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Ontario Government Announces Results of ‘Voluntary Layoff’ Program


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Ontario Government Announces Results of ‘Voluntary Layoff’ Program

When Doug Ford’s government took office, they said they were looking to find efficiencies within the public service sector. The number of funding reductions and cuts that have been announced has certainly gotten people riled up amid accusations of loss in services.

But in terms of the piece on the government finding efficiencies within themselves, so far that appears to be working…depending on your point of view.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, who oversees and approves all provincial government spending, announced the results of their “Transition Exit Initiative and Voluntary Exit Program”, which was designed to “find savings for taxpayers by managing Ontario’s public sector compensation costs, to avoid involuntary job losses.”

“The cost savings generated through our voluntary exit options are important components of our government’s plan to restore fiscal sustainability in the province,” Bethlenfalvy said in the press release. “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.”

Between December 2018 to February 2019, over 3,000 applications were submitted by OPS employees to the Transition and Voluntary Exit programs. The government announced from those applications, 2,400 were approved, effectively, for buyouts to leave their jobs with the government.

In 2018-19, $190 million was put in as a one time amount to facilitate the voluntary exit of those employees. As a result, Bethlenfalvy said that generates an ongoing annual savings of around $215 million per year, starting in 2021 to 2022.

Public sector compensation is estimated to be around half of the government’s expenditures, totalling $72 billion and provincial public sector organizations have around 1.2 million employees.

When Ford was running to become premier last year, he was fond of commonly making the mantra, “not a single person will involuntarily lose their job.” This announcement can be seen to provide backing to that statement.

The Ford government had previously announced that public sector workers will have their wages capped to one per cent for the next three years. Coupled with the minister’s unveiling of results of this ‘buyout’ program to phase out public service employees, this could be a more benign way of finding efficiencies for the government than any proposed cuts that have been coming down the pipeline.

What do you think of government employees taking a buyout to leave their jobs?

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