Some of the Ford government’s most high-profile cabinet ministers have been moved out of their posts as part of a major shuffle that comes amid slumping poll numbers for the premier and controversies on several important files.
Former finance minister Vic Fedeli was demoted and will now head up the ministry of economic development, job creation and trade. Fedeli’s departure from the top cabinet position comes after he oversaw the rollout of just one provincial budget.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government faced weeks of criticism after near-daily stories emerged of cuts that emerged in the aftermath of Fedeli’s April budget.
Rod Phillips, who served as minister of the environment for the first year of the PCs’ mandate and played a key role in the cancellation of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program, will take over the finance portfolio. Jeff Yurek will move from transportation to the environment portfolio.
Meanwhile, Lisa Thompson, the former minister of education, and Lisa MacLeod, former minister of children, community and social services, were both demoted from their current posts. Both files have seen considerable strife recently as the province cut funding to school boards and revamped Ontario’s autism program.
Thompson will now be responsible for government and consumer services, while MacLeod takes over the ministry of tourism, culture and sport.
Christine Elliott will remain deputy premier and minister of health, though the portfolio now has two additional cabinet positions. Merrilee Fullerton becomes minister of long-term care and Michael Tibollo becomes associate minister of mental health and addictions.
Former attorney general Caroline Mulroney will now head up the province’s ministry of transportation.