Ontario's PC government has made it clear since taking office last June that the province has little money to go around for such vital services as public health, education, legal aid, employee protections, indigenous affairs, childcare, scientific research and fighting poverty.
A retroactive 14 per cent wage hike for Ontario's top bureaucrats, on the other hand? That's well within reason for Premier Doug Ford, it seems.
An order-in-council document surfaced this week by Queen's Park Today shows that all 28 of the province's Deputy Ministers are slated to receive significant wage hikes, going from a minimum salary of $205,000 to a minimum of $234,080.
These raises are backdated to June 30, 2018, and come with a new maximum salary of $320,130 (up about three per cent from the previous max of $311,050).
And then there are the additional performance-based bonuses.
"In respect of the April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 performance cycle and thereafter, a deputy minister may be eligible for a pay-for-performance award," reads the order-in-council document.
"Such pay-for-performance award, if any, does not form part of base salary."
The document, dated September 26 but published on October 10, states that any performance awards "shall be a percentage of the deputy minister's annual base salary" and that bonuses will be paid out as a lump sum at the end of each year in review.
So there’s not enough money to pay for things like education, healthcare, transit and other infrastructure, but there’s enough for a 14% raise (that’s retroactive to June 2018 btw)? @fordnation you and your gov’t are abhorrent. #ONPoli https://t.co/DlBIM2yori— High Park capybara (@HPcapybara) October 17, 2019
Ontario Treasury Board spokesperson Sebastian Skamski told Queen's Park Today that the pay-for-performance model "ensures that compensation is only provided to leaders who successfully deliver outcomes that advance government priorities."
Skamski said that no additional funding would be provided for the raises. Instead, costs will be managed within existing allocations to ensure that "any compensation adjustments are more than offset by efficiencies and savings."
The Premier's Office is crediting Ontario's previous Liberal government and a 2017 collective bargaining agreement for the raise, but Queen's Park Today notes that no increases above the 2016 minimum salary of $205,000 can be found in publicly available records.
Ford cuts 10,000 teachers jobs. Gives 14% raise to his friends. Under the conservatives, the rich get richer. This isn’t the Canada we want!!#ScheerCuts #ScheerAmerican #ScheerLies #WeakAndy #YankeeDoodleAndy #canadavotes2019 https://t.co/KNwX1BJpya— Mini Me Scheer (@HarperMini) October 17, 2019
Ontario residents are expressing their outrage as news spreads of the retroactive raise for Ford's cabinet ministers.
It was only four months ago, after all, that the PC government decided to cap public sector wage increases at 1 per cent for the next three years.
Worse still, for many, is the fact that appointed ministers making more than $200,000 per year are getting massive pay hikes while Ontario has frozen its minimum wage at $14 an hour.
"The highest paid MPPs in Ontario's history needed a raise," commented one person on Twitter. "But a $15 minimum wage increase for the working poor? Not even once!"
"Austerity only works for others, I guess," wrote another on Facebook. "I'd ask a Deputy Minister what they think but they've all been on a 4 month paid vacation staying as far away from the election as possible."
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO