Premier Dalton McGuinty is giving his strongest indication so far that civil servants may have to take unpaid days off to help eliminate the deficit.

McGuinty told the Ontario Economic Summit in Niagara-on-the-Lake that the public sector has a duty to help eliminate the $25-billion deficit.

Former NDP premier Bob Rae had proposed a similar strategy to deal with a deficit in the early 1990s, which the unions condemned as Rae Days.

Asked directly yesterday if he would introduce Dalton Days, McGuinty said the government would talk with civil servants and workers in the broader public sector about their role in balancing the budget. He said the government for the most part had been sheltered from the worst effects of the global recession.

The premier said any strategy for eliminating the deficit, including Dalton Days, won't be announced before next spring’s provincial budget.

He promised to consult widely before developing a plan.

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