03/29/2012 04:28 EDT | Updated 03/29/2012 07:58 EDT

Public Service Cuts Canada: 2012 Federal Budget Slashes 19,200 Jobs


OTTAWA -- A federal budget billed as being about jobs and growth will put some 19,200 public servants out of work.

An estimated 12,000 jobs are being cut, while the remaining positions will be eliminated through attrition.

The numbers are far lower than some of the worst-case scenarios proposed by advocacy groups, some of which predicted as many as 60,000 jobs could be at risk as the government sought to slash program spending.

``It is expected that the proposed reduction in employment, which represents only 0.1 per cent of all jobs in Canada, will be marginal compared to the expected job growth in the wide economy over the course of the three years in which the reductions will be implemented,'' budget documents state.


The estimated cost of the layoffs is $900 million.

A large proportion of the cuts will be in the Ottawa area and regional positions will be mostly untouched.

The government says the cuts reverse only about 20 per cent of the increase in federal jobs that's occurred since the late 1990s.

Statistics Canada says there were about 400,000 people working for the government in 2011, which includes military personnel.

The job cuts are the result of a government-wide spending review that's resulted in a 6.9 per cent reduction in program spending, though hundreds of government workers have already been laid off over the past year after previous expenditure reviews.

Earlier this month, public sector unions launched a campaign suggesting that further cuts could compromise the health and safety of Canadians and urged the government to be clear about how it plans to shed jobs.

Thursday's federal budget doesn't precisely set out where all the layoffs will be felt, but offers a few clues.

Some government programs are being completely eliminated, while several departments with overlapping mandates are merging their office functions.

The new cuts will be rolled out over time as collective agreements between the government and unions contain workforce adjustment measures that could see some affected employees moved into vacant jobs.

Public sector employees will also see their pensions change.

Currently, employees pay 40 per cent of the contribution to their pension but the government is proposing to increase that to 50 per cent.

They're also changing the retirement age from 60 to 65 for people who join the civil service after 2013.

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