Wednesday 8 June 1994

Draft report: Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act


Chair / Président: Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

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

*MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND)

*Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND)

McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L)

Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est L)

*Sterling, Norman W. (Carleton PC)

Sullivan, Barbara (Halton Centre L)

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

Villeneuve, Noble (S-D-G & East Grenville/S-D-G & Grenville-Est PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Crozier, Bruce (Essex South/-Sud L) for Mr McClelland

Elston, Murray J. (Bruce L) for Mrs Sullivan

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND) for Mr Paul R. Johnson

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West/-Ouest ND) for Mr Sutherland

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

White, Frank, director, freedom of information and privacy branch, Management Board of Cabinet

Clerk / Greffière: Freedman, Lisa

Staff / Personnel: Swift, Susan, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1545 in room 151.


The Vice-Chair (Mr Paul Wessenger): I call the meeting to order. I'll ask leg counsel to bring us up to date on where we left off at the last meeting.

Ms Susan Swift: At the end of last week, we had finished up to the end of page 54, "Options for Committee Consideration" on that page, dealing with the issue of alternative formatting. The issue we should start with today is alternative formatting for general purposes.

The issue that's dealt with in this part of the report is that currently there's no obligation under the act to provide information in any format other than in print format. The suggestion was that, given the advances in electronic technology and the fact that for some requesters and in some instances these alternative formats would simply be less costly and more useful, such an obligation should be included in the act.

The committee will remember that other jurisdictions have recognized the advances in electronic information technology and have made amendments to their legislation to take advantage of these. Two provinces, Nova Scotia and Quebec, have legislation which allows for that kind of alternative formatting. The state of Connecticut perhaps has enacted the clearest statement on the issue of alternative formatting by imposing an obligation on institutions to provide access to public records in the form that is most appropriate to the requester. The provision in the state of Connecticut's legislation is at page 55. Essentially it says that the agency has an obligation to provide records in the most appropriate form to the requester, if the agency can reasonably make such a copy or have such a copy made.

Based on that, there are several options for the committee. They appear on pages 55 and 56. Essentially, the recommendation in option A is that the committee believes that while the issue of alternative formatting may not have figured prominently in the past, the use of computers and the advances in electronic technology have increased so dramatically that the issue will become increasingly important.

"The committee, therefore, recommends: that section 23 of the act be amended to provide an explicit obligation for the institution, whenever possible, to provide access in the form specified by the requester, unless it would be unreasonable to do so."

Option B is not an alternative option, but the committee may wish to consider that in its last recommendation about alternative formatting for persons with low vision, it was concerned about the cost implications of implementing such a policy and recommended that further consideration be given to how it could be implemented in the most cost-efficient and effective manner. That's what option B speaks to.

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): I apologize for being late, but before we move on, I wanted to make two motions. The first is to allow Mr White to take the table. During this process we've been asking him to participate in this conversation and I'd like to put a motion that we allow Mr White to come forward. The other part of the motion, because this is supposedly a confidential document -- I don't know if Mr White has a copy -- is to provide Mr White a copy so it allows more constructive conversation and following along with the process.

The Vice-Chair: Is everybody agreed? Fine.

Mr Hope: Having done that, we support the recommendation on page 55. I don't believe option B would even be necessary to this process.

Mr Norman W. Sterling (Carleton): I don't know whether the words "in the form specified" connote the idea that the requester can say, "I want a table with this kind of information put in this kind of form," or does it mean a disc on a disc, a blueprint on a blueprint or whatever?

Ms Swift: The recommendation here really refers to your latter comments, that is, the form it's presented in, the disc or Braille or --

Mr Sterling: I just wondered if you could find other words than "form."

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): "Medium"?

Mr Sterling: Yes, maybe something like "medium." Mr White, does the government make any money from the sale of information this way? I can recall getting something in the mail about somebody selling the telephone directory on a disc.

Mr Jim Wiseman (Durham West): That was private.

Mr Sterling: Yes, it was private, but I don't know whether the government is licensing that particular individual or that anybody can do the same thing. I don't know whether there's copyright associated, or are there any kinds of issues like that?

Mr Frank White: There's the Tradeable Data directive, a management board directive that guides the ministry or agency through the process if they want to market data that is available under the freedom of information and privacy act, but I don't know in terms of revenue what the potential might be. I think there was an order paper question, actually, a few months ago about revenue from the sale of data.

Mr Sterling: Is there any requirement on the government to make public how it is storing the data; in other words, whether these data are on a disc or whether it's on paper or film or whatever?

Mr Frank White: I don't know of any obligation.

Mr Wiseman: I'd be hard pressed to think of anything that's been written lately that's not on a computer, some form of electronic storage, including architectural drawings, designs. It would all be on some form of electronic storage.

Mr Sterling: You're probably right. Okay, fine.

The Vice-Chair: It's been suggested that "in the form specified" be changed to "in the medium specified." Is that accepted?

Mrs Ellen MacKinnon (Lambton): Once this is in place, the requester is going to be obligated to ask for it in the format in which they want it. Am I correct?

Ms Swift: Unless they specify other than print. Normally they would be provided with a print copy, but if they have use for it in a disc format or something like that, they would ask for it in that way, and then this recommendation would say that they would receive it in that alternative format, the disc format. They would have to ask for it in a different format if they wanted it in other than print format.

The Vice-Chair: All in favour? Okay.

Ms Swift: On page 56, I take it the option B is not to be included, that that's dropped.

The Vice-Chair: Is that agreeable? Okay.

Ms Swift: Moving to the next section in the report dealing with "Protection of Personal Privacy" in part II under the act, there are several issues dealing with section 27 that were raised before the committee. The first deals with the designation of public records. Section 27 provides that "this part," that is, the part dealing with the protection of personal privacy, "does not apply to personal information that is maintained for the purpose of creating a record that is available to the general public."

The first issue is that it is not clear in the act either who or how a record is designated as a public record. The committee heard that, in practice, records are designated as public records either by statute or by institutional policy. The commissioner was concerned that designations by policy rather than by statutory authority left too much discretion to the institution and made the recommendation that that should be changed so that public designations could be made only by statutory authority.

The arguments that were made against that proposal were that designating personal information as part of a public record either by statute or policy is currently a long-standing and well-established practice; also, that there are many policies currently that are outside the provincial government's jurisdiction such as the policies concerning criminal records; thirdly, that requiring statutory authority for all such designations would mean amending many existing statutes and would inject rigidity into the practice.

So there are two options for the committee consideration: first, that the committee believes that the current operationally well-established practice of allowing public record designations by both statute and policy is preferable and therefore the committee does not support the proposal to change section 27; second, that the committee believes that a designation of personal information as a public record should be open to public scrutiny and input instead of being left to the discretion of the head; in other words, the section should be changed to allow designation of personal information, as a public record, to be made only by statutory authority. There are two options for the committee.

Mr Sterling: Is there any requirement for municipalities to print a list of what information lies in this area? It says, "This part does not apply to personal information that is maintained for the purpose of creating a record that is available." Is there a list of records that are available?

Mr Frank White: But I don't think they're designated that way, Mr Sterling. They are required to publish a listing of the records that the municipality maintains or the school board, but there's nothing on there that keys that this is a public record.

Mr Sterling: It would make more logical sense to build up a list that is available and that that list would evolve as time went on and decisions were made by the freedom of information and privacy commissioner. Then all municipalities would get an updated list from time to time about what records were available so there wouldn't be any questions, wouldn't be any appeals, and it would be much clearer to municipal clerks, particularly clerks of smaller municipalities, what the law was.

Mr Frank White: This is a very narrow section, because these are public records of personal information, which is a very odd situation; there are very few public records of personal information. For instance, the assessment roll would be a public record of personal information, but that would be public by statute also, not by policy.

Mr Sterling: It wouldn't be a very long list, then.

Mr Wiseman: There was an argument, though, presented by people who wanted to know what was on the assessment roll of their neighbour or the person around the corner, because, if I remember correctly, they were saying they couldn't find out what the assessment was of a house of the exact same nature unless they were to ask the owner. They wanted to do that because their assessment had gone up and their taxes had gone up and they wanted to know if everybody's had.

Mr Sterling: But that's clearly public information.

Mr Frank White: Yes, the assessment roll is a public record. Anybody can go down to their municipal clerk and have access to that assessment roll.

Mr Sterling: I would opt for option A. I don't think there's a great problem associated with the present way. It's operating.

Mr Hope: I guess here's where I disagree. I believe we ought to establish it very clearly. One of the problems I see that people might get into is that one institution that is not covered by statute might allow the information to flow, but that same institution, somewhere else, by the direction of its director, may decide not to. To establish continuity and consistency across this province in freedom of information dealing with personal information, I have a tendency to lean towards option B. I prefer option B, which is very specific in what it's trying to achieve.


Mr Sterling: I don't care that much. I just think option B is more limiting than option A.

The Vice-Chair: This really applies to situations where there's not an obligation to provide information because it's available publicly. Is that correct?

Ms Swift: That's right. This deals with information that is collected for the purposes of maintaining a public record, so there isn't an access request through the act.

The Vice-Chair: So if I'm correct, option B would in effect require more exercise of discretion by the institution about whether it's releasable information or not.

Mr Hope: No. It's done by the statute, not by policy. One of the important things you're going into here is dealing with somebody's personal information and allowing the clear distinction.

