Some Ontario environmental watchdog employees, including Saxe, to be axed, despite Ford's election promise they would not be - 2019-03-14
Some provincial employees at Ontario's environmental watchdog were informed Thursday they will be laid off, despite Premier Doug Ford's election promise that no workers would lose their jobs in his push to trim the province's budget. The Ontario PC government announced in November, as part of its fall economic statement, that it planned to merge the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario into the auditor general's office in an effort to cut costs.
In an email Thursday, Christine Pedias, a spokesperson for the auditor general, confirmed that five full-time, non-management employees were not offered positions as part of the transition, which is scheduled to take place by May 1. The commissioner's office has a full-time staff of about 25. "As of today, the Office of the Auditor General has offered positions to most of the technical, specialized staff of the Environmental Commissioner's Office, including its management team," Pedias said. "Unfortunately, we were unable to offer positions to the remaining staff because they duplicate our existing in-house resources, or their specific roles are not required under our expanded mandate."
In a statement, the premier's spokesperson Simon Jefferies said the government wasn't responsible for the job cuts. He said its decision to merge the ECO under the auditor general had "strengthened and expanded the oversight of the auditor general into the environment field. This is in line with other jurisdictions, including the federal government." "Any staffing decisions made during the process were made by the office of the auditor general," he said.