Ford government aiming to slash size of public service through voluntary departures

The Ontario government is aiming to cut the size of public service in the province through voluntary departures, CBC News has learned.

Move comes as part of plan to address 'fiscal challenges,' says memo obtained by CBC News

Move to slash size of public service through voluntary departures comes as part of government's comprehensive plan to address its fiscal challenges, memo obtained by CBC News says. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

The Ontario government is aiming to cut the size of public service in the province through voluntary departures, CBC News has learned. 

In a memo obtained by CBC, which was sent to 60,000 public sector workers Wednesday afternoon, the head of the Ontario Public Service, Steve Orsini, said cabinet has approved an extension to a voluntary early retirement program offered to workers from several unions since 2013, and a new voluntary exit program.

The voluntary exit program is a new offer to the approximately 8,000 managers who were not previously entitled to the severance package that has been been offered to unionized employees since 2012. 

"As part of the government's comprehensive plan to address its fiscal challenges, the government is exploring measures to manage its compensation costs in a way that ensures vital services to citizens are not compromised while avoiding involuntary job losses," Orsini said in the memo. 

"To help streamline the size of the Ontario Public Service (OPS), the current focus is on leveraging available programs that will allow employees to exit the organization on a voluntary basis."

The offers apply directly to people who work for provincial government departments. 

The Ford government previously put public service under a hiring freeze as part of a series of measures meant to limit  spending.

With files from Mike Crawley and The Canadian Press