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Cabinet Changes Put Focus on Small Businesses, Women and Seniors

Backgrounder

Cabinet Changes Put Focus on Small Businesses, Women and Seniors

Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced changes to her cabinet that include assigning new ministers to lead two existing portfolios and putting renewed focus on three other priorities.

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The new minister will lead work in key areas such as supporting the long-term transformation of the correctional system; developing options to prioritize de-escalation in police interactions with the public; introducing legislation this year to support the investigation of missing persons; and considering options for regulating exotic animals.

Minister of Government and Consumer Services

The new minister's mandate includes strengthening fairness and transparency in consumer markets such as payday loans; making public services more inclusive, diverse and accessible, including strengthening French-language services to promote the ability of Franco-Ontarians to access services they need; and making it easier for people to obtain government services online such as renewing driver's licences.

Minister Responsible for Small Business

Creating the conditions for small businesses to succeed is integral to Ontario's plan to grow a strong, innovative economy that provides jobs and prosperity for people across the province.

The changes announced today will accelerate the government's work to ensure that small businesses are able to compete, grow and create jobs. This includes raising their awareness of existing programs that can help reduce business costs, especially through energy conservation. The new minister responsible for small business will also build on Ontario's other initiatives to help small businesses flourish. These include helping small businesses recognize the potential of export markets and making it easy for them to sell their products and services outside Canada.

Ontario is also proposing changes that would reduce regulatory burdens. This includes, through the Red Tape Challenge, asking businesses and the public to help identify and improve regulations that are unclear, outdated, redundant or unnecessarily costly. The province is also making it easier for companies to do business with the government by streamlining its processes and making them available online through a friendlier interface.

Minister of Women's Issues

The creation of a standalone ministry reinforces the government's commitment to advancing gender equality across Ontario.

The ministry will lead the development of a government-wide approach to the economic empowerment of women at all economic levels. This includes developing a plan to close the wage gap between men and women. Ontario is also continuing to implement the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan, as well as Walking Together: Ontario's Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women. The new ministry will lead the implementation of Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking. And it will drive progress in areas such as delivering training programs in skilled trades and information technology for low-income women, and ensuring that gender is taken into account in developing policies and programs across the government.

Minister of Seniors Affairs

Ontario is dedicated to ensuring that people across the province are healthy, active and cared for at every age.

The government's establishment of a dedicated ministry will strengthen its efforts to improve the quality of life of Ontario seniors. It builds on actions such as last September's launch of a program that offers the shingles vaccine available free of charge to seniors -- a first in Canada. Ontario is also promoting age-friendly communities where people can remain active and connected as they get older. It is raising public awareness of elder abuse and neglect, and working to co-ordinate the support that communities provide to victims of abuse. And it is listening to the voices of seniors and ensuring that their views help shape policies and programs.

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