Monday 20 November 2000

Subcommittee report

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Statute Law Amendment Act, 2000, Bill 132, Mrs Cunningham / Loi de 2000 modifiant des lois en ce qui a trait au ministère de la Formation et des Collèges et Universités, projet de loi 132,Mme Cunningham

Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Mr Doug Robson
Mr Atul Sharma

Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology
Dr Frank Marsh

Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology
Dr Timothy McTiernan

Conestoga College of Applied Arts and Technology
Dr John Tibbits

George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology
Mr Michael Cooke
Mr Colin Lock

Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology
Mr Brian Tamblyn

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology
Dr Stephen Quinlan

Redeemer University College
Dr. Justin Cooper

Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario
Ms Susan Bloomfield

Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology
Dr Howard Rundle


Chair / Président
Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East / -Est PC)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente

Mrs Julia Munro (York North / -Nord PC)

Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk PC)
Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain L)
Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton PC)
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)
Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East / -Est PC)
Mr Dave Levac (Brant L)
Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina ND)
Mrs Julia Munro (York North / -Nord PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants

Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton PC)
Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt ND)

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes

Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth ND)

Clerk / Greffière

Ms Anne Stokes

Staff /Personnel

Mr Larry Johnston, research officer,
Research and Information Services

The committee met at 1540 in committee room 1.


The Chair (Mr Steve Gilchrist): I call the committee to order for the first day of hearings on Bill 132, An Act to enact the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, repeal the Degree Granting Act and change the title of and make amendments to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act.

The first order of business will be the report of the subcommittee. Mrs Molinari, I wonder if I could impose on you to move that and read it into the record, please.

Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): I will read into the record the report of the subcommittee.

Your subcommittee met on Thursday, November 2, 2000, to consider business before the committee and recommends the following:

(1) That the committee meet on Monday, November 20, Wednesday, November 22, and Wednesday, November 29, 2000, in Toronto, to hold public hearings on Bill 132, An Act to enact the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, repeal the Degree Granting Act and change the title of and make amendments to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act.

(2) That clause-by-clause consideration of the bill be undertaken on Monday, December 4, 2000.

(3) That an advertisement be placed in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, on the ONT.PARL channel and the Legislative Assembly Web site. That a press release be distributed to as many newspapers as possible in both French and English across the province and that, if possible, the advertisement be placed on an e-mail distribution list to all universities and colleges in the province and to student associations at addresses provided by the legislative research service. The clerk is authorized to place the ads immediately.

(4) That witnesses be given a deadline of Thursday, November 16, 2000, at noon to make their request to appear before the committee and a deadline of Friday, December 1, 2000, at 5 pm for written submissions.

(5) That individual witnesses be allotted 10 minutes for each presentation and organizations be allotted 15 minutes for each presentation. That the clerk will consult with the Chair to determine which requests to appear constitute an organization.

(6) That the clerk will schedule witnesses on a first-come, first-served basis. That if there are more requests to appear than can be accommodated, the clerk will schedule witnesses until the first day is full and the two subsequent days are 50% booked, at which time the clerk will advise the Chair who will consult with the subcommittee members who will make selections of witnesses for the remaining time.

(7) That amendments should be received by the clerk of the committee by Friday, December 1, 2000, at noon.

(8) That the research officer provide a summary of the proceedings to the committee by November 30, 2000, at 5 pm.

(9) That the clerk of the committee, in consultation with the Chair, be authorized prior to the passage of the report of the subcommittee to commence making any preliminary arrangements necessary to facilitate the committee's proceedings.

The Chair: Thank you. Any debate? Seeing none, all those in favour of accepting the subcommittee report? It's carried.


Consideration of Bill 132, An Act to enact the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, repeal the Degree Granting Act and change the title of and make amendments to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act / Projet de loi 132, Loi édictant la Loi de 2000 favorisant le choix et l'excellence au niveau postsecondaire, abrogeant la Loi sur l'attribution de grades universitaires et modifiant le titre et le texte de la Loi sur le ministère des Collèges et Universités.


The Chair: That takes us to our first presenter. Recognizing that we are a little behind time, it will probably be closer to 14 minutes than 15 minutes for the presentations today, because I don't want to cut anyone off and our rules demand that we end when the House rises.

Our first presentation will be from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Mr Doug Robson. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee. Perhaps, Doug, you could introduce your colleagues for the purpose of Hansard.

Mr Douglas Robson: You've just identified me correctly. I am the President and COO of the Ontario chamber, which is contrary to what your written piece says there. We're delighted to be here. Atul Sharma is our chief economist and Karim Nensi is our policy analyst. As I say, we appreciate this opportunity to speak to you today.

Most of you are well aware that the Ontario chamber is a federation of 156 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade. Through our chamber network we represent over 55,000 businesses in Ontario. The OCC represents businesses from all sectors of the economy and businesses of all sizes. As such, we are the largest Ontario-based business association. Our organization is represented in each community through our member chambers of commerce and boards of trade.

The OCC has for some time seen the need for the province to establish a private alternative within the university sector. Today, more Ontarians than ever are seeking to improve their marketable skills by investing in education. Allowing greater change in education not only benefits students but also helps to develop Ontario's competitiveness. This is especially the case in today's new economy industries that appear to be employing a growing share of the workforce.

Accelerated growth within the high-tech sector and the rapid pace of innovation and advancement has meant that businesses of all kinds have had to update their own skills and re-educate their employees about newer methodologies. At the OCC, we believe that this trend will continue and more and more members of the labour force will be looking to upgrade their skills. These anticipated requirements for skilled staff in growth sectors such as automotive, machinery, tool, die and mould, aerospace, information technology and communications exceed the current capacity to train. The rapid convergence of sectors demands ongoing, lifelong learning to retain a competitive edge. With the advent of private institutions in Ontario through this legislation, prospective students will have a greater choice than ever before.

This transition toward a technological marketplace in our economy has resulted in a number of adults already in the workforce seeking to acquire more up-to-date skills through several institutions offering applied and/or technical programs. There is an increasingly growing need for employees to attain a higher level of education in order to meet the high skill levels required by employers locally and globally. This has created a demand for more flexible learning opportunities for individuals to access customized learning at any time and anywhere convenient to the learner.

The proposed legislation will therefore enable working people to access quality education at their convenience. This may be in the form of programs offered in the evenings or on-line, both of which are initiatives that private institutions may be more inclined to offer.

Other key groups that would utilize institutions which arise from this legislation are mature students wanting to upgrade their education and training and traditional university students who may be attracted to a unique and different method of teaching that would more adequately prepare them for direct entry into the workforce. Such individuals will under this legislation have the ability to direct their education toward building on their long-term goals.

A benefit of private post-secondary institutions would be in their ability to offer in their curriculum a continuous educational system customized to the types of jobs available. This applied learning model would enable learners to progress through a seamless continuum of learning from start to end, with adequate work experience such as co-operative work opportunities and industry certification, ensuring their effectiveness as soon as they enter the workforce. Institutions already in place outside Ontario would also be able to offer courses of study that are entirely based on-line, with an individual's home PC serving, in effect, as their school. As well, other institutions may offer certain courses of study to more conveniently appeal to the working student determined to upgrade his or her skills. These are proven examples of work and study translating into a better-equipped workforce.

This new form of private education is not meant to displace conventional university programs. Instead, this additional choice should be available as a means of helping individuals improve their educational standards. The presence of this option will enrich the opportunities available to students at a time when the ability to compete internationally has never been greater.

Another significant driving force for this legislation, in our opinion, is the fact that it would create the effect of much-needed competition within the university sector. This sort of competition is both beneficial to the student and the institution. The major effect of this competition is a higher level of quality that may be offered to learners. In order to attract students, private institutions would have to offer leading-edge curriculum with proven results and highly motivated staff in a market-based environment.

This model has been available for some time in the United States, with impressive results. Traditional universities are motivated to improve their quality of education due to the newer competition and can take advantage of marketing efforts being undertaken by private institutions increasing the overall market size.


The establishment of a private institution of any kind has never been an easy undertaking. It is crucial that the government invoke an extensive check-and-balance system to ensure that these institutions do exhibit sound accountability, like any other entity operating in the corporate sphere.

The OCC applauds the government's initiative to establish the quality assessment board. We believe that this board will indeed serve as a critical step in the challenge of ensuring the accountability of private institutions. It is essential that this board review all the applications with the utmost care in the interest of ensuring that Ontario's students have access to the very best quality education. The board's scrutiny in the curricula and management of new institutions is important in securing Ontario's reputation as a first-class provider of education.

Protecting the taxpayer and students are crucial elements of this legislation. Such measures would ensure that students are protected from the institution closing suddenly and that the taxpayer is not paying for the failed institution. The OCC is in accordance with the government in ensuring that students are adequately protected should the institution close. It is important that students are protected from financial and other losses they may incur. A centralized pool or database of student records is also a key measure in guaranteeing students that their investment is protected and that they will receive credit for work they have completed.

Public annual reports of private institutions should be easily accessible to the general public for reference. Further, a standardized and required financial audit procedure should also be conducted annually in the interest of accountability. There must be transparency in the operations of the institution. Furthermore, these institutions should not receive direct public funding.

The OCC would recommend that the board examine ways of ensuring that students are able to switch between public and private institutions seamlessly. This capability for students to effectively transfer between institutions should be added to the legislation.

The OCC believes that in today's meritocratic workplace, employees will be constantly seeking to improve their skill level. The high speed of advancement in today's society has meant that many mature workers have had to upgrade or even change their careers midway through their lives. Thus, institutions providing such opportunities will enable these individuals to seek out better skills and maintain that competitive edge which they require to succeed. Ontario's mission of becoming the most competitive jurisdiction in North America depends on its people's ability to remain competitive. Therefore, these opportunities will continuously and conveniently allow those wanting to acquire valuable skills the ability to do so.

Community colleges will continue to play a vital role in the educational system of our youth. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce supports the move to allow the community colleges to grant applied degrees. We believe that these institutions should be encouraged to upgrade selected programs to meet provincial standards and grant provincially recognized degrees. Because the ministry has the ultimate power in granting this ability, it is important that they initially recognize the work of Ontario's current community colleges.

This legislation may well result in a flood of other institutions from across North America competing to enter Ontario's new market for this service. However, in Ontario's best interests, it is important to grow and develop Ontario's current capabilities as opposed to opening up the market too quickly. Such measures as expanding the capability of Ontario's current community college system, which are institutions that the average taxpayer is confident in, will smooth this transition. A slow but steady shift to newer and existing external institutions is necessary in ensuring the new system is accepted. The government should bring about this change in a slow and deliberate manner. It is therefore the OCC's recommendation that the government bring about this change in a measured and delayed fashion.

The OCC is firmly in support of this new initiative. We believe such changes will bring about necessary competition within the post-secondary sector. We also believe that as our economy continues to change the ability to upgrade and acquire new skills will remain critical to employees. Such measures will ensure that not only will Ontario's employee pool remain competitive, but so will Ontario's place as the most competitive jurisdiction in North America.

However, the OCC continues to reiterate the notion that in order for such change to be accepted and effective, a number of steps must be taken; first, that the government ensures that such change is completed in a deliberate manner with adequate checks and balances in place, protecting Ontario's learners and taxpayers. We also recommend that the board initially qualify post-secondary institutions, including existing private sector training centres already established and based in Ontario. Such institutions require far less capital expense and place the students and taxpayers at less risk. Once an evaluation of these initial institutions can be completed, then, and only then, would it be prudent to grant outside institutions authority to operate in Ontario.

In the end, the greatest beneficiary of this change will be the people of Ontario. If this change is brought about in an appropriate manner, then proof of its success will lie in the success of our economy.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Robson. That leaves us about a minute and a half for questions. We'll start with the Liberals, please.

Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain): Thank you for your presentation. Would you consider OSAP administration of loans direct public funding or not?

Mr Robson: I would argue that's indirect.

Mrs Bountrogianni: You mentioned that it should be written into the legislation that if an institution closes, the credits be transferable. You're making the assumption that the programs are similar.

Mr Robson: Excuse me. That's not what we said. We were urging that there be a way of allowing credits to be transferable, period, and we were looking for central record-keeping so that if an institution closed, there would be a reference point for people to go to.

Mrs Bountrogianni: Sorry, that is what I meant to say. I'm sorry if I said it differently. We'll see Hansard.

You're assuming, perhaps, that the students and the programs will be very similar. As you are well aware, the double cohort will cause many more students in our university and college system. It may be practically impossible for students to transfer from a closed, private institution to an open but bursting-at-the-seams public institution. Do you have any suggestion as to how the government can deal with that strong possibility? In Hamilton, in my own riding, three private colleges closed in one year. The ministry did a great job in trying to accommodate the students. I have to admit that staff were excellent, but not all the students were accommodated to other institutions.

Mr Atul Sharma: We're assuming that it would be up to the quality assessment board, as it's set up, that those institutions would not close so quickly. The double cohort is expected I think in 2003-04, around then. I expect that any institution that was allowed to establish should be able to run for at least a few years to accommodate the double cohort.

Mrs Bountrogianni: So would you like that in the legislation? Could that be in the legislation, that no private institution be allowed to close in the middle of the school year, the way the three did in Hamilton? They closed right in the middle of the school year.

Mr Sharma: I said that I don't believe they would.

Mrs Bountrogianni: You don't believe they would. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you for taking the time to make a presentation before us here this afternoon.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology. Good afternoon, Dr Marsh, and welcome to the committee.

Dr Frank Marsh: Mr Chair and committee members, it's indeed a pleasure to be able to speak to you today about Bill 132. My particular focus will be around the degrees for college students and ministerial consent.

As you can appreciate, in a knowledge-based economy, the importance of lifelong learning for college students is paramount to those of us who run institutions and to our graduates. What we see currently in the Ontario college system is a system that does not in fact provide progressive certification for people beyond their initial graduation at the diploma level. What they need is new paths to be able to achieve the new learning that they wish.

What our graduates tell us is that their progression is essentially in specialized fields, in the supervision of people. After being out in the field for a period of time, they either become supervisors of specialists or in fact own their own companies.

What industry tells us is that they are essentially missing within many of their organizations the skills of project management, the skills of people management, the skills of business management at the entry level.

An applied degree at a college is applied-based and generally not theory-based, and many of the applied degrees that have been introduced across this country and throughout the world focus on some business knowledge, some human resource knowledge, the specialty studies and an applied research project. These address the requirements of our college graduates as they perceive their progressive certification, and of one of the gaps which industry sees in making itself competitive.


On the current Canadian scene, in Alberta, applied degrees were brought in some six years ago. That was expanded just two years ago to allow selected colleges and selected programs to offer applied degrees. In British Columbia, through the British Columbia Institute of Technology and through the establishment of university colleges, which were essentially colleges which were extended, applied degrees were made available to college students, so they too have progressive certification. In Atlantic Canada, through the University College of Cape Breton, through the Marine Institute of Memorial University, and through an arrangement between the New Brunswick college system and UNB, applied degrees are available to college students.

In Ontario it's a mixed bag. Without having degree-granting status, colleges cannot offer applied degrees, as you know. In many cases the arrangements that were attempted to be developed between Ontario universities and colleges have not borne fruit. In fact, in our own case we have arrangements outside the province for our students to get the type of degrees they need. These discussions have been progressive. The arrangements have been useful and fruitful for our students, but it's time to bring these degrees home so that the students do not have to incur the cost of moving outside the province or have to study over a longer period of time through distance education to obtain theses credentials that they so rightly need and want.

The impact, then, on students: a student who graduates with an applied degree from one of the other provinces and who applies to a multinational company has essentially a better opportunity than a student in Ontario. They bring additional credentials to the table when they apply, and for the most part an employer will look at not only the credentials that you have but the ability and the further credentials that you bring which will allow you to broaden your impact and your service to the corporation. Students in Alberta have it through their degrees. Students in BC have it. Ontario students don't. They're limited by virtue of not having the ability to get applied degrees.

If we were to look at it from a global context, Ontario students who apply to work with multinational corporations are restricted from being able to do cross-border work in Europe and in the US and North America because of the certification that we give. In the international context, if you were to look at institutions like ours throughout the world, in Europe, in North America, in Asia and in the Middle East, the programs are reasonably similar for institutions of our size. They have degree-granting capability. In fact, many of the courses that they graduate from, with exactly the same standards that we have in place now, have a bachelor of applied science. What we are suggesting in Ontario is that we would add value to the programs we offer to ensure that the standards will be even greater and that the credential will be more powerful than those in these areas.

If we are to recruit foreign students, which many of us try to do throughout the world, the first question is, "What's the credential that you offer? Is it the degree as in the US? Is it the degree as in Europe? Is it the degree as in Australia? Or is it the degree as in one of the other provinces of Canada?" We have to say, "No, it's a diploma." They ask, "How does that fit within the context of what we want to have?" This is a very significant issue, particularly in the Middle East. In the consultancy services, as we try to do work with international corporations throughout the world, what we find is that our credibility in many cases is determined by the credentials that we give. So in fact what we are finding is that our competitiveness in the world is being limited by a limitation that's been established in legislation.

There's a further benefit, and that is-and I go back to what an applied degree is, the components and what it's like: some business, some HR, specialty work in an applied field, and a research project.

Generally, applied research leads to the development of some new process, some new prototype, some enhancement for efficiency or some new development, some product that can be manufactured. In the areas of the north, where I live, in Sudbury, these are very important to building an economy. They're very important to ensure that the resource-based industries are as competitive as possible. They're very important to try to sell these products on the world stage in order to attract and develop the economy. Out of innovation generally comes industry development. Out of innovation generally comes economic development. Out of innovation generally comes economic well-being.

I recommend to you that you support, through Bill 132, a more open policy on the granting of degrees at colleges. I concur that a quality assessment board needs to be established in order to ensure that quality does not slip. It is not the intention of those of us who wish to offer degrees and to change some of the credentials and build on the credentials that we've been giving for the last 35 years to see any quality drop.

The second is a more open policy on ministerial consents. Currently, we are limited when we have arrangements with institutions outside of this province-institutions, by the way, that have charters from the provincial Legislatures of the provinces throughout this country, institutions that are well recognized, institutions that rate highly on the Maclean's list, for what that's worth. But when we have arrangements like that, we cannot offer these programs in Ontario; we have to send the students outside. I would suggest that Bill 132 would address the issue of ministerial consents at least to give greater applicability and greater opportunity for those institutions that have charters from Legislatures outside of this province to be allowed to offer programs in conjunction with colleges in Ontario.

The Chair: That leaves us about three minutes for questions. This time it will be the NDP.

Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): Thank you, Dr Marsh. Can you tell me, would there be an additional cost to the college to implement a degree-granting process?

Dr Marsh: Cambrian's perspective on the types of degrees that it would want to offer is really degrees that are on top of its current credentials. So where it offers three-year programs, a further year of study would be required in order to attain the competencies of the applied degree, particularly bachelor of technology, bachelor of applied communications, bachelor of business administration and so on. The additional costs both to the students and to the college would be the costs that would be normal in extending a program by a year. The additional benefits to the students, however, are remarkable.

What I would suggest to you as well is that the additional revenue generation for the college by virtue of having this credential from its other sources, like its international consultancy, its attraction of students and so on, would certainly be a factor that would reduce the cost to the college.

Ms Martel: So do you see that you would have to be hiring more professors to be teaching that extra year?

Dr Marsh: Obviously, yes.

Ms Martel: Do you have a sense of what that cost would be to the college at this point, if you were to extend your three-year programs to four?

Dr Marsh: We would look at it in a limited manner so that the types of degrees we want to offer would be in very particular areas. I know a couple would be particularly in the applied technologies. Depending on our focus, many of the courses I've noticed here, the business HR and so on, are already offered by the college. It is in the specialty areas that you would have to do some additional hirings.

Ms Martel: But you can't give me an estimate right now-

Dr Marsh: I wouldn't be able to give you an estimate of the number offhand. It would depend on the degree and the broadness of it.

Ms Martel: Have you had any discussions with the government about who's going to assume that cost? Do you assume it is going to be you?

Dr Marsh: I've been involved in this one in another area, as you know. There are two ways to do this. One is in some form of cost recovery for the final year, which may not be extensive, through a tuition arrangement. The second obviously is that for a student studying a year longer in a program, one would anticipate there would be some government funds to cover off part of that in the normal manner that it would be for any other program that you would do.

Ms Martel: Have you had any of that kind of discussion with the government to this point?

Dr Marsh: Yes. They're aware that there are costs involved in extending programs. We are currently in the arrangement for a bachelor of applied science in nursing. I think they recognize that by adding the extra year, there's additional cost and they have covered it.


Ms Martel: They might have for that particular program, I guess, generally speaking, because this is going to now happen at a number of institutions. In your discussions with the government about the nursing program, have they given you any indication of what they plan to do on a broader scale with respect to the other colleges that will be impacted by this initiative?

Dr Marsh: Not at this point.

The Chair: Thank you very much for taking the time to come down from Sudbury and make a presentation. We appreciate it.

Dr Marsh: Thank you.

The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology.


The Chair: Dr. McTiernan, good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Timothy McTiernan: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. I too would like to add my support to the provision for applied degrees in Bill 132, and the focus of my comments will be in support of applied degrees.

Our view at Canadore College in North Bay is that applied degrees will meet the needs of Ontario students. They'll also contribute to the knowledge and skills base needed to support regional and sectoral economic growth and competitiveness in Ontario.

Fundamentally, there seem to be three principles that underlie Bill 132: the principle of relevance in post-secondary educational programming and certification; the increasing choice in opportunities for students in their courses of studies and in their ultimate certification; and safeguards for students through assurance of program quality. the bill also speaks to safeguards in terms of the management of funds that are allocated for student financial support.

The bill in that sense addresses the need for Ontario's post-secondary education system to remain current and competitive with international post-secondary programs. The previous speaker spoke well to that. It also speaks to the need for colleges to adjust and modify program contents and standards to best equip Ontario college graduates to succeed in a changing workplace that operates in a global economy-and the previous speaker also spoke well to that-particularly the situation we're seeing now with the transferability of jobs and the transferability of positions across companies that operate internationally as much as nationally, and interprovincially as much as provincially.

There is also an ongoing need, by colleges and by government in this bill, to ensure that students can be assured of quality and relevance in their chosen programs to essentially pay back the investment that students make in terms of their own time, money and energy in those programs. In that regard, colleges serve students, business and industry, and our regional and community economic development priorities in a number of ways.

Colleges serve students with access and foundation programs, with skills and trades training, with professional and paraprofessional training, and with high-tech and process-intensive training. As colleges adjust to new workplace realities with professional and paraprofessional, high-tech and process-intensive training and deal with industry in terms of just-in-time training and a broader need for applied research partnerships and, in doing so, deal with regional and community economic development as an active part of the planning and development process in communities and regions and with economic sectors, colleges, in all of this work, ought to and need to remain internationally and nationally competitive.

The provision for applied degrees in Bill 132 will allow Ontario colleges to remain competitive and, bluntly, to regain a competitive edge over those provinces that have already worked with and instituted applied degree arrangements.

The legislation appears to be carefully measured to allow for careful implementation of applied degrees, which is appropriate. The legislation doesn't, in and of itself, speak to the urgency of work in this area but there are a number of factors and situations-again, I'm echoing the previous speaker-which speak to the urgency. I'll use three examples from our own college to underline the benefit and the value of a made-in-Ontario applied degree that can work effectively in colleges, whether they're in the urban or non-urban parts of the province.

Canadore College and a number of other colleges in Ontario have had a long-standing arrangement with New Hampshire College, about to be the University of Southern New Hampshire, where three-year graduates can go to New Hampshire College and, with two further semesters of study in a co-op program, obtain a bachelor's degree in tourism and hospitality administration. I don't know the precise title of the degree, but that's what they end up with.

When the arrangement was originally made, it was a nice paper arrangement with little practical import. We had a couple of students a year go to New Hampshire and get the benefits of the articulation agreement. Currently, we have 30-plus graduates from Canadore College's last cohort of three-year diploma graduates studying at New Hampshire for an applied degree in tourism and hospitality. It's an example of growth in the use of an arrangement that benefits the students. It doesn't benefit the Ontario economy, largely because of the structure of the degree program and the benefits derived.

The degree program involves a long co-op placement with the Marriott chain in the United States. The consequence of that is that most of our graduates end up with high-paying jobs in the hospitality sector in the United States-good for continental tourism, not particularly good for the development of the Ontario tourism sector. As we work with our community and regional partners to build the capacity in the hospitality sector in Ontario, the opportunity for applying for and being considered for an applied degree in that area would go immeasurably toward us meeting our community and regional development role as well as our student development role.

A second example from areas that we specialize in: we do training in the aerospace sector. In recent discussions with representatives of the aerospace sector, the individual who was representing the Ontario organization we were having talks with identified a gap between engineering degrees and the technology diplomas that we provide that's essentially a knowledge-intensive but technology-intensive gap, and spoke to the value of having some credential, some certification that might fill that gap and meet the burgeoning needs of the aerospace sector. Again, the provision in this bill for applied degrees provides an opportunity for looking at that blend between the knowledge and theory and the technical skills required in new positions in a new economy.

To pick up on a theme that the previous presenter had, in an international context we've had one instance in the past year of a situation where not being able to provide a degree or not being degree-granting has affected our ongoing work on an international project. We were the lead college for a consortium of Canadian colleges, Ontario, BC and Alberta colleges working on a project in Thailand throughout the second half of the 1990s. It was essentially taking curriculum in environmental and other resource areas and translating it and modifying it for use in a Thai institute of technology CIDA-funded project.

At the end of that project, and a host of related projects last year, there was a conference in Thailand to look at follow-up opportunities. We were a key part of the conference. Our Thai partner was very polite and very firm in saying to us that they liked the job we'd done but they no longer considered us a vital or a significant partner and they were happier to deal with the BC member of the consortium that was a degree-granting institution because they had just attained degree-granting status and they saw their partnership base shifting.

I use those three examples from a small college not in an urban centre as compelling reasons why, for us, access to an applied degree would complement very, very well what we do well in our diplomas and certificate programs and what we do well with Nipissing University, which is adjacent to us, in some of our degree-completion arrangements with Nipissing University. We see applied degrees as being good for students but also good for regional economic development and for us meeting our mandate in that regard. Thank you.


The Chair: Thank you. That leaves us about three minutes for questioning. This time we lead from the government.

Mrs Molinari: Thank you very much for your presentation. It's interesting to hear a theme that's coming out, offering this option and this choice for students, and it's good for regional economic development and certainly for students being able to access a greater possibility of having degrees. You talked about your relationship with Thailand and not being considered as a partner. When you started that discussion, were they aware that Canadore College did not offer applied degrees? I know it's going to give you more opportunities if your college applies for and is granted applied degrees, and you see that as opening up opportunities. Would you be able to go back to some of those whom you've already made connections with and have good relationships with to open up the doors of that partnership and that possibility?

Dr McTiernan: Yes. I think it would put us on a different basis. Even if we were still in the development process for an applied degree, having the ability to grant it would make a difference. The project started at a time when the institute we were working with in Thailand didn't have degree-granting status. It started in the mid-1990s, when applied degrees were still a discussion point rather than a matter of policy in the Ontario government. So the initial stages of the development of the relationship were quite constructive and positive.

The gap now is in the perception, and this time last year of course the bill hadn't been framed and hadn't been introduced. The gap was in the perception that we were not moving at the same rate that the institute was into degree-granting and into some of the benefits that will arise from that: the engagement with the industry sectors that we will have to work with and will work with in the implementation of applied degrees, and the opportunity for applied research that comes out of that as well. This institute was beginning to develop a strong focus on research and on industry relationships in the research area.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time to come all the way down to make a presentation before us today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Conestoga College of Applied Arts and Technology. John Tibbits, good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr John Tibbits: Thank you very much. First of all, I want to congratulate the government on this initiative. I think there'll be a tremendous benefit for the citizens of Ontario as individuals, and also for the economy.

I'm going to refer to two papers. I wrote a paper, dated September 1999, Ontario's Post-Secondary System: A Vision for the Global Economy, that was submitted to our minister and widely circulated throughout the province. There was a consensus on this paper among the 25 colleges. I'm also going to refer to a speech that I gave in April of this year which is called Applied Degrees for College Programs. In the main paper I talked briefly about private universities, but my intention today is to focus on applied degrees. I will refer to both papers.

I'd like to start with the key assumptions here. I think it's important in that the key assumptions are in the main paper, the September 1999 paper, and I will quickly go through them. I'll just go through the bullet points.

