Thursday 28 April 1994

Draft report: Special education

Subcommittee report


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

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

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND)

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

*Crozier, Bruce (Essex South)

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

*Marchese, Rosario (Fort York ND)

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

O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

*Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND) for Mr O'Connor

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Office of the Provincial Auditor:

Peters, Erik, Provincial Auditor

Peall, Gary R., director, education and training, housing and municipal affairs audit portfolio

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel: Anderson, Anne, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1019 in committee room 2.

The Chair (Mr Joseph Cordiano): We should start this morning's proceedings. I'm sure some of our other colleagues will be joining us very shortly.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): Before you commence, I just want to put the committee on notice that I will be formally giving the committee a notice of motion, in the proper form that is coming shortly, with respect to this committee requesting the Provincial Auditor to do an audit on the Houselink project.

The minister had indicated in the House that this matter would be referred to this committee. I understand that hasn't been done, so presumably members of the government would agree. I'm preparing it in the form of a notice of motion, unless the committee would agree now to debate that motion to request the auditor to proceed; otherwise, I would be requesting that motion be debated next week.

I don't know whether the government members of the committee specifically would be prepared to discuss that now. It's obviously out of order to discuss it now but if they wish to, I'd be agreeable.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I suggest we discuss that next week. It may not require much discussion, Mr Tilson, but not being a regular member of the committee, I don't think I'm in a position to --

Mr Tilson: Okay. The reason I say that is that the Minister of Housing has said on a number of occasions, or almost every time she answers a question on this topic in the House -- it's almost as if it has been assumed that it's being referred to public accounts; she said that on different days -- and I'm surprised, quite frankly, that we haven't had -- not knowing the process, that presumably some sort of referral by the minister to this committee has not taken place. I don't know whether any of you have been informed of that.


Mr Tilson: The clerk informed me this morning that he hasn't received anything. I don't know whether you're prepared this morning to discuss it; however, you're quite right, it would be more proper to discuss it next week.

The Chair: Since there is not unanimous agreement, we will take your notice of motion when it arrives and this matter will be dealt with next week.


The Chair: On this morning's agenda, we have the draft report on special education. Where were we when we concluded last week's meeting?

Ms Anne Anderson: We were finishing page 19 and starting page 20.

The Chair: Perhaps we could continue at that point, and we'll turn it over to Anne Anderson.

Ms Anderson: Unless the committee wants to discuss the recommendations at the end of page 19 any further, I propose that we go on to the next section, which is on assessment, on page 20.

This section talks about both educational assessments and the health and psychiatric assessments that are used for identification and for the program planning in special education.

The auditor had noted that the education assessments are generally conducted before an IPRC referral, usually in conjunction with a regular classroom teacher. There are requirements outlined too in the special education information handbook that say that these education assessments include a variety of things such as teacher observations, formal and informal teacher tests, diagnostic and achievement data and parental observations. The board can also hire medical practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychometrists and others to perform psychiatric and health assessments as these are needed to help identify the special education children.

In the course of his audit, the Provincial Auditor noted that there was a wide variation in the access to these health and psychological professionals and he gives some data concerning that. For example, the number of specialists available could range from 542 pupils per specialist to 7,000 pupils per specialist and the number of assessments could vary from one assessment for every eight pupils to one for every 2,500 pupils. This is among the boards that they visited.

There can also be lengthy waits for specialist assessments. One board had established a maximum number of referrals after which schools could not refer any more pupils for assessments. As a result, the auditor had recommended that the ministry review its staffing levels and its existing practices for health and psychological assessments and should consider guidelines for the frequency of those assessments and examine the cost-effective options.

The ministry, in the course of its discussions here, agreed that there was some need to develop information to support a more efficient management of special education and improve the monitoring of how the system uses its human and financial resources. It has undertaken to do some of this in the education finance reform project, in which the beginning step has been to assemble a database of each board's expenditures and staff levels. They're carrying on from there now to consider what resources should be funded, whether there are enough of those people in the system etc.

Mr Tilson: Ms Anderson, we discussed a number of weeks ago the philosophy, I believe, of -- currently the funding for this type of assessment program comes from the Ministry of Education, and we discussed the possibility of whether or not the -- obviously, funding is a problem with all of education. Funding's a problem with everything, I suppose.

One of the things that has been looked at is the issue of funding coming from other ministries, whether it be the Ministry of Community and Social Services or almost anything. There's the philosophy, for example, the issue of law and order -- should education with respect to law and order come from education? -- the issue with respect to these types of psychological assessments which really come a long way with respect to education as such and may be indirectly affected by other ministries. So the question is whether or not the committee would consider the development of a philosophy of funding from not just the Ministry of Education but other ministries.

Ms Anderson: That was discussed, as you said, a couple of weeks ago. At present I had considered putting a section on that in the section that deals with the cost-effective service and the funding and have drafted up an additional section which would go into the middle of page 12 in your paper, before the audit arrangements and after the financial transparency.

I was drafting up a section that would look at the need to integrate across different ministries the different services and to look at whether or not there were different ways it could be funded that would be more effective and more efficient, and concluding with a recommendation that we should consider reallocating among ministries involved the responsibilities for the range of services that are provided for children with special needs.

I don't know whether that would address some of the issues that you're talking about. It sort of addresses the funding side of it more than the specifics of any one issue of whether it's assessment or others.

Mr Tilson: I don't know whether the issue is strictly one of funding or whether it involves other things. The issue of psychologists: There are all kinds of non-academic people who are assisting in the development of our education system that 20 or 30 years ago, one might think, came from somewhere else.

Traditionally one would think that teaching is teaching and that's that, but now we're into other things because it has become a very complicated process; and whether it shouldn't be just funding but should be perhaps personnel; the whole topic of personnel and the training of that personnel and the retraining of that personnel. The subject of staffing is dealt with here, I believe. The issue of staffing is dealt with in this report, and whether that should be connected to other ministries as well.

I don't know. It's just that I think that education has got so complicated that it cries out to be looked at for some other way of doing things, not only in funding but in staffing. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Ms Anderson: Perhaps I can work through this section and see if I can incorporate some of those ideas in here as well, to put that in.


The Vice-Chair (Ms Dianne Poole): Before we move on, Dr Frankford has a comment.

Mr Robert Frankford (Scarborough East): More a question or a request for clarification. I know there are no figures breaking it down by region or specific boards, but I wonder if this gives a true assessment of the situation. I'm thinking of what I believe is the case around psychiatrists in northern Ontario where I thought the figure for the whole region was something extraordinarily small. So I wonder if this in fact reflects the situation or if it's worse than that.

I'd also wonder about the availability, even in sheer numbers, of psychologists and other professionals. I don't think the question I'm asking you even gets into the question of the distribution, and presumably in underpopulated areas there must be real problems of access even if the ratio of professionals to population were to be the same as in metropolitan areas, which I doubt it is. If the researcher can clarify that for me, if it is comparable, that would be fine.

The Vice-Chair: Dr Frankford, just so I'm clear, Anne has put in the second paragraph on page 20, "The Provincial Auditor noted a wide variation in access to these health and psychological professions among boards." Would you like to see some examples? Would you like to see that strengthened to say that in certain areas of the province they virtually have no access or very little?

Mr Frankford: If that's the case, I'd like to give some better indication of the ratios.

Ms Anderson: The ratios that I have are from the Provincial Auditor's report. I will talk with them and see whether there's more detailed information that could be incorporated in there.

The Vice-Chair: Gary, are you going to comment on this? The ratios used were the ones from your report. Do you have specific examples or did the ministry provide you with information showing the disparity?

Mr Gary Peall: The education finance reform project may have a better idea on the disparity now. The ratios in the report for the committee's consideration are from our report.

The one thing I would comment on when looking at these ratios, though, is that some boards have in fact had better success than others at tapping the resources of the community and coordinating with other Ministry of Community and Social Services functions to try to buy some of these assessment services rather than hiring the people themselves. So while the ratios for the most part are valid, you have to keep in mind that you can't always tell when they're buying the service versus having the employment.

In the underserviced areas like you're describing in the north, I know the ministry does have a very specific program focused on that to try to get greater coordination among the ministries up there to provide those services to boards in remote locations. So there is something being done there, but whether it meets all the needs, I'm not sure.

Mr Frankford: Will they be sharing the specialists, so that the ratio could look all right but in fact it's the same person being shared?

Mr Peall: Yes, they definitely could be sharing services, and that was the whole point, to provide a pool of services that could serve a number of boards.

The Vice-Chair: Any other comments on this section before we move on? We're dealing with the assessment section, pages 20, 21, and the top of 22.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): On page 21, in the middle paragraph, I agree with the statements that are there, where it says in the second sentence, "The experience and knowledge of the individual pupil by the parents and teachers are important inputs into the assessment, both for identification of needs and for establishing individual programs to meet those needs."

This is an important statement, because often we evaluate students in an isolated manner. I think it's important to get a sense of the kind of experience or knowledge the parents can bring to the assessment of a child. So I wanted to agree with that statement and to say that for the next sentence we shouldn't say "culturally deprived children."

I know what we think we mean by it, but I'm sure that everyone's cultural experience is very rich and that it can be defined rather differently by all of us in terms of whether there's a norm about what is culturally okay. Perhaps even if we say "disadvantaged" instead of "culturally deprived" there, it would be fine, and then the rest of the sentence would flow all right from there.

The Vice-Chair: It's the same point made last week about "social sophistication" being used. It just might be taken the wrong way.

Mr Tilson: It's rather élitist.

Mr Marchese: Yes, it would be.

The Vice-Chair: I assume, hearing no other comment on that particular point, people are in agreement.

Mr Tilson: I agree.

The Vice-Chair: Any other comments before we move on?

Then we'll go to "Learning Disabilities," the top of page 22.

Ms Anderson: Can I just confirm that people are all right with the last recommendation on page 22? It's essentially just addressing the issue of continued communication.

The Vice-Chair: Any other comments regarding the recommendation?

Ms Anderson: The next section, on learning disabilities, was one that was discussed a fair amount during the hearings. The committee was particularly concerned about people who had learning disabilities, that these people should have their needs identified and met as early as possible to enhance the likelihood that they will stay in school and continue through.

The ministry gave some data on this, noting that "learning-disabled were the largest group of special education students, accounting for around 44% of exceptional pupils." The committee also had discussed many times the question of the high percentage of children with unidentified learning disabilities in correctional facilities and "emphasized the need for early identification of learning disabilities as a preventive measure." The ministry had indicated that students in institutions "are identified in the same manner as other children, that is, through the IPRC process."

There was also discussion about section 35 of the Education Act, dealing with pupils who are hard to serve. This section had been repealed and there had been some concern expressed about how those pupils would be served following the repeal. The ministry's response was that the elimination of that section was not cost-cutting but because it felt the school boards now had sufficient expertise to deal with those situations, and they had made a number of commitments about how to do that.

Firstly, funding was going to continue for pupils who had already been declared hard to serve. "Secondly, the ministry has expanded the number of places in provincial schools, especially at Trillium...; nine additional pupils have been approved for admission. Additional funding will also be available to school boards that take hard-to-serve pupils." Finally, the Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities, which is a committee that "currently admits pupils to demonstration schools": The ministry will be developing a regulation for that committee which will be serving "as the gateway for hard-to-serve pupils" as well as its original tasks.

Any comments on that section?

The Vice-Chair: So, Anne, there are no recommendations stemming out of the section entitled "Learning Disabilities"?

Ms Anderson: Not that I have. If the committee would like to put some, I'm happy to hear them.

Mr Marchese: I didn't really think about the kinds of recommendations one can make to this section. It reads well enough. I just wanted to make a comment on the last paragraph.

In my long experience, I'm one of those who is considered a critic of labelling. Not that labelling in itself is harmful; it's what happens once students are labelled. That's where the damage happens.


When a child is gifted -- my daughter was in a gifted program for a couple of months, or a year -- I wasn't very keen on separating children based on their giftedness because, whether you're at the top of intellectual giftedness versus the bottom of it, that labelling separates them. They separate themselves in fact. If they're at the top of the intellectual scale they say, "We're better." They just automatically understand that group is better than the others.

That in itself creates a terrible division between themselves and the others, so the other ones at the bottom feel the same kind of separation from the rest. They know they too are different and many of them become very comfortable in the fact that they're in that special education kind of category. It's safer, secure, people are more protected and they tend to want to stay there sometimes even if it's not for their own good.

