Canadian federal jobs on the rise for second year

By on 14/12/2017 | Updated on 27/01/2022
The headquarters of Statistics Canada who released new figures showing a second consecutive year rise in public servants in the Canadian federal government (Image courtesy: Demetri1968).

The number of public servants employed by the Canadian federal government has increased for the second consecutive year, new figures from Statistics Canada show.

An additional 3,717 federal public servants were employed in the financial year 2016-17, bringing the total to 262,696. Of these, 2,337 were recruited into roles within the core public administration, while 1,380 were enrolled in federal agencies.

The employment growth is nearly double that in 2015-16, when an extra 1,945 officials were taken on across core administration and agencies, following five years of continuous job cuts prompted by the 2008 global financial crisis.

The return of big government?

The increase, which comes under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal majority administration, has been hailed as start of a new trend towards a bigger, more interventionist federal government, although some staff were brought in to sort out acute problems with the Phoenix pay system.

“We are committed to providing the best services to Canadians, while ensuring good value for taxpayers,” said Jean-Luc Ferland, spokesman for Treasury Board president Scott Brison, as reported by the Toronto Sun.

“Our government will not repeat the ideological cuts of the former Conservative government that resulted in the Phoenix pay system debacle, the closure of veterans’ services offices across the country, and an underequipped Canadian Coast Guard – all of which led to greater costs to Canadians down the line.”

Employment department walks the walk

The biggest recruitment rises within the core administration were in Employment and Social Development Canada, which took on 1,417 extra members of staff; Public Services and Procurement Canada, which recruited 833 more officials; and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which employed 329 more people.

Among arm’s length bodies, the largest increases were in the Canada Revenue Agency, which took on 739 extra staff, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which admitted an extra 234 employees.

There were also staff cuts in some departments and agencies. Veteran Affairs Canada lost 604 employees, Statistics Canada shed 530, the Canada Border Services Agency saw a fall of 464, and Transport Canada cut 372 staff members.

Under the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper, the total number of federal public servants was cut annually from 2010, when it reached an all-time high of 282,980, until 2015, when it was 257,034. The cuts followed 10 years of steady growth.

About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist based in London. She worked on daily newspapers for more than 16 years as an education correspondent, section editor and general news reporter. She was Education Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC.

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