Rapid Recap: Trudeau’s Mid-Mandate Cabinet Refresh
After nearly eight years in government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his largest mid-term Cabinet shake up, with three-quarters of the ministers in new roles. Looking to bring in fresh faces and build the front-bench that will be the face of the government leading into the next election, the Prime Minister removed several under-performing ministers from cabinet and elevated several rising stars. The new cabinet choices reflect the importance of communication skills and ability to deliver on the governments’ commitments.
The primary goal of the federal government’s agenda — likely to be articulated in new mandate letters to ministers’— will be meeting the terms of the NDP/Liberal agreement and fulfilling many commitments that the government has made in the past number of years that have not been fulfilled.
In the press conference following the official swearing in ceremony, the Prime Minister reiterated the government’s broad priorities, taking an opportunity to contrast their government to the Conservative Party leader, Pierre Pollievre, and also dodged questions as to whether or not the government would seek an election prior to fall 2025. In response to the shuffle, the opposition is criticizing the Prime Minister for firing ministers due to underperformance, instead suggesting that the Prime Minister himself needs to be fired.
All told, seven ministers were removed from cabinet, seven new ministers were appointed and, most notably for health care, Mark Holland and Ya’ara Saks now share the portfolio of Health Canada and Mental Health & Addictions respectively.
Notably, several key economic ministers have retained their portfolios, including Minister Freeland and Minister Champagne.
A full list of cabinet changes and further background on Ministers Holland and Saks can be found below.
- New ministers will focus on tangible deliverables that are impactful and communicable as they need to demonstrate to Canadians that this government has followed through on its commitments and will continue to do so.
- It is likely that ministers will receive new mandate letters from the Prime Minister in advance or at the beginning of the next legislative session, outlining the short-list of top priorities each minister will need to achieve.
- The Minister of Health has a number of commitments that need to be fulfilled, notably landing bilateral funding deals with provinces and territories, the creation of a Canada Drug Agency and tabling both Pharmacare and the Safe Long-Term Care legislation. There are numerous regulatory commitments in progress as well, including agile regulations stemming from the Biomanufacturing & Life Sciences Strategy and Marketing to Kids Regulations stemming from the government’s healthy food and eating strategies. The minister will also inherit work on drug shortages, currently undergoing an open-consultation, as well as the coalition of stakeholders supporting the government’s work on health human resources.
- The Minister of Mental Health — as the associate Minister of Health — will be engaged supporting minister Holland’s objectives, with a specific focus on mental health funding to provinces and territories, distinctions-based Mental Health and Wellness Strategy to meet the needs of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, supporting the populations health and well being stemming from the pandemic.
About the New Health Minsters
Minister of Health: Mark Holland
The Honourable Mark Holland was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Ajax in 2004 and served until 2011. He was re-elected in 2015, 2019, and 2021. He is currently serving his sixth term.
A lifelong resident of the Ajax-Pickering area, Minister Holland has served his community for over 20 years. He was elected as a Durham Regional Councillor, serving from 1997 to 2004. He also served as Acting Mayor of Pickering. During his time on council, he focused on the redevelopment of the Pickering waterfront, youth employment, and environmental issues.
As a Member of Parliament, Minister Holland has served as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, as Chief Government Whip, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions. He has been a staunch advocate of marriage equality rights, and played a key role in helping to reform Canada’s animal cruelty laws.
In both public and private roles, Minister Holland has backed health-related initiatives. He served as Executive Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Ontario Mission, as well as its National Director of Children and Youth, in 2014 and 2015, helping to secure funding for Grandview Children’s Centre’s future Ajax location.
In the past number of years, Minister Holland has publicly spoken about his own Mental Health challenges and how they have influenced his work in government. Minister Holland has also spoken out about the need to protect the health of youths, specifically against the tobacco industry.
In 2006, Mark Holland as an Opposition MP took the former Harper government to task over connections with the pharmaceutical industry, stating in the House of Commons at the time: “We have a health minister who we now discover has a 25% interest in a pharma company. Yet is making decisions with respect to pharmaceutical companies and is not willing to sell his shares…When will the Prime Minister take these conflicts seriously, remove this minister and take the health department out of the back pocket of big pharma?”.
On pharmacare, given his former role as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister Holland has stated that “it is essential we get it done”. Minister Holland is now responsible for commitments on pharmacare as Minister of Health.
Minister of Mental Health & Addictions: Ya’ara Saks
Ya’ara Saks is the Member of Parliament for York Centre in Toronto. As a long-time community advocate and Bathurst Manor resident, she is committed to making life better for families in York Centre.
Ya’ara brings a Canadian and global perspective to the work it takes to create community engagement and achieve real progress. She believes deeply in the values of equality and diversity, and has devoted her career to addressing societal inequalities. She has experience in advisory roles for policy, communications, and project management, having worked in the Office of the Mayor of Jerusalem and in advancing people to people programs as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Before her election in 2020, Ya’ara was a successful small business owner and a strong advocate for better access to mental health services as a founder and director of Trauma Practice for Healthy Communities, a Toronto-based mental health charity.
