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Land Transfer Tax Refund for first-time homebuyers is a small change

Instead of implementing grand-sweeping changes in the hot housing market, Ontario will commit to helping first-time homebuyers who are struggling voraciously to purchase homes in Toronto.

Ontario will double the maximum Land Transfer Tax Refund to $4,000 for eligible first-time homebuyers as of January 1, 2017. This means there would be no Land Transfer Tax on the first $368,000 paid for a first-time home. This will help people who were unable to purchase a home due to rising property costs and taxes.

Along with lowering the rates for first-time homebuyers, Ontario has decided to raise the rates of one- or two-bedroom single-family residences over $2 million to 2.5 per cent. This would mean that home buyers in the over $2 million market would pay an extra $5000 on average, which is affordable for the many buyers in the upper echelon. The funds raised from the rate increases would be used to fund the first-time homebuyer’s initiative. The refund was announced as a part of the 2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.

The Land Transfer Tax Refund has been met with mixed reviews, many citing it as a soft approach to a larger issue. The housing market in Toronto has been in the hot zone for several months and creating more opportunities for first-time buyers does little to cool the market in the larger metropolitan centre. Though Vancouver’s foreign buyer’s incentive was a bit high-handed, the Land Transfer Tax Refund is the complete opposite and accomplishes very little.

The Land Transfer Tax will benefit first-time homeowners outside of Toronto due to inflated prices within the city boundaries. The average price for first-time homes outside of Greater Vancouver and Toronto is $361,000. Alternatively in Toronto, prices were 19 per cent higher than last year’s.

Though the refund will do little to help the heated markets in Toronto, any little bit to aid first-time homebuyers to compete in Toronto’s housing market is welcome. Even if the homebuyer will spend more than $365,000 to purchase in the city, a rebate on the Land Transfer Tax will help homeowners to save money initially and use it to keep up with hefty mortgage payments thereafter.

Helping first-time homebuyers and increasing taxes for wealthier homeowners is a smart move, but broader strokes from Ontario may be the only way to cool the Toronto housing market. Providing affordable housing and hitting density targets is also an important step, like looking into zoning bylaws at a municipal level and allowing for laneway housing. Housing is one of the most difficult files in Ontario’s fiscal review and the housing sector awaits with bated breath what future options the ministry considers.

Is the government scared of an informed youth?

*UPDATE: Since the publication of this piece, Women’s Post has been contacted by Paris Semansky, Senior policy advisor to Premier Kathleen Wynne, via Twitter. She insists the provincial government is not considering cancelling civics classes and will be keeping it as a distinct mandatory course in high school. Women’s Post will be keeping this piece online as it does represent an important discussion about youth involvement in politics, but note this update as you read.

 

“Today’s youth are too apathetic and lazy. They don’t care about politics. They don’t understand how their own government works.”

I’m a millennial, and despite my intense interest in the news, my teachers and political leaders often told me that I was not doing enough. My generation, they said, was too apathetic. They didn’t vote, they didn’t get involved, and they simply didn’t care. And whose fault is that, they would ask? Entirely yours, they would say.

It’s been almost 10 years since I graduated high school, and those statements are still thrown in the face of young people across the country. It’s not a politician’s fault they can’t engage with youth, right? These kids spend too much time on Snapchat and not enough time reading the newspaper, ect. ect.

But then, after all of the nagging and the finger pointing, the Ontario government has the gall to consider cancelling civic classes.

Civic class represent a mandatory half credit in Ontario high schools, and is paired with a half-credit “careers” course. It teaches the basics — how our government works, how to vote, and what people’s rights are as a Canadian citizen. The careers course, on the other hand, essentially teaches kids to write a resume and not to chew gum during a job interview.

These are two integral and important classes, classes that should not under any circumstance be dismissed. In fact, I would argue that each course should be a full credit. Kids should be taught how to budget, file their taxes, and negotiate a sale. They should be taught how to submit a deposition to city council, hold a legal protest, and where to find information on the bills being discussed in question period. They should be taken to see question period!

And yet media sources report that the provincial government is considering removing these critical classes from the high school curriculum. How much do you want to bed that they will still blame kids for not understanding how their own government works?

The province has a right to be scared. Civics is breeding a new generation of informed citizens, kids who understand that they don’t vote for a leader of a party, despite what every political campaign tells them. These kids understand that most promises are smoke screens for hidden agendas. They get it! They ask questions. They are skeptical!

And that’s a scary thought. All of a sudden, MPPs have to focus their political capital on a generation they previously ignored. They have to pretend to care. Their career could depend on the vote of a single 18-year-old entering university for the first time.

No wonder the province doesn’t want to invest in informed citizens. An informed citizen is dangerous to the entire political system. An informed citizen will vote, take part in the discussion, and advocate for change!

It’s much better to just knick that pesky habit before it even develops.

 

civics

When will the minimum wage reflect reality?

Earlier this month, the Ontario government announced an increase to the minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40.

In a statement, Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour, said that “our government understands that cost(s) of living increases every year. In order to help families keep up, we’ve tied the minimum wage to increases in inflation, putting more money into the pockets of Ontario workers each year.”

And man, have they ever helped! An extra 15 cents! Ontario residents should be pleased, over the moon even. Ever dreamed of owning a car, being able to take your family on trip, or even just splurging on a movie once a week? Well, now you still won’t be able to do it, but you are closer to to the dream, right?

Let’s do some simple math.

Assuming you are a full-time worker (40 hours a week) living off of minimum wage, this will increase your bi-weekly salary to $912 — before taxes of course. That means your annual income prior to taxes is about $23,712.

The average cost of an apartment in a city like Toronto is approximately $1,500, which means that over $17,000 of that money will be spent on rent, not including amenities like hydro or Internet. Groceries are an extra one to two thousand dollars a year depending on how big your family is and how hungry you plan on being.

Of course, then there are medical bills, transportation costs, and cell phone charges. But hey, you got a raise, so not to worry.

The problem with these minimum wage hikes is that it is tied to inflation, as was explained by the honourable minister of labour. Canada’s workforce is expected to be grateful with this small pay increase, but in reality, it’s not going to help. And pretending it will is extremely dangerous.

While the price of labour increases with inflation, so does the cost of goods. This means that a minimum wage rises at a similar interval as the cost of bread and will do nothing to alleviate the poverty rate.

If the government really wants to make a difference, it will work towards raising the minimum wage to a level that allows families to live in a sustainable way.  Society needs workers who perform these minimum wage jobs, and they should be paid accordingly. Minimum wager earners work hard, with no benefits or security. And yet they are rewarded with a dismal pay cheque.

No one should have to choose between a roof over their head or groceries for the month. Ontario CAN do better and it’s time the government seriously and actively considers a higher minimum wage.

 

Minimum Wage in Canada*

  • Ontario: $11.40
  • Alberta: $12.20
  • British Columbia: $10.85
  • Manitoba: $11.00
  • New Brunswick: $10.65
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $10.50
  • Northwest Territories: $12.50
  • Nova Scotia: $10.70
  • Nunavut: $13.00
  • Prince Edward Island: $11.00
  • Quebec: $10.75
  • Saskatchewan: $10.72
  • Yukon: $11.07

 

*According to the Government of Canada.

New portable housing for domestic abuse survivors and their families

Imagine packing your belongings in the middle of the night and waking your children to escape the place you call home. Frightened and without any place to go, 3,491 women and 2.724 children arrive at the doorsteps of emergency domestic abuse shelters each night. About 300 of those women and children are turned away.

Once they actually get up the courage to leave their abusers, survivors of domestic abuse and their families face a number of challenges. They must find a safe place to go, obtain a new home and all while living with the fear that their spouse is trying to find them. The government of Canada and Ontario are trying to help the situation by investing $20 million over two years into the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit Pilot project. The pilot project will provide 1000 survivors of domestic violence per year with immediate affordable housing.

As is stands, when women and their children find temporary housing in an emergency shelter it can take several months to find another place to live. Going back home is often not an option. This leaves families stranded in very unstable living situations. Domestic abuse survivors are placed on the waitlist for rent-geared-to income and must wait for social housing to become available. Though domestic abuse victims are given priority on the waitlists, the state of social housing waitlists in Canada leaves many of these families stranded for months.

It also leaves the victim of abuse in a vulnerable situation because they don’t have access to permanent housing. In Canada, 26 per cent of women who are murdered by their spouse have left the relationship and half of these women are killed within two months of leaving their abuser. Women are also six times more likely to be killed by an ex-partner than a current partner, placing the victims in a vulnerable situation after leaving their abuser. Women and children are still in danger after leaving an abusive partner, and obtaining safe housing is paramount for their safety.

The federal and provincial government are taking steps in providing better resources for domestic abuse survivors and the affordable housing situation. Though the new pilot program is a step in the right direction, more efforts to provide victims of domestic abuse with optimal support is of upmost importance.

5 fall ciders to try from Toronto Cider Festival

If you are looking for a sweeter alternative to beer — and aren’t feeling a glass of wine —  a tasty cider could be the perfect fall solution

Ciders are normally made with fermented apples, but other fruits can be used as well.  With harvest season just around the corner, delicious and fresh ciders are available throughout Ontario. To find the best cider in the province, I attended Cider Fest on Saturday at Dundas Square and sampled some of the amazing featured beverages offered.

Here are my five favourite ciders:

  1. Spirit Tree Cider

Spirit Tree Cider was my favourite out of the ciders I tried. There were two different samples — a lavender cider and a hoppy cider. The cider with a hint of lavender was made with local apples. The floral taste the lavender added was surprisingly pleasant, making it one of the most creative ciders at the festival. The hoppy cider was also a rarity, with only a few hoppy ciders available. The hops was subtle yet apparent, and added a kick to the cider. The hoppy cider from Spirit Tree is the perfect beverage for someone who loves beer, but is in the mood for a cider that isn’t as sweet. At the cidery located in Caledon, Spirit Tree has 12 different ciders available, a bakery, and offers tours.

  1. Shiny Apple Cider

My second favourite was the Shiny Apple Cider, made in Niagara on the Lake. This cider is gluten-free and vegan, using potato rinds instead of pork rinds during processing. Shiny Apple Cider is seven per cent alcohol, higher than many other ciders. It had a crisp taste, and it tasted like it had very little preservatives. It was sweet, but there was distinct quality in the taste. Shiny Apple Cider has two cider options — Shiny Apple Cider and Shiny Red Apple Cider — and is made by Small Talk Vineyard Wines.

  1. Angry Orchard

This sweet and light cider is from Walden, New York in the Hudson Valley, was not as sweet as Shiny Apple Cider and had a light bubbly taste. It still retained an apple taste though, but the bubbly quality made it seem more like a sweet wine than a beer.  Angry Orchard has over 10 ciders and provides a variety of seasonal tastes, ranging from adding cinnamon to ginger while retaining the true apple taste of the region. Definitely try Angry Orchard a cider.

  1. Thornbury Village Cider

The Thornbury Village Cider is sour and has a closer taste to a champagne. It is a perfect option for someone who loves wine, but is looking to branch out into other taste palettes. The cider is also highly carbonated, which varies in different ciders. The beverage is from Thornbury, and also boasts being gluten-free and vegan. The cidery is located along the shores of Georgian Bay and is a beautiful site for a tour.

  1. Forbidden Dry Cider

The final contender for best five ciders is the Forbidden Dry Cider, a beverage made by the Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery. This cider is very similar to wine, and is typical for dry ciders. If you like tart drinks then Forbidden is for you. The winery is located near Meaford, Ont., which is close to Georgian Bay.

The weather may be getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy patio season with a good cold brew. Throw on a jacket and a light scarf and enjoy the changing of the leaves. For those who don’t enjoy hoppy beers or tart wines, a cider is the perfect option. These are just five recommendations, but there are dozens to try, each with different flavours and fruit notes. Be a bit adventurous and try these local ciders this fall.

 

What is your favourite cider? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Premier Wynne shows what female leadership can do for climate

This week has been a whirlwind for the provincial government. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s is in Mexico City to discuss environmental and international relations, all the while promoting women within these industries.

The premier made the trek down south to discuss the importance of climate change and the economy with Mexican leaders, exporters, and potential investors and to host the first-ever Women in Leadership Climate Change Panel Discussion. The participants of this panel discussed the role that women can play in the economic transition to a low-carbon economy and explored the unique experiences of the Indigenous people in the fight against climate change.

Several other prominent women leaders were present as well, including the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate, Her Excellency, Patricia Espinosa. Espinosa was elected executive secretary in May 2016 at the Paris Climate Change Conference. She is originally from Mexico and has worked in foreign affairs between the Americas for several years. Espinosa was joined on the panel by Tanya Muller Garcia, the Minister of the Environment of Mexico City. Garcia actively promoted cycling programs throughout Mexico City and played a large part in integrating the region’s transit system.

Wynne has had a large impact on the climate change agenda in Ontario, most recently with her adoption of cap and trade in Ontario. Part of her agenda in Mexico is to promote an open trade relationship with Mexico City, who has recently adopted a pilot project cap and trade program themselves. An interworking relationship of cap and trade with Mexico would have a significant economic impact on Ontario’s new climate change incentive, and would integrate will with the programs in California and Quebec. Recently, cap and trade has come under fire because Quebec and California have failed to sell all of their emissions, leaving both governments in debt. Many worry Ontario will suffer the same fate.

The climate change conference is a good opportunity for Wynne to show that Ontario is not concerned with the xenophobic agenda that Trump followers and the US is currently leading towards, and is instead open to creating trade partnerships involving climate change. It is inspiring to see a representative of the Canadian political fabric represent women interests, tackling environmental concerns, and promoting healthy international trade relations in the midst of struggling global unity.

It is easy to see this week as a win for Wynne.

 

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Section 37 vs. inclusionary zoning: Which would you choose?

What is the best solution for affordable housing?

The city and province are at an odds yet again, with the City of Toronto rejecting the inclusionary housing proposal the province is pushing towards. Instead, the city wants to continue using Section 37 benefits, a part of the provincial planning act that allows cities to give developers permission to build outside of zoning laws in exchange for providing funding for a project that contributes to the community. In conjunction with Section 37, the city has been working on the Open Door policy that pairs up with voluntary developers who are willing to provide affordable housing in exchange for various incentives.

On the other hand, inclusionary zoning would mandate that any new development being built in cities across Ontario would have a certain portion built as low-to-mid-income housing. The province plans on giving the cities the power to mandate how to implement the inclusionary zoning policies in their respective regions. Though this is a complimentary policy for affordable housing, there is one small problem. The province has mandated that Section 37 cannot be used in conjunction with inclusionary zoning unless under specialized circumstances. They have not specified what the “special” circumstances would be either.

This policy is forcing Toronto to choose between providing essential community services and desperately needed affordable housing — and it appears politicians are at a loss on how to proceed. Quite honestly, both section 37 and inclusionary zoning have their pros and cons, but neither is sufficient to solve the plethora of housing and funding issues that plague Toronto.

Pros and cons of inclusionary zoning:

Inclusionary zoning has been a popular method of building affordable housing in many major US cities including Chicago, Montgomery County, Maryland and San Francisco. It speeds up the growth of affordable housing because it makes it mandatory for developments to build new units.  It also creates mixed-income neighbourhoods, which allows children of low-income areas to avoid being marginalized in poor areas. Many people are worried that inclusionary zoning would drive up prices of the other units, but a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined that affordable housing doesn’t affect pricing as much as assumed. Critics are concerned that the cost of inclusionary zoning falls on new homebuyers rather than all of the taxpayers in a city, which they believe isn’t fair. Inclusionary zoning can also only be applied to new developments.

Pros and cons of section 37:

Section 37 gives the local councillor and community the opportunity to choose how to use development funds to benefit a particular neighbourhood, which makes the funding flexible. It helps to create good neighbourhoods and give people access to parks, public art infrastructure, and community centres. These types of infrastructure are often ignored by the city in light of other projects that need funding, and shouldering private developers with the burden is a good solution. On the other hand, section 37 can be misused if the local councillor chooses a project that isn’t effective in the community. Though community funding is important, families, seniors, and low-income individuals need homes to live in, and this trumps public art installations.

What is a possible solution for the city and province? 

When the city rejected the inclusionary zoning proposal last week, they also said that if the zoning proposal were approved they would want a 10 per cent affordable housing mandate for the new developments going up, instead of just targeting inclusionary zoning at mid-to-low income households.

A potential solution is to have both options available for developers. By allowing them to choose between section 37 and inclusionary zoning, both community funding and affordable housing needs may be fulfilled. Most would choose section 37 as it stands, but if it were mandated that the community funding would have to equal the cost of building and maintaining 10 per cent affordable housing, it would even the playing field between the two policies. As well, Open Door could be maintained and continued alongside inclusionary zoning to the benefit of the  95,000 people on the affordable waitlist to obtain housing.

The state of affordable housing in Toronto is not of casual concern. It is a state of emergency. The staggering amount of people desperate for housing, and who are forced to resort to the streets or use most of their income to pay rent, is unacceptable. Instead of city and provincial councillors bickering over which policy is better, everyone need to bring all solutions to the table and create a viable plan to work together. After all, people’s lives depend on it.

My life through the words of The Tragically Hip

Over the years, I’ve often looked at a mountain view in Alberta or a downtown Toronto landscape, and at each of those moments, I think of one of the many of  Tragically Hip songs that really encapsulates how it feels to be there.

