Tuesday 29 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:

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND) for Mr O'Connor

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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Baynham, Patricia, acting manager, legislation, child care branch, Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ministry of Education and Training:

Dickinson, Patricia, senior policy analyst, community education and outreach branch

Goldberg, Deborah, legal counsel

Lindhout, Julie, director, legislation branch

Martin, Tony, parliamentary assistant to the Minister

Riley, Michael, legal counsel

Clerk pro tem / Greffière par intérim: Pajeska, Donna

Staff / Personnel: Beecroft, Doug, 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. I believe when we left off we had just completed section 17 in clause-by-clause consideration.

Shall sections 17 and 18 carry? Carried.

Section 19, a proposed amendment; Mr Hope, I believe. Are you going to introduce an amendment on section 19?

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): As soon as I find them.

Mr Charles Beer (York North): The new?

The Vice-Chair: Yes, it's new.

Mr Hope: I take it section 16 of the bill --

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): Section 19.

Mr Hope: If you've got it, Tony, go ahead.

Mr Beer: I have a copy. Would it be of help to anybody?

The Vice-Chair: Do you wish a copy, Mr Hope?

Mr Hope: Well, the order that I left off, there still was a PC motion.

The Vice-Chair: That was withdrawn. You're talking about section 16?

Mr Hope: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: We'd agreed that would be withdrawn because it was to strike out a section and was therefore not in order, as I recall.

Mr Martin: I can read that in if you want.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Martin is prepared to read it in.

Mr Hope: I would be pleased if he did.

Mr Martin: Don't you forget that.

I move that the bill be amended by adding the following sections after section 19:

"19.1 Subsection 49(6) of the act is repealed and the following substituted:

"Fees for pupils

"(6) Despite any other provision of this part, if a board admits to a school that it operates a person who is a visitor within the meaning of the Immigration Act (Canada)" --

Mr Hope: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: Before it goes on any further, one thing that is important about this amendment is that it needs unanimous consent in order that --

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mr Hope, but as you pointed out yesterday, the motion has to be read before I can make a comment on it. You were forceful in that comment, and therefore I was proceeding along the lines that we have to know what we're dealing with before I can make a decision whether it's in order or out of order. Do you not agree?

Mr Hope: All I was trying to do, and I agree with what --

The Vice-Chair: Please, Mr Martin, would you complete the reading of the proposed amendment.

Mr Martin: -- "or a person who is in possession of a student authorization issued under that act, the board shall charge the person the maximum fee calculated in accordance with the regulations.

"19.2 The act is amended by adding the following section:

"Persons unlawfully in Canada

"49.1 A person who is otherwise entitled to be admitted to a school and who is less than eighteen years of age shall not be refused admission because the person or the person's parent or guardian is unlawfully in Canada."

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. As Mr Hope has helpfully pointed out to the Chair, this proposed amendment is in fact out of order and, as I understand, can be introduced only with unanimous consent. Would you care to explain, Mr Martin, why it's important that it be presented and ask for unanimous consent?

Mr Martin: This amendment requires unanimous consent because it refers to a section of the Education Act not already dealt with in Bill 4. The amendment is being put forward to accomplish the objective of Bill 24, a private member's bill proposed by Mrs E. Caplan, MPP, Oriole. Although the wording of this amendment is not the same as that contained in Bill 24, it is the advice of legal counsel in the ministry that this wording accomplishes the objective better.

The intent is to ensure that the children of illegal immigrants are not penalized for their parents' status. The amendment would ensure that such children could attend school without fear of reprisal or exorbitant cost.

The inclusion of this amendment was debated at second reading of Bill 4. As well, the parliamentary assistant indicated in his opening remarks to the committee that the government would be proposing this amendment.

Bill 24 received second reading on June 11, 1992. The bill has been referred to the standing committee on social development. Mrs Caplan supports this amendment to deal with the intent of her bill being dealt with as an amendment to Bill 4.

The Vice-Chair: Are there any questions regarding that explanation at this time?

Mr Hope: Do we approve unanimous consent?

The Vice-Chair: Well, no, but it's from an information point of view. I would ask you to bear with me. I thought that we should have an explanation and then any questions before we ask for unanimous consent. However, we can do it the other way. I think we're all clear on why it's really out of order. Perhaps we should have a mover of the motion, though, before I can rule it out of order.

Mr Martin: I moved it already.

The Vice-Chair: Did you move it? Thank you, Mr Martin. Okay, was there a question, Mr Beer?

Mr Beer: Sorry. If you needed a seconder, I would be happy to second it, and we would give unanimous consent.

The Vice-Chair: Oh, unanimous consent? Thank you. Anyone else wish to speak?

Mr Beer: I just had a comment once that was dealt with, Mr Chair.

The Vice-Chair: Do we have unanimous consent to introduce this amendment, which is out of order? Agreed. Okay. Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Just simply to say that what Mr Martin noted is what had been discussed with Mrs Caplan, who, although she's not here, had also asked that I simply state that she is in agreement with this amendment.

I think also, as Mr Martin has said, the purpose, the intent, of the amendment is just to make sure that, whatever the problems are that deal with the Immigration Act or with the situation of refugees, the problem not be placed upon the children so that they're unable to go to school and the rest of us adults deal with the other problems. That's the intent, and I think it's expressed in this amendment.

The Vice-Chair: Other comments or discussion? If not, shall the amendments to sections 19.1 and 19.2 carry? Carried.

Shall section 19, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall sections 20 to 27 carry? Carried.

Section 28, Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Chair, there are, as you can see, two amendments here. They're identical, both from the Conservatives and from the Liberals. I will, if that is in order, simply read our amendment.

I move that paragraph 6.2 of section 170 of the Education Act, as set out in subsection 28(1) of the bill, be struck out.

I think we have discussed the junior kindergarten issue. There are a number of amendments that flow from earlier amendments which were defeated and, as I say, I think we have had an airing of that and would simply move this motion.

Mr Hope: Did you say there were Liberal amendments to this too?

Mr Beer: There are two amendments. They're identical. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have moved the same motion, and I'm simply saying, Mr Hope, that I think we've had a fairly full discussion and would simply move the amendments.

Mr Martin: I'd just like to comment that the government is not accepting this amendment. Paragraph 6.2 of section 170 would make it a duty of boards to operate junior kindergarten after August 31, 1994, unless given an exemption. Since the government intends to proceed with junior kindergarten, we cannot accept the deletion of the paragraph, as proposed.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? All in favour? Opposed? Amendment lost.

The PC amendment, because it's identical wording, is therefore lost as well.

Further amendments, subsection 28(3).


Mr Beer: Mr Chair, I wonder if I might suggest, because the Conservative member's not here to move her motion, is it in order to deal with other motions under 28 and just to stand that one down?

The Vice-Chair: Is it agreed that the proposed amendment to subsection 28(3), PC motion, be stood down at this time? Agreed.

Mr Beer: Could I then go forward with an amendment to subsections 28(4) and (5)? Again, members would note that our amendment and that of the Conservatives are identical, but I will read that amendment into the record. That's subsections 28(4) and (5) of the bill, subsections 170(2) and (3) of the Education Act.

I move that subsections 28(4) and (5) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"(4) Section 170 is further amended by adding the following subsection:

"s. 67 school districts

"(2) Paragraph 6.1 of subsection (1) does not apply to the board of a secondary school district established under section 67."

By way of explanation, this is another amendment that fits in with the amendments that we had put forward with respect to junior kindergarten. It had been our argument that those programs continue to be optional, and this was to fit with that. I think we had a full discussion of that, both yesterday and last week, and I would simply put the motion at this time.

Mr Hope: Just to state for the record, the government will not be supporting the amendment being put forward.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment to subsections 28(4) and (5) carry? All in favour? Opposed? Amendment lost.

Is it agreed then that the PC amendment, 28(4) and (5), is the same wording? Is that correct?

Mr Hope: Just out of curiosity, Chair, is the member coming?


Mr Beer: I understand that the member for London North will be here shortly and has just asked if we could simply stand down any individual motions. Perhaps we could do that, because I think there are a number where the amendments are the same. We can deal with those and then she'll move hers when she gets here.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the proposed amendment to subsection 28(6) of the bill be stood down at this time? Agreed.

Section 29, proposed amendments.

Mr Beer: Again, with respect to this we have an amendment, as do the Conservatives. It is the same amendment, which I will read. But just to underline, it's a similar amendment and again it relates to junior kindergartens.

Subsections 29(1) and (2) of the bill, paragraph 15 of subsection 171(1) of the Education Act:

I move that subsections 29(1) and (2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"(1) Paragraph 15 of subsection 171(1) of the act is repealed and the following substituted:

"junior kindergartens

"15. operate junior kindergartens."

I'd simply note that this fits in with the other amendments that we had proposed. We had a full discussion of that yesterday and I would move the question.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the proposed amendment to subsections 29(1) and (2) carry? All in favour? Opposed? Amendment lost.

Further amendments to section 29?

Mr Beer: Again, Mr Chair, there is a Conservative motion, if that could be stood down.

The Vice-Chair: Agreed. Stand it down at this time.

Mr Beer: There are two amendments to the same section, but ours in this instance is different from the Conservative one. With the agreement of the committee, we can either go ahead and discuss that, or if perhaps we want to wait for the member for London North, we could deal with the government motion to section 40. I simply make that suggestion.

The Vice-Chair: Your proposal is to go on to section 30?

Mr Beer: I was going to suggest section 40. There are two government motions, one for section 40 and one for section 50, which I don't believe are ones where there is any disagreement. If we deal with those, the member for London North might be with us.

The Vice-Chair: Does the committee agree that we should move to section 40 at this time? Agreed.

Mr Beer: Mr Hope's simply suggesting we deal with the ones that we can deal with and then when Mrs Cunningham gets here, we can deal with hers.

The Vice-Chair: So we're at section 40. There is a proposed amendment to be introduced.

Mr Martin: I move that section 40 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

"(2) Section 309 of the act is amended by adding the following subsections:

"French day nurseries

"(2) The establishment, operation and maintenance by a board of day nurseries in which French is the language ordinarily spoken is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the French-language section of the board.


"(3) For the purpose of subsection (2) and the Day Nurseries Act, the French-language section shall be deemed to be a corporation."

The Vice-Chair: Excuse me, apparently copies of that proposed amendment have not been circulated. The one that we have in our packet uses different numbers in the corporation. I think you've noted that.

Mr Beer: Thank you, Mr Chair. I was wondering about that too.

The Vice-Chair: It'll be handed out now. Sorry. Mr Martin's is correct as he's read it. This motion is out of order as well and unanimous consent will be required to introduce it. Do we have unanimous consent to introduce the amendment at this time?

Mr Beer: Yes. Agreed.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Mr Martin, do you want to explain first?

Mr Martin: Yes. The minister has received letters from the office of francophone affairs and the Ontario Teachers' Federation, as well as requests from a number of francophone organizations, asking that French-language sections be permitted to hold licences to operate francophone day nurseries.

Currently, Bill 4 only permits boards to hold licences to operate day nurseries. There is no provision for French-language sections to hold licences to operate day care services on their own. Therefore, a board could veto a French-language section's request to establish a day care centre.

The francophone community feels very strongly that French child care centres operated by French-language schools would play an important role in preventing assimilation that otherwise can occur when French children receive English-language child care services. The amendment permits French-language sections to establish, operate and maintain day nurseries in which French would be the language spoken. In order to allow the section to hold a licence to operate a day nursery, the French-language section is deemed to be a corporation only for the purposes of the Day Nurseries Act.

That's it, Mr Chair.


M. Beer: J'aimerais dire que nous allons appuyer cette motion. Je pense que c'est un changement à la législation qui est important surtout pour la communauté francophone, parce qu'en ce qui concerne la Loi sur les garderies, il est important, là où le conseil va gérer une garderie, que ce soit la section française qui ait les pouvoirs de le faire.

Comme M. Martin vient de nous le dire, c'est quelque chose que la communauté francophone nous a demandé. Donc, je pense que ça donne une direction claire, pas simplement au conseil mais surtout aux sections françaises.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment to section 40 of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall section 40, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall sections 41 to 49 carry? I have no proposed amendments listed for those sections. Carried.

Section 50: Mr Martin.

Mr Martin: Yes. I move that the bill be amended by adding the following section after section 50.

"50.1 Subsection 9(4) of the act is amended by striking out `Sections 41 to 49 of the Education Act' in the first line and substituting `Sections 41 to 49.1 of the Education Act."'

The Vice-Chair: As this proposed amendment is also out of order, can we have unanimous consent to consider it at this time? Agreed.

Mr Martin, did you wish to explain?

Mr Martin: This is a companion motion to the amendment incorporating the intent of Elinor Caplan's bill regarding children of illegal immigrants. It's a housekeeping item which flows from that amendment.

Mr Beer: We agree with that amendment, Mr Chair.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment to section 50.1 of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall section 50, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall sections 51 to 58 carry? Carried.

Section 59: Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Again, here there are two amendments to 59 which also speak to the issue of junior kindergarten. In each case, there is an identical motion by both the Conservatives and the Liberals. I will deal first of all with an amendment to subsection 59(1) of the bill.

I move that subsection 59(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "subsections (2) to (9)" in the first line and substituting "subsections (2) to (8)."

As I mentioned earlier, we had a full debate on the issue of junior kindergarten. This relates to the mandatory nature which we had said should be left optional, and I would move the question.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? In favour? Opposed? Amendment lost.

Mr Beer: The second amendment is to subsection 59(9), and again this is an identical motion, both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses.

I move that subsection 59(9) of the bill be struck out.

This again relates to the issue of junior kindergarten, and I would move the question.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? All in favour? Opposed? Amendment lost.

Shall section 59 carry? Carried.

Shall section 60 carry? Carried.

Mr Beer: I'm wondering if I might suggest a five-minute recess. We just have a couple of amendments, but perhaps we can get all the players together so that we can deal with those expeditiously.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for the suggestion. Is it agreed that the committee recess? Thank you.

The committee recessed from 1558 to 1603.

The Vice-Chair: The standing committee on social development on Bill 4 is now reconvened. We'll revert back to subsection 28(3) of the bill. Is there a proposed amendment to section 28 at this time?

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): Mr Chairman, I appreciate the fact that the committee moved forward knowing what I would support, and I do support what's happened so far.

I move that subsection 28(3) of the bill be struck out, and I would like to give my rationale for that.

During the committee hearings, we heard from the Ontario Public School Boards' Association and it did not support the amendment which provided boards with the authority to require a deposit for textbooks provided to pupils enrolled in a continuing education credit course. They said that if adult education is to be recognized as a legitimate component of the education system, then adequate and equitable funding must be guaranteed by the provincial government to provide for textbooks for these programs. I thought this would be worthy of some discussion. I personally have mixed feelings about it, but I wondered if the rationale could be provided to the committee for the government putting forward this recommendation.

Mr Martin: I believe Julie is prepared to speak to that.