I think we've reached a point in our society when the expertise of our people is really our most valuable resource economically. That wasn't the case when I graduated from university in the 1960s. I don't think that was the case at the time. You could train an elite. It's becoming clearer and clearer that countries and regions that can train and educate a larger percentage of their population to higher levels will be more competitive. I know in the 1960s you could train the elite in a theoretical university education and that was good; that was a good thing. Now we need to get more people trained to higher levels.

Also, to maximize the quality of our human resources we must make it easier for people to have opportunities for continuous learning and professional retooling. It's very difficult now for college students to move and get upgraded in a university program. In fact, it's extremely difficult.

Not only that, what's happening now is that jobs are changing. Look in our area of K-W, Canada's technology triangle. There are so many more high-tech jobs; there is so much more advanced manufacturing. When I arrived in 1987, and I'm in my 14th year, you could get a good job out of high school. You could get a good job using the unionized workplace in, let's say, one of the manufacturing companies. Very few of these places, like Toyota and Linamar and others, are hiring people out of high school. They're expecting higher levels of training and education and these jobs are requiring a more sophisticated education.

Next point: one of the problems is to ensure a strong pool of talent in these new fields of study. We must provide people with credentials commensurate with the knowledge and skills required to achieve them, otherwise people will have little motivation to choose these fields. I'll talk about that in a moment. We also know we're faced with massive skills shortages, whether it's IT, advanced manufacturing or the trades. I know in our area the number one barrier to economic growth in the K-W, Guelph, Cambridge area is skills shortages.

I think it's quite obvious why you might have that. We have a system that recognizes that the best thing for a high school student to do is to go on to university because that's where you get the degree. That's where the currency of the realm is, in the degree, and I'll make it very clear. I think we have wonderful universities-in our area alone we have three of the best in Canada-but I'm not sure the degree is the only credential we should be recognizing.

I want to talk about why, from a student perspective, I think we should be moving toward applied degrees, tying into those assumptions I talked about earlier. First of all, college students who wish to obtain a baccalaureate don't get the credit they deserve right now. It is very difficult for our students, and I can tell you that some of our programs are tougher than some of the university programs. I'm not saying all, I'm just saying some. I can give you the example of our robotics program: cut-off mark, 88%. Try to move into a university in Ontario and get equivalent credit. It can't be done. I can speak with some authority. I've been on the board at Laurier for six years. I have some idea of how the universities work.

The applied degrees would give colleges and their students greater prestige and academic credibility. Not only that, it would be greater justice for them. It would also make the baccalaureate more accessible. For instance, take a university like Laurier, where to get a BBA you have to pass calculus. There are a lot of CEOs in our community who do not have calculus and they're doing very well. There's such a heavy emphasis on the theoretical at the universities that it's not fair to some people who may be much more practically focused and yet can't obtain the theoretical degree.

Applied degrees would give greater value to vocational, practical training. We have a unique system in Ontario, but not unique in a sense of being positive. It's really a disgrace that in this province you cannot get a degree for applied learning. Look at Germany, look at the British system with polytechnic institutes. That's the direction we should be going in.

You can take a bunch of sociology and psychology courses and have a degree; you could come to Conestoga and take advanced courses in math, physics and robotics and only get a diploma. The reason that becomes important is that some companies won't promote unless you have a degree, and there is the international. That is a factor. But never mind international; just locally, at Toyota to be a shop floor supervisor you have to have a degree.

You could get a degree with, as I've said, a bunch of general arts courses-I'm not saying anything is wrong with that; I think the liberal arts are excellent-but our students are not getting recognized. We have a lot of people in Ontario who I think are going off and doing degrees in anything because they know that's the currency, rather than coming to a college, rather than going into trades. They believe there's more prestige in that.

I think it also would be a factor as far as fees. The fees would be less in applied degrees. I'm not saying the fees would be the same as they are now, but they certainly would be less than university fees. It would also be easier for the college to attract fundraising dollars. Some major companies in this province, in this country, will not provide capital donations to colleges. They will only provide them to universities.


I think that applied-degree-granting status would also encourage more and better students to apply for such programs. One of our big issues: our robotics program has a 100% job-placement rate, our electronics programs have 100% job-placement rates, yet there's a shortage of robotics technologists in our area; there's a shortage of telecommunications, wireless people. Our issue is that we can't attract enough, and we can't attract enough because of the parents. We've done a study in our community, by the way, and there's no question-I can show you the data, that students, parents and teachers believe that the degree is the currency of the realm.

I also know that employers are asking for students with higher levels of applied education and training for these jobs. Why would someone go for four years at Conestoga, another year, and come out with a diploma? If we expect people to have more and more advanced training, they're going to expect to have proper credentials for it. There's no question also that programs that have degree status will generate graduates who are better prepared for continuous education and also further education. It will allow us to partner on a much more equal footing with the universities. It's very difficult now to partner with three-year programs.

Why shouldn't Ontario's post-secondary students have the same kinds of access and opportunities as other students have in Canada and the rest of the world? Our robotics coordinator, by the way, in the last two years has been out in BC helping BCIT develop a robotics program. I mean, this is ridiculous. We've lost him for two years because they want his expertise and we will have our students going out there to finish their robotics degree in BC.

This case for applied degrees, by the way, is not new. One of the reasons I didn't update this paper of September 1999-this has been a long story. When colleges were set up, there was no question that the universities wanted the college system to be lesser. They did not want it to be an equal partnership. Therefore it was focused in a much different way. If you look at the Ontario Jobs and Investment Board report and also the Pitman report, No Dead Ends, it is very clear that the case for applied degrees is very strong. What's going to be happening, and you can see it now with the problems we're having with nursing collaborative partnerships at the universities, is that more and more professions are requiring a degree for entering into practice. Nursing will require one by 2005, and I can tell you it's going to be very difficult to produce the number of nurses you'd need through collaborative university partnerships. It's just not going to happen. So we need to be looking in a number of areas, like nursing, and it'll probably happen in other areas like social work. We should be looking at ensuring that in vocational areas we can broaden the scope and allow colleges to offer applied degrees. I think it makes sense, it's good for the economy and it's good for individuals. It's an issue of fairness and justice. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That allows us about two and a half minutes for a question from the Liberal caucus.

Mr Dave Levac (Brant): I appreciate the opportunity and I thank you for the presentation. There seems to be a plethora of colleges approaching us, saying that this is a good idea. I probably support the theory and concept.

I want to go to something you alluded to that I believe is probably a bigger problem that we need to face, and that is convincing people, particularly young people, that skills of the trades are the area they should be considering, beyond just the somewhat myopic view of universities being the be-all and end-all. For instance, in my community the Brant Skills Development Group was formed in order to form partnerships with business, educators, colleges and universities to try to educate students before they start making the choices they're making, particularly at the high school level. I've convinced them to go down to the elementary level. Do you believe that the government should be supporting programs like that in order to help the skills development area grow in nature and stature?

Dr Tibbits: I think we need both a provincial and national strategy to promote skills. It's that big an issue. I think it's been there for a long time and it's becoming a more and more problematic issue because the economy is going so quickly. But I also think that credentialing is very important. It's very hard to convince a university that they should take electricians and move them up through electrotechnology to become electrical engineers. But if you have the proper credentialing, I think what we could do is integrate the trades into applied degree programs. But I do agree with you that we need a provincial and a national strategy to promote skills. There's a huge problem, and you're right, with the parent's, student's and teacher's perception. We did a study in our community about a year ago. We did focus groups, independent third party, interviewed parents, and we had the advantage; they knew it was a one-way mirror. But it was incredible, the perception they had of trades.

Mr Levac: We would support that and look forward to the provincial government helping, because the federal government has given money to this particular group.

The second area I'd ask you a quick question on-

The Chair: Very quick.

Mr Levac: It will be very quick, Mr Chairman. Laurier Brant is an outreach in Brantford of Laurier campus.

Dr Tibbits: Yes, I am aware of Laurier Brant.

Mr Levac: Laurier Brant and Mohawk College have formed a partnership. Is that another area which you would encourage and endorse with regard to the granting of degrees?

Dr Tibbits: Where you can get co-operative partnerships, I think that's a good idea. But I think we have to be careful because the university thrust with Laurier is a liberal arts thrust. I think we also need to put a greater emphasis on the applied side. I think an applied degree is quite different than a theoretical degree. Certainly, I would encourage collaboration, although if you look at Alberta and British Columbia, what happened is both governments at some point in time declared that there were going to be transfer mechanisms. It is going to be very hard to get the universities on their own to come up with collaboration where credits are accepted. It's very, very difficult.

The Chair: Thank you, Dr Tibbits, for coming before us here today.


The Chair: Our next presentations will be from George Brown College. Good afternoon, welcome to the committee.

Mr Michael Cooke: My name is Michael Cooke and I am the vice-president, academic excellence and innovation, at George Brown College. Joining me in this presentation is Colin Lock, who's the manager of process development for Visteon Automotive Systems. I hope the members of the committee, like me, are impressed with the high degree of unanimity among the colleges on this. The only other thing we agree on with such unanimity is the fact that the government should be giving us more money for our programs.

Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you today about Bill 132. We want to express our strong support for this legislation, which will give colleges of applied arts and technology the authority to confer a baccalaureate degree in applied areas of study.

At George Brown College, we help prepare students for careers in today's and tomorrow's knowledge economy. Our approach is to provide relevant, high-quality learning experiences in preparation for careers in employer sectors where we have expertise and strong partnerships, sectors where employment is not only readily available today, but promises to be so over the long term, sectors where employees are integral to shaping the sector's future.

At George Brown we are currently focusing on the sectors of financial services, graphic design, community services and health sciences, hospitality and tourism, building technologies, information technologies and microelectronics manufacturing.

Our college plans to implement programs resulting in a baccalaureate degree in the applied areas of advanced microelectronics, financial services, graphic design, American sign language interpreting and orthotics/prosthetics.

To illustrate the need, let me cite the example of microelectronics manufacturing for you. Electronics, as you may well know, is the largest industry in the world. Microelectronics is a foundational technology that underpins and drives numerous industries-everything from telecommunications to helpful projects such as hearing aids. Every day we experience microelectronics and we make use of them, whether it's to operate a sophisticated plant or simply to remotely open our garage door.

Interestingly, in the auto industry today more cost is attributed to electronic components than to metal. That's a big change and it's an indicator of how the world is changing and how the workplace needs to change to keep up. Similarly, at George Brown College we have changed and we must continue to change in order to prepare graduates not only for the present, but for the emerging job markets. No other institution in Canada currently offers an applied microelectronics manufacturing program delivered in live manufacturing facilities such as we have at George Brown.

More than 25 corporate partners have worked with us to develop our advanced microelectronics centre at George Brown College. In this centre, students truly experience the industry. They don't just read about it or hear about it or see it but they experience it in a very hands-on manner. This helps students make good decisions about entering the field and gives the industry the opportunity to get to know them and their potential.

This is a major distinguishing characteristic of the applied baccalaureate degree educational experience: integration on the ground where it is happening.


George Brown College is also the first college member of the Centre for Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging consortium, a research consortium involving four universities, six microelectronics companies and George Brown College. What we are doing, as I think this example illustrates, and what the universities are doing are complementary, not competitive or redundant. There is not only room but a necessity for both. I could tell you similar stories, if I had time, about each of the other employer sectors that we are focusing on.

As you heard from John Tibbits a few minutes ago, baccalaureate degrees in applied areas of study open new doors for many new students. As a result, a greater number and a broader range of students will complete degree-level studies. This will strengthen Ontario's economy in a whole number of ways. The programs will be highly responsive to employer needs and to the job market. They will be skills-based and prepare graduates for the greater technical demands of the knowledge economy. In the end, more students will be equipped to work in our rapidly evolving knowledge-based economy. The introduction of baccalaureate degrees in applied areas means more student choice and more options for them, more market-current education, more employment-ready graduates, more appropriate recognition of their credentials and smoother transition to further studies.

I'd like to ask my colleague Colin Lock from Visteon to give you an industry perspective on the matter of baccalaureate degrees in applied areas.

Mr Colin Lock: Good evening. My name is Colin Lock. I'm the process development manager for Visteon automotive systems. We manufacture electronic modules for a variety of automotive manufacturers. We end up hiring the graduates from these programs. We fully support Bill 132 allowing colleges the ability to grant baccalaureate degrees in applied areas.

Some of the themes I'm going to talk about have been spoken about here already. Real market growth in electronics is expected to average 19% this year, with automotive growth about 16%. There is a local and worldwide shortage of skilled workers. I personally screened over 500 resumés last week looking for five additional people. Colleges have proven to be particularly responsive and adaptive to meeting our requirements for this skilled workforce. Jointly, industry and George Brown College have co-developed surrogate manufacturing facilities, practical relevant courses and strong theoretical courses to meet current and future requirements.

The truth about manufacturing is that industry does not compete on a worldwide level playing field. Our competition pays significantly lower labour costs than we do. What this means is that simple products that can be easily assembled are shipped overnight to low-labour facilities. What is keeping us competitive right now is that the low-labour countries do not as yet have the specialized complex knowledge and training to produce difficult, higher-technology products. We are using this competitive advantage in knowledge and education to offset the disadvantage we have in labour costs. This is a very fleeting and temporary advantage because the knowledge base and experience is increasing at a frightening rate in so-called low-labour-cost countries. What is difficult to do today becomes ordinary to do tomorrow.

By partnering with colleges and universities, this enables us to maintain and increase our knowledge and skill and remain competitive. Colleges have been particularly adept at addressing the rapidly changing industry requirements.

I'm just going to pull some things from my pocket which I carry all the time. A few years ago a pager was not commonplace. I have my personal digital assistant, which wasn't that commonplace last year. Even for a simple thing such as getting into my car, I have a remote keyless. Even to start my car, my key has a transponder in here which is keyed to a module inside my car. If I don't have the right key, my car won't start. None of these existed five years ago. The complexity that's required to develop and manufacture these is sufficient, I believe, to meet degree requirements. If students are not offered the opportunity to have a degree, this will basically shut them out of certain job opportunities.

Earlier a gentleman mentioned that Toyota required a degree for shop floor supervisor. That is our requirement as well. To operate the equipment that manufactures something like this-you can't see it very well, but it's quite miniature-requires a degree as well. If you don't have a degree, in our company you will simply not be promoted past a certain level and you will be ineligible to work in what we call foreign service or in foreign manufacturing sites. This is unfortunate, because the skill level is definitely there, but it is a company standard that a degree is mandatory. It is a recognized company standard.

Suffice it to say that we support the legislation that allows colleges to grant baccalaureate degrees. Speaking from industry, we require this because that's how we are going to remain competitive. If we don't do it, I personally am going to be out of a job without skilled workers.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen. That leaves us about a minute and a half.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): I have my transponder here and my telephone, which should be off in here, shouldn't it?

The Chair: It absolutely should.

Ms Churley: I see I have one missed call. I finally got rid of my pager because I felt like I was on a leash all the time. There are days, I must tell you, when I feel like I'm going to become a Luddite. These have their advantages but they also, as I'm sure many of you understand, keep us working 24 hours a day. Having said that, I think your demonstration of how advanced we've become in the last five years is quite good and implies as well that we are just going to see many more advances over the next five years.

I wanted to ask you about the costs attached to this. I believe my colleague who was here earlier, Shelley Martel, did as well. Perhaps you could address this.

Mr Cooke: I think the first point is that the costs of this kind of education are cheaper than a degree through a university. For the province, for the students, the cost is cheaper. As Colin has pointed out in his example-and we could cite many others-the opportunity for employment and advancement in employment is far greater. In a medium- or long-term analysis, whatever additional costs are involved, they will certainly be recouped over time and make for more people who can pay taxes, more people who contribute to the economy and to society generally and fewer people are unemployed and so on.

Having said that, I think Shelley Martel's earlier question was around the immediate costs to the college.

Ms Churley: Yes. I'm sorry, I should have specified.

Mr Cooke: There are two answers. Obviously from a college perspective, if we are offering additional programming we would hope that the government either directly and/or, as we've already illustrated in a number of our partnerships, in consort with other interested partners will help raise additional funds for that. Even in a worst-case scenario, what you would see is a shifting of resources within the college to these areas of programming where there's real demand for them and we would move investment away from areas where there isn't the demand.

Ms Churley: That's it?

The Chair: Yes. We are overtime, I'm afraid. Thank you very much, Mr Cooke and Mr Lock. I appreciate your bringing the industry perspective into this debate as well.



The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Georgian College. Good afternoon, Mr Tamblyn, and welcome to the committee.

Mr Brian Tamblyn: Thanks for the opportunity to speak to you today about Bill 132. In the interest of time, I won't cover everything in our presentation.

There have been private colleges in Ontario for many years, and I believe this competition has actually strengthened publicly funded colleges, even during our current period of underfunding. I believe that private universities should be received in the same manner by publicly funded universities. Ontario universities should be more than able to stand up to this competitive challenge. However, it will be important for the government to monitor private universities from a consumer protection perspective, as has been provided for in the legislation. Students investing in their futures and in the province's future must not have their education jeopardized by a lack of government accountability and control over these private institutions.

Georgian College has been able to develop a significant number of articulation agreements with universities. In fact, over 40 such agreements with over 20 institutions are currently in place. They have helped create a more seamless flow into future educational opportunities for Georgian's graduates who wish to obtain a degree.

These arrangements exist across Canada, in the United States and throughout the world. The only jurisdiction where articulation agreements are notably lacking has been Ontario. After over 30 years of college operations in the province, Ontario universities generally will not fully recognize and acknowledge an Ontario college education without students losing credit for at least one year of their college diploma.

The result of this has been that almost all of Georgian's graduates wishing to pursue a degree with full credit for their college diploma must leave Ontario. The proposed legislation will allow private universities into Ontario, a number of which have already shown an interest in working with Georgian to create opportunities for our graduates, granting full credit for their college studies. We believe the establishment of private universities in Ontario as a competitive influence on the public universities will indirectly encourage the public universities to more fully recognize the needs of the hundreds of thousands of community college graduates seeking to further their education, with better recognition of their prior learning experience.

There are two issues the committee may wish to clarify in this regard. The bill refers to the establishment of private universities in the province but does not clearly define them. We believe it is important that public universities from foreign jurisdictions be included in this definition; we assume that private foreign universities are already covered. This may occur in very rare circumstances, and obviously may need the minister's approval, but we have some programs, such as professional golf management, where an institution like Pennsylvania State University has the top program in the world. We may wish to partner with an institution like Pennsylvania State.

The second point of clarification is with regard to the private universities themselves and the role they may play in the province under this legislation. Georgian already has articulated relationships with private universities that allow the college's graduates to attend the private foreign institution and complete a degree. These private universities are often very specialized, offering the highest quality degrees possible in niche programs aligned with Georgian's own niche programs.

Georgian, it's graduates and its private university partners are anxious to be able to deliver the degree-completion activity at Georgian's campuses when Bill 132 is enacted. We don't necessarily see the university setting up an entire campus on their own, but we would see them perhaps delivering the fourth year of a program on our campus.

I can give you two examples. We have the only aviation management program in the province. Embry-Riddle, which is the world's leading aviation university in the States, is interested in delivering a fourth year at our campus. Again, our students would receive full credit for their studies. Another example would be our automotive marketing program, which is the only program in Canada. We're partnered with Northwood University in the States, and they have the only automotive marketing program in the United States and are very tightly connected with the Big Three auto manufacturers. They are interested in delivering a fourth year on our campus, and we will be proceeding with that.

Georgian College also welcomes the opportunity to grant applied degrees. Degrees are the global currency of post-secondary education. Our graduates are disadvantaged in many jurisdictions where a college diploma is an unknown entity or is associated with inferior institute diplomas. Like many colleges and universities, we recruit students from around the world, and if you go around the world, diplomas are typically associated with institutes. In most countries these institutes would be a floor in a high-rise building. They would be very poorly equipped and don't resemble Ontario colleges in any way, shape or form.

Ontario's community colleges play a critical role in providing a high-quality, job-ready workforce that can compete in the global economy. The competitive and responsive nature of Ontario's publicly funded community college system positions it well to ensure that progressive, degree-granting opportunities are seized and acted upon for the benefit of the citizens of Ontario. This ability is diminished when the educational certification that is granted to them is not recognized.

The proposed legislation goes beyond simply providing colleges with the ability to grant applied degrees. Under this legislation, colleges may in some circumstances be able to grant full baccalaureate degrees. This initiative of the government is also fully supported by Georgian College.

As Mr Dunlop knows, Georgian serves a catchment area of over 30,000 square kilometres in which there is no university. In this catchment area, the proportion of the population with university degrees is significantly below the provincial average. The lack of access to a university is seen as a possible explanation for this situation. We're very enthusiastic about exploring all avenues that will be provided by this legislation to open up access to degree-level post-secondary education opportunities to the over 660,000 people in our catchment area.

In our submission, we have several wording concerns around inspection powers, financial aid controls and accountability of the board of governors, but in the interests of time, I won't go into those details.

In summary, Georgian College supports the introduction of private universities and the access this will bring for additional educational opportunities for our graduates. Clarification about degree-completion activities and access by foreign public universities is likely required. We welcome the empowerment of colleges to deliver applied degrees, and perhaps full degrees, in underserviced areas of the province.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That leaves a couple of minutes for questioning from the government side.

Mrs Molinari: It's evident from what you've said in your presentation that you're fully supportive of the legislation coming forth. I will certainly read some of the points you didn't make and some of the areas on which you raised some concerns.

I want to respond to a question in your presentation about foreign jurisdictions being included in the definition. You say, "We assume that private, foreign universities are already covered in the legislation." I want to comment that this legislation is enabling and is not restrictive of any institution that wants to set up. The quality assessment board will be the body that will decide, based on a number issues: student protection and certainly credibility of the curriculum and the excellence of any curriculum that is provided. Certainly the board will decide who gets to set up. I just wanted to make sure it was clear that it's enabling legislation rather than restrictive.

I appreciate some of the comments you've made. Certainly I can see how a college that covers such a large area with no university would benefit and be able to offer more opportunities for students, which is what this legislation is all about: offering more opportunities and making it more flexible for students and for the adult learner. I appreciate the comments you've made.

The Chair: I appreciate your taking the time to come before us and make a presentation today.



The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Seneca College. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Stephen Quinlan: Thank you, Mr Chair. I feel like I'm at college day at the standing committee hearings, but it's our pleasure to be here. My colleague Dr Anthony Tilly, our chief academic officer, joins me for today's presentation.

Let me begin, honourable members, by thanking you for this opportunity to share our views on Bill 132. While there are several key elements addressed in the bill, I realize that you are and will be hearing from a number of presenters on this subject over the course of the next few weeks. For that reason, I will not be discussing some of the what I might call mundane issues, detailed issues of the bill, either its specific language, sections or subsections. What I would like to do is focus today on some of the issues which our students are most concerned with: the issue of the applied degree and the impact that it has on them and on the province in general.

As many of you may know, I am on record in support of applied degrees. During my remarks at the Empire Club in May 1998, I advocated strongly for the applied degree as one of the additional tools that help our graduates excel and exceed in the global economies. This is in addition to the tools already provided by colleges, tools such as high academic standards, experiential learning opportunities, exposure to leading-edge technology, faculty with industrial experience, and program input from business leaders in all sectors of today's economy.

The reality of today's economy is that many companies-and you have heard from Colin and Visteon this afternoon. Our global employers want the practical, specialized training that Ontario colleges provide, but they also seek employees with degrees.

Organizations such as the chartered accountants' association and the Certified General Accountants Association require a degree for professional designation. As well, and I'm sure you may know this, many, if not most, international airlines require a degree for co-op pilots to fly commercially. I have a great deal of experience in this area and indeed lost a contract worth millions of dollars to Ontario as a result of our inability to offer a degree.

In many organizations, promotion, as Colin said, beyond the entry level is frequently, if not often, limited to degree holders. Anything that inhibits an Ontario college graduate from maximum success in the workplace works against Ontario's prosperity.

Since our creation just over 30 years ago, Ontario colleges have been successful in providing the depth and breadth of educational opportunity to support the province's knowledge economy. Our strength in this area has been recognized by both the students who have chosen our programs and also by the employers who have hired our graduates. In Seneca's case, 100% of our graduates from 46 of our programs were employed within six months of graduation: programs such as accounting and finance, computer engineering technology, and business administration. I suggest that these graduates need opportunities to move up in their organizations, and we see applied degrees as an opportunity for them.

As world-class institutions, our colleges need world-recognized degrees that meet international standards and global expectations. The applied degree grants that recognition for all potential employers to see the stringent requirements that have been met in order to graduate from a particular college program: a program, as you've already heard from Mr Tibbits, that is equal to, if not greater than, that of a baccalaureate degree.

In our response to the consultation paper we received in April, we submitted the following comments:

In order to be successful, applied degree programs in the province of Ontario must be market-driven, they must be innovative responses to socio-economic demands, they must have appropriate recognition from industry and the public at large, and they must demonstrate portability in the global workplace.

Throughout Ontario's college system there are numerous formal articulation agreements with post-secondary institutions outside the province that provide students with the opportunity to complete a degree. These arrangements were signed in response to the growing demand from students who were already seeking accreditation for their diplomas but doing so on an individual basis. The name of Bill 132 itself suggests this is about student opportunities, opportunities for choice and excellence in post-secondary education, and the creation of publicly funded choices is a key factor in keeping Ontario's students in Ontario by offering educational opportunities equal to, if not superior than, those offered by institutions south of the border and elsewhere in our international community.

The issues of quality control and regulated standards regarding curriculum, program delivery, faculty qualifications that reflect industry standards and the ability to grant globally recognized credentials are the keys to the continuing success for Ontario's students. Therefore, I must stress the significance of the role and membership of the quality assessment board as described in this bill.

With regard to the quality assessment board, membership should represent the full spectrum of post-secondary education, with equal representation from colleges and universities as well as from leaders from the international business community, with members who appreciate the direction in which Ontario's colleges of applied arts and technology are moving.

I fully endorse the concept of a quality assessment board and am confident that the board will respect the principles of fair competition and equal access in reviewing the applications from our colleges. All must be held to the same standard of quality and accountability. Moreover, whatever decisions the quality assessment board makes regarding the programs to be given applied-degree-granting status, the board must, first and foremost, look at the needs of students. The programs chosen must make sense in terms of what an applied degree will mean to those students. Applied-degree programs should be chosen based on the beneficial impact for students with respect to future opportunities, successes and meeting the demand of industry.

In closing, it is my ardent belief that the applied degree serves the very best interests of our students and their future success in the 21st century as well as the future success of Ontario as a leading player in global markets. Applied degrees, in addition to giving students the opportunity to complete their education in Ontario, will also attract international partners and international students who will make a significant contribution to our economy.

Seneca College as well as Ontario colleges can and will provide the environment for students to thrive. We look forward to the opportunity to recognize their hard work and academic achievements with the granting of an applied degree.

I thank you for your time and interest.

The Chair: Thank you very much, and that allows us about two minutes for a question from the Liberal caucus.


Mrs Bountrogianni: Thank you and welcome. Over 18 years ago I used to teach at your institution. I know it is still an excellent institution.

I just want to make clear that the Liberal caucus agrees with the government on this part of the bill and applauds this move as needed.

I'll give you two concerns that I've heard from stakeholder groups, mostly students. Number one is, if there isn't enough funding for applied degrees in the colleges, funding will be sought in other areas within that college or colleges. Students are concerned that those diploma programs will then be watered down. How would you address that possibility?

Dr Quinlan: I wouldn't necessarily agree with that assumption. If you look at the cost to the students and to the taxpayers of Ontario, at the moment a student would spend three years in a college and three to four years in a university to get a roughly similar qualification. The cost to students and the cost to Ontario probably will be less, not greater, when measured in absolute terms.

Mrs Bountrogianni: The other concern I heard from the students-although, in the end, they did support this part of the bill, initially their concern was not the financial aspect but just the prestige or lack of prestige for a diploma in comparison with the applied degree. How have you probably already addressed this in your institution?

Dr Quinlan: Yes, I'd like to speak to that, if I may. I've done an extensive amount of work in the international community. Certainly in the global economies of the world today, the applied degree has as much recognition-in fact, maybe more with some employers-than the baccalaureate degree. In time, students who benefit from the applied degree will have a much greater appreciation than they do today, not having had the opportunity for that experience.

Mrs Bountrogianni: My question was in comparison to the diploma. I agree with you there.

Dr Quinlan: With regards to an Ontario diploma now?

Mrs Bountrogianni: To the lack of status or prestige of having a diploma.

Dr Quinlan: Different students will have different expectations based on their desire and based on their ability. I don't believe the diploma will be watered down in Ontario. Notwithstanding that, if they go to work for an international corporation or in an international environment, the degree will be more attractive to them.

The Chair: Thank you both for coming before us here this afternoon.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Redeemer University College, as it has very recently come to be renamed. Good afternoon, welcome to the committee.

Dr Justin Cooper: It is a pleasure to be here. We're very pleased to have this opportunity to respond to the legislation that has been tabled by Minister Cunningham. We confirm the intent of this bill to extend the choices available to students in post-secondary education in Ontario while ensuring academic excellence and institutional accountability. We would like to raise some points that we believe are relevant to the terms of the proposed legislation.

You'll notice our brief is organized with a number of statements in the executive summary. These are expanded upon in the subsequent section. I'll begin my remarks on page 3 of the brief with respect to the equality of access for all students, which is the comment that we would like to make on the section that deals with loans and awards.

Equality of access for students to loans, grants and awards, irrespective of whether they attend a public or private institution, should be an essential feature of all provincial student assistance programs. At the present time, it is not. While it may be defensible to vary the assistance available depending on the type of institution attended-vocational school, college or university-we believe it's unacceptable to discriminate against students who choose to attend institutions whose operations are funded privately by deeming such students to be ineligible for certain provincial student assistance programs, as is now the case

We believe the criteria should be student need and not institutional mode of funding. Since the Lieutenant Governor in Council has, in the bill, wide discretion in prescribing terms and conditions for student loans, grants and awards, we believe a clause should be included in the act stating this principle of equality of access for all Ontario students regardless of whether they attend a publicly or privately funded institution.

The remainder of our remarks have to do with the policy of ministerial consents and degree granting. I continue on page 4 of our brief.

With respect to the names to be used by institutions that grant degrees, the use of the name "university," we believe, should be reserved for institutions whose primary purpose is providing university-level degree programs in a range of disciplines in the arts and sciences, together with supporting some research mandate. This usage follows academic practice in all other jurisdictions in Canada, and we believe should be noted in the act. This will protect the integrity and credibility of these important social institutions and the expectations of prospective students, faculty and project partners in industry and commerce.

As an example, a minimum of eight disciplines spanning the humanities, social sciences and sciences is one benchmark of which we are aware for defining what constitutes a sufficient range of degree programs.

With respect to ministerial consents, since the maintenance of appropriate institutional and academic standards essential for excellence is really tantamount to accreditation, the minister should seek the advice of the quality assessment board in framing any regulations relevant to such standards. These are referred to at various points in the act. While the act consistently speaks of ministerial consent, what we believe is at stake in the legislation is the accreditation of new institutions and new academic programs for which appropriate standards will have to be developed, in addition to the granting of consent for out-of-province institutions to operate in Ontario. We believe that the act would be strengthened by referring to accreditation and by requiring the minister to seek the advice of the assessment board in making regulations related to these kinds of standards.

On to page 5: I'd just like to highlight some remarks in relation to the composition of the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board.

Consistent with standard academic practice, the assessment board should be made up of academically qualified persons and should include representatives of universities, private universities and community colleges. Ministry representatives could also be included. But the point about academically qualified persons is that this board is going to be asked to make very significant academic judgments.

Since the assessment board will in fact be the accrediting body for all new degree-granting institutions and degree programs in Ontario, constituting it in a manner which will ensure the maintenance of standards of excellence will be of utmost importance, we believe, and should be spelled out in greater detail in the act.

Moving on to page 6: just to note in section 8 that while it may be advisable to use the same assessment board for all post-secondary institutions and degree programs, there are different criteria which must be used, depending on what type of institution or program is being considered for accreditation. We would just note that given the current proposed legislation, the assessment board will be dealing with the accreditation of new Ontario-based institutions as well as existing institutions and out-of-province institutions. It will be dealing with institutional accreditation, we understand, as well as single program accreditation, with university degree programs as well as applied degree programs and with undergraduate as well as graduate-level institutions and programs. Clearly it will be a large undertaking to develop sufficient criteria of excellence for all these different types of assessment. We would just note that, as a private university in the province, we would be pleased if we would be able to participate in this process.

One topic we also would like to comment on is the issue of for-profit institutions. We believe that for-profit institutions should be excluded from receiving consent or accreditation to operate as a private university or degree-granting institution, as is the case in other jurisdictions, as we understand it. In the United States, for example, for-profit, or proprietary institutions, as they are also known, are ineligible for accreditation by the regional accrediting associations, which are the primary accrediting bodies. For-profit institutions, especially if they use only part-time instructors and have no research mandate, fulfill in some residual way the task of disseminating knowledge but do so in isolation from the other essential function, we believe, of an educational institution, namely, the advancement of knowledge. Such a departure from the traditional mission of the university does not, in our view, promote excellence, and neither will it, over the long term, do so.


Finally, to reinforce the point with which we began respecting government funding, if persons or institutions receiving ministerial consent are deemed ineligible for government funding, as is presently the case, this should not be construed, we would like to emphasize, to limit the eligibility for awards, grants or loans on the part of students who attend or faculty who teach at such institutions. The current policy of not providing operating or capital funding to new private universities is clear and its not at issue here. However, it does not follow from this policy that provincial assistance programs for citizens of Ontario, whether they be students or faculty, should not apply to people if they attend or work at a private university. Such inappropriate discrimination is unfair. Rather, as we mentioned before, equality of access should be maintained in all such programs. We believe that if these principles, the various ones that we've mentioned, were to be applied, it would improve and enhance the contents of this legislation and improve our post-secondary institution system in Ontario so that our students will have greater choice and we will maintain excellence.

The Chair: This time the questioning will go to the NDP. Ms Churley, you've got about three minutes.

Ms Churley: Thank you very much for your presentation. It's very interesting, helpful information.

On page 6, when you talk about for-profit institutions, can you elaborate a bit on that section and, more specifically, what you're talking about there as compared to the private universities? What's the difference? Can you give some examples of for-profit institutions in the US that you referred to?

Dr Cooper: Certainly. I think the point we're trying to make is that teaching and research go together, and that is the dissemination of knowledge and also its advancement. In that way an institution contributes to society in some larger sense as well as to the students specifically. What we are aware of-and I guess quite frankly we're thinking a little bit of the University of Phoenix as an example-is that when you use only part-time instructors and when they have no research mandate, then you are in some minimalist way disseminating knowledge but you're not advancing it. Traditionally, a university has always disseminated and advanced knowledge. Those two go together. I guess we're trying to stress that they go together for a reason, in that if you want to maintain quality and excellence over time, then it would be important to keep those functions together.

The Chair: Thank you very much for bringing your perspective to the hearings here today. We appreciate your taking the time to come before us.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the association of colleges of Ontario. Good afternoon. Welcome to the committee.

Ms Susan Bloomfield: Should I come around and shake hands? You probably need to stand up.

The Chair: Actually, we're a little concerned because there will be a vote so we're trying to get the last two presentations in under the wire. The rules of the House demand that the committee rise when there's a vote, so we don't want to shortchange anyone's presentation.

Ms Bloomfield: Thank you for having us. I am very, very pleased to be here today. We're going to be brief because you've had so much information, I am sure, showered upon you. My name is Susan Bloomfield. I am chair of ACAATO, the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario. On my left is Dr Howard Rundle with Fanshawe, who is speaking to you afterwards, and Joan Homer, our executive director.

A little background for you: I represent the governors, who are the employers of the college system in Ontario. I have been involved in the college system for six years as a governor at Cambrian College in Sudbury. I was chair of their governance for two and a half years and then was elected last February by 25 board chairs and 25 presidents to the position that I hold for two years as a volunteer in the system.

We represent 200 communities in the province of Ontario that have community college education available to them. I know you have the background material so I won't spend any more time on that. I would like to let you know, though, that over one million graduates have come out of the community college system. They have proven themselves to be a real economic and social benefit to the people of Ontario. We are really grateful that there are so many community college supporters here who are actively working in and with the college system. We thank you for that.

We are so supportive of this bill. We have been really enthusiastically working and lobbying for it since 1996, and I can tell you that the employers in the 200 communities are so thrilled, because they have been asking for more credentialing for the students for some time now. We need to make them internationally competent and marketable. We know that in the United States, in Alberta and in Europe, this is a recognized addition for young, middle-aged and older people's education. We need this credential to be internationally marketable, and we are so excited that it's coming now and will be available to the students of Ontario in the very near future.

This is not going to interfere, I don't believe, in any way with our diploma program or with the baccalaureate degree from universities. I think it really fits a need in our economic society right now, in our knowledge economy, and it will be of huge benefit to a very large number of students because most students now are lifelong learners. There's just no way around it. This really facilitates the marketability of young people in our province.

You're going to be hearing from 10 different college presidents, so I will not spend any time talking about what they're going to talk about. I don't want to steal any of Howard's thunder. I just know that this is such an important time for all the people in Ontario to make this huge leap after 30 years of a successful process. But we need the change and it's timely, considering how well we're doing in our economic growth in the province.

We would ask for just some minor changes in terms of wording and recommendations to make it readable. I was talking to a student this afternoon and I said, "Well, what do you think about this bill?" She said, "We're thrilled, we're thrilled, we're thrilled." I think that just about sums it up. The more readable it is to the people who are using it, the easier it will be for everyone. That would be our only caution. Other than that, I would like to open it up to any questions you have of us at this point in time.

The Chair: Thank you very much. If you like, we could ask Dr Rundle if he wanted to make his comments, add his time to yours right now.

Dr Howard Rundle: Sure. I'd be glad to do that.

The Chair: Then we can have questions after that. OK?

Ms Bloomfield: Great.


Dr Rundle: My name is Howard Rundle. I'm from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

I'm only speaking to the matter of applied degrees contained in this bill and I'm only going to make, and my paper makes, only one simple point, although I do support all of the comments made by my colleagues from Conestoga and Seneca that you've heard this afternoon. But the paper tries to give you something, a contribution I believe Fanshawe College has made to this issue, and that is the fact that it has been an issue that we have been studying for over 10 years.

I come with the perspective of the person who was first introduced to this whole topic of applied degrees as vice-president, academic, of Fanshawe, a position I held for eight years prior to becoming president five years ago. I have lived through the last 13 years seeing this emerge as a major issue, so much so that our board of governors undertook a major study of it about a year and a half ago. I outline that in the paper.


What we really observed was that for a growing number of students-and it is only a minority of college students-Ontario is in fact importing post-secondary education for its citizens, because our graduates are able to obtain much more credit by going out of province or indeed out of country to complete degrees, if they need to do that, and a growing number do need to do that. They are paying considerably extra money to do that. They are doing something that could be done in province. We would not need to be importing education from other countries. That's basically what's happening now.

Our board studied the system in British Columbia and Alberta and after a year's work came to the conclusion that the introduction of an applied degree having the full status of a baccalaureate degree but being essentially different in that it would continue to be applied and not hugely theoretical, although there's always a component of theoretical work that goes with it, was what was really needed in Ontario. If we do this, we are going to save, as a colleague has mentioned, not only the taxpayer money, but where students do go on and articulate at universities inside Ontario, taking at least a year longer than they do at universities outside Ontario, it is at much greater cost to themselves. So it would seem to be a win-win situation all around, both for the taxpayer and for the student.

I simply wanted to demonstrate that our college has been studying this issue for over 10 years. It's not a flash in the pan. It has not been diminishing; it has been growing. A move like this has been needed for some time and we applaud it significantly. That's all I have to say. I'll try and answer questions.

The Chair: Thank you. In the rotation, the next round of questioning is going to start with the government members. We have enough time to go around.

Mrs Julia Munro (York North): Thank you very much, both of you-I know you were wearing two hats there-for presenting your views here today.

Many of us recognize how important it is to move forward with this piece of legislation. I wonder, though, if you'd care to comment, given the fact that you talked about how you have talked to alumni and that you have looked at this issue for some time, and could give us a sense of where you see new areas opening up, because I'm sure that you have given it some thought. We've heard presenters today talk about the way in which employers in their communities require degrees, but I'm just wondering if you've given some thought to new vistas that this piece of legislation would open up for either you individually or collectively as an institution.

Dr Rundle: I know at our institution our first thought is not going to be new vistas, if by that you mean whole new programming areas that we're not in. There's a pent-up need right now, particularly in the health field. Fanshawe provides a very broad spectrum of health paraprofessional training-respiratory therapists, radiography-and those students are now saying, "Now that nurses are going to have to have degrees, we're the only ones working in hospitals who don't. So we want it and insist on it." Indeed it's occurring out west.

In advanced technology programming, Ontario is one of the only jurisdictions that has three-year applied programs in colleges. Most other provinces and countries are limited to two years. So we have some very advanced programming already. There's such a pent-up demand right now at our institution that it will be to deal with those first before we start zooming off and looking into other fields or other areas.

Ms Bloomfield: I think you'll find it's region-specific to a certain extent as well. Sudbury will be looking, because of the mining industry and the forestry, at an applied degree in technology as their first and foremost priority, along with nursing. But depending on the community that is being served by the college, they will tell us very clearly what they want. They are very excited. The mood in the province in these 200 communities is just, "Let's get going." So we would really encourage-if we could get the immediate appointment of the quality assessment board and get the students going as of this coming September, it would be a huge benefit.

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): You mentioned that you talked to some of the students and they were very optimistic about this. What are you hearing around the province from students?

Ms Bloomfield: Tremendous support overall.

A community college encompasses a lot of different things. You can take ballroom dancing, motorcycle repair, advanced programs in accounting that you can transfer on to university. It covers so many areas. This is one area that allows students to be lifelong learners, to just keep growing and adding to their credentials, to maintain internationally. I think that's what we're really seeing, that colleges in Ontario now have to compete internationally and provide that for their students. This is one of the things that they want, that they know they need and that they're ready for. We have to keep that here because colleges do a lot of things for a lot of people, from upgrading to get into the process to this next step. So we can't forget: they are multifaceted opportunities.

Mrs Bountrogianni: I have one question for the government and one question for Dr Rundle. There's a lot of optimism and excitement about this, and we share the opinion of the value of this part of the bill. But I understand there will only be one applied degree per year per institution granted. What exactly is the formula? Maybe Ms Molinari could answer that.

Ms Molinari: Eight projects per year for three years would be approved.

Mrs Bountrogianni: So eight different projects every year?

Ms Molinari: Yes, eight projects every year, for three years.

Mrs Bountrogianni: Then my question for Dr Rundle: you have limited, as is appropriate, your comments to community colleges, that part of the bill, and you said that when this bill is passed, Ontario will be able to provide some of the education that we are now importing. The other part of the bill speaks very specifically to importing education, such as the Phoenix. I know you're the president of a college, not a university, but what is your opinion on that?

Dr Rundle: Because of that, of your last comment, we're really neutral with regard to private universities. We don't believe it will impact colleges in any significant way, so we really don't have a position on that.

Mr Levac: Do I have time, Mr Chair?

The Chair: For a quick question.

Mr Levac: I had asked earlier on about trying to get to education beforehand with the skills development. I asked a question earlier about programs that are necessary to have a built-in bias that seems to be in our communities about skills development and skills for trades. Do you believe that the government should be sponsoring and supporting programs that try to educate parents and the students before they become college students about the value of the skills and the trade development, for example? I'll give a kick to my own community: the Brant Skills Development Group forms partnerships with all stakeholders, including students and parents, with regard to trying to educate them in the value of skills development.

Dr Rundle: That is just absolutely true. Probably the most influential time is when the child is in elementary school, actually. They come to secondary school already with the notion, "If I'm better-than-average intelligence, I'm going to university," and sometimes into careers that are low-paying, over-supplied and do not appreciate what skills trades opportunities there are in our society today. It's really quite sad when there's going to be such a huge demand. So whatever can be done-and it looks like we have to reach parents predominantly, parents of children aged five through the teenage years.

Ms Bloomfield: If I could add to that too, I'd like to say that with this new applied degree coming out, what we provide for students is a seamless, over-time education. There isn't going to be us and them, the bright and the not-so-bright. There is absolutely no need any more for those kinds of expectations: if you're this bright, you go to university; if you're this bright, you do that. Colleges provide an ongoing educational opportunity for anybody who wants to work hard and do it. I think that is a new philosophy. You know, 30 years ago we had this streamlining. We don't need that any more. I don't see, in five or six years, the kinds of bias that has existed in the past: college material, university material. That will go. But we still need tool and die makers.

Ms Churley: It's just interesting to follow up on streaming in high schools. Do you think this would actually make an impact on how that's now done?

Ms Bloomfield: I don't see the pressure on the children that is imposed upon them now. If they know, "I don't know what I want to do but I know I have the opportunity to keep learning," and there isn't that bias, then they-I don't know if any of you have children. I have four children and my youngest is 19. The pressure he felt last November to pick a university or pick a college or pick a program was awful. It was pitiful to watch what they have to go through, because the expectation they have now is, "I must succeed." I want them to think, "I want to enjoy learning, I want to keep on learning all my life, I want to get validation from that," and I think if we institute this program, it allows colleges to provide a seamless ongoing education and if they want to go on to university and master's degrees and doctorates they will not be intimidated by the process any more.

Ms Churley: Thank you for that. I wanted to follow up on the question asked previously to the parliamentary assistant, just your views on that. I understand that there's a three-year pilot project and there are up to eight new applied degrees programs which will be approved each year. Do you and others have input on which pilot programs are being decided, how they are being decided and that sort of thing? For instance, do all of the colleges have input on how the decisions are going to be made?

Ms Bloomfield: Certainly. The board of governors in each college is the employer. They take a look at it. They have subcommittees that have educational committees and finance committees. So each college in each region will determine what they're going to apply for of those eight opportunities and sequentially how many each year. So it will be regional specific, based on their needs with their communities.

Ms Churley: What I am getting at, I guess-it's the three-year pilot project and "up to eight"-is how decisions are going to be ultimately made. Perhaps the government can answer this better, what those "up to eight" will be and which colleges. Are they applying for different programs? Who makes the decision, may I ask?

Ms Molinari: I can respond to that. Yes, the applications will be submitted and the quality assessment board will be the governing board that will make the decision on those that follow the criteria that the board is to follow with the approval. The board will be able to access the expert panels for various decisions that need to be made because the quality assessment board will be the body that will decide, but they will get advice from a number of expert panels to make the decision on which will come forward. The colleges certainly will have a large role to play in the co-operation of that and knowing what criteria is going to be looked at, so they will be a partner in that decision.

The Chair: Mrs Munro, you were motioning that I had perhaps cut you off when I went to Mr Dunlop.

Mrs Munro: I just wanted to add a comment that's related to an issue raised a moment ago in terms of making sure that students are aware of the options. I just wanted to clarify that from grade 7 on, students are making individual education plans and this is the whole idea that you're addressing: the importance of being sure that our young people are making those decisions. At least in this program, it does allow that kind of opportunity to begin that early.

The Chair: If I could just add as well that you note in your presentation that there are some other wording changes you would like to see made. I could suggest that we have another week for you to offer any specific suggestions in that regard. If you care to send them to the clerk, we will make sure that they are distributed to all the committee members.

Thank you very much for taking the time to come before us to make your presentations.

With that, the committee stands adjourned until 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon.

The committee adjourned at 1745.