STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX

Tuesday 10 March 2020 Mardi 10 mars 2020

Subcommittee report

Intended appointments

Ms. Eleanor Fritz

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee

     

   
   
 
   
   
       

The committee met at 0900 in committee room 1.

Subcommittee report

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I’d like to call this meeting to order. Good morning, folks. The first item of business is the subcommittee report dated March 5, 2020. We have all seen the report in advance, so could I please have a motion? Mr. Burch.

Mr. Jeff Burch: Chair, I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, March 5, 2020, and the order-in-council certificate dated February 28, 2020.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Is there any further discussion? Seeing none, I’d like to call a vote on the adoption of the report. All those in favour? Opposed? Unanimous. That carries.

Intended appointments

Ms. Eleanor Fritz

Review of intended appointment, selected by government party: Eleanor Fritz, intended appointee as member, University of Guelph—board of governors.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We will now move to our review of intended appointments. First, we have Eleanor Fritz, nominated as a member of the University of Guelph board of governors. Please come forward.

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 in your statement will be deducted from the time allotted to the government.

The floor is yours. Welcome.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Thank you very much. I have prepared a few short remarks.

Good morning. Thank you very much for this opportunity to discuss my qualifications for this government appointment on the board of governors at the University of Guelph. I would note that the university put this recommendation forward to the government for my appointment, and I have actually been sitting on the board since 2017.

Before retiring at the end of 2016, I spent about 27 years in various roles at the Toronto Stock Exchange. In my last role as the director of compliance and disclosure, I was considered a senior regulator in the Canadian capital markets. Among my responsibilities in the role, it included establishing, educating and enforcing compliance with the exchange’s corporate governance requirements. At the end of my tenure, these corporate governance requirements had actually expanded to educating issuers about environmental and social issues.

Because of my role, I have sat on a number of advisory committees, including representing TMX on the World Federation of Exchanges’s sustainability working group, and was a founding member, and stayed until my retirement, on the continuous disclosure advisory committee of the Ontario Securities Commission. In addition, I have previous board experience, having sat on the national board of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute and as a member of the Ontario executive of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

When I was recruited to the board as an outside director in 2017, my qualifications as a senior woman in the Canadian capital markets with extensive corporate governance knowledge, as well as being a university alumni, I believe, made me an attractive candidate. At the time, I was appointed to the Governance and HR and the audit and risk committees—and continue to serve on them, although I now chair the governance and HR committee.

In 2018, the university determined to undertake a governance review to assess the board structure and practices and make recommendations in the spirit of continuous improvement and evolving best practices. The University of Guelph had actually been recognized for having very sound corporate governance practices. A seven-member committee was struck, composed of both internal and external members who were almost all current directors. I was asked to chair this working group, which made over 60 recommendations to the board. They were all accepted, and we’re in the process of implementing them.

I believe I have developed a reputation for being approachable and reasonable. I consider myself as someone who makes balanced, informed and principled decisions based on facts and the long-term organizational strategy. I would welcome an opportunity to leverage my skills and knowledge on the board of governors of the University of Guelph in this appointment.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you. That concludes your remarks?

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: That concludes my remarks.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Our first round of questioning will go to the official opposition. Mr. Burch.

Mr. Jeff Burch: Good morning, Ms. Fritz. How are you?

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Good morning.

Mr. Jeff Burch: You spoke about continuous improvement. Can you talk about how your experience with that uniquely qualifies you for this position?

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: In my position at TMX, or TSX, public company governance, I would say, leads not-for-profit governance and crown governance. Part of that is because of the resources and also the attention of institutional investors on the governance structure.

Canada has been recognized as a leader in public company governance, and the Toronto Stock Exchange was actually a champion early on in terms of governance, sponsoring the first report on corporate governance in 1995. So that’s where our involvement at TSX has been in that; it’s been there since then, really bringing forward some of these practices that are expected within public company governance onto the board as well.

Having said that, though, governance isn’t a one-size-fits-all standard. Really, it needs to be tailored to the organization. So that’s what we’re doing and what I’m hoping to provide with my knowledge.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Stiles.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Good morning. I’m sorry I missed a bit of your presentation, but I did read through some of your qualifications and I appreciate you being here this morning.

I just had a question because, of course, we’ve seen some recent developments around the head coach of the track and field program—accusations of sexual abuse. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about your own experience in managing—if you’ve had any experience being part of reviews like the one that the university has undertaken, or any thoughts or comments on what the university is going through right now.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: In my role at TSX, that would not have fallen within my responsibility. Where it intersected with my responsibilities, not unlike you, was, part of the role was suitability of officers and directors, so we would review whether individuals were suitable. There was a requirement to fill out a personal information form. If information came forward with respect to a criminal conviction or some kind of civil sanction, then that would be something that we would be reviewing closely with respect to that.

