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June 29, 2018: Doug Ford is sworn in as premier of Ontario during a ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto.

Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press

On June 29, Doug Ford was officially sworn in as premier of Ontario after the Progressive Conservatives, riding a wave of populist anger at Kathleen Wynne’s government, wiped out the Liberals in the provincial election.

He has promised radical changes to government spending, climate-change policy, hydro rates, education and more – but it’s still unclear how he will pay for it all.

Check back here over the coming months for an up-to-date primer on the transformation in Ontario and what it means for you.

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Table of contents


Who’s who

Doug Ford has had a few incarnations before becoming premier: Son of a Tory MPP, brother and right-hand man to controversial mayor Rob Ford, then a party leadership contender to replace Patrick Brown after he was ousted over sexual-assault allegations. Ontarians will see a lot of new faces with Mr. Ford at the legislature, both on the PC bench and among his transition-team staff. But they’ll also see Tory veterans in cabinet who ran against Mr. Ford for the party leadership, such as Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney and former interim leader Vic Fedeli. Here are some of the names to know.

  • Cabinet: Notable members of the 21-person cabinet include Vic Fedeli (Finance), Peter Bethlenfalvy (Treasury Board), Christine Elliott (Health) Caroline Mulroney (Attorney-General), Rod Phillips (Environment)
  • Chief of staff: Dean French
  • Transition team: Chris Froggatt, chairman; John Baird, former Conservative provincial and federal cabinet minister; Simone Daniels, Deco Labels & Tags executive; Rueben Devlin, former CEO of Humber River Hospital; Mike Coates, public-relations executive

More reading: Doug Ford and his people

2014 Globe investigation: Doug Ford at Deco: The inside story

2018 campaign profile: Doug Ford’s art of the deal

Editorial: Doug Ford’s troubling first week as Ontario premier


Hydro

Ontario’s high electricity rates were a divisive issue in the 2018 election, with the PCs and NDP promising big changes at Hydro One, which the Wynne Liberals partly privatized. During the campaign, Mr. Ford threatened to fire Hydro One’s CEO, Mayo Schmidt, and the whole board, and once in office, he threatened to tear up employment contracts at the utility. Mr. Schmidt announced his immediate retirement on July 11, and the entire board resigned. By The Globe and Mail’s estimates, Mr. Schmidt’s exit could give him about $8-million in compensation for stock awards, plus $1-million in bonuses and pension payments and a $400,000 payment announced by Hydro One.

The PC government plans to introduce legislation to increase “transparency and accountability” at Hydro One, which has set Aug. 15 as the deadline to announce new board candidates. Mr. Ford also says he will bring hydro rates down with accounting changes and the return of Hydro One dividends to taxpayers, each of which would cost about $400-million.

Ministers to watch: Greg Rickford (Energy, Northern Development and Mines)



More reading: The politics of your hydro bill

Explainer: Why does Ontario’s electricity cost so much?

Andrew Willis: Doug Ford kneecaps Hydro One


Carbon pricing and environment

Under the Wynne government, Ontario – Canada’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after Alberta – joined with Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade market to bring emissions down. Withdrawing from that market requires one year’s notice, which Mr. Ford, who also opposes carbon taxation, has said he’ll give. Quebec and California have closed their market to Ontario to prevent last-minute dumping of emissions allowances. That has left billions of dollars worth of carbon credits in limbo. Cap-and-trade’s demise also puts Mr. Ford on a collision course with the federal government, whose carbon framework requires each province to have either a tax or a cap-and-trade system that meets national standards, or else Ottawa will impose its own carbon price.

Mr. Ford is also scrapping several incentive programs that were designed to help Ontarians reduce their carbon footprints. Here are some of the changes that could affect you:

  • Cancelling the GreenON rebate program, which helped homeowners install energy-efficient heat pumps, insulation or other features. Existing rebates will be honoured until the end of October.
  • Cancelling rebates fo buyers of electric cars and charging stations. Vehicles sold and registered as of July 11 will still be eligible for the rebates, as will vehicles now on dealers' lots that are sold and registered before Sept. 10.

Ministers to watch: Rod Phillips (Environment), Jeff Yurek (Natural Resources and Forestry)

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More reading: Emissions and environment

Ontario’s short-term priorities include dismantling environmental programs

Carbon pricing to become law as Senate passes federal budget bill

Experts divided on effectiveness of carbon pricing


Asylum seekers

For many asylum seekers crossing the U.S. border into Quebec and Manitoba, Toronto – which last year affirmed its status as a sanctuary city – has become a crowded refuge. The rising number of mostly Nigerian asylum seekers has strained the resources of the city’s shelters, and Toronto’s Mayor John Tory asked for more funding from Ottawa and Queen’s Park. Instead, in July, Mr. Ford withdrew provincial support for asylum-seeker resettlement, saying the federal government had created a problem they must fix themselves. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau questioned whether Mr. Ford was well-informed about Canada’s refugee situation and its obligations to asylum seekers under international law, and later told Mr. Tory that the federal government will support Toronto’s efforts to provide for refugees. “Canadians, we’re there for each other,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Ministers to watch: Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services

Growing numbers of refugee claimants

in Toronto shelters

Average per night

9,000

Non-refugee

shelter users

Refugee claimant

shelter users

Projected

increase

8,000

7,000

6,000

5,000

4,000

3,000

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2016

2017

2018

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE:toronto.ca; Immigration

and Refugee Board of Canada; unhcr

Growing numbers of refugee claimants

in Toronto shelters

Average per night

9,000

Non-refugee

shelter users

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shelter users

Projected

increase

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7,000

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5,000

4,000

3,000

2,000

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JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:toronto.ca;

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada; unhcr

Growing numbers of refugee claimants

in Toronto shelters

Average per night

9,000

Non-refugee

shelter users

Refugee claimant

shelter users

Projected

increase

8,000

7,000

6,000

5,000

4,000

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JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:toronto.ca; Immigration

and Refugee Board of Canada; unhcr

More reading: Asylum in Canada

Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory meet to talk asylum seekers and gun violence

Conservative plan to get Trump to make a new deal muddies the waters around Canada’s asylum-seekers policy

Doug Saunders: There’s no migration crisis - the crisis is political opportunism


Spending and the bottom line

Mr. Ford ran for office vowing $6-billion in spending efficiencies – but without cutting public-service jobs. He never explained in detail how he would pay for that, and it’s unclear what effect his promised cost-cutting measures so far (a freeze on most government hiring except police and correctional workers, a halt to discretionary spending on everything from travel to newspaper subscriptions) would have on the province’s bottom line. First, Mr. Ford wants to do a comprehensive, independent audit of Ontario’s government.

Ministers to watch: Vic Fedeli (Finance), Peter Bethlenfalvy (Treasury Board)



More reading: Ontario’s economy

Ontario divided: Anger, economics and the fault lines of 2018’s election

The big economic challenges awaiting Doug Ford


Trade, Trump and Trudeau

Mr. Ford took office amid a bitter trade war between the United States, its NAFTA partners and Europe. In June, the Trump administration slapped tariffs of 25 per cent on Canadian steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, and is also weighing heavy tariffs on auto manufacturing that could seriously hurt Ontario’s manufacturing heartland. Mr. Ford (who, like his predecessor, holds his cabinet’s Intergovernmental Affairs portfolio), has said he’ll present a united front with the Trudeau government during the complex negotiations for a new North American free-trade agreement. But at the same time, Mr. Ford dismissed the province’s trade representative in Washington, Monique Smith, as part of a purge of Wynne-era appointees to key posts.

Ministers to watch: Jim Wilson (Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade)

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Canadian trade with U.S.

Imports/exports with U.S. as a % of provincial

GDP in 2016

29

16%

31

33

39

23

13

49

14

50

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TREVOR TOMBE; U.S. CENSUS

BUREAU, BEA AND INDUSTRY CANADA

Canadian trade with U.S.

Imports/exports with U.S. as a % of provincial GDP in 2016

29

16%

31

33

39

23

13

49

14

50

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TREVOR TOMBE; U.S. CENSUS BUREAU,

BEA AND INDUSTRY CANADA

Canadian trade with U.S.

Imports/exports with U.S. as a % of provincial GDP in 2016

29

16%

31

33

39

23

13

49

14

50

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TREVOR TOMBE; U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, BEA AND INDUSTRY CANADA

More reading: Trade and tariffs

NAFTA’s saga so far: A guide to trade, the talks and Trump

Trump’s tariffs: How Canada is retaliating and what it means for NAFTA


Education

Mr. Ford wants to roll back two Wynne-era overhauls of Ontario’s school curriculum. One is sex education: The 2015 curriculum, which addresses topics like consent, digital safety and same-sex relationships, has divided educators who say it’s a necessary modernization and social conservatives who say it’s age-inappropriate. Ontario’s Education Minister says the old sex-ed curriculum will come back into effect this fall. The second school subject Mr. Ford wants to change is math: Wynne-era guidelines emphasized “discovery” methods of creative problem-solving, but Mr. Ford wants more basic methods to be taught.

