Wages to be capped for public sector<br> workers in Ontario

New finance minister says eight per cent increase over two years, like the one contracted to Toronto teachers earlier this year, is unrealistic

The Ontario government plans to introduce a cap on the wages of nearly a million workers in the public sector, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a speech to the Mississauga Board of Trade this week.

"There seems to be an expectation that when the government is the boss, money is no object," he said. "This is not the case.

"The recent settlement with Toronto elementary teachers is case in point. Their eight per cent salary increase over two years should not set the bar. It will not set the bar. Eight per cent is totally unrealistic."

Flaherty was not specific about what a “realistic” salary increase level would be.

This statement by the finance minister supports Premier Mike Harris’ position that because of the projected economic slowdown, public servants should expect restraints on any salary-increase expectations.

"If we were to raise salaries by eight per cent across the broader public sector it would cost you $2.2 billion over two years," said Flaherty.

The wage cap will affect people on the public payroll including teachers, nurses, doctors and civil servants.

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