Over 55,000 education workers in Ontario went on strike in defiance of a controversial law introduced by the provincial government
The law imposed a mandatory contract on the education workers, represented by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and prevented them from going on strike. The Doug Ford government also declared their intention to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian charter to prevent constitutional challenges to their law.
The law was introduced after CUPE demanded an 11.7% wage increase annually for its employees and the demand was rejected. While the law might be repealed, questions surrounding demands for the raise have not been answered.
We took a look at how much the premier and other ministers make in comparison to education workers in Ontario.
Video by Shibani Gokhale
LISA GRETZKY: There are 73 people on that side of the House who got a $16,000 pay bump. They were making 116,500. But these folks, who make under $40,000 a year, are greedy and unreasonable?
LISA GRETZKY: Are you kidding me?
- The Ontario government has been slammed for rejecting education workers' demand for a pay increase on an average salary of $39,000 and then introducing a new law to impose a mandatory contract on them and prevent them from going on strike by use of the notwithstanding clause. Amidst it all, many Canadians are questioning how much premiers and other ministers make in comparison to education workers in Ontario.
While it's not an apples to apples comparison, here's what the numbers show. The average salary for an education worker in Ontario is $39,000, which amounts to roughly $32,000 after taxes. On the other hand, the average salary for public sector employees is close to $123,000, with Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce specifically making $203,000 and $165,000 respectively.
JILL ANDREW: Their salaries keep going up, despite inflation. Why does the Premier and the Minister think their work is four times--
- A quarter.
JILL ANDREW: --five times more valuable, but education workers--
JILL ANDREW: --caring for Ontario's children in our schools.
- The provincial government has labeled CUPE's ask for an 11.7% annual raise, which equals to $3.25 more per hour, excessive. But some labor experts say it's expected and fair to offset rising costs of inflation. Canadians have also pointed to a $16,000 pay bump that 73 of Premier Doug Ford's parliamentary assistants received this year. That was a 13.79% pay bump on a salary of $116,000.
Canadians are asking why they were entitled to a large pay bump, but education workers, who already make less than the livable wage for Ontario, are not. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce were called out from all corners, with many, including Prime Minister Trudeau, citing a violation to Canadian workers' rights and freedoms.