Skip to main content

Liberals threaten to bring back interest arbitration legislation

A senior Liberal official has said the government will bring back the interest arbitration legislation that was defeated when the government brought in its Budget bill earlier this year. 

“We’ll be taking action and reintroducing the sections of the budget bill that Hudak instructed his party’s members to vote against, even though it was in their election platform." 

McGuinty's comment of a year ago that it was unwise to 'finagle' with interest arbitration was, I guess, just stuff you say.

Toronto Star reporter Robert Benzie suggests the Liberals will first "expand... the wage-freeze push from teachers to other public servants in the weeks ahead, before tackling arbitration."

The reports came as Tim Hudak and the PCs announced they would be introducing another bill on interest arbitration. The Ability to Pay Act is basically designed to favour employers in cases of  interest arbitration. (Essential service workers, like hospital and LTC workers, are required by law to settle contract disputes by interest arbitration and do not have the legal right to strike.)  The Tories had introduced yet another bill in the spring session of the Legislature with  the same idea in mind (the Trust in Arbitration Act 2012), but that bill went nowhere. 

Apparently, even the PCs think their previous attempt came up short, as their new bill tries to bias the arbitration process in a different way.  I guess we are expected to trust trust they know better now. 

In the current version, Hudak and Co. say they would have the Minister of Labour appoint the arbitration boards. 

This is a tragic/comic contrast with their current criticism of Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).  Only hours ago, Mr Hudak tweeted "Local health care shouldn't be run by people appointed by the Cabinet as is the case with the LHINs. We have a better way".  

Yet arbitration is going to be credible when a party obviously connected to the employers gets to appoint the arbitrators?


Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.

This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.

Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.

As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…