It's a long discussion, of course, but I wanted to simply make the point that separating, labelling creates many, many harmful effects for children to the extent that sometimes they can't get out of it. They tend to stay there for a long, long time, year after year, and then they become candidates for what we call in high schools basic level schools, vocational schools or technical commercial schools and that's the real danger.

It's a challenge for every teacher, it's a challenge for every school board, on the one hand, to do the right thing, which is to say identify early and deal with it, and to then move on to make sure that in fact those children are succeeding in getting out so we don't create a sense of creating a special education kind of empire, which often happens in some systems.

I raise that as a way of identifying a problem I've had to deal with for a long, long time, and to suggest that the solutions are not easy either in terms of how we deal with it.

Mr Tilson: I have to agree with you, but it's always difficult. It's an interesting debate, but that topic has been debated over and over. A large number of people would disagree with that. Most people progress at different levels.

But you're right and I happen to agree with you. It's just that it's a problem that there are many educators and non-educators, parents, who disagree. They feel that their child has been held back or their child has progressed. It may have slowed up their progression at a particular period of time and now they're ready to move on. As you say, it's a very difficult issue.

The Vice-Chair: Could there be a recommendation concerning the IPRC review? As you know, they are required to do a review on an annual basis to see if there have been changes, whether in fact the child is still suitable for the program. Does that particular review have to be more cognizant of whether children's needs have changed or -- this is just a suggestion.

Mr Marchese: It's not a bad suggestion, in fact, because it makes the system and teachers a little more accountable: "Tell us what you have done. Tell us the progress. Can we measure the progress they're making? If so, why aren't they moving on, why aren't they moving out of it, or what are we doing?" They're supposed to be doing that anyway.

The Vice-Chair: I think your point is valid. I'm sorry, I'm Vice-Chair so I probably shouldn't even say anything, but --

Mr Marchese: That's all right.

The Vice-Chair: As long as members don't have any objection. I know I've received these forms where they have said, "We have reviewed your child's placement and we have decided to recommend that they continue on for the following year." There is never any explanation of progress, any written discussion of what has occurred over the past year, whether changes are necessary. It almost seemed like a pro forma. They don't actually invite parents to participate really in the review --

Mr Marchese: They never do that.

The Vice-Chair: -- so I don't know whether it was pro forma or they had extensive discussions, but certainly at the end of the line when the parent gets that form back, there's nothing in a written way to explain or to justify their decision.

Mr Marchese: I agree with you. If we could formulate a recommendation that talks about exactly what you're saying, it would make the whole system more accountable. In fact, if we could involve the parent in that review, that's even better. The problem is that involving the parent who doesn't quite understand what is going on is not helpful. That's where you need an advocate.

The Vice-Chair: Which was the previous discussion.

Mr Marchese: Exactly, in terms of having the parent who then understands and an advocate who is very knowledgeable about educational learning and development able to say, "This is interesting," or "This is where we're failing, and this is where we're making progress," and some suggestions can come out of that. But it does trigger an accountability mechanism if we did that, I agree.

Mr Tilson: I agree on an accountability mechanism, but I'm certainly not in favour of developing a system of advocates. If the system's that complicated that we can't explain it, then we'd better find another system. We can't afford advocates. That's what teachers are for.

Mr Marchese: This is very true.

Mr Tilson: Maybe that's our problem. The system's become too complicated.

Mr Marchese: There are differences in systems. If you are in middle-class areas, because of the intimidation of that, teachers work differently with parents, and they automatically do what they think needs to be done to protect themselves. There's a built-in mechanism. In some other areas, where it's a working-class area, the built-in mechanisms aren't there. So how do we help that?

We don't want to make it a difficult job for teachers. We just want to help them. How do we help the teacher and the parent do a good job? This mechanism helps the teacher, because when students do better, their life is made easier. When parents are involved, learning is made easier for the student and the teacher. It's a mechanism that is devised to help everybody create a better learning environment and a better behavioural environment so teachers don't have the problems they sometimes experience.

The Vice-Chair: Just to clarify, we did have quite a long discussion about this last week, and it was envisaged that a number of the associations out there -- for instance, there is a very active association for the learning-disabled -- would be the one to come in and act as the advocate. It wouldn't be adding another layer of expense or bureaucracy; it is using resources that are already available. But people should be allowed to bring in their advocate and in fact should be told they have a right to bring somebody with them and that should be stressed, as opposed to setting up a new layer.

Mr Wessenger: It's just having the ability to bring in a resource. That's what we're advocating, to bring in a resource that already exists, not creating a new -- that's right.

The Vice-Chair: I think you had a question.

Ms Anderson: It's a question really of the location of this. I think Mr Marchese was talking about it in relation to "Defining Exceptionalities." Was that the section you were discussing? I'm wondering whether you would like to put the suggestion about the annual review in "IPRC Process" further back in the paper, because "Defining Exceptionalities" really just talks about the definitions and the need for them. For example, one suggestion is that it could go in the "Assessment" section, because it seems what you're talking about really is to reassess every year to ensure that the children are correctly assessed and correctly placed as they progress through the system. Or would you like to be part of "Defining Exceptionalities" in terms of sort of readjusting the definition of exceptionalities?

The Vice-Chair: Technically, under the act right now, they are to be reassessed every year. The concern is more that there is no accountability mechanism to ensure that the assessment has been a full one, that they have measured progress, that they have ensured that the child or the young person is still suitable for that program. It's not creating an assessment; it is ensuring that what the Education Act mandates is actually happening.

Mr Marchese: I think it should be there as well, where you had suggested.

Ms Anderson: If I put it on page 22, after recommendation 8, have another paragraph outlining the discussions you've had just now, and then come up with a recommendation on that.

Mr Marchese: I think it would fit.


Ms Anderson: Okay. Then in "Defining Exceptionalities," the Provincial Auditor had looked at one of the problems as being that there were inconsistencies in the definitions. Mr Callahan earlier on had talked about wanting to include some examples, such as Tourette's syndrome. He was proposing to put in another paragraph after the second paragraph on page 24 which would just address that.

I had also proposed a recommendation which, in view of your discussion, I'm not sure is the correct one now: updating the definitions in the handbook and making sure they cover all the special needs. This is a recommendation the auditor had and it was something along the lines of, "That the ministry should revise the definitions and categories of exceptional children identified in the Special Education Handbook so that all students who have special needs can consistently be identified as exceptional." One of the points was that some people were being missed because they were not in the definition.

The Vice-Chair: Isn't there a difference, though, between definition and labelling? I don't see any problem with your having the --

Mr Marchese: Neither do I. The kind of discussion we had doesn't take away from doing exactly what you were suggesting or what Mr Callahan was suggesting. The question is what happens after we have named the problem. That's usually when a problem begins. But I agree with your including that.

Ms Anderson: Okay. Then I propose to go on to the next section, which is "Integration." This is an issue that's been around for a little while. In 1991 the Minister of Education expressed her support at the time for integration, saying it should be the norm wherever possible, and the ministry had started to implement that, had put out a discussion paper to receive input on things such as how to implement it, how to strengthen the role of parents, how to meet the various implications of that. The result of that discussion is still under way, I understand.

There were data in the paper that talk about the number of students who are currently integrated into regular classes, that being 66%, and a further 15% of exceptional students are partially integrated. The Provincial Auditor had noted there was some inconsistency in that.

The ministry is continuing to work towards the integration of exceptional students in regular classrooms, the main challenge being to find a way to do it, to implement that policy best.

The deputy had commented too about the need for implementations research and trying to get feedback from teachers as they modify programs according to their ongoing knowledge. They also pointed out that integration hadn't been an issue in the small, isolated boards, mainly because those boards had had to deal with the problems and had found creative ways to place exceptional students in their regular classroom.

The committee had some discussions concerning the issue of integration and didn't come to a consensus; I didn't feel they had, anyhow. I've just put a paragraph saying they generally support it, although there are some reservations, that some people felt the board should retain a variety of placement options rather than having total integration. Is that satisfactory for everybody?

Mr Marchese: To comment on the whole issue, I really believe integration is a better model than to segregate students completely. On the other hand, I argued that if you integrate without support, it's not a better system at all; you're creating a system equally poor to the one we have now. If you integrate without supports, you are going from one extreme to the other. The point is how you achieve a balance between these two approaches. My sense is, yes, integration, and the balance is making sure that students who are not doing well, for a variety of different reasons, are getting the ongoing support of the teacher, the students and other resources that should come to the classroom.

That's the comment I would make. We could have made a recommendation, if people felt strongly about that, based on the principle of integration versus not integrating, but if there's no agreement on integration in general, then I would accept the last paragraph as a fair assessment of what can be said on this topic.

The Vice-Chair: If there are no other comments, I'll just add that I believe exactly the same as Mr Marchese about having integration without the necessary resources to make it effective. I don't think it does a service to any of the children if the classroom teacher is simply stretched to provide for all these various needs without the resources behind the teacher to ensure that it's effective. I certainly wouldn't have a problem with incorporating a comment supporting Mr Marchese's statement.

Mr Erik Peters: May I briefly speak on that? We might wish to take a look at recommendation 10 on page 28. It does contain the words "integrated classrooms," and there may be, in light of the recommendation you just made, a conflict between that recommendation and the statement.

Mr Marchese: Why is it a conflict?

The Vice-Chair: No, I think it supports it because it's saying we have to have a minimum.

Mr Marchese: Yes, that there should be a minimum of support.

Mr Peters: Sorry. I read it as more wide open than what was previously --

Mr Marchese: No.

The Vice-Chair: They don't have any minimum levels right now. There's nothing to ensure that the resources are there. That actually supports it.

Mr Peters: Fine, thanks.

Mr Marchese: And anything above a minimum level of support is great, but at least that, to make integration work.

The Vice-Chair: Even if you just added a statement at the end of the section on page 26 stating that committee members felt very strongly that the necessary resources had to be in place --

Mr Marchese: That we support integration as a principle but that resources and training and all the things that come with it be made available to make it work, but it still would say -- I don't know, Madam Chair, what you or others think about the whole idea of retaining a variety of placement options. If we say that as a general principle and then say "retaining a variety of placement options," we sort of contradict the principle. Do you agree that we should simply stick to the principle of integration with the supports and training that are needed to make it work, and drop this?

The Vice-Chair: There was a line in the minister's statement in 1991. It says that the integration into local classrooms should be the norm in Ontario wherever possible. I think it suggested there were cases in which integration was not to the benefit of the child. I think all the "variety of placement options" said is that you can't have total integration, even with all the resources, in all instances. That's how I interpret it.

Ms Anderson: I put "some committee members" for this second bit about retaining a variety of placement options, because the need to do that seemed to come from just a few members. If you wish, I can take out "some" and include it as the whole committee, which is a stronger statement. "The committee generally supports the policy, [but] some committee members believe it is important that boards retain a variety of placement options" was implying that it wasn't necessarily the whole committee that believed that. I don't know whether you agree with that or whether that would help your position.

Mr Marchese: I think you're right. I tend to believe that you need some variety of placement options as well. I wouldn't want that to be interpreted as the norm, but yes, you do need some different placements. So I'd take out "some" and include that, and that would be fine.

Ms Anderson: Okay. The next section is "Teacher Training and Support."

Mr Peters: May I just comment? This is what I meant by the contradiction. In one place we talk about the options, and then when we talk about the training, because that's a full recommendation as opposed to just being in the text, it could be interpreted that that is only one of the options. You may wish to reword recommendation 10 to read, "The Ministry of Education and Training should establish minimum levels of support staff required" -- not "in integrated classrooms" but -- "where the integrated classroom option is selected." That way, you leave it wide open as to the option, and you want support where the integrated option is selected.


Mr Marchese: You see, the point is that we're moving towards integration, so integration is not just an option, it's the norm on the whole. It's the other placement variety that hopefully will become not the norm but rather the exception. The way you phrase it makes it difficult for me, to say "required where integrated classrooms are the option." Phrasing it that way creates the impression that that's just one option of many.

Mr Wessenger: We already have the situation where there is the expertise where you have a special class. Anybody teaching a special education class does have the training. The problem is that the regular classroom teachers don't have the training. That's the way I interpret the text, so that's why I think the recommendation should stand. We don't think there's a problem with the special classes; there's a problem with the integrated classes.

Mr Marchese: Mr Peters, can we just review these two pages and see whether, in reviewing the text, we can agree or disagree with what you say?

Mr Peters: I'm agreeing with you, actually, but what I was concerned about was that the sentence on page 26 read "that it is important that boards retain a variety of placement options," and that is in the text. If the committee makes a recommendation that lists only the integrated classroom, it may be interpreted in some way -- while this is just text -- that you really are moving in one direction only.

