Shortly after taking office in 2018, Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave his ministers strict marching orders meant to marry the policy positions of the Progressive Conservative party, the 2018 election platform and the Premier’s wishes for Ontario.
The letters, written in bullet point form by political staff at the senior-most levels, laid out the priorities that the government intended to pursue during the party’s first term in office.
“It’s not secret,” Ford said when asked about the mandate letters in 2022. “Everyone knows where we stand.”
Ford’s comments, however, ran counter to the governments actions.
Since 2018, the Ford government has been fighting CBC News in court to keep the mandate letters a secret – racking up more than 1,600 hours of legal work to argue against the letters’ release, the public broadcaster reported.
In early September, Global News was given access to all 24 mandate letters from a source not authorized to release them. The Global News Queen’s Park Bureau then independently verified the veracity of the documents from those with direct knowledge of the letters contents.
The Premier’s Office did not provide the documents to Global News, nor has Ford’s staff acknowledged the series of stories that followed the leak.
While the Supreme Court of Canada deliberates on whether the Ford government should be compelled to release these letters, Global News has been able to exclusively reveal the letter’s contents.
Here in full are Premier Doug Ford’s mandate letters.
Premier Doug Ford's mandate letter to ministers
Dear Minister ___ :
Welcome to your new role as Minister of ___ . Thank you for accepting this position.
As we embark on the responsibilities of government I want to begin by emphasizing one point, we ran for election on a plan for the people. I am adamant that this will be a government for the people. Let me explain exactly what this means.
For far too long, too many people have been neglected or ignored by previous governments who become entrapped in a bubble of elite interests. I am determined that this will not happen to us.
As you assume the accountabilities of your portfolio you will be asked to make many important decisions. Before you take any action, be sure to ask yourself a simple question “is this good for the people?” and only pursue courses of action that, directly or indirectly, will make a positive difference for the kind of people who cannot afford expensive lobbyists or a career in full-time activism. These people will only have one voice in government — and that voice will be you.
When facing competing priorities from multiple interests, always ask yourself which side is on the side of the people. This will mean that certain legacy and institutional interests that are used to getting their way with government will likely now find themselves on the losing side of some of our decisions. In some cases, their response may be disruptive. I am comfortable with that fact. You need to be too.
This will require a new approach to decision making. Always ensure officials in your Ministry take the time to detail how any proposed policy or initiative will impact people on an individual basis. This is particularly true for any initiative that proposes an increase in direct or indirect cost on individuals, families or small businesses. That is not what we were elected to do.
In your communications on behalf of the government I encourage you to do what I strive to do and eliminate the middleman. You are talking directly to the people, and offering them real change, opportunity and hope. Put dollar figures, legislative initiatives and regulatory decisions in language that everyday people understand. Always emphasize the end benefits of our decisions for people over secondary details about protocol or process. Everyone, regardless of their education, background or experience, should feel like they understand our agenda and have a stake in the outcome.
Our plan for the people was rooted in five core commitments to Ontarians. They will touch on different Ministries in different ways. I expect every single member of my Cabinet will know all five commitments by heart.
We will put more money in your pocket by scrapping the carbon tax, reducing gas prices by 10 cents per litre and giving real tax relief to lower and middle class families.
We will clean up the hydro mess by firing the CEO of Hydro One and lowering Ontario hydro bills by 12%.
We will create good jobs by sending the message that ‘Ontario is open for business’ and by bringing quality jobs back to Ontario by lowering taxes, stabilizing hydro bills and cutting job-killing red tape.
We will restore accountability and trust by ordering a line-by-line audit of government spending and by bringing an end to the culture of waste and mismanagement in government.
And, we will cut hospital wait times and end hallway health care by creating 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years and adding $3.8 billion in support for mental health, addictions and supportive housing.
As we begin our work restoring Ontario’s economic strength, the taxpayer must come first. We will deliver for Ontario’s families and businesses. We must always remember we hold many responsibilities – first and foremost – to serve the people of Ontario and the issues that matter most to them.
As we move ahead with our plan to restore a strong economy and to make life more affordable for the great people of this province, we will begin to do so by eliminating wasteful government spending, cutting red tape and by making government more efficient. We will do this hard work so that we can invest in priorities for our most vulnerable and to help Ontario families and businesses make ends meet.
As Premier of this province, I expect that each ministry and its respective minister maintain our commitment to bringing relief to families and making Ontario a place that is open for business again. As minister, I trust that your ministry will adhere to the program-spending guidelines that have been established. It is my duty to inform you that the President of the Treasury Board – in collaboration with the Minister of Finance – will be working alongside you and your new fellow ministers to ensure that our new government will achieve the fiscal positions that we have committed to. Ultimately, we will return the province to budget balance as quickly as possible.
I also expect you to be accountable for your promises and to work collaboratively with officials from my office to ensure that our government will always speak with one voice in delivering on our shared plan. I also expect you to hold yourself to the highest ethical standard, both on and off the job, and lead by example in fostering a culture of respect within your office and in your ministry.
We must show Ontarians why they can believe in government again and why they can trust their publicly elected officials. I expect the opposition to hold us to account – and rightfully so – but I will also personally be holding you accountable for your actions.
As Minister of ____, you will be responsible for heading the area of ____ policy. To commence with your work, you will develop cost-effective and efficient policy initiatives and options that ____.
Your ministry’s policy priorities include the following:
***(List the polices and a summary of each policy that includes the policy’s objectives)***
Work with the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance to deliver on our fiscal goals, including a balanced budget. This means reviewing all spending within your Ministry to identify efficiencies, program re-design, and savings that can be implemented over the course of our mandate. It also means working with your colleagues to undertake a fundamental review of the purpose and composition of all agencies, boards and commissions within your Ministry. In addition, work with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and families within your Ministry.
Throughout the next four years, we will get this province back on track. I am committed to this goal, and I know that you are committed to this goal as well. Together we will once again make Ontario the economic engine of Canada. We will use a growing economy to provide high-quality services that are the envy of the world. And we will govern as a united team who are loyal to one another and to the people who elected us.
While the policies I have listed in this letter will be your top priorities, I ask that you be ready to deal with challenges that will inevitably arise during our mandate. As minister, your ministry may be responsible for carrying out other objectives that we establish while we move forward with our plan for Ontario. With this mandate letter, you can begin to lead your ministry in achieving the policy objectives that we have established, and those that may eventually arise.
Our new government is committed to undoing the damage that was done by the previous administration. Therefore, I request that you work on building effective working relationships with the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector, various levels of government, and the private, non-profit, and voluntary sectors.
We will be accountable for our actions. We will deliver results. We will fulfill our promises. I look forward to working in partnership with you, so that we can get this province back on track and deliver our commitment to respect the great people of Ontario.
Premier Doug Ford
Mandated: Minister of Health and Long-Term care
- Fulfill our promises to build 15,000 long-term care beds in five years and 30,000 long-term care beds in 10 years. Ensure that our long-term care sector has a proper path forward to handle the growing elderly population and reduce wait lists across the province. Look at innovative ways to expand access to long-term care, including these new builds.
- Fulfill our promise to invest $3.8 billion in mental health, addictions and supportive housing. Work with your fellow Cabinet colleagues to properly invest the money in initiatives such as supports for students, investments in post-secondary institutions, proper housing for those with mental health issues, and resources for our police and frontline emergency workers.
- Implement our promise for free dental services for seniors with lower-incomes. Consider the interaction between this program and existing dental assistance programs for low-income Ontarians when implementing.
- Ensure continued investment and establish a system for proper long-term capacity planning in Ontario’s health care system. Specifically, focus on dealing with capacity issues and end hallway medicine in our hospitals.
- Work with the Premier’s Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine and its chair, Dr. Rueben Devlin, to deliver a health care system that is efficient, patient focused, cutting edge, and world class.
- Review the scope of practice throughout the health care system to ensure that our healthcare professionals are being used to the best of their abilities. This should not just include reviewing regulatory restrictions on the levels of care each type of healthcare professional can provide, but what type of setting or institution this care should be provided in. Include proper consultation with doctors as part of this work.
- Work with the Ontario Medical Association to resolve their ongoing labour dispute. Ensure the province is getting adequate value-for-money while also treating doctors with respect, such as on conscience rights issues.
- The administration of health in Ontario has undergone several large changes in recent years, including the consolidation of the Community Care Access Centres into the Local Health Integration Networks and the introduction of health data management systems including e-health. Review both fundamental changes to Ontario’s health care system to ensure the original purpose and intent of these changes has been fulfilled. Report back with additional reforms to help invest precious healthcare dollars in front line care instead of back room administration.
- Review the structure of health care oversight from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and its agencies to create a health care system that is patient and family centred.
- Repurpose OHIP+ into a government as second payer system. Concurrently, evaluate how to expand access to rare disease prescription drugs and fix the Exceptional Access Program. Consider how the structure of the province’s various prescription drug programs could be enhanced to save precious healthcare dollars, reduce red tape, and enhance patient experiences.
- Ensure Ontario’s home care system remains world class. End the failed experiments of the past administration into government run complex care units for home care and the recently created personal support worker agency. Work with the sector to reduce red tape and improve patient outcomes.
Mandated: Minister of Education
- Renew math education in Ontario. Repeal discovery math and work with education experts to replace this failed ideological experiment with a math curriculum that teaches the building blocks needed for a successful future. Ensure mathematics is a focus throughout the education system, including financial literacy in secondary schools. Ultimately, your goal should be to dramatically improve Ontario’s math scores.
- As part of this revamp of the math curriculum, fix the standardized testing system administered by the Education Quality Assessment Office. Evaluate new ways to use the data collected, how to locally target math resources, and discover which teaching methods work best by consulting with teachers and students based on the results of this testing.
- Repeal Ontario’s current inappropriate sex education curriculum and replace it with the previous curriculum until you properly consult with parents and families across the province about a new age appropriate curriculum.
- Work with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to ensure a seamless transition from secondary school to post-secondary life, including a renewed emphasis on the skilled trades. Ensure that secondary students are well informed of all post-secondary options, including the skilled trades, while ensuring more opportunities for students to be introduced to the skilled trades before graduation.
- Increase supports for students in the classroom, specifically by working with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to implement our promise of investing $3.8 billion into mental health services.
- Fix the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline so that any school slated for closure must be reviewed with a consideration of economic impact to the local municipality. Impose a moratorium on school closures until this is finished.
- Work with the Minister of Finance to repurpose the Child Care Expense Deduction and implement our refundable child care tax credit proposal. As part of a new approach to child care, re-evaluate the changes by the previous government through Bill 10 that limited the role of independent child care facilities, and pursue reforms that enhance parental choice while promoting high standards of care.
- Continue to increase access to child care spaces, including building new child care spaces where needed and ensuring every new school that is built has child care spaces in it from the beginning. Consult closely with the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services when evaluating future reforms to child care in Ontario.