Ministers to watch: Lisa Thompson (Education), Merrilee Fullerton (Training, Colleges and Universities)

More reading: Education

Ontario cancels some education-related summer workshops, school repair fund

What a Ford government means for Ontario’s classrooms

Fact or fiction: What’s actually in Ontario’s contentious sex-ed curriculum?


Transit and infrastructure

Mr. Ford – whose years in municipal government were spent extolling the virtues of subways, subways, subways – wants Queen’s Park to take a more active role in how public transit is run in Toronto. During the campaign, he said a PC government would take over Toronto’s subway network and give it billions in new funding. He’s also mused about an expensive plan to bring subways to Pickering, a community far to the east of the city that is already serviced by GO Transit.

Ministers to watch: John Yakabuski (Transportation), Monte McNaughton (Infrastructure)

Toronto downtown relief line

Pape

Bloor St.

Don Valley Pkwy.

Pape Ave.

College St.

TORONTO

Gerrard

Dundas St.

Carlaw Ave.

Queen

Sumach

Carlaw

Sherbourne

Osgoode

Broadview

Front St.

Relief line

Station

Existing subway

Lake Ontario

john sopinski/the globe and mail, source: reliefline.ca; googlemaps

Toronto downtown relief line

Pape

Bloor St.

Pape Ave.

Don Valley Pkwy.

College St.

TORONTO

Gerrard

Carlaw Ave.

Dundas St.

Carlaw

Sumach

Osgoode

Sherbourne

Queen

King St.

Broadview

Front St.

Relief line

Station

Existing subway

Lake Ontario

john sopinski/the globe and mail, source: reliefline.ca; googlemaps

Toronto downtown relief line

Pape

Bloor St.

Pape Ave.

Don Valley Pkwy.

College St.

TORONTO

Gerrard

Carlaw Ave.

Dundas St.

Carlaw

Sumach

Sherbourne

Queen

Osgoode

Eastern Ave.

King St.

Broadview

Front St.

Relief line

Station

Existing subway

Lake Ontario

john sopinski/the globe and mail, source: reliefline.ca; googlemaps

More reading: Ontario on the move

Doug Ford wants to take over Toronto’s subways. Would that work? A reality check

Doug Ford raises eyebrows with expensive subway plan that would link Toronto to nearby regions


Alcohol and cannabis

Mr. Ford’s rise to power coincides with Canada’s historic legalization of recreational cannabis, which Parliament signed into law in June. The Wynne government set in motion a plan for LCBO-run stores to sell cannabis products in Ontario, with 40 locations to start, and up to 150 by 2020. But Mr. Ford has said he’s open to giving the private sector a role in cannabis distribution, and plans to check with his caucus and municipalities to decide the future of the government stores.

As for more traditional intoxicants, Mr. Ford said he’d allow beer and wine sales in any grocery or convenience store, not just the handful of grocery stores now authorized to sell alcohol. He also promised to lower the minimum price that people are allowed to sell beer to $1 plus deposit, though it’s unlikely that retailers would regularly sell it that cheap: Prices at The Beer Store are set by the breweries who own it, not the province, and the brewers most likely to afford the low price would be multinational corporations, not Ontario craft brewers.

Ministers to watch: Christine Elliott (Health), Vic Fedeli (Finance, which oversees the LCBO)

More reading: Drugs and drinking

2013 Globe investigation: The Ford family’s history with drug dealing

Cannabis legalization: What is your province or territory doing? A guide

What Ford’s win might mean for marijuana retailing in Ontario

Fraught retail landscape likely to complicate Ford’s ‘buck-a-beer’ proposal


The opposition

The main voice of opposition against Mr. Ford’s government will be Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, whose surge in the June 7 election brought them to Official Opposition status. The Liberals, meanwhile, will have to get used to a greatly diminished role at Queen’s Park: With too few MPs for official party status, they’ll have fewer privileges and opportunities to speak in the legislature. With Ms. Wynne resigning her leadership of the party, Liberals will also choose a new leader at a to-be-determined date.

More reading: The NDP and Liberals

2018 election profile: The new Andrea Horwath: Who is she and why are Ontarians listening to her now?

Analysis: Why was Kathleen Wynne so unpopular? Six degrees of alienation



Compiled by Globe staff

Photos: Associated Press, The Canadian Press, iStockphoto, Fred Lum, Melissa Tait and Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail, Tim Fraser for The Globe and Mail

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