By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A new report suggests public sector employees in Canada take nearly five…
TORONTO – A new report suggests public sector employees in Canada take nearly five more sick, disability and personal days per year than Canadians working in the private sector.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says those extra days cost up to $3.5 billion per year, noting some public sector workers can bank unused sick days, then take a lump-sum payment or use the days to retire early.
The CFIB says federal government employees take the most time off, averaging 15.2 sick, disability and personal days per year compared to 12.9 days in the overall public sector and 8.2 days in the private sector.
The federation says there are variances within the private sector, depending on the size of the employer.
Employees in businesses with fewer than 20 employees averaged 6.7 days off, while those in firms with more than 500 employees took 9.1 days, which is still lower than the public sector average.
In its report, the CFIB calls for sick day allotments to be aligned with those offered in the private sector and for the accumulation of unused sick days to be discontinued.
“I don’t think anybody believes that public sector workers just get sick more often, yet something makes them feel entitled to more time off,” said CFIB president and CEO Dan Kelly.
“Obviously, we want to be compassionate when people are truly not well, but the current system has entrenched a feeling of entitlement to those days off that has very little to do with being sick.”
“We need to change the system so everybody’s playing by the same rules,” said Kelly.
By John Geddes - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Former high-ranking civil servants are outspoken critics of the Harper government
For a particular set of policy wonks—generally identifiable by the telltale pallor and redness around the eyes that come from too many hours scouring spreadsheets—the recent news that Philip Cross is leaving Statistics Canada was big. The 36-year stalwart of the federal number-crunching agency, most recently its chief economist, has long been a prized source of analysis on questions from the depth of recessions to the problems of productivity. But Cross’s exit, prompted in part by his frustration with the Conservative government’s controversial 2010 decision to cancel the long version of the Canadian census, fits a pattern that has political implications beyond arcane economic debates. He is only the latest in a string of top former public servants to join what amounts to an extra-parliamentary unofficial opposition.
In policy disputes over deficit financing or defence procurement, the government’s stance on the Middle East, or its response to an aging population, the most cogent criticism increasingly comes from independent-minded lapsed bureaucrats. Unlike university professors or think-tank researchers, former mandarins bring insider intelligence on how federal policy is really made. The civil servant colleagues they leave behind keep them up to speed on new developments. All of that can make their critiques more intriguing to the media and, for beleaguered politicians, harder to dismiss. In past eras, retirement often cut them off from timely information sources and avenues for disseminating their views. No longer. “We now have the Internet and blogging and tweeting,” says Scott Clark, a former deputy minister of finance. “All that stuff allows people to do it so easily.”
By “it,” Clark means the kind of probing analysis that he and another top former finance official, Peter DeVries, produce for their website, 3D Policy. As two of the most seasoned budget-makers in Ottawa before they left the public service a few years ago, their typically unsupportive appraisal of Stephen Harper’s approach to taxing and spending resonates in official circles. Last month, for instance, they posted a detailed deconstruction of the Prime Minister’s claim that Old Age Security was “unsustainable.” Not according to Clark and DeVries. They pointed to the government’s own projections showing that restraint already imposed on big spending items like defence and health would allow OAS to go untouched without threatening federal finances. Cross has plans for his own online newsletter, to be called Inside the Numbers.
By John Geddes - Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Recent hires speak to their different political styles
If there were any doubts left about the stark difference between the teams assembled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, two recent top-level recruits to their rival staffs should go a long way toward putting them to rest. Harper reached into the rarified ranks of Toronto’s business elite to find a new chief of staff—Nigel Wright, maker of multi-billion-dollar deals at Onex Corp. Ignatieff raided the foreign service to fill his opening for a principal secretary—Patrick Parisot, who has served as Canadian ambassador to Chile, Portugal and, most recently, Algeria.
Those who know them would quickly protest that “businessman” doesn’t sum up Wright any more than “diplomat” captures Parisot. Both are partisan political creatures, too. As a young lawyer, Wright worked in Brian Mulroney’s PMO during two stints in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. At various times he’s been connected to the circles of Treasury Board President Stockwell Day and former Ontario premier Mike Harris. Parisot served former prime minister Jean Chrétien in senior communications and strategy posts from 1993 until 2001, when Chrétien rewarded him with his first job as an ambassador.
Yet these appointments signal more than the natural tendency of political leaders to tap the talents of devoted partisans. In choosing Wright, Harper has continued his clear pattern of relying almost exclusively on top aides who have never worked inside the federal public service. And in hiring Parisot, Ignatieff has kept up his habit of filling out his staff with precisely the sort of federal public service veterans who aren’t finding employment these days in the PMO.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 12:05 PM - 0 Comments
To the cases of Linda Keen, Arthur Carty, Bernard Shapiro, Kevin Page, Peter Tinsley, Richard Colvin, Marc Mayrand, Paul Kennedy, Robert Marleau, Munir Sheikh and Pat Stogran, you can perhaps add the curious case of Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak.
The head of the Canadian Firearms Program, who is a strong supporter of the long-gun registry, is quietly being bounced out of the position, CBC News has learned…
CBC’s Brian Stewart reported that Cheliak was set to unveil a major report before the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police at their annual general meeting in Edmonton and get a president’s award for his work on the long-gun registry. But Stewart said Cheliak was told by the RCMP he’s not going to be sent there.
By Mark Steyn - Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 8:40 AM - 76 Comments
Still foolish enough to be in the private sector paying for the benefits of the public sector?
I can’t remember exactly when I first encountered a pop-culture jetpack. Was it James Bond’s, courtesy of Q, in Thunderball? Or was it some comic book? At any rate, I no longer have to wait for mine. Martin Aircraft of Christchurch, New Zealand, have put one into production, for the cost of a top-of-the-line automobile—or about $100,000. It’s not clear to me where you’d be able to fly it, since government air-traffic agencies don’t seem eager to contemplate a world of individual human flight patterns. But still: the Bond jetpack is belatedly here.
Other than that, the future seems unlikely to be quite as futuristic as expected. The problem facing the developed world isn’t so very difficult to figure out. We’re living beyond not just our means but everybody’s means. You can strap on your jetpack, but where would you go? In the United States, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculates that if the federal government were to increase every single tax by 30 per cent it would be enough to balance the books—in 25 years. Except that it wouldn’t. Because if you raised taxes by 30 per cent, government would spend even more than it already does, on the grounds that the citizenry needed more social programs and entitlements to compensate for their sudden reduction in disposable income.
In Canada, the average household’s debt-to-income ratio reached an all-time high in 2009. Credit-card holders at least three months behind with their payments increased by 40 per cent.