Mandated: Minister of Finance
- Work with the Minister of Energy, the President of the Treasury Board and the appointed commission of inquiry to investigate the previous administration’s accounting practices to find solutions. This work should examine ways to reform and alter the Fair Hydro Plan to properly account for it and make the discount plan and make it fairer for future generations. In addition to this work, also work with these entities to resolve issues surrounding the calculation of pension assets. Jointly report back to Cabinet with a clear path forwards for the province.
- Improve Ontario’s fiscal situation and take a practical, reasonable approach to Ontario’s finances. Work with the President of the Treasury Board to return to budget balance as quickly as possible while delivering the high quality of core services that Ontarians expect.
- Work closely with the President of the Treasury Board to deliver the province’s Fall Economic Updates and Budgets. In doing this valuable work, ensure there is true respect for the hard-earned tax dollars given to us by Ontario families by challenging your Cabinet colleagues on their proposed spending initiatives to be as efficient as possible.
- Implement our various tax reforms including enhancing the Ontario Tax Reduction to relieve minimum wage earners of their income tax burden and implementing: our reduction in the aviation fuel tax for the North, our refundable child care tax credit, and our reduced business tax plan.
- Implement our promise to reduce gasoline prices by 10 cents per litre.
- Review Ontario’s personal income tax brackets with a view to eliminating Ontario’s surtaxes without increasing taxes on hard working Ontarians. Ensure our promise to reduce personal income taxes for the middle class can be incorporated into the new structure.
- Immediately begin the process of exiting the Master Framework Agreement with the Beer Store as a first step towards the goal of fulfilling our promise to expand beer and wine to big box, grocery and convenience stores. Report back to Cabinet with a proposal to fulfill this promise.
- Remove barriers to enhanced pension access, including improving the pension system for the post-secondary sector and improving the usage of jointly-sponsored pension plans.
- Work closely with the Attorney General, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and other Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the legalization of cannabis is done safely, sold responsibly and regulated properly with the protection of children as your paramount concern.
- Work with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to return the slots at racetrack program to Ontario’s racetracks and help Ontario’s horseracing industry thrive. Simultaneously review Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s modernization program to ensure these changes meet an acceptable ethical and financial standard.
Mandated: Treasury Board Secretariat
- Work with the Minister of Energy, the Minister of Finance and the appointed commission of inquiry to investigate the previous administration’s accounting practices to find solutions. This work should examine ways to reform and alter the Fair Hydro Plan to properly account for it and resolve the issues surrounding the calculation of pension assets.
- Improve Ontario’s fiscal situation and take a practical, reasonable approach to Ontario’s finances. Work with the Minister of Finance to return to budget balance as quickly as possible while delivering the high quality of services Ontarians expects.
- Commission a value-for-money audit of government programming and spending. Use the results of this audit to begin an efficiency review to identify areas of wasteful spending and needed program re-design. Ensure every Ministry participates in proposing ideas for spending reductions without negatively impacting core services provided by their Ministry. Your Ministry will be responsible for assessing these potential options and providing advice to Cabinet on implementation of these plans.
- Deliver demonstrable savings by year two, with full savings in place by the end of year three. This savings goal will be made clear and you are expected to you’re your Cabinet colleagues accountable for meeting this target in co-ordination with the Minister of Finance.
- As part of this audit, mandate that all Ministries fundamentally review the role and purpose of their agencies, boards and commissions to evaluate their usefulness, any spending efficiencies, and if they would perform better if housed within a different Ministry.
- Work with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to identify red tape and burdensome regulations that limit job creation and effective service delivery. Hold your fellow Ministers accountable for bringing forward examples of red tape in their consultation with businesses.
- In your efforts to drive efficiencies, re-evaluate the province’s purchasing system and move towards a centralized procurement agency to buy in bulk and create savings for taxpayers.
- Bring the Ministry of Digital Government within your Ministry. Utilize the expertise in digitization to improve government services, reduce red tape, and create efficiencies.
- Take the necessary steps to prevent agencies, boards, and commissions from purchasing tables or tickets to political speeches.
- Take the lead in labour negotiations to create and maintain public sector labour peace while protecting taxpayers. Work with the Minister of Labour on developing these relationships and evaluate options to update the labour relations process, including arbitration reforms, to better serve Ontario taxpayers and citizens.
Mandated: Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Review various government legislation – including the Planning Act and Places to Grow Act – to reduce red tape, shorten approval timelines, and increase housing supply while simultaneously protecting the greenbelt.
- The housing sector has seen many fundamental changes in recent memory. Review these changes to ensure that they are fulfilling their stated purpose without having a negative effect on housing supply. This includes re-evaluating the future of rent control while not removing any protections for any current renters, reviewing the recent changes to the Ontario Municipal Board to ensure that new housing can be built in a timely fashion, ensuring zoning in Ontario is regularly updated by municipalities, and fixing the Residential Tenancies Act to make it work properly for tenants and landlords.
- Explore options to increase social and affordable housing in Ontario including working with your fellow Cabinet colleagues to help invest in supportive housing as part of our $3.8 billion mental health commitment. This should also include exploring the donation of land to municipalities for new affordable housing builds and exploring opportunities to develop and repurpose the province’s existing real estate portfolio.
- Develop a strong working relationship with Ontario’s municipalities and their municipal associations. Create a process to properly inform Cabinet colleagues of municipal issues that address their portfolios.
- Work with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to assist with regional transit planning and municipal relationships surrounding the subway upload proposal.
- Ensure that Ontario moves forward with increased gas tax redistribution plans for Ontario’s municipalities. As the current uploading agreement expires, review the previous agreement and work with municipalities to ensure a new agreement is in place that delivers results for Ontario taxpayers.
