09/24/2012 04:59 EDT | Updated 09/24/2018 09:25 EDT

Surprise: federal job cuts happening mostly outside Ottawa

OTTAWA - Cuts to the federal public service appear to be occurring mostly outside Ottawa — which is not how the federal government cast its job reductions when it first announced them earlier this year.

The vast majority of those federal job cuts, two-thirds of them, appear to be taking place elsewhere across Canada.

The Flaherty budget tabled last March forecast 19,200 jobs eliminated and it promised that a heavy burden would be shouldered by the national capital region.

"A large proportion of full-time-equivalent reductions will occur in the National Capital Region," said the budget document.

"The regional distribution of employment in the federal public service will be largely unaffected by the implementation of the departmental spending reductions."

The regional distribution has inflicted most of the pain outside Ottawa, based on the notices sent so far to over 18,000 federal public servants that they could lose their jobs.

According to statistics compiled by the federal public-sector union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, just 35 per cent of those notices have gone out in the national capital region. Sixty-five per cent have gone out elsewhere in the country.

Fourteen per cent of the notices have gone to employees in Ontario, 13 per cent were issued in Quebec, 12 per cent went to the Prairies and Atlantic Canada received 10 per cent.

Calls to the office of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty were referred to the Treasury Board which, hours later, emailed a statement to The Canadian Press.

It noted that the proportion of federal jobs actually held in Ottawa — about one-third of the national total — is consistent with the makeup of the cuts.

"To clear the record, the representation of federal jobs across the country remains unchanged. Every region and jurisdiction across Canada will retain their proportion of federal jobs," said the email from the office of Treasury Board President Tony Clement.

"As you know, we have found fair, balanced, and moderate savings to reduce the deficit that will reduce the size of the public service by four per cent over three years. We committed to Canadians to return to balanced budgets and Canadians rightly expect us to follow through on our commitments."

The union of federal employees expressed frustration not only that the cuts will impact Canadians in a variety of ways, but also that the government isn't consulting much about how to proceed.

"We knew there was going to be widespread cuts... (Federal) services are located across the country, from coast to coast to coast. And they set a very aggressive plan to reduce those services," said Bob Jackson, PSAC regional vice-president for British Columbia.

"There's been a lot of frustration through this whole process but probably the most frustrating thing is that there's been virtually no consultation — zero — with any region of the country...

"They've gone about making these cuts in total isolation."