Transcript: Question Period: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | Feb 26, 2020

A still camera shows the Ontario Legislature. A caption on screen reads "Oral questions."

The Speaker stands. He's is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short light brown hair. He wears a black robe.

He says IT IS NOW TIME FOR ORAL QUESTIONS AND I RECOGNIZE THE LEADER OF HER MAJESTY'S LOYAL OPPOSITION.

The caption changes to "Andrea Horwath. NDP. Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition."

Horwath is in her fifties, with straight blond hair in a bob. She wears a gray blazer over a red shirt, and a silver pendant necklace.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. SPEAKER, MY FIRST QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. IT LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER STRESSFUL WEEK FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS. YESTERDAY CATHOLIC TEACHERS ENDED NEGOTIATIONS SAYING THAT THEY WERE FRUSTRATED BY THE FORD GOVERNMENT'S INSULTS AND ATTACKS AND LACK OF ANY PROPOSALS. ELEMENTARY TEACHERS ECHOED THESE SAME CONCERNS. MEANWHILE THE PREMIER CLAIMS PARENTS ARE TELLING HIM AND I QUOTE, KEEP GOING. DO NOT BACK DOWN. AS PARENTS WATCH TALKS BREAK DOWN AND CLASSROOM CUTS TAKE THEIR TOLL, DOES HE REALLY EXPECT US TO BELIEVE THAT PARENTS ARE SENDING THE GOVERNMENT MESSAGES OF THEIR SUPPORT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE QUESTION'S TO THE PREMIER.

Premier Ford stands up. He's in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He wears a black suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

The caption changes to "Honourable Doug Ford. PC. Premier."

He says THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I'M HEARING THAT EVERYWHERE I GO IN THE PROVINCE. I GUESS I JUST DON'T HANG OUT WITH THE HEADS OF THE UNION. THAT'S WHAT I DON'T DO. I TALK TO THE REAL PEOPLE.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says I'M NOT... I'LL TELL YOU ONE THING. I'M NOT BEHOLDEN AND NEITHER IS OUR PARTY TO THE HEADS OF THE UNIONS. WE'RE BEHOLDEN TO THE TEACHERS, BEHOLDEN TO THE PARENTS AND THE STUDENTS. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE FOCUSED ON.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says BUT I DID TALK TO A SINGLE MOM THE OTHER DAY, A SINGLE MOM THAT HER SICK DAYS AND VACATIONS EXPIRED. SO GUESS WHAT? ON FRIDAY...
[UNCLEAR] PAY CHEQUE, MR. SPEAKER, BECAUSE THE UNIONS DECIDED TO GO ON STRIKE. IT'S TIME. IT'S TIME THE UNIONS PUT THE STUDENTS OVER POLITICS AND COMPENSATION AND WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO KEEP THESE KIDS IN THE CLASSROOM, MR. SPEAKER. WE'RE PROTECTING FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN, MAINTAINING THE SMALLEST CLASS SIZES.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says EARLY YEARS. IT'S A FACT. THE SMALL CLASSROOM SIZES FOR EARLY YEARS.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says WE'RE INVESTING MORE IN MATH AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TO MAKE SURE...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says Supplementary question.

Horwath says SPEAKER, THE PREMIER SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE ON FRIDAY TO TALK TO 35,000 STUDENTS, PARENTS AND TEACHERS OR ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE PROVINCE WHERE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FOLKS WERE WALKING THE PICKET LINES AGAINST THIS GOVERNMENT'S CUTS TO EDUCATION. ON THIS SIDE OF THE HOUSE, WE THOUGHT THAT THE PREMIER'S CLAIM HOWEVER WAS VERY UNBELIEVABLE. IN FACT WE ASKED EVERYDAY ONTARIANS WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF IT AND HERE'S WHAT THEY SAID. KYLE TOLD US, QUOTE... PARENT HERE, BIG NOTE. INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION. INVEST IN EDUCATION. PAY PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS FAIRLY, AND BUILD THE PROVINCE UP INSTEAD OF TEARING IT DOWN. AND KIM SENT US A NOTE THAT SAID THIS AND I QUOTE... THIS PARENT STRONGLY DISAGREES. OUR KIDS AND OUR FUTURE ECONOMY NEED INVESTMENTS IN EDUCATION, NOT THE HARMFUL CUTS THIS GOVERNMENT SIM POSTING. I SUPPORT ONTARIO'S EDUCATORS. ARE KYLE AND KIM WRONG?

The Speaker says QUESTION.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says PREMIER?

Ford says THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AS THEY HAVE 35,000 PEOPLE DOWN HERE THERE'S HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN THE BACK OF FACTORIES THAT HAD TO TAKE TIME OFF THAT CAN'T AFFORD A DAY OFF. IT'S COSTING THEM PERSONALLY. IT'S COSTING THEIR FAMILIES. IT'S TOUGH ENOUGH.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Ford says TO GET AHEAD UNDER THE N.D.P. AND THE LIBERALS HOW THEY DESTROYED OUR PROVINCE OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS. MR. SPEAKER, WE'RE LISTENING TO PARENTS AND THE STUDENTS AND WE HAVE REASONABLE BARGAINING AT THE TABLE RIGHT NOW. WE REDUCED CLASS SIZES FROM 28 DOWN TO 25. WE REDUCED MANDATORY ONLINE LEARNING FROM FOUR TO TWO COURSES, MR. SPEAKER. WE'RE WORKING DAY IN AND DAY OUT. I KNOW MY CHAMPION, AND HE IS A CHAMPION, MINISTER LECCE.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says IS AT THE BARGAINING TABLE WORKING HARD TO KEEP THE KIDS IN THE CLASSROOMS.

The Speaker says FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says I DON'T KNOW WHY THE CONSERVATIVES ARE HAVING SUCH A HARD TIME WITH THIS, SPEAKER. MONIQUE TOLD US... NOT OUR MONIQUE, ANOTHER MONIQUE TOLD US, QUOTE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Horwath says I HAVEN'T MET A PARENT IN THE SECONDARY SYSTEM YET THAT SAYS YES TO THE BIGGER CLASS SIZES OR E-LEARNING. FIONA REACHED OUT US TO US TO SAY THE CONSERVATIVE SPIN WAS, QUOTE, FUNNY BECAUSE ANYONE I TALK TO, PARENTS, KIDS, TEACHERS ARE DEEPLY WORRIED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING. AGAIN TO THE PREMIER, SPEAKER. THE CONSERVATIVES HAVE CALLED TEACHERS FAT CATS. THEY HAVE ACALLED THEM BABIES AND THEY'VE CALLED THEM THUGS. DON'T THEY THINK IT'S FINALLY TIME TO SPEND A LITTLE LESS TIME NAME CALLING AND A LITTLE MORE TIME ACTUALLY LISTENING TO WHAT FAMILIES REALLY WANT?

The Speaker says ORDER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says ORDER. MEMBERS WILL PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. ORDER. I RECOGNIZE THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION TO REPLY.

The caption changes to "Honourable Stephen Lecce. PC. Minister of Education."

Lecce is in his thirties, with short dark hair and a stubble. He wears a blue suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, IT'S TIME TO GET A DEAL IN THIS PROVINCE. THAT IS WHY WE WENT TO NEGOTIATING TABLE YESTERDAY TO GET THAT DEAL. WE TABLED REASONABLE, POSITIVE PROPOSALS THAT ARE GOOD FOR STUDENTS. WHAT THOSE WERE. WE COMMITTED TO KEEPING CLASSROOM SIZES LOW. WE COMMITTED TO PROTECTING FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN IN WRITING. WE COMMITTED 100 percent INVESTMENT IN SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING. IN FACT PROVIDING MORE FUNDING IN SPEC ED SERVICES. MR. SPEAKER, THIS NEGOTIATION WE COMMITTED TO A FAIR 1 percent ENHANCEMENT OF COMPENSATION FOR EDUCATION WORKERS WHO WE VALUE WHO ARE FRIENDS AND OUR FAMILY. MR. SPEAKER, WE'RE ASKING OUR UNION PARTNERS TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO PUT STUDENTS OVER UNION INTERESTS AND REJOIN OUR EFFORTS TO KEEP KIDS IN CLASS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT QUESTION. ONCE AGAIN THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.

Horwath says THANK YOU KINDLY, SPEAKER. MY NEXT QUESTION'S ALSO TO THE PREMIER. PARENTS, STUDENTS AND TEACHERS HAVE BEEN VERY CLEAR. THEY SEE THE CUTS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS. TEACHERS GETTING FIRED. AND A GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE A STRATEGY BESIDES DO NOT BACK DOWN. DOES THE PREMIER REALLY THINK THAT'S WHAT PARENTS WANT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, PARENTS WANT A DEAL THAT WORKS FOR THEIR STUDENTS, NOT FOR THE UNIONS OF THIS PROVINCE AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ADVANCE TEG NEGOTIATING TABLE EACH AND EVERY DAY. MR. SPEAKER, WE WENT TO THE TABLE YESTERDAY TO GET A DEAL. WE GAVE OUR NEGOTIATING TEAM THE ABILITY TO DRIVE THAT OUTCOME. AND YET EVEN STILL, WITH A COMMITMENT TO MAINTAIN FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN WA COMMITMENT TO KEEP CLASSROOM SIZES LOW, WITH A COMMITMENT TO ENSURE 100 percent INVESTMENT IN SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING, MORE MONEY IN SPEC ED SERVICES, EVEN STILL COMPENSATION REMAINS THE TRUE ISSUE AT THAT TABLE. A BENEFIT ASK. AN ENHANCEMENT TO BENEFITS WHEN WE KNOW STUDENTS MORE SUPPORTS FOR THEM FOR THEIR SUCCESS AND FOR THEIR FUTURE PROSPERITY. MR. SPEAKER, WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT FOR STUDENTS EACH AND EVERY DAY OF THIS NEGOTIATION.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, I WANT TO SHARE ANOTHER NOTE THAT WE GOT FROM A PARENT NAMED CATHERINE WHO WROTE US TO SAY AND I QUOTE... I'M ASHAMED AND EMBARRASSED THAT MY ONTARIO GOVERNMENT IS BEHAVING SO SELFISHLY.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Horwath says AND IRRATIONALLY. IT'S TIME TO STOP BEHAVING LIKE MIDDLE-AGED FRAT BOYS WITH A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX. STOP PUTTING OUR CHILDREN LAST. ISN'T IT TIME TO LISTEN.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Horwath says TO EVERYDAY ONTARIANS LIKE CATHERINE, OR IS THIS GOVERNMENT GOING TO CONTINUE TO ACT LIKE AND PRETEND THAT THEY KNOW BEST WHEN IT'S OBVIOUS THEY DON'T?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Lecce says SPEAKER, WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO STAND STRONG IN THE DEFENCE OF STUDENT INTERESTS OVER UNION INTERESTS EACH AND EVERY DAY IN THE NEGOTIATING PROCESS, AND PARENTS EXPECT THAT. THEY WANT THE SYSTEM TO WORK FOR THEIR KIDS. WE ARE SPENDING MORE IN EDUCATION, A 60 percent NET INCREASE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says 2003-4 AND YET THE QUESTION FOR PARENTS, THE QUESTION FOR EVERY PARENT IN THIS PROVINCE, DO YOU SEE THE COMPARABLE RESULT? DO YOU SEE IMPROVEMENT? THAT... IN THAT INVESTMENT? THE POINT IS FOR OUR GOVERNMENT IS WE EXPECT BETTER. WE ARE COMMITTING IN THIS NEGOTIATION TO KEEP CLASSROOM SIZES LOW, TO ENSURE FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN IS PROTECTED IN WRITING, TO INVEST 100 percent MORE MONEY IN SPECIAL EDUCATION. YES, SPEAKER, WE ASKED FOR A 1 percent CONSENT BY THE UNIONS OF A 1 percent INCREASE IN COMPENSATION. THIS IS A FAIR DEAL FOR WORKERS BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY IT'S A SOLID DEAL FOR STUDENTS. IT'S TIME.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says FOR THE UNION TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO GET BACK TO THE TABLE TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH AND GET A DEAL THAT KEEPS KIDS IN CLASS.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says WELL, SPEAKER, NO AMOUNT OF ACCOLADES THAT THIS GOVERNMENT GIVES ITSELF IS GOING TO DROWN OUT THE FACT THAT THE ALL-STAR MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND THE PREMIER DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT EVERYDAY FAMILIES...

