STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES BUDGETS DES DÉPENSES
Wednesday 27 October 2004 Mercredi 27 octobre 2004
Hon Marie Bountrogianni (Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration): Thank you, Chair. I have a few minutes, and I'd like to talk about youth justice and what we've done to this date.
The youth justice sector was the last part of what I inherited to this new ministry from corrections on April 1. So I'm really pleased we did quite a bit, considering it is the newest part of this new ministry.
The government has introduced four pilot non-residential attendance centres for low-risk, high-need youth in conflict with the law. These pilots provide structured, positive rehabilitative intervention in a community setting with the ultimate goal of reducing reoffending rates.
The government also introduced eight pilot open detention sites, and they were implemented for carefully selected, low-risk youth who benefit from the structure of a custodial setting but who do not pose a significant risk to community safety.
Over the last year, the ministry has facilitated youth justice community partnerships that allow traditional sectors, such as the police, judiciary, youth justice services, and non-traditional, such as community agencies, the public etc, to be drawn together to share information, support the implementation of the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act and devise strategies to address local youth justice challenges.
Two youth units were closed in late 2003-04 as part of an ongoing effort to close all youth units located in adult facilities and move youth in conflict with the law to youth-focused facilities that are separate and apart from the adult system.
The government has committed $81 million in funding for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art youth facility in the greater Toronto area. The facility is scheduled to be operational by fiscal year 2007-08.
A new youth service officer job classification was introduced in directly operated youth justice facilities. Youth caseloads for probation officers have been established and an accommodation plan was created to enable the establishment of youth probation offices who are separate and apart from the adult system.
The custodial transfer payment sector was stabilized through a 5% funding increase to transfer payment agencies providing open custody service to the phase 2 services delivery system and a 3% funding increase to all transfer payment agencies contracted to provide open and secure custodial services. Processes have been implemented to evaluate alignment of youth justice services programs and services with expected positive outcomes for youth in conflict with the law.
We've also ventured into some partnerships with other ministers for more prevention programs. For example, the youth employment program in Toronto this summer was done with Minister Bryant and Minister Kwinter. The analysis has not been completed yet on the outcomes, but anecdotally we can tell you it made a huge difference in those youths' lives. This was something the youths asked for. They basically said, "Keep us occupied. Get us jobs and we won't get into trouble." So I'm very proud of that. And a few other initiatives about child pornography and Internet-luring are on the go as well.
The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, Minister. At this point in time I would encourage the committee -- the tradition has been to go in rotation, 20 minutes per rotation, so each party would get 20 minutes per hour. If that's agreeable to the committee, the normal rotation now would be 20 minutes to the official opposition.
Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington): Mr Chairman, I understand Mr Adams is here today. As I indicated earlier, it's not our intention to hold him here, but it's been customary just to deal with a few questions we might have, and then, out of courtesy, check with the other two caucuses. Then we can let him get on with his day.
In that vein, I was going to allow Ms Martel to take the starting 20 minutes. She's just gone to get Ms Churley and they can deal with that right away. Then it will revert back to me and then to the governing party. If you're comfortable with that, that might be the way to begin, although we don't have Ms Churley here at the moment.
All right, I'll put a question on the record then in terms of what statistics your staff in that department of youth justice would have in terms of occupancy rates in both types of settings. If I could highlight that, that will be a question I want to resolve today.
Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): Thank you very much. I actually have a question related to the Child and Family Services Review Board. If I could have the chair called -- I believe he's here -- I wanted to ask him a few specific questions.
I just have a couple of questions. I don't need to keep you very long, and I appreciate this opportunity. As you may be aware, I've been working for a number of years now trying to change adoption disclosure laws. I know you and your board -- and this is why I ask you specifically -- have a unique role in that you're required by law to conduct reviews.
I noted that one of the two areas you are responsible for is the refusal of a director to approve a proposed adoption placement. But more importantly for me, I wanted to ask you about the refusal by a director to disclose information about an adoption. Of course, that's the area that I'm interested in: trying to make changes for more open disclosure. I just wanted to get a sense from you -- obviously you can't mention specific names, and I'm not asking you to -- of what kinds of cases related to adoption disclosure come before the board.
Mr Adams: Thank you for the question and thank you for having me here. I wish I could be more help, but as the statistics indicate -- and that's in the time I've been the part-time Chair, for the last three years -- we've had no requests.
Ms Churley: Who makes the decisions about who should come before you? This is interesting to me. Because of the work I've done in this area, I get numbers of letters and phone calls from people who for a variety of reasons need disclosure and are turned down. I'm not sure why they don't end up in front of you in that case. What happens to those people when they're turned down?
Mr Adams: It's difficult for me to answer that because we have no contact with those people. We're at the end of the process in terms of an appeal, and they're not even coming to us for information calls. Checking even statistically with the administration staff, there are no calls even for direction or education in this area.
Ms Churley: Could that be because they're not aware that they can appeal to you? I have to be honest, I didn't know until I investigated. As people come to me, trying to find remedies for their situation, I'm looking and trying to find ways to help them. How is information provided to people about their recourse when they are turned down, that they can in fact appeal to you? Can the individual appeal to you?
Ms Churley: That's one of the things I wanted to find out, because it's a remedy that I think many in the community aren't aware of. As we try to change the system -- I mean, you hear heartbreaking stories, and some of it's health-related, but that's another issue. Your job is to deal with appeals. This is something I can tell individuals who are turned down, that until the legislation is changed, they do have a recourse to go to you.
Ms Churley: How is it determined? Supposing some people contacted you with adoption disclosure appeals, asking for reviews, would they be put on a list to wait or would a special panel be immediately assigned to them?
Mr Adams: Well, the one thing with the mandate of our board and with our members, we have the privilege of ensuring that the rights of children in Ontario are looked after in terms of the acts that we're responsible for, and we act very quickly on all applications. In terms of an emergency secure treatment, we have within five days to react; our custody review applications, internally, we have 48 hours to react; our safe schools applications, we're reacting within three days. An application like this -- and, quite frankly, we haven't had any -- we'd have to look and, within a board, make some protocol to react quickly also.
Mr Adams: It's a juggling act. We try to accommodate everyone as quickly as possible. The mandated secure hearings have to take place because children are being locked in a secure facility and they have a right to appeal that. But we juggle very efficiently.
Mr Adams: I would say the pre-hearing would be heard within two weeks. That's our target for our safe schools hearings, and it would be the target for the disclosure and adoption placements. Within two weeks we'll have a pre-hearing to determine a full hearing.
Ms Churley: Another question just occurred to me. Your mandate is kind of an anomaly in the sense that your mandate is to deal with children's issues. Of course, we're talking mostly about adult adoptees or birth parents who are looking for grown children. Most of the other issues you deal with, I assume from what you said, are directly with children as opposed to adults. So this is a bit of an anomaly in terms of -- maybe that's why nobody knew they could go there.
Mr Adams: One of the things we do as a board is, we're very proactive in ensuring, when we do hearings through all of Ontario, that the workers who represent the children and the children know very clearly what their rights are. We ensure that.
The Vice-Chair: At this point in time there are 11 minutes left. In the interests of this deputation, if you have questions or want to rotate it, we'd still allow you to have your 20 minutes if you give up part of it. Does anybody else have questions of this particular --
Mr Jackson: Mr Adams, thank you for being here. You've been there three years now. Where has the growth been in terms of your hearings? I'm interested in your mandate of expulsions from school boards. We have reports before us now that indicate that this is a compounding factor for children's aid societies and children's mental health facilities and that this tougher stance from schools is resulting in community placements. Did you come today with any statistics to confirm what we're being told by the ministry, that there is growth in the fact that these children have to be in a program if they're not in school?
Mr Adams: I have statistics that would indicate that, not only through the safe schools expulsions we see but through the emergency secure treatment admissions we see. In fact, you could correlate the two very easily, because the children we see at an emergency admission have numerous mental health difficulties, and many of those children we see at a safe schools expulsion hearing have numerous mental health difficulties.
Numbers-wise, the safe schools expulsion numbers aren't huge numbers. The first year that the legislation came out they were expecting 200 or 300 hearings. We're only going 10 to 15 hearings a year, as an estimate.
There are numerous calls to our office through the principals, the boards of education and families to try and resolve this. We can estimate that our calls in terms of education information have risen dramatically.
Mr Jackson: The reason I wanted to ask about the emergency secure treatment is, I also have a statistic that indicates that the youth facilities are experiencing significant vacancies at the moment. I don't think that the activities of children in the province have changed that radically, but I think the programs have. I suspected that we would see more children coming to you in higher numbers, if in fact we're not dumping them into Syl Apps and other secure and non-secure residential treatment settings or custodial settings. Other people will talk to me about that through the course of the next two days, but I'm interested in seeing how it's manifesting itself in your appeals. You might wish to even stylize what concerns you might have as someone representing the children on that panel.
Mr Adams: Just so we're clear, the Custody Review Board looks at applications for kids who have young offender charges. They're placed in a secure facility. The emergency treatment placements are kids who have mental health difficulties. So there's quite a difference there.
In terms of the kids placed in emergency treatment facilities, at the hearings we hear, through the evidence, through the children's aid workers, that there's such tremendous pressure on the children's aid workers to ensure that there are other options, because locking up a child is a last-resort option. They may have already attempted to take the child to a schedule 1 mental health unit of a hospital, which isn't a good option. But the numbers definitely indicate a rise.
What we need in the system, though, are options. The kids need concrete options that work. More and more, the kids in front of us are kids who have been on the street for a month or two, who are 12 and 13 years old. These kids don't have options, and it looks like the children's aid workers don't have options.
The one thing I would hope from children's aid offices -- they have a pressured job, but they need to ensure that their front-line workers are well trained in terms of knowing the rights of children and knowing how to resource their rights.
One of the issues that we have in terms of our review of residential placements is a little-used, little-known right that children have when they're placed outside their home, to appeal where they're placed. Quite frankly, only individuals that have worked in the social service field for many years know about that act. Newer workers would not know that. So the children won't know their rights.
Mr Jackson: It's a very good point, but one could also extrapolate the notion that if you study a CAS budget, there are actually penalties to place a child in certain custodial situations, and less penalties if they put them into secure custody. There's actually a financial incentive, under budget-pressure times, to do it that way. However, their mandate is to be advocates for the child, and assuming the child is 13, 14, 15 years of age and is performing in a truant fashion, then, in fact, those are rights that should be made known to them. But there's not the incentive. I don't think it's as much an education issue as accepted protocols.
Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): Then I would ask some questions on child care. I wanted to begin first with looking at the line items in the estimates. I just want confirmation: The $9.6 million that was allocated in January was from the first round of multilateral funding from last fiscal year?
Ms Martel: So then my questions come to the $58 million that was announced. I'd like to get some detailed information if I can about how that money was allocated. I'm not sure if there's someone you want to bring up.
Ms Cane: The $58 million -- I would be happy to identify what the various components were for Ms Martel and the larger committee. We've been working with our municipal service providers, our community service managers at the municipal level, to develop service plans on which our 47 community municipal managers have been working with us. My understanding as of this week is that 43 out of 47 plans have been received, and those plans relate to allocations for the $58.2 million across the province.
The process is as follows: The service plans are reviewed and we identify how much of the allocation can be used by the respective municipalities. Our information from those plans received to date speaks very favourably to progress toward our target of up to 4,000 spaces. Certainly, in the 43 plans we've received, we are very optimistic in that area around expenditures.
For the residual plans, which we hope to receive by the end of the week, we do a reconciliation against the allocation. If there are additional dollars available, they can be reallocated based on identified needs across the province. So that is the process.
Ms Lees: Cynthia Lees. We're expecting that all the plans will be in by Friday. Most of the regions have reviewed the plans that have been in. We have about three as of this afternoon that are outstanding. Our intent is to quickly get those plans approved and then start looking at the flowing of the allocation.
Ms Martel: Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand some of the breakdown -- and it's the amount that I was interested in -- was there a specific commitment that $30 million of that pot of money would go to wage and fee subsidies?
Ms Cane: Perhaps I can clarify. There was $20 million intended to stabilize the licensed child care system, and that includes fee subsidies and wage subsidies as well as some resourcing for special needs.
Ms Cane: The balance is actually in two other areas: One is about $18.8 million to improve capacity for preschool-aged children from two and a half to five years. Our intention in this area is to, to the extent possible, be focused on sites that will be close to schools, in the nearby neighbourhoods of adjacent schools or even in the schools themselves. So that's $18.8 million focused on that area.
The other $19.4 million is focused on minor capital improvements. This is a one-time amount of money for capital improvements. It deals with everything from the purchase of equipment to minor capital repairs, which are a significant issue for us, as you will know, and a number of other things that both improve capacity and the quality of the child care environment.
Ms Martel: How do you deal with the fee and wage subsidies, which are pretty critical in this sector, given the low pay generally, except for the municipal providers? Is that coming through the plans in terms of a set amount of money needed to increase a wage subsidy by 1%, by 2%? How is this being allocated in terms of some kind of wage enhancement for staff?
Ms Martel: OK. So the other $20 million and the $18 million are ongoing, the $19 million is one-time capital, and I don't know what your allocation is for next year, but you'll be doing something different with that $19 million.
Ms Martel: Fee subsidies, then. I see what you're doing on wages. What is the change around fee subsidies that is being proposed through this funding? You talked about $20 million to stabilize, and you referenced both fee subsidies and wage subsidies.
Ms Cane: Yes. We've actually been in intensive discussions and consultations with our providers over quite a period of time, because they have been aware the money is coming through from the federal government. So that's based on discussions with our various municipal providers.
Ms Martel: You will be trying to increase the number of subsidized spaces that can be allocated. Do you have an estimate now of what that number will be, an estimate of the additional fee subsidies you might be able to provide as a result of this funding?
Ms Cane: We certainly hope there will be up to 4,000 new subsidized spaces, and of course there may be well more than 4,000 children who are served as part of that process because they're full- and part-time, before and after school. So the fee subsidies will actually serve a larger number of children than those specifically allocated to individual spaces?
Ms Martel: Is it possible -- I know you haven't made all the approvals -- we can get some indication, when the time is right, about what that breakdown was of fee subsidies? It would clearly be attached then to the 4,000 new spaces and we could get a breakdown of what that was.
Ms Martel: Sorry, you might have answered this, but was that part of the initial proposal to the managers, that you gave them a set amount of money and they were to tell you how many new spaces that would create?
Ms Martel: OK. I'll get a copy of the letter and I'll bring it back for the next round of questions, because we've had some specific questions from one of my First Nations. It looked to me like only existing providers were going to be able to benefit from this round of funding. I want some clarification on that for them as well.
Mr Jackson: Perhaps the deputy could advise me which staff member can discuss the funding breakout and on which page we can follow that in the estimates for children's mental health. Would Ms Cane be the appropriate one?
While you're looking that up, for the record, I understand that there are difficulties when you amalgamate ministries. It happened to me three times as a minister. So it's awkward reading these. However, to the best of your ability in finance, you try to show year-over-year changes. That's really what I want to monitor here.
Ms Cane: We have an annual plan that's developed for the ECD funds. The ministry works according to that plan and also, as we're proceeding through the actual fiscal year, makes decisions around allocations that we know are not going to be expended in some of these areas.
I guess this is a formal request: Can we get a breakdown for the last three, or I'd say four, years, because the amount of money from the federal government is growing? My interest is to determine what decisions the government is making -- your ministry is making -- with respect to where the allocations go.
Ms Martel is tracking in her questions where the federal money is going in daycare. I'd like to track where it's going in children's mental health, because I had a suspicion that the amount allocated was actually shrinking, and that wasn't the federal government's fault. They have increased the amount of money rather substantially, so could I request a breakout of those dollars, because in these estimates they're not clear?
Ms Cane: Yes, and I have some additional information that's been provided to me. Perhaps we could also give this to you in writing so that you have it before you. The information we have is part of the overall ECD plan. The children's mental health line for 2003-04 accounts for, in the range of, on average, $15 million, with actual expenditures in the range of about $13 million. Our plan going forward allows $15 million in that area.
Mr Jackson: You see where my concerns are now starting to get a little more focused because, as I've asked the minister, we've got concerns about the explosion in CAS budgets, however the minister wishes to articulate it in terms of where the priorities in wrestling deficits will be, and yet we have a reduction in placement in our secure and non-secure custodial facilities for children. It seems that the bottom of the funnel is always children's mental health, and yet I'm not seeing that kind of program expansion. So I have some concerns about that.
Let me ask a few more direct questions. The first one: Are there any multi-year plans being considered for sustainable funding for this sector? You've only announced this one-year funding allocation for the children's mental health sector, correct?
Ms Cane: Yes. That allowed for $25 million in the first year of expenditure for children's mental health. That grows in the second year to $38 million, and that's part of the annualized base for children's mental health thereafter. We do it as a base increase.
Mr Jackson: OK, and that fulfills one of the promises made by the government. It's close enough to $40 million. It was supposed to be community mental health services for children. The minister would be familiar with that.
Ms Cane: This year we're budgeted to spend $388 million. That reflects the difference between the prior-to budget announcement, the $25 million that was added to our base, and what we had spent in previous years. So $388 million is our budgeted amount for 2004-05 in the area of children's mental health.
Mr Jackson: OK. Minister, are we considering any -- maybe I should just go to children's mental health in the standing committee on public accounts report, whereupon they have asked your ministry to come forward with several responses. Have you prepared your response to the report? It's not quite 120 days, I think, from when it was tabled in June.
Mr Jackson: OK. There were some compelling concerns raised in that report, as you are no doubt aware, and a lot of that had to do with accountability mechanisms and a concern about funding in the autism strategy. My colleague and I are both going to come back to autism, if not today, again. But I want to stay with mental health at the moment.
Can you at least share with the committee today what progress has been made with the intake assessment tool and performance measures that were deemed not to be in place and the degree to which that, as I understand it, is a preliminary step?
Ms Cane: Yes. I'd be happy to respond. With respect to the assessment tools that you made reference to, there are two assessment tools. One is called CAFAS -- you're certainly familiar with that, as I'm aware -- and BCFPI is the second tool. One of those tools relates to more of an intake tool and the other measures progress over time in individual case files. Both of those sets of tools, as promised, have been implemented on a mandatory basis across the province, so they are currently in place.
We continue to work on the area of performance measures and outcome measures with the Hospital for Sick Children and Children's Mental Health Ontario. We are not only looking at the outcome measures that need to be tabulated; we're also now in a position of beginning to have aggregate data at the provincial level from the various local systems that are tracking these various tools. Within the next couple of months we're going to be in an excellent position to have, for the first time, provincial aggregate data available.
Those have been implemented on a mandatory basis across the province. There are a couple of areas where they have not yet been implemented, and that relates largely to the lack of availability of the tool in French, which is something that's currently being worked on.
Mr Jackson: All right. The second issue was the one around waiting lists and securing. At the time that your ministry presented before the committee, you indicated that in some areas you were already keeping reliable data on waiting lists. In fact, some of it found its way into the body of the report. What progress have you made on waiting lists, and which waiting lists can you share with this committee?
Ms Cane: I will have to verify which waiting lists we can in fact share. My understanding of the situation is that waiting lists are tracked at the local community level by the various agencies themselves. As you appreciate, there are a number of concerns and problems with waiting lists which I don't think I need to go into for the committee, but I think at this point in time we do not have a provincial overview of the children on various wait lists. We have estimates that come from some of our local information that are in the range of about 7,000 children.
