Rod Phillips, a prominent minister in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet, will not seek re-election in June’s election, he announced Friday on Twitter.
Phillips, who is the MPP for Ajax and the province’s long-term care minister, said he will step down from his posts next month.
He said he will be returning to the private sector.
Phillips served as environment minister for the first year of Premier Doug Ford’s government.
He was then named finance minister, but resigned from that position in December 2020, hours after he returned from a
controversial two-week trip to St. Barts despite public health rules against travel at the time.
Ford brought him back into cabinet last year as the long-term care minister, and Phillips says in his statement that the timing of his announcement today will allow the premier to appoint someone else to lead the ministry.
Phillips said he told Ford and the head of the Progressive Conservative party about his decision and thanked Ford in a statement.
“This will allow the premier to appoint a successor to continue the important work of the Ministry of Long-term Care,” Phillips wrote.
“It also ensures that the PC Party has the time needed to nominate a candidate in Ajax and prepare for the provincial election.”
Ontario’s election is set for June 2.
Phillips recognized what he called Ford’s “strong leadership” through the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that he “has always put first what is best for the people of Ontario.”
“I remain confident Ontarians will re-elect his government in the upcoming election,” Phillips wrote.