Category Archives: Daily Agenda

Is a flat rate option for hydro coming to Ontario?

 

Ontario Morning News Round-up and Legislative  Agenda for Nov. 29.

Ontario News Round-Up for November 29.

  • On Monday, Ontario Energy Minister Glen Thibeault raised the possibility that consumers could opt out of time-of-use pricing for flat rates or other billing plans. Details will come in the government’s updated long-term energy plan being developed now with input from the industry and consumers. It will be released next spring, with any measures taking until after the 2018 election to be implemented.
  • Ontario will become the first province to launch pilot projects for self-driving cars. There will be two groups involved in the trials. BlackBerry’s QNX software development subsidiary and the University of Waterloo will work with Ford Motor Co’s Lincoln cars, while Erwin Hymer Group will test one of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz vans, according to an Ontario government statement.
  • In a report tabled at Queen’s Park Monday, the Financial Accountability Officer projected a budget deficit of $5.2 billion this year and $2.6 billion in 2017-18. That’s in contrast to the government’s fall economic statement that forecast a $4.3 billion shortfall in 2016-17 and a balanced budget in 2017-18. The budget watchdog operates independently of the government and reports directly to the legislature.
  • According to the Toronto Star, officials in PC leader Patrick Brown’s office misled former Star reporter Richard Brennan over whether former MPP Garfield Dunlop was offered a job to resign his seat in order to allow Brown to contest a by-election and enter the legislature.

Ontario Op-Eds and Editorials

  • Martin Regg Cohn, citing Air Miles’ practice of wiping out points if they haven’t been used in five years, says that Ontario should ban the practice as they did the expiration date for gift cards.
  • In an editorial, the Star says that the City of Toronto’s anti-poverty plan needs to be fully funded to deal with the City’s growing poverty problem.

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Search up-to-date Canada Fact Check databases for the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Ontario bills from the current session here!___________________________________________________________________________________

Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Tuesday, Nov. 29

Main Chamber Business

9:00 a.m. – Third Reading of Bill 28, An Act to amend the Children’s Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and various other Acts respecting parentage and related registrations. Watch Live!

10:45 a.m. – Question Period. Watch Live!

3:30 p.m. – Second Reading of Bill 70, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various statutes. Watch Live!

Ontario Legislature Committee meetings

9:00 p.m. – The Standing Committee on Government Agencies will meet to consider intended appointments.

4:00 p. m. – The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills will meet to consider Bill 47, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 with respect to rewards points. A full list of presenters is here.

Ontario NDP Bill on Domestic Violence Gets Support of Minister, Unions

Ontario Morning News Round-up and Legislative  Agenda for Nov. 28.

Ontario News Round-Up

  • NDP MPP Peggy Sattler seems to have the support of Ontario Labour Minister Dennis Flynn for her Bill 26. The bill was reffered to the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly after receiving approval at Second Reading on October 20.   Bill 26 would amend both the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act to include up to 10 days of paid leave and accommodation for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Federation of Labour is directing the 54 unions under its umbrella to negotiate paid leave for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in all collective agreements

  • The Ontario Government has announced that Howard Sapers, Canada’s correctional investigator, will be taking on the job of reforming Ontario’s troubled corrections system. On Jan. 2, Mr. Sapers will start as an independent adviser to the provincial government tasked with leading an external review of segregation policies.
  • The debate continues over the best way to implement toll roads in Toronto. Most experts agree that that a dynamic pricing model puts a fairer price on the road, which is more in demand at certain times of day than others. However, Toronto Mayor John Tory seems to favour a flat, $2 toll.

Ontario Op-Eds and Editorials

  • Martin Regg Cohn takes a shot at Provincial Conservatives for opposing road tolls when their former leader (John Tory), has come out for them.
  • Christina Blizzard says that there is a warning to the provincial Liberals in the fact that 127 new private schools have opened since 2015 — many of them faith-based.
  • David Reevely echoes Cohn in criticizing Patrick Brown’s Conservatives for their opposition to road tolls.

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Search up-to-date Canada Fact Check databases for the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Ontario bills from the current session here!___________________________________________________________________________________

Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Friday, Nov. 28

Main Chamber Business

10:45 a.m. – Question Period. Watch Live!

1:30 p.m. – Second Reading of Bill 70, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various statutes. Watch Live!

Ontario Legislature Committee meetings

2:00 p.m. – The Standing Committee on General Government will meet to discuss Bill 45, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to provincial elections.

2:00 p. m. – The Standing Committee on Social Policy will meet to consider Bill 7, An Act to amend or repeal various Acts with respect to housing and planning. A full list of presenters is here. Watch Live!

Ontario Morning News Round-Up and Legislative Agenda for November 25

Ontario Morning News Round-up for November 25

  • On the same day Toronto Mayor John Tory called for $2 tolls for the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway and a new tax on hotel rooms, a City  staff report called for the implementation of a far broader range of revenue generators.
  • The Ontario Government has announced its next step in its ongoing efforts to reduce the gender wage gap – it’s creating a new working group  to advise it on the issue. The new group will provide guidance on how government can address specific issues and initiatives identified in the Gender Wage Gap Final Report, including:
    • Shared parental leaves;
    • A gender workplace analysis tool;
    • A social awareness strategy to help understand the effects of gender bias, the gender wage gap and the importance of closing the gap; and
    • Reviewing pay equity legislation.
  • The Ontario Federation of Labour is directing the 54 unions under its umbrella to negotiate paid leave for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in all collective agreements. The OFL was at Queen’s Park Thursday to talk with Labour Minister Kevin Flynn about enshrining such leave. NDP MPP Peggy Sattler currently has a private members’ bill at committee. Her Bill 26 would amend both the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act to include up to 10 days of paid leave and accommodation for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Ontario Op-Eds and Editorials

  • Martin Regg Cohn believes that the constant accusations of corruption and criminality related to Liberal operatives’ activities in the Sudbury by-election that elected Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault, cheapen Ontario politics.
  • Bob Rae supports Toronto mayor John Tory’s proposals for toll roads but says low and moderate income Ontarians must be protected. The Star’s lead editorial also supports the mayor’s proposal while Thomas Walkom warns that while Tory’s proposal should be supported, the history of transportation planning in Toronto is such, that things may still go awry.
  • Bob Hepburn outlines the Wynne Liberals’ three-pronged strategy for re-election in 2018.

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Search up-to-date Canada Fact Check databases for the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Ontario bills from the current session here!___________________________________________________________________________________

Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Friday, Nov. 25

Main Chamber Business

There is no House business scheduled for today.

Ontario Legislature Committee meetings

There are no Legislative committee meetings scheduled for today.

 

 

Ontario News Highlights and Legislative Agenda for October 27

queens-park-dailyOntario Government introduces strict, new rules for campaign donations.

 

 

 

Provincial riding associations will receive public money for campaigns and MPPs and candidates will be banned from attending political fundraisers under campaign finance amendments announced by the Ontario government yesterday.

The amendments are to the Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, which was reintroduced in the legislature on this fall. The bill has passed Second Reading in the legislature, and has been referred to the Standing Committee on General Government for review.

During the committee process due to begin next week, the government intends to introduce two new legislative amendments that, if approved by the committee, will be added to the bill:

  • Banning MPPs, candidates, party leaders, nomination contestants and leadership contestants from attending political fundraising events. This restriction would not apply to non-fundraising events or events where tickets are sold only to cover the cost of the event. It would also not impact funds raised by other means, e.g., by phone or email.
  • Providing an allowance to constituency associations to offset fundraising revenues that they would no longer receive due to the reforms in the bill. Registered constituency associations in each riding would divide $25,000 per year (indexed annually), based on the proportion of votes each registered candidate received in the most recent election.

With 122 ridings up for grabs in the June 7, 2018, election, that means it will cost an additional $3 million annually.

That’s atop the annual $2.71-per-vote subsidy the major political parties will receive beginning next year.

Under that formula — based on the results of the 2014 election — the Liberals, with 1,863,974 votes, would get $5.06 million annually, the Progressive Conservatives, with 1,508,811 votes, $4.09 million, the NDP, with 1,144,822 votes, $3.1 million, and the Green Party of Ontario, with 232,536 votes, $630,000.

The public money for riding associations is designed to help parties and riding associations deal with the fallout of annual riding contribution limits being cut to $1,200 a person — down from the current $9,975 — and the outright ban on union and corporate donations. Donors may also give $1,200 to central parties and another $1,200 for by-elections.

The new law would also limit third-party advertising – such as direct union or corporate donations – to $100,000 in advertising during elections and $600,000 in the six preceding months. There would be a $1-million spending limit during that period for political parties.

Opposition politicians expressed concern that because political staffers — such as chiefs of staff and ministerial policy advisors — would still be allowed to attend fundraisers, the proposed reforms would be undermined.

