Carleton Place town council’s policy review committee has been discussing concerns regarding wage settlements imposed by the provincial arbitration system, noting the costs of providing emergency services including police and fire has increased at three times the rate of inflation annually since 2002.
More items from the March 14 meeting
Carleton Place council clarifies closed meeting protocol, cell phone usage
The discussions follow on an open letter issued Feb. 28 by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to Premier Kathleen Wynne, which pointed out “the awards granted by arbitrators are disproportionate to existing revenue sources available to local governments… as a result, these municipalities have fewer resources available to direct towards to other core services and infrastructure investments that impact the health and safety of their communities.”
The provincial body – representing over 60,000 members in 135 communities – is calling on Queen’s Park to reform the provincial interest arbitration system to reflect the current capacity of Ontario municipalities to pay for increased service costs. In addition, they seek to improve efficiency by requiring that arbitration decisions be delivered in less than 12 months. Finally, they want arbitrators to release public reasons that explain how the fiscal health of communities was considered in reaching a final decision.
At the Carleton Place town council meeting on March 14, the committee’s update was received and recorded, with the additional note that years of calls for reform of the arbitration system have met with little success.