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Updated: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 12:13:20 GMT | By The Canadian Press,

NDP moves to cap pay of Ontario public-sector CEOs

NDP moves to cap pay of Ontario public-sector CEOs

Ontario's New Democrats want to cap the salaries of CEOs at hospitals, electrical utilities and all public sector agencies at $418,000, twice the premier's annual salary.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says taxpayers are not being respected when Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell is paid $1.7 million a year while homeowners pay some of the highest electricity rates in Canada.

And she says nurses are being laid off while hospital CEOs pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Horwath says her bill to put a ceiling on compensation for public sector bosses mirrors similar laws in France and the United States, where President Barack Obama put a $400,000 cap on executives whose companies receive public money.

Her private member's bill would allow for some exemptions on a case-by-case basis for executives with very specific skill sets, such as nuclear engineers.

Government Services Minister John Milloy says the Liberals have agreed to consider hard caps on some public sector salaries, and promises to "implement new measures in the coming months."

Milloy points out the government already froze salaries for executives at hospitals, universities, colleges, school boards and provincially owned electricity companies as part of its deficit-fighting efforts.

The salary caps have been among Horwath's priorities for a few years. She put forward a similar bill in 2010 and has repeatedly pressured the Liberals to support the effort, in exchange for the NDP's co-operation on provincial budgets. 

The number of public-sector workers who earn more than $100,000 — listed annually in the province's so-called "sunshine list" — has recently been growing between 10 and 11 per cent per year.

The release of the most recent list saw the Progressive Conservatives' finance critic at the time, Peter Shurman, echo Horwath's call for a wage freeze. 

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