PSAC-UNDE report reveals privatization at DND costs Canadians more while delivering less

The comprehensive report, In the interest of safety and security: The case for ending the privatization of Department of National Defence services, shines a light on the impacts of privatization of civilian work within the Department of National Defence. This report is released as the first action in a national campaign to stop the privatization of civilian work by DND. Uncover the Costs will bring the message to all Canadians that contracting out costs the public more while delivering less.  

 “For decades, governments have attempted to cut corners by contracting out public service work to mega-corporations whose only interest is profit,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “This report proves that not only does privatization cost more money, but it also provides poorer quality service, sometimes with dangerous results. It’s time to turn this around.” 

The report uncovers disturbing details about real impacts on our military bases and the culture of secrecy surrounding the details of contracts signed between the Government of Canada and the mega-corporations involved. 

“Civilian workers with DND pride themselves on providing consistent, high quality service to Canada’s military,” said June Winger, UNDE National President. “Contracting out has resulted in a degradation of service standards, wasted money and potential compromises to our mission readiness.” 

PSAC and UNDE are calling on the government to stop privatization at DND, cancel all plans for further contracting out and bring work back into the public service and conclude the report with six additional recommendations. These focus on current practices, legislative obligations relative to employment equity, and issues with operational funding. Among them is the need to revise the Access to Information Act to remove competitive advantage exemptions for information involving private firms. 

Key findings: 

  • In its 2018-2019 budget, DND invested nearly $4 billion of public money in contracts with private companies. 
  • Evidence that privatization saves money is sorely lacking and in fact, substantial evidence indicates that contracting out is costing DND more.  
  • The companies cited in the report have often found themselves in hot water, here and around the world, on issues such as human rights, health and safety and workers' rights. 
  • The lack of transparency, repeated amendments - instead of open tendering - and contracting out overall has resulted in DND avoiding its legal obligations, including critical requirements under the Employment Equity Act. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that private sector workers were not always afforded the same protections and provisions as DND workers, such as working from home, ending up putting themselves, their families and other workers, including troops, at risk. 

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October 26, 2020