STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 3 December 2019 Mardi 3 décembre 2019
The committee met at 0900 in committee room 2.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I’d like to call this meeting to order. The first item of business this morning is the subcommittee report dated November 28, 2019. We have all seen the report in advance, so could I please have a motion? Mr. Bouma.
Mr. Will Bouma: I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, November 28, 2019, on the order-in-council certificate dated November 22, 2019.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you. Any further discussion? Seeing none, I would like to call a vote. All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
Dr. Dean Middleton
Review of intended appointment, selected by government party: Dean Middleton, intended appointee as member, Rabies Advisory Committee.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Our next order of business is the review of intended appointments. First, we have Dean Middleton, nominated as member of the Rabies Advisory Committee. Please come forward, Mr. Middleton. Have a seat at the end of the table.
Welcome. As you may be aware, you have the opportunity, should you choose to do so, to make an initial statement. Following this, there will be questions from members of the committee. With that questioning, we will start with the official opposition, followed by the government, with 15 minutes allocated to each recognized party. Any time you take for your statement will be deducted from the time allotted to the government. The floor is yours.
Dr. Dean Middleton: Thank you. For my statement, I understand that I’m supposed to comment on why I should be part of the Rabies Advisory Committee. Is it okay if I start with that?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): The floor is yours.
Dr. Dean Middleton: Okay. I’m a veterinarian. I graduated in 1987. In the late 1980s, I practised mixed animal practice in Kingston. I mention that because it was a time when animal rabies was still around to a big extent in Ontario, and before the Ministry of Natural Resources implemented their animal rabies vaccination programs that helped to move towards elimination of rabies. As a practising veterinarian, I saw animal rabies cases, was exposed to them, and have an understanding of agriculture. It was mostly dairy cattle practice that I did.
I went back to school to get a master’s in epidemiology in 1994. That gave me formal training in study design, field trials and so forth, that the Rabies Advisory Committee used to implement plans for elimination of animal rabies.
I was at the Ministry of Health from 1999 to 2009, a 10-year period when I was a veterinary consultant and then a senior veterinary consultant. I answered questions or was consulted on—what health units do is risk assessments for people exposed to rabid animals. They would consult the next level up, to me, to determine if it was required that these individuals should receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis or vaccination after they had been exposed.
Then, in 2009, I went to Public Health Ontario, and I’ve been there since. I’ve written three peer-reviewed papers on rabies and have a fourth one that I’ll be submitting shortly.
So it’s a fair chunk of what I do at work, among other things. I’m happy to stop there.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you very much. We share something; I was a dairy farmer for 32 years, so I have a lot of respect for veterinarians.
First, to the official opposition: Ms. Stiles.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you for coming here today. We appreciate it. This is, in some ways, with a government that has a majority, a bit of formality. But as you’ve probably heard in the past year, we’ve seen a lot of rather political appointments and some issues that have arisen, so we use these opportunities to make sure that the public is aware of who’s being appointed, that there’s some transparency and accountability. So we usually go through some questions that are related to that.
Before we go to that, I did want to ask you, because my understanding is that you’re only the second—is there only one person currently appointed to the rabies committee?
Dr. Dean Middleton: No, I’d say five or six.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Currently?
Dr. Dean Middleton: We’ve had more in the past. I could sort of name them.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes, I think there’s usually—they said six. Yes, five or six, or something like that.
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes, I would think right now in the order of six.
Ms. Marit Stiles: But I think right now there’s only one person who has been appointed previously. That’s concerning, right? I know that there were some articles noting the fact that there had been no appointees to the advisory committee for a while. It’s an important committee. Obviously, you’re hoping to be appointed to it, so you think so.
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes, yes. What you’re asking I may not have knowledge of. I know it’s confusing, at least for me as a member, because there have been times where—I’ll say delays in appointments and so forth.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Absolutely, and I don’t expect you to really answer. I just wondered if you were aware of that. I see the government has been relatively slow at appointing to this committee.
Dr. Dean Middleton: I thought I was aware of at least six people or so, or approximately six. But if you’re saying one, your source of information—
Ms. Marit Stiles: Well, I hope I’m wrong. But hopefully that will change soon, and it’s good to see you there.
You talked a little bit about why you decided to seek this appointment. Can I ask if you were approached by anyone to apply for the position?
Dr. Dean Middleton: No. I’ve been on this committee since approximately 2004, so whenever that is—
Ms. Marit Stiles: It’s really a reappointment. It’s just that there’s been lag between—
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes, I’ve been reappointed several times. I could explain more about how I got on the committee in 2004, if you like.
Ms. Marit Stiles: You said there was a lag. When you were on the committee before, how often did they meet?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Twice a year?
Ms. Marit Stiles: And do they meet in person or do they meet—
Dr. Dean Middleton: In the early going, they met in person every time, and then it gradually morphed to a point where I wasn’t able to meet in person, just because of where I worked. So I teleconferenced in.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Okay. And you found that effective? That’s still an effective way to connect, generally?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes. I didn’t have a lot of problems with it.
Ms. Marit Stiles: All right. Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Natyshak.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Thanks, Mr. Middleton, for being here. Where do you live?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Toronto.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. Well, thanks for making the trip to Queen’s Park here today. I was just wondering if you’d been out of town and made a special trip to come in.
Dr. Dean Middleton: No, no. I subwayed in.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Subway?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. Do you do any work in rural Ontario? Does your region take you out of the city limits?
Dr. Dean Middleton: In my current job, no, but again, I worked as a veterinarian in the 1980s and 1990s in different places in Ontario.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: You did consulting for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Was I correct there?
Dr. Dean Middleton: No, never for the Ministry of Natural Resources. I was employed at the Ministry of Health—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: An employee, okay.
Dr. Dean Middleton: —for 10 years, and now I’m at Public Health Ontario, which is—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: You are an employee of Public Health Ontario?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: What are the challenges that you foresee? What supports can the province deliver to municipalities to address pockets of rabies outbreaks? What has your research provided us with so far in what we are doing, what’s working and what is not?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Two prongs to that answer: What are the challenges? I think the challenges for the committee are the fact that the Ministry of Natural Resources is doing such a great job at getting rid of rabies. In the mid-1980s, there were more than 4,000 animal rabies cases annually. I guess it was in November or December 2015 that there was a slight outbreak in the Hamilton area. Prior to that, the number of animal rabies cases was down to around 30 to 40 annually. Then it went up to about 260—you don’t have to follow all these numbers—and then we’re going to have in the order of 60 this year. If you follow that, the challenge will be keeping the Rabies Advisory Committee relevant when you’ve done such a good job at eliminating rabies in Ontario.
I should explain that there is terrestrial animal rabies and there is bat rabies, and they have done nothing for bat rabies because it’s just difficult to do something about bat rabies. What they’ve done to lower rabies’ incidents is all to do with terrestrial animals.
The second prong: You asked about my research. I could explain the three papers separately, but, in general, what has occurred in Ontario is that if you saw on a graph those 4,000 animal rabies cases, they’ve gone down since the late 1980s. The rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, which are the vaccines you give if someone was exposed to a rabid animal, stayed the same, at about 2,000 people receiving this annually. And even recently, it has gone up. If you follow that, it just doesn’t make sense. These vaccines that are given to people are not cheap. It’s about $2,000 per person. One of the vaccines is immune globulin and it’s weight-based. So for a 150-pound person it’s about $2,000, or more, of course, if it’s a heavier person. So if you took those 2,000 we provide annually and you reduced it even by half, that would be savings of a couple of million dollars a year.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Sorry—the 2,000 number, those are folks who have come into exposure with a suspected case of rabies, so it’s sort of a preventive intervention that’s happening?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: And that’s administered by the local health agency? Or, where would they go, to the clinic?
Dr. Dean Middleton: A physician would administer it, and ultimately they have the final say on whether that person should receive it. But it should be done in consultation with health units.
The health units do a risk assessment to say, “What’s the incidence of rabies in your area?” There are many areas of Ontario that haven’t had a rabid terrestrial animal in the order of 20 years or so, and then they would look at the exposure to see if it was provoked. So if I walked up to a dog and tried to pet it or feed it and it bit me, the chance that I provoked a rabid dog is very low compared to a dog that ran up and bit me and had symptoms of rabies, and that kind of thing.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Gotcha. A question on the peripheral that I just thought up here is: Does any of your research cover the potential effects of climate change on the migration of animals that are more susceptible to rabies in other jurisdictions, or where those jurisdictions don’t have the controls set in place to address the issue as Ontario has?
Dr. Dean Middleton: I’ll answer that two ways. No, my research has not; it hasn’t considered that.
Then, when you mention this, certainly there is rabies, let’s say, in New York state and so forth. But they drop baits or they put buffers, like extra baits, along our border and even into New York state to prevent what they call an incursion—we’ll leave it at that.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Sure.
Dr. Dean Middleton: The other way a rabid animal could get into Ontario is what happened with the recent raccoon rabies outbreak in the Hamilton area. The raccoon boarded a truck in lower New York state, down by New Jersey and—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Hitched a ride.
Dr. Dean Middleton: —hitched a ride, exactly.
So, in those two areas, I would say climate change isn’t really a factor, but more like an incursion or a translocation would be the two big ways that rabies could get to an area that doesn’t have a high incidence of rabies.
There is a third way. Bats can infect a terrestrial animal.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. I was wondering about that.
Dr. Dean Middleton: Since about 2000, we’ve had, in Ontario, about 13 incidents of that that have been reported. In general, when they infect that terrestrial animal, it doesn’t propagate. There has only been recorded one incident in the world, in Arizona, where it propagated, where it spread within those animals, which were raccoons.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. Mr. Middleton, that concludes my area of knowledge, but I’m definitely confident that you have the right expertise to continue.
Ms. Marit Stiles: One more thing.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: My colleague is jumping in.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Stiles.
Ms. Marit Stiles: You said something at the beginning in response to my colleague’s questions, and it’s really interesting, actually. Thank you very much for sharing some of how we’ve gotten to this place where we’ve controlled rabies to such an extent. It really speaks, I think, to the importance of investment in public health. Recently, the government was looking at carrying out some cuts to public health and public health units. We say it’s hard to get attention for those issues sometimes, because when it’s working, it’s working, and there’s no crisis.
Anyway, it’s very interesting to hear your perspective. Thank you very much and best of luck.
Dr. Dean Middleton: You’re welcome.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Before we switch—there is a bell going, so in about 26 minutes, we will recess for about five minutes for the vote.
