STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 20 March 2012 Mardi 20 mars 2012
The committee met at 0900 in committee room 1.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): The first issue is to deal with the following subcommittee reports: March 8 and March 15. We have all seen the reports in advance, so could I please have the motion?
Mr. Jim McDonell: I move that your subcommittee considered, on Thursday, March 8, 2012, the selection of intended appointments for committee review and has agreed as recommended.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Is there any discussion on the March 8 report? None? All in favour? Against? Carried.
Ms. Jaczek, would you read the March 15 motion?
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Yes. Thank you, Chair. I move adoption of the report of the subcommittee dated Thursday, March 15, 2012.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Any discussion? All in favour? Against? Carried.
MR. MARTIN FORGET
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Martin Forget, intended appointee as member, Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): The first candidate we’re considering this morning is Martin Forget. You’re already at the table, I see. You’re nominated as a member of the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
Mr. Forget, please come forward, which you already have done. You may begin with a brief statement, if you wish. Upon conclusion, we will then have about nine minutes per party to ask you questions. With that questioning, we will start with the official opposition.
We’ll open the floor and ask you to make your presentation. So thank you very much for being here, and you may start now.
Mr. Martin Forget: Mr. Vice-Chair and members of the committee, I appreciate the privilege to appear before you. Today, I’m here to discuss with you how my experience could best serve the interest of the public if you were to appoint me as a council member of the CPSO.
To begin, I would like to highlight that I am a proud and active member of the Franco-Ontarian community.
C’est avec honneur aujourd’hui que je comparais devant vous pour discuter de comment mes compétences et mon engagement potentiel pourraient mieux servir l’Ordre des médecins et chirurgiens de l’Ontario, avec l’intérêt mutuel du public et de ses professionnels.
If I were to be appointed, I would bring 27 years of diversified business experience and continuous service with private and public sector and several national, international and local community organizations. I come from a family of public service. With my spouse, a former MP and Toronto city councillor—most recently appointed by the Prime Minister to an international position—together we’ve dedicated a good portion of our lives towards investing in public service.
My peers describe me as a forward-thinker, versatile leader and driver of innovation and strategic initiatives. I never lose sight of the fundamental mission of the organization I work for and the people it serves. I’ve tackled very complex organizational issues where I’ve had to make critical decisions that have impacted people’s lives. You will be told by people working with me that my decision-making process history has always been supported by facts and has led to fair results for everyone.
On the professional side, I am a technology industry executive. Since late 2010, as a management partner with Veridys International, which is a company that I founded, I’ve specialized in the development of renewable energy solutions. But most relevant to this position, from 2006 to 2010, where I’ve gained interest in the health care sector, was the fact that I was an executive vice-president at Telus, leading their health care information technology strategy. This is where I gained good understanding of the health care system, but most importantly, the workflow of the system and the patients it serves.
Setting aside my technology background, I am an experienced executive. I understand complex organizational governance. As a self-regulated body, I understand the role of the CPSO to serve the public while keeping a fair balance for its professionals. I don’t profess to know everything about the CPSO, but working closely with the medical profession and the patient groups, I believe that if I were to be appointed, I could help the organization evolve and continue to fulfill its mission.
So, how could I best serve the CPSO as a council member? Strategic planning, budget management, resource performance and management are all key activities that I have participated in and I have experience with—more specifically, my experience with HR, where I’ve had to deal with the challenges of disciplinary and performance issues, people development, management, retention and recruitment.
As a client relationship specialist, I’ve developed and overseen quality assurance and measurement programs and ensured that service-level agreements were met across many sectors I’ve worked in, including health care, which I understand I have a good background in from a technology perspective.
Of course, my knowledge in health care information management would be most relevant for activities relating to education and, dear to my heart, information sharing and the issues of privacy that we’re all confronted with now, with the new technologies in front of us.
I hope I’ve demonstrated to you today in this short statement why I could fulfill this role and work in the best interest of the public. I appreciate your consideration of my candidacy and look forward to answering your questions and concerns. Thank you. Merci.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you very much. We’ll start now with the questioning by the official opposition. Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Good morning, Mr. Forget. Just from my own background at Bell Canada, I got to see the technology side of it. Do you see your role in the college as being proactive, as far as our health care and some of the changes we’re looking for? Do you see the—
Mr. Martin Forget: Yes. It’s a self-regulated body and it has the opportunity to actually participate and innovate, because if the college doesn’t actually take an active participation with all the things that are happening also—because we’re talking about the college but there are other professions we have to interact with. I see it from a workflow process. I’m a guy who comes from taking a business process and basically optimizing it and making it more efficient. So, absolutely, they have to, because the bottom line is, when you interface with a doctor and the multi-professionals of other disciplines that are around, their workflow is impacted. The college has to have a say, but also it has to be receptive to inter-working with the other professions.
I would say, also, the Drummond report actually highlights this, on how it is so important. Otherwise we will not meet the objectives that—we’ll be failing. So, yes, of course; my answer is yes.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Further questions? Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I see you worked for Telus Health. On their website, they listed several achievements their systems and developments in health IT can claim credit for. Can you outline your role and your contributions during your years at Telus? And what are you most proud of?
