Queen's Park Scuttlebutt: Bill 119, Algonquin Land Claim and New Years' Levees

Although Queen's Park remains shuttered and silent since October, the wheels of government continue to relentlessly grind out more policies, laws and regulations even though the elected legislators are absent. It's important that you are aware of these new policies which will invariably impact us in the days ahead.

The Algonquin Land Claim "agreement in principle" is now public. While I’m in favour of many aspects of this agreement, I have significant reservations with some of them. You can read my correspondence with the negotiating team and with various Ministers here. In addition, I have an online survey which you can participate in by clicking here. It's important that everyone learns how this agreement may affect them. I'll be hosting town hall meetings on this agreement in Perth on January 29th and in Sydenham on the 30th. Click here for more information.

There is a new government body called the "College of Trades". This agency will regulate 157 occupations such as truck drivers, retail salespeople, painters and decorators, to name a few. It will determine new licensing requirements, fees, permits, and fines on these 157 occupations.  The license fees will rise from $20 to $120 per year, and the number of occupations requiring a license will increase.  This agency will be an impediment to jobs, economic opportunities, and is unnecessary.  You can read more on this and take part in my survey here. I strongly encourage everyone who is opposed to this new agency to call and write to the Minister of Labour. We can still stop this agency if we speak out now.

January 1st saw the arrival of mandatory WSIB coverage for independent operators. These new provisions will add approximately $1200 in new taxes on small trades and construction businesses. Coupled with the "College of Trades", these increases to the cost of doing business will undoubtedly eliminate more jobs in Ontario. I will be speaking on this matter in Casselman on Tuesday, January 22. You can find details here.

Meet Tim Hudak - Monday, January 21, I will be in Ottawa to join Tim Hudak for a special event, When the Money Runs Out; a multimedia presentation about the problems facing Ontario’s budget and economy, and the PC plan to solve them.  Please join us at the Ottawa Convention Centre starting at 6:00 PM.  A sneak peak at the presentation can be seen here.

Join MP Scott Reid and me for our joint New Year Levees in Napanee on January19th and in Perth on the 20th. Click here for more details. I look forward to seeing you.