Ontario Focused On Protecting Jobs, Services and Eliminating the Deficit
McGuinty Government Committed To Fair Bargaining Practices
Ontario is taking strong action to protect the gains the government has made in health care and education, and ensuring progress towards balancing the budget.
Compensation for broader public sector employees accounts for more than half of all government spending in Ontario. The government is taking steps to preserve those jobs while protecting services for all Ontarians and addressing the province's fiscal reality.
In the 2012 Budget, public sector employers and bargaining agents were asked to reach agreements that allow the government to meet its fiscal targets while protecting public services.
The government is aiming to reach agreements with broader public sector employees through a respectful collective bargaining process.
Further direction was provided in a letter from the Minister of Finance to broader public service employers:
- There should be no increases in compensation in new collective agreements, which should be for two years or more.
- This covers wages, performance pay, and benefits.
- Any movement through an established grid must be fully offset from within the total compensation package.
- Agreements should not impose other long-term costs or restrict service delivery.
If agreements fail to meet these parameters or if there are significant disruptions over the coming months, the government is prepared to consider introducing administrative and legislative measures.
The compensation of non-bargaining employees was frozen for two years in the Public Sector Compensation Restraint to Protect Public Services Act, 2010. While the restraint period in the Act expired March 31, 2012, compensation costs including wages, performance pay and benefits for non-bargaining employees must continue to be prudently managed to live within fiscal targets. The Act also does not allow catch up for compensation that was not increased due to the restraint measures.
The Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 implements compensation restraint measures for designated executives at hospitals, universities, colleges, school boards and designated organizations. The restraint measures are effective March 31, 2012, and are in place until the province ceases to have a deficit.
- All existing broader public service agreements will be respected.
- There are more than 2,000 broader public sector agreements — covering over 430,000 employees — that will expire this year or are being negotiated after expiring earlier. This includes negotiations with teachers that were initiated earlier this year.
“Employers and bargaining agents must reach settlements that help Ontario meet its fiscal targets while also protecting schools and health care. This approach will help us protect public sector jobs. Everyone has a role to play in taking strong action to help Ontario face the challenges brought about by global economic uncertainty.”