McKinsey contracts: just the tip of the contracting-out iceberg
On January 30, 2023 PIPSC President Jennifer Carr, accompanied by Jordan McAuley, our specialist on outsourcing, testified before the House of Common Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) about the now-infamous McKinsey contracts awarded by the federal government.
This follows her appearance before the same Committee last October – proof positive that PIPSC is now recognized as the leading expert on outsourcing in the federal public service.
Over the past few years, we have consistently delivered the same message, backed up by very extensive research: contracted-out work impacts the security of the government's IT systems, results in higher costs and lower quality services for Canadians, less transparency, less accountability and the loss of institutional knowledge and skills. And it hurts the ability of the government to recruit the professionals it needs.
While the present government is in the hot seat on this issue, this is not a new problem. Previous governments of all stripes have invested ever-increasing amounts into contracting out. McKinsey is just the latest example.
Years of unchecked spending on consultants has resulted in a shadow public service operating alongside the government workforce. This shadow public service plays by an entirely different set of rules: consultants are not hired based on merit, representation, fairness or transparency; they are not subject to budget restraints or hiring freezes; and they are not accountable to the Canadian public.
Canadians should be aware of how their money is being spent and of the true costs of such short-sightedness. That’s the context in which McKinsey contracts should be looked at.
The government must update its staffing policies and make hiring quicker and more efficient. It needs to invest in in-house expertise. There is no doubt that it would be far better to invest in a fully funded, permanent public sector solution to delivering high quality, cost-effective services to Canadians.