Solid progress made, more to come
As your MPP, my election commitments have been kept in full! Between 2003 and 2014, during the past four elections, I knocked on people’s doors in western Mississauga. We talked about what we could do as a community in Ontario. Today, we can also talk about what we have done together. Let’s recap what I campaigned on between 2003 and 2014:
A new Children’s Treatment Centre for challenged kids — DONE!
Erinoak Kids desperately needed a new, state-of-the-art children’s treatment centre to help families with autistic kids, and children with a learning or developmental disability. Erinoak Kids will build three brand-new facilities: one in Mississauga, and others in Oakville and Brampton to serve western GTA families. The projects has now gone to tender.
This will let Erinoak Kids get out of eight scattered rental units, and its aged site on South Millway, and offer more services to more kids in facilities that are state-of-the-art.
Funding for ambulatory surgery centre (Phase III) at CVH — DONE!
The funding was announced on August 23, 2011. Now we will build the facility as Credit Valley Hospital Phase III. The new capital project includes funding for the ambulatory surgery centre, and much more. The facility begins construction in 2015. Click for more detail.
A new GO Train station at Lisgar — DONE!
In 2003, I pledged to work on a new GO Train station located in Lisgar to serve the dense, northwest corner of Mississauga. It was the first project I worked on.
- By early 2004, GO Transit had made the Lisgar GO Train station a priority, and I was reading petitions in the Legislative Chamber to keep the heat on the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. They worked;
- In January of 2005, GO and the Ministry of Transportation and Highways announced the new station. Work began on schedule in the spring of 2007. It ran ahead of schedule from the outset;
- The project was complete nine weeks ahead of schedule and the Lisgar GO Train station opened on September 4, 2007;
- The Lisgar GO Train station is also an example of how two different levels of government should work together. Pat Saito worked from the city’s side, and I worked from the province’s side. A project that had not been able to proceed for 12 years was underway within 15 months.
Capital funding for Credit Valley Hospital Phase II — DONE!
In 2003, people in every neighbourhood talked about the wait times at Credit Valley Hospital. Credit Valley Hospital turned out to be the most challenging and also the most rewarding file of my first term in office.
- After two visits from the Premier and several more from the Minister of Health, we had changed the “downtown attitude” that western Mississauga is comprised primarily of young families who need little health care. In fact, seniors are our fastest-growing demographic;
- After numerous meetings between CVH and the Ministry, we had a deal, and both sides delivered on it. The new Phase II project was announced on August 22, 2005. Not only was it completed ahead of schedule and under budget, the $232 million project has been in service since May!
- Wait times at Credit Valley Hospital are down. Ontario has invested some $10 million at Credit Valley since 2004-05, including the following:
- Some $337,500 for 450 cataract surgeries;
- Nearly $1.2 million for 170 hip and knee replacements;
- $43,800 for 175 CT hours, and 613 CT exams;
- Nearly $2 million for 7,488 MRI hours, and 11,232 MRI exams;
- Some $155,023 for 40 cancer surgeries.
- Phase II added 140 beds to Credit Valley Hospital, and doubled the space in the maternity suite. We have a new complex continuing care facility. Most importantly, the renovation of some 70,000 square feet of existing space helps relieve stress on the emergency ward.
Access to regulated professions in Ontario — DONE!
Way back in 2001, our Mississauga West Provincial Liberal Association worked a policy resolution through the Liberal Party policy development process, and the party (and hence the government in 2003) was committed to opening access to Ontario’s regulated professionals to those trained or experienced outside Canada. It made (and makes) sense.
- While the ranks of the regulated professions in Ontario grow older, many who have immigrated here find the obstacles preventing them from re-starting their working careers are lengthy, arbitrary and unfair. The result was Bill 124, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006. It is now law;
- Mine were the first petitions read in the Legislature on the subject. Mississauga was active and engaged, and as one metric of success, Ontario has, for the past two years certified (not trained) more international medical graduates than domestically-trained medical graduates.
Ontario’s doctor shortage is now in many areas a doctor surplus. More than 500,000 additional Ontarians now have a family doctor.
Capacity expansion on the Milton GO line — On GO’s Capital Plan!
People in western Mississauga need all-day GO Train service into and out of downtown Toronto. While the buses are regular and reliable, you are still on the highway.
- The impediment to western Mississauga’s need for all-day rail service into and out of Toronto is the lack of track capacity on the Milton GO line;
- Canadian Pacific, which owns the line, uses it at virtually full capacity. The proverbial pie needs to be larger. GO Transit has established western Mississauga’s need as a priority. And so now has Canadian Pacific;
- Ontario funding has been set aside by Infrastructure Ontario;
- GO Transit has completed an environmental assessment on the project. Work on the remaining studies will proceed to the production of a tender document, a call for proposals and the awarding of a contract;
- The Milton Line capacity expansion has been approved by the GO Transit Board. CP Rail is itself adding a new track, meaning the two-track line will be a four track line when the project is complete;
- Once construction work is underway, the project will take three years to complete, and be done in phases.
