Politics

Trudeau tweaks cabinet, swapping ministers Tassi and Jaczek

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweaked his cabinet Wednesday, swapping his procurement minister for his Ontario economic development minister. 

Shuffle comes after minister requested lighter workload to deal with family health matter

Newly minted Public Services and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek (left) and Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Minister Filomena Tassi look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question following a the prime minister's move to have the ministers swap portfolios in response to a request from Tassi to be given a lighter workload so she can respond to a family health issue. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweaked his cabinet Wednesday, swapping his procurement minister for his Ontario economic development minister. 

Filomena Tassi was moved out of the role of minister of public services and procurement and into the new role of minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

In a statement, Tassi said in the last year, her husband suffered two strokes, and her move came after she requested a lighter workload. 

"I met with the prime minister last month to discuss balancing the needs of my family with the travel demands on me as minister of public services and procurement, a department with operations in every corner of this country," she said. 

"I want to thank the prime minister for approaching my situation as a challenge to be addressed and solved, rather than as a choice to be made between family or public service," she added. 

Taking Tassi's role at procurement is Helena Jaczek, who was moved up from her role in Ontario. 

In her new role, Jaczek will be responsible for overseeing the purchase of vaccines and personal protective equipment that have been critical to fighting back COVID-19 over the past two years. 

Jaczek, a doctor who practiced medicine at the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, previously served as the minister of health and long-term care, the chair of cabinet, and the minister of community and social services in Ontario.

Prior to entering politics she served as the medical officer of health and commissioner of health services for the Regional Municipality of York, for 18 years.

A small change, not a reset

Trudeau was asked why he did not make broader changes to his cabinet, specifically to the ministers responsible for overseeing transportation and the issuing of passports, after months of backlogs and chaos in those areas. 

"Its been less than a year since the last election and our government is working extremely hard every day to support Canadians and to deliver the support necessary," he said. 

"We've seen over the past many months real challenges here in Canada and around the world, and our government is focused and working every single day to be there to support Canadians through this very difficult time, and that's the hard work we're going to continue doing. 

Trudeau also said that his government is prepared to offer Canadians additional financial help who are struggling with the rising cost of living, but are looking into ways to do that without contributing to inflation. 

"Lots of people have jobs but there are still real challenges ... and we going to continue to do what is necessary to support vulnerable Canadians as we move forward," he said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Zimonjic

Senior writer

Peter Zimonjic is a senior writer for CBC News. He has worked as a reporter and columnist in London, England, for the Daily Mail, Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph and in Canada for Sun Media and the Ottawa Citizen. He is the author of Into The Darkness: An Account of 7/7, published by Random House.

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