The Progressive Conservatives are calling for a two year, across the board wage freeze for all public sector employees including police officers and firefighters.

The issue was raised at Queen’s Park by Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton who cited figures released in London last week.

“There are hundreds of public sector employees in the city of London that are now making over $100,000 per year including 107 different city hall managers, 192 police officers and 239 firefighters. Deputy Premier, with so many London residents currently out of work, will your government answer our PC call and immediately implement an across the board, two year public sector wage freeze and fix Ontario’s broken arbitration system.”

The Tories have been vocal about a wage freeze for all public sector employees and included police and firefighters in that even though their salaries are paid by the municipality.

Matthews, who represents London North Centre and is one of the few Liberal MPP’s remaining outside Toronto, deferred the question to Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi.

The Liberals rejected the call for a wage freeze and Naqvi responded by questioning the PC’s support for first responders.

“I don’t know what (McNaughton) is referring to, but we are grateful for the work our first responders do every single day. We’re thankful to our police officers, we’re thankful to our firefighters, we’re thankful to our paramedics.”

The public sector in Ontario is an easy target for politicians calling for a cut as nearly one in 10 earned over $100,000 in 2012, a list that is expected to grow when the updated list is released on April 1st.

It has certainly grown in London. Over the past 12 months the number of London Firefighters who earned at least 100-thousand dollars a year more than doubled from 105 to 239, which works out to nearly 2 out of 3 firefighters.

That compares to 1 out of 3 Police officers.

McNaughton says salaries are spiraling out of control.

“London Police wage hikes have outpaced inflation by 32 per cent over the past decade and now two-thirds of London’s professional firefighters are now making more than $100,000 per year. Deputy Premier, with literally thousands and thousands of jobs being lost in the city of London, why do you think these pay increases for police and firefighters are sustainable for taxpayers who pay the bills.”

Last week, Deputy Police Chief Brent Shea cited overtime costs, and extra work being taken on by some officers as reasons for almost two dozen officers appearing on the list.

A similar explanation was used by John Hassan, President of the London Professional Firefighters Association, when trying to explain how their numbers more than doubled over the past 12 months. He says a hiring freeze, ordered by City Council, has resulted in abnormally high overtime being paid to dozens of members.

According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian worker makes about $48,250 a year.

A total of 548 city employees earned a six figure salary in 2013.

That includes 239 members of the London Professional Firefighters Association (up from 105 in 2012), 192 London Police officers (up from 191 in 2012), 107 City of London management employees (up from 87 in 2012), 8 members of CUPE Local 107 which represents outside workers (none in 2012), as well as 1 employee each from Tourism London and the London Convention Centre (no change from 2012).

All publicly funded boards, ministries, and municipalities must submit salary disclosure information to the Ontario Ministry of Finance by the deadline to be published on March 31st, 2014.

Source: Ontario PCs Want 2-Year Wage Freeze for Public Sector Employees, Including Police & Fire | (CFPL AM) AM 980