Thursday 10 February 1994

Annual report, Provincial Auditor, 1993: Ministry of Community and Social Services


*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)

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

Frankford, Robert (Scarborough East/-Est ND)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

*Murphy, Tim (St George-St David L)

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:

Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND) for Mr Bisson

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND) for Mr O'Connor

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mrs Marland

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

for Mr Owens

Sterling, Norman W. (Carleton PC) for Mr Tilson

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Ministry of Community and Social Services:

Sue Herbert, assistant deputy minister, program management

Peter Gooch, project manager, children's policy framework, children's policy branch

Dale Elliott, program analyst, young offenders program

Heather Martin, coordinator, children's services, program management division

Peters, Erik, Provincial Auditor

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

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

The committee met at 1009 in the St Clair/Thames/Erie Rooms, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


The Vice-Chair (Ms Dianne Poole): The standing committee on public accounts will continue in our endeavours, meeting with Ministry of Community and Social Services representatives to look at sections 3.04 and 3.05 of the auditor's report. I will begin with 15minute rotations, starting with the official opposition.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): During our hearings with the Correctional Services ministry we looked at some significant sick days that were lost. I tried to tag them to the stress that was created by the non-availability of identifying people with HIV in the correctional system and what that did in terms of their concern about dealing with a prisoner if the prisoner had to have mouth-to-mouth or was bleeding or whatever.

Leaving aside the HIV situation, we've heard of the impact on cost-effectiveness of the number of sick days taken and staff salary levels at correctional institutions for older youths and adults.

What are the staff turnover and absentee rates in the ministry's residential facilities for young offenders? That's number one. What are the salary ranges and how do they compare with those of other provinces? That's number two. What links are there between young offender services, child welfare, institutional services and other services to achieve overall government cost-effectiveness and maximum benefit to the offender?

I was concerned there in a similar fashion, in terms of young people particularly coming into a program as young offenders. There can be a whole host of reasons they're there, but if one were to do a very significant, in-depth study of people in conflict with the law, we'd probably find that a large number of them have some form of learning disability -- I call it the invisible disability -- but the schools have either failed to identify the person or perhaps the parents have not noticed it and not pushed for identification. These kids get to about grades 6 or 7, it's been my experience in dealing with them, they drop out of school, and the next thing you know they're in conflict with the law.

In that third question, I'm looking for either something in place or something that might be anticipated, as I said to the people in corrections, in terms of the way it works in a hospital, where a nurse or a health care professional vets those who are the most serious and arranges for them to see the doctor on that basis. Triage is not the right word for this, but I would like to see someone, particularly in the young offender facilities, attuned to pick up on this problem and arrange to have the young persons tested. If we don't, they're going to wind up, sure as shootin', in the correctional system and that doesn't serve anybody's ends.

Those are a few questions. Maybe you can answer them backwards. I'm really more interested in the last one than I am in the first two.

Ms Sue Herbert: A test of my ability to follow these backwards.

Your interest in the learning disabilities area is of interest to me. I have a son who's learning-disabled, so when we draw the correlation to young offenders it always makes me personally very nervous.

If I can come at that question in an couple of ways, first of all the whole issue of early identification and assessment of kids is of prime interest to us in all of our programs. Because the universal system where kids are seen is the education system -- I mean, all kids go to school -- that becomes the really important piece for us in connecting education and early identification of issues into a prevention program for the ministry.

We've spent a fair amount of time working with our colleagues in Education doing some pilot programs, looking at ways we can work with Education on early identification and early intervention in a prevention mode. Better Beginnings, Better Futures is a fairly massive program that the ministry's involved with across the province, an attempt to bring schools, children's services agencies and health agencies together to do early intervention, early prevention, and then to do a longitudinal study, follow those kids through the system to see what happens to them and whether it works. We can certainly provide you with more information about that program.

Mr Callahan: I'd like to follow up on that. I've raised with the present Minister of Health, the previous Minister of Health and I think even the Minister of Health when we were in government this question, and you may not be able to answer this, but it's just food for thought when you're dealing with your interministerial stuff. We will pay for a kid to go see a psychiatrist under OHIP but, as I understand it, OHIP will not cover the cost of psychologists, and the psychologists are really the people who make these assessments on kids who have learning disabilities.

My major concern is that there are kids whose parents are either too busy or can't afford -- the fact that the kids have a learning disability is not picked up by the school. It may not even be picked up in the correctional system. It dismays me that the correctional system doesn't have some sort of entrance identification, because I think we'd save these kids going back as recidivists. You might want to take that up with the Minister of Health, because as I've often said in the House, the money you spend now -- it's kind of the like the mechanic, "You can pay me now or pay me later," and you'll pay for it in spades in the future in terms of correctional facilities.

Ms Herbert: That goes back to your question around linkages with other systems. By the time the children reach the young offender system, usually an assessment has been done, a lot of the children come with a file. One of the challenges we have, and I think the policy framework is attempting to address it, is to intervene much earlier. We'll know by the time they hit our system if they have a learning disability, generally, but the issue is whether we should have known that five years before they hit our system. It's how we look at the question of a learning disability and its relationship to mental health problems, self-esteem, all of those issues, and where the right point is for us as a children's mental health system, or education and parents, to intervene much earlier, so that your assessment's at the front end rather than at the end when the kid's coming into the young offender system. That's really the challenge for us.

Peter, do you want to talk a little about assessment and the framework?

Mr Peter Gooch: In the policy framework, several directions touch on the issues you've raised. Sue's mentioned assessment. We recognize that lots of kids are assessed in many different sectors and many different ways, and one of the policy issues we're working on is a more consistent, common way to assess kids to support in part the earlier intervention you've suggested.

The policy framework very strongly addresses the issue you've raised about the need for links among the various sectors, of young offenders or children's mental health or child welfare or, for that matter, the Education- and Health-funded systems. It calls very explicitly for links at a local planning level among those sectors, and one of the requirements in the policy framework is that the programs we're funding, whether it's under the young offenders funding category or the child and family intervention category or the child welfare category, those agencies need to be sitting together in a local planning capacity. It is really hoped they can pool their resources at a service delivery level, but it also is our strong hope, and we see it happening across the province now, that putting those agencies and those different kinds of service providers together will let them identify the problems that all the kids they're serving face and support efforts to intervene earlier.


Mr Callahan: I've been out there in the real world acting for young kids in young offender courtrooms. It should almost be part of the policy for preparing predisposition reports that the first thing they do is check whether the kid has a learning disability. I don't know, maybe it's because I've seen so many kids with learning disabilities that I can pick them out. It's basically an invisible disability, but I've seen lawyers acting for a client who's a kid, and I've leaned over and said to them, "Have the judge order a psychological report to test whether this kid has a learning disability," and the guy looks like, "What are you talking about?" I say, "Clearly this kid has a learning disability, and if it doesn't get done now, it may not get done." It may be a little late in the game, as I think was said, but at least you're going to pick it up. I've asked judges to order, as part of the predisposition report, a psychological testing basically because I figured the kid's parents probably couldn't afford it and he wasn't within a system where he was going to be able to require it. The whole young offender system has its bad sides, obviously; the public hates it. But if it has one good side, its whole purpose was to ensure that young people who came in contact with the law would receive the kind of treatment that a good parent would like to give them in terms of turning them around. If that's the case, it seems to me that one of the key items is to ensure that in the predisposition report you get more than just what's visible, but you get what's invisible. I would certainly hope that in dealing with your policies you might think of that -- and there's no question it'll cost -- as being a major consideration so that the lawyer who is acting for the kid, who may not have any knowledge or understanding of learning-disabled kids, won't let this kid fall through the cracks. That's essential.

Ms Herbert: As we move forward on our assessment policy work, we can take that into consideration. You've raised a really good point.

Mr Callahan: Did you want to ask some questions, Dianne? I could take the chair if you like.

The Vice-Chair: There are only two minutes left. With the committee's indulgence, I'll ask a question from here as it is in a very non-partisan sense.

Earlier in the hearings this week, I asked you about the social contract and the expenditure control plan. You gave us a brief answer about the impact of the social contract being a 0.75% reduction, and for the expenditure control plan you gave us a dollar figure in the vicinity of $4 million for children's services.

Ms Herbert: It's $3.5 million for this year.

The Vice-Chair: At that time, I said that if you couldn't give a full answer I'd be happy if you could give us some written material. Do you have a breakdown of that $3.5 million and where the reductions are going to take place?

Ms Herbert: I haven't brought that with me, but we could certainly do that across the allocation lines in children's. That's a $3.5-million figure across all the program envelopes in children's, and it would be prorated against each line on a percentage basis. We have that upstairs. We can get that and bring it to you.

The Vice-Chair: I would appreciate that.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): Are there any items we've asked for that you've brought with you today that we could have instead of getting those at 12?

Ms Herbert: There are two issues we tabled with the clerk this morning. One is the response to the question about the availability of beds in the past four years, I believe. That's been tabled. The other was a response to the question I think you asked, Mr Jackson, around order papers.

According to my records, we have one outstanding request for data, the request around profit and non-profit providers. The most recent figures we had are about three years old, so we've put a call out to our field offices to verify it. You know how our system works; it will take us a little while to get that information verified. But we've made the request and we'll table that information as soon as we have it.

Mr Jackson: Thank you very much.

I'm interested in the statistics that have been tabled about the youth court age of young offenders charged. It says over-17-year-olds, 1,041. Could you explain to me how a young offender would get charged at age 17? Is it partially because if they are classed as a young offender and serving their time as a young offender, if they offend while classified as a young offender that means they're treated as young offenders? How is it that a 17- or an 18- or a 19-year-old gets charged as a young offender?

Ms Dale Elliott: I can't specifically say how the Attorney General has done this. It may be that those charges -- I'm trying to look at total Ontario --

Mr Callahan: But doesn't it go up to 17?

Mr Jackson: No, this is over 17, so these are 18-, 19- and 21-year-olds.

Ms Elliott: Under 18 at the time of the offence means you begin the process as a young offender. It may be that they record stats, say, on breaches of an order that was made while they were under 18, but that by the time they come back in in the breach, they're over 17. I don't know. That would be a quick guess, that it may be a breach or a wilful failure on the initial young offender order.

Ms Herbert: We can get an official answer to that. We'll check with MAG.

Mr Jackson: I'd like a fuller response to that, because my questions Tuesday around the matter of sexual assault charges between clients within facilities is a matter of major concern to me. I'm satisfied that there are sufficient protocols in place with respect to the potential for abuse of a client by an adult. However, the system admits, and I concur, that it's more of a challenge to ensure the same degree of protection between clients; much as it is in nursing homes, for example, to ensure the safety of one resident from an attack by another resident. The law and the police and all parties involved treat the matters differently. An offence which occurs by a 17-year-old towards a 14-year-old, in my view, is an adult court matter, whether they're in the facility as a young offender or not.

I have a large number of OPSEU members who reside in my community who, as part of their process of educating their elected representative, advise me of the circumstances around their employment and how well they can contribute to Ontario in their service. I would like a rather full explanation not just of that statistic but around the issue of how these matters are treated when there is a breach, as you referred to it, and the nature of breaches and so on.

When I read through the operating manual carefully, I really didn't get a strong sense of protocols on offenses between clients. Any fuller explanation you can provide would be helpful to me because of the security of the kids.

We do integrate our children. Unless you now have a policy change, that doesn't allow for segregating by level of crime. I don't think that's occurring in our institutions. The philosophy is that a young offender is in conflict with the law whether they've murdered or they're a runner. I have difficulty with that, and how we mix our residences in my view is wrong, but that's my opinion. I don't think it's helpful to an environment of reform or rehabilitation or an environment which is essentially time out from the troubles they've experienced outside of the facility.


