By the Numbers
Total Cabinet Ministers – 27 (includes Premier)
Women – 8 (29.6 per cent of the Cabinet)
New Ministers – 4 (Steven Del Duca, Mitzie Hunter, Dipika Damerla, Helena Jaczek)
Ministers that also served in Dalton McGuinty’s Cabinet – 12 (including Kathleen Wynne)
Ministers that have only served in Kathleen Wynne’s Cabinet – 15
+ GTA – 16
+ East – 4
+ North – 3
+ South West – 4
There were a couple of big moves in today’s Cabinet shuffle. The biggest and most talked about is the huge promotion given to Eric Hoskins as he shifts from Economic Development, Trade and Employment to Health and Long-Term Care. Minister Hoskins is a medical doctor and it is thought that he will do well in a portfolio that is in line with his personal interests and profession. Brad Duguid, Reza Moridi and Steven Del Duca also get significant promotions and take on large portfolios. Of additional note are Deb Matthews, moving away from a significant spending portfolio in Health, now in charge of keeping the province on a tight fiscal track and Mitzie Hunter who takes responsibility for delivering on one of the Premier’s signature issues, the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.
New Portfolios + Ministries
Several new Ministries and portfolios were created either as completely new roles or by hiving off significant issues from existing Ministries to give them their own profile.
The President of Treasury Board has typically been held concurrently by the Minister of Finance. Given the province’s tight fiscal situation, Kathleen Wynne is giving significant attention to the control of government spending by putting one of her most trusted advisors, Deb Matthews, in the role. Glen Murray adds overt responsibility for climate change to his Environment portfolio – clearly the influence of the Premier’s environmentally-focused Principal Secretary, Andrew Bevan.
Forestry becomes a highlighted issue in the Ministry of Natural Resources under Bill Mauro. Dipika Damerla gets takes on a new position as Associate Minister of Health and Long-term Care (Long-Term Care and Wellness) and of course, arguably the most interesting and significant new role created is that occupied by Mitzie Hunter who will be Associate Minister of Finance Responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
Who Stayed Put
Liz Sandals remains as Education Minister, gearing up for union negotiations with the teachers’ unions in 2015 along with her colleague Deb Matthews. Charles Sousa retains his post as Finance Minister – a no-brainer given the focus on passing the budget that he introduced just two months ago. That said, some of his duties have been hived off to a newly-empowered President of Treasury Board and an Associate Minister responsible for pensions.
There were several Ministers who kept previous roles or stayed in place but added to their duties. Most notably is Deb Matthews who remains as Deputy Premier, but was released from Health and Long-Term Care to become President of the Treasury Board. This is a role that has been strengthened to include oversight of labour negotiations and Crown corporations in addition to its traditional role of spending oversight. She’s also newly the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, a file that she worked on when she was Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Jeff Leal continues on at Rural Affairs, but adds Agriculture and Food to that portfolio, held until recently by the Premier. Yasir Navqi remains as the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, but adds Government House Leader to that role as well. Reza Moridi is also doing double duty by keeping Research and Innovation, and adding Training, Colleges and Universities to his portfolio.
Michael Gravelle kept his seat safe in the North and remains as Minister of Northern Affairs and Mines. David Zimmer remains at Aboriginal Affairs and Mario Sergio continues as Minister Responsible for Seniors.
Madeleine Meilleur stays on as the Attorney General and Minister of Francophone Affairs. Bob Chiarelli remains at Energy, and Kevin Flynn stays at Labour. Kathleen Wynne continues to hold the Intergovernmental Affairs portfolio.
Who Got Shuffled
Dr. Eric Hoskins, who won his seat by the greatest margin of all ridings at 18,004 votes in front of his nearest challenger, is the new Minister of Health and Long-Term Care – a serious promotion. He’ll have to contend with the constant battle to bend the cost curve in Ontario’s highest-spending ministry.
Brad Duguid is moving back to Economic Development and while International Trade goes to Michael Chan, Duguid adds Infrastructure. He’ll be in charge of attracting business to the province – a good fit for the likeable and effective Minister.
Glen Murray was shuffled in what is considered a demotion to Environment. His second-guessing of transit planning and public spat with TTC chair Karen Stintz may have contributed to the move. However climate change is added to the portfolio as well, signalling a new priority for the Wynne government. Jim Bradley, former Minister of Environment, is now without portfolio but retains a place in Cabinet as Chair of Cabinet and Deputy Government House Leader.
Teresa Piruzza’s loss of her seat in Windsor was Tracey MacCharles’ gain, as MacCharles becomes the new Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.
Bill Mauro shifts from Municipal Affairs and Housing to Natural Resources and Foresty, and is replaced by Ted McMeekin. David Orazietti moves to a newly created Consumer Services and Government Services from Natural Resources.
Michael Chan and Michael Coteau trade places, with Chan taking over Citizenship and Immigration (and adding International Trade to that portfolio), and Coteau in charge of Tourism, Culture and Sports, and responsible for the 2015 Pan/Para Pan Am Games.
The new faces include Dipika Damerla, a GTA MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville who will be providing backup for Eric Hoskins at Health as an Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
Relative newcomer Mitzie Hunter was a big surprise as the Associate Minister of Finance Responsible for the Ontario Registered Pension Plan. She has her work cut out for her in overseeing the implementation of this initiative but is known to be highly capable.
Steven Del Duca emerges from the backbench to take over at Transportation, a key Liberal priority. There’s a long list of transit and transportation projects in the queue and $29 billion to spend. Del Duca will need to deal with the gridlock on the ground as well as between different levels of government.
It’s also Helena Jaczek’s turn to step up to Cabinet – she’ll be the Minister of Community and Social Services
No one is really out, except Piruzza, who lost her seat in the recent election. What’s more notable is who was added to Cabinet – Wynne has increased the diversity of her Cabinet, and rewarded GTA MPPs in particular.
As with all Cabinets, Kathleen Wynne’s Cabinet is a statement about her values, her priorities for the Province, who she trusts the most, who has performed well, who has underperformed and who she wants and needs to be represented by her government. Standout issues are fiscal management, transit and transportation, pensions, the north and the province’s economic hub, the GTHA. With significant governing and veteran experience, this is a Cabinet that is ready to hit the ground running.
Cabinet Ministers will settle in to their offices and start heavy briefing schedules. These will occur with senior bureaucrats as well as senior political staff who have been told they will stay with their current Ministries in order to help transition new Ministers in advance of the Legislature returning next week and the Budget the following week.
Also before the resumption of the House next Wednesday the PCs and NDP will have to name their shadow Cabinets or Critic roles.
And with the government focused on getting the legislature back next week, writing a Speech from The Throne and passing its Budget, expect the following changes from the government side most likely after the Legislature has risen for a summer break:
+ New Parliamentary Assistants to assist the new Cabinet Ministers
+ New Cabinet Committees with new members
+ Shuffle of Deputy Ministers led by Secretary of the Cabinet Peter Wallace