Change in Government Arbitration for Ottawa?
Wednesday, September, 5, 2012
The city of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada is looking to change how it handles the arbitration process. This change in government arbitration is meant to make for shorter resolution times, and keep settlements within the city's budget. The city council is hoping the provincial government of Ontario will address the issue and make changes soon.
Why Years of Arbitration can Hurt
One of the biggest problems with the way things currently work, says city solicitor Rick O'Connor, is that the arbitration process can take months or even years. A decision that takes years to reach can put a strain on a city's finances--especially when it is a large settlement that hasn't been budgeted for.
Some Things, Such as Financial Arbitration, Must Stand Firm
O'Connor also said that the municipality of Ottawa can't accept any kind of financial arbitration decisions that instruct the city to raise taxes. The council has made a promise to citizens to keep tax hikes below 2.5%.
O'Connor and the council are concerned that they may be instructed to raise taxes in order to pay settlements.
Revamping Contract Arbitration all over Canada
Ottawa--the second-largest city in Ontario, and the fourth-largest in the entire country of Canada--isn't the only municipality that's looking to change how it does arbitration. Several
Right now, the city is staring down discussions with its fire fighters and police and other city employees. Many such confrontations have happened in the United States recently, resulting in contract arbitration decisions that are often painful for municipal government to swallow.
The city is currently undergoing talks with its fire department. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson acknowledged the importance of arbitration for these workers, saying he knows they are unable to go on strike.