But with your indulgence, we will keep going. It’s not a fire alarm or anything. It’s just that the House is going through a procedure.
The government has 12 minutes. Mr. Cuzzetto.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Good morning. In the GTA, I’ve noticed that there has been an increase of coyotes, rabbits and raccoons over the last 15 years. Do you agree that rabies research requires highly specialized and scientific experience beyond what the Ministry of Natural Resources will give us?
Dr. Dean Middleton: I think they have the right resources. To go beyond them—I’m not exactly sure what you’re getting at, but I would say they have as good resources as required for it.
And then, in addition, some of the resources are on this Rabies Advisory Committee. A person like myself, a person from OMAFRA—there are people from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency who are rabies experts, and so forth.
If they had to contract out to get that expertise—I think I’m safe in saying that the expertise for rabies right now in Ontario is at MNR and, to some extent, on this committee.
If you want to pursue that, go ahead.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Nicholls?
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Good morning, Dr. Middleton. It’s nice to have you here today, and thank you for your years of service on this particular committee.
It’s interesting: Down in the Chatham-Kent area, we have a lot of coyotes down there. But I’ve discovered that our farmers have persuasive ways of keeping those coyotes away from their livestock. You can interpret that however you want, and so on.
But the question I have for you, knowing that you’re very familiar with the work that’s performed by the Rabies Advisory Committee—we know that. But what would you say would be one of your greatest accomplishments while serving on this particular committee, and why would you say that?
Dr. Dean Middleton: I would say that I bring the public health perspective to the Rabies Advisory Committee. The Rabies Advisory Committee’s mandate is primarily, I’m going to say, just to eliminate rabies in Ontario.
But of course, it can’t be that unifactorial. There are other factors that come into play, and one of those factors is just what I mentioned earlier: If you eliminate rabies in terrestrial animals, and hopefully one day in bats, it has an effect on public health, which would ultimately perhaps be the goal. For example, the last rabies death due to a terrestrial animal in Ontario and in Canada was 1967.
Now, there have been a number of deaths due to bats, and this summer there was a death due to a bat of a boy in British Columbia that was in the news that you may well—I’m off on a bit of a tangent here, but even that drove up the rates of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, just because people became more concerned about it.
Back on track: So what have I brought? I guess, the public health perspective of what I would call the ultimate goal of reducing deaths in humans due to rabies. Of course, there’s the agricultural component of livestock and so forth that don’t get rabies, and the economic benefits from that.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: I know you mentioned dairy. I had another interest in dairy, as well, but it was more from a stray current perspective. That had nothing to do with veterinarians, unless in the treatment of livestock that had been affected by stray current. But again, that’s a different topic; we’re talking about rabies here. Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Bouma.
Mr. Will Bouma: Through you, Mr. Chair: Again I wanted to reiterate, thank you for your years of public service to the people of Ontario and its animals.
How long did you practise large animal veterinary?
Dr. Dean Middleton: I graduated in 1987. I was three years in Kingston, then I went to Indonesia for three years and did dairy practise there on a CIDA development project. Then I came back and I did a year of locums all over Ontario. Then I went back to the Ontario Veterinary College to get my epidemiology degree. Then, from there, I was the epidemiologist in York region, so I didn’t practise any more from that point forward.
Mr. Will Bouma: Do you still hold a licence now or not?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes, you have to.
Mr. Will Bouma: Does that require so many hours of seeing animals, or can you hold it without practising?
Dr. Dean Middleton: If you were a practising veterinarian—but I’m more of a public health practitioner that does a little bit of research. It so occurs where I work and so forth that the required continuing education for me is easy to accomplish. It would be more difficult if you were in practice and you have to take a week or two out of your schedule or out of your practice to get that continuing education. But for me, just publishing these papers counts as continuing education.
Mr. Will Bouma: Very good. Well, I wanted to thank you for your large animal practice also. I’m sure the Chair can attest to the fact that it’s tough for veterinarians to make a living at large animal because it’s difficult to charge what it’s worth, having a vehicle on the road and making all those visits.
I was curious: Were you around—because I don’t know exactly when it happened—when ONRAB was developed?
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes.
Mr. Will Bouma: Okay. I’ve just been fascinated by that story, because that’s a drop bait vaccine that’s used across Ontario, but also in many other regions now too. I think the province even makes some money off of that or licensing fees, but—
Dr. Dean Middleton: Yes. Sorry to interrupt, but if I can say, that was the Rabies Advisory Committee that initiated—
Mr. Will Bouma: —that did all that work.
Dr. Dean Middleton: —a direct by-product of the Rabies Advisory Committee, working with the manufacturer of ONRAB.
Mr. Will Bouma: Thank you very much for that. I just appreciate your time coming in today to answer our questions.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further questions from the government? Mr. Sabawy.
Mr. Sheref Sabawy: As I understand it, you are doing public serving. Do you think the commitment of time needed for such a committee would be in conflict with any professional activities that are taking place now in your schedule, basically?
Dr. Dean Middleton: No. We meet twice a year. It’s a meeting from 10 o’clock to 3 o’clock. I would say it goes both ways. I gain from being on the committee as well, because I learn about rabies from things that I get from the committee that I wouldn’t know if I was not on the committee.
