who serve as part-time, unpaid volunteers. However, we are confident that these recommendations are achievable. It is the unanimous view of the members of the task force that the improvements embodied in our recommendation are both necessary and sufficient to provide proper accountability of Ontario universities for the public funding they receive and to meet the legitimate expectations as to accountability by other stakeholders.

The Vice-Chair: Do any of the other members of the task force wish to comment before we go to questions and answers? Thank you for your presentation. I'll call on the Provincial Auditor now to make comments prior to going into rotation.

Mr Erik Peters: We gratefully acknowledge that we met with the chair of the Task Force on University Accountability and with the entire task force. They listened to our views and they quoted us in the report. We also had the opportunity to briefly discuss the report with the deputy minister, Dr Charles Pascal, and with Gerry McIntyre, who was an observer on the task force on behalf of the ministry.

The task force report recommendations about institutional accountability are recommendations which we endorse. I think tremendous work has been done in this area.

However, in the final analysis, the task force did not advocate a legislated accountability framework but did conclude that the accountability responsibilities of the ministry for the universities need to be further clarified and strengthened and placed in a proper legislative framework. I think we consider that very important.

With regard to the audit, the task force stated that the Provincial Auditor will continue to have the authority to conduct inspection audits of the universities and has recommended that the scope of these audits be somewhat expanded. This expansion only permits us to audit provincial funds through the university's accounting system into funds other than the operating fund. But -- and this is really quite a big but -- the task force did not endorse the committee's recommendation to permit the provincial auditor to conduct value-for-money audits in Ontario universities.


In view of the lack of this endorsement for value-for-money audits by my office, we would expect as a minimum that accountability reports by the institutions to the accountability review committee, ARC, which was established, and by the ARC to the minister and to the Council of Ontario Universities include value-for-money assessments along the lines outlined in the Audit Act, especially to deal with outcomes and results, that is, the Audit Act currently talks about measuring and reporting effectiveness, and I believe a lot of work has been done on performance indicators, according to the report.

Since the reports of the monitoring body would be available to the Office of the Provincial Auditor and to your committee, we reserve the right to come forward to this committee. Based on the quality of the reports and their content, we may wish to make recommendations to the committee to authorize value-for-money audits under section 17 of the Audit Act, the section that, I just want to reiterate very quickly, empowers this committee to authorize special assignments.

We note that this may give the public accounts committee and my office more rights of access to information than is presently available to the ministry. This puts the ministry, in our view, into a somewhat unacceptable position.

I would like to emphasize the importance, again, of the task force note that the accountability responsibility of the ministry for universities needs to be further clarified and strengthened and placed in a proper legislative framework. That concludes my comments.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Auditor, for your comments. We'll now go to rotation. We'll start with a 15-minute question and answer period and with the official opposition.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): Just to sort of give some framework to the questions I'm about to ask you, I look at the report, and value-for-money auditing -- I'm reading from the report at page 25 -- is "characterized by its focus on the three Es: economy, efficiency and effectiveness." The reason I raise that as the framework is because when we had our original hearings back some time ago, we were really looking at perhaps not as broad a field as I'm going to question you on right now.

Also, on page 24 it says, "The board of governors is deemed to be responsible for ensuring the quality of education and training to students, and for the good management of college operations."

With that as the framework or the background, the questions I'm going to ask are involved in it, but they're a little broader than that.

First of all, I'd like to get a handle on the number of foreign students who attend our colleges and universities in this province. Now, you may ask why I want to know that. The reason I want to know that is because it's come to my attention that there are, at least in the ability to qualify for teaching certificates, reams and reams of young people in this province who are attending universities in the United States, not by desire but by absolute necessity because there are no placements in Ontario. So I want to know how many foreign students we are accommodating. I don't know whether you can give me that off the top of your head, Mr Pascal, but I'd certainly ask that you undertake to perhaps get that over the lunch break, if you can, so that I can get an answer to that question.

The other thing is that we're having difficulty, obviously. We have concerns of students about the cost of their tuition here in both the colleges and universities in this province and perhaps in Canada. It's come to my attention that the experience in the United States is that what they do is, anybody -- anybody; it doesn't matter if they're John D. Rockefeller's son -- can get a loan from I think it's the federal government and they in fact then pay it back when they finish their university experience. The net result is that US universities charge a great deal more than we do and nobody is denied access because they can get into the universities on the basis of these loans. They're considered, I guess, to be a good risk because they're going on to higher education and they will eventually get out and pay it back. But we have a practice, at least -- and I may be wrong -- in Ontario and perhaps in Canada, that you have to meet certain criteria.

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): You may be wrong.

Mr Callahan: We're hearing rumblings from the other side. It must be indigestion; I'm not sure.

You have to meet certain criteria to be able to obtain financial assistance. I think some of it is you have to not be living at home. If you've got support at home, that all comes into play in terms of whether you get assistance. I think that's blocked some individuals from getting into university.

I think there's also an important feature, and I raised this I think on one previous occasion. My experience when I was in university -- and that's a long time ago -- was that I went to the University of Toronto, and in some of our classes, the classroom attendance was so great that if you sat in the back of the lecture hall, you were lucky if you could see the professor. I understand it's even more difficult now in that they're actually putting them in other rooms and using television to accommodate these students.

Yet on the other side of the coin, I met with some community college teachers. I just happened to meet them on Bay Street one day while they were on strike. Their complaints were that classes were being cancelled in community colleges because there were not sufficient numbers of students to occupy those classes.

Now, it seems to me that we have these institutions, they generate a great deal of capital expenditure, they generate an ongoing expense of attracting qualified people to teach in these places, and there should be a much better mix and match. In fact I think there's some benefit to mixing and matching in this regard not only in terms of putting some of those overloads that are in the universities and allowing them to fill programs at the community colleges, and thereby maintain these jobs and perhaps maintain the quality of the community college, but at the same time it gives these people some practical experience.

The biggest problem I've got is kids go to university today -- it was the in thing to do and it still is -- and when they get out of the university, they haven't got any experience for anything. They send a résumé to an employer and it says: "Well, I cut grass during the summer. I worked on construction during this summer. I worked in" whatever menial tasks. An employer looks at that résumé and he or she has no way of knowing whether this person is going to be a competent or needed employee.

I think the importance of mixing and matching and perhaps even extending, at the option of the student, I guess, the length of time they want to spend in school, allowing them to transfer credits back and forth freely -- I understand this is in the mill, and I'm very pleased to hear that, but I think there has to be far more encouragement to do it, because in the past there was a bit of snootiness about attending university versus a community college and I think we have to get out of that syndrome.

The other thing -- I'm going to ask you at the end, believe it or not, to comment on this at some time, but I'd like to get my questions out.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Callahan, I just did want to reiterate that the purpose of today's hearings is to look at the Task Force on University Accountability, and we are hoping to restrict our questions to that.

Mr Callahan: It actually is, Madam Chair.

The Vice-Chair: Oh, you're getting there any moment.

Mr Callahan: No, no. I opened up the framework, and the report actually is reporting on value-for-money audit. In my view, that's what value for money is. If we're not moving in those directions, we're not really getting value for money. I'd like to go on.

The other thing too that concerns me is the factor that we seem to have moved to an attitude that marks are the key criteria for getting into university. I would hope that's changing too, because I don't think that's value for money either. I think we're keeping young people out of universities and out of community colleges simply because they don't have the 98% or the 80% or whatever is required. That's unfair to the rest of the young people of this province.


Finally, I want to get to the question of the learning disabled. I have a very severe concern over the experience I've had in terms of contacting universities in this province. They purport to have programs, and in fact the learning disabled are, by right, entitled to special treatment, I think under the Human Rights Code. Those processes are not being provided. If they are, I'd like to know that, Dr Pascal, because my experience has been that they're not. They say they are.

They don't provide sufficient spaces. More importantly, they don't provide the very special, individualized training or access to communication between a guidance counsellor and these people. Kids with learning disabilities, if they can get into university, should be able to get in with a little less emphasis on the marks and should also have access, particularly in a big university, to that extra special TLC that's required to allow them to achieve. They are in fact very bright people who just need a little bit of extra help, and I don't think that's being provided either.

I look at one university, Carleton -- I don't like to single out one university, but it's such a large university that I'm sure a young person with a learning disability in a place like that would disappear. Trent University is a bit better because it's smaller.

Those are my comments on value for money, and I do believe that they tie in with this report. I'll finish the way I started. Value-for-money auditing is the 3Es: economy, efficiency and effectiveness. I submit that all of those things that I've just raised go to the question of whether or not we are getting value for money in our universities and whether we should be looking at perhaps approaching these topics, if they haven't already been approached, in a different way.

Perhaps they'd like to comment, if there's any time left. I don't know if there is.

The Vice-Chair: Actually, Mr Callahan, I hate to tell you this, but you've got about another six minutes left, so perhaps we'd have a response.

Mr Callahan: I'd like to hear some comments. That's fine.

The Vice-Chair: Gentlemen, you might be wise to use up all the time.

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): Says a colleague.

Dr Pascal: Madam Chair, as long as you don't rule me out of order for not sticking to the task force report on university accountability, I will directly answer Mr Callahan's questions. I'll try to do it in three and a half minutes because Mr Broadhurst may wish to comment on value for money. I'm sure that will be part of the discussion this morning.

I'm sorry that I can't provide specific answers to some of your questions, because I didn't anticipate, as I might have, the breadth of some of the questions. I will get information for you on the participation rates of foreign students in colleges and universities by this afternoon. That's not difficult to cull from our data.

Tuition policy is currently under review, and leadership, as you have probably read in the newspaper, is by the minister. The questions you posed are under active policy deliberation, as is the ongoing evaluation of the student support system, both at the provincial level and in relation to the federal program.

With respect to enrolments in colleges, without wanting to disagree with your perception, enrolments in colleges have been rising, have been quite fulsome, and the colleges as well are bursting. This year, the college new enrolment is up over universities, and the stresses and strains of enrolment are facing both institutions.

The good news is, with respect to your vision of a more seamless opportunity for movement between the systems, as a result of Vision 2000 and some work done by the Council of Ontario Universities with the council of presidents on the college side, there have been tremendous strides made in the last three or four years around interinstitutional mobility, both within the university system and from college to university and university to college. There's been an increasing percentage of university graduates who are mixing and matching upon graduation and going to colleges, so that creates some interesting policy questions.

So I think the hopes you have -- it's implicit in your question about the mixing and matching, as you put it -- are coming along extremely well. We're not there as yet. We also have to review Mr Pitman's report on advanced training, which also has recommendations about how students can mix and match the system in terms of getting advanced training required for our economic health and wellbeing for the province.

With respect to grades and their predictive validity in terms of success and the usefulness of grades, my hope is that Dr Lang and the work that's being done within the university context will look at performance indicators not just in terms of the importance of outcomes, but performance indicators can also relate input variables, input information, process -- that is, teachers in relation to certain numbers of students -- and what are you getting and what are you coming to university or college with in terms of grades or other types of potential indicators of success and how does that relate to some well-defined set of performance indicators? Those are all good questions.

Your final question about the learning disabled, I can't give you tons of qualitative and quantitative information in response to your question because I didn't anticipate it, and my colleagues who could are not here. My impression, after having been in the ministry for nine months now, is that many of the colleges and the universities are dealing with the important legacy of Bill 82 and are trying to accommodate students with a variety of presenting challenges. I think your hope in this regard is a very important one.

I hope this is an acceptable preliminary response. Again, we'll get that specific information about foreign student participation after lunch.

Mr Callahan: Thank you.

Mr Broadhurst: On two aspects of value for money in referring to both Mr Callahan's question and the comments made by the Provincial Auditor, I would like to direct the attention of the committee and in fact read into the record two paragraphs from the report, because this is a subject that receives a lot of attention from us and a lot of comment during our consultations around the province. We did visit each university campus and have open consultations with anyone who wished to talk with us, and we met separately with all the provincial bodies: faculty, graduate students, students and so on.

I'm reading from chapter 6, which is the chapter on the external monitoring body of the task force, and I'm reading from section 6.1:

"An agency separate from government would be in keeping with the legal status of Ontario universities as autonomous institutions, not crown agencies." As an aside, that was a distinction recognized in your earlier report and recommendations. "It would also be in keeping with the practice that has evolved covering the relations between universities and government through an intermediate body. The task force accepts the accountability responsibilities of the ministry for the universities' needs to be further clarified and strengthened and placed in a proper legislative framework." That comment has already been alluded to by Mr Peters. "It also accepts that the Provincial Auditor will continue to have authority to conduct inspection audits of universities, and has recommended that the scope of these audits be somewhat expanded. The proposed new body would report to the minister and to the universities. Its report would be available to the Office of the Provincial Auditor and the standing committee on public accounts."

Skipping over to its procedures a little bit on page 75, one more paragraph, if I may:

"The onsite review process will focus on the effectiveness of the accountability procedures employed by the university and on the effectiveness of the governing body in monitoring these procedures and reporting on the results." As a further aside, in a sense we're putting this responsibility initially in the governing body, and the governing body is a more representative governing body in this report than we may have in some cases at the moment. Secondly, we're setting up a monitoring agency to see that the governing body is doing its job on effectiveness, which is another way of saying, "Is there value for money in the operations of that university?"

To read further in this paragraph: "The process could be coordinated with the proposed OCUA appraisal process for undergraduate programs and with the OCGS graduate program appraisal process. The peer review model would be employed."

Just to mention here, the monitoring agency that we envisage would call on experienced people in various parts of university activity to assist in assessing the effectiveness of the framework in each university. I think the Provincial Auditor would find that he would have to retain somewhat similar kinds of people in any value-for-money audit approach. In a sense, the experts will have to be brought into the play, with particular reference to onsite visits.

"Reviews would be undertaken by a small team of external expert assessors, perhaps four, chaired by a member of the committee. It is suggested that the procedures employed by OCGS in its graduate program appraisal program could serve as the model. A draft report would be provided to the university for comment. The final report would be published."


Keeping in mind that our terms of reference were limited to institutional-level accountability -- we were not asked to look at the ministry's accountability; we were asked to see that each institution was accountable -- we feel that the mechanism that we're describing here is both compatible with the autonomous nature of universities but also public in the sense that the monitoring body would publish a report which would be available to everyone. Obviously the Provincial Auditor, within whatever terms of reference he is using, would be able to examine the activities of the monitoring body and presumably anything else that he thought was necessary.

The Vice-Chair: The time of the official opposition is up. We will go to the third party and Mrs Cunningham.

Mrs Cunningham: Thank you, Mr Broadhurst, for the work that you've done. I think in this political environment that we live in, it's important that citizens such as yourself bring your expertise. I want you to know that we're grateful for it. It's a very inclusive report. You said yourself, though, that your terms of reference were somewhat limited, and perhaps that's why the questioning will probably move in this direction.

The public accounts committee in 1991 recommended the value-for-money audits. The public of Ontario likes that terminology. I'm not sure they know what it means, but it sounds good. "Value for money" is a household word. The inspection audits that you've recommended are somewhat different, and I wonder if you'd take a few moments to explain to us, in your view, what the difference really is and what a value-for-money audit would mean to any university, if it's even possible.

Mr Broadhurst: First, the inspection audit is what I might broadly call a financial audit, which is the audit that we're generally familiar with in the public sector for public companies and private companies and all kinds of institutions. It really attests to the fact that the various financial statements properly present the situations of the enterprise.

There were suggestions made at the time of the earlier hearings that even inspection or financial audits were curtailed because certain funds moving from the government to the operating fund of the university which were then within the purview of the Provincial Auditor were subsequently transferred to some other fund in the university, and there seemed to be a question that the auditor could then go and look at that other fund. We're suggesting, and I think there's reasonable agreement with this in the system, that the other fund should also be able to be examined by the Provincial Auditor. That takes care of that one problem, which is the perhaps narrower issue of inspection audits.

Value for money is a easy thing to say and is almost impossible to define. We've attempted in the report, in meeting with both the comprehensive audit foundation and a couple of meetings with Mr Peters's group, including the acting Provincial Auditor in the earlier days of the task force, to come to grips with this. We have a section in the report that may bear some reading on the subject, two or three pages: 25, 26, 27 and 28.

Value for money really requires a framework within the institution. The institution must decide how it's going to assess its own effectiveness. You can't do a value-for-money audit unless the institution itself has got a framework. Now, we're suggesting that the institutions create the framework. If the Provincial Auditor today went into some of the universities to look at the efficiency framework, he wouldn't find it, and therefore it would be rather difficult to audit it.

I think there is some concern that someone coming from outside may bring different measurements to the university system that perhaps aren't applicable, measurements from other ways of doing business and that. The feeling of the task force is that it would be much better if the university system developed its own ways of measuring.

Now, that's not to say that what they're doing now is satisfactory. There's a whole section in here, and Dr Lang has a whole report, on the beginnings of the use of performance indicators. This is a major step forward. This is early days in this system and there are mountains of literature around the world on the use of performance indicators but not a lot of practice that we could find.

So what we're saying, starting with Dr Lang's report, is to move into this area on an institution-by-institution basis. We recommend that the boards must decide eventually, presumably on advice, how they wish the effectiveness of their institution to be measured, including the use of performance indicators.

I would say it was our view that on the quality of education, probably the best is the program reviews. There haven't been program reviews of undergraduate programs, and that is why the OCUA has now recommended to the ministry on that subject. There have been good graduate program reviews. We're really putting the sort of value-for-money problem back to the governing bodies which are really representatives, in the broadest sense, of the university community and the public.

Mrs Cunningham: Would I be correct, when I'm asked this question, in stating that the universities don't have the efficiency frameworks right now and therefore, until they get them, along with their, I think you referred to performance appraisal systems of some type, that it wouldn't be possible to do a value-for-money audit, that we're premature in that? Is that correct?

Mr Broadhurst: That would be my view and that's the view of the tax force, that until the frameworks are in place the monitoring body can't even get too far off the ground until the universities begin to develop frameworks. What a monitoring body can do is to make sure that the frameworks are being developed. But the measuring against a framework occurs later in the process.

Mrs Cunningham: Would you recommend a deadline for this? This is a very big question in the eyes of the public. You've had the opportunity to speak to people who have frameworks in place. At least around the world somewhere there must be something that you've been able to compare.

Mr Broadhurst: I would just have to offer a personal view, not on anything I've seen. I think you're looking at a four- or five-year time frame before frameworks can be developed, a monitoring body can begin to get desk reviews going and actually begin with some onsite review. Some universities are further ahead in this than others and some are doing --

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, especially within certain faculties.

Mr Broadhurst: Yes. And some are doing on their own some sort of undergraduate program reviews. They've developed these systems themselves because they see the need. So we're not starting from the same position in each university. I would see the monitoring body as trying to do some onsite reviews, perhaps no later than three years from now, based on its assessment of where it would productive to do so, in other words, where the framework is the furthest advanced. But we're not looking at short-term solutions in this report.

Mrs Cunningham: So you're saying that you really didn't see another jurisdiction within North America where we could take a look at its framework and modify it for Ontario within the universities in Ontario? There wasn't anything that you would recommend?

Mr Broadhurst: No. Our research was not as extensive as we might have liked it, given our rather limited resources, but we did review, we did have visitors from the United States, Dr Berdahl, who might be remembered from the Duff-Berdahl report of days gone by. He spent a day with the committee on developments in the United States in this area. We did look at some alternative systems and we felt that there was nothing that could be sort of imported into Ontario that we felt would do the job.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): The role of the Provincial Auditor, as you see it then, would be in fact taken over or a larger role would be played by the monitoring agent. Is that what you're telling us?

Mr Broadhurst: We would see the monitoring body being responsible for the initial responsibility for the efficiency within the university system. As an auditor I will certainly never tell another auditor what to do, especially one I used to be a colleague of many years ago. We would see the Provincial Auditor having to, first of all, satisfy himself on the activities of the monitoring body. In other words, he would review what they are doing. He would then have to make a judgement on how that satisfied what he felt was necessary and presumably either seek authority or, if he already had it, do whatever additional steps were necessary.

Mr Tilson: The problem I see, and if I understand what you are saying, the monitoring agent would be appointed by the ministry.

Mr Broadhurst: Yes, sir.

Mr Tilson: It would report to the colleges and it would report to the ministry.

Mr Broadhurst: Publicly, yes, sir.


Mr Tilson: The question as I see it, of course, the purpose of the Provincial Auditor is to look at everyone, including the ministry. In other words, it gets back to who's watching the watchers, and that's why I'm questioning -- and it may well be that I haven't properly understood what you're saying. The monitoring agent in fact will be precluding the Provincial Auditor from doing the thorough job that it's accustomed to doing. In other words, you're saying, if I understand what you're saying, that the monitoring agency or the monitoring -- I'm using the wrong terminology perhaps -- body would in fact be doing some of the auditing that is normally done by the Provincial Auditor.

Mr Broadhurst: It would be doing some of the steps that you would normally expect would be undertaken by the Provincial Auditor in a value-for-money system.

Mr Tilson: My problem with that is that the monitoring body is answerable to the ministry. The monitoring body is not answerable, for example, to the province of Ontario or this committee or the taxpayer.

Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): If it's accountable to the ministry, it's accountable to the province.

Mr Tilson: I'm sorry, but one of the reasons why we have the Provincial Auditor is to look at the workings of the ministry and seeing if the ministry is performing its duties as it should be.

Mr Broadhurst: Could I give you an example from the private sector? For example, in an audit function we have in many cases what we call an internal auditor and an external auditor. The internal auditor reports to management, the external auditor -- now, when I as an external auditor come in to do an audit of a corporation, I want to see what work the internal auditor has done already and make an assessment on how much of that I can rely upon so that I can reduce the amount of work I have to do as an external auditor.

For example, if we have a whole matter of plant payrolls and the internal auditor has done a lot of work on plant payrolls, as an external auditor I can come in and go over what the internal auditor did and as a result of that I may say, "I don't have to do any more on plant payrolls."

The monitoring body would be the first run at this thing, and it seems to me that in the framework between the ministry and the universities, the monitoring body is an essential part of that. The Provincial Auditor, when this is fully functioning or at least partly functioning, could come in and look at the monitoring body and its activities and either say: "I don't like it, or it's not doing enough; I've got to do more, or I think it's doing a great job and I'm not going to have to do very much with this. My resources can be spent on some other areas." That's the sort of direction we're looking at.

Mr Tilson: I guess then we get back to, the question that was asked by the Provincial Auditor is for clarification -- my time may have run out, but in due course; how much time do I have?

The Vice-Chair: You've got about another minute, almost two. Go for it.

Mr Tilson: The question is of course the question that was asked by the Provincial Auditor, that there needs to be clarification here as to the accountability of the minister, because quite frankly I'm getting back to the question: If the monitoring body is reporting to the ministry, who's going to watch the ministry? It's fine to say that the Provincial Auditor's going to come in and may disregard everything that the monitoring body has done, which sounds like double duplication, if you see what I mean --

Mr Tim Murphy (St George-St David): The department of redundancy department.

Mr Tilson: Yes. In brief, my question is clarification on the accountability of the ministry.

Mr Broadhurst: I think perhaps I should turn it over to the deputy minister because, as I said earlier, our terms of reference precluded going that far. I think I'm glad they did, because it did allow us to concentrate on this aspect of the problem and I think we have made some headway on this aspect of the problem, but the deputy perhaps could answer the broader question.

Dr Pascal: I can't at this point give a definitive answer until the minister has reviewed both the report and, as importantly, the input on the report, and the questions and discussions today are not unimportant in that regard.

I join the Provincial Auditor as well in wondering aloud about the importance of the ministry to be a very clear and understood participant and have a clear role with respect to an accountability framework. I'm sympathetic to that part of your question. It could take various forms, and again I don't want to hypothesize today about how that might play out. But in interpreting what Mr Broadhurst has said and what the report conveys, what they are recommending to us and to the people of Ontario is a very major strengthening of the governing body with respect to reviewing, under a framework which has performance indicators, the activities both from an efficiency and an effectiveness point of view.

Boards of governors of this province in the university sector do not regularly, at least the two that I have sat on, review the graduate reviews, the ones that are in place. It's a good process; it's a tough process; it's a good quality assurance process. But having sat on two governing bodies I don't recall, as a governor, having ever seen those.

With respect to the issue of then creating an external body to quality-assure new strength and quality assurance mechanisms within universities, I think it's a legitimate thing for the task force to have recommended. The Provincial Auditor's role in response to how that works and the ministry's role, I agree that simply has to be discussed and clarified, and again I agree with the intent of your question.

When we look at the issues of value for money, it's sometimes useful to think of an example that at least gives us some empathy with why our friends in the universities are uncomfortable with a traditional approach, and since the University of Bologna was found in the mid-1100s, university autonomy and academic freedom are very precious commodities and protected rather vigorously.

Mr Tilson: They weren't funded by the government at that time, though.

Dr Pascal: I don't know; I wasn't there.

Mr Tilson: I know that, at least I hope not or we're in trouble.

