Ottawa, August 23, 2023 – Treasury Board President Anita Anand has given her fellow Cabinet Ministers six weeks to find $15 billion in savings across the federal government. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) President Jennifer Carr is concerned about the impacts these cuts will have on the public services Canadians rely on.
“There are many opportunities for this government to be spending money more responsibly,” Carr said. “But our fear is that we are going to see austerity where we should be seeing innovation – with a focus on short term spending cuts rather than investments that will increase revenue in the long term.”
For years, PIPSC members working in the Canada Revenue Agency have been flagging concerns about the cost to Canadians from international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that every $1 invested in combating this evasion yields $5.75 in tax revenue.
In a 2021 poll, 92% of respondents supported changes to the tax system to make it harder for corporations to game the system and avoid paying their fair share.
“To keep delivering essential services to Canadians, the government must protect its revenue sources,” said Carr. “We represent brilliant CRA auditors and investigators who would love this government’s support in conducting that work.”
Another way this government could get spending under control would be to move away from its reliance on external consultants and contractors.
“This government seems to prefer bringing in expensive consultants rather than hiring full-time staff, and all of us are paying the price,” Carr continued. “In IT departments alone, the federal government outsourced over $24 billion in work to IT consultants, management consultants and temporary help contractors from 2012 to 2021.”
Since the announcement about the cuts, there has been no outreach to public sector unions – or the front line workers they represent – about ways the federal government could be cutting costs.
“PIPSC members are eager to work with Minister Anand to balance this country’s books in a responsible way,” said Carr. “The key first steps will be to address issues like outsourcing and tax fairness.”
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