One of the key issues being discussed at Conciliation is benefits.
City of Toronto staff enjoy a benefits package that is amongst the best in the municipal sector. The City pays a considerable amount to provide these benefits and the cost of providing benefits continues to rise. Employers regularly come to the bargaining table to explore ways to sustain benefit programs through initiatives designed to better manage rising benefit costs.
In 2018, the City paid a total of $466 Million in salary and benefits premiums to Local 416 members, an increase of 4.0% over 2017. In 2018, the City paid a total of $1.2 Billion in salary and benefits premiums to Local 79 members, an increase of 3.4% over 2017.
The Auditor General recently undertook several reviews of the City’s benefit program. Many of the changes tabled by the City’s negotiators in this round of bargaining are informed by the Auditor General’s feedback. Others still are aimed at maintaining the sustainability of the City’s benefit program. These proposals include:
- Establish an annual dispensing maximum for Erectile Dysfunction drugs and ensure the drugs are only dispensed where medically necessary as a fraud prevention measure
- Cap physiotherapy from $2000 to $1500 per benefit year
- Ensure that Osteopaths who are prescribing are members in good standing from the Osteopathic Association
- Eliminate doubling up of paramedical benefits, (those services provided by professionals such as licensed chiropractic services, massage therapy, osteopath, etc.)
- Limit eligible persons 18 years of age and under to 2 pairs of Orthotic and Orthopaedic devices per benefit year
As with all aspects of running the City, it is vital for the City to continue to explore ways to improve the delivery of our benefits program in the most cost-effective manner possible.