The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Human Resources Committee - Committee Room 1 (1967)

 

   HANSARD

 

NOVA SCOTIA HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

 

COMMITTEE

 

ON

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

                                                        

 

      Tuesday, August 30, 2016

 

                                                        

COMMITTEE ROOM

 

 

      Appointments to Agencies, Boards and Commissions

    & Agenda Setting

 

 

 

 

Printed and Published by Nova Scotia Hansard Reporting Services

 


 

 

 

STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES

 

 

Mr. Chuck Porter (Chairman)

Ms. Joyce Treen

Mr. Gordon Wilson

Mr. Stephen Gough

Mr. David Wilton

Mr. Eddie Orrell

Ms. Karla MacFarlane

Hon. Denise Peterson-Rafuse

Ms. Marian Mancini

 

 

In Attendance:

 

Ms. Monica Morrison

Legislative Committee Clerk

 

Ms. Nicole Arsenault

Legislative Counsel

 

 

 

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2016

 

STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES

 

10:00 A.M.

 

CHAIRMAN

Mr. Chuck Porter

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I call the committee to order this morning. I welcome everybody here, and we’ll start with introductions.

 

            [The committee members introduced themselves.]

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: We’ll start with a reminder: phones, if they’re not off, on vibrate, please, for a few minutes or so.

 

            We’ll go on to the ABCs, agency, board and commission appointments - we have a few there - and then we’ll move on to agenda setting, if that’s all right with everybody.

 

            If someone would like to move for the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Board of Governors. Mr. Wilson.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: I move that Claire Hodge be approved as governor for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Board of Governors.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is carried.

 

            The Department of Justice. Ms. Treen.

 

            MS. JOYCE TREEN: I move that Edward Cormier and Jane DeWolfe be approved as members of the Municipal Boards of Police Commissioners.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is carried.

 

            The Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Mr. Gough.

 

            MR. STEPHEN GOUGH: I move that Faten Alshazly be approved as a member of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Board of Directors.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is carried.

 

            That will be the ABCs for this morning. We’ll move on to agenda items for the coming weeks for the committee. I think you all have a list of those in front of you. So the Liberal caucus, does somebody want to - Mr. Wilson.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: I’d like to select - I believe we have three. The first would be From School to Success: Clearing the Path. The witnesses would be Duff Montgomerie, Deputy Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, and Sandra McKenzie, Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. The second would be Student Employment Programs, and the witness would be Duff Montgomerie, Deputy Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. The third would be Nova Scotia Provincial Literacy Strategy - May 2016, and the witness would be Sandra McKenzie, Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Is there any discussion? Hearing none, I guess we’ll approve those, if everyone is okay. I’ll just call for that to make sure.

 

            Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is carried.

 

            Thanks very much. For the Progressive Conservative caucus, Ms. MacFarlane.

 

            MS. KARLA MACFARLANE: Mr. Chairman, we would like to put forward Hiring Practices, with the witness being Laura Lee Langley, Commissioner of the Public Service Commission/Clerk of the Executive Council. Also, the Pictou County Injured Workers Association.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Do you have a witness for the Pictou County Injured Workers Association - do you have someone?

 

            MS. MACFARLANE: Mary Lloyd.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Is there any discussion? Mr. Wilson.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: I’m just curious as to who Mary Lloyd is.

 

            MS. MACFARLANE: She is the director for the Pictou County Injured Workers Association.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is carried.

 

            Ms. Mancini.

 

            MS. MARIAN MANCINI: We will be putting forward the topic of Nova Scotia employment trends, 2008 to 2016. The witness we would like to call is Mike Milloy, Planning and Development Officer with the Department of Finance and Treasury Board.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Is there any discussion? Mr. Wilson.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: I would like to suggest that Deputy Minister Byron Rafuse be the witness for that.

 

            MS. MANCINI: Why?

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: The question is why, Mr. Wilson, please?

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: A few questions - first, typically it’s always our practice to have a deputy minister, if possible, there to answer - getting down into the ranks and to planning officers and staff. I’m not even sure if this person is an employee at this point in time.

 

            MS. MANCINI: Two things on that. Number one, maybe we could get confirmation of that - whether Mr. Milloy is indeed - is that who you’re indicating you think may not be an employee at this time?

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: Yes, but more in particular, I think it’s more pertinent to have the deputy minister speaking on behalf of the department.

 

            MS. MANCINI: The second thing I was going to suggest is that we add the deputy minister and we have the two witnesses. Obviously if Mr. Milloy is no longer employed in that position he would be deleted from the list, but then we could have the two of them.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: Maybe I would suggest if the deputy minister felt it appropriate to have a planning and development officer there to answer those questions, we would leave it to the deputy minister.

 

            MS. MANCINI: Well, at this point it is our wish to have the individual who was representing Treasury Board. I’m not changing that position only to say that we would be agreeable to adding the deputy minister to the list.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: I would like to make a motion that it simply be the deputy minister that be there. We don’t have any problem with the topic - it’s more to have the appropriate person there speaking on the topic.

 

            MS. MANCINI: I just think what I’m putting forward is a reasonable way to resolve the issue so in the event the deputy minister is, in fact, the correct person that you’re indicating, that’s fine, we’ll get that information from him. But I’m also suggesting that we do have someone who is coming from Finance and Treasury Board. We very specifically requested to have him here. I don’t see why it would be a problem.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: I’ll make it simple for us. Our original motion would be for the NDP and Ms. Mancini to move the topic with the witness. We’ll deal with that motion first and then we’ll come back if there’s another motion to follow that. It appears we have some disagreement on who the witness might be, so why don’t we move that?

 

So I would move the NDP topic with the witness as presented by Ms. Mancini to appear. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is defeated.

 

            Mr. Wilson, you put forward a motion, if I’m not mistaken, through discussion that the witness topic, the Nova Scotia employment trends for 2008 to 2016 is okay, but with the deputy minister responsible.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: I would like to move that the topic be the same, but that the witness be Deputy Minister Byron Rafuse.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Orrell.

 

            MR. EDDIE ORRELL: The idea of the committee is that we bring in witnesses of topics that are important to the people of Nova Scotia. The NDP feel that Mr. Milloy is the man who can answer those questions and I think that’s something. If we can’t have just him alone, I think we should have the two of them because he could add clarity to some of the questions that may be asked. I would hope that the group would be open to see that the two of them would add enough clarity so that everybody understands exactly what’s going on. That’s just my two cents’ worth.

 

            MS. MANCINI: I was just going to reiterate and suggest that we have put forward an appropriate compromise. I know the amendment that’s proposed is to change the witness from Mr. Milloy to the deputy minister, but I would be seeking at this point that we have both of them. I don’t know if this is the point to seek an amendment of the amendment, but that would be what I would be putting forward.

 

            MS. MACFARLANE: I’d just like to add, very rarely do we have presenters coming in here or witnesses on their own. Most often we have three to four people here. I totally agree that the deputy minister should be here in this case, but I also believe Mr. Mike Milloy should be here as well. I think it’s a fair compromise. I think the more people we have here with knowledge and wisdom under this department will benefit all of us. So I hope that we’ll reconsider that compromise because I truly believe it’s a fair compromise.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Wilton.

 

            MR. DAVID WILTON: Does the deputy minister not have that authority to take who he wants to make a presentation to a committee like this? I don’t think it’s necessary that we get down into his department for who we want to pick to come out to give us their thoughts on things. I think it should be left to the deputy minister for sure.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Further discussion - Mr. Wilson.

 

            MR. GORDON WILSON: Maybe I could throw out a little bit of an olive branch seeing as I started all this. I mentioned earlier that at the discretion of the deputy minister, if Mike Milloy even exists in the department, it would be the consideration of the deputy to bring him here. We would put that request out from the committee, but again, it would be up to the deputy to decide that - if Mike Milloy even exists.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: Ms. Mancini.

 

            MS. MANCINI: Firstly, I’m not exactly seeing that as an olive branch, but thank you for your efforts in that regard. Leaving it to the discretion of the deputy minister I assume will mean that we will not get this person. I’ve already indicated that obviously if Mr. Milloy is no longer employed in the department then it’s a moot point. But unless we know that and have certainty on that, I would strongly advocate that we very specifically saw a need to have him here before this.

 

            In terms of my friend Mr. Wilton’s comments, it’s certainly not uncommon for the deputy minister - I see under the first Liberal one, they’re seeking to have the two deputy ministers appear on the topic. So it’s certainly not unusual to have more than one person. It suggests to me, in looking at the overall agenda, that it’s fairly wide open as to the types and numbers of witnesses, and again, it has been my experience that we’ve had several witnesses appear at times.

 

            If the name isn’t clearly stated, then I would say there is absolutely very little chance that Mr. Milloy will appear. As a safeguard, we should include him on the list. Clearly, if he’s no longer employed, then there’s nothing we can do about that. That’s obvious.

 

            MR. CHAIRMAN: We will call for the vote, then. Would all those in favour of Mr. Wilson’s motion, which was, I guess, slightly amended by way of the deputy minister - Mr. Wilson, I don’t want to put words in your mouth - but if he felt it necessary or appropriate for the request of Mr. Milloy, he would perhaps bring him. That’s the motion that’s on the table.

 

            Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

 

            The motion is carried.

 

            Our next meeting is for Tuesday, September 27th, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, and appointments of agencies, boards and commissions.

 

There being no further business, I guess we stand adjourned. Thank you very much.

 

            [The committee adjourned at 10:14 a.m.]