The iconic rock band The Tragically Hip defines the Canadian sound. It is as if Gord Downie and his bandmates took rocks from the mountains, soil from the prairies, and water from the Great Lakes to create a melodic elixir of Canadian essence and feed it to our starved northern souls. Canada was lost before this band existed, and boy, do they ever bring us home.

Along with 125,000 Canadians that watched the live streaming of CBC’s final Tragically Hip show on August 23, I cried, laughed, remembered, and mourned. It truly is the end of an era. Gord Downie’s tragic diagnosis of Glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer, has rocked Canadians to their core. The show was rumoured to be their final performance, and the band will be duly missed for their years of dedication to the local music community.

You could say I was born listening to The Tragically Hip. As the millennial daughter of two parents who were in their twenties in the 1980’s, “The Hip”, as they are commonly referred to, were all the rage. The band began their journey in 1984 and produced 14 albums during the course of their thirty-year career.  I am proud to say I have been listening to them my entire life.

My first memory of The Hip is when I was about six years old at our family cottage in Ontario. I have a fond memory of walking out to the campfire hearing “100th Meridian” blasting from the speakers and my dad and uncle rocking out in their blue jeans and mullet-styled hockey do’s. Later on, I would realize how much this song defined my own life. “At the hundredth meridian, where the Great Plains begin” is about the journey from east to west and the division between the two parts of our country. Spending my summers in Ontario with my dad and living the rest of the year in Alberta made me realize the contrast and tension between the two regions, and The Tragically Hip helped me identify with those differences.

I considered one particular Hip song the soundtrack to my life; “Wheat Kings”. This song is for the people in “the Paris of the Prairies” and reflects how it feels to cruise across the yellow sea to my home in the foothills of Alberta. I can recall listening to this song with my cousin and best friend, who was also forced to watch our dads rock out together to The Hip. Needless to say, she is as die-hard as I am when it comes to our love of the music. If I close my eyes while listening to “Wheat Kings”, beginning guitar riff and Downie’s haunting voice floating across the speakers, I’m transported home to a creaky prairie heritage home watching the mountains through the window with the curtain blowing in the wind.

My dream to see the Tragically Hip finally came true when I moved to Toronto and saw them play at a free concert in Dundas Square two years ago. I had just moved to Canada’s largest city, and what better way to celebrate than watching The Hip. When “Bobcaygeon” came on and Downie howled “that night in Toronto, with its checkerboard floors”, 10,000 people were singing along with him — I was one of them. Interestingly, the checkerboard floors are in reference to the Horseshoe Tavern on Queen St., a favourite bar of mine as well. This iconic tune has continued to be loved, now reminding me of what it is like to fall in love in Toronto. “I left your house this morning ‘bout a quarter after nine, it was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time” is a lyric I often sing to my partner. It reminds me of the first time he told me he loved under the stars at his cottage on Georgian Bay (cheesy, I know).

Not all of my memories associated with Tragically Hip are happy and sweet. The band had a way of pulling at your heart strings in tough times as well. When a close friend died, I played “Fiddler’s Green” and at that moment, I think only Downie’s voice could soothe me. Later on, I found out the song was written in memory of his nephew that passed away. Downie refused to play it for 15 years, only to sing it at a show in Calgary much later.

In The Tragically Hip’s final show, “Grace, Too” was one of the final songs that caused an uproar of emotion to flood the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston. Downie was visibly upset, and almost every person I know who loved this band cried along with him at that moment.  Belting out the lyrics one last time, I felt the unfairness of it all. How is an amazing musician cherished by his country condemned to get sick and die of terminal illness? I could talk about his legacy as others have done in their courageous soliloquies to Gord Downie, but honestly I am angry. Cancer seems to claim us all.

I will say though: one comfort that The Hip fans can have is the absolute immortality of the band’s music. The Tragically Hip will live on as I raise my child in Canada. It is my turn to wear acid wash blue jeans and rock out to the “Hip” at a campfire while my daughter dances too. [It is her turn to listen to “Boots and Hearts” and learn to line dance. It is my daughter’s destiny to close her eyes and think of our home in the prairies when she hears “Wheat Kings”.

“Does your mother tell you things? Long, long when I’m gone?”

I hope Downie can take comfort in his legacy — he surely has given the world something that will never be forgotten.

