Pre-Budget Submission to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Publish date: Wednesday, January 30, 2019 update

President Dave Bulmer appeared this week before the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to present AMAPCEO’s pre-budget submission. The new government has been in office for less than a year, and although there have been decisions with which we have disagreed, AMAPCEO’s budget submission focusses on what we believe are areas of shared interest based on commitments made by the government during and after the election. 

“When it comes to government work, and specifically work outsourced to contractors, we either don’t transparently examine costs, or when we do, we ignore the results,” Bulmer said to the committee. “Returning work to the trusted hands of skillful civil servants will maintain job security, protect already hurting local economies, and provide employment for future generations – producing millions in cost savings in the long run.”

Bulmer fielded questions from Conservative and New Democrat MPPs. One such question was about the wisdom of the government’s decision to subsume the Ontario Child Advocate’s office within the Ombudsman’s Office. The President responded that the very minimal cost saving was far outweighed by the risk to youth the OCA service. Bulmer urged the government to reconsider its decision and failing a reversal, that they at least guarantee that the OCA’s advocacy function will continue either in the Ombudsman’s Office or within the responsible Ministry.

AMAPCEO offered three recommendations:

Government promise: The pledge of no layoffs

The OPS is already a trim organization. In fact, based on population, Ontario’s government has far fewer public servants than other provinces. The OPS rate of 4.74 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions per 1,000 Ontarians is lower than British Columbia's, the province with the next smallest ratio of provincial public servant per population.

To put that into perspective, if the OPS was staffed at the same rate as BC’s public service, the OPS would be 25 percent larger, with more than 85,000 FTEs (instead of its current complement of 67,210).

AMAPCEO recommendation: Pairing the no layoff promise with a hiring freeze will not result in an effective OPS. Given that the OPS is already a lean and nimble organization, the government should adhere to its no layoff promise while engaging in normal hiring processes, thereby maintaining the current size of the OPS staff complement.

Government promise: The pledge to find efficiencies

In her 2018 Annual Report, the Auditor General found that waste stemming from the use of IT consultants and advisors in the OPS continues to be a problem. AMAPCEO has discussed this issue with the government repeatedly, noting that consultants cost on average 30% more than full-time public servants.

AMAPCEO recommendation: Without delay, the government should implement the Auditor General’s recommendations on the use of consultants. 

Government promise: The pledge for transparency and accountability

The government’s decision to merge three Offices of the Legislature (the Ontario Child Advocate, the French Language Services Commissioner and the Environmental Commissioner) with other existing offices is plain and simply wrong. While it won’t lead to substantive cost efficiencies (the ostensible reason for the mergers); it will lead to a worsening of public services and to a lessening of accountability.

The government has not undertaken enough consultation and study on the ramifications of the changes it has proposed to make with these independent offices. AMAPCEO believes this decision is not in line with how best to operate a transparent and accountable government that strives to protect front-line services.

AMAPCEO recommendation: Maintain the Ontario Child Advocate, the French Language Services Commissioner and the Environmental Commissioner as free-standing, independent offices of the Legislature.

Read the full pre-budget submission below:

2019 Pre-Budget Submission

January 25, 2019

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in eleven cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; Public Health Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.

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