On September 8, the Premier prorogued the legislature, which ends a session of Parliament and has the effect of terminating all outstanding business before the House. However, the government will resume the next session as planned on September 12, beginning with a Throne Speech delivered by the Lieutenant Governor. The government will reintroduce all government bills that had not reached Royal Assent in order for debate to continue.
On September 1, Progressive Conservative candidate Raymond Cho won the Scarborough-Rouge River provincial by-election, held to replace former Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon. Cho will be sworn in the week of September 12. No election date has been called for the other vacant Liberal seat held by Madeleine Meilleur, who resigned from her Ottawa-Vanier riding after the June cabinet shuffle. Another by-election will have to be called as former PC leader Tim Hudak has announced he will resign from his seat on September 16.
Other recent items of interest include:
- On August 24, The premier announced a new post for Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris. Naidoo-Harris is now the Associate Minister of Education for Early Years and Child Care.
- On August 24, the Ministry of Education shared information with the sector about the government’s “public and stakeholder consultation to develop and create a broad policy on how ministries collect, use, retain and display sex and gender information on public-facing government forms and products.” Any new policy could have an impact on how school boards collect similar information. Click here if you wish to participate in the online survey which concludes September 16, 2016.
- On August 12, 2016, the Ministry of Infrastructure released a one-year progress report from the Community Hubs Framework Advisory Group. The report looks at progress made on the 27 recommendations in the province’s community hubs framework, acknowledging progress in expanding the list of organizations that can bid on surplus school property, thanks to a regulation change, and in the creation of a public inventory of surplus property through the government’s Open Data initiative. The advisory group said it is looking towards a framework that will help decide when a sale of property may align better with public interest than a further government investment in the space. Beginning this fall, the province is also streamlining its transfer payment program so recipients can receive transfer payments from multiple ministries via one online portal.
- On August 8, 2016, the Ministry of Education announced it will keep all provincial and demonstration schools for children with special needs open. The ministry began consultations on the cost of the schools and froze enrollment in spring 2016, leading to speculation they would be closed. The announcement also includes a pilot project to help school boards provide students with severe learning disabilities with support in their local communities. The ministry also pledged to create a reference group to improve support for students who are Deaf.