COCA Newsletter – September 2019
Government’s P3 Pipeline Rolled Out
At a luncheon hosted by the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP) on September 10 th in downtown Toronto, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott, and Infrastructure Ontario President & CEO Ehren Corey unveiled the government’s 2019 Market Update confirming the government’s planned pipeline of P3 infrastructure projects.
In her remarks, Minister Scott noted that no Market Update was published last year because the then new government was just developing its infrastructure priorities. Going forward, she promised two updates a year.
In total there are 32 projects in the pipeline, 22 in pre-procurement and 10 in active procurement, with a total value of $65B including 13 transit and transportation projects, 16 hospital and health care and 3 community safety.
To look for planned projects in your region and across the province click on the following link: https://www.infrastructureontario.ca/uploadedFiles/_CONTENT/News/2_Market_Update/2019-Market-Update.PDF
Ontario’s 2018-19 Deficit Finalized
Because of higher than forecast tax revenues and lower than planned expenses, Ontario’s deficit for the 2018-19 fiscal year came in at $7.4B. In its final financial blueprint in the Spring of 2018 , t he former Liberal government presented a budget deficit of $6.7B.
When the PCs came into power, they claimed the deficit would actually be $15B. $5B of that variance resulted from of a difference of opinion on a technical accounting issue. The financial accountability office at the time said the shortfall was $12B.
This is good news. Lower deficits are good, it means less accumulated debt for the province, a smaller mortgage for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to be saddled with.
Treasury Board Secretariat
Most organizations operate with budgets. In such organizations, when the year end is approaching and a budget surplus seems highly likely, it is common practice for those with budgetary authority to spend some or all of the forecast surplus on products and services which, to that point, the organization has been able to get by without.
Government ministries and their departments are no different. When year end approaches and surpluses appear certain, those in the ministries with budget authority spend on things which, to that point, have not been absolutely necessary.
It seems that in our Ontario government, budgeting is so imprecise and controls so ineffective that surpluses are pervasive and that end of year spending is at the level of Black Friday or Boxing Day for consumers. This end of year Ontario government spending spree has been referred to as “March Madness Spending”.
Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy has implemented new rules to put an end to March Madness Spending and save $153 million
Staff Changes in the Premier’s Office
Following the departure of the premier’s controversial former chief of staff, Dean French, in June of this year, Jamie Wallace was appointed interim chief. At the time, Wallace had been serving as the premier’s deputy chief of staff. He had joined Ford’s staff in late January 2019. To the surprise of no one, Wallace was recently appointed as the premier’s chief of staff on a permanent basis.
According to his Linked-in page, Wallace joined the Toronto Sun in 1989 as a reporter fresh out of journalism school. He was a Queen’s Park columnist for Osprey Media (owned by the Sun) from 2003 to 2008 and then joined Post Media in 2008 when Post Media bought the Sun. Wallace ended his career with Post serving as editor-in-chief of Postmedia Editorial Services.
Also departing the Premiers Office is executive director of policy, Greg Harrington, believed to be an associate of Dean French
One More Contender in Liberal Leadership Contest and Grey Money
Kate Graham recently added her name to the list of contenders for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Ontario. Graham is a politics teacher at Western University in London, a community advocate and an unsuccessful Liberal candidate in London North Centre (she failed to hold the seat for the Liberals and was bested by both the winning NDP candidate Terence Kernaghan and the PC’s Susan Truppe) in the June 2018 Ontario general election. Graham, the only contender from outside the GTA, says she wants to rebuild the Party.
Other candidates for the Grit leadership are:
- Former cabinet minister and former MPP for Vaughan, Steven Del Duca
- Former cabinet minister and current MPP for Don Valley East, Michael Coteau
- Former cabinet minister and current MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood, Mitzie Hunter
- Former political staffer, former Sheridan College GR director and unsuccessful candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election in Oakville North-Burlington, Alvin Tejdo
Once a person formally declares that they are a candidate for the leadership of a political party, that person can only accept contributions from individuals (unions and corporate contributions are not allowed) up to a maximum of $1,600. Amounts they receive prior to officially declaring their candidacy are not regulated. Monies received by an undeclared candidate (contributions made in the period prior to the candidate making an official declaration) is not restricted so unions and corporations can contribute any amounts.
