Rod Phillips as Ontario Finance Minister (2020)
|Ontario Minister of Finance|
June 20, 2019 – December 31, 2020
|Preceded by||Vic Fedeli|
|Succeeded by||Peter Bethlenfalvy|
|Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks|
June 29, 2018 – June 20, 2019
|Preceded by||Chris Ballard|
|Succeeded by||Jeff Yurek|
|Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament|
|Assumed office |
June 7, 2018
|Preceded by||Riding Established|
Rodney Allan Phillips
March 2, 1965
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
Rodney Allan Phillips (born March 2, 1965) is a Canadian businessman and politician. Since the 2018 Ontario election, he has sat as the member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for the Durham Region riding of Ajax, representing the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party. Previously a provincial Cabinet minister, Philips was appointed finance minister in 2019. He resigned from that role in 2020 after taking a vacation to St. Barts, contrary to his government's public health advice during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, but continued in his role as MPP. Prior to his role in finance, he held the environment, conservation and parks portfolio from 2018 to 2019.
He is the former president and CEO of Shepell-fgi (2002–2010), which provided companies with employee and family health management, workplace training and education services. He worked as the president and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (2011–2014), as chair of Postmedia (2014–2017), and also served as chair of CivicAction (2014–2017).
Phillips was born in Newmarket, Ontario on March 2, 1965. He is the son of Cliffe, a sales manager, and Betty, a bookkeeper. He has one older sister.
Rod attended Stuart Scott Public School in Newmarket, Ontario. He later attended Newmarket High School where he was active in extracurricular activities.
In 1984, he enrolled at Western University in London, Ontario. He graduated in 1988 with an honours Bachelor of Arts in political science and English. He completed a master of business administration degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, graduating in 1992. He is married to his wife Lydia.
Entry into politics
In November 2017, Rod Phillips was acclaimed as the Progressive Conservative candidate for the riding of Ajax.
42nd Parliament of Ontario
In the 2018 Ontario election, Phillips was elected to serve as the MPP for Ajax for the 42nd Parliament of Ontario. He defeated New Democrat candidate Monique Hughes and Liberal incumbent Joe Dickson to win the riding. On June 29, 2018, Premier Doug Ford appointed Phillips to be minister of the environment, conservation and parks in his Executive Council.
On June 20, 2019, Phillips was appointed as minister of finance.
Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks
Phillips served as the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks from June 2018 to June 2019. During that time he repealed Cap-and-Trade in Ontario and replaced it with an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) on big business - a hallmark of his Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. The federal government eventually accepted the EPS approach on business but following the end of cap-and-trade imposed a province wide carbon tax. 
The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan was a government wide effort, led by Phillips, to set goals and targets for air and water, land conservation, recycling, waste reduction and climate change. The plan has set the course for the Ford Government on environment policy. 
Notably, Phillips made significant to shift the cost of recycling from taxpayers to product and packaging producers, announcing that Ontario’s Blue Box Recycling Program would shift from the responsibility of municipalities to the private sector between 2023 and 2025, through an extended producer responsibility model. He shifted similar programs such as recycling programs for tires, electronics and batteries. 
He also launched the first province-wide Climate Impact Assessment,  modernized the province’s 50 year old environmental assessment program and aligned it closer to the federal program,  and renegotiated the Canada-Ontario Agreement on the Great Lakes. 
Phillips appeared at Premier Doug Ford's daily press conference during the height of COVID-19, along with Health Minister Christine Elliott.  As chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, he is leading the planning for the economic reopening and recovery in the province. 
On March 25, 2020, he released Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which provided $17 billion in what the government referred to their "initial response" to provide support and relief to businesses and individuals in the province reeling from the global pandemic.
On April 9, 2020, he was appointed the chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, which has been tasked with planning for the economic reopening and recovery in the province.
Secret vacation and resignation
In December 2020, Phillips was widely criticized for leaving Canada for a personal Caribbean vacation in St. Barts when the country has restricted all non-essential travel across their border. In addition to leaving the country, Phillips took steps to leave the impression that he was in his riding during his absence from the country. Premier Doug Ford told him that "it will not be tolerated again", and told him to return home. Ford had previously said he was unaware that his finance minister had left the country but backtracked 24 hours later admitting he did know Phillips was not in the country, knew his destination and failed to issue a call for his return. His office confirmed that Phillips had also secretly vacationed in Switzerland in August, 2020 and stated that he has quarantined for 14 days upon his return.
On December 31, 2020, Phillips resigned as Minister of Finance due to the controversy surrounding his trip to St. Barts.
Phillips joined the consulting firm KPMG after graduation from university in 1992. After three years in the firm's Kitchener office, he moved to Toronto and served as chief of staff to the then-provincial minister of labour, Elizabeth Witmer.
In 2002, Phillips became president and CEO of Shepell-fgi, a company that delivered workplace health and productivity solutions to eight million employees and family members from over 7,000 organizations in Canada and 54 other countries. Under Phillips’ leadership, Shepell-fgi (now Morneau-Shepell) grew in size and scale, helping its many clients with expanded services to include elder and child support, legal advice, financial guidance, and help with mental health and addiction issues.
During his tenure at OLG, Phillips brought about a major transformation of the corporation, rehabilitating its reputation following several widely publicized scandals involving theft of winning tickets and fraudulently claimed prizes.
Phillips led the corporation to its highest net profit since 2005 and oversaw the design and launch of the modernization of Ontario's lottery and gaming industry.
Under Phillips’ direction, OLG received global media recognition and acclaim when it used its resources to identify a $50 million lottery winner, Kathy Jones, who had lost her winning ticket. OLG is a government agency, reporting into the Ministry of Finance.
After leaving OLG, Phillips became the chair of the board of Postmedia, Canada's largest news media company, whose portfolio includes the National Post, the Toronto Sun, and the Ottawa Citizen. Phillips served as chair from 2014 until 2017.
From 2015 to 2017, Phillips was also on the board of directors of Afinti and served as the Canada chair. Afiniti is a Washington DC-based global artificial intelligence company. Also on the board of directors during Phillips’ tenure were: Nobuyuki Idei, former president and CEO of Sony Corporation, José María Aznar former Prime Minister of Spain, Francois Fillon, the 96th prime minister of France, Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff; Alexandre de Juniac, director-general of the International Air Transport Associations; Lord John Browne, former CEO of British Petroleum, and other prominent individuals.
Rod Phillips served as volunteer chair (2014-2017) of CivicAction which brings together business and community leaders to address challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). CivicAction was founded by David Pecaut in 2002 and has had other prominent chairs including current Toronto Mayor John Tory. MPP Mitzie Hunter served as the organization's CEO.
Phillips championed the CivicAction DiverseCity Fellows program, which seeks to have Toronto's leadership more fully reflect the city's cultural diversity.
He has also served on the Telus Toronto Community Board. Since 2005, this organization has donated $8 million to 479 charities and grassroots projects in the Toronto area.
Phillips has also served on the Boards of the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health and Addiction, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, Bridgepoint Hospital, the Toronto Community Foundation, and is a past president of the Canadian Club of Toronto.
|2018 Ontario general election: Ajax|
|Progressive Conservative||Rod Phillips||19,078||39.05||+10.53|
|New Democratic||Monique Hughes||15,130||30.97||+14.70|
|None of the Above||Frank Lopez||289||0.59|
|Independent||Kevin J. Brackley||220||0.45|
|Total valid votes||48,860||100.0|
|Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots|
|Progressive Conservative pickup new district.|
|Source: Elections Ontario|
|Ontario provincial government of Doug Ford|
|Cabinet posts (2)|
|Vic Fedeli||Minister of Finance
June 20, 2019–December 31, 2020
|Chris Ballard||Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
June 29, 2018–June 20, 2019
Minister of the environment, conservation, and parks
Phillips was sworn into the environment, conservation and parks portfolio on June 29, 2018. In November 2018, then environment minister Phillips introduced the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan as an alternative to the federal carbon tax.
Minister of finance
Phillips was sworn in as minister of finance on June 20, 2019. After facing heavy scrutiny over his vacation to St Bart's in the Caribbean during the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillips resigned from his post on December 31, 2020.
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- "Statement from Minister Phillips on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors' and Premiers' 2019 Leadership Summit". Government of Ontario. June 16, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
- "Premier Ford to Make an Announcement at Queen's Park". news.ontario.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
- "Ontario Starts Planning for Economic Recovery". news.ontario.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
- "Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19". news.ontario.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
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- "Finance minister left country for personal trip earlier this month as COVID-19 case counts surged". CP24. December 29, 2020. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
- Gillies, Rob (December 29, 2020). "Ontario premier raps minister for holiday trip to St. Barts". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
- Dickson, Janice (December 29, 2020). "Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips takes out-of-country vacation despite COVID-19 travel warnings". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
- Phillips, Rod. "Rod Phillips LinkedIn". LinkedIn.
- Phillips, Rod (September 19, 2019). "Rod Phillips LinkedIn". LinkedIn.
- "Behind open doors". Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Economic Club of Canada - Rod Phillips". www.economicclub.ca. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "OLG CEO Rod Phillips leaves for job in private sector - Toronto | Globalnews.ca". globalnews.ca. January 22, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "CBC News". CBC News. January 7, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- Telecom; Media (November 16, 2017). "Rod Phillips steps down as chairman of Postmedia to pursue a political career | Financial Post". Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Chair". CivicAction. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Our Team". Afiniti. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Rod Phillips Resigns as Chair of CivicAction". CivicAction. November 2, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Former OLG head Rod Phillips to take reins of CivicAction". Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "TELUS Welcomes Rod Phillips as Chair of the TELUS Toronto Community Board". MarketWatch. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Postmedia Network Announces Board Appointments | Postmedia Network Inc". www.postmedia.com. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- Quickplay (September 28, 2011). "Wayne Purboo, CEO of QuickPlay Media Appointed to TIFF Board of Directors | Quickplay". www.quickplay.com. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Summary of Valid Votes Cast for Each Candidate 2018 Provincial General Election" (PDF). Elections Ontario.
- "Ontario Releases Plan to Protect the Environment". news.ontario.ca. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Ontario finance minister resigns after highly criticized Caribbean vacation". Global News. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
- "Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips resigns over Caribbean vacation". BBC News. December 31, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2021.