MAIN HEADING: Progress on Implementing Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services’ Recommendations

The Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, led by Don Drummond, was established in 2011 to provide advice on how to deliver the most effective and efficient public services possible and achieve a sustainable fiscal balance. The Commission’s report was released on February 15, 2012, and is available at www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/reformcommission/index.html

The government is continuing to move ahead with the Commission’s recommendations — over 80 per cent of recommendations are now being acted on, up from 60 per cent in the 2013 Budget.

These actions are enabling sustainable transformation and supporting successful expenditure management. The government is continuing to implement the Commission’s recommendations as part of its commitment to deliver the most effective and efficient public services.

A cross-section of actions taken to implement the Commission’s recommendations appears in the table below.

Transformative Initiatives Being Implemented by Sector

Health Care

  • Establishing new not-for-profit community-based specialty clinics that offer selected OHIP-insured, low-risk routine services, such as cataract and colonoscopy procedures.
  • Opening two new birth centres — the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre and the Toronto Birth Centre — to give women a home-like, family-centred setting in the community where they can have a midwife-attended birth.
  • Supporting the expansion and development of community paramedicine initiatives across the province, where paramedics work to reduce the need for 911 calls by providing information on better ways for patients to get care.
  • Introducing Bill 162, the Making Healthier Choices Act, 2014, which, if passed, would make Ontario the first province to require food service premises with 20 or more locations in the province to post calories on menus, making it easier for families to make informed and healthy food choices.
  • Funding 75 new nurse practitioner positions in long-term care homes over the next three years. The funding would strengthen the quality of care received by residents, reduce hospital admissions, and improve resident and caregiver experience.

Elementary and Secondary Education

  • Improving student achievement and closing gaps in student outcomes.
  • Introducing reforms to the sector so stakeholders can better work together to ensure the system's long-term sustainability.
  • Establishing a Technical Working Group on Benefits to explore the creation of one or more province-wide benefit plan(s) for education-sector workers.
  • Reaching an agreement in March 2013 with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation to freeze contribution rates for five years, thereby ensuring that the Teachers’ Pension Plan does not add to employer and taxpayer costs if addressing any new funding shortfalls.

Postsecondary Education

  • Releasing the Differentiation Policy Framework in November 2013 to drive institutional differentiation in the sector and signing mandate agreements with Ontario’s universities and colleges.
  • Launching a new database on ONTransfer.ca that students can use to check how their course credits are recognized at other colleges and universities, and help make informed decisions about their education.
  • Implementing the collection of Key Performance Indicators to monitor and increase quality at Private Career Colleges.
  • Maintaining the Ontario Student Access Guarantee, which requires colleges and universities that receive public funding to provide financial aid to help students cover program expenses, such as tuition and books, that exceed the financial assistance covered by the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
  • Lowering the OSAP loan default cost-sharing threshold for private institutions from 25 per cent to 20 per cent in 2015–16, to address low performance and improve student outcomes.
  • Working with the sector to support structural reforms to university pension plans to ensure long-term sustainability.

Social Programs

  • Streamlining employment benefits into a simple, flexible approach to make services easier to access and remove barriers to help more people find jobs while also strengthening the accountability and efficiency of the benefits system.
  • Developing a modern social assistance case management system including enhanced online services to support long-term social assistance reform and promote consistent, client-focused delivery.
  • Increasing the basic needs and shelter amounts for social assistance clients with the lowest levels of support to create a fairer social assistance system and support ongoing efforts to alleviate poverty in Ontario.
  • Expanding the Passport and Special Services at Home programs to provide more direct funding to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to transform to a modern developmental services system and ensure that clients receive the supports and services that they need.
  • Continuing to transform the child welfare sector by implementing a new funding model for children’s aid societies, enhancing outcome-based accountability measures across the sector and implementing new technology to improve outcomes for children and youth in care.
  • Continuing to transform mental health services by establishing lead community-based child and youth mental health agencies across the province to improve access to services through a more coordinated and responsive system for children, youth and their families.
  • Enhancing early identification of children with special needs and improving the integration and coordination of rehabilitation services across government to achieve improved outcomes for children and youth.

