Stop paying striking bureaucrats

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2023/04/26

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal government to immediately stop paying striking employees and commit to clawing back every dime. 

“It’s very simple: If you’re not working, taxpayers shouldn’t be paying you,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. “It’s time to turn off the taps.”

The Globe and Mail reported that “striking federal public servants will continue to receive their regular salaries until at least May 10,” which is three weeks after the strike began on April 19. The paper noted that it remains “unclear if the pay deduction will apply to all striking workers.” 

“During the pandemic, federal bureaucrats didn’t have to worry about missing a paycheque,” Terrazzano said. “Now even when they’re on strike, bureaucrats aren’t worried about missing a paycheque.

“That’s wrong – every last penny must be returned to taxpayers.” 

In past strikes, federal employees were required to submit “unpaid leave requests through the government’s Phoenix pay system after the actions” so their pay could be “deducted in subsequent cycles,” according to the Globe

“It’s embarrassing that the only way taxpayers may get our money back is if employees voluntarily fill out a form,” Terrazzano said. “Union negotiators have been threatening strikes since at least last September. How was the government unprepared for this?”

The problem-plagued Phoenix pay system, which was launched in 2016 to streamline payroll processing for the federal government, has resulted in problems that have “cost the government more than $2 billion.” 

In January, Canada Revenue Agency Commissioner Bob Hamilton told a parliamentary committee it “wouldn’t be worth the effort” to fully investigate $15.5 billion pandemic benefit payments flagged as suspicious by the Auditor General.

“Given the government’s track record, why should taxpayers feel confident they will get this money back?” Terrazzano said. “Canadians shouldn’t be paying bureaucrats to strike. Taxpayers need a guarantee from the government that it will get all our money back.”

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