Canada's Treasury Board is eliminating close to 20 high-level IT positions, CBC News has learned.

Workers at the chief information officer branch were informed of the decision Wednesday at a meeting in Ottawa. The head of the branch, Corinne Charette, said they are consolidating and reengineering in the coming months.

CBC News had initially reported that as many as 27 jobs would be eliminated. However, Treasury Board spokesman Sean Osmar said while the move will affect 26 positions, only 18 jobs would be eliminated.

Some of the workers will find jobs in other departments, said Gary Corbett, the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service. Others can either be paid out, apply for retraining or be placed on a growing surplus list for future jobs.

The public sector union head also said Treasury Board president Tony Clement's IT strategy needs these types of employees to fulfill his promise.

"Frankly, you need those positions in terms of strategic thinking for how you move forward in IT," Corbett said.

Corbett said he heard the news at a meeting of 1,200 government executives who shared the fact many are preparing for more layoffs.

'Departments and agencies are getting their house in order to take the next big whack.'— Gary Corbett

The reason, Corbett added, is that departments are still trying to meet budget targets that were set in 2010 before the next round of five to 10 per cent spending cuts that are expected to be announced in the winter.

Corbett added he thinks there is surprising co-ordination as managers prepare for the layoffs.

"The entire public service is gearing up for the next budget," he said. "Basically, departments and agencies are getting their house in order to take the next big whack."