Ordinarily, the announcement earlier this month that spending by the Department of Defence (DND) will grow from its current $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion by 2026 would be cause for Canadians (and especially PIPSC members employed by DND) to feel more secure. But references throughout Strong, Secure, and Engaged, Canada’s new defence policy, leave little doubt that continued over-reliance on outsourced services will form a major part of DND’s future. The policy is already raising alarms among other unions.
In addition, Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s commitment to kick in $35 billion of federal infrastructure money to attract even more private sector funding of federal projects suggests the trend could become permanent.
Rather than continue to increase the number of outsourced services, DND needs to commit to reducing them (and much sooner than 2026!) and to reinvesting in the staff it already employs. A good place to start would be by implementing the new provisions of the recent CS Group contract with PIPSC.
Decreasing federal reliance on so-called public-private partnerships (P3s), such as last year’s “multi-year $322 million contract to Uptime Infrastructure Partners for the expansion of Shared Services Canada (SSC) Enterprise Data Centre (EDC)” at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, Ontario, should also be a priority.
I will be writing to Minister Harjit S. Sajjan in the next few days to encourage him to do just that.