Mr. Sheref Sabawy: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further questions from the government? Seeing none, that concludes the questions. You may step down, Mr. Middleton. Thank you for your time.
Dr. Dean Middleton: Thank you.
Mr. Tony Marquis
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Tony Marquis, intended appointee as member, Metrolinx.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Next, we have Tony Marquis, nominated as member of Metrolinx. Could you step forward? Is that okay for the pronunciation: “Marquess”?
Mr. Tony Marquis: When I’m east of the Ontario border, it’s « Marquis. »
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Okay.
Mr. Tony Marquis: When I worked in Colombia, it was « Marqués. »
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Okay, okay.
As you may be aware, you have the opportunity, should you choose to do so to make an initial statement. Following this, there will be questions from members of the committee. With that questioning, we will start with the government, followed by the official opposition, with 15 minutes allocated to each recognized party. Any time you take in your statement will be deducted from the time allotted to the government.
The floor is yours.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Good morning, Chairman and members of the committee. It’s my pleasure to be here today to give you a little background of myself and listen to what you have to say and answer any questions you may have for me. I’m going to share my experience in the railroad industry and my qualifications to hopefully show you that this is a position that I want to do, and I think you’ll see I am qualified to do this position.
With my extensive background in rail, safety and leadership, and my intimate knowledge of the Metrolinx operations and network, I knew this would be a position where I could help. I have looked at the board makeup of Metrolinx, and there are some very talented individuals on that board, but I certainly don’t see anybody with a railroad background on the board, so I think I can add value in that facet.
I was born and raised in northern Ontario in a small railroad town, Capreol, Ontario, just outside of Sudbury—you’re familiar with it?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I know it, yes.
Mr. Tony Marquis: And you should be, as well, with the Martel family, all from Capreol.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Definitely a railroad family. I’m the youngest of seven; all seven worked for CN at some time in their lives. My father, both grandfathers, three uncles, several cousins—we were adding it up the other day, and there are probably 350 years of CN experience in the Marquis/« Marquis » family across Canada.
I played hockey at the highest amateur level in Canada, drafted by the Toronto Marlies out of northern Ontario. I played a couple of years with the Marlies and couple of years with the Sudbury Wolves.
My wife recently retired. She was a CAO of the township of Oro-Medonte, just outside of Barrie. She also worked in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs here in the province.
I have one son—he’s married; they’re both teachers—and two unbelievably owning granddaughters who have just recently taken over my life as I retired from CP Rail.
We do a lot of adventure travel as a family. We’ve done Kilimanjaro together. We spent 18 days on Mount Everest at base camp and Mount Kala Patthar across from Everest. We’ve rock-climbed throughout North America and Australia. We’ve canoed up to Moosonee. So we do a lot of fun stuff as a family.
My railroad career started when I was 16 years old for a couple of summers. I’ve worked the track. I’ve worked the bridge between Simcoe and Couchiching. It was my first summer job, opening and closing the swing bridge. Then in 1984, I hired on for one more summer, and it’s been a long summer since.
Brakeman, conductor, locomotive engineer—I’ve run GO trains, VIA trains, freight trains. My first management position, believe it or not, was the liaison between CN Rail and GO Transit. It was a little place called “the Bubble,” right in Union Station, where decisions had to be made quickly if a GO train broke down or if there was a track outage. So that was my very first management position with CN.
Then I became a rules-and-training instructor. Several mid-management positions—worked my way up to general manager. At one time, I ran the control centre here in Toronto, which manages and dispatched all of the GO trains and VIA trains and freight trains in and out of Toronto.
I was general manager of eastern Canada with CN, and then I was moved to the US, handling CN’s US division.
When I took my first retirement, which I failed at miserably, the first thing I did was start a simulation company. I purchased a software company and merged it with a hardware company. At the time, it was called STSI. It’s now known as Rail Simulations Inc. We do locomotive simulation training, accident recreation and computer-based training. It’s still a going concern and it’s a global company.
I did some consulting for some US railroads. I was in Mauritania. I spent time in Abu Dhabi. I did help the Ring of Fire when they were first planning their railroad out of the Ring of Fire area down to Nakina, Ontario.
Then I ended up in Colombia, South America. I’m known as an accident specialist in finding cause and I was brought down there by the board of directors to investigate an investigation. There was a head-on collision; four people were killed. When I was finished with that investigation, it ended up that some people left the company and they asked me to handle the railroad until they found a new president and CEO. After about six weeks, we found each other. So I stayed there as president and CEO of Fenoco rail, a heavy-haul coal company coming out of the Cesar area of northern Colombia up to the coast to Santa Marta. The head office was in Bogota and the operations centre was in Santa Marta.
Living on the Caribbean was a great life. And then my former bosses at CN went over to CP, and the phone rang. That’s how I ended up back in Canada, plus two granddaughters drew us back. I came back as, at the time, vice-president of operations for CP Rail in eastern Canada, working again for Hunter Harrison and a fellow named Mr. Keith Creel.
I can tell you, the six years I spent there, it was the greatest turnaround in Canadian corporate history, from CP being the worst railroad in North America to now the number one railroad in all measures. I’m very proud of what we accomplished there.
I retired recently. I was the senior vice-president of eastern Canada and the US operations, handling the territory from Winnipeg east to Montreal, down into New York state and then all of the US operations, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago and Kansas City.
One thing: I’m still a qualified locomotive engineer. I still enjoy running an engine. It gives me a lot of credibility with the union people that I do go out and I am able to run an engine. I can still change brake shoes; I can still do brake tests; I can still do everything that’s required to run a railroad, which is something that I’m really proud of.
My interaction with passenger railroads does include Metrolinx at a very intimate level with CN and with CP. I’ve worked closely with Via Rail; Exo in Montreal, which is very similar to Metrolinx but much smaller in nature; and Metra out of Chicago, which is a very interesting growth story. As it is here, Metra is growing in leaps and bounds. I worked closely with Metra and, of course, Amtrak down in the US.
I understand the regulators here in Canada—the TSB, Transport Canada—and the FRA and the Surface Transportation Board in the US.
For boards and directorships, I do serve on the Barrie Telus community board. It’s a volunteer board established by Telus. It’s a very interesting board; I would just give out money, so I enjoy that. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve learned a lot about the demographics of the Barrie-Orillia-Simcoe county area. That has been a great experience for me to serve on that committee.
The Northern Ontario Railway Museum and Heritage Centre, the NORMHC, is in my home town. It’s a railroad museum. I’m very proud to be an honorary director, and also an adviser to them. My parents were basically the builders of the community of Capreol, so it’s been great to give back to that small town. We have put a simulator into the museum, so it’s a big draw for the kids to go in and learn how to run an engine and they see the safety side of it. That is one thing that I’m really proud that I continue to do day in and day out.
I recently resigned from the following boards with my CP departure—the Toronto Terminals Railway. I was the president of the TTR. The TTR is a core supplier to Metrolinx, so I got to learn Metrolinx from another angle, working and assisting the TTR team in dealing with Metrolinx. The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership, the DRTP, a partnership between CN and Borealis, as you know, the pension fund: I was a director of the DRTP. I’m a just recently retired director of Transcare. It’s a CP subsidiary building trans-load facilities throughout North America—and also the CASO, the Canada Southern Railway. So I have a lot of experience on railroad boards and as a supplier to Metrolinx in terms of the TTR position.
On the education side, I have a master’s of business administration, the executive program, from the Ivey school of business.
A key attribute that I do have, and it’s something that’s talked about in the industry more and more, is I’m a PSR specialist—precision scheduled railroading; understanding what it takes to be successful and what success looks like. It’s all about safety, cost, people, asset utilization and, of course, when it comes to transit as well as others, service.
On the safety front, CP continues to be the safest railroad in North America. Through clear direction, compliance, validation and consequences, we have built a safety culture, and it’s built on compliance. That is one thing I will talk about later: 100% compliance 100% of the time is how you build safety. Understanding the behaviours that lead to success, monitoring and measuring those behaviours, validating; that’s how you build a safety culture.
I can say, in a nutshell, that’s a pretty good recap of what I’ve done so far in my life, and I still have a lot more to add, so I’m looking forward to this position.
I’m open for you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Okay. Thank you very much. If it’s okay with the committee, could we break now and then resume questioning right after the—
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Yes, how much time is there left for the government side?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): You have five minutes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Five minutes on the government side?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Yes. I say we recess until after the vote and then we will reconvene.
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): Bang the gavel.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Oh, I do that too? Okay.
The committee recessed from 0937 to 0949.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I’d like to call the meeting to order. We have five minutes of questioning from the government. Mr. Bouma.
Mr. Will Bouma: Mr. Marquis, thank you so much for your testimony. You have quite the resumé. If there’s one thing that has become clear to me in my short time on this committee, it’s that we have an incredible group of people who are applying to be on various agencies for the government of Ontario. I appreciate your application.
As we move forward, I think it’s abundantly obvious to everyone that we need to be able to move people and goods across the province of Ontario more effectively in the future. I was just wondering if you could share with us what your vision would be for what that should look like into the future of Ontario.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Good question. It has got to be an integrated transit plan. We can’t have all of the agencies doing their own thing. If we have an integrated transit plan—and we do need one. I’ve driven in downtown Toronto here for the last couple of months, and we need transit. Building an integrated transit plan that’s connected, whether it’s a spoke-and-hub connection—but we do need a long-term vision. When you have a long-term vision and a plan, then the stakeholders all come together much quicker. So that’s what I see the future as being.
Mr. Will Bouma: Very good. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Cuzzetto.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Good morning. It was funny when you said that your name is pronounced differently in different areas. This summer, I was in Italy, in my father’s hometown of Grimaldi. There was a family name called “Veltri.” They were the ones that came over to Canada in the 1900s and built the CNR, but under the name “Welch.” That was very funny, that the name was pronounced differently—because they would not get the jobs under the name “Veltri,” so they had to change their name to “Welch.” They brought in 800 immigrants at the time.
Given the massive GO rail expansion projects that are happening with our government, can you tell me what your previous experience would do to help Metrolinx?
Mr. Tony Marquis: The previous experience, the network: I understand the local network, the Toronto network, down to the Falls. So the Toronto area, from a CP point of view, from a CN point of view, from a Metrolinx or GO Transit point of view—I know the network, probably better than anybody. That’s a huge step in the right direction.
I know the players on the CN and CP sides. That gives us credibility immediately. I’ve had some—I’ll call them “tough”—negotiations with Metra in Chicago. In Chicago, they have a group called CREATE. That’s where all the railroads got together, the municipalities, the state, and they have a planning committee for the future. Everyone chips in. There’s capital funding available that, basically, creates capacity through velocity or through overpasses, but it’s to reduce freight congestion and increase not just on-time performance of Metra, but a lot more Metra trains. I’ve had the knowledge of how CREATE operates and how the funding is handled and just how they divvy up the projects. That experience, in and of itself, will help in the Toronto area as well.
In the Toronto area, I do think we need an integrated team to look at what the future is going to look like. That’s what CREATE has done in Chicago. All the class 1s—you’ve got to remember, there are five class 1s that operate in and out of Chicago. It’s the number one rail hub in North America, but it also has one of the best transit systems in North America. So they can coexist. I can bring that to the table as well.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): That actually concludes the government’s time for questioning.
We now go to the official opposition. Mr. Natyshak.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Mr. Marquis, thanks so much for being here today. We truly appreciate it. I think your expertise and your experience are unquestionable. You’ve got what it takes, I believe, to serve us well on this board.
I have a couple of questions. This committee has had some contentious nominations over the last year and a half. One of the reasons is what we’ve found, as members of the opposition, is that a lot of the nominations have come out of a partisan lens rather than those who have the right stuff, as you clearly do. So I have to ask some questions, just pro forma, to get that line of questioning out of the way. Take no offence.
Were you approached by anyone in the Premier’s office or any ministerial staff, or ministers themselves, to apply for this board?
Mr. Tony Marquis: No, I was not.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Are you a member of the Ontario PC Party?
Mr. Tony Marquis: No, I am not.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Have you ever donated to the PC Party of Ontario?
Mr. Tony Marquis: No, sir.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Have you ever run as a candidate in an election?
Mr. Tony Marquis: No, sir.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Have you ever helped in an election in any capacity?
Mr. Tony Marquis: No, sir.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. Well—
Mr. Tony Marquis: But I do vote.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: That’s good. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is not only to hear that—because you are the exception to what we’ve seen so far out of the hundreds of appointments the government has made. Clearly, your experience stands above the rest when it comes to this agency here.
We had a chance to chat off the record here while members were taking the vote, and one of the questions I wanted to ask you was, what position did you play with the Marlies?
Mr. Tony Marquis: Centre and right wing.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t a goalie and—
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Do you have something against goalies?
Mr. Taras Natyshak: I think, Mr. Marquis, you know exactly why I’m asking that question. I appreciate that. It’s funny that hockey can take you so many places. And obviously, riding the rails has taken you to a lot of places and you’ve seen a lot of things. I’m a little bit jealous of the experiences that you’ve had in your professional career, and also the things you’ve done with your family. You’ve obviously been able to find a good work balance: Kilimanjaro, Everest, doing canoe trips; that’s the stuff that life is made of, and I applaud you for being able to find that balance.
In terms of the intricacies of the Metrolinx system, I’m a county boy from Essex county, Ontario, and Windsor-Essex, an area that you’re familiar with being that you were on the board of the DRTP. So we got to chat there.
You’ve exhausted all the questions that I could pose, and I will hand it off to my capable colleague Ms. Stiles, who is more knowledgeable about the Metrolinx system.
Thanks so much for being here. I appreciate it.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Stiles.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you very much for coming.
I have an important first question. Did you make it to the top of Kilimanjaro?
Mr. Tony Marquis: Absolutely, all four family members did.
Ms. Marit Stiles: That’s impressive. I’ve got to tell you, I did not. I almost got there and then I got very, very, very sick. I had terrible altitude sickness.
Mr. Tony Marquis: When we were doing it, Zdeno Chára was there with a few other NHL players and none of them made it. High-performance athletes have a hard time making it because their blood is so thin.
Ms. Marit Stiles: It’s interesting, because I actually was an athlete. I was 21, and I couldn’t get up there. It was crazy. But I’m glad you did.
You live in Barrie. You obviously have enormous experience in rail, and we really appreciate that. I represent a riding in downtown west-end Toronto—very impacted by a lot of decisions that Metrolinx is making and that the province is making around transit. I wanted to ask you a few questions about that. Just generally, you said you notice some of the issues that are going on down here, but do you ever ride transit? Do you ever ride the TTC, or have you ever ridden it? I’m sure you have—
Mr. Tony Marquis: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
Ms. Marit Stiles: —because you’ve worked down here.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Yes. Recently, I have not been on TTC.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Have you ever had a Presto card?
Mr. Tony Marquis: No, I have not.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Ah.
Mr. Tony Marquis: But I was with someone the other—my wife is an accomplished curler. So I’m at a curling event—she lost to Sherry Middaugh on the final—and the lady with me was talking about her Presto card that she forgot, and she drove up to Barrie and had to come in the next morning. So I asked her a bunch of questions about it, and she thinks it is really slick.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I think folks who ride the TTC a lot, we were hopeful that the Presto card would be a really big success, but there have been a number of significant issues. I have my own Presto card right here. I find it generally works for me, but there are some major issues that make it a barrier for a lot of transit riders. It’s actually more difficult in some ways to get on, for example, if you haven’t put money on it and you can’t update it online without a delay. There are a lot of hitches like that. Also, I think we often talk about if somebody is coming to the city for a day or two, the barriers are really significant.
Anyway, I would urge you, as somebody who is going to be very involved in making decisions that could impact a lot of people who do use transit a lot, to take a close look at how some of that is working and the movement to have just one fare and how important that is.
I wondered if you had any thoughts on the UP Express, the Union Pearson Express. There has been some talk, some news recently, about Metrolinx looking at increasing the fares as a way to potentially dissuade commuters from using that. It’s ironic because I know when it was first built, we were trying so hard to make sure that it would be utilized. It wasn’t being utilized, and so the fares went down. Actually, it’s better utilized now.
I just wonder if you have any thoughts on that proposal or if you’ve heard anything about it.
Mr. Tony Marquis: I haven’t heard about what you specifically have said, but I’ve travelled all over the world, and a downtown transit service is required. If you want to be a world-class city, you have to have it. So the UP Express—“UP” was not the right word when I was a young railroader, because that’s a railroad in the US—is required. It needs ridership. Have you recently tried to drive down the 427, across the Gardiner? It’s crazy.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I would pick that any day of the week over having to drive to the airport, no question.
Mr. Tony Marquis: One example: A couple of weeks ago, I flew in from Montreal, and I was coming downtown. I left my vehicle at the airport. I took the train in, I took the train out and drove home to Barrie. So I like it. It is a good service, and the fares are reasonable now.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I think the fares are reasonable.
One of the stops is just at the edge of my riding. One of the fears that people have is that—they put up with a lot when these trains come through. I represent a neighbourhood called the Junction Triangle, in downtown Toronto. It’s literally a triangle defined by the rails. In fact, they have a little motto that involves all these rails. Often, people moved there because it was one of the more affordable areas, because there were so many trains going through. Metrolinx is proposing to put a super bridge through there, to be able to increase the number of trains coming from Barrie, which I think we all, even within that community, agree needs to happen. When you’re dealing with a construction project like that anywhere, in any community, it’s going to be disruptive; we get that. But when you’re doing it through a very densely populated area, it has significant impact. Last night, I met with some of the community folks who had been involved in the discussions around that, and also with representatives from Ubisoft, which is one of the biggest video game companies in the world. They have a building—850 employees—located right at the edge of this rail. Their work is very carefully calibrated. They’ve recently done significant renovations to their building, to move a performance-capture studio over, because of the potential impact of vibration with the increase in trains.
I raise this because last week or the week before, there was a community meeting and update that we’ve been waiting for since the provincial election. We’ve been waiting for an update from Metrolinx on the state of construction, what the impact is going to be, how it’s going to impact local residents. The meeting was okay. It was a lot of boards, a lot of information, the opportunity to ask some questions—not really a public meeting. But Ubisoft did not receive notice about that meeting, nor did a lot of people living in apartment buildings around the tracks. I just happened to be knocking on their doors in the days before, and they had received no notice.
I’ve raised these issues with Metrolinx repeatedly. Everyone in our community has raised these issues repeatedly. We’re fearful about what the government’s changes are going to mean in terms of the project, because there are some public-realm components that are really important to the neighbourhood around it, to keep it safe.
The difficulties in communication around Metrolinx are just astounding, and I don’t understand why. I’m just telling you this because you’ll be on the board and it’s good for you to understand this kind of thing. I’m sure you’ve had to deal with these issues with CN.
Mr. Tony Marquis: You deal with them all the time. Change management is what it is. At CP, we moved too fast in some ways. We forgot to explain why. You’ve got to take a deep breath and explain why. You want to grow—we talked about the growth and what the future looks like. You’ve got to get all of the stakeholders in the room. You have to be transparent, because stakeholders may not like it, but when they hear it and they see it, they accept it.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Absolutely. I think our experience was, under the previous government, that they were just—pardon the expression—driving it through like a train or whatever.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Railroading.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Railroading the community. There was very little consultation going on. Transparency: That’s really what people are looking for. Eventually, after much effort on the part of the community, they got some of that, but again now we’re finding we just are fighting for even the most basic information which will really impact not just the residents of the neighbourhood, but a pretty significant industry in our city. I think that’s something that Metrolinx really dramatically needs to improve. It’s not enough just to tick off the box and say, “We had a public meeting.” If the people who are going to be impacted don’t know about it, you look like you are in fact railroading the community.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Point taken. I understand.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Davenport Diamond has to happen.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes, absolutely. And I think that the community gets that; I really do. I think that at first it was like, “Oh my goodness, you’re going to build this giant bridge,” but I think the community now very much is engaged in the conversation, at looking at the potential benefits, and is in agreement.
The other piece of that, though, is the requirement in the environmental assessment that to move the number of trains they need to move, we move to electrification. That’s the other concern, I think, for a lot of people—that that actually continue to be part of the plan.
Mr. Tony Marquis: I’m talking from my past employer’s point of view. Electrification is going to be tough because of the signal systems etc. There is a workaround. It will happen.
The diamond itself: I have led a lot of meetings on the diamond itself, on the safety side of things, because we were going to have trucks turning left into the area. We’ve rearranged that totally. We’re going to come south, and everybody turns right. We’ve made it a lot safer for access. So I do know the project very well.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m really glad to hear that. That’s excellent. Thank you.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Okay.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I hope I can call you.
It is an issue of just trying to keep the community informed when a big project like this is happening. As you know, it is a very densely populated area. People live right on the edge of that track—many, many people, and businesses.
