From the Provincial Office of OSSTF
NEW BILLS INTRODUCED
Bill 49, Transparency and Accountability in Government Contracting Act
NDP MPP Catherine Fife (Kitchener—Waterloo) introduced Bill 49, Transparency and Accountability in Government Contracting Act. Fife’s bill would force the government to complete a privatization cost-benefit analysis for any public sector project over $2 million prior to the issuance of any private sector or P3 contract. The bill would require the Financial Accountability Officer to review the analysis.
Bill 50, Free My Rye Act (Liquor Statute law amendment)
PC MPP Steve Clark (Leeds—Grenville) re-introduced former MPP Tim Hudak’s bill as his own, as Bill 50, Free My Rye Act (Liquor Statute Law Amendment. The new bill replicates Hudak’s bill in amending Ontario’s liquor laws to permit the opening of microdistillers and an increase in the number of stores permitted to sell spirits.
Bill 51, Disclosure of Information Relating to the Protection of Children Act
NDP MPP Monique Taylor (Hamilton—Mountain) introduced Bill 51, Disclosure of Information Relating to the Protection of Children Act. Taylor’s bill would protect employees from reprisal when reporting a suspicion that a child is in need of protection.
Bill 52, Hindu Heritage Month Act
Liberal MPP Joe Dickson (Ajax—Pickering) introduced Bill 52, Hindu Heritage Month Act. Dickson’s bill would proclaim October as Hindu Heritage Month.
Bill 53, Growing Ontario’s Craft Cider Industry Act
PC Sylvia Jones (Dufferin—Caledon), NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) and Liberal MPP Arthur Potts (Beaches—East York), have co-sponsored Bill 53, Growing Ontario’s Craft Cider Industry Act. Their bill would seek to control the markup or taxes imposed on craft cider sales in relation to beer, craft or otherwise.
Bill 54, Home Care and Community Services Amendment Act (Dan’s Law)
NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) introduced Bill 54, Home Care and Community Services Amendment Act (Dan’s Law). The bill would remove the three-month Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) waiting period for Canadian residents who move to Ontario and are in need of home care.
Bill 55, Remembrance Week Act
PC MPP Jim Wilson (Simcoe—Grey), NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale—High Park) and Liberal MPP John Fraser (Ottawa—South), co-sponsored Bill 55, Remembrance Week Act. The bill would proclaim the week preceding Remembrance Day in each year as Remembrance Week.
BILLS REFERRED TO COMMITTEE
Bill 41, Patients First Act
Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins (St. Paul’s) Bill 41, Patients First Act would replace the Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) by giving Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) an expanded role in the health care system, as part of an effort to improve access to home and long-term care. Despite opposition from the Conservatives, the bill passed 2nd Reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
Bill 46, Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act (Councillor Pregnancy and Parental Leave)
Liberal MPP Daine Vernile’s (Kitchener Centre) Bill 46, Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act (Councillor Pregnancy and Parental Leave) passed 2nd Reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills. Vernile’s bill would provide that town or city council seats would not be vacated due to absences related to pregnancy or the birth or adoption of the member’s child. Municipalities would now be required to adopt and maintain policies with respect to pregnancy and parental leaves of council members.
Bill 47, Protecting Rewards Points Act (Consumer Protection Amendment)
Liberal MPP Arthur Potts’ Bill 47, Protecting Rewards Points Act (Consumer Protection Amendment) passed 2nd Reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. Potts’ bill would protect consumers by prohibiting the expiration of rewards points.
None passed this week.
PC Energy Policy Motion
In an effort to distinguish himself from the NDP while simultaneously tying them to the Liberals, PC Leader Patrick Brown (Simcoe North) put forward a motion condemning both the NDP and Liberals on energy policy. Brown’s motion called for action to stop further rate increases; stop any future sale of the shares of Hydro One; stop signing energy contracts for power Ontario does not need; and restore municipal planning powers over energy projects that were stripped away by the Liberals and NDP. As expected, the motion was defeated by the Liberals and NDP.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCEMENTS
28 New Schools to be Built
Premier Kathleen Wynne (Don Valley West) and Education Minister Mitzie Hunter (Scarborough—Guildwood) jointly announced that 28 new schools would be built in the province. As well, 23 others will be renovated for a total expenditure of $474 million in 2016.
IN OTHER NEWS
Liberals Propose Amendments to Election Financing Bill
Liberal Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi (Ottawa—Centre) outlined major amendments to the Liberals’ proposed Bill 2, Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act. Naqvi said the amendments would include:
• 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 this 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.
The Liberals have been under severe political pressure since it was revealed that high-priced fundraisers were being conducted in private homes with little, if any, public notice. The amendments will now be forwarded to the Standing Committee on General Government for review. The Liberals hope to have the legislation, which also includes a ban on corporate and union donations, in effect for January 1, 2017.