Mr Marchese: True, but we did agree to keep that in as it is, that we support an integrated approach but also support the idea that we need to retain a variety of placement options.

The Vice-Chair: You see, the difference is that right now, if you choose another option and you do not have the child in an integrated setting, they have to have the resources.

Mr Marchese: They get the resources now.

The Vice-Chair: They have to have specially trained people. The problem is in the integrated classrooms, where quite often the teacher doesn't have the resources. This just highlights the integrated classrooms. It remains silent about the other situations because it's not so much a problem.

Mr Marchese: Because they get the support already through special education and whatever, psychiatric or social worker support. They get that already in the other options.

The Vice-Chair: Maybe after Anne rewrites that particular section we can take a second look at it and just make sure we're consistent throughout. It may well be that after it's all written out, we would support amending either the recommendation or the way it's worded.

Any other comments before we leave "Integration"?

Okay, "Teacher Training and Support."

Ms Anderson: The section really speaks to many of the issues you've been talking about. It starts off with the importance of the classroom teacher in being able to deliver the special education that's needed. Currently, teachers must have special education training to teach pupils in a special education class, but those who are teaching them in the regular classroom aren't required to have any additional qualifications beyond their basic teacher's certification.

The Provincial Auditor found that the majority of teachers of special-ed classes held these special-ed certificates, but that most who taught both regular and exceptional pupils hadn't taken any special education courses unless their school board had provided them in-service. There's no requirement that the teachers either have special training or -- I gather that many do go through community college courses.

A lot of the teachers who were interviewed by the Provincial Auditor felt that additional training wasn't necessary if the level of support was provided. However, as we mentioned before, the level of support was highly variable among the number of school boards that were visited, and the auditor had expressed some concerns that the level of resources left open the possibility that the needs of some exceptional pupils weren't being met. He gives some examples of ratios in there.

Some of the support, as we've talked about before, also is provided by other ministries, particularly Health and Community and Social Services. This requires collaboration between the government ministries. While in some communities the ministries collaborate quite well in providing assistive devices, for example, in other cases this isn't always the case and the boundaries between the ministries remain fixed.

There is a reactivated committee that's looking at the integration of children's services, the interministerial committee on services for children and youth, and that committee may be able to work towards a more coordinated model.

With the ministry's policy that integration should be the norm for exceptional children, and bearing in mind that there are some additional children in the classroom who have special needs but haven't been identified as exceptional, it becomes even more important to ensure that regular classroom teachers have at least basic training in special education and that they receive an adequate level of support. Without these resources, it's likely that the classroom teacher will be unable to meet the needs of either the exceptional or the regular pupils to the fullest extent possible.

That then led to three recommendations:

"(1) That the Ministry of Education and Training should ensure that a greater level of training in special education is incorporated into basic teacher certification and that in-service training in special education is available to all teachers."

The second one is the one we discussed, that "The Ministry of Education and Training should establish minimum levels of support staff required in integrated classrooms.

"(3) The Ministry of Education and Training should promote greater collaboration between ministries, agencies and school boards for the delivery of special education."

As I'd mentioned earlier, I've also been developing a recommendation to do with collaboration between the various ministries in terms of cost-efficiencies and funding. Maybe when the two are put together, we'll see whether it's appropriate to keep them in separate places, one to do with delivery and one to do with cost-effective education. But I just wanted to draw your attention to that possibility.

Are there any comments on that section on teacher training?

Mr Marchese: I agree with the whole section, and I agree with the recommendations that are there. The only comment I would make is whether it follows from the statements that are there; on page 27, the first sentence of that with what follows. The first sentence says, "Some teachers interviewed by the Provincial Auditor felt that additional training was not necessary if support was provided." The next section talks about the fact that support varies from place to place. These two statements seem inconsistent, one from the other, in that one argues that teachers say, "We really don't need it if we're given support," and the other part of it says that support is different all over. Do you see what I'm saying?

Ms Anderson: I intended that, rather than to be contradictory, to build the case that if they didn't have additional training, they needed the supports; however, the supports weren't being provided in a consistent way so they weren't able to do their job to the fullest extent.

Mr Marchese: I understand what you're saying, but the way it reads is, "Some teachers interviewed...felt that additional training was not necessary if support was provided." That would lead me to a different kind of argument: Is it necessary or not? What follows doesn't help that particular kind of discussion. Do you see what I'm saying?

Ms Anderson: I'll see if I can reword that.

Mr Marchese: But I agree with the way the next section reads, the whole section, in terms of the fact that support varies across the system. Everything else reads well until page 28, saying it becomes "more important to ensure that regular classroom teachers have at least basic training in special education, and that they receive an adequate level of support." I support that, but if some teachers think that's not necessary, I really do. I believe it is. They should be getting the training. If we're going to integrate, they should not only get the training but also get support. But I agree with the recommendations.

The Chair: Any further questions?


Mr Tilson: I apologize to the committee, because I haven't attended any of the hearings. One of the issues, whether it be with special-ed or anything else, is the topic of our now two systems of separate school and public school. All three political parties have talked about the exploration of ways of sharing of things, whether it be transportation or other matters that wouldn't prejudice the philosophies.

My question, to anyone, is whether that issue has been canvassed with respect to special education in terms of training or the delivery of service; whether on the topic of special education there could be some form of unification that wouldn't impede the philosophies of the two different systems.

The Chair: I suppose that's a point for discussion.

Mr Tilson: It is a point for discussion. I suspect it hasn't been discussed, for obvious reasons, but I think it should be discussed. I don't know whether this was ever asked of any of the delegations that appeared, but in all these topics we're discussing, all 20-odd pages, whether in the delivery of service, the ministry trying to canvass whether the delivery of service is appropriate, whether in the retraining, in those specific areas dealing with special education it seems to me like it's an ideal area where that topic could be canvassed.

Mr Marchese: I think it's a useful suggestion. When there are conferences on special-ed, of course many teachers are invited from any system, really, as far as I know. On the other hand, both Catholic and public systems have their own separate in-service around any particular issue. I think Mr Tilson raises a good point about at least asking the ministry what they are doing, to see whether there is a great deal of cooperation at the moment with respect to in-service training around special education, the delivery of the service, and how it is we can eliminate the kind of duplication that often exists and that we are very critical of. We might ask the ministry whether it has looked at that; if not, that it should be looking at doing that. I agree with his statement.

