Ontario Feature Posts

Will the Ontario Public Service Speak Truth to Power to Doug Ford?

Introduction In Doug Ford, Ontario has elected a Premier without a coherent governing agenda and with little knowledge of key government files. The Ford campaign, a tightly scripted production built around a series of populist slogans recited stiffly off a teleprompter, was just competent enough to keep a sure victory from slipping away. The fact that his nervous handlers were obsessed with keeping reporters at a safe distance from the PC leader, suggests that our new Premier is a...

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Ford populism and the 2018 Ontario election

Introduction This is the first in a series of articles on the upcoming June 7, Ontario election. The series will look at both the partisan political strategies and policy issues at play during the election. This article takes an in-depth look at the dynamics of Ford populism and the basis of its appeal to its supporters. The basic argument is that the core appeal of Ford populism is cultural resentment against the professional class as opposed...

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The Liberal hydro rate reduction program: sound policy or just a shell game?

The March 2 hydro rate reduction announcement by the Ontario Liberal government was widely compared to converting a 20-year personal mortgage to a 30-year mortgage. Your short-term payments may go down but in the long run you end up paying a lot more. On March 2, the Ontario Government announced its latest package of initiatives designed to reduce hydro rates. The key initiative in the package (the re-financing of the Global Adjustment) was widely compared to converting a 20-year...

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Changing Workplaces: the coming mega-battle over Ontario’s workplace rules.

An interim report on Ontario's workplace rules tabled many far reaching options for labour law reform including a new approach to collective bargaining aimed at smaller employers. In the spring of 2015, the Government of Ontario initiated its Changing Workplaces Review to determine what changes, if any, should be made to the province's labour laws in light of the fact that, in the government's own words, "non-standard employment (which includes involuntary part-time, temporary, self-employment without help and multiple...

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What should be done to make Ontario electricity rates more affordable

There is far more that the Wynne government can do to help Ontarians struggling with sky-high hydro bills. But will they do what needs to be done? It will come as no surprise to Ontarians that according to a recent Nanos Research poll, the cost of hydro was the most important issue for 20.5 per cent of voters, eclipsing the usual suspects such as health care (15.1 per cent), jobs and the economy (9.6 per cent) and high...

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What’s really behind Ontario’s rising electricity prices

Ontario's high hydro prices reflect a breakdown in the Ontario Government's electricity planning process resulting in contradictory policies that add to costs. On September 12, the Ontario Government announced in its Throne Speech that it was rebating the provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) to residential and small business electricity users. The initiative is expected to cost $1 billion/yr. and is funded out of the provincial tax base. On September 15, Bill 13,...

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What the New CPP Agreement Means for You

There is no question that Canada’s finance ministers reached an historic agreement in Vancouver on June 20. There is also no question that the changes in CPP design that the ministers agreed upon represent an eventual increase in CPP benefits for all workers when compared to the current CPP design. That said, two additional questions need to be asked when assessing the agreement: 1)      To what extent are the workers most in need of a boost in...

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The fight for a $15 per hour minimum wage in Ontario

On April 15, thousands of fast-food workers in more than 200 U.S. cities, and thousands more workers in other countries, including Canada, participated in a global show of force in support of a $15-per-hour minimum wage and mandatory paid sick days. In the U. S., the $15 minimum wage campaign has made remarkable legislative gains in the past two years. In 2015, policymakers in 14 cities, counties and states approved $15 minimum wage laws including...

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Climate change policies hit corporate push back

Prime Minister Trudeau received considerable media attention earlier this week in his appearances at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. But beyond the photo-ops starring our telegenic PM, the question still remains as to what exactly Canada is bringing to the table in Paris? The context The purpose of the Paris UN conference is to somehow reach an agreement covering the post-2020 period that would require participating countries to set carbon-reduction targets that, while not legally binding on individual countries, will...

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Bay Street and the Hydro One Sale

Of the many options available to the Ontario government to finance its $130 billion infrastructure plan, selling 60% of Hydro One is pretty much the worst. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Ontario government is making a serious mistake in its plan to sell off a majority interest in Hydro One. According to a report from Ontario’s new Financial Accountability Officer, the province will be in even worse financial shape...

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