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Ontario government to cap public service salaries

Deb MatthewsTORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government is looking to put a cap on executive salaries at some of its most scandal-ridden agencies, such as air ambulance service Ornge and eHealth Ontario.

The proposed legislation would limit compensation to senior executives across the broader public sector, from hospitals and universities to the province’s big utilities, the National Post reported.

If the legislation passes, Treasury Board President Deb Matthews (pictured) said the government will bring in an amendment to add Ornge, eHealth Ontario, Local Health Integration Networks, Metrolinx, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and the LCBO.

“We are serious about restoring trust in government,” she told the legislature. “The people of Ontario have a right to know how their dollars are being spent, and that includes executive compensation.”

The bill would create sector-specific frameworks for compensation, which includes salary, bonuses and severance packages, and heads of organizations would be penalized with fines of up to $5,000 if they don’t comply.

The governing Liberals have come under fire in recent years over generous salaries and severance packages for executives in the public sector, including a $406,000 golden handshake for a former eHealth Ontario CEO and $9.3 million over six years for former Ornge CEO Chris Mazza.

The opposition parties slammed the Liberals as hypocritical for proposing accountability and transparency measures, but at the same time using their majority to block the attempts of a committee on cancelled gas plants to call two more witnesses.

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