Ontario deputy ministers get hefty 14% pay hike

Ontario’s deputy ministers are getting a hefty raise, with their base salary jumping some 14 per cent with the possibility of making more by hitting performance targets.

The salary changes for the province’s top bureaucrats are outlined in an order-in-council document dated Sept. 26.

The raise, back-dated to June 30, 2018, calls for a minimum salary of $234,080, up 14 per cent from the 2016 base salary of $205,000.

The maximum salary goes up to $320,130, up about 3 per cent from the 2016 max salary of $311,050.

The order also lays out pay-for-performance awards for deputy ministers, which would allow them to make more than their base salary.

A spokesperson for Treasury Board president Peter Bethlenfalvy said the move “ends the practice of automatic pay increases for public sector leaders,” and ties compensation to performance.

In a statement to CBC Toronto, Sebastian Skamski said that “no additional funding is being provided” for the wage hike, as the increase in costs will be “more than offset by efficiencies and savings.

“In fulfilling the government’s commitment to reviewing public sector leadership compensation, these adjustments are controlled, and the pay-for-performance model ensures that compensation is only provided to leaders who successfully deliver outcomes that advance government priorities.”

The pay bump comes four months after Doug Ford’s PC government added seven new ministers during a major cabinet shuffle that came amid slumping poll numbers for the premier. The number of ministers went from 21 to 28, despite Ford’s pledge the previous year to keep cabinet small to save taxpayers’ money.

Deputy ministers, senior leaders within the non-partisan Ontario Public Service, provide policy advice and other support to elected officials.

It’s also just over four months since the government introduced legislation, not yet passed, that caps public sector wage increases at an average of one per cent annually for the next three years.

The legislation, called the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, was tabled by the majority Progressive Conservatives on June 5. It includes teachers and staff at post-secondary institutions and hospitals, and would affect unionized and non-unionized workers.

The PCs had previously frozen the salaries of public sector executives who earn more than $100,000.

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