[APPLAUSE]

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER. STOP THE CLOCK.

[HECKLING]

The Speaker says ORDER. ORDER. I NEED TO BE ABLE TO HEAR THE MEMBER WHO HAS THE FLOOR, WHETHER THEY'RE ASKING A QUESTION OR WHETHER THEY'RE RESPONDING. I APOLOGIZE TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION. PLEASE START THE CLOCK AND ASK HER TO PLACE HER QUESTION.

Horwath says THANKS. I THINK WE NEED A ZAMBONI DRIVER TO REPLACE THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION HERE IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

Horwath says BUT BACK TO THE MATTER IS PARENTS DON'T WANT CLASSROOM CUTS, SPEAKER.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Horwath says THEY DON'T WANT MANDATORY E-LEARNING OR LARGER CLASS SIZES. THEY DON'T WANT 10,000 TEACHERS TO BE FIRED. AND THEY DON'T WANT AN EDUCATION MINISTER ATTACKING TEACHERS THAT HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING A DEAL WITH. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY, SPEAKER. YOU DON'T POISON THE WELL AND THEN EXPECT TO GET A DEAL. WILL THIS PREMIER STOP PRETENDING THAT PARENTS ARE ON HIS SIDE? STOP PRETENDING THAT EDUCATORS ARE ON HIS SIDE. CANCEL THE CUTS, REPLACE THIS MINISTER EVEN IF IT MEANS WITH A ZAMBONI DRIVER, AND WORK ON ACTUALLY GETTING A DEAL DONE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MINISTER TO REPLY.

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, I FIND THE CULT OF PERSONALITY OBSESSION BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, THE UNION PRESIDENT ABOUT ME, YOU KNOW, IS REALLY UNHELPFUL. WITH RESPECT TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, WITH RESPECT TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Lecce says IT ISN'T ABOUT YOU. IT ISN'T ABOUT ME. IT'S ABOUT OUR KIDS AND IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU ACCEPTED IT.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says STOP THE CLOCK. MEMBERS, PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. RESTART THE CLOCK.

Lecce says IN THE INTERESTS OF OUR STUDENTS, WE'RE PROPOSING A SOLID, POSITIVE DEAL FOR OUR KIDS. WE'RE GOING TO KEEP CLASSROOM SIZES LOW. WE'RE GOING TO COMMIT 100 percent INVESTMENT IN SPECIAL EDUCATION. WE'RE GOING TO MAINTAIN FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN AND, SPEAKER, WE'RE GOING TO OFFER A FAIR 1 percent ENHANCEMENT TO OUR WORKERS. I WANT A DEAL. THIS CAUCUS WANTS A DEAL. LET'S GET IT DONE.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says ORDER. ORDER. ORDER. THE NEXT question. The member for Kiiwetinoong.

The caption changes to "Sol Mamakwa. NDP. Kiiwetinoong."

Mamakwa is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short black hair. He wears glasses, a blue suit, white shirt, and floral print tie.

He says GOOD MORNING, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. YESTERDAY THE O.P.P. ARRESTED TYENDINAGA MOHAWK LAND DEFENDERS. I ASKED THE QUESTION ABOUT WHAT THE PREMIER KNEW ABOUT THE POLICE ACTION BY THE O.P.P., AND WHAT I... AND WHAT ROLE DID HE, HIS OFFICE OR CABINET PLAY. I'M NOT SURE IF I GOT THE ANSWER SO, SPEAKER, I ASK AGAIN. WAS THE PREMIER BRIEFED ABOUT THE POLICE ACTION PRIOR TO THE ARRESTS ANT DISMANTLING OF THE PROTEST CAMP AT WYMAN ROAD? AND HAS THE PREMIER OR MEMBERS OF THE CABINET BEEN BRIEFED SINCE THE ARRESTS WERE MADE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS.

The caption changes to "Honourable Greg Rickford. PC. Minister of Indigenous Affairs."

Rickford is in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears glasses, a light gray suit, white shirt, and striped beige tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE, HERE'S WHAT WE KNEW. WE KNEW IT WAS IMPORTANT TO BE RESPECTFUL TO SUPPORT, ENCOURAGE AND FACILITATE INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP TO HELP, TO HELP ADDRESS THIS SITUATION, MR. SPEAKER. AS TIME WORE ON, WE PROTECTED, MR. SPEAKER, THE PRINCIPLES AND THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF IPPERWASH. WE DON'T PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE POLICE, MR. SPEAKER. IN STARK CONTRAST, WE WORKED CLOSELY WITH PEOPLE ON THE GROUND TO ENSURE THAT WE HAD A PEACEFUL OUTCOME, MR. SPEAKER. WE'RE SATISFIED THAT WE WENT TO THE FARTHEST LENGTHS POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE THAT END, MR. SPEAKER, AND WE HOPE THAT WE CAN MOVE FORWARD, NOT JUST WITH INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP, NOT JUST WITH THE MEMBERS OF THAT COMMUNITY BUT ACROSS THIS PROVINCE TO ENSURE THAT THESE KINDS OF EVENTS ARE HANDLED MORE APPROPRIATELY FROM ALL SIDES IN THE FUTURE. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Mamakwa says MIIGWETCH, MR. SPEAKER. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THESE DEMONSTRATIONS ARE THE RESULT OF 150 YEARS. BUT INSTEAD THE PREMIER THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. THE ILLEGAL BLOCKADES MUST COME DOWN. SINCE THE ARRESTS YESTERDAY, THERE ARE NOW MORE PROTESTS. THE STREETS IN FRONT OF THE PARLIAMENT HILL WERE SHUT DOWN. THE INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE IN SAULT STE. MARIE WAS SHUT DOWN. COMMUNITY MEMBERS HAVE SHUT DOWN HIGHWAY 6 AT SIX NATIONS AND THE RAIL LINES AT HAMILTON. SPEAKER, WE'RE AWARE WHAT THE IPPERWASH INQUIRY CONCLUDED, AND I HEAR A LOT OF WORDS ABOUT DIALOGUE WITH HEREDITARY CHIEFS, HEREDITARY LEADERS AND RESPECTING INDIGENOUS LAW. SO I ASK, WHAT HAS THIS GOVERNMENT DONE BEYOND THESE WORDS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Rickford says MR. SPEAKER, AS A GOVERNMENT, WE'VE TAKEN ACROSS THE MINISTRY APPROACH A WHOLE-OF-GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE THAT INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN JUST ABOUT EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION AND POLICY OPTION THAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS MOVING FORWARD WITH. TAKE FOR EXAMPLE THE FAR NORTH ACT, MR. SPEAKER, A PIECE OF LEGISLATION SHOVED DOWN THE THROATS OF THE ISOLATED REMOTE NORTHERN COMMUNITIES BY THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT, ABSENT OF ANY CONSULTATION. WE ARE NOW WORKING DIRECTLY WITH THEM THROUGH THE NAN LEADERSHIP TO ENSURE THAT DECISION MAKING MOVING FORWARD, MR. SPEAKER, IS SHARED BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, WAIT FOR IT, WHO ACTUALLY LIVE THERE, MR. SPEAKER. I WAS IN THUNDER BAY, JUST LAST WEEK, ANNOUNCING 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS TO MOBILIZE MORE THAN 300 PEOPLE TO WORK, MR. SPEAKER, ON THE EAST-WEST TIE. WE WENT TO THE NISHNAWBE TRAINING CENTRE AT THE LIBRARY TO ENSURE.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Rickford says TO ENSURE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES YOUNG PEOPLES IN PARTICULAR ARE READY FOR A NEW WORK FORCE ANEW COMPLEXION OF A WORK FORCE ALL ACROSS NORTHERN ONTARIO. I HAVE A LIST HERE, MR. SPEAKER. IT'S VERY LONG. HOPEFULLY I'LL GET AN OPPORTUNITY...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for Mississauga East-Cooksville.

The caption changes to "Kaleed Rasheed. PC. Mississauga East-Cooksville."

Rasheed is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short-cropped black hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and pink tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. PREMIER, I'M PROUD TO REPRESENT THE GREAT PEOPLE OF MISSISSAUGA, AND IN PARTICULAR MY CONSTITUENTS OF MISSISSAUGA EAST-COOKSVILLE. AS WE KNOW, MISSISSAUGA IS THE SIXTH MOST POPULIST MUNICIPALITY IN ALL OF CANADA, GENERATING 55 BILLION DOLLARS PER ANNUM OF ECONOMIC OUTPUT. UNDER THE PREVIOUS LIBERAL GOVERNMENT, MISSISSAUGA WAS CONTINUOUSLY TAKEN FOR GRANTED. ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS LEADERS HAVE RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT THE POLICIES PUT IN PLACE BY THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WHICH PREVENTED GROWTH AND MADE LIFE HARDER FOR CITIZENS. PREMIER, CAN YOU PLEASE ELABORATE TO THE LEGISLATURE HOW MISSISSAUGA IS TURNING AROUND ECONOMICALLY THANKS TO OUR GOVERNMENT?

The Speaker says PREMIER.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says I WANT TO THANK NOT JUST AN ALL-STAR, ALL-STAR CHAMPION FROM MISSISSAUGA EAST-COOKSVILLE.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says THANKS, THANKS TO THE POLICIES OF OUR GOVERNMENT, MISSISSAUGA IS BOOMING ECONOMICALLY LIKE THE REST OF THIS GREAT PROVINCE.

