Federal government job cuts: the story so far

The Conservative government is conducting a strategic review of federal departments to help balance the budget by 2014, but is already cutting jobs based on an earlier review. Read a list of cuts so far.
Treasury Board President Tony Clement is in charge of trimming budgets across government departments. He's shown here Aug. 4 announcing the creation of an agency to streamline government computer systems. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Conservative government has promised to balance the federal budget by 2014 and has asked 68 departments to offer up scenarios for five and 10 per cent reductions to their bottom lines over a three-year period.

Here's how the process was described in an internal message at one department, obtained by CBC News:

The Strategic and Operating Review provides a focus for us to reflect on how we currently meet our mandate and to explore how we can modernize the way we do business to improve the services that we deliver to Canadians. We would like to call on all of you to look at this as an opportunity to focus, transform and renew our activities so that they are effective, relevant and affordable. We encourage you to speak to your manager should you have any ideas or suggestions.

Cabinet will decide what gets cut prior to the 2012-13 budget next spring. These kind of budget-cutting efforts could eventually result in job losses across the federal civil service. But this review has only just begun, and the job reductions that could result won't be confirmed for months.

So why are we already hearing about job losses in the federal public service?

These reductions are from the last round of program review, a process that began under former Treasury Board president Stockwell Day — budget cuts suggested before Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Treasury Board President Tony Clement started their latest mission to balance the budget three years from now. 

So far, the government says most of the staff displaced by this earlier round of reviews will be reallocated within their departments, and many of the cuts represent vacant positions.

We've collected some of the announced reductions to date. Send us an email if you know of others at yournews@cbc.ca.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

42 positions as part of $15.2 million in budgetary reductions (October 19, 2011)

Bank of Canada

33 workers (June 6, 2011)

Canada School of Public Service

179 jobs, mostly second-language training instructors (Jan. 13, 2012)

The positions cut represent the entire second-language teaching staff at the school. Sixty-two of the jobs were permanent positions and the rest were contract.

Canadian Museum of Civilization

Eight positions — including an actor troupe — at Museum of Civilization (August 16, 2011)

Environment Canada

776 positions 'may change or disappear' over three years, with 300 positions eliminated (Aug. 4, 2011), including:

  • 46 positions in climate change research over two years.
  • roughly one-third of the staff (80 positions) at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
  • 43 positions in Atlantic Canada, including toxic chemical researchers from the Dartmouth, N.S. office.
  • 60 scientists and researchers who were declared surplus.

Fisheries and Oceans

275 positions 

...and more to come by 2014, as a result of a $56.8-million budget-cutting plan (October 13, 2011)

  • A Dec. 12 press release from the NDP says that on Dec. 8, the Public Service Alliance of Canada was informed of 150-280 positions to be cut at the fisheries department as a result of this plan. The same release suggests 39 positions will also be shed from the coast guard service.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

600 positions at Service Canada processing centres for employment insurance

Industry Canada

26 positions (June 26, 2011)

National Defence

2,100 civilian positions to be cut over three years

National Gallery of Canada

Five curators at the National Gallery (June 2, 2011)

National Research Council

52 positions (June 23, 2011)

Public Works and Government Services Canada

700 staff to be cut over three years, which includes:

  • 7 or 8 translators (Aug. 5, 2011)
  • as-yet undetermined redundancies from the creation of a new IT agency to streamline government computer operations (August 4, 2011)

Treasury Board

84 jobs as a result of $11.5 million in savings over three years

Veterans Affairs

400-500 positions, stemming from $226 million in budgetary reductions over the next four years, explained in part by the dwindling number of older veterans requiring services (October 21, 2011)