Immigration

  • Serving as the provincial co-chair of the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration, starting in April 2014. The Province will continue to advocate its interests through the Forum in ensuring newcomers have the necessary support to succeed and contribute fully to Ontario's prosperity.
  • Acting as provincial co-chair on developing Canada's new proposed immigrant selection model, including the development of an “Expression of Interest” application system for economic immigration.
  • Demanding federal compensation for the cost of the Ontario Temporary Health Program launched in January 2014, to fill the gaps of health care coverage for refugees when the federal government scaled back its Interim Federal Health Program.

Business Support

  • Reviewing Ontario’s business support programs. A Technical Panel has been established to review Ontario’s business support programs and provide a framework for ongoing evaluation; its final report is expected this spring.
  • Presenting refundable tax credits as ministry expenses, consistent with the Public Sector Accounting Board accounting standard for tax revenue.
  • Making business tax incentives more effective, such as better targeting the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC) to help improve completion rates among ATTC-eligible trades and proposing to limit the small business deduction to small corporations.

Infrastructure
and Real Estate

  • Proposing Bill 141, the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2014, that, if passed, would require the Province to regularly table a long-term infrastructure plan in the legislature covering a period of at least 10 years.
  • Improving how municipalities plan and prioritize their infrastructure needs through the Municipal Infrastructure Strategy.
  • Shrinking the government’s office footprint in the City of Toronto by about one million square feet.

Energy

  • Seeking efficiencies in the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) by proposing to merge them into a single, more efficient organization that would help eliminate duplication, better meet today’s electricity needs and save ratepayers money.
  • Launching emPOWERme, a new, interactive website to help energy consumers take charge of the power they use by better understanding the province’s electricity system. In line with Ontario’s Open Government initiative, six Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) data modules were also posted on the Ministry of Energy and Ontario Power Authority websites to provide more detailed information regarding the assumptions underlying the LTEP.
  • Continuing to inform the public on changing supply and demand conditions, and outline the progress to date on the LTEP.
  • Continuing to move forward with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Hydro One transformation initiatives, including OPG’s estimated savings of $1 billion over six years (2011–16) by reducing overall headcount and Hydro One’s cost-reduction and productivity savings of $108 million annually for its distribution business by 2018.

Northern Development

  • Committing to work with Matawa-member First Nation communities on long-term environmental monitoring, socioeconomic and community development, regional infrastructure and resource revenue-sharing as part of developing the Ring of Fire region opportunities.

Environment

  • Continuing to implement risk-based approaches to environmental approvals across more program areas to improve environmental outcomes and address business needs by leveraging current technology.
  • Continuing to coordinate and integrate environmental approvals with other governments to reduce duplication.
  • Exploring policy and legislative options that would support the implementation of the polluter-pay principle. This includes policies focused on prevention and minimizing future provincial liabilities resulting from contaminated sites.

Justice Sector

  • Developing an online administrative child support calculation service to provide parents with the option to set up and update child support determinations without going to court.
  • Consolidating services, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency through the clustering of 17 adjudicative tribunals. Most recently, the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario cluster was created in 2013.
  • Working with Infrastructure Ontario to use Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) to meet the infrastructure needs of Ontario’s justice system.
  • Using civilians for administrative duties, such as data entry, in order to ensure police officers are able to focus on their core responsibilities. The hiring of civilian staff has enabled Ontario Provincial Police officers to better use their time for front-line policing services.

Government Business Enterprises

  • Accelerating the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) store network expansion by adding more than 55 new or relocated stores over the past two years. In addition, the LCBO is launching nine destination boutiques within LCBO stores and 10 express stores in grocery stores as part of its strategic plan.
  • Continuing with the OLG Modernization Plan, including the procurement of private service providers for its gaming sites and lottery network. The OLG is continuing with the Charitable Bingo and Gaming Revitalization Initiative by developing and offering products and technologies for participating licensed bingo centres such as electronic bingo, electronic break open tickets, and play on demand games. The OLG has also announced a pilot program for the electronic delivery of 50/50 draws to benefit charities, and additionally, plans to launch its internet gaming operation, PlayOLG.ca, in the fall of 2014.

Intergovernmental Relations

  • Advocating strongly for reforming federal programs that are not working effectively in Ontario’s interests.
  • Calling on the federal government to stop taking unilateral actions that hurt Ontarians and outlining more than 110 actions that the federal government has taken since 2006 that have hurt people and businesses across Ontario.
  • Continuing to phase down the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund to $500 million by 2016. Overall support to municipalities continues to increase, with provincial uploads more than offsetting any reduction to the program.