Ontario is taking steps to create additional ridings in Northern Ontario to improve representation and ensure that people across the North have a stronger voice in the provincial legislature.
Today the government introduced legislation that would, if passed, create the ridings of Kiiwetinoong, Mushkegowuk, Timmins, and Kenora-Rainy River. If passed, these reforms would result in a total of four ridings in Ontario’s far North, where currently there are only two.
These proposed changes would implement the recommendations of the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission — an independent commission that was tasked by the province to look at ways to improve representation for people living in northern communities, many of whom are Indigenous peoples and francophones.
“The enormous size of the current ridings in remote northern communities make representation by elected officials extraordinarily difficult. These two new ridings will help change that. Together with other recent reforms we’ve made to increase ridings in southern Ontario and promote voter participation, these changes will help build a more modern and representative election system.” — Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General
In addition, this bill proposes to amend the Election Finances Act to clarify attendance rules related to political fundraising and contributions, and to amend the Election Act to provide authority for the Chief Electoral Officer to share information from the Permanent Register of Electors with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, for electoral purposes.
“Ontario’s North is unique and represents diverse and vibrant voices over an expansive geography. By increasing the number of ridings in the North, more of these crucial voices will be heard creating more fairness and opportunity for northerners.” — Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines
Ensuring the democratic system continues to represent people fairly across Ontario is part of our plan to help people in their everyday lives.
- There are currently 11 provincial ridings in Northern Ontario, and a total of 122 in the province. The proposed changes would increase the number of provincial ridings to 124. Subject to the will of the Legislature, these new ridings will be in place for the scheduled 2018 election.
- The population of the new Kiiwetinoong riding would be 68 per cent Indigenous. The new riding of Mushkegowuk would be 60 per cent francophone and 27 per cent Indigenous. “Kiiwetinoong” is the Ojibwe word for “north” and “Mushkegowuk” is Cree and can be translated into English to mean “People of the Swamp Land.”
- Statement from the Attorney General on Final Report of the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission
- Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission