1. Fairer taxation and Investing in the Canada Revenue Agency:
PIPSC members at the centre of solutions
We have long advocated for increased tax fairness and investing in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to go after tax avoiders.
Budget 2022 makes banks and insurance companies pay a little bit more through a 1.5% increase in their corporate income tax rate and a 15% one-time tax on taxable income over $1 billion. That will mean $6.1 billion in new revenue over the next 5 years through fairer taxation.
The budget also provides $1.2 billion for the CRA over the next 5 years to go after tax cheats and close tax loopholes. This is welcome news. Properly resourcing the CRA to go after tax cheats has been a central demand in our tax fairness campaign.
All told, action on a fairer tax system is budgeted to raise $16 billion in revenues over the next 5 years. To every member who took action, this win is yours!
Yet, there is so much more to do. While the government has made a new commitment to examine a minimum tax regime, we still have a long way to go to achieve tax fairness. It’s time to change the game – you can learn more about our work on Tax Fairness here.
2. Strategic Policy Review:
Must not impact the level of services we deliver to Canadians
The past 2 years have shown how vital public service professionals are to Canada. When COVID-19 hit, PIPSC members were ready. You quickly pivoted to working remotely while getting critical new programs running in record time. Public service employees worked on health services, vaccines, research, and keeping our food supply safe.
The surprise announcement of a “Strategic Policy Review” – with projected revenues of up to $6 billion – is a concern to all Canadians who rely on public services.
We all remember Harper’s strategic spending review. The Conservative government cut services for veterans, people on EI, and so many other Canadians while going after the jobs of 19,000 public servants.
We have serious questions about this review. And we will ensure the review is focused on making government work better – not making the public service smaller.
3. Mental health supports for Black public service workers:
A positive step, but more must be done to make workplaces equitable and inclusive
Budget 2022 provides $3.7 million over 4 years for a Mental Health Fund for Black federal public service workers. The program will operate through the Treasury Board but promises Black-led engagement, design, and implementation.
This is the result of the strong advocacy of Black members of the Public Service. PIPSC along with other allies support the fight for the government to acknowledge the reality of systemic anti-Black racism in the public sector. Action must be taken to remedy the systemic issues that create discriminatory workplaces.
This is a positive step forward, but there’s more work to be done to create more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces.
4. Public Sector Pension Investment Board:
Workers getting seats at the table
Another positive step forward in Budget 2022 was the expansion of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board from 11 to 13 members – adding 2 seats for representatives from public service unions. The government has promised to consult all federal bargaining agents to establish a fair process for selecting the new members.
Many of us were shocked to learn that our pension plan is the sole owner of Revera Inc – a company that runs long-term care facilities for profit. We don’t want our pension to make money this way.
Your pension protects your future. You work hard now, and your deferred salary needs to be there when you retire. We’re pleased to see that unions now have a seat at the table.
5. Science and research funding:
Some progress, but still well short of restoring Harper-era cuts
Budget 2022 invests $183.2 million over 7 years in the National Research Council (NRC) for low-carbon construction research. It also invests $144.4 million over 5 years to the NRC and Natural Resources to support research and development around critical minerals.
The budget also includes a new initiative to explore ways to modernize the NRC and better integrate it with the work of “university researchers and business partners.” Further information will follow as there were no details included. PIPSC will continue to monitor this initiative to ensure public funds support public research.
Budget 2020 commits $34.6 million over 5 years towards Canada’s ability to protect our research, including establishing a Research Security Centre to provide advice and guidance to research institutions. These initiatives are part of a larger investment of $159.6 million next year and $33.4 million annually to protect Canada’s research and intellectual property from foreign threats.
Other new research investments in Budget 2022 include:
- $40.9 million over 5 years to the federal granting councils to support promising Black student researchers.
- $14.5 million over 5 years to support the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.
- $12 million over 2 years for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to investigate the latest detection of potato wart and help prevent its spread.
Overall we are happy to see that support for the broader Canadian science and research ecosystem remains a government priority. However, the cuts to public service science and research from the Harper era run so deep that this does not heal the wounds. Time and more details will show how much this budget supports the federal government’s own scientists and researchers.
6. Review of the Public Service Disclosure Protection Act:
Improving protection for whistleblowers in the public service
Budget 2022 commits $2.4 million over 5 years to a review of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act with the goal of providing better protection for whistleblowers.
We look forward to working with the Treasury Board on making sure this review leads to concrete improvements and stronger protections for whistleblowers – people who, at great personal risk, provide an invaluable service and help make government work better for Canadians.