Budget 2022: A strong public sector is key to our economy  

PSAC is urging the federal government to focus on strong public services in its 2022 budget to build a more resilient economy that puts people first.   

Canada’s recovery from the pandemic relies on a strong social safety net and vital public services that Canadians rely on every day, from our education system to child care, to Employment Insurance.    

The pandemic has shown us how the public service can create policies and deliver programs quickly and effectively to those who need them most. Public service workers have readily embraced new work, implemented unprecedented programs, processed millions of applications for pandemic assistance and rolled out multiple support measures for businesses and individuals.   

We’ve seen how public sector jobs are strong economic drivers. A robust public service is good for the economy, and good for the private sector, too. But we cannot afford to outsource our public services to private companies who value profits over people.  

PSAC expects to see measures that: 

  • Respect and boost the federal public service so that it has appropriate staffing and the tools to develop and deliver the policies and programs required to tackle the social and economic gaps highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises.   
  • Reject any austerity measures that cut federal public services, reduce the number of public service workers or contract out public sector work.  
  • Reverse the problems caused by privatization by bringing back into the public service work currently contracted out, which will save money while providing better services. 
  • Repair the damage caused by the Phoenix fiasco by hiring more compensation advisors, providing ongoing damages compensation, and launching a national public inquiry into this disaster.  
  • Prove the government is ready to lead by example by stopping the use of precarious workers for government work, ensuring that the Employment Equity Act review is meaningful, and that critical reforms based on the review are implemented.  
  • Protect workers’ rights in the cases of strikes and lockouts by Including legislation in the 2022 federal budget implementation act to prohibit the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout in unionized federally regulated industries. 
  • Support the need for a robust public academic sector by fully implementing the recommendations of the 2017 Naylor report to support vital publicly funded and owned research and by working with the provinces and territories to develop a shared vision for our post-secondary education system.  
  • Continue to build a national child care program including insisting that the funding be used to pay early childhood educators fairly to fix problems with recruitment and retention.  Create a federal capital fund to support the cost of the planned expansion in high-quality child care facilities needed to achieve the promised number of not-for-profit and public licensed spaces
  • Recognize that for too long, the rich have benefited at the expense of workers and their families by creating a more just system of taxation, ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share while also making improvements to income security, such as Employment Insurance, that take into account the economic situations of women and marginalized communities. 

Read PSAC’s full list of recommendations for the next federal budget. 

March 30, 2022