CTF Calls for Auditor General Investigation into Possible Quid Pro Quo Payments from Kathleen Wynne to Unions
- Kathleen Wynne has secretly paid unions $3.74 million since 2008 to cover so-called union side bargaining costs, without requiring receipts
- Those same unions have donated nearly $800,000 to the Liberal party, and spent more than $6.5 million during last three elections
TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is requesting the Auditor General conduct a review of the $3.74 million the Ontario government has paid four public sector unions. Those unions include the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECT), the Ontario French teachers union (AEFO), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The payments were purportedly to cover union-side bargaining costs, including hotel rooms and pizza. However, Education Minister Liz Sandals admitted that there are no itemized accounts of what this $3.74 million in taxpayer money paid for, and that she never obtained receipts or invoices. The unions have not released their bargaining costs.
“This secret payment of millions of dollars to cover undisclosed union-side bargaining costs is an outrageous abuse of public trust,” said CTF Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn. “Unions collect dues for the purpose of paying for collective bargaining. By paying for the union’s bargaining costs, the Premier and Minister Sandals are removing any financial consequences the union might bear for throwing up roadblocks or digging their heels in."
The four unions that received the payouts, OSSTF, OECT, AEFO and CUPE, have also spent millions in the last three elections campaigning for the Liberals. The four unions have donated nearly $800,000 directly to the Liberal party, and spent more than $6.5 million during election campaigns, largely on ads attacking Liberal opponents.
“There is a disturbing sense that there is some quid pro quo going on between the Premier and these four unions,” continued Van Geyn. “The Premier appears to be funnelling public money into these unions, who then turn around and spend money campaigning for her government. This is not the kind of conduct we should expect from a transparent and democratic government, and we think the Auditor General should investigate.”