SOURCE: Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

March 22, 2016 21:17 ET

2016 Federal Budget an Important Step Forward for Public Services, Says Professional Institute

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - March 22, 2016) - The Trudeau government's first budget marks a turning point after years of deep program cuts, hiring freezes, and the dangerous erosion of public services under the previous government, according to the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the union that represents tens of thousands of federal professionals.

"On balance, it represents an important first step towards redressing the many cumulative wrongs of the Harper government's 'action plans' of the past decade," said PIPSC President Debi Daviau.

The Institute's budget priorities, for which it advocated for many years in both members' and the public's interests, have been to protect science and scientific integrity, improve the fairness of Canada's tax system, and reduce the government's dependence on outsourcing. All were addressed to some extent in this year's Budget. Nevertheless, the cumulative impact of year-over-year cuts to professional jobs, programs and services under the previous government is so far-reaching that much remains to be done if the federal public service is not only to regain lost ground but become the agent of real change the government intends it to be.

On the issue of public science, substantial reinvestments in such cash-strapped departments as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) are both welcome and long-overdue. Science is a cornerstone of the country's economy and the government has a critical role to play in promoting research, protecting the environment and ensuring the health and wellness of Canadians. We await details about the position of Chief Science Officer, a key element in ensuring that scientific integrity and the right of government scientists to speak freely can never again be constrained by future governments.

When it comes to tax fairness, the government's decision to invest some $800 million over the next five years to take on offshore tax havens, fight tax avoidance and collect billions of dollars in outstanding tax revenues shows that our members' concerns have been heard. "This is very good news," continued Daviau. "It's gratifying to see that for the first time in quite awhile, government is listening to our concerns and acting on our recommendations, to the very real benefit of all Canadians." 

Finally, this Budget acknowledges the importance of reining in the government's spending on outsourced services by scaling back the use of some professional services. While this represents a symbolic step in the right direction, much work remains to be done. The federal government currently spends over $10 billion annually on outsourced services. Given the nature of their work, Institute members are particularly well-positioned to assist the government in identifying savings and achieving efficiencies that will not jeopardize the programs and services that Canadians rely on. 

"The tremendous damage to the public service caused by the previous government can't be undone overnight, but overall, there are many positive elements in this Budget. More can and must be done, especially on the issue of reducing the government's dependence on outsourcing. But the public service and the country are finally on the right track again," concluded Daviau.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals across Canada's public sector.

Contact Information

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