Mr Frank White: What it's identifying, though, whichever way you do it, whether it's by statute only or by statute and policy, are those groups of records, like the assessment roll, where the privacy rules don't apply: You don't have to notify someone if their personal information was collected, there's no restriction on use or disclosure -- anyone has access to it -- there's no right of correction. That's what it's getting to in terms of a public record. It's just, how do you designate that public record? Do you do it only by a statute or are there other ways to do it; for instance, by the policy of the institution that a certain class of records would be a public record of personal information?

I can't give you a lot of examples. There just aren't a lot. In the provincial government, the only one I know of offhand that is not a public record by statute is part of the driver's licence file, but that is by policy.

Mr Hope: If we read what the commissioner said, he was concerned that the designation by policy rather than statutory authority leaves too much discretion with the institution. I think what he's trying to do is put consistency into place in the province, and I would agree.

An individual could go to one institution and its policy says, "Yes, allow it," and you could go to another one offering similar services and it says no. Then you create public havoc of people who want the information. When I read option B, it's very clear to me. It does set it out, and it takes away from the policy aspect and deals specifically with the statutory authorities.

Mr Sterling: My only concern is that I assume when we talk about statutory authority, we're talking about a provincial statute, probably by regulation. I believe a school board or a municipality or a hospital, if this is further expanded, has a better feeling for dealing with these issues than we do, and I trust them to that degree, that if there were a huge problem the information commissioner would become involved one way or the other.

I just think it's overlegislating at the provincial level when you're dealing with another tier of governments that generally are going to be more protective than anything else. That's why I say I trust them to the degree of policy, unless the freedom of information commissioner can come in here and give us a solid example where somebody has done something to contravene somebody's privacy rights. I don't think he was suggesting he could give an example. It was just somebody who was studying this who came up with this recommendation, as far as I can see.

I don't care one way or the other. Let's have a vote on it, Mr Chairman, and get it done with.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. Those in favour of option A, indicate. Those in favour of option B, indicate. It seems to be more in favour of option B.

Ms Swift: The next issue was also brought forward by the Information and Privacy Commissioner with respect to section 27. His concern was that once information is designated as a personal record, that personal information is excluded from the privacy protections and can be used by anyone, an institution covered by the act or not, and this could lead to abuse of the personal information because institutions which are not covered by the act and are not specifically mandated to collect the information for use as a public record would not be as concerned with the accuracy or currency of the information as an organization that is mandated to do so.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner suggested that in order to limit the amount and type of personal information that we would designate as publicly available and to protect individuals from potential privacy invasions, the section 27 exclusion be narrowed and be available only to institutions that are specifically mandated to collect the personal information for purposes of maintaining a public record.

Again, two options for the committee's consideration: first, that the committee believes that such an amendment would strengthen the privacy protection provisions of the act and reduce the possibility of the abuse or misuse of such information and therefore recommends that section 27 be amended by adding the words "by an institution" in line 2 of the section. That is, the section would then read, "This part does not apply to personal information maintained by an institution for the purpose of creating a record that is available to the general public."

There wasn't very much discussion of option B, but essentially that the committee disagrees with that view and recommends that it not adopt the suggestion by the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Mr Hope: My preference is option A, because option B says "will give reasons," and I don't know what reasons I could give. Option A again establishes some continuity in the system, and the commissioner would not bring forward simply to recommend change if there weren't problem areas he has seen through this process.

I think it's important from a public point of view. If you're one who is part of the creation of a data bank, what is actually revealed to the public or what isn't -- it just clears the person who is giving information, whether it be part of a statute or part of a regulation or whether it's just an institution collecting information.

Mr Sterling: I don't care.

The Vice-Chair: Okay, it's option A then.

Ms Swift: The third issue with respect to section 27 is that the public registers, such as assessment rolls and electoral lists, are excluded under part II. There is no privacy protection for public registers. The concern of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is that the use of such personal information is open to abuse by third parties who are not subject to the act.

The experience of New Zealand was cited as a way to balance the protection of personal information and public registers with the legitimate public right of access to such information, and the various principles that New Zealand has adopted in approaching this problem are set out at page 59. They deal with how these documents can be searched and whether they can be re-sorted or combined with information in other public registers, whether they can be made available by means of electronic transmission and the fees that can be charged for the information in such registers.

The argument that was presented to the committee against that was that extending all the privacy protection provisions to personal information, such as the right of notification, the right of correction etc, would mean that vast amounts of information that is currently considered public would be subject to all the provisions, all the protections -- that is, collection, notification, use, disclosure, disposal procedures -- set out under part II and that this would create tremendous operational demands on institutions and require a whole new level of bureaucracy to handle the added demands of complying with the privacy provisions.


There are two options for the committee's consideration: first, that the committee is concerned with achieving the proper balance in providing the widest public access that is consistent with the protection of privacy. However, the cost implications of making such a change to section 27, particularly for such large amounts of information, concerned the committee and the committee therefore does not support the recommendation.

Option B: That the committee believes that public registers do contain sufficient significant personal information which, without the privacy protections, would be subject to abuse and misuse, and therefore recommends that part II of the act be amended to specify privacy protection provisions for public registers while ensuring that access to such registers is not denied.

The Vice-Chair: Do we have a consensus on A?

Mr Hope: No.

Mr Sterling: Be aware of what you're saying when you say B. You're going to increase your civil service by about 1,000 people.

Mr Hope: Explain to me how that says you're going to increase your public service by 1,000.

Mr Sterling: Every time you ask for a record associated with a piece of land in the land registry office, you're going to have to notify all the previous owners, as far as I can tell from this, or the present owners, when you search a title at the land registry office. In my view, all this information has been public for hundreds of years in Ontario and it's accepted as public information, although there are some privacy matters concerned, and that it continue to be part of the public record, like a phone book is.

Mr Hope: I'd ask Mr White, because I am leaning towards option B, simply because I look at the issue of abuse and misuse and I can see where that could occur. Everybody talks about increasing civil servants. With the technology base we have today, I don't agree with that. Information and data collection is important in its proper form. But I would ask Mr White. You deal with this more than we do and I'd just like your opinion on the recommendations that are being put forward.

Mr Frank White: This one's a little difficult because the concept of a public record is that everyone has equal access to it, so it's odd to say, "But we're going to have disclosure rules, we're going to have use rules." Those are the privacy protection measures that are embedded in part II, that you can only disclose it in certain circumstances, you can only use it in certain circumstances, and that seems to negate the idea of a public record. It seems difficult to have rules around what is supposedly something everyone has equal access to.

Mr Hope: I'm sorry for interrupting, Mr White, but this was just brought to my attention. Ms Swift, did you say "rights" or "registers"?

Ms Swift: It should be "registers." It says "rights," but it should be "registers."

Mr Frank White: The privacy rules imply that the restriction is on the use and disclosure of personal information. What we're dealing with here are public records of personal information, and the idea would be that everyone has equal access to that public record, so it's difficult to put use and disclosure rules in place, which is what part II of the act is.

I think what most people would get to is the notice of collection when it's a public record. If people who appeared before the committee expressed concerns, that probably would be -- for instance, you don't have to give notice when you collect the personal information on how that information is going to be used, for what purpose. But again it's difficult to do that when it's going to be for a public record and anyone can obtain it. Mr Sterling's example of the registry offices, if you wanted to restrict --

Mr Sterling: I just think it's an impractical solution. How do you mail to everybody who's had a mortgage on a property when the addresses are 30 years old? Do you send out a whole bunch of mail that comes back to you? It doesn't make sense. If it's a public record, it's a public record. You make that policy decision, that everybody has a right to see who owned the property and who mortgaged the property and who has a lien on the property. We have the right to do that, and you don't have to notify the person who held that 20 years ago or 50 years ago or 100 years ago that you're now looking at that mortgage document or a copy of that mortgage document or that deed document. I just find it impractical in terms of implementing any kind of notification to these people.

Mr Hope: Just give me a second. I'm comparing some of the other stuff we just went over. Okay, I've got no problem with option A either.

The Vice-Chair: Okay, option A then.

Ms Swift: The next issue deals with the meaning of the term "collect." Many of the rights and obligations under part II hinge on this notion of collection of personal information, yet the term is not defined in the act. The Information and Privacy Commissioner suggested that the absence of such a definition has led to confusion and misinterpretation of the act. The committee, when it was giving instructions, indicated that it was in favour of the suggestion made by the commissioner, and that recommendation appears at the bottom of page 61, essentially that the term be defined for the purposes of part II and that the definitions provided should be as set out in that recommendation.

Mr Hope: You didn't give us any options?

Ms Swift: No, there weren't any options because the committee indicated that it accepted the recommendation that I should just draft the report to reflect that.

The Vice-Chair: Any comments? Agreed.

Ms Swift: Section 29 of the act regulates the manner in which personal information is to be collected, and clause 29(2)(a) requires that where personal information is collected by an institution, the head must inform the individual concerned of "the legal authority" for the collection.

The question raised with the committee was whether that requirement for indicating the legal authority was for the general legal authority or specific legal authority. It was suggested to the committee that it would be difficult for an individual to whom the information relates to challenge the authority or to make informed decisions regarding the collection unless they knew of the specific legal authority.

In its 1991 report the committee accepted the suggestion that "specific legal authority" be included in the act. In giving instructions, the committee also indicated that it supported the recommendation that section 29 be amended to indicate "specific legal authority," and that is contained on page 62.

Mr Sterling: Any problems with that at all?

Mr Frank White: What it does is, for instance, a municipality may state that the Municipal Act allows it to collect this personal information in its notice, and this would require it to go to a specific part of the Municipal Act and identify in particular where that authorization occurs.

A lot of acts that were in place before this legislation came in don't have that specific authority. They don't have a section that says, "You may collect personal information in order to determine" -- I don't know -- "the salary of the municipal clerk." It's implied in the operation of the act in terms of the responsibilities of a municipality and what it's to do; that therefore it has to collect personal information to perform that function. So it does treat it a lot more narrowly.

Mr Sterling: I know that. I'm not against the idea here. I'm just saying, because there aren't specific sections which say, "You're entitled to this or that" -- you produce a sort of generic section of an act which says that for the good purposes of the municipality, you can do whatever is necessary for administrative purposes, or something of that nature. If the layman gathers this and says, "Well, this doesn't give you any authority," then you're into a huge fight. I have no objections to it if it could be done. Municipal Affairs might have something to say about it, I don't know.


Mr Hope: I would agree. I think the general public needs to knows specifically what the information is for, and if in municipalities they'd have a bit of a problem with it, I guess we'd better clean the legislation up to make sure that if data is needed on whatever person for a municipality to properly function, it should be clear to the general public who have to provide the information. I agree with the recommendation.

The Vice-Chair: I guess that's a consensus in favour of this one.

Ms Swift: The next issue deals with the collection of health card numbers by school boards. The committee will remember that many school boards questioned whether they had the authority to collect student health card numbers. Reference was made to subsection 28(2), that the collection of personal information on behalf of an institution is prohibited "unless the collection is expressly authorized by statute, used for the purposes of law enforcement or necessary to the proper administration of a lawfully authorized activity."

School boards questioned whether this section was sufficient authority to allow them to collect the numbers. It was pointed out that the school board requires such numbers to ensure that students will receive prompt, appropriate medical attention. Several school boards cited contradictory legal opinions from the Ministry of Health as to whether the authority exists under that section of the act. The result of those contradictory opinions has been that there has been confusion.

The committee, giving instructions the last time around, indicated that it supported the notion that the act should be clarified to set out the authority of schools to collect health card numbers. Therefore, it recommended that the appropriate amendment be made, either to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Education Act, to ensure that the authority of schools to collect and maintain student health card numbers be clearly set out.

Mr Hope: Would there be any other areas where a student or a participant in a program would also fall under this jurisdiction? I agree with the recommendation. I'm just wondering if the recommendation shouldn't incorporate other areas youth or students might participate in, that there wouldn't be other areas where personal information such as a health card number -- you're dealing with emergency situations. For an adult, it's not a problem; most of the time they carry their own health card in their pocket. But for youth it becomes a whole different story.

The Vice-Chair: It could be municipal recreation programs or private, like the Y programs. That's an interesting question. Would there be any restriction on the Y or the municipal recreation departments collecting health card numbers for their programs?

Mr Frank White: The use of the health card, though, is controlled by the Health Cards and Numbers Control Act. Really, if there's a problem in terms of collecting that information, I think it's that act you would look to, because the municipal act would say you can collect it where another statute authorizes it. If the health card control act prevents you from collecting it, that would be the place that it's not meeting. I think it's that you can collect it for a health purpose, something like that, in terms of the health card control act.

The Vice-Chair: So the recommendation is inaccurate, and it should be that the appropriate amendment should be made to the applicable act.

Mr Frank White: Probably the Health Cards and Numbers Control Act.

The Vice-Chair: Okay, could we change that?

Mr Hope: Schools brought this out, that what we need to do is clear it up. I look at other programs that ask people for their health care number for emergency situations, whether it be in minor sports or others, and they make a request of that number on an application. Isn't that the same as what the school boards are saying, that they have in their possession the health care numbers of students?

Mr Sterling: I think there's a difference. In one case, I had a parent whose child was involved in either a scout movement or the guide movement, and the scout master wanted the health card numbers, I guess in case there was some injury. For some reason, he was quite concerned that this scout master was making this a condition of joining his particular troop or whatever. That's a voluntary organization, and in my view, we don't have to legislate that. You as a parent make your own decision. If you want your child enrolled in that and the scout master, who's a full-time volunteer or whatever, is requiring that in order to fulfil his or her duties, that's fine and dandy.

In the school situation, kids have to go to school, and therefore there's an obligation for them to be there. So that's where you can get into the hassle where the parent says, "No, you're not going to have the health card number," for whatever reason. I'm not certain of all the reasons they might not want them, but some people object to giving these numbers out. That's where I think you have to say to a school, that has the obligation to educate the child, that you have the right to the health card number.

Mr Crozier: Just as an observation, though, it says here, "The numbers are required by the school boards to ensure that in cases of medical emergency" etc. I rather doubt that if there's a medical emergency and the ambulance is called, anybody asks for a health card number before they treat you. Granted, it helps once you get there and you go through the process.

It seems to be rather a moot point. If the board of education feels it needs it and it would help things, that's fine, but, as Mr Sterling says, when you get into these other areas, I'm not so sure it speeds things up as far as the care is concerned.

Mr Hope: Murray, what's your opinion? Both you and Norm were the ministers at one time.

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): To be quite honest, I think the problem the school boards were talking about were ones where you take a travelling team or you were on a tour of a place quite far away from home. It's great to have in the files someplace a health card number so you can do all the administrative stuff and get all that out of the way if there is an accident. I think in many ways, people are looking for an ability to complete their obligations as the guardian or chaperon or coach or whatever. I have no problem with that.

To the same extent, if I were a scout leader or someone involved with even a voluntary organization, I can see where people say, "It's a mistake for you to go anyplace with these children without having in your possession the necessary medical information to take care of your charges."

So I'm ambivalent -- no, I shouldn't say I'm ambivalent. I'm sure we should allow that access of information in the institutional end of things but I'm torn in terms of how far you go with making it available in the voluntary. I don't think it's right that somebody should have to choose, necessarily, to enrol a child because of this or that, but I guess the final determination can be made by that person. I certainly think in the education system they should be able to hand it over. I don't see anything wrong with that.

I think the danger people look at with the number is, "Maybe they'll access my whole record." Do you know something? The prospect of that happening in the school circumstance -- I played football at one point. I broke my leg. I had to be taken to the hospital. I got treated, and I don't think there was a real invasion of my privacy in that situation, nor would there have been had they had my own personal number, which is what we're going to now. In those days, it was family numbers. I don't think there's any violation that's as possible as I think we make it up to be in those circumstances.


Mrs MacKinnon: I'm very sympathetic to what the members have put across here, and I sympathize with people who take cubs and scouts and guides and hockey players and ball players and that out of town and so on. But in this day and age of the communications ability we've got, I really question, in this province at any rate, that a doctor or a hospital or anybody else involved in health care would refuse the care just because the card wasn't there.

Sooner or later the parents are going to be contacted, the card number is going to become available, and I wonder if we're not just asking a little too much of the various volunteers who work in these types of things that I just mentioned. As I said, in the communications that we have nowadays, my goodness, it's just a matter of moments and you can have the information there.

I'm thinking, of course, back when my children were smaller, and even at that time I don't think they were required to have a health card. I think they went in under either their dad's or mine or something, I think that's the way it was, whereas I guess now they're all individual. I can see a bit of a problem trying to entrust such a thing as a health card to what we call the little mini-mites in hockey; you know, to take care of it, go in the dressing room and look after it on a bus and all the rest of it.

I just have a little bit of a problem, because we know what the fraud system is like when it comes to the health cards. You know, some little one inadvertently loses it -- and all of us as parents know how children can lose things. I just wonder if maybe we're overlooking the fact that it can be communicated fairly quickly.

Mr Hope: My question is what you were getting at, and as far as the recommendation, I have no problem with the recommendation. I guess where I was drawing the question at is the broader aspect as we talk about dealing with our youth. For instance, in hockey schools they write on the application form, "What's the OHIP number?" Now you're leaving it to discretion. I'm just wondering if we're not creating problems by not allowing others where there might be potential injury of our youth.

I'm just looking at it from a youth point of view. We would hope that no one would ever ask for a health card before actually providing services, but as we lead to the technology, there might be important information accompanying that number, personal information which is vital and important to the wellbeing of the youth.

With the recommendation I have no problem. I'm just wondering if we shouldn't look in the broader context. They're talking about a new card now and everything. There could be valuable information on there that could be very important to the wellbeing of the youth. I just raise that. It's not an issue now, and if it does become one, then we can deal with it when we talk about the new health care cards. But I think it has to be brought to the awareness of individuals that, yes, okay, we'll allow the schools to have it. If we're talking about a new card system which does have very specific information on a youth, yes, you may not have that number and the process may follow itself later, but you might need that information in order to provide surgery or whatever, and that's what I'm getting at. It's the information contained with the number that might be important to the youth's wellbeing. I just want to flag it for people. The recommendation is fine, but there's another area that I think we have to focus on and it is what is contained with that number in providing for the wellbeing of the youth.

The Vice-Chair: I think there's fair consensus in support of the recommendation. It also seems, if I might try to summarize here, that maybe they would like to look to see if there are other areas it should be extended to. I don't know whether you can do something general on that aspect of other areas where you have custodians in institutional settings.

Mr Hope: It's maybe not necessarily in this act that we need to address it, but I think it has to be flagged when we start talking about health care cards and new numbers and the information contained on it about the rollout that we need to make sure takes in -- the adults are fine. Adults should be carrying the thing on them. It should be in their wallet. There is a responsibility of the adult. You don't have yours, Murray, but to a youth it becomes a whole different story. I just think that information sometimes becomes very important.