Mr. Martin Forget: Actually, my role started, ironically, with a company that Telus acquired, which was called BCE Emergis, and now it’s Telus. But in BCE Emergis—Emergis being a small and agile company—one of the roles that I played was—the baseline strategy that you know has the results that they can make their claim—I was the lead for Ontario in developing a strategy for all the things that now are happening. Whether it’s drug information systems, the health care records at the Ottawa Hospital, these are the things that I’ve actually participated in. The clinical workflow was part of being able to advance the strategy, beginning at the anticipation of the strategy to where it is today. So I would say my contribution to Telus today and what is claimed today—I was at the seed role when it was Emergis. About a year and a half later when I was hired as a vice-president at Emergis, that contributed to why Telus actually acquired us, because we had such a strong foundation with the—I won’t go into technology jargon—Oasis background, which is what TOH, the Ottawa Hospital, adopted and became somewhat a huge foundation of what today they are successfully promoting not only in Canada—I always say that when I was there I said “built in Ontario for the world,” because it was not just to suffice for the needs. Telus acquired Emergis not from the perspective that it just wanted Toronto, Ontario, or the Ottawa Hospital; it acquired it because it had a big picture, as you know those core operations. So we were acquired because of that.
The claims that Telus is making I’m very proud of, and actually you could talk to some of the executive. François Côté and other people who I reported to can say I was instrumental in actually being a thought leader. That’s how I would qualify myself. I wasn’t the guy plugging in the wires behind the scenes, though I was a hands-on guy that actually went in there. My passion was understanding the workflow of delivering service. If you look also, at my background, way back at Nortel, I was a guy who specialized in service-level agreements.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Thank you.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Given the current economic climate, “efficiencies” is a refrain we’re going to hear a lot of, including health care and the realization of efficiencies, if you will. So being in the position that you’re being appointed to, you’ll have a prime position to advocate and realize efficiencies in terms of managing the patient, physician and, essentially, the whole health system relationship.
Given your experience, will you advocate for greater electronic record integration, and if so, how? And what else will you bring to the table?
Mr. Martin Forget: Well, look, I’m being accused of often being—in my opening statement, people have accused me of being an innovator. Yes, of course, I will promote innovation. I will promote taking strategic initiatives. I don’t necessarily always take no for an answer, and I understand the role that I have to play in the CPSO because I’m not there to legislate or dictate to anybody what to do. I’m there to bring some recommendations and do a bit of oversight.
But yes, I am a big promoter—look, we’re in a race, and I believe that in the Drummond report, there is a race. I think it has been put in front of us. There is a race for making health care more efficient, because we’re all going to be losers.
Just from personal experience, and I think you’ve all been through this, patient records—when I have to repeat—by the way, I have a very complex health history from 1993; patient records, where I have to go from one specialist to another to another, where through my laymen’s statements I have to describe all the time and cryptic notes passed on from one doctor to another. Today, in this day that we still don’t have integration across Ontario, to me it’s very frustrating because I’ve been promoting this for the longest time. We have to have this. Plus, I’ve looked at other jurisdictions.
So my answer to this is yes; we need to have this and business process automation. I hate putting the term “business” on health care, but it is a business in a sense because there are companies; it’s a workflow. The bottom line is, we need to take those doctors, how they’re interacting together and basically take these business processes and map them properly.
Now, there are some handicaps, by the way, that we overcome, because there are old rules that we have to consider from not only the patient record and the patient safety perspective—that’s top of the line—but even the way physicians may view, for example, their fees. Physicians sometimes will actually be upfront: “Oh, by the way, you know, I can’t give you this result, because you have to come in, because the rules of the book of how I get paid are this way.” Why? Because they’re framed within what I would call a somewhat old, too old, process of how they’re getting paid, and that’s the bottom line. When we say “patient record,” it involves providing the service also from the payment system.
So, if we could crunch all of this, and I don’t have a magic stick—if I would, I’d know what to do, but if I could, it would be by taking all these processes and bringing them down and automating them, which actually will relieve those practitioners—doctors, nurse practitioners—all across the workflow, relieve them to provide better service, to provide more time, and probably for a better earning, actually. So that’s what I promote; that’s how I promote the health record.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): We have approximately 20 seconds left. Any further questions?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Just a quick question. Do you see being able to influence as we try to move towards electronic health care records or—
Mr. Martin Forget: Do I see being able to? Yes, and this time, in this capacity, what I’d like is—well, obviously in a neutral role versus, in the past, I was giving you the same speech, but I’d say, “Oh, but, by the way, you have got to take my bits and pieces.” Now, that’s the beauty of it being neutral.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you very much. We’ll now go to the third party, Mr. Tabuns or—
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Forget, thank you for appearing before us this morning. Can you tell us again, why is it that you wanted to be on this college? There is a variety of colleges that address the broad medical sector. Why this one?
Mr. Martin Forget: Well, I said in my statement that I understand the public service, and I’ve been involved, because together, my spouse and I just eat public service.
I’m aware of the opportunity to serve, so I’ve always looked at different opportunities, from technology to involvement in energy, but this application actually came up, and I said, “This is very relevant to me, what I know and what I can contribute.” I’m at this point in my life, by the way, that I have, I hate to say this, spare—not spare time in the sense that it’s a point in my life where I’ve made a decision to now start getting involved way more than being consumed by business.
So this one in particular because I understood the workflow quite well, and actually, also, from a personal perspective, from being a patient. As I said, I had a complex medical history. Today I’m walking, and I’m very happy, but when doctors come across me, they say, “Oh, you’ve had that”; so they look at me, and it’s a very complex file. I get involved personally in a sense from the way they do business, and we start talking, and I start getting involved in talking with them about the workflow and their frustrations.
When the CPSO opportunity came up, it was actually a pleasant surprise. I’ll say that the remuneration was something that I wasn’t—compared to other boards I could have potentially applied to. But, to me, it was like, “Well, look, if I were to do this for two, three years, I could really contribute,” and when I was lining it up with the Drummond report, “Well, how can I help actually participating in an agency that actually could meet the objective, could meet the race, because we’re far from meeting the race. So how can I contribute?” So the CPSO, the workflow, the understanding of the business, the understanding of the services, was why I selected it.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. And can you tell me what elements were outlined in Drummond that you hope to carry forward within the CPSO?
Mr. Martin Forget: Efficiency, complete efficiency and—
Mr. Peter Tabuns: “Efficiency” is a very broad term.
Mr. Martin Forget: It’s basically integration, more of a seamless integration—look, I’ll state an opinion that maybe not everybody agrees to. I don’t know; maybe you all agree to this. It doesn’t necessarily touch the CPSO directly, but on a greater perspective, I think we have layers of administration that are actually robbing each level of service. That money could be actually going towards better ways, and it’s stated in the Drummond report. I’ll leave it at that.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. What role do you want to play within the college? We’ll have a council that a variety of people will take different leadership tasks on. What is it that you want to do?
Mr. Martin Forget: Specifically, I looked at a series of things. Education, I think, is one of the pieces I want to bring, because my background in information management is a big part of education, not from a medical—the process of actually being a surgeon—but the tools that are being taught in schools.
I also have, from an education perspective—we say “education,” but what about our legacy doctors who are still practising and have a long way, actually, to retire? My doctor, to be honest with you: His office is nice; it’s back in vogue; it’s still in the 1970s in terms of the décor, and all his paperwork is still in the 1970s. So when I talk to him about integration—“Do you have a hand-held?” We talk about these things, and he’s scared. He’s very scared.
We talk about education in the field. What about our legacy practices? Then, the transfer of those legacy practices to the people who are coming out of school, which is a challenge, taking over those practices.
Also, from a disciplinary perspective—I have a background in HR. I have managed lots of people. I was in Nortel, where I had to do a lot of disciplinary performance-crunching. Unfortunately, as we know, it doesn’t exist anymore. But I’ve had to make some hard choices, so from a disciplinary perspective, that’s a part I enjoy.
I’ve listed a few of them, actually, that are of importance to me. Looking at government programs, quality assurance—I should basically put at the top of the line quality assurance—service level agreements. By the way, when you’re involved in technology, one of the things that you do is patient safety. It’s all about patient safety. You’re asking me about, “Why the integration of clinical records?” It’s about patient safety, whether it’s in the telecom perspective, having wireless, being able to follow a patient from point A to point B, if they’re roaming around, an elderly person. For example, wireless technology can now locate where people are, where instruments are. So patient safety is one of the top things.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: I think I’m getting a sense of your interests.
The integration of nurse practitioners into our medical system: There’s some controversy about that. When we talk about integration, I think of the integration of a broad range of health care workers, health care professionals. What’s your perspective on increasing the role of nurse practitioners in our health care system?
Mr. Martin Forget: I’m a believer in it and I’m a person who’s actually being served by it. I’m a member of a family health team in Parkdale and I know how it works. To be honest with you, I’ve been picked up by a doctor. The way the system works—it’s an excellent position. I know there’s some controversy, and Bill 179, I think, is one of the things that’s bringing in nurse practitioners. I think there are other opportunities to integrate more in order to relieve the system.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Can you suggest which other opportunities those are?
Mr. Martin Forget: I think we should look at complementary treatments, medicine, therapies. But, to be honest with you, I’m a believer in science. Facts are facts. So it’s very important that we don’t—we’ve got to look at it closely. Science is science, and I’m more of a—there are some things that actually can be integral. Actually, the thing is, all the doctors I go through—it’s interesting because all of them, that’s my experience, suggest, “Have you consulted with?” When it comes time to referral, maybe it’s a little more difficult. You say, “Oh, could you refer?” “Well, you know, I don’t really know.” It’s not integrated. So there’s that part, again.
I have a back problem, actually, right now—
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): You have 20 seconds left in your time.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. I have no further questions. Thank you very much.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Now we’re going to the government side. You have four minutes.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Thank you very much. Monsieur Forget, you’ve given us a great deal on your management and your IT background. Could you just flesh out for us a little bit of your experience on governance; boards you’ve served, committees, and so on?
Mr. Martin Forget: Well, the job I hate the most is being a secretary of a board, so if you’ve been this you understand the mechanics of it. Obviously, my background comes more from participating on the corporate side. I’ve been a business owner, co-owner; I know how this works. I’ve worked also for a publicly traded company; I know how that works.
From a community perspective, I’ve participated in numerous boards, from ACFO Toronto, which was my participation as a francophone, because I’m an active francophone member. Also, I participated in several international—from an advisory board perspective—organizations, some that have to do with delivering community services, for example, in Southeast Asia. I’m still active there.
I don’t profess to know everything about governance. In governance, you’re always confronted with new things that are happening on an executive level. I don’t have a formal training; it has been learned along through experience, but I think I hold my own.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Just as a follow-up, obviously, as you know, the CPSO board is made up of physicians as well as lay members. You will be a lay member. What particular attributes do you think you bring to the board, which is obviously looking for diversity amongst its members to fully represent the public?
Mr. Martin Forget: Well, to be honest with you, one of the things I think my francophone—I highlighted my francophone background. There are so many French Canadians, by the way, in Toronto. I think I can represent and look at being more of a vehicle of information within the CPSO—especially for metropolitan Toronto—for all the French Canadians who are dispersed all over the GTA. That’s one of the contributing roles I think I’d like to make as a francophone board member.
I think there’s another lady sitting currently who is a francophone from Cornwall. I looked at that, and I think that would be a great opportunity to have two actually; one representing eastern Ontario and Toronto. In Toronto, and the Windsor area also, there’s a bastion of French Canadians that I’d like to contribute to.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Thank you.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you very much. Time is up. Merci beaucoup, monsieur Forget. Thank you, Mr. Forget.
MR. HARVEY MCCUE
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Harvey McCue, intended appointee as vice-chair, Ontario Heritage Trust.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): We will now ask Harvey McCue to come up to the table. You may begin a brief statement now. Upon conclusion, we’ll then have about nine minutes per party. The government time is taken out of your statement. You may begin now.
Mr. Harvey McCue: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good morning, everyone. It’s a distinct privilege and honour to be here with you this morning to be considered for the position of vice-chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
My name is Harvey McCue. I’m a member of the Georgina Island First Nation, which is situated in Lake Simcoe, just north of Toronto. I was raised on a reserve until I left home for university.
As a child and as a youth and a young adult, I was keenly aware of the heritage and history of my environment. I particularly remember walking to public school in Roches Point, passing by the remnants of the small-gauge railway that used to run from Toronto to Jackson’s Point. In the 1950s, there were still remnants of that small-gauge railway, although we, as children, didn’t really appreciate what it stood for. But certainly, today, memories of that are still vital to the heritage of this province.
Also, as a youth growing up on Lake Simcoe, there were a number of resorts and lodges that sprinkled the shores of Lake Simcoe during the 1930s and 1940s and into the 1950s. It was a popular spot for summer visitors, particularly from Toronto, before the Muskoka district achieved its reputation. Unfortunately, today, most of those sites have been lost to the province. I remember, again, as a youth, that these were magnificent buildings. They were all wooden structures, of course; some were destroyed by fire, but others just simply deteriorated because there wasn’t really any compelling interest to keep them going.
In addition, on the island where I was raised, Snake Island, which is part of the reserve, there were still remnants of foundations of early structures that were built in the first two decades of the 1800s by missionaries who came to Snake Island to help to “civilize” my ancestors. It’s unfortunate that very little effort has been made to preserve those structures.
As a final point, as a young adult, I became aware that our geography was very important historically because, in nearby Sutton, Mazo de la Roche and Stephen Leacock, arguably two great Canadian writers—are buried in the graveyard near Sutton. That was of some historical significance that wasn’t lost on me.
So I have a regard and an affinity for the heritage of this province, as well as for the history and heritage of Canada.
In addition to that affinity, I have, since the early 1970s, served on a number of boards, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, including being a member of the Heritage Trust board and serving as a governor for Trent University.
I’ll stop there. I welcome your questions and I look forward to answering them. Thank you.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you, Mr. McCue. I just failed to mention that you’re nominated as vice-chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
We’ll start with the third party. You will have nine minutes.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Thank you, Chair. Good to see you this morning, Mr. McCue.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Mr. Tabuns, sorry. I just wanted to get your name.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: I figured the record would, in the end, be cleared up, so I wasn’t that worried.
I’ve dealt with a number of heritage issues—people coming forward to me about preserving buildings—and these always seem to be fairly contentious issues. What do you think the biggest challenges are that we face preserving our heritage in this province?
Mr. Harvey McCue: To my mind, the biggest challenge is persuading Ontarians that this is important. Notwithstanding the interest of some people to show an interest in heritage by seeking designations or by supporting designations, my sense, in the two years that I’ve been on the board is that it’s a real challenge persuading and convincing the general public in Ontario that heritage matters.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Do you see how the trust could, in fact, bring about that change and understanding? Are there tools that are available to the trust that could make a difference?
Mr. Harvey McCue: Yes. The short answer is yes. The board and the staff—and it’s a very professional and competent staff. As you might predict, we’re all committed to that objective. Given the talent and the experience of my colleagues on the board combined with the professional experience and knowledge of the staff, I’m confident that both in the short and the long term, the trust will be able to accomplish that objective.
We’re keenly aware that information technology is going to be a vital tool in spreading the information about the trust and the importance of heritage to the Ontario population. The staff and the board are actively searching how to use information technology to help us achieve that objective.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: What are the projects that you want to do or carry forward as vice-chair of the trust?
Mr. Harvey McCue: I don’t have pet projects, per se—
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Even if they’re not pet projects. Are there priorities, things that you, in your role, want to focus on?
Mr. Harvey McCue: Well, the very obvious thing is I want to apprise the aboriginal population of Ontario of the importance of heritage and of the work of the trust. I believe that there need to be bridges built. I think my people need to be encouraged, as well as other Ontarians, to recognize the importance of heritage matters. So that’s one particular element that I will be focussing on.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: And have you, in the last while, spent time trying to promote that? Have you been reaching out into the aboriginal community on that issue? Can you tell us what you’ve done and what the results of those actions have been?
Mr. Harvey McCue: I’ve been working with the staff of the trust. The staff is charged with carrying out the operations of the trust, and I have been advising the trust staff on a variety of matters pertaining to either aboriginal issues or the aboriginal population. I will continue to do that.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: I would say, from what you’ve presented to us so far, the competence, the ability of the staff is one of the greatest assets that the trust has. What are the weaknesses? You’ve been on the trust, now, for a little while. What are the things that are going to have to be addressed for the trust to carry forward?
Mr. Harvey McCue: Well, the elephant in the room these days for any agency, of course, is money. Quite frankly, that’s a major challenge that the trust faces, and we will have to use all of the talent and the experience that’s on the board to address and mitigate that challenge. But that’s the number one issue.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. Have you engaged in partnerships with other bodies to try to preserve buildings? I’ll give an example: In my riding, I have a variety of churches that no longer have the size of congregation necessary to support them. The buildings are spectacular. They’re part of our heritage. I’ve met with representatives from different church groups to talk about how their buildings or at least the form of the buildings can be preserved. Is the trust working with church groups and others to look for innovative ways to preserve what is, really, our architectural heritage?
Mr. Harvey McCue: The short answer is yes. There are a disparate number of local boards and agencies that deal with heritage issues in communities and regions. The trust connects with those agencies and committees regularly and co-operates, in my opinion, very, very well with the local agencies to support them in their endeavours.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. Thank you. I don’t have any further questions.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you. We’ll now go to the government. You have four and a half minutes, Ms. Jaczek.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Thank you, Mr. McCue, for reminding us of some of the heritage in York region. I visited Georgina Island and know many of the places you alluded to.
One of the challenges, clearly, that the trust must face is the balance between preserving heritage and the forces of economic development. Could you describe, in your experience, some of those challenges and how you try to achieve a balance between those two values?
Mr. Harvey McCue: I wish I could give you a specific answer. As board members, we tend not to get involved in those kinds of day-to-day operational issues. We have a very competent staff that, in our opinion, is able to achieve that balance in a way that I think is to everyone’s satisfaction. However, I can refer to a specific issue that will illuminate a response to your question.
There has been an ongoing issue for several months in Ottawa, where I reside, over the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park. The board staff has worked admirably, in my opinion, with the city of Ottawa and the developers to ensure that the economic and civic interests of Lansdowne Park are balanced with the heritage considerations around Aberdeen Pavilion. It was initially a contentious issue, but the trust staff has done an admirable job in working with the various interests in Ottawa to come to, I think, a balanced resolution.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: I have just one minute left. Obviously you want to stay on this board. You’ve been there since 2009, and you want to move to the vice-chair position. What additional responsibilities will you have as vice-chair?
Mr. Harvey McCue: As vice-chair, the most likely responsibility will be to stand in for the chair when the chair is absent. I will also serve as a member of the executive committee of the board. I expect that, as vice-chair, the requests from staff and other board members will probably increase beyond what has been the case for the past two years.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you for that. The time is up. We’ll now go to the official opposition and Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out this morning. I’ve been involved somewhat in some of the heritage of our community, which is eastern Ontario, being somewhat over 200 years, I guess, and one of the earliest places in the province. But the big thing is money, trying to balance the economic development versus finding the money to keep some of these buildings that are now falling down, as you related earlier.
Do you see any hope or where we’re going to go with this in the future if we’re going to be able to—do you have some of your achievements, maybe, that the board has accomplished over the last couple of years since you’ve been there?
Mr. Harvey McCue: I’m confident that we will be able, as a board and staff and agency, to deal with the financial issue.
In the matter of local heritage, the trust, as I mentioned earlier, works with local agencies to help them as much as possible in resolving these matters, and that includes giving them advice on fundraising and supporting them in other ways.
The trust really has a coordinating role to play in addressing the heritage issues in Ontario, and I’m confident that we will be able to continue to do that and work with local committees to achieve their objectives.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Yes, thank you. Welcome, this morning. A lot of questions have been asked about the economics and how you’re going to help people with the economics end of it when we’re still coming out of the back end of a recession, and it’s very difficult to do this. There are a couple of projects in Perth county that I’ve been involved with. One was the Fryfogel Inn along Highway 7/8, and I was also on the board of directors of Stratford Perth Museum. Money seems to be the issue. How do you envision the trust fulfilling its mandate with more limited resources?
