Taxpayers federation urges Ontario government to stand its ground in teachers’ union negotiations
TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging Education Minister Stephen Lecce not to give in to teaches’ union demands for bigger raises beyond what the government has already offered.
“Ontario teachers are already amongst the top paid teachers in the world, while the province is the largest subnational debtor on the planet” said Jasmine Pickel, the interim Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Ontario simply cannot afford to give already well compensated teachers a bigger raise.”
The CTF is calling for government-wide wage freezes until the province balances the budget. This fiscal year, the province is projecting a $9 billion deficit, but has recently passed legislation to give one per cent raises per year for the next three years to government employees.
“Each one per cent raise this government gives to its employees plunges taxpayers $720 million further into debt,” said Pickel. “There are more than 10,000 teachers currently on the province’s sunshine list that discloses government employees making more than $100,000 per year. Taxpayers are left scratching their heads as to why teachers’ unions are demanding raises that are about twice as much as the cash-strapped provincial government is offering.”
A recent Ipsos poll revealed that the average Canadian is $200 or less away from financial insolvency, and a BDO Canada survey found that nearly one third of all Canadians don’t have any retirement savings. The average Ontario teacher retires at 59 and top earning teachers can qualify for a pension of nearly $62,000 per year upon retirement.
A freedom of information request filed by the CTF revealed that top earning Ontario teachers receive more than $120,000 per year in total compensation when accounting for the value of taxpayer-funded pension contributions and benefits, in addition to salary.
“It’s simply unfair to ask struggling taxpayers to foot the bill for teachers who could be earning more than double what some of those taxpayers are earning,” said Pickel. “Asking for a bigger raise is tone deaf and ignores the obvious fact that teachers in Ontario are already very well compensated.”
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Interim Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation