Ontario is in bad shape, and it’s not getting better. With a population of 13,538,000, we now have a public debt of $267.5 billion, or $20,166 per citizen. Government and opposition leaders (the people who helped get us into this mess) use this to justify imposing wage freezes on the lowest-paid workers in the public sector. Yet they don’t seem to impose restraint on themselves or others making top dollar.
In 2007, provincial politicians gave themselves a 28 percent wage increase. In 2010, shortly after the 2008 recession, CLAC met with provincial officials to discuss the two-year freeze that the government requested the healthcare sector take. We couldn’t agree to the proposal because we had seen it all before in at least four previous rounds of wage restraint. At that time, I warned the provincial officials that government itself is always the worst offender in terms of breaking any legislated restraint and that they should look internally before they asked our members for nickel. Little did I know how right I would be.