What the Federal Government’s Ministerial Mandate Letters Mean for Our Members
On December 13, 2019 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released the mandate letters for his Cabinet. These documents outline his expectations and priorities for his ministers and for the organizations that they lead.
We have examined the letters that apply to a number of departments whose activities have a significant impact on our members: Treasury Board, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Digital Government, Revenue, Innovation, Science and Industry, and Finance.
The Prime Minister’s overall directions to his ministers include references to the need for a strong and resilient public service and actively engaging with unions.
The letters also specify several key government objectives that are directly relevant to the work of our members:
- Eliminate the Phoenix backlog;
- Introduce the Next Generation Pay and Human Resources System (and actively engage major public sector unions);
- Ensure that the public service recruits and retains talented people;
- Reduce staffing public service timelines in half (which could lead to reduced outsourcing);
- Commitment to scientific integrity:
- Government science available to the public;
- Unmuzzled government scientists;
- Evidence-based decision-making.
- Regular reports from the Chief Science Advisor on cross-government science priorities;
- Bargain in good faith with public sector unions;
- Implement the Pay Equity Act within the public service;
- Increase the number of women in senior decision-making positions across government;
- Increase the government’s digital capabilities;
- Implement lessons learned from previous information technology projects;
- Review government spending;
- Ensure that wealthy Canadians do not benefit from unfair tax breaks;
- Modernize anti-avoidance tax rules and close corporate tax loopholes.
With these directives, the Prime Minister has raised high expectations of the public service. Together with our 60,000 members, I look forward to collaborating with his office and his Cabinet and to a strong relationship with Canada’s decision-makers.