Thursday, April 26, 1990 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Workers Day of Mourning
Hon. Ms. Joe: This Saturday, April 28, is the day chosen by the Canadian Labour Congress as an annual day of mourning. It is a day of remembrance for workers who were killed, injured or disabled on the job during the past year. It is also an annual reminder of the need to achieve higher occupational health and safety standards. More must be done, and is being done, to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities.
This government, working jointly with the Yukon Workers Compensation Board, has initiated a risk reduction strategy. The goal is to reverse the trend of increasing accidents and to reduce the human and economic losses associated with workplace injuries.
On this day of mourning, let us also be aware of the deep sense of loss experienced by the families and friends of those we remember today. As I said earlier, Saturday, April 28, is the annual workers day of mourning. However, I ask your permission, Mr. Speaker, to allow all the Members gathered here to rise and join in a moment of silence.
Moment of silence observed
Speaker: Returns or Documents for Tabling.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling the government contracts for the year 1989-90.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have a number of legislative returns for tabling.
Speaker: Reports of Committees.
Petition No. 8
Clerk: I have had the honour to review a petition, being Petition No. 8 of the First Session of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly.
As presented by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek West on April 25, 1990, this petition meets the requirements as to form of the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order No. 66, Petition No. 8 is deemed to having been read and received.
Speaker: Are there any Introductions of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Government Position on the Proposed Windy Craggy Mine in British Columbia
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I rise today to inform the House of the Yukon Governments position on the proposed Windy Craggy Mine. This position is based on the careful consideration of the economic benefits and environmental concerns associated with the Windy Craggy project. Windy Craggy is a world-class copper deposit located nearby British Columbia with the potential to support a 20,000 tonne per day mining operation for 30 to 40 years.
Clearly a mine at Windy Craggy would provide significant economic benefits to the Yukon. For that reason, we welcome the proposal. These benefits would include direct employment of an estimated 100 Yukon people, as well as enhanced business and employment opportunities in construction and other service industries.
Economic benefits are important, but, at the same time, we recognize the environmental concerns associated with the Windy Craggy project. The proposed access road and mine operation could have an adverse impact on the adjacent Tatshenshini River and surrounding wilderness areas. The Tatshenshini River is one of North Americas premier wilderness rivers, with rafting tours on the Tatshenshini providing an important source of income for Yukon-based wilderness, as well as international, tourism operators. The Tatshenshini and the nearby Alsek River also contain significant recreational and subsistence fisheries resources. We must be sure that impacts to these resources will mitigated.
Many Yukon people share this position. They welcome the possible economic benefits a new mine would bring, but want assurances that our environmental resources will be protected. Concerned individuals and representatives of organizations have asked for more information on many aspects of the project. The Yukon government recognizes the seriousness of these concerns and I think it is safe to say that we do not yet have all the answers. While the stage one review study has provided a great deal of information on Windy Craggy, we still need more information on the potential environmental, economic, and social impacts of this major project.
For that reason, we have asked the Government of British Columbia to defer a decision on approval-in-principle of the Windy Craggy project until stage two of the mine development review is complete. This option allows the British Columbia government to reject the proposal at a later stage should additional information indicate that environmental impacts are unacceptable.
As part of stage two, we have asked for additional information on a number of concerns of special interest to the Yukon. I will briefly outline some of these concerns in the areas of economic development, tourism, renewable resources and transportation.
We need additional information on: the assumptions that were used to predict socio-economic impacts and estimate economic benefits in the Yukon - for example, how do specific factors such as transportation links and housing availability affect the prediction that 10 to 20 percent of Windy Craggy employees will live in Whitehorse; the implications of hauling ore concentrate through the Yukon as an alternative option to the Haines haul route; the impact the proposed road access would have on wilderness tourism operators based in the Yukon, and those operators whose activities benefit the Yukon; the mines impact on the Alsek and Tatshenshini River fisheries; and, the concerns of Alaska and British Columbia for managing any transboundary issues which may arise from the projects impact on the international river corridor.
As well, Yukon economic information should be updated as more recent data is available than that used in the stage one review.
The Yukon government will be actively participating in the stage two review process. I have full confidence that this B.C. review process will provide a fair and open forum for all interested groups and individuals to raise their concerns.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Yukon Pacific Forest Products
Mr. Phelps: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation in regard to the Watson Lake sawmill. I notice the sawmill is now completely shut down and there are just a few people currently employed there.
Can the Minister tell me if the assets of Yukon Pacific - that is to say, the sawmill, the inventory and licences to log - are presently up for sale?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member should appreciate that the information I have on that score is hearsay.
I apologize to the Member if he does not know that the receiver is now responsible for the assets.
The receiver has had conversations with potential investors. I know of at least three or four possible scenarios by which the capital may be found to resume operations in that plant. I cannot at this moment tell the Opposition Leader with confidence that the necessary funds will be forthcoming to see the mill repaired and the operations resumed or that the plant will go into full production in the very near future.
Mr. Phelps: I understand that the receiver has been encouraging people to make offers for the assets. Can the Minister tell us what price tag has been agreed to for the assets?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Leader of the Official Opposition will understand I have been part of some conversations with potential investors interested in the investment climate of the Yukon and general questions on the economic prospect of the territory. In none of the discussions of which I have been part have there been specific dollar amounts mentioned. The receiver has very definite ideas about what is required to see the plant come back into full production, as do all the other people involved.
To be fair I could not tell the Member with confidence that specific offers have been made or what the receiver is indicating is his bottom line.
Mr. Phelps: Just so we have an understanding of the present situation, as I understand it, the assets really cannot be sold without completing the court case. Either the trial has to be completed or a settlement entered into by the parties to the action because we have not had a final trial, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure the legal knowledge of the Member is far superior to mine on this point. He will know that there are a number of interested parties that have made substantial investments in this property, including the Development Corporation. I am assuming that a satisfactory resolution, part of which satisfactory resolution will require a substantial injection of capital by some existing party or some new party, will be an arrangement that is satisfactory to the other interests.
Question re: Yukon Pacific Forest Products
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister tell us when the court case might go to trial and the legal aspects resolved? Is Yukon Development Corporation intending to push this matter through and get those issues resolved?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The president of the Yukon Development Corporation, and the other officials of the corporation, have devoted an extraordinary amount of time toward trying to resolve this problem over the last several months. I will have to take the question of when the matter is likely to go to trial as notice. I believe it would be fair for me to say that much effort has been devoted to trying to negotiate satisfactory arrangements out of court. I do not think I can add to that at this point.
Mr. Phelps: We have been told by people who have looked at the assets of Yukon Pacific with a view to buy that the assets are not worth much more than $2 million. Have there been any offers that exceed the amount of $2 million for the assets of Yukon Pacific?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think it would be quite improper, at this point, for me to disclose the knowledge I have of discussions that have gone on between or with various potential investors or established interests. Perhaps the Member will permit me to take notice of the question so that, at the moment of conclusion of any arrangements, I can convey to him the basis of those arrangements.
Mr. Phelps: There are still large piles of logs in the yard at the sawmill, and they are deteriorating, as they are rotting and being eaten by insects. What is being done to preserve the log inventory?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: My information is that the receiver is seized of that question and has a very keen sense now of the economic value of the inventory and is interested in dealing with or disposing of the inventory in a way that will produce some revenue for the operation. The receiver has likely made some decisions on that point already. I would have to make representations and report back to the Member on the exact decisions of the receiver.
Question re: Yukon Pacific Forest Products
Mr. Devries: The Minister sort of answered.
Most of the accounts from the creditors were allowed to build as high as they did due to the glowing reports and assurances of the government when the sale was announced. The YDC also had a member on the board of directors and were involved in the month-to-month operations. The government is a 15 percent shareholder.
Depending on what happens, does the Ministers department not have some sense of obligation to see that the debts that occurred in this joint venture are taken care of?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe if I heard the question correctly, he is making a representation that the Government of Yukon should assume the responsibilities of Yukon Pacific Forest Products. Much as we want to see the obligations of that company met, there is no legal or moral basis for us assuming financial responsibilities that are not ours. I must tell him frankly we have no intention of doing that.
Mr. Devries: The creditors and workers of Watson Lake suffered through a year of uncertainty and disappointment amid repeated assurances that everything was okay. The government has been leading these people down the garden path only to run into a deadfall.
Is the Minister still confident that the creditors will get paid the money due to them?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member makes allegations that the government was leading people down the garden path. We would dispute that point of view. What the government did, under enormous criticism from the side opposite, was to make an effort to put the mill back to work, the economy of Watson Lake back on its feet, and the people in that community, among them the Member opposite, back to work. We made a very substantial investment to that end. Subsequently, we sold the operation, or a majority of our shares in the operation, to a group including a company that had a national reputation, the largest shareholder of which was the Bank of Nova Scotia. Based on the information we had, we were entitled to believe it was a company sufficiently stable and affluent to make the kind of investment in the mill that they had promised, and that they would meet all obligations.
As all Members know, we were disappointed on that score, and that is why we went to court to have the mill put into receivership. We are now trying to solve the problem in a way that will see the mill back on its feet, see new investment in the plant, and hopefully see what we believe is the longstanding, but as yet unrealized, potential of that plant met.
Question re: Contracts
Mrs. Firth: I asked the Minister of Government Services questions about two fuel contracts that had been awarded, then amended to take the contract away from the low bidders and give them to a higher bidder. I have examined the Hansard from yesterday, and I would like to follow up with some questions for the Minister.
In Hansard, the Minister said the arrangement was negotiated with his department on the strength of a request by the communities involved. He later changed that to say the community involved. I already know the community was Mayo.
Could the Minister tell me who made the request?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is my understanding and recollection that the Village of Mayo made the request, the municipal council. There was also a request made by the White Pass agent of the community.
Mrs. Firth: Could we stick to the first request by the community? How was the request made? I will deal with the municipal council later.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My recollection is it was made in writing to the government, that is, by letter from the municipal council to this government.
Mrs. Firth: The request was directed to his officials in the department by the municipal council. Is that what the Minister is saying?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I stand to be corrected. I cannot tell the Member precisely the specific address to which the letter was sent. I am telling the Member that there was a communication from the municipal council to this government. I honestly cannot recall if the request was made to me, as Minister, to the MLA of the area, or to officials of the department. That escapes my recollection, but there was an official correspondence from the municipal council, as well as individual requests from others in the community. I specifically recall the White Pass agent making a verbal request.
If the Member wants more detail than that, I would have to go back to the department and seek out a copy of the letter. I would be quite pleased to table it or provide it to the Member. In general terms, the request was official, and there were more than one.
Question re: Contracts
Mrs. Firth: I would like to follow up, specifically with the request from the municipal council. Did the letter he is speaking of, and that he has agreed to table, come via the mayor, or was it via another council member, or was it a decision that was made in council? Has that decision been recorded?
The Minister is shaking his head and smiling at me. Perhaps he could just answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I was shaking my head and smiling because I do not have a specific recollection of the thousands of letters I receive, of who may have signed it, or what formal authority may have precipitated the letter from its origin. I cannot tell the Member precisely who signed the letter, what it said, and on what day it was written, but I am quite prepared to provide that.
The Member must recognize that we are talking about some 10 or 11 months ago, and something that was an action by this government to address a problem in the community on the issue of fuel contracts. I am sure the Member is aware that the reason for the request was because the fuel contract bid in that community was won by Esso and, should that contract have been allowed to stand, it may have affected the supply of fuel to the community by a bulk dealer in the community. The legitimate request came from the municipality, and we acted upon it.
Mrs. Firth: It seems the Minister is very definite about some facts, yet his memory does not serve him correctly with others.
Perhaps the MLA for Mayo would like to get up and speak.
Was the letter addressed to the officials within the Department of Government Services?
I am waiting for the Ministers attention so I do not have to repeat the question. Was the letter from the council directed to his officials, or to him at the ministerial level? Surely he can remember that.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to take notice. I do not remember the specific nature of the request. By taking notice, I can provide to the Member a copy of whatever communication did take place, the nature and detail of the request. It was a legitimate one, and we acted on it in the interests of the community, and at the same time, in recognition of the fact that the two low bidders were quite prepared to enter into an exchange and swap that would not affect them, although the outcome of that swap would provide a better level of service to the respective communities.
I make no apology for the action taken. If the Member is saying that is an incorrect thing to do, then I submit the Member is saying we should have allowed a fuel supplier in a community to shut its doors. We are not prepared to see that happen if there is a reasonable and fair way to avoid it.
Question re: Contracts
Mrs. Firth: Let us look at what happened here. This happened two years in a row. The contracts were amended, taken from a low bidder and given to a high bidder. If it had happened once, we could have accepted that, and then the government proceeded to make a change of policy so the contract could be awarded to the local business. We do not disagree with that concept. It was not. They did it again. That completely compromises the integrity of the whole contracting process: that the low bidder gets the contract.
This contract is up for renewal again. When is this policy going to be changed, or are they going to go through this procedure again, for a third time?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to challenge the Members allegation that there is some breach of the tendering process, or that there is some question of its integrity when you negotiate a swap in a contract with the two lowest bidders.
The tendering process was enacted. The two lowest bidders were approached. They were agreeable. There was a negotiated swap. The integrity of the tendering process was not put into question. The Member recognizes that when two low bidders agree to an exchange of areas for the supply of fuel with no disagreement to the arrangements being struck, which preserves the supply of fuel for the respective communities, there is no question that the tendering process is in jeopardy. The tendering process was used, was applied, was adhered to and, by a negotiated arrangement, a change was undertaken. That is not compromising the integrity of the bidding or tendering process.
The Member raised the question of what is being done this year. The Member can rest assured that I am addressing the issue with my officials. We are looking at some changes that may take place in the tendering of the contracts.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, Mr. Speaker. In conclusion, I can reassure the Member it is our hope we would not be faced with this issue again by the method we hope to introduce in the next award.
Mrs. Firth: No one is going to complain if they are going to get more money out of the swap, out of the deal. If they wanted to preserve the integrity of the tendering process, why did they not change it after the first year? Why did they allow this to happen again, and now, in the third year, they are going to change it? Why did they not do it after the first year?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Who has the floor?
Speaker: Final supplementary.
Mrs. Firth: No, that is not my final supplementary. I am waiting for an answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe it indeed is her final supplementary. I was waiting to get the floor. Now that I have it, I would be pleased to answer the Members question.
The Member repeatedly raises the issue that this is happening three years in a row. By that very suggestion, it is an exaggeration of the facts. The Member knows that I came to office a year ago, that the tendering process was used last year. The simple fact that we made a change a second year in a row does not create a compromise, nor does it create any evidence that we should have changed in the second year.
The fact that there was an arrangement made in the first year that it happened, we have to assume is an anomaly that was the result of the tendering process. The reaction of the government was to negotiate an amendment to the contract, which did not affect the bidders involved. They were paid for the change that took place. The services in the community were preserved. When this happened a second time, in my administration, I addressed it, and that is what I am doing now. Indeed, we are looking at some changes that are to be introduced to the tendering method for fuel contracts and because they come up in the next couple of months, I believe, Members opposite will be apprised of those changes when we make the final decision.
Question re: Alaska Highway corridor study
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services with respect to the Alaska Highway Corridor Study.
In August 1989 the Yukon government announced a joint traffic engineering study on the Alaska Highway within the Whitehorse city limits. A report, along with an implementation plan, was to be ready for presentation to the three levels of government involved by the end of December 1989. When I asked for an update in February the Minister said he anticipated receiving final recommendations in March. My constituents in Crestview and along the Alaska Highway continue to be concerned about the safety of the two access roads to Crestview.
Has the Minister received final recommendations and has the implementation plan been prepared?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can appreciate the concern of the Member for various aspects of traffic control on that corridor. As he recalls, there was, indeed, a study undertaken last fall. Questionnaires were circulated last fall and were received by year end. Early in the new year, through January, there were public meetings and representations made. The anticipation was that by approximately March we could have all the information from the questionnaires and the public presentations accumulated and compiled into a final report.
Unfortunately, that has not happened. The commitment I have from the department is that I will receive the final recommendations from the analysis and public input by May 1, 1990. It is imminent, but I do not have it yet.
Mr. Nordling: Can the Minister tell us if there will be an opportunity for public comment on the implementation plan?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot tell him what will be recommended by the department as a result of the public input process and its own engineering analysis. I can certainly tell him I would be quite prepared to receive comment on an implementation plan. The Member should realize that an implementation plan invariably will require dollars, and that dollars in the current financial regime are not going to be come by easily. There will be an implementation period that will require some fiscal planning as well as preparation for any changes that may occur on that corridor.
In short, I would certainly be quite pleased to receive comment on the implementation plan and recommendations that I do receive.
Mr. Nordling: The problem is that everyone has agreed that these two intersections are dangerous. We in Porter Creek West feel we have been stalled for years with the excuse that there are studies going on. We thought the Takhini area transportation study would be the last word on it, but it was not.
For me and the constituents in that area, would the Minister outline the next steps in the plan with some time lines so we know what we are looking at?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can provide the undertaking to the Member that I will address that once I receive the recommendations. It is premature for me to assume that I know enough at this point - without having received the benefit of the public input process, the engineering analysis, the implementation plan, and a financial plan - to know the time lines for improvements to be made.
I respect the Members concern for the safety of traffic on and throughout that corridor. Within our financial ability and implementation capability, we will certainly do the best job we can to upgrade and improve that corridor.
The other point on the issue I should make is that that corridor, as being part of the Alaska Highway, still falls within the responsibility of the federal government, do discussions have to take place at that level in terms of the funding.
In terms of time lines and specific plans for upgrading ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In terms of the specific time lines, schedules and implementation, I will be quite pleased to address that, once I have the final report.
Question re: Education Act
Ms. Hayden: Given the allegations made by the Member opposite yesterday that consultation surrounding proposed legislation is not done properly, nor listened to, I have a question for the Minister of Education.
Will the Minister once again tell the Members of this House the details of the consultation process carried on around the new Education Act?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member for Watson Lake yesterday, perhaps inadvertently, did indicate the consultation on the Education Act had been inadequate and did require further public response in order for MLAs to be prepared for the legislative debate that is scheduled to come next week.
As Members know, without any long and drawn-out answer, which I would not want to give at this point, a great deal of consultation has been undertaken, starting way back in 1985-86 with the reports from the Education Act Task Force Report. There were literally hundreds of community meetings surrounding those processes themselves. A principals paper...
Mrs. Firth: Point of order.
Point of Order
Mrs. Firth: In light of the contents of the question that would undoubtedly have required an extremely lengthy answer, I would like to recommend perhaps, that the Member should have more appropriately directed the question in the form of a written question, as opposed to one that would require the Minister standing and giving a lengthy answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I want to compliment the Member for Riverdale South on her point of order because if you find the point well taken, I think you must almost certainly rule that the questions that she presented to the House today were exactly the same kind, and were in fact more likely to require a written answer and detailed knowledge from a Minister, something a Minister could not reasonably be expected to have.
To advance my comment about the point of order: to ask a Minister to know who actually signed one among thousands of letters, some months ago, without either notice or request for a written answers, is clearly playing fast and loose with the proposition that a question ought to be directed to a matter of some urgency and some question of public policy.
Clearly, the question asked by the Member for Whitehorse South Centre is, in my view, probably the best question asked in Question Period today and the one that comes closest to the rules, although I would concede that the question put by the Member for Porter Creek West was a perfectly legitimate and appropriate question. The questions by the Member for Hootalinqua were quite fair in that respect, too, but there is, I submit on the point of order, absolutely nothing improper or incorrect in the question put by the Member for Whitehorse South Centre.
I believe the Member for Mayo, the Minister of Education, who is well-known for being succinct and brief and precise in his expression of public policy, will be able to answer the question expeditiously, orally and without need to return with a written return.
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps the Member who just spoke could advise as us whether or not his submission involved a serious criticism about the way that the Speaker has been handling Question Period and what, if anything, he intends to do. Is he going to put forward a motion about the qualifications of the Speaker?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would be happy to respond to that point. As Mr. Speaker knows, I have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect for his Honour. I also want to indicate the Mr. Speaker discharges his duties in an exemplary manner in that he clearly respects the will of this House, which, particularly for the Members opposite, is to put a very liberal interpretation on the rules for Question Period. Being the will of the House, under the leadership of the Leader of the Official Opposition, that liberal style of questioning and the perhaps occasionally liberal responses is clearly the will of the House, which is being respected by Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Order, please. On the point of order, I find there is no point of order. The Minister of Education can answer the question, but very briefly.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Thank you very much for that editorial comment, Mr. Speaker. While the process leading up to the Education Act was lengthy, my answer does not necessarily have to be. There have been the principals paper and draft act, various drafting committees, letters, submissions, telephone calls, and literally hundreds and thousands of people involved in the consultation process. Consequently, it would be inappropriate, at this point, when they are demanding action by the Legislature, to consider further lengthy consultation.
Ms. Hayden: Given the very obvious interest as exhibited last night by parents in what happens with their children, I would ask the Minister exactly how parents have had input into this act.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The question is seriously put because in the past the education legislation, or any legislation for that matter, has not received close scrutiny by the public. That was certainly the case in the governments previous to ours.
With this particular piece of legislation, the Education Act - and I understand that the Member for Porter Creek East wants me to be brief, and as usual I will be - the process itself was definitely dedicated to the parents and the meetings that were held and the information flyers that were sent to each and every home in the territory sought primarily to receive parental viewpoints as perhaps the most important objectives.
Ms. Hayden: I have just one more concern. Given the concern of communities about having control over their childrens lives, I would like to know how school committees have specifically had input into this act.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Opposition House Leader feels that a question put by a government private Member about the consultation with school committees on the Education Act is a shameful abuse of Question Period. That is outrageous. It is an outrageous interpretation of the rights of private Members of this Legislature.
Speaker: Order please.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Let me give her the answer.
The school committees, as well, were considered to be the primary conduits of information with respect to the Education Act. They have been involved from the Education Act Task Force onwards. Their representatives have been on every drafting committee associated with the legislation. Consequently, they, too, have played a very significant role in its creation.
Question re: Chilkoot Trail National Historic Park, vehicle access
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Renewable Resources.
Two days ago I asked about the position of the Government of Yukon on the management plan for the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Park. At that time he said to the House that he was not aware of the position and would have to report back. Yesterday a petition was filed with this House with 850 names requesting that the management plan be reopened for further public discussion prior to finalization.
The Minister, at the same time the petition was filed, indicated to the House that the Government of Yukon had taken a formal position on the management plan developed in 1988.
Could the Minister table the position taken by the Government of the Yukon at that time?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I would be pleased to table the position of the Government of the Yukon on that draft management plan.
Mr. Lang: The Minister also said that the Government of Yukon position did not consider the implication of the management plan on the question of winter recreational use. In view of the fact that the Minister undertook yesterday to correspond, government-to-government, to ask that the management plan be further opened for discussion prior to finalization, would the Minister undertake to put forward a formal position on the question of winter recreational use in that area when the management plan is made available for further public discussion, if the federal government agrees to it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is my understanding that the federal government has already come out with this management plan on the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Park. To the best of my knowledge there are no further opportunities for public discussion on the matter.
Mr. Lang: My understanding is that the Minister had committed himself to requesting further public discussions on the management plan prior to having it put into effect.
Would the Minister be prepared to request the Government of Canada to make the management plan available once again to the general public so the users in the area who did not have the opportunity to comment on it have that opportunity. Obviously it was missed during the hearings held a number of years ago.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not recall making a commitment yesterday that I would approach the federal government to reopen their consultation process for the plan.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will now take a short recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 77 - Child Care Act - continued
Hon. Mr. Penikett: At adjournment last night, we were discussing general debate, and I was responding to Mr. Langs intervention. I understand it is Mr. Langs intention, shortly before 3:00, to move a procedural motion that witnesses appear in Committee. By agreement, I shall be following immediately with a similar procedural motion. After Mr. Lang has moved his just before 3:00, I will be moving one at the same time to indicate a group of witnesses tentatively scheduled, by agreement, to come here at 4:00.
In the few minutes remaining until just before 3:00, when Mr. Langs and my motions will be considered by the House, I would like to conclude my response to the address by the gentleman opposite with a few observations.
I very much appreciate the interest being shown in this Legislature. I will pay a tribute to the energy of the Members opposite in terms of their efforts on that score. I appreciate a wide public debate about these issues, because this government does believe they are important and worthy of debate, as we believe child care is a fundamental concern of all of us.
