Premier Kathleen Wynne is putting a doctor in charge of the health system and tapping a key Greater Toronto MPP to oversee Ontario’s $29-billion transportation rebuild.
In a major cabinet shuffle to be unveiled Tuesday afternoon at Queen’s Park, sources say Wynne will name Dr. Eric Hoskins to replace Deb Matthews as health minister.
Assisting Hoskins — an MD who co-founded the charity War Child Canada — in the $50-billion operation is a new long-term care associate minister, cabinet rookie Dipika Damerla, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville.
The other associate minister will be Mitzie Hunter, MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood, who will oversee the new Ontario pension plan.
Matthews, who remains deputy premier, becomes chair of Treasury Board after almost five years at the helm of the government’s most challenging department.
Another first-time minister Steven Del Duca, the MPP for Vaughan and one of the Liberals’ rising stars, succeeds Glen Murray at a restructured Transportation ministry.
Del Duca, one of four newcomers in the 27-member cabinet, will oversee the $15-billion transit investment in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area as well as the $14 billion in new transportation infrastructure in the rest of Ontario.
“The premier is putting an emphasis on the government’s priorities,” a senior government official said Monday, speaking on background.
Wynne won a majority government in the June 12 election with 58 seats in the 107-member legislature. The Progressive Conservatives picked up 28 seats, while the NDP won 21. The premier will outline her agenda in a speech from the throne next week.
Murray moves to Environment, taking over for veteran Jim Bradley, who will stick around as minister without portfolio and dispense advice and wisdom in cabinet.
Brad Duguid, who had been at Training Colleges and Universities, is getting a promotion.
Duguid, the Scarborough Centre MPP, takes over a reconstituted Ministry of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure. He had served briefly at a smaller economic development department and at the old ministry of energy and infrastructure.
Gaining new authority is Research and Innovation Minister Reza Moridi, a nuclear scientist who will also run Training, Colleges and Universities.
The Pan Am Games, which are less than 13 months away, get a fresh minister after spate of challenges.
Michael Coteau, is the new Tourism, Culture and Sports and Pan Am minister.
Coteau, MP for Don Valley East, replaces Michael Chan, who moves to Citizenship, Immigration, and Trade.
The Games, which open July 10, 2015, will cost at least $2.5 billion. It’s the largest multi-sporting event in Canadian history hosting 7,666 athletes competing in 51 sports in 14 municipalities.
Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi adds government House leader to his duties.
Ted McMeekin, a former Hamilton city councillor and Flamborough mayor, who had been at Community and Social Services, becomes minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
McMeekin’s former responsibilities at Community and Social Services is being taken over by Dr. Helena Jaczek, the MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham.
Jaczek, a one-time chief medical officer of health in York Region, completes the rookie quartet in Wynne’s executive council.
No one was dumped from cabinet:
• Bill Mauro leaves Municipal Affairs and Housing to become Natural Resources Minister.
Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal adds Agriculture and Food to his portfolio, taking those duties from Wynne.
• David Orazietti moves from Natural Resources to a revamped Consumer Services and Government Services ministry.
• Tracy MacCharles, who was at Consumer Services, takes over the Children and Youth Services department, which had been run by Windsor West’s Teresa Piruzza, the lone Liberal incumbent minister defeated in the election.
Staying put are: Finance Minister Charles Sousa, Education Minister Liz Sandals, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, Attorney General and Francophone Affairs Minister Madeleine Meilleur, Northern Affairs and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, Seniors Minister Mario Sergio, and Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer.
Bob Delaney remains chief government whip.
Matthews is departing the Ministry of Health, which accounts for almost half the government’s program spending, as fallout continues from the troubled ORNGE air ambulance service.
ORNGE was recently slapped with 17 federal health and safety charges over a fatal helicopter crash in Moosonee, Ont., a year ago.
The agency also remains under Ontario Provincial Police investigation over questionable business practices under the reign of former chief executive Dr. Chris Mazza.