Gov't prefers wage freeze over layoffs - McGuinty
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty talks about the provincial and federal budgets during a media availability in Ottawa, Friday March 30, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
KINGSTON, Ont. - Premier Dalton McGuinty says he can't guarantee there won't be any public sector job layoffs as the Ontario government struggles to eliminate a $15.2-billion deficit.
McGuinty says the government needs teachers, doctors, university professors and everyone else paid by taxpayers to take a two-year wage freeze.
He says the government wants to "hit the pause button" on pay hikes in order to protect gains in health care and education, especially smaller class sizes and full-day kindergarten.
Speaking in Kingston, McGuinty said the government has made the choice to delay salary increases rather than lay off nurses and teachers.
The premier insisted it was not an easy decision but said everyone who works in the public sector must -- in his words -- "have a little bit of skin in the game."
McGuinty did not make any reference to the Elementary Teachers Federation and the Ontario Medical Association, both of which are publicly fighting with the Liberals over the wage freeze.