Premier Kathleen Wynne has prorogued the legislature so the government can outline a new set of priorities in a throne speech on Monday.
A speech from the throne is an opportunity for the Liberal government — with low approval ratings — to outline a new set of priorities less than two years from the next provincial election.
All government bills are being kept active, including election finance reforms, but it’s not yet clear what will happen to private members’ bills.
Wynne said Wednesday when asked about her upcoming legislative priorities that economic growth and job creation will continue to be a focus and that the government needs to find a way to address high electricity rates.
The legislature had already been set to return on Monday, so no sitting days are being lost.
Local poverty reduction advocates are hoping the suspension of the legislature won’t mean a setback in their plans.
Proroguing Queen’s Park could mean that private member’s bills get lost in the shuffle.
That includes a private member’s bill to create an arms length commission to study the cost of living across Ontario.
Tom Cooper of Hamilton’s Roundtable for Poverty Reduction says right now, we don’t know how much someone on social assistance needs to live.
He says programs like Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program don’t reflect the actual cost of living and actually fall “hundreds of dollars below” what people need.
The bill would create a non-partisan commission that would recommend appropriate social assistance rates based on rising rental, food and utility costs.
Bill 185 was presented in the spring by Hamilton East-Stoney Creek NDP MPP Paul Miller and it passed second reading with unanimous support at Queen’s Park
It was due for third reading this fall.