Ottawa Citizen

As deficit grows, so does bureaucracy
The Ottawa Citizen

As Canada’s deficit mushrooms, the size of the federal public service and its shadow bureaucracy of temporary workers keeps on growing.

The Public Service Commission annual report shows the public service continued its steady growth of the past decade and added another 9,072 jobs last year — a 4.5% increase over the year before. That included everything from full-time, permanent work to student jobs.

The growth has been fuelled by a number of factors, including the Conservatives’ spending spree, plowing billions into several federal departments — even before opening the spending floodgates with its stimulus package. The report shows significant new job growth in departments such as Defence, Public Safety, Health, and Border Services.

Former Privy Council clerk Kevin Lynch’s « public service renewal » plan to break the government’s reliance on term workers and recruit more university and college students into permanent jobs also fuelled growth. His promise to bring in more new blood sparked the biggest hiring spree in decades with annual targets of up to 4,000 students.

Last week, the Bloc Québécois announced that shrinking the public service was a key plank of its’ proposed deficit-fighting plan, which is being promoted in the two byelections under way in Quebec. The Bloc proposes the government take advantage of the exodus of baby boomers and replace every three workers who retire over the next five years with just one worker. This will reduce the wage bill and avoid layoffs.