CTF sounds the alarm: Ontario can’t afford higher taxes or more debt to keep teachers’ union bosses happy
TORONTO, ON: As many teachers walk off the job today, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is warning Ontario taxpayers that the province cannot afford to pay for the demands being made by their union bosses without billions more in taxes or debt.
“While Ontario is the largest subnational debtor on the planet, Ontario has some of highest paid teachers on the planet,” said Jasmine Pickel, the CTF’s interim Ontario director. “To give teachers the bigger raises their union bosses are demanding, we only have two options: add billions more to the debt, or pay billions more in taxes at a time when Ontario can afford neither.”
Ontario recently surpassed $350 billion in debt, and is projecting a $9-billion dollar deficit this fiscal year. Last year, in an attempt to reign in government spending, the Ontario government passed Bill 124, which capped government employees’ raises to one per cent per year for the next three years.
Each one per cent raise that the government gives to its employees costs taxpayers $720 million. Government employees, including teachers, account for approximately half of all provincial spending each year, approximately $72 billion.
Meanwhile, government employees in Ontario earn a 10 per cent wage premium over their comparable non-governmental counterparts, in addition to more job stability, better pensions and benefits, and earlier retirement.
“Studies have show what Ontarians already know to be true: government employees – including teachers – have it good. It’s unfair to ask Ontarians earning half of what teachers make to foot the bill for even bigger teacher raises,” said Pickel.
The average teacher earns more than $86,000 per year, while top earning teachers have a salary of more than $100,000 per year. Adding in the value of pensions and benefits, top earning teachers get a total compensation of more than $120,000 per year. Currently there are more than 10,000 teachers earning this amount, according to Ontario’s public sector salary disclosure website.
While the average Ontario teacher retires at the age of 59 with a starting pension of $47,000 per year, a BDO Canada report found that more than one third of Canadians have no retirement savings at all.
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Interim Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation