Premier’s office blames deputy minister pay hikes on the Libs

By Sabrina Nanji October 16, 2019

The Ford government says it is not behind a 14 per cent annual salary bump for the province’s deputy ministers, instead throwing the blame for increased wages on the ex-Liberal government. 

As Queen’s Park Today first reported this week, cabinet recently signed off on a new salary range of $234,080 to $320,130 for the province’s high-ranking civil servants. 

That’s up from the previous salary range, established in 2016, of $205,000 to $311,050. 

However, the premier’s office contends the wage bracket for DMs was already much closer to the new range, thanks to a collective bargaining agreement with AMAPCEO signed in 2017. 

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy’s office said the current salary range for DMs is between $234,080 and $326,560 — a higher top wage than what was outlined in the September 26 order-in-council Queen’s Park Today initially reported on. 

From April 1, 2017 to October 1, 2017, DMs received three hikes, landing at a range of $234,080 to $320,130, per Bethlenfavly’s office. The largest hike, which came into effect on July 1, 2017, increased the base rate by 11 per cent.

None of those figures are listed in publicly available OICs, which defer to the $205,000 figure. Premier Doug Ford’s office disputed the numbers reported by Queen’s Park Today, but did not respond directly to repeated questions and requests for clarification ahead of publication. 

Deputy ministers’ salaries are pegged to rates negotiated by AMAPCEO, but DMs are not represented directly by the union. 

The OIC is retroactive to June 30, 2018 and includes potential pay-for-performance bonuses. Under the previous Grit rulers, DMs were eligible for a base salary adjustment of at least five per cent.

The PCs say they’re ending automatic pay increases and instead tying compensation to performance for those “who successfully deliver outcomes that advance government priorities.” 

Any compensation adjustments are “more than offset by efficiencies and savings” and won’t cost more than what’s already been allocated, according to Bethlenfalvy’s office.