Monday 21 June 1993

Education Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, Bill 4

Middlesex County Board of Education

Gordon Hardcastle, trustee and chair, junior kindergarten committee

Association for Bright Children of Ontario

Margaret Walker, advocate for children and past president

Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association

Patrick Meany, first vice-president

Carol Devine, second vice-president

Earle McCabe, deputy executive director

York Region Board of Education

Denis Middleton, trustee and vice-chair, junior kindergarten program


*Chair / Président: Beer, Charles (York North/-Nord L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

*Carter, Jenny (Peterborough ND)

Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC)

*Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)

*Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND)

McGuinty, Dalton (Ottawa South/-Sud L)

*O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

*O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Rizzo, Tony (Oakwood ND)

Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Malkowski, Gary (York East/-Est ND) for Mr Owens

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC) for Mrs Cunningham

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND) for Mr Hope

Clerk pro tem / Greffière par intérim: Pajeska, Donna

Staff / Personnel: Gardner, Dr Bob, assistant director, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1619 in room 151.


Consideration of Bill 4, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to Education / Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne l'éducation.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Ron Eddy): Good afternoon. Welcome to the standing committee on social development, holding hearings on Bill 4, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to Education.


The Vice-Chair: The first presenter is the Middlesex County Board of Education. Mr Hardcastle, please introduce yourself and proceed with your presentation. Because of the shortage of time, I don't see that we will have time for questions.

Mr Gordon Hardcastle: My name is Gordon Hardcastle. I'm the chair of the junior kindergarten committee for the Middlesex County Board of Education. I'd like to thank you for this opportunity to speak to the committee today.

This presentation is made on behalf of the Middlesex County Board of Education, which serves 11,000 students and 65,000 residents of the county of Middlesex. The county used to be known as the doughnut surrounding London; now we might better be described as the icing on the cake, since we surround London on three sides; the county is 70 kilometres wide and 60 kilometres long.

The board is justifiably proud of its commitment to its students and its high quality of programs.

Although we have some reservations with other parts of Bill 4, we would like to restrict our comments to the mandatory implementation of junior kindergarten.

Junior kindergarten was studied in depth by our board in 1990 and was reviewed as recently as June 1992. In 1990 the board defeated a motion to implement JK by a vote of 9 to 7. In 1992 the board again defeated a motion to implement JK, this time by a vote of 14 to 2. In addition, in 1992 the board voted to not implement JK by a vote of 13 to 2.

We were encouraged by the decision to allow boards to request a delay in the mandatory introduction of JK from 1994 to 1997 and support that decision fully. We continue to be opposed to the mandatory implementation of JK and appreciate this opportunity to make the presentation. The reasons for this opposition are as many and as varied as the trustees on our board, but the following represents some common themes.

(1) JK is not necessarily an appropriate program for Middlesex county. Research indicates that low-income children can derive substantial benefits from JK. However, there is no definitive proof that other children receive substantive benefit from JK. Middlesex enjoys a comfortable average income compared to the provincial average. Our county is primarily rural in nature, with many of our students coming from homes where one or both parents are home during the day. In addition, many of our communities have excellent preschool programs for those who desire them.

We do recognize that there are areas of Ontario where JK provides a significant benefit to a substantial number of children. We believe that only a small number of children in Middlesex would benefit in a significant way from JK compared to the programs, both formal and informal, to which they are currently exposed.

(2) Parents are concerned about busing young children. Most students in Middlesex are bused to school because of the long distances involved. Parts of Middlesex are in the snow belt and are also subject to heavy fog conditions at different times of the year. The rural nature of our county and the need to minimize busing costs would require us to hold all-day every-other-day JK classes. During winter months, this would mean that JK students would leave for school and come home during darkness. The thought of busing children as young as three years old through these conditions is a major concern.

(3) Our schools are already crowded. A recent analysis of our school enrolment by an independent consultant stated, "The system as a whole is going to experience overcrowding, even without the introduction of JK." The mandated introduction of JK will greatly exacerbate this problem. We would need to add 17 portables to accommodate JK classes, and some of our school sites cannot accommodate any more portables.

(4) The lack of community support: Parents have not indicated an overwhelming desire for JK. Many municipalities within the county have passed motions opposed to implementing JK. Even the London Free Press supports a need to re-evaluate school responsibilities in its editorial dated October 9, 1990, stating that, "There is no compelling evidence that such early institutionalization of children is uniformly beneficial."

(5) The cost: Our startup costs of JK would be approximately $2 million. Our annual operating costs would amount to $1.4 million. Although the province is generous in its grants for JK, ultimately the total financial burden falls on the local taxpayer. Costs of this program will escalate in the future. Middlesex's costs are based on an SK maximum PTR of 26 to 1. A select committee has recommended a maximum PTR for JK of 16 to 1. Research studies indicate that to ensure quality, the PTR must be kept low and suggest ratios of no more than 10 to 1. We have not even tried to calculate the cost of such a system in Middlesex.

In conclusion, we do recognize the needs of our at-risk children. However, we believe that the broad-brush approach of mandatory junior kindergarten is not appropriate.

Accordingly, we would recommend (a) that junior kindergarten be made an optional program based on local requirements and (b) that the ministry review with school boards ways of addressing the at-risk students and providing community-based strategies to meet their needs.

Thank you very much for your attention.

The Vice-Chair: As the second presenter has not arrived, there's time for one short question per caucus.

Mr Charles Beer (York North): Thank you for your presentation and also for the recommendations. In terms of the second one, has the board thought of any particular kinds of programs? Have you looked, for example, at what Grey county has proposed doing? I mention Grey simply because of the rural nature, where it's tried to make use of existing child care programs and weave them into a system. Has the board had any opportunity to look at what those options might be?

Mr Hardcastle: The board hasn't had a chance to look at those things, but I'd be happy to comment from a personal perspective. I think we could tie into some of the excellent programs we have in a lot of the communities throughout the county, and I think we could find ways of providing some tax support to the families of those children who are really at risk and really need to get into those programs and may not do so because of the costs involved.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I'm just wondering how you would have felt about Bill 4 had the ministry consulted with your board at length and asked you whether you wanted all of it or part of it. Are you concerned about the lack of consultation?

Mr Hardcastle: Consultation is always appropriate. Again as a personal observation, we felt left out in the cold in Middlesex, particularly on the JK issue.