Interjection: HEAR, HEAR!

The Speaker says ORDER.

Ford says MISSISSAUGA WAS RECENTLY RANKED THE MOST BUSINESS-FRIENDLY MIDSIZE CITY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, MR. SPEAKER, BY THE FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT AMERICAN CITIES OF THE FUTURE REPORT. OUT OF 421 LOCATIONS IN NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA. THAT IS AN INCREDIBLE FEAT. MISSISSAUGA ALSO PLACED FOURTH IN ECONOMIC POTENTIAL AND THIRD IN COST EFFECTIVENESS AND CONNECTIVITY. MR. SPEAKER, OUR PLAN TO BUILD ONTARIO IS WORKING. OUR ECONOMY IS FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says OVER 300,000 NEW JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED IN ONTARIO SINCE WE TOOK OFFICE, MR. SPEAKER. THAT'S 307,000 NEW OPPORTUNITIES. THAT'S 307,000 MORE...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says Supplementary question.

Rasheed says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER, AND BACK TO THE PREMIER. PREMIER, THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT YOU ARE PROVIDING TO THE PEOPLE OF MISSISSAUGA AND TO THE REST OF ONTARIO. YOU ARE RIGHT. MISSISSAUGA IS TURNING AROUND ONCE AGAIN. WE ARE BECOMING STRONGER ECONOMICALLY, WITH MORE PEOPLE FINDING WORK AND BEING ABLE TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES. THE CITY OF MISSISSAUGA BUSINESS COMMUNITY IS MADE UP OF OVER 98,000 BUSINESSES, 1,400 MULTINATIONAL FIRMS AND 76 FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES. WE ARE A MAJOR ECONOMIC HUB IN THIS PROVINCE, AND OUR GOVERNMENT WANTS TO WORK WITH MISSISSAUGA AND CHAMPION OUR ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS LEADERS. PREMIER, CAN YOU SHARE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT NEW ECONOMIC INVESTMENT.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Rasheed says COMPANIES WHO ARE NOW INVESTING IN MISSISSAUGA? THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE PREMIER.

Ford says I WANT TO THANK OUR GREAT M.P.P. FROM MISSISSAUGA. MR. SPEAKER, MAYOR CROMBIE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Ford says GREAT STAT WHICH HE SHARED THE OTHER DAY. MISSISSAUGA CREATES 27 NEW JOBS EVERY DAY. THAT ADDS ON TO OUR 500 A DAY WE'VE CREATED ACROSS THE PROVINCE.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says THIS BUILDS TO THE GREAT NEWS OF ONTARIO'S ECONOMIC STRENGTH, NEW JOBS BEING CREATED. THINK OF THIS, MR. SPEAKER. A NEW JOB IS BEING CREATED HERE IN ONTARIO EVERY THREE MINUTES.

[APPLAUSE]

Ford says AS WE SIT HERE, THESE JOBS ARE BEING CREATED. THIS PAST DECEMBER BOMBARDIER ANNOUNCED MISSISSAUGA WOULD BE HOME TO THEIR NEW GLOBAL MANUFACTURING CENTRE FOR ITS GLOBAL BUSINESS JET SERIES. THIS IS A MASSIVE INVESTMENT OF 350 MILLION DOLLARS, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Ford says THAT IS GOING TO BE HIGH-PAYING JOBS. HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF HIGH-PAYING JOBS AND ANOTHER GREAT COMPANY CONSENTREX IS CREATING 300 NEW POSITIONS IN MISSISSAUGA. THEY'RE OPENING UP EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Oshawa.

The caption changes to "Jennifer French. NDP. Oshawa."

French is in her thirties, with shoulder-length straight gray hair. She wears a cream blazer over a printed blouse.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION'S FOR THE PREMIER. PREMIER, WHILE YOUR GOVERNMENT IS DOUBLING DOWN ON THE ROLLOUT OF YOUR PARTISAN PLATES, THE PROBLEMS MULTIPLY. FROM DURHAMREGION.COM, MANAGER OF TRAFFIC OPERATIONS FLAGS THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE DESIGN, AND QUOTE WHEN IT SAYS ONTARIO ON THE PLATES IT'S VERY SMALL. WHEN THE PROVINCIAL OFFICER LOOKS AT THE IMAGE THEY CAN'T ALWAYS SEE ONTARIO. END QUOTE. MINISTER, YOU'VE BLAMED THE MANUFACTURER BUT THEN TELL US THEY STAND BY THE PLATES, THAT YOU STAND BY THEM BUT THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER SAYS THEY EXPECT THE COMPANY WILL FOOT THE BILL FOR REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT OF THE PLATES. IT'S REALLY HARD TO KEEP UP AND HOW DID WE GET HERE? WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR TESTING? THE MINISTER SAID IN AN INTERVIEW THAT THIS GOVERNMENT DID TESTING. SHE'S NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT 3M'S TESTING SO WHO WAS CONSULTED DURING YOUR GOVERNMENT'S EXHAUSTIVE TESTING AND WHERE IS THE PROOF OF ANY TESTING SINCE THEY DON'T WORK IN BRIGHT LIGHTS, DIM LIGHTS, AT A DISTANCE IN INTERSECTIONS.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

French says OR IN THE SUN, WILL THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL US IF YOU CAN WHERE DO THE PLATES WORK AND HOW CAN YOU BACK IT UP?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES.

The caption changes to "Honourable Lisa M. Thompson. PC. Minister of Government and Consumer Services."

Thompson is in her forties, with chin-length wavy blond hair. She wears glasses and a gray blazer over a printed blouse.

She says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. AND I WANT TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAR AT THIS MOMENT. I'M GOING TO BE VERY, VERY POINTED WHEN I SAY WE TAKE THE CONCERNS OF ONTARIANS VERY, VERY SERIOUSLY. WE'RE LISTENING. WE CONTINUE TO LISTEN AND WE ARE TAKING ACTION WITH OUR PARTNERS. I AM TELLING YOU, SPEAKER, I'M SO APPRECIATIVE OF THE FACT THAT OUR PARTNERS ARE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO ADDRESS WHAT WE'VE HEARD. AND THROUGH THIS PROCESS, OUR GOVERNMENT IS WORKING WITH AN INCORPORATED FEEDBACK FROM PUBLIC SAFETY STAKEHOLDERS, OUR PARTNERS IN TERMS OF PROCESSING. I CAN ASSURE YOU 3M IS WORKING DILIGENTLY ALONGSIDE US TO AGAIN ADDRESS THE CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN SHARED, AND WE ARE GOING TO BE ROLLING OUT AND KEEPING EVERYONE UPDATED ON OUR PROGRESS IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS TO COME. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

French says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. I HOPE THAT THEY'LL RECONSIDER AND HAND OVER THE PROOF OF THAT TESTING. SPEAKER, THIS MORNING WE READ ON WKBW BUFFALO THAT THE U.S. SIDE OF THE CANADIAN BORDER, QUOTE, SUPERVISORY CDT OFFICER MICHAEL TAYLOR SAID U. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PATROL IS AWARE CANNOT BE READ BY THE AUTOMATIC READERS OF THE BORDER CROSSING END QUOTE. TAYLOR SAYS WAIT TIMES HAVEN'T BEEN AFFECTED YET BECAUSE THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN A HANDFUL OF PLATES AT THE BORDER SO FAR. AND YET, SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT IS STILL PUTTING NEW PLATES ON THE ROAD. THEY ARE DOGGEDLY CLINGING TO THE HOPE THAT PEOPLE WILL LOVE THESE PLATES AND MAYBE BY EXTENSION LOVE THEM. GIVE US THE REAL ANSWER ABOUT HOW MANY WHITE PLATES ARE STILL IN STOCK THAT COULD BE USED? THE MINISTER SAYS WE'RE LISTENING. MINISTER, PEOPLE NEED YOU TO BE LOOKING AND SEEING SO OPEN YOUR EYES. WILL THIS GOVERNMENT PLEASE STOP WRECKING THINGS, STOP SCAPEGOATING AND STOP PUTTING THESE UNSAFE PROBLEMATIC PARTISAN PLATES ON OUR ROADS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Thompson says MOST IMPORTANTLY, SPEAKER, WE'RE DOING. WE'RE TAKING ACTION AND WE'RE LISTENING AND CONSULTING WITH THE PEOPLE THAT MATTER IN TERMS OF MAKING SURE THAT ONTARIANS HAVE THE TYPE OF PLATES THAT EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY, THAT TAKE US INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, AND ALSO WE ALSO NEED TO ENSURE THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR VOICE MATTERS. AND AGAIN I CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH, SPEAKER...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Thompson says THAT WE ARE LISTENING AND WE ARE TAKING ACTION. AND AGAIN WE'RE STANDING WITH 3M, WHO HAS ASSURED US THAT THEY WILL DELIVER AN ENHANCED PRODUCT IN THE WEEKS TO COME. SO SPEAKER, AGAIN, I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO UPDATE THIS HOUSE AND THE MEMBER OPPOSITE AS OUR PROGRESS CONTINUES. AND, AGAIN, WE ARE TAKING ACTION AND WE WILL BE DELIVERING AN ENHANCED PRODUCT IN THE COMING WEEKS. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THE NEXT question. The member for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.

The caption changes to "Randy Hillier. Independent. Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston."

Hillier is in his early sixties, clean-shaven, with short receding gray hair. He wears a black suit and a white shirt.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THIS HOUSE AND ALL MEMBERS TO RAISE MATTERS OF PUBLIC INTEREST AND IMPORTANCE. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SEEK TO END INJUSTICE AND TO DEBATE POLICIES, BUT ON INDIGENOUS POLICY WE HAVE BEEN SILENT FOR FAR TOO LONG. IT IS PAST TIME THAT WE CREATED A STANDING COMMITTEE ON INDIGENOUS RELATIONS IN THIS HOUSE, A STANDING COMMITTEE WHERE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES MAY BE HEARD, POLICIES EXAMINED, AND DELIBERATED AND SOLUTIONS FOUND. SPEAKER, WE CANNOT BE SILENT ANY LONGER. I'VE CALLED UPON THE PREMIER TO ACT AND CREATE A STANDING COMMITTEE ON INDIGENOUS RELATIONS, FOR WITHOUT HONEST, ONGOING AND RESPECTFUL DISCUSSIONS FROM ALL SIDES, THE MANTRA OF RECONCILIATION IS EMPTY AND HOLLOW.

The Speaker says THE MINISTER OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS TO REPLY.

