Ford’s bloated cabinet reflects an embrace of big government

With 36 Progressive Conservatives now in cabinet out of a caucus of 80, no less than 45 per cent of the governing caucus gets a 42 per cent pay bump. Pictured: Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Photo Credit: Doug Ford/X. 

Is Queen’s Park nearly twice as effective as it was six years ago?

That’s a question Ontario taxpayers from Thunder Bay to Windsor should be asking in the wake of Premier Doug Ford’s latest cabinet shuffle, which saw Ford appoint the largest cabinet in the province’s history. 

This Progressive Conservative government, elected to restrain the size of government after years of Liberal largesse, is unrecognizable from the government that took office back in 2018.

When Ford’s first cabinet was sworn in six years ago, it had 21 members.

At the time, Ford was proud to have shrunk Ontario’s cabinet size by eight members compared to his Liberal predecessor.

“For too long, the people of Ontario have worked more and paid more, but gotten less,” Ford said. “Those days are over. Help is here.”

When Ford took office, he pledged to slim down the size of government, starting with leadership from the top. And a cabinet of 21 members signalled exactly that. 

Fast forward six years and it’s clear for all to see that government has only grown, not shrunk.

Ford has increased Ontario’s debt by $86 billion. Annual spending is up by $55 billion. And the bloat at Queen’s Park has never been larger. 

Ford’s June cabinet shuffle expanded the size of the provincial cabinet to no less than 36 members. That’s a 71 per cent increase in a span of six years.

Ford’s cabinet now includes positions he’s created out of thin air.

There are eight associate ministers in the Ford cabinet, each of whom reports to a more senior minister and serves within that senior minister’s ministry.

Back in 2018, Ford eliminated all of the associate ministerial positions created by former premier Kathleen Wynne. 

Now, the province has more than ever. 

Back in 2018, Ontario didn’t have a minister of mines. 

Now, not only does Ontario have a minister of mines, but we also have an associate minister of mines. 

Other ministries that poofed into existence this month include rural affairs, which was separated out of agriculture and rural affairs, and sport, which was separated out of tourism and sport.

That’s a far cry from the government efficiency Ford promised not too long ago. 

With 36 Progressive Conservatives now in cabinet out of a caucus of 80, no less than 45 per cent of the governing caucus gets a 42 per cent pay bump.

Ministers are paid $165,0000, while backbenchers get $116,500.

Ford’s apologists might point to other provinces to justify the bloated size of Ontario’s cabinet.  

But here’s the thing: Ford’s is the largest provincial cabinet in the country.

British Columbia’s cabinet has 28 members. Alberta’s has 25. Even Quebec’s cabinet maxes out at 31.

Ford’s cabinet is almost as large as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s, despite serving less than half the population. Trudeau’s cabinet has 40 members. 

Compared to Ford’s 2018 cabinet, Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for $700,000 in extra ministerial salary alone. 

And that doesn’t even factor in the dozens of additional well-paid staffers that will have to be hired to help staff all of these new cabinet roles.

Speaking of staffers, that’s yet another place where Ford’s gravy train keeps picking up more cargo. 

When Ford took office, 20 staffers in the premier’s office made more than $100,000 a year. That number is now up to 48.

So much for a “new era of fiscal responsibility and respect for taxpayers.”

Ford’s growing cabinet and staffer roster reflects his growing government. 

For six years, Ford has talked the talk of fiscal responsibility but failed to walk the walk. 

It’s time for Ontario taxpayers to stand up and demand both trends are reversed, pronto. 

Ford needs to restore respect for taxpayer dollars at Queen’s Park. That means slimming down his cabinet, slashing the number of staffers, cutting spending and balancing the books, and finally delivering meaningful tax relief to Ontario taxpayers. 

Your donations help us continue to deliver the news and commentary you want to read. Please consider donating today.

Donate Today


  • Politics

  • Sports

  • Business