Thursday 11 June 1992

Child care


Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L)

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

Ferguson, Will, (Kitchener ND)

Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND)

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Marchese, Rosario (Fort York ND)

Murdoch, Bill (Grey PC)

Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

Sola, John (Mississauga East/-Est L)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND) for Mr Fletcher

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mr Murdoch

Mahoney, Steven W. (Mississauga West/-Ouest L) for Mr McClelland

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND) for Mr Ferguson

Clerk pro tem / Greffier par intérim: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1622 in room 151.


Consideration of the designated matter pursuant to standing order 123, relating to child care.

The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The standing committee on general government will come to order. The purpose of this meeting is to deal with a 123 designation dealing with child care. Mr Marchese.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I would like to move the adoption of the subcommittee report and also the recommendations entitled Standing Committee on General Government, Standing Order 123, Government Response.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I would second the motion.

The Chair: It doesn't need to be seconded. They are both moved. You may discuss your motion.

Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): Are those two separate motions?

The Chair: It was one motion together. It's on the floor. Discussion? Each party will have slightly less than 20 minutes.

Mr Bisson: Mr Chair, just before we get started, I would prefer if we were able to do it in 10-minute blocks, if that's agreeable with the other parties.

The Chair: Agreed?

Interjections: Agreed.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): Is the clock running?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Jackson: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I still want it explained to me, now that we're in committee, how we can table a report from the government that has not been circulated to all committee members. I thought the subcommittee report was supposed to be dealt with separately and voted on separately. Now your ruling is that they can combine them. I'd request that the two reports be separated and voted on separately.

The Chair: Is there anything out of order with that?

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): If I may answer your question, Mr Jackson, the committee can move a motion as it wishes, and that is what Mr Marchese has done. You have the opportunity to read the report right now and propose amendments to it. You also have an opportunity to propose amendments to the second section of the report. The committee must act when it receives the report.

Mr Jackson: Which report?

Clerk of the Committee: It does not matter.

Mr Jackson: Which report?

Clerk of the Committee: The report that is given to us, which is this report here, and this is the section added to it.

Mr Jackson: The government recommendations.

Clerk of the Committee: That is correct.

Mr Jackson: And the motion from Mr Marchese was to combine the two.

Clerk of the Committee: That is correct.

Mr Jackson: I've asked that that be separated so that I can deal with the -- I believe, Mr Chair, we can deal with the first report.

Mr Marchese: That's fine.

Clerk of the Committee: He can make that amendment, Mr Chair. He can propose that.

Mr Marchese: That's fine, it's agreeable with the movers.

The Chair: It's agreeable.

Clerk of the Committee: An amendment by Mr Jackson that the two reports be separated and there will be a vote --

Mr Jackson: That the report of the subcommittee be approved by the committee. At least we can salvage half a report that we at least agreed upon as a committee, and we have some respectability for this report.

The Chair: Fine, that's agreeable by the mover. Mr Marchese moves the subcommittee report.

Mr Bisson: Mr Chair, I would move that the question be put, adoption of the standing committee --

The Chair: I think we will reserve all votes until the end, as is required, I think, under the standing orders.

Mr Bisson: We're going to go in 10-minute blocks, I understand, Mr Chair? Is that agreeable to the rest of the committee.

The Chair: Is that agreed?

Mr Jackson: No, I am only prepared to go on time allocation if the other caucuses are prepared to table their recommendations. I don't think it's fair to the government that we spend an hour working on the government recommendations when Mrs Poole by her own admission says she's ready with her report. I don't see why the government shouldn't have an opportunity to ask questions. They're being denied the opportunity to ask questions about the minority report, which they are not privy to, and that is, again, part of the process which I find offensive.

The Chair: On that point of order, Mrs Poole.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): Actually the way a 123 is set out by the standing orders is that the time has to be allocated evenly among the three parties. Since during the hearing process all time was allocated evenly among the three parties, it then stands to reason that in order to meet the dictates of the standing orders, we have to allocate the time here today evenly among the three parties.

Mr Jackson: I don't disagree with that, Mr Chair. What I'm saying is --

The Chair: Mr Mahoney.

Mr Jackson: Okay, but I'd like to comment on the question.

Mr Mahoney: It has always been my understanding that a committee which is dominated by the majority members of the government would deal with the report, put motions, and they would either carry or be defeated. If the opposition disagreed with the end result of that report, the opposition would submit a minority report saying, "We disagree with the majority report of the committee." You don't submit a minority report before there is a report to be in disagreement with.

So we have to deal with the government's position. I never recall, as a sitting member of the government side on committees, our debating minority reports. Quite often the minority report was not even ready when the committee was finished its work. It just happens to be that our critic has shown some diligence in preparing a minority report based on what we assume is going to be the government's report. If that changes as a result of these meetings, then our minority report may indeed change.

But we have some confidence that the government, in putting forth government response -- we have some sense that the government believes what it's saying in putting forward the response and therefore that's going to carry and therefore that's going to be the report. If that's the case, we do have a minority report, but we're not prepared to submit a minority report of the opposition party until we see what the government report is. So I have no idea, with all due respect, where Mr Jackson's coming from.

The Chair: I would like to take a 10-minute recess, because what is happening here is that for procedural reasons we are eating up the time that everyone has to speak to the main body of the report. So we will go into recess for 10 minutes.

The committee recessed at 1629.


The Chair: We have a motion on the floor which deals with Mr Marchese's motion to adopt the subcommittee report.

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Mr Bisson, you wish to speak to the second part of Mr Marchese's report?

Mr Bisson: Yes, Mr Chair. I'd like to speak to the government response to the first part of the report we just adopted. Basically I would like to first of all point out two or three of the main points that were put in the actual motion on the 123 that was presented by Mrs Poole from the Liberal caucus. She says in her motion basically that, "The impact on women of the government's policies relating to independent child care centres in that these policies will impose further barriers to women's full and equal participation in the employment market, such examination to include the role of independent child care centres...."

I would like to point to the government response. The Ministry of Community and Social Services responded to that particular point. If we take a look, first of all, at the sixth recommendation in the report, it says: "To continue the public consultations to get input into flexible models to encourage diversity in options for parents." If we remember hearing one of the points that was made on a number of occasions on the part of some of the presenters who came before the committee, they talked about how they felt what was going to happen was they wouldn't have the option of choice when it came to provision of day care for their children.

What we're saying here in the recommendation is that the parents will still have that option of choice. What we're saying is that those private operators that are in business now operating as private day care centres have the opportunity to continue to do so. They will still receive the grants they're entitled to, this portion. But what the government wanted to do was move more towards a child care policy that would direct the dollars we have into the public sector.

We're doing that for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons, fairly basically put, is that if you're going to try to develop over the long term a child care policy that will be for the people of this province, you have to have some sort of a vehicle or mechanism by which to direct your health care dollars. We feel, based on the work that has been done on the part of the ministry -- also, I would point to some of the points that were made in regard to some of the presenters in this report -- that if you're able to invest into the non-profit sector, the government has a better opportunity to be able to direct what happens within the policy itself. There's the question of accountability on the question of the boards, and having the opportunity to carry that policy through so that it can best reflect the needs of the people of the province.

I just want to say very clearly that what's happening in the private sector, for example in a community like mine, which is Timmins, where the only person in town who actually operates a day care centre is in the private sector, is that person will have the opportunity to continue to receive the grants that are presently in place for that benefit, and parents who choose to keep on going there, that's fine; that is entirely their choice. But if we were to open another centre, then we would direct new dollars to a non-profit centre, and that would actually give the parents more choice in the end.

There are a couple of other points I'd like to make, but I think I'm just going to stop it at that point. I'll leave it over to the other caucuses in order to make their comments and we'll take it from there.

Mr Jackson: Could I have a question, Mr Chairman?

The Chair: Yes, Mr Jackson.

Mr Jackson: On that point, was it not an understanding that the decision whether or not a centre would be eligible for conversion and therefore still be available to the parent -- in other words, choice doesn't have to do with whether it's commercial or non-profit but whether or not the parent has the choice to stay in the same day care centre. Did your minister not indicate that she would be deciding which communities, based on supply, she felt day care centres would be allowed to operate in and continue through the conversion plan, and therefore that some parents may lose the choice of their day care centre and their day care worker and the local centre because the government has chosen not to make them eligible for conversion? Is that not the point of choice that was raised in your report?

Mr Bisson: No. First of all, we're under time allocation.

Mr Jackson: Where does it say we're under time allocation?

Mr Bisson: We're under time allocation. If you want to address that --

The Chair: Section 123(d).

Mr Bisson: Yes.

Mr Jackson: Correct, but I'm asking a question of clarification on your time.

Mr Bisson: No. Under time allocation in the standing orders, the government and every other party, within the role of this committee, takes the opportunity to address the points it wants to within the purview of this committee. If you want to use your caucus's time in order to raise questions and we have an opportunity to respond --

Mr Jackson: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: As I understand it, the government has tabled a series of recommendations, and in the process of tabling them we are now discussing a motion. Do we not have a motion on the floor?

The Chair: Yes, we do.

Mr Jackson: That is correct. So, am I being told I cannot ask questions when the government is presenting its motions?

The Chair: Mr Jackson, during your time you can ask any questions that you so choose.

Mr Jackson: No. I had a point of clarification and I asked. Are all points of clarification now being moved into time allocation and therefore we're being muzzled? Is that what I'm being told?

The Chair: The Chair is following the time allocation. You can ask any questions that you wish. The government can respond if it wishes. But it's their time when they respond; it's your time when you ask.

Mr Jackson: Well, that's a new ruling.

Mr Bisson: Just to be clear: I take it that the time we've used up to this point is not going come out of my caucus's time allocation, Mr Chair?

Mr Marchese: We had an understanding.

Mr Jackson: What understanding did you have?

The Chair: The understanding is that I have to divide the time equally.

Mr Jackson: That's correct, but I thought we were allowed to ask questions. You're saying that everybody gets their chance for commentary. I have some questions about points of clarification on something I'm going to be voting on. I still have the right in committee to ask a question. Not to give a speech, but simply ask a question.

Mr Marchese: In your time.

The Chair: Yes, you do. I just agreed to that. You can ask any question you wish, Mr Jackson.

Mr Bisson: Within his time allocation.

The Chair: Mr Jackson, you're next.

Mr Jackson: I'm not prepared. I'll yield. Come back to me. Thank you, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Fine, thank you, Mr Jackson. Mrs Poole.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, on a point of clarification: We had set up a process which I thought had been agreed upon, where each caucus would take 8 minutes and at the end of the 8 minutes the Chair would advise that it was expired. The next caucus would have a chance to either respond or make its points and then it would rotate after that 8 minutes. Suddenly this process has broken down. Could we please revert to what was originally agreed upon, and each caucus use its 8 minutes in rotation --


The Chair: I'm trying my best to keep track of all the time that's being used, and this is a very difficult process. I would appreciate that we perhaps move in some kind of a reasonable rotation. I'm giving each caucus 17 minutes. It's your time.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, would you please advise me when half of my time -- 8 minutes -- has expired? Or perhaps the clerk could.

The Chair: I shall.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): On a point of privilege, Mr Chair.

Mr Jackson: A point of order, not privilege.

Mr Mammoliti: A point of order. A point of whatever.

Ms Poole: This is your time, George.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, for the record I'd like four and a half minutes put back on to our time.

The Chair: I've been keeping very careful track of everyone's time, Mr Mammoliti.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, my time is now beginning?

The Chair: Yes.

Ms Poole: I feel like we've reverted back to kindergarten.

Mr Chair, the general government committee was specifically assigned the task of a 123 designation, a 12-hour discussion, examining the impact of the government's child care conversion policy, the impact of that policy on women, on children and on families. It is the opinion of the Liberal caucus that this committee failed to fully examine this issue. In fact, the focus became the funding of private versus non-profit child care centres.

However, the Liberal caucus does believe that there are a number of statements emanating from the hearings that can be made about the impact of the conversion plan on women. Throughout the hearings it was quite evident that the majority of those affected by the conversion policy will be women: women who do work in the centres, operate the centres and use the centres. For the women who work in private centres, they're very concerned that, due to the government's policy, centres will close. This is basically because of two factors. The first is that the government made it clear that new wage enhancements are limited to the non-profit sector, which means that the wage gap between private sector child care workers and non-profit child care workers has widened.

Second, as part of the policy the government requested that municipalities direct new subsidies to the non-profit sector only. It was only in situations where there was no non-profit sector available, where private was all that was available, that the government wanted municipalities to direct new subsidies to private centres.

Obviously these two policies have a very major impact on private sector child care. The women who work in the child care sector are very concerned that their centres may well close. They are concerned that job security, loss of benefits and inferior treatment as individuals by a government -- a government, by the way, that was supposed to be committed to women -- are going to be the results.


When Judith Preston of the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario addressed the committee, she described the total losses as intangibles. I'll quote from her: "Reputation, future earnings, seniority, education, career expectations, equity, time and effort, loss of salary and benefits, mental distress for being forced out and the loss of livelihood and dreams."

This was further supported by one of the witnesses, Janet Hodgkinson, who for 21 years worked in private sector child care. She said that the government's policy made her feel inferior to a person with the same years of experience who was working in a non-profit centre. "According to the government, I have therefore contributed nothing to the welfare of the children in my care." That was what she felt had happened because of this policy.

We had the executive director of ABC Child Care Centre, who presented letters from his staff, who wrote: "There is a lot more at stake than just money. What about loyalty? What about sweat and years of dedication? What about pride?

"There are employees at our centres, like myself, who have been with ABC from the beginning. That's 10 years of hard work and dedication. We are like a family. We are happy with the way things are, because each and every one of us has built up our centres to be what they are today."

Finally, the government's policy of only paying new wage enhancements to non-profit sector child care workers will, as I mentioned earlier, increase the wage gap between private sector and non-profit workers. It will be increasingly difficult for private centres to attract and retain staff.

It was very clear, from the presentations made to us, that private operators, private child care staff and the users of the system -- the mothers, the fathers, the parents, the children, the families -- all felt that the government's policy was going to be detrimental to private child care centres and, in certain instances, would end up forcing them to close. If they could not rely on new subsidies and if the wage gap continued so they could not pay their employees a reasonable wage, then they would not be able to operate and compete.

As far as the impact on women who use the centres and on their children and on the families, the two major considerations when choosing a neighbourhood service such as child care are convenience and trust. For many families the centre they choose, regardless of auspice, is the one that provides the service they desire and is convenient in terms of location and hours of operation. But it is going to be extremely difficult for centres that are on the borderline right now and will be pushed over the edge. If they cannot receive new subsidies and if children from that centre leave for whatever reason -- they move; they outgrow the need for child care -- and they can't replace those subsidies, then it becomes increasingly obvious that the ramifications are going to be felt by the users of the system.

That gets into the right to choose. I believe there was a statement by the government representative that there is choice. But there is no choice if a centre is financially disadvantaged to a state where it cannot continue to operate. That eliminates the choice.

Then we go to the impact on the women who operate the centres. The women who operate private centres do face a loss of livelihood if they're forced into converting or closing. I guess the government's response has been, "Well, they could perhaps manage the non-profit sector child care if they convert." However, you have people like Carolyn Koff, one of the very articulate presenters we heard, who stated that she had a master's degree in education; she didn't have an early childhood education degree. Therefore, if she converted her centre, under the rules and regulations she would not be allowed to operate a non-profit centre. Notwithstanding the fact that she has magnificent qualifications -- and that is true -- she doesn't meet the criteria.

Mr Chair, at this time I'd like to waive the balance of my time until later.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Bisson, you have about 13 minutes.

Mr Bisson: I think Mr Jackson had a point.

Mr Jackson: Yes, I had a question. With respect to Mr Bisson, I'm ready to ask it at this point. I need a question of clarification, Mr Chairman, and it has to do with recommendation 6. This is confusing and I need this clarified. The government says "Recommendation 6," and that precedes the commentary, or are these numbers out of sync? Do you see what the problem is in this report? It says that "Parental Choice/Parental Input" is 5, and that says recommendation 6. Do those two go together? Is that how I'm to read that? Could I have help here? I want to ask a question, but I'm not sure which preamble fits that.

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): The preamble is the one that you're looking for, number 6. It starts with 6 at the top, which talks about recommendation 7. You've got your preamble before and your recommendation follows.

Mr Jackson: Recommendation 6 --

Mr Bisson: Ties to 5.

Mr Jackson: Ties to 5. That's what I needed to know. So they're not numerically exact. Okay.

Can I ask Mr Bisson a question, please? Can you explain to me what you mean by, "To continue the public consultations to get input into flexible models to encourage diversity in options for parents"? What models are there other than the non-profit model? I'm asking your government a question.

Mr Bisson: You're under your time allocation at this point.

Mr Jackson: Of course I am.

Mr Bisson: I don't want to burn up your time.

Mr Jackson: If I'm going to vote on this, I should at least have the government answer the question as to what is meant.

Mr Bisson: Just ask your questions and I'll deal with them under my time allocation. That's all I'm saying.

Mr Jackson: I thought we'd established that if I ask a question under my time -- are you missing the point here?

Mr Bisson: No, no.

The Chair: Mr Jackson, he's saying that this will not come off your time.

Mr Jackson: Mr Chair, please get into the game here, will you? I said it's my time. I'm asking questions of the government and I'd like answers. He's wasting my time, in effect.

The Chair: He's about to answer the question.

Mr Bisson: Mr Hope wants to answer the question.

Mr Jackson: Please.

Mr Hope: I'll respond to that. Through the public consultation, when you deal with flexible models, it's not an issue of profit versus non-profit. There is child care that deals with resource centres, there's at-home care, there's the centre care that people are talking about. Flexible models are not necessarily institutional settings; they're a number of community initiatives that people want to see provide flexible models to meet their needs. It's not an issue of profit versus non-profit.

Mr Jackson: But nowhere in the report do you say that. You simply say "parental choice" and then "non-profit programs." That's why I raise the question. How are we supposed to interpret that? How can we strengthen that recommendation? Can I move an amendment that would indicate "diversity in options for parents, such as," and then we can list what you just said?

Mr Hope: What you're doing is trying to encompass private versus non-profit.

Mr Jackson: No. Don't impugn motive, Mr Hope. I'm simply asking --

Mr Bisson: No, no, that's not what he's saying.

Mr Hope: I'm asking for a point of clarification. Now, if you want to get huffy about it --

Mr Jackson: If I hadn't asked it, the report would be silent on it.

I support recommendations 1 and 2 in your report. I think there's nothing wrong with it. I think they're good recommendations. I'm asking in 6, who's going to argue? I'm sure the Liberals will not want to vote against recommendation 6, which says, "To continue public consultations to get input into flexible models..." Nowhere in the report do you tell me what you mean by "flexible models." I've asked you, what are flexible models and how can we strengthen a recommendation? I guess I should have been more accurate and said, "Could you please say it clearly?"

Mr Hope: Okay. What basically we can do is this: What we are talking about in regard to flexible models, for an example, is providing service for people who have overnight stays, with regard to people that are working shift work, various types of models within the non-profit sector that would be able to address the needs of the population.

What you're wanting us to do is to list them in. There's no problem; we can table --

Mr Jackson: As an example, that's all, because --

Mr Hope: Yes. Overnight care, as an example, we would be prepared to add that on to it. Emergency respite care, for an example, shift worker care etc, you can add that on and we'd be agreeable, no problem.

Mr Jackson: In my time then, can I move an amendment to --

The Chair: Certainly.

Mr Bisson: Yes, we'd be agreeable.

Mr Jackson: Can we work on this? I have no difficulty with using my time in order to strengthen this, but I'd rather make it clear because I have some concerns about home day care. The report is silent on it everywhere. If that's what is meant here then we should say that -- at least give us that opportunity, or I'd be prepared to strengthen it in the body of the report.

Mr Bisson: We're agreeable.

The Chair: If you want to move an amendment at any time.

Mr Jackson: Mr Hope used the word -- what were the examples you used? Home day care?

Mr Hope: You're looking at people who are providing home day care, you're looking at resource centres, and you're looking --

Mr Jackson: Which ones? Like in schools?

Mr Hope: The resource centres, there are a variety of different flavours in communities, and you're looking at the non-profit centres.

Mr Jackson: Home day care is not necessarily private. Do you wish to suggest that it's only --

Mr Hope: These are flexible models that the communities are looking to through the public consultation. The direction of the government still hasn't been established because there's a reform document out there.

Mr Jackson: Okay. Then I would move an amendment that in recommendation 6, "encourage diversity in options for parents, such as home day care and child resource centres."

The Chair: Could I get a copy of that, Mr Jackson, or do we get it -- I don't think the clerk's got it down, is the only problem.

Mr Bisson: Licensed home day care, you would add on that?

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): Licensed home day care?

Mr Bisson: Licensed home day care. Any other models for overnight care, as I had said? Emergency respite care, shift worker care. We'd be agreeable.

The Chair: Mr Jackson moves that recommendation 6 of the report be amended to read, "to continue the public consultations to get input into flexible models to encourage diversity in options for parents, such as licensed home day care, overnight day care and child resource centres."

Mr Jackson: Can I have 20 minutes to collect my members for this recorded vote, please?

The Chair: It says that I will take every question necessary to dispose of any item and matter at the end.

Mr Jackson: I'm amending this during my time. Do you mean I'm not able to amend my own amendment? I believe I have the right to do that.

The Chair: You wish to vote on it right at this moment, is that what you're telling me?

Mr Jackson: I wish to vote on it right now and I want to get my caucus, and that is my right because it's not the main motion; it's an amendment to the motion which is on the floor.

The Chair: Fine. Mr Jackson has requested 20 minutes.

The committee recessed at 1724.


The Chair: A recorded vote will be taken on Mr Jackson's amendment. All in favour of Mr Jackson's amendment will so signify.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, could I please have the amendment read?

The Chair: Could you read the --

Clerk of the Committee: Yes. Mr Jackson moves that new words be added to recommendation 6 after the word "parents," and it will read as follows:

"To continue the public consultations to get input into flexible models to encourage diversity in options for parents," and the new words are, "licensed home day care, overnight day care and child resource centres."

The Chair: All in favour?

Mr Bisson: I just want to be clear. You're referring, when you say "licensed," to all of them, right? It's not just licensed home day care; it's licensed home day care and the other ones that you mentioned. Just to be very clear.

Mr Jackson: You mean "licensed resource centres."

Mr Bisson: Yes.

Mr Jackson: No, I didn't imply that.

Clerk of the Committee: No, those are not the words.

Mr Jackson: No. It's "licensed home care."

Clerk of the Committee: You want to add the word "licensed"?

The Chair: Wait a minute; we have a motion on the floor that has to be voted on.

Mr Jackson: It's been clarified that I only meant "licensed home care," which was Mr Marchese's suggestion, and I agree, but the others I don't think need the word "licensed."

Clerk of the Committee: It does not have "licensed."

The Chair: It doesn't say "licensed."

Mr Jackson: Thank you. That's the way I wish it to stand.

Clerk of the Committee: "Licensed home day care, overnight day care and child resource centres." Those are the words here.

The Chair: All in favour? Call the names; it's a recorded vote.

Mr White: I'm sorry, Mr Chair. I have some real confusion about what we're dealing with.

Mr Bisson: I would support the motion but it should be on the other ones. They should be referred to as "licensed." I just wanted to make that clear and that's why I'm voting against it.

The Chair: We're trying to take a vote here.

Mr Bisson: Yes. I'm voting against it.

The Chair: We can't change the wording now. We have a vote.


You have to vote.

Mr White: Dianne, you have to vote.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair --

The Chair: Vote.

Ms Poole: On a point of order?

The Chair: No, vote.

The committee divided on Mr Jackson's motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:

Ayes -- 5

Arnott, Harrington, Hope, Jackson, Marchese.

Nays -- 4

Bisson, Mammoliti, Poole, White.

Mr Jackson: I would like to table another recommendation. In recommendation 3, in which the government addresses the issue of continuing "to negotiate the conversion policy and include employment impact of centre closings as one of the criteria for determining priority of funding," I'd like to add, "and further, that the seniority rights of displaced day care workers be acknowledged and upheld when re-employment opportunities in non-profit day care centres presents itself." I have another recommendation in number 1, if my time will allow me.


Mr Marchese: One at a time, Mr Chair, and if you could make page references again to the motion.

Mr Jackson: Government recommendation 3, to insert after the first paragraph of the recommendation, "and further, that the seniority rights of displaced day care workers be acknowledged and upheld when re-employment opportunities in non-profit day care centres presents itself."

Since I don't wish to debate them, I'll just put them on the record in the interests of time. In recommendation 1 -- and I will give this to the clerk -- I would like to add, "and that parents be given increased and improved access to these hearings and consultations."

Mr Bisson: Excuse me, I didn't catch that.

The Chair: The clerk will read them. Mr Jackson, you have the option of having these voted on at the expiration of the time or we can do it now.

Mr Jackson: No, I'm prepared to proceed immediately with those votes. I'm just trying to, in the best interests of time, present these. I have others, but I'm going to run out of time.

Clerk of the Committee: Moved by Mr Jackson that a new section be placed after the words "priority of funding," that will read, "and further, that the seniority rights of displaced day care workers be acknowledged and upheld when re-employment opportunities in non-profit day care centres presents itself." Am I correct? Then it will also further read --

Mr Jackson: We'll do one vote at a time, if I may, Mr Chair, and I'd like a recorded vote on that. Call the question.

Mr Bisson: Okay, we're voting on recommendation 3.

Mr Jackson: I wanted to do this in subcommittee, but I wasn't given a chance.


Mr Bisson: Is there any debate on the motion?

The Chair: Well, it would be on your time if there is.

Mr Jackson: It would be on your time.

Mr Bisson: Okay, just to take two minutes while we explain in regard to --

Mr Hope: Vote.

The Chair: All right. I guess I go to vote.

Mr Hope: I would like a clarification of this motion.

Mr Bisson: No. You're into our time.

Mr Jackson: We've established this one, Randy.

Mr Hope: I didn't establish this one.

Mr Jackson: No, the Chair ruled. If you want to challenge the Chair's ruling, challenge the Chair's ruling.

Mr Hope: I didn't hear a ruling.

Mr Jackson: Then check with your table.

Mr Bisson: Just for a point of clarification, because on your motion 3, I understand what Mr Jackson is doing and it is very commendable. The difficulty with that is that it's going to be up to the working group in regard to how the conversion model will work. That question will be dealt with at that point, but there is also the question that that will be up to the individual boards of directors how they deal with the collective agreement. We can't impose on new boards what the collective agreement will end up saying, so we'll be voting against it.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair --

The Chair: On your time.

Ms Poole: -- I would like to take a minute of my time just asking Mr Jackson if he would be agreeable to expanding "seniority rights" to include "security of tenure and benefits" or if he would prefer to keep it in its current form.

Mr Jackson: I think that's a very helpful amendment, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Is that an amendment that you accept?

Mr Jackson: Yes. It's helpful, and thank you.

The Chair: Ms Poole moves to add the words "security of tenure and benefits" to "seniority rights" in Mr Jackson's amendment. Agreed?

The committee divided on Mr Jackson's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes -- 3

Arnott, Jackson, Poole.

Nays -- 6

Bisson, Harrington, Hope, Mammoliti, Marchese, White.

Clerk of the Committee: We have an amendment to recommendation 1, and it reads:

"To continue the process of public consultations about child care reform." The new words added are: "and that parents be given increased and improved access to these hearings and consultations."

The Chair: Mr Jackson, may I put that question at the end or on your time?

Mr Jackson: No, a recorded vote.

Mr Bisson: On my time.

The Chair: A recorded vote on your time, Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: Just a point on that: I understand again what the motion is about. You should be clear, though, that the public consultations are scheduled to end on June 24 and that the ministry is still prepared to receive documentation from the people, but we can't extend the consultation process at that point so we'll be voting against it.

Ms Poole: Mr Chairman, I would just like to point out to the government members that their recommendation says, "To continue the process of public consultations about child care reform," so you're already assuming from your own recommendation that it will continue, and therefore Mr Jackson's suggestion is quite --

Mr Bisson: Just to bring back the motion that was made. Maybe I misunderstood. Try it again.

Clerk of the Committee: The recommendation in your paper reads: "To continue the process of public consultations about child care reform." The new words will be, "and that parents be given increased and improved access to these hearings and consultations."

Mr Hope: A couple of the issues that I'm having a hard time understanding with the amendment that's put forward -- yes, we believe in public consultation, which we have. We've done a number of public consultations throughout this province. We've done round table discussions with it. We've also had the Parents' Newspaper that is out there. There will be opportunity as its progress continues to allow more parents in all sectors to participate as when the report is done from the public hearings it will be circulated in all Ministry of Community and Social Services offices.

I don't know how much more improvement we can give to the parents than what we have already currently established. I don't know how much further we can go. We've reached into the homes of the parents. We went to the schools and we made sure that the Parents' Newspaper was in their hands. We've made sure that the public consultations that have been held throughout this province have given opportunity for parents to participate in the program and making sure that their personal views and what they see in formulating a reform or formulating the conversion is all part of it.

When we talk about the public consultation that has been offered, if we start segregating each other and putting parents as a priority, I think what we have to do is ask the community in itself to be more involved in this whole public consultation. I think it would be most appropriate that through the public consultation, which will be the will of the government, we make sure that we bring all of the community in, because whether you have children or not, it is important for your community to be actively involved in the future of those children. Just to exclude one segment of it I have a hard time with, but I think it's important that if Mr Jackson was to say that the community as a whole be a part of the public consultations, I could start to understand that a little clearer. I don't want to start diverting parents because it's the role of the whole community, whether you have children or not or whether you're part of the education system, to be part of the consultations.

Ms Poole: The reason why I am supporting Mr Jackson's amendment is that there have not been sufficient opportunities for parents to respond. Mr Hope mentioned the Parents' Newspaper. The Parents' Newspaper was published in English and French and 13 other languages. The two-page survey that was enclosed, which gave parents an opportunity to respond back to the government, was only printed in English and French, and not in the remaining 13 languages. So parents who received the main report in their own language but who could not respond to the government because the survey was in English or French are quite upset and feel that they have not had sufficient opportunity. So I think this is an excellent motion, which we should be supporting. It will also give parents an opportunity to express their views on the conversion policy and how they would like to see it changed or implemented.

The committee divided on Mr Jackson's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes -- 3

Arnott, Jackson, Poole.

Nays -- 6

Bisson, Harrington, Hope, Mammoliti, Marchese, White.

Mr Jackson: I have other amendments so I'll yield till I can be recognized in another rotation with what limited time I have left.

Mr Bisson: Can I ask the amount of time left for each caucus at this point?

The Chair: May I suggest, given the hour, we recess? I have about eight minutes left for the New Democratic caucus, seven minutes for the Liberal caucus and, to be precise, about 35 seconds for the Conservative caucus.

The committee is adjourned until 10 o'clock next Thursday morning.

The committee adjourned at 1758.