We would only be honest if we recognized that children and childrens issues have not always received the attention they deserve in this Legislature. Therefore, it is gratifying to see parents and care givers participating in this whole process, as they have in the long consultation process and in the debate before us. That is what the legislative process is supposed to be all about.
It is, of course, the most public forum available to give consideration and expression to the views of parents, care givers and legislators.
Naturally, it must be said there are areas of disagreement. I would be surprised if that were not the case, especially about legislation as important as this. It is, in the end, some of those differences we will be airing. I recognize, as the sponsor of this bill, that there is a diversity of views on certain issues. There is also an overwhelming agreement on a great many of them.
The Member for Porter Creek East made statements that I began to respond to last night. Having regard to the time I will not try to deal with all of them now. I want to make a couple of points before we hear the witnesses, if the House permits.
The Member said he hopes we are not bringing this legislation because someone has written it for us and we are supposed to pass it. As I said before, this legislation is the result of very extensive consultation. It is legislation for the Yukon and reflects, we believe, the majority view of people who are interested in this question. It is legislation based on real needs, the needs of the Yukon Territory and no one else.
I want to remind the Member, as I started to do last night, the issues related to the safety of children really do know no geographic boundaries. The Member asked if the long-term objective of government was institutionalized day care. I have to say to the Member with all kindness that that is a ridiculous assertion. Nothing in the direction we have taken on this question would indicate that. This government has been asked by the citizens of the Yukon Territory to improve child care services, not to institutionalize them. We are committed, as we said before, to supporting quality, affordable, comprehensive child care services for Yukon families.
The Member opposite raised the issues of affordability, accessibility and the fact he believed child care rates will be raised. I will be providing in detail later in the debate why we believe this is definitely not the case in most situations.
The Member also implied there will be a large negative effect on a large number of services. All the evidence tends to say that that is wrong. We disagree with his assertion, and we believe new legislation will bring into line standards of quality care that the majority of people want.
It cannot be denied that there will be an effect. That is why we have this legislation. The effect will be positive and the child care system will continue to evolve, based on an improved framework of quality and responsibility.
If I could, I would just conclude by making an analogy. If you or I were having company for dinner, there would be no government regulations or fees involved, but if either of us decided to turn our house into a bed and breakfast operation, there are, in most jurisdictions in the western world, flexible requirements. There are some government regulations for home-based businesses. If you decide to go from there to a restaurant business, there are quite strict standards and quite definite government regulations in this more formal business.
I want to say, in conclusion, that this is how we have approached the child care question. We are not regulating private homes, but once that private home houses not only a family but a business, we do have a responsibility to ensure the public is protected and that the citizens and children can expect certain standards of care.
I believe that surely we can guarantee that our children will get as much protection in their child care services as the law should reasonably provide. On that note, I will resume my seat in order to permit the Member for Porter Creek East to move his procedural motion.
Mr. Nordling: Just before the procedural motion, I would like to make a point for some of the people I have spoken to.
Many people do not dispute the need for new legislation and everyone wants quality child care. The Member for Porter Creek East has outlined many concerns to which I know the Minister will be responding this afternoon.
What many Yukoners, parents and operators of family day homes also want is flexibility. The Minister said that the family day home numbers included in the act were a result of careful and detailed consideration of all the facts. No doubt they were, but many Yukoners, parents and operators believe that there are just not enough facts about family day homes to justify enshrining those numbers in the act.
We submit that the numbers are more proper in regulations where there is flexibility that allows review on an ongoing basis.
Many Yukoners believe the Minister has taken too much for granted and made too many assumptions to include clause 7(2) and (5) in the act.
The other thing I would like to remind the Minister about before I resume my seat is that, although he would not answer my question in Question Period, he did undertake to provide the amendments that the government would bring forward at the beginning of this debate. I would ask the Minister for those amendments at this time.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In respect to the request for the amendment, I have provided an original copy to the Clerk. With the Clerks kind assistance, perhaps sufficient copies can be made for distribution to the Members so they can be given proper notice of the amendment. I would now resume my seat in order for the Member for Porter Creek East to move his motion.
Mr. Lang: Prior to moving the motion, I would like to make a couple of observations. I want to make it very clear that we are bringing to the floor what we see as issues within the legislation before us. Concerns have been raised by people who are actually sending their children to family day homes. I assure Members from the other side that we are not making this up, nor are we playing politics with the children of the Yukon. We are bringing up what we feel are legitimate concerns, raised with us as Members of the Legislature. I know some Members on the side opposite have been approached by people to see whether or not they could have a serious look at the legislation before us and how it could be amended for improvements and more flexibility.
We are all striving to that end, to ensure there are safe standards and quality day care in the Yukon. We are only asking there be reason applied to it, and that the government have an open mind as far as the legislation is concerned. There are some legitimate concerns being expressed, along with some fears. If even half of them come to fruition, the government has not done what it is supposed to do, which is to act in the best interests of the public we serve.
I hope we are not in a situation where the governments position is so hardened that, no matter what evidence is provided to us today or at any other time, it will not consider some changes. I do not want to see this end up in a situation where there is loss of face. We want to see that we have legislation that can accommodate legitimate concerns of people who are actually using day care.
There is an irony in that there are perhaps one or two Members in this House who use day care facilities from time to time, yet we are here as a group to make that decision, without the majority of us utilizing the service any longer.
Committee of the Whole Motion No. 3
Mr. Lang: I would move
THAT Bev McKeddie, Denny Kobayashi, Pat Wiens and Diane Thompson appear as witnesses before Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act.
Chair: It has been moved by Dan Lang, Member for Porter Creek East
THAT Bev McKeddie, Denny Kobayashi, Pat Wiens and Diane Thompson appear as witnesses before Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act.
Chair: Is there any debate on the motion? Are you agreed?
Committee of the Whole Motion No. 3 agreed to
Committee of the Whole Motion No. 4
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would move
THAT at 4:00 p.m., April 26, 1990, Gail Trujillo, Rosemary Zenovitch, Diane Gow and Elaine Paddon appear as witnesses before Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act.
Chair: It has been moved by the hon. Tony Penikett, Minister of Health and Human Resources
THAT at 4:00 p.m., April 26, 1990, Gail Trujillo, Rosemary Zenovitch, Diane Gow and Elaine Paddon appear as witnesses before Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act.
Chair: Is there any debate on the motion? Are you agreed?
Committee of the Whole Motion No. 4 agreed to
Chair: We will wait for the witnesses to take their places.
I would like to remind the Members and the witnesses to make your remarks through the Chair. You are going to have to pass the microphone back and forth to each other.
The Members will ask questions of the witnesses and the witnesses will respond through the Chair.
Mr. Lang: I believe Mr. Kobayashi has a few opening remarks and then we can proceed from there to Members asking witnesses questions, if that is agreeable.
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Mr. Kobayashi: I would like to the thank the government for giving us the opportunity to speak to Bill No. 77 today.
It must be noted that, as parents, we are in support of the child care principles outlined in the green paper and that we support the Child Care Act and many of its principles as presented.
I would like to address some of the issues of concern to parents using family day home services. First, there appears to be no provision for children who will be displaced when the day homes are required to satisfy the conditions of the act. This is most critical at this time to school-aged children.
Second, there are no provisions for parents who will be faced with increases in child care expenses ranging from approximately $600 to $3,000 per year. Third, there is no flexibility in the act to accommodate siblings in family day homes for temporary periods. What I am suggesting is that if a newborn enters the home, another child is going to have to leave. There does not appear to be any flexibility for that to be accommodated over some temporary period.
We have been reminded on numerous occasions that the legislation has been developed in consideration of child care acts in southern Canada, and in this regard, it must be noted that the child care strategies in southern Canada, for the most part, are not working very well. Secondly, the impact of the act and the administration of the act will be far more significant, in our opinion, in the Yukon than in southern Canada where the regulations and policies are generally poorly regulated and enforced.
We have a fourth concern that there appears to be some inconsistency in the regulations governing the staff/child ratio for school-aged children between family day homes and day care centres and after-school programs.
Five, I would address the perception of the government in this act that numbers alone determine quality care, and that consideration must be given to the environment within a family day home versus the environment in formal child care centres.
In respect to the administration of the act, I would like to refer to the Carr report on child care of 1987, which says that the marketplace is a remarkable regulator of product quality. If a firm runs down its brand names, produces low quality product and maintains prices, consumers will stop purchasing these products. The firm will lose money and go out of business. Wherever possible, market regulation is clearly superior to government regulation. Users of private day cares do not have to sit on committees to ensure quality care. If the quality of a day care centre decreases, the consumers of this service will vote with their feet and go to another firm in the industry.
In closing, I would like to reiterate our support of this act in principle, and we would encourage the government to involve the parents using family day home services, to involve us in ongoing consultation regarding this Child Care Act and when consideration is given to amendments and regulations in the future.
Mr. Lang: I would like to thank Mr. Kobayashi for his presentation, and I want to say that I appreciate the time and effort it has taken for these people to appear here. It is an important bill that is before us and we all have serious concerns about it.
I would like to begin by asking a question here. It goes back to the consultation process. My understanding is that there were numerous hours taken to consult with the various organizations, individuals and people who operate family day homes in order to get their points of view and ensure that they were heard. I would like to ask if there were submissions put forward to reflect more flexibility than is in the legislation by the family day home operators and parents during that consultation process?
Ms. Thompson: We were involved in the consultation process. We did meet with Debbie Mauch and - I do not even remember who they were, but we did give a couple of pages of recommendations on behalf of the family day homes that were in operation then. I am sure there are only three left now. We really cautioned them about the school children and the infants, as the act is not up for review for 10 years. We knew it would be a problem and offered several alternatives. When the new act came out there was nothing in it.
Mr. Lang: That is one point that does concern me, because I thought the process had been open and proposals were being seriously considered.
I would like to ask Mr. Kobayashi a question. We had heard all sorts of statements being made that there was a possibility that with the act being passed without some modification to create more flexibility, that there would be fewer spaces. In some cases, some children will no longer be able to attend because of the numbers involved and there will be less flexibility allowed than there is now. Has there been notification given to parents that this is going to happen if the act is passed as presented in the House?
Mr. Kobayashi: Yes, there has been a number of calls and some were to the media during the talk-back program yesterday where day care operators have indicated that they are going to have to drop children and not be able to take infant children. I know, in my particular case, in the family day home where my children are, it is somewhat undecided at this point about whether there is going to be a decision with my own children. I have a school-age child, and I would not be able to move her into that home this summer as a result of this act.
Ms. Hayden: I would like to go back to the beginning. Although I have met some of the panel, I would like to understand who they are representing today. I will then have a further question to that.
Ms. Thompson: I am representing myself as a family day home operator. I am the oldest licensed family day home operator in the Yukon. I have been licensed for approximately seven years. I operated without a licence for approximately seven years before that.
Ms. Wiens: My name is Pat Wiens, and I am a parent of two children who use a family day home.
Mr. Kobayashi: My name is Denny Kobayashi, and I represent two preschool children in a family day home, and one school-age child in a child care centre.
Ms. McKeddie: I am Bev McKeddie, and I am just representing my day home and parental choice.
Ms. Hayden: It was my understanding from various things I have heard in the media that Ms. Thompson is also president of the Family Day Home Association. Is that correct?
Ms. Thompson: The Family Day Home Society has been inactive since the consultation period. It is lying dead. After we met with Linda Boychuk, Debbie Mauch, and other people whose names I cannot remember, we were very confident that what we had suggested was going to be considered.
Ms. Hayden: That answered my question. I could not understand how other family day home operators are controlled.
In many areas, society has determined that parents should not be the only ones making decisions about their children. For example, government ensures we have compulsory schooling up to a certain age; we have child labour laws to protect our children; there are laws against neglect and abuse of children, and we are constantly working on those. Although I heard you say at the beginning that you did not object to the act as a whole, I am wondering if you see day care regulations as being anything other than protecting children.
Mr. Kobayashi: No. Our objections, more than anything, are in the area of flexibility. We have been advised that if we object to a section of the act then we are effectively objecting to the act. In legal terms, I suppose I am lost in that respect. As a parent, what I wanted to see was some flexibility in the act in the specific area of family day home care - that flexibility being that family situations will change, children grow up and enter school and families have new children. In my case, we spent a lot of time investigating where to place our children, got references on the home, had interviews with the operator and made a decision that it was a quality home and was where we wanted our children. We would want to place our other children in that same home. The regulations are going to limit that choice simply because of other children being cared for in that home.
We think that the regulations are saying we must take our child somewhere other than where we would want to have them. We want some flexibility. For example, the operator would have to say, I have a child leaving here in four months and then you can bring your child in. For that four month period that operator is going to be in violation. To me that is not flexibility. I have made a parental choice and have made a decision. I would like to see that type of flexibility in the legislation.
Ms. Hayden: I have great empathy for parents and children who are caught in the middle when change takes place in this society. My heart goes out to you when you find yourself in this kind of situation.
The reality is that we did check across the country. You refer to the fact that they are much larger jurisdictions and felt they would not be policed as thoroughly as in a small jurisdiction like ours. That can be used to show there was indeed a great deal of effort made to accommodate the needs of Yukoners and as we travelled around the territory we learned there was a consensus that quality ....
Point of Order
Mr. Phelps: Point of order.
I am concerned about the way we are proceeding here. I understand we have witnesses coming forward to answer questions, not to enter into debate. With the greatest respect for the Member for Whitehorse South Centre, what she is doing is debating her point of view with the witnesses. The witnesses are here to provide information and their perspective on questions asked of them, not to debate with any of the Members here.
I want to see, not only these witnesses, but the witnesses brought forward by the side opposite provide information reflecting their points of view, not debating.
Ms. Hayden: This is my last question for this time.
Chair: Order. There is a Point of Order.
Do you want to go ahead with your question? Ms. Hayden, do you have a question?
Ms. Hayden: I want to know if the panel disagrees, and how they disagree, with the consensus that was received at that time.
Ms. Wiens: It seems the numbers for family day homes, for users and operators, are a lot smaller than the day care centre users and operators. I remember when the consultation process began. A lot of people who were speaking out against the family day homes were not family day home users. I do not know if the people who made presentations during the consultation process, and the people who made recommendations about family day homes, were family day home users or also day care users. As a day home user, I would not try to make a recommendation for a day care centre, because I do not know how it operates or how the children interact in the day care centre, and that type of thing.
You have probably heard from a lot of people who were not family day home users. That is my personal opinion.
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for Mr. Kobayashi. My interest in this issue is more how the parents and children are going to be affected. I was interested in a comment you made with respect to the new Child Care Act and the impact it was going to have on you if you lost your family day home operator. As a parent, could you tell us what you are faced with? What will be your options, and what will you have to do to provide safe and quality accommodation for your children that you feel comfortable with?
Chair: I would like to remind Members to address their remarks through the Chair.
Mr. Kobayashi: In response to Mrs. Firths question, in my personal situation, I have two preschool children three years of age, and one child six years old who is in grade 1. She is going to Whitehorse Elementary. We currently have her going to the child care centre, which is close to school. They walk her back and forth to school, and it was very convenient for us. However, this summer we wanted to contemplate taking her out of that child care centre and moving her into a family day home, where she could be with her two younger sisters during the day.
With this new act and the current capacity of the family day home where our children are, there will not be a space for our child with her two sisters during the summertime. In addition, some of the spaces within that home are going to have to go. There will likely be a subsequent increase in what we are paying for child care services. That increase may not seem significant for one child. It may be $100 a month. We are actually paying a reasonable price for child care right now; the $100 a month does not sound like a lot; however, for our family with twin children, that is going to equate to $2,400 in increased child care, for which we can get no assistance. I will also be obligated to either leave my child in the child care centre and keep her separated from her younger sisters, or move her into another family day home.
I am happy with the service we are getting in the child care centre where she presently is.
Our only consideration as parents was to have here with her sisters during the day. They play well and that is what we wanted so that would be the direct impact on my family.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask Diane Thompson a question as a family day home operator. I would like to ask Mrs. Thompson if she feels that the way the Child Care Act is now with the present regulations, if there is enough flexibility for her to accommodate children within families she presently services as their ages change and they grow up and new babies come along from the same family or children begin school and need after-school care?
Ms. Thompson: Yes. In the act that is in place at the moment there is flexibility because it was written for children under six years of age. It did not cover the school children. We could still take the after-school children if they were older brothers and sisters of the younger ones. We could take a drop-in child for the mother who just wanted to go downtown and have lunch as long as it was just for three consecutive hours or less.
In the new proposed act, that will be eliminated. We were allowed to have up to six children with no age restrictions. I do not think there is a care giver out there so stupid as to take six babies. Perhaps there is documented proof that that has gone on. Now they are saying we can have eight children but they have to be between the ages of 18 months and five years.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to direct my question to the whole panel and whichever person feels best capable to answer. The flexibility that exists now allows a family day home to continue on with that family concept so that you have a mix of children. Do the people on the panel, both parents and the family day home workers, get a feeling that with this new legislation they are going to almost be forced to have family day homes with children of all one age? Parents obviously, from what Mr. Kobayashi has said, would be unhappy about that because they would end up putting their children in different family day homes. Does that seem to be one of the concerns that is creating some disagreement, dispute and unhappiness with this new Child Care Act?
Ms. Wiens: Definitely, with the way the act is worded now, a lot of day homes will take children between 18 months and five years. Hiring an extra staff person for the after-school kids involves a lot of different problems, mostly administrative-type things and finding someone to work - that kind of thing.
The fact that as soon as they take an infant they have to drop their spaces to six has made a lot of people say they will take no infants because they do require more care and numbers will be lowered.
One point in the Katie Cook report that the numbers were based on that I found interesting was that it said the largest users of family day homes are infants and after-school kids and mostly preschool kids are in day care centres. These are the kids that I feel would be hurt the most.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask two or three questions in a row, if I could. I would first of all want to say that I appreciate the witnesses coming forward today. To those of you who are not used to this process, I know it can be intimidating and cause for some anxiety. As nasty as some of us may sound in the media at some times, I hope this will not be too unpleasant an experience for you. I want to say that we appreciate the contribution you have made to the discussions. I understand that a number of you, including you, Ms. Wiens, had an opportunity to participate in the consultation, as did Ms. Thompson, as she indicated.
I want to ask you, because we have plenty of information about what the situation has been in Whitehorse, if, as a parent, you had knowledge of a family day home situation in which there were perhaps nine, 10, 11, 12 kids - we have had such situations in Whitehorse - with no planned activities and the kids essentially sitting in a basement, in front of a TV or videos all day. I am going to assume that you would think that that would not be a good situation, but what I am going to ask you is what you think should be done about it and if the government has any obligations in a situation like that.
Then I would like to ask you, since I have carefully read the amendments proposed, if you believe, given everything we know about standards elsewhere, which are based on a lot of careful research about early childhood education and acceptable situations for children, that one care giver can properly and safely look after 12 children.
Chair: I would like to remind the Member again to please make his remarks to the Chair.
Ms. Wiens: Maybe I will respond to the second part of your question. I can only go on my experience as a mom and of having my kids in a family day home. Maybe what I would say is that those numbers that we were putting forward are maximums. I do not think that everybody can look after 12 children. My understanding was that the regulations and the government department would work with the licensed day homes if there were problems, if parents made complaints or if, when inspections were done, things were incorrect, or if the care giver did not have certain qualifications, was not capable, did not have experience - whatever. I am not sure of all the things that would be judged in that, but I understood that they could further restrict these numbers, but that the maximum would be 12. Twelve should be what your best care giver can give, not what every care giver can give. As far as I am concerned, there should be allowances for that. There are care givers who are wonderful with children, who can take care of children. Another thing: the 12 are made up of eight plus four after-school kids. One of the reasons why the ratio is four to one for after-school kids is because of this age mix of children. I question whether or not that is true: that the age mix in day homes affects the care in the day home, because in these day home situations, these kids know each other; they have been together for many years and they know the routine of the home, et cetera, et cetera. They are actually a help in there because they play with the other children.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to put some supplementary questions to Diane Thompson and in doing so I would like to comment briefly on Ms. Wiens answer. She is essentially proposing that the government make a value judgment about who was of good character and who was not. That is extremely improper for the Legislature to do, any more than it would be to say that good doctors charge so much and a middle of the road doctor is allowed to charge less and a poor doctor is allowed to charge the minimum fee. The reason why governments have set general standards in anything is to talk about a normal situation, not the exception - either exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.
I would like to ask Diane Thompson, as a professional, as someone who has considerable experience in the field, as a suitable, experienced care giver, what is the maximum number of children she thinks she could look after safely and give quality care?
Ms. Thompson: I raised five daughters of my own. Never have I had one taken to the hospital for any reason - broken bones, stitches, no reason - in an emergency. They were fairly close in age. I was fairly young. I am confident that I could care for eight children on a full-time basis providing only two of them were under 18 months. Personally, I would not have three babies under 18 months because if you ever had a fire you only have two arms.
I am confident I can give care to eight children.
You are saying if I have only one after-school child I have to hire a staff person. I do not feel that is reasonable.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This will be my last question. I appreciate the comment by Ms. Thompson because the logic of what she says will be providing very powerful arguments for the kind of standards we are talking about here.
Let me mention a comment she made earlier about flexibility in the present standards that provide no limit on the number of part-time kids, as I understand it. Most people who have talked to us have indicated that is a real problem in terms of a compromise of quality and safety for children.
I direct my question to Mr. Kobayashi, and want to say in doing so, that both Mr. McDonald and I are parents of twins and in our experience we found there were times when even two were too many to handle.
Exactly what does Mr. Kobayashi mean by flexibility? The situation he described in terms of his own personal situation does not seem to be a problem with the law, but a problem with the number of available spaces in the family day home that he has chosen.
This situation could pertain under any formula or any type of regulations that could be contemplated.
Mr. Kobayashi: Mr. Penikett is correct in that area. My concern as a parent is in terms of the flexibility when family situations arise. When a family day home happens to be at its maximum limit, according to the regulations, some accommodation should be made to parents to have children in that home on a temporary basis. The response we have traditionally received to that is that, once you make an exception to the statutes, if one does it then they all do it, and how can it be controlled.
It concerns me that, if a day home happens to be at the maximum number, I am going to have to place my children other than where I want to place them. If I could, I would like to respond to Mr. Peniketts question that no one answered earlier, about the kids downstairs watching videos and what role the government should play.
As a parent, when I placed my children in a family day home, I went to the day home, inspected it, and talked to the care giver. I think that is my responsibility as a parent to do that. I know some parents will not do that, but I do not think it is the governments place to be saying, You are a bad parent, the same as making a value judgment on a day care operator.
If I go into the day home as a parent, and look for my kid, run downstairs and there are nine of them watching a video while my care giver is upstairs watching Days of Our Lives, then I have a problem with that day care facility. I am not only going to take my child out of that home, I would suggest that, at that point, I would have a responsibility to call Child Care Services and the director and say, I have a problem with the quality of service I received from this care giver. The role of government then would be, in terms of administration, for an inspector to go to that home and say, we have had a complaint from a parent.
I would see the role of government being in response to complaints from parents about care givers, as opposed to enforcing regulations on care givers where there have been no complaints about them. In most cases, we tried to find out if there had been complaints against family day home operators. The complaints were by some parents who said there were too many kids there and they felt they were not getting quality care, which is a reasonable complaint. Other than that, there were no complaints about the safety of children or other issues.
As a parent, my feeling is that some responsibility has to rest with us as parents. If some of us do not do a good job of that, I do not think the government should be the one to make that judgment. That should be done by other than the government.
I hope I answered your question.
Mr. Lang: I would like to direct a question to either Mr. Kobayashi or Ms. Wiens with respect to affordability.
How much do they pay per child for day care now?
Ms. Wiens: I pay $200 for my six year old daughter and $300 for my four year old son. The rate is the same as when I first put them in the day home.
Mr. Kobayashi: I am currently paying $300 for each of my twin daughters. We got a reduction from the regular price because we were placing two children in the same home. It is called a double discount. For my other child, we pay $375 a month in a child care centre during the summer and $135 a month for after-school care. If I might add, in my particular day home, when you place your child there, the rate is established and it does not change until you move your child out of there, and that is something that certainly helps. With the day care centre I use, I get a notice saying, Sorry, your rates have to go up. This day home operator, who happens to be Ms. Thompson, cuts that kind of a nice deal with the parents to keep our kids there, which is a nice personal touch and we appreciate it as parents. That is what we currently pay.
