PRC Report (Apr. 2010)

 

Report of the Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the April 2010 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.


Report of the Regional Executive Vice President

Prairies to the Prairie Region Council
April 2010

This time frame has been busy and exciting. The members in our Region certainly know about the Hands Off Our Pension campaign and that is thanks to you our Leaders. I won’t go into detail about the events that have taken place in our Region as I am sure that they were covered in the Council reports. I have to say how proud I am of the work that has been done around the pensions and budget. We are the first region to hold an event and we got press coverage across Canada.

During our fight back on the Pensions the Government of the day handed down a budget that will see “real” impact on Public Services. The cuts proposed in operating budgets can only mean job cuts and program cuts. The following is notes that were taken while in “lock up” just before the budget was announced.

“The government says that it will retrain spending through targeted measures. Budget 2010 proposes 17.6 b. in savings over five years. The Government will undertake a comprehensive review of government administrative function and overhead costs in order to identify opportunities for addition savings.

Constraining Administration Costs

For 2010-11 departmental budgets will not be increased to fund the 1.5% increase in annual wages for the FPS administration.

Employees will continue to see their wages increase as set out in collective agreements and the expenditure restraint act, which is in effect until 2011.

Departments will be required to reallocate from the remainder of operating budgets to fund increases.

2011-12, 12-13, operating budgets will be frozen at 2010-11 levels. Crowns are expected to freeze operations too.

Government will engage with Bargaining agents and will assess measures taken by other Canadian jurisdictions to ensure that costs of compensation are reasonable.

The government will also continue to examine ways in which compensation costs including benefits could be better managed.

Employee pension and other benefits are not subject to the general operating budget freeze. However the government will continue to examine ways in which these costs can be better managed and will engage PS bargaining agents to ensure that the total costs of compensation are reasonable.

Simplification of processes and delivery mechanisms will also improve access to govt services and reduce costs of program delivery.

Strategic Review

The strategic review of 5% will continue. Departments will no longer be asked to suggest reinvestments of strategic review savings.

Budget 2010 includes savings of 287M in 12 -13 from Expenditure review.

Dept of National Defense will be subject to constraints too but the cost escalator will continue.

Govt. will report on the results of their review in 2011 budget.

Other

The government will establish a new red tape reduction commission.

Grants and contributions including program terms and conditions will be tied to furthering government priorities.

Corporate asset management review continuing.

PPP Canada Inc. will commit over $100 million in 2010 to projects that demonstrate leadership in P3 procurement.”

As more information comes out about the budget I will certainly forward to the Leaders of our Region.

I have now completed all of my visits to the Area Councils, Human Rights Committees and the Regional Women’s Committees. The work of these committees/councils is outstanding. I understand the struggle in some areas to keep the committees/councils afloat but I also understand the dedication of those members who regularly attend. I counseled the Chairs that perhaps in order to ensure that the committees/councils are meaningful that they hold only 4 meetings per year which is in keeping with the Constitution. Members want to walk away from a meeting having had the opportunity to learn, participate and feel renewed. I also suggested that if it was time for a particular committee/council to take a hiatus then it is time. We should never feel defeated if we need to take a step back and give something a rest. We should look at this in a positive manner and rejoice when the time is right to resurrect. We have had very positive results when we have done this. To be clear I am not suggesting that all of our committees/councils take a break I am only trying to be realistic and not burn out or frustrate our members to the point of no “return”.

I have had the opportunity to speak at several meetings/town halls over this time frame. It is always a wonderful experience to be with the members.

I have attached the report that I made to the National Board of Directors and my itinerary for your review.

In Solidarity,

Robyn Benson
PSAC REVP Prairies