Mr Wessenger: Could I just add to that? I know in my own area there's a difference between the assessment services provided by the public and the separate board. It would seem an area where, why shouldn't there be one common assessment process, like our psychologist services? It seems one system may be underresourced while the other has -- it would make good sense to have those resources shared between the two systems. I think we should ask them to look at that.

The Chair: Ms Anderson will take note of that and include it in the form of a recommendation somehow.

Mr Peters: Just a very brief comment to assure the committee that in our interviews with school boards and teachers, we made no distinction of whether we were dealing with a separate or public board. We did them all. The scope of the audit was that wide.

The Chair: If no other matter is pertaining to this, this is a draft report, and I suppose we would --

Ms Anderson: I could probably have the revised version for next week, if that would be helpful to people.

The Chair: That's what I was going to say, that we could come back with a revised version. We'll review it and then go from there. That basically concludes this item.


Mr Tilson: I did put the committee on notice that I wish to present a notice of motion to the committee. I believe the subcommittee met as well and wished to comment. Mr O'Connor isn't here -- he's on television -- but the subcommittee did meet and wants to make some comments to the committee. I think Ms Poole is going to present the report of the subcommittee.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): With specific reference to amendments to the Audit Act which were dealt with by the subcommittee on Tuesday, the auditor has proposed that instead of waiting until the accountability framework is in place, which seems to be taking much longer than originally anticipated, he would like an amendment made to the Audit Act without delay which would give him access to the information he needs to carry out his duties under the Audit Act.

As members are aware, we have had a lot of discussion over the last number of years about the fact that when dealing with certain transfer partners the auditor has been extremely limited by the information he has access to and it makes it very difficult for him to conduct value-for-money audits.

The auditor gave a draft letter to the subcommittee members, which I believe the clerk has distributed, where there's one specific amendment proposed to the Audit Act. The subcommittee had unanimous agreement that we would support the auditor. I have a motion to bring forward for consideration by the committee.

I move that the public accounts committee recommend to the Finance minister that the Audit Act be amended without delay to assure that when conducting an inspection audit, the auditor has full access to all information necessary to perform the duties under the Audit Act.

I further move that a representative from each caucus discuss the matter with his or her House leader to ensure that this amendment to the Audit Act be given speedy passage in the Legislature.

Mr Marchese: This change would make wide, sweeping changes to the auditor's ability to inspect anyone for that matter, right? It's not just in relation to education, obviously.

Ms Poole: Perhaps Erik could comment.

The Chair: Mr Peters wants to comment on that.

Mr Peters: That is correct. In fact, if there is a recipient of a grant, currently the Audit Act prescribes that I may conduct an inspection audit, so I could do this anyway. In fact, the scope as to whom we could audit is not enlarged by this motion at all. What is enlarged is that the inspection audit itself is defined currently as an examination of accounting records. In a number of instances, what has happened is that we have rulings that deemed certain records that we needed to examine not to be accounting records. For example, the universities have argued that enrolment records are not accounting records and that therefore we couldn't look at them etc.

On what we are proposing, the technicality of the amendment is actually that the definition of an inspection audit be broadened to read as follows -- and you have the letter in front of you; it's on the second page -- "That an inspection audit means the audit of such records and information as the auditor deems necessary to perform the duties under this act." In other words, we're not broadening the duties under this act; we're merely saying that in performing the duties, we have access to all the records that we consider necessary to conduct the audit that we have been instructed to do.

Mr Marchese: Could you give us some other examples? You mentioned the university, in terms of what they --

Mr Peters: That was the one that went the strongest in terms of going into legal records. I'll give you another example which is very current at the moment. There's been quite a bit of correspondence with a school board, the Etobicoke school board in fact, which had a motion on its records to conduct an inspection audit. The inspection audit currently, as defined, is merely an audit of accounting records, but they already have an outside auditor examining their accounting records in order to form an opinion on their financial statements, so there is no value added by conducting an inspection audit.

However, if there are indeed value-for-money concerns by board members, we could do that. However, and I should make a very important footnote because this is something school boards do not clearly understand, the instructions to do such audits have to principally come from this committee. In other words, it requires the authority of either a minister, or of this committee by way of a vote, or by the Legislature as a whole. The trustees of the school board cannot come to me and say, "We want you to do an audit," because they obviously don't fund me; I am an officer of the Legislature and not an officer of any school board to conduct this audit.

Nevertheless, under subsection 13(1) I could conduct those audits, provided that the school board has a grant, and that was the other situation in Etobicoke, the other condition why I couldn't do it: The Etobicoke school board does not receive any provincial funding.


Mr Wessenger: This isn't particularly related but just as a matter of procedure, for my own information here about when you can do an audit, if a group of citizens, for instance, felt that a particular agency was not being financially responsible, could they write this committee and request you to do an audit of that particular agency?

Mr Peters: Nobody can stop them from writing to this committee.

Mr Wessenger: But would that be a good procedure?

Mr Tilson: We're open to the people.

Mr Peters: It then is what the committee does with the letter. As you know, it requires majority support from the committee to carry on.

Mr Wessenger: I'm just thinking for my own information, because sometimes I'm approached by citizens about particular agencies and their concern, so I could direct them to this committee and that would be an appropriate remedy.

Mr Peters: The other point I should raise in regard to that question is that if the committee then opts for a motion under section 17 of the Audit Act, I have sort of the last button to press, and that is whether my resources allow me to do that.

Mr Wessenger: Right. Thank you.

The Chair: This is a notice of motion. Actually, I've allowed some discussion to take place because there seemed to be agreement around that. Now I would ask the committee's direction in terms of whether we deal with the motion today or take it as a notice of motion and deal with it next week.

Mr Marchese: A notice of motion is fine.

The Chair: Okay. This will be a notice of motion and we will deal with this motion next week as well, to be voted on. There are some other matters.

Ms Poole: So you don't want to vote on the motion right now.

The Chair: There's not unanimous agreement to do that.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, on a point of order: My understanding is that this is a report that was passed by the subcommittee and it seems to me that we're now voting on the report of the subcommittee.

The Chair: I will refer to the clerk on that in terms of technicalities.

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Todd Decker): In the subcommittee meeting that we had earlier this week, Ms Poole indicated to the subcommittee that she was going to be sponsoring a motion to come forward to this committee to put into effect the recommendation that's made in the auditor's letter. The subcommittee did agree to that, but in effect it's a motion that would be dealt with in the normal course.

The Chair: So it will be dealt with be dealt with as a notice of motion to be dealt with next week, at the next sitting time.

Mr Marchese: If you don't mind, that's fine.

Ms Poole: Is there any objection to moving it this week?

The Chair: You need a notice of motion before it becomes a motion.

Ms Poole: I've seen motions in this committee that have been made and brought forward. I'm not giving notice of motion --

The Chair: If there's no objection, it will be received as a motion.

Mr Marchese: Dianne, if you don't mind, I'd rather do it next week, just to give me the opportunity to read this letter. I hear what Mr Peters has said and I support the direction it's going in. If it's not a big deal for you, then I'd rather deal with this next week.

Ms Poole: Okay. That's fine.

The Chair: I am compelled to deal with this as a notice of motion unless there is unanimous consent to deal with it as a motion, in which case it would be voted on today, but since there is not unanimous consent, we will take it as a notice of motion. Those are the rules by which we operate.

Ms Poole: Then could I just make one recommendation, Mr Chair? I think we also may be dealing with Houselink next week, and since I suspect that will be a fairly protracted discussion, could we deal with the Audit Act first, just to ensure that the auditor's recommendation is not delayed?

The Chair: Is there agreement to do that? Yes. Then that will be done.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): On what you said, I wonder if the draft letter that was sent to you should not be filed in the record.

The Chair: It is part of our record.

Mr Callahan: It's not been read into Hansard, though, and I think it should either be read into Hansard or it should become part of the record.

The Chair: Just a minute. Todd, when the chairman receives correspondence, it does form part of the committee's records?

Clerk of the Committee: It becomes an exhibit.

The Chair: It becomes an exhibit of the committee.

Mr Callahan: This letter is there because I think this issue has been kicked around for so long -- I think it started when I was two years younger.

The Chair: I realize that, but you asked me a technical question, and essentially any document that I receive forms part of the documents that are retained by the public accounts committee.

The auditor wants to make a point, and then Ms Poole.

Mr Peters: Just a very quick one: What we discussed was essentially a draft letter, and I had specifically drafted it only because the committee members were kind enough in the subcommittee to agree to obtain legal advice whether what I had put in was legally correct. We have now received the legal advice and I'm now in a position to finalize it. The minute that it's done and then formally filed, then it becomes a record of the committee. At the moment it is just in draft form, but I intend to finalize it with the legal advice received.

The Chair: Not to contradict you, but anything that the chairman receives forms part of the records of the committee, if that's what you were asking, Mr Callahan. However, I would say that if you wanted to read this document into the record so that there was more comprehension around the motion that will be brought forward next week, you could do that. It's entirely up to you.

Interjection: Rather than reading the whole letter --

Mr Tilson: We have it right in front of us.

Mr Marchese: It's true. If you want to read what --

The Chair: I'm pointing out options here. I'm not suggesting you do that.

Mr Callahan: Hansard is the record that some day people looking through the records will see, and I think maybe it should be on the record. I always believe it's better to have it on the record.

The Chair: Ms Poole has a further point and then we will close off this debate.

Ms Poole: I just wanted to suggest, since the auditor's letter was a draft letter and since after discussions with legislative counsel the wording might change somewhat, that when the motion is introduced next week, the auditor could read into the record the full text of his final letter so it will form part of Hansard as well as being an exhibit, rather than doing it now.

The Chair: That's fine. I can do whatever the committee wishes me to do, but I would suggest to you that all documents I receive form part of the official records of the committee, if that's understood.

Moving on to the next item, I think you still had further items on your list of subcommittee matters to report.

Ms Poole: The second item that the subcommittee discussed was the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees, which is meeting in Prince Edward Island on July 10 for several days. The subcommittee had a discussion as to how many members would be sent. In previous years, there wasn't a particular quota put on as to how many members would be allowed to attend. We felt, in view of the fiscal situation -- there were two proposals. One is a member from each caucus, plus the Chair plus one staff member. The second proposal was that there be one staff member, I think probably the clerk, and the researcher, plus one member from each caucus.

I personally feel that with the fiscal constraints we're under this year, perhaps one member from each caucus might be more appropriate. If the Chair is available to go, he could go as the member of a caucus. If he isn't available, then one of the other members of the Liberal caucus would attend. So there would be only three members to attend.

You have before you a budget which the clerk has prepared which has to go before the Board of Internal Economy. This has been based on two staff members plus four members: the Chair plus three members. It would be significantly cheaper if the committee decides to send only three members.


The Chair: It's just a matter of how to proceed. You're recommending three members attend the conference. Is there agreement on that, members of the committee? Okay. Before we do that we have -- oh, Mr Crozier, on a point --

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): Just a question: I wondered, after attendance at such a conference as this, what type of report is made back to the committee so that the rest of us can benefit from it? Is there a written report?

The Chair: There's a Hansard of the proceedings which is taken at the time the conference is held. That's available to all members.

Mr Crozier: That wasn't exactly what I was --

The Chair: I don't think there are any special reports. I don't recall if there were.


The Chair: There were some special reports, yes.

Ms Poole: There's usually a discussion among the members at full committee, the members who attended, talking about certain recommendations or policies or procedures, so there is a discussion.

Mr Crozier: We'll get $9,000 worth of discussion, will we?

Ms Poole: Less, because we'll only have three members, not four, so we'll get our value's worth.

Mr Crozier: Okay. Thank you.

The Chair: I need a motion to adopt the budget, which will be amended because we had made provisions for four members to attend and we'll reduce it to three. There's a copy of the budget that each of you has. We need to make those adjustments for three members, as I've said, and then this will be presented to the Board of Internal Economy. Can I have a motion to adopt the budget?

Mr Callahan: Before you eliminate the Chair, is it my understanding that the Chair will not be going?

The Chair: Are you asking me, as the Chair, if I will?

Mr Callahan: Yes.

The Chair: No, I haven't said that. I've just suggested that if I should not find myself in a position to go --

Interjection: When, Mr Chair?

The Chair: I'll have to make decisions in the next period of time, but I was just suggesting that a member be allowed to go.

