From the Provincial Office of OSSTF
NEW BILLS INTRODUCED
BILL 31, JONATHAN’S LAW (EMPLOYEE LEAVE OF ABSENCE WHEN CHILD DIES)
NDP MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth) introduced Bill 31, Jonathan’s Law (Employee Leave of Absence When Child Dies). Tabuns’ bill would allow employees, who have been employed for at least six consecutive months, a leave of absence without pay for up to 52 weeks, if a child of the employee dies.
BILL 32, RIGHT TO CARE ACT (CHILDREN 16 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER)
PC MPP Jim McDonell (Stromont—Dundas—South Glengarry) introduced Bill 32, Right to Care Act (Children 16 Years of Age and Older). McDonnell’s bill would amend the Child and Family Services Act. The bill would amend the law to allow temporary care agreements to be made in respect of children who are 16 years of age or older.
BILL 33, TIME TO CARE ACT (LONG-TERM CARE HOMES AMENDMENT, MINIMUM STANDARD OF DAILY CARE)
NDP MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) introduced Bill 33, Time to Care Act (Long-Term Care Homes Amendment, Minimum Standard of Daily Care). Gélinas’ bill would require a long-term care home to provide its residents with at least four hours a day of nursing and personal support services, averaged across the residents.
BILL 34, CHILDREN’S LAW REFORM AMENDMENT ACT (RELATIONSHIP WITH GRANDPARENTS)
NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma—Manitoulin) introduced Bill 34, Children’s Law Reform Amendment Act (Relationship with Grandparents). Mantha’s bill makes one addition and one amendment to the Children’s Law Reform Act. The addition prohibits a person entitled to custody of a child from creating or maintaining unreasonable barriers to the formation and continuation of personal relationships between the child and the child’s grandparents. The amendment would set out the needs and circumstances of a child that the court must consider in determining the best interests of the child. The bill adds to that list the emotional ties between the child and the child’s grandparents and the willingness of each person applying for custody of the child to facilitate contact with the child’s grandparents, if such contact would be appropriate in the circumstances.
BILL 35, EMPOWERING HOME CARE PATIENTS ACT
NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) introduced Bill 35, Empowering Home Care Patients Act. Gretzky’s bill would shorten the time for an agency to respond to a complaint from 60 days to 30 days. As well, the bill provides that if the decision of the agency would have the effect of terminating or reducing the community services provided to a person, an appeal to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board would stay the decision.
BILL 36, ALBANIAN HERITAGE MONTH ACT
Liberal MPP Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North) introduced Bill 36, Albanian Heritage Month Act. Qaadri’s bill proclaims the month of November in each year as Albanian Heritage Month.
BILL 37, PROTECTING STUDENTS ACT
In an odd coincidence, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter introduced Bill 37, Protecting Students Act, on the same day as World Teachers’ Day. The bill had been first introduced by the Kathleen Wynne Liberals as a response to Justice Patrick LeSage’s report on teacher discipline by the Ontario College of Teachers. The first bill died on the order paper with the 2014 election. After the 2014 election, the Liberals did not immediately re-introduce the bill because of the ongoing education workers’ central table collective bargaining negotiations. The second attempt, Bill 200, was introduced in the Spring of 2016 but, it too died on the order paper when Wynne prorogued the Legislature prior to its scheduled resumption this fall. The current bill is identical to its two predecessors.
According to Education Minister Mitzie Hunter (Scarbororough—Guildwood), the proposed Protecting Students Act would strengthen the disciplinary processes for educators and increase transparency at the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Early Childhood Educators. She claims that the changes will help protect children and students and maintain public confidence. She also says that the act would require the mandatory revocation of a teacher’s certificate if they are found guilty of sexual abuse or prescribed acts of child pornography.
The main elements of change, identified by Minister Hunter include:
• Ensuring a teacher’s certificate is automatically revoked if he or she has been found guilty of sexual abuse or acts relating to child pornography
• Requiring employers, including school boards, to inform the college when they have restricted a teacher’s duties or dismissed him or her for misconduct
• Allowing the college to share information with the school board or employer if the subject of a complaint poses an immediate risk to a student or child
• Requiring the college to publish all decisions from its discipline committee
• Improving timelines for the investigation and consideration of complaints.
BILL 38, ISLAMIC HERITAGE MONTH ACT
In an effort to fast-track Bill 23, Islamic Heritage Month Act, the three political parties agreed to co-sponsor the bill, now entitled Bill 38, Islamic Heritage Month Act, for speedy passage. The bill is now co-sponsored by NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong (London—Fanshawe), Liberal MPP Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North) and PC MPP Raymond Cho (Scarborough—Rouge River). The bill would proclaim the month of October of each year to be Islamic Heritage Month.
BILL 39, AGGREGATE RESOURCES AND MINING MODERNIZATION ACT
Natural Resources Minister Kathryn McGarry (Cambridge) introduced Bill 39, Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act. The bill would strengthen the regulations governing aggregate companies and updates the fees and royalties they must pay for extraction.
BILL 40, PUBLIC SAFETY RELATED TO DOGS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale—High Park) continued her efforts to repeal laws that ban the breeding of “pit bulls” in Ontario.
BILL 41, PATIENTS FIRST ACT
Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins (St. Paul’s) introduced Bill 41, Patients First Act. Hoskins’ bill would replace the Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) by giving Local Health Integrated Networks (LHIN’s) an expanded role in the health care system, as part of an effort to improve access to home and long-term care.
BILLS REFERRED TO COMMITTEE
BILL 2, ELECTION FINANCES STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2016
The Liberals’ election finance bill passed 2nd reading with all party support. Despite objections from the opposition parties that the bill did not properly involve all-party input, they, nonetheless, voted to send it to the Standing Committee on General Government. The Liberals want the legislation passed so that it can become law by January 1, 2017.
BILL 17, SAVING THE GIRL NEXT DOOR ACT, 2016
PC MPP Laurie Scott’s (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock) bill, aimed at addressing the growing problem of sex-trafficking in the province, passed 2nd reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.
BILL 28, ALL FAMILIES ARE EQUAL ACT (PARENTAGE AND RELATED REGISTRATIONS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT)
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi’s (Ottawa Centre) Bill 28, All Families Are Equal Act (Parentage and Related Registrations Statute Amendment) passed 2nd reading by a voice vote. The bill would make amendments to the Children’s Law Reform Act to establish new rules of parentage in Ontario that would ensure that same-sex couples did not have to adopt their own children. The bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
BILL 36, ALBANIAN HERITAGE MONTH ACT
MPP Lorne Coe’s (Whitby—Oshawa) bill would ensure that any treatment recommended by a physician for a patient who is recovering from a stroke is provided to that patient promptly, regardless of the patient’s age. The bill has been referred to the Standing Committee for Social Policy.
BILL 38, ISLAMIC HERITAGE MONTH ACT
Following an agreement by all three parties in the Legislature, Bill 38, Islamic Heritage Month, passed quickly through 2nd and 3rd Readings. The bill was delayed because the Liberals and PCs objected to the NDP’s initial efforts to be the sole sponsor of the bill.
NDP CALLS FOR STOP TO HYDRO ONE SALE
In her continuing fight to stop the sale of Hydro One, NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s (Hamilton Centre) Opposition Day motion “calls on the Liberal government to take immediate steps to stop any further privatization of Ontario’s hydro system, including both Hydro One and any local distribution companies such as Toronto Hydro.” Horwath’s motion was defeated by the Liberals and PCs by a vote of 57–17.
LIBERAL MPP PROPOSES MOTION TO SUPPORT FLUORIDATION
Liberal MPP Bob Delaney (Mississauga—Streetsville) proposed a motion that would ban municipalities in Ontario from abandoning their water fluoridation programs or failing to start a water fluoridation program. The motion was a response to the Region of Peel consideration to remove fluoride from the region’s water supply. Delaney’s motion passed by a voice vote.
IN OTHER NEWS
LIBERALS SPAR WITH AUDITOR-GENERAL AGAIN
Since being appointed Ontario’s Auditor-General, Bonnie Lysyk, has continually been at odds with the Liberal government. Another example surfaced this week with the 2015−16 Annual Report and Unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements. Usually, the documents are released after an audit by the Auditor-General. At the beginning of this past week, the Liberals decided to release the documents without the Auditor-General’s audit. At the centre of the issue is whether the government can count the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan as part of its assets, which has been the normal practice since 2001. But, according to Lysyk, this should not been done and she cited the examples of British Columbia and Nova Scotia as two jurisdictions that do not allow this practice. By the end of the week, the Liberals released the documents again, with Lysyk’s audited report included, but not an agreement on the numbers. As expected, this issue dominated Question Period with both opposition parties siding with the Auditor-General against the Liberals.
FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICER TO RECEIVE CABINET DOCUMENTS
In his 2015−16 Annual Report, Financial Accountability Ontario (FAO) Stephen LeClair criticized the Liberal government for its lack of transparency. As he prepares for his next report, LeClair announced that Ontario’s Cabinet has ordered the public service to provide his office with documents it had been withholding. LeClair said this will allow him to better perform his duties, while continuing to protect Cabinet confidentiality.
The Legislature will be adjourned during the week of October 10, 2016.
It will resume on Monday, October 17, 2016.