Ontario Passes Legislation to Protect a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations
Legislation allows for reasonable wage increases in the public sector, while protecting vital services and fiscal sustainability
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government reinforced its commitment to making sure Ontario can invest in vital services while prudently restoring the province's fiscal health by passing the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019. The legislation enables the government to manage public sector compensation growth in a fair and reasonable way, respecting taxpayers' dollars, while protecting front-line services.
"The legislation passed today reflects a balanced and collaborative approach to engaging with stakeholders and responding to their feedback," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. "Taking action to ensure increases in public sector compensation reflect the province's fiscal reality is part of our government's balanced and prudent plan. Moderating compensation growth to protect front-line services for the people of this province is the right thing to do."
The government's approach protects public sector jobs, respects the collective bargaining process and does not impose wage freezes or wage rollbacks. Additionally, Ontario's public sector employees will still be able to receive salary increases for seniority, performance, or increased qualifications as they do currently. The legislation does not impact existing collective agreements. It sets out reasonable and time-limited requirements on new compensation increases for unionized and non-unionized employees in Ontario's public sector.
"The passage of this legislation follows an extensive period of consultation and legislative process," said Bethlenfalvy. "We consulted in good-faith and charted a path forward that will allow us to protect the front-line services people depend on and the people that deliver them."
The government has listened to stakeholders and proposed amendments that will help ensure the legislation fulfills its original intent. These amendments were reflected in the final legislation that was passed by the house.
In Ontario, public sector compensation represents roughly half of all government expenditures, totaling over $72 billion annually.
- On June 5, 2019 the government introduced the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, following six weeks of good-faith consultations.
- Following introduction, and throughout the summer, the government once again invited public sector employers, employees, bargaining agents and members of the public to comment on the proposed legislation.
- Following feedback received from the public over the summer, the government proposed amendments that will help ensure the legislation fulfills its original intent.
- The Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019 passed through the legislative process and went through the Standing Committee on General Government.
- Every one per cent increase in compensation-related spending translates into approximately $720 million in additional costs annually.
- The Act applies to over 1 million workers across the provincial public sector.