- Take the lead in working with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to ensure municipalities in Ontario have proper emergency services resources. This can include reviewing volunteer forces and consolidation with the Ontario Provincial Police where requested.
- Review the role of the Mayor and council in Ontario’s municipalities and any structural impediments to effective municipal government. Begin this work with a study of the City of Toronto Act and expand that review to other municipalities as directed.
- Work with your Cabinet colleagues to reduce the burden of municipal reporting to the province. Ensure these reports are processed and necessary, that information is not being duplicated across reports, and that our smaller municipalities are able to properly process their requirements.
- Introduce legislation to exempt Ontario’s Royal Canadian Legions from municipal property taxes.
- Work with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to sell air rights above transportation hubs and above other government assets to increase housing and office supply.
Mandated: Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
- Provide additional resources to the Ontario Autism Program and consult with families and stakeholders to ensure it helps as many families with children with autism as possible.
- Work closely with the Minister of Health and Long-Term care to best deploy the $3.8 billion total investment in mental health supports. For our most vulnerable, your work should focus on potential investments in supportive housing and anti-addiction programs. For Ontario’s children, your work should focus on potential investments in psychiatric facilities for teens, children’s mental health supports inside and outside the school system and preventing youth suicides.
- Stand up for Ontario in the face of an ever-changing immigration landscape while asserting respect for legal immigration channels in the face of emerging immigration issues.
- Work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to implement free dental services for seniors with lower-incomes. Consider the interaction between this program and existing dental assistance programs for low-income Ontarians.
- Work with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Attorney General to fight human trafficking in Ontario and increase awareness of the issue with the ultimate goal of protecting our children.
- Review the relationship between government support programs (Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program) and earned income. Report back with reforms that ease the transition back to the workforce, remove barriers to finding employment, and ensure the removal of benefits is transitioned out properly and effectively to allow individuals to stay in the labour force once they return to it. This review should focus on reducing the number of people on social assistance and decreasing the cost of administering these programs by considering reforms such as the combination of the administration of Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.
- Work closely with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Labour to consider the impact of our new minimum wage tax credit.
- Take ownership of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy and evaluate reforms to better improve the lives of Ontario’s poor and help them break out of the poverty cycle.
- Improve co-ordination between children’s aid societies and evaluate how to properly implement the Child Protection Information Network to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of our children’s aid societies.
- Re-examine Ontario’s adoption system and ensure that it protects the best interests of Ontario’s children while making it easier for families looking to give those children a permanent home.
Mandated: Minister of Labour
- Work with the Minister of Finance to implement our enhanced Ontario Tax Reduction to remove the burden of income taxes on minimum wage workers and to help protect jobs instead of further increasing the minimum wage.
- Review the recent changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. Consult with businesses to see how the changes have positively and negatively affected them. Ensure a particular focus on the sectors of our economy that interact with Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens. Report back with changes that need to be made as a result and implement them through legislative change.
- Work with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to expand access and opportunities in the skilled trades. This should include reforms to increase the number of apprentices available.
- Review the role of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in regulating our various skilled trade professions. Simultaneously act to fix unfair practices put in place by the previous government related to these regulatory bodies.
- Fundamentally review the rate structure of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board as it approaches the full removal of its unfunded liability. Explore options to lower contribution rates for employers and employees and review the current mandatory employer categories to ensure no one is being unnecessarily included in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board structure.
- Help create and maintain labour peace by creating a positive working relationship with our public-sector unions and workers while protecting taxpayers. Assist the President of the Treasury Board, where needed, on labour negotiations. Always put the taxpayer first in these negotiations.
- Introduce legislation immediately to end the ongoing strike at York University.
- Ensure that Ministry of Labour inspections provide businesses with explanations and information when they commit an infraction. Ensure this process is transparent and employers are properly informed about how to improve their place of employment.
- Ensure that, when businesses and consumers interact with government, there are hard deadlines for government approvals of not more than one year wherever possible. Your goal should be to make interaction with government as seamless as possible for Ontarians, including proper follow ups and resolutions of consumer complaints. Work closely with the Minister of Government and Consumer Services and the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to meet these goals.
Mandated: Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
- In all of your actions as Minister, stand up for job creators and advocate for policies that help create jobs in Ontario. Consult with and listen to businesses to effectively reduce red tape and regulatory burdens on our job creators. Though reducing red tape is a priority for all Ministers, this is a top priority for your Ministry and, in consultation with your colleagues, a clear performance benchmark will be established and the performance of our government – and your Ministry – will be measured against that benchmark.
- Work with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to defend Ontario’s workers and employers from international competitors. This should include standing up for free trade during times of uncertainty and securing positive deals with our trading partners.
- Fulfill our promise to end the Jobs and Prosperity Fund. Consider alternative programs that could help attract businesses and job creators instead of grants. Evaluate options to offer companies in exchange for increased economic investment that includes loans, tax holidays, or reduced electricity costs.
- Continue to promote and invest in our regional economic development funds. Ensure the process for application is unbiased, the investments deliver a proper return for the province and that companies are held to the commitments for job growth that are promised in exchange for these investments.
- Work with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to help fill the skills gap and ensure that our businesses have access to the employees they need to succeed. This should include reforms to retain foreign students in Ontario to positively contribute to our economy, and to help existing economic immigrants re-train to update their skills and help close the skills gap. Evaluate options to take greater control over our Provincial Nominee Program as part of this work.
- Expand the Ontario Small Business Access initiative to create a single-window system that: covers businesses of all sizes, helps businesses navigate government-imposed regulations, allows easier use of business services online, and implements a hard deadline for government approvals of not more than one year wherever possible.
- Work with your Cabinet colleagues to reduce inter-provincial trade barriers and make Ontario the economic engine of Canada once again by increasing our competitiveness relative to other provinces and states.
- Aggressively promote Ontario as a world leader and attract new business investment from around the world. This should also include helping Ontario businesses sell their products worldwide. Work to improve our relationship with other nations and their business leaders to help bring jobs back to Ontario.
- Ensure Ontario’s low unemployment numbers continue but are also experienced in rural and Northern parts of the province. Study the reasons for regional disparities in employment and work with your Cabinet colleagues to ensure all of Ontario benefits from increased job growth.
Mandated: Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
- Close the skills gap by enacting programs that encourage Ontarians to enter the skilled trades, get re-trained, and become aware of the benefits of good paying skilled jobs. This should be a top priority of your Ministry.
- Review Ontario’s apprenticeship structure and enact reforms to increase access to apprenticeship opportunities and create good paying jobs in the skilled trades.
- Review the sustainability of student assistance programs for Ontario’s college and university students. In addition, enact reforms to ensure universities and colleges collect and publish employment information for their graduates and use that information as part of an evaluation process to determine if funding for these institutions is distributed properly and fairly.
- Work with the Minister of Education to ensure all teachers’ colleges in the province contain a mandatory mathematics proficiency requirement for graduation.
- Work with the Minister of Francophone Affairs to move forward with the Francophone University and enable French concurrent education programs to create more French teachers and more learning opportunities for Ontario’s 600,000 francophones.
- Introduce new protections for free speech on university campuses and enforce these provisions through enhancing the scope and purview of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
- Work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure college and university campuses have proper mental health supports on campus for students as part of our historic new investment in mental health services.
- Work with the Minister of Finance to enable a more sustainable pension system in the post-secondary sector.
- Work with Ontario’s innovation and start-up community to help them retain talent and attract venture capital investments. These success stories should not just start in Ontario but grow and prosper here as well. As part of this work, evaluate reforms to procurement procedures to embrace innovative start-up technologies instead of unfairly discriminating against them.
Mandated: Minister of Infrastructure
- Work with the Minister of Transportation to deliver our various infrastructure commitments including the twinning of several regional highways including highway 17 and highway 3, pre-study work on widening the 401, fulfilling regional transit projects, and negotiating the terms of the subway upload with the City of Toronto.
- Continue to expand the use of public-private partnerships in building necessary infrastructure. Review the province’s planned $190 billion of capital investments in infrastructure and ensure that money is being deployed in a proper fashion and on the right projects for Ontario families and businesses.
- Work with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to expand natural gas to rural communities through private partnerships and deploy all savings in increased broadband and cellular coverage in rural and Northern Ontario.
- Work with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to evaluate the province’s real estate portfolio and either sell inefficiently used properties, donate them to municipalities for social housing builds, or repurpose these facilities for more efficient use. This review should include air rights above transit stations and other provincially owned assets.
- Immediately proceed with a divestment of vacant units where feasible and logical. These facilities should be repurposed or sold for the betterment of the province.
- Work with municipalities to address their infrastructure and their infrastructure planning needs. Ensure you are a strong partner in Cabinet for them and address any outstanding issues with regional grant programs, information on funding approvals or rejections, and asset planning issues.
- Work with the Federal Government on accessing funds from the Infrastructure Bank and other Federal infrastructure transfers. Provide crucial advice to Cabinet about partnering with the Federal Government on various projects moving forward.
Mandated: Minister of Transportation
- Fundamentally review the function and structure of Metrolinx and determine if any institutional changes are needed at this agency to make it more accountable and efficient. This is especially important as regional transit planning becomes a greater priority through the proposed subway upload.
- Work alongside the Minister of Infrastructure and Municipal Affairs and Housing to complete the upload of the Toronto subway system through proper negotiation with the City of Toronto. Fulfill our promise to leave labour relations, operations, and farebox revenues with the City. Once completed, invest $5 billion in new capital investments in Greater Toronto Area subways and immediately begin work on priority projects including: the relief line, the Yonge extension to Richmond Hill, and closing the Sheppard loop with Scarborough.
- Re-evaluate the process of future transit builds by ensuring the province looks to develop air rights from the beginning of projects, encourages the use of private capital where possible through multiple route bidding, and by evaluating which Ontario transit projects could be better owned and operated by large institutional investors like pension plans.
- Continue important work on regional transportation projects across Ontario and work with the Minister of Infrastructure to get these projects built as quickly as possible. Work with our municipal partners in securing the future of these important projects.
- Work with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to return the Ontario Northlander train service to the North.
- Create or update regional transportation plans to reflect our previously promised commitments – such as widening highway 401 and twinning highways 3 and 17 – and ensure that all options are evaluated when considering regional projects.
- Continue to deliver two-way all day GO projects across the province including proceeding with GO regional express rail electrification as necessary to complete this project.
- Work with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to evaluate low-carbon technologies, such as natural gas trucking and bussing, that can be implemented in Ontario with limited intrusion and cost to taxpayers. Ensure these investments deliver the best value-for-money possible.
- Work with the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to develop solutions to Northern transportation issues – including reducing the aviation fuel tax for the North and evaluating the state of Ontario’s Indigenous airfields.
Mandated: Attorney General
- Work with the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to lead the legal challenge against the Federal Government’s imposition of a regressive carbon tax on Ontario’s citizens. In this you are authorized to take any legal action necessary to stop this carbon tax in its tracks.
- Explore all options available to crack down on gun violence and work closely with our police, crown attorneys, and your Cabinet colleagues to increase community policing and curb disturbing increases in gun related violence in Ontario.
