Monday 17 December 1990

Education Amendment Act (Miscellaneous), 1990, Bill 12

Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board Amendment Act, 1990, Bill 13 / Loi de 1990 modifiant la Loi sur le Conseil scolaire de langue française d'Ottawa-Carleton

Association française des conseils scolaires de l'Ontario

Ontario Public School Boards' Association

Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques de l'Ontario

Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association

Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens



Chair: Caplan, Elinor (Oriole L)

Vice-Chair: Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L)

Beer, Charles (York North L)

Haeck, Christel (St. Catharines-Brock NDP)

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent NDP)

Malkowski, Gary (York East NDP)

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie NDP)

McLeod, Lyn (Fort William L)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre NDP)

Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)

Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West PC)

Witmer, Elizabeth (Waterloo North PC)

Substitution: Cunningham, Dianne E. (London North PC) for Mrs Witmer

Clerk: Mellor, Lynn

Staff: Drummond, Alison, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1537 in room 151.


Resuming consideration of Bill 12. An Act to amend the Education Act.


Resuming consideration of Bill 13, An Act to amend the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board Act, 1988.

Reprise de l'étude du projet de loi 13, Loi portant modification de la Loi de 1988 sur le Conseil scolaire de langue française d'Ottawa-Carleton.

The Chair: I would like to call the meeting to order. This is a meeting of the standing committee on social development. Bienvenue. I would like to welcome the Minister of Education today.

The committee will have to decide for the future, and I suggest perhaps the whips would like to discuss this, whether we wish to begin at the appointed hour for committee meetings as soon as there is a quorum present or whether it will be the practice of the committee to wait for representation from all three caucuses. All substitutions for the committee from the caucuses must be made within 30 minutes of the meeting being called to order. This is the first public hearing that we will be holding as a new committee and I thought you might want to just think about that as we proceed.

These are formal hearings. We are today going to be considering Bill 12 and Bill 13. I would like to point out that following discussions with all three caucuses, the clerk was in touch with all board umbrella groups and all teacher umbrella groups after she had the discussions and the direction from all three caucuses. An invitation to appear before the committee was also extended to the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board, public sector.

According to our meeting time and schedule, the first is l'Association française des conseils scolaires de l'Ontario, AFCSO. They are scheduled for 3:30.

There is one matter that I would like to clear up before the hearing begins. Everyone will have the full 30 minutes, but for discussion by the committee there is the question of, if there are additional representations or requests from individual school boards, what is the wish of the committee? There are some options that can be considered. One is to request seating for an additional day; second is to determine that no individual boards will be heard in person but in fact can submit written briefs before the committee, or any other options that members can think of that I have not considered.

We are, according to our schedule, hearing deputations all day today until 5:30 this evening and all day tomorrow. At 5 pm the expectation is that clause-by-clause will begin. As we begin these hearings, I want to just make sure that everyone is in agreement with that agenda and ask for advice.

Mrs Cunningham: We have a number of requests coming through our office. I am not certain whether the other members do, or other parties do. I am just wondering, given the complexity of this piece of legislation and not knowing just what the witnesses are going to tell us, at least not in detail -- you mentioned one option being another day's hearings. Is there no option, depending on what we hear, for the committee to meet during the break? Is that another option?

The Chair: You are talking following recess when the House is not in session.

Mrs Cunningham: Yes.

The Chair: That is another option, of course, to hold it over.

Mrs Cunningham: Looking for direction from you then, Madam Chairman, depending on what we hear today, I would certainly serve notice that I would like to put that motion forward and leave it as an option. I can put the motion forward now and we can vote on it at the end of the two days, but I would certainly like to serve notice that I would move that we do sit during the break, depending on the number of requests that we get to speak to the committee. I think it is an important issue.

The Chair: I do not think a motion is necessary at this point. If you like, we can determine tomorrow at the start of the day's hearings, once we see what requests are here, in fact what we want to do about the agenda.

Mr Owens: Because of the type of time constraints we are under, I do not think it is going to be a viable option to hold hearings during the break, in that we should try and fit everyone in within the framework as set out under the agenda that has been submitted today.

The Chair: I may stand corrected then. Is it the wish of the committee that we settle the agenda and the time line for moving into committee of the whole today?

Mr Owens: Yes.

The Chair: All in favour of doing that now, doing that today? All opposed? The decision is that we will settle now the time line of the committee. So your motion is in order, Mrs Cunningham.

Mrs Cunningham: I am not sure that everyone here knows what the requests have been. We certainly have three lists. We discussed with the Clerk's office what would be appropriate, certainly, as did the other House leaders, with regard to the next two days, but depending on what comes out of the hearings, I am not sure what the rush is to make a decision on that. Anyway, given that the majority of the committee has ruled, I would move that we would sit during the break, or "after the recess" I suppose would be more appropriate, to hear deputations with regard to Bill 12, specific to school boards that may in fact be affected by this legislation.

Mr Martin: The very reason we are here today and not five days down the line is that we wanted to get this legislation back on to the floor of the House before the break so that the things that are suggested in the bill could move forward to meet the time lines, the municipal elections of 1991. The reason we are here today as well is so that we can get that done as quickly as possible.

To speak to the other piece of it, I personally have not received a lot of calls from others who want to be on the agenda of the committee. I have certainly heard from the umbrella organizations wanting to speak to it and I certainly understand where they are coming from. They want a chance to have some input into this legislation. Certainly, I am more than anxious to hear from them so that I might understand more fully what their concerns are. It seems to me that within the legislation itself there is ample room provided for input by those other groups, the individual boards, etc, once this particular piece of legislation is in place. Certainly it would be our intention at that time to be open to as much input as is possible and to travel far and wide to hear that input so that the people of this province will have and feel a great sense of ownership of the end product of all this, which is in fact to provide the French members of our province with some governance over their educational structures.

So I am speaking against going into the next session or meeting after the end of this week. I am also speaking to say that I think the input we will get from the umbrella boards will be sufficient at this point to move this legislation forward and for me to feel comfortable that it will in fact cover input by others as the whole thing unfolds and evolves.

The Chair: I have Mr Wilson on the list. I would point out that we have a full afternoon of public hearings. As well, we have one group scheduled for 5:30. We will have to not see the clock at 6 o'clock so that we can be sure to hear them fully. How long would you like to debate this matter? I leave it to the pleasure of the committee. Are you ready for a vote now, or did you want to speak, Mr Wilson?

Mr J. Wilson: I would like to make a point first. I really do not see -- and perhaps someone can help, other than the explanation that has been given to date that this bill must be in place before Christmas, before the recess, because you want to be ready for the 1991 elections -- how that precludes us from meeting during the break or after the break. There is still ample time to have this in place, I would think, for the 1991 elections later in the year.

Second, I would say that we are getting calls to our offices to the point that word is only now getting out forcefully on this piece of legislation. It is important that we hear from other groups that may want to come forward and I think we should leave that option open.

Mrs Cunningham: I am just wondering, is there going to be a presentation by the ministry at the beginning today?

The Chair: I have asked the minister if she wishes to make a presentation first. She has declined and wishes to have the public hearings begin immediately.

Mrs Cunningham: The reason I ask is that there is a package here. I think from the government, that is answering some of these questions around time lines. I just thought maybe the vote would be more appropriate later on because there was a question. It is going to take some response to the question that my colleague asked around the why. I think it is important that everybody understand the why, the time frame. If it is going to be presented later, it seems to me that the vote would be more appropriately taken after the explanation.

The Chair: The question that I have of you is whether you would like to withdraw your motion at this time or proceed to deal with it now. You have placed the motion.

Mrs Cunningham: The committee voted that it wanted it put, but I am just wondering now, given the question and the fact that we would be better able to vote after people get answers to questions. This was specific. I would be happy to put it in later.

The Chair: Mrs Cunningham is requesting the opportunity to withdraw her motion or postpone the taking of the vote until tomorrow. What is the wish of the committee? Agreed?

Agreed to.

The Chair: We will begin now with the public hearing portion. First deputation, bienvenue. The time is now almost 10 minutes to 4. You have 30 minutes for your presentation. I always say to people who come before the committees that they can use the time to make their presentation. We would ask that you allow time for questions and discussion with committee members. If, however, you use all of the time that has been allotted to you, there will be no opportunity for committee members to question.


Mme Gandolfo : La présentation de l'Association française des conseils scolaires de l'Ontario ne prendra pas toute la demi-heure parce que nous aussi, nous voulons allouer le temps nécessaire pour dialoguer et répondre aux questions des membres du comité.

J'aimerais profiter de l'occasion pour vous remercier de nous avoir laissé la chance de vous adresser la parole cet après-midi et ainsi pour vous présenter les gens qui sont avec moi.

À ma gauche, Paul Rouleau ; il est conseiller scolaire au Conseil des écoles catholiques du grand Toronto, et à ma droite M. Gilles Myner, qui est président de la section de langue française du Conseil des écoles catholiques de Prescott et Russell. Mon nom est Lorraine Gandolfo et je suis présidente de l'association. Je suis également conseillère au Conseil des écoles séparées catholiques de Dufferin-Peel.

L'AFCSO, notre association, est active depuis 1944 dans le domaine de l'éducation. Nous regroupons les deux secteurs d'éducation, soit le secteur public et le secteur séparé. Nous avons applaudi les initiatives tant attendues par la mise sur pied d'une commission consultative afin de créer des conseils scolaires pour les francophones. Vous vous souviendrez sans doute, il y a plusieurs années, que l'AFCSO revendiquait, à toutes occasions, le droit pour les francophones de gérer leurs propres institutions.

Les conseillers scolaires francophones sont prêts à participer activement au processus de consultation. Ainsi, quand le comité rendra son rapport à la ministre de l'Éducation, les critères établis et les modèles élaborés seront représentatifs des besoins et des attentes de la communauté francophone.

À la suite de cette consultation, il serait regrettable, même déplorable, que les communautés qui satisfont aux critères et qui ont choisi leurs types de structures se voient dans l'obligation d'attendre les prochaines élections et se voient pénalisées par les procédures ou le processus.

De façon réaliste, il n'y aura pas une avalanche de conseils scolaires créés d'ici la prochaine année. Faire attendre la communauté qui est prête constitue, à notre avis, un autre exemple où les francophones doivent payer le prix des procédures.

La réglementation prévue par le projet de loi 12 permettrait au gouvernement, par l'entremise du ministère de l'Education, de réagir aux besoins réels et bien documentés des francophones en respectant leurs droits déclarés en 1982 et confirmés par la décision dans la cause Mahé de mars 1990.

Un autre point que j'aimerais mentionner et qui est touché par le projet de loi 12 a rapport à la représentation des conseils scolaires. Vous vous souviendrez sans doute, lors d'une entente hors cour, au printemps dernier : notre association, par l'entremise de son avocat et l'avocat du ministère, avait travaillé à la rédaction de quelques amendements au projet de loi 125 sur la représentation garantie.

La modification qui est présentée dans leur projet de loi 12, c'est-à-dire de déterminer la représentation pour la section de langue majoritaire basée sur le nombre d'élèves de cette même section, fait partie de cette entente. Nous ne voyons pas pourquoi ce qui a été décidé hors cour avec l'ancien gouvernement devrait faire état d'une autre série de débats.

Les conseillers scolaires francophones sont toujours prêts à travailler avec le gouvernement et à collaborer sur de nouveaux projets et nous vous encourageons à faire en sorte que la confiance que la communauté francophone mise sur ses politiciens ontariens ne soit pas trahie.


M. Rouleau : Les seuls commentaires que j'aimerais ajouter au nom de l'association regardent évidemment l'importance de mettre en place les droits des francophones, tel que l'a dit la présidente, reconnus dans la cause Mahé, particulièrement la référence dans la loi à des règlements pour déterminer le nombre d'étudiants et la division des conseillers scolaires.

L'absence de règlements dans la loi nous préoccupe dans le sens que cet aspect doit être devant nous le plus tôt possible pour que l'association puisse être satisfaite que l'ordonnance de la cour soit respectée en sa totalité. Alors, on demande la présentation d'un règlement le plus tôt possible.

