On February 19th, David Onley, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, delivered a Speech from the Throne, which officially opened the second session of the 40th Ontario Parliament after a four-month long prorogation. The Speech laid out the government’s agenda for the new parliamentary session. You can find a full copy of the speech here.
The key messages from the Speech were the government’s commitment to eliminating the deficit, tackling youth unemployment and improving relations with labour leaders.
The government also committed to working collaboratively with the opposition and incorporated suggestions from both Progressive Conservatives (PC) and New Democrats (NDP), such as restraining spending to one per cent below gross domestic product once the budget is balanced and evaluating corporate tax compliance
PC Leader Tim Hudak said that he will not be supporting the Speech due to lack of spending cuts. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath indicated that her party will vote in favour, but will present a list of requirements for the upcoming budget. This means that Ontario will not be heading immediately into an election. Instead most pundits believe that the next opportunity for government to fall will happen during the budget, setting the stage for a possible spring election.
The Speech also brought up the attention to the Ontario’s aging infrastructure and need for the provincial as well national transit strategy. It hinted that new revenue tools will have to be identified, even though no specifics were given.
David Onley also delivered a broad statement with respect to strengthening the rights of Ontario consumers when it comes to real estate transactions. OREA’s government relations staff is monitoring the situation and will be discussing the issue with Ministry staff in the coming weeks. OREA’s President Ron Abraham issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
The Ontario Real Estate Association has a proud history of advocating on behalf of Ontario consumers. We welcome the opportunity to work with Premier Wynne and her government to strengthen the real estate industry and improve consumer protection in the Province of Ontario.
Now that the Ontario Legislature has resumed, OREA will also continue its lobbying on important REALTORS® issues. Staff is currently working on the association’s pre-budget submission, which focuses on four issues: electronic signatures; personal real estate corporations; establishing a province-wide registry of marijuana grow operations and preventing Ontario municipalities from implementing a municipal land transfer tax.