Put contractors on "Sunshine List": OPSEU President

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on the Wynne government to amend the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act to include all private companies that provide services or financing to the province or its municipalities.

"When it comes to value for money, no government policy of the last 20 years has a worse track record than privatization," Thomas said Wednesday. "Yet this government, which was first elected on a platform that was critical of the privatization failures of the Harris era, has now embraced the policy. The result is greater private influence over public policy, and a tendency for corporations to see government as just another 'profit centre.'

"It's time to shine a light on the cozy relationship between private companies and the government," Thomas said. "A quick and easy way to do that is to include contractors and financiers on the 'Sunshine List.' Then Ontarians can see where their money is really going."

Including corporations under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act would require companies to report the salaries and taxable benefits of all employees earning over $100,000 a year. Currently the Act only applies to the province, municipalities, and their agencies.

"The idea behind this is to give Ontarians a true picture of the nature of government today," Thomas said. "Many people think of government and corporations as separate entities, but we are seeing increasing corporate penetration into government, both in terms of influence, as in the Drummond Commission, and in terms of profit extraction, as we saw with the outrageous sums paid to foreign hedge funds in the gas plant scandal.

"Whenever you mix profit and politics, the leap to corruption is a short one," he said, pointing to privatization failures related to meat inspection, highway maintenance, Highway 407, IT delivery, water testing labs, jail privatization, Teranet, and P3 hospitals.

The union has catalogued major privatization failures in a new report, Epic Fail: A Short History of Privatization in Ontario. The report is online at www.opseu.org/epicfail.

SOURCE OPSEU

For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, (613) 329-1931