Dr Pascal: I'm in fairly good shape. If you look at something like the sabbatical, I think it's legitimate for an accountability framework set in motion by this process and a board of governors to ask a sabbaticant upon her return, "How well did you do what you said you were going to do?" In many universities, a sabbatical and what you did is what you're going to do, and the sabbatical is something that has to be an academic peer decision in the name of academic freedom. I'm quite sympathetic to that perspective from the university system but, "Did you do what you said you were going to do?" is something I think a board and some kind of mechanism have a right to assure took place.

The worry from the university side would be if you have a value-for-money audit that doesn't understand that raising questions about whether that was a useful thing to research; that gets into a very tricky business with respect to a fairly important foundation characteristic of the university system. So it's a very difficult issue and I'm trying not to defend the report, but simply to try to explain some of the difficulties around a value-for-money audit done in the traditional way and why the task force I think is trying to come up with something that parallels it but does it in a way that's straddling academic freedom and institutional autonomy and your quite important reinforcement of the public's right to know what's going on within the system.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Dr Pascal. We'll go to the government caucus. We have the parliamentary assistant, Mr Martin, Mr O'Connor, Mr Sutherland and Mr White.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I want to certainly thank you for all the work that has gone into the report and for a document that will certainly be very helpful.

I guess my question and comments are around the whole question of accountability in the first place, why it isn't already there in the system and why public bodies, such as boards of directors to colleges and universities, don't do that kind of job or make sure that it's done and that the kind of information that is required so that communities and boards of directors who represent communities can in fact feel comfortable and secure that there is accountability, that the university or college is doing the job it was mandated to do and that all of the money is being spent properly and appropriately.

I guess for me it raises concerns that I've seen in other government bureaucracies over my years of community work where, as soon as there's a question of any kind of accountability or ability to respond and do the job that it is mandated for, automatically we set up another body that costs as much money again as sometimes it costs to offer the service in the first place. So we're recommending today another body that would cost us up to $500,000 a year when in fact we already have in place, it seems to me, the organizations necessary to assure that there is accountability.

Maybe it's a matter of the folks on the committee or boards of directors not understanding the language of reporting that goes on; I'm not sure. I know that in my own community the economic development corporation just recently, in an attempt to make sure that everybody understood the goings-on of that organization, put out a report in what it called plain language, where instead of credits and debits and all that kind of stuff, the headings were "This is How Much Money We Have," "This is How Much Money We Spent," "This is How Much Money is Left," so that people off the street who were serving on these boards understood what was going down.


I guess what I would like to ask, particularly in light of the Stephen Lewis report, is, is there anything being done to have the boards of directors of colleges and universities more adequately reflect the communities in which they are placed, so that those people could ask questions of accountability and bring some accountability to the whole issue?

In light of the more recent announcement by the university presidents, I believe, re the increase that they saw appropriate in tuition fees, has there been any move at all to bring more students into those bodies, so that they could ask the kind of questions that students often ask, that we who are in positions of responsibility often feel confronted by, and could perform, I think, a very valuable job there.

I guess the questions I'm asking you are, has any attempt been made to implement some of the Stephen Lewis recommendations and to bring more people on to boards of directors of colleges and universities to more adequately reflect the communities in which they live and an attempt to bring students on board around some of the very important questions that need to be asked and answered re this whole question of accountability and how we offer services to college and university students?

Dr Pascal: First of all, the provision of transparent and accessible information about how the institutions are doing anyway is absolutely essential, and I think the task force report does a very good job reinforcing that. I would agree that any solution to this issue has to have that as a cornerstone for the initiatives and for the reform.

With respect to governance and membership on boards, on the college side the Council of Regents has already in place a process of codetermination. The Council of Regents has the power to appoint anybody it wishes. Under previous governments, the provision of internal governors on college boards was instituted, and there are student governors on college boards as a result of that initiative. The democratization of the colleges in that regard is now -- colleges are crown corporations and the manner in which these things can be brought about are obviously culturally different.

On the university side, as I indicated very briefly in my opening remarks, the minister will be making an announcement in the very near future which will bring together, I think -- I can't get too specific. My job description precludes me from describing ministerial announcements that may or may not be made in the very near future in a public way. But I have every expectation that the minister will bring together many of the ideas that have arisen in the task force report with Mr Lewis's report and the kind of intent and vision that you have reinforced, Mr Martin. We just have to await the minister making his final decision about that. But I think it will go along a long way to address some of the issues of participation and accountability, in terms of not only the provision of information, but who's there to deal with the information once they received it.

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): This has been a long process. The audit was initiated many years ago by this committee. Then there was a change in government. We've heard from the universities. It was a couple of years ago at this point, and some of the makeup of this committee in fact has changed several times over in going through this process. I guess the discussions got wide-ranging at times. It certainly has been interesting. I appreciate the work that you've done in bringing together the report you have.

One of the things, if we go back a couple of years, that was discussed and that you've touched on only briefly was the conflict of interest that some of the members of the governing bodies are in, people who do have some say in the process of governing the university bodies and staff. I know that the conflict-of-interest rules that members of the Legislature have are a very public process, something that is open to the public.

It appears, in going through the report, that you'd mentioned that it varied to quite a degree and your recommendation was only that it be reviewed and that the review with these recommendations be passed on. Do you have anything more substantial that you may want to touch on that you haven't touched on in the report?

I know that it's something that was discussed at one point in this committee, a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, time does stretch our thoughts or force them in many different directions, but if we can go back a little bit to where we were at, I think we did have some discussion about that. I appreciate your comments. Maybe you might to want to add to the very brief recommendation that you had on conflict of interest in the report.

Mr Broadhurst: Thank you for that question. It is a very difficult subject. For instance, we link subjects up very quickly. The composition of the board, for example, will include faculty, students and administrative staff. Each of those has a vital interest, and in some cases a financial interest, in certain of the decisions made by the board as a whole.

There are general rules of conflict of interest governing boards of directors in a legal sense about having taken financial benefit of being a director, and these all apply to members of a board. For example, we do have a section in our report on the legal liability of members of the board which we think is a very important section to deal with for the protection of board members, be they internal or external.

Anyway, on conflict of interest in the report there is a very brief recommendation, but there's a page of discussion before that. We felt that it would be improper to completely exclude faculty and staff and students from decisions. For example, we do say that students should be involved in the discussion of the fee question. We do say the staff should be involved in discussion of matters affecting them but not be allowed to vote.

We've given some indications here of the direction of this, because we're trying to keep the governing body representative, because it's set up that way, and allow it to operate with the input of the various constituencies that comprise it and not sort of tie them up in too onerous conflict-of-interest rules, but also, from a visibility point of view, make sure that they make sense to the public if the public would look at them. It seemed to us it was not improper for faculty members to participate in the discussion of anything to do with their remuneration but that they shouldn't vote on it. In the case of students, we felt it wasn't entirely improper that they be allowed to vote on the issue of fees. They're transient in the institution, they don't have a long-time interest in fees, if you know what I mean. It's two or three more years or maybe even one more year.

We tried to get a sort of middle ground on this conflict of interest, but we did say that what really should be done is that our boards, which in this report are more representative than perhaps some are at the moment, should look at this as one of their early charges and be satisfied that they have an effective conflict-of-interest policy and that everyone on the board is fully familiar with the conflict-of-interest policy.

Mr Sutherland: I have two questions.

(1) I want to pick up on Ms Cunningham's question regarding accountability and value for money in the whole process from the auditor's report. From my sense of the people I've talked to in the university community, the problem is, though, that common ground has not been achieved yet. I guess, in terms of the discussion this morning, I would like to hear some comment. It would seem to me that the end result has to be that the ministry, the universities and the auditor's office all have to have a common ground as to what we're defining as acceptable auditing or acceptable processes, acceptable accountability.

There was certainly a sense that this process wasn't in place when the auditor did conduct the audits in terms of the understanding of the roles of the universities, the understanding of accountability mechanisms and the recognition of universities as autonomous processes. I'd be interested in hearing on whether people agree that's what has to happen, this common ground understanding of accountability from all three sectors.

(2) I'd like to hear more about these performance indicators. I'm really curious how you put a kind of tangible concrete performance indicator out there with something like a university education, particularly more at an undergraduate level, when there are so many different understandings of what the goal is. Is performance the fact that I got my degree? Is performance the fact that I get a job after I get my degree?


Mr Tilson: Don't count on anything.

Mr Sutherland: When I get my degree. I think that's important.

Actually, that brings up a point, though. How are you going to put something tangible on something like a degree with a sense that it's there to enhance me as an individual and my contributions to a society? I'd be interested in hearing more about that as well.

Dr Pascal: First of all, with respect to your comment about the importance for there to be a common ground which is not a watered-down compromise but something which is an exciting response to the challenge that began several years ago, I have to assume that not only will the minister be very anxious to hear from the universities and from the constituent groups within the universities as part of the consultation over the next six weeks but that he will also want to have a very good discussion with the Provincial Auditor. It's one of the reasons why I'm doing a lot of listening today with respect to the issues, because we will report back, obviously, to the minister about the concerns, about the things that are yet to be resolved, about the value-for-money differences of opinion. But the minister, I have every expectation, will meet with the Provincial Auditor prior to making any pronouncements about what he wishes to do with this. This is extremely important.

With respect to the performance indicators, I would like to suggest that I think it is doable. I think that for a couple of hundred years the way in which you framed the question has allowed too many types of agencies and institutions to not worry enough about accountability. As somebody who's worked in the university system, I wouldn't take your question and the preamble as an excuse to continue not dealing with the question. As Mr Broadhurst said earlier, this is a tough thing to do. It's an intelligent thing to do. It is doable. In response to Mrs Cunningham's important question about other jurisdictions, there hasn't been enough done around the world in this regard, but the task force is suggesting that this should be met head on.

In the college system there have been outcome indicators chosen. I don't think they're extensive enough. We're here to talk about the university system around job placement and job placement three to five years down the road, not just immediately upon graduation, and was it in the area for which you were trained or was it a first-cousin occupation etc? We've not done well enough, I think, in that part of the world.

Let me turn it back to Mr Broadhurst, if I may, and then perhaps Dr Lang, who is doing some of the research.

Mr Broadhurst: I think it might be helpful to the committee to hear a bit from Dr Lang on this, but before, I make just two comments. The issue of quality of programs is, in my view, extremely difficult to measure, and that's why we say in the report that while the use of performance indicators can assist in measuring effectiveness -- this is in program quality -- program reviews are likely to prove to be much better measures of how well universities are fulfilling their missions, so that the quality of your teaching and all that, it's hard to get that into indicators.

Secondly, I would note that Stuart Smith, in his report of the Commission of Inquiry on Canadian University Education, also touched on this subject of performance indicators, looking at some of the outcome, this business of perhaps doing surveys of employers and graduates four years out or six years out, all these kinds of things. Looking at all that, our task force asked a committee of the Council of Ontario Universities which was in existence and chaired by a member of our task force, Dr Lang, to move this subject forward for us. Dr Lang has presented a report on the subject to the task force. The entire report from Dr Lang's committee is appended to our report and it might be appropriate for Dr Lang to say a few words on his study.

The Vice-Chair: Yes. Technically, the government caucus is out of time, but I think Dr Lang's testimony's extremely important. Would you like to make some comments, Dr Lang?

Dr D.W. Lang: I'll try and comment. A number of persons have spoken about the performance indicators, so I wouldn't necessarily respond to the question as you put it. Given the time, I'll just make some highlight comments.

The first is that an indicator is not a statistic. I'm not saying that as some sort of parsing Webster's dictionary. There are a lot of statistics and there always have been. In terms of universities making statistics available, that's not new. In fact, the Council of Ontario Universities assembles reports on all sorts of things every year and has been doing it for 15 or 20 years.

Our task was, first, to identify statistics that we thought were reliable and then, second -- and here's where I think you shift a bit from a statistic to an indicator -- to say, "What statistics do you put together to indicate something about the performance of an institution?" That's where this begins to get pretty complicated. A part of the complication is what Bill Broadhurst was getting at a couple of moments ago.

There are some activities that, even though you have statistics about them, simply cannot be intelligently measured in a numerical way. An example would be something like the quality of teaching. I wouldn't suggest, nor does our report suggest, that there ought not to be some way of holding a university accountable for the quality of teaching, but you have to look at other processes for doing that; for example, student evaluations. I think a student would be dismayed and surprised if he or she were asked to evaluate the quality of instruction on some kind of numerical scale. Students want to say more than 8.5 out of 10 or something like that.

In our work, the first thing we tried to do was identify those activities where an indicator would be meaningful and would in fact tell you something that you wanted to know and to set aside -- by "set aside" I do not mean "disregard." Our advice to the task force was, "You should find some other way of evaluating these activities." We then applied a number of tests. I think some of these, given some comments that people have made today, are important.

The first test was relevance. Is a particular indicator relevant enough to represent whatever you say it's doing? I'll give you an example of a statistic that's always been around and is quite commonly cited. It might have had something to do with the point I believe Mr Callahan was making about whether classes were crowded or not in colleges and universities. Our committee would argue that a staff-student ratio, although it's a very accessible indicator, doesn't really tell you much at all. For example, it doesn't really tell you about instructional workload. It doesn't tell you how much work faculty are doing in either a college or a university, because it's talking about what's going in one only class.

Second, for certain subjects and certain ways of teaching, class size may tell you something -- that is, that a smaller class is more effective and a larger class is less effective -- but there are many other areas where it doesn't indicate that at all; for example, any program with a practicum. I guess Dr Frankford's a doctor, right? When you took your medical training I think a large part of it was in clinical settings, where the concept of class size doesn't mean much at all. It doesn't mean much in a studio where architectural students work. It doesn't mean much when students of social work learn how to do case work.

Again, what looks like it's telling you something and can be audited, can be counted, is verifiable, doesn't tell you much at all. That was our first test. Yes, we have a statistic, we have an indicator, but does it tell you what you think it tells you?


Our second test, which I think is important in an audit sense -- I don't know if the Provincial Auditor would care to comment on it -- was reliability. By that we mean -- and we assume that if these recommendations were adopted we're talking about a long-term arrangement -- if we calculate a given indicator this year, can that particular calculation be replicated next year and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that? If it could not be, we would question its value for the purposes of accountability.

Our report is probably something equivalent to Nyquil. I know that if you took it away and read it, you'd get sort of sleepy along about page 22.

Mr Broadhurst: Or earlier.

Dr Lang: Or earlier, even.

The Vice-Chair: Now there's honesty for you.

Dr Lang: But the reason that we took such pains to define every indicator in detail was so that an auditor -- and let's set aside which one it is: an internal auditor, an external auditor, the Provincial Auditor, someone in the ministry -- could be confident that if they examined the calculation of that indicator in 1994, examined it again in 1997 and examined it again in 2001, they could be sure that it meant exactly the same thing.

To be cynical about it, it's an anti-manipulation test, because some indicators, particularly good ones, can get pretty complex, have several different elements. You have only to change one factor a little bit -- say, "We did it this way last year. We're going to do it a little bit differently this year" -- to produce quite different results. This is one reason, by the way, that institutions are so sceptical about surveys like the Maclean's survey, because you don't really know what they are doing from year to year. This was a very important test in terms of accountability. As I say, that's why the report gets pretty complicated and sort of boring at some points, but we believe that's absolutely critical.

Our third test was accessibility. I know there's been some discussion here about students not being admitted. We're using accessibility in a different way. In a way, it's a kind of value-for-money notion about indicators. It can be very, very difficult to collect all of the data necessary to compute a given indicator every year, so one has to have some sense of, are these data that you can get at on a regular and consistent basis. I think that also ties in with the reliability test. If it's a very difficult and complicated piece of work to even construct an indicator, the possibility of error, even unintentional error, becomes quite great. We wanted to be sure that if our report were adopted, if every university in the province were required to provide these indicators, could they do it on a basis which justified the cost of doing it.

Then finally there is one I hope is important to a committee like this, and that is clarity, can anybody understand it. I know of some indicators where, if I sat down with someone like Bill Broadhurst or Charles Pascal or Gerry McIntyre, maybe after 20 or 30 minutes they would understand how it worked, but I think the elected members of government and the public in general want to be able to understand. You have told me, let's say, that the retention rate for the faculty of arts and science at the University of Toronto is 79%. If I'm a student, a parent or a school counsellor, I want to be confident that what that number is telling me is that if a student starts the program, they have approximately a four-out-of-five probability of finishing it.

Mr White: Who's being retained?

Dr Lang: Yes, that's right. So clarity is important too. We applied those four tests. To come back to what I understood to be the question, "Can it be done?" our answer to that is, yes, it can be done. We do not believe that a reason for not employing these indicators is somehow a matter of practicality or logistics or even cost. We believe that this array of indicators is possible. In our report, we point out that we started with a list of about 80. We did not spend our time adding and adding, and adding and adding, as if the longer the list, the better it was. We took some concern to identify a group of indicators that we thought met all these tests and could be done by every institution in the province.

Our advice to the task force was that while some of these indicators may be more or less relevant to certain institutions and more or less relevant to certain programs within institutions, the governors of each institution should receive the results of every indicator anyway and that it would then be up to the governors to decide which of those indicators were relevant or not. We believe that in the long run that's an important element of accessibility and an important element of what, in the first instance, the previous minister called transparency; that is, helping the public understand what's going on.

The greatest value of indicators is longitudinal. By that, I mean not comparing institution A to institution B, but rather, comparing the performance of institution A this year to how well did it do next year and in the third year did it go up or down, and the fourth year and so on. That's really the ultimate value.

A governor, whether a student or an auditor or whatever -- we can set aside the question of membership -- can't really be certain that a given indicator that appears to be totally useless today might not in fact be quite important four or five or six years on. New initiatives from the government might come along. Just to take an example, academic programs change, interests of students change, the type of students we have changes. This is why we felt a longer list was better than a shorter list. You have them all, you may use some of them this year and set others aside, you maybe use other ones the next year, but we saw this as a long-term arrangement for accountability in the sense that if this committee were to meet or if the Provincial Auditor were to prepare a report five or six or seven years from now, it's the history of the calculation of these indicators that would be their value, not their value today or at any particular point in time. It would be a very strong way of informing governors.

I've heard that there's some debate about what's the sticking point of accountability. Even though we didn't say it in the report, but now that I understand that's a question for all of you, I would say that it doesn't make a difference. It doesn't make a difference whether it's the governors who are looking after these indicators or whether it's Mr Peters who's looking after these indicators or whether it's the monitoring agency recommended by the task force. Everything that I've said about them would be true regardless of who the recipient is. It could just be some interested person who wants to walk into the office of the board of governors of a university tomorrow and say, "I'd like to look at these." The receiving end of it, I think, is virtually universal. There really is a lot of thought to this.

I guess the final point I would make -- and you can check this by looking at the membership of the committee; I work at the University of Toronto -- is that two thirds of the universities in Ontario had persons on this committee, and before our report was given on to the task force, all of the universities vetted it, so we believe that this is doable and this works for a highly specialized institution like Ryerson, an institution like Lakehead with a particular role in northwestern Ontario, an institution like Guelph with programs in agriculture and veterinary science that no one else has, and an institution like the University of Toronto. There was kind of a reality test, if you want to put it that way, that we did as we were wrapping up our report to the task force.


Mr Broadhurst: Just one brief comment: All that is captured in recommendation number 25, which I think it is fair to say is one of the three or four most significant recommendations in the report, because it really is breaking ground on this issue of trying to measure the effectiveness of an institution over time.

The Vice-Chair: We'll divide the remaining time among the three caucuses; it will be about seven minutes each.

Mr Murphy: I have a question related to the whole issue of how we make a decision, what is dealt with, let's say, between university and institutions. Going through this process of accountability that you've set up, I think one of your main assumptions is that the governing boards of the institutions are to be the focus for the decision-making about what you do with this information and how it gets set up.

I'm thinking about a taxpayer in this province who is saying, without saying what the answer is, "Does it make sense that we have all of these universities doing the same thing?" You know, it comes back to the board after a performance indicator that it may not be providing a particular kind of education in a certain faculty as well as it should be and, when you look at what some other universities are doing, certainly not as well as some others.

If I'm a taxpayer, I may say, "Maybe the most efficient way to use public money is to say, `Let's concentrate that kind of educational pursuit in two universities and we'll have some of the others not pursue it any more.'" I can see that when you're focusing that process of decision-making on one governing board there's going to be a tendency to want to preserve those kinds of programs, because who knows what's going to happen in five years and you want to be full-service and all those other things. I'm wondering how you see that accountability process working on those kind of decisions.

Mr Broadhurst: I think that is really over to the deputy minister, because when we received our terms of reference from the minister and had a meeting with Minister Allen at the time, that was the question we asked, how do we interpret our terms of reference? It was extremely clear, and he made it clear to us, that for this task force the accountability was at the level of the institution, that the issue of accountability in a broader sense -- ie, duplication of courses -- was for another day. I'd therefore like the deputy minister to respond.

Dr Pascal: First of all, this is a question that gets posed more frequently now than it used to. We are living in a very difficult fiscal and economic time and context and I assume we will for more than just a few more months or a few more years. So there are many institutions within the university system that are posing the question, "In a forced-choice environment should be do fewer things better or all things less well?"

In this regard, the procedures very much respect the role of various players. Again, we're talking about institutions which have private charters and independence in terms of what they wish to offer. With respect to what's eligible for being funded, the minister gets advise from his advisory body, the Ontario Council on University Affairs. With respect to issues around the number and type of things and whether the mechanisms are in place at the graduate level, the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, through its program review, is also a place which determines from a quality point of view whether a program should be continued or not, or modified.

There are mechanisms in place, but the interinstitutional ability; that is, if an institution decides -- and one comes to mind. I won't name the institution, but if an institution not too far, for example, from where Mrs Cunningham might live, decides that it wishes to do fewer things better rather than all things less well and wishes to get out of a business, this is not something that, culturally, the universities have a long legacy about how to do. These are very difficult issues, issues made somewhat difficult by some of the structural issues that the task force committee alludes to when it talks about bicameral structures, where the academic integrity of an institution lies resident within the senate. Except for the governing body that Mr Broadhurst and I were on, an institution not too far from where Mr Lang works, all the universities have a bicameral situation where the traditional fiduciary-academic split -- and never the brain shall meet; over one's dead body -- has been part of the way these institutions work.

The task force report is suggesting that there be far more reciprocity among and between those activities and that the boards of governors, as I said earlier, probably should receive OCGS reviews, which some of them don't, or many of them don't. The undergraduate program quality reviews that the OCUA has advised on might also hold some promise in terms of the kinds of things that Dr Lang referred to earlier as lending themselves better to a process like that than the indicators process. The shorter answer is that there are some natural pressures which I think are going to lead over the next 5 to 10 years that will, along with some of the mechanisms that we're talking about, allow institutions to do fewer things better rather than all things less well, and to not do it in isolation, but to do it interinstitutionally, as the institution to which I referred wishes to do with another university.

There have been some universities which have gotten out of businesses and have done it in an organized way, so that for the sake of the student the quality opportunities were greater, and because it was coordinated with respect to what the students will be able to do with the remaining programs around the province, accessibility is also something that can be part of that kind of resolution.

Mrs Cunningham: I think this whole issue for this committee and for the government in Ontario is very complicated and very difficult, and as we're looking at really accountability with regard to the taxpayers' money and what they can get back for the money they invest, I think the universities -- you're quite right, you know -- have had a lot of autonomy.

Your example, Dr Pascal, of the sabbaticals amused me, because when I was first elected to a school board in 1973 we decided by 1976 that these sabbaticals weren't particularly useful to our particular board in London and we therefore negotiated with the teachers study leaves instead, and more people had more opportunities to visit other parts of Ontario and the world and come back and contribute to that particular school system. In spite of the autonomy of the universities, those are the kinds of questions that I think are the responsibilities of the boards.

But I have to tell you as an elected person at many levels that it's very difficult for people on boards to ask questions when they constantly get the same answers and they don't have the expertise, nor will they have the expertise and experience. It's very unusual to get people who have the kind of expertise that can ask the right questions, and it's because they've been heavily involved. My hat goes off to my colleague Mr Sutherland, who was president of the student council of Western and was responsible for asking those kinds of questions, and he continues to do so. But you don't often get that kind of expertise.

Mr Tilson: He'd make a good Tory.

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, he would. I keep telling him when he grows up he will be a Conservative, but I'm patient.

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry, we cannot tolerate insults on this committee. Would you continue, please.

Mrs Cunningham: The Liberals were left out once again.

My question to Dr Lang is this. The other report recommended -- and I'm sure you've looked at it, because you did give them good advice -- that there were some possible 24 indicators that should be considered. Do the universities have the data to deal with those kinds of indicators, or is that something else that we're going to have to spend a lot of time and resources to get? I mean, if we've never asked the questions, do they even have the data?


Dr Lang: That was my reason, in concluding, for mentioning the reality test. Yes, those data are available. That was one of our reasons for taking some care to discriminate between data and data and data, in terms of saying, "Which ones really mean something and which ones should be juxtaposed with others?"

Mrs Cunningham: Can I ask then, when you talked about retention rates and staff-student ratios and student evaluations and quality of teaching, do you think now that there's enough information that if the public were to ask those kinds of questions, or a member of any governing body, probably within that university they'd be able to answer them in some way but there may not be across the board -- and I'm not saying there should be -- those kinds of indicators that would be applicable to different kinds of universities? Are you saying they can answer it for their own university now?