Another question with respect to these statistics. This committee two weeks ago visited the remand centre at the Don Jail, where there were some young offenders in there but it was essentially a corrections adult facility. One of the senior staff members indicated that they had a very serious problem with the Vietnamese community, which had doubled within their population. It's clear to me that the corrections ministry is keeping statistics to help them better understand their client challenges. Are you doing anything similar in monitoring the type of client you're receiving, with respect to any statistical data that helps you to better understand and serve the needs of your clients?

Ms Herbert: We do not keep statistics around young offenders on race or cultural group. We do keep some statistics on our aboriginal youth, primarily to monitor what's happening with that particular client population in northern Ontario.

Many of you will be familiar with the interim report on racism that was recently released. In that report they reference the fact that in MCSS we do not keep stats. In our discussions in the ministry, we're going to await the government decision. The government's obviously going to take the recommendations around this under advisement through the interim report, and then there will be a later report in the fall from the commission, and we expect to have some position there around the monitoring of statistics by racial group. Our staff have some view of what's happening locally in their communities, but the ministry's official position is not to keep statistics.

We do try to do, and are going to try and improve, training for our staff around cultural issues, cultural sensitivity --

Mr Jackson: I'm sorry to interrupt. I've read the two reports of the last two years and specifically the one in the Syl Apps centre, Thistletown, which referenced incidents of racist attitudes among the officers -- counsellors, I guess. I'm supposed to call them counsellors, right? They're not youth jail guards; they're counsellors. I want to make sure I get the --

Mr Tim Murphy (St George-St David): Except in the boot camps.

Mr Jackson: Well, let's go into the boot camp concept here for a moment. Mr Murphy raises an interesting point.

I would like to return to this issue around school identification and treatment. I'm familiar with pilot projects under the Better Beginnings program. Can you give me some specifics which are linked to young offenders or anticipating young offender-type conduct? Could you point me to one of them?

Ms Herbert: Off the top of my head, I can't. We have a report on Better Beginnings that we could actually bring and table if you'd like. In terms of how many of them are targeted specifically towards children who we believe will end up in the juvenile justice system, off the top of my head, my sense would be that we're trying to work with kids at a very young age.

Mr Jackson: The whole system's working with kids at a young age. I'm not aware of it. I've read each of the projects, I've even read proposals that have been turned down, and I'm working with two in my own community. We're building breakfast programs, for example. But it's a leap to suggest that we can anticipate that a six-year-old who's going to school without breakfast and lunch is going to be a young offender in 10 years.

I used to chair the early school leave committees; the ESLs we called them until special ed grabbed that moniker. For eight years I served on early school leave committees, and it fixed my thinking around how inadequate programming was for kids who showed all the early signs of early departure. The laws allow a 14- and a 15-year-old to let go of the social responsibilities of attending school, and we were getting a large number of kids who had minor evidences of conflict with the law, but the system's way of dealing with that was to move them out of the schools. In one year, we pushed out 128 children. That's a large number of children in a region as small as Halton.

Can you speak to me at all about programs that are getting at the nub of kids in conflict, instead of the school board saying, "Look, this kid's a problem kid; we want him out of our school," which is essentially going to be the bottom line, because they still get their funding from the province for that kid even though that kid is now on the street and there's no real program linkage. It's been eight years since I was a trustee, but during my 10 years as a trustee, we were making little or no progress on a provincial basis in dealing with early school leavers and there was a high incidence of kids who had all the symptoms of conflict with the law. I mean, they were in conflict with their school.

Ms Herbert: Certainly that group is a high-risk group, and our ministry and SG and the AG are concerned that if kids are pushed out of the educational system, however valid the concerns of the schools are, that increases the risk that they'll come in conflict with the law. The three ministries, AG, SG and ourselves, as the deputy referenced on Tuesday, have now come together to form an interministerial group with Education to look at some of the issues around the school violence policy that's received a fair amount of press lately and how we can work together to make sure we're not moving kids out of one system and into another system without thinking about the programming needs of the kids. We have a couple of program areas Heather is going to speak to, where we're testing some stuff.

Mr Jackson: I'd be very interested in getting the details of that. Just to stay on this theme, I also have a concurrent concern with respect to the treatment of our courts towards children's aid societies when they bring forward a case involving a 15-year-old. I've been in court when the judge has said: "Look, this kid's 15. Why are we wasting the court's time with a 15-year-old and why is the system going to do a year's paperwork when within three months they can say bon voyage to school and bon voyage to a whole bunch of things in society?" We know that exists.

To what extent are we doing anything within your ministry, as you did raise the issues of prevention, identification and treatment with respect to that cohort group. We get into early identification of runners, who have a high incidence of leading to prostitution. There is a whole series of now heightened urban problems, and some northern problems in this area as well, that surface with respect to kids who are getting streetwise where the system, in my view, suffers certain impediments when they go to court, suffers further pressures within the agencies you fund. That's all part of this problem, in my view. The courts can't act quickly, and perhaps there is a role for some more disciplined environment, which I'd prefer to call -- I don't know what Mr Murphy means by a boot camp.

Ms Herbert: We can take that comment in two parts. We can talk a little bit about the boot camp approach, but Heather will talk a bit about what we're doing around that age group.


Ms Heather Martin: For a number of years the ministries of Community and Social Services, Health and Education have been involved in looking at psychosocial supports for kids in the school system. There have been a number of background papers done. Sue or the deputy yesterday referenced this interministerial ADMs committee that was looking at speech therapy as one of its priorities. Another priority has also been psychosocial supports for kids in the school system. There are a number of projects being run across the province addressing kids in high school who are experiencing some problems that inflict on them in their ability to learn and benefit from the school system. There are a number operating in Toronto, in Ottawa, Mississauga, several across the province. A number of them do address the population you're talking about. Oolagen here in Toronto is running a program with the Metro board of education, a secondary school, that is specifically designed to address that target population.

Mr Jackson: They receive funding directly from MCSS?

Ms Heather Martin: Yes, they do. In addition, there are a number of alternative school programs that are designed for kids who cannot benefit from the normal structure of the school system. Those are not funded by MCSS, they're funded by the Ministry of Education, but they're felt to be particularly effective in ensuring that some of those kids who would leave because they don't like the structure get their educational needs met. It's an ongoing problem we've been working with the Ministry of Education to address, ever since I've been at the ministry.

Ms Herbert: The dilemma for all of us who work with children, whether it be in the education system or through the work Community and Social Services does, is that if we don't focus on what makes kids healthy, we're never going to be able to afford to intervene at the problem point when they're 16. Our need to focus on our integration with education, our integration with our child care system, parents' responsibility, all of that has to come together in some way that allows a child to grow in the healthiest way possible, which is why the focus on prevention.

Just to go back to the boot camp question --

Mr Jackson: Who asked you the question about the boot camp?

Ms Herbert: Well, you referenced it.

Mr Jackson: No, Mr Murphy did. If he'd like to pursue it -- I'm familiar with the ones in the US and their success rate, if you wanted to talk about that part of it.

Ms Herbert: It was the success rate I was going to address.

Mr Murphy: I'd love to hear the answer.

The Vice-Chair: Officially the 15 minutes has expired. However, members of the government have indicated they have no further questions, so I'm going to open it up on a first come, first served basis. If you want to continue your questioning for a few minutes, why don't we do that?

Mr Jackson: Thank you very much. Sue, you referenced earlier, and I'm pleased you did, about speech therapy as a priority, and I'd like to get some additional information. Our hospital just shut down its speech therapy program, the school board refuses to put one in place, Doug Brown at Children's Assessment and Treatment Centre is stretched to the limit, so we now have about 120 children on waiting lists. Two new private practitioners have moved into my community, so I'm now screening the waiting list, which I'm working with, to find out who can afford private assistance and who can't. It's not a really pleasant system to work in.

I'd be most anxious if you could give me the information around the program you referenced with respect to speech therapy as a priority. I'd like more information on that, because I certainly want to come after the government to try and salvage this program in Halton, where too many of our speech therapists are going into private practice and that's creating two tiers for children's services. It's clear. I'm getting families to raise the money so their child can communicate in one language, whereas others can afford it and they're not pressing me because they can afford it. But there's a large number of families who can't who are on this waiting list.

This program just collapsed a week ago and I have a meeting Friday with Doug Brown at Children's Assessment and Treatment Centre. We're trying to reconstruct some services within Halton region which are failing badly.

Ms Herbert: I doubt I'm going to tell you anything you don't know, but essentially, across three ministries we've had a variety of responsibilities grow up across the province for who's accountable for speech therapy. Whether it's provided in a children's mental health centre or whether it's provided through the education system, there's a large need in the community that works with developmentally handicapped individuals. Depending on history, funding and community need, it's grown up differentially across the province. One of the issues that clearly has been a problem for this program area is who's accountable for seeing it's delivered. That's essentially why the three ministries, Education, Health and ourselves, have gotten together to see whether we can't be clearer about accountabilities and be clearer about ensuring that some minimum level of service is provided consistently across the province. It's a policy focus corporately --

Mr Jackson: It's not a funding priority, it's a policy re-examination priority.

Ms Herbert: One follows the other. When we talk about being accountable for it, it follows that funding accountability is also an issue.

Mr Jackson: Well, Health just bailed out of it, and they told the hospital that's an appropriate service to cut.

Ms Herbert: I'm not familiar with this particular case.

Mr Jackson: That's fine. Oakville Community Living, in concert with the facilities there for developmentally challenged kids, has three speech pathologists working there and Oakville hospital has three. But Burlington now has zero. There's 125,000 people there, with zero. There's an adult one, but there's not one for children. The turf war -- I'm sorry, that's unfair. The resolution to the question of who coordinates it to ensure a minimum level of service is a critical issue in my community. We can no longer wait. We now have to go out and buy the services, raise the money for the services or find it. Right now we can find it if you're rich. We need help soon. I'll leave it at that.

You've clarified what's meant by speech therapy as a priority. I just hope we resolve the primacy issue there and get on with providing services to these children.

Mr Murphy: Before I go on to some other things, I'd like to hear your answer to the boot camp question.

Ms Herbert: I'm going to let Dale answer the question, as she's led some of the research on this program area.

Ms Elliott: As you know, we've never had any boot camps in Ontario. The programming we have delivered goes back to the kinds of principles of YOA and CFSA that have been talked about in the previous days here. What we have done in continuing to find what's most effective is to watch the research and read the research of other jurisdictions that have tried boot camp. The stuff we have been able to read, mainly out of the States, every research and evaluation I've read clearly demonstrates that there is no long-term benefit to the boot camp approach in reducing recidivism. That's reading other people's evaluation and researches.

The research we began in 1990 to look at risk and need and indicators that would be predictors of recidivism and what the components of effective programming are did an analysis of over 500 research evaluations of different kinds of interventions in North America and in European jurisdictions. The consistent finding of those evaluations, which range from programs running since the 1950s to current, is that providing tougher and longer sanctioning in the absence of appropriate interventions does not reduce recidivism, and in fact that just to provide tougher, longer sanctioning with lower- or moderate-risk kids increases -- by your intervention increases -- the chance of a youth reoffending.

Those kinds of programs and different interventions are ones we watch carefully to learn from, but a lot of that background and research would be the reasoning why in Ontario we've never embraced a boot camp approach per se.


Mr Murphy: To be fair, there's probably a feeling among a lot of people that what kids really need is a disciplined environment, structure, a sense of "You've got to wake up at this time, you go to bed at this time," even if it's not a longer sentence; but that in the time they're there, we're a bit more strict with them, that that's what they need and it would help give them structure. Does the research talk to that issue?

Ms Elliott: The research very much supports interventions that are a bit of what I talked about the other day: staff interactions with youth based on role modelling, modelling good behaviour, modelling structured behaviour, giving life skills, helping youth to role-play possible ways they can handle difficult situations and learn new approaches and predictability, setting fair and consistent rules in a framework and being predictable and consistent in doing that with the youth. All of those kinds of things are supported very much as being effective with youth.

Those are the kinds of things in our programs. When we had the earlier discussion with Mr Jackson about treatment versus the other, those are all components that all of our young offender programs have. It's a structured day that combines education, leisure, counselling, life skills, all those components put together to make a predictable, supervised day.

Ms Herbert: You used the word "structure." That's one of the key components in programming. The question is how to teach children, especially at that age in our system, to maintain structure when they leave. That's really part of what we attempt to do, because at that age it can't be imposed upon them outside of a contained facility. They have to learn to impose their own structure.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Murphy, when you're finished that particular line of questioning, Mr Jackson has a supplementary -- just when you're ready to switch.

Mr Murphy: Before I became an MPP, I did prosecutions part-time.

Mr Callahan: It's the wrong side to be on, but go ahead.

Mr Murphy: Some people would say it's the right side to be on. I did defence work too. I also occasionally did some young offender work and I saw the people on whom a lot of the concern about the Young Offenders Act is focused, those people who were standing in the prisoner's dock going, "This is a joke." They'd laugh at the judge, they'd laugh at the court, they'd laugh at the process, and being sent off to a YOA facility was their view of a slap on the wrist at worst.

As you were giving the answer, Mr Jackson made the comment that we want to create an atmosphere they don't want to go back to. What's the balance? I don't think there's any doubt that the notion of boot camp is responding to the public sense that something's gone awry. How do you strike that balance? I talked about structure. Is there an environment you create that gives the positive role modelling while it has the discipline that probably the public would want to see and maybe creates in the minds of those who go into the young offender facility that maybe they don't want to go back?

Ms Herbert: Having visited many of our facilities, and remembering that these are children from 12 to 16, while it provides children with a sense of structure and, if you like, safety -- and for some of our children, they have not had structure nor safety in a large part of their lives.

Mr Murphy: Absolutely.

Ms Herbert: One of the challenges it presents for us in our programming is that balance between teaching the ability to carry some of that out with them so they are not driven back into the system by their own needs for safety and security, and at the same time having a program that carries some societal sanction so that it feels like there is a societal -- I avoid the word "punishment," quite frankly, because it conjures up visions of isolation and --

Mr Jackson: There is no punishment in the young offender facility. Describe a punishment in a young offender facility.

Mr Callahan: They deprive you of your freedom.

Ms Herbert: Yes, the fact that you can't go where you want when you want.

Mr Jackson: You can't go swimming, you can't go to the wood shop, you can't play Nintendo.

Ms Herbert: Depending on the level of disposition you have, to live in one room that's concrete block with a cot and a moulded fold-out desk in one corner feels somewhat deprived. It would feel somewhat deprived, from my perspective.

The balance in programming we provide is really the key. Dale, do you want to talk a bit more about this?

Ms Elliott: I guess the questions just evoke a very personal response. Through years of seeing those young offenders when they arrive in the facility, after the attitude in court that is very blasé, that it's a joke, many of their responses are very different once they arrive and realize that deprivation from family, friends, community and freedom. It's a difficult balance.

Mr Murphy: Cam, did you want to do your supplementary?

Mr Jackson: I was surprised when Dale referenced studies of boot camps from the 1950s, because I think Mr Murphy's reference to boot camps is the post-1989 phenomenon of boot camp, which is a short-term intervention as part of the program, as I understand it, in the jurisdictions that I've looked at in Florida and elsewhere. This is not prescribed. It's generally when persons have breaches and this is sort of: "You've had two offences under the regular young offender program. Now you're off to boot camp for a month and a half." Also, it's divided by the seriousness. The Americans have no difficulty determining degrees of violence and degrees of offence when it comes to young offenders.

When you referenced the 1950s, the only ones I'm familiar with are ones like -- the Catholic school system had boot camps. In the public school system, I remember even as late as the 1970s and 1980s, when I was a school trustee, we were tracking the whole OSR. You'd see a kid who was in trouble in a Catholic school and then they'd disappear for a year off to some facility which was boys only, very strictly disciplined.

Are those the kind of boot camps that were experimented with by the Catholics in this province that didn't work? I don't know what you're referring to by boot camps here. My reference, and maybe Mr Murphy's, was to the ones that have grown out of the young offender type of environment.

It's not a perfect system. The new Liberal minister in Ottawa has said it's not a good system and he's looking at making some major corrections to it. We're not here to pick holes in it. We're simply saying that these 1990s-defined boot camps are a different phenomenon. They're not for all young offenders, they're for certain serious cases, and they are when breaches occur. We don't have a system for serious breaches and so on.

I think you're trying to compare apples to oranges. Maybe you can tell us, what boot camps we are talking about? Are we talking about the horror stories of Grandview? I don't think Mr Murphy and I were suggesting that there's any role for that in Ontario, nor do I think you were, Dale.

Ms Elliott: No. If I could clarify, the two kinds of evaluation and research that we've been watching are the specific evaluation of individual programs in the States, and those go right up to the fairly recent ones. The studies I mentioned going back to the 1950s were in the research we did. We did an analysis there of a range of programs for young offenders, some of which started back in the 1950s and up to the present. So those two separate pieces of looking at it, and certainly we have been looking at the literature and the programming and some of the approaches in Florida and getting some of the comments and evaluation and feedback of the approaches they've taken there, how that's worked out; a lot of the studies out of California as well, where they've got large volumes of young offenders, many of whom have very serious offences. We continue to watch and try to be informed by that literature and other jurisdictions.


