Wednesday 29 November 2000

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

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Mr David Schleich

Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
Dr Jean Moss

Tyndale College
Dr Brian Stiller

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
Dr Henry Jacek

Argosy Education Group
Dr Michael Markovitz

Canadian Federation of Students, Ontario
Ms Erin George

Ontario Graduate Association
Mr Ian Boyko

Athabasca University
Ms Frances Gunn

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario
Mr Brian O'Keefe


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

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)
Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill PC)

Clerk / Greffière

Ms Anne Stokes

Staff /Personnel

Mr Larry Johnston, research officer, Research and Information Services

The committee met at 1541 in committee room 1.


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 post-secondaire, 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 (Mr Steve Gilchrist): Good afternoon. I call the committee to order for the purpose of further hearings on Bill 132.

Our first presentation this afternoon will be from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I invite them up to the witness table. Good afternoon; welcome to the committee.

Mr David Schleich: My name is David Schleich. I'm the president of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine here in Toronto. You have before you on your desks our presentation, and I will be going through about one half of that in the allocated time.

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine is a non-profit, charitable private educational institution which prepares graduates for entry to practise as naturopathic doctors in regulated and also in non-regulated provinces and states in North America. CCNM, which is the acronym for our school, supports Bill 132 and sees it as a positive and timely improvement to the current higher education system in Ontario.

As a complement to conventional medicine, naturopathic medicine's increasing integration in health care merits professional recognition in Ontario, which this legislation would make possible. Historically, the affiliation route and the ministerial consent route have proven to be virtual cul-de-sacs for our school and our profession in its goal to have a professional education credential with international acceptance and currency. Our goal is to have a professional degree. We do not seek provincial funding for our school now or in the future.

With respect to CCNM, Bill 132 holds timely benefits for students, graduates and ultimately the Canadian public. As complementary and alternative health care increases in popularity, more university graduates are choosing to enter the natural medicine profession. Enrolment at our school, which offers a four-year full-time professional program leading to a doctor of naturopathic medicine diploma, has dramatically increased over the past several years. Currently there are over 500 full-time graduate students studying with us.

While accredited naturopathic colleges in the United States are able to grant degrees, CCNM, also accredited by the US Department of Education's Council on Naturopathic Medical Education currently can only issue diplomas to graduates because of the restrictive framework of the Degree Granting Act here in Ontario and the virtual monopoly the public sector universities have on the degree credential. This inconsistency confuses the general public and other primary health care professionals who increasingly work closely with naturopathic doctors, and it also undermines the Canadian naturopathic profession both nationally and internationally.

Moreover, our college can meet and exceed the criteria normally considered by the minister when considering degree-granting rights and privileges for non-publicly supported institutions.

Bill 132 will begin to address these inconsistencies, support the development of the naturopathic profession and recognize the professional expertise graduates achieve through their rigorous professional program. An understandable, portable and transferable credential in the form of a professional degree would not only be an appropriate culmination of a rigorous educational program, which graduates of other professional programs enjoy at the moment, but is also appropriate to the currency of the profession in Canada, as witnessed, for example, by the federal government last year in the establishment of the office of natural health products, whose director general is a graduate of our school. As well, the enabling legislation in other Canadian provinces, such as Alberta and British Columbia contemplates a fair playing field for naturopathic doctors' credentials.

What we're looking for: we want to become a degree-granting institution to facilitate the recognition of the naturopathic profession in Canada and abroad. We seek approval to offer a professional degree as a credential because of its importance as a signal of quality to the primary health care community and to the university community in Canada. This will be a unique professional degree. We do not seek a secular degree. We are not seeking government funding for capital or operations now or in the future. With a degree-granting credential we will be able to link our institution with other Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada organizations across North America, finally making it possible for our students to transfer their education credentials to other institutions for further advanced study.

I would ask the committee to take note that our tuition is the lowest in North America and in fact we are comparable to the current tuition costs for medical schools in this province. Our rate-of-tuition increases in the last five years have been lower by a margin of 50% compared to public sector tuition increases. Our faculty are highly specialized and it's highly unlikely that we would have any impact on other post-secondary institutions in terms of recruitment.

I'd like to articulate for a few moments our concerns regarding Bill 132, those that we do have, and to iterate how supportive we are of the legislation.

First, we're concerned that the Quality Assessment Board not be overly dominated by current public sector university personnel whose understanding of graduate medical education or graduate professional education may be dismissive of an institution not in the apparent mainstream and with which they are not familiar. In fact, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine's curriculum and delivery are entirely in keeping with the dominant epistemology of professional programs housed in research universities. We want to offer a unique professional degree which doesn't fall conveniently under the other provisions of the revised act.

Another concern is that, historically, the Degree Granting Act discriminates in favour of foreign institutions over institutions whose home is Ontario. The new act keeps this unfair process intact in some ways because it gives only temporary consent to colleges such as ours since we are based in Ontario. We have invested heavily in our campus, equipment, human resources and programs over the past 22 years. We want to expand all of these even further to meet the rapidly growing need, not only here in Ontario but across Canada. We need a stable and secure credential foundation to achieve this. We employ more than 125 people full-time, and the multiplier effect of our 500 graduate students to the local and Ontario economies is not insignificant. Thus, we would suggest that the act provide for well-established, non-profit private institutions to be accorded degree-granting status not unlike current Ontario universities. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine welcomes the rigour of a periodic and thorough Quality Assessment Board review and accreditation process.

Ladies and gentlemen, what follows in our submission are statistics which I don't think I need to rehearse here, information about the academic requirements of our program, our recent accreditation process that we went through, which took 60 months and many thousands of dollars, and the historical overview not only of our school but of the profession which we serve.

We are technically incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act and our school is the educational arm of the shareholder group within that act. I iterate that we are non-profit.

The final section of our submission is a description for those of you not familiar with naturopathic medicine about what it is that constitutes the core of our professional curriculum.

Through Bill 132, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine as a degree-granting institution will be able to facilitate finally, after generations of not having been able to do so, and to ensure that only qualified professionals hold a meaningful credential that is understood by jurisdictions outside of Ontario and by our colleagues in other post-secondary institutions in Ontario and other primary health care professionals.


We have pursued the affiliation route without success. Bill 132 changes all of that and we are excited by the possibilities and in strong support of the legislation. Thank you very kindly.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That does leave us time for questions, about three minutes. We'll start with the Liberals this time.

Mr Dave Levac (Brant): Mr Schleich, thank you very much for your presentation. Obviously, just by perusing the information, I would not doubt that you have a wonderful institution and what you provide for your students is already quite exceptional. A quick question, and then maybe another one. The quick question is, you have outlined some concerns regarding the bill. If those concerns are not addressed, will you still support the bill?

Mr Schleich: Yes. We are in support of the bill be-cause we believe it levels the playing field and makes it more fair. We hope that in any subsequent amendments that might come from this process there would be other opportunities for us to achieve the degree credential.

Mr Levac: The way it works, if the amendments aren't coming at this committee level when we deal with the bill, you'll have to wait to change legislation at a later date. So your lobbying is going to require some arm-twisting of people to put in some amendments to make sure that those concerns are addressed. That could be anyone from any side.

The second question evolves around a part of the bill that hasn't been addressed today. There's a part of the bill that looks at privatization and there's a possibility that a lot of the bills that this government's put forward have these kind of double-edged swords: if you want the nice piece, you've got to take the other piece that might not be so palatable. Have you got a judgment or an opinion on the other piece of the legislation that allows for-profit institutions to enter into the province?

Mr Schleich: Our considered judgment, and this is derived from conversations with our board of governors and our other stakeholders, is that diversification becomes more possible in the higher education sector in Ontario through this bill, and that, in the long term, is desirable.

If for-profit institutions-we are not one, so I'm speaking from the perspective of a non-profit institution-can meet rigorous criteria having to do not only with curriculum and learning outcomes but also standards that are applied in the delivery of programs, and also if the private institutions are not seen to be excessively expensive in terms of access, and if along with those two factors there's an opportunity for students to access student loans-I know there are conversations occurring federally and provincially about such instruments as income-contingent repayment systems and so on-if these are in place, then the private university component in the higher education sector, with the resulting diversification, can enhance post-secondary education in Ontario in our view.

The Chair: Thank you very much Mr Schleich, for becoming before us this afternoon and starting off our hearings. We appreciate it.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

Good afternoon, and welcome to the committee.

Dr Jean Moss: Good afternoon, everybody. I'm Dr Jean Moss, the president of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. I'd like to introduce my colleague, Dr Silvano Mior, who is dean of graduate studies and research.

On behalf of the college, I thank you for the opportunity to make a presentation to your committee on Bill 132. I have brought with me today a small information package which highlights our institution and our programs. A copy of my presentation has been included in the materials.

