Toronto, Ontario, February 19, 2013 – AMO looks forward to working with the government on how to move the sentiments of the Throne Speech into good public policy.
The 2013 Speech from the Throne noted that the government “will sit down with its partners across all sectors to build a sustainable model for wage negotiation, respectful of both collective bargaining and a fair and transparent interest arbitration process, so that the brightness of our shared future is not clouded by the indisputable economic realities of our time.”

Last week, AMO joined by municipal leaders from the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario and the Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario, shared a legislative checklist aimed at addressing key issues with the province’s interest arbitration system. These changes are focused on bringing transparency and accountability to the interest arbitration process for municipal essential service union awards.

Interest arbitration is the only legal way to settle contract negotiation disputes with essential workers, such as police and firefighters, who are not allowed to strike. Municipal governments have been frustrated with the lack of transparency around decisions and the priority that replication of agreements from one community to another has over consideration of local fiscal conditions.  In addition, the length of the process can be long, sometimes taking years before a decision is made.

AMO’s legislative check list includes:

  • Streamlining the process and creating a 12-month timeline for an award decision.
  • Requiring that arbitrators give priority to how the fiscal health of a community was considered and provide clear, written explanation of this.
  • Clear, measurable criteria for evaluating the fiscal health of a community.
“We are encouraged by the Premier’s call for a fair and transparent process,” said AMO President Russ Powers. “As lawmakers reconvene, municipal leaders from across the province are calling on all three parties to work together and make sure they make these meaningful improvements to the interest arbitration system.”

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

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