Ontario is planning to introduce and consult on draft legislation that, if passed, would restrain compensation for employees of the Broader Public Sector (BPS), as well as all executives and managers across the BPS and Ontario Public Service (OPS). If passed, the proposed Protecting Public Services Act would ensure future BPS collective agreements are consistent with the province's goals of eliminating the deficit and protecting the delivery of public services.
The Protecting Public Services Act would, if passed:
- Restrain compensation for two years for unionized employees of the BPS and require employers to negotiate agreements that do not reduce services.
- Freeze earnings for two years for managers who are eligible for performance pay in the BPS, OPS and agencies so they would not earn more this year and next than they did last year.
- Introduce a permanent salary cap for new executives at no more than double the Premier's salary.
The draft legislation also contains changes to ensure that the interest arbitration process is transparent, accountable and efficient. These proposed amendments were previously included in the 2012 Budget Bill.
If passed, the draft legislation would apply its compensation restraint measures upon proclamation, but not to existing collective agreements. It would respect the bargaining process for future collective agreements while ensuring that those agreements are subject to review and approval until the provincial budget is balanced.
All parties in the broader public sector would be encouraged to engage in a full collective bargaining process and employers would confirm whether resulting agreements meet the province's fiscal goals without reducing services.
When the Finance Minister or delegate determines that collective agreements do not meet these goals, parties would be given another opportunity to collectively bargain. After consultation, a collective agreement consistent with the government's goals may be set by the government.
The McGuinty government is taking strong action to achieve its fiscal targets by reducing costs while protecting front-line services. This announcement builds on the strong action already taken through the Putting Students First Act, 2012 and other measures outlined in the 2012 Budget, such as a five-year wage freeze for MPPs and pay restraint measures for executives at Ontario's hospitals, colleges, universities, school boards and agencies for four years.