Barrett tackles debt through limits to public sector compensation

For immediate release:
May 16, 2012


QUEEN’S PARK — With public sector labour costs accounting for over half of all Ontario government program spending, Haldimand-Norfolk’s MPP has taken steps to address McGuinty’s predicted $411.4 Ontario debt with alternatives to the spectre of layoffs and program cuts.

“This Act amends the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993 to allow government to act immediately to limit increases in compensation paid to employees in the public sector, while recognizing its legal duty to consult fully with those employees and the bargaining agents representing them, and to negotiate with them constructively and in good faith,” MPP Toby Barrett informed the Legislature this afternoon as he introduced his Private Members Bill, which passed first reading.

Addressing Ontario’s Debt Through Alternatives to Public Sector Layoffs and Program Cuts Act, 2012, now moves to second reading debate slated for June 7th.

The preamble to the Private Member’s Bill notes, “Since 2003, the annual deficit of the Province of Ontario has increased alarmingly and is projected to be $30.2 billion by 2017-2018. Accumulated debt of the Province is projected to be $411.4 billion by 2017-2018…It is vital that the Province get its finances in order, otherwise there will be no alternative but to cut government programs significantly which will inevitably lead to layoffs in the public sector and a lower level of Government service to the people of Ontario.”

Barrett indicates the bill proposes to: link public servants’ full compensation package to Ontario’s economic growth; limit the length of agreements; and introduce the concept of a wage board to research private vs. public comparables. It also proposes concepts of unpaid furlough and defined contribution pensions.
“We need to remember the public sector bureaucracy – one million strong and 70 per cent unionized – exists to serve its citizens, not its employees, and the truth is there are unacceptable pay inequities between union and non-union government employees and also between public- and private-sector workers,” Barrett stated.

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,
(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629