Queen’s Park Returns for Spring Session

MPPs return to Queen’s Park this week for the spring legislative session. Here is a summary of some of the issues that may dominate the legislature’s spring sitting:

Municipal Policy: When the legislature returns debate will resume for second reading of Bill 68, the Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, which introduces a number of changes to the Municipal Act (MA) and Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA). For more information you can find a summary of the changes here, as well as annotated versions of the MA and MCIA, as they would be amended by the current draft of Bill 68.

AMCTO is still reviewing the bill and working with its members to develop a set of proposed changes to the legislation. We will continue to share more information as it becomes available.

In addition to Bill 68, there are a number of other pieces of a municipally-relevant legislation still on the order paper, including:

The government is also expected to table changes to the Conservation Authorities Act, and the Ontario Municipal Board during the spring.

Provincial Budget: The government will likely use its 2017 budget to outline many of its policy priorities and new programs for the next year. This year’s budget is also likely to be Ontario’s first balanced budget in a number of years.

Hydro Prices: Hydro prices have become one of the most contentious political issues in Ontario, and are expected to continue to dominate the debate, as the opposition parties continue ramp up their criticism of the government. Polling from Nanos indicates that hydro prices are top of mind for most resident of the province as well:

hydro

Last September the liberals announced a new 8-per-cent rebate. Nevertheless,  Premier Wynne announced that the government is going to introduce an additional “package of changes” before the 2017 budget.

Heathcare: There are a number of developments surrounding healthcare in Ontario also likely to consume significant attention during the spring months. Ontario is one of the only remaining provinces still to negotiate a new funding agreement with the federal government. The province is also still locked in contentious contract negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), still working on folding Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) into the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), and continuing its push restrain on healthcare spending.

There are a two health-related pieces of legislation still on the order paper:

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