Mr Jackson: On that last point, the recidivism rates in Ontario are about 50% reoffenders. That's what you've told us. The recidivism rates in these -- I'll use Mr Murphy's phrase -- boot camps, that are for a small percentage of the young offender population in the state of Florida, are extremely high, disproportionately high for that cohort. That's what we're told. That's what the CBC reported when it did a major show on it. What you're saying is that on average, when you look at all the information over the years, statistically you don't see much change. Have you got some recent information on the ones in Florida that you're studying that you can share with either this committee or those of us who are interested in it?

Ms Elliott: I would have to check back with our policy branch. I know they have had some recent material from Florida. I don't know whether it would be specifically the programs you're referring to, but I could follow up on that to see if it is the specific you're talking about or some other programs and approaches in Florida.

Mr Jackson: I'd appreciate it if you'd share some of that more recent information. I'd like to know what you're analysing, if we can have a look at that as well. I certainly hope for the record we're not in any way comparing those to the experiences of those facilities, whether they were run by the Catholic church for its school system or whether they were run by us in Grandview. In no way is anybody in any political party suggesting we go back to that.

Ms Elliott: In terms of your comments about needing a range of programs, and that there may be different interventions for chronic offenders, for serious offenders, we totally support that. Part of our looking at effective programming is to say there may well be different approaches for different kinds or categories of offender that, in structuring our range of programs, we can be advised by and learn from.

Mr Murphy: Your last comment about different programs for different individuals, the chronic, serious offender, when you were giving your answer there, I was talking to Stewart Floyd, who lives in my riding. He was actually my MPP-for-a-day. He was commenting on his view of the system. He's had some sense of it by being in high school, and classmates who have experience in the system.

Mr Jackson: He was visiting the Don jail with you.

Mr Murphy: That was another one, Francis Lee.

Mr Callahan: Neither one of them will ever run for politics, I would think, having seen how it works.

Mr Murphy: His comment was that you need a range of programs for different people. He also said, and I think rightly so, that you can put someone into a structured environment, give them positive role models in that environment, but what happens when they go back afterwards?

I actually was wondering what you do after they come out of a secure facility or even an open facility, to keep track, to give them an opportunity to escape the circumstances that caused them to be in there in the first place. Obviously, that assumes a societal-cause-of-crime argument; not necessarily, but certainly there is an element of that in criminal actions by youth, by young people, that the social setting is going to be part of it. Can you just give me a sense of what it is that is out there for follow-up?

Ms Elliott: Some of that will depend on the disposition. For example, if we had a youth who had a secure disposition with no probation to follow it, the way we would come to that is that when the youth was first introduced into secure custody, in our case management plan we would be trying to identify what supports could be involved with that youth during custody that will prepare and support him or her on their release, and doing the referrals to linked supports in the community. That may be a children's mental health centre, it may be going to live with an aunt or an uncle, returning to parents, getting parents hooked up with a community resource. If the disposition ends with release from secure custody, we would have done a role in planning during custody to introduce supports and make referrals.

If we had a youth who maybe had a lengthy period of secure custody and, after a portion of that sentence, was doing well but part of our best recommendation would be that the youth should be in the community with some kind of supervision, the legislation provides for opportunity to go back to court to request an altering of the disposition. For example, we may go back to the court and recommend that the remainder of the sentence be put into open custody, where the youth could be in a group home in the community, or we may recommend that the balance be converted to probation, where we could continue to provide supervision in the community.

If a youth has an order that may be secure custody for eight months followed by six months' probation, again we would build that in, knowing we are with that youth six months in the community to do the regular reporting, referral to other agencies and support to the youth.

Mr Murphy: None the less, we have about a 50% failure rate for males and a 33% failure rate for females, is that right?

Ms Elliott: Those were the Canada-wide statistics.

Mr Murphy: And we're not sure in Ontario?

Ms Elliott: I couldn't give you a specific Ontario rate.

Mr Murphy: But you would be surprised if the variance from those figures would be plus or minus 5%, I would think.

Ms Elliott: Most research on recidivism confirms that any jurisdiction is looking at a 30% to 45% recidivism rate among young offenders. So those Canadian ones would match --

Mr Murphy: Is that an average, male and female combined average?

Ms Elliott: Yes.

Mr Murphy: Is it the pattern that there is that significant difference between male and female?

Ms Elliott: Yes, from anything I've read.

Mr Murphy: Do we know of anything that shows that there are some jurisdictions that have a much different recidivism rate?

Ms Elliott: I'm not aware of any specific jurisdiction. There are individual programs and approaches that show more promising rates of reduced recidivism.

Mr Jackson: Why do we not have those statistics for Ontario when you're obviously reporting, under the protocol of the Young Offenders Act, to the federal government?

Ms Elliott: What we report into the federal government, the Ontario stats, are admissions and days of care and number of offences. We have not had the ability at this point to provide recidivism stats to the federal government.

Mr Jackson: Could you ask the federal government how it arrives at recidivism stats and what its understanding is of Ontario's recidivism rate?

Ms Elliott: My understanding is that they do that through Attorney General statistics and charges, but I can confirm that. We certainly do not provide any recidivism data to the federal government.

Mr Jackson: So you don't have to call Ottawa; you can just call down the hall?

Ms Elliott: I can check back through our policy branch, that gives the stats to the federal government, and find out how they calculate recidivism.

Mr Jackson: Or reverse it. Call the Attorney General's office and ask, "How are you submitting your stats for Ontario?"

Ms Elliott: If that's how they provide it, I could do that too.

