Legislative Assembly of Alberta The 30th Legislature
Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee
Schow, Joseph R., Cardston-Siksika (UC), Chair Jones, Matt, Calgary-South East (UC), Deputy Chair
Fir, Hon. Tanya, Calgary-Peigan (UC) Goehring, Nicole, Edmonton-Castle Downs (NDP) Lovely, Jacqueline, Camrose (UC) Nixon, Jeremy P., Calgary-Klein (UC) Pancholi, Rakhi, Edmonton-Whitemud (NDP) Sabir, Irfan, Calgary-McCall (NDP) Smith, Mark W., Drayton Valley-Devon (UC) Walker, Jordan, Sherwood Park (UC) *
* substitution for Tanya Fir
Public Service Commission Participants
Dot Ellerby Acting Director, Executive Search Jeff Steinbach Consultant, Executive Search
Shannon Dean, QC Clerk Teri Cherkewich Law Clerk Trafton Koenig Senior Parliamentary Counsel Jody Rempel Committee Clerk Rhonda Sorensen Manager of Corporate Communications Janet Schwegel Director of Parliamentary Programs Amanda LeBlanc Deputy Editor of Alberta Hansard
Transcript produced by Alberta Hansard
August 23, 2021 Child and Youth Advocate Search CY21-1
11 a.m. Monday, August 23, 2021 Title: Monday, August 23, 2021 cy21 [Mr. Schow in the chair]
The Chair: Good morning, everyone. I’d like to call this meeting of the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee to order and welcome everyone in attendance. My name is Joseph Schow. I am the MLA for Cardston-Siksika and chair of the committee. Now I would ask members that are joining us in the committee at the table to introduce themselves for the record, and then we’ll go to members who are joining us remotely. I’ll begin to my right.
Mr. Jones: Matt Jones, MLA, Calgary-South East.
Mr. Jeremy Nixon: Jeremy Nixon, MLA, Calgary-Klein.
Mr. Smith: Mark Smith, MLA, Drayton Valley-Devon.
Ms Lovely: Jackie Lovely, Camrose constituency.
Mr. Walker: Jordan Walker, MLA, Sherwood Park.
Mr. Sabir: Irfan Sabir, MLA, Calgary-McCall.
Ms Sorensen: Rhonda Sorensen, manager of corporate communications.
Ms Tischer: Lyndsay Tischer, director of human resources, LAO.
Ms Dean: Shannon Dean, Clerk.
Ms Rempel: Jody Rempel, committee clerk.
The Chair: Then we also have members who are joining us online.
Ms Goehring: Good morning. Nicole Goehring, MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs.
Ms Pancholi: Good morning. Rakhi Pancholi, MLA, Edmonton- Whitemud.
The Chair: Thank you. For the record I will note the following substitution. Mr. Walker will be substituting for Ms Fir, and it is anticipated that he will continue to do so until the session begins and the Assembly has the opportunity to consider a change in the committee membership. A few other housekeeping items before we turn to the business at hand. Pursuant to the June 30, 2021, memo from Speaker Cooper masking and physical distancing during committee meetings are no longer required; however, members and staff may choose to continue wearing masks. Please note that the microphones are operated by Hansard, so members need not turn them on and off, and committee meetings are being live streamed on the Internet and broadcast on Alberta Assembly TV. Committee members are reminded to please have your camera on when you are speaking. Please set all cellphones and other devices for the duration of the meeting to silent. We will now go to the issue of remote participation. I would note that for this first meeting of this committee and because we have members joining us remotely, we need to address this issue of teleconference and videoconferencing before continuing. As all committee members are aware, section 6 of the Legislative Assembly Act permits participation in a committee meeting “by means of telephone or other communication facilities that permit all Members participating in the meeting to hear each other if all members of the committee consent.”
As a committee we have a few options now as we have to address this matter. However, before we make the decision, I would like to remind committee members of the unique nature of a search committee. For the majority of our mandate we’ll be discussing the personal information of candidates who apply for the role of the Child and Youth Advocate. It is anticipated that with the exception of today our remaining meetings will occur almost entirely in camera, and most meeting materials will be provided in hard copy only. With this in mind, I think it is important that committee members attend our meetings in person whenever possible. However, we should also plan to accommodate occasional extenuating circumstances that could arise. Do other committee members have any thoughts regarding the use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing to participate in search committee meetings?
Mr. Jones: Just a comment to reiterate the importance of this work and the sensitivity around the materials. I think it’s very important that we all strive to be here in person. If there are exceptional circumstances, I understand – happy to support that – but I’m really reiterating the importance of being here in person. Thank you.
The Chair: Mr. Sabir.
Mr. Sabir: Thank you, Chair. I think I do understand that the committee will be doing very important work looking for the Child and Youth Advocate. I take no issue with in camera meetings, but I do think that we should leave room open, that if members are not able to come in person, they be accommodated. I think there is precedent or practice that when we were looking for an Election Commissioner back in 2018, members used to be able to participate through teleconference when they were not able to attend in person. I would, I guess, urge all members to leave room open for members to be able to participate virtually when they are not able to participate in person. That could be for many reasons: winter is coming up, we still have a pandemic to deal with, and all those things.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Sabir. I would agree that there should always be room for extenuating circumstances to be accommodated. Coming from six hours away and having already in my short term experienced potential life- altering trauma on the road, I can understand that there is a need to make room for that. For example, if there is a snowstorm in Cardston and I just couldn’t leave town, I would hate for that to make me unable to participate. With that said, I wouldn’t want the reasoning for not attending to just be out of convenience’s sake. While I do believe that the committee should always leave room for those extenuating circumstances, I also should reinforce the importance of being here in person. Does anybody else have any other comments? I do have two draft motions, one of which would need to be passed today unanimously before the meeting continues given that we do have two members who are joining us remotely.
Ms Pancholi: Mr. Chair, if I may speak?
The Chair: Ms Pancholi. Please.
Ms Pancholi: Thank you. I once again want to echo the comments from my colleague MLA Sabir and your comments as well about recognizing the importance of the work that we’re doing here and, being new to this kind of a committee, also understanding that there is some precedent for doing these meetings remotely where it seems
CY21-2 Child and Youth Advocate Search August 23, 2021
to be appropriate, especially given, as you mentioned, the continuation of the pandemic. I also would like to speak up – I just wanted to ask a question more than anything else. When we talk about extenuating circumstances and convenience, I think part of the challenge that I have with that is only as to how that will be determined. What are considered extenuating circumstances, and who will be making that determination? I raise this as I know many of us here are parents of young children, and as we go into another school year, we’re not sure exactly what will be happening in terms of absences from school. Online learning is also a potential possibility. Just even today I had the experience as a parent of trying to figure out my child care arrangement, and this is why I’m participating remotely today. I just think we need to be factoring in that many of the members have many different personal circumstances. There are times when we absolutely have to be in the Legislature, of course, but there are also times where it could be quite challenging as parents of young kids, trying to manage their schooling and being at home and just leaving that open. When we talk about extenuating circumstances, I don’t think that’s a matter of convenience. It’s sometimes a matter of a reality of working parents. I’m just putting that out there to accommodate that and get some clarity as to who will be making that determination.
