Wednesday 25 March 1992

Child care

Little Red School House

Kathy Alexander

ABC Child Care Centres

Ian Gibb, executive director

Wee Care Day Care

Joan Zimmerman, partner

Kristy Burnett, staff member

Réseau ontarien des services de garde francophones

Claire Parent-McCullough

Brant Children's Centre

Dr Heather Knoepfli, co-owner and director

Peter Knoepfli, co-owner and general manager

Ressel Day Nursery School

Greg Ressel

Mariola McGinn, supervisor

Association for Early Childhood Education, Ontario

Lesley Russell, member

Gillian Doherty

Kathy's (Family) Home Day Care Centres

Kathy Sarginson, owner-operator

Policy Research Centre on Children, Youth and Families

Dr Laura Johnson, research director

Moppett School

Diane McBride, owner-operator

Janet Hodgkinson

Children are VIPs

Carolyn Koff, owner-operator

Moore Place Day Care

Lucy Quaglia, owner-manager

Margaret C. Haynes


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

Acting Chair / Président(e) suppléant(e): Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est L)

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

Abel, Donald (Wentworth North/-Nord ND)

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND)

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Marchese, Rosario (Fort York ND)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

Turnbull, David (York Mills PC)

Winninger, David (London South/-Sud NDP)

Substitution(s) / Membre(s) remplaçant(s):

Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC) for Mr Turnbull

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mrs Marland

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

Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND) for Mr Mammoliti

Ward, Brad (Brantford ND) for Mr Winninger

White, Drummond (Durham Centre/-Centre ND) for Mr Marchese

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Sonia Ostrowska, program policy analyst, child care branch

Clerk / Greffier: Deller, Deborah

Staff / Personnel: Baldwin, Elizabeth, Legislative Counsel

The committee met at 1006 in committee room 2.


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

The Chair: The standing committee on general government will come to order. Before we start this morning, I would point out to members that there is a change in the schedule. At 1:40 this afternoon the group that the committee agreed to hear, the Association for Early Childhood Education, will be here. Members could make a note that at 1:40 we will have that other group.


The Chair: This morning our first presentation will come from the Little Red School House, Kathy Alexander, and I see you have a friend.

Mrs Alexander: Yes.

The Chair: Please introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard. The committee has provided 20 minutes for your presentation and the members always appreciate some time for questions and answers. You may begin.

Mrs Alexander: My name is Kathy Alexander. Along with my parents and husband, I operate the Little Red School House Day Care Center in Keswick. The centre has been in existence for approximately 16 years. We have been the operators for the last four and a half years. The centre is licensed for 98 children ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years. We also operate a school-age program in Keswick which currently has an operating capacity of 30 children, ages six to 12 years. We have access for busing to all the public and separate schools in town for the school-age program.

We are located in a town of approximately 13,000 people and for 13 years the Little Red School House has been the only day care centre in Keswick. In fact, it was the only day care centre in the town of Georgina, whose current population is 29,000 people. In the fall of 1989, a non-profit centre was opened in Keswick. Many people thought the Little Red School House would have been hurt by this opening. In fact, it has helped us. Another non-profit centre was opened in September 1991, located right down the street from us. While both programs have been operating, Little Red School House and the people of Keswick have benefited.

One way the new centres have benefited is that the families of Keswick needing child care now have more choice. They have the freedom to choose which centre best suits their needs. They also have the freedom to change day care centres if they are not satisfied with their current arrangement. Another way we have benefited from the new programs is in regard to the parents' fees. Both programs are more expensive than ours.

An example of our current fees is $100 per week for a preschool child compared to $125 per week and $136.20 per week at the other two centres. People comparing programs can look at this difference and will undoubtedly take it into consideration when choosing a program. The current supply of child care in Keswick allows the parents to have a choice. By converting the Little Red School House to non-profit, this choice will be eliminated. The point I am trying to make is that a child care system should include a mix of programs. I think 100% non-profit system is wrong.

Right now, healthy competition exists among the day care centres in Keswick. Parents also have a choice. If they are not pleased with the operation of one centre they are free to choose another type of operation, for example, either a board of directors or a private operator. As a parent quotes, "I prefer this type of setup where there is a single operator and I know that I can approach you about any concerns that I have and I am confident they will be resolved effectively."

However, this type of operation may not be what best suits every family's needs. There may be families who prefer to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the centre and in the case of the non-profit centre they can be. In private centres, parents are always welcome to contribute their ideas to the program, though.

Quite a lot of private home day care exists in Keswick so at this particular time parents have a good variety of choice. The government's policies would strip parents of their choice. Does this government feel that parents do not have the capability to choose whichever program best suits their own needs? The NDP government is forcing its own ideology on to the residents of Ontario whether they like it or not.

The Little Red School House has a very good reputation. As proof of this, we are currently operating at just two children below capacity. I think those are pretty good numbers for a program licensed for 128 children in total. Also, we are accepting children on a waiting list for the program in September. We have not found the need to do a lot of advertising for enrolment as our current clientele are so pleased with the program they tell their friends and we receive quite a number of referrals this way. I am very comfortable with the quality of the Little Red School House. We are constantly striving to improve. However, at this point I feel the quality of the program is very high.

As I explained earlier, the centre is operated by myself and my mother. We employ a total of 19 staff members, all of whom are female. The child care system in Ontario is predominantly female oriented. The current government's policies will only serve to endanger the jobs these women now have. It would be very difficult for me to continue operating the Little Red School House if we were forced to convert to non-profit. I would be placed in a very awkward position where, after four and a half years of operating the program according to my own philosophies, I would have to answer to a board of directors and turn to them for any decisions. The control of my own centre would be completely taken away from me. To tell you the truth, I am not sure if I could handle that.

I know for a fact that my mother would not continue working at the centre. She would opt for an early retirement. The only reason she re-entered the workforce four and a half years ago was because we were running our own business. We thought we could make a difference to day care in Keswick. We have made a positive difference, but now we face the government taking it away from us. I still do not really understand why.

Even though I can only speak on my own behalf, I feel this government's policies will have a devastating effect on the women day care centre operators in Ontario. Many who operate their own centre do so because they love what they are doing and they are damn good at it. Quality programs exist in the private sector and it is mainly due to these hardworking, devoted women. I wonder how many of these women will return to or continue in the workforce if they are forced by their own government to either close down or convert to non-profit.

Critics of the private sector say that child care should not be run as a profit-making enterprise. If they just take a look at child care in general, they will see that there is no profit to be made in the day care field. My profit is simply the salary I am paid for my work. If there is no profit, I do not receive a salary. If there is so much profit to be made, why did the Minister of Community and Social Services, Marion Boyd, announce on December 2, 1991, $10 million to be paid to non-profit centres currently in debt?

I do not think the taxpayers of Ontario fully understand the impact on them with regard to the NDP government's child care policies. The elimination of the private sector will affect all levels of government, beginning with the local town councils and the regional governments. For example, in York region 90 private day care programs contribute $3,000 on average in business and property taxes per year to the local governments. Non-profit programs and school-based programs do not pay any taxes to the government. Can you imagine the effect on local budgets when they lose this revenue?

The taxpayers of Ontario will be saddled with even more of a tax increase. There is already public outcry from increasing taxes. It would only get worse. This does not include the cost of the new system which has been estimated at costing up to approximately $1,400 per household per year, each year for the rest of our lives and our children's lives. The government's new child care system will not be more affordable for the average taxpayer of Ontario. They will be paying for the system through their property taxes as well as a user's fee for the service. My local government will be losing approximately $7,000 per year in business and property taxes. Can they really afford to lose this revenue?

The one thing I will miss the most is the personal contact and the friendships I have made with my employees, parents and, most important, the children. We all get so caught up in the policies, ideology, philosophies and implications that a reformed child care system will have on the current system that we lose the real reasons we are all here. Everyone in this room is concerned with the wellbeing of the children. We all want what is best for the children and their families. I firmly believe that to achieve the best possible solution for the children is to work together.

I think a child care system that combines a variety of programs would ideally serve the children and the families of Ontario that need to access child care. To achieve this, everyone who is involved in child care should be considered when the policies are being formed. The private sector of child care is being ignored. Our contribution to the child care system in Ontario has not been taken into consideration. It does not really matter what happens to the private centres just as long as they do not exist in five years.

Have the children in the families been taken into consideration when these decisions have been made? Does it matter to the government that the majority of people who currently use the private sector are satisfied with their arrangements? Does it matter to the government that parents do not want to remove their children from their chosen centre just because it happens to be privately run? Does it matter to the government that the children in these private centres are comfortable with their surroundings and would not understand if they were suddenly told they could not go back to that centre any more?

If some of these issues do matter to the government, now is the time to decide if it is willing to put children and families who access the private sector in Ontario through more turmoil than it may be possible for them to handle. Thank you.

Mr Mahoney: How much time do we have?

The Chair: I am just trying to figure that out.

Mr Mahoney: Sorry to put you under that pressure.

The Chair: About four minutes.

Mr Mahoney: Four minutes? Okay, I want to leave some time for Ms Poole.

Thank you very much, by the way, for your presentation. Could I just ask you to address the word "motive?" The government calls your centre and other centres in the private sector, which I call small businesses, for-profit day care centres, and they put great emphasis on the words "for-profit." The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care yesterday said it is time that day care was taken out of the profit-motivated arena. The implication is these money-grubbing people who are just gouging parents and kids and making all this great money. So they want to take it out of the profit arena and put it into the socialist arena, into totally non-profit.

Could you describe for the committee what motivated you? Was it profits? Was it the opportunity to own your own business? Was it the kids? Was it service? Whatever it was, what motivated you to get into this business?

Mrs Alexander: The first motivation is that my background is in early childhood education and I thought I could provide a quality service for the children. That was my motivation, for the children.

I knew, after talking to a member of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, that there was no profit to be made. She even advised me that a considerable amount of money needed to be invested into the day care to bring it up to high-quality standards, and we were still willing to go through with the purchase of the building, the land and the business. I think first and more important it is the children.

Mr Mahoney: That motivated you. You understand that they are saying your centre will still be there. It may even still be called the Little Red School House, but it will be converted, if it is lucky enough to be one of the 50%, and you will be paid some magical equity amount for your trouble, if there is anything worth paying you for.

Mrs Alexander: If there is anything there.

Mr Mahoney: Which I doubt, frankly. But it will still be there, so the kids will still go. You will still be there. You will be a civil servant.

Mrs Alexander: It cannot be guaranteed that we will be kept on.

Mr Mahoney: But assuming you are, assuming their ideology is that it is still going to be there and the kids will go there and you are going to be there working for the government, how do you feel about having your business stripped away from you for virtually nothing and your being turned into a state employee?

Mrs Alexander: In a word, I am angry. I am really angry and I am also frustrated. Why would they even want to do that? The centre is operating to high-quality standards now. This seems to be a waste of taxpayers' money.


Ms Poole: One of the concerns we as opposition members have had with this government's policy is the impact on women. Most of the private day care operators are women and the majority of the staff are women. This ill-thought-out policy is going to penalize them severely. Can you tell us the impact on your 19 female staff members, first of all relating to the fact that they no longer will get the direct operating grants over and above what they already receive? If there are any new moneys coming, they will not go to your female staff members. Second, what would happen if you converted? Is there any guarantee they would retain their salaries, benefits and seniority?

Mrs Alexander: As far as I know, there is no guarantee they would retain their salaries and seniority. As far as the impact goes, I am not really sure. We have not heard of a conversion process or a package that will tell us how the centre will be operating if we convert to non-profit.

Ms Poole: But if you do not convert to non-profit --

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Poole. Mr Jackson.

Mr Jackson: Following along on Ms Poole's questions, I personally do not believe that the government is going to proceed very actively with its conversion plan. After my discussion with the minister yesterday, after discussing the attitude of the coalition, it appears that unless all the stars configure in the constellations properly, under very rare circumstances will the government consider conversion.

Rather, I am now harking back to a conversation I had with Janet Davis about nine months ago where she referred to the workers in the private centres as sort of on the same par as scab labour. Conceptually, if you consider that you have got non-profit centres operating in a larger community -- maybe Keswick is too small, but in a larger centre -- you would have three day care centres that are non-profit, have declining enrolment and have vacant spaces. So why would the government, which is predisposed to the unionized labour force out there that is receiving the full grant subsidies, go in and help prop up a for-profit centre and convert it? Because they are competing with the others. If there is anything we have heard it is that the non-profits are threatened by the competition that you offer.

I believe that this conversion stuff is a whole smokescreen and that your fellow workers and employees are in fact being treated like scab labour, that they will be punished as a result of this strategy. I find that offensive to women workers, because when they left their community colleges no one told them that they were going to be treated as second-class citizens by any future government. All three political parties agree that we should expand the grid. All three political parties agree that there is no problem expanding it in the non-profit. We disagree on how badly they want to punish the workers in your centre. Could you comment on that?

Mrs Alexander: I agree with you. When the workers came out of community college, all with the same degree, they had a choice of where they would like to work. The government is virtually taking that choice away from them. They are being punished for choosing to work in a private centre, through the difference in salary scales. They are even being told by their own government that working in a private centre means that they are providing lower-quality care. It really should not matter what the auspice of the centre is on quality of care.

Mr Jackson: I have maybe 30 seconds left. It is not the issue of the quality; I think quality is a big smokescreen here. If a labour government is predisposed to protect unionized positions versus non-unionized positions and the government, in its own warped sense of labour theories, literally looks upon those workers as not requiring protection because it wants to do away with that for-profit structure and faced with unionized labour job losses, which are jobs being lost -- and they are today. I mean, we know the stats. Centres, regardless of their setup, are losing staff. Again, the coalition yesterday made very clear statements about why it would not participate.


Mr Jackson: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Just to finish the sentence, the coalition even suggested that it would not participate in a cooperative process of assisting in the conversion. They are backing right off. That, as I say --

The Chair: Mr Jackson, your time has expired.

Mrs Alexander: Is there time for my colleague Cindy Campbell to have a few words?

The Chair: We still have some time for questions. The government caucus is next. Mr White and then Mr Bisson.

Mr White: Thank you, Mr Chair. As you mention, Mr Bisson has a question as well, if there is time.

Mrs Alexander, you have mentioned a pretty good description of your area, the number of centres in your area and your long history with the Little Red School House. I am certainly very familiar with the area, having myself practised in Newmarket and worked in the past with many people from the Keswick area. You said you have had very good relations with the parents of the children who attend at the school house and that their positive feelings about the school house come back in terms of more and more referrals. You have 16 years experience, I think you said?

Mrs Alexander: The centre has been in that location for 16 years and I have been the owner for four and a half.

Mr White: You have good relations with your 19 staff?

Mrs Alexander: Yes.

Mr White: Personally, I have had experience as a therapist and a counsellor, both privately and with the public agencies. In the public agency, obviously, I was accountable to a board; privately, I am not. If the parents with whom you have such good relations were part of a board or other people from the community, say, a local pastor or whoever, were part of a board, why do you think that would cause difficulty for you? You are the person with the experience. The executive director of a centre is usually the person who informs the board what is happening at the school house, day care centre or whatever the nature of the centre is. Why do you think that would cause difficulties for you? You already have good relations with these people.

Mrs Alexander: That is true. I would not object to an advisory board of parents, but the problem with a board running the centre is that the control of making the decisions would be taken away from me. Right now I make the decisions. I would have to turn to a board of directors for those decisions, and part of that board of directors, a minimum I believe of seven people, has to represent the community. They might not know anything about child care. How can they make decisions about my centre if they do not know anything that happens within the day care?

Mr White: I do not disagree with you but my experience with social service boards -- I have worked with quite a large number of them in York region as well as in Durham region -- is that typically the policies are things which they finally rubber-stamp. It is the executive director who informs them, who makes the policy suggestions, who makes the determinations, who presents the budget that they typically confirm. It is not typically a situation where they, out of total ignorance of the work of the centre, are making ludicrous decisions.

Mrs Alexander: The other thing that disturbs me about a board of directors is that I have no guarantee that I would be hired on as executive director.

Mr White: You are obviously the most competent person for the job.

Mrs Alexander: That might be true right now. Cindy might be just as qualified as I am. That means the next time my contract comes due, I could be let go. I do not have that situation right now when I own the centre.

Mr Bisson: Just very quickly, it comes back down to the whole thing, the characterization that we got from a couple of members of the opposition about where we are going with this. The argument, the way we listen to the opposition, is that the government is opposed to the idea of making a profit. I do not think that is the argument here.

Mrs Cunningham: It is the only argument.

Mr Bisson: Hang on. The question is simply that seeing most commercial operations do not make a buck as it is, because the profit margin is very thin -- I think you said that you managed to stay afloat and make a couple of bucks. How do you manage to do that? If everybody else in the commercial sector is having a hard time trying to pay their bills and make a profit, because profit is what you are in business for, how do you do it? What is your secret?

Mrs Alexander: I think my secret is that we are operating at capacity. There are a lot of day care centres in Ontario that are not. They cannot afford to keep it on. Also, I am lucky enough, I suppose, that my husband has a decent wage, a decent job. If there is no money for me to get a salary, then I do not take that salary. I think if I were on my own, I would not be able to.

Mr Bisson: Do you have a high staff turnover?

Mrs Alexander: No.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today. I would like to remind members that the time is very limited for questioning and that if you wish to have responses to your questions, keeping your questions relatively short is helpful for the presenter.

The other thing I would like to remind the committee is that we do have headsets available. As always, the Legislature works in both official languages, so if people either on the committee or in the audience have need or would appreciate the translation services, they are available.



The Chair: The next presenter will be ABC Child Care Centres, Ian Gibb. I see you have braved the perils of the Gardiner and managed to get here.

Mr Gibb: One of the joys of Toronto is spending 40 minutes on the Gardiner.

The Chair: You have 20 minutes allocated by the committee for your presentation. If you would like to reserve some of that time for the committee to have a chat with you about what you have said, that would be very good. Please introduce yourself for the purposes of our Hansard recording.

Mr Gibb: My name is Ian Gibb. I am the executive director of ABC Child Care Centres. Our organization is licensed to provide care for 507 children in six centres in London and Sarnia. We employ approximately 120 people and contribute an annual payroll of approximately $2 million to the economies of these two communities.

Most of you have clipping services, so you will be aware of what the press and the media are saying concerning the government's recent actions and policies. You will no doubt be aware of how important this issue is to the people of Ontario. Probably all of you will have been exposed to the positions of a well-organized, well-financed advocacy group which wants to eliminate the private sector from child care.

Over a couple of days of hearings, yesterday and today, you will have heard from Dr Doherty and about her literature review which clearly shows auspice to be an insignificant factor in quality. You will have heard about the ministry's own study, the Levy-Coughlin report, which indicates that the private sector is as accountable as, or perhaps even more so than, the public sector in the use of public moneys. You will probably have heard about the ministry's own recent statistics which indicate that the private sector has a better licence compliance rating than the other sectors operating in this field. Over these two days, you will also have heard from a number of concerned owners and operators and their staff about the impact these policies are having on their positions.

My job in the next few minutes is to try to share with you some perspective on what everyone else in the province is thinking and to add my voice to the vast majority of the people in this province who are urging you to rethink your policies, to move away from this "bankrupt ideology," to quote the mayor of London, and to begin to work together to solve the real issues facing our children.

To do this I would like to share with you some results of the Gallup poll work that the association has done and comments from administrators, colleagues and teachers from around the London area. Finally, I would like to share with you some perspectives about the impact the policies are having on me personally.

In November 1991 the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario sponsored two questions on a Gallup omnibus study. One question was designed to gauge the opinions of the people of Ontario on who should provide child care. The vast majority, almost 70%, felt the current mix of service providers was the correct one. Only 19% of the public felt there should be only one type of service provider.

The preferences of the people of Ontario are clear, but maybe I should share with you what some people, the city administrators, other professionals and teachers, are saying in the London community at least.

The city of London is responsible for administering the fee assistance program which helps families in need access high-quality child care. They have reviewed the several position papers from the government and in their official position they have stated, "We are concerned that child care spaces may be lost, parents may have fewer alternatives and that commercial operators and their staff may be treated unfairly."

Additionally, they state:

"The conversion plan restricts the flexibility of the system and its ability to cope with changing demand.... The only guarantee that is associated with an exclusively non-profit approach to child care is that some responsible and viable small businesses will be forced to close their doors.... The city is distressed that instead of a philosophical mandate, the primary catalysts for systemic change should have been the four principles for reform...: quality, affordability, accessibility and sound management."

Other professionals in our community have also stood up to question the value of the recent policies. Childreach is a non-profit parent/child drop-in centre operating in London. It provides a much-needed service to the many families who choose not to use licensed care. It stands to benefit greatly if the proposed changes go through, but in its release of February 1992, Childreach's executive director states:

"A universal child care system will only serve to reduce parental effectiveness and fragment families.... Parents want flexibility to choose services and providers which meet their individualized needs.... Childreach feels strongly that recent provincial policy directions will further erode the family as the basic unit of society."

Perhaps the people most affected by the government's policies are the teachers who look after the children. So what do they think? In our organization we have a very open style and we frequently talk about the government's policies and the impact on the people. I solicit input from our teachers and from our managers on what the impact would be on them.

Kelly Caines is a supervisor in one of the ABC Child Care Centres. She is 30 years old and she is a single mother supporting and raising, on her own, two preschool children. I believe it is quite possible she could benefit from the full direct operating grant and the wage enhancement grants, and that would help to make her life and the lives of her children just a little bit easier. Yet in a letter she recently wrote to me -- we were discussing the possibility of conversion to non-profit status -- she said:

"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.... How can I be proud of who I am when the government that represents me is taking away the source of that pride? My understanding of government is that they are elected to help and encourage the people they serve, not to take away their drive and enthusiasm."

You have asked for our personal perspectives as well. I believe I truly have the very best job in the world. Every day that I go to work, I am surrounded by caring, loving people whose only objective is to make a child's day a little bit happier and a little bit better. It is the only business that I know of where a satisfied customer, namely a happy child, will give you a hug just to say thanks.

I mortgaged my house, my future and, quite frankly, my daughter's future to build ABC Child Care into the proud organization it is today. I now face personal bankruptcy and an uncertain career, not because I mismanaged the business but because someone who has never seen what we do, someone who has never spent time with me or my teachers, has decided that we are politically unacceptable.

Every second Friday I sign and deliver approximately 120 paycheques. As I do this, I know that for over half of these people that paycheque is the sole source of family income they have and that in today's economy, quite frankly, it is the only thing standing between them and welfare. I know that every decision I make affects the lives of over 120 families of the people with whom I work, and over 600 families of the people for whom we provide child care. It is a huge responsibility, but it is one that I took on and I accepted when I chose to do what I do.


But the hardest part for me, relating to the government's announcement and policies, is that it has created situations that I am neither prepared nor trained to handle. So I ask you, what do I say to a woman in her mid-forties who is now supporting her out-of-work husband and her children? What do I say to her when she breaks down in tears in front of a group of children because she believes this government wants to close her centre and eliminate her job? Not, mind you, because she is doing a poor job, because she knows she and her colleagues are doing a very good one. What do I say to her? How do I explain your actions?

In conclusion, I just want to remind the government that the policies and directions on child care are far more than a political agenda item. These policies affect thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of families of children. The current policies were not developed, nor are they supported by the people of Ontario, the child care administrators, professionals or teachers working in this most important of fields.

Is it not time the government stopped listening to itself and started listening to the people?

The Chair: We have three minutes per caucus, with the Conservative caucus first.

Mrs Cunningham: Thank you very much, Ian. I am always proud to represent London, and now southwest Ontario, on this issue, because they have no one to talk to if they do not agree with the government position except for myself and the Liberal member for Windsor.

I am going to ask you two or three direct questions. Do you pay municipal taxes in your work?

Mr Gibb: In London last year we paid slightly in excess of $100,000 in property and business taxes for the five London centres.

Mrs Cunningham: You mentioned you have a payroll of some $2 million and some 507 children in your centres. You would be a typical example of big business in the eyes of this government. In fact, not you, but organizations like yours are quoted throughout the literature. I was looking at --

Mr Perruzza: That is not big business, it is small business.

Mrs Cunningham: In your view it is big business.

Mr Perruzza: It is small business.

The Chair: Order, please. Mrs Cunningham has the floor.

Mrs Cunningham: I was looking at a transcript from the hearings in 1987 where the government of the day was advised about big business and the big profit you make, so can I ask you a question? When the direct operating grants came in, my assumption is that you opened your books for the government of the day. Could you answer that question?

Mr Gibb: I believe that is what happened. To get back to your question, big business would imply a huge corporation.

Mrs Cunningham: My next question is, tell us about your big profit.

Mr Gibb: There is no big profit.

Mrs Cunningham: Look at these people when you say that, because you do not have to convince me.

Mr Gibb: My wife is a chartered accountant. She and I bought the business so that we could provide care for our daughters. My wife has had to leave working for ABC and go back into private practice in order to support us. I have not taken a paycheque or a penny out of ABC in the last nine months.

Mrs Cunningham: My final question is with regard to quality. Yesterday, when the minister was in here and we were asking her questions, really the only point she made that I was not sure about was the issue of the boards. Otherwise, she wants you to convert so that you will have a board of directors, "for the purpose of parental input," was her statement. Do you have any form of parental input in your child care centres now?

Mr Gibb: We have two forms of input. We do not have a formal parental board as yet. We have quarterly and semiannual meetings with our parents, and of course we are available for discussion with them at any time. We do have a formal group. It is a group representing the employees and we meet monthly with them to discuss issues around their jobs and overall direction of policy strategy for the organization.

Mrs Cunningham: Just an observation --

The Chair: A two-second observation.

Mrs Cunningham: Two seconds. This is the paper you will asked to respond to on April 3 in London. The first question is, "What role should the provincial government play in the planning and management" --

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Cunningham.

Mrs Cunningham: The minister said she would be listening. I hope you are very loud on April 3, all of you.

Mr Mammoliti: Sounds like a recommendation.

Mrs Cunningham: George, you should take it under advisement. You might get re-elected.


Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, I hope you are going to add on some time here.

Mr Jackson: Because of your mouth.

Mr Mammoliti: Could I ask a few very quick questions. In your opinion, what is the ultimate, the most important thing in a child care centre?

Mr Gibb: The thing we focus on the most is what is best for the children.

Mr Mammoliti: I believe that sincerely. I think the children are the most important things, and any decision that is made should be based around the child.

Mr Gibb: I can explain further.

Mr Mammoliti: Do you agree with me on that?

Mr Gibb: I do.

Mr Mammoliti: Just forget about non-profit centres for a minute and let's talk a little bit about profit-making centres. Do you agree with me that it is very competitive out there and that you have to make some decisions that sometimes you are not happy with? Would you agree with that?

Mr Gibb: No.

Mr Mammoliti: You do not agree with that?

Mr Gibb: I do not feel that we are in a competitive environment per se.

Mr Mammoliti: You do not. Are you saying that you have never made a decision that you were unhappy with?

Mr Mahoney: How about you, George? Have you?

Mr Gibb: I have made plenty of decisions I am unhappy with.

Mr Mammoliti: Then frankly you are unhappy with those decisions because ultimately the children could be affected. Am I right?

Mr Gibb: They are decisions where we have had to sacrifice my own objectives, my own personal wellbeing, to support the children.

Mr Mammoliti: But ultimately you do care, and when you are upset at those decisions, ultimately the child could suffer.

Mr Gibb: No.

Mr Mammoliti: You are saying the child cannot suffer.

Mr Gibb: Those decisions do not affect the children.

Mr Mammoliti: No?

Mr Gibb: They do not.

Mr Mammoliti: Let's talk a little bit about food, for instance, in a child care centre. Let's talk about decisions that you make around the types of foods and the quality of foods and the amount of money you spend on those foods. That is the competitiveness I am talking about.

Mr Gibb: Okay.

Mr Mammoliti: Do you not think --

Mr Gibb: May I answer?

Mrs Cunningham: The point is they think you are robbing the children of good food to make a profit.

The Chair: Order.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, this is continually happening. I think it is --

Mr Mahoney: You are badgering the witness.

Mrs Cunningham: What kind of questions are these, George?

Mr Gibb: May I answer that question, Mr Chair?

The Chair: You certainly may.

Mr Gibb: In our organization, the administration is separate from the program. The lady who is actually responsible for the menu has 17 years of experience in child care. If you would like, I will bring in all seven of our managers and they will --

Mr Mammoliti: I am talking about competitiveness. If you want to answer the question --

Interjection: Let him answer.

Mr Mammoliti: -- answer the question I asked.

Mr Gibb: They have never, ever --

Mr Mammoliti: The competitiveness of the food, I asked in particular. I am talking about the food.

Mr Gibb: I am talking about the food as well.

Mr Mammoliti: The fact that you have to pay a certain amount for a particular food is certainly going to take out of your budget, is it not?

Mr Gibb: It is an expense.


Mr Mammoliti: I would like to finish my point, Mr Chair.

Mr Gibb: So would I, Mr Chair.

Mrs Cunningham: Welcome to Queen's Park.

Mr Mammoliti: I am not being allowed to finish my point here.

Mr Mahoney: Neither is the witness.

Mr Mammoliti: The witness did not answer the question.

Mr Gibb: You have not given me a chance.

Mr Mahoney: This is stupid. He interrupted the witness trying to answer the question. It is rude, is what it is.

Mr B. Ward: Calm down, Steve. Don't get excited.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, you have about 30 seconds.

Mr Mammoliti: Are you finished?

Mr Mahoney: Are you? Moron.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, with all due respect, I hope that Mr Mahoney is --


Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, I heard the word "moron." I want it addressed in Hansard, please.

Mr Mahoney: If the shoe fits, leave it in Hansard.


Mr Mammoliti: Yes, leave it in Hansard.

On a point of privilege, Mr Chair: I heard the word "moron." I hope you heard the same thing and I am asking him to withdraw it.

Mr Perruzza: It's unparliamentary, there's no question.

Mr Mahoney: Look it up.

The Chair: I did not hear it, but this may be a good time to tell the committee and the people in the room that this is an extension of the Legislature and all members should behave in a manner that reflects the Legislature. No one can participate in any manner in these hearings, other than the presenter and the members of the Legislature here in this room, so I think we should try to keep the decorum on a slightly higher plane.

Mr Mahoney: Point of order.

The Chair: On a point of order, Mr Mahoney.

Mr Perruzza: Mr Chairman, on a point of order --

Mr Mahoney: Excuse me, do you want to hear mine first?

The Chair: Mr Mahoney has a point of order.

Mr Perruzza: He had a point of order.

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, you are out of order.

Mr Perruzza: He had a point of privilege. You proceeded to reprimand him and give us a little lecture. He jumps in with a point of order and you are going to go to him. Sure, he is a Liberal, just like you.

The Chair: That was uncalled for, Mr Perruzza. Mr Mahoney.

Mr Perruzza: Well, perhaps.

Mr Mahoney: Mr Chairman, in committee, while it is an extension of the Legislature -- in the Legislature we do not have witnesses come before us in a body. In committee, the general rule is that the witnesses make their --

The Chair: This is not a point of order.

Mr Mahoney: This is a point of order. I think you will find that the witnesses make their presentations to the committee and the members ask questions and allow the witnesses to answer them, Mr Chair.

Mr Mammoliti: That does not give you the right to call anybody a moron, Mr Mahoney.

Mr Mahoney: He is not allowing the witness to answer the question.

The Chair: That is not a point of order, Mr Mahoney.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, that does not give him the right to call anybody a moron.

Mr B. Ward: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I would like to apologize to the witness. He takes his time to come down here to present a brief, and I think all sides have gotten excited, Mr Chair, and these things happen.

The Chair: That is not a point of order. Thank you.

Mr B. Ward: But I apologize.

Mr Gibb: Thank you, and I hope we will have extended time in order to answer some more questions.

The Chair: We will return to Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mammoliti: I only have 30 seconds left and I just want to say to you that it is not our position, my position or the government's position, to do away with profit-making centres. It is our position, and it is my position as well, and my constituents' position for that matter, to spend tax money accordingly. I feel, frankly, that when you are talking about this competitive profit-making area, sometimes it has a detrimental effect on children and ultimately that is all I care about in this particular case: the children. I want to make the right decisions for those children. You may respond, if you want.

Mr Gibb: We also want to make the right decisions for the children. Our centres are inspected annually for licence, we encourage the ministry representatives to come in quarterly. We dream up things to have them come in just so we can talk to them. Everything we do is wide-open, it is public, and we are complying with every guideline and every suggestion put forward by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the fire department and everybody else. I personally am offended that you would say that we would deliberately cut the food for children, take bread away from children just to make more money.

Mr Mammoliti: No, I did not say that.

Mr Gibb: My kids go to those schools.

Mr Mammoliti: I did not say that.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, your time has expired.

Mrs Cunningham: Withdraw.

Mr Mammoliti: Withdraw what?

Mrs Cunningham: Withdraw all your questions.

Mr Mammoliti: Do not be ridiculous.

Mrs Cunningham: That is the only way you can convince the gentleman.

The Chair: All right. Mrs Poole.


The Chair: You guys are disgusting, you really are.

Ms Poole: Mr Gibb, thank you very much for your presentation today. The government has made the statement that the intention of this policy is not to force private centres out of business, but it has become obvious that is not how the private centres feel. Could you please tell us the financial impact of their decision on your particular centre? You have said you are facing bankruptcy. Is it a fact that you cannot replace any subsidized spaces if those children move away from your centre? Is it a fact that if their siblings want to come into your care, they will not receive any new subsidies? Is it the child care workers' salaries, the fact you will not get future enhancement? What exactly is it that is going to force you out of business?

Mr Gibb: I think all those things you have mentioned are going to have an impact. Children move through the centre as they grow older and if we are unable to replace them with fee-assisted children, it means that those people, those teachers, those women who work in those rooms will eventually have to be let go. Although as long as I can remember we have tried to keep those people on staff, eventually we would have to let them go. So yes, it is going to have an impact.

If the direct operating grant changes, we would be out of business tomorrow. There is no question. I will not run without qualified staff. I will not put my children -- and they go to my schools -- at risk in unlicensed facilities managed by people I do not feel are qualified.

Mr Mahoney: You could always cut the food budget.

Mrs Cunningham: Cut out the afternoon snack.

The Chair: Mrs Poole.

Ms Poole: Thank you for those comments.

Mr Jackson: Where are the examples?

Mr Mammoliti: Never mind.

Mr Jackson: No, the member has made a charge. On a point of order, Mr Chairman: A charge was just made and I would like the member to clarify what basis he has for that charge.

The Chair: That is not a point of order. You know that, Mr Jackson.

Mr Mammoliti: Do not take what I say out of context.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Jackson: Watch your mouth, George.

Ms Poole: I wish we would discontinue taking up the witness's time with these exhibitions.

Mr Mammoliti: I agree.

Ms Poole: Well, you are part of it.

Mr Mammoliti: Talk to your partner over there.

Ms Poole: Mr Gibb, the minister has said the issue is not quality, the issue is strictly accountability, yet the government appears to have no plan to increase accountability. They have not shown how the private centres are unaccountable. You are already getting existing direct operating grants. Could you tell us how you have to justify to the government your spending so that you are able to get these grants?

Mr Gibb: At the start of every year in which the contract is renewed, we submit a plan to the ministry office outlining not only how we are going to use the grants but our entire salary plan. At the end of the fiscal year we report to the ministry how the moneys that were received were paid. It is full disclosure. They have the opportunity to come in and examine our payroll records or any other records that they wish to. In the three years in which I have been involved in the direct operating grant, we have never had a single question on how our direct operating grant or in fact how any other moneys we received have been used.

Ms Poole: One final question on the Gallup survey that was done. You have mentioned the one question that was asked about choice. A vast majority of the people of this province who were surveyed did indicate that they felt they should be entitled to this choice. What was the other question on the survey?

Mr Gibb: The other question was, if the government proceeds with plans to take over the private sector, should it compensate -- first half of the question -- and second, at what level should it compensate the private sector. The answer overwhelmingly was yes, they should compensate the private sector at full market value, 100% of the value of the business.

Ms Poole: Which is not happening under this policy.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Gibb, for a very thoughtful presentation.

Mr Gibb: Thank you.

The Chair: Before we move on to the next witness, I think we should reflect a little bit upon the fact that interjections are always out of order -- not just sometimes, always. As we are trying to go through this process, we have a very busy schedule. It makes it very difficult for me as the Chair to keep the time that you have asked me to keep when we have some of these interjections that are, quite frankly, not helpful, from all sides.

Ms Poole: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Before we continue, yesterday we had asked the ministry for information. While some of the statistical data may not yet be available, we had asked for a copy of the Levy-Coughlin partnership report. I wondered if that has been made available to us yet.

The Chair: Apparently the answer is yes.

Ms Poole: I wonder if that could be distributed, because it does have an impact on our questioning and some of the assertions that are being made about quality and level of care. Would it be possible to have one copy per caucus?

Clerk of the Committee: I can get copies made if you want. Is one copy per caucus sufficient?

Ms Poole: Could the ministry tell us when the balance of statistical information we requested will be available?

Clerk of the Committee: The ministry has already indicated to me that some information will be forthcoming this morning.

Ms Poole: We look forward to it. Thank you.



The Chair: The next presentation is from Wee Care Day Care, Joan Zimmerman and Kristy Burnett.

Mrs Zimmerman: Mr Chairman and members of the committee, I thank you very much for this opportunity to appear here today. I am extremely unaccustomed to public speaking, so please bear with me.

The Chair: If you would just introduce yourselves.

Mrs Zimmerman: I am sorry, I am Joan Zimmerman and this is Kristy Burnett, from Wee Care Day Care in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It is a private centre with capacity to serve 77 children per day.

The perspective I wish to present today is really quite personal and related to our small business. We have been in operation for 11 1/2 years. Originally we had the idea to start the centre in order to provide infant care. One of my original partners and I were experiencing difficulty placing our own infants and thought it would be an excellent idea. We came to learn that it is not economically feasible to provide only infant care and therefore we provided care for children from three months to five years. We were the first in Niagara Falls to offer care for infants.

When we originally set up, we did not really know too much about corporate structure or anything like that. It was really almost accidentally that we decided to be a private company, based on the fact that someone offered to sit on our board who was offering us some help at the time, but running her own centre connected with the local community college in a very different way than we wanted to run ours. We were sort of horrified to think of her sitting on our board and we went the other way.

We decided to have an open-door policy, which was not practised at the college at that time. We also felt strongly about displaying affection to our children, to getting down on the floor with our children and playing with them, which was not encouraged at that time either. It seemed very strange that young women who elected to go into the early childhood education program because of their love for children were then basically told to back off and leave them alone, and intervene only when there was a problem. We felt kids needed 12 hugs a day and if they were with us for eight hours, they were going to get a large proportion of them with us.

We feel that our program is a high-quality program. It is related to people, both my partners and I who run the program and our staff. Incidentally, despite the fact that none of us is making any money at this, we recently entertained three staff members on their 10th anniversary of employment with us and two more are due to be entertained this summer. Our feeling is that the Day Nurseries Act is a comprehensive document. It is occasionally ambiguous, but our feeling is that a total compliance with what is contained in the Day Nurseries Act guarantees a high level of quality in any day care centre. We insist upon compliance from our staff, we insist upon it from ourselves and we have an excellent licensing record.

Because we are onsite every day, my partners and I -- we cover 6:30 to 6 virtually every day -- we can respond immediately to the concerns of parents and to anything that goes on with the children, as well as to the staff. We are always there. It is an interesting fact that is not obvious to anyone what our auspice is. Parents have virtually never inquired until recently, when it has made the news a little bit because of the plan of the current government. We had never had an inquiry before that as to how we were set up. We have even had a couple of people on staff as part-time staff members who left town; one was married and moved far up north and when the down payment on pay equity came through last December, she called to see if we had her share of that in our centre as well. Of course, we did not qualify for that as we were a private centre, but she had no idea and she had worked there. It is a non-issue.

I have one story that sort of pointed out to me what it would be like to deal with the board. At one point we decided it was irresponsible to continue to use paper diapers and throw away lots of diapers in our centre, so I discussed it with my two partners and we said, "Yes, let's give cloth diapers a try." We called around for prices and implemented it. This process took about a week.

Subsequent to that, I heard from a person at a non-profit centre in a neighbouring community that was considering the switch as well. She needed to round up her four additional board members during the daytime when they could visit us and discuss the issue, and they were discussing it with several other places as well and planning to implement it perhaps nine or 10 months hence, in the spring. It just seems very unwieldy.

We feel there are many ways to improve the system. The rules for subsidy in our locality need to be looked at, as do more detail and clarity in the Day Nurseries Act and especially increased ministry staff to monitor and advise and effect changes where problems exist in centres. We too have no problem with our annual inspections, but these people are very busy and you do not see them otherwise.

We feel, in fairness, that our staff deserve the wage enhancements that other staff get. We are not looking for the bailout; we have managed to stay in the black this length of time.

Finally, the board would not hire us. If I sat on the board, I would not hire me to run my centre, because I am a nurse. I am not an early childhood educator; nursing is my background. My partners were nurses. We are not business people and we are not teachers, but we have done quite the job, I think, for 11 years.

Kristy is a staff member. Is it okay if she addresses you with what she wants to say?

Ms Burnett: I just want to add that I have been working in the centre for eight years. I graduated from college and I work at the centre. I did a lot of placements. I had little choice of where I was going to work in Niagara Falls, as we are in an unique situation. Seven of our 10 day care centres are commercial, leaving me with a limited choice.

I chose this day care after touring it and having my interview because I did have a choice of where I was going to work. I am angry that the NDP is going to take that choice away, as we will not be able to have the personalized feeling I have working with my owners each and every day and not worrying about a chain of command or asking a question and waiting a week for it to be answered. I like working in the commercial centre for that reason.

I did have experience with a board when I was on placement. I have had experience in placement in non-profit centres and I did not separate them because they were non-profit or because they were commercial. I separated them because it was the people who ran them, supervised them and worked in them who made the centre, not whether there was a board or there was the owner sitting there. It is the people who run it who make your centre.

The ministry comes in and out of non-profit centres; it comes in and out of commercial centres. If they were not running up to par, they would close down. It is the same way; it is the people who run it. It is not whether you are non-profit or commercial that gives you better programming or better quality or better anything.

It is unfair that you have presented commercial workers with the consequences we are faced with. We get half of the DOG; we get none of the pay enhancement. We should have been entitled to that money. If the NDP was going to make quality day care, why was the non-profit sector not offered rent enhancements or toy funds or whatever? Separate the businesses, not the people. As an ECE I do the same job. I work 40 hours a week. I give the best loving, quality care I can, as do non-profit staff. It is an unfair and unjust situation you have put me in. Now, on top of it, I have to face unemployment because I do not know if my owners are going to convert. I am going to lose my seniority. I will lose my placement. I am program director and I have worked hard to get there, and I have no guarantees of what I will be when I go into a converted centre or a non-profit centre.

I have spent the last four months making countless phone calls to MPs and MPPs, doing media interviews, sitting through regional council meetings and city council meetings, just to get our point across. I should not have had to do that, because I am a commercial ECE, not a non-profit.

We are happy to say we did sway our city council and our regional council into believing that what the NDP is doing is unfair. You are treating us unfairly. You are taking away our choice, you are taking away parental choice, and we are just not going to stand for it. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. The first caucus is the NDP caucus. Mr Perruzza, three minutes.


Mr Perruzza: Mr Chair, I would like to go second. I am going to defer to my colleague, Mr Ward.

Mr B. Ward: Joan, some of the criticism I have heard -- I do not know if it is valid or not -- against the for-profit centres is that there is a reluctance to open the books, so to speak, and to say, "Here's how much we made, here's how much I am taking out as a salary and here's what our expenses were." Is that a fair criticism on your part?

Mrs Zimmerman: No one has ever asked us. We have heard that criticism but no one has ever asked us, aside from the forms indicating how we spent the direct operating grant, how it has been disbursed.

Mr B. Ward: But you would not have any problem?

Mrs Zimmerman: No, we would not.

Mr B. Ward: Do you share that information even though nobody has ever asked?

Mrs Zimmerman: Would I share it?

Mr B. Ward: Have you?

Mrs Zimmerman: I do not have it at my hands.

Mr B. Ward: No, no. Have you ever shared it in the past?

Mrs Zimmerman: We share with the staff to the extent that they certainly know what we charge the parents for their children's care --

Mr B. Ward: So you do share the information.

Mrs Zimmerman: -- and they know that 75% to 80%, as a rule, goes towards wages.

Mr B. Ward: Now, you said you have been in the black, not making much money, but in the black over the past few years?

Mrs Zimmerman: We have not sunk.

Mr B. Ward: Kristy, how long have you worked there?

Ms Burnett: Eight years.

Mr B. Ward: How much profit did you make last year?

Ms Burnett: I do not think we made any profit last year.

Mrs Zimmerman: Staff would know that; they did not get their bonuses at Christmas.

Mr B. Ward: Okay, and five years ago?

Ms Burnett: Five years ago?

Mr B. Ward: You are not sure?

Ms Burnett: Well, no. I could not tell you what my Christmas bonus was five years ago either.

Mr B. Ward: Does that ever come up in discussion?

Ms Burnett: We know if the day care centre made a profit, if it made some money, because it goes back to us.

Mr B. Ward: Yes, like at the end of the year Joan says: "Here's what we did. We had a good year so we can give $100," or whatever. "We had a bad year, sorry."

You have how many employees?

Ms Burnett: Eleven, full-time and part-time, counting the cook.

Mr B. Ward: You have two who have 10 years and one more coming up?

Mrs Zimmerman: Three who have 10 years and two more coming up.

Mr B. Ward: What would be the others have, on a general basis -- five years, six years? You have eight years, Kristy?

Mrs Zimmerman: We have a number of staff who have been there about three or four years; they are younger. It seems we lose staff when they have their second child because they cannot afford day care and it seems better to stay home.

Mr B. Ward: Just one last question. Part of the philosophical concern is taxpayers' money going towards a business that is making money. Do you think that is proper as a philosophy?

Mrs Zimmerman: Philosophically? I do not know that much about government, but I know that it spends money to attract business all the time. I know that there are marketing boards.

Mr B. Ward: But they give on an annual basis.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ward. Mr Mahoney has some questions.

Mr Mahoney: Thanks for your presentation; you really did a terrific job. Maybe public speaking is in your future. I was also interested in your comment about the kids needing 12 hugs a today. As you can see from how acrimonious we get around here, maybe we could use that too.

Mrs Cunningham: It might help.

Mr Mahoney: Thanks, Dianne. I will take the hugs from her.

I want to enter into the record a couple of words, handed out by the presenters, from the city of Niagara Falls council, signed by Mayor Wayne Thomson and carried unanimously. The essence of the resolution is that the city is calling for municipalities to "unite and help the commercial day care operators to be treated equal to not-for-profit day cares" -- that is a key word -- "allow them to continue to operate and keep the government from using millions of taxpayer's dollars to take over a quality system that already exists."

The reason I wanted to read that into the record is because we heard the minister yesterday say that a system does not exist. I suggest it does exist, and it is one of cooperation between non-profit and commercial day care and municipal day care, and working with the colleges. We instituted one in my own community, when I was on council in Mississauga, which was cooperative between the region of Peel, the city of Mississauga and Sheridan College to provide a workplace day care facility in our new civic centre in Mississauga. It has worked tremendously well, funded partially, of course, by the provincial government. So everybody is involved in this. If that is not a system, I do not know what is. So I thank you for bringing that resolution.

You have heard some questions directed to other presenters about cutting costs in areas, implications that perhaps food was cut back or implications -- although the minister has admitted that quality is not at issue here, clearly lots of folks are suggesting that quality is at issue. The coalition, in fact, boldly suggested that not-for-profit day care provides better quality than for-profit.


Mr Mahoney: Well, they said that yesterday. I certainly do not accept it, but that is what they said.

Concerning the other aspect, that of parental involvement, I wonder what would happen if you ever turned parents away from having input, whether they were officially on a board or simply mom and dad coming in to ask about what you are doing with their kid. I wonder how they would view that.

Mrs Zimmerman: I think, and rightly so, they would withdraw their child. I think that is their prerogative. They are still in charge of their child, whether there is a board or there is us or whatever. We just happen to be extremely responsive. We feel very strongly about that.

Mr Mahoney: Could you just respond to the implication of cutting corners --

Mrs Zimmerman: And quality?

Mr Mahoney: Quality, and food particularly, which was mentioned by a previous NDP questioner.

Mrs Zimmerman: Food is a great source of pride. I know that in some centres it is heavy on the weiners on the diet. We are not.

Mr Bisson: Pardon me. You said weiner salad diet?

Mrs Zimmerman: No, they are heavy on weiners; hot dogs are served a lot.

Mr Bisson: I thought I misunderstood.

Mrs Zimmerman: It is not good idea. We do not serve it. We serve very nice food. We also shop at No Frills ourselves.

Mr Mahoney: Oh, oh.

Mrs Zimmerman: I am sorry. We shop at discount stores ourselves. We run around ourselves and do shopping.

Mr Bisson: I think Steve grew up on weiners.

Mr Mahoney: At least I grew up.

Mrs Cunningham: Touché.

Mrs Zimmerman: This came up yesterday, another example, the use of quality. In our centre, which is a private centre, the children are supposed to be "standing around in a daze"; that is a quote from the coalition. And my partner said, "No, no, they're wandering aimlessly." I said, "Well, at least they're getting their exercise." That is not the case.

Interjection: Good for you.

Mr Jackson: Kristy, I want to thank you for the clarity of your one-liner, which I hope will find its way into our report. Our government has got to stop separating businesses -- they should separate the businesses, not the people. I thought that was a very good line. I wanted to thank you for that. I am sure they will not use my reference; they will use your actual Hansard reference, now that I messed that up.

Joan, I want to focus in a bit, if I may, on the delicate part of your presentation. I know how difficult it must be for you, knowing that for you personally, you have no alternative but to be thrown out of work.

Mrs Zimmerman: That is the likely consequence.


Mr Jackson: I have talked to several owners, all of whom are women, who are in a similar situation. I have talked to one woman in Kitchener who not only lost her business but lost her house. Her marriage is extremely stressed because she mortgaged the family home. It is a joint husband-and-wife decision. Women are not the greatest business people, and they generally stay in for the altruistic reasons. I have had some come into my office in tears, and I have said, "For God's sake, close your doors. You're going under," and they will not. They go the extra mile for their staff. They wait till the end of the season to make sure the children are not disrupted. We are watching them lose their homes and so on. I think this is the cruellest part of this.

I do not want you to specifically refer to the circumstances you may be under, but I want you to share with this committee, so that possibly we can get your reaction to the report, how you feel about being put in that position -- with a gun to your head -- with the government's recent series of changes which further compromise you. You will be expropriated without compensation. That will hurt you personally and financially.

Mrs Zimmerman: Yes.

Mr Jackson: I would like you to comment a little more in depth, if you would. It is a difficult part for you, I know, but please help us with a deeper understanding.

Mrs Zimmerman: It is. I really cannot be in-depth. I just think a one-word answer is "sad." It is just sad. We have worked very hard. We have built a lovely centre. We had wonderful times with these kids and with our staff. We are damn good at what we do, and we are going to be gone. We cannot even go back to the hospital now.

Mr Jackson: My final question: I wanted to suggest to you that a nurse would be the ideal person to have in a centre.

Mrs Zimmerman: It is comforting to the parents.

Mr Jackson: There are special-needs children. We know we have problems with injections and medical interventions that are required. There is a whole series of benefits. Finally, would you not say that the taxes you pay in the region of Niagara far exceed any so-called profit that may have existed in the past?

Mrs Zimmerman: Absolutely.

The Chair: Thank you for taking the time to come and appear before the committee.

I would just like to take the opportunity to remind both members and people in the room that we do have a translation service available. The receivers are here.


M. le Président : La prochaine présentation est du Réseau ontarien des services de garde francophones, Claire McCullough. Bonjour. Vous avez 20 minutes.

Mme Parent-McCullough : Mon nom est Claire Parent-McCullough. Je suis la déléguée du Réseau ontarien des services de garde francophones. Le Réseau a pour mandat d'assurer le développement d'un éventail complet de services de garde en français en Ontario. Il regroupe une cinquantaine de services à but non lucratif.

Une cinquantaine de services semble peu, mais je dois vous dire que c'est le nombre que nous avons en Ontario présentement -- il n'y en a pas plus que ça -- de langue française, bien sûr.

Il y a très peu de services privés de langue française en Ontario. À ma connaissance, il y en a quelques-uns dans le nord de l'Ontario, à Sudbury, et quelques-uns dans l'est et le sud-est.

Si les francophones avaient attendu après les services privés pour recevoir des soins pour leurs enfants, on n'en aurait pas eu du tout puisque c'est très rare, et ça veut dire qu'il n'y avait aucune accessibilité aux services de garde, point.

L'an dernier à Windsor, le service privé de langue française s'est converti à un service à but non lucratif parce que les propriétaires n'arrivaient à faire aucun profit et avaient même de la difficulté à vivre et à survivre.

Un autre service, à Kapuskasing, a aussi changé son statut. Un service privé de langue française est devenu un service à but non lucratif bien avant l'annonce de Mme la ministre et s'est converti pour les mêmes raisons, parce que le service n'arrivait pas à avoir des profits, et même tout ce que le propriétaire gagnait retournait au service de garde.

Les personnes responsables de ces centres immédiatement convertis, avec un comité d'administration et quelques prélèvements de fonds et de l'aide du ministère des Services sociaux et communautaires, ont pu enfin augmenter leur matériel et augmenter un peu le salaire des éducatrices. Chose qui est un problème, c'est le renouvellement du matériel. On nous a dit que c'était une difficulté pour ces deux centres-là.

Maintenant ces deux centres travaillent toujours de très près avec les enfants et sont membres du Réseau. Il semble qu'ils sont très heureux d'avoir changé leur statut.

D'après nous, le service à but non lucratif répond mieux aux besoins des francophones. La communauté est présente, elle s'engage et elle voit à la qualité et au bon fonctionnement du service. Elle est informée complètement des revenus et des dépenses, et à l'assemblée annuelle la démocratie est exercée. Enfin, pour les francophones il semble que les services gérés par et pour les francophones, comme à toutes les autres institutions, soit la meilleure avenue.

Le Réseau croit que les fonds publics ne devraient pas être utilisés pour faire des profits. Il est difficile de comprendre qu'une petite entreprise qui ne fait pas d'argent résiste et continue à rester en affaires. À long terme c'est très difficile à expliquer.

D'après nos expériences, et je l'ai mentionné plus tôt, les services privés de langue française ne faisaient pas d'argent et à notre avis ne pouvaient pas contribuer réellement à l'économie comme on l'entend aujourd'hui, d'autant plus que ces services inscrivaient souvent des enfants de langue anglaise parce qu'ils n'arrivaient pas à combler les places. Le service devenait un service plus bilingue, et pour nous un service bilingue veut dire à 90 % anglais et 10 % français. Il est très difficile à ce moment-là de rappeler la langue maternelle à l'enfant et de parler de culture franco-ontarienne.

Le parent a et aura toujours le choix puisque nous croyons fermement qu'il est le premier responsable et le premier éducateur de son enfant. Il a aussi le choix entre plusieurs services à but non lucratif, et ses enfants peuvent s'inscrire dans ces services-là sans aucune difficulté. Il semble qu'on arrive toujours à se trouver une place et que les listes d'attente ne sont pas aussi longues pour nous, enfin, francophones.

Le personnel dans les centres privés, puisque vous posez la question, pourrait toujours trouver de l'emploi dans les centres à but non lucratif. Chez nous il y a pénurie de personnel francophone. Pour la région du centre, ici aux alentours par exemple, on doit souvent avoir recours au Québec pour avoir des éducatrices de langue française parce que très peu de collèges enseignent en français le programme en éducation des petits. Il n'y a même pas longtemps nous avons obtenu un programme en éducation des petits sous le format Forma-Distance pour arriver à combler cette lacune et pour avoir dans nos centres le plus de personnel possible qui parle la langue.

Plusieurs études ont démontré que les centres à but non lucratif paient mieux leurs employés, que le matériel est adéquat et que les centres fonctionnent aussi bien et même très bien en comparaison. Je ne dis pas que les centres privés ne fonctionnent pas bien, mais je veux dire que les centres à but non lucratif sont aussi bons, sinon meilleurs, que les centres privés.

Pour nous, francophones, et je le répète, on n'avait le choix, vraiment, que d'ouvrir des services à but non lucratif. C'était un but et c'était nécessaire pour la survie de notre langue et de notre culture.


Mme Poole : Merci pour votre présentation. Je parle en anglais parce que mon français est mauvais. Excusez-moi.

M. Bisson : Pas du tout. C'est très bon.

Ms Poole: That is it. I am not going to subject your ears to anything beyond that.

Claire, you mentioned that you have had several centres, and I think you mentioned Kapuskasing and Windsor, which were private centres and have now converted to non-profit centres because they just cannot make ends meet. I think this certainly substantiates what a number of people have told us, that it may be called the for-profit sector, but there is not a lot of profit to be made in that sector. As far as you are aware, are there still existing private sector francophone day cares right now, or are they pretty well all non-profit?

Mme Parent-McCullough : Quelques-uns. Il reste quelques services français mais la majorité des services sont à but non lucratif. Je ne connais pas le nombre exact. Je dois vous dire qu'à Ottawa je connais trois centres privés. Je crois qu'il en reste un à Sudbury et il n'y en a aucun dans le sud-ouest maintenant. Ici au centre il n'y en a pas non plus, alors c'est très peu de services privés de langue française.

Ms Poole: It sounds like there are very few left. This announcement will not have much impact on the francophone community because you have only -- what? -- five or six that you have named that are private right now.

Mme Parent-McCullough: That is right.

Ms Poole: What about the $10.8 million the minister has announced as a bailout for non-profit centres? Are any of those francophone centres which have had difficulty surviving financially and need extra assistance? Are you aware of any in your organization of 50 that will need help from the government in order to put their finances in order?

Mme Parent-McCullough : Est-ce que vous parlez du financement que Mme la ministre a annoncé pour la conversion des services ? Je ne suis pas certaine que j'ai bien compris la question.

Ms Poole: Yes. I am sorry. I should have been more explicit.

Mr Jackson: The ones that are in arrears or in operational deficits; that is the question.

Ms Poole: When the minister made her announcement in December, she mentioned that they were going to set aside $10.8 million that really had nothing to do with conversion. It was just to help non-profit centres that were having financial difficulties. I wonder if any of the 50 francophone groups in your organization were having difficulty surviving and needed extra assistance.

Mme Parent-McCullough : En toute honnêteté, les services de langue française fonctionnent comme les services de langue anglaise : avec difficulté et souvent sur la ligne de crédit. Aux alentours de Noël, les éducatrices ont reçu le supplément de salaire qui a été annoncé et donné par le gouvernement, et quelques services lui auront piqué dans l'enveloppe budgétaire pour les soins ou pour augmenter leurs revenus ou pour stabiliser, plutôt, leurs revenus.

Une chose qui n'a pas nécessairement été faite ou dont on ne sait pas trop -- c'est pour ça que j'hésite à répondre à la question -- c'est qu'il n'y a pas eu un montant spécifique d'argent réservé aux services de garde de langue française. C'est un montant global, et le service qui en aura besoin fera sa demande.

Mr Jackson: You made references in your opening statement to training services. Has l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario undertaken any discussions with the provincial government with respect to more training of francophone early childhood education and, if so, where?

Mme Parent-McCullough : Ce n'est pas vraiment l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario qui a pris le dossier de l'éducation des petits; c'est nous, le Réseau ontarien des services de garde francophones. Nous avons fait des pressions auprès du ministère des Collèges et Universités et auprès de la Cité collégiale pour offrir un programme en éducation des petits complètement en français à travers la province. C'est là qu'on a eu en septembre dernier l'ouverture du programme en éducation des petits, Forma-Distance, et la collaboration de quatre autres collèges, soit Cambrian, Northern, Niagara et la Cité collégiale. Ils travaillent ensemble et collaborent pour offrir ce programme uniforme. C'est une première, et je dois vous dire qu'il y avait 100 personnes inscrites au premier cours en janvier. Il y avait encore 100 inscriptions. C'est vraiment bien.

Mr Jackson: When the minister was before us, she did not reference job protection for francophone or bilingual ECE workers; now that I think about it, I am surprised she did not. To what extent are you monitoring those ECE workers who would be unemployed at the moment? She did reference employment equity. We can only assume you are still on that list.

Mme Parent-McCullough : Je ne sais pas pourquoi on parle de «non employés» pour les francophones, parce qu'à date on cherche le personnel. Présentement il n'y a personne en chômage en éducation des petits de langue française. C'est même un problème pour nous. Il faut aller les chercher ailleurs. C'est sûr que si éventuellement quelqu'un arrivait qui serait obligé de prendre quelque temps de repos ou qui serait en chômage, j'imagine qu'on irait le récupérer immédiatement, parce que le Réseau est toujours en train de faire du développement des services de garde. Un des problèmes pour l'ouverture d'un nouveau centre est de trouver le personnel.

Mr Jackson: Finally, Mr Chairman, if I might make a request, the ministry yesterday referenced native program expansion, not Franco-Ontarian expansion. Could we ask for a breakout directly from the ministry, through research, of the total spaces the government is aware of, their auspice breakout, and if they could identify from my request yesterday about those who have converted, those which are classified as francophone service or bilingual service provision centres? Could I make that request on behalf of the committee?

The Chair: I think Mr Gardner has noted that for you.

Mr Jackson: And ministry staff have noted; they are nodding their heads as well. This is great. Thank you very much.

M. Bisson : Vous avez dit qu'il y a eu des services de garde à but lucratif qui ont choisi de faire la conversion pour aller dans l'autre secteur. Avez-vous vu la transition qu'il y a eu des déplacements de staff ? Quelles sortes d'histoires a-t-on vu par ces changements-là ?

Mme Parent-McCullough : Il n'y a pas eu de transferts de personnel.

M. Bisson : Y a-t-il eu du monde qui ont perdu leur emploi ?

Mme Parent-McCullough : Non, personne. Le personnel est resté en place et le service a fonctionné comme avant, sauf qu'il est devenu un service à but non lucratif avec un conseil d'administration. La directrice qui était la propriétaire est restée directrice et elle a gardé ses employés.

M. Bisson : Alors, dans les cas que vous avez mentionnés qui ont fait le transfert, le personnel est demeuré et les directrices ont été affectées comme directrices dans les centres à but non lucratif. C'est très intéressant.

Avez-vous vu une différence, quand on revient sur la question de soins ? Y a-t-il eu un changement ? Une des grosses obstinations qu'on entend c'est que certaines personnes croient que dans un centre à but non lucratif on a un meilleur service pour les enfants. Avez-vous vu une augmentation des services quand ils se sont convertis au but non lucratif ?


Mme Parent-McCullough : Le changement qui a eu lieu était dans les outils de travail, dans le matériel pour les enfants, dans les jouets et dans les livres. Les livres de langue française sont toujours un petit peu dispendieux, et à ce moment-là le centre qui vient de se convertir a la chance d'acheter un peu plus de matériels, de mettre à la disposition des enfants de meilleurs jouets et de remplacer du matériel usagé. À la longue ça prend beaucoup de papier, de crayons et de colle et il faut que ça se remplace. L'augmentation a été de ce côté-là et aussi un peu du côté du salaire de l'éducatrice.

M. Bisson : En d'autres mots, il y a eu une augmentation dans les outils nécessaires pour livrer les services aux enfants. Avez-vous vu une augmentation dans la participation des parents suite à la conversion au but non lucratif ? Est-ce qu'on a vu des parents plus impliqués dans le centre ?

Mme Parent-McCullough : Oui, automatiquement, puisque pour se convertir ça prend un conseil d'administration qu'ils n'avaient pas avant. Je ne suis pas certaine du nombre de parents qui siègent sur le conseil d'administration, mais en général on a de six à huit personnes sur un tel conseil. Ces personnes-là sont impliquées immédiatement. Mais au niveau de la participation à l'intérieur du centre, je ne peux pas répondre. Je ne le sais pas.

M. Bisson : Vous avez touché à un point qui est très intéressant pour la communauté francophone. Il manque des outils au système collégial pour faire l'entraînement et la formation des enseignantes pour les centres. On oeuvre pour un collège et une bonne journée on va avoir nos collèges dans le nord et dans le sud-ouest.

Je pense que le point dans cette discussion est une question d'idéologie. C'est pareil à la discussion qu'on a eue en 1960 faisant affaire avec le système de santé qu'on avait à ce temps-là. Les hôpitaux privés disaient : «Ne viens pas nous dire quoi faire dans nos hôpitaux. C'est nous, les gérants des hôpitaux, qui savons le mieux comment livrer les services.» Les docteurs, certains professionnels et d'autres ont pris les mêmes obstinations qu'on voit aujourd'hui.

Voyez-vous un parallèle entre les obstinations de 1960 et aujourd'hui faisant affaire avec le système de santé ? Je pense arriver à ce point-là parce que le gouvernement de ce jour-là a pris la décision que ça allait devenir un service avec les données d'un centre public et la politique a déclenché ce centre-là. Personne ne parle contre le système public qu'on a maintenant. Voyez-vous des parallèles, et pensez-vous que les objectifs du gouvernement puissent être mieux servis à travers les centres à but non lucratif pour mieux desservir la population et les enfants ?

Mme Parent-McCullough : J'aurais tendance à dire oui. Il y a à peu près le même parallèle pour les écoles il y a quelques années puis les hôpitaux que vous avez mentionnés. Mais vous m'avez aussi fait penser à un point très important que je n'avais pas mentionné.

On s'en va, j'imagine, vers un service de garde ou un service où l'enfant a le droit de recevoir un service de garde. Et le droit qu'a l'enfant devient un peu comme le droit à l'éducation, finalement, à un service un peu «universel», parce qu'il reste que les parents pourront ou devront, à mon avis, toujours payer un certain montant d'argent pour que leurs enfants soient en garderie, à l'école etc. Mais il reste que maintenant ils ne peuvent plus se le permettre. Si on s'en va vers un service plutôt universel, il est important que le service soit dirigé et administré par la communauté, dont les parents et les conseils d'administration.

The Chair: The next presentation is from the Brant Children's Centre. I think we need to take a couple of minutes to set up the VCR here.


The Acting Chair (Mr Mahoney): Mrs Poole, we are going to try to call the meeting to order, if that is all right. I invite the presenters to begin whenever they are ready by introducing themselves for the purposes of Hansard. I believe we have 20 minutes for your presentation, which hopefully will include time for questions.

Dr H. Knoepfli: My name is Heather Knoepfli. I am a director and co-owner of Brant Children's Centre in Burlington.

Mr P. Knoepfli: My name is Peter Knoepfli. I am a co-owner and also the general manager.

Dr H. Knoepfli: We wish to thank the committee for the opportunity to hear our remarks today on the provincial government's child care policies of December 2, 1991, as they impact on private licensed providers like ourselves.

This morning we have brought a short video, not very good. We took it last Thursday, but I thought we might show a couple of minutes of it at least, to give you a flavour of Brant Children's Centre because, as the old cliché goes, a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words.

Interjection: Providing we can get a picture.

Dr H. Knoepfli: Providing we can get a picture.

The Acting Chair (Mr Mahoney): Maybe while you are figuring that out, you can go on with the brief.

Dr H. Knoepfli: Not to worry.

Brant Children's Centre and preschools were established privately 25 years ago in Burlington. Twelve years ago Peter and I purchased this organization and its facilities from the founder after it was offered to and rejected by the region of Halton. We have owned and operated Brant ever since.

Brant consists of two satellite nursery schools located in churches in Burlington and a 9,500-square-foot main child care centre in which we are licensed for 171 children. Combined with our preschool programs, before and after school care and summer day camps, we provide programs for approximately 400 children per week. We also provide, as do several other private centres in Burlington, transportation services for many of these children.


We manage a staff of close to 50 individuals, both full- and part-time. We believe we are well qualified for what we do. I have a PhD in education, as well as an early childhood education equivalent and extensive teaching experience. Currently I am a part-time faculty member in the school of early childhood education at Ryerson here in Toronto. Peter, on the other hand, has an MBA degree plus a number of years of business experience.

We purchased Brant in 1980 for several reasons. Most important, we wanted to be in our own business, we wanted to do something together, and child care appeared to be an area that married our mutual interests. It was also an area in which we felt we could make a social contribution to the community as well as a livelihood for our family. I believe we have been successful on all counts. Although we spend long hours overseeing Brant, including quite a few weekends on repairs and other projects, we have a reputation for quality and innovative programming, and we have an excellent staff. Many of our staff have been with us 10 years or more. In fact, the first individual hired by Brant in 1968 is still with us as a supervisor of our senior kindergarten program.

I will just halt here in my remarks, and we will just take a fast look at the video. This is the front of our school, looking in from the parking lot. We are located on a fairly major street in Burlington. That is our little sign, and this is a shot of our lobby. We have quite a large lobby. The building, by the way, was built in the mid-1970s, I believe mid-1972, designed by the founder specifically for young kids. It is really a first-class facility from a design point of view. That is the school mascot. His name is Drummer. He has been at the school for three years. The kids really like him. That is the menu board outside the kitchen. This just sort of gives you a quick overview of the lobby.

This is my office, not too -- well, that is typical. I did not have time to clean it up, but that is kind of where it is at. It is very open. My stars, I forgot I was in it. But I have an office, Pete has an office. They call it early Renaissance. We have a staff room and a secretary's office. This is a small computer room beside my office. We use it for computer programming and for small groups. We try to break our youngsters into small groups, and this is an area that they can use.

That is Rose's office, that is our secretary, the staff room. The staff were leaving very quickly as we were taking this. They were not terribly interested in being on camera. Okay, I will just let that run for a few minutes, and then we can just turn it off.

At Brant we strive for, and we believe we do provide, a range of programs and services at reasonable cost to our clients. We have consistently met all of the requirements of licensing and inspection. We have received many letters of commendation from parents over the years. We have invested heavily in specialized equipment ranging from adventure playgrounds to computers, from full-day field trips for older children to French programs.

Mr P. Knoepfli: What are the implications of the government's child care policies for us? In short, unless they are modified, current government policies may well lead to the closing of Brant Children's Centre within the next few years. Why do we reach this conclusion?

First, the wage differential given to non-profits by the government of $5,200 per employee cannot be sustained over time. We will be forced to make up part or all of this differential for our own employee group. In order to recover this amount, we would have to raise our fees by 20% to 25%, which would be impossible to do, in our opinion, without major loss of enrolments.

Second, pay equity amendments which the government plans to impose on the child care industry will result in a further pay differential, we think, through proxy comparisons which we will have to meet. The government, as we understand it, intends to fully fund these pay equity adjustments for all non-profits. Pay equity will represent a second major escalation in our costs beyond the present wage differential created by disparities in government funding.

Finally, if the proposed new system of non-profit, directly funded licensed child care becomes a reality, the subsidized fee arrangements, as well as the existing direct operating grants, will disappear. Currently we work with the region of Halton to provide some 40 to 50 spaces for subsidized parents. Even now, the government appears to be trying to restrict the new fee subsidies from going to private centres.

The combination of loss of existing funding and subsidies along with far higher wage costs from the existing wage differential and proposed future differentials probably will mean that our business will cease to be viable. If a centre such as ours, which is relatively large and well established, reaches this conclusion, the cumulative impact of these policies upon smaller private centres no doubt will be devastating.

When the government contends that we can continue to exist as private schools with no government funding, no subsidies and much higher wage costs, it is forgetting that true private schools in Ontario only account for about 2% of all student arrangements, whereas private child care centres such as ours account for some 28% of all licensed spaces. It is difficult to compete against a free or heavily subsidized alternative system. If two supermarkets stood side by side and the government chose to subsidize heavily one but not the other, how long do you feel the other would remain in business?

If Brant does close, everyone loses. The community loses a valuable child care and early education resource, one which, at a ministry average capital cost of $18,000 per space, would cost over $3 million to replace. The staff would lose their jobs. The parents and children would be uprooted and have to find new child care arrangements, and of course we would lose our livelihood. We would also likely lose substantially on any possible sale of our real estate and other assets, which are highly specialized.

Dr H. Knoepfli: Another question that is often asked, and I have heard it even in the presentations in the last couple of days, is, why would we not convert to non-profit? By so doing, we would be eligible for all grants given to non-profits. There are a number of reasons why this scenario has little appeal to us.

First and quite simply, there seems to be no economic incentive to change the status of Brant. The government to date has not provided any funds with which to buy us out at fair market value, to compensate us for the loss of our future earnings or our investment. The only funds announced are for the purchase of used toys and equipment. This would represent a small fraction of our investment in Brant.

Second and equally important, having managed our business autonomously, and I believe effectively, for the past dozen years, neither of us wants to work for an inexperienced, non-profit board of directors. Frankly, we find it somewhat degrading to be forced to turn over the management of our business to a neophyte board.

Speaking from personal experience, neither of us has much faith in non-profit boards, and we have both had quite extensive experience working on boards over the years. Their weaknesses are many: They typically are inexperienced; they are often a revolving door of people who come and go frequently. Parents on a board, for example, typically maintain interest only as long as their youngster is enrolled in the centre. Finally, boards are a source of potential conflict of interest, for example, when parents on the board are asked to raise fees to which they must contribute.

I understand that parent involvement in a centre is a key reason why the government has proposed a board mode of operation, but there are many other effective means to ensure parent involvement without forcing management to give up its decision-making authority. Parent evenings, parent committees, open communication with staff and management and suggestion boxes are only a few alternative ideas.

Other implications of the current government policies for us include the psychological stress and strain of not knowing what the future holds and the loss of professional status within the child care community and our own community, and of course there is the instability within our own business among our staff, not to mention the stress and strain on our own family.

Peter and I, and we believe we speak for many Ontarians, are philosophically opposed to the so-called new system of non-profit child care the government is trying to create. We implicitly and strongly believe in a system with a variety of different providers, which will ensure the broadest parental choice. The government claims that the current patchwork system is not working, that it does not provide accessibility and affordability. We would argue that patchwork, meaning a variety of providers, can respond more effectively to different children's needs and differing parental needs and expectations. We also know from past surveys, such as the one conducted in Halton in 1989, that parents want choice.

We feel from our experience that diversity breeds excellence, whereas the homogeneity of the proposed new system potentially can bring mediocrity. We find it hard to believe that if someone like ourselves offers to provide all of the facilities which we have, at no taxpayer cost, to meet all of the licensing and inspection requirements, to provide onsite daily management expertise, to provide good service at reasonable costs, the government of Ontario would not encourage us in these times of economic austerity and limited funding.


Mr P. Knoepfli: Unfortunately the government of Ontario has decided we will not be part of its new child care system. We feel that under these circumstances the government should bend over backwards to ensure that we are fairly treated. Since the economic dice have been loaded against us in such a way that eventually may cause the loss of our business, we feel that at the least the government should be prepared to offer adequate compensation in the form of a buyout of our business at fair market value. The government's non-profit policies have destroyed the market for resale of our business which used to exist and is further evidence of the economic destructiveness of the current policies upon the private operator.

If a buyout is not possible, then the only other fair alternative is to grandfather us as an existing private centre, offering us the same funding arrangements as are offered to the non-profit centres. This means we should receive the same operating grants and wage subsidies for our staff. If the government does not feel that we are accountable enough to distribute these funds, we suggest that cheques be mailed directly from the government to our staff. Anything less than an equalization of operating grants is not only unfair to ourselves as owner-operators, it is grossly unfair to our staff.

As an aside, one should remember that current operators will not remain in operation for ever; five to 10 years is perhaps a realistic time frame. Five to 10 years is a very small period in the evolution of history, even in child care. I can only wonder why the government is so intent on wiping out such a small segment of its constituency when its ends or objectives could be met in an evolutionary fashion.

We are only one of some 650 small child care businesses in Ontario, employing in total several thousand staff, mainly women. We are in danger of losing our business because of the current policies. We believe our treatment will not go unnoticed by the thousands of small business owners around Ontario who are wondering what form of economic discrimination the government is planning for them.

Finally, we must say to this committee that we believe the government is misleading all Ontarians about the proposed new system of child care which it advocates. In the first place, it has already decided what it wants: a universally accessible, directly funded, non-profit system. The so-called consultation, therefore, in our opinion is a sham because it does not allow for public discussion of the basic issue of the type of system Ontarians want.

In the second place, we believe it is difficult to argue, as the consultation paper does, that child care is an essential public service when studies have shown that approximately only one in 10 Ontario households require preschool child care. It is an important service for those who need it, but there is not a universal need.

Finally, even if one agreed with the definition of child care as an essential public service, there has not been any public disclosure or discussion of what it will cost the taxpayers of Ontario. We believe that the costs will be staggering and totally unaffordable for these taxpayers. We say this because we know that the total number of licensed spaces must be increased enormously from where they are today to accommodate not just the children who are currently in private child care centres but all of the children currently in unlicensed home settings.

In addition to capital costs, a government-funded and government-run system will cost much more per space to operate. As well, there will be no incentive to operate it efficiently until it becomes obvious to all that it is totally unaffordable. Estimates by the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario and others show that the costs will run into the billions of dollars, which sooner or later will have to be translated into greatly increased taxes for Ontarians.

We hope, through hearings such as the one today, the government will reassess its child care policies and priorities. We challenge the government to find ways to channel limited resources into practical, affordable solutions for those who need child care support. This focus makes much more sense to us than the government directing its efforts at the destruction of one segment of licensed providers simply on the basis of ideology in order to clear the way for an unnecessary and unaffordable new social system in Ontario.

The Acting Chair (Mr Mahoney): Thank you very much. Technically we are out of time, but I will allow one question per caucus and the first is from Mr Jackson.

Mr Jackson: I will make a very brief statement, Mr Chairman, because I have to --

Mr Perruzza: You do not want to hear from them.

The Acting Chair (Mr Mahoney): When I am in the chair, we do not allow interjections.


Mrs Cunningham: You are doing well so far, Mr Chair.

Mr Bisson: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Are you making discrediting comments about our former Chair?

Mr Jackson: Mr Chairman, I simply wanted to indicate that this Brant Children's Centre is the centre which my children attend, not because we are a two-paycheque family but because through a serious illness my wife had to be hospitalized for an extended period. In the process, I made some inquiries in my community because I felt that for the local MPP to just open up the phone book and pick a day care centre -- this was a hot issue in the province at the time; I thought I better do some homework.

I contacted some educators and I asked them where they have their children in this community. There were three centres recommended but most of the teachers in my community had their children placed at Brant Children's Centre. I said to them very briefly, "Your federation does not endorse private day care," and each one said, "That is just ideology. I am an educator and a parent and I want my child in the best centre possible."

I want to leave the committee with that thought because my children learn computer programming for a two-year-old and a five-year-old. They receive a wonderful program, and I want to thank you publicly for that. I appreciate the contact you had with my wife in the hospital and with me personally. I just think it is tragic that we are doing this to centres all across Ontario. Thank you.

Mr White: Mr and Mrs Knoepfli, you have mentioned that the region of Halton provides funding for 40 to 50 spaces and I believe --

Dr H. Knoepfli: A clarification, Mr White. We have a purchase-of-service agreement with the region of Halton. They subsidize the parents, who then choose to place their youngsters in our centre as opposed to somewhere else. They do not subsidize us.

Mr White: Okay, but at that level they are making a choice to place their children with you for 40 to 50 spaces out of your 171, I believe?

Dr H. Knoepfli: Correct.

Mr White: There is no intent by the region of Halton to cut off any for-profit centres at the moment, is there?

Dr H. Knoepfli: No.

Mr P. Knoepfli: Not at the moment.

Mr White: I also understand from your brief that you are in receipt of a direct operating grant?

Dr H. Knoepfli: The 50 per cent grant, correct.

Mr P. Knoepfli: Yes, 50 per cent.

Mr White: How much of your total budget over the year do you think would be attributable to either the region of Halton or the direct operating grant? What proportion of it?

Mr P. Knoepfli: It would be a minor part of the total but still a substantial dollar.

Mr White: Forty to 50 out of 171 spaces?

Mr P. Knoepfli: Yes.

Mr White: That is close to a third, is it not?

Dr H. Knoepfli: Recognize that many of the parents pay a per diem as well and in many cases pay substantially, so you cannot multiply fees by 50 and take a proportion of 171.

Mr P. Knoepfli: They are not totally subsidized. They are only partially subsidized fees.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I would just like to confine my questions to the staff at your centre because obviously, both from your own remarks and those of Mr Jackson, they must be extraordinary people. I would like to have you tell me a little bit about what their training is and then what effect this announcement will have on the staff.

Dr H. Knoepfli: In a nutshell, the majority of our staff are qualified in terms of either a university degree or an ECE from a community college. In our infant and toddler department we have, I believe, two NNEBs, one of whom also has an ECE, and we have a nurse on staff as well.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Highly qualified people. What effect is this announcement going to have on these people's lives?

Dr H. Knoepfli: My staff is devastated, in a nutshell. They are disturbed, they are upset, they talk to us every day -- do we know anything, kind of thing. We have tried to keep them informed, but there is no question that they are upset about the potential of Brant ceasing to operate in the way it operates today.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: They do not see a lot of alternatives within their own community for employment. Is that what you are saying?

Dr H. Knoepfli: I cannot answer that for them, to be honest with you. I do not think they have at this point chosen to look.

The Acting Chair (Mr Mahoney): Thank you very much, and thank you for your very comprehensive presentation.



The Acting Chair (Mr Mahoney): We have a final presenter this morning, Ressel Day Nursery School. I should tell members that the schedule originally had us coming back at 2 o'clock this afternoon, and it will be 1:40 pm when the Association for Early Childhood Education, who were unable to be here yesterday, will present. We have allowed 20 minutes for your presentation including questions. We would appreciate your introducing yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Ressel: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. My name is Greg Ressel, and this is my sister, Mariola McGinn. We are from Burlington, Ontario.

