Premier Ford has shuffled his Cabinet, and Merrilee Fullerton is out as the Minister of Long-Term Care following the death of almost 4,000 long-term care residents during the pandemic.
Moving into the post of Long-Term Care is Rod Phillips, who was forced to resign his Cabinet post as Finance Minister last December following a much maligned trip to St. Barts. Fullerton becomes Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
Fullerton has been criticized for her handling of the crisis in the province’s long-term care homes, with Opposition leader Andrea Horwath calling for her resignation earlier this year. Premier Doug Ford supported Fullerton in the role, despite a scathing report by an LTC commission saying “there was no plan.”
One high-profile Cabinet Minister who is keeping their job is Stephen Lecce who will remain Minister of Education. As well, all the major players during the pandemic with the exception of Fullerton are keeping their existing posts, including Health Minister Christine Elliott, and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton.
Out of cabinet is Jeff Yurek – Minister of Energy, John Yakabuski – Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Ernie Hardeman – Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Also leaving Cabinet is Laurie Scott, the former Minister of Infrastructure. Replacing her is Kinga Surma. David Piccini is in as Environment Minister and Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, MPP for Brampton South, becomes President of the Treasury Board.
Lisa Thompson is the new Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, assumes a merged role as Minister of Northern Development, Mining, Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as Indigenous Affairs.
Here’s the full list of who is moving to what Cabinet position.
- Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North, becomes Minister of Colleges and Universities
- Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata-Carleton, becomes Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
- Parm Gill, MPP for Milton, becomes Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
- Rod Phillips, MPP for Ajax, becomes Minister of Long-Term Care
- David Piccini, MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, becomes Minister of Environment
- Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, assumes a merged role as Minister of Northern Development, Mining, Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as Indigenous Affairs. This new northern and economic focused ministry will enhance development potential and sustainability in the North. Energy will transfer to a new separate ministry.
- Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, becomes Minister of Energy
- Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, becomes Minister of Government and Consumer Services
- Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, MPP for Brampton South, becomes President of the Treasury Board
- Kinga Surma, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, becomes Minister of Infrastructure
- Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron Bruce, becomes Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Stan Cho, MPP for Willowdale, becomes Associate Minister of Transportation, reporting to Minister Mulroney
- Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, becomes Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, reporting to Minister Fullerton
- Nina Tangri, MPP for Mississauga Streetsville, becomes Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape, reporting to Minister Fedeli
- Kaleed Rasheed, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville, becomes Associate Minister of Digital Government, reporting to Minister Bethlenfalvy
Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge and Minister of Finance, will assume responsibility for Ontario’s digital government strategy within the Ministry of Finance.
The shuffle has already been critiqued by many, including Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario President Sam Hammond. He says if Premier Ford and Minister Lecce want to help students, “they must begin by addressing their mistakes, rolling back education cuts, working towards a safe school reopening in the fall, and giving up their plan to make online learning permanent.”
Liberal MPP Stephen Blais of Orléans also thinks keeping Minister Lecce in his position is a bad idea. He says by keeping him, and Health Minister Elliott in their positions, “Ford is rewarding the two people that share responsibility with him for one of the most incompetent responses to COVID-19 in the western world.”