News / Ottawa

Public servants mark start of National Public Service Week with noon protest

National Public Service Week — usually a week of backslapping and barbecues — kicked off Monday with public servants protesting outside the Prime Minister's Office, and one union releasing a plan to "restore Canada's public service."

Since 1992, the third week in June has been devoted to recognizing value of federal public service employees and the services they provide. But this year, with a federal election only months away and unions ramping up campaigns against the current Conservative government, things have taken a different flavour.

A crowd of about 200 public servants, blasting music and waving flags, gathered outside the Prime Minister's Office at Elgin and Wellington streets to protest provisions in Bill C-59, the government's omnibus budget bill, which unions say would impose a new sick leave regime and undermine their collective bargaining rights.

Meanwhile, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents 55,000 professionals in the public service, released a 10-point plan Monday aimed at "the next federal government" to "restore Canada's public service and preserve the integrity of federal programs and services."

"Our members are deeply concerned about preserving and protecting the integrity of the public services they deliver," PIPSC President Debi Daviau said in a release. "We believe our 10-point plan is a good starting point."

The plan includes targeting tax cheats rather than charities, strengthening the Parliamentary Budget Office and restoring the mandatory long-form census. The union is delivering copies of the report to all five party leaders.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement marking National Public Service Week inviting Canadians to join him in "extending our appreciation and thanks to all public servants for their important contributions to our country."

"In Canada, we are fortunate to have a high-quality public service that is professional, non-partisan and trustworthy," he said, adding that public servants deliver services that support the government and meet Canadians' needs "while committing to core Public Service of Canada values – integrity, dedication, and excellence."

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