“I want to assure our public sector workers, to our nurses, to our teachers and to our doctors, that no one, and I repeat no one, will lose their job,”
Ford 2019 – Kathryn Kaiser – “Ugly Politicians” Series
What Ford Has Done In Ontario Since the 2018 Election.
Intro & Disclaimer
Please note that this record is ongoing. There are items here that were proposed that have either been abandoned, or not realized as of yet, as well as items that have been only partially implemented. The the PC’s 2019 “Protecting What Matters Most” budget was released April 11, 2019 and already there are revisions.
For most revisions and/or additions since April 11, please see the “Protecting What Matters Most” Budget section here. If I have omitted anything, or made a serious error, please let me know in the comments. I will try to keep up as things develop.
Please note I am a non-partisan voter (not a “libtard” or a “socialist”). I am not a paid government employee, a journalist, or a spy. Although it would be nice (and I probably wouldn’t turn it down) I do not receive any assistance with, nor funding for this work. However, I have started a Patreon account. Any support is appreciated.
- Arts & Culture (Library Services)
- Autism & Disability Funding
- Bankrupt Ontario
- Bill Blair, Ron Taverner & OPP
- Bill 66: Restoring Competitiveness Act
- Bill 108: More Homes, More Choice Act
- Board Members of Not-OHIP
- Budget – “Protecting What Matters Most”
- Children & Youth Services
- Crown Liability and Proceedings Act
- Education Cuts/Reforms
- Environmental Issues
- Ford Family & Politics
- Health Care Privatization Concerns
- Health Service Cuts
- Human Rights (+ Bill 57)
- Indigenous Culture Fund, etc
- Labour, Employment & Bills 47 & 57
- Legal & Financial
- Liberal Budget Discrepancy
- Media, Propaganda & Misc
- Oddities & Questionables
- Patronage Appointments
- Post-Secondary Education
- Public Sector Cuts + Bill 5
- Science, Technology & Research
- Social Services
- TRC & Education
1. Withdrew from Western Climate Initiative Cap & Trade System, resulting in at least $3.6B in lost revenue. In 2017 to 2018 fiscal year Cap & Trade generated $1.9B. Buried in Bill 4 is a clause that says the government can’t be sued. CBC News: Ford Vows to Scrap Cap & Trade Note: The bill that cancelled cap and trade (Bill 4 ) included a clause that says the government can’t be sued. CBC News: Insulating Ford Government
2. Repeals the Green Energy Act with nothing in it’s place (as of yet). Many feel the legislation will do nothing to lower electricity prices, but will negatively impact job creation and investment in the province. CTV News: ON Govt Green Energy Act and CanWEA: Respond to Repeal and FarmTario: Wondering What’s Next
3. Ends the Green Ontario Rebate Fund, a $377M non-for-profit agency that was financed by proceeds generated from the cap-and-trade program. Ford quietly ended the fund prior to taking office. It was launched in 2017, and was meant to help homeowners, renters and businesses make their properties more energy-efficient, in an effort to reduce both residents’ carbon footprints and their hydro bills. The Star: Ford Quietly Axes Green Ontario Fund
3. Ends electric & hydrogen vehicle incentive program; expected to impact sales (sales of electric vehicles increased 120% from 2016 when rebates were implemented). Global News: PC Government and Electric Vehicle Rebates
4. Cut 750+ green projects. The cost for Wind Pines Project to shut down one wind farm alone will be $100M. Cancellation of over 750 renewable energy contracts & Cancellation of a nearly-completed wind farm in Prince Edward County & Globe & Mail: Renewable Energy is Cheaper Than Ever
5. Muzzles civil servants from using words “climate change” in any social media release. He later denied this. Ontario Bans Climate Change Mentions.
6. Sued by and lost to Tesla. Government flips and expands electric vehicle rebates for Tesla buyers. CBC News: Govt. Does U-Turn
7. Ends the Drive Clean program. The Star: Ford Kills Drive Clean Program
8. $35M to fight the federal carbon tax (The price tag on this will be much higher, and almost impossible to determine given the secrecy around government plans, media and marketing costs, and finances) See section on Legal & Financial, Media & Miscellaneous
- I realize this is Chatelaine, but it is an easy to comprehend piece on carbon pricing. If you are the least bit confused, please read: Chatelaine: Federal Carbon Tax Canada
- Even though the province scrapped cap-and-trade and launched a $30 million lawsuit against Ottawa’s mandated price on carbon, the resulting tax is mentioned 73 times in budget. Ford calling for a review of what the budget refers to as an overly complicated, broken system. iPolitics: Ford Tees Up For Another Fight
- Ford’s government launches a massive taxpayer-funded advertising blitz attacking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon-pricing plan. PCs have quietly begun preparing TV commercials aimed at attacking what Ford calls “a job-killing carbon tax.” The Spec: Ford’s Propaganda Against Carbon Pricing
- Provincial auditor general Bonnie Lysyk pans Ford’s new taxpayer-funded media campaign that attacks federal government’s carbon-pricing. The Star: Auditor General Pans Ford’s Anti-Carbon Ad
- Ontario government will spend “approximately” $5,000 to create 25,000 anti-carbon tax stickers it has ordered gas stations around the province to display. The early price “estimate” does not cover the cost to distribute them to the 3,200 gas stations across the province. CBC News: Anti-Carbon Gas Stickers
- Carbon tax and Ford propaganda: National Observer: Opinion
The government is doubling down on its message that Conservatives want no part of the jobs and investment in the $26-trillion global clean economy.Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said in a statement
9. Odd reduction in permits and proposed Double Crested Cormorant cull. Great Lakes Echo: Once Again Kill Cormorants
10. After Dianne Saxe came down hard on the Ford government for “gutting” climate change programs that were working, Ford scrapped the office of the (independently run) environment commissioner and fired Saxe. Reporting on climate change and energy conservation is no longer mandatory under Bill 57, and environmental protection reporting is now under the control of the Auditor General. Ms Saxe issued her last report in April 2019. She called the cancellation energy conservation incentives counterintuitive. “It means cutting off our nose to spite our face,” she said. iPolitics: Ontario Environment Commissioner Exit and Ottawa Citizen: Province Cuts Three Offices and Huffington Post: ON PC Amendments to Bill 57
11. Removes electric vehicle chargers from GO station parking lots. CBC News: Metrolinx Removes Electric Vehicle Chargers
12. Consideration of ending regulations to protect endangered species to allow for development. * So this is happening in a big way. See “Protecting What Matters” Budget and The Star: Sweeping Changes Buried in Housing Bill
13. Removed all mention of environmental initiatives like the GreenON rebate from their websites. The information is only available now through the archives by the University of Toronto and the Internet Archive. (see Arts & Culture)
14. Put a halt to planned project to build much needed new Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Science Research facility in Toronto which has been planned for decades.
15. Renamed the Ministry group which was The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (advocating that Climate Change doesn’t exist?) to Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and rolled out their new “Made in Ontario Environment Plan” in March, 2019.
16. Toxics Reduction Act (TRA) completely repealed by 2021 (halted implementation of some of its provisions immediately). This action was buried in the bulk of the infamous Bill 66 (see below).
I say it every night and I’m going to say it again and again. No one, no one will lose their jobFord at a rally in Windsor on May 31, 2018.
17. After campaigning (hard) on “no job losses”, the job loss 80,000 by September 2018 was the highest since recession in 2009. Some of these jobs would qualify as seasonal, but many were lost as a result of 758 alternative energy projects being shut down. The Star: Sobering News for Ford Government
18. Ford cut 70% of the funding from Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre. The AOFRC is a scientific information technical support body with biologist and fishery technicians that provides fisheries services to the 40 Anishinabek First Nations in Ontario. See Science, Technology & Research
Further Reading on Climate Change, Government & Big Money
- Koch Oil Billionaires Help Fund the Fraser Institute
- Meet the Money Behind the Climate Denial Movement – The Smithsonian
- The Koch Brothers and the Alberta Tar Sands
- Secret Sheer Strategy Session Included Oil Execs and Trump Official Connected to the Koch Brothers – North66
- Canada’s clean-energy sector is growing faster than the economy as a whole and is rivalling some of the more well known industries for jobs, a new report shows.
(Effects environmental, health & safety regulations)
Bill 66: Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act essentially allows municipalities to ignore environmental, health and safety regulations. Bill 66 scraps numerous regulations (brought in by the previous Liberal government) meant to protect people against everything from workplace injuries to inflated cell phone bills.
It will result in more than 30 regulatory changes, including:
- Repeal of 2009’s Toxics Reductions Act (as of December 2021), but the bill scraps rules that force industries to monitor toxic chemicals used; to cut “unnecessary red tape”.
- Repeal of 2013’s Wireless Services Agreements Act
- Repeal of multiple subsections of the Child Care and Early Years Act, which was created four years ago in response to a rash of baby deaths at home daycare facilities.
- Changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)
- Changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA)
- Changes to the Pension Benefits Act (PBA)
- Reduce the regulation and oversight of Ontario’s private colleges.
- Ontario Pawn Brokers Act was repealed. The responsibility of pawnbrokers to keep basic records about who sold them the goods has been cancelled. It removes all accountability. Global News: Pawnbrokers Act
- Killed the “Right to Repair Bill” which would have allowed consumers/owners the ability to repair their own devices. This was shut down, because the Ford government is “concerned for our safety & well-being”. No. Really. I’m not kidding. Motherboard Vice: Right to Repair Bill
- The Star: New Laws Pay Less For Overtime
- CityTV: Changes to Overtime & Environmental Rules
- TVO: Tories Thinking Big When it Comes to Housing
- Bill 66: Another Step Backwards For the People of Ontario
* Please Note*
Here is the link to Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada if needed.
1. Decision made to appeal the Robinson Huron Treaty claim, after feds agreed not to. CBC News: Ontario appeals Robinson treaties annuities case
2. Cut the Indigenous Affairs budget by 50% in a budget ironically called “Protecting What Matters Most” (more than $70M in slashed funding). Huffington Post: Ford’s Cuts to Indigenous Affairs
3. Cut funding for Indigenous Cultural Fund. Now: Ford Government Cuts an Attack on Reconciliation
4. Funding cut for Indigenous Friendship Centres? This is still unclear. There are no “officially” announced cuts, but still rumours. CBC News: Uncertainty…
5. Disbands the Roundtable on Violence Against Women without notice. This highly representative panel costs only a few thousand dollars per year to run, as most of the work is pro bono. Globe & Mail: Disbands Expert Panel on Violence Against Women. Here and Now Toronto with Gill Deacon speaks to the round-table’s co-chair, Farrah Khan about how the PC Government refuses to work with the panel.
6. Disbanded Anti-Racism Directorate that was tasked with providing advice to the government to eliminate systemic racism. The directorate has been relocated to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Experts have been told they are no longer needed, and the government has disbanded the four subcommittees of the directorate (anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous discrimination, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism). CBC News: Anti-Racism Directorate and The Star: Advocates Fear For the Future of Anti-Racism Directorate
7. Backed out of gender identity debate. A resolution from “parental rights” advocate Tanya Granic Allen declared gender identity a “Liberal ideology” and asked that references to it be removed from Ontario’s sex-education curriculum. Ford says he will not be moving forward with a proposed policy on gender identity “It’s non-binding … I’m not moving forward with that, so it’s done.” When asked if he would allow the debate, Ford reiterated that he was “killing it.” City News: It’s Done and CBC News: Gender Identity Ontario
8. Refused to work with the Federal Government to provide assistance to asylum seekers. The Star: Ford Government is ending cooperation with the federal government.
9. Opened the abortion debate in 2018, asking why teens do not need notes from their parents to terminate a pregnancy. These comments were made after an interview with a pro-life publication in which he said it’s time to reconsider whether girls under 16 should require parental permission for abortions. The Star: PC Leadership Candidate Doug Ford
10. From the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada – February 2018: PDF report on Abortion and the Conservative Party.
11. At the leadership convention March 2018, Ford made a point of thanking Tanya Granic Allen (outspoken anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islam, anti-abortion stance & comments). He spoke of his intent “to return our province to where it belongs” before shaking Allen’s hand; a small gesture with big import that would have been missed by many. That would be Ford’s debt to the anti-abortion lobby that enabled his win. MacLeans: Canada’s Growing Anti-Abortion Plans
- Tanya Granic Allen is the woman who claimed that math scores in Ontario are down because students spend too much time thinking about “anal sex” and was eventually removed by Ford when her long and well-documented history bashing “homosexuals” came to light.
- Granic Allen was the top choice of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC). It sold more than 9,000 PC party memberships to support her. Ford was the CLC’s second choice. MacLeans: Canada’s Growing Anti-Abortion Plans
- Both Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) and RightNow have become essentially Conservative party stakeholders, by securing at least approximately 10,000 party memberships (and votes) enabling them to influence policy. See Stakeholders section on this page.
12. Anti-abortion activists (CLC) call on Ford to invoke the notwithstanding clause to block “certain topics” from being taught in schools. HuffPost: Anti-Abortionists & Health Curriculum. Some of these topics are:
- The names for certain body parts, like vulva, vagina, testicles and penis, in Grade 1
- That some people masturbate
- That it is normal to start developing crushes on classmates around age 9
- That some families have two mothers or two fathers
- That some people express their gender outside of the norm for their biological sex
- *That all parties should consent before engaging in sexual activity*
* In the 2015 curriculum, teachers are told it’s age-appropriate to talk about consent with Grade 1 students. This discussion is NOT in a sexual context. These topics would be around issues like: unwanted touch, peer pressure, personal information, etc.
13. Niagara West MPP (and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Education) Sam Oosterhoff pledged at an anti-abortion rally on the front lawn of Queen’s Park to make abortion “unthinkable in our lifetime.” Oosterhoff attended the rally with fellow PC MPPs Christina Mitas & Will Bouma. CBC News: Oosterhoff & Abortion
Perhaps even more concerning than Oosterhoff’s comments, and even his presence at the rally, is that when Ford was asked if he supports the views of the anti-abortion MPP’s and a woman’s right to choose, he refused to answer. Instead Ford deferred to Energy Minister Greg Rickford who also avoided addressing questions, and instead began deflecting with other points, including fighting the carbon tax. Global News: Oosterhoff Abortion Comments
And then this weirdness: Sam Oosterhoff defended his pro-life stance after appearing on stage before demonstrators at Queen’s Park by quoting Dr. Seuss: “a person’s a person no matter how small.” Pardon me. I am trying to hold it together here, but WTAF! CityTV: MPP Oosterhoff quotes Dr Suess
For further reading on abortion rights in Canada:
- Informative piece on how the “pro-life” movement was pushed as a political issue to save the Republican Party, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the summer of 1964. Over a 15 year period, many attempts were made with other issues (pornography, prayer in schools, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, even abortion) but in the end, partially because of the growing Southern Baptist disdain for feminism and the sexual revolution, abortion won. Also included in this article is what the Bible doesn’t say about abortion. Patheos: What the Bible Says About Abortion
- New Brunswick has essentially been skirting Canadian Law and breaching the Charter of rights and freedoms with no intervention or discipline for almost 15 years. CBC News: Abortion Access Canada and Change.org Petition explains issue in New Brunswick (please consider signing)
- PressProgress: ‘God Has Delivered Victory’: Doug Ford’s Far-Right Allies Celebrate New Social Conservative Agenda
- The Guardian: Pro-life group seeks to influence P.E.I. PC leadership – Feb 2019
- Calgary Herald: Anti-abortion groups claim a major triumph in UCP nominations
Leslie Jones uses her platform to speak out against strict new anti-abortion laws.
1. Rolled Sex Education back to 1998. Refusing to provide children with medically accurate sex education isn’t ideological, it’s negligent. Globe & Mail: Removal of 2015 Health & Physical Education curriculum from kindergarten to Grade 8.
2. Cancelled TRC school curriculum after it had already been researched, paid for and was ready to put in place. See #62, #63 & #64 of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Indigenous educators and elders were to travel to Toronto to participate in the curriculum revision project in 2018, but team members received emails days prior to their meetings, telling them it was cancelled. CBC News: Truth and Reconciliation Commission and CBC News: Cancellation of Ontario TRC Curriculum a Setback
3. Further to #2, Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced that the ministry cancelled three writing sessions in total: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission curriculum (above), American Sign Language and Indigenous Languages in Kindergarten. iPolitics: Anger Grows Over End of Indigenous Content Curriculum
We have heard from many educators, Elders and knowledge keepers and share their frustration as this important work was dropped just before it was set to begin. This is a step backwards on our journey towards reconciliation. The education of the youth in Ontario shouldn’t be dictated by the party in power, but left to professionals who acknowledge that identity-building is the only positive move forward.Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox
4. Cut the budget for school repairs. Global News: Lost $100 million in funding due to cap and trade decision
5. Reneges on $500,000 for after school music program for kids at risk. CP24 News: MPP Calls on Ford Government…
6. Education Minister Lisa Thompson announces $25 million was slashed from the budget after the government reviewed the “Education Programs Other” fund. CUPE: Ford Government Cuts to GSN Funding
- Cuts to Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) This will affect services provided by education assistants, custodians, school secretaries, library workers, early childhood educators, child and youth workers, speech language pathologists, and others. Projected minimum loss of 2500 positions that provide in-class support to students.
- $630 million cut from the Pupil Foundation Grant
- $230 million cut to Learning Opportunities Grant
- Cut to School Board Administration and Governance Grant
7. Launches an online snitch line for parents (and others) to complain about teachers. CTV News: Ford Warns Teachers…
8. Government sued by teachers over Sex Education/Health Curriculum. Court dismisses case and rules that teachers are legally allowed to use their own judgement. Globe & Mail: Teachers Free to Use Their Own Judgement
9. Paused the parents reaching out program – funding for parent councils for schools including breakfast programs, support of student acheivement, human rights and equity, and assisting with tutoring. CBC News: Ontario Reaching Out Grant
10. Looking for a total of $1B in funding cut from education (programs, teachers, etc) Hundreds of educators have already been given notice. These cuts will impact class sizes, curriculum, resources for extracurriculars, help for students in need (i.e. breakfast programs, tutoring, mental health, learning disabilities, foreign or new student support, student unions, testing, etc.)
Note: For an updated list of teacher jobs lost and redundancy notices, see teacher Andrew Campbell’s Google Docs List. He has been tracking the cuts board-by-board and counts over 2000 so far in 18 different boards.
- Considers removing caps on kindergarten and primary class sizes. Will not guarantee full day kindergarten in 2019. Globe & Mail: Considers Removing Caps..
- Devastating changes to the education system, incl. increased class sizes, mandatory e-learning and the removal of $700M in funding from Ontario high schools. Thousands of teachers will lose their jobs. Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.
- Cuts $25M from specialised program funding. The cut will mean the end of a number of initiatives for at-risk youth, including after school programs, tutoring programs, etc. CBC News: At-risk Program Cut
11. Appoints failed PC candidate Cameron Montgomery to new full-time salaried position as Chair of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) at $140,000 per year (previously a part time less than $3600/year position) see Patronage Appointments for more CBC Doug Ford’s Patronage Appointment.
12. Ford to change the current expiry date of teachers contracts, and cautions educators against reacting with strike action. CTV News: Ford Threatens to Change Contract Expiry Dates
1. Cut promised 3% increase for OW & ODSP to 1.5% (after backlash) and will “change definition of disability”, leading to further poverty. The Star: Cutting Planned Increase for Recipients by Half
2. 30% cut to Legal Aid. $133M reduction to funding this year; will no longer cover refugee and immigration programs. Will be followed by an additional $31M cut in 2020. CBC News: Legal Aid Funding Cuts
3. Basic Income Pilot Project cancelled one year prior to completion and collection of data, and an election promise by Ford to keep it. 4000 people in 3 test communities received assistance. The goal was to see if it offered not only security, hope and improved quality of life, but also simpler and more economic way to deliver social assistance than the current (demeaning) system. CBC News: Cancellation of the Basic Income Pilot Project
- When MacLeod pulled the plug July 31 2018, she left participants in the dark for a month before informing them their payments would continue until the end of March 2019, a full year earlier than originally planned.
- The government signed a research protocol with an independent ethics board to oversee the study, a move that committed the government to abide by certain ethical behaviour regarding The Basic Income Pilot above. But despite the government’s agreement to seek the board’s approval for any changes to the project, no approvals were sought, nor granted when it ended the initiative. Instead, when the ethics board rejected the cancellation and “wind-down plan,” the government “fired” the board.
4. Repeals the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act. The act allowed payments of up to $25,000 or monthly payments of up to $1,000 to the families of those killed during a crime and to people who are injured in a criminal act, including sexual or domestic assault. Funds were to cover things like funeral costs, physical therapy and loss of income. Existing Criminal Injuries Compensation Board was also dissolved. CBC News: Law That Compensates Crime Victims and The Star: Budget Cuts Millions in Compensation
5. Cuts to funds to repair social housing ostensibly because of lost Cap and Trade Revenue. * In recent budget, Ford has promised $1B to fix Ontario’s affordable housing crisis. Good news. CBC News: Ford Government Promises $1B
6. Cancels (or possibly postpones) a 33% increase to shelters (mainly in Toronto). Federal Government gives $15 million to help address mounting demand on the city’s shelter system. CBC News: Feds Give Toronto $15M
7. “Streamlines” Landlord Tenant Board, which on January 1, 2019 became part of the newly created Tribunals Ontario organization.
- Ends rent control for all newly-built or newly-converted rental units going forward (while maintaining rent control for current tenants) as part of a new Housing Supply Action Plan. November 2, 2018, the lobbyist registry showed that billionaire landlord-lobby group Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario (the same group that has given over $150,000 to the Conservative Party) hired StrategyCorp to push the government on rent control. They succeeded. CBC News: Rent Control Reforms, Huffington Post: Doug Ford Rent Control
- and Daily Hive: Doug Ford’s Rent Control
- Eviction notice time cut to 6 days, allow private bailiffs to remove renters. The Star: Could Eviction Changes Help or Hurt
8. Cuts advanced age allowance for elderly. This is a good idea according to Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies with the Fraser Institute (right wing think tank sponsored by Koch brothers), because seniors should be adequately preparing for their retirement. Lammam, incidentally is also the newly appointed director of policy in the Office of Ontario’s Deputy Premier & Minister of Health and Long-term Care. Ontario Health Coalition: Undeniable Signals
9. Quietly planning to cut $500M from the province’s two main income support programs Ontario Works (which provides low-income workers with financial and employment assistance) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) (which offers financial & employment assistance for those with recognized disabilities). Note: there has been no mention of cutting programs linked to “poverty” or “disabilities”.
10. A secret document reveals that draconian cuts to social services, first considered by Doug Ford’s government for its April budget, provoked strong internal warnings of potential legal and political fallout. The PCs were talked back from their original planned cuts, believe it or not. The Star: Secret Document Shows How Far Ford’s Tories
I can assure everyone in this legislature that the fiercest child advocate in this province will be me.Lisa MacLeod – After firing Ontario’s Child Advocate
1. Fired children’s advocate, and closed Ontario Child Advocate’s Office. Elman found out through the media his office had been closed. CBC News: Eliminated the office of the Ontario Child Advocate and CBC News: Former Youth Advocate Devastated
- The closing of the child advocacy office comes less than two months after a coroner’s expert panel released a scathing report calling for an overhaul of Ontario’s child protection system. The panel reviewed the cases of 12 children who died while in care between 2014 and 2017.
- Critics are concerned with the oversight body being removed, when the Ontario Human Rights Commission inquiry recently found that African-Canadian children and youth made up 32% of those in care of the Children’s Aid Society Toronto. In Ontario, Indigenous youth make up 23% of children in care. Frontline workers, advocates, and former Crown wards have encountered equity issues and racism first-hand within the agency. Now: Human Rights Children’s Aid
- When Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube resumes his duties this spring the Child Advocate’s office in Thunder Bay will close. NDP children and youth critic Monique Taylor said that the elimination of the Thunder Bay office will mean children and youth in Ontario’s northern and Indigenous communities now have nowhere to turn close to home. CityTV: Child Advocate Duties Cut
4. Removal of For Profit Maximum Threshold: changes coming to child care programs, including the reversal of a key protection for not-for-profit daycares. Big Box daycares are coming. City News: Ontario Daycare. Advocates say the removal of the For Profit Maximum Threshold opens the door to the expansion of big-box corporate daycares in Ontario.
5. Supporting systemic discrimination in Ontario children’s disability rehabilitation. Ontario Disability Coalition.
6. Ford government is reducing funding for children and youth at risk by $84.5M, according to an analysis of provincial spending estimates by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. The reduction includes $28M cut to the $1.5B for 49 children’s aid societies in Ontario. The cut comes as 18 child protection agencies struggle with deficits totalling more than $12M. The Star: Ontario Govt Slashes Funding to Children’s Aid
7. Plans to cut $1B in funds to the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services by 2021. PressProgress: Three Scary Things in Ontario’s Budget
With inadequate social assistance rate increases last year, none announced this year, and a plan to restrict the definition of disability for ODSP, this promise to cut $1B annually from this ministry threatens the already inadequate social support that our low income patients receive.Dr. Jonathon Herriot co-chair of Health Providers Against Poverty (Press Progress)
I think we all know what kind of crazy Marxist nonsense student unions get up to.Ford, while announcing the The Student Choice Initiative
1. Cancels plans for Ontario’s first French Language University. Globe and Mail: ON Govt. Cancels plans for the province’s first Francophone university
3. Limits grant for post secondary education, reduces tuition by placing cost on universities and colleges. Global News: Tuiton Cuts
4. The Student Choice Initiative: As part of the OSAP changes, the PC’s announced a provision making compulsory, non-academic fees optional. This initiative will hurting much-needed support services to students and, more to the point, student unions. CTV News: Allowing Students to Skip Fees… and The Star: Fears Raised Over Tinkering
The odd thing about this is that students already have a choice over these fees; current regulations mandate that students provide their consent prior to fee collection. These fees had all been voted on and passed in referendums over the years. Most of these programs and services are run by students themselves. Affected programs are:
- Student Unions
- Student Newspapers
- Radio Stations
- LGBTQ Support
- Women’s Support
- Health Services
- Child Care Centres
- Ability Equity Offices
- Food Banks
- Legal Services (this is a only a partial list)
5. Ends the gap time (grace period) for repayment of student loans. Blog TO: Ontario Govt Removes Grace Period
6. Ford government will tie 60% of its post-secondary funding to how universities and colleges perform on 10 measures (referred to as “metrics”). Up until now, only 1.2% of college funding and 1.4 per cent of university funding is tied to outcomes. CBC News: University, College Funding
Six of the metrics are related to skills and job outcomes:
- Graduate earnings
- Number and proportion of graduates in programs with experiential learning
- Skills and competencies *TBD* (to be determined)
- Proportion of graduates employed full-time in a related or partially-related field
- Proportion of students in identified area of strength
- Graduation rate
The other four metrics are related to what the government calls “economic and community impact.”
- Both colleges & universities evaluated on funding received from industry sources
- Both will be evaluated on “community / local impact” (a measure of the student population as a proportion of the local population)
- Universities measured on federal research funding (from such agencies as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, NSERC)
- Colleges will be measured on an apprenticeship-related metric that is marked *TBD* ( to be determined)
- Each individual college and university will have its own “institution-specific economic impact metric” also *TBD*
Note: The ministry does not explain how many of these measurements (or “metrics”) would be calculated. As much as $3B annually is at stake for Ontario’s 45 publicly-funded post-secondary institutions.
7. Post-secondary institutions now have free-speech policies in place under a controversial provincial rule that officially came into effect in 2019. See example of protests (and even arrests) following controversial speakers such as Jordan Peterson and Lindsay Shepherd. All publicly funded colleges and universities had until Jan. to develop and implement a free speech policy “that meets a minimum standard prescribed by the government.” Any that fail to comply with the free-speech requirements could face a cut in funding. Global News: Ontario Post-Secondary Schools… and The Spec: Free Speech Policies
8. As per #7 above, Ford held a one-on-one meeting with Jordan Peterson a week after the controversial university professor publicly urged Ford to abolish the province’s human rights commission. Ford met with Peterson “to discuss free speech on Ontario’s university and college campuses,” the premier’s press secretary said Friday in an email to CBC News.
9. UCP prepares to roll out Ford-flavoured post-secondary changes in Alberta. Termed the Chicago principles, they will require Alberta post-secondary institutions to adopt controversial free speech policies based on U.S. principles that allow speakers, no matter how “unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive,” say what they like on campuses. The Edmonton Journal: UCP Aims for Ontario Flavoured Post-Secondary Changes
10. There are very real concerns over tieing 60% of a university’s funding to “performance” over the next five years. For further reading:
- University of Regina professor Marc Spooner is worried tying university funding to performance metrics will have a negative effect on Ontario universities. CBC News: What’s the Purpose of a University Degree?
- “Mandatory free speech is the kind of nonsensical doublespeak that in another era would be immediately derided,” says Denise Balkissoon, Globe & Mail “The merry-go-round of debating marginalized people’s humanity is actually dangerous” for marginalized people.
1. $5M slashed from Ontario Arts Council (retroactively to April 2018), including the entire budget for the Indigenous Culture Fund. (see below) Global News: Ford Government Cuts…
2. Removed the Indigenous Culture Fund entirely. There are NO funds moving forward. Disbanded the 4 positions that oversaw the fund. See Indigenous Culture Fund Cut. Also: NOW: Ford Govt Cuts Indigenous Culture Fund and CBC News: Confusion Around Fund – Aylan Couchie
3. Funding for libraries cut in half. Ontario library system is run mainly through two branches, the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and Ontario Library Service-North. CBC News: Cuts to ON Library Services and Huffington Post: ON Fights Back Against Library Cuts
Here is a direct link to the Change.org petition “Save Our Libraries”.
The services provide support to hundreds of public libraries across the province including:
- inter-library loans (In 2017, more than 440,000 books were borrowed by inter-library loan across the province) * NB: ALL interlibrary loaning has ended *
- book delivery (ended)
- software & cataloguing (if this is effected, 130 library systems across all of Ontario would grind to a halt)
- library staff training
4. Out of a valid concern for the protection of government material on health, climate change and poverty reduction, shortly after the PC’s won majority government in Ontario last June, Nich Worby (a government documents librarian at the University of Toronto) began archiving much of the provincial government’s online content to prepare for the possible destruction of these resources. Soon after they took reign, the PC party began removing them.
Environmental initiatives like the GreenON rebate program were shuttered and then their web presence was removed within days. That information is only available now through the archives by the University of Toronto and the Internet Archive.Nich Worby – Documents Librarian in a news release
5. Eliminates the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner. Ledevoir Politique Canada After immense backlash, and in language that sounds non-committal, PC government says it is “creating the position of French-Language Services Commissioner within the provincial ombudsman’s office, and ‘seeking’ to turn the office of francophone affairs into a ministry.” Globa5. l News: French Commissioner Cuts
6. Cut the Canadian Independent Music Association Grant program by more than half (from $15M to $7M). CBC News: Ontario Govt Cuts Music Grants
“[The Canadian Independent Music Association Grant enables us to not only hire Ontario employees, but also enables us to go to places within the province and the country where we get to go perform in certain halls or to create local events that then spin off into festivals. It’s a real, kind of, trickle-down effect.Jazz singer Matt Dusk
I am adding this post from 2018 in Artsy.Net which sites stats released by the the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The arts and cultural sector contributed over $763.6B to the US economy in 2015. More than the agriculture, transportation, or warehousing sectors. Note that the arts ran a trade surplus of $21B; the U.S. exported more cultural products and services than it imported.
1. Fired Privatization Officer, Chief Scientist and Investment Officer. The Star: Queens Park July 4, 2018.
2. Invokes Section 33 of the Charter (Notwithstanding Clause) for the first ever in Ontario after lower court judge struck down legislation, to cut city council almost in half in the middle of an election campaign. CBC News: Ford to Use Notwithstanding Clause
3. Ford cuts Toronto City council almost in half (from 47 councillors to 25) with Bill 5: Better Local Government Act, 2018. OSSTF Update: Ford and the Notwithstanding Clause.
- The issue for many in Ontario (and in Canada) was Ford’s willingness to use the Notwithstanding Clause at all. CBC News: Doug Ford’s Use of the Notwithstanding Clause
- There is much further reading on this whole fiasco, but this is an excellent timeline of events. Global News: Timeline of Ford’s Quest to Shrink City Council
6. The total council budget under the new 25-seat council is more than $1M higher than it was under the previous 44-member council. Because councillors are now representing wards almost twice as large, their budgets for staff and office administration were increased. Budgets went from $241K per year for staff (+$34K for office supplies) to $482K per year (+$50K for office supplies).
7. Fired Frank Iacobucci re: Ring of Fire Consultations. Iacobucci’s job was to ensure a meaningful, two-way dialogue between Crown and Indigenous communities. “Both the company and the government failed to act honourably,” said Chief Elizabeth Altookan. Bay Today: Lack of Consultation on Ring of Fire…
8. Quietly dismissed the High Speed Rail Line Board. London Free Press: High Speed Rail
10. Killed Bill 175 updating the police service act (Safer Ontario Act), which was police oversight legislation. Bill 175 was passed in response to growing concerns over anti-Black and Indigenous racism within Ontario policing. Interestingly, Caroline Mulroney had this to say when the changes were announced: “this was the most anti-police legislation in Canadian history.” The Star: Safer Ontario Act – Significant reduction in oversight of policing
- New regulations for Bill 175 will be released some time in 2019. OACP: Bill 175 Update
- Globe and Mail: Ontario Rolls Back ‘Anti-Police’ Act
11. Announces plan to upload TTC subways to province spring of 2019 (and increase fares) under a cloud of suspicion that Ford plans to privatize the transit system. CTV News: Legislation to Upload TTC to Province Coming
12. Fired Howard Sapers over recommending much needed correctional reform to significantly improve safety of employees and inmates. ( i.e. solitary for inmates with mental disabilities, job preparedness for officers) Globe & Mail: Ontario’s Prison Reformer Howard Sapers and Pardon Applications: Howard Sapers (with links)
13. Cut the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs budget by 15%. The Ministry’s budget in 2018 was $146M. It’s base funding was reduced by 15 per cent to $74.4M, down from $88M in 2018, and there is no allotment for one-time investments such as claim settlements. CBC: ON Budget Cuts to Indigenous Affairs and National Observer: Ford Slashes Indigenous Affairs Budget & Pursues the Ring of Fire
14. After an Ontario Superior Court found the OSPCA’s enforcement powers unconstitutional, for the first time in a 146 years, the agency will no longer investigate and enforce animal cruelty laws. By the end of the June 2019, the OSPCA will no longer run their call centre, nor have teams to investigate animal cruelty cases. In its place, the OSPCA is drafting up recommendations for a new Ontario Animal Protection Act that will potentially see the government shift responsibilities to its own police force. * ongoing * CBC News: OSPCA Tells Ontario Government …
15. All-male panel appointed to probe workplace culture at the provincial police force, raising questions about whether the review will adequately address gender discrimination and harassment issues facing female employees. Globe & Mail: PC’s Criticized for Appointing All Male Panel
16. French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario Francois Boileau has submitted his final report May 2019. Ford abolished the post of commissioner and will transfer their duties to the office of the Ombudsman. Boileau called the elimination of his position “a step backward for the Franco-Ontarian community” which “is losing a pillar and its means of communicating with senior officials of the public service.” and The Star: After 20 Years in Ontario
17. $36M cut to the correctional services program. CTV News: Ontario Govt Cuts
18. $46M cut this year from the provincial police budget. The PC’s expenditure estimates show the funding drop, which largely comes out of “field and traffic services.” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says no police officers will lose their jobs. CTV News: Ontario Govt Cuts $46M and The Star: Ontario Govt Cuts $46M
We have some very creative, proactive things that the OPP are doing, like a very simple basic thing of adding more oil changes to our fleet of cars that will allow them to stay on the road longer.Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
Bill 47 – Canadian Labour & Employment Law &
Bill 57 – Restoring Trust, Transparency, and Accountability Act
1. Ford government kills Bill C-148 (with Bill 47). Bill 148 gave part time workers the same pay as full time, guaranteed 10 days off (only 2 of these Personal Emergency Leave , or PEL days, were paid). Canadian Labour & Employment Law Bill 47 Bill 47 removes PEL in its entirety from the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and instead provides for three unpaid leaves:
- Sick leave: up to three unpaid days in each calendar year due to personal illness, injury, or medical emergency
- Family Responsibility Leave: up to three unpaid days in each calendar year due to the illness, injury, or medical emergency of selected family members
- Bereavement leave: UP TO TWO UNPAID DAYS PER YEAR DUE TO THE DEATH OF SELECTED FAMILY MEMBERS.