Ya’ara holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University in Political Science and Middle East Studies, a master’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in International Relations and Diplomacy, and is the mother of two teenage daughters.
Minister Saks has extensive experience working in Parliament on mental health issues with a focus on trauma, cancer and Indigenous health.
Senator Stan Kutcher stated that in “Summer 2021, MP Ya’ara Saks and I worked with Alberta Health Services to create a mental health handbook for parliamentarians, their staff and parliamentary administration. This was an initiative of the Cross Parliament Mental Health Caucus.”
Minister Saks has passionately spoken about the need for appropriate breast cancer screening guidelines, touting the government’s funding to accelerate the task forces review of them. She was also a Director of Communications and Strategic partnerships at the Cancer Knowledge Network from 2013 -2014.
Recently, Minister Saks in Parliament has been active supporting a 3-digit hotline for suicide support, supporting medical assistance in death (in the context of suffering from ALS), and supportive statements around cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Full Cabinet List
- Ya’ara Saks – MP for York Centre, ON – becomes Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
- Soraya Martinez Ferrada – MP for Hochelaga, QC – becomes the Minister of Tourism and Minister Responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions.
- Gary Anandasangaree – MP for Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON – becomes Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
- Terry Beech – MP for Burnaby North—Seymour, BC – becomes minister of Citizens’ Services.
- Jenna Sudds – MP for Kanata—Carleton, ON – becomes Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
- Rechie Valdez – MP for Mississauga—Streetsville, ON – becomes Minister of Small Business.
- Mark Holland – MP for Ajax, ON – becomes Minister of Health.
- Anita Anand – MP for Oakville, ON – becomes President of the Treasury Board.
- Bill Blair – MP for Scarborough Southwest, ON – becomes Minister of National Defence.
- Pablo Rodriguez – MP for Honoré-Mercier, QC – becomes Minister of Transport.
- Pascale St-Onge – MP for Brome—Missisquoi, QC – becomes Minister of Canadian Heritage.
- Sean Fraser – MP for Central Nova, NS – becomes Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.
- Dominic LeBlanc – MP for Beauséjour, NB – Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs.
- Lawrence MacAulay – MP for Cardigan, PEI – becomes Minister of Agriculture.
- Jean-Yves Duclos – MP for Québec, QC – becomes Minister of Public Services and Procurement.
- Marie-Claude Bibeau – MP for Compton—Stanstead, QC – becomes Minister of National Revenue.
- Gudie Hutchings – MP for Long Range Mountains, NL – becomes Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
- Diane Lebouthillier – MP for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC – becomes Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
- Harjit Sajjan – MP for Vancouver South, BC – becomes president of the King’s Privy Council, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.
- Carla Qualtrough – MP for Delta, BC – becomes Minister of Sport and Physical Activity.
- Karina Gould – MP for Burlington, ON – becomes Government House leader.
- Ahmed Hussen – MP for York South—Weston, ON – becomes Minister of International Development.
- Seamus O’Regan – MP for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, NL – becomes Minister of Labour and Seniors.
- Ginette Petitpas Taylor – MP for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB – becomes Minister of Veterans Affairs.
- Mary Ng – MP for Markham—Thornhill, ON – becomes Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development.
- Jonathan Wilkinson – MP for North Vancouver, BC – becomes Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.
- Marc Miller – MP for Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs, QC – becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
- Randy Boissonnault – MP for Edmonton Centre, AB – becomes Minister of Employment Workforce Development and Official Languages.
- Kamal Khera – MP for Brampton West, ON – becomes Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities.
- Chrystia Freeland – MP for University—Rosedale, ON – Minister of Finance.
- Mélanie Joly – MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC – Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- Steven Guilbeault – MP for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC – Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
- François-Philippe Champagne – MP for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC – Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Minister.
- Patty Hajdu – MP for Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON – Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister Responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario.
- Filomena Tassi – MP for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON – Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
- Dan Vandal – MP for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB – Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister Responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
- Marci Ien – MP for Toronto Centre, ON – Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.
No Longer in Cabinet
- Marco Mendicino – MP for Eglinton—Lawrence, ON – former Minister of Public Safety.
- David Lametti – MP for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC – former Minister of Justice.
- Helena Jaczek – MP for Markham—Stouffville, ON – former Minister of Public Services and Procurement.
- Omar Alghabra – MP for Mississauga Centre – former Minister of Transport.
- Carolyn Bennett – MP for – former Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
- Joyce Murray – MP for Vancouver Quadra, BC – former Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
- Mona Fortier – MP for Ottawa—Vanier, ON – former President of the Treasury Board.
- Marco Mendicino – MP for Eglinton—Lawrence, ON – former Minister of Public Safety.
If you have any questions about this announcement, contact your Santis Health Lead.