26 September 2023

CANADA: Ontario freezes PS hiring

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The incoming Government in Ontario has ordered a freeze on Public Service hiring and discretionary spending until it can get a “true look” at the Canadian Province’s finances.

The directive details the changes aimed at reining in spending as the Progressive Conservative Party led by Doug Ford (pictured) takes over from Liberal Premier, Kathleen Wynne.

During the election campaign, Mr Ford promised to make C$6 billion (A$6.1 billion) in unidentified cost-saving “efficiencies” on the C$150 billion (A$152 billion) Provincial budget.

Party spokesperson, Jeff Silverstein said the people of Ontario worked hard for their money and they expected their tax dollars to go to the services on which they depended.

All Ministries have been directed to halt new hires, except for “essential frontline service staff in jails, policing, fire and developmental services”.

Out-of-Province travel is also restricted, along with the use of consultants, temporary help services, non-essential events and communications, such as advertising, newspaper and magazine subscriptions and media monitoring.

The directive said any expense that could be placed on hold without putting Government service delivery or the public at risk in terms of health, safety and security matters should be halted.

“Any planned expenditures that are not committed by contract and/or required to meet immediate legal obligations or address matters of health or safety are to be deferred pending further direction,” it said.

The hiring freeze does not forbid Ontario PS employees from taking new jobs within the Public Service, but these moves must be tracked so the new Government can be given a summary later.

Mr Ford promised during the election campaign to hire independent auditors to do a line-by-line audit of the Province’s books to ensure taxpayers were getting value for money.

However, Mr Ford later watered down the directive by saying that teachers and nurses were exempt from the hiring freeze.

“But again, we’re going to make sure we watch every single penny of the taxpayers’ dollars,” Mr Ford said.

Toronto, 20 June 2018

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