Who's in and who's out in Premier Kathleen Wynne's cabinet shuffle

By John Michael McGrath - Published on June 13, 2016
Kathleen Wynne
Significant changes were made by Premier Kathleen Wynne to her cabinet today.

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A much-discussed cabinet shuffle finally took place today as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne brought in some new faces into her ministry while showing others the door. 

It is a large cabinet: There are 30 ministers. Including the premier, 12 of them, or 40 per cent, are women. 

Read on for more details about the new faces to Wynne's cabinet, as well as veteran ministers with new responsibilities and those who are leaving their posts. 

New faces:

Marie France Lalonde, Eleanor McMahon, Indira Naidoo-Harris and Glenn Thibeault

Laura Albanese: MPP for York South-Weston since 2007, Albanese takes over responsibilities for citizenship and immigration that were previously held by Michael Chan, who retains the portfolio for international trade.

Chris Ballard: The Newmarket-Aurora MPP now holds the file for minister of housing and minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy. Housing has been split off from its former home in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Negotiating with Ottawa for more money for housing will be at the top of Ballard’s to-do list.

Marie-France Lalonde: The Ottawa-Orleans MPP is the minister for government and consumer services, handling the day-to-day matters of issuing everything from birth certificates to drivers’ licenses. Lalonde is also the minister for Francophone affairs.

Kathryn McGarry: McGarry is not only new to the cabinet but she is relatively new to the legislature: she was first elected to represent Cambridge in 2014. She is now minister for natural resources and forestry, taking over from Bill Mauro, who moves on to municipal affairs.

Eleanor McMahon: Also relatively new to the legislature, McMahon won the competitive seat of Burlington in the 2014 provincial election. She takes on the ministry of tourism, culture and sport.

Indira Naidoo-Harris: Naidoo-Harris becomes the associate minister of finance, with special responsibility for the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. She has been MPP for Halton since 2014.

Glenn Thibeault: The Sudbury MPP who took his seat under less than ideal circumstances is now the minister of energy, a difficult file for someone brand new to cabinet. Thibeault takes over after Bob Chiarelli settled some of the largest issues, including the refurbishment of Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations.

Old faces in new posts:

Bob Chiarelli, Yasir Naqvi, David Orazietti and Liz Sandals

Bob Chiarelli: The Ottawa-West Nepean MPP moves from the Ministry of Energy to Infrastructure, now split off from the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, which stays with Scarborough-Centre MPP Brad Duguid.

Michael Coteau: The premier has given Coteau two contentious files. As minister of children and youth services, he has to deal with anger over changes to autism funding introduced by the province earlier this spring. And as minister responsible for anti-racism, he will have a role in reaching out to the Black Lives Matter movement and others concerned about the way police in Ontario deal with members of racialized minorities. Coteau has been the MPP for the Toronto riding of Don Valley East since 2011. Before the shuffle he had been minister of tourism, culture and sport, minister responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games.

Dipika Damerla: Damerla replaces outgoing Mario Sergio as minister responsible for seniors affairs. Before the shuffle, Damerla had been associate minister of health with special responsibility for long-term care and wellness. She has been MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville since 2011.

Mitzie Hunter: The Scarborough-Guildwood MPP moves to the government’s second-biggest budget item as minister of education. Hunter had previously been a minister without portfolio and associate minister of finance responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.

Tracey MacCharles: Retaining the portfolio for women’s issues and also becoming responsible for accessibility issues, MacCharles lost her position as minister of children and youth services. In that role, had been responsible for shepherding the government's controversial changes to autism funding, which garnered a vocal backlash from some parents and the provincial advocate for children and youth services. She has represented Pickering-Scarborough East since 2011. 

Deb Matthews: Matthews retains her title as deputy premier, and moves from chair of Treasury Board to the renamed “Ministry of Advanced Education”. Matthews will oversee the implementation of the Liberals’ new tuition grants, one of the key items in the 2016 budget (and likely re-election plank for 2018.) Matthews will also be charged with bringing Queen’s Park into the 21st century as minister of digital government.

Bill Mauro: The Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP moves from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to Municipal Affairs, now split from the housing file. Mauro briefly held the Ministry Affairs and Housing portfolio after the resignation of Linda Jeffrey in March 2014, until June of that year.

Yasir Naqvi: The MPP for Ottawa-Centre is elevated to the post of attorney general and keeps his post as government house leader, making sure government bills move smoothly through the legislature. Naqvi replaces Madeleine Meilleur who resigned last week.

David Orazietti: The Sault Ste. Marie MPP replaces Naqvi as minister of community safety and correctional services. Orazietti previously held the post of for government and consumer services.

Liz Sandals: The Guelph MPP moves from education to a lower-profile but still powerful role as chair of Treasury Board. Sandals successfully negotiated the latest agreement with teachers unions with minimal disruption, but her move may signal a government looking to turn the page on past acrimony.

Old faces saying goodbye:

Jim Bradley, Ted McMeekin, Madeleine Meilleur and Mario Sergio.

Jim Bradley: An MPP since 1977, Bradley has been in every Ontario Liberal cabinet since the 1980s. Most recently under Wynne, he had been a minister without portfolio, dispensing advice to less experienced ministers around the cabinet table. Bradley still maintains some status within the Liberal caucus, however: he is now chief government whip, responsible for getting MPPs in line for votes in the legislature. 

Ted McMeekin: McMeekin, the outgoing minister of municipal affairs and housing, made international news last week when he said he was stepping down in part to make room for more women at the cabinet table. He has been an MPP from the Hamilton area since 2000. 

Madeleine Meilleur: Representing Ottawa-Vanier since 2003, Meilleur resigned as attorney general and as MPP last week. 

Mario Sergio: Sergio also announced his departure from cabinet last week. The Toronto MPP had been minister responsible for seniors since 2013. 

The full list:

Here is a list of everyone now in Ontario's cabinet and their roles. 

Kathleen Wynne: premier and minister of intergovernmental affairs

Deborah Matthews: deputy premier, minister of advanced education and skills development and minister responsible for digital government

Michael Gravelle: minister of northern development and mines

Brad Duguid: minister of economic development and growth

Jeff Leal: minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs

David Orazietti: minister of community safety and correctional services

Liz Sandals: president of the Treasury Board

David Zimmer: minister of indigenous relations and reconciliation

Michael Chan: minister of international trade

Reza Moridi: minister of research, innovation and science

Yasir Naqvi: attorney general and government house leader

Charles Sousa: minister of finance

Eric Hoskins: minister of health and long-term care

Glen Murray: minister of the environment and climate change

Bob Chiarelli: minister of infrastructure

Michael Coteau: minister of children and youth services and minister responsible for anti-racism

Tracy MacCharles: minister responsible for women's issues and minister responsible for accessibility

Kevin Flynn: minister of labour

Bill Mauro: minister of municipal affairs

Helena Jaczek: minister of community and social services

Dipika Damerla: minister responsible for seniors affairs

Steven Del Duca: minister of transportation

Mitzie Hunter: minister of education

Laura Albanese: minister of citizenship and immigration

Chris Ballard: minister of housing and minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy

Marie-France Lalonde: minister of government and consumer services and minister responsible for Francophone affairs

Kathryn McGarry: minister of natural resources and forestry

Eleanor McMahon: minister of tourism, culture and sport

Indira Naidoo-Harris: associate minister of finance (Ontario Retirement Pension Plan)

Glenn Thibeault: minister of energy

The party standings in the legislature are 56 Liberals, 28 Progressive Conservatives, and 20 NDP. There are also two vacancies. 

With files from Daniel Kitts. 

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