TORONTO — Doug Ford says teachers and nurses are exempt from the public sector hiring freeze he has ordered as part of his efforts to curb government spending.
The Progressive Conservatives had previously said the hiring freeze did not apply to essential frontline staff such as police, corrections and fire services, as well as lateral moves within the public service.
But some, including the NDP, had raised concerns about which jobs would be considered essential and how that could potentially impact services such as health care and education.
Ontario’s premier-designate made the comments Tuesday as his caucus was meeting for the first time since winning a majority in this month’s election.
Earlier in the day, he emphasized campaign promises to put money back in taxpayers’ pockets as he addressed his slate of legislators.
In a short speech to an enthusiastic Tory crowd, Ford recapped some of steps taken by his transition team, including last week’s announcement that he would scrap Ontario’s cap-and-trade system.
He did not, however, mention the hiring freeze in his speech, or the limits on discretionary spending ordered at the same time. Those include restrictions on out-of-province travel and a ban on providing food and drink for staff meetings.
A spokeswoman for Ford said he had bought pizza for the caucus Tuesday out of his own pocket.
The Canadian Press