McGuinty calls for extension of MPP wage freeze

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is proposing to extend a freeze of MPP salaries, as he asks teachers and doctors to accept frozen wages.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says MPPs should set an example by extending their wage freeze. (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is proposing to extend a freeze of MPP salaries, as he asks teachers and doctors to accept frozen wages.

"We have frozen our pay for three years," he said Wednesday. "I think it's important that we continue to lead by example, so I'm proposing that we freeze our pay for two more years."

MPPs earn a base salary of $116,000, a cabinet minister earns $165,000, and the premier's salary is $209,000.

Austerity measures

The call comes as the province wrestles with a $16-billion deficit.

The government wants to freeze teachers' pay so that no one gets a raise because of seniority or improved credentials.

The premier is also asking teachers for an end to a "generous sick leave plan" which currently allows most teachers in Ontario to bank up to 200 days over their career, leading to a lump sum payment averaging $46,000 when they retire.

His call for a doctor's wage freeze falls in line with recommendations from economist Don Drummond, who advised the province to "aggressively" negotiate with doctors to help re-balance the books.

In his austerity report, Drummond wrote, "it is reasonable to set a goal of allowing no increase in total compensation" to doctors.

With files from The Canadian Press