NORTHERN ONTARIO—Ontario is taking steps to ensure that Northern Ontarians have a strong voice in the provincial legislature.
If passed, the Electoral Boundaries Act, 2015 would maintain Ontario’s 11 existing provincial ridings in Northern Ontario and ensure that the unique interests of Northern communities continue to have effective representation in the legislature, a press release from the province states.
Under the government’s 2005 commitment, Ontario would maintain its 11 existing provincial ridings in the North instead of mirroring the federal redistribution, which reduced the number of federal seats in Northern Ontario from 11 to 10. If the Electoral Boundaries Act, 2015 passes, Ontario will have 122 provincial ridings and 121 federal ridings.
The government is also committed to addressing recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer, and will be moving ahead with additional items this fall, including: moving the fixed election date from fall to spring to help avoid overlap with federal and municipal elections; engaging more young people with the voting process through provisional registration for 16 and 17-year-olds. The minimum voting age would remain 18; and strengthening rules on election-related third-party advertising.
“I’m delighted that, if the Electoral Boundaries Act passes, Northern Ontario will maintain its 11 existing provincial ridings with no changes to their boundaries,” Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, states in a press release. “Our government remains committed to ensuring a strong voice for Northern Ontario, now and in the future. Economically and socially, the North represents a unique and vital part of Ontario. The proposed electoral boundary amendments re-affirm our government’s commitment to protecting representation for Northern Ontario and ensuring the voices of Northerners can be effectively represented at Queen’s Park.”