Ottawa hints at public servants cuts

LAURA PAYTON, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:42 AM ET

OTTAWA — The minister in charge of Canada’s public servants says Canadians have made sacrifices and they now expect the government to do the same.

But he wouldn’t be specific about what the government will cut when it presents its budget in two weeks.

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day spoke to reporters after meeting with the heads of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Professional Institute of the Public Service Wednesday morning. Rumours have been swirling that the government is considering chopping public sector pensions in order to tackle Canada’s $56-billion budget deficit.

“Just as Canadians have made significant sacrifices to maintain their own household finances…they expect their governments to do the same,” Day said, adding the government will live within its means.

The meetings with the unions, which represent about 221,000 civil servants, were positive, he said, but he wouldn’t rule out changes to government pensions.

“We want to maintain the integrity of our public sector pension plans. Everybody is concerned. One of the ways to make sure pension plans stay strong is that the economy stays strong because pensions invest in various funds, and Canada right now is looking very positive nationally and internationally to investors of large funds,” he said.

Gary Corbett, head of PIPSC, says his union is waiting to see what’s contained in the March 4 federal budget and that the unions and Day have agreed to “communicate.”

“But we also are preparing ourselves and educating our members for anything that may be negative because we understand there’s pressures on the government and they are public sector pressures and private sector pressures,” Corbett said. “The public service needs to tell their story and that’s going to be done by the bargaining agents because Canadians depend on them, depend on the service for the quality of life.”


Videos

Photos