This week at Queen’s Park
Member of Provincial Parliament
It was another eventful week at Queen’s Park, as we saw the introduction of new legislation, as well as the further debate on important bills previously introduced.
I had the pleasure of rising in the Legislature to participate in the Second Reading debate of Bill 34, known as the Green Energy Repeal Act. My time on the floor was an opportunity to reiterate the concerns we have right here in our riding, particularly in North Stormont. This municipality was awarded a large wind turbine project, despite having officially designating itself as an unwilling host. The former government’s Green Energy Act has turned out to be an expensive disaster for the people of Ontario, as it contributed to tripling electricity rates, making life unaffordable and chasing more than 320,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs south of the border.
This week the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade introduced Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act. This bill will remove the major burdens imposed on businesses by the previous Government’s Bill 148, while maintaining strong protections for workers. Under the former government, the number of regulations in Ontario ballooned to over 380,000, more than double that of British Columbia. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business pegs the cost of complying with these rules and regulations at a whopping $36 billion per year. This huge expense is pushing business to invest in other jurisdictions. A report by the C. D. Howe Institute forecasts that for every dollar U.S. businesses invest this year per employee, Ontario businesses will invest just 39 cents. Over the past decade, critical investment in machines and equipment fell by 24 percent in Ontario, while climbing 10 percent in Quebec.
Our government also seeks to modernize the apprenticeship system and support the skilled trades. Ratios in Ontario are among the highest in Canada and are limiting the number of apprentices an employer can train. With a move to a 1:1 journeyperson-to-apprenticeship ratio, the Bill aims to increase the number of our youth graduating in the skilled trades. There is a chronic shortage, and employers are unable to fill these good-paying jobs. In the words of Premier Ford, “We want investors to know that Ontario is open for business.”
Closer to home, the Ministry of Education has remained committed to one of the largest public consultations in Ontario’s history. The Ministry has launched Fortheparents.ca and is inviting everyone – parents, students, educators, and interested individuals or organizations – to provide feedback on the education system in Ontario. This is your opportunity to voice your opinions on a diverse array of topics, such as math scores, physical education, school technology, athletic facilities, and community schools.
Specifically for SD & SG, I also encourage you to register for the Eastern Ontario Telephone Town Halls that are being hosted by the Ministry during this Education Consultation. In order to participate, you MUST register online, at the Ministry’s website under “For The Parents” at https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents. The consultations for Eastern Ontario will run on October 30 and November 16 and 22. Our goal is to prepare Ontario students for success, improve their academic achievement, and equip them with the tools needed to enter the working world. I encourage you to make your voice heard.