Ms Swift: I was just going to say, if I could just summarize so I have it clear in my mind that there's consensus about this recommendation and that the committee wants me to red-flag the broader aspect or the broader application in other institutional settings, possibly also mentioning voluntary organizations, and the issue you've raised, that is, in the future, if there's information on health cards, consideration should be given to how that would become part of this recommendation. But I wouldn't come forward with options for recommendations. In other words, I'd just include it in part of the discussion leading up to this recommendation.

Mr Hope: Which could then be brought to the Ministry of Health when they introduce the card. They might need some legislative changes or some regulative changes in their process which then allow the organizations to make sure that the wellbeing of individuals is taken into account.

Ms Swift: The next issue deals with the obligation to maintain security of the personal information. It was pointed out to the committee that, although there's provision in the act for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations setting standards for and requiring administrative, technical and physical safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of records and personal information under the control of institutions, there is no specific legal duty on the part of institutions to ensure the security of personal information in their custody and under their control.

It was suggested that this issue is of sufficient importance that this obligation ought to be made explicit in the act. In its 1991 report the committee adopted this recommendation. My understanding is that the committee wishes to accept this recommendation, or it did at least when it was giving me instructions, the rationale being that the committee believes that the continuing advances in electronic information technology and its increased use by individuals, businesses and governments make these concerns of security even more pressing today.

The committee therefore recommends that section 30 be amended to add:

"An institution shall ensure that personal information in its custody or under its control is protected by such security safeguards as are reasonable in the circumstances to prevent loss or unauthorized access, use, modification or disclosure."

Mr Hope: I would agree.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. All agreed. Next?

Ms Swift: The next issue is with respect to the disposal, use and disclosure provisions under part II. First, it was brought to the committee's attention that there's inconsistent wording in some of these provisions.

First, subsection 30(4) deals with the disposal of personal information "under the control of the institution." It was noted that this wording is inconsistent with other provisions in part II which refer to personal information "in the custody or under the control of the institution."

It was suggested that the section be amended to accord with the other wording in part II, so that it would read:

"30(4) A head shall dispose of personal information in the custody or under the control of the institution in accordance with the regulations."

The Vice-Chair: Is that agreed? Agreed. Next?

Ms Swift: The second instance in which there's inconsistent wording is in sections 31 and 32 of the act, governing use and disclosure.

Mr Sterling: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair: Agreed.

Mr Hope: Who said "Agreed"?

The Vice-Chair: Norm.

Mr Hope: Okay. I'll agree to that.

Ms Swift: The next issue is under clause 32(a), which permits an institution to disclose personal information in its custody or under its control "in accordance with part I" of the act. It was suggested that this section is unclear as to whether disclosure is permissible only in the context of a request made under part I or whether or not there could be unilateral disclosure by an institution.

It was pointed out that currently municipalities are relying on this section to provide unilateral disclosure of personal information and then looking to section 14 to ensure that they aren't making an unjustified invasion of personal privacy.

Recently an order of the Information and Privacy Commissioner ruled that clause 32(a) applies only in the context of a request for information. The committee instructed that a provision be drafted to say "that section 32(a) be amended to clarify that the section applies only in the context of a request for access to personal information." It would thereby incorporate the IPC's order into the act.


Mr Hope: No problem.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. Mr Sterling?

Mr Sterling: There's a statement here that says the municipalities are relying on, I guess, the ambiguity of the section to release personal information unilaterally. Can you recall what they were talking about there, what kind of information?

Ms Swift: I don't think an example was given of that, Mr Sterling. The submission that was prepared for the committee didn't cite any examples, but this came forward from the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Mr Sterling: You see, I don't know what problems we're creating for the municipality by saying this.

Mr Frank White: I know the situation they're characterizing, but I don't have an example for you. There's a section that deals with personal information that cannot be disclosed, for instance, a person's medical history, which would be subsection 14(3). There are other types of personal information where it could be an unjustified invasion of your privacy to disclose it, but because of the factors that are listed, for instance, the institution should be subject to public scrutiny, you can override that and disclose the information anyway. Even though it would be an unjustified invasion, you'd override that presumption.

In the absence of a request the person whose personal information it is wouldn't get a chance to make representations on that to give their side of the story. So what you would do is go through this without the representations of the individual the personal information relates to and come to the conclusion that even though it is personal information that could be, by releasing it, an invasion of privacy, there are matters that would mitigate against that and release it anyway.

I think what the commissioner is saying in his representations, and his orders actually now, is that you can't do that; that this only applies, you can only bring that to bear when it's a request under the act. You can only go through this balancing; you can't do it on your own in the absence of the requester.

Therefore, unless disclosing information falls within the circumstances of section 32, for instance, if the individual's consent is authorized by statute, there's nothing else that applies. You can't go through this balancing as you would with a request in order to come to the conclusion that you can release that personal information.

Mr Sterling: Let's say somebody has a dog which has bitten three children, and there's no request for the municipality to disclose that information. There was a story in the Ottawa Citizen recently where a dog had bitten three children previously and then the fourth time it bit another child and severely wounded the child. There was a concern in the community that they hadn't been warned about this.

Now, first of all, I don't know if that's the kind of personal information we're talking about here, but I would imagine the kind of information we're talking about is when somebody has something or in some way could harm the community and it would be a decision made in the public good to divulge some personal information. Is that a fair example?

Mr Frank White: You can release it under the section we're dealing with right now, section 32, if it's compelling circumstances, affects the health or safety of an individual.

Mr Sterling: Without a request? You can do that anyway?

Mr Frank White: Yes, under section 32.

The Vice-Chair: Do we have any objection to this one then? No? Okay.

Ms Swift: The next issue is the application of the consistent purpose in section 33 and its applicability to sections 31(b) and 32(c).

These sections permit the use and disclosure of personal information for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled or for a "consistent purpose." Section 33 provides that where personal information has been collected directly from the individual, the purpose of a use or disclosure is a "consistent purpose only if the individual might reasonably expect such use or disclosure." The constraint on the use of personal information in section 33 does not apply if the information has been collected indirectly, and it was also suggested that the "reasonable expectation" test in section 33 is vague and liable to broad interpretation.

The committee suggested that there is no reason why the "consistent purpose" rule should apply only where information is collected directly, but should also apply to situations where information is collected indirectly. Also, the committee indicated that it supported the notion that the "consistent purpose" test should be further clarified with an introduction of a more objective standard.

The recommendation would be:

"That section 33 be amended by deleting the reference to directly collected information and instead providing that the purpose of a use or disclosure of personal information is a consistent purpose...only if the purpose has a reasonable and direct connection to the original purpose."

Mr Hope: Sorry, Susan, what did you read from?

Ms Swift: That was page 67 and to the top of 68. The recommendation is on page 68.

The Vice-Chair: So basically it brings under information that's indirectly collected?

Ms Swift: Yes.

Mr Wiseman: I was just wondering about this with respect to the disclosure of personal information of welfare cases. This would not change in any way information? Maybe I'm a little bit confused about the comment that it would be reasonable to allow the information to be used if it was in direct relation to the context of the information being collected. In other words, if a regional councillor or a local councillor wanted to know what was on the welfare rolls, would they be able to ask, if we make this recommendation and this change, and be reasonably expected to get the information?

Mr Hope: That comes later on.

Ms Swift: We deal more directly with the issue of the access of elected officials to information about the social assistance rolls after this section, and that's dealt with also in clause 32(d). The consistent purpose has to refer to the collection of the information itself, so you'd have to look at the reason why it was collected initially and then look at whether or not the person would reasonably have expected that the information would then be used in some other way. The question would be whether they would reasonably expect that the information would then be disclosed to the elected officials.

Mr Frank White: The other option is, when there's indirect collection, how do you infer what a person would reasonably have expected, because you're not collecting it from them when you're indirectly collecting the personal information?

The test right now for using and disclosing it for a consistent purpose is that the individual might reasonably have expected such a use or disclosure at the time of collection, but you're collecting indirectly. They didn't even know at the time of collection it was being collected. You give notice later, so how do you infer what they would reasonably expect when they don't even know what's happening at the point of collection?

What this is suggesting is that the test be changed to one that has a direct connection to the purpose for which it's collected. If you're collecting information, I don't know, to be hired, then you'd expect it to be disclosed and used by the payroll department to be paid. I guess it might be interpreted as a direct connection to the original purpose of collecting personal information when someone's employed, as opposed to trying to infer what the reasonable expectation was.

Mr Sterling: How do you deal with this in terms of quasi-offence kinds of dealings like bylaw infractions?

Mr Frank White: If it falls under law enforcement, you don't have to give notice.

Mr Sterling: Even for a bylaw officer planning --

Mr Frank White: That would be enforcement of a statute or a bylaw, which would fall under the law enforcement.


Mr Sterling: So there's no problem there then.

Mr Frank White: That's right.

Mr Sterling: And then employmentwise, how would you deal with that?

Mr Frank White: You would be giving notice at the time of hiring.

Mr Sterling: Yes, but what if somebody came to me and said, "I'm a reference on the employee's" -- the applicant isn't, hence they say, "I'm a reference," and the person phones me up and says, "Norm, is this person a good person or a bad person?" and I say, imprudently, that they're a bad person.

Mr Wiseman: Do you reasonably expect that to be divulged to the person?

