Wednesday 13 January 1993

Pre-budget consultations

Ontario Teachers' Federation and affiliate groups

Ruth Baumann, executive assistant, Ontario Teachers' Federation

Gene Lewis, president, Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation

Horst Schweinbenz, president, Ontario Teachers' Federation

Helen Biales, president, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

Margaret Dempsey, president, Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario

Margaret Wilson, secretary-treasurer, Ontario Teachers' Federation

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

Dr Saul Ross, president

Ontario Public School Boards' Association

Paula Dunning, president

Joe Gunn, executive vice-president

Linda Hamill, vice-president, western region

Beverley Allen, director of finance and legislation

Council of Ontario Universities

Dr Peter George, president

Ontario Nurses' Association

Lesley Bell, associate director, government relations

Ina Caissey, president

Carol Helmstadter, research officer, government relations

Seppo Nousiainen, research officer

Association of Municipalities of Ontario

Joe Mavrinac, president

Grant Hopcroft, past-chair, fiscal and labour policy committee and past-president

Ontario Hospital Association

Brian McFarlane, chairman

Dennis Timbrell, president

Ontario Federation of Students

Ken Craft, chairperson

Ontario School Trustees' Council

Betty Moseley-Williams, president

Patrick Meany, member


*Chair / Président: Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

Caplan, Elinor (Oriole L)

*Carr, Gary (Oakville South/-Sud PC)

Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre ND)

Jamison, Norm (Norfolk ND)

*Kwinter, Monte (Wilson Heights L)

*Phillips, Gerry (Scarborough-Agincourt L)

*Sterling, Norman W. (Carleton PC)

*Ward, Brad (Brantford ND)

Ward, Margery (Don Mills ND)

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West/-Ouest ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North/-Nord L) for Mrs Caplan

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND) for Mr Sutherland

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND) for Mr Wiseman

Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings/Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud ND) for Mr Christopherson

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND) for Mr Jamison

Swarbrick, Anne (Scarborough West/-Ouest ND) for Ms Ward

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Clerk pro tem / Greffière par intérim: Freedman, Lisa

Staff / Personnel: Campbell, Elaine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1006 in committee room 1.


The Chair (Mr Ron Hansen): It being 10 o'clock, the standing committee on finance and economic affairs will resume the pre-budget consultations.


The Chair: I'd like to welcome the Ontario Teachers' Federation and affiliate groups. We have one hour between 10 and 11. Can you leave some time for questions near the end for all three parties? If you don't mind, identify yourselves and your positions for the purposes of Hansard. You may begin.

Ms Ruth Baumann: I am Ruth Baumann of the staff of the Ontario Teachers' Federation.

Mr Gene Lewis: I am Gene Lewis, president, Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation.

Mr Horst Schweinbenz: I am Horst Schweinbenz, president of the Ontario Teachers' Federation.

Ms Helen Biales: I am Helen Biales, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association.

Ms Margaret Dempsey: I am Margaret Dempsey, president of the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario.

Ms Margaret Wilson: I am Margaret Wilson, secretary-treasurer, OTF.

The Chair: Okay, I'm going to be a good Chairman. I'm going to allow you to start off and designate who is next. You don't have to go through the Chair for each presenter.

Mr Schweinbenz: Thank you. I will be presenting at the beginning and we will all share in the presentation.

The Ontario Teachers' Federation is pleased to have this opportunity to present its views and concerns to the government during this pre-budget consultation. The federation represents 130,000 teachers, both elementary and secondary, public and separate, in the publicly funded schools of Ontario. We see ourselves as part of the broader public sector attempting to work in partnership with the government to provide Ontario's children and adult learners with the best possible education, particularly in these times of economic difficulty.

During the time available, we'd like to address several issues: the impact of the current government economic restraints on the education system, the central role of education in Ontario's economic future, the responsibilities and options for change in provincial government support for education, and the necessary conditions for effective partnerships to provide quality education programs for all Ontarians in difficult economic times, with an eye to our collective future.

The impact of the transfer payments in the last two rounds cannot be minimized. We have a chart attached in appendix A of this submission that shows the impact that occurred with the 1% increase in transfer payments late in 1992. The summary also talks about how this impact has gone on to salary settlements, the numbers of positions eliminated and the areas of program and operations that were affected by the budget restraints and staff cuts.

Appendix B is a document entitled "Ontario Teacher/School Board Settlement Rates, Pre and Post 1992 Announcement of 1992-93 Transfer Payments," which will give you a clear indication that the education sector is responding quite rapidly to the changes that have taken place with regard to transfer payments. I would ask Gene Lewis to go through some of those changes, particularly in salary settlements.

Mr Lewis: I think it's safe to say that it's been a bit of a rocky ride for education in the last 12 months as school boards have scrambled to restructure. Unfortunately, under the banner of fiscal accountability, many boards have abandoned programs and services which were once the mainstay of North America's finest education system. Programs that have historically been associated with a child's education in this province have been decimated.

Collective bargaining, in many instances, was labelled as the culprit, but in reality it's been through the collective bargaining process that a number of programs and services for children have been salvaged. It's irresponsible, in my opinion, to suggest that the teachers' collective bargaining process has contributed to the current recession, although in the media, particularly, there's been an attempt to draw that conclusion.

I'd like to refer you to the document, on page 2 -- the title is "Salary Settlements" -- and just briefly take you through it. Excuse me; the version you have begins at the bottom of page 1. The first paragraph that begins with, "During the weeks following the January 21," outlines the fallout from the Premier's January 21 announcement of funding cutbacks, and they've been significant. In the second to last line you see the term "a bitter pill," and indeed that's what it has been for many of our collective bargaining units across the province and for many of our parents and students across the province.

The second paragraph outlines the impact of the Premier's announcement on salary settlements, and I think you'll see that they're not dissimilar from the kinds of agreements that were reached in other sectors.

The last two paragraphs demonstrate that collective bargaining is indeed responsive to the economic climate of the province. One of the greatest criticisms that was put forth was that teacher bargaining demands were unrealistic. The reality is, of course, that teacher bargaining, like much of the bargaining in all sectors, has been responsive to the economic climate of the times, and the current settlements that are being reached demonstrate that fact.

One of the biggest concerns, of course, with school boards at this point is that when the 2% promise was made, school boards developed their budgets on that commitment from the provincial government, and the fact that the government has reneged on that is creating a great deal of instability in the education system.

One of our current concerns is the manner in which the $99 million will be allocated. I believe it's safe to say that the ill-fated transition assistance fund from last year should not be used as an example of how to disburse this $99 million. The federations have put forward some suggestions to the minister and we hope the minister has been listening. Horst perhaps will comment on that further later on.

To go back purely to collective bargaining, bargaining with fewer resources is difficult at the very best and it's vitally important that the parties to the bargaining process be left alone to resolve their differences themselves. It's important that the government make it absolutely clear it will not become involved in the collective bargaining process. For the government to become involved would create a triangulation of process that will only aggravate circumstances that are currently not the best.

The involvement of the government in a change of the ground rules, such as a redefinition of "full-time equivalency" or the number of years of schooling that our students must participate in, would only make a difficult situation a disaster.

In summary, I guess I'm saying that both boards and teachers do not need another series of hoops to jump through. We are quite capable of resolving, through the collective bargaining process, the challenges that confront us and we recognize that these will be difficult times.

Mr Schweinbenz: In regard to other things that have happened in the last year, collective bargaining has been affected, as Gene has said, but we've actually had individuals and programs affected, and I'd ask Margaret Dempsey to continue on that.

Ms Dempsey: With children and youth and their education being the focus for Ontario's teachers, we wish to paint a picture today of the seriousness of the landscape out there for the children in terms of staff and program cuts, because we must always keep in mind the human face of the children who are right here within our schools as we speak, and the fact that without the resources for the classroom teacher to benefit the learning and learning styles of those children, we are negating the fact for childhood and youth that I believe we all want as citizens of Ontario.

As referred to in appendix A, it will list a total of 2,427.8 positions eliminated in Ontario schools between the 1991 and 1993 school years. This is a number that we as teachers in Ontario believe is high relative to other, broader public sector employees.

But let's look at the real landscape too beyond the people and look at the program cuts. The cuts are in the junior kindergarten, family studies, technological studies and special education areas. A number of school boards have delayed the implementation of new junior kindergarten programs or have had to cut existing programs because they are not yet mandatory.

Then, taking it down to the school and the classroom level, professional development budgets have been cut. Support staff working hours, supplies, furniture and equipment, all of this has been affected and all of this will directly impact on the children. In many boards, class sizes have increased, and I've particularly noted that at the elementary school level in my travels.

Of our professional staff in many boards who are the coordinators and curriculum consultants, who help us to implement programs with children and who help us to look at the special-needs children so that we are making a program suit their particular needs, many of these professionals have been cut or redeployed back to classrooms.

In terms of maintenance and renovations in many boards, there have been cuts there as well.

All the actions that I've described in this landscape, taken to achieve budget estimates, are actions which I believe can be taken once only. A curriculum department in a school board cannot be eliminated twice, and the savings achieved by reduced maintenance and repairs may produce additional costs later on for that particular school system.

I believe that in this era, when we're all under public scrutiny for providing the very best quality education we possibly can for our children and youth, we have to look at the short term and the long term.

In the words of Michael Fullan writing about educational change, he says that change is resource-hungry. We as teachers know that we are living through one of the most significant change periods within educational history in Ontario in terms of program reform, and I speak in terms of the development of new curricula and the program for the transition years. Resources that have accompanied major changes in the past no longer exist. Let me give you some examples.

Over the past four and a half years, the curriculum policy section of the Ministry of Education has been devastated. In 1988, for example, the combined complements of the centre for early childhood and elementary education totalled 53, including two directors and 43 education officers. In the spring of 1992, the curriculum policy development branch of the ministry had one director and 21 education officers for the entire JK-OAC graduation continuum.

A second example which shows you the marked change: In 1988 the central Ontario regional office of the ministry had 48 staff listed in the government directory, including 28 education officers, but as of February 1, 1993, that office will have 14.5 English and 1 French education officers to serve the schools from Waterloo to Hastings and from the Niagara border to the north end of Simcoe county.

This concern that we as teachers raise with you today about the level of professional support which the ministry offers to school boards and to us as teachers is of grave concern to us. At the same time, we have school boards supporting change with local resources and the capacity then of the ministry to provide the leadership, and that support is very quickly disappearing. We as teachers in the schools are faced with significant changes to educational programming and delivery, and we need that linkage of support from the ministry as well as supports within our school systems for the children we teach.


Mr Schweinbenz: What is the future role of education in Ontario? I would ask Helen to expand on that.

Ms Biales: Continuing on with the concerns expressed by my colleague Margaret here about the children in our society in general, I'd like to make it abundantly clear that if Ontarians are to maintain their standard of living collectively and individually, the nature of our economy has to change significantly.

The high-wage, semi-skilled manufacturing jobs which drove Ontario's economy for decades are fast disappearing. Our children and the students in the schools, if they are to maintain the quality of life most Ontarians have enjoyed so far, must be skilled and knowledgeable, adaptable, mobile and ready to continue learning throughout their adult lives, and we as a school system definitely support lifelong learning. The high value added jobs that will produce the high wages require more children and adults to become more successful at learning than we have expected in the past.

I think we're all familiar with the recent report of the Conference Board of Canada, Dropping Out: The Cost to Canada, and some of the observations are found on page 4. Let me go over them briefly. The first observation made by the report is that:

"Canada will lose more than $4 billion in present-value terms over the working lifetimes of the nearly 137,000 youths who dropped out of secondary school instead of graduating with the class of 1989.

"Each individual male dropout will lose nearly $129,000 in today's dollars over his working lifetime, while the female dropout forfeits $107,000.

"As an investment vehicle, education has a higher rate of return than almost any alternative investment project. The rate of return to society of investing in secondary school education is 19% for males and 17.8% for females.

"Canada could save $26 billion if the dropout rate were reduced from 34% to 10% by the year 2000."

We as a federation may argue with some of the Conference Board figures regarding the current dropout rates and how it arrived at those figures, but the arguments it put forward are sound and the questions it raised are very provocative and something we should consider.

I think the point that has to be emphasized in this pre-budget process is this: As an investment vehicle, education has a higher rate of return than almost any alternative investment project. I think if the schools can find ways to enable greater numbers of students to achieve greater success, if we can entice the dropouts back and increase the number of young children who read successfully, we will achieve significant economic and social benefits for society as well as for individuals. Of course these changes cannot be made in a resource vacuum.

I would like to quote what the Premier was quoted as saying in the paper yesterday. I think this is very appropriate and I hope the government will follow through on this. The quote is, "I want you all to know this is one Premier who very much wants to fight on behalf of the people of this province." The children we teach are the people of this province.

Mr Schweinbenz: What role does the provincial government have in this entire process? I would ask Gene to continue.

Mr Lewis: I'm referring to the section at the bottom of page 4. I think it's safe to say that Ontario's education system has been highly regarded around the world, let alone North America. We've been the envy of many communities, and as teachers and as parents we appreciate that and we yearn for that to continue.

One of the strengths of our system has been its consistency and its dependability. Our system has been perceived as one in which parents can find services and programs for their children year after year and the system is perceived as dependable. Parents can depend on it; educators can depend on it. That's been a major strength.

Yesterday I was talking to a director of education in this province about the current process of reform that's taking place and he provided a little analogy which I found interesting. He said, as a director, it feels like he has been asked to build a house and he's supposed to start with it tomorrow but he'll be given the plans a couple of weeks from now. That's the situation educators find themselves in.

We need leadership from the provincial government. It's fine to decentralize, and within reason decentralization accommodates the needs of local communities, but taken to the extreme it simply leads to chaos in the system.

The parents of Ontario must be able to depend on the education their children are receiving. I think the leadership coming from the provincial government, first of all, has to be available, then it has to be rational and it has to be coherent. The role of this government is extremely important in ensuring that the quality of the education system in this province is maintained.

Mr Schweinbenz: The resources and priorities that the government places on its own spending are important to us. The chart on page 6 will illustrate how we see the government has placed its priorities for spending. We see a ministry that's moving away from educational resource to school boards to more of administrative and technical. If you take a look at the growth in the administrative line on table I on page 6 over the five years from 1988 to 1992, the administration section has gone up considerably. When you look at the learning programs you will see that the numbers there have declined significantly.

The resources that the government puts, are they displacing jobs in the school boards or are they adding to more jobs in the school boards? In the past six years, there's also been a move to a generic nature of people working within the ministry -- not professional educators but just people who can work in the ministry. In those six years, the previous government and this government have initiated major restructuring initiatives within the educational system, curriculum change that deals with all aspects: teacher education, junior kindergarten, the transition years, the formative years, OAC, technology, and all of these at the time when the government is moving away from professional educators in their department to more generic people. We wonder why.

The purpose of this budget and the pre-budget process is to examine not only how to fund but what to fund. True priorities of this government are revealed in the details of its budget and its operation. We ask that you come back to looking at the curriculum and some of those areas that we really need for the schools and away from the administrative presently being handled by the school boards themselves.

I will ask Ruth Baumann to sort of walk you through the chart or table I and she can explain the numbers.

Ms Baumann: Let me explain first that the data on table I, with the exception of some data I will be giving you so you can fill in the missing information, comes from what I would describe as a pretty simple methodology. We simply took six years of Ministry of Government Services telephone directories and counted bodies. We tried to make sure we didn't count anyone twice. Where there was a clear vacancy, we did not count that as somebody being there. There were places where you had a phone number and it was clear there was a position waiting to be filled. There were enough of those scattered all over that we figured in the end they probably cancelled each other out.

We bring to your attention what has happened in the major areas of Ministry of Education activity, because we think it tells a tale that people may not have noticed. Their corporate policy and planning division has grown over the last four years. It was first begun in 1987. The administration division has grown enormously.

There are two things, one in each of those ministries, that we were able to identify as a one-time move, and they've been noted in the notes that are attached to the chart. There were branches that moved from one division to another division, and that's a justifiable increase when one deals in those numbers.

We did not, in either of those cases, try to get into a detailed analysis of who was there. We did note that the largest single area of growth in the administration division was in the school board information technology services, which is the provision by the ministry to a number of school boards, we understand, of computer programs and support for that, but that wasn't an area of enormous growth at a time when other departments of the ministry were, at best, holding their own or being cut.


We've not done totals on the learning programs division because in fact there are a number of activities contained within that division and we wanted to focus on those that support the kind of program policy change that we're in the midst of right now. If you look at the three lines that are listed under "Learning Programs," you will see a steady erosion in what we've termed curriculum policy development -- it's what was in 1988 the curriculum branch of the ministry -- in terms of the number of staff available.

In conversation on the telephone yesterday with people from that department, it is my understanding that since June 1992, when the last column was in the directory that we had, the curriculum policy development branch and the Centre for Curriculum Resources Technologies have been merged. While I don't have total figures, the number of education officers left in the combined branch is down to 18. Those are professional educators with experience in the field.

Whereas in June you had the directory listing 21 education officers in curriculum policy development and, I believe, at least 10 of the people in the Centre for Curriculum Resources Technologies, that's now down to a total of 18, 13 of whom were in curriculum policy development and five who are dealing with the computers in education aspect, the actual development of computer curricula and software for teachers to use.

The other area I would draw your attention to is the learning services division, which is the regional offices of the ministry. These are the offices of the ministry that provide direct and ongoing support to school boards. I would like to, first of all, say that the number of footnotes that deal with those offices, we believe, reflect a move away from permanent staff and towards short-term secondments.

It's difficult to ascertain from the directory, but in conversations with people in those offices, it would appear that over the period from 1988 to 1992 and the present, there has been a growth in the number of people brought into the ministry for very short periods of time to do specific tasks and a decrease in the number of persons employed on a permanent basis.

That's not always a bad thing. Unfortunately, with the kinds of budget restraints that are occurring right now, what is happening in a number of offices, and the central Ontario regional office would be a good example of this, is that all of those secondments simply get cut. Where the permanent complement may not be cut, secondments are, so that you end up with disproportionate hits in the cutting back.

As of September 1992 -- and again I don't have total figures here; I have education officer figures, which would correspond to the second number under "1992" -- the central Ontario regional office was down to 16.5 permanent education officers, eastern was down to 14, midnorthern was down to 13, northeastern was down to 14, northwestern was down to 10 and western was down to 16.

We believe in fact that we've demonstrated to you today that the level of support at the policy level -- how to do things, what to do, advice to school boards -- has been eroding steadily and has taken a really sharp plummet downward within the last year, at the very time when we're being asked, as teachers and school boards, to make significant changes.

Mr Schweinbenz: Do you want to go to the question, or would you like me to continue?

The Chair: He's got his hand up for as soon as you're done.

Mr Schweinbenz: The other thing that has happened in the last few years is the shift into the schools of services from other agencies that are now being delivered through the school system.

Table II, on page 9, talks about transfers to Education, Community and Social Services and Health. However, it doesn't necessarily indicate those areas which now overlap and which are being delivered by the schools. There are many discussions about disentanglement. One of the things we find of great concern is that we believe the students in our schools need these services, but they should not necessarily all be paid for out of the education budget. There should be some way of paying for the services that are being delivered by the schools in combination from the other budget areas that formerly paid for them.

I would ask Ruth to take you through table II.

Ms Baumann: There are two comments I'd make. I apologize: There are some things we did not catch in our proofreading. We were revising these about 20 minutes before we left this morning.

The education transfer to school boards is the general legislative grants only; it does not include capital. The figures are all in millions of dollars for all three ministries. We'd simply draw to your attention that the rate of increase of transfers to school boards versus the increases in Health and Community and Social Services has been much slower.

The observation we would like to make today is that as the restraint and the current fiscal difficulties have hit all of government, locally and provincially, as ministries and delivery agencies have withdrawn services, schools, as the universal hub in the community, have found it very difficult to withdraw services and in many cases end up picking up the delivery of services that used to be available elsewhere. Or in some cases -- and I would use specifically some health services, including speech and language services and provision of support for physically handicapped children in schools, including things like catheterization -- there are services to students which were intended by all ministries to be funded by Health, which at the local level, depending on the ability of hospitals and local health units to provide those, in many cases are not occurring and school boards are left having to provide those services regardless, because the kids are there.

It's one of the things that we believe has contributed to the emergence of education as the primary claim on the property tax. The rate of increase of transfers to municipalities for social assistance and general welfare has been at a much higher rate than the rate of increase of transfers for education, so the amount that's left to be picked up on the local property tax has increasingly shifted from general municipal services to education.

When we get into our closing section on the financing of education and education and taxation policy, we think that disparity, the disparity in the treatment of Community and Social Services, Health and Education over the last five years -- and I think it's important to emphasize that this is not something that has suddenly happened; it's a pattern that's been there -- is one of the things that is bringing us the crisis we see right now with property tax and education.

Mr Schweinbenz: I would ask Helen to continue with the financing of education and taxation policy.


Ms Biales: Many of our concerns come from the government mandating services that schools should provide. We don't disagree with the mandated services, but we are quite perturbed that full funding is not provided for these services. We can't continue to add on and not provide the funding. There's also an increase in the fixed costs such as utilities, hydro being one example. That has to be taken into account.

As mentioned by Ruth, there are services that are crucial to our students that don't appear in the curriculum but must be provided for these students. She mentioned speech services, catheterization, these kinds of things, and we need to continue to provide them.

As previously stated, the financing of education relative to health and social services has resulted in services being financed directly from the local property tax, because education has to pick up this cost. If we're not getting any more money from the government, where's it going to come from? The local taxpayer.

The payments to municipalities for welfare and other social assistance have escalated, but the transfers to school boards have not. This is why this particular thing occurs, where you have the taxpayer having to pay more. In fact, the education increase in property tax we figure has come up to approximately 55%.

The decision of this government to undertake a comprehensive examination of the tax system in this province and to include the community in that examination we felt showed real leadership. The results are back now, and the Treasurer needs to show continued leadership in this aspect.

The property tax working group of the Fair Tax Commission identified education as one of a group of government services that should be financed on the basis of ability to pay. This can be achieved in part by moving some education expenditure away from the local property tax and back to provincial revenues.

Rethinking our present system of equalization provides the opportunity to create greater equity. I think that's something the government does espouse all the time, that equity is very important. The education community has known for at least a decade of the disparity between school boards in their ability to raise revenue locally. The part that was not known until recently is how flawed the assessment is as the basis on which to calculate equalization payments for education.

Table III in appendix C, from the property tax work group report, indicates how much a number of community assessment practices vary from the assumptions built into the present education finance system. The serious differences in the way commercial and industrial assessment is handled relative to residential assessment between communities have effects which are greater than all the equalization payments in education.

We know the assessment system itself cannot be fixed quickly. It would create utter chaos if we tried to do that. Some of the effects of a flawed system can be mitigated, though, if it is no longer used as the foundation for equalization among and between communities. An equalization system reflective of a community's ability to pay would be a significant step towards increased fairness and it would be much fairer to those school boards we classify as poor school boards, which happen to be the bulk of the school boards in this province.

Mr Schweinbenz: We apologize. Appendix C apparently has been left off, but if you have any questions on it, we have one of the co-chairpersons of the property tax group with us in Margaret Wilson, and we will get you appendix C later this morning.

In conclusion, we can face this challenge together. I would ask Margaret Dempsey to continue.

Ms Dempsey: As the Ontario Teachers' Federation, we ask you today to consider four key points: that the ultimate test of success of any government is not whether it has good ideas but whether it can make those ideas work; that priorities and commitments are ultimately identified by the human and the financial resources allocated and not strictly by words; that successful change requires detailed attention to transitions, whether the change is in the area of taxation policy or in education reform. Education, we believe very strongly, is the key to our collective future as a province, and real educational reform requires working and workable partnerships between stakeholders and government and sufficient resources to make real change.

Mr Schweinbenz: Teachers are not asking for money so that we can get more salaries. We're asking that you consider in your priorities that the programs you're asking the school boards to implement can be financed so they can be implemented successfully.

As a member of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, I have one last chart to give you. It compares Ontario's spending on education and health and social services with all the other provinces. You will notice that the largest decrease in education is in Ontario. We ask that in your deliberations you look at restoring education to the funding levels it had in comparison to health and social services for the benefit of students in the schools. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll start with Monte Kwinter.

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): I'm going to direct this question to the panel in general, not to anyone specifically, and you can decide who wants to answer it.

One of my concerns is that there's a feeling I get from my constituents, feelings I hear about, that there's a general dissatisfaction with the level of education we are providing to our students. The Economist of London -- I'm sure you're familiar with this publication -- had a major report on education in the world and came to the conclusion that Canada -- I'm not saying specifically Ontario, but certainly Ontario included -- allocates one of the largest per capita proportions of any country in the world to education, yet the level of education is considered relatively poor.

I bring to your attention a photograph in the papers this morning, both in the Globe and the Star, of parents in Scarborough lining up overnight to get students into R.H. King Academy. The headline is that they're there to get their children a better education, because they're unhappy with the education that is being provided to them in the regular programs.

I have a vested interest; I'm very familiar with it because my wife happens to teach at R.H. King. That's why I happen to be aware of it: I saw the article, and it wasn't just a passing thing, because I noticed it.

How do you reconcile the fact that we devote that substantial proportion of our provincial budget to education, yet the results that are coming out don't seem to meet the expectations of the population?

Mr Schweinbenz: Perhaps I could start before anyone else jumps in. We believe education in Ontario is good. We believe we're delivering a very good product to the students. But I also think there are some expectations of teachers and of the school system that are not found elsewhere. In Metropolitan Toronto, there are 54 different nationality groups, and the 54 groups bring ethnic and cultural differences to the classroom. Teachers have to cope with that and at the same time deliver a balanced program. If you get into an élitist situation, perhaps in one of the schools you've mentioned, that's one of the things they can perhaps iron out, because only the rich can afford to go there.

The other thing being required of teachers and of the school system is not just to deliver basic education but also to deliver values, to deliver some of the programs that are being asked of us on a constant basis, and it comes from all different points of view. We have people asking us to look at not only education but the social and welfare aspects of children and the surroundings they're in.

When you look at international tests, they talk about averages. Well, our top students will compete with the top students anywhere in this world, and I would put any of them to task in any country to say that their top students are better than our top students, because I think our top students are the top.

Would anyone else like to add to that?

Ms Wilson: I want to start by saying that I think all of us believe we can also do better in terms of our students. If you take an article such as The Economist's, one of the things it does not do is make comparisons based on the jurisdictional modes of various countries. One of the things we have to expect in Canada is that a substantial amount of the spending on education will be spent on governing education, because we don't have a unitary mode of government for education, so each province will have its own ministry. It would be fair to say that in Canada increasing amounts have been spent in every province over the last 10 years in local governance of education to meet what are priorities or constitutional rights, whether you're talking about French language rights or the rights of Catholic parents to govern their own schools.


I have never seen an adequate sort-out of the jurisdictional costs as opposed to the classroom costs. It would be an interesting exercise, because I think we might be surprised at the proportion of the education spending that actually went on what you might call governance and administration as opposed to the classroom. I know that in Ontario, if you go back to some of the comments that were made about health and social services, we have a number of boards that have more non-teachers than teachers on their staffs, large boards. If you look at what the non-teachers do, to a huge degree they're delivering health and social services, or assisting with health and social issues, as opposed to the delivery of the classroom curriculum.

We as teachers think that one of the things that has to be examined is where the priorities are. The other problem we have is finding a real consensus on what the schools should be doing. There is no question but that the activities of the classroom teacher have increasingly been taken up with health and social issues over the last 10 years. If we want to get back to -- I won't say back to basics; I don't think that's what Monte's driving at either -- the curriculum questions and to increasing the performance of all of our students, knowing that the best students on any international tests really do very well -- the big American math competition won't let Canadians in any more; we've won too often. Seriously. Last year they decided no more Canadian entrants. If we want to get back to improving performance of all the students, we have to decide where the resources will go. I invite you to go back again to those charts and what's happened to the Ministry of Education in terms of where its money goes; to what's happened to ministry regional offices in terms of where they're putting staffing money; and to what's happening in school boards in terms of where they're able to put staffing money if we have to subsidize, which is what we're doing, Comsoc and Health.

Let's have a real discussion about education spending and education priorities. Let's staff the system so that if we want radical overhaul -- and the previous government had ambitions similar to this government in terms of curriculum change -- we've got the resources to make curriculum change and are not just wandering around in the dark, school by school, which seems to be the present invitation.

The Chair: I've got to go on to Mr Sterling.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Chairman, could I just correct a statement Horst made, just for the record? R.H. King is a high school in the Scarborough system; it's not an élitist kind of thing where people who can afford -- anyone can go to R.H. King on a first-come, first-served basis, but it is a regular high school in the sense that it is funded the same way as every other high school and the students who go there go there on the same basis. It's limited enrolment because they only have so much capacity and it's on a first-come, first-served basis, and that's why people were lining up to get in.

Mr Schweinbenz: I apologize.

Mr Norman W. Sterling (Carleton): Yesterday and the day before, we had several economists in front of us. They said this recession was different, and one of the reasons it's going to be difficult to get out of -- and that was confirmed in terms of employment figures as predicted by our Treasurer yesterday -- was that during this recession there has been an income distribution problem. Those who are doing well have done well during the recession; those who have not been doing well are not going to be hired next year, because those who are doing well have taken a bigger bite of the pie than perhaps they should have. Some might argue that the teaching profession, which is very strong in this province, has taken too big a bite during the recessionary period. Would you care to comment on that?

Ms Baumann: Mr Sterling, I would direct your attention to the material in appendix B. I think it's important that one first of all recognize, and we would argue, that collective bargaining is a process that has worked well for education in general in Ontario over the last 17 years, since legislation was first introduced.

The brutal fact is that as we get to a recession, school boards, like government, feel the effects of the recession later than the community at large. We feel it when tax revenues are down, for instance. Indeed, what we had happening in school boards with collective bargaining was that salary settlements were running in the 5% range prior to the Treasurer's January 1992 announcement about the transfer payments. That's not surprising when the transfer payments the year before had been increased by almost 8%. I think that's the kind of pattern one would normally expect. It was when the sudden damper came that -- if you look at the average figures, they look high, but they look high because a number of those agreements were settled long before the 1%, 2% and 2% announcement was made. When you actually, as we asked the Education Relations Commission to do, break out the settlements that were made before and after that January announcement, you discover that very quickly those settlements began to fall and that the notable exceptions, those still in the 3% or 3.5% range, are ones where traditional comparators, neighbouring boards and other groups of teachers within the same board, had settled before January.

The experience of teacher bargainers both in the 1970s and in the early 1980s, when the Progressive Conservative government imposed wage restraints, has been that bargaining has come into line, that it takes longer for all of the system to come into line, so that on the recovery end we're slower coming out. I think you'll find that's supported if we look back either at the mid-1970s or at the early 1980s. So we're slower getting into it and we're slower getting out of it, but the adjustment occurs none the less, and I think is a reasonable adjustment.

Mr Sterling: I'd just like to say, having come through a fairly bitter strike in the area I represent, that none of my constituents supported the teachers with regard to the Carleton Board of Education strike. Unfortunately, the teaching profession lost unbelievable amounts of credibility in terms of the strike action. I did not receive one call from one non-teacher supporting the teachers, and I received hundreds of calls on the other side. They thought the teachers, quite frankly, were being greedy at a time when lots of people in my area were losing jobs. I just put that to you.

The Chair: Mr Carr, you have two minutes.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): Along the same lines, yesterday the NDP members talked about transfer payments from the federal government and the Treasurer came in yesterday and complained about the federal government. I want to put you in the position of my board. They will next year receive 0% from this government. I look down the list, and already negotiated is a 2% increase of teachers' salaries. You don't need to be very good to realize that property taxes are going to go up because of that. Would you care to comment on that and tell the taxpayers in Halton how, when the provincial government has limited transfers at the same time they're complaining about the federal government, my board will get zip, zero? They've already negotiated 2%, and I think probably 80% of the board's expenditure is salaries. What do you say to the property taxpayers in Halton who are going to get big property tax increases because of two groups of people: one, the provincial government, and, two, the salaries of teachers?

Mr Schweinbenz: Could I just say we don't believe it's all going to be the salaries of teachers? If you take a look at the Halton board and the percentage of the board budget that is teachers' --

Mr Carr: Which would be what?

Mr Schweinbenz: It would probably be in the 50% to 55% range of the total budget.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My experience was always that the teachers are about two thirds, but that's 10 years ago.

Ms Dempsey: Not any more.

Mr Phillips: Those are the good old days?

Mr Carr: Regardless of what it is, it's a big enough share that when you get 2% of 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, whatever it is -- let's say it's 50%. If you get 2% of 50% of your costs going up when you're getting zero from the provincial government, which makes up a big bulk of the transfers, mathematically the numbers will change. The fact is that property taxpayers in Halton will get an increase. What do you say to them?

Mr Schweinbenz: What do you want me to say to them other than that the contracts were signed with a clear understanding, and the clear understanding was that the transfer payments -- at least, that's what we felt --

Mr Carr: Yes, but the board did that thinking they were going to get 2%, based on what the Premier said, so the fault isn't really even the teachers'. It's the provincial government's, wouldn't you say?

Mr Schweinbenz: We believe the change in the percentage back to the boards has caused considerable problems and will cause tax increases, yes. We believe that's part of the provincial government's --

The Chair: Mr Carr, I don't want to cut you off. I know you've got some really good questions. I've got to go to Mr Johnson, as the next group is here to go on at 11.


Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): Thank you for your presentation, a very lengthy presentation, and a good one, but unfortunately we don't have a lot of time to ask questions, so I'll get right to it.

You would agree, I guess, that there's a great diversity among school boards, depending on whether the school board happens to be an urban centre or a rural centre, and the percentage of teachers' salaries certainly varies from school board to school board; what school boards may be involved in with regard to extra-curricular activities varies from school board to school board. So it's very difficult to sit here and talk about school boards in general, because of that diversity. In some of the rural school boards we know that teachers' salaries can take up as much as 75% to 80% of the school board's total budget.

Mr Schweinbenz: We don't believe they're that high anywhere in the province. If you look at even the rural school boards, the old percentages, where people used to say 75% of the budget was teachers' salaries, are just not true any more.

Mr Johnson: I don't want to belabour that. I know we all want to be as efficient as we can and do as much as we can with as little as we get. I know that when it comes to negotiations, the teachers will be very prudent. They understand that, given the very difficult times we're in, they will negotiate accordingly.

It doesn't matter who answers this: Given the fact that the provincial government has considerable revenue shortfalls and we're trying to share the difficulties with all ministries -- I know it was noted that Comsoc has increased its welfare payouts considerably. Well, that's because there's an incredible number of people on welfare. I think where there are young people involved, that certainly would reflect on their ability to go to school and what kind of lifestyle they might lead. So it's very complex. But given that you know it's a very difficult time, what would you suggest the province do with regard to the deficit? If we're looking for more money, certainly we can expect that the deficit may have to be increased, taxes may have to be increased and then we come to program, something you're very concerned about. Where do we deal with program?

Mr Schweinbenz: I would have two answers. The first answer is that we'd ask the government to be consistent. If you're going to announce that you're going to do this, let's do that. The 1, 2 and 2 put into the framework the negotiations that took place all of last year and through the fall of this year. Mr Sterling pointed out that people have settled contracts in the 2% range, and Mr Carr has said that also. Are the teachers greedy? That's what we had expected and that's what the boards expected. The 0% and 0% increase has thrown that whole set of negotiations for a loop. That's the first thing. So we'd ask the government to be consistent.

The second thing is that we'd asked the government to look at the mandatory program changes it is putting into place. We have coming into place major changes, in The Transition Years, that are mandated starting this September. We have school boards scrambling to keep their heads above water, yet they have mandated changes. These changes will take vast amounts of money just in retraining and retooling the schools, retraining the teachers and bringing in new resources for the classrooms, in the grade 9 level particularly, but also in the grades 7 and 8 level.

We would ask that the government consider taking those mandatory aspects off. We don't want them stopped; we don't want it to be said that we're asking that destreaming and those things be stopped. We're just saying, "Let the school boards implement them as they had planned, on a gradual basis and as the money is there." We have to go through about 10,000 teachers to get them up to scratch for this thing coming in this September. We don't even have the core curriculum documents in the schools yet, and it's only five months away on a school year basis. So that's one of the things we would ask.

The Chair: Mr Johnson, I'm sorry; time has run out. The other group is here. I'd like to thank the presenters for coming before this committee, and a safe trip home, if you look out the window behind me.

Mr Schweinbenz: On behalf of the Ontario Teachers' Federation, we'd like to thank you for your questions and your attention.

The Chair: Okay; thank you.


The Chair: The next group coming forward is the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. I'd like to welcome you to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. We have until 11:30. In your presentation, perhaps you can leave some time for the members of the committee to ask questions on your presentation. If you don't mind identifying yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, you may begin right away. Pour your water. Get all set up there. All the members have your briefs. Where did you drive in from, sir?

Dr Saul Ross: I flew in from Ottawa this morning; a pleasant flight.

The Chair: We were looking for you about 10 or 15 minutes ago. With the weather outside, I think we can expect that some of our presenters could be a little bit late, and we'll have to reschedule at different times. Go ahead.

Dr Ross: I want to introduce Marion Perrin, who is our executive director. I'm Dr Saul Ross, president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

OCUFA, the organization representing some 12,000 academic staff in Ontario's universities, is pleased to appear before you again as you prepare your advice to the Legislature on the funding of universities in Ontario. We are less pleased, however, that we must once again report to you about the ravages of underfunding on post-secondary education and on the future of this province.

A Legacy of Underfunding: It is perhaps unrealistic to expect universities to be exempt from the restraint facing all sectors during this recession, but universities have already borne the burden of 15 years of government restraint policy. Universities in Ontario have been restrained in good times and in bad by governments of all political parties.

Consider the following grim facts as published in the Council of Ontario Universities' report, the Financial Position of Universities in Ontario 1992:

Ontario's level of funding per student is ninth among the 10 provinces.

Ontario's level of funding per student was below average in 1980 and declined further and faster than most provinces over the past 12 years.

University funding has declined as a percentage of provincial expenditures from almost 6% in 1977-78 to just over 4% this year.

It should be noted that according to the April 1992 report on university financing by the tripartite committee on interprovincial comparisons, during the same 15-year period, enrolment in Ontario universities increased by almost 35% while the population of Ontario increased by slightly more than 15%. We have been educating many more students with less resources.

If the universities' share of the provincial budget had remained what it was in 1990-91, 4.33%, they would have received $133.6 million more in 1992-93.

Damage to quality, access and equity: There is no need to document here what every study of university funding in Ontario has already shown and what the government's own advisory body, OCUA, has been telling it for years: Underfunding leads to a decline in the quality of education. Laboratory equipment needs to be repaired and renewed, and there are insufficient funds to keep equipment current. Libraries need to be well stocked with up-to-date journals and books, but continual cuts are being made in subscriptions to scholarly journals.

As faculty and staff complements are cut, studentS' learning experiences are placed further and further in jeopardy. Higher student-faculty ratios result in large, often overcrowded classes, less personal contact between teacher and student and less time to devote to individual students' questions and work.

Underfunding also threatens access and equity in a whole range of ways. As our underfunded universities are less able to deal with the number of people who want a university education, they are required to set limits on first-year admissions and limits to enrolment in a variety of understaffed and underserviced programs. That makes them less accessible in general, and such lack of accessibility almost invariably affects those who have traditionally had less access to begin with: those with less experience in dealing with educational bureaucracies and forms; those who have less access to the networks that provide information about educational opportunities.


For those traditionally disadvantaged students who do manage to get into university, underfunding means a lack of services to support them. This makes even more difficult their attempts to both survive and excel in an environment that often appears more comfortable to those who are used to having access to privilege.

Underfunding threatens access and equity in other ways as well. Most of the modest advances that have been made in equity policies and practices in recent years -- that is, equity hiring and the correction of salary anomalies attributable to gender -- are being threatened by underfunding. The last-hired, first-fired syndrome threatens those who have only recently been hired as a result of attempts on the part of universities to make their workforce more representative of the population.

One hears more and more frequently that bad economic periods are "not the right time" to accomplish equity goals. Unfortunately, good economic times were also not seen as opportunities for so doing.

We agree with this committee's recommendation in its Interim Report: Pre-Budget Consultation 1992: "The government should reaffirm its commitment to a high quality, fully accessible post-secondary education system. This goal has been difficult to attain as operating grants for post-secondary education have continued to decline relative to gross domestic product growth."

Critical role of post-secondary education: Underfunding education of all kinds is a shortsighted and foolhardy policy. In the language of the economists, education is a durable rather than a consumable. The logic used by Premier Bob Rae when contrasting the kind of debt incurred by investing in a mortgage with the kind of debt incurred by overspending one's pocket money can be extended to the funding of education. Such funding should more accurately be viewed as an investment than as an expenditure. It is invested to preserve our heritage and to ensure a future society informed by cumulative knowledge and wisdom.

The government seems to have no problem viewing capital spending on universities as investment. In a recent news release, January 6, 1993, announcing Jobs Ontario Capital funding for post-secondary education, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Richard Allen, said: "Through Jobs Ontario Capital we are investing in the future of the province by renewing the infrastructure of our colleges and universities today.... This type of public investment in post-secondary education will help people get the skills and knowledge they need to sustain Ontario's future prosperity and quality of life."

Why is it so difficult to understand that spending for operating costs for post-secondary education is also investment? Although buildings are important, they are not directly responsible for helping people get the skills and knowledge they need. People who work for universities -- teachers, researchers, librarians, technicians, support staff and others -- equipped with adequate and up-to-date resources are the primary providers of such help.

The critical role of higher education and economic and social recovery has been recognized by a range of analysts. In his first throne speech on behalf of the NDP government on November 20, 1990, Ontario Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander said: "Our human resources will be key to our economic future. To face the challenges of the 1990s effectively, we must become a learning society, where education and training are seen as fundamental to individual growth, where investment in people is understood to be as important as investment in capital or in research and development.... Strong, publicly funded institutions are crucial to lifelong education."

The federal government, in spite of its abdication of responsibility for post-secondary education in Canada, through cuts to the established programs financing, observed in its 1991 discussion paper Learning Well, Living Well:

"More and better learning means more and better jobs. Countless studies have confirmed this connection between a highly skilled workforce and a high-wage economy. How well people live, be they Germans, Australians, Koreans or Canadians, depends on how well they learn.

"Although we are still successful exporters of energy and raw materials, Canada is losing ground to industrial competitors who are simply better than we are at inventing, designing, manufacturing and marketing. Our competitors will gain not by undercutting us -- but by outsmarting us."

Nor is the relationship between higher education and employment liable to change in the coming years; on the contrary. A recent article in the Globe and Mail by economics reporter Bruce Little entitled "Workers in 1990s must `learn a living,'" January 12, 1993, cites figures supplied by the Canadian occupational projection system of Employment and Immigration Canada: "In 1986, only 23% of Canada's workers were in jobs requiring more than 16 years of education and training.... In the 1990s, 44% of the new jobs created will require at least that level of training."

The provocative title of the article contains the phrase attributed to Wayne Roth, director of the labour market outlook section of Employment and Immigration Canada: "You're not going to graduate once and that's it.... You're going to have to learn a living, not earn a living."

Higher education is vital to people's chances for future employment. According to the Council of Ontario Universities report, university graduates are consistently less likely to be unemployed than groups with any other level of educational attainment: "Even in the middle of a recession, graduates of a university are less than half as likely to be unemployed as the rest of the workforce. Compared to people with eight or less years of education, university graduates are less than one third as likely to be unemployed."

Higher education is vital to the health of local economies. The Alliance for Ontario Universities conducted an economic impact study in 1991 which demonstrated the vital contribution of universities to economic stability. The study showed that while Ontario universities received $1.9 billion from the government, they generated nearly $1.25 billion in tax revenue and resulted in $6.2 billion in economic activity and 138,000 jobs. The study noted that the impact was particularly critical in smaller communities, where universities played a stabilizing role.

Higher education is vital to research and development. Industrial and technological innovation is primarily rooted in universities or in partnerships with universities.

Social improvements often emanate from higher education. Breakthroughs in scientific research, new knowledge about the environment, social, political and economic analyses, anti-racist education are but a few of the examples of the sorts of things universities contribute to our social fabric.

Equity and access: It is very important that the benefits that accrue to individuals from a university education not be restricted to the white, male and wealthy. The 1990s should be a period when the doors of universities are flung open to all those who have traditionally been excluded. That means more than rhetorical flourishes; it means a commitment to directing resources towards equity and access.

The government's own statements seem to affirm this commitment to equity and access. In his July 1992 Statement on Post-secondary Education, Ontario Colleges and Universities Minister Richard Allen described his views on this:

"No longer the finishing schools of the professions, the cocoons of highly educated élites, or the isolated institutes of the pure researcher, our post-secondary institutions are undergoing transformation into vehicles for an education-saturated society in which, for individuals, learning never ends, and for an economy where it will be increasingly difficult to detect where workplace ends and academy begins."

Yet the government's policies of late have reflected fiscal goals incompatible with equity and access. Do we listen to the rhetoric or watch the policies? We have to believe that actions speak louder than words.

In November last year, the Ontario government announced that tuition fees will be increased by 7% in the coming academic year. That 7% increase will bring fees for an average undergraduate arts and science student to $2,026, not including ancillary fees, in 1993-94. Relative to the 1992 Canadian cost of living, the hike constitutes a 5.1% real increase in tuition fees, the largest in at least 15 years.


Changes this year to the Ontario student assistance plan, OSAP, are even more extreme. Grants have been virtually eliminated. More loan money will be available and student debt is expected to increase substantially.

This is the worst possible time, with high student unemployment and more people needing post-secondary education than ever before, to erect new barriers to access. The need for student assistance can be demonstrated by the growth and demand for OSAP; 137,500 students, about one in four, received OSAP assistance in 1992. Student aid assistance has grown by 66% in the previous two years alone.

OCUFA strongly opposes any shift in student assistance from grants to loans. High student debt expectations deter all students, but especially women and those from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Current funding: In January last year, Ontario Treasurer Floyd Laughren promised transfer agencies funding increases of 1%, 2% and 2% over three years. Laughren said the long-term announcement would "help plan the reform and restructuring that must take place."

The universities, although shocked at how low the increases would be, were grateful that for the first time they knew what they would be getting for three years and could therefore engage in somewhat longer-term planning. On the basis of the figures in that announcement, institutions planned programs, negotiated contracts and developed budgets.

This committee realizes how important it is to know ahead of time what funding levels will be in order to engage in fiscally responsible planning. In your Interim Report: Pre-Budget Consultation 1992, you recommended that the government should pursue a multi-year financial plan for Ontario universities.

On November 26, 1992, the government retracted its promise. Laughren announced that the government was freezing base funding for universities and colleges for the next year. The same day, Richard Allen, Minister of Colleges and Universities, met with representatives of the post-secondary education community. He told them that post-secondary education would be getting a 1% increase for 1994-95. He stated that this was the only part of the MUSH sector to get an increase in 1994-95 and was in recognition of the capacity of post-secondary institutions as engines of economic renewal.

The government also announced that it will reallocate $10.5 million from operating funds to the faculty renewal program and the special purpose grants envelope to cover targeted funds such as the aboriginal education strategy, the French language program and the midwifery program. Base funding for universities then will actually decrease next year by approximately 0.5%.

While OCUFA supports these equity programs, shaving money from the base budget is the wrong way to finance them. Equity should be a driving force throughout the system and funded accordingly rather than being marginalized and placed in competing envelopes.

Alternatives: OCUFA recognizes that the province is faced with tough decisions in managing provincial resources. We firmly believe, however, that the provincial deficit should not be used as an excuse to further erode education. To do so is to increase the education deficit, and the social and cultural damage from that will be far more drastic. The economic damage created by the education deficit will in turn contribute further to the province's fiscal problems.

We believe it is time to challenge the neo-conservative myth that social spending is a drain on economies. This economic analysis, popular especially in the US culture of rugged individualism, is constructed on very shaky arguments, as was made clear in an excellent series of articles last year in the Toronto Star written by Linda McQuaig, November 8 to 12, with a copy attached. There are by now many examples of governments that have restrained or slashed social spending in response to economic downturn. How many examples are there where this strategy has revived an economy? How many examples are there where this strategy has improved the quality of life for its citizens? This argument for spending restraint is especially faulty in the university sector where the benefits for local economies, short-term and long-term direct employment, industrial strategies and economic recovery are well documented.

This committee, following its deliberation last year wrote in its Interim Report: Pre-Budget Consultation 1992 about the importance of providing adequate funding to universities. Recommendation 8 stated:

"It is essential that Ontario fund its universities adequately. It cannot afford the economic and social costs associated with an inadequately educated population. Economists write that that high level of education and skills is vital for economic growth and prosperity; education may be the single most important determinant of economic growth in the developed world."

We must also express our disappointment in this government's timidity to date in confronting tax reform. It would appear that the government has chosen to avoid any controversial move to shift the burden in tax revenues to those most able to pay, this in spite of this committee's recommendation that "The government should pursue fair share taxation and measures such as a minimum corporate tax and a speculation tax as ways of addressing underfunding." That was from the Interim Report: Pre-Budget Consultation 1992, page 8.

