Ontario government passes bill to limit public wages
The provincial government has passed Bill 124, which will cap public workers’ wage increase at just one per cent.
The Bill, entitled Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, is intended to allow the government to effectively utilize taxpayers’ dollars without adding to the debt.
However, this news comes not that long after it was announced that all 28 Ontario Deputy Ministers would be receiving a 14-per-cent raise to their annual salary.
Workers that have the potential to be impacted by the Bill include those employed by school boards, universities and colleges, hospitals, non-profit long-term care homes, and children’s aid societies.
“The legislation passed today reflects a balanced and collaborative approach to engaging with stakeholders and responding to their feedback,” Peter Bethlenfalvy, president of the Treasury Board, said in a news release.
“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,” he continued.
Many unions have been quick to voice their displeasure with the Bill, including the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), which released a statement shortly after the announcement that the bill had passed.
“Bill 124 is a direct attack on the collective bargaining rights of every worker in the province,” Chris Buckley, OFL president, said in the OFL statement.
“The OFL is committed to fighting this Bill at every step, and we are reviewing all of our options-both political and legal-including the launch of a Charter challenge,” he added.
According to the OFL, which represents 54 unions and 1 million workers in Ontario, the bill will force front-line workers to accept compensation increases that are below the rate of inflation, which is 1.9 per cent.
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