Mr. Lang: I would like to just pursue this question of affordability. With the act the way it is being presented and the implications of the act, I would like to ask the parents again if there have been indications that the rates will be increased and, if so, have any projected costs been given to you in view of the fact that the spaces will be restricted to eight or six?
Ms. Wiens: I have nothing definite on what the rates will be, because it will depend on whether Diane chooses to hire an after-school helper and how much she has to pay that person. I do not want to move my daughter, who is in after-school care. So, if it means that Diane chooses only to take the eight children and not hire an after-school worker, I would be looking at a full-time rate for my daughter. I do not know what the rate would be under the new act because Diane presently takes some part-time and after-school children and her full-time kids. I do not know if she has worked out the costs yet. Maybe ask her.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps it is unfair to ask that right now, but all indications seem to point at an increase in rates if the act goes in the way it is. I guess I would like to ask maybe Ms. Thompson if any other day home operators have indicated that to her? What is her opinion in view of her knowledge of the act?
Ms. Thompson: I do not understand. Are you directing a question to me as to whether or not my rates are going up?
Mr. Lang: Yes.
Ms. Thompson: I do not know yet because if the act goes through tomorrow, I have one after-school child who I am going to have to hire help for, so it is either hire somebody, at $7 an hour, or not keep that child. I do not know if that parent is going to be willing to pay $7 an hour for after-school care but you could ask her. If I knew I was always going to have four children after school, I would not object to hiring the staff, but what about if I only have one? I do not take school children unless they are older brothers and sisters of younger ones that I have in that facility.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have been a parent for 32 years, as an active parent to my own children and now my grandchild. I have gone through the day care process so I understand the kind of care that they do provide. I was a little bit confused as to some of the statements that were made, one by Ms. Thompson, where she said that some parents, some care givers can care for children better than others. Then Mr. KobAyashi said that it should not be up to the government to decide who could care for children, whether there was some abuse of maybe somebody looking after a number of children and children sitting watching TV all day, so that you would know where they are. I am a little bit concerned about the number of children and the kinds of activities that those children get into when they are being cared for, because they are all not the same; they do not all react the same. I would like to know from someone in the panel: how do you perceive that the person who cares for the child is the proper person to care for, as you think you are suggesting, 12 people? Who would determine that? If some people can care for 12 children better than others, and somebody else may not be as qualified or does not have the capacity to care for six children - who decides that? I did not understand what you were saying because if we do not have the kind of legislation to protect some of those children, who would determine that?
Ms. Thompson: I do not know who should determine it but under the way the act is written, my 23 year old daughter could go down and get a licenCe and look after eight children. There is no way that she is capable of looking after eight children. Who would put restrictions on her? If she is capable of looking after eight - heavens, I should be able to have 15.
Ms. Wiens: I guess this is maybe where it comes back to the parents. One of the recommendations for amendment we had made to the government was that maybe there could be some sort of avenue for parents, all the parents and the day home operators, say at a family day home, to make an application to the department. This goes back to Mr. Peniketts point about ratios being the norm. If that is the case, then, maybe at that point you set the ratios and you say that is the middle ground and then we could make an applications to the director, to the board, to whomever, and show who the care giver was, what the facility was like, have a tour, meet the children and the parents - whatever. If all the parents agreed, then an exception could be made. Maybe it is only for one child; we are not saying for sure that it should be four, but that there be some flexibility in the act.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The problem I have with what Ms. Thompson just said is that under the amendment proposed by your group, Ms. Thompsons 23 year old daughter would be able to take 12 kids. Ms. Thompson is arguing that her 23 year old daughter is not capable of looking after eight, but under the amendment proposed she will be able to take 12. I have a lot of problem with that because if someone is marginally capable of looking after eight, to suggest that we loosen the standards so they can look after 12 is inviting disaster.
The question I want to ask Ms. Wiens - because you made the point first about the excellent care giver being able to look after 12 - how does even the excellent care giver get 12 children out of a house in the case of a fire?
Ms. Wiens: I have many thoughts on that question, one being that there are fire standards that are met as well. I know that for different emergencies Diane has a plan.
It is a very difficult question to answer because I do not know where the fire has started or anything. You can speak to the children and they walk out the door. I do not know how to respond to your question because of all the unknowns.
Mr. Phelps: As I understand it, the group before us has met with the government and made several potential amendments. The gist of one was that there be a cap on the part-time kids, the after-school kids - the kids who would only be there less than three hours in the day. As well, the amendment they were thinking about would require the written consent of parents utilizing the family service. That, to me, seems to respond to the issues raised by Mr. Penikett in his question about how we determine whether some are capable of handling more than the eight maximum that was proposed by the people here and their group.
Do the parents in the group feel, in their particular situations and having carefully studied the day home their children are going to, that most parents would probably go along with written consent? Could they envisage in their own minds situations where parents would not go along with written consent to increase the cap?
Mr. Kobayashi: In response to that, in the particular day home my children are in, which is Ms. Thompsons, the parents and kids all know each other. A situation we want to avoid is the requirement of written consent, and have one parent who does not agree but feels pressured to sign the consent because they want to protect their space, and that sort of thing.
Yes, as a parent, I have a concern with respect to written consent. I do not want to be pressured if I do not want another child or two there. When we are speaking of the general situation in the home, where all the parents can communicate with each other, and we can say we know the child who is going to be there, we know why that child is going to be there, we know for what period of time that child is going to be there, those things could be considered.
That allows some flexibility with the consent of the parents in those certain areas. That is the type of flexibility we would like.
In response to Ms. Joes question in terms of the number of children or care givers, sure, I have concerns, too. That is why I did not say, I need my kid in day care, so I picked up the Yellow Pages, phoned the day care centre and dropped my kid off there. I am not saying there are not parents who will do that. I am not saying there are family day homes that may not be providing quality or adequate or safe care. That is the risk we take.
The parents have to take the major responsibility for making that decision.
Mr. Phelps: My other question had to do with the issue of the older kids who come to a family day home after school, and the situation where those kids have been going to that day home since they were very young and have brothers or sisters at the day home. In discussions with some parents, I have been told that, rather than being more of a problem - as is the experience in an institutional setting - where there is a family atmosphere and the kids are used to each other, some people have suggested to me the situation is not harder to control and manage, but easier.
What do the witnesses have to say about that proposition?
Ms. Wiens: The question is whether or not the after-school kids are less work than more work?
Mr. Phelps: Yes, that when you have the older kids brought into the environment, the ratio should drop because it makes the whole group harder to handle. I am curious as to whether or not that is the experience in the extended family setting, as I understand a family day home is.
Ms. Wiens: When the older kids come home from school, they organize all sorts of things with the younger children. The ages in a family day home vary. It is not all two or three year olds. It is probably a two, three, four or five. The older kids usually play school with them, or they play house. The older kids do different activities with the younger children. That stimulation, or contact, is just as important and valid as the care givers contact with the younger children. My son knows how to spell his name and count, and he has learned it from the older kids who play school with him and make crafts with him. The kids are all together and help each other out with it. They are a big help, because they like to be and because they learn from doing that.
Mr. Nordling: I have two short questions. I am concerned about the effect this act will have over the long term. I am mostly concerned with the fact the family day home numbers are going to be enshrined in the act. In setting these family day home numbers, the prime concern is with respect to the safety of the children. Is anyone on the panel aware of statistics or studies done in the Yukon with respect to safety and/or quality in family day homes and how these relate to the number of children being cared for in those family day homes?
Mr. Kobayashi: When this entire issue came up, we tried to get that information. Nobody has it. Nobody has a record of complaints or problems. The response from the department was they were not really regulated, and there were a lot of unlicensed facilities, so there was no legitimate record of safety problems or issues within the family day homes. The general information we got is there have been no complaints of safety problems, nor have there been any instances of injuries or problems with children. We could not find a record of it anywhere.
Mr. Nordling: Would the panel feel more comfortable with the family day home numbers being in the regulations, where they could be reviewed on an ongoing basis and changed more easily? In some cases, they could possibly be more restricted, while being more liberal in others.
Mr. Kobayashi: Yes, absolutely, and the reason for that is that this is a new act and one that is very important to me, as a parent, and that we may find that eight preschool children are just too many. We might find that six, as is in the old act, is where the full-time, preschool children should be kept. We may find that two infants are two many. We may find that, in a family day home, if you are going to have infants, you have got to have a separate infant care area.
There are so many different things that could happen, in terms of the impact of the this act and the safety and the quality of the care for our children, that it certainly makes more sense to me that the numbers in terms of ratios would be open to where our family day home parents or different people could be involved on some type of consultation basis, or advisory basis, to say, how are things are going, or recommendations from the department saying look, this is not working.
The response that we have received to this time is that they are defining a day home within the act. From our perception, the family day home is not only being defined but the regulations for those family day homes are being defined. We feel that it would be better put into the regulations, certainly in the initial period of the implementation of this act, where we are looking at a different process of change versus change in legislation.
Mrs. Firth: I have a couple of quick questions for Diane Thompson, who is the president of the Family Day Home Association. Some time ago, her organization made a submission to the government. It was quite a lengthy one, about 11 pages of recommendations for change to the whole child care system within Yukon. Did the organization ever hear back from the government? Were any of the recommendations ever acted on or responded to?
Ms. Thompson: We did get a letter saying that our recommendations would be considered. Nothing was ever followed up on.
Mrs. Firth: My other question: the Family Day Home Association also made representation to the government, I believe, to have representation on the Child Care Advisory Board. Did the government respond and was the response favourable?
Ms. Thompson: Yes, I did send a letter to Margaret Joe at that time and did get a reply saying that at the moment there was no vacancy for me there but that they would keep my name on a list.
Mrs. Firth: How long ago was that?
Ms. Thompson: Approximately two to two and one-half years ago.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I just have one question to put to Mr. Kobayashi. In his last statement he seemed to indicate a change in his position. As I understood it, his position before was that a change in clause 7 of the act meant looser standards. As he has just articulated, I understand he is now proposing that in fact the standards not be in clause 7 at all, but be in the regulations. Am I correct in that?
Mr. Kobayashi: Yes. We would much rather see clause 7 in regulations. In my past experience, and I know Mr. McDonald is aware of this, when we had the green paper on recreation, for example, we had a problem with the legislation that was a recommended change in recreation and there were some areas of recreation that were not working. We waited a long time, almost a year, to get that legislation changed. In the case of child care, if we recognize a problem and need to see a change is done, the consultative process within that change, I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, could be more easily and quickly accommodated if it was in regulations versus legislation.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Just two quick questions: there was a case made a couple of times by members of the panel that the responsibility rests with the parents to make decisions. I agree with that general philosophy, but I wonder if there is really any choice available to them. As I understand the situation at this time, there are not enough day home operations to meet the demand. So for a parent who currently has two children in a day home operation and say there are eight children and the operator says, I am going to take two more starting tomorrow, you may have a personal concern that that would be possibly too many kids for the operation, and you would like to pull your children out of there, is there really much of a choice to enable a parent to take their children to another operation?
Ms. Wiens: I might be faced with the choice of having to move my daughter if this act goes through and Diane chooses not to take after-school kids with the limit of the other children allowed.
I would put my child probably in an unlicensed home - a legal one - rather than put her in a child care centre, because I want her to still be in a family environment. I do not want her to be at school for that many hours in a day. All I could do is call and interview people. Perhaps in my daughters class there is a girl whose mother would be willing to look after one child and will not affected by licensing.
You are asking a question that is difficult to answer. We are just hearing that there is a shortage, but all we can do is ask around.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The situation is fairly serious and it is pretty tight for accommodations. In your opinion, is the lack of choice having an effect on there being perhaps very few complaints being made about some of these operations. I am wondering if the lack of choice to send your child to another operation is the reason you hear so few complaints about some day home operations.
Ms. Wiens: I would not think so. I cannot remember the numbers you used, but one of the things that would be very possible would be for the child care coordinators to interview parents. It is also a parental responsibility to have some communication to find out about the facilities and those kinds of things. I would think the director should be able to make some decisions if he feels a parent is being forced into a situation that is not a good one. I am quite willing to take part in whatever is necessary to get the best quality care for my kids and if it means taking part in meetings, or writing letters, or being involved somehow, I am quite willing to do that.
Chair: We will take a final question.
