MPPs returned to the legislature after constituency break and got right to work introducing new legislation and having heated debates during Question Period.
Here’s what happened at Queen’s Park this week:
Urban boundary changes reversed
The Doug Ford government introduced legislation Thursday walking back changes it made to the urban boundaries of 12 regions and municipalities–with a few exceptions.
The bill wasn’t a surprise. A month earlier, Housing Minister Paul Calandra noted the decisions were not made “in a manner that maintains and reinforces public trust.”
However, in a statement released Thursday, Calandra seemed to indicate the changes made weren’t ambitious enough.
It’s unclear what other changes the government has in mind.
The legislation also provides legal protection when it comes to making, amending and reversing ministerial zoning orders (MZOs).
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know.
NDP says the government is failing survivors of crime
The Ontario NDP is claiming the Ford government has “failed” survivors of crime after CTV News Toronto reported cases being thrown out at a new courthouse due to staffing issues.
A sexual assault charge was thrown out earlier this week because the justice system took too long.
“I crumbled,” the Fergus, Ont. woman said. “It took so much to even do that first step of giving my statement to the police and [going to] the hospital. Then, a year and a half later, I decided to go back to Toronto to do this trial, face this man, and tell my story.”
“Now it’s just over.”
To read Emily’s story, click here.
Steve Clark speaks in legislature for the first time since resignation
The former housing minister spoke to reporters for the first time in the legislature since he left his cabinet position in September after two scathing reports were released about the Greenbelt.
He didn’t really address his resignation and instead focused on what he said had been a good few months.
“I’ve really got to reconnect with my riding… I got back to basics in my riding in terms of opening up files, calling constituents, emailing people.”
He noted that he thought he was doing the right thing by trying to stay in the position after the reports were released to try and fix the problem.
“Upon greater reflection back in the riding, I realized that was not the case. That’s why I made the decision that I did.”
Early childhood educators get a wage bump
Ontario is boosting the minimum wage of early childhood educators (ECEs) in most licensed child-care centres to $23.86 an hour next year.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce promised in the summer to address the low wage floor for ECEs, who, in a recently released report, are among the lowest paid within the profession across Canada.
Officials hope this will help with staff retention and encourage more hiring as the province moves closer to $10-a-day childcare.
Advocates, however, warn it may not be enough.
Ontario receives record number of patient complaints
Ontario’s patient ombudsman received a record number of complaints for 2022-23.
According to a new report released this week, the number of complaints increased by about 33 per cent. This is the highest number of complaints in the office’s history—including the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The complaints reflect concerns about quality of care, billing for uninsured services, and difficulties accessing primary care.
To read the breakdown, click here.
OTHER BILLS AND REGULATIONS
Ontario has a new Lieutenant Governor
The government’s new Working for Workers legislation is out. Here is the bill.
Mask mandates are back for staff and volunteers at Ontario long-term care homes amid a spike of COVID-19 outbreaks in the sector
The government will be introducing new rules for Ontario child-care operators aimed at preventing deaths of children in hot cars.
A government-commissioned report suggests the province should end its post-secondary tuition freeze and increase per-student funding to its universities and colleges.