In post-secondary education policy, however, this government has shown no reluctance to shift the revenue burden to those least able to pay, through increased user fees.

The government's timidity with respect to reform of the tax system is paralleled by its seeming reluctance and/or inability to stand up to the federal government's shameless abrogation of its responsibilities with respect to post-secondary education, to name but one area. The largest, richest and strongest province in the country should be ingenious enough to find ways to mount an effective campaign against the repeated blows to its economy, infrastructure and social net.

It is with the same sorrow that we are led to the observation that this government seems to be convinced that the universities of Ontario are élitist institutions and that they are unlikely to change to become more accessible, to become more equitable. It is behaving as though universities should be written off as vehicles that can play a part in redressing the inequities that exist in our society.

The problem with such a stance is that it has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy: Universities become less accessible to less advantaged members of the population. Those denied a university education remain less advantaged, those who can afford one remain advantaged and the universities end up being élitist institutions.

We do not share this view. Universities, like many other institutions in our society, have historically served relatively homogeneous populations. To change this requires the provision of resources, incentives, encouragement and assistance. We believe that universities can change to become more representative and inclusive institutions, but this is very difficult to accomplish when they are continually starved for funds.

Next year: The recommendations made by this committee last year were very encouraging. We can only concur with those recommendations and assure you that their wisdom has become even more apparent in the year since.

What will happen next year? Certainly 1% is not enough. We must ensure not only that this figure is increased but that the increased funds go to the base budgets of the universities. There must be some attempt to ameliorate the damage done this year by reneging on a commitment already made. We trust that this committee will once again show its support for a level of university funding in Ontario to ensure the continued existence of high-quality, accessible and equitable universities in this province. We hope that the Treasurer will listen.

Mr Carr: I was reviewing the budgets in the pie charts comparing education during 1984, and 20% of the spending went to colleges and universities and education, 10% to social services. It now has shifted: 17% goes to colleges and universities and education and 21% to social services.

But I was interested in your comments regarding the transfers. I've listened while the Premier, the Treasurer and members of this committee complained about the federal government and its transfer. What they have done to municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals has been worse, but let's say as bad, and I find it rather ironic they complain about one level of government for transfers while for municipalities, universities and school boards what they've done to their transfer partners has been as bad.

You said, and I think the words you used were, "retracted their promise." I think it was broke the promise, and it was a promise that was made January 21 by the Premier, not the Treasurer. The Premier made that promise.

But my concern is with the fact that now that has been done, economists have come in here and said employment is going to be at 11%. We are now borrowing at higher spreads, because international investors do not want to lend Ontario money. What do you say to the unemployed who say that your faculty, that professors and teachers, people in the public sector, should at least accept a 0% increase at a time when most people are losing their jobs? Today, for example, General Motors will have 1,000 people laid off. What do you say to them when they say, "You're going to have a job, but you shouldn't accept any increase during this economic time"?


Dr Ross: I want to come back to your first comment. I think it's important that we direct attention there. Then I'll try and answer your second question. We view what the provincial government has done to universities as the exact action that it deplored having been foisted on it by the federal government.

Mr Carr: Are you listening, Anne?

Ms Anne Swarbrick (Scarborough West): Oh, very much so.

Dr Ross: There is one major difference between the position of the universities and the position of the provincial government. When the federal government reneges or offloads its debt on to the provincial government, the provincial government has the capacity, although the political choices may be unpalatable, to find alternative sources of funding. Universities do not have that ability, do not have that choice.

That leads to the second comment. What you have just said about pointing the finger at university faculty members accepting no increase needs to be put in historic context. If you look at what has happened in the last 15 to 18 years, due to the continued underfunding, the salary of university professors, whose income is, by and large, dependent on transfer payments from the provincial government, has eroded by over 25% in comparison to all other similar professions. If you compare university salaries to physicians, accountants, lawyers, school teachers, engineers, a whole range of people in that category, it is well documented that we are now more than 25% below.

How much more does this government or do the politicians want the university faculty members to subsidize university education? That's our question.

Mr Carr: Is there still some time?

The Chair: No. I'm sorry, Mr Carr. I was just reading a note that came in. I've got to go to Ms Swarbrick for one question.

Ms Swarbrick: It is one question, but it does have a preamble. I want to start by thanking you for the series of Linda McQuaig articles. I had missed two of them, so I'm thrilled that I now have a complete set.

I want to also start by very much expressing total agreement with the philosophy you presented in terms of the importance of education and the university system. I know that my government agrees with me still on all of that. I want to say that I appreciate also the problems all of us go through when we end up suddenly finding we've got less money than what we had been expecting.

But I want to place a context here, and the context I want to place is the situation that has presented itself to the province. Readily available is the government's Ontario Fiscal Outlook. If you refer to that, on page 2 you'll see that, first, in terms of tax revenues for the year 1991-92 they dropped by $3 billion from the year before.

In the year 1992-93, tax revenues will be $530 million less than we had projected last spring -- we weren't alone in being overly hopeful in the projections; that was common in people's expectations -- and the same in terms of the projections for 1993-94, which now look as though they're going to be $4.2 billion lower than what we had been building on this year towards next year.

I want to point out that I think the situation that you're facing from us is in fact very different than what we faced from the federal government. The federal government has dug very deeply into the pockets of Ontario's government and taxpayers by removing $4.5 billion last year alone and $4.4 billion the year before. There's no way that we've reached into your pockets and taken back or cut back that incredible amount of money.

I want to point out that the kind of situation that we're in in trying to make the plans for the province I think is far worse than what you're dealing with. If you exclude the cost of the debt interest and the cost of social assistance from this year's operating budget, there has been virtually no growth in our operating expenditures this year. We've increased them by only 0.3%.

That includes the money that we've transferred to the MUSH sector, the municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals, which means that in terms of within our own pockets in the ministries, we've gone far deeper than what we're asking you to cut by the transfer payments of the 1% and 2%, by creative means for this year and trying to hold your line the following year.

The Chair: Ms Swarbrick, can you get to the question? Mr Phillips is on the edge of his seat over here waiting to ask his question.

Ms Swarbrick: Good timing. I'm right at the question. My question then is that you believe there's alternative sources of funding open to us, and of course we've tried to be as creative as we can in finding what they are, other than tax increases people just can't afford. Do you not think, given what I've outlined to you as being the situation the province faces, that in fact we've been as protective as we can of the education sector, or can you be more specific, then, in terms of what the specific things are that you'd like to see us do differently? And I mean specific, because the generalities don't help us.

Dr Ross: What you're really saying is that you're asking me to do the job of the government, and I refuse to do that, in one sense. But I will give you the following answer.

Part of it comes from what I read this morning in the Ottawa Citizen on the plane down here, an action taken by the Bank of Montreal which has shocked the banking community. They are going into ancillary financing for small businesses to an extent of allowing them up to $50,000 of additional credit. They have recognized that in difficult times, when you cut back and don't borrow to invest where money really should be put, you are only exacerbating the situation. While I appreciate the effort made on the part of the government in cutting its expenditure as much as possible, I think there needs to be some prudence and wisdom in terms of borrowing and investing in appropriate places. Since we have at least a 15-year history of severe underfunding in universities, to cut back or even to say, "We're giving you zero," is a further erosion in the area where there is common agreement that it is the number one place to invest.

Ms Swarbrick: You're saying raise the deficit further, are you?

The Chair: I'm sorry. Mr Phillips.

Mr Phillips: Just an observation, if I might: It really is time that the government members realize that you can't blame the federal government. The federal government increased its grants to the provincial government last year, the year we're just ending, by 20%.

Ms Swarbrick: Where?

Mr Phillips: Well, you look at the budget. You've got to get into those numbers and understand them. It went up 20%. The previous year it went up 10%.


The Chair: Mr Phillips, the question.

Mr Phillips: My point is this: If you actually believe those numbers, you'll never deal with the budget, and it is time you stopped blaming the federal government for the problems. The provincial government faces the same problem the federal government does. It's the same income. Half of the income federally comes from personal income tax. You say, "The reason the universities aren't getting the money is because our personal income tax revenue is down, so we're really sorry." Then you turn to the federal government and say, "Give us, give us, give us," and it says, "We're facing the same problem."

The money from the federal government last year went up well over a billion dollars to the provincial government, 20%. Those are the facts. I'm not necessarily saying the federal government's treating the provincial government all finely, but let's start to deal with the real issues.

That gets to my point. One is an observation. I appreciate the fact that the minister committed to a 1% increase for colleges and universities in 1994-95. I had not heard that before and that's new information for me.

But when you say the largest, richest province "should be ingenious enough to find ways to mount an effective campaign against such repeated blows to its economy, infrastructure and social net," I think Mr Carr makes a good point that one could argue that the province has done the same thing to you that you are accusing the federal government of. Is it the intention of the faculty to launch a similar ingenious campaign to point out these problems?

Dr Ross: We're trying our best. We're trying to make as many people as possible aware of the actual situation. The fact is that you walk into a number of universities and you walk into laboratories where students -- those who have access to these laboratories; not all students who enrol in courses do -- are working with equipment that is now 20 years old and vastly outdated. There's just no money to buy new equipment. You walk into classes where at one time there were 40 or 50 students and there was the opportunity for exchange and serious one-to-one engagement in education. Those classes are now 200 and 300. Students are sitting in the aisles. Students are sitting on broken chairs. We don't have the ability to raise money.

The Chair: Dr Ross, I appreciate your attendance at these meetings this morning, especially with the weather you came through. I know we've run over a little, but a trip from Ottawa should give you a couple of extra minutes. Thank you for coming before the committee and a safe trip home.

Dr Ross: Thank you for listening to us.



The Chair: The next group to come forward is the Ontario Public School Boards' Association. Would you mind identifying yourselves for Hansard? If there are more than three of you, four can come up here and take a seat; there are enough mikes. I'd like to welcome you to the committee. As we're cutting into Gerry Phillips's lunch, we're going to go until about 10 after 12, so you're not going to be shortchanged; you've got a few extra minutes. You may begin. You don't have to go through the Chair: "Mr Chair, I want to say this." Carry on and you save a lot of time, okay? Go ahead.

Mrs Paula Dunning: Okay, thank you very much. I want to begin by introducing those of us who are at the table at the front. Mr Joe Gunn is the executive vice-president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association and a trustee on the Stormont Dundas and Glengarry County Board of Education. Linda Hamill is a regional vice-president of our association for the western region and she's a trustee on the Grey County Board of Education. Also with us are our executive director, Mike Benson, and director of policy Beverley Allen. My name's Paula Dunning. I'm the president of the association and I'm a trustee on the Central Algoma Board of Education.

I want to begin by saying that we're pleased to have this opportunity to appear before the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to share our concerns and recommendations with you with respect to the 1993-94 provincial budget.

A little about our association at the outset: We represent the more than 90 public school boards from across the province, serving over 1.4 million students. Our goal as an association is to promote public education to ensure that locally elected school boards are responsive to both the educational needs and the resource capabilities or, as is more appropriate these days, limitations of their communities.

Those limitations have recently been highlighted by the report of the property tax working group of the Fair Tax Commission, reminding all of us -- and I'd like to pass that reminder on to you -- of the need to move the burden of the funding of education away from the regressive property tax back on to the general revenues, which are generated from the more progressive income tax base of the province.

Like you, we are also facing the difficult task of balancing growing public needs and expectations with limited resources. We're faced with decreasing revenues from both of our revenue sources, the provincial grants and the property tax base, despite the fact that real costs and expectations, many of them imposed by the government itself, continue to rise even during this period of economic recession.

In other words, public school boards are very aware that for the education community it is not business as usual. We have therefore given serious thought to the government's November announcement of a 0% increase in transfer payments and to the political statements about public service restructuring.

We're here to recommend a three-part joint provincial government/school board strategy to address the challenges we face, and we are convinced that solutions will only be found by a cooperative local/provincial approach to those challenges.

The three strategies are briefly:

-- A provincial and local commitment to education as the necessary foundation to this province's strategy for economic recovery. I couldn't help noticing that the speakers preceding us made reference to a number of the concerns that we share at a different level of educational delivery.

-- A reassessment of programs and legislation to establish priorities to match available resources.

-- To address some long-needed legislative changes and program streamlining to eliminate duplication and achieve cost-effectiveness.

I'll speak briefly to the first strategy and ask my colleagues to address the second two.

Education is the key to the future social and economic wellbeing of our society. In every sense it is an essential public service. A good-quality, adequately supported public education system is the cornerstone of a well-trained labour force and reduces reliance on the social welfare system. It is indeed an investment.

The provincial report Ontario Economic Outlook refers throughout to the importance of education as a prerequisite to skills development and training, and in the brief which we've provided for you, you'll see a number of quotes lifted from that report which make reference to the importance of education.

The government's inability to honour its commitment to increase its support to school boards by at least 2% for 1993 and 1994 has not altered the importance of education as a strategy for economic renewal. It has certainly made our jobs more difficult. School boards have already undergone significant cost-cutting exercises, using last year's three-year commitment to rationalize their operations to meet the historically low 1%, 2% and 2% targets which are now in fact not in place.

Although we recognize the financial realities that have resulted in the 0% increase, it has interfered with our existing plans for a planned and orderly restructuring at the local level. We're concerned that the lack of basic operating support to the educational system will jeopardize the quality of education in our communities, which is already under considerable stress.

To assist boards in protecting the quality of their programs as they adjust to the loss of an anticipated 4% increase in revenues over the next two years, it is absolutely essential that the one-time $99 million available to education in the coming fiscal year be available for stabilization and rational adjustment to that loss.

Therefore, our first recommendation is that the Ministry of Education allocate the $99 million in education restructuring support through the general legislative grant programs, a portion to be used for school board stabilization -- in other words, to allow school boards to adjust gradually to the new reality, which is that they will not in fact be receiving the funds they banked on following the three-year commitment -- and that a portion also be allocated for operations in preparation for restructuring. Boards would be happy to work with, and have indeed volunteered to work with, the government to develop joint criteria for restructuring education.

I'm going to ask vice-president Joe Gunn to speak to the second strategy.

Mr Joe Gunn: "A reassessment of legislation and programs, with the intent of setting priorities." These words are not new from the Ontario Public School Boards' Association. We have many times sat here and suggested setting priorities in conjunction with our legislative friends.

Capping the operating support to school boards for 1993 and 1994 at 1992 levels could severely affect the quality of education in the classroom. Unlike other public services such as hospitals in municipalities, school boards have less room to manoeuvre. Education is already community-based, so, unlike the hospitals, the answer is not to close beds and move to an outpatient, community-based delivery system. Education is an essential service.

Also, education is a growth service. The essential growth to the system for 1993, when one makes a rough assessment of such factors as inflation, collective bargaining, enrolment growth, the costs of new programs, educational reforms and the changing mandate, is approximately 9%.

Last year, school boards, with a 2% increase in provincial support, revised programs and services to ensure moderate property tax increases to the public. Still, the province-wide education property tax increase was 4.35%. This is based on our own survey of 60 public school boards in the province.

Teachers' salaries are the largest component of a school board budget. The 2% promise from the government was a guideline for collective bargaining, and agreements for 1992-93 are at approximately 3.5% at this point. The Ontario Public School Boards' Association supports the collective bargaining process. However, the new fiscal situation does require some flexibility.

Our recommendation is that the capping of operating support to education must be accompanied by flexible collective bargaining processes to allow school boards to adjust negotiated contracts.


There must be the ability for school boards, in consultation with their employees, to reassess priorities and make decisions for cost-effective delivery, such as adjustments to staffing, pupil-teacher ratios, teacher prep time, benefits etc. I think we're all aware of the alternative. It will be employee layoffs and the elimination of some programs and services to our young students.

There has been much said lately about education reform, a new common curriculum, a draft education policy statement, destreaming, integration of special education, mandatory junior kindergarten and also educational technological upgrading. As well, occupational health and safety regulations and environmental regulations have all added to the cost of doing business. The Ontario Public School Boards' Association has estimated that these reforms will add 3.5% more to total education expenditures.

OPSBA does not dispute the need for change, but financial realities and the public's willingness to pay more must be a consideration. We make recommendations 3 and 4:

There must be a reassessment of all mandatory and discretionary education programs with the intent of setting government priorities to match the available resources.

As sufficient operating support to education has not been provided to implement program reform and new mandatory programs, school boards must be allowed to phase in these new policies and programs in accordance with the local needs and the ability to pay.

Mrs Linda Hamill: The recommendations in this section on legislative changes and streamlining have been presented on previous occasions, but it is still our belief that much could be achieved if the province streamlined many of the Ministry of Education's program and reporting requirements. The elimination of duplication of effort and administrative overlap between the province and school boards would free up both provincial and local staff time and resources. A key example is the school capital grant program, a highly overregulated and overadministered program. That's our recommendation 5:

OPSBA recommends that the capital grant programs be revised this year to (1) achieve administrative cost-efficiencies and cost savings, (2) provide a clear and acceptable provincial allocation process of funding school boards, not individual school sites, and (3) provide for local flexibility and innovation.

For example, presently the Education Act and the capital program prohibit flexibility in private sector-school board partnerships. There is overlap and duplication in the interrelationship between the capital grant plan, the building code, fire code and environmental requirements. There are onerous reporting and approval requirements. We need improvements to cash flow to avoid interim borrowing.

Property Taxes: School boards have for many years been requesting improved access to their local revenue base; that is, improved cash flow from municipalities and sharing of payments in lieu of taxes. Currently, dollars collected for education purposes are making interest that municipalities use for their own needs. The province could greatly assist many school boards by acting on past commission and task force recommendations, and now on the recommendations of the Fair Tax Commission and property tax report. That's recommendations 6 and 7:

OPSBA recommends that the Education Act and the Municipal Act be amended in this upcoming session of the Legislature to review the payment schedule to ensure a more realistic transfer of education property tax dollars from municipalities to school boards.

OPSBA recommends that the legislation be amended to provide for an equitable sharing of provincial payments in lieu of taxes among municipalities and school boards.

Mrs Dunning: Mr Phillips may get to his lunch on time after all.

In summary, the Treasurer of Ontario, in the Ontario Fiscal Outlook, has stated that we must restructure our government services and revenues. OPSBA supports that objective; indeed, we recognize that it is essential. We are also committed to ensuring that education remains responsive to provincial and community needs and local resource capabilities.

The Treasurer has also stated that we must focus on the essentials. In our view, there is no more essential service than education. Upcoming provincial budget discussions must recognize education as a priority, as an essential public service necessary to our economic and social wellbeing.

We urge you, in making recommendations, to ensure that provincial fiscal priorities reflect the stated recognition of the social and economic importance of education and that the public education sector is protected from even further encroachments by the budget process. Investing in human resources continues to be the key to our quality of life and standard of living.

Thank you very much. We will be pleased to answer questions.

The Chair: Thank you. We've got about six minutes per caucus.

Mr Johnson: Thank you very much for your presentation today. I said it earlier in another presentation, but I'll say it again: There's a great diversity between school boards in rural Ontario and school boards in urban Ontario, and indeed school boards in the north would have different ways and means and they'd have different rates of funding from the province. I guess that because collective bargaining takes place at the board level, it would vary from place to place, although marginally. Enrolment growth would change, and new obligations and programs, so the percentage that every board needs wouldn't be exactly the same. But some boards are very efficient and some boards are somewhat less efficient. I won't say they're not efficient, but they're less efficient.

Do you see any merit in amalgamating school boards especially in areas where -- let's not be too specific, but do you see merit in amalgamating school boards?

Mrs Dunning: We see merit in an examination of the whole issue of governance. We know that the Ministry of Education has undertaken that and is committed to a public examination of the whole question of governance of school boards. We think there may be situations in which coterminous boards or boards in the same general area might want to enter into discussions that would result in a sharing of facilities and increased cooperation and perhaps even amalgamation.

We are also committed to community decision-making and we believe that if those kinds of changes are to be made, they should be made by the people involved, by the communities and the school boards that exist as a result of mutual discussion and trying to meet community needs. The purpose of local school boards is to bring education decision-making into the community, and we would certainly be hesitant to recommend that this change.

Mr Johnson: The autonomy of local boards is something that I certainly think becomes a political issue, because locally people like to think they have some input into how their children are educated. I guess it's clear too that when school boards amalgamate, there may be an area where a particular school board -- again, the cost per pupil or the mill rate, let's say, for a particular school board next to another area, another county; we're talking rural now. In areas where there are county school boards, the mill rate in one particular area may be significantly different than in another, although they're very close in relationship geographically, and so there could be some negative political ramifications as a result of that.

Do you think there could be cost savings in amalgamation for the province or do you think a larger board would be more efficient?

Mrs Dunning: I don't think that necessarily follows. I think we should all be flexible in terms of looking at the options that are available to us, but I don't think it necessarily follows that bigger is more efficient.

The Chair: Mrs Harrington is a born teacher.

Ms Margaret H. Harrington (Niagara Falls): I want to comment briefly, and I think you've stressed it also, that we have to find new ways of doing things and that you are open to that cooperation and streamlining. I want to comment briefly about the capital expenditure program you mentioned. I believe that with your help and the ministry looking at this -- it's a cumbersome kind of process just from the little bit I know about it and I think that's one area we can look at together and see if there's a better, more efficient way of doing things.

The Chair: I'd like to welcome Mike Cooper to the committee today. He has a new face on there. I'm glad you drilled through that snowstorm to get here.

Mr Johnson: He does have a new face.

The Chair: It is a new face. I did not recognize that unshaven man over there. We'll go to Mr Phillips.


Mr Phillips: One of your recommendations is moving the burden off the property tax and on to -- I think, speaking personally, the one thing that the NDP government, in my area at least, really trumpeted was that, moving it off the property tax and on to general revenues.

I don't know whether any of you participate in the Fair Tax Commission, but can you give us any thoughts in terms of how much is reasonable to move off the property tax and when we should expect that to happen, based on the property tax commission's report, any thoughts on perhaps where we might raise the money?

Mrs Dunning: We have a staff person who spent some time liaising with the Fair Tax Commission people.

Mr Sterling: She doesn't want to be asked.

Ms Beverley Allen: I actually was a committee member of the property tax working group and there was a fair bit of discussion about education equity and taxation and the adequacy of the property tax in funding education. The conclusions and consensus out of that group were that there should be an increase in provincial support from provincial revenue bases for education, which you're aware of, but the committee stopped short of saying where the province should get its money from, for many reasons.

If one looks at property tax, and this was one of the first studies that tied property tax data to income data and looked at the property tax and ability to pay, I think they came to some interesting conclusions in terms of shifts one could then translate, once the size of the pot is determined, in terms of equalization and formulas in terms of -- the suggestion is that equalization should be done, not necessarily on assessment but on income within the jurisdiction.

Mr Phillips: I'm sure the government has a plan, because that's the basis it ran on. I guess you don't know when that plan will be announced, then. Monte, did you have --

Mr Kwinter: One of your concerns is the program funding for destreaming from grades 7 to 9. It's evident with the statements made by the government that the transfer of payments is set, certainly through 1994, and yet it is mandating that this destreaming take place in the coming year. Given the fact that you're not going to get the money -- it doesn't seem like you're going to get the money -- how are your member boards going to deal with this particular situation?

Mr Phillips: Over to you, Paula.

Mrs Dunning: It's over to me. I think they're going to deal with that situation in the way they're going to be dealing with a lot of situations. Destreaming is one new initiative. It's been getting a lot of public attention of late, but it's only one. There are a number of new expectations that have been placed on school boards in the last couple of years, new programs that are being implemented.

The school boards have, as I mentioned initially, two sources of revenue. One of them has been held absolutely fixed and the other one I think is not much more flexible. I don't think we have very much more room, if any room at all, to move into the property tax base.

There are some school boards that are saying they simply will not be able to implement new programs. There are others that are looking for ways to implement new programs by eliminating existing programs that may not be mandated. I know that when they do that they question seriously whether it's the right way to go, because at this point in time there's not a lot of fat left in terms of the programs and courses that are being offered by boards.

Boards are continuing to look actively for ways to be more efficient and they're finding them. I wouldn't want to suggest that there are no new efficiencies that boards can find. I think they keep looking and keep finding them, and that will continue. But the reality is that 80% of school board expenditures go to staff salaries for teaching staff and support staff. If boards are looking for ways to save significant sums of money, that's the only place they have to turn to to make significant, substantial savings in their operating costs.

Boards will try to implement these new programs, including destreaming, with as little disruption to their ongoing programs as possible. But if they go ahead and implement them, I think you can be assured that you're going to see repercussions elsewhere in the programs.

Mr Sterling: I represent part of the area of Carleton and went through a rather bitter strike, particularly in the secondary people. There was very little support for the teachers in my constituency, none that I could find outside of the teachers themselves.

Is the bargaining system, in terms of individual -- I mean, the ploy of the union was to play their particular pact against another one. That's been sort of the whole idea of collective bargaining in Ontario and bargaining across our province for the last, I guess, 10 years, as they go out and get a good settlement from some board because of some reason and then everybody compares themselves with that particular board. There's been this tendency to go to the highest denominator across the province.

I've sat on another committee, agencies, boards and commissions, dealing with the community colleges where the bargaining, as you know, is province-wide. My feeling at the time was that there wasn't enough local pressure on the teachers in our colleges to settle and that there were sometimes -- there was some argument that it should be piecemeal, as was the case in terms of the -- but I'm not so sure I'm right any more.

Have you got any comments with regard to bargaining? Should it be done province-wide or is it still best on a piecemeal basis? It seems that the teaching union has used it to its greatest advantage at a cost to the taxpayer.

Mr Gunn: You bring up a topic that we as an association have been discussing ourselves, that is, provincial bargaining -- regional bargaining perhaps, because of the differences in the various regions -- or leave bargaining at the basis at the school board. I think the association feels that you have to have the local people involved in the process. They have to feel they have some sort of ownership. I think that's very important.

What we're suggesting is that we be given the opportunity not to open up the contracts because we could be accused of contract stripping or anything, but there are some areas in there which we and our teaching staff I think could work on, the grid for instance. Let's say a board gives an increase of 2% to its teachers in line with the guidelines as laid down by the minister last year, and there's another 1.5% in expenses. Basically we have a 3.5% increase. That puts us 3.5% in the hole because we're not getting that 2%.

It was rough enough at one time to try and negotiate the 2%, but when you try and negotiate the additional compensation, it just puts it into a situation where we get tremendous hostile feedback from the community and it's very difficult when you represent 90-odd school boards across the province from Thunder Bay to Renfrew where they have little, in a lot of instances, in common. I don't know if I'm answering your question or not.

Mr Sterling: I guess you're telling me that the present system would be better than going to a regional or a provincial system.

Mr Gunn: I think as far as we're concerned the jury's still out on that; we're still looking at that. There is a lot of pressure from various sections to look at some regional bargaining, but there's also pressure to leave it the way it is. We're not prepared at this time to take a stand on that as an association.

Mrs Dunning: Could I elaborate on that just to provide one little piece of information? I've been involved in collection bargaining at the local level for quite a long time and one of the things that's really changed -- I don't know if this directly answers your question or not -- but the spread is just not nearly as great as it used to be.

It used to be that to be high-balled/low-balled across the province meant spreads of thousands of dollars on individual grid positions. Well, that's no longer true. You can be in the top 2% of settlements in the province and your grid isn't that much higher than the bottom 10% of grids in the province.

The spread has narrowed enormously in the last I would say 10 years. I don't know what that says, whether it says the system's working or it isn't working. If it means that everybody's moved up closer to the top, then I suppose it isn't working from our point of view. If it means it's become a rationalization process, then perhaps it is. I guess the jury is still out, but that change has taken place. The difference across the province in terms of salaries is not nearly as great as it was a number of years ago.

Mr Sterling: In looking at your appendix A, the per cent average increase is quite in excess of inflation. Teachers in general have a very protected position and it's very, very difficult for my constituents to understand why people who have a very protected job should benefit to this amount. I'm saying the system in some way has got out of whack. From what you've told me, I draw the assumption that the unions have driven the base up to the highest and have been successful in that at the expense of the taxpayer.

Mrs Dunning: On appendix A, above the horizontal line, you're looking at figures that essentially reflect the transfer payment that was provided for boards during the year in which those contracts were negotiated. When you look below the line, you're looking at what's taken place as a result of the current fiscal situation. We have some updates on those figures which are incrementally lower.

As contracts continue to come in, those numbers keep dropping, as you can understand. But I think the numbers above, the 5, 12, 4, 9, 7, those numbers in fact are not inconsistent with the transfer payment amounts that were passed on to school boards in the year and they're not inconsistent with the provincial government's own settlements with its employees during the fiscal year for which those contracts were negotiated.

Mr Sterling: The argument you make with regard to there not being much difference now across the province leads me to the conclusion, why bother with whatever number of negotiations there are? Is everybody spinning their wheels for naught? You enter into negotiation for teachers, and if there isn't any difference between what's happening in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry versus Huron county, why is all this energy being expended if nothing is different?

Mr Gunn: I think we've been caught in a catch-22 situation. The union for the teachers is bargaining based, I think we could say, on a provincial basis. They interface one county with another county on this 72-numbered structure they've got. They'll say one board is 1.7% less or a matter of $500 or $600 less than another board, and they'll use that, not taking into consideration the economic impact on that community itself. This in itself is unfair.

Basically, if you were to ask me do we have provincial bargaining, I would say to you that as far as the teachers are concerned, yes, in everything but name. I think that's highly unfair to the local communities.

The Chair: I'm going to have to say that time has expired. This committee will be recessed until 1:30 this afternoon. I'd like to thank you for coming before this committee with your presentation.

Also, I have a letter here from the Treasurer which is dated December 16. I think all members of the committee should have received a copy. I sent it to the subcommittee. We have some here to distribute. I think it would be important that some of the presenters have a copy also of the letter the Treasurer sent out to us, to get an idea where this committee is taking a look at the different groups coming in.

Mr Phillips: Are we having treasury staff in soon?

The Chair: We've got a letter out. It's in the mail. As soon as it's delivered back to us, we'll have them here.

Mr Phillips: I found that very offensive yesterday.

The Chair: I was a little confused on the agenda for the afternoon. I thought it was 2 to 4. I asked the question ahead of time there, but as soon as possible, Mr Phillips.

Mr Phillips: I'm led to believe that may not be until the end of February.

The Chair: February 22.

I want to cut in. Another thing I just want to bring up, it's been brought to my attention that any pagers members have in committee, they'll have to turn them off while they're sitting in committee here.

Mr Brad Ward (Brantford): Why?

Clerk Pro Tem (Ms Lisa Freedman): Speaker's ruling.

The Chair: We're adjourned until 1:30.

The committee recessed at 1215.


The committee resumed at 1336.

The Chair: We'll resume the budget consultations of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.


The Chair: The first presenter this afternoon, from the Council of Ontario Universities, is Dr Peter George, president, and your associates. I don't have them marked down, Dr George, if you don't mind introducing them to the committee. You may begin. You have until 2 o'clock.

Dr Peter George: We're delighted to be here. Norm Shulman is associate director of policy of our research division. Jim McAllister is a senior research associate in that division. Sitting behind and over my right shoulder is Pat Adams, the director of communications and public affairs.

The Chair: Dr George, I invite her to come forward and take the other seat. A wealth of knowledge shouldn't be sitting in the back row.

Dr George: Thank you, Mr Chairman. She's by nature very shy, and it was difficult to persuade her to come to the front.

We welcome this opportunity to meet with the committee and to participate in your pre-budget consultations. We have prepared a brief, which has been distributed to members of the committee. I don't propose to read the brief, but I would like to speak to it and then to field questions from committee members. We believe we have a very straightforward but vital message to leave you with today.

My brief begins with a review of the current economic situation. The basic point we make is that restructuring is a reality brought upon us in Ontario by the weakening competitive position of the Ontario economy and in particular the weakening position of natural-resource-based manufacturing as a key component of industrial strength in Ontario, a traditional one but one whose future is somewhat limited.

We point out, as others have done, that Ontario must now compete in the global economy. This means many things for Ontario, but in our view it means in particular, whether one is dealing with a large multinational corporation or a smaller local business, that we have to have the appropriate skills available in our workforce to ensure our future competitive position.

I then go on to talk about a prescription for change in the economy. Much of this discussion is related to our particular brief for producing highly skilled technical expertise in the form of university graduates. I think it's quite clear to all of us that Ontario will not be able to attract new economic opportunities on the basis of cheap labour. In this regard, we are significantly behind, if I can use that term, many other countries and the Third World particularly, including Mexico. So our comparative advantage in the development of new capacity will be our highly skilled workforce.

We've been told by many experts that more and more advanced skills will be required in the workplace tomorrow, that most jobs will require 17 or more years of education, that knowledge will become the very basis of our economy. It is no accident that we've had an enormous increase in the interest in continuous or lifelong learning. Education is no longer viewed as a one-stop process in one's lifetime, but we expect more and more that people will have to revisit educational facilities for upgrading and upskilling.

We know too that the public attaches great priority to this issue, and I report some of the recent results of the Maclean's-CTV survey that showed that many Canadians polled accorded great significance to education and training, rather more than to controlling deficits and government spending, I might add. There are other studies which corroborate this finding, including one by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

We admit that a qualified workforce is not the only solution to our economic problems, that it's not sufficient, but it certainly contributes in a number of ways. It would help us fill existing vacancies for high-tech positions that are currently going unfilled and it would help us attract new investment. Developing our workforce is not sufficient, but it is an important and necessary component of the solution.

What I do in the next section is identify four ways in which the university contributes to provincial economic renewal. The first way is the university as an employer. Here we present some data that were contained in the economic impact study of Ontario's universities that was the subject of a very successful press conference and subsequent media coverage a year ago November in this very building. The salient points of this are that the sector is large, has a significant employment and income multiplier, so it has a substantial influence on the Ontario economy. The employment in our sector is larger than that in the pulp and paper industry, the chemical products industry, the primary metals industry or the textiles industry.

These are the kinds of orders of magnitude that many people are unfamiliar with, that the universities are such a significant employer and contributor to economic activity. If you look at the communities in which the universities are domiciled, they are important employers because of the scale of employment they offer but also because of the employment stability. They become, then, one of the anchors of the local and regional economy.

Second, we identify the university as producer of human capital. Universities certainly produce highly skilled people such as engineers and scientists. These people contribute to the economy by spending the incomes they earn and by paying taxes on those earnings. Moreover, they are a primary source of innovative thinking and innovation, and that innovation becomes encapsulated in new economic opportunities and generates economic growth both in income and employment.

The employability that arises for university graduates is one the features of which I think we've made you aware on many occasions in the past, but I'll repeat them very briefly. The unemployment rate for university graduates is far lower than it is for the average, less than half of the average at the end of 1991, for example. University graduates earn more than others in the labour force, significantly more. This is one reason we have put forward a proposal for income-contingent repayment plans as a means of funding student assistance programs. I'll return to that later on.

One of the things that was picked up in the press earlier this session was the OECD data that show that Canada is near the top of the list of member countries in spending on education. But I would point out that when you break the data down, we are big spenders mainly because of our expenditure levels on primary and secondary education, and not because of our expenditure on the university level of education.

Ms Swarbrick: We should have heard from you before we heard from OCUFA this morning.

Dr George: Yes, well, timing is one of those accidents of scheduling.

We do boast a very high rate of accessibility internationally. We do less well in comparisons of some of the kinds of graduates we produce, scientists and engineers, for example. In our production of engineers we rank 16th of the 20 countries; in science degrees, we are significantly lower than many of our chief international economic competitors. We have to improve on the number of scientists and engineers we produce, but we also have to ensure that we offer them the quality of education that allows them and us to compete internationally. Many other countries have the jump on us in terms of committing additional resources to higher education. It's interesting for many to see that a state like Arkansas spends significantly more on higher education per student than does Ontario.

Even those people who already possess considerable skills will need to update those skills. I think that point is sometimes lost sight of as well. Professional associations, for example, will increasingly want their members to become familiar with new technology and new techniques; they require this to be successful in global competition. All of these realities require sophisticated education, the availability of courses tailored to skilled people who hold jobs and must work while they learn, who must learn quickly in order to resume their jobs. We will need teachers to teach those who continue to learn in a variety of ways, and these are contributions best made in many areas by universities.

The frustrating, even frightening, aspect is that many in government have not recognized the integral role of the university in providing this type of education. Many of the other educational contributions of the university are not widely known. So I turn in point 3 to the university as a trainer and retrainer. We are no longer limited to providing post-secondary education to young people drawn immediately out of secondary school prior to their entry into the labour force. Increasingly, the campuses of our universities are populated by older students, people with previous work experience, part-time students and people seeking retraining or more training. It's vital that we make you aware of this role. It is what is often viewed as a non-traditional role for universities, but it is one that has been developing for many years, one that we foresee will continue to expand in the future.

I present a number of examples of university involvement in this kind of training and retraining. The first is a joint program between Ryerson's continuing education division and IBM for training and updating of up to 350 IBM employees. The second is a customized training operation provided by the University of Guelph to the food industry, with a view to developing a globally competitive food industry in Ontario. The third is an example drawn from the University of Western Ontario, which is working with the London Unemployment Help Centre to provide computer training and upgrading for people who have recently become unemployed.

These examples, I think, provide you with some idea of the way in which universities are currently offering non-traditional forms of training to a wide range of people who are seeking to upgrade and update their skills. In fact, there are as many registrations in continuing and part-time education in Ontario as there are full-time undergraduate students, close to 200,000 of each, and this does not include persons who benefit from customized courses which universities provide for particular companies or labour groups.

The fourth, and one that I think has been extremely important to us, is the university as a research partner. We contribute to renewal through research that leads to innovations and frequently to the formation of new companies. I think the four-part series by David Crane in the Toronto Star recently on the University of Waterloo's success in generating about 100 companies as a result of innovations in the university's labs makes the point in a way that I can't. Enough said.

A lot of these projects, of course, are university-industry joint projects. There have been a couple of programs that have been quite important in this area. The seven centres of excellence funded by the provincial government: I've seen a significant increase in graduates who are employed in Canadian industry and increased numbers of patents associated with those centres. The university research incentive fund, or URIF, has been extremely important, with over 600 projects, with funding directly from the government as well as funding from industry and other sources.


These contributions in the four areas I've mentioned are but some examples of the way in which our universities promote provincial renewal. We are quite concerned, however, by several indications that government is failing to recognize and support the full extent of the university role in renewal. This is not simply a concern for the university; it's above all a concern for the impact this failure can have on Ontario's society. If we need more mechanical engineers or microbiologists, we either attract them from other countries or we produce them here.

The former method exposes us directly to intense competition with other jurisdictions, not only in Canada but across the world. The latter method, producing them ourselves, is certainly more reliable but it requires time. You cannot turn on the tap and produce an engineer in a few months; it takes years. What we do now and in the next year or two will affect our ability to compete for many years to come.

We then move to a section called "Action Plan -- Some Specific Proposals." We aren't trying today to add to your level of alarm. I know on Monday, when you heard from professional economists, you heard many tales of doom and gloom. We don't want to add to that alarm. What we want is to point to an avenue of solution to the problem. It begins with your recognition that we are already playing a major role in training and retraining and basic and applied research, and we are doing so without sufficient support from government and industry.

We urge you to recommend to the Treasurer some bold steps to ensure that a greater contribution can be made by your universities through advanced training and through research. Here in Ontario, for example, the URIF program has been a real success, according to the recent assessments. We urge that this program not only be continued but that it be enhanced.

Similarly, the centres of excellence have produced important advances. We need to foster more of this kind of innovative action. We must ensure that our universities can produce and retain highly skilled scientists and professionals with advanced technical skills. We are suffering from years of financial constraints and in many cases we lack up-to-date facilities and equipment, but the thrust of my message today is not that we have suffered historically from underfunding and continue to do so. I do worry that many of our most promising students will accept opportunities in the United States or abroad where they can find the latest and the best facilities. I am concerned that we are devoting a great deal of time, effort and resources to meeting a growing burden of regulatory requirements placed on us by government.

There is little to suggest that the resources consumed in addressing these regulatory requirements contribute positively to the teaching and research activities of our institutions. We need to examine carefully the intent and impact of these imposed restraints and roll back and limit the unproductive ones that impede progress with the teaching and research agenda.

We urge the committee to recommend programs to facilitate the reduction of barriers to mobility in the educational system in order to allow people in the province to enter or re-enter the system at different points, consistent with their needs, with a maximum of efficiency. Programs to facilitate cooperation and appropriate disciplinary and professional training fields between universities and colleges are one type of improvement that we are advancing and that you can promote. We understand that the task force on advanced training will make recommendations in its report to be released next month to further joint efforts of the CAATs and the universities, particularly with respect to post-diploma training. Government support for this type of institutional cooperation can assist in building a more efficient and effective post-secondary system.

I have talked about the need for high quality education, the need for our graduates to be able to compete with graduates from other jurisdictions. We urge you to promote incentives for high quality education in crucial fields like science, engineering and advanced technology and to reduce the sometimes stifling levels of regulation being applied to the universities. One example would be reducing some of the regulations that impede universities in developing a broader capacity to find alternative sources of revenue than reliance primarily on government transfer payments. We urge you to recommend to the Treasurer a more vigorous pursuit of income-contingent repayment as a means of flowing more resources to the universities in a manner that will allow us to maintain our already demonstrably admirable levels of accessibility.

If we are serious about lifelong learning, we must facilitate ways to make the education system a more seamless one; that is, to allow people to enter at various points and to move through the interrelated elements of the system without hindrance. The universities have already made great progress in this area and we are working to enhance mobility within the university system and, together with the CAATs, to further cooperation and coordination between the two systems. Your support for these initiatives will be crucial to their success.

The universities are making a significant contribution to economic and social renewal now. The intensity of global competition that Ontario faces requires that we work together to maximize our universities' contributions to revitalizing the provincial economy. Support for higher education is a critical component of the future economic viability of Ontario. We cannot shortchange the people of this province by ignoring the vital importance of our richest resource: our human capital.

The Chair: I thought you were going to miss that last paragraph, which I thought was the best part of the whole report. I think you're talking to converted members already of this committee, everything you've said. I know Dr Terry White of Brock University has sold the Niagara Peninsula on Brock University and it's a very important component of the Niagara area, with business and industry and training. So I'll go on to Mr Kwinter.

Mr Kwinter: Dr George, I read with interest your report and I agree with a great deal of it. I just want to explore one of the areas that you talked about on page 4, when you compared the production of engineers and scientists in Canada with that of Japan and Germany.

When I was the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and we had the Premier's Council, we tried to address this particular concern and we found -- and this is the question I want to ask. The implication in your report is that if the government would provide more funding we'd be able to redress that imbalance, when in fact we found that it wasn't really a matter of funding; it was a matter that students don't want to go into those particular courses. The reason they don't want to go into those courses is they see a career path as far as success and getting their BMWs and living in a condo as going into medicine, dentistry, law.

The figures for law degrees in Canada, with all due respect to the lawyer sitting on this committee, are just the reverse of what the engineers are in Japan and Germany, in that we have an inordinate number of lawyers compared to the population. It isn't the problem of funding; it's a problem of attracting both females and male students into engineering faculties. Do you have any comments on that?

Dr George: Yes, I do, because you point up an issue that I think is extremely important, one which I talked to at a meeting of the Premier's Council and the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology just slightly over a month ago. One of the major problems in this area is the particular nature of the labour market in Canada. In my view, the Canadian labour market and Canadian employers produce much stronger signals about economic opportunity for the graduates of arts programs and professional programs than for science and engineering programs. This is in part due to the nature of the structure of Canadian industry and some of the things we've associated, in the past at least, with truncated structures because of multinational corporations, branchplantism and so forth. Not true of all those industries, but for many of them the research and development is done in the United States or elsewhere and not in Canada. So our labour market signals are very strong for people who graduate with generic skills -- the ability to write, to do informal analysis, to speak foreign languages and so forth -- and less strong in terms of signals for science and engineering graduates.

My point here, though, is that there's partly a supply-side issue as well, that in many cases our students have to be trained with equipment that is either relatively scarce, so the student-to-equipment ratio is very high and makes access difficult, or in many cases is outdated and outmoded, which means that the students are getting an education that I think is not at the cutting edge of competition in all cases.


I think we can address this in a couple of different ways. We know that a university like Waterloo, for example, in its computer science program sends its graduates all over the world to companies like Microsoft, for example, which comes to Waterloo first to hire its students, so there are cases of great success.

But I think we need to restore the infrastructure of many of those departments in many of our institutions. We need to open up the horizons for employment within Ontario as well as beyond. This may call for changes in other forms of the industrial infrastructure, including government policies, the availability and packaging of government support programs to increase the demand for such graduates. It also may require our taking active efforts to provide incentives for students to enter those areas. You mention female students, for example, in science and engineering, special bursary programs aimed at redressing that imbalance, special bursaries -- which I've advocated for a number of years -- to attract women into science teaching careers, where there's a conspicuous shortage and an absence of role models for young women students as they choose their career paths. So there's a broad response to your question, Mr Kwinter.

The Chair: I've got to go on to Mr Sterling, there.

Mr Sterling: I'm interested in your brief in terms of, you seem to be stressing the science and the engineering end. Being the only engineer in the Legislature and --

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): Not so.

Mr Sterling: Yes, so.

Mr Conway: Is that possible? That's inconceivable.

Mr Sterling: Inconceivable; yes, it is, but that's the way it is.

Mr Kwinter: For the information of this body, he plays the cards -- you know, he's also a lawyer, so it all depends on which way --

Mr Sterling: Well, it's one of the advantages of having two cards, but at any rate --

Mr Conway: What are you doing here?

Mr Sterling: I know. That's an even better question. You play very heavily on that end of it, but what percentage of the total university budget, globally in Ontario, will go towards engineering and science faculties versus arts, social sciences etc?

Dr George: That is a figure I don't carry on the tip of my tongue, but I can get you the answer to that if you would like to have it.

Mr Sterling: I think it's relevant in that universities want autonomy and continue to demand autonomy. Yet, if your brief is laced with the rationale that you need more money to train engineers and scientists and only 16% or 20% is going towards engineers and scientists, then there's an obligation on you to change that ratio from whatever it is to 25%.

Dr George: Let me comment on one aspect of that. Training science and engineering students is more expensive per student than is the training of arts students, and in a time of budgetary restraint it makes sense, at a certain level of economic rationality, to substitute arts students for science and engineering students or to increase arts enrolment in order to subsidize the more expensive education in science and engineering.

There's no doubt that the infrastructure costs of science and engineering education are very significant and significant barriers to expanding enrolment. So if there were a major increase in the demand for scientists and engineers on the part of Canadian industry, the response from Canadian schools would be made more difficult by the nature of the expenditure requirements to bring up to speed, if you like, an expanded capacity.

Mr Sterling: Does an engineering --

The Chair: Mr Sterling, I'm going to have to go on because we're just past 2 o'clock now. Ms Harrington.

Ms Harrington: I think you'll agree, from some of the statements you've probably heard from the Premier --

The Chair: Just one question.

Ms Harrington: -- that our government does agree with you that certainly education and training are a very key part of renewal and key to our economic strength in the future as part of the global economy.

But this investing in education is on a balance with the deficit. I think you can appreciate that. It's set in the context of our increased welfare rolls and also of the question of increased taxes, and I'm sure you can appreciate that those are the decisions we are being asked to make. But besides us making that decision, whatever decision is made I believe needs a public commitment to make a really important step forward. Do you see that the public does have a commitment to the type of views that you've been telling us?

Dr George: I think that in important sectors of the economy there is certainly a realization and a commitment. If you looked at the community of Kitchener-Waterloo, as Crane's series showed, there is a significant recognition of the importance of those two universities to the local economy. Many universities have completed economic impact studies that show this in varying degrees in various communities.

Second, we report some of the findings of the Maclean's-CTV poll, and of those polled, large percentages report that they believe education and training is the crucial investment of government, more important than --

Ms Harrington: The question is, are they willing to pay more taxes or see a higher deficit?

Dr George: What you've seen and what's very interesting in Ontario is that in the last year there has emerged a student group, in competition with the Ontario Federation of Students, called the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, which is proposing tuition fee increases matched, in absolute dollar amount but not percentage-wise, by government transfer payments and improvements in the quality of education with those funds and due attention to accessibility.

So there is, remarkably, a group of students which is saying, "We need to have a more rational basis of funding university education, and we, as students, see a more important role for fee revenue as a contributor to the universities' funding situation." Part of our message is that we need to have greater degrees of freedom to examine and exploit alternative sources of revenue than continued significant reliance on government transfer payments. Government transfers will always be important, but they needn't comprise 80% of our operating revenues.

The Chair: Dr George, I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee. I know there's one alternative source of revenue. Xerox Canada, I believe, is helping out universities today, is that correct? I don't know how much. It's a pleasure having you and your colleagues here, and we'll be submitting this to the Treasurer for him to read over and comment also. Thank you.

Dr George: Thank you, Mr Chairman.


The Chair: The next group is the Ontario Nurses' Association. Would you mind coming forward and taking a seat. I only have one question to ask you today, as you're all from the nurses' association: How do you get rid of a cold?

Ms Lesley Bell: Wait for a week.

The Chair: We have a half-hour; we will run over till 25 to 2, as we were a little late getting started and we had a couple of extra questions. Would you introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, and when you start talking again, maybe give your name in case we have a replacement from Hansard. You may begin. Leave some time for questions from the members of the committee also.

Ms Ina Caissey: My name is Ina Caissey. I'm the president of the Ontario Nurses' Association. With me are Seppo Nousiainen, a research officer; Lesley Bell, associate director of government relations; and Carol Helmstadter, government relations officer.

As the president of Ontario Nurses' Association, I'm here today to represent the views of over 50,000 staff nurses in this province. The Ontario Nurses' Association, as the voice of these registered nurses who work in hospitals, community health, industry, nursing homes and the homes for the aged, brings a unique perspective to these consultation hearings.

As registered nurses, we constantly see the impact of the province's grappling with the unavoidable adjustments to the current difficult fiscal realities. For us, the impact is evident, not just in the dry facts and figures of economists but in the faces of our patients and clients and our fellow nurses.


As accurately anticipated by Health minister Frances Lankin, the accelerated restructuring of the health care system has had an enormous impact in the hospital sector. Although public statements by the minister have praised the hospital community and the district health councils for their outstanding job in maintaining service and reducing budgets, these efforts at restructuring have not been achieved without some very painful costs.

It is fair to say that the true picture of job losses has not been accurately portrayed. While our submission notes 1,000 layoffs in the hospital sector, the most recent figures, received on January 12, 1993, from HTAP, the Hospital Training and Adjustment Panel, report 2,715 layoffs to date -- not a small number. Yet this number doesn't capture the thousands of registered nurses who are affected in other ways.

For example, many employers are using attrition and early retirement as a way to reduce staff. Of course, these numbers do not show up as layoffs. Also, numerous part-time nurses who were working on a casual basis or who worked for agencies are simply not being called in. Again, these numbers are not being counted as layoffs.

One of the most important ways in which the true nature of the unemployment or underemployment situation has been hidden is through the cutback in the hours of work of part-time nurses. About 50% of our members are part-time workers. However, many of them have worked the equivalent of full-time hours for years. Now these hours have been reduced by more than half. Indeed, some nurses may not be working more than one shift per week.

The minister's announcement of the one-time increase of $149 million this year for the hospital sector will do nothing to significantly change this situation. What is even more disturbing is that in 1994-95 there will be an actual cut to the budgets of hospitals. This will mean, no doubt, that the institutional sector will receive an even smaller proportion of total expenditure than it does now. This can only mean more job losses to come, and there is certainly no reason to believe that any significant portion of these moneys will find their way to the community and public health sector.

While the Minister of Health promises that more jobs will be created in the community over the next few years, there is no indication that the negative effects of downsizing in hospitals will be minimized in the short term by the growth of jobs in the community-based delivery of health care. Obviously, because of the interconnected nature of this problem, it is crucial that the timing of changes in the hospital sector and in community health must be coordinated.

This situation is now becoming serious enough that we are concerned about the effects these reductions in staff complements are having on patient care. The Ontario Nurses' Association certainly has no quarrel with the Treasurer's goal of the creation of a fairer and more open and democratic workplace. However, we believe it is necessary to pause and give consideration to the trend in the hospital sector to a very literal application of old-fashioned bottom line business methods without an equal consideration of the value of staff resources.

We have seen too many hospital operating plans drawn up by consultants which restructure and balance the budget by deleting direct-service-provider jobs, often to the detriment of patient care. These consultants' reports are generally taking the standard approach to corporate performance. The focus is on the old-fashioned goals of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling, not on a democratic workplace where staff work together as a team to ensure good health care.

Nursing is a highly labour-intensive business which does not lend itself to stepped-up productivity rates or a decrease in the volume of work with the introduction of modern technology. Rather, nursing requires a certain body of knowledge, clinical experience and a huge degree of flexibility and skill to be able to handle all kinds of conflicting and unexpected demands.

Ironically, while registered nurses are now dealing with a wide range of new drugs and technologies, the basic nature of nursing care remains essentially unchanged. Nursing care requires the talent to balance the many conflicting demands of various patients, to recognize clinical symptoms, to encourage and work with people suffering with these problems and the ability to involve patients in actively working at the improvement of their own health. To illustrate our point, we quote from a highly experienced neurosurgical nurse describing her evening's work last month in a hospital which has dramatically downsized its nursing staff in order to balance its budget.

"Last night I had two fresh post-operative craniotomies with intracranial pressure monitors and hourly Glasgow coma scale testing, a third agitated and confused craniotomy who had pulled out his intracranial pressure monitor...on hourly Glasgow coma scale testing, and a post-op day 1 pituitary tumour who was in diabetes insipidus. Luckily all four were in the same room. The other nurses were too busy to help me or to relieve me for supper. The charge nurse," who used to have no patients and was therefore able to do this, "has almost as many patients as the rest of us. The desk clerks are now supposed to transcribe doctors' orders," formerly the charge nurse's job, "but we have so many off-service patients that the nurses aren't always sure of the orders. On some floors the individual floor nurses do all their own orders but often they don't have time to even do all the bedside care, let alone the orders and charting."

This nurse is a highly skilled and competent professional with almost 20 years of experience who was undoubtedly working at the fastest and most productive level that was humanly possible. However, patients who are as unstable as her patients were on this particular night require a great deal of hands-on care and time, which has little to do with innovation, using new techniques or working smarter. On the other hand, it has everything to do with what Mr Laughren calls "taking a hard look at priorities." This nurse's top priority of safe, effective and humane patient care was seriously at risk.

It is important to be clear that we are in no way devaluing the importance of management practices or balanced budgets, but we submit that the measure of a hospital's success must be based primarily on how well it delivers patient care. One of the most striking omissions in most of these consultants' reports is that nowhere is any mention made of the nature and calibre of the health care that the hospital is providing. What is the point of balancing the budget if the hospital cannot carry out its basic function of delivering good health care to its community? It is worth noting that in the few hospitals where the Minister of Health's operating guidelines have been implemented in good faith and with a sense of accountability to the public interest there have been minimal job losses and a far better morale among registered nurses and other workers.

Now I would like to turn to the community health sector and discuss the effects of the economic restructuring on this sector. As registered nurses in hospitals are laid off and the long-term care initiative becomes a reality, the government has said that it hopes to have these registered nurses move into the new and enlarged community health sector. The reality, however, is far less hopeful. Our association is seeing numerous layoffs in the community health sector, as local governments, which are having difficulty in funding community health services and organizations like the Victorian Order of Nurses, are replacing registered nurses with lower-paid registered nursing assistants.

The situation in the regional municipality of Kitchener-Waterloo illustrates our point. While the Ministry of Health is planning to expand the community health sector, this regional municipality is laying off 25 community health nurses. The municipality has asked the province for additional funding and this request has been refused. The regional municipality says that it cannot afford to pay these nurses. However, when we look at the municipality's 1993 budget we note that while community health funds have been cut by 14%, every other area has received increased funding ranging in size from 3% to 14%.


As the registered nurses in Kitchener-Waterloo have pointed out, these kinds of cutbacks will only result in higher costs in other areas, with more and longer hospitalizations and an increased need for social services. It is no surprise that they have publicly asked, does it make sense to be retraining hospital nurses for community work when local governments are not prepared to keep the trained and experienced nurses they already have?

The strategy of the Victorian Order of Nurses to hire less-expensive personnel may be an appealing short-term way to balance the budget, but in the long term, the replacement of a registered nurse with a less skilled worker is retrogressive. As the level of care required in the community becomes more complex, and with the increasing emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, nursing personnel in the community will require a high level of expertise and experience. This is not the time to be making false economies by laying off highly qualified registered nurses.

In conclusion, we urge the government to persist with its support of a more democratic workplace where staff nurses have a voice. Let us hope that these same initiatives will soon be seen in the other areas of health care.

Also, we would again, as this association has done in the past, strongly urge changes in the Audit Act to make the health care system accountable for the enormous amount of public money it receives. This accountability must extend beyond hospitals to include community health and long-term care.

Finally, we certainly appreciate that government revenues are not available to fund public services as generously as has been done in the past. We agree that the delivery of health care services must be made more efficient and must focus on essentials. However, we cannot emphasize strongly enough that the contribution of staff nurses is not a frill. The work which these men and women do is one of the most essential components of the health care system. Without registered nurses, the health care system as we know it just simply could not exist.

On behalf of the staff nurses in this province, I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to present our concerns with the Treasurer's fiscal and economic priorities. We would be pleased to take your questions.

Mr Sterling: Thank you very much for coming to us. I have met with the various nurses in my own area and have heard much the same story.

I represent the riding of Carleton in eastern Ontario, and in fact made a statement in the House with regard to the Victorian Order of Nurses and the conflict, which they brought to my attention, I guess more pointedly than I had thought about it myself; that is, if the government is in fact encouraging people to be taken care of outside of institutions, it hardly makes sense to decrease the quality of care outside of the institutions when a higher quality of care will be required in the home. The Victorian Order of Nurses, probably, in my area that I represent, has the highest regard in the community of perhaps most of the professions.

It's a bit of a touchy issue, because I felt that in the past nurses were not properly compensated for the work they have done, and I want to put it in that context. It seems, though, that because there have been perhaps deserved compensation increases over the recent past history for the nursing profession, that has hurt you in a way. When priority decisions are being made, be it by hospitals or by any other group, somehow the nurses seem to be attacked as the area where these institutions, these fund receivers from government, can cut back as best they -- by reducing the quality of care to the patient.

Two of the economists who met with us talked about that very issue; that is, income distribution, where professions or groups had asked for and attained a higher income as a result of negotiation or whatever it is, and as a result, caused within their own profession or workplace a problem for some of their members. Is there any thought on your part on that issue? I know it would be almost impossible for a profession to say, "We have to rethink that issue in a downward way." It's pretty hard to sell to your membership. I thought of you immediately when these economists were talking.

Ms Carol Helmstadter: These issues came up, certainly, and that was something the previous presenters were talking about. We certainly have thought about it, because we have been asked if we wouldn't roll back our contract.

We believe this is a short-term problem. Our much greater problem is just what the previous presenters were talking about. To attract able and competent young people into nursing, we have to be able to compete. There are so many more options. A generation ago when I went into nursing, the options were relatively limited for women. Now there are many other choices for able people. If we want to continue to have able and talented people in the profession, we have to be able to compete salary-wise. Although it's tempting to say, "We'll just roll back the salaries and there'll be less job loss," in the long run it would be self-defeating.

Ms Bell: If I can follow up on that, you're correct. We've had some problems with getting to the $52,000 level for our experienced nurses, but this is for a career. But we're still looking at where the increases in health spending are going and that's to OHIP and drug benefits. It's not to the nurses.

I understand the hospitals' approach at cutting nurses, because that happens to be one of the largest portions, salaries in hospitals. If you're going to cut your budget, you hit the big point, take 10%, and it's an easy solution. We're suggesting that the easy solution isn't the right solution. You need to get the voices of the staff nurses, talk to the staff who work in the hospitals, all service providers, and look where you can start cutting and not just look at your top item.

The dealing with the fee for service is a problem and it's an area that can't go along unchecked.

One of the other areas where we suggest you're not utilizing nurses appropriately is in expanding the role of the nurse. We don't have to be used just in the area we are.

In answer to Mr Hansen, I can give him all kinds of advice on how to treat his cold. He doesn't have to go to his physician. He doesn't have to go to an emergency department to do that.

I'm limited in the legislation that governs us. I think we need to look at other ways for people to provide services, not the same old model of health care or sickness care that has historically gone on. But I will not take blame for finally getting nurses the adequate salary they deserve. Sure, our nurses are suffering because of it. That doesn't make what happened wrong.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you for that answer. I would love to go home and stay on liquids, but the chief government whip says I have to be here today.

Ms Swarbrick: First, I just want to say with regard to that issue that I do consider the nurses' situation different than others, given that your large pay awards were because of pay equity, if I recall correctly.

Ms Bell: We haven't got pay equity yet.

Ms Swarbrick: I mean because of the move towards pay equity.

Ms Bell: You may want to say historically.

Mr Seppo Nousiainen: Historically. It tends to be records kind of stuff. Actually, I think it was through direct negotiations as opposed to arbitrated awards.

Ms Swarbrick: It's a move towards it and I appreciate the need for it in your case.

First, I want to say thank you. I think you've been one of the most effective groups presenting to us in terms of being very clear about painting a picture of what's happening out there and being very specific in a number of areas with regard to recommendations. I'm really happy to hear that the involvement of nurses in corporate decision-making within the hospitals is happening to reasonable satisfaction with you. You're feeling it's working the way we want it to, so I'm really happy with that.

Along that line, I wanted to ask you, are there things you can be specific about that you think can be done within the health care system to help make things more cost-efficient, given the economics and the fiscal situation hospitals are in, besides the things you are doing? I'm thinking of things like the use of nurse practitioners or those kinds of areas, if you could be specific about them.

Ms Caissey: I think first I have to pick up on something you said, that we were being more involved in the corporate process and having input. That is not happening effectively in very many places that we're aware of.

Ms Swarbrick: I'm interested, because it sounded from here as though you were saying it is.


Ms Helmstadter: It has happened in a few places, and in those places it has been terrific. Things have been cut and everybody's tightened their belts, but it has been equitable, everyone has taken part and there's been a much better team spirit and much better morale. We look forward to seeing that extended and we are very appreciative of the support we've gotten from the minister in our efforts to see it extended. I think that's what we were trying to say. But as Ina says, we could name the hospitals on our fingers that have actually done it.

Ms Swarbrick: Have you got some specific recommendations you could make to us, nurse practitioners or other things?

Ms Caissey: I think, as Lesley said, part of it is looking at the role of the nurse and looking at an expanded role, because there are many things that a registered nurse can do, rather than having people go and see their family practitioners, at a much more reasonable cost to the system. But I think, before we even get into all of that, we have to get our people at the grass-roots level really involved on their fiscal advisory committees so that they are having input into what is going on in their particular institution. If you can't get to the table to have a voice and if you don't get the information you need in order to know what is actually going on within the institution, it is very difficult to have any impact.

Ms Bell: If I could just add, as far as the nurse practitioner model is concerned, we fully support some move to using that kind of care provider. One of the problems historically, of course, has been who pays for it, the fee-for-service argument. You can't just continue to allow people to tap into fee for service, because it goes along and just continues to escalate.

That area of how these people are going to be remunerated has to be addressed. I think that was one of the problems historically with the nurse practitioners in the past. When they were teamed up with a physician it was a sharing of the physician's income. They had no way of being remunerated directly or through a community health centre or some kind of organization where there's money per capita, per patient and it's spread among the staff who are employed there. That kind of change from the old fee-for-service model has to happen.

Mr Phillips: I appreciate the presentation too. The message I kind of got out of it was that there's enough money in the health system but it needs to be better managed.

Ms Bell: Correct.

Mr Phillips: The two things that are of interest to me are, what's happened to jobs for nurses? My memory is of four years ago: shortage. It would be helpful for me to get some idea of how many of your members are working today versus a couple of years ago perhaps, and whether you know what happens to nursing graduates, how many of them are getting jobs.

The second thing I think we need help on is that I think all of us salute community-based health care. The challenge for us I think will be: As hospital beds close, when are we at the right number? There's the risk that hospital bed closings are being driven partially by health care needs and partially by budget needs. I think we could use your advice on how far we are from the right number. Those two things for us: Nursing jobs, how many are working? I guess maybe you'd know the hospital sector now versus two or three years ago, and what's the future for that? The graduate nurses, how are they doing? Are we approaching the right number of hospital beds now or not?

Ms Bell: Starting with the layoff issue, I think you have to look at it. Our association is looking at -- somewhere our membership has decreased by about 2,800 members over the last two years, so that gives you some indication of how many fewer registered nurses we represent.

Mr Phillips: From what to what?

Ms Caissey: From about 46,000 and some down to 43,000-something.

Ms Bell: Yes, those are dues-paying. We've dropped from about 54,000-plus to about 52,000 people we represent. One of the problems that doesn't pick up, though, is that as you indicated, there was a nursing shortage, so the first layoffs didn't happen because they filled those vacancies, and you had the attrition and early retirement issue and the hospitals were still getting more money. We're looking next year at no extra moneys going to the hospitals and so we're looking at a major reduction and layoffs of our members.

Mr Nousiainen: The numbers that have been mentioned are 5,000 or perhaps 6,000 nurses to go this coming year or perhaps the next year. They're very large numbers.

Mr Phillips: That's 5,000 to 6,000, coming up in the next few months?

Mr Nousiainen: Next fiscal year.

Ms Bell: Starting April 1.

Mr Phillips: So in the next few months, 5,000 fewer nurses.

Mr Nousiainen: Yes, we've heard numbers of that magnitude.

Mr Phillips: Do you have any indication of jobs that the graduates are getting?

Ms Bell: I think you have to realize that in some instances grads are getting hired because they're cheaper than experienced nurses. And the hospital, of course, is looking to a more flexible workforce; you may want to raise this issue with the OHA as well. The problem with some of this is that nursing has always gone through this cyclical thing of no jobs -- when I graduated in 1977, three of us got jobs in the province of Ontario -- so it's difficult to track this kind of thing.

I was interested to listen to the gentleman before about putting people into certain areas or streams of education. If there are no jobs at the end, are we doing these people a service? I'm not so sure that the grads in nursing aren't facing that same idea, unless we pick up on an expanded role for these people.

Regarding hospital bed closures, you're going to get a different answer from us than you are from other people, because we're concerned with the level of care we can provide. One of the problems we face is, what's safe, what's competent care? You're going to get different variations. In some instances, we already feel that patient care is jeopardized, and we do things like professional responsibility complaints, where we look at workload and indicate problems where we feel that patients are in jeopardy. We circulate those to the MPPs when they're completed. The latest one that has gone to the media was Ajax-Pickering; I think that example is illustrated in our submission.

So we already think that is happening. The number, of course, depends on the area. We've had a problem historically, where district health councils haven't had enough say in the overall decision of the community, and you've had hospital A wanting to be bigger than hospital B. We understand and recognize that downsizing was required. To a large extent, we may have already surpassed the number of beds that are reasonably safe.

Mr Phillips: I realize geographics. I think it would be helpful to all of us to get an ongoing assessment of that from the nurses.

Mr Nousiainen: In terms of bed closures, I think it's also important to realize that this is something that didn't start happening in the last 12 months. It has been going on since about 1986. The Minister of Health is fully aware of these numbers, and you can actually get these numbers.

Mr Phillips: Well, you see, I submitted a request to the ministry. I said, "I'd like to know how many hospital beds there are and how many are closed." The written response I got back was, "We do not keep those records."

Mr Nousiainen: They do, in a publication called Hospital Statistics.

Mr Phillips: I can show you the letter. That was the answer I got back from the Ministry of Health: "We do not keep those records." I'm of the opinion that we'll have to watch that carefully, because at some stage we will have gone too far. I don't know when. It will vary geographically.

Ms Bell: One of the problems with the document that Seppo mentioned is that it's at least a year, if not two years, behind. So more current and accurate figures are difficult. We can provide you with whatever we have as far as our tracking of it is concerned. We try to do that within our association.

Mr Nousiainen: There is also a monthly reporting of bed closures, so you don't really have to wait a year to get the figures.

Mr Phillips: I'll show you the letter.

The Chair: Thank you for coming before the committee.

We'll recess for 20 minutes -- no, 15 minutes. That's what the clerk tells me; I just do what she tells me. There's a cancellation of the next group, the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. They're coming in February.

The committee recessed at 1439 and resumed at 1458.


The Chair: The group we have now is the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. We have three gentlemen before us. If you wouldn't mind identifying themselves for the purposes of Hansard, you may carry on with your brief. Leave some time at the end for members of the committee to ask you questions.

Mr Joe Mavrinac: I am Joe Mavrinac, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. The two gentlemen with me are Bill Mickle, vice-president of AMO and chairman of AMO's fiscal policy and labour committee; and Mr Grant Hopcroft, the immediate past-chair of the fiscal policy and labour committee and a past-president of AMO. Grant will make the presentation.

Mr Grant Hopcroft: Mr Chairman and committee members, it's always a pleasure to be here as part of the province's pre-budget consultation. AMO values this opportunity to give you our input into some of the issues that we see facing both our respective levels of government in the coming year.

The depth and duration of the recent recession have profoundly affected all of us, both at the provincial and the municipal levels of government. Periods of economic hardship force everyone to review the way in which they operate, to separate the essential from the desirable, and identify ways and means of doing more with less. People's expectations of government are that it will provide assistance in weathering these tough times and to help generate growth that will stimulate the ultimate economic recovery that we all hope will soon be upon us.

Far too often governments are perceived by the public as not providing that kind of leadership. Instead, many times we've found ourselves expending our energy arguing with one another over scarce resources or passing responsibilities from one to the other to evade political pressure, with no real benefit to our common constituents.

We've noted that in fact the Treasurer, in his opening remarks to this committee yesterday, made reference to the downloading the provincial government is suffering at the hands of the federal government. If we leave you with one message here today, it's that we hope you don't practise what the federal government's preaching in terms of your relationship with municipal governments in the coming fiscal year.

We've broken our presentation down into several headings. Unfortunately, we feel we need to start on a rather negative note. The first deals with last year's decision, which initially was a very positive one, to announce a three-year transfer payment schedule to municipal governments. Although at the time we weren't overjoyed with the level of assistance, we were somewhat comforted by the fact that at least we knew what kind of medicine we would be taking for last year, this coming year and the following year.

We remain concerned about the recent announcement, late last year, that in fact the increase for this year would a one-time-only payment and that for 1994 we could expect to return to the 1992 levels of unconditional transfers, which represents a substantial $38.6-million reduction in next year's budget from what we can expect for this year. We would urge the provincial government to reconsider that decision. The reduction in unconditional transfer payments can only ultimately result in either municipal tax increases or future incurrence of debt, which of course only helps out those who are in the financial institutions and doesn't help us provide additional services to our taxpayers.

Under this section, we are recommending three things: that the government continue with its three-year announcement of unconditional transfers on an ongoing basis; that the earlier commitment of 2% for 1993-94 be honoured; and that unconditional transfers in subsequent years be increased at a rate sufficient to meet increases in provincially mandated and municipally administered programs.

I've already touched on the issue of conditional transfer payments in terms of the concerns over reductions that result in downloading to the municipal sector. One example I'd like to emphasize is the fact that many of these have a detrimental impact on our ability as a province to deal with growth opportunities and investment opportunities. For example, transfer payments to conservation authorities were reduced 13% last year. That's reduced the ability of conservation authorities to deliver services related to development in our communities and proper protection of environmentally sensitive areas in our communities. It's a reduction that's had to be met by increased levies to municipal members, and that of course has an impact on our municipal tax rates.

In the area of housing, we're concerned about provincial funding for the housing renewal programs -- the low-rise rehab program, the home renewal program and so on -- for the next fiscal year. There were no budgetary allocations made in 1992-93 and there is considerable pent-up demand in the community. I don't have to tell the committee members here how expensive it is to provide new housing for those in need. It's much cheaper and it's a much better investment, both at the local and provincial levels, to rehabilitate and maintain our existing housing stock so that it provides decent, affordable housing for our citizens, not to mention the labour-intensive renovation and construction activity that results from this type of activity.

We've heard rumours that the province is considering recall of municipal trust funds used to finance the Ontario home renewal program, estimated to be about $60 million. We have as a municipal sector been concerned about, I guess, the lack of appreciation of current circumstances in that the income and other eligibility criteria haven't been amended to reflect current realities. Income guidelines have not been indexed to recognize current income levels, interest payments and so on. We would urge this committee to recommend freeing up those funds so that they can be put to work stimulating economic activity and job creation in our communities, not to mention maintaining our existing housing stock.

We're also concerned about capping provincial expenditures in certain cost-shared programs with municipal governments. One area of particular concern is long-term care. We are in the midst of our municipal budget processes. As you know, upper-tier municipalities and particularly counties that deal with homes for the aged have to set their levies by March 31. We're currently required to cost-share a certain percentage of operating deficits, yet we're unsure at this point what, if any, provincial capping there might be. We urge you, first of all, not to cap, but if capping is a necessity, we need to know as soon as possible so we can properly budget for those realities.

In summary, our recommendations under this section of our presentation are that the government continue to fund housing programs and work with municipalities to revise program guidelines in order that existing trust funds can be spent on meeting the demand for financial assistance for housing rehabilitation; that the cap on funding for homes for the aged be removed and the province make a commitment to the new level of care funding formula, once implemented, and that it not result in additional cost to municipalities over and above our traditional cost-sharing portions.

We're concerned as well that to the extent there are changes in program funding -- we realize nothing can remain static in this type of climate -- municipal governments be consulted on those changes so we can work in partnership to minimize the impact on our citizens.

Infrastructure funding is something we have recently discussed with the provincial Treasurer and the Minister of Municipal Affairs. We would urge this committee, in terms of program spending for next year, to consider emphasis in those areas where spending will result in an investment in our future in terms of opportunities for economic growth and stimulating economic recovery.

Infrastructure funding in many areas of the province has been reduced or in fact held back because of changes to provincial funding programs. In my own municipality, for example, the upfront sewer funding has been reduced, in fact eliminated. That's costing us about $3 million in this coming fiscal year and is resulting in both reduced expenditures and increased borrowing to deal with the program we need in view of the new Ministry of the Environment guidelines that have been released in terms of capacity before development can be approved.

I don't think I've been before any committees recently where I haven't made at least passing reference to disentanglement, and I won't disappoint you. For almost four years, AMO and the provincial government have been discussing disentanglement and working to disentangle our funding management and delivery of services. Program decisions after disentanglement should be much easier in terms of setting our priorities both at the provincial and the local levels.

We would urge the provincial government to commit to the continuation of disentanglement or a similar process until we've dealt with the relevant issues that are before us. We have heard disquieting rumours that the province may not wish to continue past the existing phase 1 activities dealing predominantly with police funding and welfare. We feel there's a lot more work to be done to the mutual advantage of both our governments.

Community economic development is something both the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Treasury have been spending a great deal of time promoting. As a local government sector, we feel that type of activity is most important in terms of future economic recovery and growth in our province and we urge the province to continue to work with the local government sector in this area to facilitate the type of planning at the local level that's required to stimulate true economic growth and opportunities for both the unemployed and the disadvantaged in our communities.

The issue of municipal revenue sources is something the Fair Tax Commission property tax working group has recently made recommendations on to the Treasurer. A number of those recommendations are quite strongly supported by our association. We urge the province to expedite implementation of measures under consideration which would improve the fairness of municipal revenue generation.

In that area, abolition of the commercial concentration tax, which has been viewed by our sector as an incursion by the province into municipal revenues, is one issue. The elimination of payments in lieu of property taxes by federal and provincial governments in lieu of paying based on a fair market value assessment basis is another. The whole issue of innovative methods of funding new infrastructure is an area where we would urge the province to commit the necessary resources to implement recommendations in the near future.


In conclusion, we would like to urge this committee to continue to foster what we feel has been an excellent relationship with municipal governments for the most part.

We are concerned that there appear to be signs of a growing tendency by your government to download on municipal governments. Recent examples are increases in laboratory fees, which are having an impact on municipal programs in the area of sewage treatment and environmental controls. There have been continuing indications that police funding is another issue that may be placed on the table outside of the disentanglement process.

To the extent that it is necessary to reallocate those funds, we would urge you to do that within the disentanglement process where proper tradeoffs and checks and balances can be put in place to allow us to work in partnership in these very difficult and trying economic times.

Thank you for the opportunity to make a presentation. I think I've stuck within my originally set 15 minutes, so we could allow an opportunity for questions.

The Chair: It seems all of you sing the same tune in the same choir on disentanglement. I'll go to Monte Kwinter and Mr Phillips after.

Mr Kwinter: How much time do we have?

The Chair: We've got 20 minutes, six minutes each. You can figure that one out.

Mr Kwinter: I just want to pose a problem and ask the same kind of question the Treasurer asked of us. In the Treasurer's projections yesterday, he was showing an additional shortfall of $4.2 billion in revenue. That was based on a projected growth of the economy in the next fiscal year, 1993-94, of 3.8%.

Most of the analysts who have appeared before us have been saying the growth is going to be from a low of 2.2% to about 3%, so the feeling is that even that particular projection of 3.8% growth is optimistic and is not going to be achieved. This means the $4.2-billion shortfall is going to be increased even more, which is going to impact on the debt.

The question is -- as I say, the Treasurer has posed this exact same question to us -- would letting the deficit go up be better than tax increases or some of the spending reductions that may be needed? What is your recommendation to the Treasurer? What would you advise him to do?

Mr Hopcroft: We anticipated we'd probably be asked something similar to that question. I think we have always, as a level of government, been very careful in advising the provincial government about interference in municipal affairs. As an association, when we've made presentations on budgetary issues, we have endeavoured to deal with those that have an impact on the municipal level.

Obviously, the provincial deficit has an impact on all of us, whether we be governments or individual taxpayers. We're obviously concerned about the level of that deficit, as I believe every right-thinking citizen and government leader in this province is. However, we feel it's important for the government to maintain spending in those areas where there are investments in our future economic prosperity.

In our view, the priorities of the government have to be maintaining existing commitments to its funding partners and maintaining our infrastructure in a way that's safe for our citizens and that it's not falling into a state of disrepair where future costs are going to be that much higher because it's disintegrated rather than simply in need of repair.

To the extent we deal with new programs, those new programs are investments in our future in terms of economic opportunities to our citizens and job prospects for our citizens. We are concerned about new programs that wouldn't fall within those parameters because we feel those have to be the priorities if we are to pull this province, our municipal sector and our citizens out of this recession. I'm just trying to answer in as direct a way as I can.

Mr Kwinter: If I could just have a supplementary, one of the problems I have with representations made to this committee is a perception -- I don't think it's a reality -- that the federal government has responsibilities and it should be doing things, the province has responsibilities and it should be doing things and the municipalities have them, and none of these separate entities should be offloading on the other on the assumption that our municipal taxpayers have got enough load or our provincial taxpayers have got enough load or our federal taxpayers have got enough load.

There isn't a realization that we're talking about the same taxpayer. It doesn't really make any difference at what level they get taxed. There's only one taxpayer. There are four levels of government: federal, municipal, regional and provincial, but only one taxpayer. So just by saying, "Look, don't put the load on us. You take the load or pass it on to somewhere else," it's still the poor taxpayer who's being burdened by all of these additional expenditures because, as I've just pointed out, the revenue has got to come from somewhere. It either comes from borrowing or it comes from taxation.

Most people will tell you there is a saturation level right now as far as the taxpayer is concerned. The question is, is there also a saturation point at the level of borrowing? Have we really reached the point where we have reached that level? Do you have any comments on that?

Mr Hopcroft: My own philosophy has been that probably government borrowed too much money. However, in my own municipality -- and I believe this is an experience shared by both of my colleagues here as municipalities this year -- we face the prospect of having to borrow more money, increasing our debt loads, increasing our debt ratios to maintain what we feel are very important priorities in terms of our future economic opportunities.

We don't like to be placed in that position, but many of us have already dipped into our reserve funds in previous years that have been built up in the expectation that we would not always be in the same prosperous circumstance we were a few years ago. A lot of the money that was placed away for a rainy day has already been spent.

We remain concerned, as governments, that there's a perception that because our debt loads aren't as high in some circumstances as the provincial and federal governments, somehow we have extra room within which to borrow. In fact the government recently changed our debt guidelines to allow higher borrowing by municipalities which, in some cases, is appropriate where there are high-growth areas and where there's a desire not to rely entirely on development charges to fund that growth.

But coming from a municipality where we were quite pleased to be recognized in the Financial Times as the most efficient municipal government of a large urban centre in the country, we are faced this year with the combined mill rate increased prospect of double digits when you look at municipal and board of education costs. That's in a municipality we consider to have been well run for many years.

Those pressures are there, some of them brought on by the economy, some of them brought on by changes to provincial government policies, new regulatory regimes that we've had to deal with, social assistance costs, which I'm sure we all recognize as something we need to deal with. We have an obligation to those less fortunate in these economic times, but all of these are having a terrible impact on our ability to deal with our programs at the local level and our services are suffering.

Many of us have frozen wages of our employees. At our local conservation authority, our employees took a wage freeze to maintain programs as best they could. In other places that hasn't been possible. Collective agreements or arbitration settlements have imposed wage settlements on us. We have to raise that money somewhere. In many cases we've already laid people off and we've already reduced workforces to the point where services are stretched to the breaking limit.


Mr Carr: I apologize for missing your presentation, although I must confess I was pleased: I took a call from the Premier, who was thanking me for help. It seems that in Oakville we've just got 350 new jobs from an automotive company in the United States -- brand-new jobs. I hated to miss it, but I was very pleased with the reason I wasn't here.

Initially, I had planned to come in and slam the government on transfers, but after speaking with the Premier and thanking him for his help, I'll skip this presentation and start with the next people because I don't feel I could do that. I'll save it for next time. I usually do that, but I won't. But I do have a question regarding the municipalities.

The problem we've got is that with the transfers being what they were, so many of the municipalities -- I talked to the town of Oakville and the region of Halton. They say that as a result of what's happening, we're negotiating with our employees where wage increases -- even if they negotiate, it goes to arbitration and they're going to get above and beyond what you're getting for transfer.

One of the suggestions that has been out there is that the provincial government should introduce legislation not only for municipal employees but for teachers and nurses and so on to cap their wages at the same rate as the transfers. So if you've got 0%, you get 0%; 1% and so on. That would help municipalities because they would then control a big part of their costs.

Would you be in favour of the province introducing legislation? Personally, while I would like to agree with you in thinking that you should get more, looking at the provincial finances, if I was the Treasurer I would do exactly what the province did and limit it, but I would also limit the increase to the employees. Would you be in favour of the province doing that so that the costs you're facing -- a big part of that is employees -- don't go up and beyond what the provincial transfers are?

Mr Hopcroft: We would welcome provincial government action that had the effect of reducing some of the demands in personnel-related costs. I'm not sure whether you're suggesting wage controls in the strict sense or whether you're suggesting that the existing arbitration process be capped.

We found, generally speaking, that negotiated settlements outside of an arbitration-influenced regime have been fair. Some have been at the rate of transfer, some have been below and some have been slightly in excess of it because of recognition of other competitive factors in the job market.

Our biggest concern has been with what we view as exorbitant awards by arbitrators that bear no recognition of the current economic realities that we're all facing in this province. So if we ask for one action in the area of wage settlements, it would be to do something about the arbitrated settlements that we're facing.

Mr Carr: I think you're right. GO Transit was another example of that the other day. I know our politicians at all levels take a great deal of heat for the tax increases, but when I look at what's going to happen municipally in my area, it's not going to be the politicians who have made the decisions for the tax increases; it will be the arbitrated settlements with the firefighters and so on. I think you're right. The difficult part is that the politicians get blamed for it. So I appreciate that.

Looking at your circumstances right now and knowing the financial situation, and this may be a difficult question because you may only know your own area, what would you say is a result of the transfer payments? Would you be able to give us some indication of what this will mean in terms of the property tax owners in the province now who will have to fund a lot of the programs?

Mr Hopcroft: I think many of us had tried to work up towards our 1993 current budgets in the expectation that there would be a 2% increase, which was announced about a year ago now. We're still going to get that, but we are now concerned about the impact next year, where the indication is that levels of funding are going to be reduced by the $38 million that I referred to earlier.

In terms of my own municipality, and I'd welcome Reeve Mickle or Mayor Mavrinac to jump in with their own experiences, a reduction in our municipality would translate into approximately 1.5% on our mill rate, which is a significant impact when you consider the other pressures we're facing.

The other thing that has a dramatic impact on us, and again the example I referred to earlier, is the elimination of the upfront sewer subsidy. In my municipality, this has a direct impact on our capital budget this year of $3 million that we have to raise elsewhere or reduce expenditures which need to be made if we are to provide opportunities for approvals for housing and other commercial and industrial growth in our community.

Mr Carr: On that same point, what will that mean? The concern I've got is that if it could be passed along to the property taxpayers, that would be fine, but the problem I've got is that I'm running into a lot of people, particularly seniors, who say they will be forced out if they have any more property tax increases. Speaking from a taxpayer's standpoint, because you hear from the taxpayers all the time, is there any room to increase the property taxes in your area to make up the difference or are you going to have to scrape somewhere else?

Mr Hopcroft: I agree with the comment that was made earlier. I think our taxpayers generally are saying, "Look, we are taxed to the hilt now," be it municipal, provincial or federal. Municipal property taxes obviously hit those on lowest incomes the hardest. In our community we have faced situations where seniors have been on the brink of being forced out of their homes because of tax increases. From discussions I've had with Mayor Cooper, I know that's the situation Kingston has been facing. I'm sure the situation with Mayor Mulvale in Oakville would be much the same in terms of her personal experiences. Mayor Mavrinac, do you want to add anything?

Mr Mavrinac: Yes. Any freezing, transfer or downloading by the government would have very critical impacts on northern communities, Kirkland Lake being a prime example. You have to appreciate that there hasn't been an appreciable increase in assessment over the last 25 or 30 years. In some cases, in a lot of the communities the assessment has gone down. So we don't have that cushion.

The other fact is that 65% of our revenue comes from the residential taxpayer. We have twice the average number of senior citizens in Kirkland Lake as the rest of the province does. These are the people who are being hit the hardest. With the savings they have put together over many years, they thought 25 years ago they could live comfortably for ever. It's not happening. They're starting to take mortgages out on their homes to retain them. It's a prized possession. It's the last asset they have that they want to keep. So it is critical.

We don't know where to turn. We had a financial study done, and we've reached the point where we can't borrow any more. We just haven't got the repayment capability. I don't know what's going to happen. We were counting on that 2% for next year. It was bad enough that the unconditional grant was frozen in, what, 1989 and 1990? We didn't get increases those two years.

Mr Hopcroft: It was 1988 and 1989.

Mr Mavrinac: In 1988 and 1989; that had a serious impact on our budgets. So it's not getting any easier.

Mr Johnson: I want to thank the presenters from AMO who are here today. I think the title says it all, really: Partners in Our Fiscal Future. I think that's a pretty complete statement. I just want to say that as recently as the late 1980s, the economy was growing, maybe artificially, but it was growing. Governments, provincial, federal and municipal, had opportunities to tighten their belts and probably didn't when they should have. Because of the very difficult, dramatic economic downturn and the restructuring of the economy now, the need is there and we have to do it. I think that's very clear. So we're proceeding with that.

I know the topic of downloading is one that we speak of from time to time, and certainly the province says that the federal government is downloading on the province, and the municipalities say that the provincial government is downloading on the municipalities.


As I look through your summary of recommendations, I see that you make many recommendations that request funding. As Mr Kwinter said, the taxpayer has been taxed almost to the limit and the taxpayer, whether that individual is paying taxes to the federal government, the provincial government or the municipalities, is one and the same person.

I would just like to know if you have any specific recommendations with regard to how the province should deal with the deficit. Should it allow the deficit to rise or fall? Should taxes be increased or should they be reduced in certain areas, and which ones in particular? More importantly, and I guess this is where it would affect you, how should the province manage its programs, because these are very costly in many instances and maybe reduction in some programs would be advisable.

I know that one we both share and is of great concern certainly is social assistance. It is one that municipalities and the province share and have very similar concerns about, a very important program and one that we know has a lot of merit and is certainly important for those people who receive it, but it is an expensive one none the less.

Mr Hopcroft: You can accuse me of ducking the question if you like, but I'm not going to make a comment on whether the budget deficit should increase or not. If I can re-emphasize the points I made earlier, to the extent that you have to review spending, I believe and AMO believes that the government should honour existing commitments, and to the extent that spending is reviewed, that the last spending to be reduced or eliminated is that spending which is an investment in our future, an investment in our infrastructure, an investment in our people in this province.

Unfortunately, what we fear may happen is that those program reductions that may occur or may be considered by the government will be those that will have a negative impact on our ability, as a province and as local municipalities and local governments and local industries and local citizens, to recover from this recession.

Investments in our sewage treatment plants, investments in our transportation infrastructure -- our buses, our roadways, our transportation corridors in this province -- are of the utmost importance, and if we neglect those kinds of expenditures, we're neglecting our future. To the extent that the government must reduce expenditures, we would urge you to do that in areas where those sorts of impacts won't arise.

The Chair: Gentlemen, I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee, and a familiar face, Grant, again within just a month I believe.

Mr Hopcroft: Just over a month.

The Chair: We'll pass on your message to the Treasurer of Ontario in our brief. Thank you for appearing.

Mr Hopcroft: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss this with you.


The Chair: The next group we have is the Ontario Hospital Association. Would they come forward, please?

I'd like to welcome you to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the pre-budget consultations. We have half an hour. We have until 4 o'clock. In that half-hour, perhaps you can leave some time at the end for the committee members to ask questions on your submission. If you don't mind identifying yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, then you may begin.

Mr Brian McFarlane: My name is Brian McFarlane and I'm here as the chairman of the Ontario Hospital Association.

Mr Dennis Timbrell: My name is Dennis Timbrell. I'm president of the Ontario Hospital Association. Mr McFarlane will present on our behalf at this time.

Mr McFarlane: On behalf of the Ontario Hospital Association, thank you for the opportunity to share information and exchange ideas with you today.

It's no news that health care in Ontario is going through a period of tremendous change. The OHA is concerned with what is at stake: not just hospital beds, but rather medicare itself.

Hospitals have demonstrated their commitment to working together in partnership and collaboration to preserve our health care system. Our written brief goes into more detail on the challenges Ontario hospitals are facing.

No one has to tell this committee that we face difficult and uncertain times. As the Premier, the Treasurer and the Minister of Health have noted, the core economy of our province is restructuring to reflect new world realities.

The new reality for both the public and private sectors involves buzzwords like "competitiveness," "productivity" and "restructuring." The management challenge for all sectors is to create leaner operations. We have to find creative ways to meet new challenges -- to do more with less money. I believe hospitals have successfully taken up this challenge. Across the board, there are exciting new initiatives to find better ways of delivering services.

The total volume of patients treated in Ontario's public hospitals has grown 1.2 million since 1987-88. Day surgery is expected to reach 70% of total surgery this year, up from 53% just five years ago. In the same period, inpatient admissions have actually dropped and lengths of stay have declined.

Ontario's hospitals have demonstrated their ability to lead, to innovate and, above all, to change. Hospitals have far exceeded the government's expectations when the planning target of 850 patient-days per 1,000 Ontarians was announced a year ago. The concern is, however, that this success may lead to further unrealistic targets.

In past years, our association has provided the Treasurer annual estimates of the hospital funding requirements. For the coming fiscal year, however, and the one after that, hospital base operating budgets have been flat-lined.

About this time last year, the government announced it would hold increases in hospital transfer payments to 1% for 1992-93. A promise of 2% increases for 1993-94 and 1994-95 was also made. Hospitals felt that at least they could engage in realistic multi-year planning because for the first time we knew the extent of funding increases well in advance. OHA regrets that even this certainty has been shattered. In November, as your committee knows, the Ontario government announced a freeze on hospital base operating budgets until March 1995. For hospitals, operating plans, which for many were almost a year in the making, had to be scrapped, and there is even less funding than had been anticipated.

I must note that the Health minister, Frances Lankin, did go to bat for Ontario hospitals. As a result, the government announced a one-time grant of $149 million for 1993-94. That represents 2% of the total base operating budgets for Ontario hospitals.

OHA is working with the Ministry of Health through the joint policy and planning committee, and consulting with hospitals to identify the best possible use of this limited amount of money, which is seen to us as a new kind of R&D fund, restructuring and downsizing the health care system and the hospital sector in particular.

The freeze on funding will continue to pose a greater challenge to hospitals, but there are other pressures on our vital sector of health care. Those pressures eat into hospital budgets, making them actually shrink. These costs include pay equity, new regulations in occupational health and safety, labour negotiations and collective agreements, and binding arbitration awards.

The purpose of our meeting today and our brief is to offer this committee, and the government of Ontario, reassurances that hospitals have shown and will continue to show leadership in adjusting to change. We also want to highlight the hurdles and the opportunities which we face together as stakeholders in medicare.

Clarification of the government's promise to fund the cost of implementing pay equity is certainly needed. At the best of times, hospitals would be hard pressed to absorb the retroactive cost of pay equity. There are also proposed regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. These will have a one-time cost, we estimate, of $88 million for Ontario hospitals. We simply don't have that kind of money. Health minister Lankin has indicated she is supportive of having the cost funded by government separately from normal budget allocations to hospitals. Our association strongly hopes that these extraordinary costs will be funded by government.


Imposed costs do not go well with capped budgets. That's one reason the new WCB policy for employers involved in training programs is such a hardship. Put in place without any consultation or notification, it imposes a new financial obligation on hospitals in the form of additional WCB assessments.

This decision affects thousands of nursing students and trainees for other health professions. Many hospitals are taking a hard look at whether they can afford to offer training. The dependable supply of a variety of trained professionals for the health system is threatened.

Ontario's hospitals employ 160,000 full-time and part-time workers. Seventy-one cents of every hospital dollar goes to labour costs. Clearly, that is the most significant single budgetary factor for hospitals.

Last November, an arbitration gave people in the Service Employees International Union retroactive across-the-board pay increases. These increases were modest -- 1% effective October 1991 and 2% effective October 1992. That is consistent with the landmark agreement between the government and the public service. However, hospital budgets are frozen and every 1% increase in wages will cost hospitals about $53 million.

There are arbitration awards pending for both the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. What's more, we are about to begin negotiations with the Ontario Nurses' Association and OPSEU for other collective agreements that will be in force during the two-year freeze. Where will this extra money come from to meet these costs? Hospitals do not have the ability to increase revenues.

This question affects the ability of hospitals to make creative, new, innovative plans. That flexibility is crucial to the reform of the health care system. Hospitals must continue to improve the way we do things, but hospitals have already demonstrated their willingness and ability to adapt to change.

One of the most exciting developments in health care involves new commitments to quality. I'm referring to the principles of total quality management or continuous quality improvement. Quality has been applied in other sectors of the economy with a lot of success. We need to invest in total quality management in health care.

We see this as an exciting and necessary development, but we need to continue to implement management information systems. Those will eventually allow us to quantify what we do to manage more effectively. It is difficult to improve what can't be measured, so this is a vital investment.

We are pleased at the recent commitment obtained through the joint policy and planning committee of the ministry and the OHA that the government will make funds available for this purpose. If experience in the business sector is any indicator, these investments represent money planted, not money buried. The investment grows.

So far, hospitals have responded to the challenge with greater partnerships between hospitals and other providers and a shift from inpatient care to outpatient care and ambulatory services. They've done this with minimal disruption of services and minimal disruption to the labour force.

Despite the success of hospitals to date, the government has increasingly presumed that it should try to manage the system, and we need a new understanding. The government is the insurer of services. The government's true role is to decide what services it wants and which it can afford. Hospitals must manage the delivery of many of those services. In other words, government should provide the framework for hospital services. Hospital trustees, managers and employees are the ones who should actually manage the system. Together, we are the best judges of value for money, not government. We should clarify our respective roles. Are decisions to be made locally or at Queen's Park?

In many cases, however, there's no clear definition of what constitutes appropriate care. Certainly, we know there is waste in the system. There's waste in any system. That's why the creation of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences last year was such a milestone. It will help identify waste in the system. A new working group has just been formed through the leadership of OHA to support the work of the group by ensuring hospital input into this research and the changes that will result.

Hospitals are also responding to social changes. As a result of resolutions passed at our last annual meeting, OHA is developing guidelines to increase openness and accountability in hospital decision-making.

One resolution is particularly important. It calls on hospitals, under the leadership of OHA, to create a vision of their future role within the restructured health care system, embracing a new emphasis on community and home-based care. We are dealing with that challenge enthusiastically through our Hospitals of the Future project.

There is a sense of urgency about this. There is growing concern about Canada's ability to sustain medicare as we know it today. The provinces have always determined what services they would insure within the framework of medicare. This will be more and more important as the federal government changes the way it funds medicare. The province faces a mounting responsibility to define what medicare means in the province of Ontario as a result of Ottawa's shifting priorities.

We must consider affordability. Government, hospitals, health care professionals and consumers, as custodians of medicare, must collaborate in developing a new approach to medicare focused on quality.

We appreciate that the cupboard is bare, at least for the moment. We trust that, if economic conditions improve, the Treasurer will reconsider his flat-line approach to hospital funding. OHA hopes the committee will support, when the time comes, a re-evaluation of the flat-lining of hospital funding.

We'd like to thank you. I hope this presentation has been helpful. Mr Timbrell and I would be delighted to answer any questions you may have.

The Chair: We'll start with a government member, Ms Harrington. Five minutes for each caucus.

Ms Harrington: Thank you very much for your presentation. I note on page 4 you have a word that is emphasized there. It says, "We are the best judges of value for money." I would think the "we" really refers to the citizens of that community who use that health service. Would you agree with me?

Mr McFarlane: Yes. We believe all the stakeholders have that role.

Mr Timbrell: It speaks to the issue of who's managing the system. A couple of days after the announcements in November, the Treasurer was on Mr Fisher's program and made a point of saying what a wonderful job the government had done in the last year to manage the health care system, an attitude to which we take great exception. The government doesn't manage the health care system. The people who are in the hospitals, the public health units and other elements of the system manage the health care system. The government has a responsibility to define what it can or cannot afford.

Ms Harrington: May I continue from there? I think you've made that point fairly clear in your statement here.

The best judges are the people of the community who partake of that service. If people are not happy with some of the conditions they find locally, they direct their concerns sometimes to their provincial member or to the provincial government. They write letters or whatever. I would tell them to go to their local board. Hopefully, that is an open-door process, so they can actually go to a board meeting if they so desire. I believe across the province there is not an open-door policy by some of the hospital boards.

I'd just like to go on to one other question, and you can comment on this as well. It says in here, "Hospital trustees, managers and employees are the ones who should actually manage the system." We heard from ONA this afternoon and they would very much like to be involved in that exact sentence you have written here. They certainly have much expertise. I would like to see what you have written that those employees are very much involved in having a say as to where the cuts are and how it should be managed most efficiently. The representatives of ONA said they could count on their fingers the number of hospital boards across this province where they were actually being involved in an effective way. I'd like to leave that with you and hope that from your point of view of this system you would see what you can do to change that. I would certainly appreciate it.


Mr McFarlane: I'll just make two comments about it. First of all, the OHA is issuing guidelines to the membership in open board meetings, as I mentioned in my remarks, and a number of hospitals do have open board meetings. As to the second point about the staff and nursing involvement, the operating planning guidelines from the Ministry of Health this year really supplemented what a number of hospitals were already doing through their fiscal advisory committees, making those what you might call operating committees, to include not only ONA staff but other union and non-union employees. So I think it is fairly broad-based.

Ms Harrington: But it has to be in a very effective way. They have to get the information ahead of time, and they have to be able to digest it and fully participate in the decision-making process.

Mr McFarlane: We will encourage further involvement, but I think it has been fairly extensive to date.

Mr Timbrell: The OHA is on record, and has been for over a year, as supporting the expansion of fiscal advisory committees to include representatives of all employee groups. The OHA does support the sharing of the same information that goes to the ministry. Having said that, you heard one side. There are a lot of very difficult decisions to be made now and much more difficult decisions to be made in the next couple of years as a result of the flat-lining of funding for hospitals. So it's going to be a test of everybody's commitment to the system when employee and employer reps have to sit down and start talking about which programs have to be cut, scaled back, changed, which staff have to be reassigned, let go, and so forth. It's one thing to say, "We want to be part of the development of the decisions"; it's quite another to participate in decisions that sometimes say some of your members go.

The Chair: Mr Johnson, a short one.

Mr Johnson: On page 1, you mention, "The total volume of patients treated in Ontario's public hospitals has grown by 1.2 million since 1987-88." I was wondering if you had the statistics to elaborate on exactly what percentage that increase is. The volume of patients treated in public hospitals has grown by 1.2 million: I don't know how to compare that. Were there 50 million in 1987-88? Were there 250 million?

Mr Timbrell: I don't recall the exact numbers, but it's roughly reflective of the growth in the population but also with an additional factor in there for the growth in the number of elderly. There is a chart -- we didn't include it; we will send it along to the members -- two pages of data that compare 1987-88 to 1992-93. As you go through it, you see that there are 5,000 fewer active treatment beds in the province -- we've closed the equivalent of five Toronto Generals in the last five years -- but the number of people actually treated in hospitals has gone up by 1.2 million cases this year as compared to five years ago. Lengths of stay are down, admission rates are down, the incidence of day surgery is up to 70% from a little over 50%, as Mr McFarlane said.

Mr Johnson: What's 1.2 million as a percentage? Do you happen to know?

Mr Timbrell: I'll get you that number. I don't recall it.

The Chair: Mr Phillips, five minutes.

Mr Phillips: If I can paraphrase what I think I'm hearing from you, the hospitals feel you can live with the money next year. What I'd like from the hospital association is, what is likely to unfold over the next 12 to 24 months as a result of that? My impression right now is that in the last two to three years we have dealt with fewer funds by closing beds. Frankly, from a health point of view, that is probably right in many cases, and probably we have fewer staff right now. But I would like to know from you how many beds we have closed in the province.

By the way, I said to the ONA earlier that I submitted that as an order paper question to the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Health said, "We don't keep those records." So I would like to know from the OHA how many beds have closed over the last two years and what has happened to staff over the last two years, and what you expect over the next couple of years. From the OHA's perspective, is that fine from a health point of view, or are we starting to bump into numbers where we should, as a Legislature, begin to worry? Also, part of that is that I think we're all committed to community-based health care. In the OHA's opinion, are we providing adequate services in the community for you to accomplish the community-based care?

I guess there's three major questions: How have you got to where we are, and what should we expect over the next couple of years? Are there any risks we should be thinking about? Have we got the right community-based care activity?

Mr McFarlane: I'll start, and Dennis is better with the statistics.

Hospitals dug deep into their operations last year in order to balance their budgets for the year ending March 1993. I think it's because of the restructuring the hospitals have done and the good management of the institutions, which is contributed to by the nursing professions and other employees, that we've been able to achieve that and which has helped position us for 1993-94.

As we look to 1994-95 and down the road, the OHA has engaged in a number of regional consultations to determine specifically from individual regions across the province what the impact is likely to be in their regions and their communities with this kind of flat-line budgeting. Dennis has been meeting those regional conferences and I think he can elaborate on that. But we have dug deep into our organizations; we've managed. I'm not clear exactly what the implications are going to be.

Mr Timbrell: The figures we've received from the hospitals suggest that by the end of this current fiscal year, as compared to the 1991-92 fiscal year, it will be a reduction of something approaching 3% of paid hours. The total payroll of Ontario hospitals is approximately $5 billion, so that's close to a $150-million reduction in the hospital payroll in this current fiscal year as compared to last. Most of that has come through changes in shifts, changes in the amount of part-time work, changes in call-back, provisions for evenings and weekends and so forth. Actual layoffs in this current fiscal year have totalled approximately 2,000, of which about 750 are what we refer to as hard layoffs; that is to say, about 1,250 people have been hired back or have moved somewhere else in the province, somewhere else in the system. Hard layoffs are about 750.

Mr Phillips: Is that positions or layoffs?

Mr Timbrell: Those are actual layoffs, 2,000.

Mr Phillips: So how many positions have you eliminated?

Mr Timbrell: Full-time equivalents? If we're looking at 3%, full-time equivalents were somewhere around 3,000 in this last year.

Mr Phillips: And beds?

Mr Timbrell: In the last five years, it's 5,000. In the last two years, it's somewhere around 2,500 to 3,000, if my memory serves me correctly.

Mr Phillips: Out of?

Mr Timbrell: Out of the total of about 45,000.

One thing I did want to say in response to your question about community-based: Yes, we're supportive of the full spectrum, and we are highly critical when we come across people in the ministry or elsewhere who think in terms that it's community-based or hospital. You need both.

One concern I want to underscore, and I think it bears some thought on your part, is that hospitals are regulated, inspected, scrutinized to the hilt. We have the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation reviewing this year something like 90 hospitals in Ontario. Every hospital has accreditation. There are no standards for community-based programs. There are no ways of rationalizing and ensuring that there are not either overlaps or gaps in community-based programs.

Mr Phillips: The nurses made the same point.

Mr Timbrell: If we are to have an effective continuum, then we have to establish the standards for community-based programs, a means of accrediting them, a means of ensuring that they, as much as the institutional sector, eliminate to the extent possible duplication of effort.

Mr Phillips: The 1993-94 number: What should we expect over the next year with the 2% and then the 0% the following year?

Mr Timbrell: I would be reluctant, as I did a year ago, to give a hard number; only to say that hospitals were counting on a 2% overall increase, and we were flat-lined and we've been flat-lined for 1994-95. We know officials of the treasury board wanted to do worse than that, so we're leery about next year. Anecdotally, what we're hearing from the hospitals is that the fine-tuning option has pretty well run its course.


Mr Jim Wilson (Simcoe West): Thank you, Mr Timbrell and Mr McFarlane, for your helpful presentation. Following up on what Mr Phillips was driving at, and I think the nurses made the same point, when it comes to apparent lack of standards for community-based care across the board in the province, do you think the government might have the cart before the horse? In my opinion, your sector has suffered the most in terms of taking the brunt of cutbacks in the Ministry of Health. That's supposed to generate a deinstitutionalization dividend which is to be transferred to community-based care, as the theorists will tell us. In your opinion, though, are we moving fast enough in community-based care to pick up the slack, or are we going to have seniors and the frail elderly on the streets of Ontario with no place to go?

Mr McFarlane: As representatives of the hospital sector, we're interested not just in hospitals but in that whole continuum of care. It's our view that there is a lack of availability of that continuum in the community.

Mr Timbrell: I would add to that and repeat something we've said to the ministry on several occasions: that in the absence of any well-thought-out planning guidelines for the health care system, specifically for the hospital sector of the health care system, the hospital sector is presently in free fall. A year ago, the ministry announced a planning guideline of 850 patient-days per 1,000 population. That target was to be realized by March 31, 1995. We estimate that by March 31, 1993, the acute care portion of the hospital sector will have reduced to 840 patient-days per thousand. That's a measurement of the capacity of the system. We will have exceeded their target two years ahead of time.

When we have asked the ministry if it would provide funding for hospitals or whole regions that are already at or below the standard until the rest of the province comes down to that level, the answer has been a very firm no. It's our belief that in fact the ministry has another target it will soon announce of somewhere around 700 patient-days per 1,000, which, compared to two or three years ago, would represent a one-third reduction in the acute care capacity of the hospital sector. Yes, we are concerned.

Mr Jim Wilson: Do you get a sense that there isn't sufficient coordination or a plan in place by the government or the Ministry of Health in terms of your doing your part to pare down your budgets and meet the new standards that are thrown at you and yet the money doesn't seem to be transferred into community-based care? In fact, the government seems to be obtaining overall savings on the back of hospitals in terms of reducing beds and staff.

Mr Timbrell: The great risk that's been spoken of repeatedly -- and this is true as much of education and other public services as it is for health care, but I will speak just for health care -- is that when the sole agenda item becomes restraint, that's what leads to conditions like where we are now, where we're in free fall. The one thing from which we take some comfort in the last year is that we have established the joint policy and planning committee with the ministry that puts us in a position to more effectively highlight these concerns or issues and try to be part of turning it around, to give the system some kind of purpose or direction it doesn't have now.

Mr Jim Wilson: As you mention on page 2, you've got binding arbitration awards pending, you've got new collective bargaining agreements to reach with both the nurses and OPSEU, new regulations in occupational health and safety and pay equity. Without putting prejudice to your negotiations, have you got a ballpark figure as to what the overall figure would be in terms of additional fiscal pressures on the hospital sector for this year and what the shortfall might be between those pressures and what the government has committed to date in terms of funding?

Mr McFarlane: Clearly, we are getting a zero-based budget increase, so that's what we know about our income side. On our expense side, we know that each 1% represents some $53 million, so whatever the settlements or awards come in at, for each 1% we have a $53-million cost problem.

The Chair: Time has expired.

Mr Jim Wilson: Mr Carr has a quick question that follows from that.

The Chair: We gave you two minutes over, Mr Wilson. Gentlemen, I'd like to thank you for appearing before the committee. Safe trip home.


The Chair: The next group we're going to hear from is the Ontario Federation of Students, Mr Ken Craft, chairman. I see we have a new member sitting in on our committee right now, Mr Kimble Sutherland. An acquaintance?

Mr Ken Craft: A former colleague from Western.

The Chair: Okay, that's why he's here. He's going to go to the Treasurer himself, I can tell you.

Mr Craft: Hopefully the Minister of Colleges and Universities too.

The Chair: I'd like to welcome you to the committee here. We have until 4:30, and if you can leave some time for questions. As you can see, the members of the committee just love to get questions out there. Okay, you may begin.

Mr Craft: Thank you very much for making time to hear my presentation this afternoon. I'm Ken Craft, chairperson of the Ontario Federation of Students. For those members who aren't aware of the Ontario Federation of Students, it's a referendum-based organization which represents over 200,000 post-secondary education students in the province of Ontario.

This afternoon I essentially want to share with the committee our vision of post-secondary education in the province of Ontario and the advice we believe that the committee should be giving to the Treasurer and the government concerning post-secondary education funding. I was quite pleased to see that the legislative assistant to the Minister of Colleges and Universities is sitting around the table, as I'd like this advice to get back to the minister as quickly as possible.

In January 1992 the Minister of Colleges and Universities and the Premier announced historically the lowest transfer payments to the post-secondary education sector in the province of Ontario: a 1% increase in 1992-93 and a 2% increase for each of the subsequent years.

Since 1977-78 the governments of the province of Ontario have refused to accept the advice of their independent advisory committee, the Ontario Council of University Affairs, on how post-secondary education should be funded. Despite the refusal to deal with that advice, it had never been as low as a 1%, 2% and 2% increase. The lowest it had ever been was 5.1% in 1979-80 and a high of 12.1% in 1982-83.

To say the least, we were shocked, dismayed and a little disgusted when in November the Minister of Colleges and Universities and the Treasurer announced that instead of our historically low 1%, 2% and 2% increase, what we were going to get was 1%, 0% and 1%.

The decisions of this government on post-secondary education in this province, as far as we're concerned, are nothing more than shortsighted and wrongheaded. The only way to get out of the recession in the province of Ontario is going to be to invest in post-secondary education. The current government seems to be accepting the neo-conservative agenda that a reduction or elimination of the deficit is the panacea for all of our economic ills.

This is at the same time that the Premier's Council has told us in 1990 that we're living in a generation of lifelong learning. Let me quote from the Premier's report:

"A critical determinant of whether we can make the transition to a higher value-added economy will be the education skills, ingenuity and adaptability of our workers. They must be prepared for work which will demand the sophisticated knowledge and talents that are the trademarks of a truly developed nation. Our raw materials, our infrastructure and our capital will not be utilized to their fullest without the enhancements that a competent, innovative and adaptable workforce can bring to such advantages."

In the same report it was forecasted that over 70% of jobs created between now and the year 2000 will require 17 years of education. In the province of Ontario, which still has a bit of a grade 13 system, that means that 70% of all jobs would essentially require a post-secondary university degree.

The standing committee on finance and economic affairs echoed this opinion last year. They said to the minister, "We think that you should be investing in post-secondary education." Let me quote from your report from last year: "It is essential that Ontario fund its universities adequately." I'm sure that the committee didn't have in mind "adequately" as being freezing fees. "It cannot afford the economic and social costs associated with an inadequately educated population. Education may be the single most important determinant of economic growth in a developed world."

I'm hoping that the committee will be echoing these remarks this year in suggesting to the minister that, at the very least, the 2% that was promised this year be placed in the base funding and that the 2% that was promised for the third year be placed in. We know that's inadequate, but at least when it was announced last year it gave universities and colleges a chance to do some long-term planning.


Now what universities and colleges are being forced to do is cut more jobs and allow fewer students into the system than what had already been planned. In the college system it's going to lead to severe reductions in teachers. They already signed a contract that essentially calls for a 4.5% increase next year to teachers' salaries based on the 2% funding. With 0% funding, it's inevitably going to lead to cutbacks.

The government has been talking a lot about equity and access to the post-secondary education system. With the 1% addition last year, over 2,000 positions from universities' first-year enrolments had to be cut. Over 20,000 students were turned away from Humber College this year. Obviously, at the moment the government's agenda is not providing access and it's not providing equity to the post-secondary system. This year they've implemented a 7% tuition hike, when all reports show that tuition hikes lead to a decrease in accessibility. Leslie and Brinkman in 1990 did a study that showed that for every $100 increase, with all other things being equal, three quarters of 1% of students will drop out of post-secondary education.

This year, in November, the government announced massive changes to the OSAP system. Instead of going with what the New Democratic Party of the province of Ontario policy is, which is to move towards an all-grant system, the Minister of Colleges and Universities --

Mr Conway: No.

Mr Craft: Pardon me?

Mr Conway: Say that again, just a little more slowly.

The Chair: Gerry's looking for his Agenda for People, or is it worn out?

Mr Phillips: I've got it right here.

The Chair: Okay, carry on. That's an inside joke with Gerry.

Mr Craft: Oh, I'm sure it is.

Instead of moving towards an all-grant system of funding post-secondary education student aid, they moved towards an all-loan system. What they've attempted to do during that is also bring in what's called an income-contingent loan repayment plan. I hope I'm asked questions about that. On the surface, it sounds like a very progressive form of student aid, but it's actually a very regressive form of student aid. Instead of moving towards lifetime learning, which is what the present government tells us it wants to move towards, it's moving towards a form of student aid that's going to guarantee nothing except lifelong debt.

I'm not going to just sit here and essentially say that the villains are the provincial government. Since 1986, the federal government has been freezing the established programs financing transfer escalator, and I think the NDP government would do much better if it was spending its time lobbying the federal government to restore EPF to its former levels rather than entering into negotiations with the federal government to move to a complete income-contingent loan repayment plan.

I think I'll just stop my remarks there. I'm more than happy to answer any questions. I hope my comments were provocative enough to get some discussion.

The Chair: It's either Mr Carr or Mr Sterling. Who's up first to bat?

Mr Sterling: Well, I just wanted to say it's pretty hard for me as a Conservative, after hearing all of this claptrap over the last five elections which I have run in in this province from the NDP candidate about all of these wonderful things that they were going to do for the students, to have this government come in and do such a complete turnabout. I think the students have probably the most reason of all to be cynical about the political process. That's my statement.

There is one part of your brief that I'd like a little bit of expansion on. I have two children who are presently in university and they're not receiving student assistance. I'm assisting them personally. I guess the part I am concerned about is your statement that the government should increase its deficit or it should not be concerned about that, because their colleagues, the young people, are saying to me, "Look, why should we pay for your generation's excessive living into the future?"

I think you should be demanding, quite frankly, that we pay our own way. You're not representing what I'm hearing through my son and my daughter. They are quite angry with politicians and governments that are overspending on this, because they're going to have to pick up the tab. They're going to have to pay for our excesses during this period of time.

Now, when you say the government should go into deficit in order to do this, how do you justify that in terms of the students I'm hearing from who are saying, "I don't want the government to go into deficit because then you're going to have to pick up the tab"?

Mr Craft: The policy of our organization at the moment is that the way to fund post-secondary education is actually through a 3% corporate tax, a more graduated income tax system. In the short term, that's not what's happening at the moment. We're in the middle of a recession. The way to get out of a recession is to spend money. If the government doesn't feel, at the moment, that it can raise that money through tax revenues, I believe it may be more longsighted to go further into debt and invest the money in post-secondary education which would bring us out of the recession and out of the deficit quicker and provide for more employment.

Mr Carr: I have a question along the same lines. I was fortunate -- I guess even more fortunate when I look back on it now. I was able to get a scholarship to an American university -- not because of grades, but because of hockey. I was very fortunate when you look at the costs. But having spent some time in the United States -- and then eventually I guess the Boston Bruins ended up being my organization so I was very fortunate as I look back. Right now in the United States, a bigger portion is loans and, as you saw here today, whether it's NDP, Liberals or Conservatives, there isn't going to be that much more money in the system to allow a reduction in tuition fees. You asked about the student loan. In the States, what happens is that you pay for your education and then pay it back later on.

The alternative is going to be a deterioration in the university system. It would be great to say: "The government's going to pick it up. We pay a higher percentage than the Americans. Why shouldn't we have more of a loan program?"

Mr Craft: Sorry, I didn't catch the last couple of words.

Mr Carr: Why shouldn't we have more of a loan program similar to the United States?

Mr Craft: Why shouldn't we?

Mr Carr: Yes, and why shouldn't it be like a higher percentage of the costs paid back by the students when they become engineers, politicians, premiers, member for Oxford, or whatever?

Mr Craft: I guess there will be a lot to this answer. To begin with, there seems to be an acceptance in this province that there should be a completely publicly funded education system up to the end of secondary education and then not for the post-secondary education system.

At one time in this province we used to pay tuition fees to go to high school, and the reason those fees were eliminated was that, for the majority of jobs in this province, it required a high school education to be a "productive member of society." We have now seen through the Premier's report that, in order to fill most jobs in this province, you're going to require some form of post-secondary education.

Through an educated workforce, both society and corporations benefit from it. That's why we recommended a 3% corporate tax and that we have a progressive tax system so that, let's say I truly do benefit from my education by getting a higher-income job, I would pay back a higher proportion of my income in the society to pay for the essential services such as health and post-secondary education.

What happens with a loan system and with the contingent repayment plan being recommended by Minister Allen is that it's the exact opposite. Let's say that you, Mr Carr, and myself both borrowed $16,000 for our education. I came out making $35,000 a year; you came out making $50,000 a year and let's just assume our incomes stay constant over that time period. The person who makes $35,000 year in income actually ends up paying more money because I'll end up paying back more in accumulated interest.

So the loans systems out there are actually regressive as opposed to being progressive. We recommend a progressive form of taxation in which, if you truly benefit, you pay back more of your debt to society.


Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): It's good to see you here. While your comments seemed a bit critical of this government, you've certainly heard from the Progressive Conservative Party that, if it were the government at this time, things would be significantly different in how it would approach the issue of post-secondary education.

My question to you, though, is that we just had the hospital association and many other groups in here today facing dramatic change in how they deliver public services. I think we all know that change is going on in the private sector. I guess I'd like to know from you and your organization how you see change occurring in the post-secondary education system to meet the realities. Everyone understands that corporate tax is down, personal income tax is down, sales tax has been down over the last few years. The government has made a commitment to maintain public services and is running a significant deficit at this time. Given all those realities, what advice would you give to the government to manage some of the change in the system?

Mr Craft: I'm not going to comment on any system other than the post-secondary sector, Kimble. The only reality I see out there at the moment is a lack of will by the current government to invest in post-secondary education. What I see taking place at the moment on the university restructuring committee that the minister has just launched, which I'm familiar with, is a movement towards gutting the quality of post-secondary education in the province of Ontario. The minister's response in the briefing before the announcement in the House to how we solve the access problem in post-secondary education was to stuff a few more students, like sardines, into already overcrowded classes. What needs to be done by this government is there needs to be a will to move to a more progressive tax system, a fairer tax system, and to invest the money in post-secondary education, because you're not going to get the sort of educated workforce you need in order to drive the wheels of this economy to get out of the recession without doing that.

Cutbacks are not going to solve the problem. It's just going to mean fewer people going to post-secondary education and the only people getting access to the education being the traditional élite. That's not what I've been hearing from the current government as being what it wants to do, but that's the signal I'm getting from the sort of things the minister has been asking his restructuring committee to look at. I don't see any movement on the access question or on the quality question. I see the exact contrary.

Ms Swarbrick: Mr Craft, I'm one of those people who, like my party, came into government with wonderful plans of what we'd like to do to improve the education system and the situation for students. On the other hand, I'm also somebody who, like my party, came into government not expecting to govern in the worst depression since the 1930s. I end up wincing of course when you call us, and therefore me, neo-conservative, because I don't feel very comfortable with that at all. I think in fact the reality shows that we're ending up being a government that unfortunately is very much having to work on very high levels of deficit financing.

I'd like to just put a context on my question to you, pointing out that the reality we're dealing with is one where government revenues fell very dramatically in 1991-92 by $3 billion. This year it looks like they've fallen by over $500 million again and then for 1993-94 we're looking at another $4.2 billion gone before we get a chance to deal with it, not to mention what the federal government is taking out in billions of dollars.

To me, what we've done with the situation, at least, for instance, in terms of tuitions and the loans and grants situation for students, is the same kind of thing we've been trying to do in a number of other areas, which is to look at the reality of what unfortunately we're having to deal with and how can we make the dollars stretch as far as possible and therefore, in terms of the situation for the loans and grants, to say, "Okay, we're going to take what last year was $630 million that went to help students through financial assistance in attending schools and stretch that an extra 20% to get it up to $800 million." We can do that and be able to get away with it, if in fact we make the system one more of loans.

You've referred to how now the system will leave people with a lifelong debt situation. I'd really argue with that, because what we've done is, I think, a creative switch-around. Although people won't get grants up front without getting a loan, there clearly is a cap. You can't go in debt by more than $5,570 per year on a loan. After that, you do get grants. After that, for instance, if you've got a single parent with two children and they end up needing $17,510 in a year, they will not go in debt by this government by more than that $5,570; the rest is purely grant.

So I guess I'd like to put to you the question of, don't you really in your heart of hearts think that in fact this government is treating students far differently than either of the other parties would and that in fact it's not too unrealistic, given the situation, and certainly not warranting of being called neo-conservative?

I'm sorry. I guess the one last point I wanted to throw in there is that this is one of the --

The Chair: Is this a question?

Ms Swarbrick: Yes. Just within that is one of the very sobering things to me in changing my mind from the kind of position that you're taking, that when you are in a deficit financing situation, you end up that with every dollar in revenue we're taking in right now, even keeping the deficit to where it is now in spite of the threats that I mentioned, 12 cents of every one of those dollars has to go to pay for nothing but servicing the debt. It means that we're crippling ourselves from being able to pay for the services. I guess when I look at what that would be, if we let the debt go higher, it means we end up losing that money that we need for those services.

The Chair: Anne, come on.

Ms Swarbrick: Yes, sorry.

Mr Craft: As I understand your question, it was, do I not believe in my heart of hearts that this government is operating different than the other two if they were in government? The other two aren't in government. It's completely hypothetical. I can only speak about how this government has been operating.

Whether or not I think the moniker "neo-conservative" actually fits in there, I think that in the 1980s and 1990s there has been a neo-conservative agenda in North America that essentially says you must reduce and not borrow money, and I believe personally that's the way the government's behaving.

Ms Swarbrick: Would you say we're not borrowing money?

Mr Craft: If you want me to deal with the substance that was in there, not exactly the question, the part about the $5,570 and the lifelong debt, the lifelong debt part, I was referring to the income-contingent repayment plan process that the minister has not announced the details for yet. I was making some assumptions over what possibly will be. The minister has looked at a number of models. They are all regressive and they all require borrowing money, paying off money for 15 to 20 years.

If the current debt load is $5,570 per year, if one had to borrow that amount of money over a four-year degree, essentially an undergraduate degree, that would be over $20,000. If somebody had to borrow it throughout doing a PhD -- the average time to completion to do a PhD from start to finish in the social sciences or humanities in this province is about 10 years -- you're talking about a debt of $55,000 just for your post-secondary education. I think that's outrageous.

Ms Swarbrick: What difference does it make to earning capacity?

The Chair: I'm sorry. I'll go on to Mr Kwinter, and since we don't have television in here, Mr Phillips is holding up the Agenda for People.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Craft, if I could just lay the groundwork for the question I want to ask you, when the Treasurer of Ontario brought out his very first budget, he sort of touted the fact that he was doing something unique in that he was projecting what the cash requirements are going to be for the term of their mandate.

It showed fairly substantial deficits right through till 1995, somewhere in the neighbourhood of $7 billion to $8 billion even in 1995. On the basis of that, he felt that he was going to fight the recession not on the backs of the workers but that he would do it by running up greater deficits.

The Treasurer has admitted and even now members of the government side have said no one anticipated how bad the situation was going to be, which means that in fact those projections were quite modest compared to what is actually going to happen. What we have found -- and there was a story about it; my colleague brought attention to it, as did our leader -- is that this government has been offloading a lot of the things by user-pay.

They've been increasing fees all around, throughout the government and throughout the services that they provide to the citizens of Ontario. We've seen it in the educational field where tuition fees for post-secondary education have gone up 7%. They've virtually eliminated the grant program.

My question to you is this. This is a government that historically has promised that if it came to power, not only would it not increase education but it would eliminate the cost for education for university students. They've now made the decision where they've increased it and once they look at their problems, the chances are that they're going to increase it even more, because once you get on that slippery slope, it's very easy to say, "7% this year, 10% next year, and let's keep cutting back."

What is your reaction from the students out there and what do you feel the practical -- I know the theoretical -- result of that is going to be for the post-secondary student body of Ontario?


Mr Craft: Of tuition increases?

Mr Kwinter: Further tuition increases and greater constraints on the availability of funding for post-secondary education.

Mr Craft: We've already seen some of the practical aspects of it. Two thousand positions in first-year university were cut in this province this year. Twenty thousand students were turned away from Humber College. You had a 20% student unemployment rate this summer at the same time the students were expected to save more money in calculating their OSAP entitlements. You're going to see students unable to go to post-secondary education.

Fewer will go and those who are there will end up dropping out. We are already seeing more and more food banks springing up on our campuses. It's essentially going to lead to a point where only the wealthy in this province will have access to the post-secondary education system. That is what the reality of tuition increases and low funding will be.

To be fair to the current government, since 1978-79, every year whoever has been in power has increased tuition fees. There hasn't been movement by any party in this province to eliminate user fees for post-secondary education nor has there been a movement at the federal level. The federal government is a signatory to a 1976 United Nations convention to remove all impediments to post-secondary education including tuition fees. Instead, they're moving in exactly the opposite direction by freezing the escalator on EPF and not providing the provinces with the money they need in order for them to freeze tuition fees. I'm not going to blame it completely on any provincial government. The federal government has had its part in this too.

The Chair: It being 4:30, I'd like to thank you for coming before this committee. Safe travel home.


The Chair: The next group we've got is the Ontario School Trustees' Council. Would you come forward, please. Do you have some other colleagues there? There are enough chairs there if you have someone else. Don't be shy. We're recording all this. Would you mind identifying yourselves for the purpose of Hansard? We have until 5 o'clock. Could you leave some time after your brief for questions from the committee.

Mrs Betty Moseley-Williams: My name is Betty Moseley-Williams. I'm the president of the Ontario School Trustees' Council and I'm the trustee in Nipissing. Patrick Meany is with me. He is a delegate or a member of the Ontario School Trustees' Council and he is a trustee with the Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic Separate School Board.

The Ontario School Trustees' Council is an umbrella organization of school boards and their trustees which was established in 1953 by an act of the Ontario Legislature. Currently, the OSTC is composed of the French-language trustees and the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association, which together represent more than 600,000 elementary and secondary school students within the province of Ontario. Almost 100,000 of these young people are French-language students.

The brief was prepared in two languages because we expected to have Lorraine Gandolfo speak for the French-language trustees. Lorraine was ill and unable to come.

We appreciate the invitation to appear before the committee at its annual pre-budget consultation hearings to bring recommendations on economic and fiscal policies and priorities. While we recognize that the amount of additional funding for education is not subject to negotiation, we would strongly recommend that steps be taken immediately to address the major areas of inequity within the present education funding model.

The Ontario School Trustees' Council appreciates that there are two major roles for the provincial government with respect to elementary and secondary education. First, the provincial government must ensure that there are the necessary mandatory programs provided by local education authorities which meet provincially established standards and guidelines to ensure an appropriate educational experience for every student in Ontario.

Second, the provincial government must ensure equity of educational opportunity, that every school board has an equal financial ability to adequately fund these mandated programs to meet provincial standards so that all students are provided with equivalent services regardless of their language, race, religion, socioeconomic situation, geographic location or type of school board.

For the Franco-Ontarian community, equity is incomplete without its constitutional right to governance, which includes services equivalent to those offered the majority-language students and the appropriate financing to provide it.

Unfortunately, the provincial government is not fulfilling its second major role: the assurance of equity. This is apparent in the great differences in per-pupil spending by similar school boards in different geographic areas and by coterminous school boards in the same geographic area.

For example, in 1990 the Ottawa Board of Education, which is a public school board, was able to spend $8,784 per secondary school pupil, while the Bruce County Board of Education, which is also a public school board, was only able to spend $5,970 per secondary school pupil. Similar differences are found at the elementary school level.

The reason for this disparity is the differences in total per-pupil equalized assessment between the two public school boards, especially with respect to their commercial and industrial assessments. For instance, while the Ottawa Board of Education enjoys $191,881 of commercial-industrial assessment per pupil, the Bruce County Board of Education has only $18,987 of commercial-industrial assessment per pupil, less than one tenth as much. This is common across the province, and as the share of education costs falls, it is a situation which is becoming increasingly unfair.

Correspondingly, within the same geographic area, two boards can exhibit a similar divergence in spending. In Metropolitan Toronto, the public school board in 1990 was able to spend $7,986 per secondary school pupil, while the coterminous separate school board was able to afford a per-pupil expenditure of $5,947. At the elementary school level, the figures were $6,108 and $4,628 respectively.

Again, this immense disparity arose mainly from the great difference in commercial and industrial assessments of the two boards. The public school board enjoys $238,269 of equalized commercial-industrial assessment per pupil, while the separate school board has only $37,041 per pupil, less than one seventh as much as its coterminous board.

It is to be noted that some boards have to educate one third of the total student population on one seventh of the corporate-commercial assessment base. Since it is not politically feasible for coterminous boards to have significantly different mill rates, the separate school board is literally forced to spend less on its students. This is a recurring pattern across the province of Ontario and one that is contrary to the principle of educational equity.

These problems will not be solved by the provincial government increasing the total amount spent on elementary and secondary education by local or provincial taxpayers. However, they can be rectified if the provincial government ensures a more equitable distribution of tax revenues to school boards across the province. Since the major problems tend to arise from the imbalance in access to commercial and industrial assessment, the only practical solution is to redistribute the tax revenue generated by this commercial and industrial assessment.

While regional pooling of commercial and industrial assessments would resolve most of the disparities between coterminous boards, only a system of provincial pooling would address both of the problems identified above. Thus, the Ontario School Trustees' Council makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation 1: that the Ontario government establish a province-wide mill rate for commercial and industrial assessment for educational purposes; that the resulting commercial and industrial tax revenue be pooled; and that realistic grant ceilings, the levels of expenditure approved for provincial support, be established and supported by the pooled funds, provincial grants and residential tax revenues.


Mr Patrick Meany: I'll be continuing from here. Had Lorraine Gandolfo been able to come, parts of this brief would have been in the French language, but my accent is not the best, and in any case, Betty says she has trouble enough with one of my accents, so I'll continue in English.

A fairer tax system: Currently, more than 60% of the total per-pupil expenditures for elementary and secondary education in the province of Ontario is funded by local property taxes. While commitments have been made to reduce the percentage of education costs borne by the local property tax base by increasing the provincial contributions, the increase in provincial grants has not been sufficient to compensate for an average 2% increase in enrolments along with increased costs of employee-related benefits and equity plans, without even considering the additional costs of new provincially mandated programs.

The Ontario School Trustees' Council recognizes that in these recessionary times it is difficult to find the necessary funds to honour such a commitment. However, recent economic indicators have signalled a beginning of slow growth and a climb out of the recession. With an improved economy and increased tax revenues, it will be possible for the provincial government to return to funding a greater share of educational expenditures at the elementary and secondary school levels. Therefore, the Ontario School Trustees' Council makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation 2: That the provincial government increase its share of education funding as its revenues increase in order to reduce pressure on the local property tax base.

Another inequity arises from the finding that there is no consistent relationship between the property taxes paid and ability to pay. In some areas in 1990, residential taxpayers paid out less than one seventh of one per cent of their household income for school taxes, while in other areas residential taxpayers paid out more than 1.5% of their household income for school taxes. In 1990, the average across the province was 1%. There's certainly a need for the introduction of a factor applied to residential assessment to recognize the ability to pay of the households being taxed. Thus the Ontario School Trustees' Council makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation 3: That the average household income for residential taxpayers be factored into an equalization formula for educational grant purposes.

Rebuilding our schools: The Ontario School Trustees' Council has been appreciative of the provincial government's five-year commitment to a $300-million-per-year capital grant program. School boards have used the limited funds in the best possible way so that students can have access to healthy learning environments.

However, we have not been able to make significant inroads into renovating and replacing an aging infrastructure, much of which was built of inferior materials during the Second World War, or those buildings constructed to house the baby boom which occurred about 40 years ago, let alone address the replacement needs of schools built more than 50 years ago. Recognizing that the construction of public facilities has a very positive impact on economic growth, the Ontario School Trustees' Council makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation 4: That the provincial government continue its multi-year commitment of $300 million per year in capital funding for school boards for new pupil places and school renovations, and that additional funds for school replacements be allocated from the provincial capital works programs as such programs are developed.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: The Ontario School Trustees' Council is very aware of the fiscal difficulties facing the provincial government, and thus has suggested methods of addressing significant inequities in the area of educational finance which recognize the limited resources available. However, the move to equity of educational opportunity for the students of this province will not require the expenditure of additional provincial funds, but could significantly decrease the pressure on the provincial purse by removing most of the financial inequities among school boards.

For the Franco-Ontarian community, equity of educational opportunity for francophone students can only be achieved through complete governance.

We would challenge this committee to make the case for equity on behalf of the elementary and secondary school students of the province of Ontario. In this regard, the Ontario School Trustees' Council offers its full cooperation and its entire support.

We would be pleased to discuss our recommendations, which are listed in the back, and we distributed to you the figures we were using, which are from the report of the Fair Tax Commission from December. I think each of the members received a copy of those also.

The Chair: Mr Phillips to start it off.

Mr Phillips: I appreciate the brief. The issue of capital: I'm sceptical, or cynical perhaps, about some of the government's plans for setting up capital corporations. I have my own view of them, but be that as it may, one of the things that I think the government's planning to do is a fairly different approach to capital expenditures for schools. I think they've asked for feedback from the school boards on that.

I'm not exactly sure how it's planned to work, but I gather the plan would be to allow a school board to build a school they authorize, but the board would be allowed to issue a debenture and the province would then reimburse the board on an annual basis for the debenture costs it would have paid for. So it may be a way of getting debt on your books and off the provincial books. Has the school trustees' group looked at that and have you a view on whether you support the idea of the capital funding that way or not?

Mrs Moseley-Williams: Because we represent boards that are very diverse, some of the boards that can afford to do the debenturing favour that method of funding, but we couldn't put in a solid position because the boards are split in the province. I think I speak for most of the trustees' associations. There is not an agreement that this method would work, and for my own board, I know it said no and it was just very clear. They did not think that would work for us.

Mr Phillips: I would appreciate, for the committee, some of the responses you may have provided on that, because I think this is going to be a huge issue in this upcoming budget, the way capital is funded.

Mr Meany: If I may, I've noticed varying degrees of nervousness among individual trustees based on a fear that they might get tied into something and then left with it at a later period.

In my own board, as distinct from Betty's, there was much of that kind of question, but I think the ending consensus in the discussion was that we have the kids pouring in; we don't have the schools; we will take whatever comes and deal with it the best we can. We must get the kids into buildings.

Mr Phillips: As I say, it would be useful for the committee if the association might forward its comments.

The Chair: If you wouldn't mind forwarding them to the clerk, we can distribute them to all the members.

Mr Phillips: I think it will be one of the big issues we'll want to debate here at the committee, these capital corporations.

Mr Meany: If I might add a word on that, from our own board the thought was that anything like this perhaps might come in legislation; that is, the guarantee of payment reimbursement. As you said, Mr Phillips, it would be legislative rather than regulatory, so it would be built in. There will be no fear that, say, changes in minister or whatever could result in an adjustment, leaving it back on a board which was unable to pay.

Mr Phillips: Yes. All those are useful comments, I think, for our committee.

The Chair: You have a bit more time, Mr Phillips.

Mr Phillips: That was my major question. The rest of the brief I think is --

Mrs Moseley-Williams: We will send them.

Mr Phillips: Thank you.

The Chair: If you think of some more, I'll come back to you.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation. One of the questions I had was regarding the funding issue. I mentioned this morning, with the trustees who were in, that the problem we've got is that looking down at -- I used Halton's public board as an example, because we got the figures today where the teachers got a 2% increase and the year they got that, when it was negotiated, they thought they were going to have an equivalent increase from the government and they now get zero.

The problem is that in the Halton area now the school boards are having an open budget process and they're getting a tremendous amount of heat from people, because people know where most of their property tax dollars are going and I think that's something new.

Could you tell me what your perception is from the public regarding the cost on the property taxpayers? What are they saying to the trustees of this province about what's happening to them as taxpayers from a property standpoint?


Mrs Moseley-Williams: I suspect the answer is the same throughout the province, but in some areas it's very specific that an increase in the local tax rate will not be tolerated. I think boards are committed to keep the tax rate as close to the last year's level as they can. However, realistically there are costs that -- some of them are contract demands and some of them are just the costs that you can't control. But I think the general feeling that is coming to boards in the province is that they are to hold the line on their property tax. People feel they cannot afford to pay any more. Many of us are in areas, and I know some of you are, where the unemployment -- you know you cannot ask for more tax money.

Boards have looked at their staffing. They have redistributed to try and get a better use for their dollar, but this year's budgeting process, be it open or closed -- and I think most boards are involving their community and their staff -- is a tough process.

Mr Carr: One of the problems is that with a 0% increase -- we talked today about what percentage is employee salary. I think the mistake I made in speaking with the teachers is that the overall total board salary is 80%. Not all are teachers, and they were arguing that bigger and bigger percentages are not teachers, but the fact remains, using the Halton board, that 80% of the costs are salaries. The problem is that arbitrators are giving them increases and you're getting zero from the province.

One of the things that has been suggested is that the province can step in, whether it be municipal workers, teachers or any of the employees, and say, "I'm sorry, with the tough economic times, we couldn't give the school boards, the municipalities or the universities as much as we wanted, but we are going to introduce legislation that is now going to tie your salaries to the transfer percentage," which would be zero.

That would take the onus off school boards, because the provincial government would do it. I know politically it's very difficult to do, because when you do that every teacher in the province says, "Cut somebody else but not me," and the same with municipal workers. Are you in favour of the province doing that so that for the costs that do go up, and if the property tax owners do come to you, it will be in effect you that has increased the costs rather than the province? Would you like to see the province do that?

Mrs Moseley-Williams: To go to a wage control?

Mr Carr: So they cap it. Since they're giving you zero, they would cap it at zero for teachers and employees and staff.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: I think we're going to give our opinions from our areas, because it's not a provincial statement. At the conferences where salaries have been discussed, certainly the reference is generally made to when the Anti-Inflation Board was in place. I'm not going to say it's easier, because all it does is change the directions negotiations go: If you're not talking money, you're talking everything. It still is complex, but I would support it until the time this recession turns.

Mr Carr: A lot of trustees will tell me that privately; I'll let you answer too. For example, my board won't come out and say that. They say, "We really don't want to antagonize the provincial government, because we need capital funding." Individually they say that's great, that that's what should be done, but nobody comes out with a clear statement. It's almost as if they're afraid of saying that to the provincial government or to upset the teachers. You basically just told me you had to tell me individually, because I gather you can't get a consensus from your organization. I'm just wondering why people are fearful of saying this. Is it that they fear it will ruin their relationship with teachers? Or why the reluctance on the part of trustees and so on not to come forward with this idea?

Mr Meany: It is seen as interfering with a system of negotiation put together with great difficulty; of course, those with interest in maintaining the present system would say that with more fervour. I think we would all agree that Bill 100, as it is called, has been of great benefit. Mind you, we've lived with it mostly in good times. I do think there's some looking at that bill within the ministry at least, but it's very difficult, because you have differing interests.

I would agree with Betty, again speaking for myself, that some short-term control on the public service is feasible. Introducing cost controls in the form of wage control across the economy I think is a dangerous and difficult thing, and it leads to under-the-table payments and various ways of getting around it in the private sector. But if it's among those who are paid by government funds, it's easier to control but politically difficult. On that last point, however, I think we may have reached a stage where the majority of the population would agree that public servants ought to come under constraints such as the majority have been forced to bear under supply and demand and the unbridled effects of a bad economy. If you happen to be a public servant, there's protection that ordinary people don't have, so they are looking askance at even small raises given to public servants. I'm not sure if I've answered everything.

Ms Harrington: I think you've made some very clear points here, even dramatic points, about the problem of inequality in funding and the whole question of funding. As you were saying, the Fair Tax Commission is looking at it, and I gather that you agree with some of the things it has come out with.

Regarding the other organizations that are also involved in changing the structure of the funding of education, have you reached some kind of agreement with the recommendations you propose here, for instance, the first recommendation to pool the commercial and industrial tax revenue and these types of things? Is there broad agreement to the direction you are taking here?

As you've already said, this is politically difficult, and it's much easier to make any real substantial change in anything in this province if there is a broad consensus and if people out there in the public understand why it's being done and that it will be of benefit to them. I agree with your point that the municipal tax base on your property assessment is certainly not a fair way to go. This party, as Mr Phillips will tell you, historically has said that many times: that education should be much more evenly and equitably paid for. Can you answer some of my questions?

Mrs Moseley-Williams: First, you asked if we agreed with the Fair Tax Commission report. We took the figures for our brief because they very clearly demonstrate inequities that are there. There are inequities between all parts within the whole province. It doesn't matter which school system you're talking about, be it public or separate or within the French-language schools. I'm not saying we have looked at the Fair Tax Commission report and agreed with it. We took the figures because those are the figures that we have stated are there, and now they have affirmed that.

Whether all the associations of trustees and all the education associations would agree with what we are saying with respect to commercial and industrial tax revenue, I don't think you're going to have a common agreement across the province. If you were in a situation where you had the availability of $2,000 or $3,000 per pupil, "We'll find equity in a different way," might be what somebody would say. What we're saying is that there isn't another way.

You have small boards outside of these large areas of the province -- I told Patrick today that one of the differences was that up north we have snowplows when this kind of day happens. Anyway, what you have are schools -- you just know that two boards came together because they were going bankrupt. That's a terrible statement. That's not equity for anybody. You have school boards where children do not have full sets of textbooks because they don't have the money, yet you have others where they have not only lovely libraries but full centres of everything. So they won't agree. There's not going to be total agreement on that, no.


Ms Harrington: My point is that your solutions sound good, but there's no way we can implement them unless we form alliances, work together, build together and other people come to these conclusions as well. I'm asking, how close are we to that? Are you working together?

Mrs Moseley-Williams: I'm going to answer part of that and then Patrick. In the Fair Tax Commission report, as you know, there is a minority report in from part of that committee that said the matter of equity is not coming out of it. I don't know how you're going to form those alliances, if you're speaking about you as the government. Our challenge is that you have to find a way to do it, because it's not good to say, "If you can't form an alliance, we can't have this kind of equity." To us, equity should be for the students and the taxpayers and it shouldn't be for the rest of us to be comfortable with it.

Mr Meany: Really an expansion of the same thing: In all cases of institutionalized inequality, it's unreasonable to expect that those who benefit are going to agree. If one went to a grandee of France in 1785 and said, "We'd like you to redistribute some of your revenues," you would get unwillingness, but come back five or six years later and the situation would have softened a little. I'm giving an extreme case. In fairness, to my personal knowledge there are those among those who benefit who recognize the situation. The bottom line is that whether students are from east or west of Ontario, north or south, French-speaking or English-speaking, there should be equality between these students. There is recognition among some people on the other side of that spectrum, but on the whole, it's not reasonable to expect that people will agree to take away a piece of their land and divide it up among the others.

The Chair: Mr Phillips, do you have a short one? We have about one minute left.

Mr Phillips: You have given us four recommendations. One is to take the existing property tax that's raised and redistribute it around the province. The second one is to have other revenue sources pick up an increasing share of education costs, and property tax would decrease, Im sure. Right? Take the property tax share down and find other revenue. Do you have any suggestions for us on where that increased revenue might come from?

Mr Meany: I think Betty's probably going to say. We do build it in here, recognizing that we're in bad times now, but we already know our foot is on the ladder on the way out and now would be the time to start working on it.

Mr Phillips: Not much change now, but a plan to do it over time, is that it?

Mr Meany: To be realistic.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: When you're asking for a dramatic change in anything, there is some sense of realism; you know it's not going to happen. But for where I live in the province, we feel that when the government subsidizes any kind of corporation or commercial entity or direction, it probably affects every taxpayer in Ontario, so we feel that the positive effect should be felt by every taxpayer in Ontario. It takes a hard look at it to say that we're going to say that a kid in Kapuskasing has the same rights and privileges and right to equity as a child in Metropolitan Toronto, the Ottawa boards or London, and it doesn't happen. We're asking you to address that.

The Chair: I'd like to make a comment. We have Earle McCabe from the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association sitting in the audience; I just want to recognize him. I was a little leery because Mary Hendriks from down in my area usually comes before this committee. I just checked, and you were taking your turn this year and that's why Mary's not here. I just wanted to check. I said, "We forgot somebody."

Ms Harrington: You just wanted to get her name on the record.

The Chair: It's a pleasure to have you here today. Have a safe trip home.

Mrs Moseley-Williams: Thank you very much for having us.

The Chair: To the committee, we'll adjourn until 9:30 am tomorrow, when the first group we'll have up is the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario. See you then. This committee is adjourned until 9:30.

The committee adjourned at 1706.