June 29, 2018 – Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford was sworn in today as Ontario’s 26th Premier, along with his new – and smaller – Cabinet.
Premier Ford unveiled his Cabinet at a swearing-in ceremony inside the Legislature. In a symbolic end to nearly 15 years of Liberal rule, Ford re-affirmed his oath and delivered his first speech as Premier on the front steps of Queen’s Park to a large public crowd. Ford sent a clear signal of his a new, open and people-focused approach to governing.
As anticipated, with only 21 members, the PC government’s Cabinet is substantially smaller than the outgoing 28-member Executive Council.
With lots of talent to choose from among his 75 MPPs, Premier Ford kicked off his party’s reign on a strong foot, stacking over half of his new Cabinet with experienced PC Caucus members. The new Cabinet is composed of 7 women and 14 men, including the Premier, and it includes a former federal Minister, as well as some fresh faces with strong private sector credentials.
Top appointments include Victor Fedeli as Finance Minister, Christine Elliott as Health Minister and Deputy Premier, Greg Rickford as Minister of Energy – portfolios key to Ford’s main campaign commitments to cut government spending, decrease hospital wait times, reduce gas prices, and lower Ontarians’ hydro bills. Of his former PC leadership opponents, in addition to Elliott, Ford has appointed Caroline Mulroney as Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. Ford will serve as his own Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, critical in light of U.S. tariffs and NAFTA negotiations.
Other notable appointments include Monte McNaughton as Minister of Infrastructure, and Todd Smith as Minister of Government and Consumer Services and Government House Leader.
In reducing the size of Cabinet, Premier Ford merged multiple ministries under several of his new Ministers.
- Greg Rickford will be heading a broad-reaching and complex portfolio as Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Indigenous Affairs.
- Lisa Macleod is tackling a multiple ministry merger as Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.
- Economic Development has International Trade back in the fold, as Jim Wilson becomes Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. The merger also replaces “Growth” with “Job Creation,” a top focus of the Ford administration.
- Caroline Mulroney adds Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs to her role as Attorney General, a combination previously held by Madeleine Meilleur.
- Rod Phillips as Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, is a dramatic shift from the previous government’s inclusion of Climate Change in the ministry title. It signals the Ford government’s new approach to environmental issues as well as a reminder of the record of past PC governments on protecting ecologically sensitive lands like the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine.
- Seniors Affairs has been augmented, and is now the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, led by Raymond Cho.
- The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development is returning to its previous incarnation as the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, now under newly-elected MPP and physician Merilee Fullerton.
As part of restructuring Cabinet, two ministries were eliminated – the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science. Whether or where these portfolios will be integrated into other ministries remains to be seen.
The list of Parliamentary Assistants was also announced – see the full list here – as was the list of Deputy Ministers. Counsel will forward the NDP and Liberal opposition critic lists, as they are announced in the coming days.
Ford will be putting everyone back to work shortly, indicating that he will be recalling the Legislature for a summer session on the week of July 9.
For more background on the new Cabinet members, download Counsel’s Cabinet at a Glance backgrounder here.
For a photo spread of the new Cabinet, click here.