Canada: Liberals Win Majority Government In Ontario: Implications For Electricity Policy

On June 12, 2014, the Ontario general election saw the minority Liberal government returned with a solid majority. The seat breakdown is as follows:

  1. Liberals: 581
  2. Progressive Conservatives ("PC"): 28
  3. New Democratic Party ("NDP"): 21.

This represents a gain of five seats for the Liberals from the last general election in 2011 (53), a loss of nine seats for the PCs (37) and a gain of four seats for the NDP (17). The geographic breakdown shows that the Liberals took 20 of 22 seats in Toronto, most of the 905 region, four urban seats in Ottawa and two seats in the north. The PCs still have the dominant position in the rural areas of Ontario and the NDP hold seats primarily in the north, southwest and Niagara region.

Electricity Policy: Implications of a Majority Government

Overview

Majority governments enable the governing party to move forward their legislative and policy agenda without political obstacles usually present in minority legislatures. For example, the introduction of legislation does not depend on agreements between the House Leaders' offices of the opposition parties. In addition, the government can structure standing committees without the need to consult the opposition parties. Governing parties also have more representation on these committees, thus reducing the influence that opposition parties can have on the bills being debated.

At a more informal level, majority governments give the ruling party the ability to develop longer-term policy without the fear of confidence motions that could trigger general elections. In summary, then, majority governments have more flexibility and power to implement their policy agenda since they don't have to manage the opposition parties as closely as they would in a minority government.

Electricity Policy and Process Issues

In terms of electricity policy, the Liberal majority gives the Minister of Energy the ability to move the current policy agenda forward consistent with the mandate given to him or her by the Premier.  If a new Minister is appointed, then he or she will need to become familiar with the details relating to the existing energy policy prior to making any substantive decisions.

But since the Liberal election platform document ("The Jobs and Investment Plan 2014") and the May 1st budget all supported the Long Term Energy Plan ("Achieving Balance"), we can assume that this will form the core of the Liberal government's energy policy over the next four years..

In terms of timing, on July 2, the government will recall the Legislature and deliver a Speech from the Throne that will outline the government's key priorities for the next year or so. This may include one or two signature electricity policies that show the government is staying the course but that is sensitive to Ontarians "pocketbook" concerns. For instance, the government may mention eliminating the Debt Requirement Charge from residential electricity bills.

And then in the middle of July, the government will re-introduce the May 1st budget. We may see older electricity policy announcements mentioned in the budget repackaged and highlighted to showcase the concerns of the new government. For example:

  • Invest a total of 20,000 MWs of renewable energy projects by 2025;
  • The small business "Five Point Business Energy Saving Plan";

    • Working with energy agencies, local distribution companies and the Retail Council of Canada, the government will promote the use of Roving Energy Managers. These managers will support small business on energy saving projects;
    • The saveONenergy for Business Conservation program will be tailored to small businesses to ensure they can benefit from programs that help them manage and reduce energy costs;
    • The saveONenergy for Business Conservation program will be expanded to provide further incentives to businesses to make participation more accessible;
    • The government will assist small businesses with the upfront capital costs of conservation projects to allow on-bill financing for the sector starting in 2015;
    • The government will commit to another six years of conservation programs to ensure incentives continue to be available for small businesses through the new Conservation and Demand Management Framework.
  • Give ratepayers more tools to lower their bills, depending on the time of day they use electricity and assist in paying for energy-saving technology by stretching payments for new investments on their energy bill over a number of years.2

Additional electricity policy proposals that will be in the budget include:

  • Introduce legislative amendments to consolidate the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator;
  • Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation to find savings for ratepayers through economies of scale in both refurbishment and operations;
  • Create a $3 million, three year "Remote Electrification Readiness Program" to assist remote First Nations to more fully benefit from new transmission projects in the far north;
  • End the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on December 31, 2015 and replace it with a planned rate-base program with the Ontario Energy Board to report back on program options targeting low income Ontarians.3

In summary, a majority government will allow the Minister of Energy to move forward with the key policy initiatives underway while giving him or her the option of introducing modest reforms based on various policy inputs from electricity sector stakeholders.

Footnotes

1. As of June 16, due to an error in calculating the vote in the riding of Thornhill, Elections Ontario declared that the seat will go to PC Gila Martow and not Liberal candidate Sandra Yeung-Racco. However, Ms. Yeung-Racco has asked for a judicial recount since the difference was under 100 votes.

2. For a full list of the Liberal energy platform commitments, see the June 9 2014 Bulletin from BLG's Electricity Markets Group.

3. Source: May 1, 2014 Ontario Budget document.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions