Provincial By-Elections
The House resumed on Monday, November 14, 2016 after a constituency week. Provincial By-elections were held November 17 for the ridings of Ottawa-Vanier and Niagara West-Glanbrook. Nathalie Des Rosiers, the Liberal party candidate won the seat for Ottawa Vanier and Sam Oosterhoff, the PC party candidate won the seat for Niagara-West Glanbrook.

Bill 37, the Protecting Students Act
Education Minister Mitzie Hunter re-introduced this legislation on October 5, 2016. It has received Third Reading and is now awaiting Royal Assent.

Bill 45, Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi introduced this legislation on October 19, 2016. The bill includes recommendations made by Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer to promote voter participation and improve/modernize the election process. The bill passed Second Reading debate on November 16 and was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government. No committee hearing dates have been posted. OPSBA, via its Policy Development Work Team, has been reviewing the legislation and will be preparing a submission.

Our submission will focus on:

  • our past, current and future work supporting the democratic process and knowledge about all elections;
  • current curriculum areas in Grade 5 and Grade 10;
  • support for student trustees and Student Vote;
  • support moving the provincial election date to June 2018 (from October);
  • support the creation of a volunteer pre-voter for 16 and 17 year olds;
  • support modernization of the voting process; and
  • support the use of schools as polling stations based on discussions with municipal partners that consider school and student safety concerns.

Bill 65, Safer School Zones Act, 2016
Transportation Minister Steve Del Duca introduced the government’s new photo radar legislation, Bill 65, Safer School Zones Act on November 15, 2016. The bill would allow the use of “automated speed enforcement” technology in designated school and community zones. The government had indicated this legislation in an earlier news release issued on November 8, 2016.

Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2016
Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro introduced this legislation on November 16, 2016. It allows municipalities to pass climate change by-laws and participate in long-term energy planning and proposes that the heads of regional councils are elected, rather than appointed. Bill 68 would allow municipalities to establish their own codes of conduct for councillors and broadens the powers of municipal integrity commissioners.

For school board trustees, the legislation includes 2 important amendments: changes to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (to add a range of penalties) and changes to the Municipal Elections Act that change the term start date for councillors and school board trustees (from December 1 to November 15).

Bill 69, Financial Literacy for Students Act, 2016
PC MPP Vic Fedeli introduced this legislation on November 16, 2016. The bill amends the Education Act to require each school board to provide a comprehensive course on financial literacy as determined by the board at the grade 10 level at schools under the board’s jurisdiction. Pupils would be required to successfully complete the course as a condition for obtaining a secondary school graduation diploma. This is not a government bill so unlikely to move forward.

2017 Pre-Budget Consultations
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has announced its dates for Pre-Budget Consultations. The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Toronto on December 1 and 8, 2016, and January 18, 2017; and in Dryden, Sudbury, Ottawa, and Windsor during the week of December 12, 2016; and in Peel Region and London from January 19 to 20, 2017. Those interested in making an oral presentation need to contact the Clerk by 12:00 noon on Monday, November 28, 2016. Written submission are to be sent to the clerk by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2017. The clerk, Eric Rennie, can be reached at erennie@ola.org