“I have the utmost respect and admiration for our province’s public sector workers who provide integral services in Alberta. Despite rampant speculation, I can reassure everyone involved that we have not made a decision on wage arbitration.

“The Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act would temporarily postpone wage arbitration hearings until after October 31, 2019. This will give us the time required to fully understand Alberta’s economic situation and take into consideration the advice from the MacKinnon panel, as we work to balance the budget by 2022-23.

“It is unfortunate we must take this step, but we introduced this legislation because time is of the essence. Some arbitrations have already begun, and others are scheduled for early this fall.

“We owe it to Albertans, and all public sector workers, to come to the table with information on the state of our economy and the impact it will have on our finances, so we can make responsible and informed decisions. We will continue to work together with our union stakeholders in good faith. Negotiating without this information would be fiscally irresponsible and we are seeking the time to make the right decisions for all Albertans.”