Earlier this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled her new cabinet composed of 27 ministers.
At least eight ministers from the previous parliament will remain in the same portfolios. This includes Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa. Mr. Sousa introduced the Liberal’s 2014 budget which was voted down in the minority parliament and triggered the June 14th election. With a new majority mandate it is expected the minister will re-introduce the same budget in the upcoming weeks.
Former Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, will remain deputy premier and will also become chair of the Treasury Board. The Minister will work with the Minister of Finance to balance the provincial budget by 2017-18. This will be no easy feat for the province. The 2014 budget estimated the deficit for 2013-14 to be $11.3 billion, and projected a deficit of $12.5 billion in 2014–15, $8.9 billion in 2015–16, $5.3 billion in 2016–17, and a balanced budget in 2017–18.
Former Minister of Consumer Services (MCS), Tracy MacCharles, has been appointed Minister of Children and Youth Services. OREA worked closely with Minister MacCharles in the previous parliament on a number of issues including: Bill 55, the Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2013; the Condominium Act Review; and, the panel on home inspector minimum qualifications. While we’re sad to see Minister MacCharles leave MCS, we wish her all the best in her new portfolio and look forward to working with the newly appointed Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the Honourable David Orazietti.
Minister Ted McMeekin is the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAH). This Ministry was previously held by Minister Bill Mauro. In a CTV Toronto interview last week, Premier Wynne indicated that the new Minister would have to tackle the issue of allowing municipalities to raise taxes. With the exception of Toronto, municipalities raise revenue through property taxes and user fees. The City of Toronto Act, 2006, gave Toronto expanded taxation powers, which opened the door for the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. REALTORS® have been strong advocates against the spread of the municipal land transfer tax (MLTT) to other municipalities.
OREA congratulates all the newly elected and re-elected MPPs. We look forward to working with them in this new parliament.