Bill 132 represents the culmination of a substantive and, in our view, comprehensive consultation process. We believe that meaningful public input into the public policy development process is essential to good government. The government's and the minister's efforts to reach out and seek the feedback of a wide variety of stakeholders should not go unnoticed. As many of you are aware, the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has a strong tradition of participating in the public policy development process.

This initiative was no exception. We submitted a paper in response to the government's consultation document and we were pleased to participate in one of their several round-table discussions. We believe that we have had sufficient opportunity to be heard.

Suspecting that your day has been both interesting yet long, I will be brief and specific in my remarks. I particularly want to focus my comments on the newly proposed quality assessment board.

We are pleased to see that Bill 132 creates the legislative authority for the establishment of an arm's-length quality assessment board, along with certain mandated review requirements. We expect that the applications flowing through the QAB and its review process should create many interesting and exciting opportunities for Ontario's post-secondary students.

The key to that process, we believe, lies in the integrity, veracity and credibility of the rules and the measures adopted to review these new opportunities. We believe that much of the success of the new degree-granting portion of Bill 132 will rest heavily upon the regulation-making authority found in section 13. We believe that it is important that the rules regarding the application process be governed by regulation. This better ensures that as review standards improve or the quality assessment board identifies a gap, these standards can be easily amended.

The college, affectionately known as CMCC, is a unique institution. It was established in 1945. It is fully accredited by the Council of Chiropractic Education of Canada, which is recognized internationally, particularly with the Council of Chiropractic Education in the United States, which is in turn accredited by the United States Department of Education.

We have a limited enrollment. We are a self-supporting, professional educational institution which is significantly funded by the chiropractic profession across Canada. We receive no direct government funding and we rely on membership, tuition, and donations for support. We are a registered charity.

CMCC has achieved a seven-year accreditation, which is the highest level possible for chiropractic colleges in North America. At present, Canadian accrediting standards are higher than those in the United States, despite the fact that there are 17 chiropractic colleges in the United States. We have consistently chosen to set our own standards in excess of those required by our accrediting body. We believe in setting the bar high and aiming even higher. As such, we are a standards leader as well as an accreditation and quality leader. The standards and procedures by which we operate provide, we believe, a road map to quality and success. We are very proud of the rigour to which we hold ourselves accountable and believe that our standards have served the community well.

We have 615 students, 91% of whom have an undergraduate degree prior to admission. Seven per cent of our current first-year class has a graduate-level degree. We have graduated over 4,600 graduates since 1945; 49% of those are practicing in Ontario.

We employ approximately 180 faculty and staff and have an operating budget of $10.5 million. We have no direct government support, as we have already said, and we have managed to remain the most cost-effective chiropractic college in North America. As the naturopathic college has just said, our tuition is in the same range as tuition at a medical school today. We consider this a remarkable achievement while we have maintained the highest-quality standards and achieved the maximum accreditation award.

Not only do we have high-quality standards but also we continue to assess those standards. We cannot express strongly enough how important it will be for the province to commit to a rigorous QAB accreditation process. If the province is going to succeed, it too will need to be a leader in the accreditation process by setting high provincial standards.

I'd like to translate the term "accreditation" into its core components as it relates to CMCC. I believe that in doing so we may demonstrate some practices and objectives that can be transferred to the QAB accreditation process.

The main principles of achieving accreditation are to prove that the institution is financially viable, its programs are of sufficient quality, that the institution sets goals and then assesses itself against these goals, that the institution goes through a self-study process, identifies its strengths and its weaknesses and then establishes strategies to improve on the areas of weakness. Finally, the accrediting body completes an on-site visitation to verify that the institution is meeting the accreditation standards and is doing everything that we say it is doing.


It's extensive and it's expensive. However, we feel it's important that the QAB establish procedures to confirm and accept existing accreditation processes to ensure that institutions are properly accredited and don't have to undergo a further process that is financially and administratively cumbersome and unnecessary. In addition, the regulations should allow for responsiveness to increased quality standards as standards increase. The regulatory processes must be able to respond and must be able to set the bar higher.

We measure our success in a number of different ways. Our graduates consistently outperform other graduates on the Canadian licensing examinations, and last year we were very proud to have 100% of our graduates who took the exam pass. Our graduates have a very high employment rate, with 91% of them gaining employment in their professional field six months after graduation. We also have an extremely low default rate on OSAP loans at 0.9%. Compare that to 20% in the college sector and 8% in general in the university sector. We attribute these favourable outcomes to the quality of our students, our faculty, our staff and our academic program. We think it is a remarkable achievement, given that we offer our education within the private sector.

Ontario is in a wonderful position to learn from the experiences of others. We can continue to have institutions of the highest quality, but the bar must be set high from the outset. This bill provides the enabling framework to safeguard high quality standards and to establish the statutory and regulatory means to assess and confirm programs of suitable quality worthy of degree-granting status in the province.

In closing, we would like to say that we support the government's intention to provide more opportunities for Ontarians to seek degrees in a wider variety of programs. We further support its commitment to maintain the reputation and value of an Ontario-earned degree. We believe strongly that there must be an effective, efficient and rigorous accreditation process for any new degree program to ensure that there is no erosion of this reputation. Ontario's future post-secondary students deserve no less.

We would be very pleased to have you visit CMCC for a tour of our facilities and have you meet with our staff and faculty and the next generation of chiropractors of Canada. We thank you for this opportunity and would be pleased to respond to any of your questions.

The Chair: That leaves us time for about two and a half or three minute for questions. This time it will be to the NDP.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York): Perhaps with that shortage of time, I'll just make a comment, Jean, and perhaps to David, who presented as well. You know throughout the years I've been extremely supportive of your professions and your colleges. I think there hasn't been an initiative that you've brought forward that I haven't been supportive of. On this one, sorry. I guess the tide had to end.

I believe very strongly that the goal of both the chiropractic and naturopathic colleges to gain degree-granting status is one that should be supported, and there are methods that have been available and could have been promoted by government to help you with that. I think the block that you've run into in particular in affiliation and in discussions with the universities is because of, I hate to say it, the predominance of medical doctors in the health sciences and their view of chiropractic and naturopathic, and a monopoly point of view. I think it takes political will to overcome that.

I believe some of the cautions you raise around the accreditation process and who will be making those decisions and whether you'll be put through another process are very important ones. I believe the concerns that David raised with respect to, again, whether there will be a predominance of the existing university represented on those decision-making bodies, and how the traditional blocks will play themselves out in the future are very important, and they're not addressed in this bill.

If I may say, on the other whole section of the bill, if this was just about expanding degree-granting opportunities, I'd be 100% with you. But the other section of the bill, which allows the invasion of foreign for-profit universities in our sector-I heard David make a lot of cautionary statements about if, if, if, then it's OK. None of those ifs are contained within this legislation. I believe that we see the potential for a major assault on our publicly funded post-secondary education system and that the answer to the problems you have had, which are very real problems and I'm very supportive of what you're trying to do-it's really unfortunate to see that they're being addressed through a bill that has such other odious aspects to it.

I find myself in the position of voting against this piece of legislation and I want to let you know that. But I believe that the work you are trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish is worthy and I continue to be supportive of that.

The Chair: That does exhaust our time, but thank you very much, Dr Moss and Dr Mior, for coming before us here today.


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

Dr Brian Stiller: My name is Brian Stiller. I have presented a brief brief. First, let me say that we are in support of the legislation.

Just a background to who we are: we began in 1894 down in Toronto, the amalgam of the interests of three churches. Founded originally as Toronto Bible College, it merged with the school of London and eventually migrated north and developed a seminary and changed the name in 1998. We have an undergraduate school, the college, which is the one that we're speaking about specifically here today, and the seminary, Tyndale Seminary, which is currently the largest Christian seminary in Canada and the 12th largest in North America.

The college is now in transition towards becoming a university college offering a range of majors in arts and sciences, as well as in various professional areas. The reason for this transition is that the seminary has become the primary place of preparing individuals for church-related vocations. The model of education which the board of governors has approved in part-this is for the college side-comes from other schools, such as Trinity Western in British Columbia, King's University College and Nazarene University College in Alberta, Redeemer University College here in Ontario, and Atlantic Baptist University in Moncton.

Tyndale is a diverse institution with over 45 different denominations and 24 different ethnic backgrounds represented within its community. The college enrolls over 425 students and the college and seminary together have some 1,200 students. The constituency which looks to Tyndale for educational programs of one sort or another in Ontario is about 15% of the population. We currently have 12 full-time professors at the college. In the overall college and seminary, we have some 62 professors and more than 80% of those have earned doctoral degrees. Although the college has offered courses in the liberal arts all during its history, this is now becoming a much greater emphasis as it moves towards becoming a university college.

In our view, three reasons why this legislation is needed: First of all, it's a matter of choice. We believe this legislation will allow for a greater educational choice for Ontarians. At the present time, private university colleges with a Christian ethos are allowed to offer degrees in several other provinces. Until recently, Ontario residents who wished this form of education had to go outside Ontario in order to access it. This legislation will allow Ontarians to choose such educational offerings within their own province.

