Post Election Review and Update

By Steve Andrews, Director of Legislative and Political Affairs

On June 7, 2018 Ontarians elected a majority PC government under the leadership of Doug Ford. The current seat breakdown is:

  • 76 PC
  • 40 NDP
  • 7 Liberal
  • 1 Green Party.

This represents an increase of 28 seats for the PCs and a break with the past 15 years of liberal governments under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. Based on public opinion research conducted during and immediately after the general election, it seems that Ontarians desire for a change in government and policy direction was the driving force for the PC majority (Pollara June 12, 2018) and a doubling of seats for the NDP to make them the official opposition party.

Pace of Change for the new PC Government:

Postelection public opinion research indicate that Ontarians expect the new government to move quickly on its key election platform commitments, especially those related to affordability. For example, reducing gasoline prices and moving forward with an independent audit of government program costs.[1]

It is also clear from this research that the incoming PC government will want to focus on solutions to their policy challenges without drawn out consultation processes.

[1] Navigator Limited, June 12, 2018, conducted Ontario wide focus groups and interviews. 

Key Platform Priorities of the PC Government:

  1. Cutting the price of gasoline
  2. Removing the CEO of Hydro One and reducing the compensation level of any new CEO
  3. Reducing residential electricity prices
  4. Taking steps to reduce health care wait times and overcrowding in hospitals 

Education Policy Priorities Include:

  • Review/revise sections of the health and physical education curriculum
  • Eliminate “discovery” mathematics curriculum and inquiry-based learning in schools;
  • Ban cell phones in all elementary and secondary schools;
  • Ensure mathematics education is mandatory in teachers’ college programs;
  • Fix the EQAO testing regime and implement a standardized testing program;
  • Continue the current moratorium on school closures unit the PARG review process is reformed;
  • Invest $3.8 billion over 10 years in mental health supports, housing and addictions treatment;
  • Provide an additional $38 million in funding for children with autism spectrum disorder (total is $100 million over the course of the mandate).

In addition to the priorities arising from formal announcements, the PC government will be reviewing program spending in each ministry to find cost savings or efficiencies. This will be a key priority for the new government and cabinet.

Challenges and Opportunities with the new PC Government and new MPPs:

As with any significant change in government, the policy development and decision making environment will be substantially different. For example, the government will likely move quickly to restructure the senior staff of both cabinet office and the Deputy Ministers in many key ministries.

In addition, the manner in which the new PC government conducts public and stakeholder consultations is likely to change in order to move its agenda forward quickly. With the steep learning curve for the new minister and his or her political staff and the complex nature of the policy files in the education portfolio will make this difficult.

Along with the challenges in building relationships with the new MPPs and government decision makers comes various opportunities. For example, with many new, first time MPPs across the PC and NDP caucus, we have the opportunity to share the value of Catholic education in Ontario and its many contributions to the well-being of the province. We will also have the opportunity to dispel various myths about merging the publicly funded school systems with new MPPs while discussing the on-going challenges our boards face in various policy and funding areas including student mental health, special education and student transportation.

Next Steps:

Through planned meetings with elected officials that include Premier-designate Doug Ford, the Minister of Education, other elected officials, and government staff OCSTA is focused on raising awareness about the priorities of Catholic District School Boards, and deepening understanding of the value of Catholic education and the contribution our schools make to the vibrancy and success of Ontario’s education system.

As the government begins to move its education policy agenda forward, OCSTA looks forward to providing timely advice and recommendations on key education policy and programs for Ontario’s education system.

 

Upcoming OCSTA Events

  • 2018 Fall Regional Meetings (Registration Information available in July)
    • September 17 – WEST Meeting – Host: Bruce-Grey CDSB
    • September 19 – EAST Meeting – Host: Ottawa CSB
    • September 22 – NORTH EAST Meeting – Host: Huron-Superior CDSB
    • September 26 – CENTRAL Meeting – Host: Niagara CDSB
    • September 29 – NORTH WEST Meeting – Host: TB Diocesan Catholic School Trustees’ Conference
  • 2018 Seminar for CDSB Communications Staff – November 23, 2018
  • 2019 Catholic Trustees’ Seminar – January 18-19 – TORONTO (Delta Hotels – Toronto Airport)
  • 2019 AGM and Conference – April 25-27 – TORONTO (InterContinental Toronto Centre – downtown Toronto)

Municipal Election Information

  • Election Day – October 22
  • Candidates to file nominations between May 1 and July 27.
  • MPAC has once again launched the voterlookup.ca site. It is very important for Catholic ratepayers to know that they can correct information on the voters list, especially school support data by accessing the voterlookup.ca website. Due to MPAC’s default mechanism, many times Catholic school supporters are listed incorrectly as public school supporters (typically the default mechanism happens after a move). Catholic school boards are encouraged to share the voterlookup.ca website with parents and other supporters in the community to ensure that our Catholic voters are able to vote for their local Catholic trustee in the next municipal election.
  • For more resources and guides for Catholic trustees please visit OCSTA’s Municipal Election Page.