Today, Doug Ford was sworn in by the Lieutenant Governor as the 26th Premier of Ontario. There were two ceremonies: one inside the legislature, which was more traditional, and one outside for supporters and the broader public – “A Government for the People”. The 21-member Cabinet, which includes the Premier, was also sworn in; this is a reduction from Kathleen Wynne’s outgoing Cabinet, with its 28 members overseeing 30 departments. In addition to Premier Ford, who is also Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (a portfolio traditionally reserved for the Premier), the membership of Ontario’s new Cabinet is as follows:
Christine Elliott – Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and Deputy Premier
Elliott is the new MPP for Newmarket-Aurora. Elliott previously served as an MPP from 2007 until 2015. She was the party’s Health Critic and Deputy Leader from 2009 until resigning her seat; she also Vice-Chaired the legislature’s Select Committees on Mental Health and Addictions (2009-2010) and Developmental Services (2013-14). After leaving government she was appointed Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman, a role she held from 2016 until 2018. Earlier this year she ran for PC Leader for the third time, narrowly losing to Doug Ford. With her former riding held by PC-incumbent Lorne Coe, Elliott ran for MPP in Newmarket-Aurora, where she defeated Liberal Minister Chris Ballard in the June 7th election. She will bring considerable policy depth and political experience to her new role.
Vic Fedeli – Minister of Finance and Chair of Cabinet
Fedeli is the MPP for Nipissing. First elected in 2011, Fedeli played a key role in opposition at Queen’s Park as Energy and Finance Critic in the opposition shadow Cabinet. He was also Interim Leader of the PC Party after the resignation of Patrick Brown. As Finance Minister, he will be pivotal in the successful implementation of the PC platform over their first term. As the Chair of Cabinet, Fedeli will also play a key part in the machinery of government and Cabinet decision-making.
Caroline Mulroney – Attorney General and Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs
Mulroney is the MPP for York-Simcoe. She was first elected in the 2018 provincial election after running in the recent PC Leadership contest following the resignation of Patrick Brown. She is a lawyer and comes from a successful financial career on Bay Street. She is fluently bilingual.
Peter Bethlenfalvy – President of the Treasury Board
Bethlenfalvy is the new MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. Before his 2018 election he was Chief Investment and Risk Officer at CST Consultants. Before that he was Senior Vice President, financial regulations at Manulife Financial, where he was responsible for strategy and monitoring financial regulatory systems around the world. Bethlenfalvy was also President and Chief Operating Officer of TD Securities (USA). He will draw on this experience in working to balance the province’s books.
Monte McNaughton – Minister of Infrastructure
McNaughton is the MPP for Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, first elected in 2011. In opposition, he served as Critic for Economic Development, Employment & Growth. He ran for the leadership of the Ontario PC Party after the resignation of Tim Hudak, where he positioned himself as a social conservative. He served as Infrastructure Critic from 2015 to 2017.
Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs
Rickford is the new MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, first elected in 2018. He is an experienced legislator having previously served as an MP from 2008 to 2015, where he held several different roles in Stephen Harper’s Cabinet, including Economic Development for Northern Ontario and Natural Resources. He was previously Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. He takes on several portfolios, including politically tricky Energy, where his political experience will come in handy.
Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility
Cho is the MPP for Scarborough North. In 2016, Cho won a by-election in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River and became the first Member of Provincial Parliament of Korean background in Ontario. He was previously a city councilor in Toronto. He was one of two MPPs to support Premier Ford during the 2018 PC leadership race. He leads a newly-created department combining the former Ministry of Seniors Affairs and Accessibility Directorate.
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Clark is the MPP for Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. He was first elected in a by-election in 2010. He was previously the Mayor of Brockville, has been President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and was PC Critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing from 2011 to 2013 – all experience he will bring to his role in the recombined Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
Fullerton is the MPP for Kanata-Carleton. She was first elected in the 2018 provincial election. Fullerton was previously a family physician for 26 years. She has been active in medical associations and local health care organizations, with advisory roles in the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the local LHIN, and with membership on the City of Ottawa Board of Health. Her Ministry’s name reverts back to Training, Colleges and Universities after a recent Liberal Cabinet shuffle had christened it the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Hardeman is MPP for Oxford, first elected in 1995. Prior to the 1995 election, Hardeman was elected to the Township of South-West Oxford council and served as Mayor from 1988 to 1994. Hardeman was also Warden of Oxford County council, chair of the Warden’s Association of Ontario, and chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA). Hardeman is returning to Cabinet, reclaiming the Ministry he headed from 1999 to 2001. He was Agriculture Critic through most of the PCs’ time in opposition.
Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues
MacLeod is the MPP for Nepean, first elected to the Ontario Legislature in a 2006 by-election as the youngest MPP in that Parliament and the youngest conservative woman to be elected in Ontario. She ran for leader after Tim Hudak’s resignation in 2015, losing to Patrick Brown. She was PC Critic for Children and Youth Services from 2006 to 2008, and held high-profile front-bench Critic roles, including Finance, in the run-up to the 2018 election. Her new department combines the former Ministry of Children and Youth Services with the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Phillips is the MPP for Ajax. He was first elected in 2018. Phillips was most recently Chair of both Afiniti Canada, a global artificial intelligence company, and Postmedia, Canada’s largest news media company. He is the former President and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Shepell.fgi, a Canadian based international employee health company. He will lead this new Ministry, which sees the former Ministry of Environment and Climate Change take responsibility for provincial parks, Conservation Authorities and species-at-risk legislation.
Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour
Scott, a Registered Nurse, is the MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. She was first elected in 2003, then resigned in 2009 to allow then-Leader John Tory to run for her seat after he failed to win his local race in the 2007 general election. She reclaimed her seat in the 2011 election. Prior to the 2018 election she served as Deputy Opposition House Leader.
Todd Smith, Minister of Government and Consumer Services and Government House Leader
Smith is the MPP for Bay of Quinte. He was first elected in 2011. Since 2014 he has held high-profile Critic roles, including Pan and Parapan American Games, Hydro One Sale, and Energy. Prior to Queen’s Park, he had a career in radio broadcasting. His Ministry will take on greater importance in Doug Ford’s customer-service-focused government, developing consumer service guarantees and excellence on design thinking and lean methodologies. As House Leader, Smith will take the lead role, along with the Premier’s Office, in determining the government’s legislative agenda and priorities.
Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education
Thompson is the MPP for Huron-Bruce. She was first elected in 2011. Prior to the 2018 election Thompson also served as Critic for International Trade, as well as Critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Her new role is key for some of the PC base, for whom curriculum reform – including sex education, mathematics and standardized testing – is a central issue.
Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Tibollo is the new MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge, first elected in the 2018 provincial election. Tibollo is a lawyer with over 30 years of experience and is active in the not-for-profit sector.
Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Wilson is the long-serving MPP for Simcoe-Grey, first elected in 1990. He held senior Cabinet portfolios through nearly the entire length of the previous PC government, including Health; Energy, Science and Technology; Northern Development and Mines; and Environment. He was also interim leader in 2014 after the resignation of Tim Hudak. His Ministry brings together Economic Development and International Trade, an arrangement that existed under the Liberals for a time.
John Yakabuski, Minister of Transportation
Yakabuski is the MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, first elected in 2003. Prior the 2018 election Yakabuski was the Labour & Training Critic and Chief Whip. Formerly a real estate sales representative, he is best known locally as the former owner-operator of Yakabuski’s Home Hardware in Barry’s Bay, which he operated for 20 years.
Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Yurek, a pharmacist, is the MPP Elgin–Middlesex–London, first elected in 2011. He is a co-owner of Yurek Pharmacy and past president of the St. Thomas Chamber of Commerce. Prior to the election Yurek served as the Health Critic; he was Natural Resources and Forestry Critic in 2014-15.
Sylvia Jones, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Jones is the MPP for Dufferin-Caledon. She was first elected in 2007, after working as Executive Assistant to then-Leader John Tory. Prior to the 2018 election Jones was the co-Deputy Leader of the PC Caucus and the Critic for Children and Youth Services.
- Robert Bailey – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services
- Toby Barrett – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
- Paul Calandra – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Energy)
- Stan Cho – Parliamentary Assistant to the President of the Treasury Board
- Doug Downey – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance
- Amy Fee – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services (Children and Autism)
- Christine Hogarth – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Housing)
- Belinda Karahalios – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services (Community and Social Services)
- Vincent Ke – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
- Andrea Khanjin – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
- Stephen Lecce – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure
- Robin Martin – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Health)
- Gila Martow – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour
- Jim McDonell – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Municipal Affairs)
- Norm Miller – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Sam Oosterhoff – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education
- Lindsey Park – Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney Genera
- Michael Parsa – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (Small Business)
- Randy Pettapiece – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- David Piccini – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
- Ross Romano – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Northern Development and Mines) and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs
- Prabmeet Sarkaria – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Amanda Simard – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
- Donna Skelly – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade (Trade)
- Kinga Surma – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation
- Effie Triantafilopoulos – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Premier Ford’s Cabinet picks signal that while he has placed some importance on appointing new MPPs from the private sector into important roles, he also values long-serving MPPs with experience in the legislature. He has placed those with legislative and past government experience in some of the highest-profile positions, including Health and Long-Term Care and Finance. His opponents from the leadership race have also all gained top posts with Mulroney as Attorney General and Elliott at Health.
Regionally, the Cabinet is quite evenly distributed across Ontario with less representation in Toronto and the north:
Number of Cabinet Members by Region:
- Toronto – 2
- GTA – 4
- Southwest – 4
- Central – 5
- East – 4
- North – 2
Appointing Christine Elliott as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care is a natural pick for Ford. Elliott is a veteran Conservative politician with considerable experience in Ontario’s health system. She was PC Health Critic and Deputy Leader when she was in the legislature and was later appointed as the Patient Ombudsman by the Ontario government. Her designation as Deputy Premier is also important as it recognizes her deep well of experience and continues the theme of unity from the leadership race.
Appointing Fedeli to Finance is also a stable and smart pick as he was the Finance Critic in opposition. The Ford government has an ambitious agenda for their term in office. Ford has promised to reduce income taxes, cancel the province’s cap-and-trade system and return Ontario to a budget surplus. Fedeli will have learning curve that is less steep than other candidates for the position. It is worth noting that as Chair of Cabinet he will also play a large role behind-the-scenes when it comes to the business of running the government.
The recently-appointed Parliamentary Assistants also shows the pool from which this government will more than likely draw when they shuffle Cabinet or need to appoint additional members.