Ms Julie Lindhout: This particular amendment, as you're probably well aware, has been part of previous bills, and at the time it was introduced there were some discussions with school boards about asking school boards to provide textbooks free of charge to adult students in continuing education credit courses, for which they can now require students to pay for the textbooks or provide their own. Some boards are in fact providing the textbooks to the students and are seeking some deposit.

When it was suggested that these boards might comply with that, the ministry was told by a number of boards -- not by the OPSBA officially, but by a number of individual boards -- that the continuing education population is a more volatile population and there might be difficulty in ensuring that the textbooks were always returned. They have more control over the day school population in that sense. Therefore, in order to give the boards that comfort level, this amendment was introduced that would allow them to require a deposit, but does not require them to require that deposit.

Mr Beer: We have been in remarkable agreement with our colleague from London North on many amendments. I have to say that on this one, while I appreciate the point she has raised around adult education and wanting that to be accessible, in the case of several boards that have been in contact with me, this question of the shifting population and problems around textbooks has been raised. It seems to me, perhaps as a question, that this would be something where the boards could establish a fee for the textbooks, but as a deposit that would be returned. Textbooks these days are very expensive, and it seems to me that perhaps it is not unreasonable that this possibility would be open to school boards to do that.

The member for London North perhaps has some other thoughts on this, but it would be my inclination that the government's proposal is in order and should be supported.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? Those in favour? Opposed? The amendment is lost.

Further amendments to section 28?

Mrs Cunningham: I move that section 28 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

"(6) Section 170 is further amended by adding the following subsection:

"Notice of offences

"(4) If the minister receives a notice under paragraph 12.1 of subsection (1) in respect of a teacher who has been convicted of an offence, the minister shall not cancel the teaching certificate of the teacher while the conviction is under appeal."

Mr Hope: There is an amendment before that. Are we taking that Conservative amendment 28(4) and 28(5) --

Mr Beer: We've dealt with those.

Mr Hope: But there was a Conservative amendment.

Mrs Cunningham: In my absence, Mr Beer probably put on the record that we had similar amendments earlier today. I'm appreciative of the process.

Mr Beer: In each case, Mr Hope, I did note that we both had the same amendment where that was the case, and we dealt with those.

The Vice-Chair: Then are we agreed that we proceed with the proposed amendment to subsection 28(6)?

Mrs Cunningham: I just want to read the rationale for this into the record. It adds the following sentence to the legislation: "The Minister of Education will not cancel the certificate of the convicted teacher if the conviction is under appeal."

This amendment is brought to the committee for its consideration by the OSSTF because it has pointed out that it's concerned that due process be respected for all board employees and that no teacher's certificate be cancelled until any appeal has been heard.

I would stand to be corrected by the administration here, but it's my understanding that this would be the practice anyway. I'm not sure, so if there's any discussion or response, I'd appreciate it.

Mr Martin: Perhaps counsel Goldberg could speak to that.

Ms Deborah Goldberg: We're advised that that is the present practice.

Mr Beer: I want to make sure I understand. I know the OSSTF had this proposal; just to be clear, are we saying that at the present time, where a teacher has been convicted, the teaching certificate is not revoked while that is under appeal? Is that a certainty? I'm just trying to distinguish between what one hopes is done versus what is actually done, because it really speaks to whether there is a literal need for this amendment. I think the point about due process is one that we would all be concerned about, and I just want to be clear on the practice.


Ms Goldberg: That is the practice now to do that.

Mr Beer: Given the act as it is right now, could the minister cancel a teaching certificate while the conviction was under appeal?

Ms Goldberg: Under the present legislation, yes, the minister would have the power to do that, although the practice is not to do it.

Mr Beer: I take it the reason the government has not agreed to this is that you want to maintain at least the right to do that. Could you explain that? Are there certain kinds of circumstances, or is it just the concern that there might be something you can't foresee?

Mr Michael Riley: I think it's in order to maintain the minister's discretion in its present form. The minister currently has a general power to cancel or suspend certificates, and with this bill there is a provision now for notice of criminal convictions, and we just don't see it as appropriate. It's possibly mischievous if the proposed change is made, because of the possibility that there may be circumstances in which it may not be appropriate to let the teacher continue to teach, or, on the other hand, there may be a decertification that ought to be made notwithstanding whether or not there is a conviction. We just don't see that the minister's discretion should be closed in in this way because of the possible variety of circumstances that may arise.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? All in favour of the amendment? Opposed? Amendment lost.

Shall section 28, as amended, carry? Carried.

Are there further amendments to section 29? That is subsection 29(3), I believe.

Mrs Cunningham: I move that paragraph 31.1 of subsection 171(1) of the Education Act, as set out in subsection 29(3) of the bill, be struck out.

But I don't think it's in order now. It would be out of order because the amendment failed; therefore, the paragraph still has to stay. So I would withdraw that, Mr Chairman. Am I correct in that regard?

The Vice-Chair: Yes. Further amendments to section 29?

Mr Beer: Mr Chair, I wonder if I could make a suggestion here. We have an amendment to 29(3), as do the Conservatives. I'm just wondering in terms of the order. Our amendment is to amend the government proposal; the Conservative amendment is that a clause be struck out. I wonder if it's agreeable whether we might deal with our amendment first, just because of the nature of the two.

The Vice-Chair: Proceed, Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: I move that paragraph 49 of subsection 171(1) of the Education Act, as set out in subsection 29(3) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

"Day nurseries

"49. establish, operate and maintain day nurseries within the meaning of the Day Nurseries Act, subject to that act, if the board is of the opinion that there are not enough day nurseries in the area of jurisdiction of the board in which a majority of the board of directors is composed of parents of children enrolled in the day nursery."

This is another very important part of the act, where, in discussion in second reading, it was indicated that school boards want to be able to establish, operate and maintain day nurseries under certain circumstances.

The concern we have had with this has not been the substantive point of whether school boards may, under certain conditions, operate day nurseries. The concern has been that we have not had a broad debate yet about the future direction of day care and the place of the education system and the place of the management of the system by education.

There are a number who have said, "Look, we want to limit what the boards of education would do with day care at this time until we have an opportunity to deal with those broader issues." As I think you're aware, Mr Chair, there was a draft cabinet document that circulated a while back that talked about possible roles not just for the Ministry of Education and Training but Community and Social Services, for an amalgam, sort of a day care council. I think we need to have that debate at some time, but it's important that we indicate that this particular amendment the government is putting forward is not to be a backdoor way to bring the Ministry of Education in to in effect take over the operation of day care in the schools.

We understand from certain boards that there have been difficulties in some instances in finding a citizens' or a community group to operate a day care, so we don't have an argument with the authority this would provide to the school board to do that. The intent of our amendment is to make very clear that there is a limited field for that and that what we're really after is still the community being involved in the operation of the day care; if you like, that the school board doing that is a last resort. That's why we have put this forward.

I think at some future time we're probably going to have that broader debate, when the government comes forward with its proposals for the preschool group. But in a sense, there isn't a context here for what the government has proposed that makes us comfortable with it the way in which it is currently worded, and that's why we've put this particular motion forward.

Mrs Yvonne O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau): If I might just add to that, if I remember correctly, the strongest representation on this issue was from the Ontario Separate School Trustees' Association. The leaked cabinet document has definitely sent some waves throughout the system. Now that that document is floating, boards think there's much more consultation, much more program and policy development that they want to see before they strongly agree with this. There are cautions. They're worried about whether they will be expected to manage the facility and what their input will be. Up to this point, it's been very voluntary and in many cases almost just a premise use.


