OCUFA analysis of the Ontario Government’s wage cap legislation, Bill 124

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The Ford government has introduced sweeping wage legislation that will undermine free and fair collective bargaining under the pretense of a fiscal crisis.

The reality is that Ontario faces a revenue problem and not a spending problem, as Ford continues to falsely claim. According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), the Ontario government has the lowest per capita program spending in the country. This includes spending on essential public services such as long-term care, childcare, education, transit, water, and infrastructure. In addition, since 2011, Ontario’s program spending has grown at less than half the rate of other provinces.

In the postsecondary education sector, Ontario’s per capita funding is 21 per cent lower than the rest of Canada.

In addition, the Ontario government’s expenditures as a portion of GDP have shrunk over the past 15 years, according to the line-by-line review commissioned by the Ford government. This means that the economy is growing at a much faster pace than government expenditure in the province.

Ontario also has the lowest revenue per person in Canada. In 2017, Ontario’s per person revenue was almost 16 per cent lower than the national average. According to the FAO, Ontario’s personal income tax revenue is equivalent to 9.9 per cent of labour income, which is significantly below the 11.7 per cent share in the rest of Canada. At 11.8 per cent, Ontario’s corporate income tax rate (tax revenue as a share of corporate profits) is also below the ratio for the rest of Canada, which is 12.2 per cent.

The Ford government continues to ignore the facts and expert economic advice. Amidst this manufactured fiscal crisis, the government is proposing legislated wage caps for all public sector bargaining, without any evidence or data showing how this will impact Ontario’s finances.

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