Mr Phil McNeely (Ottawa-Orléans): Minister, I was just looking at the number of children in the care of children's aid societies. It's about 19,000. I read one of the reports -- I don't know which one -- but it followed up with a conversation with a young lawyer in family practice in my riding. I was quite interested in the points she made, and I'll just go through them:
She says, "Currently, many agreements are being made on the side between birth and adoptive parents to continue contact in some ... way, shape or form." She said it doesn't have to be much; it can be a few e-mails a year or the exchange of photos.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: One of my first round tables when I took over this ministry was on adoption, because I was appalled at the statistics as well. Just to reiterate them, there are approximately 9,000 crown wards; 75% of them have access orders, and 60% of those access orders are never accessed. We have 60% of the 75% of the 9,000 children who probably could be adopted, maybe should be -- there are always individual differences -- but they don't even have the chance of being adopted under our present laws in Ontario.
We are looking at other jurisdictions, and our intent is to introduce legislation in the spring to address this. We've looked at the research. Part of the round table were young people who were former child welfare wards, children's aid wards, who said, "Yes, we definitely needed to be away from our birth parents. It was not in our best interests to be there, but we still wanted to have contact of some sort. That would not have disturbed our upbringing or our future."
There are always individual differences in cases, so I'm not going to say, blanket -- the best interest of each individual case has to be looked at, and that is left up to the courts. But right now, our legislation doesn't allow or doesn't have the flexibility of having some contact with the birth parents immediately, so that adoption can occur. I can tell you, not only as a psychologist but as a parent, if, by the grace of God, something happened to me and I was not deemed to be a good parent and my child was taken away, still, as a parent, it would be very difficult for me to sever the ties with my child, even if it's in the best interests of the child. Every parent wants to have contact and can't stand the idea of never hearing or seeing their child again, regardless of the circumstances. That's human nature.
From the children's point of view, interestingly enough, most children, even those who don't want to be with their parents, also do not want to sever those ties. Again, as a professional before I got into politics, I have to always say that there are individual differences in every sector. There are some children who should never, ever hear from their parents and some parents who should never, ever go near their children -- for sure. But in the majority of cases, I'm not convinced that that's true, and other jurisdictions have gotten more flexible in their adoption laws to allow for this.
We're working very carefully and cautiously, though, because we don't want to do anything impulsively with intentions to help a child get adopted and then have that child be in a worse situation then he or she is in now. It's a very sensitive issue, and we have to proceed carefully.
This is part of Mr Rivers' terms of reference. He is the gentleman we seconded from Toronto Children's Aid to look at all of the child welfare sector, including adoption. We will be bringing forward options in the future on the government side and then to the people of Ontario. But I hear those stories every day, too. It's not black and white. If it was black and white, we would have already done it. We have to proceed carefully in the best interests of children.
"(4) Access to the parents means that the children grow up with greater knowledge of their parents and situations, giving them the opportunity to adjust to their new situation while not denying their family heritage."
She's been practising, and these are the things she says. She feels that there can be more successful adoptions and that they are occurring through agreements that are not approved under the legislation.
Mr Kuldip Kular (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): Minister, thank you very much for taking some time out for us today. First of all, I commend your efforts as Minister of Children and Youth Services. As you know, I am a family doctor and, prior to moving to Brampton, I used to be a physician working in a youth and adult addiction centre. I used to see a lot of youth who were having some conflict with the law, and now in my own riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale and in Brampton.
Last year, you closed a youth assessment centre in Toronto. When you announced a greater Toronto area centre for Brampton, there was a lot of controversy about it. I know there were coroner's jury recommendations on this one. I am wondering why you didn't follow the jury's recommendations and make some small centres for youth. Can you comment on that?
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: I'm happy to comment on that. First of all, we did follow the jury's recommendations. The one that we did compromise on was having fewer smaller areas and having one centre. Consultations were held with the municipality and the former government three years ago, so this wasn't something that was new or a surprise to the community, and it was accepted by the community three years ago.
Initially, it was for 300 youth. We've reduced the number of youth to 247. If you look at the architectural drawings of what we are going to be developing, they actually capture the recommendations of the coroner's jury. They're small units so that there will be more communication and contact with the youth workers. As well, there will be more visibility, because it will be a state-of-the-art centre, so we can avoid some of the tragedies of the past where children and youth were not seen and therefore were able to do damage to themselves and others, and of course we know the tragedies of suicide.
With respect to the centre that we closed at the end of June -- and there is some inconvenience to youth and their families until this new one is built, but we felt we had to close it. I did a visit there and I was actually ashamed, not even as a politician but as a Canadian, that this facility existed for youth. It was shameful that we put youth there. We had to close it, not only because the coroner recommended it, but because there were more accidents and more suicides waiting to happen. I'm convinced of that. It was just not conducive to appropriate programming. It wasn't conducive to any kind of relationship between the youth and the corrections officers. I would say there was no programming. The classroom was in a washroom. I'm assuming the workers did their best with what they had, but that was not good enough.
It was an atmosphere that, quite seriously, no human being should be in, never mind children and youth who, by the law of the land -- and I happen to believe in the law of the land in this case -- deserve a second chance, deserve the chance to be rehabilitated. Therefore, the onus is on us to ensure that they have every chance they can possibly have to be rehabilitated, because they will be out again. They are not there for life. They are there for a few years, and we have to program for them and rehabilitate them. Indeed, that's what the research shows and that's what common sense tells us as well.
Mr Parsons: First of all, I want to commend the children's aid societies for their work. In 18 years of fostering, our family has never fostered a child who didn't belong in care. I think their standards are excellent. But I watch with concern the media reports of ever-increasing deficits across the province and I wonder what your plans are to deal with CAS deficits.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: As I've said publicly, this is a growing budget without the outcomes to show us and to show the taxpayer that indeed this huge increase in costs is actually resulting in better outcomes for children. We have a few hints at perhaps better outcomes for children in that the majority of cases do not lead to taking the child away. They actually lead to mediation and counselling with families so that the child is not taken away.
Again, this is on the public record. We have reviewed a specific children's aid society -- I don't think it's important which one it is -- and we did have some concerns with that particular children's aid society. We made recommendations to streamline the efforts of that particular society, and they're acting on those recommendations. We keep monitoring that.
