Doug Ford considers capping bloated public service wages
Shortly after the Sunshine List was released, detailing all of the public servants earning over $100,000 a year, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government is considering capping raises for the sector.
“When we talk about controlling spending or managing expenditures, we must realize that a central component to this conversation is public sector compensation,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board.
According to him, around $72 billion is spent by the province in compensating its public service.
The 2018 Sunshine List saw a growth of nearly 2,000 individuals being added to it since 2017, meaning that many individuals received raises or were employed to earn over $100k.
The Ontario government will be conducting a review and wide-spread consultations to determine the best route to approach the wage cap and curb excessive wage spending.
The move is part of an attempt by the PC government to deliver on its promise of eliminating the provinces excessive $13.5-billion deficit with grew during the tenure of former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.
According to Global News, Premier Doug Ford’s house is currently being investigated by Toronto police’s hazardous materials team for a suspicious package. The package was reportedly opened by Ford’s wife, Karla.
There was reportedly white powder in the package that authorities have not yet been able to identify.
A spokesperson for the Toronto police informed Global News that officers received a call to show up at a house in Etobicoke on Tettenhall road where the Premier’s house is situated.
Two protestors have been charged after they allegedly dumped a load of manure on the sidewalk in front of Doug Ford’s constituency office in Etobicoke, according to CTV News.
The incident itself occurred on Dec. 22, as two men were recorded shovelling manure from a pickup truck in front of Ford’s office.
It later turned out that Extinction Rebellion organized the protest—saying that they were upset by the Progressive Conservative government’s environmental policy.
An Instagram post showed Extinction Rebellion taking credit for the incident, saying “from killing Hamilton’s LRT to the (expensive!) cancelling of clean energy projects to his attempts to open the Greenbelt for development, it’s clear the premier is putting our children’s future in danger.”
“We think that’s bullsh*t,” they added. In the post, they also used a photograph of the manure and an eco-radical with a shovel.
Two Hamilton residents have been charged in relation to this incident. Cameron Topp, 49, and Dennis Alvey, 55, were charged with mischief under $5,000.
Kenny Shim is the Spokesperson and Chief Operating Director of the Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association (OKBA).
On Feb. 3 a Globe and Mail story suggested that the Ontario government was about to introduce new regulations to ban most flavoured vaping products from convenience stores–while allowing specialty vape stores to continue selling hundreds of them. If true, this policy change is unfounded, unfair, and harmful to thousands of Ontario’s C-store owner-operators.
The health of our young people is at the heart of this issue, so it’s critical that any new policy is done right.
According to the Centres of Disease Control & Prevention in the US the recent rash of vape-related deaths and hospitalizations have largely been attributed to vitamin E acetate added to open-pod systems. Convenience stores typically DO NOT carry these products, while every vape shop does. C-stores sell a small range of flavoured vaping products, including tobacco and mint, and a limited range of flavoured closed-pod systems to encourage smokers to transition away from cigarettes. Vape shops on the other hand often sell hundreds of different flavours in conjunction with open-pod systems that users can modify to change concentration levels.
Of youth surveyed in Health Canada’s 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 49 percent admitted trying a vape reported they borrowed, shared or bought it from a friend. Twenty-three percent admitted purchasing their vapes from a vape shop, but only 12 percent claimed they purchased their vape from a convenience store.
Banning flavours from C-stores will not curb youth usage; if flavoured vapes remain available in vape shops and online, youth who want them will figure out a way to get them–convenience stores are not the problem!
C-store operator’s livelihood depends on their ability to responsibly sell various age-restricted products. In Ontario this includes tobacco, lottery and in some locations (where stores operate LCBO Convenience Outlets), beverage alcohol. Convenience stores have proven to be responsible and trusted government-partners over the last several decades. Recent government statistics show C-store compliance rate in checking ID is over 96 percent! Meanwhile, current stats on the diligence of vape shops is not widely available. A recent Health Canada letter to vaping retailers stated that more than 80 percent of vape stores inspected were in violation of the Tobacco & Vaping Products Act. Convenience store associations are working hard to ensure none of their members sell age-restricted products to minors, and that ID is always requested, regardless of how old the customer looks.
If Health Canada’s most recent Tobacco/Alcohol & Drugs survey confirms that twice as many minors admitted purchasing their vapes from vape stores over convenience stores, why is the government not banning these products across all retail channels?
With a strong track record of not selling to kids–C-stores have earned the right to fair treatment.
The Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association (OKBA) supports any initiative to protect public health, particularly youth, but strongly opposes measures that single out convenience store owners as irresponsible and untrustworthy. The proposed policy to ban flavoured vape sales from C-stores implies a complete lack of trust in thousands of hardworking entrepreneurs, who are otherwise considered capable of responsibly selling tobacco, lottery and beverage alcohol (through LCBO Convenience Outlets), not to mention the direct government-removal of a current revenue stream from these legal retail products.
The Ontario Government needs to consider the facts before introducing potential regulations that could harm convenience stores–both financially and reputationally.
The OKBA and its members were very pleased with the Ford government’s attitude towards making Ontario “Open for Business” and look forward to regulations around vaping retail that are fair for all stakeholders.
Cannabis loungers or weed cafes are potentially going to be opening up in Ontario as the province continues to push for an open cannabis market, according to City News Toronto.
The Ford government says that its ultimate goal is for an open market approach to cannabis. For now, however, the PCs say a supply shortage forced the government to start off using a lottery system for limited retail licences. There are no expected changes to the cannabis framework at this time, however the Progressive Conservatives said that the most recent consultation is to understand potential decisions to create an open market in the future.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has confirmed that it has already received more than 700 applications for retail operator licences which has prompted the provincial government to consider the possibility of “consumption venues” in addition to permits for special occasions such as concerts or outdoor festivals.
Ontario is dedicated to giving the private sector the freedom to build a safe and convenient retail system said Attorney General Doug Downey in a press release. This is an attempt to hopefully combat the illegal market.