Ms Herbert: We should be clear, though, that in our particular area, in phase 1, we are beginning now through our YOSIS system that we referenced on Tuesday, the young offenders services information system, to be able to collect stats that will allow us to track internally our recidivism. We haven't had the capability to do that, so that's why there's been an averaging and a formula-based approach to this. But now we're tracking our kids individually, so we'll be able to do that.

Mr Murphy: You handed out on Tuesday when we were here this thing. It looks like it comes from the Attorney General's department, actually, so you may not be able to tell me, but if you could find out and tell me. For example, under "Persons Charged" in the left-hand column on the front page, total Ontario, it looks like 1990-91 was like 62,000, in 1991-92 it jumps to 71,900 and some, and then in 1992-93 it appears to flat-line at 71,100. What is that saying? There's a note down at the bottom that says, "The earlier figures may be inflated." If I'm looking at this, what can I take from it? Am I to believe that actually there were fewer persons charged, or is there a difference in statistics? I just don't know what this tells me. You may not be able to answer right now. If you can't, that's fine. If you could just find out for me, that would be great.

Mr Jackson: Is the Askov decision part of that? it had an impact in youth court; I know that.

Mr Murphy: But this is persons charged, this category.

Mr Jackson: But if charges are dropped, then you wouldn't be --

Mr Murphy: No, the dropping is a disposition. You'd still record the charges.

Mr Jackson: But if they're already blocked in the courts, they may say they're not going to proceed with charges. I've got a whole series of sexual assault cases involving children where the technicalities of the court are preventing the laying of charges. That doesn't mean a crime didn't occur. It just means they're saying, "We get a poor rate of return and the child won't do well in court, so to hell with it." We still have the medical evidence that a crime was committed.

Ms Herbert: We can certainly ask what statistical variation there may be as a result of implementation of system switches, from manual systems to --

Mr Murphy: There's reference to an Icon thing here.

Ms Herbert: That's their automated recording system. There always is anxiety when you switch from a manual system to an automated system. We can certainly ask, on your behalf, what statistical variations may have been at play with the numbers.

Mr Murphy: I'd like to go to another area altogether, a couple of specifics on the expenditure control plan and how its implementation is progressing. I know the agencies was at 0.75% --

Ms Herbert: Social contract.

Mr Murphy: Social contract, right. The total goal for MCSS in the expenditure control plan was how much?

Ms Herbert: Announced in the spring, it was $13.7 million across all children's programs; implemented this year, $3.5 million. We are not sure what the target will be next year of that original $13.7 million. We're in some discussions with our children's sector agencies to look at what we can manage in an expenditure control plan. I can't give you a firm figure for next year's implementation because we're still in discussions with the provincial associations.

Mr Murphy: One of the ideas was the phasing out of the funding for the Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Has that happened?

Ms Herbert: Yes. The institute has not closed.

Mr Murphy: But the provincial funding has.

Ms Herbert: Yes.

Ms Heather Martin: The institute receives a large portion of funding privately, through a capital campaign.

Mr Murphy: I've seen a lot more of their advertisements recently. I assume they're out trying to get money to replace the provincial money.

Ms Heather Martin: This past spring they did a cross-Canada telethon as well, which generated quite a bit of revenue, and they're planning to start another campaign very soon.

Ms Herbert: As well, they have a purchase-of-service program, so they enter into contracts with different organizations to provide services. That's one of the other areas whereby they receive their funding.

Ms Heather Martin: They have also received money from federal grants for specific projects.

Mr Murphy: I want to ask one question, maybe two, outside the children's services area. One of them relates to the minimum cheque amount. That was changed under the expenditure control plan from $2.50 to one cent, I think. It was basically for those people who are given the dental plan and the ODB card; they don't qualify for social assistance but because they earn so little they qualify for access to that. But as a control on who gets the card you need to send out some money, apparently, and the minimum cheque amount was reduced from $2.50 to one cent. All I want to know is how much it costs to mail the cheque for one cent. You can come back to me on that.

Ms Herbert: I can't answer that question.

Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): It costs 43 cents.

Mr Murphy: And there's administrative time in putting the cheque together, there's the paper; it's all that.

Mr Paul Johnson: Oh, you mean more than mailing it.

Ms Herbert: I'm afraid that's an area I can't answer as part of this --

Mr Murphy: I understand that. If you could just find out and come back to me, that would be great. It strikes me that there has to be a cheaper way to do it.

You may not know this either, but there were changes to STEP as part of the expenditure control plan. I can't remember which option was finally chosen. Do you recall?

Ms Herbert: No. I will come back to you on that as well.

The Vice-Chair: Any other questions by the committee members?

Mr Jackson: I have lots more, but there's a lot of information that's forthcoming and I think the deputants were very forthcoming in their presentation. Hell, if they're going to answer all our order paper questions, I can use that system.

Ms Herbert: Can I read that into the record, that there are no outstanding order paper questions?

Mr Jackson: Well, no, frankly. When you answer an order paper question with, "We'll need some time to collect the statistics," you've answered the order paper question. I still don't have the answer to my question, and you've not promised to fully answer it. You're only obliged under the legislation to report back to me within a prescribed period of time. I really didn't think it was fair to trot out individual examples. I'm sure you didn't want me to anyway. But I did want to thank you. We get all types, and you've been very forthcoming, so I want to thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Any closing comments by ministry representatives?

Ms Herbert: Just that we have one more piece of information now ready to table. Unfortunately, we have only one copy, if I could give it to the clerk. It's the answer to your question around the expenditure control, Dianne, around how it's been prorated against the program areas. We'll table that one. Other than that, on behalf of the staff, I certainly thank you for your interest in our programs. It's an opportunity for us to hear from public representatives as well, so thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for providing this initial -- and I'll say that word advisedly -- outline of the expenditure control plan division of burden, which does outline in the various areas what the total reduction would have to be. However, could you provide the committee, obviously not at this time but some time within the coming weeks, with a more detailed explanation within each area of the reductions that have taken place?

