STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Wednesday 2 September 2015 Mercredi 2 septembre 2015
The committee met at 0901 in room 151.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Good morning, everybody. Good to see you all again this morning. We have another full day ahead of us, another 14 appointees. We’re going to get started right away so we can make sure we can get them all done today.
Mr. Mark Robert
Review of intended appointment, selected by third party: Mark Robert, intended appointee as member, Ontario College of Art and Design University board of governors.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our first intended appointee is Mark Robert, nominated as a member, Ontario College of Art and Design University board of governors. Mr. Robert, can you come forward, please? Thank you very much for being here this morning.
Mr. Mark Robert: No problem.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You’ll have the opportunity to make a brief statement. Any time that you use for that statement will be taken from the government’s time for questions. You’ll be asked questions by members of all three parties today. Again, thank you very much for being here. You may begin.
Mr. Mark Robert: Thanks for having me. I’m pleased to be here. I thought I’d give you a brief background as to my work and volunteer work in the city.
I grew up in Toronto and attended the University of Western Ontario. Following that, the first decade of my career was in commercial real estate. I spent the bulk of that at Cadillac Fairview Corp., where I was one of their senior leasing people, being in charge of leasing for the Toronto-Dominion Centre.
Leaving commercial real estate in my early thirties, having sort of maxed out the opportunity there, I ended up as chief operating officer of a publicly traded company, called the Art Vault, that sold art. We were a dot-com casualty, so when that ended, I was looking for my next opportunity.
I came across the old Eaton Auditorium at the top floor of the old Eaton’s department store. Myself and another guy negotiated with Great-West Life to take over that space. We secured a 30-year lease and we privately raised the money to restore that space. We were notable for being the only people in North America to privately restore a national historic site. It was the highest-profile heritage restoration in the country the year that it was done. I ran that for 10 years. Of course, if you’re familiar with the Carlu, we became the premier special-event facility in the city, servicing all sizes and scope of cultural, corporate and social events. We sold that this past June.
Currently, I’m working on my next opportunity. The Carlu really gave me a voice in the city in terms of some of the volunteer work that I’ve done. As much as my career is interesting to OCAD, I think the volunteer work that I’ve done throughout my adult life is really what they honed in on as far as their interest in having me on their board.
In my mid-twenties, I joined the board of a high-level arts organization called C: international contemporary arts. Their main focus at that time was the publication of a magazine called C: International Contemporary Art. It is a magazine that’s really focused on Canadian art in an international context. It was interesting for me. I don’t have a fine-arts background. I’m just a guy who likes art and is interested in the cultural community in the city. But it gave me access to some of Canada’s most senior artists and it gave me a greater understanding of the challenges of cultural organizations. I was on that for probably eight years.
I left that when we transitioned that to a public foundation, which was challenging. After that, I stepped down from that board.
I chaired Casey House’s Art with Heart fundraising auction, which is their main fundraising vehicle. I did that for three years. Art with Heart is considered the highest profile art auction in the country—again, an interesting opportunity for me to get further engagement with the art community, specifically in the city, but also across the country.
A couple of years after the starting of the Carlu, I was asked to join the leadership team for the establishment of Toronto’s creative cities strategy, which was a joint initiative funded by the province and the city. It was a joint initiative with London, England, and Toronto. It was to put together a strategy for fostering creativity in the city, ultimately with the goal being economic gain; in other words, how the creative sector can be a driving economic engine for the city.
It was probably the most interesting thing that I’ve done from a volunteer perspective, and it ultimately became the backbone of Miller’s economic policy. It took us to cities in Europe and North America to really understand their best practices—what they were doing. That was 10 years ago, and it’s interesting to see what that’s done, because it really has created the momentum and created sort of a snowball effect, which was what we were looking for in terms of people understanding the importance of creativity and what it can mean in terms of the economy.
At about that same time, 10 years ago, I also joined the board of Heritage Toronto, which I sat on for two terms. I was on that for eight years. When I left the board of Heritage Toronto—and I’d done a ton of volunteer work—I had to take a bit of a breather. I wanted to reassess what I wanted to do next in terms of volunteer work. I knew that if I was going to get back in, I wanted to get back in on a volunteer basis at a fairly senior level. So I was trying to understand where I was going to get re-engaged. I had a number of high-profile organizations in the city approach me about joining their board, but I really wanted to get back into something that was sort of a connection between city-building and the cultural community.
I had been involved in OCAD from a fundraising perspective for quite some time, and I really kind of homed in on OCAD as where I wanted to get re-engaged. Their chancellor, Kiki Delaney, is somebody I know very well, and I know Sara Diamond quite well also. I have a relationship with both of them, and in conversations with them, they felt as though this would be a good connection, so they approached me about joining the board. And here I am.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): And here you are. Thank you very much, Mr. Robert.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: My oldest stepson actually graduated from OCAD in 2004, so it’s an organization I know fairly well. I’m also interested in the fact that you’ve looked for diversity in your volunteer positions. You’re very active in the arts community. I know that OCAD is focused on fine art, but as well as the design sector. How do you feel that your experience can really fit that niche?
Mr. Mark Robert: You know, I’m supportive of their vision. I think that our challenge—I’m going to go back to my experience on the creative cities situation. Our first challenge, of course, with creativity, is to really define it, because it can mean everything from entrepreneurialism to research and development to grassroots fine arts, graffiti art. I think that OCAD has done a good job as far as expanding their umbrella to include a lot of other different disciplines.
From a design perspective—I mean, I love the design perspective. I’m a lover of architecture. I’m a quasi-designer myself. I think that’s what’s interesting about this school. I think that when they got their university designation, they had to be a little more pragmatic as to what creativity can mean. I think that how they’ve expanded their umbrella to include things like design, to include things like biomimicry, to include things like all the different disciplines that they’re looking at, is really interesting.
When I’m out talking to people, senior people in the business community or out in the community, everybody’s trying to connect with the cultural sector, the same way that the cultural sector is trying to connect with the business community and the broader community.
I think that it’s really interesting, the conversation that’s happening right now as far as both sides of the coin supporting one another. I think that OCAD has a terrific opportunity of really being centre ice in this conversation, in this broader conversation, which is really kind of what I’m excited about, about being involved there.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: That’s wonderful. If indeed OCAD goes forward—I know that they’re looking at potential plans to develop, or redevelop, the university—do you feel that you can contribute to those discussions too?
Mr. Mark Robert: Yes. I should have asked Sara why she wanted me on their board before coming here—Sara and Kiki. But I think there are a lot of different things. I was asked to be on the board of Artscape as well. I think Artscape and OCAD have done a really interesting job as far as understanding the opportunity of section 37 as far as a growth engine from a facilities perspective for the university. I was one of the top leasing people in the country, and I understand real estate. I think that ensuring that this—having campuses all over—doesn’t become an unruly nightmare—it is an opportunity. I think that I can contribute to that.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thanks very much. That’s all the time. You’ll have to hold that thought. Sorry.
Mr. Mark Robert: Thank you for that. I think I was wavering there a bit.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. I see from your resumé that you’ve had lots of opportunity to create companies and develop them in the field. It sometimes takes a good salesperson to do that. Do you think today’s colleges are doing that for the students: making them entrepreneurs and giving them the tools they need?
Mr. Mark Robert: It has been 30 years since I’ve been in university, but I think, from what I’ve seen—and, of course, I’m not on the board of OCAD yet. I’ve done the board orientation and the rest of it, and certainly I’m somewhat familiar with the school, but I’ve been brought into a bunch of really interesting conversations. I think that they’re doing a really good job.
When they got their university designation a decade ago—you have to understand how, in the creative sector, the training there can ultimately lead to viable employment. I think that what they’re doing and how they are connecting some of the dots—I think they’re doing a really good job at being pragmatic about this. They’re no longer romantic about what the university can be or what it should be, and I think that’s a really good step.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Okay.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much for being here today. I particularly appreciate the passion that came through as you articulated your interest in this opportunity.
In that regard, as you look ahead and anticipate taking a seat at the board table, what are some goals that you have? You can’t help but think, “Oh, man, when I get to that board table, I’d like to see this, this and this,” or “A, B, C needs to be improved”—
Mr. Mark Robert: But you know what? I do know why they have an interest in having me on their board.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, good.
Mr. Mark Robert: I’ve got a wide sphere of influence in a host of different communities, and I think, from a fundraising perspective, I’m a bit of a golden boy where that’s concerned.
But what I think is interesting—I know the challenges between the fine-arts community at OCAD and this broader umbrella that they’re trying to bring to the university and this pragmatism that they’re trying to bring to their curriculum. While I’m wholeheartedly supportive of that, I think it’s important that the university doesn’t exclude its fine-arts background—and I don’t think that they are, by the way. I think that there’s a bit of a messaging problem there. I think some of the old guard in the arts community—and I know this from my days in my early twenties on C Magazine—it’s difficult to get them to change their minds. They’re difficult to convince that art can no longer just be a romantic endeavour, that you can’t be just marketing to yourself.
My deep connection with the arts communities, whether it’s the gallery owners in the city or the premier artists—I think that there’s a really good opportunity for me to go in there. I’ve already had conversations with people, because everybody knows that I’m sort of an outspoken guy. I think there’s a great opportunity to communicate to them, “Everybody calm down a bit here. We’re not trying to push anybody aside here; we’re trying to expand the umbrella.”
When I look at the fundraising side of things, I’m really focused on trying to get them the 24-hour studio space; I think it’s important. I think it’s important for the branding and I think it’s important for the messaging for the university that they deal with this side of things. I think the studio space is substandard. I think that there should be 24-hour access to it.
I also think that the artist community can’t be looking at everything in black and white. If you’ve got a vision and you’re trying to move forward, you can’t just do nothing. You’ve got to put forward a plan, and if there’s some pivoting that’s required along the way to ensure that we are in fact moving forward, then you pivot. But to say, “Any change is bad change”—I don’t agree with that. I think I’ve got a great ability, and I’ve already been bringing people back into the fold, saying, “Wait a minute here. If we want to have a conversation about this, let’s have the conversation.” But some of the tack that has been taken by some people I don’t think is helpful to the cause.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. I appreciate that, and I think they’re going to be lucky to have you.
Mr. Mark Robert: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I see you sat on the Heritage Toronto board. In my own township, I sat on the—
Mr. Mark Robert: Sorry, I can’t really hear you terribly well.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Oh, sorry. You sat on the Heritage Toronto board for years.
Mr. Mark Robert: Yes.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Back in my township in the east, we settled it about 200 years ago and there is no shortage of old buildings that we’d like to keep, but of course there’s always a shortage of money. I’m sure you had the same issues in Toronto. Anything you are able to bring from your experiences in Heritage Toronto over the years you were on that commission?
Mr. Mark Robert: Sorry, I’m not sure if I—
Mr. Jim McDonell: Just some of your experiences with Heritage Toronto.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Can you marry the two together?
Mr. Mark Robert: Oh, yes. Heritage Toronto was frustrating. I felt as though the world was crumbling around us and they were trying to save a fence. It’s a tough organization. I’m supportive of what they’re trying to do.
Heritage development in this country is challenging. It’s challenging to raise money. There are lots of old buildings, but the big challenge with heritage development is understanding what to do with these properties. It sounds lovely to restore an old building, but these places can’t be museums; you have to figure out what to do with them.
On these various boards that I sit on, I think that I bring a pragmatism to it. I’m forever being the one saying, “Okay, what are you talking about here?” On the board of Heritage Toronto, there were a lot of academics. That changed over the years. There was a lot of discussion about things where I would say, “Wait, that’s not a real-world discussion.”
I was the only person on the board that had actually restored a heritage site. It was challenging. Every day, we had people coming after us. We used to say that if we could get two days in a row, we were doing well—the hurdles that we had to overcome. So I understood the challenges; I understood the importance of things like the heritage tax credit. Our property was one of the first to secure the municipal heritage tax credit. I understood the importance of that in terms of what it means to the viability of these businesses.
Mr. Jim McDonell: That’s good. Thanks.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning, sir. How are you?
Mr. Mark Robert: Good.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s always nice to come to work on a Wednesday morning after the Jays won in extra innings: Everybody’s in a good mood, and so are you. I can tell that what you have done throughout your entire life is—you’re passionate about it.
Volunteering—I talked about this yesterday—is really an art that we’ve got to get more young people involved in. All our clubs are hurting. On the heritage side, we have an arts display this weekend for three days, where local artists, Canadian artists, are selling their art. But your talk—you have no notes. You obviously know what you’re doing and where you’d like to head, but you’re also very honest on some of the challenges around fundraising, particularly with the ones that aren’t sexy, and heritage and sometimes arts and culture aren’t.
I’d like to ask you a question. Do you see the opportunity being lost in the city of Toronto around using this as an economic driver for communities, smaller communities, for jobs for people to move into, really opening up either businesses or making an opportunity to make a living on it, whether it be in research and development—where do you think it should go, particularly with the university?
Mr. Mark Robert: It’s interesting. I meet with everybody, and all the CEOs that I meet with are trying to understand how to engage the cultural sector, and not to engage it in terms of having art on their walls; they’re trying to understand how to bring some creativity to their businesses, you know, that creative thinking rather than linear thinking. They’re trying to get people thinking out of the box.
I think that there is a critical place for this type of broad thinking in terms of what it can mean to the economy. We’re living in a country where it’s no secret that the manufacturing sector is being assaulted from left, right and centre. I think that the creative industries really offer a terrific opportunity. And it’s not just in the big urban centres, or it shouldn’t be just in the big urban centres. I think there’s an opportunity for this to be more broad-reaching.
The people who I know who are running investment firms are interested in people who have some engagement with the creative sector. You see it in all businesses. I’m friends with all the big developers in the city. You’re no longer just putting up buildings; you’re having to put up buildings with high LEED standards. You’re putting up buildings where the 1% contribution to art is no longer seen as a hurdle; it’s seen, really, as a marketing tool for their properties. I think this is kind of pervasive.
What we had hoped with the creative city strategy was that we were going to start a movement where everybody understood the power of creativity, not just in the creative sector, but a broad-reaching understanding of it. I think that we’ve achieved that, or at least we are achieving that. We are in the process of it. And you see that. You see the greater engagement of people, from buyers buying Canadian art. You see a greater understanding in the power of architecture and the power of place and what it can mean to the enjoyment or the productivity of a job. You see this all over the place, and I think it’s a really powerful time.
I really believe that OCAD has the opportunity to be centre ice in this process.
Mr. Wayne Gates: In other words, the lead to expand it the way it should be, rather than—
Mr. Mark Robert: Sorry?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Lead.
Mr. Mark Robert: It’s L-E-E-D.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Oh, okay. You’re talking about something—
Mr. Mark Robert: It’s L-E-E-D. It’s the highest environmental standard.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The other thing is that you touched on the 1% contribution. Not every municipality does that. I know there is a movement in our area to go to city councils. They’ve made presentations to say that when they are doing their development, 1% should go. But it isn’t done in all communities right across the province and it really should be.
The other thing I’d like to ask you about is heritage, which is interesting to your point. I come from a riding like Niagara-on-the-Lake, which has a lot of heritage buildings that you’re probably aware of, but also a lot of history.
The War of 1812 was down there, and it’s interesting to me that in Canada we don’t celebrate our overall heritage like we should. We didn’t energize, really, the country around the War of 1812 and what it meant to our country, and I was wondering if you have any feelings on that. Should we celebrate a little more our heritage—where we’ve been, where we’re getting to and the vision to celebrate it in the future in relation to economic development?
Mr. Mark Robert: Oh, for sure. I came at the Carlu, really, because of my love of architecture. I don’t know what it is about Canadians, that we don’t bang our own drums as much as we should. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t feel as though our history is as sexy as Americans’. In terms of the built form—and that’s something I can talk to more—it’s a pity that so many buildings end up getting torn down. I think there is a role for government to play in the support of these types of buildings. They’re incredibly expensive to restore.
We’re the only people to privately restore a national historic site in North America, as I’d said. We restore the place and the place opens; at 9 o’clock on opening day, I get served notice by a union that they want to certify us. I’ve got two weeks to respond to that at a chaotic time in my life. I can’t even tell you what the challenge was to respond to that within two weeks.
Then we hear from MPAC. They say, “Well, now that you’ve restored this space, it’s worth double what it was before.” It had been closed for 30 years. It wasn’t worth anything and it was about to get torn down.
At this point, I’d dealt with everything. I said, “Okay. Forget this.” So I called up the mayor’s office—they didn’t know who I was—and I was like, “I’m going to complain about my taxes to you.” I didn’t know I was actually going to end up meeting with the mayor and six other people who were all taking notes. I was just really there to complain, but you get assaulted. It was kind of like, “Do you want these places restored, or do you not? I mean, you’re kind of speaking out of both sides of your mouth.”
Then, of course, you deal with MPAC: “It’s not our fault, it’s the province. It’s this, it’s this, it’s this, it’s this.” It’s nobody’s fault. Everybody’s like this, and it’s an impossible scenario.
I’m a guy who has access to people with lots of money and I had a tough time raising money, and if I have a tough time—I know all of the boldfaced names in this city, I know all the people with lots of money, and it was tough to do. These properties are tough to make sense of.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Are you going to cut me off?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You have three minutes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: MPAC is a whole different story on what goes on. We have a Niagara Falls tourist area where there’s a rundown house, and we tear it down. It becomes just gravel and because of how it is in the community, their taxes go up $150,000. All that just to clean up a mess because when you drove by it, it looked terrible. It goes on all the time and it’s a fight all the time. So I understand your fight there.
But I think what I’d like to talk about, because I think all of the people around here do this quite regularly, is fundraising. It’s an interesting way to do it—I was a campaign chair for the United Way for two years in my community—and going to people and asking for money is a talent. The way to do it, the professional way to do it—maybe talk a little bit about fundraising—is you have to enjoy it, to ask people for money. You have to have the contacts, obviously. How did you become so successful at it? Because I think that’s such an important part of your being on the board, because it’s almost part and parcel.
Mr. Mark Robert: I’m not that young, by the way. Somebody said I was young and I’m really not that young, but I think I’ve got connections with a wide age group and I think that partly why these boards have an interest in me is that I have connections with the next—I’m centre ice in the next group that’s coming in line and they’re all trying to understand how to gain access to that.
But I also think that, from a fundraising perspective, things can change a bit. I’ve already brought to OCAD some opportunities where this is concerned. Rather than OCAD having their hand out asking business for money, I tried to advance the process by saying, “Why not go to businesses and say, ‘How can OCAD assist you with your goals?’”
I brought in a company that’s interested in indoor farming and interested in biomimicry. They’re looking at funding a study at OCAD, that OCAD is doing. I thought, “That is interesting stuff.” You’re going to OCAD; you’re engaging them and their expertise. Their graduate program is putting together a study on this, and you can charge them two times what it costs to get this study done. I thought, “That’s an interesting type of engagement.” Rather than just having your hand out, “How can we support you and how can you support us?”
I think that is really an interesting opportunity. I think it’s a way that things—you know, you go through ebbs and flows as far as donor fatigue, and I think that with the SuperBuild fund and the rest of it, a lot of people are—
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Robert. That’s all the time we have for your interview today. I’m sorry to cut you off. Thank you very much, Mr. Gates.
We very much appreciate you taking the time to come in today and present yourself and answer a few questions. We’re going to consider the concurrences at the end of the day. You may step down. Again, thank you very much for being here today.
Mr. Mark Robert: Okay. Thanks very much.
Mr. Donald MacVicar
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Donald F. MacVicar, intended appointee as member, City of Hamilton Police Services Board.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointee is Donald F. MacVicar, nominated as member, City of Hamilton Police Services Board. Mr. MacVicar, can you please come forward?
Thank you very much for being here today. Welcome.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You’ll have the opportunity to make a brief opening statement. Any time that you use will be taken from the government’s time to ask questions. You’ll be asked questions by members of all parties today. Again, thank you for being here, and you may proceed.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. I’m honoured and delighted to be here today.
I’ve been part of ArcelorMittal Dofasco for 35 years now. I’m in the sales department. In the sales department, you have to always meet or exceed your customers’ expectations. With that, I have to be a great listener.
In addition to that, I was in purchasing for 20 years and I was a buyer for on-site contracting. In on-site contracting, you have to ensure that you do a total cost savings and create a number of initiatives to always produce a number of different cost savings. With that, I introduced one strategy: I had a budget of $30 million and we could never go over that, but the strategy was to introduce a number of competitive suppliers. We went from three bidders to five bidders to seven bidders. With that, the seven bidders reduced their price to get to the five-bidder list; the five bidders reduced their price to get to the three-bidder list. So automatically you had a cost-saving initiative without even asking for it.
I went through the Hamilton Police Service’s budget and looked at every single line item for the past five years. I’ve also done a police services business plan to support the budget, and I find there’s a number of potential cost-saving initiatives that we could explore in the future. I thought it would be ideal if you could share those ideas in the future with the other municipalities that have a population of 300,000 or more—Durham, Halton, London, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, Waterloo and York—if there’s a forum available where you could share these cost initiatives that everybody together would share in collectively.
With that, I’m also a member of the pension advisory board at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. That’s where the president, the five vice-presidents and nine elected members meet, and I’m one of the elected. I’ve been on the board for 20 years and I’ve been acclaimed five times. I represent 1,000 employees on that board.
What happens is that each month a fund investor comes in and presents a fund portfolio for the pension plan. We review the transactions, we ask questions, we go over the transactions and then we approve them.
In addition to that, the fund investor comes in and gives us the Canadian and US economy update and also the global economy on the financial markets. So we’re right on the pulse of what’s happening financially, so much so that I see that—in that meeting, one very important thing is that any employee can ask a question to the president at that time, so what happens is that a number of people approach me. Some folks might have a contentious question or an aggressive question, so I listen very carefully and I take that information, then I go and find additional resources from the financial people, the HR people, and then I present that question at the meeting to the president. We go, we have a good dialogue, we have a good discussion, and the outcome of that is that I take it back to the individual and say, “This is the resolution to that question,” what was deemed a contentious issue, potentially. The employee was so pleased that their voice was heard by the president at that meeting. So that was very, very important.
In addition to that, the board itself has the fiduciary responsibility of ensuring that that pension fund for the employees and the taxpayers is fully funded. I see that as so much similar to the Hamilton Police Services Board: They have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers to ensure that the money is well spent, that it’s accounted for, that the chief is accountable to that, and also that the trust relationship that is there, that is good now, continues to flourish with the taxpayers.
You may wonder why my passion or desire is to be on this police services board. It goes back about 30 years; the seed was planted. My wife and I have the Inner City Outreach Ministry. I started it 30 years ago. There was massive crime, massive drugs and chronic hunger in the neighbourhood that I lived in. With that, we said, “What can we do?” We started a program for young offenders, for three youth and three adults. That grew quickly to 20, to 25, to 100, and then we added young adults, we added pensioners, we added everybody into that group. We had 250 people in that group interacting, but in that core group there were 13- to 18-year-olds who were young offenders. There were 20 of them. Their crimes were horrific: assault, assault with a weapon, break and enter, theft under $5,000, theft over $5,000, sexual assault, attempted murder.
Then one fellow was stabbed 11 times. He survived, but sadly, there were two young fellows who committed suicide. We said, “What else can we do?” We went out and we doubled our funding. We doubled our volunteer base and we doubled our programming. We went from one night to two nights to three nights to four nights a week, and with that, today, we don’t have any young offenders in the program.
The Hamilton Police Services Board has invested in their community and the police services, and the crime rate is going down with all of the positive things that are happening there, so I’m thinking that we continue to invest in Ontario communities.
Just to finish off, I guess my main desire is that I have a passion for everyone to have a safe community. Whatever skills I have that I can transfer to a board or committee or community group, so that I can know that a mom or a senior or a child can go out into their community at 8 o’clock at night and have a safe community and not worry about being mugged or robbed or stabbed—if I can enhance or promote that in Hamilton or Ontario, that would be my desire until my last breath here on Earth. Thank you so much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Our questioning begins with Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. I see you have a record of creating opportunities for youth in your area. It’s quite impressive, the accomplishments and some of the organization’s initiatives.
We hear from many community stakeholders that investing in children’s activities is very rewarding not only for the city, but it also ends up being rewarding for the children—it takes them out of risky behaviour and so forth. Can you give us some examples that you’ve gone through and some of the rewards you’ve seen personally with the children?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: We had one fellow who liked to steal cars and he was the best in the city. He was charged with six offences and went to jail. We visited him. He phoned us from the Barton Street jail, and he’d be crying because he had just been beat up. They would phone us collect on a Friday night. I had to be at home at 7 o’clock to get the phone call. He spent his birthday, he spent Christmas and he spent New Year’s Day in Barton Street jail, and he said, “I want to change.” The people who came forward to the judge and presented their case—he realized then that what he was doing was wrong.
Now, he’s doing auto mechanics. He’s doing very well. He’s bought his first house with his wife and he’s moved past that, but he’s giving back to the community. So that is one example of a young fellow.
There was another young mom. She was about 15. We have a young moms group, and we surrounded her with activities and resources and other people. As a result of that, she continued to go up. She went off to college and got her degree, and now she’s having a second child. She’s doing quite well.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Can you see any way of maybe improving, now that you’re on the police services side, with the police—making more of those things happen?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: There are a couple of things. One is working with the police services themselves. We did an action team response. Currently, we have our Eva Rothwell Resource Centre. We have the Literacy Express. We’ve engaged the police officers to be kid-friendly to the children by being their one-on-one tutor. With the one-on-one tutor, it takes away that fear of the police in that way. That has been one opportunity.
I think just continuing to migrate—there are 400 volunteers with the Hamilton police services in the community. If that can continue to be enhanced and increased and just be child-friendly with the police, and not—I always say to call it the literacy salute when you have your police officer go by, because that means that the police are friendly to the children. That’s one way of introducing it: that they’re not afraid of them.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thanks very much for being here. It’s obvious you wear your heart on your sleeve, and I appreciate that very much.
My question could be a little sensitive, but I’m curious about your position, or your opinion and your thoughts on it. In the research that was done in anticipation of your visit with us today, we looked into the Hamilton Police Services Board. Some recent items before the board included the fact that the chair of the board commented on a report on street checks, meaning carding, in Hamilton. There was a report done in 2010 where about 9,000 people had been stopped for street checks. At that time, the chair said that he was in favour of street checks.
Given the meeting that we had in Toronto last night and the sensitivity around it, and your commitment to making streets safer—and to youth—I’m just wondering what your position is or what your thoughts are on that particular process, and what we can do to indeed make our streets safer.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Thank you very much, Ms. Thompson. I think that my involvement with that goes back a long way, and my understanding of it.
I was driving four youth home one night from the basketball tournament, and a police cruiser went by and they said, “Oh no, we’re going to be stopped.” And one said, “No, we’re not. Don’s here.” I said, “Why is that?” And he said, “Well, you’re white.” That was a few years back.
I listened carefully over the years, and I listened to all the kids in our program about the situations, and some of the young adults that have been checked. I read up on the minister’s meeting last night, and also Matthew Green, recently, in Hamilton. Deputy Chief Girt has put out a Hamilton Police Service—on bias-free policing, so there’s good information there.
I think that it has to come down to, “How would I feel about being stopped on a regular basis?” I think that would be very uncomfortable. Once there’s a full study and understanding and an outcome of that, and there’s a policy or procedure in place that the minister would bring forward, we would have to support that, but we’d have to have input prior to that, as he’s doing now.
Personally, I’m always respectful of the police and every aspect of it, but I’m kind of sensitive to them stopping me in that way. So that sensitivity would transfer to the other people that would be stopped.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Just an observation I’ve had over the years: I went to school in Kingston, and I go back every year for their annual homecoming. I’ve seen it escalate to a point where they bring hundreds of police to help them on this weekend.
I look at some of the activities going on, and it’s really a classic case of not working with a group. It has become one-upmanship. As tough as the police get, the students take it as a challenge, so it has gotten out of hand, for sure.
I talked to a friend of mine who was on the OPP, and he commented that in similar instances in the province, the OPP have a service where they get in and they talk about it. But Kingston has never done that with them and has not been interested.
I wonder sometimes—it’s an example of sitting down with the student body, because they’re not happy with it either. You’d probably resolve the incidents. Certainly, a lot of the observations I’ve seen—it really makes it look a little heavy-handed, for sure. What do you do with somebody that’s causing a little bit of trouble? You can’t do anything more than arrest them, and the students have taken that as a challenge. Have you seen similar instances in Hamilton? Do you not feel that maybe getting together with the groups would be a better way of dealing with the problem of this, versus just going at them and figuring, “We have the law on our side; we can do things”? Just as an observation with the position that you will be holding?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: I think that there are two areas to think on. One is that in Hamilton we have the Hess Street Village. It’s a large restaurant area, and there are a lot of youth that participate there. The mounted unit was brought in on a number of occasions, and just the presence of that helped offset any potential altercations. In a situation in Kingston, I think, where there’s a large presence of people, the police have to assess the amount of policing that they have to put in there, and also to weight the risks.
They also understand that students are sometimes excitable. It’s their new year or whatever. They need some neutralizing or some understanding or some talking to, in the sense of, “This is going to affect your life, if you get charged.” If that can be the first step of engagement, and then if anybody is in a critical situation, absolutely, the police can come in and do what they have to do for those students to obey the law, because you cannot not obey the law. That is required.
There’s a fine balance, and the police services are trained to go as far as they can go, but then they have to stop here. If they need more resources, they bring more resources in, but the community engagement prior to—so having the students back in April, when they’re leaving university, saying, “Get prepared:” Maybe that’s the time to start, way back, and then have a presence on the university site and then go be on site during the different programs. There are a couple of thoughts there.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, I think that it’s not a matter of resources. They have mounted police. As they escalate, it just seems to have become a competition. I think that it’s a wrong type of competition to have when you’re dealing with 5,000 or 6,000 students in a group. I think that trying to de-escalate it might be a better way of doing it. I think that even for the student body, it has become a bit of a black eye, but if you’re willing to take it to that level, there are always people that will match it, which is the issue.
I’m just wondering, in talking to some other police forces, whether there’s sometimes maybe a better way than trying to outnumber somebody in a group that you can’t outnumber. You can’t bring in 5,000 police. Over the years, it has gotten to the point that something should be done, and I think that it could be done quite easily, just by getting together and talking. That’s all I have.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Early engagement with the students, maybe getting on-site recruitments to the police services in that area, to have cadets, in a sense, but university cadets, who would be another opportunity to be their representatives.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning, Donald. How are you?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Good morning, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thanks for coming. As everybody around here may know, I’m a bit of a sports nut. I see that you’ve been inducted into four sports halls of fame for the sport of powerlifting.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, congratulations. I have not been inducted into anything when it comes to sports, but I do enjoy sports. I think that sports actually kind of help you grow as a person. Doing it as a youth, as you did, probably helped you out quite a bit in where you’re heading.
We always seem to talk about the negative parts around police officers, for whatever reason. I want to just say that the police officers that I’ve come across care about their communities. My wife was a teacher. She was a principal. Police officers would come into the school. I really think that’s the heart of where we have to head to fix our problem. Our crime rates are down. I think that police officers have to take some responsibility for that.
But I also had the opportunity to go to visit some jails with our critic. What I was absolutely disturbed about was the number of young people who are filling up our jails: 18, 19, 20 years old, who are reoffenders. To your point where you went out into the community: You massaged that group, you gave them hope, you gave them opportunity and, quite frankly, they took to that.
I was just wondering if you believe that getting into the schools with the police officers at an early age, talking to our kids, letting them know there is help out there if they do have some problems at home or some issues around drugs and that stuff—do you think that is a route that we should be spending a little more time on? Because it seems our jails are being filled up by young people.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Absolutely. I know the earlier you start, from kindergarten right through, to engage the police into those activities—is the best time because that’s when the most influence happens, at the early grades. From ages five, six and seven, they’re influenced tremendously. Anything to do that, earlier on, and be influenced—and the presence of the police in a school is a good thing.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes, I agree.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: That way, instead of the other situation we’ve had, having more police in a school and interacting, and just a drive by or a “hi” at an event would be ideal.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes, because I don’t know if everybody knows that. They actually do that. They have police officers who are assigned to schools who go in and talk to the kids. What I’m saying is, invest more into that type of education. I didn’t even realize—it’s the first I’ve heard this—that you’ve got to get to them when they’re five, six and seven.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I was looking more when they’re in grades 4, 5 and 6, but it’s actually even at an earlier age.
Do you understand the responsibility of the Hamilton Police Services Board?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Yes. I’ve read up on it and observed it since I chatted with the late Bernie Morelli about seven years ago. I understand the responsibility of the chair, the responsibility of the board members, and their responsibility to ensure that the chief of police meets their mandate on an annual basis, and how we contribute to support the chief, or ask those to make them accountable. It comes back to listening to the people in the community and getting their voice, and then from there, conveying to the board, the chair and to the chief the importance of these issues.
Absolutely, it’s a very privileged opportunity and an honour to be on a police board because you’re protecting the safety of the individuals. I can sleep at night at 4 o’clock in the morning knowing that the Hamilton Police Service is protecting me. All the other things I know that go on in the background they do to make it a great community.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Just to your point, it’s an interesting comment that you just said about supporting the chief. What does that mean to you?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: It means when there’s a challenge going on in the community and there might be some media discussion or there might be some issues with folks, you always follow process.
I’ve learned that because I’ve been bullied all my life in a sense. I was in Scarborough in kindergarten at Regent Heights school. A grade 3 came and stepped on everybody’s toe. I said, “Mom, that really hurt.” In grade 2 we went over to Warden Avenue, a school there, the housing at Cataraqui Crescent. There was one fellow who wanted to beat everybody up and I just ran fast. He never got me. Then in grade 5, they kidded me about my clothes—they’re second-hand—and then in high school, and in the community groups there’s always somebody who wants to take a shot at you. My only response to all that was to follow process and do something better in your community, similar to the police services.
To support the chief is, “Here is our process. We have to follow it to the law, to the letter in that way,” and ensure that that is done. By following that, you get a better response because they know that we’re supporting the chief through the process but also that we’re compassionate about what the current situation is.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It is an interesting board, at least in our community, and I would think Hamilton is the same way, because the board is high-profile. It does drive a lot of media, so it’s being watched. At least that’s the way it is in—is it the same way in Hamilton with a high profile and a lot of media around your meetings and your decisions? A lot of dialogue.
The second part: Are your meetings open? Ours are open to the public. Is Hamilton? Do you know?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: The media? After every board meeting there’s usually a discussion in the newspaper about what has happened, an events update. Anybody who wants to have an opinion on that, they do in Hamilton. The board meetings are open for all of the public part of it and then they go in camera for any, I believe, confidential personnel issues.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Do you know the time commitment that might be required for this appointment? And are you confident you can find the necessary time that goes with it?
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Two things: One, I’ve been fortunate to have nine weeks of holidays at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. It’s very beneficial and I only go away for one week, so we have eight weeks of the year to be at home. Also, through my weightlifting, I scheduled from January 2 to November 15, when we had the worlds, and we did 16 hours of training. Everything—what I ate, when I slept, when I lifted—was scheduled, so that continues to spill into the community work and into the police services board. I schedule the entire year, I guess, to make sure I meet all the requirements, but I have full understanding of the commitment for the hours and I’ll always provide probably more than what is needed.
Mr. Wayne Gates: An issue that’s come up in Niagara and, again, I would think Hamilton, because you’re just up the street, although we both need GO service to our communities—I just thought I’d throw that out to help us get to Toronto. Both of our communities have issues around mental health, and it’s taking up a lot more time because of, and I’m not trying to be political, some of the cuts in health care and some of the stuff that’s happening. Some of that responsibility, quite frankly, is falling onto the police officer who’s on the street every day and tying up a lot of their time in hospitals. That’s what is going on. Are you aware of that, or do you have any feelings on that? Because I think that’s going to become a bigger and bigger issue, when they tell us one in five now have mental health issues in the province of Ontario.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: I’m very aware of it, and in January, I think, the chief brought out a mental health service provider that went with the different calls, and by doing that, that reduced people being charged or put into incarceration. So I’m very aware and understanding of the mental health process, very much, and through the good work of the health services now, through medication and understanding, I think that continues to be improved and maybe there are fewer infractions in that way. But the police services are provided with additional information and education on how to manage those, and with the health care provider at their side, that really offsets a lot of charges or offences. So, yes. And if that could be enhanced more, that would be ideal.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. Now, a question that—
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): About a minute, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: One minute? Okay.
A question that I’d like to ask which is kind of interesting: We put our names up for a board—whatever it is, right?—because we want to serve, we want to volunteer, whatever it is; in some cases, they’re paid positions. Do you know, if you’re appointed here, the amount of training that you would get to sit on the board before you sit on the board, or do you just—have you looked into any of that? Because I think training is going to be important, obviously.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: I think, going back and reading, and through the interview process, they said that there would be some additional training. I believe it’s two or three days of the initial, and then it is to be available for the annual conferences, and additional meetings throughout the year on committees and such, but there’s a significant amount of training that is provided.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. Thanks very much. Thanks for coming this morning. I appreciate it. I enjoyed talking to you.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you, Mr. Gates. Madame Lalonde.
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde: Mr. MacVicar, I want to first thank you for your presentation. Thank you for being here today with us, and for enhancing and enriching us with all your years of experience in your community, so I commend you for this and congratulations on all of that.
You’ve talked about your interests. You were very open in answering a lot of questions, but maybe I want to see if you could talk to us about your strengths that you will be bringing to the board for the Hamilton police force.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: Thank you very much. I was told by a very significant supplier of ArcelorMittal Dofasco one time that I’m the toughest, nicest negotiator they’d ever met. So that was a high compliment from a supplier. I utilized that in the future for negotiating all the different contracts, and when I’m firm, I’m firm. But I’m very compassionate and understanding that both sides are understanding in that way, through negotiating. My strength in budgets is that there’s an understanding of scope creep of what happens, and the forensic unit that is coming up—it’s an $8-million spend going forward, and I’d be wanting to share my thoughts with the chair to share them with the chief, to say, “Mr. Chair, you should be looking at this, this and this. These are essential; they need to be done.” So that is one.
My opportunity to work with community or individuals is to—if you could have a police officer’s face on a quart of milk, the weekly police officer, that would make it kid-friendly. So engage the community into compassion, because it’s so essential that when something happens in a child’s life, they go right to the police—that’s essential—instead of running in the other direction.
With that—and there are all different ways of doing that, of further engaging and making it a softer approach, and a caring approach in a way of, it’s okay to chat with the police constables in your neighbourhood. That’s what I want to promote and encourage with the Hamilton Police Services Board.
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. MacVicar. I appreciate very much you being here today and answering our questions and presenting to us. This concludes the time for today’s interview. We’ll be considering the concurrences at the end of the day today. Again, thank you very much. You may step down.
Mr. Donald MacVicar: It’s an honour to be here. Thank you to the Public Appointments Secretariat for all their good work. It’s amazing what they do.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Rebecca Bentham, intended appointee as member, Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointment is Rebecca Bentham, nominated as member, Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology. Ms. Bentham, can you please come forward?
Good morning. Thank you very much for being here. As you may have heard, you’ll have the opportunity for a brief opening statement. Any time that you use will be taken from the government’s time for questioning. There will be questions from members of all three parties today. Again, I appreciate very much you being here. You may begin.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. My apologies; I have quite a cold today, so please be patient with me.
I’d like to take this opportunity to make introductory comments about my experience and qualifications. I’m a lawyer who was called to the bar in 1985 after attending the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. I practised law until 1999.
I began my professional life as a solicitor at the Ministry of Housing, continuing in 1987 as a solicitor at the regional municipality of Halton. During my years at Halton, I worked providing services in the field of development financing, land development, and municipal and planning law. I also provided legal support to the health and social services departments for a number of years.
From March 1999 to the present, I’ve been the executive director of the Hamilton Law Association, a voluntary not-for-profit organization with 963 members who are lawyers, judges and articling students, where I have functioned as the lead staff liaison for the board of trustees and other committees of the association. My role at the association is to foster volunteerism and develop leadership, as well as seeking internal and external opportunities in accordance with our strategic plan.
I oversee the implementation of our strategic plan in an intensely collaborative environment that requires a high degree of transparency and accountability. We plan and produce 36 to 40 educational events a year, and I attend 50 board and committee meetings a year. As such, I would say that I’m very comfortable with issues involving process, and I’m also used to making very collaborative decisions, and helping to guide and assist in the making of collaborative decisions.
After beginning my work at the Hamilton Law Association, I enrolled at McMaster University and completed a master of arts degree in public policy and administration in 2002. I did this because I was afraid we wouldn’t make enough money in the job that I had just gotten; I might have to get another job really soon thereafter, and so I thought if I had left the practice of law, I had better get some more qualifications, so I did. That didn’t turn out to be a concern, but I did really enjoy doing the master’s at McMaster.
I joined the McMaster Alumni Association board in June of 2008 as second vice-chair and was president in 2009-10. My experiences both with professional development and governance on McMaster University’s alumni board have given me a greater appreciation of a wide variety of educational opportunities and professional roles, and made me aware of many of the challenges facing students and new graduates today.
During my time at the Hamilton Law Association, I’ve become very interested in education, both as a student and as one who identifies and develops opportunities to provide continuing education to lawyers. Our organization provides many opportunities for its lawyers to teach, learn and develop skills formally and informally. In order to enhance my knowledge of the area of continuing professional development, I’ve been a member of the National Association of Bar Executives from 2005 to the present, and attended their educational conferences every year.
I’m also very interested in libraries. I was on the County and District Law Presidents’ Association library committee from 2004 to 2012. In 2014 I became a member of the board of directors of LibraryCo, the umbrella organization providing funding and policy direction to Ontario’s 47 county law libraries.
Community involvement has enriched my own professional development and enabled me to foster strong relationships with those outside the profession. I have volunteered with the Salvation Army Suicide Crisis Line from 2011 to 2012, which also increased my awareness of challenges facing youth today.
I also served on the development council of Hamilton’s children’s hospital from 2005 to 2007, and served as a member of the United Way John Sopinka committee during those same years.
I hope to serve the board of Mohawk College as another way to give back to my vibrant Hamilton community.
I welcome any questions that you may have.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Bentham. Mr. Gates?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning. How are you?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I’m pretty well, except for the cold. Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I was going to say: Sorry to see that you have a cold.
What motivated you to seek this position?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: As I’ve said, I’m very interested in education. I’m very interested in youth and training. In my role at the Hamilton Law Association, a lot of the work that I’ve done has been figuring out how to get people to transfer skills. I think Mohawk is a fantastic place and I would really like an opportunity to be involved there.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What do you see as our greatest challenges or opportunities facing Ontario community colleges in general and Mohawk College in particular?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: In general, a really big challenge that I see is trying to increase workplace placements and workplace training for new students, people who are going back to school.
When I was young, a long, long time ago, many places had summer jobs—say, General Motors. I grew up in Oshawa. All kinds of people made summer jobs for students. Summer employment was just something that people felt was part of their duty and role as an employer to provide, even if they were a for-profit employer.
I think with globalization and the tightening up of economies and of industries, people have cut a lot of those training opportunities. You’re getting a real split of students where you tend to get very academic people who’ve never flipped a burger, and then you get people who have flipped a lot of burgers who haven’t had a chance to go to school.
It creates a much more socially cohesive society if everybody gets a chance to turn their hand to quite a few things. I think that we need to reawaken people’s feelings of responsibility to assist in training of the young. Young people can really benefit. Even a week in a workplace can really benefit a young person in terms of learning how to dress, what to say and how to act. It can really cut off or limit a person’s future opportunities if they’ve never been in a workplace and they try to go in on the first day. If they’ve never had a placement, it’s hard for them to know how to behave.
For independent, different reasons, I’ve really resolved in my own job to really try to create a lot of opportunities and bring a lot of people in for training and to encourage other places to do that. We all have skills we can transfer, no matter what those skills are. All the staff who work with us have skills they can transfer. I really feel that we need, in Ontario today, to work harder to commit to assisting in the transfer of skills to those who have fewer than we do.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I actually like your answer, but I’ll help you out on one thing. The good news is that General Motors in St. Catharines, which is down in my area—in my riding—and in Oshawa, and CAMI, have all hired students this year.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Well, that’s fantastic.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That is fantastic because, again, it gives them a half-decent paycheque to go on and go to school. So that is good news, but that wasn’t always the case for the last number of years, so you’re absolutely right. We have to work hard and make sure that the manufacturing jobs continue to stay there.
But I think the one that you talk about, workplace placements, is interesting to me because—I said this yesterday and I’m very honest—I don’t know a lot about Mohawk College but I certainly know a lot about Niagara College. They have really grown over the last number of years with the help of the government with monies to different programs. Some of it has been in skilled trades. We know there is going to be a shortage, going forward, in skilled trades, a severe shortage, so it’s an opportunity there in Niagara College.
At Niagara College, what they’ve done as well—you can tell me if Mohawk has done it or is looking at doing it—is they’ve taken a look at the courses that they offer at the college and said, “What’s going to be the place where they can place them into jobs?” In our area, as you know, Niagara is big in tourism, so there are a lot of classes around that with chefs. But the one that is growing in our area is still the wine industry. It’s just exploding down in Niagara.
Niagara is offering classes on how to make wine. They produce award-winning wine and craft brewers. When you talk about jobs, flipping burgers sounds like a very negative thing, and when you look at the tourist sector, you look at the wine industry, you look at craft brewers, you’re thinking, “Well, they’re entry-level jobs, they’re not making a lot of money.” That’s not true. They are making half-decent money in craft breweries, particular ones that they are making. Then they end up learning how to make it. They go work for a craft brewer, and guess what they’re doing afterwards? They’re opening up their own craft brewing place. They do the same thing with wine.
So I’m asking you, do you see that as maybe the way community colleges should be going: to take a look at the market so our young people, after they spend two or three years in a college, are going into a job, and the jobs that need to be filled?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: From what I know of Mohawk College, they do an excellent job of finding and providing workplace placements. I know that our organization, for example, does provide and fill workplace placements with them.
I don’t mean to put down burger flipping. The most jobs I did before I went to university were as an office cleaner, and I’ve done a lot of food service, a lot of waitressing. I’ve had a lot of jobs, mostly cleaning. So I think you do learn the business from the ground up quite literally. We learn work from the ground up there.
I think Mohawk does an excellent job of that and I agree that looking at what’s working and responding to what’s working in a community in an area and trying to develop programs in those areas is a very good thing to do. I think that that is the business of these colleges and that they’re doing a good job.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The college has been successful in balancing its budgets and running surpluses. In your opinion, where should the money be invested or reinvested?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: From other work I’ve done that’s been financial, I guess I would say I have looked over the publicly available Mohawk College statements and their available surplus was less than 2%. On a gross budget of $197 million, it’s very difficult to land something within 1% or 2%. If you cast your mind to your own domestic budget, it’s almost impossible to hit a number right on. So speaking as someone who worked in a finance department of a regional municipality, I would say that money should go into a reserve and that then decisions would be made on how to apply it, depending on what the needs were in a particular budget year. It’s absolutely really important to have a reserve because there are always contingencies where programs have to stop, or fail, or there are sicknesses or unexpected leaves, or you’re waiting for grant money to build a building and you have to come up with some cash. So I think every organization has to have some reserve.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Especially municipalities.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Well, there’s that, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Should the college have closer relationships with businesses or should it focus more on developing more independent programs?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I think that’s a really difficult question to answer. I don’t think it’s an either/or. I don’t have the experience of working with Mohawk yet, but I would imagine that you can’t be too close to industry in terms of too close to the workplace, in terms of finding opportunities and facilitating training.
On the other hand, there are some people who look to college for basic skills—new Canadians, people who had to leave school who are looking for more of a basic training that’s more academic—that don’t take place in tandem with industry. I think it’s important that colleges maintain both streams.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes, and Niagara has a very close relationship with General Motors. They work almost in partnership.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: My brother worked at one of the plants in Oshawa for quite a long time and then went to Alberta and that plant subsequently closed, so I’m very intimately familiar with certain aspects of General Motors.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The last question I’d like to ask: Have you figured out the time commitment on this and you’re good with it? You’re looking forward to it?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Yes. I’m looking forward to it very much.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. It’s been my pleasure talking to you this morning. Thank you.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates. Mr. Dhillon?
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Thank you very much, Ms. Bentham, for appearing before the committee. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the post-secondary education system in Ontario?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I think that similar to other sectors, the rate of change in the world right now seems to have sped up so much. It’s very difficult to respond in a timely way.
When you think about your telephone and your thoughts about what a phone should do 10 years ago versus now—the integration of electronic systems; the speed at which people expect turnaround; the fragmentation of requests for work and your provision back of work—it used to be you got a letter, you opened the letter, you read the letter, you thought about it for a week, you wrote a letter back. Now people are emailing and they’re saying, “What about this? What about this? What about this?”
Trying to train people for that, and I think the juxtaposition of quick and slow—it takes a lot of sitting and thinking and sitting and reading text in some format to really take a lot of ideas on board and to really develop your own knowledge base and your own ability to reason.
The difficulty at this time is that so much of what’s happening around students is so quick that it’s harder for them to develop the attention span than when I was the general college age and there were only nine TV stations where I lived and no Internet. All you could do was go get a job because there was nothing else to do where I lived.
I think that funding is also a major problem—it’s a problem of all governments, getting enough money to do things—and then what I mentioned about having a curriculum that’s heavy enough on the ideas side, still something that people can carry and yet is also facile enough on the keeping up with the modern world side and the workplace side and getting people through all of that.
Mr. Vic Dhillon: You have a long work and experience background. What do you think is the biggest impact that you would make?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I’ve spent so much of my life in board meetings with a lot of lawyers that I think I really know my strengths and weaknesses, because when you’re looking at 12 other lawyers, you know they know what you’re not good at and they know where your experience is weak, and so you learn that there’s no point in pretending that you know more than you do because it makes things worse for you in the end.
I think I’m good in a group. I do think I’m a very action-oriented person, I’m intuitive, I’m able to pull up solutions with what fits and I’m somebody who can make decisions and get things done, rather than just sit and ponder the vagaries of what the problems are. So I think I can help to get things done.
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Okay, good. Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: You talked about the need to give students that experience in the workplace.
Of course, I grew up on a farm and worked on a farm, but in my first job, I was able to just show up at a place at 7 o’clock in the morning and see if they needed somebody and start working. It was a construction job.
I don’t think it’s that way today. Have you experienced the roadblocks for hiring young students that maybe don’t have a lot of experience? Are the roadblocks great enough that it’s very difficult and they just go somewhere else, whereas they grab somebody who maybe has had years of experience—many times, it’s retired people—and don’t give the young people the chance?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Yes. I think that because of the rate of change, people feel you need an online ad; you need an online application and it has to have a resumé, it has to look good; you’ve got to meet the person. It takes almost a month. Even if you’re fast, it takes a month to get somebody in.
I think it is more complex now, and it’s hard, and younger people need advice on how to do things. I think the fact that all the information is now removed from us by electronics—you don’t walk into a place and ask somebody, “What do I do?” “Oh, it’s on our website.” You’re supposed to look on a website and work your way through that. I think it is more complex. Once people have done something once online, they find it much easier. I think we have to support people in doing these things for the first time online.
But then I think we have a dual fluency in this room, where you grew up—we had to type our own essays, and there wasn’t a computer at school, so we had to talk to people, which gives us a fluency and an ease with asking people how to do things that people who grew up where there’s no talking—I think people undersell. They think, “I don’t really know how to use this computer thing right,” but they don’t realize they have a dual fluency that a lot of the younger people have to struggle to achieve.