2. Considers no more minimum wage increase & other long overdue reforms to employment standards achieved under Bill 148. Under new legislation, minimum wage will remain at $14 until October 2020, with future increases tied to the rate of inflation. CBC News: Scrap Key Liberal Labour Reforms and CBC News: ON Passes Sweeping Labour Reform
Let’s be clear, rich corporations are the only ones who stand to benefit from Bill 47, while the lowest wage earners will be forced back into poverty.spokeswoman Pam Frache
3. Back to work legislation for CUPE 3903 violates charter rights. Global News: Union Leaders Back to Work Legislation
5. Strips protections for all apprentices by allowing a 1:1 ratio across the board; therefore placing workers under higher risk and downgrading skilled trades, according to some sources. The benefit of this change is to the employer. Windsor Star: Govt Apprenticeship Reform
6. Removed “red tape” for farmers. (Details TBA) (so far Ford has backed down on Section 10, which included Green Belt development)
7. Passed Bill 57: Restoring Trust, Transparency, and Accountability Act which included (but not limited to):
- delays the Pay Transparency Act
- removed independent officers of the House (who oversee and review activities of government that warrant special concern)
- cancelled a small increase in taxes for high-income earners
- rolled back rent control for existing units
8. Removal of Fire Certification Program aimed at raising safety standards. The previous government introduced the program after years of pressure and three different coroner’s inquests recommending certification and training for fire personnel. The program was to start in 2019, and to make it easier for small communities and volunteer departments, it was an“online testing system that would be free of charge.” City News: PC’s Axe Fire Certification Program and City News: Anger Over Cuts To Firefighting Training
9. Stopped WSIB Unfunded Liability (UFL) 10 years ahead of recommendation of the Auditor General. Unfunded liabilities are debt obligations that do not have sufficient funds set aside to pay the debt. The Star: Workgroups Cry Foul as WSIB Celebrates Milestone
12. Ford changes his tune on his “no job losses” campaign promise again, but this time he stated that his promise only applies to undefined “front-line” workers. CBC News: Doug Ford Hedges on Promise
Under Premier Doug Ford and the Government for the People not a single front-line worker will lose their job.Ford’s press secretary in a statement emailed to CBC News (prior to release April 11 Budget)
1. Severe cuts amounting to 27% of provincial funding for public health. This threatens vital local services including food and water safety, infectious disease tracking and prevention, immunizations, prenatal training and safety, overdose prevention, safe needle and biohazard programs and many others.
2. Plan to cut OHIP-covered services by at least $500M, including cutting access to diabetes and pain management clinics, including those suffering from chronic pain. The documents released state that an estimated “30% of medical services in Canada are unnecessary and inappropriate.” See “Protecting What Matters” Budget) City News: Changes Proposed to OHIP
- Diabetes tests & procedures
- Sedation during procedures (such as colonoscopies)
- Chronic pain management (which often enables people with chronic
pain to live and work – cut to 4 times per year)
- Removal of polyps
- Psychotherapy (cut to max of 24 hours per year)
- more to follow…
3. Dissolving LHINs (Local Health Integration Networks) & replacing with no more than 5 oversight bodies) * CBC News: Ford Government Poised to Dissolve Regional Health Agencies
4. Christine Elliott announced that minors and young adults who have private medication insurance will no longer be able to have prescriptions covered by the provincial government program, calling privacy issues into play. National Post: Reduced Pharmacare availability and Huffington Post: Ford’s Drug Plan
5. Cut OHIP+ so families with sick children will have to seek private coverage first and pay deductibles and co-payments.
9. Liberal government’s regulations re: vaping put on hold. CBC News: PC Govt Ford Vaping
10. Mental health funding cut by $335M ($1.34B over four years) The Star: Cut in Planned Spending on Mental Health
11. Redefines what determines a disability, making it more difficult to qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Global News: Ontario Social Assistance Reform Plan
12. Cut funding for the dementia strategy.
14. Cut all funding (retroactively) for the College of Midwives of Ontario, the regulatory body that oversees 900+ midwives. National Observer: Ford Cuts All Provincial Funding for Midwives
15. Cuts in pay for family doctors working in new primary care models in Ontario (introduced to counter the shortage of docs in 2000) National Post: Cuts to Primary Care
16. Let surge funding run out for hospital overcrowding. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis.
17. Plans to cut and restructure ambulance services, from 59 down to 10.
18. $1Billion cut from Toronto Public Health alone. This move was “hidden” in the recent provincial budget and came without any consultation. “People will die. That is not an exaggeration, that is not rhetoric,” Board of health chair Joe Cressy said. The Globe & Mail: Ford to Cut $1-billion in Funding
- Food safety
- Water quality
- Diabetes prevention
- Prenatal care
- Sexual health programs
- Vaccination programs
- School breakfast programs
- SickKids Motherisk program cancelled.
- Cuts to health unit programs by 50% or more
19. Health spending falls roughly $5B short of what the Financial Accountability Office found is needed to maintain the services it currently provides to keep up with an aging population, growing population & inflation. HuffPost: Three Scary Things in Ontario Budget and HuffPost: Ontario Budget 2019
Further reading – The Star Opinion: How Did Doug Ford & His Brother Cover Budget Gaps
1. Huge cuts and changes announced to Autism funding and entire program with no clear path forward. Changes announced to the Autism Ontario Program.
2. ONTABA threatened by MacLeod to provide a quote of support for the govt’s new (vaguely revealed) program. Threatens with “four long years” if they don’t endorse changes. ONTABA not consulted in new program after requesting numerous times to meet with MacLeod since last fall. Parents are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements before they can make an appointment with their local MPP. Minister threatens professional association if they don’t endorse changes to Autism Ontario program
3. Supporting systemic discrimination in Ontario children’s disability rehabilitation. Ontario Disability Coalition.
4. Special Services at Home Program “out of money” in Nov, 2108. No word on when funding will be available. SSAH pays for services that either help kids with disabilities learn new skills, or provides respite support for parents.
5. Emails show that Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod, directed autism support service providers in the province to stop making calls to families of children with autism placed on its waiting list in September. Many feel this was done expressly to exacerbate the backlog of families on the waitlist. Global News: Government Autism Support Centres and CBC News: Lisa MacLeod & Coteau Autism
6. Many parents and program directors disagree that the Autism Program was broken, and indeed it seems the current government is responsible for further crippling it in 2018.
- From a parent of a child with Autism in the program. Today’s Parent: How Changes to the Program Will Hurt Kids Like My Son
- CBC News: Parents ‘Outraged’ Over Autism Funding Changes
- Global News: Ontario Autism Explainer
7. Parents feel that Macleod is making a massive mistake kicking as many as 8,400 children out of the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) and integrating them into the public school system. Thompson announced that the government will provide schools with $12,300 per new student. The Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) was not consulted prior to this announcement. Sudbury News: New Autism Funding a Bandaid
8. Social services minister Lisa Macleod has promised more funding to children with more severe autism. MacLeod said she was prepared to put more money into the program, but couldn’t say yet how much. CTV News: ON Government Making Changes to Controversial Program and The Star: Money For Autism Services
1. All funding cut ($5M annually) from the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM), which provides grants to help Ontario researchers turn discoveries into treatments that are both medically and commercially viable. OIRM’s projects include developing a therapy to heal the damaged lungs of premature babies on ventilators. Critics compared the slashed $100,000 in funding for research on the underdeveloped lungs of preemies to the identical amount given to the “hats for hides” program for hunters. The Star: Stem Cell Research Latest Victim and CBC: Ford Govt Stem Cell Ontario
- Director Dr. Duncan Stewart, who heads the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute as well as being president and scientific director of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said the institute is going to “try to do what we can to keep going.” But it isn’t clear how. Ontario’s $5 million annually for five years was the institute’s sole source of funding. Ottawa Citizen: Provincial Cuts a Body Slam
2. Axed funding for two institutes credited with positioning Ontario and Canada at the forefront of artificial intelligence research; a field the government’s own prosperity think tank says “must be supported if the province wants to remain competitive and create jobs in a booming technology sector”.
- $20M cut from the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and
- $4M cut annually from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), which supports a hub of AI-focused computer scientists. The Star: Ford Govt Slashes Funding to Research Institutes
3. Eliminated the think tank that issued the report above, the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, which closed its doors in May 2019, after 18 years. It was the research arm of a task force designed to examine policies that could help Ontario become more competitive. The Star: Ford Govt Slashes Funding to Research Institutes
4. Mowat Centre forced to close because of lack of government funding. Such a sad (and frightening) loss of a non-partisan, independent research body. The Star: Ford Assault on Independent Thought and Mowat Centre Announcement
- From their website: “The Mowat Centre is an independent public policy think tank located at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and Ontario’s non-partisan, evidence-based voice on public policy. Our policy areas of expertise are intergovernmental economic and social policy, state transformation, energy policy and not-for-profit policy.”
5. Over $2M funds cut (1/3 of total funding) for innovation hub Communitech, resulting in a lay off of 15% of their staff. BetaKit: Communitech Reduces Staff and CBC: Cuts to Communitech a Wake-Up Call
“I think it is a wake-up call to the tech industry. I think the real thing to look for is not the cuts that are happening now, but the notice that these organizations have been given that they’re under review for go-forward funding and how that might affect it. We don’t really know the criteria to which they’ll be evaluated or how much [the province] is willing to commit.Douglas Soltys – editor-in-chief of tech industry website BetaKit
6. The Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre in North Bay loses 70% of it’s funding. Annual funding has gone from $860,000 to $250,000. The AOFRC is a “scientific information technical support body with biologist and fishery technicians that provides fisheries services to the 40 Anishinabek First Nations in Ontario”. Their mission is to report on stock status, evaluate stresses on fish populations and habitats, offer management recommendations, and facilitate information sharing and participation among all stakeholders to promote sustainable fisheries and resolve conflict.
