Monthly Archives: April 2015

Ontario Budget Confirms Sale of Hydro One, Tightens Social Spending

Ontario budget

Ontario Liberal budget confirms the sale of Hydro One and tightens health, education spending..

The behind-the-scenes influence of big business in politics was never so evident than it was in the tabling of the 2015 Ontario budget on Thursday.

Two glaring examples stand out in the budget: 1) the 60% sell-off of government-owned Hydro One; and 2) the unwillingness of the Wynne Liberal government to reverse the McGuinty Corporate Tax reductions that are costing the Ontario treasury $2.5 billion annually.

First, some numbers from the budget.

The Hydro One sale is expected to generate about $9 billion, $5 billion of which will be used to pay hydro debt, with the remaining $4 billion to be allocated to transit and other infrastructure projects. Continue reading

Powerful Bay St. Lobby Groups Behind Hydro One Privatization

budget -clark-041

The decision by the Ontario Government to take the advice of former T.D. Bank head Ed Clark to privatize 60% of Hydro One will benefit a tight-knit group of Bay St. insiders.

In early April, Bruce Bodden was appointed to the board of Infrastructure Ontario.

The name will mean little to the vast majority of Ontarians but in light of Ontario’s decision to take the advice of former T.D. Bank head Ed Clark and privatize 60% of Hydro One, it should.

To understand the connection between the Hydro One privatization and the appointment of Mr. Bodden to the Infrastructure Ontario (IO) board, one first has to understand the role that IO plays in the privatization “industry”.

Infrastructure Ontario is the provincial body that tenders and oversees the development of P3 (public-private-partnership) infrastructure projects for the Government of Ontario. Continue reading

April 23 Ontario Budget to Feature Majority Hydro One Privatization

hydro One ontario budget

Taking the advice of former TD Bank head Ed Clark, Ontario’s Liberal government will sell off government-owned Hydro One in two separate initiatives.

Taking the advice of former TD Bank head Ed Clark and other Bay St. interests, Ontario’s Liberal government will sell off Hydro One in two separate initiatives.

The details were announced yesterday and will be further fleshed out in upcoming legislation.

Hydro One is the government-owned transmission company responsible for operating the Ontario electricity grid. It also operates a separate distribution business – the local wires that connect hydro users to the grid.

In the first privatization initiative, the government will sell off 60 per cent of the province’s $15-billion Hydro One transmission utility.

In the second initiative, Hydro One’s Brampton distribution operations will be sold off to neighbouring local utilities. Continue reading

April 23 Ontario Budget To Feature Beer In Supermarkets

Ontario Budget 2015, Sousa, Wynne

Beer Store changes and Hydro sell-offs will feature prominently when Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa tables his 2015 budget on April 23.

The Wynne government will introduce its 2015 Ontario budget on April 23. The budget will focus on plans for hydro asset sales and changes to Ontario’s alcohol retail system, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said Tuesday.

Ontario’s budget will be tabled just two days after the federal fiscal plan is tabled in Ottawa.

A panel chaired by Ed Clark, former CEO of TD Bank Group, is looking at the private Beer Store and public assets such as Hydro One and the Ontario Liquor Control Board. Its report will be released Thursday.

The Liberal government has been clear for months that change is coming to Ontario’s alcohol distribution system and, in particular the Beer Store, a foreign-owned, near-monopoly. Continue reading

Ontario To Implement Cap and Trade to Fight Global Warming

cap and trade

Ontario will soon implement a cap-and-trade system for carbon pricing. But if you’re curious how much it will cost you, you’ll just have to wait!

The Ontario Government is joining Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions.

By linking with Quebec and California, Ontario will create a carbon market of 61 million people and cover more than 60 per cent of Canada’s population.

However, the announcement revealed little about exactly who will pay for the new carbon market and how consumers can expect to be impacted relative to corporate emitters.

There was no dollar figure attached to Ontario Premier Wynne’s announcement.  Nor did she say how much will be raised by the system, in which a cap is put on the level of greenhouse gas emissions in each sector of the economy. Continue reading

Ontario Drivers Overpay $4 billion on Auto Insurance While Company Profits Soar: Report

Auto insurance, profits, $4 billion

A new report suggests that Ontario drivers may be overpaying by as much as $4 billion for auto insurance while industry profits soar.

Because of a flawed government formula, Ontario drivers paid out between $3 billion to $4 billion more than they should have on auto insurance premiums between 2001 and 2013, according to a study released Friday.

In 2013 alone, Ontario drivers may have over-paid by $840 million, according to the study by Fred Lazar and Eli Prisman, economics professors at the York University Schulich School of Business.
Continue reading

Ontario Gov’t Plans Huge Shake-up in Beer Store, LCBO

The Ontario Government Plans Huge Shake-up In LCBO and Beer Store. Reports suggest that the Wynne government has decided to allow beer and wine sales in 300 of the province’s 1,500 large supermarkets.

Reports suggest that the Ontario government  plans a huge shake-up In the LCBO and Beer Store. This could result in allowing beer and wine sales in 300 of the province’s 1,500 large supermarkets.

The spring Ontario budget is expected to outline new alcohol retail policies that could see up to 300 new wine and beer sales licences sold to large supermarket chains as a way to generate more revenue for the provincial government and open up Ontario alcohol sales.

Media reports suggest that the Wynne government has decided to liberalize Ontario’s restrictive beer and wine retailing to initially allow sales in 300 of the province’s 1,500 grocery stores.

Reports indicate that the government will auction off retail licences and limit supermarket chains from owning more than 75 apiece in order to bolster competition.

Sale of hard liquor will continue to be restricted to the publicly-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which runs 651 outlets and 212 independent stores in rural areas. The LCBO will continue to sell beer and wine as well. Continue reading

Too Many Ontario Workers Not Getting a Fair Deal: Report

Ontario Flynn worker report

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn must decide if recommendations from workplace report will be implemented.

Tuesday, an Ontario worker rights group released a report that makes sweeping recommendations for closing provincial legislative loopholes it says results in low wages, poor working conditions and allows employers to evade their responsibilities under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.

The report’s authors, the Workers’ Action Centre (WAC), produced a similar report in 2007. The group says that if anything, things have gotten worse on the job in the past eight years.

According to the report – called Still Working on the Edge – the number of part-time jobs has risen much faster than that of full-time jobs. Moreover, many people are trapped in part-time work but would rather be working full-time. Since the last recession in 2008-9, many of Ontario’s  full-time, better-paid jobs have been permanently lost. Moreover, new full-time job growth is taking place in lower-paid sectors of the economy. Continue reading