Dr Lang: First, when I made the point about the evaluation of instruction, I was identifying that as an area in which it wasn't a matter of data being available or not, but rather that would simply not be a reliable way to assist teaching. In your list, some of those are areas where we believe indicators are possible and some are areas where our advice was that even if there were data, they would probably not tell you what you would think. In the areas where we believe indicators are relevant, are desirable, are meaningful, the data, we believe, are available. Institutions could construct these indicators.

Although it's not directly relevant to the task force, I think there's a quite tangible answer to your question. The universities of Ontario, about six weeks ago, proposed to the editors of Maclean's magazine that the indicators proposed here should substitute for the data which it collects. The reason the universities proposed that was that we believe that these are far more reliable and relevant than what Maclean's is doing. What Maclean's is doing is largely a great big black box. Instead of alphabet soup, it's numbers soup. All that's in there gets stirred around. They come out in a certain sequence and you think it tells you something.

To come to the point, we felt that would be an unreasonable proposal to put to Maclean's if we were not confident that each university in the province could in fact do that if Maclean's were to accept the proposal. This report had then been out for, I guess, three or four months, and every university said that if Maclean's would accept that proposal by January 1, 1994, every one of these indicators would and could be calculable for each university in the province. So for a quite different reason, we know the answer to your question.

Mrs Cunningham: So then Maclean's could be the monitoring body and we wouldn't have to spend any of the taxpayers' money? Just a thought.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Broadhurst, you wanted to comment?

Mr Broadhurst: Yes, I would like just to have one caution on this, and it's in the report on page 55: "If any of these indicators is to be employed for comparative purposes, it will be necessary first to determine which institutions are to be considered as peers for the purposes of comparison. Only peer institutions can be usefully or appropriately compared by use of these indicators. Indeed, when employing the peer principle, it is probably more meaningful to compare faculties or academic program areas, for example, health sciences, engineering, law, etc across institutions rather than compare institutions as a whole." That was a caution that we felt quite strongly about.

Mrs Cunningham: I think that one should have been underlined.

Mr Broadhurst: It's underlined in my copy.

Mrs Cunningham: That's great. I'm glad you said it, though, I'm really glad you said it, because those are the kinds of things that get us into trouble.

The Vice-Chair: Dr Lang, a brief comment before we go on?

Dr Lang: The first is that our point with Maclean's wasn't that we thought that kind of comparison was a good idea, but simply the point was, could we guarantee to deliver the data? We all disagree with what they do with it.

A second point I think is relevant to Mr Murphy's question. I agree completely with what Bill and Charles said about how it has a whole lot to do with the system too. Our entire report says that these are indicators program by program by program. That I think would help institutions at least be aware of the choices. You may be quite right that in the end they don't have the backbone to make them, but if you do have indicators and you have them on a program-by-program basis, it will become pretty apparent that you have a marginal program in a field that's already crowded. So you begin to say, "Maybe we should vacate this field." I think it would help in framing the question. I don't know that it helps in the political answer to the question or that it helps in terms of how the province works, but I do think it would help.

This program base versus institutional base is critical for another reason. Not that I disagree with what Dianne Cunningham said, but there are two reasons for it being important, not just one.

Mr Murphy: We can follow up this afternoon, but we're going to ask governing boards to do a lot.

The Vice-Chair: Before we go on to the government caucus, just for your information, pages 144, 145 and 146 of the report do have a list of the indicators that Dr Lang is referring to. Now we go to the government caucus. I think Mr White was still left over from last time.

Mr White: Left over.

The Vice-Chair: Could I rephrase that to, "Mr White did not have an opportunity to speak in the last round."

Mr White: Thank you, Madam Chair. I was very impressed both with the report as a whole and with the indicators. Obviously, there's been a great deal of fairly rapid work done. We have a huge task in front of us -- the issue of the reliability of those indicators, the juxtaposing of what are reliable, relevant, valid indicators with the Maclean's survey, for example -- obviously taking seriously issues that in the past have frankly been seen to be irrelevant to the Council of Ontario Universities and in fact to your whole community.

I was very struck with the issue about the role of a governing body. There are some 23 recommendations that describe that role. They describe some parameters for the internal accountability and governance of the university. They describe them in ways which would allow the university to maintain its values while still offering value for money. But some of them seem so fundamental, I'm surprised they need to be articulated as well as they have been: the issue of conflict of interest, the issue of the representation on the board of governors. I'm wondering if we could have a brief discussion of that issue, how universities have been attempting in the last while to deal with this issue with their boards of governors or the value of those boards.

Dr Pascal: Let me simply try to give an answer that brings together Mr Murphy's brief comment a moment ago, which is that it's a lot of work for boards to do, with what Mr White has said. I agree with both of you that it is a lot of work to do, but you might also ask -- if I can, Mr White, in responding to an important question from Mr Murphy -- when you look at what the task force report is recommending, that they provide publicly available, transparent information about the budget process and its results; that they conduct performance reviews of senior officers in an effective manner, with performance objectives; that they engage in developing performance indicators about how we're doing; that they review academic reports publicly available.

When you look at all that, I think it's a legitimate thing for someone who's not been on a university board -- I'll presume that you may not -- that those are a lot of new things to do. The assumption that Mr White is posing is, "They're not doing that already?" If they're not doing that, the question I would pose rhetorically is, "What do they do?"

Mr Murphy: Raise money.

Dr Pascal: Raise money, work hard on the new residence and the zoning and what we can do over here in this neighbourhood and so on and so forth, lots of important things. But I think -- again, I will be autobiographical in terms of my own participation on two governing bodies and as someone who's worked in another institution as a president of a governing body -- the kind of strengthening that is suggested by the task force and the kinds of things I think Minister Cooke will announce in the near future will create some very clear expectations about what should be considered basic five years from now that has not necessarily been basic. So those that come to some of these recommendations new, I could understand why, but I'm not suggesting that university boards don't do important things. I just think they need to do other important things.

Mr White: If I could, Dr Pascal, get back to the issue of an indicator, the recommendations as they are outlined would seem to me to be an indication, if those were followed, of a board of governors that actually governed. If they were completing those tasks, then they would actually be governing. The fact that the recommendations have to be made indicates to me a lack of their effectively governing those institutions.

Dr Pascal: No. I would not want any of my remarks to suggest that they haven't been governing. What I am saying is that I agree with you that some of what the public and those who represent the public think should already be in place is not universally in place in our universities.

Mr Sutherland: Yes, in some universities.

Mr White: Not universally.

Dr Pascal: It is in some; it isn't in others.

Mr Broadhurst: I think we're getting into one of the other very dicey questions that the task force faced, and that was the senates. Most of our institutions are bicameral: They have a governing body and a senate. We felt that, by and large, the governing body had done a very good job on the financial side of the thing: audit committees, financial statements. These are all mentioned in here and there are not very many recommendations in there.

In the statutes of most universities, the duties of the senate are set out separately and the duties of the board are set out, and the issue was, where do they interface? What we have said in this report -- and it won't be hugely popular in some circles -- is that in the accountability framework presented in this report, including an appropriately representative governing body, it must be understood that the governing body has the ultimate responsibility for the institution and therefore is accountable. So a lot of the recommendations in here are slanted towards monitoring of academic activities by the board, and I think that is in some cases moving into new ground.

We're not saying that the board will decide on what is on every course or the curriculum of that, but it will monitor, it will look for performance indicators and how the administration thinks they should develop over a period of time and the board will be responsible for following through with that. We see the board having a larger input, in a monitoring sense, into what's happening in the academic side of the institution. That is, partly at least, an answer to your question, Mr White.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. We'll recess for lunch right now, but I would ask members if you could be back promptly at 2. We have a fairly full afternoon.

Mr Murphy: As we always are.

The Vice-Chair: As we always are. Just a gentle reminder to make sure that today is no exception: We do have a very full afternoon and I know that there are still a number of questions that we have left of our witnesses. The standing committee on public accounts remains adjourned until 2 o'clock this afternoon.

The committee recessed from 1204 to 1406.

The Chair (Mr Joseph Cordiano): Members of the committee, if we could resume our session this afternoon, I believe we left off where each of the parties was going to have a 20-minute question session. I will start with Ms Poole, and we'll go in rotation at 20-minute periods. I believe we have everyone present who needs to be here. Ms Poole.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): Thank you, Mr Chair. I'll put on my other hat. Instead of being Vice-Chair, now I'll be a member of the committee who can ask some questions.

Mr Callahan: You don't have a hat on at all.

Ms Poole: That's true. I did remove my other hat. I just thought I'd tell you. He's still bitter because I cut him off this morning.

I'd like to talk to you for a few minutes about perception and reality, and particularly the public perception of what goes on in academic institutions. It's almost irrelevant whether this perception denotes reality. If in the public mind that's what they believe to happen happens, then they believe that is reality.

I'd like to talk about people who are not in the academic community and some of the concerns they have. I speak as a non-member of the academic community. I think they see that the academic community is a very cloistered environment and there are a number of things that happen there that they really don't understand, for instance, sabbaticals and how they're conducted and why; some of the generous severance packages that have gone on within the universities over the last number of years; they don't understand why, for instance, long summer recesses are necessary for the members of the academic community to refresh themselves. These are all kind of things in the back of the mind.

Then they read articles on the front page of the Toronto Star which say that if young persons have an 80% average, they're not necessarily guaranteed access to an Ontario university. So they've got all these things floating around in their minds.

Then I'm looking as a member of the public who would pick up your report on the Task Force on University Accountability and a lot of it would make sense, would seem to be very reasonable recommendations until we get to the part where basically the task force recommends that it not be the Provincial Auditor who does this external audit on accountability.

Your task force has given several rationales for this. First of all, I think you quite aptly made the point that a number of the institutions don't have the framework to do a value-for-money audit right now, and the institutions themselves have to create that framework.

The second one is where I think you might find the public is a bit more at a sticking point. That is the concept of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, where you feel that if an external auditor such as the Provincial Auditor came in to do a value-for-money audit, basically the auditor couldn't be sensitive to programming and policy and this academic autonomy. I think that's the part I'd like to explore with you because on page 30 of your report you make the following statement, and I'll quote:

"The ministry expressed opposition to undertaking value-for-money auditing, which it described as an inappropriate tool for assessing the operation of the universities. Were the Provincial Auditor to be given such authority, the ministry stated that `the auditor must specifically be prevented from auditing the merits of the policies of the transfer payment recipients'" -- that is the universities -- "`consistent with the prohibition of auditing government policy.'" Then it goes on to say, "In his meeting with the task force in February, the Provincial Auditor emphatically stated that his office has no intention of auditing policy."

I think that's a very important distinction. I fully support the notion that there should be a preservation of university freedom and autonomy in the academic sense, but I also think the public has a right to know that public funds are being expended wisely. I would like to emphasize that we are not talking about policy decisions or programming; we're talking about doing a value-for-money audit of the day-to-day operations of various academic institutions to ensure that the money is being spent appropriately because, human nature being what it is, there are always mistakes that are made, there are judgements that may not be wise, and I think the public has a right to expect large sums of public money are being expended properly.

After that very long preamble, I would like you to comment on the fact that, given the fact that the Provincial Auditor has stated that his office has no intention of auditing policy, and I believe the auditor can confirm this -- I believe the auditor would be willing to put in legislation the fact that the auditor would not impede and interfere in this way. Instead of the auditor taking on this responsibility, and in our eyes the auditor is independent -- the auditor is apart from government; the auditor is apart from the public; his duty is to look after the public interest -- you've recommended an independent committee to do this audit. But I get the definite impression from the way your report reads that you're talking about peer review and you would be talking about academics auditing the academic process, and to me, and I think I'm fairly representative of the non-academic public, it just looks like an inside operation. So, like I say, after that long preamble, would you like a long response?


Ms Poole: At least it was on topic.

Mr Broadhurst: There are two things I would perhaps point out that are not quite as you have stated them. You say a peer review means academics auditing academics. We had in mind equally that it could well be external board members, say a person who's been appointed to a board of a university by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to represent the public, and at some later time, having finished a stint or a term, who might very well become a member of a monitoring board. So we don't see it necessarily as a board of academics. We see it as a group of people knowledgeable and with a background in the system. So that's one thing.

The other thing I would comment on is the fact that under the proposals here, the majority of every board is from outside of the institution itself, through a combination of Lieutenant Governor in Council appointments, other people appointed as representatives of the community under a protocol between the government and the university, and perhaps a number of those would be alumni people. So I don't see that group, which is in the majority of the board, as being separate from the public. In a sense, if the board is properly representative of the external community as well as the internal, but just the external, then surely those people feel that they have a monitoring role for the taxpayers' money. Personally, I would feel that. As a member of the governing council at the University of Toronto a number of years, both with an alumni hat on for a couple of terms and then with an LGIC hat for a couple of terms, I felt that I had some responsibility in this area. So I don't think that the responsibility is entirely gone and only is inserted by a Provincial Auditor.

Another point I would like to make is to go back to your perceptions in reality. I think there are a lot of perceptions within the system about value-for-money auditing, which may be quite divorced from the reality too, and a lot of concerns and worries. We think we have put something together here by a task force that is really from within the system, I would grant that to you, that has a fair amount of buy-in. In other words, I think there are a lot of people who are very negative at the thought of any monitoring agency, but I think over the time that we were in existence, the concept of a monitoring board has received a large measure of acceptance. I think that's extremely important to the success of the accountability framework, that everybody accepts what's going on. In other words, it's not conflict all the time. There's a measure of acceptance.

My advice would be that we give this kind of thing a try, and universities are here for a long time, and not prejudge it until it's tried. I do see the public presence through the board representatives. I do see the public presence through the monitoring board, not as you've quite put it, "academics on academics." There might be very little of the academic component on the monitoring board simply because the program quality reviews, which is clearly an academic area, will be largely by academics, as are the graduate program reviews at the present time under the OCGS packages. So that's a try, anyway.

Ms Poole: What you say makes a lot of sense. I suppose I should qualify it by saying that I think most people regard academics in a fairly broad sense. They would be people within the system. They might be people who don't necessarily call themselves academics, but if they've worked in the system for many years and are part of the system, then from outside they do appear to be insiders.

I guess my concern is twofold. One is that it almost treats the Provincial Auditor as though the Provincial Auditor is an arm of government and not an independent monitor. I consider the auditor to be extremely independent, and I suspect the government is learning, to its misfortune, that he is very independent and will go in where he thinks it is in the public interest, not in the government's interest necessarily. The fact that the auditor's role in there is rejected I think might lead to a public perception that you want to deal with it internally.

Mr Broadhurst: Just to perhaps restate something from this morning, it seemed to us that if this system is up and running, both at the level of the institution and at the level of the monitoring board, the Provincial Auditor would have an opportunity obviously to assess, whichever way he wished, how effective the monitoring board was, and based on that assessment, can then decide what other things he must do or what other authority he must seek to fully satisfy himself.

Obviously, we would all be concerned about any duplication, including Mr Peters and his staff. If someone's doing a job well, then we don't have to do it twice. So we think this would be a better way to move in the first instance.

If in the judgement of the Provincial Auditor some of the fears you have stated came to pass, then of course he would have to take whatever steps are required under his mandate to meet his responsibilities. But I see that if we can get this up and running, we can cover a much larger scope of activity than perhaps he could with all the other parts of government that he's also involved with and interested in. He has only so much he can concentrate on this sector. We feel this might be a chance to do a lot more in this sector than he might be able to do in the same period of time, because I don't know how many value-for-money audits he would be able to mount in any given period, but I suspect it would be no more than one a year, if that, and that would presuppose a framework being there. So we see this as perhaps a better way, even though it sounds like a long time, of achieving more in the accountability area, and for that reason the task force felt it was well worth moving in this direction and giving it a try.


Ms Poole: I think Mr Murphy had some questions before we run out of time, but I did want to say that I really appreciated the depth of the task force report. I think many of the suggestions you've made have been extremely positive and are very welcomed.

Mr Murphy: I wanted to follow up on some of the conversation we were having this morning. It ties in with what Dianne was saying. It's the concept of value-for-money auditing and the role of governing boards in doing that. Dr Pascal, you were saying that there was a degree of surprise that boards weren't doing that. I guess I'm not that surprised, just because of the nature of the institutions. I was talking with Dr Broadhurst just before, and it wasn't that long ago that U of T's accountability was the president got on the phone to the Premier and that was how it was done. It probably didn't change till the 1960s. So these things are evolutionary and this is part of that evolution. I guess I'm thinking about my personal experiences with Queen's University and then the University of Toronto. The nature of governing boards and what they do and how effective they are varies I think fairly significantly across all the universities.

I think what you're proposing here is a fairly activist model for governing boards that's going to make them the forum for some fairly significant decision-making in a very real sense, and the concern about academic autonomy will be one of the battlegrounds, because if you look at these performance indicators that Dr Lang has put together, you're going to have some fairly significant debates about, what if they yield the conclusion that you have a faculty that is not being very effective according to these performance indicators and that's reported to the governing board? I can see there being quite a dispute about allocation of resources and what you're going to do and I'm wondering what are the ideas you have about supporting governing boards in implementing these recommendations and training and all that, given that I think the concept of a volunteer board continues to be a good one.

Mr Broadhurst: Well, that was the subject of some considerable discussion. We deal with it in a couple of places, for example, the issue of orientation of board members, keeping in mind there's two kinds of orientation a board member needs. He needs to know about the system, so there's some system-level orientation. He has to understand a little bit about formula financing and that kind of thing. But we see the possibility of some joint system orientation, perhaps under the council of chairmen or something like that. Then there's the institutional orientation. So we see a need for more of that. During our visits to universities we were aware -- at one university, we visited on a Friday and they were having a board retreat that weekend. That kind of thing sounds very good.

Secondly, there was the support systems we talked about on page 44 and 45. We do think it's necessary that the boards review and be satisfied with their support systems. It's not acceptable, for example, in our view, for the secretary of the president to be the secretary of the board, just because that's a neater way of doing things perhaps. We see the board secretariat responding to the board chairman. We've got to be conscious of the cost of these things, but we think it's important that the board understand the debate behind the things they're deciding, and perhaps have a little bit more information on the other sides of the questions they're looking at.

Mr Murphy: You in fact anticipated one of my follow-up questions, which was, have you got a sense of the cost of the new structure and both the broader accountability review commission -- sorry, I've forgotten the exact terminology for it -- and the cost of the support to and expanded role for the boards?

Mr Broadhurst: We looked at the issue of costs in two ways: There was a cost at the institutional level and a cost at the level of the monitoring board. It was our feeling that even without a monitoring body, the boards of the institutions should broadly move on the recommendations about accountability frameworks and so on as a normal board responsibility. Even if there wasn't to be a Provincial Auditor or a monitor or anyone else, it was part of the job of a board. Boards are in different stages of development of this, so we were not able to estimate a cost on that, simply because some were close to where they should be and others were pretty far back towards the beginning.

We did try to run an estimate, and it's not one I would like to defend or give an audit opinion on. We did run an estimate on the monitoring body which was attached to OCUA. It was as described on page 76 and 77, and we came up around $300,000 a year. That was part of our terms of reference to try to give an estimate, and that's the answer to your question.

Mr Murphy: Mr Callahan has one question.

The Chair: One minute left in this round.

Mr Murphy: Just one quick question. I was talking earlier about the sort of interuniversity accountability and how you'd make some decisions about rationalization. I know your report focuses more on within the university, but I think it will provide information that will be fairly useful in those kinds of decisions. Did you get a sense from doing this about the kinds of structures you see could be helpful in making the decisions between universities about those kinds of issues? There's a million-dollar question, and not within your mandate, but I wanted to be able to get the benefit of your experience.

Mr Broadhurst: I think Dr Lang touched on that this morning. He felt, and I agree, that if a board is gathering information within itself and making its mission and its plans and monitoring them, it may be better able to begin to realize its own weaknesses in its own institution. In other words, they would be focused on, perhaps with a little better information, and it may assist that board in questioning its own priority of expenditures, even within the institution, by asking about similar faculties in other institutions to try to find out how they're measuring up. If they aren't measuring up, one alternative might be not to carry on that activity any more. In that sense, even at the institutional level it might be possible to have some use of these indicators and other measurements for that purpose.

Dr Lang: I would like to follow up on that, because the name of our report is of course Indicators and in fact that's what we've talked principally about, but if you have some time to look at the whole report, you'll see, particularly in relation to Mr Murphy's question, which I think is a very good one, there's a section on what's called peer selection. There's a section on mission statements. The principal reason that those sections are there is to achieve the very end Mr Murphy's talking about.

I don't think there's any doubt that governors will want to make comparisons. However, comparisons made willy-nilly are not helpful. Sometimes comparisons are made simply because another institution has statistics something like yours. It's easy to make the comparison. Sometimes a comparison is made and it's a bit like the reverse of guilt by association. If an institution spends a lot of time comparing itself to other institutions that are highly regarded, what one is trying to achieve is a kind of coattail effect. If we continually cast ourselves as being in this league, in time we'll be perceived to be in that league.


Now, this is where one wants to merge a serious and systematic consideration of determining who peers really are, as opposed to who you wish they were, with the indicators, because if you systematically identify your peers and you systematically identify the indicators, then you can be pretty certain that when you make the comparisons, they're going to be objective and revealing comparisons.

I don't think anyone can predict how any individual governor will respond to that type of information, but I would believe the majority would respond the way Mr Murphy wishes they would respond and would begin to ask these provocative questions. If, when we compare ourselves, we continually discover that our program in accountability, let's say, ranks 14th out of 15th, I think at that point, the influence of academics notwithstanding, there's a very strong imperative to deal with it.

I think there's a relationship here as well to your question about, why the governors of individual institutions and not the Provincial Auditor? I can only speak for myself here. I don't think it's a matter of confidence or being insulated or protected or whatever. Personally I think it's a matter of effectiveness. What one really wants to deal with the type of question Mr Murphy is speaking about is a very clear sense of institutional purpose, measured in a very systematic way against other institutions with similar purposes, using indicators that are particularly relevant to that question.

I hope Mr Peters doesn't take this the wrong way, but I think a problem of applying value for money at the provincial level as opposed to the institutional level is that you tend to make comparisons that are illegitimate.

I can't speak for other institutions. Again, not identifying anything like our aspirations, but in a systematic way based on hard information, I would not expect to find most of the peers of the University of Toronto in the province of Ontario. If I were at the University of Guelph, I would certainly hope that the principal point of comparison in terms of value for money is going to be the University of Saskatchewan, for example, which has got programs in veterinary medicine and agriculture, which no other university in Ontario has got. Useful information or value for money is value for money in terms of what a particular institution is intending to do.

I would argue -- again, with no disrespect to the Provincial Auditor at all -- that it's the governors of the institution that have a better sense of what that mission is than any provincial body. It's the level at which it's conducted, not who conducts it, and that's why, both in the task force report and in the committee on accountability's report, there is this insistence on a mission statement. There's even an insistence on what the mission statement has to address. I'm not saying that we're prescribing what the mission of an institution is, but rather, you cannot take some broad wish list and sort of slap the words "mission statement" on it and say, "Okay, that's our mission statement."

The Chair: I don't mean to interrupt, but the auditor wants to make several points in regard to that and we're way past your time. In the interests of keeping this equitable, I want to turn to the auditor and get his views on some of these matters, and then we're going to move on to Mr Tilson in the rotation.

Mr Peters: A very quick one. Firstly, there's just absolutely no doubt in my mind at all that we are dealing with an excellent piece of work in this task force report and that it will push a lot of things a lot further along than where they have been. I think expectations have been exceeded in many respects by this task force and I want to acknowledge that at the outset.

I wanted to make to the current discussion two specific points. One is that Mr Broadhurst has been very explicit and very clear in stating that this report does not deal with what I think you raise your hand on when you say it's talking about the university system. It does not deal with the system itself, and these comparisons, like, for example, value-for-money auditing, would not at all get into comparative analysis of institutions. We deal with whether a particular institution with its particular mission would achieve the objectives for which the province provides funds. I have no other role in value for money than to deal with that particular issue.

But I would in all of this like to really re-emphasize the tremendous need here to establish some sort of framework within which the ministry can work, because it is the ministry that provides the funds. Even if this report had provided the opportunity to us to conduct value-for-money audit, it would not have been a satisfactory situation to us if this value-for-money audit, which would occur only from time to time, were to substitute for appropriate accountability to the ministry and through the ministry and by the ministry for the funds it expends on the university system.

This is why I want to reiterate the comment that I made at the outset that I really appreciate -- although it is just buried in the text somewhere and did not find its way into a formal recommendation, but it is there -- your task force's saying, "Put the ministry into a position to deal with this situation appropriately." It is, as particularly I think Mr Sutherland will appreciate after our encounter before another committee, very important to my office that accountability frameworks be established before the accounting regime is established. That is totally within the purview of this committee as well which, as you know, has charged me with pursuing a legislated accountability framework for the government before the Audit Act is amended and any broader powers are brought in.

Having said that, I do appreciate the comments that are made about value-for-money audits. Yes, I wish they were in, and I agree that they would be a lot more effective if in fact this legislative framework is in place first, and then we can look at the auditing.

The upshot of it all is that with the proposal that is made, we really are looking at this situation where the proof of the pudding is going to be in the eating and how this is going to work and whether there is a need to come forward to this committee and suggest that a value-for-money audit should be conducted. Those essentially are the comments that I'd like to pass on to you.

The Vice-Chair: We'll go to Mr Tilson now.

Mr Tilson: I must confess, Mr Peters, that that's been my observation of this whole debate, the desire for the elected representatives to ensure that there is a proper accountability for substantial amounts of taxpayers' moneys that are being spent in universities on university education and, on the other hand, the genuine fear of the university community that government is going to come in and tell them how to operate their business, the fear of losing their independence.

I think if a formula can be established or some sort of, to use Mr Peters's wording, legislative framework put forward that the Provincial Auditor isn't going to interfere in government policy, as was stated I think in his remarks, the university community might feel a lot better.

I must confess I've read chapter 6, which deals with the external monitoring body. Mr Broadhurst, I'd like to continue on with the line of questioning that Ms Poole started, and that is on that very topic.

In reading chapter 6, I guess it's my general aversion to increasing bureaucracy -- and there is going to be an increasing bureaucracy doing something which I believe the Provincial Auditor can do and is doing. I must confess I believe, again assuming the proper definitions are described, that I would prefer a value-for-money audit, whatever that means, and I think we all know what that means, as opposed to an inspection audit, which has been described as simply reviewing financial statements and making sure proper expenditures have been made. I know I'm oversimplifying what that is.


I'm averse to increasing bureaucracy. I'm very concerned with the framework that's been described of this external monitoring body because I question whether it will be as independent -- and this is the line of concern that I believe Ms Poole was putting forward, the question as to whether it really is going to be as independent as you're saying.

I look at the people who are going to be appointed. They're going to be appointed by the minister. I forget where it says it here. Under selection periods -- this is a recommendation under section 6.3 -- "It is recommended that the members of the" -- that's not the one I was looking at. I guess generally speaking, it's an appointment by the Lieutenant Governor, by the ministry, seven people I believe. I think I was referring to the wrong section, but my memory tells me that's what it is.

I quite frankly go back and challenge the lack of independence, even the reporting process. As I indicated this morning, the reporting process is going to be to the minister and to the universities. You have indicated on page 73 the reports will be made available to the Office of the Provincial Auditor and the standing committee on public accounts, but so what? Again, we're getting back to our original concern, and that is the fear that there is proper accountability of taxpayers' funds. I'm concerned with that; I'm concerned with the cost, which is what Mr Murphy raised.

I'm going to ask you two specific questions after that long preamble, which I guess we're all getting into this afternoon and this morning. Have you investigated how many individuals would need to be hired to staff such an organization as this? You've told us how many people are going to be on it, seven to nine, I think. How many people are going to be required to staff it?

Mr Broadhurst: I'd like to make one comment first. If the Provincial Auditor were to embark on a program of value-for-money audits in the university system in the individual universities, my view is that there would be additional costs to his office for this purpose. Now whether they would be drawn out of the current budget or by add-ons I don't know, but it seems to me that the costs we're talking about here, an element of them at least will be present whichever system you choose to use to monitor this. So it's not all new costs in that sense.

Mr Tilson: But there will be a new bureaucracy.

Mr Broadhurst: Yes, but we were conscious of that bureaucracy too, and after some debate, we decided that the monitoring agency would be linked to the OCUA secretariat, so that rather than having to create a whole new office, with all the things that means, it would work out of the OCUA office, as does the academic advisory committee, which also advises on academic matters directly but uses the OCUA facilities.

We would see using the OCUA staffing facilities and, quite frankly, we saw only the necessity to add one full-time staff member to do this. We saw the need for a part-time chairman. My guess was between 75 and 100 days of activity for the chairman. The members being seven, we saw them probably having about 10 meetings a year, roughly a monthly meeting. Then the biggest cost by far would be the onsite reviews. On the seven-year cycle they would have to go out and, with their experts, examine at first hand the accountability framework.

We were conscious of what you're saying and it was part of the debate about setting up an entirely separate bureaucracy. That is why this particular monitoring agency or body has been attached to the secretariat of OCUA to work within that secretariat. That was our attempt to address the question, which is one we were asking ourselves, just as you've asked it.

Mr Tilson: I guess I must say, with due respect, I just don't accept that. I can't believe that. That's just a respectful disagreement. The report that you've made is certainly wonderful. I just can't believe that what you're requiring this body to do is only going to take that amount of people, particularly when, on your own admission, you haven't had a detailed cost analysis.

Mr Broadhurst: Well, I think what you're overlooking is the fact that we see a lot more activity -- and this has already been referred to in some of the comments and questions -- at the board level. If a board is doing its job properly in its own accountability framework, there will not be a lot of difficulty for the monitoring body in overseeing that and reporting on it.

We're working on a biannual written report, which would be prescribed by the monitoring body as to what it should include, and a seven-year, on-site review. You could do two or three site reviews a year to cover all the components of the system.

Mr Tilson: Your report is generally frank as to the summary of some of the interesting debates that you had throughout. One of the debates I noticed -- because I still say the initial concern, I'm assuming, is the fear of the Provincial Auditor coming in and telling the universities how to operate their business and interfering, taking away the independence.

Having said that -- and that may be a wrong assumption, but I don't think it's a wrong assumption -- it is interesting to notice that some of the people who were in this debate were concerned with this independent monitoring body doing exactly the same thing. They appeared to be in the minority.

I still get back to the question: If legislation can be drafted in such a way, along with consultation with the university community, that independence could continue to be maintained -- in other words, the Provincial Auditor will not interfere with policy -- would you be prepared to perhaps reconsider your position on such an external monitoring body?

Mr Broadhurst: I don't know exactly how a chairman of a committee can reconsider a position --

Mr Tilson: Probably you can't.

Mr Broadhurst: No. Right.

Mr Tilson: But as a politician, I can ask that question.

Mr Broadhurst: Okay. Well, as a chairman I can answer it then I guess and simply say that as a committee, and the committee included all the internal components of the university that you can mention, our determination was that it was better to try this first.

Mr Tilson: Okay.

Mr Broadhurst: I accept fully as the Provincial Auditor says, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." If it doesn't turn out that way, then okay, something perhaps that's viewed as more draconian would be needed. Whether it is more draconian or not perhaps is part of the perceptions issues, I don't know.

Mr Tilson: How much time do I have?

The Vice-Chair: About seven minutes.

Mr Tilson: Okay. I have one more question, and then there's an area of similar concern that I had that Mr Callahan has raised and I'd like to give some of my time to him.

The issue of university tuitions has been a hot topic in the media lately and among people attending universities. Students appear to be worried that in a regulated tuition environment, universities use ancillary fees as back-door tuition increases. Do you think the students' concern is valid? Perhaps my question is to Dr Pascal.

Dr Pascal: As I mentioned earlier this morning, the subject of tuition policy is under review and, along with that, the important companion piece of reviewing the ancillary fees. As we raised the question with universities, we have been told that there is no problem and it's being done within the provincial guidelines. When we talk to student leaders we get a message of concern that the consistency with which certain principles are applied is not there. We have discussed this with leaders from various constituent groups as recently as yesterday.

It's hard for me, not having done as thorough a study as I think we would want, to be able to answer your question as directly as I would like.


Mr Tilson: I certainly understand the public consultation process that you're going through with students and others, and I support that. I guess the final question before giving the floor to Mr Callahan would be, do you think that students should be given a vote on fee increases, the ancillary fee increases, and the ability to opt out of certain fees? That's in your report.

Dr Pascal: Just one comment. I would say many of the ancillary fees that are assessed at most of our universities -- it's not a complete answer -- involve student leadership in those decisions. So, for example, and Dr Lang may wish to speak for a university located a few metres away with respect to some of the ancillary fees set there, they are codetermined with groups that include students. But I yield the floor.

Mr Broadhurst: I would point out, and, Mr Tilson, I think you perhaps have noticed it, that we do have a recommendation on that point and the discussions on 61. We are differentiating between fees where the institution has real discretion, and we feel that should be done through a consultative process, that the students should have a chance, and they would have a chance through their representation on the governing body to make their concerns known, and then decisions have to be made. That's about as far as we thought we could go in addressing that.

Mr Callahan: I've only got about four minutes, Doctor, and you can maybe answer it on their time, if that's all right. I want to just get a little more information. I thank you very much for the information on the international students. It did form a part of the strength of the framework report, in a little different vein.

Your memo tells me that about 2.1% of the total full-time enrolment of 117,000-plus, 2,442 of them, are international students; ie, from another country.

Dr Pascal: On the college side.

Mr Callahan: Yes, right. On the university side, of the 339,181, nearly 13,151 are international students. Do they pay the same tuition, or do they pay a bit more?

Dr Pascal: They pay more. They pay a substantially higher visa fee. It's roughly a little over three times what a non-visa student pays.

Mr Callahan: The reason I'm asking that question is, does that pay for the real cost, or are we still subsidizing?

Mr Tilson: That's a good question.

Mr Gerry McIntyre: Excuse me. It's extremely difficult to answer that question, again, directly, because of course the costs of any given program vary and are not necessarily in direct proportion to the tuition fee charged for that.

Mr Callahan: Can that be pulled together for some later --

Dr Pascal: Yes, we can provide that. As Mr McIntyre has suggested, there are program differences, but I think to the narrow part of the question, which has to do with whether there is still subsidy in terms of a gap, the answer is yes. It's a question of how large the gap would be.

Mr Callahan: Maybe you can provide that to us, since we don't have time to get it. Because what concerns me is that 2% of the student population for Ontario colleges is from outside the country, and 4% of the university, roughly, and maybe a bit more than 4%, is from the universities. I'm hearing stories anecdotally and in some cases students have told me this, that they can't get into universities here; they have to go to the States because there are not spaces available for them. It strikes me as a little strange that we would continue the program of having any foreign students in this. I know that's a policy question and I'm not asking you to answer it yes, no or maybe, but --

Dr Pascal: The only thing I would say is that when an elected official does engage in answering the question, she or he would certainly want to engage in discussions about a full range of policy issues, including social and economic policy in the interdependent world and what various investments and return on investments yield in terms of --

Mr Callahan: Of bringing them here.

Dr Pascal: -- some of those larger issues.

Mr Callahan: Okay. Finally, can you in your report, if you can pull it together as well, give us some idea if possible: Of the number of those students who attend our colleges and universities, how many of them would remain or how many of them just return to their country of origin? I want to find out what we gain other than sort of what you've indicated, Dr Pascal, whether we're getting any of these people to stay here and use that investment we've put into them or they're just going back to their home countries and using us as an expensive place to be educated.

Mr McIntyre: We can certainly provide information in response to that question. I would note that the numbers on international students that you received today do include students who would be in Canada under the sponsorship of various international programs, both under the auspices of the government of Ontario and under the auspices of the federal government of Canada. That is, all students who are in our institutions on a student visa are included in that number. The basic understanding with respect to students who are in Canada on a student visa is that they are truly international students in the sense that they are expected to return to their country of origin.

Mr Callahan: So the student visa is the largest amount --

The Chair: Mr Callahan, your time is up.

Mr Callahan: Okay. If you can give us that information, it would be informative.

The Chair: Sorry. I have Mr O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor: I'd like to start off with something that my colleagues across have picked up on. I guess to some degree I myself have a concern that we're going to create a further accountability body. When I look at your report -- very well written, a lot of commonsense things -- and look at all the different advisory committees, review committees, associations and the Council of Finance Officers for the universities and colleges, it seems like there should be a way that some of this relationship, in these committees that you talk about, should be able to take place.

For example, the recommendation on page 67 recommended that "the governing body of each institution monitor all institutional research policies and practices to ensure that they are consistent within the university's mission statement and academic plan." That sounds to me as pretty much common sense. I would think that the universities are following a practice very similar to that.

I guess part of the difficulty we had as a committee earlier on, two years ago in the process, was that it becomes clouded. When the auditor went into the universities and took a look at exactly where -- because here it is, all the dollars. The universities raise dollars through their alumni and private dollars that are raised in a number of different ways: fund-raising, some which are gifts because of the work with the private sector, and then of course there are the public dollars that go in there. So we as politicians have to be concerned about the public dollars. We have to be concerned about the use of those dollars, and as the public accounts committee, I guess that's why we've taken this as a concern, all of these dollars, which get mishmashed into things.

So to take a look at that, we start talking about creating another committee or another bureaucracy. That's what my colleague raises, potentially $500,000 to establish a committee to take a look at that. In this time right now of very tight dollars, $500,000 for probably any number or any one college or university in this province could be shared out for a program or two, and it certainly would go a long way. Whether or not this then at the end of the day will accomplish what we would hope it would accomplish is that the accountability for the dollars that the universities and colleges get is being used properly.

Your report certainly touches on just about every element of funding, every possibility of accountability, to try to make it as clear as possible, but I wonder if we do need to create this other review body. Can't one of the established review bodies possibly do this work without a great deal of added expense and make sure that this accountability network does take place?

Mr Broadhurst: First of all, there's one very important source of funds that occasionally the committee overlooked too, and that's fees, and they wish accountability for that too. So I'd add that to your list.


I go back to basically the discussion I had with Mr Tilson. We feel that by attaching this agency to an existing agency, OCUA, we mitigate as much as possible the cost of running this agency. We don't set up a new bureaucracy, which means, as you well know, everything to do with offices and equipment and so on and so forth.

Mr O'Connor: I appreciate that.

Mr Broadhurst: We see no need for the addition of any office equipment, for example. We feel that OCUA brings to the party knowledgeable staff. I mean, they are knowledgeable in the university sector. They can be of assistance to anyone there on a part-time basis. So we feel that a monitoring body is required and we've tried to structure it in as cost-effective a manner as we could think of.

There were some who felt it should not be attached to OCUA, as we mentioned in the discussion, but on balance the decision of the task force was that this is the way it should be done. We did suggest that this monitoring body itself should review what it's doing after a couple of years and be satisfied that its attachment to OCUA isn't affecting its independence, for example. So we're not making any final determinations at all; we're simply indicating a road to go down to see what can be done with that particular direction.

Incidentally, the figure that we talk about is $300,000, which is quite a bit different than $500,000.

Mr O'Connor: You're right. There's a range, I guess, $250,000 to $300,000. I apologize.

If I go a little bit further back, though, to the authority of the Provincial Auditor, we have an independent auditing source through the Office of the Provincial Auditor that did go into the universities that we've talked about: Trent, Guelph and the university very close to us here. They ran into some problems, or felt they ran into some roadblocks or felt at that time -- I'm going back a couple of years to some of the conversations that took place when we had the previous Provincial Auditor before us -- that they weren't given enough information to do a full audit. Do you think this committee would have the capabilities of going in there and making a real, true value judgement of what was missing then that the Provincial Auditor at the time could not assess?

Mr Broadhurst: I think there are two things perhaps being dealt with here. As I understand it, and Mr Peters could confirm this, in his audits or his predecessor's audits of the three universities, first of all there was certain resistance gathered. It was a new thing going on and I think there were questions of legality and all this kind of thing, which I'm not directly familiar with. But it seems to me -- I'm not sure what other roadblocks were there in the sense of your financial audit, as I call it. Certainly, one was not being able to follow funds, as I've mentioned, into other funds within university operating funds through into endowment funds. I think we've largely dealt with that in this report, saying that, really, operating funds should be able to be followed through wherever they reside in the university and that the Provincial Auditor should have authority for that.

The question, then, of value-for-money auditing is really another kind of auditing. You can do financial auditing and you can do value-for-money. We're talking about both, what the Provincial Auditor's talking about.

It still was our feeling that we could accomplish through this mechanism, for not much of an increase in cost -- because as I've said, the Provincial Auditor did three financial audits in three years, one a year. We are suggesting, under these estimates, three site visits a year, so that's quite a bit more. I feel that many of the costs in the site visit that this monitoring body would have, Mr Peters's staff would have, in the sense of having to retain some experts, so I don't see it as entirely add-on, some duplicate of the cost. If there was a value-for-money audit by the Provincial Auditor, he would have to retain some of the same kind of expertise that our monitoring body would have.

Mr O'Connor: Finally, I guess in your recommendation to allow the Provincial Auditor to then -- just on the last line in the recommendation, "The Provincial Auditor be given authority to conduct inspection audits of all funds provided by" the provincial government, right up to the last line which says, "preferably through a protocol within the institution."

Do you have any suggestion what that protocol might be within an institution, or would that be something that then would be developed by the review committee as you see it?

Mr Broadhurst: I think that particular matter may be a little bit of a legal question, as to whether it needs legislation to allow the auditor to go further or whether the universities could, by agreement with the auditor, let him go further. Do you know what I mean?

Mr O'Connor: Right.

Mr Broadhurst: I'm not competent to really say. What we're saying is, wherever possible, if there's a solution that doesn't involve legislation, why don't we use that solution? If we have to have legislation, fine, then use the legislative solution.

Mr Sutherland: Just for Mr Callahan's information regarding the international students, I also believe the federal government requires all visa students to come in with so much additional funds besides what their tuition fees are. They have to prove that they can be self-supporting. So, most of that money that they bring in, they're probably going to spend during their year here.

Mr Callahan: We pay their health insurance.

Mr Sutherland: All I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't just look at what the tuition fee amount is because the federal government does require international students to show proof that they have other funds to support themselves throughout the year outside of their university undertaking.

I think the other point that we need to talk just a little bit about, or just a couple of comments -- first of all, the task force wasn't set up only as a response to the auditor's report. It's my sense that was partly it, but also that the ministry had concerns about accountability processes not only in terms of towards the auditor, but accountability to the communities the universities reside in, to the university community and the different components of the university community. I think we need to keep that in line as well.

Some comments were made about proposed cost of the new body. I think we do need to keep in mind that -- and I think the figures were $300,000 or $500,000 --

Mr O'Connor: It's $250,000 to $300,000.

Mr Sutherland: Okay, $250,000 to $300,000. When you compare that to how much we spend on university education and put that as a percentage, you're talking a very small amount of increase in a degree of accountability process. I guess I wanted to just --

Ms Poole: I think it says one 60th of 1%.

Mr Sutherland: Yes, so we're talking a very small amount. I guess I want to talk about picking up a little bit then on that theme of greater accountability internally in terms of the different components. We've had some reference made to students about greater accountability in terms of doing some type of things. I don't know what recommendations were provided by either the federation of students or individual student council groups.

But I'd be interested in some of the comments, for example, universities going through a new selection process of senior administrative people, about the role of students in that. Some universities allow students on those selection committees; others don't. Going through a new selection process for president: Some universities allow a student rep off their senate but do not have an official representative from the students. Being a former student council president -- look at that as the official representation of the students even though there's representation on a senate or a board of governors.

Did your committee look at that issue about how we distinguish whether the official student representation is recognized on these types of processes of review committees or faculty review committees? I know, for example, when Western is selecting a new dean, it does have an outside review of the faculty so it has a clear sense of what type of individual it's looking for, for the new position.

Mr Broadhurst: Just a couple of observations on that, Mr Sutherland. We did have three students on the committee and we did hear from students at every university and the student groups themselves. My second observation would be that there seems to be developing a much greater acceptance of involvement of students in all these kinds of committees, sort of an evolution going on in that.


I think that the formal recognition of students as members of governing bodies -- in some cases they were there sort of informally because of the legislation and that. I think it's readily accepted that they have a role to play in these. The precise vehicle as to how it happens I think is still being developed in certain institutions, but personally, I thought there was a lot of development in that area towards the direction that you've indicated. I think with the representation we have now, it'll continue to grow to be appropriate representation in the various areas where you would expect student representation.

Mr Sutherland: Just expanding that, what about the other components of the university? Faculty is pretty well heavily represented in those with bicameral setups, the senate etc, but staff associations, employee representatives, those types of setups and then maybe some comment in the communities where they reside. I know some have in them that the mayor of the city is an ex officio member or the warden of wherever they reside, but what about a greater accountability to the communities that they're serving that way?

Mr Broadhurst: You sort of hit on two different areas. One is the staff groups themselves, the non-academic staff, if I could use that -- there are a number of recommendations related to them on page 69 of the report. They are becoming more and more involved in governing processes in committees. One of their problems was the issue of being allowed time to participate. That's addressed in the report.

I think the case of representatives of the community in the sense of a mayor or that, we did see that in Waterloo and I think we saw it in Lakehead. We see that as part of this representative nature. If it looks appropriate that there be municipal representation at the official level, then I think that would develop out of trying to be as representative as possible in looking at your issues. For instance, you take a university like Brock in the Niagara Peninsula. It serves quite a few communities around there. It may be a little difficult to decide whether official municipal representation would be useful or not, or how, but we see the universities with the ministry developing protocols to make sure that the boards are properly representative of the interests of the community, whichever way seems most appropriate.

The Chair: We unfortunately have run out of time and I would like to turn to the auditor, who would like to make a couple of comments on something that came up during Mr O'Connor's comments. We might wrap up with that.

Mr Peters: Just very quickly one of the items in the deliberations of this committee that may be important in coming to a conclusion from this: There is no doubt in my mind, not for one second, because it says so in my act, that my client is the Legislative Assembly. I'm a legislative officer.

One of the concerns we have to face is that the university community is used to having auditors where the board or the senate or the governing body, whatever, is their client and therefore they report to them. I sense, in the way the report is couched and dealing with the protocol as a particular area, one in which they're trying to deal with this relationship. In other words, I owe an accountability to the Legislative Assembly and not necessarily to the board, so they feel some mechanism has to be put in place to rein me in, so to speak, to ensure that I will not report to the Legislative Assembly something that could be attacking the autonomy or the independence or the method which they use in researching. This is why I think this may very well be the motivation -- and if there's an additional comment necessary, I'd invite it -- for keeping it out.

This is really one of the impasses we are finding ourselves at with this committee, because this committee, on behalf of the Legislative Assembly, represents, so to speak, the board of directors of the Legislative Assembly. I'm a shareholder, so you are the board of directors. It is really for the committee to deal with this particular issue as to how far we want to go down the line in imposing this regime or how much of a chance we want to give to the proposal that is being made by the task force. Nevertheless I cannot overemphasize, and I'm looking at Dr Pascal particularly, something has to happen to give the ministry the tools to deal with this situation as well.

The Chair: I think we've come to the end of our time for questions.

Mr O'Connor: Do they have a closing comment?

The Chair: I'd like to turn to the deputy minister to suggest that if you want to make a few closing remarks, this would be the appropriate time.

Dr Pascal: I'll end where I began this morning, and that is that I hope in a sense these remarks won't be finally conclusive but simply a recess, because I personally would hope we can come back, once the minister has had a chance to receive further input, to discuss with Mr Peters some of the options.

I would simply say, I know from my point of view, and I think I speak as well for the minister, that we want to develop an effective solution. I must say, from listening in on the discussion, some of the generic characteristics of that solution are in sight. I don't see anyone who is suggesting that strengthening in a major way the local boards and the governing structure there is the wrong way to go. There seems to be lots of consensus around that.

I think everyone would agree that the minister's solution that he discusses and that is decided in this place is one that has to be and have the perception of being independent and effective in that regard. I think Ms Poole's and Mr Tilson's comments around those lines are really important for the minister to hear and to evaluate as part of the preparation of an effective response to the report, and that this independent and external evaluation of the local evaluation mechanisms -- because we're talking about an external, independent and effective evaluation or quality assurance mechanism of a strength in local framework and mechanisms -- and that the intent of the efficiency and effectiveness expectations are on value for money, that this is something everybody wishes to see happen.

How it happens I think is where there are some lines that have been drawn. I would assume that my minister -- and certainly in advising him I would want to ensure that the solution has a very good measure of respect for academic freedom and institutional autonomy on the one hand, and on the other a real opportunity for ownership from the system, because unless there's ownership from the system as part of this process -- getting back to the word "effectiveness" at the beginning of this -- finding an effective solution, there's going to be some difficulty. So obviously we will all want something that we perceive will work well, and I think the report, and as importantly or more importantly, that the discussion around the report today has been extremely helpful as we listen in and then report back to Mr Cooke.

We look forward to coming back, and between now and then to have some ongoing discussions with our colleague Mr Peters and constituent groups within the university system.

I have a fairly strong sense that there's enough common ground that we probably can all get to yes in a way, as I've suggested, that will work, because we're all joined in that objective.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you, and I'd just add this comment that we as a subcommittee of this committee would then return to that as an issue to be determined with respect to time lines and when we might deem it necessary to call you back and have an opportunity to go through that with you.

I think it might help in the meantime if our researcher, Ray McLellan, would correspond with you, and if you could send some correspondence updating him as to the status of the work that's been undertaken and at some point then we would be able to assess the situation with regard to how much time is necessary and then review that at that point in time.

I think it would take us some time past the fall before we would probably revisit that question. I'm judging what the subcommittee might do, but I think we would deliberate on that at that point and then get back to you in that way.

I'd like to thank you. I'm sure it's been enlightening, informative and very thorough for all of us. Thank you very much.

To members of the committee, we will be going in camera to do a couple of things that are still on our agenda, so I think we will adjourn at this point and carry on the rest of the afternoon with our in camera session.

The committee continued in closed session at 1520.