Mr Sterling: That's right.

Mr Frank White: Actually, there's a section, section 39, where information which is collected for the purposes of a reference, where it's provided in confidence, you can refuse to disclose that if it would reveal the name of the person who provided it in confidence for evaluative or opinion material.

Mr Sterling: And it's bound to be covered then.

Mr Wiseman: So that's the choice.

Mr Frank White: If you can anonymize it, it could be disclosed: your reference to you. If it was provided in confidence and you can't anonymize the comment by removing your name, then it won't be disclosed.

Mr Wiseman: Then he would have to say to the person, "Do you want this to be disclosed or not?"

Mr Frank White: Typically, yes. When you ask for references you say, "Is this confidential or is this provided in confidence?" You put it on your summary that these references are being provided in confidence in an employment context.

Mr Sterling: When you talk about personal information, you're talking about a file on the person here. You've collected this information from them, so you have a file sitting over here. When you're talking about indirectly collected information, that may not be on that file at all, it may be in some generic document that includes 50 or 100 names. If you're going to print that document, do you have to notify all of these people?

Mr Frank White: No, the notice is to the person whose personal information is being collected, so if you're, let's say, applying for a benefit program at the time you make that application, on the bottom of the application there should be a notice saying how that personal information is going to be used to disclose --

Mr Sterling: No, I understand the directly collected, I'm saying the indirectly collected.

Mr Frank White: Then there's a notice required in most circumstances to that person after that collection.

Mr Sterling: You're saying this doesn't really fit into the language of the act as it presently is structured.

Mr Frank White: Right now it's a problem because it talks about only direct collection -- it doesn't even speak about indirect -- and infers that you can use and disclose personal information for a consistent purpose, and that's defined as one that you could reasonably expect. Yet how do you determine what a person would reasonably expect when you're not collecting information directly from them? That's the technical problem.

The proposal -- I don't know who made it; was it the commission? -- would try to equate the reasonable expectation to an analogous use rather than what a person might expect.

Mr Sterling: I don't know how practical it is, that's the problem. That's the bottom line for me in terms of whether this is a practical thing to do or not. Is it going to be unduly onerous on the municipalities and expensive to do?

Indirectly collected information is not supplied by me, so that I've lost the power over that information anyway. Somebody else has that information. In a lot of ways it's public information at that stage of the game. I don't feel strongly on this one myself. Until I know the implications of how it would come down on the municipalities, I'm reluctant to support the recommendation.

Mr Hope: I support the recommendation and I don't see the problem. We could all picture what happens. I think, in taking where the recommendation is coming from with respect to the commissioner, trying to come up with a balance, one who has dealt with it, one who has not participated in it -- Norm has a little bit more experience than I do in this process, but I weigh a lot of respect to the commissioner. He's making a recommendation which I believe is responding.

I would agree with the recommendation that's in the report and move its closure. I guess if we agree to disagree, then let's just call a vote on it.

Mr Wiseman: I just wanted my point clarified. I don't want to drag it out. It's getting grey enough.

The Vice-Chair: All in favour then?

Mr Hope: Of what, the recommendation?

The Vice-Chair: Yes, the recommendation. Opposed? Okay. I guess it's carried.

Ms Swift: The next issue is under clause 32(d):

"An institution shall not disclose personal information in its custody or under its control except:

"(d) if the disclosure is made to an officer or employee of the institution who needs the record in the performance of his or her duties and if the disclosure is necessary and proper in the discharge of the institution's functions."

It was brought to the committee's attention that that subsection does not explicitly provide for the disclosure of personal information to persons outside the institution but who have been retained by the institution to do work for them, such as legal counsel, consultants, auditors, translators and others.

The commissioner proposed that such a right be extended but that it be extended subject to the same conditions that currently apply to disclosure to officials or employees of the institution; and to ensure that this is the case, the act should require institutions to enter into contractual agreements with consultants etc, similar to the research agreements referred to in clause 14(1)(e) prior to such information being disclosed.

Mr Hope: I would agree with that process. I believe that we have to have some continuity outside if contract employees of specialities are coming in. To put an agreement in place would only provide the protection of individuals and of an organization.

The Vice-Chair: Any other comments? I assume we have consensus on this one then? Okay, next.

Ms Swift: A number of the school boards that appeared before the committee made suggestions that there are particular problems with the application of the privacy protection provisions of the act to the operation of schools and school boards. It was noted that the interrelationship of the act with other education-related statutes has been a source of particular concern to these school boards that did appear before the committee.

It was suggested by the school boards that they have unique privacy needs which would be better addressed in the context of the education system under the Education Act itself, instead of under MFIPPA, in the context of a general application to a whole range of functionally unrelated institutions.

The examples that the school boards gave are referred to at pages 69 and 70: firstly, that there are statutes that require, for example, the Ontario Teachers' Federation to collect membership fees based on the salary of each teacher, and that their experience has been that some school boards have been reluctant to report the actual salaries of their teachers because a person's salary is considered personal information, the disclosure of which is presumed to constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy under section 14.

Another conflict between this act and the education-related statutes: Again under the Teaching Profession Act, the federation is required to conduct inquiries and hold hearings in cases of alleged professional misconduct, and school boards have been reluctant to provide evidence relating to such disciplinary matters on the same basis, that such information would constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy.

It was noted that clause 32(e) clearly authorizes the disclosure of personal information for the purpose of complying with an act of the Legislature or an act of the Parliament. Despite this section, however, it was noted that there continues to be confusion. A related concern was the application of the act to labour relations in the context of the education-related statutes.


It was also noted that school activities such as publishing the school yearbook, taking class photos, having local media cover school sporting events and displaying students' essays have ceased to be everyday occurrences due to the privacy protection provisions, and school boards expressed frustration with the formality and rigidity that they suggest the privacy provisions of the act have injected into these activities.

It was suggested that the act already makes provision for these types of activities in sections 31(b) and 32(c), both of which allow the institution to use or disclose personal information if it is used or disclosed for the purpose for which it was compiled or for some other consistent purpose. The school boards maintain, however, that the collection of personal information is so removed from its subsequent use throughout the year in these various activities that the reasonable expectations of parents would not apply.

The conclusion that the committee appeared to come to when it was giving instructions was that from all the evidence, the committee notes that there continues to be this widespread uncertainty and unease with the application of the act to schools and school boards.

There are several options there for the committee consideration, principally that the committee is very concerned about the apparent pervasiveness of the frustration and confusion and believes that this frustration is due in large measure to insufficient education about the specific application of the act to the school system and recommends that the Management Board secretariat specifically target and direct public education and awareness programs to the education sector with a view to addressing the concerns expressed in this report regarding the application of the privacy provisions of the act and the interrelationship with other education-related statutes.

Option B: The committee believes that the pervasiveness of the frustration bears further investigation and that the Management Board should undertake a review of the unique privacy needs of the education sector with a view to making recommendations as to how these needs could be more appropriately met within the act or, if necessary, outside of the act.

Those two options appear at the bottom of page 71 and the top of page 72.

Mr Crozier: Sounds fair to me.

The Vice-Chair: Which one?

Mr Crozier: Both. They're both being recommended, are they not? It's not an either/or.

Ms Swift: These aren't recommendations. These are just starting points for discussion for the committee's purposes. They can choose either of those or modify those or use them as a starting point to come up with some other recommendation.

Mr Hope: It's beyond me why the information that is established in a collective agreement is not transmitted from a collective agreement of a school board to teachers dealing with the collection of dues. It's beyond me why that is even a problem. When they were bringing that up, how are you supposed to verify information if they're not providing the information? I started to question whether it was just an issue of the lack of information or if we really need to be more specific with schools on this issue. When you deal with school activities, I believe we heard something where even with shooting a video you needed consent of the students to shoot a video yearbook.

The Vice-Chair: That sounds ridiculous.

Mr Hope: It was getting too extreme, and you wonder if it wasn't just communication that was a problem.

Mr Wiseman: We heard that the privacy commissioner said that it wasn't an infringement of privacy, that they could shoot the video. I think that was the ruling.

Mr Hope: Mr White, may I ask your opinion on this?

Mr Frank White: I think a lot of the problems were with the initial interpretation. I'm not aware that there are major problems still, but I could be wrong. You did have the federation in to say that these are some problems they're experiencing. I don't know, for instance, where they said some boards were reluctant to report actual salaries of teachers, whether that's one board or one out of a couple of hundred. I just don't know what the magnitude of the problem is.

Mr Hope: Their salaries will now be revealed -- right? -- or potentially. In the recommendation we talked about salaries. Would that include those school boards, teachers?

Ms Swift: Yes, if they met the threshold.

Mr Wiseman: The threshold is $30,000.

Mr Frank White: Under the social contract?

Ms Swift: I've forgotten. I think it was $50,000.

Mr Hope: Fifty and benefits?

Mr Wiseman: Fifty with benefits.

Ms Swift: Yes.

Mr Wiseman: That would get just about every fourth- or fifth-year teacher and up.

Ms Swift: The problem is the compliance with the teachers' federation act, because they base the membership fees on the actual salaries of each of the teachers.

Mr Frank White: I don't know if the statute provides vehicles for disclosing it. You can disclose it under an agreement. So, for instance, our collective agreement with OPSEU allows us to disclose a tape each month of dues that have been paid by payroll to the unions. I think all the vehicles are there; it's just a question of, does a board want to accept that vehicle or is there something else that's interfering with that? I just don't know generally if there is. I don't know why a board would come forward to say, "No, we can't disclose it under the privacy side."

