Ontario’s 2022 Provincial Election saw Ford’s Progressive Conservatives pick up an additional 8 seats, resulting in a strong 83-seat majority. While the PCs celebrate, we’re taking a look at how many women were elected into the Legislature – and what this PC government means for policies impacting women across Ontario.
In the 2018 provincial election, Ontario saw its highest proportion of female candidates running yet, with 49 MPPs or 39.5% of the seats. This was the highest percentage of female representatives in any provincial legislature. In the June 2nd election, Ontario saw more women run for office than ever before. Some parties had outstanding proportions, such as the Liberal Party, with over half of their candidates being female. Election 2022 results held steady, losing just one female MPP, bringing female representation in the legislature to 48, or 38.7%.
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Cumberland Strategies highlighted 12 female candidates in our Women to Watch series. However, only 4 of those candidates were elected. Kristyn Wong-Tam (NDP), the three-term Toronto city councillor, won Toronto Centre with 43.8% of the votes. We expected a stronger win for Tam considering her impressive resume and history in the area – who only won against the Liberal opponent by 7.1%. We saw a surprise with Mary-Margaret McMahon (OLP) defeating the NDP incumbent by a mere 2.2%, and the two re-elections of Patrice Barnes (PC) re-elected for Ajax and the NDP incumbent Dr. Jill Andrew (NDP) for Toronto-St.Paul’s.
Outside of our Women to Watch program, a surprising victory was the Independent candidate for Haldimand-Norfolk, Bobbi Ann Brady, winning the only Independent seat in the House. Landslide female wins include Marit Stiles (NDP) for Davenport with 57.1% of the vote share, Andrea Khanjin (PC) for Barrie-Innisfil with 50.2% of the vote share, and Sylvia Jones, the former Solicitor General in the Dufferin-Caledon riding, with 49.7% of the vote share.
Based on Ford’s victory, we expect to see a $6.9 million investment over three years to enhance the Investing in Women’s Futures program. This program delivers employment training opportunities and wrap-around supports for women facing challenges including abuse, isolation and mental health issues so they can develop the in-demand skills they need to successfully participate in the labour market. While this is a crucial investment, we would also be interested to see if the Ford administration would consider other popular female-focused policies promised by other campaigns, including providing free menstrual products in schools and libraries, directly benefitting low-income women.
24 of the 83 elected Progressive Conservatives were women, resulting in representation hovering around 29%; 21% from gender parity. Further, Ford’s entire cabinet was re-elected, which previously included 8 women or 32% of the cabinet. It will be interesting to see how Ford re-appoints, shuffles, or newly appoints his cabinet, and whether this will result in greater representation for female Ministers.