Public Values

Government quietly axes PS temps

HRSDC refuses to release the number of fired employees.

by Straight Goods News staff

Ottawa, ON (January 9, 2011): An important government agency fired numerous employees but refuses to make public the number of jobs eliminated.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is one of the federal government's principal employers. It is responsible for everything related to pensions, employment insurance, training, and Canada Child Tax Benefit payments.

The agency had hired thousands of extra employees at the beginning of the recession to assist with the treatment of employment insurance applications, but since then, many temporary positions have been eliminated. Just as the number of employment insurance applicants exploded, the federal budget of 2009 brought many changes to the employment insurance system, most notably the introduction of work share and the prolongation of the benefits period.

  The government's reply contained 447 pages, mostly blank, and all important information, particularly numbers, had been removed.

An internal memo states that "the agency hired and trained more than 3,000 employees to ensure an efficient response to the rising number of employment insurance applications."

Between October 2008, when employment rates peaked in Canada, and February 2009, when the new federal budget came into effect, approximately 295,000 people found themselves without a job.

An official request for access to information tried to determine how many of those extra employees had been fired and how many still have their jobs. The government's reply to this request contained 447 pages, mostly blank, and all important information, particularly numbers, had been removed.

The documents indicate that many employees who were working under 30-day renewable contracts were released from their employment, but all mentions of the exact number of these firings were crossed out.

The only information regarding these firings left uncensored is that which was communicated to agency directors to share with the media. "Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, Service Canada launched a global strategy aiming to address the unprecedented increase in workload. That strategy included hiring temporary workers."

"Now that the economy is starting to show signs of picking up again, we no longer need many of those temporary employees. Some of those employees' contracts are ending soon and will not be renewed."

The documents show that the agency made tremendous efforts to guide directors' responses.

The agency says that publishing the exact number of firings would violate confidentiality policies.

According to a recent study on managing the right to information in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, Canada places last in matters of system efficiency.

For the original article, please click here...

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  Le gouvernement garde le silence

Posted: January 11, 2011

  Public services

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