Ms McGinn: My name is Mariola McGinn. I am a certified early childhood educator, and I am the supervisor of Ressel Day Nursery School in Burlington, Ontario. This private day care centre is licensed for 192 spaces, employing 40 people, and offering a full range of child care services, including programs for children with special needs, infant care, after-school programs for school-age children and bus transportation. These services are not offered by many other centres.

Ressel's, as the school is fondly known in the community, has served Burlington for over 30 years. I personally have worked there since 1968. The school was founded by my mother, Jolanta Ressel, in 1962, to meet the needs of the community. There were no centre-based child care facilities in Burlington at that time. Friends and neighbours who knew my mother's child care experiences in her homeland of Poland encouraged her to meet the needs. My mother responded to that need, and still works at the centre today.

Over the years our school has grown. What exists today is a product of much effort, sacrifice, struggle, investment, joy and vision on the part of my parents, myself and all the teachers and parents in the community.

Over these 30 years a lot has happened. My children grew up in the centre and so did my brothers, as well as the children of probably thousands of families in the community. A number of our kids who went to the school as small children have returned to become staff members or use the facility for their children.

The school has always had a non-provisional licence. We have always had an excellent rating from inspectors from the provincial, regional and municipal authorities. We have never had a complaint about our care of the children or quality of our program. I have attached copies of provincial ministry inspections for the past seven years, for you to see what they had to say. I would like to read a few of the comments to you:

"Excellent program, children very involved, happy and busy -- October 1987.

Impressive program. Staff commitment to children and program evident -- March 1990. This is a wonderful, nurturing preschool program. Each individual is shown mutual respect. Hugs are given freely. Children are spontaneous and staff responds to children's cues. This is certainly a child-centred learning program -- June 1990."

I think our school is very successful when you look at these accomplishments, and one of the main reasons is that my mother and I love children and we have been able to staff our centre with people who share our dedication and love for them.

In 1985 my mother was honoured by the Halton branch of the Association of Early Childhood Education of Ontario as the recipient of the Children's Services Award for her accomplishments and excellence in the field.

Our provincial government has clearly said that it favours non-profit centres for delivery of child care over commercial centres like ourselves. Affordability, accountability and accessibility have been cited as reasons. Quality has also been suggested as one of the reasons.

I have heard that it is the intention of our provincial government to have a system of child care delivery that does not include the private centre. I feel our government is saying that we are offering substandard services. That really hurts after all the years of excellent service. After the years of praise from the same ministry, our excellent program is now substandard. I cannot believe this is actually happening.

The non-profit and private sector must meet the same standard as set by the ministry. They are inspected and monitored by the same ministry and they employ staff trained by the same colleges.

Our centres are affordable and in fact meet quite competitive prices. We are accountable. We are accountable to the community which has been demonstrated over 30 years of service. We also meet all the same inspections and reporting requirements for non-profit centres. And we are accessible: Our centre offers child care services that are broader than most. I feel that the government has wrongly attacked our school and its staff personally and made us feel that we are doing something wrong.

Why would the government allow a $5,000 difference to exist in the direct funding of staff wages to favour the non-profit staff over the staff who work at our centre? That has hurt the staff financially, but it has forced private centres to raise their fees and become less competitive. It has had a terribly demoralizing effect on the staff of our centre. The staff turnover has increased and finding good teachers has become more and more difficult.

If this policy is followed with further disincentives for our centres, our centre will cease to exist. My mother and I will be out of work and our staff will jump ship to a non-profit centre. They will lose an average of 10 years of seniority and their benefits. Burlington will lose a highly regarded child care centre, but the need for our service will still exist and our community will have to duplicate in the non-profit sector what my mother and I have built over 30 years, this time with public funds.

Mr Ressel: There is one point that I would like to add to what my sister has said. The trend of converting or replacing private centres like ours already exists. Last year, the government paid $725,000 as a capital grant to a private centre in Burlington, which was licensed for 47 spaces, to convert it to a non-profit centre with 63 spaces. That was at a cost of $12,000 per space.

Today's estimates on replacement of lost child care spaces is about $18,000 per space. If our school closes, the cost to this government of replacing the 192 spaces would be approximately $3.5 million. Halton region is preparing to cut 75 subsidized spaces from its current year's budget because of lack of funds. The interest alone on the $3.5 million that it would cost to replace our school would provide an additional 58 subsidized spaces each year.

By opting for the most cost-effective provision of child care services through centres like our school, the government would be maximizing the families provided for. Thank you very much for listening.


Mr Bisson: On the part of this committee, I want to thank you for your presentation because I really think you got to the crux of the problem. The crux of the problem that I see is around the whole question of conversion. I think you have come at this in a fairly candid way, putting forward your concerns and putting forward the type of things you want to see.

The discussion we have been having with people in the commercial day care sector in northern Ontario is exactly that: If we are going to go to the public sector in regard to day care, and that is where the policy is going, how can we make that transition in such a way that is fair for both the owners and the public purse? In any negotiations, whether it be in the private sector or within the greater public sector, the seller wants more money and the buyer wants to pay less, and that is part of the negotiations. You will see that in the private sector in the same way that you will see in this one. Hopefully we can address those questions.

What the ministry is saying is, "Listen, the $1,000 that is out there as a number is a benchmark and we recognize there are some issues that have to be addressed in regard to the negotiations." What is happening is, it has become an ideological battle and we are somehow losing the reality in the fray of the ideological battle. I appreciate the way you have come at this in coming to the point.

You say in your brief that this whole discussion that has been going on for some 10 years now -- because this is not a new issue; this whole question of favouring the non-profit sector has been going on for some 10 years. It started under the Conservative government, it was carried through the Liberal government and we are carrying on with it. It has obviously had an effect on you as an owner, possibly on your staff and possibly on the parents and the children. Somehow or other we have to find some way of dealing with this so that we can finally get on with the business, which is delivery in the day care sector.

I want to read to you something I got from an owner of a private day care centre. I think he hits a point. He says:

"For several years this province has had very wishy-washy policies with respect to private sector involvement in day care. Within two months of becoming minister, Marion Boyd has made a very definitive policy statement.... We are pleased that she has ended the uncertainty for us and we will accept the direction that she has chosen to follow.

"For the first time there will be a mechanism whereby existing privately owned centres can convert to non-profit status. In my discussion with Mrs Boyd I raised the following concerns:" -- which you raise in your brief.

"1. That there would be no degradation of quality of care being provided" -- in other words, the same quality of care and hopefully enhanced care can happen through the conversion. "2. That the existing employees would be continued in the new entity" -- so that your employees can stay in place in order to make sure that they have employment once it becomes non-profit, if you choose to do that. "3. That the personal equity that," this particular person mentioned in the letter, "and I have in our business would be protected." In other words, how much do I get for it?

"In conclusion, we see no immediate change in the day-to-day operation of" this particular centre. "We are pleased that the ministry finally has some real policies. We hope that there will be an end to the conflict between the private sector and the non-profit sector. Certainly our stress level has been significantly reduced. If the government comes up with a fair value for conversion" -- and that is the key -- "we will work with Mrs Boyd and her ministry" in order to come to a speedy conclusion.

If we are able to get to a conversion policy that is fair for you and fair for us, the purchaser, do you think we can deal with this issue in the broader context to make that transition a heck of a lot easier, because the reality is that most people in the private sector are not making a buck with their centres and a lot of them are not even making a wage.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): That is an awful long preamble, Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: I realize that.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): Would you like to respond, please?

Mr Bisson: The question is, if we can get to a fair conversion policy, would that address your problem?

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): I think you asked the question, Mr Bisson.

Mr Jackson: On a point of order, Madam Chair: I would like to have the name of the operator who has just been extensively quoted in the Hansard for the record before we answer the question.

Mr Bisson: As a politician, I know not to use a name unless I get permission. I need permission.

Mr Jackson: That is crap. You and I both know that is crap. I have asked. I made a request.


The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): I think this should be settled, but not at this time. We are in the middle of a question/answer.

Mr Perruzza: Madam Chair, is that a legitimate point of order?

Mr Jackson: Yes, it is.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): It is.

Mr Jackson: It is a request to have the --

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): That is a legitimate point of order.

Mr Jackson: He quoted directly, and he said that. You better --

Mr Bisson: Okay, quiet. Let's get on with the answer.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): Would I be able to consult with the clerk after this presenter?

Mr Bisson: Yes.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): Please answer, if you would like to.

Mr Ressel: If I can remember the question.

Mr Bisson: The question is on conversion, if we can come to a good conversion policy.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): That is the third time you have placed the question.

Mr Ressel: That certainly would satisfy my pocket, but it does not deal with some other issues. That is my answer.

Mr Perruzza: What are some of the other issues?

Mr Ressel: There are some other issues. Number one is that over the years my mother, my sister and myself have provided an excellent service to our community, and we are now put into a position where we are in some way I guess forced, in order to comply with new government regulations or government policy, to convert to a non-profit centre.

What happens with the directors of our centre presently? Do they maintain their directorship and their administrative control in the future direction of the school, or is that handed to someone? Do they still have work? And philosophically, should our government be providing every single service the government currently purchases? Should the government be providing also, I do not know, non-profit roadbuilding companies? It carries on and on, does it not?

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): Thank you, Mr Ressel. I think you have expressed your opinion. We are supposed to be keeping this to three minutes but that took five, so I think it is only fair that the other parties have five, if they want.

Ms Poole: I found it quite interesting that Mr Bisson did quote extensively from a private day care operator who was very pleased to see Marion Boyd's direction. That is certainly the only one I have heard who has made that comment, and I would very much appreciate following up on Mr Jackson's point of getting the name of that particular operator. I think it is only fair under the circumstances.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): I have consulted with the clerk. There is no obligation to provide the name.

Ms Poole: I would request that Mr Bisson do so.

Mr Bisson: I can provide the name.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): All right, you are volunteering. Please do that this afternoon.

Ms Poole: The issue of fair reimbursement by the government has just come up. The details have been extremely sketchy because the government did not really have a plan or a strategy in place. They cannot give us the answers as to what the reimbursement will be. The current information we have is that you would be reimbursed for used toys and equipment. There has been no mention of any reimbursement for your investment, the cost of the land or the building. There have been no guarantees that the workers will be rehired should you convert. There has been no guarantee that seniority and benefits and salary will be transferred from the private sector to the non-profit sector.

Is it your estimation that if the government is to come up with a conversion plan that would be acceptable to the private sector, these issues would have to be addressed?

Mr Ressel: I certainly agree with that.

Ms Poole: Is there concern among your staff? I assume you are getting a direct operating grant right now where you get 50% of the salary enhancement for your staff.

Mr Ressel: That is correct.

Ms Poole: So at this stage there is already a gap. Have your staff expressed to you difficulty in continuing when the government's plan is to only give any new wage enhancements to the non-profit sector? Do you think there is going to be considerable staff turnover?

Mr Ressel: We have already experienced that. There has been a real demoralization. We spend a lot more time with our staff hand-holding, and that detracts from some of the other things we should be doing dealing with the children, the care of the children, the programs and the business part of it also. That, to me, is a difficulty.

Uncertainty is a terrible thing. Staff are in our office all the time asking: "What is happening? What have you heard?" We really do not know. We are not experts at this part of it. We are not experts at tracking exactly what our government is doing. We are experts at caring for children. That is all we know. In fact, we are not very good public speakers either. However, there comes a point at which time you have to say enough is enough. We have to know.

Uncertainty has become a problem, yes, and staff have asked me why they should not go to a non-profit centre and earn over $5,000 more. I cannot answer that. I said: "Well, you're right. If I had to advise you personally, you should go. That's better for you personally." But the government should not create a situation that makes it necessary for people to do that. It should not create a situation where my mother's work gets plundered, for lack of a better word.

You are right; if that can be straightened out, personally I would be satisfied. My mother would get her money out of it and that is it. But as an individual, I cannot agree that would be the right thing -- the same with our staff. That is a certainty. It is affecting the quality of our centre.

Ms Poole: I am not personally very optimistic that you are going to get that offer anyway. I would not lose a lot of sleep counting the money you would get from the government.

Mr Jackson: On that point, the minister and the coalition have made it abundantly clear that there will be no compensation other than your used equipment. That is it. They are not even talking about your transportation system, since I know both your centre and Brant Children's Centre provide busing services at considerable expense. I have talked to your mother about that and about the insurance costs and liability matters that she personally undertook all her adult life pretty well, and other things.

This really is expropriation without compensation in its worst form. I know your mother. She did not want to come here because she would be referencing the situation she left behind the Iron Curtain, which now seems to be revisiting her at this late stage of her life. I know how emotional she feels about that. You may want to comment on that for her personally on the record, but I know that the circumstances she left behind the Iron Curtain have now revisited her and she is deeply distressed by it. This is not why she came to Canada.

Mr Ressel: Certainly. We were all born in Poland actually. We arrived here in 1959, and one of the reasons was there really was no choice where we came from. I remember a number of years ago my mother got a traffic ticket for turning left on a red light or something, and she became quite upset. I said: "Well, it's only a ticket. It's $30. We'll take care of it." However, she thought that was a flashback of what she was used to. I have talked to her extensively about this, and this approaches that in her mind. It is very real and it is very upsetting. I am upset by it too. Quite frankly, it is not right.

Mr Jackson: I wanted to leave on that note because I know how deeply upset your mother is about all of this.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): Thank you, Mr Ressel and Ms McGinn, for closing off our morning. This committee is adjourned until 1:40.

The committee recessed at 1232.


The committee resumed at 1346.


The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): Ms Russell, would you please come forward. we are going to begin. We have warned everyone that we wanted to hear you and get you on record and we want to be able to do that without dislodging too much of this afternoon. So if you would please begin. You represent the Association for Early Childhood Education, Ontario, I understand. Do you have a brief to present in writing?

Ms Russell: I have given someone a copy of some reference material I am going to make some reference to during my presentation, but basically I am doing this verbally.

The Acting Chair (Mrs Y. O'Neill): That is fine. It will all be recorded in Hansard in any case.

Ms Russell: First of all, I thank you for the opportunity to appear, particularly when it has meant the cutting short of your lunch break. My name is Lesley Russell. I am an early childhood educator, graduating from Mohawk College in Hamilton, the class commencing in 1967. That seems a stunning amount of time ago.

I have worked in child care mainly in the Hamilton-Wentworth area, although I did do some work here in the city of Toronto through the planning department in development work. My practical and front-line experience has been something in the neighbourhood of 20 years working in non-profit child care in the Hamilton area.

I have been an active member of the AECEO, serving both on the local branch and the provincial board of directors, and was a member of the public policy committee of the association when the policies I am going to be describing to you were developed in the latter part of the 1980s.

Although I am not working in child care any longer, I still am involved as a board member of the umbrella child and family centres, which operate the programs in the board of education in Hamilton and also the board of the Hamilton public library workplace child care. Anyone who has worked in child care to any extent will tell you it is very hard to keep yourself away from it once you have been captured by a lot of the issues.

In terms of the association, we have 2,200 members across Ontario, most of whom are early childhood education professionals. Our organization has been in existence since 1950, so we are 41 years old at the moment and soon to be 42. Throughout all of those years a concern of the association, a sort of dual concern very much tied with one another, has been both the quality of care in education for young children as well as a strong commitment from the association about the wages and working conditions of early childhood educators working in the field of child care.

The question of commercial child care has been a very difficult one for the association. It has been a struggle initially not on top of the table, a sort of behind-the-scenes struggle, and in a sense the association really avoided taking any sort of position about the question until about the middle of the 1980s. There were very strong feelings within the organization both pro and con commercial child care.

But during the 1980s there were a number of things which occurred which really forced our organization to take a position. Those included, chronologically, a statement early in the 1980s through the then Conservative Minister of Community and Social Services about the government intention of the day to move child care from welfare to a basic public service. That was really a landmark statement at the time. Unfortunately it did not move very much further than a public statement. Subsequent to that, the minority government in the accord between the New Democratic Party and the Liberals made another statement about child care being a basic public service and not a form of welfare.

When the Liberal government, the prior government, was in power as well, the New Directions paper from the then minister, Mr Sweeney, took again another stand about the question of non-profit child care, about the initiative of the government to encourage the development of non-profit care, and talked as well about the issue of conversion, the changing of the auspices of a centre from commercial to non-profit. Again, an initiative was discussed and, in a very small measure, implemented to bring about some conversions.

Other things that affected us during the 1980s were a number of studies, both national and a local one that I will refer to, which looked at questions of wages and working conditions of staff in child care programs and questions of quality. That, combined with the paper I left with the clerk, really put the association in a position where, when there were discussions of the policy direction of government, there was an expectation that our organization would respond. The commercial non-profit question was always there and the organization reached a point where it really had to take a position.

I will refer to the study I have left for your information. I brought it today, though it is somewhat ancient history, because I think it is an interesting look at what the situation was like prior to the introduction of the direct operating grant, prior to the introduction of the wage enhancement grant, where there was more or less a level playing field for commercial and non-profit centres. So it really gave us a base to look at and as well was very consistent with other major studies that were done at the time on wages and working conditions for staff.

I will just highlight a couple of things for you. Part of the impetus for the doing of this study was an American study which identified issues of quality in child care programs. It looked at three factors -- size of group for children, staff training and staff turnover -- as being very clearly connected to measures of quality in child care. In addition to that, as people experienced in working with young children we also had a sense that things like staff morale, staff-child ratios, stress, burnout, job satisfaction and so on would have an effect on the kind of care children were receiving in programs in our local community in Hamilton-Wentworth.

So we undertook the study in which we surveyed all of the licensed programs in the Hamilton-Wentworth area and specifically all of the staff members within those programs. We had a fairly good response rate: 177 surveys out of, I guess, about 200-and-something sent out. So we felt quite satisfied that what we were hearing was reasonably accurate. As I say, it was echoed in larger studies that were done across the country.

Some of the things I will just mention. In the area of experience and turnover, in non-profit centres staff had an average of six years of experience; in commercial centres, three and a half years. So there was a difference there.

In terms of their turnover with the present employer, it was three and a half years on average in non-profit centres and two years in commercial programs. We looked at rates of pay. The average rate of pay at that time, as I say, prior to the introduction of direct operating grants and other enhancements, was $7.61 an hour for non-profit programs and $5.49 an hour in commercial centres.

So we saw two factors, really, that were positive in the area of turnover experience and wages which were consistent with non-profit status and to some extent unionization of programs. In commercial sectors we found that those categories were not as positive.

We looked at benefits. For example, 62% of staff in commercial centres reported no paid sick benefit; only 14% in non-profits had no paid sick leave. Paid professional development: 16% of staff in commercial centres had professional development; 55.7% in non-profit had paid professional development.

These are the kinds of things that in our view were contributing both to staff contentment, satisfaction and so on and also to quality impacts on the children, generally in relation to benefits counted one, one, one for each benefit. In commercial centres, staff received an average of 2.7 benefits compared to 5.9 or almost six benefits in non-profit programs. There again, non-profit status and unionization were positive factors.

We looked at other things, like the amount of time involved in program planning, professional development activities, membership in the professional association. In all of these areas we found non-profit status to be very much a significantly positive factor for staff in those programs. That included feelings about the job, satisfaction with pay levels and so on. So I refer you to the study if you have a little interest in what might be termed, I suppose, a bit of ancient history, but it is an interesting base to look at when we try to examine the conditions that existed in commercial and non-profit programs before there were other factors involved.

This study and other sorts of policy initiatives from the government really left the association with only two choices: We could continue to remain silent about the issue or we could take a position. More and more, both within the membership and within the board of the organization, there was pressure and inclination to take a position. It was a great struggle, but in 1987 at its annual conference the organization did pass a resolution which basically supported the government position of the day -- that is, the position in the New

Directions paper, which Minister Sweeney was responsible for and which talked about new funding to non-profit centres, conversion of existing commercial programs and certainly the encouragement of the development of a non-profit system.

Since that time we have urged as an organization both the previous government and the current government to proceed on the initiative to convert commercial centres to non-profit. The position of the association was confirmed as recently as the spring of 1991. I believe we have every intention to continue to urge the government to proceed on the question of non-profit conversion, because we see it as a really positive step, both in relation to the quality of care of children and also in relation to the kind of working conditions that staff experience in their day-to-day working programs.

I have to make it really clear that this is not a question of the Association for Early Childhood Education opposing commercial centres in terms of their existence. What we have talked about always is the question of public funding. We really feel the issue of public funding is the one we confine ourselves to in relation to non-profit programs: public funding should be going to non-profit programs, community-based programs, publicly accountable programs, so that there is accountability for the public funds that are spent there.

If child care is going to truly move towards a basic public service, which is the stated position of all three parties at various times when they have been in government, it must be developed on the basis of a non-profit program and system. I guess what occurred to me when I was thinking about these issues is that really the question is not one of policy, in a sense. It is the fact that it is actually going to happen that seems to be difficult, because all of the parties have certainly looked at the question of public service programs in the past and have supported it.


Those of us who from the early part of the 1980s have supported a move towards a basic public service and have participated in what has seemed like endless discussions about the who, why, when and the how much, really feel very positive that it appears something is finally going to happen which will propel child care a bit further along the road to a more progressive kind of system.

I suppose we feel we have been sitting on the on ramp for a really long time, talking about whether or not we were going to proceed on the journey. Now that the traffic is moving, some are hesitating and wavering about whether they really want to go. I am here today to tell you that the association has had its bags packed and has been ready to go for quite some time and we encourage and applaud the move to make a journey in what we see as a positive direction.

We are a very patient group of people. You have to be to work with little children. We look on the positive side of things and we are caring, skilled, experienced and very committed to our profession. We have struggled -- and it has been extremely difficult -- through a very painful process of coming to what we see as a principled decision on the question of non-profit child care.

It was not easy and many people have strong interest in maintaining commercial programs and having enriched government funding. Some of them have been very angry, but the organization felt it had to be done. In a way, politicians are having to face the same struggle we had and it is not a very pretty one. But I believe that if you support child care and believe it has to move towards a public service, then the position is very clear.

We have no evidence that a basic public service can be developed when it is left to the forces of the marketplace, the entrepreneurial commercial forces in the community. No public service has been developed in that fashion.

We are really urging you to take a positive view of this initiative. It has the potential to really improve the quality of service to children and their families and to have a really positive impact on the staff who work in these programs. I am ready and prepared to answer any questions you may have about our position.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Jackson.

Ms Poole: I think Mr Bisson finished last.


The Chair: You were the last? Then Ms Poole, for a minute.

Ms Poole: Thank you for your presentation, Lesley. You said the association supported Mr Sweeney's 1987 announcement and you reaffirmed that in the spring of 1991, as to the expansion of non-profit.

There is one very real difference between that announcement and what the current government is doing. Mr Sweeney had said they did not intend to buy out the commercial sector and would continue to support existing commercial sectors. What this announcement has said is that for commercial sectors there will be no new wage enhancement and, particularly in view of your 1986 report, I think this is quite important. Second, there would be no new subsidies for commercial centres.

Given the fact that I think your association represents both private and non-profit ECEs, are you and your association going to be taking a very strong stand with the government in protecting workers' rights to guaranteed employment, protecting workers' seniority and benefits if there is conversion? So far we have heard nothing about those protections for workers whether conversion takes place or not.

Ms Russell: I have to make it really clear that the organization has members who work in both non-profit and commercial centres. There is a little bit of a difference between purporting to represent the interests of commercial programs and the interests of staff who work in commercial programs. I will make it clear that we are talking about staff.

Mr Mahoney: Where are they going to work if there are no commercial programs? That is the question.

Ms Russell: What we are saying is that --

Mr White: Only one question was allowed, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Yes, the second question was not allowed.

Mr Mahoney: You can answer it anyway.

Ms Russell: We would certainly be very interested in participating, and in fact I believe one of the members of our executive is participating in discussions about the process of conversion.

What we are talking about, in terms of the position the association has taken, is a position of principle and the detail of it we would like to participate in. Of course we want to look at workers' seniority, continuity of jobs and continuity of care for children and so on, but the point at which we begin the discussion is that we support non-profit child care. So things develop from that position that make sense in relation to the support we have decided on.

Mr Jackson: Good to see you again.

Ms Russell: Nice to see you as well.

Mr Jackson: The press statement the association issued January 31, 1991, that I have in front of me indicated, and I will quote directly from it: "We are very concerned about a significant number of professionals who will be excluded from receiving the recently announced down payment on pay equity because of their place of work. The association urges the government to re-examine the criteria for eligibility, to make the necessary adjustments so that all early childhood educators benefit significantly from this recent funding initiative and from future improvements in pay equity legislation." Do you still stand by that press release?

Ms Russell: I believe the statement you are referring to was subsequent to Ms Akande's announcement in the beginning of 1991.

Mr Jackson: That is right.

Ms Russell: Since that time the executive of the organization and the board subsequently met as well and discussed the situation. The position we are taking is certainly that we want to see pay equity adjustments within the sector, but there are two things we would look at: One is the question of conversion, which we see as critically important to enable the public funding that would go towards those kinds of things to be addressed in the direction we think it should be.

Mr Jackson: If I may, since I only have a minute, I wanted to ask you --

The Chair: You have used it. Mr Ward.

Mr B. Ward: I appreciate your presentation, Lesley. Just to recap for my own benefit and for the record, your organization is 42 years old and has 2,200 members representing the ECE sector, so to speak.

Ms Russell: Those who belong. There are more early childhood educators in the province.

Mr B. Ward: This is a very emotional issue, I guess, if you are an owner-operator and if you really believe in non-profit, but after your organization analysed this situation, this issue, in an impartial manner -- I am assuming you did not have a position.

Ms Russell: Not at that time, no.

Mr B. Ward: You looked at all the information available and agreed that if public funding is used and child care becomes a public policy, it should be channelled into the non-profit sector. Is that correct?

Ms Russell: That is correct, yes, and I have to emphasize that prior to 1987 the organization did not have a policy about public funding initiatives going to non-profit. It was subsequent to 1987 and the New Directions paper that that policy was developed.

Ms Poole: They supported our policy, Mr Ward.

Ms Russell: The organization is on record as supporting the current policy initiatives as well.


The Chair: Order. Thank you very much for taking the time to appear before the committee today.

Ms Russell: It was a privilege, thank you.



The Chair: Our next presentation will be from Gillian Doherty. Good afternoon. The committee has allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. We always appreciate it if you could reserve some of that time for questions and answers with the members. If you will introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard, you may begin.

Dr Doherty: Thank you. I will try to confine myself to 20 minutes. My name is Gillian Doherty. I have a PhD in child psychology. For the past 11 years I have been operating a private practice in applied research and consulting. I presume I was asked to come to this committee today because I did some work for the Ministry of Community and Social Services that included specifically looking at the differences between profit and non-profit child care.

Unlike the previous speaker, I have no background in child care, so the fact that I was asked to do this particular piece of work for the government was based on the government wanting an objective person who had no previous involvement with child care but who did have the ability to read the research literature very critically and draw conclusions; to look at the issue. My qualifications were my ability to read research literature, not that I knew anything about child care at the time I did this work.

I have tabled with the clerk a paper that is basically what my presentation will be. The paper will give you the relevant citations and bibliography. In doing the presentation I would like to just hit the highlights and not keep interrupting to cite so-and-so, such-and-such a date.

I would like to start with a definition of what quality in child care is, because this gives a perspective for looking at the research. The definition I am proposing, which is very close to the definition I used when I did the project for the ministry, is twofold: that quality child care both supports and assists the child's wellbeing and the child's development -- social development, emotional, physical, intellectual, linguistic -- and second, that quality child care supports the family in the child care and child-rearing function. There are two aspects, but the emphasis is on the enhancement of the child's wellbeing and development and the enhancement of the family's ability to look after that child.

