Public Values

Four government departments' outsourcing costs rise 100 percent since 2005

Provincial budget caps have not touched outside consultants.

Macdonald: With government deficit, we need to examine potential savings while maintaining services.Ottawa, ON (March 3, 2011): If the federal government wants to get serious about spending controls, it needs to look critically at its ballooning outsourcing costs, says a new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

According to the study, by CCPA Research Associate David Macdonald, the growing and concentrated nature of outsourcing has created a shadow public service that works alongside the real public service — but without the same hiring practices or transparency requirements.

"Over the past five years, personnel outsourcing costs have risen 79 percent. While federal departments have had their budgets capped, expenditures on outside consultants have not been touched and remain above $1 billion a year," says Macdonald.

"Outsourcing isn't what it used to be. Contractors aren't coming in for a week to do some filing, they are now being hired on contract for years at a time to work beside regular employees," Macdonald says. "This system of parallel HR is where government managers are turning after last year's departmental caps."

Four large departments — Public Works and Government Services Canada, National Defence and Canadian Forces, Human Resources and Skills Development, and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness — make up half of all federal government outsourcing. Their payrolls increased by only 9% since 2005-06, but their personnel outsourcing costs exploded, rising by 100 percent.

"Without prompt corrective action, outsourcing costs will continue to soar," Macdonald says. "With the federal government running a significant deficit, it is more important than ever to examine measures that offer potential savings while maintaining services."

The study makes specific recommendations to help curb rising costs and make better use of the resources the government already has.

Links and sources
  Federal outsourcing costs untouched despite budget caps: study

Posted: March 09, 2011

  Public services

Public Values ( is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication

Public Values
Donate to
Health care
Public services
Natural resources
Front lines
Voices of privatization
Feedback and dialogue
About Us
What is framing?
Friday, January 19, 2018
Updated frequently
To view photo captions, run your mouse over the photo
Bookmark and Share

© Golden Lake Institute/, 2007-11 owns copyright on all staff-written articles.
We encourage others to freely distribute material from this website but, without explicit permission,
Web publishers may only use short excerpts that also include credit to us and a reference to our site for the full article.
This site is managed by the Golden Lake InstituteVisit Golden Lake Institute Website and Straight Goods NewsVisit Straight Goods News Website
For comments or suggestions, please contact the Editor
For technical issues, please contact the Webmaster