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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > News & Events > Communications Magazine > Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn 2010 > Preparing for the Federal Budget
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Preparing for the Federal Budget

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On October 21, 2010, President Gary Corbett presented the Institute’s views for the government’s pre-budget consultations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (see the complete submission at pipsc.ca). The Institute reminded the government that the public service is an essential component of Canada’s success. The public service is long past the point of easy fat-trimming and the government must avoid the temptation to once again attempt to balance its books on the backs of its employees. Instead, the government should seek advice from the public service to intelligently and creatively explore ways of delivering higher-quality services more efficiently and at lower cost to Canadians.

An excellent starting point would be to put an end to the waste associated with the unnecessary contracting out of work best performed by the public service. The federal government spends billions of dollars each year on contracted services that could be provided more effectively and cheaply internally. The current budget-planning exercise is an opportunity for the government to provide clear guidance to departments on how to reduce outsourcing costs, and to bring work back in house.

The Institute also recommended that the government immediately address the chronic under-funding of public science in Canada. In this regard, Canada is increasingly out of step with its G7 peers: in-house R&D in Canada as a share of GDP has been falling relative to the G7 average for years. If the government is serious about maximizing value for money by investing in applied research and innovation in the service of national priorities, it should look closely at the return on investment of public science.

Pascal Joseph and Louise Smith

At the Ontario Steward Council, Pascal Joseph presented Louise Smith with a Citation Certificate in recognition of her dedication and service. Citation Certificates may be presented to individuals for outstanding service to Constituent Bodies, Committees, Consultation Teams or to the Institute as a whole.

Finally, the government’s next budget must also focus on protecting the millions of citizens who do not have enough personal savings, or a proper pension plan, to ensure an adequate retirement for themselves. While Canada’s retirement income system remains one of the best in the world, there will necessarily be a time lag before the “modest” increases to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) proposed this summer by Canada’s Finance Ministers are implemented, and they will only impact future generations of Canadians. The government must look at other measures aimed at strengthening the CPP, Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to ensure that no Canadian seniors live in poverty.

More information will be available when the federal budget is tabled in the new year.