Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals Promise Bill to Cap Public Sector Executive Compensation, Eye Pensions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals Promise Bill to Cap Public Sector Executive Compensation, Eye Pensions

Article excerpt

Bill to cap executive salaries coming in 2014

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TORONTO - Ontario's governing Liberals plan to bring in legislation next spring that would allow them to limit compensation to senior executives across the broader public sector, from hospitals and universities to the province's big utilities and Crown corporations.

The New Democrats have been demanding hard caps on those salaries for years. The minority Liberals promised to address it in 2012 and last spring in order to win their support to pass the budget and avoid an election.

If the upcoming legislation goes through, the government would have direct control over compensation, including salary, bonuses and severance packages, Government Services Minister John Milloy said Monday.

But he won't say where the government would set a hard cap, which the New Democrats want pegged at $418,000 -- twice the premier's annual salary.

The Liberals promised legislation last year to do just that, with some exemptions, but the legislature was prorogued a month later.

Milloy said this time, the government will develop a framework for each sector that will look at a number of factors.

"You have different sizes of hospitals, different complexities, etc., that goes across the way," he said. "And there will be hard caps within that."

But the opposition parties want to know why it's taking so long.

The Liberals could have backed an NDP private member's bill last week which would have capped salaries, or introduced their own legislation on Monday, said New Democrat Catherine Fife.

"They've been purposely very vague all along, and they've been saying they're going to do this for two years," she said.

"It's another promise for accountability and I think people are running out of patience on this."

But Milloy said the upcoming legislation goes beyond what the NDP proposed, which just dealt with salaries.

"We want to take a look at perks, we want to take a look at severance, we want to take a look at the entire package," he said.

"And I think you would all agree oftentimes that is where some of the concern on the part of citizens has been, when they find out when someone leaves a job and has a huge severance package. …

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