The recent decision to allow Redeemer University College to offer the BA and BSc degrees is an important development. Now is the time to allow other such institutions to provide this educational offering for Ontario students. Tyndale, with its strategic location in Toronto, is well-placed to be the college of choice for a good number of students seeking such an educational experience.


This legislation strikes a good balance between openness to innovation, on the one hand, and the understandable desire to ensure quality and world-class education. We believe it is important that educational offerings be held up to scrutiny so that what happens here in Ontario matches the finest of universities worldwide and continues to uphold the high level of education currently being offered by our public universities.

Universities such as York and Redeemer currently accept transfer credit from Tyndale and we are now in discussion with the University of Toronto about this issue as well. Our faculty hold earned doctorates from such institutions as York University, University of Toronto, Queen's University and, overseas, Aberdeen University. Our long-term desire is to become a member of the AUCC.

The second reason this legislation is needed is a recognition of the public benefits offered by private colleges. We believe this legislation is important because it provides a mechanism by which the government and the public can recognize and affirm the important public service that faith-based institutions like ours can provide. Historically in Canada many of the universities which exist today were founded by Christian churches and individuals, and many of these links continue to this day. Faith and higher education have always been intertwined.

As a private, not-for-profit Christian college, we seek to provide education to those who desire the kind of educational experience we offer as a public service at no cost to the taxpayers of Ontario. Ontario, in allowing this development to take place, is reflecting what other jurisdictions in North America are doing. Keeping Ontario students in Ontario is a benefit to the province, especially when the education received is at no expense to the taxpayer. Everyone benefits when greater choice exists.

Number three: it's a matter of fairness. We believe this legislation is important because it allows for colleges to offer degrees that accurately reflect the true nature of the content of their degree programs. We agree with the proposed legislation that it is fair to permit institutions that offer traditional arts and sciences degrees at the university level to be allowed to name those degrees in such a way as to reflect their content. The same is true for various types of professional degree designations. We believe that allowing colleges that match the QAB's definition of quality to call degrees by their true names is good for students and the public and fulfills the need for Ontario communities to operate within an educational environment of fairness.

There are three recommendations. We suggest that the QAB include at least one person from the not-for-profit educational community; that the QAB allow schools that are in process to be fast-tracked; that the QAB focus its attention more on being an advisory body to the minister rather than being a full accrediting agency.

That is our presentation. Attached is a profile which will give you some further information about the nature of our school.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That affords us about four minutes for questioning. This time it will be with the government.

Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): Thank you very much for your presentation. Some of the comments you've made in your presentation have been things we've been hearing in the consultations we have held across the province. We've met with various groups in small and large group settings, and a lot of what you're saying here is consistent with what we've been hearing across the province. I appreciate your taking the time to come and share your views with us as well.

The recommendations you've made are also helpful. This is a process we go through, taking the recommendations that come forth, and in moving up to final approval of the bill, all of these consultations will definitely be taken into consideration.

I want to assure you that the quality assessment board is in fact an advisory board; that is, it will advise the minister on which institutions will be given the authority to grant university degrees and those that will be given the authority to grant applied degrees within the college. That's also something we've heard.

The quality assessment board will also call upon expert panels to ensure that those being considered meet the criteria and the high quality that we as a ministry and as a government want to ensure, that we offer the best for all the students.

As you said in your presentation, this is about choice and offering choice and options to students. We have heard of a number of situations where students have had to leave Ontario, as you indicated in your presentation. We want to keep our students here in Ontario and this is one way of doing it.

There will be no cost to the taxpayer in that the institutions will not receive any public money. One of your comments is that it doesn't cost taxpayers. But the students will have access to the Ontario student assistance program once the institution is in place for a period of time and we are assured that the institution will be credible and continue to offer programs for the students.

I appreciate all the comments you've made. They will certainly be taken into consideration with the rest of the presentations we hear today.

The Chair: Any other questions from the government? Seeing none, thank you very much for taking the time, Dr Stiller.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Henry Jacek: Good afternoon, Mr Chair, and members of the committee. My name is Dr Henry Jacek. I'm president of OCUFA and I'm also a professor of political science at McMaster University in Hamilton. I am joined here today by Henry Mandelbaum, my executive director, and Mark Rosenfeld, who is the director of government relations.

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations represents approximately 11,000 professors and academic librarians in Ontario's 17 universities and affiliated university colleges. We are pleased to present a brief to the standing committee today. The brief has been circulated. Appended to that brief is a report on private universities. This report is a detailed and, we believe, thorough study of some of the implications, unfortunately negative implications, of having an extensive operating private university system in Ontario.

As I think all the committee members are aware, we have strong reservations about private universities in Ontario. We are quite worried that Bill 132 does not expand real major choice for students, particularly our young people, nor does it, we think, promote general overall excellence in Ontario's university system.

Private universities, we believe, may very well lead to a two-tier system. Those who can afford to attend a private institution may do so, possibly circumventing the current stringent entrance requirements to Ontario's public universities. We really don't think the people of Ontario want a system where students are allowed to buy their way into university degrees. We believe they want a system where people have to meet stringent standards to attain those degrees. Qualified students who do not have the resources to attend a private university will have to depend on the current public system, which is already faced with enormous demand pressures from students and inadequate resources to meet that demand.

OCUFA, therefore, urges the committee to recommend that Bill 132 be withdrawn and studied further. Private, for-profit universities especially will not add to the quality, we believe, of post-secondary education in Ontario, nor will they add in any meaningful way to the capacity of the post-secondary community to meet enrolment demand increase. Nor is there doubt that public resources will in fact be expended on these private, for-profit institutions. These institutions will not provide the broad scope of programs we need in Ontario-such as in the arts, sciences, humanities and professions-that are demanded by an increasing number of students, particularly our young learners. They will particularly ignore that group of people. It is therefore OCUFA's contention that the legislation does not promote greater major opportunities for students.

However, if we accept the role of private universities, which this legislation does, we believe this legislation is still flawed and needs to be amended. We have three specific objections to this bill in its current form, and our brief suggests amendments to that bill.

Of the first three major suggestions, our concern is the guarantee of public accountability or transparency within the legislation. We believe there are several gaps in the accountability provisions. The legislation does not provide for public debate on the creation of new universities. Any authorization of a new university, in our view, should be through an act of the Legislature in order that public debate can take place and the public interest can be protected. Authorization by ministerial consent does not provide these same assurances and safeguards and careful consideration.

There is nothing in the legislation that states that the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board's decision and reasoning will be made public or that the public will have access to the documentation supporting the application. It is imperative, in our view, that any recommendation made by the board be transparent and open to public review. I'm sure you've heard this before, particularly from the Council of Ontario Universities.


The proposed legislation allows the minister to make an exception to the restriction that colleges only grant applied degrees. The minister has the power to allow colleges to become universities. Essentially, these subsections of the legislation could be used to create a US-style system of junior colleges granting associate degrees. If this is the intention of the government, then we believe it should be the subject of a thorough public debate rather than allowing this change to happen incrementally through regulatory provisions not subject to public review or discussion. We would also point out here that there are very serious financial implications for this type of gradual descent into an American-style junior college system, and those financial implications need to be really carefully looked at.

Regulations can be made, according to this legislation, prescribing procedures for the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board's review of applications, as well as prescribing policies and principles that the board must take into consideration in establishing criteria in reviewing applications. Such regulations could severely restrict the independence of the board, be in conflict with the high education standards now recognized in Ontario, and create a highly irregular system of quality control for higher education in the province. For example, we could have one standard for public universities, another for private universities, still another for public colleges, and yet another one for public colleges transformed into universities. Let me emphasize: the educational standards that will be used by the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board should be consistent and uniform in content and consistently applied to all institutions. Performance standards should be the same for all these institutions, not allowing lower standards for for-profit organizations.

In this act, the minister is provided with the power to appoint inspectors for the purpose of determining whether it is appropriate to change, suspend or revoke a consent or to determine if an institution has complied with the act. The real question here is whether there will be appropriate funding for these inspectors. Will enough inspectors be hired? Will they be given the resources to check that quality standards are being upheld in all institutions? This is always a worry in government, where there is a temptation to cut expenditures and inspection procedures. Therefore, a provision guaranteeing adequate resources for enforcement should be included in this legislation.

Our second of the three concerns is the quality of education provided by new degree-granting institutions. This quality of education must be guaranteed.

The proposed legislation specifies the criteria for reviewing applications by the assessment board and that they must be in accordance with educational standards recognized in Ontario and elsewhere. Such standards, however, are not spelled out in the legislation and may be subject to very wide interpretation. Moreover, the next clause in the bill specifies that the assessment criteria must comply with policy directions set by the minister. Cases could arise where the policy directions set by the minister conflict with recognized educational standards in Ontario. It would be better if the standards that will apply were delineated in detail now and applied fairly to all organizations. It seems crucial that a level playing field of quality standards is necessary, and they are not now contained in this bill.

Our third and final concern is that the legislation must guarantee that public funds not flow in any way, directly or indirectly, to for-profit organizations, especially foreign profit-making corporations.

No explicit exclusions in the legislation prevent this from happening. They will be able to benefit from tax deductions, from tax credits for students' tuition and non-tuition educational costs. They will be able to qualify for research funding, tax credits for research activities and the use of publicly funded infrastructure such as libraries, especially our overused and under-resourced university libraries. Moreover, the government has already pointed out that they will allow the provision for students who attend private universities to access OSAP funding. OSAP funding is a direct public subsidy of these institutions. The money will simply be handed to the students, who will in turn hand it right over to the private universities. The result will be less OSAP money for our students enrolled in our already existing universities such as Queen's, Toronto, Guelph, Waterloo and McMaster.

We would also note our concerns regarding this legislation's implications under NAFTA and the general agreement on trade in services. The move to open up the higher education market in Ontario will allow NAFTA and GATS rules to apply, and WTO rules as well. There is a potential for these regulations to override many of the powers assigned to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the minister within the legislation. Similarly, under NAFTA, once a publicly provided service is also provided on a private, commercial basis, all the national treatment and investment provisions apply. The system will lose its protection. In effect, all the benefits and programs provided to Ontario's public universities would have to be extended to private providers, and they would have a legal claim to do so. As a result, even if the government claims that private universities would be ineligible for student assistance or research grants, NAFTA provisions and the provisions of the other trade agreements, including those now evolving, will override this legislation.

As such, we would recommend that the minister undertake to review the outlined concerns over these trade agreements and raise them with the Minister for International Trade at the earliest opportunity to ensure that Canada can maintain existing protection, as it has wanted to do in its previous treaties, for its educational standards and practices.

I would like to conclude our presentation by pointing out that there is a solution not contained in this legislation to ensure access and opportunity to students, and excellence in our university system. That solution is a rejuvenation, a reinvestment in Ontario's colleges and universities.

All members are aware that changes in population demographics, participation rates and secondary school reform will result in an increased demand for university education of approximately 90,000 students by the end of this decade. With the increased demand comes the need to expand the faculty in our public universities. Estimates show that we will need thousands of new faculty over the next 10 years in order to replace the ones now leaving the system to take account of the new students coming in and to deal with the inefficient ratios we now have. These two tremendous policy challenges of student numbers and the faculty shortage face the government. This bill really dodges that issue and will not in any way provide a solution, or even a partial solution, to this issue and these two problems.

To meet the needs of future enrolment, expand research capacity and improve the quality of the educational experience, the government of Ontario should commit to increase annual funding to universities by $500 million over the next three years.

Let us be clear: if Bill 132 is passed, even with the amendments we propose, not one new space in a publicly supported university will be created and not one new faculty member will be hired. Bill 132 will therefore fail to meet the real needs of students and the province. Unless major reinvestments are made to our current universities, the future economic well-being of Ontario is at serious risk, and with it the quality of life in Ontario will decline.

This is the conclusion of my remarks. I would like to thank the members for listening patiently to those remarks. I welcome any questions or comments any member of the committee may have. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. Actually, you've timed it perfectly. You have used your allotted time, but I do appreciate the detail in your brief and your taking the time to come before us here today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Argosy Education Group. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Dr Michael Markovitz: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Michael Markovitz. I'm the chairman and founder of Argosy Education Group. With me is Mr Clarke Merritt, my associate.

We have delivered to you prior to today a brief which presents our views and background with respect to Bill 132, and we have delivered to you the most recent annual report of Argosy Education Group, which goes into considerable detail with respect to our finances, our plans, our history and the manner in which we operate.


Briefly, Argosy Education Group was established in 1975 and is now a 25-year-old institution that operates 17 different schools and colleges across the United States. We have three campuses of what is the PrimeTech Institute here in the city of Toronto.

Our schools generally offer graduate-level education. We are variously authorized in nine different states to award bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctoral degrees. We award bachelor's degrees in business and in education. We award master's degrees in education, psychology and business, and doctoral degrees as well, mostly in applied clinical psychology, although we award the EdD degree as well as the DBA, which is a doctor of business administration. In addition, we operate a junior college in the state of Minnesota where we offer applied programs in the allied health sciences such as ultrasound technology, veterinary assisting and so forth.

All of our programs are accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting bodies that would be applicable in the United States. They are accredited either by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which is a major accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of Education, or by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Our professional schools are additionally accredited by the American Psychological Association and, for the two law schools with which we are involved, one is currently accredited by the American Bar Association and the second is approved in the state of Georgia and is in the process of working toward receiving accreditation from the American Bar Association.

I say this to demonstrate to you that Argosy and the schools programs which it operates are intellectually serious endeavours. We are and have been ever since the beginning of our company wanting to submit our programs to the scrutiny of our peers and to have the quality and content of our academic programs, as well as the preparation, integrity and background of our faculty, subject to scrutiny by their peers. As the speaker who preceded me commented, all the schools should be judged by the same criteria and standards. We absolutely endorse that idea and want absolutely to assure anyone and everyone that Argosy and its programs are intellectually serious and want to be judged in that vein.

There are several matters, though, that I want to discuss, and they particularly have to do with what our intention is in the province of Ontario should Bill 132 be enacted into law. It is not our intention to go into competition with the public sector and it is not our intention to duplicate programs that already exist and are offered by many of the very fine and excellent institutions that exist here. Rather, the types of programs that Argosy wishes to offer are programs which currently do not exist in Ontario.

Specifically, there is the applied clinical psychology doctoral degree, the PsyD, doctor of psychology degree, which we pioneered 25 years ago and which is now received by more than 50% of all students in the United States working toward a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. It is a practitioner-oriented degree rather than a research- and scholarship-oriented degree, and there are currently no opportunities in Ontario for students to pursue this type of education. In fact, at our 11 campuses throughout the United States we have a number of students from Ontario who have come specifically to our programs to receive the education that is not available here. Many of them have returned to the province of Ontario, and I believe that in recent years the president of the Ontario Psychological Association may have been a graduate of one of our schools.

In addition to that, we would like to offer programs in information technology that don't exist here: an applied program called bachelor of information technology, BIT, and at the master's level the MIT, master's degree in information technology. These are applied practitioner-oriented degrees that prepare their holders to work at serious managerial and technical jobs in an area and industry that everyone acknowledges is growing at a very rapid pace and for which current educational capacity has not been sufficient, not here in Ontario, not in the United States and not anywhere. The growth of jobs has far outpaced the ability of all the educational institutions to keep up with it.

With respect to offering degrees in information technology, note that private schools, such as Argosy, are able to invest in equipment and upgrades to technology at a more rapid pace than is available to the public sector. We, as a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ, have access to adequate funding and capital to buy the equipment that's necessary to train students to be prepared for jobs that are available today.

With respect to the quality assessment board, I would like to echo what other speakers have said, that we want the quality assessment board to be a serious undertaking. We want the quality assessment board to truly and adequately assess the quality and integrity, to act as an accreditor, if you will, of the academic programs that are being presented before it, by us, by our competitors and by other sectors that are going to come forward and want to field academic programs in this province.

The applied degrees, contrary to what some others may think, are not necessarily anti-intellectual and not-serious undertakings. Applied degrees often can be more serious than some of their academic counterparts. Surely no one would argue that a law degree or a medical degree, which are themselves applied degrees, after all, are not serious simply because they are not a PhD or a bachelor of arts degree, but rather represent a preparation for following a very serious profession.

To the end of trying to establish ourselves here in Ontario as being an academically serious institution, PrimeTech Institute, which is currently licensed as a private vocational school and has no requirement upon it whatever to do so, has independently sought the approval of the American Council on Education at great expense and trouble to itself for a variety of courses in the information technology arena that PrimeTech offers, and its courses have been judged by the American Council on Education to be the equivalent of 54 upper- and lower-division semester hours as would be offered at an American university.

As I've read some of the transcripts of the prior days of this meeting, it obviously has occurred to me that there has been mention of a number of schools in my sector, not always in glowing terms. I would urge you that this is not a question of whether a school is for-profit or not-for-profit, or whether it is public or private, but that the quality and integrity of the academic programs ought to stand and fall on their own merits. The distinction as to whether a corporation is a net taxpayer or a net tax consumer should not be a criterion on which to judge whether that institution ought to be capable of awarding academic degrees.


Finally, I would say that while I don't want you to judge Argosy by our peer institutions in the for-profit sector in the United States and that I want the quality assessment board to judge each application on its own merits, I would like to add that the quality assessment board itself in its composition should be a mixed group and should represent the different sectors of this society that have an interest in the successful implementation of this bill. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The Chair: That leaves us about two minutes for questions. This time it would be to the Liberal caucus.