Ms Herbert: Just so I'm clear about how it would be most useful, if we were to provide it by area office, because we actually prorate it against our area offices so we can see geographically what the impact was, is that what would be useful?

The Vice-Chair: I was looking, for instance, under the child and family intervention, for a list of the programming areas where there had been cuts and the amount of those cuts.

Ms Herbert: There are two reasons we couldn't provide that. One is that there are community planning processes under way now to allocate those cuts, so many of those decisions will not have been made yet. At the end of the year, we would see how they were allocated to individual agencies, and it will be variable across the province, depending on the decisions. Some organizations will not have any reductions at all and others may have a larger reduction, depending on how community planning groups have managed their decision-making. It will be some time before we could answer that question.

The Vice-Chair: That certainly is an excellent answer about why you couldn't provide it in the coming weeks. I gather that the final decisions have not been made and the final impact on various agencies has not yet been determined.

Ms Herbert: That's right.

The Vice-Chair: The committee would appreciate receiving that information when it is available. We understand it may take some time.

Ms Herbert: Okay, terrific.

The Vice-Chair: I would very much like to thank the ministry officials for coming before our committee, as well as to thank, in absentia, the deputy minister for her appearance before the committee on Monday and Tuesday. At some stage within the coming weeks the public accounts committee will be going over the various areas and deciding whether there is additional information we need or whether, when we come back into session, it will be necessary to ask certain ministry officials to come back to complete our information. But we do thank you for your presence this week.


Mr Norman W. Sterling (Carleton): Before we go in camera -- and this has nothing to do with the delegation --

The Vice-Chair: We will then release the ministry officials so they can get back to doing their best for the province. Thank you again.

Mr Sterling: Before we go in camera, there was an interesting remark made by the Provincial Auditor yesterday while we were in camera. Historically, I'd like to get a little of this on the record. Your statement, Mr Auditor, was that up until the mid-1980s our government was at the forefront of seeking new ways of changing our method of keeping the books, accounting in government and that kind of thing. From then till now, as I see from the evidence that was presented to us by our researcher, we now are the only province or federal jurisdiction, along with Newfoundland, which hasn't accepted and implemented the PSAAB standards at least in part. Can you give me some background about what was happening up to that point in time and what seemed to fall apart?

Mr Paul Johnson: By the end of this government's mandate, it'll all be corrected.

Mr Sterling: I'm interested in the historical part of what you said.

Mr Erik Peters: What I was referring to in the past is the initiatives that were taken in the mid-1980s, around 1986, the clean sweep where there was a concentrated effort by the government to clean up areas of concern. That's what I was referring to. One of the examples, very specifically, is that the government recognized the difference between a loan and a grant in those days and followed that practice. It was way ahead of its time compared to the other provinces. This was something the professionals and everybody was wrestling with.

Mr Sterling: When I asked treasury officials about what had happened in between, why does everybody else seem to be ahead of us at this stage of the game, save Newfoundland, their answer was that nobody was talking about it or there didn't seem to be any pressure.

Mr Peters: For me, it's a little difficult to speculate back as to what happened, but what I get from when I arrived is that there were some initiatives taken by treasury along the lines of establishing an office of the controller for Ontario. It seemed to go up and down and up and down and finally culminated in November 1992, when there actually was such an appointment made.

It was the reliance on that function, which exists in virtually all other jurisdictions and doesn't exist in Ontario, that may have been a contributing factor to this, because we didn't have a focal point in the provincial government that would look after these developments. There was a Comptroller General in Canada, there was a Comptroller General in British Columbia and in various other jurisdictions. I'm not sure what Newfoundland's arrangement is, but they may have a similar organizational problem. Really, it's simply that a function that should exist didn't exist.

Mr Sterling: Okay. I was just interested in the historical context, in terms of why, when people have talked about Ontario's economy being the engine of growth for Canada, we should be on the tail end basically of this whole concept of accepting these accounting standards that were set forward in other jurisdictions.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): We were trying to get that going, and then we got Metro councillor Mike putting the boots to it.

Mr Jackson: He's in a long lineup of people doing it to you. I know it's tough getting up in the morning, Tony.

Mr Sterling: I suspect too that when the economy is hot and revenue is flowing people are less concerned about accountability than they are when the bucks are a little scarcer in terms of the revenue side. I think it's human nature.

Mr Peters: There is one other aspect, maybe because we're off the record, that I can relate.

Mr Sterling: No, we're not off the record. We're on the record.

Mr Peters: Even on the record, one of the instincts on any cost-cutting measures once they're starting, certainly one of the first places people start looking is how many people are doing the accounting and the administration. The first thing that gets cut, very often, in cutting exercises is administration, and that does have an impact.

Mr Sterling: I see.

Mr Jackson: Just -- I'm sorry, Madam Chair.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Jackson, I don't mean to cut you off, but Mr Sterling asked for a clarification, which the auditor has provided. I really did not want to prolong this into a discussion on the financial matters that were raised yesterday, simply because we do have a task, to go in camera and decide on the organization.

Mr Jackson: Just 30 seconds?

The Vice-Chair: Certainly.

Mr Jackson: I merely wanted to suggest that it is within the scope and the responsibility of this committee to recommend, as we have had placed before us the whole issue around the expansion of the auditor's office to assist this committee to do its function as an extension of the work of the office of the auditor. I certainly for the record have indicated and I know others on this committee from all three parties have expressed interest in not trimming that office but expanding it. The auditor is in an awkward position to comment about that, but essentially the private sector experience is also a government experience and there have been pressures put on his office as well. For the record, I think that's not the area we should be trimming.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for placing that matter on the record. The committee will now go in camera to discuss the organization of the committee over the coming months and also to decide what matters we would like to proceed with, stemming from the auditor's report. The public accounts committee stands adjourned until some time in late March, April, whenever the House convenes.

The committee adjourned at 1127.