OTTAWA — The federal public service is Ottawa’s largest employer. As the seat of government, more than 125,000 people in the national capital region are employed as public servants.
The COVID-19 pandemic upended the public service just as much as it did other industries, sending tens of thousands of workers out of their office towers and onto Zoom calls from kitchen tables and home offices.
Election Day is Sept. 20.
Here’s a look at what federal parties are promising the public service in this election.
The Liberal Party has not yet released their full platform this election.
The Liberal government pledged to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for federal public service workers before the election was called.
The party has also promised 10 days of paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers.
The Conservative Party platform pledges to establish a national working group within the federal public service, working with Indigenous communities, to encourage applications from Indigenous people.
A Conservative government would also make many federal jobs remote by default, while maintaining some flexible office space to give employees the option to work from home or on-site when necessary.
On the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations, a Conservative government would require federal employees who aren’t vaccinated to pass a daily rapid test.
The NDP is pledging to replace the failed Phoenix Pay System if they form the government. The party also promises to reduce the practice of contracting out government work, and to end harassment in federal workplaces.
An NDP government would also create what the party is calling a “Service Guarantee” that will make departments responsible for establishing and publishing binding service standards for programs like Employment Insurance, veterans support, Indigenous services, passports, Canada Revenue Agency call centres, and other services.
The NDP agree with a vaccine mandate for federal workers. Leader Jagmeet Singh has said there should be disciplinary measures for federal workers who refuse to be vaccinated for reasons other than health.
The Green Party of Canada has not released a platform yet, but on their website they do make references to expanding public services in Canada in part by creating of a Crown corporation to purchase prescription drugs in bulk and dispense them to Canadians.
The party has also called for public service agencies to track outcomes for Black employees and develop systems with greater accountability against discrimination.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul has said a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal public servants was something the party is “considering very seriously.”
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