Le deuxième aspect c'est évidemment l'importance, depuis la cause Mahé, d'avoir l'occasion comme communauté francophone de mettre en place des conseils de langue française où il y a eu consultations et où tout le travail de mise en place nécessaire a été fait, comme dans la région de Prescott et Russell. Je pense que ce projet de loi donne de nouveau au ministre le droit de mettre en place ces conseils. L'importance de cet article et des règlements qui devront être mis en place ne peut être minimisée.

Mme Gandolfo : Comme je l'ai mentionné au tout début, la présentation était courte mais ça a été fait de façon à nous laisser la chance de répondre à vos questions, à vos préoccupations. Nous apprécions la chance de pouvoir dialoguer avec vous. Alors, je n'ai plus rien à ajouter sauf que nous sommes prêts à répondre à vos questions.

M. Beer : Je pense qu'une des questions dont nous avons discuté jeudi dernier en Chambre n'était pas sur le principe du projet de loi mais surtout sur cette question de règlement. On comprend, surtout avec le cas de Prescott et Russell et de Simcoe, qu'il y a un besoin de définir ce qu'on veut faire. Il y a le comité que le ministre de l'Éducation a annoncé pour voir où mettre les conseils scolaires et surtout comment procéder avec Prescott et Russell et Simcoe. Mais je pense que, à la longue, nous préférerions une sorte de loi-cadre, disons, où à l'avenir il y aurait des lois pour créer des conseils scolaires, et non simplement par règlements.

Ici, ma question ne porte pas simplement sur la création des conseils scolaires de langue française, parce qu'en effet la province va créer les conseils scolaires de langue française et de langue anglaise. Alors, ma question spécifique : je comprends que vous n'êtes pas contre l'idée d'une loi-cadre pour créer des conseils scolaires. C'est dans l'immédiat où vous voulez voir que ça se fait par règlement pour assurer en effet que, dans le cas surtout de Prescott et Russell, il y aura bientôt des résultats parce que l'on a déjà fait des recherches, que l'on a eu des discussions et tout ça. Est-ce que j'ai bien compris ?

Mme Gandolfo : Oui, vous avez très bien compris, en effet, Monsieur Beer. Il va sans dire que, depuis qu'il y a une forme de gestion par les francophones de leurs propres écoles, I'autre étape a toujours été pour la communauté francophone des conseils scolaires. Maintenant, ce que notre association dit et répète à qui veut bien l'entendre, c'est que les conseils scolaires qui seront créés ou qui ont été créés doivent respecter les besoins de la communauté. C'est-à-dire, selon la communauté dans laquelle vous allez vous retrouver en province, les besoins vont être différents et peut-être qu'il y aura à ce moment-la différents modèles de conseils scolaires.

Ce qui est important pour nous c'est que du moment où une communauté a déterminé ce qu'elle veut comme structure, à ce moment-là, qu'elle ne soit pas pénalisée, parce que le système fait qu'il n'y a pas d'élections avant encore tant d'années.

C'est pour ça que nous encourageons, justement, le gouvernement à agir et à adopter ce projet de loi qui nous permettrait de répondre à des besoins bien précis. Il y a deux communautés, entre autres, qui ont démontré de par leurs recherches, et ce depuis plusieurs années, qu'elles sont prêtes à assumer une gestion scolaire. Elles en ont déterminé un modèle. Alors, pourquoi attendre encore plus longtemps quand c'est déjà quelque chose qui satisfait aux besoins ou qui risque de satisfaire aux besoins de la communauté française ?

M. Rouleau : La seule chose que j'ajouterais en réponse c'est que la réalité est telle que l'établissement de conseils de langue française dans des régions est complexe et demande l'étude. L'aspect financier est une limite qui, je le sais pertinemmment, empêche la création de conseils dans bien des régions. Jusqu'au moment où ces problèmes seront abordés, je ne prévois pas que la ligne soit bien longue, du point de vue de la communauté, pour créer des conseils de langue française. Alors, en réponse à votre question : oui, l'urgence se voit à Prescott et Russell où les problèmes financiers semblent être dans la mesure du possible.

À Simcoe, il y a encore des questions à aborder de ce côté-là, mais dans les autres régions la réalité est que la communauté n'a pas, en conjonction ou en travaillant avec le gouvernement, réglé le problème de financement. Ce n'est pas dans la Loi et cette absence, je crois, va limiter la portée de cet article certainement en ce qui concerne la communauté.

M. Beer : Merci.

Mr Martin: I hear you telling us that time is of the essence, that you have waited long enough, that you want this to move forward as quickly as possible and that you particularly, the French population, have had as much consultation as you just about need. Is that correct? What happens if this takes longer, in your understanding, of life as it unfolds re the French population in Ontario and this question?

Mme Gandolfo : Well, several things can happen. Je crois premièrement que vous avez soulevé un très bon point, Monsieur Martin. quand vous dites que la communauté francophone se fait consulter. Je pense que s'il y a une communauté en Ontario qui est devenue experte en matière de consultation, c'est la communauté francophone. Mais par contre, cela ne veut pas dire que les francophones veulent être exclus du processus de consultation, ce n'est pas du tout le cas. Plutôt nous ce qu'on dit, c'est que nous voulons être consultés mais c'est une collaboration, une implication beaucoup plus active que nous voyons comme rôle.

Si les conseils scolaires ne sont pas créés, si le projet de loi ou le règlement ne s'établit pas, je ne veux pas être prophète, mais je crois que la communauté francophone aurait de la difficulté à ne pas articuler son mécontentement par la voix des tribunaux.

Malheureusement, comme francophones nous avons souvent été étiquetés comme des gens qui avaient toujours recours aux tribunaux et on était toujours rendus là, mais je crois que c'est vraiment une possibilité. Vous devez aussi vous rappeler que depuis 1975, il y a des sections de langue française de conseils scolaires qui ont trois conseillers scolaires. Il était question qu'un amendement soit présenté pour faire passer le nombre de trois à cinq. Nous n'avons pas encore cet amendement. Alors, d'une part, le nombre est encore très limité et une section de langue française à l'intérieur d'un conseil majoritaire où il y a seulement trois conseillers scolaires, c'est quasiment inhumain. Le travail, le fardeau, la représentation que doivent assumer ces conseillers scolaires, c'est quelque chose ce dont vous ne pouvez pas vous rendre compte, j'imagine, tant que vous ne l'avez pas fait.

Alors, d'une part on est déçu de voir que encore on n'a pas l'amendement qui ferait passer le nombre minimal de trois à cinq. D'une autre part, si ce deuxième projet de loi ne s'établit pas, je crois que les francophones n'auront pas d'autres recours que d'aller devant les tribunaux pour faire valoir leurs droits parce que, comme je l'ai mentionné tantôt, ils sont prêts. Ça fait des années et des années, après consultations, après réflexion et collaboration que la communauté francophone est prête à assumer son rôle. Alors, si ça ne s'avère pas, je crois que ce serait une bonne possibilité.


Mrs Cunningham: Interesting conversation. I want you to know right off the top that we had a number of concerns about the bill. One of them was not your having the ability to establish your school board now, even under this bill -- as long as we have that clear from the beginning; I want to make it very clear. We have been told that if we voted against the bill we would be voting against minority language rights. That is not our intent. I wanted to tell you that right off the top.

I have a couple of questions. Do you have any comments to make with regard to the Haldimand-Nortolk purchase of service agreement that is part of this bill, the extension of Bill 30?

Mrs Gandolfo: Not particularly, no.

Mrs Cunningham: I was thinking that from our point of view it is a separate issue and it happens to be one of the reasons we voted against it. I was wondering if you had looked at that section of the bill at all to sort of help us out, because it does say, as opposed to the original Bill 30, the promise to the school boards that if there was an extension of funding, it would be phased in a year at a time. This bill in fact allows school boards, Haldimand-Norfolk and now other boards, to implement that extension all at once. It is a change in legislation. Your group has not had an opportunity to look at that, I suppose.

Mme Gandolfo : Je dois vous dire que nous n'avons reçu la copie du projet de loi que tout dernièrement, alors nous n'en avons pas discuté. Si vous parlez d'un parachèvement en bloc, c'est-à-dire pour neuvième et dixième en même temps, si je comprends ce que vous dites, c'est quelque chose que j'imagine pourrait s'appliquer à la communauté francophone. Mais je ne peux pas vous donner une position face à ça, non.

Mrs Cunningham: Thank you. With regard to the bill itself, our great concern is -- but we understand and appreciate what you are saying today and in fact agree with you -- that in the future we would expect that the process would be followed according to the Ottawa-Carleton process where in fact we as legislative officials had an opportunity to take a look at that act that represented to us the agreement between the boards around funding, staffing and transfers of services and all the different issues that you will be talking about in your public consultation now.

Do you see that as being the end result of your discussions? Do you prefer that the government regulate your school board or do you prefer that in fact it be a specific act of the government eventually? I am not trying to have a hidden agenda here; I am just wondering what you see down the road.

Mme Gandolfo : Je voulais juste vous laisser le temps de mettre votre appareil avant de répondre. Je crois que ce qui est important pour nous c'est de voir ce que le comité consultatif ou le French Language Education Governance Advisory Group ou le groupe de travail, peu importe comment vous voulez l'appeler, aura à dire. Ce comité aura des consultations avec la communauté francophone et les différents intervenants et aura à établir des critères, aura à dresser et à préparer des modèles.

Maintenant, il est difficile pour moi de répondre à votre question d'une façon ou d'une autre tant que nous n'aurons pas pris connaissance du rapport que le comité de travail fournira à la ministre au mois de mai. Nous croyons que ça va être un rapport qui sera représentatif des différents modèles de gestion possibles en province qui répondront aux besoins des francophones. Je ne peux pas vous dire si oui, ça devrait être fait par projet de loi ou si par réglementation ce serait encore là l'avenue à suivre. Nous devrons attendre le document final.

Mr J. Wilson: I represent the riding of Simcoe West, which is in the county of Simcoe, and I am just trying to get a better understanding -- because over the weekend I had a number of discussions with constituents about this -- of the need in Simcoe county and your views on that, given that about 4% of the student population is francophone. It certainly is difficult to explain to my constituents the need in that particular case. I can understand the need more so in Prescott-Russell, for instance, but the minister has announced the intention to go ahead there. I am also a little confused about the role of the advisory committee that will report in May, given that there has already been an announcement to go ahead in Simcoe county with only a 4% threshold. I would just like your sort of general comments on that, please.

Mme Gandolfo : La situation à Simcoe est différente de celle de Prescott et Russell, vous avez entièrement raison. Il reste qu'il y a une communauté francophone qui est vivante -- comme vous le savez, c'est votre circonscription -- et ce de longue date. Il y a des écoles élémentaires, il y a une école secondaire et la communauté a décidé, en consultation, de passer à la prochaine étape, qui est un conseil scolaire de langue française. Le modèle sera très différent du modèle qui est préconisé par la communauté de Prescott et Russell mais ça, c'est à la communauté elle-même de le décider. Alors, si le gouvernement a jugé bon de procéder avec les négociations de Simcoe, c'est parce que cette communauté-là est prête, même si ça représente, comme vous le dites, 4 % de la communauté. Comme vous le savez, de par la loi, qu'il y ait un enfant ou qu'il y en ait dix, cet enfant-là a droit à une éducation équitable. Alors, que 4 % de la communauté ait un conseil scolaire, je crois que c'est tout à fait conséquent avec la décision du juge dans la cause Mahé de mars dernier.

Maintenant, ce que le groupe de travail devra faire c'est entendre d'autres intervenants, des participants de conseils scolaires, des représentants d'autres coins de la province, à savoir : qu'est-ce qui pourrait fonctionner ? Le modèle de Simcoe sera différent du modèle de Prescott et Russell et ainsi de suite. S'il y avait un modèle, comme exemple, pour la ville de Toronto, je suis certaine que ce serait très différent des modèles qui existent.

Alors, c'est comme ça que je vois le travail du groupe de travail. C'est une consultation afin d'en arriver à différents modèles. Le modèle qui fonctionne à Ottawa-Carleton ne fonctionnera peut-être pas ailleurs. mais je crois que ce qu'il faut faire c'est être assez flexible pour reconnaître que les besoins et les exigences sont différents et qu'on ne peut pas appliquer un concept partout en province.


The Chair: I neglected at the start to ask the members of the delegation to identify themselves for the purposes of Hansard. Perhaps I could ask you to do that now. I would also thank you for appearing before the committee.

Mme Gandolfo : D'accord. Mon nom est Lorraine Gandolfo et je suis présidente de l'Association française des conseils scolaires de l'Ontario.

M. Rouleau : Mon nom est Paul Rouleau et je suis conseiller scolaire à la section de langue française du Conseil des écoles séparées du grand Toronto et je suis l'aviseur juridique pour l'AFCSO.

M. Myner : Gilles Myner, président, section catholique de langue française du Conseil des écoles catholiques de Prescott-Russell.


The Chair: The next deputation is the Ontario Public School Boards' Association. It is now l0 minutes after 4. That will take us through until 20 minutes to. You have 30 minutes for both your presentation as well as questions and answers. I would ask that you begin by identifying yourselves for the purposes of Hansard and would welcome you to this committee.

Mr Checkeris: My name is Ernie Checkeris. I am a school trustee with the Sudbury Board of Education and president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association. Beside me is Penny Moss, our executive director.

The OPSBA is pleased to make a presentation to the standing committee on social development regarding Bill 12 and Bill 13. We appreciate the opportunity provided by the Legislature for further consideration of these bills by committee before third reading. We want to applaud the government for its intent to honour both the moral and legal obligations to the francophone minority of this province so that the creation of school boards, where numbers warrant and where suitable local arrangements can be negotiated, can take place in time for the municipal elections in 1991.

OPSBA fully understands the timetable constraints facing the government. We share the concern of all members that legislative changes affecting the 1991 school board elections should be passed in ample time to ensure orderly implementation. Obviously the provincial election, the subsequent transfer of government and the development of the new government's policy and legislative agenda has necessitated a tighter consultation schedule with respect to these bills. OPSBA would like to recognize the willingness of the minister, her staff and officials in the ministry to consider at this late date the advice of school boards on specific aspects of the bills.

Within the time available, we have given serious consideration to Bill 12 and Bill 13 and we have looked at ways in which they can be addressed while respecting fully the intent of the Minister of Education.

There are three issues involving Bill 1, for which we believe there are satisfactory amendments.

Regarding section 2, the creation of French-language school boards, as a matter of principle we believe that new governance structures for education should be created through the legislative process and not by regulation. Since there is now insufficient time to use the process for boards to be created for 1991 municipal elections, we support an amendment to section 2, limiting its application to the municipal term or until subsequent legislation for the establishment of French-language school boards is enacted.

Our recommendation therefore is that section 2 of the bill, amending subsection 11a of the Education Act, be revised to limit the time by which a French-language school board could be established by regulation.

With respect to section 5, extension by purchase of service, the provision set out in Bill 12 for extension of separate school education by purchase of service agreements between boards provides the necessary legal framework to accommodate the anomalous situation in Haldimand-Norfolk. The separate and public boards in this area are satisfied with the outcome of local negotiations between the boards and the Ministry of Education. Obviously if extension by purchase of service is to be available to some Roman Catholic school boards, then it should be made available to others, but that is not the issue.

We have studied the legislation to the best of our ability in the time available and we remain convinced that the role of the Planning and Implementation Commission on advising the Minister of Education is unclear. It seems that a board may be able to extend its secondary grades by purchase of service and subsequently decide to operate its own secondary school grades. Only then is the involvement of PIC required.

This may be a minimal concern where the purchase of service is with a neighbouring separate board. However, the remaining unextended separate boards are in northern Ontario, where, because of geography, purchase of service is likely to be from the coterminous public board. The result of extension by purchase of service will have three consequences:

1. Extension will not provide separate school education to the students.

2. Extension will produce a loss of secondary assessment to the public board.

3. Extension will produce the loss of separate school representatives from the public board.

We would remind the committee that the Planning and Implementation Commission has already advised against extension in some of these jurisdictions because of the likely loss of viability of public secondary schools.

We believe as well that extension by purchase of service may also affect the viability of public secondary schools and therefore should not be permitted without prior advice by the Planning and Implementation Commission. The process involves impact studies and representations by affected school boards.

We therefore recommend: Two options are available for this concern:

1. The new provision be explicitly limited to Haldimand-Norfolk Roman Catholic Separate School Board, leaving the broader issue to be resolved in future amendments;

2. Amend this section by adding the clause or clauses necessary to ensure that a decision to implement extension by purchase of service must be referred to the Planning and Implementation Commission for its advice to the minister.

With respect to section 3, the determination of school board composition, we have narrowed our concern to a single issue, that of time lines for determination of total board size and the distribution of trustees. We fully support the minister's intent to provide earlier dates for board decision-making on these matters. However, for the earlier dates to result in decisions that respect the public interest in fair representation, the time lines must be such that all necessary data are available to the school board before the date required for the adoption of resolutions.

We have now had the opportunity to review the time lines set out in Bill 12 and Bill 13 with officials of the Ministry of Education and therefore recommend that the deadline by which a school board may decide to increase or decrease the total number of trustee positions and designate areas as low population must be at least one month after all available data related to population are provided to the school board by the assessment commissioner.

The Chair: Thank you. The minister has asked to make a comment on the presentation, with the agreement of the committee.

Hon Mrs Boyd: With respect to recommendation 1, we are certainly prepared and have included in our package to the members of the committee an option for an amendment which would sunset this provision. The intention was always to have this regulation in effect only until the French Language Education Governance Advisory Group reported. We had the consultations that are necessary and came forward with the legislation that was necessary. So we have no objection to sunsetting that provision of the bill and have so indicated to both the opposition critics.

With respect to section 5, as I pointed out in the House I think the other day, the purchase-of-service provision that is allowed in section 4, it goes on to say that that is possible "only if," and the first one is that "the instruction is provided in a school operated by another board by means of an agreement referred to" and "after the first school year in which the effective," the Roman Catholic school board has to file with the Planning and Implementation Commission a plan and that the Planning and Implementation Commission has to come forward with advice that indeed the interest of public education in Ontario is promoted by way of that negotiation. We believe that the legislation meets the need that is identified by OPSBA, and that was certainly our intention, to provide that PIC would be giving that information and that there would be no action on this unless that information was forthcoming.

With respect to the last recommendation, the time lines we set were set after negotiations which went on after 1988, where school boards asked us to come forward with dates that were earlier in order to allow for the candidates to prepare more appropriately for the election. Those dates were moved up in response to the consultation we had with the school boards at that time. If the school boards have changed their minds and now want a longer time line, that is not a big problem for us. We were trying to respond to the requests we had had from school boards; if that request is now withdrawn, it is not a major issue for us. I believe the date that was mentioned by OPSBA previously was 31 March. That is not a problem for us as a ministry, because our attempt was only to respond to previous requests from the school boards.


The Chair: Any further representation by the deputation?

Ms Moss: I am Penny Moss, the executive director of OPSBA. If I could just comment on the last point, the school boards' position remains the same. As the ministry has indicated, an earlier date is preferred. What has happened by the selection of this date is that it is close enough to the release of the latest assessment data that it appears to be better to move the decision date beyond the receipt of the data date. When the submissions were first made in 1988 about concerns regarding these time lines, the boards were working on historical data. In other words, they are right this minute in December prepared to make decisions with data that has not been updated since the prior enumeration rolls. By moving to the assessment data, they can use more current data. That is where the apparent conflict in the request comes from.

Mr J. Wilson: I suppose my comments are directed more appropriately to the minister, but the witnesses may want to comment also. If the minister is going to sunset the authority to establish French-language school boards by regulation after the establishment of the advisory board, then why -- I really just need clarification on this -- put that provision in the act in the first place? That is the first question.

The second one: If I hear you say you will not move ahead and establish French-language school boards until such time as the advisory board has reported, does that mean specifically that you will not move ahead with establishing a French-language board in Simcoe county until at least May when the advisory group has reported back?

Hon Mrs Boyd: No, that is not what we mean. What we have done is to establish the French Language Education Governance Advisory Group; that was established on 14 November. That group has been asked to report back to me by 15 May 1991, at which point that report would be made widely available throughout the province for consultation. It would outline the conditions under which school boards from that point on would be formed. It would offer different models and so on and different concerns.

The two exceptions to that are the two boards that had already indicated to the ministry and in fact were prepared to go to court in order to have their wishes enforced: the school boards in Prescott-Russell and in Simcoe. The reason we did not mention those two boards by name in this legislation is that it is not up to the ministry to come forward with that. We do not wish to create a school board unless the community comes forward and asks us to. That has not happened to this point, in an official sense.

The negotiations that are ongoing now, using members of the French Language Education Governance Advisory Group as assistants in that with the two boards, are working out the negotiation, which insists, of course, upon the protection of minority language rights in the case of Prescott-Russell, and which would look at all the issues that have been raised by the opposition as concerns around financing, around the viability of the other school board, the sharing of space and all that sort of thing.

Those two were excepted because they had indicated a willingness to go. They were reminding the government very strongly of the position that had been taken in 1988, that if they were ready to go they would not be prevented from doing so in 1991, that there would be an ability to form a school board, if those negotiations were successful, in the 1991 election year.

That is why those two boards alone were exempted from the rest of the process but were not mentioned in the legislation, because in fact both of them, one or more of them, may not come forward and be ready under this legislation. They may not be ready and they may come under the final advice of the committee.

Mr J. Wilson: I guess where I am a bit confused is that, as Prescott-Russell and Simcoe are exempt, as you have explained -- you yourself mentioned and I would like the witnesses to also answer whether they are confident that, in the case of Simcoe county in particular, questions about financing, its effect on existing boards, its effect on local ratepayers, its effect on space -- if the French-language community from Simcoe county comes forward and asks for the establishment of the board in the immediate future, how do we ensure that all of the concerns of the community which I am hearing are addressed in such a short time span?

Second, along the same line, I would ask the witnesses whether they have any reason to be confident that these concerns will be addressed, given the current state of the bill before us.

Mr Checkeris: There are schools that are already in place and have been for a couple of years; in fact, there has been an extension to a secondary school. The simple matter would be to create the governance that will fit that particular situation. I think that is pretty straightforward. The request has been made, there has been a lot of discussion, so it would be quite simple. In the case of other boards in any other parts of the province, there has been no discussion at all. As a result, we do not know what kind of setup would be favourable to delivering French education to students of those areas.

Mr J. Wilson: How does the "numbers warrant" argument fit into this in the case of setting a precedent in Simcoe?

Mr Checkeris: I really do not know. As was mentioned previously, we have no ability to govern them one way or the other. The act is quite clear. Where there are sufficient numbers to do it, you have to do it.

Ms Moss: If I might add, to be fair, I heard the number 4% given. It may well be that the Metro Toronto French school board represents significantly less than 4% of the total students in the Metro public and I think is an example of finding flexibility in the description of models so that they can work for whatever the local circumstances.

One of the concerns to be worked out in Simcoe seems to us, from our members' perspective, to be the question of how, with the relatively small number, the governance interest of the francophone public trustees is reflected in whatever model emerges, because they are now, of course, on the Simcoe public board.

Mrs McLeod: First, can I say to the delegation that I appreciated the work that had gone into the initial submission which I think we all received last week, and furthermore, the work that was done to focus that more specifically with your recommendations today. Dare I say amalgamation does lead to efficiency? There is a long legacy allowing me to make that comment.

Mr J. Wilson: Not in Simcoe county, though. You have not visited our amalgamated municipalities yet.

Mrs McLeod: Anybody who was on a public school board for 17 years just has to make that comment once in their lifetime.

May I ask two specific questions? First, on your first recommendation. The minister has indicated that she would be considering a sunset clause which I think would address the recommendation you have made. Would you have in mind a time frame that you think would be appropriate for that type of sunset clause?

Ms Moss: We would like the school boards that will be ready in their communities for 1991 to be able to be established for the 1991 election. We would be less excited at any possibility that for the 1994 elections we are caught in the same bind, but our expectation, from what we understand at the moment, is that FLAG will provide probably the basis for legislation governing the creation of further boards in time for the next municipal election.

Mrs McLeod: The second question, then, is on extension by purchase of service. I had some very real concerns raised by the brief you submitted last week, recognizing some of the implications of the extension by purchase of service for northern boards, which are the ones primarily affected by this. I would like to ask for a little more clarification.

You have recognized in your options presented today that the Planning and Implementation Commission could play a significant role in addressing the concerns you have. Is there a need in your mind, even with the minister's comments today, for greater clarity in terms of the point in time at which the Planning and Implementation Commission becomes involved, those areas in which it can adjudicate, particularly in the short term, and whether there is still a concern about the first year, before perhaps the Planning and Implementation Commission can render advice?


Mr Checkeris: The difficulty, I suppose, logistically speaking, is that the boards serving those children now are public school boards in small communities. If one begins to examine the purchase from those boards, secondary school level, the problem becomes one of viability of program. How do we provide the program for those students? All of these things would be taken, and PIC, as it has done in the past, has examined all of those situations. They have looked at what the people want and at the business of capital. Do you require more schools or fewer schools? Can we divide the school in half? What about the creation of a school board and all of the mechanism required to create a school board and whether all of that waters down what is delivered to the student?

We are concerned about it, because it seems to me, anyway, that many of the small communities are beginning to settle down with Bill 30 and are operating quite well at present. If we begin now with the creation of additional school boards -- and that is exactly what will happen, and why not? -- then the total educational program for those 16-odd municipalities could be in jeopardy. We are concerned about it. PIC should be the one, as an arm's-length group, to take a look at it and make recommendations, and we can act accordingly. We are not going to argue with that.

Mrs Witmer: Following along with PIC, I wonder if the Minister of Education could clarify. If PIC turns down an application for extension, are you able to override that decision at present?

Hon Mrs Boyd: Certainly it would be very unwise for any of us to imagine that happening, simply because when PIC goes in, it listens to both sides. It has a specific obligation under the act to ensure the viability of public education; that is a very specific responsibility it has. As I read it, no, I do not, because it says we can only do it if we have that recommendation from PIC.

Mrs Witmer: So you cannot override the decision of PIC?

Hon Mrs Boyd: As I read the section as it is written, it says that can only happen if PIC has met and made those recommendations and has filed an agreement reached within the community.

Mrs Witmer: Further to that, do you know how many of the boards have previously been turned down that have applied for extension?

Hon Mrs Boyd: I do not know the answer to that in terms of the entire province. In terms of the 16 boards that OPSBA has expressed specific concern about, my understanding was that none of them had requested an extension of this sort and that only Haldimand-Norfolk, which is the 17th board in this situation, had brought that forward. I stand to be corrected on that, but it was not my understanding that there had been a request for that.

Ms Moss: We could not tell you either; we have not done the background to find out what number. There are a couple at least -- it is dangerous in public session -- I believe Kirkland Lake is one, and that situation may be dealt with by another mechanism. It is true that Haldimand-Norfolk separate school board is the only one that extended by purchase of service without the legislative framework, so this fixes that. Because there was no legislation to support purchase-of-service agreements as the route for extension, I would think that none of the 16 boards ever requested it.

Our concern relates to at what point PIC looks at the situation. We are saying that because of the geography in the north and the fact that already PIC has rejected in a couple of cases, or a minimum of one, an extension because of viability of the public system, we need only to be satisfied that the first resolution of the board to extend by purchase also is reviewed by PIC, simply because it is the first step to the then provision, because what goes with it is the assessment and the loss of governance from the public system. If we could have cut and pasted the amendments into the existing act in the time we have had available, we may have been satisfied. We are prepared to look at that again to see whether the act can be read in such a way that our concern is satisfied. At the very minimum, we are looking simply for that, to ensure that the first decision to extend by purchase is subject to PIC scrutiny.

The Chair: I have Mr Owens, Mr Beer and Mr Wilson, and we have five minutes.

Mr Owens: In the brief that you had dropped into my office last week, on the bottom of page 3 there is a paragraph that states, "To enact this legislation would, we submit, be irresponsible and further promote the interests of separate school supporters at the real expense of those who have access to only one educational system." I wonder if you could clarify that for me, and also, the paragraph above talks about financial compensation. Could you give me some information as to what kind of compensation you would be looking for.

Ms Moss: In terms of the extension by purchase of certain --

Mr Owens: That is right.

Ms Moss: The situation in the 16 jurisdictions in the north, some of them with a single high school, is that if purchase of service is made possible through the public board the students will stay in the public high school where they are at the moment. The residential farm assessment of their families and of all separate school supporters in the jurisdiction whose assessment currently is only supporting elementary schools, on purchase of service will obviously go to the separate school board, and in exchange the public school board will lose its school representatives of the secondary separate ratepayers. So what you have is a situation where nothing changes for the education of the students concerned. The very significant changes take place in the funding. What then happens is that the separate board extended would purchase the service, if you like, on a per-pupil basis from the public board.

We have no impact studies. Other than the fact that PIC turned down extension by delivery of service in some cases, we do not know what the impact would be. We believe that the proposition that PIC review the purchase-of-service proposal first allows all parties to look clearly at the financial, the governance, the accountability and the provision of education issues before extension is finalized.

The Chair: I have Mr Beer and Mr Wilson, and we are very close on time.

Mr Beer: I will try to be quick, Madam Chair. It seems to me that in what you have said in the document you have given to us today in terms of the two options, the second one about this question of timing and the question of how the purchase of service would be dealt with under PIC, that is very clear. As I read the legislation, one would want the Planning and Implementation Commission, among other things, not to be recommending something of that sort unless all of the parameters of the problem had been met.

Just because I want to be very clear, because I think you have done an excellent job of narrowing and making very clear the precise point, is it at the present time, in your view then, the wording in the legislation? While it might mean what we have been discussing, if that somehow were made more specific or clearer, your particular concern is around what could be a purchase-of-service arrangement which would have the kinds of impacts that you have set out, and if we could find some way through that, that would make you feel warmer.

Ms Moss: Yes. I think that in order to be fair to the committee, historically we would likely have come and argued against extension by purchase of service --

Mr Beer: I appreciate that.

Ms Moss: -- but we are sympathetic to the fact that Haldimand-Norfolk has done it, and what kind of structure can we have that can say it is okay for some and not for others? I think that on reflection we would argue for general fairness rather than specific total opposition.

Mr J. Wilson: I will be brief too. In your own brief you talk in the first paragraph about "where numbers warrant." When I ask you the question, you tell me that the Toronto board was created with less than 4%, so it is a fallacious argument of some sort. I would be interested to know what you mean by the last sentence in your own introduction to the brief, "where numbers warrant and where suitable local arrangements can be negotiated."


Second, are you worried at all about the cost of this, given that your own board in Simcoe county is in my local papers almost weekly, either through a letter to the editor, or last week we had a rash of editorials opposed to the extension of the French-language boards based on the cost argument?

I guess local ratepayers are frustrated that they do not seem to have much input into this, and second, by having gone through the experience last year of the $12-million administrative centre being built and the half-empty buses going around the schools from the two boards that exist there now. I guess the vision in ratepayers' minds is that there are going to be additional cost, additional administration, new salaries of directors. The current one in your board is making in the range of up to $114,000 a year. They are real concerns, though, and I hear them daily and I got them daily in the campaign.

So I would ask about the "where numbers warrant," whether that concerns you at all, and second, whether the costs do concern you in the Simcoe case, because I believe the Simcoe board will go ahead shortly.

Mr Checkeris: If I may, of course the costs bother us, because the singular buck comes from the ratepayers and the government of Ontario. We are concerned about it, but the fact is that the law as it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court does not allow us that luxury to say so one way or the other. So the ratepayer may be unhappy, but the fact is that the law is on the side of the francophone at this time and we have to implement it. What we want to do is make sure that it is implemented in a fair and equitable way without disturbing the other students, if you like, from the other panel. That has to be done and I do not think it can be done in a hurry. I think that is the problem Bill 75 has suffered. It was done very quickly and as a result we have problems with it. That has to be changed.


The Chair: I would call the next delegation. The time is now 4:40, almost 4:45, and 30 minutes is allotted for the presentation. I would ask that you identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard and begin your presentation. Bienvenue.

Mr Martin: I do not know if everybody else is, but I am having a real problem with the interpreters. The machine here is really distracting me from listening properly. It is humming and making noises. I do not know what we can do about that.

The Chair: We will see if the clerk can arrange a better transmitter for you.

Mr Martin: I have two here that do not work. I do not know about the rest of you.

The Chair: They all hum a little. They probably all have a little bit of a hum to them. I am informed that it depends where you are in the room as to how much it hums.

Welcome to the committee.

M. Léger : Je m'appelle Raymond Léger. Je suis membre de l'Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques de l'Ontario, association dont je suis le porte-parole aujourd'hui.

L'Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques de l'Ontario, dont le sigle est AFOCEC, fondée le 4 août 1988 et incorporée le 16 novembre 1988, représente 22 conseils d'écoles catholiques de l'Ontario, huit membres individuels et une population étudiante d'environ 30 500.

L'AFOCEC a pour but d'aider les conseillers, les administrateurs, le personnel enseignant et le personnel d'appui à bien gérer les écoles catholiques de langue française relevant de leur compétence afin d'assurer l'éducation intégrale de la population catholique de langue française et de faciliter la collaboration avec les organismes qui poursuivent des buts analogues.

L'AFOCEC remercie le comité permanent des affaires sociales de l'occasion qui lui est offerte de présenter ses réactions et de commenter les projets de loi 12 et 13.

Cependant, I'AFOCEC regrette de ne pas avoir eu plus de temps pour considérer ces changements, qui auront sans doute un impact sur la gestion de l'éducation catholique de langue française.

Tenant compte de sa mission spécifique, I'AFOCEC tient à réitérer devant ce comité que toute modification à la Loi sur l'éducation doit respecter les droits religieux acquis et ainsi permettre aux communautés qui le désirent la mise sur pied de conseils catholiques de langue française.

Le projet de loi 12 ne fait aucune mention du financement des nouvelles structures. Le financement est à la base de la majorité des difficultés vécues par les conseils scolaires francophones catholiques.

L'application de l'article 277o présente des problèmes insurmontables à la minorité linguistique dans la majorité des conseils des écoles séparées catholiques en Ontario. Les amendements à la Loi 12 n'apportent aucun éclaircissement sur cet article et de fait, ajouteront à la tension qui se vit présentement dans les conseils. Des modifications immédiates s'imposent afin d'assurer une qualité d'éducation égale pour les francophones et les anglophones.

Ce projet de loi est aussi silencieux sur l'augmentation du nombre de conseillers scolaires de trois à cinq dans les sections linguistiques et sur le mécanisme de règlement de conflits. L'AFOCEC recommande au comité de développement d'incorporer des amendements afin de répondre à ce besoin urgent.

Nous nous réjouissons de voir que le nombre de conseillers scolaires sera déterminé sur la population scolaire francophone catholique. Cependant, nous tenons à souligner que le résultat du recensement de 1988 ne doit servir à aucun calcul à cause du grand nombre d'anomalies dans ce processus. L'AFOCEC réitère sa demande pressante de modifier les questions de l'avis du recensement et tout le processus.

L'AFOCEC ne peut trop insister sur la consultation avec les différents partis intéressés dans la mise en place de règlements pour appuyer ces nouvelles lois.

L'AFOCEC demande à tous les partis du gouvernement de l'Ontario d'appuyer ce nouveau texte de loi dans les plus brefs délais possibles afin de donner aux francophones le droit à la gestion et au contrôle de leur éducation, confirmé par l'article 23 de la Charte des droits et libertés et appuyé par le jugement unanime de la Cour suprême du Canada dans l'affaire Mahé.

Mrs Cunningham: You raised a couple of concerns, interestingly enough, that I had. I am going to ask you a process question now and that is, one of my great concerns was that if in fact school boards that have done their local negotiations have the rules laid down by regulation that they have all agreed to, they can be changed equally as quickly by regulation. But if in fact they are in a bill of the Legislative Assembly where the financing has been figured out and where the number of trustees has been decided on -- not always the number of trustees but a proportionate arrangement, as has been done in the other two bills -- that cannot be changed unless those same school boards, the partners, in fact agree to that and it is approved by the Legislative Assembly as a change, usually put forth by the minister. So if I had seen those kinds of arrangements, the financing -- let's take Prescott-Russell for example -- and the agreement around the number of trustees or the proportionate representation, I would have felt better. That was one of my great concerns.

Now, you are raising those two issues today, just two. I am sure you have others that you would like to have clarified, but you have underlined those, I think, as a priority. Could you tell us how you could advise the minister on those two issues today in a global manner and still have the divergency or the local community aspect board by board by board.


M. Léger : Alors, madame la députée, je crois que vous voulez que je commente --

Mrs Cunningham: If I had paid more attention in high school, I would probably be able to do this much better. But I did not. Now I am suffering rather significantly, but my children do much better than I. I apologize.

M. Léger : Alors, je crois que vous voulez que je commente sur le financement et sur le recensement. Ce sont bien là vos deux questions ?

Mrs Cunningham: Yes.

M. Léger : Très bien. Je dois encore souligner le fait que notre association a reçu les deux projets de loi dans les quelques jours qui ont précédé cette présentation et qu'il y a dû y avoir conférence téléphonique afin de préparer la présentation de notre association.

Personnellement, je n'ai reçu les projets de loi qu'à 13 heures aujourd'hui même. Alors, je me sens dans une situation un peu délicate pour répondre à vos questions.

Cependant, pour le financement, je dois vous assurer que nous disons que le financement, c'est vraiment le nerf de la guerre et c'est un problème présentement au sein des systèmes d'écoles séparées catholiques. Le financement n'est pas équitable et il faudrait vraiment que le gouvernement se penche sur cette question-là afin d'assurer la parité, afin d'assurer la qualité de l'éducation de la minorité de langue française.

Quant au recensement, il y a de sérieux problèmes, premièrement, dans les questions que l'on pose, et je serais d'avis qu'il faudrait un bon entraînement pour ceux qui s'occupent du recensement afin que les personnes qui font ce travail connaissent bien l'enjeu de leur travail.

Il y a aussi le processus complet. Je dois vous dire que moi-même, comme contribuable, comme éducateur de plus de 36 ans de métier, j'ai bien rempli mes formulaires pour trois circonscriptions scolaires. Dans deux circonscriptions scolaires, j'étais placé comme contribuable francophone ; cependant, dans la circonscription où je demeure présentement, la circonscription de Durham, on m'a placé comme contribuable anglophone. Alors, j'ai dû me rendre à l'hôtel de ville de moi-même pour essayer de faire faire le changement avant les élections. Alors, il y a tout le processus qui est à revoir et il y a les questions du recensement qu'on doit vraiment revoir de même.

Je crois que dans le passé, les associations francophones ont fait des recommandations. Il s'agirait peut-être de reprendre ces recommandations-là, et d'une consultation avec les associations pour mettre à jour ces nouvelles questions à poser sur le recensement.

Mrs Cunningham: You have been most helpful in procedure. I think you have given us something that we should be looking at there. I know we had trouble in 1988, because I was on a school board with everybody getting enumerated. Having said that, we are all suffering significantly. It went on for about a year after the election, trying to figure out who was paying taxes to what school board. Things are not good in Ontario, but you are very much concerned about this issue and I am too.

With regard to the dollars, you and I do not have an answer today, but boy, if we did, we would sure charge them for our good advice, would we not? That is the crux. It was certainly mentioned by the first association this afternoon too. I thank you for attempting to respond today, especially given the short time frame.

The Vice-Chair: I call on the minister. I think she has a comment.

Hon Mrs Boyd: I just wanted to assure the delegate that in fact we have similar concerns. The comment you made about needing to go back and get advice and to consult widely about how this could really work better is well taken. I certainly agree with you that the way in which the enumeration is done is not appropriate, and that is something we will be looking at. Unfortunately, it is going to be too late for the 1991 election. The only concern we have in this current bill was to make sure that those communities that were ready did not have to continue to wait, but we really recognize that before 1994 something very significant has to happen to address exactly the issues that you have raised with respect to the enumeration.

Mr Martin: I understood you to say at the end of your presentation that the biggest issue in all this is certainly that we get on with allowing the French community to govern its own French education, the delivery of education to its children. It seems to me, as it was with the extension of full funding to the Catholic school system, that no matter when it was decided to do it, there would certainly be resistance and objection and a demand for more consultation. So whether we decide to do it today or next week or a month down the road, we would always get that same reaction.

We decided, in putting this bill forth, that in order to accommodate those boards that are ready to go for this coming election year, to go ahead with this, but we also put in place what we thought were some pretty fair processes regarding what this will look like when it arrives in a community. In that was provision certainly for all of the stakeholders to participate. It seems to me that the result of similar process regarding the extension of Catholic school boards, for the most part, has been relatively successful.

Is it your feeling, having said so strongly at the end that the big question was that we get on with allowing the French community to decide its own fate regarding how it delivers French education in co-operation with its English partners, that that is the important thing and that we can, through the process we have in place, in fact work out the details?

M. Léger : Notre association appuie entièrement les projets de loi 12 et 13. Nous demandons cependant certains amendements dans la mesure du possible afin d'assurer une véritable gestion de la minorité francophone au sein des conseils scolaires de langue française. Alors, nous appuyons ces projets.

Nous avons soulevé certaines faiblesses et nous demandons s'il y a possibilité d'avoir des amendements afin que ces faiblesses-là puissent être remédiées dans la mesure du possible. Mais je comprends les contraintes de temps et de la consultation. Je suis certainement conscient du fait que les élections de 1991 arrivent très rapidement. Alors, nous ne voudrions pas nuire d'aucune façon aux communautés francophones qui sont prêtes à agir présentement.

Mr J. Wilson: I think you just mentioned that you have certain amendments. We only got the bill this afternoon, but I am unclear at this time as to what those amendments would be, to tell you the truth.

M. Léger : Alors, les amendements auxquels nous touchons -- et je dois dire que nous avons touché uniquement aux dispositions des projets de loi 12 et 13 qui touchent de plus près l'éducation de langue française -- sont le recensement, le financement, le nombre de conseillers dans les sections de langue minoritaire et le mécanisme de résolution de conflits.

The Vice-Chair: I would like to thank you for being here today and making your presentation. Merci beaucoup.



The Vice-Chair: Next on our list we have the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association, Betty Moseley-Williams, the president. I call on that group to come forward. For the purposes of Hansard, I would ask that you identify the other members of your group.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: I would like to thank you for the opportunity for us to come and give some opinions on Bill 12. We appreciate the fact that you are going to listen to some of our concerns. On my left is Mary Hendriks. She is a trustee with the Lincoln County Roman Catholic Separate School Board and the vice-president of the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association. Caroline DiGiovanni is on my right. Caroline is the research director for our office. Peter Lawers is a solicitor. He acts as the solicitor for OSSTA and has helped us with this. I am Betty Moseley-Williams. I am a trustee with the Nipissing District Roman Catholic Separate School Board and the president of OSSTA.

The Vice-Chair: Before you begin, I am going to point out that you do have half an hour. However way you wish to conduct your business, we also allow for questions. I ask that you allow members of the committee to ask questions, and in that short half-hour period try to get those questions in.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: I always read the way I read at church; it is a race between me and the other fellow.

The Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association is made up of 54 school boards, and 38 of our boards are operating under Bill 75 and have minority-language sections. Of these boards, 31 have French-language minority sections and seven have English-language minority sections. As of September 1989 there were approximately 98,000 francophone pupils educated in publicly funded schools and, of those, 82% are educated by the separate school board.

Into the bill. Our association supports the policy initiatives behind Bill 12 in a large measure, but we have some fundamental points of disagreement. I am going to go to page 2. We are going to address each of those that we are concerned with, and Mary will read this.

Mrs Hendriks: Regarding the issue of umbrella school boards, OSSTA has often voiced its implacable and utter opposition to umbrella school boards. The concept of umbrella school boards composed of Roman Catholic and public school components is based on the assumption that separate school boards are just like public school boards except that they teach Roman Catholicism for a couple of hours each week. This assumption amounts to a complete misunderstanding of the nature of Catholic education and of the level of autonomy required by separate school boards if they are to continue to provide such education to their students. We believe that umbrella school boards would lead to the demise of the separate school system in Ontario and that such boards are accordingly contrary to subsection 93(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

We do not intend to use this opportunity to debate umbrella boards yet again. We leave with you a copy of a booklet published by the Completion Office Separate Schools entitled Catholic Education and Separate School Boards in Ontario. Once you read the booklet, you will see why umbrella boards will not work.

The concept of umbrella boards is implicit in section 2 of Bill 12. It permits the establishment by regulation of a French-language school board having "more than one component." We understand this to mean a public school component and a Roman Catholic component, as provided by Bill 109 of the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board. OSSTA opposed Bill 109 and said that the concept was unworkable. We believe that the passage of time has borne out our prediction. OSSTA opposes the creation of new umbrella school boards in any form.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: In the matter of French-language school boards and subject to the qualifications that were listed above, the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association supports the creation of Catholic and public French-language school boards in the province of Ontario where numbers warrant. We also support the appointment of the French Language Education Governance Advisory Group and its mandate. We believe that the advisory group should be permitted to carry out its work and to make recommendations before legislation is enacted concerning French-language school boards. While it would have been preferable to have had such legislation in place prior to the creation of new French-language school boards in Ontario, we recognize the need for the government to move swiftly in certain localities, so we recommend that subsections 11a, 11b and 11c of section 10 of the Education Act be repealed upon the enactment of legislation concerning French-language school boards.

We believe that extensive consultation is required before the enactment of a regulation designed to create a French-language school board. Both affected language groups -- and they will affect the whole board -- their trustees and their communities must be consulted if the process is to work smoothly from an educational perspective and from the perspective of the affected communities. In this respect, we urge the government to learn from the experience of Bill 109.

Mrs Hendriks: Regarding the amendments to Bill 30, we support sections 5 to 9 of Bill 12, amending certain sections of Bill 30, which implemented the extension of full funding to Catholic secondary schools. We believe that it is the right of our children to receive a Catholic education at the secondary school level regardless of the location of their residences in Ontario, and these amendments assist in implementing that right.

Section 136l, as amended by Bill 12, would continue to leave the mechanics of the teacher designation system to the regulation. That regulation, 71/87, in its present form is fundamentally defective and probably exceeds the authority given by subsection 136l(1) for its enactment. The regulation assumes that all growth in enrolment at Roman Catholic separate school boards is matched by an equal decline in enrolment at the coterminous public board. Needless to say, this is not always true.

Particular problems have been caused in Lakehead and in Metropolitan Toronto. In both places the separate boards have been obliged to hire designated teachers even where the public boards were hiring new teachers.

We therefore recommend that regulation 71/87 concerning the designation of teachers be revisited and amended as necessary so that it applies only where the decline in the enrolment of the local public board is truly consequent upon the election of the Roman Catholic school board to perform the duties of a secondary school board as required by subsection 136l(1) of the Education Act.

Regarding the vacancies on school boards, OSSTA supports the policy behind sections 10 to 13 of Bill 12, which rationalizes and improves the various provisions of the Education Act concerning the filling of vacancies on a school board.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: We support the amendments to Bill 125 and Bill 75 proposed in sections 14 to 21, subject to the following qualifications.

We were greatly disappointed to find there is no amendment to rules 10 and 13 of subsection 206a(8) of the Education Act. Those rules provide that the minimum number of minority language trustees on a school board be three.

The consultation document on minority-language governance initiatives issued by the previous Minister of Education had proposed raising the minimum number of minority-language trustees from three to five. This change received the approval of the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association as well as l'Association franco-ontarienne de conseils d'écoles catholiques and l'Association française des conseils scolaires de l'Ontario. We do not understand why this change has not been implemented in Bill 12. There are minority-language sections representing both language groups that will be detrimentally affected by this omission. It is going to affect some of the boards so badly, and the boards that are operating in the French-language sections have been telling us, "You need more than three trustees to run a school board." We support that very strongly.

