Officials in Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations are preparing to see their department folded into another ministry when premier-designate Doug Ford and his new cabinet are sworn in Friday.
The 10-year-old ministry was created after the inquiry into the police killing of an Aboriginal protester at Ipperwash Provincial Park found that Indigenous people were getting scant attention from the government and what they did get came from ministers who often had conflicts of interest.
Depending whom you listen to, the standalone ministry could be collapsed into either the Ministry of Natural Resources or the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, as Ford streamlines the 30 ministerial jobs in Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government to as few as 18.
As a government ages, premiers promote junior people with potential and try to ease out veterans without injuring their dignity. Premiers like to show voters they really care about certain causes, too, and devoting new ministries to them is a flashy yet mostly harmless way of doing it.
For the moment, Ontario has a Ministry of Education; a Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development; a Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science; a Ministry of Economic Development and Growth; a Ministry of International Trade; and a Ministry of Labour. All that takes more than one ministry to oversee but it sure doesn’t need six.