Premier Dalton McGuinty is resigning as Ontario premier and as leader of the Liberal Party.
The premier made his announcement after calling a surprise caucus meeting on Monday evening.
"After 16 years as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and after nine years as premier, it’s time for renewal, it’s time for the next Liberal premier," McGuinty said.
"It’s time for the next set of Liberal ideas to guide our province forward."
McGuinty, 57, has served as Ontario premier since 2003 and has led the Liberals since 1996.
During the same announcement, McGuinty also announced that he had prorogued the legislature to give the government the opportunity to work on reaching wage-freeze agreements with public-sector workers.
"Our top priority these days is, of course, the economy," McGuinty said.
"This means we’ve got to eliminate the deficit and in order to do that, we’ve got to freeze public-sector wages."
But the climate at Queen’s Park has made this difficult to achieve, which is why McGuinty says it was necessary to prorogue the house while the government pursues two goals.
"First of all, we’re going to make a sincere and determined effort to sit down with our labour partners and see if we can negotiate wage-freeze agreements, not unlike what we’ve done for 80,000 public-sector workers so far," he said.
"Secondly, we’re going to continue to reach out to the opposition to see if we can determine precisely what they would need, by way of a legislative response, to ensure that we could through legislation put in place the necessary wage freeze."
McGuinty has asked the Ontario Liberal Party to call a leadership convention "at the earliest possible opportunity" and intends to stay on as premier until the party chooses a new leader.
McGuinty was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 1990, winning the seat of Ottawa South. He was re-elected in each of the five elections that followed.
He led the Liberals to back-to-back majority governments in the 2003 and 2007 elections.
Just over a year ago, the Liberals became a minority government, with the party falling just a seat short of a majority in the October 2011 election.
More to come