TORONTO – Ontarians aren’t getting a clear picture of government pay practices from the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.
“Today’s release of the ‘Sunshine List’ doesn’t show tens of thousands of high-income-earners who get all or part of their pay from working for government,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “If you really want to know how the government pays people, you should be including private contractors and those who work for them under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.”
The percentage of government revenues that goes directly to the private sector has risen sharply since the late 1990s. A new analysis of Statistics Canada data by the Centre for Spatial Economics (C4SE) shows that in 1997, 27 per cent of provincial program spending went to the private sector. By 2010, that number was 38 per cent.
“With program spending this year budgeted at $117 billion, and 38 per cent of that going to the private sector, we are talking about a $44-billion ocean of money that is subject to very limited public scrutiny and, because it involves private contracts, considerable secrecy,” said Thomas.
“Making private contractors and their employees subject to the same rules as public employees would give the citizens of Ontario a whole new window into the actual workings of government – and where their money goes.”
Thomas first called for putting contractors on the Sunshine List on February 26.
The C4SE analysis is based on Statistics Canada’s input-output tables, information from which is only available for the 1997 to 2010 period.