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‘Calm to the chaos’: Bulmer reflects on public servants’ impact during pandemic

Publish date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 update

Composite of photos of President Dave Bulmer, Parliament and Queen's Park

Ontario’s public servants have helped bring calm to the chaos of the last 13 months, AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer said on a webinar hosted by the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy last week. 

AMAPCEO represents more than 14,000 public service professionals—most of whom are in the Ontario Public Service. 

Bulmer explained that AMAPCEO members have kept public services up and running since the outbreak of the pandemic, and like many, they are often doing so under challenging circumstances. 

He cited the small number of AMAPCEO members who continue to report to their physical workplaces—including COVID-19 testing laboratories across the province—and those who are working from home, where many balance child and elder care responsibilities with their demanding work. 

“They’re overloaded, and yet they carry on,” Bulmer said. “I think they’ve proven their value.” 

Bulmer said the success of remote work means it should play a bigger role in the lives of public servants going forward, should they wish. 

The union is advocating that it collaborate with its members’ employers to build workplaces of the future—workplaces where flexibility in hours of work, location, and more, can save public dollars and provide better work-life balance for staff. 

Moderated by public relations and political strategist Kathleen Monk, the panel “Public Service, COVID & Beyond” also featured: 

  • Senator Peter Boehm, a former Deputy Minister with the Government of Canada; 
  • Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada; and 
  • Scott Marks, Assistant to the General President, International Association of Fire Fighters. 

During the discussion, Bulmer also re-emphasized the importance of paid sick days for everyone

“No one thing will improve workers’ futures more than paid sick leave,” he said. “…to not have to go to work when you’re ill. To not be afraid of losing your income, or your job security. Or worry about infecting your coworkers or bringing infection home… Paid sick leave would be life-changing for many, many people—and not just during a pandemic.” 

The virtual panel was held as part of the Pearson Centre’s seven-day virtual Change Conference, which was held over three weeks earlier this month. 

AMAPCEO recently joined the Pearson Centre as a sustainable sponsor, and the two organizations will be partnering together on upcoming events, panels, research, and more. 

For more about the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy, visit their website at 

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 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).