Rickford says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBER FROM LANARK-FRONTENAC-KINGSTON FOR THE MOTION THAT HE TABLED THIS MORNING. I UNDERSTAND IT WILL BE DEBATED AT SECOND READING ON MARCH 5TH. I LOOK FORWARD TO REVIEWING IT IN SOME DETAIL AND GETTING SOME REFLECTIONS AND INPUT FROM ALL MEMBERS OF THIS PLACE, AND IN PARTICULAR FROM MY INDIGENOUS CRITIC ON THE CONTENT OF WHAT HE'S PUT FORWARD. I CAN SAY, MR. SPEAKER, THAT THIS GOVERNMENT AT EVERY TURN, AS I MENTIONED IN A PREVIOUS RESPONSE, HAS TAKEN THE OPPORTUNITIES, MR. SPEAKER, AVAILABLE TO US TO WORK DIRECTLY WIN DIGENOUS COMMUNITIES ON MAJOR POLICY POSITIONS, MR. SPEAKER, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND WE CONTINUE TO BE HOPEFUL THAT THIS RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ONGOING. WE'VE HAD INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP, HOST PROACTIVE RECEPTIONS HERE, MR. SPEAKER, TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND WE HOPE THAT MOVING FORWARD, MR. SPEAKER, WE WILL CONTINUE.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Rickford says TO MAKE ALL OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES AND LEADERSHIPS A TOP PRIORITY WITH THIS GOVERNMENT. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Hillier says AGAIN TO THE PREMIER, AND I APPRECIATE THE MINISTER'S RESPONSE BUT I BELIEVE THE SUPPLEMENTARY IS DESERVING OF A RESPONSE FROM THE PREMIER. THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO EXPECT THEIR GOVERNMENT TO UPHOLD THE RULE OF LAW. THEY UNDERSTAND THERE ARE INEQUITIES AND STRAINS IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, THE CONFLATION OF FACTS AND OPINIONS THAT SURROUND THIS RELATIONSHIP MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR EVERYONE, NATIVE AND NON-NATIVE ALIKE, TO HAVE HONEST DISCUSSIONS AND DEBATES. I'VE ASKED TODAY THAT THE PREMIER CREATE A STANDING COMMITTEE ON INDIGENOUS RELATIONS. IT IS OVERDUE. THE COMMITTEE MUST HAVE THE DISCRETION TO INVESTIGATE RELATED MATTERS AND REPORT BACK TO THIS HOUSE FOR OPEN DEBATE. IT IS NOT MY BALLOT DAY ON MARCH 5TH, MINISTER. WE CAN DO THIS BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT TODAY. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Rickford says MR. SPEAKER, REGARDLESS OF THE SPECIFIC DATE, I THINK THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION AND THE INDIGENOUS CRITIC WOULD HAVE SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY. THERE'S PREAMBLE HERE AS I LOOK AT THE MOTION OR THE LETTER IN ITS CONTENT. BUT, MR. SPEAKER, SOME OF THE SUBJECT MATTER I THINK COULD AND SHOULD BE DISCUSSED. INDIGENOUS LAND CLAIMS. THIS GOVERNMENT IS MOVING AT THE FASTEST PACE THAT I CAN RECALL IN FEDERAL TIME AND PROVINCIAL TO SETTLE THOSE LAND CLAIMS. INDIGENOUS IMPACT BENEFIT AGREEMENTS. MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE MOVED FORWARD ON A NUMBER OF KEY LEGACY INFRASTRUCTURE OPPORTUNITIES WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS NORTHERN ONTARIO. THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESOURCES ON NATIVE LANDS. MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES THROUGH DEALING WITH THE FAR NORTH ACT DIRECTLY WIN DIGENOUS LEADERSHIP, MR. SPEAKER. EDUCATION AND CURRICULUM. WE MOVE FORWARD WITH RECIPROCAL EDUCATION.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Rickford says AND EMBEDDED, MR. SPEAKER, INDIGENOUS HISTORY MANDATORILY IN THE CURRICULUMS OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY STUDENTS, MR. SPEAKER. THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT SUBJECT MATTER AND WE'LL LOOK...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for Northumberland-Peterborough South.

The caption changes to "David Piccini. PC. Northumberland-Peterborough South."

Piccini is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and silver tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. WHEN I GOT ELECTED I SPOKE TO TOO MANY CONSTITUENTS WHO SPOKE OF A BROKEN EMPLOYMENT SYSTEM. IN FACT THE AUDITOR GENERAL REITERATED THIS WHEN SHE SAID ONLY 1 percent OF PEOPLE ON SOCIAL ASSISTANCE WERE FINDING WORK EACH MONTH. MR. SPEAKER, WITH ONE JOB BEING CREATED EVERY THREE MINUTES ACROSS THE PROVINCE, AND WITH OUR PROVINCE'S LARGEST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FINDING THAT 82 percent OF BUSINESSES POLLED REPORTING HAVING DIFFICULTY RECRUITING AND FINDING NEW EMPLOYEES. SO MY QUESTION TO THE MINISTER IS PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS MAKING THE SYSTEM WORK BETTER AND HOW ARE WE SUPPORTING THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO NAVIGATE THE EMPLOYMENT SYSTEM? THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LABOUR, TRAINING AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT.

The caption changes to "Honourable Monte McNaughton. PC. Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development."

McNaughton is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with receding short brown hair. He wears glasses, a black suit, white shirt, and blue tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER FOR NORTHUMBERLAND-PETERBOROUGH SOUTH FOR THAT VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. MR. SPEAKER, GETTING PEOPLE INTO JOBS IS OUR TOP PRIORITY FOR EVERYONE IN THIS GOVERNMENT. MR. SPEAKER, WHEN JOB SEEKERS HAVE TROUBLE FINDING WORK WHILE JOBS GO UNFILLED RIGHT ACROSS ONTARIO, IT'S CLEAR THAT THE SYSTEM WE INHERITED ISN'T WORKING. IT ISN'T WORKING FOR EMPLOYERS WHO NEED WORKERS OR FOR WORKERS WHO NEED A JOB. WE'VE ENGAGED THREE DIFFERENT SYSTEM MANAGERS TO MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK BETTER. THEY WILL BE FUNDED ON WHETHER THEY ACTUALLY HELP PEOPLE FIND JOBS. MR. SPEAKER, JOBS ARE IMPORTANT. THEY PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE AND A ROOF OVER FAMILIES' HEADS. MORE SO HAVING A JOB GIVES YOU A SENSE OF DIGNITY. WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE WE CAN TO HELP PEOPLE FIND GOOD STABLE JOBS IN ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Piccini says THANK YOU, MINISTER, FOR THAT RESPONSE. IT'S EXCITING TO HEAR HOW THE GOVERNMENT'S HELPING CONNECT PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY OUR MOST VULNERABLE CITIZENS TO JOBS. I THINK TO MY LOCAL CONSTITUENT JIM, WHO SPOKE ABOUT HOW HE STRUGGLED NAVIGATING AN EMPLOYMENT SYSTEM THAT SEPARATES EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO ODSP, ONTARIO WORKS, OFTEN ADMINISTERING OVERLAPPING AND CONFLICTING PROGRAMS. EVEN AS THE GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THE COMPETITIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT MINISTER AND MAKES INVESTMENTS TO HELP PEOPLE PREPARE FOR JOBS, THE OLD SYSTEM FAILS TO HELP PEOPLE FIND THOSE JOBS. COULD THE MINISTER PLEASE SHARE MORE ON HOW OUR GOVERNMENT'S CHANGES WILL HELP WORKERS ACROSS THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, LIKE MY CONSTITUENT JIM? THANK YOU, MINISTER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

McNaughton says I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MEMBER FOR THAT SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION. MR. SPEAKER, HELPING PEOPLE RIGHT ACROSS ONTARIO AND EVERY SINGLE COMMUNITY IS WHY WE'RE MAKING THIS CHANGE. THE SYSTEM MANAGERS WILL FIND LOCAL SOLUTIONS TO LOCAL PROBLEMS. INSTEAD OF BEING REWARDED FOR FAILING WHILE FOLLOWING PROCESSES LAID OUT BY QUEEN'S PARK BUREAUCRATS, THEY'LL BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR FINDING PEOPLE WORK. THE FIRST COMMUNITY TO BENEFIT FROM THIS WILL BE PEEL, HAMILTON NIAGARA AND MUSKOKA KAWARTHA. JOB SEEKERS IN EACH REGION WILL BENEFIT FROM A ONE WINDOW APPROACH FOR ODSP.

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says AND ONTARIO WORKS RECIPIENTS.

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says MR. SPEAKER, WE WANT EVERYONE IN ONTARIO TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROSPERITY THAT'S HAPPENING SINCE PREMIER FORD GOT ELECTED. MR. SPEAKER, OVER 300,000 PEOPLE ARE WORKING TODAY THAT WEREN'T WORKING 18 MONTHS AGO. WAGES.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

McNaughton says ARE GOING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A DECADE, MR. SPEAKER, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS, WE HAVE THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN ONTARIO.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE NEXT question. The member for Nickel Belt.

The caption changes to "France Gélinas. NDP. Nickel Belt."

Gélinas is in her forties, with short straight blond hair and bangs. She wears a white dress.

She SPEAKS IN FRENCH AND A TRANSLATOR SAYS THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. FOR THE PREMIER.

[END OF TRANSLATION]

In English, Gélinas continues
TODAY THE OMBUDSMAN RECEIVED ITS REPORT. THEY RECEIVED THOUSANDS OF COMPLAINTS POINTING TO ONE THING, THE STRAIN ON OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM CONTINUES TO GROW, AND AFTER YEARS OF CUTS FROM THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT. BUT INSTEAD OF FIXING THE LIBERALS' MESS THAT LEFT US WITH HALLWAY MEDICINE CRISIS, THE LOOMING WAIT TIMES FOR LONG-TERM CARE AND A SHORTAGE OF QUALIFIED PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKERS, THIS GOVERNMENT HAS CUT MORE FROM THE HEALTH CARE BUDGET, IGNORED THE NEEDS OF THE FRONT LINES AND PRIORITIZED THE REORGANIZATIONS OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM ABOVE ALL ELSE. ONTARIANS TELL US THAT WE NEED MORE INVESTMENT IN HEALTH CARE, NOT CUTS. PREMIER, WILL YOUR GOVERNMENT LISTEN AND PROVIDE THE NECESSARY HEALTH CARE INVESTMENTS IN THE UPCOMING BUDGET?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says DEPUTY PREMIER, MINISTER OF HEALTH.

The caption changes to "Honourable Christine Elliott. PC. Minister of Health."

Elliott is in her late fifties, with long blond hair. She wears a beige jacket over a black dress.

She says I THANK THE MEMBER VERY MUCH FOR THE QUESTION AND I AM VERY FAMILIAR WITH WORK DONE BY THE PATIENT OMBUDSMAN. I THANK THEM FOR THEIR REPORT AND I LOOK FORWARD TO REVIEWING THE DETAILS OF IT. THE WORK THAT THEY ARE DOING IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO. HOWEVER, IT IS MY HOPE THAT OVER TIME WITH THE NEW LOCAL ONTARIO HEALTH TEAMS COMING INTO PLAY IN A THEY... THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO RECTIFY A NUMBER OF THE CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN RELAYED BY THE PATIENT OMBUDSMAN'S REPORT RECENTLY. WE ARE ACTUALLY INCREASING INVESTMENT IN HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN ONTARIOR CONSIDERABLY BY 1.9 BILLION DOLLARS THIS YEAR OVER LAST YEAR. THIS IS A HUGE...