Many people, certainly including parents, are worried about the role of parents and whether we will have a board that is truly representative of parents. That's part of our amendment, as you see. Will the staff be employed by the school board or will they be a subcorporation within the school board? That would certainly be a very complex arrangement. And the fundamental question is, where is the commitment to funding? It's fine to say this is going to be happening, but we all know the difficulties of child care in this province right now. We know the difficulties of balancing subsidized spaces with the full-fee-paying spaces. There are definitely a lot of cautions around this, and that's why we think this amendment is essential to express some of those fears and doubts that people have.

Mr Martin: This amendment seems to try to set conditions under which boards may operate a day nursery. We see it as an unnecessary restriction on the circumstances in which a board may operate. We presume boards will exercise good judgement about relevant factors as to when it would be appropriate for a board to operate a day nursery. I'd like to offer an example. There may be many parent-operated day cares within the board's territory; however, the board may feel that an onsite day care should be operated to meet the needs of school pupils, who are themselves parents, needing to put their child in day care.

I would also invite the two folks who have joined us here, one from the Ministry of Education and Training and one from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, to perhaps answer some of the other questions that the members have raised, if you'd like. We have Trish Baynham, from the child care branch of Community and Social Services, and Pat Dickinson, from the Ministry of Education and Training. She works in child care for that ministry.

Ms Patricia Dickinson: We come very much as partners, in the spirit of partnership, and Trish is going to speak to some of those issues.

Ms Patricia Baynham: First of all, the issue of school boards holding a licence has been under discussion between the two ministries and with school boards for quite a few years, ever since I've been dealing with this issue, which is five years. In various consultations we have undertaken, there's been quite a bit of support generally from boards to at least have that option, and that is really all this was meant to enable.

The issue raised by Mr Martin is around situations where parent boards, experience has shown, are not the most effective board of directors; they're very transient and moving on. It doesn't support a stable governance of a child care centre. I think that is a good example.

Also, there are many operators of child care programs in the province that are not operated by parent boards, and I think the best example of that is the YMCA, that operates by far and away the most school-based child care. They do not have the parent board. What our ministry has encouraged in the past, and the Y has been very quick to accommodate, is site-specific parent advisory committees so that there is a vehicle for parent involvement, if that's the key concern.

I think our ministry has very clear expectations around parent involvement; in fact, we've been consulting over the last year or so around even strengthening those further and being more clear to licence holders how they have to involve parents. If a school board were a licence holder, it would be required to meet those same conditions as any other licence holder, so I think some of those concerns can be considered dealt with.

Mrs O'Neill: That may be fine, although the parents do not have access to those licensing conditions, and they're also all by regulation. We feel very strongly about parental involvement in child care; that's fundamental to us. That's why we feel that this amendment must state that, so that everybody in the community will know that's the thrust of the government, and I hope it is. It's certainly our intent.

Mrs Cunningham: I think this is a positive recommendation. My colleagues have taken the intent of subsection 29(3) of the bill further and given more direction, which I approve of. In fact, it meets with the observations we've just been given.

Actually, I should take time to say hello to a couple of my former colleagues. Five years ago, I didn't really expect to be here and I don't think they thought I would either, but here I am, all working towards the same goals with the same attitudes and asking the same questions. They can probably hardly believe we've made so few gains in this area.

As far as I'm concerned, I don't think there's been the public discussion in communities across Ontario. I said it yesterday so I'll keep it short today: I don't really think the basic premise of what we're trying to do with three- and four-year-olds in our schools has been discussed, and my main concern would be around the program area, the difference. There are differences. If there weren't differences, Education wouldn't be running programs for three-year-olds and the Ministry of Community and Social Services running programs for three-year-olds.

I think we've learned a lot from the child care people in our school systems. School-based child care has taught us a lot about whether or not we can have parents involved. We've seen where they're successful and we know why they're successful. A lot has happened in that regard in the last few years.

I've certainly said that I don't really think the school boards should have this responsibility, given the fact that we're talking about this separate from the whole issue of what the program ought to be and who should run it. If the school boards are going to be responsible for operating child care centres in the schools, we obviously have to make certain that the issues of who pays are worked out, what the staffing requirements and qualifications should be. I find this is a very piecemeal way to talk about how we care for our young children.

I'm not opposed to operating day nurseries in our schools, but until we have the bigger argument and sort out the jurisdictional problems, especially with regard to staffing, which so many of the public presentations advised us of, in the meantime -- correct me if I'm wrong -- my colleagues Mr Beer and Ms O'Neill are saying that you can't just do this willy-nilly across the province. Where there's a need, do it. Where there isn't a need, don't get out there advertising and trying to fill up empty spaces, because that's part of the reason these facilities aren't occupied at this point in time.

The second one, I think, is the reason for the amendment, that is, that we're not having a great deal of success in operating them even when there are students because it is difficult for parent boards to run day cares anyway. It's very difficult. I think there's a real temptation when they are in the school because there's a lot of expertise and support, but it takes time away from the administration of the regular school and, unless Mr Martin's going to announce this afternoon the dollars that are going to go with this project, we don't see an indication that it's going to get the financial support.

If you want this to work, you can't just take away from the administration of other school programs and ask somebody to take on yet more work. That has been the position of all political parties in any political campaign, but once we get elected -- not me, because I haven't had the opportunity yet, but I will -- and become part of the government, then we change our tune. If the government were responsible, I think it would be letting us know exactly what kind of resources are going to be attached to this.

In the meantime, I'm going to support this, not that I think I would approve of it, but I have a feeling that the government members -- Mr Hope usually smiles at me when he's agreeing with me and is going to vote for me, and he's not smiling. Therefore, I feel he's probably not going to look at my amendment, so I'm going to try to make the legislation better by supporting the Liberal motion.

Mr Hope: I won't be supporting this amendment that's being put forward.

Mrs Cunningham: You're not even going to support this one.

Mr Hope: No. Listening to your comments about the conversations that have been taking place out in the broader public around child care, I had the extreme pleasure of travelling with people throughout this province around the child care issue. I'm one of those members who still have small children, so I can relate to that.


Mrs Cunningham: You keep saying that. Are you making a suggestion? Because you're totally out of order. It's called harassment.

Mr Hope: No, no. I'm just making a friendly comment as we try to deal with the opportunities that are there and surviving in a lot of communities, because each community is different when dealing and coping with the issue of child care. In my own community, they contract the work in. The Y has been playing a major role in my community in providing child care in the school system. They do have parent boards, specific- site parent board advisories that are working on it.

But talking about this amendment, some of the elements brought inside of it belong in the Day Nurseries Act and making sure that it complies with all child care throughout the province, in that context. I see that what we're doing here is allowing the opportunity if a school board wishes: If it wishes to purchase a licence, it'll have that opportunity.

The other framework will follow in a different piece of legislation which talks about the whole child care system and which we will work at, because I know there were a number of specific concerns brought out in the travels through Ontario when we talked about child care. Under the previous minister and under this minister, we are looking at reforms around child care in the province of Ontario.

Mrs Cunningham: Just a short comment. I'm very pleased to see that Mr Hope is recognizing the need for a review of the Day Nurseries Act. After this meeting today, I will have the opportunity to speak to the minister and I will raise your concerns as well as my own in that regard as one of the items on the agenda.

Mr Hope: I do have the opportunity to talk to him directly.

Mr Beer: It's been an interesting discussion. I simply make the point that I think the issue here is that, in a sense, this is the cart before the horse. We do need to review the Day Nurseries Act and how we are going to be providing, more broadly, child care, and the role of school boards and of the Ministry of Education and Training. It is absolutely a legitimate public policy issue in terms of what that role ought to be, but the concern at this point is that without that broader framework yet being available and that public debate taking place, it just leads to a lot of uncertainty as to exactly what this amendment may or may not mean. That's why we've put in this particular amendment and would move the question.