I think those were most of my questions.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): And that’s right on time because that concludes the time that was allotted.
You may step down. Thank you very much for your time this morning.
Mr. Tony Marquis: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We will now consider the intended appointment of Dean Middleton, member for the Rabies Advisory Committee. Mr. Bouma?
Mr. Will Bouma: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Dean Middleton, nominated as member for the Rabies Advisory Committee.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Concurrence in the appointment has been moved by Mr. Bouma. Any discussion? Seeing none, I’d like to call for a vote. All those in favour? Anyone opposed? Seeing none, that carries.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Tony Marquis, member for Metrolinx. Mr. Bouma?
Mr. Will Bouma: Mr. Chair, I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Tony Marquis, nominated as member for Metrolinx.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Concurrence in the appointment has been moved by Mr. Bouma. Any further discussion? Seeing none, I’d like to call for a vote. All those in favour? Any opposed? That motion carries.
Our next issue is deadline extensions.
The deadline to review the intended appointment of Clare Copeland, selected from the November 8, 2019, certificate, is December 8, 2019. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Clare Copeland to February 18, 2020?
Ms. Marit Stiles: Sorry, point of order.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): First, I heard a no, so there’s no consent. Second, a point of order from Ms. Stiles.
Ms. Marit Stiles: This is a need to extend because it has timed out; is that correct?
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): Correct.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Is this again an issue of the fact that there just is not enough time in the schedule, or did she have some particular reason why she couldn’t attend at other opportunities?
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): I think it’s that we just don’t have enough time.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Because the government side won’t agree to extend. Well, we’ll see. Great. Thank you.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Point of order: Last week, I asked if this committee could meet in a different room to maybe accommodate and facilitate teleconference and/or video conference. This week we’re in a different room than the one we are normally in, which is adjacent to this one.
I wonder if the committee, through the Clerk, could give us a report of how that could be facilitated, both technically and through a schedule—if there are days available in other rooms that would facilitate us being able to accommodate people to do teleconferences. How do we do that?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Perhaps you could just explain that to the committee.
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): It has been the practice of this committee since they’ve done intended appointments to actually have the appointees attend in person to the committee. If the committee wanted to change that practice, I think they should make that decision, either by motion or agreement, that they would like to do video conference or teleconference—just keeping in mind that it really is a kind of interview for a job position, so you’d probably want to see who the person is, so maybe video conferencing as opposed to teleconferencing, because you won’t know who you’re really speaking to. But that would be a decision that the committee should make, because the practice has been that we invite.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Well, that seems quite straightforward and simple. Therefore, can I make a motion that this committee allow appointees to give their deputations through teleconference and/or video conference and that those accommodations be made for appointees who select that option, and that that option be extended to them?
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): We’ve got to get that handwritten.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: I know it should be in writing—
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): Because then we can make copies, and then it’s debatable.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Yes. But we get the gist? I believe my colleagues on the other side understand the gist.
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): We really need it in writing.
We do have all these deadline extensions. Did you want to—
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We just have time to finish the deadline extensions. Could we agree to have that motion in writing at the next meeting, and that we discuss that at the next meeting?
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): We could meet next Tuesday and deal with the motion, because I don’t believe we have any intended appointees.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Sure.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Right. According to the Clerk we have no appointees next Tuesday, and perhaps we could meet to discuss that motion.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Chair, we are nothing but flexible on this side when it comes to the process and democracy.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Okay. Do we have agreement from the committee that that would be a way forward?
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): He could bring forward the motion next week.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Yes, and then we will provide the motion in writing, and that would be on the agenda for the next time we meet, which would be Tuesday.
The Clerk pro tem (Ms. Tonia Grannum): Yes.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you.
We are on number two. The deadline to review the intended appointment of Arthur Lust, selected from the November 8, 2019, certificate, is December 8, 2019. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Arthur Lust to February 18, 2020? I heard a no, so we have no unanimous consent.
Number three: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Rick Byers, selected from the November 8, 2019, certificate, is December 8, 2019. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Rick Byers to February 18, 2020? I heard a no.
Number four: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Dawn King, selected from the November 8, 2019, certificate, is December 8, 2019. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Dawn King to February 18, 2020? I heard a no.
Number five: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Catherine Filejski, selected from the November 8, 2019, certificate, is December 8, 2019. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Catherine Filejski to February 18, 2020? I heard a no.
Number six: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Claire Jardine, selected from the November 8, 2019, certificate, is December 8, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Claire Jardine to February 18, 2020? I heard a no. We do not have unanimous consent.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Oh, wait—
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We have to adjourn. It’s 10:15. We are adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1015.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane ND)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)
Mr. Will Bouma (Brantford–Brant PC)
Mr. Lorne Coe (Whitby PC)
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto (Mississauga–Lakeshore PC)
Mr. Parm Gill (Milton PC)
Mr. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)
Mr. Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent–Leamington PC)
Ms. Marit Stiles (Davenport ND)
Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam (Scarborough–Rouge Park PC)
Mr. John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane ND)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Billy Pang (Markham–Unionville PC)
Mr. Sheref Sabawy (Mississauga–Erin Mills PC)
Clerk pro tem / Greffière par intérim
Ms. Tonia Grannum
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Andrew McNaught, research officer,