The five largest wholly- or partially provincial-funded initiatives on which Sophie worked for many hundreds of hours to bring to fruition in the Kingston area are:
- The Phase II redevelopment of Kingston Health Sciences Center ($500 million over 9 years) – KGH is Canada’s oldest still-operating acute-care hospital, serving some 500,000 patients and families across Eastern Ontario. Replacing and modernizing aging infrastructure will ensure that Kingstonians continue to receive safe, high-quality, innovative care.
- New ferries for Wolfe and Amherst Islands ($61 million over 3 years) – These will eliminate long wait times, increase tourism and ensure back-up when a ferry has to be taken out of service for maintenance.
- Provincial funding for the Third Crossing ($180 million over 3 years) – Ontario’s $60 million commitment towards constructing this long-awaited bridge between Kingston’s north and east ends was critical to securing matching federal funding, thereby enabling the project to proceed.
- Provincial funding under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund towards Feihe International’s planned state-of-the-art baby formula production facility in Kingston (a $24 million share of the company’s estimated $225 million project) – This is expected to generate 277 new jobs in our community.
- Provincial funding for a new Street Health facility in Kingston ($7.6 million) – The 2016 opening of this new downtown facility enabled very significant improvements in the delivery of comprehensive health services to vulnerable populations in our community.
Together, these projects alone will amount to nearly a billion dollars of new investment in our community. That translates into very significant employment and other opportunities for a large number of our people.
In addition, a sampling of Sophie’s many personal initiatives as our MPP to build more collaborative community approaches to help address specific challenges includes having:
- Built an advocacy committee for mental health issues, which has thus far focussed on mental health in education and on eating disorders;
- Listened to the voice of youth through continuous engagement, including developing a local youth advocacy advisory group, and working with a provincial youth advisory committee on a conference on both general and mental health care for youth;
- Championed a collaborative approach to challenging overarching issues such the implementation of federal cannabis legislation when it was announced. Set up a roundtable discussion on opioid use as well as cannabis and included primary community leaders from the Kingston Police, Tyendinaga First Nation, School Boards, Queen’s, St. Lawrence College, Street Health Kingston, Kingston General Hospital, Hotel Dieu Hospital and the Addiction and Mental Health Services for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington;
- Held two women’s leadership outreach group discussions (one in 2017 focusing on women in leadership and one in March 2018 dedicated to building more social cohesion and support between women’s immigrant communities;
Supported youth homelessness initiatives through organizing two all-party advocacy days at Queen’s Park, the first 2017 and another planned for April 2018;
- Invited the Lieutenant Governor to Kingston in January 2018 to visit with the United Way to learn more about their Youth Homelessness Pilot program;
- Organized with the Ontario Psychological Society an all-party advocacy day at Queen’s Park on Chronic Homelessness on Feb. 20, 2018
- Organized an all-party advocacy day at Queen’s Park for pension and retiree groups;
- Set up an all-party heart and stroke caucus at Queen’s Par which held advocacy events on new directions in cardiovascular research and on indigenous cardiovascular health.
The above local actions and initiatives were all in addition to Sophie’s province-wide responsibilities, which included:
- Vice-Chair of the Committee of Government Agencies;
- Responsibility for the roll-out of Ontario’s strategic plan on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder through her work as a Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community and Youth Services and the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, managing the process to positively engage provincial stakeholders with a budget of $26 million over four years;
- Shepherded through the Committee process the first revision to the Child and Family Youth Services Act in 30 years;
- Signed on behalf of the Province a tripartite working agreement between the Metis Nation, the Province of Ontario, and the Government of Canada;
- Opened the Indigenous Child and Family Services unit in Serpent River for the Nogdawindamin First Nation;
- Announced connecting the Pikangikum First Nation to the provincial electrical grid;
- Assisted with the planning and organization of the Pan Am and Para-Pan Am Games in 2015;
- Did a report on the First Nations Libraries in the province, which entailed personally reaching out to almost all 46 library executives.