April 23, 2015 18:00 ET

MEDIA RELEASE: Budget Continues Troubling Path While Starving Public Services

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 23, 2015) - The 2015 Ontario budget continues down a troubling path that starves public services, says AMAPCEO, a union representing 12,000 professional workers in the Ontario Public Service and seven broader public agencies.

AMAPCEO's President, Dave Bulmer, noted that this year's budget continues to rely on the ill-conceived government policy of "net zero" compensation increases, even while Ontario remains the lowest-cost jurisdiction for service delivery in the country. "Ontario needs new, fair and sustainable revenue", said Bulmer. He added, "The budget can't be balanced on the backs of public servants. It is time to re-invest in Ontario and our public services."

There are a number of specific provisions in the budget that signal potential concerns for AMAPCEO members. These include a re-commitment to the government's latest program review - the "PRRT", a re-statement of its plans to review the role of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and the proposed merger of the Ontario Racing Commission with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. "AMAPCEO will be vigilant in protecting the interests of our current and future members in respect to all of these issues." said Bulmer.

AMAPCEO is concerned that the continued reliance on privatization, P3s and contracting out is not only short-sighted in terms of lost revenue - such as through profits from Hydro One and up to $8 billion increased costs from P3s - but it is also eroding the trust in public services. "Whether it is the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS), ORNGE or E-Health, it is always the P3s that lead to scandal." said Bulmer. "A truly progressive move would be to start rebuilding the public service after years of cuts."

The sale of Hydro One - though widely leaked before the budget - is particularly disappointing news. The revenue alleged to be raised through this sale could easily be gained through a modest increase in corporate tax rates, which are now lower than any U.S. jurisdiction. "AMAPCEO members and the public should be alarmed by this move," said Bulmer, who pledged to work with labour and community partners to oppose the sale of one of the "crown jewels" of Ontario.

About AMAPCEO: Established in 1992, the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees is a bargaining agent that represents 12,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in eleven cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; Public Health Ontario; the Ontario Racing Commission; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.

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