PSAC opposes contracting out of public sector work at House of Commons committee

PSAC continues to oppose and stop the privatization of federal public service work, most recently by participating in a study on outsourcing being conducted by the House of Commons’ Government Operations Committee (OGGO). PSAC’s arguments focus on several key points:

  • Contracting out and privatization cost more and provide poorer service.
  • Governments can never contract out the risk. If a private company fails to provide service, governments are left with the responsibility. By then, governments have often lost the tools or expertise needed to do the contracted-out work properly.
  • Lack of transparency around contracts with private companies makes it difficult for Canadians to really know what’s going on.
  • The government's overwhelming use of temporary help agency workers is unacceptable when they should be developing a staffing plan that focuses on hiring indeterminate employees.
  • The government should bring contracted out work back in house.
  • Contracting out work to the private sector hinders government efforts to build a public service that is representative of the diversity of the population it serves.

PSAC’s CEIU component also met with the committee to provide information on the impact of contracting out the call centre work at 1-800-O-Canada.  The work of the committee continues and PSAC looks forward to their report and recommendations.

In the meantime, stopping contracting out continues to be an active demand at the Common Issues bargaining table. While all four PIC reports were noticeably silent on this demand, negotiators will continue to advance the best interests of our members in negotiations.

Public sector workers are best placed to provide public services to Canadians.  Our members know that contracting out, privatization and the use of temporary help agency workers to do federal public sector work costs the government more money to provide poorer services. Outsourcing is no more than a shell game in which expenditures are moved from one line in a budget to another – from staff wages to contracted services – giving the appearance of a leaner government, while providing profits to big corporations around the world.

Watch PSAC’s testimony, CEIU’s testimony and read our submission.


March 2, 2023