The researcher could perhaps call the teachers' federation to find out if there's a specific example.

Mr Wiseman: I'd go with option B.

The Vice-Chair: Option B. Irene, have you decided which option?

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): No, I'm listening.

Mr Hope: If I was to pick an option, I would say B. It seems like we are getting into a whole broader context of the school boards and maybe people going overboard with the freedom of information and protection of privacy when it's just general information it should be part of. It seems like they're using it and they're carrying it in their coat pockets to say: "Well, it's in the act here. We can't do this." I have no problem with B.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. For B that's three, four.

Mr Crozier: I still thought that really they address two different problems, that you could with A inform the boards and give them a better understanding of the act. Then I also thought that the Management Board Secretariat may, at the same time or subsequently, want to review the unique privacy needs of the school boards, but in the meantime inform them that there are things they can do without too much -- so that's why I looked at both of them as being --

The Vice-Chair: I think it's fair to say they are not contradictory.

Mr Crozier: No.

Mr Hope: With that, I would then agree with Mr Crozier just to incorporate it as part of the whole recommendation. I have no problem putting it as one part.

Mr Wiseman: Pull them together.

The Vice-Chair: Yes, because there is a lack of knowledge out there and we want to see what the problems are. Okay. Next.

Ms Swift: The next issue is the issue of social assistance recipients. Remember that the committee was urged by a number of witnesses to recommend changes to the act to ensure that the identity of social assistance recipients is not disclosed to elected officials.

I don't know if the committee wants me to go through all of the discussion.

Mr Hope: Don't go through the whole thing, unless Mr Crozier wishes to.

Mr Crozier: No.

Mr Hope: Unless you just want to go over the options for the record which is supposed to be confidential, but go ahead for the record.

Ms Swift: The first option is, "The committee reaffirms its concern about the need to recognize the particular sensitivity of social assistance information and its belief that the recommendations previously made in its 1991 report should be implemented to ensure that information regarding welfare recipients is not subject to misuse."

There were four recommendations made in the 1991 report, recommendations 39 to 42. Does the committee want me to summarize those briefly?

Mr Hope: If you wouldn't mind, for those who haven't read 39 to 42. I think it's appropriate so you give them a general idea.

Ms Swift: Recommendation 39 was that the act be amended to require an institution to consider prior to implementation all reasonable alternatives to a proposed use or disclosure of personal information without the consent of the individuals concerned and to implement the method which will have the least intrusive effect on personal privacy. In addition, the act should require institutions to demonstrate that they have considered, prior to implementation, all reasonable alternatives to a proposed use or disclosure of personal information.

Secondly, that the act be amended to require the Information and Privacy Commissioner when dealing with a complaint to investigate the legitimacy of an institution's proposed use or disclosure of personal information without the consent of the individuals involved.


Recommendation 41 was that subsection 2(1) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act be amended to define the department of social services of a municipality which has appointed a welfare administrator as a separate institution under the act, distinct from the municipal corporation itself; and finally, that the provincial and municipal acts be amended to designate those classes of employees who have a need to know information about the recipients of social assistance.

So the first option for committee consideration is simply that they reaffirm those recommendations and recommend that they be adopted under the municipal act.

Option B: The committee believes that the principle of public accountability requires that local elected officials have access to personal information where it is appropriate in accordance with the protections afforded under section 32(d). Therefore, the committee recommends that the act should be amended to clarify that "officer" under that section, when referring to a member or members of a municipal council, means the head of the council, the council acting as a whole, the head of the municipal corporation for purposes of the act, whether it is the head of the council or an individual councillor, a committee of the council or a council as a whole or a member of a municipal council who is executing the duties of an officer of the assembly. Access by municipal councillors to personal information should be restricted to disclosure of information which is necessary and proper to the performance of the councillor's duties as an officer of the municipality. Essentially, that provision gives a definition of what an officer is, which does not currently exist in the act.

Option C is not strictly an alternative option, but the possibility is that the committee might recommend that it would add "that in the case of personal information regarding social assistance, the act should specify the class of persons who have `a need to know,'" that is, add on to option B specific reference to persons who have a need to know information about social assistance.

Mr Wiseman: My preference is option A.

Mr Hope: After I heard the member from Thunder Bay come forward, I have no other choice but to go for option A.

The Vice-Chair: Yes. Mr Crozier? Option A?

Mr Crozier: I don't know enough about it to give a comment, so I'll go along with you, sure. Nobody else is here to object.

Mr Hope: Just basically three reasons. With respect to Mr Crozier, one of the issues was we were getting into arguments about the administration of social services. Some communities still would hand-write cheques and everybody sees who's who and then the privacy of individuals is not protected. The recommendations that were done in another report clearly define things and try to get the mess that is currently in the system straightened out. Municipal councils -- Lambton county, which is very close -- are saying they're entitled to it. It just clears up where the information has to go and where it should go. Option A, just supporting those recommendations, helps put things in order.

Mr Crozier: And it goes on the side of protecting the privacy, is that right?

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Mr Hope: If you need it for statistical information, it can be obtained, but the person's name becomes a little different story.

Mr Wiseman: It comes out of a presentation we had where an allegation of huge amounts of fraud were being made and the council wanted to go after people who were on welfare to make sure there wasn't any fraud. There are a number of problems with that, because, first, I don't think anybody on the council would be as familiar with the rules on the acquisition of welfare as the people who have been trained to do the job; second, my understanding of the way this system works is that there are an awful lot of checks and balances to make sure supervisors and case workers and everybody are doing their job. If it was opened up to people who are not trained and not skilful, I think a lot of people could be hurt unnecessarily in a pursuit of, I don't know, imagined or real fraud.

Mr Crozier: Or vindictiveness.

Mr Wiseman: And there is some possibility of that.

Mr Crozier: I understand what you're saying.

Mrs Mathyssen: I'd just like to add to the record, in further comment to Mr Wiseman's assertion, that in one of the counties in question there was an officer hired to investigate complaints. Apparently, of the 200 complaints that were launched in regard to welfare fraud, only 10 were found to have some basis in fact. Of those 10, two were prosecuted. So I think Mr Wiseman's point about it being overblown is certainly important and needs to be repeated often.

Ms Swift: Mr Chair, before we go on to the next issue, there's a paragraph that I want to have the committee's instructions on. It appears at the bottom of page 76. The committee will remember that Mr Elston, during the course of the hearings, raised the question of the difference in treatment between publishing or making public the salaries of elected officials while keeping secret the information regarding social assistance recipients. He asked a number of witnesses about why we should be doing one or the other.

At the bottom of page 76, I have taken from the committee discussion a response to that. I've included that and I just wanted the committee to direct its attention to that and advise me whether or not it accepts that rationale. It's basically:

"The committee believes that the social stigma attached to receiving public assistance, the potential for improper use of this information and the profound implications of such misuse justifies the difference in treatment of information regarding social assistance and public servant salaries."

Mr Wiseman: It's all under $50,000 a year anyway, so it shouldn't be disclosed.

Mrs Mathyssen: To say the least.

Mr Wiseman: It's under $30,000 a year.

Ms Swift: So that's fine?

Mr Wiseman: That's fine.

Ms Swift: There are two other related issues that we have here to social assistance. The first is welfare administration in unconsolidated regions. The committee will remember that several witnesses suggested that the potential for improper use of social assistance information is much greater in unconsolidated municipalities, where typically there is no full-time welfare administrator and municipal politicians are directly involved in delivery of services. This was the point that Mr Hope was making.

There are two options there for the committee then to consider whether it wants to make a comment on this. First, option A:

"The committee believes that the welfare program delivery practices of unconsolidated municipalities should be scrutinized more carefully, particularly in light of the concerns the committee has already expressed in relation to the need to recognize the particular sensitivity of social assistance information."

It therefore recommends:

"That the Information and Privacy Commissioner should immediately engage in a comprehensive audit of the practices of welfare delivery in unconsolidated municipalities to determine whether all possible steps are taken to ensure confidentiality."

Option B:

"The committee has received insufficient evidence to make an assessment of the nature or extent of any abuse...in unconsolidated regions. The committee therefore is unable to make any recommendation at this time on this issue."

Mr Hope: If I may, I would prefer option A and having the Information and Privacy Commissioner examine this. His role and responsibility is to deal with the balance of public information and the privacy of individuals.

We had heard, and we can only imagine from our experiences -- especially Mr Crozier and myself and Irene from small communities, we know how talk generates through small communities. I would be very concerned about if appropriate steps are being taken.

That's why I would prefer option A, to allow the commissioner to do a comprehensive audit of the practices of welfare delivery in those communities that are affected. I don't believe we're talking about a whole lot of communities. I believe there might be only two or three in the province, and I'm only guessing, that would need this audit done.

Mr Crozier: Does the committee agree that there are only two or three? Is that how limited that would be? I wanted to ask to what extent or what was meant by "a comprehensive audit." Who would do it? What would it involve? What are they going to do with the results of it?

Mr Hope: I'm trying to remember the aspect of it. Is it not in Renfrew county that we heard the presentation around general welfare administration? Then I went back and asked why is this and how many communities do it. I believe the answer was "two or three" but I could be mistaken because I'm going back to when this took place. Mr White, do you have any recognition?

Mr Frank White: No.


Mr Hope: Okay. But it's not a whole lot of communities. Most of them are either done provincially or the municipalities, like in our communities, are sophisticated enough with technology.

The Vice-Chair: Probably we should coincide with the act and replace the words "comprehensive audit" with "an investigation" so it gives us the power to investigate in the act. I'd just suggest that we comply with what the act says.

Mr Hope: What's that again?

The Vice-Chair: That we change the words "comprehensive audit" to "an investigation" because in the act the privacy commissioner is given the power to investigate, not to do an audit.

Mr Hope: Whatever. My view is to get them in there and look at making sure that the privacy of information of individuals is protected, that proper protocol is being followed, and if changes need to be made, then so be it.

Mr Crozier: Essentially what would happen is the commissioner would go in; if the rules are being followed, then that's fine. If the rules are not followed, they'd instruct them as to what to do and away they go.

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Mr Crozier: Understood.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. That's approved then.

Mr Hope: Before we move on too much further and before I forget, because we do have to move to the House for a vote later on, and I want to make sure I get this on the record, a motion I wish to move is that the committee be authorized to name a subcommittee consisting of one member of each party to meet at a mutually agreed-upon time to continue writing the draft of this committee's final report as well as three committee members, staff from Management Board, freedom of information branch and one staff per member of the subcommittee to be invited. Upon completion of the draft, the report shall be returned to the committee of the Legislative Assembly for passage.

If I may speak on the motion, through this whole process of conversation trying to get to some type of a report, we still have a number of pages and we would probably like to get done very soon so that if there are changes that need to be done in the act we could get moving on it. What this will allow, and I am of the belief, and I may ask the clerk, that this is agreed upon by all so far, or do we have agreement by all? I want to be fair. Mr Sterling just walked in. I'm making a motion that we bring one person from each of the parties to form a subcommittee and get this report finalized and brought back to this committee for a vote and try to establish --

Mr Sterling: As long as the subcommittee's binding on the committee, I don't mind.

Mr Hope: What's that? That's why I asked the question first; I'm outnumbered. I think it would just help expedite the process to get this report written back to this committee for its final examination and approval, and hopefully get it back before the House so that more comprehensive work can be done and our tour of duty completed and moving on to our next phase, which is all those other institutions we wish to bring forward under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

I move that as a formal motion and I do have it written down.

Mr Wiseman: I'm just wondering if we could make sure, on behalf of Mr Crozier, that it's been discussed with the House leader of the Liberals. I understand it's been discussed among the House leaders of the other parties.

Mr Crozier: Do you leave me in charge? I make decisions. I have no problem.

Mr Sterling: We haven't discussed that. It doesn't matter. All it will be is a recommendation of the committee, so that at that point in time, if there are any fights left over, they'll take place here.

The Vice-Chair: Carried, then.

Mr Wiseman: I understand that's the way you were as mayor too. Get things done.

Mr Crozier: I don't know who told you that.

Mr Wiseman: My relatives.

The Vice-Chair: That should be referred to subcommittee now. Do you want a motion to refer this?

Mr Hope: No. According to my motion, it doesn't have to be to the subcommittee. It's one person from each to form a subcommittee, not necessarily the subcommittee.

The Vice-Chair: But do we have to do that today?

Mr Hope: No, you don't need to. One from each. It's very clear in the motion.

The Vice-Chair: We should arrange for a subcommittee meeting then? You'll arrange it? Then I can adjourn the meeting.

Mr Hope: No, I want to table this. We still have a few minutes left of the day here. I just wanted to get it on and voted on.

The Vice-Chair: So you want to proceed then to cut down the amount we're doing in the subcommittee. Okay, that's fair enough.

Ms Swift: The next issue, on page 79, is a corollary to the whole issue of what we've been discussing on social assistance. A more general suggestion was made to the committee involving the whole treatment of personal information under the act, in the context of determining initial and continuing eligibility for social assistance and the investigation of welfare fraud.

You remember that one municipality argued that although elected officials should not have access to the identity of welfare recipients, personal information relevant to determining the initial and continuing eligibility should be more widely and routinely accessible to welfare administrators. Several suggestions were made as to how that might be done, including blanket consent forms and computer matching-up to ensure that there wasn't double-dipping. Legal clinics responded to the suggestion, emphasizing particularly that blanket authorizations would pave the way to improper use of personal information about welfare recipients.

My understanding of the committee's instructions led me to present two options, two possibilities: Option A, that the committee rejects any suggestion that there should be suspension of privacy rights of persons receiving social assistance, and the sensitivity of social assistance information and the significant implications of its misuse require the implementation of the recommendations already made by the committee, in other words, the committee rejects the suggestions made; option B, that in addition, the committee believes that a consent to disclose signed as a condition of application for social assistance should not relieve institutions of the obligation to consider all reasonable alternatives to the disclosure of the identity of the applicant or the recipient.

Those two options appear at the bottom of page 80 and the top of page 81.

Mr Hope: If I may ask Mr White a question on this one, is there a difference between provincial and municipal right now? We're hearing from the municipal side of things. Provincially, around the information itself, is there a difference between the two?

Mr Frank White: In how the information would be treated?

Mr Hope: Yes.

Mr Frank White: The statutory provisions are the same in both statutes. All this came up because of Hastings county and the motion by the council to have access to the names of social assistance recipients. I think in that particular case the court decision was that they didn't have a need to know that information so they shouldn't have access to it. A number of groups are still concerned that councils, even though we have that court decision, can still pass bylaws to require the welfare administrator to provide that information to the municipal councillors, so there are a number of measures that are being suggested to prevent that.

Mr Hope: But if we're putting forward option A on page 77, which deals with recommendations 39 to 42, would we even need this part of the recommendations dealing with this? The beginning we straightened out the problem, which will not lead to a problem later on. Once we clearly defined who is entitled to the information under the four recommendations, that would clearly then look at these two options that are being put forward.

Ms Swift: Perhaps I can clarify and this might put it a little bit more into context. You'll remember that there was one municipality, Thunder Bay, that came forward and said: "We're not so interested in the fact that elected officials should have access to this. In fact, we agree they should not have access. But we think that the act should be restructured to allow for greater disclosure and easier disclosure where you're dealing with eligibility for welfare assistance."

In other words, the act should be adapted in some way to allow for greater access to personal information for those purposes only, so that once you get past who needs to know, the question here is more, what can they know and how can they know it? The suggestion was that when you're talking about welfare and eligibility and continuing eligibility, there should be greater access.


Mr Hope: If that's the case and that's the content we're using, there's currently the program that is going on with the ministry now, dealing with case file review officers; if that is the case in accessing information, neither one of these options then would be considered. What I would say is that the current investigation review officers who are put in place will eliminate some of the problems on eligibility and stuff.

The other areas they were talking about I don't believe are through freedom of information and protection of privacy. I believe that is an issue with a different ministry under the social assistance issue, the GWA and FBA, that has to be cleared up in that area versus freedom of information and protection of privacy.

With that I would make a comment, about eligibility and that, that there is a program in place to deal with the eligibility criteria and to deal with the investigation of fraud. We've cleaned up some of it in our first option, A, and I would just pull both options right out of it.

Mr Frank White: I think that what the researcher is presenting is the case at the top of page 80 that Thunder Bay made, that there should be greater access to social assistance information.

Mr Hope: Then if it's just the one issue, I'd pull it right out of the report. I wouldn't even give it any recognition in the report. It's being dealt with and it falls, not under the freedom of information and protection of privacy; it falls under the social assistance, the GWA and FBA. It does not fall under the freedom of information and protection of privacy.

As far as that is concerned, if we're taking the one case in hand, I would pull that whole section right out of there, right from the middle of page 79. That's my view. I move that we pull, starting with the middle of page 79 and including page 80 and half of page 81, right out of the report.

Mr Frank White: Because?

Mr Hope: It's being dealt with and it falls under a different jurisdiction of an act.

Mr Frank White: The records would be under the custody of the municipality, in terms of the municipal freedom of information act.

Mr Hope: Which we then cleared up in option A, where we put the four recommendations.

Mr Frank White: No. Actually, the recommendation was that the welfare administration would be treated as a separate institution, so it would still be covered by the act, but it would be municipality A and municipality B welfare administration. They'd function as separate units for purposes of the statute and they'd be responsible for their own privacy decisions.

The Vice-Chair: Could I perhaps make a clarification here. I understand that if this is deleted, Mr Hope, it leaves the status quo, which means there's no restriction on the trading of information with respect to blanket authorizations. Is that correct?

Ms Swift: This section really says that there should be even more access and that --

The Vice-Chair: It says there more access.

Ms Swift: There should be more access, that's right, and easier access when you're dealing with the specific issue of social assistance, and to confirm your eligibility and ongoing eligibility. You'll remember it was suggested that certain privacy rights should be suspended where the public purse is paying for these things. That's what the issue is directed at.

Mr Hope: I hear what you're saying, Sue, but under option A on page 77 we're now clearing up the issue about who's entitled to what information, the investigation process. All that is being cleared up in option A on page 77 with those recommendations that have been put forward.

The issue that Thunder Bay was bringing forward falls more into the investigation eligibility criteria and falls into the jurisdiction of different acts, which is the FBA and the GWA. So I'm saying, as far as us dealing with the freedom of information and protection of privacy is concerned, with this one particular issue, it does not need to be addressed in this report, and I would move that it be pulled out.

Mr Wiseman: I'm just wondering about this section here where it says "the receipt of payments from more than one source of public funds," Perhaps somebody could enlighten me at this point as to what exchange of information takes place, for example, between unemployment insurance and welfare, how it's done and whether it's done.

I wouldn't want to exclude from the act the ability of a trained person to look at a case and find out whether they're accessing unemployment insurance, welfare and other things. This also has to do with how much information is transferred between the federal and the provincial level and whether or not the case workers are able to do that. Then it gets back to Randy's question about whether it should be done under this act or whether it should be done under a different act, in order to make it possible for that simple question to be asked about what other sources of government funding you are receiving, and be able to check maybe against the social insurance number or something. Beyond that, I don't think any other information would be necessary except for the name, the address and the number.

Ms Swift: If I could comment, my recollection of the evidence that was presented to the committee was that the requirement of having to sign so many consents for the various ministries that might be involved in levels of government was cumbersome and onerous. The witness presented a sheaf of documents illustrating the breadth of paperwork that would be involved in having to do this kind of thing, to obtain all the consents and proceed with it.

What this was speaking to, and the suggestion that was made to the committee, was that the burden be eased in some way by allowing for this special treatment under the act for social assistance.

Mr Hope: The burden has been relieved through an implemented program. It could be even further relieved if we had one service delivery process, which is going to take a little bit of time, but that's a political argument that's down the road.

I'm just saying that to address the issue on the investigation and case file review, we clearly identified that in option A on page 77. This issue here is around the further process of information. The forms are now changed and there are new processes being put in place under the review of files to find out if they're eligible for other programs, and also the application process is changed, and there is provincial and federal agreement to put in place where sharing of information has been established on this issue.

Ms Swift: Maybe I can make a suggestion. It seems to me that there are two possibilities based on the discussion. One is that we pull this whole discussion completely from the report; or second, leave the discussion in, but instead of these options, further discussion about what is being done currently, so therefore it's not necessary to proceed with some kind of blanket change to the act.

Mr Hope: I'd pull it right out of the report.

Mr Sterling: I wasn't here when 77 was voted on, but as I understand it, what you're doing is basically denying the elected officials any access to the personal records by setting up separate sections here, as you describe them, Mr White. The head of the welfare "department" will be accountable to himself and no one else? How does municipal council seek accountability? How do they know there is accountability in terms of the welfare department? Here the elected people were elected to oversee the expenditures, yet you're saying you're going to deny them information.


Ms Swift: Under the recommendation that the committee has accepted, the social services department would be designated as the head of the institution. So they would be a separate institution.

Mr Sterling: Then how does the accountability go from separate institution A to the one that's elected by the people?

Mr Hope: They don't need to. The institution doesn't need to deal with the individual. Now the designator, which is in the recommendations, page 77, talks about the head of the social assistance being the person entitled to the information. The only thing that the overall municipality is responsible for is the total dollar figure, not the individuals' names and who's on social assistance. There's where the accountability aspect comes in.

Mr Sterling: What if there's an allegation of impropriety or non-accountability or whatever and the municipal council --

Mr Hope: It's referred to the investigation officers who are there with social assistance.

Mr Sterling: No. If you think they're running this department shoddily, how do you determine whether they are or they're not? This guy can tell you to go fish.

Mr Hope: No. He still has to be accountable to you. It's just the freedom of information dealing with the individual. You still have your normal protocol of general information that's there corporately, but on an individual basis you wouldn't be entitled. Mr White, am I wrong?

Mr Frank White: What we're talking about are decisions the head can make under FOI.

Mr Hope: Right.

Mr Frank White: I guess some of the groups that came forward felt that in terms of disclosure of personal information, if it was a welfare administrator rather than the head -- in the municipality the head is the council or someone designated by council, a member of council -- it would further the privacy interests of individuals they're representing.

Mr Sterling: The court in the case you're talking about in Hastings made a decision which said that the Hastings council didn't have reason to demand this information. I take from the court's ruling, therefore, that the court may have anticipated there would be reasons sometimes when the council should have this private information, and I assume it was for accountability reasons. That would be the only proper use for private information that I could think of, that in some way municipal council wanted to look into an individual case where it had heard there was misappropriation of funds or whatever.

Mr Frank White: I think the situation with Hastings county was that it was the welfare administrator who was charged with the responsibility of determining whatever the situation was, not the council. They didn't have any basis in terms of their responsibilities of why it was necessary and proper to obtain this information, because someone else was specifically charged with that responsibility. Now it could be very different in some other situation where, for instance, another statute might be involved, but in this particular one the court ruled there was nothing necessary about obtaining, from the court's point of view, because there was nothing the council was charged with. They wanted to know and it was nice to know, but they didn't have any responsibility in terms of making a decision. That was that situation, but it was situational in terms of their particular request.

Mr Sterling: On the one hand, in my view, you elect people to run the municipality and to collect the taxes and to spend the taxes, so there has to be some way of accounting to them, and I'm reluctant to deny them information. In the purest sense you have to say, "These people are not going to misuse information they get." You trust them etc. We know that doesn't always happen and some people, elected officials, would perhaps misuse that information. I think you have to come somewhere between, and I think what we're doing here is opting for the one where we mistrust the council totally and we don't provide any mechanism for accountability.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Sterling, I would remind you that we have dealt with these things.

Mr Sterling: Yes, I know, but the two are involved.

Mr Hope: Just for Mr Sterling's information, the IROs, which are the income review officers, are going to be the ones charged with the responsibility of making sure that all criteria that a person receiving social assistance -- that they're applying to the act, and making sure somebody is not receiving inappropriate funds.

Mr Sterling: What if you've got a lousy IRO?

Mr Hope: What did you hire the person for?

Mr Sterling: But how do you know if you can't look into what he's doing?

Mr Hope: You're going to be able to see. He's going to have to report back to council. You're just not going to see the individuals' names who are collecting social services. You will see the report. Most officers, most people who work for municipalities, heads of areas, always make a report to their council, so you're going to know whether it's justified. If he's not doing anything and sitting there, he's going to report that nothing's been done and you're going to question the reality of actually his position working for the corporation.

Mr Sterling: But doesn't the case become specific? What happens is that an elected official has a concern about an individual. Somebody's come to them and said, "They're ripping off the system," or whatever it is. Now you're saying that elected official has no right to go and bring up this individual case with this person?

Mr Hope: He has the right to bring up the individual case to the person, but the information and the evaluation of the criteria is a matter done by the income review officer, not by the politician. How many politicians know what the GWA is? How many have even read the act? How many have read the regulations?

Mr Sterling: I believe the guy who is elected is the guy who, in the end, has to answer. Therefore, I disagree fundamentally with what you're saying.

Mr Hope: You still don't have the answer, because in social assistance, the Social Assistance Review Board has the final answer on most. If you don't like a decision that was made by a corporation, it's always referred to the review board. The power being bestowed upon the politician is frivolous for the simple fact that an individual, if cut off social services, has an opportunity to go before the review officer.

The Chair is going to pound the hammer down now.

The Vice-Chair: Yes, I'm going to say that we're all out of order in this discussion.

Mr Sterling: Yes, okay.

Mr Hope: If we're not in agreement on pulling that whole section out, then move with option A.

The Vice-Chair: You've moved to option A?

Mr Hope: I'm compromising. There's been a lot of hard work done, the typing of this thing.

The Vice-Chair: By the way, I would point out that it's been pointed out to me by legislative counsel that options A and B are rejecting what is in the text and are in effect saying, "Retain the existing privacy provisions." Option A retains the existing privacy provisions. Option B, in effect, if my reading is correct, is saying that not only should you use your existing restrictions, but you should also see if there's a less intrusive way of exchanging information. Am I quite right that you could have option A and B together?

Ms Swift: That's correct.

The Vice-Chair: They could go together. From a privacy point of view, the most protective is option A and B. I thought I'd point that out.

Mr Hope: I want the whole thing taken out. Come on, give me a break.

The Vice-Chair: No, you don't want A and B taken --

Mr Sterling: I agree with Mr Hope. Take the whole thing out.

The Vice-Chair: What about other members of the committee?

Mrs MacKinnon: Well, I'm here.

The Vice-Chair: Oh, Mrs MacKinnon, yes, you have something to say. I'm sorry; I had forgotten with all this.

Mrs MacKinnon: Maybe I should be declaring a conflict of interest. I don't know. I notice in here that you have used Lambton county, and this is -- what shall I say? -- a very hot topic at home right now; it's awful. I hope that we are going to do whatever it takes to nail this down when it comes to the welfare part of the whole thing.

Mr Sterling is asking about the accountability. This is what I've been called to answer at Lambton county. My response has been and will continue to be that there is -- I'm not talking municipal; I'm talking county government because that's where our welfare is administrated -- the head of the social services department, called the chief administrative officer, and that's where the accountability comes in.

Whatever you do, for goodness' sake, pin this down. It's becoming very difficult for these various councils to seem to grasp the fact that they've got the people there, the head of their social services department, they've got an investigative officer, and then they've got their chief administrative officer, but councils are having a problem because they don't know who they are, and excuse me, but I don't think they have a legitimate reasons to know the names of the people.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope has moved that the text and options A and B be deleted from the report. All those in favour?

Mrs MacKinnon: Is this going to give the protection I'm asking for?

Mr Hope: Yes.

Mr Sterling: What's the question?

The Vice-Chair: The question is on Mr Hope's motion to delete the text and options A and B from the report. All in favour? Opposed? I guess it's carried then.

At this stage, I think the next process, the appeal process, is an appropriate time to adjourn, since we'll have a vote soon in the House. Adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1751.