Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, left, with Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen's Park. Ms. Matthews is set to take over the treasury board as Ms. Wynne shuffles her cabinet in the wake of the recent provincial election.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is splitting her finance department in half, appointing a powerful minister whose sole job is to wrestle down the massive deficit and deal with record-high debt.

In her first major act since winning a majority government earlier this month, Ms. Wynne is looking to signal that she is serious about dealing with the province's ballooning fiscal woes. She will vastly expand the post of Treasury Board president to include oversight of Crown agencies and responsibility for tough negotiations with government unions, Liberal sources said.

The Premier will put her closest political ally, Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, in the post – part of a sweeping cabinet shuffle to be unveiled Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Wynne won election on a left-tilting platform, including the creation of a new provincial pension plan and the promise of $29-billion in spending on transit and other infrastructure. But the Liberals' fiscal planning also calls for the $12.5-billion deficit to be eliminated in three years, with ambitious targets to restrain program spending and labour costs.

The province's credit was downgraded two years ago and some feared it could take another hit this year with the big-spending budget, which will be reintroduced next month. The expanded Treasury Board role appears designed to head off the possibility.

Previously, the Treasury Board presidency was a minor job, usually performed by the finance minister, which consisted of approving day-to-day spending and ensuring it was in line with the budget. Finance Minister Charles Sousa will remain in charge of broad economic policy and budgeting, while handing off many of his other duties to Ms. Matthews.

The cabinet shuffle will include several other major changes, insiders said. Eric Hoskins is expected to replace Ms. Matthews as health minister, a post she held for nearly five years. Brad Duguid will be promoted to Mr. Hoskins's old job at economic development, but will add responsibility for infrastructure and employment to the role, making him one of Ms. Wynne's most important ministers. Backbencher Steven Del Duca will join cabinet as transportation minister, replacing Glen Murray, who will move to environment. Reza Moridi will become training, colleges and universities minister on top of his current duties at research and innovation.

Some heavyweights, including Education Minister Liz Sandals, Attorney-General Madeleine Meilleur, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi, will remain in their current roles. Mr. Naqvi will also take on the job of government house leader, left vacant with the retirement of John Milloy.

At Treasury Board, Ms. Matthews's toughest task may be facing down the government unions. The Liberals' budget contains no new money for wage increases, which could set up rounds of fractious negotiations. Ms. Wynne has vowed not to impose contracts through legislation, meaning Ms. Matthews will have to persuade workers across government to do without raises or find the money from savings elsewhere.

Negotiations with the teacher unions, whose contracts expire this year, proved politically damaging to the Liberals during the last round of talks, when then-premier Dalton McGuinty imposed a wage freeze. The teachers turned on him, campaigning against the Liberals. Ms. Matthews will have a hand on this file from Ms. Sandals, who helped defuse the tension between the unions and the government after Mr. McGuinty stepped down.

Story continues below advertisement

Complicating labour relations further, several major unions – including the nurses and provincial police – ran attack ads against the Progressive Conservatives during the election, and may feel they helped the Liberals win the vote.

Overseeing Crown corporations will also be tough: the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is in the middle of a modernization process aimed at returning more revenue to the government.

Ms. Matthews is generally seen as one of the government's steadiest performers, bringing down the rate of budget increases in health and dealing with the fallout of the scandal over the ORNGE air-ambulance service.

Mr. Hoskins, a medical doctor best known for his humanitarian work in war zones, ran for the party leadership last year, losing to Ms. Wynne. He will have plenty of help at health, including recently appointed deputy minister Bob Bell, a well-respected former head of Toronto's University Health Network of hospitals. Also assisting Mr. Hoskins will be Dipika Damerla, who will take the newly created job of associate minister for long-term care.

Backbencher Mitzie Hunter will also receive an associate minister job, specifically tasked with helping Mr. Sousa implement the pension plan.

Mr. Del Duca, who has represented the Toronto-area riding of Vaughan since 2012, is one of the Liberals' most partisan members. Known for playing the role of attack dog in the last parliament, he had to apologize during the election after his campaign literature contained a photo that inserted Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak into a scene of an exploding hospital from the film The Dark Knight. But he is generally viewed as a strong communicator and a good organizer, who will now be in charge of one of Ms. Wynne's priority files.

Story continues below advertisement

The only other backbencher to receive a full ministerial job will be Helena Jaczek, who will take on community and social services. An MPP since 2007, she most recently served as chair of caucus and parliamentary secretary to Ms. Matthews.

No one currently in cabinet will be relegated to the backbench, a source said.

Former environment minister Jim Bradley who, at 37 years , is the longest-serving member of the legislature, will remain in cabinet as a minister without portfolio.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies