THUNDER BAY – Police services boards across the province are calling on the provincial government to fix Ontario’s broken arbitration system. The “Big 12” Police Services Boards are a collection of the 12 largest police services in Ontario. The City of Thunder Bay Police Services Board is not a member of this “Big 12”.
A majority of the Big 12 Police Services Boards recently endorsed a resolution requesting that the Province of Ontario amend the interest arbitration system to ensure that arbitrators apply local economic criteria and consider the financial impact of salary and benefits on the municipality and its taxpayer.
“A balance needs to be created by the Province, taking into consideration that Police Boards are doing their utmost to support and grow their respective Police Services while at the same time being fiscally reasonable and responsible in the challenging economic times of today,” said Michael Deeb, Chair, London Police Services Board. “The current arbitration environment does not include this balance and therefore needs to be modified”.
Thunder Bay Police Services Board Chair, Councillor Joe Virdiramo when contacted by NetNewsledger.com to find out if the TBPS board supports this resolution has not responded as of yet.
Here is the resolution passed by the “Big 12”:
RESOLUTION: ONTARIO’S INTEREST ARBITRATION SYSTEM
Whereas increases in wages and benefits in Ontario’s emergency services exceed the rate of inflation, the cost of living and the wages and benefits provided to other unionized and non-unionized workers in the public sector;
And whereas although the statutes governing interest arbitration in the emergency services sectors contain economic criteria that is to be applied by arbitrators in rendering their awards, interest arbitrators have not applied the statutory criteria in accordance with the spirit and intent of the legislation, resulting in awards which fail to consider local economic factors and the ability of local taxpayers to pay;
And whereas interest arbitrators continue to render awards based on the assumption that municipalities have an infinite ability to pay, without any regard for local economic factors;
And whereas the interest arbitration system lacks accountability and no longer reflects what free collective bargaining might otherwise have produced as outcomes of contract negotiations;
And whereas municipalities value the contribution of emergency service workers and must ensure that the vital services provided by these workers are sustainable;
And whereas the significant increases in labour costs resulting from the lack of balance and accountability in the arbitration system are no longer sustainable, particularly given that salary and benefits account for a significant portion of the budgets for emergency services;
Now therefore be it resolved that Big 12 Police Services Boards request that the Province of Ontario amend the interest arbitration system to ensure that arbitrators apply local economic criteria and consider the financial impact of salary and benefit awards on the municipality and its taxpayers, and that arbitrators be held accountable for their decisions.
Dated this 15th day of June, 2011
Durham Regional Police Services Board
Hamilton Police Services Board
London Police Services Board
Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Services Board
Ottawa Police Services Board
Regional Municipality of Peel Regional Police Services Board
Greater Sudbury Police Services Board
Toronto Police Services Board
Waterloo Regional Police Services Board
Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board