McGuinty Government Creates Two New Ministries, Secretariat
The McGuinty government today launched historic reforms to ensure the new government can deliver its agenda for positive change.
As part of its commitment to improve services for the people of Ontario, the McGuinty team has created two new ministries and a secretariat designed to address new priorities:
Ministry of Children's Services
How we care for children is not only a reflection of our shared values, it is critical to the future social and economic success of our province. If a child benefits from good parenting and quality childcare, then we all benefit in the future. Investments in pre-school children are smart investments - they pay off with better learners, healthier children, more secure families and a more productive economy.
Development in the early years sets a child on a path for success or failure in life, so if we want kids to aim higher, we must give them strong support sooner. The time has come for us to invest in the services children need to become happy, healthy, productive adults. The new Ministry of Children's Services is an integral part of the McGuinty government's plan for real, positive change.
The ministry will be responsible for:
- Implementing the government's Best Start plan, which will make high quality childcare and education available for the youngest learners;
- Enhancing the quality of childcare in Ontario by raising professional standards and ensuring they are met;
- Determining appropriate and effective levels of support for childcare; and
- Working with school boards to support educational innovation in such areas as extra learning, school-based childcare, nutrition programs and school safety.
Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal
Replacing Ontario's aging and failing infrastructure is one of the most important steps in the McGuinty government's agenda for real, positive change. Many of Ontario's roads, hospitals, schools and water-treatment systems have been neglected in recent years and are in need of renewal or repair.
To compete and win in a competitive global economy, gridlock cannot be allowed to choke off our growth. To maintain our quality of life, Ontarians need and deserve the best from their schools and hospitals and water infrastructure. Ontario needs more affordable housing. All of these investments must be made in a way that is transparent, efficient and offers better value for taxpayers' money.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal will centralize infrastructure planning to achieve maximum leverage for taxpayer dollars in the key areas of education, health, transportation and the environment in communities all across Ontario.
The new ministry will be responsible for:
- Easing gridlock with a seamless transportation network across the GTA;
- Bringing a region-wide approach to meeting GTA transit needs by creating the Greater Toronto Transit Authority;
- Providing two cents per litre of the provincial gas tax to municipalities for public transit;
- Creating 20,000 new units of affordable housing;
- Creating 50,000 new university and college spaces as part of a plan to build North America's best workforce and strongest economy;
- Unclogging emergency rooms by opening an additional 1,600 beds;
- Strengthening hospitals by providing adequate multi-year funding;
- Managing good development, discouraging sprawl and preserving greenspace;
- Helping to implement each and every recommendation of the Walkerton reports; and
- Working with northern communities to fast-track financial support for water and sewer infrastructure.
Democratic Renewal Secretariat
Ontario's "Westminster" style democracy was imported from Britain over 130 years ago when Ontario was a very different place. The population was far less diverse and voting rights were restricted to a select few.
Since then, Ontario has developed into a diverse province in which all citizens get to have their say. Yet in the last election, only about half of all Ontarians voted. Many have lost faith in a system that, for too long, has been cynically manipulated to promote the interests of the government in power.
It's time to restore people's faith, bring our 19th century democratic traditions into the 21st century and bring citizens -- especially young people -- back to the centre of politics. The new secretariat is a first of its kind in Ontario. It will ensure meaningful reform by consulting with the people of Ontario, engaging youth and working to improve voter turnout.
The secretariat will be responsible for:
- Spearheading a public consultation and referendum on Ontario's voting system;
- Establishing fixed election dates;
- Ensuring that Internet voting is an option;
- Consulting with citizens on spending limits for political parties;
- Expanding the role of MPPs in the house; and
- Banning partisan government advertising by giving the provincial auditor the power to enforce the ban.