Progress On Our Plan For Ontario
Strengthening The Education And Skills, Health, And Prosperity Of Our People
QUEEN'S PARK -- The fall session of the legislature was marked by real progress on the government's plan to strengthen the province by strengthening the education and skills, health, and prosperity of Ontarians, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"We have had a very ambitious and productive fall session," Premier McGuinty told reporters after reading to children at Toronto's Shirley Street Public School.
"We started the year cleaning up the mess we inherited -- a mess that was much larger than anyone thought. We end the year making real progress on our plan for Ontario -- a plan that's one of the most ambitious in the province's history."
Highlights of the fall session include:
- Smaller class sizes in the early grades in 1,300 schools
- The hiring and placement of 1,100 new teachers
- Training lead teachers in every school in best practices for teaching reading, writing and math
- Improvement in provincewide test scores in reading, writing and math
- Investing $26 million to deliver more cancer, cataract and knee and joint replacement surgeries, helping clear up surgical backlogs and reduce wait times
- Introducing legislation that would prohibit smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places in the province
- Operation of four new MRIs, with two more slated to open by this spring
- Dedicating gas tax money for public transit
- Introducing legislation that would create a new greenbelt across the Golden Horseshoe, curbing urban sprawl
- The launch of an initiative to create Family Health Teams across Ontario to provide improved primary care
- The start of the phase-in of free vaccinations for children against meningitis, pneumococcal disease and chickenpox
- A First Ministers' Conference that produced a new and improved health care funding arrangement with Ottawa
- Acted to help protect children from smoking, Internet predators, junk food in schools, grow ops and pit bulls
- Passage of a law that bans the waste of taxpayers' dollars on partisan government advertising
- Passage of a law that gives the provincial auditor the authority to audit transfer partners such as hospitals and school boards
- Introduction of a plan to require that gas sold in Ontario contain clean-burning ethanol
- Introduction of a plan to make those responsible for chemical spills face stiffer penalties faster
- Introduction of new legislation to provide accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities
- Passage of a new law that will require that the provincial auditor report to the public on the state of the Province's finances before elections
- More nursing care, higher standards of care and an increased residents' comfort allowance in long-term care homes
- Aid for cattle farmers hurt by BSE, and a groundbreaking agriculture and food summit
- The launch of plans to create jobs and prosperity in rural and northern Ontario
- A $100-million investment from the government's auto sector fund that sparked Ford Canada's decision to invest $1 billion in Oakville
- An action plan to combat domestic violence
- The creation of 116,000 jobs in the government's first year.
"Our plan is to strengthen our province by strengthening our greatest asset: our people. It's a plan to strengthen the education and skills of our people, to improve the health of our people, to ensure prosperity for our people," Premier McGuinty said.
"A little more than one year into our mandate, we are laying the foundation for the results Ontarians want and deserve. We have got a lot done this fall. We have made real progress. But there is still lots of work ahead, work we're determined to do, so we can ensure Ontario is the place to be, for years to come."