The opposition also criticized the fact that elected officials and candidates would continue to be allowed to engage in fundraising by phone or email.

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Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Thursday, Oct. 27 

Main Chamber Business

Ontario Legislature Committee meetings for Thursday, Oct. 27

Search the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Ontario bills from the current session here!

Ontario News Highlights and Legislative Agenda for October 26

queens-park-dailyOntario Minister changes mind and moves man held in solitary confinement for four years without a trial

 

 

A day after the minister in charge of Ontario’s prisons told the media he wouldn’t release from solitary confinement an inmate who has spent four years in isolation without trial, the minister apparently has had a change of heart and moved the prisoner out of isolation.

Community Safety Minister David Orazietti was under intense pressure to let Adam Capay, a 23-year-old First Nations man, out of the Plexiglas-lined cell at the Thunder Bay Jail where he is confined alone under 24-hour-a-day artificial light. This morning he stood up in Question Period in the Ontario legislature and announced that Mr. Capay had been moved.

Mr. Capay was charged in 2012 with killing another inmate in a fight, and has not yet come to trial.

Mr. Capay has become an example of the crisis in the province’s corrections system, where a lack of resources has left hundreds of prisoners locked in solitary confinement for weeks, months and years on end.

On any given day in Ontario, there are approximately 8,000 adult men and women in provincial custody. On average, seven per cent of these inmates (roughly 560) are held in solitary confinement.

“I cannot commit to releasing any individual from segregation,” Mr. Orazietti said at Queen’s Park on Tuesday. “That is not a decision that politicians are making. That is a decision that is made by the individuals operating our jails. I will not take individual action on a specific circumstance.”

Mr. Capay’s situation became public after a prison guard tipped off Renu Mandhane, the head of the province’s human rights commission, when she was visiting the jail earlier this month. Ms. Mandhane found Mr. Capay alone at the end of a range on a windowless floor. After 1,500 days in solitary, she later told reporters, he suffered from memory loss and difficulty speaking. Because of the continuous artificial light, he could not tell day from night.

Ms. Mandhane’s data showed that, between October and December of last year, 1,383 Ontario prisoners had spent more than 15 days in solitary confinement, a threshold the United Nations calls a form of torture.

Mr. Orazietti said he is awaiting the results of a third-party review due next year. He ordered it earlier this month after a previous 19-month review.

Ombudsman Paul Dubé is also considering launching an investigation.

On October 17, Ontario announced a series of incremental reforms that critics say fail to deal with severity of the problem.

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Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Wednesday, Oct. 26 

Main Chamber Business

Ontario Legislature Committee meetings for Tuesday, Oct. 25

  • 12:30 p.m. – The Standing Committee on Public Accounts will meet to consider Long-term-care Home Quality Inspection Program. Watch here! 
  • 3:00 p.m. – The Standing Committee on Estimates will meet to review the 2016-2017 Estimates of the Ministry of Energy.

Ontario News Highlights and Legislative Agenda for October 25

queens-park-dailyOntario News Highlight for October 25: Auto Insurance Rates Rise Despite Liberal Promise to Reduce Rates 15%

 

 

Auto insurance rates have increased 2 straight quarters in Ontario, moving the Liberal government even further away from a legal target of an average 15-per-cent reduction.

In legislation and in supporting regulations finalized in August, 2013, the Liberals committed to cutting auto insurance premiums an average of 15 per cent by August 2015.

Approved rates in the third quarter of 2016 increased by an average of 1.5 per cent, according to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).

That reduces the average decrease since August 2013 — which at one point was over 10 per cent — back down to about 8.35 per cent, or a little over halfway to the legislated goal.

The 2013 legislation to implement the 15% premium reduction reflected pressures on the Liberal government following the release of statistics showing that the insurance industry cut its no-fault accident benefits payments in half in 2011 compared to 2010, due to government changes in the accident benefit schedule in 2010.

Increasingly, knowledgeable auto insurance observers believe that rates under Ontario’s staggeringly complex auto insurance system will remain high until there is a complete overhaul of the system.

For example, Willie Handler, a former senior auto insurance policy advisor with the Ontario Government, now believes that the no-fault, statutory accident benefits side of the system should be administered by a public, Crown corporation. In an article posted last year, Handler says that a “A made-in-Ontario solution should include private insurance companies continuing to provide third-party liability coverage and physical damage (car repair) coverage, while the government creates a not-for profit Crown corporation to deliver accident benefits”. In Ontario, statutory accident benefits cover everything from a few days treatment for minor strains to so-called “Catastrophic” benefits which often involve long-term income replacement benefits due to incapacitating injuries suffered in a serious accident.