The Chair: Excellent question, Ms Pancholi, and I would fully agree with you. The first role that I have in my life is as a parent. That’s the most important one. I have two motions here. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the committee as to whether or not we allow remote participation. I believe we should be allowing remote participation. I hate to sway the committee’s vote in one direction or another, but in terms of criteria there isn’t one. Actually, we spoke at length with the committee clerk’s office about this, whether there’s any way to lay that out, and frankly there just isn’t. I think it’s more just, for lack of a better term, the honour code and hoping that people understand that being here is paramount, but there are jobs more important than the ones that we’re executing today, which is as legislators, or those other ones at table. Unless there are any other comments on that, I just want to reinforce that I do recognize extenuating circumstances, but the whole point of this conversation is to emphasize the importance of 100 per cent participation in this committee as we will ultimately get to a point where we have to select a new officer of the Legislature, and that requires everyone participating prior to those discussions. 11:10
I have two motions here. Without further ado, I’ll get to those. I’ll read them both. One or the other needs to be passed by unanimous consent. The first one would be that
the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee permit committee members to participate by teleconference or videoconference for the August 23, 2021, meeting.
That refers specifically to this meeting. The second motion would be that
for the duration of this mandate the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee permit committee members to participate by teleconference or videoconference subject to the proviso that the committee may require members’ attendance in person at a particular meeting upon passage of a motion to that effect at a previous meeting or due to a decision to meet off-site.
Does anybody have any discussion about either of those two motions?
Mr. Sabir: Can we get that onscreen?
The Chair: Yeah. Of course. Well, we have two here. Effectively, one says that we’ll permit remote participation today and do it on a case-by-case basis, which, of course, could change in the future. If at the next meeting we decided to pass the motion for the duration of the committee, that would be the will of the committee. So the first motion is specifically with regard to today. The second motion is with regard to the entire duration of the committee. I guess it’s really – we could put both of them up, and we could have a conversation on both of them. If that would be okay with you, Ms Rempel. Just a moment as we work through the technology side of this. We have two motions on the screen now. Ms Goehring and Ms Pancholi, can you see those motions?
Ms Pancholi: Yes, we can.
The Chair: Excellent. Is there any conversation or comments or questions about either of those motions, and would anybody want to move one of them? Okay. Mr. Nixon, I saw your hand first.
Mr. Jeremy Nixon: I would be happy to move the first one if you’d like.
The Chair: You want to move the first one?
Mr. Jeremy Nixon: Yeah.
The Chair: Okay. These motions need to be unanimous to pass, just to be clear. Maybe if you clarify what this motion actually means – is that okay? – just in terms of, like, the duration of the committee or what it means right now, just for today.
Ms Rempel: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chair. In the way it is worded, yes, the first motion would allow teleconferencing and videoconferencing, so essentially remote participation, for this meeting only. It would mean that for future meetings the issue would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Ideally, a motion could be passed prior to the end of this meeting indicating whether or not remote participation will be permitted at the next meeting.
The Chair: Okay.
Ms Pancholi: May I speak, Mr. Chair?
The Chair: Yes. Ms Pancholi, go ahead, and then Mr. Jones.
Ms Pancholi: Sorry. I just want to clarify, because with the first motion, the one that’s been moved by MLA Nixon, if that doesn’t receive unanimous consent – we already have two members, myself and Ms Goehring, who are participating by videoconference, which we understood was still a possibility. So if that does not pass by unanimous consent today, the first motion, does that mean that I am no longer able to participate in this meeting?
The Chair: Unless a motion is passed allowing your participation remotely, that is correct. But there is another motion, and if that one is passed, then you’d be allowed to participate.
Ms Pancholi: Just on a procedural basis, though, how can we decide this first one? If unanimous consent is not provided, then Ms Goehring and I would be automatically kicked out of the meeting. So how would we even debate the second one?
The Chair: No, not necessarily. Another motion would be moved, and if that motion is passed, then your participation would be permissible.
August 23, 2021 Child and Youth Advocate Search CY21-3
Mr. Sabir: Chair, if I may.
The Chair: Yeah.
Mr. Sabir: I think you spoke about it, and MLA Pancholi also spoke about it. The sense I was getting: we will be able to accommodate MLAs participating virtually in circumstances where they are unable to attend in person. So I guess I’m just asking for clarity. Why not just pass the second motion, and we will then be okay for the remainder of this meeting and the remainder of this committee?
The Chair: Well, it’s Mr. Nixon’s motion, so I’ll let him discuss it. Again I need to emphasize that these are motions that were drawn up before we got to this committee. These aren’t, like, coming from one side or another. These are the two motions that I have. So in the event that the first one is passed, it simply states that members who are participating remotely can do so today, and then at the end of the meeting if we decide as a committee that we would like to allow remote participation for the duration, then that’s fine. I think what this ultimately does is that – I’ll leave it there. It’s not my place to argue for or against. I’m just trying to better understand these. These are not motions that I drew up or motions that I wrote, but Mr. Nixon has chosen to move one of them, so if he wants to defend it or discuss it, that’s his prerogative. Otherwise, we can vote on it, and if it’s not given unanimous consent, then, Mr. Sabir, you’re welcome to move a different motion. Mr. Nixon, do you want to?
Mr. Jeremy Nixon: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think that the first motion is pretty clear in what it says. I think we all want to see MLAs Pancholi and Goehring participating in this meeting. This would allow us to be able to allow them to continue in this meeting, and we can move forward with the business of this committee. As far as moving forward, I guess my question would be: what ability do we have to actually participate meaningfully in the committee if we’re not present, considering that the information that’s going to be presented will be here in this room? I don’t know. I haven’t been through this process before, so somebody could maybe explain to me how we would be able to move forward remotely considering the sensitive nature of the material that we’re going to be considering.
Mr. Sabir: I think I mentioned earlier that it’s not the first time that a committee has been struck to look for some independent officer of the Legislature. It’s the standard procedure that has been, I guess, followed before. I referred to Hansard in 2018, when a special select standing committee was struck to find an Election Commissioner, and on February 15 that meeting was attended by Jessica Littlewood and MLA Leela Aheer remotely. I think the purpose is to make sure that members are able to participate. I fully agree with the chair that, okay, sure, we should all try to attend in person, but as the chair indicated, those coming from far distances – for instance, from Calgary if there is a snowstorm, I won’t be able to attend. If there is some issue with child care, some other parent may not be able to attend, but they can still meaningfully participate in a meeting that they are selected to represent and to be on this committee. They can meaningfully participate. We can find ways to share documents with them. I don’t think that making it in person makes it any different than virtual participation. If you’re invested in this, you will put time and effort.
The Chair: Okay. I do see you, Ms Goehring, but I want to make sure if there’s anyone on the government side who wants to speak before I go to your question.
Mr. Jones: Maybe a point of clarification. Are these motions required for them to participate in this discussion? If that’s the case, then I would very much support passing the first motion so we can get full participation and move on with the business we’ve got. The Child and Youth Advocate is a very important position. Let’s get this going. I think we’re all in agreement that we need to enable virtual participation in extenuating circumstances. Thank you.
The Chair: Ms Goehring. 11:20 Ms Goehring: Thank you. I just want to ensure that we’re very clear that we should be able to have the ability to attend remotely for all meetings. I think that because as this discussion goes on, we’re going to note that part of the committee makeup is that if there is a substitute, that person then remains for the remainder of the committee. In the event that a circumstance prevents a member from being able to come but they could attend remotely, I would hate to see that they would need to lose the position of being on this committee because they couldn’t attend in person.
The Chair: Okay. I can appreciate all the comments. Anything else anyone would like to add? Hearing none, I am prepared to call the question. I’ll ask only one question. Is anyone opposed to this motion moved by Mr. Nixon? If so, please say opposed. Okay.