The AOFRC also been working on a moose project north of Lake Superior. The reaction from the First Nations has been disbelief, as well as regret for lost programming. North Bay Now: Ford Govt Cuts Budget to North Bay Fisheries
Bill 108 proposes to repeal many of the amendments introduced through Bill 139 (the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017). Bill 139 renamed and reconstituted the Ontario Municipal Board as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (the “LPAT”), and made significant changes to the Planning Act and land use planning approval process. There is a fear the proposed changes revive much-maligned OMB rules that “allowed deep-pocketed developers to run roughshod over communities.” – Mike Schreiner. Global News: Cheaper to Build
The changes will affect 13 Ontario laws, including the Environmental Protection and Endangered Species acts and Ontario Heritage and Planning acts. More than 20 pages of wide-reaching changes to laws affecting Ontario flora and fauna were buried in the act. The Star: Sweeping Changes Buried in Housing Bill and The Spec: What We Know & Don’t Know
1. “Pay to Slay” for endangered species. Bill 108 weakens classification criteria, allows environment minister to delay protections for up to three years, and provides developers, industry and others who impact the habitat of endangered species with options to continue their activities, including a fee-in-lieu fund. National Observer: One Million Species at Risk
2. Roll-back density targets, allowing greenfields where developers usually build single-family home subdivisions to be converted to homes for 40 people per hectare rather than the current 80. See also Bill 66. Global News: Increasing Housing Supply By Changing Growth Plan
3. Ford government is reverting to old OMB rules. The Star: Government Restores OMB Rules
4. Will make changes to the cash-for-density measures in planning law, potentially reducing the flexibility municipalities have to collect and spend development revenue.
5. Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act will be replaced. Municipalities used to collect money for community gardens, green space, daycare and affordable housing in exchange for granting developers extra height on their towers (for example). With the new bill, there will be caps based on land value.
6. Want to allow municipalities to pass a “community benefits charge” bylaw that would combine a community benefit fee with legislated provisions that allow municipalities to get parkland, or “cash in lieu of parkland”, from developers.
7. Changes to heritage-protection laws. Under Bill 108, owners must be notified if their properties show up on the “cultural heritage value” list (as opposed to heritage protection) and are able to appeal to council if they think the lands shouldn’t be on it. If that doesn’t work, they can challenge the decision at the tribunal.
8. Limits inclusionary zoning (affordable housing) brought in by the former Liberal government. This gave cities the power to force developers to include affordable housing units. The Minister may have the power to step in and impose what’s called a “community planning permit” (streamlined approval for a specific area).
9. Give municipalities more say over how conservation authorities spend the levy from property taxes, and make them more accountable. Conservation authorities have just seen Ontario’s small contribution to (after their budgets were recently cut in half). Municipalities shouldn’t pay for “frivolous additional expenses”.
10. Plan to exempt some “low-risk development” from requiring conservation authority permits, and reducing regulations on areas within 30 to 120 metres of wetlands.
11. The government has exempted new housing units from rent controls as a way to spur construction.
12. Changes to the Cannabis Control Act that currently prohibits police from shutting down illegal dispensaries if the premises are being used as a residence.
If there was any doubt that Ford was in the pocket of big developers, this removes all doubt. It will once again force millions of dollars of legal costs upon municipalities, while transferring power from elected officials to a politically appointed board. Making matters worse, Ford is giving developers the right to appeal decisions, while depriving citizens from doing the same.Mike Schreiner – Green Party Leader
What it [Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act] means is that the people who exercise power over you can exercise that power negligently and cause you damage and no one will have to pay. One way to look at it is that the government is saying, ‘With great power should come no responsibility.Kevin Wiener , Toronto lawyer
1. Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act. Legislation buried in the 2019 budget bill would make many government actions immune to civil suits (including class action suits). Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act (legislation that outlines government liability in cases of misfeasance and negligence) will be repealed. CBC News: Proceedings Against the Crown and The Star: Ford Government Less Accountable
2. (Further to #1) Ford Government has passed at least 16 more laws that provide themselves immunity from lawsuits for various reasons (including class action suits). Most of these are buried in bills. Some of them are:
- broken laws
- civil liability
- breach of contract
- breach of fiduciary duty
- breach of trust
- breach of the Securities Act
- breach of Labour Laws
A bit on what the above means for potential investors and businesses in Ontario…
Inserting an immunity clause into two major bills casts doubt on Ford’s assertion that the province is now putting out the welcome mat. It’s actually saying quite the opposite: Ontario is closed for business. If we don’t like your business we’ll do whatever we want to it and immunize ourselves from legal recourse by yourself.University of Toronto political scientist Nelson Wiseman
The White Pines wind turbine project — that was killed under Bill 2 — had been under development for nearly a decade. The president of WPD Canada, a subsidiary of the German company behind the project, said cancelling the project could cost more than $100 million. The compensation to the company will be limited to the direct cost it has incurred to this point. And the new bill prevents the company from suing.
Spending 10 years and $100 million to build this wind farm, only to have an election take place, a new government come in and be told they have to dismantle the project and leave the country: that sends a bad message. New governments are completely free to determine their own course. But this kind of sudden change in direction as a result of an election does have an unfortunate by-product. It undermines our reputation for a predictable, safe business environment.Ross Laver, the senior vice president of policy and communications with the Business Council of Canada
3. Streamlining rules to allow for faster passage of Bills (less debated etc.) CBC News: Ford Changing Queen’s Park Rules…
4. First economic plan (Nov 2018) PC Party will not implement tax increase on 1% ($275M in lost revenue) Announce they have cut $2.7 billion in tax revenue but only shaved $500 million off the deficit. CBC News: PC’s Fall Economic Outlook
5. Increased their own monthly housing allowance over 20% (retroactive to July 2018) to combat inflated housing costs. (see above) CBC News: MPP’s Hike Housing Allowance
6. Shuts down The Local Planning Appeal Support Centre that helps citizens challenge big developers. CBC Local Planning Appeal Support.
7. Stops the ban on back end payment mutual funds (cheap up front a mess at the end) Financial Post: Ontario Pushes Back… and Globe & Mail: Ford Shamefully Backing Investment Industry Over Investors
8. PC Party foots the bill for a $25,000 trip on a private jet used to ferry Ford and his team during a three-day northern tour. Top staffers in Ford’s office arranged a charter aircraft, using private emails. Globe & Mail: PC Party to Pay
9. Cannabis promises not kept – allows pot dispensaries within 150 metres of schools (after vehemently opposing the Liberal Government’s 450 metre ruling) Global News: Cannabis Near Schools
10. $25M projected first year loss at OCS (Ontario Cannabis Store) MSN: Ontario Cannabis Store Set to Lose…
11. Calls on Fed Govt to end all tariffs on steel and aluminum, which would equal unilateral surrender to the Americans. “The reciprocal tariffs are critical to pressuring the Americans to end this dispute once and for all.” Federal Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains Financial Post: Ottawa Says Ford Govt…
12. Scrapped the Social Impact bonds issued by the previous government to help pay for social programs. It is questionable how effective these bonds are at helping the most vulnerable, TBH. CBC News: On Social Impact Bonds
- Of note is the statement made in October of 2018 by Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. “Premier Doug Ford’s promise not to cut any jobs in the province doesn’t mean they won’t be privatized”. iPolitics: Privatizing Jobs Won’t Count
13. 2 of 4 credit rating agencies downgrade Ontario from stable to negative. The Star: Financial Watchdog Raises Concerns Days after lowering the provincial credit rating, Moody’s downgrades the credit ratings of seven public organizations in Ontario. The Canadian Press: Moody’s Ontario Credit Downgrade
14. The PC’s are spending almost $5B more than any government in Ontario history, but the expenditure estimates reveals huge cuts in many areas. The Star: Tories Unveil Spending Estimates
15. Ontario taxpayers may have to foot a $1B bill in penalties if Ford forges ahead with his plan to allow convenience stores to sell beer. CBC News: Doug Ford’s Beer Promise and The Star: Beer Store Union Launches Campaign
16. The PC Party (i.e. “we” the taxpayers) will pay Premier Doug Ford’s legal bills in a $5 million defamation lawsuit filed against him by fired deputy OPP commissioner Brad Blair. The Star: PC Party to pay Fords Legal Fees
17. Bankruptcy? Desperation and disruption are Ford’s new watchwords, as their popularity plummets, because desperate times allow for desperate measures. Ford has announced a fiscal emergency that can now be revealed: Ontario has been declared bankrupt. By our own premier. Social Policy in Ontario: Ford’s post-budget plan to declare bankruptcy See also: Section in budget on bankruptcy
Let’s not forget that a deficit is simply the shortfall in the province’s budget — and it can be the result of too much spending or too little revenue.
The Ford government wants us to believe that Ontario’s deficit is caused by too much spending. But after years of stagnant social spending in Ontario, that’s a hard case to make.
Indeed, by any reasonable measure, Ontario is a laggard in social spending. As Ontario’s non-partisan Financial Accountability Office (FAO) notes, Ontario already has the lowest program spending (per capita) among Canada’s 10 provinces — before Ford’s spending cuts click in.
So pointing to Ontario’s ultralow social spending as the cause of Ontario’s deficit is about as credible as Donald Trump’s claim that his inaugural crowd was bigger than Obama’s.
If not spending, then what is driving Ontario’s deficit?
Again, the FAO provides some revealing clues, noting that Ontario also has the lowest revenue (per capita) of any of the provinces. While the provincial average for revenue (per capita) is $12,373, Ontario only collects $10,415 (per capita) — a significantly smaller amount.
Therein lies the dirty secret of Ontario’s deficit — too little revenue.
And Ford is making the problem worse by cutting taxes a further $3.6 billion a year, notes Sheila Block, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
Even Moody’s, the Wall Street credit rating agency, pointed to Ontario’s low revenue — and Ford’s tax cuts driving it lower — as the main deficit culprit when it downgraded the province’s credit rating last December.
All this suggests Ford is faking his concern about the deficit.Linda McQuaig – Social Policy Ontario (from The Star) Ford’s deficit hype conceals Ontario’s dirty secret
1. Ontario Chief Comptroller Cindy Veinot resigns because she refused to sign off on Vic Fedeli’s lie that there was a $15B deficit. The Star: Provinces Chief Accountant Quits
2. A “select committee” dominated by PC MPPs examined the shortfall. The Liberals first predicted a $6.7B deficit in their last spring budget, Veinot had it at $11.7B. Far from Fedeli’s $15B, which has since dropped to $12.3B. The PC’s refused to allow Veinot to testify in the inquiry.
- This is a good read on Kathleen Wynne’s restoration of the fiscal balance not by raising taxes, but by cutting spending and growing the economy. Macleans: How Exactly Did ON Liberals Balance the Budget?
3. It has been brought to light by the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance, that Ontario’s deficit in 2018 was $3.7 billion (not the $15 billion claimed).
- Consolidated Financial Statements
- Public Accounts Volume 1
- Public Accounts Volume 2
- Detailed Schedule of Payments Volume 3
*NB: I have to admit this is all very confusing to me, so I will include a link to an informative twitter thread by @bryan_leblanc on the subject.
4. As an attempt at the ultimate “bait and switch”, as support for the Conservative Party plummets, Ford declares the province BANKRUPT. Yes. For further reading see the section on plan B and bankruptcy here.
1. Launches “Ontario News Now”, a third world style propaganda news site paid for by taxpayers. National Post: Ford Shouldn’t Waste Taxpayer Money on Party Propaganda, CBC News: How Doug Ford can use taxpayers’ dollars to fund Ontario News Now & Globe & Mail: Propaganda Machine
- Paid for by taxpayers, but the costs unknown. Because ONN operates out of PC caucus services, a fund that every caucus of 12 or more receives for administration and research, it is not subject to disclosure or freedom of information requests. The overall budget for the PCs is around $6.7M.
- The top two staffers at PC caucus services – Ms. Vanstone, as director of communications, and executive director Jeff Silverstein – earn six-figure salaries, with Ms. Vanstone making at least $100,000 and Mr. Silverstein close to $150,000. Globe & Mail: Propaganda Machine
- It’s worthwhile adding here that third party advertiser Ontario Proud, a self-described “grassroots” operation, received over half a million dollars in donations during the spring provincial election (almost 90% from corporations). Ontario Proud is credited with helping the PCs win the provincial election, mostly with anti-Wynne posts and memes. TVO: The Conservatives Not-So-Secret Weapon
- Ford unsurprisingly stands behind his Progressive Conservative government’s decision to spend millions of taxpayers’ money on an advertising campaign attacking the federal carbon-pricing plan. The Spec: Ford Stands by Taxpayer Funded Ad Blitz
2. Dean French a (physically imposing man who speaks in sports metaphors, many about the importance of being a team) is closely monitoring the MPP’s public behaviour for signs of “insufficient enthusiasm”. Many members of parliament have recounted confrontations with French, where they were threatened with firings or demotions, over perceived disloyalty. This may be at the root of the problem of caucus delivering so many standing ovations in that the Speaker asked them to stop.
3. Buck a beer at taxpayer and retailer expense. CP24 News: Ford’s Buck-A-Beer Plan
- Possible hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties if Premier Doug Ford forges ahead with his plan to allow convenience stores to sell beer. The catch is: “A contract between the province, The Beer Store and three big brewers, in place until the end of 2025, limits the number and type of retail outlets that can sell beer in Ontario. Allowing the province’s 9,000 convenience stores to sell beer would breach the contract. Any breach of the contract’s key terms is subject to penalties.” CBC News: Ford Beer Convenience Stores
4. Promoted white supremacy and paid zero political price for it. Huff Post: Doug Ford Embracing White Nationalist, National Observer: We Asked All 76 Members of Caucus
5. PC Party foots the bill for a $25,000 trip on a private jet used to transport the Premier and his team during a three-day northern tour. Top staffers in Ford’s office arranged a charter aircraft, using private emails. Globe & Mail: PC Party to Pay
6. Took credit for CAMH expansion (on Bell Help Day) Good that this is happening, just perhaps not the best day to announce it. City News: Ontario Investing $633M
7. Pushes to privatize Ontario Place; possible allocation is a casino. CBC News: Casino Isn’t Off the Table.
8. Openly supported “United We Roll” convoy. Ford welcomed the convoy to Ontario with a tweet that said “I support your call to build the pipeline and stop the job-killing carbon tax”, and another with a video of Ford shot at Toronto’s annual automotive show. Ford neither spoke out in favour, nor against the immigration and race issues raised by the people in the convoy. National Post: Convoy Mixes White Nationalists and Ottawa Citizen: Convoy Set to Reach Parliament Hill
9. The province’s so-called “Government For the People” has turned parliamentary democracy upside down: Martin Regg Cohn writes an opinion piece for The Standard. Judge for yourself, based on this day in the life of our legislature: The Standard: A Depressing Day for Democracy in Ontario – Martin Regg Cohn
If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears, did it happen? If a legislature fades in a democracy and no one notices, does it matter?Martin Regg Cohn – The Standard
10. “Doug Ford has shat the bed. Ford’s campaign to defund essential services and privatize everything else has turned conservatives in his own party against him.” Now Toronto: Doug Ford Cuts
11. A group of key staffers is leaving Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s inner circle as his government approaches the end of its first year in office. Globe & Mail: Ford’s Office Loses Top Staffers
- Executive director of strategic communications David Tarrant left after the budget to work in the private sector
- Executive director of policy Mitchell Davidson is leaving summer of 2019
- Both above positions will be filled by current advisors to Dean French (Matt Bondy & Greg Harrington respectively). French, a long-time ally of the Premier widely seen as a powerful figure at Queen’s Park, rivalling only Mr. Ford himself. (Also see Patronage Appointments)
- two communications staffers are moving to federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s office in Ottawa.
Our plan will put more money in your pocket and deliver real relief to the people who need it most. …will save an average family $173 per year on their hydro bills. That’s 12% savings on the average family’s hydro bill.Doug Ford (pre-election) ford nation live
1. Overruling Hydro One Board’s selection for CEO (Bill 2 – Urgent Priorities Act) Globe & Mail: Independent Directors Fighting Doug Ford…
3. Amends the Ontario Energy Board Act to add that the rates charged by Hydro One “shall not reflect amounts paid for executive compensation.” And as a further sign that the government is fully in change, it has granted itself “immunity from litigation arising from this legislation.” Financial Post: New HydroOne Ultimately Worse for Customers & Shareholders
4. Costs HydroOne $136M (US $103M) in termination fees to Avista and $49M in commissions as a direct result of govt meddling in a $6.7B merger. Hydro One posted a $227M profit in it’s most recent quarter. Growth strategy now toast. Financial Post: Avista, HydroOne Abandon…
Simply put, the Ford government’s actions with respect to Hydro One represent an unprecedented intrusion into the private capital markets. This is the act of a leftist South American dictator, not a new progressive conservative government that professes to be ‘open for business.’ Shameful.Senior Bay Street banker
5. Scraps Rate Protection from over 325K HydroOne customers. Global News: Changes by Doug Ford …
6. PC’s wind down Fair Hydro Plan (after election promises to lower electricity rates 12% on top of Fair Hydro Plan). The so called “Fixing the Hydro Mess Act” brings an end to the previous plan and uploads local electricity conservation programs to the corporation that manages the system and overhauls the energy sector watchdog. CTV News: Ontario PCs Wind Down Fair Hydro Plan
7. $500M in lost HydroOne share value when CEO Mayo Schmidt was fired. Stock price targets dropped to between $18- $21 from $24-$26. Analysts at CIBC World Markets said investors face an uncertain future. Financial Post: HydroOne Shares Tumble
8. Hydro rates increased in Toronto in January 1st, 2019, and the rest of the province in November 2019 (just in time for winter). Ontario already pays the highest hydro rates in the country, or approximately 25% more than all other provinces. The Ford government has deceptively changed the look of Hydro bills, to make it look like we are getting a better deal, but we are not.
1. Appoints Ron Taverner to position of OPP Commissioner with questionable qualifications (& lied about pulling strings to put said buddy in charge of the OPP) iPolitics: Qualifications Lowered for OPP Commissioner
2. The “keep it off the books” (and paid for by the OPP) personalized camper van request. The preferred van choice was a Mercedes Benz Sprinter, and it was to be outfitted with a mini-fridge, a 32-inch television with Blu-ray player, a leather power reclining sofa bench, four swivel chairs and desks. The total price was to be $50,696 (on top of the cost of the vehicle). CBC News: Ford’s Van Skewered as Pimped Out Ride & CBC News: Camper-Type Vehicle
3. Fires OPP Deputy Commissioner, who challenged the appointment of a Ford family friend as Commissioner, blew the whistle on the “camper van” and was in charge of his brother’s file. CBC News: Fired OPP Deputy Commissioner
4. Democracy Watch released the letter sent to Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé calling for an investigation into Ford’s Chief of Staff Dean French (and others) and former deputy minister Steve Orsini providing preferential treatment to Ford’s friend Ron Taverner, and also to Mario Di Tomasso and Chris Froggatt, which would violate the provincial government ethics law. iPolitics: Democracy Watch
6. The PC Party (i.e. “we” the taxpayers) will pay Premier Doug Ford’s legal bills in a $5 million defamation lawsuit filed against him by fired deputy OPP commissioner Brad Blair. The Star: PC Party to pay Fords Legal Fees
Not that this is anything new in politics, but these are some of Ford’s appointed friends and/or connections to boards with exceptional salaries (and for some, questionable motives and/or experience):
- Jenni Byrne: Ford’s principal secretary early in his government. She clashed with Ford’s friend and chief of staff, Dean French. January 2019, she left her position for a $197K per year, two-year seat on the Ontario Energy Board, which governs gas and electricity rates. Byrne held senior posts with Stephen Harper.
- Rueben Devlin: Newly created special Adviser on Health Care (position did not previously exist). Devlin will make $348K per year. By the time Devlin’s interim report on ending hallway medicine was made public, the province was already working on creating a super agency, according to reports. Devlin has not yet released a final report. Devlin was a former president of ON PC Party, and member of Ford’s transition team. The Ontario Health board will meet a minimum of four times per year.
- Michael Diamond: Campaign manager of Ford’s leadership bid and campaign director. He is a registered lobbyist, and principal of Upstream Strategy Group, which landed significant clients after the election. One of them is the Ontario Association of Radiologists, who are involved in a battle with the Ontario Medical Association over wage increases. Diamond is among a handful of people with party links added to the volunteer board of the Trillium Foundation.
- Dean French: Chief of Staff. Etobicoke businessman who runs an insurance consultancy, Advisor Co. French had is last high profile government position on Stockwell Day’s national campaign in 2000. He was Ford’s campaign chair and the day after the PCs won, Ford named him chief of staff. The Star: PCs Dodge Questions , Globe & Mail: Meet Dean French French is the “enforcer” who wields his power unabashedly, and without consequence. See French Closely Monitors Caucus
- Chris Froggatt: (Vice Chair of Ford’s campaign + led the transition team) Froggatt registered his new firm, Loyalist Public Affairs (startup that helps companies do business with the government) just one month after finishing with Ford’s transition team.
- Charles Harnick: Chairman of Legal Aid Ontario – an organization he helped create in the 1990s while serving in Mike Harris’ PC Govt. He was appointed by a three-member panel that included a judge and a representative of the Law Society of Ontario. His appointment was announced prior to Legal Aid Ontario’s funding being slashed by 30%.
- Ken Hughes: Former federal and provincial Progressive Conservative politician from Alberta to spearhead the expansion of beer and wine sales and advise Vic Fedeli, with a salary of $1,000 a day, to a maximum of $200,000. He co-founded an insurance brokerage and served as chair of Alberta Health Services from 2008-2011. He is tasked with of achieving Ford’s liberalization goal while avoiding the hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties that could be invoked under the previous government’s deal with the brewery-owned Beer Store.
- Hazel McCallion: offered $150K to 97 year-old McCallion as advisor- who pressured Wynn for years to open the Greenbelt to development. HuffPost: Hazel McCallion * McCallion turned position down. *
- Cameron Montgomery: Failed PC candidate given a full time $140K per year plus expenses salaried job as EQAO chair, for a previously $3,600 per year part time position.
- Carmine Nigro: Toronto Developer awarded position as Chairman of the board of LCBO. He is co-founder of Craft Dev. Corp. and has retail, office and residential projects across Ontario and the US. s. The new chairman of the province’s massive liquor monopoly (which brings in $6.24-billion a year in revenue) also sits on the board of the PC Ontario Fund, which is the fundraising arm P C Party.
- Joe Oliver: Former federal minister of finance *and climate change denier* in the Harper government appointed to board of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which runs the province’s power grid. In Ottawa, Oliver was a cabinet colleague of Greg Rickford, now Ford’s Energy Minister. His appointment to the IESO was immediately panned by the NDP and environmentalists, who pointed to a Toronto Sun column in which he argued that concerns about climate change are “at best grossly exaggerated or simply false.”
- David Shiner: In 2013 Shiner was one of only two city councillors to vote against a motion to strip the mayor of many of his powers. (The other was Doug Ford.) In September 2018, he announced his retirement from council. In November, the Ford government appointed him to the board of Infrastructure Ontario, which handles public-private partnership deals to build everything from hospitals to roads. This role will be key as the province takes over Toronto’s subway system.
- Ron Taverner: * Taverner stepped down.* 72 year old family friend of Ford’s was to be paid $275K per year after the government quietly lowered the qualifications for the position, a move that helped Taverner meet the criteria for the job, despite the fact his position as a superintendent fell below the initial threshold. Globe & Mail: Ford Taverner Affair Isn’t Over
- Kory Teneycke: (Campaign Manager, worked in “War Room” in Toronto) incorporated his new co. Rubicon Strategies (another startup that helps companies do business with the government) just 20 days after the election. He pitched his services to HydroOne. Teneycke is the former vice-president of Sun News Network and the former Director of Communications to the Prime Minister’s Office under Stephen Harper.
- Gavin Tighe: Family lawyer of the Ford family receives a $667,000 government contract ($166,666 per year) as Chair of the Public Accountants Council (regulatory body for accounting profession). Tighe represented Rob Ford in two civil cases: when he was sued for defamation and again when he was sued for his alleged involvement in the jailhouse beating of his sister’s former spouse.
- Ian Todd: Ontario Trade Rep in Washington at $350K per year, $75K more than his predecessor and least 20 per cent more than Canada’s ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton.
For Further Reading…
- This is one of the most disturbing articles I’ve read on Ford on the “three legged stool” of French, Foggatt & Teneycke. MacLeans: For Access to the Ford Govt
- Now: Scandals Reveal Conflict & Corruption
- The Star: How Did Ford & His Brother Cover Budget Gaps
- This piece on Ford’s patronage appointments was just published recently (April 28, 2019), and is very helpful. Globe & Mail: Ford Government Under Scrutiny
Bill 74 – The People’s Health Care Act, 2019
As I understand more and more about how this is evolving, I’ve got to say my concerns are getting greater.Dr. Bob Bell – Ontario’s deputy minister of Health until his retirement last June.
1. Documents uncovered by the minority NDP party reveal a total revamp of the healthcare system, with a two-tier privatization system for Ontario residents (done behind closed doors). Records indicate it is already a DONE DEAL. CBC News: Newly Leaked Documents…
3. Ford calls on the OPP to investigate #2 above. The OPP confirmed its anti-rackets branch is reviewing the complaint.iPolitics: Ford Government Calls on OPP
4. Many fear the PC Party is moving to semi-privatize health care in Ontario. Generally there is a lack of disclosure on exactly what the reforms mean in the way of changes, improvements and cost savings (or costs) to the taxpayers. National Observer: Officials Struggle to Explain Healthcare Reforms and The Star: Who Will Protect Ontario’s Health Care?
Lawyer responsible for health care restructuring (and cannabis). Watts is a corporate commercial lawyer with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and corporate commercial matters in the health and cannabis industries. He is Chair of Osler’s Health Industry Group and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Group. Michael Watts (& Osler) in charge of the legalities of this, the “most radical health care restructuring in our history.” Explanation from the Osler website of the “integration” of Bill 74.
For a peek into Watts’ mind, here is an opinion piece he did in 2013 extolling the virtues of private and/or two-tier medical systems and how the Canada Health Act is less binding than we might think. Quote below is from this article. FFS. National Post: Michael Watts – Our Healthcare Myth
To begin with, provinces have sole authority over their own health-care programs, and the federal government’s power under the CHA is limited to its ability to withhold portions of the Canada Health Transfer. As public policy expert Gerard Boychuk has written, the Act “neither has nor requires provincial consent and is not legally binding on either party.”Michael Watts: Our health-care monopoly myth | National Post Oct 8, 2013
And not only are the federal government’s powers over the provinces with regard to issues such as user fees and extra billing weaker than most believe, it is becoming less and less inclined to use them. The federal government does not seem to have ever imposed discretionary penalties on the provinces over failures to uphold the Act, mandatory penalties have declined dramatically over the years, and what few cases go to dispute resolution also tend not to result in reductions in health transfers.
6. Plan to cut OHIP-covered services by at least $500M, including cutting access to diabetes and pain management clinics, including those suffering from chronic pain. The documents released state that an estimated “30% of medical services in Canada are unnecessary and inappropriate.” See “Protecting What Matters” Budget and Health Service Cuts here. City News: Changes Proposed to OHIP
7. Dismantles Cancer Care Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life, E-Health, and Local Health Integration Networks and rolls them all into one “super agency”. Globe & Mail: Experts Criticize Ontario’s Proposal…
- In Bill 74, will force mega-mergers, transfers, service closures, and privatization of health care services including hospitals, long-term care, home care, cancer care, health records, community mental health and addiction services, community care services, palliative care, community health centres, non-profit primary care, laboratory and air ambulances and more. OSPEU: Hands Off … (more to follow…)
- NOTE: In a profoundly undemocratic move, the Ford government has refused the Ontario Health Coalition entry into the budget lock up April 11, 2019 for the first time ever. The Coalition has been in the budget lock up for decades (through multiple govts). Other organizations were also refused access for the first time. Note: The above link to the Ontario Health Coalition has some helpful info on what is being cut, and what is coming.
8. In Bill 74 the Minister of Health & Long-Term Care has given herself and the Super Agency unprecedented powers to order and otherwise accomplish privatizing of most of our health care services. They now have the power to cut services, merge service-providers, and transfer control of agencies to any individual or entity of their choice (Section 33; Section 27). They could even appoint an unqualified friend, so long as they believe it’s “in the public interest to do so.” Globe Newswire: Ontario Health Coalition
9. Moved to radically limit psychotherapy provided by psychiatrists and family physicians. The ministry’s proposed new approach, modelled on U.S. managed care model, is designed to limit the type and amount of treatment individual patients will receive, regardless of symptoms. Psychiatrists would essentially become “consultants”. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) opposes it. Globe & Mail: Ontario Battle for the Soul of Phsychiatrists
- TheSpec: I Have a Sick Feeling – Joe Salter – M.Sc. in Global Health
- Global News Wire: Ontario Health Coalition News & Events
- The Star: Health Minister Downplays Confidential Draft Bill
“People’s Health Care” Board Members
The concerns about the potential privatization of OHIP are compounded by the position of some of the key people in the first phase of our Health & Long Term Care Ministry. Meet the board members of People’s Health Care (I think it’s called). They are committed to meeting a minimum of four times per year. (from Ontario Health Coalition) and North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN:
- Charles Lammam, Director of Policy at Office of Deputy Premier & Minister of Health & Long Term Care , formerly of the right wing Fraser Institute. The Fraser Institute has spent years trying to dismantle Canada’s social programs and one of their prime targets is health care. The Fraser Institute has been funded by the Koch brothers (funders of the Tea Party, Americans for Tax Reform & Atlas Network) among others.
- Shelly Jamieson, board member of the Super Agency, is the former president of Extendicare, a for-profit long-term care home giant. She was on the Mike Harris governments Restructuring Commission that ordered the closure of >40 hospitals and thousands of hospital beds, then moved to Extendicare which gained from the subsequent expansion of long-term care. Now she is on the new Super Agency, this government’s Health Restructuring board.
- Elyse Allan (Vice Chair) is on the board of Brookfield Assets Management and the right-wing pro-privatization C.D. Howe institute and was recently on the board of the Conference Board of Canada, the Chamber of Commerce.
- Bill Hatanaka (Chair) Investment banker with a rather stunning portfolio (associated with 33 different organizations across 36 industries) and most recently was President and CEO, OPSEU Pension Trust. (He also played for the Ottawa Rough Riders when they won the Grey Cup in 1976). His community involvement has included work with Canadian Centre for Diversity, The United Way and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.
- Jay Aspin Elected representative for the CP of Canada in Nipissing-Timiskaming (won by 18 votes) He served as a city councillor for North Bay City Council, trustee for the Near North District School Board, the Nipissing Board of Education and as a business consultant and for the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
- Andrea Barrack Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank Group. Current Chair of the Dean’s Council for the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, and advisory member of the Impact Canada Initiative. Previously, she was CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
- Dr. Alexander Barron a physician who specializes in General Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Hematology. He has practiced at the Sick Kids, St. Joseph’s, North York General and Grand River Hospital. He was a consulting physician on the Afghanistan Task Force, and served on the board of the Ontario Medical Association, as well as The Canadian Medical Protective Association (on the Executive, Case Review and Investment Committees)
- Rob Devitt Served as President and CEO of the Toronto East General Hospital. Served on numerous boards including the Ontario Hospital Association, the Canadian College of Health Care Leaders and the Post-Secondary Education Quality Assessment Board. He was an original board member of Plexxus and HDIRS (Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services). Devitt could very well be an asset, but if you google him, he does sound like a bit of an enforcer. He is called in to clean up, and clean out. i.e. CTV News: Unifor Shocked or Blackburn News: Chatham Kent Health Alliance
- Garry Foster Chartered Accountant and real estate developer: currently sits on the boards of SmartREITS (SmartCentres) and Real Matters Inc.(mortgage lenders), where he chairs the Audit Committees. He also serves on the Presto Fare Card sub-committee of Metrolinx, and Payments Canada. He has chaired the board of Cogniciti, the commercialization arm of Baycrest Health Sciences. Yeah.
- Paul Tsaparis Ex-Hewlett Packard Canada President. Corporate Director, active investor and an adviser to a Venture Capital Fund.
- Anju Virmani Advisor and consultant in IT industry. Chief Information Officer at Cargojet and board of CentrePort Canada. Previously served on boards of Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto LHIN. Her other appointments include the Advisory Council for National Security (ACNS), a body that advised Prime Minister Stephen Harper on all issues related to National Security.
10. Opposition parties have asked direct questions about private surgery clinics bidding to take over our covered services. Under direct questioning in legislature neither the Health Minister nor Premier will deny plans to privatize using the new powers they have given themselves in Bill 74.
- Audio link to CBC Metro Morning interview with Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long Term Care. Elliott explains the changes, and what it means for people in Ontario. Note how evasive she is when host Matt Galloway attempts to get answers on the future of health care in Ontario and the possibility of a semi-privatized system.
By loading the board of his new health care super-agency with bankers, corporate bosses, and not a single front-line worker, Doug Ford is sending a clear signal that more health care privatization is on the horizon.OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Stakeholders and the government budget. I am including this article from Huffington Post here, as it addresses the forces in play in the 2019 Budget. Who are the stakeholders controlling our healthcare, education, etc. HuffingtonPost: What Stakeholders Want
- Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), a national group that works to nominate and elect candidates who oppose abortion at all levels of government, sold more than 9,000 PC party memberships to support Tanya Granic Allen. Ford was the CLC’s second choice. Despite initial doubts, Jeff Gunnarson (CLC vice-president) was reassured by Ford when the coalition laid out its demands: defund abortion; require parental consent before a minor receives an abortion; uphold “conscience rights” that allow medical professionals not to refer a patient needing abortion or assisted suicide; scrap the sex-ed curriculum of Kathleen Wynne’s government. (The CLC, which grades candidates “pro-life” and “pro-family,” green-lit 12 PC candidates; nine were elected; of its list of eight “educable” candidates, which included Ford, four were elected) More on CLC: HuffPost: CLC Conservative Convention
- RightNow, which bills itself as “Canada’s newest political pro-life organization,” also worked the convention floor. Co-founder Scott Hayward claims that anti-abortion operatives put Ford over the top. RightNow got at least 800 supporters out to vote, he says: “Ford beat Christine Elliott by 153 points, or roughly 768 votes on the ﬁnal ballot.” (RightNow supported 16 candidates; 11 won, including then-20-year-old Sam Oosterhoff, named parliamentary assistant to the minister of education, who has said he’d vote to defund abortion clinics)
- The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (strong and questionable ties to the Conservative Party) Ontario director Christine Van Geyn says “The speed of action needs to increase.” She suggested ending corporate welfare, reducing spending on govt advertising, and changing OSAP so that only students with financial need get funding in the form of loans, not grants. Another suggestion was to replace bureaucrats in Ontario’s Public Service with artificial intelligence. For further understanding of this lobbying group see Americans for Tax Reform & Atlas Network.
- Ontario Hospital Association says there are no more “efficiencies” to find. Hospitals have not seen a funding increase since 2012, and need an additional $656M this year.
- Ontario Federation of Labour president Chris Buckley chastised PC MPPs for freezing the minimum wage, interfering in collective bargaining, cancelling a roundtable on violence against women, allowing police carding to continue and not doing enough to fight climate change.
Note: I will be moving items to their respective categories (as well as continuing to add & revise)
In preface to the budget info, I would like to note that Ford has said he’ll cut spending by finding $6B in “efficiencies.” So far the PC’s under Ford have cut $3.2 billion in spending, but have forfeited revenue by cutting taxes and axing the cap-and-trade program. The PC’s are spending almost $5B more than any government in Ontario history, amidst huge cuts to social programs.
