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Mississauga City Council Supports Proposed Public Sector Capacity to Pay Act

Apr 11, 2013

At its meeting of Council yesterday, Mississauga passed a resolution asking the three provincial parties to work together and advance the private member's bill: Public Sector Capacity to Pay Act that supports change for arbitration in the public sector.

"Arbitration is a serious concern," said Mayor Hazel McCallion. "Municipalities already have budget challenges. Labour costs are the largest budget expense for most municipalities; higher employee costs add significant budget pressure. Arbitrators should no longer be in a position to assume that a municipality can or should raise taxes to pay for any compensation increase they award."

The private member's bill, Public Sector Capacity to Pay Act, proposes tools for arbitrators to use when measuring the fiscal health of a community and an expectation that they must demonstrate in writing how they came to their decisions.

"These changes would ensure that the arbitration process is more transparent around how a municipality's fiscal health has been taken into account," said Janice Baker, city manager and CAO. "It would also allow municipalities to receive arbitration decisions in a more timely manner so that staff can properly budget for related financial impacts."

The bill was first read at the Ontario Legislature on March 28, 2013.
For more information visit: Public Sector Capacity to Pay Act


Interest arbitration affects Ontario municipalities which have essential service employees including police, firefighters, some paramedics, long-term care workers, among others. Based on provincial legislation these employees are not allowed to strike. Interest arbitration is the only legal process for resolving collective bargaining disputes with these employee groups when traditional collective bargaining can't be reached.

Concerns with the current interest arbitration process including the length of the arbitration process and the fact that arbitrators often replicate agreements from one community to the next community failing to consider the local municipality's situation or a community's capacity.

As Canada's sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 741,000 residents and more than 54,000 businesses, including more than 60 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is "Leading Today for Tomorrow" by focusing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money and maintaining infrastructure.

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Catherine Monast
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