Mr. Harvey McCue: It won’t be easy; there’s no question. It will be tough, it will be a challenge, and it will require the staff and the board identifying as many creative and innovative approaches to our mandate as possible, and looking at additional ways to generate revenue and offset the financial crunch. Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet. All agencies in the province are up against this particular wall, and we’re just going to have to do our very best, with the resources that we have, to come up with new and innovative, creative solutions. It won’t be easy, but I’m confident.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Thank you.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you. Mr. McCue, thank you so much for being here today. Earlier, you referenced the elephant in the room, and by way of our questioning, we’re very mindful of that as well, as you can tell. But in terms of drilling down, there are many opportunities for local communities to get involved and support Ontario heritage. Specifically, in your role as vice-chair, how would you facilitate these opportunities for local municipalities and heritage societies to partner specifically with the heritage trust? Do you have any specific ideas or ideas to pursue?
Mr. Harvey McCue: I wish I did; I don’t. I intend to make myself more available to the trust, to increase the visibility of the trust, to be a presence, as much as my schedule allows and as much as the trust requires, and I’ll be encouraging other board members to do the same. I think it’s important that we, as board members, try to put a human face on the trust and thereby, through our personal interventions and participation, make Ontarians more aware of the trust: what it tries to do, what it does do and what its objectives are.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. If I may, just very quickly: With regard to the heritage trust, in your strategic plan or vision, do you have some specific actionables to engage local municipalities or heritage groups that we could review?
Mr. Harvey McCue: Yes, we do. We have quite a mature and developed five-year action plan. I would argue that perhaps the most interesting part of that action plan is focusing on youth. If you are interested, the staff would be very happy to provide you with the activities that we’ve identified to engage the youth of the province.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you so much, Mr. McCue. I’d like that.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): You still have further time. Any further questions? Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: One thing that has come up in the last little while, and I guess with the First Nations being here for God only knows how long—
Mr. Harvey McCue: A long time.
Mr. Jim McDonell: —and the European settlers coming over, haphazardly, as people are building a house or a development and they come across a gravesite of some kind—right now, it’s thrown back to whoever is there to do the investigations and the digs to find out just how extensive it is: Is it just a single gravesite of somebody that was buried or is it more extensive?
Do you see there needing to be some help in whoever comes across these to—I guess it’s all about heritage—help them with these digs? Do you see the role of the heritage trust giving some advice, that maybe they should take a greater role in this? Because I think what’s happening now is that if you happen to come across something like that, you might as well just hide it because it’s a huge financial burden to whoever happens to find one.
Mr. Harvey McCue: Yes. The trust currently is actively involved in several ossuaries in the province; a couple not too far from Toronto. So the staff and the board have experience in working with property owners and municipalities in protecting those sites. So there is a good record by the trust in this particular area. Part of the challenge is just bringing this information to individual property owners when something like this is discovered. But yes, the trust can and does work with individuals and with municipalities on these matters.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Just further: So do you feel, from a heritage trust point of view, that it’s the responsibility of the property owner who happens upon it to take on the financial responsibility or is that something that should be borne more by the greater public? What would the recommendations of the trust be on something like that?
Mr. Harvey McCue: That’s a tough question for a board member to answer.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Can you provide any guidance back to the minister?
Mr. Harvey McCue: Certainly the trust does provide advice and guidance as part of its mandate in these sorts of matters.
As to the financial implications of where the burden should lie, it’s something that the staff would have to look at because of our financial constraints. We’d obviously like to assist in every case, but we just can’t do that. So there are concerns that the staff has to examine before any kind of decision can be made with respect to providing financial support.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you, Mr. McCue. Time is up, but thank you.
We’ll now recess until 10 o’clock, waiting for the third person to come in today. So we’re recessed until 10.
The committee recessed from 0953 to 1005.
MS. ELAINE ROPER
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Elaine Roper, intended appointee as member, the Royal Ontario Museum.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): If we could all take our seats. We have Elaine Roper, nominated as a member of the Royal Ontario Museum.
Ms. Roper, you may begin with a brief statement, if you wish. Upon conclusion, the government will have the remainder of your 10 minutes and the opposition and third party will have nine minutes. You may begin your statement. Thank you.
Ms. Elaine Roper: Thank you very much. My apologies for being delayed.
I am a human resources professional who has over 30 years’ experience in business. I started out my career in financial services and had many years there. I worked then in a consulting firm which I started, Think Company Inc., for over 10 years and had clients such as MaRS Discovery District, Ontario Centres of Excellence and Health Technology Exchange, and am now working at the Pan Am Games, heading their human resources and workforce initiative.
I have been a member and volunteer on numerous boards for over a dozen years and have lent my leadership experience at the board level to organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. I’ve been on the board of Bishop’s University for over 10 years. I have worked on the board of the Textile Museum and have led the human resources committee for a number of those organizations.
I’m presently chair of the HR committee for Bishop’s University. I served three terms as the chair of the board development committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which has human resources accountability. I’ve also worked on the Textile Museum—was on the governance board development committee that had accountability for human resources, and we were involved in restructuring the board while I was on that board.
In my current role, I am responsible for all of the human resource workforce strategy for the Pam Am Games, which includes all of the full-time staff and also the formation of the volunteer contingent, which will number between 15,000 and 20,000. So I’m involved in developing all of the strategy and then, ultimately, the implementation of the operational planning for that whole volunteer segment.
So I feel that I bring the qualifications to the table to step into the role that I’ve been asked to assume.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you very much. Is that the end of your introduction?