- Lead the work with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to fix the Police Services Act and Mandatory Blood Testing Act to respect our frontline police officers.
- Lead the work with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and co-ordinate with other levels of government in making new financial investments to properly fight human trafficking, illicit drug smuggling, and contraband tobacco use in Ontario.
- Create and implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce delays for trials to ensure that capacity issues at Ontario’s correctional facilities are alleviated and justice can be properly delivered given the dramatic changes resulting from the R v Jordan ruling. As part of your comprehensive strategy to reduce delays you should review: the role of technology in our courts, the use of Ontario’s remand facilities, unnecessary legal delays, the integration of unified court systems, hiring of additional legal staff or filling judicial vacancies, the scope of practice for trained legal professionals in the court system, regional disparities in access to justice, and reducing government barriers to pre-court settlements. You should work closely with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services when undertaking this work.
- Work closely with the Minister of Finance, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and other Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the legalization of cannabis is done safely, sold responsibly and regulated properly with the protection of children as your paramount concern.
- Review joint and several liability issues and report back with recommendations to address this problem that ensure a careful balance between victim protection and helping municipalities with unnecessary liability costs.
- Work with the Minister of Finance to crack down on fraud in the auto insurance sector and beyond. Consider reforms that crack down on abusers of the system, thereby providing rate reductions for law-abiding drivers.
Mandated: Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Explore all options available to crack down on gun violence and work closely with our police, crown attorneys, and your Cabinet colleagues to increase community policing and curb disturbing increases in gun related violence in Ontario.
- Assist the Attorney General in creating and implementing a comprehensive strategy to reduce delays for trials to ensure that capacity issues at Ontario’s correctional facilities are alleviated and justice can be properly delivered given the dramatic changes resulting from the R v Jordan ruling. As part of the Attorney General’s comprehensive strategy to reduce delays you should assist the Minister in reviewing: the role of technology in our courts, the use of Ontario’s remand facilities, unnecessary legal delays, the integration of unified court systems, hiring of additional legal staff or filling judicial vacancies, the scope of practice for trained legal professionals in the court system, regional disparities in access to justice, and reducing government barriers to pre-court settlements.
- Work closely with the Minister of Finance, the Attorney General, and other Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the legalization of cannabis is done safely, sold responsibly and regulated properly with the protection of children as your paramount concern.
- Assist the Attorney General in fixing the Police Services Act and the Mandatory Blood Testing Act to respect our frontline police officers.
- Assist the Attorney General and co-ordinate with other levels of government in making new financial investments to properly fight human trafficking, illicit drug smuggling, and contraband tobacco use in Ontario.
- Fulfill our commitment to hire additional probation, parole and corrections officers to better protect victims and hold criminals accountable for their actions. Once these officers are in place, increase enforcement of the terms of probation and parole.
- Work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to best deploy the $3.8 billion in mental health, addictions and supportive housing. Your Ministry should evaluate the effectiveness of innovative pilot projects that pair mental health workers with police officers and the case for the expansion of these programs.
- Work to improve the government’s relationship with corrections officers by creating a quicker complaint resolution process and fixing our province’s correctional facilities – including building new jails in Ottawa and Thunder Bay.
- Work with our partners in the municipal government and the emergency services sector to address issues related to policing, fire services, and paramedics as they arise.
- Support the Minister of Indigenous Affairs in their efforts to reduce recidivism amongst Ontario’s indigenous community and increase community policing efforts in these communities.
Mandated: Minister of Environment Conservation and Parks
- Immediately begin the process of withdrawing from cap-and-trade. In doing so, ensure that Ontario businesses are informed of their options relating to previously purchased credits. Simultaneously end the cap-and-trade slush fund and ensure an orderly wind down of these programs.
- Work with the Attorney General to fight the Federal Government’s proposed imposition of a regressive carbon tax on Ontario’s citizens. Assist the Attorney General with any legal action they take to stop this carbon tax in its tracks.
- Implement our environment commitments once cap-and-trade is repealed. These include investing in cleaner air and water, increasing enforcement of environmental standards against big polluters, cleaning up garbage and litter in parks and neighbourhoods, and creating an emissions reduction investment fund to fight climate change.
- Work with the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to ensure the special purpose account is truly being spent on conservation activities and fulfill our promise to hire more conservation officers.
- Undertake a review of Ontario’s environmental assessment requirements to ensure that the system is working as efficiently as possible and is not duplicative of federal environmental assessment requirements.
- In co-ordination with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, review the various pieces of environmental legislation that impact businesses and ensure they are as flexible and nimble as possible with the goal of ensuring all environmental assessments and approvals can be completed within one year. Ensure these regulatory and legislative requirements are not placing undue burdens on Ontario’s job creators. Your goal should be to make interaction with government as seamless as possible for Ontarians, including proper follow ups and resolutions of consumer complaints. Work closely with the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Government and Consumer Services to meet these goals.
- Work with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Transportation to evaluate low-carbon technologies, such as natural gas trucking and bussing, that can be implemented in Ontario with limited intrusion and cost to taxpayers. Ensure these investments deliver the best value-for-money possible.
Mandated: Minister of Indigenous Affairs
- Formally engage with the Federal Government to move forward with priorities affecting the Indigenous populations in Ontario that are federal jurisdiction, such as clean drinking water for remote communities and increased levels of funding for local priorities and developments.
- Work with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to fulfill our promise of introducing revenue resource sharing for new mining, forestry, and aggregate projects so there is benefit to the host municipality or Indigenous community.
- Maximize the opportunities to partner with Indigenous communities to help bring the Ring of Fire project to operational status as quickly as possible.
