Provincial and Territorial Events
April – British Columbia
- Alexandra Morton, an independent scientist, chronicles the demise of BC wild salmon because science is ignored.
April – Ontario
- Ontario ignored the advice of its own Science Council as to which postal codes should be identified as “hot spots” for COVID. It left off 8 hot spots in “some of the highest per-capita infection rates during the third wave, such as Peel and York” and replaced them with “eight lower-risk areas — most of which are in PC ridings”.
- “… hours after Ontario’s Science Advisory Table urged the province to shut down all non-essential work and ensure adequate paid sick leave for those in essential sectors,” the Ontario government announced new rules ignoring this advice.“Under the new orders, manufacturing and warehousing — where existing data shows most workplace outbreaks have occurred, and where many workers do not have paid sick days — will continue with no restrictions.”
November – Ontario
- In an omnibus bill named “Protect, Support and recover from COVID-19” (Bill 229), the Ontario government introduced provisions reducing the authority of the 36 Conservation authorities to give advice and issue orders on proposals that would affect flood and erosion control. It increases the responsibility and authority of municipal and provincial political officials and allows developers to fast-track the process for a fee.
October – Ontario
- Using an Order-in-Council Ontario passes bill 168, while the bill is still in front of the committee, thus curtailing discussion of it. The bill adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Definition of anti-Semitism which equates critiques of the state of Israel with antisemitism.
June – Ontario
- Ontario passed a law in June that restricts the ability of employee whistleblowers and activists to document cruelty to animals on farms and in slaughterhouses. Alberta passed legislation with a similar effect in December 2019. Such laws, commonly referred to as “ag gag” laws, are being challenged on the basis of lack of transparency and unlawful interference with freedom of expression.
January – Ontario
- The Ford government is finishing a plan to base university funding in large part on metrics, including how fast graduating students land jobs and how much money they make. These changes were buried in the provincial budget and raise concerns about “boom and bust” funding, especially, for STEM subjects.
December – Alberta
- Alberta passed legislation that restricts the ability of employee whistleblowers and activists to document cruelty to animals on farms and in slaughterhouses. Such laws, commonly referred to as “ag gag” laws, are being challenged on the basis of lack of transparency and unlawful interference with freedom of expression.
November – Alberta
- Ecojustice is challenging the legality of Alberta’s $2.5 million “Public Inquiry Into Funding of Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns” for being politically biased and for having an “improper purpose” with “intent to harm freedom of expression” rather than being an independent fact-finding exercise. One example of required reading by the Inquiry members is a debunked U.S. report suggesting Russian influence of environmental groups that criticize the oil and gas industry.
July – New Brunswick
- The Canadian Association of University Teachers has called the firing of two professors by the Maritime College of Forest Technology in N.B. a violation of “their academic freedom and their basic right to due process”. The matter centers on the firing of one of the most experienced wildlife biologists who was outspoken about the devastating effects on wildlife of the use of glyphosate in forestry. The N.B. government has previously been accused of attempts to silence experts who have spoken out about the harmful effects of glyphosate.
May – Alberta
- Following Ontario’s lead, Alberta’s newly elected conservative government adopts the Chicago Principles re free speech, but ties funding to adherence to the principles. When President Trump did the same in the USA 2 months earlier, Robert Zimmer, the President of the University of Chicago, and a fierce defender of the principles developed by his university, swiftly denounced this move.
May – Ontario
- The Ontario government slashed funding to 9 agencies concerned with invasive species and native biodiversity, including the elimination of funding for the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, the Ontario Biodiversity Council and the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network.
- The Ford government cuts all future funding for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine which was established in 2014 to carry out research on life-saving stem cell therapies for the public good. The government expects the Institute, which has no other funding, to search out private sector funding. This cut is being called “governmental malpractice on a major scale”.
April – Ontario
- The government cuts Ontario library services by 50%. Following a public outcry inter-library loans were restored in the North, and some time later, they were also reversed in the south.
March – Ontario
- The Environment Commissioner, Diane Saxe, is fired. Reporting on climate change and energy conservation is no longer mandatory under Bill 57, and environmental protection reporting is now under the control of the Auditor General.
January – Ontario
- As a result of the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot research project, some of the project’s participants have commenced litigation to try and have the decision overturned. The cancellation has raised significant research ethics concerns and removes “a golden research opportunity”
December – Ontario
- Amendments to Bill 57, stripping even more power from the Environmental Commissioner’s Office, pass in the legislature. This implies that we are unlikely to receive reports on climate change any longer.
November – Ontario
- In its first economic statement, the Ontario PC government announced that it will shut down the office of the environmental commissioner after the office’s almost 25 years work as an independent non-partisan watchdog for the environment.
- A motion by Tania Granic Allen at the PC convention to declare gender identity a “Liberal ideology” and removing all references to it in Ontario’s sex-education curriculum passes, but Premier Ford says that he will not move on it.
- The government cancels plans for the first Ontario Francophone University.
October – Ontario
- The government cancels the promised expansion of 3 university campuses in the GTA.
August – Ontario
- The Ontario government is refusing to make Premier Doug Ford’s mandate letters to cabinet ministers public. Designating the letters as cabinet secrets, one of the highest levels of secrecy available to the provincial government, means they will not be accessible to most civil servants nor will they be available to the public through freedom of information legislation.
- Premier Ford issues a directive that all Ontario Universities must develop a free speech policy that will be monitored on a yearly basis. Failure to develop such a policy or to abide by it will result in withdrawal of funds from the university. This policy will require “discipline measures” against students who engage in “disruptive protesting that significantly interferes with the ability of an event to proceed” and requires student unions to comply with the rules otherwise their “ongoing financial support or recognition” will be revoked. The intent is to create a safe space for anti-abortion groups and alt-right speakers.
- Parks Ontario staffers and others are informed that they are not to mention climate change in social media content any longer. This is further reinforced with a notice that the Ford government reviews all social media content, and indicates that “they will not be approving any posts mentioning climate change at this time.”media strategy, including the muzzling of media, the increasing climate of secrecy, the reduced accountability of government, and the misuse of taxpayers’ money.
July – Ontario
- Ontario canceled a province-sponsored-research project comparing families assigned to receive a basic income for 3 years versus those continuing as before. The cancellation was criticized for breaking promises made to the participating families and for eliminating an opportunity to collect data on the effect of guaranteeing a basic income.
- The cabinet of the Ford Government has eliminated the Minister for Science and Innovation, folding the portfolio into the ministry for economic development.
- Ford starts news propaganda channel with tax payers’ money.
- The government scraps the new sex education curriculum and replaces it with one from 1998. However, in February 2019 an Ontario court rules that educators are not restricted in developing lesson plans and can teach in a way that is inclusive of all students.
- The Ministry of Education cancels the curriculum bring Indigenous perspectives into education, following the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.
- Doug Ford fires the first Ontario Science Advisor, Molly Shoichet, appointed only months earlier by the Liberal government.