November 2021

Welcome to COCA's monthly Newsletter. Unless noted otherwise, all articles written by COCA President, Ian Cunningham.

Leger Poll Shows PC Lead Narrowing 

Polling firm Leger conducted an online poll of 1,001 Ontarians aged 18 and over between Nov. 12 and 14, 2021 on behalf of Post Media.  The results revealed the following:  

  • 40% of respondents had a favourable impression of PC leader and Premier Doug Ford which is down from 50% in the March 2021 poll by Leger 
  • 39% of respondents had a favourable impression of NDP leader and Leader of the Official Opposition Andrea Horwath; her favourables have been as high as 43% and as low as 35% in the period since March 2021 
  • 23% had a favourable impression of Liberal leader Steven Del Duca; his favourables have waveredbetween 25% and 21% since March 2021 
  • 54% of respondents had an unfavourable impression of Premier Ford, 41% had an unfavourable impression of NDP leader Andrea Horwath and 39% had an unfavourable impression of Liberal leader Steven Del Duca 
  • In the 2018 Ontario general election the PCs won a majority government with 40.5% of the votes cast while the NDP received 33.6% and the Liberals 19.6%. 
  • In March 2021, a Leger poll had the PCs at 38%, the NDP at 28% and the Liberals at 23% 
  • In the recent poll, 34% of respondents said they planned to vote for the PCs, 31% said they planned to vote for the Liberals, 26% NDP, 6% Green, 2% New Blue, 1% someone else, 9% don’t know and 6% won’t vote 
  • The poll also asked respondents about the recent minimum wage increase and vaccinations for children 
  • The margin of error for this poll is plus or minus 3.1% on a comparable probability survey of this size so it’s possible that the contest between the PCs and the Libs is even tighter.   

The survey summary is available at the following link:  

Skilled Trades Ontario Remains Best Kept Secret 

There should be no question that our provincial government is fully committed to having its new organization for the skilled trades, Skilled Trades Ontario (STO), up and operational on January 1, 2022.  (STO will essentially be the Ontario College of Trades renamed, defanged and neutered and without any regulatory authority.)  Regulations are being transferred from the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act (OCTAA) over to the new statute called Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act (BOSTA) pretty much verbatim.  There have been two tranches of regulations posted to the Regulatory Registry for this transfer process and a third is expected anytime now.    

We have every assurance that a Registrar, a Chair, and sufficient board members will be in place on January 1, 2022in order to have a functioning organization and the staff at OCoT have been working to make sure this happens smoothly and seamlessly. It’s believed that remaining staff members from OCoT except for the 30 inspectors who have been laid off, will be transferred over to STO or the Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development.   

What remains a mystery is the names of the individuals who have been recruited to fill the Registrar, Chair and Board Member roles. Normally apprenticeship system stakeholders would be asked to submit the names of interested and qualified individuals for these positions and the government would make their selections from a pool of candidates. To the best of our knowledge, no stakeholders that we are aware of has been asked to submit names.  We haven’t even heard rumours of the names and haven’t been invited to participate in any pools. 

One of OCoT’s greatest flaws was its governance model and its representative Board of Governors. It is our hope that the government understands this serious defect and has selected individuals to serve on the STO board based on a matrix of governance competencies.  The representative model that pits union against non-union, LIUNA against the Building Trades would simply be a repeat of the mistake of the past.   

Other unknowns include:   
  • How will members of individual trades get together to discuss issues in their trades and make recommendations to the board of STO? 
  • Will there be Trade Boards similar to those under OCoT  
  • How will changes of a trade’s classification be made 

Some of these issues were supposed to be addressed in the report from the second phase of the Michael Sherrard Expert Panel work. It’s our understanding that that report was submitted months ago but it has never been made public. Perhaps these issues are being left up to STO to determine once it is up and running. 
Parliamentary Calendar 

Little more than two weeks remain until the Legislature rises on December 9th for its winter break. Only four Government Bills remain in play and all are at the Committee stage of the law making process. They are: 

  • Bill 43, Build Ontario Act (Budget Measures Act), 2021 
  • Bill 37, Providing More care, Protecting Seniors and Building More Beds Act, 2021 
  • Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 
  • Bill 13, Supporting People and Businesses Act 2021 

All are expected to make it to the finish line before the end of the session.   

The Legislature will resume sitting on February 22, 2022. 
MPP Hillier Seeks Premier’s Office 

Randy Hillier has been an MPP since 2007, first for the Ontario electoral district of Lanark-Frontenac Lennox and Addington and then Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. He was first elected with the support of the local populist landowners group which he had founded, an organization that sought to “to preserve and protect the rights of property owners and to enshrine property rights within the Constitution of Canada and the laws of the Province of Ontario”. He has been described as an independent thinker, a rabble-rouser, a maverick, a rebel, a renegade and a freedom fighter. He has earned notoriety during the pandemic as an anti-public health measures, anti-lockdown activist.   

Hillier won his very first election in 2007 narrowly by about 1,000 votes over a highly competent and well known Liberal candidate but won handily in the largely rural riding in the 2011, 2014 and 2018 contests.    He has always run as a Progressive Conservative.   

He was thrown out of the PC caucus back in February 2019 for making what Premier Ford thought to be inappropriate comments about parents of children with autism and he has sat as an Independent ever since.  Some believed that Ford was just waiting for an opportunity like that one to rid himself of an unwantedirritant.   

Hillier recently announced that he will be seeking re-election in the June 2022 Ontario general election under the banner of the Ontario First Party (OFP), a newly formed political party in the province of which he is the leader and which appears to have some affiliation with the federal Peoples Party of Canada (the OFP website refers to the PPC as their federal cousins).   According to the OFP website, it is “the only provincial party that will fight to restore integrity, justice, fairness & freedom to our society.”   

Hillier is the only one of the five Independents sitting in the Legislature, all former PC MPPs, to declare that he will be seeking re-election in June 2022.  (Of the other four, three, Jim Wilson, Rick Nicholls and Lindsey Park, have decided not to seek re-election in their safe PC ridings, while a question mark remains over the head of Roman Baber.) If he is re-elected and if the OFP wins a majority of the seats in the June 2022 Ontario general election (and both are BIG ifs) Randy Hillier will be the Premier of Ontario.   

The upcoming Ontario general election will determine if Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston is a Randy Hillier riding or a PC riding.    
“The purple wave is coming to Ontario,” declared Hillier at a rally last Monday with supporters carrying PPC and Infowars flags. “The purple wave gets launched very soon, so come and join us.” 

  • It appears this idea has been in the works for several months, as the name “Ontario First Party” was reserved with Elections Ontario in January. 
  • Independent MPP Randy Hillier’s new Ontario First Party now has a website. On it, the party refers to the People’s Party of Canada as its “federal cousins;” asks supporters to join the “purple wave;” and details a mandate of reining in government overreach, promoting freedoms and fighting against “medical bureaucracies” and “social justice warriors.”  
  • It also asks Ontarians to get involved in the OFP’s local riding associations and “volunteer to help us win the next provincial election!”  

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Council of Ontario Construction Associations
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