The collection of studies I am going to talk about includes six studies done in Canada and six done in the United States. I will make reference to two subsequent, fairly large studies that have not actually been published yet. As it happens, their preliminary data indicate exactly the same trend as the 12 studies I will talk about.

On the basis of the 12 studies, it appears that quality is more likely to be found in non-profit than for-profit centres. I would like to put an emphasis on "more likely," because I am aware, and I am sure you are, that there are some very good for-profit and there are some abysmal non-profit. But when a government is trying to develop policy it has to look at an aggregate, not centre by centre.

Having said that, there are various methodologies used to look at the issue of the impact of auspices. I have grouped the studies under those different methodologies. I will briefly define what the methodology is, then the findings of the study.

The first approach that is often used is to evaluate a centre as high-quality or low-quality, using the sort of definition I have already cited, on the basis of a group of factors that have already been proven in the literature to be associated with child wellbeing and/or development; things like the number of children per care giver, the appropriateness of the activities being done with the child, or what is called a global measure. One is very well known, the early childhood environment rating scale, which is well validated and has high interrater reliability. That is also used.

The studies that have used the approach of a global or summary measure include a Canada-wide study involving 927 centres; five relatively small US studies, but which, among them, involve 304 centres in six different jurisdictions, and a fairly large study involving 439 centres. The findings I am going to give you involve several jurisdictions -- which is an important point because the findings keep on being the same regardless of the jurisdiction -- and a significantly large number of centres.

Basically what these studies find is that on things like enhancement of the child's developmental skills, a global rating of quality, for example, on the early environmental rating scale, the types of characteristics, such as care-giver-to-child ratio and care giver behaviour, such as being encouraging with the children and using appropriate limit-setting, are all statistically more likely to be found in non-profit than for-profit. What these studies are saying is that there is a statistically significant difference -- ie, a difference that is not simply by chance -- between profit and non-profit in favour of the non-profit in things that impact very directly on the child's wellbeing and/or development.

The second approach that has been used in looking at this issue is to focus in on particular characteristics of the care giver behaviour or characteristics of the setting that in other studies have been demonstrated to impact on child wellbeing or development and then to look at the extent to which non-profit versus for-profit centres have the characteristics associated with positive outcome as opposed to negative outcome.

I am now going to go into three subissues. One of the factors associated with child wellbeing is that the care giver not have too many children to look after. It is called the care-giver-to-child ratio. Studies that have looked at that have found that where there is a relatively small number of children per care giver, the care givers are much more likely to be responsive, to be sensitive, to be appropriate in the way they program for the children. When there is a large number of children per care giver, there are more incidents of children being exposed to risk, care givers are much more controlling and much more harsh and much less likely to engage in behaviour that will enhance the child's development.

One Ontario study and two Quebec studies have specifically looked at this issue of child-to-care-giver ratio. They all consistently found that for-profit centres were more likely to be in violation of appropriate care-giver-to-child ratios than were non-profit. In a large US study that involved 227 centres, again the findings are similar. The non-profit centres as a group have fewer children per care giver than the for-profit.

The second specific characteristic associated with child outcome is staff turnover. Basically the research indicates that in situations where there is a high staff turnover, the centres tend to have lower ratings on global measurements of quality, care giver behaviour tends to be harsh and less responsive and children tend to have lower scores on language development tests.

Again, there are three Canadian studies that have looked at this issue, one of which was done in Quebec and involved all the child care centres in that province, so it is a substantially large number. Again, the three Canadian studies are consistent, that for-profit centres have higher turnover rates than non-profit centres. Two studies in the US, one of them involving 227 centres, found exactly the same thing, a tendency for higher turnover in the for-profit centres, and as I have indicated, high turnover is not a good thing.


The third specific indicator is adult work environment, and it is not surprising that there is a fair amount in the literature that has shown statistically that factors such as care givers' salary and the provision of paid preparation time during the workday have a direct impact on the way in which the care giver interacts with the child, the degree of sensitivity, responsiveness versus harshness and controlling, and not surprisingly, a direct impact on job satisfaction. Job satisfaction in turn has a direct impact on whether there are high turnover rates. It is not as circular as it sounds.

There is a Canada-wide study, 927 centres, that found non-profit is much more likely to have high turnover than -- sorry, I have my cards out of order -- I will backtrack.

Turnover rates: There is a consistency in both the US and the Canadian studies that the turnover rates are higher in the for-profit than the non-profit.

Mr Bisson: Is that staff?

Dr Doherty: This is front-line care giver turnover rates, and as I have indicated, that has a direct impact on the type of interaction between care giver and child and the children's developmental levels.

Another aspect that has been looked at is child wellbeing per se. There was a 227-centre study done in the United States which found that, consistently, children in non-profit centres were more attached to their care givers and therefore more relaxed with them, had higher developmental levels of peer play and obtained higher scores on language skill tests than did their peers in centres which were for-profit.

A fourth approach is compliance with regulations, whether they be provincial or state. Two Canadian studies, one done in Ontario, one province-wide, which between them involved about 1,400 centres, have found again that the non-profit centre is more inclined to be in compliance or to actually exceed compliance than the for-profit. For example, in a study done here in Toronto with 431 centres, only 13% of the for-profit centres had a clear licence versus 39% of non-profit with a parent or community board. In the United States, a study done in Pennsylvania also found that non-profit programs are much more likely to be in compliance with state regulations than the for-profit programs, and it should be noted that Pennsylvania has some of the most stringent regulations in the US.

Last, I would like to just touch on the number of formal complaints lodged against a centre. Here there are two studies I would like to reference, one done in Ontario, one done in Quebec. Again, they both found that the for-profit centres had more complaints lodged against them that appeared to be valid complaints than did the non-profit, and in both situations, the for-profits had a higher proportion of the complaints involving care-giver-to-child ratio than was the situation for the non-profits, and you will remember I tried to quickly stress the importance of care-giver-to-child ratio.

One of the suggestions that has been frequently made and I think will be even more frequently made now that the government is moving in the direction it is, is to say that the difference in quality which the research literature clearly shows, with the non-profit tending to have higher quality on various indicators, is simply the result of the fact that for-profit centres do not get government subsidy, the idea being that if the for-profits got government subsidy, then this difference in quality would be wiped out. That assertion is not proven by the research.

One of the studies that first made this suggestion was conducted by SPR Associates in 1986. At the time SPR Associates did its study, some provinces were providing subsidy for for-profit as well as non-profit; other provinces were not providing subsidy for the for-profit centres. SPR Associates produced a statistic which suggested that the difference in quality, which they were not arguing about, is there, but it is caused less by auspices than by whether or not there is government subsidy. However, when trying to support this conclusion, SPR presented its data with all the provinces aggregated, ignoring the fact that some provinces subsidized both types and other provinces did not. The conclusion made by SPR Associates would only have been supported if it had been able to demonstrate by separating out the provinces that the difference in quality that they found between profit and non-profit only occurred in those provinces where subsidization was only available to the non-profit sector. What I am suggesting is that SPR's conclusion is not supported by their own data, at least the way they reported it.

Second, the findings of another Canadian study done in 1988 here in Ontario,when Ontario was still subsidizing for-profit and non-profit, still found the same difference in quality between profit and non-profit, with the non-profit showing better scores on various indicators of quality. That also suggests that it is not simply the lack of government subsidy that results in the difference in quality found between profit and non-profit.

I am aware that I am going over time. I am prepared briefly to respond to some of the criticism I have heard made about the 12 studies I have reported upon. Would you like me to do that, or would you prefer that people have an opportunity to ask questions?

The Chair: We have about two minutes left. We could ask questions in the normal rotation. Mr White is first, recognizing you have about 50 seconds.

Mr White: I am very impressed with your presentation today, Dr Doherty. In fact, I have read almost the entirety of this little missive from a year and a half ago and had deduced from that a number of different variables which I was wanting to propose to you, because of course the issue of profit versus non-profit, which seems to be the hotbed of contention at the moment, was not one of the variables you examined, or not chiefly, in your research.

As I look through your research, most of the data you cite are fairly recent pieces of research. I imagine most of the research is relatively recent, within the last 10 years or so. But the complaint has been made that while there may be some research in Metro Toronto, it does not apply to Sarnia or London, or that maybe some research from Minnesota does not necessarily apply to Ottawa. I am wondering if you could comment in that regard.

Dr Doherty: Yes, that is a common complaint. The conclusions about relative quality between profit and non-profit that emerge from the 12 studies I cited, and that appear to be occurring in the preliminary data of two other studies that are not yet published, are all based on other research that had shown a clear, statistically significant association between particular factors and child outcome. Furthermore, the body of research in child care internationally, whether it be Europe, New Zealand, Bermuda or North America, shows the same characteristics of care givers or settings being associated with positive or negative outcome, which to me strongly suggests that at least in countries that are based on a western European civilization, there is a common call of care-giver behaviour and program characteristics that are associated with positive child outcome. If you use those indicators to then look at the difference between profit and non-profit, I think the findings are equally applicable whether you happen to be operating a service up in Wawa or in Toronto or somewhere else.


Ms Poole: Thank you very much for your presentation. One of the bases upon which the Liberal government made its decision in 1987 regarding child care was the very fact that you have brought out today, that consistently the research does show it is more likely you will have greater quality with the non-profit than with the for-profit sector child care. However, I think the point you made today is also extremely valid, that this is a generalization. There are many private sector child cares that provide superb quality child care, and there are other non-profit sector that provide, I think you used the word "abysmal" care. Instead of focusing on the commercial versus non-profit sector, if the government --

The Chair: We are hoping for a response.

Ms Poole: I am just getting to it, Mr Chair. If the government had focused instead on quality as the issue, do you have suggestions how the government could have dealt with this issue in a different way to address the quality differentiation, whether it is in non-profit or a commercial centre? I realize you said you did not have a background in child care, but from your study, were there things you would have seen that would have been preferable to bring in?

Dr Doherty: I could spend a whole afternoon responding to that, but I will not. Briefly, my understanding of what the government is proposing includes incentives, if you will, for the for-profit centres to get under the jurisdiction of arm's-length boards. I think that is one way of addressing the quality issue, because in the for-profit sector, there is not the same sort of responsibility to somebody other than people who have a direct financial interest in this operation.

What I am suggesting to you briefly is that it may not be obvious at first glance that the ministry is addressing quality, but I think it is, maybe in a roundabout way, through trying to encourage for-profit centres to have a proper arm's-length community board of people who do not have a financial interest in the operation. One would hope, therefore, that they are able to be more objective about care-giver-to-child ratios and salaries and things like that, all factors which do impact on the child.

Mr Jackson: I wanted to thank you for your presentation, Ms Doherty. I found your American references entertaining and I found your Canadian references from the mid-1980s informative. However, it must be very frustrating for you as an academic, and one who has published, when the field has changed so dramatically since the time you published, as it relates, for example, to compliance and ratios of compliance, even by the ministry's own statistics. Is the ministry working in an ongoing way with you in order to share that information, and how has that affected some of your thinking?

Dr Doherty: I wish I knew what you were getting at.

Mr Jackson: If that is a question --

Dr Doherty: If you are challenging the data on the basis of them being hopelessly out of date --

Mr Jackson: No, those are your words. I said it was informative, and I called your American references entertaining. If you think it is hopelessly out of date, that is your opinion.

Dr Doherty: No, I did not say that. I was reading through your attempt to be terribly tactful to ascertain that you were basically saying that the data were so out of date that they perhaps were not relevant. I see that you or the person sitting next to you has a copy of a book that was published last September.

Mr Perruzza: I never read it.

Dr Doherty: In preparing for that book, I went back and caught up on the literature as of June 1991, and I really do not think the child care field has changed so dramatically in seven or eight months that what I have suggested to you is no longer relevant.

Mr Jackson: It may not be in New Zealand, but it certainly is in Ontario. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Jackson, and thank you, Dr Doherty, for appearing today.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, while our next witness is getting some water, I have been looking over the information that was gathered by the ministry, and quite frankly I am very disappointed.

"Question 1: A copy of any impact studies upon which the December 2, 1991, announcement was based.

"Response: The December 2, 1991, announcement was based on information gathered from MCSS staff consultation regarding impact and basic statistical information on file with the ministry."

I wanted a copy of the reports upon which they based their decision, not something telling me they have some information but that it is at the ministry. I wondered if we could ask the ministry to provide us with some more complete information in this regard.

Mr Jackson: I would like to echo those sentiments with three questions that I added to Ms Poole's list. I asked for specific dollar signs associated with the conversions. The list makes reference that the ministry spent $100 on one centre. I thought I asked for all centres and the costs, and to identify them and the number of spaces.

The Chair: I am certain we will convey that to the ministry.


The Chair: The next presentation will be from Kathy Sarginson. Good afternoon, Mrs Sarginson. We have allotted 20 minutes to you for your presentation. We always appreciate some time for the members to discuss your presentation with you. You may introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard and then begin.

Mrs Sarginson: My name is Kathy Sarginson. I am the proud, if somewhat perplexed, owner-operator of two day care centres in Belleville.

Nine years ago, I had a desire to own and operate my own centre. I brought with me a sense of independence and commitment to quality. With the help of my family for free labour, and with funds from my personal savings and bank loans, I was able to open my first independent centre, licensed for 22 children. I insisted on early childhood education staff and held high standards for care in our area.

With sound business practices and a lot of hard work, the centre's viability propelled the operation into a growth situation. People brought their children to Kathy's Day Care because of word-of-mouth references attesting to the quality of care.

Four years later, the demand for my service had grown to the point where expansion presented itself as a responsible business choice, so I increased the mortgage on our home and used my husband's savings earned elsewhere to make the down payment on my second centre with spaces for 24 more children.

Things were going about as well as they possibly could and I felt proud to have accomplished what I had without any government assistance. I was independent and loved it. Further to the sensation of accomplishment and success was the joy of knowing that, incidental to providing a fine service, I also created employment for 11 people, all women, who paid taxes and helped the economy. I felt great. I was doing my part as a Canadian, I was contributing, and if my plan had continued as it was laid, I would be justly rewarded with an investment return upon my retirement, money to pay off my debts and for my retirement income.


It was at this point in 1987 that the government, in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to raise day care teachers' salaries, introduced the DOG, a pay enhancement scheme under the misnomer "direct operating grant." While teachers in non-profit centres enjoyed 100% of the available grant, teachers in independent centres were discriminated against and allowed only 48% of the grant.

Because of my sound business management, my employees already earned higher wages than the private non-profit centres. The DOG only served as a vehicle through which teachers in independent centres felt discriminated against. In some cases, however, valued and experienced employees were lost to centres that received additional funding as well as the direct operating grant. Two examples are the Loyalist College centre and our unionized municipal centre. The difference between the wage they offered and the wage I could afford to pay was insurmountable, short of raising the fees through the roof.

The exodus continued and I felt taken advantage of as a staff training ground -- four employees in one year to the newly created college day care. Incidentally, they only employ seven employees, three of whom were obtained from the Toronto area. There are 30 non-profit centres in my area from which they could have chosen their employees.

Where once a high level of expertise and experience had been gained by my employees, they were in demand and were quickly enticed by the higher wages and the sky-is-the-limit attitude towards spending that these centres could offer, leaving me to start again and train new staff, and all at my expense as a taxpayer.

I was angry and frustrated, but this was just my first taste of a slanted sentiment which seemed to depict independent centres as shady, money-gouging setups. Then in 1991 the wage enhancement grant went solely to the non-profit sector, leaving my employees frustrated, adding insult to injury, as their child care program ranks as a high-quality program.

If my integrity can be attacked for trying to provide a first-rate, affordable service and earn a living, we have a real problem in this country. We need government to level the playing field with its day care policies, in other words, keep the non-profit sector viable but not at the expense of the independent operators.

Subsidize families in need, not the centre, thereby allowing the parents to choose the centre of their choice. The per diem rate should reflect the actual cost of operating a centre. The inherent discrimination against independent centres makes it impossible for many to stay afloat.

Close on the WEG heels, Bob Rae's NDP government showed its true socialist colours. The plan to get rid of private operators was culminating. Mr Rae revealed in dollars and cents what he was prepared to do to convert independent centres, which had stood on their own without need of assistance, into so-called non-profit centres that would definitely require funding.

All of this is based on the assumption that high quality care and public accountability exist only in a non-profit system, even though Gillian Doherty maintains, "The main component of quality care is the interaction between care giver and child."

In her document Factors Related to Quality in Child Care: A Review of the Literature, there are three main mechanisms for promoting and sustaining quality care: regulatory methods, voluntary standards of professional practice and other methods such as user and care giver education.

Public accountability has been researched with regard to the application of the direct operating grant, and I refer specifically to the Levy-Coughlin report. The primary reason for the direct operating grant was to increase staff salaries and benefits. You will notice an error here in my sentence but I will correct it now. Independent centres applied 99% of the direct operating grant to staff salaries and benefits.

I feel the onus should be shifted from me defending myself to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, which both sets the licensing requirements and polices these standards.

Independent centres play a vital role in the economy. To drive 650 operators and 6,500 teachers into publicly funded centres will only aid in the demise of our Ontario.

When the figures of the conversion package were made available to me, I was disgusted; I was more than angry. How could he stand there with a straight face and ask me to sell my life's business at a bargain basement price of $1,000 per licensed space? This was an insult because generally accepted figures at fair market value for a day care in my jurisdiction are $4,000 and more per licensed space plus real estate. Mr Rae's offer fell short of my expectations by approximately $265,000.

If I converted, I would have to lease my buildings back to the now non-profit centre and take a back seat to its destruction. Some quick calculations also told me that if I was fortunate enough to sell my buildings for fair market value, after having sold the spaces to Mr Rae, that I could actually make in the neighbourhood of $65,000 less than what I would have if I had taken my money, put it in the bank and never entered business at all. As far as I and many of my colleagues are concerned, this conversion package offer is a non-option. It only served to demoralize a hardworking and productive sector of society. His offer degrades the value of my business, and the very mention of it would send any potential buyer scurrying. I do not deserve this deliberate damaging assault of ownership.

This just gives credence to my belief that all this talk about improving our economy by encouraging investment is nothing more than lipservice designed to distract Ontarians from his costly bumblings in the business world, the same world that pays for Mr Rae's wages, expenses and mistakes. I do not believe the NDP considers the implications of its policies; they are irrational, unfair and have caused considerable upset within my business. Both teachers and parents fear the loss of the centre of their choice.

All I really want as an independent day care operator is to be left alone to conduct the business I love, unshackled by unfair government competition. I want families in need to have the choice to utilize my service. Short of that, if Ontarians really want me to convert, pay me what I am worth. It is the democratic way.

Mr Perruzza: I am going to be really brief. First of all, I would like to make a brief statement about this morning's exchange. I know it is uncalled for and I know that we should comport ourselves in a very businesslike and respectful way, but sometimes we get involved in cross-partisan politics and we lose sight of the really important issues that are in front of us and we all start vying for votes, our Conservative members and our Liberal members as well.

Mr Jackson: You are going to need a lot more than I am, pal.

Mr Bisson: Good shot.

Mr Perruzza: Perhaps, but it really is uncalled for.

Judging from some of the gloom and doom that is in your presentation and from some of the very harsh words about taking a back seat while Ontario is being destroyed.

Mrs Sarginson: I referred to the destruction of my buildings; that is what I took the back seat to.


Mr Perruzza: Well, you talk about the demise of Ontario: "demise of our Ontario" is another way you put it. How much money did you borrow on your house to invest in this business?

Mrs Sarginson: How much money did I borrow on my house to go into business?

Mr Perruzza: Yes. You said you increased your mortgage.

Mrs Sarginson: I have remortgaged my house so many times I have not got an actual clear figure of how much money I have put into this business.

Mr Perruzza: A ballpark figure.

Mr Jackson: This is a legal point, and the Chair should advise that the person is in no way obligated to disclose that information.

Mr Perruzza: She talked about it in her presentation.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Jackson. You are perfectly correct. No witness at any time is compelled to answer any questions.

Mrs Sarginson: Then I will, respectfully, not answer that; that is my business. I do represent a quality program. I open my books for public accountability for the direct operating grant.

Mr Perruzza: You talk here about having been made an offer or there will be a prospective offer and you are going to be shortchanged $265,000.

Mrs Sarginson: I have a prospective buyer right now. Because of yesterday's announcement by Marion Boyd that my direct operating grant will not be transferable I have just lost $500,000 in the sale of my two day cares. That is factual.

Mr Jackson: She was grandfathered.

Mr Perruzza: So you have lost $500,000 as of yesterday?

Mrs Sarginson: That is my understanding from Marion Boyd's policy.

Mr Perruzza: How many years have you been in business?

Mrs Sarginson: I have been in business nine years as a licensed centre. I have been offering child care for 12 years. I started out as a private home day care operator with five children in my home. Because of my background, I ran a mini-day care. It just kept propelling; the quality was there.

Mr Perruzza: I see. So your --

The Chair: Thank you. Mrs O'Neill.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you so much for your presentation. There are so many things I would like to ask you, but you did make the statement about the conversion package. We have had very little said about the conversion package because even people who are as well informed as the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care have said there is no plan for the conversion package. The minister herself said the whole thing is in a moratorium because there is not sufficient planning. That is a great concern to us because we have had all kinds of people talking to us about the uncertainty. You seem to have had some kind of conversion package offered to you or you have had a meeting. I wonder if you would expand on where this $1,000 came from.

Mrs Sarginson: Sure. I work very closely with my community. I happen to be chairman of 30 non-profit agencies around child care planning. At our public meetings Comsoc agents have come and presented material to us in the sense that they were developing a conversion package. She did state, "which would pay up to $1,000 per licensed space." Given that I have that information at this time, that is what I am basing my assumptions on.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: So you have had no individual meetings or no individual negotiations?

Mrs Sarginson: We have lots of individual talking back and forth, but as she has noted many, many times, I have more information at my disposal than she is receiving within her Comsoc area.

Ms Poole: Just to follow up on that, did the ministry give you any indication of what would happen to the actual property? Would that have to be transferred into the name of the government or would there be some future compensation?

Mrs Sarginson: There are a lot of discrepancies here because there is no conversion package that gives us strict guidelines. Let's say as an operator I decided I did want to convert; of course the board has the decision to hire and fire me. I do not have my thesis completed for early childhood education; therefore I am not eligible to be a director of my facility because I do not have my ECE. I am sorry, I am getting a little offtrack. Just rephrase it again for me.

Ms Poole: What would happen to your property?

Mrs Sarginson: With regard to the property, they are not in a purchase situation. They are not offering purchase of toys and equipment. If I was in a leased building, the board would then want to lease the property from me. My experience, and the reason I said "destruction," is because I feel and I see that in non-profit organizations if the manager is not there onsite, walls start to peel, buildings start to crack. I do not want to be part of that system, so it is a non-option, and they will not buy my building at fair market value.

Mr White: On a point or order, Mr Chairman: I think it is not totally fair to ask Mrs Sarginson, although certainly she is doing an excellent job in telling what her experience has been with Comsoc. But in terms of the policy issue, we have some people here from Comsoc who could speak to that if the committee wishes.

The Chair: That is not a point of order.

Mr White: It is available if you want it.

Ms Poole: They will not give it to us.

Mrs Cunningham: Just on that point, I think we have got our questions on record. We are looking for responses, so I will not take up any more time. The fact of the matter is, we have asked. We did not get it today; we will look forward to getting it tomorrow. That is all.

Mr White: I said you could have it.

Mrs Cunningham: Well, if you have got it, give it to us, because we are looking for it, all right?

I respect so many people who come before this committee to help us in our deliberations. This issue, we were advised by the ministry yesterday, is not an issue of quality between private and public day cares, and I hope we have left that one behind.

Mrs Sarginson: So do I.

Mrs Cunningham: It seems to be the one that many members of the public advise us on, because it has been the criticism from the government members and you have heard it today, but the minister herself does not consider it an issue, so I would like to get on with some of the others.

The first issue is the ideology of the thing, and that is what we are facing with this government, and it admits it.

The second one would be the one the minister raised, the only other one that I could document from her presentation yesterday, with regard to parental control and input and a board of directors; that was her main concern. One of the caucuses has been asking of everybody who comes before the committee: Is there opportunity for parents? Do you have an advisory committee or a board of directors? That seemed to be minister's concern.

Mrs Sarginson: Back a few years ago, probably around 1987 when I really became aware that there was talk going on between non-profit and private, I put a survey out to my parents, because we did not have an advisory board, and asked them very specifically if they would like to be involved in a parent advisory board and attend meetings once a month to get involved in the operation of the centre. The overwhelming response was: "No, Kathy. You are doing what we want. We have daily contact with you. When a concern comes up, you address it immediately. If we see something wrong, we know you are open and will come forward when there is a problem and not at a monthly meeting."

I would have an advisory board if the parents desired it. To this date, they still maintain they do not want a parent advisory board.

Mrs Cunningham: I am finding, actually, the input that we are getting, because of the issue that we have, tremendously regressive. I have been involved in child care now for probably 20 years in Ontario, and I thought the discussion in Ontario today would be: How could we have more private home child care? What is the answer to providing more spaces in the workplace? Should we in fact be having child care in our school system for three- and four-year-olds as opposed to education? Those were the kinds of things I thought I would get into when I got elected to this seat. In the last four years, there has been no discussion on it.

Mrs Sarginson: I hope you will find some of my added material of interest.

Mrs Cunningham: I was going to compliment you on that.

Mrs Sarginson: May I add one comment?

Mrs Cunningham: Yes.

Mrs Sarginson: I would like to go on public record saying that although this is a public hearing and all three parties are here to gather information on the impact of the conversion package on women and utilize this information in the best interests of Ontarians, I was shocked and horrified to observe two NDP members throw away information provided by the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario during yesterday's presentation. One member tore up ADCO material in public view before ADCO finished its presentation. I will stand in a court of law and tell you that this is what happened.

Mr Perruzza: On a point of order, Mr Chair: The witness before us has levelled an accusation. She has smeared an entire party. She is talking about two individuals. I would like her to name those two individuals, but I would also like you to let her know what the repercussions of that may be before she goes on the public record and makes that public.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: What are they?

Mr Mahoney: What are they? Capital punishment? What are they? What the hell is this?

Mrs Sarginson: I have stated I would stand up in a court of law and state what I have seen.

The Chair: Mr Mahoney.

Mr Mahoney: Mr Chairman, that is so out of order it is unbelievable.

The Chair: That is not a point of order, Mr Perruzza.


The Chair: Order. As Mr Edighoffer used to say, we will just wait.

Mr Perruzza: Sometimes we receive four, five, six and seven copies at least. One copy used to suffice, possibly two. If you have three, four and five, yes, some of it will end up in the garbage, okay? She is levelling a direct criticism at --

Mrs Sarginson: Maybe you would like to hear --

The Chair: We will take a five-minute recess.

The committee recessed at 1502.


The Chair: The standing committee will come to order. I would ask all members to take their seats. Mrs Poole.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, on a point of order: As legislative committee members it has always been our practice that we treat witnesses with courtesy and at least we try to respect some decorum in this place. I have seen over the last few years a growing lack of respect for witnesses and courtesy not being extended. I would like the witness to continue her statement. In fairness for the disruption that we have all caused as members I think the least we can do is give her that courtesy.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mrs Sarginson: Thank you. May I continue?

The Chair: You may continue. I was asked during the recess to remind the witness that while members here are protected by parliamentary immunity, no one else in the room is.

Mrs Sarginson: Thank you. I will simply continue.

My statement to this committee is, whether or not the information is what they want to hear or is a duplication of prior information, I feel that all members of this committee have an obligation to the people of Ontario, and in particular to the operators whose lives they are destroying, to show common courtesy during these hearings. The material they destroyed in public represents minimally 80,000 citizens -- 40,000 in the independent business sector, 650 operators, 65,000 employees and 30,000 parents. If this is the NDP's open consultation --

Mr Perruzza: On a point of order, Mr Chair: With all due respect, the witness is launching an attack based on someone's taking a piece of paper, of which we received many copies --

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, that is not a point of order.

Mr Perruzza: From that, she is drawing conclusions that the NDP --

The Chair: Order.

Mr Perruzza: -- is an insensitive party and has destroyed --

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, you are out of order. I have ruled it is not a point of order.

Ms Poole: That was a piece of paper, one copy per member. There was no duplication, Mr Perruzza.

The Chair: It is not a point of order, Mr Perruzza.

Mr Perruzza: If she wants to name somebody as having destroyed a document or chucked the document in the garbage, then she should do so.

Mr Mahoney: Drummond White.

Mr Perruzza: Okay. Otherwise she should not make broad, sweeping statements --

The Chair: It is not a point of order.

Mr Perruzza: -- and draw conclusions from it.

The Chair: When I tell a member that he is out of order, that he should not have the floor, he does not have it. You may continue.

Mrs Sarginson: In my opinion, if this is the NDP's open consultation, it is obvious to me that they are interested in their own ideology, not in the children and not in the many women whom their cruel policies will affect. Also, if this is a women's issue, I do not understand why the NDP has sent six men today. Thank you.


The Chair: I would remind people once again, this is a proceeding of the Legislature. There can be no public demonstrations.

Mr Mahoney: Right, withdraw it.

The Chair: I would appreciate the help of both members and people in the audience in trying to maintain the decorum.

Mr Mahoney: Mr Chairman, a point of order: In the interests of trying to establish some decorum and perhaps settle some of the acrimony that we are all feeling due to the frustration, I guess, of the legislation that is being caused here, I referred to one of our colleagues, Mr Mammoliti, as a moron earlier this morning. While I might have felt that at the time, I think it was inappropriate and I would withdraw those remarks.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Mahoney. Mrs O'Neill.


Mr Mahoney: You can do whatever you want with it, George.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Mr Chair, I feel that we are not going to have an opportunity to meet on this subject again. I wonder if it would be possible, since my area of the province happens to be eastern, to have some definition from the ministry, even this afternoon, about what areas it includes in the southeastern region in the reports we got handed out to us today.

The Chair: I am sure someone from the ministry would be pleased to provide that before the end of the day.


The Chair: The next presentation will be from Child, Youth and Family Policy Research Centre, Laura Johnson. Good afternoon, Ms Johnson.

Dr Johnson: Good afternoon. That name was close to right. The Policy Research Centre on Children, Youth and Families is our new name.

The Chair: Thank you for correcting us. You have 20 minutes to make your presentation. If you will introduce yourself and your organization for the purpose of our Hansard recording, you may begin.

Dr Johnson: I am Laura Johnson and I am the research director of the Policy Research Centre on Children, Youth and Families. What I am going to be doing today is speaking to the research literature on the very specific issue of quality of child care and auspice of child care.

I am going to be speaking about quality in terms of measurable aspects of care. Quality of child care is something that is very occasionally used as a general global construct. More typically it is used in the form of discrete indicators related to children's physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. It is in that sense that I will be referring to the concept of quality of care.

In terms of auspice, what I have been trying to get from the review of the literature is a clear distinction of for-profit and non-profit child care. It is often very difficult to have it be that clear. Often there are many more categories and data grouped into more specific categories than we might want, but I am attempting to make that generalization.

I think it is important to note right from the outset that while our interest in conducting this research review has been in auspice, which is auspice or sector of care or sponsorship -- auspice is kind of an awkward term, but I think it is technically the correct term -- we certainly know from the day care research literature that there are other contextual factors which have an impact on the quality of care. These factors include standards of care and enforcement of those standards, funding of child care and parental involvement. Auspice fits in there somewhere. It is one of the factors influencing quality of care, but none of the research results assumes that is exclusively a factor which affects quality of care.

What I have tried to do in this brief research review is to get up-to-date data, up-to-date research. I have looked for Canadian research. There is a limit to how much data we can find. I think it is important to stress that what I will be presenting in this brief overview are highlights from the study. I am not going to be giving a comprehensive description of all of the results of the study. In many cases, a whole lot of aspects of quality of care were looked at and a whole lot of results that are not statistically significant are presented. What I am going to be presenting in my highlights are the significant results.

I think another important caution in looking at data like this, measures of quality group centres by auspice, is to point out that we are looking at characteristics of groups of centres. We are not talking about individual centres. There is extreme variation within any category and what we say about a group is a statistical result and does not necessarily reflect a particular centre located within that group.


What I would like to do is build on Gillian Doherty's basic review of literature and present findings from what we consider to be four key studies that present information on this question. Some of them are studies that are in progress and we are going to have to wait until the completed research is available for the data. Some of it unfortunately is not Canadian data. Some of it is not from Ontario, but at this point I think it is the best available data we have.

I should say that in reviewing this literature our centre had the help of Martha Friendly and her staff at the child care resource and research centre. In addition, we did a brief consultation, a brief survey with what we consider to be key informants, key research experts who are working in this area.

One of the studies that is addressing this issue of quality of care is an ongoing study. It is by a Canadian researcher who is working on a doctorate in sociology from the University of Calgary, teaching in the United States right now, but who has collected the data and is presently analysing data that look, among other variables, at auspice and quality of care. He did his research in Calgary.

He selected a representative sample of 45 child care centres that serve the age group of children 19 to 35 months; 31 of them, or 69%, are for-profit, and 14 or 31% are non-profit. Professor Friesen says this reflects the distribution of care in that city. He did an observational measure of quality of care and of child care giver interaction using a standardized measure, the infant-toddler environment rating scale.

What Professor Friesen did to get access to these centres -- he did not deny he was looking at and assessing the quality of care in centres, he was very explicit about that; our research ethics generally require that that is what one does -- was he said to centres that in return for opening up their doors to his team of researchers he would give them a report, an assessment of the quality of care in their centre, and would also give them a ranking. They would get a quantitative score and a ranking of how they fit in with other centres.

His results show, looking first at an overall measure of quality of care giving, the extremes, that 32.4% of the non-profit care givers were rated very good and 14.7% were rated poor; 11.1% of the for-profit care givers were rated very good and 44.4% were rated poor. Another variable he used was care giver training, using a measure of the percentage who had formal ECE training. In that sample, about 53% of the non-profit care givers had ECE training and 21% of the for-profit care givers had ECE training.

As I said, this is research in progress. This part of his analysis has been completed. It is a doctoral thesis that is going to be defended this summer, and at that point published data will become available.

The next study is from the United States, which is a piece of a larger study, the United States national child care staffing study. This is an analysis that looks at, as the title says, the effects of a number of what they call policy variables on quality of care. In this sample, they were looking at one city, Atlanta, Georgia. They were looking at 46 child care centres, children with an age range of 14 to 54 months, and centres of four different auspices: independent for-profit centres; for-profit chains; non-profit, non-sectarian centres; and non-profit, church-run centres.

They used two measures of quality of care. Again, these are standardized measures these researchers did not make up, but they are measures that are used over and over again in a number of studies. They are aimless wandering and attachment security with the teacher. Their findings in general terms were that the children attending non-profit centres were more securely attached to their teachers and also had more positive interactions with their teachers and spent less time in aimless wandering.

This next study also uses data from that United States national child care staffing study, but this one is a larger data set using data from five different cities. It uses the same grouping of centres by auspices, and uses a variety of measures of quality. This is a study that was very recently published in the American Journal of Community Psychology. I will go quickly to the findings from this study.

They find that for-profit chains had fewer staff per children than the non-sectarian, non-profit centres. They found that staff turnover was higher in for-profit chains than in non-profit centres, and staff turnover was higher in independent, for-profit centres than in non-sectarian, non-profit centres. For infants and toddlers in the study, they found that the quality of care giving and quality of activities was lower in for-profit centres than in the non-sectarian, non-profit centres. For preschoolers, the quality of care giving was found to be poorer in the independent, for-profit centres than in either group of non-profit centres. The quality of activity for preschoolers was poorer in the independent for-profits than in either the chains or the non-sectarian, non-profit centres.

Because this is a study with a measure that is observational and they are looking at interaction between care givers and children, they judged that staff in the independent, for-profit centres were more harsh and less sensitive than staff in the non-sectarian, non-profit centres. They found that staff in the for-profit centres had less early childhood training than staff in the non-profit centres and that non-profit centres, in general, were more likely to comply with regulations than were for-profit centres.


The fourth study is a Canadian one. It is a recent one. I believe this research has been discussed today. I can go through the findings quickly. This is the study on compliance with the Day Nurseries Act among centres, not a sample of centres but among centres, in Metropolitan Toronto. This is a study done by Sharon West.

The study was done on 431 full-day child care centres, excluding those operated by the municipality of Metro Toronto and excluding centres serving exclusively school-age children. There was a variety of different types of auspices. There was non-profit commercial, non-profit parent or community board, non-profit agency-operated -- such as centres run by the YMCA -- non-profit operator-appointed board, church-sponsored and workplace-sponsored. The measures in this study are the type of licence granted, whether it is a full licence or a provisional licence, compliance with ministry regulations, reported complaints and frequency of and reasons for visits by a program adviser.

In general, the findings from this study are that for-profit centres were less likely to comply with regulations and more likely to have a restricted licence than were centres that were under other auspices. Looking at the distribution of centres that were subject of a complaint to the ministry in the year under study, 33.5% of them were for-profit centres, 27.5% were church-sponsored, 22% were non-profit operator-appointed board and 13% were non-profit parent/community board.

Mr Jackson: What year are we talking about?

Dr Johnson: We are talking about the year 1987-88.

Looking at violations of regulations regarding staff-to-child ratios in that year, 53.8% were from for-profit centres, 15.1% were non-profit parent/community board centres, 45.4% were non-profit operator-appointed boards and 45.4% were church-sponsored centres.

There are a number of conclusions from this brief review of these studies. One is the general conclusion that these preliminary research findings, some of them not so preliminary but some of them research in progress, suggest that non-profit centres do offer higher-quality care.

In looking at that it is important to go back to what I said at the beginning, the relative influence of other contextual variables, and note that auspice is not the whole picture, that it is one of a number of factors. Another is funding, another is standards and the enforcement of those standards and another is parental involvement.

We do not have a database in Canada that lets us look at the relative influence of those variables. It really is problematic to go cross-border-shopping to get those data. We can look at the studies that are done in Atlanta. They are suggestive to us, but we really do have to develop our own database so that we can do this kind of research here.

We do know enough from these various studies, though, to ask some questions about why we get the kinds of results these studies are showing. We know from earlier research, a 1984 study done by Patti Schom-Moffot in Canada, that there are differentials in general in salaries paid to staff in non-profit and for-profit centres and that the non-profit centres tend to pay higher wages. We know from the US data that paying staff better leads to lower levels of turnover and is correlated with child-oriented measures of quality.

If we wait just a little while, we are going to have a new study by Patti Schom-Moffot available in a month or so that is going to give us new Canadian data we can break out by individual provinces to have some of this information.

Just as a last factor, it is argued that there are in-kind resources that may be available to centres in the non-profit sector that may account for some of these differences in quality. It may be also that staff self-select themselves into programs by auspice and that the better-trained staff are the staff we find in the non-profit centres. That may account for these observed differences in quality. I will stop there.

The Chair: Thank you, Dr Johnson. We appreciated your presentation this afternoon.


The Chair: The next presentation is the Moppett School day care, Diane MacBride.

Mrs MacBride: I have a VCR tape.

The Chair: Okay, we will take five minutes while we set up for that.

Ms Poole: Since we are already behind schedule, I wonder if the witness could begin her presentation. Do you need to do the VCR first?

Mrs MacBride: I can do a little bit but then I do need the tape, and I gave it to the gal.

The Chair: That will be great. As you know, you have been allocated 20 minutes by the committee for your presentation. If you would like to identify yourself and your organization for the purposes of our Hansard recording, we would appreciate that.

Mrs MacBride: My name is Diane MacBride and I am the owner-operator of the Moppett School in Newmarket in York region.

It was my understanding that we were not to be talking about quality.

Ms Poole: It was our understanding too.

Mrs MacBride: I am here before you today to speak about the impact of a universal day care system on myself, Diane MacBride, an ECE certified by the association. I have been in the field for approximately 11 years and have worked with all ages of families and children.

About five years ago my family decided to mortgage our family home and buy a day care centre in which we could run a good, quality program around a family scene. When I first started in this field 11 years ago there was no indication that the independent sector would be regarded as disgusting, rotten, evil people, but that is how I feel the NDP policy sees me.

The rules changed somewhere along the way. I was brought up in a hard-working Ukrainian family where it was good to take your own money and work and put it into something, and put your whole heart and soul into the job. It was good to run an excellent independent business and get a paycheque for your labour. It was a parenting tool that my parents taught me to respect and that I put value in. Now the NDP policy is changing this. The values I was taught as a child seem to have fallen by the wayside. This government does not want the independent sector to play a part in child care. I have been labelled as a bad and evil person making money off the backs of children. Yet this is not how I was brought up by my family, and I am not bringing up my own family in that way. Nothing could be further from the truth.


I employ 15 care givers who are dedicated people who take great pride in their responsibilities and know what type of impact their responsibilities have on our day care children and families. They do many things above their job descriptions. For example, they visit day care extended families in the hospital. They take time to get to know the person. They deal with parents and get to know our parents and their concerns. We have even been support services in funeral homes, and that is not too long ago. As an employer, I am responsible to my staff, some of whom are the sole providers for their families as their spouses have been laid off.

The personal impact is simple. I have mortgaged my home to buy a business. I see the government has made my business worthless and will leave me with a mortgage and no way to pay the bills. I also will have to be retrained for some other type of work; I could not work for the government in its new system as its values and my values are definitely not the same. I find myself doubting my values. Please remember that I was taught that it was good to invest, and from investment you could make a salary. Now I see that the NDP is clearly stating that this is not so.

The next part of my presentation is basically on tape and then I just have a little closing remark. You have to remember that this was not professionally done.

[Video presentation]


Mrs MacBride: That was a parent. That is the last of the tape.

Basically what I would like to bring too is a copy of the purchase-of-service agreement in York region. Nowhere on this purchase-of-service agreement for fee assistance does it say that the Moppett School is asking for subsidy money. The money goes to the parents. One of the things we have been faulted for over and over and over again by this particular government is that it does not want to see public funds go into private centres. Nowhere on our purchase-of-service agreement does it say that those moneys are going to the Moppett School. The money is being picked up by the parents, because if you are going to do that, you have to make your welfare people accountable for their money too, in the same particular way.

In closing, what I would like to say is that I am disillusioned with our country. I feel that my rights, my freedom, my female independence and my livelihood have all been taken away from me. I am very sad to think that the many students we have in our centre cannot ever experience what I have, to own their own centre. I am getting very tired of always having to leave my centre to fight for my existence. The impact on myself as a female and females like myself can only be compared to medieval times.

The Chair: We have some questions from the members. Mrs Poole, about a minute.

Ms Poole: Thank you for your presentation today. On this committee over the last two days, time after time we seem to be getting sidetracked on the private versus non-profit issue as opposed to the conversion announcement. You mentioned that you are an ECE and a member of the association.

Mrs MacBride: Yes.

Ms Poole: Earlier we had a presentation from the association where they said that in 1987 they decided to take a position on this issue and support the previous Liberal government's announcement about future expansion being in the non-profit sector; however, they would continue to support the private sector through the DOGs. One thing I was missing from the presentation was, has the association membership taken a vote on the conversion proposal by the NDP government?

Mrs MacBride: The Association of Early Childhood Education of Ontario?

Ms Poole: That is right.

Mrs MacBride: Not that I am aware of. I sit on the Ontario public policy committee. We are having a committee meeting. My understanding was that auspice had nothing to do with it, that the association stood for the people delivering a quality program, and I know at the last conference they had people who were upset that they were making statements and, no, it had not gone through our membership.

Ms Poole: What we have had far too little of is discussion on the impact of this conversion --

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr Jackson: My Ukrainian-born grandfather used to say to me, "Cam, get a job where the government can't tell you when to stop working," and I guess if Grandpa was still alive today, I would have to inform him that at least I did not get into a job where the government put me out of work. So I know, since we have similar upbringings in that regard.

Diane, the minister was before us yesterday, and she made some indications that there were subsidy dollars available for non-profit centres that were experiencing financial difficulty. We have also heard that you are in competition, all centres compete on the basis of quality, and that is perhaps why the commercial centres are doing a little better these days, because there are so many non-profit centres that are experiencing financial difficulty. Are you aware of any centres in your immediate area that are in financial difficulty and/or receiving these new funds the minister referred to yesterday?

Mrs MacBride: No. I am not.

Mr Jackson: How do you feel as a taxpayer that here you are paying business taxes for a marginal profit line, if that, and yet we are now introducing a third level of subsidy for the non-profit sector?

Mrs MacBride: I know a lot of the parents I have -- the majority of the parents in my centre are full-fee-paying parents -- are very upset to find out that their before-tax dollars are being taken for tax and subsidy spaces and their after-tax dollars still have to pay for their child care. They just cannot understand how a government can do that, tax them and tax them and tax them.

Mr Bisson: Seeing I only have a minute, I just want to make three statements to clarify the record here. One is that a statement was made that there is a conversion policy in place. Let's be clear that there is not a conversion policy in place at this time. It is still being consulted on. The idea is to sit down with the partners which are opposed to the private day care centres and other people to try to come to some sort of an equitable arrangement. We can get in a long discussion about that; we do not have the time at this time.

The second thing is that I was interested that one of your staff asked the question -- and I hope you go back to your staff with that -- "Who will hire me?" should your particular day care close. First of all, we are not telling you to close. In my community there are only private day care centres available. That is all we have. We have one which is a non-profit out of a college, so it is a different animal, and I do not want to use that term, but that is the only one I can find.

What we are saying is that if the community chooses and there is no non-profit out there, to give those service dollars over to the private sector within the commercial sector, that is fine. The only thing we are saying is that eventually we want to be able to make the transition over a period of time that will go to the non-profit. It is not a question of throwing you out; it is a question of, once you come to the point you do not want to be in business any more, that will be your decision.

The last thing is that you made a statement at the beginning and you are saying the government is saying, New Democratic people are telling you, that we see you as bad and terrible people because you are in the private sector. Excuse me. Hogwash. We are not saying that to you. We understand more than anybody else the importance of making sure that the private sector is alive and well. What we are saying is that we believe the public sector must take a role within the day care area, and what we are saying is that we want to make that conversion the same way the conversion was made when it comes to hospitals, schools and other facets it was decided at one point in our society had to come under the public auspices. To say that we are against the private sector, I have to correct you, no, that is not the case.

Mrs MacBride: From where I am seeing, that is not --

Mr Bisson: From where I am sitting, it is not either.


Mrs MacBride: It is not perception. Basically, the staff that you saw -- number one, she is a non-trained staff. She said she was a teacher's assistant. We are told there is not a lot of money when the conversion package gets straightened around.

To address your second statement, basically there would have to be a need. In my area there are a lot of non-profit centres. I called this morning before I came before the committee and they are about 30% empty. So they would never convert the Moppett School, and the Moppett School is rented, so there is basically nothing to convert.

Second, yes, and I will say it again, I do see you as seeing me as an evil, foul person making money off the backs of children and all the rest of the things. In a lot of what has happened, basically I see that the NDP is putting me personally out of business. Number one, there is the $5,000 salary difference for --

Mr Perruzza: Talk about free trade.

Mr Bisson: Talk about putting 50,000 people out of work because of free trade and come to me and say that --

Mr Perruzza: There are 32 new taxes.

Mrs MacBride: But we are here on the impact of --


The Chair: Thank you, Mrs MacBride, for coming today.


The Chair: I think I am the one who needs the ECE training.

Mr Bisson: Good shot, Mr Chairman.


The Chair: The next presenter will be Janet Hodgkinson. Good afternoon. I know you have been monitoring this situation, so you know you have 20 minutes, you know you should introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard, and you know the members enjoy some time to have a discussion with you following your presentation.

Mr Bisson: Mr Chair, just a brief point. My schedule showed Sue Bird afterwards. Is this a substitution, or has Mrs Bird not shown up?

Mrs Hodgkinson: This is a substitution.

Mr Bisson: Okay. So Mrs Bird will not be here?

Mrs Hodgkinson: No. She is in Florida at the moment.

Mr Bisson: Oh, God, I envy her.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Isn't that nice? I wish I was too.

Mr Bisson: I wish I had the money to go.

Mrs Hodgkinson: I would rather be there than here.

The Chair: Wouldn't we all?

Mr Jackson: You should clarify that Sue Bird is a parent.

The Chair: All right. Do not test my training again.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Okay. I just do not want to be knocked over the head with it either.

Before I start my presentation, I am going to say something. I am one of these people who, while the rest of them speak from here, with all this knowledge, I speak from here; it is truly from the heart. Please listen.

I should like to thank the Chair and the members of this committee for allowing me this opportunity to bring my concerns and my feelings before you today. Being the optimist that I am, I hope that this time someone on this committee will listen.

My name is Janet Hodgkinson. I have worked for 21 years at Central Day Care Centre in Hamilton. Central Day Care is a commercial centre. This government has told me I am inferior to a person with the same years of experience who is working in a non-profit centre. According to the government, I have therefore contributed nothing to the welfare of the children in my care. Is it any wonder I and others like me are angry at this government's policy?

We are fortunate, however, in that the parents whom we serve in the commercial day care centre trust us to provide them with high-quality day care services, respect us as professionals committed to excellence in our field, and support us 100% in our struggles with this government. These parents have taken the time to educate themselves on this issue and are obviously more knowledgeable than this government. This is very sad.

No matter what anyone else says, if this policy is passed, I shall lose my seniority and everything that goes with it. I am very hurt to think that for years I have attended meetings, striving for better-quality day care, and for all of that all I get is discrimination and punishment because I chose to work in a commercial centre.

If this government feels the system is in such bad shape, then, number one, the early childhood educators are not doing their job. Number two, you are saying to me that parents who use the commercial sector are bad parents; they do not care about the welfare of their children.

If this is the case with early childhood educators, who is responsible for putting them there? The colleges? The screening process for applicants? The field placement supervisors who assess the students? If the boss does not give the right instructions to the fellow digging the foundation of a building, you and I both know the building is likely to collapse. So let's change the system. Start there instead of getting rid of commercial centres. They are not a problem.

I think ECEs are doing a fantastic job in both sectors. These girls in the commercial sector are every bit as good as the girls in the non-profit sector, maybe even more so because for sure the money factor does not enter into it. They obviously care about the job and the children, since ECEs in the commercial sector only receive up to $3,000 in government grants, while their colleagues in the non-profit and government centres receive up to $8,000 in government grants.

As for parents, do you really think they do not care? Do you think they throw their children into a centre or leave them for eight hours a day and just walk away and do not care? I do not think so. In my experience, the majority of parents spend weeks and sometimes months deciding on the centre which suits them. Do not tell me the parents should not have this choice.

The government sets the regulations; the government regulates the system. Are the consultants not doing their jobs? Do we even hire enough consultants to do the job? Do not tell me the commercial centres are the problem, because if the builder does not put up the walls right, you are still going to have the house falling down.

We feel the system works but could stand some improvement, so why is this government disrupting the whole system instead of improving what is already in place? I am not naïve. I realize governments cannot please everyone. But let's use common sense and logic before we make a very bad decision and completely disrupt and destroy people's lives when there is no sound reason for it. Listen to what the people are saying. We all have feelings for where something should go, but if the government feels universality is the way to go, tell us the logic of that decision. Listen to what we have to say. Let us decide together and work together, not against each other. Let's build on what we already have instead of tearing it apart. The whole house needs to be strongly built. If the walls and foundations are strong, it should not matter what kinds of rooms are inside it.

I want to tell you that I have had many consultations for over a year now, and I am still none the wiser nor any further ahead. I am consulted to death and I am sick of it. Nobody is listening to what we are saying. Even most of our NDP MPPs in their own ridings do not listen. We feel as if we have the plague; that is how bad it is. They do not even care how it affects their own area. These are the people who are supposed to be fighting for us, so where does a little guy go? We do not have the financial backing. If it was not so sad and so very serious, it would be laughable.

When I have these consultations, I do have the opportunity to speak. As far as I can see, when it is all over they have not listened to a word I have said. All they have accomplished is that I have wasted my time and the taxpayers' money. My time is very precious, and my tax dollars too. All I did was give them the opportunity to stand up in the House or anywhere else and say they had consulted.

I was very happy when the NDP government was elected, because I thought here was a government that would be willing to listen to the people, that thought about and cared about the little guy on the street. I am one of these. How naïve I was. I found out last January that we had elected a government that does not listen and that really does not care what happens to the people of this province. My own feeling is that they are like horses in a race. Their blinkers prevent them from seeing what is going on around them, and the race they are in is going to cripple this province.


In closing, and in case you all have forgotten: the children. How will they be affected, who speaks for them and just where do they fit into this mess?

I know I have 10 minutes, and I am afraid I have not taken it up, so I would like to add something if you do not mind. I have heard that quality is not the issue any more. It should have never been an issue. Do you honestly think that ECEs or the parents who are in the commercial sector do not have brains in their heads? That is putting it bluntly. I can assure you that early childhood educators would not sit back and allow the children in their care to be badly treated. They would report it immediately. The parents would pull their children out so fast that everybody's heads would spin. We are not a bunch of garbage for you to decide what disposal unit you are going to drop us in next.

I believe the big issue now is the big, bad words "profit" and "accountability." Take me, for instance. I have a nice apartment; I have a car. I am a very good manager of money and always have been, and I receive compliments on that. It is one of my strong points.

Let's turn the coin over. The operators receive tax dollars, be it in subsidies for children or DOG grants. They manage their money very well for what they receive. They also have high standards in their centres, and may I add that it is also saving the taxpayer money. They are being punished and treated like criminals. Where is a sense of this? You should be taking a leaf out of their book. If this is not accountability, what is?

I have some more time, and I have a question. With the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, which is mine, that this government has allocated to day care, the taxpayers of this province would like to know the answer to this question. The question includes the staff and the people who use these facilities, and I would presume the government has done a study on this: (a) How many new people will be employed and how many new subsidized spaces will be created, or (b) How many people will be put on unemployment or welfare and how many children will not receive day care? With the high unemployment rate and the recession, I feel it is most important that the taxpayers of this province have this study, as they are paying for this system.

Mr Jackson: Janet, I have heard you speak before. Thank you for not disappointing the committee with your presentation. It was very good.

One of the concerns I have is knowing the circumstances around Hamilton, which is where you provide services. We are seeing a trend where subsidized spaces are being dropped without regard for where they are geographically located within a community, and busing services are collapsing. We are not seeing anybody look at the total delivery of child care in the greater Hamilton area; we are only seeing them implement the direction of the government. Could you comment on that? I know there have been some very serious concerns in the areas I have just identified. Maybe you could share some of that with the committee, how that approach is not planned and what its repercussions are to staff and families.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Do you mean about the subsidy spaces themselves, where the subsidy spaces are going?

