What has Doug Ford done so far?

What has Doug Ford done so far?

Photograph by Erin Leydon

Doug Ford has wanted to be premier of Ontario for a long time. Last week he finally got his wish. He obviously has plans, but he wasn’t exactly forthcoming with them on the campaign trail. We don’t know he’s going to do in the future, but here, in any case, is what his fledgling government has done so far.

He’s scuttling cap and trade

As promised, Ford is working toward putting an end to Ontario’s cap and trade program, which caps greenhouse emissions while allowing major polluters to buy and trade exemptions in the form of carbon credits. Ford has derided the scheme as a “carbon tax” and a “government cash grab.” Ironically, as a result of the end of cap and trade, the federal government will likely impose an actual carbon tax on Ontario. (Under the current national policy framework, any province without a cap-and-trade scheme gets federal taxes instead.)

The impending end of revenue from the cap and trade program has resulted in the cancellation of the Green Ontario Fund, which paid Ontarians to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes and businesses. Another casualty: a $100-million school repair fund.

He’s backing away from funding refugee resettlement

As Toronto grapples with an influx of refugee claimants, Ford is trying to shift the financial responsibility to the federal government. In a statement issued ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week, a Ford spokesperson blamed the feds for creating the crisis. “This mess was 100 per cent the result of the federal government, and the federal government should foot 100 per cent of the bills,” the statement said.

He dialed back pharmacare

Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government extended OHIP to cover pharmacare for all Ontarians under the age of 25, but Ford’s government has said it will restrict the benefit to those without some form of private health coverage.

He delayed the implementation of stronger police oversight

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit Act was supposed to grant enhanced powers to the province’s Special Investigations Unit, which investigates instances where police may have been involved in a death or injury. Ford says the new legislation “hurts policing efforts in the province” (which happens to be, word for word, exactly what the province’s police unions have said about Kathleen Wynne’s police reforms). As a result, the changes have been put on hold.

He shook up the province’s ministries

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has been renamed: it’s now the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. (Which is weird, because Ford has said that he believes in manmade climate change.) The former Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation is now the the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs. The Ministry of the Status of Women and the Ministry of Francophone Affairs, both created by Kathleen Wynne’s government in 2017, have been eliminated entirely.

He paused plans to control the ticket-scalping industry

Kathleen Wynne’s government passed legislation that would have capped the price of resale concert tickets at 50 per cent above face value. Ford’s government has postponed implementing the price cap.

He delayed new vaccine reporting requirements

Under a plan approved by Kathleen Wynne’s government, Ontario doctors were supposed to begin reporting childhood immunizations to local public health units, as a way of keeping track of which children have had their shots. But the Ontario Medical Association says the province isn’t ready for the change, because there’s currently no easy way to do this kind of vaccination reporting. And so Ford’s government has put the new requirement on hold.

He delayed the onset of new anti-vaping laws

Kathleen Wynne’s government passed a number of strict measures that would have limited where people can use e-cigarettes and other vaporizer-type products. Ford’s government is delaying those new rules for further study.

He fired Ontario’s first-ever chief scientist

She didn’t last long in the job. Also gone: Ontario’s chief investment officer.

He set up a council on “Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine”

And gave one of his close associates a lucrative job heading it up.