That motion is carried. For the remainder of this meeting, it is permissible to have remote participation. Moving on to the next item on the agenda, can I please have a member move a motion to adopt the agenda?
Mr. Jones: So moved.
The Chair: Mr. Jones has moved that the August 23, 2021, meeting agenda of the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee be adopted as circulated. All those in favour, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no. That motion is carried. Item 3 is the search committee orientation, so the mandate of Government Motion 87. That is the mandate of the committee as set out in detail by Government Motion 87, a copy of which has been provided for information purposes. Are there any questions in this respect? Hearing none, item 3(b) is the Public Service Commission executive search. We have already gone around the table to introduce ourselves, but I would like to take a moment to provide committee members with a little more information on the support available to us throughout the search process. From the Public Service Commission I would like to welcome Dot Ellerby, acting director of executive search services, and Jeff Steinbach, executive search consultant. The team of professionals at executive search have assisted with the work of previous search committees and will support us throughout our mandate as well. Thank you for being here. Of course, we’ll have support from the Legislative Assembly Office, including Shannon Dean, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly; Lyndsay Tischer, director of human resources; Rhonda Sorensen, manager of corporate communications and her staff; the staff of all the committee branches; as well as those working behind the scenes such as Parliamentary Counsel, Hansard, information
CY21-4 Child and Youth Advocate Search August 23, 2021
technology and broadcast services, and the Legislative Assembly security services. As mentioned earlier, we’ll talk now about substitutions and attendance. As most of us are aware on this search committee, I’d like to discuss some of the practices that have been adopted by previous search committees. With this in mind, I would like, first, to raise the issue of substitutions. As you’re all aware, the standing orders allow for an official substitute to be designated to participate in a committee meeting on behalf of a committee member. Although substitutions are permitted, the members of the previous search committees over several Legislatures have agreed amongst themselves not to appoint substitutes once the officer selection process begins in order to ensure consistency and fairness to candidates during all parts of the recruitment process. I believe that this has worked well for previous search committees, but I will leave it to the direction of the committee as to whether or not we will plan to take a similar approach, bearing in mind that COVID- 19 could create challenges that require flexibility throughout the process. Does anyone have any thoughts on this practice?
Ms Lovely: Sorry, Mr. Chair. Could I just ask, your company or name is called?
Mrs. Ellerby: Executive search services.
Ms Lovely: How is executive search services selected as the firm that we’re working with? If I could just have clarification about that.
The Chair: Do you have any answer for that? Please go ahead.
Ms Rempel: Just a clarification. They’re not a corporate firm. We are borrowing them from the government of Alberta.
Ms Lovely: Thank you for clarifying that. I appreciate it.
The Chair: Thank you for that question. With regard to substitutions and attendance no motion is needed so much as agreement in principle. Does anybody have any comments on that? We understand? Fantastic. As we get further along in the process, we also have the issue of interview attendance and participation in selecting the final candidates of choice to be recommended by the committee. Again, this is something that has been addressed by previous search committees, and there has been agreement among committee members that only members who have been present for all candidate interviews in their entirety should participate in the final candidate selection. Noting again that COVID-19 could require future adjustments to our plans, does anybody have any thoughts on this? Similar to the previous conversation, no motion is required, simply just agreement among committee members. No comments? Okay. Finally, although the final candidate selection is months in the future, I would like to note that the committee chooses to conduct in-person interviews with candidates. It is customary that these interviews are conducted off-site to maintain the privacy of applicants. These off-site meetings are limited to in-person attendance for all participants, so this is again going back to precedents set by previous search committees. Confidentiality of documents in proceedings. Moving on to confidentiality of those proceedings and documents, I’ll remind everyone of the importance of respecting the privacy of all applicants throughout the search process and afterwards. After today it is anticipated that the majority of our meetings will be conducted in camera. Out of regard for the privacy of potential candidates most briefing materials are provided to committee
members only and are not for further distribution. The materials will be arranged in binders, which can be left with the committee clerk following each meeting so that documents can be shredded, organized, et cetera, as appropriate. For the next meeting, to ensure consistency for committee members, the materials prepared by the committee branch are distributed to you in a personalized binder, so you can feel free to make notes, et cetera, on your materials. Does anyone have any questions about this process? Hearing none. Search timeline and process. The current Child and Youth Advocate, Mr. Del Graff, has expressed his willingness to remain in the role until March 31 of 2022, and the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices has passed a motion supporting his request. This date, the sessional calendar, and other matters were considered in the preparation of the draft timeline documents that were distributed with the materials for today’s meeting. Of course, as noted in the documents, there are a number of events that may require some flexibility in the schedule. Nevertheless, it is still a useful tool for the planning process. Does anyone have any questions, comments, or thoughts about that? Hearing none. Finally, decision time. I guess I shouldn’t say finally; lots to go yet. Draft Child and Youth Advocate position profile. At this point we will move to the two decision items before the committee today. Members should have a copy of the position profile document. Ms Tischer, would you like to address this item of business?
Ms Tischer: Sure. I can just give a quick background as to how we came to the draft position profile that you have in front of you. Of course, you’re all familiar with position profiles at this point. It’s a compelling summary of the position. When you’re looking at executive search, of course, we need to identify what the responsibilities of the role are, the delineation of the desired candidate attributes and experience, but when you’re looking for executive talent, the approach is to focus a little less on job-specific details and more about outlook and impact of the role. The draft position profile in front of you has strived to do that as well as serve as the jumping-off point for the rest of the recruitment activities. The last profile for the Child and Youth Advocate was drafted in and around 2010, so it required substantive review and refreshing. A number of steps were taken in the development of this profile. Of course, we started with that 2010 profile. We also reviewed the other legislative officer profiles for tone, style, you know, that consistency piece amongst the legislative officer position profiles. We did position analysis with the current incumbent, Mr. Graff, and that gave us some insight as to the nature of the work, how the work has changed since 2010, some internal components, external challenges, the cultural change to the role, and the environment that the role operates within. 11:30
In addition, we looked at related documentation such as the annual reviews, the Child and Youth Advocate Act, the child and youth advocacy framework, and from that we pulled some relevant pieces of information about, again, the nature of the work. We did have an opportunity to also review crossjurisdictional information collected from provinces across Canada that do have like positions, and we used some of that information as well. The initial draft that you have before you today was reviewed by the incumbent for accuracy, currency, and overall position components that aren’t opinion based but more fact based. That’s how we came to the position profile that we have before you. It is in a consistent style with past legislative officer position profiles, where you’ve got the position summary, the relationship
August 23, 2021 Child and Youth Advocate Search CY21-5
to the Legislative Assembly, job-specific information as well as, really, what the candidate would be bringing to the table, their background and attributes.
The Chair: Excellent. Ms Dean.
Ms Dean: I want to supplement what Lyndsay mentioned in terms of the position profile. I think the key that the committee should be aware of is that in 2010 this position was not an officer of the Legislature, so that’s why the profile required quite a bit of revamping.
The Chair: I appreciate that clarification. Thank you for your excellent work, Ms Tischer, on this and for your comments, Ms Dean. Any other comments? I’ll go to Mr. Sabir first.
Mr. Sabir: Thank you for explaining the process. I think, for the most part, it looks pretty good, but I do have a clarification question that’s more for the chair. Chair, if we want any changes to this profile, what would be the procedure? Will I have to bring a motion?
The Chair: I do have two draft motions here, but if there is something that you would like to add to this, my understanding, based on previous conversations, is that those suggestions would need to be approved by the committee, and then they have to come back to be voted on. But it would have to be done in a pretty timely manner. Is that correct? You know what? Maybe clarify it, probably.
Ms Rempel: Sure. There are a few options. If it’s a fairly minor change, say a sentence or so, it could certainly be, you know, clarified on the record here exactly what the committee wanted, and then the profile could be approved as revised. If we’re looking at something more substantive than that, then in order for things to proceed in the necessary timely fashion, I would suggest that the committee authorize the chair and the deputy chair to approve a final version of the position profile after it’s been updated and made available to committee members for further comment. Either way, the committee is confirming fairly clearly what changes it would like to see. It just depends how substantive they are, the way you might wish to go through the approval process.
The Chair: Any response to that, Mr. Sabir?
Mr. Sabir: So if I want to make a change which I believe is an important change, I can bring a motion right now to the floor, Chair, and the committee can look into it?
The Chair: Yes.
Mr. Sabir: I think as . . . Sorry. I forgot your name.
The Chair: Ms Tischer.
Mr. Sabir: . . . Ms Tischer explained, the initial position was drafted in 2010, and since then I think there have been many developments. We have heard from indigenous communities all across this province and this country on how they wanted to see changes in their child welfare regime, for lack of a better word. We also saw calls to action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and more recently we also saw uncovering of mass graves across this country. What all that shows is that we need to
focus more on making sure that indigenous perspectives are heard, that their voices are heard, that they are at the decision-making tables, that they have a role when it comes to deciding things that relate to their communities, their children. We do know that over 70 per cent of children in our children’s services are indigenous. I would like to move a motion which will be in two parts. I would like to move a motion that
(a) we expressly state that the Child and Youth Advocate will be responsible for overseeing calls to action 1 to 5,
that specifically relate to child welfare. I would also like that (b) we expressly mention in this job description that we will be preferring candidates from indigenous backgrounds.
I don’t know if I need a motion for this, but the third will be that there are a number of competencies listed here that we will be looking for – and I think that that would be more for the committee’s internal- use purposes – and if we have some metrics for evaluating those competencies so that all committee members can see those metrics, then when we are interviewing candidates, we are all on the same page, and we are looking for similar things, how we are evaluating. For instance, superior knowledge, from the words I saw here: how will we evaluate what’s superior knowledge, right? If there are some metrics that all members can use and benefit from and keep in mind while assessing any candidate, that would be helpful, but that’s for internal purposes. For the change-in-profile purposes, I think the motion is that the MLA for Calgary-McCall moves (a) that we amend the job profile to include calls to action 1 to 5 and that (b) we expressly state that we will look for indigenous candidates, preferably.
The Chair: Yeah. Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones: Just another clarification request: is the mandate set by the Legislative Assembly? That, to me, sounds like a mandate. I’m just curious.
Ms Rempel: The mandate of this committee?
Mr. Jones: Yeah.
Ms Rempel: Yes, it is set by the Legislative Assembly through a government motion.
Mr. Jones: So I’m just wondering if the recommendations – and I understand the recommendations completely. Is that something that is the purview of this committee, or would the mandate have to be changed at the Legislative Assembly level? If I read the current mandate, Government Motion 87, it says that we are here “for the purpose of inviting applications” and then recommending on the applicant. It sounds like you’re seeking kind of a change in the scope of the mandate of the position. Do you understand my conundrum there?
The Chair: Mr. Sabir, do you want to respond to that?
Mr. Sabir: I think there are things in calls to action 1 and 5 that the government is working on. For instance, when we were in government, we started the work on Jordan’s principle and monitoring and assessing neglect investigations, many of those things listed here. To some extent, I think that we may have started some work on it, and since it relates to children in the province, children who are in the care of the province, I think it’s fairly well within the purview of the Child and Youth Advocate to report on these things as well, to have some explicit reference to these calls to action that we are working with indigenous communities on, what they have been asking for. That’s something that across the nation many other jurisdictions are moving to implement as well, so it will be a good indication from
CY21-6 Child and Youth Advocate Search August 23, 2021
our province that we are serious about these calls to action and that the independent officer of the Legislature is the one who will be overseeing these, too.
The Chair: Before we go to any other comments or questions – I believe Ms Pancholi has one – can we get the draft motion that you have put up on the screen so that while we’re discussing it, we can at least see it and review it? 11:40
Ms Rempel: I’d be happy to post something, Mr. Chair. However, I will also check in with the member who moved the motion to ensure things are as accurate as possible.
The Chair: Yes, of course. If you could maybe put that draft motion up and make sure it’s up to his standard, then we can deliberate it. Is that what you’re saying?
Ms Rempel: Yes. He may have a written version of the motion.
Mr. Sabir: No, I don’t. Basically, it’s fairly simple: that we include within the profile calls to action 1 to 5 and, the second thing, that we will prefer a candidate from an indigenous background.
The Chair: Just from a procedural standpoint, to clarify, does this motion need to be approved today, or is this a motion that ultimately can be moved, then requires a new draft job description to be written, and then the deputy chair and myself review it and approve it? Could you maybe go over that again if you wouldn’t mind?
Ms Rempel: Thank you. I think we’re looking at two separate things. If the committee is in favour of this motion, they could absolutely pass it today, but then I think that they may wish to go to the second motion that we discussed, where the chair and the deputy chair are authorized to approve the final position profile. Then what would happen is that that updated document would be prepared. It would be made available to committee members. However, with the approval of the chair and the deputy chair, we could then proceed as far as the recruitment strategies, which will be discussed shortly as well, instead of having to wait to hold another, you know, committee meeting just for the purposes of approving the updated profile. I think that if the committee chooses to pass this motion, it’s fairly clear what changes they would like to see.
The Chair: Okay. If the committee passes this motion, the job description will be rewritten and approved by myself and the deputy chair. If the motion fails, then the job description as presented today, unless, of course, other members propose other amendments, would then go forward. Is that my understanding?
Ms Rempel: If that’s the will of the committee, yes.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you. Ms Pancholi, you’re next.
Ms Pancholi: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Perhaps a friendly amendment to the motion brought forward by Mr. Sabir and to maybe address some of the concerns brought forward by MLA Jones. If we look at the position summary as it’s set out in the profile that we had a chance to review, I think what we might be saying is that – and, Mr. Sabir, of course, correct me if I’m wrong. I’m looking at the position summary in section A, and it talks about the responsibilities. We could clarify that the role of the Child and Youth Advocate’s mandate is to do that work of advancing “the rights, interests and viewpoints of young people” while keeping in mind or being guided by the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission calls to action. We’re basically saying that in performing this work, the candidate will be guided by calls to action 1 to 5 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. That’s a friendly proposal/amendment, I believe, to what was brought forward. Maybe I’d look to MLA Sabir to see if he has any comments on that.
Mr. Sabir: If I may, Chair, I think what I proposed is a more broad, general proposition that the work, the calls to action, be incorporated in this profile, but I am flexible in how those calls to action are incorporated. I think I’m open to suggestions, and when the drafting or changes are made, at that point we can discuss further.
The Chair: Any further comments?
Ms Pancholi: If I may, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Yes, Ms Pancholi.
Ms Pancholi: I’d also like to speak to section (b) of the proposed motion, just to really highlight that I believe it is incredibly important, for the reasons that were set out by MLA Sabir, that we recognize and that I think most Albertans recognize now that the shock for many of us and horror that we feel about what has taken place in residential schools in this province is now still carried forward. That trauma is being carried forward in the child intervention system, and that is reflected by the fact that although indigenous children only make up 10 per cent of the population of children in this province, they make up 71 per cent, as of the last statistics, of children in care. We realize and I think we recognize, as all committee members likely do, that having representation from the indigenous community in all decisions and actions related to children in care is critically important, and I believe that’s even more so the case for the role of the Child and Youth Advocate. As this profile sets out, as the work of the current advocate sets out – and I’m glad to hear Mr. Graff was consulted in the drafting of this position profile – the advocate’s role is deeply personal and deeply connected to the children. That is who the advocate is there to represent, the interests of the children. I know, from my work with the advocate’s office and the staff there, how deeply personal that work is and that those children and youth that are involved in the system really need to see themselves reflected in the people who are advocating on their behalf, and they need to trust the people who are doing that work. I believe that that’s why it is important that we indicate in this position profile that preference will be given to individuals who are indigenous and from a Métis background, and I know that we have the ability in law to set that preference in a position profile such as this. Section 10.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act allows for those ameliorative and sort of preferential-for-disadvantaged-groups positions to be offered and those requirements to be allowed in job postings. I can’t highlight enough that I believe it is incredibly important that we take all the best efforts we can to ensure that whoever the next advocate is is representative of the indigenous community, and I believe it’s important that we put a statement here saying that we will give preference to those candidates.
The Chair: Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones: Thank you. I have concerns that recommendations 1 through 5 are potentially out of scope. They seem to be somewhat federal to me, and I’m also concerned – I’m very much looking to find the absolute best candidate possible, so I’m concerned about
August 23, 2021 Child and Youth Advocate Search CY21-7
giving preference to any particular candidate over the other. We want to find the absolute best person to serve children and youth, so I would have concerns with the motion as worded, but I do appreciate Ms Pancholi’s recommendations around the general. She more suggested that those be guiding principles or a general understanding that that should be incorporated into the work of this position. I did appreciate that friendly amendment. Thank you.
The Chair: Okay. It does raise some questions specifically about scope. Given that this document will be the basis of the committee going forward, I would like to take a five-minute recess and consult with Parliamentary Counsel and the Clerk’s office about scope and about these motions and whether or not they fit the mandate of this committee. With that, I will take a five-minute recess, and we’ll reconvene. I guess just for round numbers we’ll reconvene at 11:55, so that actually will be seven minutes. We’ll recess until 11:55.
[The committee adjourned from 11:49 a.m. to 12:03 p.m.]
The Chair: Okay. We will reconvene this meeting. Thank you for everyone’s patience as our deliberations offline took a little longer than I had anticipated, but we are now back. Mr. Jones, did you have something you wanted to – you said that you had a question.
Mr. Jones: Oh, no. I was just thinking that it might make sense to split the motion.
The Chair: Okay. The procedure for splitting the motion: does that have to be voted on? What’s that?
Mr. Jones: Can I just add on to my recommendation to split the motion?
The Chair: Sure.
Mr. Jones: Again, I want to reiterate that I like the language that Ms Pancholi – that type of general, keeping-in-mind-the- recommendations language. I think we should indicate that indigenous, Métis, Inuit experience would be a huge asset for this role given the statistics that Mr. Sabir indicated: 70 per cent of children in care having that ancestry. Thank you.
Mr. Sabir: Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Mr. Sabir.
Mr. Sabir: If I may, if it helps, a couple of things. I have changed the language, as suggested by my colleague, and I sent it to Madam Clerk. With respect to splitting, if it helps, I can just move two separate motions.
The Chair: Sure. Whatever is easiest procedurally, whether I just allow the motions to be split or the motion to be rescinded, and then we submit two separate motions. Which one would you recommend, Ms Rempel?
Ms Rempel: Well, I think that at this point we’re still working on confirming the final wording of the motion.
The Chair: Okay.
Ms Rempel: If the member is looking to move two separate motions, we could simply go ahead. I could put up some wording
for the first part of the motion. He could confirm whether or not it reflects what he’s saying, and then we can have final wording to proceed with when we vote.
The Chair: Okay. Let’s go ahead and do that. We’ll split the motions, and we’ll get a final wording on the first motion. Once that’s done, all members of the committee, both here and who are participating remotely, can see that motion, and we can deliberate it. I just ask for everyone’s patience while we get the wording up on the screen so everyone can see it.
Mr. Sabir: I think they sent you a different one.
Ms Rempel: Yes.
Mr. Sabir: I want that guided by that wording in it.
Mr. Jones: Mr. Chair?
The Chair: Sorry. Just before we move to Mr. Jones, Mrs. Ellerby, did you want to add anything? Do you have any comments about this particular wording or any further wording as to how this will affect the job description? And after Mrs. Ellerby, Ms Tischer and Ms Dean, you’re welcome to jump in as well.
Mrs. Ellerby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you for your comments, MLA Sabir. A thought that we had, further to your suggestion, might be that under the knowledge and experience requirements part of the profile have wording potentially such as: an understanding and awareness of the truth and reconciliation calls to action.
Mr. Sabir: That doesn’t mean anything, that “understanding and awareness.” I have read it. I understand it. I’m aware of it. But unless there is a requirement that my work is guided by these, I think that wording will have no teeth at all. That’s why I’m suggesting softer language than what I suggested before, but at least their work is guided by these calls to action as much as possible.
The Chair: Did we have anyone who wants to respond to that? I don’t want to go into back and forth about this, but I would like to get the input from people I just spoke to offline. Did you have anything to respond to before I move on?
Mrs. Ellerby: Yes. As long as the understanding of “guided by” wouldn’t be that that’s the mandate that this position is under. This position is under the Child and Youth Advocate Act.
The Chair: Ms Tischer or Ms Dean, did you have anything that you want to add to this? Okay. Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones: Again, I think the previous wording made a lot more sense because calls to action 1 through 5 are potentially out of scope but should absolutely inform the work. But “guided” is a very strong – I wouldn’t want to task a role to do something that is outside the scope of that role. I think the recommendation made by Dot Ellerby was excellent, and the previous motion language – I’d move that
we revert to that language.
The Chair: Just to be clear, that would be a subamendment, then, effectively. What’s that? 12:10 Ms Rempel: He’s proposing an amendment.
CY21-8 Child and Youth Advocate Search August 23, 2021
The Chair: Right. Sorry; not a subamendment. Yes, an amendment. So proposing an amendment, and you’re referring to the language that was on the screen prior to Mr. Sabir making the change by the word “guided”?
Mr. Jones: Correct.
The Chair: Okay. Does anybody have any comments, then? An amendment has been moved on the motion moved by Mr. Sabir. Does anybody have any comments or remarks they wanted to make on that amendment?
Ms Pancholi: If I may, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Ms Pancholi.
Ms Pancholi: Thank you. I actually agree with my colleague the Member for Calgary-McCall that “understanding and awareness” is not quite enough. I do want to highlight for this committee that if we do look at the calls to action 1 to 5, they do actually have calls that affect provincial governments, and in fact they very specifically call on things that the advocate, to some extent, already does, including monitoring and assessing investigations and ensuring that child welfare decision-makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers. This is part of the calls to action, and fully implementing Jordan’s principle is also something that the advocate looks at already. I certainly don’t think that calls to action 1 to 5 – they’re certainly not federal jurisdiction. They actually are specific for all decision- makers in the child intervention system, and they certainly guide the work currently of the advocate. So I think it’s not simply enough to say that the prospective advocate will have an understanding and awareness but that they will be guided by this work. I want to speak against the proposed amendment and in favour of this original motion.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you. Any further comments? Hearing none, we’ll now vote on the amendment moved by Mr. Jones to the motion moved by Mr. Sabir. When I ask for your vote, please vote all at the same time, whether you’re in person or over the teleconference or videoconference. All those in favour of the amendment moved by Mr. Jones, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no. That motion is carried.
