- by Hub staff

Thursday, Premier Doug Ford announced the appointment of four new advisors "responsible for providing the government with expert guidance and helping Ontario businesses to attract investment and grow international trade."

Based in London England, Chicago, Dallas and New York City, the first four of up to eight Agents-General were to work with the provincial government to create opportunities for Ontario companies and close investment deals. Their assignment is intended to increase investment, grow exports and create good jobs in Ontario. The U.S. based Agents-General will work closely with Ontario's Trade Representative in Washington, whose office will serve as Ontario's hub for the United States.

Friday morning, without explanation, but following numerous reports of connections between two of the appointees and Doug Ford's chief off staff Dean French, the government announced that the appointments of Taylor Shields and Tyler Albrecht had been rescinded.

The Agents-General are appointed for a period of three years and will be paid CAD$164,910 in the U.S. and CAD$185,000 in the U.K.   It is not reported how travel, housing, health care and other expenses will be covered. The government says the agents-general will be accountable to "real metrics, including deals closed and businesses helped". 

Ontario last had agents-general twenty-five years ago.

On Thursday the government provided the following information about the new Agents-General, from top left:

Taylor Shields - London - Shields is currently Assistant Vice-President, Marketing for Chubb Insurance, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. She is an expert in business development and a graduate of the Queen's School of Business.

Jag Badwal - Dallas - Badwal has more than 23 years of experience in Real Estate. He has served on the board of the Peel Children's Aid Society, Toronto Real Estate Board and Junior Achievement and is a recipient of the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards.

Tyler Albrecht - New York City - Albrecht has worked in the finance industry in New York City and Toronto. In his most recent role at Optimize Capital Markets he provided corporate finance services to private companies seeking capital and many private placements, totaling more than $250 million. He holds a degree from Loyola University Maryland.

Earl Provost - Chicago - Provost has worked at all levels of government for more than 35 years. For the City of Toronto, he delivered the renewal of the Chicago-Toronto Sister City Agreement and the signing of the Music Alliance Agreement between Austin and Toronto. He has a Master's Degree in Political Management from The George Washington University.

In addition we know that Albrecht is a personal friend of the son of Premier Ford's chief of staff, Dean French, and Taylor Shields is related to French's wife. Jag Badwal is former president of the Ontario PC party; and Earl Provost was chief of staff for the Premier's late brother, then Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Source: media release, Government of Ontario