Mrs Marie Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain): Thank you for your presentation. I just want to make clear that my caucus and our leader agree with applied degrees at public community colleges here in Ontario. The part of the bill we disagree with is the private universities, particularly the for-profit, entering Ontario, for the very good reasons that the previous presenters alluded to in their presentation.

You are for-profit and you have three campuses in Canada. Do you presently offer degrees in Canada?

Dr Markovitz: No, we do not. We are licensed as a private vocational school and are thus far prevented from offering academic degrees here.

Mrs Bountrogianni: At times during these hearings I feel like we're like the quality assessment board, judging whether people should be getting degrees or not. That's not the purpose of these hearings. I happen to have a doctorate in psychology. I'm looking through your handbook here, and although we don't have a PsyD in Ontario, we certainly have parallel programs where you get degrees in applied clinical psychology, you get registered as a psychologist, and we have clinical psychologists. For software programming engineer, we may not have that exact title, but we have computer software engineering programs. I think it's a little stretch to say that you would be offering programs we don't have. There might be different titles, a different focus here and there, but we have these programs. I think that's a stretch.

The other question I have is, do you offer BAs?

Dr Markovitz: Yes, we do.

Mrs Bountrogianni: What is your average tuition for a BA program?

Dr Markovitz: The average tuition is about $14,000 a year.

Mrs Bountrogianni: American?

Dr Markovitz: Yes.

Mrs Bountrogianni: You probably know from your research on us that that's significantly higher than what we now charge-

Dr Markovitz: Yes, I'm aware of that.

Mrs Bountrogianni: -and it's also gone up by 60% over the last five years. Recently the government has put a 2% cap on it-this government, believe it or not, has put a 2% cap on it. My question is, who would be able to afford $14,000 a year, in your opinion, in Ontario for a BA?

Dr Markovitz: My response to that is the market will decide. If $14,000 a year-we have not yet determined-

Mrs Bountrogianni: It's $14,000 American. I want that in the Hansard.

Dr Markovitz: We have not yet determined what our tuition would be here, but if we price ourselves out of the market, then we won't have students and we won't be successful.

The Chair: Thank you very much for bringing the perspective of your organization before us today.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Canadian Federation of Students, the Ontario component. Good afternoon and welcome to the committee.

Ms Erin George: My name is Erin George. I'm the Ontario chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students. In Ontario we represent 185,000 college and university students and graduate students at 23 campuses. Across the country the federation represents 400,000 students at over 60 schools. With me as well is our government relations and campaigns co-ordinator, Pam Frache.

On April 28 the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Dianne Cunningham, announced the government's intention to permit the establishment of private, degree-granting institutions in the province. According to the government, the introduction of private degree-ranting institutions is about providing more choice for students by making available, at no government expense, educational alternatives currently not offered through the public system. The government asserts that this initiative responds to public demand for access to market-specific training, thereby increasing job opportunities for graduating students.

This government claims that by introducing private degree-granting institutions, it is expanding students' choice, but given that many private institutions will charge students upwards of $10,000 in tuition fees per year-as we've just heard-we must ask, for whom is the government expanding choice? Choice, for most Canadians, was realized with the introduction of affordable, high-quality post-secondary education. Private institutions will have access to the Ontario student assistance program. The maximum amount an applicant can claim will be $4,500. Assuming tuition fees of $10,000 or $14,000 or more per year, OSAP students will be left with a shortfall of several thousand dollars. For students dependent on OSAP, the introduction of private degree-granting institutions will hardly increase their choice. The federation believes that if the ministry were sincerely interested in expanding choice for students, it would reduce tuition fees, re-regulate tuition fees for all post-diploma, professional and graduate students and restore the $400 million that has been cut to operating grants since 1996. It would also build publicly funded institutions in rural and northern communities.

The government also promises that no public dollars, other than those provided to students through OSAP, will be provided to private degree-granting institutions. However, the track record of US universities shows a different reality. In the US, about 30% of private university operating revenue comes from direct and indirect government subsidies. In fact, these institutions must state that they are publicly assisted as opposed to private.

Although the government claims that no public dollars other than OSAP will be made available, there are many ways in which public money will find its way to private degree-granting institutions. For example, students attending private institutions often use public libraries for their studies. With the tax incentives announced in this year's provincial budget, corporations may be able to donate to private institutions and withhold tax dollars that could otherwise have gone into funding the public system. For employers that pay for employees' training courses, there are also tax breaks.

The federation believes that there are too many loopholes that would have to be closed to prevent private degree-granting institutions from receiving public money and that it would be far better for the government to abandon the initiative altogether.

Post-secondary education is one of the most important factors in finding satisfactory employment. Already over 85% of university and college graduates find employment after graduating, and some institutions have even higher employment rates. In the meeting with Minister Cunningham that the federation held on June 6, the minister said that, at best, private institutions would provide only a few thousand spaces for students. Studies indicate an additional 90,000 spaces will be needed to meet the growing demand for post-secondary education. The federation believes that the plan to introduce private degree-granting institutions falls well short of what is needed to provide adequate spaces. Substantial reinvestment for university and college operating grants is the only reasonable solution.

There is no guarantee that the programs offered at private degree-granting institutions will be of high quality. Moreover, we have several examples over the past few years where private colleges have gone bankrupt. Students at such institutions have lost thousands of dollars in user fees, not to mention the months and years spent studying.

The government clearly recognizes these dangers. By proposing to establish a quality assessment board, the government is in effect anticipating problems and creating a new level of bureaucracy to head off the worst of them. But as ministry representatives admitted to the federation in the June 6 meeting, the government cannot foresee all potential problems associated with allowing private institutions to grant degrees. The federation is concerned that the government has already decided to gamble with students' futures.

The government has proposed to set up a quality assessment board to evaluate many aspects of private institutions to determine if they are degree-worthy. Since these institutions will supposedly rely only on private funding, these boards will undoubtedly comprise private sector representatives accountable only to their shareholders; there can be little doubt that public input will be marginalized. The government has stated that the quality assessment board will provide accountability and transparency to the review of bids for degree-granting status. But such a board would likely not be willing or able to disclose information about private institutions that may be deemed confidential. These boards have further implications for faculty evaluation, curriculum, and academic freedom.

The federation believes that there is no avoiding the conflict of interest inherent in allowing private sector representatives to assist in monitoring the performance of private institutions.


Particularly ominous in the legislation is the provision threatening fines of up to $25,000 for Ontario student assistance program recipients who are found to have violated OSAP regulations. With tuition fees as high as they currently are, many students from low- or middle-income backgrounds will be forced to re-evaluate their post-secondary education goals. Instead of choosing to follow their interests, many will be forced to pursue those programs deemed affordable. However, with the added disincentive of perhaps accruing an additional $25,000 in fines, many students may opt to avoid higher education altogether. This is especially true for traditionally disadvantaged groups in society. The federation believes that this measure will not expand access to higher education, but rather discourage those most in need and prevent them from having access to post-secondary education.

There are currently more than adequate provisions to redress that minority of students who consciously defraud the program. The federation believes that the threat of fines has been inserted into the legislation as part of an ideological assault on students to suggest to the broader public that OSAP is widely abused, that students are criminals and therefore less worthy of financial assistance in pursuing their studies.

In fact, student loans are one of the safest form of loans that can be issued. The vast majority of loans-80%-are repaid without incident. That students become a default statistic after only 90 days obscures the fact that even after a loan has gone into default, the vast majority-93%-are fully repaid. Because the annual OSAP award is so woefully inadequate to cover both tuition fees and monthly expenses, a minority of applicants may consider underestimating their incomes for the purposes of increasing their student loan. But given that these are indeed loans and given the fact that a majority of these loans are indeed repaid, this is hardly an unconscionable act of crime but rather a reflection of the inadequacy of student financial assistance. If the government were truly committed to creating a disincentive for students who may underestimate their incomes on their application, it should increase the annual OSAP award by creating a more comprehensive grant program.

If anyone should be called to account, it should be the Ontario government, which has been violating the agreement with the federal government on its use of millennium scholarship monies. The federal government's Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation was intended to provide some measure of student debt relief for students graduating with thousands of dollars of debt. Currently in Ontario, loan forgiveness is applied to that amount of money borrowed over and above $7,000. When the program was first implemented in Ontario, those millennium scholarship recipients who borrowed more than $10,000 in OSAP loans saw no debt relief because the scholarship was simply applied to the portion of the loan that was forgiven. Although in May the government committed to reduce the threshold for loan forgiveness from $7,000 to $6,500 for millennium scholarship recipients, those same students will realize a mere $500 of the intended $3,000 in debt relief. If anyone should be investigated for fraud, it should be this government, which is literally taking money out of the pockets of needy students and using it primarily to fund existing programs.

There is concern as well that under existing free trade agreements, the decision to introduce private degree-granting institutions may seriously undermine the government's ability to protect publicly funded post-secondary education. Under the North American free trade agreement, once a publicly provided service is provided on a private, commercial basis, then both public and private services must be treated in the same manner. Either private institutions will have to be granted public subsidies, or public institutions would have to see their so-called unfair subsidies eliminated. In either case, the accessibility of publicly funded higher education is seriously compromised.

In addition, if education is a negotiable item in the ongoing World Trade Organization talks in which the federal government has been actively participating, the decision by the Ontario government may prove to be legally irreversible. In his column in the Toronto Star on November 23, Thomas Walkom wrote: "Under WTO rules, a sector that is fully opened to the market must effectively remain so. The reason lies with the so-called `national treatment' clause of the WTO. Nations are allowed to discriminate against foreign firms only in those areas dominated by government."

In other words, even if a government of the future becomes convinced that the decision to allow private degree-granting institutions in Ontario was mistaken, under current and future trade deals it would be illegal for the government to attempt to correct the error by re-nationalizing.

The federation believes the government should not proceed with its plans to privatize higher education without full and adequate research on the long-terms implications of these measures under trade liberalization agreements.

The government launched a series of meetings in which representatives were selected without process, often at the discretion of local institutional administrations in the last round of public consultations on private degree-granting universities. The consultations were intended to provide the government with input on the creation of the quality assessment board, not question the premise of establishing private degree-granting institutions. The main organizations voicing opposition to the concept as a whole were not invited to participate in the round table consultations. Only after this matter was raised openly in the provincial Legislature did the ministry arrange for private meetings with the organizations critical of the government. The government has expressed its reluctance to even release the names and organizations of those who did participate in the first round of formal "public" consultations, citing concerns over the right to privacy and the freedom of information act.

In conclusion, the government has made a policy decision with little public input and even less study on the long-term implications of allowing private institutions to grant degrees. We have already seen the impact of the private sector on curricula, access and quality of education. The government is now prepared to put students at further financial risk.

The consequences of establishing private degree-granting institutions have not been thoroughly examined in light of trade agreements as well.

Education should not be a for-profit enterprise, accountable only to shareholders. Education is a right. Thus, the federation calls on the government to withdraw Bill 132 and to restore funding to democratically controlled, publicly funded universities. If this government is truly committed to creating choice, it should reinvest in the existing public post-secondary education system. It must end deregulation of graduate, professional, post-diploma and college tuition fees, freeze and reduce tuition fees, and implement a comprehensive system of needs-based grants. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, and you have timed that virtually to the second. Congratulations on your planning. I appreciate you taking the time to make your presentation before us here this afternoon.

Ms George: We have no time for questions?

The Chair: No, no time for questions.


The Chair: Our next presentation will be from the Ontario Graduate Association, Mr Boyko. Welcome to the committee.

Mr Ian Boyko: Hello. I just want to start off by saying that I believe, Mrs Munro, you were my grade 10 history teacher back at John M. Denison Secondary School in Newmarket.

Mrs Munro: That's right.

The Chair: I don't think that's a conflict of interest of any kind.

Mr Boyko: I just hope that my presentation skills have improved at least marginally.

As already stated, my name is Ian Boyko. I'm the vice-chairperson of the Ontario Graduate Association. We represent over 23,000 graduate students in the province of Ontario alone. I'm also a master's student at the University of Windsor, studying sociology.

I want to start off by stating my association's complete opposition to Bill 132 and everything it stands for in essence. All I have to do is point to a September study released by IPSOS-Reid stating that over 66% of the people polled were opposed to the introduction of private universities in the province of Ontario. I've decided not to produce materials today, mainly because I think most of my comments will echo those of the previous presenters, because we stand in solidarity against this bill.

I think tuition fees are one of the most important things to consider in this bill. It doesn't take a lot of research to demonstrate the effects that private universities could potentially have on the province of Ontario. Unregulated tuition at private universities of course is not the answer to the accessibility question facing the double cohort and then the echo boom behind our double cohort. Even the minister acknowledges that there will be no way to predict the costs associated with these degrees, and of course earlier presenters have also stated that they don't really have a good idea of what the costs would be. The most chilling quote, and I've only been here for about 20 minutes, is that the market will decide who can afford to go to these institutions. That's very far from a guarantee of access.


One of the arguments around Bill 132 that I find most frustrating is that the ministry has been using competition in Ontario as a kind of caveat to why private universities are so necessary. I can tell you that deregulation has only placed overwhelmingly upward pressure on tuition fees, and this kind of open market competition has done anything but produce a buyer's market. Competition is exactly the argument my university used last spring when it introduced a 45% increase in tuition fees to law students, citing what other schools had done before them.

We have to look no further than the tuition fees at some of the private universities that are knocking on our door. The University of Phoenix has historically charged up to $40,000 for an undergraduate degree, and one of the previous presenters said that $14,000 a year is possibly what we could expect from their franchise opening in this province.

I'll also talk briefly about the quality assessment board. Quality assessment boards are certainly not new to private colleges in the province. The quality assessment board, or its similarly named predecessor, didn't help 200 students at Shaw College when it went bankrupt and left them in the lurch. Even if, as this government claims, we can secure a kind of bonded tuition agreement with these franchises, if a college or university goes broke, that still doesn't make up for lost time a student spent in that institution. As the CFS already said, it's just an unneeded layer of bureaucracy. Universities in Ontario produce some of the highest quality graduates in the country, and this is evidenced by their own self-regulation. Most familiar to me is the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, which does self-regulation.

What hasn't necessarily been mentioned in as much detail previously is how this government can ensure that public dollars won't be siphoned off into these universities in the form of research grants. Most research grants are doled out on the federal level through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the newer Canada Foundation for Innovation. I want people to understand that the Canada Foundation for Innovation is structured so that 40% of the funding comes from the federal government and 60% must come from other sources. Typically, that has meant 40% of the research funding has come from the province, so I want to ask the panel whether you can guarantee that these private institutions won't receive research funding under the current arrangements.

Finally, as I think the CFS pointed out quite well, there are many disturbing questions around trade liberalization and private universities, which are inadequately answered. I find this very disturbing, because the answers we have received from the ministry to date are wholly inadequate, and I'm very skeptical that all the research that needs to be done around trade liberalization has been conducted. I was at some of the public consultations, and all the minister could say was, "Our research says no," that this wouldn't affect private universities. I don't think that's adequate. It's quite clear, based on precedents in other private sector disputes, that we could consider government grants to public institutions an unfair subsidy to a domestic operation or business, which, as you obviously know, is an illegal trade practice. I would like to receive a guarantee from this government that we've received assurances that this won't happen. If we try to kind of explain away that universities aren't a business and don't operate like that, I think Bill 132 kind of defines education as an industry de facto, and I'm afraid about how that would protect us under those kinds of legal battles.

In conclusion, I just came back from a conference of over 130 delegates from over 50 student unions across the country. There wasn't a single student union asking for private universities, and that's from coast to coast to coast. So it's very clear that this isn't something desired by students or by student leaders in this country, nor by the faculty, nor even by the administrations. I have to reiterate our opposition to this, in that it's difficult to imagine how these private universities and institutions would be accountable to the public. Their sole purpose-the very bottom line, by definition-is to generate profit for their shareholders. I fail to see how this serves the public good.

I think that's it, but perhaps you could answer my previous questions about how we can guarantee this wouldn't affect us under trade liberalization, and how this government would contribute to research at these private universities.

The Chair: Thank you. Normally the rotation would go to Ms Lankin. Do you mind? We've got lots of time for questioning. Do you want a response first?

Ms Lankin: How much time do we have?

The Chair: We've got about seven minutes.

Ms Lankin: Sure, if Ms Molinari wants to briefly respond to that, that'd be terrific.

Ms Molinari: Is that seven minutes in total, or divided-

The Chair: In total, and it's Ms Lankin's turn, so if you could restrict your comments to perhaps two minutes.

Ms Molinari: OK, thank you. In response to the question on funding for research-that was part of your presentation; that's what you were asking-the one that you were referring to in your presentation is a federal research grant and we have no control over what the federal government provides for research.

Research grants provincially are given from the various ministries. We can't guarantee that any ministry would not support research funding for any institution that would find that there's a program or something that they would be excelling in. It's each individual ministry that would determine that.

Mr Boyko: Would I be able to have a supplemental to that?

The Chair: Again, briefly.

Mr Boyko: This government has over and over guaranteed that no public funds will be siphoned off into these private institutions, that no public dollars will go there but, clearly, what I'm hearing is that that's not the case. You're not willing to enforce this in other ministries. I'm a little unclear, because research grants are quite clearly public funds, but I'm hearing that no public funds are going to these institutions, so that's an inconsistency.

Ms Molinari: You're asking whether the institutions will be supported? They will receive no capital grants and no operating grants. That's clear.

Mr Boyko: OK.

Ms Molinari: Students will be able to apply for the Ontario student assistance program, so OSAP will be available for students. Your question about research grants: those grants are given by different ministries and, no, I can't speak for all of the ministries on whether or not that would be something that they would consider.

The Chair: Thank you. Ms Lankin?

Ms Lankin: How much time do we have?

The Chair: We still have four and a half minutes.

Ms Lankin: I appreciate the presentation you made. Let me give my compliments to Ms Munro and her contribution to your education. Obviously she did a fine job in her previous career.

A couple of comments: let me just say on the GATT concerns that you raised, the free trade concerns that you raised, I think you're right to raise those concerns and I think that we are due an extensive response to that. Formerly, at a time when I was a member of the governing party as Minister of Economic Development and Trade and a participant in the internal trade negotiations, the interprovincial trade negotiations, as well as some of the various rulings that we were receiving, working through the federal government with respect to GATT and WTO, I have to indicate that there are two bodies of thought at this point in time. I've spent some time contacting people and I've spoken to people within the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as well, and there are some grey areas. I think the government, at the very least, owes us a full explanation on which-they are proceeding on the premise that there are no GATT or trade implications, and I think that your demand to that is entirely reasonable.

I'd like to just explore the comments you made around the diversion of public dollars into the private institutions, and I think Ms Molinari's reluctance or inability to assure that public research grants won't be siphoned off in that direction is problematic.

I would also suggest that-I don't want to pick on Argosy, but just because I happen to have the report in front of me, and to be fair, this is an annual report, which is a financial record, so the focus is going to be on finances; it's going to be on the profits. For example, they talk about how they look at the niche market of the doctoral degree because it's a longer program and can be charged higher tuitions. That's a good thing for shareholders, right, that niche marketing?

Also, though, the role of philanthropists in donating to research programs in such niche marketers, and I would also say corporations: those are supported by tax credits at this point in time. You know and you would experience in your own studies in your own university the dramatic competition for research dollars that exists at this point in time in our public institutions. I think there is, again, a significant and a reasonable concern.

I wonder if I could end with a brief question: could you comment on the diversion of OSAP dollars, of student loans, student support dollars to the new potential for-profit universities and what that means overall in terms of the tuition-based support for our public universities and the security of their funding base.


Mr Boyko: Yes. Just really briefly, my organization is opposed to the use of any public funds to be diverted into private institutions, and that includes student loans.

I think this government's claims that private universities will open up choice in the province-quick, think of a polite way to put it-aren't true. They're not true. If there is any lack of choice, it's because institutions are being forced to downsize and cut programs that aren't necessarily attractive to private donors. That would be the only instance where there's maybe not enough choice in Ontario and that can be easily solved by restoring the operating grants that we've seen cut.

The second part of your question, I'm not totally clear on.

Ms Lankin: I think you've covered it in there.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Boyko, for coming before us here this afternoon.

Mr Boyko: Thank you.

The Chair: Is Professor Graham here yet?


The Chair: Seeing that our next presenter has not arrived, are the representatives from Athabasca University prepared to come forward? Good afternoon, welcome to the committee.

Ms Frances Gunn: You mean I can use both 15 minutes?

The Chair: You certainly may.

Ms Gunn: My name is Frances Gunn and I represent Athabasca University throughout the province of Ontario. I am here this afternoon on behalf of our president, Dr Dominique Abrioux.

I'd like to make three points with you this afternoon. The first is to introduce you to Athabasca University, and the second and third are about some specific recommendations we'd like to make about Bill 132.

To begin, Athabasca University is Canada's open university. We are the premier and the largest provider of distance and on-line high-quality university education in Canada. We're publicly funded in Alberta and, as an open university, our mandate is to provide high-quality university education to all potential students. We're dedicated to removing barriers to access to education. That's how we're built.

Most importantly, I think, for the purposes of our discussion here is that we are a full member of the Association of Universities and Community Colleges of Canada. I'll be speaking about this fairly often so I'll refer to it as AUCC-quite a mouthful.

We currently have 24,000 students across Canada and the world. Six thousand of those are here in Ontario. Our students come to us for a number of reasons: firstly, they want a flexible route to a university credential and that means without having to leave home or their families or communities; secondly, they want to take courses for transfer perhaps to Ontario universities; and thirdly, they may want to complete a degree after doing a diploma at one of the Ontario colleges.

As a result of this, we would like to make a recommendation about section 2 of the bill. Section 2 refers to the authority to grant a degree, as you know. AU, or Athabasca, currently has hundreds of agreements in place now with community colleges across Ontario and with Ontario universities. These agreements provide for students to be able to transfer credits for other credentials; it allows them to complete degrees; it allows them to gain credit or recognition of their previous learning, and they are often collaborative programs.

All of these agreements are around parts of a degree. The wording in section 2 of the bill, particularly paragraphs 2 and 3, refer to a part of a degree not being offered by the people outside or inside Ontario. This wording would make these well-established agreements not only cumbersome but in some circumstances extremely difficult. As a result, we would like to recommend that the wording "part of ... a degree" be removed from section 2, paragraphs 2 and 3. Now, I believe you've already heard this in some other context, perhaps from some of the college presentations.

Most important, though, I would like to speak to section 4, which is about the terms and conditions of the consent of the minister. As I mentioned, Athabasca University is a full member of AUCC. Although there is no national accreditation of publicly funded universities in Canada, the default accreditation status is this membership in AUCC. The process is a very rigorous evaluation and it's capped by a visit from three presidents from member institutions, so three other university presidents. Because of this process, across Canada, members have equivalent standards to other members.

There are three results from this. The first is that there is a very homogeneous university community across Canada. There is widespread acceptance of credits and degrees among that community. The second is that this provides for recognition that publicly funded universities are accountable to their government and to their students by this commonality of standards. The third is that AUCC members can generally provide on-site and/or distance education with only a pro forma declaration in other provinces.

Section 4 makes no provision for and/or any recognition of this consistency among publicly funded institutions across Canada. We would like to recommend that section 4 be amended so the new act includes an expedited process for AUCC members and that that process means that applications perhaps take three months for approval. This process should be very separate from the process for colleges and their applied degree applications and certainly for private institutions. Finally, this process should accept the AUCC membership as the primary stamp for AUCC members to conduct learner-centred activities in Ontario, and that AUCC members not have to have their institutional standards re-examined or reassessed with every application.

In summary, I'm glad to introduce you to Athabasca University, if you're not already aware of us. I would like to make a recommendation around section 2 but, most important, I would certainly like to make a recommendation around section 4 as it applies to publicly funded institutions across Canada.

The Chair: Thank you. That has left us time for questions, about five minutes. This time it will come to the government.

Mrs Molinari: I'll begin, and if my colleagues have anything to add, then certainly they can.

First I want to clarify one of your concerns in section 2 with regard to the wording of "or part of a program." I want to assure you that the government fully supports and encourages the co-operative arrangements that are presently there between colleges of applied and technology and our Ontario public universities. This bill will not affect any of those future agreements. Students will be provided with that seamless post-secondary educational experience and recognize that they study at all different levels. I hope that addresses your concern with that. That was not the intent of that wording.

Ms Gunn: Out-of-province institutions also, Ms Molinari?

Mrs Molinari: Those that presently have a co-operative program within Ontario will continue to have that, so having that in the act is not going to affect those that at present already have a good working relationship. As a government we support positive and good working relationships between various institutions and what they provide for the students. It's something that has been successful, and we anticipate that it will continue to be successful. It will not jeopardize that at all.

I want to thank you for your presentation. It's quite extensive. Also your brochures and everything you've supplied for us certainly can give all the committee members a very good picture of the success that Athabasca University has had over the years and that it will continue to have. We appreciate your taking the time to come and make your presentation.

Ms Gunn: And section 4, at the risk of-

Mrs Molinari: The recommendations will be taken into account with the rest of the presentations that are coming forward in these hearings. That's what the hearings are for, and these will be looked at by the ministry to see if the concerns you've raised can be addressed. Hopefully we'll be able to cover those concerns as well.

Mrs Julia Munro (York North): Thank you very much for coming. I just have a quick question that does go back to section 4. I wondered whether or not you could give us any examples of other provinces where those negotiations or recognitions-my concern stems from the notion that there wouldn't be the same relationship in terms of accountability. I just wondered if you had other examples in other provinces.

Ms Gunn: I certainly have, and I can tell you that with every other province the only process for publicly funded institutions is a pro forma one. For example, if Queen's wants to do a weekend session of their MBA in Alberta, it's very much a pro forma process that involves notifying the government, "We're going to be here at this time and here are our activities." It really is to that degree of complexity. It's an even smaller process, if I can use that vernacular, in other provinces. For example, in BC a publicly funded institution can conduct activities-ie, put on classes or distance education activities-without notification or with very little notification.

Here in Ontario our experience is that it's been quite a long process of approval on applications. So we're also looking for this same sort of relationship that publicly funded institutions have with other provincial jurisdictions.

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): Just a quick question. Do you have any international clients?

Ms Gunn: Oh, yes, very much so.

Mr Dunlop: How about Americans?

Ms Gunn: The Open University out of Britain has just recently formed the Open University in the United States, and we are a member of that consortium. When you say "clients," if we're talking students, the answer is yes. We've got a whole pile of nurses in Texas who are taking our post-RN degree with us, for example.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time to come and make a presentation before us this afternoon.

I will try again. Is Professor Graham here yet? We had received a call from his office that he was running late. Seeing no professor, how about a representative from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario?

Ms Lankin: Can we have five-minute recess?

The Chair: Ms Lankin has asked for a five-minute recess, and in that time I'll ask the clerk to contact the offices of those two individuals to see whether they are still intending to attend. The committee stands recessed for five minutes.

The committee recessed from 1724 to 1728.

The Chair: I am told we are now joined by our final presenter this afternoon.


The Chair: Good afternoon. Thank you for arriving a little early and taking the space of someone who has not been able to make it.

Mr Brian O'Keefe: My name is Brian O'Keefe. I'm the secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario. We're very pleased to have the opportunity to give our views on this important piece of legislation.

We represent a large part of the workforce in the university system. We represent 180,000 members across this province and we have 19,000 support staff who work in the university system, including a lot of the maintenance and custodial workers, teaching assistants and contract faculty.

We have major concerns with this piece of legislation. We feel this is going in a direction that is totally contrary to everything we stand for in Ontario. This government has no mandate to go in this direction. This is not something that was put to the electorate. We see this as undermining the quality post-secondary education system we've got in this province, the 17 current publicly administered universities. We feel it will undermine those universities, and not only that, but it will erode access to quality education. What we're seeing more and more in this province is a drift toward a situation where post-secondary education is a privilege of the few, where there's a polarization between the rich and the poor, and where everybody is being shut out with the exception of better off people. We feel that is totally contrary to all the principles we believe in in Ontario.

I want to address three specific issues. The first issue I want to talk about is the creeping restructuring that's going on in the universities already. Although the main focus of this legislation is around granting private degree-granting institutions the right to set up in this province, there's a huge amount of privatization creeping into the system already. There are a number of different ways this is appearing. Through the research and development challenge fund, we're seeing partnerships with the private sector. We also have the traditional public-private partnerships. We have long-term leases that are being granted to the private sector for little or no money. We also have situations where we have minority shareholdings and also franchises.

There are a whole variety of different structures of privatization that are out there right now and this is creating a huge amount of havoc in the system. There's a huge amount of demoralization of the workers in the university system. Some bitter strikes have taken place over the last year, at the University of Toronto and now we've got a bitter struggle going on at York University. We see that as very much a symptom of what's going on in the restructuring in the post-secondary education sector. We feel that's very regrettable and that this piece of legislation opens the door to the merging of programs and other restructuring. It all seems to be focused on the corporate model, the bottom line model. We don't see this as furthering quality education in any way, shape or form. That's not the agenda here. We feel the agenda should be toward providing quality education, not education that's delivered on the cheap.

The main issue I want to talk about is granting the privilege to private degree-granting institutions to set up in this province. It's a myth to think that public money isn't going to go to these institutions. It will go there in a variety of different forms, whether it be through the tax system or through the use of existing university and public libraries. That is certainly going to happen. What we see in the United States is that, on average, private universities get about 30% of their funding from the public sector. So it is not true that public money won't go there; it will. The most obnoxious part about this is that it will siphon money away from the existing universities we have in this province and will undermine them. You're going to see a deterioration of standards in the existing system to finance these private degree-granting institutions.

Also, we see with the existing private universities we know about in this country, and I'm talking about the University of Phoenix in British Columbia and Unexus in New Brunswick, that the fees for those universities are about triple what they are for the average university in Ontario. This is catering to the elite, to those people who are better off. It's certainly not going to do anything to deal with the issue of accessibility to post-secondary education in this province. You're probably well aware that over the past 10 years, tuition fees have risen on average by 140%. Students are footing the bill for the education system to the point where middle-income people and poor people are rapidly reaching the point where they're not going to be able to attend these institutions. So private degree-granting institutions are not going to do anything to help the accessibility issue.

Then there's the issue of increased enrolment. As you're well aware, enrolment in universities is probably going to increase by about 40% over the next 10 years. That issue has to be addressed. We've also got the double cohort issue that's coming up in a few years' time. Both of these issues have to be dealt with. If there's some notion that private degree-granting institutions are going to solve that problem, they certainly are not. It's going to make the issue much worse because the existing institutions are going to be undermined.

Another issue that's really important is the creaming that's going to take place. These private groups that we know of are primarily centred around delivering post-graduate degrees in the business sector. Those are going to be creamed away from the existing system. It's going to shift resources out of the public sector into these private institutions, and I think that's extremely regrettable.

As far as the treatment of students is concerned, this is also a major concern. I think you should look very carefully at the record of the University of Phoenix in the US. They have been up on a number of different charges. They were fined half a million dollars for sloppy reporting and record-keeping. They gave inaccurate information around eligibility for student loans and were fined $6 million for that. This is the sort of thing we're going to see if these institutions set up shop here. Furthermore, we've got to look at the possibility that some of these institutions may go bankrupt or get themselves into serious financial trouble. What is going to happen to the students who are attending these bodies? That is a major concern.

There's another part of this legislation that I have real concern about and that deals with the accessibility issue again. There's a really strong tone around streaming that appears in this legislation, where you're trying to parallel what's going on in the school system where people are being forced into making a choice at grade 9 whether they want to go into an academic field or a technical field. It seems to me that what's being advocated in this legislation is to parallel what's going on in the school board system. This is regrettable. It's not the Canadian tradition and certainly our union is going to fight that with everything we've got. Streaming is not going to advance the interests of working people in this province. If we want real accessibility, we've got to go in a very different direction to that.

On the funding issue, I think it's really important to talk about funding because there are some real choices here. The government decided to go in a direction toward the private sector, trying to farm out as much of the post-secondary education system as possible, over to the private sector to deal with the demands that are out there. That's the first thing they've done. The second thing they've tried to do is to increase the level of funding coming from tuition. It's my understanding right now that less than 50% of the funds are coming from the government, somewhere in the vicinity of 30% is coming from students and the rest is from the private sector. This is a very sad state of affairs that has come to this province, where it appears the government is bailing out of its responsibilities for post-secondary education.

This government has cut the funding to the existing 17 universities by $280 million. That was back in 1996-97. If you project that to the current date, it's a much higher amount of money. So a significant amount of money has been cut out of the system. The solution is not a private-sector solution; the solution is to properly fund the existing education system.

Another issue that's really important is the quality assessment board, that somehow or other this is how there's going to be accountability in the system. I see this as giving away the store. The government wants to get out of making the serious decisions that need to be made in post-secondary education by farming it out to an arm's-length body. This is a very unfortunate trend. Previously, to set up a university in this province, there had to be a piece of legislation that was properly debated, and people were consulted. What's going to happen here is that we have a body-we don't even know who is going to be on this body-making decisions that should rightly be made in the public forum.

There's another issue that's of great concern here, and that is, is this quality assessment board in the final analysis going to have the power to give the existing public institutions the right to transfer over to the private sector if they so desire? If that's the agenda, that's going to be a sad loss for everybody in this province.

As to the inspectors who are going to be checking up on various different aspects of the system, we have a real concern that there are going to be people checking up on students in terms of their eligibility for loans, checking their T4 slips against their loan forms and stuff like that. We see this as a real invasion of privacy. The energy is not going in the direction it should be.

In summary, we are totally opposed to this direction. We feel this direction is totally contrary to the principles we believe in in this province, of a quality, publicly administered, accessible education system that's available to everybody. We see some very serious impacts here for working people, both those who are attending education, the children of families who want to attend education and the actual workers who work in the system. This will be a disaster and it is not going to do anything to provide quality post-secondary education in this province.

The Chair: You've timed your presentation to the minute. We very much appreciate your coming before us and the very detailed submission you've brought with you. Thank you for coming early and accommodating us. It's my understanding we have a vote in a couple of minutes, anyway.

With that, committee members, since I don't believe Professor Graham-I've seen no one else come in. Mr Levac?

Mr Levac: Mr Chair, thank you for the indulgence. If Professor Graham has submitted a package, would it be possible to have it?

The Chair: We will circulate anything we receive from Professor Graham or anyone else who makes a submission to the committee.

Mr Levac: I have a question of clarification. That being said-there were comments made by the members on the other side that we'd take these into consideration-I'm assuming that all presentations are collected by the committee that's doing the research, and the amendments and all that kind of stuff, and they are taken into consideration even though they weren't able to make presentations.

The Chair: Absolutely, and all written correspondence is circulated to all the committee members.

With that, the committee stands adjourned until 3:30 next Monday.

The committee adjourned at 1744.