Mr. Sabir: I request a recorded vote because I don’t think that replacing this with . . .
The Chair: There’s no need to go into detail as to why you’re requesting a recorded vote. A recorded vote has been requested and will be granted. Those in person first. If you are in favour of this amendment moved by Mr. Jones, please raise your hand: Mr. Jones, Mr. Nixon, Mr. Smith, Ms Lovely, and Mr. Walker. Those opposed in person: Mr. Sabir. Because you have the right to abstain, I’m not allowed to call out your name, but if you are on the phone, please state your name and how you vote.
Ms Pancholi: Rakhi Pancholi. No.
The Chair: Thank you.
Ms Goehring: Nicole Goehring. No.
The Chair: Okay. That amendment is carried.
We are now back on the main motion moved by Mr. Sabir, amended by Mr. Jones. Are there any further comments or questions about that? Hearing none, I’m prepared to call the question on that motion. All those in favour of the motion, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no.
Ms Pancholi: Sorry. Could I just get clarification? Now we are voting on the amended motion. Is that right?
The Chair: That is correct, Ms Pancholi. What I will do is that I will call that question again. I think there was a bit of confusion even here in the room. We are now voting on the motion moved by Mr. Sabir, amended by Mr. Jones. The motion is on the screen for all those to see, both in person and on videoconference. Is that correct? Ms Pancholi and Ms Goehring, can you see that motion? Thank you. We’ll now vote on that motion. All those in favour, both in person and on the phone, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no.
That motion is carried. Thank you very much. Okay. We are now back on the discussion of the position description. Given the new motion moved by the committee, the deputy chair and I will review the revised position outline, but there is still time for more discussion or suggested amendments for this position. Are there any further comments? We split the motion. That’s right. We did. I apologize. We’re moving so fast today. We have another motion on the floor.
Mr. Sabir: I would like to move that motion.
The Chair: Yes. I believe it’s already been moved, just separate. We have it. Is there any further discussion around the motion? If we could get it on the screen, please, that would be great. Again, in the nature of trying to keep within scope, are there any comments from Ms Dean, Ms Tischer, or Mrs. Ellerby about this motion to ensure that it is worded properly? Are there any concerns about how it may affect the position posting? Mrs. Ellerby, do you have any comments on that?
Mrs. Ellerby: As listed as a preference, it will be part of the screening, but it wouldn’t preclude somebody who is nonindigenous from being screened in.
The Chair: Okay. Ms Tischer, Ms Dean, do you have any comments? Okay. I’ll read this motion out loud, actually, because this is a little different than what the initial motion was. Moved by Mr. Sabir that
for the Child and Youth Advocate position, under the terms and conditions it expressly state that in accordance with section 10.1, ameliorative policies, programs and activities, of the Alberta Human Rights Act and with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms preference will be given to indigenous candidates, including Métis candidates. Candidates from this group who wish to qualify for preferential consideration must self-identify.
Mr. Jones: First, a question of clarity: did the previous postings for this position include this type of preferential language? I know that Del Graff, the current Child and Youth Advocate, is, I believe, of Cree and Métis ancestry.
Mrs. Ellerby: Yes. In 2010, when we recruited to this position, there was a notation that candidates with indigenous background, of course, would be considered. I don’t know if it said “preferred,” and I don’t believe it said “self-identify.” That’s not typically what we do.
August 23, 2021 Child and Youth Advocate Search CY21-9
Mr. Jones: Then, carrying on, I absolutely agree that indigenous, Métis, and Inuit experience is an asset, and I think that should be indicated on the job application. I do have concerns about preference. I wouldn’t want to discourage any qualified candidates from applying for the position, but given the state of the child and youth population that is being overseen by this position, a significant percentage is of indigenous ancestry. I think a strong statement about indigenous, Métis, and Inuit experience being an asset should be included on the job posting, so I would move to amend the motion to state that as opposed to preference.
The Chair: Maybe we can take a minute here and try to work on the best way to word that. Ms Goehring, did you have a comment that you want to make? Ms Goehring, you’re free to go ahead. Did you have a question or a comment?
Ms Goehring: Me, Mr. Chair?
The Chair: Yes.
Ms Goehring: Yes. I’m confused about the word “experience” and where that’s coming from.
Mr. Jones: Is she seeking clarification from me? 12:20
The Chair: Ms Goehring, are you seeking clarification from Mr. Jones or just in general?
Ms Goehring: Well, yes, because he’s the one who’s indicating that he’d like it to have indigenous experience, but being indigenous and having indigenous experience are two completely different intentions.
The Chair: Sure. Mr. Jones, do you care to clarify?
Mr. Jones: I was indicating that indigenous, Métis, Inuit life experience or work experience in the fields related to this, which is social work, would be strong assets, so both.
Mr. Sabir: I think it’s also kind of a clarifying question. Mr. Jones, you mentioned that you don’t want other people excluded. I think our public service indicated that having preference for indigenous background does not preclude anybody else. It just means that if they have the basic qualifications, they will be screened in for further process. That’s all it means, and that was, as was indicated by Dot Ellerby, part of the previous Child and Youth Advocate position profile as well. So nothing that we are doing is a marked departure from precedent or what has been done previously. I would, I guess, again, request if my colleague would consider this language, that I think will serve us well, that will help us screen more people with indigenous background into the process of interviewing and hiring.
The Chair: Thank you. We’ll go to the government side. Mr. Jones, do you have anything?
Mr. Jones: Yeah. Just for clarification, I’m suggesting that preference be given to candidates with an understanding of indigenous backgrounds, culture, and traditions. The reason why I’m recommending slightly different language than was originally proposed is that it may be difficult for the panel, for us, to determine how to balance life experience, work experience of indigenous applicants versus other applicants. I’m just concerned about how to practise that preference. Indicating that preference will be given to
candidates with an understanding of indigenous backgrounds, culture, and traditions I think covers what you’re trying to put in here, which I think is important, without . . .
Mr. Sabir: If I may, Chair.
The Chair: Mr. Jones, are you finished?
Mr. Jones: Yes. Go ahead.
The Chair: Mr. Sabir.
Mr. Sabir: I think that having knowledge and experience is a completely different thing than having that background. For instance, in my previous life I was practising treaty land claims, Indian residential schools law. I do know a fair bit about both these files, but, no, I haven’t experienced it. I don’t have that background that somebody from indigenous communities will bring. Insofar as the skills, assessment, evaluation are considered, I’ve already requested of the chair that we have some kind of metrics where we are fair, we are objective, and we are assessing all the candidates, whatever background they bring, regardless of their background, at the same level with the same kind of metrics. Having this language only ensures that indigenous candidates are screened in and that they get the opportunity to interview and to come further along that process. This provision does not exclude anybody. It doesn’t exclude any other person. It just says that people of indigenous background will be preferred for the next steps.
The Chair: May I actually seek a point of clarification just as we go further down the line with this? We do have the amendment on the screen. Mr. Jones, first off, is this to your liking?
Mr. Jones: Yes.
