Ontario could impose hard caps on pay increases for public sector employees

Ontario is taking aim at the wages of public sector workers as the Progressive Conservative government tries to balance the budget, including possibly imposing hard caps on pay increases.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy says in a speech today that he will look at how to reduce compensation costs.

He says he will consult with public sector employers and bargaining agents, and a letter being sent to them today says the government is considering legislating allowable compensation increases.

Any measures could impact teachers, professors, nurses, Crown attorneys, provincial police officers, power workers and thousands of other public-sector staff.

Bethlenfalvy says 72 billion dollars a year a year is spent on public sector compensation, and while they have earned their ``generous'' pay, the government must ensure the sustainability of programs and services.

The government will present its first budget next week and is set to lay out how it will eliminate a $13.5-billion deficit.