Legislative Assembly of Ontario
|Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Assemblée législative de l'Ontario
|Lieutenant Governor||David C. Onley|
|Speaker||Dave Levac, Liberal
Since November 21, 2011
|John Milloy, Liberal
Since October 20, 2011
|Jim Wilson, PC
Since October 20, 2011
|Political groups||Liberal Party
Progressive Conservative Party
New Democratic Party
|Last election||October 6, 2011|
|Ontario Legislative Building, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario (also known as Ontario Legislative Assembly or Ontario Legislature), is the legislature of the Canadian province of Ontario, and is the second largest provincial legislature of Canada. It is located in the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park in Toronto.
The British North America Act section 69 stipulates "There shall be a Legislature for Ontario consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor and of One House, styled the Legislative Assembly of Ontario". The Legislative Assembly is unicameral, without an upper house, with 107 seats representing ridings elected through a first-past-the-post electoral system across the province.
The Legislative Assembly is informally known as the "Ontario Provincial Parliament". This is because unlike the other Canadian provinces, members of the assembly refer to themselves as "Members of the Provincial Parliament" (MPPs) as opposed to "Members of the Legislative Assembly" (MLAs) as in many other provinces. Ontario is the only province to do so, in accordance with a resolution passed in the Assembly on April 7, 1938. However, the Legislative Assembly Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L10 refers only to "members of the Assembly".
The 40th Legislative Assembly of Ontario was elected on October 6, 2011. The first session of the 40th Legislative Assembly opened on November 22, 2011 and ended on October 15, 2012. The second session began on February 19, 2013.
In accordance with the traditions of the Westminster System, most laws originate with the cabinet (Government bills), and are passed by the legislature after stages of debate and decision-making. Ordinary Members of the Legislature may introduce privately (Private Members' Bills), play an integral role in scrutinizing bills in debate and committee and amending bills presented to the legislature by cabinet.
Members are expected to be loyal to both their parliamentary party and to the interests of their constituents.
In the Ontario Legislature this confrontation provides much of the material for Oral Questions and Members' Statements. Legislative scrutiny of the executive is also at the heart of much of the work carried out by the Legislature's Standing Committees, which are made up of ordinary backbenchers.
A Member's day will typically be divided among participating in the business of the House, attending caucus and committee meetings, speaking in various debates, or returning to his or her constituency to address the concerns, problems and grievances of constituents. Depending on personal inclination and political circumstances, some Members concentrate most of their attention on House matters while others focus on constituency problems, taking on something of an ombudsman's role in the process.
Finally, it is the task of the Legislature to provide the personnel of the executive. As already noted, under responsible government, ministers of the Crown are expected to be Members of the Assembly. When a political party comes to power it will usually place its more experienced parliamentarians into the key cabinet positions, where their parliamentary experience may be the best preparation for the rough and tumble of political life in government.
Coat of arms 
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is the first and the only legislature in Canada to have a Coat of Arms separate from the provincial coat of arms.
Green and gold are the principal colours in the shield of arms of the province. The Mace is the traditional symbol of the authority of the Speaker. Shown on the left is the current Mace. On the right is the original Mace from the time of the first parliament in 1792. The crossed Maces are joined by the shield of arms of Ontario.
The crown on the wreath represents national and provincial loyalties; its rim is studded with the provincial gemstone, the amethyst. The griffin, an ancient symbol of justice and equity, holds a calumet, which symbolizes the meeting of spirit and discussion that Ontario's First Nations believe accompanies the use of the pipe.
The deer represent the natural riches of the province. The Loyalist coronets at their necks honour the original British settlers in Ontario who brought with them the British parliamentary form of government. The Royal Crowns, left 1992, right 1792, recognize the parliamentary bicentennial and represent Ontario's heritage as a constitutional monarchy. They were granted as a special honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of the Governor General.
In the base, the maple leaves are for Canada, the trilliums for Ontario and the roses for York (now Toronto), the provincial capital.
The motto "Audi Alteram Partem" is one of a series of Latin phrases carved in the Chamber of the Legislative Building. It challenges Members of Provincial Parliament to "Hear the Other Side".
Timeline of the 40th Parliament of Ontario 
- November 21, 2011 – Dave Levac (Liberal, Brant) is elected Speaker on the second ballot defeating three other candidates.
- November 22, 2011 – Speech from the Throne is delivered.
- March 29, 2012: Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivers the provincial budget.
- April 23, 2012: After negotiations between the Liberals and the NDP, the minority government agrees to amend the budget by adding $242 million to child care funding, $20 million for northern and rural hospitals, increase welfare and disability benefits by 1 per cent at a cost of $55 million, and add and add a 2% surtax on the portion of individual income that exceeds $500,000 a year.
- April 24, 2012: Budget approved 52-37 with NDP MPPs abstaining.
- April 27, 2012: Progressive Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer (Kitchener—Waterloo) resigns her seat upon accepting a government appointment as chair of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board. The vacancy results in the government and Opposition being tied in seats, however, as Speaker David Levac is a Liberal, the Opposition continues to have a one seat advantage. A Liberal victory in this pending by-election and in the pending Vaughan by-election would give it a majority in the legislature.
- August 1, 2012: Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara (Vaughan) resigns his seat.
- September 6, 2012: By-elections held in the ridings of Kitchener—Waterloo and Vaughan. Catherine Fife (NDP) elected as MPP for Kitchener—Waterloo. Steven Del Duca (Liberal) elected as MPP for Vaughan. The NDP gains one seat in the Ontario Legislature while the Liberals retain their 53-seat minority.
- October 15, 2012: Premier McGuinty prorogues the legislature and announces his resignation as Liberal Party leader pending a leadership convention.
- February 11, 2013: Kathleen Wynne is sworn in as Premier, and a new cabinet in sworn in.
- February 14, 2013: Chris Bentley and Dwight Duncan, Liberal MPPs for London West and Windsor—Tecumseh, resign.
Party standings 
The 39th Legislature was dissolved on September 7, 2011.
Election of the 40th Ontario Legislature occurred October 6, 2011, as a result of which Dalton McGuinty's Liberals form a minority government.
|Progressive Conservative||Tim Hudak||Official Opposition||37||36|
|New Democratic||Andrea Horwath||Third Party||17||18|
Seating plan 
The seating chamber was influenced by the British House of Commons layout and that of the original St. Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster. The difference with the British layout is with the use of individual chairs and tables for members, absent in the British Commons' design.
Previous location of the legislature, once home the legislature of Upper Canada and the United Provinces of Canada had similar layout.
List of members 
- Party leaders' names are in italics, with the Premier's in bold-italics.
Other Chair occupants 
- Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee of the Whole: Bas Balkissoon (Liberal)
- Premier of Ontario: Hon. Kathleen Wynne (Liberal)
- Leader of the Opposition: Tim Hudak (Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario New Democratic Party: Andrea Horwath
Floor leaders 
- Government House Leader: Hon. John Milloy
- Opposition House Leader: Jim Wilson
- NDP House Leader: Gilles Bisson
- Chief Government Whip: Donna Cansfield
- Official Opposition Whip: John Yakabuski
- NDP Whip: Cheri DiNovo
Front benches 
- Executive Council of Ontario
- Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet of the 40th Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- Ontario New Democratic Party Shadow Cabinet of the 40th Legislative Assembly of Ontario
There are two forms which Committees can take. The first, standing committees, are struck for the duration of the Parliament pursuant to Standing Orders. The second, select committees, are struck usually by a Motion or an Order of the House to consider a specific bill or issue which would otherwise monopolize the time of the standing committees.
Standing committees 
A committee which exists for the duration of a parliamentary session. This committee examines and reports on the general conduct of activities by government departments and agencies and reports on matters referred to it by the house, including proposed legislation.
Standing Committees in the current Parliament:
Select committees 
Select committees are set up specifically to study certain bills or issues and according to the Standing Orders, consists of not more than 11 members from all parties with representation reflecting the current standing in the house. In some cases, the committee must examine material by a specific date and then report its conclusion to the legislature. After its final report, the committee is dissolved.
Select Committees in the 39th Parliament:
- The Select Committee on Elections completed its work on June 30, 2009.
- The Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions completed its work on August 26, 2010.
- The Select Committee on the proposed transaction of the TMX Group and the London Stock Exchange Group completed its work on April 19, 2011.
The ceremonial mace of the Legislature is the third mace to be used in Ontario.
The first mace was first used by the Chamber of Upper Canada's first Parliament in 1792 at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) and then to York (now Toronto). The primitive wooden mace, painted red and gilt and surmounted by a crown of thin brass strips. It was stolen by American troops during the War of 1812 in 1813. It remained in the United States until 1934 and returned to Ontario. Stored at the Royal Ontario Museum and now located in the Speaker's office.
A second mace was introduced in 1813 and used until 1841. A replacement mace was not purchased until 1845 and then transferred to the Union Parliament and finally to the Canadian Parliament in 1867. This mace was lost in the fire at the Centre Block in 1916. The current mace used in Legislature was purchased in 1867.
Like the Parliament of Canada, the Legislature has procedural officers:
The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is the chief permanent officer of the Legislative Assembly, with the rank and status of a Deputy Minister. He or she is the principal procedural adviser and senior officer of the House. The Clerk's responsibilities include advising the Speaker and Members of the Legislature on questions of procedure and interpretation of the rules and practices of the House. The Clerk is also responsible for the overall direction and administration of the Legislative Assembly and is Secretary of the Board of Internal Economy. As Chief Executive Officer, the Clerk is accountable to the Speaker for the administrative and operational functions of the Office of the Assembly.
The other key officer is the Sergeant-at-Arms, whose role is to keep order during meetings in the Legislature. The Sergeant-at-Arms is also charged with control of the Ceremonial mace in the Legislature in session.
Other officers of the legislature include the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Ontario Ombudsman, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, the Auditor General of Ontario and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
Membership changes 
|Membership changes in the 40th Assembly|
|April 27, 2012||Elizabeth Witmer||Kitchener—Waterloo||Progressive Conservative||Resigns to accept a government appointment as chair of the WSIB.|
|August 1, 2012||Greg Sorbara||Vaughan||Liberal||Resigns|
|September 6, 2012||Steven Del Duca||Vaughan||Liberal||Elected in by-election|
|September 6, 2012||Catherine Fife||Kitchener—Waterloo||New Democrat||Elected in by-election|
|February 14, 2013||Chris Bentley||London West||Liberal||Resigns|
|February 14, 2013||Dwight Duncan||Windsor—Tecumseh||Liberal||Resigns|
See also 
- Office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- List of Ontario political parties
- Cabinet of Ontario
- List of Ontario general elections
- List of Ontario Legislative Assemblies
- Category:Members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- Ontario Parliament Network