PSAC has been one of several unions participating in the Canadian Labour Congress’ Task Force on New Forms of Privatization. On June 25, the Task Force has released its report For the Public Good: The growing threat of privatization and workers’ proposals to protect our future.
The report is the culmination of a thorough analysis of new forms of privatization, in particular social impact bonds (SIBs), pension fund and investor participation in privatized infrastructure, and new federal agencies that motivate and support privatization of services and infrastructure. Which by any measure, should be fully within the public sector in order to serve the public interest. These agencies – The Canada Infrastructure Bank, FinDev Canada, and the Social Finance Fund, along with more traditional forms of privatization, all contribute to the growing instability in public services, at a time when we, more than ever, need a robust public service to ensure competent and effective services for Canadians.
While largely written prior to the COVID19 pandemic, the report does raise the critical role that public services have had in Canada’s response to the crisis. Public sector workers – PSAC members – have been doing this critical work across the country – at the control hub of the response at the Public Health Agency of Canada, in food plants ensuring our food is safe, at our borders and our airports, delivering emergency benefits to workers and to businesses, developing and testing vaccines and treatments.
In some sectors, privatization has resulted in devastating loss of life. We only need to look at the privatized Long-Term Care homes to see the very real, and very tragic results when profit comes before people.
The report outlines a hopeful path forward, bringing public services back in house, and furthering best practices for publicly funded, built and maintained infrastructure that will be critical to not only the recovery from the economic crisis stemming from the COVID19 pandemic, but will also be instrumental in better weathering future crises, whether pandemics, climate change or other.