The Chair: In the event that a list of candidates is prepared for the committee, we will ultimately have the opportunity to screen candidates based on what we feel is their level of experience or background with indigenous communities. Is that my understanding of how this committee would work?
Ms Rempel: Thank you, Mr. Chair. That is certainly information that the committee would have and could be using to base their decisions on. I think that the committee will find that the folks at executive search do an excellent job of summarizing the various candidates and making that information easily accessible. However, committee members do have access to the applications in full as well.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you. Any further comments on the amendment moved by Mr. Jones to the motion moved by Mr. Sabir?
Ms Pancholi: Yes, I have some comments, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Ms Pancholi, go ahead.
Ms Pancholi: I’m deeply disappointed, I have to say, in this proposed change because I think it undermines the intent of what was originally proposed in the motion. I can’t think of any other area in which it is key to see that the advocate – the advocate is, as I mentioned in my earlier comments, a personal representative of children in care. It’s a deeply personal role, and there is probably no other area, aside from perhaps the criminal justice system, where indigenous peoples are grossly overrepresented than in child intervention.
CY21-10 Child and Youth Advocate Search August 23, 2021
There are tons, many, many, many people who have expertise and understanding of indigenous and Métis background, culture, and experience who are not themselves indigenous and Métis. As my colleague mentioned, I myself also practised what was called aboriginal law for a period of time, and I am not of indigenous background. This is very relevant for this position, not just that somebody has that experience or understanding of these issues and background but is actually representative of the communities themselves because of the personal role that they play representing the children and families in the child intervention system. I believe that this proposed amendment deeply undermines the intent of the motion, which is actually to give, again, preference, not to exclude those who are not indigenous but to give preference, because it is so critically important that this role represents the children that they are responsible for representing. I would be deeply disappointed if we pass this amendment, because I think we are losing an opportunity to really demonstrate in a key area that indigenous representation is important. I put to the members of this committee, I put to the mover of the amendment: please reconsider what’s before you right now. I think this is something that we, Albertans, can all benefit from, if we actually give preference to candidates who are indigenous themselves, not just an understanding of the issues, not just that they’ve read many scholarly articles or even worked for decades in this field but are actually indigenous themselves. Of course, if they have that experience, that will also make them more qualified for this role, but representation does matter. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms Pancholi. Anyone from the government side have anything they would like to add to that? Mr. Jones, go ahead.
Mr. Jones: Well, to answer the previous member’s concerns, the amendment does preference indigenous candidates because they will naturally have a greater understanding of indigenous and Métis background, culture, and experience. But I think this is – I’d like to propose we have a recess to see if we can figure out the wording offline.
The Chair: Okay. Mr. Jones has proposed a recess. Yeah. I will grant that request. The time is now 12:30. I will grant a five-minute recess until 12:35, when we’ll reconvene.
[The committee adjourned from 12:29 p.m. to 12:35 p.m.]
The Chair: Okay. Thank you, everyone. We are now back in deliberations of an amendment moved by Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones, did you have something you would like to say?
Mr. Jones: Yeah. I’d like to withdraw my amendment.
The Chair: Withdrawing the amendment would require unanimous consent. I’ll pose one question. Is anyone opposed to Mr. Jones withdrawing his amendment? Okay. Mr. Jones’ amendment has been withdrawn. We are now back on the main motion moved by Mr. Sabir, which was initially split off. Are there any further comments or questions with regard to that motion? Hearing none, I am prepared to call the question on that motion. All those in favour of the motion moved by Mr. Sabir, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no.
That motion is defeated.
Mr. Sabir: Could we get a recorded vote?
The Chair: A recorded vote has been requested. All those in favour present in the room for the motion moved by Mr. Sabir, please raise your hand: Mr. Sabir. Anyone opposed to the motion in the room, please raise your hand: Mr. Jones, Mr. Nixon, Mr. Smith, Ms Lovely, and Mr. Walker. If you are on teleconference and you are for or against, please state your intentions.
Ms Pancholi: I’m in favour.
The Chair: Thank you.
Ms Goehring: I am in favour.
The Chair: Okay. That motion is defeated 3 to 5.
Are there any further comments or discussion with regard to the job posting for the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta? Okay. We now have to move a possible motion here, and it would read that
the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee authorize the chair and deputy chair to approve a position profile for the Child and Youth Advocate by Wednesday, August 25, 2021, following the distribution of a revised draft profile document to committee members for review and comment.
Would anyone like to move that motion? Mr. Jones moves that motion. Any further discussion on that?
Mr. Sabir: I think the job profile is an important piece of this work, and all members should be able to see and weigh in on those profiles instead of just delegating to yourself and one of your colleagues. I would want the committee to weigh in on that.
The Chair: Well, that is included in the motion. Just as a side note, it is my intention as chair that once the draft document has been provided to committee members, I would like to reach out to members on both sides of the committee, and if there are any further comments or questions they might have on it, take those under advisement before the document is approved by the deputy chair and myself. I believe that the spirit of what you are saying, Mr. Sabir, is written in this motion. Any further comments? Hearing none, I’m prepared to call the question on the motion moved by Mr. Jones. All those in favour, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no.
That motion is carried. Okay. We’ll move on now to section 4(b), which is the advertising plan and advertisement copy. A draft communications plan along with sample ads has been prepared for our consideration by the LAO communications branch. I will ask Ms Sorensen to address this document, and then I’ll open the floor to discussion. Ms Sorensen, the floor is yours.
Ms Sorensen: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I won’t go through this in any great detail, but I did just want to preface this by saying that the dates outlined within might need to be adjusted slightly because they do depend on a finalized job profile. Certainly, the first step in this process would be for us to post the job profile on our website, and then all the advertising, social media, and other initiatives would draw the public to that profile. If it’s being pegged for August 25, then it shouldn’t have very much impact. I just wanted the committee to be aware of that. Some of the initiatives that we have done typically for other search committees that we’re proposing include, of course, the
August 23, 2021 Child and Youth Advocate Search CY21-11
website posts and social media on the Assembly channels as well as media relations. We would start with the media advisory, just drawing the media attention to the fact that this position is being sought. The news release usually comes towards the end of the process, once a candidate has been chosen, and then we issue a news release kind of letting the public know who’s been chosen and what their background is. What we’re actually proposing is some no-cost, low-cost, and paid options for you to consider. No cost, obviously, on any of the Assembly sites, the office of the Child and Youth Advocate, as well as the Canadian Council of Child & Youth Advocates. We’d be posting the job there. Also, some job sites for some low cost are LinkedIn; Indigenous Link, indigenous careers – we’ve confirmed that there’s no cost on the Alberta College of Social Workers job site – the Institute of Public Administration of Canada; and the Indigenous Professional Association of Canada. In terms of the media advertising, which carries a bit more of a monetary value there, it’s a print run in the Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, National Post, and it’s posted on working.com for 30 days. Alberta Native News: it’s a six-week posting. Windspeaker job posting and the Globe and Mail, which includes three print ads in a one-week period as well as a fairly substantial online, and there’s an option there whether or not you want to include the print component to that or if you’d rather just go with the online. It’s a bit of a difference in the cost. Below that follows just samples of the ads that we’d be looking to utilize. One is a colour, which we would put on any of the online advertising options. Black-and- white would be utilized more for print, and then the digital ads on some of the job sites, again, drawing the public back to the website.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Any further comments? Mr. Sabir.
Mr. Sabir: Just a clarification question. That will be the actual advertisement that will go out?
Ms Sorensen: Yes. That’s the proposed advertisement.
Mr. Sabir: Okay. I think as proposed – I was looking at it. Not even once does it mention the word “indigenous” in it. It mentions law, child and youth studies, human social sciences or social work, all those things, but I don’t think that it mentions the word “indigenous” in it at all. We do know that 70 per cent of the children we have in our intervention system are indigenous. I think I want at least it stated in the advertisement more expressly that we are encouraging indigenous candidates to apply. I don’t think that that changes the scope of the job and all those arguments that I heard. We should at least in this one state: somebody with a better understanding of calls to action, who has worked in that area, something along those lines. As it stands now, I don’t think that it helps us achieve what we are trying to achieve. Even the motion as amended says that we need to look for a candidate with a better understanding of indigenous perspectives. That advertisement will help us attract candidates. It should say this as well.
The Chair: Mr. Nixon.
Mr. Jeremy Nixon: Yeah. I would just like to say that I agree if you have any sort of reference in regard to experience or what we’re looking for, that relevant experience working with indigenous communities is certainly going to be an asset in this position.
The Chair: Another question. I don’t know how this would work procedurally, but will we need a motion to ask to amend the advertisement to include something to the effect of what Mr. Sabir
or Mr. Nixon are referring to, or do you just take that under advisement, then we approve it afterwards? What would be the procedure for that, Ms Rempel? 12:45
Ms Rempel: Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is fairly time sensitive, so I think that the committee would want to do something like what we just did with the position profile, where a motion would be put forward clearly indicating what change the committee would like to see, and then we’ll address the approval process from there.
The Chair: If I understand this, Mr. Sabir, your concern is specifically regarding the second-last line here.
Mr. Sabir: No. Generally, Chair, like, it doesn’t really mention that we are looking for an advocate for a system that has 70 per cent of individuals of indigenous background. This person will be dealing with them, so we are seeking out an individual. I think the motion – if you want me to, I can move that motion.
The Chair: I was going to say that if there’s something in mind, maybe we can take a couple of minutes and you can work on a draft motion, and then we can present it to the committee.
Mr. Sabir: Certainly, I can do that if you take a recess of five to seven minutes. I can send it off to . . .
The Chair: I will grant a recess of five minutes for this, as I did for Mr. Jones. So go ahead.
Mr. Sabir: Thank you.
The Chair: We are recessed until 12:51 if you want to be specific.
[The committee adjourned from 12:46 p.m. to 12:51 p.m.]
The Chair: Okay. Thank you, everyone, for your patience. We are now back, and we have a draft amendment to the advertising on the screen. Ms Pancholi and Ms Goehring, can you see that?
Ms Goehring: Yes, I can see it.
The Chair: I’ll also read it into the record. It says that Mr. Sabir moves that
the CYAS advertisements for the CYA recruitment make a specific reference to understanding current and emerging issues affecting indigenous and Alberta youth and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
There are two ways to deal. First off, we have to debate the motion. Does anybody have anything they would like to add to this? Hearing none, okay. I will call the question on this motion as I just read it out, moved by Mr. Sabir. All those in favour both on teleconference and in person, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no. Okay.
That motion is passed. Now, the next steps here are similar to what we just did with the job description, where there’s a draft motion, and it could read as follows, that
the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee authorize the chair and the deputy chair to approve the communications plan and advertising copy for the Child and Youth Advocate by Wednesday, August 25, 2021, following the distribution of the revised advertising copy to committee members for review and comment.
The spirit of that is that the advertisement will be revised. Committee members would get to see it. I would consult with
CY21-12 Child and Youth Advocate Search August 23, 2021
members on both sides of the committee before the deputy chair and myself approve that. Or the other option is to just amend the current motion, which I have here, which would say that
the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee approve the communications plan and advertising copy as revised.
Mr. Jeremy Nixon: I’ll move that.
The Chair: Okay. He moves that. If we could do that, then, get that motion on the screen, Ms Rempel, that would be wonderful. The motion is now on the screen. Are there any comments or questions about that motion? Okay. Hearing none, I will call the question on the motion moved by Mr. Nixon. All those in favour, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no.
That motion is carried. Now we’ll go on to other business. Do we have anyone who’d like to move anything or say anything? Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones: Yeah. The second motion, that was previously on the screen, to enable remote participation: I’d put that forward.
The Chair: Hold on. I’m just going to go back to the first bit. Okay. You’re referring to the second motion, so I’ll read that motion into the record again, that
for the duration of its mandate the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee permit committee members to participate by teleconference or videoconference subject to the proviso that the committee may require members’ attendance in person at a particular meeting upon passage of a motion to that effect at a previous meeting or due to a decision to meet off-site.
If anyone recalls, we had two motions about participation remotely. This is the second one, which would effectively allow that in perpetuity for the remainder of the committee. Any comments or questions on that motion moved by Mr. Jones? Hearing none, I’m prepared to call the question on that motion. All those in favour, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no.
That motion is carried unanimously. That’s right. It required unanimous consent. I should have asked if there was simply anyone opposed to it. Is there any other business to bring before the committee at this time? Okay. Hearing none, the next meeting. As set out in the timeline, the recruitment campaign for the Child and Youth Advocate position will occur in early September. Our next meeting will be scheduled for the latter part of October to ensure participants have a reasonable time to respond to our advertisements and allow for the processing and organization of applications by our support team prior to our review. We will now move on to the adjournment process of the meeting. Would anyone like to move a motion to adjourn this meeting? Not all at once. Mr. Sabir. Mr. Sabir has moved that the August 23 . . .
Mr. Sabir: No. I haven’t moved yet. If I may. I haven’t moved that motion yet.
The Chair: Oh.
Mr. Sabir: I was just going to ask you about the metrics that I requested of you before, how you want to deal with that.
The Chair: Sorry. Say that again.
Mr. Sabir: I asked you for the metrics, evaluation metrics, how those skills will be graded, some guidance for all the members so that we are looking at candidates’ strengths and skills kind of through the same lens.
The Chair: Okay. So that would be a question that I would defer. Are there metrics that you are using? I know there are, but are you able to provide that to the committee? What is the procedure? What is the precedent for providing that to the committee or not?
Mrs. Ellerby: In the past we did have metrics. They flow from the advertisement, and they flow from the profile. We don’t ask for anything outside those documents. We ask for what is listed in the knowledge as well as under The Person of the profile. Each resumé is measured against those, and when they are presented to the committee, the select special committee, you will have the resumé, and you will also have their screening and their experience. We do a candidate summary, and that will inform how they met the criteria. That is provided at the screening meeting. That’s what’s happened in the past.
The Chair: Does that answer your question?
Mr. Sabir: So we will have something to understand when we get a candidate’s summary. If I don’t know the background, what metrics were used, I wouldn’t know what that summary means. That’s why I was saying that if we have something to understand that evaluation process, those background metrics, that will help us all to look at those things from the same lens and have a common understanding of how we are evaluating the candidates kind of consistently, fairly, and objectively.
Mrs. Ellerby: Yes. That is the first part of the presentation at the screening meeting. We go through that process.
Mr. Sabir: Thank you, Chair, and I move that we adjourn.
The Chair: Anything for you. All right. Mr. Sabir has moved that – sorry; my exact wording here; I must be precise – the August 23, 2021, meeting of the Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee be adjourned. All those in favour, please say aye. Any opposed, please say no. That motion is carried. This meeting is adjourned. Thank you, everyone, and travel safely.
[The committee adjourned at 1 p.m.]
Published under the Authority of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta