Monday 28 June 1993

Education Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, Bill 4


*Chair / Président: Beer, Charles (York North/-Nord L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

*Carter, Jenny (Peterborough ND)

*Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC)

*Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)

*Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND)

McGuinty, Dalton (Ottawa South/-Sud L)

*O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

*O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Rizzo, Tony (Oakwood ND)

Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Malkowski, Gary (York East/-Est ND) for Mr Owens

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Ministry of Education and Training:

Ferren, Peter, education officer, special education and provincial schools branch

Goldberg, Deborah, legal counsel

Grootenboer, Theo, senior manager, school business and finance branch

Lindhout, Julie, director, legislation branch

Martin, Tony, parliamentary assistant to the Minister

Riley, Michael, legal counsel

Roy, Laury, education officer, curriculum policy development branch

Clerk pro tem / Greffière par intérim: Pajeska, Donna

Staff / Personnel: Hill, John, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1530 in room 151.


Resuming consideration of Bill 4, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to Education / Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne l'éducation.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Ron Eddy): Good afternoon. The standing committee on social development resumes meeting on Bill 4, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to Education. We're in clause-by-clause.

Before proceeding, Mr Martin has requested some time to respond to requests for information on certain items.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I believe it was Mr Wilson asked for some clarification on the way that we're going to --

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): Raise the volume up. I can't hear you.

Mr Martin: Sorry, Mr Hope. I believe it was Mr Wilson who asked for some clarification on the capital allocation re junior kindergarten, so I've just got some information that I would like to share with the committee. I'm not sure if it will be sufficient to satisfy the request, but everybody has a copy of it. Just for the record I'll run through it and then if anybody has any questions, we can get into it.

Funds allocated for junior kindergarten purposes for 1993-94 and onward will be provided to school boards as loans at the time of financing, and annual grants to pay off the principal and interest on these loans will be provided over a 20-year period. Under the capital grant funding mechanism, school boards have been allocated amounts in respect of approved capital projects for the provision of accommodation for junior kindergarten pupils. The estimated grant amount is based on the estimated approved cost multiplied by the board's rate of grant for recognized extraordinary expenditure.

Boards will continue to follow the same procedure for receiving capital funds from the ministry. Under the loan-based financing approach, the amount of the grant will be provided to a school board by the Ontario Financing Authority in the form of a loan for which the board will issue a debenture. The Ministry of Education and Training will pay to the school board the amount of principal and interest payments as they become due on the debentures issued for this purpose by the school boards.

School boards will continue to receive the same amount of resources under the loan-based approach as under the capital grant method. However, the government's expenditure for capital projects will be spread over the life of the facility, rather than up front.

One further clarification that's not in this paper is that the money that's left in the capital account specifically for junior kindergarten -- we had said last week that it would be almost cash handed out to do those capital projects. That money will be dealt with under the same process we we're laying out here for all capital projects from now on.

The Vice-Chair: Did you have other items you wanted to comment on?

Mr Martin: Perhaps we can answer questions on that and then go on to something else.

The Vice-Chair: Fine.

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): So there isn't money in the bank to sort of give to boards in lump sum capital.

Mr Martin: There is money.

Mrs Cunningham: There's money to lend to boards.

Mr Martin: Yes, there's money that will be given out, the amounts as stated, but it will be done in the manner laid out in what I just read into the record.

Mrs Cunningham: Very different than passing capital lump sum payments to school boards, as in the past, and certainly the intent when the Liberals put this into place some five years ago -- different than capital out of current, which was what was intended at the very beginning.

Mr Martin: Perhaps if Theo would expound on it a little bit, it might become a little bit less --

Mr Theo Grootenboer: The government's decision to move to move to loan-based financing has been one that was taken as a treasury initiative; it's not an Education initiative. So if you have questions around the switch to loan-based from capital grants, I think they should be directed to the Ministry of Finance.

But I do have some papers here that give the rationale behind why the government's converting capital grants to loans. I can give you this: that the government's decision to do so is twofold. Basically, the first is that the capital projects will be expensed over the life of the facility rather than in the first year when the money is actually required, and the other component of the decision was that the government's capital financing approach has been changed in order to meet the institutions' capital needs as much as possible in light of the current fiscal realities existing in the province. I take this to mean that in the absence of a change to loan-based financing, perhaps there wouldn't be the same amount of capital funds available as there would have been without that.

The Vice-Chair: Are you continuing?

Mrs Cunningham: Just so I can sum up, I certainly believe that there wouldn't be, and I think that the backing by the government of the province of Ontario is very important.

When we asked the question last week, it was our understanding that there was a pot of money. I didn't understand that it was the -- certainly it never had been, unless it's happened in the last couple of years, for the child care facilities.

I have to tell you too, Mr Eddy, and you know some of our reputations well, it's always been the intent, I think, of elected representatives not to put the burden on taxpayers to come. I came from a school board, and when I came to this Legislative Assembly, we owed no money. We were penalized for that in many ways. We didn't have bridge financing. The only thing we did with debentures was our education centre. For the other schools we did capital out of current with the help of provincial governments.

The money that was put aside for the new school-based child care facilities on new secondary schools was a policy in the early years by the Liberal government. I know; I helped as a consultant -- a private sector consultant, I might add. The intent there was to give the money up front so that school boards that weren't in the business of making loans wouldn't have to make a loan.

In fact, these are loans; there's no other way of saying it. We're borrowing money. Debenturing is borrowing money; it's not new. I think, if I'm correct, what we've just been advised is that it's easier to borrow money with this government corporation than it would be if we didn't have the government corporation. These are tough times; I understand that. But I have to say that during booming economic times, when we had the money, maybe it was easier to forward the capital, but there was no long-term thinking in those days, because everybody know that was just the beginning of child care in the schools.

Now we have a government that's trying to legislate it even more. School boards responsibly recognize that they can't afford it, and neither can the province of Ontario. It's all borrowed money.

Mrs Yvonne O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau): I have to ask the ministry officials a question, because I got an answer last week and it stated, "The province has made available $95 million in capital funds for junior kindergarten over a period of five years, 1990 to 1994, and $46.8 million remain uncommitted." Where is that money? Because I think I've just been told that everything from now on is debentured. I'm sure this is not the only uncommitted fund in capital, so have we discovered now another monster slush fund that's gone into the general revenue fund from the Ministry of Education? If so, I'd like to know -- I'll ask only this specific question at this time: Where is the $46.8 million? Is it there to be resourced, or does every single kindergarten project from now have to go to the financing authority?


The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, do you wish to respond, or whom do you wish to respond? Please give your name and position for Hansard.

Mr Grootenboer: My name is Theo Grootenboer. I'm senior manager in the school business and finance branch in the Ministry of Education and Training.

The question, as I understand it, relates more to the financing of capital rather than to the availability of an allocation. The answer that I will give is that the government's decision to move to a loan-based financing scheme for the provincial share component of capital projects doesn't have any negative impact on the junior kindergarten capital funding. Commitments for junior kindergarten facilities previously allocated for 1993-94 and onward will be provided to school boards as loans at the time of financing, and annual grants to pay off the principal and interest on these loans will be made available over the term of the loan.

With respect to the $46 million of the uncommitted funds that were made available for junior kindergarten, the Ministry of Education and Training still has that commitment on its books and that is still available for school boards to be accessed.

Mrs O'Neill: But it will be accessed as a loan rather than as a grant.

Mr Grootenboer: It will be available for school boards to be accessed through the new financing scheme when that financing scheme has actually been approved. That still is subject to the Legislature.

Mrs O'Neill: This is a very interesting discovery we've made this afternoon.

Mr Charles Beer (York North): Just simply to make a point, I appreciate the information that ministry officials have provided us and also the statement the parliamentary assistant has made. Without going back over the discussion we had last week on our amendment with respect to capital, I would simply say, while this is interesting information, it doesn't change the substance of that discussion, and we would still have preferred to have our amendment passed.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, did you have other things to report?

Mr Martin: Yes. On the question of American sign language, langue des signes québécois and "where numbers warrant," the legislation is enabling legislation, and the regulation will deal with the definition of "where numbers warrant." While the exact numbers have yet to be worked out, it will be less than 10 pupils.

The regulation will also deal with qualified teachers. At the present time, York University offers a program in teaching teachers ASL. As this unfolds, the ministry will consult, where appropriate, on the regulation.

Mrs O'Neill: May I just ask, because that was my question, Mr Martin, would you repeat what you said about less than 10 pupils? I'm sorry, I missed that part.

Mr Martin: Sure. The regulation would deal with the definition of "where numbers warrant." While the exact numbers have yet to be worked out, it will be less than 10 pupils.

Mrs O'Neill: Ten pupils per school board? Ten pupils per school? Ten pupils per what?

Mr Martin: Ten pupils per, I guess, school board where this can be provided.

Mrs O'Neill: Is that definitive? Is it a school board? This is very hard for the boards in this province to understand. This legislation affects them. They ask me about it because they know I'm on this committee, and I don't have an answer for them. There's a lot of difference here between a district and a school board and a school, or even a family of schools.

Mr Martin: Again, I'll turn it over to one of our officials to perhaps be a bit more clear on that for you.

Mr Peter Ferren: I'm Peter Ferren, education officer in the special education and provincial schools branch.

When we're talking about school boards, we're talking about congregated classes, so where the number -- whatever that number is would be fewer than 10 -- that number within a school board is available and they request it, then the program would be offered. So you would be congregating. Depending upon the size of the boards, you may be congregating students in one location.

Mrs O'Neill: Or you may be asking coterminous boards to congregate students. Is that another possibility?

Mr Ferren: That's another possibility.

Mr Gary Malkowski (York East): I think it would be helpful to remember the presentation from the Ontario school board association. They said they didn't have a problem with this in the legislation, so I think that was just important to note.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, do you have anything else to put forth at this time?

Mr Martin: No, that was all.

The Vice-Chair: As agreed then, we'll proceed to resume clause-by-clause.

Mr Hope: I believe the first one we stood down was the Liberal. Was it yours, Charles, that we stood down?

Mr Beer: That was actually one of the questions. I'm not sure, because I don't believe we'd finished with the Conservative amendment, and then we got to ours. I'm quite happy to go ahead with ours. We're ready to put forward the amended, amended, amended, amended, amended version of our original amendment.

Mr Hope: I just think it would provide us the opportunity to do some housekeeping, and then we don't have to go back. Let's clean it up now while we have the opportunity.

Mr Beer: It's late spring, but cleanup is always in order.

Mr Hope: Neatness is perfect.

The Vice-Chair: Have we not done subsection 12(1)?

Mrs Cunningham: What section are we on, Charles?

Mr Beer: It's section 12. We were doing subsection 12(2) at the end of last week. Am I right, though? We had not completed all of the Conservative -- we had completed, sorry. We had.

The Vice-Chair: Yes. I'm very clear on it. That's what I was speaking to and that's the number I came up with. However, if other people wish to take over, that's fine with me. We're at subsection 12(2), I understand.

Mr Beer: Which is our amendment. Is that right?

Mrs O'Neill: We were waiting for a rewording from legislative counsel.

Mr Beer: Shall I go ahead?

The Vice-Chair: No, that was the second one. It was also stood down, but the PC amendments were stood down for information, I believe, from Mr Martin and the officials from the ministry.

Mr Martin: Yes. It was worded that this was to be worked out between the two legal counsels.

Mrs O'Neill: The two legal counsels were to work out the wording, which we have now.

The Vice-Chair: That was subsections 12(2), (3) and (4).

Mr Hope: I didn't mean to make this confusing. All I was trying to do was a part of a conversation that was just completed. I thought we had finished with Charles's and then we'd go to Dianne's.

The Vice-Chair: It's fine to have conversation, but I was asked to chair it. I guess that doesn't need to happen, but I was proceeding. I thought I was straight on it and those are the numbers I was going to use.

Mr Hope: No problem.

The Chair: However, I understood that you'd want to speak to the previous item. That's why I recognized you.

Mr Hope: No, no.

The Chair: So are we all right? We're all on the same section, I think. Are we to proceed?

Mr Hope: We're in your honourable hands. Go ahead.

Mrs O'Neill: Could you name the section we're at, Mr Chairman.

Mrs Cunningham: What is the motion we're dealing with and what are we changing?

The Vice-Chair: There was a motion by Mr Wilson, as I understood it, that was stood down and it was amendments to subsections 12(2), (3) and (4).

Mrs Cunningham: That's right.

The Vice-Chair: It's the letter-size sheet with amendments. It was stood down for additional information and we were to get that back and then deal with the proposed amendments. Is there additional information you want to report on it, Mr Martin?

Mr Martin: I'm led to believe that what was agreed on as --

Ms Julie Lindhout: I can speak to it.

Mr Martin: Yes. Go ahead.

Ms Lindhout: We promised to consult with a number of people and with some school boards on the wording of the motion, "injurious to other pupils or to teachers or board employees." In our consultation we were told that it might be better to simply say "to other pupils or to other persons," because then it would include volunteers and any other people who might be in the school for a particular reason. This would be an amendment that wouldn't present any problems to school boards or to others.

The Vice-Chair: Was that the only amendment we were discussing there? Ms Cunningham, the proposed amendment came from Mr Wilson.

Mrs Cunningham: I'm sorry, I'm not following. Where would we put these words? Are we looking at the PC motion right now?

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: Under subsections 12(2), (3) and (4)?

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: "Teachers or board employees"? You're saying "other persons?"

The Vice-Chair: Expulsion of pupils, subsection (3).

Mrs Cunningham: Thanks. Okay.

The Vice-Chair: "To other pupils or to other persons." Is that correct? Or "board employees"?

Ms Lindhout: You don't need that.

The Vice-Chair: We don't need that.


Mr Mike Reilly: Mike Reilly. I'm with the legislative counsel. I believe it was "to other pupils or persons."

Ms Lindhout: "Or persons," yes.

Mr Riley: My understanding of the words -- and this is the amendment to subsection (3). It would read, "that the pupil's presence is injurious to other pupils or persons."

The Vice-Chair: Are you agreed, Mrs Cunningham? That change in the proposed amendment is acceptable?

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, it's the intent of what we had submitted.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Now the amendments were moved. Do you wish it read at this time or is everyone clear on the amendments that we have?

Mr Hope: I'd like the whole language, for the record, which we are going to be voting on and adopting. I think it's appropriate that the record reflect that, because we all have scratched copies. I want to make sure that my scratched copy equals what's being put across on to the record.

The Vice-Chair: Would you read it, please? Mrs Cunningham is moving this motion.

Mrs Cunningham: Do you want me to move it?

The Vice-Chair: Please.

Mrs Cunningham: Do you want me to read the whole thing?

The Vice-Chair: Please.

Mrs Cunningham: I move that subsection 12(2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"(2) Section 23 of the act is amended by adding the following subsection:

"Effect of appeal

"(2.1) An appeal under subsection (2) does not stay the suspension and, if the suspension expires before the appeal is determined, the board shall determine whether the suspension should be confirmed or whether the record of the suspension should be removed or modified.

"(3) Subsection 23(3) of the act is amended by striking out the portion before clause (a) and substituting the following" -- and this is where we're finding the change --

"Expulsion of pupil

"(3) A board may expel a pupil from its schools on the ground that the pupil's conduct is so refractory that the pupil's presence is injurious to pupils or to other persons." Did I get that right?

Mr Riley: I don't think so. I think it should be, "to other pupils or persons."

Mrs Cunningham: Leave the words "other pupils or to --

Mr Riley: -- "or persons."

Mrs Cunningham: "Or persons." All right. That's fine. I'm taking my direction from the member for Oxford.

Interjections: No, no.

Mrs Cunningham: I mean Chatham-Kent. How could I have made a mistake like that?

"(4) Section 23 of the act is amended by adding the following subsection:

"Committee to perform board functions

"(6) The board, by resolution, may direct that the powers and duties of the board under subsections (2) to (5) shall be exercised and performed by a committee of at least three members of the board named in the resolution or designated from time to time in accordance with the resolution."

It's quite a hefty one here. I think what we were trying to do with that change was to meet with the concerns as presented to us by the OSSTF, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. As I said before, it's in the front lines and it's telling us that a suspension can be imposed for conduct injurious to the physical or mental wellbeing of others in the school. "Others" can include pupils, teachers or support employees. So I hope that by putting forward this word, just "persons," we're getting that intent.

Is there any problem with the intent, Mr Chairman? I mean, is the administration agreeing with us with regard to the intent?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, do you wish to respond?

Mr Martin: Yes. We certainly agree with you and we think this will cover it. I think it's an amendment worth making.

The Vice-Chair: Anything further, Mrs Cunningham, to the motion?

Mrs Cunningham: No, as long as the intent is in the record and that we know we're not excluding employees of the board. I just wondered if there was a legal reason for doing that.

Mr Riley: I think the idea of using "persons" was just to be as comprehensive as possible and nothing more. We thought that with the reference to teachers and board employees, there was a possible case of a visitor to the school or somebody who might be neither teacher nor board employee who might none the less be in the school and we just use the word "persons" in order to be comprehensive.

Mrs Cunningham: It's refreshing to get from the administration a more inclusive amendment. Thank you very much.

Mr Beer: Just for the record, we will be supporting the amendment.

The Vice-Chair: Anyone else? Mr Hope?

Mr Hope: I was our pleasure to work with the member opposite on this resolution.

Mrs Cunningham: You mucked it up, though, didn't you, Randy?

The Vice-Chair: Any other comments or discussion? Mr Malkowski, please.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you, Miss Cunningham, for your cooperation.

Mrs Cunningham: Aha. It's my turn to be cooperative today. I got the message. Thank you, Mr Malkowski.

The Vice-Chair: Any other comments or discussion? If not, all in favour of the motion to amend at this time? Opposed? Carried.

Did you want to speak, Mr Hope?

Mr Hope: No.

The Vice-Chair: That's carried. The next was a proposed motion regarding subsection 12(2) of the bill by Mr Beer, I believe, and that was stood down.

Mr Beer: Again, this is one where there was a lot of suggestion and advice from many members. Perhaps I'll just first read it. I don't know that we need a long discussion, because we had one last week, but if I could move it:

"Subsection 12(2) of the bill (subsection 23(2.2) of the Education Act)"

I move that subsection 12(2) of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection to section 23 of the Education Act:

"Review of suspensions

"(2.2) If a pupil is suspended for the maximum period allowed under subsection (1.1) or is suspended more than once during a school year, the board shall ensure that a guidance counsellor or other appropriate resource person employed by the board,

"(a) reviews the circumstances of the suspension or suspensions, as the case may be, and

"(b) informs the pupil and, if the pupil is not an adult, the pupil's parent or guardian, of services that are available from the board or elsewhere in the community to assist the pupil."

The Vice-Chair: Mr Beer, before you proceed, as this is a replacement motion, would you withdraw the previous one?

Mr Beer: Sorry. I will withdraw the previous motion.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Proceed.

Mr Beer: Again, this was simply a fall-back to ensure that information about assistance that would help the pupil will be made available and that somebody will ensure that happens. I think we understand and would recognize that in many instances that would happen at the start, when the process begins, but what this sets out is really, where it's the maximum period or if someone is suspended more than once, that we know this action would take place. It is with that intent that it is put forward.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, you have asked to respond.

Mr Martin: Yes. The ministry did a bit of consulting since the last time we met and I believe Mr Riley has something to add.

Mr Riley: The upshot of our discussions was that we were going to suggest that just before clause (b), or at the beginning, the words "where appropriate" be added, so that it would read, "and, (b) where appropriate, informs the pupil and, if the pupil is not an adult," the idea being that, depending on the nature of the circumstances, there may not be information that is appropriate to the situation and we would not want anything to turn on whether the information was given or not in terms of legal consequences. That's my understanding.

Mr Beer: I view that as a friendly amendment. I'm quite happy to accept it.

Mr Hope: I think it's important, as we see how often laws are changed around education, that just in case, if these pieces of bills do stick around, the intent is that we cannot force the child to participate in the programs; we can only use it as an advisory. So those who check through the archives, who try to find out what this committee meant by this definition, would be clear in understanding that neither the board nor the guidance counsellor could ever force a child to participate in the program. It's only acting as a guidance process.

Mr Beer: If I might, I would accept what Mr Hope says and I think, again, the verbs in question are "reviews," "informs." Clearly it is up to the student and/or his or her parents or guardians as to whether anything follows from that.

The Vice-Chair: That completes discussion. The motion, then, to subsection 12(2) of the bill with the change in wording is now before the committee. All in favour? Opposed? Carried.

Shall section 12, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall section 13 carry? Agreed? Thank you.

Section 14.


Mrs Cunningham: We have an amendment, Chair.

Mr Beer: We have an amendment as well.

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, I'll just put this on the record. I'm sure you're not surprised to see it.

I move that subsections 14(2) and (3) of the bill be struck out.

I think it's fairly well known that we're not in favour of the intent of expanding the junior kindergarten program to make it compulsory by September 1, 1997. I know that everybody would like to see the opportunities be equal across the province, but there are many boards that have chosen not to buy into a junior kindergarten program in their school boards and they don't want this mandatory legislation.

As a matter of fact, I think that during the last election almost all candidates stood on stages and said that if there wasn't the money to support programs, one shouldn't be mandating programs from Queen's Park.

I don't consider telling school boards that you've got money in a pot that they can borrow having the kind of money that we're talking about. We're talking about capital dollars that become part of the base. I think the intent here, that school boards go out and borrow money for programs that they don't need or want, is totally irresponsible.

We know that after August 31, 1994, school boards will be required to operate junior kindergartens and that the Lieutenant Governor in Council will have the power to allow a board to phase in the junior kindergarten requirement by September 1, 1997. I don't think this government will be the government of the day, so maybe we shouldn't worry about it, but unfortunately it does send that kind of tone.

The program directive was originally included in the April 1989 Liberal throne speech -- I was here and heard it at the time -- and in the 1989 budget the Treasurer of the day, Bob Nixon, had allocated $194 million over five years for operating grants and $100 million for related capital projects. We know this amount will not cover the full cost of implementation for the 19 boards that have chosen not to be part of this mandatory expansion of junior kindergarten in their school systems.

For those who are present -- perhaps their boards may even be represented -- there may be some changes. I certainly would like to be corrected. As we saw the list last, Brant county, Bruce, Durham, Haliburton, Halton, Huron county, Grey county, Manitoulin, Middlesex county, Norfolk, Peel, Perth county, Prince Edward county, Waterloo county, Wellington county, Wellington County Roman Catholic Separate School Board, Wentworth county and York region were the boards that had advised us recently that they were not going to implement junior kindergarten for next September, nor did they have an intent to do so in the future. In Muskoka I think they currently have junior kindergarten, but they had a motion that they would remove it in September 1993 because of funding.

The Wellington county board has advised us that it will cost $9 million to $10 million to implement junior kindergarten: $5 million to $6 million for 30 new classrooms and $4.5 million in annual operating costs.

You can imagine the state of the taxpayers right now, given the discussions around the social contract, at the same time being concerned in Wellington county about having to implement a junior kindergarten program that they don't want.

The Ministry of Education and Training does offer capital grants for junior kindergarten facilities and operating grants. However, this money comes from the total available for education in the province, which the ministry and the current government is in the process of drastically reducing. Those were the responses that people got in the mail from the minister. I have to tell you right now, that is not the kind of response they should be getting. You should be saying, "You can apply to us and we will assist you in debenturing for these projects."

The expenditure control plan will cost Durham $11.5 million. The cost of junior kindergarten would be added on to that amount. These are programs that should not even be considered by the government of the province of Ontario during this period of time.

"The three-year phase-in process for the implementation of junior kindergarten does not promote equity of access and equity of opportunity for the children in the Durham Board of Education and I would like to emphasize the need to further explore the proposed requirement for phased-in implementation." This is a presentation by Durham.

The OPSBA position is that junior kindergarten not be mandatory, but left at the discretion of the board.

If we really believe in local autonomy, we'd better be listening to those local trustees who are representing their local school boards, especially in these times.

I don't know why I'm staring at you like this, Mr Eddy, because I know that you do believe in that.

The Vice-Chair: I am listening.

Mrs Cunningham: I know. It's better I look at you, I think.

Mr Hope: You can look at me, Dianne, if you want to.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope.

Mrs Cunningham: Actually, it was helpful looking at him last time. Maybe I will.

If the government members reject the amendment, in recognition of both space and resource limitations of many boards the ministry should acknowledge the need for flexibility in both implementation dates and strategies for kindergarten programs, particularly in regard to the use of early childhood education staff.

These are comments that were made during the public hearings, which were very limited, but it's always been my contention that we in Ontario have not looked at what's right and correct and appropriate for three-year-olds. We know that we would like to support families with programs -- child care programs, early childhood education programs, education programs -- but we've never come to a consensus around what's appropriate. Certainly, I believe the direction of the government is to move to a full-day child care program for three- and four-year-olds. There would be no other reason for moving in this particular direction and making it mandatory.

I would say for families that what three-year-olds really need is probably an opportunity to have confidence in other adults. I mean, that's the first reason that your child leaves your family setting. If you're choosing one, you're choosing something where your child can relate to other adults, other than their own parents or their family members. I think it's a very big step for any family.

Many parents are looking towards having child care opportunities because they are working outside of the home and they need that kind of support. We know the trend in the last couple of years has been to move more to home-based child care, basically because of cost and because of the flexibility of the working hours of mothers and fathers. We also know that this isn't going to be the answer to any child care, but we're moving into a very expensive junior kindergarten program when parents are really looking for support for child care for their children.

I don't think that discussion has taken place and I'm not sure it will take place in the public consultations of the day. I really think the royal commission will probably be spending its time on the issues that are on the public agenda of the government, and those have to do with curriculum and standards and testing and capital. There probably won't be a lot of discussion around early childhood education, although I hope there will be.

Since the phase-in component is subject to regulation, the boards are anxious to review the regulations. They certainly understand the capacity of this government to move away from what they think is right for young people in their own communities. We all very much appreciate the fact that they have more votes than the rest of us. But in this regard, I would expect that the implementation date has been moved up since the Liberals were the first initiators of this policy.

I'm going to close by saying that I really don't believe this government will be around in 1997 anyway, so I think the boards will be taking that into consideration as they take a look at their phase-in.

Thank you for the opportunity.


Mr Hope: I'm speaking against the amendment that's being put forward and I have a couple of comments I wish to talk about. When we talk about junior kindergarten, I'm a beneficiary of that program with my own two children. In Kent county, it's not a day care service, which a lot of people believe it to be; it is a very beneficial program. I've seen the growth of my two children go through that process. I believe it is something that should be implemented throughout the province.

When I hear the comments, people saying "Can we afford it?" can we afford not to these days? As we talk about skill-added value in our education system, can we afford not to make sure a vital program around the institution of our school system is very important to the growth of our communities? When people bring up the cost, you have to balance the cost with preventive aspects or initial cost, which is always the startup cost.

I listen to the member for -- what is it, London Centre, Dianne? Which area are you from?

Mrs Cunningham: London North, the former riding of John Robarts.

Mr Hope: I listen to the member for London North's comments about how this government won't be around in 1997. I beg to differ. But it would be very interesting, as we talk about child care, that the federal government that is currently there has abandoned its commitment to a national child care policy, or a national child care program, which is very important. Yes, there are women who are out there in the working world who are looking for valuable services also through child care or through junior kindergarten, but junior kindergarten is one that's determined by a parent. The parent has the option of a day care program or an education program, and I find that JK is a very educational program.

On this amendment that is being put forward by the Conservatives, I do not agree with it. I believe I've seen the beneficial aspects of it in my own community and also directly affecting my own family, because I guess I'm one of those individuals who sit in government who still have children of a young age and not grown up and married.

Mrs Cunningham: You're not grown up and married?

The Vice-Chair: Please continue, Mr Hope.

Mrs Cunningham: Oh, excuse me.

The Vice-Chair: You don't need to respond to that.

Mr Hope: I'm just grasping my air and staying away from it.

Mrs Cunningham: I missed the beginning of the sentence, that's all.

Mr Hope: If anything, I can say it's very important that we proceed with junior kindergarten, because what we are talking about is an education system that has to be one of a skill-added value. I find very ironic the member's comments when she, I know, agrees with me on the principles of apprenticeship and skill-added value education programs. In order to lead our children into a prosperous future and a prosperous job, we need to revamp our education system. I find it very difficult to move those who have a knack at an early age into a system that would accommodate them.

I will be voting against the Conservative motion. I notice the Liberals will have the same, so I will just make my comments ditto to that.

Mr Beer: I'm not sure how we handle it procedurally, but as Mr Hope notes, we have an identical motion on the books as well.

I think there are just a couple of points to make here. One is that I find myself very much in agreement with the representative from the York region board who was here the other day, where I think junior kindergarten is a good thing. I've certainly seen programs that work. I think it can be effective. In terms of making it mandatory, school boards can still proceed to implement those programs and work it out with the ministry, but clearly the issue right now is a financial one. If we are to proceed with this program on a mandatory basis, how do we do that financially? In our view, that means that at this point in time it has to be left as an optional program.

Ms Cunningham noted, and I was looking as well at, the document put out by the public school boards' association, where at their last annual meeting they passed a resolution to petition the Minister of Education to make junior kindergarten an optional program. That was adopted.

In the June 18 issue of their Fast Reports, which is an information newsletter they send out, I was interested to see that there had been a meeting with the 17 member boards that have concerns around junior kindergarten. It was noted that ministry officials -- and I'm quoting from their publication -- "agreed to provide clarification in writing about capital and operating funds for junior kindergarten programs." There's going to be further discussion. I think all of that can be done in an optional and permissive mode, because I think it is appropriate that it be discussed and worked out locally.

We are supporting both the Conservative amendment and our amendment, because we feel at this time it is best to leave the program as optional and for the local boards to sort out their priorities, to come forward with their programs, to meet with the ministry and see what can be done. But by making it mandatory, it is placing an undue financial burden on school boards at this time.

Mr Martin: I just wanted to say that it's interesting to note that this initiative was in fact started by the previous government, which saw it as something necessary in the province and something valuable to be added to the education system. We have continued that, although we've tried to recognize the very difficult economic times that we're in. We've moved the date back and now we've allowed for a three-year implementation period of it, hoping that by the time some of these boards will in fact have to put this in place, the economy will have returned, there'll be more money and it won't be as difficult and indeed we will still be the government.

The one group that has been consistent through this is the Ministry of Education and Training, the folks who stay as governments come and go, and perhaps Laury would like to say something to this.

Ms Laury Roy: Okay, thank you. I'm Laury Roy. I work with the curriculum policy development branch with the Ministry of Education, with responsibility for policy around junior kindergarten and kindergarten and also the greater enhancement of the coordination between child care and kindergarten and junior kindergarten programs.

It's true that I was here when the former government was here as well, and the research we've had on a number of investigations, through the early primary education project and through To Herald A Child, for the longest time has pointed to how critical these years are for young children. You will recall when a lot of work was done by the ministry on the failure to reduce the dropout rate. Those investigations began initially with looking at students who were in grade 9, and where their investigation led them was to grade 3, grade 1 and indeed to the very beginnings of school as being critical to prevent dropouts.

Certainly the research that governments have turned to in favour of these programs has been consistent in that it has pointed ever more to the critical importance of these years for future success for children, to the fact that four-year-olds are at a very critical stage in terms of their ability to develop language and problem-solving skills. It really is seen as being of fundamental importance to their success.

In terms of the development of child care and where the government will go vis-à-vis child care and kindergarten, the direction that has been received through all the consultations around the early years and child care has been that there has to be a greater partnership. I don't know that junior kindergarten and kindergarten are perceived, certainly not by many educators, as being synonymous with child care. There's definitely a cognitive agenda that is perhaps more aggressive, but the need to work in partnership with child care and to create a better program of child care and education I think is recognized and continues to be so.

Many of you are aware that the ministries of Education and Training and Community and Social Services are working as partners now to look at programs for junior kindergarten and kindergarten in relation to programs for child care within the total context of the child care reform.

Mr Martin: I think, having heard that, it even speaks more profoundly to the statement made by the member for Chatham-Kent, "Can we afford not to do this?," and that's important.

The other piece of this that's really important to stress as well, I think, is the question of equity across the province, equity of access, universality of access, to all of the students in the province. It doesn't seem to me to be fair to have this kind of service available to students or children in one area and not in another.

Mr Beer: To be very brief, I just want to underline that our opposition to this part of the bill is to its mandatory nature. I said at the outset and would simply repeat that we support the development of junior kindergarten, but at this time, because of the financial and fiscal pressures on school boards and the cutbacks as a result of the expenditure controls, the social contract, the budget and other things that have happened, we believe it should be left the way it is in the act, which is that it is an option for boards and that that's the proper way to go at this time.


Mrs Cunningham: I just want to make myself very clear. I don't really want to date myself, but I guess I have to. This is an area that I've studied for a long time. In fact, my degree is from the University of Michigan in early childhood education and I was part of the Head Start programs when they started in the States in the early 1960s. I'm a very strong proponent of early childhood education and I feel very strongly about it. The studies that went on in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and later throughout most of the United States with the Kennedy Head Start programs are extremely convincing. I think that's what Ms Roy is talking about.

However, the jury is out, basically, in Europe and in North America with regard to how we best deal with children. I think the underlying comment by Ms Roy is that junior kindergarten is not synonymous with child care. I agree with her and I think the programs, depending on the school boards and depending on the country, are very different. I think what is best for children is extremely important and I think that in many communities families have chosen to send their children, because it's right for them, to junior kindergarten programs. I think that's great.

I think it's also interesting that since the beginning of time in Ontario, kindergarten has not been compulsory. But because of pressure and because we've learned that young people do excel and that in later years they stay in school longer because of their early childhood experiences, it's interesting to note that this bill does make kindergarten mandatory for the first time. It hasn't been mandatory in the past. Parents have been allowed to keep their children home. There's been no way, according to the law, that you could legislate that four- and five-year-olds go to school. This bill is very different. It hasn't been mandatory to send your child to kindergarten.

Mr Martin: It still isn't.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin would like to clarify that. That's a good point.

Mr Martin: I think it's really important to point out that parents do not have to send the kids to either kindergarten or junior kindergarten.

Mrs Cunningham: What are we looking at here, section 12? No, section 14.

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: I take the comment back. School boards have to provide the programs now. Therefore, there is a change, though, is there not? School boards didn't have to provide the program before.

Mr Martin: That's right.

Mrs Cunningham: So there is a change.

Mr Martin: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: I stand corrected. My intent was that it's compulsory now that school boards provide the programs, but it wasn't compulsory that they did before. I think until about 15 years ago, 99% of the boards did anyway.

But I think I'm going to go back to what my colleague Mr Beer has stated. Our main objection is that at this point in time, since local boards may in fact choose to provide junior kindergarten programs for their young people -- because perhaps in that very community they may have an extensive child care program that's working and that may be what their choice would be.

I think I'm going to underline one of the big concerns of the boards themselves. They were opposing the mandatory requirement -- I'm trying to find the one that was put forward by the school boards. I can't see it on this workup on the research, but I know that in fact the Ontario Public School Boards' Association comment is extremely important:

"School boards that do not provide junior kindergarten programs have stressed the need for flexibility in implementation strategies, particularly with regard to the utilization of early childhood education staff and other measures to reduce costs in this difficult financial environment. It's important to reaffirm OPSBA's position that junior kindergarten programs not be mandatory but be at the discretion of the local board. The public school boards concerned are also anxious to review the conditions in the regulations which would allow them the phase-in flexibility prior to the passage of this bill."

Later on, we'll be talking about child care programs or the junior kindergarten programs. I don't think we've worked out in Ontario what the staffing ought to be like, and I think boards are asking for the flexibility and we should give it to them. That's all we're trying to do here. I'm not trying to say that an early childhood education program in any form isn't valuable and useful. That's research that was well documented after the First World War.

Mr Hope: I couldn't help it. I was going to try and stay away from it, but I've been intimidated to participate. I always find it very interesting that we're talking about financial situations and how the reductions of the province are there. I was relieved to see that the Chatham Daily News, one of the fine papers that is in my community, one of the dailies, had indicated about the transfers from the federal government and the reduction aspect that Ontario had faced from the transfers from the federal government.

While we're all trying to face this financial crunch that's on us, I think we have to do a lot of weighting of values behind programs. We focus the finger at the provincial government, and I thought it was important that I reiterate that a CP wire that was brought through and was printed in the Chatham Daily News about the transfers from the federal government to this province was inaccurate and was not comfortable to the needs that it should have been at.

Mrs Cunningham: The Chatham Daily News also has many editorials with regard to no new taxes, and if in fact we're going to impose new programs on school boards without the money, without the dollars that go with them, I think this motion should be supported by the member from Chatham, because that in fact supports the intent of the legislation, and that is that we not tell school boards that they have to provide programs where the money isn't supporting the implementation of those programs. That is the intent at this time, first of all, that boards have flexibilities around program and, secondly, that they not be asked to institute new programs where they don't have the money. Both of those positions have been supported by the Chatham Daily News.

Mr Hope: I think it's also important to indicate that we have junior kindergarten in Kent county.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mr Hope. We'll stop the circle now. The amendment is before you --

Mr Beer: Recorded vote, please, Mr Chairman.

The Vice-Chair: -- on subsections 14(2) and (3). Recorded vote on the amendment by Ms Cunningham.

All those in favour, first?


Beer, Cunningham, O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau).

The Vice-Chair: Opposed?


Carter, Hope, Malkowski, Martin, O'Connor, Rizzo.

The Vice-Chair: Motion defeated. Mr Beer, the next amendment to subsection 14(2)?

Mr Beer: Yes. Given that the Liberal amendment is identical to the Conservative amendment and we have already had the vote, I'm not sure whether we should just say "same vote" or just withdraw it.

Mr Hope: Same vote.

Mr Beer: Same vote.

The Vice-Chair: Agreed, same vote?

Mrs Cunningham: Why don't we read it into the record, though?

The Vice-Chair: Same vote on amendment.

Shall section 14 carry? Vote?

Mrs Cunningham: No, I'm against it. Are you going to call the vote, for or against?

The Vice-Chair: Yes. Section 14, in favour? Opposed? Motion carried.

Shall section 15 -- oh, sorry, there is an amendment.

Mr Beer: We have an amendment, and I believe the Conservatives do as well. They're both similar, but I wonder if I could ask a question. Well, I'll move the amendment and then perhaps I could ask a question.

I move that section 15 of the bill be struck out.

I understand, Mr Chair, that there have been discussions since we last met with respect to this section, and if those discussions are as they have been described to me -- I have had an opportunity to talk to some of the participants. It would appear that some substantial movement has been made in trying to deal with this issue. I think we are all after trying to find solutions and are not just putting forward amendments for the sake of amendments, and before we discuss our particular amendment and, frankly, as to whether we want to put it or not, we might ask the parliamentary assistant if he could comment on the discussions that have taken place and what, as I understand it, the minister is prepared to do. I think with some discussion of that it may resolve the issue that is in our amendment.

Mr Hope: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Which amendment are we dealing with?

Mr Beer: I just moved our motion, which is, as I say, the same as the Conservative motion.

Mr Hope: Yes. I have to then pose the question, is that motion in order?

The Vice-Chair: No, it's not in order.

Mr Hope: Okay.


Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, in spite of its not being in order, I think Mr Beer has just moved his motion. You can rule it out of order, and I'm certainly going to move mine, but I think what we're trying to do here is get to the guts of the whole issue. We're all ready to move, but it's inherent upon us to at least move our motion.

Mr Hope: But there's an alternative that we can open in the proper dialogue and discussion, because these are technically out of order.

Mrs Cunningham: I don't intend to speak to my motion. That should have been handed out at the beginning and then perhaps we wouldn't even have to put it. Mr Beer has put the motion. Ours is exactly the same and I want to be on the record as putting it on the record.

The Vice-Chair: So it can be ruled on.

Mrs Cunningham: Instead of babbling about it, maybe we can find out what's happened.

The Vice-Chair: Is the committee agreed to have Mr Martin respond? He was asked a question. Should he respond to the question?

Mrs Cunningham: Or table a new motion so we can see what we're doing.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, would you like to respond first?

Mr Martin: We're not tabling a new motion. But as Mr Beer has said, this issue has been under some high degree of discussion, actually, ever since it was introduced and people began to come forward. It was recognized by the government side and the ministry as an issue that needed further review. It needed us to come forward with something that would allay some of the fears of the folks who came forward with some very sincere and genuine concerns around this piece of the act.

It's proposed that the provisions of the Education Act dealing with hard-to-serve pupils be repealed. These pupils will be governed by the same provisions that apply to other exceptional pupils.

Some submissions to the standing committee have expressed concerns about a small number of pupils with severe learning disabilities in combination with behavioural and attentional disorders falling through the cracks when the hard-to-serve provisions of the Education Act are repealed. To ensure that these pupils have a safety net available to them, the ministry proposes the following.

First, the ministry will staff for an increase of approximately 20 pupils to be admitted to the residential demonstration schools. These places will be phased in on an as-needed basis, over a period of at least one year.

Second, the ministry will develop a regulation to establish the Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities (Anglophone and Francophone). This committee currently determines admissions to demonstration schools. Establishing the committee by means of a regulation will permit the ministry to also set out its powers and procedures. The Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities will have the authority (1) to evaluate the needs of the pupil; and (2) to determine that the school board shall provide an appropriate placement for the pupil, directly or through a purchase of services from another school board; or (3) to admit the pupil to a demonstration school; or (4) to facilitate the placement of a pupil whose primary need is for care or treatment in a government-approved section 27 facility.

Third, additional funding will be provided to some school boards to enable a number of pupils who are eligible to attend a demonstration school to receive additional supports in local settings where the committee decides.

Revised procedural guidelines will be issued to school boards to use when referring pupils to the Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities.

That's what we're proposing.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Malkowski has a question.

Mr Malkowski: Just a technical question to clarify something you said: The specific group of children who are learning-disabled plus attention deficit disorder, is that group also guaranteed the appropriate services? Was that in there, Mr Martin?

Mr Martin: That was the intent of the change here, to put something in place that would speak to that group who at the moment don't seem to be able to have their needs met, actually have their needs met within the public education system of Ontario.

Mrs O'Neill: I guess my question is similar to Mr Malkowski's. First of all, is it possible to get what Mr Martin read in writing? It's new, it's difficult and it's detailed. Can we have it in writing?

Mr Martin: Sure.

Mrs O'Neill: Okay, let's have it in writing then.

The Vice-Chair: That could be circulated then.

Mrs O'Neill: While that's happening, may I ask -- I'm not sure I've caught the correct thrust, because as I said, I've just heard it. Certainly I preface this by saying I have been one of the strongest supporters of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario my entire career. But it seems here that this association is being given a profile. I wonder -- and I'd like to have this from the Education officials -- whether every single hard-to-serve pupil, as designated, would have fallen into the category of learning disabled. Would the 12 or 6 -- we haven't totally agreed on that number -- all have fallen under the learning-disabled designation and therefore not go into a crack? If that's not the case, we've got more difficulties for maybe two or three very severely handicapped pupils in this province.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, whom do you wish to respond?

Mr Martin: Peter?

Mr Ferren: In response to this question, I believe the pupils we're talking about are those with severe learning disabilities in combination with attentional or behavioural disorders. Of the pupils who have been provided with funding to date, all except two fall into that category. Two of those pupils required care and treatment over an extended period of time out of country. Those students whose primary need would be care and treatment would be covered by another section of this bill.

Mrs O'Neill: If I may just ask, how does what we have just read affect the bill? Is it going to change the bill? How is the guarantee that you've just read going to be added -- as a memorandum or as part of the compendium? How are we going to know that what you've just said is really part of this bill?

Mr Martin: It's not going to be part of the bill. The part of the bill that we brought in to repeal the hard-to-serve section will continue. But it's on the record as what we propose to do. We've had some lengthy discussions with people out there, particularly the learning disabilities association. Ms Nichols, sees this as something that gives her some comfort and some assurance that because of this some improvement will actually happen to the system for the people she speaks on behalf of and is so concerned about. I guess that's all I can say on that.

Mr Beer: I have a couple of questions, but first of all, I think that those who were involved in the discussion have provided some greater guarantees in that one understands this process that we get into in committees where we're trying to seek changes. I think with what you have outlined, and in my own discussion with Ms Nichols and with minister's staff, we would accept the word of the minister. As I understand it, he would be prepared to say that in third reading of the bill. It's clear, and obviously we'll be able to see if in fact the government is going to do what it says.

I think what's important here is that our concern all along with this section repealing the hard-to-serve was, in a sense, the whole context within which we were dealing with special education. Originally it was in another bill. We were looking at the possibility perhaps of a broader special education act, so that there was a context. The concern here was that if you simply took that away, what were the guarantees that would be in place? I think, from the witnesses whom we had and others who wrote to the committee, those were the concerns. I think the government has put forward a number of specifics here which speak to that concern, and that is a step forward.


There are a couple of things that I would just like to make sure are on the record. Firstly, with respect to -- and this is in Bill 4 itself -- clause 15(2)(b), which stated, "Ontario is not liable to pay the cost of a placement..." and there was the date of June 2, 1992, I know in questions in the House the minister said that no one would be pursued for back payments. But I would just like to be clear in terms of that specific clause 15(2)(b), firstly, that the government will not be asking people to pay money back and, secondly, that the process that you envisage would be able to assist anyone who has come forward since June 2, 1992, and who is judged or determined by a school board to be hard-to-serve, that they will be dealt with under this process.

There are a number of questions. I don't expect they can all be answered today, but I would like to just place them on the record, so that perhaps they can be taken into account in terms of the minister's statement at the time of third reading. I think you have responded to some of them, but as we've sort of received this in a public sense today, I would like to just pose these questions. I'll be as brief as possible.

Firstly, what will the expanded role or mandate of the Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities be? I think, as we hear the discussion, that committee will have, in effect, an expanded role. I think that could be very positive, but we'd like to be clear on its expanded role and mandate.

What role will parents have in this new expanded process? When will these changes take place? According to our understanding, the Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities will determine eligibility criteria. How will they do this and how long will it take for the criteria to be approved? What will happen until the new criteria are approved?

What additional funding resources will be provided to school boards in order that they are able to purchase the appropriate services for a child? Will the full cost be recognized? What will happen if a board does not have the financial resources to provide the necessary support? How will this be impacted by the social contract reductions expected in school funding?

How will it be determined that a child is in the most appropriate placement? Who will make this decision? How will these changes impact on the existing IPRC process? What will happen when parents do not agree with the decision? Will there be an appeal process established? I believe that there will be, but I put the question. What strategies will be used to monitor a student's placement in a demonstration school? How will these new measures be phased in?

Finally, the proposal states that students will be "placed in appropriate local programs with supports." Can a definition of "local program" be put forward? If a student is best served in a local private school, will this be considered a local program? We heard of one case in which the appropriate placement was a program administered by a school board in a child's home. Will this still be an option in some cases, and who will pay the costs?

As I say, those are questions which I place on the record. I don't expect necessarily that they can all be answered, but I would again just say that in our discussions with those who are involved in the meetings the government had this seemed to be a positive move forward.

We will be looking to the minister's statement at third reading, but if this all comes forward as is set out, as I said before, I think that is very positive and will be of great assistance to those people who are going to need these services.

Mr Martin: Just to comment or to answer some of your questions, and then perhaps turn it over to Mr Ferren to maybe deal with more technical details that you've raised, you certainly have raised all those questions that we were raising and asking and trying to come to some resolution around and on, because we took this challenge very seriously.

In terms of the funding, to put it on the record, funding will continue for the 1993-94 school year. The ministry will not be going out to parents to ask for any refund of money, so people can be comfortable around that.

The ministry will work with parents and boards to ensure that students who have applied for demonstration school placements for next year or who have been seeking a hard-to-serve designation receive appropriate placements.

The ministry will ensure that regional offices work closely with boards to ensure that students receive appropriate placements and that boards work with parents in accordance with the IPRC process as set out in legislation and regulation.

We've listened to the presentations and have heard that parents have not always felt -- and this is talking to the broader context -- as informed as they should have been. Therefore, we have also made a commitment to the special education advisory committee to produce a new prototype parent guide which boards will then be asked to flesh out for their boards and make available to their parents so that there's adequate information out there. Sometimes the criticism that I've gotten, particularly through this process, has been that the parents didn't know what the process was or what was available. This parent guide will refer to provincial and demonstration school programs and the relevant procedures to follow to get there.

There's one other piece here. We also will ask the special education advisory council to review the IPRC process and make recommendations which will ensure that boards are implementing the existing law and providing appropriate programs, because as I read some of the materials that I did, and I guess I refer particularly to the Justice for Children group, their concern wasn't so much, it seemed, the hard-to-serve provision, although they saw that as certainly an important piece given everything else doesn't fall into place, but with the IPRC process and its inability to deal sometimes with some of the really difficult children. So we're making a commitment as well to look at the IPRC process through the special education advisory committee to make sure that it does in fact do what it was set up to do in the first place.

Mr Ferren: I don't believe that I'm able to answer all of the questions that are here, but I can some of them, and the very first one: What will the expanded role or mandate of the provincial committee on learning disabilities be?

As was indicated by Mr Martin, the regulation that will be developed will include the duties and powers of that committee, but what we have discussed with the associations to date are some specific duties that would be required in order to place the pupils in a demonstration school and also to require a school board to provide an appropriate program or to purchase it from another, and among the duties would be these:

When the child is referred to the committee, the committee would evaluate the needs of the pupil. The committee would determine what type of appropriate placement is needed in a school program, and if that is the appropriate placement, then they would require the school board to provide that. Secondly, in combination with that, if the school board in question is unable to provide that program, but could through a purchase of service, then they would be required to do it. Thirdly, the committee would determine whether the pupil should be admitted to a demonstration school, and of course that would be with parental consent. Finally, the committee would facilitate the placement of that pupil in a section 27 program if that were necessary, understanding that they could only facilitate it; do the best they can to ensure that at least those with the severest need are being placed in those programs.

The question also comes up of the demission from the demonstration school and the role of the provincial committee on learning disabilities. That committee would be monitoring the pupil's progress while in the program and would be involved in the orientation of the pupil back to the regular school program so that the needs would be reviewed and the school board would be advised of what the needs are at this particular time and what they would be required to provide for the pupil upon demission and return to the school.

Those are some of the duties of the committee that we discussed. They're not exhaustive. One of the questions that was raised by Mr Beer is the role of the parent and what is proposed -- I think Mr Martin referred to that -- that during the development of the regulation there would be consultation with the various stakeholder groups to determine what appropriate role parents should play on that particular committee.


At the present time, the composition of that committee, of course, is not by regulation, but it consists of a representative of the special education and provincial schools branch, who chairs the committee; the program directors of the provincial schools, one from each of the schools; a registered psychologist; a representative from the children's services division of the Ministry of Community and Social Services; and one or more additional representatives as may be required.

A couple of other questions that were asked: When will these changes take place? I can't be specific about that, but I would assume as soon as possible. But a question that accompanies that is, what will happen until the new criteria are approved? It is my understanding that immediately, or as soon as possible, there will be a reconvening of the provincial committee on learning disabilities to review the pupils who are not to be admitted for this September and that there would be a review of those pupils to determine the number who could in effect be admitted this September; in other words, an additional number of pupils.

I can't answer the questions about the social contract at this point in time, and there are many other questions that Mr Beer has raised.

The Vice-Chair: Are you finished? Mr Martin?

Mr Martin: Maybe just briefly, the question around the social contract: The social contract is an attempt by this government to, in these very difficult financial straits that we find ourselves in, continue offering programs and services and to do that without any more money, because we don't have it. It seems to me that if we were to just sit back and allow the system to evolve as it has been for the last few years, these are the kinds of programs that tend to be falling off the cart. The social program, in my mind, and hopefully if everybody participates in the way that we expect them to or encourage them to, will in fact give us the room to do the kinds of things that we feel are really important for those who are most vulnerable and usually most marginalized in our community. So I would certainly see that actually being more helpful than unhelpful in this instance, in my mind.

Mr Malkowski: I just would like to make a comment, and I guess perhaps even a technical question. Constituents have been to see me, some last week, people who were parents and their children were learning-disabled; other parents who came in to meet me, they had attention deficit disorder. There was a representative from the learning-disabled organization, and they were commenting about their concerns about the repeal of the hard-to-serve section, because they were looking for guarantees of that safety net for their children. I'm very pleased that in this proposal the government has been able to guarantee a provision of service for the learning-disabled children as well as with attention-deficit-disorder children.

But I guess I just have a question; really, a clarification. Will there be any regulation that would permit parents with learning-disabled children or attention-deficit-disabled children to bring experts or to bring advocates to the IPRC process?

Mr Martin: I think as we review the IPRC process, those are the kinds of things that could be, in my mind, entertained and perhaps dealt with at that time, because that's an issue that certainly has been brought up on numerous occasions in my experience and is one of real concern.

Mrs O'Neill: I found some of the remarks Mr Martin has made are very confusing, and I'm not sure Mr Rae could agree with them. "The social contract will give us room to do these things." My goodness, the social contract has already been taken out of this budget, so I presume there's room for this in the budget, as well as the savings of the social contract, because we're not going to see the money floating around that's going to be saved, if any -- and I have my doubts -- from the social contract negotiations. So I'd hate to base this kind of what I consider may be a good initiative on savings from the social contract. Please let's not confuse that.

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Cunningham.

Mrs O'Neill: I'm not finished, please.

The Vice-Chair: Sorry.

Mrs O'Neill: I'm very confused by this because this is a very big, new initiative. It's certainly a very strange and different role for a committee, and I have no doubts about this committee professionally. I'd like to know, however, how that committee is going to fit into section 37 of the act, which is the tribunal and goes to the regional and special education tribunal. I don't see any mention of that here.

We're into very heavy legal proceedings when we're talking about hard-to-serve pupils, and however well-meaning this is, if we're going to disrupt other parts of the act, then I think we have to be up front about that. I'd like to know, and I really think I need it in writing, how this is going to be complementary to the existing appeal process and to the IPRC process that is in existence now.

I'm also somewhat confused by Mr Martin's remarks about the guidelines that I think he said the SEAC committee, the special education advisory committee, is going to now put out to boards. Since Bill 82, which is long time past, but we still call it Bill 82, boards have been working and struggling, and I've been part of some of that, to get the best possible guidelines for parents, particularly special education parents, and I know there are some excellent, excellent productions in this province.

So what are we talking about here? About a new guideline that will talk about this process? Are we talking about something broader? We just can't be airy-fairy and cloudlike about something as fundamental as this.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, did you wish to respond?

Mr Martin: Perhaps to resolve some of the confusion, Mr Ferren might take a crack at it.

Mr Ferren: Thank you, Mr Martin. I'll try. What the ministry is proposing is to use existing structures as much as possible, and I think that can be done. The provincial committee on learning disabilities is a current committee that's been in operation for several years. It is not established by regulation, and the intent is to establish it by regulation and thereby be able to spell out the duties and responsibilities it presently has, plus add the responsibilities for these additional pupils.

In reference to the appeal process, what is proposed -- the child is referred to an IPRC, the identification and placement review committee, and if at that stage the IPRC and the parent agree with the placement or with the recommendation for referral to a demonstration school, then the pupil would be referred to the provincial committee on learning disabilities.

If there is disagreement at that particular stage, then the parent would have the right to proceed towards an appeal. If the parent disagrees with the decision of the appeal, then the parent could proceed directly to the provincial committee on learning disabilities. But these would have to be spelled out in the regulations. In no way would it affect the parent's right to a tribunal.

Mrs O'Neill: Sorry. Could you just repeat that last little bit? The parent would be able to go to an appeal.

Mr Ferren: Right.

Mrs O'Neill: To the provincial committee.

Mr Ferren: Let us go back to the IPRC process.

Mrs O'Neill: Yes, okay.

Mr Ferren: The child and the pupil we're talking about is a pupil with severe learning disabilities in combination with a behavioural or attentional disorder. That pupil is referred to the identification and placement review committee. If at that stage the IPRC and the parent agree with the recommendations to refer the child to the provincial committee on learning disabilities, that referral will take place. If the parent disagrees at that stage or if there is disagreement on the decision of the IPRC at that stage, the parent could go the appeal route as set out right now in Bill 82.


Mrs O'Neill: In section 37 of the present Education Act?

Mr Ferren: Right, or is that the tribunal? But anyway --

Mrs O'Neill: Yeah, well, it talks about exhausting --

Mr Ferren: The appeal too?

Mrs O'Neill: Yes.

Mr Ferren: Okay. Now, when the appeal hearing is held, if the parent is dissatisfied with the decision of the appeal board, then the parent would have the right to refer the pupil directly to the provincial committee on learning disabilities.

Mrs O'Neill: I guess that's what's confusing me. They could come back a second time. They are being placed in another position. The provincial committee on learning disabilities comes in not only in determining whether this is a good place, the provincial school, because I figure they have a role in eligibility criteria, but they also come in somehow at the appeal stage. That's what's confusing me.

Mr Ferren: They really only come in at one stage. They come in following the IPRC process. Either the child is referred from the IPRC to the provincial committee on learning disabilities by agreement of the committee --

Mrs O'Neill: Right.

Mr Ferren: -- and the parent or, if there's disagreement, the parent has the right of appeal at that stage to the appeal hearing.

Mrs O'Neill: So there are two roles, though, for this provincial committee now. You're not stating it clearly. I'm sorry.

Mr Ferren: Okay, and I may not be.

Mrs O'Neill: You are not, because you're stating that they will have a role in determining whether it goes to provincial school, and you're also talking about a role as an appeal body. That is what's confusing me.

Mr Ferren: Okay, let me try once more. The pupil is in the school setting, has probably been identified as exceptional already and is in some sort of placement in a school program. Then the child is subsequently reviewed, or it may be the initial referral to the IPRC. By that stage, we're talking about this particular type of pupil, and that's the pupil with severe learning disabilities in combination with other disorders. At that stage, the review takes place, the IPRC has an assessment of the child and all of the discussions take place, the review of the educational assessment and psychological and health assessment, whatever may be required. Then the determination is made by the IPRC that the child should be referred to a provincial committee on learning disabilities for consideration for a demonstration school placement. If the parent agrees, the referral goes forward.

If -- we're back now -- the IPRC recommends that the child not be referred to the provincial committee on learning disabilities, and the parent disagrees, the parent then would have the right to appeal that decision, as he has now under Bill 82. So the local appeal board would be convened, the case would be reviewed, the decision would be made by the appeal board, for example, to refer the child to the provincial committee on learning disabilities or no, the child should not be referred to the provincial committee on learning disabilities. At that point, we envisage the parent having the right to refer the pupil directly to the provincial committee on learning disabilities.

Mrs O'Neill: I've got it. Thanks.

The Vice-Chair: That completes your response, Mr Martin.

Mrs Cunningham: I applaud the efforts here to meet a compromise with what I think is probably technically a difficult situation for the government. I'm going to take, I think as all of us will, on good faith what's being attempted here. I think for many of the committee members, and perhaps the government representatives themselves, the evidence that came before this committee clearly told us that the system is working where persons want to really work hard to make it work. As a matter of fact, if everybody felt that way, I don't think we would be here talking about this today. But every once in a while we have some exceptions.

I think we have exceptions with school boards that feel it's their responsibility to do all the work without including parents and the parent representatives on their special education advisory committees. I would underline that as being a very real concern.

I would also say that the leadership within school boards, as it changes, is partially responsible for that. It's a people problem rather than a legislation problem. Where school boards are filling out annual reports on how their process is working without the input from parents and then providing it to them for a rubber stamp would be the greatest criticism that I get in my office: "We weren't involved, and then we were made to look like a bunch of goofs when in fact we even had the audacity to ask questions."

What I'm stating is very real. I'm sure all of us have received it from time to time. Interestingly enough, I underline "from time to time," because within that same school board, with a change of leadership from time to time, in good faith, these special education advisory committees work.

I notice the parliamentary assistant said that with regard to bringing advocates to meetings for the IPRC committees along with parents and students -- I would suggest that in most school boards parents and students can bring anybody they want. We shouldn't even be questioning who parents bring for support, because some parents can't speak on behalf of their own children. It's just too emotional for them, especially the first time they've ever found out or when they themselves know that within that board they're trying their best and still not meeting the needs. I would suggest to Mr Martin that he maybe take a look at that. I think right now you can bring anybody in.

I would also suggest, because you have a position where you can change it, if there are some school boards that don't allow that, I don't think we need regulations. That's just caring and common sense. In the best of systems we don't wait till the spring of the school year. Parents meet with their teachers and their advocates on an ongoing basis. If it's not happening, that's why the process isn't working. I don't think it's because of the law.

With regard to the hard-to-serve, the committee exists now, does it not? Could I ask questions of the Education staff, Mr Chairman? The hard-to-serve committee exists now.

Mr Ferren: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: Who's the chair of that committee at this point in time?

Mr Ferren: The chair of that committee at this point in time is a member of the special education branch, Don Werner, in the special education and provincial schools branch.

Mrs Cunningham: Okay. I'm just asking because we in London did have access, through Dr Madeline Hardy, to some of the work of the committee over a period of time and we were made very much aware of the challenges before that committee and the frustration on behalf of parents. I suppose that's why our amendment is here, both the Liberals' and the Conservatives'. Actually, we're putting this amendment forward on behalf of the former NDP in opposition, because it was Richard Allen who spoke very strongly for this particular piece of legislation at that time. He was absolutely shocked at the Conservative government of the day for not being more flexible and more, what should I say, open with regard to that amendment, more exclusive as opposed to inclusive.

All I can say is, in response Dr Bette Stephenson did reply as to her definition of a hard-to-serve student. I think the definition has probably been read into the record, but it still stands.

I'm not sure whether we should be willing to leave this meaning -- I still feel very strongly that this is worthy of legislation, but I don't think the committee has been advised as to really why the government wants to make these changes. I understand it probably has something to do with the expense and probably to do with some court cases, and I'm going to take them in good faith and support the intent of what the government wants to do at this point in time.


I really say this in good faith because I think all of us are going to get students, if we haven't already -- I certainly have a blind student right now who's been deprived of her technical equipment because the parents and the school board couldn't come to an agreement with regard to where she ought to be at school. I think it has more to do with where she goes to school, I suppose. It's just one of those difficult situations for the school board. It meets with the intent of the government on page 3 of your notes, Mr Martin, where it says, "Third, additional funding will be provided to some school boards to enable a number of pupils, who are eligible to attend a demonstration school, to receive additional supports in local settings, where the committee decides."

This is a case of a blind child who does want to go to school in her neighbourhood, who can find another education institution, where the parents have decided to pay themselves, because the school, this private school, has offered to raise money for the child. I know you will agree with me and everybody else around this table. Because of that the equipment that is with her now is being withdrawn, because somebody's using some technicality that doesn't exist.

I'm sure the thing will work out, but can you imagine parents having to go through this, having to make this huge decision for their child, make the huge financial commitment, having to put themselves at the mercy of either another school or a local community group, having to go public, and any non-profit institution or public institution saying, "We'll take your equipment away from you"? It is gone. It has been given to another child.

Now we're all looking in amazement, but these are the kinds of things that happen when people don't work in good faith. I don't think any regulations will change it. I'm sure that when it's brought to the attention of the government it will change it in some way, because that's the intent on page 3. That's my understanding, that these kinds of situations can be worked out, especially where parents are prepared to pay. If they can't work it out themselves, I'll certainly bring it to the attention, perhaps, of yourself, Mr Martin.

Mr Martin: Hopefully I'll be around long enough to --

Mrs Cunningham: Oh, it's going to happen in the next two or three weeks. I think you can assure yourself. That's not 1997.

Mr Beer: I have just one question that I think it's important to be clear with, because, as Ms O'Neill said, we are dealing with legislation. Again, as everyone has said, I think there's been considerable movement here. I want to be clear on one thing, though. In Bill 4, section 15 as it is now worded still deals with June 2, 1992. I just want to be clear on the meaning of that. I guess my druthers quite frankly would be, given the nature of the discussion that the ministry has had with the various groups involved, that it would be simpler to have section 15 read "Section 35 of the act is repealed," period, and that 2(a) and (b) wouldn't be there.

I accept that clearly the government has said, "Look, we don't want anybody to be worried. We're not going after funds that have already been paid out to families," but I want to be clear. I think we've had witnesses testify to perhaps two people who, post-June 2, 1992, either have been deemed hard to serve or are in the process. That date, I believe, was here simply because the old Bill 37 had that date. Is there not some way either we could make that 1993, as opposed to 1992, which at least is when the bill came forward, so that -- I guess it's the retroactivity of any piece of legislation which I always felt is difficult as a principle.

But could I ask the parliamentary assistant, and perhaps staff, given what has been set out, why do you need 2(a) and (b)? If we need it, could it not be 1993 or, let's say at least, the moment this bill was put forward. I may be wrong, but I don't think it's a question that we've got more than a couple of pupils who either have been or may have been designated hard to serve. I just would like a little more guidance. If this were to stay in, how would those people who have come into the process -- and I guess I'm thinking of the witness who came from the Sault, her son, and I can't remember but I think there was another one.

It's really just, why that date? Why does that date still have to be in the act? Could that not read 1993? Why, as my colleague from London North has said, accepting the word of the government in terms of what it's going to put into place, do we need that 2(a) and (b)? What does that do and how do we protect anybody who's been brought into the system between June 2 of last year and whatever the day was we started our deliberations on this bill?

Mr Martin: I think Mr Beer certainly makes a valid and good point. I would ask for some counsel from Ms Goldberg on that.

Mr Beer: I appreciate if there's a need for just some consultation, that perhaps we could allow some time for that. Mr Chair, if there is a need for some discussion, I think we'd be quite --


Mr Beer: Oh, sorry.