These unregulated contributions are sometimes referred to as “grey money”. Hunter is the only candidate who did not confirm to a Toronto Sun reporter that her campaign did not accept contributions in excess of $1,600. Her campaign stated that they will comply with all legal requirements. This could lead one to surmise that the Hunter campaign could have accepted a donation(s) in an amount(s) greater that $1,600 prior to her official declaration. If that is the case, it raises the questions: 1) who was/were the donor(s); 2) How much did they contribute?; 3) what are their motivations/expectations?
Liberals will choose their new leader at a delegated convention scheduled for March 7, 2020 in Mississauga.
Ford Reconsiders, Agrees to Share Cost of French Language University with Feds
After months of negotiations, our provincial and federal governments have signed a memorandum of understanding to create Ontario’s first French language university which will be located in Toronto. This project was initially proposed by the former Ontario Liberal government but was cancelled by the PCs as a cost cutting measure. The cancellation brought significant backlash on the then new Ford government, especially from the province’s Francophone community. Former PC MPP Amanda Simard (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell) who at the time of the cancellation was serving as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Francophone Affairs, crossed the floor to sit and an Independent. (It was reported that she had not been informed of the decision to cancel the project.)
Ontario will put up 50% of the total costs estimated to be $126 M. The new institution is expected to be in operation in eight years.
NDP Creates New Opposition Critic Positions
The Leader of the Official Opposition, NDP leader Andrea Horwath, has created several new critic positions, added some responsibilities to some critics and shuffled others:
- Taras Natyshak will serve as the new Ethics and Accountability Critic
- Wayne Gates has been appointed to the new critic portfolio, Auto and Manufacturing Critic.
- Suze Morrison is the new Tenants Rights Critic and the Critic for Indigenous Issues.
- Jill Andrew is the Critic for Women’s Issues.
- Guy Burgoin is the Critic for Training, Trades and Apprenticeship
- Jamie West is the Critic for Labour Relations
- Paul Miller adds Critic for Pensions to his workload.
- Sara Singh –> Housing
- Gurratan Singh –> Attorney General
- Catherine Fife –> Economic Growth and Job Creation – Research, Innovation & International Trade
- Tom Rakocevic –> Auto Insurance
Navigating the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000: Common Employer Pitfalls (and how to avoid them!)
Date: September 25, 2019 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Speakers: Keith P. Burkhardt, Priya Sarin, Patrick Ganley
Venue: Hazelton Manor – 99 Peelar Rd, Concord ON
RSVP: Monday, September 16, 2019
Navigating the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000:
Common Employer Pitfalls (and how to avoid them!)
In this seminar we explore practical and strategic approaches to address common Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) violations and risks associated with non-compliance.
- Hours of Work
What records must be kept?
How to manage and track hours in the world of “remote work”.
- Overtime Pay
Who is (and is not) entitled to overtime pay?
How to effectively use overtime agreements in your workplace.
- Employee Misclassification
When is an “independent contractor” actually an employee?
- Self- Audits and Ministry of Labour Complaints
Understand the Ministry of Labour’s new self-audit process.
Practical tips to handle a Ministry of Labour complaint.
- Class Action Liability for an ESA Violation
How class action litigation can lead to significant liability under the ESA.
Practical tips to avoid a potential class action claim.
Upcoming Inspection Blitzes
The Ministry of Labour has published a list of blitzes for early 2018. For the full list click here.
Get IHSA training when and where you need it.
Eye on ICI Economic Update
COCA is the voice of our membership at Queen’s Park.
We want to hear from you. All questions, ideas and comments are more than welcome.
Council of Ontario Construction Associations
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