The loss of expertise threatens the public service, warns the SPGQ

Photo: iStock
The SPGQ deplores the fact that the cuts have led to a decline in the workforce of the public service.

This text is part of a special booklet.

The Union of professionals of the government of Quebec (SPGQ) continues to denounce the loss of internal expertise within the public service. For the SPGQ, the austerity policies greatly damage the government administration.

“The quebec government will be in perfect contradiction with the principles to which he seems to want to join as long as it has not actually upgraded their in-house expertise,” says Richard Perron, president of the SPGQ. It reminds us, first of all, for more than 10 years, the divestment of the government in its in-house expertise is reflected in particular by austerity policies. The announcement of the “reengineering” of the State and its goals in 2003 with the reduction of staff, consolidation of structures, the replacement of a civil servant retiring on two, the announcement in 2014 of new cuts and a freeze in effect until 2016, the examples given by the SPGQ are many.


The SPGQ deplores the fact that the cuts have led to a decline in the workforce of the public service, pushing the government to resort increasingly to outsourcing. “The case of the ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion [MIDI] is very eloquent. As he is relieved of his responsibilities, he is no longer able to ensure that welcomes immigrants, ” said Perron, explaining that the MIDI has contracted the services of accompaniment for immigrants to community-based organizations. To illustrate this, he noted that by 2015-2016, the NOON has not reached its target of francization and employment of immigrants. In sum, the divestiture affects both the work of the members, which are overburdened, the quality of the services offered, with deadlines of longer and longer for multiple services.


Expertise as a bulwark


However, Mr. Perron said that this disinvestment in in-house expertise leaves a fertile breeding ground for collusion and corruption. He tells that he was struck by the speech of the new mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plant, at its election, when it is addressed to the experts of the City. “She said she wanted to treat them properly because they are the last bulwark against collusion and corruption,” he says. It is a speech that the government of Quebec should have, rather than playing the hard line. “He said that instead, the treasury Board” prefers to minimize any increase of salary or any catch-up salary. “The Institut de la statistique du Québec note a difference of 23 % of the total remuneration compared to other public sectors.


In addition, the SPGQ denounces the fact that Quebec does not seem ready to follow the recommendations of the Charbonneau commission. Other organizations have also emphasized the use of the private sector. Like the Auditor general, who commented last June that the ministry of Transport remained vulnerable in terms of expertise and its dependence on external companies was still present. In a report from 2013, the Institute of research and socioeconomic information (IRIS) also mentions that outsourcing is often more expensive than expected. Of are lost, according to the SPGQ, that could have been invested in sectors such as education and health.


A speech that disturbs


The SPGQ said this fall not to have been invited by the parliamentary commission to comment on the draft law n° 135. For Mr. Perron, it is because their stance highlights a fundamental contradiction between what the government says it wants to do — to work against the collusion, corruption and for the good management of public funds — and what it does in practice. “It’s like someone who wants to win a game against opponents, who are yet his own experts,” says he. While the Union tries to negotiate a collective agreement for two years, Mr. Perron claims to have the impression of ” running into a wall. “It is estimated that the government does not want to hear or understand that there is a direct link between the remuneration and the necessary expertise to face the challenges posed by the collusion, corruption and good management of public funds. “Until the next elections, we will continue to encourage the State to follow the right path, by demonstrating to the people how stupid it is to devalue the expertise of the government “, concludes the president of the SPGQ.

Share Button