Message from the President - Budget 2019: A Progressive Disappointment

It’s hard not to see the latest federal budget as a pre-election platform. It’s equally hard not to see it as a progress report on the “real change” promised during the last election.

Progress has certainly been made in the past three years. But when it comes to restoring the public service so much remains to be done that Budget 2019 is undeniably a disappointment.

Take the Phoenix pay system. (Please.) The government is promising to spend another $523.3 million over the next five years to fix Phoenix. While more money to help members fix their existing pay problems is welcome, the Budget offers nothing to ensure what will replace Phoenix proceeds without delay. In short, the government is still paying for the mistakes of the past rather than investing in a fix for the future.

Budget 2019 invests an additional $77 million a year in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to, among other things, combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. But the Agency’s budget remains almost $500 million less than it was in 2012. Meanwhile investments are sorely needed in new training and technology to catch offshore tax cheats and enforce tax fairness.

The government deserves praise for replenishing the ranks of federal scientists, engineers and researchers over the past three years – 1,500 of which positions had been lost due to cuts under the former government. But actual spending – in particular, on government R&D – is lower today than it was under the Harper government. Canada needs more, not less, government science.

In the last election campaign the Liberal fiscal plan promised to “Reduc[e] the use of external consultants, bringing expenditures closer to 2005/06 levels.” Since then spending on outsourcing has grown from $10 billion in 2015 to $12 billion today. Enough said.

With collective bargaining underway and many public servants still stung by Phoenix and the impacts of Harper-era budget cuts, the government needs to do better to ensure the public service is restored and that our members’ demands for better pay protections, improved family leave and stronger safeguards against workplace harassment are among its own priorities.

The current budget leaves a lot to be desired.

Better Together.

Debi Daviau

20 March 2019
It’s hard not to see the latest federal budget as a pre-election platform. It’s equally hard not to see it as a progress report on the “real change” promised during the last election.

5 March 2019
Protecting our members’ pensions remains a top priority for PIPSC. On February 26, 2019 CRPEG President Jonathan Fitzpatrick was joined by Canadian Alliance of Nuclear Workers (CANW) representatives Steven Schumann and Matt Wayland  in a meeting with three members of the Opposition on Parliament Hill. The issue: the return of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories workers into a public service pension plan.

28 February 2019
The news this week that it will take a further three to five years to clean up the Phoenix backlog, and 10 or more years to stabilize the system, makes it obvious that on the third anniversary of the launch of the Phoenix pay system we should be laser-focused on implementing its replacement as soon as possible.

21 February 2019
On Tuesday February 5th PIPSC members were on Parliament Hill to discuss the importance of the critical public services we deliver to Canadians. A delegation of close to 30 members, representing a range of Groups and Regions, met with over 30 Parliamentarians. It was a unique opportunity to bring key priorities directly to the decision makers.

20 February 2019
PIPSC recently submitted comments to Finance Canada’s public consultation into draft legislative proposals related to salary overpayments.

11 February 2019
On February 6, 2019, PIPSC President Debi Daviau and Steward Éric Massey, Nurse at the Archambault Institution in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights to discuss the issues faced by our members at correctional institutions across Canada, in particular those of our health care services members (SH Group).

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