Press Release — PIPSC Highlights Crucial Need for Robust Public Service Following 2024 Budget

OTTAWA, April 17, 2024 – Following numerous promising announcements around affordability such as pharmacare and housing, the 2024 Federal Budget offered mostly cuts for the public service. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is concerned this will threaten the quality and accessibility of services – calling instead for strategic investments.

"Public servants are the lifeline of millions of Canadians – particularly our most vulnerable populations," warned PIPSC Economist Ryan Campbell. “Choosing cuts over strengthening the public service is a missed opportunity.”

Strategic Government Investment vs. Cuts

Budget 2024 confirmed that the government will achieve savings through the natural attrition of public service jobs, as outlined in the main estimates released in February. This represents approximately 5,000 full-time equivalent positions over the next 4 years.

“Make no mistake – cuts by attrition are still cuts. When you’re freezing budgets, you’re asking departments to do more, with less,” said Campbell. 

In the wake of the pandemic, the need for hiring was clear. But this hiring came after years of severe cuts that had placed considerable strain on the ability of the public service to meet the demands of a growing population. 

"It’s crucial to understand that slowing growth and making cuts are different strategies," stated Campbell. "Over the years, growth in the public service has aligned closely with the growth of the population, ensuring that services could continue to meet needs effectively."

Outsourcing Costs and the Need for In-House Investment

While PIPSC appreciates efforts to enforce higher standards of procurement, this budget fails to address the government's over-reliance on outsourcing. This means lower quality and more expensive services, as well as less transparency, less accountability, and the loss of institutional knowledge and skills in the public service.

"A shadow public service of consultants and temporary staff operating alongside the government workforce has been less effective and more expensive, offering a poor return on investment for Canadian taxpayers," Campbell added. “This trend must be reversed. Instead, invest in our public service to deliver essential services more efficiently and equitably.”

Reducing outsourcing would deliver immediate savings, and strengthen the fabric of our public sector – making it more resilient, self-reliant, and better equipped to serve the public interest.

Overlooking Phoenix

8 years after its introduction, 30% of employees are still reporting pay errors due to Phoenix. It is troubling that this budget promises the bare minimum – the funding outlined is only enough to maintain current activities on the file.

With pay problems on the rise, maintaining the status quo is clearly not good enough. As long as public service workers continue to face damages, the government must continue to provide compensation and accommodations. Public services are essential, and so are the workers who deliver them – they deserve to be paid properly, now.

Looking Forward

We are interested in digging deeper into some positives coming out of the budget, such as investments in the civilian workforce at DND and research, policies around tax fairness, as well as cementing the “right to disconnect” in the federal labour code.

Nevertheless, PIPSC remains steadfast in our commitment to advocate for policies that support robust, reliable, and fair public services. We call on the government to support initiatives that focus on strategic investments rather than reductions, ensuring the public service can continue to deliver exceptional services to Canadians.

PIPSC represents over 75,000 public-sector professionals across the country, most of them employed by the federal government. Follow us on Facebook, on X (formerly known as Twitter) and on Instagram


For more information call:
Johanne Fillion: 613-883-4900