'There were faults in it': Employee warned of misleading counts on jobs website
'If we are promoting it, shouldn't the numbers be correct?' says ex-economic development employee
A former New Brunswick government economic development employee says the province's nbjobs.ca website, which is at the centre of a controversial national advertising campaign, has had problems with double counting want ads for more than a year.
Picard said while he was with Opportunities New Brunswick there was talk of promoting nbjobs.ca, but he felt it needed to be culled for duplicate job listings first.
"My point was, if we are promoting it, shouldn't the numbers be correct?" said Picard.
"There were redundancies. I didn't count all of them, but there was a lot and so I emailed one of the directors and said, 'Someone should be looking at this.'"
There were faults in it and I could easily see them and anyone could easily see them.- Daniel Picard, former N.B. government employee
Picard said he is not aware of the problem being fixed and earlier this week, CBC News reported on what appears to be a pattern of want ads for single positions showing up multiple times on the site, inflating the number of jobs available in the province.
- Ad campaign's 3,000-jobs claim doesn't add up
- 'Soaring economy' touted by province in $360K ad campaign
That's become an issue because for the last month the New Brunswick government has been advertising across Canada that the province has a "soaring economy" and "3,000 jobs now" for people to apply for, based on the want ad tabulations on the nbjobs.ca website.
'I'd like to see it pulled'
On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs called on the Gallant government to cancel the remaining two weeks of the $360,000 advertising campaign, which he called "self promotion."
"I'd like to see it pulled," said Higgs.
Adding to government headaches over the issue Wednesday, the website began reporting only 1,526 available jobs in the province for several hours.
The government blamed a "technical error" and by midday job listings jumped back to 2,990, although with the same double counting problems in some listings.
Liberals had promised during the 2014 provincial election to submit all government advertising campaigns to an independent third party to eliminate ads that "promote the partisan interests of the governing party," but have not introduced legislation to require that.