Last night, Ontario voters rewarded Premier Doug Ford with 83 seats in the Ontario Legislature and his second majority mandate – giving him seven more seats than in 2018. For the first time in Ontario since the 1920s, Ford and his team were able to increase their seat count from their first majority mandate.
In a campaign dominated by issues surrounding economic recovery and the soaring cost of living, Premier Ford and his team were able to position themselves as the right leaders to steer Ontario back to fiscal prosperity.
The Ontario PCs were the big winners of the night, securing a super majority mandate from Ontario voters. Despite a tumultuous first year in office, Premier Ford was able to position himself as a steady hand to lead the province through the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic recovery in the months and years ahead.
While many have claimed the 2018 election was lost by former Premier Kathleen Wynne rather than won by Premier Ford, last night’s result is a credit to Ford himself and the trust he has built with Ontarians over the past four years.
The PCs’ strategy, led by Minister Monte McNaughton, to court the traditionally left-leaning labour vote, paid off with significant seat pickups in Windsor, Hamilton and even Northern Ontario. The PCs were also able to maintain their seats in the vote-rich GTA and even pick up new seats to fully sweep Peel Region.
In his speech to supporters last night, Premier Ford said the Ontario PC party is recognizing what unites us and his proudest moment of being leader of the party is building this new coalition, expanding the PC base and building a more inclusive party where everyone matters.
The Ontario NDP came into this election expecting to compete for government but instead finds themselves down nine seats from 2018, for a total of 31 seats for the next four years. And while this result will be disappointing for many in the party one thing is clear: the Ontario NDP is here to stay as a force in Ontario politics. For the first time in the party’s history, the NDP were able to run a campaign where they spent to the max and the campaign was free from the unforced errors that plagued them in 2018. With the party retaining their status as the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park, they will now look to spend the years before the next election in 2026 trying to position themselves as a government in waiting. With the media sure to continue paying the party significant attention because of their status as Official Opposition, two outcomes seem possible: the NDP could continue to drive the political conversation in Ontario to the left, leading to a change in government, or the party could continue to split the progressive vote with the Liberals, leading to a third straight PC victory. Of course, the big question on the minds of many, is who will be at the helm of the party to lead that work.
The Ontario Liberal Party, looking to rebuild and make grounds under Steven Del Duca, had a disappointing result, picking up just one additional seat, for a total of eight. This is just one seat more than the Liberals secured in 2018 — not enough to regain party status, a huge disadvantage leading to less money and minimal paid staff at the Legislature. The party’s inability to wrestle back downtown seats from the NDP will also come with significant hurdles in the future. It’s been said for many years that the Liberal brand is strong, but coming out of this election it’s clear the Ontario Liberal Party has their work cut out for them. The party is no longer the clear choice on the centre or centre-left, losing that battle twice now to the Ontario NDP in seat count. Paired with leader and candidate recognition and the Wynne era legacy plaguing the campaign, this is an uphill battle for Liberals to regain stature and favour with Ontarians.
Green Party of Ontario
Last night, the Green Party of Ontario made history with the re-election of leader Mike Schreiner in Guelph – the first time a Green Party MPP has been re-elected in Ontario. The Green Party entered this election looking to double their seat count from one seat to two, with a particular focus on Parry Sound–Muskoka. They even released a customized plan for the riding called the Green Plan for Parry Sound–Muskoka. While this did not amount to a victory in the riding, Schreiner vowed to return to Queen’s Park to advocate for climate action in Ontario.
Biggest Winners and Losers
Here are some of the biggest winners and losers from last night’s election:
- Doug Ford, who led the PCs to a decisive second majority, making key pickups in areas such as Windsor, Hamilton, Brampton, and Northern Ontario.
- Michael Tibollo, a PC cabinet minister who defeated Liberal leader Steven Del Duca with more than 50% of the vote in his riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge.
- Monte McNaughton, Ford’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who spent much of the PCs’ first four-year mandate laying the groundwork to court the union vote – a key factor in many of last night’s pickups for the PCs.
- Andrew Dowie, who picked up the former NDP stronghold of Windsor—Tecumseh for the PCs.
- Michael Ford, a former Toronto City Councillor and nephew of Premier Doug Ford, who defeated the NDP incumbent in York South—Weston.
- Charmaine Williams, a former Brampton City Councillor who successfully picked up Brampton Centre for the PCs.
- Chandra Pasma, who picked up Ottawa West—Nepean for the NDP, a riding where the NDP have not historically been competitive at the federal or provincial level.
- Kristyn Wong-Tam, a former Toronto City Councillor who successfully held Toronto Centre for the NDP.
- George Pirie, the Mayor of Timmins, who picked up the riding of Timmins for the PCs with over 60% of the vote, defeating NDP incumbent Gilles Bisson, who had represented the area since 1990.
- Mary-Margaret McMahon, a former Toronto City Councillor, who unseated the NDP in Beaches—East York, one of the few Liberal pickups of the night.
- Ted Hsu, a former Liberal MP, who secured another Liberal pickup from the NDP in Kingston and the Islands.
- Bobbi Ann Brady, a former political staffer to the riding’s previous MPP, who managed to win Haldimand—Norfolk as an Independent, defeating the Mayor of Haldimand County who ran for the PCs.
- Voter turnout, which currently sits at only 43% with nearly 99% of polls reporting. This marks the lowest voter turnout in Ontario’s history, down from 58% in the 2018 election and beating 2011’s previous record low of 48%.
- Steven Del Duca, the Ontario Liberal Party leader, who again failed to unseat PC cabinet minister Michael Tibollo in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, which Del Duca once represented. Following another disappointing result for the Liberals, Del Duca ultimately announced he would step down as leader.
- Sara Singh, the deputy leader of the NDP, who lost her riding of Brampton Centre.
- Amanda Simard, who in 2018 was elected as a PC in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, but failed to secure re-election after leaving the PC caucus to sit as an Independent and ultimately joining the Liberals in 2020.
- Jeff Lehman, the popular three-term Mayor of Barrie and Liberal candidate, who lost in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte to PC incumbent and cabinet minister Doug Downey by a margin of about 600 votes.
- Dr. Nathan Stall, the Liberal candidate in Toronto—St. Paul’s and former member of the Ontario Science Advisory Table, who came second to NDP incumbent Jill Andrew.
- Gurratan Singh, brother of federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who lost his riding of Brampton East to the PCs.
What Comes Next
Ford’s PC Government
With Premier Doug Ford returning to his office alongside 82 other PC MPPs, including many cabinet ministers, the naming of Cabinet and transition to a new government should happen in a timely manner. Our PC insiders predict a new Cabinet could be named before the end of June although staffing Cabinet offices could take longer. With the election having been called before the Ford government had a chance to pass their 2022-2023 budget, expect to see the house recalled over the summer so that the budget can be passed. For clients looking to engage the newly elected government, now is the time to start preparing initial letters of congratulations that can be sent to ministers as soon as they are announced, with a particular focus on Finance, Treasury Board, and the Premier’s Office, who will lead the upcoming budget. H+K will continue to monitor for Cabinet announcements and share that information, and what it means for your PA goals, as soon as possible.
When Andrea Horwath stepped up to the podium to deliver her speech last night, it seemed clear from the beginning that something was different and moments later, she said that the time had come for her to step down as NDP leader after more than a decade in the post. Horwath’s legacy as leader is largely positive, having taken the party from the depths of the late nineties and early two thousands to securing official opposition in two consecutive elections. She leaves behind a party that has become a truly professional organization, a fundraising machine that raked in nearly $6 million in the first half of 2022, and a strong set of MPPs who will hold the Ford government to account over the next four years.
Party officials expect to name an interim leader in the coming days with a leadership contest expected to launch shortly thereafter. Early contenders for the job of Ontario NDP leader include Marit Stiles, the re-elected MPP for Davenport, Catherine Fife, the party’s finance critic and MPP for Waterloo, and Joel Harden, a standard bearer for the party’s left wing and the MPP for Ottawa Centre. Other potential challengers include the newly elected Kristyn Wong-Tam, recently defeated former deputy leader Sara Singh, and others outside the party caucus such as Joe Cressy, the long-time Toronto City Councillor. No matter who secures victory and the top job of the party, they have big shoes to fill.
Steven Del Duca lost by a considerable margin in his home riding of Vaughan–Woodbridge. This result, paired with the Liberals’ overall performance, was a perfect storm for his resignation. Two years after he took the helm, Del Duca did little to improve the Liberals’ standing. He leaves behind a party with an identity crisis, inability to fundraise, and a few sitting MPPs. In the coming days and weeks there will be much conversation around the future of the party and who will be at the helm. The Party will announce an interim leader and will launch a leadership contest as soon as possible. There are many questions that stem from a loss like this: how does the party move forward? What resources are left for the party to rebuild with? The undertaking of rebuilding a party is time consuming and expensive. The Liberals need new blood, new direction and much grassroots organization. What worked for McGuinty and Wynne in the past is no longer a viable option for the Liberals.
Authored by members of H+K’s Public Affairs + Advocacy team including Stephanie Dunlop, Shanice Scott, Patrick Rooney, Isha Chaudhuri and Sarah Dickson.