The Vice-Chair: Shall the amendment carry? All in favour? Opposed? Amendment lost.

Mrs Cunningham: I was rather hopeful that my colleague's motion would be supported. As it wasn't, I'm certainly going to attempt to get ours in.

With regard to subsection 29(3) of the bill, I move that paragraph 49 of subsection 171(1) of the Education Act, as set out in subsection 29(3) of the bill, be struck out.

The intent, obviously, is that it removes the authorization for school boards to establish, operate and maintain child care centres. I've already stated that the issue of child care and/or early childhood education and/or junior kindergarten within school facilities and paid for by the education dollar have not been publicly discussed. My colleague Mr Beer made that statement as well. Both of us have been around in this Legislative Assembly where we have been promised public discussion on this issue, so I certainly believe this is premature.

It's not without some degree of sympathy I have for school boards that aren't able to have their child care centres operating where schools actually have the physical setting right now. I share Mr Hope's support for early childhood education; it's just that I'm not certain that in junior kindergarten programs we're meeting the objectives of families and of children for the kinds of experiences we want our young people to have in Ontario.

I think that the Durham Board of Education said it very well when it said:

"The issue of continuity of a young child's educational experiences and the integration of different systems and settings within which children can receive care cannot simply be solved with an addition to the Education Act that would allow boards of education to be the operator of licensed child care programs under the Day Nurseries Act.

"The interrelationship of the educational and child care systems and how a child's learning experiences in different settings can be integrated and enhanced requires stakeholder consultation," and they say it well.

I was absolutely shocked to see the government bring forth this amendment. This is an omnibus bill, referred to by the minister, when it was introduced, as "housekeeping." This is definitely not housekeeping. This is a brand-new responsibility for school boards. We're debating it now after school boards are -- basically, the school year for parents and young people, when they have the time and could be interested, they're just simply not here.

These hearings were cut short. We were told how many days we can have. We have not had this opportunity. At the same time, we have a group of people going about the province with the responsibility for taking a look at issues in education in Ontario to the tune of -- I'm not sure what the money was; Mr Martin, perhaps you could advise me.

Mr Martin: I believe it was $3 million.

Mrs Cunningham: I think it's $2.4 million, but it might be more than that. Mr Hope, do you know?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope, do you care to respond at this time?

Mr Hope: No, I don't care to respond.

Mrs Cunningham: No, I guess not. It's so hard to say.

The Vice-Chair: Proceed, please.

Mr Hope: I'm not the PA. I'm only a member of this committee.

Mrs Cunningham: It's a waste of time and effort; three years to report on the status of education and the needs across the province of Ontario.

Anyway, this amendment authorizes school boards to establish, operate and maintain these child care centres and it's the first step towards implementing the government's plan to provide a seamless day for the care of children, and this is a backhanded way of doing it.

A document that has already been referred to by my colleagues -- I think it was Ms O'Neill who talked about the document that was forwarded to cabinet by the Ministry of Community and Social Services -- recommended the creation of an early childhood authority to coordinate child care services and education policies. The paper seeks cabinet approval for an analysis of base funding for school-based day child care centres that would combine schooling from 9 am to 3:30 pm and child care before and after. The cost of such a school-based program for children aged three to five was described as very substantial.

I understand this. This is exactly where many of us have spent many years, but this document would have been worthy of public discussion. Perhaps we would have then got some advice on where school boards are having very successful working relationships and program provision for families and young children and perhaps we could have picked up on some of those models and learned something, and all of this could have been done in the next six months, as opposed to waiting some two to three years for some commission on education to report after we have already funded five former commissions within the last six years.

The leaked cabinet submission envisions a non-profit child care system operated as a public service and recommended withdrawal of government operating grants for private child care operations. Certainly, none of us were surprised. As an immediate measure, the ministry recommended amending the Education Act to allow school boards to hold a licence to operate regulated non-profit child care centres, and that's what we're obviously facing right now, probably because the people who put the work into this document understood that we've been waiting for these revisions of the Day Nurseries Act and there doesn't seem to be any indication by the minister, although, again I'll tell you, I'm speaking to him about that this evening.

Following cabinet direction regarding system design and funding, the Ministry of Community and Social Services will return to cabinet in the fall of 1993 with detailed policy options and implications regarding enhancing access to the child care system, and then they'll determine the most appropriate time to introduce new child care legislation, from October 1993 to January 1995, to correspond with the next provincial election.

The big question remains, will they really have some kind of public discussion or take a look at the Day Nurseries Act, and eventually, who's going to pay for it?


I think a variation of this scheme exists in Grey county. Most of us have been made aware of the Grey County Board of Education requesting that the minister allow the board to develop a plan in collaboration with local child welfare, health and social service agencies -- which we talked about, actually, through the deliberations of this committee yesterday when we were looking at hard-to-serve children.

If we really believe in cooperation among ministries and if we believe in prevention programs for young people that eventually -- we'll support Mr Hope's observations that if we don't do something with these young people, we're looking at dropouts down the road; I certainly agree with that. But the people from Grey county were saying, why not take a look at the cooperation of welfare, health and social service agencies with education for a variety of programs and services for pre-school children and their families as alternatives to the traditional junior kindergarten program?

First of all, they set up an agreement that will place kindergarten teachers in existing child care centres for the first part of the day. It's designed to reduce the cost of the adding junior kindergarten to the school system and to save jobs in local child care centres. The pilot will provide a model of service integration in collaboration in a rural setting. There are approximately 1,125 child care centres located in schools, serving 41,742 children and approximately one third of the licensed child care system.

I put these remarks on the record because we have had so many submissions, letters, phone calls and concerns from the education community, the health community and the social service community. I want to let them know that we share their concerns and that we are very much aware of the fact that it's long overdue that we take a look at the review of the Day Nurseries Act. This piecemeal approach to providing programs for young children is totally unacceptable, and it's even more unacceptable that the government thinks it so unimportant that it calls it "housekeeping" and introduces it as part of an omnibus bill.

Obviously, I feel very strongly that this section of the bill ought to be removed. This is something we should deal with down the road, and we should at least wait and see what kind of public consultation comes from the commission that is looking at education in Ontario.

Mr Hope: I'd certainly like to participate in this one. This amendment being put forward by the Conservatives would just totally delete the opportunity to grant permission to the boards to operate a day nursery. It's not mandatory. The amendment that is inside this does not require any board to operate if it finds it doesn't need it.

I heard the member mention Bruce county. I was there and I listened to the concerns, and I believe those concerns will be reflected in a different way because each community is different. But the amendment we're talking about here today is not saying that school boards have to, will or must; it says the opportunity is there.

I find this amendment very important in terms of those individuals, whether single parents or parents re-entering the high school system to get their grade 12 or grade 10 or whatever grade they might have missed out on. I believe this is the most positive way you can look at maintaining a family-value aspect of it, and yet provide the ability for a person to proceed through an education process.

I compliment those boards that take the initiative in saying, "Let's start looking at our pupils who are participating in our school system, looking at the whole picture, the children who are involved."

I just listened to the lengthy speech given about Bruce county. Yes, Bruce has some unique ways it would like to address child care and those will be addressed through the Day Nurseries Act, but this amendment we're talking about today that is inside this omnibus bill is just a means; with those boards progressively moving to help people in their communities by providing education, it is just one more avenue of looking at the family as a whole and that opportunity to make sure.

I kind of wish more boards would participate in this. Imagine being a parent in a school system, going to school, and the availability of having child care right in that same school you're attending, especially when the children might be sick or something like that. It just allows closer communication.

