Canadian Manufacturing

Union head calls on Ontario to put contractors on Sunshine List

OPSEU president wants Ontario Liberals to amend salary disclosure act to increase transparency

TORONTO—The president of a powerful public sector union in Ontario is calling on the province to include contractors on the so-called Sunshine List—the annual register of government workers making more than $100,000.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) president Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas said Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government should amend the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act to include private companies that fulfill contracts with the province and its municipalities.

“When it comes to value for money, no government policy of the last 20 years has a worse track record than privatization,” Thomas said in a statement.

“It’s time to shine a light on the cozy relationship between private companies and the government. A quick and easy way to do that is to include contractors and financiers on the Sunshine List (so) Ontarians can see where their money is really going.”

Launched in 1996, the Sunshine List is made public by the Ontario Ministry of Finance and includes the names, positions, salaries and taxable benefits of workers in Ontario making more than $100,000 in a calendar year whose organizations receive public funding from the province.

The act currently applies to employees working directly for the provincial government and its Crown agencies, as well as colleges, universities and school boards, municipalities and police agencies, hospitals and public health boards, and Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

According to Thomas, including private corporations that provide services to the province would give taxpayers “a true picture of the nature of government today.”

“Many people think of government and corporations as separate entities, but we are seeing increasing corporate penetration into government, both in terms of influence .. and in terms of profit extraction,” he said.

“Whenever you mix profit and politics, the leap to corruption is a short one.”

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