26 September 2023

CANADA: Burned-out officials seek demotions

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An organisation representing senior Canadian Public Servants has said that an increasing number of executives are burned out and looking for demotions after “working flat out to manage crisis after crisis” since the pandemic hit two years ago.

The Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) has been working behind the scenes to improve the pay and conditions of executives, but has now upped its campaign with an appeal to President of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier.

Chief Executive of APEX, Carl Trotter said levels of frustration, beyond what has ever been seen before in the executive community, were being measured.

“A record number of executives are asking APEX how to be demoted out of the executive cadre, stating pay inversion and disrespect by the employer are the main causes,” Mr Trotter said.

He said a flashpoint was the ever-narrowing gap between executive salaries and those of the employees they supervise; In some cases, staff were making more than their bosses, a phenomenon known as pay inversion.

In a letter to Ms Fortier, APEX called for the restoration of an independent advisory committee to review the compensation of the Government’s 7,900 executives, pointing out that executives had not received pay rises in more than four years.

Meanwhile, a group of Black Federal workers behind a proposed $C2.5 billion (about the same in Australian dollars) class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination by the Government, has said it is disappointed in mental health measures included in the Budget.

Minister for Finance, Chrystia Freeland promised $3.7 million over four years for Black-led “engagement, design, and implementation” of a mental health fund.

However, the Black Class Action Secretariat (BCAS) had called for $100 million for a similar fund last year.

Spokesperson for the BCAS, Karen Marie Dickson (pictured) said there was a need for trauma-informed care, culturally-competent care and race-based data collected on mental health care for Black Federal workers — “and $3.7 million does not pay for all of that”.

Ottawa, 15 April 2022

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