- Work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to deploy the $3.8 billion in mental health, addictions, and supportive housing. Specifically, explore options to develop a team of Indigenous led mental health workers to help Indigenous communities before a time of crisis, instead of only responding after a call for help is issued.
- Embark on a tour of Northern Indigenous communities to develop relationships between these communities and our government. Engage elders, listen, and report back with your findings.
- Work with your fellow Cabinet colleagues on issues of importance to Ontario’s Indigenous communities. This should include, but not be limited to, access to proper educational supports, cleaning up Grassy Narrows mercury contamination, and ensuring proper access to needed long-term care facilities in the North.
- Work with the Minister of Finance to implement our reduction in aviation fuel taxes for Northern flights to bring down the cost of living in Indigenous communities and across Northern Ontario.
- Work with the Minister of Transportation to review Indigenous travel needs including alternative methods of transportation with changing ice road seasons and review the state of Indigenous airports and airfields.
- Ensure our constitutional Duty to Consult is upheld and work to resolve land claim issues where possible, but always put the taxpayer first in this work.
Mandated: Minister of Northern Development and Mines
- Work with your fellow Cabinet colleagues to get the Ring of Fire operational. This project represents a massive opportunity for Ontario and it needs to be started as soon as possible.
- Reduce red tape and explore innovative ways to reduce energy costs for existing and new mining operations in Ontario. We were once the world leader in mining investment, we should strive to be there once again.
- Establish a special working group for mining projects that include a large investment in Ontario. This special working group should be able to be convened by either side, focus on speeding up regulatory approvals, and make investment easier in Ontario. Look to examples such as Plan Nord in Quebec to inform this process.
- Repeal the Far North Act and work with the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to increase access to crown lands where logical and possible.
- Work with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to develop a strong working relationship with our Northern municipalities and their municipal associations. Represent their interests and advocate for investments to improve the quality of life throughout Northern Ontario.
- Work with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to bring back the Northlander train service to Northern Ontario and reduce the aviation fuel tax for Northern flights.
- As needed, work with your fellow Cabinet colleagues to represent the views of Northern Ontario at the Cabinet table and in the decision-making process.
Mandated: Minister of Energy
- Affordability and reliability of the energy grid are your top priorities. Deliver a more affordable grid that Ontarians can rely on while putting consumer choice at the forefront of your decisions. These metrics should be the primary focus of any evaluation of your Ministry.
- Remove the CEO and Board of Hydro One and improve the governance and performance of the utility. Ensure the utility is ultimately accountable to its customers – not just its shareholders – and ensure executive compensation levels at Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation are reasonable.
- Implement our electricity savings program to save families, small businesses and farmers 12% on their hydro bill. Pursue additional savings through aggressive re-negotiation and enforcement of generation contracts, including cancellation of pre-notice to proceed contracts where logical, legal and feasible.
- Repeal the Green Energy Act and work with the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure natural gas, propane and other fuel prices remain low once the cap-and-trade carbon tax is repealed.
- Work with the Minister of Finance, the President of the Treasury Board and the appointed independent commission of inquiry into the previous administration’s accounting practices. This work should examine ways to reform and alter the Fair Hydro Plan to properly account for it and make the discount plan fairer for future generations and jointly report back to Cabinet with a clear plan forward.
- Review the province’s industrial electricity systems and report on options to fix the system, offer a simpler to understand suite of options and increase investment through better industrial pricing systems. In your work, take efforts to preserve existing benefits for Ontario businesses and improve upon them.
- Continue with the modernization of Ontario’s electricity system. Specifically, continue with the modernization of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), nuclear refurbishment, the continued operation of Pickering Generating Station, and evaluate the potential move towards a capacity market. Use the review of the OEB to reduce red tape and costs from the system while pursuing and infusing innovative technologies into Ontario’s electricity system to provide savings to consumers and adequately protect them from rate increases.
- Create a system that properly encourages voluntary consolidation of Local Distribution Companies, including the consideration of using directives to force the OEB to approve these mergers should adequate consumer protection be a part of the proposal.
Mandated: Minister of Mandated: Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
- Work with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs to implement revenue resource sharing in Ontario.
- Work with our stakeholders and ensure that hunting and angling concerns are adequately addressed in Ontario. These are important economic drivers for many regions of Ontario and they should be treated as such.
- Review Ontario’s various pieces of wildlife protection legislation to ensure they are properly rooted in scientific fact and do not cause undue burden on municipalities, Northerners, or businesses. This should include evaluating the legislation governing species at risk, the agencies that review these decisions, and expanding access to Ontario’s crown lands.
- Work with the forestry sector to help improve its competitive position. This review should include options to increase support for forest access roads and increasing the amount of harvestable land.
- Consult with the forestry sector and act to reduce red tape in their industry, specifically, address any duplicitous requirements of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and other pieces of provincial legislation. This work should be done in consultation with the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
Mandated: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Work with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Infrastructure to expand natural gas to rural communities through private partnerships and deploy all savings in increased broadband and cellular coverage in rural and Northern Ontario.
- Implement our commitment to raise the cap on the Risk Management Program (RMP) by $50 million annually and ensure Ontario’s agricultural support programs in Ontario are working effectively while supporting Ontario’s supply management system.
- Work with your Cabinet colleagues to increase economic investment in rural Ontario. Ensure growth in the economy and job creation is happening throughout the province, not just in urban centres.
- Work with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to promote and protect Ontario’s food processing community abroad and look to increase economic investment in Ontario’s food processing sector during these times of trade uncertainty.