Mr. Lang: I would like to direct a question to both of the family home operators. I would start with Ms. McKeddie. One of the concerns that has been expressed to us is the implication that the act could well mean fewer spaces being available to parents. I think that is a concern for all of us.
In view of the fact that the numbers are outlined as they are in the act, is this going to cause you as operators to provide less service to fewer children? What is the implication of the act to your facility?
Ms. McKeddie: If this act is passed the only thing I am going to be able to do is close down. For the last four years I have been caring for six full time children under the age of six and I have two school-age kids. If this act is passed I will only be able to take in four. It will not be financially possible for me to stay open.
Mr. Lang: Is this because of the section where your own children would be taken into account in the numbers?
Ms. McKeddie: That is what I do not understand. You are saying that by placing it up to eight children that you are increasing spots. I do not believe you are because now you do not include your own. In the present act we can take up to six full-time children under the age of six but you do not have to include your own children. In my case, under the new act I am obviously going to have a baby under the age of 18 months and I have a four year old I am going to have to count. So because I am going to have one under the age of 18 months I am automatically knocked down to only being able to care for six kids, and two are going to be my own, and there is no possible way I will be able to stay open just taking in four. This concerns me because I am not going to be able to find day care for my infant or my school child. My daughter starts school in September.
Mr. Lang: I would like to direct this question to Ms. Thompson. We have not had a definitive answer on the after-school kids who, if they do not have care after school, are referred to as latchkey children.
In her knowledge of other day home operators as well as herself, does she see implications in the legislation that there will be very few spaces available to after-school children if this legislation, as outlined, passes?
Ms. Thompson: Right now, I do not have any infants in my facility. That is not because I do not want any. I have had several calls in the last couple of weeks but, knowing this new act was being proposed, I did not want to take a baby and, a month later, give notice.
If the act goes through, I will no longer take infants. I will only take from 18 months to five years of age. I am not even sure I will take after-school, since, if I only have one after-school, I will have to hire staff.
It has been indicated to me by several other family day homes that they will not offer an infant, after-school or drop-in service. Some of them do not offer these services now, but this act is going to be here for a long time.
Chair: I would like to take this opportunity to thank the witnesses for appearing in the House today. They can be excused.
Mrs. Firth: Before the witnesses leave, on behalf of the Members of the Legislative Assembly, I would like to commend the witnesses for their testimonies today, thank them for appearing, and tell them they have all done exceptionally well and can now go away and plan their next strategy.
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will take a five minute break.
Chair: We would like to welcome the witnesses. The witnesses appearing today are Rosemary Zenovitch, Gail Trujillo, Diane Gow and Elaine Paddon.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I wonder if I could begin questions of these witnesses with a question to Gail Trujillo. I would say welcome to the witnesses and if nobody will mind, remark what a civilizing effect the presence of citizens has on this Chamber.
If Ms. Trujillo would permit, I would like to ask a bit of a long and involved question. She is the executive director of the Child Development Centre and I know is an expert in the area of early childhood education. I would like to ask her about her qualifications and her professional experience and ask her to comment if she could, briefly, on the child care needs children and particularly infants and preschoolers, and the consequences of not having certain standards, and if she could refer us here in the Legislature to any published research in this area, and if she might, if she could, comment in terms of the group size and staff ratios and her opinion about the numbers in the act and whether these are matters that, in terms of licensed institutions, we can leave entirely up to the parents and whether these are standards that should be in law. If that is not too involved a question, I wonder if I could ask her to respond to that.
Ms. Trujillo: I think the first part of the question by Mr. Penikett was about my background and my professional experience. My professional academic training includes a masters degree in early childhood special education from the University of Oregon, which I finished in 1983. I have been taking doctoral courses at the University of Alberta in the field of developmental psychology, off and on since 1984.
My professional experience includes being associated and affiliated with the Child Development Centre since 1979 when it first began operation. I have been executive director there since 1984. Some of my other professional experience includes teaching classes in the early childhood program at Yukon College, since 1984 as well. The main courses that I do teach there are Child Development I and Child Development 2, as well as exceptional children courses. Last year, the Child Development 1 course added 40 hours of infant care curriculum to it, which I was responsible for writing and developing, and implementing as well.
Some of my other experiences, as far as child care goes, which I believe has added to my knowledge about children, is I am one of 15 children. I have 10 younger brothers and sisters and have changed a lot of diapers in my time.
To address the second part of Mr. Peniketts question, dealing with what some of the needs are of children, he asked me to be brief - I think that it is hard to be brief about what children need but dealing mostly infants, I think there are a lot of issues on what infants need. Drawing upon some of the research, especially by J. Belski, which was published in 1988, which mostly summarized quite a bit of the infant day care experience and what is needed for infants, focused on some of the most critical areas that would have an effect on infants lives and those would be the competencies of infants as well as adult/child ratios, which leads to the importance of adult/child interactions, the physical environment that is needed, the daily routine that is needed, the curriculum that is needed, primarily for infants. Most of that research suggests that the ideal ratio for any infant is one on one, based on the fact that infants thrive on human interaction, and to have human interaction, obviously you need adults in your environment, although the acceptable ratio, especially by the National Association for the Education of Young Children is one to three for infants. Some of the most important needs of infants, especially according to people like Erik Erikson, would be that trust is developed in that first year of life.
The social and emotional development of infants is very important, and if that trust is not established within the first year of life, that can have damaging effects on children as they grow. They turn out to be adults and get into a pattern, have children and that pattern continues.
There is certainly something to be said about infant stimulation. With larger ratios you certainly can provide stimulation. You can have lots of babies in front of mobiles and whatnot; however, the most important thing for infants is human interaction.
Moving into what toddlers and preschoolers need, I suppose anybody who has raised a toddler knows they are in their autonomous stage, and the me do it stage, and are striving for independence. That takes time and patience so again that would call for low ratios to allow for infants to be independent, to allow for somebody to have the time for them to learn about their self-identity, to learn their self-concept. Once they hit the preschool age they are definitely are a little bit more independent.
The last part of the question was about the consequences of not having ideal ratios. I think that you are denying the rights of a child to be a child. It was interesting to listen to a lot of the previous comments and nobody really focused on the rights of the child, what they are entitled to in life: to be children and to have their needs met. Some of the other consequences that studies certainly support are that children who do not have their basic needs met end up having emotional problems as they grow older.
Mr. Lang: I am wondering if each of the witnesses could introduce themselves and give some background because I am not sure who you are. Perhaps the Government Leader has something to say on that.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would concur with the suggestion. The other panelists introduced themselves. Perhaps I can facilitate that process by asking a general introductory question, as I did with Ms. Trujillo, of Rosemary Zenovitch who is here. Maybe I could ask her to introduce her observations on this act by asking this question: recently you wrote me a letter on this bill as a family day home operator and expressed yourself very strongly on the question of the standards as a family day home operator. Could you summarize your perception on the matter, and accepting Mr. Langs comment, perhaps the other two panelists, Diane Gow and Ms. Paddon could do the same thing.
Chair: I would like to remind the Members again to make remarks through the Chair. It is the using of the words you and your and that kind of thing.
Ms. Zenovitch: I operate a family day home. I will have operated for two years in June. Yes, I did write a letter to Mr. Penikett and I also submitted it to the newspapers and sent a copy to the list of licensed family day homes. I was concerned about the article that was in the newspaper on Friday. It seemed to me the public was getting the idea that Ms. Thompson, the president of the Yukon Family Day Home Society, was representing the family day homes. My understanding from a meeting with the family day homes and Ms. Debbie Mauch was that we felt we had a problem agreeing with the ratios and after-school care.
At that time, no one felt they could not live with this act if it did not go through. No one felt they reacted strongly to fight it. We had reported back to Ms. Thompson that we understood her feelings and, if she felt she wanted to go for it, she should go for it but, please, at no time give the impression she was representing us. I have that impression, so I have made myself clear.
I did a quick telephone survey on April 24, so I could be accurate when I responded to what has been said. It has been thought that the rates are going to increase, that children are going to be booted out of these family day homes. There is not going to be a place for after-school care.
I asked very specific questions that would identify the area where this came from. I found it really surprising, because it did not confirm what has been represented.
I contacted 10 family day homes out of the 12 on the list I had. The first question I asked was, Are you a member of the Yukon Family Day Home Society? Ten of the 10 said no, they were not aware of the societys existence until the proposed Child Care Act was made public. I asked, If the proposed act goes through, how and will it affect your services offered? Seven of the 10 said no effect; three of the 10 said yes, the act does affect them in offering after-school care.
I asked, Will you need to raise your rates due to this new act? Seven of the 10 said no; one of the 10 said yes, in after-school rates, to accommodate the hiring of additional staff. There is no existing after-school program in Porter Creek. One of the 10 said maybe, and one of the 10 said they were considering it.
I asked, Will you stop taking infants due to the number and age limitations stipulated in the proposed act? Eight of the 10 said no, they do not take infants now, and that is by preference. One of the 10 said no; she currently offers infant care exclusively, and the ratio will not change. One of the 10 said yes, and this operator currently has two of her own infants. Because of this, she does not accept more, but she stated the new act will definitely prevent her from taking any infants in the future.
I asked, Will you be forced to close your family day home if this act passes? Nine of the 10 said no; one said maybe. As an asterisk to this question: one operator has given notice of closing, while four others are considering closing within a year, but all the reasons are unrelated to the new act. All confirm that if they close, it is not due to the restrictions.
The last question is, Will this new act limit or force your choices in the services you wish to give to the public? Eight of the 10 said no, two said yes.
I really felt that it is important in this survey that the questions were specific enough that it identified the area. If someone were to call me, I do not take infants or provide after-school care. That is choice. It has nothing to do with the current act or the one that is proposed now. If someone were to call me and ask me if I take infants, naturally I will say no. I have been specific enough in my answers to all inquiries of service that I start at the age of 18 months.
I have had parents call me asking for after-school care or even full-time care and the child has been five or up to seven years of age. I have honestly stated to the parents that I did not feel that I could meet that childs needs, because of the age, the age-appropriate materials and activities needed; the child would not be happy with me. I always ask the parents if they have a list of the local family homes and day care centres. If they do not, I refer them to Debbie Mauch to get the list. I try to be as informative as I can be to the parent. I think that is all I can say.
Ms. Gow: My name is Diane Gow. I have had, first and foremost, 22 years experience as a mother, being a parent of two children. I have also, for 12 years, directed a child care centre in Whitehorse. For that 12 years, I have also been an active member of the Yukon Child Care Association. I have also, for the past five years, been taking courses on early childhood development.
As president of the Yukon Child Care Association, I have been very active in the last 12 years - not always in the position of president - in lobbying government for quality child care for children and fighting for regulations, standards and child/staff ratios such as this act portrays now because of the need for quality care for our children and to ensure that they are receiving what they should.
Ms. Paddon: I have been invited here today as a parent of two school-aged boys, one who is in kindergarten and requires part-time day care and the other who is eight and one-half and requires after-school care. My academic background is in psychology and I am a social worker. I have a keen interest in ensuring that there are standards for quality care for all children.
Mr. Lang: I would like to direct a question to Ms. Zenovitch, if I could, on her survey.
One of the previous witnesses who does run a day care indicated that if the act passes as it is and with the implications to her particular day home, she will be shutting her doors.
That is obviously going to have an effect on the number of spaces, whether it be six or eight spaces. If that does occur - whether it be two or three different cases such as this, and not necessarily shutting doors but not taking after-school students, and this type of thing - who is going to take care of these children?
Ms. Zenovitch: My own personal response to that is that if this person feels she is going to close her family day home, that is her choice. For me, the act does not affect my services, and it is not going to change it economically for me. I have to ask this person what her needs are and her real reason for closing.
Mr. Lang: She is obviously in a different situation. My chief concern is for the children and the parents of those children. Where do those children go if we have one day home operator closing and, as a result of the act, a number of others will not be taking after-school children. Where do they go?
Ms. Zenovitch: To be more specific about your question, we could go back and forth all day on a supposing situation. The woman has not said she will definitely close, so it is a real what if. She has not given notice. She has said, if this goes through. That is an if question, and we could really go back and forth on that supposition.
If she, or anyone else, were to give notice, they would contact the local family day homes and day care settings. Yes, any time anybody closes, or anyone says their service is full and they cannot take on another child - whether it is a family day home or day care - it is an imposition for a parent to find a day care centre or a family day home.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have a supplementary question for Ms. Zenovitch on that point.
Ms. McKeddie indicated she might close because her two children would have to be included in the numbers under the proposed standards. To your knowledge, is there anybody in Whitehorse who is operating a family day home with four youngsters under 18 months and operating a viable family day home on that basis?
Ms. Zenovitch: Yes, there is one who is exclusively dealing with infants. She has a ratio of one to four. I do not know if I should identify her or not. The other family day homes do have younger children, but I do not know of one that deals just with infants. I think this lady is the only one, of the family day homes I talked to. I found it interesting when the term infant was used. It has to be realized refers to under 18 months. During the survey, when the family day home operators said they had infants, I asked them what age, and they were at least two years old. That is over the 18 months limit, so it is not going to affect them.
When I asked if they planned to take children under 18 months, some said no, because they realized it was a lot of work, and they also realized their own personal limitations. When I asked the ones that had said yes, that this act may infringe on that, I asked them again if they had any future plans, or because I have asked this question was that the reply? No one could definitely say that they had planned or had a date set that that is what they wanted to do.
Those options do not get considered with a family day home operator or a day care centre until a parent phones and is expressing a need for day care service and what the age of the child is.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to pursue that line of questioning with Ms. Trujillo. I would appeal here to Ms. Trujillos expertise in this area. The suggestion was made by a member of the previous panel that it was somehow appropriate for the Yukon to have more lax or relaxed standards because the standards elsewhere in the country were not being enforced. I would like to ask Ms. Trujillo if she has any knowledge about enforcement elsewhere, and, too, how much of a difference would it make to young children if the care giver aggregate ratio was one to 12, which has been recommended in the proposed amendment, as opposed to the one to eight maximum which is contemplated in this act.
Ms. Trujillo: In response to the first part of Mr. Peniketts question, I do not have up-to-date knowledge on the enforcement of standards in other provinces.
Answering the second part of the question, I think there would definitely be a big difference in the effects on children in the ratio of one to 12 versus a ratio of one to eight. The effect would be greater given the age of the children. It was interesting to hear that somebody said they could competently take care of eight children at one time. I find that incredible to meet the needs of the children. They may be doing something wonderful for themselves, but I am not quite sure what they would be doing for the children. Again I think that is the issue. What are the rights of the children? How are their needs going to be met? One person meeting the needs of eight children is - I do not see how it can be done effectively.
Ms. Hayden: My question is for Ms. Paddon. I would like to know, as a parent, what kinds of child care facilities you have used and what you saw important about them, and what you looked for in child care for your children, and if you have opinions about ratios of staff to children.
Ms. Paddon: I have used a number of options as day care for my children. I would suspect that, because of my training in psychology, I believe very strongly in having a lot of one-to-one interaction, in particular with regard to infants and toddlers. I would certainly, in light of that, support having lower ratios, so that could be encouraged and promoted. Because of that, and my strong belief in having the one-to-one attention as infants, I was in the fortunate position where my husband and I hired a nanny to actually live in our home and provide care in our home, as a member of our family; an extended family member. That was when the children were younger. When I returned to work after the birth of my second son, I proposed a job-share with the department that I worked for, which was accepted. In order to have more time with my two children at that time, I worked out an arrangement with my co-worker, that she would care for the children the days I worked and I would care for her children. So I have had experience caring for three children under five at home, as well as one child after school. I found that more than enough, in terms of numbers.
Once I returned to work full-time, and as my children were older - my youngest was four at that point in time - I looked to a family day home, because I thought that would be a really nice compromise that would give him the interaction with other children, which I felt he needed developmentally at that time. He was ready for more group interaction and, as well, it would give him the family-like atmosphere and environment, which I think is very important for children of that age.
So we were very fortunate to find a family day home where the woman who ran it was a primary school teacher who had chosen to stay home with her twins. Unfortunately, she decided to close in December to accept a position at my childrens school, which was unfortunate for us but fortunate for the school, because she is highly regarded. Now, my youngest goes to a larger day care centre, which he is really loving, again because he has the interaction with other children, but he also has the attention from a leader. They have leaders for different age groups. Again, they have maintained the standards that I think are important to give the children what they need.
My eldest son, who is in grade three, now goes to my neighbours after school, which works out really well for us and for him. We were lucky she was willing to look at that option because of the lack of after-school programming in the territory.
Mr. Phelps: I have a number of questions that I am interested in following up on on a number of issues. What is of interest to me is how the debate has changed with the line of questioning and answers in the debate, if you can call it a debate. We are getting away really from the issues of safety with the children and into the concept of childrens rights as Gail has stated several times.
I am just wondering, given that we have had parents appear just prior to these witnesses speaking about their commitment to their kids and how they prefer that they continue to go to the family day homes they are going to now, that they think it quite appropriate with eight kids that their children attend their present day homes.
I am rather curious if it is the thesis of Gail Trujillo that the childrens rights would be such that the parents wishes ought not to be adhered to in that situation.
Ms. Trujillo: I am not sure I understood your question. Could you repeat it?
Mr. Phelps: I can perhaps be a little more clear. I understood you to say that the kind of care and attention with regard to the early years of these children was such that it would be inappropriate and contravening their rights as children to have them in a setting where there are eight children being cared for by one care giver. Your thesis was not based on safety, as I understood it, but was based on the issue of the kind of attention and learning activities each child would receive. Correct me if I am wrong.
Ms. Trujillo: I do not think they are mutually exclusive by any means. When it gets down to safety, it would be a childs right as well to be in a safe environment. Of course, the parents would be looking for something that would be meeting their childs needs, and that is not exclusive of what those childs needs actually are. I am still not sure what your direct question is.
Mr. Phelps: I understand the witness thesis would be something like this: where the parents preference would be that their children be lodged in a day home with a large number of kids, let us use a maximum number of eight under the attention of one care giver, and all the kids are preschool, my understanding is that your concern was based on your expertise of learning activities and needs of the child on a psychological basis and the stimulation needs and so on. You will have to forgive me as I am not at all learned in these matters, but your thesis was that there is a limit where the childs rights dictate that the state should intervene to ensure that children are not placed in such an unstimulating environment.
The child has rights to a better learning situation than the parents would like in a home that had eight preschool kids. Is that a misstatement of what you said earlier, because that is what I understood.
Ms. Trujillo: I do not mean to sound difficult, but I am having a hard time following him.
Yes, I did speak to childrens rights, and I feel that they are entitled to quality care. I am not sure if your question is: does their quality care, or their right to quality care, override what their parents would like for them?
Mr. Phelps: Yes, we were talking about the maximum number of kids to be allowed in the care of one care giver. Perhaps I am having an off-day, but I understood your thesis to be that the children had rights and, for that reason and because it would not allow them full development, it was inappropriate that one person be looking after eight kids.
Chair: I would like to remind the Members to go through the Chair. It is the using of you and your, and that type of thing.
Ms. Trujillo: I can acknowledge to Mr. Phelps that I did speak to childrens rights, yes. That childrens needs are paramount over the years, yes, that is definitely my thesis.
Mr. Phelps: That was your thesis about the limitations placed on the numbers of children who ought to be in one care givers care. Is that not what the witness was saying?
Ms. Trujillo: I certainly am basing childrens needs on, and paralleling them to, numbers, and that their needs can be best met by certain numbers.
Mr. Phelps: The previous witnesses, who are parents, were saying, in their opinion and with their consent, they want a certain care giver to look after their children, even though it means a total of eight or more children. You are saying that, at some point, the childs rights at some point outweigh the parents responsibilities, and that ought not to be allowed. Was that not the witness thesis?
Ms. Trujillo: I do not recall making a direct statement such as that. I am certainly encouraging that childrens rights should be looked at and weighed, perhaps as evenly, in the issue.
Mr. Nordling: I have several questions. My first question is: did any of the members of the panel play any role in setting any of the numbers in the proposed act for family day homes?
Ms. Gow: Yes, we did. Through the Yukon Child Care Association we have strongly worked and lobbied for these numbers. In fact, for the family day homes our recommendation was that there should be no more than six children, or that the maximum number would be six children in a family day home. The new act has increased that to eight. In other areas, the staff ratios are basically what we felt were good staff ratios.
Something else I would like to state at this time is that when we talk about child/staff ratios and quality child care, to us there is no difference whether that child is at a family day home, whether that child is at a day care centre, or whether that child is in a home that is offering day care out of their house, or whether it is an unlicensed care situation where somebody is taking in two or three children. Those are all options that should be there for parents. When they start offering a service to the public I think it is really important that it be monitored and that those staff ratios have to be there, particularly for safety. As somebody who has worked for the past 12 years in child care, I feel that no person can keep their sanity and work day after day with eight children, two being infants who require maximum time; you cannot address the needs of a wide age group of children. When you are working with older children - you may have four or five year olds - you can work on a one-to-eight staff ratio. But, if you start taking two babies, two two year olds, and three or four five year olds and start trying to meet their needs as one individual, it is impossible. These ratios are really important.
Mr. Nordling: I take it from the non response from the other three panel members that they did not play a direct role in the setting of these family day home numbers. I will go on to my second question and they can correct me if they would like in response to this question.
My question is that, in setting these family day home numbers, the primary concern of government - and I think most others involved - was safety, and secondly, quality was important. I would like to know if any one of the panel members is aware of any statistics in the Yukon or studies that were done with respect to safety and quality in family day homes, and how those statistics or studies relate to the safety and the number of children who were being cared for in those family day homes that were studied.
Ms. Gow: Can you come back at us with that question again? We are not quite sure what you are asking for.
Mr. Nordling: What I am asking for is if when, for example, you decided or suggested and lobbied for the numbers that you wanted, were they based on any studies that were undertaken in the Yukon? There have been family day homes operating for quite a number of years in the Yukon, and I just wondered if any one of you had looked at statistics with respect to safety in those family day homes, related to the number of children that they were caring for.
Ms. Gow: The numbers that were reached and the people involved who are included - eight or nine family day home members who are members of the Yukon Child Care Association - definitely spoke from their view as care givers. I do not think there have been any studies done in the Yukon on the type of care or numbers of anything else, that I am aware of. Any of the input that the Yukon Child Care Association has comes from parents, family day homes, child care centres and concerned citizens.
Ms. Paddon: I am not aware of any studies in the Yukon, or elsewhere, for that matter, but I would like to just suggest that if one were to review the literature, whether it is with regard to child care or the education of children within the school system, the literature supports the fact that there is a direct correlation between lower ratios and the success and quality of care, whether it be in a child care setting or the success of children within a school program. I think an analogy would be the staffing formula that is used in the school system. The ideal for kindergarten would be one to 15. It can be up to 25 but even most teachers would support having a lower ratio, to promote the childs development.
Mr. Nordling: One of my concerns, as a legislator having to make a decision on these family day homes numbers and putting them in the act, is that we are not relying on the experts. The Minister stood up last night and quoted numbers from all across Canada, every one of them being lower than the ratio we have set for here. There have been experts in the past, and experts are sometimes wrong. I noticed that Ms. Trujillo did not describe herself as an expert; that was done by the Minister.
Dr. Spock was a recognized expert, and his theories and thesis went out of fashion. At one time, not that many years ago, the experts said children and babies should not be held, cuddled and coddled because they would be spoiled; they should be treated like little adults. That theory has gone out, too.
I am worried that the numbers the government has chosen, and that we are being asked to enshrine in legislation, may not be ideal numbers that will last for years into the future. At the rate acts are amended, if we enshrine these numbers in legislation, they will be here for years.
I would like to direct this question to Ms. Gow and Ms. Trujillo. Do either of you agree that the numbers for family day homes we are talking about right now may even possibly be too high?
Ms. Gow: Yes, it would be ideal if those numbers could be smaller. I can understand and sympathize with parents who are looking at the possibility of having to make other arrangements for their children. I can also sympathize with parents who are constantly looking for child care for their children. As a society, and as people who are concerned about this, instead of wanting an act that increases numbers to allow for parents to have child care and perhaps forfeit the rights of the child, or a care situation that could be better with smaller numbers, we should be looking at putting options out there to encourage more people to care for children in home settings, or whatever settings parents feel they want.
Ms. Trujillo: I equally agree the ratios being recommended in the new act for family day homes are extremely liberal, giving what would be the ideal and what, based on the best of my education would allow me to believe, at this point in time, which I believe is quite current, that they should be lower than what is being proposed.
Mr. Nordling: Faced with those comments, I would like to ask if any member of the panel would feel uncomfortable if these ratios we are now talking about were put in regulations rather than in the act. In regulations they could be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and perhaps more restricted or more liberalized if we find either of those two moves is needed as we go along. I should tell you - and other Members of the House can comment on this too - that certainly if these numbers were in the regulations they would be just as enforceable, and those family day homes which breech the regulations would be just as liable, if these numbers were in the act.
Would it make any of you uncomfortable if any of these actual numbers were in the regulations rather than in the act?
Ms. Zenovitch: Yes. I have a problem with that and I am a family day home operator. It scares me that if the ratios be put into the regulations, if I have to think that about five years down the road we are going to have to question the number to increase it in the family day home or even the ratio in a child care centre, then I would have to ask what is happening in our society for our child care quality or child care services to be watered down like that. I have a real problem with that. I am not afraid to have faith in this act. I feel it is important for me as a family day home operator to have rules and regulations to keep me in control, and help me to realize my limitations. It also focuses me because it is going to help me decide which area I want to concentrate on. It is not going to be from infant to seven years old. That is a big range. I have to question the people who are questioning us now: have you ever been in a situation to understand that range?
Mr. Nordling: Could the other panel members answer that question? It is fairly important to me and my arguments that I hear from each panel member how they feel about these particular numbers being enshrined in the act as opposed to in regulations where they are subject to ongoing review. I would like one follow-up question before I am finished.
Mrs. Firth: I was not aware the Member had asked for each panel member to make a comment with respect to that question.
Chair: I believe Mr. Nordling has had his share of time and questions. We have four people in line to ask further questions.
Mr. Nordling: I will not ask any more questions. I would just ask the indulgence of the Chair that the panel be allowed to answer the one that I did ask.
Chair: I will ask the panel to answer briefly.
Ms. Paddon: I would have no problem in the numbers being in either the act or regulations. I think the converse of what the other panel member has said is that if the numbers were enshrined in regulations the reverse could happen - in five or 10 years the numbers could actually be decreased - which would be to the benefit of all. My key consideration would be that there be standards in place to ensure quality of care, wherever those standards are put.
Ms. Trujillo: I certainly can understand Mr. Nordlings concern and his lack of trust or insight into research and how things evolve over the years, so I certainly think that there should be some flexibility, and it would be sad to see anything written in stone. I guess my concern would be how one would control the least harm to children while the rest of us try to figure out what is best.
Ms. Gow: That is a question that I cannot really answer. I am not really certain of the difference between an act and a regulation or what purpose each has. I am not up on that kind of thing, so I cannot answer that question.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to pose my question to Gail Trujillo. It is with respect to childrens rights. I suppose I would like to be very basic in my question. I understand the principle that children have rights. I also understand the principle that children have parents. Those parents make choices for those children. My question to the expert is: at what point does the state intervene and say that the choices and decisions the parents are making are wrong? I think it is an important question and I would like an answer if the witness feels it is answerable.
Ms. Trujillo: I think that is a very difficult question to answer, and I think perhaps it would be most properly answered if it were directed to the state.
Mrs. Firth: I know I will not get an answer if I direct it to the state, but it really is the fundamental issue we are discussing here. We are talking about quality care and two kinds of choices of care for children. We are talking about childrens rights, so I, as a legislator, have to have confidence that parents are making good, wise choices for their children. I do in most cases, although there are exceptions, of course. Therefore, I find it a major decision for me to agree that this is the time for the state to intervene and take away those choices from the parents and their decision making responsibilities, because they are incorrect.
I almost get the feeling when the comment is made that the ratios of one to eight are too high and parents should not take their children to that kind of care giving service, that perhaps we are recommending to the state that we make that choice for the parents now because it is not in the best interest of the childrens rights. I do not know if the witness can elaborate any more or make the decision that I have to make as a legislator any easier in considering the two options you are playing off with the childrens rights versus the parents responsibilities.
Ms. Trujillo: Perhaps your question is: when would the state step in? I do not see that as the issue. I see the role of the state - the Legislature or the government - to be taking the information that is available out there, based on research and based on what is being seen about children, and doing its best to make sure that it is happening with children.
Mrs. Firth: Could the witness give me any information on just how much of a role she feels parents should provide in that kind of analysis? It is fine to take technical information that has been accumulated - statistical information - but today we have had some very interesting theories or ideas brought forward by parents. How much should those comments and those concerns of parents be taken into account when this decision is made?
Ms. Trujillo: I am sure most of the research does include the view of the parents and include surveys of parents on what parents feel is important, as well. Parents certainly have not been excluded in the decisions about what is important for children.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have three questions. I think they are brief and I would like to ask, if I could, each of the three panelists to respond.
First of all, I would like to ask the panelists if they are aware of a report from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, called Draft Criteria for High Quality Early Childhood Programs, which is cited in a number of places, including in the Cook Report, which discusses the acceptable range of staff/child ratios within group sizes - the report makes recommendations about infants aged zero to 18 months of staff ratios of one to three or one to four, and up to ranges of one to eight or group sizes of 16 for four to five year olds.
That is the first question: are they aware of that report and do they subscribe to those standards?
The second question is: is there anything about Yukon kids that is different, that would support the argument being made that the standards in the Yukon should be lower than they are in other parts of Canada, or much lower? We have already indicated that there is a compromise proposed in this act in the standards, but as you will know, an amendment has been proposed before the House already to make those standards even more lax.
Question three is on the question of law and rights, because panel members may not be aware that, as you are seeing today, it is very hard to change law, which is why the government has proposed to put the standards for family day homes in law as a definition.
The regulations could be changed any day of the week by the cabinet meeting and passing a change in regulation. On that score, our fear was that the standards could be relaxed at some point in the future without any public discussion or debate.
Knowing that, would that make any difference in terms of your recommendations on the question of putting those family day home standards into law or regulations?
Chair: We have about five minutes left, so I will ask the witness to respond briefly.
Ms. Paddon: In answer to your first question, Mr. Penikett, I am not aware of the report nor the statistics in the document you mentioned. If the stats or recommendations are such that they are suggesting a lower care giver/child ratio, I would support that from my experience as a parent and in terms of my work experience as a social worker and counsellor.
With regard to Yukon kids being different and, therefore, that supporting lower standards in the Yukon, I would propose that kids are kids anywhere in the world. All kids are the same and have the same needs. The care that is provided to children and the ratios should reflect the needs of children.
With regard to the third question or comment regarding enshrining the numbers in the act versus the regulations, I supported the notion of having the numbers in the regulations with the view that, if the numbers were to be decreased, that would be great, and it could be done very quickly. I would want public consultation and community involvement with regard to that change. If that could not happen at the cabinet level with regard to regulations, I would support having them enshrined in the act.
Ms. Trujillo: I am quite familiar with the study and ratios that National Association for the Education of Young Children has recommended. I am a member of NAYC and keep up with their journals and the information coming out of the publications. I would like to see them as the guidelines and something the Yukon would be shooting for in the future. I think they are very good ratios.
As far as differences in Yukon children, every society has its own unique characteristics, and there are different things I have noticed with Yukon children versus being raised in Detroit. Given the two areas, there are some similarities and definitely some differences. I would have to agree with Elaine Paddons comment that kids are kids, and each part of society is going to have different needs.
After recently coming back from a conference, I always think we are so unique up here after listening to what people are doing in, perhaps, L.A. and the children having to deal with more drug addictions and whatnot; everybody has their own differences.
As far as the flexibility of when things can be changed, if I understand the last part of the question, I have no problem with it being in the act if there definitely is room for change for the ratios being lowered at some point.
Ms. Gow: I am also familiar with the staff ratios and group sizes that are recommended in many of the studies, and the Cook Task Force. I also have to agree with the two previous people that children are children, regardless of culture, society or where they come from. Basically, developmentally, they grow the same. There are differences in their societies but children basically develop and go through the same stages of development. So it does not really matter whether they live in the Yukon or where they live, those needs have to be met.
One thing we should consider is that in the Yukon we do spend seven months inside where most other places get a lot more outside time. When you are looking at staff ratios, one person who perhaps has eight children and goes through two weeks of minus 40 degree weather where she cannot get them outside - go have a look at that person at the end of a day - you can tell she has had eight children who kept her busy. There are some things here that you look at that you may not consider from outside. Being in the profession and looking after those children, you do know them. Again, with the act and regulations, however the government decides to put those numbers in, I think they have to be put in so they are not easily changed so that a fairly extensive process would be necessary in order to change them to ensure the quality care is there.
Ms. Zenovitch: I agree with all three things that have been said, and I would like to add to it. I want the new child care to be in the act, I do not want it in regulations. I am familiar enough with these rates, even with my one year of early child development training, that all the rates are lower. That is telling me something. I think this act is flexible. It has made it possible for someone to open a family day home and be licensed and take one or two children but they do not have to go to a maximum number to qualify to be a licenced family day home. That has made it flexible for the person.
Chair: We have two more questioners, Ms. Joe and Mr. Phelps and then that is it.
Hon. Ms. Joe: My question is to Ms. Gow, as the acting president for the Child Care Association. I understand that Ms. Gow made a representation to the child care panel and I want to know how many group homes, family day homes and child care centres that organization represents?
Ms. Gow: I do not have those exact numbers on me. I do have the presentation that we made to the task force and there are five or six names in here that represent family day homes. There are also people involved who work in child care centres and there are also two parents who were not using centres at the time for child care.
Many of the people who made representations are care givers in child care centres or family day homes, as well as parents and concerned citizens. So there was a wide range of input in the reports we put in. We looked at all aspects.
Mr. Phelps: I have a question for Ms. Gow. Both the witnesses have said they would like to see the ratios that are described in clause 7 reduced. Right now, it provides for no more than eight preschool children where none are infants. I would like to know what they think is the best ratio, and why.
Ms. Gow: The ratios we would like to see for all family day homes are one staff member for six children. The reason for that is that in a family day home setting, one of the reasons for people wanting to use them is that if they have a very young child and older sibling, they would like to have them both in the same home. Because of the wide range of ages in a family day home, it is impossible to provide adequate care to a three month old infant and an 18 month old infant and five or six other children. Speak to any mother who has two children 15 months apart and ask her if she could handle six more children on top of that. If you are looking at eight children aged 18 months, two and one-half years and six other preschoolers, it is not feasible for one person to be able to give those children adequate care.
Ms. Trujillo: For infants, I would like to see a ratio of no more than one to three. My reasons are that infants like eye contact, infants like to be held, infants like to have their diapers changed, infants like to be fed when theyre hungry. To provide the type of nurturing and caring that infants deserve and want would be quite difficult to do if you had more than three infants per one adult at any one time.
For toddlers, I would like to see a ratio of one to four. My reasons are that toddlers like to explore, crawl on cupboards, run and be independent. To allow them to do so would be very difficult if there were more than four toddlers per one adult.
For preschoolers, I would not want to see more than one to six. My reasons are that preschoolers are getting into social and peer play. They depend a bit more on peers rather than an adult and can have some of their basic needs met in smaller groups.
Chair: I would like to thank the witnesses for appearing today. You may be excused now.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to thank the witnesses for being so patient with us and so helpful. I hope they appreciate the important part they are playing in this legislation.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to report progress on Bill No. 77, and beg leave to sit again.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered and passed the following motion, moved by Mr. Lang,
THAT Bev McKeddie, Denny Kobayashi, Pat Wiens and Diane Thompson appear as witnesses before the Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act.
It has considered and passed the following motion, moved by the hon. Mr. Penikett,
THAT at 4:00 p.m., April 26, 1990, Gail Trujillo, Rosemary Zenovitch, Diane Gow and Elaine Paddon appear as witnesses before the Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act.
Further, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 77, entitled Child Care Act, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled April 26, 1990:
Government Services: Government Contracts 1989-90 by Type (Byblow)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 26, 1990:
Details of plans of YIDC/Ice House/Chief Isaac fish processing facility in Whitehorse (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1178
Economic Development: Mines and Small Business: Salary differences, Assistant Deputy Minister of Economic Programs vs. Director of Policy and Planning (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1200
Economic Development: Mines and Small Business: Approved Business Development Fund projects with no cashflow expected in fiscal year 1989-90 (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1168
Finance: Disposition of insurance premium tax (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1271
Finance: Effect of federal budget on established program financing (even though fail-safed) (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1298