The OCC recently submitted a letter to Yasir Naqvi, Ministry of Labour, about the impact that the province’s interest arbitration system is having on Ontario’s competitiveness.
Interest arbitration is the only legal mechanism available to municipalities to settle contract negotiation disputes with essential municipal workers such as police officers, firefighters, and some paramedics.
Partly as a result of interest arbitration, emergency service costs are growing much more quickly than the Consumer Price Index, and faster than the average growth rate of other public sector workers’ wages, including nurses and teachers. As a result of the costly contract settlements created by the current interest arbitration system, there is significant pressure on municipalities to raise taxes and/or reduce services to compensate.
Competitive tax rates and quality public services are key to economic development and prosperity in our communities. The current interest arbitration model is hurting municipalities’ economic competitiveness, and ultimately the competitiveness of the province.