Budget 2016: It’s time to reinvest in the people delivering public services

The Public Service Alliance of Canada welcomes the new government’s move away from austerity and its commitment to invest to improve the lives of Canadians, at least in the immediate future.

“Federal public service workers want to deliver on commitments made in the federal budget. That requires departments having the resources they need to serve Canadians,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President.

For the federal budget to work as a whole, there needs to be an explicit commitment to fill the hole created by the previous government’s years of departmental freezes, job and program cuts.

Reversing austerity

Conservative austerity measures, including $14.5 billion in cuts and the elimination of 30,000 jobs weakened capacity of the federal government to deliver the services Canadians need and the promises made by the Liberals in the last election.

“The budget contains increased spending in some service areas but this spending should not be at the expense of other federal public services,” added Benson.

PSAC is happy to see that the government has put Employment Insurance reform at the top of their agenda, including spending to increase staff to process claims and staff call centres.

Serving veterans

We also applaud the government’s repeated commitment to re-open Veterans Affairs offices and expand service in Surrey and in the north. Improving the case management ratio is also a positive step for veterans and the workers who support them.

Still, the union warns that without proper staffing, the promises contained in the budget could fall flat.

Food safety

During the federal election campaign, the Liberals promised to increase spending on food safety inspections by $80 million over four years.

“Instead, this budget allocates $38.5 million over two years on systems. Meanwhile, our members tell us there aren’t enough frontline staff to ensure that the rules to protect consumers are followed, especially in meat plants,” said Benson.

Front-line services

“PSAC saw the election of a new government as an opportunity to improve front-line public service delivery – but real change requires real money and staffing,” concluded Benson.