Other western Mississauga achievements
- Family Medicine Teaching Unit at Credit Valley
- The best way to keep young doctors in Mississauga is to teach them medicine locally, and train them locally. This means they are very likely to become part of the Mississauga community, and practice locally. This is now reality. In 2006, Credit Valley Hospital opened its Family Medicine Teaching Unit to accomplish just this. I worked with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, the University of Toronto at Mississauga (Erindale), the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Credit Valley Hospital to establish a new medical school at Erindale. It is under construction. We will have the medical “farm system” in Mississauga to train and keep our best young medical professionals.
- Capital improvements at Streetsville and Meadowvale GO Train stations
- At Meadowvale GO, a new access tunnel allows proper disabled access to the platform. The platform is now covered, which will make winter easier to bear. At Streetsville, the platform was lengthened for 12-car trains, and a new access tunnel from the mid-parking lot to the platform has made the run for the train significantly shorter. You and I can now use the Presto card to pay for both our GO train trip, and the connector Mississauga buses. Investment by the province is making the Kipling Subway Station a major hub for Mississauga Transit to connect with the TTC.
- Base funding for Credit Valley Hospital up by 40 percent!
- Credit Valley Hospital’s annual budget is now at $225 million, which is up by more than 40 percent since the 2003 election of your government.
- New linear accelerators at CVH ahead of schedule.
- We needed another three linear accelerators for cancer radiation treatments, and I worked with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to get one a full year ahead of schedule. It is now in service. While we waited for it to arrive, the Ministry of Health funded extra hours on the existing three units to help alleviate the wait times. After the fourth linear accelerator arrived, I worked on the Ministry to get the last two, also ahead of schedule.
- Better funding for our two school boards
- Funding for the Peel District School Board increased by 43 percent. Enrollment increased by 13 percent. Funding for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board increased by 28 percent. Enrollment increased by 3.2 percent. An additional investment, announced in August 2007, included funds to hire assistant principals, cover transportation shortfalls and address the problems created by growth. The Dufferin-Peel Board has balanced its budget in recent fiscal years.
- Capital funds for school repairs
- By the end of the Harris-Eves Conservative years, our schools were literally falling apart. Not any longer. Both the Dufferin-Peel Catholic ($14 million) and Peel Public ($52 million) boards received funding to make repairs to their schools, and bring them up to 21st century standards. That work is now complete, as your children will tell you if you have any in our schools.
- New school construction
- Any doubt that the Ontario PC Party was about privatizing schools went away when they froze construction of all new schools soon after 1995. That changed in a hurry after 2003. Five brand-new schools opened in western Mississauga alone between 2003 and the present:
- St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary in Churchill Meadows;
- Stephen Lewis Secondary School in Churchill Meadows;
- Oscar Peterson Public School in Churchill Meadows;
- St. Sebastian Catholic School in central Erin Mills;
- Artesian Drive Public School in central Erin Mills.
Some 26 million school days were lost to labour disputes between 1995 and 2003. Since the election of Ontario’s Liberal government: none!
- Improved funding for developmentally-challeged children
- Funding for Erinoak, western Mississauga’s children’s treatment centre, has more than doubled for autism, pre-school speech and language, respite and developmental services. By 2016, ErinOakKids will have replace its eight aging and outdated facilities with three brand new, state-of-the-art centres in Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville.
- A better deal for Mississauga in Peel Region
- Mississauga, with about 62 percent of Peel’s population, can no longer be out-voted by Brampton and Caledon on Peel Regional Council. The PC Party vehemently opposed a better deal for Mississauga on Peel Regional Council in 2005. Our Liberal government also funded 1,397 new child care spaces in Peel Region under Ontario’s Best Start program.
- The end of GTA Pooling
- The hated GTA Pooling, also known as the Toronto Tax, brought in during the Harris-Eves years is now history. Beginning in 2007, the Toronto Taxwill be phased out, saving the City of Mississauga some $40 million each and every year. This is your money, and now your city can spend it at home, while Ontario uploads social services and other programs.
- New police officers in Peel Region
- Ontario pledged and met its commitment to hire 1,000 new officers across Ontario. Peel Region got about 100 of these new police officers. They are hired, and on the streets looking after us. And for the tenth straight year, Mississauga continues to be the safest city in Canada!
- HOV lanes on Highway 403 and better transportation support
- It may not be a new highway, but the HOV lanes on Highway 403 reduce commuting time by as much as a third, as long as you are a taxi, bus or a car carrying two or more people. It’s been proven effective all over the world, and now HOV lanes are easing traffic gridlock in Mississauga. Ontario has invested some $121.8 million in Mississauga Transit since 2003.
- Keeping recyclables out of landfills
- Ontario invested some $2 million in the Region of Peel to support source protection planning for our drinking water. Action by the Ministry of the Environment is keeping some one billion plastic bags out of Ontario landfills. Instead of cutting the Ministry of the Environment to shreds, Ontario’s Liberal government has empowered it. Now you can take back nearly everything you buy at the beer store and the LCBO, even beer bottle caps! What difference does this make? It means nearly 150,000 tonnes of glass waste each year won’t make it into landfills, and will be recycled completely.