Further, in the north of Ontario, English minority-language groups will be particularly hurt by this omission. Because of the changes made to Bill 125, the number of English-language trustees in some boards could be reduced from five or more to three. Immediately following the 1991 elections, it can be expected that some of these trustees will have to begin negotiating the division of assets of existing boards, leading to the creation of French-language school boards. Apart from the difficulty of running a board section with only three trustees, the additional burden of negotiating the split of the board would be intolerable. We expect that this sequence of events will persuade the affected English minority-language sections that the government is biased against them in the creation of French-language school boards, thus prejudicing the entire effort.

OSSTA recommends that rules 12 and 13 of subsection 206a(8) of the Education Act be amended by Bill 12 to increase the minimum number of members of the minority-language section of a school board from three to five.


We recognize that some public school boards having particularly small groups of French-language pupils may feel that the increase in the number of trustees cannot be justified. It must be recognized that French-language governance and the creation of French-language school boards is largely a matter of concern to the separate school community, which educates such a large number of francophone students. For the purpose of implementing this proposal, we would be prepared to accept an amendment which would apply only to the separate school boards.

Second, OSSTA is disappointed that Bill 12 fails to implement another proposal in the consultation document concerning the resolution of disputes. We believe that a dispute resolution mechanism is essential to Bill 75 if it is to operate successfully in Ontario. The proposal for a dispute resolution mechanism we put forward was supported by both the Association française des conseils scolaires de l'Ontario and the Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques. We recommend that a dispute resolution mechanism for resolving disputes between the sections of school boards be added to Bill 12.

Those are some of our concerns. We would be very pleased to answer questions if we can.

Mrs Cunningham: Just a couple of questions basically, because I cannot remember. Was there a dispute resolution mechanism in the Ottawa-Carleton agreement?

Mr Lawers: There was one for dealing with disputes about the division of assets, but there is not a permanent facility for dealing with disputes that may arise between the sections on other issues.

Mrs Cunningham: So it was just the division of assets.

Mr Lawers: That is correct.

Mrs Cunningham: Given the discussions that went on with the Ottawa-Carleton -- and I use that one because it is one that was passed when I was a member here so I did watch some of the discussions around it -- you are talking here about the recommendation for the number being five, and I am aware of the recommendation of the committee. But in the Ottawa-Carleton situation again, because I know you were involved, did they make the recommendation ahead of time for the representation?

Mr Lawers: It is not an issue that affected Ottawa-Carleton, because on both those school boards there were more than three French-language trustees. In fact, I believe on the Ottawa board they were eight and eight. I do not remember what Carleton was, but it was pretty close to even in terms of representation.

Mrs Cunningham: So it was equal representation to start with.

Mr Lawers: Yes, those boards were very close to even in strength between French and English. That is unusual, certainly for southern Ontario. Northern Ontario is a little different.

Mrs Cunningham: It was something that just happened because they were happy with the representation to start with.

Mr Lawers: I am not sure what you are referring to as having happened, though.

Mrs Cunningham: I am not sure whether the number is part of the legislation.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: In Ottawa-Carleton three to five was not an issue. Where the three to five is going to be an issue, I think, in the English-language boards are all the northern boards. It is certainly not in the south, as far as I can determine. That would be for English-language trustees. Timmins is a large northern board, fairly sprawling, and it would automatically go from five to three for the English section. There may well be a wish to form a French-language school board there, so what we are saying is to try and run that school board and do this other negotiating -- well, I think to have a school board with the numbers of pupils that you have now with a full board and then you are going to go to three trustees next year is not going to be conducive to very good board relationships. I think right down the Highway 11 corridor is where you will see it.

Mr Beer: Just a couple of points. I just want to follow up on your last comment. Frankly, I may have misunderstood, but I do not see the change to the representation on the existing school boards unless there is a move where one is creating a French-language and an English-language board. You were saying that in Timmins, for example --

Mrs Moseley-Williams: The minority section is English, yes.

Mr Beer: Right. How is that going to change? Are you saying because of the fact that it is under double majority now as set out by the courts?

Mrs Moseley-Williams: Because in the next election the representation will be by the student population, and it will decrease.

Mr Beer: So the point here is that if there is a move to create another board, those people are running the minority-language section as well as trying to negotiate some change in the situation.

Mr Lawers: It is the concept of the double whammy. First you are five and then you get reduced to three because of your pupil population, and then you get thrown into having to negotiate the split-up of your board. That will be seen by people in that situation as being a two-step dance that is very unhelpful and much resisted.

Mr Beer: I appreciate the distinction. It seems to me that one of the things we need to recognize with what is happening here is that the ministry has set up a commission to look at how French-language school boards might be established in various parts of the province where numbers warrant. We also have an existing piece of legislation which in a sense created a kind of mini-board within a board, and we know some of the tensions that has created over time, even with the best will in the world. These changes still leave us, if you like, in a transition period. I think the point you make is a very good one, that most of the minority-language sections are within separate school boards.

Clearly, as we go forward here, we may over the course of this decade find that we have a number of French-language school boards, but there will quite probably continue to be a number of areas where you will still have a minority-language section within the separate school board. I guess what we have to find is a way that will allow us to achieve both in an effective way, financially as well as meeting the rights under the charter and the rights set out under the Education Act.

The point about the numbers is one that I know we have discussed for some time, and whether it should be three or five. One of the concerns was the size of the board, but the other was: Can you run today in effect a minority-language section with only three people, given the various issues that have to be addressed and the kind of planning and so on that goes on?

I want to be clear, though, that you would like to see these further changes to that part of the bill but you support what is in Bill 12. You would like to see other things, but as far as the changes that are there are concerned, those are acceptable, perhaps your most important point being the concerns around the minority-language sections after the change in the trustee distribution for the next election.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: I think we have said in our documents over the last couple of years, with respect to the number of trustees, that if a board is going to run effectively and respect the two sections of that board the trustees have to start with some kind of fairness where they can handle the business of that section. Though we are bringing it forward at this time and we are speaking to those English-minority sections because we are concerned with them, we have also stated in our papers and have recognized the fact that the French-language sections in the boards that we know of and are familiar with have some difficulty in covering the necessary work that has to be done. They have an unfair load in many areas.

Although at this time we are bringing forward our concerns mainly specifically to this bill, and we are talking about the English minority, that has been a statement we have made about the French-language sections for a few years. They are in our boards and we know that sometimes there is not a fair workload.

The Vice-Chair: I have a comment by the minister, if you will permit.


Hon Mrs Boyd: Just very briefly, we really felt that doing the increase in the numbers would pre-empt the work of FLAG. When the consultations were done on Bill 75, there was by no means consensus around that increase, as you are well aware. It was thought that because we are primarily wanting to meet very specific and very limited needs with this particular amendment, it was in all of our best interests to leave that until a time when we have full consultation and have the benefit of the advice of the advisory group.

On the second issue around the dispute resolution mechanism, we see the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario as the dispute mechanism, as it was under Bill 75. Once the governance advisory group does report, it may well be that one of the changes we want to contemplate in a very real sense in a larger context might be a dispute resolution mechanism. But at this time we were not trying to pre-empt the work of the advisory group and felt that was part of what would be implied by something like that.

Mr Lawers: The only problem with that response is that although I understand you are not trying to pre-empt the work of the advisory group, and we would not want to do that either, the fact is that you may actually be prejudicing the chances of success in the outcome, because you are going to be getting people and whipsawing them into a three and then forcing them through the sausage machine which the French-language advisory group may design. In my view, having been through this a bit, that will make it very difficult for those English-language sections, and where the French-language sections are similarly affected, to deal adequately with the new burdens the advisory group will place on them.

That is why we are suggesting that it is just a matter of timing. That is all it really is. It is because the reduction will follow almost immediately, we expect, but be followed almost immediately by the new regime to be suggested by the advisory group. That will seem like a double whammy to those affected most directly by it.

The Vice-Chair: Can I just point out that we have 10 minutes left and there are two more questioners. Mr Wilson is on my list and Mr Martin.

Mr J. Wilson: Just so you know where I am coming from on my questions, basically I went through the separate school system. I am Catholic. My mother is a religious consultant, actually, with the Simcoe county board.

I understand the need to keep the Catholic ethos as it is in all aspects of school life, but do you not think in this case that perhaps the umbrella board -- I have not had time to read the document -- is a way of keeping costs down and keeping down the duplication of services? I keep harping on costs because I keep hearing it from the people on the street.

Second, I would be interested to know about section 2, where you say you support the creation of Catholic and public French-language school boards in the province where numbers warrant. I would be curious, as I am with all presenters, to know what they mean by that, because I am not sure I know what we mean by that. I am not sure that the Supreme Court left it sufficiently open-ended, as I understand it, that we should come to some consensus on that.

The explanation of point 2 in your brief says you understand the need for the government to move swiftly in certain localities. I would assume that means Prescott-Russell and my area of Simcoe county. I am trying to get a better understanding of the need. Perhaps you could clarify that, the need to move swiftly, not necessarily the need to have a board.

Mr Lawers: On the first issue you addressed, if I got it down right, the first question had to do with keeping the costs down and the assumption that an umbrella board actually does that. I wonder whether in fact the experience in Bill 109 has borne out that such a model actually keeps costs down. I expect if you investigate that model you will discover it has done exactly the opposite. What you have is a central unit at the top that has nothing to do, by and large, and yet is maintained with staff and personnel, premises and all that sort of stuff. I do not know that, but that is something to suggest.

If you are looking at keeping costs down without damaging the need to maintain the Catholic ethos of the system, maybe something to look at would be larger units within the system itself rather than umbrella boards. I suspect that umbrella boards, you will discover, are a sinkhole for money as opposed to the other. That is a suggestion that might be worth looking at.

In terms of the "where numbers warrant" question, clearly the Mahé case establishes a very low threshold. We have not picked one in our minds, but there are a few cases in Ontario where, as Mr Beer says, Bill 75 will have to continue to be the model for all time because there are so few either English-language or French-language students, but that would probably be relatively rare. It really depends on what francophones and anglophones want, wherever they happen to be. The "numbers warrant" question is a real question, but it is a very low threshold according to Mahé. I think I nailed it. What else have you got?

Mr J. Wilson: I assume the last sentence in that section deals with the need to move swiftly on Prescott-Russell and Simcoe, my bias of course being Simcoe. What is the real need there other than to respond -- I know at some point you have to give a response to the Supreme Court. It seems to me there are different ways of doing that than creating school boards. It did tie into the "numbers warrant" question, really. You have a blanket statement here. What do you mean by it?

Mr Lawers: As I understand the situation in Prescott-Russell particularly, that separate board is close to being ready to go, and if it is, there is no particular reason why we would suggest that the process be held up for this sort of larger global picture. Just how close they are is really the question.

Mr Martin: Let me say, first, how much I appreciate the fact that you are here today and making a presentation on behalf of the organization you represent. It seems to me, from conversations I have had with you in the past, that you are retreading information you have been running by the ministry for a couple of years. A lot of it revolves around the setting up of French-language school boards and how that will affect you and minority sections and this kind of thing.

As I said to the presenters before, it seems to me that as you -- in my past life -- were so anxious for the Catholic community to get control of governance and then full extension of the right to educate its children, you must understand what the French population is after in terms of having control over what its schools will look like. With that in mind, does it not make more sense that we move ahead and get this thing done as quickly as possible with as much consultation as we can through the FLAG process before we are forced to do a whole lot of things we do not want to do because of court cases that will come at us and limit the options available to do some of the things you are suggesting here? That is the first question. That may not be a good question to ask because of your profession; you may have a different slant on it. Anyway, I just wanted to ask that question.

The second point I would like to make is in terms of the umbrella board. Certainly in allowing the Catholic community to govern its own boards, we allow you to make decisions for the most part on how you will operate. It seems to me that we should also allow the French population to do pretty much the same thing, to let it decide how it wants to see the governance of its system set up, whether it would be an umbrella board or some options we have not even thought of yet. I am not sure.

Again, saying that we are not going to do umbrella boards I think would say to the French population, "You can do this, but only within these limitations." I think the French population in this province is telling us it is sick and tired of that and what it wants now are directions that say, "Go ahead and set up school boards, but do them in consultation with the other stakeholders and come back to us, and then we will look at some legislation."


Mr Lawers: On the first question you raised, I hope you have not got the wrong impression from this presentation. Our position is full speed ahead on Bill 12. We are not suggesting that you delay it in some way. We have made a couple of suggestions for improvements in it which we hope you will see your way clear to make, but at the same time our position quite clearly is full speed ahead on Bill 12.

On the second point, the umbrella board, really, at the end of the day perhaps we are going to have to agree to disagree on umbrella boards. Certainly it will be interesting to see what kinds of scenarios FLAG comes up with, and we will have to look at those when they come forward. But from a constitutional law viewpoint there is no real distinction between French and English for purposes of section 93 of the Constitution Act, which is where separate school supporters get their rights. That was made clear in the Mahé case in the Supreme Court of Canada. So you know what our position on umbrella school boards is. You will have to read the brief to understand why that is. At some point in the future I guess we will rejoin the debate on the issue, but this is not the time, I do not think. I think we would all be very curious to see what FLAG comes up with, and we would certainly like to participate in its deliberations.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: I would just like to go further on this, that we will be speaking to FLAG. I would not explain it as well as Peter does about umbrella boards, but the trustees in our association feel that any presentation of an umbrella board within a Catholic school system we would dispute. It is that clear. We think that the rights of Catholic schools are constitutional and therefore the collective Catholic school rights of the province. So we would dispute it.

The Vice-Chair: One final question, and very briefly, please.

Mr J. Wilson: Please do not take it the wrong way. You represent trustees. I wonder how much consultation has gone on with ratepayers, given that your trustees are accountable to ratepayers. Have you had time, in all honesty, to consult very widely on this particular bill?

Mrs Moseley-Williams: You mean Bill 12? We only got it two days ago.

Mr J. Wilson: That is the point. I suggest you talk to the ratepayers in Simcoe that I had at my door all weekend.

Mr Owens: I thought it was going to be a brief question.

The Vice-Chair: I am trying to show patience. I will allow you to complete your question.

Mr J. Wilson: Whether you allow me or not I will complete it, anyway. That would be my suggestion. If you have only had a couple of days, I think it fits into our point that this bill requires a great deal more study. That is all I have to say.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: If I may, it will be very brief. We consult as much as we can within our community, with parents' groups and trustee groups and teacher groups and any group connected with Catholic education. Our documents that have come toward show that kind of consultation, and it is usually indicated that they are all involved. When we have made statements about umbrella boards, that is something that has been consulted, has been talked to, talked at and talked of ad nauseam. All the consultation we have ever had has been on that question.

In the matter of the bills on which we try to bring a brief to the government, we are acting for the boards we represent, and sometimes the consultation is limited to the boards we represent. When we are bringing you a major document, you can be sure that all of our community will be represented in it.

The Vice-Chair: I do want to proceed with our next presenters, unless members of the committee want to carry on further. I will abide by your wishes.

Mr Hope: Just one short question.

The Vice-Chair: One final, final question.

Mr Hope: It is the point about the length of time, that you just got the bill and were not able to consult the taxpayers. This is something that is not new, that has just been developed since this new government. There has been consultation on this whole part from the previous government. I have talked to communities about this, and I am sure the taxpayers are well aware of the issue that may be here surrounding the cost. So it is not something new that is introduced with this bill we bring forward but something that has been out in the community for some time, and people do know the costs that will be involved in these new boards.

The Vice-Chair: I will allow you one final comment on that point if you wish.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: No. I would just like to thank you for the opportunity of being here. You can be sure that we do support that you go forward. We would like you to look at our concerns, and I know you will be hearing from us again.

The Vice-Chair: I would like to thank you for making your presentation today, and to all of you, a very good brief. It actually was very interesting because it inspired a few more questions than we thought at first, so thank you very much.


The Vice-Chair: I would like to call at this time our next group of presenters, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens and Robert Millaire.

Would you also like to note who is with you today for purposes of Hansard. Before you start, I would just note that we will be going till 6:05 to allow you your full half-hour.

M. Millaire : Merci. J'aimerais présenter Raymond Vaillancourt. M. Vaillancourt est adjoint administratif à l'association ; Raymond Vaillancourt a été très engagé dans le parachèvement lorsque la Loi 30 a été mise sur pied pour assurer la protection des enseignantes et des enseignants dans les transferts.

Alors, l'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens est heureuse d'avoir l'occasion de rencontrer les membres du comité permanent des affaires sociales afin de commenter les projets de loi 12 et 13.

L'AEFO est une filiale de la Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario. Elle compte 6400 membres qui oeuvrent dans les classes, les modules et les écoles de langue française de toute la province. L'AEFO représente les enseignants et les enseignantes de l'élémentaire et du secondaire des côtés public et catholique francophones.

L'intérêt de l'AEFO pour les dossiers francophones est bien connu. L'un des objectifs de la Charte d'incorporation est de promouvoir l'éducation en langue française. C'est parce que nous respectons cet objectif que nous nous présentons devant vous aujourd'hui.

L'AEFO, dans ses intérêts pour la francophonie, a toujours fait la promotion de toute la gamme -- ce n'est pas dans votre document -- des écoles, de l'éducation en langue française du jardin d'enfants jusqu'à la fin des études postsecondaires. L'AEFO, lorsqu'elle a fait sa présentation devant le comité sur l'assimilation, a justement réitéré l'importance d'avoir cette pleine gamme d'éducation en langue française.

Le rapport de Stacy Churchill, qui date déjà de quelques années, indiquait également la même chose, soit ce besoin de la pleine gamme d'éducation. Pour nous à l'AEFO, la qualité de l'éducation va de pair avec la gestion de nos écoles de langue française. Nous avons été très actifs dans les conseils scolaires d'Ottawa-Carleton et également celui de Toronto : l'établissement des deux premiers conseils scolaires de langue française en province.

La Cour d'appel de l'Ontario en 1984 a statué que l'article 23 de la Charte des droits et libertés accordait partout dans la province le droit aux francophones de gérer leurs propres institutions. Pour respecter ce jugement, l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario adoptait des lois créant des conseils scolaires de langue française à Toronto et à Ottawa. Ça a été perçu par la population francophone en général comme un pas très positif et un début de réponse aux besoins des francophones. De plus, I'Assemblée approuvait en 1986 le projet de loi 75, qui créait dans les autres conseils scolaires où il y avait des classes, modules ou écoles de langue française des sections de langue française.

Devant les jugements des divers cours, la Loi 75 devenait, à notre avis, une étape temporaire avant la pleine gestion par les francophones de leurs institutions.

En examinant ce jugement de la Cour d'appel de l'Alberta, la Cour suprême du Canada confirmait le jugement de 1984 de la Cour d'appel de l'Ontario tout en lui ajoutant certaines précisions. Le droit de la gestion des francophones a été non seulement maintenu mais renforcé par ces divers cours.

À notre avis, les projets de loi 12 et 13 modifient la Loi sur l'éducation de façon à rencontrer les exigences de la décision de la Cour suprême du Canada. De plus, ils rendront la mise en oeuvre de ces décisions plus facile.

Je reconnais la part importante du Parti libéral -- et je cite hors du texte ici -- qui était au pouvoir récemment, dans la création des premiers conseils scolaires de langue française d'Ottawa-Carleton et de Toronto. Je félicite également ce parti pour les démarches qu'il avait entreprises à Prescott et Russell. L'AEFO est très heureuse du suivi à Prescott et Russell et à Simcoe et des initiatives entreprises par le Nouveau Parti démocratique vis-à-vis des dossiers de la gestion, et tout particulièrement vis-à-vis des deux projets de loi devant nous aujourd'hui, les projets de loi 12 et 13.

À notre avis, les projets de loi 12 et 13 modifient la Loi sur l'éducation de façon à satisfaire aux exigences de la décision de la Cour suprême, comme je l'ai mentionné tantôt.

Nous appuyons les modifications à l'article 2 du projet de loi 12. Plusieurs communautés francophones veulent la mise en place immédiate de conseils scolaires de langue française, d'autres sont à étudier les modalités d'une telle mise en oeuvre. L'établissement de conseils scolaires se fera donc graduellement en respectant le rythme de développement des communautés. Cet amendement permet donc de créer les conseils scolaires de langue française à un moment approprié sans avoir, à chaque cas, à créer une loi spéciale.

Il est important de prendre cette route afin d'éviter dans le futur des débats émotionnels devant l'Assemblée législative. La flexibilité proposée dans le projet de loi 12 éviterait ces situations de crise -- nous vivons encore les effets de la dernière -- en rendant beaucoup plus fluide le processus. Le comité consultatif qui circule présentement en province sur la gestion sera certainement un atout important à la création de ces futurs conseils.


L'article 23 de la Charte des droits et libertés date de 1982. Le premier jugement d'interprétation en cette matière date de 1984. Nous croyons que la période d'attente a été assez longue et justifie les mesures prises par ces amendements. J'espère que tous les partis appuieront justement ces deux projets de loi.

Alors, quant à moi, il faut passer immédiatement à l'action et je réitère que ça fait longtemps que les communautés francophones attendent que ceci soit mis en place.

Puisque cet amendement ne touche, par son libellé, que la création de conseils scolaires de langue française, il serait faux de prétendre que cela donne au conseil exécutif le pouvoir de faire ou de défaire des conseils scolaires de langue anglaise. Plus tard, lorsque les conseils scolaires de langue française auront été créés et mis en place, il sera toujours temps de remettre ces pouvoirs à l'Assemblée législative.

L'AEFO ne s'opposerait pas à une disposition législative, à une «sunset clause» qui retournerait à l'Assemblée législative le contrôle sur la création de futurs conseils scolaires de langue française. L'échéancier, par contre, d'ici à ce temps, devrait être raisonnable et acceptable à la communauté francophone.

L'AEFO appuie les amendements aux paragraphes 14(3) et 14(4) du projet de loi 12. La Cour suprême a statué que le nombre de conseillers scolaires représentant la minorité linguistique devrait être proportionnel au nombre d'enfants de la minorité linguistique relevant de ce conseil.

C'est à notre avis la façon la plus juste de définir le nombre de conseillers scolaires de chacun des articles. Cela rétablira l'équilibre dans les conseils qui ont été désavantagés par la Loi 75.

L'AEFO appuie les propositions d'amendements des articles 3, 4 et 10 et de 12 à 21 sur les propositions qui permettront de rendre plus rapide la mise en place de conseils scolaires de langue française entre les élections ; de rendre plus claires certaines situations créées par l'ancien projet de loi 75, notamment en ce qui regarde la possibilité d'avoir une distribution géographique différente des conseillers scolaires entre les deux sections du conseil scolaire, ainsi que le calcul du nombre d'élèves sous la responsabilité des sections des conseils.

L'AEFO appuie les propositions d'amendements des articles 5 à 9. Ces amendements prolongent la durée de la protection accordée aux enseignantes et aux enseignants transférés des conseils publics vers les conseils catholiques.

Lors de la mise en oeuvre du financement des écoles secondaires catholiques, il a été clairement établi que les enseignantes et les enseignants qui seraient désignés pour être transférés aux conseils scolaires catholiques ne seraient pas pénalisés. Puisque la période de protection de dix ans tire à sa fin et que les transferts ne sont pas complétés, il est important de protéger les droits des enseignantes et des enseignants.

En guise de conclusion, l'AEFO croit que les amendements proposés par les projets de loi 12 et 13 assureront une mise en place calme et ordonnée des futurs conseils scolaires de langue française. Il est dans l'intérêt de tous les Ontariens et de toutes les Ontariennes d'assurer que notre système scolaire garantisse la meilleure éducation possible aux enfants. Les mesures à prendre pour respecter les droits des francophones comme ceux des anglophones doivent être prises de façon rationnelle et en harmonie. Dans ce but, I'AEFO recommande à ce comité et à l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario d'adopter les projets de loi 12 et 13 dans les plus brefs délais possibles.

Mrs Cunningham: Thank you for coming this afternoon. It is good to see you again. You might be happy to know that with the sunset clause and with the intent of the minister, we are coming to like this bill a little bit better too. We are happy that through this process we have had even more input from the representatives today around improvements that can be made to the bill, so for that purpose alone it has been useful, I think, to be in this committee.

I was interested in your comments around your concerns around the emotional terms each time a school board is created, and I think in the beginning, certainly for some of us who have been around for a long period of time, the uncertainty is part of that, I am sure. You said that you like this method and that you also like the sunset clause. My thinking is that if you have the discussions in the community ahead of time and everything documented in a bill wherever possible, and I think that you are probably saying the same thing, that this is probably why we have not had the negative discussions in this Legislative Assembly, because in fact we did not have them. We did not even have them in the committee hearings because most of it had been done in the communities. I am wondering what your experience has been with the previous two school boards that were set up, if you can enlighten us at all.

M. Millaire : J'aimerais préciser une chose sur le fait que j'aime une «sunset clause» ; je serais d'accord avec une «sunset clause». Je ne l'ai pas vue encore. Je n'ai pas d'échéancier, alors je ne peux pas me prononcer sur quelles, exactement, seraient les dates. Lorsque je parle de «sunset clause», c'est que je crois qu'il est important d'établir le plus rapidement possible des conseils scolaires, de donner un échéancier ou une période de temps qui serait acceptable pour la mise en place. Là, une fois que ça aura été fait, on pourra établir une «sunset clause».

Pour ce qui est du sujet, je crois que tout ce sujet ici a été discuté à mort. Alors, on a discuté de la création de conseils scolaires de langue française. C'étaient des débats très épineux dans certaines régions. Je crois que la consultation a été faite ; ça ne s'appelait peut-être pas le projet de loi 12 ou 13 mais toutes les discussions ont été faites autour de ce sujet. Je crois que c'est le temps d'agir.

The Chair: The bells are ringing. It is a 10-minute bell. Do you want to ask a question now or shall we adjourn now and come back after? There is time for one more question.

Mrs Cunningham: Let's do it. We may even be able to finish if we all go in a hurry.

The Chair: Did you have another question?

Mrs Cunningham: Yes. I was wondering what your experience has been in the past with the negotiations that went around. I know it was very slow, but you said that there was very little discourse at the Legislative Assembly and I am wondering what your experience has been with the previous boards. Once they got here there was very little discourse here. You said there were no emotional tones in the Legislative Assembly; that is what you were looking for. I am thinking that there is a better opportunity if it takes place in the community and it is formulated ahead of time, but I just wondered if you had a feeling on that. I am not talking sunset now, because I too am not sure what it does mean; I am talking process.

M. Millaire : Mes préoccupations initiales -- je réitère le fait que cela a été discuté et que la communauté a été consultée -- avant la deuxième lecture, nous étions très préoccupés que si la deuxième lecture était retardée de cinq ou six mois, alors on aurait encore eu les mêmes débats avec des groupes qui auraient été contre, des groupes qui auraient été pour. Alors, je crois que ce n'était pas nécessaire, à ce moment-là, de reprendre tout ce débat.

Dans les deux conseils qui ont été créés, je crois que les communautés ont fait leurs présentations et leurs revendications. Il y a eu des groupes qui se sont opposés mais je crois que, en général, on représentait deux grandes régions dont une avait une très forte majorité francophone.

Maintenant, avec des régions où ce n'est pas une forte majorité -- c'est plutôt une minorité dans certains endroits -- on pourrait avoir les mêmes débats qui recommencent pour toute la question «là où le nombre le justifie» et on n'en finirait pas.

J'aimerais revenir juste rapidement sur la question de la «sunset clause». On vient de m'indiquer ici qu'on parle de 1994. Moi je verrais une «sunset clause» plus loin que 1994. Moi, je verrais qu'on devrait passer à travers au moins une autre élection municipale, en d'autres mots, aller au moins jusqu'en 1997 ; 1994 c'est quand même assez près. Il faut que certains conseils commencent à penser exactement à ce qu'ils veulent. Ils doivent avoir, par exemple, un rapport du comité consultatif sur la gestion pour pouvoir choisir un modèle. Quant à moi, 1994, c'est trop près.

The Chair: There is time for one very short question and one very short answer, or we can come back.

Interjection: They are calling the members now.

The Chair: They are calling now? Are we going to come back following the vote? Agreed? We will reconvene, probably by about 5 or 10 after 6.

The committee recessed at 1753.


The Vice-Chair: Can I call the committee to order, please? We have 10 minutes and I would call on Mr Martin. I do not see other members of the committee from the Conservative Party here so I do not know if we should allow them a few minutes to get here, but I think that we should just proceed. Mr Martin has a question. I do not believe that there are any other questions at this time. Mr Martin, would you like to proceed with your question?

Mr Martin: It is actually a very simple question. I think he has probably already answered it, but I just want to hear it again. Your sense of this is that we should proceed with all haste to get this question out there and begin to come up with some structure as to how we will put these boards together and get on with life.

M. Millaire : Très bien, vous avez très bien résumé la question. C'est exactement cela qu'on veut. Oui, il y a eu beaucoup de consultations qui ont été faites. Je crois que la population est prête. Elle veut avoir sa propre gérance de ses écoles et de ses conseils scolaires. Je crois que le plus rapidement qu'on va pouvoir le faire, le mieux ce sera.

The Vice-Chair: If there are no other questions, I would take this opportunity -- oh, yes. Final comment.

M. Millaire : J'aimerais juste faire une précision sur la «sunset clause», que je n'ai peut-être pas tellement bien comprise. J'ai entendu ça ici tantôt. Je voyais la «sunset clause» comme quoi qu'en 1994 il ne serait plus question qu'on puisse créer d'autres conseils scolaires de langue française. Ce n'était certainement pas ça mon but. Je crois que dans certains endroits, ça va prendre plus de temps que dans d'autres. Alors, si après, en 1994, à ce moment-là ça doit revenir à l'Assemblée législative à prendre les décisions, moi, j'aimerais que ce soit plus tard que ça. Maintenant, mon but n'était certainement pas de dire qu'après 1994, il ne serait plus question d'avoir d'autres conseils scolaires. C'était une mauvaise interprétation de ma part.

The Vice-Chair: The minister would respond to your comment.

Hon Mrs Boyd: That was not at all the intention of the sunset. What it meant was that by regulation, without the legislation being in place -- so our anticipation as a government is that the legislation would be in place prior to 1 January 1994.

M. Millaire : Merci.

The Vice-Chair: One last call for further questions. Mrs Cunningham. I give you one last opportunity to ask a question, if you have any further questions.

Mrs Cunningham: I did not get my last one answered, but I am not sure that it is fair to pursue it because we have all had the same difficulty in looking at what has happened before today and what that process was all about. I thought that it was a rather good one and I think that, given your response to the last question, and that was about the sunset clause. I obviously personally prefer to see the public hearings in their communities and everything solved and put in the form of a bill that comes to this House without any -- I forget what word you used, but you did not like the dissension that can take place here at the Legislative Assembly. I agree with you and that is why I hope that these two rounds of negotiations are very positive in the communities and that they can come up with some solutions and agreements around the two boards that we are talking about.

I would hope that we would have a mechanism so that we will have individual bills come and I think that protects the public in all boards concerned not only in the short term but in the long term, because I think that these agreements -- and I have been part of similar kinds of agreements with the provincial implementation commission in the past -- are worked out very carefully over a long period of time and they can only be changed by the interested parties. I do not like the idea of having those kinds of agreements changed by resolution of the government as opposed to by a bill, an amendment to an act before the House. It is just because I have struggled through them over the years when the French sections were first being developed board by board and certainly through the extension of Bill 30. By the way, it was our party that objected and that is why we are in these hearings.

I think we have had from the government some amendments that we appreciate. One of them was the extension of Bill 30 where they were implementing year by year according to the bill and now they will in fact be able to implement two years at one time. It says three but I think it is realistically two years. That was all subject to public hearings and subject to input.

Certainly the boards' criticism is that it has come at the last minute and it is separate from the French issue. We have three issues in this bill, and that is why we referred it and I want to make that very clear to your group, because a comment was made that if we did not vote in favour -- which in fact I hope we will be able to do; I am not sure, if we get the amendments we want -- we were voting against minority language rights, and that is simply not true, and not of any individual member of the caucus, and I would like you to certainly express those regards to your group.

M. Millaire : J'ai donné mon interprétation tantôt de la «sunset clause» et je pense que les gens qui étaient ici vont pouvoir faire part, justement, de mon interprétation qui n'était pas nécessairement la bonne.

Pour la question des consultations, si je prends, par exemple, Prescott et Russell, par trois fois la communauté est arrivée à un consensus pour avoir son conseil de langue française et encore ça traînait. Alors, lorsqu'un regroupement comme ça, à grande majorité francophone, ne peut pas avoir son conseil, alors comment est-ce qu'une petite communauté va pouvoir aller de l'avant avec toute l'opposition qu'il y a à l'extérieur ?

Alors, c'est un peu dans ce sens-là que je l'ai dit tantôt. Il y a eu beaucoup de consultations qui ont été faites. Même là où il y avait des gros groupes, les choses n'ont pas avancé. Alors, si on retourne ça et on rouvre encore toutes les discussions avec des petits groupes, il y a très peu de chance de survie.

Mrs Cunningham: Just a closing comment. I think in that instance where there was an agreement that the agreement should have been put in the form of a bill and it should have been passed by this House. I do not like the idea of reopening these negotiations. By the way, I appreciate the message that the minister is trying to send on this right now. We are not arguing about that, but I still stand by my words around an act of Parliament saying that is the way it is going to be and no one changes it unless all sides come together and it comes before this Legislative Assembly.

I notice that the member for Sault Ste Marie was constantly asking the same question, and that was, "Don't you think we need this bill to hurry things up?" I do not disagree with him, but there were parts of the bill that I did disagree with. I do not disagree with the member or the government around these two school boards. As a matter of fact, we may not get the consensus in one of those communities. Who knows? That is up to them and that is the wonderful thing about local autonomy. I would hope that eventually some kind of bill would come forth to meet the needs of all the communities involved.

Mr Owens: The government certainly shares the concerns of Robert Millaire and the group that you represent, which is clearly why we were wanting to go forward and have only two days of presentations and then get the bill back into the House ready for passage.

At that point, we will want to get out into the community and hear the depositions and the deputations that I think people want to make. But we do hear your concern, and consultation is something that could go endlessly. We have no interest in doing that. We want to move forward quickly.

The Vice-Chair: I would like to thank you for your presentations today.

Mr Martin: I would like to check with the side opposite with respect to the question we opened this day with and that was the question of whether we should extend these hearings and invite other folks in. My sense of what has happened today, the tone of it, is that at this point we really do not need to do that and that we should stick with the agenda that is in front of us here, which I believe is one or two more groups tomorrow and then we could get into debating the amendments.

Certainly we have agreed to one anyway, to look at it and to debate the amendments and get this back on the floor so that we can in actual fact get this on the way and get the consultation process that is in inherent in this bill on the way so that we can actually deliver to the francophone population of Ontario that which it sees as its right.

The Vice-Chair: We decided to address Mrs Cunningham's motion tomorrow. I think it would be appropriate to deal with that tomorrow, and I would call for an adjournment at this time until tomorrow for the committee to meet.

Mr Martin: I do not want to drop it at that. I think that by waiting till tomorrow we are also sending a signal out there to the community that there is possibly more consultation going to be happening. It creates, I think, expectations that will then be disappointed.

Mrs Cunningham: Can I just reassure the member that the three representatives of the caucus here -- at least I was phoned and asked to represent our group -- we all agreed on the two days, and I have not changed my mind on that. I have left my motion on the floor for a reason. I am not sending any signals out, nor am I telling anybody that he might be able to come. I will leave that in the hands of the committee, and that is just the way I operate. But I do feel better having heard today what I have heard, and I probably will feel even better tomorrow. But I do not want to cut anybody off. We have got a number of requests, and some of their concerns have been addressed, and maybe all of them will be addressed tomorrow. But I am not telling anybody that he can come. Obviously, the vote is with the government, so you have got nothing to lose except to appease me by waiting until tomorrow.

The Vice-Chair: I appreciate your concern, Mr Martin, but I think if I might suggest we still stick to our proposal to have Mrs Cunningham's motion dealt with tomorrow, unless there is great disagreement from you, then we will proceed in that fashion. Is that okay?

Mr Martin: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: This committee stands adjourned until 3:30 tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday.

The committee adjourned at 1817.