To that end, we have to provide a lot of face-to-face experiences for kids, because if they don’t get provided with day-to-day experiences by summer camp or day camp or drop-in centres, they can be so silent and static, especially with a single parent at work. They can be so silent and static all day, where they’re just asking things online. I find I have instances where I have to coax my kids: “Well, just phone the person and ask them.” “No, I’m going to email them.” “Well, just phone them and ask them.”
I think we have to really work to provide the face to face, because part of a split in the modern world is that younger people would—and it’s not a put-down; it’s my observation of my family, that if they can text, they’ll text. If they can’t text, they’ll email. If they can’t email, they’ll think for a day and then they’ll phone. We have to urge people—we have to provide those face-to-face opportunities. We grew up without that, so we don’t mind walking up to somebody and saying, “Excuse me. Do you know where I am? How do I get somewhere?”, whereas a lot of other people would not ask that. If they’ve grown up with the electronics, they’d say, “I don’t have Google Maps today on my phone,” but they wouldn’t ask. I think that is a big thing, that we need to help those who grew up in an electronic age to become more comfortable with the face to face, because a lot of things can never happen without the face-to-face part.
I’m sorry. I strayed far from your question.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: No, that was good. I totally can appreciate what you were saying there.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I see that Mohawk College closed its Brampton campus just recently.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Brantford.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Of course, now you’ve got an area that has no institution. In my riding, the University of Guelph closed Kemptville College. This will be, I believe, the first year that it won’t be in place. So now you have a large area that has no access to post-secondary, at least in the agricultural field.
Do you see that—especially when you look at Mohawk, that has surpluses; it wasn’t necessarily a financial thing—as maybe the province’s role: making sure that all areas are serviced properly, one of them certainly being education?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I can’t speak to your individual circumstances because I don’t have any knowledge about that. I would say in a general way that it’s part of the role of government to try to ensure that there is as much coverage as is practicable in terms of making sure there’s somewhere for people to go.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Well, in this case here, of course, our local, closest college now is in western Ontario—and it is our number one industry in this province. It begs the question of having two colleges left in this province for agricultural purposes.
What skill sets do you think you bring to the board in governance and transparency from your past experience?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: In governance and transparency?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Well, just in general that you’d bring to the board.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I think I’m very aware of process, of decision-making. I think I have a good knowledge of all the quandaries and dilemmas of youth and a good knowledge of financial aspects of management. At the time that I was at Halton, we had a gross budget of $220 million, and I did the work for the financial department, or I supported the finance department. So I think that I’m fairly well-rounded in terms of awareness of different areas.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: How much time do we have left?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): You have three minutes and 31 seconds.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much.
I appreciate your thoughtful comments. They show how connected and how appropriate you are for a position like you’ve applied for, and I thank you for that.
I couldn’t help but make note of the fact that you mentioned your brother went to Alberta. I represent a rural riding as well, and one of our largest net exports is our youth, because the trend tends to be that where youth go to school, they tend to set up shop or migrate there on a more permanent basis, based on their learning.
I also reflect on some of the questions my colleague from Niagara asked with regards to matching the realities of today’s job world with programs that will enable young people to seek out jobs, possibly in their home area as well. I’m just wondering, do you foresee an opportunity in this particular role you’ve applied for to impact the board to say, “We need to revisit our course curriculum; we need to take a look at our programs”? That’s kind of a yes/no answer, but what are your thoughts around doing an assessment of what colleges are currently offering versus the type of skill and the type of job that needs to be filled in 2015?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: I think that I would have to really review in totality what it is that they offer, and then I would have to ask them what mechanism they have in place in terms of assessing whether what they offer fits what work is out there before I could answer that question, because some institutions would have an automatic review process in place of looking at the jobs as they are and looking at the training that’s offered. So I would need to review that.
But I would totally take your points that it’s really important that we try to train people for the work that exists and try to train them as best we can.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. With regards to the role that you’ve applied for, again, I applaud Mohawk for having a surplus, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a concern of mine as well as my colleagues that we see campuses closing. Again, it’s all about access for our students. Transportation is an issue; the cost of living is an issue. I just saw a headline this morning where all of a sudden, OSAP is becoming riskier. How should we be promoting post-secondary education to students with a lot of perceived hurdles in front of them?
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: Well, with respect to places closing, I think there is a trend towards amalgamation of different institutions and paring down of institutions. If we think about our home communities and the schools—the high schools, middle schools, grade schools—there’s a trend towards trying to have fewer schools with more students, because it lowers the unit cost, if you will, of education. I think that the costs of physical premises are a reality with every sector, and that there’s a trend to really pinching the pennies on the costs of physical premises. I think that’s a trend. I don’t know anything about the Mohawk situation. I think that they’ve thought carefully about the decisions that they’ve made in the past and looked at many details.
Another thing I would say is that there are a lot more people studying online. I have one child who attended Wilfrid Laurier—two actually, but one took some of the courses online, because they couldn’t get into the courses they wanted to necessarily, and it was a way to save time. I think that also lightens up how many people want to walk into the physical premises. It’s difficult to know to what extent—
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Bentham, for being here today, answering our questions and presenting to us.
Ms. Rebecca Bentham: My pleasure. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): That concludes the time for the interview today. We will be considering the concurrences at the end of the day. Again, thank you very much for being here and you may step down.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Zbigniew Krupa, intended appointee as member, Council of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario Complaints and Discipline Committee.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointee is Zbigniew Krupa, nominated as member, Council of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario Complaints and Discipline Committee. Mr. Krupa, good morning.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much for being here. As you may have heard, you’ll have the opportunity to make a brief opening statement. Any time that you use for that statement will be taken from the government’s time for questions. There will be questions from members of all three parties today. Again, thank you very much for being here. Mr. Krupa, you may begin.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: My pleasure. Thank you. I apologize if I look a little tired. I got up at 5 o’clock this morning. I figured that I would make my way down here.
A little bit about my personal self: I was born in Poland and entered this great country of ours at the age of eight, in 1965. I met my wife, Luba, who also immigrated to Canada, from Russia—she’s Ukrainian—and she was eight, but in 1969. I met my wife 34 years ago at a Humber College pub night. I asked her to dance, and we danced for the rest of the night. We were engaged in six months, married the following summer. We have two beautiful daughters, Christine and Caitlin. Christine is 19, going into her second year at U of T. Caitlin is 17, going into grade 12 at Blyth.
A little bit of my work history: As I said, I graduated from Humber College in 1979. I got a job interview with a company called NOR Baker in Etobicoke. I did the entrance exam, and they came back five minutes later and said, “Mr. Krupa, we’ve never had anyone get 100% on the test. You’re hired.” I didn’t even know how much money I was making; I just took the job until I established my career.
Since then, I’ve gone through a lot of manufacturing companies—up to a $100-million range in revenue. I mostly walk into a company and restructure operations, from the shop floor right to the front office and the financials. I also embarked on buying a company in Richmond Hill, Plasticap Inc. I had two partners there. It was about a $16-million-revenue company. We employed about 80 people there.
My education: I’ve got four or five certificates. The most notable one, which I enjoy best, is from Seneca College. It’s a four-year management finance program.
I do and did a lot of voluntary work. One of my partners from my company sat on the Rotary Club of Toronto. Usually, they don’t want two people from the same company at the Rotary, so the joke there was that I was the longest non-member member, serving about 24 years or so. Meals on Wheels—the black-tie affairs, as you know, brought in a lot of money for us. We were pioneers of starting a lot of the current charities that are around the house, as you know. I valued my time there.
I also did some other programs with the youth employment centre. It’s a mentee-mentor program where I dedicated a year in training kids trying to find their way in becoming entrepreneurs, trying to find what they like and sticking to it and making it a game plan. I also taught every one of them how to do their own taxes. I do taxes, but I do taxes more or less for people who run into trouble or can’t afford somebody to do them.
I was involved with the Second Mile Club as well. I was trained to drive a Red Cross bus and I would take a lot of disabled people to their community centres so they could enjoy a day with their friends and have an outing. Obviously, I would just hang around and read my paper or whatever, and take them back.
Continuing on voluntary work: Obviously, you can tell by my name and Pani Clerk’s name that I’m Polish. I sit on the Polish Canadian Air Force Association, 430 Wing (Warsaw). These are a lot of good veterans who fought in the Second World War. They actually were responsible, part and parcel with other countries, for making the food drop over Holland. I serve them and do their treasury work and anything else that they need done. I also chauffeur all the visitors from Poland, so I get to meet a lot of generals and things like that, which makes it fun.
I canvass at the Red Cross, golf tournament, raising money—various charities of that effect.
In conclusion, I have a very strong skill set in restructuring operations. I’ve dealt with the insurance industry from that side, both on the financial insurance side and the other insurance under RIBO. I’ve dealt with many agents. I’ve dealt with many main insurance companies, and one of the main things that I would do when I walked into a company is, “Pass me all the insurances. I want to see every one of them, as part of my restructuring plan.”
Working in an industry: I came across probably 300 to 400 operations in my lifetime. I know what desperation does to people, so I have a keen eye for streamlining through various issues and getting down to the facts. Practical experience develops that. That’s about it.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Krupa. Ms. Malhi.
Ms. Harinder Malhi: Thank you for your presentation. That was wonderful. We can see that you’re very active in the community from your presentation today. Can you highlight some of the community involvement that will help you in the committee?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Absolutely. As I noted, I spent 24 years with the Toronto Rotary Club. Some of the most satisfying community work that I did is the Meals on Wheels. I would spend a day or two delivering the Meals on Wheels to people who were just not able to do for themselves.
The other one is—I know that the old-age home on Edward is no longer there, but, aging myself going back a number of years, 1981 was the first volunteering job that I took under the Rotarians. I went to Edward Street and I did their personal taxes for two days at no charge. I did that for 20 years, and I knew some of these people. I saw what the system does to them and I saw what family does to them.
Ms. Harinder Malhi: Thank you very much for sharing.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: You’re welcome.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. Maybe you could just bring out why you’re interested in this position.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: With my skill set, I kind of get pulled into things. I really wasn’t looking, but I never turn down an opportunity to serve the public, simply because I’m a firm, strong believer in making sure that you give back to the community. Any time anybody asked me in the past to do something, as you can tell by my voluntary work, I did, especially for the veterans.
Mr. Jim McDonell: We see a lot of people coming into our office—insurance is a big issue. They haven’t seen their insurance rates drop like it’s been promised over the years. Can you see how you might deal with customers in clarifying the industry and some of the issues they have, and maybe pointing out some of the realities of it?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: It’s a tough answer to give you. On the one side, the insurance industry cries wolf. On the other side, they have record-breaking profit. So you try and figure out what’s happening in the middle. And you have the government coming in, saying, “We’re going to pull back 15 points,” and it doesn’t happen. That puts another dimension into the issue.
I’m a very practical person, so I would sit down and gather all the facts together and I would go in and talk to some people and determine what the issues are and make some tough decisions. If the mandate was to drop it by 15 points, and you know that the insurance industry has the ability to do that, then you have to make it happen. Again, I’m not taking sides on what was said by the government or what the insurance—the insurance industry is a needed service for all of us. I understand the business model, the concept, etc., but I’m very familiar with financial statements, and there’s very little you can put over on me when it comes to the dollar, so I would very quickly find out what’s what.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think you have some extensive experience in the insurance industry, but the average Ontarian would not. What would you think we need to bring the knowledge level up so people are more aware of the insurance required and some of the ways of keeping the costs reasonable?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Again, I’ll be a little speculative on that answer, because I’m not in the complete situation. Cost is measured in different ways. Companies measure it in standard costs, EBITDA—they have various forms of it. There are some crafty—not illegal, but crafty—ways of doing things to make it work for you. You need to understand it. So I think the answer would be that having people that had 20, 30 or 40 years of experience and knowledge around that industry, and bring to the table a lot of wide-ranging experience of the industry, would help break it down very quickly so that at least people understand what you’re dealing with instead of speculation here, speculation there, and what you read in the paper, etc.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I see you have a proven track record in restructuring businesses. We have members of government here. Do you have any ideas that may help them bring their debt under control?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: My friend, if we had time, I could show you how to bring the manufacturing sector back to Ontario, without a word of a lie. Like I said, I visited 300 to 400 manufacturing companies over the course of my lifetime, and the story is the same: The bank has got them under wraps. You can’t go to get a lease because the bank arm is the leasing arm; you’re dealing with the same person. These people have such incredible knowledge and they want to do well, but they’re just put right in that corner. The last financial tool that the banks are using is called asset-based lending. That’s just designed to put the company under, because the banks—and I have nothing against the banks. A lot of my good friends—but the banks, the structure itself, the way it’s lined up against the industries, it’s tough. It’s really tough unless you’ve got a couple of million bucks of your own money.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I have one last question. What worries you when you look ahead in your crystal ball, given your experience with the insurance market? What are some worrisome trends that we should be watching out for?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Profit.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Full stop?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Profit, profit, profit. They know how to bury it. They use reserves. There are 50 ways I can show you to take a clean profit from 30% down to 5%. If you don’t know how they do it, then you’ll assume it’s 5%. Good luck getting the 15-point drop.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Thompson. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning, sir.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Good morning, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m actually pleasantly surprised with your blunt honesty, quite frankly. I’ve been hearing about insurance rates going down as well. It was part of a budget a couple of years ago that was done. I just got my insurance bill, and it has gone up several hundred dollars, so I’m trying to figure that out. I actually sit at Queen’s Park and I can’t figure out how mine is going up when I was voted in to make sure it was going down. I had to explain that to my wife. She told me I should be doing my job a little better.
I also agree with your honesty around the insurance companies. They’ve been getting a lot of relief over the last number of years in the form of billions of dollars. I’m not saying a few hundred million dollars; we seem to talk in billions. When I was growing up and maybe when you were growing up—I’m not sure of your age, but it’s probably around mine—we thought a million dollars was incredible, right? If I ever had a million dollars, what would I do? Go buy a hockey team. Today we talk in billions, and the insurance company is one that can do that. They’re making billions and billions of dollars of profit, and quite frankly, in my humble opinion, I believe it’s at the expense of victims. I think it’s something that we should take a serious look at to make sure that the enormous wealth that they have is getting to the people who actually need it—victims—but that’s a little different than why you’re here.
Manufacturing: I wish I had that answer. I was president of a major local union in my area in Niagara. It was mostly manufacturing. I actually had FirstOntario that I bargained with, but most of it was manufacturing. We know we’ve lost 300,000 or 400,000 jobs. If it is something to do with asset-based financing, I’m going to find out what the heck that is and take a serious look at it, so I appreciate you being honest on that.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: If you want, you can give me a call, sideline, and I’ll educate you in five minutes or less.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I appreciate that.
The thing that also interests me, before I get into some of the possible questions that they gave me, is that you’ve dealt with insurance companies and agents. Maybe you can tell us what you found out, what your experience was like, particularly around the restructuring of companies. I think that’s kind of where you were heading on that.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: I’m going to do better than that. I’m going to give you a practical, actual example of what happened to one of my tax clients.
This individual was in a car accident. He had a 2005 Cadillac with 45,000 klicks on it. The car was probably worth in the range of $12,000 to $20,000.
The insurance company sends him the calculation. The calculation goes like this: “Had you been driving 22,000 miles a year from 2005 to”—about 10 years—“you would have had 220,000 miles on your car. Your car would have only been worth $3,000. But because your car is in good condition, we’ll give you $5,000.” How does that little guy fight back to get his $12,000?
The insurance company that he works with, and pays dearly for, says, “We’re yanking your rental. No more fighting here. Either you take it or”—and the insurance company uses a third party so they can say, “Sorry; that’s what they said.” What a bunch—that’s how the little guy gets punched out. I would make sure that that stuff just does not happen. It should not be there because that’s borderline, if you know what I mean. That’s an equation that has nothing to do with anything. It’s like, “What’s it got to do with the price of eggs in China?” Absolutely nothing. It’s not even relevant, but that’s what they shoved into him. That’s what he had to take.
Now, because he was forced to sign, he can’t even go see a lawyer. It’s a done deal. The insurance company, instead of spending $12,000 to $15,000, paid the poor guy 5,000 bucks. That happens time and time again.
I can give you example after example after example in different forms and scenarios. That’s the practical stuff that happens. The little guy just says, “Well, you know what? If I take them to court it’s going to cost me $5,000 anyway, so why am I going to aggravate myself or my family?” They walk away and the big boy wins.
Mr. Wayne Gates: A “You can’t fight city hall” type mentality.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: You can.
Mr. Wayne Gates: On that, when you did any of the restructuring, did you do any restructuring for closures? Or was it all restructuring businesses to stay—
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Usually, I get two kinds of calls: One would be from an American company that doesn’t understand Canadian operations. They would want me to come in and restructure the Canadian operations and report all the functions to the States.
Two: The guy right in the corner banging his head against the wall saying, “I have nowhere to go. We’re going to be bankrupt. Is there anything you can do for me?”
Those are the kinds of things I walk into. I usually work 14- or 16-hour days, seven days a week, to try and save their equity. By the way, I have not failed once.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s good. I can’t say the same thing. I’ve failed a number of times, including running for political office. I lost, I lost, I lost. It happens.
Will you need any training to participate in this council, do you think?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Yes, I will.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. Do you know if you’ll receive it?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: I hope to receive it. I haven’t received it as of yet. The more training, the better, because you equip me with more knowledge.
Mr. Wayne Gates: On this committee, obviously some of it deals with discipline. Are you familiar with misconduct cases that have come before the discipline committee in recent years? Have you looked up any of their cases?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: I didn’t look up any cases but if memory serves me correctly, I’ve gone through a case where a broker borrowed money from a client, things of that nature, and that’s not an arm’s-length transaction. I know things of that nature happen a lot, especially when brokers know the wealth of the individuals. A lot of them bring in friends and they think it’s okay. No, it’s not okay. You’re breaking the law and that’s that. So things of that nature, yes, I have, but I haven’t gone up and looked through all the cases.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How much time do I have?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Two minutes and 35 seconds.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What experience will you bring to the role as a committee member?
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: I have a ton of practical experience. I’ve been offered many jobs as a president and I’ve turned them all down. I’m a solid finance operational guy who gets things done. I know what I’m good at and I focus on what I’m good at.
One of the best compliments that was ever said to me was by somebody who didn’t really like me but respected me. He said, “Ziggy, people will work for you no matter where you go because you have that kind of personality.”
I know how to drive things. I’m extremely focused on making sure that what’s happening is correct, and if changes need to be made, I execute extremely fast and well.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, Ziggy, I’m going to say something that I think I picked up here just because of the way this game is played. I think you’re a pretty honest guy, too, which is certainly a trait that everybody should follow.
I want to finish by saying something that’s kind of interesting, quite frankly. You came to Canada. You met your sweetheart at a dance and stuff. You’ve been able to find out and be successful in life by coming to a different country, living here, buying a house, raising a family and sending them to school. That’s really what Canada and Ontario are all about at the end of the day.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Absolutely.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s always nice to hear those types of stories on being successful in life but also on coming to this great country and province and being able to raise your family and being very, very successful.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: I’ll share a tidbit with you: I had just bought a car before I met my wife. I had a $2,000 loan. She had $2,000 in the bank and paid off the loan. That was it.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That was it. It’s interesting because it’s a story that’s told over and over again right across the province and the country, about people who come to this country.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: This is the best country in the world. I go to the States, and after seven days I want to go home. Actually, my good friend Kimmer Campbell knew that I would be taking on work because I have another assignment that I have to do so he took me through the Cabot Trail for 12 days. If you’ve not been, that’s probably some of the best country we have in Canada. It’s just totally amazing—the fishing villages, lobster for five bucks a pound. In one sitting I think I ate 48 oysters. So you’ve got to go if you haven’t been. The Cabot Trail is just an amazing time.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’ve been there. I know what you’re talking about.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you, Mr. Krupa, for presenting to us today and answering our questions. This concludes the time for the interview. We’ll be considering the concurrences for appointees at the end of the day. I want to thank you very much. You may step down.
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa: Thank you for having me.
Ms. Katie Osborne
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Katie Osborne, intended appointee as vice-chair and member, Fire Safety Commission; member, Animal Care Review Board; member, Licence Appeal Tribunal; member, Ontario Civilian Police Commission; and member, Ontario Parole Board.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointee is Katie Osborne, nominated as vice-chair and member, Fire Safety Commission; and member, Animal Care Review Board, Licence Appeal Tribunal, Ontario Civilian Police Commission and Ontario Parole Board.
Ms. Osborne, can you please come forward? Thank you very much for being here today. As you may have heard, you’ll have the opportunity to make a brief opening statement. Any time that you use will be taken from the government’s time for questions. You’ll be asked questions by members of all three parties today. Again, thank you for being here. You may begin.
Ms. Katie Osborne: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and honourable members of the committee. Thank you for allowing me to appear before you today.
My name is Katie Osborne. I am a lawyer and an experienced adjudicator. My legal practice has focused primarily on health care and administrative law, including roles as tribunal counsel.
Before I started in private practice, I held a number of policy, planning and regulatory positions with a multinational pharmaceutical company and worked for both the Ontario and British Columbia Ministries of Health.
I previously served as a part-time vice-chair of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board and as a member of the Ontario Hepatitis C Assistance Plan Review Committee.
The skills and experience that I acquired as an adjudicator and as legal counsel, particularly tribunal counsel, position me well for the appointment to the SLASTO tribunals. I have years of experience interpreting legislation, conducting pre-hearing conferences, applying alternative dispute resolution practices and procedures, presiding at hearings and motions, drafting orders, writing decisions, and mentoring and training members and staff.
I have specific experience and knowledge of many of the legal issues and subject matter dealt with by the Fire Safety Commission and other SLASTO tribunals.
I place great importance on plain-language communication and write decisions that are legally sound, clear and concise. I’ve played a leadership role in various process improvement and educational and dispute resolution initiatives for tribunals. I have facilitated hundreds of pre-hearing or case conferences. In many cases, these matters were successfully resolved without resort to hearing as a result of the case conferences. In cases that did go forward to hearing, through the case conferences I was able to educate the parties—generally unrepresented—about critical matters, reduce and simplify the issues in dispute and assist in case management, all things that result in a hearing process that is more timely, fair, focused and effective.
I have considerable experience dealing with unrepresented parties and individuals who face other challenges, including language barriers, disabilities and other issues.
I have experience dealing with highly sensitive matters and matters that have attracted media attention. I have been actively involved in many cases that raise significant issues, including issues of public protection, restrictions on personal freedoms, eligibility for and access to critical services, the right to hold business licences and the right to practise one’s profession. I understand the critical importance of the various interests at stake in such cases.
Finally, I’m actively involved in the community. I’m an officer and member of the board of directors and chair of the governance committee for Save a Child’s Heart Foundation of Canada and I volunteer for the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and Special Olympics Ontario.
I thank you for your time today and I look forward to answering any questions you might have.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Osborne. Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. Maybe you could just expand on what motivated you to apply to this position.
Ms. Katie Osborne: Certainly. As I mentioned, I’ve been a tribunal member before, as an adjudicator and in other roles that you have as a tribunal member. While I left that to focus, for a number of years, more on my legal practice, I always missed the work.
The short answer is, I enjoy the work. I find it rewarding and interesting, and that’s really the primary motivation.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I see in your information that you applied for the one position, but a number of them have been added. Do you feel comfortable with that?
Ms. Katie Osborne: I’m very comfortable with it. In the tribunals that have been clustered, I know there is often cross-appointment and there are opportunities to achieve efficiencies in scheduling, rolling out various initiatives and best practices, and it’s sometimes easier for training. I don’t profess to be an expert in each of the areas that are within the jurisdiction of each of the tribunals, but I do have some experience and working knowledge in most, if not all, of those areas.
Mr. Jim McDonell: In the information that you provided, you talk about working with unrepresented parties. One of the issues that I think we have is that a lot of the people who are pulled before these boards are people with a lack of resources, time frames are short—there’s no time—they can’t afford legal counsel or there’s very little time to get these things together.
Maybe you could relate on working with some of these groups and these people and maybe talk about how we could enhance the system so that this is more the norm than having to get legal counsel for some of these arbitrations.
Ms. Katie Osborne: The issue of dealing with unrepresented parties is an important one, and certainly in the tribunals that I was a member of, the vast majority of people were unrepresented. My understanding is that a great many of the parties who appear before these tribunals are also unrepresented.
There are a number of things that you can do to assist them. One, at a basic level, is to ensure communications at all levels are clear. Use plain language when conducting a hearing or a pre-hearing process. Make sure you use a simple word as opposed to a four-syllable word that achieves nothing more.
So plain-language communication in oral communications with the parties and in writing decisions—you shouldn’t need a law degree or a PhD to understand a decision; it should be something that’s readable by your next-door neighbour or someone with a grade 9 education. It should be accessible to all.
I also think that the pre-hearing conference and case conference process that I mentioned is really critical. It’s particularly critical for unrepresented parties. If parties have legal counsel, that kind of process is often used to deal with case management matters. You might simplify some issues, but often it deals with more routine matters like scheduling.
When I conduct case conferences with unrepresented parties, it’s a huge opportunity for education. Education about the board’s mandate, education about the specific legal issues in dispute: Often people have a view of the issues that’s different from what the tribunal will really be deciding at a hearing.
Those kinds of things are really important. When you’re able to take that time with an unrepresented party in advance of the hearing, they’re better equipped to represent themselves.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: You mentioned you have working knowledge of the various boards and tribunals that fall under the SLASTO. With regard to the Animal Care Review Board, what do you feel their priorities are, or what are the trending issues that may need to be addressed?
Ms. Katie Osborne: I’m not a member of the board now, so I certainly can’t speak to their biggest issues.
Many of these cases—the board does have jurisdiction to hear other matters, but often they’re appealing orders for removal of animals, to take various steps to treat animals and so on.
I think, going back to the issue—I talked about problem-solving and dispute resolution. I think this is a real challenge. I think there is a real opportunity with this board to perhaps resolve a great many more of these cases without resort to a formal hearing, and often, having that kind of conversation in a case conference, a pre-hearing conference, can achieve that.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, very good. In that regard, I’d just like to put out a good word for the Ontario farm and food council. In terms of the work on the Animal Care Review Board, I think there needs to be a balanced approach. It’s very important to utilize Farm and Food Care Ontario as well.
My second question is around the Fire Safety Commission. I’m just curious: What’s your understanding of the priority around the Fire Safety Commission?
Ms. Katie Osborne: Again, I can’t speak to institutional priorities. Certainly, ultimately, the priority of that tribunal and many of these others is public protection.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Public protection: I encourage you to pursue that, because just this past week, I had a meeting with a company that’s concerned about labour safety, workplace safety, public safety with regard to the lack of fire safety involved with industrial wind turbines, particularly in nacelles. They have a little, tiny fire extinguisher. At the end of the day, that’s not enough with an industrial wind turbine. That’s something I’m certainly going to be pursuing, and I invite you to keep that under consideration when you take a look at the public safety component of the Fire Safety Commission. Thank you.
Ms. Katie Osborne: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So you got those out, so that’s good. There you go.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I did. Thank you very much.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning. How are you?
Ms. Katie Osborne: I’m fine, thanks, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Before I really get into some of the questions, the unrepresented is probably an issue that I’m extremely interested in, because the costs, and not enough legal aid lawyers, or lawyers getting involved with legal aid, are becoming more and more of a challenge. As a lawyer, would you agree or disagree with that?
Ms. Katie Osborne: I totally agree. It’s an issue I’m very interested in. I think it’s actually increasingly important, as some of these regulatory regimes become increasingly complex.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How do we get more lawyers—as a lawyer—to get involved with legal aid, to make these types of clusters work better?
Ms. Katie Osborne: That’s a question I can’t answer. I think it’s important to get more lawyers involved, but I think there are a whole host of incentives that need to be in place, and also institutional changes in terms of the way the whole legal aid scheme is set up. Certainly, those matters are beyond my purview, but I do think it’s extremely important and it’s something I take really seriously as an adjudicator tribunal member.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Because I’m finding, on a lot of the issues—ODSP; it doesn’t matter what they are—they’re being cut off. We end up in appeals, and they can’t get to the legal aid lawyer.
I know it’s a little off-subject, but because you are a lawyer, I think it’s important for somebody like yourself, who can talk on this issue. We had people here yesterday, and the importance—because it flows down to different boards, different agencies. When you talk about people who are unrepresented, usually there’s a problem, and the problem usually is finances. They can’t afford a lawyer, and it puts that person—no matter how good you think you are as a lawyer, you’re not. When you have to represent yourself, there are problems. When I took a look at your pre-hearings, and mediation, which you talked about, these are things that we should be doing more of to free up the appeal processes and make them go quicker. Are you in agreement with that? I see that you say that pre-hearings get resolved. Maybe you would like to elaborate on that, because I think that’s a very important point here on all these types of boards that would make the clusters work better.
Ms. Katie Osborne: First, I am in agreement. I think that it’s vitally important, and if you don’t do it, it’s a huge missed opportunity if you don’t take advantage of some of those. Pre-hearing conferences aren’t the only way, but they are quite an effective way. They don’t have to be resource-intensive. Many of the ones that I’ve facilitated were done by telephone. They don’t have to be lengthy. Telephone case conferences help accommodate people who may be at a great distance or physically unable to travel.
In terms of resolution, it happens in different ways. Sometimes it can be a case where the appellant or applicant gets a better understanding of the process. In some cases, they may come to the conclusion that their issues are really outside of what the board or tribunal can do and that they could not be successful. They would decide not to pursue the case further. In that case, you are eliminating from the system a case that couldn’t possibly be successful—no prospect of success, not even a reasonable prospect of success.
In other cases, the parties are actually able to come to some agreement. While I’m not a member of the Fire Safety Commission, I have dealt with the public protection aspect with other tribunals. The Health Services Appeal and Review Board hears appeals under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and also issues similar sorts of orders in some cases against individuals, sometimes in relation to unsafe buildings and so on. Sometimes the parties can come to an agreement on what will be done by what date, something that really may reflect the interests of both parties better than the paper order that the applicant received that led to the appeal. Sometimes there is an agreement that certain steps will be taken and things will be done. The public protection goal is achieved, and the interests of and the practicalities faced by a business owner or property owner would be respected. Those matters would go away without resort to hearing. But there are many, many examples of how cases can resolved without resort to hearing.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The other part of that, which you never mentioned, is the savings in cost. The whole process is a cost, and I think that it’s important when you can say, “Okay, how do we save?”, because we’re always fighting for every penny. I think you realize that.
If you do a pre-hearing, there’s a cost. If you follow through the entire process and go right to the final straw, are we talking about a couple of hundred dollars? Are we talking about thousands? What type of savings could there be, if we can direct more people into being educated on the importance of mediation or a pre-hearing?
Ms. Katie Osborne: You’re absolutely right. There are significant cost savings when matters are resolved without resort to hearing. There’s even a cost saving when matters are simplified and the issues are reduced. I can’t speak to the specific numbers, because that can vary a lot: Have you resolved a matter that was going to be a one-hour hearing or a 10-day hearing? I’ve been involved in cases that may have gone on for two or three weeks of hearing time. Obviously, if that case resolves, it results in greater cost savings. But I think that, generally speaking, we wouldn’t be talking about hundreds of dollars; we’d be talking about thousands.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I think that’s an important issue. I still haven’t got to your board appointment, because I’m kind of fascinated about some of the stuff that you’ve done as a lawyer. I understand that you’ll do a fine job on the cluster. I don’t think that’s really going to be an issue here.
Something that I would like to hear more about is that you’ve gotten me interested that you were involved in the Ministry of Health and you were a health care lawyer. I would just like to understand a little further: What did you do as a health care lawyer and what were you representing in that particular file?
Ms. Katie Osborne: First, going back to my work with the Ontario Ministry of Health—it was many years ago—I actually worked for the Ministry of the Attorney General, but in the legal services branch of the Ministry of Health. That’s where I articled.
In terms of my work as a health law lawyer, it can mean different things. I would say that the bulk of my work has been for government and government agencies, particularly tribunals—so administrative law. But we have done work in the past for other government agencies that needed either legal or regulatory work; sometimes health reform projects and so on. I’ve done a lot of work in relation to appeals under the Health Insurance Act and under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. I worked for the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board relating to registration complaint matters with all of the colleges of the regulated health professions.
I hope that answers your question.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s interesting because you talk about how you took cases that even had media attention.
Ms. Katie Osborne: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Can you give us an example, or is there confidentiality around those?
Ms. Katie Osborne: I always have to respect solicitor-client privilege and confidentiality, but certainly with cases that have been reported in the media, without even going into specific names, there have been a great many cases of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board that have received media attention. It’s typically when someone has applied to OHIP for payment of the costs of out-of-country treatment, either in cases where it’s not available here or there’s a delay in obtaining treatment.
The Health Services Appeal and Review Board hears those appeals and has the ability to order OHIP to pay for the costs of the out-of-country treatment. A number of those cases have received media attention. In particular, they often involve very, very compelling, sensitive-facts situations. It’s a tribunal like many others. They’re real people. In the case of that tribunal, they’re sick. Sometimes they are fighting for their lives. So that would be an example.
There have been a number of others under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, but I’d say that’s where the bulk of them reside.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And they are interesting cases.
Ms. Katie Osborne: They’re hugely interesting and have enormous personal consequences for the people involved.
Mr. Wayne Gates: In dollars and cents, just as a follow-up to that, because we all heard about it, we don’t even have to go out of the country; we had an issue from province to province up in Sudbury a few weeks ago. It’s kind of interesting. It makes interesting work.
I’ll get back to some of the questions on this because I know my good friend at the front there, the Chair, will tell me I don’t have much time left.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Actually, you’ve got eight seconds.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My pleasure.
Ms. Katie Osborne: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates. Ms. Hoggarth.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you, Chair. Thank you very much, Ms. Osborne, for your presentation. I can tell by the way you speak that you are a very capable candidate. I also looked at the position requirements. There are three of them, and from what I’ve seen and heard, you check the box in all three of them.
Your background, as another MPP has said, is in health law and policy, including being the vice-chair of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. Could you tell us why you believe you are a good fit for the SLASTO cluster, please?
Ms. Katie Osborne: Speaking first to broad-based skills and qualities, I’m neutral, objective and fair, which are fundamental to an adjudicator. I have the expertise in administrative law and adjudication and all that goes along with that, including statutory interpretation—because at the end of the day, any adjudicator is applying the legislation at issue.
I know there is a move to try to take advantage of problem-solving and alternative dispute resolution, and I bring a very strong background in that. I hope I can play a role in future efforts to bring more of that to the SLASTO tribunal.
I have excellent decision-writing skills, and this is important. I’ve been a member on tribunals before. There were many good members. They bring different things to the table. But at the end of the day, you have to have people who can write. When we look at things like decision backlogs, you need strong writers to get the decisions out. You can’t just hear a case. And you want people who can write in plain language and give the parties and other interested individuals a decision that they can understand.
Finally, I do bring some knowledge of the cluster. As I said, I’m not expert in each of the subject areas, but I wouldn’t be walking in cold.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Osborne. That concludes the time for the interview today. I want to thank you very much for being here and presenting to us and answering our questions. We’ll consider the concurrences for appointments at the end of the day. Again, thank you very much. You may step down.
Ms. Katie Osborne: It was a pleasure. Thank you very much, everyone.
Ms. Miranda Paquette
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Miranda Paquette, intended appointee as member, Council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointee is Miranda Paquette, nominated as member, Council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors. Ms. Paquette, can you please come forward?
Bonjour. Thank you for being here today.
Mme Miranda Paquette: Merci.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): As you may have heard, you will have time for a brief opening statement. Any time that you use shall be taken from the government’s time to ask you questions. You’ll be asked questions by members of all three parties today.
I want to thank you again for being here. You may begin.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thank you for having me. I’m just going to read my statement because I’m a bit nervous.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Be comfortable.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thank you for having me. I appreciate the privilege of being asked to appear before this committee. I’m honoured to be considered for membership on the council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors. I see the work they do as fundamental to the workings of society, and I see the council as having both a right to champion the profession, but also a responsibility to ensure compliance with the act.
My strengths are with the second aspect of this role. I’m a professional compliance officer. My experience working with a variety of regulators, both in the federal sphere and the provincial sphere, should help me provide sound advice to the counsel with the council.
The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors has set out goals related to compliance, so I’m hoping that my experience in writing policy and investigating complaints and advising on enforcement actions should help them meet their goals.
That’s my opening statement. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning. How are you?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: A bit nervous.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You’re nervous?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Why?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Because I’ve never appeared before a committee.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Really? It’s kind of interesting. I was nervous the first time I came too. Now it’s just relax and enjoy.
What do you do for a living now?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I just changed jobs in May. The document you have says that I’m a compliance officer for Canada Post. I left in May and I’ve joined the family firm, so I’m now running operations for my husband’s architectural firm.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Oh, okay. That’s too bad, because I spent 10 minutes last night doing questions on Canada Post.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I would be happy to answer questions about Canada Post, or at least my role there.
Mr. Wayne Gates: There are certainly lots of issues around Canada Post.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: You know, I’ve heard.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What’s really motivated you—you talked a little bit about it; maybe you could expand on it, because you obviously know what you’re talking about—to seek the appointment?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I’ve heard a bunch of stories about how people get recommended for these appointments. They get phone calls from people and that kind of thing. I was actually with my husband. He’s the president of the Ontario architects’ association; they have meetings and the wives have to appear. Often there’s an out-group at those meetings where it’s the wives, and oddly enough, the LGICs tend to hang out with that group because they’re not architects. I was talking to them, and they said that you can just apply. So I applied, because I really want to provide a public service. I want to have some part of my life that’s a public service, and I think this is a really good way of doing it.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s very good.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thanks.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What experience do you believe you bring in a role for a council member? Why do you think that you would certainly help, being a member?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I have a lot of experience in compliance. The goals that the land surveyors have for the next few years—a lot of them are about compliance with continuing education and something I didn’t really understand, but it was the markers. Apparently they’re having trouble maintaining the markers. These all seem like very legislative necessities, and that’s something I’m good at. I’m very good at giving advice on law, usually to my employer, but the council would be, I guess, kind of my employer. So we’d be part of the team working towards compliance. That’s what I do really well.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Sometimes compliances are tough to follow if they’re not understood.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Not understood—a huge part is being able to translate law. That’s the role of the compliance officer. Legal tends to interpret law for the business; compliance interprets it for the users.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What challenges do you see?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: For the land surveyors, they seem to have a serious demographic challenge, which a lot of associations have right now. I mentioned the survey monuments—that seems to be a challenge—and then their continuing education roles.
The one about continuing education is probably the one I can help with best. I did manage registrations and compliance for provincial financial institutions, so maintaining the registrations for financial advisers and things like that. So I’m familiar with that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. That’s all I have. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates. Ms. Hoggarth?
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Good morning. Thank you for your presentation. I fully understand why you feel a little nervous. As you are speaking, it doesn’t sound that way. Once you realize that this is very informal—we thank you very much for putting your name forward.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thank you.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: I particularly enjoyed the reason that you said you wanted to do it. That’s why people should get involved in public service.
The requirements of the position say, “Lay members should have the ability to recognize infringements on the public interest by policies under discussion at council meetings. No person shall be appointed ... unless he or she is a Canadian citizen.”
From what you said, you tick all those boxes as a position requirement. I thank you very much for putting your name forward. Bonne chance.
Mme Miranda Paquette: Merci.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Hoggarth. Mr. McDonell?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, thank you for coming out today. I see you applied for 26 different agencies.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I did.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Is there a kind of theme behind the ones you chose or what you’re looking for?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Well, not my husband’s.
Not really; just stuff that interested me. I don’t actually know when I applied but I think it was like five years ago. At the time—that was two jobs ago—I was a compliance officer for a lot of different financial institutions, but they were subsidiaries of the Canadian Medical Association. One of the beauties of working for a for-profit company under a not-for-profit is that you get both sides; you get the real advocacy part but you also get the “We need to make money” part. It was neat, but what that led me to was just that I wanted to help. I don’t know who I want to help and I don’t know who needs help, so I thought, “I’ll do a broad spectrum of things that I’m interested in and hope for the best.”
Mr. Jim McDonell: Sure. The council is tasked with maintaining the education standards of the association. What do you think you could bring in to that function?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I have continuing education standards that I have to meet for my certification as a privacy professional, but also I know a lot about architectural requirements for continuing education, as you can well imagine. I know a lot about continuing education in the financial industry given how heavily regulated they are in insurance and advice and all of that.
I’ve worked with IIROC, FSCO and AMF on the Quebec side, so I get continuing education. I get why it’s required and why it can be a challenge for people to do. I think probably what I bring best is a deep understanding of the necessity and the importance of maintaining skills.
Mr. Jim McDonell: We also see that enrolment is declining in the association. Any ideas how you might reverse that?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I don’t really know enough about it to give an opinion. I don’t want to give ill-informed advice to anyone, because that’s just generally a bad idea.
One of the things I found really interesting is, for those of you who are from Ottawa, I actually live very near La Cité collégiale. It’s a community college. I live right near there.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Yes, I live right near there. They’re always surveying the street I live on—every day—because there’s a school there. Apparently, those people can’t be licensed. I thought, “That’s really interesting.” I read somewhere that there are only two schools in Ontario where you can actually be licensed to be a surveyor. I thought, “Maybe that’s a gap that we can find a way to close.” It’s horrible advice right now because I really don’t know enough about the background, but to me it seems like there are a lot of people who want to play with those very cool tools who aren’t being given the chance to be licensed. I think there might be a gap there we can close.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Okay. Any questions?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Thompson?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I’m taken by your commitment and interest in giving back, in terms of public service. I thank you for that. Just from your own personal perspective, what do you think holds people back from doing that? Because we don’t have enough of you, long story short. As legislators, what could we be doing differently to advocate and encourage more people to get involved, like you’ve done?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: For the LGIC position itself, nobody knows about it. I’ve told people I’m coming here today. People who live in Toronto, work in Toronto, I’m going to lunch and they’re like, “And what is that exactly?”
I got to meet the Lieutenant Governor last April. Oh, my gosh, such a lovely woman. She’s really trying to advocate for the position and that kind of thing, but maybe we need to do more about telling people about these very cool roles. It’s just neat. You get to learn something completely different outside of your world but you also get to help, right? Lots of people want to help but if you don’t know it’s there, how do you know to apply?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Fair enough.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I applied five years ago. By the time they called me—not last January but the January before—I honestly had kind of forgotten.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: You applied for this approximately five years ago—
Ms. Miranda Paquette: I think so, yes.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: —and you only got a phone call. So the position that you’ve applied for has been vacant for that amount of time?
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Oh, I have no idea. No clue.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. That’s something to take a look at.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Yes, I don’t know.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Interesting. Thank you for sticking with it.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: My pleasure.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Yes, it’s been a pleasure meeting you.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much for being here today and presenting to us, answering all of our questions, and being very enthusiastic, too, I have to add. It’s really great to get that just before lunch. I really want to thank you for being here today and putting your name forward.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): It’s very much appreciated. We’ll consider the concurrences for all the appointments at the end of the day.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Okay.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): That concludes the time for our interview. You may step down.
Ms. Miranda Paquette: Thank you very much, everyone. It was fun.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): We’re going to go to recess.
The committee recessed from 1133 to 1303.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): I call the meeting back to order. We hope everybody enjoyed their lunch.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Wendy Lawrence, intended appointee as member, Council of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our first intended appointee is Wendy Lawrence, nominated as member, Council of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario. Ms. Lawrence, can you please come forward.
Thank you very much for being here today. You’ll have the opportunity to make a brief opening statement. Any time that you use for your statement will be taken from the government’s time to ask you questions. You will be asked questions by members of all three parties today.
Again, I thank you very much for being here and you may proceed.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Great. Thanks. Let me begin by giving you some background on my qualifications and experience. I’m a lawyer. I was called to the bar in 2005. I attended law school at the University of Windsor and I obtained my undergraduate degree in economics from Queen’s University.
For me, when I decided what area of law to practise in, I was always interested in the area of law that involved public interest. Accordingly, I began my career as a lawyer at the Ministry of the Attorney General. In this role, I provided advice to various ministries on legislation and statutes.
Also during this time, I specialized in freedom-of-information and privacy law. It was this aspect of my work that made me appreciate the importance of privacy and safeguarding sensitive information as well as the responsibilities of public organizations in terms of accountability and transparency.
I then went on to practise as an in-house lawyer in the health care industry. I was in-house counsel at Mount Sinai Hospital for a number of years, and currently I am in-house counsel at the Hospital for Sick Children. In my role, I advise the hospital on issues such as consent to treatment, quality of care and privacy. I also advise on regulatory health professional issues as there are a number of regulatory health professionals who work for our hospital. Part of my role involves monitoring regulatory developments in the health care industry and communicating those to the members of the hospital.
I’m interested in serving on the Council of the College of Chiropractors for a number of reasons. For one, I’m interested in applying my knowledge of health care and the regulatory framework that governs health care providers in a way that lets me serve the public interest. I think that health care professionals play a really important role in society. It continues to be a challenging role, particularly for health care professionals as their scope of practice is reviewed in terms of us being able to provide access to health care in a timely and accessible way while still ensuring patient safety.
Secondly, I am looking forward to contributing to governance—I’m really interested in the area of governance—in particular to a college that governs health care professionals. Through my community experience, I’m on the board for the Association of Corporate Counsel and for the Health Law in Canada journal.
In addition, I’ve also had the opportunity to witness some really great boards, both at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children. I’ve been able to witness the good qualities of a good board and what great boards can achieve, and I look forward to being able to contribute that on the council. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. The questioning begins with the government side: Ms. Hoggarth.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Good afternoon. Thank you for your presentation and for putting your name forward for this position. I would like to ask you, what is your understanding of the role that you will be filling on the council?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: In preparing for today’s appearance, I did review the Chiropractic Act and the bylaws at the council. I understand the college to be a self-governing body and the council provides oversight for the college.
In addition, the council has the role of ensuring that the college has standards of practice in place, standards of qualification and standards for professional ethics. As well, the council monitors development in the industry and the environment to ensure that its members have programs and standards in place to help them respond to those changes.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Okay. Just further to that, are you comfortable with revoking a licence if need be?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. McGarry?
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you very much for your presentation. I’m still a nurse in the province of Ontario, so I have worked both at SickKids and Mount Sinai Hospital. I would have to agree with you that they are very well-run institutions.
As a health care professional, I just had a question regarding the role that you would be playing in terms of looking at colleges and being able to administer the guidelines to members. In particular, if there are issues regarding registration of that health care professional—in particular, the chiropractors—with that college, what experience would you be able to bring to that role to be able to deal with that kind of a situation?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think, very similar to the role colleges have in terms of admitting and registering members, hospitals do have that with privileging physicians. Certainly, in both the hospitals I’ve worked at, I’ve been involved in setting standards and working with other organizations to set common standards for privileges, and then in monitoring and advising on the registration and annual renewal process for those privileges.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Do you work fairly closely with those who are doing the credentialing from the medical affairs director?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Yes, I’ve had experience with medical affairs and in developing the credentialing programs.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Okay, so you’re fairly comfortable with looking at that avenue.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Yes.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I appreciate your presentation today. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. Could you just tell us what motivated you to apply to this council?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Sure. I’m definitely very passionate about health care. In particular, this gave me the opportunity to be involved in the community but at the same time apply my knowledge of health care and health law in a way that protects the health and well-being of Ontarians. I think, in terms of accessing health professionals, when Ontarians go to seek a health care provider such as a chiropractor, they want to be assured that they’re getting quality services and that they can have all the information they need to make a decision in choosing a health care provider.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Your resumé lists being lead counsel regarding privacy and freedom with the Hospital for Sick Children. Could you comment on your experience dealing with freedom-of-information requests and the procedures and standards in place to make sure of transparency?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Absolutely. I think that the hospital sector has been under the freedom-of-information legislation since 2011. What’s interesting, when the legislation came about, is that most hospitals—at least, the two that I worked at—actually were very much in favour of proactive disclosure. At both SickKids and Mount Sinai Hospital, I’ve been part of efforts to make the organizations proactively transparent; for example, initiatives such as ensuring that board minutes are made available to the public on the Internet and that important documents such as strategic plans or financial statements are available to the public. I’m definitely in support of that and in support of the initiatives that colleges such as the College of Chiropractors have taken in this direction.
Mr. Jim McDonell: How did the hospital boards feel about the changes in 2011, as far as being open to freedom of information?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think that they weren’t sure what to expect, because the other organizations under the freedom-of-information legislation are government organizations. But they wanted to be ahead of the legislation, and they were very in favour of being transparent.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Sure. Any comment on some of the committees within the organization that you would want to belong to or contribute to?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: The quality assurance committee is something that I would be very interested in.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Okay. So you’ve worked within the system for some time. How do you perceive the role of chiropractors in the health care system?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think that health care professionals such as chiropractors and other non-physician and non-hospital organizations are going to have a greater role, because I think that the goal is for Ontarians to be able to quickly and accessibly access health care. Sometimes that’s in the form of a doctor or a hospital, or sometimes that’s community care and clinics such as chiropractors. So I see the role of chiropractors growing, actually.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. How did you hear about this opportunity?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: On the website for the Public Appointments Secretariat.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: The website. Okay, I’m going to ask a couple more questions, because we heard earlier today from other candidates looking for an opportunity to serve the public in Ontario that they were either asked to consider the position or—another person said that these opportunities are well-kept secrets. Did someone direct you to it or, given the nature of the position you currently have, were you aware of it?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think that as a former Ministry of the Attorney General lawyer, I always knew about the website and the postings.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Ah, there you go. Okay. Because I made note of the fact that we need to take a look at process and talk a bit more about what opportunities there are to serve the public, and hopefully, we fill them in a timely fashion.
I would also like to know a little bit, going back to what you could bring to the board that you’re applying to—given your experience and looking ahead to the future, what are some hurdles you may see for the chiropractic practice that you may want to address at the board level, or other opportunities? What are some hurdles that may be coming down the pipeline that you might anticipate, that the board needs to address? Conversely, what are the opportunities?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think that this can be both a challenge and an opportunity, just keeping up with best practices. There are a number of regulatory colleges governing various professionals. I think that the chiropractic college is going to want to be consistent. They’re not going to be wanting to have members of the public go to their website or their member directory and see less information than they would for an ophthalmologist, for example.
I think that keeping up with best practices in the industry for other health professionals, and also helping Ontarians make informed decisions when they want to seek a health care provider—because I think that the public expectation is not only to find a member directory with a list of clinics and addresses. They want to find more information; for example, has the member been disciplined? How many years have they been practising for?
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. I appreciate that. The other thing is, do you see a growing demand for chiropractic services?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Yes, absolutely. I think that there’s going be a growing demand for lots of non-physician and hospital-centric services, which I am familiar with, in terms of just being able to access a variety of health care services, especially with an aging population.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: That’s interesting, because a number of folks that I know had to go down to the States, particularly to Chicago, to earn their doctorate. I’m just wondering, do you see an opportunity or do you see a need for Ontario to take a look at increasing opportunities for education right here, at home, in Ontario? A couple of weeks ago, we heard about the province cutting back on 50 residency positions. So I’m just wondering—you say there’s a growing trend, especially with an aging population. How do we make sure that we’re keeping people at home, educating them at home, so that we can serve the people here at home?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Yes. I think an important role for the college is just monitoring trends, so if there are increasing demands for these types of services, making sure that we are graduating an appropriate number each year. I think it’s really important to not just respond to the current crisis or the current challenge, but looking forward and looking at trends.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Thompson. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good afternoon. How are you today?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I’m good. How are you?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good. Not too bad at all. It’s interesting with chiropractors, pharmacies and all that kind of stuff. You’re talking a little bit about the scope of the work and how they could help our health care system function better. Have you got any ideas around that on improving the scope of work, doing work like giving needles, giving stuff at the pharmacies? What’s your position on that? I know they’re doing a lot of that—checking blood pressure, checking sugar—rather than running to the doctor to do that, and freeing up doctors to take care of harder issues and expanding on those services to serve the public better.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Yes, I think scope of practice of all professions is being looked at to make sure that if a professional who may be more cost-effective, for example, than a physician can provide that service—exploring that. But I think, on the other side, the council has a challenge that where scope of practice is expanded for chiropractors, to make sure those chiropractors are equipped with programs and standards that help them respond to that expanded scope of practice. But I do think revisiting scope of practice is a great idea.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. I’m quite familiar with the pharmacies. So on the scope for a chiropractor: What do you think that they should be able to do to help expand their scope? What would be some of the things that you think they should be able to do?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think maybe looking at what health care services currently are in short supply from existing practitioners, and whether those particular services could be provided within the scope of qualifications of a chiropractor.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And an example of that would be?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I guess an example would be more invasive services. So for example, chiropractors under the Regulated Health Professions Act are permitted to provide acupuncture, which is, on the spectrum, something more invasive, so looking at something like that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Are you familiar with the fact that all chiropractors practising in Ontario are required to become registered members of the college?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Right. Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And I read that out because when I saw that—there are debates around other professions on whether they should be regulated, whether they should belong to a college. I saw that with the chiropractors so I thought it was important to read that out, having you say “yes.”
I’m always fascinated with health care. I’m from Niagara. Niagara Falls is my riding, but I grew up in St. Catharines. We have a lot of issues around health care in Niagara, particularly closing of hospitals, cuts to services, mental health being moved out of Niagara Falls into a community that is 20 minutes away. Where do you see long-term care going?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: In terms of long-term-care services?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Long-term care, yes.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Well, certainly with an aging population, there’s a growing demand for long-term care. I think just exploring the right place for long-term care to be delivered is a very lively debate, whether it’s at a hospital, whether it’s a long-term-care home, or whether it’s at-home services.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. How long have you been involved with health care?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Four years.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So you’re relatively new to the bigger picture on health care. Do you see there’s a real movement in the province to look at closing more hospitals and not even having hospitals, where it would be more community hubs, that type of stuff, expanding the scope of the service so that the need for the hospital is not there?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I wouldn’t know the rationale on that. I haven’t looked closely at that issue.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m asking that because it seems like that’s kind of where we’re going on not having as much need for hospitals, which is interesting to me because we want long-term care. We want to be taking care of our parents in our homes more, keeping it at home, that type of stuff.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I don’t need your comments, quite frankly. I’m talking to the witness. I have 10 minutes. I don’t need your comments at all.
I’m passionate about health care. Health care in my community is a need that is in dire straits with the closing of the hospitals. I just wanted to get a professional opinion, because you talked about health care and your passion for health care, and your passion to make sure that people are being treated in a timely fashion. I respect that, and that’s why I was trying to say—maybe some advice even for myself on how we can continue to highlight what we need in Niagara.
On the scope, I think we’re right on the money. I think you’re absolutely right: I think we should be expanding the scope of chiropractors. I think we should be doing it with our pharmacies as well, again to alleviate some of the—you go to the doctor’s office and sometimes you sit there for an hour and a half or two hours. Meanwhile, you’re getting your blood sugar checked that you could have gotten down at a pharmacy. I think that’s the type of scope that you’re talking about, that I think would work in the health care profession.
What motivated you to seek the position?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: My interest in health care, and my experience as a lawyer in health care, and wanting to apply that in a way to serve the public interest.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What about the time commitment?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I noticed that the meetings are posted well in advance, so it would make it possible to definitely plan for those meetings.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. What particular contribution do you hope to make to the council of chiropractors of Ontario?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: One, definitely applying my experience in the hospital sector with the registration of physicians and the annual application of physician privileges, applying that to the college registration and annual renewal process.
Secondly, just furthering some of the initiatives that the council has already taken with respect to transparency.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Have you ever sat down and talked to any chiropractors in your—
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I have received chiropractic services.
Mr. Wayne Gates: No, but have you sat down and talked to them about some of this stuff? Because, obviously, getting on a board—have you already talked to some chiropractors? What do you think you need? What do you think you could provide, before you came here?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I haven’t, but I think that the council would be a great forum for that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I can tell you that my wife had a serious car accident a number of years ago and has been using chiropractors almost continuously to try to get better with her shoulder and her legs and stuff. They do important work. I certainly believe that we should seriously look at their scope of work.
Could you tell me your previous experience with self-regulating professions that might be of assistance for undertaking this position?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Sure. I’m a lawyer, so I belong to a self-regulating profession. Secondly, in my role at the hospital, I’ve worked with both the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Nurses when they have been investigating physicians or nurses at the hospital that are staff members, in terms of helping them respond to the investigation and collect documents and records.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How big is your concern with making sure that we’re able to deal with our senior population when it comes to health care?
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: I think it’s an important development for everyone, whether it’s a hospital, a community organization or an independent practitioner, to be monitoring, just to make sure that we know of the challenges that are currently going on—and more to come ahead—and that we’re prepared to respond in a smart way to that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. How much time have I got left?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): One minute and 49 seconds.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Anyway, it’s a pleasure talking to you.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I think that you’re right on the money on the scope. When you get on this, continue to do that. Everybody I’ve met, whether it be with the chiropractors or the pharmacies, they’re all saying that’s something we can do that can certainly cut the costs down in health care. We’re fighting for every single dollar in health care. I think that’s a real direction, when you get onto the board, to continue to do.
Thanks for coming today. I appreciate it.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My pleasure.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Ms. Lawrence, thank you very much for being here today.
Ms. Wendy Lawrence: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): This concludes the time for the interview. Thank you very much for presenting to us and answering our questions. We’ll consider the concurrences for the appointments at the end of the day. I want to thank you very much, and you may step down.
Our next intended appointee is not here.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Just before I take your point, I just want to say one thing while we’re here without any appointees. We have appointees here who are here to answer our questions, and they’re being interviewed. We do work in an environment where we don’t agree on things, and so on both sides we have to be conscious of the fact that we have somebody here who’s not a partisan person, who’s here to be interviewed. It may be uncomfortable or confusing to them why we’re talking to each other. I just want to point that out. I think we have to all keep that in mind. I know that’s where we come from, but these people who are with us are here to be questioned as to their competence and their suitability for the appointment.
I just wanted to put that out there. Thank you very much.
Mr. Gates, you had a—
Mr. Wayne Gates: I can appreciate what you’re saying, but at the end of the day, if one of my colleagues is speaking, I would think that the proper way to do it is to put their hand up and go through the Chair to make any comments. You may disagree with any of our questions, but I don’t believe that people should be talking across when I’m talking. I think that shows absolutely no respect.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): And I’ll have to say—
Mr. Wayne Gates: I understand what you’re saying.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): What ends up happening is—it can happen on both sides, and it’s easy because it’s the environment that we’re in. As Chair, I think it’s fair to say that there’s a fair amount of latitude in what people are allowed to ask in their questions, not being a judge about when something is appropriate or not. So there’s a lot of latitude in this committee, and there should be, because again, we’re asking people about their qualifications and their suitability.
So as Chair, we have to permit that latitude, but we have to also respect the person who’s sitting in front of us. So I appreciate it very much—Mr. Gates?
Mr. Wayne Gates: I don’t want to stay on this, but to be clear, I believe that if you don’t like the line of questioning that one of us is doing, we go through the Chair. So I think that’s probably the best way to go about that.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): That is. We come from an environment where we don’t always agree. This is a different place from the place upstairs.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I agree.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): But we’re still sitting across from each other, so that’s what happens sometimes. I just wanted to remind everybody of that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I appreciate that. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much.
Mr. Paul Macmillan
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Paul Macmillan, intended appointee as member, Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointment is Paul Macmillan, nominated as member, Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council. Mr. Macmillan, can you come forward?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Hello.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Please have a seat. Thank you very much for being here today. You may make a brief statement. Any time that you use for your statement will be taken from the government’s time to ask questions. You’ll be asked questions by members of all three parties today. Again, I thank you very much for being here. You may proceed.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Thank you very much for the time and for the invitation. My name is Paul Macmillan. I’m a partner with Deloitte, based here in Toronto. I’ve been with Deloitte for almost 30 years; I’ve been a partner for over 20. I’m here because I’ve been asked to participate in the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council, and I’d be pleased to do so.
By way of background, I grew up in Ottawa—in Nepean, actually—and went to Carleton University, where I studied public administration, and the University of Ottawa, where I did an MBA. My area of focus is in management consulting and has been around public administration and public management. I recently completed a role as Deloitte’s global public sector industry leader, which means I was responsible for all of the services that we bring to government and all of our lines of business around the globe. I have recently completed that job and I’m now focused back in Canada, leading our strategy and operational management consulting practice.
I previously served as a board member at Bridgepoint health out in Riverdale for a number of years. As part of that, I worked with Tom Corcoran, who has joined me here today, who was then chair of Bridgepoint and is now chair of HPRAC. He invited me to join, to be part of the committee. So that’s my background. I’m happy to share more.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Macmillan. Our questioning will begin with the official opposition. Mr. McDonell?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you. What motivated you to take on this new role?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Well, I want to do some things that are involved in the community. My background is very much in the realm of public-private co-operation and collaboration. I enjoyed working within the health sector. As you know, Bridgepoint hospital has amalgamated with Mount Sinai. There was some restructuring of the board and so I gave up that role as part of that work. I was looking for something to do, and this seems like an area which suits my background and interest, isn’t a huge amount of draw on time and from time to time would have some topics that I think would be very important in terms of health outcomes and patient safety across the province.
Mr. Jim McDonell: So you have five years’ experience on the hospital board. Could you tell us about your experience with the regulated and non-regulated professionals in that role?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Really, none, I would say. I don’t really have any experience relative to the regulated health professions space, which was one of the things that was presented to me as one of the reasons why I might be attractive to it: because I don’t have a view, necessarily, on regulated and non-regulated health professions going into this, other than the fact that as a board member, obviously, you’re providing governance over resources that are part of different regulated professions. Beyond that, I really haven’t had any.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know personal support workers have been reaching out through our office to be regulated. Do you have any comment on what criteria might be put in place for deciding whether they should become regulated or remain the way they are?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: The criteria, as I understand it, are pretty well established with respect to both what’s in the act and also what’s provided by way of guidance to the council members. Obviously, public safety is the number one criteria with respect to implications, positively or negatively, and with respect to any potential harm to the population. Then there are a number of other criteria with respect to economic factors that are a part of that as well. I would say that the criteria to be applied are pretty clearly articulated. The key, as I understand it, relative to the council, is evidence- or fact-based in terms of what evidence is available to support applications that are made, and for us to take an independent and objective view of it.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Also in your experience on the board, what have been some of the challenges that you faced? Any challenges with funding or the like?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Well, it has been interesting. Certainly, if I think specifically relative to hospital board governance, funding is a continual challenge, particularly because of not just restraint but also formulas and methods by which funding allocation decisions are made. It’s something that, as a board governor type, is important to keep abreast of because it does change from time to time. I think that we expect to see different types of business models and other things emerge within the health space that will continue to be, I think, a challenge with respect to people who are overseeing and looking at potential impacts, positive or negative, with respect to population health.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Hospitals have had their funding frozen or in some cases reduced over the last number of years, so it certainly created some challenges for sure.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Sure, thank you. I have a question around your experience with regard to your reference to public-private collaborations. I just want to learn a little bit more about that. Can you give us an example of a collaboration that worked very, very well? I was just going through my notes here. You alluded to different health care business models evolving, so I’m wondering if there’s a little bit of a connection there between your experience with public-private collaboration and the evolution of business models in health care. What are your thoughts on it? What are your experiences?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I had the opportunity back in 2013 to co-author a book that Harvard Business Review Press published. We called it The Solution Revolution. Our subtitle was about how business, government and social enterprises are teaming up and collaborating to try to solve big public problems.
What we found, of course, is that there seems to be more opportunity, given the Internet, social media and crowdfunding—you can pick a whole range of topics and trends that are under way that seem to be encouraging citizens to participate more in social issues, whether it be personal health-related or any variety of others.
We do see sort of a global trend of new opportunities for collaboration associated with social challenges.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Interesting. Just yesterday I had a meeting with a Community Living organization and they have a social enterprise whereby some of their clients have a catering service. Loosely interpreting some of the messaging I heard, they’re getting their hands slapped a little bit for their entrepreneurialism. What do you think when you hear of real life examples like that?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: It’s interesting because there is a lot of opportunity for more creativity, and we have seen in different jurisdictions—I know that Ontario has looked at social enterprises and how they’re treated, as have other provinces—this whole question of if you make a profit in terms of a service that you offer, should you be able to reinvest some of that in your mission and mandate?
I would say it’s an area where I’m certainly seeing a lot more openness around how to encourage for-profit and not-for-profit social enterprises in terms of trying to fulfill their mandates.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. I’m going to have to get your book and give it to the ED. Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. Thompson. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I saw that you co-authored The Solution Revolution. How long ago did you put it out?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Pardon me?
Mr. Wayne Gates: How long ago was the book—
Mr. Paul Macmillan: It was published in 2013, so just three years ago this month.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Bestseller?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I wouldn’t call it a bestseller.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m just checking.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I don’t think anybody would call it a bestseller.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Lots of royalties on that one, I bet. But it certainly got into some people’s hands, obviously.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Absolutely. Actually, it was really good, from my perspective, in terms of tapping into a trend with respect to citizens—not just citizens, but also businesses, not-for-profits and others looking for ways to partner and collaborate around social problems.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I wouldn’t mind reading it actually. It’s kind of interesting.
Your experience: What do you think you’ll bring as a council member in your role?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: When you’re working in consulting to government as I have been for almost three decades—
Mr. Wayne Gates: Did they ever listen?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Absolutely. I like evidence-based decision-making, and it’s a very important part of how we hope governments will operate and make decisions in terms of looking for improving of public outcomes.
In this particular case, it’s something that I’m used to and that I’m practised in and it’s an important part of the mandate of the council. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring some of that to the process.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m sure, because you did touch on private-public types of partnerships—
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, it is shown that in the province of Ontario we’ve actually spent billions more than we should have. Do you believe that? It’s showing that it’s costing more, and I’ll use health care as an example, which might work out better.
I’m from the Niagara Falls riding and I grew up in St. Catharines. We just built a brand new hospital in St. Catharines and it cost $1 billion—365 beds, it’s brand new; we closed two other hospitals in the area for $1 billion. Peterborough built a hospital that was almost the same: 20 fewer beds, same types of services, and theirs was $340 million.
My argument—and I’m not saying I’m right, because you did the book; I’m sure you’ve had this argument before and will have a response. There’s $600 million that could have been put back into health care. Maybe you could explain—because that’s an argument for me. I say to people all the time, “It cost $1 billion. If it cost $350 million, we could probably build three hospitals rather than one.” Your response to that on the P3s?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I’m not going to comment on the two particular cases because frankly, I’m not sure I know that much about the two cases. I do know that sometimes—well, let me put it another way. There are a number of reasons that drive governments to decide to use P3s, and they’re relatively well established. They have to do with trying to complete projects on time in a more consistent and predictable fashion. Ontario has completed a number of projects, a number of hospitals, over the past half-decade or decade under that program. In that respect, every project follows an approach which is—and I know first-hand from an Ontario perspective, which follows an established approach with respect to calculation of risk and return.
I’m sure there are many projects that haven’t met that hurdle and haven’t proceeded, but all the ones that have been performed, to the best of my knowledge, have followed an approach with respect to a consistent methodology, which is clearly a good thing with respect to looking at value for money in terms of public spending.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes, because there’s only one taxpayer at the end of the day.
Do you believe that you’ll need any training to sit on the board?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I don’t think so. There will be some orientation with respect to the process and there’s a learning curve, but I don’t think I need any specific training beyond the orientation that the secretary at the ministry would provide.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. I just want to say thanks for coming this afternoon.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: You’re welcome.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My pleasure.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates. Ms. McGarry.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you very much for your presentation today. I spent my entire adult career in health professions. I am a nurse, and I’m dating myself by saying that I’ve watched the health care professions grow and change and evolve over my entire career. For instance, at one time when I was practising, midwives were not regulated. PSWs were not in existence; they were health care aides. So we’ve watched a steady progression of change and evolution in the health care field.
As health care is still evolving, there are several professions that are still being regulated—for instance, midwives in 1994; naturopaths just became registered. I know that there has been some discussion about personal support workers, for instance, becoming regulated or unregulated. That discussion is ensuing.
What relevant experience do you have that will help to advise the minister on what professions should be regulated or unregulated?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I wouldn’t say that I have experience that will be directly relevant to the subject matter that you’ve identified in terms of those particular cases, but in terms of the process of making a recommendation to the minister, I would say that a large part of my consulting career has been doing assessments, reviews, objective studies for governments relative to their decision-making. So that process of a proposal or recommendation being put forward which government decision-makers are looking for objective feedback on, on whether it does or doesn’t make sense kind of thing, based on a number of criteria, is something which I have done for a large part of my career. I’m relatively comfortable that the role that I’m being asked to play with respect to applying the legislation and fulfilling the role of the committee is something which my skill set is well suited to.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: So looking at the process of making an evidence-based decision—it doesn’t really matter what sector; it’s more making sure that everything sort of lines up on either side of what that decision needs to be. I appreciate that too, because sometimes that high-level overview, that third-party objective opinion, helps to make sure that there’s no stone left unturned in such decisions. I appreciate that.
The other part of the position would really be regarding patient relations programs of Ontario’s health regulatory colleges. These would be patient relations representatives that are there just to accommodate any situation that arises, either a complaint or anything like that. Do you have any experience in dealing with the public as it relates to a regulatory body and how to ensure that those processes in place are good enough for the public to be able to make comments?
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I don’t think so. If I understand your question in terms of whether I have been involved in situations which are similar to what you’re describing, in terms of patient or other representatives—no, I don’t think so.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I think that part of the position is really just to advise on that. Again, I think that the processes that are in place do help you to make that decision.
I’m also interested in why you want to serve on this particular board, given your wide range of experiences.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: I was invited, because of a view that my background would be suitable. I’ve come out of my global role. I’m not travelling around the world as much as I was for the past four or five years, so I have a little more time capacity. I was looking for something to contribute to. The more I learned about it—I thought that it was an area which is important. So to the extent that I have got an opportunity to contribute in a way which could have a meaningful impact, it’s attractive to me to do so.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I appreciate that. I appreciate you coming today, and I appreciate the experience that you have behind you and your commitment to public service. Thank you.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Ms. McGarry.
Thank you very much, Mr. Macmillan. This concludes the time for the interview today. I want to thank you very much for being here and for presenting and answering all of our questions. We will consider the concurrences at the end of the day. I want to thank you again very much for being here, and you may step down.
Mr. Paul Macmillan: Okay. Thanks very much, everyone.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Cristina De Leon-Culp, intended appointee as member, Landlord and Tenant Board.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Our next intended appointee is Cristina De Leon-Culp, nominated as a member of the Landlord and Tenant Board. Ms. De Leon-Culp, could you please come forward?
Thank you very much for being here today. You may make a brief opening statement. Any time that you use will be taken from the government’s time for questions. You’ll have questions from members of all three parties today. Again, I thank you very much for being here.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Thank you for having me.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): My pleasure. Just so you know, I’ll be stepping out of the chair at 2 o’clock. If there’s any unusual movement, I have to leave at 2. I appreciate you being here. You may begin.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Good afternoon, honourable Mr. Chair and honourable members of the standing committee. I know that this is the afternoon of day 2 of these review hearings, but I ask that you bear with me and give me a listen as I highlight some of the qualifications which I hope to bring to this position, if appointed.
I have been a lawyer for 25 years. Initially, I was called to the Philippine bar in 1990. I practised in the city of Manila for close to five years, primarily in the areas of employment and labour relations. As such, I regularly appeared before adjudicative tribunals, including labour arbitration boards. I think it was then that I first gained an appreciation for the active and expeditious dispute-resolution process afforded by specialized quasi-judicial bodies, and how the summary process facilitates access to justice and timely resolutions of disputes.
The next phase of my law career started with my move to Canada in 1995. After completing a master of laws from Queen’s University in 1996, I completed accreditation studies in law at the University of Toronto. I then articled with the Superior Court of Justice, then called the General Division, and I served over 30 justices for the entire central south region.
My articling year with the Superior Court of Justice was a tremendous experience for me. It developed in me an aptitude for looking at all angles, appreciating all positions, which I believe is necessary for impartial adjudication.
I remember sitting in on motion hearings with my mentors, the justices, and reviewing files and files and files, and then having these adjudication sessions with my mentors, the justices, and discussing with them the interests and perspectives of both sides in a dispute.
I was called upon to make several recommendations in regard to the resolution of files, and I did that through thorough and well-researched legal memoranda. I was very gratified when my mentors actually adopted these recommendations and reflected my input in their reported case decisions.
After writing the bar admission course, I was called to the Ontario bar in the year 1999. In the last 13 years, I’ve been practising in Brantford, Ontario. My general practice has included specifically landlord and tenant law.
I appear before the Landlord and Tenant Board on various landlord and tenant issues, such that I am familiar with the procedures, with the process, before the Landlord and Tenant Board, governed by its own rules of practice and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.
I have a good working knowledge of the relevant legislation, which is the Residential Tenancies Act, as well as case law and board decisions.
I have participated in numerous mediation sessions, actively working with the mediator employed by the board and with the parties, to bring about fair and early resolution of cases.
While I have primarily represented landlords in files that go before the Landlord and Tenant Board, I have also advised and, in certain cases, provided legal representation to tenants in matters, for example, involving a landlord’s requirement to repossess a property for personal use.
I also wish to highlight that my legal practice has included a fair component of employment law. This is an area of law which has afforded me many opportunities for private mediation to resolve the claims of an employee in a wrongful dismissal file.
This is also an area of law which has involved human rights legislation. I hope to bring into this position my heightened sensitivity to human rights issues—a respect for diversity, a sensitivity to disadvantages that people may have due to disability, including mental health issues or due to language or family status. I will be sensitive to the need for accommodation in rental housing as well as in the conduct of the hearing.
Finally, I wish to highlight that I am active in my local community in various volunteer positions, including being a director and officer of the Filipino-Canadian Association of Brantford, and chairperson for the last two years of the Philippine Village, which is part of the bigger Brantford International Villages Festival. This festival is a four-day multicultural event, one of the top 50 festivals in Ontario—a large crowd-drawer, for sure. It showcases the cultures, dances, music and cuisine of the various represented cultures.
My leadership in these volunteer positions has developed my organizational and management skills, but most importantly, it has developed in me a kind of social intelligence, an ability to actively listen with empathy, attuning to the interests of all parties; an aptitude for understanding what may lie behind perhaps a hostile tone or language or behaviour; and an ability to maintain control in confrontational or stressful situations.
I think this social ability will help me, if appointed as member of the Landlord and Tenant Board, and enable me to treat people with sensitivity, respect and courtesy, and enable me to adjudicate issues under the act as fairly as possible.
Thank you for the opportunity to make this brief presentation. I see that everybody has kept awake, so thank you very much for listening to me.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much. Mr. Gates?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good afternoon.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Good afternoon, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How are you? I can tell you—I’ve said this a number of times today—I’m from Niagara, the Niagara Falls and St. Catharines area, and we certainly have a big Filipino Canadian community that does incredible work in volunteering. To your point on the human rights file that you talk about yourself: Some of the issues, obviously, when they come into our community are language barriers.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: That’s correct, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Some are mental health issues. So the fact that you’re on to that is good. I’m sure your community back in Brantford appreciates it because sometimes they don’t know where to turn.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: That’s right.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you for doing that. I can tell you as an MPP, the Landlord and Tenant Board is one that we use quite regularly.
In my community, in Niagara, we have—although I’ve said this once before, Niagara is a little better this year because of the lower dollar. We’re getting a lot more tourists coming to Niagara Falls this year and into Niagara-on-the-Lake. But we have a lot of issues around landlords and tenants from both sides, from the landlord coming in and talking about the tenant that they’ve got issues with, and the tenant is talking about the landlord that they’ve got. It’s a very big issue and one that we spend a lot of time on. I would say it’s almost full-time, with one staff person doing these types of issues. I don’t know if other areas go through that. So it’s a very important role that you’re taking on.
You talked a little bit but I’ll ask you to say it again. What really attracted you to say, “You know what? This is something I want to do”?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: My fair share of landlord-tenant law files in my private practice has given me a good working knowledge of the landlord and tenant law, as well as the procedural aspect, the board processes, so I have that knowledge and experience base. I’m probably one of the few lawyers who has—standing commandingly right on her desk—a battered, heavily highlighted, Post-it Note-covered compendium of landlord and tenant law. It’s true. I’m probably one of the few lawyers, at least in my community, who regularly appears before the Landlord and Tenant Board because, really, more and more paralegals and property managers do this type of job, and that’s great. But for me personally, having this knowledge and experience base, it’s almost natural to want to move into an adjudicative role.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I can tell you that I wish we had more lawyers. It’s one of the problems that we have in Niagara, that it takes such a long time to go through the process.
I’m also fascinated—and we’ve talked about this, quite a bit, actually, with a number of boards—with the importance of doing mediation.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: That’s right, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Maybe you can elaborate on why that’s important so they don’t go through that entire process, outside the cost.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Yes, that’s right. Well, I am a firm believer in the mediation process, and I use the mediation process very heavily within the Landlord and Tenant Board process. In fact, I’ve had files where even before the scheduled date of hearing I would jump-start the mediation process by phoning up the mediators and having them look into the file, trying to broker a settlement between the parties. Seventy per cent of the time that has succeeded, dispensing with the need for a hearing—mind you, cutting down my fees. But that’s okay because, at the end of the day, I feel that I’ve done a great service to the landlord and aided in the administration of justice in that it was resolved in an early, fair and reasonable way, with the parties crafting their own settlement terms. Within the Landlord and Tenant Board process, the mediators are always onsite. They are a huge help and I’ve used them a lot.
I’ve also noticed now that they have a case management process that’s built into the structure so that even before the scheduled hearing date there is, by telephone, a mediator who tries to simplify the issue. It’s sort of a pre-trial or a settlement conference. That has also helped. I’ve participated in a case management hearing process. Again, it dispensed with the need for a hearing. That’s very important.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I thought the explanation was really good, but the line that I liked the best was the fact that you said that 70% of the time we’re getting them resolved in a timely fashion, at the expense of your fees.
Ms. Christina De Leon-Culp: At the expense of my fees.
Mr. Wayne Gates: But the issue then becomes, from you, that you want to get it resolved.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: I want to get it resolved.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s right. I think that’s very, very important, and it’s nice to hear you say that, that the client is the important person here. Because they’re going through a stressful time—it’s not fun, it’s not fun.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Absolutely. And the other beauty of mediation, if I may add, is that in mediation you may resolve terms that are not necessarily before the board or within the jurisdiction of the Landlord and Tenant Board; for example, outstanding utilities or other such issues. Then parties are free to talk about these issues and come to an agreement about how to resolve these issues, and oftentimes it results in better relationships. Then you’ve really rehabilitated the tenancy relationship, the tenancy, and then you allow it to continue without the bad feelings.
Mr. Wayne Gates: If you can stop the fighting, it helps.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: For sure.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: That’s correct.
Mr. Wayne Gates: In your opinion, what challenges, if any, do you think the board faces in exercising its responsibility?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Well, the first challenge I see is the ever-increasing number of cases that go before the Landlord and Tenant Board. I don’t have statistics, but just from my experience as a lawyer bringing matters before the Landlord and Tenant Board, I have observed how in the city of Brantford we now need two members, sitting in two separate hearing rooms, hearing files all day. Yes, the mediators are on site and that’s been a help, but there is that huge volume of case law. That’s one challenge.
The other challenge that I’d like to speak to, as I had mentioned, is human rights issues. More and more I’m observing that human rights issues are coming into play in landlord and tenant law. That’s a challenge before the board. The act mandates the board to consider all circumstances in determining whether it is just to refuse, delay, postpone an eviction. Part of the many considerations a board has to review is whether the tenant has a disability and whether the landlord has, in turn, accommodated the tenant’s disability to the point of undue hardship. That is a very high test and that’s the challenge that faces the board.
For example, a landlord may come before the board with an allegation that a tenant with a mental health issue has interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants of the rental premises, because the tenant is, perhaps, making unnecessary noise that is keeping the others awake. In such a situation, the board has to inquire into whether the landlord has taken steps to accommodate the tenant, and that inquiry can involve asking whether the landlord has consulted with members of the family, with health care workers, social workers, in regard to whether they are monitoring the tenant’s compliance with medications, or if the tenant is attending psychotherapy. It may involve the landlord consulting with engineers—acoustic engineers—and whether the residential building has been soundproofed.
So there is that inquiry and the board has to turn its mind toward the cost of accommodating, and health and safety requirements, especially if, let’s say, other tenants are affected and they fear for their safety as a result of the manifestations of a mental health issue.
So there’s that balancing that has to take place when there’s a human rights issue that’s before the board.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And in most cases, or at least we’ve found, the landlord will not want to go through that process, because it’s a lot easier and a lot cheaper just to get rid of the problem, in their eyes. That’s the challenge.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: That does happen, and that’s why the board is there to apply the Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code is the law of the land, and the board members are mandated to take into consideration the landlord’s duty to accommodate in every issue.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How much time do I have left?
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Seven seconds.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thanks very much, and keep up the good work.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Thank you, Mr. Gates.
The Chair (Mr. John Fraser): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates. Ms. Malhi?
Ms. Harinder Malhi: Thank you so much for your presentation and all the great work you do. It’s clear how much you care about your community.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Thank you.
Ms. Harinder Malhi: Seeing that you’re so active in your community, can you highlight some of the organizations that you’re involved with?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Okay. I’m involved in the Philippine Village, which is one of 15 to 16 villages within the Brantford International Villages Cultural Festival. This is a four-day multicultural event that takes place in July every year.
I was chair of the Philippine Village. I organized the village. We had dances and we had to draw the community interest, to engage the community and to get them involved and participating. I can say that my involvement saw the increase in the volunteer base of the Philippine Village. When I assumed the position in 2014, at that time we had about 20 of our youth volunteering to be part of the dances. When I took over we were able to triple that number so that in 2014 we actually had over 60 youth and children under the age of 18 learning their cultural dances and performing on stage. That was a great source of gratification for me.
Through the Philippine Village, we have been able to develop our youth’s confidence and leadership. We’ve had youth come in who just arrived in Canada from the Philippines; they are shy and new to the country. They go through the Philippine Village process and at the end you can see a striking difference. They’re confident, they have friends and they’re showing leadership abilities.
Ms. Harinder Malhi: Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Ms. Malhi. Mr. McDonell?
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. You’ve shown a fair bit of experience at the Landlord and Tenant Board. How do you find the board works—the operation? Does it do its function or what it’s intended to do?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Yes, I do believe that the Landlord and Tenant Board functions as efficiently as it can within the legislation. My comments are all positive. I’ve obviously brought many applications on behalf of landlords before the board and every decision that I’ve received was always fair and I always felt I had a fair hearing. That’s the important thing as well. Whatever way the decision went, I always felt I was afforded a fair hearing.
Mr. Jim McDonell: One of the issues we have with rental units is a system that encourages not only renters but people to put an inventory of housing together so that there’s a good rental stock available. I hear locally, within my riding, about problems with the rental industry. Maybe that is not as encouraging as it might be for increasing that stock of houses. Do you have any comments that you have received—you worked with landlords—about the challenges that they have as well as some of the challenges the renters have?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Yes. As a representative for the landlords I always encouraged, as I’ve indicated, trying to enter into negotiated settlements using mediation. That has been very effective in keeping landlord costs down. There’s always room to arrive at a compromise. In many ways that’s the best solution because negotiating a settlement makes it possible for the parties to tailor their own terms that they are comfortable with.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Okay.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you for being here. I feel that, listening to your experience, you’ve been very fortunate because you’ve had so many good experiences with the board and the tribunal. When I think about the meetings I’ve had with landlords from my riding, they’re very frustrated at how the system tends to, to their way of thinking, when they met with me on separate occasions—that the whole system seems to put them at a disadvantage, favouring the renters as opposed to the landlords.
Just this past week in Essex, a colleague of ours hosted an open forum, and over 50 landlords attended to learn more about their rights and how they can advocate for a balanced approach.
In this position that you’re applying for, what would you do in terms of steps to ensure that landlords as well as renters are equally represented, so that that fairness can be truly felt? Because I can tell you, there are some landlords who feel that currently the system is not balanced and they’re at a disadvantage.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: I can’t say that I haven’t thought about that question. Yes, I have had experiences where things didn’t necessarily go my way. I’ve reviewed the legislation. My concerns—where an unintended result of frustrating or delaying, say, an eviction—when that happens, it’s not really, in my view, anyway, a deficiency in the legislation or in the system. The way I perceive it is that when that happens, it’s a failure in the underlying relationship, where there is a duty of good faith and fair dealing between contracting parties.
Yes, I have had such experiences, but even the most comprehensive legislation, in my mind, cannot cover every nuance of every relationship. For example, in the Residential Tenancies Act, there is the de facto right of appeal to the Divisional Court, and there is no leave for appeal that’s required. In a perfect world, that’s perfectly sensible and consistent with the purpose of the legislation, which is to allow the rehabilitation of tenancies. But once in a while, yes, that appeal right can have the unintended result of frustrating a lawful eviction. But on the flip side, as well, it can bring about the unintended result of frustrating a lawful rent abatement, for example. Is the law deficient? Is it the system that does not work, or is it a failure in the underlying good-faith obligation between the parties? The way I perceive it, it’s the latter, where there should be more good faith between the parties to work within the legislation.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: If you were to have a seat around the board table, what could you do to facilitate that enhanced relationship?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: I would allow better communication. That’s very important. If they come before me in the Landlord and Tenant Board, I would encourage that they talk amongst themselves and try to resolve their matter, or to use the services of the mediator to try to resolve their matter. Communication would be key, I believe.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: What kind of timeline do you think is appropriate in terms of resolving the issue at hand? Is it six months? Is it a year? Given your experience, how long do you think due process should take?
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: When I go before the board and I ask for an order and I say that it’s a standard order, I usually get it within 11 days. That’s the standard that they have when you ask for a standard order. The board member would usually ask you, “Are there any circumstances that you’re aware of why we should refuse or delay eviction?” That’s the opportunity to bring out any factors that may affect the timelines. For example: The landlord may be needing the property for another renter or for personal use, or maybe there are human rights issues that are there that will allow the delay of the eviction. But usually, it’s an 11-day turnaround or a two-week process.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much. That concludes the time that we’ve allocated for this interview. We will consider concurrence at the end of the day. We would like to say thank you very much for being with us today.
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp: Thank you for listening and for considering me.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): You may step down.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Chinyere Eni-McLean, intended appointee as member, Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): I would like to invite our next intended appointee today: Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean. I’m not sure how I’m pronouncing your name, and I apologize if I—
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: No problem. All attempts are welcome. I know it’s an unusual name.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): You’ll have to help me out here. I want to say thank you for being here today, and welcome. You will have a chance to do a brief statement. Members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time that you use during your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions, if it exceeds the allocated time. I would like you to start.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Madam Chair and members of the committee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m known professionally by my middle name, which is Chinyere. I’m a banker and an active volunteer. I have a master’s degree from Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. I’ve practised banking for 16 years and have been an active volunteer for over 20 years.
Within RBC’s personal and commercial banking business, I’ve worked in various capacities, including the branch network, operations, relationship management and strategy roles. In 2012, I was appointed as national director for both public sector and aboriginal markets for RBC. In this role, I was responsible for the national banking strategy governing all of RBC’s public sector bankers. On the aboriginal side of my work, I was responsible for the enterprise strategy, the aboriginal market strategy guiding all of RBC’s business.
As a unique aspect of my role, I was responsible for publishing the annual publication of the Aboriginal Partnership Report called A Chosen Journey. That report includes a scorecard of RBC’s activities supporting four key pillars of work, one of which was community and social development through donations and sponsorships.
As you can see, my practice has afforded me a strong knowledge of the banking and, often, the community needs with respect to aboriginal issues—First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities—as well as public sector organizations.
As a childhood cancer survivor, I lost my left leg to cancer at the hip level. That inspired me, from a very young age, to give back through volunteerism. For the past 20-plus years, I’ve volunteered for various organizations across Canada, with considerable work undertaken with the War Amputations of Canada, Child Amputee Program, as well as with the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, specifically with the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
In 2012, I was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award for my contributions to Canada through volunteerism, as nominated by the War Amps.
As a financial professional, I have demonstrated a very high level of commitment, dedication, sound judgment under pressure and the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently. In 2013, a former classmate of mine from Rotman introduced me to Andrea Cohen Barrack, the CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. She thought that our leadership styles were similar and complementary, and hence proceeded to connect us as part of networking. At my first meeting with Andrea, I learned of opportunities on the board and I proceeded to apply online through the secretariat.
I believe that my focus, my desire for learning and my innate interest in the work undertaken by OTF would enable a very strong contribution to the board. I’m pleased to share that I have just returned this week from maternity leave in a new leadership capacity within RBC within the financial planning business. In my new role, I will be responsible for the Toronto west region financial planning team.
In closing, I believe I bring considerable experience as a banking professional and as a volunteer who has been focused for a couple of decades now on positively impacting Canadian communities. My personal and professional experiences align very strongly with the core capabilities and objectives of the board, and it would be an honour to be appointed to the Ontario Trillium Foundation board to further this work. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much. MPP Dong.
Mr. Han Dong: I noticed your riding says Trinity–Spadina. That’s a very familiar riding name for me as well. I’m quite privileged to represent that riding myself. I apologize for my voice.
Congratulations on the new addition to your family.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Thank you.
Mr. Han Dong: I’m a young parent as well, so I know that can be challenging.
I want to just thank you for putting yourself forward, serving the public appointment. In this case, it’s the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is a very important organization. I think the budget exceeds $1 billion every year. It helps many, many organizations across the province, and I’ve attended the ceremonies of quite a few doing good work in Trinity–Spadina.
I want to wish you the best of luck, and thank you for putting your name forward.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out. Locally I’ve worked with—
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Excuse me. Mr. McDonell, I apologize.
Ms. Hoggarth, you have a question?
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: There’s some time?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Yes.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Yes, I just wanted to know if—welcome, and wow, you’ve got an amazing resumé. Congratulations on the new baby and on beating cancer. I’m also a cancer survivor.
Have you been given any indication about the time commitment with regard to this position, and are you willing to put forward the time to be involved in this?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Yes, and that’s a very important question. I am familiar with the quarterly nature of meetings and have reached out to the administration group to understand what commitment would be required. Really, that would be around 50 hours, so I’m very comfortable with that. I’ve actually taken some steps to reduce my volunteer efforts in a couple of different areas where I’ve been long-standing and can step back to make sure that I’ll have the time necessary to dedicate to this work.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you for your commitment.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much. Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out. I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of groups that have applied for Trillium, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But they’re very worthwhile projects. Have you had a chance to work with some of the organizations that you belong to on Trillium applications?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Not yet. I haven’t undertaken any work with Trillium, but I am familiar with how some of my favourite charities have applied, so I thought it would be very important to disclose the work that I have undertaken and to step back as needed to make sure there’s no conflict of interest in any work that could be presented, probably specifically on the War Amps of Canada side.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Well, they certainly typically allow our small communities’ organizations to upgrade their facilities, which they would not do otherwise if it weren’t for the money.
In your role, you’ll be critiquing, providing suggestions back, approving. Do you see your skills working well with the applications that come through?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Definitely. I think it’s important to bring strong rigour to reviewing the applications, making sure that timelines are respected, and ultimately keeping primary the nature of the work that’s undertaken by these groups. So making sure that there’s due process would be really, really important to me.
Mr. Jim McDonell: One of the concerns: A lot of the groups typically may not have a lot of computer expertise, and there’s that fear of making an application, so sometimes the board has to realize that a lot of these volunteers who are working—they’re typically volunteers—a lot of the time are maxed out and trying to get that one person who will spend the time. The joy of application can be a challenge.
Many times it’s the first time applying. Many times you hope that the Trillium group will acknowledge that sometimes they’re less than professionals because they’re limited in resources. The way it’s set up, it’s fairly easy to do that, but still most groups really have a problem getting somebody to actually take the time and to make the effort to put into an application because it’s somewhat time-consuming. It’s not that bad, but the second one certainly is a lot easier than the first one, that’s for sure.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Definitely. It can be overwhelming at times.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I’m just curious—it’s always a small world—do you know Gwen Paddock or Steve Merker?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: I do. Gwen is a colleague of mine and Steve Merker is the COO of the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Isn’t that interesting?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: It’s a small world.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Yes. They belong in my world, too.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Oh, wonderful.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: My question is around the timeline in which you’ve been engaged. When did you first apply and when did you get word that you were being considered?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: It’s been a journey. I applied in 2013. I was advised at that time that it can take various amounts of time for applications to go through and to hear back. I unfortunately was missing the email address of the notary who completed my documents and so it was put back to the start line and I had to go through the process again.
That was unfortunate, so it took a little longer than perhaps some others, but that was the reason for the delay.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: When you started out the process, in your mind, how much time did you think would be involved? What would your expectation of a reasonable timeline be?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: A reasonable timeline: I was told that a year was customary, so I’d hoped that if I provided everything that I needed to, it would be within that year. It wasn’t, and that was unfortunate, but I was very, very interested. I’m very passionate about this type of work and so I stayed the course.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I think we’re glad you did.
Just for the record though: We have a vacancy in my riding and it’s been well over three years—and volunteers are getting turned off. So if you ever have a chance to forward concerns, I think timelines and respecting volunteer expectations and availability of commitment need to be taken into consideration.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Absolutely.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you for that.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: That’s very important.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I’ll follow up with you after.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Okay.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good afternoon. How are you?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: I’m well. How are you?
Mr. Wayne Gates: A couple of congratulations, actually.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Congratulations on your new addition to the family
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: I can see the green.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes, I can see how excited you are about that and I see that you were an Olympic torchbearer in Toronto in advance of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Yes, indeed.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Very nice. How did you enjoy that?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: It was actually more incredible than I thought. The day that I was supposed to do the route, right by the Eaton Centre, there was a Bollywood star that was in my group and as a result of the frenzy happening with young ladies, we were re-routed to SickKids. That was particularly touching for me, being a cancer survivor at a young age, and seeing all the young kids come out and look with surprise that the route had changed and that here were the torchbearers coming in to SickKids hospital. It ended up being one of the most memorable experiences for me.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Congratulations on that. It must have been a thrilling thing to have happen. I’ve said many times how much I enjoy sports, but ultimately I enjoy the torch being carried, in this case, across the country and the one that we just had now in the province of Ontario. It was all good stuff, so congratulations on that.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Like my colleagues before me—this is a very important fund for a lot of organizations. I can tell you that in my area, whether it is with the Lions—I met with them not that long ago. Their roof is starting to cave in and they don’t have the resources. There are other social groups that may need some upgrades in their kitchens, because they use their kitchens to raise funds to keep the organization going, and this work that you’re going to be doing is very, very important to those service groups.
They have changed the process a little bit on how to do it. The application—I agree: If we could make it simpler, it would be great. But certainly, in my office, we’ll sit down with them and help them do the application as well. I know that they’re time-consuming, and it depends on staff, but if you could find a way to make it easier for the application, I think it would be helpful.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Okay.
Mr. Wayne Gates: When you’re talking about the 50 hours of volunteer community service, maybe RBC—I know they’re very good corporate citizens. Maybe they’ll release you—
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Maybe.
Mr. Wayne Gates: —to do that. You could say that your MPP mentioned that to you, that maybe RBC would do that for you—
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: I will definitely do that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: —as their contribution to society.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I just wanted to say thanks very much for coming. I can tell that you’re excited to do this. You’ve had a very fulfilling life, with someone new in your family, and you still want to do volunteering, so I want to say congratulations and thank you for coming today. Enjoy.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Thank you so much.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Gates. That concludes the time allocated for this interview. We will consider concurrence at the end of the day. I want to say congratulations myself. Thank you very much for being here today.
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: Thank you so much. Have a wonderful afternoon, everyone.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: One last question: a boy or a girl?
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean: A little boy.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Excellent.
Mr. Carl Zehr
Review of intended appointment, selected by third party: Carl Zehr, intended appointee as member, Metrolinx.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): I would like to invite our next intended appointee, Mr. Carl Zehr, nominated as member for Metrolinx.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Good afternoon.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Good afternoon, and welcome. Thank you for being here today. You may begin with a brief statement. A member of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions.
You may definitely serve yourself some water. That’s great initiative.
Any time used during your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions. You may begin now. Thank you.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you very much, and good afternoon, everyone. I’m pleased to appear before the committee today to present my background and experience for your consideration of my application to become a member of the Metrolinx board of directors. Thank you.
Professionally, I am a chartered professional accountant with a wide variety of experience in both the private and public sectors. After being an employee for several years, I joined with two other CGAs in setting up a private accounting practice in 1981.
I was elected as a councillor in the city of Kitchener in 1985, serving three terms, including two terms as a councillor on the Waterloo region council as well. That ended in 1994.
In 1997, many people convinced me to run for mayor, as Kitchener’s mayor, and I’m so glad I did. At the end of November last year, I completed 17 years as mayor, in addition to 17 additional years as the Waterloo region councillor.
During those years, I was a member of Canada’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus and served as its chair for three terms, as well as a chair of the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus in Ontario.
As mayor, I took a leadership role in creating Kitchener’s $110-million economic development fund. This fund was the catalyst in broadening the economic base of our city and of our region to include innovative technology, education and the health science sectors.
I was a leader and a principal advocate on the Waterloo region council to develop and approve the $818-million LRT project that broke ground in August of this past year, with the plan for trains to be operating in 2017.
I also took a leadership role in the successful advocacy with the province and Metrolinx to initiate GO rail service to Waterloo region, and Kitchener specifically.
I was an advocate for the Kitchener and Waterloo region councils to make a clear distinction between governance and management roles, which allowed the political bodies to deal with policies, long-term vision and planning while leaving the administration to do their jobs. Today, as part of my interest in that, I am currently the co-chair of the southwestern Ontario chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
I chose to apply for a director position on the Metrolinx board for four reasons:
(1) I believe strongly that the future of transportation, and specifically transit, in the GTA and surrounding municipalities needs to be planned and implemented in a coordinated manner.
(2) A sound transportation network is absolutely essential to support a vibrant economy for Ontario and Canada.
(3) Metrolinx has a solid track record of delivering reliable transit services.
(4) The Metrolinx board needs to reflect a broad spectrum of skills, community engagement, business experience, geographic representation and governance knowledge.
As a result of my varied background and—I try to say it modestly—success in the public realm, I believe I can bring a unique perspective of accountability and credibility to the Metrolinx board.
Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Zehr, and I would like to invite Mr. McDonell—
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today to our committee. Your experience with Metrolinx—have you had much experience in the past with it, other than being the occasional user, I’m sure?
Mr. Carl Zehr: My experience directly with Metrolinx has been limited up until this past year, when I was asked—as a guest, pending the outcome of this process—to attend some of those meetings.
I was certainly aware of the original makeup of the board, which included political people, and then it made a major change to have it for lay people. I think this was a wise move. I look back to our own community, the region of Waterloo, which—Canada’s technology triangle was an economic development arm for our area. In the first while, boards included the mayors of the three cities and one of the townships, and I saw after a while that it became a little bit too political. I actually suggested that we step down and our CAOs would go on there. So I think that’s one of the comments that I was talking about earlier, about governance and the division of those responsibilities. I think it’s absolutely critical, and that’s the way Metrolinx is today.
In terms of its services, I was certainly aware of it and, in the last five to seven years, probably, very involved with discussions in terms of trying to get that service, the rail service—first, bus, and secondly, rail—into the region of Waterloo.
Mr. Jim McDonell: While Metrolinx has to have a strong mandate or focus on integrating transit in the region, how do you see Metrolinx evolving over the next 10 years?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I think and I hope that it will continue to mature in the sense of coordinating those roles with the municipalities and the individual services that are in the cities or regions, along with the service that is directly provided by Metrolinx.
I think that in order to do that, there has to be a continuous relationship established between the municipalities or those transit services and Metrolinx. I see that happening already to a great extent, and I think that in order for it to be successful, it has to continue to do two things: provide good service, and have that direct communication in the planning stages—not just in the implementation part of the transit services, but in the planning stage.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Sure. The Kitchener light rail project, of course, is something that you might be or should be very familiar with. Can you tell us about your experience with it?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Probably around the year 2000, I’m going to suggest, I remember the then CAO of the region of Waterloo asking me to come in. We were going to be talking about some new transit service. From that very first moment, I, in terms of the concept of having a rail system that was fixed, could actually then have two roles to play. One was obviously providing a higher order of transit service, and, secondly, it became a planning tool.
Those are the two messages that we kept talking about consistently from the region of Waterloo council in terms of—and I was a strong supporter of the project—to make sure that this was something that needed to be done now. If we didn’t do it now, we would, like some municipalities, miss the boat in terms of the opportunity—space-wise to actually put it in; cost-wise as well, and have to eventually deal with it but then be up against the process of either expanding roadways, which again took space which we didn’t have or wouldn’t have, or with rail. Rail obviously can move more people more quickly than the automobile.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thanks, Chair. In the description for Metrolinx, our research shows that, and I’m going to quote this: “Metrolinx acts on behalf of Ontario municipalities as a central procurement agency for the procurement of local transit system vehicles, equipment, technologies and related supplies and services.” So, again, Metrolinx acts on behalf of Ontario municipalities. We currently, right now, have a colleague who has tried three times, very honourably, to introduce an initiative on the floor of the House whereby all 444 municipalities in Ontario would benefit from Ontario’s gas tax. You take a look and think forward to your role on the board of Metrolinx: How do you balance the needs between rural and urban Ontario?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I think you’d have to go back to, in addition to the statement that you’ve just quoted from, the mandate of Metrolinx, which is for the geographic area, the Metrolinx service area. Currently, except for the spines that run through some rural areas, it is specifically an urban transit policy. Until that mandate—the overall mandate—changes, I think that would be something that could be looked at down the road, but I think one would have to take some baby steps toward that, because obviously with mass transit, the issue is density of population and therefore the ridership, and so that would take a significant amount of time.
I think, using the example of Waterloo region, there are two phases for the LRT going in in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. The first phase for rail is in Kitchener and Waterloo. The second phase, which is now being worked on, is in the city of Cambridge, although it’s adaptive rapid bus at this point in time. So we’ve had to work at getting the ridership up in traditional transit in the city of Cambridge to make it worthwhile to do all of the entire system via rail. So I think it’s the same kind of example that I would give for other, rural areas outside of the—
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I thank you for your appreciation of that, and I look forward to hopefully seeing baby steps taken, because as more people move to rural Ontario with the concept that it’s perhaps a little bit more affordable—their money goes a little bit further in terms of housing and things like that—they get handcuffed because they get there and they don’t have the transit system that they maybe had depended upon.
Mr. Carl Zehr: True. I would just add that that becomes a policy matter, which is not necessarily the role of Metrolinx. Metrolinx is an implementer of government policy and is responsible to the Ministry of Transportation. It would take something from the provincial level in order to change that mandate.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Well done. You have a good grasp of the whole situation.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Ms. Thompson. Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good afternoon, sir. How are you? I actually shop at Zehrs, so your name is pretty easy for me.
Mr. Carl Zehr: All right, thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Just thought I’d put that out there.
I see on my notes here that you’re a former mayor of Kitchener.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: There have been a lot of questions around two-way, all-day GO service to that community.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Could you elaborate on that and the kinds of benefits, whether it be economic benefits, if that happens?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Our community, along with Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, to some extent—I’ll come back to that in a moment. Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Brampton and everywhere along that corridor—what was called the Georgetown line at that point in time—put forward a business case to the province and to the Ministry of Transportation. It was based on economic growth and the capacity that would be generated from a transit standpoint on that north main line, as we call it.
At the time—and I’m going to be a little, perhaps, fuzzy on the dollar figures, but it was something like $600 million to implement that and to make the necessary changes. The business case, when it was at steady state, which would be, I think it was 15 to 17 years, was going to produce about $560 million in additional income tax—just income tax alone, without any spinoffs—that would be created by the number of jobs. I believe it was an additional 38,000 jobs that would be created in that period of time.
It is important to have that business case. That’s how I believe that the province—both the Premier and the Minister of Transportation of the day—saw that and made the commitments. The 10 years was for the ultimate goal of two-way, all-day service. That’s not there now. I understand, and I understand even more so today because of the complexity of making that happen, that it’s something that will not happen overnight.
In terms of the comment about Cambridge, Cambridge also has, along with the region of Waterloo, implemented a case put forward to the ministry for GO rail service rush-hour trains. That is a separate and slightly different case that has been put forward—equally as important.
Mr. Wayne Gates: When you say that, was that from when you met with your CEO, that business case?
Mr. Carl Zehr: No.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Has there been one since?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Much more recent.
Mr. Wayne Gates: When were you mayor?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I was mayor from 1997 to 2014. The business case was presented, I believe it was, in November of 2013. We met with a variety of ministers and the Premier in making that presentation.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Do you believe that two-way, all-day GO service to Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, that area—because obviously there’s a need for it to come to Toronto for work as well—
Mr. Carl Zehr: And both ways.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Both ways, yes. It’s two-way. You’re obviously going to be, if you end up getting appointed to the board—there may be a good chance of that, sir, just how I watch things work. Do you believe today, now that you’re not mayor, that that is something that that area needs today?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I believe it needs it, and the sooner, the better. In particular, one of the new trains is to be added within the next year, I believe it is—in the rush hour, there are two new trains. It would be perfect, in a perfect world, to have one of them from the GTA through to the Waterloo region instead of vice versa. But I’m learning, as I said earlier, the complexity of making those things happen. In this particular case, it’s not just a matter of a desire to do it; there are physical things that need to be accomplished. Specifically, it is the ownership of some of the rail lines, that being CN and CP. Metrolinx has purchased a major portion of the line from, I believe it is, Georgetown through to the region of Waterloo, and has some maintenance facility that they’re building there now. But there is a small piece of it still in the west end of Toronto that is owned by CN and CP. Those need to be dealt with first. So it’s complicated not just within that line, because it is also the south line then that would go through to Cambridge, but also potentially into picking up south central Ontario.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So obviously, as the mayor, this is a file that you were very active on, and one that the residents of Kitchener and the surrounding areas understood very clearly, like I do, and I’ll talk about my community situation in a second.
In a province that desperately needs jobs, we’re talking about 38,000 jobs that could be the result of this, and another $560 million just in income tax. The economic spinoff from two-way, all-day GO service to Kitchener for that part of our province is incredible, quite frankly, and something that should be done as quickly as possible. I just wanted to say that.
In Niagara, we’re trying to do the same type of thing, where we want GO down to Niagara as well, all the way to Niagara Falls. In particular, we have 14 million tourists come to Niagara Falls. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, believe me, it’s incredible, what’s going on now, particularly with the dollar. You’re a pretty sharp guy. You understand the effect of the dollar on Americans coming back.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Sure.
Mr. Wayne Gates: We have to get this stuff done, because in our situation, it’s the same thing. It’s about jobs and our economy. I understand the importance of Toronto and why they’re doing that, but there’s a whole other part of the province, including rural Ontario, that really could be a driver with two-way GO services.
Having said that, have you ever run for a party?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Have you ever run for a party?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Yes, I did, in 1990.
Mr. Wayne Gates: In?
Mr. Carl Zehr: At that time, it was the Kitchener–Wilmot riding.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. Can you say which party?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Sure. It was with the Liberal Party.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The Liberal Party.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And then you ran to become mayor?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I was a councillor at the time.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Oh, good.
Mr. Carl Zehr: In fact, while I was disappointed the night of that election, the next day I went back to my accounting practice and I said, “Phew, that was close.”
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, actually, these jobs are pretty good, quite frankly.
Mr. Carl Zehr: I know they are—
Mr. Wayne Gates: I was a city councillor, too.
Mr. Carl Zehr: —but I was also very pleased to have gone on to ultimately become mayor.
I would like to just add to your point about Niagara and all of these things. Again, Metrolinx is an implementer of provincial policy, and it comes down to the timing. It comes down to the physical ability to do so.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m aware of that. We put in a business case, and all that stuff is being done by the leadership in Niagara at all levels of government, which is unheard of in our area. If you’ve been a mayor, you can respect that—
Mr. Carl Zehr: I certainly do.
Mr. Wayne Gates: —sometimes it’s tough to get all communities on the same page.
The other thing I thought was interesting was that you’ve already attended meetings as a guest.
Mr. Carl Zehr: As a guest.
Mr. Wayne Gates: There are two parts to it. Is it just board meetings, or is it other meetings? I know Metrolinx had a meeting in Oakville, I believe it was, with a number of other stakeholders as well.
Mr. Carl Zehr: I was not part of that, no.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You were not part of that one? Okay. So they’re just board meetings that you’ve gone to?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. I appreciate your input on Kitchener-Waterloo and, to a lesser extent, your knowledge around Niagara. But I’m a firm believer that the economic drivers of these opportunities certainly should be looked at, and the benefits, just in tax dollars, are incredible.
Thank you very much for being here. It was my pleasure.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Gates. Mrs. McGarry?
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you very much, Mr. Zehr. It’s good to see you again.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I certainly appreciate a lot of your comments, and I think you’ve been far too humble about yourself. I think, as a long-time resident of Waterloo region, I can speak to the fact that you’ve been very well regarded in the amount of effort that you’ve put into making sure that Waterloo region is a successful region, so thank you very much.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Really, along that line, I know that as a mayor of a city that’s in a two-tier government, it may have been easy to look at only transit in and around the borders of Kitchener when you were mayor. But it seems to me that you’ve got a much bigger overview that would speak to the fact that—and I’ll get you to respond to this—it seems to me that you see transportation in a much broader context and a more regional view, not just a train here or a train there, a bus here or a bus there. Could you speak to your thoughts on how you see a good transit system, a multi-modal transit system, involving trains in our area?
Mr. Carl Zehr: Well, first of all, in the smaller context within the region of Waterloo that I was familiar with, it was the region that has responsibility, and still does today, for transit. It’s not the individual cities. But as a mayor of a city, one also sits on the regional council and therefore has the responsibility to help guide that.
I always saw Grand River Transit, which is the region of Waterloo, to be something that needs to serve all of the community. In the same way, I think it’s important for Metrolinx—and that’s why I made a comment in my presentation—to have these planning initiatives done not only for the GTHA but for the surrounding municipalities.
You could pick a number out of the air in terms of the number of years from now. In five, 10 or 20 years from now, or 50 years from now, we will be much closer together physically as communities, and therefore you can’t wait until that time to have that master plan done. That’s why it’s important at the front end to make sure that planning is done on a consolidated basis. It may not be developed that way for quite a number of years, but you have to do that at the front end in order to not waste dollars and to not present some expectations to the public that you won’t be able to deliver on.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I appreciate that. When it comes to the Big Move, the regional transportation plan is addressing a number of different issues right now. One would be funding in the next 10, 20 or 30 years. Another would be electrification of the line. I know that we’ve been looking at getting the north Kitchener line electrified, but again, as you mentioned, CN-CP track ownership is still an issue in order to be able to bring that electrification in. Considering you may be successful at sitting on it, how would you address some of those conversations with CN-CP as a member of the Metrolinx board?
Mr. Carl Zehr: I’m aware that discussions have been ongoing with CN and CP and Metrolinx, but they also include the provincial Ministry of Transportation and perhaps even the federal government, because CN-CP regulations are controlled at the federal level. There are a lot of players to come together. No doubt there will be a lot of dollars that will have to be expended in order to free up those lines for people transportation as opposed to goods transportation.
Your question specifically is what I would do. I would be encouraging Metrolinx to do everything they possibly can, keep the lines of communication open with the provincial Ministry of Transportation as well as the transportation department at the federal level, in order to get those things resolved as soon as possible. I think the window is rather small in order to get that resolved because so much of the 10-year plan, the Big Move, is predicated on a successful transition of those lines.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you. Metrolinx, as you know, serves a huge area of southern Ontario, stretching from Durham to Kitchener and out to Hamilton. How do you feel that your experience and your background will help benefit you to see all of the territory that Metrolinx covers?
Mr. Carl Zehr: One of the other comments that I did make earlier was that I felt that the Metrolinx board should have representation on a geographic basis as well as those other attributes. That’s why I made that comment. As I understand it, I would be the only person from outside of the GTHA who would be sitting on the Metrolinx board. Not that I’m going to be totally knowledgeable of what’s happening in Niagara, what’s happening in Durham and what happens in Hamilton, but it’s important to have that other perspective brought to the table when those implementing policies are being put forward.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you. I appreciate your knowledge of the situation and again, I really want to thank you for the years that you’ve served as mayor and the fact that you have really been a strong voice in making sure that Waterloo region did get the GO line—
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Excusez-moi.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you very much.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you. Perfect timing.
That concludes the time allocated for this interview. We will consider concurrence at the end of the day. I thank you very much for your time.
Mr. Carl Zehr: Thank you. It’s a privilege.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): You may step down. Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Can we take five minutes?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Pardon me?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Can we have a recess of five minutes?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): You would like a recess?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Do we agree on a recess for five minutes? Recessed.
The committee recessed from 1500 to 1507.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): I would like to invite the members. We will be resuming.
Mr. David De Abreu
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: David De Abreu, intended appointee as member, Royal Ontario Museum.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Our next intended appointee today is Mr. David De Abreu. I would like you to join us at the table.
Welcome, and thank you very much for being here. You may begin with a brief statement. Members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions.
You may begin now.
Mr. David De Abreu: Thank you, Madam Chairman. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for taking the time to give me an opportunity to appear before the board.
I put myself forward for this nomination about six months ago, after having a conversation with a friend of mine who mentioned that there was an opportunity to sit on the board of trustees at the ROM. Throughout my career and my life I have volunteered, whether it’s coaching or working with United Way, and I have spent a lot of time outside of the community and outside of my day jobs doing other things within the community.
Why I picked the ROM is for a couple of reasons. Number one: I think that it’s one of the many places in Toronto, in Ontario, that we can hold as a place where we can send our children to. They can go online and look at it. But also, it’s got a lot of history. It’s got a lot of history that we tend to look at today as—I call it the YouTube generation. They spend a lot of their time on YouTube, but if they actually go and play with the things, they’ll enjoy them.
So I put myself forward. I have a background—I guess you have my resumé in front of you—in IT, I’ve been in finance, I’ve been in a few places. When I spoke at the time with Janet and Bonnie, we talked about what that would potentially look like for the future. After talking with them, I came forward and decided that this is something I would really like to spend some time volunteering and working on, looking at what the next generation needs to do at the ROM and how we can make it a better place for everybody to go and enjoy themselves. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much. I would like to invite Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you. Good afternoon, sir.
Mr. David De Abreu: Good afternoon.
Mr. Wayne Gates: How are you?
Mr. David De Abreu: I’m very well, thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good.
What motivated you to seek this appointment?
Mr. David De Abreu: My kids are all older now, sir, and I spent the last 10 years spending my time coaching soccer. I lived in Newmarket at the time. I’ve always been involved in volunteering.
I work for Rogers right now; I used to work for a company, Cisco, that talked about investing in where you work, live, play and learn and spending more time in the communities where you work, live, play and learn. For me, this is something that somebody mentioned to me. They knew Bonnie from another area of business and they mentioned this to me. I have a few other people I’ve worked with who have done some volunteer work with the Ontario Science Centre and other places like that. So this, to me, was a good opportunity to look at something that I could spend my extra time on and hopefully add some value to the trustee board there.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Cisco Systems: What did you do there and what is it?
Mr. David De Abreu: Cisco Systems: Cisco is a provider of Internet technology, but also telephony, video and software. The vision is to change the way we all live, work, play and learn through the use of the Internet and technologies that are available today. I spent 15 years there. I did a lot of jobs in my 15 years. My most recent job was running the partners and channels organization there, working through various organizations in order to get them to sell Cisco solutions and products into the marketplace up and down the stack, from a small business all the way up to the public sector: large government, large enterprise—all across the board there.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Did you have any contracts with large government?
Mr. David De Abreu: Yes, Cisco does have contracts with—
Mr. Wayne Gates: Can you give me some examples of those?
Mr. David De Abreu: A lot of the work we did was through partners, but Cisco Canada did sign a jobs deal with the province of Ontario—I’m going to say a year ago, maybe two years ago—to invest in jobs in the province of Ontario, particularly in the Ottawa area, where there’s a research facility. We have about 500 people now. At the time, the attempt was to get Cisco corporate to invest in 5,000 jobs in Canada and bring that IT specialization into Canada, closer to home. As you know, in a lot of cases, it’s offshore. Closer to home, there’s a very good IT background with the schools there and the development centre we already have there. So there was a push on for that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So the idea was to get 5,000 jobs in the province of Ontario? How many did we realize?
Mr. David De Abreu: I think it’s at 500 now. I don’t know the timeline. As I say, I’ve been out of there for about six, eight months now, so I don’t know where the timeline is on that one.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Would you know how much the contract was worth?
Mr. David De Abreu: It’s a pay-as-you-play arrangement, so no jobs, no pay from the government. My understanding from the deal—I wasn’t involved directly in it—was that as the jobs got put into the province, then the province would contribute. No jobs, no contribution from the province.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So very little cost has gone to the province now, then.
Mr. David De Abreu: My understanding is, that’s exactly how it was set up.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. You may or may not be aware of this, sir; I don’t know. In 2009, long before I got here, the Standing Committee on Government Agencies conducted an agency review of the ROM. Some of it was to try to drive more people to the museum. They lowered the prices, they did some of those things, but there has been a lot of talk around how the Ontario taxpayers have assumed the debt of the ROM, initially owned by CIBC, and filled a $23-million void left by donors—all of which were given substantial recognition for their pledges. A decade later it remains outstanding.
This was an article that was in the Globe and Mail and it’s in my notes, so it must be factual. Anything you read in the paper is always factual.
Mr. David De Abreu: Just like everything on the Internet is factual.
Mr. Wayne Gates: But the article states that under the 2011 debt restructuring deal, the ROM will owe the province $29.6 million during the period 2023 to 2027 for their debt obligations. I was just wondering if you were aware of that.
Mr. David De Abreu: Yes, sir. I read the same article as you, and that’s how I became aware of it. Obviously, I’ve been reading up on the ROM.
The board of trustees, from my understanding of what goes on there, is different than the board of governors and the fundraising side—philanthropic. The board of trustees is entrusted with the day-to-day operations of the ROM, and there’s a board of governors that takes care of the philanthropic side.
All I understand from that, frankly, is what was in that article. I read the article as well as you did.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay, I appreciate that.
What contribution do you hope to make at the board of the Royal Ontario Museum?
Mr. David De Abreu: I’m hoping that combining with the other board members, I can bring an IT background to it. As I said, I’ve spent the last 15 years in IT. I worked for one of the leading companies. I now work for another leading company in Canada, Rogers, and I hope there’s an opportunity to involve Rogers in that. But I look at it from the perspective of: How do you address the YouTube generation, the next generation of kids that you want to get in to touch, feel and deal with the ROM on a daily basis or on a regular basis? I look at it from the perspective of not just getting them into the ROM, but how do you get them to virtually enjoy the ROM, and after they see it virtually, how do we get them to want to come to the ROM and want to do it?
From my perspective, I think we take the ROM for granted. When you talk to people who come into the city from outside of the province or outside of the city, that’s one of the places they go. They go to the Science Centre, they go to the ROM, maybe they get a Blue Jays game and now they go to Ripley’s. There are a lot of things. One of the many things, when you talk to people who come from outside of the province or outside of the city, even—the ROM is one of the places they want to go, absolutely.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Are you a ROM member?
Mr. David De Abreu: Am I a ROM member? No, not at the time.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Not now.
Mr. David De Abreu: Not now, no.
Mr. Wayne Gates: But you’re certainly going to be shortly.
Mr. David De Abreu: Depending on if you guys approve me or not, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m just throwing it out there; that’s all.
Mr. David De Abreu: I’ve been to the ROM many times. My sons are avid dinosaur—they’re all older now. We spent a lot of time at the ROM enjoying it. Becoming a member of the ROM is not an issue.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The other thing is, obviously, there’s a time commitment. I think you’ve actually answered a little bit of that. Kids grow up, they move out of the house and do some other stuff—
Mr. David De Abreu: They don’t move out of the house, but they grow up.
Mr. Wayne Gates: A lot of times, they move out and then move back in. That’s a whole other story. We have a lot of our kids in the basements, that’s for sure.
So the time commitment won’t be an issue for sure?
Mr. David De Abreu: No. No, I’m not concerned about that. They meet quarterly at the ROM. I’m not concerned about that. It’s just a matter of setting up my schedule around that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: And challenges facing the ROM?
Mr. David De Abreu: I think it’s definitely—you talked about the financial side of it, but also, how do you make it so that people want to go there and people want to spend a lot more time there? In my going through the ROM, there are a ton of great things going on there. They do a lot of great things with the schools and everything. How do we get more schools to bring more of their kids to the ROM and spend more time there? I know that that’s sometimes a challenge financially for the schools, to fund that and other things, so what are things we can be creative with? What are some of the other ways we can do it? Today, we do remote video to various aspects. We do remote learning. Can you set up remote learning capabilities and things like that for the ROM?
So there are the same challenges that everything has today. When I say that, I mean it from the perspective—there are so many opportunities for young people in general to go on an iPad or an iPhone, go through Google and find out all the information they want. There are not many arguments in the school yard anymore because they all pull their phones out, they punch it into Google and they come up with an answer. That’s the kind of thing we have to figure out: how to get more people into understanding, coming and engaging in that part of it.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, I can tell you we get a lot of visitors here at Queen’s Park. If you could get the schools to include the ROM in their visit to Toronto—because a lot of them come from outside of the area. They come to Queen’s Park; they stay a couple of days. Maybe talking to the educators in the province on how important it is to support the ROM—that might be one way that you could look at it. Just a suggestion when you get on the board.
Mr. David De Abreu: Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My pleasure. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Gates. I would like to invite Mr. Dhillon.
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you for appearing before the committee today. How do you envision, in your own individual way, the future of the ROM?
Mr. David De Abreu: It’s a good question. I think it’s a multimedia ROM. I would equate it to being a multimedia ROM, so that is video-capable and touch-capable but having access to the ROM almost 24/7: information about the ROM, going to see the ROM, having that capability that you can access at any time, and access the information at any time on some of the things they have.
My understanding from meeting with the people is that there’s a ton of stuff in the backroom. There’s a ton of stuff, and they just don’t have the footprint to show it. How do we then enable people to see all those things that they have got accumulated, and how do you put those out there for people to have a look at?
Mr. Vic Dhillon: What is your personal interest in serving the ROM? Have you spoken to the chair or others in terms of what’s involved, in terms of your personal commitment?
Mr. David De Abreu: When I first looked at it, I talked to Janet Carding at the time, who was on the ROM board. I went and talked to her about what she was looking for and what kinds of things she was looking for. I spent some time with her. Then I met with Bonnie Brooks, who is the current chair of the trustee organization, and talked to her about what she was looking for and what the rest of the trustees were looking for, to try and help the ROM out and make it, as Mr. Gates said, a stopover for everybody that they go see. But also, how do you then move it into the digital age, move more of it into the digital age? When I talked to both of them, their comment was, “Yes, we need to look at that. We’d like you to apply to be on the board.”
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Okay. Thank you very much.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Dhillon.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out today. As you said, I think it was Mr. Gates who mentioned that there has been some negative press around the ROM, about some of their pledges.
A lot of their revenue comes from pledges from large organizations. Through your experience in sales, is there some way of ensuring that they actually come to fruition, especially after there’s credit given out?
Mr. David De Abreu: Again, those two committees are separate. I think that when you look at it from a fundraising perspective—I’ve been to a couple of fundraising events at the ROM. It’s very much about getting corporate sponsorship from the big players, whether it’s Rogers, Telus, Bell, Royal Bank and all the others, and then from other environments, that they can come up and actually invest in the future of the ROM. It’s something that has been around for a hundred and—I forget the number of years—and we don’t want it to go away. We also, in talking to Janet and Bonnie, don’t want it to be a burden on the taxpayers either. How do you then get corporate social responsibility and corporate sponsors in to working with the ROM and looking at what you can do from a sponsorship capability and also from an ongoing funding capability?
Mr. Jim McDonell: You have vast experience. What do you see bringing to the board?
Mr. David De Abreu: What I talked about, from an understanding—especially the last 15 years—about how the world has changed dramatically from a world where you didn’t have a lot of information to now, when you have all the information you could ever want at your fingertips, in your pocket or wherever, and then also the ability, frankly, that we can do videos and do person-to-person discussions on a cellphone that’s more powerful than the first spacecraft that landed on the moon. So those are the kinds of things that, as this gets bigger and bigger and we do them more and more—we have to become more creative at looking at what the other options are for that.
Based on my history with that and where I am now, it would be a good opportunity to look at some of those capabilities that are available today.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Okay.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much for your interest and coming forward to assist with the ROM, because it is a valuable tool. I know that members of my family do go to the ROM every time they come into Toronto. I haven’t seen Pompeii yet. It’s going to go soon, but I hope to get there before it leaves us. I have a little while to get there, though.
In the world of fundraising, when dollars are getting tight and tighter, what’s your secret? What’s your recipe for successfully engaging that corporate social responsibility in terms of enhancing the board’s position and recouping some of that debt that has built up?
Mr. David De Abreu: Again, this is the trustee side of it.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay.
Mr. David De Abreu: There’s a separate board that deals with—we’re going to go through there again—fundraising; there’s a separate board that goes on the fundraising side. This is more the operations of the ROM side. They’ve separated the two very clearly. In the documentation I’ve received, one takes care of fundraising, philanthropic—I’m going to get it eventually—
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Philanthropic.
Mr. David De Abreu: Philanthropic—and then the other side, what I’m looking at, is very much geared toward the operations of the ROM and getting it moving forward.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: But don’t you see the two coming together at all? It kind of concerns me a little bit that there’s two—we’re hearing this afternoon about two separate silos, and maybe that’s in part the problem, where one hand didn’t know what the other hand was doing.
Mr. David De Abreu: You know, without going and spending some time digging into it, all I really know about it is what I read in the same article in the Globe.
Is there a secret recipe? No. There is a corporate social responsibility about being involved in the community where you live, play, work and learn. That’s where you try to get our big and not-so-big companies to participate in helping out with that.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: And actually, right there, that’s what I was looking for. It’s that mindset, the play, work and live. That’s what I was hoping you’d say in terms of that special recipe that you’re bringing from your previous experience that will help people adjust their mindset, think outside of their corporate world and think of the community around us as well.
Mr. David De Abreu: I think there’s lots of opportunity to leverage those kinds of things. I haven’t been involved as yet, and so I look forward to the opportunity to help that and participate in that as we go forward.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. Thank you.
Mr. David De Abreu: Thank you.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I think you’ll be an added addition.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Ms. Thompson. Mr. De Abreu, thank you very much. That concludes the time allocated for this interview. We will consider concurrence at the end of the day. I want to thank you very much for your participation today. You may step down.
Mr. David De Abreu: Thank you very much.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Wayne Desormeaux, intended appointee as member, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit board.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): I would like to invite Mr. Wayne Desormeaux to the table, please.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Hello. Good afternoon.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much for being here. You may begin with a brief statement. Members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions.
You may begin now.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Thank you. My decision to apply for a directorship on the board of health was an easy one as I’ve been interested in the role that it plays towards the benefit of the residents in the community.
I graduated from Ryerson in 1971 with a diploma in public health, which is now a four-year graduate degree course. I entered the general program at the city of Ottawa health department in the environmental field and began inspecting septic tanks, wells and approvals at that time, which was the most important issue. I continued my ongoing education by attending Algonquin College, taking courses in occupational health and industrial hygiene, with the interest of possibly moving into that field later on. But as it turned out, I stayed where I was.
By the early 1980s, I moved into the food inspection program along with joining our STD, which is our sexually transmittal outreach team. As a provincial enforcement officer, I served orders and summonses on delinquent clients, which proved to be very challenging at times, especially with the public awareness of HIV coming aboard in the 1980s.
I was very active in sports as well. I was voted onto the board of directors for Twin Elm Rugby Park, located in Richmond, Ontario on the outskirts of Ottawa. The challenges were enormous as four local clubs—myself being the president of one of the clubs prior to my appointment to the board—ran a not-for-profit facility with five fields, 16 change rooms, a stadium and food and beverage facilities, all of which I was responsible for.
Over the years we hosted many internationals. You may have heard of one: Canada just played the USA two weeks ago at our park, which is pretty exciting. We’ve hosted countries such as France, England, Fiji and so on. I was the lead in applying for the first Ontario Trillium grant and was successful in that endeavour, which has gone on to help all sports facilities in Ottawa.
I also attended numerous coaching and refereeing classes and began coaching in high schools. I’m presently coaching in North Grenville high school in Kemptville, going into my third season. I’ve received numerous acknowledgements from the rugby community.
In the late 1980s, I was acting manager at the health unit for approximately six months, but realized my work was in the field. I returned to join the general complaints division.
Shortly after entering this field, I realized the gap in services between different agencies and an inability to work together. In particular, in the fields of mental health outreach, hoarding, children’s aid, elderly abuse and rooming house response, I attended numerous community meetings, usually held monthly, chaired by elected councillors for the wards, listened to their concerns and became an advocate, which is now a crisis team at the Ottawa health department. It’s now comprised of two to three public health nurses, a social worker, two health inspectors and a manager. This endeavour by me was supported by, at that time, medical officer of health Dr. Robert Cushman and Alex Munter, who has gone on to be, as you know, a lead for the children’s hospital.
This crisis team worked closely in all the above-mentioned problems and began receiving co-operation from all the agencies in very short order. Integrity and confidentiality, of course, were held to the highest level. In 1999, I received the Ottawa-Carleton public health employee recognition award for health protection innovation and in 2000 I received the city of Ottawa recognition of excellence award in the category of community service.
After my retirement in 2001, I was asked to return to help out rooming house response, improving migrant work with seasonal facilities and swimming pool inspections, one of them being the Kanata wave pool, where a few years ago we had a drowning. Just by luck, I had been there days before and exonerated the public health because it was really in the news media and there was no reason for this. You couldn’t put any blame on the people who worked there, the quality of the water, their workmanship; everything they had in their books, everything was up to speed. So we looked very good in their eyes. I felt so bad for them. It was sad.
Licensing mobile food operators was also part of my job. I was also in charge of coordinating and approving all special events and fairs up until 2013 when I retired. I have dedicated my career to the health of the community and look forward to working on the board of health.
That’s it. I cut it short. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much, Mr. Desormeaux. I would like to invite Ms. Malhi.
Ms. Harinder Malhi: I just want to say thank you for coming in and for your presentation and your commitment to wanting to serve on this board.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Mrs. McGarry.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you very much for your commitment. I have spent my entire career until the last year as a nurse in the province of Ontario. I understand the complexity, if you will, around public health, inspections, making sure health and safety is followed, that people are informed. I just wanted to say, again, I appreciate the work that you’ve done over the past few years. It’s never easy dealing with the public, especially those who may not be as educated or able to sort of comply with some of the regulations that we’ve got in Ontario.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Thank you. Some of them were challenging in that we were working closely, once I started this program with the approval of the medical officer—working with mental health was a big issue and rooming houses because we had them in place in the Royal Ottawa and it would be reformed alcoholics and drugs. By our team being there—it wasn’t just a matter of going in on a complaint-driven position where we’d find something wrong, get it fixed. It was that we could follow it up because we had the nursing involved from then on and they could keep those clients on the list and do periodic visits, where I couldn’t. I had to keep moving on. It really made quite a bit of difference with them.
That program is still being carried on in Ottawa. They’ve actually started an elderly abuse division based on some of my findings. I still remember the first policewoman was Christine Wolf who took on that program. So we had a direct contact and we found problems with that too. It made a difference.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I think that wide-ranging experience will help you in your role, should you be successful today.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: It feels good getting back in.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: I actually worked with the now medical officer of health. She was the associate medical officer at the time in Ottawa, Dr. Paula Stewart, so we had a connection.
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: That’s wonderful. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mrs. McGarry. Mr. McDonell.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you for coming out. I’m a neighbour of the Leeds and Grenville health unit and I sat on the health unit for Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell.
I guess the most opportunity people have to meet with the health unit seems to be through the health inspection, different festivals. Maybe you could relate just some of your correspondence or working relationships with some of the local festivals in Ottawa. I guess there would be a large number of them.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Yes. So what’s happened with that in the last five or six years once I came back from retirement and went into this field and stepped out of the crisis field is that we started another board that was comprised of fire, building inspection, property standards and ourselves.
All these fairs and festivals—because there are problems—they came to a meeting just like this, made a presentation of how they’re going to be set up. Then we took all of that and we made suggestions and recommendations of how we wanted to see it. If they weren’t within those standards, they weren’t getting opened. It was for the safety of the public. I can’t think of more than maybe four or five times where I actually refused to let certain fairs open on the day of because, even though they’d been to our meetings and they’d been versed in all of what’s required, they weren’t prepared, so we shut them down. That’s the way it was.
So the safety and the protection of the public is there now very strongly from Ottawa’s point of view, I’m not with Ottawa anymore, as you know; I live in Kemptville.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know that I participated in a fair board that was over 200 years old and there were times, not that long ago, where it was a question of whether they’d have enough volunteers working just to keep it going another year. I can tell you personally the Williamstown Fair contributes just about $100,000 to the local community in the way of just the organizations that raise money there: minor hockey, figure skating, the fire department.
It’s a huge issue locally now, but it is a challenge for the volunteers. None of them are professionals, there’s nobody that works there so it is a statement where we need to work with those communities, those festival groups, because they are a big part of the community, and public safety is always key, but also no matter where or who you’re working with, you want to make sure that we’re fair and actually are able to help them in any way that we can.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Definitely. What else we’ve done in Ottawa is we’ve prepared a lecture: a half-day, a full-day and a two-day lecture. The volunteers can come in for a half-day but we’ve made it mandatory: If you’re doing any work in water, food preparations or just volunteering in those areas, you must come to one of these meetings and learn about health standards, bacteria and exposure.
That has made a huge difference as well. That’s on a volunteer basis but we help them out. There are times we’ve even gone to a hall and done it there. It’s made a difference.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Okay. Any questions?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you. Madame Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you, Chair.
Thank you for applying for this opportunity. I’m intrigued a little bit because if you’re successful, you’ll be transitioning from front-line services over to the governance role. When you were applying for this position, did you think about that? Did you weigh the pros and cons of what hurdles you might face because you’re going from front line to governance, or what opportunities might lay ahead of you? I’d be interested to hear both sides.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: I did. I recall back in 1971 when I graduated, in our building, right above us, was the board of health, which for some years in Ottawa had dissipated, but it’s back now. It’s coming back.
I got to know some of the members of the board of health and I was intrigued from that point on about how they made decisions. I can still remember certain people. They sort of told me how they came to make certain decisions, but they didn’t tell me what the monetary costs were going to be and how that was broken down.
I was always interested: How do they get to that stage? I thought that the best way to find out is to get on this board. I’m good at organizing, I feel, because I managed such a big facility in amateur sports. I’ve even owned my own business for a while on the side and I’d like to go from that end, and it’s for the public health. That’s what it’s all about. I think I can contribute to making those decisions, look after the core programs, make sure they’re prioritized properly and we deliver them that way.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, very good.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for making the trek in from Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. It’s not easy.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: No problem. I left my jacket back at the hotel today so that’s fine.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay, very good. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Ms. Thompson.
That concludes the time allocated for this interview. We will consider concurrences at the end of the day. Thank you very much for being here with us, and you may step down.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: My pleasure. And I studied and I memorized so much of this, thinking I was going—
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Thanks very much. I enjoyed it.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Just for the record, Mr. Desormeaux, I omitted to ask one of my colleagues if he had any questions, and I apologize sincerely. If Mr. Gates wants to ask you a few more questions—actually, ask you questions.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I enjoy that you brought all that literature with you.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: It’s just references. It’s up to you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’ve got a couple, if you like.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Fire away.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You don’t mind, just so it’s—
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): No, I apologize, Mr. Gates. Mr. Gates, the floor is yours.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Actually, the only reason why I wanted to ask you a question: I like your first name.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Wayne? All right, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Just thought I’d throw that out there, buddy.
What is your understanding of the objectives of the board?
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: The objectives of the board? Well, there are numerous objectives, but I would say, if you put the objectives as such into ensuring that core programs are delivered under the guidelines set out by the Ontario public health standards act, and working within the budget of the municipality and the monies that come from the government, making sure we stay within that, and setting the priorities—
Mr. Wayne Gates: What do you consider “core”?
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Water, environmental standards—those types of standards—and sanitation. There are five different ones that are identified if you go through them.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay. Do you have any views on what constitute pressing public health issues for your district?
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: It’s one of the fastest-growing communities in eastern Ontario. I’m aware of that, and I did some research on that. It’s been identified, as a lot of communities are, as an aging population, so you’ve got problems with poverty, you’ve got problems with the old septic and well water systems—whether they can afford to repair the old ones or have new ones installed—problems with infrastructure, problems with access to health agencies, transportation. Being rural, there’s a lack of support; if family aren’t there, how do they get to these types of services?
Mr. Wayne Gates: It seems to be a theme this week when it comes to rural Ontario and particularly around transportation and getting around.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: What’s happening in particular in my area in Kemptville—it reminds me of when I lived in Toronto for a short period of time when I saw Scarborough being a satellite, and all of a sudden it gets amalgamated into part of it—so of course the costs, the funding, the infrastructure. Without the infrastructure, most of the money is going to fall back on the municipal tax base. But if they can bring industry in, it’s going to help. More money is available for volunteers, transportation, to make it easier for everybody for the health of the community.
Mr. Wayne Gates: We’ve been hearing that for two days. It’s not just in this area but right across.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: I’m sure.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I guess the last question is—although you probably said a little bit of it—you are a retiree now?
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: I’m totally retired as of 2013.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Congratulations on that. It’s always a big step. So, from being retired, you’re looking for something that you believe you’re very good at and something that you can give back to the community?
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Give back, to be honest with you. I actually retired 15 years ago, and within three months I was asked to come back through Alex Munter and the medical officer at the time, so I went back three days a week counselling and helping the new people work in this field of crisis.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s like my colleagues have said: It’s nice that you want to give back. It’s a very important issue. Health care just continues to be an issue that continues to grow. Thanks for coming today and I wish you well in the voting.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: I’m looking forward to it. This just happened, really.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good. Thank you, sir.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s my pleasure.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Mr. Desormeaux, thank you again.
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux: Bye.
Mr. Robert Bradbury
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Robert Bradbury, intended appointee as member, the Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): I would like to invite our next and, from my understanding, final intended appointment, Mr. Robert Bradbury, nominated as member, the Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology, to please come to the table.
Welcome. Good afternoon.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you for inviting me.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much for being here. You may begin with a brief statement. Members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions. You may begin now.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you. Once again, thanks very much for inviting me here.
Just a bit of background: I’ve been in the practice of public accounting for in excess of 40 years. My practice involved owner-managed businesses, professional firms, manufacturing, and also the not-for-profit area, including community colleges.
I have a CGA designation and a CA designation. As you probably know, these are being amalgamated now under the CPA designation.
I started my post-secondary education at Algonquin College in Ottawa. Like Centennial College, it was one of the very first community colleges in the province of Ontario. I’m very passionate about the community colleges and what they bring to the education sector and to the business community.
I have managed my own business, and in 1996—you’ll see on there that it says 1969—1996, just a switch of two—
Mr. Robert Bradbury: That was just before I started practice.
I merged my practice into one of the large CA firms, BDO Dunwoody, and became the managing partner of the Mississauga office of BDO Dunwoody, with approximately 150 professional staff and 17 partners reporting to me. It was a challenge, but I enjoyed it very much.
I bring a good knowledge of the community college—I have a lot yet to learn, certainly, from a financial reporting aspect.
In 2010, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities set up a working group with the financial people from all the community colleges across Ontario. I was asked to also sit on that committee. The idea was to get a better handle on the reporting system and how community colleges report to the ministry, and how the ministry uses that with key performance indicators to determine how the community colleges were going.
Community colleges, as I’m sure most of you know, probably, have struggled over the years, and some of them have been close to bankruptcy. But from what I’ve seen of most of the ones that I’ve been involved in since, it has been a tremendous turnaround. So I really feel good about community colleges as a whole.
That’s really all I have to say at this time.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you very much.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): We’ll invite Mr. McDonell to ask you a few questions.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Maybe elaborate just on what motivated you to join this board of governors.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: As I said, I’ve been involved with community colleges in my professional—I retired. The official date was January 1, 2013, but I gave notice of retirement in June 2011. By December of that year, I had transferred my practice to other partners. So from thenceforward, I’ve been involved in a number of things.
One of the things I’ve done with Centennial is I’ve been chair of the golf committee, where we raise in excess of $230,000 for scholarships for not-so-well-off young people to attend the college. I’ve done that for the last four years, and it has been a very rewarding thing.
I’m very passionate with Centennial. I’ve been involved in a professional capacity, and now other capacities, since the president started with the college, and the CFO too, for that matter. So I’ve watched them grow, and I’ve been very passionate about what they’ve done to raise the bar for community colleges.
I can say wholeheartedly that the bar has been raised tremendously. If I can just carry on a bit there, today, a lot of people who had looked to going to university for a university education have turned to the community colleges, and it’s been rewarding for many people. Other people have gone to university and realized that while they got a general education, they need something else and have gone back to the community colleges. That has been a really big role that the community colleges have played. Then there’s the whole thing about foreign people coming to the colleges, or colleges going foreign. I hope that I answered your question.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, it shows us your interest. That’s good.
In your resumé, you have listed a membership with the college speciality group at BDO Canada. Can you maybe outline what that entailed as far the tasks involved with that?
Mr. Robert Bradbury: I’m sorry?
Mr. Jim McDonell: It says that you were involved with the college speciality group at BDO.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Yes. Basically, I had about three community colleges for which my group was the auditors. We developed a speciality over the last 15 years in dealing with the needs of community colleges. I think that was partly recognized when the ministry asked me and my team specifically to work with them on trying to improve the financial reporting mechanism and system.
Mr. Jim McDonell: With your experience on the financial side of colleges, can you elaborate some of the key issues around successes and failures with some of the colleges?
Mr. Robert Bradbury: I think that there are a number of aspects to it, but certainly, one is that the ministry has come to grips with what constitutes a successful operation and when they need to step in—and that’s from the financial reporting side of it. On the community college side of it, the colleges are very competently run from a financial perspective. That has increased significantly over the last while. Certainly over the last 10 years, it has been a tremendous improvement. If you look at the financial results for the community colleges, especially the ones that I’ve dealt with—I can’t really speak to some of the others, but it certainly has improved greatly.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Just before I pass it over to my colleague: You’ve been working with some of our local colleges. There has been a demand for courses, but getting approval from the ministry to offer those courses sometimes is a challenge, even though there could be a waiting list of students. I guess that’s beyond what you’ve probably been able to see in your role, but it’s something that shows that the colleges have their ear to ground, as far as needs. There is still a lot of paperwork and administration in actually trying to bring that to a point where it actually returns to the community.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: The challenge there, I think, partly is that the tremendous need is greater than anyone can possibly imagine, with the technology changes and the new environments that we’re living in. Providing people with training is a big challenge, but I think that we’re on the right track. I think that we’re going a long way towards meeting those commitments. Yes, there is some bureaucracy in getting there, but I think as they become financially stable, the opportunity is greater.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Ms. Thompson.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Thanks, Chair. I have one question. At this time, Mr. Bradbury, some people would suggest that we’re in an era where we have jobs without people. Perhaps, in part, it’s because we don’t have people pursuing education that will lead them to where the jobs are. If you’re successful in your application and become a member of this particular board for Centennial, what can you do in your role as a board member to ensure that course offerings and content are relevant to today’s job market?
Mr. Robert Bradbury: I can’t talk to the experience of some of the other community colleges, but I can talk a bit to that at Centennial. They are looking very closely at new course offerings. I forget how many courses it is they offer now, but it’s a tremendous amount.
You can’t do everything for everyone, but I think their needs come along. Right now, Centennial is doing the aerospace project out at Downsview, and there’s an area that’s expanding tremendously. Even some of the basic things are growing in enrolment—electricians, for instance; nursing is one that’s growing tremendously in the community college.
There are a lot of challenges there, and I don’t have the answers, but I certainly understand what you’re saying and—
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: But you’re seeing Centennial move along in that direction.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Definitely.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Very good. I have one supplemental. Changing gears here a notch, we’re also in an era where organizations are finding it tough to make ends meet. We’re hearing of some institutions increasing class sizes just to increase enrolment. What are your thoughts on that? Quality versus quantity: Where’s the rub?
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Yes. The simple answer to that is: None of us want bigger classes. But I think there’s always a median there. The colleges are expanding tremendously, so they’re taking on new facilities all the time—more and more satellite-type situations, where they can move into a community and do work at specific things. One they were looking at recently was a nursing facility in Vaughan, for instance. I think that rather than bringing it to bigger classes, there has got to be a move to doing more satellite-type functions.
The other one that’s changing tremendously is the international.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Can you expand on that?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Seventeen seconds.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Universities and colleges are looking overseas for lots of things.
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Okay. Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Sorry, Mr. Bradbury. Thank you very much. Thank you, Ms. Thompson.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’ll help you out on this one, all right? It’s what colleagues do.
How are you doing, sir?
Mr. Robert Bradbury: I’m doing fine.
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s nice seeing you this afternoon.
Actually, Centennial College is currently in the middle of doing a plan from 2013 to 2020. I’ll just read out three of them, but you can answer after I read out one, just to follow up on her question: a greater focus on recruitment and education of new immigrants.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Yes, Centennial College has gone a long way with that. As one of the leaders in community colleges, they are partnering a college in China right now. They’re in India; they’re in Dubai. They’re partnering with General Motors in South America. So they are trying very hard to do that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: You touched a little bit on it, but more partnerships within the colleges and business outside the country, outside Canada.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: As I mentioned, China, for instance, and Dubai. They are setting up satellites, but in China, they’re actually going to partner with a college and university. In India, they have satellite offices.
It does two things. It may bring immigrants into Canada to study here, but it also allows kids from here to go to those countries and learn the culture. We’re a multicultural place here right now and it’s going to continue that way.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I’ll read the third one, but it’s very similar to what our line has been for the last minute or two: “Increasing students’ exposure to other cultures and countries through new educational programs, international internships, and job placements”—which are all equally important in getting on-the-job training—“as well as exchanges and scholarship programs.” The plan looks pretty good. It sounds like you’re in agreement with where they are heading?
Mr. Robert Bradbury: That’s why I’m here.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s good, but I thought I’d read it anyway.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: No, that’s perfect.
Mr. Wayne Gates: The other thing you talked about is they’re expanding in aerospace.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I have a place called Airbus. They do helicopters. They would probably really like to know a little more about this program, because one of the things that we have trouble getting sometimes—not all the time—is skilled workers for Airbus, because of some of the stuff they do. So taking them out of a program, to your point, where we talked about—we have to figure out where the jobs are going to be and educate our children and our grandchildren so they can finish and go into a job.
Before I get into talking about my own area, I actually think that’s where community colleges are going. I think there’s a reason why more people are going to community colleges. One is that some people can’t afford to go to university. It’s out of the affordability for their kids, so they’re looking at community colleges. They’re looking at community colleges and saying, “Okay, if I go to community college, what can I go into so I’m going to be able to find work when I’m done?” I’ve said this a couple of times, but I think it’s important to talk about it because we’ve had a number of people who are getting on community college boards.
In my area, I’m really familiar with Niagara College. What they’ve done is very, very successful. They’re growing, to your point.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Yes. And they went through a very hard time, too, I recall.
Mr. Wayne Gates: They did. Mr. Patterson, the president, has done an incredible job there. He’s well liked within the college, but equally important, well liked within the community.
We’ve had partnerships at Niagara with General Motors, when we talked about corporations, where they’re seeing the importance of investing in the community college as they transfer into employees for them. What we’ve done there are programs for skilled trades, because if there is an area, we all know there may be a need for more tradespeople. What’s good about it is it’s for both women and men, for sure. So that’s another avenue.
The thing that I’ve really enjoyed watching grow is that they set up their own wineries at the college and the wineries are now world-renowned. They’re winning awards all over the world by these students, which is incredible. Then what happens is the wine industry is taking off right across Niagara and, quite frankly, down in New York state and up in the Windsor area. Again, they do that and then they go into half-decent-paying jobs.
Craft brewers are taking off down in our area. I know that’s happening across the province of Ontario.
What they’re talking about—I think it’s important that the community colleges say, “Where are the jobs and where are they going?” Aerospace was a good example in your part.
I know it’s more of a speech, but I think it’s an important speech to say that affordability is a reason why we’re going there, and the fact that they’re offering jobs where they can actually get jobs. There’s nothing worse than coming out of school after two or three years and there is nothing to go to. A diploma in something that doesn’t get you a job isn’t really a lot of help.
The last thing I want to say to you, sir, is to thank you for the golf tournament. We all try to run fundraisers, but to be able to raise $230,000—you obviously have a lot of friends. I’m having trouble making a $120 guy come and golf. But $230,000 for the right reasons? Congratulations on doing that on behalf of those students.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you very much. A big team, though—
Mr. Wayne Gates: I understand that, but every team needs a captain, so we’ll leave it at that.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: We’ve had a lot of fun doing that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you, buddy.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mr. Gates. I would like to invite Ms. Hoggarth.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Good afternoon, Mr. Bradbury. Thank you very much for putting your name forward for this position.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: My pleasure.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: I come from Barrie, where we have Georgian College, which has the University Partnership Centre, which is something innovative and which I think works well for students and for the college.
In this position, board members should have a range of relevant backgrounds, experience and professional skills. I think, by looking at your resumé, that very clearly you have been involved, besides being an accountant by profession, in health care, in community care, in your church, at the chamber of commerce and at CEO Global Network group. I think that is a wonderful, diverse resumé and I think you’ll do a great job at this.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you. I’ll try my best.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you. I would just like to know if you have any particular reason for applying for this.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Just the passion of it and the people I know who are involved in it that I have a lot of respect for and have watched the thing grow unbelievably. I feel that I’d like to be part of it.
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Well, thank you very much. I think you’ll do a great job. Thanks for coming today.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Mr. Bradbury, thank you very much. That concludes the time allocated for our interview. Thank you very much.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: My pleasure.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): We will consider concurrence. You are our last intended appointee, so we’re more than happy if you want to stay because we will be voting on all our 14 appointees today. Thank you again for joining us. It’s much appreciated.
Mr. Robert Bradbury: Thank you very much.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you. We will now consider the 14 concurrences—intended appointments for today. Oh, sorry, Mr. Gates?
Mr. Wayne Gates: Can I just do a motion that we put a motion forward to accept all appointments that we heard today?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): We have unanimous—
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Is that okay?
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Oh, attends une minute. I will verify with our Clerk.
I was advised that we should vote on each of our 14 intended appointments. Sorry, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s fine. Always trying to help.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Would someone please move Mark Robert for concurrence?
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Mark Robert, nominated as member, Ontario College of Art and Design University board of governors.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? This motion is carried.
Would someone please move Donald MacVicar, please?
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Donald F. MacVicar, nominated as member, city of Hamilton Police Services Board.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Would someone move the concurrence for Rebecca Bentham?
Mr. Vic Dhillon: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Rebecca Bentham, nominated as member of Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Mr. Krupa?
Mr. Han Dong: Chair, I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Zbigniew Krupa, nominated as member, Council of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario Complaints and Discipline Committee.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Would someone please move the intended appointee, Katie Osborne?
Mr. Han Dong: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Katie Osborne, nominated as vice-chair and member, Fire Safety Commission; and member, Animal Care Review Board, Licence Appeal Tribunal, Ontario Civilian Police Commission and Ontario Parole Board.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Miranda Paquette? Ms. Hoggarth?
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Miranda Paquette, nominated as member, Council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Ms. Wendy Lawrence? Ms. Hoggarth?
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Wendy Lawrence, nominated as member, Council of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Mr. Paul Macmillan? Ms. Hoggarth?
Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Paul Macmillan, nominated as member, Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Cristina De Leon-Culp? Ms. Malhi?
Ms. Harinder Malhi: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Cristina De Leon-Culp, nominated as member of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean? Ms. Malhi?
Ms. Harinder Malhi: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Chinyere Eni-McLean, nominated as member of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Mr. Carl Zehr? Ms. Malhi?
Ms. Harinder Malhi: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Carl Zehr, nominated as member of Metrolinx.
Would someone please move the concurrence for David De Abreu, please? Mrs. McGarry?
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of David De Abreu, nominated as member, Royal Ontario Museum.
The Acting Chair (Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde): Thank you, Mrs. McGarry. Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Wayne Desormeaux? Mrs. McGarry?
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: Yes, Chair. I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Wayne Desormeaux, nominated as member, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit board.
Would someone please move the concurrence for Robert Bradbury? Mrs. McGarry?
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Robert Bradbury, nominated as member, the Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology.
Well, this will end our day. I wish you all safe travel. Thank you very much.
The committee adjourned at 1613.
Wednesday 2 September 2015
Intended appointments A-167
Mr. Mark Robert A-167
Mr. Donald MacVicar A-171
Ms. Rebecca Bentham A-176
Mr. Zbigniew Krupa A-180
Ms. Katie Osborne A-184
Ms. Miranda Paquette A-188
Ms. Wendy Lawrence A-190
Mr. Paul Macmillan A-194
Ms. Cristina De Leon-Culp A-197
Ms. Chinyere Eni-McLean A-201
Mr. Carl Zehr A-204
Mr. David De Abreu A-208
Mr. Wayne Desormeaux A-212
Mr. Robert Bradbury A-215
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Mr. Vic Dhillon (Brampton West / Brampton-Ouest L)
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South L)
Mr. Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls ND)
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde (Ottawa–Orléans L)
Ms. Harinder Malhi (Brampton–Springdale L)
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Mr. Jim McDonell (Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry PC)
Mr. Randy Pettapiece (Perth–Wellington PC)
Mr. Lou Rinaldi (Northumberland–Quinte West L)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Han Dong (Trinity–Spadina L)
Ms. Ann Hoggarth (Barrie L)
Mrs. Kathryn McGarry (Cambridge L)
Ms. Lisa M. Thompson (Huron–Bruce PC)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Heather Webb, research officer,