Handler goes on to say that “A single adjudicative body would introduce significant efficiencies, standardize claims practices and eliminate the adversarial nature of the product”.

More on Ontario auto insurance reform in an upcoming Canada Fact Check feature post. Continue reading

Ontario News Highlights and Legislative Agenda for October 24

queens-park-dailyOntario News Highlight for October 24: Stunning upset in Niagara as 19 yr. old social conservative takes PC nomination

 

Sam Oosterhoff, a A 19-year-old social conservative university student, stunned the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership Saturday night, winning the nomination for a Nov. 17 byelection in the solidly conservative Niagara seat held by former PC leader Tim Hudak.

Oosterhoff’s surprise victory over PC president Rick Dykstra is a huge set back for PC Leader Patrick Brown who has been trying to present a more middle of the road image of late.

Oosterhoff will be facing off against Liberal lawyer Vicky Ringuette and Mike Thomas of the NDP, next month. Ontario’s new sex education curriculum was a central issue for many of  Oosterhoff’s supporters. Some of the teenager’s supporters marched with pro-life placards at voting locations on Saturday and distributed pamphlets with dead fetuses.

The religious right clearly helped  Oosterhoff secure the victory. The final tally was 662 votes to 501 for Dykstra, 245 for Mike Williscraft, and 235 for Niagara regional councillor Tony Quirk.

Saturday’s setback for Brown comes as the Tories appeared to be gaining momentum. They lead in most polls and have high hopes of winning the other Nov. 17 byelection in the Liberal stronghold of Ottawa-Vanier, where former Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin is their candidate.

Continue reading

Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Thursday, Oct. 20

Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Thursday, Oct. 20 (subject to change):

  • 9:00 a.m. – Government Notice of Motion Number 2. Watch Live!

    Mr. Naqvi – That, pursuant to Standing Order 47 and notwithstanding any other Standing Order or Special Order of the House relating to Bill 37, An Act to amend the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007, and the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, when the Bill is next called as a Government Order, the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the Second Reading stage of the Bill without further debate or amendment and at such time the Bill shall be Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs; and

    That the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs be authorized to meet on Thursday, October 27, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of public hearings on the Bill.

    Second Reading of Bill 41, Patients First Act.  Watch Live!

    10:45 a.m. – Question Period. Watch Live!

  • 2:00 p.m. Private Members’ business: Watch Live!
    • Private Members’ Motion Number 29: Ms. MacLeod – That, in the opinion of this House, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) should appoint an advisory committee to review jurisdictions where a process is in place to consider lifesaving experimental and high cost healthcare treatments and otherwise exceptional circumstances for patients. The MOHLTC advisory committee should consider Australia’s Special Access Scheme; New Zealand’s Exceptional Circumstances Framework and High Cost Treatment Pool and the UK’s National Health Service’s Experimental and Unproven Treatments Policy with the view to establish a compassionate catastrophic care program in Ontario for those suffering from rare disease or whose treatments may be experimental or complimentary but are not yet covered by Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP).
    • Second Reading of Bill 26, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in respect of leave and accommodation for victims of domestic or sexual violence and to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act in respect of information and instruction concerning domestic and sexual violence. Sponsor: Peggy Sattler.
    • Second Reading of Bill 44, An Act to proclaim the month of March as Bangladeshi Heritage Month. Sponsor: Lorenzo Berardinetti
    • Voting on all Private Members’ business takes place at 4:30. Watch Live!

Projected Ontario Legislature Committee meetings for Thursday, Oct. 20

  • There are no scheduled committee meetings today.

Search the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Ontario bills from the current session here!

Projected House business for Thursday, Oct. 20

Projected House business for Thursday, Oct. 20 (subject to change):

The House is meeting between 10:00p.m. – 7:00 p.m. today. Watch All Chamber Proceedings Here!

  • 10:30 a.m. – Government Business: Supply Motion may be debated. Watch Here!
  • 11:00 a.m. Opposition Motion — Ms. Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill) — Genocide against the Yazidi people. Watch Here!
  • 2:15 – Question Period. Watch Here!
  • 3:15 – Government Business: Supply Motion may be debated. Watch Here!
  • 5:30 p.m.Bill C-240 , Private Members’ Business. An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit — first aid) may be debated at second reading. Watch Here!

Projected Committee meetings for Thursday, Oct. 20

Search the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Federal bills from the current session here!