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): I'd like to put on the record the remarkable work that the Middlesex board does in terms of its integration of students and working to serve hard-to-serve students, with limited resources over a period of years. They have created miracles, and we thank them for it.

Some of the members mightn't know, but there's also a separate board that operates in London and in Middlesex county. Do they offer JK, have they discussed their programming with you and have they determined what difficulties they may have encountered?

Mr Hardcastle: The separate board does offer JK throughout its system, both in London and Middlesex. We have not had extensive discussions with them in terms of their JK program.

Mrs Mathyssen: So it is there in the county if parents would like to access it.

Mr Hardcastle: For those who wish to, yes.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, and we hope you make your meeting back in Middlesex county.



The Vice-Chair: We'll move on to the next presenter, the Association for Bright Children of Ontario. Welcome. Introduce yourself, please, and proceed.

Mrs Margaret Walker: Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here. My name is Margaret Walker and I am a past president of the Association for Bright Children of Ontario. My current title is advocate for children, and I take that position quite seriously.

I'm pleased to be here again. I was here on June 7, as we began these proceedings, as a member of the minister's advisory council on special education. It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to dialogue with members of the House.

On June 7 when we were here, Mr Martin was making some introductory comments about the legislation and things that were happening. It may be that I'm slightly sensitive to it, but I'm not sure that I recall him talking about gifted children among the exceptional. It may just have been an oversight, but we are sensitive in our organization that very often when we're talking about exceptional children, gifted children are not always included.

Our association is the voice for bright and gifted pupils within the province. The number of calls we are receiving has doubled in the last year; our membership is rising significantly. I think it's important for you to know and for all of us to remember that we have about 33,000 students in the province who are identified as gifted. It's the second-largest category of exceptionality.

As a parent group, we are there to support the parents of these children and to advocate for their needs, my reason for being here today. We have parents who call who have young children ready to go into the system and they're concerned about issues. We as an association are certainly supportive of the publicly funded boards and do want to direct the parents in that way. Our concern is that there are many parents out there who are looking to us for options in private school. Our answer to them of course is that, "If you're looking, you look in the same way you would at a publicly funded school board." But we want to ensure that programs are there for all exceptional children in our publicly funded system.

Right now, many of the parents who are coming to us are very concerned about special education in Ontario. There seems to be a state of confusion and contradiction. I know we've dialogued with a number of people around this, but there's a lack of compliance out there by some of the boards in terms of the opportunities and options available for our exceptional children. We really believe there is a need to maintain that range of placement options. In our dialoguing with Gary Malkowski we have talked about that and are very assured by his concerns and issues to have some of those options available for students.

We believe there continues to be a need for guaranteed access for special education programs and services in the province, and that of course must include the identification of our children. The member for Middlesex talked about integration of students. That's extremely important and it leads me into what I want to talk about in the bill.

I always like to come and have an opportunity to dialogue around other things as well, but the integration policy is an important one for some of those students, for that small number, the 5,000 to 6,000 students who have never had an opportunity for regular class placement. I looked back in my notes. In June 1986 we responded, taking a look at amendments to the Education Act; our association supported at that time the removal of the terminology "trainable retarded," both as a term and as a separate category of exceptionality. We're very pleased that this bill does include that it will be taken out as a separate category and that those exceptional children will have the opportunity for regular class placement as well. Our concern is that in doing that there are some boards that are really ignoring and denying some other students who need some different opportunities, some of those options. That is a concern we have.

In terms of Bill 84, taking away the hard-to-serve, we see it in some ways as another one of those things that is there and we are almost dismantling some of the good things and very excellent things we've had in the province in terms of special education. We're trying to figure out where in the Ministry of Education structural document that's out special education lies or will lie. We will be responding and making comments on that, as is our wont to do.

With regard to the hard-to-serve, and that's the main thing I want to talk about -- it's in the printed submission you have before you -- we would really support the retention of the hard-to-serve, mostly because it is safety net for a very few students, as I know you've heard here, but I also understand that you have heard from the parents of some of those students who are working and needing something different for their children.

I have spoken to some of those parents whose children are extremely gifted but have some very specific learning disabilities. Sometimes the discrepancy in their scores on intelligence tests is so vast and so broad that it's very difficult to know what to do with them. The boards have difficulty doing it. Certainly the parents know there's something else that needs to happen. We believe that discrepancy in the scores and other things means there is a very definite need to maintain the hard-to-serve.

I noted in one of Ms Lindhout's memos that there was an indication that in the medical treatment aspect, where the educational component would be paid for out of province and perhaps even out of the country, there might be up to 10 students per year in that category. The unfortunate thing is that the needs of the hard-to-serve students could not at this current time be met under that category. It's certainly a concern we have.

The other issue you'll note there is the concern about making the legislation retroactive. Just what will happen to those students, not only those students for whom the program has been in place in 1992-93 but for any students who may have been identified since June 1992 for that sort of thing? What will happen to them in the future? That is a concern we have.

One other comment I have been asked to make -- it isn't in the presentation -- from our association is in terms of JK and day care within the school systems and the reality of that. There are a few boards, and only a few right now, which do not have the JK program. But we are concerned that, wherever JK and if day care does become part of what boards are more involved in, the early identification of students' needs is looked at very thoroughly at that time.

It is a concern and an issue that sometimes, when children come to junior kindergarten, if there is a physical disability that's seen, those children are very quickly identified. Sometimes for those parents, inappropriate segregation is offered to them rather than the default, if you want to put it that way, placement in a regular junior kindergarten. For some of our children, there is a need for their strengths to be seen and to have dialogue with parents about why these children are reading. Usually our gifted kids who come to school reading are not reading because the parents have flashcarded them to death; it is rather a fact that these children have picked it up in a variety of ways. If I can talk about my own, I'm sure they were both reading before school but were clever enough not to let their mother know because they figured that if I knew I would stop reading to them; in essence, we did read an awful lot for a long time. But it did allow some other things to happen in terms of talking about values and family values and other things around that.

One of the things that sometimes doesn't happen for many of our parents -- I'm talking for those in the association for bright children, but certainly as I dialogue with other parents -- is that we're not always believed. We're not thought of as the full partners that we want to be in the education of our children, and I think it's really important that that is hit home. Sometimes in the area of our gifted children, it is a real concern.

Briefly, we do favour the retention of hard-to-serve just for those very few students. We really want to stress, not just in this legislation but throughout and as we talk about things, that early identification of strengths and needs be a very integral part of any forward moving in education reform. Thank you very much for the opportunity.

