“They say the devil is in the details, and that’s certainly been the case with the details kept secret in many of the privatization deals that Canadians have had to endure,” says James Clancy, NUPGE National President.
Ottawa (11 June 2014) — In many privatization deals undertaken over the past 30 years, key details of the contract—such as employee and executive pay, and penalties for inferior service—are hidden from the public. But according to the latest polling, the vast majority of Canadians believe this is wrong.
Secret privatization deals keep Canadians in the dark about true costs
Ninety-three per cent of those surveyed by Vector Polling in May 2014 said, “the public’s right to know if tax money is being wisely spent” was more important than “a company’s right to keep information secret from competitors.”
“They say the devil is in the details, and that’s certainly been the case with the details kept secret in many of the privatization deals that Canadians have had to endure,” says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
“We’re talking about things like hospitals, schools, and air ambulance services,” says Clancy. “We depend on these services and we pay for them; we have a right to know what the services cost and how they’re being delivered.”
“These polling results should send a clear message to all of our politicians, that if a private company wants to provide a public service, they shouldn't be allowed to extract their profits under shrouds of secrecy.”
Ninety-three per cent of Canadians want privatization deals fully transparent
Making privatization deals fully transparent is key to ensuring that Canadians can find out if they're getting what they’ve been promised in any privatization scheme. Only with full transparency will we be able to protect Canadians from fraud and negligence. NUPGE is advocating a “Five Point Public Service Protection Plan” to safeguard the public interest:
- A public service will not be privatized or contracted to the private sector without public consultation and without demonstrable evidence it will lead to improved services.
- A decision to privatize a service will not be made without a full and open review by an independent, and mutually agreed upon, review agency or individual who will ensure cost/benefit studies and comprehensive social and economic impact studies are conducted.
- Public sector workers and their representatives, and other interested stakeholders, shall have standing in the review process.
- The reviewing agency or individual will issue a final report and recommendation and will table the reports and all studies to the House of Commons and Legislatures and to the Public Accounts Committee.
- In the event that a specific privatization is recommended and found to be in the best interest of citizens, employees will have the ability to move to the new employer with all existing rights, benefits and entitlements.
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