Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday announced changes to her cabinet that will help deliver on her government’s top priority to create economic growth and good jobs. Women now make up 40 per cent of cabinet, reflecting the Premier’s commitment to take steps toward gender parity. Women make up 50 per cent of the Priorities, Delivery and Growth cabinet committee, responsible for tracking government priorities and steering the government’s four-part economic plan.
At the halfway mark of the government’s mandate, Premier Wynne has chosen a strong team to implement her government’s ambitious, activist agenda. The cabinet named at Queen’s Park represents continuity in several key portfolios, ten ministers taking on new roles and seven new members.
Deb Matthews remains Deputy Premier and, as Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, will lead Ontario’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. Mitzie Hunter takes on the role of Minister of Education. Together, Matthews and Hunter will focus on building the highly skilled workforce that is key to Ontario’s future economic success.
Matthews also becomes Ontario’s first Minister Responsible for Digital Government. In this new role, she will help Ontario become a North American leader in accelerating how citizens engage and interact with government through the power of digital technology.
Charles Sousa remains Minister of Finance, continuing to focus on the strong fiscal management that is keeping the government on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017-18, while supporting critical public services. Liz Sandals becomes President of the Treasury Board, with a mandate to deliver on the government’s program spending objectives, as laid out in the annual Budget.
Indira Naidoo-Harris becomes Associate Minister of Finance responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, designed to close the retirement savings gap for millions of workers.
Michael Chan will lead Ontario’s first stand-alone Ministry of International Trade, reflecting the province’s commitment to create jobs and growth through strong global trade partnerships.
Bob Chiarelli becomes Minister of Infrastructure. The Ministry of Infrastructure is now a stand-alone ministry, responsible for the implementation of the province’s historic $160 billion investment in roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Dr. Eric Hoskins remains Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and will continue to implement Ontario’s Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. Recognizing the integration of long-term care within the Action Plan, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care will have full carriage of the province’s integrated health care system.
Glenn Thibeault becomes Minster of Energy, committed to building a safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy system.
Laura Albanese becomes Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, focusing on the province’s immigration strategy and refugee resettlement program.
The government’s economic plan is working. At the halfway mark of 2016, indicators and forecasts show that Ontario’s economy is continuing to grow and create jobs. Ontario’s economy is forecast to remain among the strongest in Canada. In 2015, the unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level since 2008. The minimum wage increased and average wages grew faster than inflation. The province attracted half of all venture capital in Canada.
Ontario high school graduation rates are now more than 85 per cent and postsecondary enrolment continues to climb.
Last year the province announced support for more than 325 infrastructure projects across all regions, which are helping to create good jobs. Year-over-year, the province continues to create jobs, most of which are full-time and in above-average wage industries. – CINEWS