Mr Jackson: And the provision of busing services. No one has really talked about busing services, which the commercial sector provides fairly frequently. That is part of the infrastructure which is in collapse. The non-profit centres are not noted for it.

Mrs Hodgkinson: No, they are not.

Mr Jackson: I had to rely on the pickup and delivery of my child, because my wife was in the hospital. I could not be there and I could not find a centre that had that as well in the non-profit, even if I wanted to go to them.

Mrs Hodgkinson: I do not know. I do not want to go into a subject that I am not as fully aware of. I know there are a lot of non-profits and I am sure the people who work in non-profit centres would be able to tell you if there are any services there. I do not know of any that bus the children; I only know of commercial centres that do bus the children. It is most appropriate that we do have this busing system, because of people going to work and they have to be at work at a certain time and cannot get into that.

As far as the subsidized, if I am getting your question right here, because sometimes I look a bit dumb when people ask me questions here, I believe you are thinking about this subsidy being put into the non-profit sector and not into the commercial sector. Is that what you are asking?

Mr Jackson: Not renewing spaces that are currently allocated and those kinds of things.

Mrs Hodgkinson: We have not had that problem in our centre so far, but I believe it will come to pass. Now it is very new. We are very lucky in our area that our regional council is very much for the commercial centre and the non-profit sector together.

We have always worked together as a team in the past. Now we are at opposite ends of the field and it is a crying shame that this is happening. I could just go into tears when I think of what this government has done to early childhood educators. I am going off your subject a little bit, but I think I have explained as much as I can in that area. I would like you to ask someone else that question; they can put more into it than I can.

I would like to say that I feel that they are doing a very bad disservice to ECE. We are not friends any more. They are running us down. They are running our centres down, and I think it is a very bad thing because we work together. We work together as a team and this is very sad to see. We are all in the same field: We take care of children, we take care of parents. Do not forget the parents, because we do not. They are pushing us apart. This is wrong.

Mr White: Thank you very much for coming by, Mrs Hodgkinson. I am very impressed with your presentation. You certainly have a great deal of fervour.

Mrs Hodgkinson: It comes from the heart, believe me.

Mr White: One of the things that strikes me is that on the second page of your presentation you are saying parents who use the commercial sector are bad parents.

Mrs Hodgkinson: That is what you are saying.

Mr White: I certainly have never said that myself.

Mrs Hodgkinson: But your government is saying it.

Mr White: I have had my children in a commercial group care centre, I have had my children in a cooperative centre, I have had my children in a number of different localities over a number of years. The issue for me was in terms of the quality of care they were receiving and, frankly, my wife and I made certain choices.

When I see the factors, it makes me more and more impressed with the quality of care that is provided by early childhood educators who are trained, who are capable and who are available to the children. I certainly have never made any statements like that. I have been involved in this field for a long time. I have been involved in social services for many years and I have never said categorically that all non-profit centres are excellent or private centres are not.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Can I answer your question?

Mr White: When I read this, I guess it says you are saying that I am a bad parent. Why would you say I am a bad parent?

Mrs Hodgkinson: Hold it just one minute. What I am saying is that the government is saying they are bad parents. Just hold it one minute.

Mr White: I am part of the government. I have never said that of myself.

Mrs Hodgkinson: I have been at meetings galore, meetings upon meetings, and what has come up at these meetings is that the quality of day care in the commercial centres is bad. So in other words you are getting back at the parents. The parents are using these centres, so really what you are saying -- do you think they are dumb? Do you think parents are so dumb they are going to throw their children into a commercial centre where they get bad care?


Mr White: I certainly have not. I have certainly chosen those very same centres.

Mrs Hodgkinson: But that is what you are saying. You are saying they are bad because the quality is bad.

Mr White: I have not. I have never said that, Janet.

Mrs Hodgkinson: You might not have said that but your government is saying it. You are part of the government, are you not? So you are part of the system. Come on. I am part of the commercial centre and I am here saying that we have good care and I will stick by that system. I do not go about saying that non-profit centres are bad, because they are not bad.

Ms Poole: Janet, thank you very much for your presentation.

Mrs Hodgkinson: You are very welcome.

Ms Poole: You are honing it down to reality, which is what the impact is going to be on the women, on the children and on the operators in the private sector.

Mrs Hodgkinson: And the parents. Do not forget the parents.

Ms Poole: And the parents. One point you have made which is so important is that parents do not just dump their children in a centre. They do investigate.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Exactly.

Ms Poole: And most parents do not have time to sit on a parent board. It is wonderful for parents who do --

Mrs Hodgkinson: Oh, yes, I agree.

Ms Poole: It is very valuable for commercial or non-profit centres if they can have an advisory board to help out, that is wonderful, but I am saying most parents do not.

My sister, when she moved to Toronto a year and a half ago, put her child into a non-profit child care, and I am a big booster of non-profit child care.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Mm-hmm.

Ms Poole: She withdrew him within four weeks. It was terrible. There was no supervision, it was dirty, the child was coming home with scratches on his face where other children were attacking him, and they were not doing anything about it. For the last year and a half she has had that child in a private centre which she is delighted with; quality care.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Mm-hmm.

Ms Poole: We keep getting off on that quality thing.

Mrs Hodgkinson: That is right, exactly.

Ms Poole: Many non-profit centres provide good quality care.

Mr Perruzza: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: There is a dialogue going back and forth. None of them are going through the Chair. She is saying "Mm-hmm" and she is going "Mm-hmm."

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, I do not know what the point of order is.

Mr Perruzza: The point of order is that there is no formal structure to what they are doing. You are just allowing dialogue.

The Chair: And you are helping us a lot. That is not a point of order.

Ms Poole: Janet, the point is that quality can be dealt with through compliance and regulations. That is a red herring. What we are here to look at is the impact of the conversion. Mr Bisson earlier said that the government does not have a conversion plan, that it wants to consult. Well, they have made a conversion announcement about their policy. They have made an announcement about conversion dollars, but what they have said is, "You're about to be executed; now we're going to consult with you on the coffin." That is what they have done.

What I would like to ask you is, are you getting any signals from the government that there will be a guarantee of seniority, of benefits, of rights, of the right to employment of the private sector child care workers if there is conversion?

Mrs Hodgkinson: None. I have not heard anything about any of these things at this time.

Ms Poole: Can your centre continue to operate if there are no new dollars coming in for wage enhancements and if there are no new subsidies allowed in your private centre? Can you continue to operate?

Mrs Hodgkinson: Because we are 98% subsidized, the children are subsidized, if there are no new subsidies coming in, then definitely we would not be able to operate.

Ms Poole: So this announcement, notwithstanding what the government is saying, will force you out of business.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Not me out of business; the operator out of business and me out of a job.

Ms Poole: Yet they say they do not have a plan.

Mrs Hodgkinson: Yes, exactly.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Hodgkinson, for coming before the committee.

Mrs Hodgkinson: May I apologize to you? I am afraid I am not used to this and I do not know the protocol.

Mr Mammoliti: It is not your fault.

Mr Jackson: Neither does he, Janet.

Mr Mammoliti: You did very well.

Mrs Hodgkinson: My apologies. I know when I am wrong.

The Chair: Thank you. Did you have a point, Mr Bisson?

Mr Bisson: I was just going to clarify the statement by Mrs Poole, but I will deal with it later.


The Chair: The next presentation will be made by Children Are VIPs. Carolyn Koff.


Ms Poole: You are obnoxious.

The Chair: Let's not start again. We were doing so well there for about an hour.

Mr Perruzza: Mr Chairman, she is saying that in 1987 she did not make certain comments that are in Hansard.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, on a point of order: I would just like to say that I find these personal attacks most obnoxious and most unbecoming. If you have something to say to me, say it directly and not through innuendo.

Mr Mammoliti: You have about-faced.

The Chair: That was not a point of order.

Mrs Koff: This reminds me of day care. We have to redirect the children to get them out of difficult situations.

The Chair: Thank you. I think you have just done that for me.

Mrs Koff: I did not even mean that -- the children. Should I leave now?


Mrs Koff: I missed the past two days' events. I have actually been sick. I have heard the past two days have been interesting, challenging, difficult and emotional. I will read what I wrote and hopefully we will have some good communication.

I am Carolyn Koff. I will give you a little bit of background on myself. I was raised on a dairy and cash crop farm outside London, Ontario. After going to the University of Waterloo, I went to the Ontario Teacher Education College, which no longer exists, in Toronto, and I taught for the Toronto Board of Education.

I opened my day care in 1979 with an enrolment of one child, and I built it up to where it is now, 12 1/2 years later: 13 staff and 65 children. I work full-time at the day care. I do the 9 to 6 shift, and then I take work home with me. I work at night-time.

I have been asked to speak today on behalf of my day care. In day care, we work with many parents, staff, children and members of the ministry, and in the past 12 1/2 years, I have learned that we have to work together in order to have a successful day care.

First, we have to work together to meet the needs of our children. We are continuing to put money back into our day care despite this threatening situation. Aside from the ongoing usual purchases we make, we bought a computer for our senior kindergarten room in November. This week we purchased monster balls, which are recommended by the ministry -- they are fantastic -- and a parachute to add to our playground equipment for gross motor activities.

We know we have to continue to believe our school will be there next year. If we stop believing that, we should close our doors, because the quality and therefore the service will go downhill.

I am a firm believer in integrating children with special needs and children who are differently abled. We have on staff an early interventionist who works alongside our teachers with our children who have special needs. She is employed by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to work in our day care. She does a fantastic job, and I rely personally on her a lot for advice as to certain things that have to do with children which we may not be able to get out of a book. It is a fantastic example of how beneficial it is when the ministry works together with private enterprise. Rhonda has been with us for a year.

We recently hired a full-time teacher, Nancy, whose first language is French. She has taken over our French program for our senior kindergarten class and now teaches French to our junior kindergarten class. Our senior class is a private licence, because I have my bachelor of education.

We paid a kinesiology specialist, who has her own gym program, to teach our staff how to work with small gym equipment, and we will be having regular gym classes commencing this summer. We have access to a gymnasium.

Because good staff are vitally important to every day care and low staff turnover is equally important, we work with our staff to meet their needs as well. Four years ago, we implemented a staff training program whereby all teacher assistants we hire must commit to taking their ECE part-time one night per week. I pay for their courses, their exams, and I pay them while they are away on placements. I hire supply teachers to replace them when they are on placements.

The advantages of this are tremendous. You have staff who either have their training or are in training. Those in training gain support from the other staff and are kept up to date in child care education. They are excited about learning and they stay with our school. There is virtually no staff turnover.


The children benefit immensely from this, therefore the parents benefit and the relationship between the teachers is excellent. I hope I can continue to offer this to my staff, because the benefits far outweigh the costs. Heather graduated with her ECE last year, and this year Donna and Yvonne will be graduating. I think it is incredible.

We have a VIP social committee of staff who organize euchre, pot luck dinners, games nights etc. We take turns hosting them and spouses and friends are included. We feel like we are a family. I should say three staff have been with us almost eight years, so we know them really well.

We work together with parents, whose needs vary according to their individual situations. We have opened earlier than 7 am and stayed later than 6 pm, cared for children for no fee whatsoever in situations where we know the child is at risk, or the parent or parents are in desperate financial trouble and are awaiting subsidy. Children's services division is aware of this.

Parents have input into our programs, and our programs and teachers are flexible to accommodate changes and new ideas. We include parents in our cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Red Cross first aid courses. The parents pay for themselves and I pay for the staff. We have open-house evenings where parents join us for coffee and doughnuts, have interviews with their child's teacher, then sit and chat with the other parents.

We have Barbara Coloroso evenings where we show her video and break for discussion. One video we show is How To Discipline Your Kids Without Beating Them. It is an interesting video and a lot of fun, but very helpful.

Parents join us on school trips. This summer we are having a family picnic at Bruce's Mill on a Sunday so that grandparents and friends, as well as parents, children and staff, can join in the fun.

We consider our school to be a small resource centre, and parents call up for information ranging from parenting courses to marriage or personal counselling facilities. We work with physiotherapists, speech and language therapists who are working with our children and their parents, and we are there for parents if they just need to sit down, have a coffee and talk about their personal situations. They know we care about them and they care about us.

We have a good day care and I do not want to lose my job. It is a long story, but I placed the future of my school in my staff's hands at a staff meeting one evening in January. I went home that night and let them make the decision. None of my staff has left me during this struggle in the past year. I feel they have a right to decide their future in their school.

The following morning, the 13 staff each handed in a written decision stating their reasons, and 13 out of 13 committed to continuing as we are. Attached are excerpts from each of the 13 letters. This, more than everything wonderful that has happened during these past 12 1/2 years, has moved me the most. Whether we survive or not I know we did not fail. As Mary Pickford said, "For this thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down."

Ours is one of many private, non-profit and regional day cares doing a good job. Our past and present inspectors, parents, staff and members of our communities will tell you that, and it is reflected in the children in these day cares.

Marion Boyd wants to make junior kindergarten mandatory. She wants day care to become an extension of the education system. There are 900 day cares now school-based. She says it will make them more accountable. I do not agree. If only half of these 1.7 million agewise eligible children in Ontario go into this system, the cost to the taxpayers will be in the billions, and I do not necessarily think it will be better. If it is placed under the Ministry of Education, which is the direction I believe she and Rae are taking, then the implications are far-reaching and the impact upon the taxpayers will be devastating.

Instead, what if Marion Boyd and Bob Rae decided today to stop this indiscriminate building, such as the 11 taxpayer-funded, non-profit day cares built in my town last year, of which many are nearly empty and are operating at a loss? Oddly enough, this overbuilding has not only created taxpayer-funded false competition for private day cares, it has also created false competition for the newly built non-profit day cares, and they have told me they are in competition with each other.

What if Rae directed these millions of dollars committed to buying out the private day cares' toys and equipment and the bailing out of non-profit day cares in financial trouble into decreasing the subsidy wait list? Millions of dollars would be saved by enabling parents to get off welfare, which costs the taxpayer far more per year than day care, and allowing them to go back to work while their child goes to day care. Fewer children would be at risk.

What if today they reversed their direction? Then 650 small businesses would continue to serve 30,000 families and the government would be taking in tax dollars instead of spending more; 6,500 staff would keep their jobs and their seniority; parent choice would be acknowledged and respected and the stay-at-home parents would not be penalized along with every taxpayer in Ontario by paying for a system they did not choose. Rae would save the taxpayers billions of dollars that have not yet been spent and are not there to be freely spent.

We have the support of the Progressive Conservative and the Liberal MPPs and MPs. We have the support of some NDP MPPs and caucus members. Today, I am hoping each of you will take a personal stand on this issue. If after reviewing the past two days' events you feel Bob Rae and Marion Boyd are right, I respect your decision and hope that you continue listening.

If you feel Rae needs to rethink his direction, then I hope you will take a stand and tell him your reasons why. Thank you for giving me your time.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Mammoliti for three minutes.

Mr Mammoliti: First of all, thank you. You sounded very sincere and I am glad you did not come out and bash us.

Mrs Koff: My parents voted NDP.

Mr Mammoliti: Just today I heard some of the bashing and I was not that pleased. Nevertheless, you are very sincere and I want to thank you for that. Do you think that with a good education comes good care in terms of a teacher or care giver?

Mrs Koff: With a good education there is definitely a strong possibility that there will be better care. When I hire our staff, the first thing I look for is a sense of humour. I mean we have a way of hiring. It is true, because kids are very trying. I have worked with kids for 12 1/2 years and before that I taught school. Education is not the be-all and end-all. What I do find, though, is that the first eight years I had my day care, the teachers who had their ECE seemed to be consistently better in general, but we have teacher assistants who are fantastic.

Mr Mammoliti: I am not questioning that, but I just --

Mrs Koff: The reason I implemented the program was because we found that with the TAs there was more turnover and also this attitude of babysitting. Sometimes they would come in for a year and leave.

Mr Mammoliti: Okay. It is good that you are honest. As government, we have to make some decisions. We have taken a stance, no question about it. It is pretty clear, I would think. People know the direction we would like to go in. I think it is a lot more than previous governments have done. Would you agree with that? It is clear. People know where we stand on the issue. Would you agree with that?

Mrs Koff: People know where you stand on the issue, yes.

Mr Mammoliti: Just give us some advice then in terms of the statistics we are seeing. Today, somebody gave us some pretty shocking statistics in terms of teachers and the quality of care that comes with that and how non-profit is so much ahead of the profit --

Mrs Koff: Were the studies by Gillian? I actually bought her book and a lot of her studies were based on the US. The US has had a problem and I am not being sarcastic; it has been in the newspapers. They have had a problem with Satanism, witchcraft, animal sacrifices and buzzer-locked access entry systems. That is not predominant in the system, but there have been situations that, to my knowledge, have never happened, except sexual abuse in a private or non-profit day care. I guess it depends on where the studies happen.

Mr Mammoliti: This particular study, if I am not mistaken --

Mrs Koff: I think my concern is that there are poor-quality non-profit out there. There are poor-quality private centres out there definitely. Our own inspectors told us that. What I have a concern with is why should we all lose our businesses? Why should we lose our day care centres if we are providing a good service aside from the cost of the taxpayers? I do not think that is logical. I do not think it is fair that someone such as myself and a lot of my colleagues who have had businesses for 12 1/2 years or longer and put everything into it should lose them. Logically, if we are offering a good service at lower cost to the taxpayers, we should be encouraged to save it. Let's get rid of the ones not doing their jobs.


Mr Mammoliti: Even though I am sympathetic to what you are saying, I honestly do not believe you are going to lose them.

Mrs Koff: You know what, George, I have approximately half a year left. I made a loss last year in my business. I know some of the reasons I made a loss, because this battle has cost a lot. This was a struggle. You know one of the people was talking about taking the time out and coming down here. We are kind of worn out and this has been emotionally draining. It has caused problems with our relationships. It has been really tough.

I think it would be fantastic, if you want advice, if we could work together with the ministry and encourage the private centres to continue to exist if they are doing a good job. Get rid of the centres, non-profit and private, immediately -- one of our inspectors told me a few years ago that the problem with the Day Nurseries Act is that while it is excellent, the clout that they have to enforce it just is not there. So I made a suggestion to her. I said, "What if you implement a system of fining these day cares?" She said, "That is the first time I have ever heard of that and that might not be a bad idea." There has to be a way for these inspectors to enforce the Day Nurseries Act.

Ms Poole: Thank you very much for your presentation, Carolyn. It is good that you came today. Following up on what you were talking about with Mr Mammoliti, at lunchtime today I contacted one of the senior officials at the child care branch at Comsoc to talk to him about enforcement compliance, the non-profit versus private centre status. He was from the Toronto sector and he said that in Toronto, out of some 240 licensed centres, six non-profit and six private were in non-compliance. The vast majority of the centres in Toronto were in compliance and any infractions were very minor, but he substantiated what you said.

He said, "If there is one problem with compliance, with the Day Nurseries Act, it was formulated in 1946 and it is piecemeal ever since." He said: "One of the things is that they say, `Go in on an annual basis to the licence inspection renewal.' Then if they go in three months later, they don't have the right at that stage to put them on a provisional licence and make then clean up the act. They have to wait for the annual the next year."

There are things like that. If quality is the issue, that is what they should be doing. What we are here to talk about is the impact of the conversion announcement of this government. What is going to happen to you? Can you last or is it going to be, like you said, six months?

Mrs Koff: I am not going to do what some of the day cares have done and close overnight. I am not going to announce on a Sunday night that -- there is a day care in Richmond Hill that made an announcement, I do not know if you have heard of it, Sunday night that they had closed their doors. We have been receiving phone calls all week and I think it is terrible. I do not know if it is non-profit or private. I assume it is private because if it was non-profit they probably would have had more ongoing funding and be able to hang in there a while longer.

I have had my day care 12 1/2 years. My major purchases have already been made. I think that has helped, but I do not know what is going to happen. The other thing is that I have my bachelor of education, so legally I cannot be retained as the director or supervisor if I did convert to a non-profit day care. I would actually lose my job too. I would lose my day care and my job. If my staff had chosen to convert I would have stepped down. I did not tell them that when I gave my presentation to them, but I would have stepped down and moved into something else. I am not sure what. This has been a tough year and I think we need a break.

Ms Poole: You are fortunate you have such a loyal staff, because what we have been hearing from many centres is that they do not think they can keep their staff with this announcement.

Mrs Koff: I do not understand why my staff have hung in there this long, I have to be honest.

Ms Poole: It is something to do with you, I guess.

Mrs Koff: I hope so. Some of them called this money situation a bribe. I would not have been upset if the staff had told me they wanted to convert, because I really strongly feel, after this many years -- and the staff have been with me for years -- that if that [inaudible] be allowed.

Mr Jackson: Carolyn, thank you for being here today and making your contribution. I think the answer to the question of your staff loyalty is part of your presentation. When I look at the quality program you are offering, whether it is language-based, special-needs children, challenged children, it is clear the kind of program you have. Even the government's greatest advocates would have to grudgingly admit you have an outstanding program.

Knowing that, I guess the first thing we should put in context is that you basically asked this question of your staff at a time when what was on the table for conversion was some dollars and some form of negotiated framework. What is of concern to some members of this committee is that the rules of the game have changed. We now know there is a moratorium, but the minister yesterday -- and I will give you a copy of Hansard, because I want you to read this -- under cross-examination said, "One thing I can tell you is when we do start converting again, we will not be converting centres in areas where there is supply." You are smack in the middle of one of the most overbuilt areas in Canada, which means you are doomed. I am sorry to say that. You have no way of applying for conversion any longer according to the minister's own statement.

Now here is what I wanted to ask you: The night the minister made the announcement she indicated that, although legally she could not block operators like you, she would try to prevent people from offering at private schools what you are capable of doing with your certification and application. How do you feel about the minister's public statement at that time that she would do all in her power to block you from becoming a private school when clearly the programs you are offering and your professional background would indicate that you would be providing an outstanding program in your community?

Mrs Koff: I guess it looks like she is hell-bent on getting rid of us regardless. That is what it felt like, that what we have to offer, the past 12 1/2 years of what we have done, does not really mean a lot. I firmly believe that Marion Boyd does not speak for all the NDP people. I know we have PC and Liberal people who have verbally committed to our situation, but we also have NDP people who have spoken in our defence.

On the conversion option, I had one point I wanted to make that I think is interesting. Apparently the ministry is stating that there is -- and I do not know the numbers -- a huge number of day cares that have requested conversion. I received a package. I guess every day care probably got it. In order for me to request information on conversion, I have to fill out a letter of intent to convert, which I thought was interesting. I do not know what that really means as far as the future goes, but if I do say that I want to get information on it, I fill out a letter. So that just goes down as another statistic of another day care that wants to convert.

Mr Jackson: The analogy is a gun to your head, and that is one more bullet in the chamber that the government has loaded.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming to the committee and taking the time to do that today.

Mrs Koff: Thanks, Mike.


Ms Poole: Mr Chair, while we are waiting for the presenter to be seated, could I ask the ministry for further information? Yesterday I asked them for a breakdown of the funding in the announcement and what the annualized cost was going to be and what the one-time cost was. I made that request on two occasions. That was not provided today, and yet one would think that would have been quite automatic. I would like to repeat that I would like an answer to my question number one. I would like those two items to be tabled with the committee.

The Chair: I trust the ministry has taken note of Mrs Poole's request and certainly will provide us with the information in due course.

Ms Poole: How about soon?

The Chair: Soon.


The Chair: Our next presentation is Moore Place Day Care. Welcome. The committee has allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. We always appreciate some time that might be used for conversation with the members. You should introduce yourself and your organization for the purposes of our Hansard recording, and then you may begin.

Mrs Quaglia: My name is Lucy Quaglia. I have been living in Ontario for the last 15 years. I am an honours graduate from the Mohawk College early childhood education course and a certified teacher with the Association of Early Childhood Education of Ontario. I am going to talk later on about my day care, but if you want, as a point of clarification at the beginning, Moore Place Day Care started after November 1986. We did not have a choice at that time to obtain any direct operating grants if we were a private day care.

I supervise and manage a not-for-profit day care in Georgetown, Ontario. My experience in education goes back to 1960, when I started working for the Buenos Aires board of education in Argentina, where I held a kindergarten teacher's certificate. So basically I have been working in the field for 32 years. Lately I have been operating this day care.

When we arrived in Canada in 1976, I had the idea of starting a day care with the highest standards of quality. Over the years of training and work in this field in Ontario, I found that the only way we could achieve this in this province is with extra funding, which does not necessarily have to come from government, but for sure cannot be asked from the consumers. If we had to add more fees to the fees that they are already paying, the price would be out of reach for the middle-income family that cannot qualify for a subsidy.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services has lots of regulations to enforce high-quality standards, but all those regulations cannot always be enforced. I was just listening to some comments of that MPP today, and I was saying how right she was.

I worked in a private day care in Ontario where the standards were barely met, the children were underfed and the staff overworked because some of the owner's family members, who were supposed to be working in the program, were hardly there. Most of the children were from families who needed social assistance, and it was painful to see that the city signed contracts with private operators after closing their regional day cares in search of cheap day care to save money with children.

Even when I worked in another private day care that had an excellent reputation, money was still watched to the last penny, and lunches were far from being attractive. The excuse was that children had to have a lot of beans because one never knew when there would be a war, and children had to be ready to eat any meal, as long as it was nutritious and fresh.

Mr Bisson: Excuse me, could you just repeat the last part? I did not catch it. The children had to have a lot of what?

Mrs Quaglia: Beans.

Mr Bisson: Beans? Okay, thank you.

Mrs Quaglia: That is all. Besides, the children were coming from highly paid parents, lawyers, doctors, nurses, real estate agents with gorgeous Mercedes cars, so if they did not eat properly at the day care, the idea was the children could compensate by eating at home at night. The staff were better paid than in the previous day care I worked for, but I calculated that with one group of eight preschoolers, the owner had the money to pay all the staff, and the day care had about 45 children.

Because I married a physicist, who does not find jobs at every corner, we had to take our time to settle down in Georgetown, the main reason being that you cannot have an immediate return on investment when you buy or start a day care in Ontario, and we could not risk opening one in London if we had to move soon after. In Georgetown, you are close enough to different universities and industrial centres that you can commute daily, so we took our chances there.

We bought an old house in 1987, had it rezoned and renovated to meet several regulations, and finally got licensed and opened in October 1989. At Moore Place Day Care our building allows us to have up to 26 preschoolers between 30 months and five years of age. The staff required would be one trained teacher, myself, with two untrained helpers and a half-day cook. But I did not think this kind of setting was going to improve services in the community. There are already a regional and several private day cares filling that need, so if we wanted to start over there and do a good job we had to change the setting.

We wanted to make a contribution and we had to do something different. That is why we have a licence for up to five infants, 10 toddlers and eight preschoolers. This kind of care is very expensive because of the child/staff ratio.

We operate from 7 to 6 and offer two nutritious snacks and a hot lunch. The food is fresh and attractive and all the staff and any parents who want to bring in ideas for our menus are invited to do so. There is at least one dairy product plus fresh milk included daily, and there are always fresh fruit and vegetables.

We have the highest expectations regarding our program. We have to remember that this is a new day care, so we are coming together with a lot of new ideas and are trying to improve it all the time as much as we can. That is why right now we started assessing the children with a couple of psychological tools, to make sure our program meets their needs and not just the fancies of the teacher that particular week.

We have a yearly Christmas concert, a picnic every year and open houses, and we are starting to contemplate some fund-raising for the first time to renew some of the old toys and books and to have more parents' involvement. We have neighbourhood walks, weekly walks to the public library in town and monthly field trips according to our program.

I did not write it in my report, but we also have a purchase-of-service agreement with the region of Halton and our program allows for one integrated child within the program.

The fact that we have the grants also allows us to buy all the supplies we need for creative art, meals, cognitive games and toys in general because not all the money is spent in salaries. We also teach French and the person in charge is a French Canadian from Ottawa.

I am a strong believer in education at all ages. It never hurts and it improves your self-esteem, which makes a better person of you under normal circumstances. So the staff had their extra training and workshops paid by the day care in previous years, whatever they chose, when we were not big enough to do it by ourselves. This year we are in a position to offer the training at home, and we are in the process of organizing that training according to the day care's needs.

Moore Place has also been sponsoring the Week of the Child since we started our business, especially during the last two years. A big event of the Week of the Child in Halton is Kids on Cloud 9. It went to Georgetown in 1990 and to Acton in 1991. That has been done in conjunction with the Association of Early Childhood Education of Ontario, also involving members of the different regional and town councils.

When we started we were advised by the program adviser from the Ministry of Community and Social Services that if we opened the day care as a private one we would not qualify for the direct operating grants because we opened after November 1986 and only private day cares opened before that date would get half the amount the non-profit day cares are getting. Any day care opening after that month could not qualify for any grants at all.

It took lots of thinking and a full year of working under strained conditions for me to conclude that it was best for me and for the day care in general to become not-for-profit. At a certain point in 1989 I was still wondering about which way to go, but all the signs were already there that the only way to survive was converting to not-for-profit to get the extra funding. I have to remind you, that was 1989.

When I wanted to have highly qualified staff in my private day care I had to pay for them with my own salary. We were just starting and we did not have enough children to pay for everybody. Although staff salaries are not all the expenses a day care has, they represent about 85% of the expenses.

So finally we settled for not-for-profit with a small board by July 1990, and it took a while to go through the procedures. Since January 1991 we have enjoyed the direct operating grants plus the enhancement received recently. We all got an extra $3.50 an hour across the board throughout 1991, which is a big boost for us.


We have four fully trained early childhood education staff, two of whom have started the process for certification -- I can verify the certification is quite costly; if you do not have good salaries you probably are not in a position to spend $180 in a year to start the process -- a third who has a BA in early childhood education from Ryerson and myself, who am certified. We also have a fully trained National Nursery Examination Board nanny -- an NNEB or British nanny -- who assists the infant teacher. They are supposed to be the best qualified for that job. We have two untrained staff, one with six years of experience at the Y Day Care in Yellowknife before starting working for us in 1989, and a cook who also helps as an assistant when we need her in the afternoon.

All of them have great motivation due to the fact that their salaries have improved over the last year. They are also interested because they are heard when they have concerns about meals, creative materials, toys, scheduling, policies and programming. They feel like they are part of the team now that the owner is not the dictator or the taskmaster any more.

The salaries are not perfect, but we certainly have better salaries than the ones in private day cares in the area. In my particular case, my experience being a private operator was quite bitter. As a matter of fact, the day care still owes me basically the full amount of my salary since I started until the time the day care became not-for-profit.

To me, the fact that we got the grants has allowed us to have a stable group of staff who are willing to stay despite the fact that I have a strong will when it comes to standards and expect the best from anyone working with children. All of my staff are very reliable. I can hardly remember any having to miss a day of work for any circumstances. Besides, if I were here to make money, the setting with 26 preschoolers would be much more business-oriented but would leave four fully trained staff without work and there would be a group of parents who would be worried, looking for proper, quality care for their young infants.

Those grants have helped not only me but also the other six women who work at the day care and the parents of the young children who have the chance to have infants in a day care setting. The difference I see between being for-profit and converting to non-profit is a wish to put education ahead of self-interest. When you deal with children it is not important to think the owner is the only one right. Everyone in contact with the children has to have a say, especially the parents. They have to feel free to see where their money is spent in the care of that child, and also where the money coming from the public purse goes. It is a matter of being accountable.

This day care is very small, but any parent who wishes to sit on the board has been invited to do so. The books are open to parents and any concerned citizen whenever they want to see how the money is spent. The day care sends daily reports home for every child, every single day of the year. The teachers have the responsibility to write the reports and they go unchecked unless a staff member asks my opinion.

We have regular newsletters, about once every two months or whenever there is interesting news to pass to the parents, and the policy of the day care is that it is a continuous open house. That is why, when a new parent decides to bring her child to our program, we ask her to come at least three times before her child starts to play with her child for at least one hour each time, free of charge, to get to know the teachers, the program, our strengths and our limitations. When they decide to leave the child in our care they fully know what they are getting for their choice.

Our philosophy is, "Moore Place Day Care is set to provide a happy, safe, relaxed environment where children can develop to their emotional, social, intellectual and physical potential within a caring framework provided by adults and peers."

The grants from the province have made our philosophy possible.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Do you belong to a professional association of day care operators?

Mrs Quaglia: No, because when I wanted to belong they did not want me any more because I was already non-profit. They decided I was not supposed to belong to --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: So you have lost all your contact with the private day care operators. Is that what you are saying?

Mrs Quaglia: I have to remind you that we started in 1989, so we did not have the chance to be a private day care as such. When we decided to do something about that --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: But you just do not have a lot of communication with private day care operators at the moment?

Mrs Quaglia: No. As I said, I wanted to belong to the group and they decided since I was a non-profit I was not supposed to belong to the group.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Could you tell me a little about the statement on your second-last page where you say that if you were there to make money it would be a more business-oriented environment. Would you expand on that, please?

Mrs Quaglia: Okay. If you go right down to dollars and cents, if I had 26 preschoolers, who are between 30 months and five years of age, I would make, after paying all the staff, about $400 a day. If I had infants and toddlers and preschoolers, when I finished paying all the staff with the money I got from the different sources, I would have only $195 a day. The ratio of child to staff is such that when I have preschoolers I can have eight children to pay one staff.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: What you are saying here, though, is that in one model you would not consider it viable to have a business and you could not without it being tax-supported almost completely?

Mrs Quaglia: No, I am not completely supported.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: But pretty much; you have a good component. I find this very difficult because, first, you are making judgements about people you have said you have very little contact with and, second, you are stating a model mainly based on preschoolers. You are making a very wide statement here that it is not possible to run a business in day care and I am not positive that the other representations we have had in the last two days would stand your kind of judgement.

I would like to ask you a little more. You have talked a lot about the way in which you prepare your staff and the kind of obligations you feel you have to your parents. Could you tell us a bit about the kind of board you have, who is on your board, how regularly you meet?

Mrs Quaglia: The board meets twice a year and is a board that is composed of three people. We invite the parents to come any time they want to. We have a former parent and my husband and I.

Mrs Cunningham: You would agree with most of the presenters today, then, that the direct operating grants are very important for your business?

Mrs Quaglia: Oh, they are.

Mrs Cunningham: Without the direct operating grants you would have trouble even opening a private child care, would you not?

Mrs Quaglia: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: You never did operate a private child care in Ontario?

Mrs Quaglia: I did for a year.

Mrs Cunningham: You did for the one year, and it was very difficult?

Mrs Quaglia: It was very difficult. We were starting the day care.

Mrs Cunningham: How many of the children you have right now in your centre would be supported in some way by the subsidy?

Mrs Quaglia: Right now we have five subsidized children out of 23.

Mrs Cunningham: Do you think that is a pretty good mix?

Mrs Quaglia: Yes, it is. It is a healthy mix.

Mrs Cunningham: In your child care, if you were advising someone else, would you say that it is a good thing to have regular fee-paying parents and subsidized children in the same centre, or would it make a difference to you?

Mrs Quaglia: I think the mix has improved the quality of the day care because the children have exposure to different kinds of children, especially with the integrated space too. We have the possibility to see that not all of us are the same, everyone has his own differences and so on.

Mrs Cunningham: So you have a little of everything?

Mrs Quaglia: Yes, you can say that, five out of 23.

Mrs Cunningham: Have you ever considered having any children who need some special attention, who might be developmentally delayed or physically handicapped in your centre?


Mrs Quaglia: Yes, that is the integrated space, a child who has delays and who has a special education person come in once a week from the region of Halton to look after and give us an individual program plan of what we have to do for the rest of the week when she is not there.

Mrs Cunningham: You understand today that most of the people who have come here who have independent centres are telling us that without the direct operating grant they probably cannot continue and they certainly cannot take any more subsidized children, so basically they would not have the kind of mix you have. That is their big concern about coming here today.

Mrs Quaglia: I cannot talk for somebody else.

Mrs Cunningham: Thank you very much. You have been most helpful in your response to my questions.

Mr Bisson: I have just two questions. It is interesting that you bring a perspective that we have not heard today, somebody who has done both sides.


Mr Bisson: We have another discussion here.

The Chair: Can we have some order? Order.

Mr Bisson: You bring a different perspective in regard to somebody that has operated day care in both sectors, mind you for a short time in one and also a short time in the other. One of the things we have heard over and over again from many of the day care operators who have come before us today and some of the parents is that if you move to the non-profit sector somehow the parents lose their choice. I wonder if you can speak on that. Do you find, now that you have gone over to the non-profit sector, that parents somehow have less choice when it comes to the question of the decisions and whatever happens with day care?

Mrs Quaglia: I do not understand the question. What do you mean when you say you are losing your choice?

Mr Bisson: The allegation we have heard is that going over to the non-profit side of day care, if we were to eliminate the private day care centres altogether, somehow parents would lose their choice in regard to trying to find quality day care. I have a problem reckoning that, because from what we have seen in some of the studies that were presented to us today there are good private day care centres out there, there are good non-profit and there are bad on both sides, but overall the non-profit centre tends to deliver higher-quality care for the child, by and large. The argument is put forward by the private day care operators that if you moved away from having any private day care within the system, parents would lose their choice when it comes to accessing what day care centre they think is best. Do you think that is a genuine concern?

Mrs Quaglia: I do not think so. We have a public board of education and a separate board of education and there are still parents who want to send their children to private schools. They can do so and nobody is in their way. They have the choice in primary school, they can even have the choice in high school, so I imagine they can have the same choice in day care, provided there is some private day care over there willing to give service.

Mr Bisson: The last question that I have is, now that you have moved over to a non-profit day care centre, are you finding that you have more or less parental involvement in the day care centre? Again, one of the things that I have heard from people in my community is that somehow or other in the non-profit sector there is more parental involvement, and people in the private day care centre say that already happens within the private sector. Do you find a difference now that you have moved over to non-profit, that there is more parental involvement?

Mrs Quaglia: The parents are invited to give their opinions or whatever. It depends on their own perspective of how much they want to get involved. We have in our centre all these fund-raising projects and things like that. When we send menus they are supposed to give us their ideas. It is the same when they come to observe the program; we have an open house. Of course, we are open to any ideas. Usually at the end of any of our newsletters or conversations we are very open to any concerns.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming.

Our final presentation of today is from Marg Haynes.

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, just while the next presenter is coming to the mike, I am finding it increasingly difficult to sit here and listen to a question with regard to quality when the minister herself suggested to us that it is not an issue. I think that we as elected officials in Ontario today owe it to the ministry staff, the program supervisors who are responsible for implementing and making certain that the regulations and quality standards are in place, to support them in their work. I think it is wrong to sit here and suggest that the quality in private day care centres --

Mr Perruzza: On a point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: There is a point of order.

Mrs Cunningham: That is fine. Maybe he can wait until I finish and then he will really know if he has one or not. It is a good practice to listen to the end of a person's sentence, and I have been sitting here trying to do that all day.

The Chair: The point of order is?

Mr Perruzza: I believe there is an established process. We are all allocated a certain amount of time.

The Chair: That is not a point of order.

Mr Perruzza: We are getting ready to listen to the next person who has committed some time to us and we are a little behind time in listening to her. Maybe Dianne can save --

Mrs Cunningham: You are taking up my time. If you would keep quiet, I could finish my sentence.

Mr Perruzza: You can save your comments for --

The Chair: Through the Chair.

Mrs Cunningham: You are the wrong person to talk about process. Mr Chairman, I would like to finish my sentence for the record.

Mr Perruzza: She is making --

The Chair: You can finish your sentence for the record and then we will listen to the presenter.

Mrs Cunningham: Is this a point of order or is it not?

The Chair: Let's just have you finish the sentence.

Mrs Cunningham: I would like to without interruption.

Mr Bisson: Was that a point of order or just a point of information?

Mrs Cunningham: No. I did not ask a point of order, I asked for permission, just as my colleague here did, just as you have twice. It is a matter of courtesy.

Mr Perruzza: No, I interjected on a point of order.

Mrs Cunningham: You interject on everything.


The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, Mrs Cunningham has the floor.

Mr Mammoliti: I am not talking. I would like to hear what she has to say.

Mrs Cunningham: I would like to say that I think we are being discourteous to the ministry staff who are responsible for enforcing the standards in our child care centres by making comments, unlike the minister herself, and that is, the jury is not out on quality of day care in Ontario. We have already received twice today, maybe more times today, in the presentations the most recent survey, which says, yes, the licences in some 5% or 4% in either centres right now are up for -- whatever you want to say. They are not up for renewal. Many are up for renewal, but they are up for a special review.

I think we are speaking very highly of the standards in Ontario and we should be proud of it, because I could not have said the same thing even five years ago. I am particularly proud of it, and I think it is wrong to make the inference to the questioner, as we did.

Mr Perruzza: I would like to have a minute to respond.

Mrs Cunningham: I think you should respond if you know something, and under the circumstances, you should not respond.

The Chair: We do have a presenter waiting.

Mr Klopp: You only comment on something worth commenting on.

Mrs Cunningham: That is right. You do not know about it. You go out and find out about it and come back and I will listen to you. You have to go to the day care centres and get yourself involved.

Mr Perruzza: Whenever there are kids involved, quality of care, the best possible service, is always an issue and should always be an issue and should not be put on the back burner, and I do not care what you say.

Mrs Cunningham: I do not think you should put it on the back burner.

Mr Perruzza: You get out there.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, I do want to touch on something. Quite frankly, this is very important. Frankly, quality of care does matter to me.

Mrs Cunningham: It matters to me. I am just saying we have good quality out there and we have standards.

Mr Mammoliti: I would like to speak, Dianne.

Mr Perruzza: We should not discuss it. There are ministry people looking after it.

Mr Mammoliti: It does matter to me. It matters to my constituents, and I think I would be serving us an injustice if I were not to ask the pertinent question. For you to say, Dianne, that the minister said something and therefore you should all just --

Mrs Cunningham: You are not even getting in Hansard, so why do you not just be quiet.

Mr Bisson: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Can we have order in the meeting and proceed with the deputation, please.

The Chair: No one has been recognized by Hansard for about five minutes. They were having a nice conversation here, which I did not really believe I was going to stop, given the evidence I had had today of the behaviour of the committee as a whole. I chose to stand and wait.



The Chair: Good afternoon, Ms Haynes. Sorry for the interruption, but it has been a long day. We appreciate your coming this afternoon and recognize that things are a little bit late and maybe we are keeping you. If you would like to introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard, if you are representing any organization, you might let us know about that and you may commence.

Ms Haynes: Thank you. I would appreciate your attention. My name is Margaret Haynes. I am a single mother and a taxpayer. I used to be an ECE teacher for 11 years. I am not any longer, but I am very much committed to quality care for children, seeing I have children who do attend day care. I think it has been a long day and everybody is tired and somewhat agitated, so I am not going to try taking up too much of your time. I am sure that everybody has a few sheets of paper with my name on it and basically what I had to say.

For a long time, and I think it still is true, day care has been a woman's responsibility, her career, and if she wanted a business, that was one she could get. Since it was not a profession as professions were considered, it was left to women, and they have done a great job. Surprisingly, it was women, independent operators, who did take day care and bring it to where it is today. But for some reason, now it has become a newly recognized profession, the government, which is predominantly male, seems to think it can run it a lot better.

Presently we have independent child care systems that are predominantly directed by women, employing women and being used by women. I think I am safely correct when I say that I think the majority of the users of day cares are most likely single mothers. This particular aspect of child care provides a valuable and easily accessible service to the women and families they serve. The families and children are happy and secure at present with the system and structure they have. That is in no way to say it is perfect, but I do believe it is as good, if not better, than its competition. The providers are reliable and consistent, and that makes it a lot easier for me as a mother, and I am sure I speak for a lot of other mothers, to leave our children with them every day. The children and these providers know each other.

Why then are we trying to disrupt the lives of these children, not to mention increase our unemployment rate, by implementing a universal non-profit system? Personally, and as a personal point, "universal" translates to me as "social" -- government control and taxpayer funded. Not too long ago the federal government announced in its 1992 budget its intention not to proceed with a universal day care plan, as it was thought to be too costly. I am wondering what makes us think we can carry and support that same kind of system.

My question is, and always has been, how does the government plan to retain current independent child care workers and operators in their jobs? What assurances are they going to give to me as a parent, and other parents, of continued high-quality and accessible service? Well, convert to non-profit, but from what I understand, and I am no finance person and no accountant, that is a very costly business.

I am assuming that the independent operators will have to be compensated to convert their businesses, which raises my next question. Just how much money are you going to give them, and where are we going to get this money from? The last time I heard the Premier and the Treasurer, they were calling for wage increase restraints and the possibility of increased taxes. Like I said before, I am not a mathematician, but in my calculation -- it could be wrong, it could be right -- I believe the private child care sector supplies the province with approximately 22,000 or 23,000 taxpayers annually. If through conversion to non-profit jobs are lost, and I am sure they will be, that will mean a higher unemployment rate, a more burdened welfare and UI system, and last but by no means least, more taxes from the already dwindling poor working population.

Then there is the freedom of choice. If I cannot have freedom to choose my child's or children's day care, what would make me believe I will have a say in the quality of the service I will receive? If somebody starts choosing my day care centre for me, how long is it going to be before they start choosing my doctor and dentist etc.

I do believe as a parent, and I have spoken to a lot of other parents, that we are capable of making our own choices when it comes to day care. However, we do need some help and we would appreciate it if we got it in the way of increased subsidy spaces in existing day cares. Maybe the government would like to provide us with more inspectors who would enforce and maintain the present standards. But I do not believe that a universal day care system is what we need, as it will only mean loss of jobs and reduced productivity and revenues but added pressure on our already exhausted social systems.

I have every confidence in this government's commitment to women and children and believe it will find another way of enhancing our present day care system without disrupting our lives and our children's lives, not to mention our paycheques, because I believe those are luxuries we cannot afford in Ontario. Thank you for listening.

The Chair: Thank you.

Ms Haynes: You are welcome.

Mrs Cunningham: You have been here most of the day, I think.

Ms Haynes: No, I have not been.

Mrs Cunningham: You have just missed quite a day.

Ms Haynes: No, I was unfortunate; I had to work.

Mr B. Ward: That is fortunate.

Ms Haynes: Well, that too.

Mrs Cunningham: You are the first person, I think, who has said you do not agree with the ideology of universal child care. I suppose what you have impressed upon me today is your determination in that position. Is it mainly because Ontario cannot afford it, or is it because you do not think it should be the right of every parent, or do you just know that it is not a requirement now, that it is not something every family wants or needs?

Ms Haynes: For one, I do not think it is what every family wants and needs. Second, I think that every parent should be free to choose the day care he or she wants for his or her child. I do not need to tell anybody here that we cannot afford it. We cannot. If we could afford it, then I guess civil servants would get their increases and my employer will not tell me she cannot get her per diem from the government so I cannot have my increase. We already have quality day care in this province.

Mrs Cunningham: Thank you for saying that.

Ms Haynes: You are welcome.

Mr Jackson: Margaret, I have had occasion to hear you speak before, and you are unusually reserved today.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Tired.

Ms Haynes: That too.

Mr Jackson: Yes.

Ms Haynes: I must admit I do not like the behaviour. I find it kind of annoying to my nerves.

Mr Jackson: You are referring to what you see on question period as well, I assume.

Ms Haynes: Yes.

Mr Perruzza: He is something else.

Mr Jackson: It is true.

Mr Perruzza: You are a piece of work.

Ms Haynes: It is the truth.

Mr Jackson: We are a little late for feeding time over there.

Ms Haynes: I can tell. They did not have very good day care teachers.


Mr Jackson: Margaret, one of the concerns that has been expressed was this notion of quality, yet the most recent stats show that is no longer an issue. What is now surfacing and where we cannot get clear information from the government is that an increased number of non-profit centres are in financial difficulty. In fact I attended a meeting a year and a half ago of the Close Avenue Daycare centre, which is a community-based centre. I was attending a public meeting where they were informing the parents that they were cancelling their meals starting the next day, which was a violation of the Day Nurseries Act. I took it to the then minister, Ms Akande, and she was horrified. But there are several examples of centres that are not operating properly by virtue of the fact that they are in financial difficulty.

How do you feel as a taxpayer, as a worker, knowing the struggles that are going on in your centre when these other centres simply turn to the government and say, "Bail us out, bail us out, bail us out"?

Ms Haynes: The way I feel is that, first, a number of day cares are given a lot of revenue to begin with, to start up, way more revenue than private or independent centres are ever given. But the thing is, I have had experience in working with non-profit agencies and, to me, non-profit just means that you do not show profit at the end of the year; it does not mean you do not make any money or you do not have any money.

Second, if you have a source of getting funds and you know it is easily accessible to you, then you do not really care, because if you run into any difficulty, there is always the government to bail you out. That is what happens.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: On a point of information, Mr Chair: I think we have to clarify something Mr Jackson just said.

The Chair: You will have your opportunity, Mrs O'Neill.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: But this is a point of information.

The Chair: We are going in rotation. Mr White.

Mr White: Thank you, Ms Haynes. I was very impressed with you. Mr Jackson says you are sounding a little subdued today, but I am very impressed with how solid and practical a woman you seem to be. How many children do you have, Ms Haynes?

Ms Haynes: Two.

Mr White: How old are they?

Ms Haynes: One is fourteen and a half and one is almost three.

Mr White: Is your three-year-old in someone else's home or in a day care setting himself?

Ms Haynes: She is in a day care centre.

Mr White: When you choose a day care centre, you probably want the best quality for your children. Right?

Ms Haynes: Yes.

Mr White: It would not matter to you whether that was private or non-profit or for-profit or church-run or whatever.

Ms Haynes: No, if that is the best possible care.

Mr White: So when you are making an investment along those lines, when you are putting your money into a centre, you want to have the best return on your dollar.

Ms Haynes: Yes.

Mr White: You would not spend $1,000 more a year for a for-profit centre than for a non-profit centre.

Ms Haynes: Would you care to repeat that?

Mr White: Would you spend more money to look after your children simply because it was a for-profit centre?

Ms Haynes: If that for-profit centre provided me with the care I wanted, then I would spend the money.

Mr White: If that for-profit centre provided you with no more care than the church-run centre or the community-based centre, would you spend more money for that?

Ms Haynes: I would not spend more money providing it was accessible to me.

Mr White: Okay. So as far as you are concerned, what is important is value and quality.

Ms Haynes: Yes.

Mr White: Regardless of whether you are giving someone profit or not.

Ms Haynes: That is it.

Mr White: Do you think that should be the same motivation the minister and the government should use?

Ms Haynes: Yes, I think it is.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Margaret, thank you very much. You really did hit on almost every single point and summed up our day very well. This government initiative is costing $75 million, as best we can understand. That is a lot of money. The allocation provides no new spaces. It does not provide one more space. It does not really provide any new choices. We are not sure it provides any new jobs. In fact, we are thinking it probably leads to job loss, as you have intimated. There is certainly no more accessibility than we have at the present time.

I have had senior bureaucrats both at regional levels and in the central offices tell me it is a system we cannot afford. Our hearings here are based on the effect this will have on women. I think you have a real appreciation of that, the way you began your brief. Could you sum up for us from your experience and knowledge what effect you see this initiative -- $75 million, no new spaces -- having? What do you see and how will it affect women?

Ms Haynes: Seventy-five million dollars; that is a lot of money.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: It sure is.

Ms Haynes: I do not know. We elected a government -- I certainly did -- that we thought would look after us. If they are going to spend $75 million and not create one new space --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: It may be more than $75 million.

Ms Haynes: -- whatever -- I think there is something definitely wrong there. Like I said, day care is predominantly operated by women. The independent child care centres employ women and the service --


Ms Haynes: Pardon?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: You just have to answer me, Margaret. The others are out of order at the moment.

The Chair: Just speak through the Chair.

Ms Haynes: The service of caring for these children -- they are mostly single mothers' children. I do believe that if the universal system is implemented and these women are forced to give up the businesses they have striven for long and hard -- and we are being told there are going to be no new jobs created under this system -- it is going to mean a lot of unemployed women out there --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: That is our fear.

Ms Haynes: -- who will not be able to support their families. A lot of them presently do that as sole-support parents.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you for your honesty, sincerity and credibility.

The Chair: Mrs Poole, you have about a minute.

Ms Poole: I actually want to table with the committee some late-breaking information, since we do not seem to be able to get much from the ministry.

The Chair: Are you speaking to Ms Haynes?

Ms Poole: You mean I actually have a minute to ask questions? The impact of this conversion policy, which is not yet a plan because they do not know how it is going to operate on women, is something we have been particularly concerned about. Do you see that it is going to have a dramatic impact on the female child care workers? Is it going to have a dramatic impact on the female operators? Is it going to have an impact on the parents who bring their children to your centre, and is it going to have an impact on the children?

Ms Haynes: I think children need consistency in order to grow up to be stable. If this plan is implemented, we are going to have all these women unemployed. I do not need to tell anybody here that women already face a lot of insurmountable barriers in employment. A lot of them are paid 65 cents for every male dollar. If you have a job to give, are you going to give it to a women as opposed to a male? No. It would be like returning women to the postwar age, back in the home.

Some of them do not even have a home if they have no job, and that is the bottom line. I am told about and I hear every day of all the children in Ontario who live in poverty. If then their mothers have no jobs, I guess they are going to live in more poverty, but nobody seems to be too concerned about that anyway.

Ms Poole: Unfortunately, what you have said is true.

The Chair: Thank you. We appreciate your presence here with us today. This completes the public hearings.

Ms Poole: I have some information I would like to table with the committee. We have had difficulty getting information from the Ministry of Community and Social Services as to how this conversion plan is to work, and any information. Notwithstanding the fact that there is a moratorium, apparently they are now sending out information to the various day care operators, so I would like to table with this committee one of these packages from Comsoc to the operators.

Mr Bisson: Before we break, from the government side, I just want to clarify a couple of points. On the question of what Mrs Poole just raised now, the government is in the process of developing a conversion policy. Part of that process is to consult with people in the private day care sector in order to come up to an equitable formula for conversion.

The other thing that was raised by, I think, the Conservative, Mrs Cunningham, was the question that the minister only sees this as a quality issue. I do not think that is what the minister is saying. What the minister is saying is that she also sees this as a very important question in regard to the questions and concerns about accountability to both the public and the private, and to the parents at the same time.

Mr Mammoliti: Just to add to that, if I may --

The Chair: I am just a little concerned that we are getting to the point we are writing the report, and that is the next stage. This is a contentious issue with a lot of different opinions that, hopefully, we will all bring together when we write this report, but I am not totally convinced that will happen. At this stage I am not really willing to consider those kinds of points of view. The committee's mandate is to complete public hearings today, and we have. We are adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1741.