Society President Scott Travers was one of just 10 speakers granted time to address the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on General Government last month on Bill 124. Bill 124 is the legislation imposing three years of capped wages on the provincial public and broader public sector, including Ontario Power Generation, Independent Electricity System Operator, Legal Aid Ontario and Ontario Energy Board.
At the November 4 hearing, Travers had 10 minutes to address the committee and then members of the committee could ask Travers questions. On behalf of all Society members, Travers told the committee that Bill 124 is an unconstitutional infringement on our rights. He also showed the committee evidence that our wage increases have been more than reasonable over the past five years. In fact, Travers pointed out, the greatest threat to sustainability is if below-inflation wage increases continue because it will make it difficult to retain the talent companies like OPG need to operate successfully.
The committee has members of the Progressive Conservative (PC) government, the opposition New Democratic Party, and one independent member who in this case is a Green Party MPP. While the NDP and Green Party MPPs expressed support for the Society’s position, the PCs made critical comments that suggest they do not support fair compensation for Society members. Rather than look at the real waste in the system – like the last government canceling gas plants, or the current government meddling in Hydro One at a cost of $133 million – through their questions to Travers the PCs tried to mislead the public by equating Society members’ pay with direct electricity rate increases.
You can read Scott Travers’s full remarks and his question and answer session with the committee at https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/committees/general-government/parliament-42/transcripts/committee-transcript-2019-nov-04#P450_105405.
The Ford government decided to rush Bill 124 law soon after the November 4 hearing was held.