Mr Hope: Could I just ask, then, for a five-minute recess?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope proposes a five-minute recess. Any opposition? Recess, five minutes.

The committee recessed from 1716 to 1728.

The Vice-Chair: I call the meeting back to order. Mr Martin, would you proceed?

Mr Martin: Yes. We've agreed to an amendment to that, to respond to Mr Beer's concern. I was going to ask legislative counsel to read it into the record, but he's not here.

The Vice-Chair: It's being photocopied, so it'll be back in a moment.

Mr Beer: If we have a moment till it's back, would it be appropriate to raise the other question that we were discussing?

The Vice-Chair: Yes. We're waiting for legal counsel to duplicate it.

Mr Beer: In the immortal phrases of all Speakers, looking at the o'clock, we were concerned. We had said it was our intent to finish today. This has been, I think, a very constructive and positive day. Frankly, all of us have put a lot of information on the record and the discussion has been to the point. We are going to hopefully complete the issue around the hard-to-serve in section 15 when the amendment comes back.

During the break, the member for London North, the member for Chatham-Kent, the parliamentary assistant and myself were discussing the possibility -- there are still a couple of parts of this bill that we think we can complete but that we would like to be able to deal with in a thoughtful way. In the normal course of events, the standing committee on social development would sit tomorrow, and we would suggest that we do that.

It is certainly agreed, and I can speak for my caucus, that we would complete the committee hearings tomorrow, Tuesday. I think we agreed last week that the intent would be to finish today. I think we all agreed that was our intent. I think we've come very close, but there are just a couple of other things which we would like to discuss, so we're putting forward that we meet tomorrow. Again, I'm just saying it is not my intent to finish tomorrow, but speaking for the Liberal caucus, we would finish tomorrow. We believe that we would have sufficient time to do that. So I put that out as a proposal.

The Vice-Chair: Discussion on Mr Beer's proposal that the committee meet tomorrow afternoon to complete clause-by-clause.

Mrs Cunningham: Only to say that I do concur. We've put a lot of work into the amendments and we're getting some good information from the representatives of the government. So it's been a very useful process. I think some of the things that we're saying will help us down the road with regard to, at least in this instance, some of the hard-to-serve students and also give the government some direction with regard to the concerns as we hear them in our communities.

Another day of that kind of thoughtful input on behalf of the public who came before the committee and others who have been in touch with us I think is positive. I would certainly hope, as Mr Beer has stated, that we could finish tomorrow afternoon. That's definitely our intent and that would be our goal.

Mr Hope: Therefore, I move that the Chair advise the House leaders of the possibility of sitting tomorrow, because we do not have that power of authority to conduct that process. So I would ask the Chair to direct a letter to the House leaders' office requesting an additional day to be completed tomorrow.

The Vice-Chair: It's my understanding the committee does have the authority to meet tomorrow if the House is sitting.

Mr Hope: Then you still need a motion of this committee to do so.

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Mr Hope: Under the current motion that was approved, we've only had approval for the last two days. We had to seek approval for today and we have not sought approval for tomorrow.

The Vice-Chair: Motion by Mr Hope that the committee in fact meet tomorrow afternoon.

Mr Beer: I'll just second.

The Vice-Chair: All in favour? Thank you.

Mr Hope: All opposed?

The Vice-Chair: Actually, the city of London's system is to ask for all opposed, and if there's a majority voting, it's automatically carried.

Mrs Cunningham: I don't know anything about that.

The Vice-Chair: You don't use it in public.

Mrs O'Neill: I did certainly develop a much more complete understanding as we've proceeded three or four times through what's going to happen as a result of this intervention of the ministry. May I ask if, at the end of the appeal to the provincial committee on learning disabilities, the parent who I understand has been able to determine to go that route, even without the agreement of the board, could then hook into section 37 -- would that be the next section? -- which states, "Where a parent or guardian of a pupil has exhausted all rights of appeal"? In other words, the appeal to the provincial committee is one more area of appeal that wasn't there before today. When that's exhausted, section 37 would still hook in.

The Vice-Chair: Does the ministry wish to respond to this suggestion by Ms O'Neill?

Ms Deborah Goldberg: The right of a parent to appeal to the special ed tribunal from a decision of the appeal board remains unchanged. If parents are going through the regular process, they've gone to an IPRC, they've appealed to an appeal board and, say, they have not gone to the provincial committee on learning disabilities, but they've chosen to accept a board placement -- perhaps they're not satisfied with the exact placement -- they still have the right to go to a special ed tribunal.

When we were discussing this, we did not at the time envision a further appeal to the special ed tribunal from a decision of a provincial committee on learning disabilities. Because of the nature of the powers of that committee, at the time that we were reviewing it, it didn't appear that it would be necessary. Certainly, we can look at it and see where it is important.

Mrs O'Neill: I really wish you would because we were told at the beginning of this discussion that you were going to use all of the existing structures. I would find this a step backwards if a further appeal, which every one else in the province has and it states in this legislation -- I mean, we'd have to change section 37, I think, because it says, "where a parent," and it doesn't say what kind of appeal, "has exhausted all rights of appeal." You've put in an extra step now.

I would not be able to support this at all if section 37 is not going to be effective for a certain group of people who may need it more than anyone else.

Ms Goldberg: The parents won't be shut out from the process. The question we would have to determine is exactly what it is that they would be appealing to the special ed tribunal.

Mrs O'Neill: Any decision of this next body. It really is only a body, the provincial committee on learning disabilities.

Mr Beer: Just on that, it seems to me that section 37 is still in the act. It is not being repealed. Presumably if, as you work through the process, there's the intention to make further changes, then those would obviously have to be brought forward in legislative form so that our understanding, to those who are watching or reading these proceedings, is that this option is still there until it is changed through legislative change.

Ms Goldberg: The intent was not to reduce any of the available appeal mechanisms for parents.

Mrs O'Neill: That's what I needed to hear.

The Vice-Chair: Were you finished, Ms O'Neill?

Mrs O'Neill: Yes. Thank you.

Mrs Cunningham: I think I know which one, if I could just ask questions about Mr Beer's questions, and then you can maybe move the motion and I can give my intent. Is it section 35?

Mr Hope: Yes, it might clear it up, though.

Mrs Cunningham: No, I'm going to move backwards just a titch here and get a couple of questions clarified, and then if you want to, it will be the next step.

I'm sorry that I had to leave the room for a moment when my staff person called me out. Did Mr Beer's questions all get answered?

Mr Beer: Here we get subjective. I thought Mr Ferren made an excellent attempt to answer virtually all of them, but no, there were some that weren't answered. He did, I think, provide answers to most of them; it's just that there were some where we're going to need more specific comment.

Mrs Cunningham: By tomorrow?

Mr Beer: You may wish to ask him. I can't remember, because I know he worked through them. There were a couple that frankly were perhaps more appropriately directed to the parliamentary assistant, and there was one that he responded to. I wasn't ticking them off as they went along, but why don't you throw out the ones that --

Mrs Cunningham: Well, what I thought might be useful is if they could be responded to, Mr Martin, in writing. They're all useful questions. We get these questions all the time. If they can be done tomorrow, it would be great. Otherwise, I just think the questions should be answered in Hansard and everybody has them and we can send them out. If they're not in Hansard tomorrow, then we should have the responses anyway. It's just very helpful if they're done in Hansard because everybody who is interested picks them up with their local board and they're there. I'm just wondering if that's a possibility.

If they can't be answered, some of them, I think that's important too. That means we've got some areas that we're not sure about.

I have a couple of questions. With regard to this IPRC parent handbook and accountability, I'm just wondering, right now what do the school boards use to advise parents of process and whatnot? Are there not handbooks now that the school boards use? I certainly have one.

Mr Ferren: Yes, there is. Did you want me to answer it?

Mr Martin: However, the women who came from Sault Ste Marie, for example, pointed out to me that in that handbook there was no reference whatsoever to the hard-to-serve provision that was available, so there's stuff missing as far as some of the parents who are finding the process difficult at this point feel that they need to know more about.

Mrs Cunningham: Okay. Otherwise, you're updating? Anything you want to say would be helpful to me, because I just thought we had them.

Ms Goldberg: The regulation does have a requirement that the school boards provide a guide for parents.

Mrs Cunningham: Okay, and I think they're quite extensive. But Mr Martin certainly raised, I think, a valid point there: If it's not part of it, it should be.

My next question is this. Demonstration schools: When students are referred to demonstration schools, what does that really mean? What do you mean, "demonstration schools"?

Mr Ferren: "What is a demonstration school" is really the question, I guess.

Mrs Cunningham: If we're saying that you can be within schools that are demonstration schools or locally, give me an example of a demonstration school. How many do we have and how many, therefore, would be looking towards local placements?

Mr Ferren: There's a demonstration school in London, Robarts School. There's the Trillium School in Milton and there's the Sagonaska School in Milton and there's the Sagonaska School in Belleville. Then there's the demonstration school that is set up through an agreement with the University of Ottawa for the French-speaking students of the province in Ottawa. So there are really four: three anglophone and one francophone.

Mrs Cunningham: Okay. I'm going to put my two cents' worth in here. The problem I have with increasing the numbers placed in demonstration schools by up to 20 -- I have nothing against programs that are successful; I think it's wonderful that these are successful -- but I think the real goal for some of our special students is to help them and their families get through life.


As young people become older, they will rely more and more on support systems within their own community and therefore ultimately, wherever possible, their family members. I just think it's so important, not unlike your early start in pre-school or junior kindergarten, whichever program or child care. I think it's just as important for these special young people to be in their own communities. I think that the intent by saying demonstration schools, of which we've got four or five, it's my understanding, we shouldn't be designating -- and I know this is administrative, Mr Martin, and I think this is where you can be very helpful. I think you should be talking about 20 placements, because really we should be so supportive of young people being in their own communities, and if we don't do that now, we're never going to get any better at it. And trust me, these young people want to work, and for many of them their placements will lead them into the world of work, where they'll, in my view, with a supportive employer, be extremely helpful in their own community.

I'm speaking now as a parent, and I can tell you the happiest day of my own son's life was the day that he got a job. Most people wouldn't even today want to employ him, and there's more and more of that going on in our communities, but he never would have gotten a job in his own city or in his own community if it hadn't been for the work of his local placement and without his family supporting him and his ongoing friends.

It just really means that we have to reach out in our own communities for even those young people who go to school with others who are more difficult and challenged. It's all part of our responsibilities to help our fellow man. I maybe sound a bit altruistic, but I still think that's the best way of doing things.

So I guess I have problems with increasing the number of places in demonstration schools. I know these students are very hard to serve, but I just wish you were saying to increase the number of placements because we're getting better at it and we can do a better job in our own community.

What we really need is the flexibility to do it. I find that this is somewhat restrictive -- and I'm not trying to be critical; it's just a point that I'm making, that's all -- and I thought I had to say it. I don't really know what expanding the role of the provincial committee on learning disabilities is but I'm sure I'll find out. I know you've attempted to answer that, but it's just something that I felt I had to say.

