Today in the Ontario Legislature, Mr. Jim Wilson’s Private Member Bill, the Public Sector Capacity to Pay Act, 2013, Bill 44, was lost on a motion for Second Reading.

The vote was:  Ayes 36 and Nays 52.

This could be seen as a lost legislative opportunity to make improvements to the interest arbitration system that municipal leaders and others have called for to rebalance it and make it accountable and transparent. We had been encouraged by the introduction of Bill 44 as we did see that it captured many of the practical changes AMO has been asking for.

The government’s intentions as signaled in the 2013 Throne Speech have not been shared.  The 2013 Throne Speech said that it would: “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 arbitration process.”

 At this time, AMO and its members continue to encourage all parties in the Ontario Legislature to work together to find common ground to make interest arbitration, more accountable and transparent.  Changes are needed to ensure that interest arbitration achieves its intent, which is fairness to essential service employees, their peers and employers.  Ontario’s interest arbitration system will work as intended, when there are equal incentives for employee and employer groups to choose negotiated settlements over interest arbitration.

Changes to legislation that will increase everyone’s interest and desire to be successful in collective bargaining is an outcome municipal governments believe all members of the Legislature share.

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