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Here's what to expect as MPPs return to Queen's Park

After a contentious summer, Members of Provincial Parliament will be returning to Queen’s Park for the fall session of the Ontario Legislature this week.

The Doug Ford government has let a few hints slip as to what they are planning in the coming months and will likely come prepared to table new legislation after a longer-than usual summer break.

Here’s what to expect:


The summer release of two bombshell reports on the government’s decision to develop parts of the Greenbelt have led to resignations, policy shifts, and a cabinet shuffle.

The reports stem from a November 2022 decision in which the Ontario government announced it would be removing 7,400 acres of protected green space and opening it up for housing.

Both the province’s auditor general and the integrity commissioner found in their reviews that a lack of supervision and leadership led to certain developers with ties to the housing ministry gaining an advantage in the selection process.

The reports were damning and painted a bleak picture of how government decisions were made. The integrity commissioner found that Housing Minister Steve Clark broke ethics rules by not overseeing his staff, which eventually led to his resignation as well as the resignation of his chief of staff.

The integrity commissioner also recommended that Clark be formally reprimanded for his actions. This reprimand will take place sometime this week, as the legislature is required to address the integrity commissioner’s report in 30 days.

On Sept. 21, Ford reversed his decision to open the Greenbelt lands to developers and vowed to not make any changes to it in the future.

The premier said he made a “mistake” in opening the protected lands up for housing development, though he ascertained the Greenbelt’s development “would have made a big difference” for adding homes to the province.

Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles called the reversal a “victory for Ontarians,” a sentiment which was echoed by Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser and Ontario Greens leader Mike Schreiner.

Ford could not provide details at the news conference Thursday about how much money the reversal would cost, saying only the housing minister is currently “working through those details” and promising that information would be made public as soon as it is available.

Additionally, when asked if there could be any legal action from Greenbelt developers, the premier said he “can’t predict the future.”


Clark’s resignation prompted a summer cabinet shuffle just weeks before the fall legislature was slated to begin.

Government House Leader and former Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra has taken over Clark’s position as Housing Minister. MPP Stan Cho will take over the long-term care file.

Prabmeet Sarkaria will take over transportation from Caroline Mulroney, who was named president of the treasury board.


The Progressive Conservatives are likely hoping the action they take during the fall session will help them regain some of the public appeal they lost due to the Greenbelt reports.

An Angus Reid September poll of 799 Canadians found that Ford’s approval ratings have dipped to a historic low. Fewer than three in 10 Ontarians, or about 28 per cent, approve of the premier, the survey suggested.

This marks a five-point drop from Ford’s approval ratings in June, and represents the lowest rating he has ever received since being elected in 2018.

More than half of respondents also said they believe the premier should resign in the wake of the Greenbelt controversy.

Ford has said previously that he doesn’t let polling dictate his policies, noting that the “only poll that matters is on election day.” Saying that, the premier has spent some time over the last month visiting various cities in southern Ontario as part of “Ford Fest.” At these events Ford has made promises such as the creation of $500,000 homes for young people and catered to his base by expressing his preference that parents be notified if their child wishes to use different pronouns at schools.


Ford has promised new housing legislation every year as part of his goal to build 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Throughout the summer his team has dropped hints at what the latest legislation may look like.

Speaking at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference prior to the cabinet shuffle (if accurate), Clark said his government is looking at potential tax changes to help encourage the development of rental units.

Few other details have been provided other than a repeated call to the federal government to defer HST on new large-scale rentals.

Part of the fall legislation may also include an update to the definition of affordable housing to incorporate income factors, Clark hinted at the time.

As it stands affordable housing is 80 per cent of the average market rent or purchase price.

Calandra – the current housing minister – mentioned the possibility of increasing the non-resident speculation tax, which currently sits at 25 per cent.

More cities will get strong mayor powers by the end of October. Those cities who agree with housing targets set by the province could be eligible for additional funding.

Each city’s progress will be evaluated by comparing housing starts and residential units created that calendar year with the annual assigned targets. The government said municipalities that achieve 80 per cent or more of their annual target will be able to access the funding.

Those that do not, will get nothing.

A legislative review of six of the province’s regional governance is also slated to begin this fall. This review will look into whether the efficiency of the two-tier government systems and whether it supports the construction of homes.


Ford and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow met for the first time since she was elected in June just last week. During this meeting, the two parties agreed to the creation of a working group “with a mandate to achieve long-term stability and sustainability of Toronto's finances.”

The framework for this “new deal” includes avoiding new taxes and fees.

Toronto city council has previously suggested other revenue sources to deal with a $1 billion gap in its budget. It includes increases to the Municipal Land Transfer Tax on luxury homes, the removal of $5 per hour caps for on-street parking, and a commercial parking levy.

The premier, however, was clear that he was not in favour of implementing any new taxes or handing the city a position of the revenue from HST in the province.

The working group is expected to submit its interim report by the end of November.


Teachers in Ontario are still without a contract as the fall session begins.

No deals have been made with any of the four unions representing English and French language teachers in the province.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has tentatively agreed to a process to avoid a strike by accepting binding interest arbitration–but this still needs to be voted on by members.

The bargaining unit representing Toronto high school teachers have publicly said they oppose the deal.

The other three teachers’ unions rejected the province’s offer of binding interest arbitration and will be conducting strike votes over the next two months. This follows a decision made by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario to file for conciliation. This is a common process prior to union members engaging in any strikes or work action.

The last time education workers threatened to strike, the Ford government implemented legislation that imposed a contract and made it illegal to walk off the job.

After a few days of job action that saw classes shuttered, the two sides eventually came to a deal that would see the legislation rescinded.

At the time, both sides said their tactics were just part of the process.


The Ontario Liberal Party will elect a new leader in December.

The political party has been without an official leader since the June 2022 election, when Steven Del Duca failed to regain official party status.

With only nine seats at Queen’s Park, whoever is elected the new leader will have their work cut out for them. But it appears as though Liberals are invested in this rejuvenation. The party says there are 80,000 members eligible to vote in the race–the largest number in its history.

There are multiple debates slated between this week and mid-November. Ontarians can expect a heated race, with the PC Party already preparing campaign material targeting leader hopefuls.

The fall session is scheduled to run until Dec. 14, with a one-week break in both October and November. Top Stories

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