Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli was sworn in Wednesday as Ontario's new infrastructure minister, in a small cabinet shuffle that also saw the environment minister ousted from his portfolio.

Chiarelli joins Premier Dalton McGuinty's cabinet five months after he was elected in a byelection to fill Jim Watson's seat at the Ontario legislature.

Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien, who beat Chiarelli in his quest for a third term in the mayor's chair in 2006, offered congratulations to his former rival Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly after being elected to office, O'Brien led council in a decision to reverse a north-south light rail plan spearheaded by Chiarelli.

Now, O'Brien says Chiarelli will give Ottawa a strong voice in cabinet when it comes to moving forward with the city's current transit plan.

"This kind of political leadership will be a great asset as we complete our new state-of-the-art Convention Centre, and work toward breaking ground on a world-class transit system," O'Brien stated in a media release.

Other changes

The infrastructure portfolio was previously paired with energy and is now a stand-alone ministry. Although the ministry has been split, Toronto MPP Brad Duguid will stay on as energy minister.

Meanwhile, former environment minister John Gerretsen, who took heat over the poor implementation of eco fees, has been moved to the ministry of consumer services.

The new environment minister is John Wilkinson, who stick-handled implementing the HST as minister of revenue.

Sophia Aggelonitis moves from consumer services to the ministry of revenue, with added responsibility for seniors.

Toronto Centre MPP Glenn Murray, who is the former mayor of Winnipeg, also joins cabinet as the new minister of research and innovation. The ministry was previously paired with training, colleges and universities.

In another move, veteran Jim Bradley moves from the municipal affairs and housing ministry to community safety and correctional services, and Rick Bartolucci takes his place as municipal affairs and housing minister.

Bartolucci recently came under fire this summer over special powers given to police during the G20 summit in Toronto.

With files from The Canadian Press