Mrs Marland: Ms Walker, I'm glad you're here today addressing the repealing of section 35. I too share your concern; I share it equally at both ends of the spectrum in terms of children with special needs. I probably find it more difficult than anything else to accept that where we make changes, the people who need the most help end up being eliminated in terms of recognizing those needs. It's unbelievable to me.

I know some of us in this room have had a lot of experience working with children of all ages and all abilities in several school boards, and those of us who have that experience know well how we celebrated Bill 82. Bill 82 was a coming of age in this province in terms of looking after children's needs in terms of their education, regardless of ability.


I have a letter here from the Learning Disabilities Association of North Peel expressing exactly the same concerns that you are. They talk about the fact that although this is a label -- and I know the counter argument would be, "Well, we're trying to do away with labels." If that's all this government were trying to do away with, then I could accept it, but I feel it is removing, as you said so well, that last safety net to protect the vulnerable child whose needs could not be met in any other of the existing educational forums.

How do you feel these children are ever going to cope? Do you have a solution we can give to this government, to say to it, "You're creating this tremendous gap, this tremendous void"? They've already created a tremendous void for these children once they're 21 by cancelling the sheltered workshop programs in this province. We already don't know what to do to help those people who, once they're 21, have no longer any opportunity for any training or education in a formal sense at all. Do you have any advice we could try to drum through the heads of the people in this government that is making these regressive decisions?

Mrs Walker: A big opportunity for me; thank you very much, Ms Marland.

There are a number of issues. You talked about Bill 82. The IPRC and the SEAC, the special education advisory committee, were the two main things that came out of that bill for many of us as parents in terms of the partnership opportunities that are there, the partnership within the IPRC as an individual parent talking about your child and how you dialogue around that. Whether it's us talking as individuals for our children or for all children in the province, we need to continue to dialogue and we need to hear from all of the constituent partners that are out there.

When we talk about the students who are over 21 and need continuing support to help them come to their potential as fully as possible, whether that's in a sheltered workshop opportunity or in some other things, we need to dialogue and we need to have options.

I guess this is the big key, that there has to be a variety of options available. There is no one mechanism, one fix, that will benefit all children, and our position as an organization within education is the need for options. There are some students who need, at some times, the regular placement option, some who need a special class, some who need our provincial schools and some who, in extreme cases, and there are very small numbers of them, will need that hard-to-serve situation.

Those options need to be there, and we need to have a mechanism that ensures that all of those are options open to parents in all school boards, either in that school board or from purchase of service from a neighbouring school board. But we have to ensure that parents don't have to move from school board to school board in order to provide something for their child.

I think that the importance is to really take a look and make sure there are options. We can't keep cutting away things that allow people, particularly children who are vulnerable, to be left alone. They are our future, they are our resource, and we really must support them.

Mrs Marland: The fact that you say they are few in number is enough of an argument in itself. If we can't look after a few people who need that specialized help, then we're just not looking after anyone.

Mr Gary Malkowski (York East): Thank you, Mrs Walker. I really appreciated your presentation and I think you made some valid points.

I'd like to make a comment related to your hard-to-serve. I think in the 1980s, I guess almost about 10 years ago compared to now, at that time the hard-to-serve was a safety net because there were not enough resources available within Ontario. But I think if you think about today we have a different picture. We do have educational options that are available with a variety of resources.

I think I'd like to ask what the real issue is. Is it the availability of resources to meet the needs of the child, or is it how school boards deliver the resources and the programs for the children? What do you think is the real issue?

Mrs Walker: Probably all of those, Mr Malkowski. I think not all of the opportunities and options are available in school boards. We are seeing now school boards that are taking away some of the resources, particularly in some areas, those people who have expertise in a particular area. Many people are becoming generalists, rather than having specific support opportunities and ability to help teachers in specific areas.

I think the difficult thing is that the children who are hard to serve do not fit into the category of the provincial school necessarily being the appropriate situation for them. There are some other difficulties around that. We would not suggest that hard-to-serve is there as an option before the school boards have gone through all of the opportunities and suggestions and options for that child, but rather the hard-to-serve is a very last resort.

We're finding that we are having more parents calling us with those concerns and issues; certainly from ABC's point of view we have had a number of those parents call. Then, because we don't have as much experience and expertise in that area, we often inform them and offer them the suggestion to work with the learning disabilities association as well as ours as they look for the best solutions for their children. But it still is there as a need for a safety net, unfortunately.

Mr Malkowski: If I could just have a supplementary, I was wondering if you would agree to have the removal of hard-to-serve as long as the Ministry of Education and Training would guarantee the educational options available and the school boards would deliver the services necessary to children in Ontario.

Mrs Walker: I guess my question is, can you guarantee that? We have Bill 82 in place right now, which to me would have been the guarantee to have those options available, and we don't find that it is universally available and accessible to all children.

Mrs Yvonne O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau): Good answer.

Mr Beer: Thank you again for coming before the committee. Just a couple of points. I just want to make sure that we're clear. Your preference would be that we leave the hard-to-serve designation as it is in the existing legislation. If that is not possible, you would ask us to consider the recommendations, I guess really a proposed amendment that was made by the Advisory Council on Special Education, as a fallback option?

Mrs Walker: The recommendations from the advisory council were to amend that whole section of the act to maintain the hard-to-serve with a slightly different definition, as we have outlined, but to keep it in place.

Mr Beer: But that would be a number two, if I can put it that way, in terms of your --

Mrs Walker: Yes.

Mr Beer: Okay. I believe that when you were here wearing one of your other hats, there was some question that you might be meeting with the minister to talk about some options and alternatives. I wondered if you were part of that meeting and if there would appear to be some things that might be being developed in the interim that would meet the needs that you have expressed today.

Mrs Walker: It was the learning disabilities association that met with Mr Cooke. I guess the same sort of comment was made, and I'm not speaking for Ms Nichols or the learning disabilities association, but if there was a guarantee that these would be in place, then that's a possibility, but we don't see that as being guaranteed at this present time.

Mr Beer: Okay, fine. Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for your presentation.



The Vice-Chair: The next presentation is from the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association. Please come forward.

Mr Patrick Meany: I'm Patrick Meany, first vice-president of the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association, and I'll introduce Carol Devine, second vice-president of the same association, and our deputy executive director, Earle McCabe. I bring regrets on behalf of our president, Mary Hendriks, and our executive director, Patrick Slack, who would have wished to be here, but they are unable to be here.

The Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association is comprised of 53 Roman Catholic separate school boards. Thirty-seven of our member boards are operating under Bill 75 and have minority sections. Of these boards, 31 have French-language minority sections and six have English-language minority sections. Roman Catholic separate school boards educate approximately 600,000 students in the publicly supported schools of Ontario.

The Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association generally supports the amendments proposed by Bill 4, the Education Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993. We previously expressed our support for various of the proposed amendments when they were put forward as part of Bill 125, the Education Statute Law Amendment Act, 1991, and Bill 88, the Education Statute Law Amendment Act, 1992.

In this brief, OSSTA wishes to make submissions on two aspects of Bill 4 of particular concern.

Mrs Carol Devine: The aspect of the bill I would like to address is that dealing with hard-to-serve pupils.

The Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association opposes the repeal of section 35 of the Education Act concerning hard-to-serve pupils. Section 35 recognizes what we think is the very practical fact that school boards are not staffed, equipped, resourced or financed to accommodate all school-aged children and ought not to be obliged to do so.

We believe that the repeal of the section would permit the province to download on to school boards the financial obligations for the care of hard-to-serve children who cannot be accommodated by school boards. In fact, particularly in the case of small boards, the diversion of these funds to the provision of adequate and optimum service for these hard-to-serve pupils could divert funds from other educational programs and may impact on other students as well.

We believe that it would be more equitable for the relatively small number of hard-to-serve pupils to be funded out of general provincial revenues, as happens now. The per-pupil resources which would be required to provide for these hard-to-serve pupils far exceed the per-pupil provincial grant that is available. These students often require very specialized programs, far beyond what is normally provided within school boards in order to meet their needs sufficiently. As I already mentioned, for small school boards and sections hard-to-serve pupils could be supported, but at the expense of other pupils, because educational resources would have to be diverted for those particular needs.

In addition to that, much of the service which needs to be provided for these hard-to-serve pupils is health oriented and not merely educationally oriented. In effect, school boards with the new provision would be required to provide health services to these pupils, which again would be funded through education grants and local assessment.

We would like to emphasize that if this legislation is in fact enacted, we would call at that time for the immediate and rigorous implementation of policy program memorandum number 81, which outlined very specifically the particular provisions for health support services which should be divided among the ministries of Education, Health and Community and Social Services and which would become that much more important if all pupils, including those now called hard-to-serve, became the sole responsibility of school boards.

In fact this policy memorandum has not been fully implemented at this point, and the costs for some of the services which the memorandum provides for, provision from various ministries, are in fact still being provided through school board revenues and school board resources.

For example, speech pathology is listed in the policy memorandum as something which will be provided by the Ministry of Health. Yet I know in our own board, and I'm sure in other boards, the provision of these services is through the local board, through provincial grants and local assessment base. If our speech pathologists were not available to our students, they would face a very long waiting list and perhaps an even longer period of time for service within the local community.

It is our hope that we can continue to provide or that the province can continue to provide optimum programming for these hard-to-serve students, and we see that this would cause great problems if that were left to the limited -- in some cases very limited -- resources of local boards to provide, and at some cost to our other students as well.

Mr Meany: The other topic on which we wish to comment is day nurseries.

Section 29 of Bill 4 would amend section 171 of the Education Act to authorize school boards to "establish, operate and maintain day nurseries within the meaning of the Day Nurseries Act, subject to that act."

While the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association has previously indicated its general support for the recommendations of the report of the Advisory Committee on Children's Services, 1990, entitled Children First, we did so on the basis that full provincial funding for such initiatives would be provided.

We therefore support this provision of Bill 4, but on the understanding that any obligation to operate day nurseries must be wholly financed by additional provincial funding and not by a diversion of existing funding from provincial grants or from the property tax base.

Thank you for the opportunity to make submissions on Bill 4.

Mrs Marland: This is a very important presentation from the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association. Both of the points that you've decided to address happen to be two areas that I personally am very concerned about.

Mr Meany, I know that you're familiar with the learning disabilities association of north Peel, because you and I are elected to represent the same area of Mississauga, and I know that you would share the concern that they express. They wrote to me on June 4, 1993, and they said:

"We believe that by eliminating hard-to-serve, the minister fails to honour his legal obligation to ensure that all exceptional children in Ontario have available to them appropriate special education programs and special educational services. Our association asks that you bring our concerns to the attention of the members of the social development committee," which is what I'm doing now.

They go on to say they want these children considered because eliminating the hard-to-serve category without a replacement service mechanism in place will have a major negative effect on the lives of these children with severe learning disabilities and their families throughout Ontario.

I think the key point that they are raising here is that this hard-to-serve category is being eliminated without a replacement service mechanism in place. What you're saying in your hard-to-serve pupil comments of your brief is that you can see another way of it working when you're suggesting that, if the policy program memorandum of July 19, 1984, of OSSTA was enacted, you would see a cost-sharing of the program in terms of involving the ministries of Education, Health and Community and Social Services.

Obviously that's a realistic approach, but what I'm wondering is, I think you and I have been elected for enough number of years, realistically and fairly through three governments, that I'm wondering how realistic we are to dream for these programs to continue once that hard-to-serve category is eliminated from the act. You and I were both involved when Bill 82 was passed, and that was a victory in this province, to address the special needs in terms of education for our special children. So what is going to happen to these special-needs children and special-needs young adults?


Mr Meany: I would say "were it to be eliminated," because I really think that, through this committee and reconsideration, it won't happen. Again, to refer myself to a background, you'll recall that, not that long ago when such challenges happened in a family, the family had to bear the whole brunt of it, sometimes with extended family. In our board, long before Bill 82, and with our resources, which you know are more limited than those of some, we brought in the educational end of such services. When Bill 82 came in, our methods were studied and adopted elsewhere. This spread, throughout a much wider area, costs that used to fall on a family.

Now what we are saying is that we of course fully support that such services should be provided, but we think they should not fall on such a very narrow base of support. We've come past where they just fell on the family and the extended family, but it's hardship too if they fall on a local area and if they happen to be very expensive, as some of them are. We think that the whole province should be taking responsibility for those people who have those requirements. I think that puts it in a nutshell.

Mrs Marland: I agree totally. Can I just ask you one fast question about the day nurseries? Every government holds out the carrot and says, "This is going to be a wonderful program for children across this province or adults across this province," and then the program is implemented and it's the local taxpayers, through their property taxes, who end up funding it, which is essentially what you're saying about day nurseries.

I know you're as aware as I am that we in fact have brand-new schools in the region of Peel presently with kindergarten and day care centres already built and they are absolutely empty. So when you bring this concern to this committee, because you're representing a province-wide association, can you tell this committee whether in fact the situation in Peel with facilities absolutely ready and up, waiting to be occupied, are vacant, whether that in fact is saying there isn't a need to have day care facilities built in as part of the schools at a tremendous cost for the school boards? Is that happening in other parts of the province as it is happening in Mississauga?

Mr Meany: Yes, for one reason or another, not necessarily always the same reason. Maybe these institutions that run such things are not available. In the particular case that you're aware of, it's that they couldn't afford to do it at what people could afford to pay, so people are not using them. It is a very desirable service; we don't deny that. But we simply cannot put in on the local taxpayers of this province, who are very upset already at what they're having to pay.

Mr Malkowski: Two comments. You were talking about hard-to-serve. Could you give us any statistics of how many students are identified in your experience as hard to serve within the separate school board?

Mr Meany: I don't know how many. I think there's only been about a dozen in the province in all boards. Would that be true, Mr McCabe?

Mr Earle McCabe: The reports we've heard run from six to 12 in the entire province.

Mr Malkowski: Is it because of the limited resources or is it because of the separate school boards' delivery of the program, or is it that there are no resources available in Ontario? Which of those is the real issue?

Mr Meany: The real issue goes wider than the separate school boards. It's simply that it's very expensive and because even larger boards now are down to the bone; it's exceptionally tough on smaller boards, whether separate or otherwise. But we, of course, are only able to speak about the separate boards.

Mr Malkowski: Do you have any specific recommendation regarding hard-to-serve situations?

Mr Meany: Simply that the cost should be province-wide; it should be applied to the provincial treasury rather than the local board's treasury.

Mrs O'Neill: You've really chosen to focus your attention today on a bill that seems to have such complexities, and there must be a reason for that. Bill 4, and section 35 of it, really confuses me. I don't understand why we are homing in on a bill that affects 12 pupils in Ontario. We've had parents of those pupils come before us in this committee, and we had two very good success stories, and a third one that maybe isn't quite as predictable but where there looks like progress. That's 25% of the people who are being served have come before us and told us this was the only answer after a great deal of time.

I cannot understand why we are tampering with success. I won't say anything more political than that, because I've said much more pointed things.

I find that you have focused on something that no one else has, and that's why I'm going to ask the question I am regarding sections, because I don't think we have had it explained to us how special education is served through a section of a board and how complex that can be. Maybe you would like to say a little bit about that. I'm sure you've had experience, and you are the only ones who have brought that particular focus to this debate.

Mr Meany: Simply to say that it is complicated because it's language, basically, and it is one of those things where you have to supply parallel services in the other language.

Mrs O'Neill: That is mandated.

Mr Meany: That is mandated, so the complications build from there. I can't think of any particular ones, but they're obvious, I suppose. I'm not thinking of any particular instances, but we continually have difficulties of all sorts in the boards as in the relationships between the sections as to who's responsible for what. Take my own board, with which I have the most experience, completely amicable relations, but we, every now and again, have to pause and say, "Is this yours or ours, or is it both of us?" Whatever, it just adds. In the case of difficulties such as special education students and dealing with them, of course it gets more complicated.

Mrs O'Neill: Would you have a special education advisory committee for your section?

Mr Meany: Yes.

Mrs O'Neill: There are two CEACs in your board.

Can you see a possibility of a board offering a four-year-old junior kindergarten in some areas and not in others?

Mr Meany: At the moment, I think every one of our boards except one already offers junior kindergarten. I think that's correct.

Mr McCabe: Yes.

Mr Meany: I would have said "all," but I believe there is one, and I'm not aware of the circumstances.


Mrs O'Neill: So you're really speaking with a focus on that board and the difficulties of trying to support mandated programs.

Mr Meany: I was speaking not of junior kindergarten but of the day nurseries that are provided -- the buildings are provided -- in every new school by law now.

Mrs O'Neill: Okay.

Mr Meany: The boards, then, are supposed to make arrangements with some local agency, and the agencies recently are not coming forward or have to do so at a cost that the parents are not able to pay, or for whatever reasons the arrangements are not being made and rooms are sitting empty, as Mrs Marland said, so it's an anomaly.

Mrs O'Neill: Okay. I'm sorry I misunderstood that. That has been brought to our attention by a member of our caucus. So you would suggest that those rooms be freed up?

Mr Meany: Well, we are saying that day nurseries should be supported, or at least we should be permitted to do them, but if we do them, and especially if we're mandated to do them, that the costs should be on the province and not one more thing on the local ratepayer.

Mrs O'Neill: So you're looking for more subsidized spaces.

Mr Meany: We're not asking for subsidy. This is a bill initiated by this Legislature, and we're saying that in relation to this bill, we want to ask you not to require us to provide services at the cost of the local taxpayer. It's a general application of a principle we've had to pay great attention to recently because, democratically, we are under pressure from those who pay those extra bills.

Mrs O'Neill: Thank you.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I just wanted to clarify for the committee that it's optional for boards to provide child care, and that still continues to be the intent under this, the change to the act here. It is precisely because there are empty child care spaces for which boards have not been able to get child care providers that they have asked to be allowed to hold child care licences, so they can make better use of the space, and there's no intention at this point of forcing anybody to do anything.

Mrs Marland: You said it's an option of the school board. I thought the school boards were required now, when they build and design new schools, to incorporate into that school design and that school construction the space for a day care centre. Am I right?

Mr Martin: That's right.

Mrs Marland: Well, how does it become an option?

Mr Martin: They don't have to run a program in it, Margaret. They just have to provide the space.

Mrs Marland: They just have to spend the capital dollars building it. It doesn't matter if it stays empty. Can you believe that?

Mr Martin: Yes, and the provincial government provides the capital. I'll give you an example. In Sault Ste Marie we have some space and the YMCA is willing to provide the service, to be the licence holder, so the school board and the YMCA in that instance will cooperate to make sure there are day care spaces. In some instances, schools are not able to come up with a provider, so they're asking for permission to do that.

Anyway, I just wanted as well -- on the hard-to-serve, actually, the numbers that are recorded in the ministry are six. There may be others out there in process; there may be hard-to-serve committees looking at that go up to perhaps 12 at any given time, but there are six that have been designated hard- to-serve at the moment, and I believe two of them are in Peel-Dufferin separate out of that six.

The Vice-Chair: Do you wish to respond to Mr Martin's statements at all?

Mr Meany: No. We are glad to have assurance that we will not be obliged to supply this service and pay for it. With regard to the hard-to-serve, there are very few of them and I would hope that such a little thing for the province doesn't become a big thing for some local community.

Mrs Marland: Right on. Well said.

Mrs O'Neill: That's right.

Mr Martin: Certainly the government has heard very clearly some of the concern that's been raised at this table over the last couple of weeks. Our intention or desire is as yours: to try to provide for, to the degree that we can, those who are in need out there of special education opportunity. It's a question of how you do it in a way that makes it most cost-effective and, I guess, how you do it so that these kids as well can stay as close to home as possible. We're working on that and we'll be bringing forward some --

Mr Meany: Could I respond?

The Vice-Chair: Yes, sir.

Mr Meany: Nobody has mentioned or referenced the policy memorandum which said that certain services as from early in the 1980s would be provided by the Health ministry etc. That has never seemed to happen, and I know that many boards are actually paying at largely local expense and in compassion because trustees feel they can't let these kids go unlooked after, providing speech pathologists and others.

Really, the decision was taken a long time ago to fix that and we don't understand what has happened. So I wonder if that could be taken into account.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for your presentation.


The Vice-Chair: The next presentation will be by a representative of the York Region Board of Education.

Mr Denis Middleton: My name is Denis Middleton. I'm a trustee with the York Region Board of Education. I'm sorry there are not others with me today but, unfortunately, we didn't get a call till this morning to appear.

As one of our committees is meeting at this hour, they have sent me. I am chairman of our board's junior kindergarten program, so it seemed most appropriate that I come. We felt very much so that, even though it was so late, as the board with such growth in this province we should have somebody here today.

We are only concentrating on amendment 11. If you remember, we have already sent you a brief but we, as a board, have discussed the other parts in here, special education etc. We feel that from our point of view, junior kindergarten is the number one thing that concerns us.

Of all the boards that do not have junior kindergarten, our problems are probably the greatest. We are the second-largest board of the group, but Peel of course at one time had JK, so they have a large number of portables within their system. We have none. We face two problems, essentially, space and cost. So that is why, as I say, we're here.

In 1990, in case you have not read our complete brief, our board turned down the option and unless the ministry paid the full cost, which we estimated at that time to be $17 million, our board would not do anything at all.

However, in 1992, we changed, with new trustees and a new chairman. We decided then that it would be very wise for us to investigate the whole problem and we have sent you in this brief a good number -- the information that we have.

Last of all, we sent a letter on May 3 to Mr Cooke -- you have a copy of it, I believe -- in which we noted a number of things that we felt we needed the answers to before we went ahead.

You'll note in this report, we have already done a great deal of work with all the other agencies, especially the day cares in our region, both the ones that are in our schools and also the private and the community ones, and we have sent letters to every municipality asking about space and we certainly have worked well on this.

As far as the ones that operate within the school, 23 in our case, we have tentatively got some figures that we would work on if we were going to operate our JK program within their facilities. I might suggest to you that costwise, it still costs a good deal just to do that, let alone the fact that we're running into real problems in terms of the use of non-teaching personnel within there and the use of their personnel.

However, at the back of our brief, we ask for exemptions and our reasons for this, and I'm not going to read them to you unless you wish me to later or wish to comment on them. I just have two more comments because I want to be brief. I know it's getting on.

OPSBA had a special meeting just last week with Carola Lane and Maurice Poirier to discuss the whole question of JK; 19 boards out of 21 were there that day. We made it at that time very clear that we do not see the implementation of JK at all as a political issue like some boards have tried to make it. Our board is committed to the fact that this is not a political issue with us; it is essentially financial, because in our case that's where we are. We're just short of money.


We also have one last thing we said the other day and we would like to say again, and that is the ministry and also all three political parties have not convinced the public of the need for JK and in fact for many educators, and we think it's about time that was done. Now, in our case, I happen to be a very convinced person. I saw a number of Operation Head Start programs in the 1970s and 1980s. I've searched the research.

I'm quite convinced it's a valuable program, especially in an area like ours where we have so many students on ESL and where in Mr O'Connor's area we have a large number of students in children's aid and people who have not had the opportunities to advance like so many of the people in the southern part of our region. However, essentially people are not convinced and we raised this the other day and we wanted to raise it also with you again.

I'd be glad to answer any questions.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for your presentation. I'm sure you would agree that pre-school children should have the opportunity for early educational opportunities, correct?

Mr Middleton: Yes, I do.

Mr Malkowski: Would you also agree that boards should then be accountable to provide those educational opportunities for the children if the parents request them?

Mr Middleton: Well, that's easy to say. I can tell you one thing: In our region, if we went ahead with that, I think that the next election those who supported it would no longer be in office. In our area, there are tremendous pressures on us not to have JK but, as I said before, I'm very much in favour of it; I think the research is very clear. But when you start talking $20 million and more, that's something that the people don't seem to be ready to do.

Mr Malkowski: Just finally, do you think that junior kindergarten should be available as an option?

Mr Middleton: Speaking for the board and not for myself, I would say no at this time for the same reasons: just a straight case of finances. We already have 832 portables in our system. How many more can we get in? We are facing, for example, in the town of Richmond Hill, especially where we have the most growth, we are not going to be allowed to put any more portables on most of our schools. The town has said we can't do it. So where do we put these people? It so happens in the same area we lack community space as well. The town of Richmond Hill has not any space to loan us at all, nor have private day cares.

Mr Beer: Thank you, Denis, for coming to the committee even at late notice. We appreciate it. I think one of the things I would like to ask you to do is to just share with us a bit more some of the things which, while they have been sent to the committee, as we are discussing this in the public forum and in Hansard, if you could just share -- and I appreciated the point you made about the board's perspective, that this is a financial issue not a political issue, and that what you're looking at in terms of just the existing situation with the 800-plus portables, that that's where the difficulty lies.

When the board reopened the issue in 1992 and started to review it, as I understand it, it was with a view to making some optional proposals or looking at: "Here's our existing situation. What are some things we could do?" What were you looking at in that context?