[APPLAUSE]

Elliott says INCREASE IN VOLUME. AND IT'S NOT JUST THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT'S BEING INVESTED. IT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS BEING INVESTED. WE WANT THE MONEY TO GO TO FRONT-LINE SERVICES. THAT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO HAVE TOLD US OVER AND OVER AGAIN. THE TRANSFORMATION THAT WE ARE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW WITH THE LOCAL ONTARIO HEALTH TEAMS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Elliott says WHERE THOSE TEAMS PLAN AND PROVIDE THE SERVICES AND FILL IN THE GAPS THAT HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED BY THE PATIENT OMBUDSMAN, ARE GOING TO RESULT IN HIGH-QUALITY CONNECT...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says Supplementary question.

Gélinas says MR. SPEAKER, THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT MOVED FAST WHEN IT WANTS TO, LIKE WHEN THEY RELEASED THE VANITY LICENCE PLATE THAT CAN BE READ. BUT THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT IS MISSING IN ACTION WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING EVERYDAY ONTARIANS. FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN THEY SEEK HELP TO CARE FOR THEIR ELDERLY PARENTS, LIKE MY CONSTITUENTS, 87-YEAR-OLD BERTHA WHO REFUSES TO LEAVE HER LONG-TERM CARE ROOM, WHO REFUSES TO EAT BECAUSE SHE MISSES HER HUSBAND REAL, 89 YEARS OLD, ACROSS TOWN AWAY FROM HER IN A DIFFERENT LONG-TERM-CARE HOME UNABLE TO REUNITE THEM FOR THE LAST 13 MONTHS. THEY ARE MISSING IN ACTION WHEN PEOPLE NEED HELP TO PAY FOR THEIR MEDICATION. THE OMBUDSMAN'S REPORT ALSO POINTED THAT NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE EVEN KNOW THAT THEY CAN SEEK THE HELP FROM THE PATIENT OMBUDSMAN. PERHAPS THAT'S BECAUSE A PHYSICIAN HAS BEEN VACANT FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS. WHY?

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Gélinas says IS THE PREMIER TAKING SO LONG TO EVEN START THE SEARCH FOR A NEW OMBUDSMAN FOR OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN CRISIS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Elliott says WELL THE PATIENT OMBUDSMAN IS A VERY IMPORTANT POSITION. THE SEARCH HAS STARTED. THERE IS AN INDEPENDENT GROUP THAT IS TAKING A LOOK TO SELECT THE RIGHT PERSON TO BE THE NEXT PATIENT OMBUDSMAN. HOWEVER, THE WORK IN THAT OFFICE CONTINUES. THERE'S NO SLOWING DOWN OF THE WORK THAT THEY ARE DOING. HOWEVER, IN TERMS OF WHAT WE ARE DOING IN THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH, I CAN TELL YOU WE ARE TAKING SWIFT ACTION. WE HAVE TALKED TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ACROSS ONTARIO. WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE CONCERNS THAT PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE LEAVING HOSPITAL AND NEEDING HOME CARE AREN'T NECESSARILY GETTING THE SERVICES THAT THEY NEED. THEY OFTEN DON'T KNOW WHO WILL BE COMING TO PROVIDE THE HOME CARE, WHEN THEY WILL BE COMING OR WHO'S PROVIDING THE SERVICE. THAT IS CHANGING WITH THE NEW LOCAL ONTARIO HEALTH TEAMS. PEOPLE WILL KNOW BEFORE THEY LEAVE THE HOSPITAL WHO THEY WILL BE CONNECTING TO FOR HOME CARE AND THEY WILL BE FOLLOWED FOR THAT TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE AREN'T COMPLICATIONS.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Elliott says THAT ARE GOING TO BRING THEM BACK INTO HOSPITAL AGAIN. WE ARE TAKING ACTION ON PRIMARY CARE. WE'RE ALSO TAKING ACTION ON MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS CARE. OUR PLAN WILL BE RELEASED VERY SOON.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE NEXT question. The member for Don Valley East.

The caption changes to "Michael Coteau. Liberal. Don Valley East."

Coteau is in his early forties, clean-shaven and bald. He wears a dark gray suit, blue shirt, and spotted blue tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. PREMIER, WHEN YOU ANNOUNCED THAT OHIP PLUS WOULD NO LONGER COVER MEDICATION FOR THOSE WHO HAD PRIVATE INSURANCE, YOU REASSURED FAMILIES AND THEIR CHILDREN THAT ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS NOT COVERED BECAUSE OF THOSE CHANGES WOULD BE COVERED. SPEAKER, A FAMILY RECENTLY FROM OAKVILLE CONTACTED MY OFFICE AND SHARED THEIR STORY ON HOW THEY ARE NOW FORCED TO PAY NEARLY 500 PER MONTH FOR REQUIRED PRESCRIPTION OF NUTRITIONAL FORMULA FOR AN AUTISTIC CHILD. OHIP PLUS USED TO COVER THIS, THEY ARE NO LONGER ELIGIBLE BECAUSE OF THEIR PRIVATE INSURANCE. TO THE PREMIER. WHY IS THIS FAMILY FORCED TO PAY NEARLY 500 A MONTH WHEN YOUR GOVERNMENT PROMISED ONTARIANS THAT THE CHANGES TO OHIP PLUS WOULD NOT RESULT IN A LOSS OF COVERAGE?

The Speaker says DEPUTY PREMIER. MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says OHIP PLUS DOES COVER MOST... VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE COSTS PEOPLE WILL INCUR IF PEOPLE ARE NOT ABLE TO PAY ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS. OF COURSE THERE'S ALWAYS THE TRILLIUM PROGRAM THAT THEY CAN APPLY TO. THAT IS WHAT WE PROMISED THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO SO THAT WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE INSURANCE COVERAGE TO HAVE TO PAY THOSE ADDITIONAL COSTS. WE WOULD BE HAPPY TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE, BECAUSE WE ARE AWARE OF SEVERAL AREAS THAT PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT WHERE WE HAVE PROVIDED COVERAGE. BUT IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE I WOULD BE HAPPY TO SPEAK TO YOU ABOUT IT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT PERSON WITH COVERAGE IF THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Coteau says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. WELL, WE ACTUALLY DID REACH OUT TO YOUR OFFICE. I THOUGHT MAYBE SOMETHING WAS OVERLOOKED. MAYBE THERE WAS A MISTAKE THAT WAS MADE AND THE ANSWER THAT CAME BACK FROM YOUR OFFICE WAS A BIG NO. THESE CUTS ARE PART OF A BIGGER PATTERN THAT TAKES PLACE HERE IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. OVER LAST 20 MONTHS WHERE WE'VE SEEN CUTS TO AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS, TEACHERS, LIBRARY, AUTISM SERVICES, COMPLEX SPECIAL NEEDS. EVEN CUTS, MR. SPEAKER, TO...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Coteau says CHILDREN'S BREAKFAST PROGRAMS. PREMIER, YOU MADE A PROMISE TO ONTARIANS THAT THEY WOULD NOT LOSE COVERAGE. YOU MADE THAT PROMISE THAT THEY WOULD NOT LOSE COVERAGE WITH OHIP PLUS. IF THAT WAS TRUE, WHY IS THIS FAMILY NOW FORCED TO PAY ALMOST 6,000 A YEAR FOR A PRESCRIPTION THAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Coteau says OF THIS CHILD? SPEAKER, THE PREMIER MADE A PROMISE TO ONTARIANS. SO WILL HIS GOVERNMENT.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Coteau says RECONSIDER OHIP PLUS SO THAT THIS FAMILY AND MANY OTHERS WILL HAVE COVERAGE RESTORED? THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH TO REPLY.

Elliott says AGAIN, WITH OUR UNDERSTANDING... WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EARN PERSON YOU'RE DESCRIBING HERE I CAN'T MAKE A COMMENT ON THAT, BUT WHAT I CAN TELL YOU... AND I WOULD BE HAPPY TO DISCUSS IT WITH YOU FAEFRDS. BUT WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT WE WANT TO PROVIDE MORE FRONT-LINE COMFORTABLE TO PEOPLE, MORE SERVICES FOR PEOPLE, MORE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR PEOPLE. THAT'S ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT WE NEED TO DISCUSS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT QUITE FRANKLY IS MORE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR RATHER THAN A PAN-CANADIAN PHARMACEUTICAL PROGRAM. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT ARE REALLY A CONCERN FOR GOVERNMENTS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, WHICH IS RARE AND ORPHAN DISEASE DRUGS. THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE ARE FINDING IT INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO COVER. IT'S WONDERFUL THAT THESE DRUGS ARE BEING DISCOVERED.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Elliott says BUT THEY ARE INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Elliott says GOOD POINT OF DISCUSSION FOR US WITH THE...

[INTERJECTIONS]

The Speaker says ORDER. ORDER. MEMBER FOR DON VALLEY EAST, COME TO ORDER. THE MEMBER FOR DON VALLEY EAST, COME TO ORDER. THE ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF ENERGY, COME TO ORDER. APOLOGIZE TO THE MINISTER OF HEALTH FOR INTERRUPTING HER. SHE CAN CONCLUDE HER RESPONSE.

Elliott says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. IN CONCLUSION, THE ISSUE OF RARE AND ORPHAN DISEASE DRUGS AND OTHER DRUGS THAT MIGHT NOT BE COVERED UNDER THE PROVINCIAL PROGRAM RIGHT NOW WILL BE DISCUSSED WITH THE FEDERAL MINISTER. THAT IS A GOOD POINT OF DISCUSSION FOR THE PROVINCIAL TERRITORIAL MINISTERS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHEN WE HAVE OUR FIRST MEETING, WHICH SHOULD BE COMING UP WITHIN THE NEXT MONTH OR SO. WE NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT THE THINGS THAT ARE REALLY IN ISSUE FOR PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS, AND I KNOW FROM MY COLLEAGUES THAT THAT'S CERTAINLY ONE OF THEM.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Elliott says I CERTAINLY INTEND TO PRESENT WHEN WE DO HAVE THAT MEETING.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. NEXT question. The member for Burlington.

The caption changes to "Jane McKenna. PC. Burlington."

McKenna is in her forties, with short chestnut hair. She wears glasses, a black blazer and a frilled black blouse.

She says THANK YOU SO MUCH, SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

McKenna says MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION'S FOR...

The Speaker says THE MEMBER FOR DON VALLEY EAST, COME TO ORDER.