Ms. Elaine Roper: Yes.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): We’ll go to the government and Ms. Jaczek.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Thank you for being so succinct. It’s wonderful.
Obviously the ROM is a very important cultural and tourist attraction here in Ontario. What motivated you particularly to apply for board membership at the ROM?
Ms. Elaine Roper: Good question. Thank you. I have been a member of the ROM for a number of years. It’s an institution in this city. I’ve been through the museum many, many times. I was honoured when I was approached to join the board, and feel that I can bring all of my expertise in the field, but also the interest that I have in the museum. I think it’s a fantastic institution. It has been interesting to see it evolve over time, and I think it plays a very major role. I’d be very honoured to serve and bring my expertise to bear.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: As you’ve been a member of the ROM, are there any ideas that you have in particular in making the ROM perhaps more accessible, more visible? Do you have a particular vision that you’re going to be bringing to the board?
Ms. Elaine Roper: I think I have a lot to learn. Having served on the board of the Textile Museum—it’s a very, very small museum by contrast with the ROM, but I think they’re doing some very innovative things. They were recognized, actually, for their website and the unique stuff they were doing with their website. So I think that may be an opportunity to reach some new audiences.
I think trying to draw in a younger group—I mean, a lot of people discover the ROM as children when they go in to see the dinosaur exhibit, because I think every child in Toronto at some point has gone through that. But I think if there’s a way that one can attract younger people, youth—because that’s when you really start to discover these institutions and they become part of the habit of something that you would return to. So I think that’s something, some initiatives in that respect.
I think, too, that it is a tourist attraction. I know that they have recently lowered their entrance fees to try to draw more people in, but I think there are some international cities, such as Paris, where you can buy a museum pass and you can get into any museum in the city.
So I think there are some innovative things, not necessarily in Toronto but globally, that can be brought to bear to raise the profile of the museum.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you for that. The time is up. I will go to the opposition and Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Ms. Roper, thank you for coming today, and I note on your resumé that we share the same alma mater on the mighty Massiwippi shore. It’s always a pleasure to see someone from Bishop’s. Welcome, and thanks for coming.
As you know, the mantra for TO2015 is “On time and on budget.” We hear that a lot. However, over the past few years, although the budget and timeline have obviously changed fairly dramatically, we haven’t seen any new update released over the past couple of years.
Transparency and protecting public interests are going to be instrumental in this appointment, as you know and I’m sure you’re aware. Can you please tell me what you did as a member of the TO2015 committee to stand up for taxpayers, to protect their earnings against the waste and lack of transparency that we’ve seen in the Pan Am planning process?
Ms Elaine Roper: I think that there is a fair bit of information available. If you go on our website, we have a lot of our venue strategy laid out there. In fact, we hope to make announcements about a number of the venues, and there are some venues that we have come out about. I think there is, in fact, a great deal that has gone on, and I can say that we are very much on budget and very much on time with our initiatives; that as we are funded by two levels of government and also very active with the city, we have to align all of our partners when we do make communications.
We have nothing to hide. We are very much on track. A lot of the reports in the media about being overspent are factually inaccurate. In fact, we’re very much on plan, and we hope to be able to communicate more often, working with our partners to make those communications.
Mr. Rod Jackson: I would hope so, too. I mean, actions speak louder than words. To date, although we hear “On time and on budget” and that there isn’t a lack of transparency, we still don’t see any evidence of transparency. If everything is on time and on budget and you’re not hiding it, then why is it being hidden? These are critical things that we need to bring to the boards when we serve the public. I would hope that, in this position, you would see that through and actually stick more to the actions rather than the words of “On time and on budget,” and make sure that the public interests are indeed being taken care of. If they are, then you have nothing to hide, and we’d like to see it.
I think the same goes with the ROM. This is something that’s in the public trust. Can you tell us what you would do to make sure that there is transparency and responsibility brought to your new position when you come to it? What will you do specifically to ensure that?
Ms. Elaine Roper: If I can step back for a moment on the Pan Am Games, I think there’s actually a fair bit of information on the website, and there are actually a number of releases that we have made.
In respect to the ROM, I would have to come up to speed. As I am not yet appointed, I would have to really come up to speed on what a number of those initiatives are. I have a track record of being very open and sharing information. In fact, we had an HR committee meeting yesterday, shared a lot of our planning on where we’re at with all of our plans vis-à-vis the games. I would take the same approach with respect to the ROM, and that’s very much the approach that I take with the HR committees that I serve on as chair and have served on.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Okay. So throughout my research on Pan Am, as well, I’ve noticed a pervasive Liberal connection at every level. It starts with former Premier Peterson, who is on the bid committee, the chair of the bid committee. He’s also connected to the equestrian venue and the aquatic centre, where he’s chancellor. Roger Garland is personally generous to the Liberal Party in a partisan way, donating $12,655 since 2003.
Can you tell me specifically what your connection to the Liberal Party is and why we should see this ROM position as anything more than another patronage appointment, as we’ve seen through the Pan Am process?
Ms. Elaine Roper: I have no political affiliation. The last time I was a member of the Liberal Party was in the 1970s in Quebec, before the first referendum, and I’ve had no political affiliation since then. This is purely a position that I would be honoured to take on because I think it’s a very reputable, distinctive institution, and I think that I have something to offer that organization. So that’s my motivation, pure and simple.
