Today, Doug Ford and the members of his new Cabinet were sworn in by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. The Premier’s new Executive Council has grown to 30 members, up three from 27 in the last term. The slightly larger contingent is in part reflective of the larger majority the PCs acquired in the June election, with 83 seats and more caucus members to choose from. The new Cabinet includes seven women - down from nine in the previous government - as well as seven people of colour and six newly elected MPPs.
Although much of the Premier’s Cabinet remains the same, some big changes to the front and back benches have been made, with the appointment of a new Minister of Health, the creation of a women’s issues portfolio, and tasking six newly elected MPPs with ministerial duties.
Sylvia Jones is the incoming Minister of Health, replacing Christine Elliott, who decided not to run in this election, while Stephen Lecce remains in his position as the Minister of Education. Health and Education remain two important portfolios for Premier Ford as these ministries oversee the two largest budget lines; the government is planning on spending billions in hospital infrastructure and will soon begin contract negotiations with the teacher unions.
Peter Bethlenfalvy remains in his post as the Minister of Finance, providing continuity and stability in this critical role.
Based on the priorities that were laid out in the PCs’ 2022 Budget that was introduced but not passed before the election, ministries overseeing transportation and infrastructure projects will also be important to the Premier as the government pursues its plans to build highways and transit projects.
Steve Clark returns as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, where he will continue to implement recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force, build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years, and address the increasing cost of housing in Ontario. A new junior Cabinet role – Associate Minister of Housing – will be filled by Michael Parsa, who will help Minister Clark with the portfolio.
Todd Smith remains in his role as the Minister of Energy where he will carry on with work to address supply needs and invest in new energy infrastructure in Ontario. Vic Fedeli returns as Chair of Cabinet and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade where he will continue with the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery and promote Ontario as an economic hub to attract more jobs and manufacturing skills.
Re-elected Mississauga—Streetsville MPP Nina Tangri is not returning to Cabinet as there is speculation she might run for Speaker of the House, potentially replacing re-elected MPP Ted Arnott who has held the post since 2018. Tangri served as the Associate Minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction in the last term.
Other members not reappointed to Cabinet include re-elected MPP Lisa MacLeod who was the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and re-elected MPP Ross Romano who served as the Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
The full list of Cabinet can be found below.
Hon. Doug Ford – Premier of Ontario and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Hon. Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
Hon. Vic Fedeli – Chair of Cabinet and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Hon. Steve Clark – Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Hon. Monte McNaughton – Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
Hon. Todd Smith – Minister of Energy
Hon. Lisa Thompson – Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Hon. Raymond Cho – Minister for Seniors and Accessibility
Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy – Minister of Finance
Hon. Paul Calandra – Minister of Long-Term Care and Minister of Legislative Affairs
Hon. Doug Downey – Attorney General
Hon. Jill Dunlop – Minister of Colleges and Universities
Hon. Merrilee Fullerton – Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
Hon. Parm Gill – Minister of Red Tape Reduction
Hon. Stephen Lecce – Minister of Education
Hon. Caroline Mulroney – Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs
Hon. David Piccini – Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Hon. Kaleed Rasheed – Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery
Hon. Greg Rickford – Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs
Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria – President of the Treasury Board
Hon. Kinga Surma – Minister of Infrastructure
Hon. Michael Ford – Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
Hon. Michael Kerzner – Solicitor General
Hon. Neil Lumsden – Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Hon. George Pirie – Minister of Mines
Hon. Graydon Smith – Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Hon. Stan Cho – Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA)
Hon. Michael Parsa – Associate Minister of Housing
Hon. Michael Tibollo – Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
Hon. Charmaine Williams – Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity
The next few months will give new ministers a chance to become familiar with their portfolios and to engage with relevant stakeholders as they learn about their mandates and plan for how to achieve them. Over the next few weeks, we will also learn which backbenchers will take on Parliamentary Assistant roles to support the ministers. We anticipate that the NDP and Liberals will also announce their critic roles in the near term, as well as their respective interim leaders.
We will also see ministerial offices staffing up, with a mix of new hires and seasoned staffers; we may also see some staff depart over the course of the summer, having gained experience over the first mandate. We expect offices to be fully staffed by the fall.
The Legislature is currently scheduled to return on September 12. But, we can expect some legislative activity in the next few weeks as the Premier has confirmed the government intends on having a short summer session tore-introduce and pass the legislation to implement the 2022 Budget.
We expect a very busy parliamentary session to close out 2022, with the PCs indicating they would like to get moving quickly to “Get it Done”. Organizations looking to advance a particular file or priority are well advised to begin their advocacy during the summer as the newly elected government begins to lay its foundation to govern for the next four years.
The Sussex team continues to closely track all developments regarding the government’s new Cabinet and upcoming mandate. Please reach out to your Sussex advisor if you have any questions or for more information.
Sadaf Abbasi, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi Shuman, Associate, email@example.com