Canadian Manufacturing

Ont. provincial agencies will require government approval for wage settlements

The new rules will apply to any collective bargaining agreements that expire on or after Dec. 31, 2018


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TORONTO—Ontario’s provincial agencies, including the LCBO, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and Ontario Power Generation, will now need the government’s direct approval for any wage settlements reached through collective bargaining.

In a memo to cabinet sent this week, Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy says the agencies must get government approval for their bargaining mandates and before ratification of any agreement.

Bethlenfalvy says the new rules, which were part of the fall fiscal update unveiled earlier this month, will allow the government to properly manage an estimated $2.6 billion the agencies spend on compensation in a year.

A line-by-line review of the province’s finances by accounting firm EY earlier this year said greater control over negotiated settlements in the broader public service would help Ontario better manage salary growth.

The new rules will apply to any collective bargaining agreements that expire on or after Dec. 31, 2018.

Ontario’s provincial agencies are government organizations that aren’t part of a ministry and are authorized to perform a public service. They are accountable to a minister.

Previously, some provincial agencies went to the Treasury Board for approval on wage settlements while others did not.

“These new requirements will better ensure that negotiated agreements are consistent with our government’s fiscal and service deliver priorities,” Bethlenfalvy said.

In its fiscal update, the Progressive Conservative government, which won a majority in June, said it has made cuts that have shaved $500 million off the province’s $15-billion deficit. The government did not, however, have a timeline for when it would get back to balance, though it maintained its promise to do so.

Premier Doug Ford has promised to find “efficiencies” and not achieve savings through layoffs.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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