If that society is representative of all of the societies, or of most of the societies, then we do have a problem in how we are running our children's aid societies. This is not a secret; the children's aid societies themselves have talked to me about this and have said that the funding formula is conducive to increased deficits because it's funded on the number of children you take away. Therefore, you know that if you want to hire more staff or do different things, you've got to take away more kids. It's not as blatant as that; no one has actually admitted or said, "We're taking kids away to increase our budgets," but they have said that the funding formula is not conducive to other results. We are definitely looking at that. That's why we have a child welfare secretariat. Again, Bruce from the Children's Aid Society of Toronto is seconded to give me recommendations. My understanding is that I will receive his report at the end of December, and the intent is to present the report in the new year to the people of Ontario and to act on it immediately.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: Again, this isn't a black-and-white one, where you can just say we're going to cap everything and we're going to -- it's about the lives of children and protection of children. So again, we don't want to do anything impulsive that may lead to tragedy. I think it's worth the time we're taking to review this and to do it properly. Yes, the taxpayers have rights, but we don't want to do anything to increase child protection disasters.
Mr Parsons: A second question, then: There are increasing numbers of children in care, and for some, adoption would be very difficult, to locate an ideal adoptive couple. So there are significant numbers that will spend, potentially, their ages under 18 within CAS care, and yet I think, for them, they want some stability in their life. It's not that they're potentially moved from foster home to foster home, and that doesn't happen all that often, is my sense, but they're looking for stability. I guess the phrase that would capture it is "permanency planning." There is adoption, but there's another area which is just saying we can provide some stability, perhaps in a long-term foster home, perhaps whatever. Is your ministry looking at that to address the needs of these --
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: That's exactly one of the terms of reference, exactly something I'm asking the head of the secretariat to look at, is permanency planning; absolutely, yes. I'm looking forward to presenting that report to you in the new year.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: I will have a better handle on that, I hope, after Monday or Tuesday of next week, which is the federal-provincial-territorial meeting. At present, it's $58 million and growing, with the multilateral framework, but, as you know, in the election and since the election, the federal government has said $5 billion over five years to Canada. If you pro-rate that to what Ontario would ordinarily get under similar formulas for other sectors, I'm hoping for -- but nothing's been said or written to me -- up to $400 million a year. I'm there on Monday and Tuesday asking that we get the money sooner rather than later. We have a huge need in this province, and the OECD report shows that Canada is indeed lagging behind -- not just Ontario, but Canada is lagging behind -- in child care with respect to accessibility, universality and so forth. I think we have to get on with this; we're behind.
Representing a rural community, there is great difficulty -- an issue is child care spaces: access to them and transportation for them. It is such a profoundly different environment than in an urban area. I'm wondering if your ministry has given any consideration to improving accessibility for parents who live in a remote or a rural area.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: Absolutely. I've travelled to the north, actually, five times and to rural areas as well. They have unique needs, so a top-down approach is not going to work for those areas. We're working very closely in the development of our Best Start plan with those areas, with our regional offices and with the municipal boards that administer child care, both in the north, in the rural areas, and in the south.
Again, something that makes a lot of sense to me in, say, Hamilton Mountain or downtown Hamilton does not make sense in many parts of the province. We will definitely have flexibility built into our Best Start plan.
Minister, I asked earlier if you were considering any child protection legislation that would further entrench access to children's mental health services. When one looks at the mandate for citizens under various health acts, their rights to access are enshrined. But it would seem not to be able to do that for children unless they're narrowly defined in terms of abuse. But we're not doing anything, as I understand it, for children's mental health in terms of enshrining it in legislation.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: We, as you know, will be reviewing the act next year as part of the mandate that it be reviewed every few years. To date, we have not had discussions in that vein, but under the review of the act -- obviously, we want to strengthen the act. We also want to strengthen the rights of children. As you know, the Canada Health Act now doesn't have children's mental health as a mandated act, and that has been brought to my attention by constituents as well. We will be looking at a great number of things when we're reviewing that act. So I will take that under advisement.
Mr Jackson: It's a concern to many of us that your government has committed $185 million in new funding for adult mental health services. There are some protections for adults, but there aren't for children. The funding that's going into children's mental health is essentially bump funding to support salaries to stop staff leakages, and I understand that. However, there's growing evidence that pressure in the system is mounting in the mental health sector and that it can no longer sustain changes in the children in secure custody -- which are in decline, and I'll want to come to that in a moment -- children's aid societies, which are carrying much larger caseloads and requiring community supports in increasing numbers, and the strain that that's putting on the residential centres in our province for children in need of treatment.
I'm concerned that, even in the report that I referenced earlier, the children's mental health services review talked extensively about inappropriate placement for children, not only in terms of expense but in terms of appropriate care.
Given the fact that our children's mental health services are probably the best value and they are reaching the largest number of children over, arguably, numbers that are significantly larger than what CASs are actually even dealing with, those costs can be an average of about $3,000 a year, whereas a CAS residential care setting is about $100,000 a year on average. The sector I'm concerned about is that a hospital placement for these children is $1,200 a day.
I am concerned that these limited beds are shrinking in the province. They're shrinking because they're the first programs that seem to be cut in hospitals. They did that in Burlington so long ago. I think it was about 17 years ago they cut those beds and now we just have them at Oakville-Trafalgar. But 10 beds, $1,200 a day -- you'd be hard pressed to find any more than three and a half or four staff in there. It's extremely expensive, and yet these programs are not protected services.
My question to you is, what are you doing to protect your sector from the practice, which has occurred in the past and is continuing to occur, of putting these limited beds at risk? The Health Services Restructuring Commission actually brought into focus the fact that we needed more of them and recommended additional beds. We are now starting to see hospitals cancelling them -- and I don't want to embarrass hospitals that are making these decisions.
I'm anxious to hear from you what your strategies are because I don't think the children's mental health sector can take another hit. When I refer to that, I'm referring to, in effect, squeezing a balloon, and there's just so many places that can take the pressure that's being built up when CASs are consuming so much money, when the custodial system is, I'm told, as high as 60% vacancy in some facilities. These kids are somewhere in the system.
Perhaps you might give us some assurances that you (a) have a handle on this, (b) may be formulating some strategies to protect these children and (c) have had conversations with the Minister of Health to underscore the importance of this because, I don't need an expert to come into my hospital regionally or into your community of Hamilton and say, "You know what? You should do what we did. We're a peer group. We cancelled ours. There are all sorts of programs in the community. They'll find them; don't worry. It's children's mental health. It's not a protected service." I don't want that to be the benchmark of how we're going to balance our budgets. I'm not making this political; this is a very serious concern of mine in terms of where we're placing our children.
I can tell you, I've got 15 to 18 cases right now in my riding. I know where every one of those children is, I know why they're there and where they should have been. Please help me to understand how we're going to protect them.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: Actually, thank you. You really have summarized very well what I've been hearing, but also what I lived through in my profession before I came here in 1999, and still do as a constituency MPP. There are still challenges.
Just let me recap what we've done and then what we're going to do. This $25 million isn't going to solve all the problems, but it was the first major increase in base funding in a long time. You mentioned yesterday, Mr Jackson, that you did give an increase in 2000 of 1% and then 1.5% in 2001. That was $2.2 million and $3.3 million respectively. Any money is great. I acknowledge that $25 million isn't going to solve all the problems, but it is a significant increase from the base funding of the past, and this $25 million will grow to $38 million.
You are correct that $13 million of that money goes to wage increases. You gave the greatest arguments yourselves yesterday that we're losing really good people from that sector because of wages to go to school boards etc. So we felt we had to do that. But the other $12 million is used at community planning tables across the province for better integration and increase of services. So almost half that money is going to services.
Mr Jackson: You can finish, but the point I made yesterday was, and you concurred with that on the record -- if you're changing the record today, fine, but those are planning cycles. This is not added care. It may lead to added care.
There's a reason behind this, Mr Jackson. It's not just to increase services. It's to better coordinate services as well. We feel we can add more and better services to children if there's more coordination. We have a lot of best practices across the province where, when the school board, the children's aid society, children's mental health, family physicians and parents and families work together, the same amount of resources goes further and you increase services to kids when there isn't overlap or duplication.
I can tell you from my experience that even though we have screening processes at the board of education in Hamilton, a number of times per year my staff would come to me and say, "Well, as soon as I started seeing this child -- I've seen these items before, a couple of weeks ago." Parents are on different waiting lists. There are efficiencies that can be found with better planning, which will lead to increased services.
Ms Hill: To clarify how the money was allocated, we gave an allocation for each region to do their planning. The planning dollars were only to be a very small amount to hire a facilitator for a short period of time. The community was brought together and asked to submit a proposal in essentially a six-week time frame, so the planning cycle we're talking about is very short.
The reason we identified a small amount of money for that was so that -- the members of the community in the tables have been very large. It includes membership from school boards, hospitals, youth justice organizations and the community mental health sector who are coming together to identify gaps to invest the additional $12 million plus make plans for how that will grow, into next year, to $25 million.
Mr Jackson: Fair enough. But in the two areas that I've talked to where this is occurring, the concern is that certain treatment organizations who were sitting around that table have an equal vote to the one vote for children's mental health, so they're getting outvoted, from what I'm hearing anecdotally.
It's unfair to prejudge the process. I get that. I'm simply saying that the vulnerable piece of this puzzle is still vulnerable under that process. We're not prioritizing this system. We're not triaging the system. We are simply saying we've got a problem with CASs that has to be wrestled under control. We've got our youth justice system undercapacitied, which means the kids are overcapacitied somewhere else, because I don't think a whole cohort of young people in this province all of a sudden has become that much better in our youth justice system. They're out there; they're somewhere. That's my concern here. This is a lot of dollars. If you compare it year over year, it's not a lot of dollars to address the problem I'm trying to isolate and get to.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: Specifically, that point has not been made by me to the Minister of Health. But I can tell you I have had conversations about children's mental health in general with him, because the hospitals are still his responsibility, including the children in the hospitals. He's a minister who is completely devoted to the mental health sector of his ministry. I think he has shown that.
Mr Jackson: I'm not challenging where the minister stands. He has a protected list and they're not on it at the moment. I'm not questioning his empathy. I'm asking if you have formally asked that these be protected services. That's all I'm asking you. There are not a lot of in-hospital services who -- you have carriage of your children in this province -- that receiving those services directly. This is one, in my view, that's going to be called upon increasingly.
I had to move to a question with respect to the numbers of children who may be in secure and non-secure custody. Who can speak to that -- I think it's on page 71 in the estimates book -- in terms of the dollar expenditure? But I'm really looking at your occupancy rates. If we look at page 70, we will see a trend line from 2002-03, 2003-04, and you would have six months' statistics in which to share with this committee, in terms of your quarterly reporting. You have two quarters already in the possession of your ministry. I am told that there are reductions in some parts of the province as high as 60%.
Ms Deborah Newman: Thank you, Minister. Mr Jackson, you're right that we've seen a significant decrease in the use of secure and open custody in this province, as in every province of Canada, since the implementation of the new Youth Criminal Justice Act on April 1, 2003.
In this province we have our secure custody beds still divided, by age, into phase one and phase two. In the phase one system in secure custody for 12- to 15-year-old youth, there's a utilization rate currently of 46%. So we have seen probably the most significant decline in secure custody in that sector.
In the 16- and 17-year-old group of youth in secure custody, our utilization rate is 71%. So overall there has been a significant decline in the use of secure custody beds, which of course is consistent with the intent of the legislation with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
In the open custody sector, the reduction has been even more dramatic in the sense that overall we're running at about a 40% utilization of the open custody beds in the system. That actually has led us, in the open custody sector -- in July we closed 17 open custody residences as a result of the utilization rates.
Your observation that these kids haven't just disappeared is quite right. What we're trying to do is reposition our service delivery system now from one that has been very much a custody-focused system in this province to one that is much more community-based and provides the judiciary with some alternatives to custody and a range of evidence-based programs that we know will lead to more positive outcomes for kids.
Mr Jackson: Thank you, Ms Newman. I wonder if I can request that the spreadsheet statistics on page 70 be updated in all aspects for, say, the last three or four years so we could look at the trend line.
I'm very pleased that you've underscored the notion of custodial versus activation programming and so on, but I think you've just made the point I've been trying to make here, that these kids are somewhere in this system. There are still many not allowed in school because of their conduct and behaviour and they are being picked up. In your opinion, which sector is picking these children up? I don't think it's the CAS; I think it's children's mental health services with some uncustodial supervision.
Ms Newman: We really don't have any data with respect to what's happening with these kids or where they're ending up, frankly. A number of them are being diverted, again, consistent with the intention of the legislation, so the police, rather than charging young persons, may be diverting them, from as simple a means of bringing them home to face the music with their parents to having them write a letter of apology to someone they wronged, depending on the seriousness, obviously, of their offending behaviour. In more serious cases, this is where we really have to make an investment in community-based programs so that there are meaningful alternatives to custody available for these youth.
Mr Jackson: I couldn't agree with you more. I'm just trying to see where we're finding the investment in meaningful community-based programs when our pre-eminent investment is bump funding for salaries. That is OK, but we have packaged off addressing these pressures and we seem to not have this on the radar screen in terms of where the new pressures are.
I don't need to go through the list. I've four-cornered it for this committee in terms of where the pressures are, and the receptacle of all of this is children's mental health services. They are under immense -- it's not the school boards; the school boards can fire a kid out of the school. Early school leave programs are dumping thousands and thousands of children out of school every year in this province. I use to chair one of the committees.
My concern is, how are we getting this on the radar screen? In fact, what we're doing is bumping back on prioritizing waiting lists. We're bumping back kids who have mild problems because there is no receptacle for kids with severe problems, other than to take them into a children's mental health treatment and beg to have an assessment done and have a program directed for them.
We have introduced five attendance programs across the province where youth can be sent in their communities and ordered to attend by the judiciary or referred by their probation officers, for example, where they will take part in a supervised program that really deals with those risk factors that cause each kid to get into trouble with the law. Those factors are different for every youth, of course, whether it's an issue around alcohol or drug abuse, anger management or criminal thinking. So these programs are now active in five locations across the province, and we have done an evaluation of one of those programs to date, which is very promising in terms of having positive outcomes and being very well aligned with what we know works to reduce reoffending for youth.
We also have eight additional programs that we've instituted across the province to place kids in open detention; again, carefully selected youth who have been diverted from secure detention. They're being housed in an open detention setting and are receiving appropriate clinical programming and support.
Ms Martel: Let me return to some questions on child care. The last question I had was concerning what funding might be available from the $58 million for new capacity, specifically related to First Nations. I wonder if I can get an answer as to whether or not any of the $58 million will be for new spaces that might be on-reserve.
Ms Cane: My understanding is that none of the $58.2 million is dedicated to child care services on-reserve. It will, however, serve native children in the broader communities off-reserve. Our understanding, also, is that the federal government has allocated $35 million in new child care funding as of last year and, subsequently in the throne speech this year, it also identified an additional $10 million that will flow to the various reserves. My understanding is that this money has not yet been flowed, but that planning is underway.
Ms Martel: It looks like our dilemma is that the target seems to be existing centres on-reserve. So those First Nations who are trying to establish a new child care centre for the first time are not having much luck accessing funding anywhere. That is certainly the particular proposal I was trying to deal with.
When I met with one of my First Nations, Whitefish Lake First Nation, in mid-September, they had had a meeting with Mr MacKinnon, a ministry staff person out of the Sault Ste Marie office, and had asked him the question about the $58 million and whether that included new spaces on-reserve. He was not able to answer them at that time, at that meeting. So I did a letter to the minister on September 30. The chief and council have asked specifically for a meeting with you, Minister, to outline their proposal. I am prepared to tell them that, in this round of $58 million, their application would not, of course, be considered. But in the near future, if you can have a meeting with them, I think it would be important. If there are going to be some other rounds of funding, at some point there will have to be an allocation of new money for new spaces if this proposal and other First Nations like them, who are trying to establish a child care centre for the first time, are ever going to be able to get consideration. They're very frustrated by the federal process right now as well.
I did want to ask, then, some specific questions about the Best Start program, particularly the funding commitments that were made, that were attached to it. As I read the information on the Best Start program, it says, "Second, we will reprioritize spending of the early childhood development accord. We will spend the majority of that money supporting and expanding Ontario's current system of regulated child care."
However, I look at the funding allocation for 2004-05 for the ECDI money in Ontario, and I don't see any allocation for child care for the fiscal year April 1, 2004 to March 31, 2005. So it appears that, of the $194.2 million that we received from the federal government April 1, 2004, none of that money is going to be spent on child care this fiscal year. Is that correct?
In my consultations across the province, I saw that this federal funding also funds many legitimate and very good programs for children. So what we're doing now under the development of the Best Start plan is looking at how to invest that money. I'm not in a position today to talk about the future plans, but I do understand your concern.
It wasn't as easy as I thought. Some of these programs are excellent. Communities depend on them. However, in some sectors of the province, this money could be spent in better ways. So this is all being considered under our Best Start plan, and you will hear about that, if not before the new year, definitely early in the new year.
The first was a majority of the money from the ECDI, and I'm going to return to that because I want to know if that was a majority of money in the last fiscal year or if that's a majority of the overall money that we are due to receive, which is over $800 million over the term of the five-year agreement.
The second commitment was also, "We are committing $300 million in new provincial money for Best Start." Now, is that a commitment that the government still plans to meet? Will you have a majority of the ECDI money -- and I'll get to what I think that might be -- and an additional $300 million in new provincial money for the Best Start program?
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: Certainly I was hoping, right off, to spend a lot more money provincially for child care. Unfortunately, the fiscal situation that we found ourselves in had us modify our plans and I couldn't, in this first year, do that.
Under our Best Start plan, we're looking at all of the monies in my ministry and how much of it can go into child care, how much of it can go into other areas. Again, I'm not in a position today to say how much we will put into child care, but I will be in the new year, if not before.
Ms Martel: OK. Well, I'm not going to quote, as I would normally want to quote when I hear about the deficit, what Mr Phillips and others had to say about knowing about the deficit. But what I'm trying to get a bit of a better handle on is, to date, we would have had $114 million in the first year under ECDI, about $152 million in the second year -- someone's going to correct me if I'm wrong -- $195.5 million last fiscal year, $194.2 this fiscal year that just started April 1, and we should have one more allocation, which I'm going to assume is going to be in the range of about $100 million for the last year of the five-year plan. Would those figures be correct? Can someone give me the actual figures if I'm out?
Mr Bohodar Rubashewsky: I don't have the figures in front of me, but I believe those figures are correct. Those are figures that relate to the total amount of funding that is being provided to the government of Ontario across all ministries by the federal government. I think you said $114 million in the first year, $152 million and $194 million is the ongoing base.
Mr Rubashewsky: There will be an additional base amount of $194 million. This isn't a cumulative investment, it's an increase in the base. So as you build programs to a level of $114 million to $152 million to $192 million, you'll have, effectively, $194 million worth of new programs. You're quoting a cumulative amount?
Mr Rubashewsky: -- but the programs and services that are put in place and continue on an ongoing basis amount to $194 million. That is programs that will carry on into the future and will be funded on a base amount.
Ms Martel: Mr Chair, could we get a copy of this? Because I clearly don't understand this. I'm not trying to be obtuse. I certainly got through the ministry, finally last week, both the allocation and the programs that are being supported, and I have that from the $114-million allocation and $152-million allocation. But what I don't have is what you just talked about, which is, what does that actually mean in terms of those programs that will continue on and what is the base funding increase for those programs? Do you have a copy of that through the four years that we have received funding that you can share with this committee?
Ms Martel: All right. Let me set that particular matter aside, because I would like to get a sense of, are we talking about a majority of money based on $194 million or a majority of money based on $844 million? I need to understand that distinction, because what I understood was that we were getting 844 million additional dollars by the end of this program and that some majority of it, $600 million, might go to child care at some point in time. That's what I'm trying to get at.
Ms Hill: What I was trying to illustrate by taking one line is to simply say that at the beginning of the investment, where it began with $114 million, they were invested in programs that continue. The money then grows to $152 million. You can add the money up year over year and you get to your $844 million, but the actual continual base investment is $194 million. That's what I think we're trying to illustrate. So if you take any one allocation, such as -- any of them, in fact -- you follow it. It stays as a base investment.
Yes, in total over four years, $844 million will be spent in investing in services, but it's not that $844 million remains to be invested year over year. Do you see what I'm saying? It's the difference between cumulative and a year-over-year investment. That's really what I was trying to distinguish.
Ms Martel: So can I ask, then, what would be the monetary amount that the ministry would be looking at to shift into child care? What is the figure that you would use as a legitimate figure, the majority of which could then be transferred to child care?
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: I will do my best to quicken the process, but the way I work, the way I worked in my other ministry and the way I work here, is that I consult with a lot of the stakeholders when I have a draft of what I'm planning to do. This is a significant amount of money.
At the same time, I don't see this money in isolation with the provincial moneys in child care presently, with the other federal moneys which we may get. I would prefer to do it in a more comprehensive, organized fashion than in a piecemeal approach.
Ms Martel: But what I should know, and what the stakeholder groups should know, is that we're not looking at a base of $600 million, by any stretch of the imagination, as a potential pot of money that could be diverted from ECDI -- nowhere near that -- because, given what you've just said about what the base funding is, the pot of money we're actually looking at is far, far less for purposes of rediversion.
Ms Hill: Yes. Essentially, you can't undo where the money has already been spent. You can't back up five years and say, "Well, we'll undo those expenditures." The base expenditure that we will have in the ECD is $194 million.
Let me ask about the negotiations next week, then. I would be interested in what position you are taking in to these negotiations in terms of child care in Ontario. You will know that I am an advocate of not-for-profit, and I would be hoping that any money that comes into the system that's new would be targeted for not-for-profit centres and not-for-profit child care, and in the same way that we had a conversion for for-profit centres in order to get them to do that, you might consider that as well. I'd be interested in some of the initiatives, ideas, concerns or issues that you are going to take there on behalf of Ontario.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: First, as my Premier did in Ottawa just yesterday, we will be looking for Ontario's fair share, looking for the money sooner rather than later, because there is talk of perhaps legislation occurring first in Ottawa and then the money flowing. I don't think we can wait for that.
I've actually had three conversations with Minister Dryden so far -- I've met with him once, and two were on the phone -- about this money. I'm quite optimistic that we will get the money sooner rather than later, and our fair share, but that remains to be seen. I'll fight very hard and negotiate very hard. I don't know, Ms Martel, at this point what firm decisions will be made by the end of Tuesday.
With respect your question on non-profit versus profit, I don't share that view with you. We leave it up to the municipalities and the DSSBs to allocate the money. I know very well of what I speak because I was in the process of converting one of my child care centres to non-profit when the NDP lost the election, so we'd have one profit and one not-for-profit. That was fine. That suited those communities, because the two day cares were in totally different communities.
That's what we're hearing, quite frankly, across the province: that we can't be that prescriptive, that some areas would actually lose spaces if we just gave to not-for-profit, and that there would be children who wouldn't be able to take advantage of spaces.
I don't share that opinion with you, but with respect to getting our fair share and getting the money sooner rather than later -- in other words, advocating for us to get the money before legislation is set at the federal level. That's what I'll be advocating for, as well as for it to be for child care and for there to be accountability to the provinces so that it is spent for child care and early year programs.
Ms Martel: Let me just go back to the issue of profit and not-for-profit. Correct me if I'm wrong: My understanding is that the $9.7 million that was allocated to do health and safety and capital adjustments was targeted for not-for-profits. There is a specific provision for that.
Hon Mrs Bountrogianni: But that's for capital expenses, because businesses can deduct it from their businesses, whereas not-for-profits can't. I didn't think it was fair and I didn't think it was right. There was limited money, and I knew that the not-for-profit centres really needed those repairs. Licences were on the brink of being lost and children would lose their spaces. I still have that opinion about the not-for-profit centres and capital expenditures and the profit centres.
Ms Martel: I think your ministry wants to go back and check that, because we had the conversion program, and facilities did convert. With the additional funding that we provided through that period of time, there were additional spaces created in the province. We had net new spaces at the end of our government in 1995, not a net loss of spaces.
Ms Martel: I'm hoping that you're taking a position that some of this money is actually going to be targeted to wage enhancements for child care workers, because the problem we are having in this province and in a number of others is that they are some of the lowest-paid workers in the public sector. Is it your position, and will you be taking this position into the negotiations, that some of that money has to be targeted -- there has to be a condition -- that it's actually going to go into wage enhancements for ECE and child care workers in the sector?
Mr Jackson: I was just going to ask if we could put any additional requests for information. I'm quite content to do that with ministry staff. We don't have to do it on the record. I sense there is a high degree of co-operation here.
This really captures the services in Thistletown and CPRI, which are two directly operated facilities. What you'll notice in the estimates in 2003-04 is that there are two zeros: one is transportation and communications, and the other is supplies and equipment. The amount is $6 million. Do you see that?
Ms Hill: Then what you'll see is that the changes from the estimates really show that that line, the $6 million, was distributed among the three lines in the 2004-05 estimates. There was actually not a reduction to those institutions; it was an alignment that more accurately reflected the costs of running those services across the three lines. The services line would be covering the clinical services. The transportation and communications would be for staff to transport clients. Supplies and equipment would include everything from medical supplies to equipment to caring for the kids.
Mr Rubashewsky: When you look at interim actuals for 2003-04 against 2004-05 estimates, you'll see that the way we've allocated the funding, the $6.2 million, in fact more accurately reflects where we expect actual expenditures will occur.
Mr Jackson: No, I didn't ask that. I'm asking for the 2004-05 estimate. The combination of lines 3, 4 and 5 is an amount less than the accrued actuals in the interim actuals for 2003-04 in lines 3, 4 and 5. It is a lesser amount.
Ms Hill: That's fine. We can provide more detail. The other document I think Ms Martel requested was the allocations of the child care dollars by municipalities, and we can table that planning framework. It's not the approved amounts, but it was the planning framework that was distributed that we used for the purposes of allocations.
Hon Marie Bountrogianni, Minister of Children and Youth Services
Ms Jessica Hill, Deputy Minister
Mr Robert Adams, Chair, Child and Family Services Review Board
Ms Trinela Cane, assistant deputy minister, policy development and program design
Ms Cynthia Lees, assistant deputy minister, program management
Ms Deborah Newman, assistant deputy minister, youth justice services
Mr Bohodar Rubashewsky, assistant deputy minister, business planning
and corporate services