Mr. Rod Jackson: Excellent. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): If that’s the end of your questions, we’ll go now to the third party. Mr. Tabuns.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Ms. Roper, good morning. The first question is, how are you going to balance all this? I mean, over the next four years, my expectation is that you will become busier and busier. Do you feel that you’re going to have the time to actually contribute what you need to contribute at the ROM?
Ms. Elaine Roper: That’s a good question. I take my board work very, very seriously, and I don’t take on board work if I don’t think I can deal with it. I complete my term with Bishop’s University in June of next year. At that point, I have no other board commitments, so I will have the Pan Am Games. I have to say I’m building a very solid and exceptional team of people, and I’m someone who really relies on my team, and I know that I have the support both of my chair and of the CEO in taking on this appointment. If I didn’t think I could do this and balance this, I wouldn’t do it.
I’ve spoken with Janet Carding about the time commitment. I know there are four board meetings a year and that the HR function is being run very well. Obviously, they have some challenges, but it’s being run very well. So unlike some of the other boards I’ve sat on in the past, in the middle of turnarounds or trying to revitalize organizations, this is not an organization that’s in that state.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Okay. With regard to the ROM, are there one or two things that you particularly want to see carried through if you’re appointed to that board?
Ms. Elaine Roper: I understand there are some challenges with the pension, as there are with many pension funds across the country. In fact, we have that very issue at Bishop’s University. It’s something that we’re working through, so I have experience with that.
But I think in terms of client service and really—I know that they have a new strategic plan that they’re working on at the ROM and that the whole notion of change management and trying to really bring people along and fire them up is something that is an initiative, and I think that’s something I could bring a lot of experience to bear on.
I’ve done a lot of change management in my time, and I believe passionately, also, in client service, and that’s something that I would hope through the Pan Am Games that our staff and our volunteers would bring. I’ve always had a very good experience at the ROM, but I think that’s something that we can always do much better.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: When you talk about change management and about client services, what exactly is the problem that you see now and what vision do you have for the end point of that change that you’re interested in managing?
Ms. Elaine Roper: I don’t see a problem, but I think there are—and there are a lot of very enthusiastic volunteers at the ROM, absolutely. But I think that, looking ahead as a city—and I have done a lot of travelling in my time; I travel extensively—we can do more. As a passionate advocate for the Pan Am Games and for all of the tourism that will bring to the city, I think Toronto still has—and ROM as one institution—a lot more we can do to be very welcoming, embracing, bring people in, draw people in and have that as a hallmark of the city.
So I think that this institution, along with many others, has some work to do on that. It’s a marvellous institution, and it’s one with a very long history, but I think you have to keep reinventing yourself to be relevant and to draw in new groups of people and be meaningful to new groups of people, especially our young people.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Thank you. I have no further questions, Mr. Chair.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Thank you, Mr. Tabuns, and thank you, Ms. Roper, for being here this morning. You may take your seat at the back, if you wish.
We will now consider the concurrence of the intended appointment of Martin Forget, nominated as member of the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Martin Forget.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Any discussion?
Seeing none, all in favour? Opposed? Carried.
We will now consider the concurrence in the intended appointment of Harvey McCue, nominated as vice-chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Harvey McCue.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Any discussion?
All in favour? Opposed? Thank you. The motion is carried.
We’ll now consider the concurrence in the intended appointment of Elaine Roper, nominated as member of the Royal Ontario Museum.
Ms. Helena Jaczek: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Elaine Roper.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Any discussion?
Ms. Helena Jaczek: Yes. Just in view of some of the comments made by Mr. Jackson, I’d like to point out to members of the committee that there is no remuneration with this particular appointment. I am confident that Ms. Roper intends to simply give her expertise in the public’s best interest. I feel we’re really fortunate, in fact, to have her, that she will have the time and devotion to this particular task.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Phil McNeely): Any further discussion?
Seeing none, all in favour of the appointment? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Thank you very much for your participation this morning. This meeting of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies is adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1023.
Tuesday 20 March 2012
Subcommittee reports A-3
Intended appointments A-3
Mr. Martin Forget A-3
Mr. Harvey McCue A-7
Ms. Elaine Roper A-10
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. Bill Mauro (Thunder Bay–Atikokan L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr. Phil McNeely (Ottawa–Orléans L)
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre / Etobicoke-Centre L)
Ms. Helena Jaczek (Oak Ridges–Markham L)
Mr. Bill Mauro (Thunder Bay–Atikokan L)
Mr. Jim McDonell (Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry PC)
Mr. Phil McNeely (Ottawa–Orléans L)
Mr. Randy Pettapiece (Perth–Wellington PC)
Mr. Peter Tabuns (Toronto–Danforth ND)
Miss Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain ND)
Ms. Lisa Thompson (Huron–Bruce PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Ms. Tracy MacCharles (Pickering–Scarborough East / Pickering–Scarborough-Est L)
Ms. Teresa Piruzza (Windsor West / Windsor-Ouest L)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr. Rod Jackson (Barrie PC)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr. Trevor Day
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Larry Johnston, research officer,
Legislative Research Service