One year out from a provincial election, Premier Doug Ford's anticipated cabinet shuffle has cast his trusted cabinet minister from Kenora-Rainy River in a bigger role.
Out as Natural Resources and Forestry Minister is John Yakabuski. His job has been handed over to Greg Rickford.
Rickford, the former federal Natural Resources Minister in the Harper government, now consolidates his hold on all things natural resources with a merged title of minister of northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry. He remains Indigenous Affairs Minister.
According to a government news release, this new northern and economic-focused ministry "will enhance development potential and sustainability" in North Ontario.
Rickford loses the Energy file which will become a separate new, but old, ministry led by Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith.
Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano goes from Colleges and Universities to handling Government and Consumer Services. Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop takes over his old job.
Disgraced former Finance Minister Rod Phillips has been freed from purgatory and is the new minister of long-term care, replacing Dr. Merrilee Fullerton who's now minister of children, community and social services.
“With 21 per cent of adults now fully vaccinated as Team Ontario sets new records in daily shots, we can be confident that the worst of the pandemic is behind us,” said Ford in a statement.
“As we continue our work to rebuild and support Ontario’s health system, our renewed team is well positioned to deliver on the priorities that matter to Ontarians, including getting more people back to work, making life more affordable, supporting businesses and job creators and building transit infrastructure.”
Other changes to the cabinet and the executive council include:
Parm Gill, MPP for Milton, becomes Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
Dave Piccini, MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, becomes Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, MPP for Brampton South, becomes President of the Treasury Board
Kinga Surma, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, becomes Minister of Infrastructure
Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron Bruce, becomes Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Stan Cho, MPP for Willowdale, becomes Associate Minister of Transportation
Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, becomes Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues.
Nina Tangri, MPP for Mississauga Streetsville, becomes Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, reporting to Minister Vic Fedeli
Kaleed Rasheed, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville, becomes Associate Minister of Digital Government, reporting to Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy
Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge and Minister of Finance, will assume responsibility for Ontario’s digital government strategy within the Ministry of Finance.