Description of Changes to Ministries
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development
Ontario's economic success depends on a highly skilled workforce. Ontario already has one of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's highest postsecondary attainment rates, at 67 per cent. Measures such as the new Ontario Student Grant, to be implemented in September 2017, will increase access to high-quality college and university education even further. But more must be done to ensure that all Ontarians have the education and training they need to succeed in a modern economy. The ministry will work with the panel on a Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy to bring forward a comprehensive plan to develop a more innovative and skilled workforce. Working with the private sector and postsecondary education institutions, the ministry will help ensure Ontario has the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global economy.
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development will encompass the current mandate of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. In addition, employment and training programs in other ministries will be coordinated through the new ministry to create a more seamless experience for workers and job seekers and to help Ontarians prepare for the jobs of the future.
Minister Responsible for Digital Government
Information technology is changing the way Ontarians work, play and access public services. The Minister Responsible for Digital Government will ensure Ontario is the most modern and digital government in Canada. In Ontario, new IT initiatives and partnerships help people renew their driver's licence online and access data about government programs. The government is creating a Chief Digital Officer, a Deputy Minister-level position reporting to the Minister Responsible for Digital Government, to help co-ordinate the government's efforts in delivering services and working with citizens online.
This will be the first time Ontario has had a minister specifically responsible for Digital Government. The minister will ensure Ontario becomes a North American leader in accelerating the way citizens engage and interact with their government through the power of digital technology.
Ministry of Economic Development and Growth
The Ministry of Economic Development and Growth will focus on the government's number-one priority -- jobs and growth. The ministry will implement the province's Business Growth Initiative, its economic strategy to fast-track Ontario's knowledge-based economy by tapping into the creativity, education and skills of our people. The strategy commits $400 million over the next five years and will leverage Ontario's highly skilled workforce to compete through innovation.
The ministry will lead strategies to help sectors and clusters develop and grow, develop regional economic strategies, make Ontario a leader in social enterprise, develop a modern business climate, and eliminate and streamline unnecessary regulatory burdens.
Ministry of Infrastructure
Building modern infrastructure is part of Ontario's four-part plan to build Ontario up. The Ministry of Infrastructure will be re-constituted as a stand-alone ministry to reflect this key provincial priority, guiding the province's historic 12-year, $160-billion infrastructure plan. The new ministry will also be responsible for developing the province's next ten-year capital plan, leading the province's Community Hubs initiative, leading the province's negotiations with the federal government on new infrastructure agreements, and helping to integrate the province's commitments in the Climate Change Action Plan across the province's infrastructure plan.
Ministry of Housing
Increasing affordable housing is critical to reducing poverty in Ontario. The province is creating a stand-alone Ministry of Housing to lead the province's efforts, with partners, to build more affordable and social housing and to co-ordinate work across government to eliminate homelessness in Ontario. The new ministry will also lead the province's negotiations with the federal government on new social housing agreements, and implement the province's commitments in the Climate Change Action Plan related to affordable and social housing.
Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science
Ontario has global strength in scientific discovery, R&D and innovation. Leveraging these strengths is critical to a more prosperous economy. To focus on bringing more of Ontario's scientific knowledge to the marketplace, the Ministry of Research and Innovation will add science to its mandate. The new position of Chief Science Officer will be created to help lead the government's efforts to advance both basic and applied science.
Ministry of International Trade
In 2016, fDi Intelligence named Ontario as Canada's leader in attracting foreign capital investment. Trade is essential for Ontario's growth and competitiveness. It strengthens the economy by creating jobs, accelerating innovation and boosting GDP. Ontario's future prosperity is increasingly dependent on exports, and successful trade missions by the Premier have opened up export opportunities. As a result, trade policy and Ontario's trade promotion, presence and missions abroad and at home will be brought together to create Ontario's first stand-alone Ministry of International Trade.
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Ontario's cultural diversity is an economic strength. Integrating recent citizens and immigrants into Ontario will create economic growth and build a stronger and more dynamic workforce. The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration will focus on its core mandate, ensuring newcomers prosper in Ontario, working with the federal government to maximize the economic benefits of immigration, building diverse and inclusive communities, and supporting volunteers.
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Ontario's health care system is a competitive strength and provides vital services to Ontarians. The province's Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care will help provide services closer to home and increase access to health care. As part of the province's strategy to improve health care delivery, the minister will be responsible for all parts of the ministry, including long-term care.
Ministry of Finance
Strong fiscal management is critical to a strong economy. The government is on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017-18. Responsible fiscal and expenditure management has allowed the government to invest in new priorities, while delivering lower deficits over the past several years. To continue to ensure taxpayers get value for their money, the Minister of Finance will assume responsibility for implementing all the recommendations of the Premier's Advisory Council on Government Assets. This will allow the government to continue to maximize the performance of Ontario business enterprises, including continued public ownership of the LCBO, Ontario Power Generation and 40 per cent of Hydro One.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
A strong partnership with our municipal partners will help improve public services and strengthen economic growth in all parts of the province. The new Ministry of Municipal Affairs will focus on its core mandate, including strengthening partnerships with municipalities, implementing the province's growth and greenbelt plans, and improving land use planning. The ministry will also work with municipalities to help implement the Climate Change Action Plan. Through greater collaboration, the province and municipalities will build a better future together.
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Building stronger partnerships with Indigenous peoples will redress past harms, improve services and increase economic opportunities for the future. The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs will be renamed as the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, as committed to in The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the government's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
Minister Responsible for Accessibility
Ontario is committed to increasing accessibility in the province and ensuring that people with disabilities have access to new employment opportunities. The minister will be responsible for helping people with disabilities realize their full potential, and for overseeing the implementation of the province's groundbreaking Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.