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eHealth Ontario to pay performance bonuses

TORONTO – Employees at eHealth Ontario will receive a total of $2.3 million in performance bonuses this month, thanks to a court settlement that restored payouts that were cancelled in 2011, according to a recent report in the Toronto Star.

A total of 704 staff at the provincial agency, which leads the effort to create electronic health records for all Ontarians, will get between $500 and $7,000 each. The bonuses come at a time when Premier Kathleen Wynne’s minority Liberal government is struggling to erase an $11.7 billion deficit.

A memo went to all 875 eHealth employees, many of them information technology experts, just in time for delivery of post-holiday credit card bills. “I want to let you know that all eligible employees will receive the 2012-13 incentive payment on the January 10, 2014 payday,” said the email from Allan Gunn, vice-president human resources. “The incentive payments are based on your performance rating during fiscal 2012/13 and calculated on the annualized salary of the same year.”

eHealth spokesman Rob Mitchell noted the payouts for meeting performance objectives are 50 percent lower than the 2011 bonuses and similar to amounts paid after that. “We have to be mindful of what the private sector pays because we recruit from a very competitive environment in information technology.”

eHealth found itself in hot water in 2011 when staffers had been promised merit raises and bonuses in writing despite a government wage-freeze edict.

With the 2011 election months away, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s government cancelled the 1.9 per cent merit raises and bonuses averaging 7.8 per cent that were intended to keep eHealth’s specialized workforce from being poached by high-paying information technology firms.

That prompted employees to file an $11-million class action lawsuit, which they won last year, resulting in a negotiated $7.16-million court settlement.

Former eHealth chief executive Greg Reed, who was forced by Health Minister Deb Matthews to scrap the bonuses in 2011, left the agency last fall with severance pay of $406,250 – almost double the premier’s salary of $210,000.

Sources said eHealth has received legal advice that it would be vulnerable to another employee lawsuit that would cost taxpayers more if it did not pay performance bonuses for targets met.

 

With the 2011 election months away, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s government cancelled the 1.9 per cent merit raises and bonuses averaging 7.8 per cent that were intended to keep eHealth’s specialized workforce from being poached by high-paying information technology firms.

That prompted employees to file an $11-million class action lawsuit, which they won last year, resulting in a negotiated $7.16-million court settlement.

Former eHealth chief executive Greg Reed, who was forced by Health Minister Deb Matthews to scrap the bonuses in 2011, left the agency last fall with severance pay of $406,250 – almost double the premier’s salary of $210,000.

Sources said eHealth has received legal advice that it would be vulnerable to another employee lawsuit that would cost taxpayers more if it did not pay performance bonuses for targets met.

 

canhealth
Written by canhealth

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