From the Provincial Office of OSSTF
NEW BILLS INTRODUCED
BILL 37, LIABILITY FOR CLIMATE-RELATED HARMS ACT
NDP Climate Change Critic, MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth), re-introduced his private member’s bill that would permit individuals, businesses and governments to sue oil and gas corporations for “climate related damages from their products.” Tabuns had initially introduced this bill more than two months prior to the June 2018 election.
BILL 38, TAX FAIRNESS FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS ACT
PC MPP Bob Bailey’s (Sarnia—Lambton) bill would allow real estate agents and brokers to register as corporations for tax purposes. A previous version of this bill was tabled by MPPs from all three major parties in 2017.
BILL 39, ACCESSIBLE PARKING AND TOWING INDUSTRY REVIEW COMMITTEE ACT
PC MPP Gila Martow (Thornhill) introduced this bill that would establish a committee under the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to review accessible parking for persons with a disability and the towing industry.
BILL 40, HUMAN RIGHTS CODE AMENDMENT ACT (GENETIC CHARACTERISTICS)
PC MPP Christina Mitas (Scarborough Centre) introduced this bill that will include genetic characteristics as prohibited grounds for discrimination under the Human Rights Code. Mitas’ bill is somewhat similar to Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers’ (Ottawa—Vanier) Bill 35, Human Rights Code Amendment Act. Des Rosiers’ bill adds immigration status, social condition and police record, in addition to genetic characteristics, to the code.
BILL 41, HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT (HELMET EXEMPTION FOR SIKH MOTORCYCLISTS)
The Ontario Legislature’s only turbaned MPP, PC MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, introduced this bill that proposes to exempt Sikh motorcyclists from having to wear a helmet on the road. In contrast to former Premier Kathleen Wynne’s opposition to this bill, Premier Doug Ford (Etobicoke North) has indicated that he will support an exemption for the Sikh community. The bill is expected to be law by the end of the year.
BILLS REFERRED TO COMMITTEE
BILL 36, CANNABIS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT
Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney’s (York—Simcoe) legislation allowing privately-run stores for the distribution of cannabis passed second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy. Mulroney’s cannabis bill is in stark contrast to former Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to have LCBO stores distribute cannabis. In the vote, the NDP and Liberals opposed the bill while Green Party Leader Mike Shreiner (Guelph) supported the government’s proposal.
BILL 33, REA AND WALTER ACT (TRUSS AND LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION IDENTIFICATION)
PC MPP Randy Pettapiece’s bill passed a second reading vote and was referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills. Pettapiece’s bill would require a truss identification emblem be affixed to a building in accordance with specified rules and such other rules as may be prescribed.
BILL 4, CAP AND TRADE CANCELLATION ACT
Minister of the Environment Rod Phillips’ bill passed second reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on General Government. The bill cancels any requirement to establish targets for reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario. As well, the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks is no longer required to prepare a climate change plan and to prepare progress reports in respect of the plan. The bill is scheduled for third reading on October 25.
No bills passed this week.
BILL 30, FIGHTING BACK AGAINST HANDGUNS ACT (HANDGUN AMMUNITION SALES)
Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter’s (Scarborough—Guildwood) bill would have allowed municipalities to pass a bylaw opting in to a prohibition on the sale or provision of handgun ammunition within the municipality’s territorial boundaries. Hunter’s bill was defeated by a voice vote.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION CURRICULUM CONSULTATIONS
During Question Period this week, NDP Education Critic MPP Marit Stiles questioned Minister of Education Lisa Thompson (Huron—Bruce) about the lack of information and transparency over the proposed education consultations, including changes to the sex-ed curriculum. Stiles challenged the Minister saying, “Education consultations do not mean much unless those most impacted are invited to the table, Minister. Students and teachers must be consulted. Indigenous youth must be consulted. Queer and trans youth, differently abled youth: They must be consulted. The list goes on.” In response, Thompson said, “We’re very proud to be embarking on an initiative that’s going to invite business, parents, teachers, boards, trustees—every single person who wants to exercise their voice about STEM, about job skills, about mental health, about health and—.”
WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY
On the eve of World Teachers’ Day, the Minister of Education Lisa Thompson and the NDP’s Education Critic Marit Stiles both made statements in the Legislature. During her statement, a visibly emotional Thompson said, “One of those special teachers that I was speaking about moments ago—she challenged me. For those of you who don’t know me, I wear my heart on my sleeve. She goes, “What legacy do you want to leave?” I said, “I want to make sure that our government during our time has every opportunity to make sure that the learning environment in the classroom is the best.” With that said, we need to hear what teachers have to say and hear what is top of mind for them as well.” Meanwhile, Stiles said, “I want teachers, students, parents and everyone working in our education system to know that New Democrats have your back. We see you, we appreciate you and we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with you at Queen’s Park and in classrooms and communities across the province. The future of our province and our children depend on it.”
IN OTHER NEWS
SELECT COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY
Doug Ford’s government has created a Select Committee on Financial Transparency to look at Ontario’s finances during the 15 years of Liberal rule. Despite being derided as “show trials” or a “witch hunt” against political opponents, the Ford government is determined that the high deficit and debt accumulated by the Liberals are not forgotten by the electorate. The nine-member committee will feature six PC members and three NDP members. There will be no Liberal or Green Party members.
DOUG FORD TO CANCEL BILL 148
In a stunning reply to a Question by Liberal MPP Michael Coteau (Don Valley East), Premier Doug Ford said, “We’re going to make sure we tell the world Ontario is open for business. We’re going to make sure we’re competitive around the world. We’re getting rid of Bill 148.”
Late last year, Kathleen Wynne’s government had passed Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. One of the main features of the bill was to raise the minimum wage to $15 by January 1, 2019. Ford and his Minister of Labour, Laurie Scott (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock), had earlier said that the planned increase to $15 would not happen but had only said that the rest of the bill was being reviewed. The bill would also:
• Mandate equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as employees at the agencies’ client companies
• Expand personal emergency leave to 10 days per calendar year for all employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week
• Ban employers from requiring a doctor’s sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave
• Provide up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job when a worker or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence, including paid leave for the first five days
• Bring Ontario’s vacation time in line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer
• Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time
TREASURY BOARD PRESIDENT TALKS OF PRIVATIZING PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS
In an interview with iPolitics, Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy (Pickering—Uxbridge) said that he does not consider privatizing public sector jobs to be the same as job cuts. Bethlenfalvy said, “I don’t see that as a job cut, no…I think that person still has their job, and I think that’s the primary objective here: that we find a way to transform government without having to look at cuts, and try to make government more efficient so we can balance the budget.”