Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk says the Liberal government has given teachers’ unions more than $80 million since 2000.
In a special report released today Lysyk says much of the money given to unions for bargaining costs was unusual but within the government’s authority.
She says “We found no evidence of the government reimbursing bargaining costs of any other large public-sector unions in Ontario. We also found little evidence across Canada of a provincial government paying teachers’ unions for bargaining costs.”
In 2006, $22 million was provided with no strings attached and no requirement for the unions to tell the government what they did with the money.
The remainder of the $80.5 million did have some accountability mechanisms attached to it, and was largely earmarked for professional development of teachers.
The Special Report entitled Government Payments to Education-Sector Unions, was requested by the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts in November 2015, a month after reports emerged that the government gave three teachers’ unions $2.5 million to help with the cost of contract bargaining in 2015.
The report contains six recommendations and the Ministry of Education said it has no plans to pay union bargaining costs in future rounds of negotiations.