Wednesday 15 November 1995
Election of Chair
Election of Vice-Chair
Appointment of subcommittee
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
*Chair / Président: Gilchrist, Steve (Scarborough East / -Est PC)
*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Fisher, Barb (Ms) (Bruce PC)
*Baird, John R.(Nepean PC)
*Carroll, Jack (Chatham-Kent PC)
Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre ND)
*Chudleigh, Ted (Halton North / -Nord PC)
*Churley, Marilyn (Ms) (Riverdale ND)
*Duncan, Dwight (Windsor-Walkerville L)
*Hoy, Pat (Essex-Kent L)
*Lalonde, Jean-Marc (Prescott and Russell / Prescott et Russell L)
*Maves, Bart (Niagara Falls PC)
Murdoch, Bill (Grey-Owen Sound PC)
Ouellette, Jerry J. (Oshawa PC)
Tascona, Joseph N. (Simcoe Centre PC)
*In attendance / présents
Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:
Fox, Gary (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings / Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud PC) for Mr Murdoch
Lankin, Frances (Ms) (Beaches-Woodbine ND) for Mr Christopherson
Wood, Bob (London South / -Sud PC) for Mr Tascona
Clerk / Greffier: Arnott, Douglas
Staff / Personnel: McLellan, Ray, research officer, Legislative Research Service
The committee met at 1533 in committee room 1.
ELECTION OF CHAIR
Clerk of the Committee (Mr Douglas Arnott): Honourable members, it is my duty to call upon you to elect one of your membership as Chair of the resources development committee. Are there any nominations, please?
Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): I nominate Steve Gilchrist.
Clerk of the Committee: Are there any further nominations? There being no further nominations, I declare the nominations closed and Mr Gilchrist duly elected Chair of the committee.
ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR
The Chair (Mr Steve Gilchrist): I'll take my name plate and go.
We'll move immediately to the election of a Vice-Chair. I call for nominations for Vice-Chair of the committee.
Mr Bob Wood (London South): I'd like to nominate Barb Fisher as the Vice-Chair of the committee.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Wood. Are there any further nominations?
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Can I second that?
Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): And I'll third it.
The Chair: Thank you. Are there any further nominations? There being none, I declare nominations are closed and congratulate Barb Fisher on her election as Vice-Chair. Thank you. Good luck, Barb.
Now, has someone got a copy of this motion?
APPOINTMENT OF SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I move that a subcommittee on committee business be appointed to meet from time to time at the call of the Chair or at the request of any member thereof to consider and report to the committee on the business of the committee; that the presence of all members of the subcommittee is necessary to constitute a meeting and that the subcommittee be composed of the following members: Mr Gilchrist as Chair, Mr Baird, Mr Duncan, and Mr Christopherson; and that any member may designate a substitute member on the subcommittee who is of the same recognized party.
The Chair: Anyone wish to speak to the motion?
All in favour of the motion as read? Contrary if any? Carried. Thank you, Mr Duncan.
The Chair: I guess that's the end of the official agenda, but Mr Arnott has indicated that he'd like a few minutes to give us a bit of the history of the committee. Some of the members of the committee are blessed with that firsthand knowledge, but for the rest of us I'm sure it would be very illuminating.
Clerk of the Committee: If you can't hear me, I'll try to speak a little louder.
The standing committee on resources development, as you know, is one of four policy field committees. These policy field committees consider business either as it's referred from the House or as the committee itself may initiate it pursuant to either standing orders 108 or 125.
I'll just give you a brief overview of the provisions and of the past history of the committee in the 35th Parliament.
In terms of referrals from the House, there may be three categories of business referred: government bills, private members' public bills and special studies by order of the House, by special reference of the House, and all three matters pertained in the last Parliament.
The resources development committee considered nine government bills in the last Parliament: three in the first session, two in the second session and four in the third session. Among the bills considered were: An Act to amend certain Acts concerning Collective Bargaining; Workers' Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act; Power Corporation Act; An Act to establish the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board; the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act; and the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board Act. As you'll see, the last one there really doesn't seem to be of the same category of ministries that normally fall under resources development committee policy grouping. You may find this from time to time: that bills are referred for reasons other than the fact that they would normally fall under the policy field grouping that is assigned to a committee.
In the category of private members' public bills, this committee in the last Parliament considered two and reported them to the House. Those were the Highway Traffic Amendment Act dealing with bicycle helmets and a bill dealing with slow moving vehicle signs.
In terms of the one special reference to this committee, by special order of the House the committee undertook a study and reported to the House on graduated licensing.
In terms of initiatives by the committee itself, this committee, as is the case with the other three policy field committees, is empowered "to study and report on all matters relating to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the ministries" or the offices that are assigned to this committee, and that assignment will take place in very short order. That is required to be done by the Legislative Assembly committee. So we will know soon which ministries or offices are assigned to each policy field committee, as well as the agencies, boards and commissions that relate to those, who report to those ministries and offices.
So as long as the subject matter relates to a ministry assigned to the committee, then the details and duration of a study undertaken pursuant to standing order 108 are entirely at the committee's discretion. Standing order 108 is usually used when the committee as a whole agrees on what it wishes to study, and the result of a study under the standing order may be a substantive report containing recommendations.
In the last Parliament, this committee did use standing order 108. It presented a report to the House on its observations and recommendations with regard to the hearings it held on the private member's bill referred to it, dealing with bicycle helmets. When legislation is referred to a standing committee, the report of the committee normally is the legislation reported back to the House. There cannot be a report of commentary on the legislation normally. In this case, after going through the hearings on the subject of bicycle helmets and Bill 124, the private member's public bill, the committee decided it wanted to report its observations and make some recommendations to the House, and it was able to do that under standing order 108.
In terms of standing order 125, designated matters, the committee in the last Parliament did see more of those. Standing order 125 provides that in each calendar year each member of the subcommittee, except the Chair, can designate a matter other than a bill to be considered by the committee for a period of up to 12 hours. There are only two restrictions on this study: The matter must relate, again, to a ministry or office that's assigned to the committee; and the study cannot exceed 12 hours.
I'll be discussing standing order 125, designated matters, with the subcommittee when it meets, since it is the subcommittee whose prerogative it is to make a report on that issue and that report is deemed to be adopted; it's not a matter that the committee itself can debate and amend once the subcommittee reports on a standing order 25 issue. In any other case, a subcommittee report, under normal circumstances, would be debatable, amendable, once it's presented from subcommittee.
In the last Parliament, this committee considered five designated matters. It was either under standing order 125 or the predecessor, 123. It presented three reports on those. I have two of them here, and one of them seems to be out of print, on exotic species, purple loosestrife and zebra mussels. The other two dealt with service delivery at the Workers' Compensation Board and the state of emergency and the income crunch in Ontario agriculture.
In terms of attaching priority to the business that comes before committee, the standing orders clearly state that it's government business that takes first priority. Standing order 125, designated matters, may follow that. But it is government bills that take first priority.
Seated to the left of the Chair is the committee's research officer assigned by the legislative research service, Ray McLellan. Ray may wish to add some comments with regard to the work provided by research officers to committees.
Mr Ray McLellan: I think you've probably covered off most of the topics. I'm new to this particular committee. I've spent a number of years on public accounts and finance and agencies, boards and commissions, so it's relatively new territory for me.
I think Doug has really covered off our two primary functions. Essentially, we work at the instruction of the committee in the preparation of these reports, dealing with both legislation and, as Doug has outlined, referrals from the House. After the hearings are completed, we're sent away on the instruction of the committee to draft these reports and to prepare recommendations and come back and the committee has an opportunity to review the report and to comment and to amend or to instruct us further to either modify or in any way change those reports. So we're operating, obviously, at the instruction of the Chair and the committee.
The Chair: Well, we have certainly a vast range of potential topics. I won't make a speech on this one but I'm looking forward. I think this has the potential to be a very interesting committee and I really do hope that we can conduct debate in here in a way that's productive and in the best interests of the people who put us here.
I would encourage all members, if they have an interest in a specific area that they think might be worthy for consideration under 125, to speak to the relevant subcommittee members. We will discuss that promptly. In addition, I guess we must be prepared to stand ready for whatever legislation that's sent our way. I take it the meetings then are at the call of the Chair.
Mr Christopherson, I see, is still tied up there, so I'll have to speak to him, but I wonder if perhaps we could arrive at a mutually convenient time for the subcommittee. After this meeting we'll stay around for a minute and see if we can get Mr Christopherson -- oh, are you subbing?
Ms Lankin: But I can't speak to that issue because I am subbing.
The Chair: We'll work on a mutually convenient time, because it's my understanding that the subcommittee also deals with some of the procedural matters: how the Chair recognizes, either in rotation or first hand up, that sort of thing. So I'd like to get those out of the way so we're not taking up valuable committee time if a bill does get referred to it.
Ms Churley: Mr Chair, I can act as sub for the subcommittee person today.
The Chair: Okay, thank you, Ms Churley. Ms Lankin, did you have a question?
Ms Lankin: Yes, to Mr Arnott. I was just wondering, for those of us who've never been on committee before, myself included, if you would introduce the other members of the Legislative Assembly staff who are here and their roles.
Clerk of the Committee: To my right is the Hansard reporter or Hansard interjectionist. Then to the right again is the console operator from the Broadcast and Recording Service. Broadcast and recording, of course, then makes an audio tape of all committee proceedings. That is used by the Hansard transcribers to produce the verbatim transcript of every committee meeting.
The tapes alone would not always provide a sensible transcript, and that is why the tapes are supplemented by the Hansard reporter who will record interjections, record the beginnings of sentences, the ends of sentences, search out unusual words, place names, proper names that may be used by members in debate in order to supplement the tapes.
Mr Baird: If there are no more questions from anyone, I'd move adjournment.
The Chair: All in favour? Carried. Thank you, all, and I look forward to seeing you as the pressures dictate.
The committee adjourned at 1549.