But I know the good work of the Ministry of Community and Social Services staff. They are not going to start building more child care centres if there are adequate spaces provided in our system today. I believe they will be working on the child care network systems, the children's services system in our communities to make sure that everything is done appropriately and that we're not spending money just for the simple fact of spending money.

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): In taking a look at this issue, I look at my own community in the area that I represent in York region. I know of two schools off the top of my head, without looking at it too hard. In Sutton, at the high school there, they have a child care centre that's operated and I believe they do have a parent board that's involved in it.

One of the unique things about having a child care centre in a high school is the fact that for a lot of people who, because of choices or lack of choices, in the past may have ended up leaving the school system and not finishing high school, this offers a unique opportunity. If we take a look at that one setting, we're now offering people choices to continue with their education. I think it's very important that we do so.

Looking at another school in Keswick, it's a new school that was built recently. I was at the opening about a year and a half ago. While they built the school, they decided that they were going to open up a child care centre within it. It's a terrific setting, because now not only do we have the opportunity for children to go to the child care centre within the school to make that transition from a child care centre into school easier, but it also helps for some of the people who have to commute. People commute great distances nowadays quite often to the workplace, and it's made it easier for the children to go down the hallway and into a part-time child care setting and to offer an option to parents that is both economical and doesn't place a lot of hardship on the family.

In taking a look at adding this to it, I think there may be schools -- and I stand to be corrected -- that have been built that had intended opening up child care centres and perhaps not had the opportunity or nobody has approached them about utilizing that. It will allow them the opportunity to actually move in there and do this. I believe it gives the board that opportunity to do that.

I think it is actually a matter of opening up the process a little bit better. If I take a look at those two settings within my riding that come to my mind quickly, I think it offers a real opportunity. That's something that is going to make it much better not only for a student to continue high school, but also for parents to be more comfortable in knowing their child in grade school is going to be cared for after school in a formal setting.

Mr Beer: I know well the Sutton centre that was set up. I think, as the member recalls, that was one of the innovative ones that began when we were the government. What was particularly interesting about it is the need that it responded to: very much to help young women who are attending high school so that they could bring their kids and with the whole basic understanding that if they stayed in school, they might continue in school and that if they --

Mr O'Connor: They give them credit for it as well.

Mr Beer: That's right, they receive credit.

I think the issue is not around the provision of child care. We've wrestled with the amendment that my colleague from London North put forward in our own caucus discussion, which was why ours was different. What we were trying to do was, in our view, to limit and focus the intent. I can't underline enough, I think, the point that the member for London North makes about the uncertainty out there in terms of just where the whole system is going in the sense that this, if you like, should be a step that comes after we've had the broader discussion. At the same time we recognized that in some circumstances -- and I've talked with some boards that feel they need to have an option available to them.


I think what's hard here is to separate out the intent of this, as has been expressed by staff who are working with this, and what has been said by the government and trying to ensure that it doesn't become something else. The sense we have is that it is within the section that is the "may" section and not the "shall" section of the Education Act, so it is not directing school boards to do this.

We have come to the conclusion that, in the absence of our amendment, we would accept this article in the act but would want to underline very, very clearly to the government that this must not be seen to be nor be allowed to be the way in which the Ministry of Education and school boards take over the operation of child care, that there really does have to be a very extensive debate in this province, quite frankly that would include the federal level as well, in terms of how we see the provision of child care services, where we see them and who will be directing those.

I think my belief, from my own time as Minister of Community and Social Services, is in the need to ensure that parents are directly involved, and I accept that just because a school board may be operating it doesn't mean that they needn't be the example of why it has been put forward as well. But we have had, and perhaps it's the way it happens in opposition, those who are most concerned about different elements of legislation come and say: "Look, we're really worried. What does this mean? Where is this going to go?" It's in that context that the draft cabinet document that leaked has just raised a lot of concerns and fears.

So I say it is with a great deal of thought that we've looked at this in terms of whether we would like to see it. I guess our answer is that we will support that, even though our amendment was defeated, but would underline very clearly that the government must move with great care and that I think we need a very full public debate.

I think whenever the government does bring forward its policies, both in terms of legislation and in terms of regulations, that should go out to committee for very broad discussion, because we do not have a consensus in this province around the role of the Ministry of Education, or indeed the role of any other public body, as we try to provide greater access for child care.

I guess, as a good Liberal, I'm agreeing with a great deal of what my colleague from London North has said, but I'm also agreeing with a good deal of what my friend and colleague from Chatham-Kent has said, and in the absence of our amendment, we would at this juncture still, I guess, take a certain leap of faith and support the clause that is in the draft act.

Mr Hope: Trust me, Charles.

Mrs Cunningham: The last person who said, "Trust me," lost. Remember that.

Mr Hope: Don't worry, Dianne. Trust me, Charles.

Mrs Cunningham: I would like to be able to do the same thing, but I simply cannot. I just believe that in communities where there are facilities that are empty right now, if there was a real need, parent groups would get themselves organized and would operate these child care centres. I'm not prepared to send the message out that school boards are going to be responsible or have the responsibility to "establish, operate and maintain day nurseries within the meaning of the Day Nurseries Act, subject to that act."

I don't see any of the regulations. I think we had a good go at asking questions earlier on this topic, and I just think that operating a day nursery is a very big responsibility. It takes a lot of careful administration, the selection of the young students and the communication that's so necessary with parents of preschool children, all of the other jurisdictions that are also impacted. I'm now talking about the regulations with regard to health and education and what not.

It's a tremendous responsibility, and I just think that these schools right now have not got the promise of this government or the commitment of this government to forward to them the administrative costs, and I think that we will have different kinds of preschool programs from one board to another and that this will begin a trend. Why would a parent group that's operating under the Day Nurseries Act now put the kinds of resources into that when they can see a school board down the road or a school down the road getting the kind of administrative support from school boards without the clear understanding as to jurisdiction?

So although I certainly agree -- and I'm always having to convince the member for Chatham-Kent of the importance of child care in Ontario and the opportunity for it. As Mr O'Connor stated, the two schools that he described I know well, and certainly I think we're very much in the forefront in London with our schools, our preschool programs, at our secondary level. At that point in time, I actually worked with the Ministry of Community and Social Services in getting those established, so it isn't that I don't support them. I think there ought to be more of them, but I think the jurisdiction and the finance has to be extremely clear.

The criticism on our education systems right now is that they're cutting programs to do with their own responsibilities as we see them, and need I talk in this committee more about the programs that have been cut with regard to resources for special- education students? At the same time we've had tremendous discussion here with regard to the hard-to-serve children. Our great concern with those boards has been that they don't have the programs or the resources to support many of these children and we have to send them elsewhere, and many times out of their community.

At the same time as we're hearing that, one day before the committee, we're now passing responsibilities for the administration of the operation and the establishment and the maintenance of day nurseries in our schools. I just don't think that the two --


Mrs Cunningham: Yes, it is a choice, but I have to tell you, every time some school board takes that choice, something else is missing. Unfortunately, I think it's a choice that is meant to be just an interim choice because of the fact that we should be looking at the Day Nurseries Act and the whole issue of early childhood education.

The choice that we ought really to be making is a choice of whether this province chooses to provide, in its schools or elsewhere, early childhood education programs that begin when parents have to leave for their place of work that incorporate an education component and end when parents return from work.

We really ought to be supporting programs for parents, whether they work in the daytime or in the nighttime. That's why I always refer to it as child care, day and night. Until we really bite that bullet and take a look at how we can do it well, there will never be equity of access to programs in this province.

I can say right now that this is a piecemeal approach, and it's another reason -- actually, this has been a tremendous lobby -- to put off the real issue, and that's to take a look at early childhood education programs in the province of Ontario and how we meet the needs of young children and their families. We're not doing it by passing this particular amendment to the bill. That's why I want it removed and discussed elsewhere, even within the forum on education. That is the responsibility of this government in the next few weeks and months.

Mr Gary Malkowski (York East): I think it's important for us to understand that this recognizes, more importantly, an opportunity as an option, I think, for availability that parents and boards requested. This amendment then permits school boards, I believe -- and I think this is proactive and it's part of the process that is healthy, so therefore I would call the question.

The Vice-Chair: Those in favour of the amendment to subsection 29(3)? Opposed? Amendment lost.

As there are no further amendments to section 29, shall section 29 carry? Carried.

Section 30: There is an amendment proposed.

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, I think I will make my point by voting against section 30 of the bill.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Those in favour of section 30? Opposed? Section 30 is carried.


Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, could I have your indulgence and the committee's indulgence on section 30? I would like at least to put on the record the reasons I wanted to vote against it. I thought the motion was technically out of order, but I still think I can put my comments on the record, if that's fair.

The Vice-Chair: Proceed.

Mrs Cunningham: The intent, I think, of this section maintains the "intervening employment" sections of the act. Intervening employment will no longer prevent the transfer of an employee's sick leave credits from one school board to another. The current provisions do not affect teachers who return to the employ of the same school board.

I actually had planned on spending some time on this one, because I think -- correct me if I'm wrong; I'm looking at my colleagues for their support on this -- this is one of the more controversial sections where we did hear from the school boards. If you don't mind, Mr Chair, I'd appreciate putting my comments forward here.

I am now raising the concerns of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association in this regard. The intervening employment sections are often referred to as sick leave credits. They state it's their understanding that the bill proposes that intervening employment will no longer prevent the transfer of an employee's sick leave credits from one school board to another. I would like the government to respond as to what the intent of this section really is.

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

Mr Martin: Yes, I believe the counsel to the ministry on this bill has something prepared.

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, I'd like to hear it.

Ms Lindhout: The provisions in the Education Act that are being repealed are anomalous to the way sick leave credits are dealt with under other circumstances. Currently, if the teacher quits working for board A and goes to work for board B directly, he or she is able to carry over the sick leave credits earned with board A. If the teacher quits working for board A, doesn't work for some time -- any length of time -- and then goes to work for board B, he or she is able to carry over the sick leave credits earned with board A. If the teacher quits working for board A and goes into some other line of work not with the school board and then, after some time, goes back to work for board A, he or she is able to carry the credits earned in the earlier period of employment with board A.

However, if the teacher quits working for board A, takes a job not with the school board and then later goes to work for board B, he or she, and it is more often she, cannot carry over the sick leave credits earned with board A.

This was brought to the ministry's attention as an equity issue. It affects women more often than men. If a teacher's spouse moves for one reason or another and the teacher is required to resign from one board in order to move with her spouse to another location, she'll be all right if a teaching job with a board is available immediately in the new location or if she can afford to be unemployed until such a job opens up. However, if the family needs her income and she has to take another job, even a teaching job in a private school, until a teaching position with the board opens up, she's out of luck under the current legislative provision and loses her sick leave credits.

Therefore, it was brought to our attention as being unintentionally discriminatory against women and especially against women who could not afford to be unemployed while waiting for a teaching position with a board to become available. It can cause real hardship to teachers who, early in their work for the next board, have a serious health problem.

Mrs Cunningham: Equity issues are issues that, in my view, sometimes have some fallouts that, in my opinion, are overlooked in support of equity itself. I think this one can work in both regards. The province, in this instance, is passing legislation that will increase costs for school boards. Obviously, the school board has the option of hiring or not hiring somebody who wants to move forward with the transfer of their sick leave credits. The same, I think, would apply to a custodian. I think I'm correct in this regard. Is this just for teachers?

Ms Lindhout: Yes.

Mrs Cunningham: Are you saying custodians can't transfer or can transfer now?

Ms Lindhout: That depends entirely on the collective agreements that the boards have, whether they recognize any kind of sick leave arrangements that are bargained under other types of collective bargaining.

Mrs Cunningham: That's correct.

Ms Lindhout: But this only applies to teachers.

Mrs Cunningham: That's right. Depending on collective agreements, are we now setting a precedent for all employee groups, that these sick leave credits can be carried from board to board, or municipal councillors or any other way? This is in my view a tremendous step for the government to take.

Ms Lindhout: It's very similar to the other carryover provisions that are already there and that's why it's considered discriminatory. If there were no possibility of any teacher carrying over sick leave under any other conditions, then this particular situation would not be considered discriminatory and the government probably wouldn't be looking to amend it.

Mrs Cunningham: I think I've heard certainly the government's rationale for change. I guess my question would be, will it improve the quality of education? Will it really be more equitable? Will it be retroactive for employees currently on staff who were not able to transfer credits in the past? That's a legitimate question. Could I have the answer to that?

Ms Lindhout: Again, that will depend on their collective agreements.

Mrs Cunningham: In what regard?

Ms Lindhout: The sick leave credits would only take effect with the passage of the bill.

Mrs Cunningham: Okay, so it isn't retroactive.

Ms Lindhout: No, it's not retroactive.

Mrs Cunningham: All right, fine. I think the legislation may in fact dissuade hiring experienced teachers with accumulated sick leave.

Mr O'Connor: The women teachers' federation supported it.

Mrs Cunningham: The women teachers' federation supported it. They supported child care. They supported other things. I'm just saying that I think it probably is in the best interests. I would expect that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation would have supported it too.

What I'm looking at is the role of school boards and their management responsibilities here. When you work for one board, you accept the benefits that go with that board, and if there are, in my view, fewer benefits with one board over another, that's part of your decision-making. Certainly, if you came to the London board, you got the benefits at the time. If we changed your benefits -- we often red-circled people and knew people coming on may have had different benefits or conditions of employment. That's your contract and that's what you live with. I don't think we could ever be entirely equal or that equity can be there for everyone.

I don't find it equitable that people can be dissuaded from getting jobs because they bring with them this kind of baggage, quite frankly. That's up to the local school board. But I'm not buying the equity argument 100%. A teacher or custodian with 200 accumulated sick days will carry a liability with them that a board may not want to assume. They may want to hire the new teacher first. They do it now. You can never be 100% equitable. In fact, some of the arguments that universities, colleges, school boards and other institutions use when people are retiring is that you can get people with less experience and therefore it would be less costly.

When I represented the public on a school board, I always said you got the best person for the job. I think this is just one more reason for people who think that the cheapest person is the best person or the cheapest person is the only person they can afford. I think that attitude exists far more than mine did with the kind of pressures for the dollars and cents bottom line that school boards especially are looking at right now. I think it's very difficult for mature people with experience to be hired, even if they are the best person for the job, given today's economy and the environment. I think this is making it even more difficult and I'm surprised at the government bringing this forward as an equity issue.

I have to say that the legislation does create a hiring bias. Age does go hand and hand with the liability and it's one short step removed from age discrimination. I'm putting those remarks on record. They're my own personal thoughts.

I mentioned before that the Ontario Public School Boards' Association does not support the removal of "intervening employment" from subsections 158(2), (4) and (6) from the Education Act. The revision would automatically increase school board liability under section 158(1) where a retirement gratuity exists. I will underline my personal reasons.

I think some of the best teachers, because of age and because of the benefits that they take with them now, meaning they cost more money, are being discriminated against. This adds to that predicament and it is not in the best interests of quality education in the province of Ontario.

Thank you very much for allowing me to put those remarks on the record.


Mr Beer: I realize we've, I suppose, dealt with this and it's out of order, but it's perhaps useful to get some questions. I was troubled by this amendment as well. Having missed a bit of the beginning of Mrs Cunningham's presentation, this may have been answered, but not having been on a school board, I may not understand just how it works. Just help me here.

If I've taught for 10 years at a school board, I then leave and go to work in a municipality for a couple of years and I then come back to another school board, now the intent, as I understand it, is that these pension entitlements can be transferred.

This may be incredibly naïve and simplistic. Would the first school board not still be responsible for the pension entitlement that I had, or not? Why wouldn't one simply have a system whereby those were passed on, because even if I had just worked for 15 or 20 years within one board, is this saying then that as to the responsibility for those entitlements, even if I've only worked for one year for another board, that board has to pay all of those?

I'm just not entirely clear on what is happening or what is being placed on, I guess, the final board.

Ms Lindhout: I can address that. This has nothing to do with pension entitlements. It's sick leave credits that are totally separate from teachers' pensions. At the beginning of every school year, teachers are entitled to 20 days of sick leave. If they don't use them on any given day, they can accumulate them.

Many boards have bargained into their collective agreement what they call "retirement gratuity provisions." Originally, the intention was to reward those teachers who were not sick, who had very good attendance records, and they in their collective agreements agreed that at the end of a certain period of employment or when they retired, they would be entitled to a gratuity that would be based on the accumulated sick leave credits they still held.

Not all retirement gratuities are based on sick leave credits. Some are simply based on years of service, but in many cases they are based on sick leave credits and they can only be for a maximum of half a year's salary at the end, and then that would require, say, five years of perfect attendance to accumulate that many sick leave credits.

Mr Beer: I'm sorry I said "pension"; I meant sick leave.

Mrs O'Neill: I guess what we're asking is, is the total liability resting with the receiving board at the end of the --

Ms Lindhout: Except in the case of teachers who were transferred under Bill 30 agreements, the liability is with the subsequent board. But for those who were transferred under Bill 30 agreements, there is usually some kind of arrangement between the public board and the Catholic board that the public board would be responsible for the retirement gratuity or sick leave up until the time of transfer.

In other cases, when teachers leave the employment of one board, it totally clears the record with that board and starts with the next board. Now, if they move directly, the teachers can carry the sick leave credits. If there was intervening employment by going to a second board, the teachers would lose it.

Mr Beer: I thank Mrs O'Neill. At this late hour in the discussion of the bill my mind has been somewhat foggy. I think now I see what it was that I was trying to get at. I guess it's just simply, why is that? Is it just legally not possible if you have an interrupted service or you've gone to work somewhere else, that this can't be transferred? It just seems that if you've been at board A and you've accumulated certain credits, why would it not continue to be responsible for those? Would they not have funded those in some way? It does seem to be a greater burden then on board B that you may only have been with it for a couple of years and yet that board would have the whole responsibility.

Ms Lindhout: It would depend entirely on what kind of arrangements they have around retirement gratuities. They're all different and in most cases boards now do have retirement gratuity provisions, but often they're grandparented at different rates. Teachers who were employed before a certain time are eligible for the full amount. Teachers employed after a certain time might be eligible for a prorated type of retirement gratuity. I checked just this morning with the Education Relations Commission and it's quite a variety.

Mr Beer: I simply say that the more one goes into the mystery sometimes of educational finance, the more mysterious it becomes. On that, I rest my case.

The Vice-Chair: May I agree with that statement. Ms Cunningham, a short comment.

Mrs Cunningham: I just feel it's a whole can of worms that hasn't been carefully thought out. It's not anything that's going to be easy for anybody to implement, and although the government's presenting it to us as an equity issue, I consider it equally discriminatory, depending on the way you look at it, and that's why I brought forward the amendment.

Ms Jenny Carter (Peterborough): As somebody who had a fairly patchwork career and moves around quite a bit, I'd just like to say that if we're going to have this system at all where people can accumulate and transfer credits, then I think we should have it that intervening employment does not make it fall.

I must say that I found some of the arguments from the member for London North rather strange. Logically, if the fact that older teachers cost more than younger ones is such a disincentive to employ them, we should be saying, "Why do we have increments as people get older anyhow?"

Mrs Cunningham: Why what?

Ms Carter: Why do people earn more as they get older anyhow?

Mrs Cunningham: That's a good question.

Ms Carter: Where do we stop with this?

Mrs Cunningham: Some should be earning less, I think. Don't you agree with me?

The Vice-Chair: Ms Carter, please.

Ms Carter: To say that you can't change something which is inequitable because that's not fair to people who suffered that inequity in the past is also a rather strange argument, because I don't know how we'd progress at all on any front if that was the way we argued on these issues. So I certainly do not accept this amendment.

Mrs O'Neill: I just wanted to clarify one thing: Who is going to keep these data? Where is it officially going to be stored? Will it be with the federations or will it be with the ministry?

Ms Lindhout: It usually becomes a part of the teachers' employment records that they bring with them. Those are the questions that are filled in, and the board that they leave will give them a statement as to how many sick leave credits they have accumulated. If that particular board has some kind of payout arrangement that does not depend on retirement to superannuation -- for example, if they say that for any credits accumulated with that particular board, they'll pay them some money -- then that will cancel any sick leave credits that the teachers would bring with them. So the statement that they would get from the board in that case would be zero sick leave days.

Mrs O'Neill: I would suggest that document should be guarded with your life.

Ms Lindhout: It usually is.

The Vice-Chair: Completed? Thank you.

As members of the committee may recall, section 30 was carried without amendment.

Shall sections 31 to 39 carry? Carried.

Shall the title of the bill carry? Carried.

Shall the bill, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House, as amended? Agreed.

That completes the business relating to Bill 4. Is there any other business before the committee at this time?

Mr Malkowski: Just for the record, I was wondering if I could share a few comments. I just want to thank the representatives from the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario and also the association for attention-deficit disorders, for their organizations coming to meet with me and also their presentations. I thought they were very good in their comments and I think they've done a very good job in representing their people. That's been very helpful -- their comments -- and very productive on the bill, and we recognize their hard work. I just wanted to thank them for that, and also thanks to all the members here for cooperation and the spirit of cooperation in making sure that this bill would happen.

Mrs Cunningham: I accept with pleasure.

The Vice-Chair: Anything further before the committee at this time? Does the subcommittee wish to meet regarding business for next Monday? Is the committee meeting at that time? As long as the House is sitting, the committee can meet. Does the subcommittee wish to meet?

Mrs O'Neill: What would be on our agenda?

Mrs Cunningham: Maybe they'll refer the social contract to this committee.

Interjection: Wouldn't that be fun.

Mrs O'Neill: Save me. I had the Constitution last summer.

Mrs Cunningham: We could have open public consultation in that regard.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mrs Cunningham. There are bills that stand referred, I'm informed: Bill 18, An Act to permit Patients receiving Chronic Care to install their own Television or combined Television and Video-Cassette Recorder; Bill 24, An Act to amend the Education Act; Bill 94 --

Mr Beer: Mr Chair, I wonder if I might make a suggestion.

The Vice-Chair: Certainly. We welcome your suggestion.

Mr Beer: Given the uncertainty of the session, perhaps the best thing would be if the subcommittee met on Monday next, when life might be a little clearer.

The Vice-Chair: The subcommittee.

Mr Beer: Yes, just the subcommittee.

The Vice-Chair: So the committee itself would not meet, just the subcommittee.

It's been suggested that the subcommittee meet next Monday, providing the House is sitting. Agreed with that suggestion? It's agreed.

Anything further? If not, the meeting stands adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1723.