- Launch a formal consultation group to hear from the broader agricultural sector and use that group to inform your Ministry on crucial future decisions such as changes to the Ontario Food Terminal network, expanding agriculture in Northern Ontario, encouraging youth to pursue careers in agriculture, and reducing red tape in the agricultural sector.
- Work with the Minister of Finance to return the slots at racetrack program to Ontario’s racetracks and help Ontario’s horseracing industry thrive.
- Review the progress made implementing the Local Food Act and report back with the next steps needed to complete this initiative.
- Review internal decision-making process to ensure that important environmental decisions related to agriculture rely no scientific methods as opposed to an ideological lens.
- Continue to protect important agricultural land, including in Ontario’s greenbelt, and work with the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to promote and support the important environmental work being done by Ontario’s agriculture sector
Mandated: Minister of Francophone Affairs
- Work with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to move forward with the Francophone University and enable French concurrent education programs to create more French teachers and more learning opportunities for Ontario’s 600,000 francophones and those interested in French immersion.
- Work with your Cabinet colleagues to ensure services are readily available in French, materials are posted in French, and that barriers to accessing government in French are removed.
Mandated: Minister of Government and Consumer Services
- Consult with and listen to businesses to effectively reduce red tape and regulatory burdens on our job creators. Though reducing red tape is a priority for all Ministers, this is a top priority for your Ministry and, in consultation with your colleagues, a clear performance benchmark will be established and the performance of our government – and your Ministry – will be measured against that benchmark. Work closely with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade who will lead our government’s initiatives to meet this benchmark.
- Work with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to expand the Ontario Small Business Access initiative to create a single-window system that: covers businesses of all sizes, helps businesses navigate government-imposed regulations.
- Ensure that, when businesses and consumers interact with government, there are hard deadlines for government approvals of not more than one year wherever possible. Your goal should be to make interaction with government as seamless as possible for Ontarians, including proper follow ups and resolutions of consumer complaints. Work closely with the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to meet these goals.
- Implement the Premier’s commitment to create a hotline for former military personnel to access government services.
- Work with the President of the Treasury Board to evaluate the effectiveness of government services. When reviewing these programs, aim to enhance them using innovative technologies and online capabilities – including making data public where necessary – to make Ontarians lives easier.
- Work with the Minister of Francophone Affairs to ensure that francophone Ontarians have proper access to the services they need and expect.
- Work with your fellow Cabinet colleagues to keep license and fee increases to a minimum. We should not raise costs on Ontarians – directly or indirectly. When absolutely necessary, these increases should be properly justified and the public should be provided ample notice.
Mandated: Minister of Seniors and Accessibility
- Undertake a review of the previous government’s progress – or lack thereof – towards meeting the goal of full accessibility by 2025 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and report back with the steps needed to meet this goal while striking a careful balance regarding the impacts on businesses and employers.
- Work with the Minister of Labour to evaluate and create additional employment opportunities for Ontarians with disabilities.
- Work with the Minister of Education and Finance to implement our refundable tax credit for child care spaces. When doing so, ensure that the program offers increased supports for families with children with disabilities.
- Work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to fulfill our promises to build 15,000 long-term care beds in five years and 30,000 long-term care beds in 10 years.
- Ensure that our senior’s voices are properly reflected at the Cabinet table be it on issues of health care, energy, or affordability.
- Work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to fulfill our promise to invest $3.8 billion in mental health, addictions and supportive housing. Work with you fellow Cabinet colleagues to properly invest the money in initiatives that impact seniors such as investments in dementia and Alzheimer’s research.
Mandated: Women’s Directorate
- Work with the Minster of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Attorney General to combat domestic abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking.
- Work with the Minister of Labour to move forward with important equal pay provisions and ensure that the gender pay gap is closing.
- Work with the Minster of Finance and the Minister of Education to empower women and their economic opportunities. This should begin with implementing our refundable child care tax credit but expand to further possibilities once that is completed.
- Ensure the voice of women in Ontario is heard at the Cabinet table and work with your fellow Cabinet colleagues to advance the interests of Women in government, including in our representation of senior appointments to agencies, boards, and commissions.
Mandated: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
- Support Ontario’s tourism industry and promote it to prospective tourists to increase investment in the province by creating an Ontario tourism strategy.
- Review Ontario’s various media tax credits to ensure they are run as efficiently as possible and are increasing economic investment in Ontario. This review should include options to quicken the payment period and options to help smooth out the interrelation between American and Canadian currencies if they increase job creation in Ontario.
- Support physical recreation in Ontario and work with your Cabinet colleagues to improve physical activity, specifically among children, through our various public institutions.
- Attract sporting competitions to Ontario to increase economic activity in sport. Ensure Ontario is adapting to the needs of a changing sports landscape up and review any previously instituted sporting bans to ensure they are still relevant.
- Ensure regulations in your sector are flexible and adapt to consumer demands that are limited by restrictive regulations, such as prohibitive bans on tailgating.
- Your work should also look to support existing successful Ontario sports entities, such as the Ontario Hockey League, and attract new Ontario sporting investment.
- Promote Ontario’s culture and history by honouring important Ontario citizens and locations. Start this work by fulfilling our promise to construct a memorial to Ontario’s Afghanistan War veterans.
- Work with the Minister of Infrastructure to properly develop Ontario Place. This once in a lifetime opportunity should be a priority for your Ministry. Report back to Cabinet with development options.
This is the final story in the Global News series ‘Mandated.’ The series revealed the contents of the Ford government’s first set of mandate letters, handed to ministers after the party formed government in 2018. The letters have been kept secret since Doug Ford’s first election — a battle that has gone all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Photo illustration by Janet Cordahi