Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau will direct federal bureaucrats to work with their counterparts in Ontario on the implementation of a provincial retirement pension plan, a key item on Premier Kathleen Wynne's agenda that had little support from the Conservative government, an official with Wynne's Liberal government confirmed to CBC News.
The news came hours after Trudeau and Wynne met at Queen's Park in what was Trudeau's his first official meeting outside Ottawa since the federal Liberal Party's victory in last week's general election.
Trudeau did not answer any media questions, saying he'd have plenty to say next week after he names his cabinet. However, the official confirmed that the two made progress on the issue of greater retirement security.
Once the Liberals are sworn in, officials with both the finance and national revenue departments will work with Ontario officials "on the registration and administration" of the pension plan, the official said.
Wynne had previously said that ensuring people who don't already have a workplace pension get a more adequate retirement income from the CPP would be the topic of her first conversation with Trudeau.
Trudeau and Wynne met for about 30 minutes before heading to the funeral of noted Canadian diplomat Ken Taylor.
All Trudeau would say to reporters outside was that it was a "good meeting" and that he's looking forward to working with Wynne.
Later, in a joint statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Wynne and Trudeau said they discussed how the two levels of government "can work together on issues important to Canadians and Ontarians," including jobs and economic growth.
In particular, the two discussed infrastructure investment and improving retirement security for Canadians, according to the statement. Ontario is hoping for federal help with its signature $130-billion, 10-year plan for public transit and infrastructure projects.
The two also discussed climate change, and the incoming government's pledge to call a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.
"In addition to working together on these and other issues, we look forward to a new and positive relationship between the new Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario — one based on mutual respect, common goals and shared values, and one that is committed to making progress on the things that are important to the people we serve," the two leaders said.
The meeting came a little more than a week after the end of the federal election campaign, during which Wynne made numerous appearances with Trudeau Liberals.
The premier praised Trudeau as being, "good for Ontario and good for Canada," the morning after the Liberal Party defeated the Conservatives and won a majority government.
- Kathleen Wynne feeling 'positive and optimistic' about Justin Trudeau
- ANALYSIS | Ontario delivers Liberal election win, waits to be rewarded
After Wynne appeared several times with Trudeau, and lent much of the Ontario Liberal campaign organization to the federal party, Trudeau swept Toronto and much of the GTA, winning 80 of Ontario's 121 federal seats. Trudeau's "red wave" also swept over downtown Toronto, with Liberals winning all 25 ridings.
The premier had a frosty relationship with outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging voters to turf the Conservative government early on in the election campaign.
Expectations are high that the leaders of Canada's two largest governments will see eye to eye on a host of federal-provincial issues, including:
- Climate change.
- Assisted suicide.
- Legalization of marijuana (Wynne has said it's time for a national conversation about pot).
Won't place demands on Trudeau
Wynne told The Canadian Press last week that the new federal-provincial relationship would not include a "ticking of boxes," and insisted she would not present the incoming prime minister with a list of Ontario demands in exchange for having helped deliver his new majority government.
During the election campaign, Harper boasted that he "delighted" in blocking any federal government help to create or administer the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, dismissing it as a "job-killing payroll tax."
Wynne cautioned that Trudeau alone can't agree to increase contributions and benefits under the CPP and needs the consent of other provinces. She said her government will continue planning to start payroll deductions for the provincial pension plan on Jan. 1, 2017.