Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

October 31, 2014 09:00 ET

Institute Calls for Audit of Improper Contracting Out Practices at Shared Services Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 31, 2014) - In a letter released today, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) has asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) to conduct an unprecedented audit of federal government outsourcing practices pursuant to its powers under section 17 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). The letter was sent following evidence of extensive contracting out of long-term, full-time positions at Shared Services Canada (SSC), the department established in 2011 to, in the words of its website, "fundamentally transform how the Government manages its information technology (IT) infrastructure."

PIPSC is the certified bargaining agent for the Computer Systems (CS) Group, which includes 3,400 employees of Shared Services Canada. While the Institute recognizes the need for contracted professional services to meet short-term project-specific needs, the evidence indicates that SSC, in defiance of standard labour obligations, goes far beyond these parameters.

"Shared Services Canada is awarding multi-year contracts involving large numbers of full-time positions to private corporations," says PIPSC President Debi Daviau. "These contract workers sit in government offices, alongside government employees, in reporting relationships with government employees and often doing the same work as federal public servants."

Shared Services Canada's own internal audit in 2013 found that hundreds of dependent contractors had been hired within a twelve-month period, at a cost of approximately $238 million. The number and value of contracts entered into in this period alone would suggest that there are literally thousands of contractors working for SSC.

"These abusive contracting out practices violate the Public Service Employment Act and circumvent the Public Service Commission's appointment authority and oversight as well as the application of the merit principle," added Daviau. "Worse still, excessive outsourcing at SSC puts Canadians at risk - both due to the potential impact on data security and privacy and the long-term high cost of dependence on private corporations for these core functions of government."

The Public Service Commission has previously expressed concern regarding the impact of the "improper use" of contract workers on core public service values such as merit, integrity and equity. "We believe the evidence is now definitive and should be exposed," concluded Daviau. "An army of contractors now works alongside professional public servants but the same rules don't apply. They don't have the same rights nor can they be held to the same standards of transparency and accountability."

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals across Canada's public sector, including approximately 13,000 Information Technology specialists.

Contact Information

  • Pierre Villon
    (613) 228-6310 extension 2228
    (613) 794-9369 (cell)