10/27/2015 02:36 EDT | Updated 10/27/2016 05:12 EDT

Ontario Progressive Conservatives: Teachers' Unions Payments Should Be Investigated

TORONTO — Ontario's Progressive Conservatives say they are going to ask the auditor general to look into $3.74 million the government paid the unions representing teachers and education workers over the past three rounds of bargaining.

Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod says she will provide a notice of motion Wednesday asking the auditor general to investigate those payments as well as $4.6 million that is being paid to school boards for their bargaining costs.

Education Minister Liz Sandals has defended the payments as being necessary because the transition to a new bargaining system made this round quite lengthy.

And the ministry has said that it was appropriate to make similar payments in 2008 and 2012 to three education unions because it involved voluntary discussions that were a precursor to the new system.

MacLeod, who is the vice-chair of the public accounts committee, says it "doesn't look good" that the Liberals have given millions to some of the same unions that spent millions on generally anti-Tory advertising during the last provincial election.

Sandals says she's not at all concerned about a potentially looming auditor general investigation.

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