September 23, 2016

It is a great pleasure and distinct honour to continue serving as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. As we mark the mid-point of our mandate, we have a strong and new Cabinet, and are poised to redouble our efforts to deliver on our top priority — creating jobs and growth. Guided by our balanced plan to build Ontario up for everyone, we will continue to work together to deliver real benefits and more inclusive growth that will help people in their everyday lives.

We embark on this important part of our mandate knowing that our four-part economic plan is working — we are making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, making postsecondary education more affordable and accessible, leading the transition to a low-carbon economy and the fight against climate change, and building retirement security for workers.

Building on our ambitious and activist agenda, and with a focus on implementing our economic plan, we will continue to forge partnerships with businesses, educators, labour, communities, the not-for-profit sector and with all Ontarians to foster economic growth and to make a genuine, positive difference in people’s lives. Collaboration and active listening remain at the heart of the work we undertake on behalf of the people of Ontario — these are values that ensure a common purpose, stimulate positive change and help achieve desired outcomes. With this in mind, I will work closely with my Cabinet colleagues to deliver positive results on initiatives that cut across several ministries, such as our Climate Change Action Plan, Business Growth Initiative, and the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy. I will also collaborate with the Minister Responsible for Digital Government to drive digital transformation across government and modernize public service delivery.

We have made tangible progress and we have achieved the following key results:

  • Reached a historic agreement in principle on June 20, 2016, to enhance the Canadian Pension Plan.
  • A renewed productive relationship with federal partners particularly in the areas of climate change, removing internal trade barriers and infrastructure investment.
  • Promoted Ontario’s strengths in priority international markets including China, Hong Kong, India, Israel and the West Bank and the United States.
  • Led Ontario’s efforts on the international stage in the battle against climate change, including participation in the historic UN climate change summit in Paris.
  • Worked with national Indigenous partners to help foster continued economic growth and positive impact on the lives of all Ontarians.
  • Introduced important reforms to our election financing practices to ensure a more transparent and equitable approach to our democratic process.
  • Continued to advance Ontario’s strategic partnership and intergovernmental priorities with Québec through annual joint meetings of Cabinet ministers.

My mandate as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is to work collaboratively across government on all matters of both national and provincial significance and to provide support for the government’s ongoing efforts to provide leadership and strengthen partnerships to build a better social union for all Canadians, as well as advance Ontario’s interests for a more efficient, more effective and competitive economic union that allows Canadians to thrive:

Building on the Positive and Productive Relationship with the Federal Government

  • Working with lead Ontario ministers and provincial partners to engage the federal government on key priorities, including:
    • CPP enhancement.
    • Finalization of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
    • Predictable and adequate infrastructure funding.
    • Climate change and a nation-wide price for carbon that supports our cap-and-trade system.
    • Support for training and re-training of Ontario workers.
    • Progress in the Ring of Fire.
    • Greater federal health funding that helps address cost pressures and maintain a sustainable health care system.
    • Economic development in Indigenous communities.
  • Formalizing engagement with the federal government through active involvement in the development of national frameworks on climate change, innovation, housing and early learning and child care initiatives that support Ontario’s priorities.

Working with Indigenous Partners and the Federal Government to Address Immediate Crises and Outline Areas Where There is an Opportunity to Address Long-term Structural Challenges

  • Working with ministers and collaborating with the federal government and Indigenous partners on key priorities including:
  • Improving the quality of drinking water for First Nations, including through federal funding for on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Identifying potential investments including for on-reserve mental health, addiction and healing centres, nursing stations and sustained broadband connectivity.
  • Moving forward with plans to reduce reliance on diesel as a source for electricity generation in remote First Nations communities.
  • Exploring opportunities to address the on-reserve housing gap and ensuring the federal government delivers on its responsibilities in this area.
  • Supporting the creation of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial-Indigenous forum, and providing leadership to this new organization as a co-chair.
  • Supporting the federal government’s national public inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

Working with Other Premiers to Strengthen Our Economic Union, Including Reducing Trade Barriers

  • Working to finalize the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement to promote trade, investment and labour mobility across provincial and territorial boundaries.
  • Continuing to make progress on shared priorities with Québec, including working with the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth to implement the Trade and Co-operation Agreement between Ontario and Québec.
  • Continuing to advance shared priorities with Alberta, including on the implementation of a Canadian Energy Strategy.

Reforming the Elections Process to Enhance its Fairness and Integrity

  • Modernizing political contribution rules through amendments to the Election Finances Act.
  • Introducing legislative amendments to the Election Act that will improve the voting process for electors.

Promoting Ontario’s Strengths Internationally

  • Working with the Minister of International Trade to ensure missions to Japan and Korea in fall 2016 lead to new opportunities for investment in Ontario.
  • Working with the federal government to implement the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with the European Union and to secure a good deal for Ontario under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
  • Support a Canada’s Premiers’ mission to Europe in spring 2017.

In addition to the priority activities above, I will deliver results for Ontarians by driving progress in the following areas:

  • Review work with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on Ontario’s Immigration Strategy, including the Ontario Immigration Act and the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, and to help newcomers integrate successfully into their communities and workplaces.
  • Review work with ministry partners to support the implementation of a Canadian Energy Strategy while advancing the Climate Change Action Plan.
  • Engage the Great Lakes Governors in the United States, as our number one trading partner.

Taking action on the recommendations contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is a priority for our government. That is why we released The Journey Together, a document that serves as a blueprint for making our government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a reality. As we move forward with the implementation of the report, I will work with my fellow Cabinet members, in co-operation with our Indigenous partners, to help achieve real and measurable change for Indigenous communities.

Having made significant progress over the past year in implementing our community hubs strategy, my Cabinet colleagues and I will ensure that the Premier’s Special Advisor on Community Hubs and the Community Hubs Secretariat, at the Ministry of Infrastructure, are given the support they need to continue their vital cross-government work aimed at making better use of public properties, encouraging multi-use spaces and helping communities create financially sustainable hub models.

Responsible fiscal management remains an overarching priority for our government — a priority echoed strongly in our 2016 Budget. Thanks to our disciplined approach to the province’s finances over the past two years, we are on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017–18, which will also lower the province’s debt-to-GDP ratio. Yet this is not the moment to rest on our past accomplishments: it is essential that we work collaboratively across every sector of government to support evidence-based decision-making to ensure programs and services are effective, efficient and sustainable, in order to balance the budget by 2017–18, maintain balance in 2018–19, and position the province for longer-term fiscal sustainability.

Marathon runners will tell you that an event’s halfway mark is an opportunity to reflect on progress made — but they will also tell you that it is the ideal moment to concentrate more intently and to move decisively forward. At this halfway mark of this government’s mandate, we will build on the momentum that we have successfully achieved over the past two years, to work in tandem with our fellow ministers to advance our economic plan and to ensure that Ontario remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.

I look forward to working to build opportunity and prosperity for all Ontarians.

Kathleen Wynne signature

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne