Restoring financial sustainability while protecting front-line services
TORONTO — Today, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, announced how Ontario’s Government for the People continues to drive long-term savings for taxpayers by managing Ontario’s public sector compensation costs to ensure vital services are protected, while avoiding involuntary job losses.
The government’s previously-announced Transition Exit Initiative and Voluntary Exit Program will generate ongoing annual savings of around $215 million per year, beginning in 2021-22.
“The cost savings generated through our voluntary exit options are important components of our government’s plan to restore fiscal sustainability in the province,” said Bethlenfalvy. “Streamlining and modernizing the Ontario Public Service (OPS) builds on our ongoing work to change the culture of government, find efficiencies and ensure we are investing in core programs and services.”
Approximately 3,300 applications were submitted by OPS employees between December 2018 and February 2019. From those submissions, around 2,400 were approved. In 2018-19, a one-time investment of $190 million facilitated the voluntary exit of those employees.
“Since being elected, the government has made great strides in setting Ontario on a sustainable path to fiscal balance – while protecting front-line services, and public sector jobs,” said Bethlenfalvy. “These measures complement our ongoing work to restore sustainability to the province’s finances while protecting critical services that matter most to the people of Ontario – like health care and education. In doing so, we are building a more modern and efficient public service.”
In Ontario, public sector compensation represents roughly half of all government expenditures, totaling $72 billion annually. Collectively, provincial public sector organizations employ an estimated 1.2 million workers across multiple sectors.
- The Transition Exit Initiative is an ongoing program available to most bargaining represented Ontario Public Service employees.
- The expanded Voluntary Exit Program was made available for non-bargaining staff, managers and senior executives in the Ontario Public Service beginning in December 2018. The application period for that program is now closed.
- Key objectives of these programs include modernizing government, identifying areas for efficiencies, removing duplication, offering employees more choice and flexibility regarding their individual career path, and directing taxpayer dollars towards front-line programs and services.
- The government’s plan ensures front-line services and the workers who deliver them are protected. The government has already decreased the size of the OPS by 3.7 per cent through voluntary attrition alone from June 2018 to April 2019 (i.e. the number of employees reduced from approximately 67,900 to 65,400).
- Planned efficiencies achieved through these exits are reflected as part of the government’s fiscal plan and year-over-year growth rates in expenditures as reported in the 2019 Budget.
- All costs associated with exits approved by March 31, 2019, will be reflected in ministries’ salary and wage expense allocations as part of the Public Accounts.