Finance Minister Roger Melanson's budget is calling for a series of civil service cuts, mergers and outsourcing in a bid to get a handle on the provincial government's deficit.

"It is going to be 1,300 positions over the next five years that is going to be eliminated," Melanson told reporters on Tuesday.

"This is a very difficult decision. These positions and some of these individuals offer services to New Brunswickers. We do have an opportunity in government because we do have an aging population and we have an opportunity for attrition."

The finance minister said the moves will tear down unnecessary bureaucracy and also help deal with the provincial deficit.

'Over time, layers develop in every organization.' - Roger Melanson, finance minister

"Over time, layers develop in every organization," Melanson's budget speech said.

"These layers eventually prevent ideas from flow, limit dissemination of information and impact decision making."

In the budget, the Liberals announced that 30 per cent of senior managers will be shown the door by March 31.

Further, the number of so-called middle managers will be cut by 30 per cent over the next five years. The various moves are expected to find $46.4 million.

The number of government departments will also be reduced and the size of those cuts will be announced when Premier Brian Gallant shuffles his cabinet. That date was not disclosed in the budget.

The number of school teachers will also be reduced by 50.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, which is also led by Melanson, is seeing a shakeup.

The budget says the department will experience a "significant reorganization" and reductions of senior and middle-management jobs. Melanson said the department will focus on its main priorities of winter maintenance, summer maintenance and contract management.

"Non-core functions will shift to the private sector impacting nearly 200 casual workers during construction season," Melanson said.

The department is also cutting the Gagetown ferry service.

Melanson's budget also called for a series of other government cuts or mergers or potential changes:

  • Merging 40 government call centres into four regional business centres
  • Consolidating non-medical laboratory services
  • Consolidating 13 land registry offices into one
  • Moving eight Department of Public Safety customer service centres to Service New Brunswick officers
  • An organizational review of court services
  • Conducting an analysis to see if a private sector company can operate the Larry's Gulch fishing lodge
  • Cutting the visitor information centres in Cape Jourimain and Campobello
  • Cutting money for agencies, boards and commissions by 15 per cent
  • Creating an Alternate Service Delivery unit within the finance department to look at different ways to deliver government programs

A government document indicated that $296 million in savings were found across the government.

Melanson's second budget included a $347-million deficit.