… or Who Does What, Who’s Who, and What’s Going On?
Working with a not-for-profit funded in part by the provincial government, I’ve learned how important it is to (attempt to) understand How Things Work, including Who Does What, Who’s Who, and generally What’s Going On.
Living away from Ontario for quite a while, though, I’ve missed a lot of recent political history.
In the past few years, mostly through work, I’ve had occasion to meet federal MPs, Ontario MPPs, Toronto City Councillors, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. I’m curious about what they do, how they’re chosen, what they represent, what their powers are, and how they relate to each other.
For now, I needed a refresher on how the Ontario government works.
Here are some resources I’ve found useful, for current and future reference.
1) TVO Civics 101
TVO, the educational public services broadcaster for Ontario, has produced a terrific Civics 101 series of 30+ bite-sized videos answering exactly the questions I’ve had. TVO notes that “Civics 101 illustrates how the provincial political process works and how citizens participate in that process enhancing their civic engagement.”
Though a bit dated (Dalton McGuinty is Premier and Kathleen Wynne is Education Minister), the series features Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) speaking to questions relevant to their positions. Accessibility kudos to TVO for including full closed captioning on the videos, plus transcripts.
Here’s a selection of especially informative ones.
2) Ontario Government Website
The Ontario government’s own website is, of course, full of useful information. Two especially helpful sections are:
- History of Government A primer on the government’s history (including the Constitution Act of 1867, Division of Powers, and Canada’s Independence: A Timeline) and structure.
- Ministries of Ontario Lays out Ontario’s 30 ministries (and six other non-portfolio responsibilities), including the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, which promotes heritage and conservation.
3) Legislative Assembly of Ontario Website
The Legislative Assembly’s own website includes:
- A Chamber seating plan (opens PDF) with the names and home ridings of MPPs, showing who sits next to whom.
- A list of current MPPs, which may be sorted by Ministers, Opposition Critics, Parliamentary Assistants, and political parties.
- House Video, and schedule when the House is sitting (with jazzy music in the meantime!).
The Ontario Legislature’s YouTube channel also features recordings of Question Periods and Members’ Statements, such as this lively recording from December 14, 2017.
4) Infographic from Ontario Nonprofit Network
I quite like this comprehensive four-page infographic booklet from the Ontario Nonprofit Network and partners, which I first saw a couple years ago. It covers the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the Cabinet, and the Ontario Public Service, with a snapshot of Ontario ministries and their areas of responsibility (of interest to nonprofits).
5) Wikipedia on Government of Ontario
Finally, there’s always Wikipedia, with its myriad links to explore:
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