From the standpoint of paying for the public services Ontarians need, the 2019 Ontario budget is an abject failure. It hurts people in very real ways. But as a public relations exercise designed to conceal bad news, the budget did its job. Fedeli, a former ad man, had a good day last Thursday.Randy Robinson – Ontario Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
1. I am including this first under the new budget items, because it is one of the most concerning items on this list, in my humble opinion. Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act (legislation that outlines government liability in cases of misfeasance and negligence) will be repealed and a new act, the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act will be introduced in 2019. Legislation buried in budget bill would make many government actions immune to civil suits (including class action suits). This law was passed without any consultation with the public or with the legal profession or the judiciary. CBC News: Proceedings Against the Crown and The Star: Ford Government Less Accountable
What it means is that the people who exercise power over you can exercise that power negligently and cause you damage and no one will have to pay. One way to look at it is that the government is saying, ‘With great power should come no responsibility.Kevin Wiener , Toronto lawyer
In December, 2019 the Ford Government is arguing that the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act be used retroactively to dismiss lawsuits it has already lost. As of December 2019, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are asking the courts to throw out at least eight class actions against it. This move is unprecedented not only in Ontario, or Canada, but in any democracy.
In the words of it’s statute, the Act:
- attempts to reach non-budgetary decisions that were negligently carried out by the government.
- is retroactive. So it applies to cases where the government has already lost the case.
- requires plaintiffs to go to court in advance of bringing the case in order to prove bad faith on the part of the government. And in that proceeding, you wouldn’t be entitled to any of the government’s documents, which is the normal way that civil litigation works in the province of Ontario.
The province acts like this is normal. I ask them to name a single democratic country which has done what they’ve done, and they won’t be able to name one — because there aren’t any.Kirk Baert (class-action lawyer at the firm Koskie Minsky) from an interview with Kate Swoger (CBC).
The New Kinder, Gentler Premier?
2. I have moved this item up to #2, for perhaps obvious reasons. The so-called “moderate” Protecting What Matters budget was to cast Ford as a kinder, gentler premier. Not too tough, not too soft – just right. It didn’t go according to plan.
The bad news was held back, and cuts have been announced in a steady drip since the budget release. These cuts add up to billions of dollars slashed from education, transit, health care, technology, the environment and social services, and have provoked a growing backlash. His popularity is now lower than Wynne’s was at the end of her tenure. CTV News: Polls Suggests Support for PCs Collapsed
Plan B – Ford Declares Ontario Bankrupt
Desperation and disruption are Ford’s new watchwords. Rather than talking up Ontario’s prospects (or encouraging them), Ford has announced a fiscal emergency that can now be revealed: Ontario has been declared bankrupt. By our own premier. Social Policy in Ontario: Ford’s post-budget plan to declare bankruptcy
3. Cuts of nearly $1B from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services over three years
4. Cuts $550M from OHIP (continues to look for more cuts)
5. Cuts $15M from Trillium Life, still using the bloated $15B deficit as an excuse. CBC News: Trillium Foundation Cuts
6. $1Billion cut from Toronto Public Health alone. This move was “hidden” in the recent provincial budget and came without any consultation. (see Health Services Cuts)
7. Measure on ambulance services was quietly announced in budget and involves integrating 59 emergency health services operators and 22 dispatch centres. Globe & Mail: Ford Restructuring Ambulance Service
8. Cut the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs budget by 15%. see Public Sector Cuts
9. Removed the Indigenous Culture Fund entirely. There are NO funds moving forward. (see Arts & Culture)
11. $1B in funding cut from education (see Education Cuts)
12. Cuts $25M from school board funding.
13. Makes e-learning mandatory for secondary students (despite the fact that many do not have computers or internet access – see Library Cuts)
14. Cuts $300M from University & College expansions.
16. Reduced the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) budget by $161.7 million, with the bulk of that coming from the Emergency Forest Firefighting portion which was cut by 70%. Ontario Out of Doors: Provincial Budget Cuts MNRF
17. Cut funding for provincial flood programs by 50%. Daily Hive: Ford Govt Cuts Ontario Flood Funding
18. Cuts paramedic services (more to follow in health service cuts)
19. Ford proposes to re-define what actually puts animal on the endangered species list, and introduce a “Pay to Kill” regulations for developers. National Observer: May Let Developers Pay Fee in Lieu of ‘Onerous’ Endangered Species Protections.
The Ontario government’s shocking and irresponsible proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act will effectively remove all safety nets for species at risk in this province.See Ontario Nature: Statement on Proposal to Gut the Endangered Species Act
20. Repeals the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.
21. 30% cut to Legal Aid. $133M reduction to funding this year.
22. $1.1B slashed from transit repair (see below).
23. Reduced gas tax transfer to cities, leaving TTC maintenance budget another $1B underfunded. ^^^
24. $28.5-billion plan for new transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto Area. Ontario will spend $11.5B on the four projects, leaving $17B unaccounted for. Aside from funding, planning and timelines are also vague. CBC News: What You Need to Know About Ford’s Transit Plan The four projects are:
- A new 15km Ontario Line
- A 3 stop Scarborough subway extension
- A Yonge-North subway extension that would connect Line 1 to Richmond Hill.
- A westward extension to the Eglinton Crosstown West (partially underground)
25. Funding cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport (which funds the Ontario Library Service) from $1.55 billion to $1.49 billion. $17.5M has been cut from tourism funding across the province; money that had gone to Toronto and Ottawa is being eliminated. As an example of the possible implications of these cuts, last year tourism in Toronto generated about $9B. CTV News: Ontario Cuts Tourism Funding
26. Budget for Canadian Independent Music Association Fund would be reduced from $15 million to $7 million.
27. Killed the “Right to Repair Bill” which would have allowed consumers/owners the ability to repair their own devices. Motherboard Vice: Right to Repair Bill
28. Mowat Centre forced to close because of lack of government funding. Such a sad (and frightening) loss of a non-partisan, independent research body. The Star: Ford Assault on Independent Thought and Mowat Centre Announcement
- From their website: “The Mowat Centre is an independent public policy think tank located at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and Ontario’s non-partisan, evidence-based voice on public policy. Our policy areas of expertise are intergovernmental economic and social policy, state transformation, energy policy and not-for-profit policy.”
- Opinion piece by Martin Regg Cohn – The St Catharines’ Standard, May 2019. This is the shit-show that ensued after the official opposition asked Ford a question about the budget cuts. What follows is A day in the life of our legislature. The Standard: A Depressing Day For Democracy
1. Rebranding the province’s visual identity including the official government logo and slogan, licence plates and drivers’ licences. The logo itself cost $89K, and is basically a reboot of (a few of) the old logos. As an artist (and designer), I am offended that someone is billing the taxpayers of Ontario to reproduce the 1972 Logo. The final price tag for the goods and accessories, etc. will follow (maybe).
- The rebrand will include new commercial licence plates with slogan “Open For Business” CBC News: Doug Ford Trillium Logo
- New drivers licenses announced April 25, 2019
Fun Watch …
Tyler Watt re-creates the new Ontario logo on Photoshop
*Note: Tyler is not a professional graphic designer (or even a non-professional graphic designer)
2. Moves to legalize tailgate parties. (I have no better way to say this – sorry.), drinking in public parks, hours from 9am, free drinks, happy hour adverts, etc. *NB alcohol was referred to 60 times in the new budget; Education 25 times.* The Star: Ontario Allows BYOB Tailgate Parties
3. Promise by Ford to throw open the beer retail market to corner stores and big box stores, causing the taxpayers in Ontario to be on the hook for approximately $1B in fines. CBC News: Doug Ford’s Beer Promise
4. Allocates $40M to horse race industry. CBC News: Ontario to Spend $10M a Year on Horse Racing Programs and CTV News: Ontario Announces 10M Per Year
5. Open up online gambling opportunities and push to allow betting on single-game sports. (currently prohibited under the Federal criminal code) WSN.com: Ontario Single Game Gambling
6. *Make Ontario a world class Combat Sport Destination.* (I really wish I was kidding) CBC News: Booze at 9am, Online Gambling & Combat Sports
7. Forces gas station owners to display stickers against the carbon tax. Will impose heavy fines ($10K per day) on owners failing to comply. The TO Sun: Ontario Gas Stations Face Fines…
8. Implements “Income Tax Credit” in lieu of minimum wage hike, leaving minimum wage earners worse off. CBC News: How Doug Ford’s pledge of ‘zero income tax’ leaves minimum wage earners worse off
9. Spends approximately “seven figures” on anti-carbon tax media campaign, including TV ads, radio commercials and social media posts. Will not reveal actual costs. Globe & Mail: Anti Carbon Tax Media Campaign
10. Ford has unveiled $28.5B plan for new transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto Area. There are still many questions left to be answered about funding, planning and timelines following a vague roll-out of the proposals. However, the province says it wants to build:
- New 15km “Ontario Line,” which would replace the City of Toronto’s plan for a downtown relief line.
- 3-stop Scarborough subway extension.
- Yonge-North subway extension that would connect Line 1 to Richmond Hill.
- Westward extension to the Eglinton Crosstown West (part of which would be built underground).
The province would spend $11.5B on the four projects (leaving nearly $17B unaccounted for). It’s not clear how much the federal government may be willing to commit or how the City of Toronto and York Region will come up with their portion of the funds. Toronto has already sunk some $200M into various projects that will be affected by the province’s plans. CBC News: Ford Toronto Transit Plan and NOW Toronto: Ford’s TTC Takeover Plan Will be an Expensive Train Wreck See also Ford Family & Politics
1. Midnight Phone Convo Between Twitter User Daniel Enright & Ford
This conversation is at times heartfelt and then disturbing, frightening and outright maddening. I won’t say too much more, but if you haven’t seen this yet, give it a look.
2. Possible Missed Opportunity Because of Partisanship (?)
Ontario is very likely to lose out on a promised $30B, 10 year infrastructure fund promised under the Wynn government. $30 Billion (?) lost because Ford is vindictive. This money was to go toward, infrastructure and public transit, etc. for the people of Ontario. CBC News: Trudeau Ford Infrastructure Funding
We’ve been patient with the Doug Ford government. We’ve been highlighting this behind closed doors and privately to them that they really need to flow this money. I am now saying it very publicly that the provincial government in Ontario is letting down Ontarians.Prime Minister Trudeau – Tues April 16, 2019 at funding announcement for Communitech in Kitchener, ON
3. Scandals Reveal Conflict & Corruption and cult of personality surrounding Doug Ford
An Opinion Piece by Enzo DiMatteo, on Ford family history, Toronto, politics and corruption. It was published in December of 2018 NOW: Scandals Reveal Conflict & Corruption
4. Opinion piece by Martin Regg Cohn – The St Catharines’ Standard, May 2019.
This is the shit-show that ensued after the official opposition asked Ford a question about the budget cuts. What follows is A day in the life of our legislature. The Standard: A Depressing Day For Democracy
5. Sam (I am) Oosterhoff & Pro-Lifers
& the bizarre “antics” and frightening dialogue surrounding women’s rights. Please see Human Rights #9 – 13
What Doug Ford Has Done Facebook List
This list is really where my blog began. It has unexpectedly gone viral on Facebook. I have included the link below in case any readers would like to share. Probably best not to sift through all the comments though. It’s pretty depressing. Cheers.
Keep writing letters, filling out surveys and contacting your MPPS.
If you can assist even in a small way to enable me to continue this research-intensive endeavour, many Ontarians (including myself) would be forever grateful. In light of recent provincial election results and with a federal election around the corner, I feel it is even more critical for Canadians to have a comprehensive understanding of the impacts that a conservative government will have on average citizens on a national level. Thanks!
Here is a grassroots, crowd-sourced initiative by Scott Neigh and Greg MacDougall, through Rabble.ca. * I have not had a chance to check it out yet. If you have an item (sourced) you can add it here, and help keep their list current. Google Docs Ford List.
I have a page on the “Fords … the Self-Prescribed Canadian Kennedys” here.