[INTERJECTION]

The Speaker says THE MEMBER FOR DON VALLEY EAST IS WARNED. ONCE AGAIN, I'LL EXPLAIN WHAT WE DO WITH WARNINGS. IF I HAVE TO SPEAK TO THE MEMBER AGAIN AFTER THE MEMBER'S BEEN WARNED, HE WILL BE NAMED, WITHOUT WARNING, WITHOUT FURTHER WARNING. PLEASE START THE CLOCK. I APOLOGIZE TO THE MEMBER FOR BURLINGTON.

McKenna says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION'S FOR THE MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES. THE BACKUP CHILD SAW FIRST HAND HOW A LENGTHY EXHAUSTIVE PROCESS TO OBTAIN A DEATH CERTIFICATE CAN MAKE AN ALREADY DEVASTATING LIFE EVENT EVEN MORE CHALLENGING. IN JULY 2017 AN ONTARIO JURY HEARD SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO FIND THAT LAURA BABCOCK HAD BEEN MURDERED EVEN THOUGH HER REMAINS HAD NOT BEEN FOUND. ALTHOUGH A COURT CONVICTED TWO INDIVIDUALS OF MISS BABCOCK'S MURDER, HER FAMILY FACED MANY CHALLENGES REGISTERING HER DEATH BECAUSE HER BODY WAS NOT FOUND. MR. SPEAKER, ACCOUNT MINISTER PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THE BABCOCK FAMILY'S ADVOCACY WORK THAT SPURRED CHANGES TO HELP THE PROVINCE FACILITATE DEATH REGISTRATIONS IN CASES WHERE A PERSON DISAPPEARS IN CIRCUMSTANCES OF PERIL AND NO REMAINS ARE RECOVERED?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMER SERVICES.

Thompson says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBER FROM BURLINGTON FOR ASKING THIS IMPORTANT QUESTION, BECAUSE AGAIN IT DEMONSTRATES HOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS LISTENING AND TAKING ACTION. I'D ALSO LIKE TO SHARE MY APPRECIATION WITH THE BABCOCK FAMILY. YOU HAVE BEEN AMAZING ADVOCATES, LEADING WITH YOUR HEART, TO ENSURE THAT NO OTHER ONTARIO FAMILY EXPERIENCES WHAT YOUR FAMILY WENT THROUGH. YOU NOT BUREAUCRATIC BARRIERS MADE THE GRIEVING PROCESS FOR THE BABCOCK FAMILY MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT REALLY NEEDED TO BE. SO LAURA'S PARENTS WROTE TO OUR GOVERNMENT ASKING THAT SOMETHING NEEDED TO BE DONE AND ASKED THAT ONTARIO FAMILIES HAVE AN EASIER PATH TO TAKE WHEN THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN VERY UNTHINKABLE, UNFORTUNATE SITUATIONS, SPEAKER. SO I'M PLEASED TO SHARE WITH YOU, SPEAKER, THAT MY MINISTRY WORKED ALONGSIDE THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INTRODUCE...

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Thompson says THAT HAVE MADE DEATH REGISTRATION PROCESSES LESS BURDENSOME AND MORE COMPASSIONATE. I WANT TO THANK THE PREMIER. I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBER FROM ETOBICOKE CENTRE. I WANT TO THANK...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says Supplementary question.

McKenna says MR. SPEAKER, THE SITUATION THAT THE BABCOCK FAMILY WENT THROUGH IS HEARTBREAKING. CAN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TELL US ABOUT THE STEPS OUR GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN TO ENSURE THAT NO OTHER FAMILY IN THE BABCOCKS' POSITION WILL HAVE TO ENDURE A LENGTHY AND COMPLICATED COURSE OF ACTION IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE DEATH REGISTRATION PROCESS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO REPLY.

The caption changes to "Honourable Doug Downey. PC. Attorney General."

Downey is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and burgundy tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER FROM BURLINGTON FOR THE OPPORTUNITY. I WANT TO EXTEND MY DEEPEST GRATITUDE TO THE BABCOCK FAMILY FOR RAISING THIS ISSUE WITH OUR GOVERNMENT. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS MADE CHANGES TO THE VITAL STATISTICS ACT THAT AMEND THE DEATH REGISTRATION PROCESS TO EASED BURDEN FOR FAMILIES FACED WITH REGISTERING THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE IN THE ABSENCE OF THEIR REMAINS. LAURA EAST LAW AS WE HAVE NAMED IT WOULD PROVIDE A SIMPLER METHOD FOR FAMILIES TO OBTAIN A DEATH CERTIFICATE IN TRAGIC CIRCUMSTANCES. TOOLS TO THE COURTS, IN PARTICULAR CROWN ATTORNEYS AND JUDGES, TO FACILITATE THE REGISTRATION OF DEATH IN THESE CASES AND ENSURE THAT FAMILIES HAVE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT. LAURA EAST LAW WILL ENSURE THAT, IN THE FUTURE, THE DEATH REGISTRATION PROCESS IS LESS BURDENSOME FOR FAMILIES WHO EXPERIENCE A SIMILAR UNTHINKABLE TRAGEDY. AND, MR. SPEAKER, THE COORDINATION BETWEEN MINISTRIES AND THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PREMIER.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Downey says IS CRITICAL IN MAKING THIS HAPPEN. THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE MEMBER FOR HUMBER RIVER-BLACK CREEK.

The caption changes to "Tom Rakocevic. NDP. Humber River-Black Creek."

Rakocevic is in his late thirties, with side-parted blond hair and a boxed beard. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and patterned blue tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION'S FOR THE PREMIER. STEVEN GAR RACCI A RESIDENT IN MY RIDING OF HUMBER RIVER-BLACK CREEK, SAW HIS AUTO INSURANCE PREMIUM JUMP BY 20 percent JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, DESPITE HAVING A CLEAN DRIVING RECORD. TURNS OUT STEVEN'S NOT ALONE, BECAUSE BOTH THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT, THAT WAS HERE JUST EARLIER, AND THE CURRENT CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT, HAVE ALLOWED AUTO INSURANCE PREMIUMS TO GO UP NINE CONSECUTIVE TIMES. SINCE THE PREMIER CAMPAIGNED ON LOWERING AUTO INSURANCE RATES, CAN HE TELL STEVEN AND THE REST OF US WHY ARE OUR AUTO INSURANCE RATES CONTINUING TO GO UP JUST LIKE THE LIBERALS DID BEFORE THEM?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF FINANCE, RESPOND.

The caption changes to "Rod Phillips. PC. Minister of Finance."

Phillips is in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears a black suit, white shirt and yellow tie.

He says MR. SPEAKER, AND I THANK THE MEMBER FOR HIS QUESTION. AND YES, DEALING WITH THE AUTO INSURANCE RATE ISSUE HAS BEEN AN ISSUE THAT'S BEEN A TOP PRIORITY FOR THIS GOVERNMENT. MR. SPEAKER, YOU'LL REMEMBER THE NEW BLUEPRINT THAT WAS RELEASED IN OUR 2019 BUDGET ADDRESSED IN A VERY SYSTEMATIC AND APPROPRIATE WAY THE THINGS THAT WILL LOWER COSTS. THE THINGS THAT WILL LOWER COSTS LIKE INCREASING COMPETITION SO THAT WE HAVE THE BEST PRODUCT FOR DRIVERS. MAKING SURE THAT CONSUMERS HAVE CHOICE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Phillips says SO THAT THEY HAVE CHOICE IN TERMS OF THE PRODUCTS THAT THEY CAN CHOOSE FROM. AND THAT THEY CAN MAKE DECISIONS THAT MAKE SENSE FOR THEM. WE'VE LAUNCHED THE NEW FSRA, NEW REGULATOR COMMITTEE WHICH IS WORK WITH THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY, WORKING WITH ADVOCATES, WORK, WITH THE ASSESSMENT INDUSTRY, WORKING WITH THE TRIAL LAWYERS BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY WORKING WITH DRIVERS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PRODUCTS OFFER A CHOICE FOR CONSUMERS AND THAT THAT WILL BE THE KEY TO ADDRESSING THIS RATE PROBLEM AND WE'LL HAVE MORE TO SAY ABOUT THAT IN THE WEEKS AND MONTHS TO COME.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Rakocevic says SPEAKER, I SUBMIT THAT THEIR AUTO INSURANCE BLUEPRINT IS THE SAME SHADE OF BLUE AS THE LICENCE PLATES. IT'S NONEXISTENT. WE CAN'T SEE IT. BUT THANKS AGAIN. DR. FRED LAZAR, ECONOMIST FROM THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS RECENTLY RELEASED A REPORT WHICH FOUND ONTARIO DRIVERS MAY HAVE OVERPAID ON AUTO INSURANCE BY AT LEAST 5.6 BILLION DOLLARS BETWEEN 2011 AND 2018. YET THE MOST RECENT ONTARIO ROAD SAFETY ANNUAL REPORT REVEALED... AND THIS IS IMPORTANT... THAT THE NUMBER OF INJURIES ON ONTARIO ROADWAYS WERE AT THEIR SECOND LOWEST SINCE 1964. IN FACT, FOR THE LAST 18 YEARS, ONTARIO HAS HAD THE FEWEST ROAD FATALITIES IN ALL OF NORTH AMERICA. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT WHEN ONTARIO DRIVERS ARE AMONG THE SAFEOS IN NORTH AMERICA BUT ARE PAYING THE HIGHEST AUTO INSURANCE RATES. I GUESS THAT'S JUST TORY MATH. SO CAN THE PREMIER TELL US WHY...
The Speaker says QUESTION.

Rakocevic says CONTINUING THE FAILED LIBERAL LEGACY OF GOUGING ONTARIO'S DRIVERS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Phillips says MR. SPEAKER, AND I'M HAPPY TO PROVIDE A LITTLE BIT MORE BACKGROUND FOR THE MEMBER WHO MIGHT NOT REMEMBER IT WAS THE N.D.P. GOVERNMENT THAT BROUGHT IN THE NO-FAULT PROGRAM.

[INTERJECTIONS]

Phillips says MR. SPEAKER, THE NO-FAULT PROGRAM THAT STILL CHOSE TO INCLUDE, INTERESTINGLY, MR. LAZAR OF COURSE IS WORKING FOR THE TRIAL LAWYERS WHO CONTINUE TO...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Phillips says WITHIN THAT FAILED SYSTEM, MR. SPEAKER. THERE WAS THE BEGINNING, THE BEGINNING OF ALMOST TWO DECADES OF A FAILED APPROACH, AN APPROACH THAT WE'RE CORRECTING BY MAKING SURE, AS I SAID, MR. SPEAKER, THAT WE OFFER CONSUMERS MORE CHOICE, THAT WE UNDERSTAND THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE IMPORTANT RIGHTS OF VICTIMS BUT ALSO THE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT A NO-FAULT SYSTEM WORKS. SO, MR. SPEAKER, THAT'S WHAT THE BLUEPRINT LAYS OUT AND WE'LL BE CONTINUING TO MAKE PROGRESS ON THAT OFFERING CHOICE FOR CONSUMERS, MAKING SURE THAT THERE'S COMPETITION WITHIN THE INSURANCE MARKET.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Phillips says MAKING SURE THAT THE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM, AGAIN A LEGACY OF THAT FAILED NO FAULT SYSTEM, IS CORRECTED SO THAT DRIVERS CAN BE TREATED FAIRLY AND WE PUT DRIVERS FIRST.

Interjection: HEAR, HEAR!

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Milton.

The caption changes to "Parm Gill. PC. Milton."

Gill is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short-cropped black hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and striped gray tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF HEALTH. MR. SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT IS TAKING HALLWAY HEALTH CARE SERIOUSLY. WE ARE GETTH OUR HOSPITAL THE RESOURCES THEY NEED, LIKE THIS YEAR'S 384 MILLION DOLLAR INCREASE IN FUNDING. OUR GOVERNMENT ALSO INVESTED 68 MILLION DOLLARS IN SMALL, MEDIUM AND MULTISITE HOSPITALS TO START ADDRESSING THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT'S INADEQUATE FUNDING FORMULA. PATIENTS NEED MORE OPTIONS TO RECEIVE THE CARE THEY NEED. ONE SUCH OPTION, MR. SPEAKER, IS HOME CARE, WHERE PATIENTS WHO ARE WELL ENOUGH TO LEAVE THE HOSPITAL BUT STILL NEED ASSISTANCE WITH SOME DAY-TO-DAY TASKS. CAN THE MINISTER TELL THIS HOUSE ABOUT THE ISSUES SOME PATIENTS ARE CURRENTLY FACING?

The Speaker says PREMIER. MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO THE MEMBER FOR MILTON FOR YOUR QUESTION. CURRENTLY THOSE SEEKING HOME CARE CAN FACE MULTIPLE ASSESSMENTS AND LONG WAITS. THAT'S WHY OUR GOVERNMENT PLANS TO BRING IN AN OUTDATED SYSTEM DESIGNED IN THE 1990S INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, BY INTEGRATING HOME CARE WITH THE REST OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. IT'S CLEAR THAT WE NEED HOME CARE TO HELP US END HALLWAY HEALTH CARE. ONE REASON THE HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE SYSTEM IS NOT MEETING OUR NEEDS IS BECAUSE OUTDATED, RIGID LEGISLATION IS CREATING NEEDLESS BARRIERS TO CARE AND STIFLING INNOVATION. WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION. RIGHT NOW, FAR TOO MANY PATIENTS FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS OR ARE LEFT TRYING TO NAVIGATE THE SYSTEM ON THEIR OWN. OUR GOVERNMENT'S APPROACH WILL PUT PATIENTS FIRST.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Elliott says AND HELP THEM TO GET THE CONNECTED AND RESPONSIVE HOME CARE THAT THEY NEED.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Gill says THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MINISTER, FOR YOUR WORK ON THIS FILE. I'M HAPPY TO HEAR THAT OUR GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES THESE ISSUES AND THAT WE'RE TAKING ACTION. UNDERSTANDING THESE ISSUES WITH COORDINATION AND CURRENTLY VERY RESTRICTIVE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK, IT IS CLEAR THAT A NEW APPROACH IS NEEDED. WE HAVE CONSULTED ACROSS MANY SECTORS TO FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR OTHER ISSUES FACING OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, AND HOME CARE IS NO DIFFERENT. CAN THE MINISTER TELL THIS HOUSE MORE ABOUT OUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF HOME CARE AND HOW TO IMPROVE THE SYSTEM SO THAT THESE LONG-STANDING PROBLEMS ARE FINALLY RESOLVED?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER?

Elliott says THANK YOU AGAIN TO THE MEMBER FOR YOUR QUESTION. WE WANT OUR HOME CARE SYSTEM TO PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE CARE TO ANYONE IN ONTARIO WHO NEEDS IT. WE INTEND TO TAKE ACTION ON A NUMBER OF FRONTS, INCLUDING THE LAUNCH OF THE LOCAL ONTARIO HEALTH TEAMS, TO AID IN THE COORDINATION OF CARE. OUR GOVERNMENT WILL SEEK TO MAKE TARGETED FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS AND MODERNIZE THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THE WE HAVE TO ADDRESS HUMAN RESOURCE SHORTAGES IN THE HOME CARE SECTOR BY MAKING SURE OUR PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKERS ARE ABLE TO MAKE THE BEST POSSIBLE USE OF THEIR TIME AND THEIR SKILLS. OUR GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO ADVANCE EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE ISSUES FACING OUR HOME CARE SECTOR RIGHT NOW. I LOOK FORWARD TO PROVIDING MORE DETAILS ON THE CHANGES TO OUR HOME CARE SYSTEM LATER TODAY. THANK YOU, SPEAKER.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE NEXT question. The member for KITCHENER CENTRE.

THE CAPTION CHANGES TO "LAURA MAE LINDO. NDP. KITCHENER CENTRE."

Lindo is in her thirties, with long highlighted hair in thin dreads. She wears a black headband and a checkered yellow blazer.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. PREMIER, I'D LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT ONE OF MY CONSTITUENTS, GORDON MCDONALD. GORDON IS A SENIOR LIVING IN KITCHENER WHO'S BEEN DRIVING SINCE HE WAS 16 YEARS OLD. HE IS A GOOD DRIVER AND DOESN'T HAVE ANY DRIVING OFFENCES MUCH HE WAS SHOCKED WHEN HE WENT TO RENEW HIS AUTO INSURANCE THIS YEAR AND HIS INSURER WANTED TO INCREASE HIS RATES BY 21 percent.

Interjection: WHOA.

Lindo says THAT'S HUNDREDS OF EXTRA DOLLARS A YEAR GORDON WILL HAVE TO PAY OUT OF POCKET FOR AUTO INSURANCE EVEN THOUGH ONTARIO ALREADY HAS HIGHEST RATES IN THE COUNTRY. DOES THE PREMIER THINK IT'S ACCEPTABLE THAT GORDON IS SEEING HIS AUTO INSURANCE RATES GO UP BY 21 percent IN ONE YEAR?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF FINANCE TO REPLY.

Phillips says MR. SPEAKER, RISING AUTO INSURANCE RATES ARE AN ISSUE FOR PEOPLE IN ONTARIO. AND THAT'S WHY THIS GOVERNMENT HAS PUT FORWARD A BLUEPRINT A PLAN TO ADDRESS THEM. THE ORIGINS OF THAT ISSUE ARE THE FAILED POLICIES OF THE FORMER NEW DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT...

[INTERJECTIONS]

Phillips says WHO HAD YOUR FAILED APPROACH TO NO FAULT INSURANCE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Phillips says AND IT GOES BACK THAT FAR. WHEN THEIR POLICIES FAILED TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES. FOLLOWING ON BY THE PREVIOUS LIBERAL GOVERNMENT, WHO TIME AND AGAIN, TIME AND AGAIN CUT BENEFITS AND TRIED TO SOLVE THE SYSTEM ON THE BACKS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE INJURED. MR. SPEAKER, OUR PLAN IS A PLAN THAT WILL WORK. OUR PLAN IS A PLAN THAT FOCUSES ON INCREASING COMPETITION WITHIN SECTOR, INCREASING CHOICE FOR DRIVERS SO THAT WE CAN DEAL WITH THE ISSUES LIKE THE MEMBER HAS ADDRESSED. BUT THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT HAS ITS ORIGIN, YES, DECADES AGO AND IT'S A PROBLEM THAT WE'RE GOING TO FIX.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Phillips says WITH A PLAN THAT FOCUSES ON DRIVERS AND WHAT'S RIGHT FOR DRIVERS.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Lindo says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. AND BACK TO THE PREMIER. THE PROVINCE APPROVES ALL AUTO INSURANCE RATE INCREASES. THE GOVERNMENT HAS THE ABILITY TO KEEP RATES FROM THE GOING UP BUT CHOOSES NOT TO. IN FACT, THIS CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT JUST APPROVED A RATE INCREASE AS HIGH AS 11 percent FOR THIS YEAR DESPITE CAMPAIGNING ON A PROMISE TO LOWER AUTO INSURANCE RATES. ONTARIANS HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE. WHEN THE LIBERALS PROMISED TO REDUCE AUTO INSURANCE RATES BY 15 percent AND FAILED, THEY TURNED AROUND AND CALLED IT A STRETCH GOAL. WHY IS THIS CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT CONTINUING THE LIBERALS' DISASTROUS RECORD ON AUTO INSURANCE?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER.

Phillips says MR. SPEAKER, THIS GOVERNMENT IS FOCUSED ON FIXING THIS PROBLEM. THIS GOVERNMENT IS FOCUSED ON MAKING SURE THAT OUR PLAN DEALS WITH THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS BY MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE MORE COMPETITION IN OUR MARKET AND MORE CHOICE FOR DRIVERS. BUT, MR. SPEAKER, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SUGGESTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE OPPOSITION, THE SUGGESTIONS FOR INSTANCE MADE BY THE MEMBER FOR BRAMPTON EAST. THESE ARE SUGGESTIONS NOT UNLIKE SUGGESTIONS THAT WE INTERVENE WITH AN INDEPENDENT REGULATOR, WHICH I'M SURE ISN'T WHAT THE MEMBER WAS SUGGESTING. BUT SUGGESTIONS THAT WOULD HAVE INCREASED RATES BECAUSE THEY AREN'T THOUGHTFUL. THEY AREN'T THOUGHTFUL ABOUT THE PROBLEM. MR. SPEAKER, WE WILL ADDRESS AUTO INSURANCE RATES. WE'LL ADDRESS IT WITH A PLAN THAT MAKES SENSE AND WE MAY ADDRESS IT WITH A PLAN THAT'S SUSTAINABLE NOT LIKE THE PREVIOUS LIBERAL GOVERNMENT THAT SAID THEY WERE GOING TO FIX THE PROBLEM AND RATES KEPT GOING UP AND NOT LIKE THE N.D.P. THAT CREATED THE FOUNDATION OF THE PROBLEM WE HAVE TODAY.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Chatham-Kent-Leamington.

The caption changes to "Rick Nicholls. PC. Chatham-Kent-Leamington."

Nicholls is in his fifties with short white hair and a goatee. He wears glasses, a light gray suit, white shirt, and checkered tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND FORESTRY. AS WAS MENTIONED YESTERDAY...

The Speaker says ORDER.

Nicholls says INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK ACROSS THE PROVINCE. MANY OF US HAVE IN FACT ENCOUNTERED PROBLEMS WITH INVASIVE SPECIES IN OUR RIDINGS. INVASIVE SPECIES POSE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO ONTARIO'S BIODIVERSITY, RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND TOURISM. CAN THE MINISTER INFORM US OF WHAT THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND FORESTRY IS DOING TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND FORESTRY.

The caption changes to "Honourable John Yakabuski. PC. Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry."

Yakabuski is in his early sixties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears a gray suit, blue shirt, and checkered blue tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. AND THANK YOU TO THE GREAT MEMBER FROM CHATHAM-KENT LEAMINGTON FOR THAT QUESTION. AND I'D LIKE TO UPDATE THE HOUSE. THIS IS INVASIVE SPECIES WEEK AND I'D LIKE TO UPDATE THE HOUSE ON WHAT WE'RE DOING. OUR GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO PROTECTTH ONTARIO'S ENVIRONMENT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WHEN IT COMES TO IBB VASE... INVASIVE SPECIES IS PREVENTION. THAT'S WHY EARLIER THIS MONTH WE PROPOSED TO ADD 13 NEW SPECIES TO THE INVASIVE SPECIES LIST. BY ADDING THESE SPECIES, MY MINISTRY WILL BE ABLE TO DEVELOP PREVENTION AND RESPONSE PLANS SO THAT QUICK ACTION CAN BE TAKEN TO CONTROL AND MANAGE THREATS AS THEY ARISE. LAST YEAR ALONE, OUR GOVERNMENT INVESTED OVER 2 MILLION DOLLARS IN INVASIVE SPECIES PROGRAMS AND EDUCATION. THESE FUNDS GO TO SUPPORT ONGOING RESEARCH, MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE SPECIES ACROSS THE PROVINCE. AND I'LL HAVE MORE TO SAY IN THE SUPPLEMENTARY. THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Nicholls says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. THANK YOU TO THE MINISTER FOR THAT ANSWER. MR. SPEAKER, IT'S GREAT TO SEE WHAT SMART, PRAGMATIC WORK OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO PROTECT AND CONSERVE OUR ENVIRONMENT. INITIATIVES LIKE THIS ARE AN EXAMPLE OF THE WAY IN WHICH WE ARE WORKING TO MAKE CHANGES THAT ARE GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, GOOD FOR OUR COMMUNITIES AND GOOD FOR OUR ECONOMY. I NOTICED THAT WILD PIGS ARE AMONG THE LIST OF SPECIES UNDER CONSIDERATION. NOW I KNOW THAT WE DON'T HAVE A MAJOR WILD PIG PROBLEM IN ONTARIO, BUT AGAIN OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOT TAKING THE RISK THIS SPECIES POSES LIGHTLY. COULD THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THE MEMBERSS OF THIS HOUSE WHAT MEASURES WE ARE ALREADY TAKING TO PREVENT A WILD PIG POPULATION FROM ESTABLISHING IN OUR PROVINCE?

The Speaker says MINISTER TO REPLY.

Yakabuski says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. AND THANKS AGAIN TO THE MEMBER FOR THAT VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, PREVENTION IS THE KEY WHEN DEALING WITH INVASIVE SPECIES. SINCE THE FALL OF 2018, WE'VE BEEN ASKING THE PUBLIC TO REPORT WILD PIG SIGHTINGS. THIS PLAY AS CRITICAL ROLE IN UNDERSTANDING THE LOCATIONS AND NUMBER OF WILD PIGS IN THE PROVINCE, AND WILL INFORM FUTURE ACTION. EARLIER THIS YEAR, MY MINISTRY LAUNCHED A PILOT PROJECT, WHICH INCLUDES ON-THE-GROUND FOLLOW-UP IN AREAS WHERE REPORTS SUGGEST THERE'S A HIGH LIKELIHOOD THAT WILD PIGS ARE PRESENT. AT THESE LOCATIONS, MINISTRY STAFF ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGING WITH LANDOWNERS TO LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND USING TRAIL CAMERAS TO CONFIRM THESE REPORTS. BY ADDING TO THE LIST OF INVASIVE SPECIES.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Yakabuski says MY MINISTRY HAS FURTHER TOOLS AT ITS DISPOSAL TO REGULATE, PREVENT AND RESPOND AS THREATS EMERGE. THANK YOU, SPEAKER.

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Waterloo.

The caption changes to "Catherine Fife. NDP. Waterloo."

Fife is in her late forties, with straight brown hair in a bob. She wears glasses, a black blazer and a white blouse.

She says THANK YOU. MY QUESTION'S TO THE PREMIER. THE GOVERNMENT'S EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO AND OW AND ODSP EMPLOYMENT SERVICES PILOT PROGRAM HAS PROVIDED EXTREME CONCERN ABOUT THE QUALITY OF SERVICES AND POTENTIAL JOB LOSSES. IN HAMILTON NIAGARA, A FOREIGN-OWNED COMPANY WILL TAKE OVER AND IN PEEL, A FOREIGN FOR-PROFIT COMPANY WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EMPLOYMENT SERVICES. NO MUNICIPAL PARTNERS WERE SELECTED CAUSING AMO TO RAISE THEIR CONCERNS. BECAUSE OF THE PILOT THE CITY OF BRANTFORD IS PREPARING TO LAY OFF STAFF, TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY WE KNOW THAT SIMILAR PRIVATIZATION PROGRAMS IN AUSTRALIA ANT U.K. DID NOT WORK. IN AUSTRALIA, FOR-PROFIT EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS WERE DESCRIBED BY THEIR OWN SENATE AS BEING NOT WELFARE TO WORK BUT WELFARE TO NOWHERE. DID THE GOVERNMENT CONSIDER THE LOCAL JOB LOSSES AND FAILED PRIVATIZATION PROGRAMS IN AUSTRALIA AND THE U.K. BEFORE CHOOSING THE HAMILTON NIAGARA AND PEEL PROVIDERS?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LABOUR, TRAINING.

The caption changes to "Honourable Monte McNaughton. PC. Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development."

McNaughton is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with receding short brown hair. He wears glasses, a black suit, white shirt, and blue tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER, AND THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THE QUESTION. MR. SPEAKER, MY TOP PRIORITY, THE GOVERNMENT'S TOP PRIORITY, IS TO HELP PEOPLE FIND JOBS IN ONTARIO. AND IT'S CLEAR, MR. SPEAKER, THAT, WHEN IT COMES TO OUR UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE PROVINCE, WE'VE GOT TO GET THIS RIGHT AND DO A BETTER JOB. MR. SPEAKER, BACK IN 2016, THE AUDITOR GENERAL MADE THAT VERY CLEAR. SHE SAID THE SYSTEM CLEARLY ISN'T WORKING. ONE OF THE MAJOR STATISTICS THAT I FIND UNACCEPTABLE, MR. SPEAKER, AND I QUESTION WHY THE OPPOSITION WOULD DEFEND IT, IS THE FACT THAT EVERY SINGLE MONTH, MR. SPEAKER, ONLY 1 percent OF PEOPLE THAT ARE ON ODSP AND O.W. ARE GETTING OFF THOSE SYSTEMS, MR. SPEAKER...

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says AT A TIME, MR. SPEAKER, WHEN 200,000 JOBS ARE GOING UNFILLED.

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

McNaughton says EVERY SINGLE DAY. WE'RE NOT GOING TO DEFEND THE STATUS QUO. WE NEED CHANGE WHEN IT COMES TO EMPLOYMENT SERVICES IN THE PROVINCE. BUT, MR. SPEAKER, WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO HELP PEOPLE PUT...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. SUPPLEMENTARY question. The member for Windsor West.

The caption changes to "Lisa Gretzky. NDP. Windsor West."

Gretzky is in her forties, with shoulder-length straight reddish brown hair. She wears glasses, a yellow blazer and a printed white blouse.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. BACK TO THE PREMIER. EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO, ODSP AND O.W. ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY SUPPORTING THE PEOPLE WHO RELY ON THOSE SERVICES. BUT THE SOLUTION ISN'T JUST TO SELL THEM OFF TO FOREIGN CONDITIONS AT THE EXPENSE OF TAXPAYERS AND VULNERABLE PEOPLE. THESE COMPANIES WILL PUSH PEOPLE INTO PRECARIOUS LOW WAGE JOBS BECAUSE THEIR BOTTOM LINE IS PROFITS, NOT PEOPLE. THEY GET PAID WHEN A JOB MATCH IS MADE EVEN IF IT'S AN INAPPROPRIATE MATCH. SEDCAP, THE NEW HAMILTON NIAGARA PROVIDER, WAS INVESTIGATED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR IN 2018, FOR FAILING TO PROPERLY PAY THEIR EMPLOYEES. SHORTING BENEFITS AND ILLEGALLY DEDUCTING FEES FROM PAY CHEQUES. THEY WERE ORDERED TO PAY ALMOST 3 MILLION DOLLARS TO 440 EMPLOYEES IN 17 WORK ALREADY PLACES.

Interjection: WOW.

The Speaker says QUESTION.

Gretzky says THEY SWINDLED THEIR ONLY EMPLOYEES AND THEIR CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT HAS PUT THEM IN CHARGE OF FINDING JOBS FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN OUR PROVINCE. WILL THE PREMIER ADMITS THIS IS YET ANOTHER ILL CONCEIVED COSTLY MISTAKE FROM HIS CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT?

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says MEMBERS WILL COME TO ORDER. MINISTER OF LABOUR TO REPLY.

McNaughton says WELL, MR. SPEAKER, LET ME AGAIN BE VERY CLEAR THAT THE AUDITOR GENERAL HIGHLIGHTED WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING FOR 15 YEARS IN THIS PROVINCE. MR. SPEAKER, EVERY SINGLE MONTH IN THE PROVINCE.

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says THERE'S ONE MILLION PEOPLE ON ODSP AND O.W., AND ONLY 1 percent OF THEM ARE FINDING A MEANINGFUL JOB, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says OPPOSITION, COME TO ORDER.

McNaughton says THE SYSTEM FOR THESE PEOPLE. MR. SPEAKER, UNLIKE THE CURRENT SYSTEM, THE THREE SUCCESSFUL PRO POENTS WILL ACTUALLY RECEIVE FUNDING BASED ON THEIR RESULTS. IT WILL BE A PERFORMANCE-BASED SYSTEM. MR. SPEAKER, THE AUDITOR GENERAL...

The Speaker says ORDER.

McNaughton says ALSO TOLD US THAT THE CURRENT SYSTEM.

The Speaker says MEMBER FOR WINDSOR WEST, COME TO ORDER.

McNaughton says PEOPLE IN THE PROVINCE, ALSO HIGHLIGHTED THAT 40 PROVIDERS MISSED THEIR TARGETS AND ONLY FOUR OF THOSE PROVIDERS ACTUALLY HAD THEIR FUNDING REDUCED. MR. SPEAKER, THIS IS...

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

McNaughton says THAT'S BEEN DEFENDED BY THE N.D.P., BY THE FORMER GOVERNMENT FOR DECADES. IT'S CLEARLY FAILED THEIR MOST VULNERABLE. WE WANT EVERYONE IN ONTARIO TO SHARE IN THE PROSPERITY THAT'S HAPPENING.

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[APPLAUSE]

The Speaker says THAT CONCLUDES OUR QUESTION... ORDER.

Watch: Question Period: Tuesday, February 25, 2020