Mr Tilson: Quite frankly, I know what the motion said and I support the motion. I have no problem with the Chair going, plus a member of each caucus. I know that the Chair happens to be of a particular party, but the Chair normally speaks for this committee. I have no problem -- I don't know whether the motion needs to be amended -- with the Chair or the Vice-Chair and a member of each caucus going, which would mean four. But if the motion is on the floor and that seems to be in agreement, I have not problem with that.

The Chair: It's entirely up to the members of the committee.

Mr Marchese: I have no problem with the Chair going either. I wouldn't expand it in order to try to achieve some balance with the Vice-Chair. I don't think that's necessary.

Mr Tilson: I didn't mean the Chair and the Vice-Chair.

Mr Marchese: One or the other, you mean?

Mr Tilson: One or the other.

Mr Marchese: I have no problems with that, either.

Mr Tilson: And a member from each caucus.

Mr Marchese: Sure. If the Chair wishes to go, I agree that I have no problem with that taking place. I don't think he should feel compelled to go, but if he wanted to go, that would be all right with us.

The Chair: It's just my view that forgetting for the moment who is the Chair, someone in the person of the Chair, that there would be representation at the conference by the person who represents the Chair. In addition to that, I think what you're saying, Mr Tilson, is three: one from each party.

Mr Tilson: I'm just trying to think of topics that have been in the past. The issue of accountability seems to have been a favourite topic on different things and it may well be that there has to be a position by the Ontario delegation, which may be impossible.

Mr Marchese: You'll never get that one.

Mr Tilson: You're absolutely right. But it seems that that's possible.

The Chair: I would make, if I could, this small point: I think that the Chair must sort of remain in the position of the Chair and not represent a party. I would just point out that the Chair should be the Chair and not represent a political party, which would be the case if the Chair was there on behalf of a party. So you would want to keep that separate -- if that's what you want.

Mr Tilson: Is the motion reading "the Chair or the Vice-Chair and a member from each caucus"? Is that what the motion is now going to say?

The Chair: Could we amend it to say that?

Mr Marchese: That's fine with me, but I would want to add that if one caucus member, for example, wished not to go, or a caucus representative wished not to go, that's fine.

The Chair: That's their choice at that point.

Mr Marchese: Yes.

Mr Callahan: That was my point. Leave it open. If it should turn out that you don't go, then that's money that's been approved, and it's not spent. I don't see any problem with that.

The Chair: Just on a technicality, there will be a further problem. Once Todd has to make reservations and you make a commitment, that commitment has to be --

Mr Marchese: Oh, sure. You will be advised of a date and a time when members should be able to tell you.

The Chair: There will be a deadline, yes.

Ms Poole: I further understand through discussions with Todd that it's significantly cheaper if we advance-book. However, we do need to give the member's name at the time. It can't be booked anonymously for three or four members. I think that over the coming week or two, it would be very important for each caucus to decide who is going to go and that commitment be made. The same for you as Chair: If you decide to go, then that commitment should be made. Otherwise, it's going to cost significantly more for the tickets.

The Chair: Can I have a motion to adopt the budget then?

Ms Poole: I so move.

The Chair: All in favour? Passed.

Mr Marchese: I presume Mr Decker would send a note to each caucus whip.

The Chair: Very good.

Mr Tilson: I've asked the clerk to distribute to each member of the committee a notice of motion, which should be before all members of the committee, of which I spoke at the outset of the committee. This motion is being made in response to a number of questions that were put to the Minister of Housing this week and last. I believe the minister has indicated that she felt it might be appropriate for this matter to be referred to the public accounts committee, so that's the intent of the motion.

I also believe that prior to the committee making a decision with respect to the Provincial Auditor pursuing this matter further, it would be appropriate to listen to comments from the deputy ministers of each of those ministries, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Housing. After that, we could assess whether or not the Provincial Auditor should review this matter.

Accordingly, I move that the public accounts committee consider at its next meeting a motion to invite the deputy ministers of the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Health to review the allegations that Houselink Community Homes -- that probably should have an "Inc" there -- misused $2.2 million in public funds in the period April 1988 to March 1990, and to review the actions taken by the ministries and by recipients of provincial funds on audit reports. Any motion to involve the Provincial Auditor beyond the current undertaking to follow up on the 1992 report could then be made.

I would ask that this matter be dealt with at the next meeting.

The Vice-Chair: I have Mr Cordiano on the list. Any other speakers to the motion?

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Well, if there's agreement, we could discuss it.

The Vice-Chair: Any other discussion at this time? Mr Cordiano.

Mr Cordiano: I just want to raise this point with respect to this motion: Would it be agreeable to expand the scope of this so that it not be as specific, so that all the matters dealing with the write-offs that have been talked about in the press and that we've heard about in the Legislature be included in the scope of the undertaking by the committee to deal with this matter, and that the matter be referred to the public accounts committee to be dealt with, as I think was the intention of the government, so that the committee could undertake hearings around all of these matters regarding any of the audits that have been conducted by both the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Health?

That gives the committee the broadest scope to deal with matters that are related, actually. That's really, I think, the real purpose of this.

Mr Tilson: I have a problem with that. It would be my presumption that we would have the two audits. I don't know whether they were both done by the Ministry of Housing or whether one was done by the Ministry of Housing and one by the Ministry of Health. I don't know that.

Interjection: The latter.

Mr Tilson: The committee would have available each of those audits. I don't know how bulky they are, but hopefully the clerk could obtain those and make those available to members of the committee in advance of the meeting. We would then be able to have a discussion with the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Health, the deputy ministers, with respect to those audits and surrounding matters.

I believe the motion's general enough to surround those matters. At that time decisions could be made as to how much further this committee wishes to go, whether we wish to have public hearings, which quite frankly I believe was suggested by Ms Gigantes, to be fair to her, but the committee could then make decisions at that time. There's no question that the intent of the motion is that after hearing from the deputy ministers, the Provincial Auditor would pursue the matter, but we may wish to go further. That's the intent of the motion at least. I would put that on the record: That's the intent of the motion.

Mr Marchese: Without getting into any detail, I think that this motion at the moment is quite general enough that once you discuss this, out of those discussions, if we agree to this motion, other things will follow. Rather than anticipating what should happen, I agree at the moment with the intent of what Mr Tilson is suggesting, but I think we should discuss that at the next meeting and see what the fallout of that discussion is before we decide on what should follow.

The Vice-Chair: Any other discussion? The standing committee on public accounts remains adjourned until next Thursday morning at 10 o'clock.

The committee adjourned at 1142.