Government Introduces Legislation that Proposes Caps to Public Sector Wages

Ontario’s Government has introduced new legislation, Bill 124, Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019., that if passed will cap public sector wages at 1% percent per annum for a 3 year period.

If passed, the legislation would apply to bargaining and non-bargaining unit employees, including those employed by:

  • Provincial authorities, boards, commissions, corporations, offices or organizations in which a majority of directors, members or officers are appointed or chosen by the province (including Ontario Power Generation, Independent Electricity System Operator and Ornge)
  • School boards
  • Colleges and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Every licensee under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, other than a licensee that carries on its activities for the purpose of gain or profit to its members or shareholders
  • Children's Aid Societies
  • Transfer payment recipients who received more than $1 million in annual funding in 2018
  • The Ontario Public Service

The proposed legislation also contains language that would allow the Government to override collective agreements. It will put time-limited requirements on new compensation increases for unionized and non-unionized employees in Ontario’s public sector.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

It should be noted that this Bill has been introduced for first reading and has not been passed and will not be further debated until the Government resumes in the fall.  (Learn more about how a Bill becomes law here.)

Many occupational therapists are employed in publicly funded sectors, in hospitals, schools, universities, family health teams, etc.  If passed this legislation would apply to employee compensation in these sectors.  It is our understanding that compensation increases based on established salary scales would not be limited, notwithstanding the annual increases that might apply to these positions thereafter would be limited to 1%.

OSOT will monitor this legislative initiative closely.