Federal jobs cuts: Clarity is always one year away

I’ve commented on federal job cuts many times before (here, here, here & here) and in the interests of flogging this particular horse (no animals were harmed in the writing of these reports), the CCPA today is releasing my latest update on the matter: Clearing away the fog: Government Estimates of job losses.  You can read a story about it in the Ottawa Citizen.

What’s new is that the government has just released the 2012-13 Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP).  These are the departmental reports that project both employment and expenditures down to the program level for each department.  It takes some time to go through each department’s RPP, for the readers of this blog I’ve saved you the effort.

Between April 2012 and March 2015, the RPPs show that departments in the aggregate are going to eliminate 10,400 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions.  Readers will recall that the 2012 federal budget stated that 19,200 FTEs would be eliminated.  So how do we reconcile this?

Well, the Budget 2012 is not the only budget that will affect the number of jobs over the next three years.  Two previous rounds of cuts will also impact federal government employment.  The 2007-2010 Strategic Reviews and the 2010 budget freeze both pushed their impacts into the future.  The future is now and they’re employment impact will be felt as well over the next three years.

What is also clear is that the cuts from Budget 2012 have not been incorporated into the 2012-13 RPPs, although they certainly could have been.  The Globe and Mail reported that Treasury Board President Tony Clement vowed that he would be “crushed by irony” if the cuts weren’t incorporated after his push for more open government.  He may well be feeling the squeeze, as with previous years clarity on job losses is only one year away.

By looking at the timing of when over the past three years of RPPs, the cuts first appear, it is possible to disaggregate them by which measure is causing them.  It appears that the loss of 6,300 FTEs is due to the 2007-2010 Strategic Reviews.  Another 4,100 positions will be lost due to the 2010 Budget Freeze.  Finally Budget 2012 tells us that 19,200 positions will be lost over the next 3 years.

The grand total is 29,600 FTEs cut by 2015 according to the most recent government documents.

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