Last week Dwight Duncan, Ontario’s minister of finance, sent a letter to the operators of Ontario’s healthcare facilities outlining the government’s intention to freeze funding for compensation for the next two years. In a tightly funded industry, this can only mean job losses since built in costs will continue to rise even with a wage freeze. Freezing wages is simply an attempt to maintain the status quo—and have employees pay for it.
The argument that the deficit belongs to all of us and that we all need to be part of the solution is seductive and sounds rational. Except that that the government is one of the most egregious offenders in holding the line.
Remember the $1 billion e-health boondoggle or the more recent $190 million spent on a cancelled natural gas plant? It was the government that made the secret deals and outrageous settlements. It was the government that gave merit pay bonuses to the highest paid members of the public service.
The public sector consists of a broad range of employees—from those making $12 per hour to those making $300 per hour. To treat them all the same is unrealistic and grossly unfair.