Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

February 25, 2008 17:51 ET

PIPSC Refutes CRA's Merit for Conference Board Award

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 25, 2008) - The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) strongly disagrees with the Conference Board of Canada's choice of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a top contender for its 2008 National Award in Governance in the public sector category.

In its Winners' Circle booklet, the Conference Board states that as a result of "...leveraging its unique governance model and authorities, the CRA has implemented human resources and operational reforms that the rest of the public service is just beginning to adopt." It goes on to say that "these reforms have led to an increase in employee satisfaction and facilitated the acquisition of new business".

As the union representing more than 10,000 professionals at CRA, PIPSC is on record as being severely critical of the reforms at CRA and has strongly recommended to all levels of government and federal agencies that they steer clear of similar reforms.

Particularly in the area of staffing, "CRA's reforms have been nothing short of disastrous," commented PIPSC President Michele Demers. After repeated unsuccessful correction attempts over 9 years, the staffing program's cost overrun is huge and inconsistencies in the application of the human resources regime prevail. The CRA has been unable to disclose the total cost of its reformed staffing program. What does this say about the CRA's standard of governance? How much has this new regime cost the taxpayers? In fact, this year, CRA has hired an outside consultant to determine the costs of their human resources system".

PIPSC believes the CRA's staffing program has caused an erosion of the merit principle. The staffing program's recourse mechanism is so ineffective and unjust, the Institute has repeatedly used court intervention to force the CRA to take corrective action. Contrary to the Conference Board's assessment, staffing reforms have led to serious employee dissatisfaction and have caused morale to be at an all-time low. The CRA's own employee surveys show that employees repeatedly identify staffing as the top cause of dissatisfaction.

President Demers remarked, "The Institute strongly discourages any employer from emulating CRA's example of human resources and operational reforms. We were particularly shocked by the award statement that these reforms have led to an increase in employee satisfaction when, in fact, the CRA's own employee surveys prove the opposite to be true."

President Demers added, "PIPSC is encouraged that the Office of the Auditor General is currently conducting a performance audit of human resources management in CRA including staffing. This audit, where the views of union representatives will be sought, should provide a more balanced and realistic picture of CRA's record in human resources management."

The Professional Institute continues to seek improvement for its members in staffing but the reluctance of CRA to provide a fair and transparent system with effective recourse for its own employees remains a continuing source of deep frustration.

The Professional Institute is a national union, representing 55,000 scientists and other professionals across Canada.

Contact Information

  • The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Chantal Lecours
    Section Head, Communications
    613-228-6310, ext. 2229