Procedural fairness in public administration is one of the major issues discussed in many democratic societies. Canadians also strive for fairness but public administrators sometimes fail to ensure procedural fairness and transparency, which leads to tension in the society and a lack of trust in officials. Thus, the case of the minimum wage increase and actions of Premier McGuinty can be regarded as a suggestive example of common issues associated with some inefficient policies and procedures. It is possible to focus on the legal as well as political implications of the scenario in question.
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It is necessary to note that the issue of minimum wages has always been a topic of heated debate and a tool to gain more votes during elections. Thus, officials often promise to increase minimum wages and this was the case during the Ontario election. Thus, it was announced in 2007 that the minimum wage would have been increased gradually by March 2010. In 2009, Premier McGuinty made a serious procedural mistake and held a private meeting with employers where he noted that there were chances that the policy would be terminated and the increase of the minimum wage could stop.
Thus, one of the major issues that arise is the one related to transparency. One of the major features of efficient public administration is transparency as people want to make sure that they can monitor the implementation of policies (Rigaud, Arsenault, and Cote 94). Therefore, procedures have to be transparent and consistent. In the case of Premier McGuinty, he made two mistakes related to transparency.
On the one hand, he should not have met with employers in a behind closed doors meeting. Every decision on such an important and disputable issue should be discussed in public. Thus, in such cases, there should be an open discussion that has to include media coverage and the involvement of all stakeholders. It is crucial to articulate all arguments. Clearly, the interests of people have to be taken into account and it is crucial to make sure that people living in the community will benefit from the policy.
At the same time, it is pivotal to pay attention to all facets of the issue. For instance, researchers argue that increasing the minimum wage is not a panacea and it can have certain harmful effects on employers as well as employees (Sabia and Burkhauser 592). It is important to take into account employers’ needs and interests as the simple increase of minimum wage (without any support given to employers) can lead to opposing effects as the financial situation in the country is not favorable for the development of business (Grant par. 4). Thus, the bankruptcy of employers will lead to losses of jobs and a higher rate of unemployment. Admittedly, these discussions have to be public and involve as many people as possible.
On the other hand, Premier McGuinty could not have simply canceled the minimum wage increase. First, it would mean inefficient management and ineffective implementation of the policy. Each policy has to be thoroughly planned and implemented. Once developed, a policy has to be implemented fully.
Clearly, policies have to be flexible and respond to the changing economic or social environment. However, any change in a policy has to be consistent and transparent. Hence, it was essential to implement research and evaluate the advantages and downsides of the increase. Again, the results of the research had to be made accessible to the public. All stakeholders had to be involved in the process of the policy’s change as many people (including voters) contributed to the development of the policy.
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There are high chances that officials could have come up with a more efficient measure to respond to economic issues. There were possibilities to increase the minimum wage and assist employers to remain competitive. The public discussion would facilitate the process of policy evaluation and would be beneficial for stakeholders involved.
It is also necessary to note that such abrupt termination of a policy can have certain political implications for officials. The case of Premier McGuinty can be an example of such effects. Thus, the news concerning the conversation with employers spread rather quickly and the politician had to explain and make excuses to people. Admittedly, he was concerned about his political image and loss of support. A politician who claims he is going to develop a policy and then wants to terminate it inevitably loses votes during the following elections. He is seen as an unreliable administrator who cannot be trusted. The situation can (or rather should) be regarded as a warning to public administrators who have to carefully develop and implement policies. Otherwise, they will have to leave the office.
On balance, it is possible to note that the case of Premier McGuinty’s attempt to terminate the policy on minimum wage increase can be regarded as an example of inefficient policy implementation. The action undertaken by McGuinty deprived the policy of such important features like transparency and consistency. It is also clear that such steps can make the policy inefficient and lead to the loss of people’s trust. Needless to say, such measures hardly lead to the development of the community.
Grant, Tavia. “Canada’s Fourth-Quarter Hiring Outlook Hits Four-Year Low Point.” The Globe and Mail. 2014. Web.
Rigaud, Benoit, Paul-Emile Arsenault and Louis Cote. “Is There a Canadian Model of Public Administration? Lessons from a Cross-Canada Comparison of Budget Management and Performance.” Canadian Public Administration in the 21st Century. Ed. Charles Conteh and Ian Roberge. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2013. 79-99. Print.
Sabia, Joseph J. and Richard V. Burkhauser. “Federal Minimum Wage Really Help the Working Poor?” Southern Economic Journal 76.3 (2010): 592-623. Print.