Stephen Lecce is leaving his post as education minister after a major cabinet shuffle by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

After five years as education minister, Mr. Lecce is swapping spots with Todd Smith to become the province’s energy and electrification minister, the province announced June 6.

Mr. Lecce, who locked horns with teachers’ unions several times since taking on the education portfolio in 2019, said while he was honored “to serve the two million children in Ontario’s publicly-funded schools,” he is looking forward to taking on the re- named Ministry of Energy and Electrification.

His main focus, he said, is providing affordable and reliable energy to the province and growing industry.

“In order to grow the economy, with millions of people coming to our shores and significant industry moving to Ontario, including the fact that under our previous leadership, we’ve put (Ontario) on the map as one of the primary destinations for EV construction, we need a significant supply of affordable, reliable energy for the people of Ontario,” he told reporters after the new cabinet was announced.

“We will build the energy capacity we will need to supply the energy to grow our economy, but we will not do that by imposing higher taxes,” he said, adding that the “Liberal carbon tax is setting back industry,” as well as “hurting jobs” and the “working people of Ontario.”

Cabinet Grows

While several members of the cabinet kept their positions—such as Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, Health Minister Sylvia Jones, Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli, and Municipal Affairs, and Housing Minister Paul Calandra—several new people have been promoted into cabinet.

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One of the new additions is Mike Harris Jr., son of the 22nd premier of Ontario. He will take over as Minister of Red Tape Reduction, a position that has been vacant since Parm Gill resigned in January to run for the federal Tories.

Several new associate minister positions have been created while other ministries have been split in two, increasing the size of cabinet to 36.

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is one of the ministries to be split with Lisa Thompson becoming Rural Affairs minister and Rob Flack being named the minister of Farming, Agriculture, and Agribusiness.

Tourism, culture, and sport was also split with Stan Cho becoming minister of Tourism, Culture, and Gaming, with responsibility for OLG and former CFL player Neil Lumsden becoming the minister of Sport.

Registered nurse Natalia Kusendova-Bashta will take over Mr. Cho’s previous Long-Term Care portfolio.

The shuffle also brought back former housing minister Steve Clark to a position of prominence as government house leader. Mr. Clark resigned from his cabinet position last fall amid the Greenbelt land swap controversy. While not a cabinet position, the house leader plays an important role in the government, as the person fielding questions during question period.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles criticized the growing size of the cabinet.

“We now have the most bloated cabinet in the history of Ontario, with the biggest premier’s office, the biggest deficit, and people are struggling more than they ever have before,” Ms. Stiles told reporters at Queen’s Park on June 6.

New Cabinet

The shuffle comes as the legislature takes an extended summer break, with cabinet not slated to return to Queen’s Park until Oct. 21.

Here’s a complete look at the new cabinet:

  • Premier Doug Ford remains minister of intergovernmental affairs
  • Sylvia Jones remains deputy premier and minister of health
  • Peter Bethlenfalvy remains minister of finance
  • Paul Calandra remains minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Raymond Cho remains minister of Seniors and Accessibility
  • Stan Cho becomes minister of Tourism, Culture and Gaming, with responsibility for OLG
  • Doug Downey remains attorney general
  • Jill Dunlop remains Minister of Colleges and Universities
  • Vic Fedeli remains minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade
  • Rob Flack becomes minister of Farming, Agriculture, and Agribusiness
  • Michael Ford remains minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
  • Mike Harris becomes minister of Red Tape Reduction
  • Michael Kerzner remains solicitor general
  • Andrea Khanjin remains minister of Environment, Conservation, and Parks
  • Natalia Kusendova-Bashta becomes minister of Long-Term Care
  • Stephen Lecce becomes minister of Energy and Electrification
  • Neil Lumsden becomes Minister of Sports
  • Todd McCarthy becomes minister of Public and Business Service Delivery and Procurement, with responsibility for Supply Ontario
  • Caroline Mulroney remains president of the Treasury Board and minister of Francophone Affairs
  • Michael Parsa remains minister of Children, Community, and Social Services
  • David Piccini remains minister of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development
  • George Pirie remains Minister of Mines
  • Greg Rickford becomes minister of Indigenous Affairs and First Nations Economic Reconciliation and remains minister of Northern Development
  • Prabmeet Sarkaria remains minister of transportation
  • Todd Smith becomes minister of education
  • Graydon Smith becomes minister of Natural Resources
  • Kinga Surma remains minister of infrastructure
  • Lisa Thompson becomes Minister of Rural Affairs
  • Stephen Crawford becomes associate minister of Mines as part of the Ministry of Mines
  • Trevor Jones becomes associate minister of Emergency Preparedness and Response as part of Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Sam Oosterhoff becomes associate minister of Energy-Intensive Industries as part of the Ministry of Energy and Electrification
  • Nolan Quinn becomes associate minister of Forestry as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Nina Tangri remains associate minister of Small Business as part of the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade
  • Vijay Thanigasalam becomes associate minister of Housing as part of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Michael Tibollo remains associate minister of Mental Health and Addictions as part of the Ministry of Health
  • Charmaine Williams remains associate minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity as part of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.