Sunshine List Grows Despite Wage Freeze

The annual Ontario Sunshine list was released two weeks ago with an additional 13,474 public and crown employees making it onto the list, but the other half of the story are the government workers who have not had any pay increase in 6 years.

The actual list has grown over 100,000 employees in Ontario for the first time since the disclosure of public servant pays was legislated by the Mike Harris PC’s.  While some on the list make much more that $100,000, there’s many more on the front line that don’t, and likely never will.

That’s because of a wage freeze to non-union Public Service employees  and that has many seeing the Sunshine list as unfair.
Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and President Treasury Board
Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and President Treasury Board

“Wages for non-unionized Ontario Public Service employees have been frozen at 2011 levels. The freeze follows on restraint measures previously implemented. The government has realized estimated savings of more than $80 million as a result of the various restraint initiatives applied to management compensation in the OPS (Ontario Public Service) since 2008-09.” Samatha Grant, Press Secretary to Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and President of the Treasury Board.

Though the government is realizing a savings of over $80 million during this period, the Liberals have grown the Ontario deficit to a mind blowing $279 Billion leaving each Ontarian a share of the debt  that totals $20,500 each.

” The new role of President of the Treasury Board has been created to help the government deliver on the program spending objectives laid out in the Budget while continuing to deliver the excellent public services the public expects in the most effective and efficient manner possible, while protecting vital services that matter to Ontarians. We value the important work of our public sector employees and want to ensure that we are able to attract good talent while also managing public dollars responsibly.” Grant said.

Overall, for 2014 the total number of employees disclosed under the Act has increased by 14% to 111,438 in 2014 (or 13,474 employees). The average reported salary over $100,000 across all sectors slightly decreased from $127,433 in 2013 to $127,178 in 2014. Due to the timing of the bi-weekly pay cycle, there was an additional pay period in the 2014 calendar year for the OPS. This is a rare occurrence that happens once every 11 years. As a result of the additional pay period,  that means approximately 2,200 employees are on the sunshine list, even though they earn less than $100,000 annually.On August 28, 2014, AMAPCEO (Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario) ratified a new four-year agreement with the government that includes no wage increase in the first two years and increases of 1.4% in each of the third and fourth years.

“The new agreement follows a two-year deal that included no wage increases in both 2012 and 2013 – totalling four consecutive years without any wage increase. Working together with AMAPCEO, we were able to find savings that will offset the 1.4% wage increase in the third and fourth years, making it a net zero agreement.” Grant said

The government says they are at the table to negotiate with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union but have no wage increase planned for non-union public service employees moving forward.

Employees for example, at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) are non-union (employees there have turned down joining the union in recent years) and while management and executives make a good chunk of the Sunshine List locally and in Toronto, many OLG and other crown corporations that have non-union employees continue to have to tighten their belt and make due with 2011 dollars even with inflation. OLG Casino employees are unionized.

“The government remains committed to negotiating an agreement with OPSEU that is fair to our employees and to taxpayers. At this point in the process, the negotiation of an essential services agreement is the responsible next step. By law, the government is required to negotiate an agreement to ensure that critical government services continue to be delivered in the event of a labour disruption. We remain at the table, willing and able to negotiate with OPSEU while essential services negotiations are going on‎.” Grant said