National Newswatch

Back-to-office order for public servants expected soon

Dec 8 2022 — Kathryn May — Treasury Board is expected to issue a mandate to require all federal public servants to go back to the office for a set number of days every week. Several senior bureaucrats in different departments who aren’t authorized to speak publicly expect Treasury Board to introduce a new order that would set the number of days […]

Canada needs a royal commission to fix problems with the federal public service

Dec 6 2022 — Kathryn May — Canada’s public service needs to be fixed. It’s growing like gangbusters, faces relentless attack, is losing the confidence of politicians, and struggles to keep up in a changing world because it is using decades-old policies and processes, says a leading expert. Donald Savoie, Canada’s pre-eminent scholar and expert on public administration, is calling for a […]

Public service will swell to 409,000 in five years, PBO says

Nov 22 2022 — Kathryn May — The seven-year hiring spree in Canada’s public service will continue with billions of dollars in additional spending that will push the size of the workforce to about 409,000 jobs within five years, says the parliamentary budget officer. Treasury Board President Mona Fortier tabled the government’s latest spending plans – known as supplementary estimates (B) – […]

Federal IT contracting: Overdone and out of date

Nov 3 2022 — Kathryn May — The federal government is out of step with modern IT contracting practices, clinging to old rules that result in giant, over-budget contracts with a big risk of failure, says a new report. The government has been talking about reforming the way it buys technology for years, a promise that went into overdrive after the Phoenix […]

Ottawa needs thousands of tech workers to serve Canadians properly

Oct 31 2022 — Kathryn May — The federal government has hired like gangbusters in recent years, but still needs thousands of in-house technology workers to modernize operations and provide the services that Canadians expect. Catherine Luelo, the government’s chief information officer (CIO), doesn’t have a firm estimate of how many technology workers the government needs, but the number is big. “Whether […]

The black hole of public service contract spending

Oct 17 2022 — Kathryn May — A parliamentary committee is trying to unpack the $15-billion back hole of spending federal departments spend on contracting. Not sure how much progress MPs will make with four hearings. A big question for MPs on the government operations and estimates committee: why is the public service growing in leaps and bounds while outsourcing is exploding […]

The public service’s biggest disruption in decades : hybrid work

Sep 27 2022 — Kathryn May — The return-to-work pushback of Canada’s public servants could lay the groundwork for the most radical change in the federal government’s relationship with its employees in a century. The resistance reveals a grassroots shift taking place in the public service that’s all about power and control. The public service is one of the most hierarchical employers […]

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 […]