Laurie Scott said her Labour Ministry had so far found $4B in annual savings in a “whirlwind” 10 months in office.
Scott, the MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, spoke in Haliburton Tuesday to the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce breakfast club.
“So far, it’s $4B but we want to do more,” said Scott, who reminded a largely business crowd that she is surveying them and the public to “give us your input … what you see that just doesn’t make sense any more. It’s time to modernize.”
Some examples, she said, have been changes at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, that have seen premiums come down an average 30 per cent for employers.
She said that amounted to a $1.45B savings. Changes to workplace training, such as online versus onsite, have also trimmed $60M, she said.
She again spoke of Bill 148 reform, which she said “repealed job killing aspects,” saving money for employers across the county.
She’s also proud of her work on the double hatter portfolio, which now allows professional firefighters to also volunteer in the county. Her ministry is also tackling red tape around overtime hours across the province. She again commented on the provincial budget.
“We feel it strikes the right balance between fiscal responsibility and protecting what matters most, and you all know we have a huge debt problem. We’re carrying a $343M mortgage payment. So, our plan puts us back on the path to balance while protecting core government services.” Scott said that she was still absorbing “how influential you can be as minister of labour. It’s a big portfolio and how it impacts our communities here in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.”
In a 17-minute talk, she also said the province was tackling regulations, making trades’ changes, working on high-speed internet, had created 97,000 jobs, handled a university and power workers’ strike and addressed Association of Municipalities of Ontario asks.
“Our goal is good public policy. We want to listen to you guys on the front lines who deal with employment regulations, whether it’s the Employment Standards Act or the Labour Relations Act. We want to hear what changes, what modernizations, you suggest that we review.
“We just want a prosperous Ontario. We’re moving in that direction. There’s a lot more to do but you saw the budget. It’s reasonable, it’s practical applications. I mean there are so many exciting things that we can do further in many, many sectors. So, we want more jobs. If the economy is doing well, we do well and the Haliburton Highlands and our riding do well.”
The chamber will he hosting the warden’s breakfast on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 a.m., at the Sandy Lane Resort.