Ontario approves gender neutrality on official documents

As Pride Month came to an end, the Ontario government released some extraordinary news — a person will no longer have to indicate their gender on health cards or drivers licences.

Identification is a contentious issue for the LGBTQ community. Imagine representing and identifying as a specific gender (or gender-neutral) and not having your official government document label you as such? And why should people care what gender you are anyway? Will it make it easier to see a doctor if you are a woman instead of a man? Will a man get a ticket for speeding any more than a woman? If the answer to any of these questions is a yes — well, Ontario has a much bigger problem, doesn’t it?

The provincial government has finally clued in. As of — well now — Ontario health cards will no longer display information about a person’s gender. This decision has been active since June 13.

“The purpose of health cards is to show that the card holder is eligible for public health care. A person’s sex is not relevant,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, in a statement. “Ensuring that all people in Ontario feel comfortable and safe is especially important in health care settings, and removing sex designation from health cards is a step towards achieving that.”

It will take a bit longer to integrate driver’s licences into the system. But, Ontario is determined that by 2017, drivers be given the option to display an ‘X’ on their cards if they choose not to be identified exclusively as male or female.

Now that ID cards have been taken care of, what about government forms? This summer, Ontario will be launching public and stakeholder consultations to develop policy on the collection and use of sex and gender information.

“Many Ontarians do not identify as female or male. As society’s understanding of gender evolves, government must adapt. Part of that is being more thoughtful about how and when we collect gender or sex information, and how we use it,” said Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Marie-France Lalonde.

These are small steps, but they are also indicative of a government’s willingness to be inclusive and provide choice. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the media that the federal government is now considering the same gender-neutrality in identification documents. Who knows? Maybe the Canadian passport is next?

People who want a health card without a gender identifier before its renewal date can call 1-866-532-3161 or visit a ServiceOntario centre. There is no fee.

Ontario cabinet now consists of 40% women

Monday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a cabinet shuffle that is meant to integrate some fresh perspective into the Liberal government. Seven new cabinet members were added, including five women.

After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a federal cabinet consisting of equal parts women and men, provincial Liberal governments are under pressure to do the same. Ontario is now closer to that goal, with women making up 40 per cent of the cabinet and 50 per cent of the Priorities, Delivery and Growth Committee, which is responsible for steering Ontario’s economic plan.

Some of the highlights of the cabinet shuffle include: Deborah Matthews, who will be remaining Deputy Premier and who was also appointed the new responsibility of Minister for Digital Governance. Laura Albanese is now Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Indira Naidoo-Harris is Associate Minister of Finance.

Luckily, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, was given an opportunity to implement the climate change plan he spent the last year putting together. Other ministers who will be staying in the same position include Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.

Strangely enough, Ted McMeekin’s position as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has been taken over by Bill Mauro, former Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Last week, McMeekin made a statement saying that he would be stepping down from his position to make room for more women in the cabinet. Imagine my surprise when his job was instead given to a man.

There are a lot of qualified women on the roster. Here is a list of the new Ontario cabinet:

  • Kathleen Wynne: Premier and President of the Council Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Deborah Matthews: Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Cabinet Minister Responsible for Digital Government.
  • Michael Gravelle: Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
  • Brad Duguid: Minister of Economic Development and Growth.
  • Jeff Leal: Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • David Orazietti: Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
  • Liz Sandals: President of the Treasury Board.
  • David Zimmer: Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
  • Michael Chan: Minister of International Trade.
  • Reza Moridi: Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.
  • Yasir Naqvi: Attorney General, Government House Leader.
  • Charles Sousa: Minister of Finance.
  • Eric Hoskins: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
  • Glen Murray: Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
  • Bob Chiarelli: Minister of Infrastructure.
  • Michael Coteau: Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism.
  • Tracy MacCharles: Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Minister Responsible for Accessibility.
  • Kevin Flynn: Minister of Labour.
  • William Mauro: Minister of Municipal Affairs.
  • Helena Jaczek: Minister of Community and Social Services.
  • Dipika Damerla: Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.
  • Steven Del Duca: Minister of Transportation.
  • Mitzie Hunter: Minister of Education.
  • Laura Albanese: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
  • Christopher Ballard: Minister of Housing Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy
  • Marie-France Lalonde: Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs.
  • Kathryn McGarry: Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • Eleanor McMahon: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
  • Indira Naidoo-Harris: Associate Minister of Finance (Ontario Retirement Pension Plan).
  • Glenn Thibeault: Minister of Energy.

What do you think of this new cabinet? Let us know in the comments below!