Mr Middleton: We were clearly looking at the Grey county option, whereby we would use community space, we would use day cares, we would also use a good many graduates of community colleges. We at first had hoped that we could use, for example, one teacher between two classrooms and we realized that is not going to be allowed. But those were the areas we expected to use.

As you know, we are gaining every year over 3,000 students. We have yet to come less than 3,500, and even though the housing is slowing down in York region and also in Ontario, we still expect to come close to 3,500 new students in the fall. If you think about that, if we had to put them all in kindergartens, JK, we would have to have another 110 portables for this when we got started -- just to start with. Otherwise, we were using the Grey county model. We have discussed this with Carola Lane a number of times, including the other day. We have talked with the ministry people.

We don't see the value of putting on another 110 portables. We do see using community facilities. But, as I say, they're very difficult. We've been running meetings solidly for the last six months with the different community groups. We have three staff people working on it, and, as I say, sure, probably within another year and a half we will have an agreement with the 23 that operate in our schools, but imagine having to deal with another 50 around the community, let alone then getting out and trying to find space in shopping plazas etc. We've been looking at all those things, even shopping plazas, as a group.

At the same time, we have also been working with York University for the last two years to provide special courses for JK. We have already had 40 teachers take extra work in that field and we expect to continue. We have already arranged with York University that we will be operating a special program for people who wish to be qualified in JK this coming fall and we expect to continue that right through.

It's not that, as I say, the majority of the board are against JK, it's not that all of us were against it, and certainly not staffwise. We are working towards it, and we have been trying to hire people the last three years. As you know, we're probably the largest hirers of teachers in the province, have been for the last four years. We have been hiring people with primary qualifications, especially getting ready for this whole thing. But at the moment there wouldn't be 110 trained teachers, by the way, to start with.

Mr Beer: This program that you're working on with York University, this would be a program of the York region board where you would be hiring people who would be taking the special program?

Mr Middleton: We subsidize some of our teachers to take it, but it's not just for our people. York will be operating it in Newmarket again. Other teachers can take it as well. But it's because we have been providing the major groups, and we have also been providing some of the staff for it, of course, yes.

Mrs Marland: Mr Middleton, you must find a tremendous irony as a chair of a board that has as many portables as you just identified. I come from a region where, in Peel, half of our separate school board children are in portables -- half of them are. We are now graduating children from grade 13 or 12 combination, whatever they call it now, who have never been in anything but a portable. You must find a tremendous irony here this afternoon with a bill that's before this committee that, first of all, says that they're not going to look after the hard-to-serve children any more, and they can give their own excuses for that because I would never defend it in any form; yet on the other hand they're saying, "We will add other programs."

As a chair of a growing board, I'm sure you experience the same things we do in the region of Peel, where you're forced to look at cutting programs, programs as critical for the future of the education of your students as English as a second language, perhaps. That is something I know that the Peel board has looked at -- not cutting. The Peel board has not cut its Englishas-a-second-language programs, in spite of the fact that they were accused of that, but is just not being able to expand critical programs like that, and yet you're having other programs foisted on you by the Ministry of Education, which sits down here in its ivory tower and doesn't even talk to the school boards to find out what they want. Don't you find it ludicrous and quite an irony that that's exactly what's going on?


Mr Middleton: Not getting too involved in politics, let me say, first of all, that I am not the chairman of the board; I am chairman of the junior kindergarten committee. But as I say, the chairman today, Bill Carothers, has his chairman's committee operating, so there are a few.

Mrs Marland: You're listed on my agenda as the chair. I'm sorry.

Mr Middleton: Yes. I'm not. That's all right.

One of the things we have not done is that we have not cancelled any programs yet. It's quite a strain. We came in at a tax increase of 6.9% this time, but we have not cancelled any programs. Yes, it is a strain, especially for some of us who believe that the reason we've got 832 portables is because in the past some of both the trustees and staff did not do the right thing. I think we should've had more schools. We should not have had this many portables. However, that was a policy we had in terms of how we were placing schools which came from years before. However, it's to say, like you, that we feel we don't wish to add any more.

Programwise, I guess where we are is that it's not too much what's foisted on us; it's whether we could get rid of some others. We think there is certainly a need to take a look at programming, and one of the things we're meeting as a group in August to discuss is our priorities, what priorities we have about programming as one item; another in terms of facilities. We're meeting definitely with our new director to discuss those things.

If we could get rid of some things, definitely I believe that there are some things that we need to do. We do not have enough in terms of science and technology. We have not cut ESL, but like you, we have more people needing ESL every year, because there are a good number coming into York region.

We would appreciate it if we could have a balance whereby we could play down some things if we have to change other things. Unfortunately, at the moment that hasn't been done, and why it hasn't been done I don't know. I really feel that's something we certainly have let the ministry know.

On the whole, as I say, we don't feel that we want to get involved with programming and things of this nature as a political issue. We want it as a straight issue as to what's best for children.

Mrs Marland: Do you think the local school boards should have the autonomy to identify the special needs in, for example, a growth board that has a lot of immigrant children where there are special language needs, rather than have the ministry direct you as to what your programming would be in terms of the amount of money that's available? Do you think you should be able to have that autonomy so that you can decide what programs are a priority for that board in its particular population needs?

Mr Middleton: As a board, we have discussed the question. We certainly as a whole agree that the ministry should set some kind of standard for us all. But as a board that now is down to the stage where we pay our own way when it comes to secondary schools, and where we're down to $51 million in terms of elementary this year and fully expect that within two to three years we will have to finance it just like Metro, we feel very strongly as a board that we ought to have more say when our local taxpayers are paying the full bill than when it's been fully subsidized by the ministry. We clearly believe in that, and I think that, without exception, our whole board and anybody who has run in the last two years believes that we ought to have more say in terms of those kinds of things, our priorities, yes.

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): Thanks for coming on such short notice. We had a presentation earlier by the Middlesex County Board of Education, and unfortunately, because we are operating in such tight time, I never had a chance to pose a question. Representing part of York region, and my parts are probably the large rural parts that have their own types of concerns, know that when I think of portables, I think of Morning Glory school with all those massive portables and the portapac that makesit a little bit easier, but right out there on the highway.

I agree with you that junior kindergarten is a valuable form of education. I know that as a parent of a son who just went through junior kindergarten and is now in kindergarten, I think it's quite valuable, because after going through play school and toy library and story time and everything else, he was definitely ready for junior kindergarten when he came, so I think it's quite valuable.

Has the board investigated any way that it might cost-share with the separate board? The growth is a problem that we have in York region, and I know the separate board does offer this. We've got some different opportunities, maybe through some of the high schools that we have. I'm thinking of the high school up in Sutton that has a child care centre. Maybe there are ways we can provide it that need to be investigated, but I was thinking, because of the large rural riding that I represent and the spaces in between some of the schools, if there's a combination of sharing between the separate and the public board on junior kindergarten, maybe there was a unique way that we in York region might be able to approach this in a proactive way for educating our young people.

Mr Middleton: As you know, we have a joint committee between the two boards, the coterminous boards. We have not discussed that, although the separate school really has very little space. I'm sure that they would be glad to take a few in, but let's be honest, it would be such a minuscule, small group that it would make no dent at all, in our thinking.

The one thing we are working on to help both of us in that is joint transportation. We have such a committee. Both boards, in fact, are to meet by October if all goes well, and we will be setting up with the idea that by next June we will only have one bus service. Luckily, out of 10 bus companies, we both use nine, so that's very helpful.

We have been working. We've been working for six months, and that will help us in JK, especially in your rural areas, because instead of having buses going all over the place, we'll be able to pick up people together. We fully intend to go ahead with that, even though we have our differences. We certainly want to cooperate. We also are doing some buying together. But in terms of the busing, we expect to save anywhere from $8 million to $12 million between the two boards over the next five years.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for your presentation.

Mr Middleton: Could I say one thing? The other day, besides the meeting we had at OPSBA -- and, by the way, Middlesex did not come; it was one of the two boards that didn't come -- we also, some of the large boards, including Peel and Durham etc, at OPSBA, met Mr Cooke to talk about the question. So you can tell we're doing it three ways: one with you, one with him personally and one with OPSBA with Carola Lane. Thank you very much.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Gardner has circulated a summary of recommendations and concerns regarding Bill 4. You have copies of that, and another one will be prepared following today.

This, as I understand it, completes the hearings regarding Bill 4, and therefore we will proceed at the next meeting, which is scheduled tomorrow afternoon, with clause-by-clause. Is that correct?

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): According to the calendar, there's only one more day left, and that's clause-by-clause, tomorrow.

Mr Martin: I'm led to believe there was some agreement that we would go another day.

Mrs Marland: I didn't hear what you said, Mr Hope.

Mr Hope: According to the legislative calendar, with the calendar that's put before this committee, it says that the date, whatever the date is, August 22 -- it allowed us until that time, the 22nd, to deal with this bill. We do not have the power, it's beyond our power, to go beyond that date, for the simple fact the legislative calendar doesn't permit that.


Mrs Marland: It's really fun when you're subbed into a committee as I am today, because obviously I don't have all the joys and the thrills and the dynamics between the people who are on the committee and what's been said and what's gone on before today.

I wish it were as simple as Mr Hope says, that the legislative calendar finishes on Thursday the 24th, but the legislative calendar also scheduled us to be back in this House sometime around the second week of March and, as I recall, we were not called back to this House by the government of this province, the Bob Rae socialists, until April 13. You see, the legislative calendar cannot be used or wielded as some kind of wonderful argument here, because in fact the legislative calendar doesn't stand for anything other than when it suits the wishes and desires of the sitting government, the same government that changed the legislative calendar and all the rules of this House one year ago.

If you're going to argue that the legislative calendar is a reason to close out on Thursday of this week where you are now with this bill, I think that argument falls flat. If you are going to move a motion to do anything about this bill at this point, then I would have to call a 20-minute recess in order to get direction from the caucus as to which way it would like us to go.

Mr Hope: I respect that, and that is why I did not put a motion forward.

Mr Beer: It is our view that if the House is sitting, the committee can be sitting and ought to be sitting. Clearly, the government has to look at whatever options it feels it has before it. It's our sense that we in all likelihood will be sitting next week and that the committee could continue to sit. As has been expressed both by myself and the member for London North, the Conservative education critic, who's not able to be with us today, we aren't sure just how much time it would take to deal with clause-by-clause and would not want to state an agreement as to a specific day. I think there is a difference of opinion there.

The government whip has said we will begin clause-by-clause tomorrow; that we understood, and we will do so. It would be our hope that we would continue that next week, if we're sitting. That would still be our position.

Mr Hope: If I may, because I'm hearing some alternatives come from the opposition, Margaret, I respect what you said, but I do not have the authority to go beyond the calendar. The House leaders and the Premier's office determine the time we sit, and that's why I cannot go beyond that. I'm not the House leader.

But to the opposition members, we heard many people come before us and tell us to hurry up and deal with this bill so we can get some of the amended changes forward. I would just pose the question to the opposition members, how soon can we get this bill done?

Mr Beer: As we said before, clearly there is a question around when the House will be sitting. I recognize that this committee can't deal with that; in fact, at the present time we are working on the calendar for Thursday. The only point we would make is that if we are sitting, we continue our deliberations. We are not in a position to indicate that we would be through on the Monday at a certain time, and that's why it may be that we begin tomorrow and see what happens in terms of the House and sitting. But as was indicated, we have one more day left if the session ends on Thursday, so we know what we're going to be doing tomorrow.

Mr Hope: Would the opposition be willing to sit beyond 6 of the clock tomorrow to deal with clause-by-clause? We do have the House sitting till midnight, which allows us that opportunity to do so too to deal with the clause-by-clause. There's a substantial amount of hours. I just pose that question.

Mr Beer: From the discussion we had previously on that, there wasn't ultimately agreement on that. In the absence of the critic for the third party, that is something that presumably could be discussed, but at present, we recognize that you have said we will start clause-by-clause tomorrow. At this point, that's probably all we know and all we can do. We leave it at that.

Mrs Marland: To respond to the question from Mr Hope about this committee sitting after 6 o'clock tomorrow night, as the government is forcing us to sit till midnight, and as I speak on behalf of a caucus with 21 members and you speak on behalf of a caucus with I think 73, at the last count, I'm in no position to agree, because when the House is sitting, obviously we have to cover the House as well. That's not very easy for us to do.

The Vice-Chair: Anything further? If not, the committee stands adjourned until tomorrow afternoon.

The committee adjourned at 1746.