12/09/2013 05:28 EST | Updated 02/08/2014 05:59 EST

Liberals want to limit compensation for public-sector execs

Ontario’s governing Liberals say they will bring forward legislation early next year aimed at limiting the compensation for senior executives within the broader public sector.

John Milloy, the minister of government services, said there is a need for the government to examine the compensation that executives are given beyond their salaries.

"We want to take a look at perks, we want to take a look at severance, we want to take a look at the entire package," Milloy told reporters at the legislature on Monday.

The Liberals say their proposed legislation would give the government the authority to establish "frameworks" for compensation, including so-called hard caps.

Milloy said the government would undertake "a sector-specific review," which would help inform the compensation frameworks that would be put in place.

The New Democrats had previously suggested that most public-sector executives shouldn't be making more than twice the annual salary of the premier.

Milloy said that idea makes for "good politics and a nice sound bite," but he said it is not practical.

New Democrat MPP Catherine Fife said Monday that the Liberals could have backed a private member’s bill on capping executive salaries, or could have brought forward actual legislation — rather than proposed legislation — at this point.

They've been purposely very vague all along, and they've been saying they're going to do this for two years," she said. "It's another promise for accountability and I think people are running out of patience on this."

Milloy said it was hard to estimate the precise savings that Ontario could achieve through limiting compensation.

"This is a big part of the government’s budget and I suspect that we will save millions of dollars by having a framework in place," the minister said.

Given the Liberals’ minority position in the legislature, the government would need the support of either the opposition Progressive Conservatives or New Democrats in order for it to pass.

At the moment, the Liberals hold only 49 of the 107 seats in the legislature. The Progressive Conservatives hold 37 seats, while the New Democrats have 20 seats.

One seat in the legislature remains vacant following the recent resignation of Liberal MPP Kim Craitor. The byelection for his former Niagara Falls riding has yet to take place.