Government must include way for public service workers to provide input into review process.
Vancouver (06 Aug. 2013) — The B.C. provincial government has laid out the terms of reference for a core review of government services.
BCGEU/NUPGE welcomes review
The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is committed to the cost-effective delivery of quality public services and we welcome the opportunity to provide input in the core review process in the months ahead.
Our frontline members have expertise in the services they deliver. The union is strongly encouraging the government to create an opportunity for staff to provide their valuable input. BCGEU/NUPGE also calls on the government to ensure the review is conducted in an open and transparent manner.
Review must examine effectiveness of public services being delivered by private sector
If government is to review the effectiveness of the services delivered by government, it must also review the effectiveness of public services which are now being delivered by the private sector after more than a decade of privatization. At a news conference in Vancouver, Minister Bill Bennett told reporters B.C. has the most efficient public service in Canada. He also said he is fully prepared to examine the private delivery of public services.
BCGEU/NUPGE remains convinced that a fair review will find many public services currently delivered by private contractors can be delivered more cost-effectively and at a higher quality if they were returned to direct government. In too many cases privatization has failed the people who rely on these services and the taxpayers who fund them.
Review must not be an exercise in cost cutting
British Columbia already has the smallest public sector on a per capita basis of any province in Canada. BCGEU/NUPGE will work to ensure that this core review does not become an exercise in cost and service cutting. Instead, it must be a process that ensures our provincial services are delivered well and cost effectively.
The province should also look for new sources of provincial revenue
The BCGEU/NUPGE has called for the expansion of our public liquor distribution and retailing system. Expanded hours, Sunday openings and a few new public stores could add millions of dollars in new revenue to a system that already returns nearly a billion dollars a year to pay for public services.
The BCGEU/NUPGE has also proposed expanding the responsibilities of deputy sheriffs. In Alberta, deputy sheriffs handle traffic duties alongside the RCMP. The successful program was doubled after the first year, and created $111 million in new government revenue in 2010. Expanded sheriff duties would also improve road safety, reduce health care costs and reduce court delays by freeing police to focus on other law enforcement. In B.C. it could also lead to lower Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) premiums for drivers.
The union is committed to working with government to find ways to increase provincial revenues and cut wasteful spending without making cuts to public services.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE