National Newswatch

All-powerful PMO, mistrust “destroying” the public service: Paul Tellier

May 30 2022 — Kathryn May — A lack of trust between politicians and senior levels of the public service, and a Prime Minister’s Office that calls all the shots, is “destroying” Canada’s public service, warns Paul Tellier, Canada’s former top bureaucrat and former head of both Canadian National Railway and Bombardier Inc. “The current government, with centralization of everything in the […]

Speaking truth to power discouraged in public service

May 11 2022 — Kathryn May — Canada’s public service leaders have a problem telling the truth to their political bosses. A new report, Top of Mind, says they feel ill-equipped to gather evidence for policy advice, especially in a world where facts are distorted and drowned out by disinformation, polarization and hyperpartisan politics. To make matters worse, they appear afraid to […]

The Liberal-NDP pact could have a big impact on the public service

Apr 13 2022 — Kathryn May — The federal budget kicked off a spending review public servants knew was coming. This time, however, the Liberals have a pact with the labour-friendly NDP that could protect the bureaucracy from the job losses of previous reviews. Treasury Board President Mona Fortier will lead a year-long strategic review that’s aimed at saving $6 billion over […]

Some public service executives ‘burned out’ by crisis management

Apr 7 2022 — Kathryn May — An unprecedented number of public service executives are burned out and looking for demotions after working flat-out to manage crisis after crisis since the pandemic hit two years ago, says the association representing them. The Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) has long been working behind the scenes to improve […]

Ottawa and unions agree to simplify pay rules for public servants

Mar 8 2022 — Kathryn May — For the first time, the federal government and its 17 public service unions have agreed to discuss simplifying the thousands of pay rules and processes that derailed the troubled Phoenix pay system from the start. This simplifying, which could take years to unfold, is a key piece of the government’s pilot project to build a […]

Federal civil service resumes return to office

Mar 1 2022 — Kathryn May — Federal government departments are restarting plans to bring thousands of public servants back to the office as provinces lift pandemic restrictions that forced them to work from home. Treasury Board recently issued new guidance outlining the terms for departments and agencies to resume the plans that were abruptly halted when the Omicron variant took hold […]

Federal paymasters struggle to rise from Phoenix

Feb 23 2022 — Kathryn May — The pay system has improved six years after a disastrous start, but problems remain and a backlog of fixes remain to be completed. Thousands of workers are still owed money when they leave or retire from Canada’s public service, and some are still waiting years to get paid. Thousands more move to jobs in other […]

Ottawa races to collect Phoenix overpayments ahead of deadline

Jan 25 2022 — Kathryn May — Federal government departments are approaching an important anniversary with the infamous Phoenix pay system and are now in a race to recover thousands of salary overpayments to public servants before they run out of time. The troubled Phoenix has churned out nearly $3 billion in overpayments to employees since it went live in February 2016. […]

Public service return to work thrown into doubt by Omicron variant

Dec 17 2021 — Kathryn May — Federal government departments are rethinking plans to send thousands of public servants back to the office as the new Omicron variant tightens its grip. The Treasury Board issued new guidance Thursday asking departments and agencies to put plans to return more workers to the office on hold and to review existing levels of staffing in […]