Posted on 02 May 2012
OTTAWA – Yesterday, at the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance, Senator Pierrette Ringuette questioned Treasury Board representatives regarding the lack of directives related to the use of temporary workers, such as consultants and temporary staffers, during the process of eliminating 19,200 federal government jobs.
Senator Ringuette asked the following question:
“We all know that the definition of ‘employee’ and the definition of ‘staff’ is not the same. You have referred to 19,200 employees. However, staffing, the consultants, the people who are being hired via staffing agencies, what has been the directive in regard to the reductions? Have they been given notice to terminate immediately?”
The Treasury Board representatives replied that there is no prohibition on hiring temporary workers on contract.
The Treasury Board representatives were also asked how many of these temporary contracts were currently employed in the government. They could not answer and said that they did not track those numbers.
Temporary workers are a growing element of Canada’s public service, reaching $300 million annually in recent years. Taxpayer money mostly going into the pockets of staffing agencies that pay their workers a fraction of the wage of their permanent counterparts, and where the core values of the Public Service Employment Act, such as merit, are not enforced.
The Public Service Commission released a report in October 2010 which highlighted the problem of temporary workers, in particular that they are being used to possibly circumvent the Public Service Employment Act and to fill positions for years without properly going through the hiring process.
Following the meeting, Senator Ringuette made the following statement;
“This is a serious problem and one that should be corrected considering this governments desire to slash 19,200 jobs from the public service. The Treasury Board rules on temporary staffing were not being followed before and it’s unlikely that they will be now. Where is the fairness for those that played by the rules and are now getting axed? How can we expect to build a qualified and knowledgeable public service for the future, if we load it with an increasing amount of temporary staff?
If the government is to keep on cutting costs and making the future public service more effective and efficient; they should stop hiring behind closed doors.”
For Additional Information:
Office of Senator Pierrette Ringuette