Jun 15, 2015
By Andy Johnson
Labour strife involving the province’s teachers may not be the only labour problem the Ontario government will be dealing with. Ontario cities are watching provincial police contract negotiations very closely to see if the province can opt out of “years-of-service” bonuses that communities say are becoming difficult to afford. The benefit, known as retention pay, began in Toronto ten years ago and now forms part of most police and firefighter contracts across the province. The benefit gives officers a three per cent pay hike after eight years of service, six per cent after 17 years and nine per cent after about 23 years. Neither the government nor the Ontario Provincial Police Association is saying if retention pay is on the table as they begin negotiating a new deal. However, the cash strapped Wynne Liberals have made it clear that new contracts must have a zero sum total. If one aspect of the contract costs more, another cost will have to be reduced to compensate.