NEW – ON: Provincial election results and impact on the propane industry

Ontario voters elected 83 Progressive Conservative, 31 New Democratic Party, eight Liberal and one Green MPP on June 2, 2022. The Tories captured most of the GTA, northern and southwestern Ontario ridings, representing a wide swath of propane users. Of note, the PCs took two Windsor ridings away from the NDP, and the long-time NDP stronghold of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek fell to the Tories.

The Ford cabinet appointed on June 24 shows most prominent ministers retaining their previous portfolio responsibilities. Relevant for Ontario propane businesses are:

New cabinet ministers and portfolios reflecting the greater geographic and cultural make-up of the PC caucus with influence on propane businesses are:

Government priorities remain focused on: economic rebuilding; workers’ supports, especially skilled trades; highway and infrastructure projects; cost-of-living constraints; and staying open for businesses by hiring more health care staff and producing more domestic supplies.

The legislature is expected to begin a new session on August 8, 2022 and sit into the fall. Top government priorities for the new session include passage of the budget introduced in the spring. Of critical concern for Ontario propane businesses is the budget commitment to further develop the Liberal-initiated natural gas expansion program for a third phase, representing significant impact on current customers and suppliers. The budget cites overwhelming demand from “communities and municipalities” for natural gas as the rationale for this move to provide more rate-payer funding for these “uneconomic” projects. The NDP, the province’s Official Opposition, intends to fight passage of Bill 126, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact and amend various statutes, which contains the budget measures.

The CPA is developing and executing a comprehensive advocacy plan to advance knowledge of the propane sector’s economic and environmental importance among MPPs, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and their staff over the next month.