26 September 2023

CANADA: ‘Shadow Public Service’ decried

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Canada’s Public Service grew by 4.6 per cent in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the annual report from the Public Service Commission of Canada states.

Over that period, total hiring activity jumped by 11.9 per cent, with indeterminate and temporary employee hiring jumping to its highest levels in the last 10 years.

Specifically, indeterminate hiring — employees appointed on a continuous basis as opposed to contract, casual, seasonal or student workers — increased by 34.2 per cent. Term or contract workers picked up by 10.9 per cent in that period.

However, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), Debi Daviau (pictured) said while numbers in the report might look positive on the surface, Departments were continuing to fork over billions of dollars in lucrative contracts to external consultants.

She said her union’s own research found the Federal Government spent nearly $C12 billion ($A13.4 billion) from 2011-to-18 on management consultants, temporary help contractors and IT consultants.

“A lot of money is still being spent on contractors and temporary help and outsourcing of Government work,” Ms Daviau said.

“Years of unchecked spending have created a shadow Public Service of consultants and temporary staff that are operating alongside the Government workforce doing the same job.”

Ms Daviau said one of the root causes of this was the time it took to hire new employees.

“Facing pressure to find the right employees for time-sensitive new projects, Government Departments are opting to simply contract out work, instead of spending weeks or months finding an appropriate match through an internal applicant search or the external hiring process,” she said.

“As a result, taxpayers are left on the hook for these more expensive consultant contracts and none of the specialised expertise developed through this work remains in the Public Service.”

Ottawa, 8 February 2020

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