MPP Dufferin-Caledon

Concluding a Successful Legislative Session at Queen’s Park

Last week, the Ontario Legislature recessed for 2019, wrapping up a productive fall legislative session where our government continued delivering on key priorities, including in health care, consumer protection, justice, and economic development. During this session, the Legislature passed five major pieces of government legislation, and we introduced an additional four government bills for continued consideration in the next session.

With respect to health care, the Legislature passed Minister of Health Christine Elliott’s bill, the Foundations for Promoting and Protecting Mental Health and Addictions Services Act. This Bill establishes a Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence, which will work with Ontario Health to support and provide integrated mental health care, act as a central point of accountability and oversight, and be responsible for standardizing and monitoring the quality of care across Ontario. It also supports Ontario’s participation in a national class-action lawsuit against more than 40 Opioid manufacturers and wholesalers. In 2010, I served as a member of the select committee on mental health and addictions that worked over 18 months to recommend a comprehensive mental health and addictions plan. This multi-party committee worked cooperatively and recognized that Ontarians must get the services they deserve. Today, this Bill positions Ontario as a leader in providing stronger, connected mental health and addictions care system.

On the consumer protection front, Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services Lisa Thompson has introduced two important pieces of legislation during this session to modernize different programs that are consumer-focused. The Trust in Real Estate Services Act, which has now passed second reading, aims to modernize Ontario’s real estate sector with the support of key stakeholders including the Ontario Real Estate Association. This bill, if passed, would increase consumer confidence, enhance standards for real estate professionals and brokerages, and provide additional flexibility to keep pace with a modern marketplace. Additionally, we introduced the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act to address significant public concerns with the Tarion Warranty Company. If passed, it would overhaul the Ontario new home warranties and protection program, and would reform Tarion in order to ensure it becomes consumer-focused.

Modernizing Ontario’s justice sector has also been top-of-mind during this legislative session. Attorney General Doug Downey introduced the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act. If passed, it will modernize the judicial system by improving how legal aid services are delivered, class actions are handled, and how court processes are administered. It also modernizes the law around property forfeiture to make it harder for criminals, including those involved in organized crime such as human trafficking, to hold on to the proceeds of their crimes.

In memory of Gord Downie, the legislature passed Bill 6, Poet Laureate of Ontario Act. The Bill establishes the office of the Poet Laureate of Ontario to promote art and literacy, celebrating Ontario and its people and raising the profile of Ontario poets.

Finally, we have passed a number of other bills that I have written about in detail in previous columns, including the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, and the 2019 Fall Economic Statement. For more information about our government’s work over this legislative session, visit sylviajonesmpp.ca or call 1-800-265-1603.

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