I can go on, if you’re interested. I can comment with respect to the response of the university.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Please.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Really, there have been two incidents. One incident happened in 2006 and the other incident was in 2019. In 2019, clearly the experience of Megan Brown and the Dave Scott-Thomas issue as a whole has been, I would say, devastating to people. The university has taken this very seriously. They have hired external experts to help them in their review of the athletic department. As well, the president of the university received a letter from faculty and staff asking that the review not just focus on the athletic development, but really look at the potential of abuse of power across the organization. He has responded and said that that review will be conducted, and that the external report will be released to ensure transparency.

I think its important to note that both Megan Brown and the captains of the track and field team have acknowledged that changes have occurred since 2006. The captain of track and field actually issued a statement and noted the support of the director of athletics and the university for them. I think that that is quite heartening.

As a complete aside to the entire issue, the men and women’s track and field team won the OUA indoor championship, which really speaks to their resilience. That was just wonderful.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you. Any other questions? Okay.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): That concludes your questioning? Thank you.

Now we will turn to the government. Mr. Coe.

Mr. Lorne Coe: Thank you, Chair. Through you, thank you so much for being with us here this morning and your opening delegation. In that delegation, you spoke to your time serving on the board of governors already. I’d like you to talk a little bit more about your role as the chair of the governance and human resources committee and, combined with that, the audit and risk committee, and how you see the experience from those two committees informing the role that you’re here to talk about this morning.

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Ms. Eleanor Fritz: As the chair, my responsibility, then, is in terms of helping to set the agenda, running the meeting efficiently, and ensuring that there is a fulsome conversation and discussion about the issues that are on the agenda—and, I would say, that the members of the committee have sufficient information in front of them to ensure that they can make an informed decision and we can have an informed discussion.

The areas of responsibility of the governance and human resources committee really speak to processes and procedures at the board level, as well as, on the human resources side, we would be looking at succession planning on the board of governors. We look at executive management, the president, the board of trustees and the investment subcommittees. We’re looking at succession planning within committees as well. So that’s a piece of it.

We are responsible for setting the CEO’s annual performance plan and then undertaking that assessment.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the president has announced his intention to resign, and so we’re also involved with that process. Although I’m not personally sitting on the presidential search committee, we were involved with choosing the search consultant.

Mr. Lorne Coe: Thank you for that answer.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Tangri?

Mrs. Nina Tangri: Welcome.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Thank you very much.

Mrs. Nina Tangri: I just want to turn back to your role at the TSX, as it was, and how that translates to your role from compliance and disclosure, how you’re going to utilize that on the board, should you be chosen, and how we could use that preventively, not just after the fact. How are you going to use your experience there and bring that to the board? Can you let us know how you’re going to utilize those skills?

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: From my experience as a regulator, it was always important that we had best practices in place. If you’re not familiar with the Canadian Investor Relations Institute, “investor relations” is the individual who tends to be the key intersection between investors and stakeholders. The importance of getting information out to the market in a timely manner—we had different requirements. Really, you want to educate people about those requirements so that you don’t have to deal with the problems, right? Because the problems are what take up all your time.

In terms of what my experience was at the Toronto Stock Exchange and leveraging that into the university, it’s really helping to establish those best practices and trying to put them in place—and what’s going to work for the university in terms of tailoring governance.

For an example, the working group on corporate governance—the structure of the university board is much different. There are 24 directors on the University of Guelph board and 14 directors on the RBC board, and it’s the largest company in Canada. Ten of those appointments, though, are internal and 14 are external appointments.

Typically in a public company, all the committees on the board would be independent, but we have this valuable resource, these internal directors. How do you leverage them? I think it’s well recognized amongst best practices in corporate governance that you wouldn’t have them sitting on an audit and risk committee or on the human resources committee, because there are potential conflicts, or certainly the appearance of conflicts of interest if not actual conflicts. So one of the recommendations was to split off the governance and HR committee. We would add internal members to the governance committee to be able to leverage their expertise, but the human resources committee would still remain separate.

Additionally, we have an executive committee, which, again, is not a traditional structure in a public company. We’re putting very tight confines around it, but the recommendation has been to add the longest-serving internal director onto that committee, again to be able to leverage their expertise. So it’s really trying to find a kind of balance. But I think it’s working—it’s being grounded in that public company, bringing that forward, and then examining the university structure to say what works best.

Mrs. Nina Tangri: Thank you very much.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Pang.

Mr. Billy Pang: Ms. Fritz, it’s nice to meet you. Thank you for putting your name forward. As you shared with my colleagues your previous experience with the university, we know that in university, the point is to promote the advancement of learning and also, the dissemination of knowledge.

You have a lot you just shared about the stakeholders in a lot of companies there. What do you think? How should the university approach its policy, especially on policy development, in conjunction with the stakeholders?

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: I think it depends, with respect to the policy. But I was reviewing the development of the strategic framework, which actually occurred before I joined the board: The university consulted with 1,100 individuals in terms of developing what its strategic framework would look like. I think the University of Guelph is well known and well respected for doing broad consultation with policies that are going to impact broader groups of people. In terms of those policy initiatives, it’s not just making it a one-level decision and pushing down; it’s really consulting with staff, students, faculty, community members, alumni, donors, retirees so it can really hit a broad spectrum of people, depending on what the issue is.

Mr. Billy Pang: Okay, so it’s depending on the issues. Do you have, in your mind, policies and procedures that can be carried out to promote those stakeholder relationships?

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: The role of the board is from an oversight standpoint, so part of that—we’re not going to be actual management and sort of doing that. We haven’t set policies to tell the university executive how it should go about conducting its reviews. It would be when it comes forward to the board for us to review a bit of policy that they would bring forward, and questions may arise as to who they have consulted with and who they have done that with. But I would just say, from a broad standpoint, the university consults widely with impacted individuals.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you. Mr. Nicholls.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Ms. Fritz, welcome. Good morning and welcome to wonderful downtown Chatham—not Chatham, Toronto. I’m from Chatham.

Laughter.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: See? It’s better that I ask you than you ask me. You’ll understand the context of that particular motto.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Can I say, as part of my remarks, that that actually used to be my tag line: “Better you call me than I call you.” No one would allow me to put it on my business card, but that was really what I wanted.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: My motto is simply: Be where you’re at.

I appreciate you being here today. The University of Guelph is near and dear to my heart, but more specifically, the Ridgetown campus, also known as the Westags. You may know that, and if not, well, now you do.

Can you kind of fill us in a little bit as to some of the things that, perhaps, the University of Guelph is doing from a capital perspective in order to help out the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus with regard to some of their capital concerns, specifically around research? I know that they’re looking at a large research building down there, because they’re known for their intense research and their excellence in research when it comes to farming and ag questions.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Absolutely. I can’t speak to that because I don’t know. Typically, what happens is the request for funding would come through the property committee and finance committee, and then on to the board for final approval. I haven’t seen anything with respect to Ridgetown.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Nothing yet? Okay. I have been in discussion with some of them. I know they have a large capital project and funding going on down there right now, to assist. They know that we’re working diligently to assist them in that type of thing. We fully respect the fact that you may not be fully aware of everything that goes on there—

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: No.

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Mr. Rick Nicholls: —but I’m sure that you will be—

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: That I will get my 20 pages and I’ll be able to—in my board binder with respect to that when we come in.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Just say hello to Ken McEwan for me. I don’t know if you know Ken. I think he’s the principal at Ridgetown campus.

Thank you very much for being here. I appreciate your time.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Thank you very much. It is my pleasure to be here.

I haven’t been down to Ridgetown, but it is something that I want to do. It was really a great pleasure—two students from Ridgetown came up, who had been award winners, and I was at a dinner and met with them. It was great.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: I know they’re working diligently to get more international students down there, as well. The University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus is making a name for itself—and the University of Guelph—in terms of agriculture. They’re encouraging international students to come to Guelph and then take back what they learn, or stay and apply it right here in Ontario.

Ms. Eleanor Fritz: Guelph positions itself as Canada’s food university. We see an opportunity for growth in the international field, and Ridgetown is key to our success.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): That concludes the time allotted. Thank you very much for your time.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee

Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Cheryl Brownlee, intended appointee as member, Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Next, we have Cheryl Brownlee, nominated as member of the Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee.

Good morning. 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. For 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. Welcome.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you about my interest in joining the Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee, or SARPAC.

The committee makes recommendations to the minister on matters that relate to the implementation of the province’s Species at Risk Program, and I understand this role to fit well with both my experience and my personal values.

As someone who has been keenly interested in public policy since my university days, I think I have the right motivation for getting involved.

Originally from Dryden and, today, being a cottager in southern Ontario, I grew up with and continue to respect all things nature.

Combining my passion for northern Ontario and my interest in government led me to spend 14 years at the Ontario Mining Association. I believe this experience provided me with strong credentials that are not just specific to mining, but include my ability to understand the impact of provincial legislation and policy across the province and across various stakeholders. I will feel confident in reviewing and discussing practical implementation matters as they relate to committee business.

My responsibilities at the OMA included analyzing legislative, regulatory and policy proposals in several areas applicable to this role, such as sustainable mining, Indigenous relations, energy, environment, taxation and northern economic development. Promoting stewardship and biodiversity, as well as community readiness and engagement, was fundamental to that work, and we took a deliberate non-partisan approach in all of our efforts.

Prior to that, my work at the Ministry of Natural Resources included as the fish and wildlife policy adviser. Our minister had a strong commitment to conservation and developed significant policy in that area. In fact, I was part of the group developing the Living Legacy parks and protected areas legislation and implementation plan. During that time, I had occasion to attend round tables in various areas of the province and hear from a range of land users about their conservation priorities.

I also spent two years at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which gave me another opportunity to learn about stakeholders and land users specifically.

The Endangered Species Act describes eight broad categories for which the committee may be asked to provide input and, in reviewing those, I feel comfortable that I can make a contribution. For example, working with technical committees to build consensus or develop policy or work with best management practices is something I’ve had extensive experience with. I had a chance to review last year’s EBR posting for the 10-year review of the act. I noted that the ministry solicited comments and suggestions about ways to achieve positive outcomes for species at risk, as well as streamlining approvals and providing clarity to the process. This is the type of feedback I’m very accustomed to asking for, analyzing and responding to through my previous work experience. Also, the 10-year SAR report noted both scientific and implementation-focused expertise are essential to informing the protection and recovery of species at risk in Ontario.

My area of expertise is on the implementation side, while I could look to other committee members who are stronger technically, as well as the ministry staff, for scientific needs. In addition, I know that the ministry relies on the scientists who populate the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario, or COSSARO, to review and rank the species on an annual basis.

I’d further describe how I can contribute to the committee as helping to fulfill the mandate to support human activities while, at the same time, ensuring appropriate support for species recovery, as also was described in the 2019 annual report. That report includes a section within each species that includes this topic and, I think, speaks directly to the mandate of the SARPAC committee. In fulfilling its mandate, the committee membership draws on various experts with relevant knowledge about resource use, land use, conservation and environment. Ultimately, committee members are asked to perform their functions in an independent manner, and not as representatives of their employers or other organizations. This balanced decision-making is important to me personally, and I feel it ensures no one is unduly advancing an individual vision at the committee.

As for committee governance and volunteering, this too is an area I’m familiar with, having been the board secretary at the Ontario Mining Association for 10 years, as well as having the opportunity to participate in my children’s schools, teams and clubs in a volunteer capacity for the last number of years.

I feel fortunate to be at a point in my career where I can consider additional opportunities to give back and volunteer in the community, and particularly those that merge with my passion for the outdoors and northern Ontario, which is how I see this role.

Thank you for your time today.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you for your presentation.

The first round of questions will go to the government. Mr. Coe.

Mr. Lorne Coe: Good morning. Thank you very much for your delegation.

As you’re lobbying various ministers’ offices in your role as a consultant, including the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, how will you mediate this situation if you’re appointed as a member of the Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes, I am an independent consultant now and I do work in the mining industry. Part of that role is being an adviser and providing advice to mining companies on both provincial and federal government legislation and policy.

In terms of lobbying, I have not been to this point, nor do I anticipate being, a specialist or involved or lobbying on anything to do with species at risk writ large or in specific as it relates to this committee. Should there be such a time that I would perceive there to be a client that is interested in me getting involved in that, I would have to step away from that work and ensure that it wasn’t a conflict with my role in this committee.

Mr. Lorne Coe: Thank you for your response. Through you, Chair, to my colleagues.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Nicholls.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Good morning, Ms. Brown. It’s nice to have you here today, and welcome to balmy Toronto.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes, thank you.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: I’m sure that you have a lot more snow up in Dryden—home of the Dryden Ice Dogs by the way, from what I understand as well.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes, exactly. Home of the Dryden Ice Dogs.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: You mentioned also your cottage there in southern Ontario. May I ask where? I’m curious.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Near Minden, on Twelve Mile Lake.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Minden? Okay. Obviously you don’t have the flooding situation down there that I do, down in my riding.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Well, we have had for sure extensive flooding issues in Minden. The town itself had flooding issues just a couple of years ago, so it’s a concern for sure in the area.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: I’m sure that would put a lot of species at risk as well, and so on.

You’ve indicated that you are, in fact, an active registered lobbyist. How will this directly, or perhaps indirectly, affect your role as a member of the Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I think that my experience in the past with government and policy and working for the government, and then my years working with the Ontario Mining Association, are what led me to start my own consulting business and look towards helping mining companies understand the role of government and how their operations impact with government.

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Part of that role is considered a lobbyist effort, and I am on the lobbyist registry for one of my clients, currently. I don’t think that this would cause a conflict with being on the SARPAC committee. My role with any of my clients I’ve had to date—and, certainly, any I plan to have—would not be specific to species. I don’t have the technical background. I wouldn’t be a consultant to them or a lobbyist to them on specific species-related matters. Rather, my advice and my involvement with mining companies is on writing government relations plans and developing engagement strategies and helping them prepare presentations, and certainly not at the technical level of lobbying for anything to do with species-at-risk legislation.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Okay. I appreciate your time and your response.

I’ll turn it over my next colleague.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Tangri.

Mrs. Nina Tangri: Welcome. “Welcome back to Queen’s Park,” I guess, is the better term.

The Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee—or SARPAC, as you know—provides advice to the minister on a wide range of matters related to species at risk. You’ve had extensive experience here, at Queen’s Park and in the ministries. Why are you interested in being part of this committee as opposed to others? What made you choose this particular committee?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I think that, first and foremost, my interest involves wanting to do something that involves nature and the outdoors and speaks to northern Ontario. While I know species at risk isn’t exclusively a northern Ontario issue, concern or mandate, certainly originally the interest for me was from that perspective.

Secondly, I think my own personal values and traditions, the way I grew up—my family was long involved in the outdoors. We had a lifelong family relationship with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. My children have attended their March break camps. My children continue to attend YMCA camps in the Haliburton area. We hike. We fish. We ski. We’re just very outdoors-focused. It’s the values I grew up with. I think that was what, let’s say, made me choose something like this over other committee opportunities.

Then, I think, coupling that with the experience and the knowledge I have and the contribution I can make to understanding policy development, policy implementations, working with stakeholders, developing consensus—this is something that I did both in my time inside government and looking at it through a government lens, but then more recently outside government and working with a broad range of stakeholders and the government, as well, of course, to implement policy, make recommendations on policy and ensure that the mining sector was successful in Ontario.

Mrs. Nina Tangri: Thank you.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Pang.

Mr. Billy Pang: Good morning, Ms. Brownlee. It’s nice to meet you here.

I’ve heard you share a lot of your personal experience and qualifications. Also, you’ve mentioned a couple of times that your previous experience and work are not in conflict with the new role. So if it’s not conflicting, I would like to know: How does that experience and those qualifications support your new role in SARPAC?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I think that it would be advantageous on this committee to have representation of people who are aware broadly of the different resource uses on the land and who interact directly with species. That’s something that the mining sector does. The mining sector is different than a traditional manufacturing sector. Right from prospecting, which is a very benign activity, through to exploration, development, operation, closure and reclamation, there’s intersection there with species at all times.

I think my experience with the sector, my knowledge with the industry and the individuals I can call upon should I need additional advice on this committee are all things that I hope will make me a valuable committee member in bringing some of that land use perspective and some of that familiarity with government policy development to bear at the committee.

Mr. Billy Pang: Thank you for your answer.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Smith.

Mr. Dave Smith: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and through you: Are you a member of any organization or association right now that would provide additional insight for you when you’re on this committee?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I am a member of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. I’m a member of the Canadian institute of mining and metallurgy. I’m a member of the Women in Mining Toronto chapter. I think all of these memberships help me stay current and make sure that I’m focused and aware with current trends and happenings in the mining sector.

It also allows me to attend conferences. The largest mining conference in the world was held in Toronto last week, and I had an opportunity to attend that and be part of the sustainability program, which included sessions on biodiversity.

I think those types of memberships allow me to remain connected. As well, the mining sector itself has committees that deal directly with species at risk, both through the Ontario Mining Association and through the federal mining association. Should I need to get more information, I would be able to call on those individuals to help provide it.

Mr. Dave Smith: So it would be safe to say that not only do you have extensive knowledge yourself, but your network fingers out into a lot of different areas that you could draw from?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes. In my research in considering this role, I spoke to consultants who are engaged directly with mining companies. Preparing species plans, I spoke to the mining representative previously on this committee. I spoke to the woman who chairs the federal task force on species at risk for the mining sector. I spoke to a lot of those individuals. I know a lot of the company representatives who are on those committees, and I’d feel comfortable approaching them if I needed additional input.

Mr. Dave Smith: Thank you.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): You have 30 seconds left. Mr. Cuzzetto.

Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Good morning, and thank you for being here. Could you please highlight your skills and attributes that would help in this committee over other candidates?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Sure. I think what I bring to the table is being what I would describe as a good generalist on public policy, stakeholder relations and the intersection between government policy development and resource user groups. I have over 20 years’ experience in resource policy and public policy directly. I think I can bring a lot of experiences that I had both travelling throughout Ontario, listening to resource users and getting their input, as well as my direct current experience I had over the last 14 years with the mining sector and understanding that sector’s concerns.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you. That concludes the time allotted to the government.

We will now switch to the official opposition. Ms. Stiles.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Hi. Good morning.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Hi.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you so much for appearing here today. We appreciate it. I was listening to some of your comments and reviewing some of the materials that we were provided with, and I know the members opposite asked a few related questions to this.

What I’ll start with first are some basic questions we tend to ask pretty much everybody who appears here at some point. The first one is: Did anybody approach you to apply for this position, and if so, who?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes. The minister’s office contacted me to consider putting my name forward for this position. I understand that the chair had raised a request that there be a mining representative added to the committee. One of the individuals on the committee mentioned my name, having worked with that individual over the last number of years in various government policy consultation sessions, so then I considered the role after that time.

Ms. Marit Stiles: And when you say the people you’d worked with, some of this is as a consultant, some of this is working for the mining sector and—

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: The individual on the committee from the wate rpower association who put my name forward and who I spoke to—that was through my involvement at the mining association. We worked pretty closely with the water power association and other groups—the agriculture groups, hydro groups, energy groups, prospector groups—just part of the other stakeholder groups that we work with on consultations, and so I had familiarity with him from that work.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Do you recall who it was from the minister’s office who contacted you?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes. It was Holly.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Holly? Do you recall a last name?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Frigero? I’m not sure if that’s how you pronounce her name.

Interjection: Fullager.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Fullager.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Sorry?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Holly Fullager.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Fullager? Okay. Thank you.

So you worked with the Ontario Mining Association for quite some time. In that period, did you work on the advocacy projects that would have changed regulation around environmental protections?

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Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I don’t know if I’d call it an advocacy project, but we certainly wrote government submissions responding to EBR postings that were involving the environment. The OMA has a species-at-risk working group that is part of our environment subcommittee. So we definitely would have made positions over the 14 years. I wasn’t directly involved with that subcommittee, but the association, for sure, would have been involved in making written submissions about environmental policy in Ontario.

Ms. Marit Stiles: What about in your years since, as a lobbyist?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: No. I just opened my own business, started my own company in the fall, and I have just taken on two clients since then. None of that has had anything to do with species at risk.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Were you involved in any submissions specifically around the legislation—what was it called?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: The last year?

Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: No. I did have a chance to look at that, but no, I wasn’t involved in any submissions on that.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Have you ever donated to any political parties?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I haven’t personally donated to any political parties. I did, while I was at the Ontario Mining Association, attend fundraisers for all three political parties based on tickets that were purchased through the Ontario Mining Association, prior to the legislation being changed, when associations used to be able to purchase tickets. I did attend those, but I haven’t personally since then, or before then, purchased my own ticket or supported a party financially.

Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m sorry; I was a little unclear on this from your CV—you worked for the leader of the Conservative official opposition?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Who was that at the time?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: John Tory.

Ms. Marit Stiles: There have been a few of them.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes. That was a six-month maternity leave—

Ms. Marit Stiles: And then you worked for the Minister of Natural Resources—I believe it was Bob Runciman?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: That was prior to that, under Mike Harris.

Ms. Marit Stiles: So you have some experience on the political side, I would say.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Yes.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Fair enough.

Just going back to some of the advocacy that you did with the Ontario Mining Association—you mentioned being involved in some submissions and such, I’m sure. Would you say that those changes resulted in making it easier to move forward with the projects—or that maybe a bit at the expense of environmental considerations?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: No, I don’t think I would classify any of our positions we ever took or any of the changes that I’m aware of that were made as being at the expense of protection.

Certainly, we’ve advocated for, and I personally believe in, a risk-based approach, which allows the ministry to focus their efforts not just on species, but on anything to do with the environment—on those highest-risk potential.

I think, also, something that the association advocates for, and that I believe in, is greater streamlining and harmonization between the federal and provincial governments. They both have legislation and committees and species-listings roles to play, so I think wherever those can be better understood by the proponent, it would both save time and resources for the government, and would ultimately lead to better species protection in the end.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Let me see if my colleague has any questions. How much more time do we have?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): You have nine minutes. Mr. Burch.

Mr. Jeff Burch: Good morning, Ms. Brownlee. I just have one question. You had mentioned some experience in dealing with Aboriginal issues, but I missed what you said. Could you—

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Sure. I know that part of the work that the ministry does and that the COSSARO committee does is considering traditional knowledge. Certainly, in the mining sector, traditional knowledge is a very valuable input and the companies use it, from prospecting and exploration right through to operations.

At the Ontario Mining Association, we have an Indigenous relations committee. I was the staff lead for that committee for several years, which involved, again, responding to government policy such as resource revenue-sharing, consultation policy.

I think it’s an avenue and an area that is growing within the mining sector and within the ministry as well—taking into consideration the traditional knowledge as it relates to a mining development, or in this case as it relates to protection of species.

Mr. Jeff Burch: How would you bring that experience into this position?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: I think that part of the role that’s described in the legislation is actually providing advice on that exact type of knowledge that we as the SARPAC committee would suggest the government encourage COSSARO to consider. I think part of the role could be just seeing and probing and finding out from the ministry how has that traditional knowledge been applied in this situation, whatever matter we might be deliberating, or whatever species COSSARO is considering, and how have they relied on that traditional knowledge—and you look for evidence that it has been considered as part of the policy, moving forward.

Mr. Jeff Burch: Okay, thank you.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Stiles?

Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m just looking for your general thoughts on this. We’ve seen under this government, under the Ford Conservatives, the scrapping of climate change legislation. We’ve seen them fire the environmental watchdog. At the same time, we’ve seen this growing list of endangered species in Ontario. Some have said that under the—I was reminded that it’s called the More Homes, More Choice Act, which we thought was not a particularly great name, but that’s up to the government. But that legislation gave the minister, really, quite undue flexibility to suspend protective actions—I think it’s up to three years—for newly listed species at risk, I guess, under the auspices of development and economic opportunity or what have you. I wondered if you could share your thoughts on that.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Sure. I think as the SARPAC committee, our role isn’t going to be to set any direction for the government. Regardless of who the government is that’s in power during the day, we will take our policy direction from them and our role will be to, in fact, try to provide implementation advice.

As far as the recent changes go, I think that there is a good opportunity for our committee to provide more input as that moves forward. I understand the regulations have not been developed yet that relate to that legislation, so I would expect that we could have a role in that and we could ensure that protection of the species remains at the forefront and is the focus of the legislation and the regulations, moving forward.

Ms. Marit Stiles: So you’d see yourself as playing an active role in the development of those regulations?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Well, it would depend if the committee was asked for their opinion, but I can see, based on what our tasks are to be, that that could be a reasonable ask, that we may be asked to provide some input on those regulations, moving forward.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Forgive me for this, but because of your background, I have to say I do have some concerns about—and I’ll tell you, I worked in the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines back quite a few years ago, believe it or not, so I understand the industry and the importance of the industry. But I think there would be some who might see, based on your past experience, that you are rather beholden to the industry. How would you respond to this?

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Two things I’d say about that: One is that I think there’s a very deliberate approach by this committee to get a range of land users’ opinions on there. There are going to be 19 members, as I understand, and they’ve looked to all the resource users writ large to get a representative on. I think that that’s a very wise way to approach this, and I think that it ensures that a wide range of views are considered.

As for me personally, I think that, in my conversations with the chair and with one of the other members on the committee—they both went out of their way to tell me that we check that allegiance at the door and we aren’t there as a representative of an organization or of an employer, and that we are actually there, as a large group, to provide input. I don’t feel that I will be conflicted in any way with my experience in the mining sector. In fact, I think it will be an asset in that I wasn’t exclusively focused on just the mining sector. I do have experience working with other user groups and finding consensus. I think that will be an asset, hopefully, for me at the committee.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Okay, thank you.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): That concludes the questions. Thank you very much for coming.

Ms. Cheryl Brownlee: Thank you.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): You may step down.

We will now consider the intended appointment of Eleanor Fritz, member of the University of Guelph board of governors. Mr. Coe.

Mr. Lorne Coe: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Eleanor Fritz, nominated as member of the University of Guelph board of governors.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Concurrence in the appointment has been moved by Mr. Coe. Any further discussion? Seeing none, I would like to call a vote. All those in favour? Any opposed? That carries.

We will now consider the intended appointment of Cheryl Brownlee, member of the Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee.

Mr. Lorne Coe: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Cheryl Brownlee, nominated as member of the Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Concurrence in the appointment has been moved by Mr. Coe. Any further discussion? Seeing none, I’d like to call a vote. All those in favour? Any opposed? That motion carries.

Next on our agenda is extensions.

Number one: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Greg Spearn, selected from the February 14, 2020, certificate, is March 15, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to—

Ms. Marit Stiles: Point of order, Mr. Chair.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Could I finish the—

Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes, but I just wondered, Mr. Chair: I think at the last meeting we asked if we could have these on paper in front of us so we could see the names. Is that available?

Interjection.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We’ll just hold till that happens.

Ms. Marit Stiles: I didn’t see it in the handout, but maybe I’m missing it.

Interjection.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Okay, we’ll recess for five minutes and make copies.

The committee recessed from 0951 to 1003.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Does everyone have the required documentation? Then we will reconvene. I’ll start again.

Number one: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Greg Spearn, selected from the February 14, 2020, certificate, is March 15, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Greg Spearn to April 16, 2020? I heard a no.

Ms. Stiles.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Can we have a recorded vote on that? Is that possible?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I don’t think so.

Ms. Marit Stiles: May I then, Mr. Chair, ask the members opposite if they wouldn’t mind explaining why they are opposed to extending the deadline to review the intended appointment of David Sandor—correct?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): No, Greg Spearn.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Where’s that?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Number one.

Ms. Marit Stiles: He’s not on my list.

Interjections.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Shall we recess again?

Ms. Marit Stiles: No, we’ve got it.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Stiles, you had the floor.

Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m wondering if the members opposite could explain or comment on what reason they have for not wanting to extend the opportunity we have to interview Mr. Spearn for his appointment.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further discussion?

Ms. Marit Stiles: No comments?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I will wait until we’re finished.

Any further discussion?

Ms. Marit Stiles: Mr. Chair, may I ask that it appear on the record that the members opposite, the government representatives of this committee, had no comment on the reason for them not wanting Mr. Spearn to appear before the committee?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I believe you have just put it on the record. Any further discussion on that one?

Number two: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Ed Skwarek, selected from the February 14, 2020, certificate, is March 15, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Ed Skwarek to April 15, 2020? I heard a no. We do not have unanimous agreement.

Ms. Stiles, you have the floor.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Mr. Chair, we’ve seen this over and over again at this committee. We’ve made numerous attempts to meet with the members of the opposite side of the government to talk about how we might create some additional opportunities—this is one of the few committees where we could actually meet, for example, when the Legislature’s not in session. We’ve had no luck in even getting them to meet at all. They continue to refuse to extend, even by a few weeks or a few days, the opportunity we have to interview these appointees. I would like the government members to please explain why they are so opposed to us asking Ed Skwarek questions about his appointment.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further discussion? Seeing none—

Ms. Marit Stiles: Mr. Chair, I’d like it to appear on the record that the members opposite would not comment on the reasons why Mr. Ed Skwarek is not going to be able to appear before this committee.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Number three: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Nicholas Savona, selected from the February 14, 2020, certificate, is March 15, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Nicholas Savona to April 15, 2020?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I heard a no, so we do not have unanimous consent. Ms. Stiles.

Ms. Marit Stiles: You’re going to be shocked, Mr. Chair. I would like to ask, once again, for the members opposite to explain why they do not want the public, the people who we are elected to represent, to hear from Mr. Nicholas Savona about why his appointment is proper, about why we should be, as the people of Ontario, paying whatever fees Mr. Nicholas Savona will be paid to be on whatever board or committee he’s being appointed to.

I think that the government members have clearly made a decision not to accept any extensions to any of these appointees. I think the people of Ontario, especially given this government’s record when it comes to public appointments—we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of appointees come through and this government refusing to allow them to sit here and appear before this committee. I would like the members opposite to explain to this committee and to the people of Ontario why they refuse to allow just an extension, so we can hear from a handful of their appointees?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further discussion? Seeing none—

Ms. Marit Stiles: For the record, Mr. Chair, I’d like to see that reflected in the transcript that these members opposite refuse to comment.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Number four—

Mr. Billy Pang: Point of order: If we didn’t comment, it doesn’t mean that we refuse to comment.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Would MPP Pang like to comment on the—

Mr. Billy Pang: For the record, right?

Ms. Marit Stiles: To comment? So you’re going to explain—

Mr. Billy Pang: No. “Did not comment” is not “refused to comment.”

Ms. Marit Stiles: Fair enough. I guess we could—

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Perhaps different wording could be used in the next comments.

Number four: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Kevin Holland, selected from the February 14, 2020, certificate is March 15, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Kevin Holland to April 15, 2020? I heard a no. We do not have unanimous consent.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Mr. Chair, we only have a few more to go here and a few more minutes. I’m just going to say again that we’ve made some changes in this committee. We had our first person appear via teleconference, which was exciting, I thought. We’ve made some attempts, as a committee, on both sides, I hope, to provide ample opportunity. But for some reason, this government wants to shut the door and prevent us from actually hearing from people. I don’t know what the discomfort is here. There seems to be some discomfort, which casts a shadow over these appointments. I believe that everybody we’ve had appear here before felt like it was their responsibility to the people of the province to come and explain what qualifications they have and why they were the right person for the role. I don’t know why the government members opposite would want to prevent us from hearing from them.

So I’d ask, again, if the members opposite would care to share with us what the rationale is here. I don’t know if they’ve been muzzled, they can’t talk about it. I’d like to understand better what the issue is here, why they continue to prevent us from hearing these important voices.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further discussion? Seeing none—

Ms. Marit Stiles: For the record, Mr. Chair, the transcript should show that the members opposite would not comment.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Number five: The deadline to review the intended appointment of Richard Lancaster-Brooks, selected from the February 14, 2020, certificate, is March 15, 2020. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointment of Richard Lancaster-Brooks to April 15, 2020?

Interjections.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I heard a no. There’s no unanimous consent.

Ms. Stiles.

Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m wondering, Mr. Chair, if you wouldn’t mind reminding us what agency or board Mr. Lancaster-Brooks was being appointed to.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Ms. Marit Stiles: That’s an important role, Mr. Chair.

I just want to again reflect on the record that the opposition MPPs, the NDP MPPs who are present—in each one of these votes, including in the vote to extend the opportunity to consider the intended appointment of Mr. Richard Lancaster-Brooks to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, have said, “Yes, we are open to extending that.” In fact, as I’ve mentioned previously, we’ve offered to meet in between, when the House isn’t sitting, because this committee has that ability, unlike most committees. We’ve repeatedly attempted to find ways to make it easier for the government to agree with us, to provide opportunities for these people to appear.

We’ve seen repeated attempts by the government members to avoid having these appointees appear here before us. I think it’s quite shameful.

All we’re asking for is a few days. We are only picking a handful of the hundreds of appointees. This is our role, if we’re elected—for nothing else but to actually ask the questions, be the voice of the people we represent, the people of this province who have important questions that they want answered, particularly around bodies like the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

I wonder, again, if the members opposite would like to shed some light on why they prefer to allow these people they’re appointing to have this kind of cloud of uncertainty hang over them. Why do they prefer to do that rather than provide an opportunity for Richard Lancaster-Brooks to appear before this committee?

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any further discussion? Seeing none—

Ms. Marit Stiles: Hopefully, it will reflect in the transcript, again, that the government members did not comment and would not answer that question.

The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you. That concludes our business for today. I will call this meeting adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1014.

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. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)

Mr. Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent–Leamington PC)

Mr. Billy Pang (Markham–Unionville PC)

Ms. Marit Stiles (Davenport ND)

Mrs. Nina Tangri (Mississauga–Streetsville PC)

Mr. John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane ND)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants

Mr. Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre / Niagara-Centre ND)

Mr. Dave Smith (Peterborough–Kawartha PC)

Clerk pro tem / Greffier par intérim

Ms. Julia Douglas

Staff / Personnel

Ms. Lauren Warner, research officer,
Research Services