Public service outsourcing deepens gender pay gap

OTTAWA, March 11, 2021 — Government outsourcing deepens gender inequity across Canada’s public service, shows a new report by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).

“There are two worlds of outsourcing in the federal government,” said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. “In one world, lucrative IT contracts are doled out to a male-dominant industry that has notoriously struggled with gender equity. In the other one, temporary workers who are predominantly women are paid 21% less than what they would make in a permanent position doing the exact same work.”

PIPSC analysis shows that temporary work has increased at nearly 4 times faster than permanent staff since 2011. The majority of temporary workers are women, and they become trapped in a cycle of persistent temporary work, defined by low pay, few or no benefits, and high risk of unemployment and labour force exit.

Lucrative IT consultant contracts, however, are awarded to male-dominated tech giants like IBM, Veritaaq or Randstad. Only 2 out of 10 IT consultants in Ottawa-Gatineau are women, and they are paid about $13,000 less per year than their male counterparts. On average, members of equity-seeking groups are paid about $9,700 less when they work for the government as IT consultants.

Despite the commitments to building a feminist economy and despite the promises to control the runaway cost of outsourcing, the government has created a shadow public service that plays by an entirely different set of rules: they are not hired based on merit, representation, fairness or transparency; they are not subject to budget restraints or hiring freezes; and they are not accountable to the Canadian public.

“Outsourcing means higher cost, lower quality services for Canadians – less transparency, less accountability, and the loss of institutional knowledge and skills,” said Daviau. “Today’s report shows us that it also undermines Canada’s commitment to a representative public service. The only solution is to end the government’s over-reliance on outsourcing.”

Read the full report Outsourcing and Gender Equity here:

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For further information: Johanne Fillion, 613-883-4900 (cell),