26 September 2023

CANADA: Sending review sets alarm bells ringing

Start the conversation

Canadian Public Service unions have reacted with alarm to a Government plan, announced in the Budget, to save billions of dollars through the first program spending reviews in a decade

The Budget included brief mentions of the two spending reviews, but stated they would be aimed at saving $C9 billion (roughly the same in Australian dollars) over five years.

National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Chris Aylward said he was concerned at the lack of detail.

“If this Government thinks it’s going to put the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic on our members’ backs, then it’s wrong,” Mr Aylward said.

“We find it very, very disrespectful by this Government to come out with something like this that could possibly mean a cut in public services.”

Jennifer Carr, of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said the Budget announcements came as a complete surprise.

“Our hope is that we can get in early and have some influence on that, because the last time a spending review happened, it basically ended up cutting service delivery,” Ms Carr said.

However, Executive Vice President of the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, Sahir Khan said some of the savings could come from the move toward working from home or hybrid arrangements adopted by the Public Service during the pandemic.

“The Government could likely find significant savings by scaling back on office space,” Mr Khan (pictured) said.

“The fact that Canada is currently in a tight labour market also means the timing could be right for the Public Service to save money in human resources by offering early retirement incentives.”

Ottawa, 12 April 2022

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.