The bottom line for so many of the decisions unfortunately is cost to school boards, and I just feel, like in the example that I learned about last week, that there are so many other ministries that ought to be involved. I think that the brief that was put to us by the Advisory Committee on Special Education talked about the responsibilities of Health and Community and Social Services. Many of the placements are actually in facilities that are supported by the Ministry of Health and in facilities that are supported by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

I don't know, Mr Chairman, and perhaps again Mr Martin can answer the question. These decisions, I think, that are being made on behalf of these special students often have to be made with the other ministries involved, and I'd like someone to tell me that's happening more and more. These young people need the flexibility. If they have to move into a mental health institution for a while or a support mental health program, then when they're feeling better they should be able to move back into the regular school system. That's the kind of flexibility we need within our communities to make the positive outcomes that we're looking forward to.

Perhaps somebody could remark on both of my concerns, the 20 in the demonstration schools and the fact that Health and Comsoc ought to be part of the placement process with regard to funding.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, did you wish to respond?

Mr Martin: Just very briefly, that's why in my comments and in the plan --

Mrs Cunningham: Actually, I might have read that there.

Mr Martin: -- the ministry has laid out, number 4 on page 2 is:

"To facilitate the placement of a pupil whose primary need is for care or treatment in a government-approved section 27 facility."

Mrs Cunningham: Okay.

Mr Martin: Then, your first part of the question:

"Third, additional funding will be provided to some school boards to enable a number of pupils who are eligible to attend a demonstration school to receive additional supports in local settings where the committee decides."

I have to say it's definitely the government's intention, and I think it's reflected in our move to integration, to encourage education in local settings. But there may be a few pupils from time to time who may need the services or to be in a demonstration school in order to correct something or straighten something out and then come back again to the local setting. I think this will give the power to provide some assistance to that end.

The question of ministries working together: We're working on that, and hopefully there will be some fruit to that labour in the not-too-distant future around the responsibility that Health and Comsoc have in some of these areas. I agree with you that more of what schools are being expected to do should in fact be in the bailiwick of those two ministries and we should be doing what we can to make sure that happens.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope, did you want to --

Mr Hope: Just to comment, and it's nice that provincially we're doing that, but, Dianne, you were referring to the community and local communities, and I think what we have to do is tear down some of the walls that are established in our communities between Health, Social Services and Education to work in a more positive way. If the community is sincere in what it's trying to achieve, those walls should be much easier to remove. We get tied up in the bureaucratic or paperwork aspect of it, and I believe if provincially -- and I know it's happening with child care and other initiatives, we're working together on things, but reflecting on your comments, where you talked about the community, I think the community has to identify tearing those walls down and working for the betterment of people in our communities who we all represent.

Mr Beer: Just very briefly, because it speaks to what everyone has just been saying, I think, to remind ourselves of the direction of the report Children First, which was one that had a lot of not only professional but parental involvement and obviously the key is finding how you get all of those different sectors to be involved, but I think there is a consensus out there now that that's what we ought to be doing and it might be something in a future time where this committee could be useful in exploring some ways that could be done.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. That completes discussion. You have the handout with the proposed motions.

Mr Martin: Randy's going to have one.

The Vice-Chair: Yes, but before that we have a motion on the floor proposed by Mr Beer and that is out of order, so we'll proceed. Ms Cunningham, you had a proposed amendment to the same wording in effect.

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, and I understand that it's out of order.

The Vice-Chair: Yes. We'll proceed then to the second Liberal motion regarding Bill 15. Would it be in order to proceed to the amendments by Mr Hope that had been handed out previous to that, to get that proceeded with?

Mr Beer: Yes, it would be.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you.

Mr Hope: Is this being withdrawn?

The Vice-Chair: No.

Mrs Cunningham: It's just out of order.

Mr Hope: No, the other one.

Mr Beer: It's the second one. I'm quite prepared to withdraw that, given the discussion we've had and the motion we're about to hear.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Beer, you're withdrawing the second amendment?

Mr Beer: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: The lengthy amendment to section 15.

Mr Beer: The lengthy amendment, unless you wanted me to read it.

The Vice-Chair: Perhaps it could be read after the meeting, if you would like. Mr Hope, would you proceed?

Mr Hope: I have a motion. I move that clause 15(2)(a) of the bill be amended by striking out "2nd" in the third last line and substituting "30th."

The Vice-Chair: Discussion? Any question about that?

Mr Beer: Just briefly to indicate that we will be supporting that, and the member for London North, Mrs Cunningham, who is not able to be with us right now, has also asked me to say that she would support that motion as well.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? Thank you. Proceed.

Mr Hope: A further motion. I move that clause 15(2)(a) of the bill be amended by striking out "and" at the end.

The Vice-Chair: Any discussion? Shall the amendment carry? Carried.

Mr Hope: I have a further motion I wish to move. I move that clause 15(2)(b) of the bill be struck out.

The Vice-Chair: Discussion?

Mr Hope: A technical question. I don't know if that motion is in order, now that I've just read it. Wouldn't it be just to vote out that section of the bill?

The Vice-Chair: It's in order, I'm advised, because it's striking out a subsection rather than a complete section.

Mr Hope: So I move it.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Discussion?

Mr Beer: Just one question I wanted to put. I think I understand the answer, but just so it's clear, in terms of what we're doing with the motion that we've accepted, where we changed June 2, 1992, to June 30, it is our understanding that it then covers anyone who is in the hard-to-serve process, if I can put it that way, and that following that date, there is not somebody in that situation. Presumably, others will be dealt with in terms of what we have been discussing. With the one you've just put on in terms of 15(2)(b), that just eliminates that clause; for anyone who had any concerns about being forced to pay, that just takes it completely out and there's no problem with that. I just wanted to be clear on that for the record.


The Vice-Chair: Do you wish to respond?

Ms Goldberg: Anybody who was found to be hard to serve by June 30, 1992, will continue to have their education paid for for one more year, assuming of course that this bill doesn't pass in the next two days.

Anybody who has been found to be hard to serve after June 30, 1992 -- we're not aware of anyone in that category, but if there is anyone, then we would not be paying for their education, and we aren't doing so at the present time either.

The Vice-Chair: Anything further on that?

Mr Hope: I believe this fixes some of the problems of the individuals who came before this committee, who addressed some concerns about the June 2 date. This has been notified to the broader public in a previous bill, and I think it only clears up the uncertainties that were there and that were presented before this committee. I believe the amendment is a positive one that will now clear up all misunderstandings.

Mrs O'Neill: Mr Chairman, I'm not sure it's all misunderstandings. You say for one year, so we're talking about June 1994? What happens in September 1994? Who pays then?

Ms Goldberg: If they continue to remain in the private school, then presumably it would be their parents who pay. But we were hoping that the new regulation that we're going to be drafting would be able to take care of those students.

Mrs O'Neill: You're talking about the one you've just presented today?

Ms Goldberg: Yes, that's right.

Mrs O'Neill: So at this particular moment, where is it in writing that they're guaranteed the tuition for one more year?

Ms Goldberg: In 15(2)(a).

Mrs O'Neill: I'm still uneasy. Would it mean they'd have to go through the whole process to continue in a successful placement? We're talking about six students in Ontario. I certainly don't have the information -- maybe some of you do -- but are they all within one year of graduation? I doubt it. So what's going to happen?

You're saying this new regulation will help, but does that mean that these parents who have been through the mill already and have a successful placement -- and we've heard from two of them at least, I think three -- will then have to start the process all over again to fit into a new scheme that we were presented with this afternoon?

Ms Goldberg: We're aware right now of three students who are presently being funded. They'll be funded for one more year. After that, we expect that they will be accommodated at the board through the new process, either in a board program or perhaps in a demonstration school.

Mrs O'Neill: And the board won't be able to use the right it has now to purchase service?

Ms Goldberg: The boards don't have a right at the present time to purchase services from a private school.

Mrs O'Neill: So we're talking about a private school. Well, that's very fuzzy. It certainly won't give those three people too much security for the next few months. I hope there will be some very individual counselling and work with those people, because we saw two of them right in this room, and the other one has contacted us. They're not feeling terribly comfortable with this piece of legislation, we know that, and I'm not sure they're going to be much more comfortable with what you've just said. Three people out of 10 million, and we can't give them the certainty until the student arrives.

Mr Hope: I think it's in the best interests of the three individuals, speaking to the amendment we just moved, that the people who are here today cooperate to work as advocates with them to understand the process and the change that has now been implemented. For the three individuals Mrs O'Neill indicates, I believe the ministry could work effectively and efficiently with theme for a clear understanding so the fuzziness is gone.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the third amendment proposed by Mr Hope to strike out clause 15(2)(b) of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall section 15 of the bill, as amended, carry? Carried.

Mrs O'Neill: Mr Chairman, could we have the parliamentary assistant tell us he will take that situation, which is a very serious situation, to the minister?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin, would you respond?

Mrs O'Neill: I think I need a commitment, as a politician, to help those parents. I think I need some kind of commitment from some of the politicians. I've had it from Mr Hope, but he's not the parliamentary assistant in this area.

Mr Martin: The whole purpose of the work that we've done around this piece over the last month or so has been to that end. We wouldn't have done it had we not had a commitment to serving and seeing the needs of those students and those families met. I've no difficulty committing that we'll continue that process and continue to try, in the ways that we have at our disposal, to meet the needs of those parents and those students.

Mrs O'Neill: And as to those who are in successful programs, hopefully they'll be able to be maintained there? I can't get that, but I tried.

The Vice-Chair: Does that complete your submission?

Mrs O'Neill: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: I see it's almost time to adjourn. Before adjourning, we have two proposed amendments to section 16, both of which are to strike out section 16, and both motions are out of order. In view of that, those amendments being out of order, shall section 16 carry?

Mr Hope: Mr Chairman, on a point of procedure: Shouldn't the motions be read in first before they're ruled out of order? How can you rule something out of order that hasn't been put on the record?

The Vice-Chair: It's not on the record; that's correct. In view of that, Mr Beer: One was a Liberal motion; the other, of course, is a PC motion.

Mr Beer: They are identical motions, and I believe I can speak for both Ms Cunningham and myself. I will read it, but given what we have just done to section 15, as you say, these are out of order anyway.

I move that section 16 of the bill be struck out.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Beer, your motion is out of order. We have a problem, however, with the PC amendment.

Mr Hope: I'll move that on behalf of Ms Cunningham.

The Vice-Chair: I don't know that I can accept that. If we're going to be technical, we should be technical all the way.

Mr Hope: That's right. I was just trying to be helpful. You know how I am, eh?

The Vice-Chair: I've noticed on occasion, yes, that you are helpful.

Mrs O'Neill: On occasion. I'm glad you qualified.

The Vice-Chair: Is it agreed then that, subject to the protest of the proposed mover of the PC proposed amendment, you accept the decision? I guess it should be read, though, first. Is someone prepared to read it into the record? It's been pointed out that the motions must be read into the record.

Mr Beer: I move, on behalf of Ms Cunningham, that section 16 of the bill be struck out.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you.

Mr Hope: You've got to rule it out of order.

The Vice-Chair: The motion is out of order.

Mr Beer: I will tell her.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for taking that adventure.

Shall section 16 carry? Carried.

It now being shortly after 6 of the clock, the committee is adjourned until tomorrow, as I understand it, to complete clause-by-clause.

The committee adjourned at 1801.