“Tories have long called for an immediate pay freeze for all publicly paid workers, such as nurses and teachers, saying it will save the province $2 billion a year.”
– The Canadian Press, May 8th, 2012
(Queen’s Park,Toronto) – Only the Ontario PC Caucus see the urgency to take immediate action and implement a legislated mandatory public-sector wage freeze, Ontario PC Deputy Finance Critic Jeff Yurek said today.
Yurek made the comments while tabling his Comprehensive Public Sector Compensation & Wage Freeze Act. The bill would freeze salaries for all public-sector workers including bureaucrats, teachers and fire fighters.
“If the Liberals were serious about introducing a mandatory wage freeze they could have announced it in their March budget,” Yurek said. “Rather, day after day they side-step their responsibilities to reign in the province’s looming $30-billion deficit and $411-billion debt,” Yurek added.
“Only the Ontario PC Caucus is committed to getting the job done and enshrining into law a mandatory public-sector wage freeze.”
Legislation is necessary because the Liberals have failed to achieve a wage freeze through negotiation. The Ministry of Labour has admitted that agreements are getting negotiated for increases.
“Since labour costs represent more than half of all spending, we can’t balance the budget without freezing public-sector salaries,” Yurek added.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that when taking paid and unpaid benefits into consideration, public-sector workers make up to 27 per cent more in wages than their private-sector counterparts.
Yurek added that a wage freeze is not only about reining in out of control spending but also about encouraging businesses to invest, create jobs and pursue their next big ideas right here in Ontario.
“Businesspeople and entrepreneurs know that heavily indebted governments can’t afford the things that make them attractive places to relocate to, or invest in, or create new jobs. Things like a talented skilled work force, reliable roads, stable bridges, and modern hospitals. We’ve seen the consequences of years of out-control-spending locally with Deb Matthews cutting funds to the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital redevelopment project.”
“We’re running out of time and money. We all need to pull together to correct the fiscal mess in which we find ourselves. Together, we will restore investor confidence and put Ontario on a path that will reduce the size and cost of government and enable private-sector job creation.
“My riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London has been one of the hardest hit on the job front and the biggest barrier to bringing jobs back is the business climate the McGuinty government has created. I know my riding can be thriving hub again and the first step is to get the economic fundamentals of this province right; that’s what this legislation does,” Yurek concluded.
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