Public service

EDITORIAL: The Public Service has had it easy during COVID

Many workers have gone through difficult times since COVID-19 began to affect our economy and our society. But one group that has been largely spared these pains are public sector workers.

A series of freedom of information documents from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show how easily public servants got it compared to many of their private sector counterparts.

As Sun columnist Brian Lilley recently explained: “A total of 528,347 government employees at the federal and provincial levels received raises in 2020 and 2021, when many Canadians’ jobs were precarious. This included 312,825 federal civil servants, with the rest spread across the 10 provinces. »

The federal public service also added nearly 20,000 jobs between March 2020 and March 2021. This came at a time when the broader unemployment rate fell from its pre-pandemic figure of 5.6% to – at one point – a staggering 13.7%.

Canadians shouldn’t blame anyone for getting a job in the public service. Nor should we blame any one individual for receiving a raise.

But there are two big lessons in all of this.

The first is that there are people who have done quite well and have been quite comfortable, at least in terms of job security, throughout the pandemic. They have to keep in mind that not everyone has experienced it that way.

There have been quite a few people who have been in despair over the past couple of years as they have lost their jobs, lost hours of pay to support their families or even lost a large chunk of their life savings trying to maintain their business afloat.

The other big lesson comes from our politicians and senior civil servants.

They need to ensure that the public sector operates in more or less the same reality as the private sector. They can never forget that without the private sector, there would be no public sector.

It is not fair that politicians and senior civil servants have received raises when they are the ones locking down the country and making it all the more difficult for others to provide for their own families.

Compensation and benefits must be reasonable and perceived to be fair. What these new figures reveal is neither fair nor reasonable.

We are all supposed to be in the same boat.

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