Joseph Ragusa


A founding partner of Sussex, Joseph has been a Principal at the firm since its inception in 1998. With over 30 years of experience in government, consulting, and politics, Joseph has particular strength in policy development and government process, with an acute talent for assessing political dynamics. Joseph employs his experience, his relationships with stakeholders and government officials, and his reputation in pursuit of his clients’ government relations objectives. Joseph leads the Sussex provincial government relations practice.

Joseph is an expert at identifying and working toward the right solutions, be they legislative, regulatory, policy, fiscal or political, to accomplish win-win scenarios for clients and government. This expertise-based, results-driven approach has enabled him to develop and execute effective strategies and tactics in order to properly position and advance the needs of clients, while continuously evaluating risks and rewards. This approach, together with Joseph’s strong negotiation abilities, have achieved significant success and ROI for Sussex clients.

Prior to consulting, Joseph served as a senior advisor on the political staffs of several legislators. He has consulted to corporations, industry and professional associations, labour organizations and non-profit groups at the federal, provincial, regional and municipal levels in many sectors. Recent and past successes on behalf of clients have included engagements in healthcare, economic development, new and emerging technologies, infrastructure, real estate development, public-private partnerships, housing, transportation, environment, information technology, procurement, export development, tax policy, financial services, forestry, and tourism.

Joseph’s strategic communication skills have been sought out by both the media and political leaders. He has appeared on Sirius XM Radio, CBC Newsworld, Michael Coren Live, Cable Pulse 24 and 1010 CFRB. Joseph has also been a keynote speaker at a variety of industry and professional association conferences and has had a number of papers published in various association and trade publications. Joseph has held management and advisory roles in numerous political campaigns since the mid 1980’s.

Ontario Fall Economic Statement
Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips tabled his first and the Ford Government’s second Fall Economic Statement on November 6, 2019.
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An Ontario Perspective: Federal Election 2019
Because so many of our clients have an interest with the Ontario government, we thought it would be helpful to examine how the federal election played out in this province.
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Ford Government Shuffle: What You Need to Know
In a sweeping cabinet shuffle, the scope of which far exceeded anything that most observers expected, Premier Doug Ford unveiled his new front bench today. In what is being described as a “reset” of the Ontario government, Premier Ford has elevated some of his best communicators to more prominent roles.
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Report & Analysis | Ontario Provincial Budget 2019
Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli tabled the Progressive Conservative government’s first Budget today, unveiling their first annual fiscal plan since being elected in June 2018. As the government holds a comfortable majority of seats in the Legislature, this was the first of four budgets the Ford Government will table.
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Ontario Government Fall Economic Statement 2018
Today, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli rose in the Legislature to deliver the Ontario PC government’s first Fall Economic Statement (FES). This highly anticipated event is second only to the provincial budget in terms of the attention paid to the Minister and the Ministry of Finance every year. The budget and the FES, as insiders like to call it, are the two focal points for decision making for Finance too, so in addition to providing a window into the province’s finances, many stakeholders hold their breath on this day, when funding decisions are often made.
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New Ontario Cabinet Sworn In
Once again, welcome to Ford Nation. Premier Doug Ford’s new cabinet was sworn in today, in a ceremony at the Legislative Assembly that was open to the public to attend. Those of a certain vintage will recall David Peterson’s first cabinet being sworn in similarly in 1985. The gesture is certainly one that suggests an openness and is intended to be a contrast to their predecessors who were less open and accessible to the public. Since the PCs campaigned on and continue to reiterate that they will be a government for the people, this is a good start.
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2018 Ontario Election Debrief
Welcome to Ford Nation. In a result that was not surprising for who won, but rather for its size and magnitude, Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party won a majority government yesterday.
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Ontario Budget 2018: Go Big or Go Home
Today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa rose in the Legislature to deliver the Ontario government’s budget, for the fiscal year April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. This is the last provincial budget to be delivered before voters head to the polls for the June 7th provincial election. It is titled “A Plan for Care and Opportunity” and it is 307 pages long. Our team has prepared a full analysis for our clients and associates.
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Make No Mistake: Writ or Not, the Ontario Election Begins Today
Given that the usually predictable world of Ontario politics has been anything but since the night of January 24th, when Patrick Brown’s world came undone, it is now no surprise that all three major political parties have made surprise announcements, with little to no advanced notice, since the end of last week.
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Ontario Progressive Conservative Leadership: Family Ties, But Will They Bind?
Now that the rules are in place, dates are known, and candidates have begun to step forward, we thought this would be a good time to provide you with an update about the goings on in the Ontario PC Party and their process to select the person who could potentially be the next Premier of Ontario. As long as the Party themselves didn’t know what they were doing, in the wake of Patrick Brown’s resignation, we didn’t see the value of writing to tell you what they were going to do. That made sense to us. But since the Party continues to be in a state of disarray, waiting doesn’t seem like it will get us any closer to a point of things being buttoned down. So here you have it.
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Ontario Government Cabinet Shuffle
In what is probably the last such event before the June election, Premier Kathleen Wynne is shuffling her cabinet today, in a move that was both expected and surprising at the same time.
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Ontario Election Year Insights
Happy new election year! The legislative session is paused, set to resume in February (following the Family Day holiday) and leading to an election set for June 7, 2018. So, like we did in October, Sussex thought it was opportune to provide our clients with some insights into what is on the horizon for Ontario public affairs in the first part of 2018.
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Ontario Fall Economic Statement: Fair is Fair
Today, Ontario Minister of Finance, Hon. Charles Sousa rose to deliver an election-ready fiscal update, tabling the 166-page fiscal update with the campaign-ready titled “A Strong and Fair Ontario,” and announcing in Question Period that the Liberals are balancing the budget this year and for the next two years.
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Ontario’s Approach to Recreational Cannabis: It Finally Gets A Little Less Hazy
Yes, the headline puns will be going into overdrive over the next few days (as always, Sussex looks to be ahead of the curve). Today, the Ontario Government announced the general framework for the legalization of recreational cannabis in the province, when it takes place next summer.
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Health Policy Expert Abid Malik Joins Sussex Strategy Group To Strengthen Ontario Government Relations Practice
Abid Malik joins the firm as a Senior Associate, Ontario Government Relations. Prior to joining Sussex, Abid consulted to health care clients at a public affairs and health care consulting firm for two years.
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Government of Ontario 2017 Budget
Today Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered the Wynne Government’s 2017 budget for the 2017/2018 fiscal year, which began on April 1st and will conclude on March 31st.
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The Cannabis Act: What you need to know
As a premiere Canadian public affairs firm, and one with particular sector expertise in medical marijuana and the opening of the new legalized market in Canada, we are pleased to provide you with our summary and analysis of today's tabling of the Cannabis Act and the materials provided by government in support of the new legislation.
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Ontario Pharmacists Receive New Regulatory Approval
Sussex congratulates our longstanding client, the Ontario Pharmacists Association, on receiving regulatory approval to administer 13 new vaccines, including travel vaccines, from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
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2016 Ontario Government Fall Economic Statement
This afternoon Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered the Wynne government’s Fall Economic Statement (FES). Its formal name is “Building Ontario Up for Everyone: the 2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review”. With the Liberals trailing badly in public opinion polling, and with two by-elections looming in just three days, the content and delivery of this year’s Statement was expected to take on additional strategic importance.
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Update: Ontario Government’s Changing Workplaces Review.
Special Advisors have been tasked by the Ministry of Labour to review and make recommendations on what changes, if any, should be made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 in light of the changing nature of the workforce, the workplace, and the economy.
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Ontario Government Summer Re-Cap and Looking Forward to the Fall Session
With the Legislative Assembly due to resume sitting next Monday September 12th, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the events of the summer of 2016, as well as look ahead to what we might expect in the fall session.
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Agreement in Principle to a CPP enhancement
On June 20th, Canada’s Finance Ministers agreed in principle to work on a CPP enhancement starting January 1, 2019. Carly Martin breaks down the agreement.
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Ontario's Cabinet Shuffle Update
Premier Kathleen Wynne announces new cabinet in lead up to the 2018 provincial election. Here are our takeaways.
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Sussex produces video for MEDEC
When MEDEC, the national association that represents Canada’s medical technology industry, decided to produce a video that demonstrates the benefits of health technologies to patients, the healthcare system, and the economy, they called upon the expertise at Sussex to make the idea a reality.
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Ontario Government 2016 Budget
Today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered the Wynne Government’s third budget since being re-elected in 2014. Readers will recall that the 2014 Budget – which was defeated in the previous minority parliament and whose defeat triggered the 2014 election – was reintroduced and passed by the majority government in the summer of 2014.
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