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Federal Budget 2016 – The Impact on PIPSC Members in Brief

The new Liberal government has made good on many of its campaign promises in its first federal budget. The introduction of the new Canada Child Benefit, the reversal of OAS eligibility to age 65, and the previously announced tax cut for middle-income earners, among other changes, ensure that there is something for everyone: the young, the old, and the middle class.

But public services have taken a serious hit in recent years, as our members and the public know too well. The cumulative impact of year-over-year cuts to professional jobs, programs and services by the previous government must be addressed if the federal public service is not only to regain lost ground but become the agent of real change the government intends it to be.

PIPSC’s federal budget priorities remained the same as those we campaigned for during last fall’s election and, more recently, at the bargaining table – protection of scientific integrity, promotion of tax fairness, and reduction in outsourcing. Overall, this budget marks a significant step – but only a step – in the right direction, with (we hope) much room for improvement and further investments in future budgets.

Scientific Integrity

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The current Budget makes important reinvestments in science-based departments and agencies. Notable increases to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment and Climate Change, Natural Resources, CFIA, Fisheries and Oceans, as well as Environmental Assessment are strong evidence of the government’s intention to once again place science and evidence at the forefront of government decision-making. On the other hand, much remains to be done to ensure scientific integrity is protected through comprehensive policies and corresponding provisions in collective agreements. We also await more details regarding the position of Chief Science Officer, its role and budget.

Tax Fairness

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The new Budget’s investment of $800 million over 5 years to crack down on tax havens, combat tax avoidance and collect outstanding tax debts marks a definite turning point in government efforts to restore public faith in the fairness and impartiality of our tax system. The use of the words “integrity” and “fairness” throughout are as clear a signal as any of the government’s intent to address our own concerns.

Outsourcing

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While the government has acknowledged that some savings can be achieved by scaling back dependence on outside professional services, much work still needs to be done. Our hope is that the additional $383.8 million to be spent on Shared Services Canada is actually spent on in-house expertise.


Publish Date: 22-MAR-2016 08:46 PM